A Carey Little X-Mas: "Marvel Holiday Special" + "Wolverine: Firebreak"

'Tis the season for giving, and writer Mike Carey has two gifts for fans of his Marvel Comics work. First, on December 12, Carey and artist Nelson DeCastro have a six-page story featured in the Marvel Holiday Special 2007 anthology, and Carey and artist Scott Kollins' one-shot Wolverine: Firebreak hits stores one week later. CBR News spoke with Carey about both projects.

Penning a story for the Marvel Holiday Special has become sort of a tradition for Carey, and 2007 marks the third time he's worked on the project. What appeals to me about the holiday stories is you can come at them from any angle you like, Mike Carey told CBR News. From a narrative point of view, you can do things you wouldn't be able to do any other time. The two previous stories I did were told in verse. One was a music hall recital in the style of 'Twas Christmas Day in the Workhouse,' and the other one used Dr. Seuss-style rhyming couplets.

For his latest Marvel holiday tale, Carey has drawn inspiration from the 1967 Marvel humor title Not Brand Echh!  It's a rapid-fire story full of sight gags and silly one-offs, Carey explained. The story takes us on a little whistle stop tour of a lot of the odd corners and weird backwaters of the Marvel Universe.

The story stars a downtrodden and put upon feature writer for the Daily Bugle, Carey continued. He's been given a handful of hours to drag together a story on the meaning of Christmas and he's decided he's going to do this as a Q&A. He's going to go to all these superheroes and villains and other well known Marvel characters and ask them what they think the meaning of Christmas is.

Carey is very pleased with the way artist Nelson Decastro has brought to life all the holiday hi-jinks and yuletide yucks of his script. He uses a beautiful, fully rendered style that's very rich, Carey said. It really works because so much of the humor arises from the incidental details in the panels.

Wolverine: Firebreak is a decidedly more serious tale that finds the titular X-Man blinded and trapped in a raging forest fire. The story was born when editor Aubrey Sitterson asked Carey to submit ideas for a Wolverine one-shot. I always like Wolverine when he's kind of handicapped in some way, or given some interesting burden to bear, Carey stated. The deck will be stacked against him but he gets out from under anyway. Because it's not just his admantium skeleton and healing factor that makes him so dangerous, it's also the fact he's an infinitely resourceful, sly, and clever guy. You don't want to corner him because if you do you're going to wish you hadn't.

All of Wolverine's survival skills will be put to the test in Firebreak, because the inferno he's trapped in isn't a naturally occurring one. The fire didn't start at random and there's a reason why Logan's been blinded, Carey explained. It's because of the horrific toxins in the fire, which was started when an A.I.M. experiment got out hand.

Carey feels robbing Logan of his sight in Firebreak adds an extra dimension to the story. Wolverine is the ultimate loner but suddenly has to rely on other people here, Carey said. His other senses can fill in some of the gaps but there will be a family of three innocent civilians, a husband, his wife and their little daughter, acting as his eyes. I've used the father as the narrator and the events of the story change his life. When we meet him there's this external crisis, the fact they're trapped in a forest fire. But there's an internal crisis as well. His marriage is falling apart for what seems to be a very good reason -- his infidelity. You add Wolverine to this very volatile situation and he becomes the catalyst for a variety of changes, some of them obvious and some less so.

'Firebreak' is a pretty intense and fast paced story but there's an emotional dimension to it as well, Carey continued. There are some interesting relationships. Like the recent 'Wolverine Annual,' this story looks at the impact of Wolverine on other people's lives. That's always a fertile ground and it adds some depth and power to the story.

Carey feels the power of Wolverine: Firebreak has been enhanced by the way Scott Kollins has brought the story to life. His art for this story is both visceral and visually powerful, Carey stated. I think Scott handled the emotional beats brilliantly. There's a fight between Wolverine and a bear -- only a couple of pages, but it really hits you in the eyes. It's beautiful stuff.

Wolverine: Firebreak and his Marvel Holiday Special story proved to be great fun for Carey, and the writer hopes fans enjoy both stories because he'd love to do similar tales in the future. I hope I'm still doing stories for 'The Marvel Holiday Special' when I'm 60, and I hope Marvel will continue to do one-shot style Wolverine stories, Carey said. Because at some point I'd love to come back for another crack at the character.

Now discuss this story in CBR's Marvel Comics forum.

Cosplay photog michael benedict
Prominent Cosplay Photog Allegedly Admits to Using Changing Room Spycams

More in Comics