We’re back with Empyre State of Mynd just a day before Empyre #1 is released in comic shops and digitally. Join us as Dave and Forrest look behind the curtain to better understand Marvel’s big summer event. And if you haven’t already, read the last four Empyre State of Mynd columns which feature your questions answered by Al Ewing, Anthony Oliveira, Tom Brevoort, Alanna Smith and Martin Biro.
This week, Dan Slott joins us to talk about the series on the cusp of its kickoff tomorrow. Slott answers your questions, teases details about the post-Cosmic landscape, and the collaborative process the event series was like.
Plus, we also have an exclusive first look at the solicitation and cover art from Guardians of the Galaxy #7!
Starting things off, your veritable AIPT hosts ask, what do you hope readers take away from Empyre?
That anything can happen in the Marvel Universe. That it’s a place where you can both celebrate its rich history and be there when history is being made. Any reader can jump into this slam-bam summer blockbuster and see payoffs to stories that happened when you first journeyed into the Marvel U– whether you started with the Avengers in the original Kree/Skrull war or with the introduction of Hulkling in the Young Avengers. Or even if this is your very first ever Marvel Comic, you’re going to see heroes and villains and aliens locked in a mythic battle with the Earth, ancient empires, and the lives of characters you care about all at stake!
Superfan @dano_cosmic asked, how much reading or re-reading of the issues that shaped Empyre did you do? Read before you write or reference as you go? Any particular issue from the past related to Empyre that you feel is especially significant? Thanks!
This was a chance for all of us to dive back into some of our favorite comics and call that “work”. As in “But I have to reread these FANTASTIC FOUR annuals! It’s for reference!” Best job in the galaxy. That said, we needed to read them, you can jump right in and we’ve got you covered. Any important bit of Marvel lore you need, we’ll bring you up to speed in context. What matters most is the conflict at hand! What are Iron Man, Mister Fantastic, Captain Marvel, and the Human Torch doing now? (But if you do want to go all-in and reread some of the best Marvel Comics of all-time from your long box or Marvel Unlimited, hey, I’m not going to stop you. Because, that is truly some time well spent.)
Following this, @ChangoATX asked, when approaching this event what storylines did you feel like you wanted to pick up from previous FF stories?
For me? Fantastic Four Annual #18 was key. And anyone who read Fantastic Four: Empyre #0 knows why. Later, I also got to touch on the very Skrull-ish adventure that the Fantastic Four and New Fantastic had in FF #347-349.
@geargangsterj had to know, what is it like writing teenage Valeria and Franklin Richards in a huge event like this?
So much fun! While the core four are busy in Empyre, Val and Franklin are going to be in their own Fantastic Four with Spider-Man and Wolverine, on a very important mission on Earth. When Al and I were blocking out Empyre, part of the fun of it was making it an Avengers and Fantastic Four adventure, and finding pairings of characters who’ve had histories with both teams– like Black Panther and She-Hulk. And because of their times in both the New Avengers and New Fantastic Four, both Spidey and Logan were a perfect fit.
Your hosts are back and connect the dots asking, Dan, you told us on the AIPT Comics podcast you’re an idea guy, what percentage of your ideas made it into this event?
I’m going to say from the writing-side, both Al and I were 50/50 in the planning and breaking down– the recipe stage– of what was going into thick and spicy stew that is Empyre. With Tom Brevoort and Alanna Smith contributing ideas and structure from the editorial-side. Then Al went into the kitchen and did all the actual cooking! And, oh boy, the design work that Valerio Schiti did– on the new Kree/Skrull Alliance uniforms, tech, spaceships, the new designs for the Cotati, and so, so, so much more! There’s a lot of awesomeness in here!
Next up, @megabot22 asked, how much will this affect the on-going Avengers (especially Captain Marvel) and Fantastic Four comics coming out of the event? And is this required reading to go alongside your Fantastic Four series?
I can say that with absolute certainty that Fantastic Four: Empyre #0 and Fantastic Four: Empyre Fallout feature moments and events that will play a major role in everything moving forward for both my plans with the FF and my future, evil machinations for the entire Marvel Universe. And I know on Al’s side, things that happen during all of Empyre will have a profound effect on his plans for the Guardians of the Galaxy and everything he’s doing in the Marvel Cosmic line– and that’s a LOT. At Marvel, one of Al’s nicknames is “The King of Space” because– whoa– does he have things in the works for the Cosmic books.
And @megabot22 followed that up with, is this event before/during/after your iron Man run especially iron Man 2020?
Ask me that again once Iron Man 2020 #6 comes out. (And I can’t wait for people to see that last two issues of this! We were always heading to this ending, and Pete Woods killed on this! Those comics are beyond gorgeous!)
Back at you from the hosts who ask the final question, what has the writing and process been like with Al Ewing? How do you think your writing styles complement each other?
It’s been awesome seeing the issues come in and watching Al’s mind at work. Getting to read other writer’s scripts, especially ones I admire, on a pure fan level, is one of the best parts of this job! Al’s scripts are amazing! I offered my biggest swings in the original planning, teaming up with Al, Tom, and Alanna to scheme about the set up, the major twists and turns, and some of the key action beats, emotional hits, status quo changes, and fates for all of the characters. And when it came to weaving it all together and executing it, Al’s the guy! At that stage, I was happily on hand for very minor notes.
I think my biggest contribution in that part of the game was trying my level best to save a specific character’s life. People think I’m cruel and blood-thirsty… but in this case, I was on the side trying to stop Al’s dark side from killing (REDACTED). And I’m not going to tell you if I won that fight. And I’m not going to say if that was the only character– or if there are many, many more. You’re just gonna have to read Empyre for yourself to find out.
And that’s a wrap, but before you go enjoy an exclusive first look at the cover and solicitation to Guardians of the Galaxy #7 below!
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #7
Writer: Al Ewing
Art: Marcio Takara
Cover: Rafael Albuquerque
THE NEW AGE OF SPACE IS HERE!
• In the wake of EMPYRE, the political map of the galaxy has been redrawn – which means it’s time for a nice, peaceful
• As the new ambassador for the Utopian Kree, MARVEL BOY made a solemn promise to be on his best behavior…
• …so how come his fellow diplomats are being murdered one by one – and it looks like he’s the killer?