At C2E2, Marvel unveiled its new publishing initiative dubbed “Marvel Legacy” that promises to be a celebration and renewal of the Marvel Universe. Marvel Legacy will kick off in the fall with MARVEL LEGACY #1, an oversized 50-page one-shot written by Jason Aaron and art by Esad Ribic. Besides reuniting Aaron and Ribic who previously worked together on an acclaimed run of Thor: God of Thunder, the issue sports a 4-panel fold-out cover by Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada.
But perhaps most significant is that Marvel will be reverting to the original numbering of its long-running titles. No specific books were mentioned or what milestone numbering that titles would be hitting.
“The Marvel Legacy initiative is a celebration of everything that makes Marvel the best in fiction and it’s a signifier of a new era for Marvel Comics,” says Marvel CCO, Joe Quesada. “It’s a loving look at the heart of Marvel as we embrace our roots and move enthusiastically forward with all the Marvel characters you know and love starring in the biggest, boldest, best Marvel stories. All of which kicks off with the giant MARVEL LEGACY special.”
I’m sure there are some intrepid readers out there who have already done the breakdowns of legacy numbering for various Marvel titles. As I hypothesized, it’s very likely the Thor title will be reaching the 700th issue in time for the Thor: Ragnarok film. Of course, how Marvel will calculate these legacy numbers and decide what particular issues to count as part of a title’s legacy is anyone’s guess.
For the last few years, Marvel has had the reputation of constantly relaunching titles with new #1 issues, sometimes before an ongoing series is barely a year old. I’ve lost count of how many different ongoing titles there have been for Carol Danvers since the character took on the Captain Marvel mantle. The dominant belief is that new readers are turned off by books with high numbers. However, it seems that relaunched titles aren’t providing any easier entry points for readers either.
Nostalgia is the bread and butter of the entertainment industry and Marvel has been leaning into it even more with the promise of the return of the Marvel Value Stamp, the classic Fan Magazine FOOM, iconic Cover Corner Box Art, and more.
If you can’t help but think Marvel Legacy seems a bit similar to the DC Rebirth publishing initiative from last year, don’t worry you’re probably not the only one. Much like DC and Coca-Cola learned the hard way, you can’t shake up a classic formula too much until your core customers rebel.