The radio host talks writing his first Marvel comic and much more!

Television personality and host of The Breakfast Club — Charlamagne Tha God — visits Marvel HQ to talk writing his first comic, his career and much more!

Download episode #271.5 of This Week in Marvel from Marvel.com, check out Marvel Podcast Central, grab the TWiM RSS feed and subscribe to This Week in Marvel on iTunes or Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to the full run of This Week in Marvel including our latest episode!

This Week in Marvel focuses on delivering all the Marvel info on news and new releases–from comics to video games to toys to TV to film and beyond! New episodes will be released every Tuesday and Thursday (or so) and TWiM is co-hosted by Marvel VP Executive Editor of Digital Media Ryan “Agent M” Penagos and Editorial Director of Marvel Digital Media Ben Morse with Manager, Video & Content Production: Blake Garris, Editor Marc Strom, and Assistant Editor Christine Dinh. We also want your feedback, as well as questions for us to answer on future episodes! Tweet your questions, comments and thoughts about TWiM to @AgentM, @BenJMorse, @blakegarris or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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Television nearly proves fatal for one unlucky couch potato!

With so many classic creatures on the loose in Monsters Unleashed, we turn to their earlier adventures thanks to Marvel Unlimited.

Some people think that television will rot your brain, but in the case of a Stan Lee-Jack Kirby story in TALES TO ASTONISH #25 from 1961, it can also lead to an alien abduction!

The initial feature in the issue introduced readers to a happy-go-lucky fellow named Joe Hanson who’d rather spend a nice day fishing instead of working or playing cards with his pals instead of paying the bills. So, it came as no real surprise that he stayed home watching the tube while his wife, exasperated at his lack of ambition, went out. As he flipped between channels, he stopped on one that previously didn’t exist! Instead of static it featured the visage of an alien creature.

Through the television, the alien offered Joe fame and honor if he’d simply rewire his set to allow the unnamed extraterrestrial to transmit himself to Earth. Joe fell for it and before long the giant orange creature climbed through the box, grabbed the hapless human and returned to his home planet of Krogarr. Instead of being put through uncomfortable probing or dissection, Joe discovered his purpose on the trip: to prove that the orange one’s teleportation system actually worked!

Tales to Astonish (1959) #25

Tales to Astonish (1959) #25

  • Published: November 01, 1961
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 21, 2012
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Before that, Joe got a nice tour of Krogarr including their gladiatorial games, huge flying bird creatures, and enslaved beings from a neighboring planet. Just as the alien scientist planned on showing Joe to his superiors the Earthling started fading from existence! The cruel Krogarrians saw this flaw and instantly blasted the scientist and smashed up his machine.

The next thing Joe knew, he came to in front of his television, his wife shaking him awake. See, he hadn’t paid the electrical bill, so when the power went out, so did the connection holding him on Krogarr! Apparently sometimes it pays to be a little lax with the bills!

Come back next time when a picked-on scientist becomes a hulking monster named Bruttu in TALES OF SUSPENSE #22.

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The Sith Lord continues to play with destiny and searching for Luke Skywalker!

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.

One of the most interesting arcs of the first three Star Wars films revolves around Darth Vader’s evolution from stone cold villain to Luke-saving father. On the screen, we see him taking over Princess Leia’s ship, ordering her torture, capturing Han Solo, and all manner of other dirty dealings until he ultimately returns to the Light Side as he saves his son from Emperor Palpatine.

But, how’d he get there? In the first arc of DARTH VADER by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca, the initial cracks started forming, literally, as he discovered that a boy named Skywalker had destroyed the Death Star. In issues #712, from the same creative team, Vader continues working against The Emperor and his new superior Grand General Tagge.

First Vader traveled to Tatooine to see the Luke’s home through his own red-tinted mask eyes. In the process he saw the aftermath of the young Jedi’s fight with Boba Fett from the first arc of STAR WARS. The place gave evidence that the boy had talent and an ability to commune with the Force but very little training.

