Tuesday, 10 November 2009

70 Years of Marvel - 2002

2002 was the year of MAX Comics. OK, technically, that's not true. The first MAX comics were launched the previous year, but 2002 saw Marvel's 18-certificate comics line get well and truly established, to the consternation of the internet (and, if wikipedia is to believed, to the consternation of Stan Lee as well).

MAX Comics is probably most renowned for having introduced Jessica Jones to the Marvel Universe. Hard-bitten private eye / ex-superheroine, Jessica was the creation of Brian Bendis and Michael Gaydos, swore a lot, and shagged Luke Cage, before being watered down sufficiently to appear in the pages of Bendis' Avengers. MAX's other big creation has been the Hood, created by Brian K. Vaughan, but hijacked by Bendis to act as one of the main protagonists (read: most overused characters) of his recent Dark Reign storyline.

MAX also produced a fair amount of character revivals. Not just Luke Cage, reinvented as a non-costumed swearing machine, but also War Machine (now actually able to kill people), Nick Fury (rewritten by Garth Ennis as a burned-out Cold War veteran looking for one last war), Shang-Chi (reuniting 70s fan faves Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy), Howard the Duck (from original creator Steve Gerber), Blade (launched to cash in on the movie franchise), Black Widow (the blonde one, not the good one), Apache Skies (featuring some of Marvel's Western heroes). And that was just in 2002! The MAX line is still going, if not strong, than at least surviving, with a series featuring the 40s hero, Destroyer, recently out, and Howard Chaykin's revival of his Dominic Fortune character.

2002 also saw the release of the first issue of Kevin Smith's Daredevil / Bullseye miniseries. Optimistic people are still waiting for the release of issue 2.

In the real world, the Euro entered common currency, the US Government was setting up the Department of Homeland Security, and Britain, the US, and various allies were looking forward to invading Iraq.

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