Mark Waid tells a new story with original artwork from Jack Kirby!

The main story in CAPTAIN AMERICA #700, by storytellers Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, colorist Matthew Wilson, and letterer Joe Caramagna, serves as a powerful culmination of this creative team’s run alongside the Sentinel of Liberty. But these all-star artists aren’t the only ones getting in on the landmark issue action! The Cap’s co-creator, Jack “King” Kirby himself, contributes to the action as well in a special bonus story written by Waid with colors by Wilson!

In the back of issue #700, Mark Waid took on the mammoth task of repurposing original Jack Kirby and Frank Giacoia art from TALES OF SUSPENSE with a brand-new Steve Rogers story. To get the all the details, we caught up with the writer to ask how he went about creating this cross-generational collaboration.

Marvel.com: How did you come up with the idea for this one-of-a-kind story?

Mark Waid: I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a long, long time. In the earliest days of the MARVEL ESSENTIALS black-and-white volumes, I came to realize just how many Silver Age and Bronze Age comics artists produced consistent and reliable work in an old-fashioned six-panel grid. To be honest, there weren’t that many who did huge, long, hundreds-of-pages uninterrupted runs in the 1960s and 1970s—John Buscema, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Gene Colan, a few others. But I’d always wondered what it would be like to redialogue their material to create new stories—especially if I could pick-and-choose specific panels to build brand-new pages.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us what your process was like?

Mark Waid: Way more complicated than you’d think.

STEP ONE: I had to pick a character, but that was a gimme seeing as how this was going to be for CAPTAIN AMERICA #700.

STEP TWO: Before I even began choosing the artwork, I had to settle on one and only one penciller/inker team for visual consistency. This immediately winnowed down the number of available Captain America pages pretty substantially—inkers like Syd Shores and Dick Ayers were fine craftsmen, but their work was either too sparse (comparatively) or too centered on very specific scenes (say, World War II battle scenes) that would be difficult to weave into a modern narrative. In the end, based on the volume of collaboration as much as anything, I opted to pull from the Jack Kirby and Frank Giacoia stories from TALES OF SUSPENSE.

STEP THREE: I had to narrow the available Kirby/Giacoia artwork down even further, in search of panels that had word balloons and captions that didn’t hide important background art and thus wouldn’t require much if any retouching by the production department. I didn’t want to simply “white out” existing balloons and replace that dialogue—that would mean having not only to write dialogue but then to fit it within specific spaces on the page, with almost no margin for error. What I’d already set out to do would be hard enough. Moreover, I needed panels that would fit into a Silver Age-style six-panel grid—panels of wildly differing sizes would be impossible to jigsaw-puzzle together.

STEP FOUR: I had to look over all the existing pages and, while making detailed notes, get a sense of what kind of story might be told with the artwork at hand. There were a lot of pages of Cap simply fighting modern-day villains in the streets and buildings of New York City. Suppose Cap were racing across Manhattan, facing some sort of gantlet put before him by the Red Skull? If so, why? There were some panels I could use of scientists in a lab. Perhaps Cap was struggling to get something to them? How would the menaces he’d face connect to be part of a cohesive story?

STEP FIVE: All of this left me with roughly 150 pages of artwork from which I could choose panels. I’m pretty versatile in Photoshop and could have begun cutting and pasting on the computer—but at this stage, it was just easier and faster to stay old-school. I printed every page out with my inkjet printer, got out scissors, X-Acto knives, and a cutting mat and built a deck of panels to play with, moving them around constantly in search of building some continuity.

STEP SIX: A rough narrative began to take shape. Here’s a good sequence with Cap fighting the Super-Adaptoid, but I can’t imagine a way to put that villain in the middle of a story and not see him defeated; out it goes. Here’s a run of panels showing Cap fighting a soldier with a raygun back in World War II—is there anything specific in the artwork that locked it into the 1940s? No? Can those panels be incorporated and juggled?

STEP SEVEN: The selection of potential panels grows smaller. Repetitive action poses? Out. Random gunmen just appearing and then disappearing? Out. But I’m finally zooming in on around 50 panels that could tell a story about Cap racing across New York to get to an injured S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in a lab. Hey, look! Here’s the only usable panel that might show such an agent. It’s from much later in the Captain America run, meaning the linework was a little bolder but not uncomfortably so, that’ll fit nicely. Huh—I have a dozen Red Skull panels here—which two or three would make him a presence in the story without having to have him confront Cap directly?

STEP EIGHT: The rough-draft paste-up was done with scissors and tape to arrange the panels into a Silver Age-style grid. I scanned the pages for the Marvel production offices to use as a guide, providing them also with identification as to where each and every panel came from, specifically.

