Video tie-in comic books are not supposed to be good. They are supposed to be bland, poor interpretations of the game. But DC Comics’ “Injustice: Gods Among Us” tie-in comic book changes all of that thanks to the writing of Tom Taylor. In what has become a wildly popular comic series for the publisher, Taylor writes the prequel story to the hit video game Injustice: Gods Among Us, where Superman and Batman are at war with each other and they bring the rest of the Justice League into the conflict. How did these long time friends get to this point? Well Taylor tells all about it in the comic book series.
The “Injustice” series has been so successful that Taylor has been tapped by DC to take over the writing on “Earth-2,” the world that runs parallel to the main Earth of DC Comics. At Comic-Con, the Hollywood Comic Books Examiner caught up with the writer to discuss “Injustice,” his plans for “Earth-2” and his newest series “The Deep.”
Hollywood Comic Books Examiner: You start “Injustice” off with a devastating attack by the Joker that robs Superman of everything he cherishes. You took everything he cared about away in the blink of an eye. So I have to ask, why don’t you like Superman?
Tom Taylor: I love Superman. Superman is actually my favorite character and that destroyed me to write that. I’d also argue that I didn’t do that to Superman, I did that to Lois [Lane] and it just happened to affect Superman. I think a lot of people talk about that. They talk about man pain, where you do horrible things to a woman to make a man feel bad. We did something terrible to Lois that made Superman feel bad but let’s not take Lois out of the equation. I like her and I felt terrible.
Examiner: What is it like to write Superman without inhibitions with a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done?
Taylor: It is pretty amazing actually. Recently he has been letting go. He’s had little snaps of letting go along the way and now he is demonstrating his full power in “Injustice” in a way that is terrifying while half the world is still celebrating him wanting to see what he is doing as Superman flies around the world at the speed of light and destroys armies.
Examiner: What is the main conflict between Batman and Superman right now? Batman always wanted peace and he fought injustice as a vigilante his way which was very different from the way Superman did things. Now Superman is doing everything he can to fight injustice but Batman doesn’t like it. What is their big beef?
Taylor: Well it’s an ideological difference. Batman does not kill. It’s that simple and Superman has. He’s killed the Joker who Batman has spared multiple times and that already has put them on this path.
For me the book is about the break up of the “World’s Finest” friendship. So once their relationship is irreparable the series is over.
It’s a complete ideological difference. Batman can see what is happening. He’s a detective. He can see the clues and see where Superman can go if left unchecked and allowed to do what he wants. He can see him becoming the ruler of the world and ruling it with the iron fist of a man of steel. And he’s not happy about that.
Examiner: The Justice League has come into play and you’ve had a lot of cool moments with them. One of the more talked about moments is Harley Quinn and Green Arrow in the beginning and coming up in this year’s “Injustice Annual” it will be Harley with Lobo. Do you have free reign to pair up anyone you want?
Taylor: Yes. It’s amazing. Green Arrow/Harley Quinn is still my favorite chapter, I’m up to chapter 33 and that chapter is one stand alone story that is absolutely my favorite thing. If you haven’t read it check it out. Harley Quinn and Green Arrow, who knew they would be such a magical partnership.
The Annual is essentially, “Hey we’re doing an annual what do you want to do with it? How about Harley and Lobo? Yep!” Then we had a cover [laughs]. But that will be great. It’s essentially Superman doesn’t have time because he is ruling the world but he wants to find Harley because she had a part to play in the death of Lois and the destruction of Metropolis so he’s probably going to hire the Main Man to track down Harley.
Examiner: You’re also getting ready to come on the “Earth-2” series as the new writer. What is that like?
Taylor: It’s great. It’s a whole world that is untouched in a way, it’s very new days. It’s like being handed a toddler, it’s well formed already but there are so many places to go with it. I’m very excited to get going with my friend Nicola Scott from Australia as well. And Australia is being handed their own book which is awesome, we’re being handled our own world so we don’t want to drop it and smash it on the floor and get all embarrassed.
