Have you ever been to a party where one person with an oversized personality takes over? In a way, that's what is happening with this week's Gwenpool Special #1.
Although the new mash-up character gets top billing on the book, Marvel editor Wil Moss tells Newsarama that it's another hero's show: She-Hulk. Done in the vein of classic Marvel Holiday Specials of old, Gwenpool Special #1 is an inter-connected anthology showing the more humorous side of the company's heroes -- or in Marvel Boy's case, the shirtless side.
Containing both the unofficial continuations of both She-Hulk and the Hawkeye vs. Deadpool miniseries amongst other stories, this week's Gwenpool Special #1 is eclectic -- even before you figure in Gwenpool. Moss talks about that, along with who truly created Marvel's newest mash-up star, in this interview.
Newsarama: Wil, what can people expect with Gwenpool Special #1?
Wil Moss: Well, one thing to expect is that, despite the title, the main story in this anthology is actually a She-Hulk story! Charles Soule, Langdon Foss and Megan Wilson tell a 20-page story that’s essentially She-Hulk #13. For reasons you’ll have to read the story to find out, She-Hulk must keep her office holiday party going until dawn or she’ll lose the building out of which she works. This is the same building that Howard the Duck, Hellcat and, up until just recently, Spider-Woman work out of. (Congrats, Jess!)
And the other three stories -- 10 pages each -- stand on their own, but they all overlap at least a little bit with She-Hulk’s party. Characters are either on their way to the party or trying to get into the party. Personally, I love it when stories do that – have some connective tissue. Like when Jessica Jones was working as Matt Murdock’s bodyguard and you saw the same scene in Alias and Bendis’ Daredevil! This meant a little more work on everybody’s part, frankly, but in the end they all flow together pretty smoothly and make for a better sense of what this one festive night in this corner of the Marvel Universe is like.
So you’ve got Margaret Stohl, Juan Gedeon and Tamra Bonvillain telling a story about Ms. Marvel struggling to deal with the holiday blues; you’ve got Gerry Duggan, Danilo S. Beyruth and Cris Peter telling a story about Deadpool and the two Hawkeyes (Clint and Kate) trying to stop a holiday pickpocket (and also trying not to kill each other); and last but not least -- the reason for the season, you might say! -- is Christopher Hastings and Gurihiru telling a story about Gwenpool taking on an assassination gig that proves to be a little more challenging than she anticipated.
Nrama: Gwenpool has an interesting origin -- but one we still don't know much about. She first appeared in a variant cover by Chris Bachalo. Can you tell us the behind the scenes of it all, and who you feel her creators for beyond the creators of Gwen Stacy and Deadpool?
Moss: Oddly enough, the fans are basically her creators. That variant cover was part of a whole wave of variants featuring the Gwen versions of various characters -- it was one among many, basically. But after it came out, we started seeing all this Gwenpool cosplay -- concrete evidence that there was fan support for the character -- so we thought we’d test the waters with her backup story in Howard the Duck and in this one-shot.
Though you shouldn’t necessarily assume she’s related to either Gwen Stacy or Deadpool. Gwenpool is very much her own person, as readers of the backup in Howard the Duck #1-3 learn a little bit about…
Nrama: For this anthology, you have an eclectic team of writers and artists. How'd you go about casting for this project?
Moss: I’ll tell you: I roped in a few other editors who are more talented than me to do the work for me!
All this came about from me constantly bugging Charles Soule for more She-Hulk. He finally relented a few months back and said he had a holiday story in mind. So we decided to do an anthology built around Charles’ holiday party idea. I remembered that Deadpool editor Jordan D. White had said Gerry Duggan had a holiday-themed follow-up idea to his Hawkeye vs. Deadpool miniseries, so Jordan got that ball rolling. (I don’t think the story and art for a comic have ever come together faster than on that one, by the way.) Then I begged Ms. Marvel editor Sana Amanat to let us do a story with Kamala, and then handed it off to my assistant editor Chris Robinson.
And following her appearances in Howard the Duck, we were looking to shine the spotlight even more on Gwenpool, so we just named the entire special after her! (No hard feelings on She-Hulk’s part, by the way -- she’s been in Gwenpool’s shoes before.)
Nrama: What kind of directive did you give them in pitching you ideas for stories?
Moss: We wanted fresh holiday stories, ones that were true to the characters, entertaining and surprising. Each one has, in my unbiased opinion, an actual touching moment! But there’s plenty of jokes and fighting too, of course. (Wouldn’t be the holidays without them!)
I think my only specific directive was that I wanted shirtless Marvel Boy to DJ the holiday party. Merry Christmas, everyone!
Nrama: Why do you think mash-ups of heroes are proving to be so popular recently?
Moss: I’m gonna say…Amalgam nostalgia?
Nrama: And why do you think Gwen Stacy is the common denominator?
Moss: I think a lot of that comes down to the stellar work of Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi, honestly.
Nrama: Could you see Gwenpool doing more in the future, perhaps in an ongoing series like her spiritual sister Spider-Gwen?
Moss: It would not surprise me in the least. [Laughs]