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Chain Reactions | FF #1

FF #1

The Marvel NOW line-up continues to roll out first issues galore, with this past Wednesday bringing the snappiest-looking relaunch so far–FF #1 by Matt Fraction, Michael Allred, Laura Allred and Clayton Cowles. The sister title to Marvel’s original first family, FF #1 features a hand-picked replacement team that’s needed to fill in for Reed and company for a whole four minutes. What could possibly go wrong?

If you were on the fence about the title, here are a few opinions from around the web to help you decide which way to fall:

Ryan K. Lindsay, Comic Book Resources: “FF #1 looked to be the wildest book of the Marvel NOW! line up: Matt Fraction and Michael Allred on a crazy new science team for the Fantastic Four world. It was one of those books that was either going to be too good to be true or belly flop hard. Unfortunately, this issue doesn’t give much of an indicator either way except to leave worry it’s not off to a dazzling start — not that it feels like it’s started yet.”

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Food or Comics? | Matzo or Masks

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

The Complete Calvin and Hobbes softcover slipcase

Chris Mautner

If I had $15, I’d get Remake 3xtra, the latest comic in Lamar Abrams’ occasional superhero/manga satire. I’d also get Batman Inc. #5 to get another glimpse into the Gotham City of the future, where Damian has taken on his father’s superhero role.

If I had $30, I’d check out Dante’s Inferno, Kevin Jackson and Hunt Emerson’s adaptation of the classic poem. The British Emerson has been around since the days of the underground, but he hasn’t gotten much attention, at least on these shores, which seems odd given what a funny and facile cartoonist he is. He tends to fire on all cylinders when riffing on classic literature, too, so I imagine this will be a pretty great book.

Splurge: I don’t own the hardcover edition, so the new paperback collection of the Complete Calvin and Hobbes seems like a no-brainer to me. On the other hand, Humanoids is releasing the Technopriests Supreme Collection, an omnibus, epic sci-fi story that is yet another spin off of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius’ Incal. This particular series features art by Zoran Janjetov.

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The Fifth Color | The finality of now

Captain America #19

the final issue until next month

Comedian Demetri Martin has this great, short bit about how he loves digital cameras because they allow you to reminisce instantly. That we can take a picture and immediately look back with clarity and fondness at something that happened only seconds before — “We were so young!” — is essential to current comics culture. The world so quickly and drastically changes for readers that events that happened just last month can feel oh, so long ago. Characters die and return, sometimes within months of our grieving. It seems like only yesterday when we were still under the threat of the Phoenix, because it was only yesterday, relatively speaking.

This week sees the ends of five titles, and each one takes a final bow with all due gravitas for its moment in history. Invincible Iron Man #527 says goodbye to Matt Fraction and Salvador LaRocca, who began their run when the first Iron Man movie was hitting theaters. Ed Brubaker relinquishes his Captain America writing duties with Issue 19; not exactly an illustrious numbering to leave on, but when you look back at all the work he’s done and how it’s changed the common reader’s understanding of Steve Rogers, it’s a remarkable career. Kieron Gillen leaves Journey Into Mystery with #645, after which the whole title gets a new face to focus on, a new creative team and a new mystery to journey into. And Jonathan Hickman leaves FF, a book he created to serve a beautiful purpose for Marvel’s First Family, and I dare anyone not to get a little misty eyed after turning those final pages.

These are all weighty doors closing on eras that changed the face of our comics, and we may never see their like again. Times, they are a-changin’ … but are they, really? This moment with these books written in such a way is over, but Captain America lives on. Iron Man will fly again, as will Fraction, both just moving in new directions. Heck, Loki isn’t even leaving Gillen’s hands; they’re just moving into a new apartment with different roommates.

So why do we mourn? Why do we read these books as the final issue of Captain America when we all know logically that Captain America will continue next month with a new issue? What exactly are we losing when so many things stay the same? I’ve got an idea; see if you agree.

WARNING: we’re talking about this week’s comics listed above but might spoil some Avengers #32. So grab your copies (and a couple hankies because man, FF is a tearjerker!) and follow along!
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What Are You Reading? with Jay Faerber

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what’s been on our nightstands lately. Our guest this week is Jay Faerber, writer of Dynamo 5, Near Death and Noble Causes. The second Near Death trade just came out this week, and his new comic, Point of Impact, comes out Oct. 10.

