Author: Chris Ullrich

Interview: Peter David on Stephen King, ‘X-Factor’ and ‘Dark Tower’

Interview: Peter David on Stephen King, ‘X-Factor’ and ‘Dark Tower’

Peter David has had many successes during his long career as a writer. From his beginnings as an assistant in the sales department at Marvel Comics, through his character-redefining run on The Incredible Hulk, to his bestselling Star Trek novels, David’s talent, wit and style continue to serve him, and his readers, very well.

More recently, he’s taken on the task of helping to bring Stephen King’s The Dark Tower to the pages of comics and jumped back into the X-Universe by writing the re-booted  X-Factor title for Marvel. ComixMix recently caught up with the multi-talented author to get the latest on X-Factor, how he works with artists and the legendary Stephen King, and what makes a good story.

COMICMIX: Peter, thanks for taking the time to talk. Getting right to it, take us back a bit — how did you get started writing comics?

Well, I was working in the sales dedepartment at Marvel Comics under Carol Kalish and writing was something I was doing on the side. Long story short, I started pitching ideas around at Marvel and wound up impressing Jim Owsley, the then-editor of Spider-Man, and was assigned to Spectacular Spider Man as a writer.

I did that for about a year or a year-and-a-half. After that, I was offered the Incredible Hulk, which I, of course, took on. During that time, I also started to send out inquires to other publishers like DC and asked if they would be interested in hiring me.

They said they would so I decided to become a full-time writer and never looked back. That was in 1986 or 1987, something like that.

Was there one particular moment when you realized you could do it for a living?

PD: People coming to me and asking me to work for them kinda tipped me off. It was primarily when I approached DC to see if they would be interested in me as a writer and they said they were.

If they had said no, that might have been it. I might still be in the sales department at Marvel.

CMix: Did working at Marvel at the time help you make the transition to full-time writer? Did it help to already have your "foot in the door"?


Interview: Mark Verheiden on ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and ‘Teen Titans’

Interview: Mark Verheiden on ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and ‘Teen Titans’

Writer / Producer Mark Verheiden is one of those fortunate individuals who has been able to make a living doing what he loves. His list of career accomplishments crosses most of today’s media landscape from feature films to series televison to comic books.

Starting off many years ago writing comics like The American and Alien Vs. Predator, through feature films like Time Cop, to producing episodes of the TV series Smallville, Verheiden has been a busy man. For the last several years, Verheiden has been even busier than usual, serving as Co-Executive Producer and writer on the critically-acclaimed series Battlestar Galacticawhich airs on the Sci-Fi Channel and has its Season Four premiere this Friday. 

In addition to his producing and writing duties on Battlestar, Verheiden has also been hard at work adapting DC Comics’ The Teen Titans for the big screen as well as one of his own comic book stories, Ark. Recently, ComicMix sat down with Verheiden to talk with him about the next season of Battlestar, his plans for Teen Titans, the writer’s strike, what makes a good story and much more.

COMICMIX: Mark, thanks for taking the time to talk with us.

MARK VERHEIDEN: Of course. Always a pleasure.

CMix: How are you doing these days?

MV: Good. Now that you’re recording, I’ll say nothing incriminating.

CMix: Okay… unless you want to say something incriminating…

MV: No, not me.

CMix: Okay, let’s get to it then. You’re back from the writer’s strike. Hard at work on BSG?

MV: Oh yes, we’re back and right into it again.

CMix: Did the strike have any effect on your plans for the show? Did you have time to think while you were off?


Marvel Releases ‘Secret Invasion’ Primers Online

Marvel Releases ‘Secret Invasion’ Primers Online

In its continuing efforts to get readers pumped up for Secret Invasion, Marvel Comics has released two new stories  as digital comics.

From the official press release:

First up from Marvel is the Secret Invasion Saga, which is filled with the history of the Skrulls from their first appearance up to their current Infiltration. Loaded with clues, this is the best primer available for the biggest event in comics this year.

