EPIC Journey To Marvel:
Rob Worley and
Young Ancient One
to the planned first issue.
It's been a rocky year for the creators involved in Marvel's
Epic imprint. Designed as a way to break new talent, the project
has appeared in fits and starts -- with only a few titles
surviving the loss of Epic idea man Bill Jemas. Those that
did survive but had not yet seen print will now be combined
into one big magazine -- Epic #1, retailing at $5.99 and due
out in February, 2004.
the very beginning of the project, one title had caught our
interest here, as it came from the mind of a fellow web journalist
and a man who helped break Fanboy Planet to a wider audience
through his own site, Comics2Film.
Worley was one of the first to welcome us onto the web, and
every year at Comic Con we've managed to cross paths. This
past summer, on the heels of his having his Young Ancient
One pitch accepted by Marvel, Rob joined me as the two journalists
invited to a banquet hosted by Mark Hamill in honor of Stan
Lee and the upcoming Comic Book: The Movie. Over fine steak
and straining to look like we weren't staring at our dinner
companion Donna D'errico, Rob agreed to an interview as the
publication date got closer for Young Ancient One.
two months off from that date, and the appearance of a second
issue of Epic really does depend on fan reaction, so we're
here to help Rob out and get you guys whipped into a frenzy.
Rob provided us with some cool preview art by Andy Kuhn, and
also urges you to check out his official
website for the project, where you can get Young Ancient
One temporary tattoos. We won't be held responsible for any
mystical abilities that accidentally come with them.
McCaw: So what inspired you to pitch "Young Ancient
Worley: I wanted to do a book that was Marvel, but somehow
different from all the other contemporary, urban, sci-fi superhero
books they were doing. So I started on a script, called "American
Marvel" which was basically a humor book about a reality
show in the Marvel Universe but I was also thinking about
other concepts that could go.
going through MarvelDirectory.com paging through the hundreds
of characters listed there and at some point I ran across
the Ancient One and the wheels just started turning. Here
was this cool character that is or was one of the most powerful
people on the planet and he had this vast history that was
largely unexplored. The guy was 500 years old when we first
met him! So what was he like 500 years ago?
I've got this vision of Harry Potter by way of Jet Li. Kung
fu and sorcery and a 500-year journey through the Marvel Universe.
The possibilities are endless.
wicked this way comes...
quickly I stopped working on "American Marvel" and
focused on "Young Ancient One," which refused to
be set aside at that point.
Hey, tell us why we should buy it?
'Cause I need the money, man.
want to know what's in it for you.
like me, and you're enjoying the Asian martial arts movies
that have been making their way over to our U.S. theaters
then you'll probably like this book. I was really inspired
by movies like "Iron Monkey," "Jet Li's The
Legend," "The Storm
heck, you can even throw "Kill
Bill" in there, even though it came out after I started
movies have this blend of action, humor and drama and that's
what Andy Kuhn, who's drawing the book
that's what Andy
and I were going for.
a fun book with a nice ensemble of lovable characters, a creepy
villain, and lots of action, kung fu and sorcery.
heart of it is a love story between our hero and his wife.
That emerged during the development process as the most critical
elements of the book. There's this great interaction between
the two and it's a classic case of the two forming a greater
whole. So the hero is elevated by the involvement of his wife
in all aspects of his life.
Who are the artists on this project, and how was it working
with them? Did their styles change the way you had thought
you would write the story?
who was doing great work on "Firebreather" and "Mantooth"
before that, he's drawing it. Bill Crabtree is coloring it.
Dave Sharpe is lettering it.
artwork didn't change how I wrote the story because I was
almost done writing before he even drew the promo pieces for
the book. I chose Andy because, looking at Firebreather, obviously
he could render the creatures and the action and that stuff
great, but there are these beautiful pages where the teenage
dragon character is just talking to his mother
faces are so expressive and so well drawn. That's what I wanted
saw the costume design for the hero of YAO, I was elated.
I was positive Andy was the right guy for this.
and a cool costume...
he didn't effect how I wrote the scripts for YAO, he definitely
taught me a lot about the art form and changed the way I'll
write he next thing. For example: I have a tendency to crowd
the page with lots of panels FILLED with dialogue. Generous
artist that Andy is, he's actually drawn more pages than he
was contracted to draw, just to help the story breath and
flow better. So YAO #1 is 24 pages instead of 22.
Bill have worked together on Firebreather and other things
and Andy suggested he would be good for this book. I'm so
glad he suggested Bill. Every time I see one of Andy's pages
I geek out. Then, when Bill sends me the colored pages, I
geek out times 10.
people are going to be surprised by how cool this book looks.
Despite the perceived on again, off again, on again publication
of Epic, how was your experience on the whole thing?
Well, given the events of the previous month or so, I think
it's pretty obvious that Epic was anything but a smooth ride.
