Get to know Marvel NOW!

The comic book business is an ever-changing animal. A far cry from the pamphlets featuring ads for x-ray spex and atomic submarines that kids rolled up in their back pockets, comic books today are state of the art entertainment products that have led to some of the biggest money making feature films ever. So it should come as no surprise that things are not about to calm down or return to a simpler state any time soon.

Recently DC Comics attempted a radical move that canceled then rebooted all of their ongoing books in one fell swoop. Dubbed ‘the New 52,’ the experiment was a major success and the publisher saw profits climb higher than had been seen in a very long time. That success has plateaued, but Marvel has been watching and taking notes.

Their 12 part event series Avengers Vs. X-Men has promised some major changes (something that almost every comic does), but in this case… it’s the truth. For better or worse, this is Marvel NOW!

Via ComicBookResources:

In what will surely be seen as the publisher’s response to DC Comics’ New 52 which set it sights on new and lapsed readers with issue #1 jumping on points, Marvel NOW is being promised as an easy entry point into the classic Marvel U. Throughout October, Marvel will launch a number of brand new series — often more than one a week — with additional new series and relaunches for some classic books rolling out through February of next year. Expanding on CBR’s coverage from earlier this morning, these will include the following, announced in EW:

  • “Uncanny Avengers” by Rick Remender and John Cassaday starring a team composed of Captain America, Wolverine and others from the company’s two powerhouse franchises battling the mutant-hating Red Skull.
  • “All New X-Men” by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen realigning the mutant team in the wake of “AvX” as the original five X-Men are mysteriously brought to the present day. This title will launch in November.
  • “Avengers” by Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena, which is light on specific details aside from a roster of 18 heroes in a bi-weekly comic that seems to be Hickman-esque rethinking of the Avengers core mission in the vein of the writer’s “Fantastic Four” run.

Aside from the core creative changes, all books branded with the Marvel NOW banner will feature a full slate of digital bells and whistles as part of the “Marvel ReEvolution” products that have played a part in “AvX’s” launch. For example, every Marvel NOW first issue will feature AR enhanced recaps on their covers, and the books will all carry a code for a free digital download of the issue through the Marvel App.

In addition, the publisher is promising other creative shakeups outside the shuffling of their big name talent on their big name franchises. Marvel NOW books will feature new “cinematic” cover designs, and their characters will sport redesigned costumes, many shown off in a new piece by Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, a scan of which appeared on the CBR forums in the early hours of this morning.

“It’s a bridge book…something that can delve into both worlds,” Remender told the magazine of how “Uncanny Avengers” bridges the pre and post-AvX Marvel U.

Of “All-New X-Men,” Bendis explained, “It’s not a time-travel story like ‘Back To The Future.’ It’s a time-travel story like ‘Pleasantville,'” adding “Here’s the big question that they original X-Men are gonna be faced with: ‘We’re gonna grow up, and this is what we’re going to get? That is not acceptable.'”

“It’s not hype when we say that ‘AvX’ is the culmination of a lot of stories we’ve done over the last several years,” Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso told the magazine. “Characters are redeemed or not. Characters are changed. The X-Men and the Avengers are both repositioned for the future. What better time to shake things up?” Alonso went on to draw a line between Marvel NOW and DC’s New 52, saying the titles would roll out over several months rather than in one month as, “I feel that it’s a much more humane approach for retailers and fans to tell them: ‘Look. In the months of October through February, every week you can go into a comic book store and find a few new jumping-on points for the Marvel Universe, a place you’re going to like visiting. Or revisiting.'”

Quesada commented on his image featuring the redesigned Marvel heroes, saying, “There’s a reason Sue Storm is there. And why there’s a floating robot near Hulk. We’re trying a lot of fun and new different things, we’re exposing characters who we’ve had in our toy chest for a long time.”

Bendis commented on Jean Grey’s return to the Marvel U via time travel, explaining, “It’s the one thing X-Men fans have always asked for is: They want Jean Grey back. But they want Jean Grey. Not reincarnated Jean, or the ghost of Jean. Well, you’re getting Jean back. And Jean is gonna be looking at a world that rattles her.”

Remender noted that his Red Skull will be a throwback version of the Nazi villain. “In 1943, Arnim Zola, who was this bio-fanatic engineer, recorded the Red Skull’s consciousness, and set it to wake up 70 years later. So the Red Skull [in ‘Uncanny’] is right out of 1943-44. Prime Nazi scumbag. In his mind, he’s taking that vitriol and hate and Nazi horror and methodology, and pointing it at the mutant species.”


8 thoughts on “Get to know Marvel NOW!

