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X-Men Monday #249 - Tom Waltz Talks 'Wolverine: Blood Hunt'

Comic Books

X-Men Monday #249 – Tom Waltz Talks ‘Wolverine: Blood Hunt’

Plus, eXclusive preview art from ‘Wolverine: Blood Hunt’ #1!

Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!

Marvel’s massive Blood Hunt event kicks off May 1, which promises to be “the bloodiest Marvel event ever.” Sounds perfect for the bloodiest mutant ever: Wolverine! (Or would the bloodiest mutant ever be Adam-X? Wait, I forgot about Bloodstorm? Ugh. Abandon joke, abandon joke!)

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Anyway, yes, Logan officially joins the Blood Hunt party June 5, when Wolverine: Blood Hunt #1 goes on sale. Teaming with artist Juan José Ryp will be writer Tom Waltz (of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin fame), making his Marvel debut! Read on for more details about Tom’s X-Men history and what readers can expect from this upcoming mini-series.

AIPT: Welcome to X-Men Monday, Tom! 

Tom: Thanks for having me! My pleasure for sure!

AIPT: Before we get into Wolverine: Blood Hunt, let’s go back to the very beginning. What was your first X-Men eXperience?

Tom: My first X-Men experience was stumbling upon my cousin’s husband’s awesome collection of comics when I was a wee lad and finding the individual copies of Uncanny X-Men that made up “The Brood Saga.” I was mesmerized from the very first page… both the visuals and the story. So much drama, tension, and terror oozing from every panel, how could I not love it?

X-Men Monday #249 - Tom Waltz Talks 'Wolverine: Blood Hunt'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

And over time, I became even more captivated by Chris Claremont‘s forward-moving, never boring, never decompressed, character-driven, long-form of storytelling — a style of writing/plotting I absolutely endeavored to mimic in the long-running Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ongoing series I’ve worked on for IDW Publishing over the years.

AIPT: Mutants influencing mutants — you love to see it. Now for the Blood Hunt! X-Fan Logan is a big fan of your TMNT work and was wondering how your Marvel writing debut on this Wolverine story came about.

Tom: After I went freelance full-time in mid-2023, I was approached by the kick-butt editor Mark Basso to do a story for a future Marvel anthology issue featuring another big Marvel character (can’t spill the beans just yet — still awaiting the official announcement). I really enjoyed my collaboration with Mark, and I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb to say he enjoyed it as well because it was shortly after I’d finished the 10-pager that he (and equally kick-butt Assistant Editor Drew Baumgartner) emailed me and asked if I wanted to write the 4-issue Wolverine: Blood Hunt tie-in series.

X-Men Monday #249 - Tom Waltz Talks 'Wolverine: Blood Hunt'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

I honestly wasn’t expecting another Marvel project so soon (let alone Wolverine!!!), so you can guess how pleasantly surprised and excited (understatement of the century) I was to have the opportunity. And there was no way I was gonna pass up the chance to write a story featuring “the best there is.” I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough.

AIPT: That’s awesome. And for readers who are hearing about Wolverine: Blood Hunt for the first time, what’s your elevator pitch for this Blood Hunt tie-in?

Tom: As vampires launch a worldwide apocalyptic war against both humans and superhumans, Wolverine finds himself singled out by outlier vampire sects, who have their own nefarious plans for him once the smoke clears and the blood dries. In a war where anyone can be turned at any time, is there anyone Wolverine can trust to help him stop the renegade vampires before it’s too late?

AIPT: I guess we’ll have to read to find out! Now, Louise of the Nightguard and vampires played a role in Benjamin Percy’s Wolverine run. I’m curious, did you and Ben talk at all before or as you were developing this story?

Tom: As of this Q&A, I’ve never communicated with Ben Percy. But I did do a deep, DEEP dive into his fantastic work on Wolverine and X-Force before I sat down to plot out my own story. It was the best kinda homework, lemme tell you! Louise of the Nightguard, especially, was one of his characters that I was immediately drawn to, so to be able to include her in my Wolverine story was like getting my cake and eating it too. I hope Ben is happy with how we present her — I really do believe she’s a superhero star in the making!

X-Men Monday #249 - Tom Waltz Talks 'Wolverine: Blood Hunt'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: Beyond Louise, X-Fan Sid was wondering if we can expect other familiar characters to appear in this story.

