Hopps On Spider-Man:
It's Spectacularly Fun
Hopps has worked in the animated realm for nearly two decades,
amassing a lengthy list of writing credits that ranges from
"Darkwing Duck," "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command"
and "Loonatics Unleashed" to the "Justice League,"
"Hellboy: Blood & Iron" and "Transformers:
Animated." He has drafted four scripts for the first
season of "The Spectacular Spider-Man" – "Interactions"
featuring the debut of Electro; "Competition," which
introduced Sandman; "The Uncertainty Principle,"
the Green Goblin's second starring role; and the series' first
time away from his work on several second-season scripts
to discuss his work in the first season and, in particular,
this weekend's "The Uncertainty Principle."
Miereanu: "The Uncertainty Principle"
is the third episode you've written this season. Does it
get easier as the season progresses, or more complicated
as the "web" continues to grow?
Hopps: It gets easier now that I've seen some of
the episodes animated and heard the characters' voices,
but new characters and new plot lines always bring new challenges.
Fortunately, 'The Spectacular Spider-Man' is a spectacularly
fun series to write for.
Thus far this season, you've written for three villains
-- Electro, Sandman, and now you get to expand upon Green
Goblin. How did you approach each, and do you have a writing
preference among the villains?
Hopps: Before I began writing any of the villains,
I re-read all the comics I could get my hands on that featured
Electro, Sandman and Green Goblin. As to preference –
I love all the villains I've been lucky enough to include
in my scripts. They each bring something new to the series
– their motivations are different and, therefore,
they interact with Spider-Man is different in their own
I like the humanity of Electro – here's a person who
didn't ask to be a villain, but found himself thrust into
that role. I love the ordinary-ness of the motivation for
Sandman – he's just basically a crook who suddenly finds
himself with super powers. Then there's Goblin – you
might consider him crazed, but he's truly brilliant and has
thought things out far in advance. He's always several steps
ahead of where you think he is. So while I'm writing Goblin,
I'm always trying to keep in mind where he's going next.
he throw his own head?
I'm not allowed
to say what I'm writing for second season, but I can say
that sometimes it gets a little harder when you write a
character a second time because you have to top what you
did the first time. A good example for this season is Spider-Man's
battle with the Green Goblin in the episode coming this
weekend. I had to pay special attention to the battles from
the episode that aired two weeks ago, and concentrate on
how we could make it different and really up the
You have a lengthy history of writing for comics/super
What's your personal satisfaction working in that realm?
Hopps: I just love this genre – both in live-action
and in animation. I started out in comedy, writing sitcoms,
then animation comedies – but I realized the movies
and TV shows I mostly watched were action adventure. And
so, whenever possible, that's what I try to write. Of
course, I like to think I'm able to add a good deal of humor
to the action I write.
It's fun to write
a variety of characters, too – both in terms of jumping
from show to show, and from heroes to villains. Spider-Man
and Hellboy present that kind of variety. The key differences
come in their age and their motivation – those factors
help give them distinctly different personalities and attitudes.
Even though he has all this teen angst, Spidey still really
has fun with being a super hero, and he lets it show. Hellboy
is older and more mature – he keeps his emotions more
in check. I don't really have favorites, but I guess if
I was creating a character of my own, it would probably
be Spidey – between the character's comedy, action
and humanity, he all the elements I like to write.
Is there a super hero you haven't written for yet that
you still wish to work on, and why?
agree. Spider-Man is ideal.
Hopps: To paraphrase, and lay ruin to, a famous
quote: I never met a super hero I wouldn't write. Spider-Man,
however, is ideal since he combines super hero heroics with
teenage real-life problems (and a healthy dose of humor
combined with action). As for super villains, well, after
the Green Goblin, I'm writing another classic Spidey villain
– but I guess you'll just have to keep watching to
find out who that is.
Is there another genre that you would like to explore?
Hopps: I never know what next is in store. I've
done a lot of comedy and even a fair amount of pre-school
programs. They all flex different writing muscles. And I
love combining the comedy and action when I can. Even while
writing one of the Hellboy animated movies, I was able to
add a little comedy to the more adult-themed action. Oh,
and one more thing: Hi Mom!