Program includes animated shorts, chapter books and expanded line of merchandise debuting this Fall!

Little True Belivers, this one’s for you! Starting this Fall, we’re gearing up for the brand new school year with “Marvel Super Hero Adventures” – a multi-platform content program targeting Marvel’s youngest fans through animation and publishing. Through stories that touch upon aspirational themes of friendship, helping others, and heroism, preschool kids and young readers will have a gateway into the Marvel Universe. This new program will be supported by new offerings across comic books, graphic novels and merchandise including toys, lifestyle and apparel.

Marvel Animation will launch a season of 10 short-form episodes for the pre-school audience. The 3.5 minute animated episodes will feature Spidey in an epic team-up with other inspiring and brave Marvel heroes like Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Wasp, Ms. Marvel and more. Platforms and launch date for this short-form series will be announced at a later date.

Debuting in September will be a series of early-reader chapter books joining the existing line of popular Marvel Super Hero Adventures activity books and storybooks from Marvel Press. The first chapter book, “Deck the Malls!,” written by MacKenzie Cadenhead and Sean Ryan, illustrated by Derek Laufman, features Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen in a fully illustrated adventured with a bonus one-page comic. Three more chapter books and an expanding publishing program will continue through 2018 and beyond.

The Super Hero Adventures merchandise is led by a toy collaboration with Hasbro, featuring new character tie-ins and play experiences inspired by Marvel Animation. They’re a perfect way for preschoolers to celebrate their young passion for Marvel in their daily lives. Further merchandise rollouts include wide offerings across toys and apparel with supportive collaborations from Mad Engine, Jay Fanco, GBG, Jakks Pacific and others–all representative of the major categories for Marvel preschoolers. Additional Marvel Super Hero Adventures products will debut throughout October during Marvel Mania, Marvel’s celebratory campaign spanning marquee retailers including Walmart, Target, Toys R Us and more.

Parents and fans around the world can share the Marvel Super Heroes Adventure program with young fans as it expands even more in Spring 2018.

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'Guardians of the Galaxy,' 'Avengers,' and more heading to your favorite parks soon!

True Believers! At D23 Expo today, Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek announced that a ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ attraction was coming to Epcot in Florida. Looking ahead to the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, a brand-new E-ticket attraction based on the rockin’ and action-packed world of Guardians of the Galaxy will be among their exciting plans. The Guardians-inspired attraction will be added to Future World.

The Marvel love isn’t just limited to Disney Parks in the United States. The Walt Disney Parks & Resorts panel revealed a new hotel called Disney’s New York Hotel – The Art of Marvel will be coming to Disneyland Paris!

Chapek announced the “reImagination” of the Disney’s Hotel New York into a new Marvel-themed wonderland filled with all your favorite Marvel characters, including Iron Man, The Avengers, Spider-Man and more. Located steps from the Disney Village and theme parks at Disneyland Paris, Disney’s New York Hotel art deco style and contemporary décor will be the perfect place to spotlight favorite Marvel heroes and villains.

“We’re going to create a hotel at Disneyland Paris that would make Tony Stark proud,” Chapek said. “I’m thrilled to announce that Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel will transport our guests to the action-packed, inspiring world of superheroes including Iron Man, The Avengers, and Spider Man among others!” Disneyland Paris is currently in the midst of a stunning 25th Anniversary Celebration.

Lastly and certainly not least, we’ve teased it before, but Chapek gave a hint at what’s to come next for some of your favorite Super Heroes at Disney California Adventure park. Soon, the Guardians of the Galaxy will be joined by Spider-Man and the Avengers in what will become a completely immersive super hero universe at the park!

These new stories will build on the success of the new and already popular Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! and create a place where you can team up with your favorite Super Heroes like never before.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com and the Disney Parks Blog for more updates on new happenings from our colleagues at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, Disney California Adventure park and more!

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Look back at some classic adventures set in the Land of the Rising Sun!