Tom: Well, since all the solicits are out now, I can say that Alyssa, top vampire for the outlier Siren Sect (whom I was first exposed to in 2010’s The Death of Dracula one-shot), will appear in the story as one of our main antagonists. But she’s definitely not working alone (but to tell you who she’s working with would be a major spoiler. Sorry).

AIPT: X-Fan Countex Oscura said representation matters — what efforts have you made to ensure a fair and equitable depiction of the proud vampire people?

Tom: I can promise that we’ve got a well-balanced group of vampires in our story, including two very strong and capable women representing both the bad and the good guys: Alyssa of the Siren Sect and Louise of the Nightguard, respectively. Wolverine’s definitely not gonna be the only one having all kinds of bloody fun in our tale, I can tell you that!

X-Men Monday #249 - Tom Waltz Talks 'Wolverine: Blood Hunt'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: Artist Juan José Ryp was responsible for some truly gnarly visuals in Wolverine’s main series. What’s it been like collaborating with him on this story?

Tom: Oh, man, I’ve dug Juanjo’s (as we cool kids call him) amazing artwork from afar for many years prior to this (including his recent work on Wolverine with Ben Percy). So you can imagine how over the moon I was when Mark and Drew let me know he was slated to draw our story. It’s been an absolute joy to collaborate with him — he’s a true pro’s pro, and a super nice guy to boot. Every email from him that arrives with art attached makes me feel like a little kid on Christmas morning. And, as much as I’ve loved his prior work, I must humbly declare that this story truly plays into his strongest suits as an artist — dark shadows, blood-and-gore action, dramatic splash pages… you name it. I think fans are gonna agree with me when they pick up the comic — this is some of his very best work. I’m proud and lucky to have my name next to his in the credits. (And the colors from Guru-eFX are astounding, too!)

AIPT: AIPT’s own Media/Content Manager David Brooke asked, now that you’ve written mutant turtles and a Marvel mutant, would you say Wolverine and TMNT have anything in common? (Aside from the obvious stuff, of course!)

Tom: Ha! It’s funny you ask that, because I was JUST telling my brother from another mother, the legendary Kevin Eastman, that writing Wolverine felt very similar to writing Raphael sometimes… not to mention The Last Ronin (who shall remain nameless for those who haven’t read The Last Ronin yet).

X-Men Monday #249 - Tom Waltz Talks 'Wolverine: Blood Hunt'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

We really delve into the two sides of Wolverine’s psyche that constantly battle within him (the raging monster and the sympathetic hero), which are very similar character traits shared by both Raph and the Last Ronin.

AIPT: Do you have a favorite Wolverine story of all time?

Tom: It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I do adore Barry Windsor-Smith’s legendary Wolverine: Weapon X, and I’m a die-hard Frank Miller fanboy, so his stories are always high on my list as well. But the one I go back to again and again is Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.’s Wolverine: Enemy of the State. It’s like a summer movie event on paper that I never, ever get tired of reading or staring at (as my well-worn hardcover collection will attest).

X-Men Monday #249 - Tom Waltz Talks 'Wolverine: Blood Hunt'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: Finally, Wolverine: Blood Hunt is your Marvel debut. But beyond that upcoming anthology story, what comes next? Anything you can tease within or beyond the House of Ideas?

Tom: Nothing to announce currently at Marvel, but I’ve definitely let Mark, Drew, and other folks at Marvel know I’d love to do more for them should they have me back. Otherwise, I have a Godzilla one-shot coming out in late-summer 2024 (with the phenomenal art team of illustrator Casey Maloney, inker Maria Keane, and colorist Ronda Pattison) for IDW… and lots and lots of TMNT still happening on many different fronts (including comics and video games). I may not be a mutant, but I don’t see myself getting too far away from them anytime soon, one way or another [laughs].

AIPT: We wouldn’t have it any other way. But on that note, thanks for stopping by X-Men Monday, Tom!

Remember, X-Fans, Wolverine: Blood Hunt #1 goes on sale June 5, 2024. We’ve got an eXclusive look at some of Juan José Ryp’s art below, courtesy of our friends at Marvel.

X-Men Monday #249 - Tom Waltz Talks 'Wolverine: Blood Hunt'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #249 - Tom Waltz Talks 'Wolverine: Blood Hunt'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #249 - Tom Waltz Talks 'Wolverine: Blood Hunt'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #249 - Tom Waltz Talks 'Wolverine: Blood Hunt'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Until next time, X-Fans, stay exceptional!

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