CCI: Marvel Comics unleashes "Ender's Game"

"Ender's Game," considered one of the most influential science fiction novels of the past quarter century - the original 1985 novel earned author Orson Scott Card two of science fiction's most prestigious awards: the Hugo and the Nebula - will be released as a six-issue miniseries by Marvel Comics beginning in October.

Set in 2135, "Ender's Game" tells the story of young Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, who is humanity's best chance to defend the planet from an alien attack by Formic race, known more commonly as Buggers. The book spawned eight sequels and nine short stories and Card himself is on the record as stating at least two more novels are planned.

The miniseries adaptation of "Ender's Game," written by rising star Christopher Yost ("X-Force"), features pencils by the sensational Spanish artist Pasqual Ferry ("Ultimate Fantastic Four" and "Ultimate Iron Man").

Long in gestation as a feature film, fans of the novel have been anxious to see the 'Enderverse' presented in a visual medium. They need wait no more. Today at Comic-Con, Marvel released a first look at the art for the series.

Like Marvel, Ferry has a history with Card, as he provided art for Card's first foray into comics, "Ultimate Iron Man." Ferry said the two talked about everything from life to comics while working together on the high-profile project, but conversations always returned to his love of Card's "Ender" books.

"I'm a fan, a big fan. So talking with him was one of the best experiences that I have had working on comics so far," Ferry told CBR News. "When talk of the adaptation started, Orson sent a lot of explanations and details about environments, outfits ships. It was a nice work of discovery and creativity between [Editor] Nick [Lowe], Orson and me."

Ferry said "Ender's Game" is rich with quality ideas and concepts, giving the artist plenty to explore and develop when bringing the book to life visually. He gushed, "The human feelings of the characters and his interrelatedness of the work, the incredible quality of the story, the Battle Room action sequences..."

Ferry said Card actually sent him a picture of "a kid," who he thought captured the look of Ender. "I did a mixture between these pictures and my stylized version," revealed Ferry.

As for the design of the big, bad Buggers, Ferry said, "It was talk, talk, talk and draw. In any case I had a very clear image of the Buggers in mind and they were very close to what Orson wanted."

Editor Nick Lowe told CBR News that while the publisher already has an excellent relationship with Card, it was the author's decision to not write the adaptation himself.

"This was Orson's choice, actually," offered Lowe. "Having written 'Ender's Game,' all the other Ender books, and in working to adapt it to film, he thought himself too close to the material."

Lowe said after Card passed, he wanted to pick someone who could 'see' "Ender's Game" as comic book.

"Chris has made a huge impact on the Marvel U in his short time working with us and has proven himself as one of the best new writers in the business, so he was my first choice on it," said Lowe. "Orson read some of his work, agreed, and that was that."

Yost told CBR News he had more than a passing knowledge of the source material before taking on the project, "I am a huge fan. 'Ender's Game' is a classic. Although I never thought I'd end up being as familiar with it as I am now."

"It's funny, because when you read the book, it's very in the now, and then you go back and realize that there are tidbits of information that paint the future history of the Enderverse, as some call it, that's pretty cool - the first and second invasions, how they changed the world from politics to culture to how many children you can have. It's all background, but it dictates everything."

While science fiction has a history with dark and brooding chosen ones (see Skywalker, Anakin), Yost said Ender's inherent goodness makes him a joy to write.

"Another character in the novel says it best, Ender is a good kid. And he's got a good heart. He's got the potential to save the world, and all of humanity. So they have to crush that goodness out of him. There's every reason in the world for Ender to be bad. What's great about Ender is that he is good, in stark contrast to his brother."

Ender's older brother Peter is revealed as a somewhat ruthless character that will do anything he needs to do to succeed in the first book of the series.

Yost, who hasn't spoke with Card about the project, explained, "I've really trusted the original work. My job is to put the book on the page as a script, to structure it in a visual way specific to this medium, and in an episodic fashion. That being said, Pasqual has a lot more decisions to make than I do. Ha, ha!"

Lowe said the story of "Ender's Game" coming to comics is almost as epic as the book itself. "It mainly centers around the fact that Orson just recently got the comic rights to the book back. As for why Marvel, it mainly had to do with the relationship. I'm a huge 'Ender's Game' fan and I went after Orson six years ago to try and get him to write comics. We worked (together) on 'Ultimate Iron Man,' and became friends, as well."

"In the end, I may be biased, but Marvel is making the best comics in the industry right now. There's no better place to do it."

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