One of the more exciting announcements at Marvel’s X-Men panel on Sunday at San Diego Comic-Con was the reveal that revered X-Man Longshot will make a big return this Autumn, in a limited series entitled ’Longshot Saves The Marvel Universe’. We caught up with the creative team, Christopher Hastings and Jacopo Camagni, and asked a few questions about what we can expect when the series hits stands in November.
MTV Geek: You’ve both done some work for Marvel in the past, but this seems like your highest profile gig by some distance. How did you end up as the creative team for this title?
Christopher Hastings: It was all [Editor] Jordan’s [White] doing! He called me, told me the title of the book, and I said “hell yes”.
Jacopo Camagni: I was contacted directly by Jordan – we have worked together in the past, he asked me if I would try to reinvent the character, I loved the idea.
Geek: Longshot was, for quite a while, one of Marvel’s most popular characters, but he also seems irrevocably rooted in a different era: a guy from a television dimension, dressed in a jumpsuit and bandolier strap, with his hair styled in a ridiculous mullet. How do you him work for today’s readers?
Hastings: Well, in regards to Longshot’s personal fashion choices, I’d say that’s largely been solved during his time on X-Factor. Jacopo’s given him a snappy new haircut, but that’s about it. As far as connecting with modern readers, well I’m a modern reader too, and I’m just writing the story I’d like to read. I think very seriously about what the reality of Longshot’s powers might mean, and explore that, but I also know that magical luck should be really fun and surprising, and I’m trying to go for that too. This particular adventure doesn’t deal very much with Longshot’s “Mojoverse Gladiators” origins, though obviously it’s shaped him.
Camagni: I can tell about the “new” style. When Jordan sent me the script, he asked me to change the look of Longshot, and he precisely asked me: “We’ll definitely want to make him VERY attractive in this miniseries! We want ladies and gentlemen both to be swooning over him”, so I have tried to change his hair and facial look and bring it from the eighties to the present. I think it’s very cool now. I loved the “motorcycle style” suit that he wore in the last appearances, so I haven’t changed it and I think that the mix of old suit and new hair make for a very cool and badass look.
Geek: What can you tell us about the set-up for this story? How does it begin, and what sort of feel are you going for?
Hastings: It starts off in New York City, and people who catch lucky breaks are mysteriously dying soon after. Win the lottery, hit too many green lights in a row, good hair day? Dead. And that’s obviously very concerning to Longshot! As far as the feel, I’m really just trying to go for a fun romp through the Marvel universe, having fun with different characters having their luck effected by Longshot. He’s an optimistic, cheerful guy, and it’s a good time to plunge that into extremely deadly situations.
Camagni: I’m Italian and I’m living in Italy, I’ve been in New York and I’ve visited friends in Brooklyn, but living so far, its a problem to reproduce and transmit the real feeling of a city. I asked to Chris to give me all the references and suggestions that he can about the locations so I could try to give part of the real soul of the city.
Geek: Is this a solo Longshot adventure, or can we expect to see some of his fellow X-Men making appearances?
Hastings: It’s certainly focused on Longshot, but we’ve got plenty of guest stars from all corners of the Marvel universe.
Camagni: I can tell that you’ll see some faces that you know.
Geek: Christopher, what are you drawing inspiration from when creating this story?
Hastings: I’m going mainly with his original miniseries, though I’m certainly read up on his time in X-Men/X-Factor/Exiles. We’re trying to introduce (or reintroduce) Longshot to current readers, so I’m trying to keep him to the core character that he was first created with.
Geek: And Jacopo, who would you cite as the major influences on your visual style?
Camagni: I’m 35, and like many guys of my age, I grew up watching anime and Disney cartoons, and reading comics and manga since I was very young. I think that my style is a natural mix of all that i’ve liked when I was really young. If I must tell some names I can tell you Bruce Timm, Paul Pope, and Jamie Hewlett. Now I’ve a lot of artists that I love and admire, like my friends Becky Cloonan and Olivier Coipel.
Geek: Are you working full-script, or are you making more of the pacing decisions as the pages are being drawn?
Hastings: Full script! I’ll email Jordan now and then with a rough idea or something I might want to incorporate, just to see if it’s okay, then a while later I’ll turn in an outline. Once the outline is approved, full panel descriptions with dialogue go to Jacopo, and then he makes the magic.
Camagni: Usually I read all the script first, and I try to understand the appeal that the story must have. I do research about locations, character and other stuff and I start to sketch and design characters just to become familiar with the characters. I’m don’t usually make a full storyboard, I prefer to sketch blocks of three or four pages at a time, and start with those pages. Work in this way keeps alive in me the curiosity about the story and the drawing.
Geek: Is this series going to tie in closely to Marvel continuity, or is it more of a stand-alone story?
Hastings: The series takes place right in the middle of current continuity.
Geek: What projects do you two have lined up beyond this series?
Camagni: I’m working as author, art director and character creator for an upcoming horror/fantasy/sci-fi board game for Guillotine Games. I’ve been working on it since last year, and I think I’ll finish it before the end of 2013. It’s a very big and cool project and I’m sorry if I can’t tell more about that, but the game is yet to be announced officially!