Rob Liefeld returns to the Merc with a Mouth for a new graphic novel!

Deadpool fans, mark down the date May 17 on your calendars, as that’s the day Wade Wilson’s proud papa Rob Liefeld returns to the character he helped create with the DEADPOOL: BAD BLOOD original graphic novel written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims.

We pinned down Liefeld for a conversation about Deadpool past, present, and future.

Marvel.com: So we’ve just passed Deadpool’s 25th anniversary and he’s more popular than ever with the film and games; what do you think it is about his character that has made him endure for as long as he has?

Rob Liefeld: Deadpool [and] his origins, are steeped in my absolute envy of everything Spider-Man, and the fact that my buddies Erik Larsen and Todd McFarlane were blazing through the pages on that beautifully full masked character. Upon being handed the reins of writing the stories for NEW MUTANTS, I had to follow up Cable, which at the time, that character had taken the comic book world by storm, and taken [the New Mutants] to new heights. The book started to fail so when Marvel handed it to me, they said I could do whatever I want.

Getting back to the Spider-Man of it all, I went back to Marvel and pitched them Spider-Man with guns and swords because I am obsessed with gear and weapons, which is not an accident because my favorite comic book character of all time is Wolverine. He was the first X-Man to have weapons. Now at the same time, my favorite team was the Avengers, and they [all] had weapons, and these were some of the most popular comic book characters of all time so I knew it resonated somehow. At the time Todd was doing much darker storylines; Spider-Man was a much darker character, his marriage with Mary Jane was on the rocks, Peter Parker was unsure of himself and lost in the world—he wasn’t the fun loving Spider-Man I grew up with, you know, the guy who would make fun of you while he kicked you in the face. I think what works so well about that is everybody loves a smart-ass.

And I think that’s why everybody resonated with Deadpool so well because he was a funny smart ass, and overtime he has become the loveable and formidable smartass. Those kinds of characters resonate because they are fun, and Deadpool has never been more necessary as ever as the world gets more out of control. I think having that smart ass character to make everyone laugh is amazing because everyone needs a time to laugh and if Deadpool can make you laugh while shooting bullets through people’s [heads] then that’s a bonus for all comic book fans; that’s just great action. And again, at that time you had Cable who was the one driving sales for the comics: he was the straight-edge, serious commander type and Deadpool came in within the first month and deconstructed everything and just slapped him around so it was definitely a huge change of pace that people loved back then and still love today. In addition, with Marvel’s amazing publishing, sales, and marketing teams they really took care of him and pushed him to popularity; there were Deadpool action figures and trading cards within the first nine months of his publishing. I think it’s safe to say that everyone loves the badass ninja.

Marvel.com: Where do you find inspiration for Deadpool?  I mean, he’s done so much, it must be hard to put new stuff together.

Rob Liefeld: Actually it’s not hard; I look to exploit the areas that have been left alone.  Deadpool’s past has largely been left alone. When I pitched him to Marvel back in the day, I asked, “Can I have him be a part of Weapon X?” and when they obliged I asked, “is the X a roman numeral? And if so have we seen weapons [one through nine]?” So I made him Weapon IX meaning that he wasn’t put together correctly so that’s kind why he’s so screwed up. So when I examined his past history, I realized they still haven’t done a lot of it. In DEADPOOL #900 I flashed back to him briefly to him in Catholic school, and did a lot of story with him in junior high and high school. I was raised in the Chris Claremont school of soap opera engagement and storytelling because X-Men was the best soap opera ever presented to me as a kid, so for me I always wanted to add layers and have stuff to reveal later on to keep the twists and turns coming. So the opportunity to build out Deadpool’s past and to bring back characters from his childhood and so on, was a big appeal for me. I was always sketching characters in my sketch book and thinking of ways to add them into Deadpool’s life.

Marvel.com: What was it like for you to return to the character for his first original graphic novel, especially at the height of his popularity?

