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 follow up our San Diego boat show appearance with an all-fan question and answer session. On the heels of Marvel’s slate of announcements at Comic-Con, people on the CBR Message Boards are still buzzing about announcements including the new “Amazing X-Men” ongoing series from Jason Aaron, and Axel explains how Marvel looks to launch new monthlies. Plus, he digs into questions on fan favorite titles like “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Agents of ATLAS” as Marvel NOW! Wave 2 looms. Meanwhile, issues surrounding LGBT characters and Marvel’s bonus feature AR app get a going over. Read on!
Kiel Phegley: What better way to follow San Diego Comic-Con than an all-fan Q&A? And on the heels of the show announcement of “Amazing X-Men,” Comicbookfan wanted to know, “How do you guys decide what to call a book? i have seen that there are a lot of books with “Avengers” on the titles or “Adjective + X-men” on the titles and i wonder how do you decide when it is the right time to launch without patching it to a franchise in such a way that its like another secondary tittle or seeing if something can be its own thing? how do you “Brand” a book?”
Alonso: We launch any new series because we think it contributes something to our line, Comicbookfan. Sometimes, it’s because that book features a character or has a mission statement that helps build a “family” — like “Venom” does for the “Spider-Man” line or “X-Force” for the “X-Men” line; sometimes, it’s because a book has a distinctly different flavor — like “Savage Wolverine.” And we always look for the ideal launching pad and “brand” each series with a title that sends a loud-and-clear message about what you’ll find between the covers.
Take the book you mention, “Amazing X-Men”: Ever since “X-Men: Schism,” the X-Men have been split down the middle along philosophical grounds, with Wolverine on one side and Cyclops on the other. As “Wolverine and the X-Men” has shifted its focus to the inner workings of the Jean Grey School, Jason [Aaron] pitched a story that seemed like the perfect opportunity to launch a major book that stayed focused on the X-Men on Wolverine’s side of the fault line, assembling a new team that just might include a resurrected Nightcrawler! With Ed McGuinness — the world’s biggest Nightcrawler fan — drawing it, what better adjective to describe the series than “amazing.”
He also wondered: “Question about THE AGENTS OF ATLAS! um…any chance you guys will give this concept a new spin for Marvel now Phase two? maybe take a similar approach you too with might avengers add more diverse characters but with some of the same type of storytelling? or just anything regarding this book?
Alonso: I constantly field questions about “Agents of Atlas” — from interested fans and creators and even my son’s pediatrician. For real. While there’s nothing in the works right now, if there’s enough demand or we get the right hook, who knows…? And I’ve got to admit, I’ve got some ideas myself about a creative team.
Spidey616 is back and wondering, “Has there been any discussion about possibly revisiting the world of Age of Ultron with new stories much like the Age of Apocalypse series or House of M minis a few years back?”
Alonso: Not really, Spidey616. The world of “Age of Ultron” wasn’t an alternate reality — it was the Marvel Universe, in a sequence of events that, due to the actions of our heroes, was undone and now never transpired. Wrap your mind around that! [laughs] So there’s really no “there” to go back to. On the other hand, this is the world of comics where anything is possible…
He follows up with: “Know Francesco Francavilla will be drawing Guardians of the Galaxy during the Infinity tie-ins, but will Steve McNiven be returning to the book on art? If not, does he have a new upcoming project?”
Alonso: Unfortunately, Steve will not be returning as he’s hard at work on “Uncanny Avengers.” Steve helped give us a great launch and, based on the feedback we’ve been hearing from readers, the transition to new superstar Sara Pichelli has been smooth.
And just to get all the cards on the table, since we also announced this week that “GotG” #7 is a bit delayed: Sara was hit pretty hard by a nasty flu bug over the past few weeks, and we’ve tried our best we can to hold the book for her, since she and Brian [Michael Bendis] work so closely together and he writes for her strengths. [Editor] Steve Wacker huddled with the folks in talent management — C.B. Cebulski and Dan Edington — to devise a creative solution that will actually see superstar Olivier Coipel come in for a powerful sequence involving Star-Lord and Thanos. But I’ve probably said too much.
