Writer David Walker gets into the head of the original Hero for Hire!

Can’t get enough Luke Cage? The man with unbreakable skin heads down south to the bayou in his own self-titled solo series starting May 17.

Hot off his run on POWER MAN AND IRON FIST, writer David F. Walker teams with artist Nelson Blake II to take a deeper look into the toughened Hero for Hire as he revisits his past in the form of the scientist who gave him his powers.

But not everything remains as Luke remembers it, according to Walker, who spoke with us about his old school influences for this comic, using super hero action to its fullest potential, and the significance of tax season on Luke’s story.

Marvel.com: When thinking about writing your take of Luke Cage did you go back to the drawing board so-to-speak? What parts of his origin did you consider most important when crafting the story?

David F. Walker: That’s a good question. I mean, the most well-known version of his origin is, I think, the most important. The fact that there’s a guy who’s in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and then he got experimented on while he was in prison and it’s that basic nuts and bolts of it. And obviously that story itself hasn’t been told nearly as many times as Peter Parker getting bit by the radioactive spider or Bruce Banner being exposed to gamma rays, but now, with the Netflix show, his origin has become more ingrained in the public consciousness, but there’s so many details that you can fill in because it hasn’t been told a thousand times, over and over again. And so yeah, it’s that very basic nuts and bolts that I’m playing with and that I draw from and then I just start building upon that.

Marvel.com: How did you want to tell his origin story in a way that caught up newcomers to the character while keeping it fresh for longtime fans?

David F. Walker: Stuff like this has become trickier now with films and TV because someone will watch all [13] episodes of the show on Netflix or they’ll watch a movie and suddenly they’re an expert in the character, even though that character may have been around for 40 or 50 years and then you have the hardcore fans and you have the new fans or the new readers who might not be familiar in either capacity so it’s about trying to find that balance and for me, that balance lies really in the core of his character and making his personality interesting enough that people will engage with him, you know? Like if there’s people who are upset that he’s not wearing the metal headband—and it’s a headband, it’s not a tiara—then [they] didn’t really like the character. It’s like when people argue over “Who’s the best James Bond?” Is it Sean Connery? Is it Daniel Craig? Is it…most people don’t say Roger Moore, but it’s like, well, James Bond is James Bond and it’s not so much the actor who’s playing him as it’s the stories in the movies themselves. And so, it’s always about playing with that character and making sure that there’s enough to that character, to his personality that, whether someone is a long term fan going back 40 years, whether it’s someone who discovered him during NEW AVENGERS very recently, whether it’s someone who only knows him from the show—you take all of those into consideration, you throw em’ into a big pot, you make a stew, but you add just the right spices so that the flavor works for as many people as possible. But for some people, they’ll go, “Oh, there’s too much pepper” or “There’s too much salt” or whatever it is and those are the people you just kinda go, “Huh, well we tried! Maybe next issue!”

Marvel.com: Luke was very much a product of his time when he first debuted back in the early ‘70s at the height of the Blaxploitation era. Will we be getting some of these groovy old school vibes in your series?

David F. Walker: Yeah there’s some—I tried to play with some of that with POWER MAN AND IRON FIST. [There have been] a couple of interviews over the years with different creators, including, I seem to recall reading something about Archie Goodwin and what his influences were with creating Luke Cage and to me, what’s interesting is that I’m a huge Blaxploitation fan. Honestly, you’re not gonna find anyone who’s a bigger Blaxploitation fan than me; I’ve written a book about it and I made a documentary about it and I’ve given college lectures on it. I know more about that than I know about comics, actually and so the interesting [thing] to me is that Luke Cage is actually more a product of the writing of Chester Himes whose work predates Blaxploitation by 10-20 years and I’ve read enough Chester Himes that when I’m going back and re-reading the early issues of [LUKE CAGE, HERO FOR HIRE] from the ‘70s, [I say], “Oh yeah, this is total Chester Himes more than anything out of Blaxploitation” because Chester Himes created this very stylized and surreal world that almost looked like the real world, but it wasn’t like the real world and so you go back to one of the driving ideologies behind Marvel is, “The world right outside your window,” but it really isn’t the world right outside your window, right? That’s what Chester Himes did in his writing and to me, it’s so clear and it’s so obvious and in Chester Himes books, “Blind Man with a Pistol” and “A Rage in Harlem” and “For Love of Imabelle” and books like that—and his “Harlem Detective” series—they’re this weird mix of hardboiled noir thrillers and just also a dash of the surreal and comedy. That’s really what I wanted to go for with LUKE CAGE and sure, there’s some Blaxploitation elements in it.

Marvel.com: You’ve gone on record as saying the Netflix series was one of your influences for this comic. What elements of this version of Luke’s story, in terms of the show, really caught your attention?

