Interview: Paul Cornell Sinks His Claws Into WOLVERINE

Snikt! This March, Paul Cornell returns to the Marvel Universe with Wolverine #1, a new look at the fan favourite character under the Marvel NOW! banner. The veteran writer has been teamed with Alan Davis to take the fierce berserker to New York City to kick off this new volume and Cornell was kind enough to answer some questions about the title, what Wolverine will be up against, and what readers can expect from Wolverine.

wolverAaron Long: You’ve been away from the Marvel universe for a couple of years, what drew you back to the House of Ideas and this Wolverine title?

Paul Cornell: I was exclusive to DC, and as that was winding up, Nick Lowe (who’d always said he wanted me to come back) approached me at San Diego. I asked if I could have something right at the heart of the Marvel Universe, and he and Axel offered me Wolverine in reply. Which was everything I was after, really. Well done, you two!

AL: Wolverine has had quite a sordid history as a samurai, a berserker, an educator and almost everything in between. What avenues of his life will you be exploring with this title?

PC: He’s been alive a long time, and in the last few decades of his life, at least, he’s learned a lot. I like James the mature man, the Clint Eastwood voice, the wise, tough old buzzard. I’ve given him a Butch and Sundance friendship with a ‘young apprentice’ (but Nick Fury doesn’t see it that way), a bunch of friends to hang out with in a bar, a place in the intelligence community. This is the title where he needs to move in civilisation, where he’ll flash an Avengers I.D. when required. There’a a lot of SHIELD in this title, and there’s a lot of the Wolverine being surrounded by innocent bystanders, having to navigate his code of honour, trying to find something to kill. I’m quite proud of issue five, where there’s a decision by him that he has no choice but to let loose, to ‘shoulder the sin of murder’ as a certain samurai film-maker has it.

AL: Sabretooth is newly back in the Marvel universe and at large, as are so many other enemies of Wolverine. Can you discuss what Wolverine will be facing in the first arc of this series?

wolverine2PC: It’s something entirely new as the main antagonist, although we’ll be tuned into the mainstream of the Marvel Universe along the way.There’s rather a startling guest appearance at the end of #2, by someone you wouldn’t expect to see in a Wolverine title. No Sabretooth, and none of the usual Wolverine villains: I don’t want to go back to that well.

AL: Earlier in your career you wrote the critically acclaimed Captain Britain and MI:13, delivering what many fans to believe to be the definitive versions of many British characters. Will any of those fan favourite characters be making an appearance in Wolverine?

PC: No. I’m aware of the danger of typecasting, and I don’t want people to come to this title hoping for something that isn’t going to show up. I’d love to get back to Pete Wisdom one day, but this is not that day.

AL: You are working with the legendary Alan Davis for the first arc of this series. When working with a veteran artist like Alan do you find your creative process changes at all? What was your reaction to the first pages you saw?

PC: He’s been amazing, a source of storytelling wisdom, catching us on stuff we missed, suggesting new approaches, just a brilliant resource. He can do action, and this title has big action, he can do character conversation, and this title is also about character. The pages feel very fresh, very alive, very 2013. There’s something about putting him in New York that’s bringing out his best game. This is so a modern mainstream super hero book. I’ve never really done that, and it feels good.

AL: If you had to boil the first arc of Wolverine down to six words what would they be?

PC: Urban action against weird terror. (Hmm, that’s just five.) Snikt.

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