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Fred Van Lente Chat Transcript!

Let’s celebrate Fred Van Lente Days Past now, with a transcript of the ultra-cool online chat Fred had with readers this past Fred Van Lente Day (otherwise known as this past Saturday). One bit from the chat that I wanted to spotlight first before you begin reading – Fred and artist Dennis Calero will be signing copies of X-Men Noir at Jim Hanley’s on 33rd Street in Manhattan, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 6-8pm. That’s tomorrow, people!

Okay, enjoy the chat!

Brian Cronin: Welcome to the Fred Van Lente Chat!!
taimur: Hooray :)
Fred Van Lente: Yes, welcome!
irthling: Happy FVL to one and all

Brian Cronin: How awesome was it that three of your books came out this week?
Fred Van Lente: It was pretty awesome.
Fred Van Lente: EXCEPT Dennis Calero and I were supposed to do a “X Men Noir” signing at Jim Hanley’s Universe…
Fred Van Lente: …and Hanley’s got shorted on their order!
Brian Cronin: ouch!
Brian Cronin: so no signing?
Fred Van Lente: So Dennis and I will have to go sign X Men Noir next Wednesday.
Fred Van Lente: When, of course, I have NO new books out. ;)

Brian Cronin: oh, ha
Brian Cronin: that’s rough
Fred Van Lente: C’est la vie.
Fred Van Lente: But anyway, that will be Jim Hanley’s on 33rd Street in Manhattan, Wed., Dec. 10, 6-8pm, for those who are interested.
Fred Van Lente: Calero and I will be in our full noir finery.
Brian Cronin: Excellent

Brian Cronin: That must have been neat to be involved in a project with a mysterious ad!
Fred Van Lente: You mean the Noir titles, Brian?
Brian Cronin: Yeah
Brian Cronin: Always good to do a comic with actual promotion
Fred Van Lente: Yeah, it was neat, not only the House ads, but how Joe Q would flash the art at the convention panels.

Fred Van Lente: Dennis was very amused at how many people compared him to the likes of Frank Miller and Jae Lee. (And flattered.)
Brian Cronin: They were very cool looking

seeso Fred, I love your work! I’ve been a fan since the MODOK mini, and I think you are the bee’s knees.
Fred Van Lente: Thanks, Seeso!
seeso I’m also a fan of your Herc partner, Greg Pak. I saw the movie “Robot Stories” before he was a Marvel writer (some of my friends were in it), and was ecstatic when he got Marvel gigs.
Fred Van Lente: I have to Netflix “Robot Stories.” I feel like a crappy writing partner for not having done it sooner.

Fred Van Lente: (And yes, it is available on Netflix, you Pak fans.)
seeso Robot Stories is excellent. Some top-notch sci-fi writing.

taimur: So, with the FCBD Wolverine title officially released, safe to assume Alpha Flight will be in it.
Fred Van Lente: You KNOW there will be Alpha Flight on FCBD. ;)
Fred Van Lente: The story takes place before “Incredible Hulk #181″.
Fred Van Lente: In fact, it’s about how James MacDonald Hudson arranges for Wolvie to get the anti-Wendigo mission in the first place.
Fred Van Lente: But is that the only Flight reference?
Fred Van Lente: Canucks and fellow travelers will have to wait ’til May to find out…
taimur: Of course ;)

seeso What would be your dream title to write?
preston: Hey Fred, love your work! I was just wondering if you could reveal just how many titles you’ll be releasing next year…
Fred Van Lente: Thanks. Let’s see here.
Fred Van Lente: Incredible Hercules.
Fred Van Lente: Fred Secret Project #1
Fred Van Lente: Fred Secret Project #2
seeso: Ooh secret project!
preston: nice
Fred Van Lente: #1 and #2 are both minis.
preston: Aww man
preston: I was hoping you’d get another ongoing
Fred Van Lente: Fred Secret Projects #3 and #4 have not been green-lit, but we have high hopes.
Fred Van Lente: Those are both on-goings.
preston: *crosses fingers*
seeso: I don’t mind minis, but you need another ongoing.
Brian Cronin: Are they part of the Marvel Universe or set apart like X-Men: Noir?
Fred Van Lente: One is not set in the Marvel Universe.
Fred Van Lente: But is a title Mr. Bendis has written.
Brian Cronin: Fancy
Brian Cronin: It should be Torso II – the Return!

Fred Van Lente: The other three are set in the Marvel Universe.
preston: hmmm
Fred Van Lente: But one of them features brand-new characters.
Fred Van Lente: I am also co-writing right now a manga with Dean R. Koontz based on his “Odd Thomas” character. That’s been a lot of fun.
seeso: I’m super excited to read characters that are created by you, Fred.
timbre68: A Bendis book outside of the Marvel Universe?
preston: Powers?
Fred Van Lente: Timbre, alas, I have been told I can’t say outright, so I am being coy.
Fred Van Lente: The Marvel Department of Marketing and Thought Control would cause this chip in the base of my skull to explode if I revealed too much.
seeso: lol
Fred Van Lente: And what fun is that if you can’t see the gooey bits fly across the room?
preston: don’t want that happening
timbre68: I’m an old guy, I love your books, very old school – however they are the books I recommend to my kid’s friends. Great stuff!

timbre68: Big fan, are you dipping your toes into the Ultimate Universe?
Fred Van Lente: Timbre, not yet.
Fred Van Lente: But it’s something I wouldn’t mind doing.
Brian Cronin: You need to write for Heroes before you write an Ultimate title, I’m afraid
Zombo: I agree, you should totally write for Heroes.

seeso: How long have you been reading comics? What did you do prior to writing comics?
Fred Van Lente: My mother claims (though I have no memory of it) I taught myself how to read through comics since she was sick of reading them to me over and over again.
Fred Van Lente: I was about four.

Crystal Skillman joined the chat
Fred Van Lente: My curious wife, Crystal Skillman, everyone! Say hi.
seeso: Well, hello, Mrs. Hercules!
Zombo: Hi!
Crystal Skillman: Hi there!
Brian Cronin: Howdy!
taimur: Hi!
preston: Say hi

Zombo: Mr. Van Lente, what’s your opinion on cursing in comics?
Fred Van Lente: I’m not against if the story calls for it.
Fred Van Lente: I’ve only recently started using the “!@#$!” in dialogue myself.
Zombo: I guess that’s a solid standpoint.
Brian Cronin: I was disappointed that Power Pack Day One had no profanity
Fred Van Lente: Brian, it’s layered subliminally into the artwork.
Fred Van Lente: Although, to finish the profanity thread…
Fred Van Lente: …fuck it!
Zombo: Personally, I think it’s kind of lame, sometimes, when writers just use it to make a more seem more ‘gritty’ or ‘hardcore’.
Fred Van Lente: Ha, ha, no I’m just kidding.
seeso: LOL
timbre68: Hear Hear!
Fred Van Lente: I would prefer to use actual profanity than the symbols.
Brian Cronin: I’d imagine
Fred Van Lente: In “Noir” they wouldn’t let us use bad words, so we literally blacked them out. I thought Nate Piekos, our wonderful letterer, did a really nice job with that effect.
timbre68: I let my kids read your profanity!
seeso: I bet that’s coming soon. I’d say in the next 5 years.
Fred Van Lente: They let us keep all the sex in, though!
Brian Cronin: I like the blacked out approach
seeso: Yay for sex
Brian Cronin: Even though it got Frank Miller into trouble
Fred Van Lente: I think what got “All-Star Bats” into trouble was they used gray variants while Piekos wisely used solid blacks.
Fred Van Lente: Don’t quote me on that, though.
Fred Van Lente: I find myself trying to work more and more sex into my comics as I get older.
Brian Cronin: There’s probably a Power Pack joke there, too, but who wants to go there?
Zombo: It definitely sells.
preston: That’s all right, no one minds ;)
Fred Van Lente: I think I’m hitting the age where it’s more interesting to me than violence. ;)

