CrossGen From Marvel – Which Titles Should Return?

Now that Disney owns Marvel, and Disney already owned CrossGen, it seems they’re seeking some synergy. It was mentioned at the San Diego Con by Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada that

“We’re gonna be doing some CrossGen stuff … we’re not really prepared to talk much about it right now.”

“But we have started to work on some concepts based on the old CrossGen concepts, trying to strengthen them up, and eventually bring them to Marvel. … I think with the CrossGen stuff you’re going to see us attempt a little more genre publishing, which I think is much-needed in our imprint.”

So Marvel sees the CrossGen properties as a chance to insert some diversity into their output, which is otherwise all superhero comics and a few literary diversions. Not a bad idea. (Odd, though, that they’re “not prepared” to give more details when they had a teaser slide ready and all.)

While the early CrossGen titles were misguided in their emphasis on a connected universe and setting up mysteries that never got resolved, I enjoyed several of their comics (using this Wikipedia list as a memory jogger — I had to use something, since CrossGen was infamous for one-word titles that all sounded alike):

  • The Crossovers, about a multi-genre family, the kind of self-aware comedy/parody I expect from writer Robert Rodi.
  • Negation, a collection of mixed alien races trying to escape an intergalactic prison. Great character work, but too many unanswered questions from writer Tony Bedard.
  • Ruse, Mark Waid’s Sherlock Holmes twist with a great female sidekick illustrated by Jackson Guice.
  • Way of the Rat, mystic martial arts adventure from Chuck Dixon.

Tim O’Shea and Michael May play a similar game at Robot6 with their list of six CrossGen books they’d like to see return, including Sojourn, the story of a female archer that featured early good-girl art from Greg Land; the pirate comic El Cazador; and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, the James-Bond-like spy story. If nothing else, all this does demonstrate just how many genres Marvel has to pick from. Which CrossGen comics would you most like to see returned and revamped?

33 Responses to “CrossGen From Marvel – Which Titles Should Return?”

  1. Jim Perreault Says:

    Meridian, without a doubt. It was my favorite CrossGen series by far. If you have not read the George Perez issue ; it is a great stand alone story that serves as a good intro to the storyline and characters.

    El Cazador was another of my favorites.

    Brath was another good action series from Chuck Dixon, and could easily be done without the CrossGen interaction.


  2. Mike Joffe Says:

    wow, put that in the list of “things I did not expect Marvel to revive”. Crossgen came out just as I was getting into comics for the first time since I was in 3rd grade so I ended up buying at lot of their stuff at the bookstore, but I never really thought much about them after they started their implosion.

    Way of the Rat was fantastic and I would love to see that return. Its been awhile, but I remember liking Meridian until it got bogged down in the shared universe stuff all the early titles got bogged down in.

    Personally, I found a lot of their fantasy and sci fi genre books were good but blended together. I enjoyed Scion and Sojourn at the time, but there wasn’t anything about them that makes me long for their return. I wouldn’t mind seeing the less common genres like mystery, historical fiction, martial arts and whatnot get revived.

  3. Ralf Haring Says:

    I’d like them to complete Negation War with Bedard and Pelletier, to finish putting a cap on Negation and the whole sigil thing. In general I liked a lot of Bedard’s work at CrossGen, enough to start checking out his Marvel/DC stuff after CrossGen went away. Unfortunately nothing seemed to click for me and eventually I stopped keeping an eye out for him.

    The rest are dependent on the creators, really, many of which have gone on to probably be “too big” for something as low-key as reviving CrossGen series. I liked Scion because of Jim Cheung. I liked Way of the Rat because of Dixon/Johnson. I liked Meridian because of McNiven. I liked The Path because of Bart Sears (incredibly! so different from the way usually drew!). Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was a nice spy series by Bedard/Perkins which shipped 5 out of 6 issues. Route 666 was a fun horror/on-the-run book from Bedard/Moline. I liked Sigil (space scifi) well enough when Waid and Dixon wrote it. Ruse was a fine Holmes pastiche, but I don’t remember if it was just good when Waid wrote it or stayed decent after.

    So it depends on who they would get to work on the series they bring back.

  4. James Schee Says:

    Ruse and Wa of the Rat of Course. Would love to see SCION return too, solid classic Prince Valiant adventures by Ron Marz and Jim Cheung was a lot of fun.

    Chimera by Brandon Peterson was a lot of fun too, there was a flash movie made of it that you can see here

  5. Hooper Triplett Says:

    Jeepers – how could we forget Ruse by Waid (and later Beatty) and Guice? A fun and beautiful comic.

    But I agree with Ralf – so much depends on the creative team.

  6. Malveaix Says:

    Crossgen had one of the most reasonable online subscription models. I subscribed for about six months and had access to their entire library during that time. Often publishers forget that they way to grow is to hook fans on their new stuff rather than overcharge for old stuff.

    Meridian and Mystic were definitely my two favorites but the crossovers really didn’t do much for me. I preferred learning more about each title’s various corners of the Crossgen universe.

