While they don’t face them as often as super villains and other criminals, the heroes of the Marvel Universe occasionally have to step forward to deal with the armies of intergalactic invaders and extradimensional monsters. The reason for these infrequent skirmishes is a lone warrior sworn to clandestinely defend his planet by eliminating with extreme prejudice all alien threats that would target it for destruction and domination.
In issue #5 of the current “Original Sin” event miniseries by writer Jason Aaron and artist Mike Deodato readers discovered that former S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury took up the mantle of Earth’s “Man on the Wall” in 1958 in the aftermath of a battle that took the life of his predecessor, a ray gun wielding, jet pack wearing man named Woodrow McCord. The issue marked the first appearance of McCord, but he perished just three pages after making his debut.
This October, writer Jason Latour and and artist Enis Cisic will take readers back to the enigmatic alien fighter’s early days and show how McCord became Earth’s secret champion as well as some of the battles he fought for his planet. CBR News spoke with Latour about the project, which was announced yesterday during Marvel’s “Next Big Thing” panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
CBR News: Jason, with the “Original Sin Annual” you get to show the beginnings of Woodrow McCord, a character your “Southern Bastards” creative partner Jason Aaron and artist Mike Deodato introduced to the world in “Original Sin” #5 and then killed a few pages later. How did you react when you were offered this project? It feels like Woodrow’s adventures could take him anywhere and involve a mashup of all kinds of entertaining elements.
Jason Latour: Well, I was worried that Jason Aaron had managed to wrap the tendrils of his beard around [editor] Tom Brevoort’s mind and infect him with his own sick thirst for alien blood. But after I thought about it for a bit it revealed itself pretty quickly to be an interesting assignment for a lot of reasons.
Obviously there’s the genre, a sort of EC comics-esque pulp vibe that we haven’t seen a lot of in the Marvel U. But moreover, I liked that McCord was very much a blank slate. All we know about the man is his job and how he died. And though those two things speak volumes, there was still clearly a great opportunity to get in there and flesh him out and in some ways see how his history might serve as a warning for the men and women who follow in his shoes; to take a look at how the ripples created by the things he’s done still impact the Marvel U to this day.
What was your sense of McCord from the three pages he appeared in “Original Sin” #5? Which aspects of this “blank slate” are you looking forward to exploring?
I like to think of McCord as Johnny Cash meets Jack Kirby. This is a hard edged, two-fisted tale about a guy who fights aliens, but it’s also about a very lonely human being who’s looking for a way to make his life matter. McCord was the only soldier we had in a very important war. Did he really do all this alone? Why? How? I find the reasons for that solitude intriguing.
When we meet McCord in “Original Sin” #5 it’s 1958 and he’s an alien fighter who appears to be an older man. Those elements suggest to me that you’re going to have a lot of fun with the settings of the “Original Sin Annual” So what can you tell us about the times and places we’ll visit in this story? What year does your story begin? And how many years does it span?
Well, we’ll see a few different eras. The furthest back we touch is around the end of the 19th Century and a pretty famous, full-on alien invasion. We’ll get to meet McCord’s predecessor and learn the secret history behind his job. But most of our story will take place as McCord is sort of coming of age and stepping into the role in the 1940s. Just as our world is going to war, McCord is going to war with other worlds.
Shortly after his death in “Original Sin” #5 we discovered that McCord was working with Howard Stark, Tony’s father. What do you find most interesting about the dynamic between Howard and McCord? And Will Howard play a role in your story? If so what’s it like writing Howard at this time in his life?
He’s a lot like Tony Stark in many ways. Maybe a bit more at ease with what he has to do than Tony would be. He just knew the secrets behind the world at a much earlier age, in part because a lot of them were his own. He’s got a gallows humor and insight that’s fun to bounce off of somber men like Fury or McCord. Stark is our link; a bit more of a piece of the larger tapestry. He’s really a begrudged ally and enabler to everything McCord does or can do.
Let’s talk a little more about the story of your “Original Sin Annual.” In terms of plot and themes what is it about?
Simply put, did the job of protecting the Earth cost McCord his own humanity? A young Nick Fury is searching for answers about the man McCord was, and what he finds might just be the reason he needs to quit the job before he starts.
McCord’s job as the “Man on the Wall” protecting the Earth from aliens suggests he’ll be up against a number of formidable adversaries. What can you tell us about the antagonists of the “Original Sin Annual?”
Oh, I’m going to be a little coy here, but the cool thing about this character is that the antagonists are nearly infinite. They’re out there as far as the universe reaches. But maybe even scarier, is how they live in the minds of the soldiers who are tasked with keeping them at bay.
Are there any other supporting players in this story that you can talk about?
We’ll meet McCord’s predecessor. If you think Fury or McCord sound like hard asses, just wait ’til you meet him.
I wasn’t familiar with the work of your artist on the Annual, Enis Cisic, but a quick Google Images search shows he’s especially well-suited to draw science fiction. What can we expect from him on this story?
I like the idea of a guy who’s got a modern sci-fi eye taking on a more pulp-ish world. I feel like a lot of times these kinds of stories get handcuffed by what’s come before. It’s pretty obvious that Enis has a tremendous scale and scope to his work. It’ll be fun to see him unleash that on some of these eras and settings.
Finally, can you provide a grand sort of overview of the tone, scope and scale of the “Original Sin Annual?” How much fun are you having telling Woodrow McCord’s story?
Think Johnny Cash meets Jack Kirby. That sounds pretty damn fun to me. How about you?
Yeah, that sounds like quite a lot of fun.
Before Fury there was McCord; a man who stood on the front lines and did things the universe will never forget. Maybe even never forgive. It tends to go that way when you shoot lots of aliens in the face.
Marvel’s “Original Sin Annual” arrives in October.