CABLE #2—due out June 28—finds our hero traveling back in time to feudal Japan in pursuit of a mysterious adversary! Marvel heroes have a long history of traveling to Asia’s island nation, so take a look back at five other stories set in the land of the rising sun.

Wolverine (1982) #1

Wolverine (1982) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
WOLVERINE
Wolverine stories could easily dominate any list of the best comics set in Japan, so let’s start with the “best there is”—the original WOLVERINE #1-4, by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. One of Marvel’s first limited series redefined the character as he traveled to Japan to find his long-lost love, Mariko Yashida. Shingen, her crimelord father, forced her to marry one of his stooges, which did not set well with Logan. Miller and colorist Glynis Oliver provide ninja fights amidst the neon lights of Tokyo, making this not only the must-read Wolverine tale, but also one of the quintessential works within comics as a whole.

Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan (2005) #1

Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan (2005) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
FANTASTIC FOUR & IRON MAN
While action and drama typically drive Wolverine’s journeys to Japan, “fun” fueled this comic by Zeb Wells and the late Seth Fisher.  The Fantastic Four head abroad for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Tokyo’s new Giant Monster Museum and Expo Center, when—you guessed it—giant monsters attack. Luckily Iron Man also had business in the area and joined the fray. Fisher created each monster as a dedicated work of art for an insanely delightful story that never lets up.

Big Hero 6 (2008) #1

Big Hero 6 (2008) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
BIG HERO SIX
Before jumping to the big screen, Hiro, Baymax and the rest of the team starred in two different series: one by Scott Lobdell and Gus Vasquez in 1998, and another by Chris Claremont and David Nakayama in 2008. When the Japanese government decides they need their own team of heroes, they recruit Silver Samurai, Honey Lemon, and the rest of the crew, who battle the likes of Everwraith and Yandroth.

5 Ronin (2010) #1

5 Ronin (2010) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
5 RONIN
The 2011 series 5 RONIN recast Hulk, Wolverine, Deadpool, Punisher, and Psylocke as master-less samurai living in 17th century Japan. Featuring the work of Peter Milligan and a variety of artists, including covers by David Aja, each issue told the story of one of the five characters, whose destines became interlinked as they sought revenge against the dreaded Damiyo.

Punisher War Journal (1988) #8

Punisher War Journal (1988) #8

  • Published: September 10, 1989
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 27, 2010
What is Marvel Unlimited?
THE PUNISHER
Back in 1989, Carl Potts and Jim Lee introduced The Punisher to a group called the Shadowmasters, who graduated from PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL into their own series. This ancient clan of martial arts masters protected the province of Iga, and Punisher came into contact with one of them, Kathryn Yakamoto, who helped him infiltrate a ninja camp run by a shady American corporation. Later Frank Castle and Black Widow teamed up with them again against the Sunrise Society, a Japanese business used as a cover for a crime syndicate.

Travel to Japan once more with CABLE #2 by James Robinson and Carlos Pacheco!

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Meet Matt Murdock and five other heroes who tried to hide their IDs!

During Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s epic run on DAREDEVIL, Matt Murdock let the world know his true identity. But somehow, that secret went back into the bottle before the start of the current series. Now, almost two years later, Charles Soule and Ron Garney have begun to reveal how exactly that happened.

Daredevil’s not the only Marvel stalwart who received a second chance at a secret identity. Some heroes, in fact, have gone to some pretty lengthy extremes to restore theirs. Here’s a look at a few of them…


Daredevil

The Man Without Fear’s latest efforts to restore his secret come after a number of attempts and accidents that left him exposed.

Way back in the original DAREDEVIL #24, Spider-Man, of all people, wrote a letter to Matt Murdock telling him he knew his secret—but he promised he wouldn’t tell anybody. Too late, Wallcrawler; Foggy Nelson and Karen Page read the letter. Matt covers up his secret by creating a fictional twin brother: Mike Murdock.

Eventually Mike “dies,” but DD’s identity woes don’t end there. In one instance a TV station broadcasts Matt’s secret, but Black Panther helps save it by dressing as Daredevil. Many others discovered his secret ID over the years, leading to a storyline where he continued to deny it while a tabloid tried to out him. That song and dance continued until our hero went public and told everyone—leading us to the current storyline.

