The Marvel Comics characters become more ubiquitous every year, with cartoons, movies and a vast line of toys and products. In 2012, the company hopes to draw even more people into the original adventures of these characters through a line of original graphic novels. The first four graphic novels in the line, called “Season One,” focus on the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Daredevil and Spider-Man.
“We're trying to reach an audience that right now is more familiar with our most popular iconic characters from movie and TV screens, as animated features, as video game characters, or characters that they've seen or heard of in the news, on T-shirts, sneakers, and popular food brands,” said David Gabriel, Marvel Senior Vice President of Sales, at Marvel.com. “We wanted a book product that speaks to these folks, who know how cool the characters look, but haven't necessarily become aware of the books that these heroes have starred in for over 50 years.”
“Fantastic Four: Season One” by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and David Marquez was released in February; “X-Men: Season One” by Dennis Hopeless and Jamie McKelvie came out in March; “Daredevil: Season One” by Antony Johnston and Wellinton Alves was released last week; and “Spider-Man: Season One” by Cullen Bunn and Neil Edwards is set for May.
“The ‘Season One' line is designed to retell the original stories of these heroes from the '60s, but in a contemporary style to appeal to new readers (and existing readers who've never read those old comics),” wrote “Daredevil: Season One” writer Antony Johnston at his antonyjohnston.com website.
“X-Men Season One” writer Dennis Hopeless talked about the “X-Men” book at last month's Planet Comicon in Overland Park, Kan.
“We're going back to the first year of the X-Men,” Hopeless said. “The book is about when Jean Grey first shows up at the Xavier Academy and sort of coming together with the original other four guys and forming a team.”
Hopeless said the story fits in with the original stories told by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby in the 1960s, but brings it forward.
“The story is told within all of the fights of that first year, and we kind of dance around the raindrops of what Stan and Jack did and tell the new story that builds on that,” Hopeless said. “And it also modernizes it, so they're not wearing checkered suits and going to beatnik bars like they were in the 1960s issues.”
The second wave of the “Season One” line begins in July:
• “Ant-Man: Season One” by Tom DeFalco and Horacio Domingues, on-sale in July.
• “Hulk: Season One” by Fred Van Lente and Tom Fowler, on-sale in August.
• “Doctor Strange: Season One” by Greg Pak and Emma Rios, on-sale in September.
Fans who want a free first look at the “Season One” line can check out a preview on May 5. The first chapter of “Spider-Man Season One” will be given away as part of this year's Free Comic Book Day celebration at participating comic-book stores.