Just a few years after The Walking Dead began, Robert Kirkman--not yet the multimedia giant he is today and still doing work-for-hire stuff at Marvel--took on one of Marvel's least commercially-viable properties. Doing so with his own spin, though, he turned the relatively staid personality of Dr. Hank Pym on its ear, introducing fans to Eric O'Grady, "The Iredeemable Ant-Man."
A S.H.I.E.L.D. agent with a pretty loose sense of personal responsibility, Eric is snooping in Pym's lab, trying on an experimental Ant-Man armor, when Pym surprises him. Without thinking, O'Grady cold-cocks the Avenger, and uses the suit to escape the inevitable repercussions of such an action. That's the premise in a nutshell, plus or minus a couple of the finer points that years and memory have conspired to make fuzzy. The series was fun, clever and for many readers, the first real indication that Kirkman was not just a guy who had a good book in The Walking Dead, but a creative force to be reckoned with.
And of course it was cancelled almost immediately, lasting only 12 issues before Marvel pulled the plug due to flagging sales. Still, it has a small, vocal fan base and a number of viewers have offered up the idea that the unnamed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent spotted playing Galaga in Marvel's The Avengers could be Eric O'Grady. During our interview at New York Comic Con, we asked the Kirkman what he thought about that idea, and about the prospect of O'Grady coming to the big screen in general.
"I hadn't even thought about that! Look, I would love that. It would be really cool," Kirkman told ComicBook.com.
The writer joked, "That was work-for-hire stuff, that's completely within Marvel's power to take all that hard blood, sweat and tears I poured into Eric O'Grady and turning that into a massive feature film that I get no participation in whatsoever--I probably wouldn't even get invited to the premiere!"
The latter, of course, is a reference to Jim Starlin, who created Thanos but who was not notified of the character's use in The Avengers, or invited to any official screenings of the film. Marvel appears to have since made good with Starlin, with the veteran writer/artist confirming that the character will appear in more Marvel films to come, including 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy.
"But no, it'd be great," Kirkman concluded, resuming a more serious tone. "I know Edgar Wright a little bit--we talk from time to time--and I know because of his talent that that movie will be fantastic. So I don't think that's what they're doing, I don't know, but if it has any Eric O'Grady elements in it, that will be very cool and I would be all for it."