Gerry Duggan digs in on how his cosmic dream team gets along!

We’ve all seen the heroism of the Avengers and the X-Men, but another team always seems to have all the fun: the Guardians of the Galaxy. These seemingly mismatched personalities find themselves facing some pretty insane situations, and they’ve build deep bonds along the way. But as we’ll see in issue #4 of ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, the group’s interpersonal relationships can get a little dicey at times.

We asked writer Gerry Duggan for his insights on the ways in which each character’s personality and background impact the group dynamics.

Marvel.com: Rocket, of course, has a bit of an impulsive streak and, even though he has a good heart, he has a pretty salty attitude. Does this impact his relationship with the others?

Gerry Duggan: Yeah, I think so. Opportunistic beings are always good to have around; they’ll maybe be able to sniff out an exit strategy that you might not have thought of. In the second arc, Rocket will get a very surprising role on the team, and it’s one that I don’t think he would pick for himself, but it’s going to be one that he will come to really enjoy and relish.

Marvel.com: We’re going to see more of a focus on Gamora shortly, and she’ll get the Guardians into some trouble. She still has a bit of a loner’s attitude, even though she cares about the team. Does this affect the group dynamics?

Gerry Duggan: She definitely is not afraid to pull the group in the direction that she needs. And that’s actually what we’ll come to see as one of the driving forces of the first arc; her personal quest will either become a Guardian’s quest, or it will mean that she’ll have to leave the team.

The Guardians are, though, pretty rugged individualists. They do understand that they all have very different personal goals, even though they may be working side by side. So far they’ve been able to make that work. But I foresee a future where that may not always be possible with this group.

Marvel.com: Groot appears in his baby form in the book. How does this change the way they approach their gigs?

Gerry Duggan: What [“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” director] James Gunn and his collaborators have done is great. In our book, even though it looks very much like he might be a baby, I view the Groot that artist Aaron Kuder is drawing more as being diminished, and not necessarily as being a baby. And at the end of the first issue, we begin to see why Groot is diminished.

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #4 cover by Aaron Kuder

Marvel.com: Peter Quill, Star-Lord, has a tendency toward sarcasm, which comes off as very funny at the right moment but I think it could also be perceived as inappropriate at times. What do you think the others think of that? Does it ever get in the way?

Gerry Duggan: There’s an issue coming up, issue #4, that really sees Quill grab the bull by the horns and attempt to [solve] a problem, and that’s maybe the Peter Quill that used to grab for the Cosmic Cube and that sort of thing. So he definitely has a mouth on him, and that can get him into trouble, but I think it comes from a place of confidence in his abilities. And it has served him well so far.

Marvel.com: In this book, we find Drax trying to remain a pacifist—what impact does that have on the group?

Gerry Duggan: It’s much to Quill’s chagrin. And it’s made a joke of by everyone but Drax. And very transparently, for me as a writer, it’s an opportunity for a couple of gags for sure. But it also is very much coming from a crisis in Drax, and a sense of insecurity that has taken hold of him since we last saw him at the end of Brian Michael Bendis’s volume. So something happens there that makes him question the use of violence. And I should say, he’s trying to swear it off—how successful he’ll be by the end of the first arc is very much up for debate. But we’ll reveal why, and eventually he will have a bit of a reckoning. But for now I’m having fun watching Drax try and balance on this beam.

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

Gerry Duggan: We have our first guest issue coming up with artist Frazer Irving in a Gamora-centric chapter that will explain a little bit more about what Gamora’s going through. And it will really be the catalyst for a lot of story that is to come. It will really change some people’s ideas about where this story is going to go, I think.

See the cosmic heroes on display on ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #2, coming May 24 by Gerry Duggan and Aaron Kuder, then Gamora goes solo with artist Frazer Irving on June 7, and Kuder returns for issue #4 on June 21!

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Classic meets modern in these Spider-Man #800 variant covers!

Hitting #800 puts AMAZING SPIDER-MAN in the history books, making it the first Marvel comic to hit 800 issues. While the milestone marks the beginning of the end of writer Dan Slott’s legendary run (his arc wraps up in #801), it presented an amazing opportunity to bring some of Marvel’s most famous artists in on the celebration. Check out 10 variant covers below, featuring some outstanding takes on Spidey.

Before he leaves the web-slinger to start on IRON MAN, Slott’s “Go Down Swinging” will feature a big showdown between Peter Parker and one of his oldest enemies, Norman Osborn. It will surely leave you hanging for the finale in #801!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #800 will go on sale on May 30, 2018. Written by Dan Slott, this landmark 80-page issue’s cover is by Alex Ross and features art by Stuart Immonen, Humberto Ramos, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Nick Bradshaw. View the gallery below to get a first look at all 10 variant covers!

Here is the full list of cover artists and colorists:

Moebius

Mark Bagley; Drew Hennessy inks, Jason Keith colors

John Romita Sr.; Richard Isonave colors

Ron Frenz; Brett Breeding inks, Dave McCaig colors

Frank Cho; David Curiel colors

John Cassaday; Paul Mounts colors

Terry Dodson; Rachel Dodson inks, Terry Dodson colors

Greg Land; Rachelle Rosenberg colors

Nick Bradshaw; Morry Hollowell colors

Paolo Rivera

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Writer Ethan Sacks reveals the secrets behind the book!

In our Creator Commentary series, we give the floor to our storytellers as they present behind-the-scenes looks at the decisions that go into every last panel and page—in their very own words. Today we celebrate the release of OLD MAN HAWKEYE #4 by taking a closer look at the previous issue with writer Ethan Sacks.

