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Introducing Kurtis Wiebe

This writer makes his Marvel debut with a holiday tale of Wolverine and the X-Men

By Jim Beard

The MARVEL HOLIDAY SPECIAL available now on the Marvel Comics app showcases four free online adventures of your favorite Marvel characters, just in time for the season. It also spotlights several newcomers to the industry like writer Kurtis Wiebe, who weaves a holiday thread that encircles the X-Men’s Wolverine.

For Wiebe, the gig comes as the culmination of his long-standing Marvel fandom, and hopefully a vision of the future.

MARVEL HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2012 art by Patrick Scherberger

“My first real Marvel comic purchase was SPIDER-MAN: RETURN OF THE SINISTER SIX,” he says. “Actually, that would've been my first comic purchase at all as I lived in a small town and didn't have easy access to comic books. I still remember that cover of Shocker trying to blast Spiderman and all the other villains faded in the background. It was my first experience with collecting and I loved that series. Ever since then I've always followed Marvel characters; I bought the games, watched the TV series—the 90's “X-Men” was a favorite for a very long time—and went to every movie. I got back into comics in my adult life and I've since become a huge fan of DAREDEVIL and IMMORTAL IRON FIST.”

Recently, the writer realized his dream when he learned he’d be included in this year’s MARVEL HOLIDAY SPECIAL and scripting some of his most favorite X-Men.

“I met Marvel’s C.B. Cebulski at Emerald City Comicon in 2010 and was able to give him a writing portfolio that was a real slick book filled with comic short stories featuring different genres and artists,” he reports. “We stayed in touch throughout the year and met up again at the same convention in 2011. This time I had a publication with Image Comics, The Intrepids. I'm pretty sure it was that series that got me the job; it's about a team of cybernetic teens who fight mad scientists.
“When the HOLIDAY SPECIAL pages started coming in from [artist] Patrick [Scherberger], it was really rewarding to see characters I'd grown up watching saying the words I put in their mouths. It's hard to explain how strange and awesome it is at the same time. Patrick really nailed the action, every panel felt dynamic and he totally got the humor and expression that was necessary for the comic to work like it did.”

Wiebe also jumped at the opportunity to combine Wolverine, the surly Canadian mutant, with one of the writer’s other interests: hockey.

MARVEL HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2012 art by Patrick Scherberger

“Wolverine is the classic softie with a hard as steel exterior,” he points out. “I think there's something really funny about Logan going shopping for Christmas presents and then wrapping them when he gets home. I mean, everyone does it, and beyond being a super hero, he's a normal guy. I wanted to really focus on Wolverine as a person and that's why I was able to make a lot of Canadian references—being Canadian myself—and make the [story] about hockey. It's been hinted Wolvie's a fan of the sport and I thought that concept could do with some fleshing out.”

His holiday spot’s also got his brain cooking with ideas for other characters in the Marvel pantheon, plans he hopes may someday see publication.

“There's quite a few, but I'd love to take some of the really powerful characters and tell a very human, small scale story,” Wiebe says. “Doctor Strange is a man of limitless power who's probably seen almost everything there is to be seen. I've already been thinking about a story where he decides it's time to let the universes take care of themselves for awhile and focus his energy on helping people on a much smaller scale. I think there's something really compelling about that.
“Of course I'd be thrilled to do a Wolverine series as well; he's a character I've grown up with and never stopped liking or grew tired of. There's a real complexity to his motivation and with such a long history, his experiences are ripe for storytelling in so many genres and tones.”

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