Marvel likes to say it's been around since 1939, but the truth is the company was known as Timely Comics back then (and Atlas Comics before the change to Marvel in 1961). This year, Timely Comics will return — as an imprint that sells the first three issues of a series in one collection for a mere $US3. Yes, Timely is basically turning into a budget-priced line of decently-sized samples of Marvel's "All New, All Different" comics, beginning in June. This is a great idea. Single issues are so short that it's impossible to get a sense of an overarching story. Three issues is actually a decent amount of material, enough for a reader to make an informed judgment of whether they actually like the comic or not.
And for $US3 ($4)? That's a great price that should inspire a lot of people to check out a series they wouldn't have otherwise. For a single example, I'm very interested in the new Vision series (I'm told it's quite good) but I would never spend $6 — $17 each for the first three issues — on a comic I'm not totally sure I'll like.
But would I spend $4 to find out? Absolutely. In fact, I think I'll check out the new Avengers, Ultimates, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, and some other comics too, because this is a reasonable price to take a chance on a new series. And even if I only like one of five, that's going to be at least one new set of trades Marvel wouldn't have sold otherwise. (To say nothing of the money I spent on the Timely comics.)
Granted, it's weird that Marvel would resurrect a name for the line that means absolutely nothing except to the hardcore comics fans who are likely buying all the individual issues anyway, but whatever. This is still a fantastic idea.
The first round of Timely titles include:
- Invincible Iron Man
- All-New All-Different Avengers
- All-New Inhumans
- Doctor Strange
- Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
- New Avengers
- Scarlet Witch
- Squadron Supreme
- Totally Awesome Hulk
- Uncanny Inhumans
- Venom: Space Knight
- Web Warriors
Well played, Marvel. Well played.