Kurt Busiek is teaming up with Yildiray Cinar and is putting together an epic team of heroes across the Marvel Universe in their new series The Marvels, but they're also bringing some brand new characters along for the ride. The Marvels is described as the "biggest, wildest, and most sprawling series ever to hit the Marvel Universe", and will feature a bevy of fan favorites like Captain America, Human Torch, Storm, Black Cat, and Spider-Man teaming up with brand new characters like Lady Lotus, Warbird, and more. We've got an exclusive preview of the anticipated new series as well as an up-close look at the character designs for Marvel's newest heroes, but the best part is ComicBook.com also had the chance to talk to Busiek all about the new series, and you can check out the preview starting on the next slide.
When you're dealing with a series that can pull stories and characters from over 80 years of continuity, it would seem to be a challenge just because of the sheer size of the toybox, but it can also be quite freeing creatively, and Busiek leans towards the latter.
"It could feel a little daunting, I guess, but I don't think that's going to be a problem," Busiek said. "I have more ideas at any one time than I have time to write them, so it's mainly a process of picking a story idea that I want to tell, or a character I'd like to revisit, or introduce, and then just building from there, secure that if the story would be helped by having part of it involve the Fantastic Four during the John Byrne run or the Guardians of the Galaxy, tomorrow, I can do that. If I've always wanted to bring back Ixar and the Ultroids, from the 1960s Avengers (and I always have, just ask Tom!), I can do it in whatever way works."
"As long as all the various characters and threads and situations I use are all part of a story that benefits from them being there — and is exciting and engaging, of course — I can go wherever things lead," Busiek said. "So that feels very freeing to me. But if it ever gets challenging, I can call up Tom Brevoort or Alex Ross and bounce ideas off them until they hang up on me, or I know where I'm going with something. It certainly hasn't been a problem so far, because the roots of the first arc we're telling go back over 20 years for me. Back then, I was writing Iron Man, Roger Stern was writing the late, lamented Marvel Universe, and Mark Waid was writing Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty. Each of those books took place in a different time period, and I had an idea for a crossover that'd explore a previously-unknown event: The Sin-Cong War."
"The idea was that Roger could show how it started, before the Marvel Age had begun, and Mark could show it at its height, and I'd get to explore the modern-day aftermath," Busiek said "And maybe we'd bring in one of the Spider-Man books, or Wolverine, and make a big thing of it. A military epic with a new perspective and a superhero mystery underneath the whole thing."
That never happened, unfortunately, but The Marvels provided an opportunity to revisit the idea.
"But things happen, and that particular thing didn't. But I always liked the general idea of it, so when we started talking about THE MARVELS, I suggested that we pick up that idea and rework it into a big sprawling Tom Clancy-esque adventure, with surprises and humanity and a new perspective on Marvel history," Busiek said. "And along the way of telling this story, ideas have sprung up that both make it bigger and better and weirder than what we might have done way back when, but that also lead us into new stories, new places…new characters, even. So I can kick those off and pursue them more when we're through the first arc, and I'm sure they'll lead to new ideas themselves, so I may never run out of 'what happens nexts' for this book. Like you say, it's all a massive toy box, and you take one toy out, you'll spot three more you want to play with. And you wind up going places you'd never have guessed. I think it'll all be an amazing (and unexpected) ride."
Before we get to the preview and more from our interview, here is the official description for The Marvels #1.
"Kurt Busiek (MARVELS, Astro City) is back, with the biggest, wildest, most sprawling series ever to hit the Marvel Universe, telling stories that span the decades and range from cosmic adventure to intense human drama, from the street-level to the cosmic, starring literally anyone from Marvel's very first heroes to the superstars of tomorrow. This first issue includes an invasion from orbit, a picnic in Prospect Park, super hero sightseeing in Manhattan, the All-Winners Squad in 1947, Reed Richards during his time in military intelligence, cosmic beings beyond space and time- and that's only for starters. Featuring Captain America, Spider-Man, the Punisher, the Human Torch, Storm, the Black Cat, the Golden Age Vision, Aero, Iron Man and Thor, and introducing two brand-new characters, all beautifully drawn by Yildiray Cinar (X-MEN, Legion of Super-Heroes, IRON MAN) in the opening act of a thriller that'll take us across the Marvel Universe...and beyond. Plus: Who (or what) is KSHOOM? It all starts here. And it goes...everywhere."
The Marvel's hits comic stores on April 28th, and you can check out the full preview starting on the next slide.
What did you think of the preview? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things comics with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!
One of the more interesting additions is a character named Kevin Schumer, which isn't the catchiest superhero name, but fans will get to know who he is sooner rather than later.
