With vision and initiative, two writers came up with a plan to set the internet abuzz when they decided to post their take on an obscure Marvel Comics character in their version of a Marvel Now title. With clean art that captures energy from Sergio Cordoba and storytelling that showcases a distinct and unique voice from Pablo Dura and David Abadia, these gentlemen are taking a chance on telling a tale that will get them noticed. Well, it has worked. Eyes are on them as they make a bid to break into the comic book industry and find a way to work with a major publisher (for many new comers, a feat that can sometimes be difficult to achieve). Pablo Dura and David Abadia took time to share a bit about their efforts, influences and swashbuckling. Industry insiders take note; this dynamic writing duo is hungry and ready to make things happen.
MT: Your fan tribute comic “El All New Aguila” is a fun bit of work that has a kind of warm fondness to it. What made you decide to tackle Marvel Comics character El Aguila and what informed the tone (why comedic as opposed to straight)?
PD: A few years ago we were managing a comic convention in Spain and on one occasion we had writer Scott Lobdell as a guest. He told us his first comic-book published was a short story for Marvel Comics Presents with the long forgotten Spanish character El Águila. The problem with the story was that it was very cheesy and corny, so from that moment on it stayed in the back of my head to do something with the character at some point that would give El Águila some credit. Another reason why we thought El Águila was perfect is because there's very little published about him, so there's not much backstory to take into account. What's best, nobody knows how El Águila should “sound”, as opposed to Wolverine or Spider-man, who everybody knows how they must behave, walk and talk. With El Águila, we could do whatever we wanted with him.
DA: The reason why we have chosen to do it in a comedy style is because you cannot possibly take El Águila seriously, just look at the guy! He's just a colorful Zorro with powers and a cocky attitude. We inspired ourselves in other writer's style such as Giffen and his run on JLI and Dan Slott with Great Lakes Avengers.
MT: Who are some other characters, if given the chance, you would love to do a take on?
PD: That's a tough question. There are many. We believe our strengths lay with characters like Spider-Man, Deadpool, Batman 66 or characters who are not first stringers. Any character we can mold to our needs and make more interesting or, at least, offer our vision about the character, just like Pak and Van Lente did with Hercules, Fraction with Hawkeye, Aaron with Ghost Rider or even Garth Ennis with The Demon. We love Hawkeye by Fraction or anything by Slott and we thoroughly enjoyed Avengers Academy by Christos Gage.
MT: How/Why did this project come about?
DA: Everybody talks about "breaking into the industry" like it's a Minas-Tirith-like fortress from Lord of the Rings, with a big gate and a key that only a few privileged people can have. Using Andy Diggle's words on writing "The only thing you have to do if you want to work for the big publishers is be good at writing, and you become good at it by doing it". So, we wanted to show EVERY PUBLISHER (not just Marvel) we could be good at writing by actually making a comic-book that was professional enough to get published. As we were using a character we didn't own, we knew the comic-book would never see the light of day in printed format, but we thought we could give it a chance by putting it out there online and hope to draw attention from editors.
MT: Do you gentlemen have any other writing credits?
PD: Not in comic-books, I have experience writing articles for small publications, magazines and other online publications. I also have some experience writing for the Marketing department of a company I worked for.
DA: I've worked for 15 years for advertising agencies, mainly as creative director, but also as designer and copywriter. Moreover, for the last couple of years I've worked for a film producer adapting a book to a film and writing my own scripts for different formats.
MT: How do you work as a writing team?
DA: We've known each other for 20 years and we have a true vocation for the comic-book medium. We had been working together managing a comic convention in Spain for several years, and we knew we worked very well together, so when the idea for this project came up we took each other by the hands, looked each other in the eye and Pablo said "why not?" to which I replied "why not, indeed?"
PD: We basically meet and come up with several ideas we can use for a story. We then pick the ones we think fit best the general idea we have in our heads and work with those ideas trying to develop a story (together and on our own). From there we come back to it and check each others ideas and incorporate them into a story that we like best. Sounds very professional, but there's actually a lot of messing around and laughing while we try to write.
MT: In the one shot, you manage to feature a diverse cast of characters (scene with a SHIELD agent in a wheel chair, various people of different ethnic backgrounds), was that intentional? How important do you feel it is to tell stories that reflect characters of different types in your stories? How important do you feel it is for that diversity to carry over to the creative side of the industry?
DA: It was totally intended! There's no denying the industry of comic-books have benefited from the different cultures, education and ethnic backgrounds that have come to the medium. It has made the medium and industry richer and varied. We can't hide away that fact from our work. Comic-books are a reflection of what's happening out there in the world.
PD: However, us, as Spaniards, feel some walls still need to get knocked down. Some editors in the US still feel reluctant to publish the work of a writer from a non-English speaking country. Probably because they have enough on their plate to also have to act as the "grammar police" for a writer who's first language is not English. That's why we've done this, to show them we can be good at it.
Going back to El Águila, the one thing we truly regret is not including a leading female character in the story. We felt afterwards that it would have made the story a lot more drawn together.
MT: Who are some of your creative influences and what are some of your favorite reads right now?
Our influences are varied, Giffen, Slott, Douglas Adams, Spanish film director José Luis García Berlanga (check it out, people!), Ricky Gervais, Larry David, Kieron Gillen, René Goscinny, Matt Groening, Robert Kirkman, The Marx Bros., Monty Python, Terry Pratchet, Quino, Dan Slott, Akira Toriyama, Mark Waid, Billy Wilder and on, and on, and on…
MT: What has the response to your one shot been like thus far? What are your short term and long term plans as a creative team at this point?
PD: The response has been absolutely overwhelming, it has exceed our expectations!
In less than a week we had more than 4000 hits on on our website and the general consensus is that people found it an enjoyable read, so we could not be happier about it.
DA: Thanks to people spreading the word, we got a few days ago a proposal from an editor to write a 4-issue miniseries. We can't say much as the details still have to be worked out but it'll be a creator owned series. As for the long term plans, we're not sure just yet. Hopefully our work will get noticed by a major publisher and we'll get to write at some point a character we love.
MT: Since El Aguila is depicted as a swashbuckler type hero, what would you say is your favorite movie featuring a swashbuckling hero?
PD: Another tough question. There's quite a few, Princess Bride, Robin Hood (the one with Errol Flynn) and Captain Blood. Nowadays Hollywood doesn’t make swashbuckling films "the classic way", they mix styles and release as result films like Kill Bill, Pirates of the Caribbean or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (we know it's not Hollywood, but you get the point)
Where can fans find your work?
DA: Our only work worth reading for the time being is El Águila which you can find at http://elall-newaguila.blogspot.com.es but stay tuned for further news!
For a fun read that glows with a fondness for the medium and character, be sure to check out this up and coming pair!