David F. Walker: Well, the thing I like about the Netflix show a lot was that it went a long way to humanize Luke and I give all credit to the writers and the producers of that show. The original LUKE CAGE comics read like they were written by a white man who had very little experience or relationships with black folks, it’s a fact. And the thing about the TV show, as I was watching it, there were scenes where I was like, “Yeah, yeah a black person wrote this scene” or “It was written by a white person who has spent every waking moment of their life with black people” [Laughs]. And so there was obviously a huge element of the fantastic and there’s a lot of “over-the-topness” to the show and there was aspects of the show that were very much entrenched in the super hero tropes, but there’s a humanity to Luke Cage on the TV show, but honestly he didn’t start getting [humanized] in comics until sometime around the time he showed up in ALIAS or NEW AVENGERS and that’s the biggest influence that the show’s had on me and what a lot of people don’t realize is that we were developing the POWER MAN AND IRON FIST comic series before the Netflix show debuted; the Netflix show debuted October 2016 and by that point I think we were like maybe six or seven issues into our run on the comic and there was no back and forth between us and the show so how I developed that character for POWER MAN AND IRON FIST, a lot of it was just obvious like “It’s obvious!” like [show runner] Cheo Hodari Coker and the rest of the writing staff [for the TV show] had read the same books I’d read and watched the same movies I’d watched and listened to the same music that I listen to and there was a very serendipitous amount of coincidences in how that version of the character turned out and how the comic book of that character turned out and so when I saw the show, more than anything, it validated a lot of the beliefs and a lot of what I was pushing for with the comic and with the character in that [I said], “Yeah, this is gonna work, we can show him this way and that he shouldn’t be a guy who’s just about getting into fist fights” because as much as I love those original books from the ‘70s, every issue it’s, Oh, here’s in a fist fight with a D-level villain that hardly anybody knows or a Z-level villain [Laughs] specific to his world and that’s [how] we [got] like Cockroach Hamilton and Piranha Jones and people like that.

Marvel.com: You also said you want to show a Luke who’s not punching the stuffing out of people all the time. Can you talk a little more about that?

David F. Walker: Yeah, I mean I’m just old, you know? [Laughs] I grew up watching action movies before Michael Bay movies were considered action movies. So to me, an action movie is like something from the ‘70s like “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three,” the original version from 1974, or even “The French Connection” or “Bullit,” going back to the ‘60s. These are movies that I grew up on, that I love and if you were to sit down and clock out the number of minutes that are actual car chases and fights, they’re fairly brief. If you had a two-hour movie, there might’ve been 15 minutes of hardcore action whereas now, you watch a movie like “John Wick,” which I love, don’t get me wrong, but it’s mostly action and I’m more of a story guy so to me, when I read a comic, I don’t need to see, whether it’s Spider-Man or Daredevil or Hulk, I don’t need any of these characters fighting for six and seven pages out of an issue that’s only 20 pages of content. With the exception of, I’m thinking of one or two action sequences that really stand out in my mind—I’m in my late forties, so I’ve been reading comics for over 40 years and the one action sequence that stands out in my mind more than any other is [DAREDEVIL #181] where Bullseye kills Elektra. That’s the most powerful action sequence and that stands out in my mind, but when I think of all the other moments that stand out in my mind in the history of comics with all the comics that I’ve read, absolutely none of them are action moments, they’re all character-defining moments. There’s the issue of FANTASTIC FOUR where Sue Storm is pregnant and she loses the baby. There’s the trial of Galactus. A lot of that stuff was really compelling and I think for a lot of us, we think of super heroes when we think of men or women in these weird suits beating the crap out of each other and that’s cool for a little bit, but even with the movies, some of the best moments in the movies aren’t the action. And so to me, it’s like I know my dream comic would actually be boring because I’ve written my dream comic and reading over it I was like, “Well this is boring” and that was just some character sitting around talking, but it is tough, finding that balance, that right ratio of action to moving the story forward and a fight doesn’t necessarily move the story forward. Mayhem and destruction does not move the story forward.

Marvel.com: The first issue of this ongoing series revolves around the death of the scientist who helped give Luke his unbreakable skin, Doctor Noah Burstein. How does Luke feel about revisiting his past? 

David F. Walker: Obviously it’s a difficult time for him because he’s resisting his past while mourning this person who was really pivotal to him, but the story’s also about him realizing that his past isn’t exactly what he thought it was and that he isn’t exactly who he thought he was. He isn’t who he thinks he is and Burstein isn’t who [Luke] thought he was. It’s playing with the notions of what happens when, as an adult, you start to see your parents in a very different way, you start to look at them through the eyes of an adult, as opposed to the eyes of a child, which is how you saw them growing up and so it’s playing with that in a much more exaggerated, super heroic sort of way, but it’s like that moment you first get a bill from the IRS and you’re like, “Oh, this is what my mom was always freaking out about every March and April. Now I get it! Now that I’m paying the taxes I understand.” It’s all that sort of stuff; it’s what it’s like the first time that you go grocery shopping on your own with your own money or the first time you get a pay check and you look and you see how much the taxes have been taken out—I’m going back to taxes because it’s tax time right now and that’s part of what this is about for me. It’s really [Luke] looking at his own past through the eyes of an adult as an adult. What so many of us do is look at our past and we get caught up in the nostalgia. There’s no nostalgia. This is Luke having his nostalgia ripped away from him.

