Thursday, 12 November 2009

70 Years of Marvel - 2003

Another year, another new brand. 2003 was the year of Tsunami Comics, a line of books aimed at appealing to the Manga market, a source of prime dollars of which Marvel was thus far not getting a slice. The idea of the line was to produce books which would be reprinted in the digest format of Manga books, rather than the full-size trade paperbacks normally used.

We got some good books out of it. Sentinel (above) was the Iron Man / Iron Giant with a mutant-hunting robot instead of a a big friendly robot, whilst Runaways was the story of a group of teenagers who discover their parents are eeeviiiillll! Other than those sparks of originality, though, mostly it was just the same old, same old: a relaunch of New Mutants; an attempt at a solo book for bad / good mutant, Mystique; the teenage adventures of Emma Frost; and new books for Venom, Sub-Mariner, and the Human Torch. The line wasn't a great surprise: most people can presumably tell the difference between real Manga and Marvel's pseudo-Manga, and those that couldn't just weren't gripped by what they saw.

2003 also saw the legendary Neil Gaiman doing his first work for Marvel, with 1602, which had the Marvel Universe transposed to Elizabethan times. A fine tale in its own right, I'm sure the numerous non-Gaiman sequels, prequels and sidequels, haven't detracted from its impact at all.

Finally, 2003 also saw the definitive origin of Spider-Man, in the Mark Millar-penned Trouble. Or maybe it didn't. After all the hype about this book, no-one really seems sure what the point of it all was.

In the real world, 2003 saw the Columbia shuttle disaster, the downfall of Saddam Hussein, and the return of Dirty Den, all of which kept the internet chattering.

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