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DF Interview: When Mark Waid throws his mighty SHIELD
By Byron Brewer
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD debuted on ABC in September 2013, and ever since then -- well, actually even before then -- fans have wondered if Marvel might capitalize on that to some degree on its publishing side.
We get our answer in December, when the new book SHIELD makes its debut in LCSs. By writer Mark Waid and a promised incredible series of rotating artists, the ongoing will bring Phil Coulson & Co. into the 616 and unite it with the spy agency Jim Steranko introduced us to eons ago.
To separate the milk from the cream, Dynamic Forces beamed aboard one of the SHIELD Helicarriers and spoke with scribe Waid about the much-anticipated mag.
Dynamic Forces: Mark, it seems from the announcements at the San Diego Comic Con that you are writing all the books for all the publishers. How do you cope with staying so busy, all those different company continuities?
Mark Waid: Ha! Look, when your hobby and your job end up pretty much being the same thing, it’s just fun.
DF: After Agents of SHIELD aired on ABC, I expected an MU follow-up. But is this book cued from the TV series or is it in 616 continuity?
Mark Waid: It’s totally in 616 continuity. We’ll be introducing (or, in some cases, re-introducing) the TV crew into the Marvel Universe, being as faithful to that continuity as we can without violating mainstream Marvel continuity. But, no, this is FIRMLY rooted in the Marvel Universe.
DF: Are you a fan of the TV show, and how will this iteration of SHIELD be different than that in the Marvel Cinematic/TV Universe?
Mark Waid: I love the show. By necessity, our take will have to be a little bit different -- in the Marvel Universe, Hydra hasn’t disbanded/destroyed SHIELD, and in the Marvel Universe, Maria Hill is still the Supreme Commander. But hopefully, the characters themselves will all ring true.
DF: This will be the first time, to my knowledge, characters like Fitz, Simmons and Melinda May will be making their comic book debuts. Will we see any connections between these agents and, say, existing 616 characters?
Mark Waid: Not immediately -- but I do have at least one surprise in store along those lines.
DF: Tell us about your take on Phil Coulson, kind of an accidental character who seems to have become the glue of the Marvel Cinematic U.
Mark Waid: To me, Coulson (my favorite character) is the ultimate fan-turned-pro, in a way. He knows everything about the Marvel Universe heroes and villains – EVERYTHING -- the same way hardcore real-world comics fans can tell you everything about the X-Men and Omega Flight. So when it comes to recruiting outside help and knowing the perfect hero (or villain) from the job, Coulson’s a genius.
DF: Is there any TV character (besides Coulson) you are looking forward to writing?
Mark Waid: Leo Fitz. He’s always wanted a helper monkey. Be careful what you wish for.
DF: Early press says SHIELD will be a series of one-and-dones with rotating artists. Will there be any underlying story that will be holding the book’s continuity together – a longtime House of Ideas tradition, and something they even use in TV dramas these days?
Mark Waid: Oh, sure. It’ll seem subtle at first, but we’re definitely laying long-term threads for those who pay attention.
DF: Who are some of these “rotating artists” you might be looking forward to working with?
Mark Waid: Carlos Pacheco! Alan Davis! Chris Sprouse! That’s just for starters. There are more signed up that I can’t announce yet, but what a killer line-up!
DF: So, Mark, what can you tell us about the first few issues storywise? Maybe some old-timey SHIELD villains going against the print newbies?
Mark Waid: Not at first, though down the line. But I would definitely be looking for a story in which magical terrorists have invaded Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum in his absence. Or one that’s a murder mystery that spans 150 years. Or maybe even a cross-country race between Quicksilver and Ghost Rider.
DF: Do you see a cross-over with any Marvel mags in the coming days, like FalCap or Superior Iron Man?
Mark Waid: Not immediately, we’re working on setting up a strong foundation first. But in time, bring it on!
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Mark Waid for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. SHIELD is slated to debut in December!
Get your copy of SHIELD #1 signed by Mark Waid right here!
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