CCI: Loeb and Alexander on "Shotgun Opera"

Every Wednesday, superstar writer Jeph Loeb and three of his fellow scribes on "Heroes" clear out of the writers' room for an hour (or two) and head to the comic book shop for their weekly buys.

And while two of the other writers, Aron Coleite ("Ultimate X-Men") and Joe Pokaski ("Secret Invasion: Inhumans"), could say they were doing homework for their writing gigs at Marvel, the third was there merely as a fan.

Until now.

Announced this past weekend at Comic-Con International in San Diego, "Heroes" Co-Executive Producer Jesse Alexander is writing a one shot that ties in directly to Loeb and Tim Sale's "Captain America: White." It features Sgt. Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos and its entitled, "Shotgun Opera."

The artist has yet to be named but Loeb called him a "terrific" choice.

"Captain America: White" is an untold tale of Cap and Bucky set during World War II that delves into the origin of the super soldier's best pal. Loeb, who pitched Alexander's original idea to Marvel Editor Mark Paniccia, told CBR News that a Nick Fury tie-in wasn't always on the books. "But once I knew that Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos would play a huge role in "Captain America: White," it sure seemed like a natural and Marvel agreed," said Loeb.

Alexander, who said he "begged" Loeb to hook him up with Marvel and called his friend "The Man" for landing him the gig, told CBR News that Sgt. Fury is one of his all-time favorite characters.

"The chance to write Fury, not as slick Nick, but as the kick butt Sgt. of World War II, is the opportunity of a life time," said Alexander, who continued by sharing a few details about the one-shot.

"'Shotgun Opera' sends Sgt. Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos deep behind enemy lines. They've been charged with infiltrating Nazi held Yugoslavia, locating a secret A-bomb factory and not engaging the enemy," Alexander begins. "As you can imagine, things don't go entirely as planned. Telling the Howling Commandos to avoid killing Nazis is like telling Paris Hilton to put on some underwear, and stop spending her inheritance. It just ain't happening."

He also teased, "I've got Fury, Dum Dum, Gabe, Dino, Izzy, Pinky, and Reb going full auto from panel one."

"Fury and the Howlers is the original band of brothers," continued Alexander. "A group of able bodied young men from very different walks of life that the winds of war have thrown together, fusing these strangers into a family. That's one of the great things about the characters Mr. Lee and Mr. Kirby created, they are truly American heroes - a group of relatable soldiers from different backgrounds, who put their differences aside to achieve a common goal, and serve the common good. Their example serves us well in these challenging times. Amen."

Alexander did write some of the "Heroes" comics but considers "Shotgun Opera" his official comic book debut.

An avid comic reader, Alexander shared a few of his favorite characters, writers and artists.

"I love Neal Adams era 'Batman' and old school 'Avengers.' Yellowjacket and The Vision were my faves. And Scarlet Witch was my first crush. Byrne/Claremont "X-Men" is classic, of course. I had them all up on the wall of my freshman dorm at boarding school.

"And I'm a big fan of Loeb's stuff, 'Challengers of the Unknown' being my favorite. James Robinson's 'Starman' is spectacular. And when I read Bendis' 'Goldfish,' I called my agent and told him he had to sign this guy. You read the rest of that story in Bendis' 'Fortune and Glory.' I loved 'Planet Hulk.' And I think David Aja draws Spectre better than anybody. And please know Paul Dini's take on 'Batman' suits me more than fine."

Loeb joked that this project is "Jesse's baby" and it's his fame and fortune alone that's on the line.

"So if it's a mess, it's his to clean up," laughed Loeb. "But it won't be. The story is fantastic."

Loeb said, like Alexander, he is sure to find more recruits in the writers' room at "Heroes," and added he won't stop until "we've taken over the Marvel U."

He also teased that following up on "Captain America: White," Daredevil: Yellow," "Spider-Man: Blue" and "Hulk: Gray," he already knew what his next color book series would but said it was too early to share.

Loeb quipped, "If I did, you'd have to get dragged to an island where you'd get eaten by a polar bear."

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