Interview with Daredevil: Road Warrior artist Peter Krause

Sorry to leave you guys with my odd-ball “taxation of the blind” post for a whole week! But, I hope you’ll forgive me as I’m finally ready to present my interview with Daredevil: Road Warrior artist Peter Krause. I am so grateful that Peter was available to do this interview, and I had a great time chatting with him!

Note: Due to a slight technical mishap at the very beginning (first minute and a half or so) of our conversation, this interview will begin in medias res, so to speak. All you need to know is that when Peter and I talked, he had just finished the third episode of the series, and we quickly got into things like screen count per episode of a digital comic (for instance, ten pages translate into about twenty screens). This, in turn, brought me to the first question of the actual interview, as seen below. Clear enough? Great! Let’s get to it!

CH: I think you mentioned somewhere that these are going to be a little bit longer than a standard chapter of Insufferable?

PK: Oh yeah, definitely longer than a standard Insufferable episode. An Insufferable episode might be seven or eight screens, but these are going to be around twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-five screens each.

CH: Interesting! I’m really looking forward to this. I wrote a post a while ago, where I was trying to push for people to try digital. It’s really much more fun than people might think. I guess some of the problem is that some still have this reluctance to pay for something that they will not be able to physically “hold.”

PK: I understand that, and I certainly have seen a few of the message boards and the response. The rates management issue is something that we, when we’re doing Thrillbent, don’t worry about, because we let people take this stuff, they can download it, they can embed it; all those sorts of things, to try to get around that issue. My guess is that eventually this will see print in some form. It would have to be reformatted. I don’t think Marvel has made any grand announcement about it, but they seem to have a track record of taking the digital stuff and putting it out in print eventually. Maybe that will alleviate some of the fear.

CH: It seems like you and Mark are really looking to use the format to its fullest to convey various aspects of the character and the story, and it seems to me like it might hold you back somewhat if you were being told that “Oh, by the way, it will also be in print later.”

PK: It’s the same story we had when we started doing Insufferable. When we first started, it was the idea of “How can we do this so that we can do it in print, as we do it digitally?” We also tried to kind of aim right down the middle. We pretty much gave that up pretty soon in and decided that we’re doing a digital comic, so let’s do a digital comic. Let’s take advantage of what we can do with this that we can’t do with print. And if we decide that we want to do it in print some day, that could happen, it would just need some major reworking on it. Let’s do it digital first, and foremost and have fun with that. We’re doing the same thing here with this.

CH: You’ve talked in previous interviews about how you’re a big Daredevil fan. I was wondering, what are some of the things that you really like about the character, as a reader and as an artist?

PK: First of all, I’m going to say that I’m old enough to remember Mike Murdock, and I remember those stories. That’ll tip off how old I am right there. I’m old enough to have had the corner drug store type of experience where we bought stuff off the spinner rack, and I think World’s Finest was the first one I can remember reading, the old DC comic with both Superman and Batman. Then we started exploring the old Marvel comics too, and it’s funny how my brother would buy some comics, I would have some friends who would buy comics, and we tended to focus on the characters we like and we’d trade. For some reason, Daredevil really appealed to me. I liked the whole idea that this character had this huge disability that he overcame. He was everything that I wasn’t, very athletic, the gymnastics stuff overtures of the character really appealed to me, and the red costume is just one of the best costumes going in comics, in my opinon.

And I have to say that my take on it is that Foggy is the real hero in Daredevil. Matt doesn’t win any awards for best friend, but Foggy is pretty cool in that he always is there for him. And I think, maybe as a kid, you do relate to Foggy a little bit. Here’s this guy who maybe isn’t the coolest guy, but he’s Daredevil’s best friend. All those things really appealed to me when I was young and started collecting the comics.

CH: One of the things I’ve really appreciated with Insufferable and also some of the other digital comics that are on Thrillbent platform is how, in digital comics, it’s possible to insert a beat, for a humorous moment, or surprise or shock. Every new panel is like a page turn, which great for both horror and comedy, which brings me to the general question of how you’ve brought all of that to this project. Will you be using all the tools in the tool box, and do you have some new tools in your tool box?

