Comics Creators

Wednesday Fan Chat #22 - Jonathan Hickman


Face forward, Millarworlders. It’s time for another Fan Chat. This week we welcome writer and artist Jonathan Hickman. Jonathan made his name as an independent writer/artist with books like The Nightly News, Pax Romana, Transhuman and Red Mass for Mars at Image. While continuing writing with his creator-owned work at Image (The Red Wing, The Manhattan Projects, East of West), he branched out to write runs on Marvel properites like Secret Warriors, Fantastic Four, The Ultimates and Avengers along with currently writing the main book for Marvel’s summer event, Secret Wars. Please give him a warm reception and feel free to leave any of your questions in this thread ahead of time. Just remember that all non-question posts will be excommunicated. Thank you.

If you have trouble converting for your time zone, this might be of use.


Jonathan, thank you for doing this.

I know you had some fun with this in The Manhattan Projects, but if you could write and illustrate the biography of any historical figure, who would it be and why?

Also, what is your favorite Kurt Russell movie?


Also, can you give your answer to this question in the form of a graph?


Hi Jonathan,

You’re well-known for long-running and complex plots that play out over many years and several issues. How easy is it for you to balance the needs of a casual reader with those of someone who has been following the story far more closely? Does the ‘casual reader’ even exist any more in that sense?

And a similar question: how hard is it to weigh the needs of single issues against the requirements of a story as it will eventually be collected in a long-form format? Do you write more with one or the other in mind or is it a balance?


Hello Sir, I’m so glad you’re doing this chat, I have so many questions, I condensed them (believe me), here it comes:

1.- In one interview long time ago in a single comic from Image you said that your wife it’s your best friend, that been a writer it’s a lonely line of work, after all your success in Marvel (mainstream media publisher) have the loneliness decreased? PS: I hope your wife it’s still your best friend
2.- In “The Manhatthan Projects” your work with Nick Pitarra (awesome artist) it’s bold and irreverent, are you afraid if one of your works is affected by controversy?
3.- In The Manhattan Projects various eras of contemporary history have passed, will you finish the series when they got to the XXI century? or will continue to the future?
4.- You said that after Secret Wars you will have a 8 months or so of vacation from Marvel duties, will you work with Marvel again?
5.- where you get your inspiration? scientific articles? How does you do it?
6.- And finally, how many hours a day do you spend writing?

Thank you so much, sorry for all the questions…=^)



First off, its been a pleasure to meet you all 3 times I’ve bumped into you (Virginia, Charlotte, and Arizona). Second, here’s my question. In the original chart you made for the Avengers Machine, there were 6 blank spots. After Infinity, four of those were filled by Starbrand, Night Mask, Abyss, and Ex Nihilo. So my question is, who fits in the last two spots? I’ve read your entire Avengers run but am trade waiting Secret Wars. Have I missed something?


Hi Jonathan,
I am a big fan of your Image Comics work. I know you have Feel Better Now planned for next year, but was wondering if you will have any more creator owned series out in 2016?


Some of your early work featured you on writting and art duties where as now you seem to predominantly have other artists illustrate your work. I have some questions in relationship to this.

  1. Was the shift from writer / artist to just writer a conscious decision or was it more of a subtle “evolution” in how you worked.
  2. Do your scripts differ much when someone other than yourself is illustrating them?
  3. Do you ever get tempted to tell the artist you’re working with “No! Not like that! Like THIS!”

Thanks for taking time out to do this session and answer the questions posed for you!


Love how you worked 63-17 in Nightly News. Is there a way you can work that into everything?


Hello Jonathan-
I love all of your work, can’t get enough. Thanks for raising the bar!
I currently read your work in single issues and then collect in HC when available.

  1. Is ‘East of West: The World’ collected in the 1st HC volume, or will it be in the 2nd?

  2. Do you see your long running titles (EoW, MP) entirely collected in HC, like Kirkman’s Invincible & WD?

Thank you for utilizing Black Bolt!!! (grew up in Columbia, SC represent!)


Hello Jonathan,

Thank you for taking the time out for the Fan Chat. As people on this board know, I’m particularly fond of your run on Fantastic Four, and generally judge the quality of people on whether or not they liked FF issue 23 :wink: I really liked that every plot point set up paid off over time. Given some of the online comment at the time, could I ask how difficult or otherwise was it to stay the course with your original plan on those books? Do you give reviews/online chatter any credence? Also were there any particular hightlights for you in that run?

I normally ask whether there is any genre you would like to write…but as you have done a lot of different stuff. Is there anything you haven’t done yet that you would like to do? Do you have anything planned that you would like to tell us about?


@JHickman - Thank you for joining us here on Millarworld. I hope you enjoy the experience. It’s been a while now but I read your run on The Ultimates and was really enjoying it. It seemed to be cut extremely short. Was there something that caused you to shift your writing from the Ultimate Universe to the main Marvel Universe? Thank you.


Jonathan, do you listen to music while working? If so, what? Does it change depending on your work?

What is a typical work day like for you?


Another question, Marvel announced tadya that Secret Wars will have another issue, #9, can you say something about it?


Just a quick question for me: what do you see for your future work? More creator owned, or big 2 characters you haven’t worked with yet, or revisiting some of the properties you’ve worked on over the last few years? Any particular characters you’d still love to get your hands on?

Just thought of one other question: where do you see the comics industry in 10 years?


How do you go about picking artists for your creator owned stuff and which artist would you most like to work with that you haven’t before?

  1. I don’t think I have any place doing an actual biography of anyone. I lie too much. But forced to choose: uh, Diego Maradona.

  2. Tough question because he’s so versatile. I’d probably have to say Tombstone (but you could argue that he’s not even the best actor in that movie). He’s amazing in Big Trouble. Stargate was important to me. Oh, and if you’ve read the Hateful 8 screenplay, you know that’ll be big for him.

It’s possible I’ve seen Tequila Sunrise more times than any of his other movies because my wife loves it so much.

I’ve always thought he should be even bigger than he is, but suffers from being roughly in the same age group as Costner and Bridges.




I don’t care about the casual reader. I want people that are invested.

A lot of people talk about accessibility and they mean it in terms of, like, Law and Order. Where you can watch a single episode and get everything you need. Which is fine, but I’ve never been interested in that.

And length isn’t really the issue. I’m happy to tell a 4-6 issue thing if it has a beginning, middle, and end. But in terms of the longer stuff, I think a lot of this stuff gets talked about in abstracts that just aren’t true.

I absolutely believe that people are looking for immersive content. The deep dive.

So, to take something current for example, when the first issue of Secret Wars came out, there was a ton of chatter about how it wasn’t accessible and it was the wrong way to start an event and people would ‘tune out’ – and when the second issue came out, that it should have been the first issue because it was more accessible. Which is fine, but I disagreed because I wanted to convert the casual reader of one story into invested readers of the much bigger thing I had been doing.

This has turned out to be correct as digital and trade sales of my earlier Avengers books have spiked as a result.

I believe issue 1 should be issue 1. I believe issue 15 should be issue 15.


I thought I was the only person who loved that movie!