Published February 24, 2020

Writer Daniel Kibblesmith on Loki, New Warriors, and Late Night TV

See the savvy scribe's standpoint before he relaunches 'New Warriors' this April!

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The cool kids growing up in the '90s had Doc Martens, Starter jackets, Nirvana queued on their Discman, and, most importantly, copies of Fabian Nicieza and Mark Bagley's NEW WARRIORS.

Daniel Kibblesmith was not one of these cool kids.

“I think, at the time, I thought [NEW WARRIORS] was a title for someone hipper than me, kids who could take and throw punches and maybe even swear,” recalls the former Late Show with Stephen Colbert writer, who made his biggest mark on Marvel to date with the launch of last year’s LOKI. “I knew they were cool. No, really, that's the main thing I knew. When I started reading comics, it was mostly X-Men reprints and my dad's Silver Age collection, so the New Warriors were intimidating as hell to my seven-year-old brain. During that period, I was still getting the lay of Marvel's land, so I was blowing my allowance on anything with Spider-Man on the cover. The most comparable title to suck me in was SLEEPWALKER, whose weird Muppety-scarecrow vibe clicked with me more than the aggressive overt NOW-ness of NEW WARRIORS.”

Jump ahead to 2020 and Kibblesmith has finally scored a spot among the in crowd as architect of a NEW WARRIORS limited series reuniting many of the original volume’s key players.

New Warriors (2020) #1 (of 5)

Teaming with artist Luciano Vecchio of IRONHEART fame, Daniel drops several new recruits into action with founders like Firestar, Night Thrasher, Speedball, and Rage in the wake of OUTLAWED altering the landscape for teenage heroes.

“I knew we wanted the core cast from the earliest issues, but there's been so many deaths and resurrections and new line-ups over the years,” he explains. “It meant that a lot of more recent NW members that I have a soft-spot for might not make it into the book, even as a cameo. But other than Nova being out in space doing Nova stuff, I wanted to rope in the classic fans with a platonic ideal roster that they'd recognize.”

This also required the writer to hit the books himself. The classic NEW WARRIORS volume helmed by Nicieza for its first 50 issues—first with Bagley, later alongside Darick Robertson and others—holds a hallowed place in the memories of many fans for the way it tackled salient social issues while also evolving core characters such as Namorita and Justice into full-fledged stars.

Loki (2019) #1

Loki (2019) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

“Most of the biggest-name New Warriors characters existed before and beyond they were formed into that team, which is true of the Avengers as well,” says Kibblesmith, showing off his newfound knowledge of the canon. “Plus, their first appearance [in THOR (1966) #411-412 by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz] is going up against Juggernaut, which is a very Avengers-style origin, forming to face a big threat that no one else is around to handle. I think in the Warriors' case it's less ‘accidental’ and they're clearly a team from Jump Street—teen crime fighting reference.

“But that's still the vibe, plus the mission statement that follows right after: Fighting the crime the Avengers can't or won't. So, since these characters are all part of the Marvel Universe, I was pretty familiar with all of them from popping up in other titles, because that's how it works. And obviously, I knew Firestar from the cartoons and her mutant-adjacent adventures. From there it was just my privilege to go back and read as much NW content as possible to get a feel for their interplay, their dynamic, who hates who, who kisses who, and who's dead. Spoiler: Turns out being dead is not disqualifying when you're a New Warrior.”

Pushing past their early days, the Warriors have gained notoriety in the modern era as the impetus behind CIVIL WAR, as an incident involving Speedball and friends kickstarted that particular series of events. Like the struggle between Cap and Iron Man over Super Hero civil liberties, OUTLAWED looks at the responsibility of characters like the Warriors to the public they protect.

Civil War (2006) #1

Civil War (2006) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

“The Marvel Universe is always trying to legislate its heroes and register its mutants and it never goes smoothly,” Kibblesmith notes. “So OUTLAWED is a chance to cast heroes defined by their youth and their Capital-A ‘Attitude’ as the grown-ups for a change, and reveal new sides to their personalities and new weaknesses and threats that emerge when they try to level up.

“[The New Warriors are] going to have more experience dealing with this kind of big, political, sweeping change than Power Pack or the Champions. They're not kids; they're young adults. At this point in their careers, some of them have died and been resurrected, they've been churned through the justice system—‘That's a pun, son.’ Also, cancer, fertility issues, grad school—and that's just Firestar. The way we see it, these characters are older than the Young Avengers, but younger than Spider-Man. They're old enough to see the adults' point-of-view and have experience from their mistakes and a lot to lose. They don't want to see other young heroes end up dead or in jail the way they did.”

Despite his time with the God of Lies in LOKI as well as a tour of duty cataloging BLACK PANTHER VS. DEADPOOL (2018), Daniel remains a relative newcomer to writing comics, and sees this series as another opportunity to ease into a medium of which he has long been a fan.

Black Panther Vs. Deadpool (2018) #1

Black Panther Vs. Deadpool (2018) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

“I sometimes compare it to playing Mario Kart vs. Zelda, it's the same controller, but the experience and the pacing is wildly different,” contrasts Kibblesmith of comic book crafting against his typical fare. “Writing for a late night talk show is very reactive, the fuel of the day's news comes in and you burn that fuel. Crafting a narrative is a lot more obtuse and, if you're me, you rely on a balance of outlining and discovery. The tool that spans all the mediums I work in is a sense of how the audience will be feeling at any given moment. With comics, that extends to the characters as well; if they don't act the way the audience expects them to, you create friction, and it takes people out of it.

“Even though I write almost exclusively for visual media and collaborators, comics are the only place where I get to co-direct with the artist a little, and suggest how I see the story being told, hopefully inspiring them and laying some track before they take the reins, and inevitably do something a zillion times cooler. In this case, Luciano Vecchio has been a dream to work with. He's giving the Warriors a look that spins from classic Marvel house style, to Disney, to manga, and then again into an insane synthesis of all three. There's no other comic out that looks like this, and you can tell how much he loves these characters.”

Read these mighty mags on Marvel Unlimited! Then pre-order NEW WARRIORS #1 at your local comic shop today!



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