TWIM welcomes Skottie Young, Kelly Thompson, and Donny Cates!

This week was a big week at Marvel, and Ryan and Jamie are bringing you the best of it! In our very own New York City office, Marvel hosted a writers’ retreat where your favorite comics writers came up with the next phase of Marvel’s super-powered characters. While the writers were here, we had the chance to talk to a few of them including Kelly Thompson, who just announced her new WEST COAST AVENGERS run, and Donny Cates, who is starting VENOM #1! Ryan also has a chat with Skottie Young about his upcoming DEADPOOL #1!

Come for the writers, stay for the Picks of the Week, more Deadpool talk, and even more! Listen to the whole episode below!

Subscribe to This Week in Marvel on Apple Podcasts or download the episode from Marvel.com/podcasts!

With new episodes every Friday, This Week in Marvel delivers all the latest Marvel discussion and news about comics, TV, movies, games, toys, and beyond! Tweet your questions and comments about the show to @AgentM@jamiefrevele, or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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Watch as the acclaimed writer goes inside the tortured mind of Eddie Brock!

A primordial evil has been awakened beneath the streets of New York City, and with it, something equally evil has awakened in that most Wicked of Webslingers. On stands now, writer Donny Cates and artist Ryan Stegman‘s VENOM #1 has launched a groundbreaking new era for the symbiote.

Watch the exclusive interview above, as Cates teases this strange and exceptionally toxic chapter for Venom and Eddie Brock. “Something’s happening to the symbiote that terrifies him. It’s starting to speak in this other language that Eddie can’t understand and it’s driving him insane,” he explains. “The symbiote is starting to be very cruel and it’s starting to kind of operate without Eddie’s consent.”

Much like Eddie Brock, the writer himself has been empowered by the vicious might of the symbiote. “I’ve been let off the leash on this thing,” he says, “and I’m kind of going ballistic.”

Get VENOM #1, by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, at your local comic shop or online right now!

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A brand-new series from Donny Cates and Dylan Burnett!

He’s commanded the page in a blaze of glory…and now, this July, he’ll embark on his own solo adventure in COSMIC GHOST RIDER, an all-new limited series written by the character’s co-creator Donny Cates with art by one of the industry’s hottest new artists, Dylan Burnett!

The alternate future version of Frank Castle has become a fan-favorite since debuting in THANOS #13, stealing the spotlight with his crazy antics and wild origin story—and in this five-issue story, Cates and Burnett promise to pull out all the stops as Cosmic Ghost Rider’s plans for a better universe come to fruition…however crazy they may be.

“Cosmic Ghost Rider is such a blast to work on,” says Cates. “It’s honestly pretty overwhelming how much the Marvel fans have embraced this crazy character, and I’m having so much fun continuing the Rider’s insane story! If you thought ‘Thanos Wins’ was wild…you just wait to see what we have planned for everyone’s new favorite space lunatic!”

Don’t miss the spectacular solo adventures of COSMIC GHOST RIDER, when everyone’s favorite twisted ally blasts into comic shops on July 4!

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Jason Aaron and Donny Cates pen the new number ones!

Make Mine Marvel this May!

Jump on board as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Venom symbiote get fresh creative teams and ground shaking new adventures! AVENGERS #1, written by Jason Aaron with art by Ed McGuinness, launches on May 2! And VENOM #1, by writer Donny Cates and artist Ryan Stegman, kicks off on May 9!

Art by Jim Cheung

“Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be rolling out new beginnings for a few of our key franchises—new creative teams, new starting points, new storylines—all the big stuff that we’ve been building towards since Marvel Legacy began. This isn’t a clearing of the slate—while these new starts will kick off with new #1s, we’ll be maintaining the classic Legacy issue counts as dual numbering on these titles as well,” says SVP and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort. “Oh, and don’t read anything into not seeing a character on the Jim Cheung piece…we can only squeeze so many characters in there without killing poor Jim!”

In AVENGERS, the Big Three are reunited at last! Thor Odinson, Steve Rogers, and Tony Stark join forces once again to save the world from total annihilation at the hands of their most powerful enemies yet: the 2000-foot-tall space gods known as Celestials! And as teased throughout the pages of recent Marvel Comics, the Final Host will arrive…

Joining Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man in the new iteration of the team will be an unexpected, unprecedented collection of super heroes! Get a peek at Ed McGuinness’ art for AVENGERS #1 here!

