Marvel Comics has just revealed that the current comics crossover series The Age of Ultron, about a maniacal robot built by an Avenger and bent on taking over the world, will feature an epilogue written by Brian Michael Bendis that brings a character Neil Gaiman co-created into the Marvel Universe.
That character? Not Morpheus. Not Shadow. Not Crowley or Aziraphale. But Angela from the Image Comics title Spawn.
Angela was a break-out character co-created by Neil Gaiman in the early 1990s for Todd McFarlane’s creator-owned title Spawn, which was published under the Image Comics umbrella. At the time, the prevailing tone of Image Comics’ output was to be light on plot, light on characterization, but heavy on being EXTREEEEEEME in a kind of oversugared, oversimplified way. (So much so that Image co-founder Rob Liefeld named his personal comics line Extreme Comics.) At the time, neither Marvel or DC was putting this kind of material out, and the comic book reading audience really identified with that kind of storytelling. (Much in the same way we currently enjoy a good blockbuster every summer.)
So what kind of character is Angela? Wikipedia sums her up well:
In the comics, Angela is an angel who acts opposite Spawn as a bounty hunter working under the auspices of Heaven.
And that’s pretty much it. The character isn’t one of Gaiman’s finer moments, but really no one in comics was at their best around then. (Superman died for no reason... Green Lantern got all genocide-y... Spider-Man was cloned again and again...) The unexceptional quality of Angela became even more ridiculous thanks to a prolonged legal battle between Gaiman and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane over the finer points of who created her and what monies were owed where and... yeah, my own eyes are glazing over just typing about it. (There are more details at the above linked Wikipedia article for those interested.)
In any case, now she’s showing up in the Marvel Universe in a completely unrelated comic book storyline. According to Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool, she’ll then figure into an issue of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy comic written by Brian Michael Bendis and Neil Gaiman.
After Age Of Ultron, Angela will then become a cast member in the Guardians Of The Galaxy series for issue 5 at least, written by Brian Bendis… and now co-written by Neil Gaiman, representing his return to writing comics and writing for Marvel. Any more issues? No idea.
Johnston has more info and connects some interesting dots in his piece. The Guardians of the Galaxy comic is supposed to kick off this fall to take advantage of the forthcoming 2014 movie, which Neil Gaiman is not affiliated with.
So, in conclusion: nothing makes sense anymore.
Chris Lough is the production manager of Tor.com and wants Gen13 to show up in The Walking Dead now because why the fuck not, okay?