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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Spidey crosses paths with the Frightful Four, Jack O’Lantern and... the Mud-Thing!?

For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe, and this year, the web-slinger swings onto the silver screen once more in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”! In celebration of his memorable history, we present Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story!

After wading through watery warfare from Hydro-Man in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #212, and helping Nighthawk fend off an old flame who tried to kill him in MARVEL TEAM-UP #101, everyone’s favorite neighborhood Spider-Man confronted a clutch of would-be aliens and his old foe Mysterio in PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #50 and SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #51.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #50

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #50

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Spidey devoted all his attention to an attack by the wingless Wizard in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #213, but even with the help of Namor the Sub-Mariner against the villain’s full-fledged Frightful Four in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #214, it still took the Fantastic Four themselves to turn the tide against the baddies in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #215. Later, our young hero fought alongside Doc Samson versus the Rhino and A.I.M. in MARVEL TEAM-UP #102, and with Ant-Man against Taskmaster and his school for super villains in MARVEL TEAM-UP #103.

The wallcrawler appeared alongside mutant singer Alison Blaire in DAZZLER #1, mastered Gideon Mace in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #52, tussled with the Tinkerer and his raucous robot Toy in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #53, and held his own against a swarm of samurai meted out by the Maggia in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #54.

Dazzler (1981) #1

Dazzler (1981) #1

  • Published: March 10, 1981
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
  • Writer: Tom DeFalco
  • Penciler: John Romita
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The mysterious Madame Web reappeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #216 to vex Spidey, but his name really became mud when Hydro-Man teamed with the Sandman in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #217 to merge into the weird wonder known as Mud-Thing, as seen in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #218. How the webslinger found the time to take on both Captain America and the Scorpion in MARVEL TEAM-UP #106, and She-Hulk and the Man-Killer in MARVEL TEAM-UP #107, the world-at-large may never know.

The nutty Nitro blew into town in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #55, as did Jack O’Lantern in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #56, but when Killer Shrike kidnapped Dr. Marla Madison, the love of J. Jonah Jameson’s life, in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #57, Spidey felt the deck stacked against him. This became quite evident the Grey Gargoyle showed his stony face in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #219, and Moon Knight seemingly wanted to kill him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #220.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #220

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #220

What is Marvel Unlimited?

A new criminal called Thermo frosted Spidey and Paladin’s cookies in MARVEL TEAM-UP #108, so Dazzler shed some light on the situation in MARVEL TEAM-UP #109. The dastardly debuts continued in MARVEL TEAM-UP #110 when first-time super villain Magma decided to go all molten on the wallcrawler and his pal Iron Man.

The Ringer made the webslinger jump through hoops in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #58. The Beetle crawled out of the woodwork again in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #59, but got squashed by the combined efforts of our hero and the Gibbon in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #60. Not to be outdone, Ramrod, another first-time foe, butted heads with Spidey in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #221, the Squadron Sinister’s Whizzer adopted a new and improved codename and costume as the Speed Demon in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #222, and the Red Ghost’s so-called Super-Apes monkeyed around to drive the wallcrawler bananas in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #223.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #222

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #222

What is Marvel Unlimited?

The day grew longer and weirder in MARVEL TEAM-UP #111 when Devil-Slayer enlisted Spider-Man’s aid in slashing away at Serpent-Men and Spider-People, and the new Moonstone enacted a scheme to steal Dr. Curt Connors’ “enervator” in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #61 to re-energize her criminal pursuits.

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The team adds a new member soon—see if you have what takes!

Can you keep your cool in a sticky situation? Do you know how to turn anything into a weapon? Do you view the law as a loose guideline? Then writer Gerry Duggan and artist Rod Reis may have just the job for you!

On October 18, the Guardians begin interviewing for a brand new position on the team in ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #12! Explains Duggan, “As the Guardians conclude their adventure on Earth to free the planet from Stevil Rogers, they encounter several characters in search of an exit from this planet. One will make the trip. However, even though this issue has its feet on the ground, there will be a very important cosmic encounter that affects the quest for the Infinity Stone.”

