Garth Ennis & Goran Parlov reunite for a new look at Frank's early days!

Get ready to paint it black with Garth Ennis and Goran Parlov’s long-awaited PUNISHER: THE PLATOON limited series, which will take us back to a pre-Punisher era this October. PLATOON takes place during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s when Frank Castle was just an innocent doe-eyed soldier…though he was never that innocent according to Ennis and Parlov, the duo behind PUNISHER MAX who are writing the story and drawing the art, respectively.

Speaking of, you could not find two more passionate guys for the job; they’re committed to accurately nailing the time period while also delivering an epic and detailed story filled with colorful characters. So, does Mr. Castle love the smell of napalm in the morning? What ‘Nam-related movies did the duo watch before tackling this project? Queue up some CCR and read our in-depth interview with Garth Ennis and Goran Parlov as they prepare us for a run in the jungle…

Marvel.com: So, guys, the hype for this comic series goes back to 2015 at least. What’s it like to finally see it come to fruition?

Garth Ennis: All the pages are in and no one got killed or tortured. So that’s not bad.

Goran Parlov: I just cannot wait to see it out. [I’m] thrilled people can finally read it soon. So much sweat over those pages, so many all-nighters…Yeah, I can’t be happier than I am now.

Marvel.com: You two have worked on Punisher books before. What do you each admire in one another when it comes to bringing Frank Castle to the page?

Garth Ennis: For me Goran is pretty close to being the definitive Punisher artist. He captures Frank’s essential character in his body language: The easy grace, the repressed violence, the lack of drama. The sense of a man just getting on with the job.

Goran Parlov: You can’t say that something or someone is perfect. It is more like a utopic value. But Garth, as a writer, is very close to it. He understands the storytelling, he knows what works in a comic sequence and what doesn’t, what is important and what is superfluous. He can explain himself perfectly with just [a] few words. The scripts are never over explanatory. There are no page-long explanations for a single panel. Short and concise, but everything is there in just [a] few lines. I like to think I can connect very easily with his scripts. [The] stories themselves are always top notch–sometimes funny, sometimes a pure horror, but never boring, and always involving. Matter of fact, I often find myself laughing while drawing, and I can’t help it. Which is good. Means that the thing works. If I am the first to laugh then everybody else will also. On the other side, there were some sequences that I really wanted somebody else [to draw] for me. Talk about “real horror” sequences. With Garth you always get the whole package, and I am addicted to it, to the point that I have problems with other writers. Because I am always looking for Garth in the scripts. Which brings me to a conclusion and to the very essence of your question: Working with Garth for me is very easy.

Marvel.com: This series will focus on Frank’s time in Vietnam, and I can already hear “Fortunate Son” playing in the background. How are you guys capturing the feel of that era as well as the utter grittiness and destruction of this war?

 Garth Ennis: The story is set during the Tet offensive of 1968, with Frank’s first battlefield command–an understrength platoon of US Marines–involved in the defense of Khe Sanh, the famous Marine base which was subjected to quite an arduous siege by the North Vietnamese Army. This is a look at the war from the point of view of the average grunt, who finds himself at the center of a maelstrom of unimaginable destruction. The U.S. expended vast reserves of firepower to hold the base, but somehow the matter is still decided in close combat, often hand-to-hand, with the Marines risking life and sanity to survive. At the same time, we’ll see Colonel Letrong Giap–from FURY: MY WAR GONE BY–whose NVA unit is one of those charged with taking Khe Sanh, as he struggles to carry out the often impossible orders he’s been given by the regime in Hanoi. With him is one Ly Quang, a young Viet Cong fighter with an agenda all her own after she comes off worse in an early encounter with Frank.

Goran Parlov: Well, this might sound strange, but I didn’t prepare myself by watching all those famous Vietnam movies. I just remembered them–I watched them while working on FURY: MY WAR GONE BY and previous Punisher books. I wanted to capture the sensation as I remembered it. Of course I had several screenshots and photos from the internet, but those were mostly for weapons, uniforms, machinery. I love to be pretty accurate about those. But the overall feel was completely from within my head. 

Marvel.com: In addition, were you influenced by any Vietnam War-related movies, comics, or other similar pieces of pop culture when putting this together?

