Brian Azzarello interview (July 2004)

July 26, 2004 | Interviews

Brian Azzarello is one of the top writers in comics today.
He’s also nearly impossible to rattle.
“I suppose if I paid attention to the outside world, I would feel pressure, but I don’t,” the new writer of Superman said at a recent autograph signing at Comics and More on Danforth Ave.
In the three months since he took over the Man Of Steel’s namesake monthly, Azzarello has seen the title become a top-2 book on the sales charts, with his debut issue, No. 204, selling 230,000 copies to make it the bestselling single book of 2004. His critically acclaimed modern crime-noir series 100 Bullets just passed its 50th issue and the halfway mark to Azzarello’s planned finale, his run on Hellblazer is widely regarded as one of the best in the character’s 20-year history and his recent six-issue stint on Batman was a remarkable success.
But in spite of all his accomplishments and the fact that almost all comic fans’ eyes are turned to this Superman collaboration with superstar artist Jim Lee, Azzarello isn’t worried one bit about what a piece of work like this means to his career.
“I know there are a lot of people in this industry that have a real love and affection for this character — I’m not one of those people. I get a lot more satisfaction writing my own stuff.
“It’s a thrill to write 100 Bullets — it’s not really a thrill to write Superman.”
Azzarello, who acknowledged it is an honour to take on DC Comics’ big guns by describing working on Batman then Superman as “going from the Ferrari straight to the Lamborghini,” said the initial reason he got involved in this project is simply that Lee asked him to.
However he noted: “If I didn’t feel passionate about what I’m doing with Superman, I wouldn’t be doing it.”
And he has risen to the challenge with a somewhat unusual approach to the Man Of Steel.
“We’re exploring a side of Superman that I don’t think has really been touched on enough — the separation of super and man,” Azzarello said. “We’re exploring the humanity of Superman, not Clark Kent.”
Early reviews of Azzarello and Lee’s Superman have been mostly positive, tempered with a wait-and-see approach.
“Some people love it, some people hate it. That’s great. If everybody liked it, I’m doing something wrong,” the writer said.
The increased scrutiny that will come as the 12-part story continues doesn’t scare Azzarello either.
“I hope there is,” he says. “We’ll live up to it.”

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