Following the announcement made earlier in the month regarding the winning illustrator for the 2001 Marvel Talent Competition, the publisher awarded not one, but two scribes the opportunity to pen an eight-page backup THOR story one that will be illustrated by an industry professional.
The official winner the writer who followed the exact rules of the competition is Jose Armenta. The lucky scribe will pen a bonus story in THOR #50, on sale in December. However, a second winner was also announced one who did not follow the rules to the letter, but instead turned in a fully scripted plot. Rather than ignore the submission, Marvel Comics editor Tom Brevoort was so impressed by the quality of the work, he decided to purchase the story by Marlan Harris outright for print at a later date.
Armenta, a fan of Marvel Comics since the days of POWER PACK, still can't believe his was the winning submission. Even when notified, he thought it was all some sort of horrible joke.
"I got an e-mail from Tom Brevoort, and for the first few seconds I just stared at it with disbelief," says Armenta. "I honestly thought someone was playing a cruel prank on me. It just said basically he wanted to talk to me, and left a phone number. I waited a half hour to compose myself I was having trouble breathing. Then I called him. He told me the good news. I calmly told him that I was honored, and I thanked him many times for choosing me, and we said goodbye. I set down the phone and for the next hour I was screaming, and jumping up and down like an idiot. Yes, I was very ecstatic."
Harris mirrors Armenta's sentiment of surprise and excitement. However, for him the announcement touched home on a far more personal level.
"It's funny this is the year that I just about gave up on trying to break in," says Harris. "I've been trying so hard and for so long that I just figured I would put my energy into something else in life. I love reading comics, but I thought I'd never get to actually see one of my stories in print. But I knew I'd kick myself if I didn't at least try, so I put together a story right before the San Diego Comic Con and dropped it in the big box at the Marvel booth. Then I got the call from Tom Brevoort."
Announcements for the next set of Marvel talent competition winners (an artist and writer selected from Wolverine submissions taken at Chicago's Wizard World) should follow shortly.