Spider-Man

Spider-Man not only almost screwed up his buddy’s secret identity, he’s had plenty of close calls himself. The list of people who knew Spider-Man’s real name grew over the years, and then during the first Civil War event, Peter Parker took Tony Stark’s advice and revealed his true name and face to the world.

But only for a short time. The “One More Day” storyline saw Spidey sacrifice his marriage to Mary Jane to Mephisto in order to save Aunt May’s life. A few years later, a tale called “One Moment in Time” revealed how time “reset” itself after the couple made that call—and why Peter decided he needed his secret identity back. Kingpin came after several of our hero’s loved ones, so the Webslinger asked Doctor Strange to cast a spell to make everyone forget his secret. Working with Tony Stark and Reed Richards, the Sorcerer Supreme did the deed, with only Peter and MJ escaping its effect.


Captain America

In the late 1980s, John Walker temporarily replaced Steve Rogers as Captain America after the government tried to make Steve part of their political agenda. The new Cap’s tenure proved difficult, and eventually the powers-that-be decided to hand the suit and shield back to his predecessor. In the press conference announcing the return of the original, a member of the militant Watchdogs apparently assassinates Walker—but only “apparently.” The staged shooting allowed the former Cap to put his old life and mistakes behind him and return in a new identity: U.S. Agent.


Wolverine

During the Fall of the Mutants, the X-Men, including Wolverine, gave their lives on television to save the world from a being called The Adversary. The goddess Roma, however, took pity on the mutant heroes, resurrecting and giving them the opportunity to operate in secret. She even made them “invisible” to any sort of surveillance beyond regular eyesight.

While the X-Men moved to Australia and established a secret base, Wolverine had his own agenda—and storylines—going on in his solo title. Logan established a new identity, Patch, on the island of Madripoor, where he engaged in an underworld battle with the local crime lords. The eye patch kept his resurrection somehow “secret,” despite the iconic claws and hairdo.


Iron Man

Back in 1998, Captain America and Iron Man teamed up in the aptly titled IRON MAN/CAPTAIN AMERICA ‘98 ANNUAL. In the story, Tony Stark and Steve Rogers battled A.I.M. and M.O.D.O.K., and we learned in a flashback that the duo also took on Mentallo, who had created a way to control the minds of everyone on Earth. Iron Man not only took out the telepathic villain, but also used his technology to make everyone forget his secret identity. Years later, it wouldn’t matter, as Tony revealed his name and face to the entire world again anyway.


Thor

To teach his son humility, Odin stripped Thor of his memories as a god and sent him to Earth as Donald Blake, a mortal medical student with an injured leg. Eventually Blake discovered his true origin, and Thor spent time on Earth not only in his godly, heroic identity, but also as the good doctor. Eventually the Thunder God gave up his ability to turn into his human alter ego.

Years later, when Thor decided he wanted a life on Earth again, he didn’t ask Odin for another spell. Instead, he turned to Nick Fury, who created a new civilian identity for him: Sigurd Jarlson. Transforming into Jarlson didn’t require Thor striking his hammer on stone; it only needed civilian clothing and, of all things, a pair of glasses—who would use a pair of glasses to try and hide their true identity?

The saga of Matt Murdock’s secret identity continues in DAREDEVIL #19, on sale this week, and concludes in issue #20, available May 17, both from Charles Soule and Ron Garney!

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Tracking the major alterations the mega event has made to the Marvel Universe!

You didn’t need to be Ulysses to see that Civil War II would change the face of the Marvel Universe. And with only a matter of weeks before the final issue of CIVIL WAR II sees the light of day on December 28, we look back on some of the most shocking game-changers from the first seven issues of the series.

It’s War (Again)!
Last December, Marvel announced a second super hero civil war 10 years after the first one, which rocked the Marvel Universe for years to follow. It only makes sense then that this moment provides us with our first game-changer. As [series editor] Tom Breevort said at the time “neither [side] being painted as absolutely right or absolutely wrong” might force readers out of their traditional camps to consider other viewpoints.

