The Knaufs - Talking About the Eternals and More

The Knaufs on Eternals and More

Earlier this week, Newsarama broke the news from writers Charles and Daniel Knauf that the two are updating the Phantom for the Sci-Fi Channel.

Now we follow-up with the writing duo to talk about The Eternals, their current ongoing series for Marvel Comics. Launched with a new #1 issue just last month, the series is bringing the Eternals characters back into the Marvel Universe and giving the former Iron Man: Director of SHIELD writers a slew of characters to update for modern readers.

First introduced by Jack Kirby in 1976 in their own ongoing series, the Eternals are an evolutionary offshoot of humanity created some million years ago when a race of cosmic giants called the Celestials did some genetic experimenting on Earth. Since that introduction, the characters showed up in the Marvel Universe every once in awhile, but recently seemed to disappear.

The Eternals mini-series by Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr. in 2006 re-introduced the characters by having them awaken after a lengthy amnesia induced by one of their own. These immortals had been living in the Marvel Universe all along, unaware of their rich history and super-powers. But now that they've started to remember, they're racing to awaken as many of their people as they can, hoping to gather the missing Eternals to battle a threat called the Horde.

The new Eternals ongoing has picked up where Gaiman's series left off, and it's two issues into the story. Newsarama talked to the writers at San Diego Comic-Con to find out more about the why they took the Eternals writing gig and what's coming up next in the comic.

Newsarama: Daniel, most people know you as a TV writer, particularly for HBO's Carnivale, which you created. We sat down with Charles in Los Angeles earlier this year to talk about the Eternals and why he was attracted to this project, but what's your reason for taking this gig among everything else you do?

Daniel Knauf: Well, I wasn't sure about it at first. I read Neil's Eternals. And I liked it, but I was thinking, well, I'm not sure. Then we got Kirby's Eternals Omnibus. And there was just a total exuberance, and a sense of wonder and excitement. And it just infected us. We'd written Iron Man, and it was kind of a dark story. It felt like such a great change-up to get on Eternals.

NRAMA: Charles, fans of the comics you've been doing with your dad probably don't realize this is a father-son writing team. How has it been working with your father on comics like Iron Man: Director of SHIELD and Eternals?

Charles Knauf: It's been amazing. You never know, coming into these situations, if you have a roommate or someone you work with, if it's going to work out. But ever since we started out, it's been the best experience. I've learned so much. I actually think our father/son relationship has gotten a lot better. It's been a lot of fun, and we have this mutual respect. And it works. I just hope to keep working with him.

DK: I'd been thinking about putting him up for adoption, but he's just too old. [laughs]

NRAMA: Let's talk about what you're hoping to do with the Eternals. Is this a total integration into the Marvel Universe?

CK: Yes. They're these great characters that need to come back. We're assimilating them into the Marvel Universe, and we hope to have them join the Marvel family, which they haven't done in a long time. And we also want to answer some crazy questions that people have been asking about the Eternals for a very long time: Who runs this whole operation? What's up with the Celestials? What's their deal?

DK: What is the Horde? What's the function of Celestials? What's the function of the Horde? Why are there Eternals? Why are there Deviants?

NRAMA: Was a lot of that left open-ended by Kirby back when The Eternals ended?

DK: Yes. What was really fantastic about Kirby's mythos for the Eternals is that there is so much open territory. What we've been looking at is trying to draw everything together and say, "Oh! So this is their job description."

CK: It's great. There is so much open area, but there are continuity anchors. There will be an issue of Fantastic Four where something will happen, and we'll explain that. Or something off in an old issue of Avengers -- something weird happened that involved the Celestials or the Eternals, and we'll answer that. But there's so much wide open space that we can answer that however we want to. As long as it makes sense, it's great.

NRAMA: Now that we've learned you're hoping to be doing a Phantom series for Sci-Fi, what else are you doing in television?

DK: I've got a series with HBO called Honey Vicarro that they've bought and it's in negotiations. It's basically a mockudrama about a show that was on in 1966. It's like Spinal Tap, only it's about a TV show. And it stars Jenny McCarthy. The whole idea is that there was a show made in the '60s that was so radical that it only aired once. They took it off the air, and it's been sitting in a vault for 40 years, and we just finally found these lost prints, so we're showing them for the first time. Check out the website. There have been people on the internet that have started to participate in the fantasy of that.

I'm also doing House of Cain, a feature for Will Smith's company. I can't really talk about that, but it's an epic set in Babylon in 17th Century B.C. And then I'm doing a project with Dean Devlin called Exodus which is a four-hour movie for ABC about the end of the world and the Mayan prophecy. And of course, I'm doing Eternals.

NRAMA: Then to finish up, let's talk about what's coming up in Eternals. We've seen the Order guest star, and lots of Tony Stark. You've said you're bringing in The Watcher as a side character. Anything else you can tell us is coming up?

CK: Issue #3 is the introduction to Gilgamesh, which is very cool. He's back, which is great. We're going to be answering a lot of questions over the next few issues, but we're going to be asking a lot of questions too that are going to be showing up in the second arc. It's an ongoing story that is going to evolve like an epic as more questions get answered, more questions are raised, and the Eternals prepare for the Horde.

DK: It just keeps getting weirder and weirder. And we just keep having more and more fun doing it.

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