Sunday, February 04, 2007

Marel Then and Now

These are the Marvel Solicitations for January 2002.
I think it is interesting to see how much has changed or not in five years.

DAREDEVIL #41 Cover By Alex Maleev Brian Michael Bendis (w)/Alex Maleev (p & i) Only 25 cents! The movie is coming, and we want retailers to introduce one of the best books published today to a new wave of readers! That's why this issue -- which kicks off the next stunning DD storyline - will only cost a quarter! And best of all, "Lowlife" continues in only two weeks! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG...$0.25
DAREDEVIL #42 Cover By Alex Maleev Brian Michael Bendis (w)/Alex Maleev (p & i) 2 issues this month! The next shocking story continues here with part 2 of "Lowlife!" 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG...$2.99
So is Daredevil better off under Brubaker and Lark? I did not really follow the Bendis run, but read parts of it. After Brubaker’s opening arc, I’m not sure if Daredevil is better or worse. The sad part is no one has been able to get past Frank Miller’s run on the bbok, because no one is willing to really commit to any change.
ELEKTRA #20 Painted Covers By Greg Horn Greg Rucka (w)/Carlo Pagulayan (p)/Danny Miki (i) The Hand wants their "property" back - but are they up to the task of claiming it? 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG+ ...$2.99
This book is not even published anymore.
ULTIMATE DAREDEVIL & ELEKTRA #4 (OF 4) Cover By Salvador Larroca Greg Rucka (w)/Salvador Larroca (p) The Ultimate look at comics' ultimate couple comes to its ultimate conclusion! When the stakes are raised, what will Elektra choose: the man she loves… or her own brand of justice? 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG...$2.25
Not sure if this is part of the official canon in the Ultimate “U” or not.
PUNISHER #21 Painted Covers by Tim Bradstreet Garth Ennis (w)/Steve Dillon (p & i) In part 2 of "Brotherhood," Frank Castle investigates a huge drug ring - and the cops who are supposed to be stopping them! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG+..$2.99
Essentially this book was replaced by Ennis doing Punisher under the Max line and has become a top notch run on the Punisher.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #8 Cover By John Cassaday John Ney Rieber (w)/Trevor Hairsine (p)/ Danny Miki (i) The line between hero and ally blurs as Captain America faces someone whose goal is the same as his - but whose methods are very different! "Extremists" continues - with art by the new Marvel Knights' star, Trevor Hairsine (Cla$$war)! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG...$2.99
Currently a far better book now with Brubaker and Epting. What I read of this run was a little blah and impacted too much by 9/11.

ALIAS #18 & #19 Painted Covers By David Mack Brian Michael Bendis (w)/Michael Gaydos (a) It's 2 issues this month as "Underneath" continues! When Jessica searches for a missing hero, what dark secret will she uncover? 32 PGS. WITH ADS (each)/FC/PARENTAL WARNING…$2.99 (each)
I never got into this book, but the few times I read it I enjoyed the book. I think getting Jessica Jones pregnant and then married off to Luke Cage has marginalized an original character.
SHANG-CHI: MASTER OF KUNG FU #5 (of 6) Cover By Paul Gulacy Doug Moench (w)/Paul Gulacy (p)/ Jimmy Palmiotti (i) 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/PARENTAL WARNING $2.99
If they got the rights to do this a couple years back why can’t we get reprints of the original series. The artists who worked on this book were Jim Starlin, Paul Gulacy and Gene Day (plus others). I would love to see this in a series of hard covers.
ULTIMATE WAR #3 (of 4) Cover By Chris Bachalo Mark Millar (w)/Chris Bachalo (p) The two hottest teams in comics collide! The United States military cracks down on the X-Men as the Ultimates are sent to bring them in! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/ALL AGES......$2.25
X-MEN, ULTIMATE #27 & #28 Covers By Adam Kubert Mark Millar (w)/Ray & Ben Lai (p & i) The first chapter in the next big story begins here - with 2 issues this month! The Brotherhood's war on mankind hits overdrive! 32 PGS. WITH ADS (each)/FC/ALL AGES......$2.25 (each)
The Ultimate X-Men line is still flourishing, so I guess that means the book is a success. The Ultimate X-Men never held my attention long enough to be a fan.
X-MEN, UNCANNY #417 & #418 Covers By Kia Asamiya Chuck Austen (w)/Kia Asamiya (p) 2 issues of UNCANNY X-MEN -- both illustrated by international superstar Kia Asamiya - kick off a new story! The X-Men face off against a new breed of mutants bent on destroying humanity in "Dominant Species"! 32 PGS. WITH ADS (each)/FC/MARVEL PG......$2.25 (each)
Wow – the almost hated Chuck Austen. The book has to be better today, but not by much.

