Eddie Brock’s Got That Old Familiar Feeling in Venom #150
Venom’s solo series turns 150 this week (although checking the math on how you get to 150 is quite the arithmetic aerobic exercise). With such a milestone for one of the most fan beloved Spider-Man villains of all time, Marvel is going all out with variants galore and most importantly for all of you, dear readers, is that Eddie Brock is back bonded with the Venom symbiote. That’s right, the first, most famous, and some fans may argue the best Venom has returned to web-slinging around New York city again.
It’s been a big year for Venom. Sony’s announced that the solo film is back on and progressing through development. Heck, they even have signed on Tom Hardy to star and Zombieland director,Ruben Fleischer, to helm the project. Eddie Brock is back in the symbiote’s saddle again. Why not throw a big party to reinvigorate one of the great Marvel villains (sometimes anti-hero) and it looks like the House of Ideas is going to do it in pretty grand style.
This will be an anniversary issue with what Marvel’s claiming to be “an oversized and brutal main story” plus there will be a back up feature from fan-favorite creators David Micheline and Ron Lim. There are still questions out there about how the symbiote parted ways with Flash Thompson, or Agent Venom, and what is to come now that the original Venom, Eddie Brock. Well, this might be a good place to start looking for the answers to some of the most important questions for Venom that have been plaguing fans for too long.
I Am Groot #1 is as close to a cheat as Marvel can get. I mean, come on, it’s Baby Freakin’ Groot. Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? Based on the box office receipts, the odds are you have. So, yeah, you get the idea and you know how stupidly cute this little guy is. And you’ve got a kid or niece or nephew or little cousin that you’re going to want this for. Does the story even matter? Is anyone going to do more than stare at the images of the baby sprite that constantly refers to himself in the third person? Probably not. But hey, here’s a little something for you to claim to care about…
It’s a case of lost in translation for the teensy weensy heavy hitter of the Guardians of the Galaxy. When the team gets caught in a wormhole, their cutest and most difficult to communicate member gets stranded on an unfamiliar planet. Separated billions of light-years away, Baby Groot has found himself among strange creatures and societies who can’t understand his, unique, way of speaking. Without his friends or a way to effectively figure out what he needs to do to be reunited with them, Baby Groot will need to find a way to get to the center of this world if there’s to be any hope. It’s sure to be an adorable action adventure story with everyone’s favorite Guardian. Don’t believe me? You stopped reading after the headline. Seriously, I could say anything right now and you wouldn’t even know it. For example, CENSORED died in CENSORED #2. See, nothing…Darn it, I’m buying three copies. I mean look at him, he’s too cute. Stupid Marvel…
Another week, another X-Men title launches as part of the Resurrxion initiative from Marvel. We’ve seen classic line-ups in X-Men Blue, a Kitty Pryde veteran A-Team in X-Men Gold, and a wholly chaotic elite killing squad come together in Weapon X. Now, we get the next grouping of Marvel’s Merry Mutants lead by former Gen-Xer turned vampire mom Jubilee in Generation X #1.
While the jocks and all-stars are out fighting sentinels and new takes on familiar foes over in those aforementioned titles, there’s still a group of mutants at the Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Outreach that are left out of the glory. These are the misfits akin to some of the characters in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run. These the mutants who maybe shouldn’t be seen trying to tackle on world threats or simply aren’t up to it yet. This is the remedial class that Jubilee is one of the instructors for and it’s her job to help them navigate a world that hates and fears them.
With a line-up like Quentin Quire, Eye-Boy, Benjamin Deeds, Bling, Nature Girl and new character named Nathanial Carver, this isn’t so much of an underdog story but more of a Runaways meets Breakfast Club type of chronicle. Writer Christina Strain has made it clear that these lovable losers won’t need to venture far off campus, away from Central Park, or even outside of New York City for trouble to find them. The trouble is sometimes just surviving from one day to the next.
If you’re looking for outcasts who don’t belong and want a story that’s determined to be a bit more self-contained, less ambitious in plot but shooting for the moon in character building, then this is your team.
Deadpool: Bad Blood is the Merc With A Mouth’s very first original graphic novel! After taking Hollywood by storm last year it’s time for everybody’s favorite crazy, fourth-wall breaking, healing factored, assassin with a heart of gold to takeover this new territory. Who better than to break this new ground than Deadpool’s co-creator Rob Liefeld. Yup, that’s not a typo and I’ll repeat it just to be on the safe side: Deadpool’s co-creator Rob Liefeld is back to do pencils and inks on this brand new Wade Wilson whacky ride.
