Max (comics)

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MAX Comics
Max Comics Logo.svg
The logo utilized for Marvel MAX Comics
Parent companyMarvel Comics
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationNew York City, New York
Key peopleJoe Quesada
Axel Alonso[1]
Publication typesComics

MAX Comics is an imprint of Marvel Comics specializing in comic book media aimed at adult-only readers. It was launched in 2001 after Marvel broke with the Comics Code Authority and established its own rating system.[2]

The MAX Comics imprint is not Marvel's first effort in featuring explicit content in their titles. The company's Epic Comics imprint in the 1980s and early 1990s often featured stronger content than their mainstream imprint. However, the MAX Comics imprint is the first time Marvel has specifically produced comics with uncensored content.

While some works such as Alias have received acclaim, the imprint has attracted controversy, with some critics considering some of the titles to be gratuitous in its use of mature or vulgar content. Since 2012, the new works under the MAX imprint have been limited to the Punisher series. Marvel now portrays MAX as a rating indicating mature content, rather than a separate brand.


The first series to be published under the Max imprint was Alias, written by Brian Michael Bendis.[3] Several limited series were then created specially for the Max imprint, such as Apache Skies and Haunt of Horror, but the majority of its publications were based around existing Marvel characters, such as Howard the Duck and Devil-Slayer.

One Marvel character who was revived by Max was Rawhide Kid[4] who in 2002 became the first openly gay Marvel comic book character to star in his own magazine.[5] The first edition of the Rawhide Kid's saga was called Slap Leather. According to a article, "The new series pairs the original artist, John Severin, now 86, with Ron Zimmerman, a television writer. Making the Rawhide Kid gay was Zimmerman's idea."[5] The character's sexuality is conveyed indirectly, through euphemisms and puns, and the comic's style is campy.[5] Conservative groups protested the gay take on the character, which they claimed would corrupt children, and the covers carried an "Adults only" label.[6]


Former Marvel president and chairman Stan Lee openly criticized the Max imprint. Referring to an incident of strangulation with intestines in the 2001 Fury miniseries, based on the character Nick Fury, whom he co-created, Lee said, "I don't know why they're doing that. I don't think that I would do those kinds of stories".[7]


MAX Ant-Man and Deathlok miniseries were both solicited, but were cancelled before their release.

Some of the titles such as Alias, The Hood, Wisdom, Thor: Vikings and Apache Skies are considered part of Earth-616, the main Marvel Universe, while others like Punisher MAX, Wolverine MAX, Fury, Deadpool MAX and Foolkiller take place in alternate universes.

See also[edit]

  • Marvel Knights, similar Marvel Comics' former mature-readers imprint
  • DC Black Label, DC Comics' current mature-readers imprint
  • Vertigo, DC Comics' former mature-readers imprint


  1. ^ "Entertainment News, Celebrity and Pop Culture - ABC News". Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  2. ^ Jonah Weiland (July 5, 2001). "Marvel's New Ratings System... Explained!". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved February 8, 2011.
  3. ^ Lee, Stan; Quesada, Joe (2008). Marvel Chronicle: A Year by Year History. London: DK Publishing. p. 307. ISBN 978-0756641238.
  4. ^ Comic Book First: Gay Gunslinger, CBS News, 2002-12-11, retrieved 2009-03-21
  5. ^ a b c "Marvel Comics to unveil gay gunslinger", CNN, 2002-12-09, archived from the original on 2009-02-28, retrieved 2009-03-21
  6. ^ Palmer, Joe (2006-10-16), Gay Comics 101,, archived from the original on 2009-03-22, retrieved 2009-03-21
  7. ^ James Adams, "Code Red in the New Comicdom", The Globe and Mail, May 2, 2002, p. R9
  8. ^ "The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators". 2015-06-28. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  9. ^ "Aguirre-Sacasa talks "Dead of Night featuring Man-Thing"". Comic Book Resources. 13 February 2008. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  10. ^ "WW Philly: Devil-Slayer Returns in "Dead of Night"". Comic Book Resources. 31 May 2008. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  11. ^ "Warren Simons & Brian Keene On Max's Devil-Slayer". 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  12. ^ "Swierczynski on "Werweolf By Night"". Comic Book Resources. 19 December 2008. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  13. ^ "NYCC: Kirkman Talks "Destroyer MAX"". Comic Book Resources. 19 April 2008. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  14. ^ Archived from the original on November 26, 2009. Retrieved February 21, 2009. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ Ekstrom, Steve (July 13, 2009). "Return to Fortune: Chaykin on Dominic Fortune MAX". Newsarama. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  16. ^ "Max'ing Out the Future: Axel Alonso Talks Marvel Max - Newsarama". Archived from the original on May 19, 2009. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  17. ^ "Gregg Hurwitz Talks Foolkiller - Newsarama". Archived from the original on October 29, 2007. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  18. ^ Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allan Poe at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
  19. ^ "Corben and Lovecraft at Marvel in June - Newsarama". Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. Retrieved March 25, 2008.
  20. ^ "Shout at the Devil: Irvine talks "Son of Satan"". Comic Book Resources. 2 June 2006. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-17. Retrieved 2009-09-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Heroes Con '09: Marvel's Starr the Slayer Returns". 2009-06-19. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  23. ^ "HeroesCon: Way & Corben Talk "Starr the Slayer"". Comic Book Resources. 20 June 2009. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  24. ^ "Nick Lowe on Marvel Max's War is Hell Series - Newsarama". Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. Retrieved March 9, 2008.
  25. ^ "/404". Archived from the original on March 11, 2008. Retrieved March 9, 2008.
  26. ^ Singh, Arune (June 2, 2006). "Marvel Fanboys: Mike Raichit Talks 'Zombie'". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2009-03-11.

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