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Marvel Comics news: All-New Marvel NOW, Magneto's new comic and more X-Men films

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The latest batch of Marvel Comics related news items from December 7th - 9th, 2013!

Marvel Comics vows marketing blitz for Marvel NOW! in 2014!

Every year, Marvel usually has some line wide promotional campaign and banner across all their comics and ads which they use to sell their comics. This year it was "Marvel NOW!" (with exclamation point attached), and in 2014 it will apparently be "All-New Marvel NOW!". In a press release offered across the internet, editor in chief Axel Alonso and senior vice president of sales, print and digital sales David Gabriel made a vow to reach 100 million people with their new ad campaign. To this end they plan an increased online presence capitalizing on social media as well as radio, print, streaming, video and apparently even TV ads in this blitz. One wonders if the simple idea of a commercial attached to one of their annual Marvel Studios films is in play.

A major component of this scheme is offering free digital copies of comics online. A free "All-New Marvel NOW!" primer has been offered online and every number one issue next month will offer not only a code for a free digital copy of that issue, but codes for free digital copies of other "Marvel NOW!" comics. In addition, Marvel is willing to offer entire collections (as in 4-6 issues) for free online to inspire new readers to jump aboard various titles. The company also stressed their "Marvel Unlimited" digital subscription service which allows readers to read over 15,000 comics online, including comics from six months prior. The fascinating thing about this strategy is that it suggests that Marvel Comics are well aware that offering giveaways is a good way to promote comics to new readers, yet most #1 issues published by the company average $3.99 in cover price, even for series which won't be priced that high afterward. However, it seems that offering comics for free online - where costs are lower as there are no shipping or printing costs factored - seems to be considered a more up to date alternative these days. It will be interesting if 2014 sees an uptick in sales due to this strategy.

Magneto gets own ongoing series!

Having been attached to the "X-Men" franchise since its first issue in 1963, Magneto has long been a well known and even popular villain (or anti-hero). He has often gotten mini-series in the past, but now Marvel is committing to an ongoing title for the currently reformed villain. Much like in the 1980's, Magneto has apparently reformed and been hanging around various X-Men squads for several years now. Cullen Bunn ("Venom", "Fearless Defenders") and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta ("Astonishing X-Men") will launch the "Magneto" series in March. The premise sees Magneto strike out on his own to track down and terminate threats to the X-Men or mutants at large. Rather than strike out like a villain, Magneto will be going incognito on the streets to find these threats on ground level, with a squad of SHIELD agents hot on his trail. It will remain to be seen how well the market absorbs yet another spin off X-Men title.

"X-Men: Apocalypse" in 2016 and more Fox film news!

"The Wolverine" is gone from current theaters and "X-Men: Days of Future Past" is coming to theaters by Bryan Singer next year, and Fox's plans for their X-Men franchise continues to expand. Having announced it originally via Twitter, director/co-producer Singer has confirmed that another X-Men film for 2016 is on Fox's slate and will be called "X-Men: Apocalypse". The titular villain Apocalypse first appeared in "X-Factor #6" circa 1986 and was created by Walter & Louise Simonson and has appeared in virtually every X-Men cartoon and video game ever since. Furthermore, it is highly suspected that Singer would co-produce and/or direct this film as well. It is unknown who would play the villain and how many of the stars of "X-Men: Days of Future Past" would be willing to return for yet another outing. Plans for another X-Men film at least on the drawing board may seem typical for a major studio like Fox, but it is ambitious considering reports that "Days of Future Past" is the second most expensive film the studio has ever produced; the first being "Avatar".

In relation to Fox's plans for their Marvel licenses into 2016, the studio has signed writer/producer Simon Kinberg for the next three years into 2016 with an aim to construct an "interlocking" universe within not only their "X-Men" films, but also a relaunched "Fantastic Four" line of films. Kinberg is heavily involved in "X-Men: Days of Future Past" as well as other projects with other companies, such as production duties on Disney TV shows such as "Cinderella" and "Star Wars Rebels".

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