Marvel.com: And how does changing the setting from New York to New Orleans change that dynamic of who he is and what he does fighting or otherwise?

David F. Walker: It just puts him in a really uncomfortable, foreign environment where he doesn’t know anybody and he doesn’t necessarily know who to turn to. If I had set the story in New York, the moment something bad goes down, he can get on the phone and he can call his wife [Jessica Jones] or he can call Iron Fist or he can call Spider-Man or Daredevil or, you know, he was a member of the Avengers [Laughs], but you put him in a place that’s completely foreign to him and it throws his game off. One of my favorite movies of all time is a movie called “The Third Man,” directed by Carol Reed based on a book by Graham Greene and it’s all about a guy who’s completely out of his element and then on top of that, there’s something sinister going on and so, he shows up in Vienna for one reason and everything goes wrong and there’s nowhere to turn and even where he turns he doesn’t know, can I trust this person? Can I trust this person? I would have to say that my two single biggest influences in this first story arc of LUKE CAGE is “The Third Man” followed closely by Robert Altman’s “The Long Goodbye,” which is an adaptation of a Raymond Chandler novel so it’s really “The Third Man” and “The Long Goodbye,” those two movies, I watch them regularly anyway, and I was like, “Ok, I love the themes that they’re playing with,” the past is not exactly [as] we remember and people aren’t exactly who we think they are and if the past isn’t exactly how we remember it, then the people that we care about aren’t exactly who we think they are, then what does that say about who we are?

Marvel.com: How will this solo Luke differ from the one you portrayed in your POWER MAN AND IRON FIST run?

David F. Walker: After 17 issues of stories [with] him teamed with Iron Fist, which [had] a lot of serious stuff, but was also very light-hearted I was like, “Well, you did that. Now let’s try something different” and [Marvel] Editorial was in agreement with me and we talked about it and it was like, I don’t wanna be known as the guy who only wrote Luke Cage stories that were a little more comedic and light-hearted; I wanted to explore something different and I knew going in that what I wanted to explore with this character wasn’t gonna lend itself to a lot of the humor that we had in POWER MAN AND IRON FIST.

Marvel.com: I can’t wait to read the first issue next month!

David F. Walker: Yeah. Less than a month…I just saw a bunch of the art for issue #2 and yeah, it’s comin’ together. I’m having a fun time writing it and I hope people enjoy it. You give it your all and to me, the greatest part of writing comics is the moment you see what you’ve written translated into art. There’s nothing better than that and if that’s all I had to do, I would actually be the happiest guy in the world [Laughs].

David Walker and Nelson Blake II revisit the past and forge the future in LUKE CAGE #1 on May 17!

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Kelly Thompson and Oscar Bazaldua kick off the brand-new series this July!

It was the wedding of the century, but not the wedding anyone expected—and it all culminated with Marvel Comics’ most shocking twist in years! So make sure to read X-MEN: GOLD #30 before diving into all the mutant mayhem on its way this July with MR. AND MRS. X!

For months, fans waited, ready for the fateful day that Kitty Pryde would finally wed Colossus…only to find out that the much hyped-about wedding simply wasn’t meant to be…but for Rogue and Gambit it was!

On July 25, discover the next big chapter in the long and difficult history of Rogue and Gambit with writer Kelly Thompson and artist Oscar Bazaldua‘s new ongoing series!

Pre-order MR. AND MRS. X with your local retailer now! Don’t miss the fan-favorite mutants as they embark on new adventures starting July 25!

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Watch the video version to preview this week's new Marvel Comics!

It’s time to THWIP! with Marvel’s The Pull List!

On the podcast, Ryan and Tucker preview June 20’s new comic releases, including their Picks of the Week AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #801, PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1, TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1, X:MEN GOLD #30, and all the other books that’ll be waiting for you in stores tomorrow!

Watch the video version of Marvel’s The Pull List above as Ryan and Tucker highlight the Spider-centric stories on offer before jumping into the full audio episode below.

Here’s the full list of what’s available from Marvel this week:

MARVEL PRINT COMICS ON-SALE (6/20/18) 

  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #801
  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #20
  • ANT-MAN & THE WASP #2
  • AVENGERS #3
  • BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #20
  • CABLE #158
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA #704
  • CHAMPIONS #21
  • DAREDEVIL #604
  • DOCTOR STRANGE #2
  • HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: CLAWS OF A KILLER #2
  • INFINITY COUNTDOWN: BLACK WIDOW #1
  • INFINITY COUNTDOWN: CHAMPIONS #1
  • PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1
  • RUNAWAYS #10
  • SPIDER-GWEN #33
  • STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #28
  • TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1
  • WEAPON H #4
  • X-MEN: GOLD #30
    • TRUE BELIEVERS: ANT-MAN – THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING DOOM #1 
    • TRUE BELIEVERS: SCOTT LANG, THE ASTONISHING ANT-MAN #1 

