What I'm working on... (aka 4-book Wednesday)
I have four books out today, which is pretty incredible - in fact, it's moved me to type up a blog post for the first time in a good while. It's been a very, very busy spring, and the idea of adding words that weren't strictly necessary to the total I needed to produce felt a little crazy. I'm good with workload - it's part of the Charles Soule Brand, I'd say - but there were a few moments here and there when even I, gentle reader, yes, even I felt like it might be nice to take a damn break for a minute or two. But breaks don't get you four books out in a single day. Those books are:
Daredevil #7 - featuring art from Matteo Buffagni, colors by Matt Milla, letters from Clayton Cowles and a story covering the second half of my Elektra tale. That deadly Greek assassin-lady has always been one of my favorite characters in all of the DD mythos, and it's been amazing to write her in the title where she debuted. I even own a copy of that issue - #168, part of Frank Miller's run. I'm looking forward to hearing what people think of the way the issue ends, in particular. Elektra expresses a sentiment that I think is completely in line with her character, but isn't something we see said all that often. Biggest thing to know about this issue is that it's far from the last planned appearance from Ms. Natchios in the title. She's a big part of the overall blueprint for the story I'm telling, so stay tuned.
Here's the cover for the issue, by the incomparable Bill Sienkewicz:
Letter 44 #25 - We made it to issue 25! That is an incredible landmark for a creator-owned series these days. Or, it seems, almost any title that doesn't have a superhero or a movie or both associated with it. #25 is part four of the big "Saviors" arc, which is itself the fourth chunk of the main series.
Art here is by my good friend Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, with colors by Dan Jackson, letters from Crank!, and they created one of my absolute favorite covers for the whole series so far:
Poor, poor Mr. President. Also, the reference for this image was from a self-portrait I took in April, flames and all. April was a tough month.
Obi-Wan & Anakin #5 - Man, I sure do love writing Star Wars stories. Obi-Wan & Anakin is the second of three tales I've been lucky enough to create in the SW Universe. My Lando series with Alex Maleev and Paul Mounts was first, and then I got this gig (with Marco Chechetto (art), Andres Mossa (colors) and Joe Caramagna (letters)), and I'm also doing a Poe Dameron ongoing with Phil Noto.
This issue is the final chapter (it was always conceived as a miniseries), and I am so proud of the work we did here, and sorry to see it go. It was a bit of a challenge to write a story set between Episodes I and II, which contain some elements that are, let's just say divisive within Star Wars fandom. That said, I think the characters that George Lucas created are incredibly strong, and it was my job just to dig in and make them tick. Plus, writing a story set in a period when the Jedi were ascendant - just awesome.
Obi is one of my favorite characters in all of the Star Wars mythology, and getting to give him some lines was a huge thrill. Not to mention Sheev, aka Darth Sidious, aka Emperor Palpatine, aka good old Uncle Palpy. I think the Emperor is my #1 favorite guy in all of Star Wars so far, and I'll write him any chance I get. There's also another cameo in this issue, one of the most challenging to write dialogue for - but I think I did okay.
Uncanny Inhumans #9 - One of the really fun things about writing Uncanny Inhumans is the way the characters (and there are a bunch of them, all different from one another) let me take sidesteps between different genres from time to time. It doesn't all have to be huge superhero action - although there's plenty of that. Issues 5-6 were sort of a farce. Issue 7 was a detective/crime story. Issue 8 was a romance. And now, Issue 9 is a melodrama, set against an epic Marvel Universe backdrop, with a cast of thousands. In a nutshell, the story revolves around the reaction of Crystal, sister of Queen Medusa of the Inhumans, when she learns that Medusa has been secretly dating her ex, Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch of the Fantastic Four. I've wanted to write this one ever since I decided to put Medusa and Johnny together, and it was so much fun to do.
Art is by Kev Walker, colors by David Curiel, letters once again from Clayton Cowles, all of whom did a great job with a tricky script. The cover here is by my friend Mahmud Asrar:
So those are the four books out today! It's pretty amazing, and I feel very lucky to have such a diverse slate of titles. The stories in those comics call for four very different types of writing, and it's nice to be able to stretch my muscles that way.
I thought it might be a good idea to also quickly update you on other things I'm working on, just to give you an overview of the entire Souliverse (which is not a thing, except that these stories do all come from the same place, I suppose...)
DAREDEVIL - as mentioned, there's a big, huge plan in play. You'll learn more about the overarching idea in issue 9, although there are still many things to be revealed. Ron Garney (the amazing artist with whom I launched the title) will be back with Issue 10, to draw the entirety of an important arc called Dark Art. Here's the first cover for that story:
Serious new villain being introduced in this story. After that, another story with a familiar bad guy, then a big story in which we'll look at how Matt got his secret identity back, and after that... well, the trap will snap closed on Daredevil. Big stuff to come.
POE DAMERON - Phil Noto and I are moving along nicely! He's just the best guy, too. So great to work with, and he knocks it out of the park every time. I can't say a ton about upcoming storylines here, but I will say that I was really gratified by the reaction to the introduction in issue #2 of Agent Terex, the series' main bad guy (so far). He's more or less an evil version of Lando Calrissian, and man, does he have some cool moments coming up.
