Marvel CyberComics

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Marvel CyberComics or Webisodes were Shockwave comics, produced from 1996 to 2000 by Marvel Comics.

History[edit]

CyberComics were created by Marvel in the summer of 1996 as a part of a promotional deal with America Online. The CyberComics were placed into the AOL/Marvel Zone and were exclusively available to AOL users. In 1997 Marvel built their own website at MarvelOnline.com and the CyberComics were freely available to all users through registration on MarvelZone.com (due to the contract with AOL).

On September 17, 1999 NextPlanetOver.com (NPO), a now-defunct online comics store, announced a one-year marketing and content licensing deal with Marvel Comics. Terms included a year of run-of-site advertising on Marvel.com. In addition, NextPlanetOver.com was sponsoring monthly CyberComics created exclusively for them by Marvel. NPO was bought out less than a year later and went bankrupt in 2000; the CyberComics were renamed into Webisodes and made available at Marvel.com for free without any registration.

The first characters to star in CyberComics were Spider-Man and Wolverine, soon followed by several others. The comics were not only canon to the mainstream but also tied in directly with Marvel's newsstand offerings. They came out on a monthly basis, in four parts consisting of eight pages each.

Using Macromedia's Shockwave software, readers guided the action by clicking through word balloons and following panels complete with animation, sound effects and music. CyberComics were still very much in the comic book or strip genre - the result was a cross between comics and animation.

The Cybercomics were made by taking penciled pages and transforming them through a program called "Electric Image Painter" and form-Z into the digital comics, colored in digitally in Adobe Illustrator. Simple animations were created in Macromedia Shockwave, and Garry Schafer of grimmwerks created the soundscapes which drove the animations. Done at a time previous to mp3 compression as common as it is now, only 4 channels of small, short soundscapes could be used at one time.

Due to financial reasons the production of new CyberComics ceased in 2000 and Marvel removed them from their website.

Having a huge back-issue archive, Marvel decided to save money by replacing Marvel CyberComics with Dotcomics. This successor would eventually become Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

Spider-Man[edit]

From 1996 till 1998 there was a run of the Spider-Man Cybercomics. They appeared monthly for 14 months in four eight-page, weekly installments/episodes. After the 52nd episode Marvel remade them officially into storylines:

Spider-Man Storyline # 01 - 01-04 (July 18, 1996):

Written by Scott Lobdell, penciled by Mark Bagley, guest-starring Chamber and Vertigo.

Spider-Man Storyline # 02 - 05-08: The Menace of Mysterio

Guest-starring Mysterio kidnapping J. Jonah Jameson.

Spider-Man Storyline # 03 - 09-12:

Guest-starring Morbius and the Lizard.

Spider-Man Storyline # 04: Shock Value - 13-16

Guest-starring The Hand, Kingpin, The Rose, Hammerhead, Shocker and Green Goblin. The fourth chapter of the story was penciled by Daerick Gross.

Spider-Man Storyline # 05: The Gamma Gambit - 17-20

Penciled by Daerick Gross, guest-starring Green Goblin and The Hulk.

Spider-Man Storyline # 06 - 21-24:

Spider-man in the Savage Land, featuring Ka-Zar, Shanna the She-Devil and Zabu.

Spider-Man Storyline # 07: Sandblasted - 25-28: Read it here!

Peter Parker's latest gig as a freelance photographer is no day at the beach, thanks to the Sandman's untimely emergence. Featuring the Sandman at Coney Island with art by Daerick Gross.

Spider-Man Storyline # 08: Strange Heads
(This Storyline was included as a promo on a CD in Marvel Vision #25 and Ka-Zar #8)

Spider-Man Storyline # 09: Electric

Spider-Man Storyline # 10: Black Tarantula

Spider-Man Storyline # -1: Flashback

  • Issue #41 (April 24, 1997): The beginning of an all-new saga! When the mutant-hating Friends of Humanity stage a rally at Empire State University, Peter Parker must confront the ugliness of bigotry! Plus: Spider-Man is accused of murder! By Glenn Greenberg, Ariel Olivetti and Atomic Paintbrush!
  • Issue #42 (May 1, 1997): Spider-Man is accused of murder and the mutant-hating Friends of Humanity group are out to make him pay! But the real murderer, one of Spidey's greatest enemies, remains at large and dangerous as ever! By Glenn Greenberg, Ariel Olivetti and Mark Badger!
  • Issue #43 (May 8, 1997): A Flashback-Month tie-in! The first multimedia crossover ever done! Joe Robertson is forced to choose between covering a news story – or becoming a part of it! By Tom DeFalco and Mark Badger!
  • Issue #44 (May 15, 1997): A Flashback-Month tie-in! Concluding the first multimedia crossover ever done! Joe Robertson is given a choice between covering a major news story or becoming a part of it!