Garth Ennis: My go-to reading on Vietnam would be “Nam” by Mark Baker, “If I Die in a Combat Zone” and “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, “A Bright Shining Lie” by Neil Sheehan, “A Rumor of War” by Philip Caputo, and “Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land” edited by Andrew Wiest. The conflict hasn’t been particularly well served by comics; the only two that come to mind are Marvel’s THE NAM–the first couple of years’ worth–and Fighting Man by Alan Hebden and Cam Kennedy, which I recently managed to get reprinted in the Battle Classics series. For movies, I like “Apocalypse Now,” as much for the lunacy of it as anything else, and a curious little flick called “84 Charlie MoPic.” My favorite Vietnam War film is still “Full Metal Jacket,” partly because it’s so good, partly because I believe a peculiar war deserves a peculiar movie.

Goran Parlov: I was at the middle of the book, three or four episodes behind me, when I decided to watch Oliver Stone’s “Platoon.” It completely confused me. I was all like, “Oh my god, this thing is made this way and not like I did it. That other thing is also different.’ I found a billion things that are not like in my pages…and that blocked me completely. [I was] totally confused. Should I re-draw all those things? Should I start all over from the beginning? Then I talked shortly with Garth about that. He didn’t understand what exactly I thought I did wrong. Well, his question put me back at ease, but deep inside I still felt a bit frustrated. Fortunately, the scenery changed completely in the next few issues and I was able to put all the things that I’ve seen and loved in “Platoon.” My frustration disappeared and no harm has been done to the previous pages. Actually, later on I was very happy with how the things merged together with positive results.

Marvel.com: In your own words, how would you describe this Frank Castle compared the one we know in pop culture? Put another way, will readers be surprised at this facet of Frank?

Garth Ennis: As I say, this is Frank’s first combat command, and in fact his first time in battle. Not even 20, he’s been entrusted with the lives of two dozen young Marines whose abiding motivating factor is the desire to survive their tours of duty, go home, and never look back. He’s been plunged straight into the unspeakable hell of close quarter combat, and expected not just to survive but to lead- and to win.  Now, that may seem like an insurmountable task, but I personally believe that Frank was never really particularly green or raw, never some blushing virgin. I think he hit the ground running–partly because he grew up with a certain degree of street smarts and was therefore possessed of strong survival instincts from the get-go, and partly because of whatever was waiting inside him, something that began to awaken as soon as he arrived in Vietnam. Frank has the enviable ability to watch, learn, and act fast–so even before the bullets started flying he at least had a pretty good idea what not to do.

Goran Parlov: I think there will be no surprises. Speaking about his character features, he is the same Frank Castle as we know in PUNISHER MAX, only younger and in a different environment. But I am sure readers will recognize Frank right away under that helmet.

Marvel.com: Going off that, can you talk a little bit about the psychological trauma he’ll be going through in this series and how it will impact his transformation into Punisher?

Goran Parlov: I could find a word or two about the argument, but I’d prefer to leave this question to Garth.

Garth Ennis: Once Second-Lieutenant Castle begins to reveal himself as a first-class problem-solver, certain figures within the military establishment will start keeping an eye on him, only too keen to exploit his particular skill set. So the events in THE PLATOON will at least start him down the road he’s on. Of course, this is only his first tour of duty, and the events of BORN happen during his third, so he has a long way to go on his journey to Firebase Valley Forge. I’ve hinted at some of the things he got up to on his second tour before, and maybe one day soon I’ll get a chance to go into more detail on them.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about the supporting characters in this story and the way in which they affect Frank’s journey? 

Garth Ennis: There’s the aforementioned LeTrong Giap, who initially has too much of an eye on the big picture to worry about some young American officer. There’s also Ly, who wants to kill our hero with all her heart–and then dig him up and kill him again. [Then] there are the men of his platoon, initially wary of their new commander, but who gradually come to see him as their best and possibly only chance of survival as the war sucks them in deeper and deeper, and the horrors of ‘Nam close in around them. Speaking of BORN, you might say that in some ways THE PLATOON is the opposite of that story. It is, perhaps, a look at what might have been for Frank Castle.