Darth Vader (2015) #7

Darth Vader (2015) #7

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Next, Vader mysteriously set Aphra up to steal a great deal of credits from the Empire along with bounty hunters IG-90, Bossk, Krrsantan, and Beebox. The plan didn’t seem as profitable as intended, but Aphra soon revealed that she’d actually grabbed credits that seemed lost thanks to Vader’s backing.

The move proved somewhat costly, though, as Tagge assigned Vader an overseer named Inspector Thanoth. Tagge tasked the new partners with finding out who stole the credits. Being highly adept at reading a situation, Thanoth proved more than capable of figuring out what truly happened, leading Vader to work twice as hard to cover his tracks.

The investigation even led directly to Aphra at one point. As Vader grasped her by the throat, she let slip that she knew Luke’s whereabouts. The Sith Lord let her go and faked a trap to keep his duality a secret from Thanoth. After taking care of another plaguing problem—that of the Plasma Devils—Vader avoided further scrutiny, got the name from Aphra, and took off for Vrogas Vas!

From the Jedi Temple Archives

If Grand General Tagge looks familiar that’s because he actually appeared in “A New Hope”! On the Death Star along with a group of other high ranking Imperials, including Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader, Tagge argued that they should all take the threat of the Rebellion seriously, especially since they’d acquired plans to the Death Star. Tagge sat and watched as Vader choked the life out of Admiral Motti after the man mocked the armored one’s faith in the Force. As you’ll notice, he disappears partway throughout the film which means he definitely didn’t get killed when the Death Star exploded, allowing Gillen and company to incorporate him into the DARTH VADER series.

Next time, Jeremy Barlow and HOON shine the spotlight on everyone’s favorite diminutive green powerhouse in STAR WARS: JEDI – YODA!

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As the Master of Murderworld sets his sights on Gwenpool, we give details on the sadistic showman!

In UNBELIEVABLE GWENPOOL #12 on February 15, our heroine comes face to face with someone as crazy as her: the villainous Arcade and his deadly amusement park, Murderworld!

No doubt Arcade will have his hands full with Gwenpool, but before he faces off with one of his most outlandish challenges ever, take a look back at some of the prior highlights from a colorful career…

Secret origin?
According to Arcade himself—so consider the source—the villain came from a wealthy family, possibly from Beverly Hills. When his dad cut off his allowance, Arcade killed him so he could claim his inheritance. He then became the “world’s greatest hitman,” but grew bored with simply killing people in a normal fashion. So he came up with the idea for Murderworld instead.

With the help of Miss Locke and Mr. Chamber, Arcade would accept contracts to kill people, then kidnap them and lock them up in Murderworld, where they would have to fight their way out or die trying. Arcade always gives a sporting chance, even as his robotic deathtraps attempt to dismember his would-be victims in creative ways.

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #66

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #66

What is Marvel Unlimited?

A lovely place to die
Arcade’s amusement park of death debuted in the late 1970’s in the pages of MARVEL TEAM-UP #66, as the man dressed as a sideshow barker introduced Captain Britain and Spider-Man to the joys of Murderworld—“joys” like trapping them inside giant spheres while he played pinball with their lives. The two heroes proved more than a match for the crazed gamesman, who, no matter the outcome, always seems to enjoy himself as he watches the heroes compete against his deadly traps.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #122

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #122

What is Marvel Unlimited?

X marks the spot
Following his debut, Arcade began a long rivalry with the X-Men, who always had enemies willing to pay for their deaths—like, for instance, Black Tom and The Juggernaut. The team’s first encounter with Murderworld saw several of their friends—including Amanda Sefton and Colleen Wing—held captive while they dealt with Arcade’s deadly devices. Arcade brainwashed Colossus into “The Proletarian,” a Communist sympathizer who set his sights on killing his fellow mutants. The madman also trapped Storm in a small area filling with water, playing on her fear of enclosed spaces, and set Wolverine against robot versions of Magneto and The Hulk. The level of detail and personalization in his traps never failed to impress—even if they don’t always get the desired results Arcade hopes for.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #146

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #146

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Doomed
Through the years, the X-Men always managed to thwart Arcade’s diabolical machines, and in one encounter even attempted to “save” him from Doctor Doom. UNCANNY X-MEN #145-147 features the team’s first encounter with the monarch of Latveria, as Miss Locke blackmails them into a mission to rescue her boss from the dictator. While Doom captures the regular team, Professor X calls in some old friends—a depowered Banshee, as well as Havok, Polaris, and Iceman—who head to Murderworld to rescue several of the X-Men’s loved ones by battling robot hockey players and deadly roller coasters.