Rob Liefeld: Well first I asked “why a graphic novel?” I was a little suspicious; [Marvel] said that they considered a really privileged format, and I considered it that way since you had no next issue breaks, you don’t have to catch people up. I was also lucky enough that Marvel once again gave me free reign to pretty much do whatever I want with the [story]. I sat down and really carved out a path for where the story was going for this. A week or two later Chad Bowers and Chris Sims came in and started to work with me; it was Chad, actually, who told me that he really lobbied for this thing. I was really excited to work with them because they were teenagers when this character first came out so you know they grew up with him and fell in love with the character same as I.

Marvel.com: Speaking of Chad and Chris, they’ve done some great work with X-MEN ’92. What has your working relationship been like with these two?

Rob Liefeld: Oh the back and forth between those two have been tremendous. You know like I said coming into the project I was like “The Old Man and the Sea” and they were the young fish so it has been amazing to hear what fresh ideas these guys have brought with them. They know their stuff. We were jamming immediately, discussing everything about the character. I’ve worked with other creators before who said they were assigned the project and you could tell they weren’t as enthused, but when it came to Chad and Chris it was like magic. They brought so much—I was proof-reading the book last week and I was howling with laughter, and working with them was easy because I would want to expand on their stuff and go in a certain direction and they were all for it.

Marvel.com: In BAD BLOOD, Deadpool is going to be taking on a new baddie named Thumper. What can you tell us about the matchup between those two?

Rob Liefeld: Well I don’t want to reveal too much, but Thumper is a character from Deadpool’s past that has a shared backstory and where they split and where they come together is a major part of the story. I really want to give the character something that resonates with the reader. With Thumper, this is your introduction to him and his story and oh man the last quarter of the book I really feel like we nailed the journey. Two of the goals given this format, stems from how I was raised in a time where treasury editions were a big deal, Marvel did a lot of them, co-published with DC two of my favorites being HULK/BATMAN and SUPERMAN/SPIDER-MAN; they went bigger with the action and bigger with the detail and thinking of those treasury editions I wanted to go bigger with both in this format as well. It’s a fun journey, a lot of familiar faces and some new faces are in the issue.

Marvel.com: We now know BAD BLOOD is going to be released on May 17. What are you most excited for fans to see when they finally get their hands on it?

Rob Liefeld: Well again, it’s going to be a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun creating the action bits and the comedy bits. I approached my artistic collaborator on this, [colorist] Romulo Fajardo; he is an amazing painter. I went with him because I am a huge fan of Frank Miller and his work that he did [on ELEKTRA LIVES] with [colorist] Lynn Varley and the painted look, and I went to Romulo and [said] “Listen man, if we are going to go in this format we got to step it up” and he showed me some work and went “Like this?” and I went “Holy crap!! Yeah!” He is an outstanding painter; he is an essential part of the look of the book. For 30 years I’ve been putting together comics and creating comics and creating these journeys in different formats, and it’s so rewarding when you have this collaboration with guys like Chris and Chad and Romulo, and to see it put together. I’m just hoping that the printing press comes through for us and prints all those brilliant hues and tones because it really has a great atmosphere. I went around and met a whole bunch of different people at conventions and such, and I’ve [listened] to them, and without going too much into the journey of the book, I’ve put a great deal of what I’ve heard from fans into the book, in relation to comedy and action and I’ve also given [them] some new storylines that they won’t see coming. I’m excited to get my hands on it and go out there and promote it.

Look for DEADPOOL: BAD BLOOD from Rob Liefeld, Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, and Romulo Fajardo on May 17!

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Celebrating the contributions of a key member of the original Marvel bullpen!

Marvel Comics salutes “Fabulous” Florence “Flo” Steinberg, one of the first two full-time employees of Marvel in the 1960s and an all-important figure in building the vast fan community the House of Ideas has enjoyed since its beginnings.

Born near Boston in the late 40s, Steinberg grew up with a mother and father who made sure she attended college, graduating from UMass Amherst in 1960. After some time with New England Telephone and Ted Kennedy’s first Senatorial campaign, she pulled up stakes and moved to New York City where she would quickly take her place in the history of Marvel Comics.

