I am Mark Waid, writer of comics such as Kingdom Come, Superman: Birthright, Daredevil, and creator of Thrillbent.com. Here's proof!


Ask me anything! Which it should actually say in the header up above, but I hit "return" too fast. ALREADY A REDDIQUETTE MISTAKE AND I'VE BARELY BEGUN! Yay. Anyway...ASK ME ANYTHING.

5:55 EST: Okay, I'm back for another half-hour or so (best I can do)--thanks to all of you for the comments and questions! Onward!

Final update, 6:30 PM EST: I have to bow out now. Thanks again for the fun. And visit us on Thrillbent for free-to-read comics and DRM-free downloads! Hasta!

Comments: 490 • Responses: 86  • Date: 

Simon_Williams109 karma

Hi, Mark! This post is on behalf of /r/comicbooks, the comics-specific part of Reddit. We’re borrowing a great idea from our friends at /r/squaredcircle, in which we’ve collected the five most burning questions we’d love to see you answer. Thanks for your time and we hope you have fun during your AMA today!

  • Mark, what, in your opinion, makes a great comic book story? How is it different from what makes a great film, book, or TV show?

  • What makes Daredevil such a compelling character to write? Despite being a B-level hero, he has consistently had great writers do great runs.

  • What character have you wanted to write but never got the chance to? What would their hypothetical five-issue story arc be about?

  • Mark, given your adoration for Superman, how do you envisage your run, should it ever come to fruition? I understand you would take the character in a direction that editorial is unlikely to be sold on. Could you give us a quick breakdown of some of your ideas? Huge fan.

  • Who would you say are your biggest influences in terms of writing and story structure?

These questions were collected and voted on in this thread.

MarkWaid70 karma

2- Short answer? His powers are as much a shortcoming as they are an advantage.

3- Batman. Never written a Batman story. Would LOVE to do the ultimate Riddler faceoff.

4- I wish I could, but it hurts. IT HURRRRTS. All I can tell you is, imagine Superman: Birthright #13.

MarkWaid60 karma

D'OH! I meant, long-form. Sorry. D'oh.

MarkWaid64 karma

Five questions, five answers: 1-a great comic book story takes advantage of the medium. It remembers to be visual at all times, even during the "talky bits." The words/dialogue are a useful buttress to the story, giving depth and additional meaning, but it still should tell a visual story!

MarkWaid44 karma

5- For structure, Jim Shooter and David E. Kelley (particularly the way he wrote PICKET FENCES). For writing in general, Harlan Ellison, Ellery Queen, and Steve Gerber.

OhSoWittyUsername14 karma

What in particular about PICKET FENCES's structure was valuable?

MarkWaid39 karma

The fact that it taught me the value of having someone in the cast create conflict by acting "out of character" for the first two acts only to reveal something in act three that makes perfect sense of their actions.

hoffer17549 karma

If it were offered to you, would you accept the position of EiC of DC Comics?

On a completely unrelated note, you made my year when you declared my "Has DC Done Something Stupid Today" gag site to be the greatest thing ever. So, thank you for that.

MarkWaid65 karma

You are a RIOT. I'd accept it for no other reason than the offer would mean that my parka-manufacturing division would be making a real killing in Hell.

It'll never happen. And it would depend on who I answered to and what the job was defined to be.

ScarySpencer45 karma

How long do you envision your Daredevil run to be? I want it to continue forever.

Are there any other Marvel characters you'd like to reboot?

MarkWaid78 karma

I'm not going anywhere for a bit. I could see another year or two at least, maybe more. As far as other Marvel characters to reboot...Silver Surfer someday? Maybe? No plans and no TIME right now, but it's an interesting thought....

RunningJokes34 karma

Hi Mark! No real questions here, I just wanted to let you know that you are undoubtedly one of my all time favorite writers. Daredevil is arguably the best book on shelves right now and such a damn joy to read; Samnee and you seem to work on a level above what most writer/artist pairings can do. Indestructible Hulk is right behind DD in terms of pure enjoyment. Birthright is personally my favorite Superman story of all time and the reason I finally started caring about the character. Irredeemable and Incorruptible are fantastic, as are Tower of Babel and Kingdom Come, etc.

Basically what I'm saying is that everything you touch turns to gold, so just keep up the great work! :)

MarkWaid66 karma


GarvinIndustries34 karma

Did you ever meet Jack Kirby?

MarkWaid62 karma

I did, once. Sat down with him at a convention hotel lobby when I was a fan, early 1980s. Charming as all hell, gracious, and the absolute model pros should look to when talking with their readers. Utterly accessible.

GarvinIndustries32 karma

If a child walked up to you and asked you who is Superman what would your answer be?

MarkWaid55 karma

This is my favorite question of the day. Thank you.

He's the strongest man in the world, and he can fly, and nothing can hurt him, and what makes him awesome is that he spends all his time saving people.

EAlcantara30 karma

What's it like having a Jay Z album named after one of your works?

MarkWaid87 karma

AWESOME. It was AWESOME. Thanks for reminding me--I really have to get to meeting him someday. I'll enjoy shaking hands with the artist who recorded KINGDOM COME, and he'll enjoy shaking hands with the whitest man he ever met.

TheGamerTribune26 karma

2 questions for me, and one for my friend who's missing this

  1. Do you think Image's adoption of DRM-Free will lead it to become a bigger standard in pretty much everyone but the Big 2

  2. What is your favourite of your work? Mine is Kingdom Come.

And for my friend, 3. How long does it take you to get a script written?

MarkWaid49 karma

  1. Dear Jesus God, I sure hope so. I fully understand why digital distributors are required by corporations to deal in DRM-crippled files, and I empathize with them, but DRM exists almost exclusively to maximize corporate profits. It does nothing to promote and further art or culture.