PK: Well, we do one thing, and Mark’s already talked about it, in the very first episode. We have a sequence where, through Matt’s point of view, for the most part, where we use his radar sense, and we do it as a panorama in 360 degrees. What ends up happening is that when people click through this, they’ll see a little section of the whole panorama of it. Matt is in the environment he’s in at the time, kind of sensing what’s around him. It was very hard for me to draw it, and I do draw it digitally, but it’s this very long horizontal panel that I drew all in one piece. When you view it digitally, you only see a section of the panorama, and the story goes on from there. When I got the script from Mark, I looked at it and went “Okay… How am I going to do this?” [laughs] I had to start looking at some panoramic photography and try to kind of emulate that, the way that curves the perspective of everything. It was a real challenge, but I’ll be interested to see how that looks when it gets on the screen. I’ve seen it colored already and it looks really cool.

CH: Speaking of which, who does the colors for this? Is it Javier?

PK: He is very busy, so it’s not. It’s going to be John Kalisz, who has done a lot of stuff for DC. He does Batman and Robin for DC and he’s done things for Marvel in the past. I’ve seen the first issue colored and he’s doing a great job.

CH: Going back to the sensory aspect of things, ever since the start of volume 3, there’s been a set visual language for conveying the radar sense, which Paolo Rivera introduced and then everyone kept adding to it. I know Javier did a lot with the coloring aspects of it too, which took it up a notch, and then of course Chris Samnee inherited that. Are you working from the same template or are you changing things up for this format?

PK: I’m trying to keep it pretty true to the way it’s been done, the way Paolo’s done it and Chris has done it. The episode opens with that, it’s that same language that those guys did a great job with, Paolo introducing it, and I wouldn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. I think it’s great, it works really well.

The only thing, and this is getting into how you put together a comic, but when I saw how Paolo did it, and he’s working traditionally, with ink and paper – and I draw it all digitally – he did it with black ink on white paper and then once he put it in Photoshop, he’d reverse it, and then Javier colors it. What I did was that I drew what it would look like to you or me, a normal panel, and then I would fill it in with black over the top of it and reduce the opacity, and then actually draw it with white, tracing over it. But maybe that’s too inside, nerdy “photoshoppy” for most people. It’s just a little difference in how it was put together. It should look the same, or relatively the same.

CH: But now we’ll know to look for any subtle differences! Have you and Mark found yourselves coming up with new things when working on this? Or did you have a set of ideas coming in, for things you wanted to try, as far as the senses go?

PK: I think especially with the panorama thing, that was definitely Mark’s idea. There’s a few other things that we’re doing that kind of relate to how Matt feels at times when his senses are overwhelmed. There’s some very symbolic type of things that we put in the drawing that wouldn’t really be there, but it’s kind of what’s happening inside Matt’s mind as he tries to make sense of too many things going on, which Mark really likes to take advantage of. I think if you read through most of the things that he’s written, there are times where Matt’s senses are as much a hindrance as they are a help. There are a few things like that that we’re doing. There is some of the stuff that we have done with Insufferable; we had something happen in the third issue that might give a sense of motion when clicking through.

Any time you do these projects, you find some things that you haven’t done, but I wish we would have had more time, because I was thinking of different things similar to what we did with the panorama, which is a horizontal panel. We certainly had the chance to – which you’ll see if you read the story – do at vertical panel where you click through and you keep on going down, down, down. We just didn’t have the time to explore that.

It’s a process, you’re finding different things, it’s cool. It’s a challenge, but at the same time, it’s a lot of fun. Definitely from an artist’s standpoint, you’re thinking about this stuff all the time.

CH: I asked Chris Samnee when I did a quick interview with him at Baltimore Comic Con whether he sees the world in radar outline after doing a day of radar panels, to which he responded “No, I see it in red from rage.” Joking aside, I know how Mark mentions it a lot, how he’s constantly thinking about how things would be like for Matt Murdock, while going about his day. I can imagine how it might invade your other thoughts if you’re doing a project like this.