COLLECTIONS

  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: WORLDWIDE VOL. 8
  • CHAMPIONS CLASSIC: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
  • DOCTOR STRANGE BY DONNY CATES VOL. 1: GOD OF MAGIC
  • THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL VOL. 8: MY BEST FRIEND’S SQUIRREL
  • VENOMNIBUS VOL. 1 (HC)
  • WEAPON X VOL. 3: MODERN WARFARE
  • WOLVERINE: SAVAGE ORIGINS

DIGITAL COMICS ON SALE THIS WEEK 

  • SPIDEY: SCHOOL’S OUT #2

ALSO ON SALE ON THE MARVEL APP THIS WEEK 

  • CAPTAIN AMERICA: DEAD MEN RUNNING (2002) #1-3     
  • QUASAR (1989) #26-27  
  • SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK: CEREMONY (1989) #1-2             
  • SPIDER-MAN: GET KRAVEN (2002) #1-6   

DIGITAL COLLECTIONS 

  • CAPTAIN AMERICA: WAR AND REMEMBRANCE
  • FANTASTIC FOUR: EXTENDED FAMILY
  • THOR: IF ASGARD SHOULD PERISH
  • THOR: THE QUEST FOR ODIN
  • THOR: WORLDENGINE

FRESHLY DIGITIZED COMICS ON MARVEL UNLIMITED 

  • ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #28
  • BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #11
  • BLACK PANTHER – LONG LIVE THE KING #1
  • CABLE #152
  • CAPTAIN MARVEL (2000) #26-35
  • DAKOTA NORTH (1986) #1-5
  • DAREDEVIL #596
  • DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #290
  • FALCON #3
  • FORCE WORKS (1994) #1-5, 8-22
  • FREE COMIC BOOK DAY (ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY)#0 
  • JEAN GREY #10
  • ROYALS #12
  • RUNAWAYS #4
  • SECOND COMING: PREPARE (2010) #1
  • SECRET WARRIORS #10
  • SHE-HULK #160
  • SPECIAL EDITION: X-MEN (1983) #1
  • STAR WARS #40
  • THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #792
  • THE PUNISHER #219
  • THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL#27
  • WEAPON X #12
  • X-MEN: BLUE #17
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We wrap up our look at Spidey's story so far with the Clone Conspiracy and much more!

For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe and the web-slinger is now back on the silver screen once again in Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War”! In celebration of his memorable history, we present our final installment of Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story so far…

The Jackal revealed his resurrected dead villains to Spider-Man in DEAD NO MORE: CLONE CONSPIRACY #2, while Carrion attacked Peter Parker’s clone Kaine in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #21. Spidey dodged the bad guys in DEAD NO MORE: CLONE CONSPIRACY #3 and a returned Ben Reilly swung in to help and to illustrate his amazing recovery in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #22.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #23

The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #23

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Doctor Octopus and the Lizard ramped up their violence in DEAD NO MORE: CLONE CONSPIRACY #4, and the Gwen Stacy clone began to decay when Ock set wheels in motion to hurt his foe as much as possible. Gwen tried to convince Spidey to join with Jackal in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #23, but when he refused she ran interference for him before she disintegrated completely in DEAD NO MORE: CLONE CONSPIRACY #5. Ben Reilly took on Jackal directly in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #24, and gained a new life for himself in DEAD NO MORE: CLONE CONSPIRACY OMEGA #1.

Spider-Man witnessed the return of Kang the Conqueror in AVENGERS #1, learned the truth behind it in AVENGERS #2, watched as Wasp attempted to fix the problem in AVENGERS #3, learned of Kang’s history in AVENGERS #4, found himself lost in time in AVENGERS #5, and helped to bring about Kang’s ultimate defeat in AVENGERS #6.

Avengers (2016) #1

Avengers (2016) #1

  • Published: November 02, 2016
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 08, 2017
  • Rating: Rated T+
  • Writer: Mark Waid
  • Cover Artist: Alex Ross
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Comedian-magicians Penn and Teller helped Spidey and Deadpool battle Tarot in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #11, then the wallcrawler and the Merc with a Mouth tried to save Christmas in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #12, and somehow ended up in Weirdworld in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #13. Spidey made it a major mission to seek out Norman Osborn for capture in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #25, leading to he and Silver Sable invading her home nation of Symkaria in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #26.

In Symkaria, the wallcrawler learned of Osborn’s plan to gas citizens with Goblin Serum in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #27 and disabled the missile that would carry it in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #28. Doctor Doom sought the Avenger’s help in AVENGERS #7, and Avenger X made a surprising reappearance in AVENGERS #8. Nightcrawler manifested in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #14, while Itsy Bitsy planned more mischief. The underground Monster Metropolis rose up in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #15, and Dracula made his presence known to Spidey and Deadpool in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #16.