Check out this job application for more info about the position…

Team Searching For Celestial Chaperone

Job title: Guardian of the Galaxy

Salary: Glory and a share of the score

Job summary: The Guardians of the Galaxy are a rag-tag team of assorted criminals who travel from world to world stealing from the highest level security facilities in the universe…and occasionally, saving the galaxy.

The positions of comic relief, crazed weapons specialist, former assassin, adorable mascot, and metaphorically-challenged muscle have already been filled. But don’t worry, Editor Jordan D. White details, “They tend to gather new members as they go, like a space snowball rolling downhill. And yeah, I did just say the Guardians are heading ‘downhill’—they have no idea what sort of trouble they’re in for.” Despite the foreshadowing there, the position does promise to be a great opportunity for anyone looking to get the heck off Earth and take on what White mentions could be called an “Infinite” quest…

It’s the Infinity Stone. They’re questing for the Infinity Stone. That’s the quest.

Responsibilities: You will be responsible for assisting the team on each mission while helping keep the peace between senior members. You will familiarize yourself with the targets of each mission and be ready to fill in wherever needed—that means getting comfortable in each team role and being prepared to fake it ‘till you make it when the plan inevitably falls apart.

You will follow any and all orders given to you by a senior Guardian. If you receive conflicting instructions, use your discretion to determine which will prove most profitable to the group. This position will also play a role in caring for—or “babysitting”—a recently regrown juvenile Flora Collossus. What can we say; it can’t all be gun slinging, explosions, and glamour.

Qualifications:

  • Music lover; particularly ‘60s and ‘70s Earth music
  • Mystic powers (ideal, but not required)
  • 2+ years of criminal and/or hero experience
  • Ability to regenerate a plus
  • Advanced combat and weapons capabilities
  • Experience time traveling (preferred)
  • Ability to cope in high stress situations
  • Chemical enhancements accepted
  • Willingness to follow orders but skilled improviser
  • Comfortable around talking woodland creatures and semi-communicative trees
  • Actually, if you could just be an ex-Avenger, that’d be great

So who might the candidates be? Take a look at the cover! White teases, “Any one of the five folks on there would make a fascinating addition to the team, would they not? And yeah—I did say five.” He clearly knows something we don’t—given that Dr. Strange, Deadpool, Cable, and Man-Thing seem to be the only newbies in the image…

Send your application in today! Email pquill@dangerousfuncoolguy.org or try reading your resumé to a raccoon and hope you get lucky.

Find out who clinches the job on October 18 with ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #12, by Gerry Duggan and artist Rod Reis!

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Greg Pak introduces Marvel Legacy with a return to Planet Hulk!

On October 18, Amadeus Cho makes an unexpected interstellar trip as writer Greg Pak and artist Greg Land head back to a brutal world with INCREDIBLE HULK #709!

Marvel Legacy begins with “Return to Planet Hulk: Part One,” as the young genius goes where another Hulk has gone before—Bruce Banner. But the planet Sakaar has changed since the Doctor visited years ago. And Amadeus finds himself in unfamiliar territory—on the continent of Filia, halfway around the globe from where The Hulk landed before. Thrust into a conflict he didn’t expect, The Totally Awesome Hulk will have to use every ounce of his intellect and power to survive.

We grabbed a few minutes with Greg Pak to see what’s in store for Amadeus on Planet Hulk.

Marvel.com: Amadeus Cho has learned a lot about himself and his Hulk persona recently. How does this new self-awareness influence his experience on Sakaar?

Greg Pak: Amadeus started off as the Hulk a couple years ago with this big, loopy idea that he could be the best Hulk ever; he never saw being the Hulk as a curse. He doesn’t think of himself as a tortured soul like Banner. He figured he’d become the Hulk and show the world how awesome the Hulk could be. But over the last few storylines, Amadeus has come closer and closer to the darkness within himself. To be specific, he’s got a Dark Hulk inside that’s fighting to get out—and he’s terrified of what he’ll become if that happens.

So as this new storyline begins, Amadeus gets pulled into the brutal world of Sakaar at the absolute worst time—when he’s trying to suppress the brutal monster within.

Marvel.com: How does Amadeus find himself on Sakaar?

