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Saturday, August 12, 2006 

Marvel Knights no more

I'm not as much of a Daredevil reader as I could be, and Kevin Smith's debut story for the Marvel Knights-labeled series, which killed off Karen Page, certainly didn't encourage me to read it in 1998. But now, what do I find here, but clear signs that the Marvel Knights line is...gone!

Taking the following issues as an example:

That's Daredevil #81 Vol. 2, March 2006, and it does have a MK label. But now, look at the following one, for those who, like me, haven't kept up with Hornhead:

That's issue #82 Vol. 2, April 2006, and lo and behold, it doesn't have a MK label, does it? Nope, indeed not.

Then, one more that I could find on the GCD, the latest scan available there:

That's issue #87, Vol. 2, September 2006 (must've come out just shortly ago, knowing how a lot of magazines often come out prior to the scheduled date), and again, no Marvel Knights label!

There's some pretty good explanations why, of course. What began as a pretty good, auspicuous line, which included an anthology written by Chuck Dixon, for example, later degenerated into a very biased, either by the editors, writers, or both, line of series, the awful and unreadable Marvel Knights take on Captain America being one of the standouts of badness among them, and the Elektra series was pretty weak too. The Hulk under the label wasn't very good either. Even the Punisher series under Garth Ennis suffered from bad bias, such as in the fifth issue, which was spoken about in Front Page Magazine in 2003.

And when Punisher more or less moved to the MAX line, I guess that might've signaled the slow demise of the MK line. Like I said, what may have started out well lost panache when Quesada and company messed it up. It ran longer than "New Format" titles from DC, most of which were far better written than MK (thus, it's a shame that DC didn't keep their own line around for long), yet it failed to maintain the clout it could've, because TPTB just couldn't resist shoveling their politically motivated biases down the audiences' collective throats. Including Civil War, which, by the way, Hornhead's title seems to have run afoul of as well.

That's the surprising irony, that a comics line for adult readers like New Format (whose titles included Swamp Thing and Green Arrow, for example), with stories written far better than Marvel Knights, would be discontinued after barely three years of use of the label, whereas the MK line ran about eight, and the majority of it was riddled with dreadfully written scripts that were either too limp (as in the case of Elektra) or just too full of political bias (as in the case of Capt. America), and Daredevil most likely ended up becoming a victim of such mistakes as well. Not only that, but, at least in the case of New Format, its demise could be linked to the distressing problem of bearhugging the overall DCU too close together for comfort, whereas in the case of the MCU, I've got a feeling that the way it was done with them, it may have gone too far in the opposite direction to really work!

In any case, one has to wonder if, with the MK line having disappeared, gone the way of DC's New Format, will MAX, and even Vertigo, be next?

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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