Writer Garth Ennis made his first ever CBR TV appearance at this year’s “The Punisher,” why his focus is on creator-owned books right now, returning to “Crossed” in both comics and webisodes and the joy of directing. The conversation finishes with a look at the end of “The Boys” and why it was tougher for Ennis to write than previous series finales as well as where he draws the line in terms of content.
On what it would take for him to return to “The Punisher” at Marvel: I would come back and do “The Punisher” but I feel like I don’t wanna do it unless I’ve got an idea that’ll kind of stand up to what I did on the “[Punisher] MAX” run, because I want it to be worth of that. So not for a while, but there will come a time.
On the draw of creator-owned work: I think it’s the sensible place to be right now. … When I got into the industry twenty, twenty-two years ago, everyone was saying — almost like a mantra — own what you create and get a decent contract. I think people have lost sight of that in the last ten to twelve years or so. … I feel it’s the way to go for me because I seem to have an audience that I can get these creator-owned books into print. So it works for me financially, it makes commercial sense in that I own them, so if Hollywood, for instance, comes calling, it’s me. It doesn’t get filtered through some corporate lawyer. And it makes creative sense, too, because there’s no one to tell you that the character isn’t supposed to be written like this because of something that happened 300 issues ago. It works out best all-around.
On the joys of directing your own material: I just find the experience of working with actors, in particular, and getting the performances I wanted out of them, and also being able to put a world together in the real world, instead of on paper — I find that absolutely intriguing.
On his return to writing the “Crossed” comic book: I’m kind of planning on popping back to “Crossed” — to the ongoing, biweekly which is called “Badlands” — every year and doing three to four issues. … Issue #25 will see the beginning of a four-parter, and that will feature some characters who have decided to, for the first, actually strike back at the Crossed. Mostly up ’til now the story’s been about running and surviving — if they haven’t been stories about the initial outbreak. … And that will tie into the story I do about a year after that when we have Issue #50. [Avatar Publisher] William [Petersen]’s referring to this as our Patient Zero story, which is a good way of referring to it, but it’s a story of the first one.
On wrapping up “The Boys” and why writing the end felt like murder: It feels like just the right time for it to end. The story’s worked out exactly as I wanted it to, couldn’t be happier in that regard. It’s bittersweet because with Butcher, with Billy Butcher, we’re talking about probably my favorite character I’ve ever created. … I’m sorry to see him go. It’s not like “Preacher,” where everyone came to a violent end but then got a second chance. And it’s not like “Hitman,” where people also came to violent ends but they lived by the gun, and they died by it. “The Boys…” writing the last few issues felt more like murder. … But in terms of the story, yes, it’s time for it to end. To continue it now, I think, would just weaken it, dilute it.
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