Geeks OUT Creator Spotlight: Olivier Coipel

My name is Chris Allo and I want to welcome you to our ongoing Geeks Out Creator Spotlight.  We’re going to be focusing on all of the fantastic LGBTQ+ creators that inhabit the wonderful universe of comic books and graphic storytelling.  This feature will be a place where we get to know some of the brightest and most talented queers who put out comics.  I will be talking with writers, artists, colorists, letterers, editors and publishers.  I want the world out there to know that Queer creators are out there, crafting quality work, telling stories that matter and are a force that won’t be ignored.  I hope you enjoy the spotlight.

Fist up is one of the superstars of the comic industry, Olivier Coipel.  Coipel has worked for both Marvel and DC.  He has worked with some of the biggest writers in the industry.  He rebooted the Legion in Legion Lost with Abnett and Lanning and with Brian Bendis he depicted the decimation of the mutants in “House of M.”  With Jeff Johns he helped to set up the Avengers for the modern age. He visually re-invigorated the God of Thunder, Thor with, J. Michael Staczynski, and depicted the Unworthy Thor with Matt Fraction.  And most recentlyy he co created a new mythos of magicians and crafted some new rules for magic with Mark Millar on the “Magic Order” for Image/Neflix. Hope you enjoy the interview…

Geeks OUT: You started in animation? How was that experience? Any specific projects you worked on?

Olivier Coipel: Yep! Started first doing Animation as an assistant, first for Amblimation in London, for a movie called Balto, then moved to LA to work on The Prince of Egypt and The road to El Dorado for Dreamworks. That was an exciting experience for a lot of reasons, many on a personal level, but also meeting and working with so many talented artists.

Poster for Balto (1995)

GO: How did you transition from animation to comics? Did you have an interest or love in comics?

OC: My first love was drawing, then comics. Working in animation wasn’t really a goal. As a kid-slash-teenager, what I was dreaming about was doing comics. Superhero comics. I was reading them, drawing them… when the opportunity came, it felt logical for me to leave animation to work in comics. At the time when I was working in LA. I was going to San Diego Comic Con. So at some point I prepared a portfolio with some personal drawings and a few pages featuring the X-men to show it to some editors and got the job!


Avengers vs X-Men #6 art by Olivier Coipel (2013). Inks by John Dell and colors by Laura Martin.

GO: Are there any specific pages, covers or pieces of art that you are really proud of or that you love? I know you did that huge piece of all the Asgardians for Marvel. That is one of my favorite pieces.

OC: Thank you! That was quite a piece I‘m very happy with. Difficult for me to go back and try to remember, it as always related to the feeling, the struggle you had while creating that page-slash-cover… usually I can only think of the recent ones. I’d say the covers for the Magic Order #2 and #5, but I’m also happy with my first issue of Spider-verse… some of my first legion pages because I remember what I went through in my head at that time. And of course some of the Thor pages.

Spider-Verse #1 (2014) art by Olivier Coipel

GO: One of your most recent comics projects, The Magic Order, written by Mark Millar, is currently being developed for a series at Netflix. How did you end up connecting with Mark on for this project?

OC: With Mark, it has been a long time (that) we were talking of collaborating on a project. But right after my exclusive contract at Marvel ended I contacted him to check if he was available. I was surprised to get a quick answer! He had that new thing going on with NETFLIX, and told me about The Magic Circle (as it was called at that time) that he had in mind and wanted to develop. They already had a character bible, but told me to change or tweak whatever detail and character I wanted. The biggest change I did was on Madame Albany (leather/vinyl thing again), and changing the main couple to an “interracial” couple (I hate that term by the way).

The Magic Order #1 art by Olivier Coipel (2018)

GO: When it comes to comics, you’ve primarily done work for hire projects at the big two but now you’ve done co-creator owned projects with Millar on the Magic Order. Are you going to continue on more creator owned comics in the future, or is there a chance we’ll be seeing your work on some more mainstream characters you haven’t had the opportunity to draw yet?

OC: I still wanna do creator owned project as well as working again with the “classic” editors at Marvel, DC, Valiant, etc. The market has evolved, and we can do both. My love for some of the superheros I grew up with is still the same.

