On Saturday, as part of Long Beach Comic Con, comic book writer and BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Mark Waid sat down with Comic Book Resources' Jonah Weiland to answer 50 questions in 50 minutes.
With BOOM! Studio's Chip Mosher keeping time, questions came from both CBR's online forums and the audience. As a bonus, those in attendance who asked questions received "Irredeemable" t-shirts and comic books for their participation.
Jonah Weiland: Welcome to 50 Questions in 50 Minutes with Mark Waid. [Audience applauds] Last year we did this, and Mark answered 56 questions, so we're going to see if he can do it again this year. I don't think he will, and I'm actually going to pretty much guarantee it.
Mark Waid: Ok, all right! [Audience laughs]
Weiland: Can we start the clock?
Chip Mosher: Started!
Weiland: Mr. Mark Waid, your first question, from Rollo Tomassi & Stonegold & Ilash: What was the issue or event from DC Comics that prompted you to give up collecting new books on a regular basis?
Waid: If I say, it impugns the poor writer who did it who was an up-and-comer, and I don't want to do that. But let's just say it was another cookie cutter superhero story that I read a thousand times before. It's not a declaration that I want comics to be different or I want comic to be more like they were when I was a kid, it's just that sense of, "You know what? I think, for the time being, mainstream superhero comics are not quite for me." They may be down the road sometime, but we all get to that point. Remember, most guys gave up comics in their high school years or college years and they came back. I was one of those guys who stayed straight on, so maybe this is my time.
Weiland: CBR's George Tramountanas, one of our writers, asks: Of all comic book publishers (excluding BOOM!), which one is "doing it right" in your opinion in terms of offering the best deal to creators and taking care of their employees? Why?
Waid: Good question! With the exception of BOOM!, IDW, I think, is doing it right in a lot of ways; they are taking care of their guys and they've got a really wildly diverse slate of publications. IDW is my answer.
Weiland: Goff asks: With the CrossGen Universe returning, what characters from that universe would you like to write again for?
Waid: What? [Audience laughs] I could see myself writing the Ruse characters again. Could happen. It'll happen. [Audience laughs]
Weiland: Ghost Planet asks: What's the #1 story arc of your career you'd like people to read?
Waid: "Superman Birthright." I think that's the one arc I'd want people to read. Or "Flash" #0. One of the two.
Weiland: Bohemia Drinker asks: It's well known how much you love Superman, and yet "Irredeemable" has shown us a really perverted analogue [of the Man of Steel]. Was this a choice made to challenge yourself as writer? What was the process that led to this choice in particular?
Waid: I really wanted to get into the psychology of what is it like to be a superhero in the 21st century, when the paparazzi is everywhere and the internet is everywhere and you can't have any privacy. How does it work to be in the public eye 24/7? Especially if you can hear everything and see everything and react to everything.
Grant Morrison and I used to have this joke where we were talking about all the cool stuff in the Fortress of Solitude, and there's this device called the Zone-O-Phone that allows you to look into the Phantom Zone. Superman looks into it every once in a while, only to have these people screaming and yelling at him and cursing him, and that's all they do. And Grant says, "Who would have that in their home?" I said, "It's called the Internet, we all have it!" [Audience laughs]
Weiland: Ok, a very bizarre question here from St. Patrick 67: Do you think they should have killed Catherine (Linda Hamilton) off in the "Beauty and the Beast" TV series? [Audience laughs]
Waid: I don't know? You know how many episodes of this show I have seen? Counting this next one, one. [Audience laughs] So, I'm just saying no.
Weiland: JeffDyer asks: As a Superman fan, what are your thoughts on the 5 Superman movies to date, and what would you like to see in [Zack] Snyder's film?
Waid: First, I'd like to see "Superman Birthright" in Zack Snyder's film. [Audience laughs] You know what else I'd like to see in Superman in Zack's film? Brandon Routh, because I thought he was a great Superman. I really thought he nailed it.
