- Posted by Johanna on January 24, 2007 at 11:54 am
- Category: Comic News
DC announced their Free Comic Book Day releases yesterday, so today, here comes Marvel.
First, from DC, two titles:
The Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #1, DC’s gold-level title for this year, is an all-new, all-ages Johnny DC series spinning out of the smash-hit animated series on Kids WB on the CW! In this debut issue, the Legion travels back in time for reinforcement to stop the Fatal Five from destroying Metropolis because this looks like a job for – Clark Kent?! Can six teenagers from the future help a mild-mannered teenager become the Man of Steel, or will the Fatal Five determine his destiny before it’s even begun?
The Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #1 is a 32-page comic book written by J. Torres, with art by Chynna Clugston-Flores and a cover by Steve Uy.
DC’s silver-level title is Justice League of America #0. Best-selling author Brad Meltzer broke the JLA down in the top-selling, critically acclaimed Identity Crisis – and now he puts all the pieces back together again! The core heroes of the DC Universe, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, are back – but where do they stand with each other? Join us for this historic and unforgettable new beginning of the Justice League of America as we look at the past, present and future of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes!
Justice League of America #0 is written by Brad Meltzer, with art by Eric Wight, Dick Giordano, Tony Harris, George PÃƒÂ©rez, J.H. Williams III, Luke McDonnell, Paul Neary, Gene Ha, Rags Morales, Ethan Van Sciver, Kevin Maguire, Adam Kubert, Dan Jurgens & Kevin Nowlan, Jim Lee, Howard Porter & Dexter Vines, Andy Kubert & Jesse Delperdang, Phil Jimenez & Andy Lanning, and Ed Benes & Sandra Hope, and a cover by Michael Turner.
I’m very excited about the LSH book, not only because I love the characters, but because Torres and Clugston-Flores are incredibly talented creators with a terrific track record of wonderful and diverse works. I like that they’re starting with an origin story, and it also helps that it’s a mass media tie-in.
I believe JLA #0 is a reprint of the book of the same name from last year, which is DC’s pattern for FCBD. That’s a fine strategy, in my opinion, because the day should be about attracting new readers, and it’ll be new to them. I don’t like the writer or story, but it’s good that it provides a sales path — if readers try the new book and like it, they can buy the Identity Crisis collection or catch up on the series, which is only a few issues in.
I applaud DC leading with an all-ages book, too. I help my retailer out every year on FCBD, and it’s a pleasure to have titles that can be given out to everyone without worrying what the parents will think when they see, for instance, a half-naked woman on the cover. Even worse is a title that kids want but you have to tell them they can’t have because of inappropriate content.
Marvel also offers two titles. In a reverse of DC’s approach, they are also doing both a “regular” and an all-ages superhero book, but their emphasis is on the older-skewing audience and pandering to existing fans. In fact, their press release gives only one paragraph to the more accessible title. (I’ve omitted the solicitation information that was included at the bottom.)
For the sixth annual Free Comic Book Day, Marvel’s rolling out a brand new Spider-Man tale by the blockbuster creative team of Dan Slott (She-Hulk) and Phil Jimenez (New X-Men). Much like 2006’s Runaways/X-Men FCBD offering, the story in Amazing Spider-Man: Swing Shift is steeped in continuity, yet accessible and enjoyable by all Spider-Man fans.
Slott, for one, is more than a bit excited about Swing Shift. “[It's] unbelievable,” says the elated writer. “And, seriously, how can anyone pass this up? It’s got three of the biggest draws that I can think of: ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘Free Comic Book’, and ‘Phil Jimenez’!”
Speaking of Jimenez, Slott leads the pack of fans who can’t wait to see Phil’s rendition of Spider-Man. “I am so psyched for this! I am a HUGE fan of Phil’s work! And the art that’s been coming in is AMAZING! I think this is going to be one of the sweetest things coming out on Free Comic Book Day– give-away or no.”
But Slott and Jimenez aren’t the only new faces joining Spidey with this year’s FCBD issue. Marvel Heroes editors Tom Brevoort and Steve Wacker are also onboard.
Is Wacker excited to be working on Spider-Man? “Absolutely. When the unholy Marvel trinity of Buckley, Gabriel and Quesada brought this idea up, I almost shoved Brevoort out the window out of sheer joy,” notes Wacker who’s been with Marvel since September. “FCBD has a great track record of tackling one of the most difficult challenges in comics: getting books into new readers’ hands. The whole team is working to make this an exciting taste of what’s to come.”
Phil Jimenez has been notably absent from Marvel since his work on NEW X-MEN. So what brings the superstar artist back to the House of Ideas? “Phil and I go back a few years, so we have a solid relationship,” adds Wacker, “but the heavy lifting was done by Lee, Ditko and Romita. They gave us one of the greatest characters ever in Spider-Man and if you approach just about any artist about working on the character, most jump at the chance.”
So what’s the Swing Shift all about? “It’s a fun, all-new, done-in-one adventure,” exclaims Slott. “I like to think of it as the perfect ‘chaser’ to your SPIDER-MAN 3 weekend.” Wacker divulges a bit more about the book’s plot: “It’s the birthday of someone very close to Peter, but the special day is ruined by the appearance of a new villain that will haunt Pete for months to come,” says Wacker.
Executive Editor Tom Brevoort adds one last hint about what to expect from Swing Shift. “Very simply, [it's] a quintessential fun, action-packed Spider-Man adventure–with some hints and foreshadowing of many of the elements that’ll be coming into play in the Spidey titles in the future, including three new characters you’ll be seeing a lot more from.”
But, wait! There’s more! Riding shotgun on Free Comic Book Day 2007 is a brand new Marvel Adventures book, Marvel Adventures Three-In-One! Featuring the triple threat of Iron Man, Hulk and Franklin Richards, the book promises to be a romp for fans of all ages!
Let’s see why I think this is an inferior approach:
- This PR has a ton of information irrelevant to the event. If I’m figuring out what to purchase to give to new readers visiting my store, it doesn’t matter that there’s a new editor (who seems to me to be mentioned mostly because he’s a new hire from the competitor).
- I know Marvel’s PR department loves to try and live up to Stan’s wacky bullpen bulletins, but this seems like overkill in tone and voice. “It’ll be fun! Fun! FUN! FUNNNN!” becomes a turn-off.
- Let me quote: “steeped in continuity, yet accessible and enjoyable by all Spider-Man fans”. That’s an oxymoron. More to the point, it’s rare for anything “steeped in continuity” to make a good first taste for new readers.
- Moving to the sadly neglected kids’ title, I suspect it’s a reprint of existing stories taken from the other Marvel Adventures books, but that’s not mentioned. Update: Marvel has since clarified that it is also all new content.
- Is Three-in-One a new ongoing approach to repackaging? Or is it a rebranded one-shot just for this day? Maybe they should have taken out some of the “it’ll be GREAT!” quotes in favor of specific, factual information.
Or maybe I’m just a curmudgeon. The creative team sounds great, though, and I’m sure it will be a good read.