And while Earth’s Mightiest Heroes fight the good fight on a cosmic scale, an inky symbiote will stretch across the streets of New York City and beyond in writer Donny Cates and artist Ryan Stegman’s VENOM!

In the wake of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s collapse, a primordial evil has been awakened beneath the streets of NYC, and with it, something equally evil has awakened in that most Wicked of Webslingers. This never-before-seen threat could force Venom to relinquish everything it holds dear…including Eddie Brock!

Get ready for a Venom adventure 1000 years in the making…And catch a glimpse of Ryan Stegman’s VENOM #1 art below!

Read AVENGERS #1, by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness, on May 2! Then catch VENOM #1, by Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, on May 9!

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Donny Cates and Nick Spencer set Las Vegas alight!

When Doctor Stephen Strange magically rebuilds Las Vegas from the debris it crumbled to during Secret Empire, he makes a big mistake. A demonic, Earth-threatening mistake.

On February 21, Mephisto comes to the City of Sin as writers Donny Cates and Nick Spencer join artist Rod Reis to challenge the master of mysticism in DOCTOR STRANGE: DAMNATION #1! This four-part limited series sees Strange team-up with heroes from across the Marvel Universe in an attempt to extinguish Mephisto’s blaze.

We spoke with Cates about igniting the flame.

Marvel.com: Donny, what causes Mephisto’s door to open when Strange raises Las Vegas?

Donny Cates: That’s something we’ll be exploring as we go along. But obviously, Mephisto is the sort to have plans on top of plans. It gets lonely down in Hell, and the poor guy has plenty of time to scheme! As the story unravels, we’ll see more and more of just what the demon has planned. If I was a betting man, I’d say it’s not good, though!

Marvel.com: Vegas has a reputation for being a sinful place—is that what inspires Mephisto’s takeover?

Donny Cates: One of the best bits of the series to me is this idea that, in Mephisto’s opinion, Las Vegas has always been his city. He’s not taking it over; he’s taking it back!

Doctor Strange: Damnation #1

Marvel.com: How will Doctor Strange go about confronting this villain?

Donny Cates: Poorly. [Laughs] Strange is out to prove himself in this series. After the devastating conclusion to Jason Aaron’s series, and the fallout from a certain God of Lies turning his world upside down, Stephen has had a rough year. So here we find Stephen trying to get back on the world’s stage and be a hero again. But when it all goes south on him, he just might not be up for the challenge…

Marvel.com: Does Strange possess the power necessary to defeat this embodiment of evil?

Donny Cates: Stephen’s powers have been on the fritz since the Empirkul came and killed the magic. Obviously, he’s still very powerful, but like I said, he’s still getting his head back into the game. He’s still a bit shaky. There’s also this whole idea of magic having a price, and when you do something as big as resurrecting an entire city…well, you’re going to have to pay for that. One way or another…

Marvel.com: In THANOS, we’ve seen your love of writing dark characters—so how’s it been working with a bad guy like Mephisto?

Donny Cates: Mephisto is such a blast to write—he lives in the unique little zone where he’s one of the only bad guys who are just completely fine with being evil. There are no grey areas with the devil, man! He’s evil and he loves being evil. So you get to write him as really any version you want as you move through the story. Mephisto is a character that can turn from playful and dramatic, to cruel and hardcore without skipping a beat. And with a setting like Las Vegas…well, he’s quite the showman!

Read Donny Cates, Nick Spencer, and Rod Reis’ DOCTOR STRANGE: DAMNATION #1 on February 21!

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Donny Cates weighs the similarities between Stephen Strange and Loki!

Ceding the title of Sorcerer Supreme to Loki never factored into Stephen Strange’s plans. But plans—like Sorcerers Supreme—change.

In response to the situation, issue #383 of DOCTOR STRANGE saw the enchanter travel to his rival’s home realm of Asgard, where he communed with the World Tree to gain strength and prepare for the journey ahead. And on January 17, writer Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta continue to escalate this swelling magical storm in DOCTOR STRANGE #384!

We caught up with Cates for his insight into where Strange stands ahead of the new issue.

Marvel.com: Stephen has bound a powerful spell, “the Exile of Singhsoon,” to the souls of the people he cares about. What might he eventually use it for?

