As announced yesterday at New York Comic Con, writer Jeph Loeb and artist Ed McGuinness will once again be teaming up, this time for an ongoing series featuring a brand new Nova: Sam Alexander. Actually, scratch that: the mysterious Alexander has already shown up a few times, including in his ongoing role on the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon on Disney XD. To find out more, including what happened to the rest of the Nova Corps, we chatted with Loeb:
MTV Geek: What keeps bringing you and Ed back together again and again? What’s changed in the relationship, and how you communicate with each other over the years?
Jeph Loeb: I can’t speak for Ed, but for me — it’s that Ed continues to evolve as an artist. The power of his visuals, the excitement that goes into every panel. We go all the way back to Wolverine Annual ’96 (yikes!) and when you look at the work through the years, whether it’s Superman/Batman, HULK or X-SANCTION — he adapts not only to the character, but to the nature of the story.
With NOVA, it’s another gigantic leap and we’re just thrilled with where he’s taking the story.
Geek: More specifically, let’s talk Nova… What makes the core concept so compelling, and more importantly what makes Sam Alexander special?
JL: We wanted to tell a story from the beginning. How a young man becomes a hero. Marvel is at its best when we see how an ordinary person has something extraordinary happen to them — whether it’s Tony Stark or Bruce Banner or Peter Parker. Our hope is that someday, Sam will be with that elite group.
Geek: How much will he connect with Sam from Ultimate Spider-Man? Or is he his own character?
JL: That’s our Sam. But, in USM he’s been Nova for a while. He’s even a little cocky about it. We’ll see that
journey from the — as they say — humble beginnings. Extremely humble.
Geek: This might be a silly question: is he human? And if so, why have we never heard of him before he asked, knowing that’s probably a key point about the character?
JL: He’s very human. It’s really important that we connect with Sam — and the world he comes from. Family is very important to him. His school. He’s from a small town in Arizona. A VERY small town. That affects almost everything that happens to him from that point on.
Geek: Who will we see showing up in the first few issues? Any former Novas? Other galactic guest stars?
JL: We’ve seen Nova in Point One, Point One Now! and of course, Avengers Versus X-Men. In the first arc, we’ll circle back and learn about where he came from and how he happened to get the helmet. It’s very challenging road ahead of him.
Geek: What about settings? Will he be more Earth-bound, or heading out into the stars?
JL: There’s a bit of both. We want the reader to connect with him first in a very human way — as a kid trying to make some sense of his life. Then this…turning point comes to him and he’ll have to find a way to keep his life together why seeing the astonishing things the Universe has to offer.
Geek: Are we going to see him connecting with the Nova Corps at all, or is he a lone gun?
JL: We’re huge fans of the Nova Corps — and of everything that the Nova characters have gone through since Nova #1 and particularly the past few years that Abnett and Lanning were working with them. But now all that’s gone. He isn’t a lone gun by choice. There is no more Corps. No more Worldmind. Nothing. Now, where
does he begin?
Geek: What does Richard Rider think about all this?
JL: Well, unfortunately, Rich is gone. As we said above, we so admire what Abnett and Lanning did with these characters and want nothing more than to respect those stories. But the legacy that Richard Rider left — that’s something that Sam will have to live with. There’s a very dangerous side to putting on the helmet and yet, Sam will take on that responsibility.
Geek: Any final thoughts? Things you can’t wait for fans to see?
JL: Just that we hope this to be our finest hour. Everybody from Steve Wacker to Sana Amanat in Editorial who’ve been expertly working with us on crafting the stories, Dexter Vines on the sterling inks, Marte Garcia’s mind blowing great colors, Albert Deschesne and Comicraft’s dazzling lettering has been giving their all. We know that Nova fans are very loyal and we’ve got a big challenge ahead of us — but like Sam, we want this to work out more than anything.
Nova hits comic shops February, 2013 from Marvel Comics.