Last year and Marvel Comics and Abrams ComicArts joined forces to launch the Marvel Arts publishing imprint with their first project, the Fantastic Four: Full Circle graphic novel – a line that aims to tell more offbeat tales from top creators not usually associated with Marvel. Today, Marvel and Abrams announced details for the next project from the line, The Super Hero’s Journey by multi-talented, internationally bestselling cartoonist and writer Patrick McDonnell, best known as the creator of the beloved syndicated comic strip Mutts.
Semi-autobiographical, the graphic novel sees McDonnell incorporate Marvel’s pantheon of superheroes to reflect on his life and career as a cartoonist.
Here’s how the publisher describes the graphic novel:
Infused with the creativity, artwork, and heart of Patrick McDonnell, the graphic novel features classic Marvel Super Heroes, including the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Black Panther, and Spider-Man. Using the Marvel Universe as avatars, McDonnell brings together his inspirational and moral sensibilities from throughout his career and muses on how comics changed his life and set him on the course to become a cartoonist.
We begin with the Watcher—a being who exists outside the planes of space and time, who sees every moment that has happened, will happen, or is happening throughout the cosmos—as he observes Earth and the inner burdens of the Marvel Super Heroes. As the Watcher observes the villainous plans of Doctor Doom, who is harnessing the power of the Negative Zone and slowly spreading its negativity across our planet and destroying the human spirit, Mr. Fantastic is led on a meta journey that takes him through the pages of classic comic books and across scenes familiar and unexpected. Ultimately, our heroes discover a Zen solution in an unexpected fashion—one that aligns this book with the inspiring messages of McDonnell’s other beloved and award-winning books—leaving readers with a renewed sense of love, hope, and redemption.
This project is a dream come true for McDonnell, he says. “The Super Hero’s Journey is my graphic novel love letter to the 1960s Marvel Super Heroes and their legendary creators. It was a childhood dream come true to have my art play along with the work of the great Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko. I tried my best to capture the magic, fun, and cosmic energy of those early comic book masterpieces in this arty mashup,”
According to Charles Kochman, Editorial Director of Abrams ComicArts, “When we released Fantastic Four: Full Circle by Alex Ross, we promised that Marvel Arts was a line ‘where nothing is impossible and anything can happen.’ With The Super Hero’s Journey, Patrick McDonnell delivers on that promise, creating something truly unique.”
Tom Brevoort, Marvel VP of Publishing and Executive Editor, added:
“Patrick McDonnell’s The Super Hero’s Journey uses the Marvel characters and iconography in an idiosyncratic and individual manner to tell a story that is at once autobiographical, spiritual, and mythological. It’s a unique and singular reading experience that pays homage to the great works of the Silver Age while at the same time using them to make a grander statement about the human condition. It will give you the eyes of a kid again,
The Super Hero’s Journey arrives in bookstores September 26th and is available for pre-order.