FOR TOMMY: DAVID HINE
disappeared on me. I used to see him occasionally at comic book
meetups when I was a young lad, and then one day, he just stopped
appearing. His comic work seemed to disappear, and I put it
down to moving into advertising, going insane or growing up.
Hell, maybe all three.
So it was pleasurable
this year for both his masterpiece Strange Embrace to go back
into print from Active Images, and at the other extreme, for
Marvel to employ him to write the new Bishop-starring series
A chance meeting
on the Marvel panel at Bristol intrigued me. I asked him a
few questions there but I wanted to know a little more.
JOHNSTON: At the Marvel panel at Bristol, you talked about
seeing mutants as an allegory, not for minorities in society
in general, as has often been the case, but for disfigurement
and disability. When in Xavier's world, mutant powers can
be seen as an aspirational boost for someone under the heel
of society, they can find power fantasies and role models
in one, something tells me this might be different. Disability
rather than ability. How will that change the stories you'll
be able to tell?
DAVID HINE: I've never been particularly interested
in the power-fantasy aspect of comics. I always liked it better
when Peter Parker's private life was going down the toilet
or when a character like the Silver Surfer, for all his immense
power, was totally helpless, unable to escape the force field
Galactus had placed around the Earth, doomed forever to live
apart from his true love, Shalla Bal, fated to share this
tiny planet with the flawed yet somehow inherently noble human
race, nevermore to roam the endless reaches of. do I sound
like Stan and Roy yet??
So yes, mutation
as a disability. The stories will be more ground-level, closer
to reality and less morally clear-cut than most superhero
comics. I want to play with readers' expectations, establish
some apparently cliched set-ups and take them in unexpected
Well, that might not be the best place to go right now. There
appears to have been a shift towards more traditional superhero
storytelling at Marvel, after a few years of experimentation
in both form and genre. Now that X-Statix is leaving the shelves,
District X is now the only "weird" looking X-book left. The
European styles of art have faded away, as has the experimentation
around the "super" concept. Is District X the last, best hope
for those who enjoyed those stories? Is it doomed from the
start? Have there been any editorial "issues" of late over
tone, style and content?
DAVID: Doomed from the start? I heard that a lot in
the run-up to the launch of District X. I'm hearing it a lot
less now it's actually on the shelves.
I'm not sure that
District X looks weird. It's all the other stuff that looks
weird to me. It is close to European books in its storytelling.
I think it's significant that European artists use rectangular
panels and sell shed-loads of comics to all demographic groups,
while American comics have endless splash-panels, bleeds,
chaotic, unreadable layouts and sell to a tiny readership
of.well. comic fans. Weird things happen in DX, but my prime
intent is to tell a good, solid, entertaining story with every
So far Mike Marts
has given me the freedom to do pretty much what I want as
regards style and tone. Content is occasionally an issue.
Marvel want this book to have a broad appeal so there are
restrictions on language, violence and sexual content, which
are marginally more restrictive than I would have liked. I
had a great idea for a cover with Bishop yelling "I'm going
to rip your f**king testicles off!" but sadly that didn't
the ground-rules have been established and I know I'm writing
a PSR rated book I'm happy enough to work within those parameters.
There are lots of subtler ways to be perverse and disturbing
than to fling a load of graphic sex and violence onto the
page (not that I have anything against those things of course;
I bow down and worship at the altar of Crumb and Corben.)
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| 3 Continued