Jeff got a chance to sit down and chat with Marvel writer Al Ewing about his new series Empyre, Immortal Hulk, and so much more!
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Here you go listeners, the transcript for today. ~ Steve The Robot
Al Ewing – Interview
[00:00:00] Al Ewing: hello
Jeff Haas: listeners. Let’s pool our country today. We have a very special guest, the author of modal Hawker and gardens, the galaxy, mr. Al Ewing. How’s it going, mr. Yang?
Al Ewing: I’m doing good. Thank you. how things are you?
Jeff Haas: Things are going okay. How things in the UK with what’s going on in the world right now?
Al Ewing: well, that’s a whole topic. we, not dealing with it super well. I don’t think, we’ve got a candor. I think the government were quite slow getting started. So we’ve got quite a very high rate of, we’ve got a very high rate of deaths, compared to the rest of Europe. So obviously that’s not ideal.
And then, we’ve got Brexit coming up as well, which, you know, you’d think they might. factor in, the fact that we’re in a global pandemic. but no, so yeah, you know, it’s another, it’s been another wonderful year with the Tory government.
Jeff Haas: I mean, I’m obviously from this side of the ocean, unfortunately I guess we don’t follow what’s going on in the UK.
Quite close [00:01:00] enough. I was on, I was under the impression. Yeah, that’s true. I was on the impression that Brexit was almost fixed. I mean, solved or however
Al Ewing: what’s kind of being sold as like we’re past the point of no possible return on it. It’s not nice. I think to be honest, that was sort of true from the, there was this thing where I think in many ways that was true from the, from the vote.
And we kind of had an opportunity to get a very clean, I guess, a sort of cleaner and more simple one, but like, Or on, they’re not clean and simple. That’s not the right word. A more, intelligible. Yeah. Yeah. Well, one the one that would involve, basically not sort of crashing out of Europe without any sort of deal at all, which is, I think what the people currently in power want, because they’ll make a lot of money out of it.
which is pretty much the abiding. You know, the abiding reason why, the right [00:02:00] wing in British politics do anything is for money and power.
Jeff Haas: so I found most interesting about Brexit when it first was happening. When I first learned of it was that after the vote for Brexit, the most common search was what is Brexit in England?
It sounds so American.
Al Ewing: I mean, that I think was when. I think British does a strain of British exceptionalism where I’m, we’re seeing it a lot now where basically, you know, there are people my age walking around acting like they personally won the second world war. There are like, yeah, there are people who are basically, I mean, maybe don’t mind, maybe like five or 10 years older, but like, you know, I’m sort of early gen X, I think, but.
Yeah, basically, we have this strain of, I think the American strain of exceptionalism is quite examined. I think the British strain of exceptionalism [00:03:00] is very unexamined. It’s like, we don’t like to think about how crap we are, unless it’s in a kind of. In a very jokey way. It’s like the British self depreciation is a way of avoiding our faults and our flaws.
And I mean, I say British, I’m really talking about the English. I mean, certainly, Scotland is very annoyed with us. whales are starting to realize that, you know, we’re going to leave them high and dry, Ireland obviously. Well, Ireland is very comfortably in the EU. but they do share a border with Northern Ireland who are, I dunno, going to have some problems.
this could end up breaking up the union. I don’t think that’s off the table, so yeah. You know, that’s a whole thing. I mean, that
Jeff Haas: would be seismic that happened.
Al Ewing: It would be, but it’s the thing is Scotland had a referendum of their own [00:04:00] some years ago, too, on whether they should, leave Britain or stick around.
And, basically, they ended up voting to stick around. And one of the, one of the big reasons, that was given that they should do that. Is to get, I think the benefits of being in the ICU, I dunno, I think that’s right. I mean, it’s, I’m a, probably got this completely wrong, but certainly it’s certainly the case that being dragged out of the EU as part of the union that is Britain.
it’s not going down. Well, it’s gotten, it’s not going down well with any of the member nations except England. So, but yeah, that was that referendum. I remember thinking at the time that like, you know, obviously I didn’t have a vote on it. I wasn’t living in Scotland, but like, I remember thinking at the time that nobody could really blame them for wanting to get away and it would leave us.
You know, the rest of the country in, a [00:05:00] very deep hole because we would, without the Scottish left, we would be very much stuck with, the English. Right. You have a serious amount of control over, the media. but which, I mean, if you’ve seen, if you see British newspapers, particularly English, newspapers.
if you’ve seen British TV, I know my American friends, got to experience that when they came over for the blue bubble convention and leaves and they were horrified as well, it might be because it is terrible. And a lot of it is this sort of, this weird kind of propaganda thing. It’s like, it’s all, it’s so property porn and like, this weird sort of these weird cop shows from like various different branches.
as in, you know, following the police around on their GTS, I like
Jeff Haas: cops here probably.
Al Ewing: Yeah. Like we’ve got about like, I want to say somewhere in the region of [00:06:00] 20 different versions of cops. Holy shit. I’m one of them is playing on British TV at all times. Damn. I don’t think, I don’t think that’s a huge exaggeration.
I think anyone, I think if you, if I were to turn on the TV and like go through the freebie channels, you know, I could find, cops. Or like our version, perhaps. So like border patrol or like, Oh, there’s a great, there’s a show called can’t pay question, Mark. We’ll take it away. And that’s taken us around like sympathetic bailiffs.
There’s a new one just coming out, like that’s, making the job center, you know, really look really kind and sympathetic. And this is like the department of, You know, this is the, I mean the job center.
I don’t even, can we start at that end of things.
Jeff Haas: I mean, did, after Brexit and the vote did occur, I think back to what was going on in our country with Asali Trump and just going with that, and the idea of the outcome was a large part due to low information [00:07:00] voters who were not paying attention. And it seems like Breslin was the same thing.
Al Ewing: does a personality politics involved, certainly.
Jeff Haas: is there any indication that the English people learn from that or maybe became more involved?
Al Ewing: I think the, I think what happened is that there was an expectation on the left by not even, I’m not even talking about like the dull left, I’m talking about the sort of center left.
