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Talking Comics with Tim | Fred Van Lente

Neal Adams Variant Cover

The hardworking writer Fred Van Lente gets even more busy in the next few months. In October, as discussed (in a Van Lente interview) in last Friday’s Axel-In-Charge, the writer will team with artist Alessandro Vitti in a holiday-themed one-shot, Marvel Zombies Halloween. But more immediately, on August 8, Valiant Entertainment will release the first issue (previewed last week by CBR) of the new Archer & Armstrong ongoing, teaming Van Lente with artist Clayton Henry. Given my love of Van Lente’s brand of comedy and the knowledge that the series teams an 18-year old assassin with a soused immortal, I fired up the computer to conduct an email interview with Van Lente. I have to say that Van Lente catches my attention when he said in our exchange: “I’ve never written a book like this.”

Tim O’Shea: Would it be fair to say that Valiant sought you out for Archer & Armstrong based partially on the success and tone of your co-writing gig on Hercules?

Fred Van Lente: Yeah, I’ve got a reputation now as the funny superhero guy, even though Incredible Hercules started out as a story about a guy trying to atone for murdering his entire family — Judd Apatow, are you reading this?!

If memory serves, what made Warren Simons think I’d be right for Archer & Armstrong was my Taskmaster GN, which is a classic example of me getting my hands on a character and thinking, “Okay, this is my chance to do a straight-up thriller, do a real grim and gritty thing here.”

But the more I worked on it the more the crazy ideas creeped in until it had a town full of Hitlers and characters like Don of the Dead and Redshirt, the Überhenchman and I was like, “Boy, you really screwed that up, Fred” but it’s become the most beloved thing I’ve done at Marvel, at least in terms of people tracking me down and saying how much they enjoyed it. So, what are you going to do?

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Comics A.M. | Alan Moore responds to Frank Miller’s Occupy remarks

Alan Moore

Creators | Watchmen writer Alan Moore responds to recent comments made by The Dark Knight Returns creator Frank Miller: “I think that the Occupy movement is, in one sense, the public saying that they should be the ones to decide who’s too big to fail. It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it. We would definitely have to agree to differ on that one.”  [Honest Publishing]

Conventions | Tom Spurgeon files a lengthy report from the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival, held Saturday in New York City. [The Comics Reporter]

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EXCLUSIVE preview: Incredibe Hercules #140

Incredible Hercules #140

Incredible Hercules #140

Courtesy of our friends over at Marvel Comics, here’s an exclusive look at five pages from Incredible Hercules #140, which continues the “Assault on New Olympus” storyline and is due in stores Jan. 20. Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente have been tearing it up on this title, and the addition of the “Agents of Atlas” back-up can only make it better.

Here’s some info on the book, followed by the preview:

COVER BY: Alex Garner
WRITER: Greg Pak
Jeff Parker
Fred Van Lente
PENCILS: Rodney Buchemi
Gabriel Hardman
INKS: Array
“ASSAULT ON NEW OLYMPUS,” Part 3 (of 4) Of all the giants, gods and monsters Hercules and his team of New and Mighty Avengers have faced in their battle through New Olympus, none may be as formidable as HEPHAESTUS, creator of the immortals’ fearsome war engines! With what fearsome device will he try to ensnare and destroy the Hercules/Amadeus Cho team, which has reformed at last — only to meet their doom? Find out as the New York Times Best-Selling creative team lead Herc on his biggest adventure yet! Plus: as the Agents of Atlas push into the stronghold of the Olympus group, Aphrodite decides to take matters into her own hands in Godmarked Part 3! Rated T …$3.99

PRICE: 3.99
IN STORES: January 20, 2010

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What does Fall of an Avenger mean to the future of Incredible Hercules?

Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #1

Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #1

As writer Fred Van Lente promised last week, Marvel’s March solicitations hold some clue to the future of The Incredible Hercules. Some, but not much.

Rich Johnston had reported that the low-selling but critically acclaimed series would end with Issue 150, almost a year from now. However, the solicitation for the two-part Hercules: Fall of an Avenger would seem to indicate the title comes to a close with February’s Issue 142, the conclusion of the four-part “Assault on Mount Olympus” storyline. The assault didn’t go well for the son of Zeus, I guess.

The miniseries, which includes an Agents of Atlas back-up story, is billed as a “two-part mini-epic that marks the end of an era and the beginning of something utterly unexpected for Hercules, the Lion of Olympus.” That obviously hints at a continuation for the title, but whether that’s as a relaunched series, a back-up feature or something else entirely remains to be seen.

Van Lente, who writes The Incredible Hercules with Greg Pak, offered little by way of elaboration. “The future of Incredible Hercules begins here, folks,” he wrote on Twitter. When asked by a fan whether Fall of an Avenger simply means a break for the series, Van Lente replied: “Mmmmmmmmaybe … Keep watching the solicits! More surprises to come.”

The Incredible Hercules debuted in January 2008 in the aftermath of World War Hulk, with the boisterous demigod and teen sidekick Amadeus Cho simply taking over the Hulk’s title.

Rumors of Incredible Hercules‘ demise ‘are premature’

Incredible Hercules #136

Incredible Hercules #136

Although word circulated this morning that Marvel’s The Incredible Hercules will end with Issue 150,  one of the title’s writers claims “the rumors of our demise are premature.”

Despite receiving praise from fans and critics alike, The Incredible Hercules has never been a top seller. So it wasn’t a complete surprise to see Rich Johnston’s assertion that the series would come to an end … almost a year from now. (Okay, the distant date was a bit of a surprise.) However, co-writer Fred Van Lente quickly took to Twitter to cast doubt on the report.

Incredible Herc fans: The rumors of our demise are premature — See Mar 2010 solicits (& spread the word),” Van Lente wrote. “Changes are coming to iHerc, but rest assured they are all part of The Big Plan (R).”

The four-part “Assault on Mount Olympus” storyline ends with February’s Issue 142, billed as “EVERYBODY DIES!” So what might the March solicitations contain? News of a relaunch, maybe? A move to back-up feature in another book?

The Incredible Hercules debuted in January 2008 in the aftermath of World War Hulk, with the boisterous demigod and teen sidekick Amadeus Cho simply taking over the Hulk’s title. Under writers Van Lente and Greg Pak, the series has been lauded for its humor, action sequences and continuing plot threads.

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