EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Avengers Academy Writer Christos Gage!
Check out this fascinating interview with the critically acclaimed comic book writer to learn more about the upcoming Avengers Academy, what characters he'd like to see on the big screen, scriptwriting and much more!
Christos Gage sold his first screenplay in 1997 and has been a professional writer ever since. After writing several movie and television projects (including Law and Order: Special Victims Unit) he joined the comic book industry in 2004 and has written a number of series since. His work for DC includes Deadshot and Legends of he Dark Knight while Union Jack, World War Hulk: X-Men, Avengers: The Initiative, Thunderbolts and several House of M limited series’ are just a sample of his many Marvel projects. Gage is also responsible for many other critically acclaimed comic books such as Absolution and Paradox. He is married to Ruth Fletcher Gage, with whom he often collaborates in screenwriting projects.
When I recently contacted Christos, he was kind enough to take the time to answer some of my questions about his newest series, Avengers Academy, what characters he’d like to see make their way onto the big screen and goes into fascinating detail about both that, his other comic book work and whether he’d consider writing the script for a comic book movie!
What should comic book fans expect from your upcoming title, Avengers Academy?
Not just another teen hero book. The last page of issue #1 will, I hope, take people by surprise, and create the kind of excitement I felt when reading the first issues of RUNAWAYS or THUNDERBOLTS. A tall order, I know, but we're puling out all the stops to make that a reality. My co-creator, ace artist Mike McKone, is breathing life into these characters and bringing the awesome with every page.
And I'm planning to take full advantage of the rich setting of the Marvel Universe the way I did in Avengers: The Initiative. If you've ever liked anything I've written, please check this out…I promise we'll do our best to get you hooked and keep you coming back month after month!
After co-writing over 25 issues of Avengers: The Initiative, are there any characters from that series you'd like to see make their way onto the big screen?
All of them! Okay, okay, you want specifics…The Irredeemable Ant-Man would be a hoot. And wouldn't Taskmaster make a great movie villain? But I'd be especially tickled to see Butterball. A few more Krispy Kremes and I could even play him!
You also wrote the Secret Invasion tie-in, War Machine: Weapon of SHIELD. Is it good to see the character come to life in Iron Man 2?
Oh, yeah. I wrote that story wanting it to feel like a big summer blockbuster movie…War Machine cutting loose against alien invaders. So it's a huge thrill to see War Machine in an actual summer blockbuster movie. Especially one you know is going to be good!
Are there any particular characters you've written that you would like to see in their own or another movie?
I have always argued in favor of a Luke Cage movie set in the 1970's…a homage to films like SHAFT. (I kind of got to do that in HOUSE OF M: AVENGERS, though it was more of a tribute to Marvel comics of the period than films.)
And, of course, it'd make me feel like a proud papa to see any characters I created or co-created in other media. The kids of Avengers Academy, let's say, or the cast of one of my creator-owned books like ABSOLUTION (which I actually think might make a better TV series than a movie…on a cable network, of course), or my Vertigo original graphic novel AREA TEN, which was initially written as a screenplay by my wife Ruth and me, but ended up getting pitched to Vertigo when our agent at the time said it was too dark and he didn't think he could sell it.
As far as characters I didn't create, I still think Deadshot would be awesome as a movie antihero…it wouldn't even have to be a superhero movie per se. Yeah, he'd be a great Batman villain too, but I think he can be a star in his own right!
Which comic book movies are you most looking forward to seeing in the next few years, and why?
I'm really looking forward to seeing the whole Avengers family franchise play out. I think the way Marvel is approaching these, as a shared world of characters who debut in their own movies and eventually interact, is brilliant. We're used to it in comics, but it's something that hasn't really been tried in movies, and when it has, it's been as an afterthought and often fallen short of expectations (I'm looking at you, Aliens vs. Predator). But in this case, Marvel is planning things carefully from the start, steering the ship themselves, and they are giving their all to make it come out right.
As you've actually worked in the TV & Film industry in the past would you ever consider writing the script for a comic book movie?
Sure, if I could co-write with my wife Ruth, who has been my writing partner on all our screenwriting projects, from LAW & ORDER: SVU (she writes awesome courtroom scenes) to the aforementioned AREA 10. And actually, we already have. My second ever comic book project, after the DEADSHOT miniseries, was a creator-owned miniseries for indie publisher Arcana Studios, called PARADOX, about a police detective on a parallel Earth that functions on principles of magic instead of science, and what happens when he investigates baffling crimes being committed using technology from our world. That's another one we initially wrote as a screenplay, and we sold it not long ago, and it was made last year with Kevin Sorbo starring. I just saw the trailer for the first time. I know next to nothing about what's going on with it…still haven't seen it…my philosophy on Hollywood projects is that once your part is done you have to let go. But I hear that the company that financed it, American World Pictures, is screening it for distributors at Cannes this month. So we'll see what happens with that.
Ruth and I would certainly love to do more if the right opportunity arose, but we wouldn't want to do it just to do it. I was a working screenwriter for six years before ever writing a comic book…I have a Master's Degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute (where Ruth and I met)…so I look at comics, movies and TV as separate and equally valid art forms. Each of them can be a rich source of material for the others, but you can also make really bad adaptations by either trying to force a square peg into a round hole-say, making a PREACHER movie while trying not to offend anyone-or by getting involved with people who don't know what they're doing, or just want to make a comic book movie because they're hot, or have no respect for the source material. Of course, you can make bad movies with the best of intentions, too…a good movie is like catching lightning in a bottle, which is why there's no point in trying when things aren't working from the start.
But the cool thing is, the atmosphere for making good comic book movies is better than ever. The respect filmmakers have for comics, the technology available, and the fact that we've had a number of good ones set the mark already all mean that the sky's the limit. And that, in my opinion, is a wonderful thing for fans of awesomeness.
Thank you to Christos for taking the time to answer my questions and if you would like to know more about him and his work then just click HERE! The first issue of Avengers Academy written by Christos Gage and featuring art by Mike McKone, will be debuting in stores June 3, 2010.
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