Today comic book movies rule the cinematic roost — and the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Avengers prove we live in a Marvel universe. Yet, before our favorite Marvel avengers hit the silver screen they were birthed on the pulp pages by some pretty creative geniuses. While all of the attention was generally focused on the fictional figures, little was known about the minds or people that dream up these characters. Axel Alonso, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, is one of those geniuses and is partly responsible for the introduction of some of the new, hottest and diverse faces in comic books today. ‘LLERO caught up with the award-winning Marvel jefe to gain insight into the good, bad and ugly of the comic book game as well as the changing shades and characters of the Marvel universe.
Alonso’s Origin Story
Growing up, Alonso was a fan of comics like most of us. But, as he grew older, he put the comics away and concentrated on seemingly more important matters. It wasn’t until college that he rediscovered his penchant for comics thanks to the comic book series Love And Rockets by Los Brothers Hernandez. Making it a career however was never something Alonso imagined.
The son of a Mexican dentist and a British librarian, Alonso took a traditional path and studied sociology and politics at the University of California Santa Cruz. Afterwards, he worked a few odd jobs and stumbled into a journalism career writing for magazines and newspapers. It fortuitously led him to New York City and Columbia University’s journalism school. There he continued writing for local newspapers like Newsday and the New York Daily News mostly profiles of fascinating individuals.
While reading the The New York Times, Alonso learned about an editorial position at a DC Comics imprint and applied. “I sent them my resume and I thought, ‘There’s a snowball chance in hell that they’re going to want me,’” Alonso recalls. But then editor Lou Stathis called him in for a meeting — and this is where it gets interesting.
“When I walked in the door, [Stathis] acted like he knew me,” Alonso recalls. “He said, ‘I wanted to meet you for a while.’”