Superman is unquestionably my favourite comic book character. But know that, when I say ‘Superman’, I am referring to the real Superman, not the one currently sauntering around America in a lame attempt to get ‘back in touch’ with the people. Superman has never struggled to identify with humanity – because, first and foremost, he is Clark Kent, son of Jonathan and Martha, who taught him about truth and justice, and instilled within him the realisation that, with his powers, he should be a force for good, a beacon, an inspiration. My Superman is the one who existed in the mid-90’s to early-2000’s; punctuated by great tales from Dan Jurgens, Joe Kelly, Jeph Loeb and Joe Casey. He was Clark Kent first, Superman second. Clark Kent’s who he was; Superman was who he could be – a quote I’ve stolen from Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. When I was a kid, I wanted to be Superman. Not to have his powers – although yes, that would be awesome – I just wanted to be good, like him. I wanted to possess ability to do the right thing, no matter what. I’ve faltered in regards to that. But that okay. I’m human, after all. It’s just such a shame the book has faltered so recently too. Bring back Geoff Johns!
What is your favourite comic?
I have a few choices, but ultimately it's got to go to Action Comics 775. Seriously, if you don't like Superman, if you've never read Superman, find this, read this. It cements Joe Kelly as one of the finest Superman writers of the decade.
Who is your favourite comic writer?
A tough question. My opinion frequently varies on a monthly, possibly weekly basis. I’ve loved work by Brubaker, Fraction, Bendis, Loeb, Joe Kelly, Geoff Johns, Joe Casey ... but ultimately, the man who never lets me down is Grant Morrison. I was first introduced to his talent towards the end of his run on JLA, which was in the late nineties I want to say, maybe early 2000’s? I quickly went back and collected his entire run, and I’ve picked up his work since. His Batman run has been incredible. I can’t wait for the day when I can just chill out and read everything in a couple of sittings.
Who has been the most fun to write so far in 26 weeks of thoughtballoons?
I really enjoyed Aquaman. I think, jokes aside, there is room for an Aquaman comic on our comic book store shelves. And I think we all – Ryan in particular – did a wonderful job in showcasing potential storytelling routes. Machine Man was great, too. I knew nothing about the character – had never heard of him. And I’m not sure whether, in current continuity, he would do what I was suggesting he could – engaging in the practice of neuromarketing – but I’d sure as hell like to write about the corporations that exist in the Marvel Universe. It wouldn’t last long, but I reckon I could write a killer three issues before it was cancelled.
Which character do you most dread having to write?
I think we’ve already covered two of my most dreaded characters: Casanova Quinn and Scott Pilgrim. Not because I dislike those characters; far from it. They are just so out there – far outside my wheelhouse, my comfort zone – that I struggled to come up with suitable concepts for a single paged script. I didn’t attempt Scott Pilgrim, and I wasn’t at all happy with my Casanova effort. I’m similarly afraid of any character from Marvel’s ‘cosmic universe.’ Nova and the Guardians of the Galaxy, etc – I’d have no idea what to do with them. Saying that, I love being pushed to come up with something; I mean, I had no idea who Machine Man was but I think I came up with a fairly original premise.
Which non-comics character would you most like to write?
I’d love to see Lee Child’s protagonist Jack Reacher star in his own comic series. I think you could adapt the novels that already exist or go nuts and create your own stories within the character’s continuity. He has so much untapped history as a military cop, and the fact he’s a drifter means stories could based in a variety of locations. Reacher really is like a modern day Macgyver / Batman; put him in any situation and he will escape from it, maybe bloodied, maybe wounded, but still ready to kick your arse.
Which script do you think has been your best so far?
I really like my Punisher script. I like the way it divided opinions. Not regarding its quality, thank God – rather, whether the final panel should have included a gun in Frank Castle’s hand. I think the gunshould be there – others disagreed. Ultimately, as a writer, that’s the kind of ‘debate’ you want to instigate with your work; not one that’s based on the quality of the work. The one script I wish I could return to and make additions would be my Iron Man script. I love that whole concept of the Armoury and I’d really love to be able to expand on it.
Which script in total do you think has been the best on the site?
Damn. Not easy to answer. I think all of our writers have talent. We all bring something different to Thought-Balloons. I can’t name a ‘best’ script,’ but I have a top three; scripts that've stuck with me.
And two of them are mine.
All three are.
Seriously - - -
1) To Be a Hero, starring The Thing, by Ben Rosenthal.
2) The Duality of Duality, starring Aquaman, by Ryan K. Lindsay
3) Face Off, starring The Question, by Rol Hirst.