  2. Thanks. It varies from week to week, but overall, either SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT or my first issue of FANTASTIC FOUR.

MarkWaid26 karma

3: Around a week, which includes a lot of staring-into-space time. I have a superstition about writing an entire script in one day; I'm afraid to turn in anything without having at least one night to sleep on it. FLASH #129 was written almost all in one day, closest I've come, I think--but I deliberately stopped on page 21 even though I knew what the last page would be, all because I was superstitious. Finished it the next morning.

SwordProfessor26 karma

Hi Mark! I'm a big fan of your work, especially Birthright, Daredevil, and Irredeemable. I have a few questions.

  1. What ongoings are you reading right now? Who are the creators that you think are leading the industry as far as telling compelling stories?

  2. What are thoughts on the trend of big blockbuster movies like the Avengers and The Dark Knight permeating popular culture and spawning sequels? Is this good for comics, drawing in new fans? Or will these studios oversaturate the market?

  3. If you had to choose one comic or piece of memorabilia of your Superman collection to keep and the rest had to be burned, what would you pick?

Thanks for taking the time to do this and keep up the great work!

MarkWaid51 karma

1-Leading creators? Grant Morrison, Jeff Lemire in his creator-owned stuff, Matt Fraction, and I'm sure I just left out a thousand of my friends by accident, I APOLOGIZE.

2- I think it's good so long as the movies are good.

3- WHAT A GREAT QUESTION. Without a doubt, the framed Curt Swan page from ACTION COMICS #500--I'll post it on Twitter later.

OhSoWittyUsername24 karma

What's your take on full script versus Marvel Method? Have you ever worked on a series and switched between the two, or at least wished you could? If so, what difference did it make in the final result?

MarkWaid28 karma

It really depends on the artist you're working with. If we've not had much experience, I prefer full-script (though all my artists know to contact me with questions/suggestions and that it's a collaboration, they should make things work for them)--but once we get a rhythm going, doing plot and then dialogue over artwork plays to the artist's strengths better. The problem there is that it gives me less time to polish the dialogue.

Jmlorenz114923 karma

Hi Mr. Waid,

I am a huge fan of yours and have read a lot of your work!

1) Which comic that you wrote are you most proud of? Which are you least proud of?

2) And what do you not like about the way that the comic book industry is currently run?

Thanks for doing this! Your work has brought me hours upon hours of enjoyment!

MarkWaid39 karma

1) Superman: Birthright, I'm proudest of. Spider-Man Team-Up #1 is best forgotten.

2) I've made my peace with whatever issues I've got. I'd rather not rail against things I can't change, like corporate behavior; I'd instead prefer to spend my energy making changes myself.

Elementlegen21 karma

Big fan Mark! What would you say Superman's favorite breakfast is? What's yours?

MarkWaid41 karma

Superman's favorite breakfast is eggs, bacon and gravy biscuits just like Ma used to make. Mine is Krispy Kreme lemon-filled doughnuts. You can guess which one of us will live longer.

jakefortress21 karma

Good afternoon, when you were getting into the comic book medium what did you enjoy reading, and what do you enjoy reading today?

By the way I am a huge fan! Kingdom Come is the story that got me into Superman and Birthright touched me like no other comic has. Thanks for doing this AMA.

MarkWaid23 karma

My pleasure. And I'm glad to hear that about Birthright. When I got in, I enjoyed reading everything with a super-hero in it. Or a funny animal. Anything but war and yucchy romance. When you're five, ALL comics are good. Here were my favorites growing up:

Age five: Batman, World's Finest, Superboy Age twelve: Anything by Jim Starlin or Steve Englehart Age fifteen: Omega the Unknown. Age twenty: Blackhawk by Evanier and Spiegel Age twenty-five: American Flagg! Now: Batman, Incorporated--and a slew of webcomics.

malonine20 karma

Mr. Waid, thanks for your version of the Brave And The Bold. It was my gateway into the DC universe after years of being a Marvel guy. It's a book I always recommend to people just getting into comics. Is it difficult to walk the line between being new-reader friendly yet having ties to continuity? Are there some good tips to keep in mind or pitfalls to avoid while trying to service both? Do each of the publishing houses you've worked with have a different philosophy on how this should be balanced?

MarkWaid40 karma

I don't think it's difficult at all, but apparently I'm mistaken. I'd rather err on the side of favoring new readers than be too "inside baseball." In every script, characters should be named, their unique traits or abilities should be demonstrated and used, and most importantly, I should give a sense of who they are and what they want and why they're doing what they do. Hit those beats, and you should be safe.

redsonsuperman19 karma

Thanks for Kingdom Come and Birthright. They are two of my all time favorite comics along with Mark Millar's Superman Red son (what's the deal with marks being so good at writing superman?).

(MAN OF STEEL SPOILERS) Anyways, I read some of the things you had to say about man of steel as well as some interviews where you've discussed the criticisms you had. I believe morals should be principles not unbending rules. Unbending rules are for extremists and in real life there are exceptions to every rule. I don't think Superman should go around killing every bad guy but if Zod was threatening to destroy the human race and he was laying it down for superman that he was going to kill some innocent people unless superman stops him immediately I see nothing wrong with Superman killing Zod. It's clearly for the greater good and it's more justifiable when we immediately see Superman is really upset about doing it. Maybe that's not the way you'd like to portray superman but I don't think there is anything wrong with him doing something that goes against his moral fiber for the greater good. I was wondering do you think there are any circumstances in which it would be okay for superman to kill?

