Tuesday Q&A

Tuesday Q&A: Daniel & Charles Knauf

The father-son writing team spill on the future of the Eternals

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By Marc Strom With a name like the Eternals, patience comes easily. And on June 11, that patience pays off when writers Daniel and Charles Knauf launch ETERNALS #1. Originally created by Jack Kirby, the Eternals' original series lasted only 19 issues, and the characters remained largely relegated to the background for decades afterwards.

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But now, hot off the heels of Neil Gaiman and John Romita, Jr.'s 2006 limited series, the Knaufs plan to pick up exactly where things left off, with the Eternals still largely scattered across the country, unaware of their true nature. The father-son writing team, Marvel veterans with 20 issues of IRON MAN: DIRECTOR OF S.H.I.E.L.D. under their belts, spoke with Marvel.com about the Eternals' future, Kirby's influence and much, much more.
Marvel.com: What interested you in ETERNALS? Were either of you fans of Kirby's original series before the prospect of writing the ongoing came about? Daniel Knauf: [I] loved Kirby's ETERNALS. To me, the sense of awe and wonder in every panel is what comics are all about. There was always this sense of, "You think that was cool? Just check this out!" So much of the time, writing is 10% moments and 90% building to moments. Kirby flipped that ratio on its head. Even when nothing was happening, you had the sense that something was about to happen.

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Charles Knauf: I was always a fan of Kirby's stuff. Whenever I see his artwork, especially the covers he did for Marvel, I always smile. It's so vivid and full of wonder. You can say the same about his writing style. When we had a chance to do the Eternals, we couldn't pass up such a wonderful opportunity to take this great landscape he created and go to town!

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Marvel.com: How long after the end of the Gaiman/Romita, Jr. series does yours pickup? Charles Knauf: Pretty close. If you want to get technical, about a week after Ikaris and Makkari race each other at the end of Gaiman's run. Daniel Knauf: We pick up right where he left off. Gaiman is a wonderful storyteller, and when he passes a baton, I think a writer would be an idiot not to grab it and run like hell. Marvel.com: What can you tell us about your opening arc? Are the Eternals still searching for their missing members? Daniel Knauf: In our opening arc, the Eternals are aware that the Horde is on its way to give the planet a thorough scrubbing. Humanity is toast.

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Charles Knauf: But the Eternals know just about as much as we do as far as how the Celestials operate, and have absolutely no information on the Horde. To them, it would be like us trying to fight God, and the only logical course of action is to pump up their numbers, cross their fingers and hope for the best.

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Daniel Knauf: The problem is, the Olympians aren't the only ones out there waking others. Druig's doing the same thing, only he's doing it better and faster. And given the fact that he has no scruples whatsoever, he can play it dirtier—jolting sleeping Eternals awake with no concern for their long-term mental health, then indoctrinating them to his agenda before they can get a sense of who they really are. Marvel.com: How much will the Eternals interact with the rest of the Marvel U. in your series? Daniel Knauf: As much as they can, as long as it serves the story. We'll be taking every possible opportunity to connect them to the U.-at-large. [There will be] lots of cameos, and [even] a few big supporting roles for the boys in tights.

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Marvel.com: What types of villains can we expect to see the Eternals come across? With the Eternals' godly-nature, do you approach their villains any differently than you would a regular super hero's? Daniel Knauf: Well, given their powers, they'd make pretty short work of even your most formidable standard villains, so yeah, you kind of have to up the ante a bit. These guys are playing on a completely different level. They'd probably see classic rivalries, say Captain America and Red Skull, the same way an NFL team might regard a long-running cross-town high-school football rivalry. It might vaguely amuse them to watch from the stands, but they're not going to suit up and get down on the field. Marvel.com: Do you plan on bringing any particular elements from Kirby's original series to the ongoing? Daniel Knauf: Absolutely, but mainly in tone and fun-factor. With IRON MAN, we were really intent on pushing and expanding boundaries of narrative, structure and complexity of content. With the Eternals, we're embracing the core of the medium, using a lot of old-school devices and approaching it with a certain sensibility and tone that has been largely abandoned. Sure, comics have shaken out a lot of the cheese over the years, but not all cheese is bad cheese, you know?

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Charles Knauf: [But] there are rules Kirby wrote that are pretty iron-clad. We won't be messing with the basics. Marvel.com: How have you guys found writing an ensemble-book as opposed to IRON MAN, where the focus is more on one character? Daniel Knauf: We like both. It's the difference between a team sport and an individual sport. The ball is the same. There's just more passing involved.

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Charles Knauf: Our process itself hasn't changed much, we just spread the attention out a little more to specific characters, and work on the mechanics of the whole team rather than one individual. Marvel.com: Any other teases you can throw us? Daniel Knauf: Other than that we are going to reveal all the secrets of life, time and existence? Nah. ETERNALS #1 lands on June 11, but if you need a little Eternals action now, head to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited for your Eternals fix!

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