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.
The team that brought you 100 Bullets is back with southern roots!
I’m a crime guy. There are certain contemporary writers that when their name is on a new crime book, I’m on the hook. Brian Azzarello is one of them. If you haven’t read 100 Bullets, what’s the matter with you? He and Eduardo Risso created a masterpiece for every fan of the genre to enjoy forever. Now, they’re back with a new story and under a new publishing banner.
Moonshine Vol. 1 is a collection of what we hope is merely the beginning of this epic prohibition era southern gothic noir. It’s a hardcore crime book about gangsters with a layer of horror on top. Moonshine is about Lou Pirlo, a “city-slick ‘torpedo'” that’s been sent from the Big Apple, New York City, to get a deal done with the best moonshiner in West Virginia. That moonshiner’s name is Hiram Holt and in this era where liquor could get you sent to prison, Hiram Holt is a king over a kingdom of his own making. Lou thinks he’ll take this country bumpkin for everything he has but Lou’s going to learn, in a real painful way, that Hiram Holt will do whatever it takes to protect his boozy operation and a bloody Holt family secret.
Do you like 100 Bullets? Do you like Southern Bastards? Do you like creators like Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, or David Lapham? Then you have zero excuses, especially at the reasonable price of $9.99 not to pick up this exciting new story from one of the most iconic comic book teams of the modern age.
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…
After being delayed one week (not bad when you consider the track record for DC Comics and Marvel’s bigger arcs that stretch across several issues) the, hopefully, grand finale of “The Button” is going to hit the shelves running this week. We’ll have one final lenticular cover that will leave fans of the JSA and legacy characters from the DC Universe salivating. Plus we’ll get to see if DC’s two greatest detectives can solve this timey-wimey murder mystery. And of course we’ll have to figure out if the resolution was worth creating the problem in the first place.
After seeing father and son Batmen unite in Batman #22, the Flash and our Batman are back running through the Speed Force as the Flashpoint timeline is wiped out in there wake, something we’d all thought had already happened but it turns out some powerful entity (paging Dr. Manhattan?) has been keeping together. As they race through the Speed Force still seeking answers to the murder of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, they encounter…Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash! The not quite dead yet speedster villain provided some tantalizing clues and is surely onto the scene at the end of Batman #21that kicked off this whole storyline but where are we being led to?
Hopes are high as this has been a damn good jolt for Batman and Flash, if not thus far the be-all end-all storyline full of reveals a lot of readers have been clamoring for since DC Universe: Rebirth #1. Expect at least one big reveal and possibly in this week’s final chapter. At least, that’s what I’m expecting!
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.
Oni Press re-releases a gem of an espionage thriller, Atomic Blonde, that you need to stop and gawk at for a few minutes this week. Yeah, that’s Charlize Theron on the cover, there’s a new movie coming out that’s got a badass trailer for it. But that’s all window dressing to get your eyes to stop on this title and appreciate what’s before you. If you’re a crime and spy genre enthusiast like me then you need to pay bloody attention.
It’s November 1989. The Berlin Wall is getting ready to fall. MI6 spy Lorraine Broughton has been sent to Berlin to investigate the death of another agent and track down a list that would reveal the names of every operative working there. Lorraine’s returned from the formerly titled coldest city of the Cold War to tell her tale and what she has to say is shocking.
Double crosses, assassinations gone wrong, bodies popping up where they shouldn’t be and enough twists to knot you into a pretzel layer this spy thriller. If you’re looking for a straight up adrenaline rush that’ll make James Bond blush and Jason Bourne want to forget everything all over again, congrats because this is the read you’ve been wanting. It’s not about reinventing the wheel of what makes a great spy thriller, sometimes it’s a treat to experience an excellent execution of the basics, with some twists of course. Why are you still reading this? Don’t you see Charlize Theron’s on the cover? Pick it up or face the wrath of Furiosa!
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?
On the one hand it’s brilliant strategy, keeping the artists fresh and the pacing even across the series. On the other hand, it’s a challenge to divide the readers’ attention with two stories told simultaneously. That’s a bit more than one might want to keep track of. Fortunately, with Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One, we can finally see the big picture that Mr. Rucka and Mrs. Scott have been making for us.
Wonder Woman’s origin story has been told and retold and told again for seeming ever. We’re all set to see a movie depicting it in theaters everywhere next month. Why does ever creator want a crack at the beginning of Diana Prince’s path to becoming Wonder Woman? Because it’s a great story that allows for writers and artists to make it their own. It’s a tale of hope and inspiration, empowerment through the embracing of one’s journey into adulthood, facing down fear to move forward in finding one’s place in the greater world. We know some of the gist from the versions that’ve come before this one: Diana Prince’s people, the Amazons, living in seclusion in Paradise, are rudely intruded upon by a crashing pilot named Steve Trevor. Trevor’s arrival is the end of their isolation as the Amazons must choose a champion of their own…one willing to sacrifice her home among her sisters to save a world she’s only ever heard of. She will be Wonder Woman and this is her first year as the world’s greatest protector.