If we know anything from the initial Civil War, scars ran deep and no doubt, the heroes and fans alike will feel after effects from this family feud for years to come.

War Machine: Out of Order
When the Avengers set an ambush to bring in Thanos, thanks to the use of Ulysses’ precognitive powers, few expected the cost to include War Machine’s death. This event lit the fire that became Civil War II with Tony Stark seeking to prevent similar tragedies from occurring while Carol Danvers still believed in restricting criminals, such as Thanos, of their freedom to act.

Hulk DOWN!
With War Machine dead and She-Hulk in critical condition, the Avengers soon faced yet another staggering loss with the death of one of its founding members: The Incredible Hulk. Recognizing his capacity for destruction, Bruce Banner created a failsafe to prevent further Hulk-fueled havoc that would result in his death. Only fans had no idea just what that “failsafe” would look like…

BULLSEYE! Give the Man 20 Years to Life!
Few would accuse Hawkeye of fitting the same super hero mold as Captain America or Spider-Man, but as Bruce Banner understood, sometimes being heroic means doing the things no one else will do. Given how often Clint Barton received the call for those kinds of missions on behalf of S.H.I.E.L.D., it should have come as no surprise when readers discovered him as Banner’s failsafe, as he killed his longtime friend and fellow Avenger to halt another Hulk incident.

Civil War II #8 cover by Marko Djurdjevic

Civil War II #8 cover by Marko Djurdjevic

Tony Stark Goes Black Ops
Although many readers no doubt questioned Carol Danvers’ use of precognitive policing, Tony Stark crossed a line of his own when he not only kidnapped Ulysses from the Inhumans’ compound but also tortured the young man and conducted non-consensual tests on him. Although Tony used this information to discover Ulysses’ powers were fallible and based only on probability, it failed to convince Captain Marvel to stand down. Further, it failed to convince many readers of Tony’s moral high ground.

Let’s Get Ready to Ruuummmbbbllleee!!!
By the fourth and fifth issues of CIVIL WAR II, the super hero fight began, and for fans of fantasy battles, the major teams found themselves duking it out for all to see. Of course, some heroes seemed to take some real pleasure in finally getting to lay the smack down on each other. Once the dust settles from this drawn-out slobber knocker, however, the question remains of how—or if—they will ever stand side-by-side again?

Did Carol Just Do What We Think She Did …
At the end of CIVIL WAR II #7, we see Iron Man confronting Captain Marvel on the steps of the Capitol in a suit that looks like a super-sized version of War Machine’s armor. This time, Carol plays the role of Thanos as she delivers a shot so powerful that, once again, we see another War Machine fall…

Get the big finish in CIVIL WAR II #8, available December 28 from Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez!

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Take a deep dive into the technological innovations of Tony Stark!

Industrialist and inventor Tony Stark led the way in his awesome advances in personal armor, crafting a legacy that continues to this very moment with Riri Williams, aka Ironheart, as seen in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #2, out December 21. Never one to rest at being the best, Stark worked diligently to improve his armor until it not only became cutting edge, it actually surpassed it.

Join us on a brief journey through some of our favorite Iron Man armors, a toast to Tony Stark and his technology.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #39

Tales of Suspense (1959) #39

  • Published: March 10, 1963
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: February 28, 2008
  • Penciller: Steve Ditko
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?
First Armor
Built to save his life, Stark’s first suit of armor became the spark that ignited his super hero career and years of searching for ways to improve upon it. Clunky by today’s standards, the grey armor featured transistors and other advances that, at the time, proved eye-opening.

Iron Man (1968) #85

Iron Man (1968) #85

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Red and Gold Armor
By streamlining his first armor and adding some color, Stark set Iron Man on the path to greatness. The first red and gold suit featured greater mobility, flight capability, armament, and a few surprises, all of which cemented a hero in the public consciousness for years to come.

