Update: It might be time to recalibrate guesses on this one.

Below, we speculated that the "Superior" Marvel NOW! teaser image might have to do with the return of Marvelman/Miracleman. But other sources — including Multiversity Comics and Bleeding Cool — think it might be Spider-Man-related.

Keep in mind that Amazing Spider-Man #700 is scheduled for release in December 2012, which would meet the "most shocking comic book of 2012" criteria, timeline-wise. Series writer Dan Slott has already gone on record saying that the issue will feature a significant development.

"What I can clearly say is that in the 20-odd years I've been working in this industry, I have never done something as big to a character as what we're doing to Spider-Man in #700," Slott told Newsarama in July.

So it's at least as possible as any other outcome that the change coming in Amazing Spider-Man #700 leads to the launch of a new Spider-Man series next month in January 2013. Swift relaunches have become the trend with Marvel NOW!; Captain America, X-Men Legacy and more are all ending their current volumes in October, only to receive new #1s a month later.

Amazing Spider-Man #700


Though those relaunches have come with new creative teams, recent interviews indicate that Dan Slott will be sticking with Spider-Man long-term, and in July Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso told the following to CBR:

"The majority of core titles are involved in this shift, but there is one big title — and I won't say what it is — that will remain with the current creative team because their plans for the immediate future include a massive story hook that legitimizes it being a Marvel NOW! title, without the creative change."

If Slott — who has been writing Spider-Man regularly since 2008 — is sticking with the character, though it might initially seem unusual to deem him "top secret," he's become so closely associated with Spider-Man in recent years, that including his name as part of the "Superior" tease would likely skew speculation in a very specific direction.

Also, Slott (as well as many other creators) fulfills the criteria in a very basic way — he's scheduled to be a guest at New York Comic Con, and the writer of the "Superior" project is scheduled to appear at a retailer breakfast at the start of the show. And, as Multiversity points out, it makes sense to have a major Spider-Man announcement at New York Comic Con given the character's history with the city.

As before, it's all speculation until an official announcement arrives.

Original story: Is Marvel finally ready to release new Marvelman/Miracleman material?

The publisher is teasing a major announcement for New York Comic Con, one billed to "lead into the biggest new launch of 2013." Those words appear on the Diamond retailer site in the description of a New York Comic Con "Retailer Appreciation Breakfast" to be held on Oct. 11, opening day of the convention.

At that breakfast, Marvel will have a "top secret guest," the writer of "the most shocking comic book of 2012" which then leads to a January 2013 launch. The book is promoted with this new Marvel NOW! teaser, in the same template of past ones but without a creative team, simply stating the word "superior."

Since Marvel announced their acquisition of Marvelman/Miracleman in 2009, they haven't released any new material featuring the character, reportedly due to complex legal entanglements. Yet just last week, the publisher filed for new "Miracleman" trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, for both comic books and action figures.

Several of Marvel's recent trademark filings have directly preceded news of major upcoming projects, including multiple "Guardians of the Galaxy" trademarks a month prior to the official announcement of that film, and "Avengers Initiative" before the unveiling of their recently released mobile game.

Given Marvelman's near-mythic status within the comic book industry, and after more than three years of speculation on what Marvel might do with the character, a new series — especially one that might place Marvelman in the Marvel Universe — would likely be one of the biggest pieces of news from the convention.

It's worth noting that Superior is also the name of a Mark Millar/Leinil Francis Yu creator-owned series published by Marvel's Icon imprint, but given the presence of a Marvel NOW! logo and the fact that all such books thus far take place in the Marvel Universe, it would seem to be a safe bet that this is unrelated. (Update: Millar has confirmed to Newsarama that he is not involved with whatever project the image is teasing.)

Ultimately, at this point the "superior" image could be teasing many different things, and it's all speculation until official word comes — which looks to be next month at New York Comic Con, if not before.

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