Spider-Man/Deadpool (2016) #15

Spider-Man/Deadpool (2016) #15

  • Published: March 08, 2017
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 11, 2017
  • Rating: Rated T+
  • Penciler: Scott Koblish
  • Cover Artist: Reilly Brown
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Otto Octavius joined with the Hydra Captain America in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #29 and began to destroy Parker Industries. Cornering Spidey in Shanghai in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #30, the “Superior Doctor Octopus” saw his plans crumble when Peter Parker tore down his own company and fortune to halt his enemy’s march to victory in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31. Later, the webslinger joined with other rebel heroes at the Washington Monument to battle Hydra in SECRET EMPIRE #9, and cheered on the real Captain America as he confronted his corrupt doppelganger  in SECRET EMPIRE #10.

After standing alongside his teammates in the aftermath of Hydra’s defeat in AVENGERS #11, Spidey investigated a criminal tech ring in Chicago in PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #1. Peter’s long-lost sister Teresa, now a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, sought his aid in PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #2, helped him confront the Kingpin in PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #3, and then fight the Vulture in PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #4 and PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #5.

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man (2017) #1

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man (2017) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Our hero’s hackles rose over Itsy Bity’s and Patient Zero’s killing spree in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #17, and he subsequently believed Itsy destroyed in a “plasma breeder” in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #18. Spidey and Deadpool decided to get serious about crimefighting in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #19, but the presence of Slapstick during a brouhaha with El Tenor in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #20 put Peter back on the laugh-track.

Norman Osborn traveled to Tibet to find a way to reactivate his goblin powers in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #32, and Peter Parker found himself once more down on his luck and hated by everyone around him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #789, including his old friend Johnny Storm in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #790. Things grew worse when Arcade kidnapped him for a new Murderworld in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #21, prompting Deadpool to make a hard choice over whether to rescue him or not in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #22.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #789

The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #789

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Elsewhere, a mystery meteorite fell to Earth and demanded the attention of Spider-Man and Earth’s Greatest Heroes in AVENGERS #672

Now that we’re (mostly) caught up through the end of last year and Spidey’s more recent adventures, this is the last installment of History of Spider-Man for now. Thank you for following along with us! If you’ve missed any previous entries, click on the History of Spider-Man archives to read more at Marvel.com.

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This September, uncover secrets in Journey into Mystery: The Birth of Krakoa!

An old-school Marvel team is about to go on an all-new adventure!

On September 12, writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Djibril Morissette-Phan present JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY: THE BIRTH OF KRAKOA #1! As World War II ends, Sergeant Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos go on mission that will haunt them for years to come. Reunite with this classic Marvel squad as the mystery behind the origins of Krakoa finally come to light in this special one-shot.

“Krakoa is a classic X-Men fixture—from its first appearance in GIANT SIZE X-MEN #1 to revelations about its true nature in X-MEN: DEADLY GENESIS decades later, ‘the Island that Walks Like a Man’ has fascinated generations of readers…but we’ve never known the story of how it came to be—until now! And you never know when or how Krakoa will come back to play a role in the journey of the X-Men, either,” explains series editor Annalise Bissa. “In this story, we fill in some of the history of Sergeant Fury and his Howling Commandos as well. Their story drops off late in WWII and we don’t see the Howlies again until they’re reunited during the Korean War, after several years of civilian life. So…what did they do at the end of the War? And how does it intersect with the atomic origins of Krakoa? If you want to know, this is the story for you!”

Get an exclusive first look inside JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY right here!

Prepare to dive into Marvel history with Dennis Hopeless and Djibril Morissette-Phan’s JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY: THE BIRTH OF KRAKOA #1 on September 12! Visit your local comic shop to get your copy first!

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Walt Hickey gives an infographic-filled look at every Marvel wedding in history!

In just a few days, one of the longest running on-again, off-again relationships in the Marvel Universe will come to a climax when Kitty Pryde and Piotr Rasputin—better known in some circles as Shadowcat and Colossus of the X-Men—tie the knot in a ceremony everyone’s been anticipating in the pages of X-MEN: GOLD #30.

I combed through over 50,000 issues to find 98 different weddings shown on the pages of Marvel Comics over the decades. Big picture—getting married in the Marvel Universe is hard, with 2/3 of all wedding ceremonies getting attacked or interrupted, and nearly 50% not even making it to the reception. When it comes to Super Heroes, if you can survive the wedding day, you can survive anything.

Planning a wedding in any situation can be stressful, but planning a wedding in the Marvel Universe comes with a whole new set of things that can go wrong besides centerpieces, rowdy plus-ones or drunk uncles. Let’s just say proceedings can take on a whole new tone when your wedding crasher is a furious Victor von Doom. So in addition to nailing down a DJ who knows to avoid playing the “Chicken Dance”—a faux-pas even if Falcon isn’t on the guest list—Marvel brides and grooms have to contend with Super Villains, hostage-takers, alien armadas, furious fathers, demons, and the most nefarious wedding threat of all: cold feet.

Still, time and time again the heroes of Marvel have confronted these challenges, fought off the bad guys, and brought a whole new meaning to “save the date.” I scoured the history of the comics to find as many weddings as I could through the decades of stories. In the end, I tracked down just under 100 distinct wedding ceremonies that graced the pages. Just in time for the latest in a long line of X-Weddings, I found the risks involved with Super Hero wedding planning, just how often hero couples and villain couples—and all kinds of couples made it work—and the single foolproof way to make sure the ceremony goes off without a hitch.