Some said it would never happen to have Rob Liefeld back on a big project like this at the House of Ideas. However, the saying of “never say never” becomes truer with every day and every new announcement from the Big 2. Yes, he’s back, weird looking feet and massive muscles and all! Get ready for a bloody nostalgia trip as Liefeld and writers Chris Sims and Chad Bower take you through what looks to be a callback to the classic crazy shenanigans of everyone’s favorite overexposed mutant.
The plot? Does it matter? Fine, we’ll cover it. It seems to revolve around a new enemy named Thumper who keeps showing up and beating the retcons out of Deadpool. What is Deadpool’s connection to this new deadly enemy? Why does he keep getting his butt beaten like he owes Thumper two weeks worth of lunch money? What role will Domino, Cable, and Shatterstar have to play in all of this? Will Ryan Reynolds provide the voiceover for Audible when the time comes and what amazing viral message will he undoubtedly produce us to enjoy? We’ll find out this week as Marvel’s deadliest assassin (self-proclaimed of course) gets the OGN treatment.
Writer Cullen Bunn is no stranger to crafting stories of horror and the occult. There’s classic occultism and supernatural terror in Harrow County. Before that he began with his epic western zombie saga in The Sixth Gun, which you should absolutely read if you haven’t yet. In Regression #1 out this week, Mr. Bunn, along with his cohorts Danny Luckert and Marie Enger, will introduce us to a man whose waking life is challenged by his nightmares.
To be scared kicks up your adrenaline. And the key to scaring someone else to play on elemental fears and finding something universal to frighten with. In Regression #1, we are presented with the concept of our nightmares. Everyone has them. Everyone has had moments in a nightmare where you aren’t quite sure if you’re still asleep. In Regression #1, we find Adrian, a man who sets out to resolve the torture of his nightmares through a special type of hypnotherapy: He’s going to be regressed (hence the title), to experience his past lives and see if the psychological trauma that’s threatening his life is actually from before he was born.
The journey of his consciousness through his past lives unearth horrific visions that only worsen his situation upon being brought back to his current lifetime. The solution only made the problem worse. Unable to unsee what he’s witnessed, Adrian is drawn into a darker world of debauchery, insanity, mystery, and conspiracy. When Adrian came back from his journey through his past lives, he didn’t come home alone. What if there is no escape from your nightmares? What if the only thing you can do is fall deeper into the horror?
Team books seem to be popping all over the place, especially with the plethora of new X-Men titles that have and are continuing to debut. Well, here’s one from the Inhumans side of things. Except this isn’t the cosmic team you see in the pages of something like Royals, no, these are the dirty dozen version. ROLL CALL: Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, Karnak, and Inferno are led by former Nick Fury protege, Daisy Johnson, a.k.a. Quake! They hate Hydra and are going underground to free others like them who’re being imprisoned under this Steve Rogers fronted regime.
Say hello to the good guys and gals who are ready to fight for their rights and the rights of others like them. They will kick ass by night and fight amongst themselves by day. This isn’t a team assembled by some higher up who thought they’d be the perfect mix of powers. No, they’re all here with the same purpose but not the same motivations. Will a common goal be enough to keep Quake and Ms. Marvel from constantly butting heads? Can they thumb their noses up at the not-so-Secret Empire without getting caught? Is Devil Dinosaur about to become your all-time favorite Marvel character?
Get ready for a clash of claws, powers, and ideas about what it takes to save the world as the next generation of Inhumans arrive. The secret’s out, war has to be fought, and you won’t want to miss out on the opening salvo. Get it? Got it? Good!
Matthew Rosenberg has been a steadily rising star in comics for the last few years. After acclaimed run for his work on the gorgeous We Can Never Go Home, he broke down more doors over at Marvel with his Civil War II: Kingpin mini-series. The reception of which lead to the ongoing Kingpin series he’s currently got the fourth issue of coming out. He’s a creator who’s worked on almost every side of comics. He’s as versatile and knowledgeable a comics creator as there is and with the debuting Secret Warriors #1 coming out next week, Matthew Rosenberg will shock the world with his first team book amidst the turmoil of Secret Empire.
A former Forbidden Planet comics slinger like yours truly, we talk about the series he learned to read from, when he knew comics was going to be his way in the world, and what to expect from the mix of characters he’s getting to write in Secret Warriors!
MK: Welcome to another Creative Conversation. I am joined today by THE Matthew Rosenberg. Thanks for coming in and talking with me today, sir.
MR: Thanks for having me
MK: One of the questions that’s always fun to jump in with is, do you recall the first comic or run that stuck with you?
MR: Well the first comic I remember ever holding was an issue of Fantastic Four that my brother had. I remember carrying it around with me and just staring at the art, but having no idea what was actually going on. The first run I ever read was [Chris] Claremont’s X-Men. I basically learned to read with those books.
MK: Did you ever figure out what issue of Fantastic Four it was?
