Axel Alonso Says MARVELMAN Announcement Coming Soon

Marvelman by

Joe Quesada,

from 2009.

Marvel Comics announced in July 2009 that they had acquired the rights to Marvelman — also known as Miracleman — a character known for starring in vastly influential stories, and for long being mired in legal limbo.

Turns out, the character has remained in limbo. Due to legal complexities, Marvel has yet to publish new stories featuring the character or much sought-after reprints of the material written by Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman. Though it looks like that might be changing in the near future.

Following last month's news that Angela will be debuting in the Marvel Universe in the closing pages of June's Age of Ultron #10, observers speculated what that might mean for the future of Marvelman, another character heavily associated with Neil Gaiman, originally from a publisher outside of Marvel, and with a complicated legal history. In an interview on Monday with Newsarama, Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso stated that they've made "considerable progress," and that a Marvelman-related announcement is coming "soon."

 

We also discussed Jonathan Hickman and Jim Cheung's August-debuting Infinity event, the forthcoming Marvel NOW! Wave 2, and Marvel's new original graphic novel line that debuts with October's Avengers: Endless Wartime by Warren Ellis and Mike McKone. Q&A follows; check back tomorrow for the second half of our talk with Alonso, on the halfway point of current event series Age of Ultron. Courtesy of Marvel, we're also showcasing several upcoming covers for books out this July.

Newsarama: Axel, not sure how much you can speak to this right now, but given the recent Angela news, fans are naturally wondering about another character in a seemingly similar situation, Marvelman — is there any progress involving that character?

Axel Alonso: There has been progress. Considerable progress. And we'll be making an announcement soon.

I'm a huge fan of Marvelman. I'm very excited about seeing him being published by Marvel.

Credit: Marvel Comics
Avengers #15 cover.

Nrama: Something seemingly coming up in the nearer future is Infinity, and more details on that have recently been released. It's been said for a long time now that the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe will become better integrated with the rest of the MU, and become a bigger deal in general. We've already seen the high-profile launches of Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, but is this the truest realization yet of that goal?

Alonso: Absolutely. You won't find a Marvel event that narrows the gap between Marvel’s cosmic heroes and earthbound heroes more than Infinity. Everyone's fighting side by side for the same stakes.

It’s all part of a slowly unfolding plan. When we did Avengers vs. X-Men, our goal was to do an event that was equally relevant to readers of Avengers and readers of X-Men, which aren't always the same audience, that set up the launching pad for an expanded Marvel Universe.  The way that readers have responded to Guardians of the Galaxy — which was the #1 selling book this month — and Nova shows that Marvel fans are down with the program.  And Infinity will continue to hammer home the message that it’s called the Marvel "Universe" for a reason. A long time ago, I promised that Nova and the Guardians would be as relevant to the Marvel U as the Avengers and Spider-Man, and I wasn't lying. Infinity will do the same for Thanos and the Inhumans.

Avengers #16 cover.

Nrama: The Infinity creative team feels well-suited to a story like this, especially given Jonathan Hickman's noted penchant for writing stories that are large in scale.

Alonso: Infinity is Jonathan's story. It’s been evolving for the last three editorial summits.  Like I said, Infinity will be all-in for the earthbound and cosmic heroes, but it will also bring the Inhumans to center stage, and set them up as key players in Infinity and beyond.

Nrama: Wanted to ask about the recently announced original graphic novel program — Marvel has been doing more of these, starting with the Season Ones, and now there's a new initiative. For a long time in recent years, the conventional wisdom always was that the format didn't really make financial sense for Marvel for a variety of reasons. Clearly, that seems to no longer be the case. What's changed? What's made it a more appealing option for Marvel?

New Avengers #8 cover.

Alonso: I just see this as part of our overall plan to try and tell stories in different formats, and see what shakes out. This is our first dip in a pool we've wanted to swim in for a while, and we’ve put together a strategy we’re comfortable with. We have the right creators: A writer who has an extremely loyal fan base, and who is very popular in the OGN format — Warren Ellis — and an artist who is an incredible storyteller — Mike McKone. The right characters: the superhero team with the highest Q-rating in the world — the Avengers.  A release date that is keyed to the release of a Marvel Studios movie.  And an evergreen story that provides retailers with multiple opportunities to push the OGN against future Marvel Studios movies.

As editor-in-chief, what I like about this initiative, too, is that it allows us to work with a number of creators who find this format appealing. I don't think Warren Ellis would have been interested in writing a 5- to 6-issue arc of Avengers in continuity — not due to a lack of interest in the characters, but due to the constraints of the periodical format. But given the opportunity to tell an evergreen story — in essence, to write a screenplay — was appealing.  And I'm sure Warren understands how important of an initiative this is, how this is a game-changer for us in regards to how we tell stories.

Thanos Rising #4 cover.

Nrama: You mentioned at CBR recently that Marvel NOW! Wave 2 is coming soon. Since then we've seen some new series announcements, but it's not clear what's exactly constitutes Wave 2. So, readers should expect more on that soon?

Alonso: Oh yeah. We have plenty more planned. Marvel NOW! Wave 2 will not only provide new ongoing series featuring some of your favorite characters, but also great jumping-on points for series in progress. We’re very happy with the performance of our relaunch, and we want to make sure that fans who’ve missed, say, Jonathan's Avengers, Brian's All-New X-Men or Jason's Thor: God of Thunder, have a great jumping-on point in that window of time.

I'll add that the Marvel NOW! trades are selling through the roof, which I think is a reflection of the quality of those books, and the efforts of our writers and artists, who really brought their A-game.

Nova #6 cover.

Nrama: While Marvel NOW! at first seemed a little hard to define since it didn't have as much of a unifying factor as some other initiatives, it does sound like it's being treated as a success within Marvel.

Alonso: We knew that if we delivered great content, in a manner that allowed fans — and retailers — to digest slowly, that Marvel NOW! would succeed. Our plan wasn't as headline-grabbing as releasing everything in one month, but a few months later, we’re looking at a thoroughly revitalized line and creatively energized talent pool. All of our monthlies have stuck; nothing's getting cancelled. And in those rare instance where a writer had to move on — Jeph Loeb on Nova or Daniel Way on Thunderbolts — it was their choice, and we're building on what they built, not blowing it up.  

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