Exclusive Interview with Tom Taylor!
Comics are awesome. One of the reasons they are awesome is Tom Taylor, a rapidly rising star putting words in the mouths of both DC and Marvel’s major players. We caught up with Tom at Supanova this year to talk about ‘All New Wolverine’, the future of ‘The Deep’ and tee shirts.
Enjoy listening or read the transcript below!
G-Funk: We are at Supanova Perth, it is 2016, and we have Tom Taylor. Hello, Tom!
Tom Taylor: Hello.
GF: The first question, as I promised, is about your tee shirt, which is the exact one you were wearing in our interview a year ago. Do you have any other shirts?
TT: I do, I do. I was wearing an Iron Man tee shirt yesterday. But I guess I have my convention costume which I wear to each of these things, which are generally superhero related.
GF: And also the same hat.
TT: No, this isn’t the same hat.
TT: I have nine identical hats, so this won’t be the same one unless it’s coincidence.
GF: You just don’t change shirts.
TT: Yeah, exactly.
GF: Well, not only are you known for wearing shirts and hats, you also write comics.
GF: The first time we spoke to you many years ago it was about ‘The Deep’ and since then we’ve seen ‘Superior Iron Man’, ‘Injustice’, ‘Green Lantern’…what are you doing now?
TT: Currently I’m writing ‘Wolverine’ for Marvel, which is a great gig, I’m really enjoying that. It’s a fun book. It’s taking Laura Kinney, who’s the All New Wolverine, who’s the daughter/slash clone of Logan, and that’s a different book. We were a little bit worried about the reception, but people have loved it.
GF: The internet has told us many times that girls can’t do things that boys do, like Ghostbusters and so forth. Have you hit any objections to Wolverine now being ‘a lady’?
TT: Of course. The internet is full of guys who fear vaginas. Not being one of those, I’m ok with that. Anybody who thinks that, for some reason, Wolverine can’t be a girl is just…you know, it’s a bit of noise and it disappears. What’s interesting about this is that a lot of people like Thor, like other characters were this has happened…somebody else has come across and taken over the mantle, there has been a lot condemnation, particularly at the beginning’ but this one died off rather quickly. I think it’s because people like it. It’s become that thing where they’re like ‘yeah, this can’t be…this…this is pretty good’. Which is nice. It makes sense that Laura would take over, it’s like Dick Grayson taking over as Batman. It is the passing on of the mantle.
GF: It’s a natural progression for the character.
TT: Of course, and the internet will always be outraged about something, but it’ll be something else the next day.
GF: Someone once said to me that, when they first saw Laura, how is this a clone of Wolverine? She’s thin and attractive and not hairy. Why doesn’t a female Wolverine look like a female truck driver?
TT: That’s not true if you’ve looked in the interior. She’s 5’3″, she’s chunky, she’s got good, athletic thighs, she’s built to kick ass. She’s athletic, but she’s not rake-thin, she’s not a super-model. We were very conscious of that going in. We had her height right, David Lopez really wanted to get her shape right, that was important. We wanted that to be believable and we wanted her to be a clone. There has been times in the past where she’s been that. She’s been rake thin and she’s been tall and slender and we didn’t think that was right. She’s got a bit of bulk and muscle to her, and she should.
GF: I agree, that’s a good direction. In terms of identity where do you go with a character who is a clone of a pre-existing character?
TT: Well, look…she has her own identity. She’s had a very traumatizing past. She’s been through hell where she was raised. She was raised to be a weapon and then she was tortured and then she lived on the streets for a while and was used by a horrible man. I think you build on all of that, you take all of that and what I don’t want is for Laura to be a victim any more and not be used and if anyone wants to use her in our series they’ll be comeuppance for those people. She’s out there to protect people who’ve been through similar circumstances and I think that’s really important.
GF: Sharp, pointy comeuppance.
TT: Yes. Sharp, pointy, snickety comeuppance.
GF: There have been some rumours and hopes after the teaser at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse that they might bring her into the franchise. What are your thoughts on that and who’d you like to play her?
