Johnny Blaze, Satana, Blade, and Hellstrom unite!

Writer Victor Gischler and artist David Baldeón have spirit, yes they do. They’ve got spirit. How about you?

More accurately, they have SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE coming at you! On October 4, the Marvel Universe’s most infernal characters join forces in this fiery five issue limited series.

Back in the ‘90s, Marvel gave Ghost Rider and his horror-themed pals their own dark corner of the House of Ideas to play in. In addition to a series focusing on the Rider, the line also included a team-up called SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE that starred Johnny Blaze alongside another Rider, Danny Ketch. While this new series certainly acts as a spiritual successor to the original, readers need no familiarity with the original concept to enjoy the new series.

We caught up with Gischler and Baldeón to speak about working inside the Marvel Legacy initiative, the new team’s origins, and exploring the darker parts of the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: 1990s comic book fans will definitely recall the original SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE—how does it feel taking that title and using it to tell a new story as part of Marvel Legacy?

Victor Gischler: It feels just fine. And if hitting those notes brings out readers who were fans in the ‘90s, then that’s awesome. But in no way are we approaching this book in a fashion that leaves out new readers. We’re looking forward. I guess it’s the best of both worlds. We’re taking some great characters who maybe haven’t gotten enough play in recent years and reintroducing them.

Marvel.com: So far we know that the series features Johnny Blaze as Ghost Rider, Satana, Blade, and Hellstrom. Victor, how did it feel to nail down this line-up?

Victor Gischler: Not a chore at all really. There was some brief discussion with the editors about different possibilities, but it would have been cumbersome to fit in every character that might be in a book like this. I mean, it’s a five issue limited series. We got to make it a tight little team. The best and most obvious choices are the four you mentioned.

Marvel.com: David, was there much of a redesign process when it came to these characters?

David Baldeón: There’s a little bit of everything. As Victor says, we want to take the very best possible of the original title and its era, and look forward with that. Hopefully that comes through in the designs! With that in mind, in some cases, I have just had fun with the original look of the character, ran with it, and tried to give it a twist. In other cases, we’ve dug deeper to give new versions that still are true to the character’s core. And also following that line of thought of adding and moving forward rather than going just for repetition. There’s a lot of layers there, design-wise. Oh, and the antagonists! I’m so looking forward to everyone seeing them!

Marvel.com: These characters have run into each other over the years—and they’ve even worked together. What brings them together this time around?

Victor Gischler: They come together fairly organically. It’s not like S.H.I.E.L.D. had a meeting and said, “Hey, let’s invent a super hero team to fight bad guys.” Not this time. One of our heroes recognizes a threat and one thing leads to another.

Marvel.com: How deep are you going into the supernatural and horror genres as you dive into these stories?

Victor Gischler: We reach deep into some familiar mythos.

Marvel.com: The classic SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE title and the Midnight Sons umbrella featured plenty of crossovers and guest appearances. Do you have plans to continue that tradition with this new series?

Victor Gischler: Not at the moment, since it’s just five issues. We need to stay focused on our story and the four characters we already have to work with. But if there’s a call for more, there’s a huge potential for crossovers and other familiar faces. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

Marvel.com: How has it been collaborating with each other to bring this group and this book to life?

Victor Gischler: Pretty easy for me. I just sit back and watch David’s excellent art roll in. It’s going to knock your eyes out!

David Baldeón: It’s a delight—pure and simple. I’m having the time of my life with this book and it is in great measure thanks to Victor’s amazing take on the characters. For instance, as fun as it is to “unleash” the Rider, the real joy is drawing Johnny Blaze as Victor writes him.

Victor Gischler and David Baldeón delve into darkness with SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE #1, available October 4!

Read More

The Runaways fight for the future in the second volume by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona.

Before Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka’s RUNAWAYS launches in September, take a look at all of their major adventures as seen on Marvel Unlimited!

