Talking Comics with Adam Glass
Updated: Jan 24, 2020
Adam Glass is a screenwriter and television producer, he has worked on shows Supernatural, Cold Case, and Criminal Minds. But it's his comic book writing that has really made me a fan.
He has worked on numerous titles such as "Deadpool" and "Luke Cage" for Marvel Comics. His work on "Suicide Squad" for the DC Comics was one of the best titles to come out of "The New 52" intiative. It was his idea to bring Harley Quinn on to the team, and now she's been integral to that book for years. He recently relaunched "Teen Titans" for DC as well, and his fresh take on it has made it an instant hit. Introducing new characters like Crush, Lobo's Daughter, who has already become popular amongst comic book fans.
Not only has he worked for Marvel and DC, but he's worked with Aftershock Comics since their initial launch, Working on titles such as "Rough Riders" and "The Normals". This past week he launched "Lollipop Kids" from them as well, which he is co-writing with his 14 year old son. You can read the review for the 1st issue on this site. Having been a fan for years, it was an awesome experience being able to talk to Adam the other day and I can't wait to see what else he's got coming up. If you haven't picked up Lollipop Kids" go pick it up, you won't be disappointed.
Comic Lounge: How did you first get into comics?
Adam Glass: So, I got into comics because I met a guy named Mike Benson who at the time was doing Moon Knight. I had been reading comics for 40 years and was a big fan, Mike is a fellow TV writer and it was actually during the Writer's Guild strike, we were talking in "line together and we started talking about a book that he was doing. He was like, you know a lot about this stuff, do you wanna do the book together. I said "yeah, you know it would be awesome". This was after like 20 years of trying to break in and I just met some guy online so he called his editor, Axel Alonso and we turned around and wrote that book. It was my first book and it was a Deadpool book called "Deadpool :Suicide Kings", it went to be a New York Times bestseller.
Mike and I ended up working a lot together, we wrote Luke Cage: Noir and Deadpool: Pulp as well. I really owe Mike cuz he's the one who got me in.
Comic Lounge: You've done work with DC Comics in the past like "Suicide Squad", which I really enjoyed. Now your doing "Teen Titans" for them as well. What was your experience like launching "Suicide Squad" for the New52 initiative?
Adam: Well what's really interesting is, I had done some work for them, little things here and there. I did a JLA Annual and Flashpoint mini, "Legion of Doom". I actually remember it was during Christmas time and I was just picking up some comics at DJ'S Universal Comics in Studio City with my son and I got a call that Jim Lee and Dan DiDio were on the phone. I thought it was one of my friends kidding, I literally didn't believe it. I called them back and they said "we really like working with you and we got a couple titles we wanna send you and see if your interested in any of them". One of the titles was "Suicide Squad" and I loved John Ostrander's take on that when I was growing up and read it and thought it was awesome. So I thought, how do I bring something fresh to this , so I said "This book would be really awesome if Harley Quinn was in it". I always thought she was an interesting character and always wanted to do something with her in it. I wanted to give her a platform to become her own character outside of the Joker. At first, they said no, but there was an editor there, Mike Marts, who was in charge of the Batman Family and my editor at the time said "let's talk to Mike and pitch it to him". I was really upset they didn't want Harley because I really wanted Harley in it, so I pitched it to Mike and told him why I thought she would be great. To Mike's credit he went and fought for it and we got her, and that's where it changed the book.
I didn't know at the time, I don't think any of the writers knew unless you were one of the top dogs, that it was going to be called the New52. That it was gonna be this huge relaunch, I thought I was just doing a Suicide Squad book. Then we started to hear what was going on and it was awesome. I sorta just jumped in, I mean you know, Scott Snyder was starting on "Batman" and Geoff Johns was around. So there was definitely this feeling that you were apart of something. Going and doing signings and interviews and all that stuff was definitely exciting and fun The good news is that the book did a lot better than anybody anticipated. I think Harley helped drive sales and it was a lot of fun to do.
You know writing for major publishers can be a lot of work, and I already have a full time job writing for television. So I think I needed a break and I also wanted to just create some of my own IP. So I went and did that for a year. I was in Chicago last summer working on a show called "The Chi" and I got a call, again from Dan DiDio, and he said can you do what you did with the Suicide Squad with the Teen Titans. He knew I had a soft spot for Teen Titans, it was sort of my favorite book as a kid. I loved Marv Wolfman and George Perez's run on it. So again it was how do we come up with a fresh idea, how do I come into this and do something different so it stand out?
I decided to do a couple things, one was to have Damian Wayne among his own peers, not get the hand me downs from Dick and Tim. Not the Titans of old but his own generation and also add three new members like Marv and George did back in the 80's. One of those characters being Crush, Lobo's daughter. I think much like Harley Quinn did for the Suicide Squad, people really like her and it created this buzz around the book. So hopefully we'll catch lightning in a bottle twice and the book will do really well.
