Because I’m penciling and inking some stuff for Marvel at the moment, all last week we devoted this blog to unseen artwork I’ve done for Marvel comics in my career. I still have a million more things to show you in that area, but today, I thought I’d spend a little space talking about some WRITING for Marvel that a lot of people don’t know I did, simply because it was for the Marvel younger readers line, and the average fan simply IGNORES them. It’s a pity, because some of the creators who worked for that line were deserving of more attention. Graham Nolan, Norm Breyfogle, and Tom Grummett worked on some of the issues before and after my brief run, just to name a few. And of course, Jeff Parker (now doing well with Hulk office gigs) wrote a SLEW of the Marvel Adventures Avengers books before I got to ’em. But here’s the three I wrote:
The premise for the issues, as asked for by the editor, was to tell stories about Avengers that were NOT part of the regular team…new members joining, or old members showing up for a visit….as a way of introducing the newer readers to these characters. If anyone recalls a post from a couple of weeks ago, I consider the ROY THOMAS/JOHN BUSCEMA Avengers period in the late sixties/early seventies the pinnacle of comics excellence from that period. Silver Age Marvel is Roy and John to me, even SLIGHTLY more so than Stan and Jack, or Stan and Steve, simply because it got inside my brain first. So when given a second chance at these Avengers characters, I went right back to that well of inspiration again and went for the characters originally from that era. Quicksilver, Hercules, and of course THE VISION. Amusingly enough, they ran the stories in the opposite order from which I wrote them.
The Quicksilver story was a fun script. Quicksilver has been kidnapped and forced (in a roundabout way) to betray the Avengers to a super-villainess, the creator (in this continuity) of the Super-Adaptoid. The art was by my good friend Stephen Molnar, with whom I’d later do my STAR TREK GRAPHIC NOVEL.
I’d had the idea for the Hercules issue in my head for years: If Hercules was immortal, why hasn’t he been part of human history? Where was he during World War 2, or the American Revolution. Or heck, ANYWHERE in history? It didn’t make sense to me that so outgoing a character would have stayed hidden for centuries. But what if he had no choice? What if he’d been imprisoned for a few thousand years…buried in lava rock beneath the streets of Pompeii? Perhaps his cousin, Pluto, sent the lava from the center of the Earth JUST to mess with the demi-god. Sucks to be from Pompeii and get stuck in the middle of it, but from there it was easy to extrapolate a story.
For the last story, this lazy, unscrupulous, thieving bastard went after Roy and John’s original Vision two parter AGAIN! Last time (in Avengers United) I re-worked the second part, where the team figures out what to do with the killer android in their midst, so this time, I reworked part one of the original story, and set the killer android against the Avengers for the first time. But instead of ULTRON creating him, this time he’s a creation of Pym’s robotics, Stark’s security tech, and the life force from a bolt of lightning from Ororro/Storm. (Thor was my first choice for the lightning bolt, obviously, but he wasn’t on the team at the time). I’m very happy with how this issue turned out, and would love to re-visit this version of our red and green robot pal, but the series eventually ran out of steam and finished up. Sigh.
Still a GREAT gig for a few months. And dig those crazy Grummett covers!
One last image for the lost Marvel today. It’s an ad I drew for HEROCLIX last year. Heroclix is sort of a game, sort of an action figure, sort of a desert topping. Obviously, with Ultimates Cap and Ultimates Iron Man, standing next to Classis 616 Hawkeye and Wasp, with the Simonson Thor tossed in with the Witch and the Seventies Wonder Man, this Avengers team exists only for this ad…but wouldn’t that be a fun team? Like much of the lost Marvel stuff, I’ve never seen where this ad ran, or what it looked like in colour. If anyone has a copy in colour, I’d die to see it. ALSO: Since last week, I have been told there are Spanish X-Men comics with my art on the covers, taken from the many video covers, and have been promised scans .
Oh, this reminds me…I have a Heroclix story of EPIC scope that I’ll post later this week. It has to do with my eldest son, and a mini-series I wrote that I NEVER thought they’d make Heroclix for.
Ty the Guy
BIG PS: As a lifelong Vision freak, I was excited and elated last week to receive an email from Vision artist RICHARD HOWELL, who bought a page or two of Mike Parobeck Elongated Man stuff off me. Richard wanted to know if I’d remembered him…? Like I would ever forget anyone who worked on the Vision miniseries? This fangeek is as fangeek as they come! Here’s one of Richard’s covers below. Thanks for the email, Richard, and best of luck with your current work at CLAYPOOL COMICS.
Thus endeth the shout-out.