Marvel Fact Files - Spiderman
Hey! You! Comic Book Pal. Out of curiosity, have you ever wondered what it would be like to compile a fact based anthology series around your favorite group of superheroes? Moreover, have you ever thought about what exactly this job entails in practice? If not. Shame on you. Go and hide under a rock somewhere in the dark. If so. Smashing. That's precisely what I wanted to hear. Please check out this interview I did with the editor of Marvel Facts Files, Richard (The Man) Not Lee.

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Marvel Fact Files - X-Men1) What are your own origins, Richard? Plus what path did you take in life to get to where you are today?   Well, I have walked a bit of a strange path in my life. I studied Biology at Imperial College, London, and received a 2:1 degree. I've always loved comics and so would spend much of my uni holidays working part-time in a comic shop. This then lead to me getting recommended to Eaglemoss as a picture researcher -- basically someone who knew their comics and could trawl through boxes in search of specific issues, events, and characters. This was very much a part-time job, though, so I balanced picture research with working in a lab on rotifers (microscopic organisms that are very weird looking).

At the end of my lab experience, I was offered a full-time role as an Editorial Assistant on the Marvel Figurine Collection. I took the job but kept a foot in the world of science by also studying part-time for a Masters in Microbiology. And -- long-story short -- during my two-year Masters study I slowly grew on the Eaglemoss management, and was promoted through Section Editor to Deputy Editor to actual Editor, at which point, I got my Masters, but decided an Editorial career was for me.

Marvel Fact Files - ZombiesI now have the fantastic job of developing new projects, including the Marvel Fact Files.

2) How did the ‘Marvel Fact File’ come about? And what is your role within this project?   The Fact Files Collection just seemed a natural progression from the figurine collections we had already produced. We have a great relationship with Marvel and Disney, and when we showed them our master plan for the fact files they loved it.

My job on the project is a little more admin, overseeing the issues, but in the beginning I worked alongside another editor, and some great designers, to develop, create, and write the Marvel Fact Files.

3) In your own words how would you describe this archive?   A huge undertaking, created with love by people who have worked with Marvel for many-many years. No single book will come close to the series when finished. We're going to have over 6000 pages on the world of Marvel.

Marvel Fact Files - Hulk Junior
4) From the amount of existing Marvel continuity floating around, how did you choose what pieces of information to insert into it?   It is incredibly hard. We start out by simply choosing the characters that will feature in the different sections of the collection and putting them into one huge list. From here we have long meetings to plan each issue in the collection. There are 6-8 designers/editors that sit in a room and pool our knowledge. We have a giant scary spreadsheet, that gets filled up with articles, but is open to change. Often we find that our writers and editors discover something cool and new about a character as they write a different article.

5) If ‘MFF’ had a theme tune taken from popular culture, what would it be and why?   Wow! That's tough. Being a huge fan of the 90s X-Men cartoon, I can't help but think of that theme tune when working on Marvel stuff.

Marvel Fact Files - Cyclops6) What was the first comic book you ever read? And do you still read mainstream comic books today?   The first comic I truly remember reading is Aliens (1989-89) from Dark Horse. As a kid I was crazy for Alien and Aliens, and the idea that Aliens continued in comic form just amazed me. From there, I just went crazy and discovered a whole world filled with Marvel comics. I specifically remember collecting 'Iron Man' and 'Uncanny X-Men' from about the age of 10.

As for reading comics today, I can't help but read nearly all mainstream comic books at the moment. It's become essential for the job I do, so I try to find time to sit down and read virtually everything that DC and Marvel put out. I'm also a huge fan of the 'Walking Dead' (but who isn't) and have a guilty pleasure for reading comic book adaptations of computer games, even when I know they're terrible.

7) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote ‘MFF’, who would you choose, and again, why?   The obvious answer is Stan Lee, because he's just such a legend in the comic world and one of the founders of the Marvel Universe. His genuine approval of the magazine would be amazing.

However, what would be even more awesome, is if Steve Ditko came out of nowhere and said he collected our magazine. To have a recorded interview with Steve Ditko promoting our magazine would be epic. I'm under no illusions this would ever happen though. But hey, I can dream the impossible.

Marvel Fact Files - Wolverine and X-Factor
8) Do you have any amusing stories you can tell us about compiling this fact file?   Our team argue quite a bit about what articles we should write next.

I had one writer request that the Foreigner never be mentioned again, as it was hard enough to write a sidebar about the character after reading every appearance he'd been in. I'm constantly trying to get one of my cutaway artists to draw the Spider-Mobile, but he keeps finding "more exciting" vehicles to draw first. Being told by Marvel that a certain image of Emma Frost was too revealing, despite it being the cover to one of their comics. We also managed to order 'Avengers: The Korvac Saga' graphic novel, but didn't read the description very well, and so received the pocket size edition, which was way too small to scan in images from.

9) If this file had a motto what would it be?   The Marvel universe in one collection.

Now wasn't that fantastic, comic book fans? Thanks for that Richard, mate. It's much appreciated. Plus I'm sure that all of my dear-dear readers will check out www.marvel-factfiles.com, as well as your facebook, tumblr, and GPlus pages. So go on. Scat. It'll be a education. 

Marvel Fact Files

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