The acclaimed writer brings a blend of humor and horror to one of Marvel’s most unique heroes!

For years, he has ruled bookshelves everywhere. Then he expanded his empire to small screens. Most recently, he conquered the box office. Now, R.L. Stine has come to comics, back to where his love of storytelling first began.

A fan of comics from his youth, the king of the Goosebumps empire has finally teamed with Marvel to deliver scares to his fans in the pages of an all-new MAN-THING series. We talked to him about his love of muck monsters and pitch black humor, plus why he had to give up on the idea of making a life as a comic book artist and more.

Marvel.com: Just straight away, given Man-Thing’s power set and his tagline—“Whoever know fear burns at the Man-Thing’s touch”—the idea of hiring a horror writer like yourself is pretty straightforward. From your perspective, from a creative mindset, however, what is attractive about taking on a Man-Thing story?

R.L. Stine: You know I honestly couldn’t tell you why. I just have always had a thing for swamp creatures. I even did a Goosebumps just last year called “Here Comes the Shaggedy” about a really hideous swamp monster. I just think it is horror character #1; it’s your basic nightmare, of this thing rises up from the muck, this hideous thing. It’s just always appealed to me.

So when I saw Man-Thing was available to do, that they weren’t using it, I said, well, let me try it. Let me see what I can do differently with it.

Marvel.com: You have said that you’ve enjoyed comics, that you grew up with them, and you’ve touched on comics in your books, telling stories about comics and comic book characters like “The Masked Mutant”—

R.L. Stine: Yeah, that’s right. That’s one of the best ones, I think, actually. One of the best Goosebumps books. I like that one.

Marvel.com: Right, exactly. So having spent so many years reading comics and then writing about them at times, how did the experience of actually tackling comic book writing match up with years of being a fan and of imagining comic book characters?

R.L. Stine: Back then I wanted to draw them. That’s what I wanted to be: the artist. But I had no talent, had no drawing talent of any kind. If I draw now, it looks like a third grader.

I realized at a very young age—when I started to bring in my own little comic books in fourth grade and everyone would say, “You suck,” and “Those are terrible,”—I realized that I would have to write.

Marvel.com: On the subject of art, as a writer who is used to writing prose, how has the transition been to having your words appear right with the art?

R.L. Stine: I’ve always tried to be very visual. Like in my Goosebumps books. They are very simple books and everything I’ve always tried to make it so kids can always visualize the location, the setting, what is going on—you spend a lot of time describing where the characters are.

In this it was a little different. In writing MAN-THING, I kind of left a lot of that up to the artist and mainly just concentrated on telling the story and on the dialogue. It was kind of like writing a script, like writing a TV script for something, where you don’t really have to concentrate that much on describing the backgrounds.

The process is a new thing, it’s very different. It’s very strange to see all this finished art—first you see the sketches, then you see the pencils, then the inks, then it’s colored, and still there [are] no words. No words anywhere. To me that’s really bizarre.

That came as quite a surprise that the [words] come on last.

Marvel.com: Have you had a chance to see any of the artwork from German Peralta, Daniel Johnson, or Christopher Mitten on the first couple of issues?

R.L. Stine: Oh, I’ve seen a lot of it!

I love it. I love the [Tyler Crook] covers. I think just German is fabulous. He’s great with violence. They all are. They’re all real violent and I love that. [German] especially is just great with that.

Marvel.com: You said earlier you wanted to do something different with Man-Thing and right out of the gate you start that by giving him/it speech back. You’re letting him exist beyond that silent shambling creature that he’s more or less only been for years now…

R.L. Stine: Yeah, I needed to. Otherwise…Man-Thing is so…he’s so hideous. He’s just such an ugly character it is hard to take him seriously. So I thought I would add a lot of humor. That would be very hard if he couldn’t speak. So I have him getting his human abilities back. They’re coming back. And then, he’s struggling, he’s striving; he wants to be human again, of course.

He’s very sarcastic—sort of in that Marvel mode. That kind of smart ass sarcastic dialogue. I think it helps the story a lot, not having him be that mute.

