One of the few constants in comic books is change, and a big change is headed for one of the major publishers in the coming months when “Secret Wars” concludes, leaving in its wake the All-New All-Different Marvel Universe. Among the titles set to head off in a new direction is “Captain Marvel,” with writers Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas and artist Kris Anka at the helm.
Over the weekend, the creators joined moderator and CBR Managing Editor Albert Ching at Long Beach Comic Con to discuss what the future holds for Carol Danvers — who won’t even be on Earth when her new series launches. “Marvel really wanted to clarify what her mission statement was and where she fits in the universe,” Fazekas said, explaining Marvel had a lot of big ideas, and it’s easier to pull off things like space missions in comics rather than movies or television thanks to the lack of budgetary constraints.
Butters and Fazekas have worked together on multiple television projects (they’re currently showrunners on “Agent Carter”), but this is the first comic work they’re tackling. “The hardest thing is learning when you have something on a page, and how turning the page is a different reveal and taking advantage of that.” Butters said of the still-new experience.
“It’s been a very fun learning curve, but it has been a learning curve,” Fazekas added, explaining that while television’s a visual medium like comics, thinking in panels versus a completed scene was a new thing.
“[Marvel] wanted to give her a specific mission,” Fazekas continued. “I think they wanted to give Carol her own thing that was hers, separate from the Avengers.”
This mission involves Carol being on a space station above Earth — with some unexpected teammates. “One of the things that’s exciting about the space station,”Butters said, “is Carol is starting to be Earth’s first line of defense — on the station with Alpha Flight.”
Though the writers couldn’t say much about the Canadian super team’s role, they did go into more detail about another character who will be appearing: Abigail Brand. “She, right now, is an interesting foil for Carol,” Fazekas said. “They’re two very strong, confident women who are not necessarily on the same page when they first meet.” Carol is learning that she’s on a space station, she’s in charge, and she can’t always be punching people in the face — even if she desperately wants to, Abigail will keep her in line. Carol and Abigail start from two different points of view, Fazekas explained. They are not buddies, but by the end, they develop a mutual respect for each other.
The change in story comes with a fresh look for Carol, too, including a shorter haircut. Anka mentioned the new ‘do first when asked about visual differences between this and the previous series. “I cut her hair,” he said. “When Sana [Amanat, ‘Captain Marvel’ editor] called me, the first thing we talked about was the new costume and a haircut.” The old hair was all over the place, and Sana wanted a consistent look. They went through a few rounds to get to the final hair style, one Anka says reflects Carol’s military background and aesthetic.
The helmet’s gone as well. “Sana finally emailed me about it,” Anka recalled. “There is no more helmet. The helmet makes no sense anymore [since] she can breathe in space.” Since Carol’s not hiding her face and identity, and the helmet’s not going to protect her from anything, from a functionality standpoint, it’s simply not necessary.
In addition to designing Carol’s updated costume, Anka has created the space station from the ground up. “What’s fun and scary about this is, it’s the first time I’m not playing with someone else’s toys,” Anka said. “This is the first time I’m designing an entirely new place. Almost everything in that book, except for one page, I’m designing from scratch. It’s fun, but it’s hard work.”