I wish I could show you some upcoming art from the series, but I really can't - so instead, I will give you the greatest gift of all, my own portrait of Poe, done at a recent signing at Acme Comics:
Incredible, I know.
Daredevil/Punisher - a miniseries I've been working on as part of Marvel's "Infinite" line, which is published first as a digital comic optimized for reading on ipads and similar screens. The reading experience is super cool - each swipe is a transition that changes the image on the page, either to add some element of motion to the existing image, change the dialogue, or bring up an entirely new panel. It feels very cinematic. It is also being published as print comics, however, so you can read it that way too - Issue #1 is already out, and I think #2 will be out at the end of the month. Should run to four issues, I believe, and six of the eight digital parts have already been released. You can get those here.
Layouts on the series have been by Reilly Brown and Mast, with interior art from Szymon Kudranski. It's a fun story, about Daredevil trying to get a truly bad guy to JFK Airport before Punisher can kill him. Why is DD trying to put this scumbag on a plane? Will Daredevil and Punisher discuss the limits of vigilante justice? Will Blindspot have cool invisiblity moments? Does a billy club get stuck in a tailpipe? Answers: you'll find out, yes, yes, and duh. Here's the awesome cover to #2, by Reilly Brown:
UNCANNY INHUMANS - So, we have #9 today, and then #10, which is an issue featuring Reader, one of my favorite new characters that I've created for the MU. His superpower is to make anything he reads become real - but he's blind. So, he carries these little Braille tabs around on his belt, which he uses to fight. He also has an amazing seeing eye dog named Forey. That dog was stolen from him in Issue 7, and now he's going to get him back, come hell or high water.
This is one of the most narratively complex stories I've ever attempted, with lots of fun bits and easter eggs related to Reader's power and how it operates - I really hope everyone checks it out. Kev Walker went above and beyond for this one, for sure. The cover:
Once that story's complete, we move into a huge story connected to the big Civil War II event - my part of that will be the Inhumans vs. Tony Stark, and it's gigantic, with massive ramifications for the entire Inhuman world (and the Marvel Universe as a whole.) End of #11 is one hell of a moment. I can't believe I got to do it.
After that... stay tuned. Once Uncanny goes big, it doesn't let up.
LETTER 44 - As many longtime readers know, Letter 44 was always planned to end at #35. I'm working on the final chunk of issues now, and it's some sad business - not just because of the story elements, but also because it will be about saying good-bye to a story that's been a constant companion for years. Letter 44 is the type of sci-fi epic I dreamed of writing when I was 12, and the idea that I actually got to do it still blows my mind. The book has brought me many new fans, trips to far off lands, the chance to work with Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, the opportunity to make connections at NASA and other space-y places... and I will miss it very much when it's gone.
The current Saviors arc runs through #27. Then we get another of those focus issues that have appeared every seventh issue, looking at the backstory for Manesh and Kyoko. And then... it's off to the races. Everything falls down. We'll see if anything stands back up.
NEW CREATOR-OWNED THING - When one door closes, another opens, I guess? With Letter 44 in its wrap up phase, I thought it was time to dive back into creator-owned waters with a new series. You'll learn much more about it later this year, but the upshot is that I'm in active production on a title that I can't wait for you to see. The artist is one of my all-time favorite collaborators (and people) in the business, and I just think he's a stellar talent all around.
The story is set in the present day (mostly). It has some fantasy elements, but it's not a fantasy, really. It's a big tale - we're aiming for the fences, for sure. It's scary, and funny, and kind of mean. Way too early to show you much, but I can give you this:
STRANGE ATTRACTORS!! (emphasis added) - Boom! Studios is re-releasing my creator-owned graphic novel Strange Attractors in five serialized installments starting this June. This is just fantastic, from where I'm sitting, because it means that a story I love, originally published in 2012, has a chance to access an entirely new audience. The book tells the story of two geniuses, one young and one old, who discover that all of New York City is about to be destroyed by a huge catastrophe. They believe that the only way they can save it is to connect all of the city's many systems and bits of infrastructure into a huge, massively complex machine/engine. The story's about what happens when they turn it on.
I LOVED working on this book when it came out - I'm a long-time New Yorker, and this is absolutely my love letter to the book. You can see a big interview I did about the re-release here, as well as some nice coverage from Bleeding Cool here.
As you'll note in those stories, this isn't just a double-dip. I also wrote an entirely new story that will run alongside the main tale, with art from Soo Lee (also a New Yorker, as are most of the people who worked and are working on the book). That's called Antithesis, and the idea is to cast sort of a reflection on the original story... make it more complex, in essence.
The first issue is out in early June, and I really can't wait for you guys to check it out. Here's the amazing variant cover for Issue 1, by my very good friend Ryan Stegman:
I have a number of other things in the works - a massive, unannounced thing for Marvel that will be taking up a ton of my time over the summer, some additional creator-owned work, and more. One of the biggest things on my plate is my novel, a project I've been working on for quite a while called The Oracle Year. I think it's done, though, and man, I hope you guys get to see it one of these days. Time will tell!
Thanks for reading, both my books and this way too long post. See you at the comic shop!