seeso: Hercules has sure been getting some lately!
seeso: Amadeus Cho needs to get busy.
Zombo: But Amadeus was DENIED by that Amazon.
seeso: I hope snakey schoolgirl chick isn’t dead!
Fred Van Lente: We will see about Delphyne.
Fred Van Lente: I have been in love with her since I saw Clayton’s kick-ass design, so I certainly hope she pulls through somehow.
seeso: Ha ha, coy again…
Brian Cronin: I’ve been mightily impressed with Henry’s work as of late
Brian Cronin: Always good to see artists grow as artists
Fred Van Lente: Clayton has been kicking ass, and he’s already committed to another arc in 2009.
preston: nice, Clayton belongs on Herc!
preston: his facial expressions are the bomb
seeso: Clayton is amazing. Love his stuff.
Brian Cronin: The cover with Hercules breaking through the wall – tremendous job. His Marvel Adventures: Avengers covers have been striking, as well.


taimur: Any chance of seeing ARMOR again in the future? Marvel Zombies 3 rocks!!!!!!!!!!
preston: so I’m guessing one of your secret projects is a MAX book? ;)
preston: Speaking of Herc, are you and Dan Slott (and Greg Pak) trading notes for Hercules, because it seems like he and Amadeus are gonna play quite a role in Mighty Avengers
Fred Van Lente: Dan and I were actually just trading notes yesterday via Gmail chat (a useful little tool).
Fred Van Lente: And he let me pick his brain about She-Hulk for “Hulk Family”, so it’s mutual.
preston: cool, if anyone else can do Herc and Amadeus justice it’d be Slott
Fred Van Lente: Yeah, Dan seems really excited to write Amadeus and Greg and I are excited to see what he comes up with.
preston: Yeah, in an interview he described Amadeus as the new Rick Jones, lots of fun to be had there
seeso: You and Dan seem to have similar feels to your writing styles.

Zombo: I thought this chat would be bursting with Van Lentians, but it’s actually rather civil.
Fred Van Lente: Just as long as we don’t all contract Van Letitis.
Fred Van Lente: “It burns when I pee!”
Zombo: We all already have it.

seeso: Are you satisfied with the numbers Herc is doing? I’d really like to see that book do well. It’s at the top of my stack every week it comes out.
taimur: What issues are you and Pak writing up to? Last time I heard it was in the 130′s
Fred Van Lente: Well, we’ve been budgeted out through #140.
seeso: It needs more push from Marvel, and seems like that’s starting.

seeso: What can we look forward to seeing in Herc next year?
Fred Van Lente: In 2009 for Herc, we get the origin of the big guy in the March issue, #126.
preston: double-sized!
Fred Van Lente: #126 is indeed x2 sized…
Fred Van Lente: That issue features the RETURN of KIRBY, now that “Secret Invasion” has ended.
Fred Van Lente: …and it’s basically the “Season Premiere” of Season Two of the INCREDIBLE HERCULES.
Fred Van Lente: Hera allies herself with, um…
Fred Van Lente: …I guess you could call it this “Cabal,” see…
seeso: Awesome!
seeso: The push has begun. :)
preston: whoa, Dark Reign
seeso: OOOO
Brian Cronin: Very cool.
Fred Van Lente: And there is one thing “Incredible Hercules” fans have been asking for since the series was announced.
Fred Van Lente: And they will get it in spades, at last, in the summer of 2009.
Brian Cronin: Profanity?
Fred Van Lente: Fuck no!
seeso: lol
seeso: Tease us a little bit?

Fred Van Lente: You know that Peter, Paul and Mary song?
seeso: Dragon?
seeso: Puff?
Crystal Skillman: LOL!
Fred Van Lente: “If I Had a Hammer”
Brian Cronin: Blowin’ in the Wind! (Any chance for a Dylan reference)
timbre68: THOR!
seeso: THOR
seeso: HOLY SHIT
seeso: OMG
taimur: I say thee….YAY!
seeso: sweeeeeeeet
preston: nice!!!
Brian Cronin: “Blowin’ in the Wind” can apply to Thor, too!
Fred Van Lente: Yes, Brian, we will soon introduce Herc’s new arch nemesis, Mr. Tambourine Man.
Zombo: Mr. Van Lente, do you play Rock Band or Guitar Hero?
seeso: can’t wait!
seeso: Henry’s Thor will rock.

Fred Van Lente: In speaking of arch-nemeses…
Fred Van Lente: …we meet Amadeus Cho’s.
seeso: Ooh, nice. Wonder who it is?
taimur: the 6th smartest person perhaps?
Fred Van Lente: Is there a connection between said nemesis and the death of Amadeus’ parents?!!?
Fred Van Lente: Is there a connection between said death and…
Fred Van Lente: Wait, wait, I’ve said too much.
Fred Van Lente: I can feel the chip in the base of my neck vibrating.
taimur: Carmilla Black ;)
Fred Van Lente: I am afraid we will be going into “Scanners” territory if I say any more.
seeso: but… gooey bits….

Fred Van Lente: Any other Herc questions?
seeso: Are you satisfied with the numbers?
Fred Van Lente: I am.
Fred Van Lente: The thing that I like about Herc is, when you think about it, he is a character who has NEVER had an on-going series before (at Marvel).
seeso: That’s true.
Fred Van Lente: How many titles is Marvel publishing that is the inaugural run of a series?
seeso: I never liked him before you guys started your series.
Fred Van Lente: That is to say, that isn’t a revival of another series?
Fred Van Lente: I honestly can’t think of another one.
preston: What I love is when a writer or two comes along and does a run that makes me love a character
timbre68: I don’t think the title is going anywhere, great critical success…
Fred Van Lente: Thanks.