When asked about Schumer compared to Lady Lotus, Busiek said, "As for Kevin, I don't want to say much — you'll get to know a lot about him in our first two issues, though! But you're right, they're all very different characters, and that's a big part of the fun of doing a series like this. We can explore the Marvel Universe from multiple perspectives, and having strongly-different characters whose eyes we can see things through makes it all that much richer."
"From a college student who's grown up with the Marvel Age, like Kevin, to a superhuman entangled with old enmities and hostile factions, like Warbird to…well, whatever Threadneedle is…we get to showcase different ideas, different experiences, different reactions," Busiek said.
We also asked if there was something, in particular, he avoids when creating all new characters. "The biggest thing I try to avoid when coming up with new characters? That probably varies a lot, depending on what the character's for. Sometimes you want a simple, throwaway character to play a small role and then get off stage, and you don't want someone like that to be too complicated, or they'll pull the story out of shape," Busiek said. "But also, Marvel already has lots of characters you can probably rope in for a role like that, so you may not even need a new character there."
"For a more important new character, you want someone who'll serve a purpose you can't just use some other character for. You want them to be distinctive and memorable, to be worth exploring, and to add to the world they're in rather than just taking up space. Everything about them has to say something about who they are — that's why Alex's designs for Warbird, Threadneedle and Kevin are all so different," Busiek said. "The characters are different, their motivations and concerns are different, and that has to show in their design, just like it has to come through in their personality and actions. They have to be worth the space we give to them."
"So what to avoid? Don't feel boring. Don't feel redundant. But make sure the character feels right, for whatever it is they're there in the story for. Of course, the readers get to be the ultimate judge of that. So I hope they're going to like all these new folks — as well as the existing characters, and what they're in the story for. THE MARVELS: Anyone. Anywhere. Any time. Wait'll you see what's coming," Busiek said.prevnext
As for Lady Lotus, Busiek was excited to bring the character back into the fold.
"At last, at least one character I don't have to be quite so mysterious about! Lady Lotus was introduced in Invaders, back in the 1970s, and for some reason, when I was reading those books as a teenager, I thought it'd be interesting if she was immortal, and could show up again in the present day," Busiek said. "And then in the 80s, Steve Gerber and Al Milgrom introduced a Los Angeles crime figure named Lotus Newmark, and I immediately thought, 'What if that's Lady Lotus again?'"
"So when Roger Stern wrote the Avengers Two mini-series in 2000, I suggested to him that he reveal that Lady Lotus and Lotus Newmark were, in fact, the same character, already thinking she'd be useful to my plans for a Sin-Cong War," Busiek said. "See, it really does go that far back!"
"And now I finally get to pay that off, with a cool new design by Yildiray, and a secret, mostly-unexplored life that connects her to Marvel history and other Marvel characters in ways I don't think anyone will expect," Busiek said. "Nobody has to know who she is — if you haven't read any comics before THE MARVELS #1, you'll understand her just fine. But if you do know who she is, you'll find out lots you didn't know, and come to see her in a whole new light."prevnext
Another new character is Threadneedle, who sports a David Bowie-esque design and a very mysterious role in the Marvel Universe.
"Again I will be mysterious, for Threadneedle himself is a mysterious man — if 'man' is even the right term for him. And he's working with a character who's only been seen twice in Marvel history that I know of, and who'll get a whole new role with enormous scope in THE MARVELS," Busiek said.
"We introduce three new characters in THE MARVELS 1 — one who's very much on a human level, one wrapped up with superhero history and ties beyond Earth, and one who's outright weird and cosmic and will usher us into a bigger, stranger, deeper world," Busiek said. "Threadneedle is that third guy, as I expect you can tell. And yeah, Alex did an astounding design of Threadneedle, didn't he? Quirky and trippy, and nothing like anyone else Marvel's had in stories before. And that's all very intentional. Make sure to keep an eye on him. He's got fascinating secrets."prevnext
Now, fans of Carol Danvers will definitely recognize the Warbird title, and Busiek was always a fan of the name, and teased a bit about the character and her possible ties to Carol.0comments
"Well, I can't tell you too much, because the new Warbird is a mystery, and we want to surprise people as we explore her over time, rather than give it all away up front," Busiek said. "But I'll say this much: She got started because I like the name Warbird, and I like that classic costume Carol wore when I wrote her as Warbird, and since Carol moved on to a new name and costume and big time success, well, they were both available. So I came up with some new character ideas, and Alex worked up a variant design of that costume, and here we are!"
"Does she have any ties to Carol Danvers? Well, she's got some connections to people who've got connections to Carol, and she's in a go-anywhere/do-anything series — so I'd be surprised if they never met, and if interesting things never came from that. But what things those might be, I will let readers wonder about, for now," Busiek said.prev