Marvel has a stable of some of the most popular properties in the world. However, the publisher’s well is so deep that some of its beloved franchises haven’t achieved widespread fame. Developer Firaxis dug deep into its longboxes for inspiration on its upcoming strategy/RPG, Marvel’s Midnight Suns. Who is this enigmatic group, and what makes them the perfect centerpiece for a supernatural epic? We spoke with Marvel and Firaxis to get the answers. Here is everything you need to know about the team of Marvel’s Midnight Suns.
The Midnight Sons Comic History
Monsters and horror have a long history in the comic book world. In fact, horror comics are as old as superhero comics, but the genre’s popularity has waxed and waned over the years.
“In the ‘70s is when the Comics Code restrictions eased up a bit,” says Marvel Games’ VP and head of creative Bill Rosemann. “Before that, comic producers were very limited in showing vampires and werewolves and things like that. In the ’70s, things loosened up, and Marvel put their own stamp on the supernatural. They brought back classic monsters like Dracula and werewolves, but they made them distinctly Marvel … and of course it was a hit. Things ebb and flow, [monster comics] kind of went away in the ’80s, and they came roaring back in the ’90s with reworked versions of Blade and Ghost Rider. Then Marvel decided, ‘Hey, what if we made a team out of all these characters?’ And thus was born the Midnight Sons.”
In the late summer of 1992, Marvel debuted “Rise of the Midnight Sons,” an epic crossover event that brought together Blade, Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, and several of Marvel’s other supernatural-themed heroes. In this story, the heroes worked to stop a sorceress named Lilith, the Mother of Demons, from opening a dimensional rift and conquering the world.
Firaxis is taking that kernel of an idea and updating it for a modern audience. One of the ways the studio is modernizing the property is by renaming the group Midnight Suns to be more inclusive. In Firaxis’ fiction, the Midnight Suns are a group of supernatural-themed heroes named after a celestial event also called the Midnight Sun. Lilith hopes to take advantage of this rare astronomical phenomenon and resurrect an elder god named Chthon that could devour our planet.
“I suppose there’s no way to do it without making it more modern,” says creative director Jake Solomon. “But we’re still really inspired by that original cool look. When we first thought about our group of Midnight Suns – for us, the original Midnight Suns is Nico and Magik and Ghost Rider and Blade – we always thought about them as like a punk superhero team. They are a very outsider superhero team. We always talked about them as the people hanging outside of [famed punk rock club] CBGBs in New York, and they just look like punks, but they’re actually these amazing superheroes. They’d be the ones smoking the cigarettes in an alley, and they’d see a skeleton walk by, and they’re like, ‘That’s our job. We’re gonna go take that thing out.’ These are very cool, kind of under-the-radar heroes.”