MR: No, actually. I’ve gone back and tried, but once I learned to read I was a big Fantastic Four fan, so all those blurred together in my adolescent brain.
MR: Yeah. I am 99% sure it was John Byrne stuff. But who can say for sure.
MK: Well, no one can say it wasn’t John Byrne (laughs). You talked about Claremont’s X-Men run as what you learned to read on, is it safe to say that run is one that’s influenced you as a comics creator?
MR: Yeah. I think it’s safe to say that it heavily influenced me as a person. I feel like every issue I read of that book exposed me to new ideas and ways of thinking. A lot of my core beliefs go back to that run. And, obviously, my love of comics comes from there as well.
MK: That’s amazing to have that connection so early on. Did you have any other runs early on that helped you fall deeper in love with the medium?
MK: Tell me you’ve been begging Marvel to work on a Star Wars book.
MR: Begging is a strong word. But yes. I am begging.
MK: I’d love to see you on a Boba Fett or Han Solo series.
MR: Those books have been amazing though, Jordan and Heather who edit the Marvel Star Wars line do a great job of curating it. They aren’t just letting any old riff-raff in the door, which hurts me as a creator, but makes me so happy as a fan. Yeah. There is so much I want to see. I always joke about how much I want to do a podracing comic with Daniel Warren Johnson on art. But I really want to do a podracing comic with Daniel Warren Johnson on art.
MK: I’d read it! Do you remember when you decided that you weren’t just going to be a fan anymore but that working in comics was what you wanted to do? And was writing always the path you saw for yourself?
MR: Yeah. I was working in music for a while and was just getting really burned out. I love music and hate the industry. At that point in my life, the only other thing I was really passionate about besides music was comics. They were a constant for me for almost my whole life. So when I just couldn’t take doing music stuff anymore I started thinking more about making comics. I knew I couldn’t draw, but I wanted to be creative. My whole family are writers. My mom, my dad, my uncle, my brother. So, as much as it’s possible, writing is in my DNA. And I just sort of dove in from there, with no real idea what I was doing.
MK: You jumped in though! I mean one of the coolest things about your journey, knowing you as long as I do, is that you’ve seen a lot of different sides of comics that not every creator is familiar with. Can you talk a little bit about how you found your way in and the different aspects you’ve gotten to work on?
MR: Yeah. I’m sort of obsessive about stuff. I like to know how things work. So, I studied all aspects of comics I could. I was reading coloring guides and watching lettering tutorials, tracking down interviews with editors. But then I really wanted to know about things more hands on. I quit my day job and took a job at Forbidden Planet so I could really see how books were bought and sold. It’s so crucial for comic creators to understand their readers and their partners in retail. And it was eye opening. From there, I took a job at a few small publishers just doing whatever I could. Retail outreach. Publicity. Social media. Pre-production. Editing. I don’t ever like asking someone to do something for me, without really knowing what I am asking of them. So all of that was incredibly helpful. And it also helped me build relationships and open doors when I was ready to be making publishable work. Or semi-publishable work.
MK: I’d argue it’s all damn publishable! I mean you’ve been hitting home runs with characters like Kingpin and Rocket Raccoon, and now you’re getting your own team book in Secret Warriors, out on shelves May 10th! You’re really building a home at Marvel it feels like. How did this series come about? Did you go to Marvel with the idea for this team or was it a little more of meeting in the middle?
MR: Well thanks. I hope Marvel fans like what I’m doing. As for Secret Warriors, it’s a bit of a funny story. Wil Moss, who was my original editor on my Kingpin mini-series got put in charge of the Inhumans. I am a big Inhumans fan but a huge fan of Quake. I immediately emailed Wil to say that I had an idea for Quake that I wanted to pitch. I sent in the pitch and Wil was really enthusiastic, but he came back and said, “What if Quake was part of a team? We need a new team book.” And from there it all came together in bits and pieces. I feel really lucky because I love our cast. Ms. Marvel is bar none one of the best books at Marvel right now. Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur has been a favorite of mine since it began. Inferno is a great part of Charles Soule‘s Inhumans run. And obviously Karnak is one of the great Marvel characters. So getting all of these wildly different together it just felt like we had a chance to do something really different and not what folks expect. I’m pretty proud of it.
MK: It’s a very cool mix of characters. What are you excited and hope readers will take away from the first issue on May 10th and from the rest of the first arc?
MR: I really hope people like what we do with the characters. I tried to be really faithful to who they are and what they are about, but we are putting some of them in very new and tough situations. I love them all, and really believe in them, but I want to see them tested. And I hope fans do, too. This book is a little darker and crazier than I think people are expecting. Things are really scary in the Marvel Universe right now, and our Secret Warriors are figuring out the best way to fight back. And that’s not always easy.
