Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Continuing with our annual “Looking Forward, Looking Back,” we asked creators and other industry figures what they liked in 2014, what they’re looking forward to in 2015, and what projects they have planned for the coming year.
In this installment, we hear from Joe Keatinge, Sarah Glidden, Dustin Weaver, Jesse Jacobs, Rachel Deering, Will Sliney, Jess Smart Smiley, Neil Kleid, Tim Seeley and Van Jensen!
Having covered comics for a number of years, I always appreciate encountering a storyteller excited about pursuing what they hope is a major milestones in a long, successful career. That’s the impression I got while interviewing Ireland-based artist Will Sliney about his big break as the regular artist on the new ongoing Spider-Man 2099.
I was so focused on discussing his new series, I neglected to congratulate and him on being named Cork Person of the Month in July (Sliney hails from Ballycotton in East Cork).
Declan Shalvey’s friendship with Stephen Mooney stretches back nearly a decade, to before either Irish creator was well known in the United States. So when the Moon Knight artist pitched ROBOT 6 the idea of interviewing Half Past Danger creator Mooney about the hardcover collection, arriving Jan. 29 from IDW Publishing, we didn’t hesitate to say yes, thinking the conversation would offer terrific insight into their relationship, their careers, the Irish comics scene and, of course, Mooney’s Nazis vs. dinosaurs adventure.
As it turns out, we were right.
With the release this week of the 12th issue, writer Cullen Bunn says goodbye to Marvel’s canceled Fearless Defenders with a post that should be of interest to both fans of the series and those interested in a look at the comic-book process.
“We were (according to many) over-sexualized, pandering, a long shot, a sleeper hit, too silly, too cruel, too compressed, too decompressed, and a host of other contradictions … which works for the spirit of the book, I think,” Bunn writes on his website. “But there were a lot of folks who REALLY loved this book … even when they were really mad at us. And that means a lot to me. Those folks made it all worthwhile … and I have a feeling I’ll be seeing them online and at conventions for years to come.”
Fearless Defenders writer Cullen Bunn confirmed on Tumblr what many fans of the series feared when the book didn’t show up in Marvel’s January solicitations — December’s #12 is indeed the final issue of the series.
“I can’t really describe how much this book… and these characters… meant to me,” Bunn said in his post. “THE DEFENDERS have always been special for me. I just connected with the non-team and I’ve always wanted to write them. (In fact, I think it is common knowledge that one of my first Marvel minis, FEAR ITSELF: THE DEEP was originally titled FEAR ITSELF: THE DEFENDERS.) Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to love Valkyrie as more than just a really bad ass girl with a sword. And this book was the first concept I brought to Marvel… or at least the first concept I brought to them that they jumped on.”
The book spun out of another Valkyrie-starring and Bunn-written miniseries: Fear Itself: The Fearless, which ended with Valkyrie deciding to recruit a new group of Valkyrior on Earth. Her first recruit was Misty Knight, formerly of Heroes for Hire, who knows a thing or two about recruiting heroes herself. Featuring art by Will Sliney, the comic kept the Defenders “non-team” concept and featured a ton of guest stars from around the Marvel Universe, with New Mutant Dani Moonstar, Elsa Bloodstone, Hippolyta and a new character, Annabelle Riggs, serving as series regulars. Bunn and Sliney really hit home with a lot of fans when Riggs was supposedly killed off at the end of the first storyline. It also featured some pretty awesome covers.
The Marvel NOW! roll-out continued this week with the release of The Fearless Defenders #1, a new take on the “non-team” concept that spins out of last year’s The Fearless miniseries. Like that series, Fearless Defenders is written by Cullen Bunn (of The Sixth Gun and Wolverine fame), who is joined by artist Will Sliney and colorist Veronica Gandini.
Readers of The Fearless will remember that it ended with Valkyrie, that book’s star, deciding to recruit a new group of Valkyrior on Earth. Her first recruit is Misty Knight, formerly of Heroes for Hire, who knows a thing or two about recruiting heroes herself. Is it a match made in Valhalla? Here are a few opinions from around the web:
Doug Zawisza, Comic Book Resources: “The ‘how’ of those characters teaming up is the charm of this comic book, leading to a most unlikely and sometimes comical pairing of two long-time favorite Marvel Comics’ ladies, thanks to Cullen Bunn. Unintimidated by the immortal aspect of Valkyrie, Bunn uses that character as the reader’s introduction to this new series, providing caption boxes filled with her thoughts and to open and close the issue. Bunn’s method for bringing the characters together is standard-issue comic book threat, but it works with these characters and this situation, opening the door wide for continued shared adventures. I’m certain those adventures will lead to the gathering of more allies as the heroines’ journey progresses. Bunn seems quite comfortable writing both of the leads and a third ally in ‘Fearless Defenders’ #1.” (3/5)
Comics are no strangers to legends and mythological heroes, and comic artist Will Sliney (Farscape, Pigs) is reaching back into his own Irish heritage to tell the story Cú Chulainn. To be published in 2013 by O’Brien Press, Celtic Warrior: The Legend of Cú Chulainn shows Chulainn’s battles against Queen Maeve and her army against the picturesque backdrop of Ireland.
“I’ve wanted to do this for years,” Sliney said in an interview with IrishComicNews.com. “I’ve always been a huge fan of these stories and I think now is the right time for it.”
The story of Cú Chulainn is one that’s seen a marked rise in popularity recently, with X-Men: First Class star Michael Fassbender lobbying to be in a movie about the Irish hero. When rumors of Sliney’s adaptation reached Ireland’s top TV network RTE, they sent out a film crew to break the news on live television — a rarity for any comic.
You can follow progress of the book over at a Facebook page, and here’s a few preview pages to show you what you can expect: