|Marvel to participate in Free Comic Book Day 2004 - 25/07/2003|
|The American comic convention season got into full swing this past week and as key industry players have gotten the chance to meet face-to-face over the next few months, one of the more important items on the agenda of Diamond, the publishers and comic book retailers is 2004's FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 3. As decisions are being made by the FCBD committee and participants regarding dates and content, Marvel Comics have announced that they fully intend to participate in the event that provides free comics (that have already proven themselves as bestsellers in the mass market) to readers who haven't yet discovered comics in their local comic shop or bookstore. |
"For Marvel Comics, Free Comic Book Day is a rare opportunity for the entire industry to coordinate our efforts to expand the comic book marketplace," wrote Marvel spokesman Michael Doran. "Our mission statement is not to distribute books to our existing customers (Marvel fills this need with our special 25-cent issues and beginning soon the new MARVEL PREVIEWS), but to focus efforts on attracting lapsed comic book readers and especially brand new readers into our fold with our high-quality product."
"To this end Marvel Comics is dedicated to working with Diamond, comic book retailers, our fellow publishers and any and all new partners that can help distribute free comics to even more new customers than in year's past so they too can experience the hidden treasures found in their local comic book shop."
|A sneak peek at 1602 - 23/07/2003|
|Marvel have released a first look at a preview sequence from 1602 #1, a limited series written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove, with covers by Scott McKowen. |
Here is what a panel of comic book retailers had to say about 1602 #1 in Comic Buyer's Guide's advanced review:
"After three readings of this preview, its safe to say Gaiman does not disappoint. Nuances that the reader might miss on first reading keep surfacing, and it's a safe bet that there will be more as the series progresses. Elizabethan England was certainly not a place that I expected to find the Marvel Universe transported to, but the characters work well there. A tour de force of the highest order. A+"
"The ORIGIN art team has also delivered a beautiful package here. This series will truly be an event; don't miss it. A+"
Read on to see six, full-colour preview pages from the first issue of 1602.
|Marvel Knights 1602 - 22/07/2003|
|New York Times best-selling author and comic book legend NEIL GAIMAN's long-awaited Marvel Knights limited series 1602 is just a little more just 3 weeks away, set to debut on August 13th. Featuring art by the ORIGIN team of Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove - with cardstock covers by Scott McKowen - the 8-issue series takes place in the year 1602, in the final days of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. But if the series is set 400 years in the past, how are familiar contemporary Marvel Universe stars like Nick Fury, Daredevil, Dr. Strange and the X-Men exerting great influence over those times?|
According to Gaiman, that's the question at the heart of his story...
"Although 1602 will look at first glance like a 'What If...?' story, it actually isn't," Gaiman said during a recent Marvel press conference. "If you read it much more as a puzzle and an adventure, things will become more apparent as the story goes on. We'll learn how the world got this way, whether we can get it back, and what it means."
But in addition to being tremendously satisfying for long-time fans of the Marvel Universe, Gaiman also wrote the series as a fun, all-ages romp - created to be highly accessible and appeal to Marvel fans as well as those who don't know a Spider-Man from a Black Widow.
|Second chance to catch the wave! - 18/07/2003|
|This fall comic fans who haven't yet experienced the first wave of Marvel Tsunami titles can jump-on board these already new reader-friendly new titles. All of the initial launch books - RUNAWAYS, SENTINEL, MYSTIQUE, VENOM, NAMOR & HUMAN TORCH - begin brand new story arcs in October.|
To mark the occasion, as well as Marvel's continued commitment to the titles, four of the six titles will ship 2 issues in October - some with new creators like Venom's Paco Medina and Mystique's Michael Ryan. Plus, each issue beginning a new story arc will feature a special 'metallic ink on black' enhanced cover, at no extra charge to readers or retailers!
"Each title in that first TSUNAMI wave has already achieved a success in their own right in the comics' community," said Marvel Marketing Communications Manager Michael Doran, "from break-out critical successes like SENTINEL (recently awarded an "A+" for its first 4-issues by Comics Buyer's Guide) and RUNAWAYS (reviewed in this week's ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY), to break-out sales success like VENOM (both issue #1 and #2 placed in Diamond's Top Ten Sales Chart for May and June). And the better news is interest in mainstream outlets continues to grow.
