Writer: Neil Gaiman
Art: Andy Kubert
WHAT IS IT?
A reimagining/alternate universe version of many of our favorite Marvel characters (and some real-life people who lived during this time) in the year of 1602.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Spies, power struggles, political intrigue, and strange, violent weather patterns plague the denizens of this story, which takes place across Europe in the year of 1602 (as you may have been able to guess).
For some reason, superheroes have appeared 400 years earlier than they were supposed to. But that's not the only thing wrong with the universe; unnatural, apocalyptic forces seem to threaten the very fabric of the universe. Our heroes must get to the bottom of these mysteries while also surviving a political climate filled with spies, intrigue and danger.
But not all of them will make it...
You don’t need much knowledge about the Marvel Universe before reading this, but some knowledge of Marvel's more popular characters does make seeing the 1602 versions of these characters more fascinating
The art is GORGEOUS (see below for an example), drawn by a legend and digitally painted beautifully
It's a page-turner written by one of the greatest names in comics and keeps you interested in the big mysteries and smaller squabbles amongst the characters
If you're a fan of alternate reality stories, or Medieval/Renaissance tales of spies and intrigue, this is one of the best Marvel has to offer
There's a great character balance of X-Men, Avengers and other super teams
Todd Klein's lettering has a different kind of word bubble for nearly every character, helping to make sense of this large cast and their conversations in a cool way that makes sense for each character
The world building is brilliant, inspiring multiple spin-offs (detailed in the "What Do I Read Next" section below)
Even 15 years after this comic was written, it still feels good and fresh and powerful
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
It was written for individual issues, so there's a fair amount of retreading established plot points as a refresher for monthly readers
Gaiman can be kind of heavy on the exposition and dialogue for readers who like more action-packed comics with fewer words
For context: it was written just after 9/11, so Gaiman wanted to write a story that didn't have elements of war, airplanes, or terrorism. He also wanted something different from his Sandman series. Thus, Marvel 1602 was born.
This story is more dramatic than a lot of what Marvel's been publishing lately -- it may not be for everyone
If you don't know much about Marvel characters, you may miss out on a few of the allusions to the main Marvel Universe (AKA "The 616")
If you do know a lot about Marvel characters, you may be like, "Yeah, yeah, I get it, that's Daredevil"
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
One thing I love about Marvel are all the alternate universes and how characters are changed and represented and interact within them. This one is created by comics titans and beautifully painted to resemble a post-Renaissance era. I highly recommend reading this short, self-contained graphic novel.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Marvel 1602: New World/Fantastick Four by David, Pak, Alixe & Tocchini
Eternals by Neil Gaiman & John Romita
The Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth & Mike Dringenberg
If you like the art:
Wolverine: Origin by Jenkins, Quesada, Jemas, Kubert & Isanove
Spider-Man 1602 by Jeff Parker & Ramon Rosanas
1602 Witch Hunter Angela by Bennett, Gillen, Hans & Chamberlain
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Neil Gaiman – Writer
Name Recognition: Incredibly well respected for his achievements in comics, literature & more
His comics, novels and books of short stories are wildly popular and several have been adapted for TV & film
Married to talented musician Amanda Palmer
Andy Kubert – Illustrator
Multitalented: Started his career as a letterer in 1980
Prolific: Over his nearly 40 years in the industry, he’s drawn countless issues of comics
His father (Joe Kubert) & brother (Adam Kubert) are both comics artists, and his niece (Katie Kubert) is an editor for comics
Graduated from, and teaches at, the Kubert School, founded by his father & his wife, Muriel
Richard Isanove – Digital Painter
Dream Team: Also worked with Andy Kubert on Wolverine: Origin
Multitalented: Has also done comics work with pencils and co-wrote Savage Wolveirne: Wrath with Phil Jimenez
Originally from France, he now lives in America and does work for Marvel & DC
Todd Klein – Letterer
Award Winner: Since starting out in comics over 40 years ago, he has won many, many awards
Has created over 100 of his own fonts
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Click one of these:
From The Publisher, Marvel Comics, via the Marvel Unlimited app
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Marvel Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Marvel Comics or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED