AARON ALBERT: You’ve gone from doing indy work on your own material ala Banana Sunday, to breaking into the Marvel Comics, then on to writing a bevy of Marvel titles. Talk about your journey into writing for the comic book world.
PAUL TOBIN: "Journey" makes it sound like I was trekking across the land, my knapsack over my shoulder, camping out at night and looking towards the distant mountains, but in reality I more or less stumbled about, occasionally wondering what was over the next hill. Getting into Marvel was akin to falling off a cliff, but ultimately landing in the cool cool ocean, and I can only hope that I twisted in mid-air to make it look like I was some awesome cliff diver, rather than some screeching belly-flop ninny. Hmmm, the Answer With Less Metaphors would be this: Writer Jeff Parker told me I should do some work for Marvel, and I agreed, and after a bit the editors agreed too. Lately, I've begun to wonder if Jeff had a Machiavellian reason. The man's a mastermind, and I often shudder, lest he ever turn his powers to evil.
AA: What are the differences and similarities in writing your own characters and another’s like from Marvel?
TOBIN: Less differences than most people would think. In fact, less than I myself would have thought. Whether they're "my" characters or not, the first step is to strip them down to the core elements, get a feel for them, and then throw situations and events into his or her path. Writing (for me, and we all differ) is all about, "How will he handle THIS?" or "How will she react to THAT?" Spider-Man will take one route, Dr. Strange will take another. Millie the Model does not see the world through the Hulk's eyes, and the Hulk (oh so very thankfully) does not see it through Millie's eyes. Although that might be a fun story. Hmmm. Now I'm thinking. Nahh. Don't worry, everybody....I won't!!
AA: What has been the best part about working with characters from the Marvel Universe?
TOBIN: The flat out awesomeosity of the characters. And the universal appeal. It's soooo much fun to put words in Spider-Man's mouth! Walking around town, I'm all the time seeing Spidey on t-shirts or lunchboxes, and it feels good to be a part of that mythos. And I've always been in the Hulk's corner---my favorite versions being Jack Kirby's and then the Trimpe / Severin years. Man, why wouldn't the villains and the army leave Hulk alone? Didn't they know he would SMASH!! I couldn't get enough.
AA: You’ve talked in other interviews about how the continuity of Marvel characters is both a blessing and a curse. Have you enjoyed working in the Marvel Adventures realm or do you prefer the main Marvel Universe?
TOBIN: They both have their advantages. I'd like to work some more in the mainstream Marvel Universe, but that doesn't mean I want to work any less in the Marvel Adventures line. Simply, my reasons are that in the Marvel Adventures line, I get to work with eccentric spontaneity, and I love to do that. But the more mainstream Marvel universe is geared towards character, and long term character development, and that's also a writing tool I dearly love to play with.
AA: You’ve mentioned some of the advantages of working with your wife, Colleen Coover (congrats by the way), are there any aspects that you two have had to overcome?
TOBIN: Eeek. Umm…no? That's not a very interesting answer, is it? It's true, though. We work very well together. I feel bad leaving this answer so boring. Maybe I should start a rumor about the time she crashed a WWII fighter jet into our apartment because she was mad I'd put too many characters in one panel. She did! I swear!
AA: How much free reign did you receive on the Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes line?
TOBIN: A lot. Editor Nate Cosby and I work well together, and he seems to feel that if creators are having fun, then readers will too. I'm not saying that he and senior editor Mark Paniccia have never written or called me to say, "Bad Tobin! Bad!" while brandishing a rolled up newspaper, but they've only done it when I was not only going overboard, but staying there. Also, I want it publicly known that Nate is aces when it comes to dancing the tango. At least he says so. I’ve searched Youtube for footage, but came up empty.