Read up on our coverage of issue #1 and issue #2, then dive into issue #3 right here. 

Ethan, over to you…

Man on a Mission

When we left off last time, Hawkeye had just gotten to an amusement park called Arcade’s Murderworld, because of course that would be the amusement park in that world. The first person he’s out to check off his revenge list is there, but we don’t know who that is yet.

As the father of a daughter who has been to Disney World and all those places, I thought an amusement park in this world would have what Disney World has—where you can take a picture with characters or princesses. So I figured they’d have employees dressed as the super heroes. But here, the kids are actually beating this poor guy who’s dressed as Captain America, because I thought it kind of set up the world a little bit.

And Hawkeye can’t really do anything about it because he can’t break cover—obviously if people find out a super hero is running around then he’d get in a lot of trouble, and he’s very much focused on his goal.

So he gets stopped by this fortune teller, and if you’re a big X-Men nerd, you may recognize her as Blindfold. I needed a fortune teller character so I felt like part of the fun of research is looking through all the bloody panels from when the X-Men were knocked off in the original Old Man Logan story, and she wasn’t in it. I don’t know if she was actually created at the time, but she was not among the dead bodies so I figured she was elsewhere.

The Big Bad

Then we cut to Bullseye, and this is a little bit of a showdown with his boss, the Red Skull. This is the first time we see the Red Skull, who is obviously the “big bad” for that world. But Bullseye’s gone off the grid and he’s not taking messages or listening to his boss, so that could set something up later.

Bullseye, in this case, is very busy torturing the Orb and ripping the Watcher’s eye out of his chest to get as much information as he can about where Hawkeye is. This is probably the goriest panel so far in the series, but I want to warn you, it gets worse later.

Then we go into Blindfold’s tent and, if you didn’t recognize it right off the bat, there’s a Xavier School mug on Blindfold’s table.

She was a tough one to write because she has this strange speech pattern. But I like this scene a lot, especially with the way Marco drew it with the steam from the coffee showing little bits of Old Man Logan—and specifically Hawkeye’s demise in Old Man Logan. Clearly she can tell what’s going to happen to him and she drops hints that if he keeps doing what he’s doing, down the road he’s in for an ignoble end. But he brushes that off and goes to find the big target he’s after…pun intended.

Bullseye, however, is not the only one chasing Hawkeye; we have Venoms. Yes, “Venoms” plural. For those who remember, the Venom symbiote bonded with a surviving Madrox gang clone and now it’s replicating. Just to find his path to Hawkeye, the Venoms end up at the garage of Tonya (Hawkeye’s ex-wife) and they overhear one of the exotic dancers from issue #2 who’s trying to get the hell out of there, and they realize the next step on their quest…

Keep Your Friends Close

And now we get to the main event. The issue is called “The Price of Admission” and it’s called that for two reasons. One: the person who Hawkeye is chasing has become a showman and has decided that if they’re going to go out, they want to go out with a grand show. And two: this is where Hawkeye commits and realizes there’s no going back, because once he kills this person, he’s all in. This person actually works as the main event, but we see they draw almost no crowd. It’s a sad existence.

We flip the page and it turns out the character he’s chasing is Atlas. Yes—the big conceit of this book is that Hawkeye is hunting his former Thunderbolts teammates.

I wondered where the Thunderbolts would have been on the day that the super villains took over. When they were approached for the final battle, they knew the heroes were going to lose, so they decided not to come. But I wanted to make some of them sympathetic—and show that they weren’t out for power, they weren’t out for glory; some were just out to survive.

There’s this exchange where Hawkeye says, “How could you do this to me?” and Atlas says, “God, man, not everything is about you.” He wanted to live—and this may not seem like much of a life, but it’s a life. And Atlas drops a clue about the only person who’s still talking to him, Abe. Abe’s working at a doombot factory in Kree Haven. Again, he bought the right to live.

Atlas realizes there’s no talking Hawkeye out of this, so he stands up and says, “Let’s give them a show worth the price of admission.” Then he grows incredibly big, rips the tent, and they go at it.

One of the things I wanted to do with this fight was make tributes to certain arcs that I loved. One of the things I tried to put in here, which may or may not be obvious unless you’re as old as me, is Hawkeye uses this green gas arrow, and it’s the same arrow that he used the first time he met Atlas. So Atlas is dumb enough to fall for the same thing twice. No disrespect to him, but he was certainly not a Reed Richards-level genius.

At one point, he’s incapacitated, lying on the floor, Hawkeye has his bow arched, and we cut to this panel that’s a throwback to those ‘90s Thunderbolts comics. It’s actually a panel imitating Mark Bagley’s original art, and it just shows them in happier days.

But he shoots the arrow because he’s all in. Now there’s no going back. Hawkeye has now crossed the line.

Crosshairs

For the closing shot, Bullseye has arrived a few hours late, but he’s arrived at the crime scene that Hawkeye left behind. And the Deathlok computer that’s integrated into his brain makes the ID match and he realizes that the Thunderbolts are Hawkeye’s targets.

He knows where to go next, and he’s getting closer and closer to intercepting Clint.

Last thingI want to give a shout-out. I owe a lot of this issue to my friend Paul Pelkonen, who introduced me to the Thunderbolts back in the 1990s. Who would’ve guessed that 20 years later, here we are.

Continue the story by reading OLD MAN HAWKEYE #4, from Ethan Sacks and artist Marco Checchetto, today—April 25!

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Check out the bite-sized podcast preview of this week's new Marvel Comics!

Get a quick bite of all the comics in-store today with Marvel’s The Pull List!