Iron Man (1968) #152

Iron Man (1968) #152

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Stealth Armor
A need to move about on more covert missions that brightly colored armor might disrupt led to Stark’s development of this sleek black suit. Based off of his outer space apparatus, the suit provided the inventor with not only the ability to run silent, but also to literally deflect radar and other tracking technology.

Iron Man (1968) #200

Iron Man (1968) #200

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Silver Centurion Armor
Pushed to the limits of sanity and stripped of his wealth and everything that mattered to him, Tony Stark bounced back from darkness with a suit of armor that not only presented a new type of Iron Man, but also introduced new innovations such as advanced repulsors and unibeam, and an incredible “chameleon” effect.

Iron Man (1968) #231

Iron Man (1968) #231

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Updated Red and Gold Armor
The classic red and gold color scheme returned with this new armor advancement, originally designed to hold off the one particular Iron Man enemy. Stark worked his beta-particle generator into the suit, which boosted its power by a high degree and even caused its creator anxiety over its attraction to unscrupulous parties.

Iron Man (1968) #282

Iron Man (1968) #282

  • Published: July 01, 1992
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 18, 2010
What is Marvel Unlimited?
War Machine Armor
Bristling with heavy armament and capable of delivering more firepower than any previous suit, the so-called Variable Threat Response Battle Suit became the blueprint for a later set of armor that Stark developed for his friend James Rhodes to operate as a hero in his own right.

Iron Man (1968) #300

Iron Man (1968) #300

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Modular Armor
Desiring the ability to access all of his armor advances but within a system that allowed for customizing on the spot for any given situation, Stark created a modular suit that granted him more flexibility as Iron Man than ever before.

Iron Man (1998) #1

Iron Man (1998) #1

  • Published: February 10, 1998
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: March 05, 2013
  • Writer: Kurt Busiek
  • Penciler: Sean Chen
What is Marvel Unlimited?
Sentient Armor
Before its devastating toll on his health, this suit provided Stark not only with a fresh beginning as Iron Man after being caught in a pocket universe, but also with new advances in a complete life-sustaining environment within the armor. This meant more time to stay in the suit and the ability to resist external invading forces.

Iron Man (2004) #5

Iron Man (2004) #5

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Extremis Armor
Stark developed an incredible process with which he could literally encompass a suit of Iron Man armor within his own body, and call it up for action in record time. The Extremis technology also provided him with greater communication systems, repulsor flight, and a cutting edge self-healing factor.

Invincible Iron Man (2016) #1

Invincible Iron Man (2016) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?
All-New Armor
The red and gold made yet another comeback to signal Stark’s latest resurgence as Iron Man, as well as his focus on adaptability and customization. This armor’s shape-shifting ability allowed first Tony and later Riri even more flexibility to reply to threats and specific external attack modes.

Continue to follow the evolution of the Armored Avenger in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #2 from Brian Michael Bendis and Stefano Caselli on December 21!

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Stephen joins with other heroes to save the world from behind the scenes!

The idea of a group of people running the world from the shadows goes back centuries. In the Marvel Universe, however, it can be traced back to the days of the Kree-Skrull War as seen in the NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI one-shot from 2006.

That’s about when Doctor Strange, Professor X, Mister Fantastic, Iron Man, Namor, Black Bolt, and Black Panther met to figure out if a behind-the-scenes alliance between them and their respective groups might benefit the world. Panther immediately saw the potential problems with such an idea and quit, but the others stuck together to banish the Hulk to space and branch into a five issue limited series called NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI by Brian Michael Bendis, Brian Reed and Jim Cheung.

Each issue took place around a major event in the history of the Marvel Universe. The first saw our heroes captured by the Skrulls after they tried to invade as a way of keeping the aliens from return trips to Earth. This ill-advised operation actually gave the shape shifters the information they needed to invade during Secret Invasion completely undetected.

