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February 21, 2020
By Vishnu Makhijani
New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) You have read about them in comics — that was the original genre. They then transformed to the stage, to the small screen, then to the big screen and soon the streaming platform. Now, read about your favourite Marvel Superhero in book format with the seven titles that have been released making waves worldwide and also in India, where they recently debuted.
What prompted the release of these books considering that some of the original comics date back to the mid-1960s and that all of the originals, barring Thanos, have been turned into hugely successful movies?
“As with the novels Marvel themselves published previously, the Titan releases are specifically based on the comic book incarnations of the characters. In some cases, such as ‘Captain Marvel: Liberation Run’, the authors have produced entirely new stories set within the comic book canon. In others, as with ‘X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga’, they’ve adapted seminal storylines,” Stephen W. Saffel, Senior Acquisitions Editor at Titan Books, the London-based publisher, told IANS in an email interview.
“Our goal is to entertain as many readers as possible, so frequently we will choose the most high-profile characters. Because of their tremendous popularity, many of these characters and storylines have also led to films. Other novels will feature stories entirely new to the film and TV audiences,” Saffel added.
Among the titles released are ‘Avengers — Everybody Wants To Rule The World’, ‘Ant-Man – Natural Enemy’, ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Thanos — Death Sentence’.
Detailing the process of the transformation from the comics to the TV shows to the movies to the book format, he said Titan was not involved in the development of the television and film storylines “though certainly we follow them and enjoy them tremendously. Our focus is entirely on adapting the comic book concepts”.
This comes with challenges, though, as exemplified by ‘Avengers: Infinity’. That comic book event had many threads that fed into various Marvel comic book titles, “Yet we were tasked with producing a novel that would be self-contained and entertaining. Thus the writer had to organise the material very carefully, at times removing elements that weren’t essential to the core storyline, while expanding or reorganizing facets to keep the narrative focused and dramatic” Saffel explained.
What has been the response to these books since they were released in the West in 2018?
“We’ve had a wonderful response. The books have been very well-reviewed, and the readers have been enthusiastic. In many cases the novel has been a reader’s first introduction to the characters or comic book storylines, while in other instances the readers have enjoyed the new approach to familiar storylines,’ Saffel said.
What has prompted their release in India?
“As a publisher Titan exists to entertain as many readers as possible — an important measure of our success is the number of people who enjoy what we produce. Thus we make the English-language editions available to as many people as we can, including those who live in India. Beyond that, we frequently partner with local publishers in other countries to produce translated versions of the stories,” he said.
What is next in the pipeline?
“We very much enjoy our relationship with Marvel and the opportunity to work with such wonderful characters and concepts. While we don’t have anything ready to announce at this moment, there will be more novels, and we’ll keep doing this for as long as the readers ask for it,” Saffel said.
MARVEL COMICS opened the doors to the Marvel Universe on August 31, 1939. It marks its 80th anniversary this year.
(Vishnu Makhijani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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