Writer Robbie Thompson teases the arrival of The Chameleon!

On December 27, The Chameleon steps into the spotlight.

His chalky skin, his hollow eyes, his arrogant disposition…all of it will be familiar to Spidey fans. And he plans to take out the Wall-Crawler and the Merc with the Mouth with one big, brilliant plan in writer Robbie Thompson and artist Chris Bachalo’s SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #25!

We caught up with Robbie to get a peek inside the upcoming issue.

Marvel.com: Chameleon has been portrayed in a variety of ways over the years. What do you see as the key to Chameleon? How would you describe your “version” of Chameleon in this storyline?

Robbie Thompson: The Chameleon keeps you guessing. He constantly changes his appearance to get what he wants, but I think that deep down, he’s hiding from himself. He’s running from something and he’ll never escape it. That desire may be hidden, but it runs deep and in our story, and it’ll push him to try to pull off one of his biggest heists ever.

Chameleon sees what Deadpool sees in the absence of S.H.I.E.L.D.—an opportunity to steal weapons and sell them. But we learn pretty early on that this has been a disguise as well. He’s hunting for a much bigger payoff.

Marvel.com: What made Chameleon the perfect choice for this storyline? Creatively, how does having him in the story spark you as a writer?

Robbie Thompson: It’s made me paranoid! Chameleon could be anyone! He could be me! And all credit to editors Nick Lowe and Jordan D. White for suggesting Chameleon for our story. When we started talking about where Spider-Man and Deadpool would be at the beginning of the story, coming from their flagship books, we really wanted to have them go up against a familiar foe, as well as someone who could shine a light on our heroes and also mess with expectations.

He’s a classic, original Spider-Man villain and it feels great to play with that history. Chameleon was the perfect choice and really fueled our early conversations about how to shape the story we’re telling in the present, as well as the story we’ll be telling in the future, which starts with issue #26. That story features Old Man Parker and Old Man Wilson in a retirement home decades from now and it’s been ridiculous fun to work on with artist Scott Hepburn.

Marvel.com: How would you describe Chris Bachalo’s depiction of the super villain?

Robbie Thompson: Chris is a master storyteller and his work on this book has been incredible. I can’t say enough good things about his work. I’m an enormous fan of his and have been for years, and I feel really fortunate to be collaborating with him on this story.

With Chameleon, we have the opportunity to bring in a lot of different characters and looks—anyone could be Chameleon under that mask! Don’t trust us! Don’t trust me! Chris’s first reveal of Chameleon looks so fantastic and I can’t wait for folks to see what he does with the character moving forward.

Marvel.com: What about the combination of Deadpool and Spider-Man makes The Chameleon want to go for broke this way?

Robbie Thompson: Chameleon, a master manipulator, he sees a golden opportunity in the current landscape of the Marvel Universe—one that can really play to his strengths and one that has the potential to increase his strengths and powers tenfold. And also make him a ton of cash.

He’s messing with Deadpool for a very specific reason, which will be clear in issue #25, but because he studies human behavior, he’s going to detect conflict between Spider-Man and Deadpool and use it to his advantage as the story moves on. The more Spider-Man and Deadpool get at each other’s throats, the more it plays right into Chameleon’s plans.

Marvel.com: How does the Wall-Crawler view this new version of his old enemy?

Robbie Thompson: At first, it’s going to seem like Chameleon gets up to his old, thieving ways. Spider-Man feels like he knows this guy and his usual M.O. and that it should be easy.

It’s pretty clear from jump, though, that this is an amped up Chameleon. And as Spider-Man pieces together that Chameleon wants one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s darker secrets, he’ll have to up his game and put his feud with Deadpool aside to stop Chameleon before he goes too far.

Marvel.com: Last but not least, give the readers the elevator pitch on why #25 will be a can’t-miss installment.

Robbie Thompson: SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #25 is Part Three of “Arms Race!” Set in fabulous Tabula Rasa! Spider-Man vs. Deadpool vs. Chameleon! One of Deadpool’s crew loses their minds! Comedic dismemberment! And the next phase of Chameleon’s plan!

SPIDER-MAN VS. DEADPOOL #25, by Robbie Thompson and artist Chris Bachalo, drops on December 27!

Read More

Spider-Man turns over every rock and looks behind every door in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #24

 

By November 22, Spider-Man has just about run all out of patience. On that day, SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #24 hits stands and the Merc with the Mouth remains out and about. The Wallcrawler cannot take it anymore so he has decided to hunt down his former sorta-kinda partner.

We brainstormed some ideas for ol’ Webhead in the office and ran them by writer Robbie Thompson to see what he thought of them.

Patrol the whole of Manhattan via webswinging

Why it is a good idea:

“Patrol via webswinging is the perfect way to hunt for Deadpool,” agrees Thompson. “Deadpool is noisy, and likely to be less than conspicuous. So Spider-Man can cover much more ground this way, and check every nook and cranny for the Despicable Deadpool.”

Why it is a bad idea:

“What if Deadpool is in Jersey?” he wonders.

File a missing persons report with the NYPD

Why it is a good idea:

“Missing Persons report is a perfect idea,” the writer acknowledges. “Let the NYPD do their due diligence, while Spider-Man can use the free time catch up on Netflix shows.”

Why it is a bad idea:

“The NYPD have more important things to do, Spider-Man!” shouts Thompson. “Get off the couch and find this maniac!”

Consult one of Manhattan’s numerous psychics

Why it is a good idea:

“It can’t hurt,” shrugs the writer. “Plus, maybe they’ll give Spider-Man some winning lotto numbers. He could use the cash after his company went bust. Maybe just head straight to Dr. Strange’s and get this sorted straight away.”

Why it is a bad idea:

“What if the psychic actually ‘gets in the mind’ of Deadpool?” he says, outlining a worst case scenario. “Might not ever escape that circus.”

Ask Cable. They’re like best friends, right?

Why it is a good idea:

“Cable would definitely be a good resource for finding Deadpool…” nods the writer.

Why it is a bad idea:

“…in many pieces,” he adds.

Read the Daily Bugle’s super hero coverage to see if he’s mentioned

Why it is a good idea:

“The Bugle is the city’s most widely read paper with the best coverage of superheroes…”states Thompson.

Why it is a bad idea:

“…not named Spider-Man,” he continues. “Might be tough on Spider-Man’s ego. But maybe he could take out a ‘Missed Connections’ ad: ‘I was the super-hero, you were the anti-hero. The 7 express train last week. You were doing the Mad Magazine fold-in, I was hunting you down to bring you to justice.’”

Google him. It’s worth a shot.

Why it is a good idea:

“You could find his Facebook or Twitter page,” Thompson points out.

Why it is a bad idea:

“You could find his Facebook or Twitter page,” restates the writer.

Get the Spider-Mobile out of mothballs and take a road trip to try and find him.

Why it is a good idea:

“This is a great idea,” enthuses the writer. “I’m stealing this idea.”

Why it is a bad idea:

“There is no bad to this idea,” Thompson argues. “Hence: stealing it.”

Foster a bloodhound for a weekend, try to get him to pick up Deadpool’s scent

Why it is a good idea:

“Dogs are great trackers and make the best of friends!” the writer explains. “Spider-Man could use some friends right about now.”

Why it is a bad idea:

“Who will walk that poor dog when Spider-Man is not around?” he worries. “Who?! Okay, I’ll do it.”

Canvas the five boroughs with “Have You Seen This Merc” posters

Why it is a good idea:

“Hey, posters work for garage sales, why not finding Deadpool?” admits Thompson.

Why it is a bad idea:

“Wade would constantly call the hotline with false information, sending Spider-Man all over the city/country/world, to the most ridiculous places,” he states.

Reach out to a super hero friend who might be better at this

Why it is a good idea:

“Now this is a great idea which Nick Lowe and Jordan D. White pitched for the first issue we worked on!” reveals the writer. “So you’ll actually see this in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #23. Spoiler alert: it totally works! Kinda.”

Why it is a bad idea:

“Perfect idea is perfect!” Thompson contends. “It leads to shenanigans and fun and near death experiences! Fun for the whole family!”

SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #24, by Robbie Thompson and artist Chris Bachalo, hits on November 22!

Read More

Writer Robbie Thompson explores a new dynamic between Spidey and DP!

Fighting with your friends might just be one of the worst feelings in the world. When your pal has the proportional strength and speed of a spider or a nearly unmatched healing factor, well, then things can get really rough.

So it goes in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #23, due out November 8. Writer Robbie Thompson took a breath to tell us all about the quarrel between these former buddies.

Marvel.com: Despite surviving Arcade’s death traps in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #22, Peter and Wade are not, shall we say, great at the start of issue #23. What has ruptured their awkward partnership?

Robbie Thompson: Spider-Man and Deadpool’s lives are turned upside down post-Secret Empire. Spider-Man has gone back to basics, and Deadpool is wanted for murder—having killed Agent Coulson at the behest of St-evil Rogers.

When we pick up their story in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #23, Spider-Man learns that Deadpool is back to putting the “Merc” in the Merc with the Mouth. With S.H.I.E.L.D. no longer around, Deadpool has exploited their absence to the max and become [an] arms dealer.

From his POV, he tried to be a good guy, but it just didn’t take. From Spider-Man’s POV, Deadpool has to be taken in once and for all; he’s gone too far this time and has to pay for what he’s done.

Marvel.com: What does each one want to do to the other? How clearly defined are each’s plan for the other?

Robbie Thompson: For Deadpool, it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy. He’s going back to what he’s always been. And he does not care at all what anyone thinks about his decision…

…with the exception of Spider-Man. Spider-Man gets a pass! But of course, Deadpool has no interest in going to jail.

But jail isn’t all that Spider-Man wants for Deadpool. He wants to bring Deadpool in for all the right reasons, but he also wants to help him. It’s the Deadpool Reclamation Project to Spider-Man.

After everything that went down with Itsy-Bitsy, Spider-Man feels like he owes Deadpool—but he also feels that deep down, Deadpool has the capacity for good. He saw first-hand how good he could be. So, Spider-Man wants to rehab Deadpool…

…no matter how much punching and kicking that will take to make it stick this time.

Marvel.com: Besides one another, what antagonists are bedeviling the bickering duo in this issue?

Robbie Thompson: I don’t want to spoil the end of our second issue, but they will find out that they are both being antagonized by a very familiar villain from Spider-Man’s past, someone they can only stop by teaming up.

Marvel.com: Fights between friends can be no fun, but this book long has an established ability to balance the serious and the humorous. How are you making that balance work? How does new artist Chris Bachalo help you realize both sides of that tone?

Robbie Thompson: A big help in keeping it fun is the new status-quo in each of their main books. [AMAZING SPIDER-MAN writer] Dan Slott and [DEADPOOL writer] Gerry Duggan have done such an amazing job of placing these two in really new and exciting positions in their lives. Deadpool is in a dark place and Spider-Man is in a low point career-wise, and yes, they both have competing agendas in our book, but they’re going to [go] down swinging and quipping the whole way!

Early on, too, editors Nick Lowe and Jordan D. White had a great idea to give Deadpool a supporting cast in this book; he’s stolen a S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier, and it’s populated with some really bizarre characters from the Marvel Universe that have provided a lot of levity. If you’re a longtime Marvel fan, there will be some familiar faces and some new ones in Deadpool’s motley crew.

But the hero of this book is Chris Bachalo. He’s killing this thing with crazy action and a well-balanced tone. I’m looking at the art for #23 right now and it’s so much awesome! Chris has an amazing eye for design and detail, but what I love about what he’s done in this book is getting the most emotion out of the characters right from the jump. From the first time you see his Peter, you know exactly where Peter’s at in his life and you get a sense of his exasperation and annoyance later on when he’s in the Spidey suit. And it’s the same with Deadpool. He’s also brought our supporting cast to life with great performances, as well as new designs. Tim Townsend is inking and they are an absolute dream team.

Marvel.com: For fans of the duo, how much hope can you give them of these two making amends and reuniting? Is there any chance at all or is the end nigh?

Robbie Thompson: There’s always hope for these two knuckleheads! But it’s going to be a process; Spider-Man’s heart is in the right place, but Deadpool is pretty dug in. They may come to blows, but they’re also going to have to reluctantly team-up to beat a much bigger foe.

See what becomes of this dream team with SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #23, coming your way from writer Robbie Thompson and artist Chris Bachalo on November 8!

Read More

Writer Robbie Thompson celebrates the hope that Jack brought to comics!

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.

Robbie Thompson could see something special in Jack Kirby’s artwork from the first moment he discovered it.

Having written SILK, VENOM: SPACE KNIGHT, DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME, Thompson is set to take over SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL with issue #23. So he’s done his fair share of playing in the universe that Kirby helped create.

We celebrated Jack Kirby’s centennial alongside Robbie with a chat about discovering The King, loving Galactus, and adventuring with the Fantastic Four.

Marvel.com: Do you remember how you first discovered Jack’s artwork? Did you immediately enjoy it or did it take some getting used to?

Robbie Thompson: My brother and I used to get comics at the local drug store off a spinner rack—but for classic issues, we would get them from the local library. That’s where I first saw Kirby’s incredible work. They had copies of ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS, SON OF ORIGINS, BRING ON THE BAD GUYS, SUPER HERO WOMEN. All the artists in those collections are incredible, but Kirby’s work felt so singular. It became abundantly clear that he stood as a titan in creating the characters and universe my brother and I had grown to love.

Marvel.com: Does a particular Kirby book, arc, or series stick out in your mind as quintessential Jack?

Robbie Thompson: There’s almost too many to choose from! But I adore FANTASTIC FOUR; Kirby’s work on that series couldn’t have been more epic. There really wasn’t a book like it on stands at the time. It broke all kinds of ground and started the Marvel Universe. From character performances, to designs, to world-building, to layouts, Kirby created something timeless. The book has it all and it’s the one I revisit all the time. Plus, that’s where Kirby brought Galactus to life—and he’s one of my all-time favorite characters!

Marvel.com: When it came to creating new characters, few did it better than Jack and Stan Lee. But you’ve added a few toys to the Marvel sandbox yourself, so how does it feel adding to the stable they built?

Robbie Thompson: I feel incredibly fortunate to be standing on the shoulders of those giants and getting to play in the amazing universe they built. There’s a great quote from Kirby—it’s a perfect guiding light for playing in the Marvel Universe—which was, “I feel my characters are valid, my characters are people, my characters have hope. Hope is the thing that’ll take us through.” I love the hope in the Marvel Universe, and I’m so grateful to be playing a small role in it.

Marvel.com: In your mind, what about Kirby’s style and storytelling make him the person new fans keep discovering and older ones keep digging into?

Robbie Thompson: I think there’s really something for everyone in Kirby’s work if you love design, architecture, world-building, crazy technology, cosmic adventures, incredible characters with layered performances, romance, intrigue, suspense. He could do it all. He defined and then constantly redefined what could be done in a comic book as an art form—that’s what made him a legend.

Plenty of Kirby’s work has been adapted, and will be adapted for years to come; I can’t wait to see all the Kirby love in “Thor: Ragnarok.” His work defines pure comics—I think that’s what sets Kirby apart and what keeps him timeless. He did things that simply can’t be recreated in another art form. He was an absolute genius and I’m thrilled each new generation keeps finding and appreciating his legacy.

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.

Read More

Writer Robbie Thompson lays out his Legacy take on the Web-Head and the Merc!

The Wallcrawler and the Merc’s shaky partnership might not survive Marvel Legacy. With Spidey determined to get Wade Wilson to pay for his past discretions—and Deadpool simultaneously looking to make Peter Parker his pal, things look dire from the get-go.

