The role that Gerry Duggan has played within the Marvel Universe is a fascinating one to examine. He’s done it all, from Fantastic Four one-shots to cracks at a solo character like Deadpool, and even spearheading a major event with Guardians of the Galaxy and Infinity Countdown, which led to Infinity Wars.
He’s one-size-fits-all; he can obviously do everything. And he continues that streak with his work in the mutant line of books, Marauders and the upcoming Cable. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like Marauders, a fun adventure book focusing on the mutants’ turn as pirates. It’s a hilarious comic, and it looks like Cable will follow suit.
I sat down with Gerry, clad in sunglasses and excited to talk about his work, at the recent C2E2 convention. Enjoy!
The Beat: I heard you guys have got an X-summit here in Chicago.
Gerry Duggan: It actually starts today. We’re gonna wrap out of here early and meet up.
The Beat: I assume you guys will be talking about X of Swords?
Duggan: We’ll probably talk about that, but it’s more future business really. I think we all have a pretty good sense of what we want out of the second years of our books, but obviously we need to get on the same page, talk to Jonathan [Hickman]. We’re a pretty social group actually, so this is great fun for us to move our conversation off of the Slack and into real life.
The Beat: Does this count as one of the official summits of the year? I know you guys do two or three.
Duggan: Yeah, it’s a small room, I guess you’d call it. We’ll convene a big room when Marvel needs to, but I think this has been on the books for a while.
The Beat: Interesting! Now, onto Marauders. Every one of the X-books deals with death in its own unique way, but I feel that your book is especially unique in that its characters feel a bit more brash and carefree, maybe invincible. Which is contrasted with Kate who dealt with her mortality in a way that no other mutant could understand, at least before her untimely death. Can you talk about how you applied that concept to the book?
Duggan: In Marauders, I feel that carefree is a pretty good description but it’s really about what we want you to feel when you read the book. We’re embracing the concept of mutant pirates and you’re going to see that played out even more in the coming months. For Kate, she’s obviously singled-out. She’s different, she was left behind. I think for a character who has always been vocally proud of who she was as a mutant, it was a true gut-punch. She had faith in the end that she would be brought back but there are obviously complications. But we’ll see how her story plays out, whether it’s over or not. We know Lockheed survived. And as for the rest of the crew, I’ve been reaching for some very big toys. They’re some of the most powerful toys, not just in mutantdom, but in the whole Marvel Universe. I’m very glad that the book has landed the way it has, with collaborators and with fans, because there is a lot more Marauders that I want to try to bring into the world. I feel like we now have a lot of rope to do that.
The Beat: There are a lot of teams books in the X-line, but your book has a character front and centre in Kate. What did you see in her and what inspired you to take her on the journey that she undergoes?
Duggan: I’ve been an X-Men reader since the 80s. They were my jam. I have mutie blood in my veins. Kate, Emma [Frost], and [Sebastian] Shaw all arrived at the party together in X-Men #129. For a long time, because of her age, she was the lens into that world. I wasn’t much younger than her when I was reading X-Men comics, and I’m showing my Gen X cred here as we age up, but if I had a gun to my head and had to pick a superpower, I’d pick hers. Who wouldn’t want to talk through a wall to get out of a situation? I also think it was underused, tactically. She was trained as a ninja, and I thought you saw some of that from Matteo [Lolli] in the first issue of Marauders. On the one hand I love the character, on the other hand, having these three characters show up together… other writers have done it but these characters are linked. In my mind it’s cemented as a fact. I’m sincerely just trying to help produce the book that I desperately would want to read if I were an X-Men fan. Hellfire was always my jam and now it’s even more important in the mutant world. Before, I don’t know if you would say that the Hellfire Club is an important part of it. It was always a big part of it, but now that mutants are in lockstep, we have a nation that will depend on having an export. With the Marauders as an underground railroad for mutants that can’t easily get into Krakoa, we get to subvert the whole racist history of the British East India Company. I guess at the end of the day, I went away and read X-Men comics for almost twenty years and thought about them for almost twenty years, and this is what came out of the other side. Jonathan is such a good collaborator and his story allows for such long runways for other things that he’s not writing. It feels like a miracle.
The Beat: And how did you come to write Cable?
Duggan: Any time I get to work with Phil Noto is a true joy. Phil was coming free and was very Krakoa-curious, we’ll say. I love Phil to death and as soon as the schedule aligned we thought, “What’s the itch that we can scratch?” We’ve seen a lot of this young Cable, I’m not sure that we’ve had the time to necessarily do a deep dive into who he is as a young person yet. I always value young heroes because they’re inexperienced and can make mistakes. When you look at who Old Man Cable is, you see he’s a battle-hardened mutant general. How did he get that way? I think you’ll see some of that, and I think we’ll surprise some people with the story that we’re pulling off. I don’t think any great Cable story is necessarily A to B to C to D, but you will hopefully have a good time, no matter which Cable is your jam.
The Beat: You’ve publicly spoken about how far ahead you’ve plotted Marauders, did you apply the same strategy to Cable?
Duggan: I have a year plotted out with Phil and we’ll hope for more. Marauders is going to be able to use the big, multi-year ideas that we cooked up. It’s a good time to be a mutant, and a fan of them.
The Beat: And when it comes to the tone between Cable and Marauders, will they be similar in that regard?
Duggan: I always laugh when people come away with very different opinions of the work. Some people think that Marauders is very funny, some people think it’s very tragic. I think they’re both right. With Cable, I hesitate to promise something that I would be rather be a surprise, but you’re going to get young mutants in love. You’re going to get high adventure, and you’ll get a couple of curveballs which I think will make any Cable fan happy.
The Beat: While Marauders is one of the core books leading the charge, is Cable going to function as a side book?
Duggan: Cable will be leading the charge in his own book, but now that he’s dating someone that’s put him on Emma’s radar, so she’ll be concerned with what’s going on there. I haven’t been shy of making Scott and Emma supporting players in Cable. Pixie and Armour, and some of the other younger, inexperienced mutants, don’t get their bones until they go have an adventure with Cable. So even though Cable isn’t necessarily a mentor figure for mutantdom overall, he’s there for the younger generation on the island.
You can read Marauders digitally or at any fine comic book store, with Cable #1 hitting shelves this Wednesday.