Next, from the creative team behind Secret Invasion, Brian Bendis and Leinil Yu, comes the Secret Invasion Prologue, in which one key member of the Marvel Universe was replaced by a Skrull, an infiltration that will lead to the downfall of S.W.O.R.D.

The Secret Invasion Saga comic was available in printed form if you happened to be at Wizard World LA a couple weeks ago. If you missed it there and still need to know what’s happening in the Marvel Universe before the invasion begins, having these two comics available online in digital form is a cool resource that can tell you all you need to know.

The invasion begins Wednesday April, 2 with the release of Secret Invasion #1.

Interview: Brandon Jerwa on ‘Battlestar Galactica: Season Zero’

Interview: Brandon Jerwa on ‘Battlestar Galactica: Season Zero’

Writer Brandon Jerwa has had a varied and interesting career since beginning in comics early in 2001. Not letting rejection deter him, he persevered and eventually landed a job as a writer for the G.I. Joe comic book series. Later, Jerwa took on other television tie-in comics such as Highlander from Dynamite Entertainment — which he co-wrote with Michael Oeming.

During that time, he also wrote a backstory series about the Battlestar Galactica television character Tom Zarek. Due in part to his success with Zarek, Jerwa next took on a new comic for Dynamite titled Battlestar Galactica: Season Zero — a prequel of sorts to the Sci-Fi Channel TV series.

Now, with Season Zero rocketing towards a thriling conclusion in issue twelve, ComicMix caught up with Jerwa to talk about how he became the "go-to" guy for Battlestar Galactica at Dynamite, what we can expect from Season Zero as it finishes up and what other plans Jerwa has up his sleeve.

COMICMIX: Brandon, for people who might not know, can you give us a bit of info on your background? Did you read comics as a kid?

BRANDON JERWA: My first comic was an early issue of Star Wars when I was 4 or 5. I had all those early issues and they were definitely a huge thing to me, but I think Spider-Man and Batman made their way into the house pretty quickly after that! I don’t really remember a time when I didn’t have comic books.

My parents were supportive of the habit, so I’d always get at least one new book every time we’d go the grocery store or Kwik-E-Mart (ah, those were the days) and a long road trip was a surefire guarantee of a big pile of comics.

CMix: What were your favorites?

BJ: My favorites as a kid were Star Wars, Avengers, all the Spider-titles, including the most awesome  one, Marvel Team-Up; along with Marvel Two-In One, Detective Comics, Power Man and Iron Fist, Justice League of America and Teen Titans. G.I. Joe obviously made a huge impression on me.

I also have an undying love for Rom: Spaceknight.

CMix: How did you get started writing comics?

BJ: Well, I’m told that I’m the exception to the rule. I was living with my wife and infant son in Portland, Oregon when I started. It was 2001 and I was unemployed, so I thought I’d use my time playing stay-at-home dad to shoot for the Big Dream.

I wrote two scripts – one a G.I. Joe pitch for Devil’s Due and an original superhero piece for Dark Horse. A few months later, Dark Horse had given me my first rejection letter, but Devil’s Due apparently thought I was the man for the job.

My two-part script was extended to four parts and became my G.I. Joe: Frontline arc "History Repeating." Just a few months after those issues hit stands, I was the new regular writer of G.I. Joe.

CMix: How much did you know about Battlestar Galactica before you started writing any of the comics? Are you a fan of the Sci-Fi Channel show or the original ’80s version?


Dark Horse Offers ‘Making Of’ for ‘Serenity: Better Days’ #1

Dark Horse Offers ‘Making Of’ for ‘Serenity: Better Days’ #1

If you’re reading ComicMix, chances are you’re a fan of sci-fi, movies, TV and, of course, you probably read comic books on a regular basis. Being a fan and reader of comics, perhaps you’ve wondered how all the elements from script to art to color to lettering come together to form the finished comic you hold in your hands and read each week?

If you have wondered about this magical process, the folks at Dark Horse Comics have got something for you. At their website, they’ve put up a "How-To" guide which takes you through the steps from script to finished page of their brand-new Serenity: Better Days comic book.

