Fridays on CBR mean Axel’s In Charge.
Welcome to MARVEL A-I-C: AXEL-IN-CHARGE, CBR’s regular interview feature with Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso!
An editor with years of experience who’s brought out comics to both critical acclaim and best-selling status, Alonso stepped into the chair at the top of Marvel’s Editorial department and since then has been working to bring his signature stylings to the entire Marvel U. Anchored by regular question and answer rounds with the denizens of the CBR Message Boards, each week Alonso will shake things up with special guest stars, exclusive art reveals and more!
This week, we bring you a special CBR TV installment of AXEL-IN-CHARGE as we caught up with the Editor-in-Chief on the CBR Yacht during Comic-Con International. There, we discussed the post-summer plans for the Marvel Universe from how Matt Fraction’s “Inhumanity” will finally put the team in the place Lee and Kirby meant for them to have, and talk of Marvel NOW! wave 2 leads to revelations about brand-new characters who will soon be appearing. Plus, more NBA talk! Read on!
On “Inhumanity”: We’ve been talking about the Inhumans for years. There’s a lot of love for those characters, and we’ve thought for a long time there’s a metaphor to be found with them that you can’t find elsewhere. This is a plan that came to fruition slowly. We decided to pull the trigger in the context of “Infinity” because there was a natural moment we could introduce them into the story, make them a part of it and make them relevant to it. Really, it was slow growing and it involved the input of a number of different people. Once we knew how we were going to deploy them in “Infinity,” it gave us optics of what we wanted to do in the future and that’s the point at which, as always, a writer steps forward — in this case Matt Fraction — with ideas. Ideas about where he would take them post-“Infinity.”
The Inhumans really are the outcasts. Whereas superheroes can find comfort in the fact that they’re humans that developed superpowers through science or what have you, and mutants can find comfort in the fact that they’re the next stage of evolution, there’s no comfort to be found for Inhumans. They’re the result of a genetic experiment by this alien race that they aborted. There’s really a lot of pain at the core of their origin. They were essentially abandoned by their parents. The existential crisis at the heart of the Inhumans is what we think makes them intriguing at the species; the fact that they have a kingdom called Attilan that is constantly moving from place to place, that can never find safe refuge; the fact that there’s a ritual whereby the Inhumans learn their true selves — they’re exposed to the mystical Terrigen mists that reveals to them who they are — that can be something amazing and powerful or something really mediocre. I don’t want to give away too much, but we see such ripe stories to be told in this race that pre-dates the birth of the superhero and that has been hiding in our midst for longer than anybody knew.
On featured characters in Marvel NOW! Wave Two: We picked every character in there because they are characters to watch in the coming year. Just like last year when we were unveiling the Marvel NOW! Joe Quesada image and you were seeing characters — the Guardians of the Galaxy, you were seeing the new Spider-Man, you were seeing Nova, and we were promising they would be characters to watch. We’re saying the same thing with characters like the Black Widow, the Silver Surfer right now. How this will come to pass, I’m not going to say more. That’s for future announcements, but they’re all chosen for a reason. They’re all going to get their moment in the spotlight.
On publishing initiative and the success of Marvel NOW!: There’s no substitute for finding the right artist and the right writer and telling them to tell the best story that they can, and — to the degree that you can — getting out of their way. An editor’s job is to be the first read, to give you the gut reaction to the story, help them pull out the best elements — not to tell them the story to write. I feel like that’s what we did with Marvel NOW! This was not a reboot, our universe wasn’t broken, we didn’t feel the need to fix it. Our stories picked up in the aftermath of our last event, “AvX.” I looked at the same playbook: what we’ll be doing with our next wave of titles is the same thing. We’re finding the best writers and artists to tell the stories of these characters and we’re going to challenge them to come out the gate, guns blazing, with the right story. I have every confidence that people are going to be excited. Some of the creative choices we’ll be making are eyebrow-raising and controversial. Rest assured, this won’t be the last wave of books that we do.
On adding brand new characters to the Marvel Universe: Look for the arrival of at least one wholly new character launching their own series as part of our next wave of Marvel NOW! titles. Again, I can’t say more about it at this point, but the long and short of it is — and that character won’t be alone. The usual game plan is we’ll have that character emerge in the context of a popular series and have them get their footing and build an audience for them slowly. We’re going to try something different with this character. The Marvel catalogue rolls deep. We love ’em — I’m personally excited about this as editor-in-chief because I love the fact that now we’re attracting readers to books like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which premiered as the number one book the month it debuted, and “Nova.” We’re getting people en masse to come to these characters and be as engaged in them as they are in the Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America. Our game plan is one that has these characters being as relevant to the fate of the Marvel Universe — the Guardians and Nova’s role in “Infinity” is an example. With the Inhumans, what I love is they’re going to count. They’re going to matter for the fans that want to know this is one shared universe. They’re going to count, they’re going to be relevant for the long term.
Have some questions for Marvel’s AXEL-IN-CHARGE? Please visit the CUP O’ Q&A thread in CBR’s Marvel Universe forum. It’s now the dedicated thread for all connections between Board Members and the Marvel Executive staff that CBR will pull questions for next week’s installment of our weekly fan-generated question-and-answer column! Do it to it!