A number of week’s back we ran a press release from Dynamite Entertainment, which revealed that a comic book series based on the The Bionic Woman was in the works and due for release in March.
The comic is being penned by Paul Tobin who has a good mix of comic work to his name and is also a fan of the sort of Pulp storytelling that Dynamite specialize in.
So with that in mind and the fact that I was a fan of the Bionic shows as a kid and have been loving the Phil Hester and Kevin Smith run on The Bionic Man. I contacted Paul Tobin to find out a little more about his forthcoming Bionic Woman comic and below is the result of our little e-mail chat.
SciFiPulse: First off how did you get involved in comics?
Paul Tobin: Combination of things, really. I’ve read comics all my life. ANY comic I could get my hands on. I’d never really thought about being a creator, though, about actually making comics. Then I started hanging out with Phil Hester in college, and he was doing comics, and I began to understand that it was possible. One thing sort of led to another. I did a bunch of indy comics in the 90’s. Then I left comics for a long time. Then Colleen Coover, who I was dating at the time (married, now) wanted to do her Small Favors comic but didn’t really know the process of comics. So I taught her comics… how to make them… the process of pacing, bringing characters to life, etc. And that gave me the bug again. Not long after that I was working for Marvel. I believe alcohol was involved at several points.
SciFiPulse: You’ve done quite a lot of work for Marvel, most notably is your work on the all ages range and work you’ve done with Spider-man. So given that you’ve worked on Spider-Man. So given that you’ve worked on Spider-Man what are your feelings about the Spider-Man movie reboot. Are you in agreement with a lot of comic fans that think its to soon?
Paul Tobin: It WOULD be too soon, but I really think the franchise was driven into the ocean with that third film. I have no idea why movie people cannot figure out that when you put too many villains (meaning, more than ONE) in a superhero film, it falls apart. You only have so much time to deal with each character in a movie, book, comic, etc, and when you stick in extra characters, there’s simply no time for any development. Everything becomes flash. No substance. So… yes, I’m okay with a reboot, but only because there’s a big burning wreck in the recent past.
SciFiPulse: You did an interesting prequel comic a number of years back for Predators with Dark Horse Comics. How did you find working on that and do you see any potential for that story to continue at some point as in a comics sequel to the movie?
Paul Tobin: It was certainly an interesting project. I took the official shooting script for the movie (which kept changing on me, keeping me on my toes) and was charged with creating an adaptation. But… since adaptations can be a little stale, I did the entire story from one character’s viewpoint, that of Isabelle. This allowed some further characterization, and I put in a few entirely new segments to give her character greater depth. As far as continuing on the project at some point, I think it’s a story with ongoing potential, sure. I’d say there’s a world’s worth of Predator stories to be told, but as we learn more about them, it’s clear there’s at least a GALAXY worth of stories.
SciFiPulse: It’s recently been announced that you are going to be doing a comics adaptation of The Bionic Woman, which is in part due to the success of Kevin Smith’s Bionic Man. Could you tell us a little about what you have planned for the book and how you think The Bionic Woman can be updated for today’s readers?
Paul Tobin: Jaime will be drawn into a rather horrible mess involving an organization known as the Mission. It’s a group of morally bankrupt surgeons (backed by a rather vicious military group) that makes millions selling organs they’ve… ahem… stolen from unfortunate victims. If you have a few stray million dollars and an urgent need for a heart transplant, the Mission will literally hunt you down a new one, and perform all the necessary surgeries. The Mission has recently begun taking orders for upgrades, for bionic transplants, and Jaime finds herself on the organ “donor” list.
SciFiPulse: Did you see the most recent TV show of Bionic Woman that NBC did a number of years back and if so what were your thoughts about that?
Paul Tobin: I watched a few episodes. I thought they were pretty good. Definitely getting in some good character development. For our series, we’re sticking more to the classic character, though, expanding on her life and looking more into her various relationships, both personal and professional.
SciFiPulse: As a child of the 70s and 80s, I remember the original run of The Bionic Woman and loved that kind of family feel that the characters had, as in Oscar Goldman. Although he was the boss, he also cared for Jaime Sommers as well. Will we get that kind of thing in the comics?
Paul Tobin: Relationships are more than a bit strained at the start of the first issue, due to certain events that we’ll slowly unfold over the course of the stories. But, yes… in many ways that’s what Jaime is striving for: a way to get back to the way things once were… the OSI family as you call it. There are barriers to this, though. Frightful ones.
SciFiPulse: Obviously we have already seen a brief glimpse of Jaime and Steve together in Kevin Smith’s first issue, but now Steve believes Jaime to be dead. How will you address that in the comic or are you going to take it in a different direction than we seen in the TV shows?
Paul Tobin: Steve is aware that Jaime’s alive, now. But… are they together again? No. Jaime’s surgeries have given her some amazing abilities due to her bionics, but the stress of the surgery has deprived her of vast chunks of her memory. In some areas, she’s simply flying blind. And one of those areas is Steve Austin.
SciFiPulse: I found you via your website Paul Tobin dot Net in which you have an interesting list of your top female characters in literature. Where would you say Jaime Sommers will fit in on that list?
Paul Tobin: Hah! A good question. Jaime is really an interesting character to write. She’s dealing with two major issues. She has the fact that she’s not at all the woman that she once was, and she has how she can’t even remember the woman she once was. This gives her a lot of character depth, and to me that’s what really jumps a character up on the “best” charts.
SciFiPulse: Are there any other projects you have in development that you feel comfortable mentioning at this point?
Paul Tobin: Well… you’ll definitely be seeing some more from me and Dynamite, as I love all of the pulp heroes and Dynamite is where I can get my fix, plus I very much enjoy working with Nick [Fury] and Joe [Caramagna]. I’m working on a variety of other projects. Quite a few creator owned projects, including ones from Dark Horse and Oni. I’m working with Dark Horse in a variety of ways, actually. There’s more work on the REH characters coming from me, and then also more Falling Skies. I don’t have anything coming from Marvel or DC that I can announce just yet. Not just yet. Colleen Coover and I are also starting up an interesting project that should be announced this summer. And… speaking of this summer, one thing that I’m extremely happy about is that my first novel will be released at the beginning of June.
SciFiPulse: Thanks for taking time out to speak with scifipulse.net and best of luck with Bionic Woman.
Paul Tobin: Thanks much to you!
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By Ian M. Cullen