Interview with Adam Bray about Ultimate Marvel
The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Adam Bray to talk about his latest project for DK Books, Ultimate Marvel.
Welcome Adam to The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl and thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions about the recently released, Ultimate Marvel!
It’s always fun to work on something new and different. This is my second Marvel book. It takes an exhaustive look at the entire library of Marvel comics and characters, so it was a chance to explore all of canon and learn a lot. It’s also nice to work on these big books because it means I’m guaranteed to have work for a good chunk of the year without having to hunt for new projects!
I was very surprised that this reference book was only references the comics and not the MCU Movies and TV shows. Was this always intended or did this come up during the process?
It was always planned to only cover comics in this book. I don’t think DK has published any books about the movies or TV shows yet, but hopefully they will some day. However, I did make sure we added characters from the Agents of Shield series to this book, since they have appeared in recent comics, and I am a big fan of the TV show!
What areas of this book did you work on?
With such a big book, I think all 4 of us contributing authors worked on a wide selection of characters, locations, weapons, technology and other items. I wrote sections about the Avengers and core characters like Ant-Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, all things Spider-Man (apart from his main character entry, which was written in-house at DK as the original sample spread) and Daredevil. And of course I’m a fan of the Netflix series and the Avengers movies, so it is fun and interesting to compare how the comics differ from the MCU. In total, I think I wrote around 42 spreads, which is 84 pages, if I remember correctly. There was so much material to write that I spent several months writing 7 days a week from the time I got up till the time I went to bed! And then another couple of months working on daily batches of image captions, diagrams and text revisions or additions.
What is your favorite entry within this book and why?
That’s hard to say because there are so many—and partly because I can’t remember everything I wrote! Captain America and Spider-Man are among my favorite characters so I really enjoyed working on all the spreads related to them. But I also like working on characters that I’m not familiar with so I can learn something new.
What approach did you take when researching this book? Did you need to reference original comics for this? If so which ones did you need to refer to the most?
Writing a book like this is really more like running a marathon. It’s all about staying on schedule and completing a substantial amount of work every day. Each day I had to write an average of 1500-2000 words, and all of it had to be researched that same day. I consulted a wide variety of things—particularly DK’s own Marvel reference books, as well as online Marvel Wikis and fan sites for cross-checking and tracking down sources. I used Marvel Unlimited’s online comics library and occasionally retail sites to check dates and issue numbers. Throughout the book we have Key Moments spreads that cover important stories in the timeline. This required me to sit down and read whole mini-series for particular Captain America and Spider-Man story arcs.
What is your favorite character or section to work on and why?
I like Spider-Man because he’s definitely Marvel’s most relatable, every-day human character, despite his amazing powers. Also Captain America is a good old-fashioned patriotic hero; an archetype that’s maybe even fallen out of fashion in our contemporary pop-culture.
Did you learn anything new by working on this project?
I learned so much! The thing about Marvel is we are approaching a century of comic book history. It’s impossible for any fan to know everything—maybe even impossible to know everything about some of the long-running characters themselves. So much of the material is actually new information to me too! And that’s one of the most rewarding thing about writing—is the ability to learn along the way—and something I strive to do no matter what the subject matter is.
Is there anything else you would like to share about Ultimate Marvel?
What sets this book apart is that it covers everything in chronological order, as the characters, locations, weapons and technology were introduced in publishing. And the book is full of timelines. So it gives fans a very good picture of how everything fits together and when events occurred.
Where can fans find you?
The best place to find me is on Twitter and Facebook: @AuthorAdamBray. I also have a website at www.AdamBray.com, though it’s a bit out-of-date at the moment.
Thanks again Adam for a wonderful interview!
Ultimate Marvel is the definitive in-world guide to the Marvel Comics Universe featuring, in chronological order, every significant Marvel Comic character, location, vehicle, and weapon in the company’s history. This reference book is available through the following online retail sites: DK Books UK, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, BN.com, Books A Million, Indie Bound, Indigo, McNally Robinson, Waterstones.