I can understand why you might not have had problems with the interpretation of Superman in Man of Steel because it was a departure from the typical superman story in tone and the movie was far from perfect. But from your criticisms it seemed more like you were letting your preconceived notions of the character get in the way of your enjoyment of the movie. Am I getting the wrong idea about that? With a character who has been around for 75 years in many different mediums and written by many different people, do you think it's fair to judge a work based on your preconcieved notions/expectations of the character?

MarkWaid41 karma

Man, I can't believe this wasn't the first question out of the box.

My own personal opinion? I don't think you write Superman stories to put him in that no-win role. Other characters, maybe, but Superman wasn't built for that by Siegel and Shuster. He exists to do the impossible. He was created to do the impossible. The first time we ever laid eyes on him, he was DOING the impossible--lifting a car. So my gut feeling is that if Superman isn't doing the impossible, I'm not sure it's a good Superman story.

Also, remember, I didn't judge the movie. The twitter-friendly, reductive nature of the internet immediately turned my comments into "MARK WAID HATES MOVIE," which was not at all true and wasn't at all what I said. I DO despair that killing is an expedient solution that should never, ever be glorified by superheroes created for children, or ever be presented as "the only way." The message that sends is creepy. Had I been in one of those theaters where the audience cheered at the neck-snapping moment, I would have vomited out of what that might have showed me about the human race. Even if you think it was justified, it's not a celebratory victory.

This isn't the best forum for a longer-form answer to this question, but the soundbite is that I felt as if it were a very cynical moment imposed on a character that stands for anything but cynicism.

I look forward to your angry emails, Reddit!

skaldicpoet911 karma

I really expected this question to be closer to the top, not all the way at the bottom. I really would love to see Mark Waid's explanation at just why Man of Steel was such a subject of heartbreak for him. I have been a Superman fan my entire life (my first superhero and favorite) and really didn't see a lot of the perceived slights that many other people felt flew in the face of the character. Clark/Kal is humble, good-natured and friendly, check, check and check. The no-kill rule is a very big rule to break, but I think that at this moment in time it was perfectly necessary and justifable.

Zod wasn't going to give in or be contained. He was growing more and more powerful (as evidenced by him obtaining heat-vision and flight at the end of the movie) and would have killed/destroyed much more of Metropolis and her citizens if Supes had not acted before Zod could gain the upper-hand. Also a lot of people have to remember that this is a rookie Superman and he doesn't have the benefit of a more experienced Superman's memories. If anything Superman did the one thing that he had to, even though it was a bridge that he didn't want to cross unless absolutely necessary.

MarkWaid20 karma

You realize it wasn't a documentary, right?

Comicspedia18 karma

If someone asked you to recommend some superhero comics for a new reader to get into comics, which would you recommend? They can be ones you've written or not.

MarkWaid35 karma

For young kids, anything by Art Baltazar and Franco, like Tiny Titans or Superman Family Adventures or (coincidentally, for sale in Comixology or at Thrillbent right now!) Aw Yeah Comics! For older readers, I'd go with All Star Superman or Scott Snyder's Batman or maybe Hawkeye...?

bigchillrob17 karma

At Long Beach Comic-Con a couple years back, you and I traded copies of Firestorm #2 because the one I found had some weird reader survey card in it. You actually blogged about it here.

Later, I tried to do some research as to how many issues this appeared in / what the story behind it was and came up empty handed. Hell, I can't even find anything showing it existed outside of our having physically seen it.

Out of curiosity, were you able to ever dig up anything else on it?

MarkWaid22 karma

Sadly, no! But thanks for reminding me--I never got to ask Paul Levitz, and he may know. Stay tuned....

OhSoWittyUsername17 karma

What property would you revamp, Alan-Moore-Swamp-Thing-style, if given free reign? Who would be the most fun to tear down and rebuild your way? Not just a shift in tone, like Daredevil, but a full-on "you thought he was an alien bounty hunter but it turns out that really he's an AMNESIAC MUTANT BIRTHDAY CLOWN and now he's out for BALLOON-ANIMAL-FILLED VENGEANCE!"

MarkWaid58 karma

You know what? I've become less and less of a fan of that approach over the years. No offense, but I much prefer at this point either trying to embellish the creator's original intent or just creating something from scratch.

No, wait. The New 52 Superman. That's what I meant to say. Sorry.

boastfulbadger16 karma

What happened with you and DC? Will you ever go back there?

MarkWaid28 karma

Too long and complex a question to answer; and it's not up to me.

martymcqueen15 karma

Hi Mark! Thanks for doing this. My question is this - As someone who has jumped onboard many iconic and established properties, how difficult is it for you to get in the mindset of something so well established and still write great, new stories around it? Are there any characters where your initial thoughts were "well, this guy's actually pretty lame" and you had to figure out what made them special to you?

Also, I would really like to know what makes The Flash special to you.

MarkWaid35 karma

OH! And the Flash was special because it's a great power, my favorite super-power. And because Wally was the very first sidekick to ever "make good," to actually step into the role of his mentor and excel. I always loved the legacy nature of the Flash legend.

MarkWaid29 karma

I never think "lame" so much as "I'm not interested," but if I dig, I can find something I can hang onto. That's the job with established characters--to find the emotional connection between you and them and then write the hell out of that. It was really hard getting a handle on Fantastic Four until I seized on Reed Richards and how he secretly feels like everything he does for those around him is paying off some sort of never-ending karmic debt. Read into THAT what you will.

Alkazaar14 karma

Hi Mr. Waid, You been a part of the comic book industry for a very long time now. And I was wondering, what do you think the industry should do to bring in more new readers? Why do you think the audience seems to stay consistent throughout the years, with almost no audience growth? Is it something the publishers are doing? Retailers? What do you think is the best way to bring in new readers to comic books?