Greg Pak: The story took place in TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #23, which just hit stands, so I don’t want to spoil it too much. I’ll just say that Amadeus ends up deciding he’s too dangerous for planet Earth in his current state, so he exiles himself to try to figure out what’s going on with this Dark Hulk inside. But then he gets a signal from Sakaar—someone desperately needs help from The Hulk. And he’s still that cocky kid who thinks he’s going to be the best Hulk ever, so he can’t stop himself from responding.

Marvel.com: You’ve said before that we’ll see a different side of Sakaarliterallyin this story. What new friends and foes will Amadeus find in his time there?

Greg Pak: During the original PLANET HULK story, the Hulk fought the evil Red King of Imperia, freed the slaves and gladiators he’d oppressed, and united the different people of the continent in a new alliance. (Whoops! Spoiler alert!)

This time ’round, Amadeus lands on a different continent on Sakaar—the land of Fillia, which had been at war with the Red King. So you’d think the Fillians would be happy that The Hulk took out the Red King…but once The Hulk disappeared, a thousand new murderers arose in the chaos and now Fillia’s a blasted wasteland where a terrible warlord hunts small clans for sport. One of these clans has put out a call for The Hulk—and they’ve gotten Amadeus.

So we’ll meet a stalwart headman, a scrappy insectivore hiver, an eerie priestess, a manic lackey, and a brutal warlord. It’s a big, epic battle-axes-and-blasters sci-fi fantasy, and you’re going to love it.

Marvel.com: Should we expect to see familiar faces from the original PLANET HULK story?

Greg Pak: Since we’re on the other side of the planet, we won’t see exact characters from the original PLANET HULK. But this fits right into all that worldbuilding we did for PLANET HULK, so you’ll see folks from the various species we established during that story. And you’ll see a disturbing perversion of the myths and legends we introduced there too.

You’ll see a Marvel hero you might have wished appeared in the original PLANET HULK. I’ll say no more, but definitely don’t miss issues #711 and #712!

I’d also like to plug the gorgeous work of Greg Land, inker Jay Leisten, and colorist Frank Darmata. They’re taking the original designs and worldbuilding for PLANET HULK and putting their own spin on them in this new part of the world—it’s just gorgeous stuff.

Marvel.com: What has been most exciting about this return to Sakaar?

Greg Pak: I absolutely loved working on PLANET HULK back in the day. It remains one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had making comics, and I’m thrilled to have a chance to dig back into that world whenever the opportunity presents itself. With this particular story, it’s a kick throwing Amadeus into the mix, because he was famously one of the few heroes crazy enough to side with the Hulk during WORLD WAR HULK. So there’s a bit of a comeuppance here—a chance to see how Amadeus handles the kind of brutal world that the Banner Hulk endured. There’s a lot of delicious and scary stuff to dig in with that kind of set up, and I’m having a blast.

I should also note that if you’re digging this vibe, please do check out the “Planet Hulk” prose novel that hits stores on October 4! I got pulled on board to write it last year, and if you dug the original PLANET HULK, I think you’re going to love the prose novel. We got a chance to dig a lot deeper into all kinds of aspects of the story and try some surprising new things. Check it out!

INCREDIBLE HULK #709, by Greg Pak and artist Greg Land, crash lands on October 18!

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A heroic spin on a classic alien invasion story courtesy of Kirby!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

During the pre-super hero, monster-filled days of the early 60s, Jack Kirby worked with Stan Lee to create an army of aliens and other threats to help fill anthologies like TALES TO ASTONISH, JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, and TALES OF SUSPENSE. The protagonists of those stories tended to be regular people stumbling into weird situations and, hopefully, coming out on top thanks to good old-fashioned grit and determination.

When the folks in flashy costumes took over, they also began taking on very similar threats in the pages of their own books. However, with 1976’s CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #3, Kirby brought the two worlds together in a story called “Doom is the Black Star!” The issue kicked off with a farmer named Jim Hendricks blasting a huge purple alien monster away from the Sentinel of Liberty with a sci-fi ray gun.

Once the creature vanished before their eyes, Cap and Jim remembered how the latter contacted the former after he appeared on a local talk show. It took some convincing, but eventually the hero agreed to investigate the strange beings and U.F.O. that landed on Hendricks’ farm.

