Chris Yost – From To Ogilvy And Mather To Thor The Dark World

yostTommy Zimmer writes;

Chris Yost is making big waves in both the comics and cinematic community. I have been familiar with most of his work dating back to when I was a kid watching "X-Men: Evolution" and then more recently his "The Batman" show which had to follow up on the heels of "Batman: The Animated Series". It was criticized unfortunately for being just that; not the Bruce Timm-era cartoon. Hardly taking a break from his comics work at DC and Marvel, he is now bursting back into the "Thor" universe again with its sequel "Thor: The Dark World". Here, he was able to divulge a little bit about his career and what makes him tick.

How did you make your way into comics?

It was not a straightforward thing. I did not intend to get into comics. I did not intend to be a writer at all. I intended to be a producer. I used to produce commercials for Oglivy and Mather, an ad agency. I enjoyed, and love doing it but there was something not completely satisfying about it. So, I tried to produce something else, and through that, I realized I didn't want to be a producer but I wanted to be a writer. Through talking to a couple guys who wrote "The Rock" of all things, I thought that seemed pretty great. I had a Creative Writing class in high school but I sat down, and wrote a few spec screenplays. Through contacts at Marvel way back in 2001, I was able to give them my writing samples, and a guy by the name of Craig Kyle who was not only the producer of "Thor: The Dark World" but my writing partner in comics. He and I wrote some episodes of an X-Men cartoon, and that kind of launched my career into animation which led into comics. That then led to the feature film.

What sort of animation stuff did you do at Marvel?

I did mostly Marvel but I have done kind of everything. I did "X-Men Evolution", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" back in 2003, did a Batman show that Jeff Matsuda designed called "The Batman"; the one with the Bono theme song and then I came on as a head writer on both "Fantastic Four" and "Iron Man" shows. Finally, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes which was my favorite.

What made that stick out for you?

You know, I was really able to help design that show from the ground up; really take ownership of it. We were really able to milk the characters, and cherry-pick the best stories of the history of Marvel comics in terms of Avengers with some of history of Loki stuff to the current stuff like Secret Invasion which was current at the time. We were really able to bring the fun to the forefront; were able to introduce a bunch of minor (not well-known) characters like Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy.

We argued over whether or not Hawkeye was well known before 2005, and I thought he was but I may have been wrong as this debate interrupted the interview until we returned to the questions. He eventually retracted Hawkeye from his list of not well-known characters, and we returned to the interview after this not very regularly scheduled programming.

What did you read growing up?

I was always a comic book fan from an early age. I would say Spider-Man was always my guy but in like the early '80s, I started to really get everything. Marvel was always usually my thing.

Are you happy you are doing so much with Marvel?

I am extremely happy and grateful to be working with these characters in different mediums.

Now, I want to talk about "Thor: The Dark World". How did you end up getting involved in the project?

I was part of something called the Marvel Writer's Program, and I had been working in animation for a long time. Then, they started Marvel Studios doing movies like Iron Man and Hulk and all that. They started then a writer's program which then they could develop what would then be the next generation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I was just kind of at the studio hanging out with the executives Kevin Feige and Craig Kyle and all those guys just developing properties; just taking comic books and seeing if we could make a movie out of it. They were there, and I got involved in the "Thor" production. I only did a little bit of work on 1 but when 2 came around, I was able to help out a lot more on that. Once they had the story and what they wanted to do, I was able to do a rewrite on one of the drafts, and was able to follow it all the way through.

Are you happy with the way the film turned out?

I am exceptionally happy. We have been working on it for two years, and we are really happy for people to see it. We wanted to take everything people loved about "Thor", and take it to the next level; just have fun with it. It really kind of digs into the relationships with the characters.

Do you think even with the change in directors it is still staying true to what Kenneth Branagh established?

I think so with Alan Taylor who is known for his "Game of Thrones" stuff. We knew we would be spending much more time on Asgard, and we had to make it feel really like a place people could go and hang out. He definitely brought that to it for sure.

Are the cast also staying true to what came before?

Hugely so. Chris and Tom, this is the third time they have played these characters. So, they brought a ton to the table as far as their thoughts on the characters in terms of how they acted and behaved. I was lucky enough to sit down with them to really go through the script, and examine those characters from their viewpoint as well.

Yost has a "Max Steel" adaptation coming up based off the toy line and cartoon, and a couple "other fires" cooking which he cannot talk about.

"Scarlet-Spider" is also heading towards its last issue in December but the character will continue on in "New Warriors" coming out in February or March with his "Red Robin" collaborator artist Marcus To.

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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