Zombo: I always loved the scene where he tried to hold off the Masters of Evil all by himself at Avengers Mansion.
Zombo: That is one of my all-time favorite scenes.
Fred Van Lente: Yeah, I love me some Roger Stern Avengers.

taimur: So Mikaboshi…….we gotta assume he’ll be back.
Fred Van Lente: Mikaboshi is out there.
Fred Van Lente: Be afraid. Be very afraid…

preston: Oh, is there going to be a Renegade reunion?
Fred Van Lente: At the moment, “Love & War” with Namora is about as close as you’re gonna get.

seeso: I think you are the guy they should have tapped for Avengers: Initiative. You’d rock on that book.
Fred Van Lente: Thanks, Seeso! Although Christos and I have been talking, and he seems interested in using another creation of mine someone mentioned earlier…
Fred Van Lente: …and if she joined the book, that would rock.
Brian Cronin: Carmilla needs to get a Dark Reign tie-in
Brian Cronin: Because I was going to do a Top Five Attempts to Tie Carmilla to Popular Titles, and I was short one.
seeso: Ooh, she?
seeso: awesome
Fred Van Lente: Well, Brian, it’s something Christos mentioned in passing, and I haven’t followed up with him in a while, so I don’t want to put words in his mouth. ;)

timbre68: I seem to remember Herc having a drinking problem, any hints towards this?
Fred Van Lente: Timbre, he can drink as much as he wants without hurting his liver!
Fred Van Lente: How is that a drinking “PROBLEM?!??!”
timbre68: lucky!
Fred Van Lente: The problem is there is just so much booze, and so little time…

seeso: Fred, are you looking to get into movies or TV?
Zombo: Mr. Van Lente, are you ever going to do any What If? titles?
seeso: Fred, who would you cast as Hercules in a movie?
timbre68: Do you have any dream characters? Ones you’d kill to write?
Fred Van Lente: Yeah, someone asked this earlier.
Fred Van Lente: I really enjoyed doing “Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four,” and I think it’d be cool to do the 616 version of Ben, Sue, Reed and Johnny.
Fred Van Lente: Something with Machine Man would rock too.
seeso: Oh, man that would be amazing.
Fred Van Lente: As you can tell, I’m an unabashed Kirby partisan. ;)
seeso: Machine Man needs his own team. A team of robots, would rock.
timbre68: that would be great! A FVL FF
preston: I mentioned once in a forum: Machine Man, Agent of ARMOR
preston: that would rock
Fred Van Lente: Oh, and editor Bill Rosemann knows I’m open for any ETERNALS stuff the Knaufs don’t want to do.
taimur: Marvel Zombies…..4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fred Van Lente: Right, that was another question from before:
Fred Van Lente: Yes, ARMOR will return.
preston: nice
seeso: Zombies is totally rocking right now.
Fred Van Lente: Definitely.
Fred Van Lente: I think Howard the Duck, Agent of ARMOR would rule too…
timbre68: You’d be a nice match for Howard the Duck…Gerber was amazing!
preston: He’d be perfect
seeso: Can’t wait to see how it ends. You write a great Aaron Stack, but I wanted Jocasta to kick more butt!
Fred Van Lente: Yeah, I love Jocasta.
Brian Cronin: It’s a renaissance time for Jocasta nowadays
seeso: Will she kick butt in the conclusion?
Fred Van Lente: There is more Jocasta butt-kicking, yes.

Crystal Skillman left the chat 4 seconds ago
Fred Van Lente: Geez, thanks a lot honey!
Fred Van Lente: Heh.
seeso: lol
preston: ha
timbre68: Your wife dogged you!
Fred Van Lente: I’m used to it by now. I live with her.
seeso: I think his wife knows all the answers to these questions.

taimur: Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy clones being harvested by the Jackal in Marvel Zombies 3. Brilliant! What was the genesis of that crazy idea?
Fred Van Lente: That’s a good question.
Fred Van Lente: Like a lot of things, ideas just pop into my brain.
Fred Van Lente: Since I was a kid, the storytelling mechanism inside my brain hasn’t turned off.
Fred Van Lente: It’s always churning new ideas, overturning old ones, combining two disparate concepts into one much better one (or crappy one), etc.
Fred Van Lente: I actually don’t remember where the Jackal thing came from.
Fred Van Lente: I have to admit, the science-loving part of me never quite got the zombie apocalypse thing.
preston: it’s just an excuse for gore
Fred Van Lente: Their entire purpose is to eat everything, so if they devoured the whole planet, they’d wipe out the whole food supply.
Fred Van Lente: Wouldn’t they then be screwed?
seeso: Zombies don’t have logic.
Brian Cronin: I guess that’s why most people write zombies as morons
seeso: They just must… eat… brains…
Fred Van Lente: I think that’s where the Jackal thing came from:
Fred Van Lente: Whoever could provide them with an unlimited food supply would be King.
Fred Van Lente: Or Kingpin, as the case may be.

Zombo: Are there any Zombie babies?
Fred Van Lente: The baby thing was done in the “Dawn of the Dead” remake, so I’ve avoided it.

Fred Van Lente: Another thing about zombie worlds:
Fred Van Lente: Why ARE there so many zombies running around?
Fred Van Lente: Don’t they devour human flesh? Whole? Insatiably?
preston: That’s what i never figured out
Fred Van Lente: IF a zombie found somebody, wouldn’t he just gobble him or her right down?
Fred Van Lente: Why is there enough left over to stand up and become a zombie?
seeso: Ha ha ha, good point.
timbre68: Well you did get the ones who escape with just a bite or two
timbre68: These are questions for Kirkman and Romero!
Fred Van Lente: At least in Marvel Zombies, there’s KIND of an explanation…
Fred Van Lente: …in that only super-powered corpses are left because they can defend themselves from each other.
preston: that part sorta makes sense
Fred Van Lente: I mean, it’s not like you and I are drowning in half-eaten hamburgers.
Fred Van Lente: And we don’t even have “THE HUNGER”.
Fred Van Lente: Anyway, these are questions I did not have to confront until I became the “Marvel Zombies” writer.

seeso: So, where are you from, Fred?
seeso: How did you get into writing?
Fred Van Lente: I’m from Cleveland, Ohio.
seeso: Aha. My condolences. :D
larry Lot of good comic people from Cleveland. Bendis, Vaughan, Sumerak… not to mention Seigel & Schuster and Harvey Pekar. Is it something in the water?
Fred Van Lente: I got into comics in college, when I was in the “Comics Club” at Syracuse University.
Fred Van Lente: There I met Steve Ellis, of Zuda’s “High Moon” fame … and Ryan Dunlavey, who’d later do “Action Philosophers” and “Comic Book Comics” with me.
Fred Van Lente: Steve and I did an independent crime comic called “The Silencers.”
Fred Van Lente: That got me noticed by Marvel.
seeso: Right on, thanks!
Brian Cronin: Silencers was a fun book.
seeso: Where can I pick up a copy of “The Silencers?”
Brian Cronin: http://www.fredvanlente.com/silencers.htm

Zombo: So, what did Brian threaten you with to get you to do this?
Brian Cronin: He knows

seeso: What are your favorite comics right now?
Fred Van Lente: Right now, I’m enjoying the collected “Local” by Wood & Kelly….
Fred Van Lente: …and “Berlin” Book 2 by Lutes…
seeso: I don’t know any of these books.
Fred Van Lente: …and Marvel Horror Essentials Vol. 1… which I have to read for one of the aforementioned projects above…. Hmmmmm…
Brian Cronin: Local, seeso, is about a young woman who travels to different locations
Brian Cronin: so each issue is a look at a different “local” scene
Brian Cronin: Berlin, meanwhile, is a stunning look at life in Berlin between the two World Wars
seeso: Oho. Filed into my brain.
timbre68: Local was amazing…

Nitz the Bloody: hello, Mr. Van Lente, it’s an honor to meet you (even by disembodied chat ). Quite enjoying Incredible Herc
Fred Van Lente: Thanks, Nitz!

