Last week CBR played host to a chat with comic creator David Hine, the writer of the upcoming “Son of M” from Marvel, as well as “District X,” “Mutopia X” and “X-Men: Colossus – Bloodline.” He’s also taking over the writing chores on the Image Comics series “Spawn” beginning next month. The following is a transcript of that chat, conducted on a Sunday afternoon in the Chat Room in the CBR Forums.
david Hine: Hi everyone!
Cayman: What can you reveal about “Son of M?”
david Hine: Ackk! That’s tough. I have been allowed to let the cat out of the bag regarding the art, but I can’t say too much about the plot as yet.
david Hine: Art will be by Roy Martinez. In fact the first issue is half drawn and is looking very, very cool.
Brian Cronin: Speaking of “Son of M,” while understanding you are restrained in what you can say about “Son of M,” what CAN you tell us about “Son of M?”
david Hine: I really can’t say any more about “Son of M.” But there has been a lot of interesting speculation and I can say that at least one person has come up with some frighteningly accurate predictions. Now you just have to track down who that was…
Brandon Hanvey: If you do, will Joe Q take your hands?
david Hine: Yes, I believe Joe Q has a padded room where he takes writers who spill the beans on upcoming books and does awful things to them with a billy club.
Shades0077: Well, if you can’t tell us what “Son of M” is, how about you tell us everything it isn’t? Then we will know what it is by elimination, and you won’t technically have told us anything!
david Hine: “Son of M” has nothing to do with Morbius the Living Vampire.
Brian Cronin: On “District X,” were you always planning on having Izzy go through such a bleak time?
david Hine: I always had it in for Izzy! I can’t help it, the poor guy was always asking for trouble. But I do love him.
Brian Cronin: How did you get involved in “District X?” Did you pitch the idea or was it offered to you?
david Hine: “District X” was offered to me, but the outline I was given was very vague. Gritty crime book set in Mutant Town. That was it.
Brian Cronin: That was back when they wanted to use Morrison’s ideas, eh?
david Hine: Morrison’s idea are all amazing!
david r: Both you and Chris Claremont were writing Bishop at the same time. Did you share notes on the character?
david Hine: I didn’t have any contact personally with Chris, but I tried to catch up the character as much as possible. I have a different take on Bishop without actually contradicting anything Chris has established
Brian Cronin: Did you have any contact with David Yardin prior to being assigned the book?
david Hine: No. I didn’t know anything about David and I was kind of nervous. The minute I saw his stuff it just blew me away. I am dying to work with him again.
david r: Are you okay with “District X” ending?
david Hine: Okay with “District X” ending. …..Long silence. Sobs quietly. Sure…. more sobs…
xakko: I loved the first issue of “Colossus: Bloodline,” but I’m a little concerned with how much more abuse will be heaped on Peter…
david Hine: Abuse Peter? Would I do that? Heh heh.
Beast: I’m more concerned that it will be another pointless solo book, but from Mr. Hine’s work I have faith it will be good.
david Hine: I actually think this book is very timely. Colossus has been dead a long time. He has some catching up to do, and I think the whole scenario of being locked away by Ord has created some very interesting dynamics with the character.
Brad Curran: Whedon hasn’t really done anything with that.
david Hine: Joss has planted some interesting seeds with Colossus, but it seems like they are growing very slowly in the “Astonishing” book. I’ve probably screwed up all his plans now!!!
david r: What other characters at Marvel would you be interested in writing?
david Hine: I want to write Silver Surfer and Doctor Strange. I keep asking, but other people keep grabbing them!
david r: I’d LOVE to see your take on those characters. Maybe someday!
Cayman: It was kind of funny how it was the second time Lan Medina had replaced David Yardin on a book
david Hine: Lan Medina… yeah he was great. The guy is so professional. He never misses a beat and he never misses a deadline. He comes through Avalon Studios along with David Yardin so I guess they already knew one another’s work pretty well.
Sean Whitmore: Where did the inspiration come from to link Peter to the “real” Rasputin? Just his name?
david Hine: Damn! You gave away the end of the first issue there Sean.
Sean Whitmore: But hey, think of all the old-timey Rasputin fans my spoilers will bring to the book!
david Hine: There are actually a lot of good reasons for that connection with Rasputin as you will see as the book progresses. The more I read about the guy, the more I was going “Yes!” The guy was definitely a mutant…
Sean Whitmore: Does this mean Colossus has inherited the ability to survive being poisoned, stabbed, strangled, and castrated? (ew…)
david Hine: When did Rasputin get castrated? Which biography are you reading?
