THE HEROES UNION Interview: Roger Stern On Binge Books, Comics Code Authority, And A Possible Film Adaptation

THE HEROES UNION Interview: Roger Stern On Binge Books, Comics Code Authority, And A Possible Film Adaptation

Roger Stern On Binge Books, Comics Code Authority, And A Possible Film Adaptation Roger Stern On Binge Books, Comics Code Authority, And A Possible Film Adaptation

On August 4, Roger Stern (The Avengers) is teaming up with artists Ron Frenz (The Amazing Spider-Man) and Sal Buscema (Captain America) for The Heroes Union #1. It's the first of several planned releases to be made available as a modernized, Binge Book edition, and looks absolutely epic. 

Created by veteran TV writer Darin Henry (Futurama), Binge Books are tailored for today’s audiences used to "bingeing" their favourite content. At 68 pages, The Heroes Union #1 will be longer than the average comic, allowing for the complete, family-friendly adventure to be released all at once. 

The Heroes Union #1 will be the first comic in over a decade to feature the official Comics Code Authority Seal. Each copy will also be uniquely numbered for collectors, with some of the numbered variants potentially opening the door to future, yet to be revealed, perks (we'll keep you updated).

Roger was recently kind enough to take the time to answer some of our questions over email, offering a fascinating glimpse into the role he played in bringing these characters to life, what it means to be releasing a comic book with that seal on it, and his thoughts on whether a movie could follow.

The prolific writer also looks back on the stories he's proudest of, and we recently shared some excerpts about the creation of Hobgoblin in Amazing Spider-Man and WandaVision's take on Monica Rambeau. There's lots to delve into here, and we want to thank Roger for sharing his thoughts with us.
 

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When Darin Henry approached you to work with Binge Books, how did he manage to sell you on the concept of telling the story of The Heroes Union in a format that’s made for "bingeing"? 

Oh, that was an easy sell. All Darin had to do was tell me about the Binge Book format. I mean, the first issue of a triple-sized comic story, featuring an all-new superhero team? For just $4.99? What a deal!  

You, Ron Frenz, and Sal Buscema are considered legends and shaped many of the characters we know and love into what they are today; was it important to you to be surrounded by a creative team you can trust and had prior experience working with for this title? 

That's very flattering, but I tend to think of the legends of comics as being creators like Siegel and  Shuster, Simon and Kirby, Lee and Ditko—writers and artists whose work I was reading long before I got into the comics business. Certainly, Sal Buscema is a legendary talent—no argument there—but I always feel a little strange when people try to call me a legend. And Ron? Ron's that talented kid whose art always makes me look good.  

But yes, it's always great working with people whose work you know. When I plot a scene for Ron, I  have a pretty good idea of what he's going to draw. And then, he usually surprises me by producing something that looks even better than what I had in mind. And Sal's inks? The best. I'm very lucky.  

What does it mean to you for The Heroes Union to be the first comic book in a  decade to feature the Comics Code Authority Seal? 

It's kind of funny actually. For most of my career, the Code was something that I sort of tolerated. Not that it ever prevented me from telling the stories I wanted to tell. It's just that the Code was sometimes applied in a less than consistent manner.  

As a writer, how much does the process of approaching a longer 68-page comic book like this differ from the regular monthly titles you’ve written throughout most of your career? 

It's really not too terribly different from writing a three-issue story—or mini-series—except that I know in advance that it's going to appear under one cover. The only comics story I've ever written that was longer was the graphic novel, Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment. The major difference from writing a regular monthly title is that I'm not thinking of what's happening in Heroes Union #2. David Michelinie is already doing that.  

You've worked on just about every iconic character imaginable and created your fair share too; with The Heroes Union, how much did your past experiences play into creating new heroes and villains you know (or hope!) will resonate with fans? 

I can't take credit for the creation of the Heroes Union; that really belongs to Darin, who came up with the concepts, and Ron, who came up with the designs. They're the ones who laid the foundations for  H.U. I just added my two cents to the plot and shaped the dialogue for these new heroes.  

That said, I hope that my experience helps make the Heroes Union interesting enough that readers will want to come back and sample future issues.  

It feels like every comic book property is being adapted for film and television these days. Do you see live-action potential for the characters in The Heroes Union

Oh, absolutely. There's a richness to these heroes that I daresay rivals anything in the Marvel or DC  universes. And, of course, we're lucky in that special effects have finally evolved to the stage where super-powers can finally be depicted on-screen in a convincing manner. Wouldn't it be great to see Startup speeding across the city, or the Blue Baron flying out at you on the big screen?  

When you look back at your incredible career, what’s the one story or creation you’re proudest of? 

It would be impossible to pick just one. I mean, I got to tell stories about Spider-Man and Doctor  Strange, Superman and Captain America, the Avengers and the Justice League, to name just a few. Truth be told, I was pretty happy with all of them. 
 

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