Single Issue Hot Pick-Transmetropolitan 23

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DC has made some big announcements this past weekend concerning their upcoming films.  Among these are Fables and 100 Bullets.  Early issues of 100 Bullets can be pricy but this forgotten gem from Warren Ellis should be a lot easier to track down.

Current Guide Price: 5.00 NM

( First Appearance of 100 Bullets )

Preacher 51 also has a preview of 100 Bullets which came out at the same time as this issue!

-Topher Seal

@Larfleeze

Tony Bedard

*knock-knock* Special Delivery
Interview with DC’s Tony Bedard
by David Paul

From the depths of space an ominous shape approaches the Earth, seemingly on a collision course. We’re defenseless. But do not fear, citizens. For that ominous shape is now revealed to be emerald in color, and sparkling with justice it is none other than the Green Lantern who approaches. The Emerald One is on an important mission, we soon learn. As he lands before us we see he has been escorting an important figure.

All of you cowering knuckleheads behind me decide that since I am the closest non-super human I should be the unfortunate cur to approach. And I do, and I’m like not even scared. So there.

As I get closer I see that GL has brought for us DC’s own Tony Bedard. Actually, I don’t recognize him at all because I’m staring at the pretty green lights left behind in GL’s blast-stream from the super hero’s departure. Probably off to save us all from another unseen invasion.

“Go, Green Lantern! We love you!”

I turn to Tony Bedard, who’s standing there wondering what he’s doing in this narrative.

David
Oh, it’s you. Welcome back to Earth. I guess.

Tony
Thanks. I’m just here to do a few Facebook updates, then I’m off again to Sector Zero.

David
I’ve got some serious questions for you, Mr. Traveling-Around-With-The-
Green-Lantern…! But first a few back ground questions. And probably a few silly ones too.

*Suddenly, Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey yell out, “Make him cry, David. Make him cry!” To which I reply, “Shut up, girls! This is my interview! Gosh!”

Now then… Tony, you started many years ago with Valiant, but let’s go back a few years prior. What led you into writing for comics and how did you end up at Valiant?

Tony
I got into reading comics in high school and continued building my collection in college. I was trying to write and draw my own stuff when my girlfriend got invited to study dance in New York City, so we moved up together. I took night classes at the School for Visual Arts which led to an internship at Valiant. And once I’d hung around there long enough working for free, they decided to hire me. The suckers.

David
Seems you made the leap to being an editor at DC pretty early on in your career. How did that happen?

Tony
I became friends with Garth Ennis while I was at Valiant and after the Valiant implosion and my resultant layoff, Garth introduced me to his DC editor Dan Raspler, who hired me as his Associate Editor. It was a great learning experience, reading scripts as they came in from the likes of Garth, Grant Morrison, Brian Azzarello, Mark Waid and Warren Ellis. The three years I spent editing at DC and Vertigo were the best preparation for a writing career.

David
So juggling the two positions of writer and editor, how do you separate the two if you’re writing original material?

Tony
I think a good Writer leads the creative team, and so the editorial skills are very useful for a writer. For me, that was especially true at CrossGen, where I was working under the same roof with my whole creative team. Being able to manage our collaboration face to face, talk through creative differences, and keep everyone engaged made all the difference to books like NEGATION, ROUTE 666 and KISS KISS BANG BANG.

David
As a young editor what was it like to have to tell long time professional artists, “Hey, this arm is in the wrong place.”? Talk to us about those early challenges.

Tony
Yeah, I actually grew a beard back then so I wouldn’t seem too young to the veterans I edited. And I wasn’t shy about offering “notes.” But the funny thing about editing is that the better you are, the less you intervene. I think you really want to create an environment where your creators can indulge unexpected inspirations and experiment a bit. You don’t need to tweak every little thing. Do that, and for every creative decision you disagree with, your creators will give you two or three delightful surprises,

David
You had some pretty good success with Hellblazer in a time when that sort of title wasn’t something you would see. Not from the mainstream anyway. Obviously you could do some things at Vertigo that you couldn’t at DC.

Tony
Yeah, Azzarello was amazing on HELLBLAZER, as was Warren Ellis on TRANSMETROPOLITAN, which I also edited briefly. But I was never sure exactly how far we could go. The line gets kinda fuzzy at Vertigo. Then again, that line keeps shifting, no matter what publisher you work for.

