With Marvel celebrating their 75th anniversary and getting to talk to Ben Blacker one half of the team responsible for taking over Marvel’s Thunderbolts we had to ask him about it.
Big Comic Page: So you guys are talking over the Thunderbolts series in June?
Ben Blacker: Yes the first issue comes out in June.
BCP: You guys are no strangers to the Thunderbolts series, having done the annual issue.
BB: Yeah it was a blast writing Dr. Strange.
BCP: Will the humor/light hearted tone continue during you’re run on the series?
BB: It definitely won’t be light hearted. The thing we respond to in whatever media we’re writing for is the characters and their interactions, and what Charles Soule has done is setup some awesome dynamics between these fun characters. They’re six characters who should not be on a team but are on a team together, so having them bump into each other is a lot of fun. We have a tendency not to write jokes and the funny moments come from the characters as you can see in the annual issue. For example Punisher is so dead serious, which is what makes him the funniest character, since the stuff they face off with are so weird it makes for great deadpan comedy. We have some fun stuff planed, and we’re excited for people to see it.
BCP: You guys also wrote Wolverine: Season One. Is there a character you would love to be able to rewrite or retcon? Who would it be and why?
BB: Wolverine was a lot of fun and we’re pals with Len Wein who co-created Wolverine, so for him to sign off on that and for us to do a cover version of what he had done was exciting. I was asked this question recently on the Nerdist Writers Panel comic podcast. The fun of comics is the characters are who they are, and you get certain parameters to play in. You can find a different facets of the character, but Spider-man wouldn’t be Spider-man without the origin he has, and a lot of these origins are pretty untouchable. You can add to it and hang ornaments on it but they’re so perfect as they are or at least at their core that I won’t go messing around with them. That said there are characters we’d love to write Dr. Strange being one of them so that was great, which allowed us to created a new division of S.H.I.E.L.D. known as W.A.N.D. or the Wizardry Alchemy Necromancy Department.
BCP: I loved Pandora’s introduction.
BB: I know right! We have a whole back story for her that I hope we get to do one day, but that’s up to Marvel.
BCP: Fantastic segue! Obviously you get to write whatever you want in the Thrilling Adventure Hour. What is it like to write for Marvel, and do you get to write the stories you want to write?
BB: It’s like writing for a TV show and essentially you’re working for a studio; they have notes and ideas, and we certainly don’t feel hemmed in by any means. Asking us is what story do you want to tell is the first step, so the story you’ll see in the next six issues is absolutely the story we wanted to tell. What you are hemmed in by is usually something going on at the company like you can’t use this character but you can use this character and stuff like that. But that’s never what the story is about in the first place while it would be cool to have the Hulk in this issue we might end up with Hawkeye or whoever but Marvel is a great company to work for and they’re allowing creators to have their voices heard at Marvel, which is a huge company, and we’re thrilled to be working with them. Just look at the books they’re doing right now everything from: Hawkeye, Captain Marvel, and Ms. Marvel is F*cking phenomenal! I love this book more than anything else; I wish it was four times a month I want to read it every week. Writing is writing no matter the medium and each one has its own joys and challenges but we just like doing it and have a lot of fun in the process
BCP: You’re a man of many talents the stage show, comics, and show writing. Does it feel like a lot to juggle at one time?
BB: We’re currently working on a DreamWorks Shrek spin-off show Puss in Boots coming to Netflix later this year and writing a comic books while pitching another comic. We also we’re writing the Night Vail crossover and our regular show which all converge in February or March at the time Acker and I felt like we finally had enough to do. Now that the crossover is done and we got the ball rolling on the comics we’re looking for more stuff again we have a regular job plus the Thrilling job every month. We also have a few things we’d love either a movie or TV show that aren’t so comedic where we could serev the characters a little more whether it’s the Avengers or superhero stuff that’s a little more grounded or horror, you know stuff that is taken a little more seriously. We’re writing a lot, but we love doing it.
BCP: Let’s go back to David Tennant for a second. If you could get him on the show, would you give him a role in a time travel story or something completely different?
BB: You know I don’t know. He’s such a great actor and I would love to him stretch himself see what he could do but I feel like I’d want to see him in a space western. Certainly it would be easy to put him in Colonel Tick Tock, we did that with Karen Gillan and that was a lot of fun maybe I’d make him a monster in Beyond Belief. Guys like that you can give anything and they would be terrific every time.
BCP: What are you reading now comic book, novels, or magazines?
BB: Good question I’ve been reading a lot of comics lately because I need to. I’m caught up on Scot Snyder’s Batman, which has been so great that’s really the only DC book I’m reading right now. I love everything Matt Fraction is doing right now he’s absolutely killing it with Hawkeye & Sex Criminals, Cullen Bunn’s Sixth Gun and his Magneto series, and then there’s Ms. Marvel it’s like reading Spider-man when I was a kid. It hits all the teenage outcast tropes in a new and interesting way with a fun character that has a lot of heart.
I’m also watching a lot of TV
BCP: I’m curious what are you watching?
BB: I watch everything Justified is the best show on TV with one more season left I can’t urge people enough to watch it. Master of Sex is coming back and that’s a great show too.
BCP: Thanks for doing this with us and it was a lot of fun to get to pick your brain about this stuff.
BB: No problem it’s nice to talk to someone who knows the show.