Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka detail the original team's epic return!

One of the breakout hits of the early 2000s, RUNAWAYS exploded onto the scene and set a new precedent for young super groups across the Marvel Universe. Its team of relatable, plucky, young protagonists has lived long in the memory ever since—and much to our delight, the Runaways are entering the fray once more.

On November 21, the group makes their on-screen debut with “Marvel’s Runaways” on Hulu—and on September 13, the original cast returns in comic book form with RUNAWAYS #1, by writer Rainbow Rowell and artist Kris Anka!

We caught up with Rainbow and Kris to find out what’s happened to Nico, Karolina, Molly, Chase, Old Lace, and Gert since we saw them last.

Marvel.com: We’ve seen Nico go through a lot lately (most notably with A-Force and Ulysses)—what kind of mindset will she be in at the start of issue #1?

Rainbow Rowell: We’ve seen more of Nico in the Marvel Universe than any of the other Runaways—and she’s been through so much trauma. (I mean, she was a prisoner on Murderworld.) Then, just when she started to find some stability with A-Force, she lost them, too. When we meet Nico in RUNAWAYS #1, she’s alone and wondering where she fits—and still (always) struggling to understand her relationship to her own power. That’s a core theme for Nico: she wields great power, but she doesn’t understand it. It just dropped in her lap. And it comes with all these painful limitations.

Marvel.com: When we last saw Karolina, the Runaways were going through a difficult time. What’s she been up to recently?

Rainbow Rowell: I feel like Karolina is the stealth Runaway. We know the least about what her life has been like since the book ended. But we do know that she has a girlfriend—Julie Power. When we meet up with Karolina again, she’s been doing a lot of emotional work to make peace with her past. (Having super villain parents, betraying them, causing interstellar disasters, etc.) She’s doing her best to move forward, which means leaving the life she had with the Runaways behind.

Marvel.com: Molly’s a mutantwhere has that taken her over the last few years? Can you describe her headspace these days?

Rainbow Rowell: Molly is living off the super hero grid. She’s living with a loving guardian, who’s trying to let her have a normal tweenhood. I think Molly’s reunion was one of the most fun to write—because she just really misses everybody.

Marvel.com: Chase often served as the friendly, upbeat member of the group. Will we see more of that from him? How has he been impacted by his recent experiences?

Kris Anka: Yes, definitely [he was the upbeat teammate]. We pick up with Chase looking to bring his family back together. I think he’s been through a lot of trauma over the past few years and I think that’s made him feel a bit rudderless and desperate to find something to drive him again. Rebuilding his Runaways helps with that a lot.

Marvel.com: Old Lace—the Runaways’ favorite dinosaur! How has she gotten along without Gert? Does she still have a telepathic link with Chase?

Kris Anka: I feel like she’s been doing alright. She’s missed Gert a lot, of course, but knowing that Chase would also do anything for Gert has given Old Lace someone to bond with. But she’s immensely glad to have her Arsenic back.

Marvel.com: Without giving too much away, can you tease anything about how Gert comes back to life? After being dead for so long, what kind of state will we find her in?

Kris Anka: Well, it hasn’t been too long for her. She’s going to be dealing a lot with how, to her, it has felt like a quick nap. It’s quite a shock for her. As for a tease, you’re not going to have to wait long to find out how!

Marvel.com: How’s your experience been resurrecting such a popular series?

Rainbow Rowell: Oh, I hope people are looking forward to it. Fortunately we’ve managed not to focus too much on people’s expectations…I had the arc written before the series was announced. And when I’m working with Kris, we’re just really focused on the characters. (We were both huge fans of the original series by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, so we hit the ground running.) It’s been such a gift for me to collaborate with someone who’s as invested as I am in this story. I can talk to Kris in minute detail about these characters—and he’s right there with me. It feels like we’re making this book for the Runaways.

Kris Anka: It was hugely daunting. It actually took some convincing to get me on board with this, honestly [Laughs]. Having grown up on this book, it wasn’t something I wanted to mess up. It’s been a great book to work on though. It feels a lot like meeting up with old friends again.

“Marvel’s Runaways” debuts on Hulu this November 21! And on September 13, Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka present the original team in an all-new comics adventure with RUNAWAYS #1!

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Take an odyssey through the King’s career with the Avengers writer!

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.

