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The sensational scriptor 

At a time when literary graphic novels are slowly amassing credibility, Paul Jenkins doesn't apologize for writing superhero stories.

"People think comics aren't legitimate, but I want to write about people and ideas, and I think comics are the ideal place for that," he says. Jenkins, who writes but doesn't draw his books, believes that his scripts can explore issues like euthanasia via Spider-Man, or examine the culture of military life in the G.I. Joe comic.

Jenkins currently pens The Spectacular Spider-Man as well as projects about Batman, Wolverine of X-Men fame and the Mafia-meets-monsters title The Darkness. Jenkins' best-selling scripts for The Hulk and other titles helped boost the flagging sales of Marvel Comics and made him the comics industry equivalent of a rock star -- and he has the attitude to match.

"I was an overnight sensation. It just took me 10 years to do it," he says.

Jenkins says superhero comics are on a financial upswing, but he doesn't think the cinematic successes have much to do with it. Instead, he says comics sales improve thanks to good writing: "Every 10 years or so, they let the writers write them instead of the bloody artists. If you have artists writing comic books you'll have good pictures but not necessarily memorable stories."

A Roswell resident born in England, Jenkins enjoys the freedom of working with his own creations, like his book The Agency, and he is eager to branch out and write video games and animated films.

But he has no problem making heroes his main gig. He's aware, though, that the superhero fanboys he meets at events like Dragon*Con may not share his interest in big narrative ideas. He sighs, "It's like, 'Mr. Jenkins, you're great, you helped saved Marvel. So tell me, what kind of pizza does Spider-Man like?'"

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