This year Marvel is celebrating their 75th Anniversary, and it seems they’re enjoying themselves so much they’re already publishing a miniseries celebrating their next milestone, their 100th, this July Announced at C2E2 during Saturday’s “Next Big Thing” panel, 100th Anniversary Special is a weekly series of five interconnected one-shots showcasing a wild and inventive future for the likes of the Avengers, the X-Men, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. And working on these five stories are some surprising names, from the likes of Dan Abnett, James Stokoe, Jen Van Meter, and more. When asked how this admittedly tongue-in-cheek concept for a series came about, Senior Editor Nick Lowe tells Newsarama that it came out of conversations about the history that’s already passed for Marvel and its characters.
“This idea came from Steve Wacker in a meeting where we were discussing a bunch of the characters’ 50th anniversaries and Marvel’s 75th Anniversary,” Lowe reveals. “Steve thought doing a publishing event where we imagined where the comics would be on their 100th anniversary would be cool, and boy was he right!”
Each of the five issues of 100th Anniversary Special will focus on a different character/team in the top tier of Marvel’s roster. The Guardians of the Galaxy one-shot will by writers Andy Lanning and Ron Marz along with Gustavo Duarte. The Spider-Man centric issue will by Sean Ryan and In-Hyuk Lee. The futuristic X-Men tale will by Robin Furth and Jason Masters. The Avengers one-shot will by James Stokoe. And the Fantastic Four story is by Jen Van Meter and Joanna Estep.
Given this is set in the year 2061, these heroes might be a bit different than how readers here in 2014 remember them. Lowe says that despite it taking place 47 years in the future publishing-wise, their in-continuity age won’t be as advanced.
“Well, the characters themselves won’t be 47 years older any more than Peter Parker isn’t over 50 like he’d be if he were aging in real time, but they’ll have aged a little bit,” Lowe explains. “So imagine 47 years from now (I’ll be a ripe 81 years old) when you’re picking up your favorite Marvel comics. I sure as heck better be retired by then collecting Nextwave theme-song royalties after that franchise becomes the biggest movie hits of the 2030’s and 40’s.”
Although Lowe was reticent to spoil some of the surprises he and the creators have in store for 100th Anniversary, he did give Newsarama a taste of what’s to come.
“You should be getting excited about Silver Galactus,” Lowe reveals. “You’ll get the strange Avengers of the future with a lineup that will shock you, a Spider-Man facing the scariest Kingpin you can imagine, a mutant President and an all-new Fantastic Four!”
As far as the creators go, Lowe says it was the individual one-shots direct editors – Emily Shaw, Jon Moison, Xander Jarowy, Devin Lewis and Jake Thomas – that were primarily responsible for choosing the talent for each title. Although some of the names might be a surprise to Marvel fans, Lowe says it’s all business as usual.
“There was nothing out of the ordinary here at Marvel. We editors look at the project in front of us, and try to pick the best talent for it,” Lowe explains. “. The range of creators here reflects the editors’ tastes and visions.”
Marvel is in the midst of celebrating their own actual 75th Anniversary, so the idea of preemptively publishing a comic series celebrating their 100th might seem maddening – especially for future Marvel editors who’ll be there when Marvel actually reaches the 100 year mark. When Lowe was asked about this possibly transgression against his future colleagues, Lowe didn’t pull any punches.
“Those editors in 2061 earned this. Trust me,” Lowe tells Newsarama. “They’re a bunch of jerks!”