Published February 10, 2020

Exclusive Announcement: Kurt Busiek's New Ongoing Series, 'The Marvels'

This May, Busiek and Yildiray Cinar unite for one of the most expansive stories in Marvel history!

This May, the biggest, wildest, most sprawling series ever to hit the Marvel Universe arrives.

Telling stories that span decades and range from grand adventure to intense human drama, from street-level to cosmic, starring Marvel’s very first heroes to the superstars of tomorrow, Kurt Busiek and Yildiray Cinar's THE MARVELS begins a new chapter in the spectacular 616.

THE MARVELS #1 cover by Alex Ross
THE MARVELS #1 cover by Alex Ross

The first issue includes an invasion from orbit, a picnic in Prospect Park, Super Hero sightseeing in Manhattan, the All-Winners Squad in 1947, Reed Richards during his time in military intelligence, cosmic beings beyond space and time—and that’s only for starters. Featuring Captain America, Spider-Man, the Punisher, the Human Torch, Storm, the Black Cat, the Golden Age Vision, Aero, Iron Man, Thor, and introducing two new characters—all beautifully drawn by Yildiray Cinar in the opening act of a thrilling ongoing series that’ll take us across the Marvel Universe…and beyond.

Plus: Who (or what) is KSHOOM?

It all starts here.

And it goes everywhere.

We caught up with modern Marvel master Mister Busiek himself for a perspicacious primer on the story to come!

This is a huge series with seemingly endless possibilities. What was your pitch for this book?

I think I started with “Anyone. Anywhere. Any time.”

The whole idea of THE MARVELS is to be able to use the whole Marvel Universe—not just all the characters in it, but all the history of it. The sweeping scope of the whole thing. I think I described it to Tom Brevoort as something like a Tom Clancy thriller, in that there would be multiple threads of story going on, and those threads could come together and split apart again, or maybe never even meet—there could be characters involved in a story that do something important but never meet the other characters in the story, which will very much be the case in the opening storyline, at least.

Big stuff can happen in the Marvel Universe, but we usually see it confined largely to the Avengers in AVENGERS, to the FF in FANTASTIC FOUR, and so on. THE MARVELS is intended as a freewheeling book that can go anywhere, do anything, use anyone. It’s a smorgasbord of Marvel heroes and history.

It’s not a team. It’s a concept, or a universe, depending on how you look at it. THE MARVELS features the marvels—all the many and varied characters of the Marvel Universe. The heroes, the villains, the oddities—all of it. So where MARVELS (1994) was about an ordinary guy’s view of the marvels, THE MARVELS is about the marvels themselves. We’re focusing on the super-characters here, and big, sweeping adventure.

But at the same time, I didn’t want to make it thriller-thriller-thriller all the time, one of those stories that starts to feel like a costume party with an army of heroes all doing the same thing. So I told Tom that I wanted to be able to slow down, see the characters as characters, too. Find out things about them that you don’t necessarily get to see in their usual adventures. Explore the humanity of the characters along with that big adventure. Essentially, take everything I learned from doing MARVELS (and Astro City and other books), and bring it back to an adventure-oriented series with a lot of scope and a lot of humanity.

There’ll be popular characters of today, there’ll be obscure characters from long ago—heck, there’ll be story threads that take place in the past, or possibly the future. We’re not limited to just the present. And there’ll be new characters, too, from the street-level to the cosmic. There are three new marvels in the first issue, although a couple of them are only seen for a panel or so. But we’ll get back to them.

I’d say “the sky’s the limit,” except in the Marvel Universe, there’s a lot going on beyond that sky. And it’s all open to us.

THE MARVELS #1 preview inks by Yildiray Cinar
THE MARVELS #1 preview inks by Yildiray Cinar

Is the idea for this book something you’ve had in mind for a while? How did it come about?

It’s been kicking around for a while, yeah. I think it started back when I was writing AVENGERS (1998), or maybe even earlier, and I’d hear people suggesting that Wolverine or Spider-Man or the Punisher or whoever was big at the time should be an Avenger, because they were big, important characters. And I thought they probably shouldn’t, not in AVENGERS, but that didn’t mean there couldn’t be a book like that anyway…

I talked to Tom about it way back then, about a book where you could use all the big characters at once, in big, expansive stories that didn’t require them all to be on the same team, or even be allies. And the best title I could come up with was THE MARVELS, which I thought might be confusing back then.