Goran Parlov: Reading the story you can barely tell who the protagonist is and who the supporting characters are. They are all important for the story and all together meritorious for the magic. Back when I put my first sketches down on the paper, I thought of them [as if each] one of them is about to have a spinoff eventually. What I want to say is I always try to fall in love with each character and to love ‘em all the way. To personalize them, to give ‘em specific character…in a few words, to give them life. That is, [in] my opinion, how they eventually become interesting characters to me and ultimately to the readers. That is why I love Garth’s scripts because I can easily fall in love with his characters.

Pick up PUNISHER: THE PLATOON #1 in October!

Read More

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

Prepare for the holiday weekend with an extra serving of This Week in Marvel, the official Marvel podcast!

Ryan, Ben and Tucker give you the rundown on all of this week’s hottest comics releases including THANOS, ALL-NEW WOLVERINE, SILVER SABLE AND THE WILD PACK, and tons more! Tucker and Maggie deliver breaking X-Men news with the X-editors (1:13:11). Head on over to the West Coast where Eric and Christine give you the latest TV and film news (1:31:58).We close everything out with your questions and comments (1:45:02)!

Download episode #317 of This Week in Marvel from Marvel.com, check out Marvel Podcast Centralgrab the TWiM RSS feed and subscribe to This Week in Marvel on iTunes, so you never miss an episode! We are now also on Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to the full run of This Week in Marvel!

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

Read More

Spidey hits an Amazing milestone, as Venom makes his big debut.

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!

A deeply disturbed Dr. Octopus, overcome with a psychosis about Spider-Man, wreaked havoc in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #296 until the wallcrawler allowed Ock to beat him in battle in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #297. Spidey’s rematch with the Sin-Eater in PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #134, along with a shocking surprise from Electro in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #135, led to the Sin-Eater’s death at the hand of the police in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #136.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #134

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #134

The all-seeing Watcher bet on the webslinger’s role in a football game in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #34, Peter Parker took a gig as a substitute teacher in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #35, and a student accidentally transformed into Phreak in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #36. Later, the so-called Life Foundation sent Chance to kill our hero in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #298, but their subsequent team-up in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #299 brought down the Foundation.

The webslinger’s discarded alien costume merged with an angry Eddie Brock and debuted as Venom in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #300, prompting Mary Jane to convince Peter to return full-time to his old red-and-blue fighting togs. A new Tarantula hit the scene in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #137 and a replacement Captain America sided with the crook against Spidey in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #138. Our hero helped Dakota North on a case in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #37, while the Hobgoblin returned in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #38, as did the Looter in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #39.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #300

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #300

  • Published: May 10, 1988
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 26, 2008
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The wallcrawler took on a neo-Nazi with Silver Sable in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #301, considered a job offer in Kansas in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #302, and ultimately decided to head back to school for a degree in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #303. Robbie Robertson confronted the murderous Tombstone in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #139, but Spidey took over when Robbie landed in the hospital from the criminal’s tender mercies in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #140.

The Punisher took up the fight against Tombstone in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #141, while Spidey agonized over the fact of Robbie’s withholding of evidence from the police in his past. Ultimately, the webslinger brought Tombstone to justice in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #142, but Robbie needed to face his own crime, too.

Peter’s old friend Betty Leeds joined a cult called the Students of Love in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #40 and Spidey tried to rescue her in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #41, but it came down to Flash Thompson to make the real effort to save her in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #42, and work with the webslinger to deprogram Betty in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #43.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #305

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #305

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Heading to California to promote his new book of Spider-Man photos in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #304, Peter donned the webs to once more take on the Black Fox there, then learned of the Prowler’s participation in the program in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #305. The Persuader gained control of the Punisher in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #143 to kill the Lobo Brothers, and later Spidey fought Boomerang in San Diego in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #144 and SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #145.

Our hero puzzled over a new case with the Humbug and the Chameleon in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #306 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #307, then rushed to Las Vegas for a booksigning in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #44, as well as a rendezvous with the Vulture out in the desert in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #45.

Web of Spider-Man (1985) #45

Web of Spider-Man (1985) #45

Someone kidnapped Mary Jane in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #308, forcing Spidey onto a dark path to find her. That path led him into a confrontation with Styx and Stone in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #309 and a surprising save by an escaped Mary Jane herself. The tussle with Killer Shrike and the Tinkerer on the ESU campus in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #310 seemed almost tame in comparison to that adventure.