PK: Oh, definitely. There was a panel that I was working on here that I thought about all night. I just didn’t like the way it was put together, but I finally got that figured out. But, it does kind of leak into the rest of your life, you’re thinking about it quite a bit.

CH: In one of the preview panels I saw from another interview, it looked to me like Man-Bull was in one of them?

PK: You can probably safely assume that that is Man-Bull.

CH: Will Daredevil be meeting other villains from his past? Is there anything you can say about that without giving too much away?

PK: I would say that there are things from the past, but it’s more of Marvel’s history, not necessarily characters you would associate with Daredevil.

CH: That sounds like much of what’s been going on for volume 3 , where we’ve seen lots of old characters pulled out of dark and musky corners.

For my final question, what would you say to people who are hesitating about metaphorically “picking this up,” to convince them?

PK: Well, Mark’s writing it, so that’s the main thing. Then there’s the fact that it does plug into continuity. You don’t have to read this, you can make the switch from issue #36 – and what happens in #36 is pretty darn cool – and go on to #1, but if you have any curiosity and want to make your Daredevil experience richer, and [learn] how he got out to San Francisco, this would be a fun little story for you to read. I’d rather soft-sell it than hard-sell it.

You know, I love Daredevil, and the people that are working on this are really enjoying it. I talked to John, our colorist, and Daredevil isn’t his favorite character, but is definitely in his top four or five. It comes from that place where we’re very enthusiastic about the character, and I am very happy that I got to draw Daredevil.

CH: I’m happy to hear it, and I love what you and Mark have been doing with Insufferable. It’s a really fun story. Speaking of which, when is season three coming out?

PK: We probably want to get a couple of month’s worth of episodes together. That won’t necessarily take us a couple of months to do if we work straight through it, but I think some time late spring or early summer, probably a little later than we’d like, we’ll start the third season of Insufferable.

And that was the end of our interview! I’d like to once again, thank Peter Krause for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to me. I’m very excitied to finally get to see this story “in print” later this month. Just to refresh your memory, Daredevil #36 will be out on February 19, and the first issue of Daredevil: Road Warrior will be released the following Tuesday, February 25, and run for four consecutive weeks. The final issue will be released the day before the new Daredevil #1, on March 18.

Interview with Antony Johnston – Part II

Welcome back to the second half of my conversation with recent Daredevil co-scribe Antony Johnston! Here we talk about things like fandom, pregnant superheroes and much more. In case you missed it, the first half of this interview can be found here. Enjoy and feel free to leave a comment at the end of the post!

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Let’s talk a bit about Daredevil fandom. You’ve spent 2010 in Daredevil land and you’ve commented on my site which is greatly appreciated, and I know other readers agree, but what are your impressions of Daredevil fans? We’re known to be very invested in the character.

I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. My impression is that, generally, hardcore Daredevil fans – and I’m talking now about the real true hardcore fans, like yourself – they’ve struck me over the past year as being quite smart people who are, as you say, very invested in the character and generally reasonable. There hasn’t been too much frothing fanboyism, which makes a nice change from some other fandoms.

Cover to Shadowland #1

I think if there’s a fault within the hardcore Daredevil followers – and I’m prey to this myself with my own favorite fiction, so this isn’t meant as some kind of damning indictment — it’s a resistance to new things. There’s a tendency to view any change as commercially motivated, and therefore bad. I have the same problem myself. With some fiction, when you see something that is clearly designed to appeal to a wider audience, you go “Oh, they’re watering it down, it’s a sell-out! Why can’t it just be like it was?” I totally understand that. However, the financial realities are that sometimes you have to do that, because certain books do not sell all that well.

Shadowland gave Daredevil a huge spike in readership, but it’s still nowhere near the top of the list. It’s still, compared to stuff like Avengers or Spider-Man, quite a low-selling book. So I totally understand the reaction, but at the same time I’d implore people to be a bit more understanding that these are the commercial realities of the entertainment business. And it is a business. Unfortunately, for better or for worse, business decisions are made with respect to commercial interests. You just have to make the best of those decisions that are made.

