It’s Friday! Time to wrap up the work week with an all-fan focused T&A!
CBR News is back again to present an open and honest Q&A with Marvel Comics Vice President Executive Editors Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso for our regular column: MARVEL T&A! Aside from being the minds behind the biggest franchises at the House of Ideas, the pair have taken the reins of the editorial staff on a day-to-day basis since the many changes that have upped the profile of both Marvel and the company’s senior staff in the past year. So who better to look inside the halls of Marvel and make some memorable reader Q&A?
Each Friday, in addition to our regular CUP O’ JOE installments, CBR presents a new interview with the T&A duo covering everything Marvel Comics. This week Tom and Axel dig deep into reader mail with an all-fan question Q&A! Below, they tackle some of the biggest queries submitted on the CBR message boards including the question of OGNs at Marvel, the origins of stories from “The Five Lights” to “She-Hulks,” the status of projects inkling “Power Man And Iron Fist” and “Killraven” and the hot topic issue of what exactly is going on with the Deadpool line. Read on!
Kiel Phegley: All right, gentlemen! We’re in for another installment of an all-fan Q&A with y’all, so let’s start with this line of inquiry from Steven Ghost: “I was wondering if Ed Brubaker was going to continue his Steve Rogers: Super Soldier story elsewhere in the Marvel U. This Shadow Council revealed at the end leaves a lot more story to be told. Will we see more of this in the Captain America series? A new mini? Or a Steve Rogers ongoing? Thanks in advance!”
Brevoort: You’re breaking my heart, Stephen, as your question sadly indicates that you haven’t been following Ed’s work in “Secret Avengers,” wherein the Shadow Council debuted, and where they’ve been a running threat to the team. But it’s not too late to remedy this unseemly oversight – the collection of the first “Secret Avengers” storyline, “Mission To Mars,” will be on-sale any day now. And yes, the Shadow Council plays a big role in Ed’s upcoming plans for almost everything he’s working on at Marvel at the moment, including “Captain America and Secret Avengers.” (But, sadly, no role whatsoever in “Incognito” – at least that I know of!)
Next, let’s kick things over to frequent questioner Comicbookfan who had a few questions about graphic novels that seemed particularly on topic these days. First up, an idea we’ve discussed with Joe in the past: “Will you guys be putting out some OGN (Original Graphic Novels) a la DC’s Superman Earth one?”
Brevoort: I don’t think so, Fan, not any time soon. While it’s a format that other companies seem to like, it simply doesn’t make a whole lot of financial sense to us. Given the cost to produce, say, 100 pages of story material, it’s better off for everybody financially to sell that story serially on a monthly basis first, before eventually collecting it in a single edition. The monetary return is better for everybody most of the time, creators, retailers and Marvel. And I know that does create some limitations when it comes to pacing the story out over so many pages, since you need to build it in such a way as to make it able to break every 22 pages or so. But all things being equal, this is the approach that works best for us, at least at the moment.
Comicbookfan follows up with, “When will Marvel start to collect their ongoing series in chronological order in Trade Paperback? It seems to me that with so many more people switching to Trades as the primary source of their comic book reading, it would be a good idea for you guys to get going on a chronological collection of your series. What do you think?”
Brevoort: I kinda thought we were doing that, Fan – both in the softcover Masterworks format, and as new series and storylines begin in the ongoing titles. I admit that we’ve not maintained a single numbering system across the last fifty years, but the reason for that is that it would be incredibly daunting to most readers if the latest volume of, say, “Spider-Man” was Volume 112. That’s not a volume number that invites an easy buy-in. We do number each collection series sequentially, though.
In Axel’s neck of the woods, we’ve got motteditor asking “Can you talk about the creative process behind the Five Lights? I’m wondering whether their importance to the overall X-verse means they may have been more of a team collaboration, as opposed to when a writer normally wants to introduce a new character.
“I’m asking after reading the debut of the newest of these characters, Teon. With obviously few mutants being debuted these days, why have one of them be such uninspiring, run-of-the-mill animalistic powers, something that’s appeared in the X-verse time and time again. Did we really need another character like that? Just seems like a real wasted opportunity to me, basically another Wolverine/Sabretooth rehash in a company that’s got far, far too many of those type of characters, to the point I’m questioning even buying Generation Hope.”
