When we first sat down to put together Moviepilot Comic Week, we asked ourselves: What did we want on the site? Who did we want to contribute? What talent did we want to be involved? Who would our fans love? And though he's not a comic book writer or artist, one name popped into my head almost immediately: Ryan Penagos - but you probably know him as Marvel's "Agent M."
Why Ryan? Because, outside of Marvel Studios prez Kevin Feige - and, of course the inimitable Stan Lee - Ryan's probably the one comic book persona that fans most easily recognize. Plus, with his position as the Executive Editorial Director for Digital Media, he's always in the know about what's going on with Marvel.
So we ran an open contest for fans to submit questions to him. We chose the ten best (some questions he couldn't answer) and sent them his way. Here are his responses!
1.) If Deadpool has a part in Secret Wars and survives, will his character change in any way? (Adonis Gonzales)
That’s a pretty big "IF", Adonis! I think the bigger question is, will Wade even make it to Secret Wars?! That said, I think writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn, as well as Cullen Bunn, and editor Jordan D. White have all worked damn hard to hone Deadpool's character over the last few years, and I love it. So I hope we get lots more of the Deadpool we've come to love.
2.) With everything becoming canon after Secret Wars, would Marvel ever consider making canon Hyperion a good guy and superhero (not just the different versions in alternate universes)? (Usama Mujahid)
I’m picturing Hyperion with an actual cannon coming out of his chest. And he fights evil by shooting Hyperion fleshy bits at things. Wait, that’s not really relevant here. To your question, I think it all depends on what happens to Hyperion through Secret Wars, and where we go from there. Would we consider him being good? Well, yeah! He’s in Avengers and he’s a good dude right now! Avengers #34.1 is such a great comic, and it’s all about good guy Hyperion. Anyway, post-Secret Wars? I dunno! As great as he is as a hero, when we’ve seen evil versions of Hyperion, he’s also so awesome as a horrible, terrifying villain. I love me some Hyperion.
3.) Can you give ANY clues as to what will happen in Deadpool #250? (Kevin Perez)
Deadpool dies. There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The cosmic abstracts will cry red and black tears. We’ll have many comedians writing stories in the issue. It will be a whole thing, you don’t even know.
4.) Does the future bode well for the comic book publishing industry, or are other mediums like TV and movies slowly killing off the publishing end? (Scott McCann)
I literally just read a story about a big computer manufacturer who's teaming up with a comic book publisher to do some cool, different things. And to me, that's just another example of how important comics are to entertainment as a whole. How many TV shows are now based on comics? How many of the top movies are based on comics? I don’t think TV or movies are killing off publishing; much the opposite, in fact. In my role, I engage with all sorts of Marvel fans. And over the last year, I've seen and talked to more "interested in comics because I saw the movies/TV shows/cartoons" fans than ever before. Publishing can feed the movies and TV, and in return, bring in new fans to publishing. It's a wonderful circle of life.
5.) I want to start getting into comics and Captain America is my favorite superhero. Which comic book series would you suggest I start with? (Luka Koprovic)
SEE, SCOTT? IT’S LIKE I WAS JUST SAYING! I bet Luka wants to get into the comics through the movies. WHICH IS AWESOME. Anyhow, Luka, if you did indeed come in because you liked the films, I’d say start with writer Ed Brubaker’s run on Captain America. That began in 2004 and was the series that really turned me onto the awesomeness of Captain America shortly after I got into the industry. There’s plenty to read there, and if you have a subscription to Marvel Unlimited (#cheapplug) you can read the entire run right away! If you want to get caught up on more recent Captain America comics, which are crazy and super fun, writer Rick Remender took over the Captain America book in 2012 (and introduced a whole load of stuff that’s in play right now). Also available if you’re a Marvel Unlimited subscriber! Just saying. There’s also all the amazing Jack Kirby Cap issues from the ‘60s and ‘70s, plus Cap in the ‘80s by and Mark Gruenwald, and Mark Waid’s all-too-short ‘90s run. So rad!
6.) Which Marvel superhero/superheroine is your favorite and why? (Malcolm Van Wilder Hazel)
Oh, man. That’s tough! I'd probably go with Captain Marvel. I think over the last decade or so Carol Danvers has been one of the best-written characters in comics. Plus, she's a total badass, an Air Force pilot (which my mom really wanted to be when she was younger), has great powers, loves cats, has a killer supporting cast, and is an Avenger. Other top contenders for me would be Deadpool, Cable, and Thor.
7.) If you had to hypothetically pitch a M.O.D.O.K. movie, what would your minute pitch be and who would play M.O.D.O.K.?
Brilliant scientist gets brought into an organization to do science. Turns out they’re evil. He does science and experiments on himself, turning into M.O.D.O.K. Goes around killing everything, because that’s what he’s now designed for. Is stopped by his oldest friend, who helps him see he needs to use his killing powers for good…and science! Starring Channing Tatum as M.O.D.O.K.
8.) What would you say the Marvel social team's super powers are? (Adri, Ryan, etc...)
I like to think we’re more like S.H.I.E.L.D. than the Avengers. Regular people in extraordinary situations, taking on crazy tasks because the world needs us. No super powers, just elbow grease, gumption, and a decent sense of what Marvel fans are into. Also, we all have telepathy.
9.) What's the one thing you've been involved with at your time at Marvel that you've been most proud of?
Oh gosh. I think it’s this whole social media thing. I started at Marvel in 2006, and was lucky enough to have the support from within to do cool things and look forward. Being able to kickstart everything Marvel has done across social media, and to see it grow and get even better as we’ve brought more minds into it—that’s been incredible. Also, I got to write a 4-page comic for a holiday special, so that was neat.
10.) Marvel's had some amazing and groundbreaking success in cross-platform support. Does what Marvel has accomplished surprise even you sometimes?
It does and it doesn’t. Which is a terrible answer. It does surprise me, in a sense, because I’ve seen how other companies operate. I’ve seen how some companies hire loads of people to take care of one task. And that company will then hire a different team or person to take care of something similar, even though the first group can tackle the new thing. I see the disconnects. And I see how my team and I, through all the online content, are able to thread between the comics and the movies and the TV shows and the games and the toys and everything that Marvel does. And we’re all huge Marvel nerds. Having those connections, and that knowledge, allows us to really do some fun stuff. So with that in mind, it doesn’t surprise me that we’re able to do what we do. But then, sometimes, I remember that we’re doing all this cool stuff for Marvel and I’m just like, "What even is my life?!" It’s a good feeling.
Ryan Penagos, a.k.a. "Agent M", is the Executive Editorial Director of Marvel Digital Media. That huge following Marvel has on Twitter and Facebook? He's responsible for that. When he's not traveling all over, he's busy writing and tweeting and editing and interviewing and helping to create all the incredible digital and social media content that Marvel rolls out every single day. Basically, he's pretty sure he has the best job on earth. You can follow him on Twitter @AgentM.
For our full coverage of Moviepilot Comic Week, CLICK HERE.