Mark Waid & BOOM! Studios’ ‘Irredeemable’/’Incorruptible’ Panel [NYCC]
At today’s BOOM! Studios’ “Irredeemable”/”Incorruptible” panel, writer and Chief Creative Officer Mark Waid and Editor in Chief Matt Gagnon sat down with fans for a friendly and informal discussion about the company’s signature superhero books. Waid spent the bulk of the panel engaging directly with fans and talked about the process of creating “Irredeemable” and “Incorruptible,” dropping hints about upcoming issues and relating some hilarious stories along the way. Read on for some of the more notable moments from his conversation.If you’re wondering about major changes coming up in “Irredeemable,” we can expect to see a lot going down as of issue #19. Waid said this will be the setup for a major conflict between the Plutonian and Max Damage in the coming year, an that “everything does a complete 180 degrees in issue #19.” The Plutonian’s ex-girlfriend Alana Patelle is also going to become a more prominent character in the book, and Waid promised that in Year Three, more will be revealed about the Plutonian’s background, hinting that “a lot of it is a secret to me too.” When asked whether the “Irredemable” universe would be expanding further any time soon, Waid said we’ll at least see a one-shot in 2011 based on an idea from series artist Peter Krause.
Waid brought the house down when talking about the real-life implications of the Plutonian’s destructive rampage. He shared a story about being invited to a writers conference in Singapore and having to address the fact, in a private meeting with the Singaporean Culture Minister, that the Plutonian sunk the island nation in the pages of “Irredeemable.” “I’m not kidding when I say there’s an alternate universe where I’m in prison in Singapore forever,” Waid laughed.
Speaking quite a bit about the role that spontaneity has played in writing the two books, Waid noted that he often doesn’t know what might happen in a particular story until it’s pretty late in the game, which has allowed the books and their characters to evolve in interesting ways. “The book was going to be a lot more about the Plutonian and a lot less about the other characters,” Waid said, but the supporting cast took on lives of their own as he continued to write. In that vein, Waid also told the story of how he chose to kill off superhero Scylla as opposed to his twin brother Charybdis. Waid realized that one of them would need to die as he got to issue #3, opting to get rid of Scylla simply because it was harder to type his name while because Charybdis could be shortened to Chary. The writer also told the crowd that “until issue #17, I had no idea why Modeus hated the Plutonian so much.”
When asked the difference between writing “Irredeemable” and “The Amazing Spider-Man,” Waid explained, “With ‘Irredeemable,’ i get all the freedom in the world, but I have to make everything up. There’s no old stories to mine details from. The decisions that I’m making on this story, they are going to stay there’s no one who’s going to come along to change what I did.” He also pointed out that with this freedom comes a certain responsibility to the story, because the decisions that he makes for his characters essentially become set in stone.
On writing the Plutonian versus Max Damage: “They both have different challenges,” Waid said. “With ‘Irredeemable,’ I have to turn over some dark rocks in my psyche. it’s much easier to write about a good guy who’s been corrupted, because everyone can related to that. It’s much harder to write about Max Damage, who is trying to find the good in himself. I can’t relate to him because it’s a much harder path to give up evil. On the other hand? Jailbait.” Speaking of Jailbaits, Waid added that readers will probably see a lot more of them in “Incorruptible” in the future.
Finally, one last moment of snark: when asked if the Plutonian would ever walk across the country, a reference to DC Comics’ current “Superman” storyline, “Grounded,” Waid remarked playfully, “Man, that sounds like the dullest comic ever.”