Alonso: Two writers spear-headed the creative process for the five lights: Matt Fraction and Kieron Gillen. Matt started the process, brought Kieron in, and they sent in about seven or eight options, which we whittled down to five. We think they did a terrific job that you can see some of in the “Uncanny” arc and even more in “Generation Hope.”
As for Teon, I’ll go out on a limb and say that, yes, Matt and Kieron are familiar with Wolverine and Sabretooth, which is why they made sure there were significant differences between Teon and those other two characters. Those differences will continue to reveal themselves and should make clearer why we need a character like Teon.
Following up on a discussion we’ve had here in this column, Tom, bkdane wondered, “Any further developments on your possible 2 in 1 book? (Hint: Atlas & MI13).”
Brevoort: No, not yet, bkdane. It kind of fell off my radar a little bit as more urgent problems cropped up. For a moment there, I was considering combining “Black Widow” and “Hawkeye & Mockingbird” into this sort of split title, but we decided to do something else instead.
hutchimus keeps things on current events saying, “In light of the .1 initiative, I think it’s great that Marvel is trying to entice new readers. My question, though, shouldn’t every issue contain all the information a new reader needs to understand what is going on in a title? After all, as Stan Lee said, every issue could be someone’s first. That would seem to me, obviously not a comic book professional, to be a more effective method, than say giving a reader a 1-in-12 shot of hitting the .1 issue.”
Brevoort: Absolutely, Hutchimus, we try to make sure that we include all of the salient information you need to understand every individual issue is there – that’s the whole reason that we do our recap pages in each issue. But given the number of titles we publish in a given month, it can be daunting for a newcomer, or even somebody who used to read Marvel books but drifted away at some point, to know where to start. So the Point One issues are designed to give those folks a clear signpost that here is an entry point that you should be able to pick up, read and understand. It’s also a signal that the issue in question is a stand-alone single issue of the series, which can be attractive to readers who may not have been following the book, but might like to sample it.
With another question on a recent Marvel launch, Mikeymike asked, “I’d like to know what the deal is with the new She-Hulks series. This was the ongoing series I was most looking forward to and now it has apparently been downgraded to a 4 issue miniseries before the first issue has even come out. Is this true ? If so, why ? How does they come to this determination before the book even gets into the public’s hands ? What if it comes out and it gets rave reviews and generates good buzz ? Why not let it have that chance ? There was just such a nice write up about it in USA Today which of course, lauded it as an ongoing series and now all of a sudden it’s changed to only 4 issues ? If this is true, it’s a huge disappointment for me. And also, if it’s true—is there any chance Marvel will still consider re-launching it as an ongoing if the mini does well ? I was so proud of Marvel for giving She-Hulk another chance so soon (previously we’ve had to wait 7 and 10 years between ongoing series) and now I am just so disappointed that this chance has been taken away from the character.”
Brevoort: We’ve run into this problem once or twice, Mikeymike, where we’ve gotten perhaps too excited about a possible series for our own good, and had to thereafter truncate it back based on the initial sales. And it’s the case with “She-Hulks” as well – we started it with the intention of doing it as a limited series, got excited about it so we upgraded it to an ongoing series, then got the initial sales figures in and were forced to return it to limited series status. But of course, were the book to suddenly start showing rocketlike sales, we’d take a look at continuing it – but sadly, that doesn’t appear to be what’s happening. But that doesn’t mean that we’re done with Jen or Lyra just yet!
Power questioner (and eagle eye on the Marvel catalog) Spidey616 is back with this observation: “Some fans have noticed that the Iron Fist & Power Man mini by Fred Van Lente that was announced a few months back hasn’t been solicited yet. Is the project still a go?”
Brevoort: Yes, Spidey, “Power Man And Iron Fist” is still a go, and will be coming your way in February!
Spidey616 followed up with “Since Secret Invasion ended, a lot of readers are curious about the future of the Skrull Empire. Are there plans in place specifically in “Avengers: The Children’s Crusade” and Hulking’s possible role as leader?”
Brevoort: I’m afraid not, Spidey. While we’ll be covering a lot of material concerning the assorted Young Avengers and their personal histories in “Children’s Crusade,” we won’t be getting back around to Hulkling’s potential destiny with the Kree or the Skrulls, not this time. But it’s something that will need to be addressed sooner or later.
