Monday, 11 October 2010

Fred Van Lente considers using Night Raven?

Okay, this one's a little bit random. I picked this one up in September, from a link on Fred Van Lente's Twitter account. Probably best known for his work with Greg Pak on Incredible Hercules and two volumes of Marvel Zombies, Fred Van Lente is real up and coming writer at Marvel right now. He's also writing Dead Avengers, for Marvel's Chaos War Mini-Event.

Back in September I checked out a link to his Formspring account, which led to the following question:

A bit of a random, out of the blue, question, I'm sure you'll agree. And certainly not one from me - which made it all the more random!

The link is to The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe site, and their profile of Night Raven.

For the unacquainted Night Raven was an vigilante come detective, created my Steve Parkhouse and David Lloyd. He's not been seen properly in a Marvel book since Fury/Black Widow: Death Duty, in 1995. He was, however, pictured with other Allied Heroes in the first issue of J. Michael Staczynski and Chris Weston's The Twelve, liberating Berlin in WW2. Although in continuity terms that should not have been possible.

Exactly what pulp(-ish) title Van Lente has in mind, we can only speculate. He has previously done X-Men: Noir, for Marvel's series of Noir reinventions of characters, but as to whether there might be more of that on the horizon I cannot say. What I can is that Night Raven certainly would a perfect fit for any story with a Noir or Pulp-ish feel to it.

And that the character certainly seems to be on Van Lente's radar.

You never know...


  1. I believe there are some rights issues surrounding Night Raven, so I wouldn't bet on him returning. I'd guess the Twelve cameo was either a mistake, or was minor enough to get by.

  2. As far as I know there are some issues with reprinting rights for Night Raven, yes. When I spoke to some of the guys from Panini a couple of years ago they certainly seemed to suggest that was what made a Collection of Night Raven material, in a similar style to their Captain Britain, Death's Head and Dragon's Claws collected editions, unlikely.

    In the present, however? That may not be the same deal. Night Raven's glimpse in The Twelve certainly could have gone under the radar. But there have also been two other appearances for Night Raven since the end of Marvel UK.

    None of Night Raven's origin creators were involved with the 1995 Fury/Black Widow: Death Duty story, in which Night Raven appears prominently. That story came courtesy of Cefn Ridout & Charlie Adlard, and while it may have Nick Fury and Black Widow's name's on the cover, don't be fooled. Night Raven plays a very significant role, and this tale not only fleshes out several key details about the character, it also brings him properly into the Marvel Universe as a whole, for the first time.

    A year earlier, though, we also had Dan Abnett and Joe Fonteriz' 'Nocturne' series. I believe this one began its life as a Marvel UK title. It may even have been part of a cancelled relaunch on the American market in the dying days of the UK office. But nevertheless it was printed through Marvel US, and was a very deliberate attempt to re-invent Night Raven for a new generation.

    Again, none of the original creators were involved, but Night Raven himself features throughout.

    The rather radical change in direction really does contradict a lot of Night Raven's history, and for that reason this one has to be considered out-of-continuity. Another Universe's Night Raven. It's actually not a bad little series, but ultimately it's used to replace Night Raven with the costumed hero 'Nocturne' taking on his legacy.

    I could be wrong, but I think that if the creators owned a larger stake in the character then those two titles would probably not have been published. I suspect, however, that the key reason why a full collected edition of Night Raven stories may not be likely, could be down to other creators involved during different sections of the character's life in print. Not just in panel, but also in prose.

  3. I never realised that Night Raven had re-appeared, even 15 years ago. He was a great character and I really enjoyed those text stories. Shame they're not reprinted I'd cetainly buy a collection.