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D) New Marvel Age Masterworks Lines

As of today, there are twenty comics that have been bestowed the honor of becoming part of the 
"Marvel Age" Masterworks canon. This is the line of books that we have known and loved since the first Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and X-Men books were premiered back in 1987. Since that time, we've seen- in order - the 
premiere of Avengers, Hulk, Uncanny X-Men, Captain America, Silver Surfer, Daredevil, Thor, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Sub-Mariner, Captain Marvel, Sgt. Fury, Ant-Man/Giant-Man, Rawhide Kid, and Human Torch, with Warlock and Nick Fury showing up in 2007. 
However, with only one new title, Nick Fury, being added to the Marvel Age Masterworks line over the past 12 months, it may be time for Marvel to start considering expansion again.

Marvel has made it clear that the "Marvel Age" of mainline Masterworks is completely in play. If the fans show a willingness to buy it, they'll look into printing it! This section of the survey focuses on the "Marvel Age" of comics, which started with Fantastic Four #1 and moved forward in time. 
Last year's Masterworks offerings saw the previous winner in this category, Nick Fury, taken out of the running, so now we focus on which titles from the bottom reaches of the list can make their move to the top, and also how strongly they do so!

So let me quit windbagging it and turn you over to the survey statistics! Again, the choices are ranked in order of the percentage of total ballot appearances among respondents, as well as notation of the power points (the cumulative quality of rankings) and total of first place votes. Here are the results:

PLEASE NOTE: Some Masterworks mockups and content maps may be in need of updating, but they're "in the ballpark" so to speak.

#1) Defenders Vol. 1

51% ballot representation

1247 total power points

79 first place votes.

(Click on image for "What If?" pop-up page.)

With Nick Fury out of the way, Defenders jumps up to the #1 spot! But it'll be a short stay, because right after the survey was closed this year, Defenders was announced 
as the 100th Masterworks volume! Check out the official preview page for Defenders Vol. 1.

Poor Defenders. The team that gets no respect doesn't even get to enjoy it's stay at number 1. Next year they'll get to go play with the "real" teams in the Marvel Age continuations category.

So who does that leave as an early favorite for the top spot in next year's New Marvel Age Lines category?

* * *

#2) Inhumans Vol. 1

47% ballot representation

1189 total power points

83 first place votes.

(Click on image for "What If?" pop-up page.)

Two years ago they were #4. Last year they were #3. This year they're #2. Next year, they'll be....

The Inhumans are a pretty strong #2 this year, with a decent-sized gap to the third-placed book. And they even picked up more first-place votes than the Defenders! An initial volume of Inhumans stories would include all the backup stories from Thor, the Medusa one-shot from Marvel Super-Heroes, key supporting appearances from Hulk, and their turn in the 1970s Amazing Adventures anthology. And the creative teams behind these stories are no slouches! No, they're the cream of the Marvel crop: Kirby/Sinnott, Neal Adams, and Gene Colan.

Hey, Marvel...don't wait to hear Black Bolt say it: We want Inhumans Masterworks! 

* * *

#3) Tomb of Dracula Vol. 1

34% ballot representation

878 total power points

69 first place votes.

(Click on image for "What If?" pop-up page.)

Tomb of Dracula Essentials proved that there are people 
out there who can't wait to sink their teeth into a whole buncha vampire comics! The time is now for Gene Colan's dark, mysterious and moody depictions of Count Dracula to come to life in the confines of Masterworks. The first volume would also be notable for including the first appearance of Blade.

UPDATE!!! Only a few short days ago, it was announced that Tomb of Dracula was going to be issued in Omnibus format starting in October 2008. So for now, dreams of vampire Masterworks domination will be put on the backburner.

* * *

#4) Marvel Team-Up Vol. 1

31% ballot representation

659 total power points

31 first place votes.

(Click on image for "What If?" pop-up page.)

The biggest surprise in this category, Marvel Team-Up leap frogs a whole bunch of books and jumps all the way up from 9th in the last survey to 4th this time! 

Marvel hit the jackpot with a lot of their superhero creations in the early 60's, but none have meant more to the company than Spider-Man. He has been the face of Marvel Comics for decades now, 
and while folks these days may be used to having their pick of multiple Spidey titles and limited series every month, there was actually a time back in the day when the web-slinger only had one title. 
Marvel saw the incredible demand for this character, and realized that they could sell a lot more comics with Spider-Man in them, and started up a second Spider-Man series. The selling point, though, was that this 
wasn't just a Spider-Man series, but it was going to feature all your favorite characters from throughout the Marvel Universe teaming up with Spidey. 

This first volume would cover the first 10 or so issues of MTU, featuring Spidey teaming up with the likes of Thor, Iron Man, the Vision, the X-Men, and others. The highlight of this volume though would be no less than four 
issues featuring Spidey teaming up with the Human Torch. Well, if you can call what they do when they get together "teaming up". Usually ol' Flame-head and the Webhead 
spend more time bickering at each other and trying to knock the other down a notch, than they actually do teaming up to fight villains. What's not to love about a full Masterworks volume of that?

