Revel in artwork from some of the brightest artists!

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Marvel is excited to show off 10 never-before-seen covers for upcoming issues of some of your favorite stories – brought to you by some of the brightest female artists in the industry!

Feast your eyes on the below covers and find them on these select titles at your local comic shop starting this April!

  1. Black Panther #1 by YASMINE PUTRI

    Black Panther #1 by YASMINE PUTRI

  2. Doctor Aphra #21 by ASHLEY WITTER

    Doctor Aphra #21 by ASHLEY WITTER

  3. Hunt For Wolverine #1 by ELIZABETH TORQUE

    Hunt For Wolverine #1 by ELIZABETH TORQUE

  4. Life of Captain Marvel #1 by SANA TAKEDA

    Life of Captain Marvel #1 by SANA TAKEDA

  5. Marvel Rising #1 by GURIHIRU

    Marvel Rising #1 by GURIHIRU

  6. Marvel Rising #1 by GURIHIRU

    Marvel Rising #1 by GURIHIRU

  7. Marvel Rising Connecting Cover by RIAN GONZALES

    Marvel Rising Connecting Cover by RIAN GONZALES

  8. Moon Knight #196 by BECKY CLOONAN

    Moon Knight #196 by BECKY CLOONAN

  9. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #33 by ERICA HENDERSON

    The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #33 by ERICA HENDERSON

  10. Tales of Suspense #104 by YASMINE PUTRI

    Tales of Suspense #104 by YASMINE PUTRI

Interested in other ways to celebrate Marvel Women, watch the video below and take a look at this post.

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Kieron Gillen continues the epic crossover featuring Doctor Aphra!

This month, writers Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen find themselves about halfway through their second intergalactic narrative crossing over STAR WARS and DOCTOR APHRA, and fans find themselves in the midst of a dinner party gone horribly wrong with the Queen of the Screaming Citadel deprived of her main course: Luke Skywalker! Not surprisingly, we see Doctor Aphra in the middle of it all as she and Luke attempt to escape the wrath of the planet’s monarch all the while seeking to unlock the mysteries of the Jedi crystal.

As we round the bend towards the mid-point of this event, we sat down with co-writer Kieron Gillen, to discuss what we’ve seen so far and what we can expect around the next corner. When we first spoke about “The Screaming Citadel,” we discussed the similarities to other pulpy horror adventures like “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Given where things left off with the second issue of the story, I’d say that comparison was a pretty good one given the scene at the breakfast table…

Kieron Gillen: Of course, the other comparison would be that Sana and Aphra clearly had some “Bad Dates.” Do you have any other similar surprises in store for readers?

Kieron Gillen: Nope. Nothing happens in the remaining three issues. I’m not sure what we were thinking. We’ve decided to move into a weirder slice of life direction, where Han and Leia sit down with 000 and BeeTee and experiment with crochet. We also discovered that Aphra intended to feed Luke to the Queen. How do you bounce back from that sort of discovery if you’re Luke?

Kieron Gillen: Luke and Aphra’s relationship certainly ricochets around across the story. You have to suspect that the latest experience does put a general downer on it. Luke has tended to idealize Aphra. It’s hard to hang onto that when someone’s tried to feed you to an alien queen.

This is all written from experience. I had a friend who tried to feed me to an alien queen. Our relationship was never the same, but we’re at least polite in public now. On the other hand, how do you suppose Aphra convinces the Queen to unlock the secrets of crystal now that she’s blown her dining room?

Kieron Gillen: With great difficulty.

That said, it’s a big house. The Queen’s probably got a lot of dining rooms. And we’ve seen in the first issue she prefers to eat while standing on a balcony. Kind of Al Fresco.

Doctor Aphra #8 cover by Marco Checchetto Of course, we also have the secondary story you’re developing in the background with Han, Leia, and Sana who are trying to catch up to Luke and Aphra. Why is it that Sana is so reluctant to fill Han in on her past with Aphra?

Kieron Gillen: Because it’s deeply embarrassing, for one. Maybe that’s the main one; Sana and Han have a complicated relationship, and letting Han know the details would make her never live it down.

Of course, Sana is the person who told Aphra where they were. If she hadn’t done that, Aphra would have never been able to convince Luke to go with her. The more that Han knows, the more likely they’ll piece it together. Once the two groups reunite, we’re going to see Sana and Aphra come back together again. While Sana seems to be finding a place for herself in the Rebellion, Aphra doesn’t appear to be slowing down any. Do we get any idea of what happens next for them as the series continues?

Kieron Gillen: Oh, it’s certainly a heart-warming moment when they meet up. Possibly literally, in terms of having a blaster bolt setting Aphra’s heart on fire. Now, let’s pretend there’s a “happy ending” for this Star Wars horror story and Luke gets to learn a little more about being a Jedi after the secrets of the crystal are unlocked. But up to this point, Aphra hasn’t tipped her hand yet. What does she get out of all of this?

Kieron Gillen: The most messed up thing in all of this is Aphra’s been relatively clean on her aims. She wants to reactivate the Rur crystal. Where she hasn’t been honest is her main motivation, which is to sell it for enormous amounts of cash. Last question: What’s the deal with the Wookie allergies on this planet?

