UnSHIELDed: "Agents of SHIELD" Evolves With the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week’s special guest is Simon Monk, an artist whose “Secret Identity” paintings we featured here on Robot 6 not too long ago. Monk is actually selling limited edition prints of his paintings on his website now, so go check them out.
To see what Simon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Christmas is over, but for those who can’t get enough — or for those who hate the holiday so much that they wish it would be devoured by the ultimate horror — the Penny Arcade guys have a treat for you. The Last Christmas is an animated storybook for the iPad, based on a comic that first appeared in 2004. Basically, it’s a reverse twist on The Night Before Christmas in which Cthulhu arrives and eats everything in sight. It looks like a children’s book, but the horror/cuteness combination is really aimed at adults: In the iPad version, which is lightly animated, tiny skaters fall from the ice after Cthulhu pops up in the middle of it, and lights twinkle on a tree as he devours it (and the screaming hordes run in horror). The app is only a few pages long, and it’s free; the last page is a pitch for donations to Child’s Play, the charity established by Penny Arcade creators Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, which sends toys, games, and books to children in hospitals worldwide.
I knew it. I saw @Marvel post a tweet last night, and I just knew it was going to be good. I left milk and cookies out for my comic news Santa and OH BOY IT’S CHRISTMAS MORNING COME EARLY!
Just scroll down and take a look at Kevin’s sexy post about the most awesome of news coming down the wire from Marvel as Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning continue to look to the skies and dream of greatness.
From the press release:
Editor Bill Rosemann added “Take the assembled majesty of Marvel’s most powerful heroes, add on the cult-fave duo of Rocket Raccoon and Groot, pile on a ridiculous amount of writing and artistic talent, and top it all off with cool covers by Alex Garner and the one and only Mike Mignola. That, True Believers, is a recipe for face-melting, brain-frying, pedal-to-the-metal, that’s-why-I-read-comics awesomeness.
Since 2006, Marvel’s cosmic adventures have been turned upside down, starting with the very first Annihilation event, orchestrated by Keith Giffen. The threats were galactic in nature, the heroes small and powerful against the forces of true evil. While Civil War brought life-changing political stories to the Marvel Comics page, Annihilation brought back the wider-scope, cast-of-thousands style storytelling that made things like Secret Wars and the Infinity Gauntlet part of a True Believer’s vocabulary. From the first Annihilation came Annihilation: Conquest and the same life-and-death symphony was played for our enjoyment. Civilizations crumbled, characters struggled with new responsibilities and the weight of the galaxy came down on some very unusual shoulders. While they might have doubted themselves, and wrestled with the infectious Phalanx and the unbeatable Ultron to the point of personal destruction, the reader can’t doubt these characters and these stories. They paid off once before and they did so again, promising a new era of cosmic heroes in the form of the new Guardians of the Galaxy.
I was so sold on those books by the time they were solicited. The Guardians of the Galaxy weave in a lot of amazing elements with great space adventure, and I now care more about a giant sentient space tree than I do about a lot of X-Men. Abnett, Lanning and Giffen took two years and created a universe to explore, and I felt confident signing up for anything and everything they did.
Then came the War of Kings.
Lovecraft is a hard act to follow, and an even harder one to adapt. “Oh you mean HP Lovecraft, the guy who came up with Cthulhu and all those cute little plush toys.” Yeah, the guy who launched a thousand little cottage industries pumping out VOTE FOR CTHULHU: THE STARS ARE RIGHT bumper stickers and Mythos Hunting Guides and all that stuff. Yeah, him. I do wonder if he’d be tickled or appalled at his legacy and all the eldritch dust-catchers and t-shirts and radio plays.
Well, he’d probably like the radio plays. He’d probably have even approved of the silent film adaptation of THE CALL OF CTHULHU, arguably his single most famous piece of fiction, certainly the one that’s lodged most deeply in the collective consciousness, for good or for ill. The film adaptation ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478988/ for the IMDB page, and it’s streaming on Netflix) gets a solid recommendation from me, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m pretty hard to please as this stuff goes. Not because I think Lovecraft’s every word is sacred and perfect. I don’t. My relationship with HPL’s work is problematic, mostly in terms of the execution. I like characters. I like it when characters drive the plot. HPL couldn’t be bothered with that by and large, except when it was an incessant curiosity on the part of the players that made the eldritch secrets of the plot unfurl to their almost unerringly messy conclusions.
So I find HPL’s conceptual work rightly celebrated even if I find his prose nigh-unimpenetrable at times. Which is why I’m often attracted to adaptations of his work, where creators have a desire to stick to the template that HPL laid out, and often there’s some sense of respect for the source material, but it’s filtered through a different sense of aesthetics. HPL-inspired stuff that stars HPL himself? Not so much. Though there was that beautifully-illustrated LOVECRAFT OGN with art by Enrique Breccia that was so wonderful that I simply didn’t care about the story. Though I suppose there’s an interesting vein to mine when talking about Lovecraft as fictional construct rather than historical figure, but that’s for someone else to do.
It’s been awhile since BOOM! wrapped up their Cthulhu series of books, but based on the teaser that sent out this morning, I’m guessing they have some sort of Cthulhu related news in Chicago this weekend. Like, I don’t know … something tells me maybe a new Cthulhu project will hit stands in July.
If you’re curious, you can read the first Cthulhu Tales trade over on their website.