Mosaic has been one of our favorite current ongoing comics here at The Marvel Report. Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking the writer, Geoffrey Thorne. Geoffrey Thorne is an accomplished actor, but better known for his illustrious writing ability, in several mediums. As you’ll find in the interview, he’s been writing professionally, quite literally, since childhood. This was an awesome conversation and I had to taper myself as to not have the conversation turn into dissertation once written up! This was very fun, and I am happy to share below. Enjoy!
TMR: What’s up Geoffrey, thanks for coming to talk to for a little bit. Before we get into your work why don’t you tell me a little about yourself. Where you’re from what you did growing up? Who was Thorne before his professional work?
Thorne: I was born in a small southern town. travelled the world with my folks. came back with a burning desire to make art. I spent a good part of my teen years in Washington DC and then moved to California, mostly for college. I was an actor for a while. I do not discuss that period except to say it was sometimes fun but, ultimately, not for me. So, I quit. I went through a few years of being broke and alone except for the lady who was crazy enough to marry me and then slowly moved back into my real vocation: writing.
TMR: Haha, I was definitely going to ask about the acting but we’ll leave in the “unspoken” realm and jump right into the writing. We love your work at TMR. How’d you know you were meant to write? What inspired that pursuit?
Thorne: My folks come from a pretty scholastic tradition. They had me and my brother reading EARLY. I had a college-level vocabulary when I was, like eight or nine. I loved stories. All kinds of stories. I started writing them pretty much as soon as I learned to write. My folks come from a pretty scholastic tradition. They had me and my brother reading EARLY. I had a college-level vocabulary when I was, like eight or nine. I loved stories. All kinds of stories.
I started writing them pretty much as soon as I learned to write. My parents cultivated both us loving and embracing the Arts as a whole. Plays. Art galleries. Music. Dance. Anything that would fill the mind but not, like, stage parents. They just wanted us to have our minds open to all possibilities, not necessarily the we would ever want to turn pro. I think I was 14 when I sold my first pro story. I took a long detour into the acting thing but i never stopped writing.
TMR: 14!? Wow that’s incredible! Kid genius stuff! Mind telling us a little about that project?
Thorne: Sure. I was in a sort of accelerated English program in High School where they let us write stories. The idea was to teach precocious kids early how to write for publication. There was also a version for kids who could draw or paint.
I made friends with one of the older illustrator kids, a boy named Garry, and we bonded over loving comic books. It came to us that we both could remember a lot of insane details about comic book characters, plot lines, different artists and their resumes but, when it came to ACTUAL history class, unless you had a great teacher (we didn’t, I guess) most of that real stuff went in one ear and out the other. So, we thought, ” Wouldn’t it be better to teach history with comic books?” Or really almost anything. I still believe people learn things better when they’re wrapped in a story of some sort.
Anyway, we went to our faculty advisors with this and they told us to hold that thought. A couple days later they offered us a contract with the school system for me to write and him to draw some comics for younger kids, teaching basic math and basic English skills.
TMR: That’s amazing. For anyone putting down the comic medium, this is proof of both professional success and application to education in the school-age realm. So, I take it you’ve been reading comics since a very young age? What kind of stuff did you read? Any major inspirations in the industry
Thorne: I’ve been reading comics since the 1970s, I guess. My Dad hooked me up with some his old collection which means stuff from the 50s too. I started with Kirby/Lee reprints and Curt Swan and Mike Grell Legion of Super-Heroes stories, I think. At one point my collection included around 50k comics. It’s down to about 30k now.
TMR: That’s quite a collection. I’m not even sure I have that many digitally. So, your exposure to all of these different forms of storytelling definitely speaks to your skills. You’ve got two ongoing books with Marvel that I know of right now. Solo and Mosaic. Since Mosaic is your original creation I kind I wanted to ask how that concept came about. I’m so friggin’ taken with the writing in that book.
Thorne: Hmm. Well, it’s not a really sexy story. Marvel was looking for some writers to pitch for Black Panther. My name came up along with a couple of other guys. I didn’t get the job. =)
But Axel liked my work and asked if I had any stories I wanted to tell in the Marvel Universe using existing characters or, if I wanted, I could make up something completely new. Obviously, I jumped at the chance to make something new. I like new things. So, we talked about a lot of different concepts and landed on what ended up being MOSAIC. He didn’t have a name at first but I laid out what his powers and background were (celebrity first. Sports celeb came after) and what kinds of stories I wanted to tell with him.
