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Marvel: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Reported 26/04/2004
Source ThePulse

[Image: 1emh4.jpg]The previously announced Earth's Mightiest Heroes limited Avengers series was supposed to come out before the end of the summer, but artist Scott Kolins has told THE PULSE that the series has been moved to November. Marvel plans on running the series biweekly and, by the time issue one comes out, Kolins should be just about through drawing the entire story. Featuring colors by Morry Hollowell and written by Joe Casey, this series take a look at the Avengers from their earliest days as a team.

Kolins told us how he became a part of the creative team. "Joe Casey asked me to join in on the fun," he revealed. "We talked it over. I think these kinds of Year One projects can be really cool, the characters involved are some of Marvel's best and both Joe and I are real Avengers fans, so when Marvel agreed the schedule worked - that was it. This is an absolute dream project no doubt. Avengers is always about being the all star team - although in perfect Marvel fashion being an 'all star team' means it takes all kinds. I mean you're not the squeaky clean Justice League if you've got the Hulk on your team. You never saw the Justice League trying to reform Amazo by including him as a member! Having the the Avengers try to reform the Hulk - make him a good guy - is an amazing and heroic story. Of course they failed, but again heroes aren't heroes because they always win. Heroes are heroes because they do the right thing."

Kolins is very familiar with the heroes. He worked on the monthly series and drew almost every member of the current team. Working with this team has really appealed to the artist. When asked what he liked best about working on the Avengers, Kolins was hard-pressed to narrow it down to just one thing. "Everything," he enthused. "It was a brand new book after years on the Flash for me, but I still got to warm up to them with my Flash pal Geoff Johns writing my first arc. I've been pushing my art in all sorts of ways and getting to draw some all-time favorites. My second arc with Chuck Austen (Avengers #82-84) was a completely different story and I got to draw a bunch of other Marvel favorites. For those who've liked my panoramic backgrounds - you'll be treated to some really cool new ones. Stuff I haven't tried since Flash #184 (the double page spread of Keystone and Central Cities during the Crossfire storyline)."

Kolins hasn't had the chance to work with Joe Casey before. "We hadn't worked together before," he said. "But I remember he wrote the Children of the Atom mini series with Steve Rude and that he's been writing Superman for a while. Talking with Joe got me interested in working with him. He's been really involved in the projects he works on. We both really love the Avengers."

"I've got incredible material to work from," continued Kolins. "The work of Jack Kirby is never to be under estimated - even if you've read it a hundred times. His brand of story telling and the character design is phenominal. Jack Kirby's work is definitely larger than life - so it's something for me to aspire to. Then I've got respect for what comes after this sort of year one time-frame. Yes, I'm drawing the original Ant-Man and then Giant-Man but I know and love his Goliath and Yellow Jacket incarnations. Knowing some of the things that happen months or years later helps me get a feeling of who these characters are. And with the stuff Joe has planned - how we'll fill in some really cool tidbits and explore some crazy stuff Stan Lee and Jack Kirby only hinted at. But again about the material - drawing Captain America in an iceberg! Drawing the Avengers versus the Hulk! Kang - for crying out loud! Plus I'll even get to Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver! Earth's Mightiest Heroes - indeed!"

"I don't want to just redraw old panels," added Kolins. "Joe and I have a real commitment to adding something to these pivotal early days. There's going to be more to Hawkeye's story than we've seen. Same with Cap's re-emergence into modern society. Did you know Thor just kinda disappears at the end? There's no scene where he says 'I'm outta here'. What happened?? We'll get into that."

Kolins told us which of the Earth's Mightiest Heroes will be present in this eight-issue limited series. "Well originally you've got Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man the Wasp and The Hulk. But Hulk begin Hulk that doesn't last long and he leaves. Ant-man changes into Giant-Man, Captain America joins and then we are off and running. Plus we'll get to see a bunch of stuff leading to Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver joining as well. Earth's Mightiest Heroes is going to be very different from Avengers monthly and Ultimates. Since so many of our readers may know what happened in the original issues - it's more about enjoying these characters and the situations they are in. Plus this stuff was written and drawn so long ago it gives us a chance to revisit and add some intrigue leading up to and around these hallmark moments of Marvel history. I guess similar to how [Kurt] Busiek and [Alex] Ross's Marvels was nostalgic and fun."

Masters of Evil, Kang, Mole Men and several others were among the foes the original Avengers squared off against in their first year of fighting crime. Kolins learned something new about the heroes working on this. "I wasn't really aware of the original incarnation of the Masters of Evil," Kolins admitted. "The whole Baron Zemo angle is really amazing and I never knew the Enchantress and the Executioner were involved with them! There's some cool stuff in there! Kang I knew (and loved) although, to me, the Lava men are a side line to what's happening to the Avengers themselves - as they become a real team. I'm still reading the first Essential Avengers trade to catch up and check details. But again, once I figure out some of the costume bits and the nature of the character - they draw themselves."

