Mark Waid looks back upon a classic Thor/Hercules tussle from 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.

A few days ago, we talked about how it can take some time to get used to an artist as dynamic and bold as Jack Kirby. By his own admission, AVENGERS writer Mark Waid didn’t take to “The King” when he first experienced some of his comics at the Distinguished Competition as a kid. If you’re wondering what made him change his mind about the artist, it came in the pages of JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #125 and THOR #126130.

“One of my all-time favorite Kirby stories is the ‘Verdict of Zeus’ epic, which I read at age 12 and was my introduction to Marvel Kirby,” Waid said. “The sheer drama in that Thor/Hercules saga, with all its grandeur and all its humanity, was an education for me.”

These issues contain many amazing moments bound to convert anyone to Camp Kirby. The first issue kicks off with a battle between Thor and a Norn Stone-enhanced Witch Doctor for several pages before shifting focus to a napping Hercules who helped move a downed tree from the train tracks.

After returning the Norn Stone to his father on Asgard, Thor attempts to tell his father that he revealed his secret identity to Jane Foster, but the elder god already knew! In his rage, Odin demands the other warriors present attack his son in “the Ritual of Steel.” The Odinson fights valiantly and earns his trip across the Rainbow Bridge back to Midgard where he finds his beloved at a soda parlor with Hercules!

Journey Into Mystery (1952) #125

Journey Into Mystery (1952) #125

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A wonderfully epic, titanic battle erupts between the two gods in the very first issue of THOR! How epic, you wonder? Well in addition to wielding enchanted uru hammers and Power Staffs, the two use trailer trucks, streets, heavy machinery, buildings, and bare fists to knock each other silly.

Hercules not only wins that battle, but also parlays the victory into a gig working on a gorgeous movie set overseen by mysterious supernatural figures disguised as humans. Meanwhile, Thor returns to Asgard where he stops an interloper from stealing Odin’s power, but nearly at the cost of his own life.

Eventually, Thor heals up, which gives him the strength to help Hercules get out of a boneheaded deal he made to become ruler of the Netherworld, thus cementing a camaraderie that continues to this day.

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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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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Mark Waid lays out the Secret Empire aftermath!

The Champions reunite and it feels so…tense. In the aftermath of Secret Empire, our young heroes find their way back together—but division, resentment, and strife plague the Champions as they recover from the Hydra operation. On September 6, the drama continues to unfold as writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos present CHAMPIONS #12!

We checked in with Waid to learn more about how the Champs—for better or worse—will handle the latest turmoil in the Marvel Universe.

“All the Champions went through a true baptism of fire,” the writer reports. “Yes, individually they’ve all seen horrors before, but the scope of the Secret Empire’s takeover took them aback and rattled their confidence. They’ve got a long road ahead.”

A road leading them to their future! At least a metaphorical one, as Waid prepares to bring the young heroes together with their older counterparts in issues #13-15, and there’s bound to be some friction between the groups: “Remember, half the team is ex-Avengers—and they left for a reason. They won’t let the world turn upside down, regardless of their feelings, but their feelings are quite strong.”

Before this testy family reunion, however, the Champions must get around some roadblocks—the first of which presents itself in the form of a self-proclaimed lunatic, Psycho-Man. The villain makes the scene to stir up some trouble and, as Waid tells it, “only the Champions can hold the line.”

That’s a lot of pressure. But let’s not forget the Champion motto: in the words of Waid, “anyone can be a Champion if they’re willing to fight to make this a better world,” and let’s be real—they’ve got that in spades.

But that’s not all they’ve got; after watching the events of Secret Empire unfold with the X-Men, Cyclops rejoins the team and takes center stage. Waid admits that yes, Scott “Slim” Summers comes in as his all-time favorite member of the X-Men and that he may or may not have used issue #12 as his love letter to the one-eyed wonder.

“If you’re a Cyke-hater, I encourage you to give this issue a shot and let me change your mind,” teases Waid. And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy there’s always the very cryptic tease the writer let slip about his favorite moment of the issue: “Two words: barrel roll.”