On the road
While Arcade had a particular grudge against the X-Men, through the years the businessman would focus his efforts on other heroes as well. When a Ghost Rider-less Johnny Blaze starred in his own solo title in the mid-1990’s, he joined Quentin Carnival—and in BLAZE #8, a new employee signed up as well. The red-haired man with the yellow bowtie decided to take Murderworld on the road, packing his deathtrap into a semi and populating it with demons that Blaze eventually took on. The former Spirit of Vengeance seemingly trapped Arcade in his own trap and left him in the desert, but the villain would of course pop up again to plague other heroes.

Avengers Arena (2012) #1

Avengers Arena (2012) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Avengers Arena
Arcade’s most ambitious project came after a bout of depression and a stint in prison. The sinister showman and his new assistant, Miss Coriander, kidnapped 16 teenage heroes—including X-23, students from the Avengers Academy, members of the Runaways and Darkhawk—and made them fight to the death in a completely new arena. In this enhanced Murderworld, Arcade took a “hands on” approach, as inside his new domain he had all sorts of crazy new powers.

Avengers Undercover (2014) #1

Avengers Undercover (2014) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Avengers Undercover
After battling death traps, turning on each other, and ultimately escaping Avengers Arena, several of Arcade’s victims banded together to hunt him down. They tracked him to Bagalia, an island ruled by criminals, and they went undercover as villains themselves to try and get close to their tormentor. Hazmat apparently killed Arcade early in the series after which Baron Zemo, Madame Masque, and other villains try to convince the teenagers they’d be better off breaking bad. Like many times before, though, Arcade would escape death and pop up again to plague the likes of Hellcat and now Gwenpool.

Sign up for Arcade’s latest Murderworld in UNBELIEVABLE GWENPOOL, coming February 15!

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The Black Panther reaches out for help understanding the rogue Dora Milaje!

The following is a summary the two subjects, Ayo and Aneka, and their initial psychological battery for inclusion in the Dora Milaje, yearly check-ups, evaluation to stand trial, and other assorted encounters between them and our offices.

This information is being provided under protest. Despite the court order, this office believes that this data should be protected and that their initial releases no longer stand up under scrutiny given changes in their status with the government. However, given the Wakandan court ruling, we recognize we have no legal right to withhold.

The subjects, Ayo and Aneka, were ideal Dora Milaje candidates. They presented as physically healthy and in above average shape. Additionally, on intelligence testing, they demonstrated excellent recall, a strong knowledge background, and a propensity for problem solving even under pressure and time constraints.

In training, they largely adapted to situations with little to no difficulty. Neither ever was reported for errors in judgment, for exhibiting signs of distress, or for insubordination.

In reviews, both seemed dedicated to Wakanda and the ideals of their country as they saw them. They felt, as most do, that serving King T’Challa and the royal family as Dora Milaje was a tremendous honor.

Throughout their service, both did demonstrate a strong desire to help those disempowered and to represent equality for all people in the nation. They saw this as part of their job and as in keeping with traditions and beliefs of Wakanda.

In summary, prior to the occurrence of Aneka’s “crime,” both individuals were very committed to their roles and very psychologically healthy.

After the trial and death sentence, however, both experienced a tremendous sense of disillusionment. Both felt betrayed by the institution they belonged to and the country they fought for. They saw themselves as being “right” regarding what were the values of the country and that it was the leadership that had become wrong.

