We've spoken individually
with both Barry
Kitson and Matt
Fraction - together, they're the creative team on The Order,
a new series launching next month from Marvel, picking up threads of
the "50 State Initiative" of Civil War.
In short, it's
a California-based new team of heroes made up of…new heroes.
But who are
Barry and Matt
explain, with pictures by Barry, words by Matt.
So this is
Mulholland. Her parents are famous, but dead, rock stars, and she
spent a good part of her adolescence in foster homes and on the
streets and beaches of L.A. It gives her a unique link to the city
itself that that big-ass hammer of hers helps to unlock. For her
queen-of-the-trash-heap look, we referred to Taiyo Matsumoto's BLACK
AND WHITE. (Also? her placeholder name was the embarrassing URBANE,
hence the name of the file. as this was my first superhero book,
certain finer points-- names, storylines, powers, etc-- tended to
go through a lot of workshopping. THIS IS NO WAY TO RUN A RAILROAD.)
This is our
field leader Henry Hellrung, or ANTHEM. We wanted the costumes to
reflect the armor fashion of pro motocross athletes, but still have
the elegant lines of a traditional superhero costume. Also you can
see the remnants of the Champions "C" on his chest. Switching over
to an O for "The Order" won't be too difficult-- we wanted to work
the logo in as a design motif. Trying to nail his look, too-- classic
Hollywood face. Cary Grant, you know? The whole team has an air
of fabulousness to them, men and women alike.
This girl is a teen pop idol to millions of girls, and has the abilities
to shift her shape into whatever she wants. I love that Barry draws
her as this wide-eyed and smiling California blonde but then she
warps into some of the most weirdly hideous comic book monsters
you've ever seen. I tend to write her with a southern drawl, so
in my head she's a Carolina blonde that went west and not a native
valley girl. On the surface she's a robo-Britney-bot bimbo but,
when you've got a character whose whole gimmick is to manipulate
her surface, who can say what's really going on underneath? We call
The one character
whose name has always been in place and will always be in place--
"Calamity" James Wa was a college baseball sensation that lost his
legs below the knees. That's not what makes him a hero, though--
after his injuries, he became an engineer that designed prosthetic
lower-legs based on the design of a cheetah's, and gave extreme
mobility back to thousands of amputees that though they'd never
run again. He's the team speeder, with that lean runner's body and,
hopefully, all the good jokes. I love speedster characters, and
always wanted to write one. I think there's something fun, visually
and narratively, about that power set. The stuff you can get away
with... there's a reason why John Broome and Gardner Fox wrote such
great FLASH comics.
I like that
tall collar thing Barry drew here. Looks like he's exactly what
Barry's notes say-- an archetypal superhero. Majestic. Priestly,
almost. The capes come and go as both visually demanded and practically
convenient-- unstable molecules!-- so as the team goes flying into
action, they have capes, but when they need 100% mobility, the capes
recede. It's comics. You can totally have things like that happen.
We kept monkeying around with the flecks of grey in his hair, too.
I want those sideburns so bad when I get older I can't even tell
is called Veda, although for like two minutes she was Madre and
then I thought that, hey, maybe calling the Hispanic woman whose
powers involve her birthing golems out of organic material all around
her "Madre" is a little too on the nose. So Veda it is-- a kind
of fabulous diva that's done loads of global charity work AND is
like the biggest action star in the world. Since it's the California
team, and they're L.A.-based-- at least at first-- we wanted everyone
to have an "aspirational" look to them. That's the word ad agencies
use to describe actors and actresses that look waaaay better than
you and me ever could, but still aren't supermodels. "Aspirational."
I hate advertising.
around with her costume. We wanted her to strike a contrast to the
other girls on the team-- whereas the other girls are clearly girls,
Veda is very much an adult woman. This is maybe a little too Black
Queen? I dunno. I like the idea that, just like real movie stars,
the team has a fabulous array of costumes to wear, all united by
design but different in approach and application. You can see Barry
trying out a golem behind her. I was really unspecific about them
in the script, thinking really they'd be little gremlin sort of
dudes, but Barry draws them as these titanic things...! I love it.
This is the craziest job in the world.
shot, with the golem much more like they appear in the book. I love
this outfit-- like an old-time movie director. ALl she needs is
a riding crop and a megaphone and Erich von Strohiem would flip
ten times in his grave. We go back and forth on the boob window,
too. It's was a clever integration of the C, definitely, but it's
sooo overt. I dunno, though, look at what actresses wear on the
red carpet. Hell, even Angelina Jolie's 26-dollar Target dress had
some sizzle to it. What would the guy-equivalent be? Maybe like
Prince, one of the guys on the team could wear buttless chaps. Okay,
that's a terrible idea.
Playing around with the scale here, too. Supernaut's the giant robot
guy on the team, obviously, piloted by a decorated War vet that
became a paraplegic in a violent protest. AND he loves Black Sabbath,
so it's all good. We wanted to infuse the flavor of some Japanese
mecha design, just to get away from both the guy-dipped-in-metal
school of Iron Man and the guy-in-box design of... oh, hell, what
was his name. Red Rocket? Whatever. Boxy was bad. And it's fun to
see Barry play around with a character like this.
MY GOD I can't
believe I ever even remotely thought about calling a character "Urbane."
It's amazing this book ever got the green light. I should be run
out of town on a rail. ANYWAY: The Matsumoto stuff is clear in this
shot-- the dice necklace, the face paint. We kept coming back to
the idea that every time they'd give Holly a costume, she'd be at
it with a pocket knife and safety-pins the next day, much to the
unending delight of the team's costumers. I used to do that when
I was a kid-- my folks would get me some nice article of clothing
and I'd immediately set out to tear it up. It'd be just as efficient
if I just destroyed money itself. Ahh, youth.
Holly at her
punkiest, but still that post-punk MTV sorta Green Day punk. The
Hot Topic punk, carefully considered and toned and postured. Notice
that tattoo! Nice one, Barry. Holly strikes the biggest pose on
the team, she's the biggest shittalker-- it must be the hammer--
but almost immediately runs into stagefright-style performance issues.
She's very much the first one on the team that feels the danger
of being cut, as when the team gets down in it she can't quite deliver.
I like her a lot, though, as a character-- all that mean girl crap
on the outside protecting something very sweet and pure on the inside.
I hope she pulls it together...!