X-POSITION: Duane Swierczynski

Cable and Hope's Excellent Adventure has made way for the X-Men's "Second Coming" story arc, now in progress, and readers will soon learn whether the young red-headed woman first seen in Marvel Comics' "Messiah Complex" crossover is in fact mutantkind's savior or the dark force that will ultimately lead to Bishop's desolate future.

In the coming months, the writer who shepherded the time-traveling mutant Nathan Summers and Hope, the first mutant born since M-Day, through twenty-four issues on the run prepares to enter new but no less dangerous waters with several distinct projects. Duane Swierczynski finds himself wrestling with different aspects of the ubiquitous Merc with a Mouth's insanity in "X-Men Origins: Deadpool" and "Deadpool: Wade Wilson's War," even as he slips into a more savvy bit of heroism as the new writer of "Black Widow" beginning in September. To top it off, Swierczynski sends Blade on a new mission in "X-Men: Curse of the Mutants - Blade," in which the Daywalker struggles with the fallout of "Death of Dracula."

Whew. Somewhere in the midst of all this, Mr. Swierczynski has graciously taken the time to join us for X-POSITION. So let's give him the floor as he answers your questions...

Marcus Martin once again leads us off with a couple questions on "Black Widow," which Swierczynski takes over from Marjorie Liu with issue #6.

In the latest September solicits for Marvel comics, it stated that you are the new writer for the Black Widow series. My question is:

1. How did you end up on the series?

Marvel asked, and I practically crawled through the phone to accept. I've been a Black Widow fan for a long time, so this is a dream assignment. Natasha is also the kind of character I like to write about in my own novels: smart, lethal, and fun to watch as she scrambles in and out of insane situations.

2. How closely will you pick up from what happens in Marjorie Liu's run on the series?

I'll be sending Natasha on a completely new adventure, but I definitely want to keep Marjorie's dark and violent vibe going. And believe me, while I'm thrilled to be given this opportunity, I am bummed I won't be reading any Marjorie Liu "Black Widow" stories for a while.

Ryan K Lindsay also showed a bit of love for "Black Widow," and was hoping to squeeze out some info on other projects Swierczynski might have coming up.

Duane, I'm a massive fan and will jump on board "Black Widow" when you take up the reins, just so you know why the sales have gone up by one. Anyway, my question is:

1. You seem to have gotten your chance to tell stories for a fair few characters, Iron Fist, Cable, Punisher, Jack Russell, and now Deadpool and Blade; so are there any other X-characters you are wanting to pitch? We'd love a good tease, if you've got one in you.

Do I look like a tease, Ryan? Anyway, I wouldn't want to pre-pitch a character here. Because let's say I said: "Oh yeah, I'd totally love to do 'NFL Superpro MAX,'" then suddenly everybody would be pitching "NFL Superpro MAX."

Okay, maybe I will tease something. [NAME OF AWESOME ARTIST REDACTED] and I recently agreed to do a miniseries featuring perhaps the coolest and most obscure Marvel character ever. No, not Superpro. Someone even more obscure. You won't be seeing word of it for a while, but... well, that's why they call it a "tease."

I, for one, am shattered it won't be Superpro. But back to Ryan:

My other question is: 2. Is Wade Wilson's War your answer to Aaron Sorkin or John Milius?

Yes. But what was the question?

With Cable returned to the present and "Second Coming" nearing its conclusion, Chris Thorn has a question about what's to become of the other time traveller fighting to save the future.

Any chance of another Bishop miniseries from you? It'd be nice to see a redemptive arc now that "Second Coming" appears to show he was wrong.

I'd love to do something like that. But can we honestly say Bishop was wrong? Give Hope some time. She could still go on to kill a million innocent people...

I'm going to follow that up by asking, do you see redemption as a possibility for Bishop? Once you've made it your mission in life to kill a baby (ok, later, a young woman), I'd think it would be a bit hard to come back from that...

The greater the fall, the more compelling the redemption story. I think Bishop definitely has a shot at redemption, Shaun. (See above answer.)

Hm. But the hardest thing sometimes is forgiving yourself. Does Bishop see redemption as a possibility?

I think so. Despite everything he's done, he was doing it for a good reason. It's not like he was being evil for evil's sake. And while Bishop came to a troubling realization at the end of "Cable" #24, he's not the type to just shrug his shoulders and say "My bad." He'll actively seek out redemption.