Yeah, but there was an expectation that, and you know, it’s a nice narrative. it’s one that, I certainly, you know, there were certainly days when I allowed myself to be kind of, you know, seduced by it, this narrative that like. All you have to do is like give people the facts, get fickle, like the right argument.
And like, you can debate your way out of it. And, you know, we can just reverse it. And I saw her in the aftermath of the Trump election, you know, all those tweet threads, you know, it’s time for some game theory. if we just like, look at the voting machines, if we just do this, we just do that.
We can make it unhappen we can make it [00:08:00] go away. We can make this not us. And it’s like, I think basically the Tory landslide of 2019. And this was after, you know, I wasn’t expecting it because this was after 2017 where they called an election loss seat. It’s but you know, they were playing a very different game this time and the game, I guess, the left, you know, that’s, I mean, I don’t want to re relitigate.
The 2010 election again, but it was a landslide and it basically put the nail in the coffin of any dreams of the, you know, the great British public, not wanting Brexit. Yeah. And like, yeah, they want it and they don’t really care how it happens. And we are heading towards. Some extremely cold at times.
Yeah. I think the last thing I think the last thing I heard on the news was that they’re planning for like water shortages. [00:09:00] it’s yeah. It’s going to happen. The bad version is going to happen. The people who want it to make a lot of money out of it are going to make an awful lot of money out of it.
Maybe Steve Bannon won’t because, you know, Yeah, the prison. but you know, the people on the British and, we have a long history of protecting people who should be in prison from going to prison. if they’re the right kind of people,
Jeff Haas: Oh, that’s definitely same here as well. I do find that the left, which is I do put myself in that category as being a leftist.
We always have this fantasy, that things will be played fairly. And I think we keep getting shocked by the fact that it’s not every single time or we’re like Charlie Brown every time we think this time we’ll play the game fair. We’ll argue a good points. We’ll make the best argument. We’ll win.
We keep forgetting that. No, that’s not the game that we’re actually playing here.
Al Ewing: we’re suckers for the, and young, you know, I say we, I mean me, but it’s [00:10:00] like. There’s a certain sector of the left and I’m in, I’m increasingly disillusioned, but like, certainly I’ve been part of it where like we’re suckers for like a decorum narrative.
this idea that if when nice people we’ll see and it’s like, you don’t, I want to become at the same time, Dara, the century sectors of. I think this is certainly true in Britain. There’s this idea that if we become enough, like the people who are winning, then we will win and that’s, and we’re worried about what we have won and what we do with victory after that point.
And so with, with new labor, You know, that ended up, it was like the first big labor victory after, after a decade of federalism and like, and more, and, you know, John made her after her and, [00:11:00] and you know, it wasn’t, I think it was, it was 1997 that happened. And that was like, so like a vast.
And we’re probably in the middle of a similar sway of, of Tory time now. And, you know, know what’s happened, but like, yeah, it was like, Oh, we’ve won things. Things are gonna get better. But like, it was a very different kind of party that one and like polygamy is a little worried about it.
I dunno, there’s you hear a lot about electoral ism and like, what is electable? And the definition of that seems to change. We seem to give away so much in terms of, in the quest to become electable and it’s sly.
I don’t know, there’s in the back of my mind. There’s always that thing of like, okay, who are you going to?
[00:12:00] Who are you going to stab in the back in order to like, put your person in?
Jeff Haas: Yeah.
Al Ewing: And it’s tough because it’s like, we re you know, I can’t really imagine a future. I can’t really imagine what the future will be, at the end of the current story and I’m leaving other countries out of it, but I can’t imagine what the future will be at the end of the current story period of power, because we have elections like roughly every five years.
And we just had one, you know, when not, we’re not going to be in a position for a while where we can think about electability. Or like what getting elected would mean or what it would take or what it would need. The conservatives are going to have a lot of time to push that window. So, sorry. Is
Jeff Haas: there a cure for this in your opinion, that are let’s say [00:13:00] a way to solve it in a way that will be equitable for
Al Ewing: just
Jeff Haas: people, the society.
Al Ewing: I dunno, the best. I don’t really have. If I was, you know, if I had these answers I’d, criminal Jovan become a politician. no, I, the only thing that occurs is maybe, yeah, I don’t know if this is another narrative that a swipe me. but there’s a phrase from situation ism. That keeps occurring to me, which has be reasonable demand, the impossible.
And I feel like, there are things we have been told that we cannot ask for. And every time there’s a new election cycle. More and more as added to that list. like, you know, we can’t, it’s ridiculous to even think about asking for [00:14:00] say, working universal, basic income, certainly in Britain, why we have a culture, we developed a culture since, the, certainly of the past, since the welfare state of the, Of times past we’ve, we’ve developed this culture where like, if you’re taking anything from the state, it’s all, you’re some sort of evil scrounger and you need to be kind of, you know, it’s the whole, you know, you’re stealing from the government.
If you get any benefits from it at all. and like, right, right now, I feel like the NHS has the last holdout against that kind of mentality. But even that it’s like, you’re constantly getting things about how obese people are like a drain on the NHS and you know, how dare you, as opposed to like how dare you have an illness, how dare you be a drain on our wonderful NHS.
Jeff Haas: No someone who is a creator and an artist, do you find that [00:15:00] your, that you can have a voice in, or input your politics and voice into your work as a way to influence? Or do you find
Al Ewing: that? I don’t believe it’s possible not to, I don’t believe you can create something and not have your worldview shape it in some way.
and that’s especially true in the genre I work in, which is this genre full of these big, giant metaphors and like, these kinds of tales of, these tales of heroism, these tales of sort of, that are kind of not to get all, you know, super as a stories are like the modern myths kind of thing, because yeah.
You know, we had that conversation in the seventies and it was a little dirty then, but like, there is that metal heavy metaphorical element that it’s basically, I don’t think you can work in that genre. I don’t believe you can sort of have those conversations without. [00:16:00]
without bringing your personal worldview, which includes your politics into it. I think even making the conscious decision that I will make this thing less political in this thing, and that’s a decision I’ve made, but that in itself, you know, choosing not to talk about things is itself a political decision.