Donny Cates: Stephen talks about the Exile of Singhsoon as the kind of “break in case of emergency” spell. It’s supposed to be just for the Sorcerer Supreme, and it’s something that Stephen just hates—he doesn’t think that anyone should have that much power. And he doesn’t believe in himself enough to be able to use it.

So yeah, he’s been hiding it in the souls of people he loves. He’s confident that he could get it out if he absolutely had to, but it’s an incredibly difficult thing to. He did this because the risk of pulling it out could potentially rip someone’s soul and kill them—or at least kill their eternal soul. If push came to shove, I tend to believe that Stephen would use it if he could guarantee that he could extract it out without hurting those people. But the problem here is that Stephen doesn’t believe that Loki can do it, and doesn’t believe that the God of Mischief will have the same gentle hand that he would. He actually calls it a surgical procedure.

Stephen kind of sees Loki as this bull in a china shop, which, if you read the series, isn’t an entirely founded fear. Loki hasn’t done anything wrong outright. It’s really a failing within Stephen to see that Loki might not be what he thinks. So you find Stephen having what could be, in my personal opinion, an overreaction.

Marvel.com: In issue #381, Loki shows Jane Foster that the Frost Giants have plans to invade Earthand says he’s trying to stop them. So Stephen assumes that Loki wants access to the Exile of Singhsoon for his own selfish ends, but maybe he actually has nobler intentions?

Donny Cates: If you’re Stephen Strange, you only have history to go on. And with Loki, history’s really not on his side when it comes to trust. I mean, he’s the God of Lies! So I think Stephen has good reason in his own heart to not believe that Loki has the greatest of intentions with this thing. But, so far, Loki hasn’t given us—the audience—any reason to think that his motives are anything but pure.

But that’s the great thing about this Loki: after Kieron Gillen brought him back from the dead, he gave him a blank slate. He can kind of trick you, the audience, into trusting him as well—he’s not this mustache-twirling bad guy anymore. But we won’t know until we know!

He surprises me, too. Sometimes, I’ll be writing Loki and then, in bed that night, I’ll realize, “Oh wait, he was lying!” He was lying to me on the page, right to my face!

Marvel.com: Stephen also has something hidden in a locked room in the Sanctum Santorum. Without giving too much away…could he potentially use it against Loki?

Donny Cates: Come on! You put a big, secret room in the middle of a story about sorcerers and gods fighting each other—it’s a big deal!

Marvel.com: And Sentry has come into play too. Can you give us any hints about how he might join in?

Donny Coates: I don’t think it’s that weird that, of all the people in the Marvel Universe, Strange knows where The Sentry is; he’s Doctor Strange, he knows everything. And when you bring a character like that into this story specifically…The Sentry and The Void killed Loki last time. So that’s something that I know and something that Stephen knows. When you want to find something that can scare the crap out of a god, well, The Sentry’s a pretty good candidate.

Marvel.com: It seems like Stephen has started weaving together a bit of a sneaky plan in the same way Loki would…

Donny Cates: Yeah, that’s the interesting thing, right? That jumped out at me when I was writing this book, too. There’s a scene in issue #382 where Bats, his little talking basset hound friend, basically says, “You’ve really got to start lying to your patients, Doc.” And Stephen says, “I’m not overly fond of liars”—a fun little nod to how much he hates Loki. But then, in the next panel, Bats says, “Oh cool, do you want to hear about that super secret spy thing that you sent me on?”

Stephen doesn’t even get that he’s being as duplicitous as Loki. And the idea that he hid these things in the people he loves, without their knowledge…it makes them very similar characters. They both have their own very secret agendas. And as we go along, I think it’s quite obvious that this whole thing will lead to a pretty grand confrontation between this man and this God. And as we’ll see, these two are more alike than either of them would ever care to admit. They both keep things close to the chest in a way that continually comes back to bite them. I’m very attracted to the way that those to characters vibrate against one another.

I might have been the happiest boy in the world when I went to “Thor: Ragnarok” and saw those two guys talking to each other in the Sanctum!

Marvel.com: Would you like to tease anything else?

Donny Cates: I hope that, after reading DOCTOR STRANGE #383, people will forgive me a little bit for the death of Bats. There’s a payoff to that moment. If you thought that the emotional strangling that I was doing of you in issue #382 was over, it’s sure not!