This week, Jamie joins Tucker for a very special look at all of April 25’s new comic releases, including AVENGERS, DESPICABLE DEADPOOL, HUNT FOR WOLVERINE, VENOM, and all the other books that are waiting for you on this New Comic Book Day!

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

MARVEL PRINT COMICS ON-SALE (4/25/18)

  • ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #34
  • AVENGERS #690
  • DARTH VADER #15
  • DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #299
  • DOCTOR STRANGE #389
  • DOCTOR STRANGE: DAMNATION #4
  • EXILES #2
  • HUNT FOR WOLVERINE #1
  • INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #599
  • LEGION #4
  • LOCKJAW #3
  • MARVEL RISING #0
  • MIGHTY THOR #706
  • MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #30
  • MOON KNIGHT #194
  • OLD MAN HAWKEYE #4
  • PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #303
  • SPIDER-GWEN #31
  • STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #19
  • THANOS ANNUAL #1
  • VENOM #165
  • VENOMIZED #4
  • X-MEN: BLUE #2

COLLECTIONS

  • ANNIHILATION: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL. 2
  • AVENGERS ACADEMY: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL. 2
  • CABLE: REVOLUTION
  • CABLE: THE LAST HOPE VOL. 1
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA EPIC COLLECTION: THE BLOODSTONE HUNT
  • CARNAGE OMNIBUS (HC)
  • ICEMAN VOL. 2: ABSOLUTE ZERO
  • JESSICA JONES VOL. 3: RETURN OF THE PURPLE MAN
  • MARVEL COMICS DIGEST STARRING THE AVENGERS VOL. 3 (DIGEST)
  • SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE: WAR AT THE GATES OF HELL
  • STAR WARS: DARTH VADER: DARK LORD OF THE SITH VOL. 2 – LEGACY’S END
  • SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL. 1
  • THE ROAD TO MARVEL’S AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – THE ART OF THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE (HC)
  • X-MEN: DOMINO

ALSO ON SALE ON THE MARVEL APP

  • CABLE (1993) #80-96
  • DOMINO (1997) #1-3
  • SUB-MARINER (1968) #39-49

DIGITAL COLLECTIONS

  • HULK: VISIONARIES – PETER DAVID VOL. 8
  • INCREDIBLE HULK MASTERWORKS VOL. 8
  • INCREDIBLE HULK: DARK SON
  • SPIDER-GIRL: FAMILY VALUES
  • SUB-MARINER MASTERWORKS VOL. 6

FRESHLY DIGITIZED COMICS ON MARVEL UNLIMITED

  • ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #12
  • CABLE #150
  • CHAMPIONS #13
  • DEADPOOL VS. OLD MAN LOGAN #1
  • DEFENDERS #95-109
  • DOCTOR STRANGE #26
  • GENERATION X #7
  • INCREDIBLE HULK #709
  • INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #593
  • JOURNEY TO STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – CAPTAIN PHASMA #4
  • LUKE CAGE #166
  • MARVEL’S BLACK PANTHER PRELUDE #1
  • MIGHTY THOR #700
  • MONSTERS UNLEASHED #7
  • PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #5, 230-241
  • POE DAMERON #20
  • SECRET WARRIORS #7
  • SPIDER-GWEN #25
  • THOR VS. HULK – CHAMPIONS OF THE UNIVERSE #4
  • VENOM #156
  • X-MEN UNLIMITED #4
  • X-MEN: GOLD #14

Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, download the episode from Marvel.com/podcasts, or tune in on SoundCloud!

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Peter Parker faces Norman Osborn's Dark Reign, while his love life gets complicated.

For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe and the web-slinger will swing onto the silver screen once again in Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” this May! In celebration of his memorable history, we present Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story…

Earth’s heroes, including a certain wallcrawler, defeated the alien Skrulls in SECRET INVASION #8, but also witnessed the rise of evil Norman Osborn to a position of supreme power in the U.S. Later, Spidey got back to personal business by putting the hammer down on Hammerhead’s gang recruiting in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #576, and taking down Moses Magnum with the Punisher in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #577.

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #576

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #576

What is Marvel Unlimited?

When a commuter subway train got stuck in a flooding tunnel in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #578, the webslinger discovered it to be a scheme by the Shocker to get rid of jurors in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #579. Back with the Avengers, Spidey helped look for Luke Cage’s baby, who’d been kidnapped by a Skrull, in NEW AVENGERS #48.

After shutting down the Blank in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #580, our hero moved to protect Harry Osborn from the fiery embrace of the Molten Man in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #581 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #582, as well as muck around with the Man-Thing in SPIDER-MAN: FEAR ITSELF #1. Norman Osborn revealed his new “official” Avengers lineup in NEW AVENGERS #49, including a criminal version of Spider-Man who was in fact the former Scorpion, Mac Gargan. Osborn then sent the Hood and his gang after Spidey’s team in NEW AVENGERS #50, and the webslinger let his fellow heroes in on his secret identity in NEW AVENGERS #51.

Spider-Man: Fear Itself (2009) #1

Spider-Man: Fear Itself (2009) #1

  • Published: January 07, 2009
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: July 06, 2012
  • Rating: RATED A
  • Writer: Stuart Moore
  • Penciller: JOE SUITOR
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Betty Brant tried to play matchmaker for Peter Parker in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #583, and when the Spider-Tracer Killer struck again in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #584, Spidey wound up being shot by police, and Carlie Cooper tracked the tracers to Peter’s cop roommate Vin Gonzales. Menace reappeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #585, to beat Spidey to a pulp, and Harry Osborn discovered his girlfriend Lily Hollister’s dark secret when he saw her transforming into Menace in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #586. Lily explained she’d found one of Harry’s father’s old Goblin labs and accepted his previous marriage proposal just as Carlie reported the police conspiracy against Spider-Man in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #587, prompting both his and a recently captured wallcrawler’s transfer to Ryker’s Island.