Read More

New writer Justin Jordan on what's next for Kei.

Justin Jordan plans to make his Marvel with a crazy kaiju party in the pages of MONSTERS UNLEASHED starting this December. This series will mark the writer’s first ongoing work at the House of Ideas after spending the past several years building a name for himself around the industry.

Jordan takes over for Cullen Bunn who wrote the initial five issue limited series as well as the first eight installments of the ongoing. For his first story arc, called Learning Curve, he’ll be joined by Francesco Gaston for MONSTERS UNLEASHED #9, available December 20, as Kei and company take on super-sized bees, while Bachan will plunge them into the ocean depths with MONSTERS UNLEASHED #10.

We talk with Jordan about taking on something of a lighter book, taking over for Bunn and working with a variety of different artists!

Marvel.com: What appeals to you as a writer about taking over MONSTERS UNLEASHED?

Justin Jordan: You know, I think it’s that I get to write something fun. I tend to gravitate towards darker and grimmer stuff, so writing something where both the book and the characters are optimistic and fun is actually a nice change. Not that I don’t love my grimdark, mind you, but I don’t get to flex my fun muscles in books very often.

Marvel.com: With a few exceptions, these are all relatively new characters. Does that make jumping on a book like this more or less challenging?

Justin Jordan: Kind of both, which is a terrifically useless non-answer. On one hand, there’s only one version of these characters. If I were writing, say, Captain America, he’s been written by so many people for so long that people have lots of different versions in their heads. And that adds to the weight of expectations. Likewise, there’s a crap ton of research. So in that respect, this is less challenging.

The flipside is that because Kei and the kaiju have basically just been written by Cullen, it’s kind of nerve-wracking to be the next writer. Because that is a very specific version of the character, and so I want to write a character who is definitely the same kid, but not just doing exactly what Cullen did. Which is it’s own sort of challenge.

Monsters Unleashed #9

Marvel.com: There’s an interesting approach with your first batch of issues in that different artists will be drawing each installment. Does that change how you approach a script at all?

Justin Jordan: It does. I try to, as best I can, write for the artist. I’ve been lucky that I’ve known before the script stage who the artist was going to be, and I’ve been able to write towards that. But it’s also easier for me because having the different artists gives us a more distinct feel for each issue, which works really well here because each issue takes place in very different places, with different kinds of antagonists.

Marvel.com: How does Kei working one-on-one with his monsters change their dynamic?

Justin Jordan: This arc gives us a chance for Kei (and, you know, the reader) to really learn more about the monsters. They’ve generally always worked as a team, so having them work individually gives us a chance to see what their strengths and weaknesses are. And who they are as people. It’s a real — GRATUITOUS TITLE DROP — learning curve for Kei.

Marvel.com: How fun is it dealing with all of these monsters, old and new, in the Marvel Universe?

Justin Jordan: Ah, it’s super fun. They’re just awesome. Who doesn’t want to play with giant monsters?

Read More

Christina Strain reconvenes the original squad for Marvel Legacy!

Reunited and it feels so good!

Or not.

When Monet finds herself in danger of becoming a vampire, the original GENERATION X squad reemerges to help save one of their oldest friends from the undead. On December 20, writer Christina Strain and artist Amilar Pinna jump into Marvel Legacy as they unite the past and present in GENERATION X #85!

We caught up with Christina to learn more about the upcoming issue.

Marvel.com: Catch us up with what’s been going on in GENERATION X!

Christina Strain: Oh man, where do we start? Jubilee has been doing her best to wrastle her students in line, despite running on no sleep ‘cause she’s the single parent of a toddler. Quentin Quire is…a mess, so that’s not new. Benjamin Deeds still feels too scared to ask out Nathaniel Carver, who’s still too scared of his powers to even think of dating Ben. Roxy is dealing with some trauma from her past, Trevor is realizing he’s a great babysitter, and Lin’s starting to think that humans (particularly Trevor) might not be all bad.

We’re nine issues in and it’s like they’re actually starting to learn things!

Marvel.com: What does it feel like to write for the original team roster? How does the book’s dynamic change?

