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 earlier this year 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, it’s another all-fan Friday where Axel takes YOUR questions on the future of the Marvel Universe. This time out, the topic of the day is Marvel NOW! – the incoming relaunch of the majority of the publisher’s superhero titles. Below, the E-i-C digs into queries on format, pricing and title launches as well as character considerations from where darker characters like Moon Knight and Blade will appear to what we’ll see from a newly single Black Panther to why certain titles didn’t meet the Marvel NOW! requirements and much more. Read on!
Kiel Phegley: All right! This week, we asked the folks on the boards to chime in with their questions on what’s next for Marvel NOW!, and they didn’t disappoint. Let’s start with a question on the relaunch as a whole from Shingen, asking, “I’m excited for some of the Marvel Now titles, including some new ones I will be getting on board with. My question is this: how do I know this won’t lead to another renumbering/relaunch in two years? As a buyer, what insurance do I have that another event won’t have me starting all over again”
Axel Alonso: Shingen, Marvel NOW! isn’t the Marvel Universe “starting over again.” It simply offers a line-wide entry-point into the Marvel Universe that you’re already reading about. All of the stories take place in the aftermath of “Avengers Vs. X-Men. The strength of the initiative is that it all starts with new creative teams that will take your favorite titles in bold new directions, and writers that are deeply invested in their books and have long-term plans for them. We’ll be saying more and more about each of the titles in coming weeks, so stay tuned.
DownInAHole was one of a few fans to ask about pricing strategies with the line, wondering, “A lot of readers are very sensitive about the $3.99 price point. Can you give us an idea of how many of the Marvel NOW! books will be $3.99 and how many, if any, will be $2.99?”
Alonso: Most titles are staying the same price they are now, with many of the added-value features we offered during “Avengers Vs. X-Men.”
DragonPiece was curious about the pace of the rollout, asking, “It was said in a interview there would be a new Marvel Now comic every week, though in October there are only 2 NOW titles (Uncanny Avengers and A+X, three if you count the Point One.) Will there be one every week starting in November?”
Alonso: Yes, there will be a new #1 or a big book every week starting in November. But first, in October we have Rick Remender and John Cassaday bringing fans “Uncanny Avengers” and Dan Slott, Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness & Ron Garney kicking off “A+X.” Over the past couple weeks, we’ve been teasing new creative teams on this very web site: Gillen & Land, Fraction & Bagley, Aaron & Ribic, Remender & Romita Jr. Plenty more to come.
There are, of course, a lot of new books hitting BEFORE Marvel NOW! does, and Dog wondered, “I’m a big fan of the shake-ups coming from Marvel NOW!, and the new starts characters will be getting. I can’t help but wonder, though, about the recently or soon-to-be launched Captain Marvel, Gambit, and Hawkeye series. It seems like these “less visible” titles could have benefited greatly from being introduced under the Marvel NOW! spotlight. Why are they instead beginning beforehand? Won’t they be overshadowed by what’s to come soon after?” while Wellman asked the similar, “Why is Red She-Hulk not starting with a brand new “Number 1″ but continuing the old numbering given it is beginning just around the same time as Marvel Now begins?”
Alonso: While a series like “Hawkeye,” which is one of my favorite new titles, might have benefitted from inclusion in Marvel NOW!, the simple fact is that sometimes you’ve got to use your bullets ASAP. We couldn’t wait for you guys to read it, and we’re confident that word of mouth will grow the readership for that title, because it deserves it. Matt and David are turning in stellar work.
As for “Red She-Hulk,” it won’t get a new number 1. There’s a strict set of criteria we’re using for titles to get that. It’s no reflection on the quality of that series – it’s just that we don’t want to advertise it as something it isn’t.
On the creative side, Just Endless wanted to know, “The distinguished competition over there has had a lot of success lately with their ‘Dark’ line, critically, and even in sales. Are there any plans for the Marvel universe to have it’s own counterpart, ie. a book, or group of books with a fantasy/horror vibe? With the conclusion of JiM underway, such a movement would certainly be much appreciated.”
