X-POSITION: Bennett Crafts A War-Torn Coming of Age Story in "Years Of Future Past"
As Fred Van Lente Day 2010 comes to a close, we have one last treat for you all! The transcript of this year’s Fred Van Lente Day chat with Mr. Fred Van Lente himself!
In this year’s Fred Van Lente Day chat, we had a very special guest in Fred’s Chaos War co-writer Greg Pak. So read on for a transcript of the chat!
Brian Cronin: Welcome to the Fred Van Lente Chat!
Fred Van Lente: Thanks for having me — as always!
Brian Cronin: Happy you day!
Fred Van Lente: Greggers!!
gregpak: Hey, dude. Happy You Day!
Fred Van Lente: Awesome, we have a Special Guest, Greg Pak, who will
correct all the lies I tell about him.
Brian Cronin: It’s a Fred Van Lente miracle!
SeanMulkerrin: will there be talk of Centaurs?
Brian Cronin: Okay, folks, you must have some questions for our guests -have at it!
Fred Van Lente: We quiver with anticipation.
gregpak: If you could be any kind of animal in the world, what would it be?
TDSpidey616: The one most frequently asked in the past- Carmilla Black- will her daddy be revealed soon?
Fred Van Lente: I would be a chameleon.
gregpak: Haw. I was guessing “pretty, pretty pony.”
Fred Van Lente: That was a good guess.
Aloysius: Is Chaos War the last collab between the Pak Lente team for the time being?
Fred Van Lente: Hell, no.
Aloysius: Thank Hercules.
Fred Van Lente: In fact, we are meeting tomorrow on our first non-Hercules project ever. I am frightened.
Fred Van Lente: Change is scary.
SeanMulkerrin: Who’d win in a fight? You or Mr. Pak?
Fred Van Lente: I have been lifting weights…
Fred Van Lente: But I don’t know. Greg has “Crazy Man Strength.” So I give him the edge.
gregpak: I’m also a biter.
Fred Van Lente: His specialty is giving foes “The Forrest Whittaker Eye” before striking. Freaks out his opponents.
gregpak: I can also send my beard on solo missions.
SeanMulkerrin: Find out once and for all after your meeting tomorrow.
Fred Van Lente: We have pretty amicable meetings.
TDSpidey616: Who wears the cooler glasses?
Fred Van Lente: Mine are RayBans.
Fred Van Lente: I should point out that only recently I learned what the hell a RayBan was, so any coolness I may exhibit is totally accidental.
gregpak: Mine say “SHMUCK” on the inside. I kid you not.
Aloysius: Community reference, nice, you a fan?
Fred Van Lente: Whooooa! Aloysius for the win.
Fred Van Lente: My wife is having a bunch of people over for the Claymation special on Thurs.
Fred Van Lente: Greg, I have a question for you.
gregpak: Whoa. What?
Fred Van Lente: Who was your favorite character in iHerc to write that wasn’t Herc or Cho?
wraitheight: iHerc makes it sound like an ipad Ap
Fred Van Lente: It is. It’s the only iPad App that will sleep with your wife AND drink all your beer in a 4 hour time period.
gregpak: Probably Thor. Had a blast with him in the “Replacement Thor” storyline.
gregpak: But I love me some Athena. And you wanted to kill her three years ago!
Fred Van Lente: Yes, the original 2nd iHerc arc was a murder mystery in which Athena and the other Greek gods were being murdered.
Fred Van Lente: However, Greg, if you will recall, we were going to resurrect Athena at the end of the story.
Fred Van Lente: That arc featured the Pantheon, Undead Herc, Pluto, a trip to Hades …
Fred Van Lente: …all stuff that later popped up in the series anyway.
gregpak: We managed to find a place for almost everything, huh?
gregpak: Except my Ares/Hercules/Jane Austen team up. Someday!
gregpak: How ’bout you, Fred? Any faves?
Fred Van Lente: I liked Athena. Delphyne. All of the original God Squad (nothing against this one)…
gregpak: Yeah, you did a great job with Snowbird.
jiv: Will we ever know what the hell happened to Amadeus’ sister?
Fred Van Lente: A ha! jiv, you asked the question I wanted to answer…
Fred Van Lente: OK, so now it can be told:
gregpak: THE TRUTH IS COMING OUT! DEAR LORD!
Fred Van Lente: Y’all remember the back up Herc story in CHAOS WAR #1?
Fred Van Lente: That was originally supposed to go in the ENTER THE HEROIC AGE anthology as a lead-in to a HA: HERCULES series.
