As teased at San Diego and mentioned in passing here and there, Marvel is bringing back some CrossGen titles this march: Mark Waid’s RUSE, the screwball steampunk detective series, and SIGIL, the mainline title of the entire “CrossGen universe.” Waid returns on RUSE with artist Mirco Pierfederici; Mike Carey and Leonard Kirk are the team on SIGIL.
Founded in 2000, CrossGen becomes the latest comics company to have its assets drift far from its origins. In the beginning it was the brainchild of entrepreneur Mark Alessi, who ran the company on a unique, “campus” design in Tampa, FL, with all the creative team members moving to the area and working as employees in one big office. Creatively, the company had a shared universe based on the idea of “sigils,” powerful artifacts that granted various individuals great powers. Key titles followed these folk, as the title expanded into non-universe books as well, and several ahead of their time initiatives, such as books based on popular fantasy authors, and digital comics.
Despite talking a great plan, CrossGen ran into the problem that most new comics launches have had in what was still a down comics market: high overhead and low sales. By 2004, non-payment to freelancers and strife were the main elements one associated with the name CrossGen.
Marvel got CrossGen as part of the Disney deal — Disney acquired the assets of the company after it declared bankruptcy in 2004 for $1 million — a princely sum by today’s standards. Several CrossGen titles were pushed mightily by Disney — notably J.M. DeMatteis’s ABADAZAD, which tanked so badly the mastermind of the acquisition eventually had to leave Disney.
With all that background, Marvel’s picking up some of the CrossGen properties has to be seen as a way for Disney to finally get some money back on what has to now seem an odd investment.
Despite all the controversy, CrossGen titles acquired a fairly passionate fanbase — one that could form a doughty core of readers for the fledgling imprint.
SIGIL and RUSE are both starting as four-issue miniseries. More information in the PR.
Marvel is proud to announce the all-new Crossgen imprint, launching in March 2011 with two series—Ruse and Sigil. Featuring some of today’s most acclaimed talents and crossing all genres, Crossgen brings Marvel’s incomparable storytelling sensibilities to new characters, new concepts and new audiences.
In the war for forever, time is only a small obstacle as the greatest warriors jump from century to century to ensure victory! Enter Samantha Rey, a 16 year old girl from present-day South Carolina who discovers a mysterious symbol on her chest granting her the power to turn the tide of this war. But will she save us or damn all of creation? New York Times best-selling scribe Mike Carey (Age of X, The Unwritten) and Leonard Kirk (New Mutants) begin the next great comic epic in Sigil #1.
Legendary scribe Mark Waid (Amazing Spider-Man) and rising star artist Mirco Pierfederici (Tron: Original Movie Adaptation) present Ruse #1, the mystery series that’ll leave you breathless! Simon Archard is the world’s greatest detective, but when he crosses paths with the enigmatic Emma Bishop, the smartest man may have met his equal…and find himself embroiled in the greatest mystery of his career!
“Crossgen is one of the biggest comic book imprint launches this century,” said David Gabriel, SVP of Sales & Circulation. “You’ve seen Marvel redefine super heroes and now we’re taking on every popular genre you can imagine, with some of the most unique and compelling new series you’ll find in 2011, each priced at only $2.99 per issue. You’ve never read Marvel comics like these!”
SIGIL #1 (of 4)
Written by MIKE CAREY
Penciled by LEONARD KIRK
Cover by JELENA KEVIC-DJURJEVIC
Variant Cover by ED McGUINNESS
Rated T+ …$2.99
ON SALE IN MARCH
RUSE #1 (of 4)
Written by MARK WAID
Art by MIRCO PIERFEDERICI
Cover by BUTCH GUICE & MIKE PERKINS
Variant Cover by MITCH BREITWEISER
Rated T+ …$2.99
ON SALE IN MARCH