Marvel.com: And one of the first things he does when he gets that power of speech is to head out to Hollywood.

R.L. Stine: Yeah. He sees all the other Marvel characters and he thinks, “If Ant-Man can have a movie, well then why can’t I?”

Then they tell him, “Your tests came back. You tested really poorly. You scared all the kids. You’re too ugly to be in the movies.”

He asks if he can take the corporate jet back to the swamp then and they say, “Sorry, Ant-Man is using it.”

Marvel.com: Besides the lack of critical reception and excitement when he gets to Hollywood, another thing that is causing stress for him is once he leaves the swamp, bad things start to happen there.

R.L. Stine: Things are all out of order. Something is very wrong when he gets back. The animals aren’t acting right, nothing is right. It’s just…chaos.

Marvel.com: What is the emotion then to come back to this almost prison and have to redouble his efforts to fix it, to save it, tying him even more tightly to it?

R.L. Stine: He’s horrified. He’s very disappointed he didn’t make it in the movies and then he’s pulled back.

But he doesn’t really have time to think about it. This woman he knew before, when he was a scientist, is kidnapped by snakes and everything is so wrong he knows he has to fix it. He has to find out why everything is going so berserk.

So he doesn’t really have time to get into his thoughts. He is still thinking, “I was so close to back to human,” that kind of thing, but he can’t stop.

And then, on top of that, he starts entering other realities.

Marvel.com: While this is not the first time you’ve adapted other people’s works or characters, you’ve built your career and reputation predominantly on your own original creations. With that in mind, how is it for you to step into an existing character’s mythology, to play with a character that has been defined for years by a collection of other writers?

R.L. Stine: I’ve actually done a lot of things like this. I did a bunch of Indiana Jones books.

Marvel.com: Yes! The Find Your Fate series.

R.L. Stine: Yeah. Like a Choose Your Own Adventure. Right, right, Find Your Fate.

So I had to do Indiana Jones and get into that world. I had to do a couple that were James Bond.

Back in the early days of my career I did a bunch of movie novelizations which is getting into another world. I did the novelization for Mel Brooks’ “Spaceballs.” And I did the novelization of a Pee Wee Herman movie [“Big Top Pee Wee”].

But this was kind of interesting. I read the Steve Gerber [MAN-THING stories]. Just to find out what this was all about. I read them and thought “Ok, that’s what he did. What am I going to do that’s different?” I guess the humor element is what I’ve added.

Marvel.com: I’ve heard that part of the reason for the comedy element is drawing on the EC horror books with the black humor and the darkly ironic twist endings that you really responded to…

R.L. Stine: That’s right. The secret is—and it is really not much of a secret—is that I was always only interested in being funny. I never planned to be scary. I never planned to be a horror writer. It was all an accident. I always wanted to be funny.

I wrote about a hundred joke books for kids and I wrote a humor magazine called “Bananas” for kids for 10 years. I always thought I’d just be funny.

Then an editor said, “I need a horror novel.” I said, “Ok, I’ll do it.” She gave the title. “Go home and write a book called ‘Blind Date.’” She gave me the title and everything.

So I bought a bunch of teen horror books to see what this sort of thing was all about, went home and wrote it. And it was a #1 best seller! So I thought, wait a minute, forget the funny stuff. So I’ve been scary ever since.

Marvel.com: When I was in my teens, I worked in a bookstore and I can remember repeatedly having to shelve “Blind Date” because it was one of those books that always sold and we’d always reorder. I can remember that cover distinctly.

R.L. Stine: I loved the 90’s! [Laughs] The 90’s were great.

Marvel.com: Given your affection for the black humor balanced against the violence, is it fair to say that MAN-THING will be defined by that tone?

R.L. Stine: Yes, yes it is. And there’s also some insult humor. [Man-Thing] gets insulted walking the streets of Burbank. People are just horrible to him. I mean, he looks like a garbage heap.