They are not, however, mentally ill. Their reaction, while arguably extreme, has not abandoned logic and does not seem to suggest the subjects can no longer understand the difference between right and wrong. They have become radicalized, it is true, but these reactions are not a sign of a disconnect from reality. The only arguable diagnosis this writer can put forward is Acute Stress Disorder in reaction to the trauma of their way of life, their belief in a system, being dashed.

This writer would refer the crown to Doctors Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, and Alitha Martinez for further information as they have had far more session time with Ayo and Aneka and our experts on the history, values, and day to day life of the Dora Milaje. Their latest volume on the subject, BLACK PANTHER: WORLD OF WAKANDA #4, will be available for scholarly review on February 15.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is an Outpatient Therapist who has quelled a rebellion or two in his time. But that’s classified.

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Artist Mike del Mundo pits Earth’s Mightiest Heroes against Kang in a time-warping epic!

Even the mightiest of hero teams struggle to start off on the right foot. The Avengers know this better than anyone as many of their rosters—including the original one—came together under unforeseen circumstances.

In the latest AVENGERS series by Mark Waid and Mike del Mundo, that tradition carries through as this squad—consisting of Spider-Man, Thor, Hercules, Captain America, Vision, and the new Wasp—tries to figure out where they stand with one another in the wake of Civil War II. As if that didn’t put enough on an already full plate, they also have to face off against one of the team’s deadliest and most powerful enemies: Kang!

We talked with del Mundo about working with Waid on a seminal title, balancing these heroes off of one another, and the joys of designing a variety of villains.

Marvel.com: You’re no stranger to team books, but is there an added element to a group when they’re Avengers?

Mike del Mundo: For sure; [AVENGERS] is the staple team book of Marvel.

Marvel.com: This new Avengers book came out of a troubling time in the Marvel Universe with Civil War II. How has that changed the way you draw these characters while in action?

Mike del Mundo: There hasn’t been a conscious change in a how I draw but I have noticed I’ve been drawing them with more of a chip on their shoulder since the aftermath of Civil War II. More angry squinting and eyebrows mainly targeted to Peter Parker. [Laughs] Now that you’ve mentioned, the only smile I’ve drawn is from the villains. The irony!

Marvel.com: It’s a diverse looking group from Herc’s raw physicality to Vision’s synthezoid nature. Do you enjoy playing with all of those different elements on the page?

Mike del Mundo: Absolutely; there’s so much to play with I can’t get bored. I think that’s the trade off with a team book. There’s a lot of characters to draw but a lot of different elements to play with and discover to keep it fun.

Marvel.com: The “Kang War” story involves a lot of time-bending elements. Have any of the moments in the script made you stop and scratch your head about how you’re going to bring it to the page?

Mike del Mundo: So yeah, there [are] a few of those in each issue but I’m more rubbing my hands together eager to brainstorm and visualize Mark’s ideas.

There’s moment on a page where Vision is explaining Kang multiplying into new Kangs through time so I had to figure out how we could do that creatively instead of just drawing 100 Kangs. I came up with this vision of multiple Kangs forming a Kang head to visualize that scene.

Marvel.com: Speaking of Kang, this book features a fluid take on the villain with a variety of different looks. How was it designing all of those takes and using different aspects of the original design?

Mike del Mundo: It was so much fun! Mainly because [there] weren’t any restrictions on how Kang should look since Kang could fission to really…anything. I basically merged Kang with one of my favorite villains, M.O.D.O.K., since they have a similar design and voila: Mokang was born!

Marvel.com: Overall how has it been working with Mark on these issues?

Mike del Mundo: Amazing! It’s been a dream to be paired with one of my favorite writers and I’m enjoying it just like a reader, anticipating what will happen next!

To see what happens next yourself, be sure to check out AVENGERS #4 by Mark Waid and Mike del Mundo in February!

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Even the most menacing of monsters can turn over a new leaf and become a hero!

With so many classic creatures on the loose in Monsters Unleashed, we turn to their earlier adventures thanks to Marvel Unlimited.

