Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Much like Sam Wilson said himself, the new Captain America wasn’t much of a surprise. We have known the Falcon was going to take Cap’s position since July, so the cover of Captain America #25 is kind of a misnomer. However, as Rick Remender wraps up his current storyline and starts the next chapter, I was plenty surprised to see an enormous roster of Avengers gathered on the page.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
Note: This post contains spoilers for Avengers #34.
The last couple weeks have been, to put it mildly, kind of crappy. Not just on a macro level — and there’s certainly been enough on the macro level to designate the last two weeks as crappy, as you can see on this handy chart courtesy of the excellent The System webcomic. But also on a personal level. Ferguson. My cat dying. Robin Williams. Ebola. Crap at work. Ugh.
Sophie Caldecott is a hero and what she accomplished this past week is more inspiring than saving the world or defeating Ultron. I love a feel good story as much as the next person, and this one is a doozy.
In October 2011, her father Stratford Caldecott was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. He and his family have persevered through every treatment and now, three years later, the cancer has advanced to the final stages of the disease. Her father is a huge comic fan and often joked that he’d hang on just to see the next Marvel movie release; sadly, he wasn’t well enough to make it to the theaters to catch Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So starting last Monday, Sophie launched a simple campaign to get a copy of the movie to her father in his convalescence at home and to bring him some cheer in a difficult time.
Woodsmith Justin Christensen runs an Etsy shop and Facebook page under the moniker Scroll Saw Scribbler, where he posts photos of his various pop-culture-inspired woodcrafts. His latest project is Avengers themed boxes/wall hangers with images of the superheroes shadowed behind recognizable images of their alter egos. So far, Christensen has crafted Iron Man, the Hulk and Captain America for some gorgeous — and impressively precise — pieces of art. Although he didn’t design the images, he did hand make the box and carve the design into the wood. The original design is credited to Kevin Collert, a graphic designer from Ohio.
Passings | Chris Bird pens an obituary for Leon Kuhn, a British cartoonist who was active in socialist and progressive causes and whose work appeared regularly in the Morning Star as well as in The Big Book of Bureaucrats. He often marched in demonstrations carrying placards of his cartoons. Kuhn died last week at age 59; the sole news article about his death simply says he “died under a train” at a London subway station and that the death is not being treated as suspicious. [Counterfire]
Manga | ICV2 rounds up Viz Media’s announcements for the beginning of 2014, including three new series. [ICv2]
Creators | Jonathan Hickman and Tom Brevoort talk about Avengers #24.NOW, which kicks off the All-New Marvel NOW initiative. [USA Today]
Duane in Orange County, Calif. is a man of action — action figures, that is.
“I have always had toys, but growing up I couldn’t have nearly as much as I wanted,” he said. “… Now, when I want something, I seek it out furiously. Unfortunately, as I get older the collectibles that I want get more and more expensive.”
Check out his collection of action figures — Power Rangers, Doctor Who, DC Comics, Avengers and more — below.
“It’s a terrible jumping-on point. I don’t think I’ve written an issue 20-something of anything that I’ve done that is a good jumping-on point. With the way you can download all the books now and everything is collected in trades, I’m not even sure I buy into the validity of the argument that every issue should be able to be read as if it was somebody’s first issue. That, of course, may be a complete construct to prop up my inability to do that. [Laughs] So yeah, it’s a terrible jumping on point …”
— writer Jonathan Hickman, addressing the notion that the “Point Now” part of Avengers #24.NOW means the issue is a good jumping-on point for new readers. Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, has a differing opinion on the matter.
It’s the Avengers’ 50th anniversary, and Marvel has a big plan for Avengers #24.NOW, also known as Avengers #1 for the purposes of All-New Marvel NOW! (It’s confusing, I know. Just go with it.). To celebrate the milestone in December, the publisher plans to sell a special polybagged edition of Avengers #24.NOW and bundle it with a “Avengers 50th Anniversary Mega Fold-Out Poster” that’s more than 6 feet wide. For the curious, that’s about 11 comic pages stacked end to end.
Illustrated by Daniel Acuna, the poster features Earth’s Mightiest Heroes from across the team’s 50 years, including mainstays like Captain America, Thor and Iron Man, newer additions like Wolverine, Spider-Man and the Thing, and even members of the Dark Avengers, like Ares.
See the full poster below. Avengers #24.NOW goes on sale Dec. 14.
