By TJ Dietsch
When it comes to America's best brands, you won't get too far down the list without hitting Marvel and Harley-Davidson. Both have been offering quality products for years, and have once again joined forces creating a brand new 16-page Marvel Custom Solutions comic book available for free starting today on the Marvel Comics app. AVENGERS: HEROES ARISE #1 is written by Jeff Parker and drawn by Manuel Garcia, with a cover by Adam Kubert & Frank D’Armata. But this is no ordinary comic, there is also a contest running until July 1, 2012 for five lucky readers to get drawn into the next issue!
“We’re excited to collaborate with Marvel again and to do it with such a great and historic property like the Avengers,” said Dino Bernacchi, Harley-Davidson Marketing Communication Director. “The Assemble Your Freedom contest gives anyone who believes in things like freedom and independence the chance to express their passion and spirit for Harley-Davidson and Avengers in a truly unique way. They’ll be able to ride into an Avengers mission and be immortalized in this special edition digital comic.”
The team-up came from very natural sources, says Marvel Custom Solutions editor Bill Rosemann, who spearheaded the creation of this comic.
“Our friends at Harley-Davidson understand the thinking and effort that goes into crafting a great comic,” he explains. “They brainstormed with us very early in the process, giving our creative team the time to organically weave their amazing motorcycles into the story. Captain America has a history of riding—and rides a Harley motorcycle in his recent movie—thus there was a logical opportunity to unite their bikes with our heroes. As for the characters that appear at our cliffhanger ending…well, that’s where the readers come in, by entering the killer contest that Harley has cooked up!”
For the first issue of this custom comic, Parker took the ball and ran with it, coming up with a story that includes a familiar looking group of Avengers: Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk.
“With both ‘Marvel’s The Avengers’ and the AVENGERS ASSEMBLE comic hitting now, it made sense to present the character combo that [is] now known the world over,” Rosemann says. “Plus, this mix has it all: Cap for strategic thinking, Iron Man for hi-tech fire power, Thor for warrior rage, Hawkeye for marksmanship, Black Widow for espionage excellence and Hulk for brute strength! And just wait until you see the cover by legendary artist and Harley-enthusiast Adam Kubert and award-winning colorist Frank D’Armata!”
Meanwhile, the villains included in the story, which includes a who's who of Marvel’s best and baddest, came out of Parker's imagination.
“We were allowed to pull out all the stops and bring in the really cool bad guys,” Parker says.
“The credit for gathering this level of infamous evil goes to 'Joltin' Jeff Parker, who was smart enough to ask for Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil,” Rosemann says. “He then stocked the team with all-star fiends like Mr. Hyde, Tiger Shark and Whiplash and then added on Taskmaster ‘cause he’s so darn cool.
“I earned my Editor credit by saying: 'Yes!'”
When putting together a story for a wider audience of both Harley fans and Marvel readers, Parker notes it's important to keep the balance between comic book continuity and open storytelling for new readers.
“You don't call out continuity beyond 'these guys apparently have a history,',” the writer explains. “And it's pretty clear who the good and bad guys are from the way they enter the story, such as Captain America and Black Widow riding in on Harleys.”
The writer also notes that he does not alter his writing style much when working on a story like this as opposed to his regular Marvel Universe comics.
“I try to make HULK or THUNDERBOLTS fairly easy to come into even if you haven't been reading them,” Parker says. “I tend to always start with action, and that gives the reader a chance to just enjoy without needing details. In this comic, we start out with a threat: Hawkeye is captured and is being questioned by Baron Zemo. We want the Avengers to get there ASAP!”
But the Avengers won't be the only ones bursting onto the scene; in the second issue they will be joined by the five lucky winners of the Harley-Davidson Assemble Your Freedom contest. Contestants enter by customizing a bike with the savvy H-D1 Bike Builder application, then create a name and mission for their super hero and also choose from advanced features like adding high-tech weaponry to their bike (e.g. guns, flamethrower). The winners will have their likeness and the custom bike they built be drawn into part two. The contest winners will also win the bike they customized.
“I don't want to tell contestants how to create their super hero, but this is a visual medium,” Parker says. “Think in terms of what will make dynamic, unforgettable imagery. There'll only be enough room to show your character do his or her thing once, so don't waste time thinking of lots of stunts or abilities, just blow it out with one cool trick!”
Check out AVENGERS: HEROES ARISE #1 on the Marvel Comics app today., and stay tuned for the second issue to come later this later this year.
Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson's website at www.harley-davidson.com.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY, void where prohibited. 18 and older, 50 US & DC (or active military duty overseas) only. Submit entries for judging by 11:59:59 p.m. (CT) July 1, 2012. Complete details and entry at www.h-d.com/avengers. One Grand Prize motorcycle (ARV$20,000) awarded to winning Military Entrant and three Grand Prize motorcycles (ARV$20,000 ea.) awarded to winners from among General Entrants. One additional grand prize winner will be chosen from a separate contest in Canada for a total of five winners.