The first one changed my life, second one I have grown to appreciate even though at the time it crushed me because it was more of a comedy. Third one I loved at the time. It led to my first angry meeting with John Byrne; I stood in line at a convention to get his signature on something, I was still a fan, and I had just seen "Superman III" and liked some of the stuff in it, and I mentioned it to John Byrne and it didn't go well. He started screaming at me, and that scarred me for life. I'm just a guy in line! Don't yell at me for liking "Superman III!" Yes, it sucks in retrospect, but I was like 17, I didn't know! [Audience laughs]
And then the fourth one, the fourth one kills me. I was there on opening day at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. I was going to move cross-country to take the job at DC Comics as an editor, and I told them I couldn't start until Monday 'cause I have to drive out and be there on Friday for the premiere of this movie. I've got to be there. It's the world premiere. So I went in all full of expectation and I came out a wrecked man. [Audience laughs] Not what I expected. And I'm the one guy who a) likes "Superman Returns" and b) I think that history will judge it more kindly than it was judged at the time.
Weiland: I'll give you credit for two answers there, because that really was two questions.
Chip Mosher: 45 min and 44 sec left!
Audience Member: Who do you think are the most consistently poorly written characters in comic books?
Waid: That's a really good question! Hawkman. And interestingly enough, I think Batman, because while there have been a number of really great Batman runs, if you look at the history of Batman over the last 70 years, there have been some really long periods of time where Batman and Hawkman had been really crappy comics, but Batman has been a great character. So Batman is my answer, but I like what they're doing now.
Weiland: That's nine questions. Back to the questions on my list, here. Dubbilex asks: Given your recent Harvey speech, I think there's one question on everyone's mind: Would Superman torrent?
Waid: [Laughs] Superman has x-ray vision, dude. Superman can hear a comic book as it's being uploaded. He doesn't need to torrent! I actually get this question a lot. Would Superman fileshare? I don't know. Somebody also asked me what would Jesus do. Would Jesus fileshare? And I was like, Jesus turned fish and loaves big enough to feed the community, and if he were doing it today, the Bakers Association of America would be on his ass. [Audience laughs] And the Natural Fishing Association would be all over him decrying what an evil act this was. So...
Weiland: So you don't know.
Waid: My answer is: Superman has x-ray vision, he doesn't need to torrent.
Weiland: Javier Velasco asks: In interviews, you have stated that you were unhappy with your take on Wonder Woman in "Kingdom Come." Why do you think this iconic character has proven so difficult for writers to write and for a certain side of fandom to embrace?
Waid: It's because you can't write Wonder Woman without the sexuality of the character. If you look back at the first ten years of Wonder Woman, it's all bondage, it's all about tying her up, weird fetish masks; it's all about stuff like that. Even in the context of the time it wasn't completely innocent, but came across as innocent enough. There's no way to do that in today's society without looking like your fetishsizing her or you're trading too much off her own sexuality. The problem is, that's a core component of the character.
I've always said the guy who makes Wonder Woman work for the 21st century, and it probably will not be me, is the guy who figures out how to incorporate sexuality into that character in a way that does not make Warner Brothers nervous about selling underoos to little girls. Without doing anything to demean or hurt the salability or marketability of the character.
Weiland: Mastermind2e: If my calculations are correct, the Plutonian had only has sex once in his whole life (before he went all fruit loops), is this right? If so, no wonder he eye-lasered the skin off a ton of people.
Waid: This guy is working out issues. [Audience laughs] The question is, is that one more time than you have, sir?
Weiland: Ok, moving on! G. Wayne asks: You've mentioned your ideas for how to handle digital distribution of comics. When will we get to see/hear those ideas?
Waid: Soon. Very soon, actually. Still making plans, still working stuff out. Through my own knee-jerkedness, I have been mischaracterized by some retailers as looking at this as a war between digital and retail. That is not the case at all; in fact, I appreciate the opportunity to get up here and say in public -I love comics retailers, I still go to comics retailers, I still buy my comics at retailers, I want that system to sustain.
I think my most inflammatory comment recently was saying we were held hostage by 2,000 retailers. What I meant by that was not that these retailers were angry or we're at war with them. What I mean is that, as the industry, we're in a position where...it's like steering a battleship. We can't move even the tiniest little bit without worrying about those 2,000 retailers. If I didn't like retailers, if I wasn't worried about their welfare, I'd have been in digital a year ago and said, "Heck with you guys, you're a dying art." I don't want to do that. In fact, the hold up really is, how do I integrate that with the retail structure that is here now?
Weiland: Stryfe asks: What was your original plan for the Onslaught saga and why was it met with interference?
