According to the New York Times, Neil Gaiman will return to Marvel Comics later this year, working with fan favorite writer Brian Michael Bendis. The two writers will collaborate on the final issue of “Age of Ultron” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” # 5.
Gaiman returning to the Marvel Universe is great news, but the exciting thing is that he will be bringing the character Angela with him.
Neil Gaiman co-created the character named Angela for the “Spawn” mythology. The aptly-named angel became hotly contested, as Gaiman and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane fought in a decade-spanning legal battle over who owned the copyright to Angela (as well as other character co-created during Gaiman’s time on the book), which ended in 2012. The ruling affirmed Gaiman’s co-ownership of Angela, as well as Medieval Spawn and Cagliostro, also co-created by Gaiman in Spawn # 9.
While a crossover between two publishers is hardly unprecedented, this is the first time a character from another publisher has been introduced with the intent of being a larger part of the other’s universe.
“We were looking for a good entry point to tease our fans and to let them know [Angela] was going to be a major player [in the Marvel Universe],” CCO Joe Quesada told the Times. Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso likened Angela’s appearance in the final issue of “Age of Ultorn” to “the post-credit scenes in one of our Marvel studio movies,” saying it’s designed to get fans hungry for more.
The character won’t just pop into Age of Ultron and disappear, however, with Marvel promising Bendis will continue to use her, even revealing her next appearance, in the Bendis-written Guardians of the Galaxy #5. That issue will be co-written by Gaiman.
Gaiman was already slated to make his comics comeback this fall withVertigo’s “Sandman” prequel illustrated by artist J.H. Williams III, but his return to Marvel opens up a number of other possibilities. Gaiman was well known for his attempts to obtain the rights to Marvelman/Miracleman, writing “Marvel 1602” in 2003 specifically to fund a legal fight over the character. Marvel announced it had acquired the Marvelman rights in 2009 and began printing previously-released material by the character’s creator Mick Anglo, but the disposition of the rights — and whether Marvel has the legal capacity to print new material featuring the character — is still not publicly known. However, given Gaiman’s new relationship with Marvel, the possibility that he’ll write the character again in new stories seems stronger than ever.
The publisher promises more on Angela and her role in the Marvel Universe soon.