The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

A Talk with X-Men: First Class’ Jeff Parker

Written by: Joey Esposito, Special to CC2K

ImageCC2K Editor Joey Esposito got the chance to speak with superstar writer and artist Jeff Parker about his work on X-Men: First Class, San Diego Comic Con, his group of comics creators at Periscope Studio , and my apparent subtle likeness to the King?


CC2K: Jeff, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. What to you is the appeal of doing a book like X-Men: First Class?

Jeff Parker: It's good to have a comic book that isn't afraid to be a comic book. With XFC we embrace the craziness of Old Marvel rather than try to write it off, and we make stories that I think are more accessible than most superhero comics now. And that with it being an X book!



CC2K: To a great degree, First Class is perfect for new readers because of it's light continuity. Do you think heavy continuity such as what exists in the main X-books is detrimental to gaining new readers?

JP: Yes, but that's more about making cyclical adventures versus linear ones. I tend to think superhero books should be cyclical, I don't want to have to know thirty years of the comics' history to figure out what's going on. The X books are a peculiar thing in that regard though, because they've mostly always been more about soap opera, and essentially work more like a show like Guiding Light or Young and the Restless. In those cases, readers/viewers actively want that kind of density, they like the exclusivity of it.  So I shouldn't really hold them to a criteria when they're their own animal. A mutated animal, of course.



CC2K: I've been asking all the creators from Periscope the same question; what do you think is the benefit of having/being a part of a group like Periscope?


JP: To me it gives me the sense of the comics community as an active entity in a way interacting with people online can't. It's also very inspiring since we all want to impress one another, and since we have varied interests, we educate each other on artists, writers and trends. 

Also we have interns who scan things and get lunch.
CC2K:  Coming off of SDCC, how wiped are you! You say on your blog that now 'every day is like what Saturday used to be'. In recent years SDCC has become essentially a media storm. Do you think this is beneficial to the comics industry? Or is it simply just more foot traffic that causes long waits for fans that are just there for the comics, and not the movies, video games, etc. ?
JP: I think on the whole it's positive, I just think more finagling with the floor plan could make it more pleasant for readers and creators who go there to experience the comics end of things. An illustrator shouldn't be trying to speak over a gamer demo all weekend.
CC2K: Do you have any upcoming projects as an artist, or are you sticking more to writing for now?
JP:  I'm drawing a little bit for X-Men First Class, and I'm trying to get somewhere finally with Interman 2. But, I have a lot of writing deadlines and I fear the idea of an artist having to wait on me for script.
CC2K: Do you have a preference between writing and illustrating, is one 'more work' than the other, or even more enjoyable?
JP: They're both enjoyable in their own way. If I have to do just one of the jobs, then it's writing, because I can't make a story that's not good better with art. Also I can write faster, so writing works with my patience (or lack of it) better. And I get to work with insanely talented people this way!
CC2K: Anything else you'd like to add?
JP: Joe, what was it like hanging out with Elvis as part of the Memphis Mafia?