By Jim Beard
With a treasure trove of over 5,000 Marvel titles already at your fingertips with Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited
, the question must be asked: how much more can you handle?
How about some brand new original
Over the next few weeks two Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited
titles premiere, and better still, tie directly into Marvel's two summer film blockbusters, "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk."
Not simply content with movie adaptations, Marvel's bringing their A-game to brand-new stories that expand upon the film universe and make the long wait until sequels that much sweeter.
"Cooler than the other side of the pillow," says writer Frank Tieri of his project, THE INCREDIBLE HULK: THE FURY FILES. Tieri joins artist Salva Espin in a dangerous mission to bring S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury into the world of the Incredible Hulk.
"When I first got offered the gig and was told what doing this digital Hulk comic entailed, I was like 'Wait a sec…So I get a chance to play with Marvel movie mythology while creating stories that the films themselves are actually going to follow—and I'm getting paid for it, too? So now…Where do I sign up exactly?'" he explains.
Writer Paul Tobin, who alongside artist Ronan Cliquet brings further illumination to the relationship between Tony Stark and James Rhodes in IRON MAN: FAST FRIENDS
, echoes Tieri's enthusiasm for the online digital project and the film's main players.
"What I really found amazing about ["Iron Man"] was the characters," he notes. "Yeah, sure, the effects were awesome and the battles were really dynamic, but it was the characters that gave those effects and battles a real anchor. Rhodey, Tony, Pepper, they were all very believable, very human."
"Tony and Rhodey both have similar agendas; where they differ is just how they go about achieving those goals. So, [in IRON MAN: FAST FRIENDS
] they clash, they spit, they roll their eyes and they curse, and they'd take a bullet for each other. Makes 'em fun to write."
Being more than familiar with the structure and layout of traditional comics, both writers jumped into their respective Digital series with both feet, despite what challenges might confront them.
"The big issue going in was how to produce something that would satisfy so many different cooks—Marvel editorial, Marvel.com and Marvel Studios," Tieri says. "Marvel Studios in particular is understandably very careful about what you can and can't do with these characters since this all ties into the stuff they're doing with the movies. And really, while a lot of creators might find that as something that could be difficult to deal with, I absolutely took it as a positive."
"Why? Because it means these stories matter. That what we're doing here very much counts in the larger Marvel movies scheme and I found that very exciting—and I imagine fans will too."
Tobin found the idea of playing in the Marvel movie universe a "unique experience," one with distinct perks for a creative writer who also happens to be a fan of the films.
"Editor Nate Cosby has been relaying thoughts back and forth between me and the 'Iron Man' movie folks, and since they have a lot more info on upcoming Marvel movies than I do—duh—my scripts would sometimes bump into the Lands Where We Cannot (Yet) Go," he says. "It was these occasional glimpses into Marvel's other side that made this project fascinating."
"My request, though, for a fully working model of the Iron Man armor was turned down, unfortunately. Something about 'budgets' and 'national security.'"
Offering Marvel readers stories that resonate as character pieces and expand upon the films' themes and settings became of primary importance to the entire Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited team.
"We absolutely didn't want to do a stereotypical movie tie-in thing where all you do is see clips of the movie from somebody else's perspective," states Tieri. "We wanted something cool, something that felt important, something we ourselves as fans wanted to see—and that's when we came up with Nick Fury's first encounter with the Hulk."
"THE INCREDIBLE HULK: THE FURY FILES takes place pre-everything—pre-'Iron Man' movie, pre-'Incredible Hulk.' Fury knows virtually nothing about the Hulk at this point—just vague reports and whispers—hell, he doesn't even know that Banner changes into something else yet. All he knows is that somehow Thunderbolt Ross has somehow finally succeeded in creating something out of his super soldier experiments, and Fury, being the man of action that he is, wants to have a look himself."
Readers will have a chance to look for themselves, with IRON MAN: FAST FRIENDS #1
, available now to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited subscribers, and INCREDIBLE HULK crashes the gate on October 8.
These comics cannot be found anywhere else except at Marvel.com, home of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited
They begin a slate of Digital-only exclusives to be published regularly on Wednesdays at the pace of three or more comics per month. Upcoming titles will showcase top Marvel characters and creative teams, fan-favorite holiday-themed specials, explorations into science fiction, martial arts, Westerns and so much more.
Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited subscribers already gain access to an ever-growing library of more than 5,000 Marvel comics featuring an enormous array of titles from every era of Marvel's celebrated publishing history. Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited is curated by Marvel editors, and serves as an ultimate digital comic Internet destination, allowing unparalleled access to thousands of titles from Marvel's historic comic book archives. From the first issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, THE X-MEN, INCREDIBLE HULK, FANTASTIC FOUR and other favorites, to unforgettable recent storylines, mini-series and special issues. The Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited presents each digital comic in the highest-resolution available. Join now.