* * *

#5) Not Brand Echh Vol. 1

29% ballot representation

763 total power points

59 first place votes.

(Click on image for "What If?" pop-up page.)

Finishing in the exact same position that it did in the last Masterworks survey, Not Brand Echh makes yet another strong showing ahead of many titles that would be considered more standard and familiar superhero fare. 
Marvel's icons are "up for gags", with the familiar stable of super-powered characters recast in the likes of Peter Pooper; the Silver Burper; Sore, Son of Shmodin; and Magneat-O! Other companies have their turn in the target of Marvel satire, with The BLUNDER Agents and Gnatman and Rotten showing up in the pages of Not Brand Ecch. The spiritual home of Irving Forbush, NBE was drawn by Marvel's top talents, like Jack Kirby, Don Heck, Ross Andru, and Marie Severin, among others, with writing by Roy Thomas, Gary Friedrich and - of - course Stan Lee!

* * *

#6) Dr. Doom Vol. 1

28% ballot representation

596 total power points

22 first place votes.

(Click on image for "What If?" pop-up page.)

Don't tell Ben Grimm, but the Fantastic Four's greatest enemy just made his first appearance in the top six! At this point in time, it's not clear what his intentions are, but you can be certain that as long as he's here, the rest of us aren't safe! We can only hope that he doesn't do too much damage 
while he's here. Please folks, I beg of you, don't vote for him again next year, it'll be nerve-wracking enough with him around here for the next 12 months, and I'm certain I couldn't take any more than that. 

Maybe Marvel will help us out and get Doom off of this list permanently. A Dr. Doom Masterworks would likely consist of his issue of Marvel Super-Heroes, along with his stories from the first 8 issues of Astoning Tales. 
The volume could be rounded out with a few significant appearances from the FF mag, and perhaps some of his run-ins with the Sub-Mariner. In fact, it's possible that this material could all 
be lumped into one Super-Villain Team-Up Masterworks line.

* * *

Here's how the top ten round out:

07: 27%....Black Panther Vol. 1 (569 points, 26 first place votes)

08: 22%....Iron Fist Vol. 1 (468 points, 23 first place votes)

09: 21%....Bronze Age Horror (Chamber of Darkness/Tower of Shadows) Vol. 1 (481 points, 31 first place votes)

10: 20%....Ka-Zar Vol. 1 (382 points, 14 first place votes)

Shooting up into the Top Ten this year are Iron Fist and Ka-Zar! Both of those titles have been getting increased buzz on the Masterworks board lately. Will that continue for the next year, and more importantly, will Marvel notice and heed the call? 
Iron Fist is a character who's seen a resurgence in popularity as of late, and the Masterworks would feature material from Claremont and Byrne, so this might be something that gets on Marvel's radar. Ka-Zar would feature some of Jack Kirby's final material from his Silver Age period at Marvel, along with the work of Barry Windsor-Smith, John Buscema, and Gil Kane. 
And the idea of a Bronze Age Horror volume makes another appearance in the Top Ten. Regardless of whether it featured Chamber of Darkness or Tower of Shadows or both titles, this volume would feature an unbelievable array of Marvel's best artists from the period. One title has dropped out of the Top Ten this year: Invaders.

Rounding out the Top Twenty:

11: 19%....Marvel Two-In-One Vol. 1 (380 points, 8 first place votes)

12: 18%....Invaders Vol. 1 (380 points, 15 first place votes)

13: 17%....Peter Parker Vol. 1 (333 points, 14 first place votes)

14: 16%....Man-Thing Vol. 1 (336 points, 18 first place votes)

15: 15%....Deathlok Vol. 1 (333 points, 12 first place votes)

16: 15%....Werewolf By Night Vol. 1 (311 points, 11 first place votes)

17: 12%....Captain Savage Vol. 1 (234 points, 10 first place votes)

18: 12%....Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze) Vol. 1 (234 points, 9 first place votes)

19: 11%....Moon Knight Vol. 1 (207 points, 6 first place votes)

20: 11%....Luke Cage Vol. 1 (182 points, 4 first place votes)

A number of titles drop out of the Top Twenty, including Howard the Duck, Champions, and Frankenstein's Monster. But to replace old Frank, two other horror titles jump in, Man-Thing and Werewolf By Night. Perhaps the biggest surprise entering the Top Twenty though is Moon Knight. 
This would feature the legendary Bill Sienkiewicz making a name for himself at Marvel with his unique artistic style. It would be a relatively unique Masterworks volume because it would feature material from the 1980's. If Marvel ever wanted to push the envelope and Masterwork another title from the early 1980's, 
it tough to think of a better choice than Moon Knight. Captain Savage makes a repeat appearance in the Top Twenty, proving that last year wasn't quite a fluke, and that there's some people out there who are hoping that Marvel will one day reprint it's entire Silver Age output.

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