GO: How has being LGBTQ informed your work?

OC: It doesn’t. Well I don’t think it does It’s not something I keep thinking about while drawing stories; Of course I love drawing male bodies. Spiderman swinging around, legs up (laughs). But I also love drawing female bodies, animals, birds…anything that has organic shape. Maybe in that sense it did. Although I did once in a while, in my career, squeeze (in) a few clues here and there, but just like a game.

GO: As someone who has worked in mainstream comics, what do you think the future of LGBTQ representation looks like there?

OC: I would hope that it wouldn’t be a thing to get a LGBTQ character the main role in a story, but there is still a long way to that. But I wanna see things positively. Things are moving forward, slowly, but moving.

GO: What can LGBTQ creators do to maximize our representation in the industry?

OC: I’m not very comfortable with that question, as I have to admit personally, as a POC, I feel concerned about the representation of POC as much as their sexuality. I can’t focus only on one aspect without thinking about the other. But to answer your question, visibility is the key. Putting more characters in there, you don’t need to play the drums or anything when you have one single character who‘s revealed as being LGBTQ. But just by putting more of “us” out there.

House of M #1 gatefold black-and-white cover by Olivier Coipel (2005)

GO:  Who is your favorite existing LGBTQ character?  Why?

OC: Again I didn’t really care about that aspect back then. My favorite characters didn’t really have sexuality. At least I wasn’t thinking about that aspect. Even today, would I feel different to one fictional character because he’s been revealed as LGBTQ character? Depends on how it is written. One character that comes in mind is Midnighter. Just a badass character, and I guess the leather thing (laughs).

Art by Olivier Coipel

GO: Any hints as to what you might be working on now that The Magic Order is done?

OC: Nope, not yet. There’s a few possibilities, but none have been decided yet. Doing covers for now.

Chris Allo twenty year career in comics and former Talent Manager for Marvel. Avid X-Men fan and proponent for all comic creators

BONUS: Transcribed Geeks OUT Podcast Interview

Olivier Coipel (left) with Kevin Gilligan (right)

Geeks OUT’s Kevin Gilligan: Hey everyone, it’s Kevin Gilligan with the Geeks OUT podcast, here live-to-tape at New York Comic Con. I’m sitting here with the amazing artist Olivier Coipel. You may be very familiar with his work especially if you read Marvel Comics. He is here from Portugal visiting us. Olivier, one thing I try and ask everyone, is what are you getting down and nerdy with? What are you consuming in pop culture? What are you reading? Watching? Any video games that you’re playing?

Wonder Woman #750 (2019) variant cover by Olivier Coipel

Olivier Coipel: Yes. Oh, right now? Do you mean like right now?

KG: Right now.

OC: Right now I just bought a Playstation 4. So I played Spider-Man, Uncharted, and, what else… God of War. Just when I have time. And right now, with comics… nothing!

KG: So what you’re saying is you’re busy!

Batman and Harley Quinn art by Olivier Coipel (2013)

OC: Yes, very busy. You know, when you work, and you have kids, you don’t have time to enjoy. You know, when I have a break, I just enjoy a glass of wine and watch TV.

KG: Yeah, understandable. What shows do you watch with your partner?

Olivier Coipel on Instagram

OC: Pose. It was an advantage for me from the first season. This thing is, you’re not used to it being on TV, or mainstream television. Even with the LGBT community out there in comics, with that kind of thing. We don’t talk about that kind of stuff. So that’s why I really like it. That’s one. And the other one I’m watching is The Handmaid’s Tale. I really like it.

KG: Nice. I’ve watched Pose obviously, but Handmaid’s Tale I can’t bring myself to watch quite yet. It’s a little too real.

OC: Yeah, at this moment.

KG: But I imagine, being in Portugal, it’s a little easier to watch from afar what’s happening in this country (laughs)

Legion Lost (2000) art by Olivier Coipel. Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Inks by Andy Lanning.

OC: Well, I’m from Italy. I don’t think it’s just coming from the states. It’s everywhere now. The world is getting into extremism. People are exploited. Working class everywhere, in the states, I see it in New York, in France, in India, everywhere, the working class are desperate and they are trying to find a new direction.