But I get serious too. There’s a lot of good violence, a lot of fighting, diving into all the worlds he has to save. Presenting Old Father who is the master of the swamp. It’s got a lot of comic book elements. This isn’t a satire.

Marvel.com: In addition to the main stories in MAN-THING, each issue has a short straight horror tale as a backup with art by the likes of Daniel Johnson and Christopher Mitten.

R.L. Stine: Well, I thought they should know it was me. So we did a four or five-page old fashioned horror comic [story] for each issue.

Marvel.com: Given that you loved that stuff as a kid, it must be a thrill to do that, even if it didn’t have the Marvel stamp on the cover.

R.L. Stine: Yeah, right. It’s fun!

Marvel.com: What would you tell the readers and life-long R.L. Stine fans considering adding this to their monthly pulls?

R.L. Stine: If they enjoy my other work, then I think they are really going to enjoy this because it is the same combination of horror and humor, just taken to an all new medium and paired with great illustrations. I think they’ll love this.

[Laughs] I think that might sound a little immodest of me.

Marvel.com: I think that’s ok. We have a pretty good history in comics of selling ourselves.

R.L. Stine: [Laughs] Alright then. There you go.

Look for R.L. Stine’s MAN-THING beginning in March of 2017!

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Spidey teams with Howard the Duck, Doctor Strange, and many more, and makes a Spectacular debut!

For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe, and this summer, the web-slinger swings onto the silver screen once more in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”! In celebration of his memorable history, we present Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story!

Following a wild encounter with a certain web-footed fowl in HOWARD THE DUCK #1, Spider-Man stumbled into an even wilder adventure in MARVEL TEAM-UP #41 when he trailed the Scarlet Witch and found himself flung through time to Salem in the year 1692 where he fought alongside the Vision in MARVEL TEAM-UP #42, Doctor Doom in MARVEL TEAM-UP #43, and the mysterious Moondragon in MARVEL TEAM-UP #44.

Having wrapped up his Salem side-trip, the webslinger traveled to an alternate future in MARVEL TEAM-UP #45 to aid Killraven against Martian invaders, and to yet another divergent future to meet Deathlok in MARVEL TEAM-UP #46. When he finally landed feet-first in his own time in MARVEL TEAM-UP #47, a volcano brought him and The Thing together to battle the Basilisk in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #17.

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #46

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #46

What is Marvel Unlimited?

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #152 revived the Shocker for a tussle with Spidey, and a returned Sandman engrained his fists on the wallcrawler’s face in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #153. Our hero shook it off to dig deep into a locked-room mystery in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #154, and attend Betty Brant and Ned Leeds’ wedding in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #155.

The dreaded Doctor Octopus popped up in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #156, but when it appeared that the ghost of his arch-rival Hammerhead haunted him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #157, it took Spider-Man to dope out the details and discover the flat-topped thug’s out-of-phase existence in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #158. When things seemed darkest in the war between Doc Ock and Hammerhead, they blew each other up all over again in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #159.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #159

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #159

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Spidey teamed with Iron Man in MARVEL TEAM-UP #48 to investigate a new menace called the Wraith, a conundrum that spilled over into MARVEL TEAM-UP #49, and a visit from Doctor Strange in MARVEL TEAM-UP #50. Finally, in MARVEL TEAM-UP #51, the wallcrawler saw justice done and the Wraith redeemed in a courtroom clash that made the history books.

The Terrible Tinkerer restarted the Spider-Mobile in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #160 to drive home his point to the webbed wonder. Later, Spidey swung into a tangled web with the mutant Nightcrawler in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #161, but it fell to the Punisher to really confuse the issue between the two in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #162 before the return of the Kingpin himself in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #163.

Our hero barely found time to breathe after a demon heated things up for him and Captain America in MARVEL TEAM-UP #52 and the Tarantula crawled back out from under a rock in PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #1.

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After discovering their king is a Skrull impostor, the Inhumans take to the stars!