MK: Team books like this are always so compelling because of the relationships between teammates. Who do you think would butt heads the most, who might be the wild card, what makes these characters the best fit for this team? If they are.
MR: Well the first part is easy. Quake and Ms. Marvel butt heads the most. Ms. Marvel is a hero through and through. She wants to inspire. She wants to lead by example. And Quake was a spy and a weapon trained by Nick Fury. She knows that sometimes you have to do things that don’t sit right with you because they have to get done. I think Moon Girl is a real wild card. She’s not a team player, per se. She’s smarter than everyone else. And she is really just a kid. As for why they are each the best fit for the team? They aren’t. That’s sort of a real point in the book. They are six characters who are thrust together because of awful circumstances. They each have their own reasons for being there, their own agendas, and their own way of doing things. It’s a stretch to call them a team.
MK: That’s awesome.That’s just juicy to think about and see how they can coexist, if they can.
MR: Yeah. I think people will be surprised at where things end up. Or not.
MK: I love you bringing up Quake being Nick Fury’s apprentice. I remember it was you in fact who got me to read Jonathan Hickman‘s run on Secret Warriors where that relationship developed.
MR: Yeah. Hickman’s Secret Warriors is one of my all-time favorite comics. The way he has Quake and Fury working together, this troubled family dynamic, is so beautiful and heartbreaking.
MK: Totally agree and now she’s kind of in the Nick Fury role herself.
MR: It is something we are going to go into as the series goes on. Fury is gone and Quake is still very new to all of this. She’s tough and capable, but she never had the chance to grow into it. Fury dropped her in the deep end.
MK: To bring things back around a little as we head into the home stretch. you talked about how your whole family are writers. Why write comics? What is about comics versus say film or T.V. or the stage that sets it apart for you as a creator?
MR: I love all types of writing. People in my family have written novels, essays, movies, T.V. shows, plays, you name it. But for me, comics has always been my love. Everything about it from the worlds and characters, to the the tactile feel of a comic, to comic shops and culture. I find it all energizing and inspiring. That’s what attracted me.
MK: Thank you for that. If you could go back, what advice would you give the Matthew Rosenberg who was just starting out?
MR: Save more money. Sell more of your stuff you don’t need
MK: Fair. Totally fair. Which creators are on your personal Mount Rushmore of Comics?
MK: I don’t know if it’s blasphemy. Calvin & Hobbes can be read at eight and twenty-eight and fifty-eight and mean something incredibly important and different at each age.
MR: True. I think Peanuts works on that level, too, in some ways. But Calvin & Hobbes always felt more like a narrative to me. Peanuts was much more of just moments in time. Oh, and Alan Moore. I’m bad at this
MK: You’re not bad at this, you just need a bigger mountain And last but not least, if you were working in a shop and someone came up to you saying, “I’ve never read comics before, what should I read first?” What five books would you tell them to pick up?
It’s been a difficult life for Jean Grey. Well, it might be if she doesn’t find a way to change her destiny. Trapped in our present, blocked from returning to her past, she’s about to find herself fighting off her future. Jean Grey’s never had her own solo series before. With the spotlight solely on Marvel Girl in this week’s Jean Grey #1 the big question that’s going to be raised is can she avoid becoming the Phoenix, and thus turning into the Dark Phoenix that, you know, murders a planet and almost kills all the X-Men then dies repeatedly? (Yeah, I know it’s a run on sentence, so’s her character history)
Dennis Hopeless is no stranger to Jean Grey, having written young Jean’s adventures in All-New X-Men. He’s a good fit to chronicle her destiny defying mission. With fellow X-Men franchise artist in tow, Victor Ibanez, there’s a lot of possibility for a great coming of age story about denying the inevitable by the will and actions of one person. If the preview pages are to be believed, this Jean Grey is ready to strike out a bit on her own and find her place. Except just when she think she’s found some space for change, she’s set to experience a vision of the Phoenix Force finding her and fulfilling the deadly fate we’ve read for decades. Will Jean Grey only fight the future and bring about her destiny? Can she find a way to avoid all that death and dying? We can find out together this week in Jean Grey #1 and take it from there.
Yes, that’s right you’re reading this correctly, THE Ben Reilly is web-slinging is his way into an all-new ongoing series, Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1. One of the most polarizing characters in the history of comic books is starting a new chapter where his fate will hang in a balancing act between the hero he aspires to become again versus the villain his flaws led him to recently being. Can this unhinged clone of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man find his way back onto the righteous path?
After the events of The Clone Conspiracy, most all of us readers thought that Ben Reilly has met his maker for the umpteenth time. Turns out….psych! Ben’s back but sure as heck doesn’t have it all together. Haunted by warring parts of his psyche, Ben is torn between finding his way back to the days when he wanted to be the best hero out there and falling back into his recently resurrecting ways. Far from home, this new old Scarlet Spider is going to have a lot on his plate right from the get-go.
