Interview With Ben Raab
(June 1998)

Ben Raab, writer of Excalibur and the recent New Mutants limited series, talks about his work and his 2 issues of Daredevil. He also talks about the new Excelsior Theatre and the column he is writing for the Mania site.

Kuljit Mithra: Can you give some background on yourself and how you got started in the comics industry?

Ben Raab: I've been reading comics since I was 6 years old. My first comic was [UNCANNY] X-MEN #107. I started working at Marvel as an intern in 1993. From 1994-mid 1996, I was Assistant Editor on the X-Books. From mid-1996 to the beginning of 1997, I was Marvel Online's Editorial Manager, and helped launch its AOL domain and website. I've been freelance for a year and a half now. In that time, I've done work for MARVEL, DC, IMAGE, ACCLAIM and DISNEY.

Mithra: What are some of the titles you have worked on besides DD?

Raab: I write EXCALIBUR on a regular basis, and am a contributing writer to "The Secret Adventures of Captain America" for the Marvel's EXCELSIOR THEATRE.
Past writing credits include: this year's X-MEN/ALPHA FLIGHT limited series; a couple of issues of X-MEN UNLIMITED; the PSYLOCKE & ARCHANGEL: CRIMSON DAWN Limited Series; the NEW MUTANTS Limited Series; the X-MAN: ALL SAINTS DAY bookshelf; the COLOSSUS one shot; a 3 issue Shang Chi arc in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY; the BLACK KNIGHT/EXODUS one shot; the DOMINO limited series; a 3 issue story arc for STAR TREK: VOYAGER; a couple of stories for WHAT IF?; the first issue of UNCANNY ORIGINS; a couple of back up stories and fill-in issues for AVENGERS; fill-in scripts for X-MEN, UNCANNY X-MEN, CABLE/X-FORCE '96 and Malibu's ALL-NEW EXILES; as well as, X-NATION 2099, SPIDER-MAN 2099, FANTASTIC FOUR 2099 and 2099: WORLD OF TOMORROW.
Some laundry list, huh?

Mithra: You've written one complete issue of Daredevil and helped out with another one. Your first issue was #352, which featured the villain Mastermind. Was this a fill-in issue that you had prepared before hand, or were asked to help out before Karl Kesel and Cary Nord took over?

Raab: That was basically a spur of the moment fill-in story I got to write while the Kesel/Nord creative team got ready for their run.

Mithra: What do you think of Daredevil? Is he among your favourite characters?

Raab: One of 'em. I really like the idea of a guy who's more skilled than he is super powered. He's one of those characters a person can actually aspire to become because -- despite his radar senses -- he's just a normal guy who's learned how to discipline his mind and body to the point where they are one. Plus, he gets to jump around from rooftop to rooftop. How cool is THAT!?!

Mithra: For issue #373, you helped with a 'special plot assist'. How did you help out Joe Kelly with that issue?

Raab: I bascially sat down at the computer and typed out the ideas Joe already had in his head for the plot, but didn't have time to work on. I had the leeway to add subtle nuances here and there, but the broad strokes were all Joe's.

Mithra: With Excalibur's cancellation in a few months, what other projects will you be writing to fill in the gap?

Raab: I'm working on a 3 issue UNION JACK limited series (w/artist John Cassaday); a 2 issue GEN 13 BOOTLEG (w/Brent Anderson); the GIANT-MAN/WASP one-shot (w/Mike Deodato, Jr.); a 10 page story for the upcoming GREEN LANTERN 80-PAGE SPECIAL; a 4 page story for Acclaim's SOLAR: VISIONS OF GOD one shot; a 2 page story for DISNEY ADVENTURES Magazine -- not to mention Marvel Zone's EXCELSIOR THEATRE and the "Shop Talk" column over at Mania.com.
I have some series/limiteds/one-shots in proposal at both Marvel and DC which may or may not get approved. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Mithra: How do you think the New Mutants limited series turned out overall?

Raab: There are bright moments and there are dark ones. I enjoyed working on it immensely, but you know what they say about 20/20 hindsight...

Mithra: Can you describe what Excelsior Theatre is all about?

Raab: Basically, it's what we call a "Webplay" -- a combination short cartoon/radio play. Kind of a hybrid of Orson Welles' "Mercury Theatre" radio show and Marvel's cartoons from the '60's. Our current quint-weekly "serial" is "The Secret Adventures of C aptain America" -- stories of the Star-Spangled Avenger back in WWII.

Mithra: You mentioned the column that you, Joe Kelly and James Felder are writing about writing for comics, at the Mania site. What do you think is the hardest thing to master about writing for comics?

Raab: For the answer to THAT, you'll just have to read the column! *wink* (Yes, one of us will cover that very topic soon enough!)

Mithra: How do you think the Internet will affect or has affected the comics industry?

Raab: It's certainly given the fans closer access to the creators. Sometimes this is a good thing; sometimes it's bad. I don't know what part it will play in the future, but I, for one, am definitely curious to see what that part will be!

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(c) Kuljit Mithra 1998
Daredevil:The Man Without Fear
http://www.manwithoutfear.com
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