seeso: Fred, do you have a twitter account?
Fred Van Lente: You know, I’ve avoided all MySpace-Facebook-Twitter-etc. social networking sites like the plague.
seeso: Aha, noted.
Fred Van Lente: My friends convinced me to set up a MySpace account, but then I never used it…
seeso: Quesada has been twittering like a fiend lately.
timbre68: FACEBOOK is terrifying
Fred Van Lente: …and I disconnected it when it wouldn’t stop sending me links to porn and/or escort services.
seeso: lol
Fred Van Lente: I suppose I should get more involved and use it for self-promotion…
preston: MySpace does that??
Fred Van Lente: …but I just find keeping up with it kinda draining, to be honest.
seeso: I see.
preston: Nah Fred, you don’t need self-promotion, it’s already in your writing

seeso: So any aspirations to write a play?
Fred Van Lente: My wife, who just left us, is a playwright and we have talked about working on something together.
seeso: Whoa, sweet!
Fred Van Lente: But I’m not sure I’d want to tread on her turf on my own. ;)
seeso: I’m an actor in Chicago, which is why I’m asking.
seeso: Gotcha.
Fred Van Lente: My wife has a play in Chicago right now!
seeso: No shit?
Fred Van Lente: Yup.
seeso: What is it?
seeso: I’ll go see it.
Fred Van Lente: I’m yelling at her to tell me the name…
Fred Van Lente: It’s at the “Side Project”. Heard of it?
Fred Van Lente: “Cut to the Quick” is the festival/show.
seeso: Yes, I’ve seen some shows there!
seeso: Small theater, but good work.
seeso: Got it, it’s called, “Agony in the Garden.” I’ll go see it.

Brian Cronin: Dan Felty asked: Is the complete Action Philosophers I heard tell of going to be ready by Christmas? How about by Feb. 13th? My dad called the issue of AP I showed him the greatest thing in the history of things and I would love to get him a nice compilation as a gift!
Fred Van Lente: The AP collection will be ready for Christmas _2009_.
Fred Van Lente: We’re 99% certain it’s only going to be in softcover.
Fred Van Lente: I crunched the numbers for the hardcover, and it just didn’t seem economically feasible.

Brian Cronin: Speaking of Action Philosophers, let us take a moment to note how amazing the artwork by Ryan Dunlavey was on that project, and how he is killing it on Comic Book Comics now, as well!
Fred Van Lente: Yes, Ryan is great.
Fred Van Lente: And he is trying his best to crank out CBC #3 before the end of the year…

Zombo: One quick question: who shot first: Han or Greedo?
Fred Van Lente: Han.
Zombo: Awesome.

Brian Cronin: And Alexander asked: Fred, have you ever thought of writing a 2nd Ares mini? He seems to need a bit more fleshing out and with WWH and Secret Invasion. Not enough time has been spent with him.
timbre68: Did you write the first Ares mini?
Fred Van Lente: Well, Ares is primarily Brian Bendis’ property.
Fred Van Lente: What I loved about Ares from reading about the myths…
Fred Van Lente: …is that he’s the Rodney Dangerfield of gods — Nobody ever gives him any respect.
Fred Van Lente: He was largely despised as representing the bloodlust aspect of war.
Fred Van Lente: Athena was the strategist goddess of war.
preston: He’s such a great character and yet no one seems to realize that he’s fully fleshed out
Fred Van Lente: That’s what we tried to get across in “Incredible Hercules”.
preston: I think the definitive Bendis scene of him was in Secret Invasion where he told everyone to get the fuck out of the Savage Land and no one listened
preston: also there’s this great humor about him even though he’s somewhat of a straight man
preston: “Williams, now is not the time for you to be you”
Fred Van Lente: And I think Mike Oeming (who wrote that first “Ares,” Timbre) did well in his original series.
timbre68: Yeah, I liked the Oeming series much more than his characterization in the Mighty Avengers…
Fred Van Lente: And Ares will be returning in the pages of iHerc sooner rather than later…
Fred Van Lente: …’cause like he’s kind of on a new hero team now, and everything…
Brian Cronin: Good to hear
preston: there is that
taimur: Poor Ares, He’s already lost his daughter, Hippolyta :(

YouKnowForKids: I just wanted to wish Mr. Van Lente and all a happy Fred Van Lente day, and thank Brian for introducing me to the joys of this holiday.
Fred Van Lente: And a great FVLD to you, YKFK!


Fred Van Lente: Unfortunately, I’m leaving “Wolverine: First Class” with #12, which was a tough decision…
Fred Van Lente: …but the “Free Comic Book Day” issue will be kind of a swan song, so that’s nice.
Brian Cronin: Those books are almost impossible to stay on long term, Fred.
Brian Cronin: I mean from a creative standpoint
timbre68: Wow! Sorry to hear about Wolvie 1st Class – who’s to follow?
Fred Van Lente: Yes, Brian, you’re totally right, it can be very draining.
Fred Van Lente: On the average on-going comic, a 6 issue arc is basically one story. (At least the way I think of it.)
Fred Van Lente: While on the all-ages done-in-oners, you have 6 issues, you have to come up with 6 different stories.
Brian Cronin: Those types of books are best done with a writer doing a few issues here and there
Brian Cronin: Because burnout is just a guarantee after enough issues
timbre68: Well it’s nice to see a creator who can do a single story in one issue. Shows great imagination and talent. KUDOS!
preston: yeah, done-in-ones are this lost art that very few writers can master
Hunter: I hope we get a big hardcover of your Wolverine First Class issues.
Fred Van Lente: I had heard talk of Borders doing a special edition WFC hardcover for the movie… Not sure if that’s still on…
seeso: Interesting…
preston: cool
Hunter: I would buy it on a sec.
Brian Cronin: It’d be nice if Borders was still around for the Wolverine movie
Fred Van Lente: Yeah, right? That’s why I’m not sure about the status of the WFC collection…

Brian Cronin: Hey, Machine Man – you were a big fan pre-Nextwave as well, right? What did you like about him as a character?
Fred Van Lente: I really did like Nextwave, yeah!
Fred Van Lente: When we decided to put him in MZ3, I went out and got all the Kirby issues, which I think are really underappreciated.
Fred Van Lente: I think next to “Eternals,” that was Kirby’s best 1970′s Marvel work.
timbre68: I liked when the Hulk tore him apart…
seeso: I really liked your explanation of why Machine Man took this new attitude towards life.
seeso: Ellis didn’t really explain that in NextWave.
preston: it’s been great so far though
Fred Van Lente: It’s interesting how much what Ellis was doing, while obviously he took it to extremes…
Fred Van Lente: …but a lot of it — MM calling humans “Fleshies,” the whole insurance job… That all comes right out of the Kirby/Ditko issues.
YouKnowForKids: Kirby introduced Machine Man in a 2001 tie-in, right? Does that make the monolith in Marvel continuity, I wonder? And will we find that it was actually Mr. Sinister who brought it to the moon?
seeso: No shit? Didn’t know that.
Brian Cronin: yeah, he was a bit of a wiseass even back then
seeso: So it was there already.
Fred Van Lente: It would be great if Marvel did a 2001/MM Omnibus to go with Devil Dinosaur and Eternals…
Fred Van Lente: …since those 2001 issues are impossible to find, and believe me, I’ve tried…
YouKnowForKids: It would go along well with the current Machine Man and Kirby love, though.
timbre68: They may not have the rights to 2001
Fred Van Lente: Right, exactly, I think the 2001 rights are the issue.
Brian Cronin: they do not have the rights.
Brian Cronin: but they’ve worked out stuff in the past with other licensed projects
Brian Cronin: so it is feasible
Brian Cronin: like doing one single printing of essential Godzilla
Fred Van Lente: Maybe we can start a letter-writing campaign to Fox (or whoever owns them)…
Fred Van Lente: What studio did 2001?
Brian Cronin: 2001 was a joint project, so I have no idea who owns the rights
timbre68: Write to Asimov or the Kubrick estate…
Hunter: Would it be that expensive to get the rights for a reprint? It’s not like there is a lot of 2001 merchandising out there…
Fred Van Lente: I imagine the problem is that unlike “Star Wars” which has a bulk of back material you can make $$$ out of…
Fred Van Lente: …2001 may not be profitable enough to the Insane Rabid Kirby Fan Specialty Market (of which I am a proud member) to warrant the license fee.
Brian Cronin: I bet they’d be willing to do it, it’s just a question if the price is worth it to marvel
Brian Cronin: Hah, or what Fred just said
Hunter: Well, there is a bunch of Master of Kung-Fu to reprint and Marvel doesn’t get the right either…

ex: Marvel Zombies 3 and Incredible Hercules are amazing!
ex: Thank you!
Fred Van Lente: Thanks, Ex!

seeso: Any word on when you can announce your secret projects?
Fred Van Lente: One secret project you’ll know about next month.
seeso: Sweet, thanks.
Fred Van Lente: That is a lock for April, so I imagine you’ll be hearing about sooner rather than later.
Fred Van Lente: Oh, and then there’s Secret Project #5, which is coming out next month and is very different than all the others.
seeso: A Marvel project?
Fred Van Lente: Yes, Marvel is #5.
seeso: Cool.
preston: wait, so it’s been announced?
Fred Van Lente: Oh, and #2 reunites me with my SUPER VILLAIN TEAM UP compadre, Francis Portela, and that is 100% awesome.
seeso: Right on. I’ll be picking that one up. MODOK’s Eleven was so underappreciated.

Brian Cronin: Hey, do the Gurihiru folks speak English?
Fred Van Lente: Brian, they do not. They have a great translator, Aki.

timbre68: Is secret project #5 a team book — hope your head doesn’t explode
Fred Van Lente: #5 — Sort of.
timbre68: The Legion of Monsters — Werewolf by Night, Frankenstein, Santana,
Fred Van Lente: You may be on to something there…
Fred Van Lente: …crap! Chip tickling! Never mind. “I KNOW NOTHINK!!”
timbre68: hehehehe
seeso: Awesome. Some horror teases…
ex: The end of Marvel Zombies 3 is going to lead to some new horror titles, right? Right!?
Fred Van Lente: Mmmmmmmaybe.
timbre68: MORBIUS!!!

seeso: I also thought your Living Laser portrayal was really well done and tragic.
seeso: I really felt sorry for the poor guy…
Fred Van Lente: Little known fact:
Fred Van Lente: Living Laser is Ryan Dunlavey’s all-time favorite comic book character.
seeso: Ha ha, good to know.
Fred Van Lente: That’s why I put him in there.
Fred Van Lente: Because then I knew Ryan would buy it. ;)
Brian Cronin: yeah, your Laser portrayal – was that inspired at all by Kaminski’s run on Iron Man?
Fred Van Lente: No, believe it or not I hadn’t read a single Iron Man comic for any significant period of time before I got the “Marvel Adventures Iron Man” gig.
timbre68: The Living Laser, really. That’s an obscure favorite character

YouKnowForKids: Well, my procrastinatory drop-in to FVLD chat needs to end – time to resume grading student papers. Thanks for spending the time with us, Fred!
YouKnowForKids: I look forward to reading more of your stuff.
Fred Van Lente: Flunk ‘em all, YKFK!
YouKnowForKids: Nah, they’re good kids.
Fred Van Lente: Oh, in that case pass ‘em all. ;)
YouKnowForKids: Can do, and I’ll tell them that you said to. Thanks!

ex: It seems like Hercules is joining the Mighty Avengers — does this make it tougher to write him now?
Fred Van Lente: Not really, Ex, Dan Slott and Greg and I are coordinating stuff pretty well.
ex: You need to collaborate and make sure things aren’t wrong in the MA title, if he stays
timbre68: Is continuity really a headache?
Fred Van Lente: Yes.
Fred Van Lente: BUT…
Fred Van Lente: …I do think ignoring it is “breaking the rules.” I know I — and most writers I know, really — make a very conscious effort not to violate it.
Fred Van Lente: But there’s so goddamn much of it, never violating it is a pracitcal impossibility.
Fred Van Lente: And, you know, so much of it is so terribly stupid.
nas: so does it bother you when fans point it out when/IF you DO violate continuity?
seeso: I don’t care that much about continuity. I just want good stories.
preston: X-men noir must be a fresh breath of air
timbre68: too true. as long as the story is good and the characters are in character
Brian Cronin: I liked Wolverine First Class for a bit.
Brian Cronin: But then I realized that the costume did not fit into continuity, and I was PISSED
Fred Van Lente: Ha ha ha! Nice one, Brian.
Fred Van Lente: The horrors of FVLD last year. ;)
Fred Van Lente: It doesn’t really bother me anymore, now that I’m more established.
Fred Van Lente: When you’re more of an unknown quantity, you tend to be more sensitive to that kind of stuff.
ex: Any plans for a Incredible Herc and Hulk team-up or meet-up or something any time soon?
Fred Van Lente: Ex: Not beyond the “Hulk vs. Hercules” one-shot, no, not at the moment.
Fred Van Lente: Wait — What am I saying?
Fred Van Lente: Read INCREDIBLE HERCULES #126!
preston: Well, Hercules and Hulk are gonna be in Mighty Avengers
ex: Yes!
seeso: Ooh, cool!
preston: so minus the VS.
preston: You could make Herc’s new costume the Borat swimsuit and I’d still read it.
Fred Van Lente: Dude, his Kirby costume practically IS the Borat swimsuit…
preston: rofl
Brian Cronin: You should bring back the mid-90s look
Brian Cronin: No beard, mullet, big metal shoulder pads and a t-shirt
seeso: Ugh, the mid 90′s look was teh suck

seeso: Are you going to Chicago Comicon next year?
timbre68: Do you know of your convention schedule for next year?
Fred Van Lente: I think we’ll be at Stumptown (in Portalnd? Or Seattle?), maybe Toronto, maybe San Diego, definitely New York Comic Con & MoCCA Art Fest.

ex: Why wasn’t Hera invited to the Cabal!?
Fred Van Lente: Read INCREDIBLE HERCULES #127!
ex: YES!
seeso: Hera may be aligning herself with the Cabal.