As Stan Lee’s secretary, Flo assumed the task of taking care of the ever increasing piles of fan mail and Marvel Merry Marching Society memberships. Although the company began to grow with some speed, she remained in charge of this for five years, crafting Marvel’s unique connection to its fans and—to hear freelancers tell it—creating a welcome atmosphere for all who came through the offices in person.

After five years, Fabulous Flo found herself ready to move on. While initially taking a brief detour to work in fossil fuels, Steinberg quickly re-entered the comics industry, working with Warren Publishing before coming back to New York City in 1975 to publish one of the cornerstones in the history of independent comics: Big Apple Comix.

Finally, in the 90s, Steinberg returned to where it all began—albeit at a different address. Gone were the days of the two-person office; Marvel had expanded exponentially in the years since she helped spark the revolution that made it one of the largest comic publishers in the United States. As a proofreader, “Fabulous Flo” remained with the company for the rest of her life, helping not only with what unfolded on the pages of Marvel Comics but, once again, brightening the days of those around her. She established a unique and profound connection with every member of the Marvel staff fortunate enough to encounter her, in particular the growing ranks of women working in the industry.

While the likes of Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and more may have been responsible for the unique sensibilities on display within the pages of the House of Ideas’ books, Steinberg helped solidify the community that those comics inspired in its readers. With San Diego Comic-Con unfolding at this moment, it takes little imagination to draw a straight line from her attitude and commitment in those early days to the vast network of comic book fans that gather at conventions and online to talk about their love of the characters and stories of Marvel Comics.

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The House of Ideas says goodbye to one of its most beloved members.

Statement from Marvel:

“We are incredibly saddened to hear of Flo Steinberg’s passing and send our deepest condolences to her friends and family. Flo has always been the heart of Marvel and a legend in her own right. She will be forever missed and always loved by all of us here at Marvel.”

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Enjoy the latest episode of the official Marvel podcast, with comics, movies, TV, games, and more!

True Believers, it’s time for a brand new episode of This Week in Marvel, the official Marvel podcast! We’re one episode away from our milestone 300th episode – can you believe it!

For those of you who aren’t at San Diego Comic-Con, and for those of you who are, catch all things Marvel happening here at www.marvel.com/SDCC2017 or Marvel’s YouTube channel.

Now, onto this episode — Alex and Cam are back at home base making sure you get the scoop on all of this week’s hottest comics including SECRET EMPIRE, ASTONISHING X-MEN, INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, and tons more! A lot can happen in a week, so head on over to the West Coast, where Ryan, Marc and Christine give you the rundown on what’s happening in the world of movies, TV and games, including what they saw last week at D23 and what they’ve seen so far at SDCC. We close everything out with your questions and comments!

Download episode #299 of This Week in Marvel from Marvel.com, check out Marvel Podcast Centralgrab the TWiM RSS feed and subscribe to This Week in Marvel on iTunes, so you never miss an episode! We are now also on Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to the full run of This Week in Marvel!

This Week in Marvel will focus 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 Thursday (or so) and TWiM is co-hosted by Marvel VP & Executive Editor of Digital Media Ryan “Agent M” Penagos and Marvel Editorial Director of Digital Media Ben Morse, along with Marvel.com Editor Marc Strom, Marvel.com Assistant Editor Christine Dinh, and Manager of Video & Content Production Blake Garris. 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@chrissypedia or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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1924-2017

Marvel Comics salutes late artist Sam Glanzman, whose impeccable eye for authentic detail and fine storytelling brought to life stories for several companies and enriched comics from the Golden Age to the modern industry.

Inspired by two older brothers who tackled the comics business, Glanzman dove into their world in 1939 and after just a few short years he’d created indelible characters such as Fly-Man for Harvey Comics, as well as illustrated many other titles. When World War II broke out, he proudly served in the U.S. Navy, but took a detour after war’s end to work at different jobs. Comics remained in his blood, though, and by 1950 he’d returned to not only the industry but also the publishing arena in children’s books.

