I guess this shouldn’t come as a shock, given how Disney has licensed IDW to create Big Hero 6 and Star Wars comics aimed at younger readers, but still, that headline …
IDW and Marvel announced today that they “will develop middle-grade comic books designed for younger readers. Featuring some of Marvel’s most popular characters, the monthly issues and trade paperback collections, published by IDW, will be available for sale at local comic book shops and book retailers across the country, expanding opportunities for the next generation of Super Heroes to experience the Marvel Universe.”
The line launches in November 2018 with a Spider-Man series featuring both Peter Parker and Miles Morales, followed by an Avengers series beginning in December and a Black Panther series in January 2019.
Disney is pretty good at licensing out their properties to the right companies, and IDW is already publishing all-ages Disney titles like Duck Tales, Tangled and Mickey Mouse. So is Marvel done with the all-ages market, then, and is now content to focus on “the hobby market” instead? A recent LA Times article had some interesting insights from Dan Buckley, the president of publishing for Marvel Entertainment:
When Marvel got into the digital game back in 2007, a reporter for The Times asked Buckley about the key challenge facing his company. “We don’t have a natural lifestyle interaction point for kids anymore,” he said. Reminded of the quote by the same reporter, Buckley admitted that not much has changed over the past decade. “I was right when I said that and, you know, I’d be right if I said it again.”
It’s important to know your strengths, so outsourcing to IDW may be the best way for Marvel to introduce younger readers to comics.
“Marvel is committed to delivering unique and accessible content for our younger audiences and fans,” said Sven Larsen, director, licensed publishing of Marvel. “As one of our most valued partners, IDW is the right fit to help us feature some of our most popular characters and publish stories created especially for the next generation of Super Heroes.”
I do like the artwork they shared, and I’m sure my kid will dig the comics, because he likes Spider-Man comics in just about any form (although he prefers Amazing Spider-Man over just about anything):
Story details and creative teams for the new line will be announced at a later date.