Fred Van Lente: That book would have two parallel storylines:
Fred Van Lente: 1.) Following Amadeus around as the Prince of Power, fighting the Pantheon and trying to get Herc back.
Fred Van Lente: 2.) You’d follow Herc fighting monsters in the Continuum, where he discovered …
Fred Van Lente: …wait for it…
Fred Van Lente: …I said wait for it…
Fred Van Lente: …Maddy Cho, Amadeus’ sister, who had been imprisoned in the Continuum by Pythagoras Dupree.
TDSpidey616: Say wha–!?!?!??!?!?!?!?
Fred Van Lente: Then they’d return and CHAOS WAR would begin as the second arc of the Herc book.
Brian Cronin: Wow
Fred Van Lente: HOWEVER, the best laid plans of mice and men being what they are…
Fred Van Lente: We got overruled by the Big Boys, who wanted a solo PRINCE OF POWER mini, followed by CHAOS WAR.
Fred Van Lente: So we had to scrap that entire Maddy storyline, which heavily featured… Greg, I think you can tell the nice folks…
gregpak: My pet character for the Continuum story was Prometheus.
Fred Van Lente: So yes, Herc and Maddy vs. Prometheus (the god, not the Grant Morrison villain) was the A-story in the planned Herc book.
TDSpidey616: D’oh! I’d KILL for a new ongoing Herc book
jiv: Oh, that’s sad, actually. I mean, the books have been awesome, but now it feels a bit rushed.
Fred Van Lente: jiv: I don’t entirely disagree with you, but POP & CW have been so satisfying for me I don’t mind the plan-change.
Brian Cronin: How much input do you guys have with the Chaos War tie-ins?
Brian Cronin: Anything beyond just a general “this is where we are in the Chaos War” note?
Fred Van Lente: We contributed quite a bit, and actually made the creators change a bunch of stuff when it didn’t jibe with the main book.
Fred Van Lente: Which I felt like a jerk doing, but we needed to maintain line-wide continuity.
Fred Van Lente: However, the quality on all of them is RRRREEALLLY high, which we’re quite proud of.
Brian Cronin: Really, what kind of thing? Like them using a character they shouldn’t? Or what?
Fred Van Lente: Brian: More like the mechanics of the world. Everyone wanted a different explanation as to why the dead came back to life.
Brian Cronin: Aha.
Fred Van Lente: And we were like, no, it’s simple: The dead have nowhere else to go! The Underworlds got destroyed.
SeanMulkerrin: Did anyone want black coloured Jewelery as an explanation?
Fred Van Lente: Sean: Thankfully, no.
Brian Cronin: What was more complicated to coordinate, Greg, this or the Fall of the Hulks?
gregpak: Good question, Brian. Probably about the same.
gregpak: Both big stories with lots of working parts.
gregpak: But both also tons of fun with very excited and passionate creators doing great stuff.
Brian Cronin: You can sure see that with the Chaos War stuff
Brian Cronin: Jim McCann’s Alpha Flight in particular
Brian Cronin: Was like “Oh boy, I get to write Alpha Flight!”
Aloysius: What was behind giving Mikaboshi the Chaos King moniker and which one of you thought it up?
Fred Van Lente: Aloysius: I believe none other than Joe Quesada came up with the name Chaos King.
Fred Van Lente: Or did he come up with Chaos WAR? Greg, do you remember?
gregpak: Yeah, Joe was the first to say “Chaos King” or “King Chaos.”
Fred Van Lente: Marketing wanted us to come up with a more easily-pronouncable name than Amatsu-Mikaboshi…
Aloysius: I thought there might be a marketing aspect.
gregpak: I think one of us came up with “Chaos War.” Can’t remember who.
Riggers: Why did you choose the particular set of Dead Avengers? Enjoyed the first issue BTW.
Fred Van Lente: Riggers: Thanks so much! Partly the roster was made easily because nobody stays friggin dead in comics.
Fred Van Lente: The only real question was which dead shrinking person: Jan, Scott or Rita.
Fred Van Lente: I have an ironclad rule: ONLY ONE SIZE-CHANGING PERSON PER HERO TEAM. (Sorry, original Avengers.)
Fred Van Lente: I picked Rita because she was a crook, and I like writing about crooks.
TDSpidey616: No luv for Scott Lang…
Fred Van Lente: And unlike Scott Lang, she is a girl. And I like writing about girls, too.
Brian Cronin: Rita is 1/2 of the answer to the worst question ever “Which two Avengers will die in the Crossing?!?!”
gregpak: Coming soon from Fred Van Lente: GIRL CROOK, the miniseries!
Fred Van Lente: Oh, crap, I would buy and/or write the hell out of GIRL CROOK.
gregpak: I’ll draw it.
