All-New X-Factor

On the last day of New York Comic Con, I had the very good fortune to sit down with Peter David to talk about his long and storied career in the world of comics.

Mr. David has been writing comics for the better part of thirty years and has worked on all manner of projects; from cult classics like Young Justice or his trademark X-Factor to lengthy runs on some of the industry’s biggest titles like Aquaman and The Incredible Hulk. He’s also found success as a novelist and a screenwriter.

 

WCBR: Alright, the first thing I wanted to know is: what would you say gets you most interested in a story? What angle usually draws you in?

Peter David: I don’t know if there’s anything that gets me most interested. I mean, I’m interested in telling the story because I’m interested in telling stories. It’s kind of what I do. So I suppose if I was going to pinpoint one thing it would be from a character point of view. I mean, when it comes down to stories, it really boils down to two things: character and plot. And all writers specialize in one or the other, no matter what they will tell you. I tend to be more of a characterization guy, so, really the characters are what draw me in.

Do you have a favorite character to write?

Well, Madrox to a certain degree. I’ve had so much fun with him. Uh, Fallen Angel, who’s a character I created, it’s published by IDW. Certainly she’s up there. Um, The Hulk has always been a lot of fun. I mean, I have not written him in many years, but he was a really entertaining character. And when you write a character for twelve years it tends to stick with you.

Sure. Your run on The Hulk focused a lot on Bruce Banner’s childhood. What was it about the character that made you feel that that was a layer that had to be looked at?

Well, it really came from a story that was written by Bill Mantlo. The concept that Bruce’s childhood was really messed up because of his father. And when I read that story I thought, my god, that’s how Multiple Personality Disorder usually manifests, from being abused as a child. The mind tends to splits because the conscious mind can’t really handle having to deal with this kind of crap. And that’s really was the basis for a lot of the stories that I told.

A lot has been made, particularly recently, of the role of women in comic books and female characters in comic books. Particularly having done a lot with Young Justice and that sort of thing, do you have any feelings on where the industry is going or what you think should be done or has been done that’s been good?

I think Marvel is making greater and greater efforts to display female characters, to title feature them, to get them out there. That may very well be because we’re getting more and more female readers. Female readership is up, particularly with the advent of comic books in the digital arena. Comixology, I think it is, started out having only 5% of its readership was female. Over the years it’s increased to 20%. Y’know, there are a lot of women out there who want to read comics and who want to read female characters. And comics would have to be insane not to tap into that possibility.

Well, you’ve been writing X-Factor in one form or another for a long time now.

Yes.

What is it? Since the late 80s even?

In one form or another, yeah.

And you’ve just announced All-New X-Factor.

Yes.

What is it about this version that made you feel that it’s time to close X-Factor Investigations and look at the corporate side of it.

We’ve been doing it for ten years; if we were a television show people would be screaming at us to get off the air.

*laughs*

But when I did “The Hell on Earth War” it really ended up resolving a lot of story lines that I wanted to tell. And we just decided that this would be a good time to end the series. The development of the corporate point of view really came from my looking around at the world that we live in, which has become so corporate heavy. I mean, mom and pop stores are being replaced by 7Elevens, coffee shops are all Starbucks. If you go driving across this country, you’ll see the same stores over and over and over again. And I thought it would be interesting to have a corporation develop in the Marvel Universe that basically says, y’know, this whole super hero thing, we should get in on that. And that’s really where Serval Industries and X-Factor came from.

So you-you’ve announced that, so far you’ve announce the team being Quicksilver; Polaris; and, um, Gambit.

Gambit, that’s correct.

And, you’ve written Quicksilver for a long time.

On and off, yes.

Yes. Does it feel like, with what’s gone on in his life lately, and everything, have you had to kind of adjust your-

No.

– Your style of him? He’s the same guy, that we know?

Yes, absolutely. He’s always been something of a douchebag-

*laughs*

– and, fortunate enough, I like writing douchebags so it works out.

On that note, I don’t actually know, have you written Gambit much in your time?

No.

Is that something you’re looking forward to?

No, man, uh, I mean, I’ve been doing this for thirty years, so I’m sure that in that time in some crossover or something I’ve written a few lines of dialogue for him, but I’ve never written him as any kind of feature character.

He is just coming off his solo series where he took control of the Thieves’ Guild.

Yes.

How will that- can you say how will that might play into being in a corporate setting?

Read Issue 3.

Read Issue 3, alright. Is there anything else we should be looking for from you in the coming days.

Crazy Eight books. These are novels that I self-publish under the group name of Crazy Eight with a group of friends of mine. It’s been a very exciting endeavor. Go to www.crazy8press.com and check it out.

Alright, great. And one last question.

Sure.

I’ve been asking around about, y’know, people who want to break into the industry and all that and over and over again I keep hearing your guide to writing comic books come up-

Excellent

WCBR: -recommended by creators all over the board.

Good.

Do you have any advice to aspiring writers that you would just, now, what is the one thing that you would say to them?

Buy my book.

*laughs* Thank you very much for talking to me.

Thank you.

 

All-New X-Factor hits the stands this January.

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