Spandex, by Martin Eden, was a book I really enjoyed and can’t wait to see more of. My review said as much, but now I’ve been able to interview Eden, and you can read it here! He even answers my question about Prowler’s tail! How does it work? Find out!
Martin Eden: Hmm, I think everything you need to know is in my comics or on the website… I’ll tell you that my favourite film is Alien and my favourite comic of all time is probably Alpha Flight #12. Is that okay?
CA: How long did you have the idea for Spandex, and what were some changes you made until you got to the finished product?
ME: The development process was pretty quick. Generally, once I think up an idea and decide to go with it, the ideas just take over. I think the time between development and getting issue 1 out was maybe 2 years… I delayed starting work on the first issue until I’d ironed out all the characters – because a couple of them were being evasive. Then the first issue took me a year to create!
What would I have changed? Well, if I’d known anyone other than friends would have read the series, then maybe I would have thought twice about certain elements – like having a lesbian character called ‘Butch’ wearing dungarees ha ha… But then again, that’s the whole point of Spandex – if you can’t laugh along with it, it’s not for you. Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t know it would take off… I probably would have edited myself a lot more.
ME: Prowler took ages to develop! He was initially just a monkey type of guy, agile and everything, but I knew he was more than that. I don’t know how the idea came to me, it just did. To be honest, I stalled finishing scripting the first issue until I was happy with him. The idea just popped in – it was just one of those epiphany moments. I’m glad I waited!
By the way I should say, I read your awesome review, and you’re not the first person to pick up on the tail thing. I do think Prowler’s tail works! He has a crack at the top of it, then it slides into his tail and there’s more crack underneath the tail! Too much information?
ME: Spandex was always supposed to be a finite series just a handful of issues, and then that’s it. And things will happen in the very final issue that will make any future stories potentially pointless. Don’t worry, trust me 😉
ME: They come from aspects of my personality and they come from friends. I don’t base any of them on particular friends, but I do base them on the ‘ethos’ of my friends – the way we behave and the things we do.
CA: What comics inspired you and your art style?
ME: I love more traditional illustration styles in comics – like Jill Thompson, Pia Guerrra and Takehiko Inoue. There’s something simple but powerful about it. My ultimate favourite artist is Jaime Hernandez. I kind of aim for something similar to what those guys do – but in my own way.
CA: With DC and Marvel making announcements with their own gay characters, what would you like to see comics do in regards to the LGBTQ community?
ME: I don’t know, really. I just read comics for the cool stories. Just let it evolve naturally, see where it goes. I think there’s still a way to go in terms of sexuality in comics, and I don’t just mean homosexuality. I think women are still badly represented in certain comics, for example. I think some comics still have room for growth – never mind the whole gay thing.
CA: Also, what are your opinions on what Marvel and DC are doing?
ME: The Northstar thing is cool. It’s a shame Kyle is a bit boring. The Alan Scott thing is a bit underwhelming. Is he really a major character? Batwoman is a great gay DC character, they already have her. She’s great, and it’s a great comic.
CA: I really appreciated issue three of the book; it was terrifying and reaffirming at the right times. Will we see more issues like this?
ME: Issue three has had such a huge reaction. I don’t think there will be another issue like it. Really, the first three issues are very stand-alone and I’m still building the characters – we’re still getting to know them. After issue 3, we have the big ‘O.M.F.G.’ storyline, and there is so much to cram in, so there’s no room really for that kind of sci-fi/drama/horror thing. But really, the stuff that’s in issue 3 – the mix of humour, drama and tragedy – is in every issue of Spandex.
CA: I mentioned in my review how I enjoyed Prowler the most, and I know you mention Butch is one of your favorites (she’s a close second for me, tied with Indigo), but who’s your absolute favorite member of the team and why?
ME: I have to say that I honestly love them all. Diva is so beautiful and fun, and her ‘secret’ is one of the biggest twists in the series. Prowler is just so cool, and Indigo’s powers are very unique. Butch is so sweet (underneath it all), Neon is hot and such a gent, Glitter is a lot of fun but also very serious. Liberty is fascinating, because she is so deceptive. In fact, the only character I didn’t warm to was Mr Muscles – and yet I kind-of realized that he is essential to the team’s dynamic…
ME: Yes… I can’t say too much… But they are a lot of fun. Okay, I’ll throw a couple of names at you: ‘Lipstick’ and ‘Mr Hard’. That’s all I’m saying.
CA: Will we see a return of the 50 foot lesbian?
ME: Yes you will… But I’m not saying when. I’ll just say that she wears a different T-shirt this time.
CA: Do the O-Men and Spandex exist in the same universe? Do you plan on the two groups meeting?
ME: I think, with these questions, you are telepathic! Yes they do exist in the same universe, and in fact a bunch of Spandexers originated from The O Men comic. There’s a huge spoof crossover story in Spandex #5 called ‘Big Secret Crisis’ and it features tons and tons of goodies and baddies from the Spandex-verse, including The O Men. I got a bit of criticism for that issue, that it was self-indulgent and there was too much going on, but really, that was the whole point! It felt really good to draw The O Men characters again.
CA: Will you be able to make it all the way to San Diego Comic-Con?
ME: I think I’ve left it too late for this year. Maybe next year!
CA: To finish, what’s something you’d want to see more of in comics?
ME: I want comics that have a beginning, middle and end! Value for money story-telling. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult, but it seems to be impossible. I really thought DC would change their storytelling style with the ‘new 52’ but no… we still have to wait for issue 3 or 4 for all of the JLA to get introduced.
So there you have it folks. I’d like to thank Martin Eden for letting me interview him and for writing such a fun book. I’d also like to thank Comic Attack for giving me the ability to do this and get a hold of the book from Titan Books (thanks to you as well, Titan!). Keep looking for more Spandex issues when they are available!