2003 wasn’t so very long ago but in many ways it was a completely different age for comics. Nü Marvel was all the rage as comics were climbing out of the sales tailspin of the late ’90s, and Bill Jemas and Joe Quesada reigned supreme at Marvel. Jemas in particular went off on some strange tangents. The Ultimate line may have been his signature achievement, but there were lots that aren’t remembered so fondly, or at all, like Marvell — a sort of satire of superheroes written by Jemas himself — and Trouble — a photo-covered “Gossip Girl” wanna-be that featured teenaged, randy versions of Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Hardly typical Marvel fare.
Such a project was 15 Love, announced at the time, scoffed at, finished, and never published. But perhaps the time is now right for a sports manga-style bildungsroman about a young tennis player.
The creative team is Andi Watson and Tommy Ohtsuka. Since 2003, when this was created, Watson has had many dances with the Big Two, but always goes back to his own stuff. Ohtsuka has stayed busy at Marvel with most recently the Sherrilyn Kenyon adaptation LORDS OF AVALON.
In retrospect, the Jemas Era was a lot more adventurous and much less dire than it seemed at the time. That this story has been dusted off and published at last is an encouraging sign that material of all kinds can now find an audience — or at least get a shot at it.
This July, get ready to say game, set, match for 15 Love #1 (of 3) – a never before seen, giant-size story from acclaimed writer Andi Watson (Skeleton Key, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and artist Tommy Ohtsuka! Mill Collins is about to learn that life is anything but a piece of cake when the length of your high school career depends on the strength of your serve! But when Mill’s slipping grades threaten to steal away her scholarship from the exclusive Wayde Tennis Academy, she’ll have to look for help from the most unlikely coach to climb her way back up the bracket and into the record books!
“The story Andi’s put together is a terrific one—the story of underdog Mill Collins and her quest to prove that she can make a name for herself doing the one thing she loves most of all—playing tennis,” said Marvel Editor Jordan White. “The characters are real and really draw you in—even if you know nothing about tennis, you know what it’s like to fight for a dream.”
It’s 56 pages of high-stakes sports action, larger than life ambitions and a coming-of-age comedy starting this July in 15 Love #1 (of 3)!
15 LOVE #1 (of 3)
Written by ANDI WATSON
Penciled by TOMMY OHTSUKA
Cover by SHO MURASE
Rated A …$4.99
ON SALE THIS JUNE!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.