KG: Yeah.

Sketch by Olivier Coipel (2017)

OC: Sometimes it leads to extreme choices.

KG: Yeah, we do see that here in America, and unfortunately people love to find a scapegoat. So in terms of comics, which would you say is your favorite LGBTQ character? Right now there’s a lot in terms of–

Silk (and Peter Parker) art by Olivier Coipel (2017)

OC: I would say Northstar!

KG: Northstar?

OC: Yeah, I’ve always liked him, as a kid, so I would say him. I think since then he’s been copied. I’m going to think about him right now.

KG: Okay, well Northstar was of very significant importance in terms of being one of the first gay heroes in Marvel comics.

OC: I would say Meat Cake. It’s comics, right? (Laughs).

KG: Who are some of the artists–any kind of artists–whose work inspires you?

OC: Oh, there’s a lot. It’s difficult because there’s a lot, but the first ones were Moebius, Mark Silvestri, Urasawa and Pluto who else… there are so many! Especially now. Because I stuck around, and everyday I discover artists who inspire me a lot. I mean, I don’t know them, personally, and some of them are not even published, but there’s a few, many many now on Instagram, who are killing it. I mean, they inspire me a lot. The problem is I don’t remember their names. 

KG: That’s fine, that’s okay! So as someone who has worked on mainstream comics, what do you think the future of LGBTQ comics looks like in comics?

OC: Future representation? You know what, I’m not even sure we’re there yet. Even if you have a few characters here and there, it’s more like a very short process. I mean, a very short (impact?). Like an announcement or something. So I don’t think we’re quite there yet. In the future we’ll need more LGBT characters. But not like making it an announcement or anything. Just like, making it a more… LBGT characters should be among straight characters and everything. There should be no more “we need to make an announcement about this.” We’ll get there once it becomes quote unquote “normal.” We don’t need to make any specific thing about it, you know? Like if the story, or even if you just see a guy kissing another guy, it doesn’t have to be the main focus of the story. Just like, part of the normality of it, you know?

KG: It’s just like, part of the colors that are being painted, yeah. What can LGBTQ creators do to maximize their representation on the industry?

OC: As a creator? Like the writers or artists?

KG: In both respects.

OC: I could only talk about myself, but I have little power for that. I just try, sometimes, to put in the background stuff like that, some clues about the gay community. It could be an equality sign, or two characters in the back. Only people who pay attention would notice. But I think as a writer, they have more power, you know? To create characters, to stop thinking about straight people, or even white people. Diversity is everything. It’s not only about the gay community, or being Asian or black. Stop thinking about everyone random being white and straight. Start trying to think beyond that. Making more characters. Like I said before, you don’t have to treat them by the fact that they’re gay or not. Just make them gay! It’s easy! It doesn’t change anything. I don’t think it would change the storyline. I mean, maybe some details. It doesn’t have to be something focusing on that. It’s hard, because the imagination of writers are strengths, and it’s hard I guess to think beyond that. We need us to think beyond that. We need more representation. So it’s up to, not just the writers, but maybe the readers. I don’t know. But it’s up to everybody. When it comes to writers, I try to tell them “think beyond that. Think outside of your box.” I guess that’s the only way to do that. Trying to talk to them. And on my side, giving some little clues for characters on the back.


Art by Olivier Coipel, commissioned by Elias Delgado (2005)

KG: Well I mean, I know there are some writers who do seek out feedback from artists that they work with. They’ll collaborate with them and say “what do you think of this character?” And they’ll write in terms of, if there’s a new character who doesn’t need a thousand people to sign off on. You know. I know it’s a little easier in indie comics to be creative. You’re creating a world, instead of playing in an established sandbox. But yeah, I agree in terms of, these are conversations that should be had with creative staff in terms of like “hey, maybe reflect the world that exists around you!”

OC: Well, but you know, in the states, people are living in their own communities. So it’s hard! It’s up to us. I don’t know any LGBTQ writer or something like that, but it comes from us first. We can’t expect other people to think of their world, and us, being quiet waiting for them to do that. It’s up to us to try to change things. To bring better things. The thing is, I don’t know any, many, LGBT writers.