However, fate—and writer Robbie Thompson—just can’t seem to keep these two away from each other. And on November 8, Thompson and artist Chris Bachalo throw down Marvel Legacy’s SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #23!

Thompson put on his matchmaker hat to give us his take on the characters, their partnership…and something about a retirement home.

Marvel.com: What are your visions for each character? What are the key components to making them feel as they should?

Robbie Thompson: They are the greatest duo in all of comics! Ever!

I think there are two keys to a Spider-Man/Deadpool book—and first is that it should be fun. Both of these characters are hilarious in their own right, but because they have such different senses of humor, putting them together can be ridiculously awesome. They bring out the best and worst in each other, and it’s important to honor each of their character’s histories—as well as their shared history of team-ups. The second key is making it an emotional story. I really loved what [writer] Joe Kelly and [artist] Ed McGuinness did with their last run. They had all the over-the-top action and humor you’d expect, but there was a very emotional story at the core of everything—and that’s something we’re very keen on holding up with this run.

Marvel.com: How about Spidey and Deadpool’s relationship to each otherwhat are the essential pieces there?

Robbie Thompson: Deadpool loves Spider-Man. And Spider-Man…tolerates Deadpool.

They both know how to push each other’s buttons (especially Deadpool). It’s the type of rhythm and chemistry you’d see in a classic buddy comedy—two opposites forced to work together. I think there’s also some classic sibling rivalry in their dynamic, too. So it’s essential that they’re both driving each other a little nuts, but they both also look out for the other…a quality that’s tested in the story we’re telling.

Marvel.com: How would you summarize your overall concept of the book?

Robbie Thompson: Spider-Man versus Deadpool!

Is their bro-mance over? After killing Agent Coulson, Deadpool is definitely on the outs in the Marvel Universe. And making matters worse, Deadpool really leans hard on the “Merc” in “Merc with a Mouth.” In the wake of Secret Empire, he’s become, well, a bit of an arms dealer. And Spider-Man can’t just sit and watch. This time, as you’ll see in the first issue, Spider-Man decides it’s time to bring Deadpool to justice.

Deadpool doesn’t care what anyone thinks about him or his business dealings…except Spider-Man, of course. Can they work this out peacefully? Will Deadpool go quietly? Not. Likely.

Marvel.com: How do you like working with Chris Bachalo? In what ways does he inspire your vision for the title? In what ways does he help you realize the tone and feel of the book?

Robbie Thompson: Chris is the vision for this title! He’s the best. I am a longtime, die-hard fan of Chris’s work. He’s one of my all-time favorite artists. At college when I was broke, I’d scrape together pennies just to pick up an issue of GENERATION X.

[Editor] Nick Lowe set up a fun meeting when we started working on this title—we all met at Disneyland and hashed out the first arc together while waiting for rides! Chris has incredible storytelling skills and it’s been a dream come true working with him on this book. He has such a clear sense of what he loves to create. He makes my job easy.

Working on DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME, I started writing looser scripts—and that’s the same process here; the scripts are the bare bones of the story in order to create the most space for Chris to weave his magic. And his work so far has been absolutely beyond expectations. He’s killing it and I cannot wait for people to see what he’s done.

Marvel.com: What’s happening in your first arc? Are there any recognizable characters, beyond Spidey and the Merc, that readers will encounter in the opening arc?

Robbie Thompson: I can’t give away too much detail without spoiling some larger things, but you’ll see in issue #1 that both Spider-Man and Deadpool are reeling from life post-Secret Wars. They’re both in really different places in their lives.

Spider-Man knows Deadpool killed Coulson—and he’s pissed. And when he sees that Deadpool has become a bit of an arms dealer, well, he throws down the gauntlet. Spidey knows he still owes Deadpool for making sure he didn’t cross the line with Itsy-Bitsy—but he also knows Deadpool finally has to pay for all of the bad stuff he’s done. Spider-Man feels like he needs to rehabilitate Deadpool. And Deadpool has zero interest in any of that.

Deadpool deals with some personal darkness at the top of our story and that’s going to give Spider-Man some pause. But he’ll remain determined to bring Deadpool to justice. Even though Deadpool wants to bring Spider-Man in to help with his latest enterprise.

So these two will be at odds from the start of the first issue, but there’s someone who’s going to get in the way of their shenanigans—someone that forces them to work together, even if only for a while. He’s going to be very, very familiar to fans as he’s one of Spider-Man’s classic villains.

Marvel.com: Beyond that, where do you hope to take the duo? Are there any other characters you’re excited to handle…or perhaps already have a plan for?

Robbie Thompson: We’ll be going to the future!

Taking a page from the flagship Deadpool book—where they’ve flashed back to untold Deadpool tales and brought those events to the present—we’ll be flashing forward into the distant future where Old Man Wilson and Old Man Parker are living in a retirement home. They are the two grumpiest old men in history—and were a blast to write. But something has gone horribly wrong in this future, especially for Spider-Man. Old Man Wilson is desperate to get Old Man Parker out for one last adventure, one last shot at redemption, and finds the perfect opportunity when someone from their past—our present—comes back to haunt them.

We’ll be flashing forward like this every two or three issues, until this future story ties directly into our present story, launching our second arc. Scott Hepburn is drawing the future issues and his art has been outstanding!

SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #23, by Robbie Thompson and artist Chris Bachalo, is available on November 8!

Read More

Writer Robbie Thompson summons a retrospective look as the series powers to a close!

Even magic has its limits.

On September 13, the Sorcerers will have to accept that reality in DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #12, as writer Robbie Thompson and artist Nathan Stockman conjure up an intense conclusion for the supernatural crew.

As he dusted off his magic artifacts for the last time, we caught up with Robbie to ask about his stellar work on the book—and what’s still to come.

Marvel.com: As we reach the end, how are you feeling about the DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME series as a whole?

Robbie Thompson: I’m feeling sad! This book was so much fun to work on—Editor Nick Lowe assembled a murderer’s row of all-star talent and I learned a ton on this book. Every collaborator has brought their A-game on every page.

But I also feel satisfied, and thanks again to Nick for that, too. We had time to wrap the story up the way we wanted to—with a satisfying conclusion to the story we set out to tell.

Marvel.com: How does the art for that last issue look? What was the artistic collaboration like over the course of the whole title?

Robbie Thompson: Thanks to Nate Stockman, [artist] Jim Campbell, and [letterer] Joe Caramagna, the last issue of the series looks stunning.

I’m so happy with how this book turned out—it’s been bittersweet, but also fun, to see the pages, colors, and lettering on this final issue. We decided to do something different for this one, inspired by FANTASTIC FOUR #252, by having this final issue be horizontal. It made for some fun and crazy layouts from Nate—and helped keep us on our toes right to the end of the run.

Marvel.com: As you wrote the characters, did any surprises emerge throughout the run? How would you characterize their emotional journeys over the course of the bookespecially Strange’s?

Robbie Thompson: I think the character that surprised me the most was Mindful One. We knew going in that Sir Isaac Newton was going to turn on the group—and that some characters would leave sooner rather than later—but I wasn’t expecting Mindful to be such an emotional character. His friendship with Kushala came out of the way that Javier Rodriguez drew them both, and based on that, we would all pitch moments for Mindful in each issue and he started to grow as a character. It was cool to see him become more of an emotional part of the team.

As for the rest of the team, typically, Sorcerers Supreme work alone—not with other Supremes. But because of the time travel, we had a chance for each of them to see that they were a part of a much larger story than they knew, which made for some emotional moments, especially for Doctor Strange. He gets to talk to someone in issue #11 that I wasn’t initially planning on him even meeting when we first set out to tell this story. But because this is a time travel story, we had the unique opportunity to say something a little more emotional in that exchange. And because we’re talking about Sorcerers Supreme throughout time, including Stephen Strange’s mentor Yao, we had a chance to have Strange see his own legacy—to have him understand the impact he’s had on magic and history.

Marvel.com: I’m sure you’ve had a few favorite moments over the course of the series. Looking back, which ones stand out?

Robbie Thompson: For me, the moments I love looking back on are where the collaborative nature of the story shined through; a moment where Nick or Editor Darren Shan had a great fix for a story or character beat, a moment where Javier Rodriguez took a page and completely made it his own, getting to watch Nate Stockman create his versions of future X-Men battling in Dublin, getting to watch colorist Jordie Bellaire take a two-page spread and work her magic.

Then there’s our letterer, Joe Caramagna—he’d come up with the perfect creation every time. Comics work best when everyone contributes, and I think the book’s best moments came from when everyone pitched in and brought their own spin to the story being told.

Marvel.com: How did it feel to sit down and write the final issue? How did it feel to finish the script?

Robbie Thompson: To be honest, I kept putting it off! We were ahead because I started writing out of order to help the schedule, so I just kept dragging my feet! I wrote a draft of the last script, which wasn’t bad or anything, but when Javier handed in his cover for the last issue, I threw my work in the trash. The image Javier sent in was so inspiring that I had to rewrite what I had—and it made for a much, much better ending. So I’m glad I waited and dragged my feet, because I like this ending much more than what I originally wrote.

Marvel.com: What can fans expect in the last issue?

Robbie Thompson: When readers see who shows up at the end of issue #11, they’ll want to see how this all ends in #12. It pays off something we set up all the way back in the first story. Again, Nick was awesome about giving us time to wind everything down the way we wanted—we’ve been able to wrap up every detail.

Witness the mystical end with DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #12, by Robbie Thompson and artist Nathan Stockman, on September 13!

Read More

A future version of Billy Kaplan swings by the office for some therapy!

The client, William “Billy” Kaplan—known previously as both Asgardian and Demiurge, and currently as Wiccan—arrived at this writer’s office after a long absence from therapy. Upon inviting Kaplan into the therapy room, however, it became clear that he was not the person I had previously worked with. My client was a late adolescent. “This” Kaplan presented as an adult. After much discussion, the client revealed that he was Kaplan but from a future and possibly alternate timeline. Recognizing roughly the era he found himself in, he decided to come to my office because he recalled a positive therapeutic relationship with me. He revealed he had a therapist in his proper timeline as well but that he was not me and his therapist was not yet active in my present. The client refused to explain why I was no longer seeing clients and I declined to pursue it further out of both respect for Kaplan and fear of what my own fate might be.

