Exclusive Interview with ‘Guardians’ Writer Todd Black
December 16, 2013 By Holly Clarkson
The first thing I noticed was the science vs. religious feel of the origin. Is religion a big part of the story?
TB: For me it is, because when I made this story I thought, “What would be something unique for the creation of these heroes?” And what I came up with was the people asking for help and the “Great Maker” as I like to call the entity, giving them Element and Chaos. Why the Great Maker did this, and how it’ll affect the city and the Guardians going forward is a big part of the overarching story. Some of it will be subtle, some will have obvious nods, but overall I want to see what people think is happening and how they respond to it. Cause as in many religions there are various viewpoints for topics.
A Very inspiring point. Why did you decide to use the symbolism of Nature and Darkness for the Brothers?
TB: As cheesy as it sounds, there’s light and darkness in all of us, and I wanted that represented here. Element is the “light” in that he is the natural force of the two. You look at him and say “That’s what a hero is supposed to look like.” And he is a hero, and a good person, and that’s very believable. But then there’s Chaos, he has black and purple armor, his skin is pale, he’s intimidating, and he has mastery of power you can’t explain. And despite all of that, he’s good. He’s just as much a hero as Element, he’s just a little different. Darkness is stereotyped as evil in many mediums, with Chaos I wanted to show a truth that people sometimes forget. Darkness…is necessary. Without night, our world would be burned up by the sun, without shade or shadows we would have nowhere to hide. Darkness, and by extension chaos, is a necessary part of our lives. I’m hoping people will realize that with Chaos.
I really love how much thought you have put behind both the brothers and I’m sure readers will love the symobolism as much as I do. Will we get more explanation in future issues as to why ‘the maker’ designed the brothers in the way it did?
TB: This is one of the questions that I think people will find different answers to. Because for me, I think the Great Maker thinks along the same lines I do. And I don’t mean that because I’m the writer, I mean that as he sees the world as a place of balance. Light and Dark, Natural vs. Unnatural, etc. To me, he made the Guardians to represent the world itself.
Well there’s the explaination right there. Have you got any up-coming villains that will match up to the Guardians powers?
TB: Absolutely! Guardians #1 kicks off a three-issue arc with our first supervillain: Tempest! Without giving spoilers he is incredibly powerful, but he’s also smart and patient, and slightly insane. The Guardians will have their hands full with him.
As for other villains, I honestly have a big “rogues gallery” for our Guardians to face. I’ve got superpowered villains, non-powered villains, males, females, creatures, it’s all awesome. And each of them will challenge the Guardians in a different way. That’s part of the fun in making the villains is asking the question, “How the Guardians react to them?” Some will leave them perplexed, some will bring out the “darkness” in them, some will have them questioning the lines between good and evil, and some will make them laugh…and some of the villains will laugh at the Guardians. I am chomping at the bit to show off some of my villains, because I love them that much.
Sounds exciting. Can’t wait to see who the brothers are up against. Does the fact that they were made specifically for the city mean future stories will be about the brothers learning things for themselves?
TB: Yes. That right there, is one of the key elements of my story. Many of the arcs at the beginning will be about the Guardians learning something. Whether it be about themselves, the city, the people, the world, they’ll always be learning something. In Guardians #1 I lay it all out on how the Guardians feel about the city, the people, their purpose, all of it. I don’t hold back. And then as the arc continues you’ll see they have to do things that if you go back to issue #1, they wouldn’t have done before.
Watching them grow from simple beings to becoming more human-like is something I really like to see and write about.
The same as going from a teenager to an adult, which is great for young readers. What influenced you to write Guardians?
TB: It started as a short story for school, to a four-part movie series I wanted to write. Then one day I went to Chicago Comic-Con and went to a Marvel panel about how they got into the comics industry. I had Guardians in my head for a few years and so I stood up and asked Matt Fraction (legendary writer at Marvel) about how to make my comic. And he said roughly, “Get an artist, make the comic.” Then the next year after striking out with artists I heard another Marvel person say at the same panel, “If you want to make it, you have to pony up the money and make it.” So then one day, I was frustrated with my job and I said to myself, “If you aren’t going to do it now, you never will.” So I did, and roughly nine months later Guardians #0 got published, and Guardians #1 is on the way. It’s all very exciting.
Proves that taking the risk does work out if you put your heart and soul behind it. You will probably hate me for asking this but were the brothers at all influenced by Thor and Loki?
TB: I don’t hate you, for the simple reason that I never thought of that, and no one’s ever said that to me. So I don’t hate you. Your comparison is interesting, and I can see some of the aspects in which you might think that. Thor and Element have more natural abilities while Loki and Chaos are more magical. That I see and respect.
For me though, that’s where the difference ends. Thor and Loki have a very interesting relationship that is an on again/off again friendship/rivalry/I will destroy you! thing. With Element and Chaos, though they view the world differently, they trust each other completely. They may not always agree but they would never usurp the other for a goal. There will be tension with the brothers no doubt, I have one storyline that will rock the brother to their core, but even with that, they’ll still be brothers, and they’ll still trust each other.
I love the similarities but I do love their relationship which does make them different to a lot of comics I’ve seen in the past. Thanks so much for talking with us about Guardians Todd. I am very excited to read future issue and I wish you all the best in the future.
Buy issue #0 now from: Comixology
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