Awards | Jamie Smart’s Fish-Head Steve has been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the first comic to make the list in the six-year history of the award. The prize recognizes the funniest book for children in two age categories, and the final judges will be 200 children from schools around the United Kingdom. [Forbidden Planet]
Comics | Eric Margolis reports on the difficulties U.K. creator Darren Cullen had in getting his Kickstarter-funded comic (Don’t) Join the Army printed. The format was unusual, so some shops simply couldn’t do it, but printers also took exception to the comic itself, which was an “anti-recruitment leaflet” satirizing the British army. [Comic Book Legal Defense Fund]
Publishing | Along with the usual statistics — dollar and unit share, sales rankings, etc. — Diamond Comics Distributors this month began reporting the number of new titles shipped by the top publishers: DC Comics, which edged out Marvel in terms of market share in July, had only a handful more, with 121 comics and graphic novels versus Marvel’s 118. [ICv2]
Conventions | Sean Kleefeld gives a brief account of a number of panels he attended at Wizard World Chicago, including the “Batman & Psychology” panel and two by webcomics maven Brad Guigar. [Kleefeld on Comics]
Creators | Avengers writer Jonathan Hickman talks about the upcoming six-issue event series Infinity. [USA Today]
Animation designer Andry Rajoelina has created an uplifting, and occasionally funny, series of prints featuring the families of superheroes. That’s “family” as in Superman Family, not as in Jonathan, Martha and Clark Kent. The first set was focused on DC, but he’s now done a second group with Marvel characters.
Some of the characters, but not all, are biologically related, and that’s part of what makes the series so heart-warming. One of the nicest, most reassuring messages of the X-Men was always that people without families could form their own. (I’ve always loved the idea of the X-Men as a family much more than the idea of them as a school.) Rajoelina’s two series highlight that. They focus on adult/child relationships (the Fantastic Four leaves out Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, for example), but Rajoelina is able to figure out a workaround for Green Lantern, even if it’s a little sad in a humorous way.
Prints of the Justice Families series can be purchased at the Geek Art Store.
Publishing | Lions Forge Comics announced a partnership this morning with NBC Universal to create digital comics based on five television series from the 1980s and 1990s: Knight Rider, Airwolf, Miami Vice, Punky Brewster and Saved by the Bell. The comics will be released on a variety of e-book platforms, including Kindle, Nook and Kobo, but there was no mention of comics apps such as comiXology. [USA Today]
Publishing | Denis Kitchen’s Kitchen Sink, long a packager whose comics were published by others, will now be an imprint of Dark Horse, releasing four to six books a year. The imprint will include art books, reprints of archival material, and new graphic novels; it will kick off with The Best of Comix Book: When Marvel Went Underground!, a collection of works from the Marvel magazine, which was edited by Kitchen and Stan Lee. [ICv2]
Tales to Astonish #44 hit newsstands, and our hearts, in June 1963. The cover promised us a cool, green space monster and the debut of a new character: “Meet the flying Wasp!,” we’re told and, hey, there she is flying across the front of the book in a triumphant fashion. While she may be Ant-Man’s new “partner-in-peril,” she doesn’t look too imperiled as she carries what looks like a swooning Hank Pym out of the creature’s grasp.
The Wasp rarely is the swooning, damsel in distress: She’s gone through some peril to be sure, from her personal life to her costumed adventuring career, but this woman doesn’t shirk her responsibilities or morals to cower or retire. Technically, she’s been an Avenger since the team’s inception and remains unique in the field of superheroics: while most heroes have greatness thrust upon them or fight to survive, Janet Van Dyne actively chose this life. She’s accepted herself enough to be public about being a “costumed adventurer” and is rich enough to make it her primary occupation with little to no angst about how she got to where she is today. Becoming the Wasp was a way for her to avenge her father’s death, and that may have inspired the name for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
This month is the 50th anniversary of the winsome Wasp and, while most think of her in small terms, her impact on the Marvel Universe is gigantic.
Legal | The Malaysian cartoonist Zunar has appealed a court decision upholding his 2010 arrest and detention, claiming police acted in bad faith when they arrested him under the Sedition Act because of his book Cartoon-O-Phobia, which had not yet been released at the time of his arrest. No charges were ever filed, as the police could not identify any actual seditious content in the books. A court ruled in July 2012 that Zunar’s arrest was lawful but ordered the police to return the books they had confiscated and pay him damages. An appellate court will hear the case next week. [The Comics Reporter]
Publishing | Heidi MacDonald takes a look at Marvel’s new graphic novel line, which will launch in October with Warren Ellis and Mike McKone’s Avengers: Endless Wartime. [Publishers Weekly]
This morning, Marvel held a press call to confirm that this week’s promotion of a new team only referred to as “Mighty” would in fact be a new Mighty Avengers title, set to debut in September. Now, you’d think a new team of heroes that includes both She-Hulk (Jen Walters flavor) and Adam the Blue Marvel (lost hero of color) is and tied to Jonathan Hickman’s turn at bat in the latest event series Infinity would be pretty cool. Hickman has assembled Avengers these days for big, mind-bending reasons. These are characters who don’t get enough screen time (if any) and might not get the chance at their own solo title, so why not enjoy this young new team for a chance to see more heroes?
Shouldn’t we be grateful? Don’t we need another Avengers team? How’s that hole-in-your head collection coming?