Let’s talk about Shadowland: Blood on the Streets, which was part of Shadowland, but set in its own little corner and didn’t tie that much into the main event. I know you’ve talked about this in other interviews, that you pitched an idea and had quite a bit of freedom in what you wanted to do.

The only direction I was given was that they wanted something street-level and a bit noirish. Which is why they asked me to do it, because they knew that was right up my alley. And I was given a big list of characters, they told me to choose some, and it really was that simple. “These are the characters that are available and that we’d like to give a little bit more exposure to. Pick some!”

Cover to Shadowland Blood on the Streets #1

So I did, I picked four characters, discussed it with editorial and came up with the story. The characters came first and I fitted the story around them, but I knew they would be a good fit for the story I wanted to do, so it’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation.

I really liked Shadowland: Blood on the Streets and thought it was great. I think it will stand well on its own in the future and people can go read just that without having to read anything else related to Shadowland and still enjoy it. So, good job!

Well, I hope so. I really enjoyed writing it, partly because it was, as you say, set in its own little corner. Blood on the Streets to Shadowland was kind of like what Daredevil used to be to the rest of the Marvel Universe, with the occassional passing reference to continuity and then off doing its own thing. I enjoyed writing it, I enjoyed writing all the characters. I hardly knew anything about the Shroud before I started writing that book, for example, but over the course of the book I got to really like him, and I’d actually really like to write him again! He’s quite fun. Hopefully, I’ll get to return to some or all of those characters at some point.

We also had the story with the whole Misty Knight pregnancy that wasn’t, and there was apparently a lot of opinion on fighting crime while pregnant.

The whole pregnant/not pregnant thing was just bad timing. We always knew that she wasn’t really pregnant. However, I don’t know if there was miscommunication between departments or whatever, but the revelation that she was never pregnant at all was one I was hoping would be published after Blood on the Streets was finished. Instead, it was published after issue #2 came out. There wasn’t much we could do about it, but Blood on the Streets was written with the intention that readers would always believe that she was pregnant.

As I said at the time – and this is what I meant about getting to know the tropes of superhero fiction – she has a cyborg arm, for heaven’s sake! Made by a man who flies around the world in a suit of armour that he built in his basement. These are the things that you have to accept if you’re going to read superhero books. If you accept that, and you accept there’s a world where people literally get punched through brick walls… let me emphasize that, punched through brick walls… Then I don’t really see why there’s such a problem accepting that a woman who is pregnant, but not even showing yet, is willing to get out and do a bit of kung-fu.

And it’s not like I didn’t address it in the story. In her internal dialogue throughout, Misty made a lot of references to the state of her health and whether she should be out doing this, and that maybe she should be thinking more about the safety of the baby. At the same time, she’s a superhero, she’s not going to step down from the challenge of putting things right. It’s a balancing act for the character.

The next chapter in your Daredevil story, so to speak, was Shadowland: After the Fall. I felt it was a very good epilogue story and you even managed to put Matt Murdock into it even though he wasn’t physically part of the story. How did you approach this issue and what did you want to make sure to include?

Cover to Shadowland: After the Fall

Obviously, I knew it was going to be an epilogue. I also knew that the majority of the characters involved in Shadowland, by then, would be unavailable. They would have moved on and done their own thing, so that left me with a small cast of characters to be able to work with. At the same time, we hadn’t really seen much of Ben Urich during Shadowland. He was in the Bullseye one-shot, he had a non-speaking part in Blood on the Streets right at the end, but that was pretty much all we’d seen of him. Bearing in mind that Ben is a friend of Matt Murdock’s and a regular recurring character in the Daredevil title, I thought that was a bit odd. So, I knew that I wanted him to feature heavily in it. Then it was just a question of answering the question, why would Ben be involved? Probably because he’s writing a story. This story needs to be written, and who better to write it than him?

