Mark Waid and Barry Kitson discuss an Avengers story of epic proportions!
As we see the present-day Avengers – complete with a refreshed line-up – battle Kang once more, the story of a long-past Avengers team also unfolds before us. Captain America leads a trio of reformed criminals – Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver – to take on continued threats to Earth while his fellow founding members break from the team.
Writer Mark Waid teams with penciller Barry Kitson to tell an Avengers story of old that will intertwine with the adventures of the current team. We grabbed the two of them for a chat to see what we could learn about this new and unique series.
Marvel.com: How did the idea come about to run these parallel stories of an early Avengers team alongside the current team battling Kang?
Mark Waid: I’ve been itching to tell this story for a long time. I love, as I did with Captain America: Man Out of Time, to be able to tell flashback stories within continuity, and I’ve forever been fascinated by whatever untold story lay behind how the world came to accept Cap’s Kookie Quartet as a viable replacement for Iron Man, Giant Man, Wasp and Thor.
Marvel.com: A still-recently-thawed Captain America is joined by three heroes who have their origins as villains. What prompts this particular group to come together? What threats are they teaming up to face?
Mark Waid: The original Avengers, as per established continuity, were all facing personal issues that demanded a break from the team, so Iron Man put out the call for new members–and these are the ones who showed up…at first. But not the ONLY ones, as we’ll soon see. As for menaces, the Frightful Four and the Stranger are two–and that’s only the beginning of the list!
Marvel.com: What about working with the Marvel universe of the past has been most exciting for you? Has working in this time period something you’ve wanted to do for a while, or a wholly new opportunity?
Barry Kitson: For me this encapsulates a childhood dream becoming fully realized. This was the era of Marvel that I first began reading and lead me to fall in love with US comics rather than the very cartoonish British fare I had been used to. I was reading these stories when I was five or six years old and already dreaming of drawing these characters for a living – so for me it is the perfect realization of that dream – despite all the time that has passed I feel like that little kid again getting to work with the characters I most loved in the incarnations that first drew me to them. I’m sure Mark will bear witness that when he approached me about doing this series – I had agreed before he had managed to get beyond saying it would focus on Cap’s cookie quartet… I may also have threatened terrible retribution on him if he let any other artist get anywhere near this particular series!
Not only does the series feature the Avengers line-up that I feel most personally connected to, but also a whole cast of characters from the era that I have always longed to draw – I’m not sure how much I can give away but there are guest stars and villains aplenty that I think anyone who loves this era in Marvel history will thoroughly enjoy! (As you have probably gathered I could ramble on about how excited I am for some time!)
Marvel.com: You two have worked together on other comics, but this is your first time combining your talents in the Marvel universe. What’s the process like?
Mark Waid: Seamless. We’ve been working together for so long that we bring out the best in one another. Barry gets a plot and as much freedom as he needs to tell the story visually, and then I’ll go back and add dialogue to match his storytelling. We trust one another!
Barry Kitson: It’s pretty much our standard operating procedure, I think. Mark and I have developed a process over the years where we trust each other to bounce ideas back and forth perhaps more than many writer/artist teams – possibly purely because we have done so much work together. We work pretty close to the classic ‘Marvel method’ whereby Mark will provide the plot (although sometimes much more than a plot for certain scenes when it can be almost full script) and I will break the pages down into panels – after that will bounce things back and forth to make sure we’re both happy – then I’ll draw up the pages and Mark will dialogue from the finished pencils – usually added great touches that I sometimes don’t even know about until the comic sees print – which is always one of the most fun parts of working with him for me!
Marvel.com: Barry, you’ve been away from Marvel for a few years, how has returning to these characters and this world been for you?
Barry Kitson: I guess most of my long and rambling response to the earlier question applies here also. I really can’t overstate what a joy it is for me to be working on these particular characters especially in this setting and with Mark as writer – I might quite possibly be the happiest penciller in the business right now!
Marvel.com: The .1 numbering implies that the adventures of this team will be connected in some way to the present-day Avengers. Can you let us in on anything about that? Kang is known for his time-traveling ways, after all.
Mark Waid: And yet, it’s not really Kang-related. What we’ll be seeing is the origin of a menace that will come back to threaten the modern-day Avengers.