In the second installment, Strange attempted to acquire one of the missing Infinity Gems alongside Namor and Professor X. The mission proved a success and between them, they gathered all the stones along with the Infinity Gauntlet. To keep them safe, each member of the Illuminati gained their own, with Strange keeping the Soul Gem.

New Avengers: Illuminati (2006) #1

New Avengers: Illuminati (2006) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

From there, they encountered The Beyonder during Secret Wars II and got him to stop playing with the laws of nature, at least for a bit and then tried to deal with Marvel Boy and his desire to destroy the Earth.

In the fifth and final issue, Tony Stark called another meeting that everyone attended even after World War Hulk and Civil War tore the hero community apart. Strange only appeared in his astral form saying, “I thought it best if there was a barrier between us. All things considered.” Tony wanted to explain to the others about the Skrull invasion as evidence by a Skrull posing as Elektra. As it happened, Strange traveled with the New Avengers when they headed to Japan and encountered the being.

Though he separated from Tony on the Registration Act, Strange returned to the Illuminati as seen in Jonathan Hickman’s NEW AVENGERS and AVENGERS runs that lead up to Secret Wars.

Opening the Book of Vishanti

NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI #4 kicked off with Doctor Strange telling Iron Man that Clea left him to rule the Dark Dimension. At that point, she had studied with him to become a mage herself and also discovered that Dormammu’s sister Umar birthed her. She took over in a story from DOCTOR STRANGE #7174 that ended with her in power and Stephen unwilling to stay on as her consort. In the original comics, this lead into Secret Wars II tie-ins whereas the timing gets reversed in ILLUMINATI.

Next, J. Michael Straczynski, Samm Barnes and Brandon Peterson offer an updated origin for the Master of the Mystic Arts in the Marvel Knights limited series STRANGE from 2004.

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Disney XD launching first three stories of 'Marvel Video Comics' this weekend!

Marvel Publishing and Marvel Animation are bringing 4 video comics, featuring original story and artwork to life, with “Marvel Video Comics.” Watch your favorite Marvel characters leap off the comic page with “Marvel Video Comics,” a new storytelling format that combines comic-style graphic paneling with dialogue, sound, video editing, digital motion effects, and light animation. You can find the four installments, “Spider-Man & Iron Man In…Training Day – Parts 1-3” and “Black Panther In…The Visitor,” on Disney XD’s YouTube and on the Disney XD app on Nov. 4!

In “Training Day,” super powers don’t come with a training manual! After Spider-Man (Cole Howard) stops some crooks from robbing a Stark Enterprises facility, Iron Man decides to pay him back with a little help from FRIDAY (Tabitha St Germain) and some on-the-job training. Iron Man’s plan goes awry when D-List villain, Batroc the Leaper (Marc Oliver), reveals some major upgrades that push him to the A-List. Both Spider-Man and Iron Man (Brian Drummond) are going to have to learn some new tricks if they’re going to be able to best Batroc 2.0. Written by Robbie Thompson, storyboards by Balak, art by Javier Garron, colors by Andres Mossa, and music by Guy Michelmore. Watch a clip from “Training Day” above!

In “The Visitor,” Black Panther (Omari Newton) gets a visit from envoy Everett K. Ross (Brian Drummond) to discuss security for a possible international summit in Wakanda. The visit is interrupted when Super Villain Ghost (Marc Oliver) appears to steal Wakandan treasure. Black Panther and his loyal Dora Milaje (Evans Johnson) have to both stop Ghost and show Ross why Wakanda has never been conquered or invaded. Written by Kevin Burke & Chris “Doc” Wyatt, storyboards by Geoffo & Balak, art by Javier Garron, colors by Andres Mossa, and music by Guy Michelmore.

The video comics executive producers include Dan Buckley, Cort Lane, John Cerilli, Alan Fine, and Joe Quesada; co-executive producer Stan Lee; producer Nick Lowe; consulting producer Stephen Wacker; and line producer Kalia Cheng Ramirez.

Watch “Training Day” and “The Visitor” starting Friday on Disney XD’s YouTube and on the Disney XD app. Stay tuned to Marvel.com for all the latest news and updates on “Marvel Video Comics.”