X-MEN, NEW #136 Cover By Frank Quitely Grant Morrison (w)/Frank Quitely (p) "Riot At Xavier's" rages on! What happens when the students take over the school? The eternal showdown of youth vs. experience explodes at Xavier's Institute! Who lives? Who dies? Who betrays whom? Find out in the story that will rock the X-Men once again! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG......$2.25
This was a great run. Grant Morrison hit a home run with his take of the X-Men. It’s a shame the book is no longer as good as it was, Morrison’s run has already been almost totally undone.
HULK/WOLVERINE: 6 HOURS #1 & #2 (of 4) Cover By Simon Bisley Bruce Jones (w)/Scott Kolins (p) Two of comics' hottest characters unite - courtesy of Bruce Jones (INCREDIBLE HULK) and Scott Kolins (Flash)! The green goliath and the feral mutant only have six hours to rescue a woman and a boy from two desperate drug dealers… but will they be able to control their infamous tempers to get the job done? 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG $2.99
Marvel just never let’s go of some themes. I think we are still waiting for the end of the Ultimate Hulk/Wolverine battle.
X-MEN, X-TREME #20 Cover By Salvador Larroca Chris Claremont (w)/Salvador Larroca & Liquid! (a) A new six-part story begins - as Salvador Larroca returns! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG......$2.99
I never liked this book when I read it for a few issues. It felt like a team book, not an X-Men book.
X-MEN, UNLIMITED #41 Cover By Chris Bachalo Jamie Delano & Mike Allred (w)/ Neil Googe & Nick Derington (p) First, Jamie Delano (Hellblazer) and Neil Googe (Bazooka Jules) introduce the mutant known as MC Mystik! Then, Mike Allred and Nick Derington retell of The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night"… starring the X-Statix! 48 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG......$3.50
X-books all over the place. I think the proliferation is less today, then it was then as New Avengers is a big seller, so they have been trying to expand that franchise a little more.
X-STATIX #7 Cover By Mike Allred Peter Milligan (w)/Mike Allred(p & i) 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG......$2.25
When I read this book I enjoyed it, but this was the quirkiest X-book ever and really had to be considered out of continuity.
EXILES #21 Cover By Georges Jeanty Judd Winick (w)/J. Calafiore (p)/Jon Holdredge (i) Part 2 of the story that will change the Exiles forever! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG......$2.25
Never got into this book and I think it has been recently cancelled.
WOLVERINE #185 Cover By Essad Ribic Frank Tieri(w)/Sean Chen(p) It all hits the fan as the latest story concludes! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG......$2.25
We are now on issue #50 and the re-launch and a year into the sister book Wolverine Origins (up for worse book of the year this year).
WEAPON X #5 Cover By Georges Jeanty Frank Tieri (w)/Georges Jeanty (p)/Dexter Vines (i) Standalone issue! What is the secret behind the Director's evil plans? 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG......$2.25
AGENT X #7 Cover By Brian Stelfreeze Gail Simone (w)/Alvin Lee & UDON (a) A standalone story about… women's underwear? 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG......$2.25
SOLDIER X #7 Painted Cover By Igor Kordey Darko Macan (w)/Simon Coleby (p) A self-contained story! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG......$2.25
MEKANIX #4 (of 6) Cover By Celia Calle Chris Claremont (w)/Juan Bobillo (p)/Marcelo Sosa (i) 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG $2.99
No idea what this was.
SPIDER-MAN, ULTIMATE #34 & #35 Covers by Mark Bagley Brian Michael Bendis (w)/Mark Bagley (p)/Art Thibert (i) It's double the ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN this month… and that means it's also double the Ultimate Venom! What was the secret that Peter Parker's father was working on? And what happens when Peter tampers with this dark experiment? Find out - and get ready for Spider-Man as you've never seen him before! 32 PGS. WITH ADS (each)/FC/ALL AGES......$2.25 (each)
Still going strong and the best Spider-Man book on the racks. Of course the other books suck, so it don’t take much.
SPIDER-MAN, AMAZING #49 Cover By John Romita Jr. J. Michael Straczynski (w)/ John Romita Jr. (p)/Scott Hanna (i) 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG......$2.25
This title is now back to its original numbering and still written by JMS. This book has been floundering for years and is still a lost book.
SPIDER-MAN, PETER PARKER #52 Cover By Francisco Herrera Zeb Wells (w)/Francisco Herrera (p)/ Wayne Faucher (i) The conclusion to another crazy one by writer Zeb Wells! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG......$2.25
Never got this book and it may have been replaced with a differently titled book today.
SPIDER-MAN'S TANGLED WEB #22 Cover By Alberto Dose Brian Walsh (w)/Alberto Dose (p) What happens to criminals caught in Spider-Man's web? Find out in "The System!" 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG......$2.99
SPIDER-GIRL #55 & #56 Covers By Pat Olliffe Tom DeFalco (w)/Pat Olliffe (p)/Al Williamson (i) It's two issues of everyone's favorite female fighter! 32 PGS. WITH ADS (each)/FC/ALL AGES......$2.25 (each)
Recently re-launched.
SPIDER-MAN: LEGEND OF THE SPIDER CLAN #4 (of 5) A MARVEL MANGAVERSE STORY Cover By Kaare Andrews Kaare Andrews (w)/Skott Young (p) 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG.....$2.25
No idea what this was. The Spider-Man frachise in in dire need of help. Five years ago and today it is still just a bunch of stories. No real direction.
MARVILLE #5: ORIGINVILLE Cover A By Greg Horn Cover B by M.D. Bright Bill Jemas (w)/M.D. Bright (p)/ Paul Neary (i) Here it is, the origin of Wolverine… the version that Joe Quesada wouldn't let Jemas tell! Plus: In honor of ORIGINVILLE, M.D. Bright delivers a variant "Wolverine-themed" cover! 32 PGS. WITH ADS (each)/FC/MARVEL PG $2.25 (each)
Ha, ha, ha – I remember this crap. This was really a stupid gimmick book that tied into a couple other gimmick books. At least the covers were not exploitative (not at all).
CAPTAIN MARVEL #5 Cover By J.G. Jones Peter David (w)/ChrisCross (p)/Chris Sotomayor (color) 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG....$2.25
Cancelled, but an interesting series.
ULTIMATE ADVENTURES #4 Cover By Kaare Andrews Ron Zimmerman (W)/Duncan Fegredo (p & i) The Ultimates recruit Hawk-Owl & Zippy! (Note: This is a resolicitation. All previous orders are canceled.) 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG $2.25
TRUTH #3 (of 6) Cover By Kyle Baker Robert Morales (w)/Kyle Baker (a) In the tradition of ORIGIN, Marvel reveals the shocking secret history of Captain America! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/CARDSTOCK COVER/MARVEL PG.....$3.50
Retro-con, that I believe was a mistake, but has been embraced as canon.
INCREDIBLE HULK #49 Cover By Kaare Andrews Bruce Jones (w)/Stuart Immonen (p)/Scott Koblish (i) The latest story comes to a shocking conclusion! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG...$2.25
Hulk is still going on, not sure if the book is better or not. I guess it is a yes as I stopped reading it under Bruce Jones.
THOR #58 Cover By Alan Davis Dan Jurgens (w)/Alan Davis (p)/Robin Riggs (i) Part 1 of "Standoff" - the three-parter penciled by Alan Davis! It's Thor vs. Iron Man vs. Captain America - as Dr. Doom pulls the strings! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG....$2.25
Probably coming back real soon.
IRON MAN #64 Cover By Alan Davis Mike Grell (w)/Alan Davis (p)/Mark Farmer (i) Part 2 of "Standoff" - the three-parter penciled by Alan Davis! It's Thor vs. Iron Man vs. Captain America - as Dr. Doom pulls the strings! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG...$2.25
Totally mixed up with Civil War.
AVENGERS #63 Cover By Alan Davis Geoff Johns (w)/Alan Davis (p)/Mark Farmer (i) Part 3 of "Standoff" - the three-parter penciled by Alan Davis! It's Thor vs. Iron Man vs. Captain America - as Dr. Doom pulls the strings! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG...$2.25
I think New Avengers suck, but the sales figures say I’m wrong.
FANTASTIC FOUR #65 Cover By Mike Wieringo Mark Waid (w)/Mark Buckingham (p & i) "Small Stuff/Big Stuff" kicks off here! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG....$2.25
Can anyone make this book good again?
FANTASTIC FOUR: UNSTABLE MOLECULES #1 (of 4) Cover By Craig Thompson James Sturm (w)/Guy Davis & Bob Sikoryak (p & i) The recently unearthed story of the real people who inspired the creation of Fantastic Four! Author James Sturm (creator of Time Magazine's pick for Graphic Novel of the Year, The Golem's Mighty Swing) and artist Guy Davis (DEADLINE) excavate the past to bring you the shocking saga of the real-life inspiration of the FF! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG....$2.99
I hear this was a great mini-series.
BLACK PANTHER #53 Cover By Andy Kubert Christopher Priest (w)/Jorge Lucas (p & i) The new direction continues as a new Panther prowls the streets of New York City in "Black & White" part 3! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG...$2.50
Wish I had read Priest run, but I’m avoiding the new run as it is like a totally different Black Panther.
PARADISE X: RAGNAROK #1 (of 2) Painted Cover By Alex Ross Alex Ross & Jim Krueger (w)/Tom Yeates (p) What if Thor and the Asgardian gods fell? Find out in this special two-parter set in the Earth X alternate future! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG ..$2.99
Just a little mini-series, no idea if it was good or not.
MARVEL DOUBLE-SHOT #3 (of 4) Painted Cover By Joe Jusko Jai Nitz & Sean McKeever (w)/ Gurihiru Studios & Darwyn Cooke (p) First Mr. Fantastic stretches into the spotlight… then it's Ant-Man drawn by Darwyn Cooke! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG.....$2.99
I like to see this book for Cooke’s artwork.
KILLRAVEN #4 (of 6) Cover By Alan Davis Alan Davis (w & p)/Mark Farmer (i) Continuing the all-new sci-fi thriller by the great Alan Davis! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG.....$2.99
I loved Killraven and this series was true to the series.
EDEN'S TRAIL #3 (of 6) Cover By Steve Uy Steve Uy & Chuck Austen (w)/Steve Uy (a) Continuing the anime-inspired adventure of sci-fi action delivered in the widescreen MarvelScope format! 32 PGS. WITH ADS/FC/MARVEL PG.....$2.99
Sounds really bad.

Marvel currently has co-branded with Dabel Brothers, added the Icon line of books, Ghost Rider series is back, another X-Book is in the mix (Astonishing), Heroes for Hire is an ongoing, some fun fifth week events have been done exploring monster tales, westerns, etc. and Civil War is almost over with multiple repercussions going on.

Overall I think Marvel is more diverse and has much better material then it did five years ago. A real improvement in my view.


  1. I know lots of Marvel zombies who think that the last 2 years worth of Marvel comics have been the cruelest joke ever perpetrated on them. Big crossover after big crossover has not allowed any single title to shine without interference from the huge event books. They would disagree with you about the quality of Marvel books right now, especially given the ending of Civil War and the mess that will leave behind.
    What I noted from your post is that now, some 5 years further down the road, Morrison's work on X-men has been washed away with no lasting effects on the Marvel U. And with the recent issue of DD Bru has reset Matt's world and none of what Bendis did over a 5 year period matters anymore. Bendis' run will be forgotten as he added nothing to DD's history that will stand the test of time. No new characters or supervillains. No memorable storylines or fight scenes. Matt has his secret ID again. His law license has been re-instated. His sidekick is back alive and healthy. His arch-enemy is back in business to play tag with him some more. Yes, Bru hit the cosmic reset button in a big way. I know many Marvel fans who wish the whole universe would get reset. Ah well. At least there's lots of Marvelites reading 52 and loving it. They've got a haven at DC when things turn south at the House of Ideas We Run Into The Ground.

