Last January, IDW Publishing announced that they would be adding an Angry Birds comic book to their diverse line of comics, which includes Transformers, My Little Pony and Ghostbusters. Eisner Award-winning writer Paul Tobin (@PaulTobin on Twitter) is one of the writers working on the upcoming comic.
Paul graciously took time from his extremely busy schedule to grant Nest News an exclusive 20 question interview. In fact, he was working on a “speed” request for 81 more pages of material for the comic when we contacted him with the interview request.
So without further adieu, here are 20 Questions with Angry Birds Comic Book writer Paul Tobin:
- What can we expect from the comic? Will it be single issue stories (episodic), multiple short stories (anthology) or an ongoing storyline (serial)?
- Really, it’s going to be a mix of all of these. We have a LOT of stories to tell, as well as some theme surprises, and whole new worlds to explore, so readers can expect a wide variety of material.
- Will the birds speak, as they do in the Finnish comic strips or mute as in Angry Birds Toons?
- They’ll definitely be speaking. It’s been a lot of fun developing the voice for the characters, their personalities, the way they interact with each other and so on.
- How do you mentally prepare for writing characters who are traditionally mute?
- Really, it turned out to be pretty easy. I think we all, when we play the game or watch the short cartoons, “hear” their voices in a way… we decide what we THINK they’re saying. So, in my case, it was just a matter of deciding that, yes, that actually WAS what they were saying… and then expanding on that.
- Were you a fan before working on the comic? (i.e. do you play the game or watch the Toon?)
- I’ve been a fan of the game for quite some time. My wife, artist Colleen Coover, started playing it when we were flying to and from conventions. That got me hooked, because I’m one of those people that need to constantly occupy my time, and the hours of flying time just seemed to, uhh, fly by… whenever we were smashing the shaky fortifications of those bad piggies.
- Will there be new birds in the comic or are you limited to the existing characters?
- We’re still keeping with the established characters, but giving them a lot MORE character, if you see what I mean.
- How much input has Rovio had on the comic (i.e. do they dictate stories/plots or are you pretty much given carte blanche?)
- The general way that we work is that I come up with a few piles of springboard ideas and then send them off to Rovio. My contacts there look through them and decide which ones they want, which ones they don’t want, and sometimes make suggestions or guide a story in a certain direction. And then it’s just a matter of changing the plot into a full story. Really, Rovio has been WONDERFUL to work with.
- Will the comic tie-in with the Angry Birds Toons episodes and/or the Angry Birds movie, or will it exist in its own universe?
- That’s something we’ve gone back and forth with, and we’ve come up with some interesting ideas that I can’t really go into yet.
- Any crossovers planned with other comics? I think fans would love a Plants vs. Zombies/Angry Birds story and Hasbro toys has slipped that there will be Angry Birds Transformers.
- Ha! That would be fun. And I’m even the writer for the Plants vs. Zombies comics, too… so it would seem a natural. Unfortunately, there’s usually too much red tape to get through for a project like that. Sure would be fun, though.
- What can the comic book medium bring to the Birds that is unique to the format?
- The visual humor, I think. Cartoons can do that, too, but in comics we can really dwell on the characters and the scenery, whereas in a cartoon everything is just happening so fast. With comics, readers can control their own pace; it’s more immersive, meaning we can put gags in the background, things like that.
- Where do you get your inspirations for writing Angry Birds stories?
- From EVERYWHERE. Everywhere anyone finds humor, I’m changing those moments into Angry Birds stories. That’s how I work in all my writing. Writing is just a sharing of a life viewpoint, and sometimes you want that viewpoint to be as close to reality as possible, while at other times (such as writing Angry Birds) I want to concentrate on viewpoints of absurdity.
- How does writing for cartoon animal characters compare to more traditional comic heroes? Harder/Easier?
- I think it’s about the same. I enjoy MANY different types of writing. It helps to keep my mind fresh to be able to move from, say Angry Birds, and then go over to work on a novel for a time, or on my Eisner-Award-Winning teen thief, “Bandette”… and then move on to writing horror, like my Bram Stoker nominated “Colder” series, and then back to Angry Birds, or Adventure Time, or anywhere else I feel like going. Keeps my mind always thinking, that way.
- Angry Birds have become big in our current pop culture and you’ve written for some really iconic characters in the past. When writing these types of characters, is there a lot of pressure from the fan communities to get the characters right or is it old hat at this point?
- I try not to pay much attention to specific “fan culture” needs. I think that can trip up a writer. And, really, as a READER, as a part of fan culture myself, the only thing I REALLY need when I read stories of my favorite characters is… MAKE IT GOOD. So… the one thing I always try to do is make it good.
- Rovio has worked hard to expand Angry Birds beyond a one-time game. Do you think Angry Birds can have the staying power of a Superman or Spider-man or Bugs Bunny or Mario, or do you think it will eventually fade from memory?
- Some of the steps that Rovio is taking, either announced or unannouced, are the right moves (in my opinion) to definitely have a lasting presence. I’ve been surprised, happily, with the long term vision of Rovio.
- Are you allowed to incorporate elements from other games (Angry Birds Seasons, Space, Rio, GO!) or will the comics stick to the classic game story?
