This spring, Marvel publishing will return to a market it had seemingly all but abandoned with a five-issue miniseries aimed at younger readers, offering up classic characters in easily accessible versions.
Marvel Super Hero Adventures, based on the multiplatform merchandise program of the same name, will be targeting the same preschool and young readers audience as the central programming, with Jim McCann and Dario Brizuela providing new stories teaming Spider-Man with different superheroes for each issue.
"I'm excited about the Super Hero Adventures project because I just love comics that are really for kids, for early readers," series editor Sarah Brunstad said in a statement. "They're a great way for kids to beef up their reading skills, and make for perfect 'tuck-me-in' reading moments for parents to share. Both Jim McCann and Dario Brizuela are experts in that category; they're incredibly talented and really get the core of Marvel characters and how to introduce them to new audiences. We want to entertain and inspire with this series, and I can't wait for the first issue to hit the stands."
The series is an oddity in terms of Marvel's recent publishing decisions. Although Marvel has a history of publishing material specifically aimed at younger readers — most famously, the Star Comics imprint from the 1980s and the Marvel Age/Marvel Adventures imprint that launched in 2003 — the publisher has, since 2012, maintained only a minimal presence in that market, with series adapting its Disney XD animated shows using screen grabs as artwork.
Indeed, when Disney launched a young reader Star Wars comic book series, it did so by granting a license to independent publisher IDW Publishing. Similarly, IDW is launching a Big Hero 6 comic book series later this year, despite those characters being owned by Marvel. Both appeared to be signs that Marvel had little interest in pursuing original kids material — although, as this announcement shows, that might be changing now that the company has both a new editor-in-chief and new publisher.
Marvel Super Hero Adventures launches in April.