Charlton Comics published Glanzman’s first war stories in the late 1950s, a genre that would blossom into a subject he’d become known for. The artist also made a mark in the 1960s with a Hercules series for Charlton, one that he poured many of his fine art visions into and drafted into a book a cut above the rest. DC Comics later brought him onboard to shore up their own war comics line and he stayed with the company throughout the 1970s.

In the halls of Marvel Comics, Glanzman produced a stunning work called “A Sailor’s Story” in 1986 for MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #30. The tale followed his own Navy career during the war and became so popular that the artist offered up a sequel, A SAILOR’S STORY: WINDS, DREAMS, AND DRAGONS.

He continued to work in the industry throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium with both webcomics and traditional projects. Glanzman also saw reprints of many of his past works from the different companies he’d drawn for.

Legendary artist Walt Simonson counts himself among the man’s admirers and sees him as a unique voice in comics over the decades since their birth.

“Sam Glanzmann was an artist who brought his signature style to everything he did,” he says. “His work was easily recognizable. Grounded in his experience, Sam drew worlds full of authenticity, in which violence was neither overstated nor sugarcoated, and the drama was always clearly presented. Although all his work was honest, he was a sailor and his stories of the sea had the tang of salt air about them and a truth that made them moving and deeply felt.”

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Speaking from the stage included Kevin Smith, Clark Gregg, Chadwick Boseman, and more.

Stan Lee became the latest Star to receive the exclusive honor of being cemented in the Iconic Forecourt at the Famous TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX (the former Grauman’s Chinese) since 1927. Take a look at the gallery above!

“Stan Lee gave us the heroes that fueled our imagination and aspirations” said Kevin Smith, Filmmaker, Actor, Writer, Comedian and Stan Lee Fan.

”Now, WE, the fans, are coming together to give this permanent monument and tribute to the man that gave us so much.”

Stan Lee, the chief creative force behind the rise of Marvel Comics, brought to life some of the world’s most famous heroes and infamous villains, including Spider-Man, The Hulk, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, The Avengers, Loki, and Dr. Doom. His stories featured heroes and villains that were more psychologically complex than had ever been seen previously.

According to his autobiography, Excelsior, “Lee put the human in the superhuman.”

A huge supporter of fandom throughout his career, Lee was immediately drawn to Legion M’s unique model as the first fan-owned entertainment company, and has been supportive since its launch in 2016. Legion M organizing and rallying fans, celebrities, companies and anyone who has been positively impacted by Stan’s creative contributions to pay this heartfelt, historic and overdue tribute to one of the greatest storytellers of our time.

As a producer, writer, editor, publisher, actor, host and executive, and idol to many, Stan ‘the Man’ Lee has exerted his influence over the entire entertainment industry leaving an indelible mark on the comic book industry having created or co-created 90% of Marvel’s most recognized comic characters. These creations have spawned books, films, television series, video games, web series, Broadway shows and more offering a lifeline of box office success to the entertainment industry, toy industry.

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The pro football player stops by Marvel HQ to talk about comics and more!

Pro football player Martellus Bennett stops by Marvel HQ to talk comics, his favorite super heroes and much more!

Download episode #296.5 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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Writer Brian Michael Bendis takes Riri Williams into the Marvel Legacy event!

Writer Brian Michael Bendis normally needs no introduction, but we’re going to make the attempt anyway.

He’s the man who this fall will take INVINCIBLE IRON MAN into the Marvel Legacy event and set the Iron Man Universe on its iron-plated ear. With Tony Stark gone, seemingly disappeared, he’s the only guy who can see Riri Williams through the next massive phase of her, and a few other important characters, development.

Marvel.com: Brian, in general, why is it important for you to highlight the concept of legacy in the Marvel Universe?

Brian Michael Bendis: Well, two things happened when Marvel started playing with this idea for the fall, and [when I heard] the theme, I just started smiling ear to ear, because it’s literally about what all my books are about at the moment. It’s just where I was at in my head. Number one, because some of the characters that I’m writing are legacy characters, they’re actually starting in someone else’s legacy and we’ll see where they end up, in great Marvel tradition. But right now, Miles Morales and Riri are two of the most spotlighted characters in this arena, and it’s just a great opportunity to zero in on what the book has been about.

