Another year, another line wide crossover event showing angst-ridden superheroes punching each other. To this end is May's "Original Sin", an eight issue series which will be written by Jason Aaron ("Wolverine & the X-Men", "Amazing X-Men", "Ghost Rider") and drawn by Mike Deodato ("Secret Avengers"). As has been revealed in the middle of March, the premise for the series is that longtime cosmic character Uatu the Watcher will be murdered, and the quest for his killer reveals yet more terrible secrets behind Marvel's best heroes. Since 2004-2005, Marvel Comics have unleashed a crossover event at least once a year every year since, and they tend to rotate between events with actual villains as threats and events which rely on heroic infighting. Since 2013 saw both "Age of Ultron" and a Thanos-inspired event in "Infinity" arise, 2014 will see the return of more dark secrets to well known heroes for the sake of drama and sales.
Thus, Marvel Comics have revealed their official marketing strategy for this summer. In addition "to vast social media outreach, new levels of targeted web and video advertising, radio campaigns, television placements including 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'", retailers will be allowed to host launch parties for the book in May. These include glow-in-the-dark rubber eyeballs as collectible items. Why is Marvel doing this? Because give-away plastic rings have worked very well for "Green Lantern" related comics over the years. Moreover, having commercials for comic books air during new episodes for a hit network TV show is such a good idea, one wonders why Marvel Comics haven't pursued it for comics besides for crossover events. Imagine if the launch of, say, "Black Widow #1" saw a commercial on ABC?
There will be variant covers as well, including covers by Scottie Young, Art Adams, Ed McGuinness, and Gabriele Dell'Otto. Although fans and even retailers bemoan crossovers, they always jazz up sales in the short term and thus continue to be part of the annual routine. For the record, "Original Sin" would only become the fifth out of (what will be) ten crossover events since 2004-2005 which isn't written or co-written by Brian M. Bendis.
Peter David returns to new "Spider-Man 2099" ongoing series!
As part of the push for the relaunch of "Amazing Spider-Man" this month, it has been revealed that it has earned a spin-off before the fresh "#1" issue has been printed. To a degree it is also the third, and last, spin-off of "Superior Spider-Man" following the canceled "Morbius the Living Vampire" and the low selling cult hit "Superior Foes of Spider-Man". In the pages of "Superior Spider-Man", readers saw Miguel O'Hara, the Spider-Man of the year 2099, find himself trapped in the modern day in an attempt to save his entire timeline. He often provided some vital heroic relief to Dr. Octopus' era possessing Spider-Man's body. He will now appear in his own ongoing series in July, written by his co-creator and former writer Peter David ("X-Factor") and drawn by Will Sliney ("Fearless Defenders").
Peter David, alongside artist Rick Leonardi, began the "2099" imprint of Marvel Comics in 1992 with "Spider-Man 2099 #1" and wrote it for 44 of its' 46 issue run. Although the "2099" imprint may read today as being a classic example of "what people in the 1990's thought the future would be like", David looks forward to telling Miguel's story as "a man out of time". He currently is working for the company which will one day become the corrupt corporate giant Alchemax, and trying to raise his own ancestor to be a better man. A rumor of this spin-off arriving has long been uttered online, but the decision to allow Peter David to return to his creation of the last century is an additional editorial treat.
New "Amazing Spider-Man #1" reaches five year pre-order high!
Marvel Comics have informed Comic Book Resources that initial orders for April 30th's "Amazing Spider-Man #1" have reached over 500,000 copies. This exact figure is not known, and retailers will have another week to increase orders of the issue with Diamond Distribution. Although exact sales figures for this issue won't be known until mid-May, it would put this issue in company with "Amazing Spider-Man #583" from January 2009; an issue which saw a guest appearance by President Barack Obama and roughly five reprints.
The issue will be priced at $5.99 for 64 pages of content with six variant covers offered to eager retailers. In addition to promising the return of Electro (just in time for his film debut a week later), it offers a huge anthology of talent. Dan Slott will write a main story drawn by Humberto Ramos, a short story drawn by Ramon Perez (to promote "Spider-Man Year One") as well as co-write two shorter stories with Christos Gage and drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Javier Rodriguez which will focus on some upcoming villains. In addition, there will be a short story by Peter David and Will Sliney to essentially advertise their new "Spider-Man 2099" series which debuts three months later, and a "Scarlet Spider" story by Chris Yost and David Baldeon. Finally, "there will be a shorter, unrelated story from Joe Caramagna with art by Chris Eliopoulos". The premise, naturally, is to return Peter Parker/Spider-Man to his roots after over a year of him being possessed by Dr. Octopus and becoming an anti-hero.
This high pre-order is impressive, and makes one wonder what a re-marriage issue with Mary Jane Watson might fetch.