Then it was just a question of getting everything in place. I was very pleased with how it came out. It’s very “me,” probably even more so than Blood on the Streets. Of all the Daredevil-related stuff that I’ve done, it’s probably the closest thing to the sort of work I do outside of Marvel. I’m very happy with it. I’d say that issue, Daredevil #508, and #512, are my favorite work from the Daredevil title itself. Those three are my favorites, and probably the closest to the kind of books that I normally write.

On to the future of Matt Murdock! Are you following Daredevil: Reborn and, if so, what did you think of the first issue?

Cover to Daredevil: Reborn #1

Yes, of course I’m following Reborn! And I thought the first issue was good. It’s funny, after having said that After the Fall was probably the closest thing to my normal style, I’d also say that Daredevil: Reborn #1 is the closest thing to Andy’s normal style that I’ve seen him write yet for the title, even more so than all the previous issues he’d done and the Shadowland core series.

I think anybody who knew Andy from things like The Losers or his Green Arrow series, if they picked up Reborn, would immediately know that it was him. He seems comfortable writing it. Now he’s hit his stride and he knows what he’s doing. I’m speaking strictly as a reader here, because he hasn’t sent me the scripts for Reborn, and I don’t get to see any more advance stuff than everyone else. Reborn #1 is probably his best Daredevil issue yet.

So, on a more personal note, what’s in the pipeline for you in 2011? I bet you’re still staying busy.

Wasteland will continue; that will end at issue #60, and towards the end of last year I literally worked out, issue by issue, the next thirty issues, taking us right up to the end. So there’s that. I also have another couple of video game projects on the go, I’m talking to Marvel about another series, and there are some other graphic novels in the pipeline. Unfortunately, the vast majority of stuff that I’m working on, I’m not allowed to talk about.

Apart from Wasteland, the only thing I can say for sure is that I have another graphic novel coming out, also from Oni Press, called The Coldest City. That’s being drawn right now and, in terms of production, is nearing the home stretch. That will be out some time this year, and is also very “me.” It’s a real world Cold War spy thriller that is set two weeks before the Berlin Wall came down. I think if you liked my issues of Daredevil you might like that, because it is very noir in tone, and the pacing is not dissimilar.

Best of luck to you, Antony and thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! Anyone who wants to follow what Antony has going on can go to his website www.antonyjohnston.com.

Interview with Antony Johnston – Part I

Photo of Antony Johnston[/caption]

Antony Johnston is, as you all know, a really cool guy and a shining example of a creator who takes the time to hang out with us fans. He’s so cool, in fact, that he kindly agreed to an interview with me that I’m posting here in two parts, the second of which will be posted tomorrow.

In the first part, we talk a little bit about all the projects he’s been working on for the past year as well as how he actually gets it all done. We also cover how his stint on Daredevil came about, and just how well he knew the Man Without Fear going in, as well why heroes who can’t shoot laser beams out of their eyes are much more fun than the ones who can…

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It seems like 2010 was a very busy year for you, can you do a little run-down of some of the things you’ve been up to?

Cover to Wasteland #30

Well, obviously Daredevil, although I actually started work on Daredevil in 2009. But these things take a while to come out, so I think February was when Daredevil #505 came out; that was my first Daredevil. And then my last Daredevil came out in 2010 as well, so that was all over and done with fairly quickly.

I also worked on a bunch of stuff related to the Dead Space video game – there was Dead Space Salvage, the graphic novel which came out a couple of months ago. There was the iPhone game that just came out, but I actually worked on that in March of last year. And Dead Space ignition, a downloadable game that came out in August or September of last year. I also went to Tokyo to work on a game called Binary Domain for Sega, and I continued writing my sci-fi series Wasteland for Oni Press.

On the topic of video games, you work in so many different mediums and you seem to have many different projects going on at once. When you have several things going, do you finish one thing before going into the next one or work on them concurrently?

Cover to the Dead Space video game

It varies depending on how much I have going on. Ideally, it would be lovely to work on one thing, finish it, and then move on to the next, but realistically that doesn’t happen. I don’t tend to work one day here, one day there, I tend to work in blocks. I’ll look at my deadlines and figure out how much of a block I can put aside for a job, before I then have to start on the next one. I also try and judge how long I think it will take me to do a section of a job, and try to block out that much time for it.

