Spider-Man Action Figures

WWE Action Figures

home


Go Back   NEWSARAMA > FEATURES

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-04-2003, 10:48 AM   #1
MattBrady
 
YOUNGBLOOD-A-TROIS III: BRANDON THOMAS

by Benjamin Ong Pang Kean

Love Rob Liefeld, hate Rob Liefeld, love Youngblood, hate Youngblood, Brandon Thomas is living the dream. An Internet comics columnist at Silver Bullet Comics with nary a comic to his credit, he was selected by Liefeld to script Youngblood: Genesis. Newsarama caught up with Thomas for more on his rise.

Just to recap, Kurt Busiek was originally attached to Genesis in 1994. Not soon after, Busiek left the project and the origin of team Youngblood was in limbo since. Nevertheless, Liefeld has always wanted to tell the origin of his favorite superhero team but never got the opportunity to jumpstart the project with the right scribe. Until Thomas, that is.

In a time when budding writers and artists are looking to submit proposals to Marvel for their Epic imprint, Brandon chose to continue to write his weekly column, Ambidextrous. However, the opportunity arose when Mark Millar opened the door to creative stardom when the latter mentioned the former’s name to Liefeld. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Newsarama: Who is Brandon Thomas? From what the online community knows, you're the columnist for SBC's Ambidextrous…

Brandon Thomas: Ambidextrous premiered at Silver Bullet Comics on July 21, 2001, and I’ve been writing it weekly since then and just crossed the 100 column mark. The whole thing started as an extension of my attempts to break into the comics’ industry as a writer, and after becoming an occasional letter hack, and interacting with a handful of editors from a few different companies, I thought an Internet column was the next logical step. Somewhere along the way, I learned that, just maybe, I have something valuable to say, and SBC has been kind enough to let me say it. In other words, the column has offered even more undeniable proof that I talk too much.

My proudest achievements would have to be interacting with the various professionals that I’ve had the opportunity to interview. Joe Quesada, Axel Alonso, Bendis, Gail Simone, Eric J and Arvid Nelson from Rex Mundi, Brian K. Vaughan, Rob Liefeld, everyone has brought something to my column, and if I e-mail most of them, I’ll probably get a response. That’s flattering for a guy just writing his little column every week.

The whole experience has forced me to grow as a writer, and that’s never a bad thing.

NRAMA: So spill - how did you land the Youngblood gig?

BT: Rob did an interview for my column, and we’ve had a running correspondence ever since then, and that led to my getting a chance to script Genesis. I’m sure the nice things that Mark Millar has been saying about me didn’t hurt matters, and thus far, I’ve been having a lot of fun. Rob pretty much sends me the material and lets me run with it. Knock on wood, but he hasn’t disagreed with any of the directions I’ve chosen to take with the scripts, and has been nothing but excited about the work I’m turning in.

NRAMA: In a nutshell, what is Youngblood: Genesis about?

BT: It’s Making The Band combined with American Idol, before such things even existed, grafted onto the concept of superheroes. The story centers on the manipulation of the media, celebrity status, and government conspiracy, as we follow our main character, Special Director Alexander Graves, as he constructs a piece of modern pop culture.

NRAMA: Genesis was first worked on by Kurt Busiek back in 1994 but he left in 1995, leaving only a plot. How much will your version of Genesis differ from Busiek's original notes?

BT: Essentially, it’s Kurt’s story, and my job is to add my own personality and style to the piece without corrupting Busiek’s original vision. As a great majority of the art is already completed, there’s not much to alter, but the way in which I’ve chosen to handle the narrative and the dialogue is up to me. This may not make much sense, but just because Busiek and I are both taking a right turn doesn’t mean we have to take it the same way. Liefeld is allowing me and encouraging me to bring my own voice to the piece and hasn’t prevented me from adding a few personal touches where appropriate.

NRAMA: Who comprise the rest of the creative team?

BT: A pair of brothers named Chad and Eric Walker are handling the art.

NRAMA: Back to the story, who are the main characters? After all, Youngblood #1 did sort of start at the beginning…

BT: Alex Graves, the story’s mastermind, who takes the initial steps to put Youngblood together. Keever, his right hand man. Throw in two stranded aliens, Combat, and Photon; two professional assassins, Battlestone and Chapel; a scientist, Sentinel, an icon, Diehard; an F.B.I. cadet, Shaft; and a pair of token females, Riptide & Vogue; and you’ve got your initial squad right there.