I’m interested in the parts of the MU (Marvel Universe) that don’t get shown a lot and with characters other people might think are duds or have forgotten. I wanted to use this character to sort of move around the MU, showing how everyone lives, including super people but not limited to that sphere. Axel was all over it. He brought in Nick Lowe and we got rolling.
Khary and Emilio were a BIG score in terms of getting Mosaic’s look. MY original concept was much more horrific and dark. Part of working for a company like Marvel is you have to realize you’re part of a team, not the ONLY voice. So, there are lots of compromises to be made. And the new writer, me in this case, has to learn where the ropes are. Marvel wanted a unique book with fun in it. I didn’t want it to be just one more episode of pro-wrestling with people in costumes beating each other up over silly plot points. It’s not that I don’t love reading those sorts of books, I do. But i didn’t want to write one. So, Marvel won some arguments on that score and I won some and we ended up with MOSAIC which retains about…. 95% of my original notion.
Khary and Emilio came in and put all the flavor in on the visuals, interpreting things I wrote in ways I couldn’t have pictured and creating a whole character for the book.
TMR: Sounds sexy to me. I’ve been loving it. It sounds like there are a lot of moving parts behind the scenes, and I love seeing how it all comes together. In my last TMR review of Mosaic #7, I talked a little bit about the what I inferred based on his powers. I spoke about his energy form and how he affects people from another plain of existence. Kind of like an “energy frequency” in my mind. I guessed this was why he had a hard time with Magneto, and Storm could shock him in his energy form. I’m wondering how far off the mark I was with that. Any validity to those guesses?
Thorne: Hmmm. Mosaic is, essentially, an energy construct. The energy is unknown prior to his creation. As such, he can be disrupted by certain forms of energy at certain frequencies or power levels. SOME, not all. He has a problem with electro-magnetism in big zaps or at particular frequencies, as we’ve shown in the book. Magneto and Storm both access electro-magnetism in ridiculously powerful fashion so, yeah, both would give him trouble, provided they knew where to point the zap. Force of will has NOTHING to do with resisting Mosaic.
TMR: How about in the way Spider-Man tried resisting him. Was that just the overwhelming ingenuity of Parker or something else?
Thorne: This is probably me trying to be too clever. I say in that issue that these are Spidey’s anti-bodies. That is his natural immune system, having been taken over by multiple villains in multiple ways, developing an immune-response. Given enough time, EVERYONE he possesses will eventually develop some version of an immune response to him It’s why he can only take over a host once. Spidey was totally unaware of Mosaic’s presence, just like all his other hosts.
TMR: Aaah, so quite fitting with the Sci-Fi theme. I like it.
Thorne: Yeah, it’s a Sci-Fi story.
TMR: Haha, that’s some good information. Sounds like some argument points I can use in future comic debates. I will also use this is grounds to-… well let me ask you- What do you think of the Deadman comparisons?
Thorne: I think too many people try to net things down in order to look smarter. Mosaic was never Deadman. His powers don’t work the way Deadman’s do, his journey and character aren’t remotely similar. People were looking for a way to dismiss the book. That was the best they could do. This story is one of discovery. There are HUGE aspects of Mosaic’s power set haven’t been touched yet and one part of his origin that no one has guessed at all, even though it’s RIGHT THERE.
TMR: Before I knew anything about the book the name and the first cover drew me. I read the first issue and I was hooked. I knew it wouldn’t be a run of the mill Superhero story. It was different. I won’t ask where you’ll go in the future with him (spoilers an all that). But I will tell people here and now it’s more than worth it to pick this book up. List it folks. Before we wrap this thing up, is there anything you’d want to say to fans? Perhaps even aspiring comic writers?
Thorne: Fans- PLEASE buy this book. Seriously. Buy the first trade. Tell your friends. Have fights about why. Marvel let us take a big swing with this character and concept and NOT because he’s black. This a deep well.
Writers- Make your own comics. Get into “indie” comics. Make your own things. Marvel and DC are NOT the Olympics, NOT the top. They’re just two big companies. If they want you, they’ll tap you. Make your own stuff and, if the tap comes, you might be in a position to say, “Yeah, great. What’s in it for me?” #makeNEWthings
TMR: Inspiring words. Thanks Geoffrey, this was awesome. I hope to see Mosaic flourish. He’s an awesome character. Furthermore, I can’t wait to see more of your future work. You’ve got some amazing talent.
Until next time.
You can find Geoffrey Thorne on twitter at @GeoffThorne