To many of the heroes in the Marvel universe, Secret Wars is all about saving the world and vanquishing evil. To the villains it’s about world domination, and the subjugation of the masses. To Hank Johnson it’s about bringing home a paycheck and putting food on the table.
Marvel Comics have tapped Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm writer, David Mandel, to write a Secret Wars tie-in one-shot, Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra. The story revolves around an everyman who works as a henchman for the evil organization, not because of lofty dreams of world conquest, but a steady job in a rough economy.
“He’s an everyman,” Mandel reveals. “That’s the beauty of Hank Johnson—he’s you, he’s me, he’s your best friend. He just happens to work for HYDRA.
“He’s dealing with everything we deal with. Credit card bills, mortgage payments, ‘do I send my kid to public or private school?’ It is all of those things, just happening to a guy who happens, for his day job, to put on a uniform and goes to work to help HYDRA take over the world.”
Mandel, along with artist Michael Walsh, bring a human angle to the excitement of Secret Wars. Hank is a guy just like you or me, with bills to pay, credit card debt, and kids to put through college one day, so when HYDRA recruiters come calling, how can he say no?
The idea has been languishing in Mandel’s head for over a decade in some form or another, something he brought to the Marvel Knights office originally, and apparently they remembered. Mandel explains that, yes, this will be a funny book, but like his previous TV credits, much of the humor comes from the mundane nature of the world it takes place in, Hank’s world.
“There’s that moment we all remember in comics where Nick Fury climbs into HYDRA headquarters, shoots one guy, punches another, and runs off on his adventure,” the writer points out. “This is the story of the guy he punches.”
Hank Johnson: Agent of HYDRA is written by David Mandel, with art by Michael Walsh, and alternate covers by Amanda Conner.