First Rule of Weddings: Expect the Unexpected

If we’re going to talk about weddings in Marvel, the one that started it all—and set traditions that all weddings since then have emulated—was between Reed Richards and Sue Storm in the FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3 in October 1965. Not exactly prime wedding season, but the guest list was positively stacked, and included the original X-Men lineup, all the Avengers, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, representatives from S.H.I.E.L.D.—the whole works. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were turned away at the door.

What made the Mister Fantastic-Invisible Girl nuptials so notable in the history of Marvel was the notorious interruption. Namely, Doctor Doom used a device to compel the entire Super Villain community to attack the Baxter Building, with everyone from Mole Man to the Mandarin to Kang the Conquerer to Hydra crashing the party. It took intervention from the Watcher—a guy whose sole claim to fame is non-intervention—to clear the attackers and make way for the ceremony. Sue and Reed, despite their challenges, went on to have one of the most enduring and iconic marriages in the world of Marvel.

A trial-by-fire is the hallmark of the Marvel wedding. All told, 2/3 of the time, wannabe mates have got to deal with super powered wedding crashers! For plenty of couples, this is a formative moment in their relationship. Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne had the first-ever intra-Avenger wedding, which was naturally crashed by the Circus of Crime imitating caterers. When Scarlet Witch and Vision got hitched they had an even more ridiculous test: their wedding—a double event with Mantis and her fella—was officiated by Immortus but also attacked by Kang the Conqueror. For those out of the loop, Immortus and Kang are the same time traveller but at different points in his life.

And if Pryde the bride is worried about possible unexpected guests, she should take heart that the experience can lead to a stronger relationship. Bruce Banner’s first attempt to marry Betty Ross was ruined when the Rhino attacked and the wedding was called off. During their much-later second attempt to tie the knot, the ceremony withstood an interruption from her heavily armed father, Thunderbolt Ross, and they made it to the reception.

How to Doom-proof Your Upcoming Nuptials

Sometimes the knowledge of how to survive a wedding day is passed from father to son. Three generations of Jamesons have been wed in the pages of Marvel Comics: J. Jonah Jameson Sr. to Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson to Marla Madison, and John Jameson III to She-Hulk. Both of the older Jamesons had a traditional ceremony, and both of the older Jamesons had one member of the couple kidnapped by a foe of Spider-Man. The youngest Jameson eloped in Las Vegas and had an uninterrupted wedding. Read that as you will.

(Eloping turns out to be the only foolproof wedding in Marvel; nobody managed to thwart the improvisational ceremonies uniting Jameson and She-Hulk, or Hawkeye and Mockingbird.)

If Rasputin and Pryde want to be absolutely sure that they get to “I Do,” they’re going to want Spider-Man in their corner; weddings of Spider-Man’s friends and family end up making it to the reception 50% more often than the generic Marvel wedding. On the other hand, if you want to guarantee an interruption, marry an Inhuman—those weddings are always getting crashed by the Skrulls or the Shi’rar war fleet or Ultron or a rebellion of Alpha Primitives, which always makes for a lively ceremony to say the least.

Marvel Weddings Change the Couple Forever

The Marvel Universe has also seen its fair share of unique nuptials. There have been more royal weddings than the House of Windsor has had since the ’70s, with highlights including the marriage of Storm and Black Panther, the wedding of Inhuman princess Crystal and mutant speedster Quicksilver, and Namor’s assorted complicated marriages. There have also been vows that made real-world history: Northstar’s wedding to Kyle Jinadu in 2012 marked the very first same-sex marriage in Super Hero comics.

There have been weddings that served as the origins for entire characters, like Gambit’s reason for skipping town, or Punisher ally Rachel Cole’s gut-wrenching origin story. The Young Avengers all met at a particularly disastrous wedding where future Hawkeye Kate Bishop was a bridesmaid.

On that note, while mutants often see their powers as a curse, Kitty and Piotr are pretty lucky they have their powers on their wedding day. Non-powered people don’t have it easy when it comes to wedding planning. About 1/5 of Marvel Universe weddings are between two people who don’t wear capes and are just trying to get through their day, but lo and behold, 13 out of 18 of them get attacked by baddies. It’s actually more peaceful when two Super Heros tie the knot; only about 42% of Good-aligned marriages have an interruption. I figure having most of the Avengers in your bridal party is a distinct disincentive for a full-on assault.

Something Old, Something New…

So what does this mean for Colossus and Shadowcat? X-Weddings are actually some of the most peaceful nuptials of any Marvel squad. A majority of Avenger weddings, Fantastic Four weddings, Inhuman weddings, and Spider-Man weddings get assaulted by Super Villains. Only about 2/5 of X-Weddings involve an unwanted wedding crasher. The wedding of Scott Summers and Jean Grey was downright pleasant given how tumultuous that relationship would turn out to be.

