The final Marvel phonecall of the week was for Rick Remender and John Romita Jr’s Captain America relaunch. More than the other calls, this was perhaps the conversation most centred on craft and design, although we did at one point get a vivid description of Remender’s love for taking his trousers off in public. Fun times!
Both Remender and Romita Jr were thoroughly open and conversational throughout the call, with an obvious creative rapport in place between the two. Part of this, sure, may have been because Remender has just returned to the glowing world of caffeine after 2 months abstinence, but they did both seem very invested in the title. Remender described his approach to the series thus:
Steve Rogers is the core of my book. Tonally you can expect a shift – drifts into something more akin high-adventure sci fi than Ed Brubaker’s run – but the character remains the same as ever, and his character shines through. We look into the fibre and the heart of Steve Rogers. It’s still hardboiled pulp at heart, and it’s visually pretty crazy.
At which point Romita Jr first entered the call, to graciously accept his deserved admiration. Both creators took time to mention Dean White’s colouring in particular as a key note for the book. There are essentially two strands in the book for the first 10 issues, with one dealing with Steve Rogers before he became Captain America, and the other dealing with the present. White is going to adopt a painterly style for the flashbacks, presenting them in full-on sepia tone.
Romita Jr is especially pleased with the work White’s been doing on the flashback scenes, and described his research as taking old family photos from the era and really studying them. Seeing them in black and white made him decide to avoid colour in the flashbacks for Captain America, as it doesn’t feel quite right to see the Depression era in full colour.
He also described his process for some of the stranger scenes for the present-day sequences.
Rick asked for a scene where someone walks into Arnim Zola’s lab, and it’s like a 1960s gore movie. Bodies hanging, experiments with animals and humans… I was scared I’d get carried off into ‘Kick Ass territory’ and go too far. This is meant to be all-ages, clean stuff!
“I don’t think anything I write is that!” was Remender’s response. Arnim Zola, the main villain for the book at this point, is going to be reinvented somewhat. Not only is Remender drawing from the ideas in 1950s horror and Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein for tone, but Romita Jr explained how he’s been working on evolving the ‘tv screen’ on the character. It’ll be more open now, a hologram which stretches out the screen in creepy fashion. Remender noted that he wanted the villain to truly feel villainous – a hero is only as good as their villain.
Romita Jr is still surprised he’s allowed to get away with all this.
When the floor was thrown over to questions, Word Balloon asked about the collaborative process between the two – Remender is an artist as well as a writer, how does that inform his work? It makes him “overdescribe” scenes, he says, being modest. This led to a nice back and forth between the pair about the idea of visual storytelling. Remender still sees comics as a storyboard whenever he pieces a story together, and Romita Jr relishes the chance to take the ideas and stretch them out in his own way. There’s a lot for Romita Jr to design and play with here, too – he describes the aliens Cap will be fighting, as well as “mutates”, and Arnim Zola’s daughter. Who is a statuesque warrior, it appears. Ooh-err, somebody tell the missus.
Actually, hold that thought. I’ll mention it again at the end.
IGN asked the question I wanted to ask, the fiends, by wondering if THE LIVING ERASER would make his glorious return to Marvel in this book. It sadly appears unlikely, although Remender did mention using a character called ‘Doughboy’, who was apparently created by Jack Kirby. Oh, Jack! And on the same lines, Newsarama asked about if any of the more familiar supporting characters would show up at any point, like Sharon Carter (remember her!) or Falcon. Remender was pretty careful here about tipping his hand, hinting that Sharon (are you still remembering her? Continue doing this!) will be present, but other character would only show up… if they did.
Remender and Romita Jr are rather eloquent, talkative people. The first round of questions lasted for almost the entire duration of the call, meaning that we all had to then embark on a “lightning round” for our second question. WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW WHICH JOURNALISTS WUSSED OUT OF ASKING A LIGHTNING ROUND QUESTION? I shall tell you! CBR, and Marvel.com, and Word Balloon, and i09, and MTV Geek. Booooo!! The only sites brave enough and quick-thinking enough to continue asking the questions YOU want to hear were iFanboy, IGN, Newsarama, and The Beat. Yayyyyyy!! Here they are:
Not as a focus
And my question: Will Cap ever make an honest woman out of Sharon?
Now — I sure do hope you guys remembered Sharon like I said you should, because she was the topic of my final question! If you did forget, read the line above this. Now you’re caught up. On this subject, Remender surprised us all by saying that their relationship would develop in a major way at the start of the book. Ooooh! Romance! And with that, the creative team talked away into the night, with only the faint smell of coffee lingering behind.
Issue #1 of Captain America will be released November 21st