Waid: I always just thought Onslaught was just Professor X. I thought putting Magneto in there to muck it all up was just needlessly complicated and needlessly over-explanatory. I just thought it was cooler if it was some little tiny seed in Xavier's brain that is that bad part all of us have, but if you're a telepath and you can project your thoughts, you have to work even harder to keep that chained down, and he did not. It met with interference because there were 8,000 guys writing X-Men at the time and everybody had a separate idea and some of them were there longer than I was and some of them were louder than I was. That's fine. It's a collaborative medium. And that's the most political thing I have to say today. [Audience laughs]
Mosher: 38 minutes!
Waid: I have 38 minutes to sink my career! Let's go!
Weiland: DuperSuper wants to know: Aren't Superman, Flash and the Fantastic Four awesome?
Waid: Yes. Yes they are. [Audience laughs]
Weiland: StoneGold: If, according to your Fantastic Four story Jack Kirby is God, who is the Devil?
Waid: Oh, man! So many answers! What's today? Who's pissed me off in the last 24 hours? John Byrne. [Audience laughs]
Audience Member: How did you come up with the idea for this crazy 50 questions thing?
Waid: Before I got terminally distracted with all this other stuff, I was doing a regular podcast, which you still can find at MarkWaid.com. I started doing five questions in five minutes, so the challenge was, can I do 50 in 50 minutes? Looks good so far!
Weiland: HBR wants to know: Do you have any plans for more Stan Lee/POW! collaborative characters to appear within BOOM?
Waid: We're talking. I personally see places where we can expand that line. Let's see how it goes over, but so far it's going over really well. It certainly exceeded my expectations in terms of sales. Paul Cornell currently has written the best selling BOOM! book of all time, which I'm only a little bit bitter about. [Audience laughs] When does "Traveler" come out?
Mosher: November 24.
Waid: So we may still beat that record.
Weiland: Brannon asks: Regardless of your personal affinity for the Silver Age, and given the state of Superman today, do you think the character would be in better shape if DC would have fully supported the "new" Superman that Byrne introduced with The Man of Steel instead of trying to reboot the character every few years?
Waid: Every few years? Really? Like 25 years between or 15 years between reboots? And yes, they're happening more and more, and as a matter of fact there's another one right now. I don't know. Things change, characters change. If you took that same question and put the word Santa Claus instead of Superman in that question, then nobody would be asking that question. Myths have different faces, myths have different stories and everybody has a different story to tell. Continuity is not the most important thing in the world: consistency is.
Weiland: Ok, we've got 20 questions down.
Mosher: 35 minutes!
Waid: I can do this! I'm totally doing this! [Audience laughs]
Audience Member: If you could write the next Batman movie, what direction would you take?
Waid: I love the Christopher Nolan movie, I love the last few minutes where you realize Batman is going to be the villain in that story, essentially. I have no interest in writing that kind of movie, because that means I don't get to watch that kind of movie, and watching the second Batman movie was one of the best comic book experiences I ever had in my life.
This is a true story; I actually was asked years ago to write the adaptation for "Spider-Man 2," the movie, and I turned it down because I so badly wanted to watch the movie. The same thing with "Superman Returns" - they wanted me to do the novelization and I passed because I knew I wanted to see that movie in a theater and have that experience. It was worth it to turn down the job. My accountant still is upset with me over that. [Audience laughs]
Weiland: St. Patrick 67: Q (Star Trek) versus the Beyonder (Marvel) - who would win?
Waid: The fans. [Audience laughs] Thank you, I'll be here another 30 minutes!
Weiland: Question 22, Kyle and Theophilus ask: Will "Seekers Into Mystery" ever be collected in its entirety?
Waid: Oh, that's a good question. We did one volume. If you buy enough, if you keep going to Amazon, keep going to the BOOM! site, keep going to enough places like that and keep buying that until we're sold out of the first volume and it's out of print, then we'll talk. I would love to see it. It's a nice piece of work, it's J.M. Dematteis and John J. Muth.
Weiland: Lots of people asked the same question: What to do we have to do to get you writing Superman again?
Waid: [Laughs] Here are the bullets you need. It's not up to me! I'd love to take a crack at Superman again. They've got my number. [Audience laughs] I don't know that any sort of big, giant fan land swell will do it, but who knows?