Gokitalo: Of the creative sound effects you’ve come up with for Incredible Herc, which has been your favorite so far?
seeso: I like the “grgpk” one.
seeso: lol
Fred Van Lente: Confession time!
Fred Van Lente: Those awesome sound effects?
Fred Van Lente: 99% are the work of our assistant editor, Nate Cosby.
Fred Van Lente: He puts them while he’s ballooning the art for the letterers.
seeso: Whoa, didn’t know that.
timbre68: Nate Cosby—talented editor!
seeso: Awesome.
Gokitalo: Nate Cosby is a brilliant man
Fred Van Lente: So, I can’t take any credit.
Fred Van Lente: So when Hercules punches Kly’bn across the room at the climax of “Sacred Invasion”…
preston: Btw, what’s up with Tom Halloway in X-Men Noir? Did you just want to replace the Angel who apparently committed suicide by “doing his impression of a birdie” or are you going to play up some Golden Age ties there?
Brian Cronin: Who is your favorite non-Klein letterer of all time?
Fred Van Lente: …the SFX is “NA-COSBOOM!”
Fred Van Lente: That was me. ;)
Gokitalo: Ha!
seeso: “NA-COSBOOM!” Ha ha!
Fred Van Lente: Mr. Cosby, the X-Noir Editor, was the one who suggested we used the Angel.
Fred Van Lente: And I’m glad he did! The character has been terrific

seeso: You seem to be able to write a lot of different genres. Is there any one style that you think suits you best? What’s your “wheel house?”
Fred Van Lente: I like a lot of different genres.
Fred Van Lente: It keeps me from getting too stale.

ex: Are you going to be writing any of the other Noir titles?
ex: If not, who is? Or are the writers tied to the future projects secret?
Fred Van Lente: Ex, no, I don’t think I am.
Fred Van Lente: The complexity and research that went into “X Men Noir” meant I didn’t have much left over for converting other franchises.
Fred Van Lente: Wouldn’t mind doing an X-sequel, though…
Brian Cronin: Power Pack Noir
Fred Van Lente: Power Pack Noir = They all work in a Dickensain match factory.
Fred Van Lente: Or they’re “newsies.”
seeso: lol
taimur: Christian Bale’s finest ;)
b>Brian Cronin: He peaked then
seeso: Oh yeah, Bale was in that!
seeso: LOL
Fred Van Lente: Wasn’t Kenneth Branagh in it too? Or am I thinking of something else?
seeso: No Branagh in Newsies

timbre68: Who would win Thor or the Hulk?
Fred Van Lente: I think Thor and Hulk would verily rip the very Earth asunder before such a contest ‘tween champions was decided.
timbre68: Good Answer!

seeso: Who do you think should play Captain America?
Fred Van Lente: My mom.
seeso: LOL
preston: Beyonce
Fred Van Lente: “Fred’s Mom IS…. CAPTAIN AMERICA!”
timbre68: You must have an awesome mom…did she buy you comics!
Fred Van Lente: She did, and read them to me too!

Brian Cronin: Why do people give Power Pack such crap? It’s a great comic!
Fred Van Lente: Brian, that’s a question I’ve asked myself many a time.
Brian Cronin: “Comics Should Be Like When I was a Kid!” But if you do a comic for kids, it gets shit on!
Brian Cronin: So when we get Power Pack in the regular Marvel Universe, we have struggling actress Julie or Alex steals the other kids’ powers
Fred Van Lente: Marvel is feverishly trying to figure out how to use the Power Pack in 616, believe you me…
.Hunter: Power Pack is cool.
seeso: I want to see the other Power Pack kids in 616
Fred Van Lente: I think there is some insecurity out there that if superheroes aren’t relentlessly “mature” all the time…
Fred Van Lente: …there’s a fear that the perception of the medium will continue to be thought of as “for kids”…
Fred Van Lente: …as opposed to, you know, there can be comics for kids, for superhero fans, for non-fiction readers, etc. …
seeso: Word.
Fred Van Lente: I guess you could have a cookbook as a comic, too, but I don’t know quite how that would work.
preston: that’d be excellent
preston: the visual medium is perfect for instructions!
preston: captions full of easy to steps!
Hunter: In Japan and France there are comics for everyone.
nas: “Cooking for Comic Fans, by Fred’s Mom…who is Captain America”?
preston: *head explodes*
Fred Van Lente: “KICK HITLER’S ASS WITH THESE RECIPES by Fred’s (Captain America) Mom”
Brian Cronin: Google Chrome Instructions
Gokitalo: That’s secret project #5 right there
Fred Van Lente: Nice try, Gokitalo: No, it isn’t. ;)
Fred Van Lente: One of them is an all-ages project, though.
seeso: I’d love to see Power Pack get back together in 616.
seeso: How old is Alex now? 20?
Hunter: You just know that SOMEONE will want to kill, rape or maim them.
Fred Van Lente: “Show me on the doll where the villain touched you.”
Brian Cronin: I don’t mind them being in regular continuity, but when they do, they keep trying to do “serious” stories
Brian Cronin: or making them all in their 20s
Hunter: It’s bad enough they grew up…
preston: They should play up a younger Fantastic Four angle
preston: I mean the family aspect shouldn’t be an obstacle but a strength
Fred Van Lente: Power Pack is rough because the continuity is all F-ed up.
Fred Van Lente: I don’t entirely understand how Franklin Richards is still a little kid and Alex Power now shaves.
Brian Cronin: Exactly

timbre68: An all ages Thor would be cool, especially with your knowledge of mythology
Fred Van Lente: You will be pleased by a coming announcement, then, although I’m not involved…
timbre68: Sweet!

Greg: Fred, would you say working on the periphery of the Marvel universe has afforded you more freedom than if you were writing one of Marvel’s ‘big name titles’ and if so would you be interested in working on one of the aforementioned “big name titles” or are you happier working on the more ‘second tier’ titles with more freedom?
Fred Van Lente: Yes, it has afforded me more freedom, which I do appreciate.
Fred Van Lente: As I said before, “Fantastic Four” would be a lot of fun.
Fred Van Lente: Come to think of it, “Avengers,” which is the comic I collected as a kid.
preston: You’d be great on it, it’d be very Waid-like
Fred Van Lente: But if I can do an “Alpha Flight” revival, I’d throw either of those over in a second! ;)
preston: Excuse my comparing you to other writers btw
Fred Van Lente: ‘S cool.
nas: Who’re your favorite Alpha Flight members, Fred?
timbre68: Alpha Flight! Old School Alpha Flight with Byrne on pencils
preston: Hopefully AF is one of the aforementioned secret projects pending approval
preston: don’t have to say anything though, wouldn’t want that chip to explode
Fred Van Lente: No. I wish.
preston: ahh, me too
Fred Van Lente: Northstar is probably my all time favorite.
Fred Van Lente: Followed by Puck.
Fred Van Lente: Snowbird, obviously.
Fred Van Lente: Talisman.
Hunter: Geez, if Power Pack continuity is bad, Alpha Flight is a disaster.
preston: We’ll say it was Mephisto and clones
taimur: Did you cry after New Avengers #16?
ex: Which one was New Avengers 16?
preston: the Alpha Flight massacre
ex: Ah
Fred Van Lente: I cried after Bill Mantlo and Mike Mignola, and never got over it. ;)
Fred Van Lente: No offense to either of those fine creators. ;)
Fred Van Lente: Of course, I had literally JUST subscribed and then, the second issue, Byrne left.
Fred Van Lente: ARGH!

J-Dub: Hi, Fred. I picked up the Hulk family issue that came out this week, and I noticed that you did two stories in there. Were those written just for that special or were they inventory stories?
J-Dub: btw, I loved both stories.
Fred Van Lente: J-Dub, they were written both for that 1-shot.