STEP NINE: Production’s ten dialogue-and-caption-free pages come back for dialoguing, and I finally get to work with The King.

Overall, the project took about three days—one to go over the material, one to think up a story, and one to do the actual physical production. It was much more difficult to do than I’d dreamed—but with the right artist (Steve Ditko? Jim Aparo?), it might be fun to take another swing at it down the road.

Read the full story in CAPTAIN AMERICA #700, by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee—out today!

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The artist gives us a preview of CAPTAIN AMERICA #698 before its release on February 14.

Sit back, relax, and gaze in wonder at an exclusive look at Chris Samnee’s art for CAPTAIN AMERICA #698, out February 14 in the gallery below! The issue marks the kickoff of Samnee and writer Mark Waid’s big “Out of Time” storyline and the lead-up to the blockbuster CAPTAIN AMERICA #700!

Cap’s in a strange new future, and Samnee’s having a ball imagining it! Here’s what the artist told us about his work in the upcoming issue.

Marvel.com: Chris, we’ve procured three pages from CAPTAIN AMERICA #698, so let’s jump around for a look-see at them. Seems like Cap’s pretty mad on page 7; what are your thoughts about drawing Steve when he’s this angry?

Chris Samnee: I think Steve is a ball of emotions just like the rest of us, but outwardly he looks calm, cool and collected. He has a resting chill face. But, as in any scene, I try to put myself in each character’s respective shoes and do my best to make these lines on paper appear to emote.

Marvel.com: Hey, we’d never want to get him mad at us. What were your inspirations for designs of the tank and the soldiers on page 6?

Chris Samnee: I wish I had a better answer for this but honestly, for both the ground troops and tanks, I was just winging it. Everything was designed on the page as I went. Spangly plus “Escape from New York” and go…

Marvel.com: Okay, okay, but listen; you’ve got to tell us something about the little dog guy on page 3!

Chris Samnee: Mark said to fill in the group with whatever I felt like drawing, but none of the characters—with the exception of Liang—actually had names in the script. In the first draft of page 2 Mark named three of the crew that didn’t make it: Dog, Amber and Tyrus. So I used those three names as my jump off point characters and asked Mark if he wouldn’t mind coming up with different names for the casualties.

Amber has near bulletproof translucent amber colored skin, Tyrus is the blue/purple older fella with the white hair and Dog is well, a dog. Everyone is affected by the radiation in their own way and this random stray dog mutated into a walking, talking anthropomorphized Good Boy. I just thought it would be something fun to keep me entertained in the middle of drawing all of this post-apocalyptic looking stuff.

Captain America (2017) #698

Captain America (2017) #698

Marvel.com: We see a lot of different, well, mutations in figures on page 3. What went into their designs? Did you have a free hand in coming up with those, too? 

Chris Samnee: Same as above. Random radiation disfigurements and mutations. Nothing specific spelled out by Mark in the script. I just let my mind wander and came up with this motley crew as I was inking.

Marvel.com: And lastly, the sound effect at the bottom of page 7—what’s your philosophy on their use? Does Mark always dictate those, or is that within your artistic purview? When to use them and when not?

Chris Samnee: Oh, I’m a big proponent of artists drawing sound effects into their pages. It just makes the art work better as a whole. I’ll sometimes add little ones here and there if I think the page needs it but for the most part, as is the case here, Mark wrote out the onomatopoeia in the script.

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As Kraven the Hunter sets his sites on Captain America, we paint a target on his first appearance!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are not taking it easy on Steve Rogers. As the Home of the Brave story launched its third part in CAPTAIN AMERICA #697, the shield-slinger found himself in the crosshairs of the most dangerous hunter in the Marvel Universe, Sergei Kravinoff.

He debuted way back in 1964’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 simply as Kraven, the Hunter on that issue’s cover. The story itself, by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, began with Spider-Man rousting a bunch of mobsters. One of them escaped his flytrap and turned out to be none other than the Chameleon! 

The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #15

The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #15

  • Published: August 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
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To keep Spidey out of his business, Chameleon contacted his old friend — and eventually revealed as his second cousin — Kraven the Hunter! A known celebrity, his presence in New York City caused enough of a stir that J. Jonah Jameson covered the story himself and asked for Peter Parker to shoot the event.

After showing his prowess with animals by subduing escaped snakes and gorillas, Kraven flat-out told JJJ that he arrived in the Big Apple for one purpose: to hunt Spider-Man.

