I’ve always loved Golden Age characters, and I really enjoyed Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins’ “Invaders” series for Marvel. Thomas was very true to the continuity at DC Comics, but sometimes that Golden Age continuity can be very contradictory, or because it was more simplistic, it doesn’t make sense to modern viewers. At Marvel, he established that the Golden Age comic books published by Atlas Comics were fictional depictions of those Marvel characters, so he had a little more creative leeway with what he was writing in “Invaders.” The stories were a little more mature and he could do things like bring in an African American Human Top or an Asian Golden Girl, whereas in the 1940s, they wouldn’t have done that, obviously.
That always interested me, and the other thing is, it was one thing to tell a Justice Society story in the 1960s when the JSA were like sexy 40-year old guys.They all looked like Paul Newman or Robert Redford. But the origin of characters like the Fantastic Four, which took place in 1961, has moved in time with us as books have been published. World War II, though, is a locked point in history. If someone fought in World War II when they were in their 20s, they’re now at least 90 years old.
That’s obviously a problem with the Justice Society, and often led to their stories feeling like a passing of the baton to a younger generation of heroes. But with the Invaders, the five main characters — Captain America, Namor, the Human Torch, Toro and the Winter Soldier — kept some degree of their youth, for one reason or another. The characters are approximately the same physical age as they were back then. I find that very interesting. There isn’t a sense of a group of elder statesmen passing a baton. I’ll be incorporating them into the ongoing universe as modern Marvel characters, but at the same time, they have this past history together, so I’m portraying them as a band of brothers.
Characters like Captain America and Namor have been on opposing sides of the fence at times, like in the ’70s, when Namor was a bit more hostile to the human race and Captain America was in the Avengers. Even with that in the past, there is still a camaraderie and bond between those characters. World War II will always be a part of these characters, but at the same time, this will be a modern Marvel comic.
It’s fine to refer to the past and World War II, but the problem with the Invaders can be that every story hangs on something from the past or Nazis. You have Neo-Nazis, or it revolves around Baron Blood or some villain from the past that they have to get back together in order to fight. So in our first arc, there is a key moment in the War that brings these guys together to fight the modern day carryon from that, which is the Kree. They’re looking for a device that the Invaders captured in World War II, but then it goes into the Kree and the cosmic Marvel Universe for five issues. We’re referencing Jonathan Hickman’s recent “Infinity” storyline. It’s a modern Marvel book.
In terms of why I find the Invaders appealing, they allow me to revisit the 1940s or the Golden Age again, but it really feels like a different look and feel than my work at the pre “New 52” DC, where there was a Golden Age and Golden Age Justice Society members.
I can’t wait to read this when I get home tonight! I also hope Marvel and Comixology throws us an Invaders sale this Friday!