Mark Waid is a well known comic book writer hailing from the U.S., but more specifically, Alabama
. His experience is mostly with DC Comics
, with some of his most popular runs being on The Flash
and Justice League of America
as well as many other series. However, he is known in most circles as the man that scripted the iconic Kingdom Come
series, which has gone on to become one of the classic templates for the superhero reconstruction story ever. His most recent work is his own independent series, Irredeemable
, focusing on the Plutonian, a Superman-esque hero who out of the blue becomes a sheer psychopath towards his own ilk as well as the rest of the planet. He's also launched a companion series, Incorruptible
, which stars a supervillain who decided to turn good after Plutonian went insane. He's also writing an ongoing sequel comic to The Incredibles
Waid came into his own in the mid-90's, a time when comics were obsessed with making things Darker And Grittier
. Waid made his name by bucking this trend, penning light-hearted but emotionally gripping stories which hearkened back to the optimistic tales of the 60's, starting with
his acclaimed runs on The Flash and Captain America
. He also co-created Impulse
, a Flash spinoff which at the time was just about the only humor-based superhero book being published.note
Its success helped inspire other humorous series such as Young Justice
, and helped bring an end to what many fans consider comics' biggest Dork Age
. Recently, at Marvel, Waid has been writing Daredevil
in a Lighter and Softer
series that seeks to reverse the unrelenting Darker and Edgier
take on the character that has made up nearly the past 30 years of his history. So far, the results have been well received. Issue 7 received the Eisner Award for best single issue.
Ironically one of his most infamous (though generally well-regarded) stories is Unthinkable
and its following Story Arc
, which took the normally more lighthearted Fantastic Four
and made it (briefly) Darker and Edgier
via having nominal Anti-Villain Doctor Doom
cross the Moral Event Horizon
in spectacular fashion, kicking about a million puppies
on the way. Waid disliked the popular view of Doom as a Noble Demon Jerk with a Heart of Gold
and wrote him as petulant and evil with delusions of grandeur. This didn't last beyond his run, but it did give Doom some of his best moments, all of which are still canon. He does consider his run on the 90s Justice League America
a bit of an Old Shame
because he killed off Ice.
Of course, as his Kingdom Come
writing credit suggests, Waid can do dark, as well.
He's known for a tight writing style where characters often speak in hurried sentence fragments in order to emphasize action. He's also famous for knowing nearly every last tiny scrap of DC Universe trivia there is, to the point that DC sometimes holds "stump Mark Waid" trivia challenges at comic conventions.
Mark Waid's works contain examples of the following tropes:
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Waid's current writing assignments for Marvel both have shades of this: it's kind of built in for Daredevil, but Waid also makes it work for Bruce Banner.
- Reconstruction: Most notably on Daredevil
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: His work tends to be idealistic, though he's also done cynical work
- Snowclone: Waid appears to have a particular dislike for these. His pitch for writing Fantastic Four contained a specific promise to never write a story titled "I Sing the Body Elastic" (from "I Sing the Body Electric").
- Take That: Several in this thread
Reader: Do you miss Wizard [magazine]?
Waid: Only when I need toilet paper.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: After an incident where a comic book writer was put in an awkward position due to her gender, race and sexuality, Mark wrote this rousing speech about not letting the big boys make you feel intimidated:
Circle the date. We have reached a point in this industry where young freelancers are sincerely afraid that Scott Lobdell, if upbraided, could make or break their careers. If I were thinking about killing myself, today would not be the worst day for it.
A word to young freelancers, for what it’s worth: despite what you may hear (or fear), I wouldn’t even have to take off my shoes to count how many people in this industry can single-handedly ruin your chances at success. Here’s a good litmus test: can they sign checks or approve vouchers? No? Then they can’t do shit to you, especially if you have real talent. There are a lot of established freelancers out there who can (and will) help young talent, but despite what the creepier ones might want you to believe, almost none of them can actually blockade you these days, not with as many outlets for your work as exist. Your fears of burning bridges are understandable and rational, but–again, especially if you have real talent–they are grounded in myth and stem from a time when comics was a much, much smaller community.