Even more, the fact that this is a Super Hero-Super Hero marriage bodes very well for their chances of making it to the honeymoon; while relationships between colleagues can be so very perilous, it’s generally more conducive for villains to marry villains, heroes to marry heroes, and neutral civilians to stay the heck away from folks in capes of any morality.

In the 48 weddings where the two people getting hitched were both good, both villains, or both civilians, 81% of the weddings were successful and only 56% were attacked in the middle. For normal folks marrying a Super Hero or the uniquely rare good guy-bad guy romance, those were attacked 80% of the time and only made it to “I Do” about 3/10 times.

All told, this hotly anticipated wedding couldn’t be in better shape. They’re both heroes, which is a good match. Colossus, to my knowledge, hasn’t asked Mephisto for a favor lately, and Kitty Pryde isn’t marrying Hawkeye—so they both have avoided the dumbest marital errors in Marvel history. Worst case scenario is an unwanted guest, and even then, if history is any guide they’ll come out on the other side even stronger.

Welcome to the reception, Kitty Pryde, I hope you survive the experience!

Read X-MEN: GOLD #30, by Marc Guggenheim and David Marquez, this week—on June 20!

Walt Hickey is a data journalist and writes the daily morning newsletter Numlock News. His work has previously appeared on FiveThirtyEight and Business Insider. 

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The PlayStation 4 game’s main character will be seen in SPIDERGEDDON #0 and on variant covers.

This September, the star of an epic blockbuster video game will make his way to the pages of a comic book, when the new web slinger from Marvel’s Spider-Man makes his Marvel Comics in-continuity debut in Spidergeddon #0!

On top of that, to celebrate the launch of the highly anticipated game — which will be available exclusively on PlayStation 4 on September 7 — the game’s version of the wall-crawler will be showcased in a set of five variant covers.

How will the star of one of the most anticipated video games of 2018 enter the Marvel Universe, and what role will he play? All will be revealed on September 26 by writer Christos Gage – who not only is the scribe of SPIDERGEDDON #0 but is also one of the co-writers of Marvel’s Spider-Man – and acclaimed artist Clayton Crain.

SPIDERGEDDON #0

The Marvel’s Spider-Man Video Game Variant cover program is illustrated by Insomniac Games artists Dennis Chan, Daryl Mandryk, Eve Ventrue and Sing Ji, and Marvel Games’ own Art Director Tim Tsang, and all five covers pay homage to classic Amazing Spider-Man comic covers!

Look for Marvel’s Spider-Man Video Game Variant covers on these select titles in September:

1. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN VIDEO GAME VARIANT by DENNIS CHAN (homage to Amazing Spider-Man #546 by Steve McNiven)

2. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #5 MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN VIDEO GAME VARIANT by DARYL MANDRYK (homage to Amazing Spider-Man #46 by John Romita)

3. AVENGERS #7 MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN VIDEO GAME VARIANT by EVE VENTRUE (homage to Dark Reign: Mister Negative Issue #1 by Jae Lee)

4. SPIDERGEDDON #0 MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN VIDEO GAME VARIANT by SING JI (homage to Amazing Spider-Man #671 by Humberto Ramos)

5. WEST COAST AVENGERS #2 MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN VIDEO GAME VARIANT by TIM TSANG (homage to Amazing Spider-Man #151 by John Romita)

You can see all five variant covers in the gallery below.

“Growing up as lifelong fans of the web-slinger, everyone on the Marvel Games, Insomniac Games and PlayStation teams are honored and thrilled that characters from Marvel’s Spider-Man are not only gracing all-new variant covers, but are also starring in an in-continuity Marvel Comics event,” said Marvel Games executive creative director Bill Rosemann. “While making the game we poured through hundreds of Spidey’s comics, which inspired our take on his many famous friends, foes, costumes and moments. For the creative process to come full circle and see our version of the characters now appear in the web-slinger’s latest comic book saga is a dream come true for these True Believers.”

“It’s been such an honor for all of us at Insomniac Games to bring the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler to the PlayStation 4, but to see our version of Spider-Man now swing to the pages of a Marvel comic and be featured in SPIDERGEDDON is something we could have never imagined,” said Insomniac Games creative director Bryan Intihar. “We’re all web heads and super excited for the upcoming comics.”

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Artist Christian Ward joins writer Jason Aaron for Thor's futuristic journey!

At the very end of THOR #1 was a promise that the All-Grandfather’s cosmic adventure would continue in THOR #5, which will go on sale September 19. While there will be plenty of Thor to hold readers over until then, THOR #5 will not just continue writer Jason Aaron’s epic tale, it will also carry on Christian Ward’s amazing artwork! Marvel.com asked Aaron about what we can expect from the upcoming story, and Ward shared his creative inspirations and what it’s like to draw Thor as an aging god.