Brian Cronin: Speaking of Mephisto, since everyone’s favorite topic if One More Day, if it were up to you – would Spidey be married or single?
timbre68: I’m loving the current Spider-man
seeso: Me too.
preston: me too
Fred Van Lente: Single. I’m good buddies with Jim Salicrup, with whom I serve on the board of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art here in New York…
Fred Van Lente: …and he’s very proud of how well that annual sold.
Fred Van Lente: But as a kid I stopped reading Spidey when that happened — I wasn’t mad or anything, I just lost interest in him, felt like I couldn’t relate.

Amp: Wow, I can’t believe this is still going on
Amp: I lost track of time because I’m on a different continent, and I thought this would be over by now
Fred Van Lente: Amp, a Fred Van Lente Day party don’t stop.
Brian Cronin: Come on, Amp, this is Fred Van Lente here! He won’t let you down!
Amp: haha

seeso: Whoa you’re on the MoCCA board? Awesome. Who else is on it?
seeso: Ellen S. Abramowitz, Chairman David J. Ennis 2, Vice Chairman Lawrence Klein, Chairman Emeritus Ken Fisher Mark J. Lerner Keith Mayerson Roger Reed Jim Salicrup Jeff Trexler Fred Van Lente

timbre68: What Annual – Salicrup?
Brian Cronin: The Annual where Spider-Man got married, timbre, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21
Fred Van Lente: Jim edited the Wedding Annual. I forget the number.
Hunter: I’m loving the current Spider-Man too. For the first time in a decade or so!
Fred Van Lente: Oh, and I’m doing an issue of ASM in March. I’m stoked!
Brian Cronin: oh very cool
ex: YES!
Fred Van Lente: A MODOK’s 11 member returns to menace the Wall Crawler… Oooooooh….
nas: Fred on Spidey – YES!
ex: Enticing!
preston: What??
timbre68: Ah FVL on Spider-man fantastic…that Martin guys does the best Spidey!
seeso: HOLY SHIT
preston: FVL on ASM!!
seeso: Dude, so awesome.
preston: Awesome!
Amp: Fred, are you happy with the current status of Spidey?
Fred Van Lente: Steve Wacker is awesome to work with.
seeso: Who’s your artist?
preston: the SPOT??
seeso: It’s gotta be Spot.
preston: I loved him in the old cartoons
Hunter: Rocket Racer?
seeso: So you can’t tell us the artist yet, I presume?
seeso: I hope it’s Martin.
nas: The Spot! Do it, Fred! DO IT
preston: is this just a one-off or are they gonna tap you for more ASM in the future?
timbre68: FVL on Spidey! I smell an Eisner! Single issue story?
Fred Van Lente: Yes.
Hunter: Van Lente on Spidey, great news!
Gokitalo: “The 34-year-old fanboy who collected Spider-Man”
Fred Van Lente: I don’t think I can reveal the artist, no.
Brian Cronin: Wow, Steve Ditko is returning to draw an issue of spider-man written by Fred!
Brian Cronin: You heard it here, first!
seeso: lol
Amp: tell everyone!
Fred Van Lente: You know, I got one of Ditko’s self-published collections of essays recently…
Fred Van Lente: …and the first essay is a total denunciation of the “Marvel Zombies” franchise.
Fred Van Lente: So, even though I’d love to work with Ditko, I don’t think I’d past muster with him.
seeso: LOL, he must love you then.
J-Dub: Wow, so the essays are all recent?
nas: Wait, before I go: give me the name of that Ditko book – please :)
Fred Van Lente: Here, my bookshelf is behind me…
Fred Van Lente: It’s 2007′s “The Avenging Mind”.

Fred Van Lente: And the MZ essay is the first one – dated 2007, so pretty recent, yeah.
Brian Cronin: Ayn Rand hated zombies
Fred Van Lente: Well, yeah, actually that’s exactly it…
Fred Van Lente: The Randian notion of the “hero” is an idealized individual who should provide a model of virtuous reason…
Gokitalo: Maybe Marvel Zombies 4 should have a flamethrower-wielding Ayn Rand as a guest star…
Brian Cronin: that would be a great action philosophers/marvel zombies crossover
Fred Van Lente: …and the MZ franchise, with its decaying, flesh-munching Spider-Men and such is part of the “Looter” culture to undermine and weaken correct moral values, etc., etc. …
Fred Van Lente: Part of the reason, in fact, that Peter Parker lost his glasses in the mid-teens of Spider-Man (whenever it was)…
Fred Van Lente: …was that Ditko was starting to become more and more influenced by Rand’s ideas and wanted to idealize Spidey more.
seeso: Wow!
Fred Van Lente: That’s all in Blake Bell’s great biography, “Strange & Stranger,” which Fantagraphics brought out this year.

Brian Cronin: Right, and it drove him NUTS that lee kept having peter be more of an everyman in the dialogue
Fred Van Lente: And he would denounce protestors on his college campus and such.
Fred Van Lente: (Peter Parker, that is, not Ditko.)
Gokitalo: Ha, I remember Neil Gaiman talking about that
preston: oh yeah, I heard about that whole Lee/Ditko characterization dispute
Brian Cronin: What’s fascinating to me is how Ditko was okay with Foswell being redeemed
Brian Cronin: How the heck does Foswell getting redeemed tie in with the idea of objectivism?
Fred Van Lente: I have the Omnibus here, I’ll have to check that out…
Fred Van Lente: My understanding is that Ditko’s ideas became more and more calcified after he left Marvel.

ex: Will Hercules be affected by the Dark Reign?
Fred Van Lente: “Dark Reign” will fall on Herc, Cho and Athena like a ton of bricks.
ex: Now we’re talkin’!

timbre68: Gotta go…It’s my kids birthday party night
Fred Van Lente: Enjoy, Timbre! Happy birthday to them.

J-Dub: I saw you do that great panel for all ages books in New York last year with the slides, now that you are doing more and more main marvel universe books, do you see yourself leaving the all ages books behind?
Fred Van Lente: J-Dub, unfortunately I have left most of my All-Ages books behind, but we hope to change that in 2009.
J-Dub: Right on, I’m glad to hear you will do more all ages, I’ve really come to know you as a great all ages writer, even though I first started following your works with the Silencers.

seeso: All right guys. Gotta go. Thanks for answering so many of my questions, Fred! Good luck to you, and I’ll watch your wife’s play!
Fred Van Lente: She thanks you, Seeso! As do I…

Amp: Fred, what all ages book would you like to do that would never be expected, like All-Ages Punisher or something like that?
Gokitalo: Do All-Ages Punisher, Fred!
Fred Van Lente: Honestly, I thought “Wolverine: First Class” was pretty crazy when it was proposed to me.
Fred Van Lente: That’s why I insisted Kitty should be there.
Brian Cronin: Good idea, Fred
Fred Van Lente: Otherwise it would be 22 pages of Wolverine NOT stabbing people.
Fred Van Lente: NOT getting shot.
Fred Van Lente: Et cetera…
Brian Cronin: Kitty makes the book
Greg: well, great job on taking a concept you weren’t sure about and making a book that is consistently enjoyable and fun with it
Me: I loved it :)

