Marvel Super Heroes Magazine Launches With Avengers Focus

Putting out a magazine for kids in connection with the Avengers movie is a terrific idea. (Especially since the free comic book Marvel put out was such a bad choice.) The first issue of the ongoing Marvel Super Heroes Magazine is dedicated to the team.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure the result is that good a value, since it’s high-priced for what you get, and the material doesn’t contain much new information that isn’t already known from the movie. The magazine is 32 pages for $4.99, which seems very slim. There aren’t any ads, though, unless you count the page urging you to subscribe to future issues (8 issues a year are planned) and the one asking you to provide your opinions on the publication. (Shades of manga!) There’s also a release form for readers and their parents to sign if they want to submit a letter, art, or photograph.

Marvel Super Heroes Magazine

Cover by Craig Rousseau, I think - no credit given

The magazine seems to have a bit of difficulty navigating the differences between the comics (or maybe the cartoons) and the movie. The cover features the film characters, while the first page also sticks Black Panther, Ant-Man, and the Wasp in around the edges.

It’s more of an issue with the comic content, a two-part Thor story by Joe Caramagna, Kevin Sharpe, and Terry Pallot that runs a total of 11 pages. It was originally published in Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #19 at the end of last year, and it features Thor and Loki fighting over the hammer Mjolnir. It’s not a bad little story, if it does have an obvious moral, but it turns on the idea that Thor, without his hammer, turns back into Don Blake, an idea not familiar to media viewers. It also makes Odin out to be a jerk and gives me a lot of sympathy for Loki, who’s used as a pawn here, although he also acts stupidly.

The magazine pages are full of art, sometimes overwhelmingly so, with call-outs and captions and all very shiny with computer coloring. It made my old eyes tired, but I am clearly NOT the audience for this, which wants to show kids how cool these characters are. It does a good job, with nothing I found particularly objectionable. (The interior art is even credited.) There are no movie photos or images, although a battle profile shows Loki fighting the team.

There are two pull-out posters. One on the inside cover features Iron Man against Loki; the other is a standing team shot, including the Scarlet Witch. That’s not the only activity that encourages you to destroy the mag: there’s a cut-out mix-and-match as well. Several puzzle pages include a maze, a rebus, and my favorite, the logic puzzle in which you have to determine which Avenger has been replaced by the Space Phantom. Of more interest to me were the Who’s Who-style bio pages. This issue profiles Black Widow, Hawkeye, Captain America, and the historical team. (Although I don’t buy Hawkeye gets a 5 out of 7 in intelligence when Black Widow gets a 3.)

It’ll be interesting to see what the next issue, out in July, looks like, since it’s dedicated to Spider-Man (in connection with the next movie). You can subscribe to the magazine at a discount to the cover price, and giving a kid the thrill of getting her or his own mail may be worth the cost. (By the way, that site doesn’t work if you don’t let them set cookies.) The magazine is also available through Target, Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Barnes & Noble, which seem the right audiences for this product. Someone shopping at comic book stores will be happier with the Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes comic.

8 Responses to “Marvel Super Heroes Magazine Launches With Avengers Focus”

  1. pete bangs Says:

    Hi Johanna. This is the sort of magazine for kids that fills the newstands here in the uk. There’s one for virtually every cartoon going and its a tried and tested formula that does pretty well as long as whatever its supporting keeps going. Interesting to see it spreading to states though.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Are they that short in the UK, just out of curiosity?

    The US has had mags of this type before, but they don’t seem to last very long. Sometimes they’re one-offs to promote a movie (I reviewed some released last summer), and sometimes they’re series. There was a Batman/Superman animated-based one back in the late-90s, if I remember correctly. It was mostly filled with content repurposed from the UK version, to take us full circle.

  3. Landry Walker Says:

    “(The interior art is even credited.)”

    As is the writing. But I wouldn’t know anything about that.

    “Are they that short in the UK, just out of curiosity? ”

    Same length. There’s around 14 or 15 issues out in the UK now.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Ha! Yes, the writing, too — sorry, I was looking at one of the many pinups when I wrote that.

  5. pete bangs Says:

    32pages is pretty standard over here. Much of the comics are reprints but a lot of the extras are produced in the UK. Some of the Marvel books feature UK produced comics as there’s not a whole load of new all ages stuff compared to DC. Most have one story split up by text,games and pin ups. Most of them support a cartoon series as I say so I’m looking forward to the ultimate spiderman comic.

  6. Landry Walker Says:

    “Of more interest to me were the Who’s Who-style bio pages.”

    I agree. Funnest part to write too.

    “Although I don’t buy Hawkeye gets a 5 out of 7 in intelligence when Black Widow gets a 3.”

    Also agree. She should be stronger too.

  7. Jesse Says:

    Worth noting is that this, and the rest of the new Marvel kids magazines, are brought to you by the same creative minds behind Disney Adventures. Not that numbers mean everything, but the latter was the only comics magazine I know of with 1M+ circulation, so it bodes well for these. :)

  8. Johanna Says:

    Oh, yeah, I hope it came through in my review that I think kids will like it, and it’s a great example of targeted marketing.




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