Seeley Makes His Marvel Writing Debut with ANT-MAN & WASP

Tim Seeley on ANT-MAN & WASP

Tim Seeley is best known for his creator-owned horror comic Hack/Slash, which moved earlier this year from Devil's Due Productions to Image Comics. He's ventured out to Marvel Comics before, illustrating titles like New Exiles and Weapon X: First Class, but now he's pulling double-duty in the world of work-for-hire: writing and illustrating the three-issue Marvel miniseries Ant-Man & Wasp.

That's a famous comic book pair, but the one Seeley's handling is definitely different than the classic on-again, off-again couple of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne. Pym's still around, but as those keeping up with Marvel developments know, he's now going by the Wasp moniker, in tribute to his fallen ex-wife, who died at the end of Secret Invasion. The role of Ant-Man is now played by current Secret Avenger Eric O'Grady, who starred in the 2006 Robert Kirkman-penned series The Irredeemable Ant-Man.

With Ant-Man & Wasp #1 in stores this week, Newsarama chatted with Seeley about making his Marvel writing debut, the plot involving AIM and the soul of Civil War casualty Bill Foster, and how the two main characters are each their own, unique type of jerk.

 

Newsarama: Tim, how stoked are you to be just days away from your first Marvel Universe work as a writer coming out in stores? Had you been hoping to get a chance at writing (and simultaneously drawing) Marvel characters for a while?

Tim Seeley: I’m somewhere between mightily stoked and pants-poopingly terrified. It’s intimidating to have my debut writing assignment at Marvel also be one I drew, but my love for the project trumps my desire to run and hide.

Nrama: In what ways — if, y'know, any — are Ant-Man & The Wasp and Hack/Slash similar? You've been working so closely on the latter for years, has it informed this project at all?

Seeley: Well, it’s probably fair to say that Ant-Man/Wasp and H/S don't share much in common genre-wise, but I think if I’ve learned anything from years on Hack/Slash is that readers come for the veneer but they stay for what’s underneath it. I approached this the same way I approach H/S, which is character stuff first, plot second. I did make sure to include some Hack/Slash-style stabbing, and at least one girl in a nightie.

 

Nrama: In every incarnation, Ant Man and the Wasp are primarily known as Avengers characters. How much of an Avengers fan have you been over the years?

Seeley: I think Avengers may be the comic I read the longest, starting when I was 7, and on until I was in my mid-20s. I think Savage Dragon is the only thing I may have read longer. I was always more of an Avengers family guy than an X-Men guy, so while other kids were pretending they were poppin’ claws, I was probably cruisin’ around the neighborhood in my sweet invisible Quinjet with She-Hulk and Tigra.

Nrama: What can you say about the contentious dynamic between the two main characters? What is it about their relationship that's interesting to you?

Seeley: Eric is essentially carrying on Hank’s legacy without Hank’s permission. And though Eric has Iron Man and Steve Rogers vouching for him, Hank is irked by this arrogant pervert who is wearing his old underpants. Eric on the other hand is always trying to get ahead, so getting Hank to like him is on his list of things to do. They meet somewhere in the middle with some awkward moments.

 

Nrama: Speaking of their personalities, both Hank Pym and Eric O'Grady have been, at times and to varying degrees, portrayed as jerks. Do they maybe have some type of jerk-rapport because of this?

Seeley: I think they’re jerks for very different reasons. Hank is so smart that he’s lost inside his own big brain, and he forgets simple things like common courtesy, and social graces because of it. Eric on the other hand is self-centered because his primary motivation is his own pleasure. He forgets to be nice, because most of the time, he just doesn’t care. Instead of a jerk-rapport, I think they’re competing to be the bigger jerk… a “jerk-off” if you will. [Laughs.]

Nrama: By the same token, there's frequently been an effort to redeem both of those characters (ironic, maybe, given that O'Grady's original solo title was called The Irredeemable Ant-Man). Steve Rogers has endorsed O'Grady, and we've had plenty of stories about Pym trying to make up for slapping Jan and creating Ultron. Does this series, then, attempt to portray them both in a flattering light?

Seeley: Yeah, I mean, they’re both heroes in the end. They still selflessly protect us from weird horrors and baddies. They're flawed, yes, but that’s what makes the Marvel superheroes so great. I think there’s a tendency to push Hank’s jerkiness too far, so I pulled back, and made him a more sympathetic figure. Eric on the other hand, is sympathetic because he’s the kind of jerk we all wish we could get away with being.

 

Nrama: Hank Pym is one of the oldest Marvel characters — he's never been a huge star or a headliner of his own comic for long, but he's stuck around for decades. What do you think makes him so enduring?

Seeley: Hank Pym is a character that’s so versatile, he can re-invent himself constantly and change is part of his story. I think there’s a tragic air about him too. He’s brilliant, he can do anything, go anywhere, and yet he’s bogged down by his own problems and insecurities. I think everyone can relate to that at some point in their lives.

Nrama: On the other hand, Eric O'Grady debuted in 2006, making him pretty much a zygote within the history of Marvel publishing. Is it neat to be adding to his relatively young history? It seems that in the past, new characters would be introduced and then quickly forgotten about, but now Marvel is making a real push on keeping them in circulation — Ant-Man is a good example, and obviously what Bendis has done with characters like the Sentry, Echo and the Hood.

Seeley: It is fun. I met Robert Kirkman back when he was self-publishing Battle Pope, and we’ve kept in touch since. It’s great to get to follow up on one of his and Phil Hester’s creations, as I kind of feel like I “get” what they were going for pretty well.

 

Nrama: Getting to the series itself (finally!) — what can you say about the plot that brings the two of them together? We know it involves the intriguing combination of Bill Foster's soul and AIM.

Seeley: Right. Eric gets a tip that AIM is gunning for something Hank invented, and decides it’s a perfect opportunity to get on his good side. But, Eric ends up just making it worse, and the two of them are stuck together to clean up the mess.

Nrama: Art-wise, has your approach on Ant-Man & The Wasp differed from your past Marvel work, or your creator-owned stuff?

Seeley: I think the main difference is the amount of time I had, and I hope that comes though. A lot of stuff I’ve done in the past was done under a short deadline, but I was able to spend a day on each page of this book due to some snap scheduling from my editor, Jordan White. I’ve also got an awesome team making me look nice, with inks by Victor Olizaba, and colors by Val Staples. I’m really proud of how it turned out!

Nrama: Last question: will Ant-Man be making any observations about the perceived creepiness of Pym taking the superhero codename of his dead wife?

Seeley: Ha… see, I don’t think it’s that creepy. I’ve read enough message board chatter to know the readers think it’s mighty odd, but, to me, it’s just a logical step that allowed me to draw a pretty cool uniform.

Happy to see Tim Seeley writing at Marvel?

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