Civil War: Front Line Inerview

Civil War: Frontline—Beyond the Lines with Writer Paul Jenkins

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Writer Paul Jenkins is helming the CIVIL WAR complimentary title, CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE and is excited to get word out on what should be another great read from the House of Ideas. Jenkins' past works have included a long run on SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, an Eisner Award-winning hitch on INHUMANS, and also penning the Marvel blockbusters WOLVERINE: ORIGIN and WOLVERINE: THE END. Jenkins' work has also recently been seen on THE SENTRY, and GENERATION M. The writer is no stranger to characterization and CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE is one of the strongest character pieces to come from Jenkins yet. Marvel: Above and beyond what was shown in NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI, in your opinion, have the seeds of the Civil War been there all along in the Marvel Universe? Was it only a matter of time? Paul Jenkins: Yeah. I've written before about how complicated it must be to come across a crime scene when one of these costumed heroes is involved. A criminal is supposed to be read their Miranda rights, for instance. How are you going to prosecute if all you have as evidence is a crime committed some tied up crooks and a note from Spidey? It would be impossible . . . there would be so many loopholes. If this were a real situation, it would only be a matter of time before the authorities (rightly) clamped down. M: How do you, as a writer, balance the fiction of CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE with some of the more obvious real-world parallels? PJ: Well, the main story of FRONT LINE is about two "embedded" reporters who write contrasting opinions about the Registration Act. One of them has a "Fox News-type" slant and the other skews more towards a "CNN-type" slant. We explore such diverse issues as wiretapping, terrorism, and fighting without battle lines. I think it's important for me to approach this material with one mindset: namely, I must assume these costumed people are real. If I manage to convince myself, the readers will follow suit. M: Any characters you'd have liked to fit into CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE but weren't able to? PJ: My editors sent me a huge list of characters to play with! I was so excited. . . . I am drunk on the power, even though I must admit I have no idea who half of them are. I somehow contrived to use one of my own, uh, dubious creations, Typeface, in two or three issues! I even managed to shoehorn in the Silver Surfer! M: Which character(s) surprised you the most when you sat down to write CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE? PJ: I realized that Iron Man has a depth I had never considered. He puts his physical well-being on the line every day, even though he could just sit back and spend his billions, if he wanted to. He is a pretty strong person for that, and so his justification for supporting the Act makes a lot of sense. M: What's your personal key as a writer to taking a "normal" character in the Marvel Universe and making them as interesting as any? PJ: I think a good writer is really a good observer of people and their behavior. And as I said, a huge key to making these characters work is to accept that they could be real and work from there. On one hand, it might seem ludicrous that some teenage kid dresses in a costume and swings about the city righting wrongs. But just assume for a moment that it could be real and that whole concept really opens up. M: Was it difficult for you, as a fan of these characters, to see the lines in drawn in the Civil War? Painful to see the pitting of any particular heroes or civilians against each other? PJ: Joe Quesada stated it best, I think: if you're going to do stories that matter then you have to change the status quo. Not painful, no. Incredibly interesting for me. M: How do you feel CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE differs from your other Marvel work? Or is it similar? PJ: Well, I've never had a chance to work on a crossover like this before. ORIGIN was a big book but not a crossover—we could go our own way. This requires a lot more coordination. It's pretty insane! M: What's your take on the death of characters in comic books? When does it become necessary, if at all? PJ: I'm not even sure how to address that. It's never really necessary . . . but it shouldn't have to always be avoided, I think. As a matter of fact, I just killed someone in CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE. My hope is that it will continue to matter because the death has meaning and the person stays dead. M: How does CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE connect with the larger Marvel Universe storylines of the recent past, if at all? PJ: It doesn't, as far as I am concerned. This is new territory. M: What research if any did you have to do for CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE? Legal, political, etc.? PJ: Just a ton! I am a huge research hound. This week I was busy researching the writings of the Greek historian, Plutarch, and his account of Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon. All for a four page "Correspondence" story in issue #2. I love stuff like that. I spend a lot of time on it. M: Lastly, what is the single, hands-down coolest thing about writing CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE? PJ: People yell at me on the Internet before a single issue has come out! I guess they are pretty pumped!

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