Robot 6

Mark Millar & Terry Dodson’s controversial Trouble to be collected in 2011?

Here’s a great catch by blogger Corey Blake and a great “is this real life?” moment for the rest of us: An Amazon listing for a hardcover collection of the 2003 miniseries Trouble by Mark Millar and Terry Dodson, slated for release on June 8, 2011.

For those of you who don’t recall those heady days, Trouble was part of the short-lived, Bill Jemas-shepherded revival of Marvel’s Epic imprint and an attempt to create the first hit romance comic in god knows how long. (I know, nothing says “romance comic” like Wanted, Kick-Ass, Nemesis, and Superior writer Mark Millar, but this was the same Nu-Marvel era that gave us Bendis/Maleev Daredevil, Milligan/Allred X-Statix, Millar/Hitch Ultimates, Morrison/Quitely New X-Men and so on, so cut ‘em some slack.)

Quite aside from whether the book was or wasn’t a good read, Trouble caused trouble for two reasons. First, it was basically a mildly randy sex dramedy about the teen years of Aunt May, Uncle Ben, and Peter Parker’s parents Mary and Richard…and it revealed that Peter was secretly May’s son through a hushed-up teen pregnancy. (I think — I’ve never been able to figure out how the very elderly May Parker made sense as the aunt for teenage Peter Parker, and having her be a teen herself at the time of his conception only confused me further.) At the time, Millar stated that this would be Spider-Man’s new origin if the book went over well. It didn’t, so the book never made it into official continuity.

Second, it ran with photo covers like the one you see above. The idea was to mimic the photo covers you’d see on young adult novels geared toward teen girls. But between the first issue cover’s bikini-clad models, the series’ presentational context in the somewhat gender-relationally skeevy world of mainstream comics versus shelves full of similarly designed YA books, and the interior art by good girl artists extraordinaire Terry and Rachel Dodson, the cover choice confused the issue, to say the least.

Basically, it was one of the last Marvel books from that era I ever expected to see collected. But with Millar’s Hollywood heat, it seems Trouble is bubbling up again — at least if the notoriously unreliable Amazon listings can be believed. Is it a mistake for me to let this get my hopes up for Macan/Kordey’s Soldier X run?

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35 Comments

Well ah be dipped…I actually remember this, but I took one look at the photo cover and went “girl book–not for me.” Yeah, I no you can never judge a book by its cover, but some covers can simply give you the wrong idea of what it’s about. Case in point–me.

Without any beforehand knowledge about the book, I didn’t know “Trouble” had anything to do with Spider-man at all–by its cover, I thought it was like “Rich Girl High School” or something…

Wasn’t that the book that was supposed to be about Aunt May and then it was Ultimate Aunt May and then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz?

For what it’s worth, at least in regards to the Tischmann/Macan/Kordey Cable/Soldier X run, it’s all available on Marvel’s Digital Comics Unlimited (which I’ve ‘collected’ here http://bit.ly/dppRve given that Marvel’s site’s UI is pretty…not good)

Thanks for the link, Sean!

Wow, MisterSmith, that’s quite a public service! Thanks!

Lawyers locked and loaded. Awaiting live-fire call.

@Sean. Anytime. I’ve been on/off compiling stuff on the site, since there’s so much to sort through. For example, all of those other Nu-Marvel titles you mentioned are completely on the service (well, except ONE issue of X-Force), which I’ve compiled in other posts. I think the site is a great alternative for those who don’t want to spend the time or money hunting back issues or trades.

(Pardon my pluginess)

But Trouble is nowhere to be found, interestingly enough. Probably for the best?

Maybe Richard and May’s son is actually Deadpool instead of Spider-Man.

Here I was all ready to jump down MisterSmith’s throat for piracy, and then I click the link and find that he’s just compiling links to great runs so that subscribers to Marvel’s digital service will have an easier time of finding what they want to read.

Like Sean said, that’s a public service.

Matt M., are you responding to MisterSmith? All he did is provide links to the Marvel DCU. Is there some reason that’s of questionable legality? Perhaps I misunderstand what you’re saying.

What’s this about Amazon’s listings being unreliable? With the understanding that release dates aren’t written in stone 6+ months out and that titles get announced and then canceled once in a while, I’ve found their listings (as opposed to listings added by third-party sellers) to be quite reliable.

I think you nailed it with “release dates aren’t written in stone 6+ months out and that titles get announced and then canceled”. Whether the frequency with which things change depends on individual experience and observations, which probably effects one person calling it reliable and another unreliable.

MisterSmith, that is great! I just wish the Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited was a better comics reader. I find it very frustrating and clunky. But Marvel.com just got revamped, so maybe the Marvel DCU will too.

Actually yes, I’ve apparently misinterpreted his post. Unfortunately, people have gotten to the point where they’re so blase about casual piracy that they will post links in threads like this. I tend not to have a lot of patience for that. and went off on that basis.