MarkWaid25 karma

I think we're on a much better track with content than we were a few years ago--finally, we've moved beyond super-hero comics. I'm not sure what the industry needs to do outside of establish more outreach through digital. That really does seem to be the best way to find new readers; remember, there are big areas of the US where you can live and not be within several hours' drive of a new comics for sale.

GarvinIndustries12 karma

what indies should I be reading?

MarkWaid21 karma

Anything by Chris Ware. Bandette. Most of Monkeybrain's Comixology output. And as if it needed to be said, swing by Thrillbent to see if any of our free-to-read comics excite you. (I didn't mean to plug, but, c'mon, what a set-up)...

GarvinIndustries12 karma

Any good stories about hanging out with Grant Morrison?

MarkWaid55 karma

My absolute favorite Grant moment came when he, Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka and I were together in a conference room plotting the back half of 52 and trying to figure out how to tie up the Ralph Dibny storyline. We didn't want to bring his dead wife back, but neither did we want to kill Ralph because it felt so bleak and dark a fate--until Grant and I looked at one another and (my hand to God) shouted in unison, "RALPH AND SUE DIBNY, GHOST DETECTIVES!" We were so excited about that.

Our enthusiasm was not shared by all, clearly.

JollyO12 karma

Mr Waid! this says that you are not on as a screenplay writer for the upcoming Flash movie/show. What's up with that?!

MarkWaid15 karma

Call my agent.

TheAcidSkull12 karma

Hello Mr. Waid, i am very happy i finely get to ask you questions as my brain is overloading with them laughs 1) will we see The Devil Hulk take banner over or something similar?

2) will banner change between grey hulk, Green scar and his other personalities?

3) Abomination is Making a return in November, will we see him In indestructible Hulk?

4) i remember you saying that Banner won't face his usual villains, do you have plans on creating new ones?( like Ikari)

5) will we see the classic Banner and hulk Banter/dynamic?

Thats it for now. Thank you.

MarkWaid15 karma

My pleasure. You will see Hulk change into SEVERAL incarnations soon. Maybe all at once. Read issue 15. No plans for Abomination, but the Chronarchists are pretty powerful villains, as you'll see in tomorrow's INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #11. And yes on the dynamic!

boastfulbadger11 karma

You once autographed a comic for me and wrote it "to eBay." I never sold it.

MarkWaid18 karma

I'll introduce you to the guy whose autograph reads "to Cragislist."

egn5611 karma

Where do you draw inspiration for villians in comics? Such as possibly new villians or what they plan on doing? Does it changed based on the times to keep things interesting?

MarkWaid29 karma

It does change with the times--the most interesting villains are the ones who feel "real" and don't just flee bank vaults with big dollar-signed bags. That said, I suck at creating villains. All I can tell you is that the villain should always believe he's the hero of the piece.

Ream11 karma

I really prefer ComiXology's guided view over straight PDFs - as someone who's releasing a number of DRM-free PDFs, have you ever tried to see if ComiXology will ever be able to let you offer your works DRM-free in their format? Or is their platform not set up for a mix of DRMed and DRM-free offerings?

MarkWaid20 karma

What PDF viewer are you using? If you're on iOS, GoodReader is seamless and gives you the same experience as you get on Thrillbent's webpage, and I'd love to hear other suggestions. I don't think Comixology is set up for DRM-free, but we talk a lot. A LOT.

ill_take_the_case11 karma

Thank you for your great run with the great Mike Wieringo on the Fantastic Four. The Hereafter stuff with Ben is some of the best writing and art I've had the pleasure of reading. I still go back and reread it. Still hurts that Mike passed away.

I guess my question is: what is the most important part of Doom's character that you think is usually overlooked?

MarkWaid27 karma

That, IMO, his vaunted "nobility" is a charade. If you go back to the Stan and Jack days, it's mostly just talk. The myth that Doom is, above all, noble arose largely from the fact that Doom wouldn't stop bragging about how noble he is. Then he'd go and launch an entire office building of innocents into space, or knife the Silver Surfer in the back, or whatever. Doom is noble so long as it suits him to act noble. Which is no more or less true of him than it is of all of us.

seablue10 karma

Hi Mark! In your opinion, do you think there's any particular significance that the superheroes and many conventions of the superhero genre was largely invented and expanded by Americans with Jewish background? Do you feel as if the concept would have been invented eventually or did the Jews, as argued by e.g. Danny Fingeroth, possess some sort of unique cultural disposition or insight that brought it about?

MarkWaid10 karma

That's a great question to which I wish I had a good answer. All I can say is that I think Danny's very smart about this stuff.

StormwatchBlack10 karma

Hi Mark, big fan! You're actually my favorite comics writer!

I just saw that Thrillbent opened up an online store. Looks like plans for that are really advancing. How did you start with the idea of Thrillbent, were you the one who came up with its original sequencing (I never stop finding things changing on one panel fascinating), and are there more plans for the future?

Also, a little more unoriginal questions, at what age did you start writing and did you know from the start that you wanted to write comics specifically?

MarkWaid19 karma

Yes, we opened our online store today. Come by. Thrillbent! ! I started with having my eyes opened by two creators in particular--Alex DeCampi, creator of Valentine, and Balak, a french cartoonist who did the amazing "About Digital Comics." The techniques they used for demonstrating how comics could use the digital format AND STILL BE COMICS, not bad animation, were titanic to me.

As for your other question, are you ready for this? I didn't start writing professionally until I was about 25, and it never occurred to me that I'd ever want to make a living as a writer until a couple of years after that. I set out to be an editor; that was my career goal. I'll let you know if that ever pans out satisfactorally for me.

jhoffmeyer10 karma

Hi, Mark! Will we ever see any more Empire by you and Barry Kitson?

