At Chicago Comic-Con last weekend, Marvel announced two new projects penned by master storyteller and former “Wolverine” writer Frank Tieri, who returns to the Clawed Canuck for the “Wolverine: Mr. X” one-shot and the online-exclusive Marvel Digital Comics release “Wolverine vs. Thor.”
CBR News took some time to talk to Tieri about his new claim in the Wolverine mythos and some of the inspiration behind the projects.
CBR: How does it feel to be coming back to write Wolverine once more?
FRANK TIERI: Sort of like seeing an old friend you haven’t seen in a while but you pick up right where you left off—and get real drunk together. And yeah, I know, I know, there’s a lot of different things that have happened to him continuity-wise since I last wrote him, but the character’s still the character and honestly, I could write the guy in my sleep. (And some say I do. Heh.)
What about Mr. X? What’s it like returning to a character you created?
A long time coming, let me tell ya. The funny thing about Mr. X is, second only to being asked by fans “when will I be writing Wolverine again?” was “when will you be bringing Mr. X back?” The truth of the matter was, I’ve trying to bring the guy back for years. The problem was, every time I’d get an editor interested in the project--- they’d leave! (Some people might say it was because they’d all rather leave the company than work with me, but I choose to ignore those people) First Mike Marts, then Andy Schmidt and now John Barber. So the one thing we all know for sure is Jeanine Schaefer is not long for the Marvel world.
How did you get involved in these two projects?
With “Wolverine: Mr. X,” it was around the time Barber and I were kicking around the idea of bringing him back. Then out of the blue, one day I get a message from Andy Diggle, telling me he wants to use X for his T-bolts run and wanted to know what were some of my intentions for him. (Which was really cool of him and just shows you what kind of guy Andy is—believe me, it’s not every creator that does that) It was perfect. Now I had the opening I needed and I ran through it like an on- fire Brandon Jacobs being chased by a bear.
Now, as for “Wolverine Vs. Thor,” it actually sort of sprouted out of two other projects I’m working on. But since they haven’t been announced yet and I’ve been sworn to secrecy, that’s about all I can say about that.
Mr. X has become a huge part of the Thunderbolts –what are you hoping to add to or reveal about him this time around?
Well, there’s one thing I strongly believe in if you’re going to create a character with a mysterious background like X—and that’s that you have to know what that mysterious background IS. And believe me, I do. I know why he wears the sunglasses. I know where his bodyguard Blok came from. I know everything —including how he mastered using his telepathy to see an opponent’s moves, making him the killing machine he is today.
And it’s this last part we’ll be exploring, along with filling in the gaps between his last appearance in “Wolverine” and him signing up with the T-bolts. You have to figure, X had never lost a fight in his life and no matter what spin he can put on it, he lost his last fight to Wolvie. Now how does he deal with that? How does he come to terms with the fact that his record is not unblemished anymore? The answer is he doesn’t—and that’s not only a problem for him, but very much a huge problem for Logan as well.
What do you think is most challenging about writing for these two characters?
If you think about it, these two characters are flipsides of the same coin. You’ve got Wolverine, a character who fights everyday of his life to keep that terrible demon inside him in check, lest it consume him. And now here comes X with a very different approach to the same issue. He lets that demon fly, killing more people on a Tuesday than swine flu does in a year—not just because he likes to kill but because he’s addicted to it.
So the thing that’s challenging, the thing that really works with pitting these two characters up against each other—and the thing that you really have to get across-- is that Wolverine would almost want to fight anyone else other than X, and it has nothing to do with X’s fighting ability. He sees too much of himself in X, knows that if he isn’t more careful, one day he could become like X—and it scares the living Hell out of him.
For “Wolverine Vs. Thor,” did you draw any inspiration from the Marvel Animation film “Hulk Versus?”
Honestly, I can’t say that I did. Believe me, I pitch these crazy “ VS” type projects from time to time and this is just one that stuck. (Remember, I’m the guy who bought you the ever-classic Apocalypse Vs. Dracula so I’ve got plenty of these things up my sleeve).
But one of the reasons I thought a Thor/Wolvie dust up would’ve been interesting—and why I pitched it—is that I’ve never seen it done before. Think about it, Wolvie’s fought practically everybody-- Hulk a zillion times, Spidey, Cap, Punisher a lot too—but no Thor. And I just thought what that fight would look like—Uru hammer Vs. adamantium claws, Thor’s power and strength versus Wolvie’s stealth and speed, etc. Seemed like something I’d want to see and I’m glad it’s something Marvel wanted to see, too. And hopefully the fans will as well.
Will any other Asgardian gods be making appearances?
Yep. Although you’re not going to realize it right away. You’ll see what I mean when you read the story.
Will you approaching Wolverine/Thor any differently knowing that it’s an online exclusive?
Just how it’s being broken down, really. And what I mean by that is it’s set to appear online in three 7-page parts and then later collected up as a one shot - which means you have to approach it differently than if you were writing it as your typical one-shot. You really have to satisfy both mediums, kind of writing it like a three act play, with cliffhangers after parts 1 and 2. But, that being said, I think we’ve pulled it off and you’ll be able to enjoy the story whichever way you’ll be seeing it.
If given the chance, what are some other heroes or villains you’d like to write Wolverine fighting?
Dude, I can do a story with Wolverine fighting anybody! Wolverine Vs. Batman. Wolverine Vs. Predator. Wolverine Vs. Abe Vigoda. Whatever, I’ll make it work. Trust me.
What are you most looking forward to in writing these two projects?
With both Wolverine and X, it’s a case of me getting my “fix” by getting to write two characters that I really love once again. Sometimes you forget what a privilege to write certain characters when you haven’t done it in a while, ya know?
With Thor, it’s getting to write papa Odin’s number one son for the first time. You know, when you get into this business there’s a handful of characters you feel as though you’ve finally “made it” when you get to write them. Now, I’ve been fortunate enough to write a number of those characters other than Wolvie—guys like Batman, the Hulk, Iron man, the Punisher, etc. Thor definitely fits in that category and believe me, I’m thrilled to finally get a crack at the big guy.
Is there anything else you think fans should know?
Well, all I can say is I sure hope they enjoy these two little forays back into the life of Logan because there’s more where that came from. There’s two more Wolvie-centric projects I can’t say too much about yet, for one thing (Here’s what I will say—one project involves another familiar foe from Logan’s rogues’ gallery and the other involves a hero you might not expect). And then there’s another really big thing that, while not Wolvie-centric, does involve him. I definitely can’t say anything more about that thing yet, but stay tuned.