We almost got a James Gunn-written Power Pack comic under Marvel's MAX imprint

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Jun 30, 2017

Here’s a lesson for Marvel. Don’t let a kids comic sit too long, or else James Gunn will get his hands on it. On Wednesday, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn took to Twitter to share a pitch to Marvel Comics for Power Pack … for the MAX imprint, which is Marvel’s line for mature readers.

For those unfamiliar with the title, the Power Pack was originally created in 1984 by Louise Simonson and June Brigman, featuring a group of grade school-aged siblings with science-based abilities gifted to them by a dying alien. Despite ranging from age 5 to 12, Alex Power (Zero G), Julie Power (Lightspeed), Katie Power (Energizer) and Jack Power (Mass Master) dealt with fairly mature subjects and social problems, ranging from guns to drug abuse, orphanhood, pollution and kidnapping, to name just a few. They concealed their powers from their parents and wrestled with the responsible use and whether to publicly share the knowledge of their abilities. 

 

Franklin Richards, the son of Reed and Sue, also joined the Power Pack, and the team was then tied to Fantastic Four after Alex joined Reed Richard’s Future Foundation. In 2005, the Power Pack was been brought back as an all-ages book and packaged into several limited four-issue mini-series, released sporadically from 2005 to 2011, written by Marc Sumerak with art by Gurihiru. 

Sometime in that stretch, around 2009, Gunn made his serious pitch to Marvel Comics, which was met with favor. 

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This was around the time when the MAX imprint was on its third or fourth wave with monster/horror-based titles like Man-Thing, Devil-Slayer, Werewolf by Night, Strange Tales, Terror, Inc.: Apocalypse Soon and The Destroyer were being published. Marvel MAX initially launched in 2001 with titles like Alias (AKA Jessica Jones).

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Marvel Studios, on the other hand, was a different story. It was right around then that Marvel Studios was contemplating smaller-scaled, lower-budgeted movies, like Dazzler, Ka-Zar, Luke Cage and, yes, Power Pack.  Perhaps through a combination of not wanting there to be mixed messages as to who the Power Pack is to readers and fans, and knowing back then Gunn’s twisted humor, they passed.

It must have been pretty compelling, though, for the editorial team to be interested in the pitch. If he brought this pitch today, I'm betting that with everyone knowing Gunn's personality and tastes, having seen both Guardians of the Galaxy films and Gunn doing press tours for both films, it would strike a chord with his fans new and old, even though it is hard to imagine the kids of Power Pack, seen cutely drawn by Gurihiru in the two images above, put into a MAX environment.

We can begin to imagine what that story would be like, and now he has readers curious, but for now, we will put it on the pile of comics that never happened.

Would you read a Power Pack comic written by James Gunn?