Moving on to Cable's one-time partner in crime, Wozza wants to see Deadpool bare his soul, and since Swierczynski has two upcoming books starring the Merc with a Mouth, he's on the spot.

Hey Duane, first I wanted to say I'm a big fan of your work! I want to ask you about Deadpool. The main thing I love about him is his tragic origin and his insecurities about his messed up face and mind, which he covers up with his snarky and sarcastic humor, plus I always thought he pretended he was crazier than he was to excuse his sometimes nasty behavior. I like the psychological side to characters like Wade. But in recent times this seems to be overlooked, he's made out to just be a crazy and violent goofball. Will you be showing more of the "depth" to the character in your upcoming work?

Thanks for the kind words, Wozza. Both "Wade Wilson's War" and "X-Men Origins: Deadpool" do take a look at Wade's past - so by definition, we are going deeper with the character. My editor, Axel Alonso, likes to say that Wade Wilson has the tiniest fingerhold on his sanity, and it made me wonder: How did he get that way? I mean, beyond the "tragic origin" you mention? What's interesting is that this is the central question for both "War" and "Origins," but the answers couldn't be more different. I hope you'll check and both and let me know what you think.

From Deadpool to the "Death of Dracula," Steve Spencer is curious about what's coming up for Blade.

Thanks for doing this, Duane. I've got a couple questions on Blade:

1. It makes sense that Blade would be part of the "Death of Dracula"/"Curse of Mutants" shenanigans, but where does he fit in terms of how the X-Men will be dealing with all of this?

This one-shot explains exactly that - so I want to be careful about spoiling things. That said, Blade is not secretly longing to join the X-Men. It's a smart tactical move, for reasons that will become clear in the book. (As well as in Victor Gischler's "X-Men" series.)

2. Since it looks like "Death of Dracula" is changing what it means to be a vampire in the Marvel U on some level, what does this mean for Blade's unique nature and place on the food chain?

Oh, this changes everything for Blade. There used to be particulars way the various vampire sects would operate. Blade understood this, and exploited it. But the rules have been rewritten, and Blade will have to adapt radically. Again, I can't say too much more without spoiling Gischer's "X-Men" surprises. And if I do that, he'll beat me with something heavy.

3. Any chance we'll see more Blade from you after the one-shot?

I'd love to, Steve. Let's see what happens to him in "X-Men," though...

That's...a bit ominous. Dave R.'s going to dig for a bit more info on Blade, and hope for the best.

1) Like Cable, Blade has been at war nearly his entire life. What is it about these types of characters that make them so compelling for you as a writer?

What can I say, Dave? I'm drawn to the characters who are basically screwed from birth. And this is literally true with Cable and Blade, both of whom were "infected" (one with the T/O virus, the other with vampirism) since they were in diapers. You know, come to think of it, they seem tailor-made for a team-up. Maybe the characters could even be fused together! A vampire-slaying time-traveling mutant from the future! We could call it "Cade!" Or "Blable!" Annnnnnd that's enough caffeine for one day.

2) Will Blade's team mates in MI-13 factor at all into this story?

Not in this one-shot.

3) From the solicits it mentions Blade assembles a team in your one-shot. What can you tell us about the dynamic of the team and the characters that make up it?

As the one-shot opens, Blade is gathering other vampire slayers from around the world as he tries to piece together puzzling events following the alleged death of Dracula. Some are old friends, some bitter enemies, and some are a few knives short a complete silverware drawer. Still, they're the best slayers alive, and when they come together, it's like a rock supergroup. But will that be enough to deal with this new threat?

4) Vampires have gone through quite a bit of evolution lately. In your mind what makes for a good Vampire story? What types of Vampires do you find most interesting as a writer?

No glittery skin. That's all I ask.

The more original the take on a vampire, the better. I'm a huge fan of Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend," which is still the book to beat, as well as Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt series and Dan Simmons's "Carrion Comfort."

Closing out this week we have a special World Cup "Behind the X" question. Wednesday sees the USA in a do-or-die showdown with Algeria, so... what are your feelings on the vuvuzela?

Totally can't wait for Alan Moore's/David Lloyd's "V for Vuvuzela." No Guy Fawkes mask. No wig. Just fightin' crime and totalitarian governments with a LOUD, ANNOYING BLAST OF B-FLAT.

A persistent hum of bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb tells me that's all for this week's X-POSITION. Next week we have Peter David, who has been packing jaw-droppers into each issue of "X-Factor." Email me questions by Friday, June 25, with "X-POSITION" in the subject line and I will pass them right along.


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