Thunderbolts writer Charles Soule recently took part in a live interview at the Make Mine Marvel Facebook Group, in which members (myself among them) got to ask him questions. Here are the Thunderbolts/Deadpool-related highlights:
Josh Miller (MmM:) First off, Charles, thanks for coming on and chatting with us!! How did you get started in the comic book industry?
Charles Soule: My first book was called Strongman, which was published by SLG back in 2009. It's an action-crime thing, more or less like Sin City but uplifting. Before that, I did a bunch of shorts for anthologies, just to get my feet wet. Really, though, my main introduction to the industry was the Bendis Board, Brian's messageboard, currently hosted at jinxworld.com. Back in 2004-2005, it was a hotbed of up and comers - Nick Spencer hung out there, among many others. I learned a lot.
Christopher Johnson: How did you land a gig writing comics, and Thunderbolts more specifically?
Soule: I landed my Big Two gigs by doing strong indie work. My Image book 27 got me noticed at DC, which led to Swamp Thing. I live in NYC and was able to network with a lot of the editors, too, which certainly helped. As far as Tbolts, I was originally asked to do a few fill-ins, and it ended up being a better fit than I think they expected, after which they asked if I might be interested in the full-time gig. And here we are, with Issue 15 on shelves now.
Josh Miller (MmM): How do you manage writing so many different titles? I know a lot have trouble with just one.
Soule: Josh - I'm not sure, really. I'm currently working on six ongoing titles. I just focus hard on whatever's in front of me at the time, and get it done. It helps that I love doing it very, very much, so it never feels like work.
Josh Miller (MmM): How do you like being tied in to a major crossover like Infinity?
Soule: Infinity is very fun. Hickman's story is awesome, and my book weaves into it in a way that hopefully adds a cool street-level element.
Josh Miller (MmM): Are there certain things Marvel want you to tie in or is it up to you how they connect with each other?
Soule: Varies? I certainly have freedom to make the story my own, which is fantastic.
Sam Johnson: Hi Charles. As I've tweeted, I've enjoyed all of your T-Bolts issues so far, and what you're doing with Mercy is interesting. Congrats on landing the book full-time. As a writer with designs on working on Deadpool, I'm liking your take on the Merc with a Mouth. Is he someone you enjoy writing?
Soule: Very much. Deadpool is a nice, chaotic element I can drop into scenes when I want to mix things up a bit. Plus, he lets me put humor into books that might not otherwise have an easy route to the laughs, which I like. Good luck getting your shot with him!
Sam Johnson: Thanks, I've been doing a lot of things to associate myself with Deadpool, it's a long-term goal.
Christopher Johnson: How do you view the recent shipping of Elektra and Punisher? Will this continue in your run?
Soule: I don't like that term "shipping" (although it's a common term - that's not a slam on you for using it). To me, it feels like it refers to a relationship that's just done to pander and get feeds on Tumblr. Punisher/Elektra is more complex, and will go to some odd places. I don't even think of them as a couple. They're two people with somewhat aligned philosophies who have sex on occasion.
Joey Buscemi: I am an avid fan of DC Comics but ironically, Thunderbolts is the actual comic that has me replacing DC titles with more and more Marvel books. What I really am curious to know is you have such a rich and diverse group of "wetwork" operatives, how do you go about planning each story arc that showcases each of their personalities but doesn't take away from the actual story? For myself, you seem to nail it in every issue!
Soule: Tbolts is great because I feel like (a) everyone's very different and (b) I really click with all of them. I usually don't have to think about what they're going to do next - they just do it. I do plan and make outlines, but I also trust to the story to let me know what's going to happen, to some degree.
Joey Buscemi: Wow. So it just flows. That is great. I expected that you mapped it all out and then put it together. Very intriguing!
Soule: It does flow, but I'm more talking about character beats and dialogue. The plot is usually fairly tight ahead of time.
Josh Miller (MmM): Will we see any new members added to the 'bolts roster?
Michael Hopkins: if you could write any book out there what would be your top choice?
Soule: Josh - keep reading! Michael - it's hard to top what I'm writing. I have a Punisher story I'd like to do, and a Captain America story, and an Hourman story, but I'm very happy with what I'm doing.
Michael Hopkins: What's the one piece of advice you would give aspiring writers?
Soule: Write a LOT. Read a LOT. Network. Nothing happens in a vacuum.
Michael Hopkins: You mentioned Punisher, is he your favorite Thunderbolt?
Soule: Yes, probably, although I really like Elektra and Deadpool and all of them, really.
Josh Miller (MmM): Charles I know you have got to get out of here so I just want to thank you for coming on to chat with us!!
Charles Soule: Thanks, Josh! Okay, I'm going to jump. It's been great talking to everyone. If you would like to stay up to date on what I have going on, follow me on Twitter @charlessoule, friend me on Facebook or check out my blog at http://charlessoule.wordpress.com. Thank you for reading!
You can check out Soule's full interview with Make Mine Marvel at the Facebook Group - and you can find a Preview of Thunderbolts #15 here!