MakingStarWars.net — When you’ve been doing interviews since the early 1990’s (you read that correctly) the label “jaded” is an understatement.
Yes. Sadly. Surprises are rare these days.
However, that’s just what Marvel Assistant Editor Heather Antos did when we spoke earlier this week.
Full of Surprises
Antos surprised the hell out of me – an old fart who remembers when Star Wars comics had 6-foot green bunnies in them – and turned this guy into that guy currently crawling around the floor at Newbury Comics, muttering to himself as he roots through back issues.
Which reminds me, I need a new belt. But I digress…
Seriously, If Heather represents the kind of folk who are populating/perfecting the pages of Star Wars comics, well – heck – (ink and) color me convinced.
Especially after, in a panicked final Twitter DM (that’s veteran journalism for you, kids) – just hoping to ensure I had enough cool bits to fill out my first piece about Star Wars comics – I asked Antos (who describes herself as Force User. Chimichanga Curator. Possibly Gwen Poole.), “Which Star Wars character would you like to see in the Marvel universe? Vice versa?”
It was a purely hypothetical, probably ignorant, shot in the dark from an overmatched writer who suddenly realized he hadn’t prepared/asked a fascinating subject enough good questions.
As if she had already thought about the query (I mean, now that I am thinking about it, why wouldn’t she have – she appeared on the Star Wars After Show for chrissakes) Heather quickly wrote back (and partly used the “Transitive Property of Equality” to prove her choices):
Peter Quill and Han Solo!
Peter = Guardian of the Galaxy
Jedi Knight = Guardian of the Galaxy
Therefore Peter Quill = Jedi Knight
And I just want to see Han fly a helicarrier.
Boom. Day made. Fandom solidified. Subscription check sent in. Cheerleading ensues.
Loving Comics & Star Wars
To start, I had asked Heather – an Eastern Michigan University grad who wrote for geeklegacy.com (among other sites) before joining Marvel – to describe her job.
Tonight, just now re-reading her words out loud in a too-quiet room, it’s clearly the answer to one of those third-grade homework questions to the tune of What is your dream job?
“Assistant Editor and Editor on any and all Marvel Star Wars Comics,” she said.
Pressed how and why she ended up in that role, she added, “Because I love comics! And Star Wars! Huzzah!”
Although she admits to playing Princess Leia on the playground as a child, It seems as if Antos embodies the energy (and mystery) of one of the most exciting new characters spawned in Marvel’s new canon comics – Dr. Aphra.
Judging by the persona displayed in her answers (as well as her ubiquitous Twitter feed and that student TV video from EMU – hey, I’m a journalist, and I know how to Google) that similarity is certainly no accident.
So, short of questioning Dr. Aphra writer Kieron Gillen about the Star Wars universe’s most impressive rising star, it made sense to ask Heather why she thought so many fans embraced the Star Wars scientist so quickly and comprehensively.
“Well, in canon, she is technically Chelli Lona Aphra,” said the editor getting her nerd on. “Doctor of Archaeology. One of the best Star Wars characters of all time.
“But honestly, I think her appeal is that she takes no sides except her own,” explained Antos. “She is out for herself and herself alone, which means that you never know what she’s going to do next.
“I mean, who else could be Vader’s sidekick and fake her own death and live to see another day? She’s fascinating!”
The entire Star Wars universe is fascinating. So, I asked what, in particular, Antos liked best about working on the Saga.
“What’s not to like about working in the Star Wars universe?” said Heather, evasively, before adding, “As a kid, I was all about big, fantastical adventure – what greater film to show your kids than Star Wars?
“My first memories were watching the Original Trilogy with my dad – he was big on showing me Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Jaws, etc.
“So naturally, Star Wars fell into the mix,” she said.
It’s a personal thing for Antos, who understandably takes her job – literally as an editor of The Canon – extremely seriously.
“As a kid watching Star Wars, anything was possible,” she said, describing why Star Wars remains so important to her. “From the farm boy becoming a Jedi knight, to the Princess leading the Rebellion; the franchise favors characters from humble backgrounds doing extraordinary things.
“It was hugely inspiring,” she said, before adding, “I’m sure it’s why – in part – this small, Midwestern-town girl is now living in the Big Apple making Star Wars comics.”
Heather, whose favorite character is R2D2 (“Most Star Wars characters get you into trouble. R2-D2 gets you out of trouble.”), works on and presides over any Marvel comic in the Star Wars line.
She said working in and around Star Wars since 2015 expanded her own universe in many meaningful ways.
“I’ve made a lot of friends in the SW community – both in working professionals as well as fans,” she said. “There’s something about Star Wars that connects people from all reaches of the globe – it’s super cool to have that community bond.”
Those community bonds might get even, well, bond-ier, once readers get a hold of her next thought.
Queried as to where she’d love to take the comics canon in the future, Antos looked into the past and said, “I’m a huge fan of the Old Republic era and would love to do a series taking place then…We’ve not encountered it since Canon was re-established and I’m dying to explore it.”
So there you have it; staring right back at you.
My penultimate question was the best of the set, and left me, and certainly you – the reader – hanging.
Fear not True Believers! Because I sent another panicked note, asking where I might grab a good Star Warsie head shot for my story.
“Hmmm,” DM’d Antos. “If you can find my account on the Force.net that’s my preferred Star Wars photo.
“It’s Sotna from the Han Solo series that Mark Brooks based off of my likeness [see Instagram below].”
And I’ll leave that right here and hope Ms. Antos – who is obviously and truly Force sensitive (and patient as hell) – has time for another chat (perhaps about a certain crossover) sometime soon.