From there, the Hunter secretly met up with the Chameleon. While there, he explained how he’d gotten his advanced powers: “I possess undreamed-of strength and speed, which I obtained by drinking a secret potion, stolen from the witch-doctor of a hidden African tribe!”

Kraven shifted from reading about Spider-Man to watching him in the act as he took on a group of thugs hired for this exact purpose by Chameleon. Immediately after, the two came to their first round of blows with the Hunter displaying a far superior fighting style. Kraven won the fight by using a potion on the wall-crawler and then letting him escape to enhance this game of cat and mouse.

The next day, Peter felt better but still had the shakes from Kraven’s poison. Later on, Spidey put a tracer on his new enemy, but wound up following him right into Central Park. Or so he thought!

He actually tracked Chameleon dressed as Kraven while the real Hunter skulked behind them. The wall-crawler got snared in a net trap, but used his strength to break free. He had more trouble with the wrist and leg cuffs that developed a powerful magnetic attraction to each other. Even shackled like that, Spidey managed to knock Chameleon out, dodge a variety of other attacks, and ultimately, entrap Sergei in a huge web. At the end of the issue, our hero watched as the two villains got on a boat for deportation setting the seeds for his newfound hatred of the super human community.

FLASH FORWARD

Kraven’s most well-known for going up against our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but this attempt on Captain America’s life is not the first time he’s branched out. Heck, it’s not even the only time he’s appeared in the same issue as Cap! In fact, in his second appearance ever — TALES OF SUSPENSE #58 — Kraven teamed up with Chameleon again and stumbled right into Iron Man who took the Hunter out. Kraven didn’t partake in the title battle between Iron Man and Captain America, though. Instead Chameleon played with Iron Man’s mind so that he would attack the Sentinel of Liberty while under the impression that the identity-stealing villain had taken over the real Cap’s body.

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Mark Waid sends Steve Rogers a Kraven foe!

It’s been difficult for Steve Rogers to make himself at home in America in the aftermath of Secret Empire; even though he dealt with his evil Hydra counterpart and saved the day in heroic fashion, he still has some convincing to do.

And in part three of the “Home of the Brave” storyline, Steve’s journey across the United States continues—though his road trip hits another hurdle as Kraven the Hunter puts the red, white, and blue between his cross-hairs. On January 3, writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee look to ensnare the Sentinel of Liberty in CAPTAIN AMERICA #697!

We spoke with Waid about Rogers’ trials in the heart of America.

Marvel.com: What’s been going on in the “Home of the Brave” arc so far?

Mark Waid: Cap’s been roaming the country looking to reconnect with people. Unfortunately, Kraven’s taking him on a wild detour!

Marvel.com: How has Cap been managing to reclaim his good reputation?

Mark Waid: It’s not the easiest road for him, but given that our story takes place many months after Secret Empire, most people are glad to see Steve Rogers…most people. Not everyone.

Marvel.com: Describe the dynamic you see between Cap and Kraven.

Mark Waid: As you can imagine, Cap has nothing but disdain for someone like Kraven who pretends to have a sense of honor and yet demonstrates anything but. Kraven wants to make Cap his prey, but, as Cap points out, to be prey you have to be afraid of the hunter.

Marvel.com: What ended up being the most challenging element of writing this issue?

Mark Waid: Doing heavy research into genuine jungle traps that real commandos use!

Marvel.com: What proved to be your favorite part to write?

Mark Waid: The opening scene with Steve Rogers at a pool table—it’s a bit I’ve been wanting to use for 20 years.

The hunt begins in CAPTAIN AMERICA #697, by Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee, on January 3!

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A brand new Swordsman aims to make Cap’s life miserable

Captain America just wants to travel across America and right the small injustices that he has often missed. A simple wish, a noble one. And one the brand new Swordsman has no intention of letting Cap achieve without a fight.

Mark Waid took a moment from learning blacksmithing to tell us about the new villain, give credit to his collaborator Chris Samnee, and continue to promote the rehabilitation of Steve Rogers.

Marvel.com: To start from a broad perspective, as a writer what about creating a new Swordsman appealed to you? What kind of challenges did the character present in terms of being revamped and reintroduced?

Mark Waid: To be honest, it was Chris Samnee’s suggestion. The challenge was to introduce and motivate him quickly to make room for a dynamic sword vs. shield battle!

Marvel.com: As much as you can, without spoiling things, what does this new Swordsman have in common and how does he differ from his predecessors who used that name?

Mark Waid: He looks very much the same—I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some relation to the original Swordsman—but this one’s different in that he’s basically an extortionist. That, and he may or may not be being played by someone else.

