TGIF: Family Ties

Editors and creators rattle Marvel's family tree and share their favorite kinships



Family: you can't choose yours and you may love them or hate them, but only in the Marvel Universe can you also, become mortal enemies, ship them 1,000 years into the future or turn your cousin big and green with a blood transfusion. In honor of the family reunion taking place next week in CABLE #6, not to mention the start of "Mr. and Mrs. Spider-Man" in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FAMILY #1, reached out to our own extended clan of editors and creators to find out their favorites from among Marvel's famous families. It's Friday, so kick back, relax and enjoy.
JUAN DOE (cover artist of SECRET INVASION: FRONT LINE): My favorite family relationship in the Marvel universe would have to be the dynamics of the Fantastic Four. Specifically, everyone's relationship with Ben Grimm. It's unique in that he is almost like a fifth wheel and although he is considered a part of the family it seems that he is also concerned with finding his own identity on his own merits. He's the only one that has to wear a disguise when he wants a little alone time. The patented trench coat and fedora amidst a backdrop of thunderstorms and lightning. A proper environment for a lonely king in turmoil with his adopted family.

Psylocke &

MIKE PERKINS (upcoming artist of THE STAND): Oh man! Where to start on the Braddocks of Braddock Manor? Primarily, we have to begin with Brian—Mr. Captain Britain—one-time pipe smoking college undergraduate, two-time dead guy, he seems pretty level headed until he has a drink or five...and then gets all mystic-like. Then, we have his sister—Betsy—a psychic who became Psylocke, joined the X-Men—in a horrendous pink outfit and utilizing a rather pretty butterfly effect—lost her eyes, had them replaced by a fat yellow guy without a spine then, later, found her brain patterns within an Asian ninja body. Died too—and came back to life. Thirdly, there's the black sheep of the family—Jamie—who must have suffered when his own brother knocked him unconscious and tied him up in his dorm just so he could go and battle an old codger with a metallic hawk. This sent him spiraling off the road—quite literally as he was a race car driver—into slavery, depravity and murder, eventually facing the justice of a man with a bionic eye who looked like a crocodile. And don't get me started on the parents, the father being one of Merlin's chosen guard from Otherworld....yeeeeesh! What a family set up!


RALPH MACCHIO (Marvel Senior Editor): One of my favorite familial relationships is the one between Mentor and Thanos. Here is a man—an Eternal, actually—of peace and harmony, who sired the most monstrous being in the known universe. One story of Thanos' birth has him actually killing his mother during childbirth, just ripping her apart as he emerged. Imagine the burden that is on Mentor's head as his son rampages around the cosmos, killing countless others in his quest to satisfy his lover, Death itself. While Mentor's other son is a creature of lightness and love, even that can't balance out what his second offspring has done. Thanos is the baddest of bad seeds and you have to feel for his poor old man. KEVIN GREVIOUX (writer of NEW WARRIORS): For me it's the Father/Son relationship between Thor and Odin. Seemingly they don't get along, but there is real love there between them. Maybe it's because they're so much alike. Maybe it's because they operate under different philosophies. Either way, it makes for the type of conflict people can relate to because it mirrors real life.

Cyclops &

REILLY BROWN (artist of CABLE & DEADPOOL) I really love the Summers Family dynamic. It's the most bizarre family tree that can only make sense in the world of comics, and even then only against the backdrop of 40 years worth of stories. Just trying to explain where Cable came from was one of my favorite parts of working on CABLE & DEADPOOL, and he's really just the tip of the iceberg! I'd love to see the whole family get together for a reunion. That would be awesome, touching, hilarious and a complete bloodbath! MARC GUGGENHEIM (writer of YOUNG X-MEN): As far as I'm concerned, any discussion of family relationships in the Marvel Universe has to begin with the Fantastic Four. WILLIAM MESSNER-LOEBS (former writer of THOR): I guess the family relationship I liked best was the cousin-cousin one between Bruce Banner and She-Hulk. He is so angsty and ultra-conflicted and she is so cool about it all. And she is so much that identity, I doubt if any of us even know her real name—actually I know everybody knows her real name but me. Of course she has more control and doesn't grow quite so much, but one can't help wondering if that isn't her general attitude as well. Or if she doesn't just have fewer demons.

Northstar &

PHIL JIMENEZ (artist of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN): One of my favorite familial relationships is that of Northstar and Aurora. I absolutely love those twins and their early years; each with their secrets and their struggles to belong, having been torn apart as youngsters and reunited later as emerging mutant adults. I loved the humanity that Aurora brought out in Northstar, and I loved Northstar's own struggles with his sister's multiple personalities—one of which appreciated and accepted him, and the other which judged him as harshly as any outsider. And then, of course, there was her whole relationship with Sasquatch! PAUL CORNELL (writer of CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI: 13): Everyone's going to say the FF, so instead let me opt for Peter Parker's relationship with his Aunt May. It's a very real family set-up: it's not idealized, she's not his Mum. They have repetitive jokes with each other, there's a lot of negative feeling, a lot of guilt and repressed anger. And whenever that family unit looks like being added to, it creates tension. It's a tremendous bit of naturalistic storytelling from Stan Lee.

The Fantastic

RAFA SANDOVAL (artist of INCREDIBLE HERCULES): My favorites are Johnny Storm and Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four. I like the relationship that have and the madness of Johnny, which makes thing s a lot of fun. TOM BREVOORT (Marvel Executive Editor): To me, the best, most interesting family relationship in the Marvel line was the classic triangle between Thor, Odin and Loki. I've seen certain readers over the years, including guys like Fred Hembeck, question the basic set-up: how smart can Odin really be when he's continually punishing Thor and stripping him of half his powers, while at the same time constantly letting Loki off the hook every time the guy tries to conquer Asgard or kill Thor? But to me, the relationship made all the sense in the world. Thor is the true son, the good son, the son who's next in line to wear the crown of Asgard. But rather than living up to those responsibilities and go into the family business, he'd rather run around wildly on Earth, dating a girl that his father doesn't like. So Odin punishes Thor to try to help forge him into the man he'll one day need to be after Odin is gone and Thor is running the place. But Loki is the adopted son, the foster son, the blood-son of Odin's enemies. And it's Odin's great wish that he could find a way to redeem the boy, and to in some way

Thor &

bring that enmity to an end. Loki is predisposed to evil and mischief—Odin realizes this. But the expectation of Loki is completely different—he's the bad son, but Odin hopes that with enough love and attention, nurture can overcome nature and he'll turn out all right. Loki is a reclamation project, and that's why Odin is constantly giving him the kind of slack he'd never give to Thor. And from Thor's point of view, his father just doesn't understand him. Sure, he's a great man, and was a big deal in his day. But the world has moved on, and Odin needs to get with the times. This isn't the Old Country, and there's nothing evil about rock-n-roll music or the internet—Odin's just out of step. Deep down, Thor can tell that the old man has his best interests at heart, but he just doesn't understand him—and no matter what he does, it never seems good enough to please his father. This whole dynamic took characters who were archaic and remote and addressed them in terms any teenaged reader could intuitively understand. It's part of the reason why THOR was for a long stretch in the '60s Marvel's third best-selling title—after AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and FANTASTIC FOUR—and what made those stories so compelling.


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