Fabian Nicieza Interview

Fabian Nicieza gained a following as a writer at Marvel with his work on such titles as X-Force and X-Men. Nicieza is now the Editor-in-Chief at Acclaim Comics and the writer of Acclaim’s Troublemakers and the new monthly Turok. Nicieza recently took the time to answer some questions from Worlds of Westfield Content Editor Roger Ash about his work at Acclaim for this exclusive online interview.

Westfield: Turok as a character has been around for quite a long time. For people unfamiliar with him, how would you describe the character and what is unique about the Acclaim version of him?

Fabian Nicieza: Well, of all our Valiant revamps, this was the one which both changed the most while still keeping the same feel of the original. The current Turokis a concept more than a person. Turok means "son of stone" in the fictional Native American Saquin language. The eldest born male in the Fireseed family line is responsible for assuming the responsibilities of Turok and guarding Earth from a race of evolved dinosaurs and from attacks which emanate from an other-dimensional "sewer of the universe" known as the Lost Land.

Currently, the mantle has fallen on the shoulders of 20-year old college student Joshua Fireseed, who, due to some family problems, was wholly unprepared for the job and initially very disinterested in it. Why risk your life fighting dinosoids when you're an NCAA shortstop with pro ball in your future? Joshua's roommate, best friend and brains-of-the-team, Barry Hackowitcz, helps him on many of his missions, simply because Barry knows more about most things than Josh does. It's been fun to show the development of the character in the quarterly book and establish the complexity of the Turok lineage (both past and future), the depth and scope of the Lost Land, the structure and patience of the dinosoid "congress" known as the Amaranthine Accordance and the dysfunctions of the Fireseed family itself. I think we have a very rich character full of conflict and uncertainty. Josh is a hero despite himself, who is still learning what it takes to be a man, much less a hero. The historical aspects of the lineage allow me to broaden the scope and encompass a deeper subtext to all of the Turok's actions and the breadth of the Lost Land allows me to take advantage of artist Rafael Kayanan's enormous skills and let him run loose in one heckuva playground!

Westfield: What can people look forward to in the new Turokmonthly series?

Nicieza: Action! Adventure! Humor! Emotional conflict! Four-breasted women warriors! And (I believe) a first EVER in adventure-genre comic books. Our main character has done something which NO OTHER comic book "superhero" has ever done before! And that'll be revealed in issue #4!

The first four issue storyline deals with Joshua's uncertainty about how to handle a big problem - he knows that the President of the United States is really a disguised dinosoid - but he doesn't know what to do about it. Who can he tell? Only HE can see it! Does he assassinate the President? Teleport him away from Earth? Where's the real Prez and who's behind his abduction? The story will reveal a whole bunch of things about the dinosoids on Earth, the decaying status of the Lost Land, some major family problems for Joshua and set-up some colossal personal problems for him as well! All this and a trip to the Lost Land and the village of the four-breasted women!

Westfield: You also write Troublemakers. How would you describe the book for someone who's never read it and what would you tell them to get them to give it a try?

Nicieza: Power Packmeets Party of Five. Troublemakersare coming of age stories about four kids who have been genetically bred to be perfect humans. They live in a super-science complex below the pharmaceutical giant, Galloway & Galloway, who "created" them. Their parents are all scientists at the complex and work to develop the children's biofield abilities as well as tracking their development. It's less of a superhero book than a book about kids living and dealing with special gifts.

The first year was the kids and the readers learning about who they are and what they can do. The second year will be about DOING IT!

Westfield: What can people look forward to in upcoming issues of Troublemakers?

Nicieza: A death in the family. A resurrection. A very public outing. A media frenzy. A controlled, calculated response. A confrontation with a very powerful enemy. A discovery of the real truth about where they came from, who they are, and what they are going to be.

Westfield: In addition to writing these two books, you're also President/Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at Acclaim Comics. Where do you find the time to write?

Nicieza: I got about five minutes a day I can spare. :-) Actually, the writing is a very welcome relief from the daily stress and burdens that the Prez job brings to the table. Plus, you're talking to the guy who used to write 7 books a month AND work a full-time job for Marvel!

Westfield: What projects are you most proud of in your tenure at Acclaim and what are you looking forward to?

Nicieza: Keeping the company going for one! Exploring and expanding the potential of the medium through our young reader titles, Classics Illustrated Study Guides, video game strategy guides, and our upcoming Classics Jr. first reader titles and Sci-Fi Channel trade paperback line.

I'm also happy that our parent company has positively reacted to our character reconceptualizations in regards to their potential as successful video games, like Turok and our upcoming Shadowman (with more on the way in 1999). I'm most looking forward to the continued development of our properties in other mediums such as video games, toys, film and TV.