Peter David‘s no stranger to dealing with characters that have, um, identity issues. See his entire run on X-Factor for more. Nor is he a stranger to the Spider-Man corner of the Marvel Universe (Spider-Man 2099, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Death of Jean Dewolff). Now, though, Peter David has set himself up with the task of crafting the character journey for a man who’s talking to the manifestation of his hoodied hero former self on one shoulder and the masked villain he’s running from being on the other shoulder. With all the voices he hears in his head, not all comfort him or understand, will Peter David be able to lead Ben Reilly back into the hearts of the public and the readers? Well, not if Kaine kills him first!
Adam Gorham is a rising star in comics. Don’t believe me? What else would you call someone who’s being shot straight to the stars by drawing one of Marvel’s highest profile characters with a movie coming out? Plus, the fact it’s a cosmic character with space crime overtones. Adam Gorham’s a model of work ethic and determination, not to mention humility. He gives us a rough outline of his journey thus far, what we can expect from the upcoming Rocket #1 out on May 10th and offers sage advice to artists drawing their own path in the industry.
MK: Adam, thank you so much for having a Creative Conversation with me today. One of the questions I always like to start with is, do you remember the first comic you owned or the first one that made an impression on you?
AG: the pleasure is mine! I’m excited to talk about Rocket with my pal Matt Klein!
MK: Nice rhyme.
AG: Totally unintentional. I amaze myself (laughs). The first comic I owned and really cherished, and has left an impact on me to this day, is Batman: The Cult, the graphic novel. My father got it for me, probably without even looking inside of it. This was when comics were at their height in the 90’s and the local newspaper and cigar shop sold comics. Bernie Wrightson’s work was my first major influence.
MK: I freaking love that book. I mean, Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson, it’s a gem. In talking with people in shops that’s an often undiscovered gem. You mentioned Bernie Wrightson as your first major influence, who were some others at different points in your journey to today?
AG: Well, I loved comics as a kid, but rarely read them. I liked them for the art and would draw what I saw. All the mythos and lore I got loosely from 90’s cartoons like [Batman: TAS], Spider-Man, X-Men, etc. so without knowing many names at the time, I was certainly informed by the heavyweights of the 90’s. However, I fell out of comics around ten or so, about the time when kids let go of their “kids stuff”. I didn’t get back into loving comic artwork until eleventh grade, and that was after discovering Alex Ross, particularly Kingdom Come.
MK: So good!
AG: It was a revelation for me. Ross’ work was the first time for me that comic art felt like classic works of art that could be hung somewhere. When I started getting back into it, I was in love with what Bryan Hitch was doing on The Ultimates. In fact, I really liked Ultimate Marvel at the time. Leinil Yu was another favorite.
MK: There was a ton of top talent working on Marvel’s Ultimate Universe at that point. Do you have a favorite Ultimate Universe run or story?
AG: Well I really liked the Ultimate X-Men stuff for a while. The first arc was epic. I enjoyed most of Return to Weapon X. Ultimates 2 probably stands apart though as the height of those titles.it took FOREVER for it to come out, but in the end it was pretty satisfying
MK: Great art can be worth the wait. How did you come to the decision that working in comics was what you wanted to do?
AG: I drew all my life. That’s not saying much. Most kids love to draw. However, I was always applauded for how well I drew for my age, so I grew up with drawing as “my thing.” And for a long time that was enough. I didn’t have a direct application or career in mind for it, but I excelled at drawing superheroes, so comics seemed an obvious choice. The only thing is, I was a terrible student with no ambition. Drawing comics as a career was an easy thing to talk about, but pursuing it was murky and not always tangible. I did go to art school and flamed out because, as I say, terrible student. Ultimately, after a few years of working one dirty job or another, my partner dragged me to my first comic convention and really opened up my eyes to this world I’d previously only known through Wizard magazines and comic shops. I was working in a grocery warehouse. Things with my significant other were getting serious. We wanted to start a new chapter in our lives and it became clear I needed a new goal in life. Or a goal in life. So when I left the warehouse job, I went for broke and looked for a job illustrating. I found one off Craigslist (laughs).
MK: What was the job?
AG: My first ever gig drawing comics was a 128-page graphic novel, written by a Canadian film director who wanted to adapt his indie vampire movie into a comic. Before that I had drawn a few scant pages for my own ideas. And once I started there was no looking back.
MK: That sounds a bit like you jumped into the deep end with a 128 page project right off the bat!
AG: Totally. It was the first opportunity I found and I seized it. I didn’t know how or where else to find work. In the past I had sent submissions to publishers, back when most publishers still took open submissions. I have a polite and informative rejection letter from Marvel, actually.
