"Gotham" EP Hints at Azrael's Arrival, Mr. Freeze & Hugo Strange's Alliance
TV, Comic Books
Comics | Ahead of Joe Quesada’s appearance tonight on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, and the debut Wednesday of Uncanny Avengers, Marvel unpacks its Marvel NOW! initiative for the national press. “This ain’t a reboot, we’re simply hitting the refresh button. ‘Marvel NOW!’ simply offers a line-wide entry-point into the Marvel Universe that you’re already reading about,” Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso says. Tom Brevoort, senior vice president of publishing, calls it “a game of musical chairs” for creators, who will be switched around to make things interesting. [The Associated Press]
Creators | Writer Gail Simone discusses the coming battle between Batgirl and Knightfall in Batgirl #13, as well as the impending return of The Joker: “The Joker is really the Elvis of comic-book villains. There’s no one with his primal star power, there’s no one else anywhere who has sent more chills up the spines of readers, because there genuinely is something terrifying about him.” [USA Today]
Nearly lost amid all the media attention over the upcoming wedding of Northstar and Kyle Jinadu in Astonishing X-Men #51, and the response by One Million Moms, is the revelation that the event was originally planned for another Marvel series — albeit one canceled almost five months ago.
Responding on his message board to news of the impending nuptials, former Alpha Flight artist Dale Eaglesham wrote, “This drives me absolutely crazy: Greg [Pak], Fred [Van Lente] and I do all the work of bringing the series back and they cancel it on us. Why didn’t they let US do the wedding ‘event’ which is clearly garnering attention, to stimulate readership [and] perhaps keep Alpha Flight going? This pisses me off. Oh no, let the ‘X’ books do it, as if they don’t get enough attention. Sigh. … This wedding was in the works on AF.”
Marvel has not yet responded to Robot 6’s request for comment.
Publishing | Jennifer de Guzman announced that, after 10 years, she has left her position as editor-in-chief of SLG Publishing: “My decade SLG was, I suspect, like no other decade anyone has spent working anywhere. I had great co-workers and got to work with fantastic creators, all of whom I will miss very much. (Though because this is comics and a community like no other, we will always stay in contact.)” [Possible Impossibilities]
Retailing | Chris Powell, current general manager and chief relationship officer for Texas-based comic chain Lone Star Comics, has accepted the newly created position of executive director of business development for Diamond Comic Distributors. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund board member will start his new position in March. [ICv2]
CM Punk is currently on top of the wrestling world; he’s not only the current WWE champion, but he’s also one of the WWE’s most popular and most talented performers, both on the microphone and in the ring. So where do you go when you’ve conquered the squared circle? Movies? TV? Disneyland? In Punk’s case, it might be comics.
Punk is no stranger to comics, as he talks about them on Twitter and was the subject of one of Marvel’s Fightin’ Fanboys segments. He also sometimes quotes the Thing’s “It’s clobberin’ time!” on his way to the ring. Earlier today a series of tweets took the idea of Punk actually writing comics right to the top of Marvel Comics, ending with Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso saying, “…let’s make it happen.”
Legal | Cartoonist Susie Cagle, who was arrested last month while covering Occupy Oakland, says she has been cleared of all charges by the Oakland Police Department. The Society of Professional Journalists sent a letter to the Oakland police condemning the arrest, which ultimately assisted in getting the charges dropped. The letter called out the department’s crowd management policy, which says, “Even after a dispersal order has been given, clearly identified media shall be permitted to carry out their professional duties in any area where arrests are being made, unless their presence would unduly interfere with the enforcement action.” [Fishbowl LA]
Conventions | San Diego City Council approved a plan to have San Diego hotels pay for a $520 million convention center expansion. The plan moves to a second hearing in January and requires a vote of two-thirds of the hotels that cast ballots for approval. [NBC San Diego]
Say the name “Scarlet Spider” to a longtime Marvel reader and you’re bound to get a range of reactions. But come the new year, Marvel is hoping all the reactions will be positive and numerous when the new Scarlet Spider series launches on January11. As recently confirmed in Marvel’s Point One one-shot, the new Scarlet Spider is none other than Kaine, the Peter Parker clone recently cured during the Spider Island event. Unlike many of Marvel’s series set in New York, Scarlet Spider will enjoy the unique cityscape of Houston, Texas — one of many factors that has me looking forward to reading it. Before the series gets started though, series artist Ryan Stegman stepped away from his drawing table to take part in this Q&A. In addition to this interview, CBR also is offering a preview of the first issue. After reading this (and enjoying the preview), be sure to check out the recent installment of Comic Book Resources’ “Axel-in-Charge,” where Alonso interviewed Stegman.