Despite Vin’s involvement in the conspiracy, he and Spidey worked together in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #588 to escape prison, and when Menace arrived to battle the wallcrawler, Harry swooped in as the Green Goblin to defeat her. Back in the city, Lily’s father won the mayoral election, but because of his daughter’s arrest, he declined the position. After recovering from his ordeals, Spidey investigated the Russian mob and fought the Spot in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #589, teamed with the Fantastic Four to help out in a civil war in another dimension in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #590, and also entrusted the famous foursome with his secret identity in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #591.

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #590

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #590

  • Published: April 01, 2009
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: January 01, 2010
  • Rating: T+
  • Writer: Dan Slott
  • Penciller: Barry Kitson
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Doctor Strange asked the Avengers to help him find Earth’s new Sorcerer Supreme in NEW AVENGERS #52, but when a battle for the Eye of Agamotto broke out in NEW AVENGERS #53 between the team and the Hood, Spidey and his partners discovered Brother Voodoo held the mystical artifact himself. Later, after defeating the Hood in NEW AVENGERS #54, Voodoo became the Sorcerer Supreme.

Spidey decided to make new mayor J. Jonah Jameson angry by swinging through the city 24/7 in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #592, and faced both Jameson’s new Anti-Spider Squad and the new Vulture in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #593. Partially blinded by acid vomited up by the winged villain, he nevertheless clipped the Vulture’s pinions in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #594 and met Vin’s less-than-nice sister Michele. Norman Osborn wanted Harry to join his Avengers and learned of Lily’s pregnancy in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #595, and Spidey secretly replaced Mac Gargan as “Spider-Man” to keep an eye on Harry at Avengers Tower in and learned of Lily’s pregnancy in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #596.

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #595

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #595

  • Published: May 28, 2009
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: March 01, 2010
  • Rating: T+
  • Writer: Joe Kelly
  • Penciller: Phil Jimenez
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Osborn showed off designs for Harry’s “American Son” armor to his team in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #597, and when Harry realized the wallcrawler’s duplicity he exposed him to his father. In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #598, Osborn tortured Spidey until the hero made his escape while Harry reeled from the news that Lily’s unborn child came from Norman, not from him. American Son and Iron Patriot duked it out in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #599, and when Harry refused to kill his father after beating him, Norman disowned him completely.

The real Avengers disagreed with Clint Barton’s desire to kill Osborn in NEW AVENGERS #55, and lost their powers to Chemistro’s chemical assault. Osborn’s Avengers also lost their abilities to the villain in NEW AVENGERS #56, forcing both light and dark teams to stand side-by-side against an army of crooks bent on killing them all. Mockingbird rescued the good guys in NEW AVENGERS #57, but a heart attack for Luke Cage made him side with Osborn to cover his friend’s departure. Osborn arranged for an emergency operation for Cage in NEW AVENGERS #58, leaving the Avengers to explain the situation to Luke’s wife Jessica Jones.

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #600

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #600

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Aunt May married Jameson’s father Jay in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #600, despite the menace of Doctor Octopus’ octopus bugs. Peter woke up the next morning in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #601 to discover a fling he’d committed with Michele Gonzales, and in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #602 took a job with Mayor Jameson, as well as found himself forcibly replaced by the Chameleon. Peter escaped the acid Chameleon dumped him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #603, and after dodging the police Mandroids in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #604 stopped his doppelganger from blowing up Jameson’s secret bunker and becoming the city’s hero again.

Mad about Peter’s “lame” excuses for the Chameleon’s behavior, Michele punched him out in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #605, and the Black Cat slinked back into the picture to help Spidey battle Diablo in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #606 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #607.

Web of Spider-Man (2009) #1

Web of Spider-Man (2009) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Peter’s clone Kaine dealt with his current dire situation in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #1, and returned to vex the wallcrawler in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #608, just as Dr. Damon Ryder accused Peter of being his other clone, Ben Reilly. Kaine needed Ryder to save his life, but the doctor instead threatened to kill “Ben’s” family in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #609.

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Matthew Rosenberg discusses what happens after Frank Castle's romp as War Machine!

By Jess Harold

He put Frank Castle in the War Machine armor for Marvel Legacy — but that was just the start. Now writer Matthew Rosenberg discusses his plans to take the Punisher’s war on crime to the next level in a brand-new series!

Marvel: In the new Punisher series, Frank will no longer have the War Machine armor. Is this, then, a back-to-basics approach?

Matthew Rosenberg: In some ways yes, and in some ways no. We’re going to get back to Frank Castle with a handgun and a knife, stalking the streets of New York, and getting his hands dirty. But we’re also going to see a man who has changed from his time in the armor. He developed a taste for bigger game and larger targets, and he’s not going to give that up easily. So in a sense it’s back to basics — but on a bigger scale.

Marvel: What will Frank have learned from his time with the armor?

Matthew Rosenberg: I think the big thing for the Punisher is the knowledge that he can affect things in a more direct way. We’re going to have seen him travel overseas to overthrow a government and kill a world leader, and then come back home and go toe-to-toe with some of the most powerful people in the Marvel Universe. He’s been able to do real damage, cause real change, in ways he’s not used to. They used to say that when a shark attacked a human they had to be hunted down because once they’d developed a taste for it they’d never stop. That’s Frank. He’s back on the streets, but he has a taste for the bigger game and he isn’t going to stop until he puts them in the ground — or they put him in it.

