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Journey Into Mystery NOW!: Ravenous

Kathryn Immonen prepares Sif for new challenges, more monsters and continued mystery!

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Journey Into Mystery #651 cover by Jeff Dekal

By Carla Hoffman

At the center of monsters, mayhem and family drama, proud and noble Sif, warrior of myth and star of JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY strides forth, seeking adventure.

Kathryn Immonen answered our questions about the next arc of this thrilling saga. Who do the gods look to as a hero? What separates man and immortals? Read on and find out!

Marvel.com: Sif! She's awesome. While Thor is a hero for the people of Midgard, does Asgardia look up to Sif the same way? Is she a hero of the gods? Or are all Asgardians kind of their own personal heroes?

Kathryn Immonen: She is seriously awesome. And that’s an interesting question or three. I can’t honestly imagine Sif ever framing herself in that way. I think she strives to be heroic, of course, and noble, always, but I think we need to remember that she—and the rest of them—are very, very old. So not only is she playing the long game, she’s seen a lot; seen the very best and worst that Asgardians can be.

Marvel.com: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY has really opened up this whole new world outside our windows and let us live there, so to speak. With so much to work with in Norse and Marvel mythology, how do you pick which characters to use?

Kathryn Immonen: Of course, a big part of it is who is available, what characters are currently status quo. And then, you have to think about whether or not there’s actually a good reason to, say, bring Balder back from Limbo at this time. Where have we left characters, where do we want them to go? And after all this has been considered responsibly, at the heart is just who is good together? What is strange and wonderful and funny? What could be sad and awful? And always transformative, to some degree. For issue #651, I really wanted to write the Warriors Three and I wasn’t ready to stop visiting with Volstagg’s spirited and hilariously difficult children. 

Journey Into Mystery #649 cover by Jeff Dekal

Marvel.com: For me, the best parts about mythologies be they Norse or Greek or Egyptian or Marvel, is that they always center around family. That gods fight and love and struggle like humans, just on these vastly epic scales. Your thoughts?

Kathryn Immonen: I think that’s right. I also think that part of what appeals to us about seeing gods struggle with identifiable human emotion and have it create enormous chaos or just be expressed on a massive scale is that it physically, actually reflects how big those things really are for people. Whether it’s love or joy or grief, those things do feel like they should literally be moving mountains and tearing worlds apart.  

Marvel.com: I love the touches of small town Oklahoma you've brought to the realm of Asgardia, from the Red Cross care packages sent in the wake of disaster to the unique backdrop only we mortals can provide with a mug of beer in a bar. Will we be seeing more influences between the two realms?

Kathryn Immonen: [Artist] Valerio [Schiti] and I both agree on our love for the secondary characters and local color. As I’ve said before, one of the things that’s interesting and challenging about the Asgardians is that, unlike costumed heroes, they never take it off.  So you don’t get the useful dialogue that happens when you’ve essentially got two characters for the price of one. In some ways, the comparison and contrast with Midgard helps to stand in for that and it’s also necessary because otherwise it would be like being in a house where everybody’s a giant; unless you’re provided with something to indicate scale, you’d never know it.

Marvel.com: Lost lore seems to be a theme as well, as the forgotten old Berserker knowledge starts the first arc and the second starts with a loss of monster hunting expertise. Not just lost, but never existed! For people that exist in a never-ending cycle of legendary history told over and again, that must be terrifying. How do you bring a sense of danger to people who will, essentially, live forever?

Journey Into Mystery #648 cover by Jeff Dekal

Kathryn Immonen: The Asgardians have such a strong sense of who they are and how much their actions matter, how decisions they’ve made have come back to bite them, that I don’t think any of these characters take one day for granted. So, it’s not like they’ve become immortal—(Idunn’s apples not withstanding—and can now slack off, it’s their status quo. And they know their situation can change and they are always going to be fighting to make it better. Having said that, clearly there are characters in this pantheon that feel more oppressed by the weight of history than others and that’s not different from those of us who aren’t going to live forever.

Marvel.com: Who will be the artist on this upcoming arc?

Kathryn Immonen: The amazing Matteo Scalera is doing issue #651 and then Valerio is back. I continue to thank my lucky stars.

Marvel.com: Thor has long been our outlet to the world of dragons and battling giants so it is completely fantastic that JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY is bringing us even more of clashing swords and faraway lands of magic. What are your influences for bringing such a rich genre to the comic book stands?

Kathryn Immonen: You know, I haven’t actually thought about this until this moment. But now that I have, I don’t think I can understate the formative influence of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider books and the original “Star Trek” as well as the hours I spent scared half to death on Sunday afternoons watching the horror matinees alone in the rec room.  

Marvel.com: We've seen dragons and undead and Valkyries and giants and it's only been two issues to hit the stands! What monsters can we look forward to seeing ahead?

Kathryn Immonen: Issue #649 is an insane monster explosion. I won’t spoil it for you.  I also really, really love a talking animal and will continue to exploit any and all talking animal opportunities.

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