By Kiel Phegley
It's been four months since Kinsey Walden's brother turned into a Skrull in front of her eyes—and the eyes of thousands of viewers on MySpace.com.
Both the teen and her popular video blogs on the social networking site were, in reality, a Marvel marketing plant to spread the word about the summer blockbuster comic SECRET INVASION. While legions of MySpace users watched, the New York suburbanite's spring began by fretting over her prom and gave way to a bizarre diary of her brother's alien activities. Meanwhile, Marvel made plans to capitalize on the viral video success story with SECRET INVASION: HOME INVASION, the company's first ever web-based comic book serial.
art by Nick Postic
Written by Ivan Brandon with art by Nick Postic, HOME INVASION follows Kinsey, her best friend Ali and her maybe-boyfriend Ethan on the run from the Skrull brother she never knew. Now in the middle of its fourth "issue"—serialized with pages updating to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited
every Monday, Wednesday and Friday—the story has already seen the teens crash a bus, clash with the Young Avengers and battle a giant Skrull in midtown Manhattan. And the ground-level perspective on Marvel's biggest story of the year won't stop there.
"There are definitely more big names to come, but there's not a whole lot I can say that doesn't spoil what we're planning," teases Brandon. "Nick Fury's a big part of the next couple weeks, though, and he's such a fun character to write, so I hope people have as much fun reading that as I did putting it together."
Because of the three times a week format, the way Brandon and Marvel editorial put the series together make it unlike any comic fans have seen. "The process is interesting," says the writer. "Each page kind of has to have its own beginning and end and has to get you to want to come back when the next one goes up. That can be tricky. A lot of the things you'd normally do in a print comic are off limits when
art by Nick Postic
you're trying to keep interest over a number of months with people reading a single page every couple days. My editor John Barber and I go over [every] page pretty meticulously before and after it's drawn to make sure that [each] can, for the most part, be as clear as possible as a self-contained thing."
The continuing adventures in the online comic have proven a surreal experience for Megan Sherlock, the actress who originated the Kinsey character in the MySpace videos. While Sherlock has been watching the drawn version of Kinsey escape super villains and mix it up with Marvel's elite for months, it took a scant two days to create the character on video, filming at her own apartment and that of director Sam Walker in New Jersey.
"We did all the scenes with [Hank, the brother] in a day, and then I drove [Guy Frenkel, the actor who played him] back to New York and picked up my other friend [Ashleigh Catsos, who played Ali]," she explains. "I think the first day was eight hours and the second day was 12."
as Kinsey Walden
HOME INVASION has been nothing but entertaining for Sherlock because, really, who wouldn't want to see themselves drawn into the Marvel Universe? "I was super excited, I mean…I like being in a comic book," Sherlock laughs noting that seeing drawings of herself meeting super heroes has been a flattering experience. "Sometimes I think [the likeness] may be a little off, but a lot of the time I really think they nailed it. I like the fact that they kept the same clothes and brought in people like Ethan who we mentioned [in the videos] but never brought in. That's really creative. It works."
Brandon's additions and explorations of the Kinsey character follow up on the development Sherlock and Walker tried to provide via blogging, photographs and interaction with fans online:
"I know how Kinsey types—she doesn't put apostrophes in anything," notes the 24-year old thespian. "[Director] Sam [Walker] and I had to work together to find out how she would write because we would split the time taking care of the page and writing back to people and we wanted Kinsey to be consistent."
art by Nick Postic
And while the Kinsey videos and MySpace continue to drive new readers to HOME INVASION and Marvel Comics in general, Sherlock now spends her time online browsing through Kinsey's adventures: "I have a problem. I like to read multiple pages at a time, so I wait until the end of the week to read them all at once so I can have more to read. I read one page, and I'm like, 'Come on! I want more!'"
Brandon assures Sherlock and the other readers who have been following along with HOME INVASION that the creative team has locked in plans for four more months of action. "We're really far ahead on plot...there are a number of issues outlined and I'm about a month ahead on finished scripts," he explains. "We're in a unique position in that we don't have to worry about production deadlines the way the other books do. We have no printer and no shipping to affect our schedule. The difference is we're able to be a lot more organic and react almost immediately when things happen in the other books."
art by Nick Postic
With the first half of the digital series synching up with early events in SECRET INVASION, the writer says that as the Secret Invasion event unfolds through Marvel's print titles, the online installments will continue to reflect the main series. "Our story will be hugely affected by the end of SECRET INVASION, in ways I don't think anyone will guess."
As for what that means for Kinsey and company, from how they'll survive to what exactly replaced her brother all those months ago, Brandon asks readers to keep clicking through.
"Well, that's the big question throughout all of SECRET INVASION: what happened to the people the Skrulls replaced? Whatever it is might happen to me, if I told you."
Be sure to check out SECRET INVASION: HOME INVASION for FREE every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited! Also, check out Kinsey's MySpace page!