BRING BACK MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS?
A brief history lesson . Marvel Comics Presents (From this point in I will refer to it as MCP) was an anthology series that ran for 175 issues between 1988 and 1995. A second volume ran for a year in 2007/08. MCP was often used as a proving ground for talent not from a comics background. Each issue contained between one to four stories, these stories would be complete in X amount of issues. In its time MCP had some big stories in its ranks. Most notably Weapon X by Barry Windsor Smith. In many peoples opinion, mine included it is the definitive Logan origin.
Reading Marvel: 1872 at Christmas was the light bulb moment. The mini series was part of the Secret Wars event last year. The basic premise was Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and Red Wolf in 1872 instead of the Marvel 616. It was a very enjoyable read. The attention to detail Gerry Duggan showed in working in other elements of known Marvel comics into the 1872 setting is what makes it such a joy to read. Anyway the story ends with the caption; “The Avengers of The West will return.” My immediate thought was no they won’t! I can’t see Marvel ever revisiting this continuity outside of an all time consuming, reality bending event. Which is a shame.
So why bring MCP back? In my opinion there are two reasons to bring it back and these two reasons will make it work. With no publishing experience its not my job to tell Marvel do it this way, this will work, this will make you money. All I’m saying is wouldn’t it be cool if you done it this way and maybe it could work if you done such and such. I will see what the response is to this blog and I might consider running with it more. Who knows where it could end up?
The first reason is it would supply Marvel with a space to try out fresh new talent. By this I mean really go out and search for new up and comers. In recent years Marvel have taken huge steps in hiring a diverse pool of creative talent. But when you flick through the previews it seems to be the same six or so writers and artists just moving around the titles. I read the other day Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino are leaving Old Man Logan soon. I would be very surprised if the job went to someone I haven’t already read comics by. There must be a whole population of untapped talent. You could even make MCP a fan fiction series but that would require a whole new presentation by me for the Marvel higher ups.
An average comic is at least twenty pages of story. There are many ways to divide this up. Two stories of ten pages or three stories of six pages. This would give newer talent perfect practice for honing story telling and meeting deadlines. I think it would work best if a story could be done in three parts. So you have a clear beginning, middle and end. Anything more and it tends to drag and again doing it this way acts as a good test for a creators skills. The second reason to bring MCP back is to do stories that aren’t tied to continuity. Just go back to having fun! I think in the current climate of new fans coming to comics from the movies and elsewhere having stories that aren’t tied to months even years of continuity would be a welcoming prospect.
Hell instead of MCP why not have MCUP (Marvel Cinematic Universe Presents). An anthology just for the movie continuity. But an anthology series can also be used to appeal to everyone. For example you have a character from the latest film in the first story, a B or C list character in the second and an alternate reality in the final one. To me having it centring on characters who very rarely get the spot light makes it more appealing. Maverick, Silver Sable and Shag Chi are just some suggestions from me.
When I sat down to write this and do some research I was actually surprised there haven’t been more attempts at anthology series. Two years ago we had the Wolverine centric anthology Savage Wolverine and there were some really good stories on offer. In a way it doesn’t even have to be MCP Marvel brings back if they want an anthology series. They could recycle out titles into new exciting series and make them more specific. This route may seem like the cash grabbing route but it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.
Uncanny X-Men won’t be in use after IvX so why not reintroduce it as a X-Men centric anthology? Marvel Knights can cover all the street level stories. Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish can cover all things Avengers out of continuity and last Journey in Mystery covers all mystic and other worldly stories. Perhaps it would work if these were used as sub titles to MCP and you would have a year a of Uncanny X-Men, then a year of Marvel Knights and so on. Bringing back MCP may best best served in the digital format. DC had some success a few years ago with bringing back Legends of The Dark Knight as a digital anthology. After a year it then went to print in a trade. They also had Batman Beyond and JLA Beyond sharing alternate weeks digitally then sharing a printed trade. Marvel could do the same with MCP. The only problem would be sorting out how often to put it to print as a trade paper back. If they stuck with the three stories in one issue and having a story concluded in three issues you would have four separate stories a year. Would this translate to four trades a year or two trades with more stories contained?
In closing there is plenty to think about here. The main points being Marvel should be looking to bring in untapped talent and to tell none continuity fun stories. The modern thing to get the ball rolling is #BringBackMarvelComicsPresents so if you read this and agree with me in one way or another lets do this. I want to see this hash tag at least once before the week is out.
About Ian Wells
Ian currently runs the THEBLOGOFCOMICSHOTTOPICS blog. Check him out on Twitter @IanWells87.
About Language of Bromance
Together Richard and Shawn formed the podcast The Language of Bromance and from there it has been nothing but fun. The duo laugh about things they go through, stories in the news and even getting serious discussing net neutrality along with other issues. Every so often their friendship turns to a bitter rivalry with their nerdiest creation the draft episodes. An original take on a best of or a top 10 list. The draft episodes are done like an NFL Draft 7 rounds where Richard and Shawn flip-flop picks on various topics.
To become a LOBarmy Contributed
If you are interested in writing an article for the LOBarmy Intelligent Reports please contact Richard and Shawn at EatTheBeaver@LanguageOfBromance.Com or reach out to us via twitter @LanguageOfBro.