Stretching A Point: Reed & Co. Again Fantastic An Interview With Jonathan Hickman

Stretching A Point: Reed & Co. Again Fantastic An Interview With Jonathan Hickman FANTASTIC FOUR #577 Pencils By Dale Eaglesham It's been a long, long time since Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben blasted into space, being bombarded by rays which not only started off the modern Marvel Universe but a select sect of it, Marvel Cosmic, as well. Fantastic Four, the brainchild of Stan "The Man" Lee and Jack "King" Kirby, has had an on-again, off-again popularity with readers. But with artist Dale Eaglesham, current writer Jonathan Hickman seems to again be returning the "World's Greatest Comic Magazine" to its past glory. (And from a recent promotion piece running in Marvel books, it does look like the key word for the FF for 2010 just may be "Cosmic"!) Mr. Hickman kindly took a few minutes out of his writing schedule to answer a few questions about the residents of the Baxter Building and other cosmic queries from CosmicBookNews. Cosmic Book News: In your first arc on the Fantastic Four, you had the "Council" with the numerous Reed Richards and Infinity Gauntlets. Were you a fan of the Jim Starlin original Infinity Gauntlet? What about Starlin's earlier work with Warlock and Captain Marvel? Are there any elements from this first arc that will be visited down the line? I must say it was great seeing the Star Brand make an appearance. Hickman: Sure. I think it's fair to say that I dug most of what Starlin was doing at his height (around when I was in high school and transitioning into college). Captain Marvel remains one of my favorite Marvel characters, but personally, the highlight of all of Starlin's work for me was Dreadstar. All the Epic issues were pretty great. I really respect and appreciate cartoonists like Starlin that do it all -- his talent's unquestionable in my opinion. And yes, to answer your other question, we will see the remaining Council members again. FANTASTIC FOUR #577 Pencils By Dale Eaglesham Cosmic Book News: The Fantastic Four could be considered Marvel's first Cosmic comic and is referred to as "the world's greatest comic magazine." What are your thoughts on that and why do you think the team has persevered throughout the years? What is your favorite run on the FF? Hickman: Well, not to be overly obvious or cynical (depending on your perspective), but big Marvel properties aren't going anywhere, so perseverance is never going to be a problem. I may not be the one writing it, but Fantastic Four is going to come out every month. I think the secondary goal now is to just do my best to increase the relevance of the book however I can without sacrificing the primary goal: telling good stories. The popularity of these things is cyclical, so while the FF's moon has been waning for the last half decade or so, I feel that it's getting ready to start ticking back up. And "Trial of Galactus" is my favorite Fantastic Four story. Cosmic Book News: Following the "Solve Everything" arc we had a stand-alone story with a return to Nu-World. After that, a Franklin Richards time travel story. Come April we have Shield #1 debuting. Are there certain science fiction authors that have influenced you? What about writers in the comic industry? Hickman: Oh man, that's hilarious phrasing. "If you've been watching the news lately, you might have noticed the eroding political climate and the further destabilization of the Middle East peace process... what's your favorite pudding?" It's like an inside the Actor's Studio question. That's great. FANTASTIC FOUR #577 Pencils By Dale Eaglesham Cosmic Book News: [Laughs] From the Shield promotional art I figured it might have had a cosmic/sci-fi connection such as your recent arc in Fantastic Four. Interesting! Hickman: My favorite SF author is Frank Herbert. I read the six Dune books once a year just because I love them so much. As for comic industry guys ... (Grant) Morrison's first (hell, I'd argue he's the best comic writer ever), after that a whole gaggle of my friends and fellow colleagues: (Brian) Bendis, (Matt) Fraction, (Ed) Brubaker ... I'll try anything (Warren) Ellis does. I really like where Jason Aaron is headed with his work. (Andy) Diggle, (Kieron) Gillen and (Rick) Remender have all had solid years. Geoff Johns over at DC is as good as anyone at setting the stage for a story. I'm excited (Paul) Levitz is going to be writing Legion again. Blah, blah... I love comics. Cosmic Book News: Up next is "Prime Elements." What can you tell us about that? Will this arc be centered on a certain team member or will each share the spotlight? Hickman: Each issue kind of spotlights a character and a new city in the Marvel Universe. There's a weird rhythm to the arc, but we bring it home in a big way in issue 578. FANTASTIC FOUR #577 On Sale March 31st Cosmic Book News: As shown in the recently released solicit for Fantastic Four #578, Annihilus returns to pester the Fantastic Four! Fans of Annihilation will be excited. Will this meeting be at all different seeing how Annihilus was portrayed vastly more powerful in his most recent appearances? Hickman: I'm a big fan of a lot of what the cosmic guys have been doing at Marvel. As some of that cycles back towards the Fantastic Four, I'll be using a bunch of that stuff. So ... yes: badass, post-Annihilation, kid Annihilus. Cosmic Book News: Reed has appeared in recent issues of Nova, albeit a Reed from an earlier timeline. As shown in the recent Nova solicit, Darkhawk, Nova and Quasar are set to return to earth to warn them about the dangers of the Fault. Are there any plans to link FF with the rest of Marvel Cosmic? Hickman: Ummmm, I kind of answered this above, but to be more broad ... yes, in fact most of what you saw in the cosmic books over the past two years (Inhumans, Kree, War of Kings, Annihilation, etc.) will be showing up in Fantastic Four. I love that stuff and I can't wait to get to it. Should be epic! CosmicBookNews: Thank you for your time, Jonathan!   We also asked the VP Executive Editor on Fantastic Four, Tom Brevoort, the following questions via Form Spring: Cosmic Book News: How long are Hickman and Eaglesham staying on FF for? Its been darn good! Also, are all these single stories they have been putting out as of late culminating into a larger storyline? Will Ben stay on with the FF seeing how he is back as an Avenger? Tom Brevoort: Hickman's got FF planned out through #600, so he's thinking about staying at least that long. And yes, all of the stories connect in an meaningful way. As for Ben, keep reading! Be sure to pick up Fantastic Four #577 in stores March 31st and #578 this coming April!