Even legendary artists can take a little getting used to. Your reaction can all depend on exactly when you first experience their work and the kind of art you had seen up to that point. While Jack Kirby remains one of the most beloved creators in the comics world, not everyone fell in love at first sight.

AVENGERS and CHAMPIONS writer Mark Waid happened to be one of those exceptions when he first read a Kirby comic. However, he soon became enamored with the style and kinetic energy that makes the creator “King” to this day.

Fully converted towards the Kirby aesthetic, Waid has written many of Jack’s most prominent co-creations including Captain America, Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Ka-Zar, S.H.I.EL.D. and numerous others. We talked with the writer about that first less-than-great initial exposure, developing a love for Kirby, and his tendency to always look back at the master’s original stories.

Marvel.com: Do you remember the first Kirby-drawn comic you read? What was your relationship with his work like as a reader?

Mark Waid: It wasn’t a Marvel book, but rather a DC one—and to my eternal shame, I hated it when I was nine. I’d grown up with staid DC illustrators like Curt Swan and George Papp, and Jack’s [work] looked all “wrong” to me. Luckily, I grew up and saw the error of my ways.

Marvel.com: Did you get to know Jack personally? What surprised or impressed you most about him?

Mark Waid: I had one conversation with him, casually, at a convention in Dallas a million years ago. I was amazed by his humility and his accessibility, and listening to him tell war stories was a revelation.

Marvel.com: Jack has three distinct runs on Captain America. Did you have specific takeaways from each one that you incorporated into your time with the character?

Mark Waid: Yes. The Golden Age material taught me action. The TALES OF SUSPENSE era work taught me soap opera. And his mid-1970s run on Cap taught me the value of big, bombastic, all-new villains.

Marvel.com: You worked with the amazing artist Mike Wieringo on most of your FANTASTIC FOUR tenure. His style might not have looked like Jack’s but he perfectly captured the characters and that world. Was that something you sensed going into that collaboration?

Mark Waid: Absolutely. I knew Mike respected “The King” immensely, and Mike’s work was big and bold to match Jack’s.

Marvel.com: You’ve had very well regarded runs on some of Kirby’s greatest co-creations. Why do you think you’re able to tap into what makes these characters tick so well while also taking them on new adventures?

Mark Waid: Because they’re great characters, one and all. My job is to dig down and rediscover what I love about these characters and then show it to you. And Kirby’s creations and co-creations are so emotional, so human at the core, that it’s almost impossible not to be able to tap into them.

Marvel.com: You made Jack Kirby a “Higher Power” in FANTASTIC FOUR #511. He has these great lines about imagination and story. How much of that came from Jack and how much came from your own experience working on comics?

Mark Waid: At least half of those lines came from Jack quotes. His phrasing, his language is unique. In my mind, Jack was not especially articulate and yet incredibly well-spoken. He twisted words like no other comics author, and yet their meaning was always clear, always strong and on-point with a distinct flavor.

Marvel.com: You also incorporated the “Man Called Death” pilot pages into S.H.I.E.L.D. #9. How was it working that into the tale and how does it feel to have most likely given some readers their first exposure to “The King”?

Mark Waid: When I die and my life flashes before my eyes, that experience makes the highlight reel. There was so much energy in just those few pages that it was actually daunting to put dialogue to them –but now I can say that, in a very peripheral way, I got to work with “The King.”

Marvel.com: When working on books that feature direct Kirby creations or legacy versions—like INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK, S.H.I.E.L.D., or the Avengers books—do you look back at his original runs to get a better sense of what makes them tick?

Mark Waid: No question. The advice I give all writers is to always go back to ground when you take over existing characters and get a sense of why they’ve been pop-culture icons for all this time. You’re looking for that “X-factor” that the creators brought to the table so that you can find a way to modernize it without disrespecting it. If you’re ever stumped on a “take” for a character, go back and study author intent. The secrets are there.

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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Witness the tough choices one Jedi makes in the wake of Order 66 & the growing shadow of the Empire.

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

The dawn of the Empire marked an era of great struggle and strife throughout the cosmos. Senator-turned-Emperor Palpatine – also known as Darth Sidious of the Sith – enacted his secret, sinister plots to gain complete control.

That’s the setting for the 2006 Legends Continuity series STAR WARS: DARK TIMES. In the first arc, which ran for issues 1-5, Welles Hartley, Mick Harrison and Doug Wheatley introduced readers to Former Jedi General Dass Jennir and Bomo Greenbark, a Nosaurian, fighting against Clone Troopers on New Plympto.