The client arrived with a file from his future therapist, a Dr. Robbie Thompson. The case summary read as followed: “Billy is one of the greatest Sorcerers in history. Everyone accepts this as fact, except Billy. He’s never truly believed he was worthy of being Dr. Stephen Strange’s successor to the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme, and I worry this self-doubt will prevent Billy from achieving the greatness we all know he’s capable of, or, worse, put him in a position where his doubts about his abilities compromise his safety, or the world’s.”

This summary did not strike me as particularly surprising or unusual given the client’s history. Previously, I had worked with him in processing the apparent death of a teammate—a death he felt tremendous guilt and responsibility for. Additionally, he was still working through the idea of being the result of the heroes Scarlet Witch and Vision’s relationship as well as the twin brother of Speed and the fact that he could not bring his two biological—insofar as that term can apply to his creation—parents back together. Given his orientation towards a significant internal locus of control, it follows that he would feel tremendous responsibility to be a “perfect” Sorcerer Supreme and therefore feel significant apprehension at his inability to be flawless.

Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #10 cover by Javier Rodriguez

As time was at a premium, I chose to focus on validating his fears—as none of us are perfect—while challenging his overall assumption that perfection was a necessary, or, in fact, even desirable level to reach. We explored the impossibility of perfection and the ways in which striving for it—at the cost of ignoring improvement and advancement—is a negative not just for his overall mental health but also for his ability to grow as a wielder of magic and crime fighter.

Before leaving, we began to develop a “toolbox” for him to use to address and overcome feelings of being unworthy of his position as Sorcerer Supreme and general confidence issues in day-to-day life including thought stopping techniques and how to choose easy positive self-talk expressions that feel relevant enough to him to be effective.

While I recognized it was not entirely within his ability to choose, I encouraged him to try to make his next appointment with Doctors Thompson and Javier Rodriguez scheduled for July 12 and provided him a file, marked DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #10, to give to them when he next meets with them, updating them on what was discussed in this session.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist whose colleagues know him as The Therapist Extreme.

Read More

Doctor Strange and company chase the cosmic big bad back to his home!

The Author threatens all existence. In DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #9 by Robbie Thompson and Javier Rodriguez, the team of magic casters decides such a risk cannot be ignored and so they take the fight to it where it lives. Can they possibly hope to defeat an opponent on its home turf when they barely annoyed it here on Earth?

We breathlessly reached out to writer Thompson for some reassurance. He had little.

Marvel.com: In order to defeat The Author, the Sorcerers have to give chase into its land. How did you conceptualize this sure to be unusual space? How did Javier Rodriguez bring your ideas about that realm to life?

Robbie Thompson: As always, I turned to my magical partner in crime, artist Javier Rodriguez. Working with Javier is incredibly inspiring as a writer. He has such a strong visual sense of storytelling and an incredible grasp of design and layout. When he first designed The Author, all I told him was the character’s true origins—spoiler alert!—that he’s actually an alien. Javier took it from there.

And that’s how editors Darren Shan and Nick Lowe and I approached the Author’s home world, which we’ll see a hint of in issue #8, but then in great detail in issue #9—we turned to Javier and set him loose. And boy, did he deliver! So, all credit belongs to Javier; he took a few very simple ideas and made them elegant and magical.

Marvel.com: What state are the Sorcerers in? Do they trust one another? If not, how do they view one another?

Robbie Thompson: The Sorcerers are pretty shook up by the betrayal of one of their own, Sir Isaac Newton. But in a sense, that betrayal has now forced them all to be on the same page. Newton was a problem, but he’s inadvertently conjured a much bigger problem for them all by summoning The Author to Earth. So, our hope is that if they survive this encounter, they’ll come out the other side a much stronger team.

Marvel.com: Given the Author’s ancient existence, is it really consequence free to eliminate him? What risks might the team be running?

Robbie Thompson: They’ll be risking their lives! The Author is an extremely powerful foe for them, and as we see in issues #8 and #9, the magic of the Sorcerers does little to no damage to this adversary. They’re going to have to find a much different rabbit to pull out of the hat in order to best this foe!

Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #9 cover by Javier Rodriguez

We wanted to continue to put our heroes in deeper and deeper trouble, while keeping the escalation connected to the source of this story: Merlin. So, we’ve been building toward this reveal since the first issue—with Newton waiting in the wings to turn on his fellow Sorcerers, his blind ambition exposing our heroes to a being more powerful than any they’ve faced so far.

Marvel.com: How does The Author view them? Do they elicit any kind of emotion at all?

Robbie Thompson: The Sorcerers are nothing but annoying gnats to The Author! He finds them all disappointing and weak! But arrogance is a weakness, too, and hopefully the Sorcerers will find a way to exploit that weakness in issue #9.

Marvel.com: As you look to the end of this arc, any last teases to offer to get the fans clamoring for it?

Robbie Thompson: Javier, inker Alvaro Lopez, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and letterer Joe Caramagna really outdid themselves with these last couple issues, culminating in a visually stunning ninth issue. They all really raised their game and delivered one of the best issues of the series. Javier’s design and layouts are mind-blowing and Alvaro’s inks are so textured and rich. Joe always finds a way to bring the characters’ voices to life in new and brilliant ways. And what can you say about Jordie Bellaire? She’s an absolutely incredible storyteller and her colors are astonishing. The whole team is amazing.

And that’s not all! In issue #10, young Nate Stockman and Tamra Bonvillain are back in [a story] that’s set in the future and features some of my all-time favorite mutants. Nate clearly had a blast working on that [one], it’s some of his best work to date, and I can’t wait for folks to see it!

