Debuting in 2001, Marvel’s MAX line was an attempt to draw a clear line between its vaguely older-teen comics and distinctly “adult” titles featuring some of the well, edgier, characters from its library. The imprint largely excelled at that, with the flagship Alias, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, and Garth Ennis’ takes on Nick Fury and the Punisher. However, in recent years it’s become a shadow of its former self, existing solely to carry Ennis’ recent return to Fury, and the noble but ill-fitting Wolverine MAX. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have a revival.
In today’s Six by 6, I look at six characters that straddle the fence separating “popular” from “popular enough to carry their own series in the long-term” that would do well to take a trip to the MAX line. Some are no-brainers, while others might surprise you.
I’ve loved Jonathan Edwards‘ work since he was drawing dandies in powdered wigs for Deadline. I was even known to occasionally buy the NME just for his POP! A Complete History strips. Last week he posted these images to his blog: abstracted versions of some of Kirby and Ditko’s classic character designs for Marvel superheroes. Lovely stuff, and they speak volumes to just how durable those designs are, remaining recognizable even when rendered in a minimum of lines and blocks of color.
A few weeks ago, Gail Simone posted something on Tumblr that shamed me:
I love Barbara Gordon so much.
I love her as Oracle, I love her as Batgirl, I love her in Year One, I love her in the cartoons, I love Babs cosplayers…
…I just freaking love her, all right?”
There is no doubt in my mind that this is true. Last year, when the New 52 was announced and changes were rolling in, Simone was one of the few creators who listened to fans’ complaints against changes and maybe mourned a little with them as Oracle went back on the shelf and Batgirl returned. She has been steadfast in the development of Barbara Gordon for a long time now (man, since around 2003), and there is simply no doubt in my mind that she really loves that character.
And how wonderful is that? That a creator can love all incarnations of her favorite character, even the ones she has nothing to do with? Yeah, Simone has a lot of control on how we see Barbara Gordon, but there are so many mediums where that character is there but she is not. But with every incarnation comes another chance to see that Barbara Gordon in a new light and with fresh eyes.
How come I couldn’t say the same?
Following last week’s Black Widow and Hawkeye prints, Mondo two more limited-edition prints in honor of Marvel’s The Avengers: Captain America, by Phantom City Creative, and Bruce Banner/the Incredible Hulk (with Leviathan in the background), by Ken Taylor. The two posters will go on sale Thursday for $45 each. Sale times will be announced via Mondo’s Twitter account.