After taking on the Wrecking Crew, the gang returned to their hideout under the La Brea Tar Pits Museum only to discover a time traveling Gert appearing out of thin air. She gave warning of an all-powerful foe named Vicot Mancha before dying, thus giving the team a new threat to focus on.

Meanwhile, a group dubbed Excelsior attempted to track down the kids at the request of a mysterious benefactor. Dedicated to offering former teen heroes a chance at a normal life, Turbo, Phil Urich, Chamber, Julie Powers, Richocet and Darkhawk agreed to take on the assignment in exchange for a healthy cash infusion to their organization.

This, of course, did not sit well with our heroes. Everyone wound up smashing into each other at East Angeles High School where Victor attended. The Runaways landed right on the football field to grab their prey, but Excelsior appeared not long after.

In the ensuing super hero brawl, the kids made an escape with Victor in tow. They returned to their base where he continued telling him that his parents consisted of a mom working three jobs and a Marine who died in the line of duty.

Before long – and right in the middle of a less-than-great escape attempt on Victor’s part – the group headed out to save Mancha’s mom Marianella from his real dad, Doctor Doom! Well, that’s what they thought at least. See, Mancha turned out to be a cyborg created by an Ultron who also got his steely hands on a Doombot and used that as a ruse. After revealing his true identity, Ultron killed Victor’s mom.

While taking over Victor’s programming and using his pseudo-son to knock the Runaways around, Ultron gave the young man a tour of their shared past. As the kids lost the advantage in the battle, Karolina literally blew the roof off the place, giving the members of Excelsior a pretty good indicator of where the action was.

As the more experienced heroes jumped into the fray, the proved effective enough to take out the android while Chamber watched the kids in another room. He let them bail out, this time with Victor attending of his own free will, though devastated by the loss of his mother.

LOST & FOUND

At the end of this arc, the members of Excelsior learned that Rick Jones acted as their mysterious benefactor after Captain America let him know about the Runaways. Though Chamber turned out to be an impostor – more on that in the next installment – Jones asked the others to continue working together which lead to an appearance in MARVEL TEAM-UP #15, a name change and a spinoff limited series in 2007 by C.B. Cebulksi and Karl Moline called THE LONERS. Their ranks grew to include Mattie “Spider-Woman” Franklin, the second Red Ronin known as Namie and former Generation X member Penance, then going by Hollow. Eventually, the remaining members signed up for further work in AVENGERS ACADEMY #21.

Next time, Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona and Takeshi Miyazawa introduce the gang to new heroes, enemies and a very important person in Katarina’s life in RUNAWAYS #7-12.

Read More

Writer-artist Chip Zdarsky breaks down the special variant series!

Evoking what was once a standard of comics past, a collection of How-To-Draw variant covers will be available across 20 different issues this October—including BLACK PANTHER #166, CAPTAIN MARVEL #125, ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #11, DAREDEVIL #27, and GWENPOOL #21!

Via the artistic tutelage of Chip Zdarsky (writer of PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, STAR-LORD, and HOWARD THE DUCK), readers will get a step-by-step guide to illustrating their favorite characters. How “expert” that artistic tutelage will be…is less certain.

We sat down with Chip and Editor Nick Lowe to chat about how these covers came to life.

Marvel.com: Nick, when was the first time you ever came across a how-to-draw featurette in a comic—and what did it mean to you? And then how did this project come about?

Nick Lowe: The book How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way was huge for me back in middle school and high school—and still is today. Let’s be honest: John Buscema is one of the most underrated artists in comic history. He could draw anything and you’d hear these amazing stories about him, but you see how he approached the work and it’s just stunning.

We generally do Sketch Variant covers for our big launches and when PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN came around, it hit me that we could do something a little different…especially with someone as truly bizarre as Chip, our writer. So I emailed Chip and before I knew it he sent in the hilarious How-To-Draw Spider-Man cover. [Editor-in-Chief] Axel Alonso saw it and loved it and he had the idea to roll it out into all these variants.

Marvel.com: Chip, what did you think when they approached you about this?