So, obviously, issue #12 has something for everyone. But—wait—that’s not all! It may not be this installment, it may not be the next, but soon, Red Locust returns to the Champions!

Find out how the young heroes readjust in the wake of Secret Empire with CHAMPIONS #12, by Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos, out September 6!

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The Champions and Avengers fight to take the lead against a new threat!

It’s the same old group with some not so same old problems. CHAMPIONS #13 sees our young heroes stepping up to bat with the likes of their childhood heroes, the Avengers, as writer Mark Waid and artist Humberto Ramos bring us up to speed on their life of heroics post SECRET EMPIRE.

“Following the events of SECRET EMPIRE, the kids are re-evaluating their mission statement – do they need to step up to bigger threats,” says Waid, This leads to both the Champions and Avengers responding to the same threat and while they manage to come together to subdue the initial threat, Waid says that’s when the real tension begins. “Some of the Avengers think that the Champions ought to guard the home front while they take on one of the biggest threats ever.” And as you can imagine that prompts a whole lot of, in the words of today’s youngins, ‘hells nah’ from the Champions.

“The teams have radically different ideas as to how to handle the first assault from the High Evolutionary,” notes Waid, “The biggest hurdle will be to get Vision and his daughter, Viv, to get on the same page.” But should that really surprise us? After all, it is very common for teenage synthezoids to rebel against their parents, #growingupsynthezoid, right?

Maybe that’s exactly what this team up needs, a little old school meets new school coming together to get the jobs done – ah -mixed school style. “You’ll see different combinations and pairings of the Champions and the Avengers than you’ve every imagined,” exclaims Waid, “Both teams are going to come out of this story with an altered view of the other – and I can’t promise that it’ll be a nice one.”

And if that isn’t enough to peak your interests, Waid did let slip he’s looking forward to a conversation between Ms. Marvel and Hercules. It’s flexibility meets brute force, I can only imagine what will come out of that chat. But whatever that may be, you can bet our young heroes come leave this battle with a new take on not just how to work as a team, but how to truly become the Champions today’s world needs.

Will the Champions become more like their older counterparts or stick to their new-age heroics? Find out in CHAMPIONS #13 written by Mark Waid with art by Humberto Ramos.

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Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz tell us what’s in store when the Avengers and Champions clash!

Following the events of GENERATIONS comes a confrontation that’s been in the making since CIVIL WAR II — the Avengers vs. the Champions! Throw in the High Evolutionary, and you’ve got a recipe for excitement as Marvel’s premier super team and the heroes of tomorrow finally have it out.

We caught up with the AVENGERS creative team of Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz to find out what to expect when these two teams come together to tear it apart.

Marvel.com: Mark, as part of Marvel Legacy it sounds like we’re getting the confrontation we’ve all been waiting for, as the older Avengers finally face the younger Champions — many of whom are former Avengers themselves. How’s it feel to finally get to tell this tale you’ve been building to?

Mark Waid: I’ve been waiting to tell this story ever since Avengers #1, for more than a year. It’s the first really big story the Champions have been involved in, and they’re really gonna be put through their paces.

Marvel.com: We saw this confrontation first start to percolate when the younger heroes left the Avengers in the wake of Civil War II, but in the post-Secret Empire world, what’s the relationship like between these two generations of heroes?

Mark Waid: Better…but not great. The Champions probably aren’t getting enough credit from the Avengers over what they were able to accomplish during Secret Empire, and that doesn’t go down well.

Marvel.com: What role does the High Evolutionary play in the story?

Mark Waid: He’s the villain, the prime mover–and when I say “mover,” I mean something’s causing Counter-Earth (on the other side of our sun) to begin approaching our Earth at cataclysmic speed towards a shattering collision–unless the heroes can stop it.

Marvel.com: Jesus, you’re coming on board following a stint with Nick Spencer on Captain America. What was the draw for you to work on Avengers? And how’s it been making a transition to a team book and getting to draw all these characters?

