Like most dads, Steve Blum is a superhero. But Blum isn't just Grill Master or Piggy Back Pro, he's the voice of Wolverine on the popular Nick Toon special, Wolverine And The X-Men. We already loved Wolverine for his claws and totally rockin' outfit, but we liked him even more after talking to Blum, the voice behind the superhero.
Do you have two different voices: superhero voice and regular Steve Blum voice?
Steve Blum: Heh heh! -- Hopefully I still have my own voice in there somewhere! I do a lot of different voices, so sometimes I'm not sure what the "real" one is anymore. Kind of like having a circus in my head and needing to let the clowns out once in a while so they don't tear down the tent. Wolverine is definitely deeper and angrier than my normal manner of communication. I'm actually a nice guy. No, really!
Do you ever use the superhero voice on kids to freak them out?
SB: Not so much -- the only kids I can freak out with my voice are the young ones -- and that's just cruel. Out of context, most people just think I'm a dork if I do crazy voices in public. At conventions -- they love it -- the weirder and scarier, the better.
What kind of superhero is Wolverine for kids? Why do they like him?
SB: As a kid, I loved the idea of a superhero who didn't fly, and though he had some extraordinary abilities, wasn't the "hands on the hips," impossibly virtuous superhero that just couldn't exist in this world. (And of course, what kid wouldn't want Adamantium claws!) He's flawed. He's got issues. I think it's been relatively rare for American animation to depict the real and painful circumstances that can mold a life. I was raised to push down all of that stuff and pretend like everything was perfect. I think everyone wants to feel like they belong. Wolverine would never want to be a role model, but in a weird way, was one of the best for me.
As I got older, and especially as a teenager, I realized that I resonated with Logan's anti-establishment mentality. He's not afraid to be honest about his fears, his anger, his resentments - human emotions that we all deal with in our own earthly experience. I'm also drawn to the irony of a man who can heal from any physical injury, yet, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, he's a lost soul trying to find purpose and some sense of peace. Odd for a feral beast-of-a-guy with huge claws!
Do you ever feel like you are Wolverine, or do you feel pretty separated from him as a character?
SB: Other than the lost soul part, not really. I think I'd be committed to some sort of asylum if I truly believed I had an indestructible skeleton. The characters that I voice all represent pieces of me - sometimes in unexpected ways! They cause me to learn something new about myself almost daily. I'm certainly no superhero, but working with so many personalities has given me some interesting perspective on the world.
What do you and Wolverine have in common? How are you different?
SB: I definitely share his quest for peace and purpose. I try to do the right thing, I do speak out if I see injustice, and I'm not afraid to deal with real issues. I love nature and go crazy if I'm not outdoors regularly.
Overall, my outlook on life is a lot more positive than Wolvie's though. I laugh a lot and find humor in pretty much anything -- something that's a bit rare for the ole' Canucklehead. I have a lousy memory, but it's still better than his after he had his mind wiped.
In Wolverine And The X-Men: Heroes Return Trilogy, Wolverine reunites the broken heroes formerly known as the X-Men to prevent the world's destruction and save the future. Do you think he could solve the financial crisis or bring peace to the Middle East?
SB: Hmm? would he get help from Professor X? I think Beast would have to take the lead on diplomacy and finance, but as a small player on a big team and as long as he had a little supervision, Logan could definitely be an "encouraging influence." Kinda glad we've got Obama on the job for now -- I like his brand of superhero.
Do you have to psyche yourself up before doing the voice for Wolverine?
SB: I never studied method acting, so that's not really part of my process. Wolverine is as organic a character for me as it gets. If I "psyche myself up" or analyze a character too much, I lose the essence. Gotta go in cold and bold, baby!
Does being the voice of Wolverine give you more confidence or attitude in real life?
SB: Maybe at Anime and Sci-fi conventions. Get a lot of love and respect there. I don't know, maybe. It's absolutely fulfilled a dream, so I suppose the sense of accomplishment is there. Oddly though, it just causes me to keep looking forward to what's next. Wolverine has been a part of my life through some of the biggest changes in my life, so I can't say if voicing him was an active ingredient in the change, or simply a catalyst. Either way, I'm grateful. I'd like to hope I'm not as cranky as he is.
What's your job like?
SB: I've had a lot of jobs in my life and this is by far "the best there is at what I've done." I love going to work! I get to be somebody different every day - sometimes several times a day. I spend way too much time in the car getting from studio to studio, but other than that, pretty darn fun. Auditioning is probably what I do most. I have a home studio, so it's gotten easier, but for me, the audition is the job. Getting paid for the actual work is the bonus. I hate the paperwork, and sometimes the politics, but getting to work with some of the funniest, most talented people in the world never gets old. Oh yeah -- and I like not having to worry about how I look.
What dad superpowers do you have?
SB: I think patience is a superpower -- and a positive attitude in a negative world!! Still workin' on both. I've got boys, so maybe potty humor is my superpower. We've kind of developed that into an art form. I've learned a lot from my kids. Great constant reminders of what's truly important. They really help keep me grounded.
What superpowers do you wish you had?
SB: Flying would be cool. And superhuman strength would be helpful for household projects. And a memory. Sure would like one of those. My girlfriend would think me a lot more super if I could remember our conversations. I'm sorry, what were we talking about?
Anything else you'd like to say to Wolverine fans?
SB: Thanks for watching, Bubs and Bubbettes! Snikt!