When Kinsey Walden introduced herself to the world via her MySpace video blogs, it seemed like she had the life of a typical high school teenager. She dreamed about Prom and Gradation and had problems relating to her older brother, Hank. But in her April 1 blog entry, it was revealed that Kinsey’s world was far from normal. In fact, the young woman lives in the Marvel Universe, and her troubles with her brother stem from the unfortunate fact that a member of the shapeshifting alien race known as the Skrulls has replaced him.
With the Skrull invasion of Earth now in full swing in the pages of “Secret Invasion” and its numerous tie-ins, Kinsey’s adventures have moved from the live action world of the MySpace video to the four-color graphics of Marvel.com’s original webcomic series “Secret Invasion: Home Invasion.” CBR News spoke with the creative team behind the series, writer Ivan Brandon (“NYC Mech,” “24Seven”) and artist Nick Postic (“Impaler,” “Underworld”).
When editor John Barber called Brandon and Postic to offer them the “Home Invasion” assignment, both creators eagerly accepted even though they had no prior experience producing web comics. “The process is hugely different from a printed comic in that while we're still trying to tell one big story over however many pages, each page here is intended as its own dynamic animal, each one has to have its own episodic beginning and end, to whatever degree,” Ivan Brandon told CBR News. “With a comic a reader has purchased, once they've made that choice, inertia does most of the work in turning a page, you know? In this case, we need a reader to come back over and over again, a page at a time. The reader's playing a less passive role so for our part we're trying to do our best to warrant that extra effort every day.”
“I typically like to look at the layout of the double-page spreads in a standard comic,” Nick Postic said. “But in the one-page format, it is sometimes challenging to layout the standalone page in such a way that the reader will want to return.”
Brandon and Postic see their protagonist as someone who’s trying her best to adjust to a terrifying new reality. “Home Invasion” begins just seconds after Kinsey’s last MySpace video blog, in which she gleaned that something truly horrific was going on with her brother. “She doesn't know the real truth of what's happened to her brother. We haven't said yet,” Brandon explained. “I think her personality traits going into it are probably very different from what they'll be a month from now. I think right now she's just a teenaged girl whose world up til 10 minutes ago was all about her high school prom, like anyone in her shoes. Her current state of mind is panic, confusion, denial, you name it. Her entire existence has been transplanted from prom dresses to fear for her life.”
“I think her curiosity is quickly turning to panic,” Postic added. “The character is very playful in the MySpace video shorts, but there is already a growing tension as ‘Home Invasion’ progresses.”
As of this writing, five pages of “Home Invasion” have been released and the Skrull posing as Kinsey’s brother has yet to do her any real harm, even though she seems to have caught on that he’s not exactly who he seems to be. This has lead some to wonder about the motivations of Skrull Hank and why he hasn’t just killed Kinsey. “The bigger-picture mystery here is a big part of the ride and I don't think anyone would want me announcing the Skrulls' motivations before it's time,” Brandon explained. “But I can mysteriously say that Hank has been seen in a Marvel comic before.”
“Home Invasion” has thus far revolved only around Kinsey and Skrull Hank. Other characters that appeared or were mentioned in Kinsey’s MySpace blogs, like her best friend Ali, have yet to make an on-screen appearance. Brandon had to keep mum about who all readers will see in upcoming chapters, but hinted that “Home Invasion” would feature more characters very soon.
“Who knows if Ali's even ALIVE anymore? When we left Kinsey in her MySpace video, she hadn't answered her phone in ages,” Brandon stated. “But Kinsey lives in a New York populated by a lot of pretty impressive (super) people, so I think the odds are pretty good she'll take you to some of them.”
Kinsey might be running into some of New York’s superhuman defenders, but don’t expect “Home Invasion” to become a superhero tale. Brandon and Postic want the story to have a personal and sometimes horrific tone. “The Wolverines and Spider-Men of the world deal with insanity every day, but in the case of a normal teenaged girl without any superpowers, her reaction is pure shock and horror,” Brandon explained. “She's never thrown a punch before, much less had to defend herself from an Alien predator.”
“It does have a bit of a horrific vibe to it,” Postic agreed. “If you were stuck in a house with a Skrull at your dinner table wouldn't you feel a bit claustrophobic?”
Home Invasion” isn’t simply the events of “Secret Invasion” filtered through a teenager’s eyes. “Kinsey has got her own problems to deal with and what we've seen so far barely scratches that surface,” Brandon stated. “There is definitely a MUCH bigger picture waiting.”
New chapters of “Home Invasion” go online at Marvel.com every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and readers can expect to be reading about Kinsey’s adventures for quite awhile. “Marvel's called it an ongoing,” Brandon said. “And I have several months plotted out in invisible and explosive ink.”
The original Kinsey MySpace blogs were viewed by a huge number of MySpace users, many of whom had never looked at a webcomic before. Brandon and Postic keep these Kinsey fans in mind when crafting each chapter of “Secret Invasion: Home Invasion.” “The goal is for the whole thing to be completely understandable to the untrained eye, at any stage in the story,” Brandon said. “200,000 people watched those videos, so there are potentially a lot of eyes on us--our goal is to get those people to a comic shop, if they haven't been already.”
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