Everyone at Comic Booked knows I am deeply in love with Avengers:Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. I have absolutely adored only four shows in my entire life. Avengers is number two on that list. I’m a tough person to get to watch television and it is ten times more difficult to sit me down to watch an entire series. So I figured it was time I sat down with the mind behind the magic. Christopher Yost has a very long resume which includes writing comics, movies, and television series. He is currently working on a top secret project for Marvel Studios and writes for Scarlet Spider and Avenging Spider-Man.
YOST: You know, I was torn at first — I generally react to everything as a fan, and I am a huge Tim Drake fan first and foremost. So the year I spent on him having just kind of gone away was tricky to navigate. But then I remembered that anything that can be done can be undone, and who knows what awesome Tim Drake stories might come out of it? There’s so many amazing books that have come out of the New 52, I have faith. Really, seeing Aquaman in the top 10 kind of settled the debate on the new 52 for me. That’s awesome, not just for DC but for all of comics.
X-Men Evolution started off as one of the worst X-Men shows during its first season, but seriously redeemed itself in season two, did you have anything to do with that?
YOST: Nope! That, and the entire revitalization of Marvel Animation, was the work of two men — Marvel producer Craig Kyle and story editor Greg Johnson. I was just there for the ride, and only at the very end.
While we are talking about X-Men Evolution you created X-23 for the series and eventually got to write the comic mini series. Where do you stand on how awesome it feels to pull the “Harley Quinn” card? Also how do you feel about seeing X-23 with the Avengers Academy right now?
YOST: Well, first and foremost let’s be clear: I did not create X-23. She sprang fully formed from the mind of Craig Kyle. He was working on X-Men Evolution, trying to find a way to get a teen Wolverine involved, and he came up with her. He had all the beats of her origin in his head when I came on board. I’ve been around for her birth and her launch in both animation and comics, but all credit to Craig for her. That being said, I’m very proud of the work we’ve done with her. It’s incredibly hard to create a new character these days, much less have her be around and strong for what, seven years now? It’s a testament to Craig’s creativity, people have really responded to her. There’s not a comic-convention that goes by where we don’t see an X-23 cosplayer.
With this Marvel NOW! What titles will you be helping out on? Maybe a more suitable question would be, are there any future plans for you to take over any current titles or new titles once Marvel NOW! starts?
YOST: I’m on Scarlet Spider and Avenging Spider-Man. Not sure if either are technically Marvel NOW!!!!! titles, but hey. That’s what I’m doing. Two books a month seems to be my limit for the moment, I’m hip deep in another Marvel project right now on the studio side.
YOST: Well, so far we’ve had the brand new villain the SALAMANDER, who’s connected to the big overall story that kicked off the book. He’ll be back in a big way down the road. We’ve seen the ASSASSINS GUILD, the WATCHDOGS, ANA KRAVEN, and ROXXON. Next is a little crossover with Cullen Bunn’s VENOM called MINIMUM CARNAGE. Then, starting in December, a ferocious pair of villains from down Mexico way will be showing up in Houston under the light of the full moon. That should be a howling good time. And after that, Ana Kraven’s DAD makes his move against Scarlet Spider.
How did you get the chance to write for New X-Men? Who was your favorite character in the series?
YOST: After the X-23 mini-series, Marvel wanted to put X-23 into New X-Men, as it felt like a natural place for her to be. The book was coming off of House of M and they wanted to shake things up, which is what we did. They called the story Decimation, and we took it to heart, really putting those poor kids through hell. And do not ask me to name a favorite. We ended with a main cast of 10 kids, and they were ALL my favorite.
With series like X-Men and Avengers how hard is it to keep up with all the characters? There is so much lore it has been difficult.
YOST: It is one of the few skills I have in life. I have a great mind for keeping track of comic book characters and stories. I read the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe growing up as a kid. I love it all.
You changed the face of X-Force, making it one of the best titles you can pick up on comic book shelves back in 2008. How did you go about that?