Sean Whitmore: Me, read? Ha! HBO original movie, my friend.
Beast: Since Whedon sorta dropped the ball on explaining how Piotr’s body was stolen by Ord and a replacement was left for cremation, will that be addressed in the mini? Or is that off limit due to Whedon?
david Hine: Okay, the body switch with Piotr…. you really think I should have to get Whedon out of that one? No way– he dug the hole, he can get himself out!!
david Hine: Anybody want to know about “Spawn?” That’s the book I am totally revved up about right now!
Brian Cronin: How did the “Spawn” deal come about?
david Hine: “Spawn” came about after Brian Haberlin saw my work on “District X.” He has taken over as editor on “Spawn” and he passed on my name and a copy of “Strange Embrace” to Todd. Todd called me and we talked for hours… literally hours and we just hit it off. End of the phone call, he offered me the book.
Brian Cronin: Tell all the lapsed “Spawn” fans why #150 is the time to get back into spawn!
david Hine: The reason to get into “Spawn” #150? Me and Phil Tan are taking over! Plus we have multiple covers by Jim Lee, Greg Capullo, Todd himself!!! and Phil of course. Also we are taking the character into a new direction, bringing in a lot of new characters and generally revving things up.
Brad Curran: Will it be accessible to someone who’s never read Spawn?
david Hine: Spawn will definitely be accessible to new readers. We want to expand the readership and bring back old-time fans and people who haven’t picked it up for a while. We’ll fill in everyone on the back-story and then go for broke with the new storyline.
Sean Whitmore: Got any favorite “Spawn” stories/arcs, David?
david Hine: My favorite Spawn stories revolve around Billy Kincaid. That guy is seriously nasty!!
Cayman: Do you get free action figures?
david Hine: Do I get free action figures? They pay me in action figures!!!
Brian Cronin: How would you describe your take on Spawn? Horror? Action? Sci-Fi? Superhero?
david Hine: Spawn is action, sci-fi superhero mystery romance and we may even throw in some western material! 🙂 But he is primarily a horror character as far as I’m concerned.
Brandon Hanvey: Did you ever self-publish your work before working for Marvel?
david Hine: I self-published from way back in my student days and I did a lot of work for indie publishers. “Strange Embrace” was my breakout work… it just took ten years for anyone to notice it!
Shades0077: With “Mutopia X” and “District X,” there are certain differences, but many character traits remain the same, such as Izzy’s infidelity. Did you have an editorial mandate for how much you could stray from normal continuity, or was it all up to you?
david Hine: I had a free hand with “Mutopia X.” I wanted the story to be a “distorted mirror” of what was already happening with “District X” as well as taking the story to its conclusion. I didn’t want “District X” readers left hanging, so there will be a resolution to the series.
Brandon Hanvey: What types of drawing tools do you use?
david Hine: Drawing tools? Pen and ink my son. A pox on computers!!! Actually I admit to coloring on computer, but my best stuff is black and white and that’s always traditional media.
Cayman: Are you working on a project for TOYKOPOP?
david Hine: I am currently working on a project for TOKYOPOP. Yay Manga!!!! It’s called “Poison Candy” and art will be by the amazing Hanzo Steinbach.
Brian Cronin: What is “Poison Candy” about?
david Hine: “Poison Candy” is about a near future world where a virus known as SKAR– South Korean Adolescent Retrovirus– hits a small percentage of the world’s teenagers. It triggers mutant powers and then it kills them. It also has rock and roll and sex.
david Hine: Can I talk about “Daredevil Redemption” now? I have more stuff to plug here!
Brian Cronin: Go right ahead
Brian Cronin: Did you come across this story yourself? Or did someone bring it to you and say, “This would be a cool story.”
Cayman: Were you pleased to have Sienkiewicz on covers?
david Hine: Okay, the collection is out later this month and I want you all to rush right out and buy it. It’s the story I first proposed to Marvel– before “District X.” It took a while to get the book together, but it’s the one I’m most pleased with. Sienkiewicz was terrific. I love that guy’s work and his covers were beautiful.
david Hine: “Redemption” was a book that I have been putting together for many years and was originally just the back story of Joel Flood and his weird parents. After I saw the documentaries on the West Memphis Three, the story took a different turn and when Marvel approached me to do a book it seemed logical to add Matt Murdock to the mix.
david Hine: The “Redemption” trade will include all the issues. It was conceived as a graphic novel, so this is going to be the best way to read it. I would also like to direct everyone to the West Memphis Three website: www.WM3.org so you can see the inspiration for the story. Real life can be pretty scary sometimes…
david Hine: There are two documentaries and a book called “Devil’s Knot” by Mara Leveritt. The truly horrifying thing is that although most everyone thinks these guys are innocent, including some of the jurors who originally found them guilty, the system seems unable to free them. Twelve years in prison goddammit! Damien Echols is on death row and that is no picnic! What I wanted to do with “Redemption” was to take the wider view that the justice system does not work. That is the core of Mattt Murdock’s frustration and his motivation for putting on the costume.