Kieron Gillen: It’s less of an allergy, and more of an intolerance. More next issue, shall we say?

“The Screaming Citadel” winds its way into DOCTOR APHRA #7 on May 31, then on to STAR WARS #32 on June 14, and finally back to DOCTOR APHRA #8 on June 28!

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Can Luke Skywalker count on Doctor Aphra? Kieron Gillen weighs in!

By Brittany Vincent

During the upcoming crossover event Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel, Luke Skywalker and none other than Doctor Chelli Loni Aphra herself form a reluctant partnership that can’t be missed. With Aphra holding onto information integral to Luke’s quest to become a Jedi Knight, the push for a symbiotic relationship between the two seems like a no-brainer; but what reason does the heroic Skywalker have to trust this wily con artist?

We spoke to DOCTOR APHRA and STAR WARS: THE SCREAMING CITADEL writer Kieron Gillen to get his opinion on why Luke and company should and shouldn’t trust Darth Vader’s former partner-in-crime. Get his insights on Aphra below!

Kieron Gillen: [Aphra] has come to [Luke] and has offered something he wants. It’s one of those situations of mutual self-interest. The intersection between Luke’s relative naiveté are good angles, like Luke’s desire to be a Jedi Knight. That’s what pushes them to go together. No one else—not Leia, not Han, or especially Sana would fall for that crap. There’s a reason that the two go off together, and when everyone else finds out, they kind of hit the roof.

In this case, Aphra needs Luke because Aphra has realized Luke is Force-sensitive, and Luke has realized he’s not going to be a Jedi Knight. He needs someone to train him. Aphra on her last adventure has stolen an ancient crystal that contains the secrets of the Jedi Knights. It’s like, “You can stay the stupid farm boy Luke Skywalker or you could come with me and be a Jedi Knight.” That’s the motivation.

Of course, Aphra is lying. Anyone who knows about the Kyber Crystal know it is completely homicidal, so turning it on wouldn’t necessarily be a great idea either. For those who haven’t read the first arc of DOCTOR APHRA, my idea was basically that Indiana Jones thing that Aphra always does—not always, but one of the modes we use for Aphra. The ending is the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Instead of safely putting the Ark of the Covenant into better hands, Aphra steals the Ark of the Covenant. Now she wants to sell it. Imagine if Indiana Jones decided to steal and sell the Ark of the Covenant. That’s where Aphra’s arc is coming from. What could possibly go wrong?

Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel #1 cover by Marco Checchetto

Why Luke (and Company) Shouldn’t Trust Doctor Aphra

They’ve Met Her

Kieron Gillen: It’s Doctor Aphra, what’s wrong with you? That’s where The Screaming Citadel starts. It’s like, “What possible reason could Luke have to go along with her?” There isn’t any. If you’ve met Aphra, it’s just really a bad idea to be around her.

She’s Darth Vader’s Ex-Comrade

Kieron Gillen: She used to be best mates with Darth Vader. She has all the clues. She could try to put together what Darth Vader really wanted, but she’s gone a completely different way.

Previous Meetings Prove It’s A Bad Idea

Kieron Gillen: Even if [Luke and crew] had just met Doctor Aphra and got on with her, she can’t be trusted because last time Luke and crew met her, her robot [Triple Zero] painted itself gold and fired at Luke, and the other fired rocket launchers everywhere. There’s no reason from their past experiences that they should.

She Used To Date Sana Starros

Kieron Gillen: I mean, Sana used to date her. Sana really should know better.

Star Wars #31 cover by Marco Checchetto

Why Luke (and Company) Should Trust Doctor Aphra

Friends Can Be Rough Around the Edges

Kieron Gillen: Luke has learned that people who are rough aren’t necessarily bad. Luke never trusted Han Solo to begin with. He’s learned that roguish people aren’t necessarily bad people. Luke’s entire experience with Han has taught them that people can be good.

Luke and Aphra Are More Similar Than They Realize

Kieron Gillen: Luke is nothing if not idealistic. That’s kind of the joy of it. Despite all the tragedy he’s gone through, he has this chirpy energy. That’s the opposite of Aphra. Aphra and Luke have both lost the people who raised them. But they went in very different ways.

For me, that’s the heart of this book. That’s the heart of the relationship between Aphra and Luke, in that they’re two people with similar life stories, and one went one way and the other one went the other. Aphra’s considerably more experienced and very worldly, and Luke is less so.

Aphra Seems Pretty Knowledgeable

Kieron Gillen: She lies about stuff, but is knowledgeable without a doubt. The story takes them to the planet where the eponymous Citadel is. This queen has a consultancy and asks for interesting things to come. She looks at them and exchanges them for favors. Luke is an interesting thing. That’s kind of the basic setup. Aphra is much more knowledgeable in certain areas than most of the cast of STAR WARS. That’s a good reason to listen, of course aside from Aphra.

They Both Need Each Other Right Now

Kieron Gillen: It’s a deal; he gets something, she gets something. That just makes sense.

The epic action gets underway on May 10 in STAR WARS: THE SCREAMING CITADEL #1 by Kieron Gillen and Marco Checchetto!