Marvel.com: As an antagonist, how does he fit in with the overall theme of this opening arc of Steve reconnecting with himself and rediscovering Captain America?

Mark Waid: Cap has to fight Swordsman to save an entire small town from destruction. As is the ongoing theme of this book, this is about Steve Rogers connecting with and saving ordinary people in the heartland, the kinds of people he doesn’t often encounter in New York or Washington.

Marvel.com: Given your history, it is clear you and Chris Samnee make an excellent team. On creating the new Swordsman, how did that collaboration work? How much did Chris help you determine things like the character’s personality, motives, and such, and how did you help him to craft the character’s look?

Mark Waid: Straight up, this is 90% Chris. I’m terrible at design, so I always leave that to my collaborators—but giving the Swordsman a unique voice was my challenge to face.

Marvel.com: To stay with art for a moment, Matthew Wilson’s coloring, in collaboration with Chris’s art, favors something sunnier and more open than with previous team ups for Daredevil and Black Widow. How does that help you to realize the themes of the arc? How does it inspire your conception of the action, set pieces, and so on of each issue?

Mark Waid: Cap doesn’t live in a dark, foreboding world–or if he runs across it, he provides a light. That’s it in a nutshell.

Marvel.com: What makes this issue a great point to jump on to the book?

Mark Waid: It’s a clean done-in-one story that hits home the ideals for which Captain America stands and what his physical limits are. If you like Steve Rogers on the screen, you’ll love him on the printed page.

Read CAPTAIN AMERICA #695, by Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee, now, and don’t miss part 2 with CAPTAIN AMERICA #696 on December 6!

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Mark Waid introduces Cap to Marvel Legacy!

On November 1, a new era begins for the Sentinel of Liberty with CAPTAIN AMERICA #695!

Marvel Legacy rises as writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee reunite in an attempt to restore Steve Rogers’ reputation—though it won’t be an easy task, as they’ve got to shine a shield tarnished by the events of Secret Empire. Back in the action wearing the famous red-white-and-blue, Captain America faces one of his toughest journeys yet—reconstructing his legacy.

How will he tackle the challenge? We caught up with Mark Waid to find out.

Marvel.com: What made CAPTAIN AMERICA the best fit for you—and for a reunited Waid-Samnee team—at this moment in time?

Mark Waid: It’s the best fit for me not only because I love Steve Rogers, but also because I’m smart enough to hang onto Chris Samnee’s coattails whenever possible. We make a good team, and it’s terrific to finally see Chris cut loose on a top-tier Marvel hero.

Marvel.com: How daunting of a task will it be to tell Cap’s story in the wake of Secret Empire? What do you see as the biggest challenge of such an undertaking?

Mark Waid: The biggest challenge will be, of course, restoring his reputation post-Secret Empire—but rather than be too bound to a timeline, our fans have made it clear that they want classic Cap, so we’ll be looking forward more than in the rear-view mirror.

Beyond that, it’s important to Team Cap that we make one thing abundantly clear: while we’re having a blast and giving you a very classic Steve Rogers, Chris and I have been working on these first few issues since March—way in advance of the more volatile political events of the summer. Because of our lead time, he won’t get around to punching Nazis on page one. But it’s coming.

Marvel.com: What does Steve currently see as his biggest hurdle to restoring his rep?

Mark Waid: To “find America,” as it were; to reconnect with a heartland he’s never really spent much time in. Steve claims to represent America and yet spends almost all his time in New York. He wants to change that.

Marvel.com: Do Americans still support him? Do they resent him?

Mark Waid: We’ve built at least a six-month delay from the end of Secret Empire into our first issue, so while there will be dark and shady looks glared his way—and there will be those who don’t trust him—not every issue finds Cap pleading for understanding. In fact, our first issue kind of overcompensates. You’ll see what we mean.

Marvel.com: What about the bad guys? How do they feel about Cap now?

Mark Waid: They feel that maybe they have a better shot at him, not only because he has no Avengers back-up, but because he’s still a little off his pins after Secret Empire.

Marvel.com: What do you foresee as the upcoming adversity for Cap? New threats? Classic threats refreshed? A combination?

Mark Waid: All the above. Kraven couldn’t have been a more perfect call—they’ve never duked it out—and wait until you see the weird, Kirby-by-way-of-Samnee villain showing up in issue #698…

Marvel.com: Can’t wait! One final question to wrap this up: when you first saw a piece of Chris’s artwork for this book, what went through your mind?

Mark Waid: That I should never complain about anything in life ever again.

Start a new chapter with CAPTAIN AMERICA #695, by Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee, on November 1!

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