Weiland: Mastermind2e asks: As the creator of a kick-ass, brand-spanking new, creator-owned work, do you ever get tired of answering questions about stuff you wrote years ago and flippin' Superman?
Waid: No, I don't, because by now my answers are so pat and automatic that I know what they are. Read "Flash" #0.
Audience Member: In "Soldier Zero," at one point the guy says "I got Semper Fi written through me like bacon." What does that mean?
Waid: Let me get Paul on the phone, hold on. [Audience laughs] Paul's British and it's a British turn of phrase. You know the lines of fat going through bacon? You can't get bacon without the lines of fat, otherwise it's not bacon, because you've got stuff running through it all the time. That's what it means. It's a Briticism. [To Audience Member] You totally get something for that! Here's a pound of bacon for you. [Audience laughs]
Mosher: 31 minutes!
Weiland: Taterpie asks: Which is harder to write, the descent of a hero like Plutonian was, or the rise of a villain like Max Damage was?
Waid: The rise of a villain like Max Damage is much harder to write. The descent of a hero is easier to write because everybody knows what its like to have a bad day. Everybody knows what it's like to, no matter how good you think you are as a person, to want to punch that guy in the face because he should stop standing at the front at the top of the escalator at the convention, you jerk. By the way, it's not any of you out here [Audience laughs] Especially at conventions is when I want to punch people in the face. None of you people! I'm referring to New York. Here's my new rule for conventions: you know how when you go on an airplane they've got the silhouette there that says your luggage must fit in this space? I want that same silhouette for your costumes at the convention. If your costume doesn't fit this space, we're not letting you on the floor, mister giant Pikachu! [Audience applauds] So that makes it easier to write "Irredeemable," moments like that.
Conversely, "Incorruptible," it's clawing your way up. Max looks at the world the way an alcoholic does. He's terrified of doing anything bad because he doesn't know where the slippery slope begins. It's like the same philosophy where, have one drink and I'm suddenly back off the wagon again. He doesn't want to do anything villainous or evil, but that's much harder to define. It's much easier to look at stuff and go, "Oh, that's a good thing to do." It's harder to see in a gray society, in the grays we have everyday, what exactly is wrong. If Max goes into a bar and he sees somebody robbing it and he sees somebody smoking in the back, it's the same level of wrong to Max. They're both breaking the law. So, it's much harder to write that.
Weiland: This is actually one of my favorite questions, because it brings up a funny quote from you. Taterpie is back...
Waid: I love you Taterpie.
Weiland: And he asks: You once said you'd write Dick Grayson in a "cocaine heartbeat." What's the first thing you'd do with him if you wrote him now?
Waid: With all due respect to what they're doing now, I never thought Dick would work as Batman, and Grant's convinced me otherwise. Not forever, but for a while, he's working well as Batman. That's not what I would do. There's no one specific story you tell, you've just got to make him happy, you've got to make him the big laughing daredevil, you've got to make him bounce around, you've got to make him the opposite of Batman. He is in a position to do that after what they're doing with him in Batman now, provided they ever take him out of the Batman costume. I think he'd be even more eager to re-embrace the laughing young daredevil he used to be.
I just think it's easier to figure out what you wouldn't do. You wouldn't make him dark, you wouldn't make him a Batman clone and you wouldn't make him just exactly like Batman. Unlike most sidekicks, he never grew up wanting to be Batman. Wally wanted to be the Flash and Speedy wanted to be Green Arrow. Early on, Robin realized, "I love Batman, I respect Batman, but that's not what I want to be when I grow up."
Weiland: CrazyBaldGuy: The return of Barry Allen: Good Idea or Bad?
Waid: My return of Barry Allen? Good idea. [Audience laughs]
Weiland: CrazyBaldGuy also wants to know: What are your thoughts on how Marvel has handled [Captain America] lately? From Steve's death and resurrection to Bucky replacing him while Steve steps aside to lead S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Waid: There will be more controversial questions, right? I feel like I'm letting you down by not being inflammatory enough. [Audience laughs] Ed Brubaker came up to me at a Seattle convention just before his series launched and said, "Hey, I'm bringing Bucky back." He wanted me to say, "Oh, that's awesome," and instead I looked at him like he was a bug and said, "Don't do this, it's the worst idea." And then he did it, and it worked, I mean it really worked, much to my stunned surprise. Bucky worked and I loved the new Captain America. Again, with respect to the fine people who have been doing it over the past ten years, it's the first time I've been reading it on a regular basis.
