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Marvel's Universe Is Making A Bold Change In Jonathan Hickman's G.O.D.S. - Exclusive Interview

Contains spoilers for Marvel Comics' "G.O.D.S."

Marvel Comics is exploring the crossroads of the magic and cosmic side of the universe like never before in a new "G.O.D.S." series from writer Jonathan Hickman and with artwork by Valerio Schiti and colors by Marte Gracia. The new story is set to be a high-concept book from the writer who brought readers "Secret Wars," "Infinity," and the most recent relaunch of the "X-Men." Following the emergence of Wyn, a thousands-year-old magic expert who makes himself known again, the series will follow him and take a deep dive into its cosmic and magical side while adding complex new layers to them. 

Few details have been revealed about "G.O.D.S." as Marvel Comics has kept details intentionally vague. It's hard to make out what's going to happen in the series with the bold storytelling teases and new characters, so we spoke to Hickman about what readers can expect in the book and how the project came to be. 

How G.O.D.S. came to be

Where did this idea come from, and what made Valerio Schiti the perfect artist for it?

I've had itchy back teeth to work with Valerio since we worked on "New Avengers" together. He was who I thought of whenever we were talking about doing this, and I'm so happy that he's doing it. I'm really blessed that he's the one that's drawing it because he's crushing it. He's really drawing very well, and he's putting his back into it. He's really crushing it. As far as where this came from, the original conceit was to do "Black Mirror" for the Marvel Universe, and then it's morphed and transformed into this thing. There's still a little bit of that in there, the one issue, one shot weird side adventure stuff, but it encompasses a whole lot more now.

What lessons did you learn from the "House of X" and "Powers of X" when crafting powerful team members, and the complications that can arise from working together with massive power? This seems to be on a different level.

They're very different exercises, because more X-Men is so continuity-driven, right? You are dancing with ghosts the entire time that you're doing that. There's no version of working on "X-Men" where you're not talking about it by referring to other issues of "X-Men." By far, it's Marvel's most incestuous property. The fandom is so engaged, and it's a totally different exercise than working on most other Marvel properties. This is entirely different because it's a new concept. It's nested inside of preexisting stuff because we're tying it into Marvel continuity. This is more building block, DNA stuff as opposed to, "Here's a fun new version of that thing that you've always loved, and here's why it's both nostalgic, and new, and shiny at the same time." It's a different set of muscles.

You've had some wide-ranging takes on the Marvel Universe. How does "G.O.D.S." explore a side of the Marvel Universe that people haven't seen while connecting some pretty big cosmic and magic characters?

If we did our job well, if we did it correctly, you'll have a better way into all of that really heady, cosmic stuff, which is great because one, you shouldn't have to take drugs to enjoy the books, but two, they're really amazing conceptual constructs. They should be more popular than they are, and a lot of that comes down to, do they have the utility to be used in every story? The answer to that is no, and one of the things that we're trying to do is to make it so that these guys can show up in the Marvel Universe stories, not ruin the story, and not take the reader out of the story immediately. Anyway, that's one of the conceits.

On bringing something new to the Marvel Universe

This book introduces a lot of new characters, but the Marvel Universe has always been somewhat archetypal in terms of characters being based on other characters, or inspiring others. I'm wondering, were there any similarities to other fan favorite Marvel characters that you wanted to steer clear from? What drew inspiration from to distinguish yours better?

I can't really answer that, because it gives away the conceit of how the book is constructed. I will say that we did the very Marvel Universe thing of giving, of creating teams, and agencies, and organizations that represent concepts, and then we get to stick human beings in those organizations, and therefore, they're more relatable. That's the tool that we used. I don't know if that answers your question or not.

What was the most exciting about penning this epic and seeing Valerio's pages?

As you get to be ... I don't know if more "successful" is the right word, but when you've been around as long as I have, you get to work with a lot of different artists. What you learn over that period of time is that, man, s***, everybody's good. To a certain extent, everybody is pretty darn talented. It's like cooking. It's a different flavor. It's a different protein. It's a different spice, all of that stuff. You're trying to create something that sets them up to be the ultimate version of the artist that they are. You're not saying, "Hey, listen. I don't have John Romita Jr. on this book, but if you could draw like John Romita Jr., that would be f***ing awesome." That's not fair, and that's stupid, and it doesn't work.

You're always looking for the correct script for that particular artist. Sometimes you get it right, and when you get it right, it really hits hard. I got it right for Pepe Larrraz and R.B. Silva on the "House of X," and "Powers of X," and I got it right with Steve Epting on "Fantastic Four." We got it right here. This is us giving Valerio layups that he can crush all day long. It's right in his wheelhouse. It's the language that he visually speaks, and I'm super happy, because it's such a feather in the cap for those guys when they get something that they get to dunk on.

On tackling a high-concept new property

When you're doing something as high concept as this, what are the challenges in making it reader-friendly — in terms of "Here's a bunch of new characters. Here's a bunch of concepts that are some of the grander stuff in the Marvel Universe," what are the challenges of molding it so it's accessible to not just people who are fans of the cosmic side or the magical side of the Marvel universe, but in general, or do you even care about that?

There was a time when I didn't care. I remember when Marvel was doing the 0.1 issues. I think I wrote an "Avengers" 35.1, and it was supposed to be a jumping-on point. I was doing the press for it, and somebody asked, "What's a good jumping-on point for your 'Avengers' run?" I was like, "Fantastic Four, Issue 570," right? It was such a ridiculously terrible answer, but it was true. I would answer your question this way. If you've been reading my books for 15 years, there's a lot of stuff in here that you're really going to enjoy, because we're always winking at the past, and I'm always reinforcing my own continuity.

I don't know whether that's narcissistic, or whether that's self-preservation, or what other bad therapy explanation there would be of that. I have gotten more responsible and better at writing number one issues that are actually number one issues. Everything that's in here is everything you need to be introduced to this story, but if I've failed, you can always start with "Fantastic Four" Issue 570.

Lastly, the book is coming out as an oversized issue. It is 60-plus pages. What are the challenges of getting new readers into a book that has a bunch of new characters and comes with a higher price point ($9.99 for Issue 1) than usual?

It's a gamble. We're asking people to bet on whether or not I can tell a good story, whether or not Marvel can produce a good book, and whether or not the price point is in line with what people can afford. It's alchemy. I don't know whether it's right or wrong until it's already happened. There's no rhyme or reason to it. We can pretend like there is, but it's subjective. This is commercial art, and therefore, it is art. There is a version of it where it hits, or it doesn't. If it hits, the price point doesn't matter, and the page count doesn't matter, and all that stuff. If it misses, they're going to put us on a cross for all that stuff.

Check out the main cover for "G.O.D.S." #1 by Mateus Manhanini, which comes out on October 4, 2023.


The infinite détente between THE-NATURAL-ORDER-OF-THINGS and THE-POWERS-THAT-BE nears an end. Old acquaintances are reunited during a Babylon Event. The Lion of Wolves throws the worst parties. Don't look under the table. There's a John Wilkes Booth penny on the ground. This ENORMOUS EXTRA-SIZED first issue features DOCTOR STRANGE, who, while not boring at all, is easily the most boring person in the book.

This interview has been edited for clarity.