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Mark Paniccia and Cullen Bunn join the program!

Today, Thursday, October 27, at 3PM ET, tune in here and join Marvel’s Senior Editor, Mark Paniccia, and writer Cullen Bunn (UNCANNY X-MEN, DRAX, DEADPOOL: BACK IN BLACK) as they join host Walter Hickey and Entertainment Weekly writer Christian Holub to discuss the fallout of Marvel’s CIVIL WAR II #6.

Sides have been drawn, battles have been fought, but it all comes down to this. Captain Marvel versus Iron Man over the future of the Marvel Universe, one of the biggest battles in Marvel history! 

  • Monthly live stream brings fans an in-depth conversation from the voices behind Civil War II.
  • Every episode follows the release of the most recent issue of Marvel’s CIVIL WAR II, and will pair Marvel representatives with some of today’s top thought leaders in the fields of entertainment, technology, and politics about how Civil War II and the Marvel Universe is shaped by the continuous conversations and narrative of the world around us.
  • Hosted by FiveThirtyEight’s Walt Hickey, accompanied by some of the top creative Marvel minds
  • Streamed live from ABC News Headquarters in NYC and is available to watch on ABC News digital platforms on desktop, mobile, social & OTT as well as Marvel’s Facebook page
  • In its sixth installment, the first couple of episodes of“Marvel’s Civil War II Livestream” brought together writer Brian Michael Bendis (CIVIL WAR II, INVINCIBLE IRON MANSPIDER-MAN), Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, Marvel’s Editor in Chief Axel Alonso, Marvel’s Director of Content Development Sana Amanat, and more as they discussed the current state of the Marvel Universe and how it sets the stage for what is to come in Civil War II.
  • Watch the most recent episode of “Marvel’s Civil War II Livestream” now!
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The first black female comic store owner on the east coast meets Riri Williams!

Ariell Johnson is taking the comic book world by storm—pun intended!—with her new shop, Amalgam Comics and coffeehouse, located in Philadelphia. As the first black, female comic book store owner on the east coast, Ariell works toward the goal of creating a comfortable, welcoming space for fans and readers to enjoy their favorite comics, and discover new ones.

We caught up with Ariell, as well as artist Elizabeth Torque, who created an INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 variant cover especially for Amalgam.

Marvel.com: How did you first get into comics? What characters and stories drew you in the most?

Ariell Johnson: I bridged into comics from cartoons by way of the X-Men, and it was really Storm who paved the way. When the Fox TV show aired back in the 90’s, I became totally obsessed with her. She was the first black woman super hero that I had ever seen. She made me feel like I could join the action, and not just have to sit on the sidelines watching someone else’s adventure.  

So naturally, the first comic that I ever bought featured Storm. It was the MAGIK [limited series], featuring Illyana and Storm. That is still one of my favorite storylines of all time! Storm wielding magic, Illyana’s soul sword. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Marvel.com: We’re certainly making progress in terms of representation, but a lot of spaces in fandom are still dominated by white men. What do you feel is the significance of Amalgam?

Ariell Johnson: Amalgam shows that anyone can be a geek, and a proud one. I’m definitely not what anybody pictures when they hear the words “comic book store owner”—but here I am.  And I think it’s important, especially for little black girls, to see that. It’s important that they know they can exist in any space they want, in any space that interests them. And that, if you don’t see a place for yourself, you can make one. 

Marvel.com: In your store, you’re going to carry INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 with a variant cover by Elizabeth Torque that features you and Riri Williams enjoying a coffee in the store. What do you think is the significance of characters like Riri, particularly when they take over super hero mantles from white men?

Ariell Johnson: Yes! We are super excited about this variant. My Comic Book Jedi, Randy Green aka The Super Tribble, aka R-Son the Voice of Reason, worked really hard to make this variant happen, and the concept was totally his. Ms. Torque blew us away with the initial sketch, and the finished product is so absolutely amazing, I’m still wrapping my head around it.  