NRAMA: How would you describe your style and what you’ll be rbiniging to Genesis?

BT: Hopefully I'll get to use more than one, but I've found that as I've matured a bit more, my stories are less about exploding planets and intergalactic war, and more about the ways, positive and decidedly negative, that people react with one another. Realistically conveying the nuances and mannerisms of friendships and relationships is what gets me going. Trust and duality are big issues I find myself often coming back to, and how this is affected by the secrets we keep from each other, and the little lies we tell.

All of this Oprah/Dr. Phil musing never stops me from exploding a building or two mind you, but to me, at the core, it's always about character. Five years ago, I thought story was hitting the Earth with a giant death ray, now I've come to realize that you put two men that have slept with the same woman, separate them with a coffee table...that's story.

I don't know if that's really a classification though. Hopefully I've got that good style.

NRAMA: Obvisouly, your story is pretty unique in regards to “breaking in,” but from what you’ve learned, what are some of the tips that you could share with the readers or budding writers?

BT: I have no business even answering this question, but I'm going to chime in with the common credo that if you want to write, then you've got to write. Don't talk about writing. Don't think about writing. Don't dream about writing. Put the pen to the pad and lay it down. Everyone has years and years of nonsense to write out of their system, and the only way to get rid of most of it is through active purging. When you look at material you've written last year, or maybe even last month, you should notice little things that have improved about your style and approach.

I got lucky and not only found something that would make me write on a regular basis, but offered a permanent record of all the crap I've laid down. On that same vein, don't beat yourself up when things don't work perfectly every single time, which is something I'm notorious for doing. No writer is perfect. Of course you have to try, but there are some things that you're going to mess up initially, and learning from your mistakes is key.

Writers are sponges, and you have to be willing to absorb everything and turn it into personalized weapons. Have influences, but don't be handicapped by them. And don't give up. The system is engineered to kill you before you even get started, so you've got to have the stamina to outlast it. If you want it, you have to go get it.

NRAMA: Who are some of your favorite writers/creators within the comics industry?

BT: [Brian Michael] Bendis, [Mark] Millar, [Grant] Morrison, [Warren] Ellis, Priest, [Ed] Brubaker, [Greg] Rucka, [Brain K.] Vaughan, [Gail] Simone, [Mark] Waid, [Joe] Casey and [Alan] Moore are just a few and I’m pretty sure I’ve left someone out. I’ve said this in my column, but I don’t think there’s been a more talented and diverse collection of creative talents working in this industry at the same time. Ever.

NRAMA: Who from outside of this world of comics that influenced the way you write, be it comics or your column?

BT: The first time I saw Star Wars was a big deal to me and probably helped to begin my journey down the writer’s path. Chris Carter (X-Files), Joss Whedon (Buffy) and David Chase (The Sopranos) are huge influences. Anyone that writes well and does it consistently becomes a personal hero and keeps me from stopping. There’s an undeniable sensation that comes from experiencing something that hits you on multiple levels, whether it’s thematically, emotionally, or visually. I want to pass that feeling on to as many people as possible. Ideas and stories are slightly viral in nature, and I want to play a part in keeping the contagion potent and relevant.

NRAMA: Who are some of the artists that you would like to work with if given the opportunity some day? What distinguishes them from the rest of the pack?

BT: Lee Ferguson. Billy Dallas Patton. CrissCross. The first two are guys I've been in semi-regular contact with since I started my column, and are future superstars. CrissCross is someone that's become a tremendous artist since he started, and I don't think he receives the credit or the accolades he deserves. There are plenty more of course, but those spring to mind immediately.

NRAMA: Aside from, probably, more and more Youngblood, what other comics projects would you be up for tackling?

BT: That little thing I mentioned that may be “in development” is something I know that people would dig immensely, and that I’d learn a lot by tackling. Anything with Batman and Robin involved I’d take without hesitation, as when I truly discovered the industry, DC was just integrating the 3rd Robin (Tim Drake) into the mix, and I’ve always been very fond of that character and his role within the larger Bat Squad. X-Men I’d probably jump at too.

NRAMA: What's next after this project?

BT: Good question. I have something that I hesitate to say is “in development” that I’d like to see released before the year closes, but other than that I’m a completely available man.

NRAMA: Does Marvel's Epic appeal to you? Have you submitted any proposals to them?

BT: Love the ideas and principles behind EPIC. They just may have something of mine...
NRAMA: Rob Liefeld, Mark Millar and Brandon Thomas: Who'd win an Eisner first?