1961’s STRANGE TALES #90 unveiled the Stan Lee-Jack Kirby creation Orrgo to the world. The tale started with Orrgo and his people watching Earth, commenting that just one of them could easily overtake the whole planet. Without hesitation, the alien transported himself across the vastness of space with but a thought, landing on Earth in the middle of a circus. Exhibiting vast mental abilities that could toss cop cars around like candy wrappers and make trees come alive to do his bidding, Orrgo seemed likely to carry out his threat of world domination even before hypnotizing every human on Earth!

The fatal flaw in his plan came when Orrgo returned to the circus and took a nap leaning against the tree. He failed to take over all the minds on the planet, meaning that the circus’ gorilla—who hungered thanks to his master’s hijacked mental state—freed himself and seemingly killed the alien!

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2015) #6

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2015) #6

What is Marvel Unlimited?

That demise didn’t quite stick and Orrgo returned in the pages of DEFENDERS which allowed him to eventually take part in the Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. team that starred in its own six issue series last year. Not one to get his hands dirty anymore, the giant alien actually acted as the group’s intel man, guiding their operations from the home base. Eventually, he found out too much about the nefarious Dr. Kraye who sent Orrgo along to the top secret S.H.I.E.L.D. prison dubbed Pleasant Hill.

As seen in the pages of HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. #6, Maria Hill ordered Kobik to turn Orrgo into a puppy. Loved and cared for in a way he’d never experienced before, the alien felt great rage when the veil dropped during the Avengers: Standoff! crossover. Still, after seeing his compatriots jump into action to not only save him but also try to make peace at Pleasant Hill, Orrgo realized that he did have a family, though a non-traditional one consisting of equally awesome monsters.

Television proves nearly fatal for Joe Hanson when he rewires it to allow the Creature from Krogarr into his living room in TALES TO ASTONISH #25.

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Stuart Moore breaks down what to expect from the half-mercenary half-duck phenomenon!

Here’s a recipe for a zesty meal that the whole family will enjoy—it’s called “Piscine morte avec canard.” Also known as Deadpool the Duck.

Ingredients include: one misanthropic duck, one un-showered killing machine. Directions: mix one half duck with one half mercenary, watch as the ingredients do everything they can to separate from each other. Grease a muffin pan.

On February 8, the story of this merc-bird blend continues with DEADPOOL THE DUCK #3! The third in a limited five issue run finds Deadpool the Duck continuing a mission to get out of the red leather duck suit and back into their own bodies.

We tracked down series writer Stuart Moore to learn about the heroes trapped in a body they never made—or wanted!

Marvel.com: When two characters are combined, certain aspects of each are going to emerge over others. Which of Wade’s characteristics do you feel are most apparent in this amalgamation?

Stuart Moore: He’s got the energy, the drive, the boundless enthusiasm. Maybe too much enthusiasm. One of the things I love about Deadpool is that he’s up for anything; he loves to throw himself into new situations.

Marvel.com: And which of Howard’s characteristics?

Stuart Moore: Howard’s much more cautious, more cynical, more likely to say, “Yes, we could jump out of this spaceship into the upper atmosphere, but should we?” Some of that comes from not having powers and some of it comes from being an outsider on our world. But mostly it’s just the way he is.

Deadpool the Duck #3 cover

Deadpool the Duck #3 cover

Marvel.com: With a combo of these two, a few things are likely guaranteed: quick wit, a bit of cynicism, outsider status; what would you say they have most in common?

Stuart Moore: They’re both loyal to their friends and they share a fairly cynical view of humanity. But that’s about all.

Marvel.com: How are they most different? Aside from species.

Stuart Moore: This sounds weird for a barely sane assassin, but Deadpool is a much happier character. His form of humor is different, too; much more physical, more hyperactive, and crazy. Howard is a thinker, a verbal jester. He cuts people down with words; Wade does it with swords and guns. And a few words.

Marvel.com: How is Deadpool the Duck approaching this adventure? Headfirst into the action like Wade or doing his best to avoid it like Howard?

Stuart Moore: If they want to be separated again—and Howard in particular really, really wants to be separated from Wade—then they can’t avoid the action. But this is not an easy partnership. There are some twists and turns as they struggle for control of their adorable little shared body.

