Fridays on CBR mean Axel's In Charge.
Welcome to MARVEL A-I-C: AXEL-IN-CHARGE, CBR's regular interview feature with Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso!
An editor with years of experience who's overseen both critically acclaimed and best-selling comics, Alonso stepped into the top spot of Marvel's editorial department in early 2011, and has since worked to bring his signature stylings to the entire Marvel U. Anchored by regular question and answer rounds with the denizens of the CBR Community, each week Alonso will shake things up with special guest stars, exclusive art reveals and more!
With New York Comic Con in full swing, CBR turns the reins (mostly) over to your questions, straight from the CBR Community -- covering topics including the rise of solo series at Marvel, the impact of collected editions on the longevity on an ongoing series, plans for "Defenders," Namor the Sub-Mariner, Black Knight and more. Of course, even in the midst of a busy convention week, Alonso discusses the recently announced "Unbeatable Squirrel Girl" ongoing series starring the cult-favorite rodent-themed superhero -- plus "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" #1 and the latest reports surrounding the potential end of "Fantastic Four."
Albert Ching: Axel, we'll keep things a little briefer than usual since it's New York Comic Con week, but definitely have to start with this -- Marvel's doing a "Squirrel Girl" ongoing series. What can you share about how this surprising title, from writer Ryan North and artist Erica Henderson, came to be?
Â Axel Alonso: We've wanted to do a "Squirrel Girl" series for a while. It's clear there are a lot of readers out there that are starving for the kinds of stories she's unique to tell. It was just a matter of finding the right creative team, and we managed to find it. Ryan North and Erica Henderson both contributed to our recent "Original Sins" anthology series. Separate stories, but we liked what we saw.
This is Ryan North's first ongoing series at Marvel, but as noted he's done several shorter works in the past. What can you say about what he brings to the publisher as a writer of superhero stories? That's certainly something very different than what he came to prominence with, his popular web comic "Dinosaur Comics."
Alonso: It was Ryan's work on the "Adventure Time" comic series, where he's been delivering clever, fun, all-ages stories for a couple of years, that brought him to our attention. But it was his work on the five-part "Young Avengers" story for "Original Sins" that made us think he'd be a great fit for "Squirrel Girl." That, and the fact that he was raised by squirrels. We think Ryan and Erica have great chemistry and we're certain the series is in very good paws.
Moving to the other big piece of Marvel news from the week, "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" #1 by Rick Remender and Adam Kubert is now on sale, the first issue of that long-brewing story. You've now supervised multiple major Marvel in your nearly four years as editor-in-chief -- what were you particularly pleased with in how this first issue took shape?
Alonso: What's interesting about "AXIS" is that it wasn't pitched as an event. Originally, Rick pitched this as an arc of "Uncanny Avengers," but his ideas were so big, his setup was so intriguing, it got so much traction at an editorial summit, that it turned into full-blown event with line-wide ramifications. Rick tends to think big, and in this case, we said, go ahead and go even bigger. And the result is going to have fans' heads spinning. It's a wild ride and it's going to leave a few scars on the Marvel Universe.
Before we get to an extra-sized fan Q&A, I'd be remiss if I didn't ask about something from this past weekend that got a lot of people talking: a Hachette listing stating that "Fantastic Four" at least, temporarily, is ending in 2015. Can you confirm what Hachette has listed, and provide any further comment or insight into the book's near future?
Alonso: All I'll say is, anyone looking for information about the Fantastic Four should definitely check out -- or stay tuned for reports from -- the Axel-In-Charge panel this weekend at NYCC, Sunday at 12:15 p.m. James Robinson will talk a little bit about his plans.Â Heading over into reader questions from the CBR Community -- Owain is wondering about Marvel's first mutant, and asks, "Given this year is the 75th anniversary of Namor the Sub-Mariner (and Marvel), will there be an ongoing or mini-series for Marvel's first superhero?
Alonso: Afraid not, Owain. Namor's role in what's going on in the "Time Runs Out" storyline in "Avengers" and "New Avengers" makes it prohibitive to do another project with him at this time.
