“Quantum and Woody” writer James Asmus visited the brand new CBR Speakeasy to chat with Jonah Weiland about his career thus far. The “Gambit” scribe talked about his background in theater and how it led to him breaking into comics at Marvel, his future on Robert Kirkman’s “Thief of Thieves” and the book’s non-traditional writers’ room setup — not to mention why “Fatale” writer Ed Brubaker was there for the first meeting. Next they discussed the recent relaunch of “Quantum and Woody,” how the new series isn’t just for diehard fans and where the duo fits within the larger Valiant Universe. The conversation closes with a list of Asmus’ favorite playwrights and what he hopes to get out of his burgeoning comics career.
On his future with “Thief of Thieves”: We’re already talking about doing another one of our writers’ rooms, which kind of the uniquely wonderful thing about that book. A bunch of writers kind of got together and broke the story for like the first two years, and kind of created plots. Then we get to break off and do our individual arcs the way TV writers would break off to write their own episodes. So we’re coming up to the point where we need to start mapping forward again so we’re all trying to get our schedules straight with Robert and Andy [Diggle] and me.
Why readers should be checking out Asmus’ take on Valiant’s “Quantum & Woody”: [The original book] was, and we are making this new one as well, a book that was really about this relationship between these two guys. They are brothers from other mothers. The emotional relationship between them is very complicated, but very honest. I actually think it’s one of the most real human relationships that I’ve seen or had the benefit of writing in comics, but it’s also wonderfully funny — this is another, I think, sort of misconception, a lot of of people think of it like “Looney Tunes,” but there’s no anvils falling from the sky. It’s just two men who refuse to kind of grow up, in a way — in two very different ways. One who is playing super hero dress up in this world that doesn’t really have a lot of super hero dress up going on, and the other guy who’s just an unrepentant, impulsive man child.
On whether writing relationships in plays informs how he approaches them in his comics work: I like to think it helps me. At the very least I could tell you, certainly in my work, if you ever read the scripts, the panel description, almost every one spells out the emotion of the character and sort of their physical response to things, their emotional relationship. All that is charted so explicitly in my scripts and I think that’s just because, coming from being a performer and being a playwright, that’s what I care about. It’s not that I don’t have fun writing fight scenes, but that’s definitely not why I got into comics. It’s a chance to open up really unique and larger than life characters and find a fresh way of filtering real, everyday things we all experience in a more exciting way because it’s through these characters that are larger than life. It gets you to new and surprising details and manifestations of things that hopefully things that actually mean something to us.