Aloysius: Speaking of crooks, i’m still waiting for a MODOK’s 11 sequel or maybe a Taskmaster’s Twelve?
Fred Van Lente: Aloysius: No, I’m afraid not. I had an idea for MODOK’s 12, but I doubt Marvel will go for it in this market.
Fred Van Lente: And I don’t honestly HAVE another Taskmaster idea at the moment…
Fred Van Lente: …but if one came to me I liked, I would jumping up and down on Lauren Sankovitch’s desk, begging for another shot — and fending off Security, presumably.
SeanMulkerrin: Do you have a favourite artist/artists to work with?
wraitheight: More Fun: Least favorite artist to work with
Fred Van Lente: The favorite artist(s) questions is always an uncomfortable one to ask because you never know who is listening and can be potentially offended…
Brian Cronin: Well, we know you hate Dunlavey. So that answers that question.
Brian Cronin: Now you just need to do favorite artist.
Fred Van Lente: Actually, in all seriousness, it’d be a much easier list to come up with who I was LEAST happy to work with.
Fred Van Lente: Because all in all my collaborators have been absolutely wonderful, talented, awesome people who made my scripts look better than they deserve.
Fred Van Lente: Of course, I’m not going to tell YOU my most-hated list. Although I only had Pak draw that one comic, and it was a total disaster.
Fred Van Lente: But I thought he would be PERFECT for “Avengers: The Crossing II!”
TDSpidey616: Speaking of Dunlavey, ever been attacked with an X-Acto Pen
at a convention? (That BORED TO DEATH ep rocked!)
SeanMulkerrin: what living character would you kill and stay dead, and what dead one would you resurrect ?
Fred Van Lente: Sean: Read CHAOS WAR #4.
Fred Van Lente: For the first question.
Fred Van Lente: For the second question:
Fred Van Lente: Read CHAOS WAR #5.
Fred Van Lente: Bumbumbuuuummmmmmmm
SeanMulkerrin: Excellent, I’m glad you prepared for this chat
Fred Van Lente: I think that there will be a resurrection in CW #5 that will rock the comics world for some time to come.
Brian Cronin: Banshee better come back in this thing. That dude had a really weak death.
Fred Van Lente: Only if he brings the lepruchans that live in his Keep back with him.
Fred Van Lente: Forget Dark Phoenix Saga. Killer Lepruchans Who Kidnap Nightcrawler: GREATEST. X. MEN. STORY. EVER.
gregpak: Banshee? Small potatoes. We’re bringing back Jean!
Brian Cronin: You’ve already killed Jean more times than anyone, Greg.
gregpak: Yeah, in a single page, I think.
Fred Van Lente: I interviewed Claremont a few weeks ago at King Con and he still seemed pissed she got brought back. I’m not sure he ever realized they killed her off again.
TDSpidey616: Caiera! Hiroim! They deserve to be back!
Brian Cronin: That’s what you need to do – break the “most times killing Jean in one page” record
Fred Van Lente: Actually, in X Men Noir I killed her off twice, so I think I may have Greg beat.
gregpak: Oh, no. We did a page in Endsong #3 where Wolverine kills her six or seven times on a single page. No joke!
Fred Van Lente: I won’t tell Claremont.
gregpak: Thank you.
Fred Van Lente: Who likes pretty art?
Fred Van Lente: Like it’s fricking out a 70s Marvel magazine! Mike Perkins rocks those story covers.
Fred Van Lente: Uncolored cover to POWER MAN & IRON FIRST #3.
Fred Van Lente: The ink wash is so awesome I told Mike they should leave
Aloysius: Perkins is amazing, my Cap omnibus with a head sketch of Fury by him is one of my prized possessions.
Fred Van Lente: Mike is amazing, and one of the nicest guys in comics.
wraitheight: Any sound effects you try to put into books ever get rejected by editors?
Fred Van Lente: Sort of.
Fred Van Lente: Jordan White, our redoubtable assistant editor, came up with one when Namora smashes Atlas’s nuts…
Fred Van Lente: It was like “Testicle Smash” with all the vowels removed or something…
Fred Van Lente: It just looked weird.
Fred Van Lente: Or was it Testicle spelled backwards?
Fred Van Lente: Anyway, it looked like someone had just grabbed a bunch of Scrabble tiles at random.
Fred Van Lente: So being the sophisticated scribe, I made him change it to:
Fred Van Lente: …wait for it…
Fred Van Lente: NUHKRAK
Fred Van Lente: Thank you. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
Brian Cronin: That was on the list last year, I think
Brian Cronin: For top sound effects from Incredible Hercules.