More surprises came when Hendricks took Cap back to his house where the masked pilot of the ship—dubbed “The Captive”—temporarily resided. After unmasking, The Captive explained that, even though it took him a million years, he found a way to escape from a black hole! Upon doing so, though, agents of the Galactic Empire came to put him back.

Meanwhile, up in space, the ship that sent the initial monster deployed a Combatron to regain their quarry. Fighting like a furious storm, the being unleashed its fury on the two men. Cap attempted to buy time by facing off against the Combatron while Jim searched for alien weapons. Having gained the upper hand, our hero had to leap out of the way of lasers blasting from the ship to erase all evidence of the Combatron and its pod.

Captain America Annual (1971) #3

Captain America Annual (1971) #3

  • Published: January 03, 1976
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
  • Writer: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

With an army of Magnoids descending towards Earth, the Sentinel of Liberty remained behind to size them up while Jim and Captive returned to the alien’s ship. Once there, Captive’s true colors started showing through as he rambled about being feared and returning to his full power levels.

Back outside, Cap did his best fighting off a legion of mechanical men. He held his own and even made off with one of their weapons, but quickly ran back to the ship where Captive truly revealed himself. Instead of finding Jim arming himself to take on the invaders, Captain America saw his new comrade almost completely drained of life!

The Captive then revealed his origins as part of an invasive, energy vampire race that had been mostly felled by use of synthetic, non-organic life forms like the Magnoids. Cap withstood Captive’s attempts at draining him of his own life force, which gave the Magnoids enough time to get inside the ship. As the villain began powering-up, the Captain summoned the last of his strength, slung his mighty shield, and knocked Captive unconscious!

The robots then wrapped Captive up in an inorganic material, which kept him still during the super-fast trip to a star called Epsilon Four. Once there, the space cops shot the villain into the sun, which went nova moments later, presumably killing the energy vampire in the process.

The issue closed with Captain America telling his story at an official military hearing, but the complete lack of evidence—aside from Jim’s corpse—led to them sweeping the whole thing under the rug. In the end, even in the face of the government’s stance that full, public knowledge of extra terrestrials would fill the average person with terror, Cap saw hope in a future that would be more open to visits from other worlds.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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The war of the disenfranchised wages across the Marvel Universe with survival at stake. 

Bred by an alien race to be a warrior caste and possessing alien DNA, the Inhumans exist as humans possessed of incredible and otherworldly powers when exposed to the substance known as Terrigen. Living secretly, for the most part, among their fellow man, the Inhumans forge their own destiny as a separate society. Dig into the history of the Inhumans with these Marvel Unlimited comics in preparation for “Marvel’s Inhumans” heading to  ABC on September 29!  

Even when they’re not actively getting involved in major situations, the Inhumans seem to find themselves smack-dab in the middle of conflict! In this case, we’re talking about a major problem with the mutant community that actually started in THE DEATH OF X by Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule and Aaron Kuder.

Set in the eight month gap between the end of SECRET WARS and the ALL NEW, ALL DIFFERENT launch, Cyclops and his band of militant mutants discovered the Terrigen Mist that had been floating around the world proved fatal to mutants, including Jamie Madrox who died on Genosha when the cloud passed over. 

Death of X (2016) #1

Death of X (2016) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Enraged at the prospect of more mutant deaths, Cyclops and Emma Frost alerted the world to the danger posed by the mists and then set out to destroy both of them. It worked with one of them, but a major confrontation took place that lead to the death of Cyclops at the mouth of Black Bolt. 

Death of X (2016) #3

Death of X (2016) #3

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Well, sort of. As we learned, Cyclops actually died from exposure to the mist on Genosha and Frost used his image and her powers to make it seem like he still fought the good fight, even though he actually died very early in the series. Unfortunately, driven a bit mad by her lover’s death, Frost decided that Black Bolt actually killed Scott and demanded revenge.

All of this fed right into INHUMANS VS. X-MEN, which saw the mutants and Inhumans at peace while Hank McCoy worked on a solution to the problem with Iso by his side. As it happened, though, Beast soon realized that the cloud would burst, sending the contents all over the planet which would make it uninhabitable by most mutants. 

Inhumans vs. X-Men (2016)

Inhumans vs. X-Men (2016)

What is Marvel Unlimited?