The duo survived the battle at Half-Axe Pass by falling into a large hole. It worked out as the Troopers rolled in and killed all of the rebels. From there, they wound up on the Uhumele, a ship captained by Schurk-Heren and piloted by Crys Taanzer. Wanting to find his captured wife and daughter, Bomo asked them for help. To earn heir passage, Jennir orchestrated a way for them to get off-planet before the Troopers could fully inspect their ship.

They then set out for the horrid slave planet Orvax IV to save Bomo’s family. The idea of selling slaves did not sit well with the newly christened Darth Vader either, having been one as a child. Palpatine explained it away as a more humane alternative than killing them, but Vader remained unconvinced.

On Orvax, they found Bomo’s people, but discovered that his wife Mesa died while trying to save their daughter Resa, who had just been sold. Sending everyone else back to the ship, Jennir used his Jedi abilities to track down the seller. After finding out who bought her, Dass shot the being in the head to keep their mission a complete secret.

As the Uhumele set course for Esseles, where Resa had been taken, Vader traveled to Murkhana where a group of Clone Troopers reportedly failed to follow Order 66 – the command to kill all Jedi – after working with one for so long. The Emperor sent his underling to quell independent thought, sending a message to the former Anakin Skywalker at the same time.

Back on Esseles, Jennir, Bomo and the crew decided to go into Dezono Qua’s villa guns blazing to get Resa back. Upon confronting Qua, he admitted to not only buying Resa, but also eating her. Jennir stepped in to kill the monster in part to spare Bomo from having such a thing on his conscience. They all moved on feeling the dark reach of the Empire towards further adventures.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

Dass Jennir and Bomo may have gotten along well enough in this first arc of DARK TIMES, but that hadn’t always been the case. In fact, the Jedi originally found himself on New Plympto in order to squash the Nosaurian Separatist movement. Enemies became allies, however, after Palpatine took over and issued Order 66. With the Clone Troopers flipping the script on Dass, he joined up with the Nosaurians to push back the tide of white armored killers. However, as seen in the first issue of this series, their efforts proved woefully minor as their fellow warriors ended up on the wrong end of Trooper blaster fire while the women and children were sold into slavery. If you’re wandering what happened to the rest of the Nosaurians on Orvax IV after they discovered what happened to Bomo’s family, it’s not great. Dass Jennir stood over their cage and told them it would be better to survive as slaves to be hunted down if he attempted to free them. Not exactly the behavior we expect from a hero of the galaxy, but then again, this proved a highly difficult time for everyone not associated with the Sith.

Move from the rise of the Empire to the very beginning of the Order in the pages of STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI by John Ostrander, Jan Duursema and Dan Parsons.

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Two Wolverines lock claws in a memorable match-up drawn by Ramon Rosanas!

Ever since DEATH OF WOLVERINE, readers have felt a Logan-sized hole in their lives. Other clawed individuals have stepped in to do some of the jobs other heroes won’t touch like Laura Kinney, who now holds the name Wolverine, and Old Man Logan, but what about the original? With the publication of GENERATIONS: WOLVERINE & ALL-NEW WOLVERINE this week by writer Tom Taylor and artist Ramon Rosanas, we’ll finally have a few answers.

We got in touch with Rosanas about reuniting the clone and her fallen mentor in an issue that celebrates the House of Ideas’ long history of legacy heroes.

Marvel.com: Ever since the “Death of Wolverine” story, people have been wondering when Logan would make his return to comics. How does it feel to be drawing this huge issue in his history?

Ramon Rosanas: Very proud! Wolverine is one of the most loved characters and to be part of his story makes me feel very happy.

Marvel.com: Laura’s gone through a good deal of changes since Logan died. What can you tell us about the emotional connection they will feel when reunited and how that comes across on the page?

Ramon Rosanas: It’s really magical. They are two strong characters. Finding them in an emotional union is a key moment in their personality. I love to draw emotions. I already did it with Deadpool and Ant-Man. I feel comfortable with these stories and this script has given me touching moments.

Marvel.com: Laura might be the All-New Wolverine, but Logan’s the classic model. How do they compare when leaping into battle in this issue?