You can’t get away from it. So like the idea of, I don’t think people are finding this. I think I’m more and more writers in comics are starting to find that they can’t kind of escape from themselves. They can’t get away from themselves. And I’d almost go as further thing. and I’ve said this in response to people asking, you know, Why am I political in my work?
I think, you know, even in terms of like politically my work, I’m very far from being as political. Yeah. There’s a lot of people in this business. Yeah. I have a certain level and I’ve reached it and sometimes I go further in and [00:17:00] sometimes I don’t, but like I’m whatever I’m doing. I give like a hundred percent of myself to the work, you know, even if I’m like, Even if that’s damage control and I’m like giving a hundred percent of myself to it.
And I think as soon as you say, Oh, I don’t want to bring myself to the work. you know, that’s making a decision and it’s a decision that’s gonna affect what you do. And I suspect it’s effective for the worse, So, yeah, I guess, I guess that’s kind of, and I’ve never really, I don’t feel like I’ve had people, tell me, I can’t, I don’t feel like I’ve had people tell me I can’t do stuff.
I feel like I’ve managed to sort of
just like do stuff. it’s been fine. for the most part,
Jeff Haas: it does seem like one of the big controversies has been in comics for a while. Obviously, due to things [00:18:00] like comments, gate is idea that whether or not comics are political or not political. And I’m thinking to myself from the history of comic books, every comics are like every art, they are inherently political.
You can’t separate art from someone’s political views. They’re hand in hand because what is someone’s art is that person and that person is someone it has views.
Al Ewing: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, I’m not. You know, I’m pretty sure everyone could, like, I’m pretty sure people could like, look at what I was saying. And like, you know, the first 20 minutes of this and like pick it apart and like, you know, debate me and all of this stuff and it’s but this is, I don’t know.
It’s always been the case that people have brought what they thought. to the world, like, I kind of consider what I do for Marvel for the most part. And it was very, at first I kind of brought a lot of my, my 2000 ID influences to it in terms of like the form and the kind of, [00:19:00] and the density of it.
but I am pretty influenced by like, the six. Which were very, they were quite an outspoken time. the writers working at Marvel in the seventies where you didn’t have people like Steve Gerber and Steve Engelhart. And they were very much treating superheroes as metaphorical entities.
And basically telling stories about the world as they saw it through the lens of these characters. and the, you know, you got the impression that like, even in the seventies, there were people who were, Very interested in, you know, continuity and what happens when you smash this piece of the puzzle against this piece.
And that’ll be interesting, but you’ve also got this deep sense of like, okay, what’s going out with what’s going on in the world is given me these feelings. I’m going to write like captain America, like for him down his costume, [00:20:00] I’m going to write like the president of the United States shooting himself in the oval office because.
You know, his schemes have come apart. Yeah. That’s incredible. At the time, you know, you had in the eighties, you had Reagan turning into a giant steak. Remember that the cover of that, the biggest snake of all. And it’s like Reagan and silhouette with like council America, looking at him in horror. And it’s like, Oh, well, comics went political in the eighties and that’s like, you know, well,
Jeff Haas: speaking of Steve, ain’t going to heart.
There’s an issue of Google answering core, where he has on the cover kilowatts. Holding the communist flag
Al Ewing: of Russia. that was great. That was like, I remember like reading that and going like, yeah, you know, this is like, this is a fun story because I was very history from American comics, like, you know, a very different, the sort of older way of looking at stuff because you know, it doesn’t kind of paint like, It doesn’t pack communism in them in an amazing light, but it does ask these [00:21:00] questions of like, well, okay, can we, can we say something about this system that light explores questions about it from an alien point of view?
It’s like a. And like, you know, I remember there was that whole, it was in the nineties, people talked about comics and enlightens. It was in the nineties when like Wally West and that Fidel Castro and had a conversation with him, you know, it was in the nineties when like, that whole William Maslowe’s period of the flash, you know, that was the nineties too, you know, the pied Piper coming out, like all of this stuff, you know, that was my nineties don’t know what happened, but that was mine.
Jeff Haas: Yeah. I mean, I, once again, I was in the nineties, I was reading, the real answer, Batman and things of that nature. And I do always think that I like it when comics have big ideas and that they do go into something that is political. I think there’s something that can be learned. If nothing else, you learn a perspective of that possible that not you agree with or not, you get a deeper sense of that [00:22:00] perspective, which is what matters.
Al Ewing: Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that seems like a really kind of a. And it’s not like, you know, it’s not like comics, so short of like other points of view, they never have been, there’s like, there’s a whole, there’s a whole spectrum of people who are writing right now. And I think it’s just like the kind of,
we don’t want to, like, I don’t think giving space to kind of.
These people who are just like, you know, going around, whipping up mobs on Twitter. Yeah. And I,
Jeff Haas: yeah, I agree with him right now. Like
yeah. At this time period, you’re. Perfectly in Marvel, one of the big names and complex right now you’re writing the biggest. Some of the biggest stories are B you’re also, one of the most, again, the most accolades were like mortal Hawk. Do you find that it’s your position to [00:23:00] cause in your being as big as you are right now, you do kind of set the pace for what is in modern comic books right now.
Al Ewing: responsibility. I am getting used to that concept. on the social media, I’m really only on the, one of, sort of the tumbler has been laying dead for like months now I’ve yet to post a single health panel and I will get back to that. I well, but it’s just the idea of kind of sitting down and going through all the health issues and like snipping out panels to post just seems really kind of.
I dunno, I can’t get in that head space right now, but like, so the tumble is kind of, you know, laying fallow. so I’m really just I’m on the Twitter. And I kind of, I try to like retweet a lot of people. I don’t. You know, I’m very occasionally say something in my own voice and it’s like, mostly just like a station identification, but it’s like, I feel like I’ve got, you know, the about it’s about 30 times and Phil is at this [00:24:00] point, I think I’m probably more.