David
Times were very different then for the industry. Did you feel any pressure that you had to stand on your own?

 

Tony
At Vertigo, it was important to develop new properties like Y THE LAST MAN or 100 BULLETS. I don’t think I ever came through with one, but I was only at Vertigo for a year.

David
So one day a business man approaches you and somehow convinces you to sign on exclusively with CrossGen. Talk us through that.

Tony
Actually, it was Mark Waid who convinced CrossGen’s Mark Alessi to hire me as a staff writer. I’m still not sure how Waid knew I could write, but I was determined to make the most of the opportunity. It was stressful, leaving New York City, selling our place in Brooklyn, and coming to Tampa where we knew not a soul outside the CrossGen staff. But I had a 2 year-old son and raising him in Florida seemed like a good move. New York is wonderful, but it can wear you out! And I figured we had about 2 years before CrossGen ran its course. Enough time to get some work out there and get my writing career in gear.

David
I have to admit that for my part I was caught up in all the excitement of CrossGen as well. My favorite title was Sojourn. You were a big part of helping make that company successful. It’s no secret that things at CrossGen were ran differently than elsewhere and there have been some nasty rumors that some artists and writers didn’t care for the way they were treated.

Tony
CrossGen remains my most creatively satisfying experience. It was a great place to work, with great people all learning from each other. Look at the people who got their start there like Steve McNiven, and the people who revitalized their careers there, like Steve Epting and Greg Land. It was a creative hot-house, where everybody checked out each other’s work and then raised their own creative bar. I miss being able to talk through plots with my penciler, inker and colorist, incorporating their suggestions so that everyone felt a sense of ownership in the resulting books.

David
One day I’m reading some great CrossGen titles and the next I’m walking into the comics shop and being told the company is kaput. As a fan I know what that’s like, but I have no idea what that must have been like for you. You had taken a risk in signing on exclusively and then suddenly you’re out of a job.

*Someone in the audience yells, “They took your job!” “Tuk yer der!”

Tony
I had already lived through the collapse of Valiant six years before, and I recognized that CrossGen was going the same way about a year before the company crashed and burned. Once I realized that Alessi wasn’t going to change course, I reached out to my contacts at Marvel and DC, trying to help line up work for all those talented people at CrossGen who would soon be out of a job. Clearly, Marvel seized upon the opportunity, and now McNiven and Jimmy Cheung and others are Marvel mainstays. The sad truth is that companies come and go in this business, and over the course of your career you’ll keep shifting from one publisher to another. I’ve found a great home at DC, and I’ll stay as long as they’ll have me, but a freelance creator always knows that no job is permanent.

David
Well, now that I’ve depressed everyone with all that sad news let’s move on to better days. CrossGen was over but then suddenly Mighty Marvel showed up to save the day.

Tony
Yeah, while Marvel was snapping up CrossGen artists, they offered me a chance to write EXILES. I’ve gotta confess, I was intimidated because the series had launched so strongly with Judd Winick and Mike McKone, but it turned out to be a dream assignment. Basically, I got to revisit all my favorite Marvel stories and give them a new twist. Plus, I got to reunite with my NEGATION penciler Paul Pelletier. Also got a chance to handle Spidey in SPIDER-MAN: BREAKOUT, which was great fun.

David
So let’s talk about the industry today.

*The lights dim. The Creeper from Creep Show appears but someone pulls him off.

Okay, so in the capacity of editor, what leads you to the decision to exclude inks? That’s become something of a big thing these days. Mainstream titles whose art excludes ink and goes straight from finished pencils to coloring.

Tony
That depends. Sometimes it’s seen as a money-saving measure, especially when you’re talking about an independent comic. Sometimes it has to do with the type of work an artist does. Certain rendering and half-tones in pencil art don’t translate to inks, and so we just reproduce the pencils. Back in the day, you needed ink just to make the artwok reproduce at all on the printed page. But advances in scanning and printing give us a few more options these days.

David
And what about lettering? Letterists are all doing the same thing over and over, using the same fonts and styles, etc.. Can’t be that they are just doing what they’re being told to do. In the mainstream it honestly looks as if one or two guys are lettering all the title series.

