Over the course of the past few weeks, Invincible writer Robert Kirkman’s been having some fun. Last week he released a series of images hyping a new series spinning out of Invincible entitled Guardians of the Globe, revealing characters one-by-one in the vein of the recent Marvel marketing push for their various Avengers title. Maybe “in the vein” is not accurate – with the subsequent announcements of Spawn, President Barack Obama and “Gary” Potter it became known as a homage and parody of the Marvel announcements. After the final reveal, Kirkman fessed up to his playful stunt and promised a serious reveal this week of the line-up for this upcoming team book.
And reveal he did. Over the course of the past five days, Kirkman has revealed five characters that will be part of the larger team in Guardians of the Globe (including Friday's debut of , right to your right there). A familiar face with Brit, and several new names. But as Kirkman tells us, there’s more to the team than just these five.
The Guardians of the Globe is set to take place simultaneous to the “Viltrumite War” arc in Invincible, which sees the titular hero off-world and Earth in need of heroes to step in. As the resident superhero team to Invincible’s world, the team which has played a supporting role in numerous Invincible stories takes the lead in this new miniseries debuting in August. With all the characters revealed, Newsarama spoke with creator and series co-writer Robert Kirkman about the upcoming series and the stunt that led up to it.
Newsarama: With the news out that last week’s marketing campaign wasn’t a joke but for a real book… what’s the real Guardians of the Globe going to look like?
Robert Kirkman: It's more or less going to be “Invincible Squared”… It'll be like Invincible, featuring the Guardians of the Globe in a starring role, and it'll be the perfect sister-book to the title while the Viltrumite War is going [in the Invincible series]. So we'll see a lot of the same faces as we do in Invincible, but they'll be getting a larger focus.
Characters like Bulletproof and Black Samson and Shapesmith, from Invincible, will be getting a little bit more screen time. Each issue of the mini-series will focus on a single threat, so they'll be largely self-contained stories, but there will be a lot of subplots that run throughout the mini to tie the whole thing together. Y'know, pretty much exactly like Invincible. So, to a certain extent, it'll be like getting two issues of Invincible every month. With that said, I should point out that you don't HAVE to be familiar with Invincible to read Guardians of the Globe. It will be completely accessible to new readers. If you enjoy comics in any form, I recommend you look it up.
Nrama: In the pages of Invincible, the Guardians of the Globe have gone through a lot of line-up changes. I see just a handful in these announcements -- mostly all new except Brit. Are there more to it than that though?
Kirkman: There are a lot of members. Basically, the core team that makes up the Guardians of the Globe now in Invincible, which is Brit, Robot, Monster Girl, Bulletproof, Shapesmith and Black Samson, will all be in this book. We'll also see former members Immortal and Dupli-Kate... but there will be a vast expansion. We'll see characters from some of my other superhero titles like Capes and The Astounding Wolf-Man, including the all-new characters from this week's teasers: Outrun, Kaboomerang and Yeti. As well as some other new faces.
The cast probably seems a bit too huge, but this comic will work much the same way as the AWESOME Justice League Unlimited cartoon, where some characters get a lot of focus in one story, and then kind of fall into the background for a while--and there won't be one core team anymore. It'll be a membership thing, where different heroes are called in for different problems as needed. There will be a few characters that are in every issue that form kind of the core cast, and then guest stars that will pop up in the book here and there.
Nrama I might doubt you, but you have a real ensemble cast in Invincible and it’s a solo book.
The line-up seems to be really living up to the name Guardians of the “Globe” – emphasis on “Globe”. As this is your first real creator-owned superhero team book, what are the key ingredients to you for a good superhero team book?
Kirkman: Same as any book, interesting characters that interact well with each other. I think what makes a team book good is balance. Giving characters enough screen time to be interesting and compelling but also knowing when to gloss over certain things to keep the story moving and really show the reader what's important. It's a hard juggling act; I don't think there's a writer out there who won't tell you team books are hard. And yes, we're going to be leaning in a more international way with this series, focusing on threats from all over the globe, and featuring characters from all over. For instance, Outrun is from South Africa, Kaboomerang is from Australia and Yeti is from Nepal. We'll also be seeing at least brief glimpses of superheroes from France, Mexico and Japan. It's gonna be sweet!
Nrama: So no Barack Obama or Gary Potter in Guardians of the Globe?
Kirkman: Not in the main story... stay tuned. I mean, those teasers were a big hit, I'd hate for that to be the last time we see that team.
Nrama: You’re not the only one. Readers have been clamoring for a Guardians of the Globe book for sometime – and now after 70 issues they get a mini. If things go well on the mini, could you see the team coming back on a more permanent basis?
Kirkman: Yes, absolutely. I'm not really worried about sales all that much, I know the trades will do well. It's really just a question of fitting it into my schedule and not doing something that's going to have a horrible shipping schedule. I'm dying to do more. It's already pretty clear to me that half the things I want to do with these characters probably won't fit in this mini-series. So I can't guarantee it but there will probably be more.
Nrama: The initial marketing campaign to promote this upcoming miniseries seems to be a not-too-subtle poke at the recent Avengers marketing campaign Marvel has been doing. What was the origin of this advertising stunt?
Kirkman: Me being silly? I really don't know how else to put it. I was really into those teasers and was waiting for the new one each day, so I thought it would be funny to keep it going. I wasn't sure they'd be stopping after week four, but twenty teasers seemed like a lot. Also, everyone likes to poke fun at the fact that Spider-Man and Wolverine were (brilliantly) placed in the Avengers. Now they're in two Avengers teams--that cracks me up. Seems like it cracks other people up too. I'm not criticizing so much as just having a laugh. I read those books, they're good books. And you can't really go wrong with those art teams.
Nrama: You have a lot of friends at Marvel. Have you heard back – friendly or otherwise – from anyone there about this marketing campaign?
Kirkman: I'm not kidding myself. I'm sure they're not losing any sleep over this. I haven't really heard from anyone about it one way or another. I've been pretty busy with that Walking Dead TV show. I was kind of hoping to call down the wrath of [Marvel Executive Editor] Tom Brevoort because he's been so trash-talky lately with DC but I guess I've got a ways to go before I'm fighting in the heavy weight class. I'll call down the bearded thunder one of these days. This business is so much fun, I can't help but poke a little fun from time to time. I think it's a good thing to not be so serious about all this stuff.