And it’s like, I just feel like that’s a big billboard and I shouldn’t put up, you know, donation pages and like, you know, mostly I’ll just retweet, I’ll retweet a lot of stuff about the tourists, but like, like I try and, you know, retweet stuff, retweet other people. And I dunno, mostly I just Twitter generally.
It’s like how much money do I want to go and say, Jack’s pocket in others as well, but in terms of the work, The text, which is like a kind of see as like that is my job. That is somewhere I can like reach a lot of people. It’s like, again, I don’t, I feel like I’ve got a GT not to shortchange people and not to sort of give them less than my whole self, but there was definitely a thing where like, We outsold Batman.
[00:25:00] And that was a thing. And, you know, yeah, it was a bad week for Hammond. It was a good week for us, whatever, but we also Batman and that was a big thing. And that kind of, it was like, what do we do with that? And we, you know, we were already going to do the big issue, 25, so that was already happening.
And that was based off like, okay, well, we’ve got, you know, we. let’s pitch this and it landed and everybody was kind of interested and excited and was like, okay, how long do you want to make it? How many pages do you want for this? You know, what’s the optimum amount and all this stuff. And like, I dunno.
I just figured if there were a lot of people reading this, we should not play it too safe. It’s like, there’s less of that conversation about like, how do we avoid getting canceled?
And it’s like, there’s less of that sort of, you know, what can we do to I dunno, I don’t feel [00:26:00] like I play things too safe and modernize anyway, but certainly there was like a freedom I felt to do things. I’m like,
I don’t know, even that’s misrepresenting it’s, there’s a thing when it’s like, when you don’t have to worry about the book going away before you’re done, it takes a. It takes a factor out of the factory. And I don’t know, I honestly don’t know how much that affected my decisions to do the things that I’ve done for instance, with McGowan or the, the political stuff.
but I know that it became apparent that was a factor that was not a factor. and I think still enough people are [00:27:00] reading it and digging it and it’s getting enough good press with every issue that we can come to the end of our time. And I can tell my story and tell my story with the ending that I, I would say intended from the original pitch, because I sort of.
I was kind of planning on it being, you know, doing okay for a whole book and instead, you know, it’s done what it’s done. So my plans got kind of, I was, but again, that’s the thing that thing of like, okay, what can I do with this? what’s a number to aim for. That’s not dictated by. How long can we go?
But it’s dictated by what is the optimum length of this story? What is the,
[00:28:00] yeah, what is not going to be too, meandering. Cause the hog has a, there are many supers have this tradition of like one person being in charge of it. And then slowly, the bloom comes off their roads and, you know, you can hear it from one point of view and et cetera, it’s all real interference.
And you hear it from another point of view and it’s just like, you can’t have one person in the same place for too long, but like, I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to end just like. Leaving the book and that being an exciting thing.
Jeff Haas: Now, is there an end point for a motor that’s coming up or are we talking years ago?
Al Ewing: Yeah, I’m still not going to, I’m still not going to say when. no worries. I’m still not going to say one that is all low by, you know, people I’ve heard a number and my thinking hasn’t changed. [00:29:00] It might yet. There might. I might like buy, I might, you know, a Thunderbolt might strike me, you know, in the show one morning and I might go, Oh my God, I must have 10 extra issues.
Yeah. I don’t think I could pitch that. And I think we could do it. That’d be a lot of talk about, like, when you say you must have your meetup, because we’re kind of, you know, we’ve been planning on not doing that. but. You know that was rice, the possibility of like a, well, if you want it, you know, it’s not too late, but I think we’re kind of,
I think we’re sort of like a little bit locked in at this point to where we’re going. I am now that, you know,
It’s really hard to talk about this without giving that number away. Yeah. But like, I’ve met things [00:30:00] out and I’m still having ideas for like, Oh man, what if we did this? And that might still add a little extra on it, but like, I don’t want to do a, not round number of issues, which is really like, it’s really, you know, So, you know, I want to do something with dessert on the end or a five.
Oh, you know, you know, it would be true to the hockey spirit of chaos to do like a completely random number of issues and just leave it there. You know, Duke patrol did like 63 or
Jeff Haas: 123, you never know,
Al Ewing: or 123, you know, it’s like, but it’s yeah, there’s that kind of does that thing where I like how I want it to.
We do think in blocks in the superhero game, you know, I know Jonathan Ekman has been making great strides against this, but we do think in blocks of 20 in blocks of, you know, however many issues per trade, half, many [00:31:00] trades per run. And it’s like, we do get locked into that. and that does go to thinking a little bit.
Jeff Haas: The Hawk right now is definitely having, probably one of the most unprecedented strings of success that I’ve seen with, especially with the call character in a long time,
Al Ewing: I’ve stopped looking at the sales. Well, I look when we outsold Batman and I thought that’s it. I’m never looking again. Well,
Jeff Haas: just, not just the sale, but the awards.
I mean, in 2019, you get the Eisner award for best ongoing series.
Al Ewing: we didn’t get their awards. We just got nominated.
Jeff Haas: So there were damn wrong. It’s
Al Ewing: very nice. It’s very nice. no. It’s amazing. It’s great. the thing is like, I’d love, but it’s like, it’s so nice just to be nominated and that, so that’s really been amazing.
Sorry. that’s a lot. Wasn’t at all.
Jeff Haas: no worries. So I guess to the point to talk to, because [00:32:00] like I said, Hawk has been at probably at this top level since maybe even planted Hawk, which I guess tiny hooks now is what? 10, 15 years old maybe. But, what is the key then to make it Hawk work for your audience?
Al Ewing: Well, I don’t know. We’ve, we’re working on theories. We’ve got a few, I’ve got a couple of theories about how it started. I think a strong start is definitely part of it and, well, I’ve almost done that kind of control that experiment when I, to guardians because that started with a two parter.
