MARVEL T&A: Architecture & Avengers Recruiting

It's Friday! Why not wrap your week with a little T&A!

CBR News is back again to present an open and honest Q&A with Marvel Comics Vice President Executive Editors Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso for our regular column: MARVEL T&A! Aside from being the minds behind the biggest franchises at the House of Ideas, the pair have taken the reins of the editorial staff on a day-to-day basis since the many changes that have upped the profile of both Marvel and the company's senior staff in the past year. So who better to look inside the halls of Marvel and make some memorable reader Q&A?

Each Friday, in addition to our regular CUP O' JOE installments, CBR presents a new interview with the T&A duo covering everything Marvel Comics. This week Tom and Axel expand further on the recent "Marvel Architects" promotion that promised big ideas and new books from the likes of Brian Bendis, Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker, Jason Aaron and Jonathan Hickman. Then, in our fan Q&A portion, reader get answers to their questions on the Avengers franchise including what characters will and won't get drafted into the books as well as who will come on to "New Avengers" after Stuart Immonen departs. Plus! A key piece of info on the upcoming Bendis/Alex Maleev "Moon Knight" series is revealed. Read on!

Kiel Phegley: Gents, this week saw a new wave of Marvel promotion hit the web with your incoming "The Architects" branding for some of the top writing talent at the company. We've see Marvel do this kind of thing before, but the difference here - and not to be too cynical out the gate - is that you seem to be promoting talent everyone already knows about. As one of my colleagues was saying earlier in this week, what exactly makes The Architect's promotion something other than "Here we are promoting some guys that we've already promoted a lot"?

Axel Alonso: None of the guys on that list suffer from a low profile, [Laughs], but every once in a while we feel the need to shine a spotlight on creators that are deserving of attention for exactly how much they're contributing to the Marvel Universe: the Young Guns initiative and Right Stuff initiative to showcase stars on the rise, etc. In this case, we're highlighting five writers - all of whom write at least two or more big monthlies - who are major contributors to the shaping the Marvel U as you know it.

Obviously, whenever we do something like this, there will be debates about who else could have been on the list - you could argue till the cows come home. That's why they call them lists. Jeph Loeb, Daniel Way, Dan Slott, Rick Remender, Greg Pak, Andy Diggle are all wonderful writers who make major contributions to the Marvel U.

I'm always interested in how you guys coordinate some of this big, universe-affecting stuff considering you may only work with one or two of them on a monthly basis - you with Jason, Tom with Ed and Brian, etc. Since their plans are so important to what's coming from Marvel, do you coordinate mostly with them at the regular summits, or are you in touch with writers whose books you're not hands on with?

Alonso: As writers of core books like "Avengers," "Uncanny X-Men" and "Fantastic Four," yes, all of these guys are regular attendees of the editorial summits. They're in the "war room" three to four times a year with me and Tom and the rest of the editors, participating in debates about future story lines. So we're well aware of what they're doing, their workloads, and the marketing opportunities presented by their stories. Currently, I only directly edit Jason on one title - "PunisherMAX" - but I read and consult on most all of his scripts. We always have optics on what these guys are up to and do our best not to work them to death. [Laughs]

Well, one of the key pieces to this Architects release was that for each writer, aside from listing their ongoing assignments we also got a tease for additional monthlies or special events in the offing. Will all these series be working together some how for a larger purpose?

Alonso: I can't get into specifics, but I will say that each of the writers was chosen on three criteria: their baseline talent and relevance to the Marvel Universe, the volume of work that they're currently doing, and the fact that they all have one big future project in the near future.

The last thing to ask on this is that the release hinted a second wave of the promotion coming up focusing on some artists. Can we assume these guys are artists who are working with the Architects or guys who will have their own impact on the look of Marvel moving forward?

Alonso: As always with Marvel, it's not a good idea to assume anything. Similar to the writers that are our Architects, the artists will be creators that have a hand in the developing the look, feel and tone of the Marvel Universe. These are the guys that are working on projects that lay the foundation of the MU but also are propelling us forward as far as style and storytelling.

Kiel Phegley: Elflore had this to share: "I thought Doctor Voodoo's promotion to Sorcerer Supreme was a great, bold move. I really appreciated that Marvel was bringing a little more diversity into the hero A-List. I was pretty disappointed, therefore, by Voodoo's fate in "New Avengers #6." Was this always the plan for Voodoo, from back when he was first promoted? Or is the Sorcerer Supreme just being reset to the classic variation? Stephen Strange is a great character, but it was nice to see one of Marvel's non-white-dude heroes enjoying some time in the spotlight."

Tom Brevoort: It wasn't our original intention when we first promoted him to Sorcerer Supreme, Elflore. But sometimes, the stories that we're working on change and grow and adapt while we work on them, and in this case, this is where we've ended up. But the Sorcerer Supreme position isn't being reset to its traditional position - right now, there is no Sorcerer Supreme in our dimension, which is sure to cause some problems down the line. Not to mention the fact that Daniel Drumm is still out there, nursing a blood-grudge against the New Avengers...

Next, Fluffy6079 asked, "My wife and I are both Ms. Marvel fans and we were wondering if there are any plans for her other than in New Avengers. I'm glad Bendis has decided to keep her around, but it seems like since she joined the team she's sort of just been a background character. Are there any plans to try to re-elevate her to where she was just after Civil War? Seems like with Steve Rogers in charge and with her military experience, Avengers leadership experience, and heading up Project: Lightning Storm she'd be a shoe-in for something!"

