EXCLUSIVE: Christopher Yost On The Creative Process Of AVENGERS: EMH
In this exclusive interview with one of the creative minds behind Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, we chat about why The Masters Of Evil were the first big baddies, why Secret Invasion was adapted, the comic tie-in, and much more.
Christopher Yost has become a famous name in the comic book world, working on animated television shows such as Wolverine And The X-Men, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes. At the moment, he writes Scarlet Spider, which recently took place in the Minimum Carnage comic event. Yost will very soon take over Avenging Spider-Man, so keep on a lookout for that book. A while back, Christopher Yost agreed to answer some questions on the creation of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Scarlet Spider and much more.
In the beginning, how did you and the rest of the team set the tone that Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes would have? Did you ever try for a darker approach?
Never! The Avengers was never about 'dark,' and we had no interest in doing that anyway - especially after coming off Wolverine and the X-Men, a show which while we loved, had a fair amount of darkness. It's an X-Men thing. Avengers are the bright, shining heroes. They're the guys who, when they arrive, you say 'We're SAVED!' Colorful costumes, larger than life, we wanted to do something fun, a comic book brought to the screen.
Was there an overall goal you wanted to accomplish with the first season?
Well, in cases like this, you're never sure if you're going to get a season two. So our goal was to hit all the major, classic stories we could in 26 episodes. Villains like LOKI, KANG, ULTRON, the MASTERS OF EVIL... we wanted to do it all. We laid in groundwork for a season two, but we didn't know until after writing was completed if we were actually getting it.
Why were the Masters of Evil chosen as the first main villains?
The 'equal and opposite' villains are always fun, and we're able to mix and match. There's a lot of fun to having Captain America fight Crimson Dynamo, Hawkeye battling Enchantress and the Wasp against Abomination. They're match-ups you don't see every day. Plus, we were able to really have fun with the villains themselves. Nothing's better than a team willing to kill and double cross each other in the blink of an eye. It highlights why the Avengers work so well. It's more than just heroes fighting together. It's about trust.
Now that Secret Invasion is finished, can you tell us why you chose this event over several other classics?
Well, the great thing about the show is we're able to cherry pick the biggest and best Avengers stories from any era, any writer. So we can do classics, but we can do the most modern stuff, too. Trust me, I'd want to be doing Avengers vs. X-Men right now if I could. We did versions of Busiek's Kang, SImonson's Beta Ray Bill, Bendis' Breakout and Secret Invasion... it's like being kids in a candy store. As to Secret Invasion, it's a good story and fit right in with a 'cosmic' second season. The Skrulls are major villains in the Marvel Universe, and really worked with the theme of trust and team that we'd been working on.
Ultron made his inevitable and menacing return in Ultron Unlimited. What can you tell us about that episode?
This is one of the first episode I got to work directly with Marvel TV President Jeph Loeb on, and it was a blast. We had set up Vision prior to this episode, but this was the big one where... well, SPOILERS. And again, per Jeph's suggestion, we were able to pick up story elements from the Ultimate universe and combine it wtih some of the classic Vision/Ultron story, giving us the best of both worlds.
The series finale saw Marvel’s Mightiest going up against Galactus, who was teased earlier in the Secret Invasion arc. Why was Galactus chosen as the ultimate villain?
Galactus is the ULTIMATE villain!! There's no one bigger, because with Galactus the stakes are the highest. You lose, the world ends. So to put Earth's Mightiest Heroes up against the most powerful villain in the Marvel Universe made perfect sense. That, and he's a better visual than the Beyonder.
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes universe is extended through its comic book that you write, will there be new characters appearing in it?
Absolutely. In the six issues I've done, we've seen the MANDARIN, FIN FANG FOOM, the ELDERS OF THE UNIVERSE, the MICRONAUTS, MAGNETO, QUICKSILVER, SCARLET WITCH, SET, the ZODIAC... and that's just the start.
Is there a chance that the comic will give you the ability to continue the series after its end?
Yes! We'd teased things in the series that will come to fruition in the comics. Whatever happened to RAVONNA? What was the SERPENT SOCIETY after? The comic picks up on these threads.
You helped develop Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes, which wasn’t as popular as Avengers (yet loved by it’s own audience). Is there a chance you’ll make another FF animated project?
You never know what the future may bring! That show was a lot of fun -- more comedy oriented than Avengers and Wolverine and the X-Men, but I have a huge love for the FF and would absolutely jump at the chance to write them again. They showed up in A:EMH a few times!
What is your personal stance on Avengers: EMH and Wolverine and the X-Men sharing a universe?
I'm a big believer in shared universes. Marvel Comics was built on it, look at the Marvel movies, too. And now that Marvel has its own animation studio, it makes things a lot easier. That being said, it doesn't make sense if it makes things harder, or takes away opportunities. Wolverine and the X-Men didn't go on to a second season, and while we intended the two to share a universe, even laying some groundwork to make that happen, it just wasn't meant to be. If a new X-Men show popped up, we didn't want to be using characters and story points from the old show. Life sometimes happens.
Do you have insight on the connection between Avengers Assemble and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?
Only what I heard on the internet!
What are your thoughts on the current state of Marvel Animation?
They look to have some amazing shows coming down through the pipeline, with the best talent from both animation and comic books. That's a good place to be, and I expect it's only going to get better.
If it was produced, what should we have expected from Season 2 of Wolverine and the X-Men?
That's a better question for Story Editor Greg Johnson and Producer Josh Fine, but as fans of the show know, season two was all about the Age of Apocalypse! So you could have expected ol' Blue Lips, Mister Sinister, Cable, as well as the return of Colossus, his little sister, and possible a Mister W. Wilson.
For those unfamiliar with Kaine, what can you tell them about your Scarlet Spider book?
Kaine is a genetic experiment gone wrong! A failed clone of Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, Kaine was dying from the day he was born. He became one of Spider-Man's greatest villains... but then everything changed. Spider-Man saved his life, and Kaine is now on the road to redemption. Setting up show in Houston, TX (close to the border in case Kaine has to make a run for it -- he is a wanted fugitive, after all), Kaine now battles evil as he tries to make a new life for himself, making the best of this second chance he's been given.
He's got all the power, none of the responsibility!
We're having a ton of fun, taking a villain and trying to make a hero out of him. He's got all of Spider-Man's DNA, but without the Aunt May and Uncle Ben of it all.
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