AICN Comics Interview

Q’s by The Dean!
@’s by CM Punk!!!
Hey, everyone! The Dean, here, with what is likely to be the coolest conversation I’ve ever had for a long, long time. It was recently announced that the November 7th hardcover collection of AVENGERS VS X-MEN wasn’t just going to have any old foreword; it was going to have the best foreword in the world! The reigning WWE Champion, CM Punk, has penned a few words for Marvel’s big event of 2012, and anyone who’s heard the man on a mic knows just how engrossing the Second City Saint can be. But fear not, comic fans, because he’s actually one of us. The noted comic book buff isn’t just some flavor of the month given the gig for the sake of attention. He’s been literally shouting out his passion for the medium for years in familiar Ben Grimm fashion, and just like the Thing, when Punk yells “it’s clobberin’ time!” as he makes his way to the ring, you know you’re about to see one hell of fight.

Punk has gone on record with announcing his support of Team Cyclops in the AvX conflict, and I’m sure we’ll read more of his thoughts on the crossover with the collections November release, but check out the Q&A below for more comic book musings with the WWE Champion…

THE DEAN: Good morning, Punk!

CM PUNK: Good morning, how are you?

DEAN: Not too bad, thanks, yourself?

CM PUNK: I’m good, I’m good.

DEAN: Well I’ve got to jump right into this – some pretty cool news that you’re going to be writing the foreword to AVENGERS VS X-MEN, and while I’m a wrestling fan, and this makes sense to me, there are other comic book readers who aren’t going to know the name, and aren’t really wrestling fans. Why should they not be skipping this, why is some wrestler writing their foreword?

CM PUNK: Well I’m first and foremost a comic book fan, always have been. The first job I ever had was in a comic shop. It’s not like I’m one of these whacky celebrities that happened to get hot in the month of October they got to write the foreword. I know all these characters, I love all these characters, I actually read the stories, you know? But I’ve got a whacky perspective on things; I think that’s why you should read it.

DEAN: So then who approached who for this? Did Marvel come to you and ask you to do this, and was it specifically for AVENGERS VS X-MEN?

CM PUNK: Yeah, they came to me. I met a lot of Marvel personnel, I won’t name names, but I had a couple of long interesting conversations with a lot them at the San Diego Comic Con, and through that they reached out and they offered me my first Marvel writing job, writing this foreword, and I was blown away by it, you know? ‘cause I realize what a big deal this crossover is, and I thought it was pretty cool.


DEAN: It is a big deal, and with events like these I’m always excited for the fallout, and Marvel’s definitely going to be doing some pretty interesting things coming up. But I kind of want to go into some of your comic book history or associations a bit, ‘cause you’ve mentioned before you consider yourself kind of a Dr. Doom guy, right?

CM PUNK: Yeah, I would say the thing I play most is sort of, I think the villain saga thing…

DEAN: I can see that, and if I may say so, I’ve always saw kind of a Namor quality to you too. I’m pretty sure I even read once on one of those super credible wrestling news sites that you’ve got tiny wings on your ankles…

CM PUNK: Well that is why I wear my boots, you know? Being a mutant in 2012 is not a comfortable situation, and a lot of people already hate me, so…

DEAN: (laughs) It’s not an easy life, definitely. So you’re primarily a trades guy now, right? You don’t go for the single issues as much?

CM PUNK: Nah, I can’t do it. I’m on the road so much, I’m grabbing stuff that I can throw in a suitcase and carry with me for a couple weeks. Yeah, single issues would just get beat up and torn up and rendered unreadable. It’s something I don’t have the patience for, I need to read more of a complete story.

DEAN: It’s hard, too, every month I wind up forgetting what happened somewhere, and then I gotta go back…

CM PUNK: Yeah, and then somebody’s late with a couple panels, somebody’s late with the dialogue, then the book gets delayed…so yeah, definitely trades are the best route.

DEAN: I’d agree, and then talking about that, with the trades aspect of it, do you loan them out much? Is there any go-to book for you that you give to people and you try to sell them on comics with? 

CM PUNK: Anybody who asks me, there’s a couple of go-to books, I like to give somebody something that’s complete, and something that’ll change their mind on comics. So the first thing I always recommend to people to read is PREACHER…umm, Y: THE LAST MAN is up there. Obviously, it’s easy to get people into THE WALKING DEAD right now ‘cause of the TV show, but also if you like zombies that one’s a no-brainer. Jason Aaron’s SCALPED is also very highly recommended, as well as anything Ed Brubaker does. I think that with Ed, you can immediately point to any of his superhero books like CAPTAIN AMERICA, but then also his independent stuff is phenomenal. It’s easy to recommend stuff to people, it’s harder to get ‘em to pick it up and read it.

