After Charles M. Schulz, Patrick McDonnell is my favorite cartoonist. His daily strip, Mutts has been in syndication since September 5, 1994. The simplicity of Mutts is universally appealing with original writing. Patrick McDonnell’s collaboration with Marvel Comics and Abrams ComicArts is a unique adventure that only he could only accomplish. Not too many cartoonists could take such a journey. I truly can’t wait till The Super Hero’s Journey comes out this September.
Abrams ComicArts and Marvel announce and reveal the cover of the September 26, 2023 publication of The Super Hero’s Journey (Abrams ComicArts; September 26, 2023; US $29.99; Hardcover with jacket) by multi-talented, internationally bestselling cartoonist and writer Patrick McDonnell, creator of the beloved syndicated comic strip Mutts. The book is the latest addition to the bestselling Marvel Arts series, a collaboration between Marvel Comics and Abrams ComicArts. The Super Hero’s Journey is available for pre-order now.
Infused with the creativity, artwork, and heart of Patrick McDonnell, the graphic novel features classic Marvel Super Heroes, including the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Black Panther, and Spider-Man. Using the Marvel Universe as avatars, McDonnell brings together his inspirational and moral sensibilities from throughout his career and muses on how comics changed his life and set him on the course to become a cartoonist.
“The Super Hero’s Journey is my graphic novel love letter to the 1960s Marvel Super Heroes and their legendary creators. It was a childhood dream come true to have my art play along with the work of the great Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko. I tried my best to capture the magic, fun, and cosmic energy of those early comic book masterpieces in this arty mashup,” says McDonnell.
We begin with the Watcher—a being who exists outside the planes of space and time, who sees every moment that has happened, will happen, or is happening throughout the cosmos—as he observes Earth and the inner burdens of the Marvel Super Heroes. As the Watcher observes the villainous plans of Doctor Doom, who is harnessing the power of the Negative Zone and slowly spreading its negativity across our planet and destroying the human spirit, Mr. Fantastic is led on a meta journey that takes him through the pages of classic comic books and across scenes familiar and unexpected. Ultimately, our heroes discover a Zen solution in an unexpected fashion—one that aligns this book with the inspiring messages of McDonnell’s other beloved and award-winning books—leaving readers with a renewed sense of love, hope, and redemption.
The Super Hero’s Journey seamlessly incorporates panels from classic 1960s Marvel comics written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, and Vince Colletta and explores the need for connectivity, positivity, and even kindness while traveling through these classic scenes and situations. It offers an element of actualization and understanding through the lens of the globally recognized and beloved characters from the Silver Age of Comics. McDonnell’s exciting and innovative entry into the Marvel landscape is a stunning and heartwarming new adventure for fans of classic Marvel comics, as well as fans of McDonnell’s comic strip and all-ages picture books.
From Charles Kochman, Editorial Director of Abrams ComicArts: “When we released Fantastic Four: Full Circle by Alex Ross, we promised that Marvel Arts was a line ‘where nothing is impossible and anything can happen.’ With The Super Hero’s Journey, Patrick McDonnell delivers on that promise, creating something truly unique.”
“Patrick McDonnell’s The Super Hero’s Journey uses the Marvel characters and iconography in an idiosyncratic and individual manner to tell a story that is at once autobiographical, spiritual, and mythological. It’s a unique and singular reading experience that pays homage to the great works of the Silver Age while at the same time using them to make a grander statement about the human condition. It will give you the eyes of a kid again,” said Marvel VP of Publishing and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort.
The Super Hero’s Journey is in bookstores on September 26th; pre-order your copy today!
About the Author
Patrick McDonnell is the bestselling author, illustrator, playwright, painter, and creator of the comic strip Mutts, which appears in more than 700 newspapers around the world. He has received numerous awards internationally, including a Caldecott Honor and the Reuben, the highest honor given by the National Cartoonists Society. The Art of Nothing, a career-spanning monograph, was published by Abrams ComicArts in 2019. His most recent book is Heart to Heart: A Conversation on Love and Hope for Our Precious Planet, a collaboration with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. McDonnell lives in New Jersey.
Fun Fact: McDonnell has been a vegetarian since around 1990 and a vegan since 2005. McDonnell is a member of the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, and The Charles M. Schulz Museum.