Al Ewing Opens 'Marvel Comics' #1000
Get an inside look at August's landmark mag from the story architect himself!
The greatest array of talent ever to be assembled between the covers of a single comic book unite for this super celebration—names from the past, from the present, and even the future! And speaking of timelines... There's a mystery that threads through the Marvel Universe—one that has its origins in MARVEL COMICS (1939) #1—which unites a disparate array of heroes and villains throughout the decades!
What is the Eternity Mask, and who is responsible for the conspiracy to keep it hidden? And what new player will make their startling debut as these secrets are peeled away? Featuring the entirety of the Marvel Universe of characters (as well as, seemingly, an entire universe of accomplished writers and artists), MARVEL COMICS #1000 is not to be missed!
Now, wondrous writer Al Ewing is sitting pretty as head-honcho on the landmark ish—an epic so...well...epic that it demands one crack creator to weave its various threads together! So what's the good word on this magnificent mag?
Read this exclusive Ewing Q&A and find out for yourself!
Al, how did it feel to be asked to do MARVEL COMICS #1000, becoming the throughline story writer for it all?
It shows how much faith Marvel has in me right now, and that's a pretty gratifying thing. I'd have been happy to throw in a page, but being asked to put together the spine of the piece was an amazing honor—plus it involves lots of continuity, lots of connective tissue, and lots of puzzle-solving, three things which I like to do.
We can only imagine the amount of research you delved into to prepare for this…
Well, as a Merry Marvelite of long standing, in some ways my whole life has been research for this moment, True Believer. But actually, the first thing I did was go through Marvel's publishing history year by year, trying to find something important for every year, and then build a story around that framework.
Did you come away with a favorite era of Marvel history? Anything surprise you?
I did get a new appreciation for Marvel's Golden Age [of the 1940s]. There's some wild stuff in there, like the Three Xs, the Thunderer, and any number of other one-hit weirdos. I'm sad that I didn't manage to contort the plot to include Hip Fifties Namor, the Sinatra of the Sea, but I'm sure his time will come one day.
Given the big connections that run through this book, what was the coordination like with the other writers?
There was a bit of coordination, in that there's a theme of heroes getting interviewed that runs through the book, and that plays a part at the end when all the threads come together. But mostly, I was working alone—I think that's for the best, as it meant the other writers weren't hidebound or boxed in, and could do whatever they wanted with their pages.
Ah, we see…so, how do you describe the overall story? Does it have the same characters throughout?
There's one character who makes it through from the very start to the very end—who's on the first page and the very, very last—and I guarantee that nobody reading this will be able to guess who it is. As for the story, I'd describe it as a mystery that's been playing out in the deep background on the Marvel Universe since the very beginning, featuring a hero who's been waiting to return to the Marvel stage in some form or other for almost as long.
With all the history the book deals with, in general, what do you feel Marvel's major legacy is? What is its most important contribution to the industry?
I think "the hero who could be you" still has power. And so does the idea of the hero with problems, the hero who doesn't have it so good, but does their best anyway. Heroes who argue, and fight, and fail, and fall, but are still heroes anyway when it counts. I think if you're going to tell Super Hero stories, it's better to tell stories about heroes with a little clay in their boots.
We freely admit, this might be a weird question, but did you feel Stan or Jack or Steve or any of our past Marvel superstars over your shoulder through the writing?
I think it'd be a little presumptuous to imagine that. That said, I do draw some inspiration from all three of them in different ways. In particular, Jack Kirby's never far from my thoughts while I think about the Big Cosmic—and there's no shortage of the Big Cosmic in this.
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