In his debut “Savage Wolverine” story, writer/artist Jock took Logan to a mysterious planet in the far-flung future of the Marvel Universe. During his isolation, Wolverine came across Kouen, a young clone who exhibited many of the same features and abilities as Logan himself. Jock’s story took full advantage of the unique setting, as the illustrator brought plenty of his signature style to the sequential storytelling with an evocative science fiction slant.
This week, Jock joined X-Position to look back on his “Savage Wolverine” arc and the evolution of the story as well as answer reader questions on Kouen, the reason for isolating Wolverine in the future-shifted setting and comparing his experience working on Wolverine with that of Judge Dredd. Plus, Jock kindly provided CBR with a behind-the-scenes look at some of the major pages from his three-issue run.
CBR News: Jock, you just concluded your arc of “Savage Wolverine.” As both writer and artist, what was your initial approach to telling a unique Wolverine story and how did it evolve as you began to work on it?
Jock: As it was the first thing I’ve ever properly written, my first goal was to set out to tell a small, contained story, so I didn’t run before I could walk. But I was trying to do something unique too, so that’s where the idea of setting it in the far future on an alien planet came from — essentially “sci-fi Logan.” But I also couldn’t help myself trying to inject some kind of context or theme in there, so as it went along it became clear that the story is about Kouen, the boy that we meet, and what the life he’s had so far might mean. I was expecting to delve more into the backstory of Earth and what has happened there — what actually happened to the last few survivors that we meet during the story — but I stayed with Logan and Kouen. If I ever revisit it, I would like to take them off the strange planet and see what position the world is in. But for this opening arc, I found the first few footsteps of their relationship the focus.
Tell us a bit about your approach to designing the setting. What was your design process like for the landscapes of a different planet?
Totally barren! No life — brutal, unforgiving and bleak. I basically wanted to set up a rock that Logan couldn’t get any sustenance from, beyond the weird bugs and parasites that live there. And the only way he could was to become a parasite himself. Pretty gross.
Moving on to this week’s reader questions, Dave starts us off with a question about the other possibilities for you in the Marvel Universe.
Now that you’ve had a chance to do a stand-alone story for Wolverine, which is the next X-Men character that you’d like to leave your mark on?
Hi Dave. I think Wolverine is the one for me. I like characters that can handle different settings and situation — They don’t need their usual trappings around them, and Logan is that guy. You can drop him anywhere and he’ll remain a constant. I love that.
What was your favorite scene to write in your “Savage Wolverine” run? Which was your favorite to draw?
Writing wise, it was actually the ending I enjoyed most. Trying to hit a poignant note between Logan and Kouen. Drawing wise? Drawing the huge bug in episode 1 was good fun. I loved that idea of Logan living as a parasite. That the environment he’s in is so brutal he has to resort to that.
Next up is cora reef with a question about expanding Logan’s character on a barren planet.
Dear Jock, It was interesting to see Wolverine out of his element emotionally and in terms of location. Was that a big part of the story for you? Taking him out of his comfort zone?
Hi Cora. Yeah, definitely. As I said above, I kind of see him as a constant — he can handle odd surroundings, and the alien planet is definitely odd. He’s ‘the man with no name’ but also realizes that he’s far more connected to his surroundings than he realized. How he ended up on the alien planet is still a mystery, and now he’s met Kouen, maybe they’ll find out the answers they’re missing.
RysingStar294 has a question particularly about designing covers versus interior illustration work.
I’m a big fan of your illustration work, especially your covers and posters. How do you approach interior work differently than a cover design, especially in a book like “Savage Wolverine?”
Hi RS, thanks for the kind words. Interior pages should only do one thing: service the story. So that’s a huge difference right there to covers which have to be eye catching and intriguing to people browsing a shelf. It doesn’t mean you can’t be eye catching with interiors, but again, the primary concern always has to be the script.
One of my concerns about writing and drawing “Savage” was just that, that I’d try and write something I just wanted to draw, so I tried not to do that. It’s still a lot of fun drawing Logan tearing hell out of and alien environment, but I didn’t want it to be just about that.
mr_infinite wants to know more about how writing Wolverine compares to working on Judge Dredd.
How does doing a book like “Savage Wolverine” compare to your experience doing work for 2000 AD on “Judge Dredd?”
Hi mr_infinite. Weirdly, I actually see similarities between Dredd and Logan! Both super tough, unmoving slabs of character. I haven’t drawn any strip work for 2000 AD for a number of years now, so I guess I feel more confident now in my approach, but there’s not a particular difference I can put my finger on, to be honest. Saying that, 2000 AD stories are very dense, because of the episodic page count, and I definitely gave this Wolverine story a lot of room to breathe. That was one of my main ideas — that it was evocative. It was almost a silent story at one point, but I thought better of it.
The alien planet concept was really cool during your run. The story also seemed like it took place in the future as well. Was the intention of the story to keep Wolverine isolated? Why?
Yeah, the seed of the story was that it was set in the far, far future. And it is, but I would have liked to have gone into that even more, to be honest. This three-parter actually ended up as more of an “Act 1” in terms of story structure — I’d be really interested to see what happened after this. Maybe even take Logan and Kouen back to Earth, to see what state it’s in. And learn a little more about the scientists trying to clone Logan, and what their motives or reasons might be.
PulsarSkate is hoping for some more information about what happened after the end of your “Savage Wolverine” story.
I really enjoyed the compare/contrast between Wolverine and the kid that was essentially a duplicate of him. What, in your mind, happened to the kid after the end of the story?
Hi PulsarSkate. I still wonder if I should have had an extra splash page, after the ending, of Logan and the kid just tearing into the arriving guards and their ship.
It’s an interesting question — Kouen still has to physically grow, but with a metal bonded skeleton, which wouldn’t grow, he won’t have very long.
But I think Logan has taken him under his wing. He recognizes something in Kouen that maybe he’s even lost himself — and that father/son relationship between the two is pretty interesting.
You’ve worked on a wide range of comics. If you had the chance to cross over two different comic properties you’ve worked on, what would they be and why?
For the purposes of this interview, and mr_infinite’s question above, let’s say Dredd/Wolverine. And see what happens when two immovable forces hit each other. Hard.
Finally, JimTheTroll wraps up this week with a query about possible future Marvel work.
I’d love to see more Marvel work from you! Do you have any future projects planned in the Marvel Universe?
Hi Jim, nothing concrete planned at the moment, but we’re always talking. Maybe we will see what happens to the pair after all?
Special thanks to Jock for taking on this week’s answers and providing a behind-the-scenes look at the series’ art!
Next week, the Ultimate X-Men’s new steward Joshua Hale Fialkov joins X-Position for his first time. Got some pressing questions after reading this week’s “Cataclysm: Ultimate X-Men” #1? Go ahead and send ’em in an e-mail with the subject line “X-Position” or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. Either way, make sure those questions are in by Friday! Do it to it!