Spider-Man Storyline # 11: Venom Saga

Spider-Man Storyline # 12: Deathlock Solution

Spider-Man Storyline # 13: Path of Vengeance

Spider-Man Storyline # 14: Maximum Plumage

Spider-Man Storyline # 15: Doom Control

(In five parts; 1998) His name is Von Doom. Victor Von Doom. And only Spider-Man can stop him from seizing control of all the minds in Manhattan. It can be seen completely here. By D. G. Chichester and Daerick Gross.

Heroes[edit]

Mutants[edit]

  • Gambit: The Hunt for the Tomorrow Stone (December 27, 1999) Was the first CyberComic referred to in a printed comic (in the pages of Gambit #12). The plot occurred approximately after Gambit #10 - Gambit helps Spat obtain the Tomorrow Stone to stop her de-aging and save her life. In his quest for it he encounters Sekhmet who needs the Stone herself to save her mother from the suspended animation she was put in by her husband. Sekhmet finally gets the Tomorrow Stone but provides it to Spat and saves her life. After that, Sekhmet goes on looking to find help for her mother (Assumedly, the Sekhmet story would have come up again in the Gambit comic, if it continued under Fabian Nicieza, but didn't since it was cancelled). Art by Daerick Gross.
  • Wolverine: Merciless is the Mongrel by Tom DeFalco and Daerick Gross (In four parts; July 1996). This was one of the two fist Marvel CyberComics ever (the other one was with Spider-Man). Pale Flower is playing a dangerous game, with Wolverine in the middle. Can she control a tiger by the tail? Features first appearances by Mongrel and Pale Flower.
  • X-Men: Twisted History (In four parts; January 2000 ) Written by D. G. Chichester with art from Daerick Gross, the X-Men's original line-up gets a bit of a revamp, with Gambit, Rogue, and Colossus thrown into the mix! Read it here!
  • X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse (1996 one-shot) Was a promotional CyberComic story tied into the X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse videogame. The game itself was a commercial total conversion of the Quake engine. Written by Larry Hama, penciled by Daerick Gross. It can be downloaded here. In the zip-archive is a file named RAVCOMIC.EXE, this is the cybercomic - just double click on it.

Marvel's Excelsior Theatre[edit]

Scoop:
The only "movie" in this "theatre" was called "The Secret Adventures of Captain America - Far Flung in the Far East" and came out in five parts in 1999-2000. It was conceived by former editor and Stan-hattan Project founder James Felder and co-written by James Felder, Ben Raab and Joe Kelly with art/designs by John Cassaday and overseen by John Cerilli; sound effects, music, animation and even the voice of Captain America was provided by Garry Schafer. The idea was to do a Flash animated series with actors and writers contributing the characters' voices - all involved recorded parts - John Cerilli was Nick Fury, for example. Sort of a retro-modern version of the old movie serials with a bit of the Orson Welles's Mercury Theatre radio show vibe. It was discontinued after the fifth episode without bringing the story to an end for unclear reasons.

Story:
Chasing down a mysterious phenomenon in East Asia during the WWII, Cap confronts the nefarious Mandarin! A certain Sergeant Fury is present and accounted for as well, but with allies like these...

Other appearances include Dum Dum Dugan and Sgt. Fury's Howling Commandos, composed of Dino Manelli, Reb Ralston, Gabe Jones, Pinky Pinkerton and Izzey Cohen.

  • Episode 1: Valley of Death
  • Episode 2: In the Clutches of the Mandarin
  • Episode 3: The Valley of Lost Spirits
  • Episode 4: The Road of Frozen Hells
  • Episode 5: Fireworks

Review:
The adventure featured numerous "firsts", including a new first meeting of Captain America and Nick Fury; one that is decidedly different than the one featured in the pages of Sgt Fury comic. Much more advanced than the CyberComics, it had music and actors performing their parts and more advanced animation. Oddly the story seemed to take the stand that Nick Fury was somehow opposed to Captain America beforehand, seeing him as some kind of glorified piece of propaganda.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]