- The “regular island” stories are the most numerous, but we can go anywhere! I particularly enjoy writing the space stories, because the universe is so big that we can REALLY cut loose with the type of stories to tell. But the “island” stories are great for characterization, too.
- Which characters do you enjoy writing more, birds or pigs?
- The pigs. It’s no contest. I love the birds, but the pigs are SO much fun to write.
- You’ve written some more adult iconic properties, like Lovecraft and Conan. Is there a temptation to blend projects when working (i.e. an Angry Birds Cthulhu or Predator parody story)?
- We can’t really touch properties like that… but there’s a series of stories we’re working on now that do some of that “blending” that you’re talking about. They’re a blast to work on. Just finished two of them today, actually!
- You’ve worked on books aimed for kids and teens as well as more adult properties. Do think the industry does enough to bring in new, younger readers or does it cater too much on older, already established fans?
- I think the industry could do MUCH better with all ages and young readers material. It seems like an afterthought for most publishers, and that’s sad.
- Do you feel hypocritical if you eat eggs for breakfast while writing Angry Birds?
- Hah! Great question. Unfortunately, I never eat breakfast, so it doesn’t really fit me. But… I DO often have eggs for lunch. Is that hypocritical? No way! Remember, I love writing the piggies, too!
- Who is your favorite AB character (including the pigs)?
- They change from story to story, but I love telling stories about the minion pigs. And Bomb. And Matilda. And Jay, Jake and Jim (the three Blues) And King Pig. Lately I’ve been getting into writing stories about Professor Pig and Chef Pig. And Chronicle Pig is a BIG part of the “blending” series that I was talking about, up in the earlier question. So… yeah… hard to choose one!
- Anything else you can tell us about the comic? Any spoilers or exclusives you can reveal?
- Nothing I’m authorized to talk about right now, unfortunately. I can say that there are some surprises on the way, though… and some brand new ways of looking at the Angry Birds!
You can see more of Paul’s amazing collection of work and musings at his site: paultobin.net and / or follow him on Twitter.
A big thanks to @dr-omega for the amazing interview.
It will be interesting to hear the birds’s voices and who would give their voice to each bird :)
Silly person, It’s a comic, and comic books don’t have voices.
Being a comic artist myself, having written a series and with a comic app coming out in April, I’m really excited for this series. I’m wondering if any Angry Birds episodes will be based upon these comics, especially the Space comics.
Too bad he couldn’t give us a date, as well as countries it’s being released in. (I do hope it’ll be released in Canada.)
The original press release (linked above) gives the date as June.
I HAERD ABOUT THIS, MAN! I’m excited for this.
When the first story is released, there’s no WAY I’m gonna miss that opportunity to buy the comic!
I hope it Will be released in Indonesia,and maybe,in bahasa
Now that’s a surprise!! I’ve seen lot’s of different types of merchandise, you name it, I’ve seen it, but never would have thought of a comic book!! I guess when something is popular, ride the wave!!
How the heck did I not hear about this?!
OMG too epig. Now Rovio’s twitter has posted this!
Wow, so many new things coming!
Rovio, I can’t possibly play all the new games or finish reading this comic all at once!?
Yes, I agree with you @theangrybird :P
I wonder if there will be an Angry Birds Stella crossover, with the classic birds visiting Golden Island, or Stella’s new friends popping up at Piggy Island.
Good to know that angry birds will now have voices. AB-Go! things(kart races) in some episodes would make it better.
I agree with Mr. Tobin here. The pigs have TNT to blow up and houses to set on fire, while the birds just have a nest and eggs and..Chuck.
This is gonna be an awesome comic book! I read them in my free time, so this will be perfect. :D
Interesting article. Liked the questions because they asked for information in areas that were not realized.
I am going to assume these will be electronic comic books since the characters will be able to talk. Wonder if there will be paper comic books also along the same writing venues/themes that Mr. Tobin will be presenting.
Covers of the first issue:
Angry Birds Comics #1—SPOTLIGHT
Jeff Parker (w) • David Baldeon (a) • Paco Rodriques (c)
Angry Birds, the world’s most popular mobile game franchise, makes it’s comic book debut! Featuring a fun-filled, action packed story from Eisner-nominated creator Jeff Parker, these comics are ready to slingshot their way off the page and into your hearts!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
• Check out our Angry Birds Fun Packs in the merchandise section, featuring 4 different stories!
• Variant KISS/Angry Birds mash-up cover by Kiss Kids artist Jose Holder!
David Baldeon is a great artist for this title.
Also, celebrating the launch of AB Comics IDW anounces Month of Angry Birds and makes special AB covers for other licences. Here are some examples:
Only now I noticed, that Jeff Parker is in the writer spot. Is it some kind of an error, or it it a collaboration between Jeff and Paul?
Amazing, is there any more of these leaked images? I thought it would be understandable for kids- but they put so many other references to other media. Like family guy, but of course, appropriate.
I hope they continue the Space Comic they made way back on 2012- They just left that blank, there. They only made the part where Ice Bird crashes down, it just ends there!
Star Wars stories maybe ?