Forty Questions with Boyd Kirkland
Boyd Kirkland is a producer and writer for X-Men: Evolution. Recently he answered questions from Evolution fans here in the Beyond Forum. Here you can find some of the most frequently asked questions about the Evolution characters and series. Thank you Boyd! Personal questions are located here on the first page, select a link for more questions and answers.
Personal - Show Production - Character - Plot
Do you read Fan Fiction? Obviously you can't get any ideas from it for legal reasons, but for entertainment?
No - I don't have time.
What episode(s) are you the least happy and/or most happy with?
I'm very proud of this entire series, but obviously some shows turned out better than others, due to a variety of factors. It's always interesting to read the reactions of fans on message boards like this one, because they often react very differently and focus on different things than I do. Some shows that are not very well liked, I enjoy very much, often because they have beautiful artwork and animation in them, or because they have smaller, more character driven stories. Many fans seem to prefer the bigger, epic stories, with lots of action, explosions, and many characters. While I also like those, I appreciate the diversity of having some shows small, and others big, some humorous, and others dark and dramatic. It's kind of like a symphony or good music, with quiet, soothing passages that make you think, or make you melancholy, and with other passages that stir your blood, make you scared or angry, etc., touching all the human emotions. The same thing all the time soon becomes flat, dull and boring, and you need the light to make the dark seem darker.
Looking back, is there anything you'd have wanted to change on the show given the chance, and if so, what would that be?
The biggest frustration, creatively, in any enterprise like this, is living with the many limitations the process imposes. We often must make compromises due to constraints of time, money, broadcast standards, expectations of corporate owners, networks, etc. Sometimes I envy the more luxurious budgets, schedules and creative freedom given to feature films, and imagine what could be done with a great property like X-Men in an animated big screen epic, or even what could be done if it were in prime-time or on cable. Maybe some day....
What is the best thing about your job and what is the worst?
The best: It's always challenging and great fun to tell stories in this artistic medium that are enjoyed by many people! The worst: We all have our quibbles, but there's nothing else I would rather do!
Who is the person who watches Buffy on the team? I dunno whether you'll ever admit it, but the Rogue/Kitty dance in Spykecam was copied from the Buffy episode "Bad Girls".
I plead guilty to being a big Buffy fan, and of using the Faith/Buffy dance as reference for the Rogue/Kitty dance. Good animation, especially on TV schedules & low budgets, is hard to come by, so for especially difficult scenes like that one, it is very helpful to use live action as reference (Disney has been doing it on all of their feature films since Snow White). And speaking of Buffy, I always thought it had many similarities to what we were trying to do with this show. Think about it. She is a teenager with "super powers," who is constantly saving people at her high school while trying to avoid being discovered (even though other students are often involved in the mayhem). Her principal and later the mayor are constantly hassling her about what she's up to, and even become her enemies. Sound familiar?
Do the evolution creators know about the X-men? I mean do they read the comics, watch the previous animated series- and any other such X-men related activities- or did they think it wasn't necessary seeing as they were creating a new storyline which didn't connect with the comics anyway.
I was a big fan of Marvel comics when I was a kid, back in the '60's (see, I'm dating myself, here), when all of the Marvel magic was first being created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, etc. I bought 'em all, collected 'em all. In those days, the X-Men were teenagers, and Hank, a.k.a the Beast, was the star of the high school football team, and Scott Summers was a skinny kid nicknamed "Slim." As an adult, I no longer kept up with the stories (as I developed adult concerns), but I've often visited comic shops and purchased books just because I enjoyed the artwork, as I was an aspiring artist myself. In my current role as producer of this series, I have been concerned mostly with creating a great show, with good stories and art, within the parameters requested by Kids' WB and Marvel. With over 40 years of X-Men comics history to draw upon, it's not feasable for me to research/read it all, but I regularly refer to my Marvel Encyclopedias, Graphic Novels, etc., as well as ask Craig Kyle at Marvel for reference support. As already stated elsewhere, in this show, we're not just retelling the comics stories, as we thought it would be funner and more interesting considering our younger audience to come up with new stuff, with a contemporary feel, that yet remained true to the spirit of the original source material.