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WAITING FOR TOMMY: DAVID HINE
By Richard Johnston

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 District X.

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.

RICHARD 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 directions.

RICHARD: 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 issue.

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 get through.

Now that 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.)

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

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