Brian Cronin: Gaydos did a great job on “Redemption.” Did you have any say in getting him on the book, or was it a basic “here is the artist” thing?
david Hine: Michael Gaydos was a new face to me. I was embarrassingly ignorant about current comics, but I’m catching up fast– I buy a zillion comics every month. Luckily my comic shop takes those “Spawn” figures in trade. Gaydos was a revelation. He did a superb job. I love the man and I want to have his babies!
Brad Curran: Have you read any of Bendis’s DD?
david Hine: Bendis’s DD… It seems incredible that two years ago I hadn’t heard of Bendis-I really was away from comics for a long time. But everyone was telling me to read the guy so I went out and bought all the trades. The Comic Shop Guy said “I envy you man, getting to read all those stories fresh in one solid whack.” And it was a revelation. Love Bendis. Especially on DD… and “Powers.”
Brian Cronin: Who “discovered” you at Marvel?
david Hine: Joe Quesada brought me in to Marvel– bless him! But I owe it to Richard Starkings at Active Images who collected “Strange Embrace” and forced Joe to read it.
Brian Cronin: Was there anything that you wanted to do with Bishop that was not allowed, or did you have pretty much free reign?
david Hine: I had free rein with Bishop, but I didn’t do anything too radical. I have respect for continuity. It just gives me a headache.
Brandon Hanvey: Do you read reviews of your work say on review sites or comic blogs? Do you ever respond to your critics?
david Hine: I do read reviews. It’s a terrible habit. A good review sets me up for the day. A bad one has me whimpering like a whipped puppy. I take all criticism very seriously. Except for the negative ones. 🙂
Brian Cronin: And did you read Morrison and Casey’s work before you conceived your vision of mutant town?
david Hine: I didn’t read Morisson’s stuff until I had a couple of issues under my belt. Nobody told me about it! It’s amazing, looking back how much of a free hand I was given.
Brian Cronin: How many issues have you written so far of “Spawn?”
david Hine: I am currently writing my third issue of “Spawn” and the next dozen issues are loosely outlined. We know where we are going!!
Brandon Hanvey: Have you done any illustration work other than comics?
david Hine: Yes, I did work in freelance illustration for many years… lots of lad’s mags like “Maxim.” I used to illustrate things like “How to amputate your own limb.” God I am such a sick person.
david Hine: My influences are endless. I really soak up everything I see but Charles Burns, Jose Munoz, the Hernandez brothers, and movie directors like Lynch, Polanski and Cronenberg… Manga and French comics.. and I’m getting into Extreme Asian movies too…
Brian Cronin: I bet extreme Asian movies help for “Poison Candy.”
david Hine: Takeshi Miike– as extreme as they come. But kind of funny, too. Check out his movies if you have a strong stomach.
david Hine: For those of you who may be deeply saddened by the end of “District X”, I can tell you that there are plans in the pipeline for me to use some of the characters again. I created something like fifty characters for the book and some of them will have a life in the future Marvel Universe.
Brian Cronin: Who do you think Izzy belongs with, deep down?
david Hine: It is very clear to me that Ismael and Armena are deeply in love. But they clearly have issues. People don’t always end up with the right person.
Brian Cronin: So you DO think that she is the “right” person for Izzy?
david Hine: Armena and Izzy have pretty much grown up together. Their families came to the USA together and they have loved each other since their teens. I get quite misty-eyed thinking about it. Then I stick it to them one more time. God, I must have a sadistic streak.
Brian Cronin: Why didn’t “District X” try to go the “guest-starring Wolverine” route?
david Hine: I thought about guesting Wolverine. Believe me, I thought about it. Do you realize that apart from Bishop, we have had one, count ’em, one guest star from the Marvel Universe– Vazhin! Now that sold a shed load of books!!
Brian Cronin: Vazhin has hardcore support! Who doesn’t love the russian nick fury?!
Brian Cronin: Say, has Peter David spoken to you at all about his “X-Factor,” which is set in mutant town?
david Hine: I really should talk to Peter David. I have been directed to his depiction of Quicksilver as the classic take on the character. I also loved the “Madrox” series. I have a feeling we would get on well.
