Hive’s guest publisher blog from Marvel and Kodansha Comics.

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Winter 2013 is fast approaching and that means one thing (as far as this blogger is concerned) – it’s time for a smash hit Marvel Studios blockbuster! Fans are gearing up for the highly-anticipated return of Chris Hemsworth’s starring role in the broodingly titled Thor: The Dark World. Excitingly, this marks the first time Marvel Studios have released a movie so close to Christmas, so if you’re looking for a great gift (or you’re sneakily hoping to get one) the timing couldn’t be better! The launch of any Marvel movie is always a massive media event that generates huge coverage around the featured characters, and with that in mind Marvel and Panini Comics have lined up some mighty Thor titles designed to appeal to fans old and new. For Asgard!

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Leading the pack is Thor: The Dark World Prelude, collecting the official adaptation of Marvel’s Thor (including the all-important origin story) and an all-new adventure leading directly into the upcoming movie. Written with newcomers in mind, it’s perfect for bringing budding Asgardians into the world of the God of Thunder!

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Also releasing in November is Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World – The Art of the Movie, a collector’s item showcasing the astonishing movie visuals and locations (look out for Greenwich!).  Featuring exclusive concept artwork, behind-the-scenes photographs, production stills and in-depth interviews with the cast and crew, this continues a successful and highly collectable line of “Art of” titles from Marvel that make for great Christmas gifts.

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For anyone looking to dive deeper into the rich Marvel Universe that lies beyond the movies, Panini Comics’ epically-titled Thor God of Thunder: Godbomb is the perfect place to start. Penned by established fan-favourite Jason Aaron, the stakes couldn’t be higher as Thor discovers a plot to enslave the very Gods themselves, forcing them to work on a machine that will forever change the face of creation. Think Loki sounds scary – how about Gorr the God Butcher?

However, Thor isn’t the only big player in the comic books world right now, nor even is Marvel – despite lacking the mainstream media fanfare that comes with other types of comics, the UK manga market has been growing exponentially – as the Independent succinctly puts it, “manga comics have become as familiar as The Beano, and, to go by the sales figures, rather more beloved by the British public.”

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One of the issues newcomers to manga face is knowing where to start – with thousands of titles available, it’s kind of like asking what novel to read first. But fret not, we’re here to help! Right now the hottest title is Kondansha Comics’ giant-monster epic Attack on Titan, which has enjoyed phenomenal success around the globe. Having already sold 20 million volumes in Japan alone, creator Hajima Isayama’s action packed dystopia currently enjoys the top spot in the Manga sales rankings on Amazon.co.uk and has been hailed by many as the next Death Note – a series that has sold 329,000 volumes in the UK alone! Thousands are watching the anime series on popular streaming service Crunchyroll, and with a live-action movie and video game in the works, momentum behind Attack on Titan is only set to grow.

By Jon Purves

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