Announced at last year’s New York Comic Con, Wolverine: Season One is an original graphic novel from Thrilling Adventure Hour co-creators Ben Acker and Ben Blacker. Veterans of the television writing circuit, Wolverine: Season One marks Acker and Blacker’s comic book writing debut — and what better subject to tackle than the origin story of our favorite adamantium-clad Canadian killing machine? With stellar artwork from Salvador Espin, the 136 page OGN finds Wolverine wandering the wilds of Canada and pits him against the likes of Sabretooth, Wendigo and, oh yeah, the freakin’ Hulk in a blood-spattered tale for the ages.
Since we’re not all Charles Xavier-level telepaths, I caught up with co-writer Ben Acker to pick his brain about the challenges of comic book writing, tackling an iconic character like Wolverine, and just what the heck we can expect from the duo that gave us Captain Laserbeam, Frank and Sadie Doyle, and Sparks Nevada.
Nerdist: This Wednesday, your first foray into the world of comic book writing, Wolverine: Season One, is coming out. How did you get involved in the project and what can we expect?
Ben Acker: Marvel editor Jordan White is a fan of the Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast. He reached out first by covering the Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars theme song on his ukulele and posting it on YouTube. He followed up by asking if we’d like to write a retelling of the Wolverine origin story, which is what you can expect from Wolverine: Season One.
N: Given you come from primarily a TV writing background, did the graphic novel format provide any challenges?
BA: The graphic novel format involves panels, for which neither TV nor fake radio can prepare you. It’s detail oriented, and the details are different ones than we’re used to. That said, I got to write sound effects, which is exciting. For the record, I enjoyed writing SNAKT (Wolverine sheathing his claws) as much as I enjoyed writing SNIKT (Wolverine unsheathing his claws). I usually only get to write CLINK.
N: Wolverine is one of those characters that seems like he’d be a writer’s dream. What do you find compelling about the character and how do you approach it?
BA: Is it a cop out to say that what I find compelling about the character is that he is my inner 12-year-old’s favorite? It was fun to write for that kid. Wolverine, man. He’s the baddest ass-est. So that’s fun to write, that kind of dialogue. And it was fun to write characters who could kick his ass. In order for the story to work, he’s got to be in danger. It is fun to write characters than can beat up Wolverine beating up Wolverine. Also compelling is that he’s the Wolverine I grew up reading. Fighting his animal nature. Losing sometimes.
N: Salvador Espin’s art has this really great visceral, raw quality to it. How did you get linked up with him, and how did you work with him to craft the visual tone of the book?
BA: Editor Jordan White brought him in, and we couldn’t be happier with his work. Jordan and Salva work together frequently, and we reap the benefits. This story was right in Salva’s wheelhouse. He sent initial takes, and Ben Blacker, Jordan, and I two-centsed them a very little bit and then we were off and running.
N: You and Ben Blacker are frequent collaborators. Tell us a bit about what your writing process is like.
BA:We tend to outline together and then take turns writing drafts until we’re finished.
N: What other characters – Marvel or otherwise – would you like to tackle next?
BA: I would love a shot at some Muppets. Or the Beatles. Maybe Thor.
N: What comics are you reading and enjoying right now?
BA: I just got turned on to Atomic Robo and I love it so hard. I just read Matt Fraction’s Iron Man in one sitting. Same with Jason Aaron’s Punisher run. I have a steady diet of Bendis and Brubaker. I love me some autobio comics and Natalie Nourigat has a wonderful trade called Between Gears that is evocative of youth in a way that makes me wish I was young and glad I’m not.
N: What would be in your ideal burrito?
BA: I bet Korean BBQ would taste good in a burrito. I think there’s a food truck to that effect.
Marvel’s Wolverine: Season One by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker hits your local comic book store today. Are you excited to read the book? Let us know in the comments below!