Clicking through the guide you can see the original script pages written by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews, rough sketches of the panel placement, art and pencils by Will Conrad, colors by Michele Madsen and letters by Michael Heisler — all the elements that go into a finished comic book page.

It’s an interesting look at how things go from normal-looking words on a page to a colorful and exciting final product. Check it out.

Interview: Scott Allie on Serenity, Buffy and the Joss Whedon Universe

Interview: Scott Allie on Serenity, Buffy and the Joss Whedon Universe

Dark Horse Comics editor Scott Allie has an enviable career. As an editor, he’s had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest talents working in comics today. Creators such as Mike Mignola and Joss Whedon are just two of the many superstars he collaborates with on a daily basis.

Over the years,  he’s also found time to write a couple comics himself, including Sick Smiles and The Devil’s Footprints. Most recently, Allie’s been hard at work with Mike Mignola on Hellboy and its spin-offs, editing Buffy: Season Eight and also working on another new miniseries based on a different Joss Whedon creation: Serenity: Better Days.

With issue #1 of Serenity: Better Days hitting comic book stores last Wednesday, ComicMix caught up with Allie to get the latest info on the new comic, what’s happening with Buffy: Season Eight, the fan’s reaction to the recent Season Eight revelation and how he collaborates with creators like Mike Mignola and Joss Whedon

COMICMIX: Scott, thanks for talking with us. How you doing?

SCOTT ALLIE: Good, busy.

CMix: For those who don’t know, tell us a bit about your background? How did you get started in comics and at Dark Horse?

SA: I had a job at a literary magazine that paid really well, and it allowed me to set up a self-publishing project back in 1993 and 1994. I did a horror comic called Sick Smiles, and otherwise jazzed around for a while. 

I was living in Portland, and doing Sick Smiles caused me to run into a lot of the Dark Horse people. I ran out of money right around the time they were looking for a new assistant editor, so I took the job.

CMix: Did you read comics as a kid? If so, what were your favorites?

SA: I didn’t read a lot of comics as a kid. I remember having an issue of Star Wars and an issue of Man-Thing. I came across some horror comics at a young age. 

I loved Spider-man, but purely from the cartoon, the older one with the great theme song. I started writing stories really young, and by fifth grade I’d started drawing stories. 

I’d make little books, 20 pages or so, with one drawing and a couple word balloons per page. That was my first foray into comics, I think. They were monster mashes–a combination of Godzilla and Frankenstein, everything I’d see on the "Creature Double Feature" on Channel 56 out of Boston. 

I wouldn’t start reading comics on a regular basis until I was about thirteen, when a friend gave me a copy of Frank Miller’s Wolverine miniseries.

CMix: When did you realize you wanted to have a career in comics? Or that you could?

SA: I think in college. I was torn between majoring in literature or fine art, and my sort of mentor, this guy named Robert Smart, encouraged me to combine them to create my own major, design my own curriculum, and major in comics. 

That was the first time I started thinking about turning my official focus toward comics. They’d been my passion for a while, but I didn’t see them being remotely practical as far as something to do.

CMix: Once you were working at Dark Horse, what projects did you work on? Was there one in particular that really "made" your career?

SA: Yeah, Hellboy. I got assigned to Hellboy within a couple months of starting, and Mike and I bonded instantly, deeply. 

It remains the most significant relationship in my career. 

CMix: How did your association with Joss Whedon begin?


‘Fantastic Four 3?’ Not According to The Human Torch

‘Fantastic Four 3?’ Not According to The Human Torch

If you happen to be one of the people who really liked the first two Fantastic Four films and were anxiously awating a third installlment, you may be waiting a lot longer than you thought. In fact, your wait might be endless.

Why? Well, according to an interview over at MTV with actor Chris Evans, who plays Johnny Storm (aka The Human Torch) in the films, a third film doesn’t seem to be in the cards. His main reason for thinking so? He hasn’t gotten any scripts or story ideas from Fox.

