Nick Fury recently revealed in Original Sin his position as “the man on the wall,” the person who will do anything it takes to protect Earth from extra-terrestrial and extra-dimensional threats. Before Fury, another man held that title, and as readers discovered in ORIGINAL SIN #5, his name was Woodrow McCord, and he died saving the world from an invasion.
But who was Woodrow McCord, where did he come from, and just how far did he go for the sake of humanity? In ORIGINAL SIN ANNUAL #1, writer Jason Latour welcomes extraordinary sci-fi artist and Marvel newcomer Enis Cisic to uncover the true story of the other man on the wall.
Marvel.com: This “man on the wall” role is a new invention, but one that fits very comfortably in the Marvel Universe. What can you tell us about the “job” and what it involves?
Jason Latour: We’ve seen a bit of how Nick Fury approached this role, and a lot of that is stuff he’s picked up very directly from McCord. The job is getting out there, rattling cages, getting in the heads of the people who want to harm Earth. Stopping trouble before it starts, by any means necessary. In the eyes of a lot of these more belligerent alien races, the Earth was ripe for the picking. It was a silent, shadow war and for quite a while McCord was the only soldier we had.
So with this story we’ll delve into the reasons behind that solitude. Did protecting the Earth cost McCord his own humanity?
Marvel.com: When it comes to depicting McCord and his adventures, will you guys draw on any particular pulp or sci-fi archetypes for inspiration?
Enis Cisic: Since the story takes place in the past, it was natural for us to think about our hero in terms of pulp and sci-fi magazine covers, such as Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, etc.
In order to get the atmosphere of that period right, I looked back at pulp icons like Flash Gordon, the Rocketeer and others. On the other hand, I wanted to create something fresh in terms of design. This “retrofitting” process resulted in a very interesting look of the character.
Jason Latour: I like to think of McCord as Johnny Cash meets Jack Kirby. Tonally I don’t think that’s far from the mark. I’d say it’s very pulpy, but hopefully not handcuffed by that.
Most of my knowledge of pulp comes second hand from comics and modern movies anyway, so I guess it’s maybe a more post-modern view on pulp? This is a hard edged, two fisted tale about a guy who fights aliens, but it’s also about a very lonely human being who’s looking for a way to make his life matter.
Marvel.com: Enis, you must be looking forward to drawing some extraordinary things in this story. Given the scale of the Marvel Universe, what are the concepts you'd love to get to grips with?
Enis Cisic: Absolutely, I am very excited to work on this incredible piece! I wanted to visually explore the design of a new Marvel hero whose roots are in the same vintage stuff that I grew up with as a kid. Also, there is lot of alien world scenery, which is always fun for me to draw.
It would be hard for me to refer to a specific part of the Marvel Universe because there are so many amazing things that I would like to work on and include in my art.
Marvel.com: Are we going to see many changes to the established history of the Marvel Universe through this story?
Jason Latour: The events that play out in this issue very directly impact Fury’s viewpoint and the methods by which he chooses to protect Earth. So we’ll see a little more of how that began, and the relationship between Fury and Howard Stark, who is kind of his begrudged ally. These men both carry the weight of keeping secret Woodrow McCord’s mission. That mission is very much the linchpin that holds Earth’s space offensive in place, but some of the things he did in the name of protecting the Earth are not pretty. They’re bound to come back to haunt us.
Marvel.com: We saw the death of Woodrow McCord in ORIGINAL SIN #5. Is this the last we’ll see of him? Would you guys like to do more with the character?
Enis Cisic: Of course I do! There is a great amount of potential in this fellow.
Jason Latour: I think there’s definitely some more fun to be had exploring the parts of the Marvel Universe that McCord’s touched, or left as smoldering rubble as the case may be. But as for his death, well—we’re operating under the assumption that Nick Fury’s telling the truth about what happened to McCord. For now I’m inclined to believe him…but with Fury you never really know. Do you?
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