Marvel revealed last week a new line of hardcover graphic novels that will introduce new readers to Marvel’s biggest characters while still offering new stories for long-time readers.
The line is called Season One and is spearheaded by Marvel editor Tom Brevoort. The line will launch next year, starting in February, with the following four books:
Fantastic Four: Season One
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, art by David Marquez
X-men: Season One
Written by Dennis Hopeless, art by Jamie McKelvie
Daredevil: Season One
Written by Antony Johnston, art by Wellinton Alves
Spider-Man: Season One
Written by Cullen Bunn, art by Neil Edwards
The series will be coming out one each month, running from February through May, with a second wave of books launching after that. According to USA Today, Marvel chose mostly newer talent to produce the books, with Brevoort saying, “We tended to gravitate toward newer, younger writers in the field. They have not been so far around the block that they’re stuck down either by their own tropes or by the tropes of the medium.”
Brevoort also talked about the goal of the line.
“We’re hoping to introduce folks who have never read any of these characters to these characters in this format, and also provide an interesting and illuminating story for people who have read a lot of Fantastic Four and Daredevil. If you want to dip your toe in the water and find out the essence of what Marvel is all about, here is a nice place for you to start in big, sizable, meaty chunks.”
Right off the bat, this looks to me like a mix between Marvel’s own Ultimate line of comics, and DC’s Earth One line, which has only seen the release of Superman: Earth One so far. However, Brevoort was quick to point out that everything readers know about the characters is still there. The way Brevoort talks about the series, it sounds like they are not origin stories per se, but do contain certain elements of the characters origins, or at least a basic explanation. From the sound of it, these will just be one off adventures that exemplify the characters and maybe introduce them to people who don’t want to spend a lot of time catching up on back stories or reading Wikipedia.
I’m generally a fan of this move. DC’s Superman: Earth One sold fairly well, although I’m not sure how many new readers it necessarily brought in, but even if it brought in one new reader, I would call it a success. I know I will be picking up the X-Men book, but that’s mostly because I love Jamie McKelvie’s art. The hardcover and one-off format of these Season One books can only lead me to think that Marvel is at least borrowing the format from the Earth One books, although it looks like they are not trying to create another new universe from the ground up. They just want to tell complete stories that will appeal to people who are open to reading superhero stories, but can’t justify buying single issues. It seems like a smart move to me.