Then mrjinjin's asks a straightforward Dane Whiteman-related query -- "Are there any plans to use the Black Knight after his 'Avengers World' appearance?"
Alonso: Yes. Stay tuned.
MarvelMaster616 has been pondering solo titles: "These past couple of years have been a boon for solo titles. Cyclops, Storm, Magneto and Black Widow have all benefited greatly from their solo books in terms of quality and character development. Given this success, what other characters might be in line for a solo series? Is there any chance Mystique could get another solo series? I always had a soft spot for the work Brian K. Vaughan did with her in the early 2000s."
Alonso: Look for Mystique to have a starring role, alongside a few other Wolverine-related characters, in a new series being announced this weekend at NYCC.
MARVELous Memories has asked some version of this question for the past few weeks, and I don't think we've gotten to it yet: "Any plans for a new Defenders series?"
Alonso: We have plans, yes, but they're not what you think.
Fred Nunez is looking at the big picture, asking, "Word of the cancellation of 'X-Factor' has come -- the book seems to have had a big trade paperback following so I ask what role to trade sales hold in the fate of titles like this?"
Alonso: Pretty much everything is a factor when looking at the health of a title and its longevity -- trades sales being one of them. One of the questions that does arise, however, is whether or not a creative team could be deployed on a title or launch that has more of an impact on the line.
Then funeralthirst7 has one for the backlist folks -- "Any chance of seeing some of the Marvel magazines reprinted in full? I know parts of them have been reprinted due to the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' movie and the 'Tomb of Dracula' issues were in the omnibus (greatly appreciated by the way), but there are plenty of others that have not been reprinted. 'Rampaging Hulk,' 'Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu,' etc. A lot of those magazines are pretty scarce now."
Alonso: All the Hulk stories from the "Rampaging Hulk" and "Hulk" magazines were reproduced in "Essential Rampaging Hulk," Volumes 1 and 2. And the Moon Knight stories from those magazines were just reprinted in "Moon Knight Epic Collection: Bad Moon Rising." Also, a couple stories from "Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu" will be included as extra material in the upcoming "Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu" trade, collecting the recent miniseries, and we'll be reprinting the "Weirdworld" stories from Marvel Super Special and "Epic Illustrated" in the upcoming "Weirdworld" collection.Â No plans for the others right now, but a lot of those are in print in various forms.
Finally, we'll wrap fan Q&A for the week with street-level hero enthusiast Tyrell Archer: "Back in the '80s and '90s, Marvel experimented with non-superhero stories taking place in the Marvel Universe, like private investigators with 'Dakota North,' or sitcom fare with 'Damage Control.' Any similar plans for Marvel in the near future? I'd love to see an NYC police story as they deal with superhuman crime, etc."
Alonso: Funny you should ask, Tyrell. We have a couple things in this vein planned for 2015 after the reb--
Last from us -- any juicy hints you want to leave as to what to expect from Marvel going forward the Saturday and Sunday of New York Comic Con? With both "Cup O' Joe" and "Axel-In-Charge" panels on the schedule, it looks to likely be a newsworthy show.
Alonso: We have lots of big announcements. At Saturday's Cup O' Joe Panel, which is an NYCC classic, there's going to be at least one out-of-this-world announcement. Sunday's AIC panel will announce two new ongoing series, and feature panelists James Robinson, Charles Soule, Kieron Gillen, G. Willow Wilson, Gerry Duggan, Nick Spencer, Phil Noto, Ales Kot and a very special mystery guest. And fans won't want to miss Sunday's Women of Marvel panel either where we'll announce another exciting new series featuring a female hero whose Q-rating is off the stratosphere these days, written by a writer that I'm over the moon to be working with.
Have some questions for Marvel's AXEL-IN-CHARGE? Please visit the AXEL-IN-CHARGE Q&A thread in CBR's Marvel Comics community. It's the dedicated thread that CBR will pull questions for next week's installment of our weekly fan-supported question-and-answer column! Do it to it!