Paul Jenkins's imagination is working over time. In addition to a movie script, and the limited series "Batman: Jekyll and Hyde" the writer has a number of comic related projects in the works including "Mythos," a limited series on the origins of Marvel's greatest heroes, a "Grand Theft Auto" style free roaming Hulk video game, another "Sentry" mini-series for Marvel, a Pitt/Darkness team up comic and a mind bending murder mystery set in the Vatican. CBR News spoke to Jenkins for the scoop on each of these projects.
"Mythos" is an eight issue limited series with fully painted art by Paolo Rivera. The project came about as a way to bridge the gap between the comic book origins of Marvel's characters and the film origins. "Most people who have seen the 'X-Men' movie have not read the 'X-Men' comic book," Jenkins told CBR News. "What that does is it really creates this contradiction. I know that Marvel would really love to be able to bring their comic books into the awareness of most everyone else. Because obviously if they can sell more comic books that would be great. So it kind of fell to Paolo and I and the task was to be reverent and understanding of what the comics have already been. Then take the film stuff and then add a piece of what we believe is part of it to and do in a sense an origin to all of the main characters in Marvel."
One new twist Jenkins added was demonstrating new uses for the powers of certain characters. "Magneto is a guy who has in some ways the right intentions, but just the wrong way of going about it," Jenkins explained. "One of his abilities was to take all of the metal inside a person's body and extract it. So he does that. When a person has no magnesium, no iron in the hemoglobin of their blood, nothing metallic inside their body, they're done. They'll suffocate. A particularly grotesque way to die, but he didn't really care."
Another new twist is the appearances of certain characters. "Some of the looks of the characters, I'm sure are based on the discussions Paola and I have had. Iceman particularly I think will be a good looking character."
"Mythos" is an incredibly difficult assignment for Jenkins. "Seriously it's one of the hardest comics I've ever written because I grew up reading Stan's stories," Jenkins said. "I like some aspects of the films very much. I think they definitely added whether people who are purists say no or not. So that's quite difficult because of just the absolute sort of continuity differences between one thing and the next. How do you reconcile them? Its a matter of choosing those things and then if you choose them and they really just contradict I think the way to do it is use a piece of ingenuity of our own to bridge that gap."
Jenkins says it remains uncertain whether or not "Mythos" fits at all into Marvel continuity. "We're hoping it does in a sense that it's not a rehash, it's not a rework. I think the only one that's going to be problematic in a sense is Spider-Man because of the web shooter issues for fans. We haven't done that issue yet. I'm inclined to want to do pieces of both in a sense. Because it just really makes sense to write these stories in a really interesting way that appeals to the people who have seen the movies."
The characters featured in Mythos will be the ones who are also film stars or slated to star in upcoming films. Jenkins isn't ruling out the possibility of tackling more characters in a sequel. "The ones that have been films and the ones that are probably going to be films," he said. "If we get to the end and we really like it we're gonna go again."
It will take Jenkins and Rivera awhile to get to the end of "Mythos." "This is really a labor of love," Jenkins said. "It's going to take quite some time for Paolo to paint all of these -- maybe three years or so. We're going to do eight initially. He's currently hard at work painting."
As a result, "Mythos" won't be released on a monthly schedule. "We would love to be able to bring each one out whenever they're ready," Jenkins said. "When it's ready that's when it comes out. When another one is ready that comes out to. So we're just going to play it like that."
The ultimate goal of "Mythos" is for readers to have the origin of The Marvel Universe fit on their bookshelves. "Tom Brevoort, my editor had said, 'One day what we want is this beautifully fully painted set of books'," Jenkins explained, " 'that we can have this great hardcover of and say 'Look at this Marvel's origins. How about that.'"
While "Mythos" is a project featuring Marvel's older iconic characters, Jenkins is working on another project featuring Marvel's newest iconic character, The Sentry, a character that he created. "I've always thought you shouldn't go back," Jenkins said. "I'm not sure that I would really particularly want to do another 'Inhumans' series because people remember the first one fondly. But the Sentry, I created the Sentry. I only scratched the surface when we started it. We basically set up the premise."
The next "Sentry" mini-series will be eight issues and feature art by John Romita Jr. Jenkins was reluctant to give plot information as he did not want to spoil Brian Michael Bendis's upcoming "New Avengers" arc, which features the Sentry and leads into this new mini series. "We're going to do a story in which, if you thought that keeping The Sentry secret was a big deal, if you thought that was a big secret kept from the Marvel universe, wait till you find out the secret that's really going on," Jenkins explained. "It's much deeper and more profound than that."
Jenkins did drop hints about the dark secret to be revealed in the new "Sentry" mini-series. "We'll get to the absolute truth about why he became the Sentry. What it actually means. There's a big secret in there; a big, deep, dark secret of the Marvel Universe, that once people find out they'll go, 'Wow that's really kind of Earth shattering.' It means a lot to the universe. It's one of the reasons why the Sentry is so dangerous."
In the new "Sentry" series readers will not only learn more about the Sentry, but Rob Reynolds as well. "We're trying to talk about who the Sentry is, where he comes from, what kind of person he is, what is he capable of being?" Jenkins explained. "But then again, there's his fucked up little alter ego called Rob Reynolds and he's schizophrenic and he struggles. What we're going to do then is we're going to say given this incredibly powered person, this god amongst men, what's his personal life like?"
Jenkins is also hard at work on another project involving a Marvel character, one of the Sentry's friends, The Incredible Hulk. This isn't a comic book, though. Jenkins wrote "The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction" video game that will be released for all major consoles this summer from Vivendi Universal Games.
The developers of "Ultimate Destruction" selected Jenkins because of his run on "The Incredible Hulk." "Basically the guys who made the first Hulk, game, Radical, were quite big fans of my run," he said. "So they called me up and they said, 'We really like your stuff. We'd like you to come in and write this stuff."
When they recruited Jenkins, the game developers thought they had just recruited a comic book writer. "I actually like video games." Jenkins admitted. "I've been working in video games for some time and I understand the actual process. So I think they were very surprised by how closely I understood what to do, how to write for a video game."
For Jenkins writing a good video game means more than just creating a written story. "One of the first things that I did when I got there was to say, 'Guys, what you're asking me to do is to bring in not just a story, like a written story, but in a sense, I understand what you do is manipulate emotions," Jenkins explained. "You kind of engineer emotions. When you create a video game you want a player to feel this, to feel that. So the job of the writer is partly to make sure that you can continue to get the player to feel a certain emotion."
Jenkins felt the best way to get the players to feel the emotions he wanted was to give them choices. He describes the Hulk game as similar to other free roaming video games like "Grand Theft Auto." "In this one the only way to make sure that you could feel big enough to pick up a tank and smash down a building with it was also to have the ability to stand around on a street corner and basically scratch your nuts," Jenkins said. "If you could do that you could do the other. So because you choose to initiate, you choose to do all this stuff, you're the person that guides the game. So you do feel very big playing it."
What good is a free roaming rampage when there's nobody around to witness it? The developers of "Ultimate Destruction" have worked hard to create a virtual world that's alive, with lots of stuff going on in the background according to Jenkins, saying there's a greater sense of conflict with the word populated. The populace of "Ultimate Destruction" can also voice their opinions on the Hulk's rampage. "I did the in game dialogue," Jenkins said. "Every time you punch an artificial intelligence character it comes out with any one of 35 lines."
This isn't the first Hulk video game, but Jenkins believes that "Ultimate Destruction" is the best Hulk game ever made. "I play games. I play them quite often," Jenkins said. "I actually work in the game industry as well and I think this is probably going to be one of the best games that ever came out. It is so much fun."