The dinner bell is ringing, and Marvel’s vampires are ready to feed. What’s on the menu? Every hero in the Marvel Universe. 'Blood Hunt' is Marvel’s next big crossover event, which finds our favorite heroes fighting a massive vampire invasion. The storyline, which was announced at New York Comic Con, will hit stores in spring 2024.
Marvel’s announcement came alongside a stunning promotional image (illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu and Sunny Gho) and an video trailer. Aside from that, there isn’t much we know about Blood Hunt. We know it will be written by Jed MacKay and penciled by Pepe Larraz. We know an army of vampires will attack. Beyond that, everything is under wraps.
In other words, we’re HUNGRY for details.
We recently had a chance to sit down with Jed MacKay to see if he could feed our appetite. We chatted about the origins of Blood Hunt, where it begins, and who we might see. MacKay also gave us some teases about what’s coming up in his Avengers run.
Popverse: You've been a busy bee.
Jed MacKay: I've been buzzing.
You also have extra projects like the Mary Jane and Black Cat mini-series. Now we have Blood Hunt coming up. How did that come together?
I got an email from Tom Brevoort, he and the other editors at Marvel were thinking, 'Well, what are we going to do for an event? What's something we haven't done before?' I've been working with Tom on Moon Knight and Avengers. He liked the supernatural stuff we had been doing with Moon Knight. He thought why don't we do a vampire-focused event. He emailed me, as I had Avengers, which had like a natural event pivot. I have Moon Knight, where we were doing a lot of vampire stuff. And then Doctor Strange, who has extensive vampire history.
Tom asked me if I wanted to give it a try. That led to possibly one of the most stressful periods of my life. I tried to figure it out. I had never written an event before, and I don't think I had any idea of the sort of scale that was required. I'm very happy with it now as it stands, but there were some tough days where I was trying to figure out how everything fit together, how everything worked, and what part of what cog in the machine each of these characters played in the story.
Was the premise already there when Tom approached you, or did you come up with the story?
The premise was largely vampires, and then beyond that it was up to me to figure out what kind of spin I wanted to take. It took a couple tries to get that to where we wanted it. It leads to something even bigger by someone else, which I'm very excited about. So, keep your eyes peeled.
You mentioned scale and coordination. Are we talking tie-ins and mini-series, like what we recently saw with Dark Web?
I think they wanted this event to have a pretty large footprint. Moon Knight, Doctor Strange, and the Avengers are going to be heavily linked in given that it's easy for me to coordinate my own books. Other books will have their own Blood Hunt tie-ins. We're going to see some one-shots, and some minis. It's going to be pretty exciting. It's going to be a big deal for the Marvel Universe. I'm looking forward to seeing what everybody else does.
It's interesting because last fall you did the Mary Jane and Black Cat tie-in for Dark Web. That was you on the other side of this. Did anything from that experience helped you kind of delegate an event like this?
I didn't delegate the other tie-ins, that was editorial. I just say, here's the main series, here's the story, here's how it affects characters that appear in that story, some of which I do or do not write. Beyond that, it's up to editors and writers to come up with their own spin on stuff. Characters that I have not treated poorly in the main book, it's up to their writers, editors, and artists to figure out what they want to do.
Let's see what we can do to make their lives miserable.
Yup. We've created a global crisis that could affect pretty much anyone.
How obscure are we going to get when it comes to vampires? Any vampires from the Bronze Age, or from Stan Lee's old horror comics?
I feel like it remains to be seen. I can't give too much away. I mean, you can't have vampires in the Marvel Universe without Dracula. The only question is, what is Dracula's role in this? I'm looking forward to people seeing what's going on with it. The first thing out will be the Free Comic Book Day edition of Blood Hunt, which we're pretty excited about, then it's kind of a roller coaster.
How would you describe the tone of the event?
(Laughs) Grotesque! Essentially the world has been caught by surprise by vampires and shadowy creatures. This is an ambush on the entire planet. There is tone of desperation. Desperation I think would be the largest theme there, but the superheroes are going to rally. They're going to fight the good fight, no matter how dark the skies are, no matter how bleak the odds are.
How has the collaboration with Pepe Larraz been?
It has been great! Pepe Larraz is literally one of the best artists in the world. He's at the absolute top of his game, and he loves collaborating. He also doesn't really need much direction from me. He's extraordinarily good at this. He's been here for a long time. So, I basically give him as much information as he needs, and he does his thing. We collaborate working on some characters, new characters, which I'm very excited for people to see. Readers of Avengers will know that I love making up new characters. We're going to be collaborating on some characters I'm really excited about people seeing.
Do you ever give him notes like add more blood to this scene or can this person be ripped apart more?
As it turns out, I don't have to. We both have sick minds.
If a reader is excited about Blood Hunt -
As they should be!
- what books would you recommend them reading leading up to this in the next few months? Will it be seeded in any of your titles?
It will be seeded to a certain extent. We'll be going there with a bit of the Moon Knight stuff. You're going to see sort of the lead in to that in at least Avengers, Moon Knight, Doctor Strange, as those are the books under my direct control. But also at the same time, it's something you can jump right into. With something this large in scope and threat, we want it to be just as easy for people to jump in. We don't want people feeling lost when they get that. So, it's a particular needle to thread, but I'm hoping we did it okay.
You're trapped in an elevator; you have 30 seconds to tell a potential reader to read Blood Hunt. What do you tell them?
The biggest heroes in the world are fighting the worst monsters in the world, and all seems lost. It is unclear whether or not they're going to pull out a win, but if they win, what will the cost of that be?
Shifting gears to your other work, I've been loving all of your Mary Jane and Black Cat stuff. Is there any more coming?
What I can tell you is that I have written Felicia in a script recently. I'm not promising any more than that.
On the subject of Avengers, when will we see Kang again?
From me, it'll be a little while. But Kang will be coming back in a big way, and he's pissed. I think you will see Kang again in Avengers #10. We will continue following that thread that was laid out with Timeless last year.
The Avengers roster over the last few decades has had a wide variety of members. Asgardian gods and scientists. You had a sentient city join the Avengers. You are a madman!
I just think superhero teams should live in a cool place. Moon Knight has the Midnight Mission. Doctor Strange has got the Sanctum Sanctorum. The X-Men used to have the Treehouse. I think superhero bases are an important part of a team's character. And I wanted to come up with something that suited the sort of direction we wanted to take the Avengers in. It's also just cool, having an orbital super-fortress. And at the same time, it also seemed wildly irresponsible for Earth's Mightiest Heroes to live in one of the most densely populated cities on the planet.
I love it. It reminds me of Danny the Street. How did you pick this roster?
When we started out, Tom Brevoort and I were going back and forth on who we wanted on the team. And ultimately, we settled on the idea that the Avengers team should have all the big Marvel characters, right? You know, obviously not Spider Man, not Wolverine. It's not New Avengers. When I think Avengers, I think Captain America, Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Black Panther, Iron Man, and Thor. For me, these are Avengers characters. It's tough, because Avengers has had such a wide roster. To some, it can't be Avengers without the Wasp, it can't be Avengers without Hawkeye. I love these characters, and I'd love to have them on the team. But if I'm being quite honest, seven characters is a big enough pain in my ass as it is. So, this is my compromise of the most iconic characters I can put on a team, balanced with my capacity to handle them, and ensure that everyone gets the spotlight.
Find out more about Marvel's upcoming 'Blood Hunt' with our ever-expanding guide to the entire 'Blood Hunt' event.