Sharcque had his own query about a long-awaited Marvel book: “Are we ever going to see the Killraven series by Kirkman and Liefeld?”
Brevoort: Yes, just as soon as it’s ready to go. Both Robert and Rob have been working on it for some time, but as I’m sure you’ve noticed, they’re both also busy with a lot of other things (especially the wildly successful “Walking Dead” television series – congrats on that, Robert!) But once we’ve got the series completed and ready to go, we’ll begin to solicit it and get it out there. In the meantime, another version of Killraven was left in the present at the end of “Avengers” #6, so that might be a series to check out to stave off your Killraven jones for the time being.
And let’s finish that thread of thought! gryhpon had a series he’d like to see in the light of day, asking “In 2006 Barry Windsor-Smith announced that he was in talks to work on a graphic novel starring the Thing. Did anything ever come of these talks or did they just go nowhere? Is there any chance BWS may one day soon do new work for Marvel?”
Brevoort: All right, this is officially the difficult question of the week, Gryhpon, but I’ll try to give you a straight answer. The honest truth is that back when Barry announced that he was working on that project to the general internet public, he hadn’t actually spoken to anybody here at Marvel about it. And, when contact was made, he said that he didn’t want to show us any of the work or even an outline until there was some deal in place. Now, I have to tell you, I’m not about to buy a story blind without knowing what it is, even from a talent as great as BWS. So that’s where things stand on that. I don’t know if Barry is still picking away on the project or not, but if he wants to have another conversation about it, we’re always open to listening.
Let’s close with a trio of questions on the future of some talent and characters in the Marvel U. theXfactor wondered, “Coipel getting some X-work any time soon? What about Chuck Kim?”
Alonso: No immediate plans for Olivier Coipel to pencil a core X-Book at the moment, but that’s not to say it’s out of the question. He did just pencil a piece for the upcoming “Age Of X,” which starts in January. We’ll be previewing it online within in the next couple weeks. As for Chuck Kim, after his terrific work on the “Curse Of The Mutants: Storm And Gambit” one-shot, we’re definitely trying to find another opportunity to have him contribute to an X-Book. We’re keeping our eyes peeled and you should too!
Next, Tracks has an eye on one hero, asking, “Marvel has dropped a lot of hints about exalting Dracula and refurbishing the vampire corner of the marvel universe, will this finally help get Blade a stable place, team or otherwise, in the marvel universe or has that not been thought on yet? Any plans for a Midnight Sons revival?”
Alonso: We have big plans for Dracula and the Vampire Nation. Not sure where Blade fits into those, but he is the subject of some discussion. There’s been a lot of talk about Midnight Sons, too.
Finally, Torgo the White asked about characters I couldn’t let be forgotten, saying, “Okay, I gots me a question. I loved Marvel’s humor book What The–?! and really dug the Who Won’t Wield the Shield One Shot with Forbush Man. Any chance of getting a revival of other WT characters like Wolverina, Milk and Cookies, or a return of the hero bar Bud’s Suds?”
Brevoort: I kind of doubt it, Torgo. But really, in this business, you never know. Axel’s always in the market for new story ideas for “Deadpool” and “Hit-Monkey,” after all…
OK, we’ve got one more that’s been asked after in so many different places it’s hard to pick one questioner. This week, Marvel announced a promotion focused on deciding which Deadpool book to cancel – a sort of a spoof on the whole “Should Robin Live or Die” campaign from the ’80s, but the reactions have been all over the place with lots of people wondering if this is legit or what books will have a chance of continuing. What’s the status of the Deadpool line really?
Brevoort: Yeah, we suck. YAAAAYYY!
Alonso: Honestly, this was a little buzz-builder the folks in promotions cooked up.Â Sometimes it’s good to laugh at yourself – and who better for that than Deadpool?Â After putting out, like, a million of Deadpool titles over the last three years, we’re looking to scale back a bit: two monthlies – “Deadpool” and DeadpoolMAX” – and the occasional limited series involving one or all of the DPC.
Have some questions for Marvel T&A? 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 staff that CBR will pull questions for next week’s installment of our weekly fan-generated question-and-answer column! Do it to it!