MK: That’s freaking awesome though! You talked about going to a convention kind of blew open your mind about comics and the industry. As an artist, how do you like conventions now being on the other side of the table? because I remember that’s how we met and i bugged you for a sketch that i recently proudly showed off to io9.
AG: Going as a fan and going as part of your job are two very different experiences. Pros and cons to each side. When I went as fan all I could think about was getting comics signed and saying, “Hi” to people I admired. I put myself through crazy lines and jumped through hoops to meet creators like Alex Ross, Brian Bolland and so on. It was fun but exhausting. You really invested a part of yourself. As soon as I started tabling, that was out the window. It’s not like I made a conscious decision to regard conventions differently. It’s just that creating a book and taking it to market changes your priorities.
MK: it’s part of your business. you’re a brand now with obligations.
MK: Do you have any memorable requests from fans at conventions? Or any favorite sketches you’ve done?
AG: I’ve never had a bizarre request. Everything I’ve been asked to draw has been pretty fun, although I think I’ve only recently started drawing well at conventions. The past couple years I’ve improved, whereas drawing at a table was an uncomfortable experience. I got the hang of it though. So anything beyond a year or two ago I look back on and cringe. Your Man-Bat is a favorite of mine. I did a Frank Miller Dark Knight at NYCC that was very nice.
MK: if you could go back some years, what advice would you give yourself about being a comic book artist?
AG: With hindsight there’s so much I would impart. My problems starting out was, I thought I knew just how much work was involved with making comics. I would go back and tell myself “Nope. Work harder.” One thing I tell others is not to feel beholden to any one thing they’ve drawn. Draftsmanship is so very important. teaching yourself to draw things over and over, refining, and not being precious about something because you spend an hour on it. Your ideas and skill will always improve with every pass if you put in the effort, so it’s crazy to me to draw something once and thinking, “Well, I can see this is off, this other thing is wonky, but I just spent two hours drawing it, so good enough.” I’ve redrawn entire pages because a better idea struck me while I was driving home or at the store or on a walk.
MK: How many hours a day do you draw?
AG: I draw every day. Working constantly. Some days I work eight hours and others twelve or sixteen. Depends on where I’m at. I have two kids that, once they’re home, I can’t do anything else until they’re in bed. So I don’t always draw as much as I want to in a work day. But I try to make up with time later
MK: That’s incredibly intimidating and inspiring at the same time (laughs). Let’s pivot real quick to your ridiculously exciting new series coming up. So, congratulations on being the artist on the upcoming Rocket #1 with Al Ewing. It seems like a pretty awesome moment to be working on this character with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 coming out so close to the release of the series. When you got the gig, how was the book described to you?
AG: It was a thrilling experience for me because of the sheer amount of suspense involved.
AG: I was worried what I’d move on to. Like, I had some options, and I had some ideas of what step to take next. I was gutted, to be honest, because i wanted The Violent to carry on. Ed [Brisson] had this great idea for the next chapter and I was ready for it. So, I was sweating it a little. Then later one afternoon while I was at the supermarket Ii got an email from Marvel asking if I was interested in working for them. That alone was very exciting, but it could’ve meant anything from a cover to a tie-in or whatever
AG: But naturally I said yes. they told me they’d have some information in a couple days. For two days my mind went WILD with possibilities
MK: Was Rocket Raccoon on that list of possibilities?
AG: Ha! No. I figured since I had just done a street level crime comic, something like Punisher or whatever would be the obvious route. I met with a good friend of mine, Michael Walsh, who was doing Rocket and Groot at the time. We were giddy over what it could be, no matter how small. When Marvel offered me a new #1 ongoing, I was intoxicated. Like, it wasn’t even that it was Rocket. At the time, we were calling it something else. The change of name was also in the cards. But the fact I’d be coming on with such a great opportunity was unreal. Anyway, when we finally got talking about what the book would be, my place as an artist began to make sense.
MK: How so? And this is an interesting pattern here, your first comic is a 128 page book, your first gig at Marvel is an ongoing for one of the most publicly recognized characters! You’re really seizing these opportunities that not everybody gets. It’s inspiring.
AG: I forget who exactly gave me the lowdown, but they said the vision for this book would be Rocket in his element pulling heists in space. In conversation we compared it to Parker graphic novels. Al [Ewing] had this idea to use prose, reinforcing the theme of a hard-boiled thriller. So right away we talked about how pages would be structured to accommodate Al’s prose. and how Rocket’s default outfit in this series would be a suit, open collar, no tie. Parker, even Daniel Ocean make good comparisons, but our Rocket has a broken heart that reminds me more of George Clooney’s Jack Foley from “Out of Sight.”
