While Marvel Comics has been notably absent from the field of original graphic novels in recent years, they have jumped back in with a bang, announcing Avengers: Endless Wartime by Warren Ellis and Mike McKone for release in October. It’s planned as the first in a line of originals, to be released in an oversized format and in digital editions with Augmented Reality; the books are being created in collaboration with Italian publisher Panini.
Ellis has long been a renowned comics writer—creator of the Transmetropolitan and Planetary comics series among other things—but has branched out into novels recently, with the New York Times best seller Gun Machine. His graphic novel Iron Man Extremis is the basis for many of the storylines used in the popular Iron Man movie series. Artist McKone is best known for a long run on Amazing Spider-Man. The storyline of the new book involves Captain America and his fellow Avengers—including Wolverine—teaming to fight a long-buried menace.
The book—which will be designed by Rian Hughes—is definitely a change in strategy for Marvel, which has concentrated on periodical comics almost exclusively in recent years, although their recent “Marvel Season One” line of books was aimed at younger readers. However the new OGN will get a substantial push with simultaneous release in North America, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Brazil, Finland and Turkey. Purchasers will also get a code for a digital edition, and it will be available for download via the Marvel Comics app and online in the Marvel Digital Comics Shop. The digital edition will include extra AR content via the Marvel AR app.
"When Marvel asked me to help re-launch their original graphic novel line, I had to say yes,” said Ellis in a statement. “Their total commitment, from story to design, made it a project I wanted to be part of.”
An intro will be provided by actor Clark Gregg, best known for playing Agent Coulson in Marvel’s superhero movie franchises; the end note is by Marvel's legendary former president and chairman, the inimitable Stan Lee.
In an interview on Marvel.com, editor in chief Axel Alonso noted that launching the line with the Avengers was a no-brainer given their wide appeal after the Avengers film last year. While no further plans for the line were revealed he did say, “This is just the beginning.”