Fred Van Lente: Thanks for clarifying. You do a lot of lists, Brian.
Fred Van Lente: Who wants to see the Don of the Dead’s next appearance?
Pirate Pat: I hear a lot of writers say they love getting artwork back from illustrators on scripts they’ve written. Do you guys have a favorite one page, panel, or story that particularly stuck with you?
Fred Van Lente: Taking the first part of your question, I’ve been lucky to get some of my all-time favorite moments from artists.
Fred Van Lente: From Khoi Pham I got the first-ever Hercules “mythback” from Hulk #112, that’s one of my prize possessions.
gregpak: I’ve talked with Khoi about getting that Herc-with-the-wine-barrell on his shoulder page from #112, but I haven’t nailed it down yet.
gregpak: I got all of Takeshi Miyazawa’s original art for the first Amadeus Cho story in “Amazing Fantasy” v2 #15.
Brian Cronin: Oh wow, Greg, that’s awesome
Brian Cronin: Such a big story for you and to have the original pages. Amazing
gregpak: Yeah. I looove Tak.
gregpak: I tend to be really late in asking artists about buying original art, so I felt hugely lucky that Tak still had those around.
Fred Van Lente: And from Barry Kitson I got an Original Gangsta Dr. Strange (blue costume, no fruity cape) from a story we did in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN.
Fred Van Lente: I got the pencils and inks side-by-side on my wall. Lemme find the picture…
Fred Van Lente: Because sometimes b&w line art can look a bit drab on the wall, I frame beneath the finished comics page.
Fred Van Lente: This isn’t the easiest thing to see the detail on, but you’ll get the general idea:
Fred Van Lente: I hate that stupid Cape of Levitation. I would kill it and hope it stayed dead.
Fred Van Lente: NERDRAGE!!!
Pirate Pat: That is utterly fantastic, thank you for sharing!
Aloysius: Barry Kitson is one of the nicest artists/people i’ve ever met, he did this for me for free at a British con:
Fred Van Lente: Too cool! And yes, Barry is amazing. Both Greg and I have worked with him, I now recall…
gregpak: Yeah, Barry did an amazing job on the Incredible Hulks Dark Son arc that just wrapped.
Fred Van Lente: Although I have to say, Ditko’s run on Strange is one of my all-time faves, particularly the final epic arc.
Brian Cronin: Yeah, he got better and better on that run, so by the end – WOW
Brian Cronin: Imagine having to be the guy who followed Ditko on Doctor Strange?
Brian Cronin: The issue even has “THE END” in it!
Fred Van Lente: Yes. In fact, I feel like Dr. Strange is a strip that just should have been retired when Ditko left. No one, with the possible exception of Stern & Smith, have really touched him.
Fred Van Lente: Brian: As opposed to Spider-Man, where he kind of tapered off…
Fred Van Lente: I’m using THE LOOTER in one of my upcoming stories in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN with Reilly Brown…
Fred Van Lente: (…ooh, see how he slipped that plug in there…)
Fred Van Lente: …and that story, and the ones around it, are kind of sad.
TDSpidey616: A backup in ASM I assume? Yay!
Fred Van Lente: Yup, and I have some exciting Spidey news additionally, but unfortunately too early to plug here. Sorry.
gregpak: Fred finally got his custom Spidey suit. He’ll debut it in San Diego.
Riggers: THE LOOTER! – Does he still use the balloon?
Fred Van Lente: Riggers: No but he uses the Dazzle Gun.
Fred Van Lente: Not to be confused with the Vajazller Gun.
Fred Van Lente: [RIMSHOT]
Brian Cronin: Did you get your vajazlle reference into the comic?
Fred Van Lente: Brian: Time will tell.
Fred Van Lente: It’s unfortunate the timing of this year’s FVLD, as I some amazing things in the pipeline I just can’t talk about here.
Fred Van Lente: I am MOST excited about my creator-owned project with Sarah Oleksyk, the most famous and talented artist you’ve never heard of yet.
gregpak: Hey, I don’t think I even know about that one…
Fred Van Lente: She was nominated for a Lulu and her incredible graphic novel IVY comes out from Oni next month.
Brian Cronin: That’s great. I like her stuff!
Fred Van Lente: Sarah and I are going to have a whole issue’s worth in the can before we tease it.
Brian Cronin: Fair enough.
Fred Van Lente: The word for it is EPIC, though. And fans of ACTION PHILOSOPHERS should dig it.
