Earlier this year, I was excited about the announcement from global boardgames megalith Asmodee that they were establishing ACONYTE to turn the impressive array of intellectual properties under the Asmodee banner into novels and prose-fiction releases.
Turns out that Aconyte have scored an incredible coup, by securing a multi-year agreement with Marvel Entertainment to create a line of new novels based around the world’s most recognised (and arguably beloved) roster of characters – Marvel’s comic book characters.
Not bad, given that the Marvel franchise retains a library of more than 8,000 characters, with story-lines and narratives that span over the last seventy-five years.
The first novels are slated to appear worldwide in latter 2020, in trade paperback, ebook and audiobook editions, but we have to wait until next year to learn exactly what will be in the list. What we do know is that Aconyte have promised to go beyond tie-in fiction and novelizations, to produce vibrant stories with richly imagined characters in living, deeply realized settings.
Aconyte publisher Marc Gascoigne said: “The Marvel comic book universe has featured a host of great characters and storylines crying out to be told over the years, and now is their time to step into the spotlight. You can look out for legends from Asgard, several volumes focusing on some of Marvel’s heroines, and stories of some of Professor Xavier’s lesser-known students, and that’s just to get us started.”
This is the Asmodee Group’s third collaboration with Marvel. Earlier this summer, Asmodee’s Fantasy Flight Games announced the Marvel Champions living card game. Meanwhile, another Asmodee studio, Atomic Mass, are developing a tabletop miniatures game based on some of Marvel’s key properties, to be called Marvel: Crisis Protocol.
As part of its ambitious mission to set up new content platforms for its boardgames and some third-party properties, Asmodee Entertainment have already announced Aconyte’s plans to produce novels set in the worlds of some of Asmodee’s most popular games (Stuffed Fables, Stuffed Fables, Stuffed Fables…) but these are the first third-party properties to join their list.
From first impressions, I’d say that these Marvel novels will focus on a more mature audience. Marvel already has its own prose novel imprint – Marvel Press – which is a partnership with Disney Books. It has released book versions of various comic story-lines, but seems to focus predominantly on books for early readers. It launched its pre-school-focused publication, Marvel Super Hero Adventures, in September 2017, and released a handful of chapter books and comic-based miniseries in April 2018.