While McCoy had been working on a scientific solution, Emma had been working on a more tactical one with the likes of Magneto, his team of X-Men, Storm, Dazzler, alternate reality Jean Grey and Fantomex to take out primary Inhuman targets like Black Bolt, Karnak, Lockjaw and the rest. However, they didn’t know much about the NuHumans who not only beat Old Man Logan but also destroyed Forge’s invention for saving the day.  

Inhumans vs. X-Men (2016) #1

Inhumans vs. X-Men (2016) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Meanwhile, the captive Inhumans in Limbo worked together to free themselves and then move on to the school. Meanwhile, Inhuman Mosaic infiltrated the X-Men’s earthly stronghold and took over Magneto’s body. Once inside, he also got a look at all of the X-Men’s plans up to that point, including where they kept Black Bolt captive before being cast out. 

Inhumans vs. X-Men (2016) #4

Inhumans vs. X-Men (2016) #4

What is Marvel Unlimited?

With attacks on all sides, a major standoff took place in Limbo as Havok stood next to the chamber holding Black Bolt right in front of Medusa. Cylcops’ brother initially threatened to kill the former Inhuman king, but soon stepped aside, acknowledging that this really boiled down to a plan between Emma and Scott.

Between that and Karnak’s own escape alongside Lockjaw, the Inhumans found themselves back in the fight. However, when finally appraised of the situation regarding the cloud’s impending destruction and the adverse effects on mutants, Medusa used the Terrigen Eater to kill the cloud.

However, still driven mad by the loss of Cyclops, Emma Frost brought out a batch of Inhuman-hunting Sentinels with Magneto still backing her play, but only because of Frost’s mind manipulations. Once he realized all this, he switched sides and essentially fought alongside Medusa and Black Bolt to take Frost down.

Ultimately, they succeeded in destroying the cloud, but the relations between mutant and Inhuman may never be repaired! 

Inhumans vs. X-Men (2016) #6

Inhumans vs. X-Men (2016) #6

What is Marvel Unlimited?

THE INHUMAN CONDITION

The Inhumans saw themselves facing a new world order after the events of IVX. INHUMANS PRIME set the stage for the franchise moving forward, launching into books like ROYALS, BLACK BOLT and SECRET WARRIORS. The first would find most of the Royal Family taking off into space to discover their heritage while the second found their leader somewhat unfairly imprisoned and the final featured a group fighting against Hydra-Cap’s Secret Empire!

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Ulik, MODOK and the future Adam Warlock were all part of another great year for the King.

In celebration of Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday, we’re reviewing the man’s legendary creations with a year-by-year examination of his unparalleled career at Marvel Comics. Read on and witness the work that made him comic book royalty.

By 1967, Marvel editor Stan Lee knew exactly where to use his top artist, Jack Kirby. Together, “The Man” and “The King” whittled Jack’s output down to two main titles that year, with two main side-projects just to make things interesting. One might say it became a true “Summer of Love” between the Marvel creators and their fans at that time.

Stan and Jack continued to infuse FANTASTIC FOUR with way-out wonders and swingin’ splendors in ’67. They kicked off the year with a multi-issue tussle between the FF and Doctor Doom, and then wasted no time tossing them into a battle with the Negative Zone’s Blastaar in FANTASTIC FOUR #62, and the alien Kree Accuser named Ronin—another stand-out Kirby design—in FANTASTIC FOUR #65.

Though the fans might’ve been unaware of the history-making events occurring in FANTASTIC FOUR #67, Stan and Jack introduced another great concept in that issue’s “Him.” Jack’s visuals on the golden-skinned godling seemed a bit subdued and minimalistic, perhaps, but the character continued on to transform into Adam Warlock a few years later, one of Marvel’s most enigmatic yet engaging stars.

In the pages of THOR, Jack’s other blockbuster assignment, the Thunder God met his physical equal in Ulik the Troll in THOR #137, Kang and his Growing Man in THOR #140, and the Kirby tour-de-force of the Super-Skrull in THOR #142. Thor himself suffered under an almost-complete loss of his Asgardian powers in THOR #145, allowing Jack the opportunity to portray the majesty and grandeur of the character in an Earth-bound, civilian-dressed form.