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Kieron Gillen prepares his portion of the next Star Wars mega event!

In less than two weeks, Kieron Gillen and Kev Walker bring readers back up to lightspeed with issue #6 of DOCTOR APHRA on April 12, as the rogue archeologist and her father stumble upon the remains of not just a sacred Jedi site, but also the current resident—who does not seem pleased to be disturbed.

But before this story hits, we spoke with Gillen about where he’s taken the father-daughter duo so far and where they may go next! We left off with Aphra having lost her academic standing as a result of her father, and now, she looks to regain it. Why is this conventional title important to a character whose professional life is anything but traditional?

Kieron Gillen: Aphra does have a fig leaf to hide behind here—in that she sells artifacts through various official systems, and if she’s not a Doctor, she can’t access them. But that does beg a question why do that rather than one of millions of other jobs. One some level, Aphra is a creature of momentum, spending her life basically running away from a rolling rock that’s about to crush her—which she probably set in motion herself. Perhaps she just hasn’t thought about any other option. Or maybe it’s something else, considerably deeper. That sort of thing lies in the heart of the character. You’ve also set up a rather interesting pairing in this first arc: A more traditional academic father with a more swashbuckling, rule-breaking adult-child who is—more or less—working in the same field of interest. This borrows a bit from the other side of LucasFilm with Indiana Jones, no? I believe we even heard a trace of this in issue #2 with Aphra’s father referring to her as “Junior” once?

Kieron Gillen: There’s a playfulness to APHRA in terms of the references. I’ve got a one sentence description of the first year of APHRA, which I certainly do phrase in familiar terms—though not the one anyone is thinking about—but the relationship between Aphra Junior and Senior was as much trying to make its own specific thing than just a riff. The level which Aphra Senior is a spiritualist is key, for example. Jones Sr. is primarily an academic with serious interest into the spiritual side, while Aphra Sr. is primarily a spiritualist with the academic aspects secondary. And Aphra Sr.’s education is far less traditional, in terms of the monomania. Put it like this: there’s two Doctor Jones and only one Doctor Aphra. And, of course, how it all integrates into the Star Wars mythos certainly changes things up, especially the somewhat torrid background between the characters.

Some of it is a delicious parallel evolution. For DOCTOR APHRA, when planning the arc, I wanted to show how Aphra came to be, and what she was reacting against. We’d talked about her mother during DARTH VADER, but I wanted to dig into that more; which means bringing in the father. And I laugh, as I see exactly what dynamic we’re flirting with. Interestingly, it seems Aphra demonstrates more empathy in issue #3 to her fellow man than her father, who appears so caught up in his work that he fails to note the existence—and destruction—of the Death Star, and only mourns the destruction or potential loss of historical sites.

Are we seeing Aphra inch closer to the light?

Kieron Gillen: If Aphra inches closer to the light you have to presume she’s about to set off some light-activated trap.

Seriously? Yeah, you can certainly take it like that. Or you could take it as Aphra scoring points with her father for her analyzing his moral hypocrisies. Or somewhere between the two; Aphra is highly capable of being petty, but she isn’t someone who actively thinks people should die. Ideally no-one would have to die. In practice, for Aphra, it’s just not that easy.

I’ll say this: there’s so much more in here in The Screaming Citadel [crossover event]. Getting Aphra and Luke on an adventure together and letting them talk really illuminates these different priorities in a fun way. Assuming she were taking a turn for the better, how might her robotic companions respond to this behavior?

Kieron Gillen: A good question. Way back in the solo story in DARTH VADER, Triple-Zero did say “Heaven Help Us If I Get Bored.” Good he wouldn’t care about. Bored? That is the one thing the droids won’t bear. Now, we’ve spoken a bit about some external influences on this story, but I’m curious about why this particular story—the one where we meet Aphra’s father—was the one you wanted to explore for her first solo series?

Kieron Gillen: It’s a book about archeology in the Star Wars universe, but for the reader, it’s marrying the two-fisted archeology the characters are doing with the emotional unearthing of Aphra. One of my big reasons for doing the book was to delineate Aphra in a more complete fashion. This is who she is, this is why she is, and so on. Starting with family made a lot of sense. For a character who exists and behaves outside of the norm, so to speak, does she get a traditional “happy ending” with her father? Or do you expect things to go awry by the end of this arc?

Kieron Gillen: In short, Heh. In less short, Heheheheheheh.

I would say by the end of the story you know exactly who Aphra is. We are preparing to see Aphra and her father ship off to uncharted space in search of the Aspectu Ordu. Might this be a possible set up for the upcoming crossover you and Jason Aaron have planned in The Screaming Citadel?

Kieron Gillen: The Screaming Citadel grows from both our books. The big events we always want to stay self-contained so newcomers can jump on, but it’s integrated entirely into the plot of DOCTOR APHRA. For readers of DOCTOR APHRA, consider it volume two. So, there’s certainly elements of our story which flow directly into it in a natural way.

Yes, I am an oblique tease.

DOCTOR APHRA speeds ever closer to The Screaming Citadel with issue #6 by Kieron Gillen and Kev Walker, available April 12!

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