Find out how Jeremy Whitley and Tamara Robertson spent Free Comic Book Day!

Most comic book fans see Free Comic Book Day as a time to score some free loot, and also a great opportunity to jump into a series they may not have read previously. But Jeremy Whitley, writer of UNSTOPPABLE WASP, and chemical and bio-molecular engineer Tamara Robertson took it up a notch. At Jeremy’s signing at Ultimate Comics in Raleigh, North Carolina, Tamara presented science demonstrations that recreated the powers of various Marvel characters. You can read more about the event here.

We followed up with Jeremy and Tamara to hear a little about how the event played out—and let’s just say, we wish we could have gone!

Marvel.com: Can you tell us about the general reaction from the audience? Did they seem engaged?

Tamara Robertson: The audience was full of energy and very excited about [Free Comic Book Day]. The tent was literally buzzing all day.

As far as my “Marvel at Science” [Super Hero] Science display, I was at a great place so the science display was in direct eye line for the audience, which drew everyone in and towards the table. There wasn’t anyone that came to the event that didn’t stop by to check out the experiments; I even had our security staff stopping by during their breaks to determine what I was up to—a few jokingly asking if I was doing “Breaking Bad” science for the kids!

Jeremy Whitley: Absolutely! We had lots of people excited about UNSTOPPABLE WASP, but I think the real star of the Free Comic Book Day show was Tamara and her experiments based around heroes of the Marvel Universe. Kids loved getting to play with the experiments and getting a chance to learn some science while they were at it.

Marvel.com: The goal of the event was to engage families—tell us a little about interacting with the kids.

Tamara Robertson: There was a large number of children at the [store], which was one of the best parts! So many parents were getting the chance to introduce their children to their favorite comics and characters from when they were young, as well as discover new characters! The kids brought great energy and a few were even in awesome costumes! They were definitely having fun.

As far as my display—the time flew as I would go through all four displays with each child and they seemed to love all of them, lots of laughter and large smiles! My favorite part was that while I was able to draw them in with my Venom Magnetic Slime engulfing my rare Earth magnet, they were excited the whole time and always ended strong—literally—with my She-Hulk demonstration. Getting to see little girls and boys out Hulk their fathers and bigger friends utilizing science was not only exciting for me but was by far the biggest crowd pleaser of all! It also enabled me to end with the slogan “Science always wins.”

Jeremy Whitley: This is one respect where I consider myself really fortunate as a comic creator. Between my work with Marvel and my creator-owned work with my all-ages series Princeless, I get to interact with a lot of young readers. Kids are always the most excited about meeting the people who make the comics, and they always have the most interesting questions. I’ve had a couple of kids approach my table with notebooks and pens to ask important questions and take notes. They’re the sharpest fans we’ve got. They inspire me to get back to work making comics!

Marvel.com: What did you enjoy most about the event?

Tamara Robertson: My favorite part was that, when I would hear little girls asking where the girl comic books were, I was able to point them straight to Jeremy and all of his incredible comics. So many of the little girls would get excited when they would see all the different types of series he was offering and the older girls especially loved the UNSTOPPABLE WASP comics with not only strong girl leads but also all the great science! We had a bit of a boomerang system going on where I would send them to him for fun girl comics and he’d shoot them back for fun science.

My favorite part of my display was sharing with the kids that their favorite Marvel comic book heroes were scientists too! Most of them didn’t realize that they had STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] role models already in the form of their favorite comic book heroes. It was truly awesome to get to not only share a science homage to four awesome super heroes but to also elevate the role of STEM in their lives in a way that helped kids see that science is cool.

Jeremy Whitley: I loved getting to see young minds at work. We had boys and girls picking up books and reading them right there, but on top of that, they’re never happy to just sit back and have the science side of things explained to them. You can see them thinking about it, hypothesizing about how and why things work. Some of these kids could be Agents of G.I.R.L. any day!

Marvel.com: You mentioned previously that you think stories like UNSTOPPABLE WASP can help to get girls—and kids in general—interested in pursuing science. Did that seem true for the kids in attendance?

Tamara Robertson: Comics actually have always done a great job of utilizing STEM in their stories but the issue is that most of the time it’s not elevated to a point that children realize the connection. For instance, most super heroes start out as everyday scientists, technicians, engineers or mathematicians and then something alters them genetically and enhances their overall abilities. This statement in itself is riddled with science, which is why comics have always been so awesome and why most STEM professionals are also big comic fans. In the cases where normal men become super heroes, [like] Tony Stark, their gadgets are engineered to enable similar enhanced abilities. Often times the stories themselves don’t concentrate directly on this amazing tech or these genetically altering origin stories but they’re definitely there to talk about. That’s one of the incredible things about stories like UNSTOPPABLE WASP: the science is in the forefront of the story.