Now for Iron Man, it’s not just Tony Stark’s legacy. It’s Riri Williams’ legacy, Victor Von Doom’s legacy, and Tony Stark’s legacy. It’s not just a normal person’s legacy; it’s wide, and it’s got a lot of tentacles…not to be too Hydra with the tentacles. But his reach, and the reach of his legacy, from the Avengers to the Stark Foundation, is enormous. So we’re going to get to explore some things about Tony, and about the Iron Man Universe that we haven’t seen before, and it just so happens that we’ve spent the last year and a half building up to this, like this is where I was headed.

Now, what’s cool is, all three of the main Iron Man characters will be joined by other Iron Man characters, looking for what has happened to Tony Stark. If we’re going to get Tony Stark back, what form will that be in? And how cool will the armor be? Now, there are other characters in the Iron Man universe that I’m not mentioning right now, big characters. Amanda, MJ, Friday, Tony A.I., huge characters, a lot going on and a lot of connections to the Marvel Universe, all of which will be detailed and unfolded within the storyline that starts with INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #593.

Marvel.com: How cool is it to go back to the original numbering?

Brian Michael Bendis: You know, when the very fun choice to go back to our original numbering came about, quite a few titles, IRON MAN in particular, are right there at a big anniversary issue. So we’re headed, very quickly, towards a gigantic IRON MAN #600, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Marvel.com; When this Marvel Legacy storyline starts, has Tony’s condition changed at all?

Brian Michael Bendis: Tony’s situation has changed. And that’ll be teased in the Marvel Legacy one-shot by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic, and then I think our INVINCIBLE IRON MAN issue comes out like right after that, and you can dive right in: big, brand new, very reader-friendly Iron Man storyline.

Marvel.com: Of the big Iron Man characters that you’ve mentioned, who would you say will be most moved by Tony’s disappearance?

Brian Michael Bendis: All of them for different reasons, but I have to say, Victor is in the most unusual situation. What Riri is going through, people will identify as “Oh, I’ve looked up to someone.” This relationship is very relatable, in a way. Like, I’ve had mentors in my life, people who I was trying to figure out without directly talking to them, you know what I mean? Trying to figure out stuff about myself through their humanity. Whereas Victor is on just about the biggest, most complicated redemption story…one of the biggest villains in the history of all fiction is trying to claw himself out of the hole. How much he’s been able to do is amazing. But, the enemy list he has created in doing so is enormous, and it’s not just from this dimension. So, his involvement in Tony Stark’s legacy may become, at one point, such a struggle, that he may destroy it. And something new has to be created, or he makes a sacrifice that brings up something new as well. What’s going on with Victor is probably the most unique thing going on story-wise at Marvel.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk about Riri again. What can you say about her further development going into this storyline? Is this going to be, to date, the ultimate challenge for her?

Brian Michael Bendis: Yes.

Marvel.com: Okay! You heard it here first! Next question!

Brian Michael Bendis: Yeah, listen; we’re just eight issues into her run! The amount of attention she’s garnered from fans in just eight issues is amazing. Compared to seven years ago with Miles, and I know the whole market was different, but it took a while, until the end of the second storyline, for people to really go “Oh okay, he didn’t [bleep] it up.” So, I’ve been quite flattered, to the point of becoming emotional, about how unbelievable the support of Riri has been. There was this young woman online that has been making her own Riri armor and her dad keeps tweeting it. Literally every time we put it out, there are like 60,000 retweets and likes, it’s crazy. It’s insane.

Marvel.com: Good crazy.

