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Fred Van Lente is hellbent on getting his name on the cover of every Marvel comic, or so it would seem. I could try to list all the Marvel titles he has written, is writing or will be writing, but we’d never get to the actual interview. Suffice to say that Marvel keeps him busy. And then there’s Action Philosophers (Van Lente’s successful independent collaboration with artist Ryan Dunlavey). Back to Marvel, this week marks the start of his Spider-Man/Chameleon storyline with the release of Amazing Spider-Man 602. Here’s the official word on Van Lente–he “is the New York Times bestselling author of Incredible Hercules (with Greg Pak) and Marvel Zombies 3, as well as the American Library Association award-winning Action Philosophers. His other comics incldue Comic Book Comics, MODOK’s 11, X Men Noir and Amazing Spider-Man.” Van Lente was kind enough to do an email interview with me about his various projects.
Tim O’Shea: Marvel is clearly pleased with X-Men Noir, given that they have announced a follow-up with the same team, Mark Of Cain. Given that a great deal of your writing for Marvel is within the “main” Marvel U, how liberating is at as a writer to get to play around with characters in a Noir universe?
Fred Van Lente: I always like to have big, bloody Grand Guignol endings, with bodies heaped up on stage like at the end of a Shakespeare tragedy. Nothing says “dramatic climax” like “everybody dies.” One of the nice things about working with the X-Men franchise in the Noirverse is that it has so many characters there are always some left over no matter how many you knock off. XMN1 we whacked Jean Grey, Magneto, Mastermind, Blob, Unus, Beast, Banshee, Rogue, Iceman, Gambit and Qucksilver, but we still had Wolverine, Puck, Cyclops, Angel, Professor X, and the Scarlet Witch to kick around.
In Mark of Cain they’ll be joined by a large bulk of the “All-New, All-Different” cast, including Noir analogues of Juggernaut (obviously), Emma Frost, Nightcrawler, Storm, and Colossus, and a few surprise appearances as well.
We’ve already been asked about a third installment, so my co-creator Dennis Calero and I will have to be careful not to kill everybody off. Even the X-Men have their limits in terms of mortality.