CCI: Paul Tobin on "Marvel Adventures Super Heroes"

Marvel Comics announced Thursday at Comic-Con International in San Diego that its all-ages series "Marvel Adventures Super Heroes" will embark on a bold new direction beginning in November with #17.

And when writer Paul Tobin told CBR News he was assembling a new Avengers team to headline the book, we knew this wasn't all hype. Especially when he confirmed Sue Storm was in and Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds, just missed the cut.

Tobin, who earlier this year penned the "Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil" miniseries, also writes "Marvel Adventures Spider-Man," "Models, Inc." and the kid-friendly "Marvel Super Hero Squad" for the publisher.

CBR News caught up with Tobin, who is actively tweeting on Twitter this weekend from Comic-Con, to discuss the new look and feel of "Marvel Adventures Super Heroes" and learned he's also hard at work on another series that's based around one of the biggest events in Marvel history.

CBR News: We've been told that, beginning with "Marvel Adventures Super Heroes" #17, the series will embark on a bold new direction. So, the first one is easy. What's the new direction?

Paul Tobin: Full speed ahead! Batten the hatches and damn the torpedoes! Much like my work on the "Marvel Adventures Spider-Man" title, we're going to push the boundaries of what the done-in-one format means, by beginning to develop longer stories. Each and every issue will still, without question, contain a complete story, but there will be moments that add up into a greater whole. It's very much a story arc I'm working with here.

Will the series still be geared towards a younger audience?

To be honest, I've never geared my stories to a younger audience. I gear them towards me. Sometimes I'm feeling in the mood for a grim story, sometime a humorous story, but I'm pretty much always in the mood for a combination of good 'human' characters, and solid blocks of action. If I gear towards a younger audience at all, it's with an "I only wish that I could have been reading these stories as teenager," mentality.

So, am I going to be putting in anything that belongs only in the pages of "Bloody Lady KillRazor's Sexy Bikini Special"? Geez, no. But I am maybe notching up the threat level a touch, and definitely the storytelling. And we're allowing the universe to be more cohesive.

And there's going to be a new cast too, right? Who will be the new headliners?

The Avengers are assembling. In many ways, I'm looking at this as if the Avengers have never existed, and now a major threat is arriving - a small town gets nearly wiped out in the first issue - and a group of heroes is there to stand against the threat.

Editor Nate Cosby and I talked with half the voices in the Marvel creative and editorial staff for who they thought would best staff the new team, and then of course we ignored everyone and just went for the ones we wanted in the first place.

Iron Man, Thor and Captain America are there, of course. We're not insane. And we added the Vision, because we wanted a robot, and M-11 is booked in Jeff Parker's insanely good "Agents of Atlas." And I wanted a rookie wise-cracker, so Nova is on the team. Then, of course, I love to write female characters, so the Black Widow snuck onto the team. Lastly, Sue Storm. Yeah. The Invisible Woman. An Avenger. Simply because I couldn't get away from how interesting it would be to see her away from the Baxter Building, and to let her and Captain America fight it out for leadership of the team.

So you were able to hand-pick a new Avengers team. That's got to be pretty exciting.

Absolutely. Like I said, we went through the 'what do you guys think?' process, but largely only so that we could make snide remarks at other creators and write off bar tabs on our taxes. Uber-editor Mark Paniccia had the idea to use Galactus as one of the team members. It's a ridiculous idea that I still haven't gotten out of my head. So ridiculous that [channeling William Shatner's voice] it... just... might... work. But, no, the Big G didn't make the cut. Maybe someday.

Of the new additions, is there a character you love to write? Or maybe one that you didn't know you'd love until you started writing him or her?

Jeff Parker and I have often talked of the phenomena of writing characters we don't like. It only takes a few pages of scripting before we actually really do like the character, because of course we bend them to our interests. Myself, I like human moments, so it's been fun to develop the Vision, who starts out as very cold and emotionless in the book, but his quest for emotions, to become more human, becomes a very significant part of the backdrop. That's been fun.

And I've been surprised at how much fun it is to have Steve Rogers and Sue Storm on the same team.

Introducing these classic characters to new readers via the "Marvel Adventures" line is no doubt an important part of Marvel's ongoing efforts to build a larger and younger audience. Is that something that weighs heavy on your shoulders or do you embrace it?

Can I do both? I mean, can I embrace things that weigh heavy on my shoulders? One thing I like about being a writer is taking things to the edge, pushing the blocks around, seeing how they fall, and anytime a writer works with established characters, there's a thin line between 'too far' and 'boring.' All my favorite writers run along those lines, and I like to think I do a fair job.

What's the reaction like from kids when they find out you write comic books starring superheroes like Spider-Man and Hulk?

Kids say, "Cool! That's what I want to do!" and adults say, "Cool! I wish I could do that!" So there's not much difference.

Who is the artist on the book? Or will it continue to rotate?

We're rolling with two artists. I'll be working with Ig Guara again, who is just a freakin' master of storytelling, and fresh off his work on "Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers." And then there's the equally wondrous Ronan Cliquet. Lastly, just like I lucked out with having Skottie Young as a cover artist for my "Marvel Adventures Spider-Man" revamp, we're having Niko Henrichon come aboard for the covers on this title.

Any plans to do some work in the mainstream Marvel U?

I would love to have a couple titles in the mainstream. Sure. As soon as they ask me to move in that direction, I'll most likely be saying, "Yes." That said, I have no intention of moving entirely away from the "Marvel Adventures" titles. It's just too much fun. And Nate Cosby is not only hands-down the favorite editor I've ever worked with, but I really think we're pioneering some great books together. He's got an energy that leads to great books.

What else are you working on?

Let's see, in addition to the "Marvel Adventures Super Heroes" revamp with the Avengers, I'm also doing the ongoing "Marvel Adventures Spider-Man" book, which we're also changing in many wise and wondrous ways. Then there is "Models Inc., "the murder mystery starring many of Marvel's illustrious models. And I'm three issues into a book on which I'm really having fun, and where I'm working with one of my favorite artistic collaborators, a book of which, as you have now guessed, I cannot tell you the title. It's based around one of the biggest events in Marvel history.

The new direction of "Marvel Adventures Super Heroes" begins in November with #17.

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