Ever since the new series Secret Warriors featured a back-up section devoted to the ancient history of the intelligence and counter-terrorism organizations such as Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D., my interest has been piqued. From reading some of his other stories, I have seen Hickman show a penchant not only for eye-catching design but also details in the fictional world in which his stories take place. While initially Secret Warriors was a collaborative effort with Brian Michael Bendis, Hickman has since taken the writing reigns himself and it remains one of my most anticipated monthly comics (and as I have said a few times… I read a LOT of comics.
The upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D.series will explore the history of the Marvel Universe, offering up new sights forever expanding its rich comic book tapestry.
Hickman spoke to WestfieldComics about the series:
“I was in New York and went to meet with Tom Brevoort. I’m pretty sure it was right before a writer’s retreat and I had flown in a little early. I was hanging out in the offices and one of the X-editors, Nick Lowe, said he wanted to sit down and talk to me about pitching a book – specifically a S.W.O.R.D. series.
“Now, obviously, that’s not what ended up happening because, hey, we’re in the present and Kieron Gillen’s doing S.W.O.R.D. and kicking ass on it, and my idea became something else. Because, while my original pitch wasn’t right for that, the editors at Marvel thought it was certainly right for something. So, I made some changes, wrote up a fairly extensive series document and everyone at the House of Ideas got really excited. Now we have SHIELD… The creative process is funny like that.
“Beyond that, creating the story was just sitting down and doing the hard work of figuring out how to grow this single cell organism into a living, breathing thing. So I started with the initial idea of wanting the book to be about all the coolest science guys in history (in the Marvel Universe), and then built a comprehensive mythology around it. It’s weird. You start out at a certain point, you proceed forward towards a specific destination, and you end up in a completely different place – but one that feels like one of the best things I’ve ever written. It’s been a unique, organic, and creatively rewarding experience so far.
“It is the greatest minds in the history of the world. We find out that they are connected, from Imhotep, to Da Vinci, to Galileo, to Isaac Newton, to Ben Franklin, to Michelangelo, and on… Beyond being gifts to humanity themselves, they also have a specific task and a specific agenda. Call it destiny if you want.
“It’s a look at the history of the world in the Marvel Universe, and the men who dared answer the call many, many times to save us all. And do it long before guys like Spider-Man and Captain America showed up.”
(I highly recommend reading the whole interview as it touches on Secret warriors and Fantastic Four as well)
The new S.H.I.E.L.D. is shaping up to be a major series on the level of Buseik and Ross’ Marvels.
“Leonardo da Vinci was an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. So was Isaac Newton. So were Imhotep and Zhang Heng and Galileo and many other geniuses throughout time. They were the first heroes to defeat Galactus and the Brood and turn the Celestials back. They saved the world long before Captain America or Iron Man were even born. What does this mean to our heroes today? What does this mean to Nick Fury? Do not miss this Marvel Comics masterpiece that fans will be talking about for decades to come. All the insanity is courtesy of Jonathan Hickman (Fantastic Four, Secret Warriors, Nightly News) and Dustin weaver (X-Men).”
This has been in the works for some time and it shows. Artist Dustin Weaver has posted some truly awe-inspiring preview images (like the one above) over at his LiveJournal page.
An exclusive online sketchbook is available for free at Marvel.com. Make sure to reserve a copy on April 7!