Marvel: And what have you learned in your time writing Frank? Has he surprised you in any ways?

Matthew Rosenberg: I think the big thing that surprised me about writing the Punisher was the ease with which you can find humor in him and the situations. I know Garth Ennis was a master at this, and others have followed suit. I think Jason Aaron and Becky Cloonan both had some real dark humor hiding just under the surface. But yeah, it’s fascinating. Frank lends himself to these uncomfortable situations where you just can’t help but giggle. There is this disturbing, awkward humor to him that doesn’t diminish the severity or the drama of the story. That’s been fun to explore.

Marvel: Obviously, Frank is not an overly loquacious character like, say, Spidey or Deadpool. He likes to do his talking with guns. What is the secret to capturing his “voice”?

Matthew Rosenberg: Frank is direct and honest. He’s here to kill people, and he doesn’t need to spend a lot of time debating them or telling them why they’re about to die. But I think the thing about Frank that a lot of people miss, because it’s subtle, is his very dry sense of humor. He says a lot of things that are clearly just for his own quiet amusement. He is the ultimate comedic straight man. People think Frank is doom and gloom all the time, but if you dig through you will find these gallows-humor moments that are maybe a sliver of who he once was.

Marvel: What can you tell us about the kind of big game Frank is going to be targeting in his new book?

Matthew Rosenberg: I can’t say too much, but I can say that issue #1 has some of the biggest bad guys in the Marvel Universe pop in. And that Frank still has his eyes on shaping nations these days. The classic Marvel villains are getting savvier. They aren’t thugs and gangsters anymore. They’re becoming mayors and CEOs and kings. But Frank is still coming for them.

Marvel: Frank has a complicated relationship with other vigilantes, such as Spider-Man and Daredevil. Is that something you’ll touch on?

Matthew Rosenberg: Frank and the capes will most definitely be touched upon. More than touched upon. With Secret Empire, the War Machine armor, and what he has coming up, he has made himself something that means they can’t just look the other way. And he knows that. He’s operating in cape spaces these days, and he knows that puts a target on his back. But he also knows he’s willing to do what they won’t — and that gives him an advantage over the capes on most days.

Marvel: You have Riccardo Burchielli on art. He hasn’t done a lot at Marvel before, but he certainly knows his way around military combat, following a lengthy run on DMZ. Are Frank Castle fans going to like what he brings to the party?

Matthew Rosenberg: I am so excited to work with Riccardo. I am a huge DMZ fan, and his work on that book is really unparalleled. The sense of detail he brings to a city, to a war zone — and to the people in both — is breathtaking. I think those who aren’t familiar with his work are going to be absolutely shocked. There is just this sense of the world he conveys, this realism, that is so captivating. You can feel the buildings rise up around you and the bullets fly past your head. It’s going to be a real treat watching him drag all of us down into Frank Castle’s world.

Marvel: Finally, what’s your one-line pitch for the new PUNISHER book?

Matthew Rosenberg: With some of the biggest villains in his sights, the best heroes on his tail and every nation on high alert, this is Frank Castle against the world.

THE PUNISHER #1 by Matthew Rosenberg and Riccardo Burchielli is on sale August 1!

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Nick Spender talks to Marvel about taking on the famous web-slinger!

By John Rhett Thomas

Nick Spencer has written his way to the top of the heap of Marvel’s elite, and he gets to prove it like never before with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, one of the most prized gigs in comics. Now, we dig a little deeper into what Spencer calls “the book of my dreams.”

Marvel: Congratulations on landing ASM. It’s quite an assignment, following up Dan Slott and coming at a time when the character is getting renewed life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Are you feeling ready?

Nick Spencer: It’s the best gig in comics and the job I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, so it’s all still a little surreal. The first time I met with [Marvel Editor in Chief] C.B. Cebulski, probably a decade ago now, I told him that this was all I really wanted to do. So to actually be here, working on this, it’s equal parts terrifying and exciting. Which means no, I don’t feel ready. But something would be wrong if I did. You channel that fear and those nerves and that sense of challenge into telling the best stories you possibly can. That’s part of the fun.

Marvel: What kind of book will your AMAZING SPIDER-MAN be? For every new writer, there’s always the struggle to balance the competing interests — and screen time — of Spider-Man and Peter Parker. What’s going to be your take on that?

Nick Spencer: The story really always begins and ends with Peter. He’s the heart and soul of the thing, and what makes Spider-Man special. You’re always trying to balance those personal struggles with the high-flying adventure, and in the best stories the two are playing off of and feeding off each other, dovetailing in weird and wonderful ways. Being Spider-Man should always come at a cost to Peter — that’s the great responsibility that comes with the great power.

One thing that struck me looking at the history of Spider-Man comics is how many different kinds of stories you can tell with the character. He can bounce between genres and tones so easily, I want to take full advantage of that. So some months there will be laughs, some months there will be tears. In some stories the universe itself is in danger, in other stories Peter’s missing laundry is in danger. We want to just tell good, foundational Spidey stories. We keep saying “Back to Basics” for a reason. We want to give people the Spidey they’ve known and loved for decades, and remind them why he’s the best character in comics.

Marvel: Which supporting characters from Spidey’s storied past will get prominence as you launch the series?