And, but I was trying to do that sort of that introductory issue. They kind of set out the stool a little bit, but I ended on a cliffhanger and then, you know, what it, what guardians didn’t do, was the thing that immortal, hugged dead, which is the first issue, the second issue and the third issue, Darryl, number one.
In that you can pick one up and you don’t have to have read the ones before. And it’s just [00:33:00] like, yeah, this is a hole. Here it is a tongue. You know, here’s the tone, here’s the setup. Here’s the situation. And we don’t stop putting in two potters. And so four and five, which were going to be the end of the first tray.
so issue four is the first real cliffhanger. and then I think issue four just did like really well, but I think that was probably like word of mouth from the first three. so yeah, we kind of built up a strong start. I think the jaws issued the judge. The Jo’s issue is huge that Joseph’s, she had a 40 token, people really liked the Avengers fight.
I dunno that kind of, that felt like the. Very traditional. But the thing where people were really jumping on it was like after the hell arc, which is this very kind of dense, esoteric, it’s very political in places it’s quite, you know, it’s going to list stuff. It’s going to list this. This were used up because we kind of, We wanted to give Joe a bit of a break. so he could do the whole thing. [00:34:00] so I came up with this thing of like the black and white panels and the sort of the weird lecture from this voice that we learn is like the Meditron at the end of time.
you know, we’re coming back to that, but like, yeah, basically I was expecting that to like drop readers, like, you know, originally that was like, that was the end of the first page. I was like, Okay, will do so. and so, and then, you know, I’ll get here and we’ll have lost all our readers, this great story.
I know no readers really dug it. And then the one that did really well, Bob, an issue 15, was like a big peak. I think that might have been, I don’t know if that was like the outside issue. But like, [00:35:00] or if that came later with like, cause 19 was insane that, but like 15 is basically a conversation with doc Samson.
With one of the big political rants from the, the big political speeches I should say.
Right, right. and it’s. I dunno. I dunno how much of it is, like, based on, I get a lot of questions about like, what would you say that canonical first appearance of this is? Or, you know, cause like we’re kind of, we’ve been doing a lot of, I try and make sure there’s a new monster every so often because I know that we’ve got one coming up.
We’ve got a lot of stuff coming out. I we’ve really far ahead at the minute. I’m just in the middle of doing, dialogue and it’s a little, it’s running a little light because, which is rum reason. I’m going to have to stop us early, but [00:36:00] like, it’s running a little late because I had a massive word processor crash yesterday, which.
Eight, a whole day’s work. So that’s Microsoft word, everybody. well, but that’s how far we’re head right now is, you know, doing Delek for like issue 41. And what just hit the stands is a thing. Issue 36. Yeah. I guess that’s not that probably doesn’t sound that far ahead. But it’s, you know, Yeah, it feels far out.
Jeff Haas: Well, just one more real quick. I know you were trying to tell me, I have one more question about the blog
Al Ewing: another half hour or so.
Jeff Haas: Alright cool. yeah, cause if you want to get to your new title as well. but, the first question, with the Hawk I wanted to ask was. One of the best things about your Hawks areas.
At least in my opinion, someone who does enjoy, psychology, everything, and, definitely a symbolism things. A metaphor is your world. Part of the Hawk series. You go deep into the mind of the Hawk with Bruce banner, everything like [00:37:00] that. And the question I had on that is when you’re running those parts, Are you thinking about the main series first and then in then inputting the inner world parts as kind of the what’s happening symbolically of everything’s happening or are you running it on the symbolic parts and then try and figure out what would be happening that represents that?
Al Ewing: I kind of wrote it altogether. I tend to treat the inner world as a. Like a location. I mean, what, what brought that on was for like, I think the first half of the series we had everything, we didn’t have them talk. We had everything kind of, we had everything happened in the mirrors and then, you know, we, I tried it out for the venom tie-in and that really works.
And I was like, Oh, and then I was doing every soft and I go and. I sort of refresh my research. And so I was looking at [00:38:00] like, writings by people with a dissociative identity disorder, because I was trying to, you know, I’ve been, I’ve been trying to take that very seriously as a condition that, you know, Bruce banner as a system has.
And I think that’s really helped the. You have a progression of like, Oh, let’s have the Savage hall come out for a bit. And then it was like, Oh, let’s have Joe fix. It came out in Venice body. And then it was, well, let’s keep them around because you know, for people being the Hulk is more his thing than two people been in the hole.
And that was around when I was really like looking into. Well, okay. if I’m going to do this, I better get this right. and I was doing a lot of research, but part of the more recent research was basically, people with dissociative identity disorder. And it’s not everybody, but, people do have these [00:39:00] inner worlds.
Which, and, you know, because it’s bricks band around the Hoke, ours is like this, the mad landscape, which has kind of like a, it’s been a sort of tradition of his mindscape since like, you know, the Peter David era, but like, yeah, it was bringing in. Bring in that sort of, I felt like that sort of gave me permission to really explore that because with so many homes together, it’s like one side had them talk in the venom tine.
It was like, there’s no way we can keep doing this without having them in conversation. I don’t know. I think, especially with what we’re doing, which, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna to what’s up coming, but it kind of requires, it’s going to require more scenes in the mindscape. [00:40:00] So like, seminary was almost like a dry run of that, of like, okay, what does, what is Brisbane is mind skin look like, you know, what’s the, What are we, you know, we’ve had a number of different artists had to go have a go at it. Now, I think we’ve yet to see, in print we’ve yet to see Joe’s version. So that’s coming, so, yeah, but it’s, I mean, to answer your question, that’s basically, I do kind of think of it almost as a location and I kind of allow, I think at this point I sort of allow a fairly free hand in terms of the, in terms of the symbolism for it.
For the artists and go Joe specially, we both be working on this for so long that I can basically, you know, I can sort of,
how about like a rough idea of, you know, what the mindscape is like, and he will add details to it that are just, you know, perfect [00:41:00] details. And I don’t have to kind of. That can sort of inform me a little bit
Jeff Haas: and, well, I will say I’m definitely loving what you’ve done with the Hawk. I’ve never been a regular fan of buying the hall convicts until your run, which I think has been extraordinary.