TT: Look, I’ve heard those rumours as well, and I think it makes perfect sense with Hugh (Jackman) stepping aside they’ll need someone to step into that role and it should be Laura. It makes a lot of sense. Instead of finding another Wolverine they find ‘another’ Wolverine. I’d really hope that would happen. There aren’t a lot of actors I could think of that could fulfill that just yet because she’s got to be young, she’s got to sorta 19. Someone like Daisy Ridley would be fantastic but…
GF: She’s busy right now.
TT: Yeah, she’s got something else on. There will be people who come to the fore, but I think think of one.
GF: Um…Summer Glau?
TT: Summer Glau would’ve been perfect 20 years ago. Well, not 20 years ago…
GF: How old do you think she is?!
TT: I don’t know how old Summer is! I’ve met Summer a bunch of times. She’s a little bit younger than me, I think (34 years old if you’re wondering). Anyway…Summer would’ve been great and…I could still see her doing it for sure. But I think they would find someone who’s about 19, I would suggest. Or maybe not. I don’t know. I’m not a casting director.
GF: Not yet.
TT: No. I never will be.
GF: What else have you got on the table?
TT: I’ve got ‘Wolverine’, obviously I’ve just finished up on ‘Batman/Superman’ for DC, and ‘Green Lantern Corp’…
GF: Did you finally get to write a good Superman.
TT: I did. I did, and I was able to give my good Superman to Tyler (Hoechlin, also at the convention), who’s the next guy to play Superman in Supergirl and say ‘here, read this and be like this. Be nice and smile!’, which is great. I got to write a hopeful Superman who wants to save people and is happy that he’s doing it, which is really nice. Then we’re working on The Deep TV series for a long time and that’s been great seeing that rolling out around the world.
GF: Tell us about The Deep, for those who don’t know it.
TT: Sure. The Deep is about a multi-racial family of underwater explorers who live in a submarine and their adventures. First it was two graphic novels – ‘Here Be Dragons’ and ‘The Vanishing Island’ – we did them through Gestalt Publishing and it’s just gone on to be a much bigger thing. It was optioned by Technicolour in France and in L.A. and we’ve since made a 26 episode CG animated series with DHX Media in Canada and A Stark Productions here in Australia. I’m the head writer of that and James Brouwer, the artist on the comic, is the art director and that’s rolled out everywhere. It’s on the BBC in the UK, it’s on Netflix in the US, it’s in Germany, which is strange. Characters I created now speak in a language I don’t understand. They don’t live on a submarine anymore, they live on das u-boat! And I go ‘ok’.
GF: Das u-boat?
TT: Das u-boat! Yeah, it’s very funny to have that happen. It’s rolling out everywhere. It’s going to be in Finland and Belgium and it’s just going to keep rolling.
GF: And is it just going to be 26 episode season?
TT: Uhhh…officially I don’t think I can say much more but I can do this: (Tom does something). And for the people listening at home you have no idea what I’ve just done.
GF: He made some weird gesture, it looked obscene.
TT: (Laughs) It’s not true! Not true! Dammit!
GF: And this point in your career you’re writing Wolverine, Iron Man, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern…is there anything you feel like you want to do still.
TT: Look, I’d still like a nice run at writing a good, nice Superman. Obviously that’s something I’d still like to do. I’m very busy, but I’d like to do some more creator owned books. Having The Deep has been fantastic but I have about six other creator owned properties that I’d want to get out there but I’d have to find the time.
GF: Good luck with that and I hope we get ‘The Deep Book 3’ at some point as well.
TT: Yeah, I hope so to. James and I will need some head space between stopping all our work in television and getting back to that. I can tell you that we’re actually working on a ‘The Deep’ prequel, which is set in the 1800s so it’s a prequel prequel. It’s set around the Galapagos Islands, there’s pirates, it’s a lot of fun. I’ve completely written it and James is already illustrating it so you’ll probably see it before the end of the year.
GF: Fantastic, because I’ve been bugging you about that years.
TT: Yes. It’s over 100 pages and it’s awesome.
GF: We’ll be looking forward to that. Look, thanks for coming and talking to us, Tom.
TT: Thank you.