Bred by an alien race to be a warrior caste and possessing alien DNA, the Inhumans exist as humans possessed of incredible and otherworldly powers when exposed to the substance known as Terrigen. Living secretly, for the most part, among their fellow man, the Inhumans forge their own destiny as a separate society. Dig into the history of the Inhumans with these Marvel Unlimited comics in preparation for “Marvel’s Inhumans” heading to IMAX and ABC this fall! 

For some, space might represent a place of limitless wonder and opportunity, but not for the Inhumans. The species felt two major setbacks coming from the stars in 2007’s WORLD WAR HULK #1, the Green King proved his strength and rage by easily beating the Inhuman one unconscious and using his limp body as proof of his might. The next year’s ILLUMINATI #5 revealed that Black Bolt himself had been replaced by a Super Skrull. Namor killed the interloper and Iron Man delivered the body to Medusa in SECRET INVASION: INHUMANS by Joe Pokaski and Tom Raney. 

Secret Invasion: Inhumans (2008) #1

Secret Invasion: Inhumans (2008) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

That series continued by showing the Inhumans trying to deal with the revelation that their king had been replaced while a Skrull scientist experimented on Blackagar. While Attilan defended itself against an invasion of Super Skrulls, the Royal Family headed out to get their true leader back. Medusa turned to Ronan and the Kree for help, he agreed as long as Crystal married him.

Eventually reunited, the Royal Family returned to Attilan where they made peace with Maximus and announced the Kree alliance. In SECRET INVASION: WAR OF KINGS, one event gave way to another as the Inhumans took to space in Attilan itself, now a city-ship powered by Black Bolt’s voice. 

Secret Invasion: War of Kings One-Shot (2009) #1

Secret Invasion: War of Kings One-Shot (2009) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Seeing as how the Kree played with Earth genes to create the initial wave of Inhumans, the current group saw that their evolutionary prowess actually put them above the blue-skinned space cases. In other words, the Inhumans called dibs on leading the Kree Empire!

In the WAR OF KINGS six issue series, the Inhumans found themselves thrust into intergalactic politics and all the fighting that came with it thanks to a conflict with the Shi’Ar and their maniacal leader Vulcan.

The war itself ended when Black Bolt attempted to create an equal genetic foundation by releasing the Terrigen Mists into the cosmos. Instead, Vulcan showed up to kill the king. While Crystal and Lockjaw escaped, giving the former time to suppress the mist’s release, but not the massive explosion which seemingly killed Black Bolt after he blasted Vulcan with a “No.”

The Inhumans’ cosmic adventures continued in the Realm of Kings event which found various space heroes trying to stop the Cancerverse’s incursion on reality. In REALM OF KINGS: INHUMANS, Medusa carried on where her husband left off as both the leader of her people as well as the Shi’Ar. 

Realm of Kings: Inhumans (2009) #1

Realm of Kings: Inhumans (2009) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

An attack from Devos the Devastator happened to bring the Mighty Avengers back to the Inhumans, including Silent War instigator Quicksilver. He claimed that a Skrull actually committed the acts, but lied. Still, he returned the missing crystals as an act of good faith.

After THE THANOS IMPERATIVE, a far more important return took place in FF #6 when Black Bolt made a triumphant one thanks to Jonathan Hickman and Greg Tocchini. He awoke in The Fault where Lockjaw appeared to bring him back to his people. The Inhumans then responded to a summons, gave Kree control back to Ronan and returned to Earth where Black Bolt found himself a husband four more times over! For even more Hickman Inhuman action, come back next time! 

FF (2010) #6

FF (2010) #6

What is Marvel Unlimited?

THE INHUMAN CONDITION

Wondering when exactly the Skrulls nabbed Black Bolt and replaced him with one of their own? As explained in SECRET INVASION: INHUMANS #3, they got him after Secret War when Blackagar Boltagon snuck out for one of his Illuminati meetings. They feared that the replacement’s defeat at the hands of Hulk would result in the humans uncovering the invasion plot, but Medusa swung in to nurse her presumed husband back to health.

Jonathan Hickman take the Inhumans – and the rest of the Marvel Universe – to Infinity and beyond!

