To celebrate Earth's Mightiest Week and the release of Avengers: Endgame, ComicBook.com has gotten in touch with several comics creators and professionals who are either currently working on a series featuring some of the characters of Avengers: Endgame or have made a major impact on the characters in some way.
Today, we're featuring interviews with Gerry Duggan and Jim Zub. Duggan was the writer of Infinity Wars, a 2017 comics event featuring Thanos, Gamora, and the Infinity Gauntlet. He also was a co-creator of the popular Infinity Warps mash-up heroes and wrote Guardians of the Galaxy for a lengthy period of time. Zub is one of the co-writers of the Avengers: No Surrender and Avengers: No Way Home storylines and also wrote Uncanny Avengers.
The interviews below were conducted by email, and have been lightly edited for clarity only.
Welcome to Earth's Mightiest Week! From April 22nd to April 26th, ComicBook.com is celebrating the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far with a series of exclusive articles, lists, arguments, and more. If you'd like to check out some of our other offerings from this week, you can click the image above.
ComicBook.com: In your opinion, why has the Avengers franchise become arguably the most recognizable and most popular superhero franchise for mainstream audiences?
Gerry Duggan: Robert Downey Jr. was lightning in a bottle, and he was enough magic to power the whole MCU. Stan, Jack and their collaborators created the whole damn Marvel Universe, and I never dreamt their work would be anything more than amazing comics, but those characters are also now the biggest movies in the world, and movies need stars. RDJ was the big bang. Swap him out for any other actor in that role, and I think our current mainstream culture looks a lot different.
What is your favorite Avengers storyline?
I like many for different reasons. Loved New Avengers for being the crazy curve ball the franchise needed. I loved my crack at [things] with Stegman and Larraz for the unexpected tale we got to tell. Avengers Forever is fantastic. "Korvac Saga" is underrated. Hickman's run was outstanding. Love what Jason and Ed are doing on the current run.
You spent a decent chunk of time last year working on Infinity Countdown and Infinity Wars, which were released at the same time as the Avengers: Infinity War movie. Did you feel any additional pressure knowing that your event series would be out around the time of the movie?
No, I just tell my stories to my artist partners, and they tell the story to our readers... but you guys all get to come along for the ride. The only people I'm trying to make happy are my collaborators. If we have fun, then maybe you all will, too.
Thanos and the Infinity Stones have both played major roles in both the Marvel comics universe and the Marvel movies. What makes Thanos such a great villain, and how did it feel to be the one to kill him off?
I wanted to tell the tragedy of what would happen if Gamora were unable to become her father. Once we knew we were gonna tell that story, Thanos' fate was sealed.
You had a lengthy stint on the Guardians of the Galaxy -- what makes them such compelling characters and why do you think they've clicked with mainstream movie audiences?
Anything can be cool. It was a roll of the dice in comics, and maybe more of a roll of the dice on screens, but if you believe in your story and love your characters, anything can happen.
Another one of your major contributions to the Marvel Universe is the Infinity Warps, which are returning for a new set of miniseries later this year. How did you decide which heroes to mash up and were you surprised by their popularity?
No, we felt they were too fun not to succeed. The editorial retreat when they got hashed out really lit up at the possibilities they afforded. Again, fun is infectious all the way through to the finished product. And, as a bonus -- we were able to have fun tie-ins that didn't manage to disrupt any of the current ongoing comics. We left a lot of new toys in the box after the event, and I think they'll be around for a long time to come. Not all of those toys have been revealed yet, either.
Are there any Avengers that you hope to write one day?
I got my chance to take some big swings in that stadium. They're some of my favorite collaborations, but I think my career is on a different trajectory.
ComicBook.com: What's it like writing the Avengers during a time when the superhero team is the biggest thing in Hollywood? Is it surreal to be writing about the same characters that can crash multiple movie ticket sites for hours at a time?
Jim Zub: Absolutely! It's an honor to have an Avengers project in the midst of this whirlwind where comic book movies dominate pop culture around the world. It's something I try not to take for granted.
Has the popularity of the Avengers changed how you approach the characters at all?
Weirdly, no. Since the movies are drawing on older stories and reframing them, it's our job to create something new. Certain characters are obviously more desirable for our line-up because of their movie visibility, but the actual approach to building these stories and creating drama is the same. We're not here to retell stories that have already been done. The Marvel universe stays vibrant when we keep pushing it into new places.
You had the opportunity to co-write No Surrender, which felt like almost a throwback to older Avengers stories. How did you get involved with No Surrender, and are you happy with how the series turned out?
I was writing Uncanny Avengers at the time and, even when I was set to take over that series, the plan was in place to wrap up all three Avengers titles at that time (Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, and U.S.Avengers) with one giant event. That turned into a weekly, and Mark, Al, and I met in person at the Marvel Offices to build the story with editors Tom Brevoort and Alanna Smith.
No Surrender was an absolute milestone in my career, and I'm incredibly proud of how much character development and action we were able to pack into it. With more than 25 heroes to juggle, and at least a dozen villains, it was a really difficult story to plan out and the fact that we were able to make it all work as well as we did still feels surreal.
Are there any Avengers that you want to write but haven't yet?
Thor Odinson and Black Knight are two I'd love to tackle at some point.
You're the current writer of the Champions, which features the next generation of Marvel heroes. Do you think these heroes will become as popular as the Avengers are today?
It's impossible to know how the current generation of readers will embrace these heroes and whether their legacy will grow the way the classic Marvel heroes have, but all we can do is try to make stories that stick in the minds of our readers and see what happens next. Seeing Miles Morales in Spider-Verse on the big screen and watching so many people embrace that story is definitely a step in the right direction.
You're also currently co-writing No Road Home, which is a spiritual successor of sorts to No Surrender and features Conan the Barbarian. Are you excited about Conan interacting with the Avengers? What's one thing you can tease about the remainder of the series?0comments
Conan the Barbarian is one of my favorite characters in literature. I grew up reading those books and have a deep love of sword-and-sorcery stories. Getting the chance to write weird and wonderful interactions with Conan and these Avengers has been an absolute blast.
We're right at the climax now. Our villain Nyx has regained her power and is poised to remake creation and return it to the darkness. Can the Avengers stop her and what will this mean for Conan and the rest of the cast? Avengers: No Road Home #10 answers it all in surprising ways that syncs up surprisingly well with Marvel's 80th Anniversary.