What started as a fan-favorite variant cover is now a one-shot — the Skottie Young-written A-Babies vs. X-Babies, in October from Marvel with art by the Japanese team of Guruhiru. First announced Friday at Comic-Con in San Diego during the Cup O' Joe panel, Newsarama talked with Young and editor Tom Brennan about the inspiration behind the series, and the enduring appeal of baby versions of beloved characters in pop culture. Newsarama: Skottie, what inspired A-Babies vs. X-Babies? Was it, as one might suspect, prompted by your variant cover to Avengers vs X-Men #1, and the thought, "Hey, let's make a story out of this"?
Skottie Young: After I turned in the AvX variant cover the Internet seemed to be going baby crazy. It really took off. My sketch list at cons turned from Deadpools and Wolverines to anything "baby." So [Marvel talent relations manager] George Beliard (who was waiting for me to finish a sketch of Baby Cap) was talking to me at Boston Comic Con about how much everyone was loving the image. I just through it out randomly, "We should do a one-shot of this." He smiled and said "That would be awesome. I'll run it up the flag pole." A few weeks later, we got the green.
Nrama: How well does Guruhiru's art lend itself to the A-Babes vs. X-Babies concept? Is it similar to the artistic approach seen in their earlier Marvel work?
Young: It's perfect for this. It's youthful and full of energetic movement. I was very particular about who I would work with on this. I didn't want mini adult versions of these characters, they need to feel like toddlers. Guruhiru will do that perfectly.
Nrama: What can you share about the story? Is it, at least partly, a parody of AvX, or more of its own entity?
Young: It's a straight-up romp. that's it. No pretending to be anything but that. I didn't want to figure out a way to plug this into the Marvel U Proper, or have them jump dimensions, or be turned into babies. These are babies, and they're going to beat the blank out of each other. [Laughs.]
Nrama: Avengers vs. X-Men has thus far encompassed a huge cast from all over Marvel. Who can readers expect to get baby-ized in this story?
Young: You will see as many characters as we can fit into each page. But you can bank on Magneto, Hulk, Cap, Iron Man, Wolvie, Spidey… you get the picture. I could type all day.
Nrama: X-Babies have been around Marvel in one form or another since the '80s, but A-Babies are a relatively new concept. What should readers know about them?
Young: That they have a hulk. [Laughs.]
Nrama: Also, format-wise, how long is the story? One-shot?
Young: One-shot. But I would like to see the support be so huge that we return with an ongoing. Hey, I think I should create the BabyVerse like Brian and Mark did with the Ultimate Universe. I'm going to start working on the bosses.
Nrama: Tom, it seems that with this and Shame Itself last year, there's a bit of a pattern developing with humorous palate cleansers coming after major Marvel events. How important do you see books like this within the Marvel ecosystem?
Tom Brennan: First of all, it's "Harvey Award Nominated Shame Itself."
Any given Marvel comics event is going to star characters that are part of the cultural zeitgeist, not just in comics but across all media platforms. Thanks to the Avengers movie's success, more eyes are on us than ever. That amount of attention is going to naturally inspire any number of creators, perhaps creators who you won't see every month in Marvel Comics. I feel it's imperative to mine that creativity for all it's worth, and as a fan of humor books and a believer of what they can be in terms of the longevity of our industry's lifeblood, I think they're incredibly important.
Plus, I believe the three most important stories to tell are Babies vs. Babies, Babies vs. Self and Babies vs. Nature. You'll get all of that in this book.
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