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Lando Calrissian wasn’t always the “respectable leader” we see in the films…

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

LANDO #1 begins just the way a limited series starring Lando Calrissian should—with the loveable scoundrel wooing a beautiful woman. In the same scene, Charles Soule elegantly provides a full understanding of Lando’s current place in the galaxy—and he’s not exactly the administrator of a profitable tibanna gas mining facility yet. Rather, he lives a life much like the one lived by his old friend Han Solo, constantly on the run. And in massive debt.

Lando (2015) #1

Lando (2015) #1

  • Published: July 08, 2015
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: January 04, 2016
  • Writer: Charles Soule
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Just as Han has Jabba the Hutt, Lando owes his fair share of credits a soft-spoken crime lord named Papa Toren, who’s got just the operation in mind for Lando to wipe that debt away. It’s a simple robbery involving the theft of a ship full of priceless art from “some rich Imperial.” By issue’s end we learn that said rich Imperial is none other than Emperor Palpatine. Oops…

As a whole, LANDO is worth your time not only for Soule’s spot-on characterization of someone we love from the films despite limited screen time, but also for “buddy film” vibe between Lando and his closest friend, Lobot. Yeah, that’s right—the silent bald guy in “The Empire Strikes Back” with a huge cybernetic implant going around his head. He’s not so silent here, asking intelligent questions in the face of Lando’s unorthodox line of thinking…but by the end of the series, we’ll learn why he’s not so chatty by the time Episode V comes around.

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Speculate on what’s been stunting Groot’s growth with Gerry Duggan!

Since the start of ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, Groot’s been stuck in a small state and True Believers across the galaxy have been attempting to guess why.

Normally a giant, the talkin’ tree has been relegated to sapling status—but on September 6 that all changes with ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #9! Guest artist Mike Hawthorne joins series writer Gerry Duggan to reveal the source of Groot’s problem and where the one-line wonder goes from here.

But before issue #9 officially answers the question, we asked Gerry to give us his thoughts on a few of our reasonable (and unreasonable) theories about the cause of Groot’s perpetually-slight stature.

Marvel.com: Our first guess: there’s a unique frequency in every Electric Light Orchestra song that keeps his species from growing any biggerand he’s just danced to one too many. 

Gerry Duggan: Or fans keep breaking pieces off of him.

Marvel.com: Maybe he got in the way of one of Rocket’s mad science experiments and got blasted, poisoned, or shot into permanent-baby form. 

Gerry Duggan: Well, Groot’s not exactly a baby in All New—he’s just physically diminished. He’s banzai Groot.

Marvel.com: What if Rocket made such a snarky quip that it degraded Groot down to his current state?

Gerry Duggan: No comment is too salty for this team.

Marvel.com: Perhaps, before the start of this series, the Guardians fought some powerful cosmic gardener/Edward Scissor Hands-esque entity that wanted to trim Groot into a beautiful and delicate lawn feature. 

Gerry Duggan: That would be quite a gardener/mohel.

Uncover the mystery at last with ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #9, by Gerry Duggan and artist Mike Hawthorne, on September 6!

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Mark Waid looks back upon a classic Thor/Hercules tussle from The King!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

A few days ago, we talked about how it can take some time to get used to an artist as dynamic and bold as Jack Kirby. By his own admission, AVENGERS writer Mark Waid didn’t take to “The King” when he first experienced some of his comics at the Distinguished Competition as a kid. If you’re wondering what made him change his mind about the artist, it came in the pages of JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #125 and THOR #126130.

“One of my all-time favorite Kirby stories is the ‘Verdict of Zeus’ epic, which I read at age 12 and was my introduction to Marvel Kirby,” Waid said. “The sheer drama in that Thor/Hercules saga, with all its grandeur and all its humanity, was an education for me.”

These issues contain many amazing moments bound to convert anyone to Camp Kirby. The first issue kicks off with a battle between Thor and a Norn Stone-enhanced Witch Doctor for several pages before shifting focus to a napping Hercules who helped move a downed tree from the train tracks.