KG: Well, there are a good handful of LGBT writers. We have Steve Orlando at DC Comics, also James Tynion IV, who is now going to be writing Batman.

OC: Oh, right.

KG: In December, I believe. But even with Marvel, Tini Howard, who just became an exclusive writer with Marvel. She is writing the miniseries Death’s Head, and is doing the Savage Avengers I think. I think that’s the title, I may be misquoting. [Greg’s note: Savage Avengers is written by Gerry Duggan. The book he’s describing is Strikeforce]. But in the team she has of Avengers, they’re kind of the behind the scenes… not Wetworks of Avengers, but handling things that are maybe so camera-ready of the Avengers. That is a team with Angela, who is a lesbian character, and Thor’s sister.

OC: Yes, yes.

KG: It also has Wiccan, from the Young Avengers.

Avengers: Siege art by Olivier Coipel

OC: That’s right, yeah, yeah!

KG: As well as some more (mainstream) like Blade and a few more like Spider-Woman.

OC: Blade is gay?

KG: No, Blade’s not gay, but he’s on the team, as part of the characters who are there. But you know, Tini and Steve, they always try to have queer elements in their stories. But it exists, there are people who are doing it, but I feel like the onus is also on straight creators, and straight writers, to open up their, you know–

Ultimate Comics Avengers #3 (2010) cover art by Olivier Coipel

OC: Yes! But like I said, I can’t force someone to change their mindset about something. The more we are visible, the more there will be writers writing about gay characters. The world needs to see that, and maybe it will be more natural for them to think about LGBTQ characters, you know? So maybe it comes to us first, to show more, to be more visible, and then people will start to think more about us.

KG: What are some of the projects you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of?

OC: It’s always difficult, because I’m never proud of my project. I’m always more proud of my latest one. Because I’m very critical about my work. I like to be critical about my work, because i’m very precise. I see the bad stuff and how I could’ve been better. So I would say now it would be The Magic Order. I was inking myself with an inkbrush. So that’s the one I’m most proud of.

KG: I understand that, and being a creative person, writer, actor, being like “oh, that was terrible!” You know? “Oh, but it was funny!” Yeah, but I’ve met myself, and I know it could’ve been better. But I think that’s sort of the sign of a good artist.

OC: It’s a motivational thing. When I do something, I always want to do better. So, yes, maybe, it’s going to help me be better next time. I don’t know, you always want to do your best, and you always want to have fun doing it. It’s like trying to fix stuff, you know?

KG: I will say, I really enjoyed Magic Order. Also has some queer elements to it, as well as some very fun character designs, especially with the quote-unquote “villain” characters. So I really enjoyed that, and just wanted to say that. What is one character in comics that you would love to redesign? What is one that you’re sort of like “oh, they badly need a redesign,” or one that you would really love to tackle?

OC: One I really want to do, one I’m always thinking about, is Storm. Storm has always been my character. Even if she’s not gay… I don’t think the committee likes that. I don’t think she needs a redesign. Maybe a new costume, from me. I’d like to do that.

X-Men (2013) #1 cover by Olivier Coipel

KG: I mean, I would not say no to that! (Laughs)

OC: Well she’s difficult. I’m not sure of the direction I would take. I think she needs a total 90% change of direction… We always see her being a tough, angry black girl! We need to change that a little bit.

KG: She’s always like the tough black girl, or the regal quality… a queen. There was a little bit of harkening back to her punk days.

OC: Yeah, but it was just aesthetically. Back in the day, when she was punk, there was something behind it. She was going to be fully processed, she needed to change everything, you know? There has to be a meaning for bigger impact. Last time they did it, there was no storyline behind this, so it was just like “okay, bring back the punk look.” But even the costume wasn’t punk. So it was like, they didn’t try. I don’t think it had the impact that it should’ve had.

KG: I sort of asked you this before, but we weren’t recording. How has New York Comic Con been for you so far this year?

OC: I don’t have a voice.

KG: (Laughs).

