Welcome to Day 5 in my non-stop Non-Fiction November event this month. Today I have my very first author interview with Reed Tucker, author of the brilliant SLUGFEST! I am grateful to read for taking the time out of his schedule to answer some questions about his latest (and hugely important) Non-Fiction release. We are all swiftly becoming obsessed with superheroes (and villains) in the modern cinematic climate; so it is great that Reed has come to clear the air and discuss the origins and influences of all our favourite characters. First a few details about RT and his book, then on to the interview.
About Reed Tucker
Reed Tucker is entertainment reporter at the New York Post, covering movies and pop culture. His work has appeared in Esquire, USA Today and on the most popular sites covering the comic book industry.
Book Synopsis for SLUGFEST: Inside the Epic, 50-Year Battle Between Marvel and DC
The most bruising battle in the superhero world isn’t between spandex-clad characters — it’s between the publishers themselves. For more than 50 years, Marvel and DC have been locked in an epic war, tirelessly trading punches and trying to do to each other what Batman regularly does to the Joker’s face.
Over the years, the companies have deployed an arsenal of schemes in an attempt to outmaneuver the competition, whether it be stealing ideas, poaching employees, planting spies, ripping off characters or launching price wars. Sometimes the feud has been vicious, at other times, more cordial. But it has never completely disappeared, and it simmers on a low boil to this day.
This is the story of the greatest corporate rivalry never told. Other books have revealed elements of the Marvel-DC battle, but this will be the first one to put it all together into a single, juicy narrative. It will also serve as an alternate history of the superhero, told through the lens of these two publishers.
Interview with Reed Tucker
Thank you Reed Tucker for taking the time to answer a few questions about your recent Non-Fiction release SLUGFEST. Could you tell us a few details about yourself and your work?
Thanks for having me. My secret origin is unfortunately not as interesting as the heroes in the comics, unfortunately. I’m a New York City-based journalist who writes mostly about entertainment and pop culture. From 2006 to 2016, I was a features writer at the New York Post covering film. That meant interviewing actors and stars, writing about Hollywood and being granted the privilege of seeing Independence Day: Resurgence before the general public. Now I’m a freelance journalist.
Could you give us your own personal overview of SLUGFEST and what we should expect within?
Marvel and DC are basically the only names in superheroes. They’re like the Coke and Pepsi of spandex, and have been competing with each other for more than 50 years, whether that involves launching price wars, stealing talent, “borrowing” ideas or, in a couple bizarre cases, spying on one another. Slugfest chronicles all the ways they’ve battled (as well as cooperated) over the years in publishing, but now also in big-money realms of movies and TV. Expect a breezy read with loads of fun, behind-the-scenes anecdotes from those who were there. If you like comic books or are a fan of superhero movies, I think you’ll like this book.
This is a book that clearly sets the record straight! What was the original inspiration for the book?
I studied journalism at the University of North Carolina and we had a passionate basketball rivalry with Duke. Most call it the best rivalry in all of sports, so I think I’m just naturally attuned to rivalries. As a child though, I can remember kids arguing on the playground about which superheroes were the best — Marvel or DC — or debating the finer points of why Hulk would totally smash Superman. The final bit of inspiration for the book came a few years ago when DC threatened to release its Batman v Superman movie on the same day as Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. Fans on the internet kind of exploded and started picking sides, and it became this big showdown. That told me there was still a lot of juice in the rivalry I remembered from childhood.
How long has it taken you to get SLUGFEST out for us to enjoy?
It took a little over a year for all the writing and research.
What is it you particularily love about comic books?
I love serialized storytelling in all its forms, not just comic books. Those are also my favorite kinds of television shows. I really enjoyed Lost — until the end, that is — and Breaking Bad and other shows that tell one long story over time, with all these twists and turns in between. There’s just something so compelling about a cliffhanger. It makes you desperate to find out what happens next. Comic books have that power.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when writing SLUGFEST?
The deadline. Isn’t it always the deadline?
How much research did you have to do to comfortably put this book together?
Loads. It was pretty daunting to write about the history of two companies that have been around for more than 80 years. That’s a lot of material. So I read loads of books and went on eBay to buy up vintage comic fanzines from the 1970s and 1980s. Those proved really helpful. I still have three big boxes of research material clogging up the bedroom closet that my wife asks if we can ever get rid of.
Then there were the interviews themselves. I tried to talk to as many people as I possibly could, given the deadline. Those interviews proved the most helpful because what I wanted to fill the book with most was people’s personal anecdotes and recollections.
Are you more Marvel or DC?
I think I like Marvel a bit more just because I find the characters more interesting. The Marvel characters are more three-dimensional, more like real humans. DC characters are much harder to relate to and I find their stories less interesting. To me, one of the hardest jobs out there is writing the Superman comic. How do you take a character who’s not only nearly omnipotent but has had 80 years’ worth of stories already told about him and find something new to say? It’s like, “Uh, should we do Kryptonite again?”
When it comes to the movies, I’m clearly in the Marvel camp. I’ve really enjoyed almost every Marvel film since Iron Man, but I find DC’s recent movies straight up painful. I joked in the book that for years my job was to go watch movies while everyone else was stuck at work. When it came to Batman v Superman, I would have rather been sitting in the office.
When your not writing or reading, what do you do to let off steam?
I like playing basketball or just wandering around New York City, ideally on my way to eat something.
Have you got any other comic related projects coming up soon that we should know about?
Nope. I don’t have any plans to write another book about comics. I’ve kind of said everything I have to say. But you never know.
Have you read a book recently that you would personally recommend to the readers of this blog?
Yes, I just finished Artemis, the new book from Andy Weir, the author of The Martian. I thought it was really well done, and just like The Martian, it’s packed with fascinating scientific details. The fact that Weir goes to the trouble to research all this information makes his stories so much more believable to me, and I get more invested.
Thank you for again for your time Reed. I can’t wait to get into more into your book very soon.
Thank you everyone for stopping by to check out Reed’s work with comic books! I appreciate all the support during the this hectic Non Fiction month. Superheroes are quickly taking a place in all of our hearts in one way or another. SLUGFEST is all about giving credit where it is due and as a blogger that is important to me. I hope you all enjoyed this interview and please comeback tomorrow for more NF goodness.