  7. Ralf Haring Says:

    CrossGen’s comics on the web was an incredibly ambitious and forward-thinking program, apparently about seven years too early. :-) As to what initially got me to look at CrossGen, it was heavyweight names like Pérez and Waid signing on.

  8. Anatole Wilson Says:

    Abadazad was their best property. Sorry to see it hasn’t been mentioned by anyone.

  9. James Schee Says:

    Just saw that I still have the original CrossGen media package, complete with bios of characters, worlds and the like. Wonder if someone from Marvel or elsewhere would be interested in it?:)

  10. Ed Sizemore Says:

    I would actually like to see the original Crossgen universe brought back and be interconnected as it was in the first couple years. So that would be Mystic, Meridian, Scion, Sigil and Chronicles. Those five titles as a stand alone universe again would be nice.

    I saw an article in Comic Shop News about Crossgen when they were just getting ready to launch. The art nouveau designs of Mystic caught my attention and got me back into reading comics. So I have a soft for the original five titles of Crossgen.

    I did enjoy the later additions of Ruse, Sojourn, and Route 666. I wouldn’t mind seeing them come back.

    As a side note, I heard from more than one artist that the bristol boards Crossgen gave their artists were of exceptional quality. When Crossgen closed there was a scramble to get as many of those boards as possible. I still artist use them.

  11. Tildoras Says:

    I think the return of Crossgen is the best notice of the year.

    I really love ALL the Sigilverse books:
    Scion, Meridian, Mystic, Sigil, The First, Crux, Sojourn, Brath, Ruse, Way of the Rat, The Path, Solus, Negation, etc etc etc.

    A great universe.

  12. Johanna Says:

    Excellent points, that a lot of this depends on which creators are available and who works on the new/relaunched titles.

    Those who read and liked the books, can you explain the whole sigil thing to me? I never got the in-comic story behind that.

    Ed, the original, really? I thought CrossGen learned fast and the later titles were better than the first. But maybe I just have bad memories from reading too much of the bad-girl witch book Mystic.

    Neat story about the supplies. CrossGen was an innovator in several ways. I know some creators signed on, even though they didn’t like the idea of having to move to Florida, because of the excellent benefits the company provided.

  13. Ed Sizemore Says:

    I like Mystic a lot. I enjoyed watching the character mature and begin to understand she couldn’t run away from her responsibilities.

    Plus, the pub scene with every magic using character in comic history, should have been made into a poster. It was one of the few times you see companies agree to all appear together.

  14. Ralf Haring Says:

    As far as most of the books were concerned the sigils were just a maguffin to give a character powers. The majority never got around to tieing in any closer than that.

    I refreshed myself on the history a bit with wikipedia and I think it goes like this. Life starts on Earth with the Atlanteans. Some of them “transition” to a higher state and others stay behind to mentor the emerging humans. Stuff goes wrong, Atlantis sinks, and the mentors are in stasis. Humans evolve themselves and cyclicly attempt their own “transition”. This threw most of them into another dimension called Negation, with one named Charon given infinite power. He eventually decides to come back and conquer this dimension.

    The transitioned Atlanteans include Danik and Solusandra, the most powerful. Solusandra creates the sigil-bearers to eventually help fight the Negation. Danik creates aspects of himself (the yellow-eyed character in each book) to mentor the sigil people. The plot of Negation War (2 of 6 issues published) was that the Negation were finally fully invading and the sigil folk were being gathered to oppose them.

  15. Ralf Haring Says:

    Ed, it’s more likely that they just drew the magic using characters in the background without permission. They generally turn a blind eye to that kind of thing.

  16. Johanna Says:

    Ed, I think I would have liked Mystic more if she wore a reasonable outfit. I don’t understand why “magic user” means “can’t dress without body parts falling out”. (Well, I do, but not within the story, I mean.)

    Ralf, thanks for the explanation, even if it makes me want to run away. Let’s hope the new books are a bit more stand-alone, even if that’s contrary to Marvel’s typical strategies.

  17. hapax Says:

    I agree with #8, ABADAZAD was incredible — an original concept (although it’s been done to death, since) and magnificent art. The subsequent book releases haven’t done the story justice, and haven’t been finished anyways.

    I’d particularly love to see RUSE come back, and I liked both SOJOURN and MERIDIAN. I’d make a very strong caveat that the final volumes (especially of the first and last) which attempt to “wrap up” the storylines be canonically dismissed as a bad drream brought on by food poisoning or some such; they completely undercut what made the original series so appealing.

  18. Jim Perreault Says:

    The important part of Ralf’s summary is the first sentence

    As far as most of the books were concerned the sigils were just a maguffin to give a character powers.

    I read several Cross-Gen books until the end and was completely unaware of all that backstory he spouted. I was aware that the Sigil powers were there to fight the Negation, but that was just from the publicity for that series.

    I think you could do just about all the Sigil books without the interconnected continuity, and just leave it as a recurring motif.