Brian Michael Bendis: The best. So, the point is, Riri is at the larva state of her super hero career. She has literally gone out, I think, five times by the time that this Tony storyline starts up again. She’s had some big wins; she’s had some defeating losses. Something crazy happens in the next issue of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN that I don’t want to spoil, but people are gonna be like “What?!” We don’t know what form her version of super heroing will take, she’s still building it. We don’t know what form her technology will take. So, of all the characters, there’s a good chance—and I’m pretty much telling you it is—that she’s going to evolve past the Iron Man construct to something else, and I think that’s pretty exciting.

I look at her like imitating the amazing style of an amazing artist. Like Bill Sienkiewicz is the best example. Very early in his career, he was highly referenced and influence by Neal Adams, and Neil Adams is a very difficult thing to imitate, right? Very difficult. And he did it, and you were like “Wow, you’re an amazing artist, you can do Neil Adams!” right? That’s how I look at Riri right now. She’s amazing. She can do Tony Stark pretty good, but, like Bill Sienkiewicz, will she evolve so far past it that people won’t even remember that she was Iron Man Universe-related? You know, is she capable? And again, you can bring up many other examples in music and television and film where the influence is there, and then they don’t need it anymore, then something else happens. And that’s where Riri’s headed in the next year.

Marvel.com: You’ve got her, you have Victor, you have some other strong personalities in there. Would you characterize what’s going to happen as a violent clash?

Brian Michael Bendis: No. It’s a philosophical [clash], and I’ve already got Riri and Victor’s first meeting out of the way in INFAMOUS IRON MAN, because everybody assumes they were gonna beat each other up. And when you get there, and Victor doesn’t want to fight, there’s no fight. You can hit him all you want, he’s not gonna fight back, and Victor’s not mad at her, and Victor’s not in a crazy, manic state that he usually, or sometimes, is in. He’s calmed down. So, when she shows up in his life, this is a brilliant young woman that he can relate to, and this isn’t someone that he’d wanna fight.

Also, he’s very aware of what it feels like to be in her position, at the beginning of your studies, not even knowing what you don’t know. That’s one of my favorite things, finding something out. Oh, I didn’t even know I didn’t know that, you know? And I know, he’ll get really excited for other people discovering things. So this is the Victor we’re dealing with right now. Not the whole mad genius. Now, does he want to turn her into the whole mad genius? Who knows? And also, may I say, Riri is at a very precarious stage. She’s had a world with nothing but loss and confusion in it. Intelligent characters- intelligent people- in this world we live in right now, find themselves very frustrated. Unintelligent leadership, and science not being the forefront of the society; you can read about it all the time, this is not something that I’m making up. Intelligent children sometimes shut down because they’re like “Whoa boy, this… everything’s weird.” So that’s part of Riri’s development.

Marvel.com: Is she easily influenced?

Brian Michael Bendis: No, not easily influenced. [And] it’s not stubbornness; I don’t see it that way, but I have a person in my life who decides things before they absolutely know them. And sometimes they’re right, because their confidence and intelligence is very strong, and sometimes it’s “Oh no, I was wrong.” But their guess, their instinct is very good, right? So that’s part of where she is. So her instincts [leads to her] calling it like she sees it. Like she sees bull and calls it, and then finds herself in the middle of it.

I have a storyline going right now where she’s right in the middle of terrorist actions in Liberia and S.H.I.E.L.D being S.H.I.E.L.D, she doesn’t buy into any of it. So she’s kind of just making up her own place in it, and it’s throwing off all of the ways that people do things. Maybe in a good way, maybe in a bad way, but she’s gonna have some mistakes she makes, big, big mistakes. But there’s something really brassy and confident about the way she handles things, and that is something Victor is going to be able to talk to her on. He will be able to communicate his philosophies through that idea.

Marvel.com: So far, it doesn’t sound like the tone of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN will change with the advent of Marvel Legacy.

Brian Michael Bendis: Oh no, no. First of all, what Stefano Caselli has accomplished with Riri this year is so amazing that he sometimes gets mislabeled as the creator of the character, even though it’s Mike Deodato who co-created the character. But that’s how strong Stefano’s voice is, and how connected to the action with the character he is, it’s just amazing.