Take a trip with Robbie Thompson, Javier Rodriguez, and company in DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #9 on June 28!

Read More

Robbie Thompson and Javier Rodriguez craft a new foe for Doctor Strange and friends!

First, The Forgotten bedeviled them. Then, Newton betrayed them. But those threats pale in comparison to The Author, the baddie briefly revealed at the end of DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #7, set to fully tear onto the scene in May 24’s issue #8.

While searching for shelter from what could very well be the end of the world we came across series writer Robbie Thompson and artist Javier Rodriguez who kindly took a break from chanting incantations to tell us all about this horrifying new antagonist.

Marvel.com: Issue #8 brings the Supremes and Newton face to face with a bloody baddie who goes by The Author. What can you tell us about this deadly new danger?

Robbie Thompson: The Author is the source of the power that brought our Sorcerers together back in issue #1. This creature wrote “The Word of God,” which followers of The Forgotten used to wield unlimited power. No spoilers, but in issue #8, we’ll learn who The Author really is, and more importantly, where he comes from…

Marvel.com: What kind of risk does this antagonist pose to our titular characters? How about the world at large?

Robbie Thompson: The Author is an enormous danger to our heroes and the world at large. He created the Word of God, a book with words so powerful that they can bend reality. If the Sorcerers—and guest stars the Avengers, Howard the Duck, and Luke Cage—don’t stop him, our world will be destroyed!

Marvel.com: Creatively, how did The Author come together? What made him the right villain for this moment for you?

Robbie Thompson: When discussing the first two arcs with editors Nick Lowe and Darren Shan, we really wanted to have some big turns and reveals every issue. In fact, the first call I had with Nick, he pitched out killing Merlin as the ending of the first issue. That really set the tone from the beginning and felt like the right way to pace out our story.

We wanted to continue to put our heroes in deeper and deeper trouble, while keeping the escalation connected to the source of this story: Merlin. So, we’ve been building toward this reveal since the first issue—with Newton waiting in the wings to turn on his fellow Sorcerers, his blind ambition exposing our heroes to a being more powerful than any they’ve faced so far.

Marvel.com: The Author boasts a pretty bizarre look. Creatively, where did you draw inspiration from to realize him/it? What about the look spoke to you as the right choice for the villain?

Javier Rodriguez: I like to think that the simplest concept leads to the most effective solution. In this case, I thought about things that would disturb the reader’s perception when they are out of place. So, a creature made of hands seemed pretty awesome, and I thought it fit well with Robbie’s requirements for the story. I drew all the bad characters for this book very big, looking for a real threat to a group of Sorcerers Supremes, and more visual when all of them are fighting at the same time.

Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #8 cover by Javier Rodriguez

Marvel.com: How did working with each other help you both to fully realize The Author?

Javier Rodriguez: Robbie and I exchange a lot of [e-mails]. Sometimes he sends me a detailed description and sometimes it’s an open field for creation. But to work with Robbie is like a dream. He leaves me a lot space to put in ideas and he doesn’t have any problem introducing those ideas, or adapting the story to fit with all the new ideas that pop up throughout the process.

Robbie Thompson: I keep saying this in interviews, but Javier really is a Sorcerer! He’s an absolute dream collaborator and master storyteller, and The Author wouldn’t exist or work at all without his work on this book.

After we briefly discussed the true nature of The Author—no spoilers!—Javier went off and designed the creature, and we were all blown away. It was perfect and was created entirely by his amazing mind. In layouts for issue #7, we were all delighted to see the “snaps” The Author uses to wield his “magic”—that’s all Javier, too, pushing the book and our story to be as visual as possible. He’s done that with every panel and every issue of the book.

I write the scripts to give him, inker Alvaro Lopez, colorist Jordie Bellaire and letter Joe Caramagna as much freedom as possible to collaborate. Every layout, design, and page from Javier is more ambitious than the last, and the whole team follows his lead, with everyone pushing the book with their talents.

Marvel.com: Newton is power mad, but he’s also pragmatic. In the face of this overwhelming threat, how does he react? How do the Supremes treat him in reaction to that?

Robbie Thompson: Unlike the rest of the Supremes, Newton knew what he was signing up for when Merlin came to him. He knew the Word of God was powering The Forgotten. And he would stop at nothing to get that book in his hands.

What he didn’t know was that the author of that book would come back to reclaim what it created! Worse, he doesn’t know where this creature hails from or how dangerous it is to magical heroes.

But, like you said, Newton is totally pragmatic—he’s going to team up with Strange to survive. And, of course, he hopes that if they defeat The Author, he can reclaim the Word of God and reshape the world as he sees fit. Strange and company are willing to team up for the time being, but they’ve been burned by this madman already, and won’t be fooled again.

Marvel.com: Without revealing too much, is there a particular moment from issue #8 of Author-inflicted devastation you can’t wait for fans to see realized on the page?

Javier Rodriguez: Well, yep, there’s a moment when we’ll see the use of pure comic language to show the power of a Sorcerer Supreme. The end of issue #8 and the first pages of #9 are some of the best pages that Robbie wrote for the series. Can’t wait to see readers’ reactions.

Robbie Thompson: Howard the Duck casts a spell! ‘nuff said!