DEAN: I love that you mention Brubaker in there, because for so many people when they think of comics, what they assume is that it’s this instant gratification beat ‘em up with superheroes, but Brubaker’s got this slow burn approach that really draws you in, and you’re not sure if you like it but then all of a sudden you’re obsessed with his work. 

CM PUNK: Oh, absolutely. I mean I hated the Captain America character and he had me reading it for eight years, you know (laughs)?

DEAN: Now being on the road all the time, being a comics fan on the road, what’s that like? Do you go to tons of different comic book stores, or do you have one place you always go to?

CM PUNK: I’ve got a home base in Chicago, it’s Called Challengers on Western Avenue. They’re lovely people, but yeah, since I’m barely ever home, I do tend to shop around. You know, I like supporting the mom and pop places, and it’s also cool because you get out there and talk to other comic book fans and just see other shops.

DEAN: Yeah, and Challengers – I’m a Chicago guy, too – Challengers is one of the best stores. The first time I walked in there I felt like I was a regular, they’re a great shop.

CM PUNK: Yeah, see? That’s the point, they make you feel comfortable.

DEAN: So Punk, some pretty interesting twitter exchanges between Axel Alonso and yourself. Anything you can get into with that?

CM PUNK: Ahh, no, I don’t think so. I mean, I can tell you what I want to do – one of the early tips from somebody that I respect was to, you know, write something that you want to read. So I think that if I’m getting my feet wet, and if it was something that was one-hundred percent up to me I would definitely be writing a Punisher story.

DEAN: I would absolutely read that. If you had your dream artist on that – past, present, whatever – who would you pick to draw that?

CM PUNK: God, you know, I don’t know. Umm…there’s so many guys out there that, I mean the Punisher to me is a different character, you know? The Punisher is obviously so dark, and it’d be interesting to get a different take on it, and obviously I’m biased, I’m friends with her, she lives in Chicago, and has probably helped a lot with the idea of me writing my first comic book, but Jill Thompson is an idea I’ve been carrying around. But like I said, it’s not one-hundred percent up to me, so…

DEAN: She is a great artist. She’s very versatile, from her SANDMAN stuff, to SCARY GODMOTHER, she’s great.

CM PUNK: And she might be able to do a hell of a Punisher, I don’t know.

DEAN: I bet she could if we left that to her. So talking to you now, I mean, it’s clear that you’re not just some casual comic book fan, and I think the moment I really knew that was when you once dropped an Absorbing Man reference on Zack Ryder. You don’t just throw out names like the Absorbing Man if you’re a casual fan…

CM PUNK: Yeah, he wore something, like this striped t-shirt, he looked like he was Absorbing Man. Nobody got that. He sure didn’t.

DEAN: (laughs)One day. One day he’ll stumble across him and realize how insulted he should be. So there’s a lot going on out there right now, of course AVENGERS VS X-MEN changes a lot, leading into Marvel NOW!, we’re a year into the New 52 from DC, what’s got you excited that’s coming up?

CM PUNK: Oh boy, umm…obviously since I read trade paperbacks it takes me a while to kind of catch up with stuff. But I know Jason Aaron has some creator-owned stuff coming up, I don’t know what it is yet, I don’t think anybody does, but I’ll read anything Jason Aaron does. Umm, I’ve been kind of reading a lot of oddball things lately too, oh and you know what really excites me is the last trade paperback of LOCKE & KEY. That thing’s been phenomenal. Another reason I get trade paperbacks is that it’s easier to reread, the reread value’s a lot better, like the last trade paperback if something comes up, like for example the last SCALPED came out not long ago, and in preparation I went through and I reread the entire run, so, you know everything’s fresh in my mind, and it’s just more fun that way.

You know I can’t really think of anything that’s on the horizon right now that I’m like super excited for, I just, I like going to the shop. I mean, Challengers knows what I like, they always have a stack waiting for me, and that’s the fun of it. I don’t know what’s coming out form week to week, because I don’t follow it like that anymore, I just show up, they throw books at me, and I take my bag and am on my way.

DEAN: It’s more fun that way, sometimes, I mean that’s the way the industry is going, everything’s a six issue arc, something that’s meant to be collected anyway. But we’re at our time, I gotta wrap up and let you move on now, but this was such a huge thrill for me, and I really appreciate your taking the time. Congratulations on the foreword, definitely exciting news, and then I wish you all the best this Sunday as well. 

CM PUNK: Thank you very much, I appreciate it.

DEAN: For an in-depth look at the life and career of CM Punk, check out “Best in the World” on DVD/Blu Ray, available now at Amazon!

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