Insert joke here about Stan Lee being some new guy they’re trying out on a start-up title rather than risking him on any established books.
So I came across a copy of the Marvel Comics Previews promo catalog “for new publications scheduled to ship in 1992″ –
…and I’d somehow totally blanked on the fact that the Marvel 2099 imprint was going to be called “Marvel 2093″ at one point:
In the “marketing” section, it describes this particular marketing initiative thusly:
“These titles literally are ‘Marvel: the Next Generation’ and if you remember the popularity of other popular series with that designation you’ll be able to imagine how well these books will do.”
Well, sure, I loved Match Game: The Next Generation, AKA Match Game ’73, and sure enough, the 2099 line (as it would later be called, when cooler heads prevailed and decided “2099” was exactly six years’ worth of awesome better than that piddling “2093”) did indeed do very well. At least until the entire comics market tanked shortly thereafter, but, you know, whaddaya gonna do?
Anyway, back to the catalog: each title had its own entry, with a logo and a rough sketch of what the character may or may not look like when the comic was finally beaten into shape:
And just look at those creative teams!
Okay, to be fair, at least one writer was on board at print time:
The text pieces for all the books describe them in the most general of terms, usually along the lines of “like the modern day Marvel heroes, only more future-y,” without any specifics like character names, settings, how exactly the characters are going to be different, etc. Well, the entry for Doom 2093 pushes the “is this really the Doom from the present-day Marvel Universe?” angle, so that hook at least was present this early in the development process.
This catalog is an interesting look back at Marvel’s marketing strategies during comics’ last big sales hurrah, and I suspect, as I dig deeper through its pages, I’m going to wax nostalgic over those salad days when you could sell a comic such as Punisher 2093 like this:
“It will also be a natural must buy for all the fans who picked up the Punisher Armory title this year. People have always associated the Punisher with the latest in hi-tech ordnance and this series takes the association to the ultimate degree. Just remember the success of Terminator 2 or Die Hard to envision the vast potential for this series.”
Probably the first and last time the sales success of the amazing Punisher Armory was used as a marketing tool for another book.