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Waiting For Tommy XXXVII
By Richard Johnston
 
A few simple questions, that's all it was. Just a few simple questions sent to Bryan Hitch. And what did I get back? A tome. Now I know how Mark Millar feels.

But what a tome! Bryan goes in depth with his motivations, his thoughts on his work and where it's going that follow-ups seemed unnecessary. But I did anyway.

RICHARD JONSTON: What the hell happened with you and CrossGen anyway? Anything you can talk about?

BRYAN HITCH: Sure I can, but I'm not going to. Not in any detail anyway. It's just not that interesting and I don't like airing my dirty underwear in public if I can avoid it. I'm certainly not interested in airing Alessi's soiled knickers anywhere at all, but that said, I know I made the right decision for all the right reasons. I don't think I handled the situation at all well, but if I had joined the Crossgen Cult and moved to the Compound (as I very nearly did) I would have been miserable and it just wouldn't have worked for them or me.

Not much else to add, the rest's just gossip, Rich and you'd have to get me drunk enough to shag me for the rest, and there aren't enough Bacardi Breezers in Christendom to facilitate such an activity. So there.

THE ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY VOLUME ONE HARDCOVER

RICHARD: Bryan, you are accused of seduction of the innocent! Aiding and abetting in turning wholesome, All-American heroes into morally repugnant weasels. In Authority, you helped turn fine iconic figures into fascists, and in Ultimates you have turned the world's finest Superhero team into shifty unheroic monsters. Why have you chosen this route when your earlier stylistic mentor, Alan Davis, continues to bring out the best and the brightest in those same characters?

BRYAN: Well, it may have taken more years than I care to realise, but it should be pretty obvious that Alan and I have very different ideas about what makes a good comic. Our comics reading History is different, our life experiences are different and what stimulates us is different. Anything I took from his work was pure surface sheen and nothing more.

Once I began to assemble the drawing skills for myself, I realised that I have very different things to say and very different stories to tell; now I have my own language and that's just as it should be.

Anyway what the badgery f**k do you mean "innocent"? Mark and I made it clear from the offset that The Ultimates aren't the Avengers and anybody expecting to find The Avengers in our book is going to be disappointed.

Define "Unheroic." These are still people who risk their lives day in and day out to keep their country and the world safe from the things nobody else can deal with. Yes they are paid soldiers but so is everyone in the military and that wouldn't stop the media and governments alike calling them heroes after taking Iraqi oil fields for the good old USA. None of them are Ghandi, admittedly; they are all too human but that's the way it should be. Where does it state in the rulebook that they have to be whiter than white and purer than the driven bloody snow? Where's the drama? If that was the case all you'd be left with is 22 pages of people in daft costumes smacking about people in other daft costumes and pontificating about playing fair. That isn't how the world works, and besides there are plenty of other Superhero books where perfect bodied beauties and Adonis's with colourful painted bodies lecture each other about morals, who needs another one?

I think these people are heroes. They risk their lives despite their human frailties and that makes their actions more powerful. Tony [Stark] may indeed be a self serving thrill seeker, but he also has a limited time to live and is using that time to keep others safe. Every time he puts the armour on his company loses money but he does it. He is scared sh**less every time he goes into action, but he does it. What is unheroic about that? Would you or I do it? I chickened out of a bungee jump and a parachute drop so even though I would never wish anybody harm and would like to think I could rise to an occasion that would require some heroic action on my part I doubt I'd have the balls.

These people aren't the Avengers. But we don't want them to be. They have their own book, and their own continuity. Why do it the same way twice? The Ultimates are at the beginning of that journey the Avengers and other Classic super teams have gone through and it is beginning in a different time with different attitudes. We will see change in all of them. What they are put through over two years of our run will force them to change and examine their attitudes and motivations some of them may emerge in a better light than others.


THE ULTIMATES VOL. 1 TPB
We are accustomed to a certain approach to team books: A threat occurs in the first issue and a group of disparate individuals meet up after having their arses handed to them by said antagonist and say "Hang on there my like minded four-colour chums! What say we band together and show this fellow a good old American What For!" Following the above mentioned trouncing they think it's a jolly good hoot, and vow to keep the world safe from anybody in a badly designed costume for as long as they still look trim in tights. This basic set-up hasn't changed for years and was one we were about to follow ourselves. What became our first five issues was originally the proposal for our first single issue, until we realised that apart from that scenario, there was a great deal of interest to be mined from the characters themselves.
Most of this came out of our "Avengers: The Movie" approach; you know, what would we do if we were making the Avengers film franchise.

There was no point in doing this unless we could better the sales and circulation of Avengers, and certainly no point in doing this if were only to produce Extreme Avengers. It's no secret that Millar and I were approached with the intention of us doing the Authority for Marvel, but to us that was old hat and an approach that had been copied by others, so naturally we wanted to evolve the process and lift the bar for ourselves. We had the opportunity to forget the familiar and start completely from the ground floor, building a new book with a new approach and it's own dedicated continuity. We have tried from the earliest time to ask people to leave their preconceived notions at the door, and I think this book is being judged now on it's own merits in a positive way not as a secondary Avengers title.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 Continued Here...

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