Former Marvel editor-in-chief Tom DeFalco may not have been a huge Legion fan in the past. But he has quickly been converted.
As announced earlier today, DeFalco will take over in March as the writer of Legion Lost, the Legion spin-off title that launched in September. He begins with issue #7 after the departure of current Legion Lost writer Fabian Nicieza, who told Newsarama he was called away from the title by unexpected time constraints.
DeFalco joins DC after spending the last several decades writing and editing for Marvel. The first change to DC writer came in August, when DeFalco wrote a one-shot Superman Beyond comic.
DeFalco was best known as a Spider-Man writer, and as the Marvel Editor-in-Chief from 1987 to 1994. More recently, he was hailed by fans of Spider-Girl for not only creating the alternate universe character, but also giving her a solo series that was so surprisingly successful that it ran for 100 issues.
Newsarama talked to DeFalco to find out more about his plans for Legion Lost and why he thinks it's "tough" to follow Nicieza on the title.
Newsarama: Tom, you're very well known for your time at Marvel as an editor and writer, particularly on Spider-Man and recently on Spider-Girl. So it's surprising to see your name on a Legion book. Are you a Legion fan?
Tom DeFalco: I'm not one of the hard-core Legion fans, but I've always appreciated the Legion and appreciated the work of most of the creators on the Legion. So yes, I'm a fan, but wow, some of these Legion fans are really hard-core! They can name every appearance and every character and that sort of thing. I don't know if I honestly can identify every single one, if I had to.
Nrama: For this series you don't have to!
DeFalco: Well, for this series I have seven characters that I'm getting to know better and better with each passing day. And then the more I get to know them, the more I like them.
Nrama: What appealed to you about the project, and now that you've gotten to know the characters better, what appeals to you as a writer?
DeFalco: What I like is these are characters who were given an impossible mission and put into a very desperate situation, and they had to find a way to a) survive and b) succeed.
They represent that part in all of us, every time we face a new job or an unexpected drama or situation in the family that suddenly goes sour, and you've got to step up and discover what you're really made of. I like people who are willing to sacrifice themselves and give their all for whatever cause they truly believe in.
Nrama: This series was originally introduced as a comic book version of the first scene from Lost, but with teenage superheroes who were shipwrecked in time instead of on an island. Are you keeping that type of direction? Or do you have something else in mind?
DeFalco: I think the good part of Lost is the characters and the confusing part of Lost was trying to understand all the details and the complicated other stuff.
I'm interested in the characters, and getting to know the characters and allowing the readers to know the characters, and really get inside these characters' heads.
Instead of Lost, I think I'd go more for Modern Family. Or maybe Everybody Loves Raymond.
Nrama: I take it you're going to have some humor in this comic?
DeFalco: Well, jeez, you know me. Everything I do is deadly, deadly serious!
DeFalco: I think there should be a lot of humor in life. And there should be a sense of fun and a sense of what I refer to as "hoo-ha" in comics. Real life can be distressing enough. When you turn to a comic book, you shouldn't get depressed. I think that, in many regards, the present that we are living in is not the present that we thought we were going to have. And I think that the Legion Lost comic is a group who's experiencing tragedy and pathos, but these are five, or excuse me, seven young characters who even in the worst of circumstances have to have some enjoyment, have to show why it's really cool to be these guys.
Nrama: You also have a lot of experience with teen heroes. Will you bring some of that to this comic?
DeFalco: I'm going to try to bring all of that to this comic! Like I tried to do with Spider-Girl and Thunderstrike and Thor and all the other stuff I did on the other side of the street, I think comic stories need to have certain things. We need to have hope, we need to have heroism, excitement, tragedy, and again, a lot of hoo-ha.
Nrama: Have any of these characters emerged as favorites as you've gotten to know them?
DeFalco: That's always a hard question to answer, because I'm, in many ways, getting to know the characters in my first couple of plots, and trying to figure out how they stand, how they talk, what they're having for breakfast -- that sort of stuff. I think that on the one hand, there's a lot to like about Timber Wolf. And Wildfire, with his temper and the fact that he sort of, kind of, has the girl, but not quite. And Dawnstar, you know, everybody looks at her as miss perfect, but she doesn't see herself that way. And then there's Chameleon Girl, who's just trying to be what everybody wants. And then there's grumpy old Gates, who in many ways, I'm beginning to identify with a little bit too closely! And Tellus, who just seems to have the answers, or at least looks like he does even when he doesn't. And I also feel for Tyroc, who was basically assigned this job and he's doing the best he can, but this was one of those missions that might have been a set-up from the beginning, that never had a chance to succeed to begin with.
Since I was asked if I'd like to do this book, and I started to seriously look at it, I thought, there's really a lot to play with here! There are some great dynamics between these characters, and a lot of unexplored character dynamics too.
Fabian is always a tough act to follow, 'cause Fabian Nicieza... I always say to people: Check out his run on New Warriors. It's like a textbook on how to do a team super-group. He set the bar so high for everybody. So I have to work really hard so people don't call me a bum after looking at Fabian's stuff!!
Nrama: Some big shoes to fill, huh?
DeFalco: Fabian is always tough to follow.
Nrama: Assuming that you have an idea what you want your first storyline to be, how would you describe what you're going to do with the characters when you take over?
DeFalco: I think that when you remember the Legion, you're in a certain comfort zone. You kind of have a set of rules, you have a game plan, you have all this technology behind you and everything. And I want to put these guys into a Mixmaster and then spin them around! And take away everything they ever used to depend on, because they are stuck here in the past. They are truly lost, truly lost from the Legion, and sometimes accepting your situation is the hardest part of dealing with it.
I'm going to take them through the agonies of accepting what kind of situation they're in, and trying to figure out how the heck they deal with it.