But with him in mind, just doing unbelievable work, that’s the tone of the series. That’s Riri’s worldview, her perspective…you know, we’re so often in her perspective. I know people are very curious where she is in certain spectrums—that’s been a question that people have had. She’s clearly outside of what would be considered normal, on a couple of different things. I think that’s a celebratory thing. I’m surrounded by people in different places in different spectrums, and without diving headfirst into what that is and what that means, we’re gonna explore that as well. And I think a lot of younger readers identify with that, much in the way they identified with the original Peter Parker and his struggles, I really do.

Marvel.com: When you talk about her being brassy, do you think that’s really what people are responding to, or one of the main things?

Brian Michael Bendis: It’s funny that the panels that pop up in my tumblr or Twitter feed always kind of let me know. There’s like, six or seven panels that I see every day, that people go “Yes!” or “I’m scared for her.” It’s a mixture of that, [and] it’s really cute. And I’ll get all “I’m scared for her, too!” Like they’re scared for her, and yeah, I am, too and I wrote it! I’m really scared for her.

Marvel.com: You also have something to say about MIT and Riri?

Brian Michael Bendis: I’m going to be speaking at MIT in November. I was invited by them to come speak about comics and culture. And what was amazing was that we had Riri come to MIT. It was a campus I did a lot of research on for a project that was unrelated to Marvel, an HBO thing that didn’t happen, but I had so much feeling about this place, I loved it, and I said I was definitely gonna have a character there one day. And then years later, it was like “The coolest place we can have Riri live is the MIT dorms!” So when I started putting this in, little did I know, that MIT had completely embraced this character.

They created this amazing admissions video. It was actually pretty hilarious. So in November, at MIT, we’re gonna make a pretty major announcement about Riri. So people that are invested in her, people who are supporting her, there is big stuff coming with her. MIT’s a very unique place for a character in her first year to be so well-received, not unlike what Kamala Khan and Moon Girl experienced.

It’s hard to describe to people, because no one was asking for them. That’s what I love about the Legacy characters. Nobody said “I want Miles,” or “I want Riri,” but then they got them and they were like “Thank you.” And that was the best feeling in the world.

Marvel.com: It sounds like you’re still digging this job. Has your own outlook changed on INVINCIBLE IRON MAN as you’ve gone along?

Brian Michael Bendis: No, what happens is, and this is one of the great things about a higher profile gig, is no matter what you’re writing about, you start your research and whatever you’re doing, and then people find out you’re writing about them or writing about something they know, or whatever, like the young woman who’s making her Ironheart armor in her garage. You reach out and they inspire and they share their stories.

There was a friend of mine who has a brilliant young daughter who is literally obsessed with Mae Jameson. That’s real and honest and I have to use that. There’s a scene where you see young Riri trying to get her teacher to give her something to push back against because she feels that that’s what made Mae Jameson great, right? And I know some people said, “Oh, is she asking for…?” and I was like “No, she’s trying to live up to her hero,” without realizing that her hero made it easier for her, and that’s a big lesson for her too.

Every day it’s something new, new people share their experiences, people inspire me to keep going. I can’t wait to get to MIT, I’m literally gonna go live in the dorm, live in Riri’s world, so I’m so excited. And on top this, yes, back to Marvel Legacy. Yes, these legacy characters mean the world to me. I’m very invested in them and I’m very invested in how much the audience has supported it and what we’re gonna do now. And I know when people hear “The Return of the Heroes,” they worry about the new hotnesses. You do not have to. To fans, so you know: you have made it so Riri, Miles, and Jessica Jones can sustain their own titles. It’s insane, right? So, we will never ignore that.

Marvel.com: Last question—do you miss Tony?

Brian Michael Bendis: Oh, no. ‘Cause I got Tony A.I. the whole time, which is uber-Tony, so any great Tony joke I can think of, this guy will do it.

It’s funny: Tony is the itch I never had to scratch. Literally from the moment I came in to Marvel, I’ve been writing Tony in some book. And I never did it on purpose…and everyone’s always focused on how I’m always writing Kitty Pryde in every book. But Tony made it into every book—every book had Tony Stark in it. Totally by accident! You look back and you go, “Oh, that’s funny. Even in the Guardians of the Galaxy, too.”

