Farewell and adieu...
...to you, fair Krakoan ladies
It is Wednesday January 12, 2022 and the sun is setting on a big part of my creative output for the last few years.
One of the benefits of having a chair at the Marvel editorial retreats is getting a glimpse into the future. In the autumn of 2018 I had what little hair remaining on my head blown backwards when Jonathan Hickman told the story of House Of X/Powers Of X. It was undoubtedly the fullest formed, most bulletproof story, biggest, wildest and most hopeful story I’d heard in that room. My only expectation was that it would be a great X-Men story, and I was not disappointed. What I didn’t expect, and what absolutely torched my brain was Jonathan’s proposal was an engine for more stories from other creators. I had to be one. I started bothering Jonathan, Jordan D White and CB Cebulski immediately. On the plane home I began a noodling on a document called “X-Men Buccaneers” and eventually that became the series that would go on to sell nearly 30 issues of X-Men stories. I hope readers had as much fun as we did. There are so many people to thank from everyone at Marvel, to my fellow X-writers who contributed in ways large and small everyday, and of course to my collaborators. Russell and Matt’s covers were the best on stands, Matteo, Stefano, Noto, and all our artists, to Cory who lettered every issue, I think. To CB for the trust, and to sales and marketing letting us dust off an old villainous team name for this book. Thank you all. Special thanks to Jonathan, RB & Pepe, without whom this book would not even exist. The goal from the jump was to see if we could create a new comic that might become a legacy X-title, and Steve Orlando and his partners will make that dream a reality. I’ve read ahead, and can promise you that the best days are ahead for the Marauders. I’m grateful for the chance to have entertained you during these hard years, and speaking for the team, I think even though many of us were dealing with our own hardships, we were very happy to escape our reality when we clocked in with this crew from Krakoa.
THE SAVAGE AVENGERS
When Conan returned to Marvel, a deal was hatched to pluck the Cimmerian from the past, and fling him forward in time so that he could interact with the Marvel Universe.
Tom Brevoort and CB Cebulski had the Savage Avengers title in mind, and I’m not sure if I was Tom’s first call, but I made damn sure I was his last call. I’ve been a huge Conan fan for as long as I can remember, in no small part due to his past adventures in the Bronze Age at Marvel.
My goal was simple: to tell the biggest, bloodiest adventures I could until we were cancelled or I was fired, or I was personally cancelled and then fired. This book just had to be a spiritual successor to those great old comics, and I think that’s why this book shined so bright. We were unafraid to embrace our Bronze Age DNA.
With the return of the Kulan Gath we had a legacy villain that could enter and exit the stage according to our whims, permitting us to space to introduce Conan to our favorite heroes and villains.
I tried to write the book like I was competing in the Cannonball Run while driving a fully insured rental car. None of these characters were coming back in the condition that they were given to me. Stopping a cannibal wizard intent on snuffing out all life took no less than stabbings, shootings, cocaine, poisoned cocaine, the grave robbing of Frank Castle’s wife and kids, I seem to recall a zombie was beaten to death with a sex-worker’s prosthetic leg, and when he heard the words “with great power comes great responsibility” Conan laughed heartily right in Spider-Man’s face.
We had fun.
It’s always important to have an exit strategy, and when it was time for the curtain to drop we had a fully-baked epic story about the struggle between a courageous barbarian fighting against a sadistic wizard. I’m especially proud of how we just absolutely crushed the landing. I hope Conan fans enjoy it for decades to come. This finale of this volume will cement it an immortal comic book. But at the end, I must talk about the beginning.
Thanks to Mike Deodato for knocking the door off the hinges with an indelible first arc that set the tone for everything that would follow. If that had been where my time with the Savage Avengers had ended, I could still die happy.
Patrick Zircher arrived in lucky chapter seven, and he has stolen the show every panel along the way. Few artists have the gears that Zircher displays in every chapter. We offered action, comedy, drama romance, horror, and Patch emailed us a page every day. I don’t know if most fans understand the dedication it takes to draw the majority of what will hopefully be an omnibus one day. A punishing schedule in pursuit of collaborating on something very special. There was nothing I threw at him that he didn’t send over the fence as a home run. Team books requires a variety of skillsets, and whether it was action, or comedy, Zircher’s acting was always top-notch. Thanks for the ride, Patch. Making us book look good every time out were the sublime colors of Java Tartaglia.
Crom would also like to witness our editors Alanna Smith, Martin Biro and Krakoan expat Annalise Bissa. We couldn’t have done it without Kim Jacinto, Greg Smallwood, Kev Walker and Butch Guice for the wonderful chapters as guest stars, and we’d not look as good without colors from Frank Martin, Tamra Bonvillain. Travis Lanham, thanks for the killer letters. All our covers were outstanding, especially the ones from series regular star Valerio Giangiodano & Frank D’Amarta.
I’ve been lucky enough to work for a lot of licensors over the years, and nobody has been up for more fun than Fred Malmberg and his team at Conan Properties. Thanks for trusting us with Conan’s sword, and of course thanks to the retailers and readers.
I’ll miss Savage Avengers as much as I’ll miss Marauders. Hope they both get the hardcover treatment. The sun is soon to rise on some new comic book opportunities, and you’ll be hearing about that soon. Watch this space.
Los Angeles, January 2022