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Writing The Avengers Movie Prelude

Hear from the brains behind Marvel's the Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week!

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By Marc Strom

This Sunday, February 5, fans can download the first issue of MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS PRELUDE: FURY’S BIG WEEK for free on the Marvel Comics app and set out on the road that will lead to the Avengers film this summer.

Focusing on the activities of Nick Fury and his S.H.I.E.L.D. agents during the events of the previous Marvel Studios films such as “Iron Man 2” or “Thor,” writers Eric Pearson and Chris Yost provide a larger look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe than ever before in FURY’S BIG WEEK.

Yost, familiar to comics fans from his work on SCARLET SPIDER, X-FORCE, BATTLE SCARS, and more, helps plot the series with Pearson, the man responsible for the scripts themselves. Though this marks Pearson’s first comic script, his work is already known to Marvel fans as he penned the “Marvel One-Shot” films starring Agent Coulson that appeared on the “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” Blu-ray editions.

In preparation for the series’ launch this Sunday, Pearson and Yost sat down EXCLUSIVELY with Marvel.com to talk about FURY’S BIG WEEK and what fans can expect from the series.

Marvel.com: How did both of you get involved in this?

Marvel's The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week #1 preview art by Luke Ross

Chris Yost: Eric and I worked in Marvel’s Writers Program with the Studio, and were working on the development of feature films for Marvel, like other properties that aren’t in production right now.  We both worked on "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger," and when they came up with the project, they realized they had two writers in house that knew the cinematic universe better than anybody and cast us for the assignment.

Marvel.com: And the idea of focusing on S.H.I.E.L.D., was that there from the very beginning, or was it something that happened as you started talking about what this could be?

Chris Yost: You’ll find out that the S.H.I.E.L.D. is not only the throughline of the book, but in some ways, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury have been the eyes and ears on all of this stuff as it happened.  Some of the fun is seeing how S.H.I.E.L.D. has dealt with this stuff.  A lot of people don’t really realize what the timeline of the Marvel Universe is, like with the Hulk movie.  Where does that take place in relation to “Thor,” or “Iron Man” 1 and 2? This series really kind of lays it out.

Eric Pearson: All comic book fans and readers understand S.H.I.E.L.D. and its presence in the comic book world, but we realized that your average movie fan doesn’t know the full extent of S.H.I.E.L.D.  We wanted to give it some substance and define it a little in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel.com: How did you go about creating these connections between all the films and characters in this series?  Were some of them ones that you had always just thought or were these things that had already been established?

Eric Pearson: Once we saw the timeline, we just tried to approach it from a very logical standpoint—who’s going to be where and what makes the most sense and what’s the most fun for the fans.

Chris Yost: Yeah, and we had a lot of ideas about it, but a part of the fun is just going through the movies and seeing all the little things you can add into the background story.

Marvel's The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week #1 preview art by Luke Ross

Marvel.com: In the scripts, both of you are credited with story, and then Eric is credited with the script itself, so what was the process that you two had for working on the individual issues and the overall story?

Eric Pearson: We just kind of whittled it down, and once Chris really helped me understand the comic book format of writing the script, I just kind of went until I didn’t know what to do and then ask for help.

We wanted to make sure Captain America had some presence, so we started off with him.  Even his absence became his presence, because Nick Fury was really interested in finding him, and was kind of battling the bureaucracy and red tape against that.

Chris Yost: All these characters come together through S.H.I.E.L.D., so you’re going to see Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and villains from the movies.  If you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’re going to get some spades here.

We’re calling it Fury’s Big Week. There are seven days where S.H.I.E.L.D. had the worst week of their lives, so Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. are trying to contain all this, and that is what the prelude comic is about. You’re seeing S.H.I.E.L.D.’s history and how it all leads right into “Marvel’s The Avengers,” so we start in 1943 with Captain America and go all the way through all of the Marvel movies that you’ve seen to date, literally going right up to the doorstep of Avengers. You’re seeing how everything that is going to unfold in Avengers came to be.