OC: I don’t have any voice anymore. I have a headache! I hope it won’t kill me to be there on Sunday. So it’s great. Awesome. 

KG: So how can people, beyond seeking you out in comics… you mentioned your Instagram page. How can people find you on social media?

OC: Instagram! I don’t use Facebook anymore. I mean, I’m still on Facebook, but I’m tired of talking bullshit. So I’m mostly on Instagram. And I put my personal work too. I do watercolor, and live drawings. There’s a lot more than comics on Instagram.

KG: And that’s Olivier Coipel on Instagram. C-O-I-P-E-L. Excellent. Olivier, thank you for taking the time to talk to us, and I hope you have a good rest of New York Comic Con in your day and a half left!

OC: Yes!

KG: And safe travels back home to your family in Portugal!

The Geeks OUT Podcast: His Dork Materials – 200th Episode SDCC Review

http://geeksoutpodcast.libsyn.com/geeks-out-podcast-his-dork-materials-200th-episode-sdcc-review

In this week’s extra special, super-sized episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Jon Herzog, and making his triumphant return is Graham Nolan, as they celebrate 200 episodes, reflect on the last 2 years, look to the future, and discuss all the news from SDCC in The Week in Geek.

.

BIG OPENING

KEVIN: Marvel announces Phase 4 & Disney+ series premieres
GRAHAM: Agents of SHIELD to end with season 7
JON: New trailer for season 3 of Westworld

.

DOWN AND NERDY

KEVIN: Crawl, Veronica Mars, Stranger Things
GRAHAM: Batman, Justice League, War of Realms, Cloak and Dagger, Jessica Jones JON: Queer Eye S4, GRRM Dunk + Egg books, JKR Mystery books

.

STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER

New trailer for Harley Quinn animated series

.

THIS WEEK IN QUEER

Emmy nominations announced

.

CLIP OF THE WEEK

New trailer for Star Trek: Picard

.

THE WEEK IN GEEK

MOVIES

First look at Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling movie
• First look at Jay & Silent Bob Roboot
• New trailer for The King’s Man
• New trailer for IT: Chapter 2
• New trailer for Cats the Musical 
• Behind the scenes look at Terminator: Dark Fate
• New trailer for Don’t Let Go
• New trailer for Ad Astra
• Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends announced

.

TV

• Crisis on Infinite Earths to feature Kingdom Come Superman
Doom Patrol renewed for season 2
Pennyworth to feature queer villain
• New trailer for His Dark Materials
The Boys renewed for season 2
• First look at season 4 of Rick & Morty
• New trailer for The Witcher
• New trailer for season 10 of The Walking Dead, Danai Gurira’s last
• New trailer for Creepshow
• New trailer for Snowpiercer series
• First look at new Star Trek: Short Treks
The Orville moving to Hulu exclusively
• New trailer for HBO’s Watchmen
• New trailer for season 3 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
• New trailer for Steven Universe: The Movie
• Sneak peek of season 2 of DuckTales
• New trailer for Carnival Row

.

COMIC BOOKS

• DC teases The Flash: Death of the Speed Force
Spider-Man statue called “satanic”
• Marvel announces new X-titles
• Marvel announces The Amazing Mary Jane

Review – Avengers: Endgame will ruin you for any future comic book films

[***This review is ENTIRELY spoiler-free.***]

Reaching the climax of anything is always a bittersweet moment. The slow, steady build-up (in this case 11 years worth) constantly stroking the fire of your interest, keeping you on the edge of satisfaction. You’re perfectly happy with what is going on at the moment, all the while knowing that something bigger and more exciting is going to come soon. Once it finally comes, you’re able to release the immense (11 years worth of) tension that has been building in one big explosion. That’s exactly what Avengers: Endgame does to the committed fans who have stuck through all the phases Marvel’s cinematic universe has thrown to us, many with mixed results. After the euphoric ecstasy that the film brings, we are left with the sad thought: Will any Marvel film feel this good again?