I think that it’s important for children—and even adults—to be aware of the awesome STEM connections to their favorite comic book heroes, which is what I hoped to accomplish with my Marvel at Science – Super Hero Science display and what Jeremy accomplishes through UNSTOPPABLE WASP each issue.  If we continue to help associate STEM with heroes and help people to see it as “cool,” we’re likely to inspire more children to pursue it and experiment with the world around them.

Jeremy Whitley: Absolutely! A lot of young WASP fans were excited to pick up the book, but just as much to dive into science. For every question about writing, girls had five times as many for Tamara about what she does and about the experiments she brought with her.

Marvel.com: Would you like to do similar events again in the future?

Tamara Robertson: This was my first opportunity to do STEM outreach at a comic book show and my first debut of Super Hero Science and I loved it!  The crowd was so excited and engaged that the day flew by, and when I reflect back on the day through photos and stories, I get to relive the excitement as the children started connecting super hero powers with real life science! I think that this type of connection will help overcome the historical stereotype of scientists and inspire more children to STEM-related fields.

Jeremy Whitley: I would love to! I never get tired of getting to interact with comics’ youngest fans. If we had Free Comic Book Day several times a year, I’d be at every one.

Marvel.com: Did you pick up any free comics yourself? If so, which ones?

Tamara Robertson: The comic book store was awesome and had a set for me to take home, which I was excited to share with the kids in my family. Sadly I wasn’t able to get to share them with them myself but I know their parents are excited to do so and I can’t wait to hear which characters they liked the most. I stayed impartial since it will be their first exposure to comics.

Jeremy Whitley: Well, I picked up the new GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, of course. My daughter snagged every comic she could find with a girl on the cover, as well as using her own money to buy a few books from fellow guest and comics writer extraordinaire Tini Howard.

Marvel.com: Which super powers did you find the most fun, interesting, or challenging to recreate? Which ones seemed to get the most involvement from the audience?

Tamara Robertson: When I created the Marvel at Science Super Hero Science display, I wanted to make an homage to some of my favorite super heroes. While I knew I couldn’t replicate directly their superpowers I wanted to showcase a scientific theory that would have a similar imagery so that kids would be able to connect the idea behind the science with a super power they knew.

For instance, Venom is obviously not a magnetic being—he’s an alien symbiotic creature—but watching an Iron Oxide embedded slime overtake a rare Earth magnet—albeit slowly—brings to mind Venom taking over Spider-Man. Kids quickly associated the takeover with Venom and were quite excited to learn more about how the slime was able to do what it did. So while the power itself wasn’t directly the same, it opened the door to talking to the audience about cohesion, adhesion, polymer development, and magnets overall. They especially loved the slime components.

I actually found myself explaining to every set of parents the ease of making the slime because most of them were trying to sneak off with it! Going into the day, I wasn’t sure if the kids would be interested in waiting as the slime overtook the magnet, but all of them were excited to watch and were amazed! I even had a set of boys that had theories on ways to make it move faster, and so during a slow moment we started testing out their hypotheses, which was super cool! They even utilized my “polymer chain” of paperclips to start testing the magnets power. Overall, they had a lot of fun learning!

From there I got to talk to them about Spider-Man and his awesome web.  The way this came about was that prior to the show I visited Kyle Hill at Nerdist—he was our fearless leader on “MythBusters the Search”—and I told him about my Venom slime idea, to which he conjectured perhaps a slime embedded with Kevlar would be more Spidey web-like. This got my cogs going, and since I had the raw materials available, I figured I would try to see what would happen. At a first pass, it made the slime stronger but was limited by the shear tearing that occurs with the slime where the fibers weren’t prevalent. While at first I thought to hold off showing this idea, I realized that science is all about trying and sometimes not quite getting it right. The coolest part about this was, by sharing this story of ideation and development and inability for full practical application, I got to start this brainstorming session with children. They were all so excited about this idea of the same material the guards were wearing in their vests being in this slime and it maybe becoming strong enough to hold Spider-Man that they wanted to see this idea succeed. They offered up tons of alternatives and additions and were all engaged in what will hopefully become a second revision of the Spidey slime that I’m sure Kyle will be able to explain beautifully on “Because Science.” Overall, this was my favorite display because it enabled me to really drive home that there’s no failing in science but instead sometimes a bit more discovery than originally planned.

