Despite offering a complex comics universe featuring a wide variety of genres, CrossGen Comics, an ambitious comics company launched in 2000 by entrepreneur Mark Alessi, was forced into bankruptcy and shutdown in 2004. Now Marvel is launching a new CrossGen imprint that will offer original, all new stories based on the titles first developed by CrossGen.

The new CrossGen imprint will launch in March 2011 with all new versions of Sigil, a sci-fi epic written by Mike Carey and penciled by Leonard Kirk, and Ruse, a Victorian steampunk detective series, written by Mark Waid with art by Mirco Pierfederici. The imprint is headed up by Marvel executive editors Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso and individual series will be edited by Steve Wacker (Ruse) and Nick Lowe (Sigil).

In a phone interview with Brevoort he emphasized that the new CrossGen will feature new creative teams working on original stories—this is not a reprint line. “The line may not have 100% of the original titles, we’re keeping our options open,” he said, “we may add something that didn’t originate from the original CrossGen line.”

The CrossGen line featured such series as Sojourn, Meridian, Scion and The Way of the Rat and Route 666. The company shut down operations in 2004 but its assets were purchased by Disney—now Marvel’s parent company—in 2006. While Disney did attempt to release J.M. DeMatteis’s Abadazad, a fantasy adventure series that featured prose as well as comics sections, the series did not sell well. Now it looks as through Marvel will take on the challenge of bringing the CrossGen universe back to life in a new form.

But Brevoort emphasized that while the line will be based on the original CrossGen comics, everything will be brand new. “They will have all new stories that will start from square one, so folks who have never seen the original CrossGen series can start with the Marvel issues and they won’t miss anything. We’ve cherry picked the best stuff to revive,” he said. For the most part, CrossGen titles were not aimed at Marvel’s specialty—the superhero genre—and Brevort said that for him, CrossGen means “cross genre” and the new line will, “let us play around with all sorts of genres that we usually don’t get a chance to do.” Although the two series will be initially released as 4-issue mini-series, the issues will eventually be collected in book format collections.

Marvel is launching the revived series with Ruse, Brevoort said, because it was one of the CrossGen’s “best received series at the time,” and writer Mark Waid, who also worked on the original Ruse series, “can pick it up dust it off.” He said that Sigil, “was central to the old line of CrossGen comics. It reflects all of the old books and having it at launch will attract readers of the old series.”

Brevort said that following the release of Ruse and Sigil in March, there will likely be 3 or 4 more new CrossGen series coming in 2011. “Some may have new names but everything will be rooted in the old CrossGen line.”