Christina Strain: It’s fun! I mean, I grew up with the O.G. GENERATION X cast and, now that I’m older, I’ve applied a lot of lessons I’ve learned through the years to them and it seems to work. And it’s fun taking a character like Paige (Husk) and everything she’s been through and use her as a foil for someone like Roxy, who’s younger and been through less. I’m loving it!

Marvel.com: What’s the deal with poor Monet?

Christina Strain: Monet learned a bit of a lesson in humility when her brother (Emplate) basically possessed and merged with her the way those St. Croix siblings do. And unfortunately for Monet, her humanity has lost out to Emplate’s hunger, so now she has become basically a mutant vampire. So, like Emplate, Monet now hunts mutants so she can suck on their bone marrow to keep herself and Emplate close to our dimension.

Marvel.com: What proved to be the most challenging element of writing this issue for you?

Christina Strain: Page count. Honestly, 20 pages isn’t a lot of pages to work with…I’d kill for a few more! And when I look back at old GENERATION X issues, like issue #1—which had 38 pages, by the way—I sob all over my carpet at the thought of how much more I could do if I just had the page real estate!

Marvel.com: What emerged as your favorite part to write?

Christina Strain: Any of the scenes with feelings. Fighting can be cool, sure. But I’m a big fan of feeling like my heart’s been punched right in the aorta.

Marvel.com: How does the concept of Legacy come into the story?

Christina Strain: Good question. I just looked at it from the same perspective I’ve had since the very beginning of GENERATION X with Jubilee: “How does this original character reflect the future of these new characters? What can she teach them about who they’ll become?”

Marvel.com: What does the Legacy of Marvel mean to you—as a writer and as a person?

Christina Strain: GENERATION X has always been a very special book to a lot of people, and being able to write this iteration of it has been such a big honor for me. I genuinely love the original GEN X as well as all our “lovable losers,” so I just hope we’ve made something at least one or two kids will love as much as [editor] Daniel Ketchum, Amilcar, [colorist] Felipe Ramos Sobreiro, [letterer] Clayton Cowles, [artist] Terry Dodson, and I all loved the original run of GENERATION X.

Find out the fate of Monet St. Croix in GENERATION X #85, by Christina Strain and artist Amilcar Pinna, on December 20!

Read More

The audio and visual additions to the Marvel-released comic includes narration by Stan Lee.

Released by Marvel this past summer, the Black Eyed Peas’ graphic novel MASTERS OF THE SUN – THE ZOMBIE CHRONICLES is now getting its own Augmented Reality app this Friday, which helps tell the story in an entirely new way.

The app features narration by none other than legendary Marvel icon Stan Lee and a score co-produced by both BEP member will.i.am and Academy Award winning composer, Hans Zimmer (“The Dark Knight,” “The Lion King”).

“Teaming up with Marvel is an impossible dream come true for Black Eyed Peas,” will.i.am told Marvel.com. “Marvel has been an amazing partner for MASTERS OF THE SUN – THE ZOMBIE CHRONICLES, including supporting us at Comic Cons across the country, and arranging for us to spend time with the legendary Stan Lee in the recording studio to narrate the new Augmented Reality/AR version that will come to life using the new MASTERS OF THE SUN app, available on Black Friday.”

https://www.facebook.com/blackeyedpeas/videos/10156024311448083

Developed internally and in partnership with pioneering mixed reality company, Trigger Global, who are known for their work alongside iconic brands from Lego to McDonalds, MASTER OF THE SUN’s augmented reality app brings the graphic novel to life with an innovative multimedia experience blending voice acting, sound effects and full score. Each page includes animated text or graphics that come to life just by holding the mobile device over each page of the graphic novel providing users nearly 90 minutes of content.

Marvel.com had the chance to preview the app and it’s a very impressive and cool experience. The animated graphics are notably vibrant, strong and eye-catching, and a high profile voice cast helps brings the story to life, including Lee, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Common, Jason Isaacs, Rosario Dawson, Ice T, Michael Rapaport, Snoop Dogg and many more.

Black Eyed Peas Present: Masters of the Sun - The Zombie Chronicles (Trade Paperback)

Black Eyed Peas Present: Masters of the Sun - The Zombie Chronicles (Trade Paperback)

  • Published: July 19, 2017
  • Rating: Parental Advisory

Said Stan Lee, of the AR app, “This is so exciting, I wish I was about 70 years younger so I could grow up with this because what this is going to look like in another couple of generations… I can’t even imagine.”