  1. In honour of this I will be rolling my eyes. A Lot.
    I recently took a trip to 2017 and I bring the following exciting comic book news – Marvel is proud to present Fantastic Amazing Mighty Uncanny Avengers #1, yes, it’s the comic you’ve been waiting for True Believer! The Avengers now contain every Super-hero who has ever existed in the Marvel Universe Written by Brian Michael Bendis and Jonathan Hickman Art by Rob Liefeld. Every story “arc” will last for approximately 90 issues, every character will speak in exactly the same way, and we promise it will on some level make NO sense. Oh, and no character will be over 24. Excelsior!
    Quick news from 2020 – DC and Marvel have merged, comics are now used exclusively to promote movies and the Next Big Thing is Wolverine: The Dark Knight. Logan Wayne’s parents were killed when he was a child, years later he volunteers for Experiment X run by Lex Luthor. Now, he has an adamantium skeleton and dresses as a Wolverine to put the frighteners on criminals “a superstitious and cowardly lot”. Luthor, an anti-mutant scientific genius business mogul bigot has carried out an experiment on himself and has turned into Wolverine’s lunatic archenemy Professor Lex The Joker. See Wolvie’s partner Bat-Baby and his friend Clark Parker The Spectacular Super-Spider. Written by Geoff Johns Art by Chris Burnham and Bill Sienkiewicz. Coming – NEVER!


    • Funny you should say “DC and Marvel have merged, comics are now used exclusively to promote movies”

      I read several years ago how Marvel, during its bankruptcy restructuring, was viewing the comic company as just that… a rich treasure trove of characters ripe to be exploited in movies… and the comic books used simply as a marketing tool to get out the word for the characters to be made into movies.

      As strange as it may sound… this actually isn’t dumb business. Imagine… most movies have to be promoted through expenditures in advertising… whereas you can sell comics to people for a year or more and make money on advertising your next movie! It’s actually kind of brilliant.


  2. Weeellll, I think you know I would mostly disagree with you on this Mr SJV. Tis true that Marvel have been cannibalizing their illustrious past to use as movies but the comics themselves sell minuscule amounts compared to the number of people who will see even garbage such as Daredevil or X-Men Origins:Winnie-the-Pooh (erm, Wolverine). And if Marvel are using the comics as purely promotional tools then they are artistically bankrupt, after all some of the best (Marvel) comic books of the past managed to be both popular *and* artistically valid. Now, I’m not saying they were Moby-Dick or Ulysses but *they didn’t have to be*, fantasy adventure dramas have their own worth and artistry.
    Does the fact that Avengers has drawn more audience members than have ever read an Avengers comic mean that it is superior or that super hero movies outclass the source material? Of course not. No matter how Joe Quesada spins it or how many Fanboys cream their jeans over the films. I should make clear that I’m not (necessarily) putting down the films or the fans but the propaganda that movies are ipso facto superior (particularly now that many movies are franchise product) or more meaningful than comics “just because”. Comics should/must have a *life* of their own rather than just being assets to be stripped. Disney doubtless look on the comics as purely *property* but that isn’t a good thing Nosirree, Bob and it will turn out to be short-sighted as they wear out the patience of/give the finger too their more demanding readers.
    Wooh, there’s my rebuttal, SJV, hope you didn’t think me a *butt*;).


    • I should probably have said that I don’t like the idea of comics becoming merely marketing material… I agree they are often undervalued as sources of not just entertainment but education as well. I remember the word “deft” being on my SAT way back in the day, and I learned that word from the MAD magazine spoof “Batboy & Rubin” wherein Batboy says something about “deftly swinging” on his rope…

      But as marketing tools go… a comic book with a 50,000 circulation that keeps people talking about a character month to month… then TPB sales that go to book stores and Amazon… that’s marketing that makes your company money instead of paying for a commercial or a mailer or whatever… so it’s hard to argue that using your comics as a tool to sell your movies isn’t a smart idea. It sacrifices the comic buying public of course… but sadly, if you only have 50,000 people buying your book every month… you are on the razor’s edge if you don’t get your profits elsewhere. Unless digital comics start to fill that profit gap… print comics might go the way of the dinosaur like print newspapers… except that print newspapers are only good for wrapping fish after you read them… while a print comic can also be part of your marketing plan for your movie.

      Winnie the Pooh? Winnie the Pooh is the best he is at what he does…. and what he does is eat hunny! 🙂


  3. You got that right, Bub! Hello Christopher Robin
    I know what you’re saying about the state of comics sales. I think the precipitous decline is due to pricing, a narrowness in the material being offered, an all-too-often-dull saminess, an overdose of gritty “realism”, AND a lack of people getting into comics at a young age (not surprising when many superhero comics seem aimed at adolescents and exclude both children AND older more demanding readers.


    • Yeah, both pricing and subject matter pretty much kill the younger audience… and I always lament that there aren’t more affordable and appropriate books for kids. There are “kiddie” books still, but that “tween” market seems to be ignored now and a lot of books that used to be appropriate for kids just aren’t appropriate (in my opinion) for kids today. I’m no prude, but if I had kids I wouldn’t just be able to point them at a rack of DC/Marvel and let them pick up just anything anymore like when I was a kid.

      I’ve also been talking to people about the sales numbers… I see a lot of books pulling 50,000 copies routinely… and only a few (if any) pulling 100,000 or more monthly. It wasn’t that long ago that a DC or Marvel title that was pulling less than 50,000 copies for a couple of months was canceled. I’m not sure what changed IF it is because they can make the economics work at today’s cover prices… then that tends to imply that they are pricing higher than they need to and might be killing their own sales. IF, however, the prices are based on expenses going up over time… then I can’t see how this market is sustainable at the print runs when compared to say 10-20 years ago print runs.


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