BT: Millar of course. Ultimates will win an Eisner before his run on the title is completed. It’s inevitable, I’d think.
 
Old 07-04-2003, 11:29 AM   #2
Chris Hunter
 
Quote:
NRAMA: Rob Liefeld, Mark Millar and Brandon Thomas: Who'd win an Eisner first?

BT: Millar of course. Ultimates will win an Eisner before his run on the title is completed. It’s inevitable, I’d think.


It is inevitable. God, I love that series.
 
Old 07-04-2003, 01:07 PM   #3
SamEdmisten
 
Congrats BT!!!
All of us who are wanting to break into this industry applaud you!
Show 'em that you've got the stuff!
best
sam
www.redhillsonline.com
 
Old 07-04-2003, 01:33 PM   #4
KingStalin
 
Brandon I hope you the very best in the industry but never dropp your column. It's an aweosme read and a weekly routine for me!
 
Old 07-04-2003, 05:44 PM   #5
DocBrass
 
Thumbs down I'll pass

more crappy art from nobodies.

whatever happened to the ALIAS comics??? I remember the big hype at last year's SDCC.
 
Old 07-04-2003, 08:24 PM   #6
COREMARK
 
Thumbs up

I've been reading Ambidextrous for a long time now, and it's one of the best written comics columns out there.I will also be picking up this book to see what Brandon can do, as for the art I think it looks great.
 
Old 07-04-2003, 11:40 PM   #7
Charlie Hustle
 
The story better be amazing cause that is absolutely horrible, horrible artwork.Those pages look like amateur submissions in every way, especially the backgrounds. Nothing's changed.
 
Old 07-05-2003, 12:12 AM   #8
Brandon Thomas
 
Just wanted to drop by and let you know I really, really, really, really appreciate the support.

The only reason I've made any sort of strides at breaking into the industry is due to the people that have been reading Ambi on the regular for the last two years. The column will continue uninterrupted, as I think I REALLY have something to talk about now, and will do it until SBC kicks me out the joint.

Thank you again. Hope to see some of you at the San Diego con.
 
Old 07-05-2003, 12:28 AM   #9
Captain Temerity
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Brandon Thomas
Just wanted to drop by and let you know I really, really, really, really appreciate the support.


Hey, Brandon, just make sure all the (usual) Liefeld bashing doesn't get to you. People's feelings for him, good or bad, should only be reflective of him, not your first (of hopefully many) comics works.

Meanwhile, I just wanted to point out how jealous I am, and how I will furthermore curse your name for lucking into the gig instead of me. Of course, you actually worked at getting there, while all I do is sit and bitch. But that's neither here nor there.

Good luck with this, man. I look forward to seeing what you do with it.
 
Old 07-05-2003, 12:39 AM   #10
Charlie Hustle
 
Quote:
Hey, Brandon, just make sure all the (usual) Liefeld bashing doesn't get to you. People's feelings for him, good or bad, should only be reflective of him, not your first (of hopefully many) comics works.

Meanwhile, I just wanted to point out how jealous I am, and how I will furthermore curse your name for lucking into the gig instead of me. Of course, you actually worked at getting there, while all I do is sit and bitch. But that's neither here nor there.

Good luck with this, man. I look forward to seeing what you do with it.


?

"BT: A pair of brothers named Chad and Eric Walker are handling the art".

I've never heard of the walker brothers so I have no reason for bashing them. It doesnt' matter who's doing the drawing, that's really poor artwork.
 
Old 07-05-2003, 01:55 AM   #11
Wolverine
 
Right on! this looks stunning!
 
Old 07-05-2003, 04:19 AM   #12
Captain Temerity
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Charlie Hustle
?

"BT: A pair of brothers named Chad and Eric Walker are handling the art".

I've never heard of the walker brothers so I have no reason for bashing them. It doesnt' matter who's doing the drawing, that's really poor artwork.


I didn't mean you bashing Rob in particular. It's just that, whenever his name comes up around here, somebody seems to have something anti-Liefeld to say.

Saying that this artwork, in particular, doesn't meet your standards... well, who can argue with you about what you do and don't like.

I just hate to see a newbie to the business feel like he's getting slammed by association, and that's what I was mentioning, as a general principal, and not by any specifics (meaning, I didn't think you were bashing him).
 