The MASTERS OF THE SUN Augmented Reality app will set the stage for a virtual reality edition of the story in development in partnership with VR innovator Oculus.

Set for release on both iOS and Android mobile platforms, the MASTERS OF THE SUN Augmented Reality app will retail for $1.99 and is available as of Friday, November 24. The standalone graphic novel of “MASTERS OF THE SUN – THE ZOMBIE CHRONICLES, released last summer, is currently available for purchase.

The voice cast for the Augmented Reality version includes:

  • Narrator – Stan Lee
  • Master Sun –  Rakim
  • Polo –  Jaden Smith
  • Saleem – Jamie Foxx
  • Malik – Charlamagne Tha God
  • Lady Nix –  Queen Latifah
  • Big Ap –  Common
  • Apep –   Jason Isaacs
  • Emeritis – Mary J Blige
  • Agent Hughes – Rosario Dawson
  • Secret Agent – Ice T
  • DJ Eddie Flip – Slick Rick
  • Sonny – Raekwon  Jay Jay – Redman
  • Zulu X – KRS One
  • Jimmy Guapo – Michael Rapaport
  • Tyrone –  Snoop Dogg
  • Amun Ra – John DiMaggio
  • Amari Jones – Flavor Flav
Read More

One of the Avengers’ most powerful foes debuts against Captain America!

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.

Over the years, Captain America has proven himself as one of the most capable heroes in the Marvel Universe. It seems like no matter what he comes up against he ultimately walks away with the win. But Jack Kirby and Stan Lee gave the Sentinel of Liberty an enormous challenge in 1966’s TALES OF SUSPENSE #8284, a story that kicked off with the Avenger seemingly losing his mind and ended with our hero facing the full power of his teammates!

In the initial entry, Cap spent a quiet evening at Avengers Mansion that soon became more than a little troubling. Seeing ghosts from his past like Agent Axis and Fang the Warlord, Steve Rogers feared that he might be losing his mind. That feeling intensified when he found himself mysteriously transported back to World War II where he not only reunited with Bucky but campaigned anew against his Axis enemies. Passing in and out of reality, the super-soldier eventually fell to his knees, but faithful Jarvis stood nearby to catch the beleaguered hero.

Nearby, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents combed through a blown-up A.I.M. lab previously seen in STRANGE TALES #149. They discovered a survivor, Count Bornag Royale, who revealed that something called The Adaptoid ran free in the world working to “win the final victory.”

Tales of Suspense (1959) #82

Tales of Suspense (1959) #82

  • Published: October 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

We then cut back to Avengers Mansion where we got our first glimpse of said Adaptoid as it changed from Jarvis into Captain America! The robot also admitted to slipping Cap a Hypno-Sedative to knock him out! Having taken over the Star-Spangled Avenger’s identity, this new evil next faced an unexpected challenge as a costumed character calling himself The Tumbler smashed his way into the mansion! The ensuing battle messed with the creature’s plans to first destroy Captain America and then move on to S.H.I.E.L.D. itself!

Tumbler actually proved so effective that he took out “Cap-daptoid” and tied him up! The doppelganger broke free and re-engaged with his new enemy. The ruckus, though, woke up the actual Captain America who jumped into battle, easily taking care of Tumbler. Cap and Jarvis then carried the seemingly unconscious shape-shifter to the Lab Analysis Room where the Adaptoid hatched the next phase of his plan.

As it happened, the Avengers played right into this new scheme. Cap brought in his teammates Goliath, Wasp, and Hawkeye to check out the new foe which gave it time to absorb their powers, thus turning itself into The Super-Adaptoid! The upgraded villain then revealed itself to Captain America who leaped right into battle with his emerald-hued opponent. Their fight started at Avenger’s Mansion, but ultimately moved to the sky over the city. After the shield-slinger tumbled into the river below, Super-Adaptoid assumed he’d succeeded in the first part of its mission. It then waited for the next assignment from A.I.M., but heard nothing. Wanting to retain its autonomy, Super-Adaptoid took off to find refuge in this strange new world it found himself living in!