After a break from Captain America’s adventures in TALES OF SUSPENSE, Jack returned to the strip along with Stan in TALES OF SUSPENSE #92 to kick off a storyline that illustrated the great depth of feeling from Cap for Agent-13, one of Nick Fury’s valued S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. After that, Cap met MODOK, surely the most unique Jack Kirby-designed character of the entire year, in TALES OF SUSPENSE #94, and temporarily retired to try and live a “normal life” in TALES OF SUSPENSE #95.

Apart form all the danger and drama delineated by Jack in 1967, he also poked some fun at himself and the rest of the Marvel pantheon through Stan’s latest brainchild, NOT BRAND ECHH, a comedy-parody mag. Utilizing Jack sparingly, but effectively, Stan included his star artist on the introduction of the Silver Burper in NOT BRAND ECHH #1, Sore, Son of Shmodin in NOT BRAND ECHH #3, and the ever-lovin’ origin of none other than Forbush-Man in NOT BRAND ECHH #5. What a way to go-go!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more on Jack Kirby and join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Marvel Legacy ushers in a terrible new era for the Merc with a Mouth!

Wade Wilson faced the music in DEADPOOL #36.

The Regenerating Degenerate’s choices during Secret Empire have come back to haunt him…and now he’s at the mercy of Stryfe and on the run from everything he once held dear.

The turning tides in DP’s life herald a new period in his story—and on October 11, Marvel Legacy’s DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #287 marks the start of the chapter.

Written by Gerry Duggan with art by Scott Koblish, Stryfe seeks payment for services rendered. It’s a life for a life—Deadpool owes him four—and the first name on the mutant clone’s list won’t surprise anyone: Cable.

Now Wade, having recently reached higher highs than ever before, hits rock bottom as he’s forced to kill his way out—or face the deadly consequences. Notes Duggan, “He’s putting his head down and just doing what he owes in order to get out of this. He’s not really looking to be very clever at this moment.” The grim circumstances have forced the Merc with a Mouth to recede to just a Merc.

When the thought of reneging on his debt crosses Wade’s mind, he receives an immediate rebuke—if he doesn’t hold up his end of the bargain, the Preston family, and maybe his daughter Ellie, will pay the price. Outsmarting an evil time traveler has to be even harder than it sounds, especially on your own; “There really is no one left that will trust him. He used to be a member of an Avenger squad and unfortunately that’s over. His marriage is over. A lot of his friendships are done,” explains Gerry.

So, has Wade Wilson completely resigned himself to this bleak fate? Gerry doesn’t seem so sure: “Even though Wade seems like he’s still doing terrible things—and he is—he’s still doing honorable things, so that still acts as his motivation.”

Duggan continues, “We spent a lot of years building him up and we’re destroying him in quick time. We’ll see what he has left after we strip everything away, it will be interesting to see what survives of the character after this.”

DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #287, written by Gerry Duggan with art by Scott Koblish, hits on October 11!

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The Black Bolt artist taps into a well of ‘Kirby Konfidence’!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Christian Ward learned something very important after discovering Jack Kirby’s work, something he coins below as “Kirby Konfidence!” He’s used it to help compose everything from covers and guest spots on ULTIMATES to interiors on BLACK BOLT.

As the cover and regular interior artist on BLACK BOLT, Ward gets how beautifully “The King” put together this character who currently finds himself trying to escape from a planet size prison in the series written by Saladin Ahmed.

We talked with Ward about coming to Kirby a little later in life, taking inspiration from his confidence, and the joys of drawing Galactus lounging!

Marvel.com: How did you first come to know Jack Kirby’s work and how did it hit you at the time?

Christian Ward: As a kid of the 80s in the [United Kingdom], I always associated his work with “old comics” and mostly ignored it. It wasn’t until much later in my comic book maturity that I developed an appreciation for him. I thought I’d enjoy comics less once I became a full time artist but if anything it makes you enjoy and appreciate them even more and looking back at Kirby you realize just how amazing he is.

Marvel.com: You do a lot of dynamic cover work, something that Kirby is also known for. Do you think you learned any tricks for good compositions from him?