"After the first one was released we got wind of potential titles and plots [almost immediately], and I’ve heard nothing from anyone at Fox [yet],” said Evans in the interview. “We had all planned on doing [another] one but if there were going to be a third I think a week after the second one was released we would have heard.”

In truth, Evans doesn’t seem all that disappointed that a third film probably won’t happen. "It takes up a lot of time. It’s a big commitment,” said Evans. “I’m happy with walking away.”

Although he might be willing to walk away from another Fantastic Four film, he’s not closing the door completely on playing The Human Torch again — especially if it was a cameo appearence in some other Marvel franchise like The Hulk or Spider-Man. Said Evans: "Absolutely. If Johnny Storm wanted to make a pop in appearance in one of those movies that would be a treat.”

Of course, the opportunity for another big-screen appearance by Marvel’s favorite family might not be a complete impossibility, given the discussion of a potential Silver Surfer spin-off film.

So, now that we know another Fantastic Four film is probably not going to happen, is this good news or bad?

IDW Announces ‘Transformers: All Hail Megatron’ Maxi-Series

IDW Announces ‘Transformers: All Hail Megatron’ Maxi-Series

Following up on last month’s release of untitled, yet very cool promotional art featuring Transformers villain Megatron, IDW Publishing today announced it will be bringing a new chapter in the Transformers saga to the shelves of your local comics shops in the form of a 12-part maxi-series called Transformers: All Hail Megatron.

IDW, whose titles also include other Transformers books, Angel: After the Fall, 30 Days of Night and Fallen Angel, is planning for a June release for issue #1 of the comic.

According to the release, the maxi-series will take the Transformers:

"… in a new direction courtesy of writer Shane McCarthy and artist Guido Guidi. Together, they tell the tale of an Earth decimated by the DECEPTICONS. Where are the AUTOBOTS, and how did they come to be exiled from Earth? Who has changed sides, who will live, and who will die? These questions, as well as the introduction of an all-new TRANSFORMERS character, will be answered in the pages of the series."

Series writer McCarthy is very excited about the new story:

“This thing is going to knock the fans’ socks off,” McCarthy says. “This is exactly the kind of story I’ve always wanted to see done, and I think the fans will be right there with me.”

IDW head honcho Chris Ryall is equally enthusiastic about Transformers: All Hail Megatron

“ALL HAIL MEGATRON is what the AUTOBOTS fought so hard to prevent, the ultimate culmination of MEGATRON’s plans. It’s destruction on a grand scale; it’s a story of sacrifice, lost heroism, betrayal, and hopefully at the end, renewal.


ComicMix at WWLA: Photo Gallery – People, Places and Events

ComicMix at WWLA: Photo Gallery – People, Places and Events

In addition to the costumes, comics, movies and occasional booth babes, conventions like Wizard World LA often provide the opportunity to see a few celebrities (and, of course, give them $15 to sign a photograph). This year’s WWLA was no exception, and some of the entertainment industry’s most semi-famous people turned out for the show.

There were also some cool booths, events, panels, artists and a bunch of other things that made Wizard World an enjoyable time. Following the jump are a few images of some the celebrities, booths, panels and other sights from this year’s show.

And if you haven’t seen our gallery of costumes from Wizard World LA posted earlier today, be sure to head on over and check that out, too.


ComicMix at WWLA: Photo Gallery – Costumes

ComicMix at WWLA: Photo Gallery – Costumes

When attending conventions like Wizard World Los Angeles you often get to see just how devoted to their favorite character some hardcore fans really are. How can you tell?

Well, these fans generally don’t just pay their money and passively attend the show going from one panel to another, buying the latest action figures, comics or t-shirts and generally having an "okay" time.

No, these hardcore fans go the extra mile and take their fandom to an altogether different level. They come in costume.

Following after the jump are a few photographs spotlighting these true hadcore fans. It can’t be easy putting costumes like these together.

So, for doing all of that hard work and going the extra mile, we at ComicMix salute you.

Check back later today for the second part of our WWLA photo gallery, featuring some of the other people, places and sights from this year’s convention.