Fred Van Lente: Greg: It’s the one I keep talking about and it now has an artist.
jiv: What is your favorite comic book right now? (hard mode: that is not written by either of you)
Fred Van Lente: I really love CHEW. I’m getting it on the iPad.
gregpak: I plug Sfar/Trondheim’s “Dungeon” every chance I get. Love those books.
Brian Cronin: Trondheim period is amazing.
jiv: Fred, oh, yeah, the last issue really made drop my jaw to the floor!
Fred Van Lente: jiv: Don’t tell me! I am four issues behind because of the iPad release schedule.
Brian Cronin: Whose idea was it to do a new Power Man? You?
Brian Cronin: And was it always planned to tie into Shadowland?
Fred Van Lente: Brian: Power Man was internally generated by Marvel. But they wanted him to be a 10 year old kid like Iron Fist’s students in the IIF comic.
Fred Van Lente: But I kind of put the kibosh on the Power Kid idea, and insisted on Power Man being 15 years old at least.
Brian Cronin: Right, like Spider-Man.
Brian Cronin: That sort of IS the standard on when you can call a character “Man”
Brian Cronin: And yet you can have a kid and still be “girl”
Fred Van Lente: The power set and name, background of Victor Alvarez were all me. His amazing look and costume was all Mahmud Asrar, who did just an amazing job.
gregpak: Mahmud is fantastic.
Brian Cronin: He is
TDSpidey616: Who came up with the Greg Pak THUNDER DOJO ref in #3?
Fred Van Lente: That was me. They made me come up with all these names because Mahmud drew like a million heads on Danny’s screen and I got lazy and threw in Greg’s name because I was sick of coming up with
fake ones and the kid looked Korean to me.
Fred Van Lente: They — true story — tried to get me to change it to Amadeus Cho, but I was like, no, that interferes with continuity. When does Cho have time to train with Iron Fist?!?
Pirate Pat: He’s Amadeus Cho, he’d find a way!
TDSpidey616: Amadeus Cho-the 7th Smartest and Toughest Martial Artist in the world! I can dig it!
Fred Van Lente: Basically, they were scared of using a real person like Greg’s name in a comic, so I had to get Greg to give me permission to use his name.
Fred Van Lente: In other words, my decision to save time and energy rather than come up with a fake name ended up spending way more time and energy than if I had come up with a fake name.
Fred Van Lente: Let that be a listen to you kids.
gregpak: And I gave it! Via email. Without even calling my lawyer! THAT’S how tight FVL and I are.
Pirate Pat: Can you guys spill on a character you hated writing?
Fred Van Lente: I will give you a hint. Hercules kicked him in the nuts.
Fred Van Lente: As many of you know, my Action Philosophers collaborator Ryan Dunlavey and I are currently in the midst of the comic book version of comic book history, COMIC BOOK COMICS.
Fred Van Lente: Well, I have here for the first time — a Fred Van Lente Day miracle — your FIRST LOOK at our fifth issue.
Fred Van Lente: Oft-delayed, it is now allegedly coming out February 6.
Fred Van Lente: This is our “ALL-LAWSUIT ISSUE,” but it’s turning out to be the “ALL-COPYRIGHT ISSUES” issue (? too many issues)
Fred Van Lente: Obviously, that’s a hot topic in comics right now. Copyright holders are battling against digital piracy.
Fred Van Lente: But before the Internet age, there was an even fiercer battle: Creators battling publishers for the copyright to lucrative characters.
Fred Van Lente: The two most famous of which of course are Siegel & Shuster’s struggle to reclaim SUPERMAN and Jack Kirby’s battle to get his artwork back.
Fred Van Lente: So, for the first time ANYWHERE, here is the first half of our story of that epic struggle “THE GRABBERS”:
Fred Van Lente: http://www.eviltwincomics.com/cbc_grab.php?p=1
Brian Cronin: Awesome.
Pirate Pat: This is incredible…
Fred Van Lente: Anyway, hope y’all dig it and whets your appetites for more.
John Jones: too cool
SeanMulkerrin: Its teh best FVL day ever!
Fred Van Lente: And look for CBC #5 when it hits le stands in Feb or I murder Ryan, whichever comes first.
Fred Van Lente: So I am turning into a pumpkin! Thank you all for coming out, this was awesome.
Fred Van Lente: Greg, thanks so much for coming.
gregpak: Dude, my pleasure. (And I love you so much I didn’t even talk about centaurs!)
Fred Van Lente: And I mean this so much from the bottom of my heart:
Fred Van Lente: THANK YOU FOR ENCOURAGING MY SHENANNIGANS
gregpak: Haw. Rock on, rock star.
Brian Cronin: Thanks for coming everybody! Happy Fred Van Lente Day!
Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.