Tim O’Shea: How did Marvel approach you about joining the Scarlet Spider creative team? Was getting to work with [series writer] Chris Yost a deciding factor in joining the project?
Ryan Stegman: I had been working on an issue of Amazing Spider-Man and I made it clear as I could to editorial that this is the type of stuff I wanted to be doing. I practically begged. And Steve Wacker said that he would love to have me back and but that ASM was booked up artist-wise for the foreseeable future. I couldn’t argue this, because the artists that they have are fantastic. So one day, out of the blue he called me up and told me about this idea and I was sold. No offense to Chris, but that wasn’t a selling point because I think I was hired before him! Chris turned out to be the icing on the cake.
In a just-published interview with Comic Book Resources, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso revealed Daken: Dark Wolverine will be coming to an end, following a wave of cancellations that includes X-23 and Ghost Rider.
Although he didn’t indicate when the series will conclude, February’s Issue 21 is billed as “Issue one of the story the series has been leading up to,” suggesting the beginning of the final arc.
Addressing recent cancellations in this week’s “Axel-in-Charge” column, Alonso told CBR’s Kiel Phegley, “It’s always disappointing when a title comes to an end. I’ll bet everyone reading this column still mourns the death of a title or two they loved – and wonder why the book didn’t stick. And I guarantee you that as frustrated as a fan might be, there’s a writer, artist and an editor who are even more disappointed. That’s just the way things go sometimes. The market won’t support it.
“That said, I’m proud of X-23’s run,” he continued. “Two successful limited series and an ongoing series ain’t bad. Ditto for Daken [who is also ending his series]. From a supporting role in Wolverine: Origins to the lead of ongoing series that included him slicing Frank Castle to bits – enter Franken-Castle. Both were characters that gained traction in a market that, well, doesn’t really have a great track record of supporting new stuff. And both characters anchored legitimate monthly titles. We don’t do R&D at Marvel. We’ll stick by a title for a while – like we did with Spider-Girl – but there comes a point where that title has to earn, usually sooner than later.”
An ominous-looking postcard from Marvel arrived today at the Comic Book Resources offices teasing “It’s coming.” What It might be is anyone’s guess, but the note on the back from Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso promises we’ll find out more Oct. 15 at the “Cup O’ Joe” panel at New York Comic-Con.
Comic Book Resources will, of course, be covering the entire four-day convention, which kicks off Oct. 13 at the Jacob Javits Center. Marvel also encourages those who can’t attend to catch the announcement live at 5 p.m. ET Oct. 15 at Marvel.com/itscoming. “Because trust me,” Alonso writes, “you won’t want to miss this.”
In last week’s Axel-In-Charge Q&A right here at CBR, Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso ended the weekly exchange with a loose-lipped hint that a long-delayed Man-Thing project is lumbering its way toward comics shelves. “All I can say,” said Alonso, “is we do have a Man-Thing project coming out soon that is older than some of Marvel’s assistant editors and well worth the wait.”
Well lucky for you, I know what he’s talking about.
A Man-Thing graphic novel by writer Steve Gerber and artist Kevin Nowlan. Initially started and announced in the 80s, it reportedly fell by the wayside while sitting on Nowlan’s drawing board. The original title was “Screenplay of the Living Dead Man”, intended to be a follow-up from the story “Song-Cry of the Living Dead Man” published in Man-Thing #12 way back when. It wasn’t until Gerber’s passing in 2008 that Nowlan refocused his energies and began working on the project again in his spare time. Back in March, Nowlan told me that it’ll end up being a 62-page painted story, and I even confirmed with Marvel that they’re going to publish it once Nowlan completes it.
With New Teen Titans: Games coming out this week and this other long-awaited release finally coming out, what other great stories might be lurking out there waiting to be finished?
Using Comic-Con International and the opening of Captain America: The First Avenger has hooks, CBS’s The Early Show this morning profiled Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso.
“Our fans are hardcore,” he tells correspondent Jeff Glor. “They’re very opinionated. They let you know when they don’t like something. At the end of the day you have to hit them with the right story, you have to back up your event and just stand on your own two feet. […] In comic books, it’s all about story. People don’t come to a Spider-Man comic book to see Spider-Man punch the Green Goblin — they go to see the journey that brought him there.”
