Marvel Comics had many announcements at Wizard World L.A this year (which CBR covered in depth), but one of the most unexpected announcements was that of “Beyond.” This limited series, with writer Dwayne McDuffie and artist Scott Kolins, promised to bring heroes together in a classic superhero melee where the real winner is the reader. CBR News caught up with Kolins, who was happy to shed some light on the book.
“Throw a bunch of characters together — some good, some bad, some you know and some you think you know — and see what happens. Not all will survive and there will be changes. Or put it this way, would you want to be stuck in a room with Medusa and Venom???
“Oh yeah, and is the Beyonder back?
“Watch the sparks fly.”
Kolins’ involvement in the book stems from his own passion for the script, though he can’t reveal everything that drew him in. “Tom Brevoort invited me. I got to read the initial ideas and character list and read Dwayne’s Fantastic Four Special script and signed on. Everything seemed like a good fit. I guess on top of that, Medusa and some of the extra surprises Dwayne’s working in made it too good to pass up.”
While Kolins briefly penciled “Avengers” years ago, this is his first time tackling the big characters of the Marvel Universe. While he enjoyed dealing with DC’s big heroes in “Flash,” he says that working on these Marvel characters is a dream come true. “I love it. This is why I got into the business. I have my favorites, but have always liked a variety of characters. So, getting to mix big name characters with unknowns is half the fun. Venom has become lots of fun for me and I warmed up to Gravity really quickly – even though I knew nothing about him before we started.”
However, Kolins knows a lot about illustrating big battles, as his acclaimed run on “Flash” featured some the biggest battles ever seen in the character’s history, along with a plethora of villains. With that in mind, fans should take note of Kolins’ promise to bring even more explosive battles to life in “Beyond.” “The destruction and battles in the ‘Flash’ were truly awesome, but I’ve even expanded since then. In ‘Avengers,’ Geoff and I destroyed a whole town in Idaho. In ‘Annihiliation,’ I destroyed whole cities and armies! And now in ‘Beyond’ we have a battle world – so you can guess what’s gonna happen. But remember, it’s not the city laid to waste that really grabs the reader. It’s knowing the people in that city that are getting attacked. That’s when you care. Otherwise, it’s just some backdrop painting. Yawn. 9-11 is an incredibly emotional button for any American, but I can only imagine the trauma if you knew someone killed in that attack. That’s the story.”
It’s also important to note that Kolins is still Marvel exclusive, and if you’re still waiting to see him work on one of your favorite Marvel heroes, you might just get your wish. “I completed my first two year contract in 2005 and signed again last summer for another two years — so Marvel is my happy home until at least summer 2007. During that time I have been extremely lucky to have drawn so many great characters in ‘Avengers’ and ‘Marvel Team Up’ but there are always more characters to dig into — even if I’ve drawn them once or twice. I usually don’t feel like I’ve really understood a character until I’ve worked on them for six months or more. So, with that in mind, I could always work on more Thor, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk, Silver Surfer, Fantasic Four and there are scads of lesser knowns I’d love to work on like Wen-Di-Go and the Inhumans.”
It’s also been a while since Kolins has worked on a monthly series and still would be, had plans not changed. “‘Marvel Team Up’ was monthly, but I only lasted about 10 months. It’s been Marvel’s choice to fit me in with double ship books or miniseries. I asked for a monthly home which is how ‘Marvel Team Up’ came around and I only left that because I was told it was getting cancelled. Plans change I guess. I prefer a monthly home to work so if another one shows up at the right time, I’m there.”
Still, “Beyond” remains under the radar of many Marvel fans, and Kolins hopes readers will check out the series, shipping later this year. “Well, Dwayne’s a great writer and I’m not too shabby in the art department. We have a great cast and plenty of cool surprises along the way. I think most of the books I’m involved with are of a category where you really get your money’s worth. The story (script and art) says something and can be read again and again. ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ and ‘Thor: Blood Oath’ have both been collected as hard covers. Oh and I came up with another fun cover theme – like the letter covers on ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ and the Nordic weave covers on ‘Thor: Blood Oath.’ Something I haven’t tried before, I think people will like it.”