Ramon Rosanas: They are two generations. Getting them together has been great. I love to see them in that kind of relationship formed between parents and children when you discover that your daughter surpasses you, that she has taken a few steps ahead of you but that you can still protect and teach her many things.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about the kind of trouble Laura and Logan get up to in this issue and did it offer a lot of design opportunities for you?

Ramon Rosanas: I have enjoyed drawing ninjas and Japanese settings. I have experimented giving the scenes an aspect close to the Manga style; although that has also given me a few headaches in combining both styles of work. I have been allowed to draw Logan in his classic outfit, in civilian clothes, and in his usual T-shirt as the story progressed. And I did the same with Laura, leaving her with a T-shirt like Logan, as if he was “passing the baton.”

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Tom and the gang on this issue?

Ramon Rosanas: I have been part of a great team. I have been able to work with Mark Paniccia whom I love and admire. He was the first editor to open the doors for me in Marvel and to work with him is always really great.

Tom is a great writer. The script describes everything I need to know but at the same time Tom leaves me room to adapt it. He has done a magnificent job throughout the whole episode. I cannot wait to hear from the fans.

Slice and dice alongside Logan and Laura in GENERATIONS: WOLVERINE & ALL-NEW WOLVERINE, available this week from Tom Taylor and Ramon Rosanas!

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The producer/comedian talks comics and more!

The creator of “Home Movies” and “Metalocalypse” — Brendon Small — stops by Marvel HQ to talk comics, his new album and much more!

Download episode #299.5 of This Week in Marvel from Marvel.com, check out Marvel Podcast Central, grab the TWiM RSS feed and subscribe to This Week in Marvel on iTunes or Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to the full run of This Week in Marvel including our latest episode!

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

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A new era of Star Wars comics begins...

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

“I have a very good feeling about this,” says C-3PO within the first few pages of STAR WARS #1. Beyond simply speaking for himself by turning one of Star Wars’ most well-known phrases on its head, he’s even more so speaking on behalf of us, the fans. The first Star Wars title published by Marvel since the 1980s, this issue represents a rebirth for comics set in a galaxy far, far away, with every action taken and word spoken officially now adopted as Star Wars canon.

Star Wars (2015) #1

Star Wars (2015) #1

  • Published: January 14, 2015
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: July 27, 2015
  • Rating: Rated T
  • Writer: Jason Aaron
  • Cover Artist: John Cassaday
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Thankfully, the issue’s story and art perfectly match the cinematic tone of its source material. You can practically hear the actors’ voices and John Williams’ score in your head as you read Jason Aaron’s words and marvel at John Cassaday’s spot-on, dynamic art. Set within the months following the destruction of the first Death Star, we follow all of our favorite characters—Han, Luke, Leia, Chewbacca and the droids—as they infiltrate an Imperial outpost. Things go well for a while…but then Darth Vader shows up. After an incredible moment where he defends himself against a barrage of blaster fire, Vader ignites his lightsaber—with Luke right before him.

Now at issue #36, STAR WARS continues to delight fans on a regular basis. And it’s still a very good feeling to read it.

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Johnny Blaze, Satana, Blade, and Hellstrom unite!

Writer Victor Gischler and artist David Baldeón have spirit, yes they do. They’ve got spirit. How about you?

More accurately, they have SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE coming at you! On October 4, the Marvel Universe’s most infernal characters join forces in this fiery five issue limited series.

Back in the ‘90s, Marvel gave Ghost Rider and his horror-themed pals their own dark corner of the House of Ideas to play in. In addition to a series focusing on the Rider, the line also included a team-up called SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE that starred Johnny Blaze alongside another Rider, Danny Ketch. While this new series certainly acts as a spiritual successor to the original, readers need no familiarity with the original concept to enjoy the new series.

We caught up with Gischler and Baldeón to speak about working inside the Marvel Legacy initiative, the new team’s origins, and exploring the darker parts of the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: 1990s comic book fans will definitely recall the original SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE—how does it feel taking that title and using it to tell a new story as part of Marvel Legacy?

Victor Gischler: It feels just fine. And if hitting those notes brings out readers who were fans in the ‘90s, then that’s awesome. But in no way are we approaching this book in a fashion that leaves out new readers. We’re looking forward. I guess it’s the best of both worlds. We’re taking some great characters who maybe haven’t gotten enough play in recent years and reintroducing them.

Marvel.com: So far we know that the series features Johnny Blaze as Ghost Rider, Satana, Blade, and Hellstrom. Victor, how did it feel to nail down this line-up?

