Alan Davis interview

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(WoW #293)

Alan Davis has worked on a number of comics during his career: Killraven, Excalibur, JLA: The Nail, Uncanny X-Men, and others. This month, he returns with Marvel's Fantastic Four: The End. Westfield's Roger Ash recently contacted Alan to find out more about the book.

Westfield: How did Fantastic Four: The End come about?

Davis: Tom Brevoort offered me the book. I had quit Uncanny abruptly without any idea what I might do next… then Tom contacted me with a list of possible assignments. FF: The End had the immediate attraction of working with the Fantastic Four in a format that is free from the usual constraints of mainstream continuity.

Westfield: What can you tell us about the mini-series?

Davis: The End imprint, as the name implies, is the final tale of any given character or group - so the only limitation, if it can be called that, is the story must take place in the future of current continuity.

Westfield: How far into the future is it set?

Davis: I haven't set a specific date or number of decades, time has always been pretty flexible in the Marvel Universe so attempting to set a precise date or listing a calendar of events is problematic - and not really essential.

Westfield: How much planning did you do to create this future world?

Davis: The plethora of Sci-Fi movies and TV series has made Futuristic themes and principles very familiar - which removes the need for laborious explanations and allow the story to focus on the characters - And of course, futuristic technology has always been a staple of the Fantastic Four. Reed Richard's inventive genius surpassed what might still be considered futuristic during the sixties - The technology would have transformed the Earth should Reed have shared it with humanity but the great man denied his heroic altruism for the sake of Marvel continuity perhaps. In FF: The End catastrophe forces Reed to give up his secrets in the hope of saving mankind and building a Utopian paradise but one man's heaven is another's hell& And there are still others on the outside who are envious or threatened by the Reed's success.

Westfield: You worked on the Fantastic Four in the past. Are you enjoying revisiting them?

Davis: Of course. The FF are still unique in comicdom — not only in their design and characterization but whereas most heroes inhabit a city or world, the FF know no boundaries. Other galaxies, other universes, other dimensions… And their opponents are equally as diverse… Doctor Doom, Galactus, Ego, Psycho-Man, Wizard, Klaw, to name a few — their allies are equally as individual and legendary… Silver Surfer, The Inhumans, Namor, the Black Panther, She Hulk... The FF are the heart and soul of the Marvel Universe so their final story is epic.

Westfield: You've concentrated pretty much exclusively on FF: The End. What impact do you feel that has had on your writing and art on the book?

Davis: I only ever work on one project at a time - although I love working in comics, it isn't my life so I allow a month for the pencils of a 22 page comic and two weeks for the writing. Overall, FF: The End has taken about four months longer than I had hoped because some personal stuff has slowed me down but I'm over half way through the last issue now so I'm almost finished.

The The End designation demands a resolution to a legend but my first priority was to come up with a good story - not just an event. The unique strength of the FF has always been how they retain their everyman humanity in incredible and bizarre situations so, no matter how massive the cosmic drama around them became, I maintained the focus on the FF as they deal with tragedy, guilt and unbearable grief.

It is a small personal story with massive consequences because these four, fantastic, but very human characters have connections throughout the universe. I could easily have broken the story down to fill twelve 48 page books but decided that the only way to try to capture some of the frenetic, freewheeling pace of the early FF books was to compress the storytelling and maintain a fast pace. I warned Mark Farmer and John Kalisz that it was going to be a tough assignment but they both signed on and have really pulled the stops out.

Westfield: Are there any other projects you're working on that you'd like to mention?

Davis: Not that I can discuss I'm afraid.