Marvel.com: What do you think these two weirdos, in their separate states, might be able to learn from each other?

Stuart Moore: I’m not sure about learn, but Deadpool has a very direct way of solving problems that might be appealing to Howard. We all wish we could just kill people once in a while, right? Right? Just me?

And as for Wade, I’m not sure he ever really learns anything. That’s another thing I love about him.

Catch DEADPOOL THE DUCK #3, by Stuart Moore and artist Jacopo Camagni, on February 8!

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Take a journey back in time to witness the first appearance of the Dark Elf!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman launched a new storyline in this week’s MIGHTY THOR #15 featuring the continued schemes of Malekith as his desire to conquer the 10 Realms lead into the Asgard/Shi’Ar War. As battles rage between gods and aliens, let’s jump back to Malekith’s first foray into villainy.

The most famous resident of Svartalfheim broke out onto the scene in the pages of THOR #344 by the legendary Walt Simonson in 1984 and stuck around to cause problems until issue #349. We’re introduced to Malekith as Balder encounters Loki while on an errand for Odin. The trickster described the Dark Elf as, “He whom Odin did banish to the limbo of endless night so many ages agone.” Balder himself notes that Malekith and his master represent the threat Odin needed to see Loki about.

Malekith quickly discredits Odin and reminds Loki that his step dad regrets adopting the halfling before reminding him, when the old standards come crashing down, there will be plenty for the ruthless to take for themselves. Later, after picking up a sword even though he swore never to do so again, Balder attempts to strike Malekith down, but the villain disappears. “Foolish Balder,” Loki says. “Do you not remember the power of the Dark Elf, to enter the shadows and vanish…to travel where he will and emerge even on the other side of the universe.” With that, Loki tosses aside the letter from Odin explaining that he already agreed to align himself with the son of Svartalfheim.

Over the rest of the arc, Malekith transports himself to Midgard, specifically New York City, where he seeks the Casket of Ancient Winters, which has been guarded for eons by a man named Eric Willis. Though he kills Eric, the duty of protecting the artifact passes down to his son who proves more than adept at the task. To get the cask, the Dark Elf calls the Wild Hunt which sends a legion of monsters after the box and Roger. Not taking kindly to this attack, Thor enters the fray.127274-162115-malekith

Malekith enrages Thor further when he kidnaps his girlfriend Melodi—actually Enchantress’ little sister Lorelei. Aided by Roger, the God of Thunder travels to the villain’s English castle to save his lady but both heroes fall, allowing Malekith to acquire his prize.

Even after Thor seemingly gains the upper hand, Malekith destroys the Casket, loosing magical winter on Earth and allowing the Twilight-wielding Surtur and his demonic minions to break through the dimensional gate that kept them at bay. With his foe unconscious, Thor took Malekith to Asgard and raced off to face this new threat.

Since then the Dark Elf has popped up to continually make life difficult for Thor as well as other heroes like Iron Man, Hercules, and even X-Force. Jason Aaron brought him back to the forefront in THOR: GOD OF THUNDER and has continued developing his machinations since in the pages of THOR and MIGHTY THOR leading directly into the Asgard/Shi’Ar War.

Flash Forward

Malekith gained further fame in 2013 after leaping to the big screen in “Thor: The Dark World.” Played by Christopher Eccleston, this version of Malekith woke after years of slumber when Jane Foster accidentally released the Aether. The villain eventually takes the Infinity Stone into himself and battles Thor throughout a variety of dimensions, but falls to the Odinson.
For more Flashback Friday goodness, check back in next week!

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The latest Star Wars spectacular comes from the big screen to the comic page!

The blockbuster film of 2016 becomes the incredible comics adaptation of 2017 when ROGUE ONE hits the shelves as a six-issue limited series beginning in April written by Jody Houser and illustrated by Emilio Laiso.

We’ve got all the available intel on the series right here in this interview with Houser and Laiso, so strap in and get ready for excitement as only Star Wars can provide!

