Every now and again comic books introduce a new alternate universe, a new character than dons an old costume, or shake up a team in order to keep things fresh for old readers, but also in hope of attracting new ones. Marvel decided that it’s that time again, and they plan on making the change later this year, in September.
What’s interesting is that the publisher seems to be paying attention to internet chatter and modern complaints about that lack of good female characters, the lack of good character of color, and the lack of good gay or bisexual characters.
While Marvel seems far from willing when it comes to making controversial choices in regard to their movies, they seem more than willing to take such risks with their comics. Enter black Captain America, female Thor, and all female Avengers.
But the people over at Marvel want to take things even further. They are currently using the universe-crossing “Secret Wars” story which started just a few months ago in order to introduce several new characters and new worlds, but also to reimagine some of the older ones.
You can expect this decision to lead to the release of somewhere between 55 and 60 comics starting at issue No. 1 for the publisher’s fall lineup. David Gabriel, SVP of Sales & Marketing, called the event “an absolute game changer”.
Axel Alonso, Marvel’s editor in chief, gave a statement during a phone interview, explaining that “Secret Wars’ sort of sprinkled the world with exciting new elements and is going to breathe into it new life. We used ‘Secret Wars’ as our launching pad, because it gave us a nice, big, blank canvas to paint on”.
Alonso insists that they are not erasing what people know as the Marvel Universe, that they are not erasing Marvel history, that the event is not a reboot. He goes on to explain that the issues set to launch in the fall will introduce readers to a new universe, with bold new landscapes, and characters and teams both brand-new and familiar. However, each of the No. 1 comics will be structures so that they are easily accessible to new readers.
The editor in chief admits that they looked at TV shows for inspiration when it came to carefully trying to figure out how to balance what appeals to old fans with what appeals to new fans.
He informs that they are telling a large story that unravels over many episodes and offers a definitive sense of completion, but not at all one of finality. The story continues after that and Marvel has every intention of respecting the history and the continuity that they inherit from every single story that they decide to tell.
Alonso also admitted that the Marvel team feels confident about the event, in part due to the success that female-led titles have enjoyed lately.
While there were people who complained about female Thor when the change was first announced, the story did not only attract a large number of readers, most of which are female, but also managed to hold on to the old Thor fans.
Female Thor No. 1 sold over 200.000 copies, Spider-Gwen No. 1 (a female version of Spider-Man starring Gwen Stacy) sold over 250.000 copies, A-Force No. 1 (all-female Avengers) sold over 125.000 copies, and, as a nice bonus, Ms. Marvel No. 1 made New York Times’ best seller list.
Image Source: bleedingcool.net