Marvel Teams With Scholastic for 'Avengers,' 'Shuri' Projects

Black Panther Still Letitia Wright - Publicity - H 2018
<p><em>Black Panther.</em></p>   |   Courtesy of Marvel Studios
The first two middle grade novels will be published in 2020.

Expanding beyond its comic book and cinematic dominance, Marvel Entertainment has signed a multiyear deal with Scholastic to produce new prose material aimed at young readers featuring the superheroes and villains of the Marvel Universe, starting with two of the biggest Marvel Studios breakouts.

The partnership will launch next year with the release of Shuri: A Black Panther Novel by Nic Stone and Avengers Assembly, the first in a projected series by Preeti Chhibber. Both titles are aimed at the middle grade audience.

“Marvel is always looking for best-in-class partners to develop new and exciting ways to experience the Marvel Universe, and Scholastic is the perfect partner to do this," Sven Larsen, Marvel’s director of licensed publishing, said Wednesday in a statement. "We couldn’t be more thrilled. As two brands dedicated to storytelling for every kind of reader and fan, the combined strength of this collaboration will be truly one of a kind — with a super power to bring together the next generation of fans through the joy of reading and Marvel.”

Added Scholastic’s vp and publisher, global licensing, brand and media, Debra Dorfman, “The Marvel Universe is vast, inclusive and iconic with a great range of multi-faceted characters, and Scholastic and Marvel share a commitment to bringing diverse characters to life. Shuri, Ms. Marvel, Miles Morales, Squirrel Girl, etc. are all ‘ordinary’ characters with extraordinary powers — and there are a lot of stories to be told!”

The new Scholastic/Marvel titles won’t be the first time Marvel has released prose for young adult and middle grade readers; it has been publishing such material since 2003 under the Marvel Press imprint, which launched with Judith O’Brien’s Mary Jane. Marvel Press has published titles from authors including Margaret Stohl, Jason Reynolds and Christopher Golden, partnering with Disney Books Group in 2011. The last Marvel Press title to be released was 2018’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious by Shannon and Dean Hale.

Marvel’s history with prose is a long one. The first novel based on a Marvel property — Otto Binder’s The Avengers Battle the Earth-Wrecker — was published in 1967, and the company has partnered with multiple publishers, including Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books division and Penguin’s Random House and Del Rey Books lines, in attempts to break into the prose market.