Preview THE YOUNG ELDERS TALE by Gabriel Frizzera and Luke Ross!

Marvel Contest of Champions” gets back to its comic book roots with a comic of its own, THE YOUNG ELDERS TALE, by Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and artist Luke Ross. We reached out to the dynamic duo to chat about their new comic and to figure out what the Collector and Grandmaster got up to during the formative years of their immortality.

Marvel.com: Gabe what is going on with this new comic, THE YOUNG ELDERS TALE, you created with Luke Ross?

Gabriel Frizzera: This is a very special initiative for us. Around 130 million people have downloaded MCOC, and millions of these come back every single day to play, and follow our storyline. As our little “Contest of Champions Universe” becomes more complex, we are always looking to create more avenues of storytelling for the game beyond the in-game dialogue, cutscenes and motion comics we create every month.

The first of these avenues is called THE YOUNG ELDERS TALE, a short comic written by myself and drawn by Marvel artist Luke Ross, and integrated to our January quest. Now that the “MCOC” universe is established, it’s a good idea to bring outside collaborators to add their voices to the mix, as it’s the modus operandi of successful fictional universes like the Marvel universe, Star Wars, and others. It’s also part of our mission as Marvel geeks to convert more players into comic readers, and make them invested in the beautiful tapestry of Marvel continuity!

Marvel.com: The team has packed quite a bit of story and lore into “Marvel Contest of Champions,” especially for a mobile game. Where do you see narrative fitting into the “MCOC” package?

Gabriel Frizzera: Contest of Champions has always been strongly focused on story. Three years into the game, we have developed our own continuity, creating monthly one-shots focused on different characters. We also have a “mainline” story that started in 2014, and continues to this day. We collaborated with Marvel to create the Contest of Champions comic, and characters that exist in both the comic and game universes. Part of the job is to look to the past and future of this universe, and fill the narrative gaps. “Young Elders Tale” goes back millions years back in time to tell an origin tale for both the Battlerealm and the cosmic Elders running the Contest of Champions.

Marvel.com: And let’s talk a little about THE YOUNG ELDERS TALE. Where did it come from? What are you trying to do through exploring the relationship between the Collector and the Grandmaster?

Gabriel Frizzera: The plot of the story basically follows the beginnings of the relationship of the Collector and the Grandmaster, when they were young and were still looking for their Elder “vocations”, i.e. they didn’t have “jobs” as Collector and Grandmaster yet. They had a brotherly relationship, and explored the Battlerealm together, along the Collector’s daughter, Carina. But something tragic happens that makes them have a falling out. It’s a tale never fully explored in the main 616 continuity, so I felt it was story worth to be told… and we’re in a unique position to do it, since we’ve been using these character as part of our game for some time now.

The Elders of the Universe are a fascinating bunch to me. Official lore says they are immortal and dedicate eternity to one single pursuit, and that keeps them alive. It all seems very cosmic, but in fact I think it relates to regular people’s lives. When we’re young, we usually have every step of our future planned; but then life happens, and we often end up becoming very different people, with different professions and pursuits. When we look back, it almost looks like we had no choice at all in the matter. As you’ll see in the story, the Collector and the Grandmaster are very naive people when they enter their adventure together, before their journey forces them onto different paths.

Gabriel Frizzera’s original concept of the young Collector and young Grandmaster

Marvel.com: It had to be a blast working with Luke Ross. What was it like seeing him turn your words into pictures?

Gabriel Frizzera: I have always been a fan of Luke’s works, as an artist and fellow Brazilian. He was one of the pioneers in my country, showing to an entire generation of developing comic artists that we could realize our dreams of drawing our favorite comics for Marvel. His drawings are so effortless, and improved my words in every way. Luke makes the characters slowly evolve, from innocent explorers to jaded Elders, by making them more realistic, page by page, which I thought it was a genius move. The collaboration was so fruitful that we are considering creating more cool stories in the near future!

Luke Ross: Thank you for your generous words, my friend! Working together on a comic was something that we both were eager to realize, I am very glad that we finally could make that happen. I am very satisfied with the great comic our partnership resulted, and I also have to say that a big part of the success is due to the superb work you did on the colors!

Marvel.com: And Luke, this comic doesn’t give you quite the same dimensions as a full book might. How’d you adapt to the smaller space you had to work with, especially knowing this would be read on player’s mobile devices?