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.
A Bat-family reunion across continuity in Batman #22
We’re halfway there. “The Button” has kicked into the next gear after the events of Flash #21 last week. What began in one Batcave has traveled to another’s via cosmic treadmill. The murder of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, is taking the two greatest detectives in the DC Universe back to the timeline that kicked off the New 52 in the first place. Yup, it’s not Groundhog’s Day, it’s just Flashpoint. You’d think Barry Allen would have learned to quit tempting fate by traveling through time. You’d be have thought WRONG. Now, with Batman and Batman and Flash coming face to face to face, what secrets will be unveiled after the tantalizing final line of last week’s Flash #21?
The endgame isn’t anywhere close to clear yet. However, the journey’s been entertaining so far and we’re definitely on pace for a well executed next step as the world of Watchmen inches closer to the DC Universe. There’s no question that fans’ expectations have been high and rightfully so. There’s also little doubt that this story still has a lot in store for us, dear readers. The idea’s always been a fun one to play with since the possibilities of tying the two worlds together were inextricably linked back in DC Universe: Rebirth #1. The question is: What will Batman #22 have in store for us to keep the faith that DC’s grand plan is one we can continue to trust in? There’re no shortages of stories that promise consequences across shared universes but are we truly on the edge of such a tale? There’s really only one right way to find out: Keep reading.
It’s rare for a writer to go back-to-back for our Graphic Spotlight but Jeff Lemire’s a rarity. Last Wednesday he returned to his roots with the intimate and epic Roughneck. This week, Jeff Lemire builds to a crescendo of his two years writing Valiant’s super soldier with Bloodshot USA.
For those of you die-hard Jeff Lemire fans who haven’t been following his run on Bloodshot Reborn, you might have been missing out on the best book he’s been crafting on a monthly basis. A treatise on violence in america within an impossible redemption tale, Bloodshot Reborn has showcased an octave of Lemire’s voice unlike anything else he’s done in his prolific career. Fortunately, any reader can pick up his biggest Bloodshot story yet.
The most dangerous virus is a weapon created by Project Rising Spirit. Now this virus has been unleashed on New York City. It can turn the frailest of civilians into an army of indestructible soldiers. This end of days pathogen is meant to destroy enemy nations from the inside out and it’s turned on a city of eight million people. It’s designed to recreate Project Rising Spirit’s crowning achievement up to this point in any man, woman, or child: Bloodshot.
Who released the virus turning millions into unstoppable killing machines? Only one person can find out the answers, Bloodshot himself. He must go on the greatest mission of his life and invade native soil in order stop a pandemic that could topple governments around the world if it escapes New York.
Jeff Lemire continues his hot streak and is joined by a top-of-his-game Doug Braithwaite to tell one of the most ambitious and high stakes story since Valiant returned to comics five years ago. A couple things are for sure: there’ll be traffic on the tunnels, the L train won’t be running, and you’re in for one bloody hell of a good time.
Collecting BLOODSHOT U.S.A. #1-4 and BLOODSHOT REBORN #0.
Last week, DC’s follow up to their DC Universe: Rebirth #1 special kicked off in Batman #21 with the first installment of the four-parter titled, “The Button.” The titular button came out of the speed force and lodged itself into a Batcave wall. You might recognize this button as belonging to the Comedian from Alan Moore’s seminal Watchmen. It’s rather fitting, and in no way coincidental, that it’s the murder of the Comedian that kicked off the Hugo Award-winning series decades ago and another murder is what sets this adventure by DC’s two greatest detective in motion.
Yes, they killed SPOILER. After a flash of blue lightning, SPOILER, made a final claim that could have fallen deaf on the Dark Knight’s unconscious bat-ears or perhaps it will be the “Rosebud” of this entire tale. We’ll see soon enough. Of course, SPOILER wasn’t the only pre-New 52 character that showed up last week, SPOILER also made a brief cameo and you can bet SPOILER will end up being a major player in this plot as it kicks into the next gear.
One chapter and epic lenticular cover is in the books, this week we’re going to be treated to another. Will Batman and Flash be able to figure out the multiple mysteries before them? Is SPOILER dead for keeps? Will we ever get more answers than questions in a damn comic book? Jump right in, the rumoring waters are white hot.
Yeah, I’m avoiding the names, sue me. You want to know what happened? Get the comic!
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?