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

Read More

Gabby Rivera teases a final showdown with The Exterminatrix!

The Exterminatrix has America Chavez up against the wall. And now that she’s been isolated from her friends and allies, the only one our hero can rely on might just be herself.

On December 20, America’s fight against The Exterminatrix comes to an epic conclusion as writer Gabby Rivera and artists Jen Bartel and Joe Quinones set the hero up with her final shot at the villain in AMERICA #10!

We caught up with Gabby to hear more about America Chavez’s big moment.

Marvel.com: America has a few new powers in her repertoire. Tell us a little bit about them!

Gabby Rivera: One of her new abilities will be the power stomp, which we saw when she went to Vegas with Madrimar. If she flies upward and uses a lot of her energy to come back down, she can slam hard enough into the ground in a way that basically levels everything. That’s something I wanted to play around with—the ways in which Madrimar can help America fine tune her abilities and find the other special things that she can do. She already has so much power, so now it becomes about the ways we can hone that and give her other cool tricks.

One of the powers that she has developed over the series has been the ability to punch open multiple portals to find someone she’s looking for. Storm helped her develop that, and she’s trying to use it to subvert Dr. Brightly, which would allow her to do the right thing under a change in administration at the school… But I don’t want to say too much!

Marvel.com: By the way, Storm’s recent interactions with America have been so great to read!

Gabby Rivera: Oh my god, I love that! It felt legendary for me to write Storm. I felt like it might’ve been one of the best moments of my life. I loved being able to bring Storm in as a top-level, iconic mentor for America; to have them engage with each other in a thoughtful way, a loving way, and also a very physical way. They fly and fight and learn together. Storm shows America that she’ll always be there for her. It’s important to show women of color bonding and helping each other evolve. There’s a Storm renaissance!

Marvel.com: The Exterminatrix stands as a very formidable opponent—and she has the Midas Corporation on her side. How will America’s new powers help her in this fight?

Gabby Rivera: The “Exterminatrix” arc has showed that, yes, America’s powers are important, but so is her team. Exterminatrix has so much power behind her, but we realized that America does too. So how do we build up Prodigy and the Betas and others? They’re present, and they’re also part of the fight for the soul of Sotomayor University. America is super powerful and she could obliterate everything, but it’s never that simple.

Because Exterminatrix is so powerful and her weaponry is so refined (and sociopathic!), America really experiences a tremendous injury. So how does she recover from that and where does it take her? We link her pain to the connections she experiences with her family and her ancestors. In her pain and in her healing, she sees that people have her back. And she has the ability to say, “Okay, I don’t have to do everything on my own. In what ways can I really channel what I’m supposed to be doing and what I’ve learned in order to defend the school and be part of the team?”

Marvel.com: Beyond this fight, how what she learns here impact her approach to being a super hero moving forward?

Gabby Rivera: This is a non-traditional super hero story. America Chavez navigates grief, identity, and personhood. And we want to do it in a way where she’s reflective, and still headstrong, brave, and a little reckless. She possesses a spiritual power that she hasn’t tapped into yet, but we got the seeds of that in issue #7 with her origin story.

Marvel.com: What do you see as the most important takeaways from this arc?

Gabby Rivera: That she’s not alone. That folks love her and that she has family. And also, just because you can use force to fix a problem and blow something up doesn’t always mean that it’s the best thing to do.

Even though she had a leadership position with the Ultimates and she has proven herself as a person who can make good decisions, now she’s forging her own path. And I think that, even though we can often show up for a group, sometimes we don’t do that same thing for ourselves. So now, America is learning that she has to show up for herself too.

AMERICA #10, by writer Gabby Rivera and artists Jen Bartel and Joe Quinones, drops on December 20!

Read More

The Champions and the Avengers race against time to save two planets!

Earth and Counter-Earth have been sent careening towards one another by The High Evolutionary—and only the Champions and their Avengers allies can save the day.

On December 20, writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos present CHAMPIONS #15! The “Worlds Collide” storyline comes to an Earth-shattering conclusion—and we may or may not mean that literally.

We spoke with series editor Tom Brevoort to get a few hints on the exciting events to come!

Marvel.com: Catch us up with what’s been going on in CHAMPIONS!