MK: You just named one of my top 10 favorite films of all time!
AG: IT’S SO GOOD! Fun story about that movie. When I was a kid I was grounded. I forget why, but I know I earned it. My parents left to get groceries one saturday afternoon. While they were out my friends called asking if I’d go to the movies with them. Somehow I thought I could sneak out, see a two hour movie, and bus it home before they ever got home. The only thing playing at the theatre was “Out of Sight” which I had seen ads for but wasn’t the type of movie I was rushing to see at the time. Man, oh man, it was the coolest thing I ever saw at that point.
MK: Uh, yeah! Seriously, anybody reading this who hasn’t seen “Out of Sight” needs to immediately go watch it!
AG: And I felt like such a smooth operator for sneaking out to see this slick flick. I was like, twelve or thirteen at the time. I can’t recall. But I walked out of the theatre like, “Look at me now, world!”
MK: Did you get busted?
AG: Oh, of course! My parents were out of the house for maybe an hour, discovered I took off, and had three hours to sit and plan my punishment. I walked into verbal cannon fire.
MK: That’s epic. Okay, we’re in the home stretch here. If someone’s been living in a bubble for the last few years and has no idea who Rocket is, how would you describe your new series to them?
AG: First off, congratulations on leaving your bubble. Let me introduce you to Rocket: he’s a scruffy outlaw, a lost soul, a space raccoonoid looking for his place in the galaxy when he’s not saving it with the Guardians. That place usually ends up being a dangerous one, where he’s risking it for, surprisingly, a chance at love lost. If that doesn’t work out, then cold revenge.
MK: Who is on your Mount Rushmore of comics?
AG: I forget how many heads are on Rushmore, but let’s say four, and my Rushmore of Comics is comprised of: Frank Quitely, Alex Ross, Bernie Wrightson, and Moebius.
MK: That’s an eclectic looking Mount Rushmore!
AG: Rushmore is really weird, when you think about it.
MK: Last but not least: If you meet someone that’s never read a comic before, what 5 reads would you tell them to pick up?
Now, for fans of the House of Ideas, this week is the start of a hotly debated event. There’s a lot of heat in the discussions for many reasons, but one started a while back in Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, where it was revealed that “Old Reliable” himself is in fact an undercover agent of Hydra. A lot of readers were left shaking their fists while others were scratching their heads.
From there, the nature of Steve’s history having been altered by the Red Skull tweaking with a cosmic cube filled in some back story but the path to Cap and Hydra’s endgame was unclear. Like DC did with their DC Universe: Rebirth #1 one-shot, Marvel used a tentpole release to further build the foundation for this company altering event. As the dust settled on Civil War II, Steve Rogers was appointed the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and thanks to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Act, he now has more authority than any director before him (sorry, Nick Fury!).
Meanwhile, Cap’s been orchestrating a Chitauri invasion of Earth which, based on the preview pages released, looks like will be a focal point in Secret Empire #0. Add in the death of Jack Flag, the trial of Maria Hill, and the dispatching of the Red Skull in his series’ last issue, and Steve Rogers is set to run the table all in the name of Hydra. Who can stop, arguably, the former greatest and most beloved hero in the history of the Marvel Universe? Apparently, it’s going to take everybody!
Rumors run rampant about what Marvel’s status quo will be after the Secret Empire’s saga is done. Will Steve Rogers be returned to the good ole Captain America he once was? So soon after the casualties from Civil War II, could other beloved characters be sacrificed or terminated with extreme prejudice? Will Ulysses’ vision of Hydra’s dark reign over the world come true? Or will this lead to something even more game changing than even Secret Wars did less than two years ago? Is their Rebirth or a “New 52” style reboot?
The journey to all of our answers will begin in this special zero issue from Steve Rogers scribe Nick Spencer and artists Daniel Acuña and Rod Reiss. Marvel fans, are, you rrrrrrrrready?
The Crew returns as Black Panther’s world expands to Harlem in this new series!
Ta-Nehisi Coates has been building up an unstoppable force in Black Panther’s ever growing corner of the Marvel Comics Universe. After selling 300,000 copies of Black Panther #1 last year, a second book was launched by Coates, Roxann Gay, and poet Yona Harvey in Black Panther World of Wakanda. Now, Coates and Harvey are going to put a new twist on a little known but much beloved concept from Marvel’s past in Black Panther & The Crew #1 this week.
It’s a book reflecting the issues of today and connecting them also to issues from Marvel’s past. The book begins with an activist dying in police custody. T’Challa assembles his team of Luke Cage, Storm, Misty Knight, and Manifold to investigate what really happened in Harlem. Coates has made it clear that he lived in Harlem for seven years and there’s a lot of love for the neighborhood being put into this book. Now, it’s comics, so nothing will be as it first appears but what is certain are the powerhouses involved in crafting a story that showcases the bonds betweens wounds of the past creating scars in the present. We’ll see a group of heroes that have histories of saving both the streets and the world challenged in new ways they haven’t quite experienced before.
