All it takes is a little bit of luck!
The slogan of the ad campaign for the New York Lottery can now also be used to describe saving the Marvel Universe. That’s the news out of Comic-Con International San Diego as an unlikely hero is tasked with a cosmic adventure.
Announced at the X-Men panel, Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe is a new mini-series by writer Christopher Hastings and artist Jacopo Camagni coming in November 2013. After the last few years with Jamie Madrox’s X-Factor squad (and his insane origin revealed just this past week), Longshot steps out on his own under the most unlucky of circumstances that sees him targeted by a new luck-power-killing villain, S.H.I.E.L.D., and “all-powerful cosmic entities” – a little bit outside his usual wheelbase!
We spoke with Hastings and Camagni to find out more about the series, who else might show up, and why you should long to give this one a shot (I’m so sorry).
Newsarama: Christopher, Longshot has long been a team player, most recently a member of X-Factor for several years. What sets him off on his own for this adventure?
Christopher Hastings: Well, good old helpful Longshot seems to have stretched his luck a bit too far, and set off a very, very unlucky chain of events that he feels responsible for fixing.
Nrama: The title of this story, "Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe" may sound a bit goofy to some people. After all, Longshot isn't exactly the most high-profile character, for him to be stepping into the role of universal savior seems a big leap – why, as an unlikely hero, is that appealing to you as a writer?
Hastings: Unlikely heroes are the most exciting heroes! It has been incredibly fun for me to start with the biggest most terrible threat for Longshot to face down and *then* figure out a way for him to realistically handle it. Well, as realistically as superhero stories get, anyway.
Nrama: What can you tell us about the initial villain that starts all of this off?
Hastings: He's a mysterious figure who uses deadly and unmeasured powers with unsettling casualness. And for some reason he's hunting down people with good luck.
Nrama: Well, since he's murdering "the luckiest people" – does that mean we might see other luck-based powered people showing up here? Who else might we see from around the marvel Universe?
Hastings: We will indeed be seeing other luck-power heroes in this series. I'm pretty much treating the guest appearances like getting to play with a friend's toys. I want to use all my favorites that I never got to touch before. Plenty of guest stars in this series. That's mainly because we're finding it interesting to play Longshot's powers in different ways off the different Marvel heroes, as well as really trying to establish him as a contender amongst all the others.
Nrama: Longshot has long been rather enigmatic, with little of his personality able to seep through. What will you be doing to explore his character, and not just his feats?
Hastings: I think Longshot is a very optimistic and cheerful character, who jumps into situations to help people just because he thinks it's unquestionably obvious that's what he should do. But the Marvel universe is a dangerous one, and we're going to see what it's like putting that guy in such a nasty place.
Nrama: Jacopo, Longshot doesn't exactly have the most visual of powers. What sorts of visual flairs will you focus on to make drawing someone with "luck" fun for yourself?
Jacopo Camagni: I know, and I thought that could be a problem, not having a visual power to show (like the spider sense). I've tried to focus my work on the character’s facial expressions and used the classic light effect, so I wouldn't miss the most important element of the character that makes him so close to the reader: his humanity. He looks like a normal person like any reader: no explosive rays, mutant limbs or mental powers, and I preferred not to visually overdo his own power to be sure that the reader can feel more close to him.
Nrama: Visually, he has largely remained a picture of the mid-eighties that he was born of. Do you plan to update his look at all for this adventure, or do you feel it's classic for a reason?
Hastings: We've definitely updated his look! Jacopo's got a real slick take on his X-Factor costume, and with a fresh haircut.
Camagni: It's been so fun to change his look! I have give him a real "cut" from the past. I hope you'll like it
Nrama: For both of you, what do you find enduring about the Marvel Universe and the X-Men corner of it in general? How is it that even a character like Longshot can break out and become the star of a series like this?
Hastings: The X-Men from their very inception have been the place for superhero comics to address both real world hope and fears. The pain of racism versus the wonder of extreme evolution. I think Longshot has a similar appeal in his contrasts. He's from an awful hopeless world, he's had his memory wiped anytime it's convenient for someone more powerful than him, and he regularly faces down dire situations with equally dire teammates. But for whatever reason, things generally continue to go his way, so long as he takes it all in with a smile. There's something in that I can personally connect with. I've had my share of problems same as anybody, but honestly I feel like I'm a pretty lucky guy. When rough stuff comes my way, I find if I grin my way through it, do my best, and believe that things will be okay tomorrow, they usually are. I think it's interesting to see that represented in an X-Person. Also it's just REALLY COOL to see how extreme you can take "luck powers," to explore that fully.
Camagni: The thing that I most appreciate in the Marvel universe, and that is really evident in the X-Men story, is the importance of making diversity normal, and the idea of group and friendship. These are the values that I find in each story, and I think that is really important to communicate to an audience of young readers. I think readers like the idea of having a second family to find in the pages of our comics, maybe that would accept them and understand them better than the real world, unfortunately, does.
Longshot is a happy and positive guy, and I think it's the perfect character to read in dark times like these. We all need to see the positive side of life and to never lose hope, I always try to do so, even in the worst moments. I think Longshot can communicate that perfectly, and I think it's his greatest superpower.
Nrama: For both/either – any particular moment in this series that you're excited for fans to see? A moment, perhaps where they'll know that Longshot is just as cool as any other Marvel character?
Hastings: There are plenty of very cool moments in the series, but I must say the way he saves the day at the end of the second issue is particularly badass. (And I don't feel like I'm bragging, because it was editor Jordan White who suggested it to me.) But I'm sorry, I cannot spoil it. You have to read it to enjoy it in full.
Camagni: I'm sorry, I cannot spoil it. But I can tell you that this guy has all the credentials to make a bang and break some hearts! Hehe. And I'm really curious about the reaction for the new look.