Chip Zdarsky: Well, like Nick says, we were gearing up for issue one of Peter Parker and, you know, launching a Spider-Man book is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I told Nick that I’d love to do one of the variant covers.

Marvel.com: Nick, what made Chip the go-to man for these covers? What are his strengths with this kind of work?

Nick Lowe: He’s a very troubled individual, so I knew I could exploit those troubles here. His strengths certainly aren’t art, that’s for sure, but I guess he’s pretty funny.

Marvel.com: Chip, there’s got to be more to this story. What do you remember about the Spidey editorial team’s reaction to your interest in doing a variant for the book?

Chip Zdarsky:  Never heard back. Which, you know, stung, since they had 80-90 variants for issue one. But, I forgave Nick, ‘cause he’s a really busy guy, spending most of his day telling me “no” to my story ideas. So it probably slipped his mind to tell me “no” for my variant.

Then, just before they were sending the covers to the printer, Nick contacted me. He said they were doing one of the blank sketch variants, but that I could maybe write a fun little thing on the back cover before they sent it to the printer. Was it out of pity for me? Probably. Would I exploit that pity? Yeah. Yeah, I would.

So I sent him a How-To-Draw guide for Spidey instead. It seemed to fit in with the theme of the blank covers. Nick loved it and told me I’m his favorite person at Marvel; more than Mark Waid, Dan Slott, his assistant editors Alison and Devin, etc., which was really nice to hear.

So, the Spider-Man cover came out, and people seemed to like it! I figured at that point Marvel would greenlight a How-To-Draw movie and I’d be set for life. But instead, I got a text message from Axel Alonso, Editor-in-Chief—I call those Axts—telling me that I was now drawing twenty of those covers.

Marvel.com: Nick, do you have a favorite cover?

Nick Lowe:  I love the Lockjaw one a lot. I love the DAREDEVIL one, too. But they’re all so great.

Marvel.com: Chip, do you have a personal favorite?

Chip Zdarsky: I’m pretty happy with the DAREDEVIL one, which has made its way online already. But so far my favorite is the PUNISHER one, ’cause it’s really tricky to capture the soul of a killing machine. But I think I succeeded.

Marvel.com: How long did a typical cover take you to create from beginning to end?

Chip Zdarsky: In a lot of ways, my entire life has been leading to this job, so I would say each one takes a lifetime. Or, like, half an hour. Depending on how you look at it.

Marvel.com: Nick, any chance that something like this could be expanded upon in the future?

Nick Lowe: I sure hope so! I think they’re so fun and I can’t wait for a generation of burgeoning artists to be led down the wrong path! These are the complete inversion of my beloved How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way!

Marvel.com: We’ll give the last words on these variants to the writer-artist—Chip, given a hypothetical chance to do more of these, which other characters would you love to do?

Chip Zdarsky: [Redacted], I guess.

Marvel.com: *sigh*

Keep an eye out for Chip Zdarsky’s How-To-Draw variant covers in stores this October!

Read More

The Silver Surfer artist recalls his unique first encounter with ‘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.

Few find childhood accidents funny—least of all parents—but sometimes they can change a kid’s life for the better. Thanks to some youthful shenanigans, Mike Allred—the creator of Madman and artist on SILVER SURFER—discovered the joys of Kirby and hasn’t looked back since.

Thanks to runs on books like FF, the aforementioned SILVER SURFER, and other project, Allred’s been able to dive into some of the characters Kirby developed with his own hands. Now, we talk with the creator about that boyhood introduction, mutants, and more!

Marvel.com: What was your initial relationship with Kirby’s work like? Was he the King to you right away or did it take some time to get into his style?

Mike Allred: One of my earliest memories was my big brother, Lee, shaking a table I had climbed up on and then waking up in the hospital with a concussion. And I was blanketed with comic books. Great medicine!

Lee was my first sensei with the ways of comics, and through him I learned who wrote and drew them. It became obvious that a man named Jack Kirby made more of my favorite comics than any other single artist. And what he and Stan Lee did with FANTASTIC FOUR made that my all-time favorite comic.