You know, it’s always a bummer when a dog dies. But part of the reason I wanted to do that, and to make Strange a vet, was that my cat died the same month that I got the DOCTOR STRANGE gig. She was my best friend and she sat on my lap when I wrote. When she passed away, the veterinarian’s office was great and they were like my heroes. So I thought that’d be a noble choice for Stephen. Because he’s a little bit different for a Marvel character in that he was a hero, saving lives, before becoming a super hero. He was a doctor. A lot of people only know him as hero because he operated on them and saved their lives. That’s a really cool part of his character that sometimes gets glossed over. So to find Stephen now kind of dethroned but still finding a way to be people’s hero every day is, to me, very beautiful.

Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s DOCTOR STRANGE #384 drops on January 17!

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Donny Cates takes us to the end of the line, a future where Thanos has finally won!

When writer Donny Cates and artist Geoff Shaw took over the Mad Titan’s solo adventures in THANOS #13, they came out of the gate guns blazing! With their new arc “Thanos Wins,” Thanos is whisked away to the future by a mysterious new character called The Rider, a cosmic baddie who very closely resembles a certain other flame headed denizen of Mephisto. But when Thanos arrives to this future, he meets The Rider’s boss, a future version of himself!

We caught up with Donny to talk about the future and getting so deep into Thanos’ head it gave him literal nightmares.

Marvel.com: Once you found out you would be taking over this solo title, what was your entry point into Thanos’ psyche?

Donny Cates: I’ve been a huge fan of the cosmic side of Marvel since I was a very young lad and Thanos, in particular, has always been one of my favorite characters. There’s really no way that Jordan White, our editor, could have known that! He’s such a complicated character, even though he’s sometimes written off as being one note. As far as getting into the character, you know how every Marvel book, on the title page, has that little blurb describing who the main character is? For Spider-Man, it always says, “Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, blah blah blah,” right? Well, for any of the THANOS solo issues, it just says, “A total obsession with power drives him to control the forces of the universe.”

He’s had different seats of power. He’s been a ruler, a despot. But at the end of the day, what does he really want? And what happens when he finally gets it? That’s what everything bloomed out of, reading that one sentence description of him and saying let’s just do it! Let’s just finish that sentence that begins every Thanos issue. Let’s give it to him and see what happens then.

Marvel.com: The premise of ‘Thanos Wins’ is wrapped up in time travel and the future inevitability of the Mad Titan finally getting what he wants. How in depth into his victory do you plan to go and how is seeing this potential future going to change Thanos?

Donny Cates: We’re going to get way into it, man! Every single issue in the arc flashes back and forward and moves around in time a lot. As the series goes along, you will get a complete picture of how Thanos came to be where he is at the end of issue #13, where we see him clothed in immense power, with his companion and right hand man, The Rider, seemingly the only thing left alive. That’s not something we’re doing as a cheap, one page gag. That’s the whole series. Really getting to the bottom of how Thanos goes from destroying the Chitauri at the beginning of issue #13, to what we call King Thanos, will be spelled out in great detail in the next few issues.

THANOS #14 has a lot and it is unbelievable. You know, I write these issues and I turn them in, get some notes and then when the art comes back with the words and colors and everything, I get to re-read them again months later. Every single time a new issue comes in, I read it and think, “They’re really letting me do that? They’re going to let me get away with this?” I’m consistently blown away with just how out there and crazy we’re going.

It’s a huge credit to Jordan White, who believed in this and got behind it to say this is what a Thanos book should be. Every issue should just be as hard as it can be.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about Thanos’ future Ghost Rider friend? What was the genesis of that idea?

Donny Cates: The Rider, as a character, is one of those back pocket ideas I think every writer who wants to someday write for a big comics publisher has. Something you fill up a notebook with, or, if you’re like me, use the notes app on your phone and just fill it to the brim with crazy stuff. The Rider, his origins, and who he really is has been in my back pocket for years. I actually spoke with an editor at Marvel back in 2013 or 2014 at New York Comic-Con and he asked what I’d want to do at Marvel. I told him about The Rider, this cosmic Ghost Rider, and I told him who he really is and how I’d reveal it. I remember that editor saying that’s insane, the craziest thing he’d ever heard. So, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

He became a natural fit for this story. I knew we wanted Young Thanos, well young comparatively speaking to King Thanos, to be ripped from time and taken to meet his future self. When I was working on the pitch, I tried to figure out who could fill that role and realized The Rider was a perfect fit! Then, when I started writing him, how he speaks and how he sounds formed this little balancing point to how overly somber Thanos as a character can be. The two vibrate with each other in a way I really enjoyed. He’s the rare character who can actually call Thanos out on how much of a bummer he is, especially when he’s with both Thanoses.

