Cover, split as cardsIn July, Marvel will be releasing five new comics that take place during the Kree-Skrull War, the epic battle that took place four decades ago in The Avengers. Written by Sean McKeever, the stories are part of Avengers continuity and fill in some of the untold stories of the legendary battle.
But these stories aren't actually within a comic book. They're being told on cards.
Marvel is teaming up with trading card company Upper Deck to release the new comic stories on a series of cards called The Avengers: Kree-Skrull War. The 190-piece trading card set fits together into more than 40 pages of original comic book stories and will be released beginning in July.
In the cards, McKeever, who's also currently writing Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt, tells stories that fit between the pages in Marvel's Kree-Skrull War paperback collection from The Avengers. The stories feature Captain America, Thor, Vision, Nick Fury and others in a total of five separate tales that tie into each other -- as well as fitting with the main Kree-Skrull collection.The 40-plus pages of stories include:
- The Sacrifice, a 20-page story that focuses on Cap, Thor, Iron Man and Vision, with art by Manuel Garcia.
- Power, a four-page story about Super-Skrull with art by Carlos Paul.
- The Debt, which tells a story of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver in an eight-page comic drawn by Andy Smith.
- The Fall, which is about Nick Fury and features six pages of art by Allan Patrick.
- Soldier's Honor, a four-page story that focuses on Captain America and has art by Fabio Jansen.
Each card has a front and back, with nine cards fitting together to make a two-sided page. The cards will be sold with nine cards per $3 pack, and 24 packs per box. Upper Deck will also have additional insert cards in the collection, including "cover art" for the stories.
Newsarama talked with McKeever to find out more about how he wrote the stories with the cards in mind, and how the whole thing works.
Newsarama: OK, Sean, when this was announced, it sounded more like it was about the cards instead of a real comic. But I guess since they got a real comic writer to do this, it's legit?
Sean McKeever: It is! It's a real Marvel comic. It's the first time Marvel has done something like this, and it's part of continuity. And it ties into a major storyline, with the Kree-Skrull War.
Nrama: How does it tie into the Kree-Skrull War?
McKeever: The great thing about Kree-Skrull War is that it started out in smaller stories that were hinting it, but then it grew more and more epic in scale.
So if you read the story, there are a lot of personal stories, and then once it gets big, there are a lot things going on in different places, like the big battle between some of the Avengers and the Skrull armada, and then there's Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch trapped on the Skrull homeworld.
So as they're jumping around from issue to issue, from one place to another, editor Bill Rosemann and I found these gaps in the story. And we thought, well what happens during that time? What can glean more insight into the story, and also glean more insight into the characters during that time period?
Nrama: So you're not changing continuity.
McKeever: Right. We're just enhancing it.
Nrama: There are a lot of pages in this collection. What stories are included in it?
McKeever: The main story, penciled by Manuel Garcia, is 20 pages, and it focuses on Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Vision. Obviously, Thor, Cap and Iron are all kind of a big deal right now with their movies. The Vision is kind of an unknown quantity to most casual comic readers, and he's the emotional core of this story. He's a humanoid android who's fallen in love with the Scarlet Witch. She's trapped on the Skrull homeworld. He's really realizing that he can feel love, and we all know what our first love was like. He's filled with this emotion, and that's a big part of this main story.Then we have four other stories. We tied all the stories together in various ways. And one story is even a sub-set of that main story, which is Captain America dealing with some Skrull soldiers who are trying to escape the Skrull flagship, which has been targeted for self-destruction. And it's about how soldiers in a war are soldiers in a war, no matter what side you're on. And Cap is the best character with which to tell that kind of story, because he understands it all too well.
Then we have a Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver story, on the Skrull homeworld, with Captain Marvel, penciled by Andy Smith. Here are these people who've been on both sides of the human vs. mutant battle, and they don't want much to do with it anymore. And here they are in the middle of an inter-galactic war between two races. And how they view that is a big part of that story.
Then we have Nick Fury, drawn by Allan Patrick, back on Earth doing more of an espionage story that ties in with one of the bigger plot points, where a senator had been replaced by a Skrull and was sewing discontent toward the Avengers on Earth. Nick has a neat little adventure in, of course, Wisconsin farmland.And then our fifth story was one of the more exciting ones for me. It's star the Super Skrull, and it's during a period where, when he returns to his homeworld with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, even though he had these two captives, he was considered a rogue element. So the emperor had him attacked. This tells the story of what happens after he's attacked, and it has him fighting his own people. It shows how you can be a hero to your people and yet also reviled by your superiors. And that was a fun story to tell.
There are all sorts of little ways these stories connect. And as you get these various stories, you'll see how they happen in relation to one another. And we state where it takes place within the Kree-Skrull War paperback.
Nrama: Has this been done before, with a comic on collector cards?
McKeever: This is the first time Marvel and Upper Deck have done it. It was done before by Defiant Comics, which Jim Shooter ran, and they did their zero issue of Warriors of Plasm as a card set. This was back in the real hey-day of the superhero trading cards. Myself, personally, I was geeked to collect the cards and piece the story together.
And this is the same sort of thing, except there are some innovative things we're doing with it that you haven't seen before. And of course, it's a Marvel first.
Nrama: What kind of unique things are you doing with the cards?
McKeever: Each page will be back-to-back, so when you put them in a nine-card sleeve, you'll have two pages of the comic book. So even though one side of the card may not have the most vital information, the other side definitely will. It was important for us and Upper Deck to make sure there is always something interesting and important on each card, either on one side or the other.The really innovative thing with the set for me was trying to determine how best to lay out pages using that nine-grid formula. That was actually a lot of fun. We'd come up with some landscape-style panels, and some portrait panels that go all the way up and down the page. There are also some eight- and nine-panel pages, since we're using that grid.
It was just a lot of fun to figure out the pacing and to make it work so that the pages were exciting, as well as the cards. Like if there are three lines of dialogue in a panel that takes place over three cards, I'd point out that a bit of the dialogue should go on each card. And I laid out where characters should be and things like that. And the artists did a fantastic job, particularly Manuel Garcia, who I worked with on Mystique for a year. He did the main story.
It was just really cool to see those pages coming in, and to see how they innovated within that grid structure for the cards.
Nrama: And you worked on all of this with Marvel? Even though it's cards?
McKeever: Yeah, the story and art and everything was all done in-house by Marvel. Upper Deck came to Marvel and wanted to do this, so Marvel worked with them to make the comic. And [Marvel editor] Bill Rosemann, who's in charge of special projects, came to me and asked if I wanted to do it, and it was an immediate yes. It was just such a cool opportunity to write all these stories. To be a writer and have a trading card set is a pretty awesome geek moment for me.
The Avengers: Kree-Skrull War collector comic book cards will be released on July 20.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!