Weiland: Thirtieth question here: Hawkangel asks how would you feel if a fan owned .cbr files of every comic you wrote, but they also owned the exact same trades and comics of those .cbr files?
Waid: I'd feel great. Take "Potter's Field" as an example. If you were in East Nowhere, Illinois, and the nearest comic book shop is 800 miles away, and you have no other way of finding "Potter's Field," and you can't find one specific issue on our site - if you have no other way to get it and it means you might be fired up to read more BOOM! stuff, and it means it might be exposure for you to go, "Oh, I didn't know this existed. Oh, there's something called 'The Unknown,' let's check this out," I don't think that's the worst thing in the world. I'm not giving you my official permission, but I don't think it's the worst thing in the world.
Audience Member: Do you know how you want to end "Irredeemable," or do you not know until it happens?
Waid: I know the last few scenes. What'll happen is, I'll get there and I'll change my mind and I'll do something different. But it's a way off at this point. I wouldn't be holding my breath.
Mosher: We've got 24 minutes.
Weiland: 31 questions with in 24 minutes remaining means we need a quick break and need to make this more challenging for Mark. To help with that, I've hired a jazz trumpeter to come in and play the theme song from Mark's favorite movie of all time. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Jamelle Williams.
[Audience laughs and applauses as jazz trumpeter Jamelle Williams enters playing the theme from "Superman: The Motion Picture." He finishes and the audience applauds wildly.]
Weiland: This is totally wasting a lot of time.
[Mark Waid calls Jamelle over, shakes his hand, and asks Jamelle to play the opening to the theme song as Mark records a new ringtone for his iPhone. The audience eats it up.]
Weiland: Time check please, Chip.
Mosher: 22 minutes and 30 seconds!
Weiland: Alright, getting back to it. Lego Nightwing & G. Wayne are big fans of your "Irredeemable" universe. They want to know if there's any word on additional merchandise, like your stylin' Plutonian symbol cap or a similarly styled shirt?
Waid: We don't have anything officially planned. If you want to do merchandise with us, you come find us. The reason the caps exist is that these are a special Christmas gift I made for the staff last year. Even if you do them in quantities, if I had any extras to sell, they'd be 30 - 35 bucks, and that's a lot of money for a cap. I'd love to have more BOOM! merchandise and more "Irredeemable" merchandise out there.
Weiland: Bohemia Drinker: A big part of your body of work is in DC Comics, and I think it's fair to say you made quite an impact there. However, more than any other writer, this work appears to have been systematically undone - the current status of the Flash universe, both your LSH teams being shipped to "limbo" and Earth Prime, a new Superman origin, "Kingdom Come's" ending having an "alternative" version - all in a timeframe of less than four years. Sorry if this question is not an elegant one, but: do you believe that this is intentional? Do you think that your vision simply disagreed with DC's editorial plans, or is this a "case by case" thing scenario?
Waid: He forgot Impulse. [Audience laughs]
'Cause I'm sober right now, if you get me later at the bar I'm like, "those bastards!" [Audience laughs] I think it's a combination of some things. I do think my vision didn't quiet fit in. I have to say, it bugs me sometimes. I've always said this, when people ask me, especially about breaking into comics and being new at it, the only way I know to do this is to write Superman and Spider-Man is to not concentrate on the thought that you're just playing through. You really have to get in there and you know you don't own it, that your stuff is subject to change on a whim. But the only way I know to do it is to get in there and just give myself 100% to it.
Over the last couple of years, I've very much seen the downside to that, whether its by design, but I think mostly by coincidence, there are times I feel I made no impact at DC Comics, that I'm a footnote in DC history. At this point I'd be lying if I said it didn't bum me a little bit. I'm still young in terms of comic book years; maybe there's still room for me to get in there some point down the line and do something that has an impact.
Weiland: Acespot wants to know: Where would you have taken "Brave and the Bold" had you been able to stay on?
Waid: I liked where we were going. The sad thing about "Brave and the Bold" is that I don't know why it didn't do as well as we wanted it to do. It did OK. It didn't tank in sales, but it didn't turn into a blockbuster. We were trying to do something that wasn't an event tie-in, and boy, it seems like there's not much of an audience for that these days. I don't want to believe that. It's too easy for a creator to use that as an excuse. I don't want to use that as a crutch. But I'm happy with what we did.
