Thursday Q&A: Kevin Shinick

Thursday Q&A: Kevin Shinick

Avenging Spider-Man #12 preview art by Aaron Kuder

By Jim Beard

Actor/director Kevin Shinick knows how to make you laugh.

He also knows his way around a ripping good yarn. He’s made his mark on the world of television with creative turns on such shows as “Robot Chicken” and “MAD” and networks like E!, Spike TV, VH1, Nickelodeon and Adult Swim. As its writer and director, he even came face to face with Marvel’s friendly neighborhood web-slinger in 2002’s Broadway production of “Spider-Man Live!”

But how to top all that? Why, by writing for comics, of course!

In September 12’s AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #12, Shinick kicks off a two-part tale that throws the wall-crawler head-first into the tender, lethal embrace of Deadpool—in high school. And, as they say, hilarity ensues. We ask the man all those burning questions you surely must possess. Kevin, in scripting a comic, what gives you the most satisfaction as a writer?

Kevin Shinick: I guess it's the fact that you can create a story on as grand a scale as a big budget blockbuster or as experimental as an independent film, yet it all gets done in a matter of weeks. The turnaround is incredibly gratifying and [normally working] in an industry where a lot of things linger in production or in development, seeing your ideas come to fruition so quick is a real treat.  Plus, because it's so quick I find the relationship between writer, artist and editor to be incredibly collaborative. At least that's what we all decided I should say. How's it feel to be making your Marvel Comics debut?

Avenging Spider-Man #12 preview art by Aaron Kuder

Kevin Shinick: It really is a dream come true. Spider-Man was one of the first comic books I really got into, and even though I got to be the first writer/director to bring Spider-Man to the stage in a feature length format, it never has felt complete until I got to write an actual Spider-Man comic book. And much like getting star-struck when working with an actor you've always admired, I was giddy at the idea of spending time with Spidey. I showed up at my keyboard freshly shaved and smelling nice. So, do you see Spider-Man and Deadpool as two different brands of humor and if so, how do you approach each one in your story?

Kevin Shinick: In a strange way it's very similar to the work I'm doing for television at the moment. I've been a writer for “Robot Chicken” for a number of seasons and for a number of specials now, but when I write for “Robot Chicken,” the sensibility is more no-holds-barred. It's risqué, it's raunchy, it's ridiculous. It's very much Deadpool. Then there's my show “MAD” which I created for Cartoon Network because they wanted a show that was similar, but more suitable for a prime time audience: fast, funny and friendly. Which is how I see Spidey. So in a way, I feel this team-up was the perfect pairing for me. For your research, did you look back at previous tales of the relationship between Spidey and Deadpool?

Kevin Shinick: Absolutely. I always want to know as much about the characters I'm working with before heading into any project. With comics, however, there's the added challenge of keeping up with what's happening since continuity is always changing with so many writers adding their part. So basically, you have to just pick a point and jump off. As I said, I've always been a Spidey fan and have loved the times he's met up with Deadpool, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't treading on ground that had been traveled down before.  And believe me when I say, these two guys have never gone through anything like the events in AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #12 and 13.

Avenging Spider-Man #12 preview art by Aaron Kuder The story takes place at a high school; what were you like yourself in high school?

Kevin Shinick: Ha! Well to start I was a theatre geek, but I was also Class President. So I like to think I brought the moral high ground of my presidency to Spidey with a flair for the overdramatic to Deadpool. But mostly, high school is a time when we're still changing and many things are uncertain so I wanted to bring that sense of instability and that feeling of vulnerability into the mix. Why Hypno-Hustler? What do you see there that makes him the perfect villain for this story?

Kevin Shinick: This was a perfect example of how restrictions challenge you to make your work better. I had envisioned this story a certain way and had ultimately concluded that it needed to involve Mysterio. Then I found out that he wasn't available to me. Something about being tied up in another story. I left him several messages but he never got back to me so I never really got a straight answer.

Anyway, when that happened I sort of kicked myself for taking the easy route to begin with and decided to explore the caverns of my brain. When I landed on Hypno-Hustler it not only opened up a bunch of possibilities but also created a much funnier environment to play in, which I had wanted all along. 

Avenging Spider-Man #12 cover by Shane Davis What do you really dig about Aaron Kuder's art?

Kevin Shinick: I wanted these issues to really stand out, and that is probably the best thing I can say about Aaron's work is that it is totally unique. But honestly, what really adds to making these an awesome couple of issues is the fact that this is the first Spider-Man comic for both of us, so there's no doubt we were bring our A-game. First impressions are everything and we both felt a responsibility not only to Marvel but to the fans of Spidey and Deadpool as well, because that's what we are too.  And as the saying goes, "With great responsibility comes the power to..."

Aww crap! So much for first impressions.

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