Luke Ross: Since the time Gabriel invited me to join him on this comic, I thought this as a regular comic book. I didn’t give too much importance to the dimensions, actually. Only later when he sent me the specs that I realized it would be much smaller than the comics I usually draw. I suggested to Gabriel we work on a size that could allow us to have a printed version as well. He approved the idea, and this way I could work on the same size and resolution that I do on a regular comic, permitting it can be reduced to fit the proper mobile resolution. The only difference that I had to get used to quickly was the orientation of the pages. The history itself was easy to draw, it was pure fun. Gabriel gave me freedom to play with my style according to the events that lead up to the final page.

Marvel.com: I gotta ask then, are these kinds of comics the new normal for “Contest of Champions”?

Gabriel Frizzera: We sure hope so! Since this initiative was so well-received by the fans, we’re already planning the next in-game comics. There are many corners of the Contest of Champions universe that we want to shine a light on, and these short stories are the perfect complement to lighter narrative tools like in-quest dialogue and regular cutscenes. Our plan is to invite a roster of talented people to play in our playground, and see what crazy ideas and visuals they can come up with!

Marvel.com: Is there anything else that we need to know about the Elders, the comic, or what’s coming next for “Marvel Contest of Champions”?

Gabriel Frizzera: The Elders storyline is the beginning of the end of our first major story arc, which started in 2015. We’ll cross it over with our massive Infinity War event, wrap all that up in Act 6, then there’ll be a major change in status quo for the Contest of Champions… that’s all I can reveal for now!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews and follow us on Twitter @MarvelGames!

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'Black Panther' arrives in theaters February 16!

Be a king among men!

Enter for a chance to win* a private screening of Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” for you and up to 100 friends! Visit DisneyMovieRewards.com for more information.

Don’t wait! You have until February 9 to enter.

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to Disney Movie Rewards Members who are legal residents of the US/DC (excld. ND & SD) 13 years and older only. Must live within 50 miles of a Regal Cinemas® Theatre location. Sweepstakes starts 1/17/18, ends 2/9/18. For Official Rules, including complete eligibility, odds, free method of entry, and prize description, click HERE.

Get your tickets now for “Black Panther” and stay tuned for even more royal action in the coming days and weeks!

“Black Panther” hits theaters February 16! While you await the King, follow @theblackpanther on Twitter and like Black Panther’s official Facebook page!

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Jason Aaron sounds a death knell for The Mighty Thor!

As Mangog rampages through Asgardia, Thor—the last hope for the innocent lives at risk—lies dying from a cancer that has brought her body to the brink.

Jane Foster, faced with the responsibility of her heroic mantle and the sickness that it exacerbates, can see the end on the horizon. And as “The Death of the Mighty Thor” story arc continues, we can too. Today, issue #703 of writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman’s MIGHTY THOR sets a grave course of events in action—and on February 21, issue #704 escalates the situation entirely.

We caught up with Aaron for an expansive two-part interview about the climax of this iconic series.

Marvel.com: Now that “The Death of the Mighty Thor” arc has begun, what’s going on in Jane’s head?

Jason Aaron: Well, in issue #702, we saw Odinson confront her and point blank tell her that she’s got to stop. He’s one of the few people who knows her secret and knows what being Thor is doing to her, so he directly confronted her and she seemed to understand and relent. But by the end of the book she had collapsed, so…as to what she’s facing and where her mind’s at, I think you’ll have to see issue to issue.

I will say that issue #703, directly and specifically lays out what her situation is, what her health looks like, and what that means going forward. By the next issue, the decision she faces is very clear.

Marvel.com: As a quick catch-up, what events have been leading to this moment in MIGHTY THOR?

Jason Aaron: Well, Jane Foster’s been Thor for the last two years or so and that whole time she’s been fighting some of the biggest, craziest enemies from around the various realms—most importantly Malekith the Accursed, who’s at the center of a War of the Realms that’s created chaos across the landscape.

So at the same time Thor’s been dealing with all of that, she’s had cancer as Jane Foster and the two kind of spiral together; being Thor is making her condition worse. See, every time she transforms into Thor, it neutralizes the cancer treatments she’s been receiving. And when she goes back to being Jane she’s worse than before. Jane knows all this, but she continues to pick that hammer up because somebody’s got to. Somebody has to do that job and try to stop this War of the Realms from spreading to every realm.

