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Sunday, June 01, 2014 

How Charles Soule got his jobs in mainstream

The writer Charles Soule was interviewed by the LA Times, and they reveal where and how he landed his jobs, and got into mainstream:
As a user on Brian Michael Bendis’ Jinxworld message board, Soule was able to make connections in the comics industry and began submitting scripts to anthologies. “I really enjoyed the experience of collaborating with an artist,” said Soule. “It seemed like a way of making short films without paying 10 grand a pop.”
Boy, anyone who looks for a way into comicdom through a site run by a charlatan like Bendis can't be very reliable, can they? He does acknowledge what's gone wrong with DC and Marvel's policy for hiring though:
Hero Complex: “Swamp Thing” was your first superhero ongoing series. How did you end up getting that book? What did you pitch?

Charles Soule: Anyone trying to break into Big Two comics [Marvel and DC], the real way to do it is to make an indie book that gets noticed by somebody at the Big Two, and that’s basically what happened. An executive at DC saw “27” and really liked it, and grabbed an advance reader’s copy of “Strange Attractors” at San Diego Comic-Con and then asked if I’d ever want to do something for DC Comics. I think it was phrased more like, “Why haven’t you done something for DC Comics?” And I was like, “Well, you don’t just call them up and do something with DC Comics. You have to be invited.”

He put me in touch with Matt Idelson, who is the editor of “Swamp Thing” to this very day, and Matt asked me to pitch. The pitch that I gave him was a lot of the things that you see in the series. It was the idea of a globetrotting guy who could become a lot different things depending on his environment. It was very heavy into the mythological, dark fantasy elements of Swamp Thing — a lot of horror, and not crazy superhero, but not shying away from that either, and really delving into Swamp Thing as a character and the fact that he has this crazy job protecting all the plant life on Earth. So that’s what I pitched and that’s what they liked. Thank goodness I got that job.
This just compounds the point already made that the big two have become closed shops. And Idelson, lest we forget, was one of the driving forces behind the editorially mandated decision to break up any serious relations between Superman and Lois Lane, all in favor of an obvious affair between Supes and Wonder Woman.
HC: With “Superman/Wonder Woman,” was there any pressure in writing a book starring two of DC’s flagship characters so soon in your mainstream comics career?

CS: No doubt about it. When I got that phone call, it was almost too much to process. I couldn’t believe they would trust me with something like that. I knew that I could do it, but it was nerve-racking. I think to this day, “Superman/Wonder Woman” is probably one of the trickiest things I’ve been working on. It’s like being asked to write a “Star Wars” movie or something like that. You don’t know how you’re going to handle it, you don’t know if you can. You don’t know if you should be the guy. But then you get into it, and just like anything else, you start to get through the story problems and it works itself out. I will say that it is arguably one of the most difficult books I write every month just because the balance between the action heroic side and relationship romantic side is complicated to handle, but I think it’s worked out very well. I’m very proud of that.
I'm sure Geoff Johns didn't know how to handle it when he began it either, save for making it an obvious fanfiction tale. No wonder I wouldn't buy his words at face value. Under such hacks as Bob Harras and Dan DiDio, a cheapjack affair between two of the most obvious stars of the DCU can only turn out dull.
HC: You’re working with Greg Pak and Scott Lobdell on the “Doomed” crossover. What is that experience like?

CS: We started working on “Doomed” officially last fall at New York Comic Con. We had a Superman group summit. It was me, Greg Pak and Scott Lobdell, and we have been working nonstop ever since. It’s a very gigantic project. It’s the largest crossover I’ve ever really worked on, and Scott helped a great deal in the planning stages and he did the first couple issues of “Superman” before Geoff Johns takes that book over any minute now. Me and Greg are seeing it through, and it’s been amazing to play with a story line that was very meaningful to me when I was reading comics, the death and return of Superman, but it’s also a chance to do it in its own way. This is not the death and return of Superman, it’s something very different because it’s using some of the biggest characters in the Superman universe, which have become some of the biggest characters in the DC Universe. We can play with anyone we want to. We have the entire toy box at our disposal, which is great.
Working with awful writers like Lobdell doesn't ensure much promise. And if he thinks the death of Superman in 1992 had meaning, that just shows what a farce he really is. Why, how can this be "gigantic" if Doomsday's been remade as a virus rather than a huge physical monster? That only makes him sillier than his original incarnation.
HC: You’re also working on “Red Lanterns” for DC. Sick of Christmas colors yet?

CS: “Red Lanterns” is probably not what people expected it to be, and that’s a cool thing, to be able to reinvent a book a little bit, but you’re also dealing with getting over the hurdle of people who have expectations of what it was. Not that it was bad, it was just very different before I took it over. I came up with this big biker gang thing, which I’m sure you know.
Oh, he's working on that series starring a cast of blood belching aliens? Unless he changes that part to something less crude, I can't take Soule seriously.
HC: Supergirl recently joined the team. How did that decision come about, and is she sticking around for the long haul?

CS: The idea was mine, it actually happened at the Superman summit last fall, and it came out of a general discussion about things to do with Supergirl and places her character might fit. I knew that she had been very angry teenager in her portrayal, so she seemed like a good fit for the Reds, and it’s essentially a new angle, a way of shaking things up a bit. I think it’s worked out pretty well. People came into it with negative expectations, as they sometimes do these days with the Internet, but I think they’ve been pleasantly surprised. She will be on for a little while yet, not on forever because she has lots of exciting things to do in other parts of the DC Universe, but she has a very cool story yet to be told in “Red Lanterns.”
That story was one of the most insulting ideas they came up with, playing off a limp cliche of angst, and sales weren't something to write home about there, so I think he's just bragging about nothing, putting words in everyone's mouths. Too much angst ruined the X-Men, and now it's spoiled Supergirl to boot.

And if Soule has no problem working on a company wide crossover, that only tells he didn't get into this gig for serious storytelling.

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