MarkWaid34 karma

Wouldn't that be cool? Of course, the rights would have to have reverted back to us. Oh, wait, what's that? They have?

Short answer: Yes, you will.

halfmast9 karma

I enjoy your writing because it's so different from the endless dark and edgy crap the industry offers. How do you balance having humor and lightness while keeping the stakes high? How do you keep a story fun without it feeling frivolous?

MarkWaid20 karma

By never forgetting to put the hero in genuine danger. You'd be stunned at how easy this is to forget to do. I mean GENUINE danger--not "will he escape this deathtrap?" (duh), but "oh, my God, I feel like anything could happen at any moment" danger.

boastfulbadger9 karma

What do you think about Dan Slott killing off Peter Parker? Personally, I never cared for the character but I read Amazing/Spectacular because I generally enjoy Slott's work. If given the chance, would you kill off Matt Murdock or some other character if they gave you the reigns of that particular book?

MarkWaid12 karma

It depends on SO many factors. For what it's worth, I know what Dan's overall master plan is and I still speak to him.

christhewriter9 karma

Thrillbent is the most exciting thing happening in comics! If it's not too personal, can you share on average how much you pay artists for Thrillbent-style comics, and how you break down the payments given that multiple screens share art elements? i.e. do you pay for each screen individually, for a collection of screens that have similar art, or something else?

MarkWaid21 karma

Sure. I'm a huge, huge believer in transparency. At Thrillbent, we have two deal structures. Some of the material, like Moth City or Pax Arena, is offered to us as already-completed (or near-completed) work in a format like ours (landscape, not portrait). In those cases, we ask for a small percentage of any revenue generated through the site, that's all.

Other material, like The Endling or Insufferable, is still fully creator-owned, but Thrillbent pays a (humble) advance against future profits to the artist, colorist and letterer. (If we could afford to pay the writer as well, we would--someday!--but right now, this is the best we can do. But we ask none of the ownership--it's 100% creator-owned, however the team wishes to split that.) As revenue comes in, it's divided pretty equally between Thrillbent and the creators until such time as the advances are paid back. We're not in this to be IP farmers; we're in this to facilitate creation.

We pay creators per screen, but everyone understands that it has to sort of average out--in other words, if the final installment has five screens of all-original drawing border to border and, say, three screens where the art is only one-third of a screen, we'd pay for six screens total. Make sense?

epalicki9 karma

Thanks for taking the time to do this, Mark! Two questions:

1) I read somewhere recently that you no longer write multiple drafts. How long did it take before you were confident enough in your abilities not to rewrite everything to death?

2) Related, are you able to revisit the published work you've done in the past with an objective eye?

MarkWaid10 karma

1) I do write multiple drafts if I get editorial notes--I'm a big believer in having an editor or at least another set of eyes--but by and large I'm a first-draft guy because I do so very much of the writing in my head. If you could stand in my office and watch the process, you'd see me staring at the screen for five minutes, then typing one sentence, then more staring, then another few words. I don't know that it's a matter of confidence; it's just that I hate doubling back.

2) Sometimes, but like all writers, mostly all I can see are the things that make me wince in retrospect.

maelstron8 karma

You wrote Wonder Woman and Superman dating and having kids in a Elseworld in Kingdom Come. What do you think about the hook up in the New 52 universe?

MarkWaid36 karma

It would be fine if Lois were dead.

Va_Fungool8 karma

do you think super hero characters need to evolve just like as the readers do when they grow up from being a child to adult?

MarkWaid28 karma

Yes and no. Yes, I do think that because five year olds are "older" today than I was at five, they probably need to be a little more sophisticated, but it's hard to know where to draw that line. I do think that it's selfish of creators and fans to "make" superheroes "grow up" with them in ways that strip them of their charm and joy and purpose. If you feel you've outgrown Wonder Woman (for example), maybe the problem isn't Wonder Woman. Maybe it's that you think she's supposed to change WITH YOU. I've said it before: no one really wants to watch 18-year-old Bart Simpson every week. No adult in his right mind idly picks up a Curious George book and gets angry that the monkey's still sticking forks in a light socket and WHY HASN'T HE LEARNED?? Superheroes were, by and large, created for adolescents as vehicles of hope and inspiration, and there are plenty of ways to add shading to that to make their appeal more universal--ways that don't involve deviating from that First Principle.

*The preceding has been an except from my one-act play, "Dear Zack Snyder." Tip your waitresses, please *

prezbuluskey7 karma

hey mark, huge fan. i meed to get to reading your other stuff but daredevil is probably the best book out there right now. if you were to pick an actor to portray murdock on a film, who would it be?

MarkWaid15 karma

Ten years ago, it would have been David Duchovny.

CraigAtSyfy7 karma

Heya Mark, two-parter: 1) How many scripts (or script pages) do you typically write in a given month? 2) What's your average writing day look like?

Bonus question: When does a certain professor from the University of Latveria get his own ongoing series?

MarkWaid16 karma

1) Eighty? Ninety? Don't make me think about it. Like Wile E. Coyote, if I look down, I'll fall. 2) No such thing. Not even being flip about the answer. Really, I just write whenever, and as fast as, I can while managing Thrillbent.

Mitchell_Hundred7 karma

When writing characters with decades of continuity and character development behind them, is it difficult to make their actions/dialogue consistent with their personalities? How do you achieve this?

MarkWaid14 karma

Sometimes you have to pick and choose which versions of the character just sound "right" to you--which is generally best achieved by going over the original source material.

rexmanly7 karma

Mr. MarkWaid,

Questions twofold: first, do you miss Wizard magazine? Like, in its mid-90's form?

second, How do you go about searching for publishers to pitch ideas to?