Christian Ward: Thanks very much. I think Kirby’s work spellbinds through its confidence. Alongside the sheer energy of his drawing Kirby often combines abstract shapes alongside his muscular characters which creates a tension which gives the work its vibrancy. This is often seen although not exclusively in the way Kirby presents technology, machinery, and costumes. All feature an array of different overlaying and contrasting shapes. Just for the love it. Some of it almost looks like automatic drawing.

So it’s less about learning tricks and more about having Kirby’s confidence—“Kirby Konfidence”?—to go for it. You hear stories of how fast Kirby was in his “dungeon” and his work smacks of someone who just trusts his instincts and goes for it. A kind of deadline-induced freeform drawing. So mostly, I just try and go for it. His work definitely gives me confidence to go more abstract sometimes. Like Kirby I love bold shapes and I’ve just got to try and have Kirby Konfidence.

Marvel.com: In ULTIMATES #6, you drew a story that added new layers to Galactus. How was it contributing something like that to one of Stan Lee and Jack’s most enduring characters?

Christian Ward: [That] was such a fun issue to draw. Best scene? Galactus sitting in an armchair! I always loved Galactus so it was surreal to be drawing him, especially as that was my single issue debut.

There’s not a day working on a Marvel book that you don’t ponder the greats that came before you but if I’d stopped to think too much about what I’m doing I think I’d be crippled with stage fright. I was lucky with ULTIMATES that [writer] Al Ewing had written me an incredible script to work from. So when I have a hobby or crisis of confidence I just focus on the page I’m working on. Let my writer guide me. “Draw Galactus sitting in an armchair.” Got it! The comic book making equivalent of not looking down.

Marvel.com: You’ve done a number of covers and interiors for various characters either co-created by Jack or based on his work. Do you look back at his origins for inspiration?

Christian Ward: Always! I think it’s important as an artist to find your own voice, even when working with existing characters, but it’s crucial that you respect what came before. I’ve tried to put Easter Eggs into each issue of BLACK BOLT as a tip of the hat to not only Kirby but other great artists who have told Bolt’s story before us.

Marvel.com: With BLACK BOLT, you and Saladin Ahmed get to put the book’s star through a variety of challenges he’s never experienced before. How does it feel continuing the Inhuman’s legacy?

Christian Ward: It’s hard to know what to say other than it’s a huge, planet-splitting honor. When I was first offered BLACK BOLT, I jumped at the chance and Saladin’s amazing scripts have made what should have been a monumental undertaking an absolute joy.

I think it’s the fact that Saladin has had this fresh approach that makes the book work. We’re not retreading ground that the Silent King has walked before. Even as a creator on the book each script in my inbox has surprised me. It makes me giddy to think we contributed to part of Black Bolt’s history going forward and [then] in years to come other artists and writers might even reference what we’ve done.

Marvel.com: Black Bolt’s is one of those Kirby costumes that hasn’t really been changed much since his inception. Why do you think that is?

Christian Ward: It’s funny because, up to our Black Bolt, Steve McNiven had designed this badass body-armor—Warrior Black Bolt—that he’d been sporting throughout UNCANNY INHUMANS and INHUMANS VS. X-MEN. It didn’t feel right that he be wearing that in our cosmic prison. Especially since the story deals with his vulnerability so much.

It was great to return him to something more stripped back and inline with what Kirby created. To answer your question why Bolt’s costume has endured, it’s such a bold and pure design. There’s so little that can go wrong with it. It’s almost pop art. Stacked full of “Kirby Konfidence.”

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Writer Matthew Rosenberg opens up about bringing back Jean Grey!

Resurrection has always been the essence of the Phoenix. The mystical bird bursts into flames and returns reborn, stronger than ever.

So too, it seems, it will be for Jean Grey.

After years gone from the Marvel Universe—dead and buried in the minds of her friends, family, teammates, and enemies—she will complete that transformation from ash to stronger than ever once more.

The creative team of Matthew Rosenberg and Leinil Yu have come aboard in PHOENIX RESURRECTION this fall to help her on her way from the grave to flying above the Earth once more. We found Rosenberg getting fitted for an asbestos suit and he graciously answered our questions as the tailor took his measurements.