My sublimation demonstration was one that brought in a lot of viewers and left a lot of grown-ups giggling in nostalgia as they revisited their youthful days playing with dry ice and water bottles. While my demonstration wasn’t explosive, it was one which let the fog banks roll and even enabled the kids to take part in creation of clouds! The initial idea was to make full form dry ice bubbles, but due to the wind on the day of the exhibit, the surface tension on the bubbles resulted in immediate popping of the large ones. But the kids didn’t seem to mind as they enjoyed the smaller bubbles and the rolling clouds.

Perhaps the most surprising to me was that the most simplistic and honestly cheapest—at a whopping $0 in equipment gear—science demonstration was the one the kids loved the most! I knew that they would be excited to get to overpower their parents by utilizing horizontal force over vertical force, but it was the amazement in their parents’ eyes that really drove the “cool” factor up for the kids. Each group would get excited about the idea of who was the strongest and testing it and then would be in awe as they were suddenly outdone by the science of She-Hulk power. Even the parents and kids that were only sort of listening would start paying attention at this point which to me was quite fun.

Marvel.com: How did you decide what powers to try and recreate? How did you come up with the demos?

Tamara Robertson: Honestly, the demos were from fun science GIFs I had seen online over the last couple years that had made me think, “Hmm that reminds me of—insert super hero.” I’ve actually compiled a folder of them over the years, so when I got invited to do a STEM demo I thought, “this is perfect,” and I went through to find ones that I could do in a tent setting. Obviously, all the flame and explosion ideas were out, but there were still some pretty cool ones that would lend themselves to shock and awe. Since I enjoy working with kids in my outreach, I thought these homages would be good demos to connect their favorite super heroes with STEM while being simple enough that they could do them at home if they wanted. In fact, I had a large number of teachers come up to my displays to talk to me about how they work with the slimes in their class but would love to bring in some of the other displays and hadn’t thought to connect it with super heroes. To me, that was really cool; not just inspiring kids but helping those that work with them every day to get ideas for inspiration as well.

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

Tamara Robertson: STEM inspiration is everywhere; it may not be in the forefront of every part of life but if you take the time to explore the world around you, it’s definitely there. Helping kids to make those connections is one of the easiest ways to start inspiring them to STEM; it doesn’t take a camp or an expensive toy—in fact sometimes it just takes going into your own backyard. Explore with your kids; learning doesn’t end with the school year and it doesn’t start with the bell. Every day is a chance to inspire them. Learning is living and the world is getting smaller and smaller—why not go discover it!

Jeremy Whitley: If anybody is interested in learning more about Tamara and what she does, we interviewed her in UNSTOPPABLE WASP #5, which came out the first week in May. And for people that got caught up on UNSTOPPABLE WASP at Free Comic Book Day and want more Nadia right now, I co-wrote issue #7 of AVENGERS with Mark Waid, which prominently features Nadia and Victor Von Doom and is available right now!

Pick up the next new installment of UNSTOPPABLE WASP with issue #6 coming June 7 from Jeremy Whitley and Elsa Charretier!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Statement from Marvel:

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week in Marvel will focus on delivering all the Marvel info on news and new releases–from comics to video games to toys to TV to film and beyond! New episodes will be released every Thursday (or so) and TWiM is co-hosted by Marvel VP & Executive Editor of Digital Media Ryan “Agent M” Penagos and Marvel Editorial Director of Digital Media Ben Morse, along with Marvel.com Editor Marc Strom, Marvel.com Assistant Editor Christine Dinh, and Manager of Video & Content Production Blake Garris. We also want your feedback, as well as questions for us to answer on future episodes!  Tweet your questions, comments and thoughts about TWiM to @AgentM@BenJMorse@chrissypedia or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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1924-2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download episode #296.5 of This Week in Marvel from Marvel.com, check out Marvel Podcast Central, grab the TWiM RSS feed and subscribe to This Week in Marvel on iTunes or Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to the full run of This Week in Marvel including our latest episode!

This Week in Marvel focuses on delivering all the Marvel info on news and new releases–from comics to video games to toys to TV to film and beyond! New episodes will be released every Tuesday and Thursday (or so) and TWiM is co-hosted by Marvel VP Executive Editor of Digital Media Ryan “Agent M” Penagos and Editorial Director of Marvel Digital Media Ben Morse with Manager, Video & Content Production: Blake Garris, Editor Marc Strom, and Assistant Editor Christine Dinh. We also want your feedback, as well as questions for us to answer on future episodes! Tweet your questions, comments and thoughts about TWiM to @AgentM, @BenJMorse, @blakegarris or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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Writer Brian Michael Bendis takes Riri Williams into the Marvel Legacy event!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian Michael Bendis: Yes.

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

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

Marvel.com: Good crazy.

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

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

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

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

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

Marvel.com: Is she easily influenced?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1940-2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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