Marvel.com: As a young artist, were you looking to his work for inspiration?

Mike Allred: Always.

Marvel.com: Were there any tricks or ideas you figured out by looking at his work?

Mike Allred: I’ve always been conscious of the importance of developing my own unique style, but it’s almost impossible to keep out the Jack Kirby DNA which runs through there. I’d have to say the “Kirby Krackle” defining energy is something I always love tapping into. Beyond that, there’s endless inspiration from studying his layouts, expressiveness and overall power of his work.

Marvel.com: Jack actually did a Madman pin-up back in the 90s. How did that come about?

Mike Allred: Simple networking. I started collecting artist interpretations of Madman and pals back in 1992 when [wife] Laura and I were going to virtually every Comic Con. We were blessed to meet Jack and [his wife] Roz Kirby a couple times, and then Greg Theakston, a good friend and frequent collaborator of the Kirbys, stepped up to ink the piece.

Silver Surfer by Jack Kirby

Marvel.com: I think some people forget that Kirby drew the first 10 issues of UNCANNY X-MEN. Did you look back at those while working on X-FORCE and X-STATIX?

Mike Allred: I cycle back through everything he did constantly. So I’m sure I was revisiting Kirby’s X-Men comics during our “X” runs.

Marvel.com: You worked on another book with lineage back to Kirby in FF. How was it playing with those characters on that series and getting more into his sandbox?

Mike Allred: Thrilling as can be! The super terrific Matt Fraction designed that run as a kind of “Fantastic Four’s Greatest Hits” package and then Lee [Allred] stepped up with that spirit to write the epic conclusion.

Marvel.com: When it came to working on SILVER SURFER with Dan Slott, did you use those original Kirby stories for inspiration?

Mike Allred: Constantly. I’ve always referred to “The Galactus Trilogy” as my all-time favorite comic book story. I buy it again every time there’s a new edition of it, whether in a new collection or the Marvel Treasury Edition.

Marvel.com: Were there certain elements Dan incorporated that surprised you?

Mike Allred: Everything Dan writes surprises me. He has wrote this amazing tale with a brilliant “long game” strategy that is loaded with little rewards that culminate in one of the most satisfying conclusions I’ve ever experienced. A lifelong dream come true for me. Pure comic book bliss!

Marvel.com: After spending these years with Norrin Radd, do you feel like you understand Jack Kirby as an artist in a different way than you did before?

Mike Allred: Progressively, in little measures. But ultimately what really made Jack Kirby tick and the miracle of his achievements will always be one of the great mysteries. So grateful to have his influence in the overall foundation of the comic book biz, and a never-ending source of inspiration.

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.

Read More

Gerry Duggan and Scott Koblish prepare to pit the Merc against his one-time partner!

As the Marvel Legacy era begins, the Merc with a Mouth heads back to his murderous roots in DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #287! On October 11, he’s eschewing fame, the Avengers—and even some of his old friends—as the “Deadpool Kills Cable” story arc kicks off from dynamo creative team Gerry Duggan and Scott Koblish.

To prove that he’s back to his lethal origins, Wade Wilson has chosen Nathan Summers—the guy he spent an entire series with in the mid-2000s—as his first target.

We chatted up artist Scott Koblish and Editor Jordan D. White to find out what turned these two former friends against each other.

Marvel.com: Deadpool’s not exactly known for taking big events seriously, but how does this tale tie into Marvel Legacy?

Jordan D. White: Deadpool began his existence as an X-villain in NEW MUTANTS and then X-FORCE before he became the hero of his own stories. Even then, when his series began, he wasn’t a straight-up hero—he was a long way from the Avenger we’ve seen in recent years. He was a mercenary, killing people for money.

For a while now, he’s been trying—really trying hard—to be a better person. To be a hero, like the Marvel mainstays he admires. Unfortunately, every time he strikes a heroic pose, fate takes the opportunity to kick him where it counts. So he’s giving up on good—and doubling down on his roots.