So she’s been dealing with all that, and then in issue #700—the beginning of this whole arc—the Mangog showed up. Mangog is one of the original Stan Lee and Jack Kirby villains and one of my favorite Thor villains.

Marvel.com: And even War Thor couldn’t stop him.

Jason Aaron: Right, he beat the crap out of War Thor. He defeated War Thor and tore the hammer apart.

Marvel.com: So what does the Mangog want?

Jason Aaron: The Mangog hates the gods and wants vengeance against them because he was born when Odin slaughtered an entire alien race. The Mangog exists as sort of the combined rage and hate of all those billion, billion beings channeled into one monster, out for justice. It’s come for revenge many times over the years and gets defeated, but always somehow comes back stronger than he was before.

We talked in issue #701 a little bit about why that is, what fuels the Mangog, and how he’s become a bigger thing than just a means of vengeance against Odin for that original sin…he’s sort of become a bigger force of nature, a cosmic judgment against all the gods. It remains ambiguous whether he’s justified in that vengeance or not, though, and very much ties into the themes going back to my first arc on the book and that initial idea: “Are the gods really worthy?”

Marvel.com: It’s so amazing that the thematic seeds of this finale were planted so long ago. Did you have the big story events planned from the very beginning or did they evolve organically over time?

Jason Aaron: Oh, I’ve known for years that the Mangog was coming. I always had plans to use him from the get-go and, if you go back over the course of my whole run, you’ll see references and teases to the Mangog going back several years. I’ve always known we were building towards that and I’ve known from the beginning of the Jane Foster Thor story that her story was building towards this very specific moment.

Marvel.com: What inspired your choice to bring the book to this point?

Jason Aaron: I mean, when I first started working on MIGHTY THOR, the first thing I did was sit back down and read those first Lee and Kirby issues from the very beginning. I think a lot of what I’ve done—the toys I’ve played with—has come from those issues. You know, I’d never read a lot of those stories before and the Mangog was one of the first things to jump out to me.

I wasn’t a huge THOR fan at first, if you can believe it.

Marvel.com: Really?!

Jason Aaron: I mean, I knew the Walter Simonson stuff, but that was my only reference, really. But when I read all the way through, I realized that the character that I was drawn towards was Mangog. And the more I read, the more I could see stuff that I really wanted to sink my teeth into.

I think the job is that, no matter the character, you don’t ever want to go into it and just preach to the choir, assuming everybody already knows why this character is cool. You want to show why this character is different from any other character in the Marvel Universe; what makes their adventures so unusual and exciting. I do try to keep that up in every new issue.

Marvel.com: Of course, this is very much Jane’s story, but I’m curious about the Odinson’s emotional reaction to all of this. If Jane dies, might he get his identity as Thor back? Does he want it back? He must be feeling a lot of conflict.

Jason Aaron: Well, he’s got a very conflicted relationship with the hammer and that idea of worthiness. But as far as his relationship with Jane goes, I think he’s just worried about his friend. Regaining that hammer isn’t even part of that equation right now—he just wants to try to save her life.

The thought about the Thor identity is definitely one of the questions going into this story. I would say most all of them will be answered by the end of it. Maybe not all of them, but a lot of them…just perhaps not in the way that you’d expect.

The end begins in Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman’s MIGHTY THOR #703—available now! Then continue the tale in issue #704 on February 21!

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Watch a sneak peek from the new episodes airing Sunday, January 21 on Disney XD.

Things are about to change for Otto Octavius in a big way on two new episodes of “Marvel’s Spider-Man” airing this coming Sunday, on Disney XD!

When Otto Octavius is caught in an explosion that fuses his robot arms to his body, Spider-Man sees the opportunity to recruit “The Octopus” into becoming a hero, in “The Rise of Doc Ock Part One” and “The Rise of Doc Ock Part Two.”

Check out a clip at the top of the page, as the fateful events occur that lead to the birth of Doc Ock!

“Marvel’s Spider-Man” – “The Rise of Doc Ock Part One” and “The Rise of Doc Ock Part Two” airs Sunday, January 21st at 8:00 – 9:00am EST on Disney XD.

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The master and padawan took center stage in this 2002 limited series.

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

We only got a relatively small glimpse of Qui-Gon Jinn’s relationship with his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi on the big screen in 1999’s “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.” However, in the world of the Legends continuity, more adventures came to light featuring the important pair of interplanetary protectors, like the one chronicled in STAR WARS: QUI-GON & OBI-WAN – THE AURORIENT EXPRESS.