The sad thing was, especially as I got near the end of my run, I'm trying to put big names in the book. The problem was DC was in flux. I wanted to put Aquaman in the book, and they said,"We don't know what Aquaman's origins is at this exact moment," and that was from the editor of Aquaman! We got near the end and I'm like, who else has their own book that I haven't put in the thing? I know, Catwoman! And then the day I wrote that story, they cancelled Catwoman! There were really only seven or eight guys who had their own book, and everything else was a spin-off.
Audience Member: If you had to choose between "Irredeemable" or "Incorruptible," which one would you like writing?
Waid: Incredeemable. [Audience laughs] I would mash them up and do 12 pages each per month.
Mosher: 15 minutes and 55 seconds!
Waid: You guys having an OK time? [Audience applauds] I don't want this to be "Mark Waid is Bitter for 50 Minutes." If you want that panel, come to my house every day. [Audience laughs]
Weiland: Question number 36 from StoneGold: Who wins in a fight, Muhammed Ali or Goody Rickels?
Waid: Muhammed Ali, now? [Audience groans] Great, I just made the greatest athlete of the 20th century mad at me. Awesome. Muhammed Ali wins. Even now.
Weiland: HBR wants to know: When you came up with "Irredeemable," did you just want to create the most powerful, destructive, feared version of a super hero gone rogue? What came into your mind when developing Plutonian?
Waid: It wasn't just that. It was the idea of what would it be like living in a world that fears you rather than respects you. What's it like to have that level of power and not be brought up by a kindly farm couple who loves you. My experience is in real life; the more people know about you, the more they use it against you. That's unfortunate, but that seems to be the way of the world a lot of times.
Audience member: Do you think Geoff Johns and Jim Lee will steer DC in the right direction?
Waid: The short version is, "Yes." I especially think that putting Jim in charge is a really smart move, without a slight to Geoff. It feels like a DC that is not the DC I knew, but that's because, for better or worse, that's not the DC I knew, and that's fine. Oh my God, I can't wait 'til this is over so I can say all the things I want to say! [Audience laughs]
Mosher: 12 minutes and 21 seconds!
Weiland: PyroTwilight asks: Plutonian and Hornet are in some ways the [analog] equivalent of Superman and Batman. Were there or are there any plans for a Wonder Woman [analog] one at any point?
Waid: Wow, not at all, but that's partly because I didn't see Hornet as an analog. If I say him as an analog at all, I saw him more of a Blue Beetle type. To be honest, I'll cop to the fact that when we first started out, we were still feeling our way around the "Irredeemable" universe. I was playing a little bit more with analogs. I got away from that pretty quick, because it's the easiest thing in the world to write your version of the Justice League month after month after month.
Weiland: Question number 40, Krazemon asks: Do you think Superman would be a more interesting character if his powers were downgraded and some of them maybe eliminated to either "Man of Steel" levels or even lower than that?
Waid: No. No. No. No. [Audience applauds] I think Superman would be more interesting if you gave him the powers Grant Morrison tends to give him in "All-Star Superman." The most interesting thing about Superman is not his power level, and the people who say, "I can't relate to Superman," well, you're not supposed to relate to Superman. You're supposed to relate to Clark Kent. That's what he's for.
Weiland: LobsterAfternoon: During your epic "Flash" run, you dropped several hints that Wally West had some sort of time-travel adventure gone wrong when he was Kid Flash. Can you spill the beans on what it was? Or do you think you'll eventually get to tell it?
Waid: I would like eventually to tell it. You know what? Here's the story: I always wanted to tell the story of the moment Wally learns from Barry Allen he can travel through time. What I wanted to set up was a week before, one of his classmates is killed in a freak accident. So Wally seizes on this as an opportunity to go fix the past. So he goes back and he fails. And he goes back again and he fails. And he goes back again and he fails. And then you've got a bunch of different Kid Flashes running around, stumbling over each other to try and fix this. He finally realizes, "I can't fix this." There are some things you can't change. He accepts that, but he hates time travel after that. If you'd like to read that someday, you don't have to buy it anymore now that I've told you. [Audience laughs]
Audience Member: How do you approach "The Incredibles" book versus "Irredeemable?" Do you sit down and say, "Oh, I can't do this," or "I can't do that?"
