Shoot The Breeze Comics recently had the privilege sit down and chat with writer Kelly Thompson about the return of the weird and wacky West Coast Avengers.
Kelly Thompson is the critically acclaimed and Eisner-nominated writer of comics like Hawkeye, Jem and the Holograms, A-Force, and Rogue & Gambit.
STBC: Why bring back the West Coast Avengers after all this time? What is it about the current state of Marvel (or the comic industry) that you feel necessitates a WCA return?
KT: Well, I think with all the Avengers teams we’ve had over the years it’s totally overdue that the most famous non-flagship Avengers team made a comeback. But I think now is the perfect time as a new team spinning out of what Kate “practically an Avenger” Hawkeye was doing on the West Coast. It makes perfect sense that she sees the need for a team out there for stuff no one superhero can handle on their own.
STBC: We see this is a Kate Bishop Hawkeye fresh off her own solo title. Where was Kate towards the end of that series and where is her life going to take here leading into this new series?
KT: Kate and Clint teamed up in the last arc of Hawkeye to save the city from shenanigans and defeat their own personal villains coming after them (who had teamed up, naturally). And Kate and Clint coming together was a pretty big evolution for Kate learning to ask for help when she needs it, not something she’s always been good at. Kate is still a P.I. at the end of her run and I don’t know that she has really left that behind or wants to, but what she wants is not really up to her, as she’s about to find out.
STBC: How would you characterize the previous West Coast Avengers team spirit? How, will this new iteration of the WCA be different?
KT: I always found the classic WCA to be kind of the weirder and wackier cousins of Avengers. It sometimes felt like it had a lighter tone and slightly lower stakes…but in a good way. I enjoy those elements in a story. Not every important and emotionally engaging story has to be a planet killer story, y’know? I think, even though we are a pretty different cast from the classic WCA I think we’re still largely capturing the spirit of what that WCA was about, just through a modern lens.
STBC: What kind of villains will our new WCA team be going up against?
KT: Expect some classic villains with a twist, and some old favorites served straight up. I love our first villain so much…it’s so big and bold and weird and fun and gives us a lot of things to play with going forward. I think it’s safe to say that Kate’s nemesis Madame Masque will show up as well. Beyond that, I don’t want to give too much away but I am interested in pulling from classic WCA.
STBC: Any hope of adding any new-comers? (Miles Morales, Squirrel Girl, Moon Girl & DD, Franklin and/or Valeria Richards, etc)
KT: There are already plans for some familiar faces to show up in the first arc and beyond, but I can’t really say in what capacity that will be, or for how long. Sorry!
STBC: The team is filled with some of the best of Marvel’s youth. Will this be Marvel’s premiere “legacy” team with Clint stepping into the role of mentor?
KT: Well, I don’t know about “premiere” but our cast is made up of mostly younger heroes, yes, and with Clint acting as their mentor on this new endeavor it certainly feels like they represent the future of Marvel’s heroes…or at least one possible future!
STBC: The New WCA seems to be a really eclectic teen team and each one is marked by something that makes them “different.” How do you see the team growing together? That is, what do they have in common?
KT: I think, with a few exceptions, it’s a pretty disparate group, and people should expect a lot of characters rubbing one another the wrong way…but they all share mile-wide heroic streaks, which is a pretty powerful common denominator. Still, I love smashing unexpected characters together and seeing if you can make magic in that chemistry, and I really like what we’ve found so far. Of course, a lot of that is in the magic of how our artist Stefano Caselli draws them, which I really can’t wait for people to see. The pages are so gorgeous and fun.
STBC: Along with that, many of these characters have recently had their solo titles ended. Was this an attempt to keep characters like America Chavez, Gwenpool, Kate Bishop, and even Quentin Quire rolling over from Generation X, relevant and around in the public consciousness?
KT: There was no conscious attempt, it was just us looking at the board and seeing what characters that might be interesting to combine were available and since there were some cancelled books it left some intriguing characters suddenly available…we just took advantage of that fact. But sure, it definitely doesn’t hurt that a lot of these characters have their own fanbases, and I hope most of those fans who check us out will enjoy them here as well.
West Coast Avengers #1 is available in comic stores on August 22nd.