Alonso: While there are no current plans for a “dark” line, as you put it, we continue to publish a lot of darker, edgier, fantasy and horror titles in both the Marvel Universe and MAX universe. Cullen Bunn and Dalibor Talijic’s weekly-shipping “Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe” sold out its first two issues and is Marvel’s second-highest digital download this month. Frank Tieri and Mark Texeira’s “Space: Punisher” – think Buck Rogers as Dirty Harry – has been one of our best-reviewed series of the year. And you’ve haven’t seen the last of the apocalyptic, cannibalistic universe created by Jonathan Maberry in “Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine.” I could keep going…
Let’s do a lightening round on some of fans’ favorite titles/characters, starting with Drew@616 wondering, “I am very exciting for MARVEL NOW, and I like much that not be a reboot and I there will be a place for more female characters not only Captain marvel or black widow, seems sue storm jean grey and red she hulk will have a place in Marvel Now, but will have too a place for more female characters how Spider-Woman for example?”
Alonso: Spider-Woman will remain a part of the Avengers, and may turn up in “Avengers Assemble.” As for “Black Widow,” while she won’t have a new Marvel NOW! title, she’s currently appearing in “Avengers Assemble,” “Secret Avengers,” AND “Winter Soldier.”
USERNAME TAKEN had a similar query: “Any plans for Blue Marvel, Blade or Black Panther in Marvel NOW? Now, (no pun intended) seems like a good time to launch a minority led title.”
Alonso: The Black Panther is hugely important to MARVEL NOW!, Username – and you’ll find out exactly where in the days to come! No immediate plans for the Blue Marvel. We’ve got plans for Blade, but that’s way far away right now.
Tracks combined a few disparate lines of questioning when he asked, “I see Blade and Ghost Rider on the cover of Wolverine and the X-men. Does this mean their are plans for those two characters moving forward? If not, are there plans for the larger horror corner, Vampire Nation, The Forgiven, or The Legion of Monsters, for example?”
Alonso: While there are no current plans for the “Legion of Monsters,” they do keep coming up in conversation. As for Blade and Ghost Rider – wouldn’t you know it, they’re amongst the characters applying for teaching positions at the Jean Grey School. Will they land the job? It’s up to Kitty Pryde and Wolverine.
SJNeal offered up a challenge asking, “In 3 words or less, can you give us any clues as to the NOW! status of the following characters?: Wonder Man, Mockingbird, Dr. Strange and Colossus.
Alonso: Challenge accepted, SJNeal:
Wonder Man: (1) Joins, (2) Big, (3) Team.
Mockingbird: (1) Less, (2) Face, (3) Time.
Dr. Strange: (1) Believe, (2) In, (3) Magic.
Colossus: (1) Keep, (2) Ears, (3) Peeled.
coldwarmyth was one of a few people asking, “Are there any plans for Moon Knight somewhere in Marvel NOW?”
Alonso: Moon Knight will be in “Age of Ultron,” when we get there…
Comicbookfan asked, “Where will Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the rest of the street heroes that currently populate New Avengers land after AVX? maybe the return of Power Man and Iron Fist comic? or A Street Level Team Book?”
Alonso: You’ll have to wait and see what happens in Brian Bendis’ final “New Avengers” storyline…
Vic’s Aegis asked, “As a big Hercules fan, I would like to know are there any plans for Hercules in Marvel NOW? With all the new development stemming from AvX, this would be a great time to reposition Hercules to a new level of prominence in the new Marvel Universe. Will he be a part of one of the Avengers teams, are there plans for a him in any new series being developed?”
Alonso: There are no current plans for Hercules right now, Vic Aegis, but keep an eye out for his smart-pants sidekick. Amadeus Cho will be teaming up with one of Marvel’s biggest stars in the near future.
In a broad sense, Prince Of Orphans wanted to know, “Will the Marvel NOW! initiative give us any solo titles not currently ongoing?”
Alonso: But of course. Keep you ears peeled.
Finally, digging deeper into the teaser image Joe Q gave us, Sighphi wondered, “What’s up with Cable and the eye-patch? I can guess he could have gotten his hand on some robotic armor for his arm but the eye-patch is strange. Please dont answer by saying, “Keep reading to find out!” Because i want an exciting reason to follow the guy.”
Alonso: There’s a very good story reason why Cable has an eye-patch and if you’ve got about, oh, twelve hours, Senior Editor Nick Lowe would love to tell you all about it. Or you can wait a little while for when we announce the exciting place Cable will land next and read about it there.
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!