Nick Spencer: I have to be careful here, as I don’t want to tip my hand too much on what’s to come, but I will say a big part of the thrill of this job is getting to write the best supporting cast in comics. I’m excited about writing Aunt May, and giving her a story where she’s really controlling her own destiny and showing us how Peter was raised by a hero in her own right. The whole Daily Bugle crew will get some key stories. I’m working closely with Chip Zdarsky on some really cool Jonah stuff; he’s telling what I think is a definitive JJJ story over in PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, so I wanted to make sure anything we do on that front complements his stellar work there. Randy Robertson is a character we haven’t seen a lot of for a while, but he’ll have a prominent role. And expect to see a lot of Felicia Hardy, as she’s one of my all-time favorite characters. Little-known trivia: What eventually became SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN was originally a Black Cat pitch.

Marvel: Ryan Ottley comes over to draw AMAZING SPIDER-MAN from a career-defining run (so far) on “Invincible”. This will be his first major foray into the Marvel Universe, and it’s on your debut Spider-Man book. How’s that work for you?

Nick Spencer: Yeah, pretty great, to put it mildly. Ryan is one of the best artists working in comics today. What he and Robert Kirkman did on “Invincible” is just remarkable. And now to see him on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, it’s just such a perfect fit. I really think he could end up being one of those quintessential Spidey artists, right up there with the greats. His sense of action and motion, his layouts, his comic timing, his acting — there’s just so much fun and so much energy on the page. It really forces you to up your game.

Marvel: What are some of your favorite Spider-Man creators and/or storylines from the past? Which of those — if any — do you see having the biggest influence on your run?

Nick Spencer: Any conversation there has to start with Lee/Ditko/Romita, obviously. That run is, in my opinion, the high-water point of mainstream American super-hero comics and can never be surpassed. It takes your breath away reading it through.

Beyond that perfect foundation, I’m especially fond of two writers: Roger Stern and J.M. DeMatteis. I’m a different kind of writer than those guys, but they both have a huge influence on me and how I view the character.

But really, there are so many fantastic runs I could mention. When I got the book, I sat down and tried to comprehensively read through basically  everything — every issue of AMAZING, SPECTACULAR, TEAM-UP, WEB, SPIDER-MAN, SENSATIONAL, FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD, and all the titles in between. You name it, I read it. And it really shows what a proud tradition there is. Everyone tries to bring their A-game when they’re writing Spider-Man. And I’m directly following one of the most acclaimed and successful runs of all time in Dan Slott’s. So no pressure! It really does inspire you to do your best work. I’m just honored to be a part of this.

The first issue of Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN swings into stores July 11, but don’t miss their first Spidey story in Free Comic Book Day 2018 (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN/GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) #1 on May 5! No excuses, Spider-Fan: It’s free!

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Dan Slott and C.B. Cebulski bring the family back together!

Written by Jess Harrold

The Fantastic Four are back! After three years away, the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine returns, with writer Dan Slott and artist Sara Pichelli at the helm. Here, Slott and Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski share their excitement in bringing the awesome foursome back to comics!

Marvel: Pinch us, we’re dreaming. Can it be true, Dan? You’re writing a new FANTASTIC FOUR series?

Dan Slott: Yep. As of this August, I’ll be writing and Sara Pichelli will be drawing the World’s Greatest Comic Magazine: the one, the only, FANTASTIC FOUR! Oh, boy. We have been under such lock and key when it comes to talking about this book. For months this has been the biggest secret at Marvel. It feels so good to finally tell anybody outside of the loop. Heck, let me yell it: “I’M WRITING THE FF!”

Honestly, this is a lifetime dream. The first super hero comics I ever read were my cousin’s copies of FANTASTIC FOUR #4850, with “The Coming of Galactus” and the first appearance of the Silver Surfer. For me, personally, this has been a long time coming. I’ve got notebooks filled with the stories I’d like to do if I ever got my hands on these characters!

Marvel: It’s a great way to start your tenure as Editor-in-Chief, C.B. When you got the job, how high up on your to-do list was “bring back the FF”?

C.B. Cebulski: FANTASTIC FOUR was top of the list. It’s a book that is near and dear to my heart. I know how important the characters are to the fans and the company, and bringing them back was the first thing I talked to Tom Brevoort about. They are the heart of the Marvel Universe. They are the First Family, and the fact that they are a family is something everyone can relate to—good and bad. There’s the good times you have with family, and there’s the bad times: the quarreling, not everyone always gets along. Just look at the first-ever FF cover—they weren’t in costume. That’s what Marvel is—it’s not about the super heroes, it’s about the people underneath those costumes, the alter egos. The core of Marvel is that we’re human first and superhuman second.

Marvel: Speaking of those humans, we’re talking Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny, right?

Dan Slott: Ooh. Sorry. We’re replacing Johnny with a robot. NO! Kidding. Just kidding. Of course it’s going to be Reed, Sue, Johnny and the Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing! And Franklin! And Val! And Alicia! And who knows? Maybe Willie Lumpkin and Aunt Petunia, too! Wait and see.

Marvel: C.B., you’re renowned for knowing a thing or two about talent. What, for you, makes Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli the ideal team for FF?

C.B. Cebulski: Dan is coming off a ten-year run on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and has proven time and time again that he can tell these small stories with heart that get to the core of individual characters—but also tell these big, bold, brash super hero stories. Now with the Fantastic Four, we knew if we unleashed Dan on those characters and let his mind go wild on their crazy intergalactic adventures, he would nail it. Dan came in and pitched to around six of us at a restaurant one afternoon, and jaws dropped, literally. I think it was Nick Lowe, the Spider-Man editor, who said, “I think that just brought a tear to my eye.” Dan really nailed it in one shot. And Sara is one of the most wonderful pencilers out there when it comes to capturing emotion. Just like Dan’s mind thinks so visually and outside of the box, there are very few pencilers who can capture the scope like her. In comics you’re confined by the boundaries of the panel borders, and the best artists can make you look past those borders. Sara’s one of the few people who can do that—you really feel like you’re watching a movie when you’re looking at her panels.