Brian Cronin: By the way, I love how the first issue had the problems with the costume AND kitty’s chest
Fred Van Lente: I actually complained about Kitty’s chest.
Fred Van Lente: Fortunately, they reduced it in the published version. ;)
Fred Van Lente: I know breasts are getting bigger with all those hormones they put in milk and all…
Fred Van Lente: But she was supposed to be 13 1/2…
preston: Kitty’s always been the token small breasted comic woman for me

ex: FVL, do you read DC as well?
Fred Van Lente: I read very little superhero stuff, primarily because I eat, breathe and crap this stuff 24/7, and so when it gets to be “Fred Time” I’m rarely like, “Hey, let’s read a superhero comic!”
Fred Van Lente: But you know, I loved Ellis’s Thunderbolts.
Fred Van Lente: And “Dr. Thirteen” from Azzarello.
Gokitalo: Oh man, Dr. Thirteen
Gokitalo: I’ve wanted that for ages
preston: Dr. 13 was so underrated
preston: and ended on a cliffhanger, lol!
J-Dub: Dr.13 was terrific

Me: Hi Fred and thank you so much for Action Philosophers. Could you please consider doing the same thing for scientists in the future?
Amp: Wasn’t there a Fraction book about scientists? Five Fists of Science?
Fred Van Lente: You’re welcome, Me! And Five Fists of Science was fiction.
Amp: Oh, i haven’t gotten around to read it yet
Fred Van Lente: Probably not with the scientists, because Jim Ottavani does a great job with science guys with his GNs he self-publishes through his own company, GT Labs.
Me: I didn’t know about Jim Ottaviani and it looks great. Thanks!
Fred Van Lente: Tell Jim I sent you. ;)

Brian Cronin: what has received more nit-picking? action philosophers or comic book comics?
Fred Van Lente: Neither, actually.
Fred Van Lente: The nit-picking has in general been very respectful.
Fred Van Lente: At NYCC one year I got into a spirited discussion with a Judiasm scholar
Fred Van Lente: who seemed to think I was saying that the Kabbalah was directly responsible for the rise of Hasidism
Fred Van Lente: and I didn’t think I had. I hope I’m remembering that correctly.
Fred Van Lente: But it was hilarious because it’s not the usual kind of heated Talmudic argument you usually find in the Javitz Center next to Molly Crabapple’s Table
Fred Van Lente: where a burlesque dancer had “SLUT” written the back of her black panties.
Fred Van Lente: Philosophy is everywhere!!!
Brian Cronin: hah
Fred Van Lente: Fred = Total Goy
Brian Cronin: How many letters did you guys get from actual professors?
Fred Van Lente: Yes, I get letters from college professors all the time.
Fred Van Lente: What’s awesome is I got a letter, and chatted on the phone, with a major from West Point. They use AP in their ethics classes there.

Amp: What’s the weirdest thing that has happened to you in a con?
Fred Van Lente: The weirdest thing at a con…
Fred Van Lente: I was at Wizard World Phlly as a “guest,” so I had this signing table in Artist’s Alley.
Fred Van Lente: This girl — well, young woman, 19 or something — came over to look at Action Philosophers and Comic Book Comics I had spread out there.
Fred Van Lente: I was chatting with her, and, all of a sudden, she realized she had lost her con badge that had been around her neck.
Brian Cronin: Dude, why did you steal her badge? Uncool
Fred Van Lente: She literally burst into tears right in front of me and sat down in front of the table.
ex: WTF
Fred Van Lente: She then picked up her cell phone and called her friend and told her about it, right in front of the table, blocking traffic, people staring at her, the whole thing…
ex: Why did she cry?
Fred Van Lente: It was totally bizarre. I would have asked her if I could help her, but she was on the phone!
Amp: Haha, wow
Fred Van Lente: After about five minutes she left and went to go find the badge.
preston: I bet she was sent by Bendis
Fred Van Lente: (Later I saw she found her and she had found the badge – So I gave her the thumb’s up.)
Amp: A happy ending!
Fred Van Lente: This one time, I was at a really crappy little Niagra Falls, NY show with Ryan and this metalhead comes up, looks at our comics, looks at us, and just goes
Fred Van Lente: “I like gore.”
Fred Van Lente: And walks away!
J-Dub: haha
Amp: Al Gore?
Fred Van Lente: Ryan and I cracked up and that is now the definitive con story with us to this day, like a decade later.
Gokitalo: Ha!
Fred Van Lente: Body parts gore.
Fred Van Lente: I think Al was still VP at this point…
preston: What an inconvenient truth
Amp: Did he at least say it in the Crypt Keeper’s voice?
Fred Van Lente: He said it in Beavis and/or Butthead’s voice.

Brian Cronin: what’s the longest time someone (that you did not know personally) has spent at your table without buying anything?
Fred Van Lente: Oh, half the afternoon. Easily.
Fred Van Lente: Most often when the buddies of the guy at the table next to you camp out to hang for the bulk of the day.

preston: btw are you and Greg building up towards some sort of huge Greek mythological climax in Hercules, what with all the flashbacks we get of his life, or are those just framing sequences?
Fred Van Lente: Yes.
preston: yes to the first hypothetical answer or the second?
Fred Van Lente: 1st
preston: cool beans
Fred Van Lente: But it’s happening in the present, not in old-timey times.
Fred Van Lente: That’s how it’s always referred to in the script: “Old-timey times”
preston: Cool. Drama’s always better when it’s not retroactive.

Brian Cronin: Will we ever see more silencers?
Fred Van Lente: Probably not. Steve has his hands full with “High Moon”.
J-Dub: Sucks about Silencers… i always remember the first image’s issue’s editorial page saying it was the 1st and last issue, which sucked.

Greg: Fred, will we be seeing Herc interacting with gods from other pantheons again any time soon or will he be sticking mostly to the Greek sandbox?
Fred Van Lente: Yes, and especially the one pantheon everyone has said he should interact with.

Fred Van Lente: My friends, this has been awesome, but we have officially hit the 120 minute mark — Whoo hoo!
Fred Van Lente: And, no kidding, my hands actually really hurt… ;)
Brian Cronin: quite impressive
Fred Van Lente: Brian, thank you so much for putting this together.
J-Dub: Thanks Fred and Brian!
Fred Van Lente: It has been awesome!
Amp: thanks Fred
preston: good bye everybody, and thanks Fred and Brian!
Fred Van Lente: Thanks for all the great comments, and great questions.
ex: Thanks
Brian Cronin: Okie doke, thanks a lot, Fred, and thanks to everyone for coming! A nice turn out this holiday!


I realize it was one line in a two-hour chat, but: I have never understood, and will never understand, people for whom Spider-Man being married makes him less relatable. I was ten when I started reading Spider-Man, and he’d already been married for some time by then, and I didn’t have a problem relating to him at all. Maybe that’s my mutant power: being able to relate to fictional characters whose circumstances do not exactly mirror my own.

I must have that power too because eight-year old me became a fan of married Spidey in 1990 and I HATE that modern-day Marvel insists on treating character growth like it’s a problem.

Here’s hoping one of the mystery projects is SVTU-related. I LOVED MODOK’s 11 so much that I had to hunt down Silencers. It’s a shame that FVL didn’t get Thunderbolts when Fabian left because I’m thinking that’d have been a perfect fit even with the shoehorned Post-CW Suicidebolts direction.

*also started reading Spidey well, WELL after he was married, while still a kid*

Basically, anyone who started reading Spidey IN THE LAST TWENTY YEARS started reading post-marriage. It’s looking to Old Guys, not New Readers for sales.

[...] idiosyncratic and insightful voices in comics, NYT-bestselling author Fred Van Lente shared in a 2008 interview that he grew up in the Cleveland area after moving [...]

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