Make no bones about it, this book is a must-read first issue. Well? What are you doing still reading this? Go grab it off the shelf right now!
Marvel wants to give you the blues, but in a good way.
Last week we had something old in X-Men Gold #1, with the veterans of the currently in-continuity corner of the Marvel Universe. I dare say, if you’ve read that single issue yet that they also gave you something borrowed (e.g. the name of the central villain). This week Marvel wants to bring you something new and something blue, in X-Men Blue #1. How successful are they? That’s for you, dear readers, to decide.
The time-displaced X-Men originals are launching a new chapter of their own adventures. If you’ve been looking to see the classic X-Men team of the Lee and Kirby kicking bad guys in the face front and center here’s your opportunity. Marvel Girl leads Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, and Angel in this first issue establishing old and new threats to the original Fab Five. However, how will this team of old school X-Men deal with their new mentor, their formerly sword enemy, Magneto! If you’ve been following the Master of Magnetism’s journey over the last few years you get a sense that there’re going to be a lot of clashes right from the get-go. Will this team be broken before it can truly function together?
In the wake of Inhumans Vs. X-Men, this is going to be the team you lean on for a note of nostalgia and, Marvel seems to hope, a way to bring younger readers a taste of something that feels fresh. Since retro’s a thing that I’m told’s mostly “in” these days, this would appear to be Marvel’s way of reaching out to that demographic. Can you put a new shine on a classic line up? Will there be enough new and enough familiar in a perfect recipe of easy to digest comic adventures? We’re going to find out this New Comic Book Day when X-Men Blue #1 hits shelves.
Cullen Bunn is no stranger to Magneto or tackling complex villains and delicate group dynamics. Will he, along with explosive artists Jorge Molina and Matteo Buffagni, bring us the next renaissance of X-Men stories? We have to read to find out.
There’s going to be a big question developing an answer over the next few months: Are you Team Gold or Team Blue? This week we get our first taste of the former as the Resurrxion of the X-Men franchise looks to build off of last week’s status quo establishing one-shot, X-Men Prime #1. This week? X-Men Gold #1 hits shelves. Who’s leading? Who’s following? Is this truly a return to the great X-Men stories of lore?
Coming out of the Inhumans Vs. X-Men, Kitty Pryde will take on the role of team leader for a squad of what Marvel’s billing as the most iconic X-Men. Let’s take a look at the roster and see if you agree: Storm (true). Colossus (pretty true?). Nightcrawler (true). Old Man Logan (kind of true). Prestige (Rachel Grey re-branded). Not an uninteresting line-up. Right now things look rough for mutantkind (when hasn’t it?). But Kitty Pryde’s X-Men are set with a mission and a purpose: to be heroes and defend even those who fear them. There’s no easy path to go down, and time will be needed to see if the X-Men can win back all the hearts and minds of those who distrust them, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
Can X-Men Gold #1 help build a place again in your heart and on your pull lists for the merry mutants?
Okay, that didn’t quite have the ring of Professor X’s iconic rallying cry. However, that looks to be the new mutant status quo that Marvel is setting up after the eventful events of Inhumans Vs. X-Men. There’s no question that that dark chapter in X-Men history has left the merry band of mutants in a very difficult and not necessarily popular place. However, for longtime fans awaiting the return to prominence for this franchise, it was the springboard into what will be a slew of new X-titles. It all begins here with X-Men Prime #1 (no relation to the one-shot of similar name after the original “Age of Apocalypse”saga).
Kitty Pryde is one of the most beloved X-Men characters of all-time. She’s for the most part been able to stay squeakier and cleaner than many of the other X-Men in the past few years. Since Kitty missed all the hubbub with that pesky war of Emma Frost’s recently, Kitty is visited by Storm and is asked to lead the X-Men back into good graces of the world. It’s a tall order. It’s a nice bit of coming full circle and suddenly the new X-Men status quo is going to resemble a little of what the Ultimate Universe’s version was for a little while there after the awful happenings of Ultimatum. Kitty will be charged with leading the mutant cause in a world that fears them and many enemies (new, old, you name ’em) will be amping up.
How will Kitty Pryde begin the path of progress and Resurrxion for some of Marvel’s most important characters and properties? You can find out in X-Men Prime #1 . Get to the shop early or else do as Rogue would suggest, “Pull it or lose it, Sugar.”
For more on the upcoming X-Men Resurrxion that Marvel has us salivating for, here’s a trailer from the House of Ideas laying out when all of the new X-Men series will be fighting their way to your shelves: