Scott Lobdell: Talks X-Men & Red Hood
Updated: Jan 24, 2020
In the 90's Scott Lobdell was best know for his work on the X-Men books at Marvel. Not only did he write UNCANNY X-MEN, but he created GENERATION X with Chris Bachalo and had runs on EXCALIBUR and X-FACTOR. He was one of the main creative forces behind many of the major X-Men stories throughout that time such as, "X-Cutioner's Song", "Fatal Attractions", "Phalanx Covenant", "Age of Apocalypse", the "Onslaught" saga, and "Operation: Zero Tolerance".
For the past few years, he's been over at DC Comics, writing the adventures of Red Hood. It started with RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS for the "New 52" and continued into "Rebirth". He has made RED HOOD one of the most consistently entertaining books in the DCU. Recently Jason has gone out on his own and no longer has his "Outlaws" with him. Even though the team dynamic was one of the best parts of the book, it'll be nice to see Jason get a little more of the spotlight.
Scott also recently started a brief stint on NIGHTWING, dealing with the aftermath of the head injury Dick sustained leaving him amnesiac. I think he's done an amazing job with Red Hood and look forward to seeing what he does with Nightwing with this new status quo.
Comic Lounge: When did you first break into comics?
Scott Lobdell: I hate to say the year aloud -- it makes me feel old... so old.
Comic Lounge: Who were writers you looked up to when you were younger and why?
Lobdell: J.M. DeMatties because he didn't have very much interest in being a traditional comic book writer. He wanted to say something with every story -- he wanted to write stories about people with super powers who were people first and last. To this day he's stayed true to himself and we've all been better off for it as an industry.
Chris Claremont because there was never anyone like him before or since. He gave us comics as an epic... a story that wouldn't end that no one wanted to end. Has anyone ever taken a third tier cancelled book and turned it into a dominating force in the industry -- just through his passion for these characters? He loved them and we loved them because of that love.
Stan Lee. Because everything.
Comic Lounge: You had such a big hand in the X-Men books in the 90s. You've written a lot of my favorite X-Men stories. What is it like looking back, having created so much in the X-Men universe, and seeing those stories become classics now?
Lobdell: It is funny... when I was writing the book I mostly wanted to keep the idea of change alive which was so important to the book up until that time. I didn't want to revisit New Mutants, I wanted to create Generation X. I didn't want to pay homage to Days of Future Past, I wanted to explore the Age of Apocalypse. Upstarts, Acolytes, Friends Of Humanity, Cecilia, Marrow, Blink, etc... I wanted to find new stories to explore! While it is flattering that creators are still mining these stories, if I were in charge I would task everyone with bringing something new to the table. Leftovers are fun once and a while, but...
Comic Lounge: You also during your long X-Men run, outed Northstar and made him openly gay. At the time, it was unheard of, did Marvel give you a hard time?
Lobdell: Not at all. My editor at the time, Bobbie Chase had a gay brother (still does!) and Christian Cooper, her assistant, was gay as well. They were all for letting Jean Paul out of the closet. The media department was taken a little by surprise only because, I guess, to be honest, none of us were really expecting so much attention to such a small story. (I heard people complain at the time that Marvel was only doing it as a cash grab. But trust me, if anyone thought it was going to sell they would have upped the order by about 100K and still sold out. But no one was thinking it was going to be a big deal.)
Also I should point out that this took place BEFORE my long X-MEN run. In fact, I had gotten fired from ALPHA FLIGHT about two weeks after my first UNCANNY X-MEN job (for reasons totally unrelated to Northstar.) To this day I say "thank god I got fired!" so I had all that time to devote to our merry mutants!
Comic Lounge: What do you think about the way Cyclops has been handled the past few years?
Lobdell: I haven't kept up.
Comic Lounge: Ok let's talk about Red Hood, you've written him since "The New 52". You made him such an interesting character as opposed to how he was used previously. What is it about Jason that you enjoy writing the most?
Lobdell: I like that he's the only character I've gotten to write who is -- in his way -- as off-center and as wounded a bird as I am. We have more in common than I'd like to admit. Neither one of us had a very good opening act -- and we've both made our fair share of mistakes. And both of us would do anything for a friend.
I like him because he might be the most unheroic hero since Wolverine.
Comic Lounge: Did you change your approach to the character transitioning from New 52 to Rebirth?
Lobdell: I don't think so. Do you? And if so -- how? (Thirty words or less!)
Comic Lounge: You recently changed the status quo for Jason, he no longer has his "outlaws" with him. Are we going to see a different Jason now that he's on his own? Are you gonna touch on Roy's death in the book?
Lobdell: Yes and -- by now -- you've probably seen the answer to that question (re: Roy).
I'm planning on a reluctant graveyard visit in #31, I think. By then I think Jason will be ready to accept his best friend isn't coming back.
Comic Lounge: Is there any book you would like to work on in the future?
Lobdell: I would love to write WONDER WOMAN. No offense to anyone else but I think they put too much emphasis on the homogeneous and sexually myopic upbringing she had -- her history with the Gods. To me, she wears that red white and blue costume because she loves America maybe more than Superman does. To me, she loves this great big melting pot relatively new experiment we call the United States -- so different and more chaotic than where she was raised. I don't want to see her as an ambassador from another world. I want to see her as someone who embraces a country so unlike her own.
These are all reasons while I'll never be allowed to write Wonder Woman!
Comic Lounge: Are there any other books you're working on that you can talk about.
Lobdell: I've been asked to pitch in on NIGHTWING and I'm having a blast! I've just finished a movie script I can't talk about yet but man it is going to be so much fun when I can!
I'd love to spin-off THE OUTLAWS from RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS, but to paraphrase John Lennon, I might be the only one.