(Photo: Rob Guillory/Marvel Comics)
CM Punk has a new tag-team partner.
The former WWE pro wrestler and recent Ultimate Fighting Championship signee partners with Chew comic-book artist Rob Guillory for a story about a young and bratty thunder god in Thor Annual No. 1, out Feb. 25.
the first writing gig for Punk (real name: Phil Brooks), a longtime
comics fan, and the first time Guillory’s done any extensive Marvel Comics
work. They’re both outsiders in a sense “and that’s what makes it
work,” Punk says. “That’s why me and Rob are the perfect pair.”
The annual features a trio of tales: Thor series writer Jason Aaron and artist Tim Truman tackle old King Thor; Lumberjanes scribe Noelle Stevenson
and Marguerite Sauvage have a story starring the new female Thor; and
Punk and Guillory round out the issue with the devilish Mephisto
arriving in the past to best a pre-Avengers Thor in a crazy drinking
It’s definitely not the Thor with the above-average moral
compass — and one worthy of wielding mighty Mjolnir — that Guillory
grew up reading. This one is “obviously a bit more brash, a little
stupider,” says the artist, adding that his and Punk’s version of the
hero reminded Guillory of the boisterous Chew character John Colby: “He’s nuts. He does crazy things. It wasn’t much of a stretch for me — I knew this guy.”
Punk felt he could write a Thor who seemed more like a petulant teenager than, say, a classic Walt Simonson Thor.
going to Midgard and slaying dragons and hanging out with Vikings and
drinking all their mead and sleeping with all their women," Punk
explains. "He’s kind of taking the whole ‘I’m the thunder god’
responsibility pretty lightly.
"There’s obviously some growing
pains from that Thor into becoming the Thor that’s worthy of the hammer,
and there’s a lot of fun stories in there."
Because it was Punk’s first time writing a comic — he previously penned an introduction to an Avengers vs. X-Men
collection in 2012 — Marvel sent him a bunch of scripts and
corresponding finished issues to see the creative process from both
However, instead of writing a full script and then sending
to Guillory, Punk decided to do it in the more collaborative “Marvel
method” originated by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the 1960s.
didn’t want to step on Rob’s toes," Punk says. "He’s obviously super
accomplished, super talented and he’s been doing this a lot longer than
me. I figured this story could use his interpretation of how I depict
Guillory was already a fan of Punk’s in-ring work, but he
quickly became impressed by the athlete’s effort as a rookie scribe.
Punk’s writing “actually had his voice, which is something the best
writers are able to put into their work,” the artist says.
"His voice is really, really edgy but it has almost a cartoony, Looney Tunes-esque silly sense of humor that came across in a lot of the treatment of Mephisto.”
WWE star CM Punk makes his first foray into comics with a story in the
upcoming “Thor Annual” and is also training for his first UFC fight. (Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)
With Marvel heroes and villains galore at his fingertips, Punk was not shy about wanting to make the most of them.
kind of approach everything in my life like this is the first and
possibly last time I’m ever going to get to do this," he says. "I’m
either going to bomb so horribly, they’re going to hate working with me,
it’s going to stink, so to me selfishly I wanted to write as many
characters as I possibly could (and) also Rob could draw as many
different Marvel character as he possibly could."
Punk wanted to
use the time-traveling supervillain Kang and have all sorts of different
versions of Marvel personalities, but “that’s when they had to reel me
back in,” the writer says. “The quote that I thought was hilarious was,
‘Kang is a serious character.’ And I said, ‘Oh, OK. I was unaware of
that.’ I thought with maybe the 41st-century descendant of Reed Richards you could get a little bit out there but OK.
Punk admits that their story is “not the most serious thing in the
world and we can get away with goofing on Mephisto a little bit.”
and Punk want to team up again, but both have a lot on their own solo
plates, too. Guillory has a year and a half left on his acclaimed Image
Comics Chew series with writer John Layman, and Punk has a tale in Vertigo Comics’ Strange Sports Stories anthology series (debuting in March) about a possibly cursed baseball team with a really long losing streak.
wants to do more comics but also has his new UFC career to think about —
Punk’s currently doing mixed martial-arts training twice a day and
hopes to have his first fight later in the year.
obstacle for Punk is just balancing everything, he says. “I can block
out like an hour or two hours a day and be like, ‘I’m going to write!’
And then I sit down and just stare at my computer. I feel like I have
these stories in my head but sometimes they just don’t want to come
Another thing he wants to be careful of is biting off more than he can chew, which happens often.
But, Punk adds, “I’m not signing on to do a 24-issue, crazy all-encompassing Marvel Universe
story arc or anything like that, nor do I think they’re going to give
me that sort of responsibility. So, baby steps. We’ll get there.”