The creatives talk the new series from the House of Ideas.
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.
GENERATIONS DEFINITELY HANDS OFF TO MARVEL LEGACY. THE CHARACTERS’ EXPERIENCES IN GENERATIONS WILL INFORM SOME OF THE CHOICES THEY GO ON TO MAKE