    GO COLTS!!!!!!!

  2. Jeff - I know what you mean that the base marvel Universe may not be any better or worse then five years ago, but I think the overall level of the creative side is higher.

    Plus I was thinking that Marvel has done a good job of co-branding with Dabel brothers and doing Icon to try and spread a little diversity into thier line up, which had none five years ago.

  3. Jim--

    I think it's just Marvel's attempt to try and get a better acceptence into the bookstore market. Joe Q said a few years back that the future of comics is the bookstores. While trying his damnedest to get a higher profile in the Barnes&Nobles and Borders he has blamed the direct market for the woes of the industry. I have spoken with half a dozen shop owners here in NJ and all agree that Marvel now treats retailers with utter contempt. Marvel sees the retailer as the end consumer and could care less what the fans have to say. So doing big events like midnight sales of Stephen King's book and bringing in other novelists and tv writers on high profile books just reeks to me of Marvel trying to wash it's hands of the direct market once and for all and move onto other pastures where comics can be seen as legitimate literature. While I agree that Marvel is diversifying, I think their reasons for it are not good for the industry and that the overall quality of their books is at a lowpoint. Even Rusty and the gang at CosmicConversations has been crapping all over Marvel lately, and those guys are pretty pro-Marvel. Guess we'll see what the future brings.

  4. Jeff - Maybe I over sold that Marvel is better, but I'm talking compared to five years ago.

    Do you think Marvel's books are better or worse then five years ago?

    I say better, but I think in general the line is in disarray and in need of major overhauls. Which just tells you had bad Marvel reeked five years ago.

    As for the whys of what Marvel is doing, that is a good subject, but one that deserves more space then just in the comments.

    You should do a blog once in a while - my invitation is still open.

  5. Jim--

    I think a better comparison would be Marvel pre-September 11 and Marvel post-September 11. That was when Joe Q decided that the books had to change to make them relevent in a post 9-11 world where the real baddies(terrorists) were much more scarry than supervillains.
    As to your question of Marvel now vs Marvel 2002 I can comment on certain books you listed. First, DD by Bendis was horrible. Plodding pacing, no action, no new ideas. Bru's stuff is still better than Bendis' even though Bru has faltered since his stellar start. Punisher was always high quality under Ennis' pen whether he was writing it as a black comedy or as a hard-hitting MAX book. Slight edge to Punisher now under the MAX banner. Cap is WAY better now than it was with Cassaday art and no real writing. The downside is that Cap is a total douchebag now and not likeable at all. Alias is considered to be Bendis' best Marvel work. Hence the Omnibus treatment. It had it's moments, but overall not a favorite of mine. Certainly better than the short-lived series he did about the Daily Bugle. Morrison's X-men buries everything X right now with the exception of X-factor. Too bad it's all been whitewashed away. X-statix is one of the best books to ever hit the shelves. Fantastic stuff and some of Allred's best work to date. Anything done with the Spider-books is better than what we have now. I even long for the days of the Clone Saga over the current trash of the Spider-verse today.
    Today there are very few Marvel books worth reading. Cross out the entire Spider-man listings and the X-listings with the exception of X-factor. Punisher is great. Cap is pretty good. DD is still good, though not as good as it was. SheHulk has become lost in Civil War and lost it's shimmer. The Ultimate line is terrible with only Ult Spidey hanging onto any quality at all. Nothing else really stands out. Civil War has ruined Iron Man, Reed Richards, Cap, and others whose characterizations have been mutilated. Powers might be good, but like many I dropped this book after Bendis wrecked it with his history jumping story. Criminal is so cliche it's laughable. Rent The Usual Suspects instead of reading this book. And the MAX line has not had any real, new hits like Vertigo has. It's looking pretty bleak over at the big M.