Jesus Saiz: Well, after working on Cap, I guess the only way up is working on Avengers! You can’t get a much higher character profile than that!
Although Captain America was a solo book, the truth is the scope of the story was huge; it already has a ton of characters, so I hope drawing a team book won’t be so different, I don’t think things could get much bigger. Of course, Mark could probably prove me completely wrong!

Marvel.com: What’s been your approach to characters, visually, both on the Avengers side and the Champions side?

Jesus Saiz: What I find more exciting in these groups visually is the variety; each character is completely different from the rest. All of them are very unique in terms of, not only physicality, but personality and demeanor. I think this will be the biggest challenge, to give each one a particular posture, movement and “acting.”

Marvel.com: What’s it been like for the two of you, working on the book together?

Mark Waid: I’m a big fan of Jesus’s work and I can’t wait to see what he does!

Jesus Saiz: Working with one of the best, most respected and beloved writers of the Industry? Yeah, I think I can live with that.

Marvel.com: Finally, we can’t talk about the Avengers without talking about the roster. Mark, are there any changes to it you can tell us about, as this new story starts? Jesus, are there any characters you’d love to see added to the story, just to get a chance to draw them?

Mark Waid: No roster changes in the FIRST part of the story–but I can promise you that all the Champions you see at the beginning of the story won’t necessarily make it to the end.

Jesus Saiz: Since my arrival at Marvel, there’s a guy who has been avoiding me that I would love to draw: Odinson, especially in Asgard. Probably I will have to wait a little longer, I don’t think this is the time.

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With Hydra on the move, it’s time for the young heroes to fight back!

CHAMPIONS #10, written by Mark Waid with art by Humberto Ramos, finds its way to comic book retailers everywhere on July 5, but where do we find our young heroes? Split up and scattered in the wind in the aftermath of the Hydra attack on Las Vegas, the remaining Champions must hunt for their lost companions.

“They’ve been divided because some of them have been co-opted by resistance forces,” says Waid. “We have Hulk, Viv and Spidey, and the others are off the game board.”

That’s right, the Champions see their numbers dwindling and while the now threesome know that Cyclops remains with the X-Men and Nova got stuck out in space, Kamala hasn’t checked in and that means they have no idea of her whereabouts and what kind of danger she may be in.

Obviously, the team mounts a full-scale search and rescue mission after learning Ms. Marvel other Inhumans have been locked up in a Hydra camp. “It’s less about them figuring out a plan to deal with Secret Empire and more immediately the frustration that Ms. Marvel must be a victim of Hydra,” explains Waid, who’s pretty hush hush about just what goes on in this issue.

Champions #10 cover by Humberto Ramos

Waid did let slip, however, that our heroes will face a timeless rock and a hard place situation: “The moral dilemma is what do they do once they find the camp? If they let everybody out they run the risk of drawing attention to these people and having them gunned down. On the other hand, they can’t really just leave them there.” Looks like they’re going to have to put their heads together and think up an out of the box solution to this head scratcher.

Sadly the end of the issue doesn’t see things sewn up with a nice neat bow and while Waid proves reluctant to give away what’s coming, he alluded that the team wouldn’t be taking a frontline role in the resistance attack on Hydra in the immediate future.

“The series is going to have to touch to some degree on how the world has been transformed by Hydra and what happens on the other side of that, but there is always room once the team is reunited—if they are reunited—to get back to a large extent the sort of things they were dealing with before,” notes the writer.

Do our heroes succeed in busting out their jailbird member? Will the team reunite and join the fight against Hydra? Find out July 5 in CHAMPIONS #10!

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Thor finds herself trapped on a mysterious planet—Mark Waid has more!

Things on Earth have gotten pretty weird in the wake of Secret Empire, and when the going gets tough, the tough take a spontaneous road trip—or in Thor’s case, get forcibly transported to an alien planet without their magical hammer where they have to figure out how to get home before turning back into a human.

