Paul Tobin On How An Elevator Ride Led To Writing The Bionic Woman

The TV series The Bionic Woman was a hit back in the 1970’s but didn’t do so well when redone a couple years back. But what television couldn’t do, Dynamite Entertainment can. The first story arc of the Paul Tobin written run is being collected and Jai Nitz sat down to talk to the writer about how he got involved and what he has planed for Jaime Summers.

JAI NITZ: Did you watch the original Bionic Woman series when it aired?  How did that play into your take on this book?

PAUL TOBIN: I did watch some of the original series when I was younger, so I already had a love for the character and the world she lived in. Some of that made its way into the series, but Dynamite and I were really interested in bringing a freshness to Jaime, a feeling that she lived in THIS world, so my method was to write her as if she was a new plant from a vintage seed, as it were.

JN: Paul, you’re known for Bandette and Colder and other fan favorites.  What attracted you to this book?

PT: Every book I’ve ever worked on, every book I create, my thing is always character… what makes a person tick, why they do the things they do, and more importantly what they do when they’re NOT saving the world, because I need to believe in them before I care about the story. Character comes first for me. It’s what gives credence to the stakes.

JN: Is your take more Philip K. Dick or Paul Verhoeven?

PT: My take is always Paul Tobin. I think it’s important to avoid too much thinking about someone else’s style / presentation when I write. I don’t want to do my version of their works.

JN: How did you come to Dynamite?

PT: Nick Barrucci and I met in an elevator while heading off to a convention party, and we discussed me maybe doing some work for Dynamite. We were both a little tipsy at the time, but it still sounded good in the morning. So we went for it. I’m a big pulp fan, and so many of the best pulp characters, the best characters overall, are under the Dynamite umbrella… it’s just a natural for me to dip my fingers into the pie now and then.

JN: I’m always fascinated with how writers write.  We know there’s no skeleton key to unlock all the secrets, but talk about your process.  How do you write a script?

PT: The first thing I do is conceive the basic plot. What’s happening. WHY it’s happening. How the bad guys get involved. How the good guys get involved. Just the basics. I write that up in a paragraph or so, mulling it over to make sense. After I feel good about it, I expand on it, bringing it up to between a half page or a full page of basic events. Then I begin the process of breaking it down into what happens on each page… basically how much space I can “spend” on each event. After that, I break the individual pages down into panels with rough staging / dialogue, etc. Then it’s just a matter of going through and formatting it, bringing it to life, so that other people (editors, pencillers, letterers, colorists, pretty girls at coffee shops) will understand what I’m talking about.

JN: This is the first Bionic Woman TPB.  Do you feel it stands alone, or should readers look for the last five issues to really get the whole series?

PT: It could work as a stand-alone, but work BETTER to have the whole run.

JN: What’s next for you at Dynamite?  What other projects do you have upcoming?

PT: Dynamite and I are still discussing next projects. Meanwhile, I’m still doing my Eisner award winning Bandette, and there will be more Colder with Juan Ferreyra over at Dark Horse. Speaking of Dark Horse, I’ll be releasing a Prometheus comic as part of a big crossover with Aliens and Predator. And a Witcher comic from Dark Horse as well. There’s a couple of upcoming releases from Oni… graphic novels. And I have an Adventure Time series coming out soon, which has been a lot of fun. Fairly soon, I should be announcing my next novels, because my Prepare To Die! novel was by no means my last. And there’s some projects in other media as well. And at least 3 comic titles that haven’t been announced yet. So… quite a lot, really!

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The Bionic Woman Vol 1: Mission Control is available now and below we have the entire first issue for you to preview.

Jai Nitz is a writer in his own right having written for Marvel, DC, Image and currently Dynamite on Grimm: The Warlock debuting next month.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.

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