Victor Gischler: Not a chore at all really. There was some brief discussion with the editors about different possibilities, but it would have been cumbersome to fit in every character that might be in a book like this. I mean, it’s a five issue limited series. We got to make it a tight little team. The best and most obvious choices are the four you mentioned.

Marvel.com: David, was there much of a redesign process when it came to these characters?

David Baldeón: There’s a little bit of everything. As Victor says, we want to take the very best possible of the original title and its era, and look forward with that. Hopefully that comes through in the designs! With that in mind, in some cases, I have just had fun with the original look of the character, ran with it, and tried to give it a twist. In other cases, we’ve dug deeper to give new versions that still are true to the character’s core. And also following that line of thought of adding and moving forward rather than going just for repetition. There’s a lot of layers there, design-wise. Oh, and the antagonists! I’m so looking forward to everyone seeing them!

Marvel.com: These characters have run into each other over the years—and they’ve even worked together. What brings them together this time around?

Victor Gischler: They come together fairly organically. It’s not like S.H.I.E.L.D. had a meeting and said, “Hey, let’s invent a super hero team to fight bad guys.” Not this time. One of our heroes recognizes a threat and one thing leads to another.

Marvel.com: How deep are you going into the supernatural and horror genres as you dive into these stories?

Victor Gischler: We reach deep into some familiar mythos.

Marvel.com: The classic SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE title and the Midnight Sons umbrella featured plenty of crossovers and guest appearances. Do you have plans to continue that tradition with this new series?

Victor Gischler: Not at the moment, since it’s just five issues. We need to stay focused on our story and the four characters we already have to work with. But if there’s a call for more, there’s a huge potential for crossovers and other familiar faces. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

Marvel.com: How has it been collaborating with each other to bring this group and this book to life?

Victor Gischler: Pretty easy for me. I just sit back and watch David’s excellent art roll in. It’s going to knock your eyes out!

David Baldeón: It’s a delight—pure and simple. I’m having the time of my life with this book and it is in great measure thanks to Victor’s amazing take on the characters. For instance, as fun as it is to “unleash” the Rider, the real joy is drawing Johnny Blaze as Victor writes him.

Victor Gischler and David Baldeón delve into darkness with SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE #1, available October 4!

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The Runaways fight for the future in the second volume by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona.

Before Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka’s RUNAWAYS launches in September, take a look at all of their major adventures as seen on Marvel Unlimited!

After taking on the Wrecking Crew, the gang returned to their hideout under the La Brea Tar Pits Museum only to discover a time traveling Gert appearing out of thin air. She gave warning of an all-powerful foe named Vicot Mancha before dying, thus giving the team a new threat to focus on.

Meanwhile, a group dubbed Excelsior attempted to track down the kids at the request of a mysterious benefactor. Dedicated to offering former teen heroes a chance at a normal life, Turbo, Phil Urich, Chamber, Julie Powers, Richocet and Darkhawk agreed to take on the assignment in exchange for a healthy cash infusion to their organization.

This, of course, did not sit well with our heroes. Everyone wound up smashing into each other at East Angeles High School where Victor attended. The Runaways landed right on the football field to grab their prey, but Excelsior appeared not long after.

In the ensuing super hero brawl, the kids made an escape with Victor in tow. They returned to their base where he continued telling him that his parents consisted of a mom working three jobs and a Marine who died in the line of duty.

Before long – and right in the middle of a less-than-great escape attempt on Victor’s part – the group headed out to save Mancha’s mom Marianella from his real dad, Doctor Doom! Well, that’s what they thought at least. See, Mancha turned out to be a cyborg created by an Ultron who also got his steely hands on a Doombot and used that as a ruse. After revealing his true identity, Ultron killed Victor’s mom.

While taking over Victor’s programming and using his pseudo-son to knock the Runaways around, Ultron gave the young man a tour of their shared past. As the kids lost the advantage in the battle, Karolina literally blew the roof off the place, giving the members of Excelsior a pretty good indicator of where the action was.

As the more experienced heroes jumped into the fray, the proved effective enough to take out the android while Chamber watched the kids in another room. He let them bail out, this time with Victor attending of his own free will, though devastated by the loss of his mother.

