Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Praise for Marvel Adventures, a Rant, and a Proposal

I've really been enjoying these Marvel Adventures books lately. The new-reader friendly, all-ages imprint has been around for a few years now, and they've turned out some fun and funny stories in a simpler Marvel Universe with each book set in its most iconic state: Peter Parker is in High School, the Hulk is a simple minded brute, and so on. Everybody gets along fabulously, with the Hulk and Wolverine both in the Avengers. They're also rolling out MA: Iron Man and MA: Hulk titles later this year, so apparently they're not selling too bad. The writing has been pretty clever recently with M.O.D.Avengers, Ego, the Living Planet as a playa mackin' on planet Earth in Marvel Adventures: Avengers, and Stilt Man, Leap Frog, and Rocket Racer re-imagined as college nerds working for the Tinkerer in MA: Spider-Man. They also seem to come out much more reliably, and with arguably wider appeal than the "actual" Marvel monthlies.

A lot of those books have been falling further and further off schedule in the wake of Civil war and various creative delays. Amazing Spider-Man has fallen far off schedule recently, and somehow, I don't think handing Joe "Daredevil:Father" Quesada the pencilling reins is ideal course correction. Most of the main Marvel titles are nigh-unrecognizable now, the Initiative is up and running...fans may dig it, and I'm personally intrigued, but newbies are likely baffled. The Avengers are split down the middle, half of them government employees and the other half outlaws. Spider-Man has been exposed and who knows what's next for him, the Hulk is an invading alien warlord now, bent on revenge, Captain America is dead, and it looks like things are going to be shaken up for the foreseeable future. And I'm basically fine with all that, but I'm pretty sure its confusing as hell to the mom who just wants to get her kid an Iron Man comic, and gets Iron Man: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. with Lady Nipples because that's the "regular" Iron Man book, and the store's magazine-ordering guy has never heard of a Marvel Adventure Whatever comic.

Thus my modest proposal: Couldn't Marvel Adventures: Avengers just be the Avengers? The regular Avengers are New and Mighty now; they're not even using the adjective-less Avengers title. And since it's now Iron Man: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. , can't the upcoming Marvel Adventures: Iron Man just be Iron Man? Ideally, Marvel should be putting regular, monthly, accessible comics featuring Spider-Man, Hulk, etc, anyway, so why not ditch that cumbersome "Marvel Adventures" baggage and give the all-ages crowd monthly Spider-Man, Hulk, and Iron Man comics that they can comprehend? Seems like a good idea to me.


LurkerWithout said...

In regards to that second page from MA: Spider-Man, I believe the phrase all the kids use is pwned!

The Mutt said...

I see your point, but I have come to count on the word Adventures to help me find kid-friendly comics. I wish the whole industry would adopt it.

Carla said...

The 'Marvel Adventures' label is only cumbersome to your average long term reader; they are the ones who carry the 'kid book' stigma more than the guy off the street. Some parents rather appreciate the friendly label, knowing that this is where little Billy can get a decent Spider-Man story these days.
Again, this may just be me.

Brian Hughes said...

I've been reading comics for so long that "Adventures" always reads as "unnecessary ancillary title" to me, but you may have a point about new readers/parents. I guess my main point was that maybe the most accesible titles should be the "official" titles.