Writer Notes On Young Avengers 7

Spoilers, Obv.

Cover
Playful from Jamie here. Lots of people have taken it as a Restaurant at the end of the galaxy riff, and while that may have been bubbling around Jamie’s subconscious, it’s primarily riffing on Grease’s 70s teen-retroisms of 50s America, fired through a similarly retro-tech sci-fi filter.

Spotting which character is which in the silhouettes is the giggle.

1
The Grease things come to the fore here. We may as well get them on the car’s bonnet and get them singing a song about it being hydromatic or something.

Do I need to say the whole thing is a riff on Hawkeye’s monologue in our first issue? Seemed a good thing to do to give a little circularity.

Believe it or not, it’s not the first crazed high-power retro-sci-fi convertible Jamie’s drawn for Marvel. He did a lovely one in his SECRET AVENGERS issue with Warren Ellis.

2
Mr Freud, calling Ms. Bishop.

3
This whole sequence was written Marvel Method, so most of the dialogue was written after the fact. DIE KREE COLLABORATORS is my fave last minute ad-lib.

4
I was hoping that the visual motifs would be enough to explain why they’re breathing in space – i.e. Loki’s green around them – but it wasn’t, so we added some dialogue.

I like Jamie’s speed-lines here.

5
That Jamie managed to make this fun and visual in a nine-panel page – which, of course, he chose being Marvel Method – makes me optimistic about issue 13, that I’m currently writing.

5.6 is one of the bits where we’re trying to imply a larger pre-history – as in, Teddy has had his own shape-changing turned off prior to this. Essentially, we’re joining the Young Avengers at the climax of their previous arc, which we’re not showing.

Skifflefuffle is a ridiculous word that came off the top of my head. I kept it as I liked it. The Skiffle gag over the page actually came after the fact. I suspect people may think I reverse engineered it.

I do like Jamie’s design of them.

6
The third panel still makes me laugh a bit. They are really very excited.

“Skifflefuffula” doubles down on the silliness.

You’ll have seen some of it earlier – Loki and Wiccan – but the time-jump also allows us to show how the relationahips have altered. All the characters are a little more comfortable.

I think Jamie made the call to have Kate to add shades to the image, for the full on CSI, but it was always meant to be the ironic juxtaposition between the hero-pose and the dialogue. There are some people who think Bathos is, by its nature, bad. We are not those people. Comic deflation of genre excess is a good thing, Sez Us.

7
And the menu! While the yamblr intro is the editorial staff, this one was me riffing over Clayton’s design and just spouting nonsense. Because why not, eh?

8
When I decided to do a time-skip, this idea followed pretty quickly afterwards. Fragments of adventures, dropped on the page. I had a bunch of ideas, and edited them when we worked out how many could actually fit on the page. I think I suggested 6 originally, not wanting to overwork McK, but the idea works much better with 9, in terms of layout.

Had a number more. I tried to talk Marvel into letting us do a one panel tie in to Infinity with an enigmatic photo, with the comments being “Remember when that thing happened?” “Oh man! :(“ “I will never forget that thing as long as we live”.

That Infinity isn’t out yet made it a no. I think we’d have got away with it if it was next Month’s issue.

The first panel includes me covering a continuity error – Loki had passed out as they were leaving New York, so the angle of shot Jamie chose for this would be impossible for him to take (unless they came back, which they clearly couldn’t).

Loki’s username is the same as the one he had in Journey Into Mysteries. Noh-Varr’s is a beastie boy nod. Billy is SO DARK. Kate is the sensible one.

The Dazzler gig is a tiny nod to the first story I pitched at Marvel, which is basically this plot. It was a Prog Vs Disco story set on the Dark Side Of The Moon. The AIM on Moon is actually almost a tie-in to the Iron Man Infinite comic Al Ewing and myself are doing. My fave is probably the Loki selfie in the last panel, but they’re all great. Also – another Bear in a comic by me. This is getting silly.

Admire the faux-filters by Mike, too.

9
I’m only surprised I didn’t have Kid Loki actually holding the starkphone on the next page to ease with the transition. Hmm.

10
And the post-mission chill time.

Loki hammers home the point in case anyone hasn’t noticed.

