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BWW Blog: Bea's NYCC Speed Interviews - Axel Alonso, Chief Creative Officer of AWA Studios

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Welcome to Bea's NYCC Speed Interview Series! (Last issue!)

BWW Blog: Bea's NYCC Speed Interviews - Axel Alonso, Chief Creative Officer of AWA Studios
Axel Alonso.
(Photo courtesy of awastudios.net.)

Welcome to Bea's NYCC Speed Interview Series! As I attended New York Comic Con 2021 (October 7-10, 2021), I did a series of short interviews with influential creators. For issue #9 (final issue!), here's a speed interview with Axel Alonso, Chief Creative Officer of AWA Studios. Previously, he held roles as DC Comics Vertigo (1994-2000), Executive Editor of Marvel (2001-2011), and Editor in Chief of Marvel (2011-2018). AWA Studios was "founded by Marvel alumni and strategic investors with a mission to build a creative and business ecosystem that will bring out the best in creators with something significant to say and show and to show their works to the world". He is famously known for an unusual switch in careers: journalism to comics.

BM: I'd love to hear about how you went from journalism to comics.

AA: I saw an ad in The New York Times. They were hiring for a position at DC Comics, so I sent in my resume, just out of curiosity. And, I got an interview. It turned out that the editor - his name was Lou, he is recently deceased - who interviewed me recognized my byline from an article I'd written for the Daily News about the use of the cannabis leaf in hip-hop culture. And, in that article, I had interviewed a DEA agent and the editor of High Times as counterpoints about the use of cannabis in society. It turned out that Lou had a gripe with the editor of High Times and remembered the article because he laughed at seeing the guy look like a jerk. So, he wanted to meet me; it was a complete fluke! I have an unusual name - Axel Alonso - so he saw my resume and said, "is that the guy there with that article?" So, he called me in, I sat down with him, and he offered me the job, and the rest is history! I wasn't sure if I wanted the job at first, but I gave up comic books as a pre-teen but rediscovered them in college, so I thought it would be fun to do again.

BM: What do comics mean to you?

AA: As a little kid, I learned to read through comic books. I entered all sorts of cool worlds, and from that I developed a real interest in stories and storytelling. I gave them up as a teenager when I discovered girls and basketball, but then I rediscovered them in college,and I saw them as being a unique medium to tell stories in a way you can't in any of the media; prose or movies or what have you. For me, it's just a medium I love. It's only as limited as taste, and talent, and guts of the people who make them.

Find Axel on Twitter (@axelalonsomarv) and more about AWA Studios at awastudios.net.


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