I think representation is extremely important. I don’t see it as some forced notion of diversity, but rather as an accurate depiction of the world we live in. If you went by what we see with most forms of media, you would think the world was made up of a majority of straight, white, men and that’s just not true. I think characters like Riri help to bring balance to a really unbalanced medium. My hope is that with Riri carrying the mantle of “Iron Man”—or Ironheart—fanboys who may not have ever thought to pick up a book starring a young black woman will perhaps reconsider, and learn that characters that look like them do not need to be the focus for a story to be good or relatable—a truth that those of us who are under-represented have known for a long time.

Marvel.com: Having a comic book store that has a coffee shop is such a cool idea. How did you decide to do that? 

Ariell Johnson: I got the idea when I was still in college, back in 2003. I didn’t know of any stores like the one I imagined but it came out of a need for a space where I could feel like I belonged, a space that felt comfortable. My weekly routine including buying my books on Friday, so after I got out of class I would head down to Fat Jack’s at 20th & Samson [in Philadelphia] and pick up my books, then I would head across the street to this awesome coffee shop called Crimson Moon. It was owned and operated by a young black woman named Koko. Her shop was so awesome! I can’t say that enough. From the furniture, to the music, to the mural on the bathroom wall, to of course the food and drink options. It was such a welcoming space, and I loved going there to read my books. It made me feel social and part of a larger community even though I rarely spoke to anyone when I was there. Maybe a year or so into my routine the coffee shop closed, and the loss of that communal space is what prompted the idea for Amalgam. I thought it would be cool if you didn’t need to search for that comfortable space, if that comfortable space was the comic shop. So it was a really simple idea to start, and it evolved in my mind over time into what it is today.

Marvel.com: What advice would you give to girls and young women who want to become involved in the world of comics and fandom?

Ariell Johnson: To quote Nike, “Just do it.” We’re dispelling the myth of what a “real” comic fan looks like every day. So I would say, don’t be intimidated; I must admit I was really nervous the first time I went into a comic book shop. In the beginning I would buy all of my books off of Ebay to avoid the discomfort. Go into a shop and look around, buy something you like, and read it. That’s how you start. If you have a negative experience, don’t write off comics or fandom, just look elsewhere, I guarantee you will find people who are like you and/or are accepting of you. We’re out here, geeks of all types.  Join us!  

Elizabeth Torque had some powerful insights, as well, about her INVINVIBLE IRON MAN #1 variant cover and representation in fandom.

Marvel.com: What is it that made you want to be involved in this project and create a variant cover for Amalgam Comics?

Elizabeth Torque: As a big fan, usually when a publisher like Marvel asks me if I want to be part of this or that project, my answer is always a resounding “yes,” regardless of the main character or the theme of the cover. But in this particular case, I found it an interesting challenge. It was not the classic super hero scene. For the cover they wanted something with a touch of everyday life and humor. I loved the idea of mixing the two worlds—the comic and the real—for these two interesting women to sit for a chat and a coffee. 

Marvel.com: What do you think is the significance of Ariell’s work with Amalgam, and of characters like Riri? 

Elizabeth Torque: As a woman and as a worker, I feel totally identified with what Ariell is doing. I see her as a strong and enterprising woman who has taken her business very seriously, with effort, creativity, and a love for what she does. And Riri is one of many Marvel characters who reflect this type of woman today. It’s great that in the comics you can find female characters as powerful and iconic as male characters.

Marvel.com: Where do you think we stand generally in terms of representation in comics and fandom?

Elizabeth Torque: The comic world is possibly living one of its most glorious stages. It has strength, popularity, and acceptance. Thanks to the films and television shows, it has been opened to the general public. Comics have great diversity, both in terms of genres and creators. There is a comic for everyone, and characters for all. Thanks to social networks, the fandom can participate and provide feedback—and in my years of working, I’ve learned that criticism and compliments both help you grow. So I think that this exchange of communication is really important.

Pick up INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 on November 2, and next time you’re in Philadelphia, visit Amalgam Comics!

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