AVENGERS #9, written by Mark Waid with art by Mike Del Mundo, will hit July 5 and while I’d love to spoil the issue for you, Waid remained incredibly tight lipped, even under heavy interrogation:

“It has a very sort of Hobbit, Lord of the Rings feel to it,” says the writer of Thor’s destination. “There is a device that perhaps could send her back home but it is far across the land.” So basically, Jane Foster has to fight her way hammer-less across a land she knows nothing about to get to a device that may or may not be able to get her where she needs to be. “There are beasts that she’s never seen before that can’t just be felled by one punch, there are all sorts of environmental hazards along the way, there is air you can’t breath, there are sandstorms and lighting storms unlike anything we’ve seen,” warns Waid.

Avengers #9 cover by Alex Ross

To add more fuel to the fire, Thor races against the clock. “The Avengers are a little bit busy with the Captain America situation, so I know they know she’s gone because Cap has the hammer, but I don’t think they have any idea where she went and there’s no way to track her,” Waid says. But she also has a limited amount of time without Mjolnir before she loses her Thor status and returns to plane Jane Foster. “If she turns back into Jane Foster then she’s definitely stuck because she has no ability other than just basic human ability,” explains the writer.

So what other choice does Thor have but to enlist the help of the locals to get her across this dangerous world. To make matters worse according to Waid not all of said locals prove particularly keen on helping this stranger in their land. Man, Jane really just can’t catch a break!

Will Thor make it home, or be stuck in this mystery land forever? Find out July 5 in AVENGERS #9 written by Mark Waid with art by Mike Del Mundo.

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Viv Vision tries to access humanity with the help of Mark Waid!

Join the young android Viv as she attempts to navigate the complex and dangerous world of humanity, or at least the teenage version of it, in CHAMPIONS #9, written by Mark Waid with art by Humberto Ramos.

Hello Humans

Greetings, and welcome to my web log. I am Viv Vision, teen synthezoid and member of the youth hero group the Champions. I have created this web page as a way to participate in normal teen activities while simultaneously tracking my emotional development. I welcome honest critique and guidance along the way, as I am not yet fully familiar with the minutiae and nuances that accompany typical human behavior. To ensure that you have all information necessary to enable accurate feedback I will first briefly explain my history.

The super hero and synthezoid Vision created me along with my twin brother Vin and mother Virginia, as a means to humanize himself. Not long after we moved to Arlington, Virginia to begin functioning as a normal family, my brother was killed and my mother killed herself, leaving my father and me alone. Using the clarity my multiprocessor computer brain afforded me I chose to shut down my emotions as a form of self-preservation.

Yet in the brief time I have spent with the Champions I have discovered it not wise to fully shut them off as it can lead to unpredictable moments of emergence. In order to maintain constant control over my own being I must learn to coexist with my emotions. After speaking with popular human storyteller Mark Waid I realize that my true state of being is in fact a more traditional one: “Though a little cold or robotic, Viv was constructed to be an all American girl. I think she knows these emotions are buried inside and she looks in the mirror and wonders if it’s time to bring them out.”

Champions #9 cover by Humberto Ramos

Though accurate, I also wonder what the ramifications of my change will bring to the team. We have just begun working as one and any change, subtle or blatant, can drastically affect the dynamic thus far created. Waid continues: “Any shift in her personality or who she is at this stage of the team could be detrimental. The team has come to rely on her openness,” warning that this transparency is sometimes perceived as positive, as well as a weakness and source of irritation. Further confirming my impression that humans overcomplicate their interactions; alas I am here to learn your customs and functionalities, not impart my own logic.

Nevertheless, I will strive to maintain those characteristics viewed as positive; for example, Waid believes my ability to listen without interjecting my own problems or feelings onto others is my best quality. I will attempt to highlight this and the qualities others, like those reading this web blog, inform me are desirable while changing those deemed problematic in order to fully assimilate into human life and better serve and connect with my team.

