By Jim Beard
The Sentry's seen better days—and we're about relive them!
Though often dispirited and depressed these days, the powerful paladin known as the Sentry once rubbed shoulders with the greatest heroes of the Marvel Age of Comics – and like the rest of the world, you've just forgotten.
THE AGE OF THE SENTRY, a new 6-issue limited series kicking off September 17, provides not one but two titanic tales every issue highlighting the amazing but obscured adventures of the Golden Guardian of Good in the early days of the Marvel Universe. Skeptical? Writers Jeff Parker and Paul Tobin aim to make you a True Believer!
"Overall, I was trying to run that line between being true to the Silver Age and also true to modern readers," says Tobin of his Sentry sagas. "So, while readers are enjoying stories with the Crick-Hits—a kidnapped rock n' roll band from Liverpool—and Millie the Model helping Manoo and the Sentry learn about what a 'modern' woman really wants, and the Guardians of the Galaxy teaming with the Sentry to play midwife to a planet, they'll also be seeing a glimpse into the true character of the Sentry, and of the series."
Parker, with stories in each issue plus a "novel-length" tale in issue #6, illustrates his enthusiasm in true Silver Age style.
"Sentry's friends go back in time to learn The Sentry's origin," the writer relates. "The Sentry runs into a giant water-breathing bear with Void-Vision! A hillbilly who drinks radioactive creek water gets the power to challenge the Sentry! Universes collide when Rob Reynolds meets the Golden Age Sentry! And...I don't want to give away the others just yet."
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"Really, I try to figure out how to shoehorn a hillbilly [into] almost everything, but they rarely fit," Parker explains." But once you get into the 'anything-goes' Silver Age, all bets are off."
Eager beaver readers will be glad to know that their favorite Marvel characters pop in for many of the pop-art AGE OF THE SENTRY stories, from the well-known to the…not so much. Take the Mad Thinker and the Terrible Tinkerer in issue #1, for a perfect example.
love both these guys," notes Tobin of the dastardly duo. "I love writing the smart guys in comics, because they're always pulling something neat out of their brains. And as far as teaming the Mad Thinker and the Tinkerer—that's just a natural. It seems to me that the brainy guys would always be hanging out together: big brains is their social clique.
"They sit in coffee shops and talk about the latest on string theory—which they all think is hogwash—and they can't resist reconfiguring the cappuccino machine to run around on insect legs, and then they all dive into taxis and head to each other's laboratories to marvel over the latest robots, and then, only after all that—they start to wonder how to go about taking down the Sentry."
Tobin felt no pressure to slip into "retro" mode while writing his Sentry stories, finding it easy as breathing.
"I did read some of the Marvel Essentials to get in the mood, but really this stuff is like air to me," Tobin expounds. "I grew up reading it, with my cousin dumping about a hundred mid-60s Marvels on me. I'm sure I still have little chunks of TALES TO ASTONISH slipping around in my bloodstream, and I'm okay with that."
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Parker's experience concurs:
"As with many projects that call for it, I project back to childhood. It's all engraved in the deepest parts of my brain. You can't do just any wacky thing though, there's a certain feel that elements have to click into, or it doesn't work. What's great is, everyone involved in this book knows how to hit those buttons hard.
"Readers are going to feel like their caffeine and sugar levels just got cranked up several notches."
Join Jeff Parker, Paul Tobin, and a bevy of amazing artists in THE AGE OF THE SENTRY on September 17. And come back here tomorrow for the second in our trifecta of stories looking at the making of the series, featuring the artists bringing the story to life! Lastly, for a free sneak peek at AGE OF THE SENTRY, head over to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!