Comic Lounge: I love that you introduced new characters, I feel that it's really important. I don't think enough new characters are being introduced nowadays, like in the past.
Adam: You know I agree with you and I like Jinn and Roundhouse, I think they're all great characters. I remember sitting in Dan's office, and I actually wanted to use Mary Marvel. I wanted to do a sort of Dark Phoenix Mary Marvel story. They were like, "uhh, we have plans for her you can't use Mary Marvel". I remembered that they came to me about a year ago and asked me what I thought about Lobo. I always loved Lobo in the 90's, I always thought he was really cool. I didn't really know how to redo Lobo now, but I thought it would be really interesting if he had a daughter. I couldn't even get it out of my mouth and Dan was like, "That's it! That's what were doing! What's her name?" and I said "Crush!" and he said "Perfect". It was the easiest sell in the world, he was just down for it. His instincts were right. She's a lot of fun and her A hole of a dad, you know that apple doesn't fall far from the tree. She's a really interesting character with a lot of layers and I'm fascinated for her and can't wait for people to see what we have planned for her.
Comic Lounge: Can you talk a little more about what your planning for this Teen Titans run? Also where di the ideas for the other new characters, Jinn and Roundhouse, come from?
Adam: You know, I think Roundhouse is sort of in the tradition of a fun character like Garth/Beast Boy and Jinn and very much Raven, a matchbook character. It's for this generation , instead of the emo girl that Raven could be at times, I wanted Jinn to be a little more enlightened, woke, sort of the Arabian genie in a time when unfortunately, there's a lot of hostility towards certain countries, she's coming in and she's optimistic. She's a mystery and she has a dark path that we'll find out more about. Roundhouse too we're gonna find out, that he's just this happy go lucky guy and comical guy. He's very much the video game and comic book guy, he's us. He's the guy who eats on the couch and plays videogames. This is like his first stab at being a superhero, so it's a little above his head. I also wanted to make him our entry point for the audience.
One of the things I've always said, that I think we're trying to do with this book, is that the Teen Titans, to me, is always about family. This is about a group of young misfits trying to come together, they're not perfect and they're not jiving as a team right away. That's what I love about Claremont and Jim Lee's X-Men, because they're always training and working and trying to figure it out. So I wanted to add a little bit of that to it, not be perfect and try to work out these relationships and come together and be a good team.
On top of that, having an agenda that's a little different of other superhero teams. Damian/Robin being sick of the revolving door at Blackgate, Belle Reve, and Arkham. You know, why are we waiting for these criminals, let's take them down before they even start. It's like a Minority Report sort of attitude. We know he's created a prison downstairs and once the rest of the team finds out, who's in and who's out. We're setting up a lot of different stakes for drama and conflict, to see who comes out the other side. Will they all make it, I don't know, you have to read to find out.
Comic Lounge: You've done a lot of work with Aftershock and you have a new book coming out published by them, "Lollipop Kids". Can you talk a little bit about that?
Adam: Mike Marts, Joe Pruett, and Lee Kramer and the rest of the Aftershock team, I met them in New York at NYCC a few years ago, we had lunch and they were a new company,they hadn't launched a book yet. I lliked Mike and I knew Joe's reputation, he's a "comic book guy" everyone know Joe's work and loves him, and I pitched them "Roughriders" which was a story I always wanted to tell. They went for it and we ended up doing like 19 or 20 issues over a 2 year period, it was a lot of fun. Then I did "The Normals" for them, which got optioned for a television show.
Right now I'm doing "Lollipop Kids" with my son which is a lot of fun, people will scream nepotism because it's my14 year old son, but I have to say "damn straight". He's a super talented kid, actually what he brings to the table is a different way of thinking than I do, so we should make a really good team. Lollipop Kids came out of a lot of different places. You know Aidan, my 14 year old son, is dyslexic so instead of reading stories to him we would make up stories so he could collaborate. We're a story family to begin with, I'm a TV/Film writer so my kids could pitch before they could walk. They would always hear me at the dinner table and my wife telling stories and pitching them, so luckily both of my kids have the gift of story and gab.
This was one of those stories that we came up with because we wanted a dyslexic superhero mixed with my own stuff. I'm an inner city kid, so growing up watching Goonies, Stand By Me, and E.T., all movies I loved as a kid were set in the suburbs. So, I wanted to sort of write a love letter to New York and Central Park. Aidan once said it's like Harry Potter for inner city kids. "Lollipop Kids" is this idea that the immigrants that came to thins country and settled here, especially in New York City, they also brought their monsters. For generations, these monsters were locked away in what was called Greensward Forest, which today we know as Central Park. We find out that this young man is apart of a long legacy of what they call the Lollipop Kids, they're the ones that keep the monsters in. So of course there's a jailbreak and he basically gets drafted into this thing he never knew about because he's a "legacy" and this family, for generations, have been doing this. He does not know that their is a curse put on the Lollipop Kids, so that when they turn 18 they forget that they ever were a Lollipop Kid. it's both a blessing and a curse together in one.
