(Paul Pope and Jose Villarubia’s cover to Strange Tales Max 1. Big wow.)
Yesterday I looked at DC’s major 12 weekly event superhero series Wednesday Comics. Today, it’s Marvel’s turn. I’ve always been a superhero fan, but find myself further and further away from the majority of output by the big two in the last few years. I’ve no interest in most of the series and none of the big events because they just demand a level of insider continuity knowledge that I just have no interest in obtaining. All of my favourite superhero series rely more on great stories and art than they do in knowing exactly what Wolverine’s complicated back story is. Think Miller’s Daredevil, Batman: Year One and Dark Knight Returns; Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Swamp Thing or Superman tales; Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol, Animal Man, Zenith, New-X-Men and All Star Superman; Warren Ellis’ Planetary or Stormwatch/Authority; Bendis’ Daredevil etc etc (add your own if you choose). Or maybe older tales? Steranko’s Nick Fury, Kirby and Lee’s FF, classic Avengers, classic X-Men. I could go on, and on, and on.
The point is that I find so much of modern superheroes just bogged down in continuity and back story rather than simply concentrating on the basics of great story and great art. In fact, nowadays I tend to only pick up a superhero title if I know it’s got a limited run in the hopes that the creators involved will try to actually tell a proper story rather than some convoluted super soap opera.
But I digress. My point is that DC’s Wednesday Comics is looking very special because of it’s format and it’s talent. Marvel’s entry into the 2009 best of superhero nominations is the 3 issue series Strange Tales Max. Just like Wednesday Comics it looks rather special. Again, it’s the talent that matters here, with the cream of the indy/alternative/art artist set producing their own unique take on the Marvel characters we’re all so familiar with.
From Marvel’s press release:
Paul Pope, Peter Bagge, Molly Crabapple &John Leavitt, Junko Mizuno, Dash Shaw, James Kochalka, Johnny Ryan, Michael Kupperman, Nick Bertozzi, Nicholas Gurewich, Jason and more unite for the all-new Strange Tales MAX!
The philosophy of the book was to have these creators from ‘indy’ or ‘alternative’ or “literary” or ‘art’ comics come in and do what they do best. I think Marvel readers will really dig seeing radically different versions of their favorite characters, and the fans of these cartoonists will get to see the creators work in a milieu they never thought they’d get to see.
(Dash Shaw’s Dr Strange from Marvel Strange Tales Max #1.)
(Jason’s Spider-Man from Strange tales Max #1)
(Long promised but oft delayed, Peter Bagge’s unique take of the green goliath finally sees print in Strange Tales Max. At last!)
Marvel Strange Tales Max starts in September and runs for 3 monthly issues.