Marvel.com: Killing Cable seems a little extreme, even for Wade. What brings about this change of heart?

Jordan D. White: In addition to being disillusioned with the side of the angels, Deadpool has made some pretty dark deals to protect the ones he loves. To protect his daughter, he made a deal with Cable’s evil clone/nemesis, Stryfe. Stryfe saved his daughter’s life (along with three other people), so now Deadpool owes him four deaths. Guess whose name appears first on his pointy-armored list?

Marvel.com: Deadpool’s currently spending his time backing Steve Rogers without fully committing to Hydra. Does that lead into this at all?

Jordan D. White: It does, in that Deadpool has just pretty visibly backed the wrong horse in a hugely public way. He went along with Hydra’s takeover, was a member of their Avengers…and on a more personal note to the good guys, he killed everyone’s favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Phil Coulson. If you know Deadpool…the thing he wants more than anything else is to be accepted for who he is. Secret Empire serves as a pretty big setback to that, which sends him in a bit of a downward spiral.

Marvel.com: Scott, how do Deadpool and Cable differ when it comes to fighting one another? How do their different approaches to combat come across on the page?

Scott Koblish: I think of Cable as more of a tank and Deadpool as more of a sports-car. Even though Cable is a mutant and Deadpool is a mutate, both men lean heavily on their use of weapons, although Cable uses more fantastical choices—bigger, more bizarre, and futuristic weapons. Cable recently has been leaning on Belle, the personification of the tech in his arm, and it’s been fun exploring what Gerry has come up with for Deadpool to counter her contributions to the fight. Weapon-wise, Deadpool will use anything to get his point across and you can even see that in the first page of issue #287.

By the way, the Legacy numbering has been a lot of fun for me to think about—I’m trying to make this the best Marvel #287 ever—even if that means I have to fight against issues like FANTASTIC FOUR #287 and UNCANNY X-MEN #287. I can assure you, I am swinging to take them down! We’ll do our best to make the deaths of Malcolm and Randall a distant memory!

Marvel.com: Jordan, how does Cable respond to Wade’s lethal new point of view?

Jordan D. White: If he’s a really good friend to Wade, he will probably say, “What do you want to do? Kill me? Well, buddy—of course I’ll support you in all things and help in any way you need.” But I suspect he may not be that good of a friend.

Marvel.com: Scott, you’re no stranger to Deadpoolhow is it chronicling this next phase in his evolution?

Scott Koblish: Over the last few years I’ve tried to explore a number of artistic flavors with Deadpool. For the most part, I was able to focus on the humorous and wacky aspects of the character—DEADPOOL: FLASHBACKS and DEADPOOL’S ART OF WAR come to mind—but this is the first time I’ve gotten to draw Wade in a real desperate and angry place.

It’s been enjoyable—I am trying to broaden my range and really sell Wade’s terrible situation following the events of Secret Empire. There is still some humor here and there, but selling a joke isn’t my focus on this arc; the thing I’m focused on here is selling Wade’s more despicable behavior. It’s no more Mr. NicePool.

Marvel.com: You’ve worked with Gerry on this character a number of times before. How would you say your collaborative relationship has evolved?

Scott Koblish: Gerry is fantastic, just a top-notch all-around great guy and a really exceptional writer—I love working with him. Every script he comes up with, I can easily and quickly visualize it in my mind. We’ve worked in a variety of ways at this point, from full-script to the old Marvel plot-style. I really like being challenged and Gerry can be counted on to push me in a lot of really great ways. We’re building on what came before, as well as striking out in directions Deadpool hasn’t explored in a while, so hopefully the reader will click with what we’re doing here. I love what the Deadpool team has come up with for this part of Deadpool’s life, and I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks of issue #287 when they have it in their hot hands!

DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #287, by writer Gerry Duggan and artist Scott Koblish, hits shelves on October 11!

Read More

Take a sneak peek at Venom-ized Marvel heroes and more courtesy of artist Iban Coello!

