In our Funnybooks podcast, we focus on current events, and usually large events.  Most times, the conversations are constrained so that we can fit everything into an hour or so, but here at Funnybooks After Hours the discussion continues to topics not covered, greater questions of events in comic past or whatever else strikes our fancy.

Walking up the alley, you are unsure if this is the right place.  A non-descript door halfway down the alley catches your eye and after a brief scan of the area, you see the marker that indicates that this is in fact the place.  Etched into a brick above the building is a bat symbol with an ‘X’ through the middle and a lightning bolt below it.

Knocking on the door, you hear a grating sound as a man with a luchador mask and vampire fangs opens the door, “What’s the password?” he asks.  “Beak is lame” you reply, nodding as he steps aside.  Visibility is limited, but as you look around you realize that you found the place.  Stepping up to the microphone, the five recliners are set up on a small stage in the back, as the crew eagerly awaits the question that drove you all the way here, to this secret place.

This week’s question:

We’re restarting Marvel Team Up.  What two characters do you want to put into the first issue?  What would it be about?

“Moon Knight and The Punisher.” Paul exclaims, “ I mean, for sales, I know I should say Spider-Man or Daredevil, but, really, I want to go with human characters and pit them against a supernatural entity…say, something like the Brood.  oooohhh….I really like that.  Moon Knight and the Punisher vs. the Brood under the streets of New York.  I’d make it almost like a horror flick, akin to something like Mimic, where they have to fight tremendous amounts of the creatures with just their wits (and a lot of bullets).”

Marvel Team-Up Volume 3

Jonathan pipes in from the bar, “My first issue of Marvel Team-Up would be one that would have an impact. It would feature Spider-Man and Anti-Venom. Spider-Man discovers clues that lead him to believe that there’s a new Venom on the loose. At one of the scenes, Spidey discovers Eddie Brock (Anti-Venom). Of course, like any team-up, they fight before Anti-Venom can convince Spider-Man that he’s following the same trail and trying to stop this new Venom. The two track down and battle Venom’s new host, Jenna Cole, Anti-Venom’s heroin addicted girlfriend.

“It’s revealed during this fight that Brock already knew Jenna was the new host and he intervenes as Spider-Man is about to take Venom down, allowing it to escape. Brock explains that he believes his healing powers could cure Jenna of the symbiote without hurting her. The two follow Jenna’s trail to Martin Li’s (aka Mr. Negative’s) HQ where they find Jenna seeking revenge against the crime boss (there would be prompts here explaining what issues of ASM she’s referring to). Spider-Man chooses to rescue Mr. Negative and bring him to safety, leaving Venom and Anti-Venom to fight it out.

“Brock successfully uses his powers to remove the symbiote from Jenna, but in the process absorbs it into himself. The last page is over Spider-Man returning to find Jenna, alive and unconscious, with Brock gone. There would be an add in the back for my new 4-issue mini: Venom: New Ways to Kill with pencils by David Lafuente.”

Tim stares stunned at Jonathan, “That’s an inciteful, well thought out response Jonathan.  I think I’d pick a more obscure duo, War Machine and Beta Ray Bill.  I think it would be cool to overlay this image versus all of the Iron Man and Thor solo team ups through the years with Rhodey and Bill.  I think I’d keep the story fairly simple, Rhodey’s tasked with dismantling some AIM goons or whatnot who have stolen an artifact from the Smithsonian.  War Machine would be there because they disabled the Stark Technology driven security system, and the boss wants to know how that happened.

Ultimate Marvel Team-Up

“What Rhodey finds out later though, is that another hero is on the case as well, Beta Ray Bill, because the artifact in question was one that was looted from the remains of Asgard, and has significance to the Asgardians, who want it back.  The two would team up and defeat AIM, and find themselves at a crossroads at the end.  Does the artifact get sent back to the Smithsonian, or does Bill get to bring it back to it’s home?”

Wayne chimes in, “My initial reaction was that I would start with a Nate Grey(X-Man) and Hope teamup dealing with the death of Cable.  No big action just strong character moments and the two of them bonding.  Then I realized two things.  The first is that this week’s comics already dealt with that aspect for Hope.  The second is that I believe Marvel Team-Up always ends up failing and getting canceled because it doesn’t matter.   Nothing major is ever going to happen in the title.  No character progression is going to happen, and you certainly aren’t going to hear about the teamup in the character’s regular series.  The title could be used to showcase characters that are not strong enough to have their own series, but in the end you run into the same issue of the title not impacting the universe at large.  To have lasting power for the series you have to show that it matters.  Along those lines I would make the first story a Spiderman story where third string heroes are being killed and he is going from person to person getting help on the case.  These deaths would be felt in the regular titles relating to the character.  For example Pixie dies and then in X-Men they are having a funeral with a note to see Marvel Team-Up #1. “

Aron jumps up on stage, sloshing his beer wildly and taking a big swig.  “Marvel Team-Up was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. It was always cool seeing Spidey beat down on the bad guys with other Marvel hero notables. And while that was cool, what it really did was serve as my gateway to the Marvel Universe.  This was Marvel marketing at its finest.

I’m tempted to choose a fan favorite other than Spider-man to anchor the title. Deadpool comes to mind or perhaps Wolverine. I think those heroes could bring a core audience, but I’m not sure how well they bring in new readers.  Spider-man seems better suited to new reader friendliness, so I’ll stick with him.

In the first story arc, Webhead takes a beating and narrowly escapes from the latest model of Spider-man killing robot. He learns that someone’s building Spider Slayers again. Worse, the robots employ StarkTech.  Our first guest then is Iron Man. In addition to whooping on robots and mad scientists, we get some post Civil War drama between Tony and Pete.

I’m ready to read that one right now.”

All eyes from the group turn towards the shady characters sitting in the area commonly referred to as ‘The Peanut Gallery’. “Anyone have a different opinion?  Any other questions tonight?”