Marvel.com: Going back to your script-writing, Eric, this is your first comic script. How was learning that sort of process?

Eric Pearson: It was fun.  It was different at first but very easy to get the hang of, and Chris really taught me the glory of the splash page.

Chris Yost: Yeah, and it’s something comics do so well. This medium is not just throwing words, it’s art too, and we’ve been lucky to have some great artists working with us. When I first got into comics, what I loved about it was, it’s so immediate.  You write it and a couple days later, you get to see it.  Whereas normally, we’ve got to wait months, where they got to shoot or animate something, and you’ve just got to wait.

Marvel's The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week #1 preview art by Luke Ross

Eric Pearson: I didn’t even know how included I would be. I’ve been able to see the pencil layouts, the pencil details, the inks, colors, and lettering.  It’s such a treat to get to see it put together like that.

Marvel.com: Chris, you might be able to speak to this more given that you’ve written so many monthly comics over the years, but did the format of this effect the way in which you plotted it out as compared to the typical monthly series?

Chris Yost: Definitely.  I’ve worked on a lot of anthology books and a lot of eight or 11-pagers. You have to be mindful of the page breaks so that every chapter, theoretically, should make you want to pick up the next one. As Eric and I went through the story, we just had to find the best places to break it, and the best pacing to lead up to that.

Eric Pearson:  The most difficult thing would be arranging dialogue in a way that you don’t want it to bulk up too much, with a long speech completely clouding over a nicely-drawn panel. That was probably the hardest thing. I have so many words here, I need to have a bubble break, or I need to move this line onto the next panel…but it’s fun, I like that kind of stuff.

Marvel.com: To wrap things up, what do you guys think will most surprise readers about this story once they get to read it, or what are you most excited for readers to be able to see?

Eric Pearson: Well I think that, hopefully, they’ll see the respect that the studio has for the cohesive universe.  It’s a comic book tying all of the events of several different features, and you really get to see how they’re all in the same world.

Chris Yost: Individually, all the movies Marvel put out have been great movies, but it’s fun to see it all come together and realize they’re just telling one big story. I mean, that’s what I love most about the Marvel Universe that started in the comic books, that it’s all connected.

I think that the comic starts to hint at how there’s something a lot bigger happening. You’ve seen “Iron Man,” you’ve seen “The Incredible Hulk,” but there’s something going on behind the scenes that people aren’t aware of, and starting with this comic, you’re going to become very aware of it.

Marvel's The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week #1 cover art

Eric Pearson: It tells us a little bit about the relationships between some of the Avengers, too, such as Agent Coulson and Black Widow and Fury and Hawkeye. You get to see them interact with each other, which is setting up for all the great interactions that we have once you throw Iron Man and Thor and Cap and Bruce Banner into the mix. It’s just fun to see how these people with these high stress occupations handle themselves with humor and wit.

I just hope the things we do are just seeds for the many flowers of the world that will bloom in all the different ways the story is going to go, because I feel that anything that you do, if it takes place in this world, it’s going to have to be considered later.  They really respect every footstep, every move taken in this world.

Chris Yost: It’s totally true. This has got the seal of approval from Kevin Feige and Jeremy Latcham, you know, the guys behind Avengers, and all the executives here at Marvel, so this is the real deal.

Marvel.com: Anything else you guys would like to add?

Chris Yost: I would add in there just how much fun it is. This has the same kind of feel that “Iron Man” and all the Marvel movies have had.  There’s a sense of excitement, and the script is actually pretty funny, I think.

Eric Pearson: Hey, thanks. And it’s just the urgency of it that’s great, since it is one, condensed week.  Once we figured out the timeline, it was pretty easy to write, because what happens next was already taken care of. In fact, what happens next was already happening, and Nick Fury could barely hang up the phone on one complaint before, you know, there happens to be an extraterrestrial object falling in New Mexico, and, okay, now there’s a green guy who lives in New York. The momentum of it snowballs so fast.

Download MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS PRELUDE: FURY'S BIG WEEK #1 for FREE this Sunday, February 5, on the Marvel Comics app!

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