Marvel.com: How does it feel to be the one tasked with bringing back the adult Jean Grey? Did you advocate for the role or did Marvel come to you?

Matthew Rosenberg: Crazy. It feels crazy. [UNCANNY X-MEN] is the book I learned to read with. I have been a fan my whole life. And Jean…Jean is the heart of the team. She ties everything together. For her to have been gone so long, it always felt like an open wound. Getting the chance to maybe heal that, it’s an honor I don’t take lightly.

Marvel came to me with this, I didn’t advocate for it. I mean, I did in the sense that I talk about the X-Men all the time to anyone who will listen. But I didn’t specifically fight for this book. [Marvel Editor-in-Chief] Axel Alonso and [X-Men Senior Editor] Mark Paniccia brought it to me and asked if I had any ideas. I casually said what I would do to bring her back and they both looked real surprised. To be honest, I thought I’d just lost the gig. But finally they told me that was not at all what they had in mind, but they liked it. And from that point on it’s just been a whirlwind.

Marvel.com: What creative challenges does writing this book present for you? What opportunities?

Matthew Rosenberg: The biggest challenge is obviously doing it justice. People love Jean. I love Jean. Some people desperately want to see her back because they miss her, and I want to do right by them. But others feel really strongly that her death was monumental and we should respect that. And I get that 100%. I’m hoping we can tell a story that makes those people understand why we brought her back. We actually have something to say, it means something. And I think all of that, trying to please everyone, is the real trick.

As for opportunities, for me it’s two things. Getting to use the X-Men, all of them, is a huge one. Getting to explore her relationships with them, showing how they react to certain things, what things mean to them, is a real blessing because these characters have ties to her that long time readers will understand. There is an emotional shorthand to Beast or Bobby or Logan or Storm seeing her again. It’s heavy. And the other great storytelling opportunity we have is how powerful Jean and Phoenix are. They can create worlds and rearrange minds. That is something we go into a bit and I think it will keep readers on their toes.

Marvel.com: What is essential to writing Jean “right” in your opinion? How similar or different is this Jean than the one we knew before she died?

Matthew Rosenberg: One of the big keys to getting Jean is to actually study her progression as a character. From the meek and quiet student, to the bad ass team member, to the goddess, to death, and back again. She has had these changes; the Marvel Girl of old is not the same as Phoenix, or Jean in X-FACTOR, or the Jean that raises Cable in the future, or the Jean that fights Emma for the heart of Scott. All of these are evolutions of who she is. And our book, it does something a bit different. This isn’t an evolution. It’s a resurrection. But I can’t say much more than that.

Marvel.com: What’s the tone and setting of the book? How does Leinil Yu hope you achieve the look and feel of the book you are looking for?

Matthew Rosenberg: Our tone and setting change as things go. It’s a bit of a mystery, a bit of [an] epic super hero book, and a bit of an emotional character study. We travel all over the world in the series and it sort of just becomes this race to answer some questions nobody wants to ask.

As for what Leinil brings? Everything. He is a titan in storytelling, character, action—you name it. And he brings all of that. There are some genuinely creepy moments in the book and he knocks it out of the park on those. But there are also some real tender moments and those hit just as hard. I know this sounds crazy, but more than once I have actually been a little sad that I’m writing this book because I want so badly to just be able to read a PHOENIX RESURRECTION book with Leinil on art as a fan. I want to pick it up off shelves and not know what was going to happen. And seeing his work now, I know I’d be blown away. It’s gorgeous as always.

Marvel.com: Who else can readers expect might be popping up in the book?

Matthew Rosenberg: If there is an X-Man you like, there’s a strong chance they pop up. We’re doing a lot of fan favorites, a lot of deep cuts, and everything in between. Not everyone is going to get the screen time they deserve. But this is all hands on deck for the X-Teams.

Marvel.com: How does Jean’s return echo through the lives of others? Any insight into how it might affect the Marvel Universe at large?

Matthew Rosenberg: For the X-Men it will have an immediate effect. This will hit all of them. It’s going to be huge for the X-Men with a ton of ramifications across the board. As for the larger Marvel U…you’ll have to wait and see.

The wait continues later this fall with PHOENIX RESURRECTION from Matthew Rosenberg and Leinil Yu!

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