"From libraries to major books chains like Borders and Waldens - who at their request earlier this month offered the SENTINEL & RUNAWAYS MARVEL MUST HAVES (their first MMH edition) and began offering all the TSUNAMI titles - word is spreading and is expected to continue to spread when the first TSUNAMI trade paperbacks are released later in the fall."
|Hulk: Gray debuts in October - 18/07/2003|
|During last year's San Diego Comic-Con International, the fan-favorite and award-winning creative team of DAREDEVIL: YELLOW & SPIDER-MAN: BLUE - writer Jeph Loeb & artist Tim Sale - announced their next Marvel collaboration would be HULK: GRAY, the third title in their 'Marvel Spectrum' series of MARVEL KNIGHTS limited series. With the 2003 San Diego Comic-con kicking off this week, its as good as time as any to announce the six-issue mini will make its long-awaited debut in October, 2003 with the release of its first 2 issues. |
As in the best-selling YELLOW & BLUE series, HULK: GRAY will use a modern-day framework to expand upon - and reveal previously unseen moments from - a pivotal point in the HULK's past -specifically the days immediately following Bruce Banner's first transformation. According to Jeph Loeb, the story "explores how the monster unleashes Bruce's inhibitions, but also ruins his life!"
"One approach to the Hulk is to examine how he differs from his alter ego," explained Loeb an in interview with Newsarama.com last year. "The Hulk always was far more complex than just an 'id' on the loose. He had a distinct personality from Banner and hated Banner. He was, and to this day in some form still is, incredibly twisted. He saw Banner as his prison guard who kept him in a dark place. And Banner - at the beginning - really couldn't remember all of the things that the Hulk did. Stan and Jack had created something that was more than just Jekyll & Hyde and the duality of human nature. The Hulk had an agenda, as foggy as it could be, and that's where we begin. What did the Hulk want and why?"
And also like the previous series, the story is told through Tim Sale's stunning art, 7-pages of which will be previewed in full-color in next month's WIZARD MAGAZINE #144.
|Marvel on top of Diamond sales charts - 17/07/2003|
|Winter 2003 in comic book Direct Market kicked out the same way Autumn '03 ended, with Marvel Comics firmly atop Diamond's June '03 Actual sales charts. Led by ULTIMATE X-MEN #34, the start of Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch's debut story arc "Blockbuster", Marvel took 8 of the Top 10 chart positions, 16 of the Top 20 and 27 of the Top 50, on its way to capturing over 41% of the Unit Market Share. That marks the second month in a row Marvel has accounted for over 41% of ALL comics and graphic novels sold to readers in the Direct Market. |
Marvel's 41.46% unit market share also represents a nearly ten percentage point margin over its next nearest competitor, this despite shipping over 20% FEWER titles to the direct market that charted on Diamond's Top 300 Comics and Top 50 Graphic Novels list than DC Comics.
Outstanding individual performers include Ultimate Spider-Man #34; Wolverine #2 and Venom #2 (both of which remained in the Top 10 in their 2nd months); the two highest debuting new projects of the month - Spider-Man & Wolverine #1 and BORN #1, and the #1 selling graphic novel of the month, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN VOL. 6: VENOM.
Other notable Marvel projects represented on Diamond's June individual sales charts but that didn't affect the Comics & Graphic Novels Market Share report was the MARY JANE Prose Hardcover Novel - #2 on Diamond's Top Ten Book Sales Chart despite being early-released the last week of June, and the MARVEL UNIVERSE RPG GUIDE TO X-MEN Hardcover, ranked #4 on Diamond's GAMES sales chart.
|Cinescape Magazine launches partnership with Crossgen - 16/07/2003|
|Choosing the comic book industry's largest convention to launch its partnership with CrossGen Entertainment, Cinescape Magazine will debut its first CrossGen Comic Book Insert at San Diego's 2003 Comic-Con International. Every issue of Cinescape #72, officially going on sale August 3rd, will include a complete copy of JOHN CARPENTER'S SNAKE PLISSKEN CHRONICLES #1, the debut issue of the monthly series by Hurricane Entertainment and CrossGen's CGE imprint. Featuring a September 2003 cover date, 3,000 advance copies of the magazine - which will also feature an interview with SNAKE writer William O'Neil and artist Tone Rodriguez - will be handed out to fans who visit the CrossGen booth during this year's Comic-Con.|
"While the issue will still be about two weeks from hitting newsstands, what better place to launch the Cinescape/CrossGen program then at the Comic-Con International in San Diego?" said Cinescape Magazine Executive Editor Eric Moro. "We hope this new initiative will help win over readers who might be interested in the medium, but wouldn't normally go into a comic book shop. And with mainstream icon Snake Plissken in our corner, we can't go wrong!"