The Poisons threaten the entire multiverse and only one force can stand in their way: Venom and the symbiotes! Not a fully altruistic endeavor, the Lethal Protector understands that this new threat intends to consume anyone carrying a symbiote and turn them into a force for no good in VENOMVERSE by Cullen Bunn and Iban Coello.

Led into by the EDGE OF VENOMVERSE series of character spotlight issues, the September-launching, five issue limited series pits Eddie Brock and his symbiote partner against the Poisons, who seem to be more than a match for him and a group of Venom-ized heroes.

We talked with Coello about working on some of his all-time favorite characters, symbiote trickiness, and more

Marvel.com: EDGE OF VENOMVERSE leads right into VENOMVERSE. How was it working with some of these Venom-ized heroes first presented by other creators?

Iban Coello: It was really fun. The other creators did a great job with the Venom-ized characters and I tried to do the same. I hope to have achieved it!

Marvel.com: Did any of the Venom-ized characters take more getting used to than others? Did any offer you surprises you weren’t expecting?

Iban Coello: I have some troubles with Rocket Raccoon, but I really enjoyed drawing Venom Spider-Man webslinging everywhere!

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about the Poisons and the design process that went into bringing them to life on the page?

Iban Coello: It was really challenging because they are the opposite of the symbiotes. They have some kind of crystalline armor and spikes.

Marvel.com: How was the collaboration with Cullen Bunn? 

Iban Coello: Working with Cullen was great as always. He gave me a lot of pages with great action scenes and I love to draw them. And he knows it!

Book your trip to VENOMVERSE #1 with Cullen Bunn and Iban Coello for September 6!

Read More

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

We’re back with another episode of This Week in Marvel, the official Marvel podcast!

Ryan, Ben and Tucker give you the rundown on all of this week’s hottest comics releases including CAPTAIN AMERICA, GENERATIONS: PHOENIX & JEAN GREY, DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE AGAIN, and tons more! Head on over to the West Coast where Eric and Christine give you the latest TV, film and games news (1:07:20).We close everything out with your questions and comments (1:24:07)!

Download episode #302 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!

Read More

Elliott Kalan opens up about Arcade’s latest deathtrap!

Some super villains like to take their opponents out with simple means: a gun, a knife, maybe even a bomb. But that’s not Arcade’s style. This baddie creates Murderworlds—death-themed carnivals of carnage. And on September 6, SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #21 will see the Webslinger and the Merc with a Mouth thrown headfirst into the master assassins’ bloody circus.

So, what kind of maniacal machinations will our heroes face in this Murderworld? We sat down with writer Elliott Kalan to find out.

Marvel.com: Murderworld is one of the most terrifying concepts ever. What inspired Arcade to create it?

Elliott Kalan: Arcade has three great loves in his life: showmanship, gamesmanship, and, of course, murder. It was only natural that he’d combine those things into an enormous deathtrap amusement park, which he consistently rebuilds and reopens despite the enormous cost involved and the almost inevitable likelihood that a super hero will destroy it. As for what was going on in his mind when he came up with it…probably calliope music?

Marvel.com: What goes into creating a Murderworld? It seems like it would require a fair amount of planning in advance.

Elliott Kalan: The most fun in writing Arcade was figuring out how this version of Murderworld would work, so I have to assume that’s where the real fun of it is for him, too. If he’s anything like me, then he starts with a theme—in this case, Madripoor—and factors in the people he’s going to be trapping—in this case, Spider-Man and Deadpool—and then thinks of increasingly complicated things that can be thrown in their path. It’s an incredibly complicated way to kill someone, but Arcade enjoys the game aspect of it more than the actual killing. He wants the chance to compete with his victims, not just take them out right away. He’s like a cat toying with a mouse. A cat who has an unlimited supply of money and robots.

The real question I have is: does he build it all himself or does he hire contractors and make them sign NDAs and everything?