This 2002 two-issue limited series by Mike Kennedy and Lucas Marangon began with a conversation between master and padawan about the moral relationship between the intent of an action and the positive or negative results before they both jumped out of a ship.

Star Wars: Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan - The Aurorient Express (2002) #1

Star Wars: Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan - The Aurorient Express (2002) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

They soon landed nicely on the luxury cruise liner, The Aurorient Express, sailing through the atmosphere the gas planet Yorn Skot. The vessel no longer responded to communication attempts and sank further and further into the intense pressure of the atmosphere below. With no real protective force set up on the planet, our Jedi heroes literally leaped into action to save the day, but the mission would prove far more complicated than originally anticipated!

Immediately upon landing on the ship, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan found themselves attacked by unexpected commercial-grade security droids. Our heroes avoided death, but made quite a scene as they finally entered the ship. Jumping right into their duties, our heroes met with the captain to try and discover the cause of the ship’s descent, not to mention the unexpected presence of those droids and a core bomb or two planted somewhere onboard!

The further they dug into the mystery, the more dirt they turned up in regards to both passengers on the ship and the people working on it. More surprisingly, they came to realize that more than one group worked to sabotage the ship for very different reasons.

Star Wars: Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan - The Aurorient Express (2002) #2

Star Wars: Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan - The Aurorient Express (2002) #2

What is Marvel Unlimited?

By the end of the story, we get a very clear view of who did what and for which reasons, offering a very concrete example of the opening conversation about the moral difference between, as Obi-Wan said in the first issue, “a noble act committed for despicable purposes…or a despicable act committed for noble purposes?”

As we know, Obi-Wan would go on to work his way through that particular moral quandary along with many others both on screen and in the comics, but it’s interesting to see a younger version of the character getting his first taste of it out in the field.

FROM THE JEDI TEMPLE ARCHIVES

If the art seen in THE AURORIENT EXPRESS seems familiar, that because Lucas Marangon also drew the hilarious TAG & BINK Star Wars comics that have been previously covered here in Star Wars Spotlight. In addition to working on short stories in books like STAR WARS TALES, he’s also used his talents to color a variety of different books over the years and even draw covers and variants for titles like STAR WARS: GENERAL GRIEVOUS.

Next time we’ll witness a group of newly minted Jedi on their first real mission in STAR WARS: JEDI ACADEMY – LEVIATHAN by Kevin J. Anderson and Dario Carrasco.

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The series receives two Diamond Gem Award nominations!

Every year, Diamond Comic Distribution’s Diamond Gem Awards recognize the comics and graphic novels that have most helped the industry grow over the previous 12 months. And this year, Marvel.com would like to celebrate MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR for receiving nominations in the categories of Best All Ages Series and Best All Ages Original/Reprint Graphic Novel!

Lunella Lafayette, A.K.A. Moon Girl, was created by Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder, and Natacha Bustos in 2015—and the world’s smartest person hasn’t looked back since! In response to the nods, series editor Chris Robinson cheers, “It’s no surprise that MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR continues to bring Marvel fans young and old into comic shops, whether they prefer trades or single issues. Kudos, of course, to the series’ creative team, writer Brandon Montclare, artist Natacha Bustos, colorist Tamra Bonvillain, and letterer Travis Lanham—but let’s not forget the wonderful staff at local comic shops everywhere who evangelize the series every month. Thanks y’all!”

The Diamond Gem Award nominations stand as the latest testament to the unique joy, power, and excitement that MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR provides in every issue—in 2016, the series took home a Glyph Comics Award for Best Female Character. The Glyphs recognize outstanding comics made by, for, and about people of color.

As The Smartest There Is in the Marvel Universe, Lunella Lafayette uses her mighty mind, love of science, and best dino pal to save the day as she continues to grow and learn about what it means to be a hero. If you haven’t picked up this one-of-a-kind series, stop by your local shop to find out more!

MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #26 is on sale now! And, on January 31, read writer Brandon Montclare and artist Natacha Bustos’ MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #27!

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The two old enemies face off once more, with a Funko twist!

Captain America and the Red Skull have been battling for decades, but you’ve never seen their epic showdowns depicted in quite the same way as it is in the new Marvel Funko Short, “Submarine Showdown!”

