After DC celebrated one thousand issues of both Detective and Action Comics, their rival has announced the release of Marvel Comics #1,000. An oddly transparent answer to the recent milestone issues of Batman and Superman, with Marvel claiming that their own numbering represents a purely... "symbolic" number.
The naming of the special issue is likely to draw more scrutiny than the actual content and talent assembled for Marvel Comics #1,000, an 80-page tribute to Marvel's 80th anniversary. Where DC's landmark issues--also 80-page giants--called upon some of the company's most respected writers and artists from the current and past roster, the Marvel anniversary issue will be doing the same--while also recruiting the likes of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and 'Taboo' of The Black Eyed Peas. Cover number aside, there is at least some actual synergy at work in using the 80-page book to tell one large story, a year at a time.
Despite the immediate responses to the news online, Marvel isn't ready to comment on similarities with DC's celebratory issues (and that isn't likely to change). In speaking with the New York Times who broke the official news, Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort emphasized the special talent working on this one of a kind story, calling it "by far the most complex and complicated and difficult book I’ve ever had to assemble."
The pitch for the series shows how true his words really are, since the 80 different writer/artist pairings will all contribute a single page to one overall story, beginning in the pages of Marvel Comics #1 and tied to a strange artifact dubbed the Eternity Mask. Adding to the mystery of the narrative is the writer overseeing it: Al Ewing, whose role apparently draws straight from his time on the recent You Are Deadpool, a 'choose your own adventure' style miniseries.
As comic fans would expect, many readers, writers, and artists have responded to the announcement with everything from smirks to outright shade, particularly Marvel's application of a "symbolic" (or meaningless) #1,000. Current Batman writer Tom King--who contributed to the collection of stories in both of the best-selling Action Comics #1,000 and Detective Comics #1,000--gave a nod to the Marvel news by announcing via Twitter that DC had retitled the upcoming hardcover of his and Mitch Gerads' award winning Mister Miracle series to "Darkseid Is #1,000" since the numbering is just as appropriate.
It's a fair criticism that Marvel was surely aware they would face, even if delivered in a playful or knowing manner. After all, DC's Guinness World Record winning comic runs were perceived to have actually been earned with one thousand total issues of each printed (albeit with a return to a legacy numbering). Technically Marvel Comics #1 and its subsequent re-titled incarnations topped out at 159 issues before being canceled back in 1957. Regardless, the talent assembled to pay tribute to the 80th year of Marvel Comics, like the milestone itself is cause for celebration. And a special issue of the bygone Marvel Comics is a fitting tribute, since many of the superheroes who would skyrocket Marvel to success in the 1960s made their first appearances in the book's earliest pages.
The online conversation from both Marvel and DC fans is sure to continue as the August release of Marvel Comics #1,000 approaches. For some, it will be seen as a well earned milestone casting a tongue-in-cheek jab towards its biggest comic rival. To others, Marvel's marketing move may be seen as casting shade on the superheroes who created the genre. In the end, how the issue sells may offer the final word.
Marvel Comics #1,000 will arrive in line with the publisher's 80th anniversary this August.
Source: New York Times