Why Marvel replaced Matt Fraction with Charles Soule on 'Inhumanity'
Kiel Phegley: Gentlemen, let's start with the basics. How exactly did the creative shift for "Inhuman" come about?
Axel Alonso: This is just an instance where we – meaning Marvel and the writer, Matt Fraction – came to the realization that we weren’t on the same page, we probably never would be, and no one would benefit if we tried to force it to work. The series that Matt wanted to write would have been good, no doubt about it, but it was not the series we need to lay the foundation for this new universe within the Marvel Universe.
The reason this [creative shift] came about a bit late is because of the mutual respect we’ve built over ten-plus years, and, well, because we really wanted it to work out. I go back with Matt to his debut on the “Punisher War Journal” that launched out of “Civil War” and he’s writing one of our best – and my personal favorite – series, “Hawkeye,” so we hoped we could find common ground. But if that “common ground” results in a series that no side is totally happy with, is that really worth pursuing?
That said, as Matt fills his Marvel dance card – and we’ve begun discussing a few exciting options already, speculate away – we’re excited about the future of “Inhuman.” Charles Soule is a gifted writer whose star is on the rise, and he actually listed the Inhumans as amongst his favorite characters shortly after he’d penned his first “Thunderbolts” script. That certainly got our attention. Joe Mad is already hard at work on Charles’ first script, and it’s wonderful.
Matt Fraction: Yeah, as un-dramatic and uninteresting as it sounds, my version of 'Inhuman' wasn’t what they were into and, y’know, it’s their company. It’s a legit case of “creative differences” in spite of everyone’s best intentions. After what? 5 or 6 months where this has been my primary focus and we’re still not on the same page... I can’t say they didn’t try, they can’t say I didn’t try, and at some point, you gotta move on. It happens. This is the reality of being a creative professional. Now they have a writer and a book they’re comfortable with and "Inhuman" gets the launch it deserves. Nobody wins with me writing a book I don’t want to write.
And just to be super clear because I'm sure there's plenty of conclusion jumping going on out there, it seems like your stepping aside on "Inhuman" was a mutually agreed decision and not some acrimonious split. Is that pretty accurate?
Yeah, it just…it didn’t make sense to continue working together on this book. I was not fired. I am not fired. We are all still friends. "Inhuman" is a really BIG DEAL for all involved. You need to be moving as one. To paraphrase "Pacific Rim": on "Inhuman," it turns out we weren’t drift compatible.
Besides, it’s kind of cool, on some level, to have a great “Lost Work” in my catalog now. In the imaginary library in Hicksville that houses "Hypertime," "Twilight Of The Superheroes," Frank Miller’s "Doctor Strange," "End Times" and all the rest, there now sits my "Inhuman." I mean, I’ve got a 64-issue outline and a couple of notebooks worth of it all for which I am being compensated. So the part of me that loves that kind of stuff is, in some weird way, totally into it.
And: the Anglouême thing happened, then this, then the "Time Magazine" book-of-the-year thing happened [for "Sex Criminals"] – boom-boom-boom – literally within days of each other. So, big picture? I'm having a pretty amazing year. There is no acrimony. I am having a very merry Christmas.
Charles, that anecdote about you already being a big Inhuman fan was in the PR for your involvement on the series as well. Where does this love for these characters come from, and how does it play into what "Inhuman" will be?
Charles Soule: I’ve always liked the grandeur of the concept - the scope and sweep of it. A royal family of ancient superpowered beings, with Black Bolt as their silent king who can literally change the world with a single word – amazing! And then you have the rest of the family, Maximus, Terrigenesis and everything else that makes them unique as a concept – it’s one potent idea after another.
They were on my Marvel list in part because I thought they were ripe for some new, cool stories – they aren’t underused, exactly, because they do show up a fair amount – but I thought there were things to explore, and, most importantly, I felt like I could do a good job with them. This particular project is even cooler because it’s not just the royal family – the core concept is being expanded massively, which is great.
What was your initial response to the offer of "Inhuman"?
Soule: I said, "Why me?" You want to know that you're being selected for a project in a way that makes sense for you. And it might seem like I take every project I'm offered, but that's really not the case. [Laughs] I always want to make sure that whatever book I pick fits my skill set and that I have a take on it. So I wanted to make sure Marvel was coming to me for reasons that made sense. My second question was just to ask what they were trying to do with the series. I'd read "Infinity" and "Inhumanity!" as well as some of the early pull quotes about "Inhuman," but I didn't know a lot about the actual series. I mostly had to figure out what they were trying to do, and all their answers fit really well with my own take. So I started to get very excited about the opportunities presented by a project like this, and here we are.
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