Fridays on CBR mean Axel’s In Charge.
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 Community, each week Alonso will shake things up with special guest stars, exclusive art reveals and more!
This week, Alonso — still basking in the afterglow of his hometown Golden State Warriors’ NBA Finals win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team’s first championship in 40 years — talks the long-delayed “Captain America: White” landing on Marvel’s schedule after more than seven years, and the enduring legacy of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. Alonso also shared his thoughts on the growing “Disney Kingdoms” line, this week’s new “Secret Wars”-related series — “Runaways,” “Thors” and “Squadron Sinister” — plus the recent delays that have hit the main “Secret Wars” series. All that and answers to your questions, direct from the CBR Community!
Albert Ching: So, have you been doing victory laps around your office the last couple of days since the Golden State Warriors won?
Axel Alonso: No victory laps around the office for me. I watched Game 6 at a hotel bar in Burbank, then flew back home the next day. Practically didn’t need a plane.
It must have been satisfying — first championship in 40 years!
Alonso: Hell yeah! I’ve been a Warriors fan since I was 6. I saw Rick Barry play live when I was little kid, developed a high arcing shot like World B. Free as a pre-teen, rode the BART countless time to see Run-TMC, cried when [Chris] Webber left. It’s been a long ride. To see this team — which plays such a selfless style of ball — win it all! Dream come true.
Speaking of being relieved — are you relieved, and I would imagine pleased and excited, that “Captain America: White,” after more than seven years, is finally coming out this fall?
Alonso: “Captain America: White” is one of those legendary, whispered-about books that a lot of us thought would never see the light of day. It wasn’t a 40-year wait, but some of the fans that were looking forward to reading it sure made it seem like it was. [Laughs] So yeah, seeing this series finally come out is very satisfying.
It’s been a while now since readers have seen Loeb and Sale together — a lot of current Marvel readers will likely be seeing their collaborative work for the first time.
Alonso: Loeb and Sale are a legendary team — that’s indisputable.
In more Marvel news from this week, it was announced that Marvel’s doing another “Figment” series in the Disney Kingdoms line — those books must be doing well for a “Figment” sequel to be on the way, and “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad” is coming out now. These are clearly different types of books for Marvel; do you see them reaching a different audience beyond the traditional Marvel readers? Is that part of the appeal for you?
Alonso: It sure is. The Disney Kingdoms line is part of our ongoing effort to grow the audience that reads comics. And based on fan response, they’re really being enjoyed by readers of all ages — from younger kids through adults. The Disney Parks fans are as passionate in their own right as traditional Marvel Comics fans, so the response to their beloved attractions and characters getting expanded backstories in these comics has been very enthusiastic. Working in partnership with the Disney Imagineers gives us a tremendous opportunity to craft unique stories that offer the type of family experience that Disney practically has the patent on. We actually learn a thing or two with each one we produce.
Let’s talk the new #1s from this week, as the “Secret Wars” series continue to roll out at a fast pace. We’ll start with the new “Runaways” #1 from Noelle Stevenson and Sanford Greene — since the last “Runaways” series ended, fans of the book waned to know when it would come back, and never gave up hope. What made “Secret Wars” the right time to bring the title back, and what made this the right take, since it’s different than what readers have seen before?
Alonso: What set the original “Runaways” apart is that it felt so new and fresh. So the idea of reviving that title with that same cast is tough, because it’s hard to make the return of something feel that new and fresh. Editor Wil Moss came up with the idea to call this new series “Runaways” because, while on the surface it’s pretty different from the original, at its core there are a lot of similarities — probably moreso than if we’d just reunited the original cast. And just like Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Noelle and Sanford bring an authentic voice to and a unique visual interpretation of these young characters and their world.
A unique one from this week is “Squadron Sinister,” from Marc Guggenheim and Carlos Pacheco. There have been a lot of different interpretations of the Squadron Supreme characters over the years, and this feels not entirely dissimilar to “Supreme Power” from 12 years or so ago, with a bit of a darker take and harder edge. What do you like about this take — or takes — on the Squadron Supreme?
Alonso: I’m a huge fan of the Squadron Supreme. They are dark and dangerous and deeply flawed, and the lines they’re willing to cross set them apart from every other super-team. They’re kind of like the anti-Avengers. [Laughs] “Squadron Sinister” — like all our “Secret Wars” tie-in stories — tells a huge story that sets up something big and permanent and very scary in the Marvel Universe. Marc and Carlos are also really making the most of “Secret Wars'” “all realities existing on one planet” premise and working in some very fun — and in some cases very obscure — characters into their story. We saw some of the New Universe and Shadowline characters in #1, and there’s more coming up.
Then there’s “Thors” #1 — Thors plural, of course — from Jason Aaron and Chris Sprouse. You’ve been a real supporter of what Aaron has done on “Thor” over the past couple of years. What intrigued you about how this book took shape, with a whole cast of Thors, acting as a peacekeeping force throughout Battleworld?
Alonso: “Thors” was one of the most organic stories to grow out of “Secret Wars.” At the editorial retreat where we first discussed the architecture of Battleworld, we got to asking, Who would police a universe as dark and crazy as Battleworld? Jonathan Hickman shot up his hand and said, “The Thors.” And that was that. I mean, who is more appropriate and capable of bringing law and order to Battleworld than an army of Thors?
And of course, we were thrilled to land Chris Sprouse for this series, as he’s able to so masterfully handle the scope of a book whose cast is made up entirely of larger-than-life gods. He and Jason are having a ball crafting this police procedural — just wait ’til you meet Thrr, the Dog of Thunder in #2!
Speaking of “Secret Wars,” the last couple weeks of shipping updates from Diamond have shown delays for a lot of the “Secret Wars”-related material. A lot of one or two-weeks delays for the companion books, and several weeks for the upcoming issues of the main series. How are those shifts viewed internally within Marvel?
Alonso: We want Esad [Ribic] to be the only artist on the core series, so we adjusted the shipping schedule so he can do just thatÂ and so we can present the best story possible for the fans. And in order to make the whole “Secret Wars” event line up across all the series, we adjusted some shipping schedules so we can present the story as it’s meant to be told. We’ve absolutely taken into account retailers and their bottom-line and we’ve done everything to make sure they are not negatively affected by this. In the long run, presenting the best story with a longer selling time should benefit everyone.
We’ll wrap with fan questions from the week — videofarmer asks about a famously yet-to-be-concluded story: “I’m wondering about the status of ‘SHIELD’ by Hickman and [Dustin] Weaver. A while back it was confirmed that the miniseries was still going to be completed. Is that still the case now that there is a different SHIELD comic on the racks and a show on ABC?
Alonso: Dustin is all done and the work is gorgeous. And since you’ve all waited so patiently, we don’t want to stutter step so close to the goal line. As soon as Jonathan Hickman gets the wiggle room to finish his part, it’ll be out as soon as humanly possible.
Then we’ll wrap with true_believer616, eager to here more about the Fantastic Four’s future: “We already known where Johnny and Ben will appear after ‘Secret Wars.’ What about Reed and Sue?”
Alonso: There are still five excellent issues of “Secret Wars” to come…
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!
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