Exclusive Interview with Tom Taylor, Writer of Iron Man and Superman!
Once a regular fixture at Perth Conventions, Tom Taylor hasn’t been seen on this coast for the best part of two years. The reason why is a good one though…his star has continued to rise, taking on major titles for both DC and Marvel. The writer behind recent re-imaginings of Superman and Iron Man as well as Harley Quinn’s fake moustache is back!
G-Funk: It is Oz ComicCon Perth, 2015, and we are sitting with comic writer Tom Taylor! Hello!
Tom Taylor: Hello.
GF: How are you?
TT: I’m well, thank you.
GF: We spoke to you a couple of years ago. We mostly spoke about The Deep and the then upcoming Earth 2. Things have changed: what have you been doing?
TT: Well, The Deep has gone on to be much, much more. it’s now being turned into a 26 episode CG animated series. I’m the head writer of that series. That’s wonderful and exhausting. Obviously I was working on Injustice last time we spoke. I’ve had to step away from that because I couldn’t do a weekly comic and a TV series at the same time. And I’ve been working on Superior Iron Man for Marvel, which has been a whole lot of fun.
GF: Iron Man is usually ‘invincible’. What makes him ‘superior’?
TT: He’s turned into a douche, basically.
GF: It’s autobiographical?
TT: Oh, you. No. There was an event called ‘Axis’, which inverted some heroes and villains. He was turned into not a nice person. And I get to write that. Which is kinda fun.
GF: Do you prefer writing douche characters to heroes?
TT: Absolutely not. No, it’s just what I get asked to do. I like hope and joy and not cynical and inspiring. I’m a Superman guy, not a Batman guy.
GF: But even your Superman is evil! Both Supermans you write!
TT: I know! I know! But that’s the job I was given! One of the reasons that works, you see, is because I’m in pain writing it and that comes through on the pages.
GF: “Oh, god, my hand hurts!”
TT: I’m having to destroy my personal heroes. Very sad.
GF: Let’s talk about your Superman. You made a new Superman…
TT: I did!
GF: …I’m just going to say this, I haven’t read it yet. Hate me, whatever…
TT: Sure. Whatever.
GF: I can see that he’s aesthetically different. What’s been the reaction to the black Superman?
TT: Ah, look – overwhelmingly positive. His name’s Val-Zod, he’s a black Superman created by myself and fellow Australian Nicola Scott…
GF: Who’s right there…
TT: Who is right there, which probably doesn’t work on audio. She’s right there! We’re pointing!
GF: She looks great! She’s wearing a purple top…(and we have an interview with Nicola Scott coming up!)
TT: Yes. Describe her. Paint a picture for the audience. But look, he’s been fantastic. Part of the appeal of him is that he’s very innocent. He’s a pacifist, which is unusual. We actually managed to continue that throughout the series. He never hit anyone. He has all this power and he doesn’t like violence. That’s more my world. I like good heroes.
GF: Now hang on, a Superman who doesn’t hit people…does he just give them a telling off?
TT: You’ll just have to read it, won’t you?
GF: Yes I will, and everyone should buy it!
TT: Yes, indeed.
GF: Buy it today! What I tell people to buy, from your work, is The Deep.
GF: Compared to your DC and Marvel work, it’s not as well known?
TT: No, but it’s certainly getting there. I had a DC editor who I don’t even know tweeting about it today calling it the best all ages book she’s read in a while. I don’t know how she’s read it, through Comixology or something, but I’m sure when the TV series is out we’re expecting it to explode quite a lot. But it is a happy book.
GF: It is, and I’m a big fan. When do we get the TV series?
TT: The TV series, I’m not sure I can actually tell you when, publicly…
TT: I’m not sure I can even say that. Look, it will be quite soon. It will be…Channel 7 and ABC have it in Australia…we’ve got Super RTL in Germany, we’ve got places in Belgium, all across Northern Europe and it’s growing and growing and growing. I’m seeing almost finished episodes now. It’s very exciting. It’s 26 episodes now, so it’s a big undertaking.
GF: I also want to see Book 3.
TT: Yes, that’s going to take a bit longer. Being the head writer of a TV show, and the artist of the book is the art director of the TV show, we’re crazy, crazy, crazy busy. But we know exactly what happens and it’s going to be fantastic.
GF: Tell me.
TT: Um, do you want a spoiler for book 3?
TT: No? Ok.
GF: Can you give me a plot outline?
TT: That would probably be a spoiler. Its will probably be called ‘The Floating Black Market’.
(Insanely loud PA announcement interrupts)
GF: Anyway, ‘The Floating Black Market’ did you say?
TT: Yes, that’s what it’s called and that’s all I’ll tell you at this stage.
GF: I’m looking forward to that. Now, Injustice came between The Deep and Earth 2. Did anyone expect that to blow up the way it did?
TT: Probably not, if I’m being honest. it’s unusual for a game tie-in to have that type of following. But for me personally I didn’t see it as a games tie-in, I saw it as my chance to tell stories in the DC Universe, that I love, and I just put my absolute all into it and I think people responded to it, and that’s great.
GF: You’ve really expanded beyond the source material, being the video game. You’ve introduced Constantine and a whole range of other characters. Do you want to get back to that world?
TT: I’d love to. I’m already missing it. But writing a weekly comic for over two years on top of everything else I do was very difficult. I also have two kids who like to see my face sometimes, and more often than not were seeing me in the morning because I’ve been up all night working, and they’ll sit behind me in the study and stare at me like “there’s Dad…there he is!”. Yeah, I needed to slow down. One day I might be back in the Injustice universe. I would love to get back there.
GF: If you were told you could do any character you want – DC, Marvel, IDW, whoever – who’s your dream project.
TT: Superman. A GOOD Superman.
GF: The original Superman.
TT: A nice Superman who doesn’t tear rips out of people. That’ll be nice.
GF: He got the Joker good. That was a good panel.
TT: Yeah, that was a good panel! Mike S. Miller crushed that panel!
GF: What would you do if you got Superman?
TT: I would tell wonderful, inspiring, hopeful stories about a man who came to our planet and only wants to help. I would have fun with it. There would be humor and heart. And no angst.
GF: No angst.
TT: Not much.
GF: But you are wearing a Batman shirt.
TT: That’s true. It was in my bag. Yeah.
GF: If you want to plug anything, nows your chance.
TT: Make sure you check out The Deep. It’s about a multi-racial family of underwater explorers and they live on a submarine and their adventures and it will fill your heart with joy.
GF: If you remember Voltron, you’ll like The Deep.
TT: Ok. Yep.
GF: That’s my reference point.
TT: I was a Voltron, so maybe it’s come in there.
GF: Maybe it has. We’re going to wrap things up here.
GF: Thank you Tom, we hope to see you again in the future.
TT: Thank you!
Below is a snap of the world’s first ever signed copy of Injustice Year 2 Vol. 2. AND IT’S MINE, ALL MINE!!! Complete with a Badly Drawn Batman!
Photographs taken during the interview by Emma Richardson Photography.