Old 07-05-2003, 04:26 AM   #13
phoenx
 
Looks cool, however, I don't pick up the book. What's the book about anyways?
 
Old 07-06-2003, 09:55 AM   #14
Richard Emms
 
Oh, dear... Rob's still here!

I must congratulate the writer for getting the gig. Well done!

But, as for being linked with Rob Liefeld... do you think it'll ever see print? Alias, Youngblood... incomplete series, it all adds up to be one huge shambles.

Alias and Youngblod was due December last year and now available to purchase direct from Rob at the comicon. That'll certainly piss DCD off. Hasn't this guy been given plenty of chances. And, yeah, BTW... the print run was big enough to keep quite a few people in employment. Was it 20,000+, Rob???

This is why our industry has taken such a hit in the past with late shipping books. No wonder the fans have gone onto something different like computer games.

Mcfarlane, Silvestri, Larson et al have all managed to keep to a (sort of) schedule... and all remained with the same set-up/company. How many companies has Rob had?

I tell ya what, if Mark Millar wrote a book for us, and it sold half of what Youngblood did... you would see it come out every week!

Rich
APcomics.com
 
Old 07-06-2003, 09:56 AM   #15
AllAboutMe
 
Woof. I would be willing to give a script by Brandon after a plot by Busiek a looking at but...the Walker Bros? They are awful. They did some other stuff for Rob a while back and they have not gotten any better. I feel bad that Brandon's first "big" gig is going to be too hard to look at art-wise.
 
Old 07-06-2003, 12:45 PM   #16
cult of Pat
 
Art wise

The art does seem kind of sparse, very much from the Liefeld school of artistit constipation..er composition.

Too bad Rob hasn't realized the world has passed him by. What was once the coolest look in art is now mediocrity.
 
Old 07-07-2003, 10:32 AM   #17
littlewolvie
 
Re: Oh, dear... Rob's still here!

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Emms

This is why our industry has taken such a hit in the past with late shipping books. No wonder the fans have gone onto something different like computer games.

Rich
APcomics.com


Hi Rich,

I see your point, but as a rather heavy gamer, I had to smile when I read your comment about video/PC games. Like most other people out there, game developers also have to stick to shedules and deadlines. Often they have to rush to get a game finished in order to meet some deadline like the release of a movie or such. However, this has led to some major disappointments for fans. In recent months, many games which could have been great were released before being 100% finished, which was apparent in the final result. Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness and Wolverine's Revenge are only two examples of this. Other companies, like Blizzard (Diablo, Warcraft...) for example, will take their time (usually several years), but when the game finally comes out, you have something which is almost perfect and bug free. What I'm trying to say is that sometimes, I prefer waiting a little longer if it makes the final result a lot better.
 
Old 07-07-2003, 12:16 PM   #18
ctsmith83
 
Re: Re: Oh, dear... Rob's still here!

Quote:
Originally posted by littlewolvie
What I'm trying to say is that sometimes, I prefer waiting a little longer if it makes the final result a lot better.


Would you continue to buy software from a company that continually solicits games and then they never appear, or finally ship a year or more late? To borrow a term from the computer industry, many of Liefeld's projects are nothing but vaporware. That is one of the reasons why people don't believe his solicitations or support his work.

As for the artwork on this project... Ugh! It looks like it's over-rendered, badly-proportioned, no-backgrounds type work. This style went out in the mid-90s and doesn't look very professional in comparison to today's styles.

Last edited by ctsmith83 : 07-07-2003 at 03:53 PM.
 
Old 07-08-2003, 05:47 PM   #19
littlewolvie
 
Re: Re: Re: Oh, dear... Rob's still here!

Quote:
Originally posted by ctsmith83
Would you continue to buy software from a company that continually solicits games and then they never appear, or finally ship a year or more late?


Well, if it never appears, it's rather hard to buy it. Seriously though, if the final result is worth it, I would gladly wait a year for the game to be completely finished and giving me a great gaming experience instead of spending 60 bucks on a game which was released 6 months too early and turns into a major disappointment (like a lot of games these days). This however, was a general statement and was not related to Liefeld reannouncing his Youngblood projects for the 35th time. In the end, the point I was trying to make is that sometimes it's better to be a little late instead of turning in crap.
 
 
   

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:53 AM.


Powered by vBulletin Version 3.5.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2009, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© Imaginova Corp. All rights reserved.

imaginova LiveScience space.com aviation.com newsarama spacenews.com Adastra starrynight.com Orion Telescopes