ECCC: Marvel Digital Hungers for Wolverine

Earlier today at the Pint O' C.B. panel at Seattle's Emerald City ComiCon, Marvel Comics announced a new digital project featuring everybody's favorite Canucklehead from writer Karl Bollers ("Emma Frost") and artist Stephen Segovia ("Might Avengers").

"Wolverine: Hunger," online April 22, follows up on Barry Windsor-Smith's classic Logan tale, "Weapon X," which finally revealed details of the Experiment X project, long-hinted at since Wolverine's first appearance in 1974. The story explained how adamantium was bonded to Wolverine's skeleton, thus making him indestructible, and also delved into the horrific brainwashing he suffered in a successful attempt to bring out his inner animal.

It should also be noted that "Wolverine: Hunger" launches a week out from the debut of 20th Century Fox's highly-anticipated "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" movie. So the timing for Wolvie fans couldn't be better.

CBR News chatted with Bollers and Segovia about the project, and discovered a creative team well versed in the world of Wolverine.

CBR: Karl, "Wolverine: Hunger" was announced as a "silent' issue," which presumably means no words. How do you write a comic book with no words?

Karl Bollers: When I first broke into comics, one idea quickly impressed upon me was that comics are a visual medium more so than a literary one. This is in no way meant to lessen the contribution of writers, but I remember an editor showing me a copy of a penciled Jack Kirby "Fantastic Four" page without the word balloons or sound effects. What I remember most about that page was that even though it was missing Stan Lee's dialogue, the storytelling was absolutely brilliant, packed with so much visual info in each panel you knew very clearly what was going on. In effect, it was a "silent" comic. The dialogue could only serve to enhance the experience. As a matter of fact, Marvel did an experiment several years back, called 'Nuff Said, where all the issues published that particular month were silent.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that if the storytelling is approached clearly, any comic can technically function as "silent," though for this particular Wolverine story, we couldn't help but include a signature sound effect closely associated with the character. And diehard fans should have no problem figuring out what that sound effect is.

Were you familiar with Barry Windsor-Smith's original "Weapon X" storyline before signing on to this project?

KB: Oh, sure. I consider "Weapon X" to be one of the definitive and best Wolverine stories ever published. [In that book,] Windsor-Smith is at the top of his game. The writing is impressive, the art is phenomenal and the colors, which were done in the old, pre-computer separation "cut" style common to comics back then, are exquisite. It was the first time we, as fans, got a detailed look at exactly how the adamantium was put into Logan's body and who was responsible. Creepy, to say the least. It's been close to twenty years since this story was originally published and it still holds up.

You will no doubt be featuring Wolverine in "Hunger," but who else will we see from X-Men lore in this Weapon X story? Sabretooth?

KB: I don't want to give away too much, but I will say one thing. Logan definitely finds himself outnumbered by the opposition.

What do you love about Wolverine?

Stephen Segovia: I love his aggressiveness and fierceness. I love those hacking-and-slashing popping claws. I wish I had a set, too.

KB: I love that Logan was the original comic book bad boy coming out of the 1970s, the decade that gave rise to the anti-hero. He's Dirty Harry, Deathwish and Popeye Doyle with claws. He was 'grim and gritty' before the phrase was even coined, starting a trend that, for better or worse, hasn't let up.

At eight-pages, you can't give too much away but what can you share about the story?

KB: "Hunger" is a very personal story that anyone can relate to, if you hadn't guessed from the title. It takes place during the period after Logan receives his adamantium implants and escapes the Weapon X facility. The trauma from the adamantium bonding process causes him to revert to a feral state and he's roaming Canada's Northwest Territories. We show that Wolverine, a character that many view as near invincible, due to his mutant healing factor, is still vulnerable on a very human/animal level. He has certain basic needs the same as you or I...the question is how far he's willing to go to see that those needs are met. Ultimately, this is a story about character and the choices we make. How we act when faced with uncertain odds. It's a silent story, but I like to think it "says" a lot about who Logan is at his core.

Stephen, how do you describe your art style on this project?

SS: My style on this project is heavy detailed line art. The story is very visual, since this project has no dialogue. I put lots attention on the rendering, like making the focal point of the art very clear. It's like drawing storyboards for commercials.

There aren't a lot of other characters in this one, but I loved drawing every detail of the story, especially Logan, while he's slashing and popping up his claws.

Is it exciting to be working on this project on the eve of the "Wolverine" movie being released?

KB: Totally. Believe it or not, I came up with the idea for this story thirteen years ago. Marvel didn't have a venue for eight-page stories at the time, so I held off on submitting the pitch for a very, very long time. Several months back, John Cerilli, Marvel's Digital Media VP, asked me to submit a short story for the website and "Hunger" immediately came to mind. John really dug the idea, so I guess it's true what they say, "timing is everything."

SS: Yes, I'm very excited. I'm just lucky because of all the great artists at Marvel, I was chosen to do this project, and it comes out on the eve of the Wolverine movie. Thanks, John [Cerilli].

Is this considered a prelude to the movie?

KB: No, it's not. "Hunger" is set in Marvel Comics' continuity.

Is it any different working on a digital comic versus a printed one?

KB: They're no different in terms of the creative process, but as far as the finished product goes, a digital comic has the potential to be seen by millions of readers as opposed to just hundreds of thousands.

SS: I think they are just the same, the only difference with this story is there's no dialogue and I can't get a copy of it.

If "Wolverine: Hunger" proves popular, are you both game to a follow-up and beyond?

KB: Definitely. Stephen really knocked it out of the park on this one and any opportunity to collaborate with him again would be awesome.

SS: That's a big "Yes." I enjoyed working on Karl's story and I love to draw Wolverine.

"Wolverine: Hunger" goes online April 22 from Marvel Comics.

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