And one last one from him is: “Noticed Yondu, a member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, featured in the Inhumanity teaser image. Curious if the casting of Michael Rooker had any influence on using the character and if we’ll be seeing the other original Guardians as well?
Alonso: Weird. Yondu isn’t on our copy of the Inhumanity teaser. You must have gotten a special one.
Kieran_Frost was wondering, “Hey Axel, with Daken looking unlikely to be getting another solo series any time soon; does marvel have any plans for a new solo series starring an LGBT character? Is Daken your only LGBT solo star to date (and no, Gambit and Herc don’t count 😉 Thanks for your time.”
Alonso: No, Kieran-Frost, Daken is not the Marvel Universe’s only LGBT character. While Wolverine’s up-to-no-good son currently appears in “Uncanny Avengers” as one of the Four Horsemen of Death, you can find committed same-sex couples like Hulkling and Wiccan in “Young Avengers,” (where Prodigy just revealed that he’s Bi), and Officer Wally Layton and Dr. Donald Meland in “Scarlet Spider,” where they play an integral part in the conclusion of Kaine’s battle with Kraven (“Into the Grave,” issues #21-2) — Lightspeed and the Runaways’ Karolina Dean in “Avengers Arena” — Annabelle Riggs and Valkyrie in “Fearless Defenders,” where they share a very unique bond — and don’t forget Tong, the lovable transgender moloid, who appears in every issue of “FF.” Also, over in “X-Men,” Brian Wood is slowly building a long-term plotline for Bling!, a Jean Grey School student who’s gay. Brian planted the seeds of her personal story in the first issue, with plans to spool it out over the next few arcs.
Speaking of Wolverine’s son, jameszahra had a rather specific question: “In All-New X-Men’ #13, Mystique reveals that she wants to buy Madripoor with all her hard-earned money. Prior to Daken being killed he took control of Madripoor, my question is, does he still have control of Madripoors money? Does he still own Madripoor? Who does Mystique plan on buying Madripoor from? Or are you planning on bringing daken back to Madripoor after Uncanny Avengers current arc?”
Alonso: No one really “owns” Madripoor, jameszahra — it was a figure of speech. Researching Madripoor leading to the scene in “All-New X-Men” #13, Mystique saw Hydra as the main impediment to her controlling Madripoor. Her plan was to steal enough money to make Hydra back off of Madripoor — it wasn’t that they hold the deed to the island or anything.
rufusTfirefly had some thoughts on digital comics including this query: “I have a question about digital comics, and I don’t know if you be able to help with this. I know that Comixology and the company that runs your AR app are two separate entities. Are there any plans in the works to integrate the two technologies? The reason I ask is because when I read a digital comic on an iPad, if I want to see the AR content, I have to hold my phone up to the iPad screen to view it.”
Alonso: I’ll take a stab at answering your seemingly-simple-but-actually-complex question, rufusTfirefly. First, let’s clarify one thing: The AR Content isn’t really “inside” the comic just waiting to be accessed — you’re able to access it on comiXology because the AR App, fortunately, doesn’t make a distinction between a print-trigger image and a digital-trigger image. The AR App “sees” the trigger image then displays the appropriate AR content.
That said, in order to do what you’re suggesting, comiXology would need to build all of the features and functions of the AR App — the ability to play video, 3D, etc. — into their own App. However, as you point out, ComiXology and Aurasma are independent companies, each with proprietary technologies and their own business plans, product roadmaps, etc., so it’s not our place to just “integrate” them.
That said, Marvel is committed to making it easy for users to access all of our AR content in as many ways as possible, as conveniently as possible. That’s why we’ve started to roll it out on YouTube and on marvel.com. Look for AR and other bonus content to continue there (and in new ways!) in the future.
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!