After returning the Norn Stone to his father on Asgard, Thor attempts to tell his father that he revealed his secret identity to Jane Foster, but the elder god already knew! In his rage, Odin demands the other warriors present attack his son in “the Ritual of Steel.” The Odinson fights valiantly and earns his trip across the Rainbow Bridge back to Midgard where he finds his beloved at a soda parlor with Hercules!

Journey Into Mystery (1952) #125

Journey Into Mystery (1952) #125

What is Marvel Unlimited?

A wonderfully epic, titanic battle erupts between the two gods in the very first issue of THOR! How epic, you wonder? Well in addition to wielding enchanted uru hammers and Power Staffs, the two use trailer trucks, streets, heavy machinery, buildings, and bare fists to knock each other silly.

Hercules not only wins that battle, but also parlays the victory into a gig working on a gorgeous movie set overseen by mysterious supernatural figures disguised as humans. Meanwhile, Thor returns to Asgard where he stops an interloper from stealing Odin’s power, but nearly at the cost of his own life.

Eventually, Thor heals up, which gives him the strength to help Hercules get out of a boneheaded deal he made to become ruler of the Netherworld, thus cementing a camaraderie that continues to this day.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Writer Peter David examines Kaine and Ben Reilly’s relationship!

It’s been in the air since even before issue #1, but on September 13, the animosity between Kaine and Ben Reilly reaches its boiling point in BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #7!

Written by Peter David and penciled by Will Sliney—featuring a cover by Mark Bagley—Ben and Kaine’s turbulent past forever alters their shared future in this latest chapter. To understand how these two characters reached this moment—and where Reilly may go from here—we talked to series writer David about these extremely unusual “brothers.”

Marvel.com: Prior to The Clone Conspiracy, how would you describe Ben’s attitude towards Kaineand vice versa?

Peter David: Initially, Kaine hated Ben; he felt that Ben represented everything that he, Kaine, could not have and could not be. Kaine was an earlier—and somewhat failed—attempt to clone Peter Parker, but Ben proved to be the version that got it right. So he resented the hell out of Ben for that.

I think Ben would’ve been perfectly happy to live in concert with his brother, but he constantly had to defend himself against Kaine’s plans and assaults.

Eventually, Kaine managed to grow past his hatred and morphed into someone who respected Ben—although I’m not sure that he ever really liked him.

Marvel.com: How have their respective attitudes changed in the wake of both Conspiracy and the events of issues #1-6 of BEN REILLY?

Peter David: Ben’s evil reawakened all of Kaine’s old hostility for him—but now Kaine feels that it was all justified. That’s why he’s out to kill Ben rather than simply capture him. He firmly believes that Ben has no right to exist—that there should not be an evil version of Peter Parker running around.

Marvel.com: How would you summarize each character at this point in their lives?

Peter David: Kaine believes that he’s the good guy and so does Ben. He wants to kill Ben, and Ben simply wants to survive.

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider (2017) #7

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider (2017) #7

  • Published: September 13, 2017
  • Cover Artist: Mark Bagley

Marvel.com: During the writing process, were there any specific turning points that uniquely informed who Ben and Kaine are now?

Peter David: The Clone Conspiracy, obviously—the story that revealed Ben as still alive and crystallized their personalities in relation to each other.

Marvel.com: How does Will Sliney’s approach to drawing Kaine and the Scarlet Spider aid their written characterizations? What about their individual physicalities did you accentuate to highlight their differences?

Peter David: In terms of their physicality, they are both pretty much the same guy, so they are going to move pretty similarly—except that Ben has Spider-Sense and Kaine just has superb reflexes. So that difference factors into choreographing the fight scenes.

Marvel.com: What makes issue #7 such a vital piece of Ben and Kaine’s story?

Peter David: It’s been tough to root for Ben considering how skewed his personality was after The Clone Conspiracy. That difficulty is one of this story’s core components, and we know how desperately fans want to be on Ben’s side in terms of pulling for the book’s title character. Fans know he’s still in there somewhere, and part of his journey is digging his true self up. Will he succeed? Will he fall deeper in to madness? All I’ll say is that there is no way you will get to the last page of issue #7 and not be on Ben’s side.

BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #7, by Peter David and artist Will Sliney, hits shelves on September 13!

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Star Wars comics reveal how Darth Vader learned his son blew up the Death Star.

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

We’ve all seen “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back”—and we all know that Darth Vader was aiming to capture Luke in Episode V despite not knowing his identity during the Death Star trench run. So…how did that happen? How did Vader learn that he almost gunned down his own son? Shared between both STAR WARS #6 and DARTH VADER # 6, one of the greatest moments in Star Wars comic book history reveals this crucial moment in Star Wars lore.

Darth Vader (2015) #6

Darth Vader (2015) #6

What is Marvel Unlimited?

STAR WARS #6 made headlines when it was released for revealing that Han Solo may have a wife, but the arguable bigger revelation is the one Boba Fett conveys to Vader in the issue’s final pages. The bounty hunter had learned of Luke’s identity in STAR WARS #5, and issue #6 kicks off with him encountering Luke—the rare instance of Fett’s prey successfully fleeing. The issue concludes with the revelation. Vader does not take it well…

DARTH VADER #6 ends similarly, but with a more introspective look at the news from the Dark Lord’s perspective. We see thoughts of Padme go through his mind—as well as Palpatine’s lie to him that he killed her. Then, four simple words that should pack a huge emotional wallop to fans: “I have a son.” We know what happens from there.

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The King helps usher in Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and much more!

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

Although he’d already knocked the socks off of comic book fans the previous year with a collection of incredible debuts, Jack Kirby teamed once again with Marvel editor and writer Stan Lee to ensure that 1963 offered up as many if not more fantastic firsts.

Perhaps supreme among that year’s debuts stood AVENGERS #1. Lee and Kirby took their biggest stars to that point—Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Ant-Man, and The Wasp—and brought them together in a single dream team. Kirby’s proficiency at juggling multiple characters paid off in spades in a story that gave equal time to all the heroes, plus included the villainy of Thor’s half-brother Loki just for good measure. Fans responded enthusiastically, and the creative duo notched their belts with another hit on their hands.

Not content with just one new team of super heroes, Jack designed another set to be launched not as guest-stars or back-ups in another title, but in a book of their own right out of the starting gate. X-MEN #1 introduced teen champions with a little “x-tra” going for them: mutant powers. The mysterious Professor X brought in Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Iceman, and Marvel Girl to battle Lee and Kirby’s newest criminal creation, Magneto, and the world of comics would never be the same again.

Jack, a veteran of combat in World War II, found much to dig into when he helped kick off a new war series called SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS in 1963. Just like with  their super hero teams, Kirby and Lee endowed the platoon of soldiers and their commander who populated the book with duffel bags full of personality, and their stories with all the action and pathos Marvel fans began to demand.

Over in the world of the Fantastic Four, the duo’s superstars from the year before received their very first Annual issue, an immense tome illustrated solely by Jack. The volume included a sprawling battle between the FF and the Sub-Mariner, several pages of pinups of the foursome’s fearsome foes, and an expansion of the scuffle between our heroes and Spider-Man from the webslinger’s first issue of his own new title—all this for a mere 25 cents cover price.

In their regular book, Marvel’s first family enjoyed Jack’s art for the very first crossover story from the House of Ideas, the Hulk-FF clash in FANTASTIC FOUR #12, the debut of The Watcher and his exotic moon base in FANTASTIC FOUR #13, and the Super-Skrull’s arrival in FANTASTIC FOUR #18. All these amazing new characters benefited from Kirby’s sense of design and wonder, cementing their role in the ever-growing Marvel Universe.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Writer Robbie Thompson summons a retrospective look as the series powers to a close!

Even magic has its limits.

On September 13, the Sorcerers will have to accept that reality in DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #12, as writer Robbie Thompson and artist Nathan Stockman conjure up an intense conclusion for the supernatural crew.

