Chris Yost Brings the Animated AVENGERS to Comic Books
The Animated AVENGERS Get a Comic
In the 1990s, nearly every animated series based on a comic book had a comic book tie-in to go along with it, usually with the word “Adventures” in the title — X-Men Adventures, Spider-Man Adventures, The Batman Adventures. In recent years, Marvel animated series have either gone with no comic, like Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, Spectacular Spider-Man and Wolverine and the X-Men; or in the case of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, just a one-shot.Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes the animated series debuts on Disney XD in October, and a four-issue miniseries of the same name follows the next month from writer Christopher Yost (X-Force) and artists Scott Wegener (Atomic Robo) and Patrick Scherberger (Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man). While it doesn’t have “Adventures” in the title, it’s the comic book counterpart to the TV show, penned by a Marvel Comics veteran who also happens to be the story editor and head writer of the series. Diligent readers already know that the first issue will feature two stories, one starring the team as a whole and the other focusing on Hawkeye. To learn more about what else to expect from Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes — and why this animated series merited the comic book treatment — Newsarama went straight to Yost.
Newsarama: Chris, you’ve worked on a lot of Marvel animated series and written a lot of Marvel comic books, but this is your first time combining the two and writing a Marvel comic book based on an animated series. Chris Yost: Yes it is, actually. Kind of funny, but yeah. They didn’t do one for Fantastic Four, I think they did a one-shot for Iron Man: Armored Adventures. This is the first one that I’ve been involved with. Nrama: You’re the head writer of the show, so what’s the experience of writing the comic book like? Yost: It kind of makes it a little smoother just because I know the ins and outs of that universe. This is a show that’s got a lot going on — it’s got some continuity to it. Just knowing who the villains are, where the villains are, what’s going on in any particular moment on the show, it’s pretty helpful when you’re plotting out the in-between stories. Nrama: Also, in the history of comic book tie-ins of cartoon shows, it seems fairly rare for the show’s head writer to also be writing the comic book. Yost: Y’know, I suppose it is. It just so happens that I’m kind of in both worlds. In this case, it really worked out. I think that everybody that works on the cartoons has got a great love for the comic books. Nrama: In the ‘90s, a comic book tie-in seemed like an almost obligatory component to an animated series. Now they don’t seem to happen nearly as often. Why was it important to put out a comic for this show? Yost: The hope is that this show is going to be big. It’s got a good vibe to it; Disney XD is really putting it forward. Millions of people are going to see it, so we want to have something out there that if someone walks into a comic book store and says, “What have you got for my six-year-old who loves that show?” that they’ve got that product out there. And hopefully it all becomes the gateway to Brian Bendis’s Avengers, and [Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato's] Secret Avengers, and the greater Marvel Universe. Nrama: Getting into the actual comic, what can you tell us about how it ties into the animated series as a whole? I imagine it’s not adaptations of episodes. Yost: It’s not adaptations, they’re original stories. They’re not ideas that got rejected for the show or anything like that. This is just all-new original material, and just like the show, we try to tell the biggest story we can. We go for it. These are Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and we’re putting them against Earth’s greatest threats. At the same time, with comic books you can do more to a certain extent as far as character work and getting the quieter moments in there. The way Avengers is, every episode is like a freight train. I’m not trying to oversell it here, but there’s a lot going on. It’s usually big and explosive. It’s fun to have some of these “breather” moments, too, and introduce new villains and new characters that we haven’t seen before in the show. Nrama: Are there any specifics you can talk about with who we’re going to see in the comic series? Yost: The book’s going to be split up into an A-story and a B-story. Every issue will have a “team story,” with Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, all those guys, but then we’re also going to do some smaller stories. Scott Wegener is going to be handling the art duties on the big ones, and Patrick Scherberger is going to be doing a special tale featuring like, Hawkeye and Black Panther. Or something on Ant-Man, something on Wasp, that kind of thing. Each main story is really going to be team-focused. The point-of-view will shift from character to character, but you’re going to get the Avengers in every issue. Nrama: Are there going to be characters showing up in the comic before they debut in the animated series? Yost: Most of them. I would say that all the villains that I’m putting forward are things that we haven’t seen in the show before. I’m really trying to break new ground from the show — it’s not going to be, “Oh, they’re fighting this guy again.” It’s going to be all-new, all-exciting. Nrama: So can you share any specific villains that we’ll be seeing in the comic? Yost: The first issue is Super-Adaptoid. The premise of the show for the first season is that there was a super-villain breakout. Over the course of the show, you’re going to be seeing the Avengers tracking down these villains, and the comic book will have bits of that, too. Nrama: Scott Wegener on art definitely stands out — he’s someone with a distinctive style for sure. Is Earth’s Mightiest Heroes going to be essentially a mesh of the show’s style and his own? Yost: To me, you don’t necessarily want it to be exactly the animated series style, because then you could just watch the show. Scott’s got such a distinctive, unique look. He and I worked together on my creator-owned book, Killer of Demons, and he’s just evolved so much. I think that his style, with these characters, is really going to be something really fun and really unique, and just exciting. And I mean fun, too. I’ve done a lot of dark and grim stuff with X-Men, and I think Avengers are the light and bright and fun of it. He puts in so many great touches, and it’s just pure fun. On the back-ups, Patrick Scherberger I think is just an amazing talent. He’s somebody I’ve wanted to work with for a long time, ever since I first saw his stuff. When I heard he was available for this, I was like, “yes!” It’s gorgeous. I’m excited to see him draw Hawkeye, Black Panther, and all these guys. Nrama: So is it cool as a writer to be transitioning from the more gritty X-Force kind of stuff to what you’re working on now? Yost: I love the Marvel Universe. I love it all — I love X-Men, I love Avengers, I love Spider-Man — but Avengers is great, because they’re not hung up on, “Oh man, they really hate me today.” They can just go out there and save the world. That’s what they care about. With the Marvel Universe and the Heroic Age right now, it’s really focusing on super-fun, big, super-heroics. Nrama: This is just a four-issue limited series, but I imagine there’s consideration that if this does well enough, more comics based on the cartoon could follow? Yost: Yeah, you never know. If it’s a big hit, or maybe we just want more out there, hopefully they’ll keep it going. The Avengers proper have been around for what — 50 years now? I think we could probably tell a few more stories. Nrama: Anything else about the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes comic that you think readers should know? Yost: The show premieres in October on Disney XD. It’s the Avengers you know and love brought to animated life, and the comic book is just going to continue that. If you see the show and you like it, great, then you’re going to get more of the same awesomeness. Even if you’ve never seen the show, you can pick this up and just enjoy it; just like a good, Avengers tale. A lot of times with a show, there’s compromises. This is the first show, with Super Hero Squad, that Marvel’s really put out that’s been like, “this is the comic.” It’s not like, “the Avengers are teenagers,” or “the Avengers are starring on a sitcom.” Nrama: Or “the Avengers have battle-armor suits.” Yost: They do not have battle-armor suits. They are not the Power Rangers. It’s really the opportunity to just take the Avengers universe and just go for it.