Tom Brevoort: Well, the Avengers and the Champions came together in response to an extinction-level event: the High Evolutionary has decided to clean the slate of his petri dish planet, Counter-Earth, by ramming it into the real Earth and then making something nice out of whatever might be left.

Our heroes split their forces, with some making the journey to Counter-Earth while others remained to deal with the collateral damage happening across the world. But Falcon and Viv Vision both got captured by the High Evolutionary’s men, and the H.E. evolved Viv into an actual human being.

Marvel.com: How has the team-up changed since the first installment of “Worlds Collide”?

Tom Brevoort: It’s been an uneasy pairing as these characters have some history—the Champions were formed as a direct outgrowth of the actions the senior heroes took during CIVIL WAR II. But that said, there hasn’t been a lot of breathing room for the characters to get into that…events have been transpiring at a thousand miles per hour!

Marvel.com: You’ve teased a death in this series…any word on what’s to come?

Tom Brevoort: Yeah, we kill somebody. It’s very sad! We’re monsters.

Marvel.com: Who takes the casualty the hardest?

Tom Brevoort: I think maybe artist Humberto Ramos took it the hardest—he’s the one that had to draw it! But the person it affects the most isn’t on the team; it’s one of the Avengers.

Marvel.com: What’s emerged as your personal favorite moment in this crossover story?

Tom Brevoort: I don’t think that moment has happened yet…so I’m going to have to play things coy, but I did think that Viv’s transformation was a pretty compelling and shocking turn of events!

Marvel.com: Last question: how would you try to keep two planets from colliding?

Tom Brevoort: I wouldn’t. Let them burn. LET THEM ALL BURNNNN!

*clears throat*

Ahem.

Pick up CHAMPIONS #15, by writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos, on December 20!

Read More

The Eternals face an assortment of villains from across the eras!

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.

When Jack Kirby returned to Marvel in the 70s, he came back to a mix of old favorites like CAPTAIN AMERICA and BLACK PANTHER as well as all-new comics like MACHINE MAN and ETERNALS. We discussed the latter to some extent with artist Mike Allred months ago. ETERNALS, about the titular race of super-powered beings defending humanity against the evil Deviants, allowed Kirby to tell huge, sweeping stories.

In ETERNALS ANNUAL #1—which “The King” also wrote and edited—Thena and Zuras realized the threat that Deviant Zakka the Tool-Master posed. In an effort to find and stop his machinations, Thena asked for help from a pair of Deviants who switched sides in ETERNALS #11: the fierce warrior Reject and the gentle giant Karkas. As she led these unexpected heroes to the big city, we got a glimpse of Zakka’s nefarious invention, the time beam projector! To wreak havoc on humanity, he used this device to pluck individuals from their own time and bring them to the present before they would transport back to their respective eras.

Upon arriving in their temporary digs, Thena and Reject quickly encountered one of Zakka’s unwitting pawns: Jack the Ripper. Just as the infamous murderer slid his sword from his cane to attack a young woman, Reject leaped into action and held the rogue off until he returned to his own time. Karkas fared about equally as well when faced with the might of Atilla and one of his Huns. After dispatching the villains, he showed his true, monstrous form to others in the hotel and they ran in terror. He then encountered Zakka himself, but failed to overcome his ultimate foe.

Eternals Annual (1977) #1

Eternals Annual (1977) #1

  • Published: January 01, 1977
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: July 30, 2008
What is Marvel Unlimited?

However, another succeeded in taking Zakka down. Instead of a hero, though, the assailant turned out to be another Deviant bent on destruction: Tutinax! Their first meeting left Thena, Reject, and Karkas on their backs, but after regrouping, the good guys chased the living wrecking ball down to stop his rampage.

Thena teleported them to an abandoned alley before they began their battle. Though Reject proved adept at dodging his opponent’s blows, he soon realized that Tutinax would be very difficult to harm and also possessed enough strength to lift an entire building off of its foundation! Luckily for them, Thena stuck around keeping track of the villain with her Psycho-Band. Just as Reject and Karkas moved to rush their target, he disappeared! It turned out that he’d been brought to this time by Zakka’s machine, meaning he could only last a short time before heading home.

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

Read More