As he dusted off his magic artifacts for the last time, we caught up with Robbie to ask about his stellar work on the book—and what’s still to come.

Marvel.com: As we reach the end, how are you feeling about the DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME series as a whole?

Robbie Thompson: I’m feeling sad! This book was so much fun to work on—Editor Nick Lowe assembled a murderer’s row of all-star talent and I learned a ton on this book. Every collaborator has brought their A-game on every page.

But I also feel satisfied, and thanks again to Nick for that, too. We had time to wrap the story up the way we wanted to—with a satisfying conclusion to the story we set out to tell.

Marvel.com: How does the art for that last issue look? What was the artistic collaboration like over the course of the whole title?

Robbie Thompson: Thanks to Nate Stockman, [artist] Jim Campbell, and [letterer] Joe Caramagna, the last issue of the series looks stunning.

I’m so happy with how this book turned out—it’s been bittersweet, but also fun, to see the pages, colors, and lettering on this final issue. We decided to do something different for this one, inspired by FANTASTIC FOUR #252, by having this final issue be horizontal. It made for some fun and crazy layouts from Nate—and helped keep us on our toes right to the end of the run.

Marvel.com: As you wrote the characters, did any surprises emerge throughout the run? How would you characterize their emotional journeys over the course of the bookespecially Strange’s?

Robbie Thompson: I think the character that surprised me the most was Mindful One. We knew going in that Sir Isaac Newton was going to turn on the group—and that some characters would leave sooner rather than later—but I wasn’t expecting Mindful to be such an emotional character. His friendship with Kushala came out of the way that Javier Rodriguez drew them both, and based on that, we would all pitch moments for Mindful in each issue and he started to grow as a character. It was cool to see him become more of an emotional part of the team.

As for the rest of the team, typically, Sorcerers Supreme work alone—not with other Supremes. But because of the time travel, we had a chance for each of them to see that they were a part of a much larger story than they knew, which made for some emotional moments, especially for Doctor Strange. He gets to talk to someone in issue #11 that I wasn’t initially planning on him even meeting when we first set out to tell this story. But because this is a time travel story, we had the unique opportunity to say something a little more emotional in that exchange. And because we’re talking about Sorcerers Supreme throughout time, including Stephen Strange’s mentor Yao, we had a chance to have Strange see his own legacy—to have him understand the impact he’s had on magic and history.

Marvel.com: I’m sure you’ve had a few favorite moments over the course of the series. Looking back, which ones stand out?

Robbie Thompson: For me, the moments I love looking back on are where the collaborative nature of the story shined through; a moment where Nick or Editor Darren Shan had a great fix for a story or character beat, a moment where Javier Rodriguez took a page and completely made it his own, getting to watch Nate Stockman create his versions of future X-Men battling in Dublin, getting to watch colorist Jordie Bellaire take a two-page spread and work her magic.

Then there’s our letterer, Joe Caramagna—he’d come up with the perfect creation every time. Comics work best when everyone contributes, and I think the book’s best moments came from when everyone pitched in and brought their own spin to the story being told.

Marvel.com: How did it feel to sit down and write the final issue? How did it feel to finish the script?

Robbie Thompson: To be honest, I kept putting it off! We were ahead because I started writing out of order to help the schedule, so I just kept dragging my feet! I wrote a draft of the last script, which wasn’t bad or anything, but when Javier handed in his cover for the last issue, I threw my work in the trash. The image Javier sent in was so inspiring that I had to rewrite what I had—and it made for a much, much better ending. So I’m glad I waited and dragged my feet, because I like this ending much more than what I originally wrote.

Marvel.com: What can fans expect in the last issue?

Robbie Thompson: When readers see who shows up at the end of issue #11, they’ll want to see how this all ends in #12. It pays off something we set up all the way back in the first story. Again, Nick was awesome about giving us time to wind everything down the way we wanted—we’ve been able to wrap up every detail.

Witness the mystical end with DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #12, by Robbie Thompson and artist Nathan Stockman, on September 13!

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