YOST: Much like we transitioned from X-23 to New X-Men, there came a point where it seemed like Marvel wanted to shake things up on New X-Men, and launch X-Force coming out of ‘Messiah Complex.’ Craig was a huge fan of the idea, and we leapt for it! X-Force definitely played to our darker side, as we really put together a black ops team formed for one purpose… kill the enemies of mutantkind before they killed us. It started with the four members from the Messiah story, then evolved past people with claws and blades to sharp wings and guns
As we all know this is the end of the road for Avengers: Earth’s Mighties Heroes. Fans are completely outraged that Marvel is cancelling this series. Anything you would like to say to them?
YOST: Well, thanks for being so passionate about a show that I loved working on, and am overjoyed by the response to. But, I would say that everyone should give Avengers Assemble the benefit of the doubt. If anything, it’s going to be MORE like the movie — and the movie kicked ass.
While fan outrage was at its highest point with Spectacular Spider-Man getting the boot, EMH definitely was a close second. If Marvel came up to you and said “Chris we are bringing back Avengers, we need two more seasons” What would be the outline for those seasons? We already know you said something about season three being the magic season…
YOST: I think we had general notions about a few seasons… ie, the COSMIC season, the MAGIC season, that kind of thing. Season three would have seen the Surtur storyline, the introduction of the X-Men, and a lot of magic. It got more vague going into season 4. We always wanted to tackle stuff like Namor and Atlantis, the Greek gods, Inhumans, that kind of thing. Basically every single Marvel character and locale.
You have gotten to write for some of the most awesome titles out there from Teen Titans to Runaways. What has been the best experience and why?
YOST: Red Robin was a highlight, New X-Men I’ll love forever. The Runaways books I’ve worked on were fun. I’m incredibly proud of the 3-issue Fear Itself: Spider-Man book I did. It’s hard to pick, but a lot of times it has to do with the artist as well. I’ve been lucky to work with some of the best artists in the business.
Were you a fan of the 90s X-Men cartoon?
YOST: Sure, although not to the level of some. :) I love that it introduced so many people to the X-Men, plus it had the single best Gambit line of all time. “Don’ worry, chere… Gambit a natural athlete!”
What characters did Wolverine and The X-Men not get time to add that you would have liked to see added to the team?
YOST: I liked the future team with Vanisher and Domino, but hey. I’m biased. Colossus just didn’t have a role in season one, and I was excited to see him in season 2. And for my money, you can never have enough Jean Grey.
How much creativity freedom did you get when it came to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Were you a fan of the comic?
YOST: The storylines on Ninja Turtles were fairly well laid out by Peter Laird, Lloyd Goldfine and SE Mike Ryan, but within the execution I had a good amount of wiggle room. I was a fan! Getting the call to work on that show really truly changed things for me. I was about ready to pack it in and change careers, and that day I got a call from Mike Ryan based on a recommendation from Greg Johnson, who I worked for on X-Men Evolution. I worked on Turtles for a year straight, which was wonderful.
But playing with those characters was amazing, and I was lucky enough to work on a few major episodes with Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo, of which I’m a great fan.
Marvel/DC/Image/Dark Horse/etc. You can write a story arc for any title, which title would you pick and why?
YOST: Marvel’s Power Pack. I love writing young characters. They’re unjaded. They’re not cynical, they haven’t seen it all. They come at the world from a fresh, new perspective. They’re so emotionally raw and open. Kids are the best.
What can you tell us about the upcoming changes coming to the Marvel Universe that creates the “Marvel Now Universe”?
YOST: Nothing!! They’ll shoot me.
Anything else you would like to discuss?
YOST: Anyone not reading Scarlet Spider should check that book out. It’s still early in the run, the first trade paperback just came out!! It’s Spider-Man without the pesky moral code. All the Power, None of the Responsibility.
Last question: Avengers Assemble… Is it at all connected to Avengers: EMH, and/or will you get to be part of the series due to your massive success with Avengers: EMH?
YOST: I think at San Diego Comic-Con, Jeph Loeb described AA as an evolution of A:EMH. I’m actually not part of the show, as I’m working on another Marvel project at the moment. Jeph and I have talked about a few things, but our schedules just haven’t lined up yet. But one day!!
Chris thanks again so much for doing this you are a fantastic writer and look forward to checking out more of your work in the future.