Considering the rate at which Marvel Comics relaunches their comics, it is hard to tell which cancellations are “real”. According to a press release offered today (January 14th) via Comic Book Resources, Marvel Comics has announced the “final” issues of their two major “Avengers” comics in April. Meanwhile, as revealed via Robot 6 this afternoon as well, artists Kris Anka and Kevin Wada were this close to pitching a new “Swimsuit Issue” to Marvel Comics for the first time in nearly twenty years.
Both “Avengers” and “New Avengers” are set to release “final issues” in April; both series have been written by Jonathan Hickman since 2012. For the former it will be the 44th issue and for the latter, the 33rd. Mike Deodato will draw the last “Avengers” issue while Kev Walker has art chores for “New Avengers”. It should be noted that barring any other announcements, other Avengers titles such as “Uncanny Avengers” or “Captain America & the Mighty Avengers” will either still be in print or slated to return. To be blunt, the claim that both of these will be the last issues of a core Avengers comic in the year that the second film comes out is laughable. However, it may likely be the end of Hickman’s run on both titled, and/or time for a relaunch later on. The finales will wrap up the “Time is Broken” story line involving alternate time lines and dimensions that Hickman has been running with for years. Hickman, however, will still be writing the “Secret Wars” rehash a month later, which will be 2015’s “main” Marvel event which plays up the themes of alternate realities and the time line being “broken”. The jury is still out as to what Marvel Comics’ universe will look like after “Secret Wars” is done, and whether their entire comic book line may see a continuity reboot.
Elsewhere, plans were in the works to produce a new “Marvel Swimsuit Issue” for the first time since 1995. For those not in the know, during the height of the “bad girls” and “extreme” era of comics, Marvel Comics sought to appear more “mature” by offering an annual issue of their characters in swimsuits in imitation of the “Sports Illustrated” tradition. The first such tome was offered in 1991 and offered mostly cheesecake art with some oddly proportioned beefcake, as well as awkward details (such as Capt. America, Hawkeye, and Hank Pym having to keep their masks on because making three blond haired, blue eyed white guys look different is hard). Artists Kris Anka (who has done costume design work for Marvel) and Kevin Wada had began some sketches of male heroes (such as Gambit and Hellion) in preparation of a pitch for Marvel Comics, but apparently decided to cancel it at the last minute. It is unknown if Marvel’s editors would have accepted the pitch, but Marvel Comics has usually jumped at the chance to charge $4.99 for random annuals or one-shots.