Mark Waid: Bringing The Incredibles to Comics

Bringing The Incredibles to Comics

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Pixar’s Oscar-winning animated film The Incredibles is widely considered one of the best superhero movies ever made…and Mark Waid is widely considered one of the best superhero writers in comics.

That in mind, it’s only natural that Waid be the one to bring the Incredibles to comics in March’s The Incredibles: Family Matters from BOOM! Studios. Waid, who also serves as BOOM!’s Editor-in-Chief, talked to us about what his new series will entail, and what this work means to him personally.

Newsarama: Mark, why did you want to work on The Incredibles?

Mark Waid: The film was amazing. It was just the perfect combination of super-heroics and heart. All the characters were so well delineated that their very existence suggests a bunch of new stories, and it's not hard at all for an experienced super-hero writer such as myself to see dozens of directions to take that team.

NRAMA: How long after the movie does the film take place, and where do we find the family? Are they still the Parrs, or do they have new identities?

MW: They're still the Parrs. Not much about their lives has changed (other than having to replace their house). But they have new friends--new supporting cast members who are the neighbor family, the "normals" who the Parrs realize they need in their lives in order to stay "normal" themselves.

NRAMA: Will the book be single-issue stories or continuing storylines, and is this a miniseries or an ongoing?

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MW: It's an ongoing series of four-issue arcs. Each issue does feel like a discreet chapter with its own conflict and resolution, but as a whole, each four-issue run tells a larger story.

NRAMA: Your last run on The Flash is almost a dry run for this type of book. How is writing for The Incredibles both similar and different to writing the West family?

MW: It's different because everyone's a little more experienced in the field--and because there was an undercurrent of tragedy to the Flash twins that's (thankfully) absent with The Incredibles. But the big challenge is the same--coming up with menaces deadly enough to challenge all the family members at once!

NRAMA: Describe how you see each member of the family, and give us an idea of what they'll face in the series.

MW: Bob (Mr. Incredible) is an incredibly well-meaning hero whose battlefield smarts come more out of experience than out of book learning. He's not dumb by any definition--but he still tends to solve problems by out-pounding them rather than out-thinking them. He's going to have to learn that being the boss sometimes means letting other people take control, especially if you're trying to teach them how to be heroes.

Helen (Mrs. Incredible) is supermom--incredibly nurturing and patient. She's protective of her brood, but she understands that the needs of the city sometimes trump her instincts to keep her children totally out of harm's way. She wants to be supportive of their super-hero training--but at the same time, she's always watchful of them in the field. She's constantly faced with the multi-tasking required of a super-hero/career woman/homemaker/mom. And, like Dad, she gets a little nostalgic for the glory days sometimes.

Dash, the speedster, is all throttle, no brakes. He's gonna have to figure out how to downshift long enough to make "regular" friends who don't share his impatience.

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Violet, the invisible force-field throwing daughter, is still shy and withdrawn--but maybe, just maybe, she's found just the right new friend to draw her out.

NRAMA: Sure, arch-nemesis Syndrome fell victim to the trouble with capes, but any chance his evil will outlive him?

MW: There's always a chance. I saw no body, and those are the rules--no body? Death is suspect.

NRAMA: Who will be some other villains the family might face? We already saw Bomb Voyage and the Underminer in the film...

MW: Why, right off the bat, the Incredibles face Futurion, the cyber-tyrant from the far future whose devolution bombs hurl an entire zoo full of animals back down the evolutionary chain! And that's just for starters!

NRAMA: Also, who are some of the other Supers that we might meet -- is Frozone still around? In addition, will we see any flashbacks to Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl's early career? I sort of want to see Gazer Beam in action...

MW: Frozone's definitely part of the mix, and our third arc has a lot to do with the earlier careers of Bob and Helen Parr. How much of that is ours to play with depends on Pixar, but I'd love to spend time back then.

NRAMA: Edna Mode! You gotta let us know what she's up to in this series.

MW: She doesn't come into play until the second arc--but her cousin, Doc Sunbright, doctor to the super-heroes, is a major player in our first story!

NRAMA: What's it been like working with Disney and Pixar in developing this series? Have they had any suggestions as to its direction?

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MW: They've been open and accommodating, very respective of the creative process. That's much appreciated.

NRAMA: While The Incredibles does have a following from DVD and approximately five billion holiday cable showings, all-ages superhero comics sometimes have trouble reaching their intended audience. What is BOOM! doing to make sure this gets in the hands of kids?

MW: All we can tell you right now is that big plans--big plans--are afoot. We're aware that this is a mass-market property and we're lining up big doings.

NRAMA: On a personal level, what makes The Incredibles: Family Matters unique among your body of work, and what's it been like working on this series?

MW: It's unique in that I really feel like I'm stretching all my creative muscles at once--super-hero action, romance, comedy, drama, all-ages situations--usually, there's not an even balance of those things in a super-hero comic. (Kingdom Come wasn't exactly a laugh riot.)

But writing The Incredibles: Family Matters really makes me feel as if I'm called upon to do so much in equal, measured proportion that it's a heck of an exercise--and a rewarding one.

The Incredibles: Family Matters smashes into stores this March.

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