For almost forty-four years now, a distinctive battle cry has signaled the defeat of many of the Marvel Universe’s most dastardly villains. This June, Marvel Comics fans will get a chance to read the story (and all the subsequent ones after) where that battle cry, “Avengers Assemble” was first uttered, when “Avengers Classic” #1 hits stores. CBR News spoke with Editor Andy Schmidt about the new monthly series which reprints a classic story from the past of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and an all new back up story set during that era.
If the format of “Avengers Classic” sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Back in 1986, Marvel began publishing “Classic X-Men,” a series that featured both reprinted and original back up stories. “We’re reprinting the original ‘Avengers’ run starting at the very first issue and going straight through,” Schmidt told CBR News. “But don’t worry; there are back-up stories by Dwayne McDuffie and painted by Mike Oeming in each and every issue! And in the very first issue, we’ve got an extra-special back-up story by Stan Lee and Kevin Maguire!”
“Avengers Classic” was born in a tavern over drinks. “Mark Beazley, the series’ co-editor with me, and I were out at a bar and cooked up the idea with a couple of other crazy Marvel editors,” Schmidt said. “Honestly, ‘Avengers’ is great right now and very popular. And a lot of the readers now are new to them. It seems like the right time to show these new-comers the bedrock that their stories are built upon.”
Each issue of “Avengers Classic” will have a plethora of goodies for new and nostalgic Avengers fans. “Every issue will have a brand new cover by Art Adams, the reprint story (digitally re-colored), an 8 to 10-page back-up story, original letters pages, and the original cover of the issue presented in the back,” Schmidt explained. “That’s a whole lot of love for ya’.”
As Schmidt mentioned (much to the excitement of many Marvel fans), Avengers creator and Marvel Universe architect, Stan “The Man” Lee will pen the first of the new back-up stories in “Avengers Classic” “This is a new story and it tells the true origin of the ‘Avengers,'” Schmidt stated. “The story he could never tell before because of the Comics Code. Nah. Just kidding. It does take place during the origin story however.”
Dwayne McDuffie and Mike Oeming’s back-up stories in “Avengers Classic” will be similar in nature to Lee’s story. “The stories will give you that added flavor and insight into the characters’ lives, much like the ‘Classic X-Men’ stories did,” Schmidt said. “Mark and I aren’t trying to re-invent the wheel here; we’re just adding a little extra depth to the stories of yester-year.”
The stories being reprinted in “Avengers Classic” will get a slight dust off. “The color will be updated,” Schmidt explained. “Don’t worry, there’s not a lot of modeling and effects – the line art wasn’t designed for that kind of treatment. But we print on different paper now and have better technology, so we’re just updating the tech, mostly.”
CBR’s Jonah Weiland contributed to this story.
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