I never wrote a book without Tony. My love for him is obviously as strong as it can get for a creator and a character that they didn’t create.

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1940-2017

Marvel Comics pauses to reflect upon the life and career of a true American original, filmmaker and writer George A. Romero, and man who worked his way up from humble beginnings to become the leading creator of an entire pop culture movement.

Romero’s love for classic cinema took root in him at an early age and never let go. With respect and admiration for the great screenwriters, directors, and actors of more than one age of cinema, he took the reins of his own productions and at the tender age of 27 directed, produced and co-wrote an independent film that modernized the idea of the “living dead,” “Night of the Living Dead.” Released in 1968 and filmed in black-and-white with friends standing in for zombies, perhaps no one stood more surprised than Romero himself when it became the first of a cottage industry.

More films followed, but the dead continued to loom large in Romero’s visions. He sequelized his 1968 hit with 1978’s “Dawn of the Dead” and 1985’s “Day of the Dead.” His movies not only offered thrills and chills aplenty, but also sharp satirical commentary on the human condition and the evils the living perpetrate on themselves. Numerous projects flowed from Romero’s pen and lens, and he found himself eager to stretch out into other mediums, including video games, stage plays, and books.

Marvel Comics came calling in 2014 to partner with Romero on EMPIRE OF THE DEAD, a unique trilogy of limited series that sprawled over 15 issues featuring not only zombies but vampires, too. The three series featured art by Alex Maleev, Dalibor Talajic, and Andra Mutti.

Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso worked closely with the director on the comic project. “In creating the ‘Zombie Apocalypse,’ George A. Romero provided the ultimate metaphor for mankind’s inevitable fate and the perfect creative Petri dish to examine the depths of human nature,” he says. “It was an honor to help him tell a chapter of his saga.”

George Romero’s rebel spirit led to the breaking down of storytelling traditions to bring underlying ideas in the human psyche to modern audiences with a fresh take. He’ll be remembered for his passion for his projects, and for the art of tale-telling, something that seemed to come quite naturally for him.

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Jack Kirby and Stan Lee join Carrie FIsher, Mark Hamill, Oprah Winfrey and more as Disney Legends.

Every two years, at the biennial D23 Expo, The Walt Disney Company honors the most remarkable contributors to the Disney legacy, recognizing them as official Disney Legends. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Disney Legends Awards. The first Disney Legend was Fred MacMurray (The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Happiest Millionaire), who was honored in 1987. Today Disney proudly announced the names of the nine gifted individuals who will be joining past Disney Legends such as Julie Andrews, George Lucas, Alan Menken, Dick Van Dyke, Barbara Walters and Robin Williams.

Founding fathers of the Marvel Universe Jack Kirby and Stan Lee were honored this past weekend along with the following honorees of this year’s Legends Award: Carrie Fisher, Clyde “Gerry” Geronimi, Manuel Gonzales, Mark Hamill, Garry Marshall, Julie Taymor, and Oprah Winfrey.

Pioneering comic creator Jack Kirby, known as “the King,” created new characters who leapt from the page and defined the Marvel comic style. His son, Neal, represented his late father, and said he “didn’t create super heroes or super humans. He created super people.” Neal accepted the Disney Legends Award at the D23 Expo on his father’s behalf. Watch the video above.

Stan Lee was honored for his remarkable accomplishments over his enduring career with a Disney Legends Award at D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA. Watch Stan accept his Legends Award below.

A visibly moved Stan Lee shared with the crowd how much it meant to him to save up to buy the book The Art of Walt Disney. He explained, “I loved Walt Disney. He was more than a man, he was an inspiration. He was something to reach for, to be like him. To think that today I’m standing here in the house that Disney built, that paid tribute to Jack [Kirby] and all things Disney—it is so thrilling, I can’t tell you.”

For more information about the Disney Legends and D23 Expo, visit D23expo.com.

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