Marvel.com: We all know Deadpool and Spidey for their senses of humor. So in a weird way, they might have an appreciation for Murderworld, especially Wade…

Elliott Kalan: Deadpool definitely has a certain admiration for Murderworld because it combines fun and danger in a way he can really get into. Spider-Man likes his humor without the violence. Something I hope I was able to get across in this story is each character’s moral limits when it comes to the “fun” of violence. Spider-Man is a true hero—violence is only a means toward righting a wrong and humor is how he makes it palatable for himself. Deadpool gets a certain joy from violence, but he doesn’t like to see innocent people hurt and he recognizes that sometimes enough is enough. Arcade is a madman who essentially sees the world as his toy box; Spidey and Deady aren’t so cool with that.

Spider-Man/Deadpool #21 cover by Will Robson

Marvel.com: Sowhile he does enjoy it a littleWade also thinks that Murderworld casts violence in the wrong light…

Elliott Kalan: Sometimes it can be hard for Wade to remember that violence isn’t fun for other people. He can regenerate pretty much any body part and it’s nearly impossible to kill him—he can sometimes forget that isn’t the way other people live their lives. Though ever since he became a family man, he’s had a better understanding of this. The younger Deadpool would have loved the idea of a place like Murderworld—but the older, more mature Deadpool has mixed feelings toward it. It’s almost like he’s okay with violence as long as everyone involved is a responsible adult with super powers, or at the very least, is obnoxious enough that he thinks the world would be better off without them.

Marvel.com: The Murderworld’s mainframe has demonstrated sentience in the past. Will we see more of that?

Elliott Kalan: Not in this one, but we’ve got plenty of other crazy things going on in the story. Basically, you might know where page one will start—they’re trapped in Murderworld!—and where the last page will end—they escaped Murderworld!—but I guarantee you’ll never guess the stuff that happens in between.

Marvel.com: Would you like to tease anything else?

Elliott Kalan: This story also sees the introduction of a bold, exciting new character to the Marvel Universe: The Stinger! But he may not make it out of this story alive. So…I guess don’t expect to see him in any of the movies.

Dive into the murderous mayhem with SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #21, by writer Elliott Kalan and artist Todd Nauck, on September 6!

Read More

Rewind back to Amadeus Cho's pre-Totally Awesome Hulk debut!

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.

GENERATIONS: THE STRONGEST brought two jade giants together thanks to writer Greg Pak and Matteo Buffagni. Of course, it’s far from the first time Bruce Banner and Amadeus Cho encountered one another, so let’s look back at their actual initial meeting!

Back in 2004, Marvel re-launched AMAZING FANTASY, the series that introduced Spider-Man. In an attempt to bring even more new characters into the House of Ideas, issue #15 debuted a group of new characters including a plucky genius kid named Amadeus Cho who happened to be the seventh smartest person on the planet.

As we learned in the 2005 tale by Pak and artist Takeshi Miyazawa, his house got blown up not long after his breaking records and being crowned “Mastermind Excello” in the Excello Soap Company’s “Brain Fight” Internet game show. From there he went on the run, which not only introduced him to his new coyote pup Kirby, but also a fellow diner patron in Jackalope, New Mexico.

After displaying his amazing abilities to calculate how to use simple objects like a straw, a lemon seed, and a pepper shaker as efficient and effective weapons, Cho rushed outside to find a helicopter shooting missiles at him! One deflected piece of ordinance rocketed towards Amadeus’ compatriot, exploding to reveal Bruce Banner as the near-victim. The Hulk emerged from the smoke, made short work of the helicopter and gave Cho a vote of confidence.

Pak dusted the character off a few years later after launching the green behemoth into space for the “Planet Hulk” storyline. Back on Earth, Cho figured out what the Illuminati did and revealed to Mister Fantastic that Bruce didn’t actually land on the planet they intended him to arrive on.

As World War Hulk raged on, Cho put together a version of the Champions to help their old friend out in the pages of INCREDIBLE HULK. In that series, Amadeus became pals with another big bruiser: Hercules. The two went on to adventure through INCREDIBLE HERCULES, facing everyone from Ares and Athena to Amatsu-Mikabshi and Super Skrulls. Cho even took on the role of the Prince of Power for a time.

