DC's Charles Soule hopes to blindside fan expectations with 'Supeman: Doomed'
(CBR) Yes, Charles Soule has a lot going on. He's in the rare position of having a major presence at both Marvel and DC Comics, writing "Inhuman," "She-Hulk" and "Thunderbolts" for the former (his "T-Bolts" run wraps up with May's issue #26); and "Superman/Wonder Woman," "Red Lanterns" and "Swamp Thing" at the latter. On top of that, he's keeping his creator-owned roots firmly planted with the acclaimed "Letter 44" for Oni Press, which, according to rumors, has attracted interest as a TV show.
But hard work is nothing new to Soule -- as has been well-publicized, he's also an attorney with his own practice. And it's the results of that effort that he's especially eager to talk about, the topic of his conversation with CBR News this past weekend at the DC Comics at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, with a focus on the latest developments in his three current DC series.
CBR News: Charles, I'm sure you're tired of talking about how much stuff that you do, but it is notable, I think -- six monthly books.
Charles Soule: Seven.
On top of being a lawyer.
And having a family.
Any one of those things would keep a person busy -- have you always been especially good at time management and staying organized? I remember you wrote a blog post recently that seemed to try to demystify it all a bit.
This question is coming up again and again and again, and it's not a problem, because I think it's something that people are very interested in. It's a good thing that people want to know about this stuff. Part of it is, I love writing. I love writing these stories, working with these characters. It is literally a dream come true. Everything else that I would decide to do otherwise is not as appealing to me. Yeah, I like going to the movies and stuff like that, but I don't like wasting time. I never have. If I can be spending my available time on doing things that I think are fantastic, I'm going to do it. That's basically what it is.
That sounds like discipline, and probably something you had to be good at years before this.
Certainly the law career helped with that. You can't be a practicing attorney without being very disciplined and detail-oriented, and having good time management. I've had my own practice for more than 10 years at this point. That in particular requires you to be very disciplined and focused, because it's my business. If I don't do the work, I don't eat.
Let's get into the books, starting with "Superman/Wonder Woman" -- it was clear that some people had a distinct perception of that series before it even came out. Now that the actual work has come out, that notion has seemed to dissolve. How annoyed were you at that initial reaction, and do you think it's been satisfactorily overcome?
I don't think that's a "Superman/Wonder Woman" [thing]. I think whenever you have a new title announced that's something different that people haven't seen before, they like to put things in boxes, so they're like, "This is probably going to be this," and then people start talking about it that way. People like to talk about things. "Superman/Wonder Woman," people expected I guess a lot of romance, or maybe something that wasn't emotionally deep. Who knows?
Ultimately, it doesn't really matter, because the book is what the book is -- which is a huge superhero epic action book that happens to have a strong relationship at its core, between two of the coolest characters in the DC Universe. That's what it is, everybody knows what it is now, and it's going to stay in that vein. I'm very happy with the way the book's come together. This whole weekend, people have been coming up to my booth, being thrilled.
Those are two of the biggest characters in any type of fiction, being presented in a slightly different context, since there is the romance element, which hasn't really been there before. How much do you enjoy that blend of something that is so established, but in a way that people haven't seen?
I love it. Honestly, that is one of the things that attracted me to this project in the first place, because it was a chance to do something new with characters that everything has been done with, and that does not come along very often. So I jumped on it the minute it was offered. I feel like it's a responsibility, and it's something that I spend a lot of time trying to get right. I obsess over it in a way that I don't obsess over some of the other books, but hopefully that shows in the scripts and the finished product.
Doomsday has been a part of the book since the beginning, and things are now moving to the "Superman: Doomed" crossover. What interested you about Doomsday, and were you reading DC Comics during the original "Death of Superman" back in 1992?
Yes, I was, and that was one of the first big crossover events that really grabbed me as a kid. As far as Doomsday now, it's been more than 20 years since that happened, so this is a chance to take that storyline and subvert people's expectations of it a little bit. It's kind of like "Superman/Wonder Woman" itself -- people think it's going to be X, and we're going to do Y, Z, A, B, C, 1, 2, 3 -- a whole bunch of different things that they're not necessarily expecting to happen. Which is fun. It's part of the process of working on a big event like that. I'm working on it with Greg Pak and Scott Lobdell, and we've really come up with some cool stuff.
What's it like working with that team? You started with creator-owned stuff, which is very much your own vision, and doing stories for Marvel and DC is of course different than that, and with this, it looks like the three of you are working very closely together -- it's the old-style crossover where one part picks up where the other left off. What's that experience been like for you? It has to be a little different.
It is, but one of the things that's great is if you can get to the point where you trust your collaborators. I don't have to worry about it -- [Pak and Lobdell's] chapters are going to be great, and I can focus on what I'm doing. We started working on this in earnest last October. There's been a lot of development before any of us wrote a single script related to this. We've got whiteboards, we've got charts, we've got all kinds of stuff. It's pretty intricately plotted, and I think it's really going to come off well.
I feel that the three of you are each very different types of writers.
I imagine that makes it more fun.
It's interesting! What that means is, you don't always agree on every single point. But that means there's some give and take, and that ideas really get vetted -- if they make it through to the finished product, they've got to be pretty good, because if you can convince the other guys that your take is the right take, even if they didn't necessarily start there, that means it's probably a decent idea.
With Doomsday, a lot of people have a specific reaction to that character as a negative product of the '90s. Is the mission statement at least partly to defy that?
It is. My real Doomsday experience prior to this was just the "Death" and "Return" story. I know that he came back a bunch of times, sort of with diminishing returns with each appearance. We're very aware of the history of Doomsday, and we're trying -- and I think succeeding -- in doing something that is going to be familiar in the ways you want it to feel familiar, but also new and cool and interesting in a way that makes it worth doing the event. That's really what everybody wants. They want to read something that feels like it's worth the time; that matters. That feels like they're taking on a journey by confident creators who know what they're doing, and that's what we've got.
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