Having written Doctor Who to DC's Action Comics, Paul Cornell is no stranger to switching gears when it comes to getting into the heads of characters. But for Marvel's latest Wolverine series (JAN130653), it appears readers will see less thought balloons, and more slug fests!
PREVIEWSworld: You've been tapped to write about Marvel's most volatile hero. No pressure, right? What do you hope to accomplish with Logan's legacy in the brave new world? How much of Logan's past will be prelude?
Paul Cornell: Well, more a newcomer-friendly perspective. And 'most volatile' hasn't suited Wolverine for the longest time. It takes a good while for him to lose his temper, and in this series we'll see him pushed a great deal. I'm going to try not to visit his legacy at all, because it's what everyone does. No flashbacks, no visits to old storylines, no old villains. His legacy does inform his character, though, and those who've followed him long term will get a little extra sensation from what we put him through, I think. But new readers start here, and get to meet this old, decent, ripped-up, civilized, tormented, ordinary guy mutant immortal.
PREVIEWSworld: A few of Alan Davis' panels for issue #1 of the book are featured in the solicitation pages of Marvel PREVIEWS. From what is shown, we have melted skeletons at the feet of a frightened little boy. It doesn't look like you're pulling a lot of punches. Are you intentionally "moving the needle" to make the life of Logan more brutal, and raw?
Paul Cornell: His life will always be brutal and raw, much as he'd wish that wasn't the case. He's caught up in terrible violence from moment one of the first issue, and seeks to put an end to it. And it grows and grows. As to whether that's more or less than what's come before... that's not really important.
PREVIEWSworld: You've worked on other super hero books like DC's Action Comics, but I think that's altogether different chemistry from what we'll see play out in Wolverine. How did you and Alan Davis first approach this series as a team, and decide what tone/atmosphere would work best for this Wolverine series?
Paul Cornell: It is altogether different. I try to bring a different voice, a suitable voice, to whatever I do. Alan's been tremendous in acting as a sounding board for storytelling, catching us on certain points, making sure everything races along and looks great. The tone of this one is: high class all-action thriller in New York City, like a post-Person Of Interest modern network action series. Only with a load more claws and explosions and high tech weapons and what Bruce Lee called ‘emotional content.’
PREVIEWSworld: Could you tell us which past Wolverine story arcs best served as the primer for you getting inside the mind of Logan? What drives him as hero? What infuriates him as a man? What best brings him back down to Earth?
Paul Cornell: I've been following him since I opened a comic book in my local newsagents to see him leaping at Sauron. I love Chris Claremont's work in general, and he did so many great things with Wolverine, including the Miller mini-series, him in the sewers of the Hellfire Club, his tenderness with Jean. An undercurrent then was how fast Chris was having a character that initially came over as an angry teenager grow up. And these days, in such great runs as Wolverine and the X-Men, he's come full circle, the most responsible adult in the face of Cyclops' angry rebel. He's a hero because he believes in innocent bystanders. He wants to protect them. Arms-bearers take their chances. 'A man comes at me with fists, I'll meet him with fists.' He's got incredible life experience, longer than any normal human, but he still very much is a normal guy, and I think he works hard to keep that. This series is about that strange collision between what an odd sort of thing he is and how much he enjoys normal life. As someone says to him, he can't really describe himself as a loner when he's joined every team that asked him. There's a reason for that, and that is that he loves the company of people.
PREVIEWSworld: As Wolverine is, of course, one of the most famous members of the X-Men, can we expect that association to ever come up in future issues of this new ongoing series? Any cameos planned?
Paul Cornell: No shading into maybe, at least not big time cameos, because we want this to be the central Wolverine title, the one with his name on it, and we want readers to come here for the story. There are at least two guest appearances planned, but from characters not in the normal X-Men sphere of influence, one as a semi-regular, the other as a freak-you-out moment at the end of #2.
The plan is lots of short, action, and character emotion-packed arcs, that when you put them back-to-back, build to something bigger. It's me doing my mainstream high-power super hero comic. I've never really done it. And that it's got Alan and Jeanine on board makes me really excited.