With the holidays just around the corner, Ghost Rider fans can enjoy Robbie Reyes’ very own X-Mas issue. The Spirit of Vengeance meets Santa, plus all kinds of fun holiday shenanigans.
We caught up with co-writer and artist Anthony Piper about his experience working on the GHOST RIDER X-MAS SPECIAL Infinite Comic.
Marvel.com: You got your start through character designs you shared on social media. Can you tell us a little about that?
Anthony Piper: I started re-designing comic book characters and giving them a hip-hop flavor. One of them went viral, and I kept building on that. I’ve built traction as I’ve posted more artwork, put stories behind the characters and such. And later, I got an email from my editor, Chris Robinson. He had found Trill League, the series I created, online and liked it. And he asked me if I’d like to do a variant cover for THUNDERBOLTS #1.
Marvel.com: Can you talk about your experience with doing both the writing and the artwork?
Anthony Piper: I’ve always written stories, but I never thought my career would head in that direction. I always exceled at English and creative writing, as compared to science and math. But I thought my career would focus on the art alone. I think the way I write has gained people’s attention, because I tend to combine a lot of pop culture references and a lot of stuff taking place with current media trends, and I inject them into geek culture.
Marvel.com: You co-wrote a really sweet, fun story with GHOST RIDER X-MAS SPECIAL—perfect for the holidays. What did you enjoy about working on this project?
Anthony Piper: This was my first writing assignment with Marvel. And I definitely wanted to interject some humor into the story. The rapper Method Man came up with the story and I scripted the dialog for it. I hadn’t collaborated with another writer previously, and I had to take the elements of what he had laid down for the story beats and combine that with my ideas on where I thought he wanted to go with it. Taking my writing style and combining it with some of the elements already in the story felt kind of tricky, but also fun.
Marvel.com: Robbie Reyes has had a lot of attention lately, due to his TV role in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Did you enjoy writing a character who suddenly finds himself in the spotlight?
Anthony Piper: I definitely felt hyped to get to write a character who gets more attention now. I’ve always considered myself a fan of the new Ghost Rider. I never actually read Ghost Rider until Felipe Smith and Tradd Moor re-launched the character. It had an insanely different art style and it caught my eye, and it got me into the series. So that felt exciting, the fact that I didn’t initially feel as interested in the character, but then got stoked about Robbie and had the chance to write him. But in terms of my actual writing, I kept it separate, it didn’t really influence what I wrote.
Marvel.com: You’ve worked on a wide range of projects, including books like this one, variant covers, animation illustration, etc. Would you consider any type of project your favorite?
Anthony Piper: I love writing and illustrating, the combination of the two. I tend to have a very, I think, unique and funny way of envisioning stories. I think of different moments and how to perfectly illustrate them in a script. Ideas go through my head when I work on a script about how I, or someone I know who has the same personality traits as the character, would react to the situations in the story. Especially when it comes to humor and a character’s reaction. Ultimately, I love doing everything, but when I get the chance to write and illustrate a story, it’s one of the best feelings.
Marvel.com: Would you like to mention anything else about the book?
Anthony Piper: I want to give a big thanks to Chris. I’m very grateful for the fact that he has given me these opportunities, especially the multitude of projects that he threw my way this year. It has been crazy, and a big surprise for me. I’ve always wanted to work for Marvel, but it was one of those things that you never actually think will happen, that you’d actually get discovered by an editor from Marvel based on a project that you put out online.
Anthony has worked on several hip-hop variant covers for Marvel, as well as writing the weekly GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: AWESOME MIX Infinite Comics, and he wrote and illustrated a backup story in the recent UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL. You can read the GHOST RIDER X-MAS SPECIAL Infinite Comic right now!