MarkWaid24 karma

First, only when I need toilet paper. Second, my advice is for writers to find artists (and vice-versa) through the 'net and post their own material online. If it's good, you'll find an audience and that'll help you find a publisher (or help them find you) much more efficiently than the old method of blind submissions.

tahmidk7 karma

Has a comic ever made you cry? What comic?

MarkWaid28 karma

More than once. Consistently, it's a story from Superman #148: "Superman Owes A Billion Dollars." It's essentially an eight-page farce where an overzealous IRS agent decides that since Superman's never paid taxes on all the things he's given to charity, he must owe some insane amount of money in back taxes. He then spends most of the story suffering through ridiculous plot cartwheels where he, for instance, digs up a billion dollars' worth of radium to sell, only to end up donating it to a doctor who's found a way to cure rare diseases with it. Don't get me started. But as goofy as all that was, it was the punchline that got me, still gets me. In the end, the IRS agent's boss upbraids him and lets Superman off the hook by pointing out that (a) this is dumb, and (b) even if Superman really did legitimately have to file a 1040, everyone's allowed deductions for dependents--and the whole world depends on Superman, which more than cancels out any debt. I know I'm unique in the world in saying this...but that part always, sincerely, chokes me up.

DailyNewsJohn7 karma

What was the original meaning of "52"?

MarkWaid18 karma

Honestly? 52 weeks, that's all. Everything else was an afterthought.

dgehen7 karma

Hi Mr. Waid, I'm a huge fan of your work. Particularly The Flash, JLA: Tower of Babel, and Daredevil. What does it feel like to shape the canon of the most iconic characters of all time?

MarkWaid12 karma

You are far too kind. All I can do is write about characters I love and show you why I love them. On those rare instances where I end up contributing anything lasting to their mythos as a result, that's a lucky bonus.

PickPikmin7 karma

In Indestructible Hulk, what inspired you to put Bruce Banner/The Hulk into this vastly different situation than they are used to? Why S.H.I.E.L.D., and more importantly, why the armour?

MarkWaid14 karma

The situation? I wanted Bruce to stop wallowing in self-pity and do something productive to earn his reputation as a big brain. Why SHIELD? Because they have the money to back his labwork and they're, for the most part, good guys. The armor? It's not for Hulk, it's for Banner.

The_Batman_cometh6 karma

Hi Mark, you've worked with amazing artists in your time, but your current partnership with Chris Samnee on Daredevil is perfect. Do you plan on doing more with Samnee in the future?

MarkWaid24 karma

I plan to do all the work with Chris Samnee that he can possibly produce, trust me.

TheStradivarius6 karma

If DC asked you to write ANY character for new 52 from DC universe that is not already taken, who would you choose?

MarkWaid31 karma

Is this Dan Didio? It is, isn't it? I knew you'd come crawling back, Dan.

boastfulbadger6 karma

Did you read Geoff Johns and Alex Ross' kingdom come JSA story? What did you think about it?

MarkWaid12 karma

I think Alex was overdue for a chance to make his own personal statement on that "world"--he was originally supposed to be doing a KC-prequel series with Gene Ha while I did The Kingdom, but it never came to be for some reason. I'm glad to see Alex get his shot.

GarvinIndustries6 karma

Did Stan Lee ever give you a nickname?

MarkWaid11 karma

Sadly, no. All the good "M" ones are taken.

toodiesel5 karma

Ever consider a run on Judge Dredd?

MarkWaid6 karma

Not a fan. Doesn't mean I don't like it, just have no affinity.

dayofthedead2045 karma

Hi Mark,

If you had the choice to work on another comic book franchise - what would it be?

For example - I know you haven't done a lot of work with Image Comics - would you be willing to work on Invincible or The Walking Dead? Personally - I'd like to see more "Dark Horse" work from you such as with Star Wars, Aliens, and Conan. Thanks Mark!

MarkWaid13 karma

Honestly? The only franchises that give me a buzz as a writer are the ones I loved when I was a kid, which rules out most of that stuff. Star Wars...I was asked to do a four-issue mini starring one of the main characters, and my girlfriend still hasn't forgiven me for passing it up due to an overtaxed workload.

Dr. Who, though...that'd be cool...

radraz265 karma

Is it gratifying when the movie studios take cues from your work e.g. Tower of Babel, and Superman: Birthright. (even though they don't credit you...)?

MarkWaid10 karma

Yeah, it is. It would be nice to be paid, but contractually they're not obligated to, and I can be mad about it on a principle level, but that won't extend my life a single hour, so why not just look on the bright side?

toolman145 karma

How far ahead do you plan your story arcs ahead? E.g. was Bullseye always intended to appear in Daredevil?

MarkWaid13 karma

Generally, about five minutes. Ask my editors. That said, Bullseye was arrived upon around the time I wrote issue four.

Mikealden5 karma

Mark, thank you for doing this! My favorite comic of all time is Flash #0. I read it in in middle school and it really hit home with me. I still pick it up at least once a year. So thank you for writing it, truly. Now for my questions:

  1. What happened with your abbreviated second run on The Flash? I enjoyed your comeback!

  2. What are your thoughts on the return of Barry Allen and the removal of Wally West from continuity? (It gutted me, as Wally is my all time favorite character).

Thank you!

MarkWaid24 karma

  1. All I can say is that promises were made to get me to come back and then denied once I signed up. But thank you for being the one fan who enjoyed the comeback.

  2. Wherever Wally is now, at least he's safe.

industriallatheman4 karma

Hi Mark, big fan of your work. I was going to ask how you guys planned to cover your expenses with Thrillbent, but that seems to have been answered earlier today with the opening of the store.

