THE SOURCE: How do you write the first line of a new series? PAUL JENKINS: They take many forms but I feel you have to commit early to a theme that may run through the entire series. Somewhere in the first moments of any series, I feel, you should try to give your audience a sense of what themes you're going to explore, and a sense of the style you're going to use. How do you introduce a new hero? First of all, make sure there is a VERY GOOD reason for that person to exist on the page. A reworking of a rehash is convenient but ultimately unsatisfying. If you cannot easily describe who this person is and why they deserve ink, then they are not worth writing about. How do you introduce characters? Characters can be in for a variety of reasons: to further the plot, to provide exposition, to act as cannon fodder, etc. They have to feel natural, and not forced. I often think that is an instinctive thing. How do you introduce a new villain? This is a part of my college lecture: The only villains worth doing are the ones we can still relate to. If you listen to what they say, or can understand why they do what they do, they are worth including in a story. That's not to say we agree with their methods but on occasion we can understand their motivations. What was the first comic you ever worked on? That is a long-standing secret. I've often challenged readers to try and track it down. Hint: it's not the first TMNT issue I wrote. Who was the first character you followed? I grew up in Britain. Our comics are very different. I think the first American character I liked a lot was Spider-Man. Since I lived as a country kid on a farm I assumed he was from London. What was the first series you collected? I used to buy these really odd reprints of the old EC Comics - they really made an impression on me, and as a little kid I fell in love with science fiction and fantasy comics. I also collected these very violent little digest-sized war comics that we used to buy at the beach when we were on holiday. The heroes would always kill ten thousand Nazi soldiers with one burst of their Tommy gun! Who was the first writer you followed? Alan Moore. No surprise there. Who was the first artist you followed? Brian Bolland. Another 2000 AD mainstay from the late seventies. What was the first convention you attended as a professional? Probably some Northeastern show or other in the late 80's. At the time I had begun working for Mirage Studios, and we'd go to lots of smaller shows. What was the first comic book you read? The Beano, probably. It's a British thing. What was your first job in the comic book industry? I came to the States in 1987 and began working for the TMNT in late 1988. It was a wild time... I remember shiploads of toys in the toy cupboard, and hundreds of licensing contracts piled upon each other in stacks. Such a crazy time... I was 22!