Every week, we'll tap one creator to browse Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited and pick some of their favorite work from the expansive catalog. This week: WHAT IF? HOUSE OF M writer Jim McCann!
"'The Philadelphia Filly' [from MARVEL WESTERNS: KID COLT & THE ARIZONA GIRL] will always be one of my fondest memories at Marvel. It was my first published work here and a major moment in my life as a writer. The genesis, however, is a bit less impressive. This story was pitched on a cold-medicine-induced whim. While I was looking at the titles of the Marvel Westerns we were doing for an upcoming event, the names of the characters struck me as hysterical, moreso thanks to the cold medicine. Kid Colt & the Arizona Girl leapt out at me. I walked into editor Mark Paniccia's office, to laugh a bit at [the names] and to tell him one that had sprung into my addled, stuffy head: The Philadelphia Filly! We both stopped laughing, though, when he said, "Hey! That's gooood!" Suddenly, I knew her. I knew the Philadelphia Filly. I asked him to give me a few minutes while I went back to my desk.
"I have a massive love affair with classic
films. At least 1/3 of my DVDs are from films made prior to the collapse of the old Hollywood studio system in the early 1950's. My favorite film duo is Katherine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy. They were magic in everything they did. They had done a little-known, melodramatic Western [called] 'The Sea of Grass,' but their greatest chemistry came from romantic comedies. At the time, there were few, if any, romantic comedy Westerns, so I thought, "What if they had
done one, what would that
story be?" And so was born Spender, the gambler who lost everything including his name in high stakes poker games, and the Philadelphia Filly, a graceful woman out to tame the 'wild' west, one outlaw at a time. I rushed back in to Mark's office and he loved it, giving me eight pages to tell the story of how these two met.
"I had a fantastic time writing this story and artist Dave Williams did a beyond-amazing job bringing [the characters] to life. His work was expressive, playful, and captured the essence of what we were going for. When it printed, and I saw 'Written by Jim McCann,' it was a life-long dream come true. I own the original artwork for all eight pages of this story and have them framed, along with the printed pages, hanging on the hallway that leads to my desk at home. I am reminded every day of where all of this started, and how lucky I am to have created and contributed to the rich world of the Marvel Universe.
WHAT IF? HOUSE OF M #1 ships this Thursday, December 4.
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