Marvel Military Specials
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Alaska National Guard Soldier SGT Michael Dean once again had a chance to ask a few questions of one of the creators of these specials.  This time he was able to talk to Paul Tobin, writer of the eighth special, "The Promise."

Mr. Tobin maintains a website and blog at www.PaulTobin.net to keep fans up to date on his work.  You can also follow him on Twitter.


- Exclusive Interview with Paul Tobin

SGT DEAN: Being a newcomer to these specials, what were your thoughts when the project was given to you?

PAUL TOBIN: Frankly, I was honored. At first I was speeding merrily along on it like any of my other projects, and then suddenly I realized exactly who the finished comic would be going to, and where the readers might be in the world, and the situations they might be in. It was a sobering thought, and I found myself sitting up a little straighter. 

SGT DEAN: You have a lot of experience writing all ages, done-in-one stories in the (currently relaunching) Marvel Adventures line, along with various other Spider-Man and FCBD projects.  (My kids and I loved the Iron Man/Hulk/Spider-Man issue from 2008, by the way.)  Was it difficult to try and incorporate the military and war elements into a story that will likely be read by children as well as Soldiers?

PAUL TOBIN: Not all that hard, no. I have a fair amount of experience writing all ages. I always, no matter the audience, try to write an adult story, with complex characters and situations. Then I either take out the naughty bits or put a few more in. 

SGT DEAN: It's been a while since Captain America has been at the forefront of one of these specials.  This time around, we get both Caps.  Was it hard writing for two Captain Americas?

PAUL TOBIN: Separating them in time, with the original Captain America during World War II and then having the Captain America of today be on a modern army base... that helped a lot. But... yes... when you have two guys in the same costume, it can get a little tricky in giving them distinct personalities. 

SGT DEAN: This issue is part military special, part 70th anniversary special, given that it weaves between present day Cap in the Middle East and the Golden Age Invaders in WWII.  Was there a lot of research required to get the GA/WWII stuff to feel right?

PAUL TOBIN: Some. Definitely. I fired up my trusty computer for some aspects of the research, like armaments, uniforms, etc. I try to provide artists (like Craig Rousseau, in this case) with at least a foundation of the properly researched references. My only real gaffe this time was on the modern day equipment. There was a vehicle in the first draft, and when it was sent off to the army readers to get a go-ahead on the story, they said, "Uhh. We don't use those any more." So... that had to be changed. 

SGT DEAN: You've worked with Craig Rousseau, who did the art for the WWII story in this issue, on a few projects recently (including the upcoming FCBD Iron Man/Nova issue).  Is there much collaboration in the process, or is it more like "I do my part, then he does his"?

PAUL TOBIN: Craig did send me some page breakdowns, and a couple of, "Do you want it to look like THIS?" sketches, but for the most part he's so easy to work with that we understood exactly what we were both talking about. 

SGT DEAN: Time for the standard "Do you have a favorite character to write for?" question.

PAUL TOBIN: They're ALL great after a while. As a writer, I can change any character I'm writing... move them closer to how I want them to be. There have been characters I didn't think I'd like writing, but after a bit they're really fun, because I mold them to my particular strengths. That said, Spider-Man is just an amazing blast to write, partially because no matter what type of story I do, he fits naturally into it. I think Batman would be the same... but I haven't had much chance to work with him... yet. 

SGT DEAN: In closing, I'd like to thank you again for your time, your support, and the work you put into this newest special.

PAUL TOBIN: And thanks much to you, and all the men and women in uniform. Hope you all get a smile out of my little story!


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