Waid: I don't. I've been doing this long enough, God help me, that with characters like "The Incredibles," in the movie those characters have such distinct voices and well-carved personalities that anybody in this room would know whether that sounded like Mr. Incredible or not. It's the same with all the other characters I write that are company owned characters. I instinctively know what they would or wouldn't do and where the lines are drawn. It's not hard for me to shift gears because I know characters like I know my own family.
Mosher: Eight minutes and 12 seconds!
Weiland: I hired a trumpeter to mess you up, man!
James234 wants to know: How can we convince BOOM! to make "TaleSpin" comics?
Waid: The more requests we get, we'll pass those on to Disney. Believe me, we make sure Disney knows what you guys want to see. Write us letters, send us emails though the website" Boom-Studios.com.
Mosher: We've got "Rescue Rangers" in December! [Audience applauds]
Weiland: Question 44: Do you think printed comics will be around years from now, or do you see them being replaced by digital versions?
Waid: I think they'll always be around. I didn't sign any iPads at this convention. But look, be realistic, the print medium is not a healthy medium at this point, and it's going through a huge transition. When the majority of single issue sales goes digital, what we're going to end up with is comic book stores, that today exist largely to do periodical sales on a weekly basis, instead turning into pop culture stores where they are selling the trade paperback version. The monthly paper comic book, I don't know how much longer that is for this world.
Weiland: Xenos wants to ask: Could you see yourself writing Hawkman sometime, and if you were to do so, what would you do to bring excitement to the character?
Waid: Ten years ago, Jim Lee and I were sitting in Dan Raspler's office, he was an editor at DC Comics, and we were just shooting the breeze. Wildstorm had gotten acquired by DC at the time. We were talking about doing a Justice League/Justice Society crossover that never happened, and it could have been a Wildstorm crossover as well, and I said, what if, at the end of that crossover, you took Hawkman and gave him to the Wildstorm Universe for a year? And Wildstorm could do whatever they wanted to; give him to the artists, give him to the writers, so it's still under DC's umbrella but it's a completely different universe. And Jim, he turns around and he has this beautiful shot of Hawkman that he has drawn. Jim and I were all for it. For whatever reason, the higher-ups said not for us. That was my one really good Hawkman idea. [Audience laughs]
Mosher: Four minutes!
Audience Member: Have you ever had this great idea and then realize it's already been done? What was your idea that was great but had already been done?
Waid: That's a good question; we'll come back to that one.
Audience Member: What character have you wanted to do but haven't?
Waid: My go-to answer has always been DC's Captain Marvel, but that was because Mike Weiringo and I were best friends. He had a great vision for that character, but that's not going to happen because he passed away a couple of years ago. I still wouldn't mind taking a crack at Aquaman at some point.
Mosher: Two minutes and 45 seconds!
Audience Member: What are the best and worst editorial decisions in comics? Not yours, someone else's.
Waid: Wow! Best editorial decision is easy. Best editorial decision is the guy who looked at these Superman samples in 1938 and said, "You know what? We should put these in a book." Superman was rejected from 17 different publishers before DC Comics published it. Everybody thought it was ridiculous, it was just too fantastic. A guy holds a car over his head? Who would believe that? That was the best editorial decision of all time. Worst? There's like a 100 way tie. [Audience laughs] Throw a dart at any CrossGen book and there's your answer.
Audience Member: How can you make Aquaman really cool?
Waid: How many people here have been to Sea World? How many people think going to Sea World is really cool and you had a fun time? [Majority of audience raises their hands] People who think Aquaman is a dork for swimming around in the sea and talking to fishes, go to Sea World and watch those people dance with whales and swim with the porpoises. That's pretty cool. Working at Sea World, that's my answer. [Audience applauds]
Mosher: 51 seconds!
Weiland: Who is your favorite Superman artist?
Waid: Curt Swan.
Weiland: That's 45 seconds and you have one to come back to.
Waid: "The Butterfly Effect!" I worked on it for an entire week before I realized there was a movie called Butterfly effect!
Weiland: That's 50 questions with 20 seconds to spare! Ladies and Gentlemen, let's hear it for Mark Waid! [Audience applauds]