Marvel has announced with considerable fanfare (and coverage in USA Today) the launch of Marvel:  The Heroic Age, a new look and direction for the Marvel Universe beginning in May.  The new direction will offer “a renewed sense of hope and optimism,” according to the company, with a new look, new teams with new members, and new characters.  The new direction will take Marvel titles away from the “dark age of despair” of Marvel storylines from the past several years.   


“Our heroes have experienced some of their greatest trials and tribulations recently, but now there’s going to be a renewed hope among their ranks,” according to Marvel EIC Joe Quesada. 


Heroic Age banners will brand specific Marvel titles, which will offer new readers jumping-on points to the Marvel Universe that don’t require an extensive knowledge of past events to comprehend the storylines. 


Marvel’s change in direction may well fit the Great Recession zeitgeist perfectly.  In the thirties, escapist entertainment with happy endings was the preferred fare, and current conditions certainly provide the kind of bleak reality that makes people need an escape.  While Marvel’s Heroic Age may not have been planned with this environment in mind (Quesada told USA Today it had been in development for two years), it seems like a good fit for the times.