As I said earlier, feel welcome to comment or message me your advice on what makes me an asset to the team and an ideal member of human society, and what aspects I need to correct. I am always online so expect a quick reply.

Thank you for your aid,

Viv

Be sure to check in June 7 and keep up with your favorite synthezoid teen’s progress in CHAMPIONS #9 written by Mark Waid with art by Humberto Ramos.

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The Infamous Iron Man seeks membership with the help of Mark Waid!

On May 10 in AVENGERS #7 from Mark Waid and Phil Noto, the Infamous Iron Man seeks to join the Avengers and help defeat a new mystical menace, but does he have what it takes? You decide! 

Name: Victor Von Doom

Aliases: Doctor Doom, Infamous Iron Man, etc.

Headquarters: Undisclosed

Position applied for: Team leader

Powers and abilities: Command of the mystic arts, mind transference, hypnosis, master martial artist, master swordsman, super-genius intellect.

Have you ever committed a crime? Many. However, as I am fighting for justice, picking up where Tony Stark left off as Iron Man, I do not see this as particularly relevant at this time.

Reason for seeking to join the Avengers: I have decided to focus my efforts on pursuing justice and leading the Avengers to achieve their fullest potential.

Education and Training: Given my track record I do not believe it necessary to elaborate on my capabilities.

Avengers #7 cover by Alex Ross

Qualifications: To better understand how to show the team I will be an invaluable asset I sought out chronicler Mark Waid, in an attempt to quell the team’s uncertainties. Waid has informed me that you’re, “never going to have a roll call vote where the team says, ‘Yay, we should let him in. Here’s an ID card, here’s the headquarters, make yourself at home.’” That is perfectly acceptable to me. I already posses a home and I do not wish to become friends; I only wish to better the team’s fighting abilities to ensure our world’s safety. Waid also believes my arrogance will be my downfall, saying that I view the team as chess pieces, moving them around at my will with no regard for their individual needs. To this I say, why is that problematic if I am an incredibly efficient and successful chess player? Remember that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Waid does admit that I posses a skillset the team needs, saying, “Nobody else has the mystical, magical connection that he does and that’s a big part of it; the strength, the flying, the armor, there are people on the team that can serve those functions, but Doom’s big skills are his command of magic and his scientific prowess.” Something the Avenger’s no longer have without The Scarlet Witch, and logically, I am the most qualified individual to fill that void. However, some believe I am, “a grenade that the Avengers have to leap on; his immediate instinct and solution to any problem is to blast it out of the way.” But when thought about logically, this is also a positive. It shows quick thinking, decisiveness and efficiency, all things needed to successfully lead a team in a combat situation.

Waid also told me what he believes is my only way to win some semblance of acceptance from the team: “I think they would have to hear genuine regret and compassion over past deeds, over a sustained period of time.” To this I will simply say that I am remorseful for past indiscretions, but my wallowing in regret does nothing to make up for these acts and so I will not waste more time explaining how I have changed. Instead, I will leave you with Waid’s opinion: “He genuinely believes he’s turned over a new leaf, he genuinely believes he’s a different person.”

References:

Mephisto, extra-dimensional demon – “Gives him a big thumbs up for his persistence, for his ingenuity and for his ability to act correctly under pressure.”

Magneto, mutant super villain – “One of his strengths is that he has the long game in mind, he’s always taking into consideration a world view, an idea of how things that he does affect the planet around him.”

Loki, Asgardian God – “Would definitely laud Doom’s cleverness and how he is a good problem solver.”

Will the Avengers come around to the idea of adding Victor Von Doom to their roster of heroes? Find out May 10 with AVENGERS #7, and June 7 in AVENGERS #8, both written by Mark Waid with art by Phil Noto.

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Writer Mark Waid on creating new Avengers history ahead of the final issue!

In 1965, three criminals joined Captain America to redefine and rebuild the Avengers. Cap, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Hawkeye became known as The Kookie Kwartet in one of the most momentous storylines in Avengers history, “The Old Order Changeth”—but, 52 years later, turns out their story wasn’t over.