  19. KC Gibson Says:

    Personally, the only title of Crossgens that I followed religiously was Sojourn. From the first issue I picked up, which was around number five, until present day, Arwyn has been my fave character. For the last six years or so I have been on a personal quest to keep her memory alive, commissioning talented and well-known artists to pinups and such of her. So obviously, I hope to Sojourn come back most of all! (I DID catch a few issues of Mystic, and really enjoyed that. Also caught a TPB of Scion a years or so ago and realized I had been missing out on that one too. But Sojourn remains my favorite title!)

  20. Tildoras Says:

    “As far as most of the books were concerned the sigils were just a maguffin to give a character powers.”

    I do not agree with that. It’s much more than only that.
    The Sigil was the essence of the CrossGen Universe.
    A brand of power that had one or more persons in each world of this universe and as such was a great thing. Seeing people quite different, with different cultures living a million miles from each other, in different worlds and carry the same brand.

    You could read it all for all the details or just the number that you choose to follow.

    The Sigil was a great idea and Marvel has presented a new Sigil so I think we plan to maintain the idea but make it evolve.

  21. Tildoras Says:

    I’m going to say more.

    CrossGen relaunch of Marvel is a great idea because first of all, Marvel has most of the artists who drew the CrossGen comics.

    To relaunch CrossGen is very easy in reality. It’s not necessary to finish the series so far remained incomplete. This can be done later.

    The first thing have to do Marvel is finish Negation War, the series in which the Sigil-bearers were facing together to Charon and the Negation universe.
    Naturally this must be counted by Tony Bedard and Paul Pelletier. All other series were directed towards what is counted in Negation War.

    Having done this and have a new starting point to continue.
    You can throw to start five or six series in which the story begins one year after the Negation War and so already have a new starting point to engage readers both old and new.

    I also think it is important to try to have the maximum of writers who created Crossgar. It is important to try to reunite Barbara Kesel, Ron Marz, Tony Bedard, Mark Waid and Chuck Dixon. At least this five to keep the essence of the CrossGen histories, having people who knew the full plan.
    From here you can already do CrossGen evolve in the new direction that Marvel decides, but always keeping its fantastic nature and taking it very clear that they are not superheroes.

    The relaunch is very easy, you just need people to believe that it is possible

  22. Johanna Says:

    Sounds like you have a good plan for what you’d like to see. Let’s hope Marvel listens!

  23. Carlos Says:

    Yes, yes, do the Negation War first. Then whatever is left, if there are survivors…they can pick the pieces and rebuild their lives.

    They should NOT be mixed with the MU, not one bit. If Marvel does bring some titles back, and depending what they are.

    I will buy.

    But no connection to the MU.

  24. Lea Says:

    I would love to see Barbara Kesel working again. I won’t lie, I have an irrational attachment to CrossGen comics, but just about any sign of life is exciting.

  25. Tildoras Says:

    People, read this:

    An VERY interesting interview with Axel Alonso. He sais a lot of interesting thigs about Crossgen.

  26. Johanna Says:

    Nice link, thanks, but it looks to me like the interview is with Tom Brevoort.

  27. Tildoras Says:

    Ok, my error. Is Tom Brevoort.

  28. Oldsun Says:

    Mystic is my pick

  29. Travis Says:

    Meridian was definitely my favorite of the CrossGen books… But I find it interesting that you would say that “their emphasis on a connected universe and setting up mysteries that never got resolved” was “misguided.” I thought it was brilliant, and was one of the strongest draws of the CrossGen Universe. If only the company had survived another few months and finished publishing Negation War, a lot of those mysteries would have gotten resolved.

    Unlike endlessly running series like X-men and Superman, which have no singular plot arc extending over the whole series, and which are constantly looking for new hooks and new directions, twisting and moving aimlessly in this direction, then in that one, CrossGen comics had a very definite arc from beginning to end, and towards the end, everything was really starting to come together.

    I adore X-men and all the rest, but CrossGen comics give the impression of having a set idea, a set answer, to everything from the beginning, and being consistent in that through to the end. No retcons, no reinventing the origins of characters.. No little jiggly bits invented by one writer at one time which were then contradicted or ignored by other writers later. Everything explained in Negation War and Solus and the final issues of the series made sense going back to everything set up since issue 1.

  30. Ralf Haring Says:

    Things only “started coming together” because the company’s financial situation was so dire. The big payoff to the sigil stuff was a way to try and sell more books, not because that was the natural endpoint of all those series. I seem to recall Sojourn for instance having a fairly straightforward find-the-7-or-whatever-pieces-of-the-arrow plot and they were only on like the third or fourth piece. They tried to get the big finish out there before the company went under and were unsuccessful.

  31. Eddie Elsewhere Says:

    JUst found out about this today, and am way Excited! my votes would be for Ruse, Meridian, Way of the rat, and Route 666.

  32. Ralf Haring Says:

    There are two four issue miniseries scheduled to start in March, Ruse (basically same series) and Sigil (a reimagining of the former title, I think).

  33. Howard Sinclair Says:

    i like to see Mystic Meriodian El Cazador and try to leep teh same style and felling Idrop Marvel beacause I was tired af all those tittles




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