Marvel.com: Jody, heading into an adaptation of a film, what’s important for you to plan for, and to deliver?

Jody Houser: I’ve worked on several comic adaptations now, and the most important aspect for me is to make sure the version of the story I’m telling works for the medium, rather than trying to tell a screenplay in the pages of a comic book. Obviously you want to do your best to capture what people loved about the movie and to bring new elements to the story. But first and foremost, you want to make a good comic.

Marvel.com: As a storyteller, what are the themes and ideas in ROGUE ONE that pump you up the most?

Jody Houser: Getting to work on Star Wars in itself is a huge, huge deal for me! As for ROGUE ONE specifically, I like that it focuses on the more ordinary characters, those who choose to become heroes rather than being born to it. The choices that characters make in the face of evil and corruption is something we can relate to even though we’ll never get to swing a real lightsaber.

Marvel.com: Which characters from the film really stand out for you the most?

Jody Houser: I really enjoyed all of the characters, but if I had to pick one favorite at blaster point, it would be Bodhi Rook. He’s the only one in the movie who would have probably been perfectly safe taking no action at all. But he chose to leave the safety and security of the Empire because it was the right thing to do. His arc was probably the most emotional for me.

Marvel.com: We hear there may be extra story material in the comic that wasn’t in the film; how do you create moments like that? Where do you look for areas that can be expanded upon?

Jody Houser: [Director] Gareth Edwards and Lucasfilm had a number of ideas for moments that didn’t fit in the film that I’m working with. There are also some amazing moments in the novelization I want to incorporate. So it’s really a mix of material from existing versions of the story, as well as new scenes.

Marvel.com: What’s the process been like on this? Do you have the film script next to you? Do you watch the film several times over?

Jody Houser: I actually read the “Rogue One” script in the Lucasfilm offices, which was a little surreal. While I wasn’t able to have a copy at that point, I took extensive notes. I’ve seen the movie twice in theaters with friends and family—over 80 friends opening night, actually! I’m also working from the novelization and Ultimate Visual Guide that Lucasfilm sent over.

Marvel.com: What will the collaboration with Emilio be like for you? What is he bringing to the project that you love?

Jody Houser:
We’re still early enough in the process that I haven’t worked directly with Emilio yet, but I’m looking forward to it! Emilio is great at chaotic action scenes, which is definitely a must for this story. I’m also excited to see his take on the cities and landscapes of the new worlds.

Marvel.com: Emilio, you’re returning to the Star Wars universe with this project: how did you feel when you were offered the chance to go Rogue?

Emilio Laiso: Returning to the Star Wars universe is exciting. The saga is very exciting thanks to the array of the worlds and of the races to become familiar with. Moreover, there are the characters in the saga, who have entered in the collective imagination. Characters to whom it must be payed respect, and also to pay respect the millions of fans.

“Rogue One,” in the framework of this fantastic saga, is something unique. There are legendary characters in a legendary universe, and the movie, in my opinion, is something extraordinary. When [editor] Heather [Antos] told me that there would be the possibility to be the artist on ROGUE ONE, my first reaction was something like “wait… wait…”! I was very enthusiastic that she and [editor] Jordan [White] choose me for the adaptation.

When I got the word, I was so happy that I spent a couple of hour bobbling the head of my Funko Stormtrooper telling him that it was a great honor and a great responsibility.

Marvel.com: Visually, what draws your eye the most in the film? Which characters, ships, etc. really excite you to draw?

Emilio Laiso: The space battle outside the shield is one of the aspects that has struck me more from a visual point of view. Indeed, this is one of the “Rogue One” scenes that I can’t wait to realize. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work on every single new character, each of which has an excellent visual characterization. My personal favorite characters are Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus.

Marvel.com: And what are you looking forward to in working with Jody?

Emilio Laiso: This is my first time working with Jody, and I think that ROGUE ONE will be a great opportunity. I hope that together, adapting this epic movie, we will be able to make this series unique.

Jody Houser and Emilio Laiso journey to the stars with ROGUE ONE, beginning in April!

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