He will be contributing to the Instructure's Canvas Network Super MOOC course 'Gender Through Comic Books', which has been devised and curated by Christina Blanch and has attracted other top creators including Scott Snyder, Terry Moore and the legendary Stan Lee.
How did you get involved with the Gender Through Comic Books course?
"I've known Christina for a while. I've guest lectured in her class and have been really impressed by her ability to bring pop culture into an academic setting in a way that both elevates the material and connects with the student body in a way that some of the more time-tested by dry and dusty academic techniques don't seem to do.
"[She asked me to get involved] and it was as simple as that. I was able to put her in touch with a number of other comics professionals who were all eager to join in, including Stan Lee, who we managed to wrangle in. His participation in the programme is terrific. You couldn't ask for a better spokesman than Stan Lee."
How would you judge gender representation in comics today?
"I think we've conquered most of the battles. I think we are beyond the sad days when Lois Lane was referred to strictly as 'Superman's Girlfriend'. I think there is far more gender equality in comics today. And a lot of that is because we're enlightened creators, we're paying attention to the world around us, and a lot of that is because we've have a greater influx in the last ten or 15 years of female and LGBT creators coming in, so it's not just your traditional white males doing the comics."
Is minority representation something you consciously address when writing?
"I tend to just go with the flow because I consider myself a reasonably enlightened 21st century male, but, that said, I often go back on my work on a last draft polish, to make sure that I haven't done something stupid like not put any women in my story, or make sure that female characters are in my story to do things other than to just move the plot along. I don't have to do that very often but I find that it is a pretty good manoeuvre to make."
As the founder of Thrillbent, you're obviously a big advocate of digital comics. Why do you think that some creators are still so opposed to the medium?
"It's a two-fold answer. I think that some of it is simply the nostalgia for the printed product, which I certainly can sympathise with. All of us who grew up reading comics love the memory of sitting under an apple tree with a comic book in one hand and a peanut butter sandwich in the other, the tactile sensation of the paper on the skin and so forth is part of the experience.
"I think there are things that digital can't do as well as print thus far. Even an iPad is only 80% the size of a standard comics page, so the images are going to be smaller. You don't get your big, whopping two-page spreads. I think someone like Jack Kirby, for instance, would suffer greatly in the transition from print to digital were he still around.
"Those seem to be the two big stumbling blocks for them."
You were involved in the AvX Infinite digital comics. Is that a format you expect we will be seeing more of from the major comics publishers?
"I do. The trick is that it is fairly labour intensive at this point compared to a standard print comic, but as we learn the things that do and don't work, we'll streamline the process and get it down to more of a science. I know that Marvel has a lot more of that planned. I don't know if DC does."
Marvel NOW! has seen many creative shakeups. Were you ever in doubt about your place on Daredevil?
"Only in the afternoon when the editor-in-chief [Axel Alonso] called and asked me if I would like to go and do Hulk. I was terrified that that meant I was being shifted over. But once he made it clear that Daredevil was one of the things that was working and they wanted to keep me on Daredevil, that made it much easier for me to do Hulk as well."
How has it been to work with Walt Simonson on the new Indestructible Hulk arc?
"Phenomenal. Not only is he a legend, but he is a storyteller first and foremost, and I like the fact that it's a very collaborative process. I would talk to Walt on the phone two or three times at least throwing ideas back and forth about the story. Walt said, 'Can I draw these things in it that I've always wanted to draw?' You don't say no to someone of Walt's stature and prominence.
"I've known him forever, but we've never collaborated before. It's something I've been wanting to do since I was a little boy, so it's been like a dream come true."
Are we likely to see more from Leinil Yu on the series in the future?
"I don't know yet."
Do you have anything more projects coming up in the near future?
"We will be relaunching Thrillbent in March, with the idea that we want to get the site up and running - in my dream - where there's something new up every day, whether it's by myself or one of several other creators who have joined the digital revolution - not the least of which will be a strip by Christina Blanch, to bring it back around full circle."
Can we expect any more Marvel NOW! projects from you?
"That's all I know at this point, actually. That's it for the time being."
Instructure's Canvas Network Super MOOC course 'Gender Through Comic Books' will launch on April 2.
Watch the Stan Lee-narrated 'Gender Through Comic Books' teaser video below: