FIRST LOOK: Neil Gaiman's avenging Angela will make Marvel history

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“I’m ridiculously proud of Angela: a hunter, a warrior, a take-no-prisoners kick-ass lady angel with whom you would never want to mess,” Gaiman wrote as an opening line. “Creating her was fun, writing her early exploits was a delight. It made me sad that her time in comics was cut short, and that people who loved her (including me) thought they’d never see her again. I am happy that, after a long time in the wilderness of non-existence, she has come back to us again.”

The e-mail was also figuratively stamped by old-school Marvel zeal with Gaiman’s closing statement about Angela: “And given what I know about how she’s come back and the role she’s going to be playing in the Marvel universe (not to mention the wonderful Joe Quesada designs) she is, as Stan Lee used to delight in saying, “Back…! And better than EVER!”

Quesada wouldn’t divulge the plot situation that delivers Angela into the Marvel mosaic, but he pointed to a landmark Marvel moment of the 1960s as an instructive lesson as far as mythology merger.

“There was somewhat of a roadmap for doing this kind of thing that Stan Lee established back in 1962 with the return of Captain America, [the story in Avengers No. 4] ” Quesada said, referring to the issue that Lee and Jack Kirby used to insert a WWII-era creation to a new generation of readers.”He found a clever way to not just bring him back but to introduce new character elements, like the man-out-of-time subplot that added a real sympathy to Cap.”

He elaborated: “That was instrumental in why people fell in love with Cap…that’s the kind of approach we looked at. What would we do if this was a character that had been in our library a long time, but doesn’t necessary fit into our [contemporary] concept of the Marvel Universe? How do we take her and make her work?”

Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso said the actual process was key — only with Gaiman’s input would Angela arrive as a full citizen not just an out-of-place tourist.

“We took what Neil had laid down for the character and found a way to collaboratively fold her into the Marvel Universe in a seamless way,” Alonzo said. “What’s fascinating to me about what we have done is Angela is clearly a part of the Marvel universe by the time people understand her back-story. It’s as if she’s always been there. It doesn’t feel like we’ve just opened some portal and brought something new and strange and completely different into our universe.”

Quesada says that adoption process may be unprecedented in Marvel’s history, which dates back to 1939.

NEXT: The game plan

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