Hilker, comics works so far out in advance and is in such constant flux that I’ve seen quite a few listings drop in and out.

I was wondering what happened to the musical duo Shampoo until I saw the cover to “Trouble”.

That info was just posted today.

This being collected? Not too surprising, given Millar’s involvement.

The one I would be surprised to see? Marville.

Sounds great. Better than any “Heroic Age” nonsense.

The only interesting thing about this series for me (and I bought and read it at the time due to my since-cured Spidey-completist obsession) was the Frank Cho-drawn variant cover for the second printing of #1.

Ugh, next will probably see Marville before Gail’s run on Agent X

I already own a Marville trade paperback.

Brian from Canada

November 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Trouble’s problem wasn’t the covers or the content. For what it’s worth, the content is a pretty decent story compared to other stories in the genre at the time (like the work of Chyna Clugsten-Major), and the covers were a decent attempt to woo readers who would otherwise not pick up anything made by Marvel.

Where the real problem lies is Marvel itself.

For one thing, Trouble ran into trouble by not being in the right marketplace. Boys go into comic stores, not girls — at least, not the girls they were aiming for. So they tried word of mouth, only to turn off Spider-Man fans mentioning it was about Peter’s conception and being without villains — they stayed away from it in droves and certainly were keeping girlfriends away from it if they could.

For another, Trouble was launching Epic, not joining it, and turned out to be the only thing Epic published under Jemas of any note. (Max, too, was a complete failure with only Alias able to stay afloat.) Jemas had a good idea, but not the market preparation or even the content to really support the line.

In the end, Epic would turn to Icon and Jemas went out the door. Personally, I miss him: Marvel was a HELL of a lot better with Jemas on quality control than without him; even mis-steps like Trouble (if they truly were) or the insulting Marville and Ultimate Owlman were something new, not the recycled event-after-event-after-event.

Have to agree with Brian- Trouble wasn’t a bad series. In fact, it was the single thing I’ve most liked that Millar has written. The problem came out of Marvel not being the right publisher for it, and having spent the last 40 years creating a fanbase that looks on attempts to break the superhero adventure mold with disdain. It’s the same insular market that drives monthly sales that turned up it’s nose at Trouble.

I’m not blaming the fans, we’re in it for what the market is providing. It’s just a shame that the attempts to broaden that market like Epic, MAX, and, I fear, the upcoming Crossgen experiment, aren’t able to support themselves without the superhero monthly fans that drive the bus right now.

As one can tell, I miss Jemas in charge. When his Marvel produced something good, it was pretty good, and when it was bad, it was spectacular.

Like Dave, I’m amused by the “will Marville be next???” comments. It got collected years ago. My local shop has had a copy of the trade paperback on the 50% off display for ages.

GAH! You *want* to see the god-awful “Soldier X” collected?
Reported.

“…the series’ presentational context in the somewhat gender-relationally skeevy world of mainstream comics versus shelves full of similarly designed YA books…”

Can someone explain to me what the hell this statement means?

I remember seeing this on the shelf and thinking wtf? So, if this had sold well it would be in regular continuity? Oh boy. Thank God it failed the first time, hopefully it will fail the second.

Tempted to pick this up cheap on DCBS just to read it, knowing what they tried and what they accomplished. Did this recently with the KISS omnibus that B&N had for $20. Bought it solely for the reason to understand another aspect of the comic medium, and how it plays in popular culture.

Hmmmmm……

From what I read, the covers were the best thing about it.

Man, I really enjoyed this book for some reason. Glad to hear it might be coming back. I didn’t pick up on it being May and Mary until I got to the last issue :/

How funny and random that I just saw this series in the 50 cent bin at my LCS.

I thought this was a fun book at the time. I couldn’t care less about continuity issues.

the noise about this book was so far out of proportion with its actual story / reading experience (_unusual_ for Millar, yeah? ; ) both the hype and the reaction.

It wasn’t terrible — just unusual. the art was great (Dodsons so no surprise). IIRC it was very much teen-TV slice of life-y — kinda fake and sexy like CW TV used to be, and overall kind of dull and unsuprising. the spidey thing is just tiny part of it. It was a so-so idea overall (get this: comics for girls! !) that had no chance of succeeding the way they did it (no vampires), but that was typical of Jemas-days. if nothing else it was fun watching how much stuff they threw at the walls hoping something would stick.

I think everything from New Avengers to Civil War to stuff like this needs to go. Millar is clearly incapable of writing things that he puts out there. Big things that should be written with finesse are just thrown out there by him and he acts like since he has all the power it’s his concept it’s already a success. He doesn’t have to put effort into it. Remember how timely Civil War came out? Remember how it changed everything and the characters’ suddenlty didn’t seem like themselves anymore?

Teenagers DO have elderly aunts- if Peter’s father was 35 when Peter was born, and Ben was 15 years older than Peter’s father, then Ben would be 66 when Peter turned 16.
May as Peter’s mother, OTOH, makes no sense whatsoever.

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