Marvel Gen­er­a­tions

The cre­atives talk the new se­ries from the House of Ideas.

Comic Heroes - - Contents -

The House of Ideas is known for push­ing bound­aries and go­ing the ex­tra mile when it comes to their sto­ries. Some are viewed as con­tro­ver­sial; their new arc spins out of the ideas of Se­cret Em­pire, a cur­rently-be­ing-pub­lished arc by Marvel that has cer­tainly gar­nered some at­ten­tion. From the cre­ator that brought us Ul­ti­mates, comes a new gen­er­a­tion… We spoke to writer Brian Michael Bendis and ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor Tom Brevoort about the devel­op­ment and changes that Gen­er­a­tions brings with it.

Gen­er­a­tions ac­tu­ally spins out of Se­cret Em­pire. Is it un­usual to have an event book that stems di­rectly from an­other event book while that first event book is still be­ing pub­lished?

TB: I don’t know. I think we get too hung up on defin­ing cer­tain se­ries as event books. Gen­er­a­tions is only an ‘event’ in that it’s a note­wor­thy story or ini­tia­tive that we’re pro­mot­ing. It’s a lot more in­ti­mate and char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion-based than what you’d typ­i­cally think of as an event book. We’ve been re­fer­ring to it as a maxi-se­ries, which is as good a term for what it is as any­thing.

BMB: I can’t take any credit for it, but it is birthed out of Se­cret Em­pire. It was of­fered to me as a great op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore these char­ac­ters us­ing a nar­ra­tive I wouldn’t have been able to pull off my­self. But as the Marvel Uni­verse is a shared uni­verse, we’re able to have these mo­ments where I can ex­am­ine the char­ac­ters in this unique way.

Gen­er­a­tions cen­tres around the lat­est ver­sions of the likes of Thor, Hulk and Wolver­ine join­ing forces with their clas­sic in­car­na­tions. Is it in­ter­est­ing to com­pare and con­trast their dif­fer­ing at­ti­tudes to su­per­hero­ing?

TB: There’s a lit­tle bit more of a wrin­kle to what we’re do­ing in Gen­er­a­tions than that, but I’m con­tent to let that re­veal it­self in the sto­ries them­selves. But cer­tainly, the at­trac­tion is to pair up our young suc­ces­sor char­ac­ters with their in­spi­ra­tions more-or-less at a time when they were similarly un­sea­soned and see what that tells us about all of them. But each in­di­vid­ual pair­ing is go­ing to re­veal dif­fer­ent things about the play­ers in­volved.

Gen­er­a­tions: Mar­vels, the Cap­tain Marvel and Ms Marvel story by Mar­garet Stohl and Brett Schoonover is go­ing to be markedly dif­fer­ent from Gen­er­a­tions: The Amer­i­cas, Nick Spencer and Paul Re­naud’s Cap­tain Amer­ica story, or Kelly Thomp­son and Ste­fano Raf­faele’s Gen­er­a­tions: The Archers, their Kate Bishop and young Clint Bar­ton Hawk­eye story.

While most of the se­ries will fo­cus on the re­spec­tive he­roes’ for­ma­tive days, Brian and Mel Ruby’s Gen­er­a­tions: The Iron will team Riri up with Tony Stark, Sorcerer Supreme, who we last saw in the 2014 X-Men An­nu­als…

BMB: Riri has al­ready met Tony Stark, and she cur­rently has a Tony Stark AI. So I thought that if she went and met 15-year-old Tony Stark then it wouldn’t be so il­lu­mi­nat­ing for her as meet­ing Old Man Tony Stark, who has learned ev­ery­thing and had done things dif­fer­ently with tech­nol­ogy than she would have thought he ever would have done. A lot of thought then went into who would be the best Tony Stark for her to meet, and we de­cided that it was this one.

Just as you are do­ing in Spi­der-Men 2, Gen­er­a­tions: The Spi­der sees Pe­ter Parker meet­ing Miles Mo­rales at a cru­cial turn­ing point in the orig­i­nal Wall­crawler’s life…

TB: These are gen­uinely dif­fer­ent kinds of sto­ries, but the emo­tion of Spi­der-Men is a good com­par­i­son to what we’re try­ing to ac­com­plish with Gen­er­a­tions.

So will Gen­er­a­tions be a com­pletely self­con­tained se­ries, or is there an over­ar­ch­ing sto­ry­line that ties the is­sues to­gether or in­deed links it with Se­cret Em­pire?

TB: While each of the Gen­er­a­tions books stands on its own, they are all linked to one an­other and also to the ele­ment in Se­cret Em­pire that sets them up. We are craft­ing these is­sues with an eye to­wards mak­ing them good en­try points into the Marvel Uni­verse for read­ers who haven’t been fol­low­ing along with these char­ac­ters so closely.

Did you call the se­ries Gen­er­a­tions be­cause it is in­dica­tive of how the Marvel Uni­verse is re­ally one big happy fam­ily?

TB: Well, sure. But it also re­flects an as­pect of the read­er­ship as well and the way that each suc­ces­sive gen­er­a­tion has sto­ries and char­ac­ters that they bond with and love. It’s like how dur­ing that long pe­riod in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s when Chris Clare­mont was writ­ing Un­canny X-Men and how dif­fer­ent fans would de­cry the fact that he’d been on the book for so long, and that his best stuff was be­hind him on the se­ries. But they’d each have a dif­fer­ent idea as to which it­er­a­tion had been the ‘best stuff’, and it was typ­i­cally based on when they’d started read­ing the book. And that went all the way up un­til the end, when Chris’ suc­ces­sors had to deal with the charge that they weren’t as good as Chris had been at the end.

So has Gen­er­a­tions grown out of Marvel’s fivedecade-long her­itage, start­ing with Fan­tas­tic Four #1 in 1961?

TB: His­tor­i­cally, Marvel hasn’t done a whole lot with the con­cept of legacy char­ac­ters, of a heroic dynasty that’s passed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion, but right at this mo­ment, we find our­selves with a lot of them. So that’s what this se­ries will ex­plore, and Gen­er­a­tions seemed to be the term that best en­cap­su­lated that idea.

Speak­ing of lega­cies, will Gen­er­a­tions lead into the Marvel Legacy re-launch later this year, which will see your most pop­u­lar char­ac­ters re­turn­ing to their core prin­ci­ples and their ti­tles’ orig­i­nal num­ber­ing…

TB: Gen­er­a­tions def­i­nitely hands off to Marvel Legacy. The ex­pe­ri­ences that our var­i­ous he­roes will have gone through in Gen­er­a­tions they will carry them with them as they move into Marvel Legacy, and those ex­pe­ri­ences will in­form some of the choices that they go on to make.


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