Interview : Comic Writer Rob Williams

Duff here…

Joel-pic-USE-200x300Rob Williams is the talented writer behind Titan Comics “Ordinary” (in stores now). Ordinary tells the story of a loser guy name Michael and the day a mysterious plague hits planet earth giving everyone superpowers but him. Michael is now faced with the reality that he might lose his son forever and must become something he isn’t to save him; he must become a decent human being. It’s a book filled with dark comedy, political commentary, and real human drama. It also drawn fantastically by D’Israeli and written wittily by Williams. I highly recommend it.

Besides Ordinary, Rob is known for writing Dr. Who, The Royals: Masters of War, and Judge Dredd. He has also worked on Ghost Rider, Amazing Spider-Man, Star Wars Tales, Wolverine and many, many more. Rob resides in England and you can follow him on twitter @Robwilliams71

He was most gracious and let me ask him a few questions; enjoy!

Duff: Ordinary, just finished it, is fantastic…from what strange place
did this tale originate?

RW: Thanks. Glad you liked it. It came about because D’israeli and I have worked together for a few years now for 2000AD and I think our joint dynamic is really strong. I thought it’d be fun to do a creator-owned book together that the US market could see. We got together and initially ran through a sci-fi story but it didn’t really click. Then I mentioned my idea for this book called Ordinary. The idea of a world where everyone has a different super power really suited D’israeli, I think. He’s so imaginative in his world building on the page. And we were off and running.

Duff: Michael, Ordinary’s focus is great character, can you briefly explain him?

RW: Michael is a douchebag when we meet him, basically. Not a nasty guy by any means, but he’s lazy, drunk, has blown his marriage and never sees his son. He’s someone desperately in need of a redemption story. And that’s what he gets. A plague gives everyone in the world powers apart from him. Suddenly, this plumber is the biggest loser on the planet – confirmed. But he has to find something heroic inside himself to go rescue his son when the entire planet has become a warzone. That makes him the ultimate underdog, and we all root for an underdog. Especially one who is trying to do something heroic when heroism isn’t exactly in their history.

Ordinary_Previews_Cover_b280Duff: This book, is so much fun to look at, were you and D’israeli just
having a blast creating these unique characters? What was that process
like?

RW: Yes, it’s one of those books where the concept allows you to go wild with your imagination. Push ideas and concept and characters. A lot of the powers and people you see in the story were in my script, a lot D’israeli came up with as he was drawing it – especially the ones in the background. There’s so much rich detail in this world behind our storyline. You see characters in crowd scenes with slugs for hair and all sorts. The idea was that no two people have the same powers and each person has a specific power that says something about their character. That meant we could make this a big, bright, fun story.

Duff: In Ordinary, the powers that the characters receive are somehow,
for better or worse inherit to their character, like Sam is invisible,
it represents his parents divorce, the VP becomes a zealot because
he’s a war-hawk to begin with, and so on…what would be your
superpower be in this scenario?

RW: Ha! Good question. I have no idea. That’s the thing with the powers in Ordinary. The people don’t choose them. They often say something unexpected and very telling about the individual, so it would be a surprise. Although I have a funny feeling it would involve some kind of massive growth of hair, to make up for my blatant baldness.

Duff: I always like to ask writers, what they are reading, I find they
usually have the best picks for new books, comic….so what book or
books are you hoarding over at the moment?

tumblr_n6jt904N4O1sywslbo1_1280RW: Another good question. Comics-wise, I’m nearing the end of Naoki urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, which is superb. The best comic I’ve read in years. Monthly US titles, I’m enjoying Saga, Grant Morrison’s Multiversity, Trees from Image, Wild’s End from Boom has been excellent, Southern Bastards is great. Book wise I’m reading Double Down at the moment, by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, the story of the 2012 US election.

Duff: I can’t let you leave without asking…Judge Dredd, does it get a
sequel? Are you rooting for one?

RW: I don’t know. You’d hope so, it was a really enjoyable movie and people are enthusiastic for a sequel. But that’s comics people. Whether enough of the general public went to see the movie to encourage money in Hollywood to back a follow-up, perhaps not. Fingers crossed it happens.

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