Examiner: What is the collaboration like with Nicola?
Taylor: It’s great she and I are really great friends. I saw her last week and we’ve done a couple of conventions together recently but we live in different states but we’re really good friends and we’re excited to be working together on this. It really is serendipity for us to be working together. It’s not something we engineered, or even DC engineered, it just happened to come up that we got very good friends working on it.
Examiner: This world is very different from “Injustice” because in “Earth-2” Superman has made the ultimate sacrifice.
Taylor: He has yes. It’s very sad. Superman is gone. Wonder Woman is gone. Batman is gone. We have a new Batman of Earth-2 but we don’t know who he is yet. But yeah that’s where we’re going. There are these sort of updated JSA [Justice Society of America] characters and there are a few more characters to come.
Examiner: But they’re not quite the JSA?
Taylor: No they’re not yet. They are absolutely not yet. They’re heroes still finding their feet and their not quite a team yet.
Examiner: Do you foresee them becoming a team like the Justice Society or are they going to be something totally different?
Taylor: I think there is a good chance that they will become the JSA. I think that further down the track, its not going to happen yet, but I hope down the road we’ll see them as the JSA with Alan Scott hopefully as their leader.
Examiner: Who from this lineup has surprised you the most to write?
Taylor: Good question. There is something about Jay Garrick, the Flash, I really like. It’s because he’s the Flash but he hasn’t had time to do anything so he is a naïve Flash, a very innocent Flash, and he’s a bit of an everyman and he’s been great to write. I’m writing him in the issue I’m writing at the moment, actually on the airplane over here. He’s got a great sense of humor and he is very young and inexperienced. I like the idea of a guy who can run insanely fast but hasn’t learned how to slow down yet.
Examiner: What heroes from the JSA have not appeared but are you planning to bring back?
Taylor: I really can’t say that yet. I will say look out for Red Tornado. There is a lot that will happen with that character.
Examiner: Your creator-owned series “The Deep” is about to make its American debut. What can you tell me about it?
Taylor: “The Deep” is my baby. It’s about a multi-ethnic family who live on a submarine and their adventures. Its “The Deep: There be Dragons” and the second is “The Deep: The Vanishing Island.” Its just been optioned to be turned into a 26 episode CG animated series which I’m also heavily involved in the writing and development of and its just insanely exciting.
It’s kind of like, that moment when you first get on a unicorn in a rainforest and you’re galloping through the forest, through the undergrowth, and that first sunlight lightly touches your arm. It’s that first Sun-kiss while riding a unicorn through a rain forest.
Examiner: I’ve heard it’s like riding a Pegasus and getting the first cloud kiss.
Taylor: See I’ve changed things up just for you. I came up with that just then. It’s the most joyous thing I write. It’s the anti-“Injustice” there’s no violence all the conflict is peril based and it’s just a book that makes people happy.
It’s a true all-ages book. The reason I wrote it was that I was bored out of my brain by a lot of all-ages books that said they were all-ages books but they weren’t. They weren’t for anybody. They weren’t written with an adult in mind or a kid and I’m a parent and I want to be able to read something to my son that I enjoyed as well. It’s like a good Pixar movie in a book.
The first issue comes out on ComiXology this week. It’s joyous and will fill your heart with rainbows.
Examiner: Can you get it in print yet?
Taylor: It’s kind of in print but it’s hard to find. It’s on the internet. Lots of things are on the internet. It is one of them.
Thank you to Tom Taylor for his time and DC Comics for arranging this interview.
You can start reading “Injustice: Gods Among Us” instantly through ComiXology.com. The first collection of stories will be released in November and you can pre-order it at CheapGraphicNovels.com.
Taylor’s first issue of “Earth-2” is issue number 17 which ships in November.
Get “The Deep” #1 right now through ComiXology.com and find out if it is more like riding a unicorn or a pegasus.