In the short, which you can check out at the top of the page, Red Skull launches an attack on the island of Manhattan using a Hydra submarine, and it’s up to Cap to defend New York City!

The Marvel Funko shorts include story and animation by A Large Evil Corporation and were executive produced by Brian Mariotti, Dan Buckley, Cort Lane, Joe Quesada, and Alan Fine.

Subscribe to Marvel HQ on YouTube for full episodes and more!

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Straight from the pages, Marvel's Champions have arrived!

Today, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released a new downloadable character pack for “LEGO® Marvel Super Heroes 2” featuring Marvel’s teenage team of super hero sensations inspired by CHAMPIONS! The pack, priced at $1.99, adds playable characters Ms. Marvel, Nova, Miles Morales, Ironheart, Devil Dinosaur, Moon Girl, Viv Vision & Sparky, Amadeus Cho, Nadia Pym Wasp, Kate Bishop Hawkeye, and Nova. Strike out on your own with our “Totally Awesome” young heroes!

“LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2” is an all-new, epic adventure and sequel to the smash hit, “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes.” This original branching storyline, co-written by award-winning comics writer Kurt Busiek, transports players into a cosmic battle across a myriad of Marvel locations ripped from time and space into the incredible Open Hub World of Chronopolis. Packed with signature LEGO humor for fans of all ages, gamers will go head-to-head with the time-travelling Kang the Conqueror in this fun-filled journey spanning the Marvel Universe.

The Champions DLC pack can be purchased separately for $1.99 or as part of the “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2” Season Pass, which is currently available for $14.99 or free for everyone who purchased the “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 Deluxe Edition.”

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2” is available on PlayStation®4, Xbox One®, Nintendo Switch™, and Windows® PC.

For all the latest on “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2,” stay tuned to Marvel.com and follow @MarvelGames on Twitter!

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Check out the bite-sized podcast preview of this week's new Marvel Comics!

Get ready for New Comic Book Day with The Pull List!

This week, Ryan and Tucker preview VENOM, INC., ALL-NEW WOLVERINE, AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER, WEAPON X, and all the other comics that’ll be waiting for you in stores tomorrow!

Download episode #2 of The Pull List from Marvel.com, check out Marvel Podcast Central, grab the This Week in Marvel RSS feed, and subscribe to This Week in Marvel for The Pull List updates on iTunes! Then head over to our Soundcloud hub to listen to more from Marvel!

Hosted by VP & Creative Executive of New Media Ryan “Agent M” Penagos and Marvel.com Assistant Editor Tucker Markus, The Pull List gives you a taste of the books, characters, and storylines that’ll be waiting for you on stands at your local comic shop or online retailer every Wednesday! We want your feedback on the new show, so tweet your questions, comments, and thoughts about The Pull List to @AgentM, @tuckermarkus@chrissypedia, @TheEricGoldman, or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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Run down a list of Marvel's fieriest characters!

Grab a fire extinguisher! Open up a fire hydrant! Pet a Dalmatian! Marvel.com has assembled a countdown of the Top 10 Hottest Heroes!

These sweltering super heroes have been heating up the Marvel Universe for decades. The list begins at a simmer with the Son of Satan, Daimon Hellstrom, who first appeared in 1973’s GHOST RIDER #1. Then Sunfire lights up the sky—like he’s been doing since UNCANNY X-MEN #64. Next up is Pyro, who debuted in another mutant tale: UNCANNY X-MEN #141. Not to be outshined, Sunspot burns onto the countdown, having been illuminating the Universe since MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #4. Coming in at number six, Inferno has made a quick climb despite only making his first appearance four years ago in INHUMAN #1.

We crack the top five with a classic: Ghost Rider—the hothead has been poppin’ wheelies and Penance Staring since MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #5. Then Firestar, who debuted in SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS #1, fires to number four. And, finally, coming in third and second place respectively, are the most famous guy-fire combos around: the Human Torches, Jim Hammond and Johnny Storm! Hammond, who first appeared all the way back in 1939’s MARVEL COMICS #1, gets overtaken for the silver medal by Johnny Storm, who debuted, of course, in FANTASTIC FOUR #1.

So who takes first place? Which Marvel character is least qualified to work at a gas station? Which hero would be most useful at a family barbecue? Watch the video above to find out!

Visit the official Marvel YouTube channel for more!

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