For anyone who has theories about who The Rider is, I would like to hear them. It’s the big reveal at the end of this arc. So, anyone who wants to comment on Twitter or put their theories in, I won’t confirm or deny anything, but please tag it as #WhoIsTheRider and let me know what you think!

Marvel.com: What’s your process like with artist Geoff Shaw? Since you two have a rapport, does that make creating the book easier?

Donny Cates: I’ve been on THANOS longer than STRANGE, so coming onto my first big Marvel book with Geoff, there is the most supportive feeling, the most comfortable feeling. I know how to write for him and he knows how to draw for me. He really knows how to pull certain stuff out of my scripts. We’ve been working together for five years now, starting with “Buzzkill” back in the day. Over the years, just by virtue of working so closely, we’ve come best friends. Going into something where Marvel gives you the keys to the kingdom and lets you play with all the toys, getting into that with your best friend, who is also this phenomenal talent, is surreal and I couldn’t ask for a better collaborator.

With some artists, you’re not able to build the same rapport or talk to them regularly, because you’ve just been thrown together or they’re in Argentina or something, but Geoff and I talk all the time. That’s the essence of comics to me, is getting on the phone or in the same room and just hashing it out. The same goes for Antonio Fabela, our colorist. Geoff and I had never worked with him before but were excited to see what he could do. It felt like he walked right onto the team, read the room and could match the insanity we were throwing down. Letterer Clayton Cowles, too! He’s added so much, differentiating Thanos and King Thanos in speech bubbles. It’s like we’re all jamming on the same frequency.

Marvel.com: You’ve said that writing Thanos has been a scary experience. What’s the darkest place getting into his head has taken your own mind?

Donny Cates: I had said in a previous interview that I had nightmares about Thanos when I first started writing the book. I think most people thought I was exaggerating or joking, but I was not. I tend to get really obsessive about a character when I first start on a book. I don’t stay that way. My wife makes fun of me all the time for it. On THANOS, I was deep in it—unconsciously changing the way I spoke, or sitting in chairs the way Thanos might sit. I was in a dark place and had a nightmare where I was being chased by Thanos through a desert landscape. I could only hear his footsteps, feel the ground shake and sense his breathing. One of those dreams where you try to run and you can’t. It was really scary!

I woke up covered in sweat and I’m not a person who has nightmares. I think that people, as they read this first arc, anyone who thought I was kidding about that or made fun of me for it is going to see what I’m talking about. This book is brutal and intense. 

Catch the next chapter of “Thanos Wins” in THANOS #14, from Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw, on December 27!

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Donny Cates teases a Loki showdown and universe-shattering revelations!

Loki as a Sorcerer Supreme. Yeah, you read that correctly.

Writer Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta give the God of Lies and Mischief the magical mantle in DOCTOR STRANGE. And on December 6, issue #382 sees Doctor Strange make a move that will create huge repercussions across the Marvel Universe.

We conjured up Mr. Cates to discuss the spellbinding showdown.

Marvel.com: What can you give away about how Strange handles Loki in this issue?

Donny Cates: Oh, well…nothing! [Laughs] I mean…I know in this day and age it has become a bit of a standard thing to say “This will change everything,” but just between you and me, the events of the end of my second issue will be felt for years and years in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: What has been the most challenging aspect of transforming Loki for this new role?

Donny Cates: Loki is such an incredibly rich character to write—one that surprises me with every script. He’s alive, you know? He does whatever he wants on the page, regardless of what I have planned for him. I always say in interviews that I wouldn’t dare speak on behalf of Loki, and that’s true. He has plans upon plans, schemes upon schemes. He’s way smarter (and more charming) than me, so really, when I write him, it’s just me trying to get out of his way, and let him come out and speak in the book.

You notice how I didn’t answer your question? I learned that from watching Loki.

Marvel.com: Can you talk about how Loki uses his god-like powers combined with his new sorcerer ones?