At the absolute minimum, I try to not work on more than one job per day if possible, although I was so busy at the start of 2010 that I ended up, at one point, working on three different jobs in one day. It was mad, and I don’t really like doing that, but didn’t have a choice because of deadlines. I do juggle a lot, but I like to keep busy and I like to work in a lot of different media, so in a sense I make a rod for my own back! It comes with the territory.

On a related note, how is writing a script for a comic different from writing a script for a video game? How do you craft a world and a story for a video game?

They are very different disciplines. Comics is a collaborative medium, but video games even more so. And it varies from job to job, sometimes everything is set in stone before I come onboard and all I have to do is write the script to link bits of the game together. Sometimes there’s almost no work done and they want ideas. Most of the time, it falls somewhere between the two, but – apart from writing the actual script – you’re always working with other people when it comes to the design aspects of the world and the story. There are always designers and producers involved, because it’s such a big thing and there are so many people involved, that you have to make sure everybody’s onboard and everyone knows who’s doing what.

Let’s talk Daredevil. I know that you and Andy know each other and have known each other for a while. Did he just call you up and ask if you wanted to do Daredevil with him, and what was your first reaction?

Daredevil #505 cover

I think he emailed me rather than call, though I can’t actually remember. My first thought was, “Oh, that sounds interesting!” I’ve spoken about this before in other interviews, but Andy and I have been friends for about ten years now, and we’d been wanting to work together on something for quite some time, ever since Andy did The Losers. But neither one of us had had the time, and the right project hadn’t come up. Then, with Daredevil, he just told me he was up against it with deadlines, and asked if I would be interested. I didn’t realize it at the time, but of course Steve Wacker was also editing Daredevil by then, and I knew Steve from when he worked at DC. He knew me, knew my work and had read quite a few of my graphic novels at Oni Press. So when Andy suggested me as a co-writer, Steve Wacker said “Oh yeah, great,” because he already knew my work and didn’t need persuading. So that was nice, I knew I was going into a friendly environment, where people knew me and knew my work. I didn’t have to prove myself as such.

Andy and I then met up at the MCM Expo in October 2009 to talk about it more, and go over plot ideas and stuff. I just kind of fell into it really. We’ve known one another for so long that we’ve brainstormed ideas just for laughs before, so at the time it wasn’t that strange an experience. What was strange was when it was announced, and the news broke, and then the issues came out, and realizing that suddenly I was part of the whole Marvel fandom thing. Before that point, when Andy initially asked me to help and we were working things out, it didn’t seem all that strange because, as I said, it was a friendly environment and Andy and I had known one another for years, so that kind of eased me into it. Little did I know!

How much of Shadowland was set in stone at that point? Because, obviously, what you were doing with Daredevil tied into the bigger plot of Shadowland.

I would say most of it; certainly the core book. The plot for the core book of Shadowland was probably about 90% done before I even started working on Daredevil #505. It was only the spin-offs which took a little longer to come together, as you might expect. But the core book, and the arc of the Daredevil title during the time of Shadowland, were all worked out way in advance, almost a year before it started publishing.

Daredevil is obviously a very well-known character, at least for seasoned comic book fans, but how extensive was your familiarity with the character and what were your feelings about him going in?

Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller volume 2

I hadn’t read any of volume one of Daredevil, apart from the classic Frank Miller stuff, which I’d read in trade paperback. Obviously, I’d read Born Again, I’d read Elektra Assassin, I’d read Man Without Fear, but that was pretty much it for that run, and that was how I initially knew the character. I had read a couple of arcs of volume two, a couple of the Bendis arcs, so I was familiar with the sort of reinvention or revamp of the character, and I knew that it had been a huge break-out book for Bendis. I kind of vaguely knew what was going on, who the character was, the supporting cast and all that, but I wasn’t a dedicated follower. I just knew enough.

I love noir stories anyway, regardless of whether they’re superhero, real world or whatever, so the Bendis stuff especially was right up my alley. I knew that it was a character I could enjoy working on, and certainly that I could enjoy reading, so I’d say that was about the extent of my familiarity with Daredevil at the time.

