Home Culture History CrossGen returns in new imprint from Marvel

CrossGen returns in new imprint from Marvel

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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

  1. Didn’t Mark Waid’s Strange limited series already cement the fact that he’s way too over-the-hill to write good comics anymore?

  2. I’m down for both of these and I’d like to see Route 666 come back too. But aside from me, I’m not sure if there’s an audience for this.

  3. I’m planning on picking these up! I think Waid’s writing is better than ever – see Incorruptible, Irredeemable, and Unknown.

  4. I’m disappointed that RUSE is only going to be a four-issue mini-series, but I’ll gladly buy this series, especially with the $2.99 price.

    Now how about new series of WAY OF THE RAT and KISS KISS, BANG BANG, Marvel?

  5. Eh, “Mystic” with Brandon Peterson’s beautiful women is the only title I cared about.

    If they intend to revive that title with the Dodsons or Adam Hughes on art, I might be interested.

  6. Ruse was a great series and I, for one, am glad it’s back. Too bad about Abadazad, I bought all the incarnations because the artwork by Mike Ploog was just awesome! There’s still an active website from Disney:
    http://www.abadazad.com/

    Wish that would come back as well!

  7. I remember enjoying the core four books that first launched, so this could be interesting. I’m just hoping those Times New Roman logos are merely placeholders and that the final logos will look far less generic…

  8. The prices are great, but why the hell have they turned Samandahl Rey – a military adult male, into Samantha – a 16 year old female?!?

    That has turned me right off Sigil.

    I will try Ruse however.

  9. I never tried Ruse or most of the CrossGen titles because they didn’t take place on Earth and had that goofy sigil thing. I will try Ruse this time around if the setting is the “real” world and not some thinly-disguised Victorian England planet.

    My vote is for the return of Chuck Dixon’s “El Cazador” pirate book. Now that was the perfect mix of storyline and creative team. And it took place on, you know, Earth.

  10. If it were up to me, my choice? Meridian by Roger Langridge, both writing and drawing.

    @Jerry Smith: That’s really weird. You arbitrarily object to fiction that takes place on other worlds?

    @Argh: No. Not at all. In any way, shape, or form. What a fannish, obnoxious comment.

  11. Looking forward to these!

    Has there been more than just Abadazad from Disney, before this?

    I thought Disney’s only attempt at resurrecting CrossGen properties was the Abadazad books, which was an attempt at creating a comics/prose hybrid for the YA books market. It was a good effort but only two books were released, a third only in the UK.

    My understanding was that the only reason Disney bought CrossGen’s assets was just for Abadazad.

    Otherwise, the only CrossGen activity has been Disney allowing Checker Books to continue the trade paperback reprinting of certain series where CrossGen left off.

  12. What about Sojour, it was one of their top sellers and a good series that never completed its story arc. It would be nice to have it back as well.

  13. The one I’m most interested in is RUSE, just like it was when Crossgen was running. I do wish they hadn’t put a new artist on it, though.
    Still, I’ll give it a chance.

  14. My favorite CrossGen title was Meridian. I would love to see more of that (preferably with Barbara Kesel back at the helm).

    My question (that I’m not entirely sure of from the press release) is, will this be a reboot? (I’m presuming that Marvel will not be finishing, or probably even referring to, the “Negation War” event that was interrupted by CrossGen’s going under, right?)

  15. @David: Yes, this is a reboot – Tom Brevoort confirmed this over on CBR’s T&A weekly Q&A column.

    My speculation: RUSE probably won’t have any connection to the Sigil-verse/Negation War stuff. I suspect that whole mythology will be tinkered with and restricted to just the new SIGIL book.

  16. Geez, if they’re going to reboot the series, could they *please* at least finish the original’s wrap-up miniseries Negation War? I mean, the miniseries’ Paul Pelletier works for Marvel and even though writer Tony Bedard works for DC, Mark Waid could obviously take over the scripting duties.

    However, I think it’s worth pointing out that Acclaim’s reboot of the Valiant titles was, except for Quantum & Woody, a massive boondoggle. Because the wheel didn’t need reinventing. Marvel should scrap the wholesale reboot of the line and simply relaunch the original versions of these two (and theoretically eventually more) titles in a post-Negation War setting.

    Okay, so maybe Marvel doesn’t really want to have new fans depend on buying the reprint trades from another publisher. That can be easily fixed by Marvel just going ahead and buying Checker and then giving the Crossgen titles the same reprints-large-number-of-issues-but-still-not-omnibus treatment that the Deadpool & Cable series got and the Clone Saga is getting (Roughly 18 issues per trade for $35-$40 per book.)

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