The Marvel editorial retreats are always work and play, and work while at play. It was fun to take the trip to Manhattan a few times a year, and it’s a fact that many of the best ideas don’t happen sitting around the conference tables. Mark Millar & Brian Michael Bendis took a cab ride on the way to the final day of the retreat, and that time together stuck in traffic is what yielded the story that would become CIVIL WAR. You might have heard of that one. I’m always shooting photos, most end up being tucked into folders and never seeing the light of day, but sometimes you shoot and end up with a story. The photo of Al, Chip and Jonathan below contains a story. It’s after the retreat broke for the day, and I bet we were waiting for other folks who were calling their family back home, or taking a shower or a quick nap. Dinner reservations were probably on the books, but we’re not quite relaxing. Our neurons had been marinating in story all day, and at the night the possibilities begin to emerge from galaxy brains. The photo below is a snapshot of S.W.O.R.D. coming into distant view. Al knew his dismount was approaching in IMMORTAL HULK, and he was at the right place and right time with the answer to the question “What if…”
Speaking of the Hulk…the photo below is another moment when an idea formed outside the room that would be presented to the editors later. It was the notion that Al and Donny would switch chairs at the end of their current gigs.
You can read Al’s collaboration on VENOM soon, and Donny commences HULK with Ryan Ottley. Have I taken better photographs? I hope so. My commitment to shooting in near dark is sometimes frustrating, but both of these photos are valuable to me because of the stories behind them. You can see the wheels turning in every head. Everyone at the retreats is existing in at least two universes at once. I miss travel, and miss New York City the most. Be flying back soon, I hope.