Kolins also is sure his style will come through and make the art in this series different from the original source material. "Apparently my 'style' comes through now no matter what I do - especially since I've omitted shadows and line weights," Kolins began. "Plus I think my storytelling style and panel layout have become more my trade marks than any rendering or nuance. So it comes down to drawing the stars and stripes on Cap or the hammer and helmet on Thor. The characters pretty much draw themselves. Some characters are tougher than others. Since I don't use an inker right now I have to make Iron Man look manufactured so I use circle and elipse templates and French curves. Iron Man takes longer to finish."

"For me it's all about The Mighty Thor (so far anyway)," he continued on some of what he's enjoying the most about working on this series. "He's one of my all-time favorites that I haven't drawn yet and I desperately want to get him right. I've always felt Thor should be really imposing even just standing there. He's the freakin' god of Thunder! How do you draw those wings on his helmet? What about the Hammer? How big is it? It's gotta look like it could crush a tank. Again, Kirby is 'The Man' for Thor. So I've blown up some Kirby shots of Thor up onto my wall for inspiration. Before I got signed onto Avengers monthly there was talk of me drawing Thor monthly and I'd love to do more Thor after Earth's Mightiest Heroes is over. We'll see."

If you're wondering just where this story's set in terms of any sort of timeline, Kolins tried to clear a few things up for us. "The time/continuity thing is always a problem to comic books," Kolins began. "Y'know - Didn't Reed Richards and Ben Grim originally fight in WW2? Then suddenly it was Korea and then Viet 'Nam? If you want to relive the '60s you're gonna have to read the old comics. There's just no way to have Iron Man and Captain America be 40 years older than when they appeared in 1963 - and have it fun and exciting to read today. So it's not going to seem so long ago as we tell this story. There'll be cell phones and MTV. This is my least favorite aspect of the book but there's no way around it."

Since Kolins is a longtime Avengers fan, THE PULSE was curious to know what his favorite past tales were. He told us these stories topped his chart. "I haven't read every issue so I'll have to go with my favorites. Avengers #181 Where Gyrich and the Government tell the Avengers who will be the current team plus Wanda and Pietro get sucked into these marionette dolls - that issue will always be remembered. Avengers #160 and #161 are awesome as it deals with the whole Vision/Wonderman brain story with the Grim Reaper - and that entrance of Hank Pym being Ant-Man again and attacking the Avengers (which led into the cool Ultron story)! Avengers #157 is one of the greatest Avengers covers anywhere anytime: These pair of gray boots just walking over the fallen Avengers! Whoa! The insides were ok, but it was the cover that sold me. Avengers #189 spotlighting Hawkeye is one of my favorites as I'm a huge Hawkeye fan - very fun issue of Hawkeye dealing with being 'kicked out' of the Avengers by the Government. But my favorite is Avengers #149 The Gods and the Gang! The Avengers versus an army of bad guys (headed by an evil corporation!) that get defeated by this giant fist plowing them over. Then Thor returns to save everyone - by remembering his true level of power and defeating Orca (the giant that K.O'd the Avengers earlier). The issue even squeezed in a sad love story where the girl (Hellcat) doesn't just sob over her rotten ex-hubby - She kicks his butt! I love every beat of that issue. It really sums up what I like to do in my comics. I loved it when I was nine when I read it for the first time and I still love the issue now after reading a million times. Just brilliant. Steve Englehart and George Perez!"

As a comics fan as much as a person making his living off of making comics, Kolins said it's important for him to have fun while he's working. "Not necessarily Ha-Ha fun but enjoying the characters and the plot can make or break a book for me to draw," said Kolins. "Pages can become harder to draw if there's nothing I enjoy in them. Luckily I haven't had many of those projects for a while, though this brings to mind an important point. This may seem obvious but a lot of this becomes a matter of how you look at it. I've heard some pencilers complain about all sorts of 'problems' with a book they are drawing. Some may be valid complaints and some not, but it's up to the penciler to make it the best piece possible - whatever the constraints. Get it done. If you feel that the writer is always over dialoging or skipping over an important moment in the story - insert it. I'm not saying to re-write - just really read what he or she is writing and portray that in the best way you can envision. This was silly but true - I had an artist tell me once he was going nuts because the writer kept writing five panels on every page. He was going out of his mind trying to figure out all sorts of different arrangements for five panels - page after page after page. I can't understand that. If that's the 'problem', split a panel into two panels or combine two into one or something! Think it through but don't get trapped into something that is frustrating you. I usually talk to my writers which usually solves any possible problems."

[Image: 1emh5.jpg]

See how Kolins solves Earth's Mightiest Heroes' problems this November!
I think that this is the book I'm looking forward to most this year.

Glenn Walker
Now that half of this mini-series has hit the shelves, I want to reiterate - get this book! It's the best thing Marvel is publishing right now in my opinion. Scott Kolins, after a rough Avengers run, finally has a grip on them and Joe Casey knows the Avengers better than any of the last three writers on the regular book. Seriously, this is a don't miss!

Glenn Walker

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