Australian Made: Injustice: Gods Among Us Comic Adaptation Interview with Tom Taylor
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 05:54pm 25/01/13 | Comments
Tom Taylor is one of Australia's most successful comic book writers, and he was handed the heavy duty of bringing NetherRealms' Injustice: Gods Among Us to life via comic books. We chatted with hm about it...
AusGamers: Congrats on the gig Tom, you’re doing Australia proud! Were you following the game’s development up until you landed the project?
Tom Taylor: Thanks! I should start by saying we’re actually going to see some parts of Australia in a later chapter of Injustice. I figured it was time for the Superheroes to visit us.
The first time I saw any coverage for Injustice was at Comic-Con in San Diego, where it was impossible to miss. I’ve never seen so many people lined up to punch Superman in the face.
AusGamers: How much interaction have you had with NetherRealm?
Tom: I’ve read the full game script, which is fantastic, and all the character work but I haven’t had a lot of direct contact with the NetherRealm guys. I do chat to a few of them via Twitter and email though. They are loving the comic so far, and I can’t wait to play the game. We’re currently working out an exchange program where they’ll send me a signed collector’s edition and I’ll send them signed copies of Injustice #1. To do this though, I have to get over my strange fear of posting.
AusGamers: Obviously this is a slight reimagining of the DC Universe, and aesthetically it stands out. How much of this has been fleshed out, from a contextual level, within the studio, and how much have you been able to add to that?
Tom: The guys at NetherRealm have done a heap of work. The arenas and the world look great, and I think some of the designs you’re going to see for characters who haven’t been announced yet are really going to make people happy. With such a well-realised game, there’s not a whole lot left to do as far as world-building but we’ve certainly been able to come up with a bit of stuff. We have a Green Arrow/Harley Quinn story coming up in a few weeks and I really wanted the Arrow Car and the Arrow Cave in it. It was up to artist, Bruno Redondo (who worked on DARTH MAUL: DEATH SENTENCE with me) and I to come up with the look of these. The car was all Bruno in the end. I actually opened the cave up to a few of my friends for suggestions. This is why you’ll see a moustache and beard trimming station there - an idea from my mate, Matt Sprague.
AusGamers: I know you’re a massive Superman fan, and being able to write him must be something of a dream come true – is it more refreshing to be able to tackle this left-of-centre Supes, or more of a challenge?
Tom: Writing Superman for the first time is huge. This has always been my comics-writing goal. However, Injustice has really destroyed me. I am literally torturing my heroes. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. You’ll see by page nine of chapter three exactly what I’m talking about, and then what happens in chapter four will rock some people. This is probably the most challenging writing I’ve ever done. People are going to be genuinely upset. After this, I’ll probably just want to write a story where Superman lies in a sundrenched daisy field and has wonderful dreams.
AusGamers: Obviously as a writer on a comic like this, I’d imagine you’re hoping it has some serious legs, but putting aside your penmanship of it for a second, and just standing back, do you think it has the potential to rock the DC fanbase and become a mainstay in the stable?
Tom: The first chapter was the bestselling single issue comic on the Amazon Kindle and the bestselling superhero comic, for a while it was sitting on top of the likes of Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns. It was also the top-selling comic on the DC Comics app. You can’t open bigger than that and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who downloaded it. It generated a huge amount of buzz on Twitter and Tumblr, and if we can keep this up, who knows where it could lead? Basically, fans decide this. If people keep downloading Injustice, and talking about it, there’s no reason it can’t go on for a long time. So, it’s up to YOU. If you’re loving Injustice, tell the world. If you’re not loving Injustice, um… tell your household pets.
AusGamers: The game obviously takes a bunch of liberties with the fact it’s a videogame (let’s be honest, apart from Batman and his sneaky possession of Kryptonite, no one else would really stand a chance against Superman), is this an angle you’re going to play with in the books to give the game some more grounding, or are you treating it a bit separate in that regard?
Tom: Ed Boon has said a few times that this will all make sense, and it will. There’s a reason these guys can hammer away at each other and not put their fists through each other’s brains like melted butter.
AusGamers: Has it been easier to approach a project like this because it’s a fighting game? Obviously most Triple-A games follow a reasonably in-depth story that could hamstring a transmedia contributor such as yourself, but here it seems like it’s a much more tangible project. Has this been the case for you?
Tom: Having written Star Wars comics for so long, I understand having to work within a large amount of continuity and I’m comfortable doing so. Yes there are always things you can’t do. You can’t have Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett having a picnic on Aldaraan two days after it’s blown up for instance. However, with Injustice, I’m writing a prequel to the game which is enormously freeing. There are a few big events that have to take place but, aside from these, I know the status quo of where the game starts, and it’s largely up to me how we get to there.
AusGamers: Paul Dini (Batman: Arkham series) obviously had great success with his foray into writing a videogame, now that you’re as close as you are, could you ever see yourself dabbling in this field, if it were a comic license?
Tom: Absolutely. I’d love to write a game. It wouldn’t have to be a comic license either. I’ve written film, television, musicals and plays. I like writing, and I like writing for all genres. Having said that, comics are my favourite medium. With Technicolor optioning my Graphic Novel series, The Deep, for an animated series today, a lot of people have been asking if I plan on moving away from comics. Absolutely not. I do enjoy writing for the small and big screen but, for me, comics are the single greatest storytelling medium in the world. I hope DC will employ me for many years to come.
AusGamers: Of all the characters in the game, who is your favourite reimagining?
Tom: Ooh, good question. Nightwing’s an interesting one. His story is pretty crazy. And Lex Luthor is a great character in the game. I wish I could tell you more but writing these things is a lot like having a secret identity.
AusGamers: Have you had much chance to get hands-on with it?
Tom: Nooooo. I haven’t and I really want to. I dig fighting games. I actually had the first Mortal Kombat on PC, and I’ve also been playing Tekken since day one. Can’t wait to unleash. I’ll probably play as Superman every time though.
AusGamers: And finally, could you give us your two-cents on the importance of transmedia across all IPs (if you think it’s important, that is ;)?
Tom: I find it very strange that, with the success of this comic, people keep talking about how amazed they are that it’s a game tie-in. There’s this strange perception that a game tie-in shouldn’t be a story of quality. I think a good license can breed other great things and intertwine with other great things. Whether it’s an app, a novel, a comic or whatever, if you love something, having more of it out there (so long as it’s faithful to what you love and quality) is a real plus.
And more and more, it’s expected. My son’s been hounding me, asking me why I’m not writing Skylanders comics ;)
AusGamers: Thanks for your time Tom, and once again mate, congrats!
Tom: Thanks heaps, Stephen. We’ve come a long way since meeting on that very long, epic night in Sydney ;)
You can follow Tom Taylor on Twitter @TomTaylorMade
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