Longtime colorist Christina Strain discusses her debut as a Marvel writer!
If you’ve been following the Civil War II storyline, you know that this major event has had huge ramifications across the Marvel Universe. We’ve seen a lot of this play out in CIVIL WAR II: CHOOSING SIDES. And with the sixth issue of that series hitting on September 21, we’ll get to see a lot of exciting drama involving Jessica Jones, Nick Fury, and the White Fox.
We caught up with Christina Strain, a former Marvel colorist making her writing debut for the House of Ideas with this project.
Marvel.com: You’re making your writing debut for Marvel in September with CIVIL WAR II: CHOOSING SIDES #6. What has it been like, transitioning from artist to writer? And especially with this being part of such a huge event?
Christina Strain: It’s bonkers! It’s super crazy! I remember coloring some of the backstories for the first Civil War, and now I get to experience the other side of it. And not only that—as a colorist, your work happens at the end of the process, and as a writer, it happens at the beginning, so I’ve had the chance to see what it’s like to be at this end of things. I’ve always had fantastic experiences with Marvel.
Marvel.com: You also write for television as a staff writer on Syfy’s “The Magicians.” How does that compare to comic book writing?
Christina Strain: They feel very different, and it took time for me to get comfortable with writing for TV. But I’ve found aspects of comic book writing that do apply. For example, with comics, each issue ideally should end with a bit of a cliffhanger, and that applies to TV writing, as well: you want each act to end with a mini cliff hanger, so viewers will come back after the commercial break. And I spent so many years working in serialized storytelling, which shares similarities with episodic television, so that helped a lot, too. I like to tell people in television that with comic book writing, the writer serves as the director, and the [artist] serves as the actor. Because the writer suggests to the artist not just what happens, but also every emotion that has to be drawn, and then the artist has to convey that.
Marvel.com: How has your work as artist influenced the way you work with other artists as a writer?
Christina Strain: Having that background helps me look at art samples and figure out if an artist seems like a good fit for what I’m writing. With this project, for example, I saw a few samples that looked great, but featured a lot of woods and trees, and that concerned me a little since the story takes place in a city. Then Sana Takeda’s name came up and I thought, “Really? Sweet! That’s perfect!”
Marvel.com: What Marvel projects have you enjoyed the most?
Christina Strain: Hands down, RUNAWAYS is my favorite, immediately followed by SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE. I worked on those books first, and I stayed on them the longest because I loved them so deeply. And I had incredible experiences with both teams. I really enjoyed working on S.H.I.E.L.D. and WORLD WAR HULK, which just felt like a straight-up fun project. And HULK became one of the most educational professional experiences I’ve had because Klaus Janson gave really well explained notes that taught me so much. I’ve had a lot of great experiences at Marvel, and I look back fondly on so many of the books I’ve worked on.
Marvel.com: The White Fox originally appeared in a South Korean webtoon before making her way into the Marvel Universe. Has that informed your writing of her?
Christina Strain: It informed my writing in the sense that I had a bit of a blank canvas with her. She had only recently joined the Marvel Universe, so she didn’t have a deep backstory yet. My web comic, The Fox Sister, also has to do with a kumiho, or nine-tailed-fox—the Korean myth that inspired White Fox. So when Marvel approached me about this project, I knew I’d have fun, and that I could do something interesting with it. I also had a lot of interest in the human side of White Fox, not only the costumed side of her persona, especially because it involves Korean culture. And I enjoyed having the chance to work out the story in a way that would make sense given the context.
Marvel.com: You mentioned The Fox Sister. Did your work on the web comic influence CHOOSING SIDES and your writing of White Fox?
Christina Strain: I based my own TV pilot off of my web comic, and that led to what I’m doing now. I didn’t actually base White Fox off of it, but I do have a certain sense of humor, so there might be catty remarks here and there that may seem familiar to anyone who has read The Fox Sister. I look at them as two different characters with the same mythological backstory. I made the nine-tailed fox character in my web comic straight-up evil, and of course I didn’t want to write White Fox like that. I see them as two different spins on the same myth.
Pick up CIVIL WAR II: CHOOSING SIDES #6, featuring a White Fox adventure from Christina Strain and Sana Takeda, on September 21!