Donny Cates: Obviously it makes for a hell of a powerful character, right? But, it’s important to note that the title of Sorcerer Supreme doesn’t necessarily grant you new powers. It’s a symbol of the level of power you already wield. It’s like a black belt. Having a black belt doesn’t make you better at karate…it’s an outward symbol of how good you are at karate.

So to answer your question, Loki is super good at karate.

Marvel.com: Anyone would be wary in striking an alliance with him, but what explicit reasons does Stephen have to mistrust him?

Donny Cates: That’s the big thing in this book. So I can’t give that away, but here…let’s do this instead. Who saw “Thor: Ragnarok” this weekend? Oh, all of you did? Awesome, okay. So here we go into spoiler country…

3…

2…

1…

Okay, any of you still there? Oh, all of you are? Awesome. Okay, so you know that way too brief but amazing little back and forth between Loki and Doctor Strange in the movie? If you want more of exactly that…I got you.

Honestly, that scene was more or less a trailer for this entire run. You’re welcome!

Marvel.com: What kind of legacy does Loki see for himself in the world of magic?

Donny Cates: The idea of legacy that runs through this arc has been crazy fun. I’ve said it before, but this arc shares so much DNA with the origin of Doctor Strange, and the long, long history of Loki. It’s all about Stephen coming to grips with the things that made him special being torn away from him, and the insane lengths he’ll go to see them returned. That’s where Stephen Strange began his journey, and that’s where we once again find him here.

As for Loki, well…you’re certainly asking the right questions. So many people get hung up on the how of it all. “How did Loki become the Sorcerer Supreme!? How can that be possible!?”

And look, we’ll answer that question, of course…but that’s not what you should be asking.

You should be asking “Why?”

And for that answer…well, I’m afraid you’ll have to ask Loki. I wouldn’t dare speak for a sorcerer god with a black belt in question dodging and karate.

DOCTOR STRANGE #382, by Donny Cates and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta, drops on December 6!

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Writer Donny Cates conjures up mischief with our newest Sorcerer Supreme!

What would happen if Loki, the God of Mischief, became the Sorcerer Supreme? That’s exactly the question that writer Donny Cates tackles in the upcoming DOCTOR STRANGE #381. We may not know what Loki is up to yet, but we do know one thing – it won’t be boring! We caught up with Cates to find out more about what we can expect.

Marvel.com: Loki obviously doesn’t have the same altruistic leanings as Stephen Strange…as the Sorcerer Supreme, will he use his role to further his own ends?

Donny Cates: Hmmmm, yes and no. That question there is really the heart of Loki, right? He’s so much fun because you never know the rules of whatever game he’s currently playing. So yes, he probably is using his role to serve his own needs….but what if his needs are altruistic? Is he still being selfish and underhanded if the result is a net positive? I’m not saying that’s necessarily the case here, but I wouldn’t ever get too comfortable with how you perceive Loki and his intentions.

Marvel.com: Stephen has a lot of experience when it comes to sorcery, but Loki has been doing it even longer. How will that inform how he approaches being Sorcerer Supreme?

Donny Cates: Well, at the end of the day, this is still very much a book about Stephen Strange. So, it’s very interesting, because on the one hand you have this GOD who is now insanely powerful in his new role….and then we have Stephen. I can’t say much about where Stephen is in this arc, but it’s unusual, and more (ahem) low-key than anything we’ve ever seen before. So it’s a nice dichotomy between the two.

How’s that for dodging a question? 🙂

Doctor Strange #381 cover by Mike Del Mundo

Marvel.com: Loki is, of course, the god of mischief. He doesn’t have the same reverence for authority as some of the more “heroic” characters. It seems like he’d have a lot of fun in this role. He could definitely mess with people.

Donny Cates: Oh for sure! As is said in the first issue, Loki is not, nor has he ever been, overly fond of “the rules.” So he kind of bumps up against this idea of magic having limits and prices. He’s not into it. And that leads him, and us,  down some rather dark roads.  

Marvel.com: Still, Loki often chooses to do the right thing. He might not want to admit it, but he does care. So can we expect to see him using his authority for the greater good, as well?

Donny Cates: Yeah, that’s what’s so amazing about him as a character these days. Even when he WANTS to do something good, no one on Earth (or in any realm) believes him. Everyone still thinks of him as this mustache-twirling villain, but that’s not really who he is anymore, right? He’s much more complicated.