And I am going to, I know we are trying times I am gonna move on to your new upstairs in just a minute, but I did want to ask one garden galaxy question. Cause it’s my favorite character. Is there any chance beta Ray bill will show up back in gardens the galaxy on the team.
Al Ewing: no, well maybe it depends on factors, but it’s like, right.
Bill, I think right now is doing some business in the Thor run. we’re kind of, I think we’re sort of, I think with guardians. Does both this thing of like no space, character is really off limits to us, but there’s also this thing of like who we want to concentrate on. And I kind of with betray bill, my personal [00:42:00] feeling.
And so this isn’t editorially mandated. This is me. my personal feeling is. I like him better as a Thor character than as a Guardian’s character. And that is incredibly hypocritical of me considering calculators now on the team. Yes, it’s. Okay. You know, I have my whims.
Jeff Haas: But that’s a fair women later.
I’m just a big fan of beta Ray bill. And I always find that he’s an underused character. I’m
Al Ewing: not sure. I agree with that.
Jeff Haas: I’m not sure he’s good at it. I’m not sure how you’d be as a main character of his own series, but I always feel he’s a great character to guest in any given storyline.
Al Ewing: Sorry. I just like something.
So no worries. No worries. Cool. Me too.
Jeff Haas: It’s okay. we’ll move on anyways. So tell me about, we only find them when they’re dead. How did that come about and why? Boom.
[00:43:00] Al Ewing: Well, yeah, basically, I had the idea a while back, the basic idea of these vast dead space guards kind of, You know, drifting out from the Gulf, seeing the galaxies and this tiny little fleet of, all substance ships that would basically like take them apart for, you know, meat and remodels.
And I guess if I had to point to one particular influencer and tested them for that, it had been a JG Ballard story. I think it’s called the giant. and it’s about this vast giant who washes up on the shore of a community. And then the story is just basically him rolling down and, you know, the locals like first reverence, and it all.
And then, you know, by the end, I mean, you know, that’s like children play on the big decomposing corpse and like, you [00:44:00] know, the seagulls go at it. And by the end, it’s not even a curiosity. It’s just ignored this big kind of skeleton on the beach. I think it might, I can’t remember if it’s disposed of or if they just leave it.
but I think there’s a time frame of like a week, but yeah, and. I guess while I was doing in the aftermath doing like ultimate and kind of having a crack at these big cosmic characters that was sort of, you know, I was thinking a lot about that and a lot about a lot of the things that have sort of come up in hope does, there’s stuff about theology and the other stuff about, you know, The search for meaning that sort of keeps coming up.
But that was kind of the thinking I was having. I was having some trouble, basically finding an artist for it. and what happened with boom was, [00:45:00] They were able to, they were able to sort of, put me together with, some Simona who I had worked with before and was like exactly the person for this. And I knew he was good to work with because I’d done, you know, I’d done that whole thing with him. And I’d also, there was like, it was a way to kind of, to have an editorial team in place to have like, certain structures in place.
I know it’s not like it’s not the same. Thing as an image series, but like this thing I think is what we needed. and I think there were a few people who were sort of going to bring for that because, you know, you’ve got things like, you know, there’s things like monster feature, you know, John day’s went out through boom, That was like on a run North when he was getting started.
He did, that was a great big series that he did. I it’s, yeah, [00:46:00] so yeah, I don’t, I mean, I’m kind of. I think the reason, you know, wide boom is a question I’ve been up in us before. And the reason I guess, would be because like labor, the people who are going to do it, and it’s a, White’s a sort of, and it’s a way to get it done.
It’s the way to get it done and get it out loud. I’m like,
It’s they’ve been really good. Like, they’ve been really good at like, being in place, to help it. I don’t, you know, I don’t think like, I don’t think there’s sort of, you know, one way of doing,
I don’t think that’s like just the one way of doing like your sort of current answers. it’s I dunno. it’s like, it seemed, it [00:47:00] seems kind of, it’s a slightly strange question in that. You know, I’ve never sort of asked why Marvel, although that’s probably, you know, that’s probably more relevant to like who I am and how I write, you know, why Marvel, why this set of characters.
but I guess that’s, you know, that’s as good an answer as I have, is because if it wasn’t coming out through, boom, it probably wouldn’t be coming out. is, yeah. Which is a, probably some terrible admission of failure, you know, a mental, like birth feast things from the burning cauldrons of our brains.
And like, just give them life. I don’t know. It’s not always, it’s not always that easy and, you know, boom showed an extra center and a, and that word is here. I know it’s going to be good. And then I just saw an advanced review today. That’s like, [00:48:00] people are definitely getting from it, what I wanted to lay down.
and people are appreciating, you know, as the tone of it. So yeah, I’m glad it exists. so I don’t know if it would.
Jeff Haas: So the series, blend science fiction with kind of metaphysics and also some theology from my understanding of reading the, the stories. So how H how high brow would you say the series is?
Like, if you had to consider the audience, are you talking like a teen audience or this going high brow older, a little more like vertigo,
Al Ewing: teens could read it and it does get a little, it does get a little spicy. As we go. but it all in the best possible taste, it’s in terms of how high it is. the seventies, new wave SF, the yeah.
Seventies, new wave science fiction. That’s the [00:49:00] kind of, that’s probably the area. I would feel, you know, very sort of honor to have it placed in that kind of, and you know, it’s not a time that has gone. There’s a lot of new science fiction coming out now. that’s very much in that wheelhouse, in that, in that area.
but basically, Yeah, that’s, that’d be the kind of thing that kind of, so quite highbrow more, you know, it’s not like it’s not a popcorn thing. it’s not a blockbuster. it is something you meant to sort of sit with and digest and read slowly and like enjoy the art and, You know, enjoy, like, think about it.
Yeah. There might be people, there might be people who like, who read issue one and they’re like, Oh, this isn’t what I thought it would be. And there might be people who wish to read issue on and thing. Oh, this exactly what I thought it would be. depending on which bits [00:50:00] of my whole day, like.
