15 Love rescued from the dust bin of comics history

15_LOVE_COVER_1.jpg
2003 wasn’t so very long ago but in many ways it was a completely different age for comics. Nü Marvel was all the rage as comics were climbing out of the sales tailspin of the late ’90s, and Bill Jemas and Joe Quesada reigned supreme at Marvel. Jemas in particular went off on some strange tangents. The Ultimate line may have been his signature achievement, but there were lots that aren’t remembered so fondly, or at all, like Marvell — a sort of satire of superheroes written by Jemas himself — and Trouble — a photo-covered “Gossip Girl” wanna-be that featured teenaged, randy versions of Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Hardly typical Marvel fare.

Such a project was 15 Love, announced at the time, scoffed at, finished, and never published. But perhaps the time is now right for a sports manga-style bildungsroman about a young tennis player.

The creative team is Andi Watson and Tommy Ohtsuka. Since 2003, when this was created, Watson has had many dances with the Big Two, but always goes back to his own stuff. Ohtsuka has stayed busy at Marvel with most recently the Sherrilyn Kenyon adaptation LORDS OF AVALON.

In retrospect, the Jemas Era was a lot more adventurous and much less dire than it seemed at the time. That this story has been dusted off and published at last is an encouraging sign that material of all kinds can now find an audience — or at least get a shot at it.

This July, get ready to say game, set, match for 15 Love #1 (of 3) – a never before seen, giant-size story from acclaimed writer Andi Watson (Skeleton Key, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and artist Tommy Ohtsuka! Mill Collins is about to learn that life is anything but a piece of cake when the length of your high school career depends on the strength of your serve! But when Mill’s slipping grades threaten to steal away her scholarship from the exclusive Wayde Tennis Academy, she’ll have to look for help from the most unlikely coach to climb her way back up the bracket and into the record books!
 
“The story Andi’s put together is a terrific one—the story of underdog Mill Collins and her quest to prove that she can make a name for herself doing the one thing she loves most of all—playing tennis,” said Marvel Editor Jordan White. “The characters are real and really draw you in—even if you know nothing about tennis, you know what it’s like to fight for a dream.”
 
It’s 56 pages of  high-stakes sports action, larger than life ambitions and a coming-of-age comedy starting this July in 15 Love #1 (of 3)!
 
15 LOVE #1 (of 3)
Written by ANDI WATSON
Penciled by TOMMY OHTSUKA
Cover by SHO MURASE
Rated A …$4.99
ON SALE THIS JUNE!

.

15_LOVE_PREVIEW1.jpg

15_LOVE_PREVIEW2.jpg

15_LOVE_PREVIEW3.jpg

15_LOVE_PREVIEW4.jpg

Comments

  1. Charles Knight says:

    “she’ll have to look for help from the most unlikely coach to climb her way back up the bracket and into the record books!”

    Man-thing?

  2. Giant-Size Man-Thing.

  3. a comic for girls sold in a market where girls almost never come, in a format that no girls read is a sure sign for a double bagel to me.
    Oh, and it’ll cost 5 bucks too.

    Sigh: does no-one at Marvel think about these things?

  4. “Sigh: does no-one at Marvel think about these things?”

    I’m sure they do … but if they didn’t attempt a project like this, we’d criticize them for not taking chances.

  5. pulphope says:

    This stuff reminds me of Urasawa’s early 90s series, Happy, the book he wrapped right before Monster…a favorite of mine from those days…I always loved the idea of “sports comics” and wish more were being done. manga and Manhwa have a bunch…

    I had a few talks with Jemas about a sports comic around 2000…exciting possibility but the stars weren’t alligned…alas…

  6. I dunno, Mario, $5 for FIFTY SIX PAGES sounds pretty OK to me.

    -B

  7. James says:

    I’m glad this comic is seeing print and bravo to Marvel for that. I just wish I cared enough about tennis to be interested in the book. Watching it on tv is like watching paint dry and I can’t imagine how “exciting” it will be in static comic form.

  8. The more I see the art the more I wish Tokyopop could have finished Boys of Summer. I wanted to read the rest of that mini.