But instead... your work on Daredevil is one of a precious few big 2 superhero comics that would be hard to describe as "grim and gritty." Was there any pressure from Marvel to darken things up? DC seems to be the more relentlessly gritty, especially in the New 52, even with characters like the Flash and Superman who one would expect to be light and/or hopeful. Did you get the sense that that was an editorial push while you worked with them?

MarkWaid10 karma

No pressure whatsoever. For which I'm eternally grateful.

DC, for right or wrong, isn't interested in hopeful or joyful comics, which is their prerogative. They feel their current, dark approach is what's successful. History will be the judge.

OhSoWittyUsername4 karma

"Thrillbent" is a whole lot-o-fun, and I was wondering how it's doing financially? How well is it sustaining itself?

Also, how do you shift your writing style for that format? The brief chapters are closer to a daily newspaper strip style or a 2000AD short, which has to be an adjustment. The format also allows for kinda-sorta movement, like making a character appear suddenly or "rack focus" a scene, such as the video screen kicking to life in the beginning of "Insufferable." How different is writing for Thrillbent from monthly comics work? Are there elements that work better in that format than in monthly comics, or elements that don't translate well?

Finally: what would be the best pornographic title for a parody of SHANG-CHI, MASTER OF KUNG FU?

MarkWaid5 karma

It's doing okay financially. It could be doing better, but that's not on the creators or on the site, that's on me--I need to be promoting it more and be more focused on its evolution. The Comixology revenue has been a blessing, and I'm eager to see how the new storefront does--particularly how the "Pay What You Will" experiment goes.

It's vastly different--cliffhangers work much better, and it requires you to flesh out each scene. In fact, as a GENERAL rule of thumb, I advise writers in that format to think in terms of one compelling scene per installment.

And you've stumped the band. Tell me.

boastfulbadger4 karma

Is there any work you are embarassed by? Something that makes you cringe every time it is brought up to you at a con?

MarkWaid12 karma

It's a tie between Spider-Man Team-Up #1 and Justice League Quarterly #12. Thank you for asking, thus guaranteeing these are all I'll see for the next two conventions.

scallycap944 karma

Hi Mark! I don't know if I can adequately express just how much I love your work, so I'll just jump in with the question:

If you could assemble your own super-team to write about, using any characters you wanted regardless of company affiliation, who would be on that team?

Thanks so much!

MarkWaid22 karma

Thanks! Honestly? Seriously? Not a "super" team...but a Mad Man style series set in the 1930s starring Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Bob Kane, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

I think it would have to be called, "HELLO, LAWYERS!"

rome_demands4 karma


MarkWaid8 karma

It's not that hard as long as you're a fairly well-rounded human being. If anything, I do think there's a general tone of hope in my work, if not consistent brightness. I don't do "cynical" very well.

Daredevil might want to pick up some new city maps.

And I can't pick just one favorite artist, but the one I miss the most and probably always will is Mike Wieringo.

aggravated_mayhem4 karma

Hi Mark! I'm a huge fan. My question is: Jim Steranko has stories about everyone in the comics industry it seems. Do you have any stories about Jim Steranko? Also, are all Marvel comics made using the 'Marvel method'?

Edit: Added a question.

MarkWaid11 karma

The only story I have about Jim is what a pleasure it was to recruit him to do the text material for the first Superman Archives back in the day. I was and am a huge, huge fan of his HISTORY OF COMICS and if I'm smart, I'll lure him to Thrillbent somehow!

kirkofdoom4 karma

What are your thoughts on piracy in the comic industry?

Do you think it helps (people find books they may not have otherwise, then go buy singles/trades/hardcovers) or hurts (people get it for free & don't care)?

MarkWaid12 karma

I think it helps WAY more than it hurts. I admit that the wishes and desires of other copyright holders supersede my own personal course of action, and I respect their concerns over piracy--but I think they're unfounded and are hideously unrealistic. It can't be stopped, not easily and not without spending way more time and energy than the results will net you. Time and time again, every single credible study shows that media downloaders are also the leading media purchasers. This is the 21st century economy at work, and you either adapt to it and make it work for you--as we have at Thrillbent by encouraging filesharing as a promotional tool--or you get left back.

GarvinIndustries4 karma

what are some bad storytelling habits you generally see in up and coming writers?

MarkWaid10 karma

Too much of everything. Too many words, too many balloons, too many panels on a page. That, and forgetting that it's a visual medium and no one needs to start a comics story with two guys in business suits having a conversation in an office. I can get that on TV, for free, and it'll be better. GET.TO.THE.POINT. Writing comics is like writing Haiku--a very specialized, very economical language.

fixbane4 karma

What's your favorite comic you have worked on in the past?

What's your favorite comic you're currently working on?

Why are you the bestest?

MarkWaid18 karma

Flash, Insufferable, and thanks, mom!

GarvinIndustries4 karma

are you currently reading anything from idw?

MarkWaid8 karma

Yeah! Lots. Other guys' Rocketeer stuff, Dr. Who, Locke & Key!

ManCaveDaily4 karma

What's a work of your own that you think ranks with the really big stuff you're known for? Are there any little gems that still delight you even if nobody else ever mentions them?

MarkWaid13 karma

Yeah. During DC's SILVER AGE event, I wrote a one-shot Dial "H" For Hero story that's easily one of my favorite things I ever wrote. No one ever read it.

epalicki4 karma

Do you think David E. Kelley could have pulled off a compelling Wonder Woman, given a real opportunity?

MarkWaid12 karma

We have seen no evidence to support this theory.

ThatLeonardKid3 karma

Hey Mark!

