Marvel’s Grand Design series has been one of the most exciting things the House of Ideas has created in the past several years. Starting with X-Men: Grand Design # 1 in December of 2017, the series features alternative comics artists like Ed Piskor (X-Men) and Tom Scioli (Fantastic Four) giving their personalized and unique takes on Marvel’s greatest characters. Each series condenses comic book history in a way that lets fans relive their favorite stories while giving newcomers a good feeling about the characters inside.
In addition to Piskor’s take on the X-Men and Scioli’s interpretation of the Fantastic Four, Jim Rugg currently produces a series based on the Hulk. The complex history and iconic nature of these characters make the format a very good fit. There are plenty of other heroes who Marvel could make this format work for, but there are just as many who wouldn’t benefit from the Grand Design treatment.
10 DO: Captain Marvel Has A Complex History of Identities
Carol Danvers has been to nearly every corner of the Marvel Universe since her debut in 1967. She’s spent long amounts of time as a close ally of the X-Men, a key member of the Avengers, and even as a part of the intergalactic Starjammers . She’s also used a variety of codenames and worn an impressive display of costumes.
Something the Grand Design series does best is illuminate aspects of characters that both celebrate and streamline their complex backstories. For a character with as much reinvention in her history di lei as Carol, the Grand Design series would help even more readers understand just what makes her such a critical, fun part of the Marvel Universe.
9 DON’T: Moon Knight’s Mystique Is Part Of His Appeal
Currently, Moon Knight is experiencing the biggest boost in popularity the character has ever seen. This is thanks, in large part, to the Oscar Isaac-starring show on Disney Plus. A hero who’s more in the shadows of the Marvel Universe than center stage, the many identities of the character and his mystic connections di lui are a metaphorical quagmire to the unfamiliar reader.
Moon Knight is a fascinating and fan-favorite character, but the character’s aura of mystery is an important part of what makes him so iconic. To grant Moon Knight a Grand Design series would be to dissect and partially remove that critical aspect of his identity by him. For fans who wish to see an artistic take on Moon Knight, look no further than Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz’s groundbreaking run.
8 DO: Daredevil Has A Celebrated History
One of the few characters in the Marvel Universe not closely associated with a team, Daredevil has been a source of street-level stories since his inception. The character has also attracted a variety of superstar creators with runs involving celebrated writers and artists like Frank Miller, Ann Nocenti, and Paolo Rivera.
One of the most fun aspects of the Grand Design series is seeing how different eras of characters are strung together as a single story. Each era of Daredevil has offered a distinct take and shown readers yet another way to interpret the superhero. In Daredevil: Grand Designreaders would be able to see each of these stories as part of a larger tapestry.
7 DON’T: Punisher Is Not Colorful Enough
Frank Castle, aka the Punisher, is one of Marvel’s darkest characters. He’s a man bent on ridding the world of crime through brutal violence. No stranger to varying interpretations, Punisher stories have been told by iconic creators like Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, and Jason Aaron.
Despite the success of previous non-continuity-based miniseries, the Punisher wouldn’t make a good Grand Design series. The Punisher’s story is too violent, dark, and gritty for the playful pop-art stylings that have characterized the Grand Design works so far. And while Punisher comics have been silly before, creating a Punisher: Grand Design wouldn’t be a faithful way of honoring the character.
6 DO: Captain America Is One Of Marvel’s First
Like the other heroes featured in Grand Design, Captain America is one of Marvel’s most iconic and beloved characters. Unlike the other heroes, Captain America debuted in the Golden Age of comic books, not the Silver Age.
The creators of the various Grand Design series have done a fantastic job evoking the eras in which stories were first published. For a character like Captain America, who debuted in the ’40s, artists would have fun playing with the styles and tropes of the’ 40s and ’50s – something that isn’t possible for most other characters.
5 DON’T: Nick Fury Is Too Enmeshed In Other Characters
Nick Fury is an iconic, crucial part of the Marvel Universe. Various versions of the character have fought in World Wars, assembled Avengers, and been the most crucial member of SHIELD in nearly all of its iterations.
Despite this, Nick Fury wouldn’t be well-suited to a Grand Design series. The character works best in a supporting role: sending agents after Wolverine, training heroes to defeat a Skrull invasion and interfacing between the Avengers and the government. While important, Fury hasn’t had nearly enough solo stories to merit the Grand Design treatment. Fans seeking an auteur’s take on the character should read Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD
4 DO: Wolverine Has An Iconic Legacy
Since his creation in 1974, Wolverine has become one of the faces of Marvel Comics and set the blueprint for the comic book antihero archetype. Several characters in-universe have donned James Howlett’s mantle as well, further highlighting his massive impact by him.
While X-Men: Grand Design was a huge success, a series solely focused on Wolverine could allow artists and readers alike to truly explore what makes the Canucklehead such a classic character. A series exploring Wolverine could examine his influence of him both in-universe and out, helping people understand just how important this X-Men is.
3 DON’T: Deadpool Is Too Meta
Deadpool, Marvel’s Merc with a Mouth, has been a breakout character since he first popped up in Rob Liefeld’s New Mutants. Throughout the years, the character has proved himself adaptable to a variety of genres and a key part of the Marvel Universe.
However, a key part of Deadpool is his snark and fourth-wall-breaking. The Grand Design series, while often humorous, is also earnest – something Deadpool is often not. To craft a Grand Design series on Deadpool would be a tight rope walk and would likely have to sacrifice an important element of either the idea or the character.
2 DO: Iron Man Has Perfect Visuals
Tony Stark, Iron Man, is a character whose origin lies in the fact he’s an inventor. Since busting out of capture in Tales of Suspense # 39Stark has crafted armor after armor, each sleeker and more exciting than the last.
RELATED: Spider-Man: Life Story – 5 Things We Love About The Comic (And 5 We Don’t)
The Grand Design series embrace the fact that comics are a visual medium, using compelling paneling, coloring, and inking to tell characters’ stories. Iron Man’s visual dynamism is a critical part of the character’s appeal, and in the hands of the right creator, Iron Man: Grand Design could be a huge success.
1 DON’T: Spider-Man Was Already Perfectly Condensed
Spider-Man has been beloved from the first moment of his creation. Since then, the character has continually fought iconic villains, starred in successful storylines, and featured compelling side characters. Spider-Man is one of the most famous superheroes in comics and deserves all the respect he’s given.
However, there’s one simple reason Spider-Man doesn’t need a Grand Design series. Spider-Man’s story has already been perfectly condensed. Chip Zdarsky and Mark Bagley’s Spider-Man: Life Story was a six-issue retelling of the Wall-Crawler’s life and the most important sagas of his life in a heartfelt, meaningful way. Spider-Man: Grand Design wouldn’t be able to help rehashing these same events, which would be difficult to do in a new and exciting way.
NEXT: Marvel: 10 Characters That Need Their Own “Life Story” Series
10 Characters Wonder Woman Used The Lasso Of Truth On (& Why)
About The Author