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 brought out comics to both critical acclaim and best-selling status, Alonso stepped into the chair at the top of Marvel's Editorial department and since then has been working to bring his signature stylings to the entire Marvel U. Anchored by regular question and answer rounds with the denizens of the CBR Message Boards, each week Alonso will shake things up with special guest stars, exclusive art reveals and more!
This week, Axel opens the book on some ch-ch-ch-ch-changes coming to the Marvel Universe in the pages of its biggest titles. First, the Editor-in-Chief discusses Kieron Gillen and Dale Eaglesham's incoming "The Secret Origin of Tony Stark" and explains how it will and won't impact the Iron Man fans know and love. Then, he digs into Brian Bendis' current signature series to reveal what the events of this week's issue (spoiler's ahead) means for the fate of Miles Morales in "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man" as well as what Angel's defection means for the time-lost teens of "All-New X-Men." Plus, Alonso's picks for the NBA playoffs! Read on!
Kiel Phegley: Axel, this week comics folk are busy with C2E2, and there's some comics stuff to chat up here as well, but I thought we'd start with the NBA playoffs because we haven't talked basketball in a while. Predictions for the end of the season?
Axel Alonso: [Miami] Heat over [Oklahoma City] Thunder in 6. Evil triumphs over good. [Laughs] What's scary is the Heat has a second, maybe even third gear, and OKC lost the X-factor that could've made the difference: James Hardin. In the East, there's always the razor-thin chance that the [New York] Knicks could catch fire and shock the world -- they've got proven Heat-killers [Jason] Kidd and [Tyson] Chandler on their roster, and if J.R. Smith goes bonkers, who knows? -- but I wouldn't bet on it.
Of course, I'm rooting for the [Golden State] Warriors to win it all. [Harrison] Barnes' reverse dunk added two years to the end of my life. [Laughs]
Well if it's any consolation, I think the Bulls' choice to keep Derrick Rose out for the whole season has effectively killed Chicago's chance of making a run too.
Alonso: Yeah, but I think it's a wise move to sit Rose and wait until next year, and let him come back next season, fully healed. I was at Barclay's Center for Game 1 of the Chicago [Bulls]/Brooklyn [Nets] playoff series -- sat close enough to the court to see the spit coming out of [Bulls coach] Tom Thibodeau's mouth when he yelled at his players -- and those guys looked spent! They've had to persevere through a slew of injuries just to get here, so I thought it was kind of unfair. Just for ending the Heat's winning streak, they deserve a bench in NBA heaven. [Laughs]
That game was amazing.
Alonso: It looked like one of those physical late-'80s/early '90 playoff games -- you know, Pistons/Bulls or Bulls/Knicks. Hulk vs. Thing, drawn by Jack Kirby.
Well, like all good comics and movies, everyone loves a sequel, and I think it'd be fun for another Heat/Thunder Finals. We'll see.
Alonso: Look, any team is going to have to play out of its mind to beat the Heat, and it's probably going to need two true superstars to do so. LeBron [James] is playing at a sublime level. I don't think he warrants comparisons to [Michael] Jordan yet -- the kind made by sports pornographers that celebrate statistics over actual accomplishment -- but right now he's the best player in the league, which is amazing when you consider how well [Kevin] Durant has played.
Okay, let's get down to business on actual comics before the message board rebels against me. It seems we're at a point with Marvel NOW! where some of the creators are taking a chance to shake things up after establishing their core pitch. "Iron Man" is a good example. The incoming "Secret Origin of Tony Stark" arc promises to make some big revelations about Iron Man's past. How did Kieron Gillen sell you guys on a story with this focus?
Alonso: Kieron pretty much got the job on the strength of the ideas that drive "The Secret Origin of Tony Stark." Fact is, Iron Man joining the Guardians of the Galaxy just forced Kieron to wait a little bit to tell this story. And understand: When Kieron pitched this story, he had to run the gauntlet of the editorial summit so, rest assured, what he's crafted is a story that will be satisfying to the most continuity-minded reader. It's bound to cause debate, but Kieron definitely did his homework.
Whenever we get a story that makes claims like that, you're riding a fine line of what to change or keep or twist. Comics is littered with stories that tried to make changes to origins like that which failed miserably. In general, what do you look for in a pitch that redefines an origin that will prove its worth?
Alonso: Let's be clear about one thing: This story doesn't totally change Tony Stark's origin. It reveals a heretofore-unrevealed pocket in his origin that, shall we say, deeply illuminates who he is and his relationship with his mother and his father. It also introduces a major new character who'll be very important to Tony's future -- I can't emphasize enough how important. You will look at Tony very differently at the end of the story.
What do you look for in a pitch that redefines an origin? Honesty and extra effort in the research. If you're going to do something like this, you can't contradict what's held to be "canon" about the character, and you have to consider what it will subtract or add to the character down the road. If your story will lead to a well-spring of fascinating stories, you're onto something.
Of course, the challenge of shaking things up isn't just one people have to deal with when they're new comers to a franchise. I know this week, we saw a big shake-up to "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man" as Brian Bendis and company killed Miles Morales' mother. So many comics start out with "the parents die" and then send the hero on a path from there. Is this specific wrinkle that Brian has been wanting to get to for a while, and how will it directly impact the flow of the story?