ThatLeonardKid here just wanted to say thank you for your incredible run on The Flash. Wally West is my favorite character thanks to you, Mike Baron, Messner-Loebs and company.

That said I wanted to ask you what you think of Wally West's absence from all things comics as of late. Also are you a fan of Damian Wayne?

Thanks for doing this AMA!

MarkWaid10 karma

You're very kind. Man, Messner-Loebs' run was epic! And I grew to love Damian. Wally, as I've said elsewhere today, may be better off wherever he's hiding.

crandamaniac3 karma

Wanted to ask, your run on Captain America (which was one of my favorites by the way), was it so awesome because the book was facing cancellation in favor of the 'Heroes Reborn' line?

Also, know you sort of answered this already, but is there an obscure or minor character that you'd love to write and re-invent in some way?

MarkWaid11 karma

We didn't know it was going to be taken away from us when it was given to us--it was quite a surprise. But it was an awesome book because artist Ron Garney is so awesome. I was just the keyboard guy.

And someday, long after my death, someone is sure to unearth my file full of Captain Action ideas.

crowknight3 karma

Oh hi Mark! What was your favorite Amalgam pairing and/or which two characters would you like to mesh Amalgam style?

Huge fan and you're killing it on Daredevil!

MarkWaid5 karma

I loved Captain Marvel. Even though I'm not sure he got a single line of dialogue. Just a great costume mash-up.

ContinuumGuy3 karma

You probably are done now, but I was wondering: If you could choose one work of yours (anything from a one-shot to an entire run) you consider your best work, what would it be?

MarkWaid7 karma

Probably Birthright, because it was my love-letter to Superman.

MorganFreemann3 karma

Hey Mr. Waid, big fan! I hope i word these okay but with all the books you are writing, how do you organize your time on each book you write? Which book always takes longer to write? And i dont know if anyone has asked this yet but which is your favorite to write?

MarkWaid4 karma

I organize my time atrociously. It's like juggling chain saws, and I do it poorly. There's always something overdue, and I desperately need to pull back, but what to give up? Daredevil takes longest to write because I'm competing with thirty years of consistently great stories. My favorite may be Insufferable at Thrillbent.

HectorGM3 karma

Can you recommend some storytelling work you love that's flying under the radar? Comics, TV, movies, books, whatever. I love Chris Ware's comic books, thinking about plunging into Dan Clowes next.

MarkWaid11 karma

Anything that Roger Langridge touches is pure gold.

HakeemAbdullah3 karma

How did you get into comics if you did indeed start out trying to be an editor?

MarkWaid8 karma

By being an editor for a couple of years. I was a DC editor from 1987-1989, and in that short time (reading so many scripts), I learned more about writing than I could have in ten years on my own.

fixbane3 karma

What do you think of Greg Pak's and Jason Aaron's Hulk runs? How do they compare/relate to what you went into with your Hulk run?

MarkWaid6 karma

I liked 'em both. Jason, in particular, had what I thought was a brilliant take for his arc. It must be the beard.

Dymn3 karma

In "Irredeemable", the main character was, in the end, redeemed. Was this planned from the beginning?

Will we be seeing any more comics from the "Irredeemable" universe?

MarkWaid3 karma

Yes, it was. And there's always hope.

Honeybadgerlover2 karma

First off I just want to say thank you for doing this AMA. DD Is an amazing series that is yet to let me down.

I was wondering how much time a day do you spend writing and how difficult is it to come up with new material each week?

MarkWaid6 karma

I spend an average of five to six hours a day writing, at least, but writing is not typing. Writing is also driving around with no set destination and letting my subconscious solve problems.

Kemintiri2 karma

Hi Mark!

JLA Heaven's Ladder is one of my favorite stories. Thank you for it.

Also, I loved the panel in the JLA Queen of Fables storyline that showed Plastic Man and J'onn leaving a crime scene, but Batman's hand picking up a book.

MarkWaid7 karma

Thank you. A lot of that story is owed to Gail Simone, who suggested the Queen of Fables and, unless I'm mistaken, the final Tax Code gag. All hail Simone.

totalprocrastination2 karma

Of all the high-profile creators working today, I think you have been the most enthusiastic when it comes to promoting and legitimizing digital comics as a valid alternative to print publishing, rather than just a complementary one.

Your hand in the creation of Thrillbent being the main example of this so far.

With that in mind I wanted to ask:

  • What do you think are the biggest strengths and weaknesses of digital publishing for creators and readers right now?

  • What potential developments or factors do you think will play the biggest role in 'leveling the playing field' between digital and print in the near future?

  • Have you personally received any notable reaction to Thrillbent or digital comics in general from your esteemed peers? Or maybe even from the managerial/editorial level at the Big 2?

  • Which comics which have been exclusively published digitally, via Thrillbent or other avenues, have you been most impressed by?

MarkWaid9 karma

Biggest strength and biggest weakness are related. Strength is distribution. Weakness is the ease of getting lost in all the noise. The smart digital publishers use social media to heighten awareness. Good second question; I honestly have no answer. The feedback to Thrillbent from my peers has been endlessly gratifying and keeps me going, frankly. And certainly, Marvel and I see eye-to-eye, which is why they asked me to help them create their Infinite Comics experience (for which I'm grateful). DC seems to be leveling up, too--I like what they're now experimenting with in their "DC2" digital line. I just wish they'd caught up faster! Valentine really helped define the digital-comics future for me. Other creators who are using the form well, IMO, are the Turbomedia guys in France, my mentor Balak, Moth City, and (forgive me for being self-serving, but you asked) how Chee translates the Damnation of Charlie Wormwood scripts and how James Tynion IV and Jeremy Rock experiment with The Eighth Seal.