AGE OF THE
By Tim Stevens
We live in a cynical depressing time of recessions, wars, and 24 hour news channels. Sometimes, it can all be a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, for comic fans, we have AGE OF SENTRY, a monthly blast of Silver Age creativity and fun, to blast those blues away. On November 19, AGE OF SENTRY #3 arrives in stores to bring readers another inoculation against these hard days.
Given Sentry's history of mental illness equal to his incredible power, the "Golden Guardian of Good" might not seem the most likely candidate to shoulder this storytelling approach; however, for AGE OF THE SENTRY co-writers Paul Tobin and Jeff Parker, the fit makes perfect sense.
"A lot of what we were trying to do is just have fun, and it's always possible for really powerful characters to have fun," relates Tobin. "It actually opens the door even farther. Spider-Man, for instance, is a character that's a lot of fun to read and write but his possibilities for fighting giant zombie laser-bears are kinda small, and he's really no good at flying off into space. I've never really believed that ultra-powerful characters are ultra-hard to write. Just because you can toss a mountain into space doesn't mean you're good at separating your whites from your reds before you do laundry."
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"The other thing I never get with that 'character too powerful' argument is the obvious retort: just create a really powerful menace," adds Parker. "Of course here, we indulge in the whole abundance of power quality so we can go way over the top."
When writing a story as an homage of an era or style, it can be tempting to veer into derision or parody. Parker and Tobin, however, have no interest in indulging in that sort of approach.
"We love it [the period] unconditionally," explains Parker. "There are so many times I write something in this series and think, 'Why can't I do this in regular modern comics? It's not fair!'"
The two stories in AGE OF THE SENTRY #3 hinge on a mutated Ozarkian named Junior, an arranged marriage, and an appearance by Marvel's romance icon Millie the Model—an eclectic roster to say the least and a reflection of the freedom the writing duo has.
"I can't imagine anything too crazy to work in [AGE OF THE SENTRY]," exclaims Parker.
"Jeff and I are fairly balmy to start with, so we don't fear the out-of-bounds," Tobin echoes.
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That freedom has led the team to create such indelible characters as Cranio, the Man with the Tri-Level Mind, who both writers single out as a favorite.
"If Jeff were to scribe a 12-issue maxi-series where Cranio the Man with the Tri-Level Mind fought Harrison Oogar the Caveman of Wall Street then I'd clip on my trusty lobster bib and dig in," admits Tobin.
Parker, for his part, would be happy to deliver, but acknowledges, "It might be an uphill battle with editorial, and marketing. And everyone."
As for the issue at hand, neither could be happier with it. Well, almost.
"My only regret is that Jeff got to the hillbilly stories first," Tobin confesses. "Of course, since he did, that means I got to read a hillbilly story by him, and it's a real hoot."
Parker returns to mutual admiration, saying, "I couldn't have nailed that Millie story like Paul did. He got it right down to the reader wardrobe choices from around the country."
So, in these hard times, look to the Sentry for relief. Check the shelves on November 19 for AGE OF SENTRY #3, your booster shot of Silver Age joy. Just be sure to avoid taking Cranio's copy. And for more Sentry, check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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