Entering the PANIC ROOM: Interview with Marvel Comics Editors – Part Two

When you think about the people behind the scenes of comics, we often focus on the writers and artists, but it takes an army of many people to put out the comics you enjoy week in and week out.  One grouping of folks that bring unique insight to the comics we enjoy are the editors.  The center of the process, the editors work on all aspects of the books, from the story and art to the production aspects.  Yesterday we spoke to editors Mark Paniccia (Ultimate Line, Hulk, Alpha Flight) and Sana Amanat (Ultimate Line) and today we complete our interview with the Panic Room editors by chatting with Bill Rosemann who works along with Assistant Editor John Denning on such books as Mystery Men, Black Panther: The Man Without Fear, Avengers Academy and many more.


Avengers Academy

iFanboy: Everyone who reads Avengers Academy seems to love it (hell, it made our best of 2010 list).  What do you attribute that to? What is Avengers Academy tapping into that other books aren't?
Bill Rosemann: First we have the killer high concept: Are these students the next Avengers…or the next Masters of Evil? Then we have great Avengers combo of staff  (Giant-Man, Tigra, Quicksilver, Justice, Speedball and Jocasta), villains (Taskmaster, Absorbing Man & Titania and Korvac), settings (the Infinite Avengers Mansion and The Raft) and guest teachers (Valkyrie, Iron Fist and Steve Rogers). More importantly, we have that tasty mix of coming-of-age elements (first love, shattered dreams, intense passions) that Marvel comics explore so well.

Bringing it all to visual life since issue #1 is, pound-for-pound, one of the strongest and dependable revolving line-ups of modern classic super hero artists, including Mike McKone, Sean Chen and Tom Raney (not to mention awesome inkers like Scott Hanna and Andrew Hennessy and coloring genius Jeromy Cox). And last but certainly not least is our ace in the hole, Christos Gage, the writer who – with each and every issue – makes you laugh, cry and sit on the edge of your seat wondering what in the heck our controversial and compelling kids are going to do next.

Black Panther: The Man Without Fear
iF: First picking up from Daredevil and becoming Black Panther: The Man Without Fear, and now with Fear Itself introducing the American Panther, what was the basis for moving the Black Panther from Wakanda and into NY as a street level character who's influenced by other titles (i.e. Daredevil/Fear Itself)?
BR: Our goal was to tell the story of an exiled king, a man stripped of his wealth and resources but determined to stand on his own two feet and prove his worth while delivering justice for the innocent. Taking that mission and running wild through the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen, award-winning thriller novelist David Liss and pulp noir master Francesco Francavilla have delivered a uniquely different Panther comic that seems to have caught many by surprise.
Mystery Men
iF: Where did the idea originate to introduce new, in-continuity characters in the 1930s in Mystery Men? Did writer David Liss pitch the idea, or was it something that came from inside Marvel editorial?
BR: As a longtime pulp fan, I wondered what would happen if we applied Marvel’s patented “feet of clay” approach to the first urban vigilantes of the 1930s. What would Marvel’s pulp heroes look like if created today using modern sensibilities and storytelling techniques…and could we pull it off as an in-continuity adventure? As he did with Black Panther, David Liss took on the challenge and made it his own, partnered with the stunning creative mind and amazing art of Patrick Zircher. So the original idea may have come from me, but David and Patrick made it their own in stunning style.
iF: Mystery Men seems like the type of book that readers may pass over because it's new/different/lacks recognizable characters, but since it's in-continuity…is this one of those books that Marvel fans really shouldn't be missing out on? Are there plans to see the effects of this in other books once the Mystery Men mini-series is completed?
BR: Right now we can’t reveal how the Mystery Men adventure will play out, or what ripple effects it may have in current or upcoming stories, but if you want to vote with your dollar and show Marvel that you want us to keep pushing the boundaries and explore genres and projects outside the expected, then yes, this is one of those books you should check out. Also, you can be one of the cool kids who can brag to everyone else that you read this when it first snuck out under the radar.
iF: The genre of Mystery Men, pulp/noir type stories, has been dabbled with by Marvel with the Noir off-shoot stories, but not so much within the standard Marvel Universe. Ed Brubaker has shown what can be done with Noir/Pulp in his Criminal book. Do you foresee a place for Noir type stories that aren't period pieces, like Mystery Men is, in the Marvel U? If so, with what characters/scenarios would you like to see? (sky's the limit speculation, not holding you to any of this ever seeing print)
BR: The pulp noir aesthetic is a perfect match with modern day super hero stories. We have and can show that it works with characters such as Black Panther, Cloak & Dagger, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Punisher, the Shroud and nearly any of Marvel’s street-based vigilantes. And can you imagine if the Mystery Men somehow traveled through time to confront the chaos of modern day Manhattan? I’d buy that!
iF: Are there any other projects that you’re working on that you’d like to plug?
BR: Currently I’m editing all of the comics created by Marvel Custom Solutions, our department that creates projects for outside clients. These comics have huge print runs and are often able to reach readers who have never stepped foot inside a comic store, so we unite top talent – like John Romita Jr., Ed McGuiness, Mike Perkins, Adam Kubert and Stan “The Man” Lee – with great partners – like the U.S. Armed Forces, Extreme Home Makeover: Home Edition, Harley-Davidson, the Fire Department of New York City and the Make-A-Wish Foundation – to not only entertain millions of readers, but also hopefully introduce them to Mighty Marvel!


  1. Mystery Men is Awesome! more of that please!

  2. I’ll second the Mystery Men love.  The title is consistently good every issue.