Apparently, I’ve got some kind of problem…

Supposed to be taking three days off, after spending last weekend shining up my last Fantastic Four script, but here I am, writing this column nearly a week early. Which as my editor can attest, doesn’t happen too often, so let’s run with it and see what develops. Seriously though, after years and years of sitting around and wishing for it, and planning for it, I’ve finally gotten the opportunity to actually write comic books, and man, I’m not going a whole three days without putting somethin’ down. Sounded really nice when I said it, but too much can change in a few days, so quick breath and back to business, there’s serious matters at hand.

Now, as I was saying, the script I just sent in, is for my final issue of Tales of the Thing (which is the new moniker for the Marvel Adventures mini), which was listed in the latest installment of Marvel Previews like this:


Penciled by MICHAEL O’HARE
With Reed Richards and Johnny Storm on an expedition in a parallel universe, the dynamic duo of Sue Storm and Ben Grimm are forced to keep the lid on a strange crime wave sweeping the city. Ordinary criminals, outfitted with high-tech weaponry, are blazing a dangerous trail, but what’s really going on here? Could this all just be an elaborate distraction to give one of the FF’s greatest foes access to the Baxter Building? Find out in this original Marvel Adventure…
32 PGS./All Ages …$2.50

That solicit copy is exactly as I’d written it a couple months ago, but we altered the story a little bit, and honestly, made it better. The “ordinary criminals” got switched out for the Wrecking Crew, who just elevate the stakes and make the initial thrust of the story that more dangerous, and that more immediate. I’d originally tried to work them into an earlier draft of the Hulk story, but they really just got in the way there, where in this case, the group of villains actually contributed to the established modus operandi of the mastermind. Everything just makes more sense now, and it gives all of the sequencing and staging an additional punch, because bad guys with powers change the game on several levels.

Obviously, this one is my favorite, even though I realize the inherent cliché in claiming that the last script I finished is my “favorite,” but first of all, it’s true, and second, isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? Bottom line, it’s my first completely original effort on the series, without remixing an older story, and I’m going the extra distance to make sure its the story fans (and hopefully editors) remember. It’s the product of a few months training, and should stand as a clearer indication of what kind of tone and flavor I want brought to the material I tackle, and it’s just a lot of fun. Have the first couple pages resting on the hard drive, and it looks like artist Michael O’Hare is catching that vibe too, because the pencils are pretty incredible, and he hasn’t even gotten to the cool dogfight sequence yet.

And besides the opportunity to break out Ben Grimm’s old test pilot leanings, I got to satisfy the urge to write even more Susan Richards, who reflexively becomes the focus of nearly any frame she stands in. I’ve always loved her as a character, long before the Jessica Alba casting, and somewhere in the middle of the Black Panther story, things got that much worse, so it was cool to have her play off Ben for a solid 22 pages. That relationship is significantly different than the one with her husband, or her brother, and with those two out of the picture, even for a limited time, I think we’d see an even more self-assured and potentially aggressive Invisible Woman. One could almost make a solid case that she takes the story away from Ben on page 2, and then runs off with it, leaving poor Grimm nipping at her heels, but there are a couple nice turns that keep her from completely stealing the show.

The script for Invisible Things is clearly designed as an enjoyable closing statement on the entire mini, that will hopefully position me for the next assignment, at least intellectually. Writing self-contained stories teaches some valuable lessons about structure and pacing, and was something that years ago I couldn’t do to save my life. Everything was some long winded, gasping twelve-part epic that was all about spectacle and scale, and now, I’m developing a creator-owned series that’s all self contained tales, and crazy Silver Age covers that manage to convey an entire story in one strange image. That on top of the steadily moving Cross project, and a massive number of Marvel pitches that should hit nearly every one of the imprints, and I’m still trying to inspire some growth along a few different levels. All this when I’m supposed to be somewhere decompressing and enjoying a nice “break”.

But come on…what possible fun could that be?

The second issue of my FF mini hits on Wednesday, and thanks to the Marvel Age imprint becoming the Marvel Adventures imprint, I get another number one issue out of the whole deal, which ain’t a bad look. So, please pick up Tales of The Thing #1, that I’m affectionately labeling the Doc Strange Issue, and aims to prove that “with magic…anything is possible.” The first six pages are below, courtesy of the good folks over at Mile High Comics.

And assuming that you haven’t heard more than enough from me to last you two weeks, please check out this fresh interview, conducted by the lovely Jen Contino of The Pulse. More talk of FF, Shatterstar, and a couple other interesting bits hidden inside.

Thanks, and I’ll be back soon.


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