I didn’t really have the idea right, back then—I had in mind a character who’d bring these characters together for missions, and it kept sounding to me like Raven assembling the New Teen Titans or whatever had been going on with the Secret Defenders, and it didn’t quite feel right to me. So I kept chewing on it, mentally trying out new approaches.

And of course, since then the Avengers have kind of embraced that “everyone big at once” concept, but that didn’t mean the idea went away. It just got bigger and wilder, in my head.

So when Tom called to talk to me about the 25th anniversary of MARVELS and the 80th anniversary of Marvel Comics, we talked about things like MARVELS: EPILOGUE and MARVELS: ANNOTATED, but we also talked about other things we could do that could grow out of that anniversary. And that’s how MARVELS X, the MARVEL anthology, and MARVELS SNAPSHOTS came about.

But I also reminded Tom about that idea for the big sweeping go-anywhere-do-anything book idea, as a way to celebrate and build on all of that stuff. And we kept talking, and wound up here.

With the entire Marvel Universe at your disposal, how did you go about choosing which characters to feature in the first arc?

We kinda wanted to go extra-big with the first arc, and show off the big sweep of it all, so we deliberately wanted to do something that involved characters from many areas of Marvel. Avengers, FF members, X-characters, someone from the Spider-side of things, and so on. To have a real crossroads feeling going on. We talked about, but didn’t include, Guardians of the Galaxy characters, but we can always get to them later.

And we’ve got characters from the distant past, like Aarkus the Golden Age Vision, and characters who are very new, like Aero… We wanted to make a statement about the size of it all.

Later on, we can do completely different approaches—I’ve talked to Tom about a whole issue devoted to how M.O.D.O.K. spends a Saturday night. What do you do to relax when you’re Designed for Killing? We’ve talked about bringing together a whole team of 1970s heroes in an adventure that began back then but sprawls into today. And more—I’ve just recently had an idea so screwy that I don’t know if Tom would even go for it, but it involves Team America—er, the Thunderriders.

I’m sure we’ll keep featuring a lot of big popular characters, because hey, people like them. But that doesn’t mean we can’t stir them together with some of the offbeat weirdos of Marvel—I want to play with the whole thing, make wonders out of forgotten corners of Marvel as well as dealing with the big stars.

THE MARVELS #1 preview colors by Yildiray Cinar and Richard Isanove
THE MARVELS #1 preview colors by Yildiray Cinar and Richard Isanove

What makes Yildiray Cinar the perfect artist for this series?

Yildiray’s one of those guys who can draw anything.

I’ve been a fan of his since way back when he did an indie comic called Fist of Justice, and it’s been exciting to see him get better and better as he progressed to bigger and bigger stuff. And for THE MARVELS, we knew we needed someone who could draw whatever part of Marvel we threw at him, from gritty mean-streets stuff for a Punisher scene to hi-tech Super Heroes with the Avengers to cosmic oddities and ancient history and more. And Yıldıray can do all that and make it feel spectacular and active and human and quirky, all at once. He’s just ideal for the book, and it’s looking sensational.

But we shouldn’t go without mentioning Alex Ross, too. Alex is doing gorgeous covers for the book, of course, but not just that. As he does on Astro City, Alex has been doing character designs, too, whether it’s the brand-new characters we’re debuting, or doing an updating of the Golden Age Vision, and so on. I was very glad Alex agreed to be part of the group here, that we’re kind of able to keep the MARVELS crew together for all this stuff we’re doing.

Having Alex and Yildiray both involved give me a lot of confidence that wherever the stories go, we’re in very good hands.

What can readers expect to see in in the initial arc?

Well, the first issue starts out in Southeast Asia in 1947, shortly after World War II, when trouble was brewing there, and we also get to see Reed Richards before the FF’s flight, Flash Thompson in the Army, classic 1970s Thor and Iron Man fighting monsters, and more. We see the near future, we see an unusual tour of Manhattan, we see the Punisher, we see the return of possibly the least-expected Peter David character ever…

All that and more in 30 pages.

It kicks off a story that stretches across all those years and concerns intrigue, power and revolution in the country of Siancong—something that’s now erupting into grave danger for the whole world. So you’ll see super heroics, espionage, betrayal, secrets, lost artifacts, lost geniuses, new alliances, murder, disaster, the CIA, other dimensions, mysterious manipulators… I could go on, but it’ll be more fun if you see it for yourself, on the pages of THE MARVELS.

It’ll be a fun ride!

Ring up your ever-lovin' local comic shop today and say, "Make Mine Marvel!" with THE MARVELS #1!