This is sort of a deep dive into the history of New York and Central Park, where we come from and who we are, what defines us. Getting to do it with my son is even more amazing. I think eventually you'll see me working for him.
Comic Lounge: How has the experience working with your son been, so far ?
Adam: I'm trying to show him some of the process. At first we would just talk about it on the way to school, which in Los Angeles can be like an hour, everyday. So we spent a lot of time talking about it, so we eventually started putting it down. I told him early on "It's a story by you and me but I'll probably write it", but I'll just sit there and bounce around ideas with him. We always have a really good pitch for it or solution.
Again we think very differently but we also think a lot alike. I'm a very linear thinker and he's a little more abstract, which is also a trait of dyslexia. Kids, I think are very out of the box thinkers, so it's very helpful to work with someone like that. I'm lucky because he really realizes how fortunate this experience is.
Comic Lounge: How long are you planning on doing the series? Do you have a set amount of issues you're doing or are you just gonna roll with it and see where it goes?
Adam: A lot of that has to do with sales. We were fortunate to do 3 arc on "Roughriders", some of the other books didn't sell as well so we only did one arc on those. But if the sales are there, we definitely have about 3 or 4 arcs planned ahead that we know we can do. If the audience wants more than we'll write and if not then we'll take the first arc and be happy with that.
Comic Lounge: Are there any other books you're working on that you can tease or talk about?
Adam: I'm working on the books that I have and I do have something else that is coming out in the Spring, that I'm collaborating on with a young woman. But I can't say what it is because it's not announced yet. So more
new stuff, from an independent company will definitely becoming out in the Spring. So you'll probably have to do another interview when that happens.
Comic Lounge: What books are you currently reading?
Adam: To be honest with you, it's hard to read when you're writing as much as I am. I'm not doing as much reading as I would like to do right now. I have read Geoff Johns' "Doomsday Clock" which I thought was awesome. I really think that Bryan Edward Hill is a good writer, I can't wait to read his Outsiders stuff. Tom King obviously, the guy's just killing it, the Miracle Man stuff I thought was awesome. The days of me keeping up with a series though, have been really hard for me. I can't do it like I used to.
I used to get my books every week for 26 years, but it just comes to a point when you have kids and you're like, "I don't know if I can do this anymore". From like 14 to 40, I always got my bag of books and then, you know, with children and life, that stuff kind of slowed down. But, I have so much I want to read, haha.
Comic Lounge: What advice could you give to an aspiring writer trying to break into the industry?
Adam: There's the one thing, you know, that you just have to write. I know that sounds like, yeah duh, but I can't tell you how many people I meet that say they're writers, but they don't actually write. I write everyday, you know, and you gotta find the time, no matter what. Even if it's an hour a night, on your lunch break, or in the morning.
I broke in as a TV/Film writer around the age of 30. But I spent a good 12 years, in college and in my 20's, trying to break in and just writing so much. Until this day, I write everyday no matter what, even if I'm not working on something. It's that fine tool, that you have to keep doing it.
Now we live in a time where you can make your own comic book. So when people sit there and show me stuff, or they say "Hey I published my own thing" I'm like, "Hey you never know who's gonna see that". I always believe, just create opportunities for yourself. Don't be afraid. Do anything to get your foot in the door. If somebody calls you and says "Scooby Doo", be like "Yeah I'll write Scooby Doo". You just never know what leads to something else. I just think it's important to create opportunities and not wait for them to come to you. What can you do to make something happen.
Like you started this website, you're making relationships, you're meeting people, that's a good start. Maybe next thing is you publish your own thing or you find an independent company that will publish it. Maybe you find some hungry artist at an art school who wants to draw a book. It can be hard, but it shows what you want to do and then you go out and you make some shit happen.
I always say "There's never any one way to do anything, you just gotta do it". I tried for 20 years to get into comics and nothing. Then the strike happened, the worst thing that could happen to a writer. I thought I was gonna lose the house and make no money and I meet some dude in line. There's just no rhyme or reason. Here I am 12 years later, writing in comic books.
My point to you, is never give up. Keep writing, keep creating opportunities for yourself, and when it comes you better be ready to do the work. By then you should have the skillset to be able to do it. Nothing ever happens in the time that we wanted it to happen, I didn't start writing comics until I was 40 years old. It's something I love from the time I was 4 years old, so if somebody told me it was gonna take 36 years to write my first comic, I probably would have never believed them, or quit.
So if this is what you wanna do, keep at it, and eventually it's gonna work for you, one way or another.