Tom Lyle Interview
How did you find out about the Impact project, and what made you decide to join up?
I was already going to leave STARMAN and my then editor, Brian Augustyn asked me if I’d like to work with him on one of the IMPACT books. I wanted the SHIELD in order to be different from STARMAN, but I got the COMET. While I was waiting for that work to come to fruition, I called the BAT office looking for work on a fill-in or something and got the ROBIN gig. A very busy period followed. ROBIN eventually won out over the COMET as I couldn’t continue to do both. I’m surprised I lasted as long as I did.
Were you the one who came up with the proposal for the Comet series?–and what did you have planned in it for after #8?
I had a few things about the character (he had to fly – he had to live in WA state) thrust on me, but the overall plot and direction were mine. Now, that being said, I was overruled by my editor when it came time to have the script done by Waid and they put a tone on it that I never intended with the Wonder Years type narration. A little too flip for what I had in mind. Eight was an emergency fill-in plot that was to help things out. I had hoped to possibly stay on, but ROBIN won out as both projects were suffering from me trying to be greedy and do too much. I had planned to show that Rob and his parents were all taken by aliens and had little implants in them to help them survive in space while being studied and that these implants were what gave him his powers. When they eventually came back (probably rescued by him), they too would have had powers. I also HATED that the minute I was gone, Waid turned Rob’s girlfiend into a traditional bitchy comic book female. Not what I wanted at all. His relationship with her was to be the one refuge he had from the hassles with being the COMET and the troubles he already had with his family and that would have been worse when they came back with powers. I would have liked to see one superhero with a decent relationship.
So the “Rob is an alien” story threw you for a loop when you found out, huh?
To say the least. I was more offended by what they did with his girlfriend, though.
What made you want to write AND draw the series?
I’ve always wanted to write and draw whatever I was working on. My dream project was always to draw and write DAREDEVIL. Anyway, that was one of the reasons I was leaving STARMAN. I wanted to see if I could write and draw a series. When I first signed on, they offered the plotting for sure to me. I campaigned heavily for the scripting duties as well, but as I previously mentioned I lost out to Waid on that. I had originally wanted to even ink the series as well (issue 1 is plotted, inked and drawn by me), but ROBIN changed all of that. That’s why I eventually went to layouts with Hanna doing the finishes over me.
What did the layouts involve?
My layouts are the full drawings on the page and everything is there in my usual solid style. The only thing different is that I did not place (or draw) any of the blacks on the page. I let Scott do that. That saves a TON of time, believe it or not. I actually learned a lot by watching what Scott did on top of my layouts. Overall, I liked doing layouts some (because of the money and time saved and the fact that it was something different), but the whole Impact project was messy from the beginning and not as well organized as I had hoped. A whole lot of ego involved (mine included, I would guess). The behind the scenes stuff and the fact that ROBIN would help my career more were the two main factors behind my loss of interest in the project and my leaving the book much sooner than I had hoped. I had hoped to do at least through issue 12. I was going to bring the parents back by then.