AVENGERS POINT ONE writer Mark Waid and artist Barry Kitson have woven a new history into the fabric of the Marvel Universe. And the epic story, set across time and space from 1965 to 2017 and beyond, will conclude on March 29 with AVENGERS #5.1!

We sat down with Mark to discuss the art of telling an untold tale across Avengers eras, characters, and creators.

Marvel.com: What excited you most about enhancing a story that’s existed for so long? What new emphases did you want to bring to these characters?

Mark Waid: The appeal to me here was diving into a period of the Avengers that was really fraught with emotion and really fraught with soap opera, in a way they maybe haven’t been before or since quite that much. The idea that Captain America, who has been out of the ice—at this point in Marvel history—for about eight minutes, is handed the keys to the Avengers Mansion. Adding in three new criminals, who were not his choice to join the group. I was really intrigued by the ability to go back and deepen some of these relationships and do a little bit more, in a contemporary comics way, with how they felt about each other.

Marvel.com: Cap’s alignment with these three criminals—Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch—is one of the most fascinating components of this story. What’s your favorite aspect of writing that dynamic? How did you see it as specifically relevant today?

Mark Waid: My favorite element is Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch having to really acclimate to American culture. They’d never seen a television before. They weren’t stupid, but they were impoverished kids who came from an area in Europe where there was no industrialized background. So being able to play with that and being able to play with how they feel about suddenly being adored by people—going from being criminals to being, not only accepted, but considered heroes. That was the most fun of it for me.

Marvel.com: Is there a difference between the way you write the 1965 iterations of these characters and the way you write the 2017 versions? Do you approach them differently?

Mark Waid: The characters, no, I don’t approach them differently than I would today. That’s kind of what makes it fun. Taking my modern bag of tools and doing the kind of emotional beats that Stan Lee couldn’t do back in the day because it just wasn’t done. And doing that in the context of a much simpler Marvel Universe is what makes the whole thing appealing.

Marvel.com: What are the in-universe challenges of telling a new story that’s set in the midst of an old one?

Mark Waid: The specific challenge, and it’s one that I actually enjoy—working with editor Tom Brevoort trying to deal with this—is making sure that it fits. Constantly making sure that we get it right, making sure that we don’t screw up anything, or make it impossible to consider this something that actually happens between issues #16 and #17 of the 1965 series. And it’s not easy; sometimes I would plot something and have it ready for scripting and then I would realize, or Tom would realize, that the Avengers hadn’t done that by that point, or these characters hadn’t met yet, or this guy’s wearing a different suit, or whatever. But that wasn’t a hindrance to us, that was actually the fun of playing in that sandbox.

Marvel.com: Are there specific or unique creative obstacles that come with this kind of project?

Mark Waid: Not really, because here’s the thing: I have grown incredibly tired of pastiche. I don’t enjoy the attempt to emulate something so perfect [like Stan Lee’s voice] so concretely that it’s indistinguishable from what you’re trying to copy. We already had enough elements that are reflective of 1965—the style of lettering, the way the display lettering is done. So, to me, if I wanted to write this as if it was published in 1965, if I wanted to write it in Stan Lee’s voice, then I could have done that, but then it would’ve felt cheap. We wanted to have our own story, using more contemporary storytelling tools.

Marvel.com: You’ve worked with Barry Kitson for years now, so considering the source material, was your process for the Point One series any different relative to your past work together?

Mark Waid: No, actually it was very similar. The first issue had actually been written full script before we even had an artist, so I’m not used to working that way with Barry. But for the next four issues, once we had Barry on board, then its about letting Barry run with the action and the pacing. And then I would do the dialogue based on my original notes and whatever notes Barry gave in the margins. So it was very much the same way we’ve worked for years and years. We know each others’ rhythms by now and how to work together and how to trust each other.

Witness the grand finale with AVENGERS #5.1, by Mark Waid and artist Barry Kitson, on March 29!

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