If you’ve read THOR #1, you know that a very famous mutant made a surprise appearance at the very end. Wolverine, also as an old man, and also possessed by the Phoenix Force, showed up while Thor was sailing through the dying universe. But Jason Aaron’s plans for Thor and Old Man Logan’s new incarnation may not be what you’re expecting — and they certainly won’t be alone:

“When [Thor] goes looking for answers and runs into his old friend Wolverine, a very, very Old Man Logan who’s now in possession of the Phoenix force, Thor figures he’s found an ally in his quest to save creation. But it’s not quite that simple. By reigniting the fires of life on Earth, Thor has drawn the attention of some dark cosmic forces. If you thought Old Man Phoenix was wild, just wait until you see who else is about to join the party.”

While creating a look for THOR, Christian Ward drew inspiration from a number of sources from “1970s rock album cover artwork” to other comic artists including Moebius, Frank Quietly, and Bill Sienkiewicz. He also cited “illustrators like Roger Dean but equally fine artists like Gustav Klimt.” He added: “I used to be more of a fine art painter, and one of the things I love about space scenes is that they feel more like big canvas paintings with masses of swirling colors and layers of textures.” Citing his past work on BLACK BOLT, Ward said Jack Kirby was also a big inspiration since he “wanted the universe to feel huge with endless color and possibility.” To capture not just an older Thor but an older universe, he wanted the latter to seem “dead and empty yet still interesting” and used oil and rust for color themes.

As for drawing an elderly Thor, Ward said that “[d]rawing old faces is always easier. Lines in someones face tell their story.” He added that with this part of Thor’s story taking place “untold eons from now,” that is a very long story. Ward continued: “Beyond just being old, Thor’s tired so I wanted him to feel heavy. (His armor is a great way to emphasis that too!) But at the same time he’s more powerful than he’s ever been, so all that power’s built up in him like a powder keg. We’re going to see some of that explosive power in #5 and it’s been really good fun to bring it crackling to life.”

With the appearance by a Phoenix-possessed Wolverine at the end of THOR #1, THOR #5 promises to be a tale of galactic proportions!

THOR #5, written by Jason Aaron with art by Christian Ward, goes on sale September 19! Contact your local comic shop to pre-order your copy!

 

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Visit a comic book shop near you for Marvel’s Father's Day Spectacular with comics and giveaways!

This Father’s Day, share your love of reading and comics with the next generation of Super Heroes as you celebrate with new Marvel books and special giveaways!

On June 17, fans of all ages can collect an exclusive free Marvel bookmark and jump into the Marvel Universe alongside Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, and Marvel’s next generation of heroes with MARVEL RISING #0 and MARVEL RISING: ALPHA #1!

Marvel Super Hero Adventures early chapter books are perfect for preschoolers and young readers who want to explore the Marvel Universe with their favorite characters through stories that touch upon aspirational themes of friendship, helping others, and heroism, so be sure to check out MARVEL SUPER HERO ADVENTURES SAND TRAP!, MARVEL SUPER HERO ADVENTURES DECK THE MALLS!, MARVEL SUPER HERO ADVENTURES: SPIDER-MAN AND THE STOLEN VIBRANIUM #1, MARVEL SUPER HERO ADVENTURES: THE SPIDER-DOCTOR #1, and MARVEL SUPER HERO ADVENTURES BUGGIN’ OUT!

And be sure to pick up a free Marvel Coloring Poster to create your very own father-son or father-daughter work of art with a few of your favorite Marvel characters.

Pick up the perfect comic trades, early chapter books, and digests for all ages and share with your family this Father’s Day!

Find your local comic book shop right here! Then visit your local shop for more details about celebrating Marvel’s Father’s Day Spectacular this weekend with these special Marvel stories.

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Donny Cates, Gerry Duggan, and Brian Level connect "Thanos Wins" with Infinity Wars!

“Things are about to get brutal again.”

On September 5, “Thanos Wins” writer Donny Cates joins Gerry Duggan and artist Brian Level for the latest chapter in the mind-bending saga of the most vicious villain in the Marvel Universe. Prepare to witness the madness of the Titan in THANOS LEGACY #1!

Thanos Legacy #1 cover by Geoff Shaw

Editor Jordan D. White offers a few insights on what to expect from this massive one-shot: “Donny is cooking up a 20 page story that answers the questions you’re definitely going to have regarding the mind-blowing events of INFINITY WARS PRIME…while Gerry Duggan is writing a story about the connection between Thanos and Requiem. Both shine new lights on the villain of INFINITY WARS and how the story comes from what came before.”

As Duggan explores Thanos’ link to Requiem, Cates returns to answer how the Mad Titan’s journey back from the future in “Thanos Wins” will impact the world-shattering events of INFINITY WARS. And the latter offers an ominous tease of the story to come… “THANOS LEGACY is a kind of thematic sequel to the ‘Thanos Wins’ storyline that Geoff Shaw and I created. It follows the missing time from the end of Thanos’ journey at the end of everything to…well, you’ll see,” explains Cates. “It’s an absolute blast to step back into the Mad Titan’s story and to give voice to my favorite monster again. If you dug ‘Thanos Wins’, this is a story you won’t want to miss! Things are about to get brutal again.”

Read the calamitous cosmic action in THANOS LEGACY #1, by Donny Cates, Gerry Duggan, and Brian Level, on September 5!

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