Interview: Ben McCool on Captain America and The Korvac Saga

The latest in a line of projects retelling major Marvel events, Captain America & The Korvac Saga is an adaptation of 1978's original Korvac Saga by Jim Shooter, David Michelinie, and George Perez. Like the original, this four-issue miniseries, written by Ben McCool who is best known for his Image Comics series Choker, deals with Michael Korvac, an enigmatic individual from the far future who poses a great threat to the Avengers and humanity at large. But McCool is doing a complete reworking of the story, and has chosen to focus this version of the tale on the Avengers leader, Captain America, so readers of the original shouldn't assume they know what to expect, and new readers will come in on the ground floor. I spoke with McCool to learn more about his plans for the series.

 


 

Matt Adler: How did you come on board this project?

Ben McCool: Well, Nate Cosby, at the time an associate editor at Marvel, read Choker (an Image mini-series by me and Ben Templesmith) and apparently enjoyed it. We got together for a chat one day, and he suggested I pitch him some ideas. I did, he digged what I sent him, and ta-da! I was offered Captain America & The Korvac Saga.

MA: You've mentioned that this story won't have a lot in common with the original, but were there any particular elements that you felt were essential and made it a good candidate for a retelling?

BMC: For starters, Korvac is an AWESOME character. He's not been used much in recent years (in fact, I don't think he's made an appearance since 1999) and I believe he's still got plenty to offer. Plus The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and time-traveling shenanigans all make for a very cool and entertaining story!

I've also played up the fact that Cap is a "man out of time", having come from the past.  Korvac is enduring a similar case of time displacement, albeit arriving from the opposite direction! This means the two share a common bond, whether Cap likes it or not…
 
MA: Why choose Captain America as the main focus of this story?

BMC: Like I mentioned above, the dichotomy between Cap and Korvac interests me enormously, and it makes for some very tense friction. And without giving too much away, the backdrop to the story's conclusion is as far from Cap's comfort zone as can be, meaning his leadership skills will be tested to the max!
 
MA: Do you find any difficulty writing a character called "Captain America", being British yourself?

BMC: Nope! Though Captain America is a Marvel Comics and American icon, at his core he's a soldier, and a bloody good one at that. I've tried to play up that element of his character, and being a huge war story nerd the writing of Cap has come very natural to me. Still, I'm determined to have him say, "cor, blimey!" at least once… (Joke!)
 
MA: How does your conception of Korvac differ from his original incarnation?

BMC: I've certainly taken inspiration from the Korvac Jim Shooter was writing in the '70s, while adding a new agenda and feistier attitude to the character. He now takes great pleasure in driving Cap bonkers, in particular exploiting his uncanny knowledge of Cap's thoughts and memories…
 
MA: Beyond Captain America and Korvac obviously, what characters can we expect to see? Are the Guardians of the Galaxy part of this story as they were in the original?

BMC: I'm a huge fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and I'm delighted to say that yes, they'll appear in this book. Woot! They won't play quite as prominent a role as they did previously (well, not all of 'em) but they'll definitely feature as things start to get crazy.

There's also a good few Avengers used, and a very special appearance from one of the coolest Marvel characters EVER. But I'll have to keep the identity shrouded in mystery for now… Wouldn't want to spoil the surprise!

MA: Have you seen any of Craig Rousseau's art for the book yet?

BMC: I have, and predictably, it's incredible. I'm so lucky to be working with such a top-notch team, and with Craig's art (plus Rachelle Rosenberg's colours) I can guarantee that the book's gonna be absolutely gorgeous!
 
MA: Do you have any personal favorite parts to the original story? What are some of your favorite Marvel stories you grew up reading?

BMC: Like I mentioned before, I love the Guardians of the Galaxy and their inclusion in the original was definitely a bonus. The first Marvel comic I ever read was Uncanny X-Men #271 (by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee) midway through the X-Tinction Agenda storyline. Though I had no clue what was going on when I first read it (I was 10 years old and a complete newcomer to American comics) I was immediately hooked! I started picking up classic stories such as Days of Future Past and Secret Wars, and from then on pretty much read everything I could get my hands on…

MA: Was it difficult to switch gears from something like Choker to a book like this? Does one of them more reflect your tastes?

BMC: To be honest, I like keep my workload as varied as possible. Choker is dark and twisted cyberpunk noir (two of my personal favourite genres) wherein I can unleash all kinds of otherworldly craziness. My Marvel work, though very different in tone, is equally as enjoyable, exercising a different group of creative muscles. Contrast in styles and genres further boost my enthusiasm, and I relish the resulting creative challenges.

MA: What else are you working on these days?

BMC: Well, I've got a new mini-series coming out from Image Comics called Memoir, with issue one out in January. I'm working with artist extraordinaire Nikki Cook, who's doing a stunning job. It's very different to Choker (and Captain America!) and I'd best describe it as Twin Peaks by way of The Twilight Zone. Spooky and kooky as can be, I can't wait to get that one out there.

I've a few other projects in the pipeline, too, but I'm not able to talk about 'em yet. But watch this space! More news coming very soon…
 


Matt Adler can relate to being a man out of time, or at least wishing there were more hours in a day.

Comments

  1. I wish I had a name like Ben McCool, but trying its derivative "McPhat" didn’t end well…

  2. Will it be humerous like Avengers & The Infinity Gaultnet was? I loved that!

    If not, the concept and art looks good, I’ll peek at the first issue and at the very least pick up the trade. I’ve always been curious about the Korvac Saga myself…

  3. I really enjoyed the original story, and wasn’t sure about buying this one. But (‘n) Ben has convinecd me!