Fred Van Lente on Writing the ‘Eminem/Punisher: Kill You’ Comic
The Punisher/Eminem comic, 'Kill You,' came online yesterday at Marvel.com, featuring the rapper and the vigliante mixing it up with Barracuda, wielding chainsaws, and causing havoc. We talked with the author of the comic, Fred Van Lente, about Eminem's comics cred, and what it was like writing the world-famous rapper into the world of superheroes:
Comics Alliance: How did Eminem approach the comic? Did he have any advice or guidelines for how he wanted you to write it?
Fred Van Lente: It was definitely a very collaborative process with Eminem and his manager, and the editor, and everyone over at Marvel. He -- I will admit this -- knows way more about the Punisher than I do. So the basic setup with Barracuda that's in the comic, that was all Eminem. He wanted to use Barracuda, and I was like, "Who?" I was ashamed to admit that I've never read Garth [Ennis'] MAX series about him, and so then I went back and read it. It was through that sort of back and forth that we developed the comic.
More after the jump!CA: So how did you land the job of writing the Eminem/Punisher comic?
FVL: I happened to be going to lunch with Nate Cosby, the editor who heads up all the custom projects at Marvel, and he was my original assistant editor on '[Incredible] Hercules' and my editor on 'X-Men Noir,' and he happened to mention he was doing this Eminem project through XXL Magazine. And I said, oh, that's great, I really like Eminem.
There are very few people in music I like, but at one point a couple years ago I was in talks with a Canadian-based animation group that actually did the animation for Eminem's 'Mosh' video, which is on his 'Encore' album. So I bought the album, sort of as research, and listened to the whole thing, and it was really good. The animation project went nowhere, but I became an Eminem fan after that. So I mentioned that to Nate, and I went home, and suddenly [Marvel] called and said, "Do you want to write the Eminem comic?" And I said sure. They got Salvador Lacrocca to draw it, and it was a lot of crazy fun.
CA: Is there a particular album or era of Eminem that you like the most?
FVL: I think we all have the most affection for the first thing we see, so I really 'Encore' the most, which probably makes me unusual among Eminem fans, but I really enjoy that album.
CA: So how long did the process of the comic take?
FVL: It was very quick. We turned it around in less a month, which if you know anything about comics is a Guinness Book of World Records scenario. It was an 8-page opening story that Salvador [Larocca] drew for XXL, and then very quickly did part 2, the conclusion of that story that's also included on Marvel.com.
CA: Are there any extras or easter eggs that people should be looking for in the comic?
FVL: Obviously, there are a lot of Eminem songs there, like Stan, The Real Slim Shady, Mockingbird... We tried to slip in as many song references and Eminem references as possible. Also, more trivia: on the first page, there's a white bodyguard that's turning towards you, and he's the first person who sees the Punisher -- that's Salvador Larocca.
CA: Also, [SPOILER] I thought it was a nice touch to have the religious right taking out a contract on Eminem's life -- was that your idea?
FVL: Yes. Ah, Wikipedia, source of story ideas. [laughs]