LOST & FOUND

At the end of this arc, the members of Excelsior learned that Rick Jones acted as their mysterious benefactor after Captain America let him know about the Runaways. Though Chamber turned out to be an impostor – more on that in the next installment – Jones asked the others to continue working together which lead to an appearance in MARVEL TEAM-UP #15, a name change and a spinoff limited series in 2007 by C.B. Cebulksi and Karl Moline called THE LONERS. Their ranks grew to include Mattie “Spider-Woman” Franklin, the second Red Ronin known as Namie and former Generation X member Penance, then going by Hollow. Eventually, the remaining members signed up for further work in AVENGERS ACADEMY #21.

Next time, Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona and Takeshi Miyazawa introduce the gang to new heroes, enemies and a very important person in Katarina’s life in RUNAWAYS #7-12.

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Writer-artist Chip Zdarsky breaks down the special variant series!

Evoking what was once a standard of comics past, a collection of How-To-Draw variant covers will be available across 20 different issues this October—including BLACK PANTHER #166, CAPTAIN MARVEL #125, ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #11, DAREDEVIL #27, and GWENPOOL #21!

Via the artistic tutelage of Chip Zdarsky (writer of PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, STAR-LORD, and HOWARD THE DUCK), readers will get a step-by-step guide to illustrating their favorite characters. How “expert” that artistic tutelage will be…is less certain.

We sat down with Chip and Editor Nick Lowe to chat about how these covers came to life.

Marvel.com: Nick, when was the first time you ever came across a how-to-draw featurette in a comic—and what did it mean to you? And then how did this project come about?

Nick Lowe: The book How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way was huge for me back in middle school and high school—and still is today. Let’s be honest: John Buscema is one of the most underrated artists in comic history. He could draw anything and you’d hear these amazing stories about him, but you see how he approached the work and it’s just stunning.

We generally do Sketch Variant covers for our big launches and when PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN came around, it hit me that we could do something a little different…especially with someone as truly bizarre as Chip, our writer. So I emailed Chip and before I knew it he sent in the hilarious How-To-Draw Spider-Man cover. [Editor-in-Chief] Axel Alonso saw it and loved it and he had the idea to roll it out into all these variants.

Marvel.com: Chip, what did you think when they approached you about this?

Chip Zdarsky: Well, like Nick says, we were gearing up for issue one of Peter Parker and, you know, launching a Spider-Man book is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I told Nick that I’d love to do one of the variant covers.

Marvel.com: Nick, what made Chip the go-to man for these covers? What are his strengths with this kind of work?

Nick Lowe: He’s a very troubled individual, so I knew I could exploit those troubles here. His strengths certainly aren’t art, that’s for sure, but I guess he’s pretty funny.

Marvel.com: Chip, there’s got to be more to this story. What do you remember about the Spidey editorial team’s reaction to your interest in doing a variant for the book?

Chip Zdarsky:  Never heard back. Which, you know, stung, since they had 80-90 variants for issue one. But, I forgave Nick, ‘cause he’s a really busy guy, spending most of his day telling me “no” to my story ideas. So it probably slipped his mind to tell me “no” for my variant.

Then, just before they were sending the covers to the printer, Nick contacted me. He said they were doing one of the blank sketch variants, but that I could maybe write a fun little thing on the back cover before they sent it to the printer. Was it out of pity for me? Probably. Would I exploit that pity? Yeah. Yeah, I would.

So I sent him a How-To-Draw guide for Spidey instead. It seemed to fit in with the theme of the blank covers. Nick loved it and told me I’m his favorite person at Marvel; more than Mark Waid, Dan Slott, his assistant editors Alison and Devin, etc., which was really nice to hear.

So, the Spider-Man cover came out, and people seemed to like it! I figured at that point Marvel would greenlight a How-To-Draw movie and I’d be set for life. But instead, I got a text message from Axel Alonso, Editor-in-Chief—I call those Axts—telling me that I was now drawing twenty of those covers.

Marvel.com: Nick, do you have a favorite cover?

Nick Lowe:  I love the Lockjaw one a lot. I love the DAREDEVIL one, too. But they’re all so great.

Marvel.com: Chip, do you have a personal favorite?

Chip Zdarsky: I’m pretty happy with the DAREDEVIL one, which has made its way online already. But so far my favorite is the PUNISHER one, ’cause it’s really tricky to capture the soul of a killing machine. But I think I succeeded.

Marvel.com: How long did a typical cover take you to create from beginning to end?

Chip Zdarsky: In a lot of ways, my entire life has been leading to this job, so I would say each one takes a lifetime. Or, like, half an hour. Depending on how you look at it.

