Dominic Fortune MAX #1Later this summer, Marvel Comics will introduce an old Spider-Man character to the Marvel MAX line—Dominic Fortune. Some readers might be asking, “Who?” but other, long term Spider-Man readers will remember Dominic Fortune’s recurring role in Spider-plots nearly 25 years ago. Most recently, in 2006, Dominic Fortune was featured in a mini-series with Silver Sable—Sable and Fortune—which pitted the two gun slinging mercs against traitorous members of Silver Sable’s own Wild Pack. Now, in August, Howard Chaykin takes the character back to his slightly mature roots. Curious?
Originally, Howard Chaykin had created a character named, “Scorpion” for the defunct Atlas/ Seaboard Comics company—he was the basis for the Dominic Fortune concept. When asked about the conception of Dominic Fortune and choice to create the character for Marvel, Chaykin responded, “I'd been working on another period character who shall remain nameless, for another company which shall remain nameless, and after a problem I had with editorial, I crossed the street and asked the editors at Marvel at the time if they'd be at all interested in a variation on that character. They bit, and we were off and running.”
Chaykin’s first Dominic Fortune project was created for Marvel Preview—a black and white magazine which featured the start of a number of characters who are experiencing resurgences in the Marvel Universe currently—like Moon Knight, Blade, Star-Lord—and, historically, it is best known for featuring the very first time the team of Claremont, Byrne, and Austin worked together on a project. One of the most unique features of the magazine, however, was that it was not restricted by the Comics Code Authority—so a Dominic Fortune MAX book seems like a natural fit based on the origins of the character.
Dominic Fortune’s original story was set in the 1930’s—something that Chaykin wishes to return the character to. When asked about the setting of his next MAX book, Chaykin replied, “Absolutely. Fortune is hired to baby sit three hell raising Hollywood stars on a junket from Los Angeles to New York to the Berlin Olympics. Along the way, he uncovers a sinister international conspiracy.” He spoke more about his work with the Marvel MAX line, saying, “[Dominic Fortune ] is one of those characters that I can jump onto in a heartbeat. Within an hour of Axel suggesting we do a Fortune mini for the MAX line, I had a plot—and again, we were off and running.
Chaykin’s role—or roles—on the next MAX project will probably excite his fans to no end: he’s writing, drawing, inking and coloring the project by himself. When asked about the challenge of being a “one man band”, he remarked, “I've always thought of myself as a cartoonist, which I define as a guy who writes and draws the stuff. I really never think about freedom in any professional context.” Further, he discussed the difficulty of being solely responsible for the work and how his own criticisms play a part in the creation of a project by saying, “…I've spend enough of my professional life in a state of self doubt that I can deal with that any time, any place.”
The Dominic Fortune character who was prevalent to 80’s and 90’s Marvel readers was actually a descendant of the original Chaykin character created after Chaykin had departed Marvel. However, in a number of books during the time period, an extremely venerated Dominic Fortune (Chaykin’s original) appeared in a number of Spider-Man related books of the time period. When asked about the Dominic Fortune content produced without his involvement—in the 80’s and Dominic Fortune MAX #290’s Chaykin was frank, “I never saw any of that material, so I have no idea what was done with the character.” And when he was asked about the potential origin of the modern character from the 2006 Sable and Fortune mini, he said, “Since I have no idea what they're planning, I couldn't say, but I'd love to see what they're thinking about.”
As the conversation wound down, a discussion arose involving the various aspects of Dominic Fortune’s character and which parts of Fortune Chaykin liked best, Chaykin mused, “I'm guessing his sense of humor, his sense of irony, and the fact that he's not entirely honest.” When asked if he could allude to one aspect of the project that would drive the project off the shelves in August, Chaykin was coy, “Come on! One thing? Impossible; just know that I'm having a terrific time with it, and I hope the readers will, too."