Once I got offered the job, I then bought everything of volume two and read the whole thing before I even started working on #505. I think it’s incumbent on you to do that, and become at least somewhat familiar with the character… so that if you do break the rules, you at least know why you’re doing it.

It’s been my understanding that you also have a soft spot for low-powered, street-levels characters?

Absolutely. I didn’t grow up reading superheroes. My experience of superheroes growing up were the Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk television shows, the Superman movies and stuff like that. I didn’t grow up reading them in comics, I grew up reading British comics which don’t feature superheroes at all. I’m another one of these British writers who find superheroes faintly ridiculous.

It’s a very American phenomenon.

It is, and I can get my head around it, and kind of get into it if I accept all the tropes. But nevertheless, my preference will always be for characters who don’t have at least ridiculous superpowers, those who can’t fly or shoot laser beams out of their eyes, and that sort of thing.

If you have a guy who can shoot laser beams out of his eyes, then normal crooks are no match for him. Normal crime is simply not going to interest him at all, because it’s no challenge. There’s no drama. So you have to escalate it, you have to have a villain who is a threat. But to do that you have to then get villains shooting laser beams out of their eyes, and maybe force fields to protect against other laser beams…

What happens then, for me at least, is that you start running into problems with motivation. Why would someone who has these incredibly dangerous and scary powers go around wearing a brightly coloured costume and trying to rob the Federal Reserve.

And then the hero has to find some way to overcome this escalation, and that’s how you end up with the Death of Superman and Doomsday. Nothing can harm Superman, so you have to come up with the most ridiculous, convoluted villain in order to pose a threat to him.

Image portraying a wide range of Marvel superheroes

That’s one of the big reasons I prefer the lower-powered characters, because you can tell better – and certainly more grounded – stories. I said this in many of the interviews I did for Blood on the Streets, that these are characters who, if you shoot them in the head, they will die. And there are a lot of superheroes running around both the Marvel and DC universes for whom that’s not the case.

For me, the minute you get to the point where shooting somebody in the head won’t kill them, I just find it really difficult to relate to, and very difficult to come up with believable villains to oppose them. This is another reason I like DD; villains like the Purple Man, Bullseye, Mr Fear, and so on at have quite plausible motivations, and ways of using their powers and skills.

Looking at your work on Daredevil, and starting with Daredevil: Cage Match. This was a very different story from what we usually read, which was one of the reasons I enjoyed it. Did you draw your inspiration for that from anywhere in particular, such as a story you read elsewhere or from a past Daredevil issue and maybe wanting to recreate the same atmosphere?

Daredevil: Cage Match #1 cover

Not really. Like I said, I didn’t grow up reading superheroes so I don’t have that kind of nostlagia for the classic Silver and Golden Age stuff that some people do. If anything, it was probably informed more by the Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man television series, and the various cartoons there have been over the years.

Cage Match was one of several ideas that I pitched, and Steve Wacker chose it. Which was a wise choice, in hindsight, because it was very different from what was going on in Daredevil and the run-up to Shadowland at that time. It was just sort of an attmept to be a bit more lighthearted, and show that things don’t always have to be about saving the world or the universe. They don’t always have to be about terrible tragedy and the depths of despair. I just wanted to try something differently really – and I do like Luke Cage in that yellow shirt!

Oh yeah! And the tiara, though I do know it’s not a tiara…

Oh, I call it a tiara, don’t worry. It’s a tiara.

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This concludes part one of my interview with Antony Johnston. Yes, I’m leaving you with a tiara cliffhanger. Part two will be posted tomorrow and you will definitely want to check back in if you want to hear what Antony thinks of us Daredevil fans, and what he has to say about his work on Shadowland: Blood on the Streets and Shadowland: After the Fall.

Make sure to check out Antony’s website for his ongoing projects and to learn more about his writing process.

UPDATE: Did you miss Daredevil: Cage Match? Read it for free online via Marvel’s Digital Comics service! And, click here to read the second part of this interview.