  9. “a comic for girls sold in a market where girls almost never come, in a format that no girls read is a sure sign for a double bagel to me.”

    i’m pretty sure that perpetuating this fallacy of “no girls like comics” is one of the biggest parts of the problem to begin with. personally, this type of hyperbole isn’t funny in a cynical way or clever to me. it’s just a complete misrepresentation of the situation (not to mention the irony of the statement considering it’s posted on a blog edited and largely written by a woman).

    but, regardless, i thought this 15 Love announcement was just Marvel’s attempt at an early April Fool’s joke.

  10. Snikt Snakt says:

    Sports and comic books go as well together as Super-Heroes and Broadway.

  11. Apollokid9000 says:

    Glad Marvel is trying (or retrying as the case may be) to put out material outside of theIr comfort zone. The market can’t go unless you fill it with more than the usual.

    Now let’s see how sucessful they can be getting the word out in and out of the direct market.

  12. Nick: girls like comics. Alot! Sometimes more than boys.
    Only these comics are black&white 100plus page $10 books written and drawn by Japanese authors and sold in bookstores.
    These comics are called manga and it’s readers are very specific about them.

    I’m sure you’ve read this blog before where this dichotomy has been expressed time and time before.

  13. Oh, and Brian: surely YOU of all people know the demographics of pamphlet and tankobon buyers.

  14. Mario -

    So girls only read manga?

    It sounds like that’s what you’re saying. But while my daughters plunder my RANMA collection, they also embrace other comics — LITTLE MISS ADVENTURES, SMILE, MERCURY, LITTLE LULU, GROO, BONE and more. They’re looking forward to ANYA’S GHOST, want anything by Faith Erin Hicks, and look forward to Free Comic Book Day.

    A comic about teenage girls playing competitive sports sounds like it’ll appeal to them, too.

    But apparently, it shouldn’t exist, because we’ve swapped one cliche for another, and if it ain’t manga, we should just assume they won’t want it.

    This doesn’t strike me as sensible. I want lots of different kinds of comics for my daughters, and I’ll take ‘em wherever they come from.

    I’d guess Brian knows a fair amount about the demographics of comics buyers in his store, having sold lots of things that aren’t manga to female customers.

  15. Holy tamoley! Sports comics? On my shelf?

    I rarely buy single issues, but I just may have to splurge on this.

    Now please, Marvel, could you dedicate something even remotely resembling a marketing budget to this? Something that reaches the kind of people who /don’t/ already read industry press releases? ;]

  16. Martha Cornog says:

    Cute girls in skimpy outfits, fighting like hell. Since when does this not appeal to MALE readers too? Looks like a winner to me.

  17. Torsten Adair says:

    Marvel almost never publishes original graphic novels (even though their HARDCOVER Halo graphic novel by Brian Bendis was EXTREMELY successful).

    They’ll print the three issues and use that money to offset the costs of production. Collect it six months later, hopefully in a digest edition. The schedule is off… it should have been January-March so that the collection could have been marketed during the U.S. Open Arthur Ashe Kids Day, but I doubt Marvel thinks that creatively.

    (And Marvel, how about putting out a FCBD issue WITHOUT superheroes? Wizard of Oz, Jane Austen, 15 Love…)

  18. “a comic for girls sold in a market where girls almost never come, in a format that no girls read is a sure sign for a double bagel to me.”

    As if the 3 issues can’t be collected and sold as 1 volume in normal bookstores later?

    “I’m pretty sure that perpetuating this fallacy of ‘no girls like comics’ is one of the biggest parts of the problem to begin with.”

    Good point.

    And it’s like perpetuating the fallacy of “no athletic people like comics.” Who says that if you like sports you shouldn’t like comics? Who says that if you dislike sports you should like comics?

    Kurt Busiek, you make good points too.

    “Cute girls in skimpy outfits, fighting like hell. Since when does this not appeal to MALE readers too?”

    When the fights are sports and a male reader goes “ewww, jock jock jock snob snob snob!!!!” about anyone who actually likes to get exercise.

Speak Your Mind

*