Brian Cronin: His Quicksilver take was “my life is like waiting on a long bank line…at all times.”
Brian Cronin: It WAS pretty clever. It helped explain why Pietro was always so irritable.
david Hine: I read that line about Quicksilver – absolutely nails it!
Brian Cronin: Any other upcoming projects?
david Hine: Drawing comes hard to me. Writing comes, well, it’s not always easy, but it’s natural. But I do intend to do some more drawing. First up is a strip for a West Memphis Three comic from Cellar Door Publishing. Check out www.cellardoorpublishing.com for more details. It’s edited by Jade Dodge, who is a very cool lady.
Tim Perkins: John Ridgway has a tale that Bryan Talbot reiterated a while ago to me. That it’s a lot easier to write about the entire Sioux nation bearing down on a small group of cavalry men in a panel three x four inches than it is to draw it.
Tim Perkins: I think of writing as therapeutic, I don’t know about you.
david Hine: Oh yes, that old Sioux nation! I’m writing scenes like that for Phil Tan, just to annoy him… I’m kidding Phil, I’m kidding!!!!
Tim Perkins: AAAaaagghh not you too. Dave I expected more from you…Bet Phil didn’t though, Ha ha!!
david Hine: Hey Tim! How you doing mate? And why aren’t you working?!!
Tim Perkins: I am mate…and some…
david Hine: Hang on Tim, you’re drawing and typing at the same time? That’s some super-power you have there!
Tim Perkins: Now you know my secret…
david Hine: In case you’re wondering Tim is a Brit artist who worked at Marvel UK way back in the days when I was hacking a living as an inker. I think I inked some of your stuff didn’t I Tim?
Brian Cronin: You did some stuff with Alan Moore, right, Tim?
Tim Perkins: No, Brian that was another Tim Perkins. That guy played sax and he and Alan did some musical stuff together.
Tim Perkins: I had dozens of guys asking that same question to me a few years ago.
Brian Cronin: Like poor Ralph Macchio at Marvel.
Tim Perkins: No actually it kinda raised my profile for a while there…haha…
david Hine: While things are slowing down, here’s a quick pop quiz question: “What character made this speech in a Marvel comic: I’ve been asked to speak to you today… to warn America about those who try to change our institutions… but in a pig’s eye I’ll warn you! This nation was founded by dissidents… by people who wanted something better! There’s nothing sacred about the status quo and there never will be!” A No-Prize for the first correct answer!
Tim Perkins: Capt. America?
Shades0077: It was Lockheed, wasn’t it?
david r: It’s GOT to be Captain America
Sean Whitmore: The Big Wheel?
Cayman: Iron Man?
david Hine: Tim, you were right! It was indeed Captain America!! I guess things have changed a little. Part 2 of the question… which pinko liberal came along and wrote those lines, clearly messing with the reactionary character we all know and love?
david r: Steve Englehart or Mark Gruenwald??
Tim Perkins: Howard the Duck?
david r: Stan the Man?
Cayman: Steve Gerber
david r: Roger Stern
david r: Is David Hine the answer?
david Hine: david r. you too are the proud recipient of a No-Prize. It was Stan Lee – this was when Cap actually got on his motorbike and went looking for America “Easy Rider” style. Oh, Stan, you old hippy radical you!
david r: Would you ever consider writing a core X-Men book?
Brian Cronin: And if you WOULD, who would be your dream team of X-Men?
david Hine: My favourite characters are the real loser types that Grant (I think) introduced like Beak and Dust (is that right?) The character who is basically just a pile of dust and that guy who is a rubber suit full of gas. Those characters would be a challenge.
david r: Do any DC Comics characters interest you as a writer?
david Hine: Yes! And I very nearly got to write a book for DC a while back. Peter Tomasi offered me a book with some of the more off-beat characters like Bizarro. I was really into that. It was going to be part of the Rann Thanagar cross-over series, but the book kind of fizzled out. I definitely wouldn’t turn down Batman (who would). Hawk and Dove and Creeper. Deadman. Lots of terrific characters.
david Hine: Any more questions you want to throw at me before I conk out – it is now 1.00 in the morning on this side of the ocean and I…am… getting… slee…py…
Brian Cronin: Haha….you have done yeoman’s work here, David!
Brian Cronin: I guess we have quenched their thirst for knowledge
Tim Perkins: Seeya in the bar Dave…
david Hine: Okay people. It was fun. Thanks for the invite Brian. I’ll drop by again. And mine’s a pint of Old Peculiar if you’re buying Tim
Brian Cronin: Thanks again, David!