"What's the best way to reach potential new readers? Give them a free copy of your comic book!" stated CrossGen Director of Marketing & Communications Bill Rosemann. "We're proud to unite with top-notch partners such as Cinescape, and Snake is the perfect character to grab the attention of mass-market readers. As for who will get the next insert, Po Po (the talking monkey from WAY OF THE RAT) just jumped into my office, demanding his rightful place in the spotlight!"
Issues #1 and #2 of JOHN CARPENTER'S SNAKE PLISSKEN CHRONICLES, a monthly comic book series produced by Hurricane Entertainment through CrossGen's CGE imprint, can currently be ordered from Diamond Comics Distributors.
|Next Marvel Must Have is a Blockbuster - 11/07/2003|
|Writer Brian Michael Bendis has worked his magic again. Just a few months after taking ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN to the top of the sales charts with the VENOM story arc (resulting in MARVEL MUST HAVES: ULTIMATE VENOM being the first MUST HAVE to sell-out and go back to press for a 2nd printing), Bendis and new regular series artist David Finch have ignited ULTIMATE X-MEN with the first two sold-out chapters of "BLOCKBUSTER", and a new MUST HAVE collection is in the works to help meet demand. |
ULTIMATE X-MEN #34 & 35, the first two chapters of the 6-issue story arc focusing on Wolverine and featuring guest-stars SPIDER-MAN, DAREDEVIL and the Ultimates' Black Widow, have both sold-out at Diamond and the high volume of backorders for these issues - which already showed sharp increases in preorders - indicates there is significant reader interest in the story arc still to be met.
In response, the 48-page MARVEL MUST HAVES: ULTIMATE X-MEN #34-35 (MAY035099) is available for order immediately and will go on sale August 6th, a week before ULTIMATE X-MEN #36 (JUN031602) reaches comic shops on August 13th (FOC 7/24).
"We run out of superlatives here at Marvel to describe the quality and the buzz that Brian Bendis brings to every project," said Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, "so the best compliment we can give him for his work on Ultimate X-Men is even accounting for the sales spike "BLOCKBUSTER" showed before it ever went on sale, we had this new MUST HAVE collection in the wings ready to go knowing there would be even MORE readers wanting to jump on board.
"And much of the credit should also go to David Finch. Not only is he doing the best work of his brilliant career on this book, he keeps turning in issue after issue, and ahead of schedule. If readers enjoy on-time books and consistent creators teams, they're in for a treat as Brian and David are planning a healthy run together."
MARVEL MUST HAVE: ULTIMATE X-MEN #34-35 will sport a new reader-friendly price of just $2.99 US and will be in stores early August. Ask the folks at Graphic Action to reserve you a copy.
|Oni Press Finds OMalley Lost At Sea - 9/07/2003|
|This October, Oni Press and Bryan Lee O’Malley wash up on the shelves of comic shops everywhere in the form of the new original graphic novel LOST AT SEA. O’Malley, who comic fans will remember as the artist of last year’s smash HOPELESS SAVAGES miniseries, GROUND ZERO, handles all aspects of this tale of a teenager named Raleigh, stuck on a cross-country road trip with three other kids she doesn’t know and doesn’t really want to know.|
"Bryan’s unique voice is a welcome addition to the chorus of comic creation," commented editor James Lucas Jones. "In LOST AT SEA, he’s mixed real emotion, compelling and witty characters, and a touch of the surreal into a haunting comic melody. Readers will find themselves falling into Raleigh’s song. She may think her problem is one of a kind, but anyone who’s been through the trials and tribulations of adolescence will know the truth."
|Silver Surfer #1 - 9/07/2003|
|He has the appearance of the alien and the power of a god, and beginning later this month the writing team of Stacy Weiss & Dan Chariton and soon-to-be superstar artist MILX will explore all the strangeness and mystery that entails with the debut of SILVER SURFER #1, a new ongoing series premiering July 30th. |
"In ancient times, the appearance of a shining silver humanoid in the skies would have precipitated the founding of a new religion," says series co-writer Stacy Weiss. "And in a way that's the key to our conception of the Silver Surfer. He's unlike other superheroes ... he's not of this Earth, and wasn't raised here. He's an alien - and, to Dan and me, he's a god.
"And like any god worth his salt, the Silver Surfer's actions defy human understanding. His manifestation in the real world inspires awe, which can be awful or awesome, depending on your point of view. Most of our characters are terrified. Our first arc is largely told from the perspective of a mother whose daughter is kidnapped by the Silver Surfer in what may at first appear to be a classic alien abduction scenario, but will unfold into something far more complex and intriguing as the story progresses."
SILVER SURFER #1, featuring a cover by Joe Jusko, goes on-sale 7/30 with a cover price of $2.25 US.
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