Whenever people get to talking about Marvel history, sooner or later Marvel Knights is bound to come up. Marvel Knights was an imprint of “adult focused” titles that reinvigorated Marvel as it was digging out of its bankruptcy in the late 90.
The line was edited by Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada – the two had already been running their own publishing company, Event Comics – and Marvel Knights introduced key creators to the Marvel U – Bendis! Ennis! – and paved the way for some of the core concepts that are still being mined.
Priest’s Black Panther run. Bendis and Maleev on Daredevil. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon on the Punisher. Morrison and Jones’ Marvel Boy.
This was the good stuff.
In a way, it was Marvels answer to DC’s hugely successful Vertigo line. Just as important, it introduced Joe Quesada to the role where he would be in a position to take over as Editor-in-Chief.
It was, in short, an utterly key moment in Marvel history – one that some say is due to be repeated.
We might not be getting a new Marvel Knights line – YET – but we ARE getting a 20th anniversary trade program. This is significant for a few reasons.
Marvel rarely announces trade programs. Keeping books in print has improved since it was in a shambles in the past, but there are still new editions every time they go back to print making ordering Marvel trades a hit or miss deal. A focused line of quality books that stays in print would be a boon to bookstores and comics shops alike.
DC beats Marvel handily in bookstores because they have a focused trade program that keeps classics like Watchmen and The Dark Knight in print and available. Marvel’s program is much more spotty.
Although I have no direct knowledge of this, it’s not too hard to guess that Quesada’s recent return to running some of Marvel’s creative might be one of the factors behind this.
Connecting the dots, as well, this is a sound business decision. Reprinting material that is already paid for is like printing money. IIf you’re wondering about the direction Marvel is going in, this might be a clue.
Here’s the publishing details, with work by Joe Quesada, Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, Garth Ennis, Christopher Priest, Steve Dillon, David W. Mack, Grant Morrison, Jimmy Palmiotti, Devin Grayson, Jae Lee, Kevin Smith, Jeph Loeb.
UPDATE: The press release notes that these re not final trade dress. Hopefully the final covers will include complete credits, as many names are missing from the below.
One final note: Marvel Knights sure liked Daredevil.
With Marvel Knights, Marvel traded traditional style for daring storytelling, creating new and bold tales for Marvel icons such as Punisher, Daredevil, The Inhumans, Black Widow, and Black Panther. By reinventing classic characters and focusing on strong stand-alone story arcs, Marvel Knights nearly recreated the Original Graphic Novel as monthly comic format – and became the industry’s spark that paved the way for the bright and intrepid stories of today’s heroes!
This fall, in honor of the critically acclaimed imprint’s 20th anniversary, Marvel is celebrating the inception of Marvel Knights by bringing fans a uniform set of new trade paperbacks featuring the best of Marvel Knights, as well as two brand new Omnibus editions. Find your favorite in your local comic shop starting this September!
- DAREDEVIL BY SMITH & QUESADA: GUARDIAN DEVIL TPB
o COLLECTING: Daredevil (1998) 1-8, 1/2
- BLACK PANTHER BY PRIEST & TEXEIRA: THE CLIENT TPB
o COLLECTING: Black Panther (1998) 1-5
- MARVEL KNIGHTS BY DIXON & BARRETO: DEFENDERS OF THE STREETS TPB
o COLLECTING: Marvel Knights (2000) 1-15
- FANTASTIC FOUR BY MORRISON & LEE: 1234 TPB
o COLLECTING: Fantastic Four: 1234 1-4, material from Marvel Knights Double-Shot 2
- DAREDEVIL BY BENDIS & MALEEV: UNDERBOSS TPB
o COLLECTING: Daredevil (1998) 26-31
- BLACK WIDOW BY GRAYSON & RUCKA: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION TPB
o COLLECTING: Black Widow (1999) 1-3, Black Widow (2001) 1-3, Black Widow: Pale Little Spider 1-3
- CAPTAIN AMERICA BY RIEBER & CASSADAY: THE NEW DEAL TPB
o COLLECTING: Captain America (2002) 1-6
- MARVEL KNIGHTS BY JOE QUESADA OMNIBUS HC
o COLLECTING: Daredevil (1998) 1-15, 1/2; Daredevil: Father 1-6; Marvel Authentix: Daredevil 1; material from Marvel Knights Double-Shot 1
- PUNISHER BY GARTH ENNIS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL. 1 TPB
o COLLECTING: Punisher (2000) 1-12, Punisher (2001) 1-5, Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe
- MARVEL BOY BY MORRISON & JONES TPB
o COLLECTING: Marvel Boy 1-6
- DAREDEVIL: MARVEL KNIGHTS by BENDIS, GALE & JENKINS TPB
o COLLECTING: Daredevil/Spider-Man #1-4 & one-shot, Daredevil: Ninja #1-3, Daredevil (1998) #20-25
- DAREDEVIL BY MACK & QUESADA: PARTS OF A HOLE TPB
o COLLECTING: Daredevil (1998) 9-15
- JEPH LOEB & TIM SALE: YELLOW, BLUE, GRAY & WHITE OMNIBUS HC
o COLLECTING: Daredevil: Yellow 1-6, Spider-Man: Blue 1-6, Hulk: Gray 1-6, Captain America: White 0-5
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.