An Exciting Little Talk With Fabian Nicieza
Fabian has been a mainstay of the comics industry for several years. Talking to him was been very interesting. He is pethaps best known as the co-creator of the Marvel comics character Deadpool, however Fabian has branched out to new creative endavours recently. With his second novel now available to buy it felt like an excellent time to discuss his writing in general.
Paul: May I begin things by simply asking how your relationship with comics began? What were the earliest comics you remember buying, reading and enjoying? How old might you have been?
Fabian: I was 4 1/2 when my family immigrated to the U.S. in 1966. My older brother and I recognized Superman and Batman comics from the television shows we'd watched in Argentina and asked our parents if we could get them. That would have been late 1966. I also have memories of a comics magazine published in Argentina called Anteojito y Antifaz, though I was too young to have read it. In 1967, school mates of my brother recommended he read the "cool comics," and that was Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, etc. So, we got hooked on Marvel Comics.
Paul: Can ask how you came to be published the very first time? Who was your first editor?
Fabian: I started working at Marvel in August 1985 on staff and I soon became Marvel‘s advertising manager responsible for promoting our books. After about a year of doing that, I started making inquiries to the editors about pitching inventory stories for their titles, eventually editor Bob Budiansky needed some emergency fill-in issues on one of his New Universe titles, Psi-Force. I pitched, he liked, and my first published work for Marvel ended up being issue #9 in 1987.
Paul: So, how did you end up as one of the main writers for the X-Men titles?
Fabian: I was writing New Warriors and Alpha Flight as my regular series as well as working on staff. I'd pitched in and done some work for X-editor Bob Harras on some issues of X-men and New Mutants, as well as some work for the Annuals. When Rob Liefeld was going to start plotting New Mutants as well as pencilling it, they asked me if I wanted to script the series, which soon became X-Force, which I scripted until the various artists left to form Image, in which case I became the regular writer of X-Force and also the writer of X-Men.
Paul: Can you possibly name one comic you are especially proud to have written above all the others Sir?
Fabian: New Warriors is probably the book I am most proud of, since it was my first monthly Marvel superhero title. Mark Bagley and I turned it into a success despite most people's expectations, and I established myself to industry editors, retailers, and readers as someone who can write an entertaining superhero title.
Fabian: Can I ask about comic conventions? Is it a part of your career you enjoy? I am guessing you have likely travelled far and wide to promote your work?
Fabian: As for conventions, I have found them to always have been one of the more enjoyable aspects of my professional life. My ego loves the attention, but the writer in me loves to meet the readers and hear what they have to say. I’ve also been fortunate that I’ve been able to travel all over the United States and to different parts of the world as a result of conventions.
Paul: Have ever been genuinely "Starstruck" at meeting anyone at a convention?
Fabian: As for being starstruck by meeting “celebrities “? No honestly not really, I had the good fortune of working for two years with William Shatner and if you can’t get starstruck meeting Captain Kirk when he was your hero when you were eight years old because it’s all within the context of a business publishing relationship. Then meeting Will Smith or Brad Pitt or James Cameron or Ryan Reynolds or any of the other well-known actors or directors I’ve had the good fortune of meeting, you pretty quickly realize they’re all just people and their job just happens to be one that gets a lot more of attention.
Paul: That is such a great answer, and it makes an awful lot of sense. Yet it sounds to me on that basis you must have at LEAST one fun convention story you could share.
Fabian: My favourite convention story was from San Diego Comicon in 1992 when I did a spotlight panel with William Shatner to promote the TekWorld comic Marvel was doing based on his books. We had 2500 people in the audience, at that time a record for the convention, and while telling a story, Bill had to perform a fake Heimlich manoeuvre on me as a prop for his story. Once he finished, I adlibbed, "Now I know why all the alien ladies loved Captain Kirk."
In which case I must move on a question you have surely been asked about a million times. I'll phrase it simply. How much do you love Deadpool?
Fabian: I love writing the character (I am writing him for a story for Marvel right now), but I don't have much interest in reading stories about him by other writers. Unless I'm working on Deadpool or cashing a check from Marvel about Deadpool or talking to a journalist/fan at a convention about Deadpool, I generally don't think about him all that much on a day-to-day basis.
Paul: I'd be an utter fool if I did not ask what you thought of the movies. Do you have much involvement in them at all? Do you even have a favourite sir?
Fabian: I think the movies have been really well made. First one was A+ all the way through, the second one was overstuffed, but very enjoyable. I have almost zero involvement with them, and I expect they have proven they know what they're doing, so the movies are in good hands.
Paul: Do you have any feelings about Deadpool joining the MCU?
Fabian: I'm sure they'll make a fun and entertaining movie, my only concern is from personal experience that much like Groucho Marx and Bugs Bunny before him, Deadpool overwhelms (and often diminishes) any other character alongside him. I'd prefer not to see "straight" MCU characters weakened in service of the "crazy Deadpool antics."
Paul: I notice you have moved into writing novels instead of comics. Has that been a huge transition for you creatively?
Fabian: It's interesting, because of the nature in which I finally finished my first manuscript, I never gave it much thought. When writing Suburban Dicks, it was a "side project" over the course of a year plus of work, so I did a little here and a little there in between other paying assignments I had. As a result, it took over a year to finish the manuscript, then almost another year to hone it into shape so that an agent could take it out to editors at the publishing houses.
Fabian: My second book, The Self-Made Widow, was a much more focused, concentrated writing process - about seven months from page one to the end of the manuscript in 2020, that I actually felt far more comfortable with the process and happier with my writing, mostly because I understood better what I needed to do as a result of the experience of writing Suburban Dicks.
Paul: So, can I simply ask please... what does the future hold for you? More novels? More comics?
Fabian: The future holds what the past has always held: a little of this, a little of that, and hopefully in a few years a whole lot of relaxing with an umbrella drink in my hand!
Paul: Thank you for your time Fabian. It has been a pleasure.