It’s been a long journey from the first Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame, but it will easily prove worth every minute. First off, you have to applaud Marvel’s commitment to establishing a multifaceted universe before just slamming all the characters together for one major meet-up (*cough, cough* Justice League *cough, cough). Watching Endgame, I got the same chills that the first Avengers film gave me, but that Age of Ultron didn’t. Whether these Avengers films are an obvious cash-grab becomes a moot point when their quality is this high. Out of any of the previous Marvel films, Endgame is a love letter to the fans. Every cameo, every silly plot development, every note of sadness, and even every callback (many of which you’ve probably forgotten about) to previous films shows the attention to detail, not just for the MCU but also for the fans that have kept it running.

The Russo Brothers have shown us the full potential of the comic genre by subverting it ever since they first joined the MCU with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Up until that point, the Marvel films had a fairly predictable tone and narrative. The Winter Soldier proved that there are no limitations to a comic book film and that even they can be elevated. Since then, we’ve gotten gems like James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok. All three game changers, but each for a different reason. If Endgame suffers from any flaws, it is because of the variety of different tones from each of the films. The Russo Brothers try their best to appease the tonal origins of each superior hero, but the lighthearted and humorous nature of one ends up undermining the emotional development of the other.

There will be moments in the film where an overwhelming feeling of sadness will take over. You’ll probably end up watching the climax of the film through misty eyes and a runny nose, so the things that are meant to be the emotional high and low points aren’t that affected by the uneven tone. What is affected are all of the small, somber scenes leading up to those big emotional gut punches, that get ruined because the scenes aren’t given time to breathe before someone throws in a funny one-liner. Luckily, the tone doesn’t affect the pacing in the slightest. At 3 hours, this film goes by pretty briskly. Unless you made the mistake of not peeing beforehand or buying a soda and popcorn, you won’t notice the runtime at all. There is a lot packed into this film and they make every minute count.

Just like Infinity War, Endgame is made fun because all the character interactions we haven’t seen on-screen before. There is one scene in particular, when all the female heroes of the MCU are the focus of a battle, that rivals the power of the No Man’s Land scene in Wonder Woman. During the climax of the film, you’ll run the full gamut of human emotions, going from one feeling to the next. Even though there are a few too many forced pop culture references in the film, seeing the evolution of all our favorite characters makes it more than worth it. Some of them we are reintroduced to, some we say goodbye to, and others we say see you later as the film teases what new adventures are in store for them in the future. Once you experience Avengers: Endgame, you’ll quickly realize that there will never be anything like it again (or at least not for another 11 years), and honestly, maybe there shouldn’t be.

The Geeks OUT Podcast: Thor’s Trap Centr-al

http://geeksoutpodcast.libsyn.com/geeks-out-podcast-thors-trap-centr-al

In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Lynaé DePriest as they discuss Black Panther’s historic Oscar nomination, wonder if we’ll get as swole as Chris Hemsworth with his new fitness app Centr, and celebrate the nominees for this year’s GLAAD Media Awards in This Week in Queer.

.

BIG OPENING

KEVIN: Bryan Singer still directing Red Sonja despite new allegations (Content Warning)
LYNAÉ: Oscar nominations announced & Black Panther becomes first superhero movie nominated for Best Picture

.

DOWN AND NERDY

KEVIN: Glass, Deadly Class, Buffy, The Immortal Hulk
LYNAÉ: The Passage, Good Trouble

.

STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power returns for season 2 in April

.

THIS WEEK IN QUEER

GLAAD Media Award nominations announced

.

CLIP OF THE WEEK

New trailer for The Umbrella Academy

.

THE WEEK IN GEEK

MOVIES

New images from Captain Marvel
• Chris Hemsworth wants to help you get swole
• Matt Smith joins Morbius
• Sequel to Bumblebee is already in development

.

TV

• Freeform’s Siren exploring polyamory
• CW orders pilots of The Lost Boys, Nancy Drew, and Riverdale spinoff
• First look at Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor on Supergirl
• Netflix in early development of Resident Evil series
Hulu raising rates on most plans
• First trailer for The Boys

.

COMICS

DC offered fans a chance to tour their collections if they donated to GLSEN
• Kickstarter’s Comics had a record year last year

.

SHILF

• KEVIN: Billy (Deadly Class) 
• LYNAÉ: Nathan (Misfits)