Dan Slott: Sara Pichelli is AWESOME! Her work on everything from RUNAWAYS to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and especially every single page she’s drawn of Miles Morales’ stories—she’s one of the most talented artists in the entire industry! I couldn’t be more excited to be working with her! And I can’t wait for fans to see her take on the FF!

C.B. Cebulski: And in Dan Slott and [editor] Tom Brevoort, you have two of, not just the biggest fans of Marvel Comics out there, but the biggest fans of Marvel’s history. When the costume designs came up, Tom and Dan had very specific ideas that date all the way back to the original FF through every incarnation, with specific designs and color schemes that would fit into this story.

Marvel: Dan, your SILVER SURFER book showed your passion for exploring new landscapes across the Marvel Universe—and beyond. Will that sense of adventure and wonder carry through to FF?

Dan Slott: Definitely. The FF are super heroes. But they’re not about stopping bank robbers or defeating clandestine secret societies. Sure, if a world-eater comes to devour the Earth, or a giant Kirby monster starts stomping through the city, you can count on them to save the day. That said, first and foremost, they’re explorers. They’re out to see new planets, dimensions and universes! They live to push the boundaries of both science and the imagination! More importantly, they live to do that together, as a family.

Marvel: The motto for your Surfer book was “Anywhere and everywhere—hang on!” What would it be for the FF book?

Dan Slott: The First Family of the Marvel Universe.

Marvel: There hasn’t been an FF book in a while, and in the absence of Reed and Sue Richards, a certain Victor Von Doom has undergone some changes. Will that traditional rivalry take on a new slant going forward?

Dan Slott: After the events of Secret Wars and INFAMOUS IRON MAN, Victor Von Doom will be on new, but familiar footing. We will be building on what came before, and from that will come a Doctor Doom who will be far deadlier, misunderstood and incredibly iconic. You’re going to have to wait and see. But the wait won’t be too long.

Marvel: Are there any other classic FF villains you’re looking forward to using, or is the emphasis on new threats?

Dan Slott: We will absolutely mix it up and give you classic FF goodness and all-new, modern-day weirdness, too. I’ll be honest with you, though: we’ve been away from the Fantastic Four for years now, and I am dying to start off and lean into the most FF-ish stories possible! Stan and Jack, Byrne, Simonson, Waid and Ringo, Hickman and everyone in between—I have so much love for every era of this book, I really can’t wait to play with all the toys in the toy box!

The new FF team, creative and editorial, we are going to do everything we can to honor, respect and build off of the rich legacy of these characters, while moving forward and telling all-new chapters in their ongoing story.

FANTASTIC FOUR #1 by Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli is on sale August 1!

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Dan Slott talks about ending his Spidey run and moving on to Tony Stark!

By John Rhett Thomas

Didja hear the news? After ten amazing years, Dan Slott is leaving AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and joining rising-superstar artist Valerio Schiti for a Fresh Start take on a little title called TONY STARK: IRON MAN! If that sounds as cool to you as it does to me, read on!

Marvel: Before we get into Iron Man, it’s important to note that after ten years, you’ve left AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. So the question from those of us who loved your work on that title: Why? Why, why, why, why, why??? (Okay, that’s six questions. Take your time answering.)

Dan Slott: Ten years on the title and hitting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #800 were my last big milestones. I’d been aiming for those milestones for some time. Both of them hitting together in the same year felt like a good place to say goodbye to the ol’ web-head. Marvel’s been great to me. They told me I could stay as long as I wanted, but lo there must come an ending. I pulled the trigger and let everyone know about three or four Marvel retreats ago. I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t moments after that where I screamed to the heavens, “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!” But, yeah, it was time.

Marvel: With you leaving Spider-Man, it seems you could have taken on any number of Marvel characters. Why Iron Man?

Dan Slott: They made some pretty sweet offers to me with others characters and big-name team books, and I let those buses go by. Just waiting. Hoping that one of the favorites on my short list would open up. The second I knew the Iron Man book was available, I lept at it, bellowing “MINE!” as loud as I could!

I love that we live in a time where Marvel Studios has been making mega-blockbusters for ten years. When I grew up, comics readers knew who Tony Stark was. The man on the street didn’t. That has completely changed. Tony is now the cornerstone of that Cinematic Universe — a character that everyone in the world knows. That’s astounding to me. When I was asked, “What do you want the new book to be called?” I totally knew: TONY STARK: IRON MAN.

Marvel: This new initiative is called “Fresh Start.” What things about the life of Tony Stark and Iron Man are we going to see renewed?

Dan Slott: We’ll see a mix of old and new IRON MAN characters: Bethany Cabe and Jocasta, to name a few. We’re going to see the return of specialty armors, because I love those — and it gives Valerio a chance to design all kinds of new and exciting suits. This book’s focus will be big on adventure, with massive action set pieces. We’ll be doing that while exploring high-concept sci-fi premises that lean in to the tech-based world of Tony Stark. It’s going to get wonderfully weird, and it will build to big secret-y things in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel: One of the things we loved about your Spider-Man run was your ability to keep the plates spinning on so many underlying plotlines and characters. Tony Stark’s supporting cast isn’t historically as intricate as Peter Parker’s, but I assume you’re going to maintain that broad coverage of the Iron Man universe in your stories.

