From the people who bring you the old-time radio stage show Thrilling Adventure Hour comes a two-fisted assault on comic shelves with Deadpool Annual #1 and Thunderbolts Annual #1. These two one-off comic books are being written by the masterminds of Thrilling Adventure Hour, Ben Acker and Ben Blacker – who earlier this year made their comics debut writing Wolverine: Season One.
Deadpool Annual #1 is first, coming out today November 27 with a story that pits the titular Merc with a Mouth against a Marvel denizen who could be even crazier than him: Madcap. These two heroes go at odds with each other while trying to find out one of comics most intriguing but overlooked mysteries: what happened to the white caption boxes that used to insinuate superhero comics. Acker and Blacker promise the extra-sized story with Deadpool and Madcap to feature some cameos from additional heroes, including Thor, Daredevil and Luke Cage. And in December, the duo take on Red Hulk’s hitsquad in Thunderbolts Annual #1, pitting these reformed villains against an unlikely foe: Doctor Strange. Acker and Blacker are keeping their cards close to their vest as to how Doctor Strange ends up in the T-Bolts sights, but tells Newsarama the team will be scouring the Marvel U to find some magic to use against the former Sorcerer Supreme.
Newsarama: Thanks for doing this guys. We’ve got a lot to talk about, so let’s start with Deadpool Annual #1. What can you tell us about this one shot with Evan Shaner?
Ben Acker & Ben Blacker: What would you like to know? We had a lot of fun writing it. We knew our collaborator would be Doc Shaner who knocked our socks off in our Thrilling Adventure Hour graphic novel. Our socks remained off for this book. The art in this issue is amazing.
We got to play with Madcap who is an old favorite of ours and Luke Cage who is a recent favorite.
Nrama: The solicits say this delves into the mystery of what happened to comics’ white caption boxes. Can you tell us about your interest in that, and how it turned into a comics story?
Acker & Blacker: Don't want to spoil anything. Our editor, Jordan D. White, came to us with the notion of explaining a detail of the caption boxes and we spun a story out of it that is as crazy as the characters in the story.
Nrama: Deadpool’s known as the crazy one, but the incoming Madcap looks to give him a run for his money. How would you compare and contrast Madcap and Deadpool?
Acker & Blacker: We think of them as Bugs and Daffy which is one reason why we were so excited to see Moore and Bellaire's "Deadpool Season/Madcap Season" cover.
Nrama: After reading the advance copy Marvel gave me, I have to say I love your take on Deadpool. Any chance or plans to revisit the character down the road?
Acker & Blacker: Thanks, that is nice of you to say. We loved writing him and got another chance to in the upcoming Thunderbolts Annual.
Nrama: Let me ask you about that – what’s going on in December’s Thunderbolts Annual #1?
Acker & Blacker: The Thunderbolts are going after Doctor Strange.
Nrama: But Doctor Strange is a hero, and the Thunderbolts are heroes – or at least trying to be. Why are the T-Bolts going after Doctor Strange?
Acker & Blacker: Because in this story, Doctor Strange is mad with power and if not the T-Bolts, then who?
Nrama: The T-Bolts team seems more of a brute force kind of team – how they can hope to stand up to Strange’s magic?
Acker & Blacker: I'm glad you asked. The Thunderbolts do need magic with which to fight magic, so we send them on a series of heists within Marvel's magic community.
Nrama: Sounds like a magical mystery road trip. Tell us about your fascination with magic and what places and people fans are likely to see?
Acker & Blacker: Our fascination revolves around the fun characters and worlds in the magic areas as well as putting these muggles with guns into those worlds. The fans will see Bloodstone Manor, Asgard, and a whole new heretofore unseen division of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Nrama: I can’t let you off without getting into how you two got to Marvel in the first place. What’s the story behind that?
Acker & Blacker: Editor Jordan D. White is a Thrilling Adventure Hour fan and we are Jordan D. White fans. He invited us to do the Wolverine: Season One book and invited us back to do these annuals. We love working with Marvel and hope to do more.
Nrama: You’ve done Wolverine, you’ve done Deadpool, you’re doing Thunderbolts… any other Marvel characters high on your list to take on? Famous or lesser-known?
Acker & Blacker: We'd love to keep playing with the magical side of Marvel - we've got a Tomb of Dracula tale up our sleeves that would connect Marvel's magic worlds and bring in some outsiders. We really want to play with the Savage Land. We want to write it like Deadwood with dinosaurs. Also, isn't it time the Great Lakes had another team of Avengers? We vote yes.