Actually, I’ll say a bit more: there’s truly amazing work from the entire team on this issue, particularly Jordie, who finds such beautiful light and color in every issue. And it features all of our heroes, the Avengers, Luke Cage, said Duck, and more magic than you can shake a wand at!

Experience The Author in DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #8, brought to you by Robbie Thompson, Javier Rodriguez, and company on May 24!

Read More

Future X-Men and mystic mayhem fill artist Nathan Stockman’s plate!

In the future only one thing stands in the way of the invading Brood: Wiccan and a band of X-Men! That’s the story presented in the pages of DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #10 on July 12 by Robbie Thompson and guest artist Nathan Stockman.

Stockman, who also drew the first meeting between Doctor Strange and Isaac Newton in the pages of issue #5, hops on board to tell a tomorrow-set story featuring the adult Wiccan and his group of X-Men fighting an evolved version of the Brood.

We talked with Stockman and Thompson about conjuring up fantastical futures, re-designing X-Men, and collaborating with one another.

Marvel.com: Nathan, how is it for you as an artist jumping in on a book like this that has so much going on from issue to issue?

Nathan Stockman: It’s exciting. You never know what you’re going to get to draw next. With the magic corner of the Marvel Universe there’s literally nothing that’s off the table. I just do my best to try and keep up with all the crazy shenanigans that have gone on before and add to the madness. It’s nerve-wracking following on from the work [regular artists] Javier [Rodriguez], Alvaro [Lopez], and Jordie [Bellaire] have done previously but that really lights a fire under me to try my best to not make a mess of things!

The editorial team on the book is superb too. Darren [Shan] and Allison [Stock] help me keep track of things story-wise and point me in the right directions artistically. Editors are the unsung heroes of comics. They do so much work behind the scenes that rarely gets the praise it deserves so I want to make sure that readers know that they have as big a part to play in putting the books together as any artists or writers.

Marvel.com: Robbie, along similar lines, do you tailor your scripts a bit differently for Javier and Nathan?

Robbie Thompson: For sure! Collaboration is my favorite part of working in comics. I hash out the story with our amazing editors, and once we’re all on the same page, I do the same thing with Javier and Nathan. They’re both dynamic storytellers, so I format the scripts to give them as much room as possible to play with, and that way they can really make the stories we’re telling their own. Getting pages from them is pure joy—it’s what we’ve all talked about, but there’s always so many moments that have been added or expanded upon. I’m really lucky. On this particular issue, it was fun trading e-mails with Nate about the future X-Team and what we could do with each character. It was very clear from the layouts that Nate was having the time of his life designing these characters and bringing this story to life.

Marvel.com: This future-set story revolves around Wiccan fighting the Brood. In what ways have the nasty alien race changed both in motive and appearance?

Nathan Stockman: Appearance-wise I have to say I was selfish in wanting to keep the Brood classic looking. So they look the same as they ever did! I think they’re really cool looking, scary wee yokes so I didn’t want to mess with perfection! They do pack more of a bite than previously though.

Marvel.com: The future Wiccan also leads a different team, this one a group of X-Men. What can you tell us about this crew and how was it figuring out who would appear and what they’d look like?

Nathan Stockman: Robbie knows the way to my heart. When I read the lineup, it’s like he reached directly into my soul and crafted the perfect team for me.

I finally get to draw Banshee! Ireland’s own! As an Irishman this is such a big deal for me. We don’t have anyone! There [are] five billion super heroes in New York and like three from Ireland! I grew up reading GENERATION X so to have Sean, Jono, and Paige on the team is just a dream come true. Old man wizard Iceman is in the mix too and he’s a lot of fun! Colossus has long been one of my favorite X-Men too so getting to draw him as well is just super cool. I loved this old man Piotr version from the moment I set eyes on his glistening metallic lip liner a few years ago. I think most super heroes should have mustaches.

I have to say I completely fell in love with drawing Laura though. She’s such a cool character and a total badass. And you know what you get when you mix Colossus and Wolverine? Fastball Special! Another bucket list image scratched off the list! Seriously, the only thing that could make Laura any cooler would be a mustache—hmm, emailing my editors now.

With Iceman and Colossus there were pre-established looks, but I got to design some new costumes for the rest of the team which was really cool. I tried to make sure they were all recognizable so I stuck to familiar color schemes and design elements. Hopefully I didn’t shame their legacies!

Marvel.com: When it comes to actually getting big, supernatural effects on the page, how much of it is in the script and how much comes from the artist?

Nathan Stockman: It’s a mix of both, I think. It’s never just one or the other. Not just in term of effects but in pretty much all aspects of the process. Robbie’s scripts are fantastic and everything is there in them but what I love is that he’ll let me know that if I can think of something to add or a better way of getting something across to go for it. I really appreciate that as it gets me so invested and it’s a true collaboration rather than an assembly line production. We have had some great back-and-forth working together that I think has produced some really fun moments.

Robbie is my personal Sorcerer Supreme. He understands how to get the best out of me as an artist. By giving me exactly what I want all the time. He knows I’ll sulk and huff if I don’t get my way. That’s why I think we work well together: he just gives in and panders to me.

Basically what I’m saying is: everyone stay the hell away from my Robbie. He’s mine and you can’t have him!

See what the future holds for mutants and magic in DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #10 by Robbie Thompson and Nathan Stockman on July 12!

Read More