Dan Slott: There will be fun soap opera, subplots, twists and turns. And some romance thrown in as well. When we get to Tony Stark’s love interest, longtime Marvel fans will be in for a treat. We’ll find a way to fit all this in between all the repulsor blasts and boot-jets.

Marvel: Any hints about bad guys we might see?

Dan Slott: No. Absolutely not. Read the book! But I can say you’ll see a couple of classic Iron Man baddies in the first few issues. Maybe an Avengers-related big bad in the near future. And a devious Marvel U. business rival for Tony who isn’t Justin Hammer or one of the Stanes. When people see who it is, it’ll be a big clue to where we’re heading — and I think Iron Man fans are going to freak out.

Marvel: I’ve been a fan of Valerio Schiti’s artwork since he first popped up at Marvel drawing Sif in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY. He’s got such a way with faces. I guess now we’re gonna see how he does with armor. What’s your take on what you’ve seen so far?

Dan Slott: Valerio is killing it on this book! From his designs of all the armors to the new Stark Unlimited HQ and our all-new characters. He is going all-out on the tech — every gadget, gizmo and vehicle is gorgeous. You’re gonna want them all as toys! His storytelling is some of the best in the biz, the acting, the expressions on all the characters’ faces in every scene are pitch-perfect! And everything is just infused with FUN! If you’re having a bad day, the best thing for it is going to be to pick up this book, let Valerio’s art wash over you, get transported into these weird stories — and I guarantee you, you’ll come out the other side feeling great!

Marvel: One last question before we go: Care to tick off some of your favorite Iron Man runs from the past?

Dan Slott: For me it’s all about the Michelinie/Layton runs. As an Iron Man fan, those are the sweet spots. I’m actually one of the readers who liked their second run even more than their first: the Armor Wars and introducing in the Ghost! Those are my favorites!

TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1 by Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti is on sale June 20!

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Gerry Duggan previews the third act of his cosmic odyssey!

Written by Jess Harrold

The Infinity Stones have returned to the Marvel Universe, and the race is already on to find them. But when INFINITY COUNTDOWN ends, INFINITY WARS begins! Here, writer Gerry Duggan and editor Jordan D. White discuss the cosmic event to end all cosmic events!

Marvel: Gerry, you followed up ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY with INFINITY COUNTDOWN, and now it’s time to ask you the big question: what are you counting down to?

Gerry Duggan: Guardians was the first act—and as big as Countdown is, it was the second act. INFINITY WARS contains the last act of my cosmic story.

Marvel: What can you tell us about the state of Marvel’s cosmos when Countdown ends?

Jordan D. White: Well, I don’t want to spoil the ending of Countdown, but suffice it to say possession of a couple of the Infinity Stones has yet to be completely settled until Countdown comes to a close. When it does, the stage will be set at last for the requiem of the Infinity Stones to begin, driving us toward Infinity’s end! We are going to learn a lot about the Infinity Stones, how they work and why. And we’re going to see some…interesting combinations of characters, let’s say. Ones no one is expecting, that is for sure.

Marvel: Can we expect to see the Guardians of the Galaxy front and center?

Gerry Duggan: Yes and no. They’ll play a part, but the Stones are scattered and in a lot of different hands. Some of those hands are very happy to be holding the one rock they have. Others will want to assemble the entire set. Yes, it will be a big story, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun. The first act of INFINITY WARS is like The Warriors—if each gang had a magic rock. Most of the Marvel “families” will be represented in one way or another. This story began in space, continues on Earth…and ends up somewhere new.

Marvel: Anything Infinity-related tends to involve a certain Mad Titan, who is making major waves in other media this year. What is Thanos up to during your story?

Gerry Duggan: He’s one of my favorite parts of this tale. I think his appearance in the PRIME issue will set a new tone for him and drive home that this is, in fact, a very different Thanos story, with some unexpected dividends in the back end.

Marvel: Obviously, “Infinity” is a word with quite some pedigree in the Marvel Universe. Were you a fan of Jim Starlin’s original INFINITY GAUNTLET/WAR/CRUSADE trilogy—and indeed Starlin’s cosmic storytelling in general?

Gerry Duggan: I love Starlin’s work. His collaborations were always so big and bold. That said, this is a different story. I don’t want to be anyone’s cover band. I know readers love Jim’s work as much as I do. I’m borrowing the toys to tell a different tale.

Marvel: Gerry certainly has taken Marvel’s cosmos in a very different direction—and one unique to him. Since he’s describing this book as his “final act,” it seems like a good opportunity to ask you, Jordan, what have you enjoyed about his stewardship of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the rest of the Marvel cosmos?

Jordan D. White: Working with Gerry is terrific—he and I share so much when it comes to sensibilities. We both come at even the most dramatic story from the structure of comedy, in an odd way. Which is not to say the story is a gag—far from it. The “punchline” in Gerry’s cosmic tales is more punch than line, and it’s going to knock people off their feet.

Marvel: Speaking of knocking folks off their feet, you have an art team capable of doing just that on INFINITY WARS, right?

Gerry Duggan: It will be worth it for Mike Deodato Jr. and Frank Martin’s work alone. They are so great. This is the best work I’ve seen from them, and best of all we’ve been at this long enough that they will be providing art for the entire run. I went to New York for a one-day meeting about this story at the end of last year, and we had a blast cooking up some of our biggest ideas. I’m really happy with what we’re going to get away with.

Marvel: So if your story was this year’s big movie, what would the trailer guy say about it?

Gerry Duggan: Not a damn thing. I’d kill him first.

The battle begins with INFINITY WARS: PRIME #1, on sale July 25!

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