COMICS: Writer Jonathan Hickman Talks Marvel NOW!'s AVENGERS And NEW AVENGERS
Jonathan Hickman discusses his plans for The Avengers and New Avengers as a part of this October's Marvel NOW! relaunch, revealing how he plans to handle a roster of 18 heroes, his belief that the latter title will be a "sleeper hit" and comments on working with artist Jerome Opena.
Brian Michael Bendis has dominated the Avengers books ever since he "Disassembled" the team in 2004. As this era of the Marvel Universe wraps up with the conclusion of Avengers Vs. X-Men this Fall, the Marvel NOW! relaunch brings with it new titles, looks and creative teams. That includes Jonathan Hickman (Secret Warriors, Fantastic Four taking over two of the core Avengers books; The Avengers and New Avengers. In an interview with Comic Book Resources, the writer has talked revealing (without dropping too many specific details) about his plans for the titles and you can check out some highlights below. Be sure to click on the link at the bottom of the page for more, and sound off with your thoughts in the usual place.
On Leaving Fantastic Four To Take Over Two Of The Core Avengers Books:
I was pretty honored to be asked. Obviously, with everything that's gone on this summer with the movie and the track record [departing "Avengers" writer] Brian Michael Bendis has had over the past, oh, countless number of years, it's a big responsibility, but one I'm pretty excited about. I know what I want to do and everyone seems to be onboard with it. It feels big. It feels ambitious. We're positioning it as the next logical step of the Avengers, which is both pretty interesting and what I think what we should be doing -- figuring out what's next, right? What comes after a billion dollar franchise? There's a whole different level of expectation because 'Avengers' has a certain density and importance to the company that, for various reasons, no other books have. It's a big deal, but I think I'm ready for it.
On His Take On The Avengers And How He Will Handle The 18 Character Roster:
The idea is that the Avengers have to get bigger. That means bigger in every sense. That means the roster has to be bigger, and the missions have to be bigger, and the adversaries and scenarios they find themselves in have to be larger. I've played with this stuff a little bit over in the Ultimate Universe. Obviously, it's a completely different weight class here, but in a lot of ways that's the kind of velocity that the book should have. We (Tom Brevoort and I) also felt like that if the book was going to be about an Avengers world, it should look more like the world. Of course there are complications starting out when the necessary movie characters are five white dudes and a white lady, but, you know, bigger roster. Frankly, I'm really, really excited at how we address that. The lineup is killer. The way I've set this up is we'll do bigger stories where our entire cast or almost all of our cast take part in a really big adventure.We'll do around three-issue arcs of bigger stories, and then we'll do three done-in-one issues where we focus on a smaller group of characters. It's not a problem getting to everyone, and it's not a problem making it feel like everybody's important.
On How He Intends To Use The Various Heroes In The Book:
I think the writers of the 'Thor,' 'Iron Man,' 'Captain America,' etc. should be writing whatever stories they want to write for those characters," Hickman stated. "'Avengers' isn't the place where Thor is going to have a huge character arc. That's not how it works. That stuff happens in 'Thor.' 'Avengers' should be a reflection of that. The book very quickly becomes about all the characters that surround the big guns of the Marvel Universe. Once people see how the issues work, it will become very clear. This isn't about a random group of characters I just decided to put together. This is about a bunch of heroes who feel the same way about the main Avengers as we do. You want to see Thor? So do these guys.
On What We Should Expect From His Other Marvel NOW! Title, New Avengers:
There's one big massive Avengers team that is the Avengers, and there's this other thing that's going on in 'New Avengers.' When we announce exactly what 'New Avengers' is, it will make perfect sense and everybody will like, 'Oh yeah! Of course.' 'Avengers' and 'New Avengers' are the same book -- just from two different sides of the world. Since 'New Avengers' and 'Avengers' are closely related, we've got this kind of super-structure for where we're going down the road. Where I was going to end up was always a fixed point. One of the first things I pitched was where we end up. That's how it works for me. I understand the end point, and I work backwards from there. So the fact that I know where I'm going to be at in issue #63 is not unnatural or odd for the way I do these things. At this point, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do for the bulk of the 'Avengers' and 'New Avengers' issues, but I'm leaving myself a lot of room to play, for things to grow, for me to fall in love with different characters and let them shine and to just have a really good time. And while I'm very excited about 'Avengers' -- that it's a very strong book, and I don't think I could have started it off any better than the first issue, and I love where it's going -- I think 'New Avengers' is going to be the sleeper hit of the year when people see what it is."
On Working With Artist Jerome Opena:
This is all about giving Jerome a really big push and marking him as one of the top talents in the industry. And while the latter is obviously true, it's always great for a creator when Marvel gets behind you. I think being put on what is arguably the flagship book is a great move for Jerome. He deserves it, and I'm incredibly fortunate to get to work with him. He's fantastic.
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