Brevoort: Sadly, Fluffy, with Ms. Marvel's solo series having come to a close, she's likely not going to be as prominent within the Marvel U as she had been when she was headlining a title. But she'll still be a part of "New Avengers" and will be getting some play in another project we've got coming up in the early months of 2011. It's funny, though - no matter which Avenger you point to, there are fans who'll tell you that they're not getting enough of a spotlight within the series. It just goes to show that there are fans of all of these characters, and that nobody is quite satisfied with the amount of exposure their personal favorites are receiving.

Questioner supreme Spidey616 has obviously been watching the news of late, because he had two questions spurred by recent chats with Marvel creators. First, he asked, "A while back Bendis mentioned he'd be bringing Echo back into one of his Avengers books. Curious if he meant "Adjectiveless" or "New" and when we can expect to see the character again?"

Brevoort: See? Even the characters that aren't in the book anymore are getting into the act! Spidey, I know Brian has spoken about wanting to get back around to Echo at some point, but we just haven't gotten there quite yet. And I think it'd be premature to point to one title or another specifically - why spoil the surprise this far out? Sorry - wish I had better news to throw your way.

Then, he wondered, "In a recent interview Stuart Immonen mentioned a possible Marvel project replacement gig in regards to why he wasn't drawing February's New Avengers. Is Immonen indeed leaving New Avengers, if so is a new ongoing artist in place?"

Brevoort: All right, here's a question for which I can give you some actual information (though likely not every single answer you'd want - have to save something for next week, after all!) Yes, "New Avengers" #7 is Stuart's last for the time being, as he moves on to another project that's even bigger than "New Avengers"! What could be bigger than "New Avengers," you ask? Maybe we'll tell you more next week! In any event, "New Avengers" #8 will be illustrated by Daniel Acuña, and then the next story arc, running from #9-13, will be drawn by Mike Deodato and Howard Chaykin. The storyline takes place in two separate timeframes, and contains some catastrophic revelations about the past! Four words: Nick Fury, Nazi Hunter!

pharoahe22 was one of a few folks talking about how much Wolverine product there is when he asked, "Wolverine's my favorite character, so naturally I laughed at the recent joke on the Superhero Squad cartoon about his thousands of team-ups. There are a few no-brainers though that we haven't really seen yet. I was wondering what were the chances of getting a WOLVERINE/ARES team-up and a WOLVERINE/MOON KNIGHT team-up, either in Wolverine's main book or in some kind of series. Just think about how amazing Wolverine vs. Ares would be, by Jason Aaron, Oeming, & Garney, Segovia, or Yu...or a Huston-penned Wolverine/Moon Knight book drawn by Opena."

Alonso: Last time I saw Ares, his guts were strewn across a two-page spread, so it might take a while before he's ready to team up with Wolverine again. As for Moon Knight, I guess that comes down to what Bendis has planned for the character in the future. I certainly wouldn't' object to him teaming up with Logan.

Brevoort: I can guarantee you that you'll see a Moon Knight/Wolverine team-up in an early issue of Moon Knight's new series, pharaoh - but in a very unique, very different way.

TherapyPlease had this to share: "Hey guys got two questions about two characters I love...I have to say that Jeff Parker is doing an amazing job on Thunderbolts and Hulk. With the recent removal of Crossbones from the team, I got worried that it may be possible that one of my favorite characters was also going out the door. I think Parker writes Juggernaut great, having him walk the line of villain and hero perfectly in this prison environment, any idea if Juggernaut is here to stay, and if so, is he getting a story arc focused on him anytime soon?"

Brevoort: No plans to remove Juggernaut from "Thunderbolts" any time soon, Therapy! I'm not sure that Juggy will be getting a focused story arc in "T-Bolts" in the near future necessarily - but he will be playing a substantial role in something big we've got coming your way in 2011! What could be bigger than "Thunderbolts"? Sounds like the kind of thing that Stuart Immonen would draw exceedingly well. Hmmm...

He continued, "And my second question is, with Venom returning in the pages of Amazing Spider Man in a few months, and with Carnage getting his own mini series for his return, any chance Toxin could show up at all? I feel like Toxin has a very unique vibe in the Marvel universe and that an on-going or even mini series about him and other symbioses would be great. I would love to learn more about the symbiotes and their home world and I'm sure other people would be interested too."

Alonso: I think this is a question for the new Spider-Man editor, Steve Wacker... Steve?

Steve Wacker: I love Toxin...a lot.

Following up from last week, ian33407 suggested, "Don't you think the MAX imprint would actually be perfect for such characters like MIDNIGHT SONS, BLADE, DEATHLOK, DAZZLER, CLOAK AND DAGGER, WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, DARKHAWK, 2099 ...?"

Alonso: DazzlerMAX? Hmmmmm. I like it.

Creatively speaking, yes. The MAX imprint gives creators extra latitude to play with any character. In fact, you might recall that years ago we did MAX versions of both "Blade" and "Werewolf By Night," along with Master of Kung Fu, Nick Fury and Howard The Duck. That said, in today's market, when so many readers seem to place a premium on stories "counting," we have to strategize carefully when resurrecting a B-list character - however cool or loved they might be - because, well, we want people to buy it. So with a character like Blade, for instance, it's probably a safe bet he'll pop up next in the Marvel Universe, possibly playing some role in our plans for Dracula and the Vampire Nation. With Dazzler? Let's wait and see...

Finally, FiddleFaddle was after the status of a Marvel artist, asking, "Any chance we might see more J.M. Kim Niimura on a Marvel title?"

Alonso: Sure. I don't see why not. With the right project. He's got a very arresting style.

Have some questions for Marvel T&A? Please visit the CUP O' Q&A thread in CBR's Marvel Universe forum. It's now the dedicated thread for all connections between Board Members and the Marvel staff that CBR will pull questions for next week's installment of our weekly fan-generated question-and-answer column! Do it to it!

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