I should mention though, that whatever supposed heroic deeds Loki has planned, or how well his intentions are….the good Doctor will be having none of it. Stephen doesn’t trust Loki as far as he can throw him, and he will stop at nothing to see his home, his cloak, and his title returned to him.

The lengths Strange will go through to see his livelihood returned to him…that’s the real story here. And I promise you can’t fathom what those lengths will be.

You’ve never seen Doctor Strange like this.

Doctor Strange #382 cover by Mike Del Mundo

Marvel.com: Would you like to mention or tease anything else?

Donny Cates: If I were a betting man….I’d pay A LOT OF ATTENTION to the second issue of my run. DOCTOR STRANGE #382 is a big one folks. I’ll see you there!

DOCTOR STRANGE #381, by Donny Cates and Gabriel Hernandez Walta, hits shelves on November 15!

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Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw plot a Marvel Legacy course for destruction!

What happens when Thanos wins?

Prepare to find out when writer Donny Cates and artist Geoff Shaw, the critically acclaimed team behind the series God Country, answer that question with a story set to rock the Universe. On November 22, the Mad Titan leaps into the Marvel Legacy era with THANOS #13!

We caught up with Donny to hear what he has in store for the cosmic conqueror.

Marvel.com: How did your involvement in THANOS come about? What attracted you to writing this book?

Donny Cates: Editor extraordinaire Jordan D. White called me and asked if I’d like to write the book! I believe he and [Editor-in-Chief] Axel Alonso enjoyed my previous work with Geoff, which led to both of us being approached for the project.

As for what attracted me to the book, I have always been such a huge fan of Marvel cosmic stories—and of Thanos especially. It’s funny because I don’t think Jordan knew that when he asked if I wanted to join the project. But I have to admit that when I got that call, I nearly cried when he told me which book I’d be working on. It really is such a dream come true to work with the Mad Titan. I’m a kid in a candy store on this project.

Marvel.com: Thanos has a big fan base despite being a “bad guy.” What do you think makes him so appealing to readers?

Donny Cates: I think Thanos’ goals are so clear, understandable—and disturbingly relatable! That being said, everyone likes a bad guy, and everyone can be attracted to a bad guy whose goals are as…cosmically abstract as Thanos’ are. He’s a curious beast, because what he wants—his biggest goals in life—are so horrific and cruel, but ultimately he does everything out of love. It’s just fascinating to watch. He’s endlessly layered and complex, but at the same time he’s straightforward and brutal.

Marvel.com: How did you and Geoff Shaw first meetand what’s it like working in the Marvel Universe with him?

Donny Cates: Geoff and I actually met back in art school at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Geoff was this phenom artist and just an amazing guy, and I knew even back then that he was going to be something special; someone important. I wanted to work with him from the first moment I saw his work, and first got my chance with a book we did called Buzzkill. Since then, we’ve done three books together, and over the years we’ve become really close friends. I am honored to have him at my side on our first big adventure into the Marvel cosmos. It’s so comforting knowing that he’s here. I love that Shaw fella!

Marvel.com: What do the two of you have planned for the Mad Titan?

Donny Cates: We have some pretty insane plans! When I first turned in my outline for the book, I was certain Marvel was going to make me tame it down or alter it—just because of the massive scope of everything. I put in all of the characters and big moments that I’ve always wanted to play with. I turned my synopsis in, and to my utter shock—and joy—all these insane things were approved.

We really went big with the Thanos Wins arc—and the subsequent arcs that follow it. It’s really so much fun. Going big is the only way to deal with Thanos. Go big or go home.

Marvel.com: The previous THANOS series featured several regular supporting characters that constituted a “family,” including Nebula, Starfox, and Thane. Which supporting characters might we see in your book?

Donny Cates: I really can’t comment on this one actually, as a huge part of this upcoming arc depends on some rather shocking supporting characters. Rest assured, however, that as a massive Thanos fan myself, I want to get my hands on all of his supporting cast at some point. That being said, keep your eyes peeled for some great new characters as well. That’s been the best part of all of this for me—getting to add to this incredible cosmic cast. I think people are going to have a great time with this book. I know I am!

THANOS #13, by Donny Cates and artist Geoff Shaw, drops on November 22!

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