By Jim Beard
Jeph Loeb knows his bruisers and bashers. Taking on AVX: VS this June and the return of Sabretooth come July in WOLVERINE, the writer’s proving his mettle once more in handling Marvel’s biggest brawlers, a skill he honed to perfection during his run on HULK and his time in the Ultimate Universe.
We caught up with Loeb to toss him a few questions on the character of Logan, the scrappy mutant’s long history with Sabretooth and the bone-crushing battle between the ever-lovin’ Thing and the X-Men’s Colossus in AVX: VS #3, on sale June 13.
|Wolverine #310 cover by Simone Bianchi|
Marvel.com: Jeph, what’s it like handling a character like Wolverine? What do you see in him?
Jeph Loeb: Wolverine is a lot of fun to write. He’s this incredible tough and dangerous man who is very much a romantic hero. There’s a lot of Clint Eastwood in there; few words and you don’t want to mess with him!
Marvel.com: How would you compare and contrast The Hulk and Wolverine? Is Logan an angry character, or is he just misunderstood?
Jeph Loeb: When you’re dealing with The Hulk there’s an enormous amount of power at stake. He is, literally, the strongest there is—and at the same time there’s a tragic loneliness to him. Wolverine, on the other hand, is more of a scrapper—he gets right into it, more hand to hand—and is not afraid to splatter a little blood here and there. And despite his reputation as a loner, he continually finds himself in the position of defending his extended family of mutants, friends and X-people.
Marvel.com: Some creators never get the chance to finish an opus or major storyline; what does it mean to you, as a writer, to come back to Wolverine and Sabretooth and complete such a big tale?
Jeph Loeb: I’m incredibly grateful to Head Honcho Axel Alonso, X-Men Supremo Nick Lowe and our own editorial X-Goddess Jeanine Schaefer who stood on the wall around the X-Men franchise and beat back the creative hordes who wanted to bring back Sabretooth while they waited for Simone [Bianchi] and I to be available. More than anything that’s what is rare: not so much that we had the desire but that Marvel enabled us to have the opportunity.
Marvel.com: How do you define the role that Sabretooth plays in Logan's life? After all the water under that bridge, what will you say about their relationship in the coming months?
|Wolverine #312 cover by Simone Bianchi|
Jeph Loeb: They are two sides of the same dark coin. When you look at Sabretooth, he’s very much the road not taken for Logan and yet, they find themselves continually intertwined. Where Creed has been and what he’s learned while he’s been gone will play an important role in what’s to come.
Marvel.com: This return to Wolverine is not just you and the character, but also you and Simone re-establishing a creative team; how does that feel?
Jeph Loeb: We certainly have more of a short hand—having worked with someone as much as we have that was bound to happen—but his energy is so boundless that it’s inspiring. Simone is so talented and the pages are so pretty you can’t believe that anyone is working in comics with such detail and mastery. He’s so remarkable.
Marvel.com: Avengers Vs. X-Men is really burning up the comic racks; in your opinion, who is right, Captain America or Cyclops? And why?
Jeph Loeb: This is going to sound like a wimpy answer but they both are! What makes a Marvel event so frickin’ cool is that the heroes aren’t just black and white; they all have a point of view and it’s up to you to decide who is right—or who is less wrong!
Marvel.com: AVX: VS #3. The Thing and Colossus. Two huge powerhouses. What’s the coolest thing for you and artist Ed McGuinness in creating a memorable fight between the two?
Jeph Loeb: What Ed and I love about the VS concept is that it’s fun. We have the moon; we have these two bruisers—now uncork the fun. We hope we did that.
|AvX: VS #3 preview art by Ed McGuinness|
Marvel.com: Beyond the bulk, what if any is the common philosophical ground between a Yancy Streeter and a
Jeph Loeb: Two different types altogether. But...as monsters...there may be a connection!
Marvel.com: Why do you think we gravitate towards big super hero battles? What do you feel it says about us as comic fans?
Jeph Loeb: Uh, that it’s awesome?! We’re so invested in the larger than life characters who also have very real world underpinnings that like with any competition—we want someone to win—and still care about the other side’s plight.
Marvel.com: Okay, now as a fan, what kinds of Marvel fights really set your imagination on fire?
Jeph Loeb: Anytime the Thing and The Hulk throw down, I’m so there. It’s best of the best; two big smashers who, at the end of the day, have big hearts.