So it’s definitely this whole eyebrow was the mobile health is
Jeff Haas: well, like I said, I’m finding the concept of the series. Fascinating. One of the thing I thought was really interesting is, so as in the story, you have the existence of considered gods. Most of them are dead, but I know your main character captains look marvelously for on the live one.
And I was thinking to myself, The existence of the idea of the discovery of these gods must have been a massive impact on this society, which story takes place. And I was wondering one, do you see how deep do you go into the impact of that discovery and to would the old faiths to the old taste tends to exist in a world where there’s actually actual guide that someone can say, Hey,
Al Ewing: we, well, certainly we’re a first August set is like, I think we’re, I think we’re setting, I think it probably will be staying here is like right out at the edge of the galaxy in a mining community, [00:51:00] that became like an autopsy community.
And so for the first, certainly the first couple of years, we got a good look at this thing and it’s very like, there’s no much time for the big questions. There’s not much time for kind of, Investigate. It’s almost left to the reader to sort of formulate this stuff at first, apart from captain Malik, who is like, you know, thinking bigger, but, as we go, book two and book three of this very much planned to get into stuff like that.
So. Yeah, we will be going there. maybe not in the exact way you suspect, but definitely we’ll be kind of exploring, you know, the gods as gods and what calling them gods means and the kind of, you know, all of these questions of that nature.
Jeff Haas: So your main characters, captain [00:52:00] Malik, and he’s searching for a living version of this guy because before him and all the guys I met from what I’ve read have been found that are dead.
So is Malik and naturalistic person is he is our prophet and finding a living God, is that he’s trying to solve a big questions for himself.
Al Ewing: What, like, what’s his deal? I mean, I think it’s more the third one he’s attempting to, He’s not that offer us that he’s attempting to, find this for himself.
but his reasoning, we’re getting towards reasons. We’re getting into the why of it as we go, you know, we’re going into what he’s looking for, all of these things and, yeah, eventually, Yeah. Eventually we’ll get like right inside his head and we’ll have his, you know, we’ll see if we’ll see if it’s the right reason.
Plus if, you know, if, what he’s, if what he’s doing is right, or if it’s wrong, I don’t think it should be a, it’s not immediately obvious. he’s quite a selfish man in many ways. [00:53:00] but yeah, the heart of it is like attempting to answer this question, these questions, attempting to find this kind of meaning, this meaning behind existence and that’s sort of something I kind of try to get into a lot in my other work.
It’s like, the thing I get a lot of on social media, like a lot more than other people. And I suspect I don’t even, I, inside the point where I suspect it might be trolling, but I get a lot of questions asking me to put, these big cosmic characters into exact hierarchies, like who can beat, who can arm wrestle them, who is more powerful than a view, you know, oblivion.
Ugh. I hate him. He’s like this guy with a tablecloth for a face to everyone asked me if like, Oh, can so and so beat him can so, and so, you know, and it’s like, it’s fair enough. these are fascinating questions in [00:54:00] for a certain definition. Fascinating. I’m. Interested in whether captain Merck beat Batman on, you know, I remember the old mobile seekers role playing game.
I wanted to know who was up in like the shifts table and the, like the classic thousand. I wanted to know who was up there, who was even bigger, you know what, like that was part of the fascination of these big cosmic characters. So like I get it, I get the whole, I know even get the pedal boats thing.
We’re like, you know, who would win in this? And it’s like using textual evidence, but also using whatever answers you’ve been able to Badger out of some writer on social media. Yeah. Yeah. Apparently that’s evidence as well. God knows why. it’s not a comic. But like, and you know, this has been, I’m bellyaching a little here.
I’m poking a little fun, but I did get it. And I do understand, but at the same time, it’s not the game I’m playing. It’s not like, it’s not what I want to do. I’m trying to [00:55:00] talk about the I’m using these cosmic characters are like meth, as kind of metaphors for logic questions and sort of I’m really going at it in that seventies way.
You know, nobody when Jim’s stolen or invented thoughtless. I don’t think he was inventing a character who could like, beat on man who could lock arm wrestling. I think he wanted to, he was lucky at something bigger than that. when, you know, when like, Steve Ditco on Stanley. Yeah. Accredited Tennessee.
They were like, Yeah, they weren’t thinking in terms of like, Oh, this is the guy who’s gonna punch Galactus. That’s yeah, it wasn’t, what’s done. The inject could be credit Galactus. They will literally attempt, you know, they were trying to find a metaphor for God. And it’s like, does this whole thing of like, this was, these are the tools as superhero comic writers.
[00:56:00] it’s like, you’ve kind of got a choice of like, either your, easier just putting these toys up against one another, or like you’re using these tools, this, the genre, and sort of accepting. You know, the accepting the pretentious of the pretentiousness of that, like biting the bullet of like all on the, kind of the ridiculousness of using like these, you know, these movie superheroes to like to ask these questions and then going and asking them anyway, because otherwise, what are we doing?
You know, what’s the point.
Jeff Haas: Which would be, I’m talking about when you mentioned earlier, the idea that was pushing this cut to the seventies idea of these characters that the modern mythology that isn’t mythology is used for is to get used characters from a storyline to help people approach and ask and maybe, and play out these questions in their [00:57:00] minds in a way that they couldn’t approach in any other way.
Al Ewing: And I think you have to enter this kind of almost the study of double think where you’re both. Aware of the filings of the genre and like the, the fallibility of the superheroes as, that like, yeah, these are sort of, these are these characters owned by, you know, they’re owned by corporations that are owned by like these big mega corporations at this point.
The, you know, there’s only so much white, you can put on them. But at the same time, if you know, if you use them as a lens, you can get into some interesting territory. You can get into some interesting space and it’s like, I feel like you can get, you have to have a certain level of cynicism.