But you have to understand that Marvel was doing something
wildly experimental with the process and it's not really hard
to imagine there are going to be bumps in the road.
was my introduction to the biz so it's incredibly exciting
for me too. And just to go through the process of creating
something, then recreating it. Then watching Andy recreate
it and Bill recreate that
it's so very, very cool.
How much editorial input (oh, heck, or interference) was there?
a little bit hard to answer since this is my first comics
writing experience and I don't have anything to compare it
to. I would say that the editorial input was not insignificant,
but there wasn't much about it that troubled me either. I'm
new to the game so much of the guidance I got was appreciated.
There was one major tweak to the concept that occurred early
on, which I was resistant too at first. It was a little hard
to swallow, but I worked with it and, in hindsight, it was
clearly a good call on the editorial team's part.
I'd also say that, based on some of the stuff I read elsewhere
on the Internet, I got off fairly easy. I didn't do a hundred
rewrites on "Young Ancient One". There was really
just one major rewrite where I expanded my cramped pitch-script
to three issues, but after that it was mostly just minor polishes.
What kind of assurances have you gotten from Marvel about
seeing the story you started actually finish? If there is
no Epic #2, do you have an alternative, such as webposting,
available to you for people who want to know what happens
Ancient One get past the gate?
We've had no assurances. I certainly hope there's an Epic
#2 because he first issue ends on a cliffhanger. I hope there's
an Epic #3 because the second issue ends on a cliffhanger
be a damn shame if fans don't get to see the entire story.
Andy and I are so psyched about it, and the concept clearly
has such long-term potential we just hope fans get a fair
chance to judge it.
#2 doesn't happen, I'd love to publish the scripts online
so readers can at least see how things work out. But that's
really Marvel's call.
A few months ago, you severely scaled back your involvement
with the site you started, Comics2Film, to concentrate on
other writing venues. So what else have you got in the hopper
that you can talk about?
I just finished up a screenplay that I've been developing
for over a year. My time with C2F has connected me with so
many people in comics and film and some of them have become
good friends. One of those friends, who also happens to be
an extremely successful screenwriter, has been collaborating
with me on this new script. I don't want to give the details
just yet, but I'm very excited about the way that one is shaping
another screenwriting project on deck. Again, I can't say
too much, but it is a comic-to-film adaptation that I'll be
writing on spec. The creator of that comic asked me to work
on it after he read the YAO scripts.
pitching new projects to Marvel and crossing my fingers that
one of those fires. I'm working on a pitch for DC and starting
to think about pitches for other publishers.
Will you be developing anything, or trying to develop anything,
for the new Unlimited books?
I've made some pitches on the Spider-Man book but not the
X-Men book. We'll see what happens. Those 11-pagers are tough
Say Young Ancient One gets you the attention you deserve.
Who would you like to pitch to next, and what would it be?
Well, you know Marvel and DC have so many cool toys, but I've
always been a big fan of Dark Horse too.
pitch for Marvel is actually "Devil Dinosaur." I
think I have a really cool take on that one that would make
Marvel tons of money across all media. Every artist I talk
to about it says, "oooh
.if you get Devil Dinosaur
I HAVE to draw it."
Big D isn't a mutant (close your eyes and repeat "Fallen
Angels never happened" three times) or a teenager and
he doesn't live in a major U.S. city so I haven't really got
Marvel enrolled in the concept.
I intend to put YAO and Devil D in front of the Marvel movie
people at some point.
How would you describe your own martial arts fighting style?
It's sort of a blend of Snak Fu and Beer Chi. Many of the
classic martial arts are based on the animal forms, but I
favor the dairy forms.
On our site, we heard from Daniel DeFabio about having dinner
with Stan Lee, but hey, you were there, too - so what
was it like for you to meet The Man this past summer?
Stan Lee was there? All I remember is Donna D'errico was sitting
right across from me. In fact, I'm pretty sure we were the
only two people in the room.
pass the salt. Hello?
Daniel was so cool to get me in the room and then to introduce
me to the living legend. What a great experience that was.
Stan may be one of the most charming people on the planet.
He makes you feel like you're in the club.
wait to see "Comic
Book: The Movie" (plug plug)
Who wins in a fight - Young Ancient One, Boon from Way of
the Rat, or Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter?
Boon could hold his own as long as he wears his magic ring
but he'd have to bow to the fact that YAO busts out the kung
fu without mystical assistance. And once Boon gets into a
tickle fight with his pet monkey, YAO will seize the opportunity
to put the hurt on him.
Dragon vs. YAO? Come on! That's like pitting Keanu Reeves
against Donnie Yen. It won't be pretty.
man, I'd like to see that. Anyway, once again it's Young Ancient
One appearing in Epic #1, retailing at $5.99 and hitting fine
comics shops in February!