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Chaos War

Friday Q&A: Mark Paniccia

The editor of Chaos War prepares for a Marvel Universe-shaking event

By Kevin Mahadeo

Earlier this week here on Marvel.com, writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente discussed bringing order to Chaos War, the upcoming crossover headlined by the Incredible Hercules with Amadeus Cho in tow forming an all-new God Squad to combat the destructive evil of the Chaos King. However, while those two creators may shape the threads of the event, there one man makes sure all those threads tie together: Marvel editor Mark Paniccia.

Ever since Pak began his tenure on the INCREDIBLE HULK title, Paniccia has diligently worked alongside the writers through World War Hulk, the transition to INCREDIBLE HERCULES, and all the way to the recent PRINCE OF POWER limited series. With the coming Chaos War-which spans its own limited series and a number of tie-in titles-Paniccia bears the task of making sure the crossover all plays out accordingly.

Paniccia took a few minutes out of his herculean workload to talk about working on the upcoming event, his partners in crime, and what exactly will come in the Chaos War.


CHAOS WAR #2 cover by Brandon Peterson
Marvel.com: Mark, needless to say, this is event is shaping up to be pretty epic. As an editor, is there a bit of a chaos war going on for you keeping everything together and in line? Are you getting much sleep these days?

Mark Paniccia: As a chronic insomniac I don't get much sleep to begin with. But, yes, it's been challenging. In a good way. Trying to find the organic and relevant stories that branch out of the main event is half the fun. And I've got a great editorial team working with me to make sure that all the pieces click into place. Jordan D. White, Mike Horwitz, John Denning and I have weekly meetings going over the logistics, troubleshooting and updating our grid. This is a project we're all immensely invested in and proud of and want to give the readers the best experience we can.

Marvel.com: You've been working alongside Fred and Greg for some time now. What's it been like working with those two crazy guys? What do you like about them as creators and how they approach their titles?

Mark Paniccia: Great. They're both extremely talented and versatile writers to begin with and they just keep getting better. We've built many projects together and it usually starts with a simple conversation that explodes into something cool within seconds. And fans love them too, which means they're doing something right. When they collaborate, it's pure magic. INCREDIBLE HERCULES has been an incredible working experience and a book that I've enjoyed beyond measure. FreG, as I like to call them, have made Chaos War something really special to me. It's something that 10 years from now I'll look back with the same pride and joy I'm feeling now.

CHAOS WAR: GOD SQUAD #1 preview art by Dan Panosian
Marvel.com: As mentioned, Chaos War involves a lot of tie-in titles. How did you guys get the various creators involved on board? Did you already have an idea of who you wanted for what title or did people sort of come to you with some ideas?

Mark Paniccia: When we made our wish list of tie-ins, there were certain names that came to mind that were perfect casting. Others that were inspired by recent works. I approached them with a brief summary of Chaos War and the responses were unanimous across the board. The outline of the event truly excited every creator and when they read the scripts they were blown away by how epic this story is and really gravitated towards it.

Marvel.com: What are some of your personal favorites?

Mark Paniccia: Really they're all good but some are further along in production and seeing art and color coming in really gets me jazzed. I absolutely love the CHAOS KING one-shot by Brandon Montclare and Michael Kaluta. We were originally going to do a short story to introduce our big bad to new readers, something we could get out across the masses with digital or include in one of the main issues, but the more Brandon, John and I got talking, the more cool stuff kept growing from it. We had to have it all in the book and I begged for the extra pages to do it. And Brandon made this crazy thing work. It's creepy cool and is loaded with spectacular action and Kaluta's imagination is just breathtaking.

Also, the GOD SQUAD one-shot by Marc Sumerak and Dan Panosian is top notch stuff. Watching Silver Surfer, Hellstorm, Sersi and Venus in this

CHAOS WAR: CHAOS KING #1 preview art by Michael Kaluta
twisted, twilight zone war story is just flat out wild. The art is some of the best that Dan Panosian has ever done. The action and characterization are stellar.

THOR, ALPHA FLIGHT, ARES, DEAD AVENGERS and one more that's not been announced are certified cool, too. When I have more art on them I'll be happy to expound.

Marvel.com: Big picture, what can you say about what's to come in Chaos War and what kind of action readers can expect to see?

Mark Paniccia: This is really big. I think we're looking at a story that's going to leave its mark in comics as one of the coolest and greatest battles of the decade. No hype. Just my gut. It's Marvel Universe-sweeping action with a huge cast and a villain that takes the threat to a whole new level. This isn't the end of life, it's the end of everything. Existence. No Earth. No hell. No heaven. Even for gods. It's actually a disturbing and frightening prospect. The kind that really gets you rooting for the heroes and keeps you on the edge of your seat like any good action or horror film does. It's jam packed with insane action and great drama, but the ideas and concepts are the kind of awe-inspiring elements you crave from comics.


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