“With every new movie that comes out, whether it’s good or bad, it whittles away this notion that comics are some ghetto for nerds. But our first and foremost responsibility is to tell good stories and to sell enough books and we keep our jobs. With all due respect to the movie studio, I’ve got to pay my own rent!”
– Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, discussing his role overseeing comics
that may provide the source material for the company’s growing movie division
Publishing | We noted in late April that Archie Comics appeared to be embracing cultural and political commentary with its upcoming Kevin Keller miniseries, which features Riverdale’s first openly gay character and his father, a retired three-star general. But now the publisher, or at least the character, is going a step further, marching into the middle of the debate over gays and lesbians openly serving in the armed forces by revealing that Kevin aspires to be a journalist, but only after attending the U.S. Military Academy and becoming an Army officer. “Even though we don’t tackle the specific issue of Don’t Ask Don’ Tell, the goal was to show that patriotism knows no specific gender, race or sexual orientation,” cartoonist Dan Parent says. “While it sounds like heavy subject matter, I tried to show it simply that Kevin, like his dad, loves his country. Being gay doesn’t effect that in any way.” [The Associated Press]
Publishing | DC Comics’ line-wide reboot has received extensive coverage by mainstream media outlets, based largely on the original USA Today article or The Associated Press report. But my favorite piece is this one by George Gene Gustines that turns back the clock to 1985 and attempts to explain to The New York Times audience the effects, and problems, of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the publisher’s subsequent attempts to streamline continuity: “… If the goal was to make the DC universe easier to understand, the end result was the opposite: to this day, fans frequently mention ‘pre-Crisis‘ and ‘post-Crisis‘ as a way to distinguish stories. Twenty years later, in the Infinite Crisis limited series, DC tried to clean continuity up again: Superman’s career as Superboy was back; Batman knew who murdered the Waynes; and Wonder Woman was a founder of the Justice League again.” [The New York Times]
In the past few weeks, there have been a plethora of comic book conventions, each with their own unique announcements, promotions and exclusives. But rarely do you get the juicy gossip! These guys have their patter down so well that fans get what they came for, and no one slips up and calls anybody a whore in public (although we still hold out hope for a Frank Miller sighting next year). Marvel’s long-awaited return to San Francisco, home of the X-Men and Axel Alonso, was surprisingly polite and succinct. No major movie news, no grand proclamations, but still an exciting look forward to what lies ahead in 2011.
But you were kinda hoping somebody threw a chair.
Saturday at the Spotlight on Jason Aaron panel I heard something so ridiculous that I marched out of that room with my jaw on the floor. Sadly, Jason Aaron didn’t say it; in fact I would much rather be talking about him and his work. Aaron is a humble, talented and completely brilliant writer, but what EiC Axel Alonso said was far more controversial. Something that left Alonso and myself just stupefied.
Axel Alonso said in front of a very modest crowd at WonderCon that he works with people that think Marvel Comics should not make R-rated content. That there are some professionals in the industry that believe every comic should be PG rated or lower.
He didn’t understand it and neither do I.
Although Marvel has held panels at WonderCon over the last couple of years, they haven’t exhibited on the show room floor … until this year, that is. Not only will they have a booth on the floor April 1-3 when the show returns to San Francisco, but they also plan to bring copies of Uncanny X-Men #534 featuring a cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli that Giants fans will appreciate. It’s awesome to see Cyclops and crew supporting their new hometown’s championship team.
“Being from San Francisco, I am ecstatic about how strong Marvel’s presence will be at WonderCon this year,” Axel Alonso, Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief, told Marvel.com. “And with San Francisco now the adopted hometown of the X-Men, it just made perfect sense to create a variant for this show which celebrated the city and its achievements.”
Hey, it wouldn’t be a Robot 6 post without a “let’s you and him fight” angle. But now that that’s out of my system, there’s a lot one could say, pro and con, about Axel Alonso’s promotion to editor-in-chief of Marvel. Actually, the level of surprise with which the news was greeted says something all by itself. True, he’s never been the public figure that his predecessor Joe Quesada and colleague Tom Brevoort (who, again, has long said he didn’t want the EIC job) have been, so in that regard he’s an unknown quantity to readers and fans. To creators and editors, however, everything I’ve heard indicates that his reputation is sterling, dating back to his involvement in Vertigo — he’s well-liked personally and well-respected professionally (unless you’re Darwyn Cooke).