Spencer and Eisma Reflect on a Year of MORNING GLORIES

MORNING GLORIES Yearbook in August


When Morning Glories launched in August 2010, writer Nick Spencer didn't have any comics published yet at Marvel or DC, and was best known for creator-owned Image Comics miniseries Existence 2.0, Forgetless and Shuddertown.

Just a little more than a year later, he's not only written several high-profile Marvel books — Secret Avengers, Iron Man 2.0, Spider-Island: Cloak & Dagger — but he's under an exclusive Marvel contract, one that allows him to finish up his DC series T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents with a six-issue miniseries starting in November. Yet with as deep of a portfolio as he's amassed in recent years, Morning Glories is probably still the comic he's best known for — and he's OK with that.

"When people think about my work, Morning Glories is probably the first book that they think of," Spencer said in a Skype chat with Newsarama. "I think that might be for the rest of my life. And I'm perfectly fine with that."

October's Morning

Glories #13.

Commonly described as "Runaways meets Lost," Morning Glories is an ongoing Image Comics series that's been one of the most buzzed-about creator-owned books of the past year, a year that hasn't been too kind to creator-owned books or the direct market in general. Set in the mysterious and treacherous Morning Glory Academy, the series — with a second trade paperback, collecting issues #7-12, in stores this week — has seen multiple second printings and attracted praise from no less of an authority than Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof, who said on Twitter that the book was at the top of his pull list.

"I love working at Marvel, and I love what I do there, and I'm very lucky to have that opportunity," Spencer said. "At the same time, it's really nice and really cool to have built that on a foundation of creator-owned work that was lucky enough to find an audience on its own. That's something that's extremely rare in the comics market today. It's a big source of pride for me."

Before last year's Morning Glories debut, artist Joe Eisma was also a relative unknown. He had worked with Spencer before when stepping on for an assist on Existence 3.0, and on the Dynamo 5 back-up "Notorious" with writer Jay Faerber, but this is by far the longest and most successful project of his career.

"I didn't expect it," Eisma said in a phone conversation with Newsarama. "It really did take me by surprise. When Nick and I started this, out of all the scripts that I've worked on, I had a sneaky feeling that this one was going to at least get some buzz. It was unlike anything I had worked on before."

Morning Glories

#14 cover.

The two creators actually met on the "Bendis board" — the popular online forum presided over by Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis.

"I remember when Nick joined, I kind of thought he was a little bit annoying," Eisma said, with a laugh. "Eventually, he started producing stuff that made me take notice. When Existence 2.0 really took off I was lik, wow, he's really got something here."

Like Spencer, Eisma said he has received plenty of outside offers as a result of the success of Morning Glories, though he doesn't really have time to pursue them as a result of the book's monthly schedule. He told Newsarama that he is working with Popgun co-editor Joe Keatinge on a miniseries, but he's not budging from Morning Glories.

"It's the most fun I've had drawing comics.," Eisma said. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm in it for the long haul. " Which could be long indeed, given that Spencer has indicated in interviews that he's targeted the series for a roughly 100-issue run.

In the book's immediate future, Spencer said that since the ensemble cast and plot have been established by the first 12 issues — as he called it, the "second half of the first season" — it's time for the series, known for its puzzles, to "get moving." Though those looking for concrete answers to the book's many puzzles may still be waiting for a while.

Morning Glories

#15 cover.

"I do think the story will change somewhat in the way that we tell it and where we go from here," Spencer said. "Big, big, big stuff happens in this third arc. People are going to be talking a lot."

And that type of talking — the meticulous online speculation seen in the past with TV shows like, yes, Lost — is one of Spencer's favorite things about the first year of Morning Glories.

"We've got all this sort of net-based infrastructure around the book; analysis of it, fan discussion, and in comics, that's an extremely rare thing," Spencer said. "For me, it's a dream come true. It's succeeded beyond my highest hopes."

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