When Marvel enlisted Kevin Shinick to write a two-issue story for Avenging Spider-Man, the subject was right up his alley: Deadpool and Spider-Man in high school.One of the voice actors and writers behind Robot Chicken and MAD TV, Shinick is well-known for his comedic timing. But he also has experience with superheroes, having written a few serious comics for DC, and he's also the writer behind the hit 2003 Spider-Man Live stage production at Radio City Music Hall.
Now he's taking his superhero experience and combining it with humor in a two-issue story that start this week in Avenging Spider-Man #12. Featuring art by Aaron Kuder, the story puts Spider-Man and Deadpool back in Peter Parker's high school along with a slew of other crazy characters — including Spider-Ham.
It's a big week for Shinick, who was also one of the writers behind Sunday night's Robot Chicken DC Comics Special. Now he's debuting on Avenging Spider-Man this week, and Newsarama caught up with the writer to find out more about the project.
Newsarama: Kevin, how did the opportunity come about to write Spider-Man and Deadpool?
Kevin Shinick: Steve Wacker, who's the Spider-Man editor, met me at Comic Con one time. And he was telling me how much of a fan he and his family were of MAD, the show that I run over here at Warner Bros. And I thanked him but then said, I'm a huge fan of Spider-Man!I've always loved Spider-Man. I even wrote and directed the first ever feature length adaptation of Spider-Man for the stage, long before Julie Taymor did it. I did this back in, like, 2003 at Radio City Music Hall.
So he said, "You should write a comic for us." I said, "I'm going to hold you to it!" And he called me a little while later, and after all that talk about Spider-Man and how much I love Spider-Man, he said, "How about a Deadpool comic?"
I was a little shocked by that at first, but I love Deadpool, because I think he's just ridiculously fun and crazy. So I said, "That sounds good!"
And then he says, "I'm thinking Deadpool in high school." And I said, "I love the sound of that, but I don't know what that means." Because Deadpool wasn't Deadpool in high school.
The great thing about Deadpool, too, is he's a little mysterious. No one quite knows his origin. And I don't want to be some newbie who came along and made up his origin and have all the fans be like, "Aaaaah! That stinks! I didn't want to know where he was from!!"
So I said to him, not even knowing anything but just throwing darts at the wall, "Can I put him, at least, in Peter Parker's high school?" And he said, "Yeah, you could do that."I went away and thought about it for the longest time, trying to wrap my mind around it. And then I came up with this idea that I really liked. I thought it really worked, and it would be something you'd expect from the guy who wrote Robot Chicken and MAD.
It kind of just blows your mind, this whole crazy situation that we get both Spidey and Deadpool into.
So when I went back to Steve and I said, "I think I've cracked it," he said, "I love this idea. Let's take it and run."
Nrama: It sounds like you're getting to utilize the same humor skills in this comic that you use for MAD and Robot Chicken.
Shinick: Yeah. And having written for Robot Chicken and MAD, this comic is really the marriage of those two properties in the personalities of these two heroes — or anti-heroes, in the case of Deadpool.
Deadpool is this raunchy, ridiculous guy, which is kind of resembling Robot Chicken. And when I left Robot Chicken to create MAD, the network said, "We want a Robot Chicken for a prime time audience, for kids who shouldn't be watching Robot Chicken. So MAD is a much more friendly yet funny show, as is Spider-Man.So bringing these two together was a perfect fit for me. And it was really a blast.
Nrama: And yet you have experience with other comics that aren't humor, right?
Shinick: Yeah, I did some other comics that I loved doing. I did a Batman 80-Page Giant and I did a Joker's Asylum. But what was great for me there was that I got to stretch those dramatic muscles and really embrace the darkness of those characters.
So this Spider-Man story was a nice return to comedy for me. And I had a lot of fun with it. And I'm really excited by it.
Nrama: Can you describe the story?
Shinick: Well, I wanted to create a situation that really made Spidey and Peter Parker unstable.
So we start off and Spider-Man doesn't know where he is, and he's back in high school.
And in fact, on the first page, he's in his underwear — that typical situation where you have that dream where you're back in high school in your underwear.
I wanted to put him into a situation so he was so uncertain as to what's going to happen.
And then when he needs a helping hand, the hand that reaches out to him is Deadpool, this maniac. And I thought, "that is not someone I would want to be paired up with in any situation."
So I thought, what a great way and what great space to start this comic on and just take it from there.Nrama: And what characters are we going to see in the story? You're using Spider-Ham, right?
Shinick: Yes! I wanted to put so many crazy things into this issue. I wrote in Spider-Ham and a bunch of other crazy things. I don't want to give too much away now, but it's just filled.
I wanted to make it so that, if you read it once, you can go back and read it again and you'll notice things that you missed the first time.
Nrama: How has it been working with your artist, Aaron?
Shinick: What was great about Aaron is he has this fantastic style that is really other-worldly. You know? It's familiar, and yet there's something "off" about it. And it matched perfectly for the atmosphere I was trying to build with this comic.
All I can say, really, about this comic is not only is it my first foray into Spider-Man, but it's also Aaron's, so we were both bringing our best game possible, because we really wanted to impress and really do a great job — not only for Marvel, but for the fans, because that's who we are. We are the fans.
And no matter what I do — be it MAD or Robot Chicken or comics — I'm a fan of these things, so I sit down and I just write something that I want to see and that I want to enjoy.
So when you pair me up with Aaron, who's able to take that ball and cross the finish line with it, I was just kind of like, yeah, this is great.