To honor the guardian of the Nexus Of All Realities and his innumerable contributions to the Marvel Universe, Marvel is offering up a series of three one-shots starring the crimson-eyed creature, all by the Eisner-nominated writer Steve Orlando (in his Marvel debut) and accented with vivid artwork from Francesco Mobili (Old Man Hawkeye) and Carmen Carnero — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive look at this anniversary issue.
First up will be Avengers: Curse of the Man-Thing arriving March 31, followed by Spider-Man: Curse of the Man-Thing in April, then X-Men: Curse of the Man-Thing rounding out the trio of special one-shots come May.
Created by Stan Lee, Gerry Conway, and Gray Morrow, Man-Thing is a misunderstood swamp monster who was first seen in 1971 inside the pages of Savage Tales #1. The enigmatic beast was once genius chemist Ted Sallis, who when splashed with toxic chemicals, charged into the swamp and was reborn as the imposing Man-Thing. Although often mistaken for DC's Swamp Thing, Man-Thing was actually born two months earlier than DC's muck monster, which arrived in July of 1971 in House of Secrets #92.
"Man-Thing's promise is so universal, and so terrifying, that I think it cuts through the entire Marvel Universe," Orlando tells SYFY WIRE. "All those who know fear burn at the Man-Thing's touch. Who among this great universe, no, multiverse, of heroes and villains hasn't known fear? What punishment and fascination is more primal than fire, that thing that powers our civilization, but also can destroy it?"
The storyline for Avengers: Curse of the Man-Thing finds Man-Thing content haunting the Florida Everglades for the past five decades. Now a deadly threat named Harrower (a new villain designed by Carnero) has hijacked his hulking body on a quest to take his pyrokinetic abilities across the entire globe. As a result, the Marvel Universe is jolted by fear as gargantuan monoliths arise to menace cities worldwide, with only Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers, standing between citizens of Earth and a planetwide inferno. Can they rescue Man-Thing in time to douse the raging fires within Ted Sallis?
"Man-Thing's judgment can touch nearly anyone in the multiverse," Orlando adds. "Hell, it's no surprise then that it's him that guards the Nexus of All-Realities. After all, who could pass through that hasn't felt fear? That, I think, is the core appeal of Man-Thing - we all know his power could touch us, and we all know his power could deliver us. If we feel fear, we feel his vengeance, and if those who would hurt us feel fear, we then become the avengers. Man-Thing is a force that can bring horror to the door of nearly every creature in the Marvel Universe, and that's why he's lasted.
"As for the anniversary, how could I not be honored to celebrate that? Beyond joining an iconic line of creators like Gerber and Stine, celebrating 50 Years of Man-Thing was an amazing chance to give the character new roots, and set him up for an even longer future judging those who'd strike fear in the Marvel Universe. Once Man-Thing's party's over, he'll be an even bigger icon, and even more central to Marvel horror, than ever before."
Orlando believes Francesco Mobili's artwork is central to this miniseries, as he's the first person to pick up the baton that is this blockbuster body horror celebration of Man-Thing.
"And Curse of the Man-Thing not only celebrates what's great about Man-Thing, and has been for decades, but adds new layers to his terror AND his power," Orlando notes. "That wouldn't be possible with Francesco. There's new worlds of dread to be found, hiding in the shadows of Citrusville, and Francesco has been the one to bring life to these new concepts and new characters.
"Speaking of which, Curse of the Man-Thing debuts Harrower, someone whose unique supernatural powers allow her to hurt Man-Thing like never before. Her hijacking of his fiery abilities to attack the world kicks off our celebration, three issues where Man-Thing must quite literally build himself back from the last few scraps into something even stronger than before. As Harrower scapegoats Man-Thing to make the world burn, it comes down to the swamp god himself to knit his existence back together, quell the fires, and save not just the everyday citizens of the Marvel Universe, but some of its greatest heroes."
Now enjoy our expanded preview of Marvel's Avengers: Curse of the Man-Thing in the gallery below.