Marvel.com: Nick, any chance that something like this could be expanded upon in the future?

Nick Lowe: I sure hope so! I think they’re so fun and I can’t wait for a generation of burgeoning artists to be led down the wrong path! These are the complete inversion of my beloved How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way!

Marvel.com: We’ll give the last words on these variants to the writer-artist—Chip, given a hypothetical chance to do more of these, which other characters would you love to do?

Chip Zdarsky: [Redacted], I guess.

Marvel.com: *sigh*

Keep an eye out for Chip Zdarsky’s How-To-Draw variant covers in stores this October!

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The Silver Surfer artist recalls his unique first encounter with ‘The King’!

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.

Few find childhood accidents funny—least of all parents—but sometimes they can change a kid’s life for the better. Thanks to some youthful shenanigans, Mike Allred—the creator of Madman and artist on SILVER SURFER—discovered the joys of Kirby and hasn’t looked back since.

Thanks to runs on books like FF, the aforementioned SILVER SURFER, and other project, Allred’s been able to dive into some of the characters Kirby developed with his own hands. Now, we talk with the creator about that boyhood introduction, mutants, and more!

Marvel.com: What was your initial relationship with Kirby’s work like? Was he the King to you right away or did it take some time to get into his style?

Mike Allred: One of my earliest memories was my big brother, Lee, shaking a table I had climbed up on and then waking up in the hospital with a concussion. And I was blanketed with comic books. Great medicine!

Lee was my first sensei with the ways of comics, and through him I learned who wrote and drew them. It became obvious that a man named Jack Kirby made more of my favorite comics than any other single artist. And what he and Stan Lee did with FANTASTIC FOUR made that my all-time favorite comic.

Marvel.com: As a young artist, were you looking to his work for inspiration?

Mike Allred: Always.

Marvel.com: Were there any tricks or ideas you figured out by looking at his work?

Mike Allred: I’ve always been conscious of the importance of developing my own unique style, but it’s almost impossible to keep out the Jack Kirby DNA which runs through there. I’d have to say the “Kirby Krackle” defining energy is something I always love tapping into. Beyond that, there’s endless inspiration from studying his layouts, expressiveness and overall power of his work.

Marvel.com: Jack actually did a Madman pin-up back in the 90s. How did that come about?

Mike Allred: Simple networking. I started collecting artist interpretations of Madman and pals back in 1992 when [wife] Laura and I were going to virtually every Comic Con. We were blessed to meet Jack and [his wife] Roz Kirby a couple times, and then Greg Theakston, a good friend and frequent collaborator of the Kirbys, stepped up to ink the piece.

Silver Surfer by Jack Kirby

Marvel.com: I think some people forget that Kirby drew the first 10 issues of UNCANNY X-MEN. Did you look back at those while working on X-FORCE and X-STATIX?

Mike Allred: I cycle back through everything he did constantly. So I’m sure I was revisiting Kirby’s X-Men comics during our “X” runs.

Marvel.com: You worked on another book with lineage back to Kirby in FF. How was it playing with those characters on that series and getting more into his sandbox?

Mike Allred: Thrilling as can be! The super terrific Matt Fraction designed that run as a kind of “Fantastic Four’s Greatest Hits” package and then Lee [Allred] stepped up with that spirit to write the epic conclusion.

Marvel.com: When it came to working on SILVER SURFER with Dan Slott, did you use those original Kirby stories for inspiration?

Mike Allred: Constantly. I’ve always referred to “The Galactus Trilogy” as my all-time favorite comic book story. I buy it again every time there’s a new edition of it, whether in a new collection or the Marvel Treasury Edition.

Marvel.com: Were there certain elements Dan incorporated that surprised you?

Mike Allred: Everything Dan writes surprises me. He has wrote this amazing tale with a brilliant “long game” strategy that is loaded with little rewards that culminate in one of the most satisfying conclusions I’ve ever experienced. A lifelong dream come true for me. Pure comic book bliss!

Marvel.com: After spending these years with Norrin Radd, do you feel like you understand Jack Kirby as an artist in a different way than you did before?

Mike Allred: Progressively, in little measures. But ultimately what really made Jack Kirby tick and the miracle of his achievements will always be one of the great mysteries. So grateful to have his influence in the overall foundation of the comic book biz, and a never-ending source of inspiration.

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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