Otherwise you end up, losing track of yourself or like losing track of, you know, your tether to solid ground. but [00:58:00] at the same time, yeah, none of these characters, they’re a really useful lens to ask some interesting questions and some big and strange questions and sort of add to delve into like, it’s not even mythology, it’s poetry to delve into the sort of poetry of the, Which is why I’m not good at answering these sort of who would be who questions because it’s like asking, you know, with the plums and the William Carlos Williams poem, the, you know, the shells that Molly and Megan May found on the C in the comics poem.
It’s like, that’s the level it’s that it’s like that, you know, that’s not the question worth asking. Right.
Jeff Haas: And it would be pretty unquantifiable. I mean, at some point you have so much power that it’s Unquiet quantifiable.
Al Ewing: I mean, this is what I go back to that and that, and definitely author of the, two of my two answers on that.
It’s like at a certain point, that question is unanswerable. And also, you know, take your evidence from the text, take your evidence from this tapestry of [00:59:00] like dozens and dozens of writers. you know, do whatever you have to like find your answers there. you can’t get any decent textual evidence from a tweet, you know?
Jeff Haas: is there a benefit, when you’re signed into your own series, is it to allow you to ask the questions or approach the question that may be working within a corporate structure doesn’t allow for you?
Al Ewing: there’s a little more freedom in terms of. I think it’s a little more, does a phrase that I’ve learned that we only have in Britain, which is swings and roundabouts, and it’s, you know, what you, when you get on the swings, you lose on the roundabouts.
there’s, there’s given this take. I think there is more freedom to do somethings, most things affect, What your, but I feel like I have quite a lot of freedom with the corporate cards. I think what you’re giving up. you’re gaining a lot in terms of, I can [01:00:00] take the van man, some money.
We can take the story wherever we want it. we don’t really have to worry too much about sales. I’d hope actually, that’s not true. That’s not true at all. Look a phonograph. that’s a, he has to complete, but like I, you know, we get a lot out of it. we get a lot of like control. We get a lot of, I think we also give things up and that we give up some of the symbolic power.
Because characters do kind of a crew that, for instance, if I was selling this story to Marvel, You know, I could do a story set in the future where, you know, people, autopsy, Galactus, honey, even saying that it’s like, that wouldn’t work, that it turned into a different kind of story instantly very fast.
So that tells you what you get in that the second you bring [01:01:00] a real character. Well, I think to say the second you bring in a character with a lot of history, you, you both get the power of that character that is accrued in all that history, but also that power can kind of overwhelm you in that the character will begin to dictate the root of the story.
So with Hulk, you know, I can tell. exactly the kind of Hulk story I want to tell. It’s still hope story. I couldn’t do this with Spiderman. It could not be done. Immortal. Hulk is a hug story. it’s a type of Hawk story. I don’t believe has been told yet, although it does owe a great deal to the past, which I think is one of the reasons it’s popular, but it’s a whole story.
if I were to do my spice girl autopsy story with Galactus, it’d be a Galactus story. It would pour itself down certain pathways that had, [01:02:00] configure itself in certain shakes. with, we only find them when they’re dead. I don’t have that gravity working on me. I can really, so yeah, when I went, I’m talking about limits, I really feel like the limits from like, editorial lamp.
That feels more like a matter of teamwork. What I do feel the limitations of is the gravity of the characters and the fictional universes and the kind of the pool. And to create my own space is to act entirely without that pulp, you know, and there’s a lot of freedom there, like a lot.
Jeff Haas: So with your, with your new series and when we find out when they’re dead, how is it going to be ongoing?
Is it set up in separate miniseries or like dark RQ is the series
Al Ewing: we have the potential to do more right now. we’re thinking in terms of. [01:03:00] Three arcs, three books, three trades, telling three actors story. And as we go, it’ll become obvious the kind of story we’re telling, it does have the story structure we’re using also has antecedents in.
Science fiction. I feel like it’s a spoiler right now to mention what they are. And I don’t really want to spoil it yet. but like once we told her into our story, we’ll then be in a position where either I know, We’ll be in a position where we can do more if you want. We can do more with just one of us.
like for instance, if I wanted to take a step back and sort of let, let another writer play in the sand boxes, [01:04:00] plural that we establish. with me as a more kind of supervisory figure. cause I know he wants to draw all of it. so it’s less possible to imagine the other way round, but I’m kind of, yeah,
I sort of have my story to tell him that after that I’m going to walk away and like see how I feel, but I’m not averse to. You know, with the idea of like helping other writers out, if like, if we did decide to do that and we might not, but it’s like I have right now, I’m just thinking about the one story, but that’s potential for more, you know, big enough.
it’s really hard to like say how there’s potential for more, without spoiling stuff. But, you know, we’ll get to, we’ll get to the end of that third book and then we’ll have a think and have a look around and decide what to do next. But right now I’m happy with [01:05:00] just the three ads.
Jeff Haas: Well, like I said, it’s the story sounds phenomenal.
The first issue comes out in September, I believe.
Al Ewing: Yeah. I’ve got the exact, I’ve got the exact date down here somewhere. In fact, I know. So not the Internet’s reset itself. That was nice for that. I don’t have the exact date with me. yeah, no, I’ve
Jeff Haas: well, if and when you find it, we’ll insert it into our intro. Yeah,
Al Ewing: no, we’ll, I’ll pull it out. It’s like, Oh God, my, on saying through the, I’m sorry we go. Yeah. On piping, this advance review. What are, I should know. I should know that I shouldn’t, I should have all this back to front. I’m terrible at this. Here we go. September the second I thought for a second, I thought it was that I didn’t want to send in case it wasn’t.
I didn’t want to send people to the shops we girly, but yeah, it’s coming up fast now. It’s a it’s next week. I believe.
[01:06:00] Jeff Haas: Well, it’s it sounds fantastic, sir. And I thank you so much for spending your time talking with me. It would your fashion, any person to talk?
Al Ewing: Oh, thanks. Very much. Yes, I have. Thank you for having me.
Jeff Haas: No problem. And we’ll get back to work and write more and more to Hawk for us.
Al Ewing: Yes, I’ll do that right now.
Jeff Haas: Have a fantastic day, sir. Thank you.
Al Ewing: Thank you.