Later on, eight months after Secret Wars, Cho transferred the power of The Hulk to himself thanks to the use of nanobots and went off to stop monsters in his somewhat reckless style. Since then, he’s honed his Hulk skills and even joined up with a team as seen in CHAMPIONS. He, Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel and Nova continue to try and fix the world, going so far as to join up with Black Widow in her mission to take Steve Rogers out as we’re seeing in Secret Empire.

FLASH FORWARD

After splitting from his Greek god pal, Amadeus decided to look further into his parents’ deaths. In INCREDIBLE HERCULES #133, #135, and #137 he traveled to Excello, Utah, a town built around the Excello Soap Company, whose contest he won, leading to the destruction of his house. Once there he not only met Agent Sexton, but also realized that the town actually blew up decades ago and yet geniuses still found themselves drawn to the place after winning various competitions. He soon found the cause behind all this: the supposed sixth smartest person in the world, Pythagoras Dupree.

After Amadeus escaped from Dupree’s bubble universes and unmasked Sexton really Athena, the eccentric villain explained that the Greek goddess of wisdom had taken an interest in him as a boy, but he didn’t like the idea of being controlled so he tried to blow her up. He also set up the tests as a way to prove his own vast intelligence. Dupree eventually shot himself and Athena explained that she asked Zeus to send Hercules to Earth, knowing that he’d eventually find Cho, her next choice as the Prince of Power.

Read More

Erik Larsen illuminates Jack Kirby's ability to wrench hearts with a Captain America classic!

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.

“Picking a favorite issue is pretty much impossible. Jack did everything so well, it’s hard to pick a favorite.”

Erik Larsen sums up how many feel about the King’s work. Between his early days on CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS to his Silver Age co-construction of the Marvel Universe as we know it, Jack Kirby had a hand in releasing some of the most popular characters in all of pop culture. In other words, it’s no small task to pick just one story to talk about.

“If I was to pick a favorite scene by Jack as a writer at Marvel—it’d have to be the sequence in CAPTAIN AMERICA [#206] where The Swine fed a starving prisoner at his table,” Larsen explains. “Absolutely devastating. Powerful stuff, both story and art.”

This particular tale came from Kirby’s last stint on the character, during a time when he wrote and illustrated each issue. At the time, Steve Rogers shared the title with Sam Wilson, aka The Falcon—another Kirby co-creation. Issue #206 saw the creator shifting locations to a Central American jungle nation called Rio de Muerte, where a ruthless commander named Hector Santiago—dubbed “The Swine”—used prisoners for slave labor.

“The scenes with The Swine were just powerful and impactful,” Larsen recalls. “You felt the pain. You felt the prisoners’ plight. Yeah, the fights were explosive and the characters were great—there’s so much there—but Jack was able to tear out your heart. I think fans tend to overlook what a terrific writer Jack could be.”

Captain America (1968) #206

Captain America (1968) #206

  • Published: February 10, 1977
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Thanks to a botched kidnapping and ensuing plane crash, Steve Rogers wound up in close proximity to Rio de Muerte. After the Swine’s stooges found and attacked him, Santiago tried to shoot Cap, but ultimately stood no match for Steve’s ingenuity—and shield.

Intending to escape and get out of the jungle, The Sentinel of Liberty had a realization when he saw Santiago’s captives. Alongside Cap, readers witnessed the gruesome torture that The Swine put his prisoners through in attempts to make them divulge military secrets.

In issue #208, Steve fought off a Man-Fish monster before being trapped by the Swine’s goons. Intending to torture Cap with a flamethrower, Santiago soon found himself betrayed by his own cousin Donna Maria. Tossing her into the torture chamber with Rogers, Hector looked to set them both on fire, when the creature returned and made short work of the villain. In short, one of the worst bad guys around got what he deserved in classic Kirby fashion.

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.

Read More