Tony
True, but lettering is generally an invisible part of the process. The more your attention is drawn to it, the more you’re stepping out of the story. I’ve computer-lettered a bunch of books myself — it actually helped me as a writer, sharpening my balloon placement skills and giving me a good feel for how much space a given word balloon will occupy.

David
Onto DC’s New 52. Did the news just hit you about 52 or were you part of its inception and planning?

Tony
I knew about the possibility of a by relaunch for a long time before it happened, but it still needed to be approved and hammered into shape. There was some debate about how much of a reboot it would be, so it was an interesting process to say the least. In some ways, it’s still ongoing, as we fine-tune our new books and try to figure out what’s working and what needs improvement.

David
Before the New 52 project was drafted what were some of the ideas that were rejected?

Tony
I’m actually not sure how it went for other books — all I can really vouch for is GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS and BLUE BEETLE. On New Guardians, I tended to focus very much on Kyle and Ganthet, where my editor Pat McCallum was always pushing for me to flesh out the other members of Kyle’s team. I think the result was better than each of us anticipated, as NEW GUARDIANS has been filled with big moments and we have lots of new things to reveal about the various Corps in the upcoming issues. In fact, that “New” in “New Guardians” is something we always strive to play up in the series. As for BLUE BEETLE, the focus was to make Jaime’s relationship with his armor more adversarial. It’s a war of wills between Jaime and his alien armor, and the harder it is for him, the more drama and conflict we can get from his book.

David
As it stands now is the New 52 a permanent fixture?

Tony
Yeah, I think this is here to stay. It’s been a pretty big success, and I think the DCU is more interesting now than it’s been in over 20 years.

David
Ten years into the future what are things going to be like at DC?

Tony
That’s the magic question, but it’s also tied up in “what will comics be like in 10 years?” Will we be reading mostly digital comics? What’s going to happen to publishing in general? I know the DC heroes will be around in one form or another, but I don’t really know what the comics will be like. It’s both scary and thrilling.

*Suddenly a group of fanboys wearing GL t-shirts way too small for them rush me from behind. After a traumatizing moment I am precariously returned.

David
The GL fans will crucify me if I don’t ask the biggest question that’s on their minds: Why did the Green Lantern movie suck?

Tony
I honestly don’t think it sucked, but it didn’t succeed the way Nolan’s Batman movies did, either. I think it’s hard to understand how hard it is to get all the elements to come together on a hundred-million-dollar movie, much less on a comic book. And I wasn’t behind the scenes on the movie, so I don’t have any secret insights on it. Mostly, I think it was a learning experience and it set the stage for what would almost certainly be a better sequel. I think back to Star Trek the Motion Picture, and how Wrath of Khan was so much better once they’d gotten the kinks out on their maiden voyage. That’s my hope for Green Lantern — that a Sinestro-centric follow-up would kick galactic ass. And I thought Ryan Reynolds was great as Hal. Love to see him and Mark Strong return as Hal and Sinestro.

David
So if a future GL movie were left in your hands what would you do?

Tony
Eep. I guess I just answered that. Do the Sinestro Corps War. 90 minutes of cosmic warfare showcasing the wonderful multiplicity of both Corps.

David
Outside of the stellar work you’ve done with Green Lantern there are numerous titles you’ve given to us. You brought back The Wrath for Batman! But what are you doing now and what are we going to be seeing from you in the coming year?

Tony
Still on NEW GUARDIANS and BLUE BEETLE for the time being, but I’m discussing other projects with the folks at DC Editorial. It’s too soon to say if that will man any changes or additions to my workload. Mostly, I’m thrilled to be part of the DC family at this time. And if Geoff ever gets tired of writing Aquaman, that’s an assignment I’d love to tackle!

*The music of AC/DC’s “Back in Black” is coming from my pocket. I answer my cell. There’s a long pause, then I say, “You tell Mr. Trump he will get interviewed when I am good and ready.”

David
Sorry, Tony. I’m gonna have to take this call. Celebrities! Oh, and thanks for the interview and the many years of happiness you’ve brought to us all.

**Be sure to check out GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS #4 coming out this week from writer Tony Bedard!