Sunday, February 7, 2016

Creator Interview: Rob Williams

Rob Williams
The last interview I did for Vengeance Unbound was with writer Rob Williams back in 2011, right before the launch of that year's Ghost Rider series as part of the "Fear Itself" crossover.  While I certainly enjoyed talking with Rob, I can't help but feel a little disappointed when I go back and re-read this with the hindsight of how spectacularly his run on the title failed.

Vengeance Unbound gives a warm and heartfelt welcome to incoming Ghost Rider writer Rob Williams!

1) First off, Rob, thanks for doing this interview with Vengeance Unbound! I have to admit, before your Shadowland: Ghost Rider issue I hadn’t read anything written by you. What other comics have you written in the past?

My first comics work was an indie book called Cla$$war which came out in 2002. Since then I've been a regular on 2000AD in the UK and I've written a number of licensed properties - Star Wars: Rebellion, Star Wars Tales and Indiana Jones for Dark Horse, Robocop for Dynamite and Ghostbusters for IDW.
2) How did you get involved in the Shadowland project, and was that what made you interested in writing Ghost Rider on an ongoing basis?

I'd written a couple of books for Ghost Rider editor Steve Wacker and he asked me to pitch for the Shadowland one-off. That seemed to go down pretty well with Marvel and they asked if I'd be interested in pitching for a Ghost Rider ongoing series. I'll be honest, prior to writing the Shadowland one-off Ghost Rider wasn't a character I had designs on, but I really enjoyed writing the story and suddenly saw the possibilities of the concept. This should be one of Marvel's most fun books, and the narrative possibilities are pretty endless.

3) It’s not been long since the previous Ghost Rider series was canceled (during a celebrated run, no less). What did it take to get Marvel to greenlight another ongoing series for the character?

I really don't know. You'd have to ask them. Ghost Rider's a pretty high profile Marvel icon. Even if he's not got his own title for a while, he (or she!) will always show up sooner or later. And there's a new Ghost Rider movie in the works. I'm sure that doesn't hurt.

4) The Ghost Rider’s origin backstory has been a hotly debated concept among fans for years. Will your upcoming run address the Ghost Rider’s origins, or will you be just picking up from what previous writer Jason Aaron established?

I kind of wanted to keep clear of the character's convoluted history as much as possible. Every Marvel character has a convoluted history, but Ghost Rider's maybe a little more than most. We want this to be a book new readers can enjoy. A fresh start. So we deal with the original Johnny Blaze origin tale in our first couple of pages and then we're off on our new storyline. There's the odd little nod to what's come before. A few classic Ghost Rider villains show up. But we want this to be accessible.

5) Without going into spoiler territory, what kinds of things can we expect from the new series?

A new Ghost Rider, for a start. The initial arc is called 'Give Up The Ghost'. A mysterious figure offers Johnny Blaze the chance to get rid of the Ghost Rider 'curse' but the catch is, it'll pass on to someone else who Blaze has never met. And the mysterious figure has plans to use the new Ghost Rider as a supernatural weapon of mass destruction. Johnny is going to quickly realize the cost of his selfish actions and be pulled into trying to free this new Ghost Rider. Oh, and the new Ghost Rider is a girl, which is a slightly different dynamic.

6) You’ve already worked with Clayton Crain, Lee Garbett, and Matthew Clark as Ghost Rider artists. Are there any other artists you’d like to work with on the series?

Ha. There's always artists you'd love to work with. Got to say though, I'm HUGELY happy with the team we've currently got on the new Ghost Rider series. Matt Clark's making the book look like something out of The Ultimates. Arturo Lozzi and Adam Kubert are offering killer covers. I'll stick with what we've got.

7) Do you have any favorite Ghost Rider stories or runs?

I really enjoyed the Jason Aaron run. I thought that was one of the most fun Marvel books of recent years. Especially the Tony Moore issues. They were great.

8) What did you think of the Ghost Rider film?

Haven't seen it! I did catch ten minutes of it on TV a while back. The Ghost Rider looked pretty cool onscreen.

9) Do you have any other projects set to come out this year?

I'm the regular writer on Daken: Dark Wolverine and I have a number of mini-series' with Marvel - The Iron Age, Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force and Skaar: King Of The Savage Land. I'm also finishing up a Terminator/Robocop: Killing Human mini-series for Dynamite.

10) Thank you again for taking the time to do this interview, Rob, and we’re all looking forward to your upcoming Ghost Rider run! Any last words for the Ghost Rider fans out there?

I really hope Ghost Rider fans enjoy the new series. We're trying to make this a mix of the new and the old. So while there's a brand new Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze is still a major character throughout our story. He's effectively, the new Caretaker. And there's a couple of old school Ghost Rider villains in there too, along with some brand new characters. I'm really happy with the .1 issue that's out this week. It's turned out great and looks fantastic. 

Thanks again, Rob, and here's hoping you enjoy a nice, long run on the newest Ghost Rider series!