11
Walking the line between using continuity and losing people. Noh-Varr’s awkward dictionary-speak is oddly tricky, by the way.

Jamie kills with the last panel.

12
Also Teddy’s expression to Noh-Varr here. Stop it!

I like the physical at-ease-ness of Noh and Kate here, which was the idea. I love Kate’s build. Kate’s line was originally a couple of notches ruder, but I still like this.

13
I wish I looked that good in a sweater.

The “Blueberries” beat is sort of keying up part of Prodigy. I’m playing him close to a Sherlock Holmes character. He’s very smart, very perceptive and a very different sort of genius, as we see shortly.

Billy and Teddy in full on Dork here is fun. That there’s Super-users on Heropedia made me smile. Also – watch David considering them. Character stuff based around perception, ec.

Kate taking charge here is key for her. One of the things of a team book is the soft restating of character role in each issue. You try to make the key parts of a character demonstrate each time – which is done through the actions, etc. Ideally, you’re using that to forward the plot. If you’re serious in writing comics, have a nose across this page and think about it in terms of how explosition works in, and how each line is given to each person.

This also is true for David coming to understand them.

14-15
This one is Jamie’s idea, and lots of fun. My original suggestion was riffing on something we did in the first issue of Phonogram, and this is much better.

16
The top four panels are probably my favourite in the issue. Panel 3 and 4 was written as a two shot, but Jamie broke it into two. Note how the four panels form a smaller, self-enclosed and somewhat aggressive element in the page. For me, that gives a sense of a page-break – the panels last longer before Kate’s interruption than you think it should.

David shows the Sherlock Holmes again, and immediately dislikes Loki. And, you have to suspect, vice versa. People have asked reasons why I wanted David in the team. This is one. He is someone from the outside who comes in, and is outside of Loki’s plans. He’s also as smart as Loki is, in a completely different way.

(I write this knowing that some people are going to take that as an insult to the rest of the team. They’re lots of forms of intelligence, of course, but I’m talking about a very specific set. Loki and Prodigy are Marvel-universe geniuses, and no-one else is.)

I do like the hardness Jamie gives Kate here, after seeing her so relaxed earlier… and then the flicker of concern for Billy in the last panel.

17
Oddly, I didn’t put any Nina Simone on the YA playlist until recently. I suck.

Notice the costume change for Miss America, as her last set of clothes got all messed up.

And Star Tattoos, keeping with her aesthetic. It’s almost as if Stars are impo…

18
Oh yes.

Lots of space for this. I think I wrote it Marvel Method, and Jamie went for the page widths. As I always say, Space=importance, and the reveal on a new hopefully interesting element deserves it.

Those who read the .1 issue know America was in another dimension originally. Now you know how she gets around. She kicks her way through time and space.

19
A series of great expressions here. I don’t think I like America more than in the last panel.

20
I probably don’t need to say too much about this, but fucking hell. I was showing people this in the pub. Here’s a bit of script for the second panel…

“The Young Avengers pass through a prismatic fractured mirror-transition. Majority of the page.”
Oh, part of me would love to leave it like that one line, just to do my version of the Ellis to Hitch “Alien Fleet engage US Airforce over LA”, but I probably have to say more.”

I do go on a bunch.

21
I didn’t specify the dimensions whirling behind Jamie, so he had a bunch of fun. Inevitably, it involves Voltron, as it is Jamie.

The issue seems to have gone down well. Better than I thought, in fact, which probably means we’re due a backlash shortly. While the 3-month jump does let us do a bunch of stuff, it creates the problem of making the issue basically catch-up. A certain reading would say the plot doesn’t progress from the end of 6, as it directly follows the situation we placed there.

(Not that the amount of “plot progress” is the only way to judge a comic, but it’s certainly one which a big chunk of the superhero comic readership seem to value highly. Maybe we’ve got YA readers to expect what we do by now? Maybe it’s a case people kinda like seeing a more down-time issue with the folk, after the chaos of issue 5? Or maybe there is enough plot progression, even if there’s no BIG MOMENTS OF !!!!! like the last two?)

Next issue out in a couple of weeks. Busy times, etc.