To see what Jay and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Previews: What Looks Good for November

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics — now with 100 percent more JK Parkin! Michael May, Graeme McMillan, Chris Arrant and JK have each picked the five comics they’re most anticipating in order to create a Top 20 (or so; we overlap sometimes) of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.

As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

47 Ronin #1

John Parkin

47 Ronin #1 (Dark Horse, $3.99): Mike Richardson, Dark Horse’s head honcho, teams with Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai to retell the story of the 47 ronin who avenged their master after he was forced to commit ritual suicide for assaulting a court official. It will be both very cool and a little odd to see Sakai drawing samurai that aren’t anthropomorphic animals and aren’t in black and white (the book’s full color), but I’ve always admired his clean style. As an added bonus, Kazuo Koike of Lone Wolf and Cub fame consulted on the project, so this should be a treat.

Great Pacific #1 (Image Comics, $2.99): Joe Harris and Martin Morazzo have come up with a book that I just love the high concept behind: the heir to one of America’s most successful oil companies moves to the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch and declares it a sovereign country. He then fights giant sea monsters, based on the preview art that’s been released, which is an added bonus.

Marvel NOW!: This might be cheating, but Marvel has 10 new comics debuting in November under the Marvel NOW! banner. Mark Waid on Hulk? John Romita on Captain America? Matt Fraction writing Fantastic Four and FF? Jonathan Hickman on Avengers? Yeah, I’ll just lump all these together and hope no one notices I’m gaming the system here …

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown: Fantagraphics continues its series of high-end collections of the best of Carl Barks’ duck stories, with the Christmas-themed third volume arriving just in time to be stuffed in somebody’s stocking.

Retrovirus (Image Comics, $16.99): Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s latest graphic novel, drawn by Norberto Fernandez, is about a research scientist who specializes in viruses heading to Antarctica to examine a perfectly preserved caveman. I’m a fan of Palmiotti and Gray’s work together, from Jonah Hex to The Monolith (which gets the collection treatment in November), and this one sounds like it could be a lot of fun.

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What Are You Reading? with Mark Sable

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our guest is Mark Sable, the writer and co-creator of Image’s Graveyard of Empires with Paul Azaceta and the upcoming Duplicate from Kickstart Comics with Andy MacDonald. You can find his work and thoughts at marksable.com and contact him @marksable on the Twitter.

To see what Mark and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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Nine titles end in October as Marvel NOW! begins

Captain America #19

Nine Marvel series will end in October even as the publisher debuts Uncanny Avengers #1, the first title in its sweeping Marvel NOW! initiative.

According to Marvel’s October solicitations, which went live this morning, the month will mark the conclusions of Captain America, Fantastic Four, FF, Incredible Hulk, Invincible Iron Man, New Mutants, The Mighty Thor, Uncanny X-Men and X-Men Legacy.

Naturally, some of those aren’t entirely unexpected, as the new Uncanny Avengers, by Rick Remender and John Cassaday, will be joined in November by All-New X-Men, by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen, followed by Avengers, by Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena, in December and New Avengers, by Hickman and Steve Epting, in January. Likewise, Ed Brubaker revealed two weeks ago that he’s ending his acclaimed seven-year-run on Captain America, a departure that dovetails nicely into Marvel’s relaunch plans.

However, what will replace such mainstay titles as Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, Invincible Iron Man and The Mighty Thor, and when, remains to be seen. Although it’s unlikely the publisher will go too long without versions of those comics on the shelves, Marvel has promised a slow rollout of relaunches between October and February.

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What Are You Reading? with D.J. Kirkbride and Adam Knave

Saga #4

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guests are D.J. Kirkbride and Adam Knave, writers of Amelia Cole and the Unknown World, which was released last week by Monkeybrain Comics.

To see what Adam, D.J. and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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What Are You Reading? with Tim Seeley

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Tim Seeley, whose work you may know from Hack/Slash, Bloodstrike, Witchblade, Colt Noble, the upcoming Ex Sanguine and Revival, and much more.

To see what Tim has been reading lately, click below.

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What Are You Reading? with Alex Dueben

Sacre Bleu

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest this week is Alex Dueben, who you probably know from his interviews for the main site, Comic Book Resources, as well as for sites like Suicide Girls.

To see what Alex and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Hickman to leave FF, Fantastic Four in October; then what?

Fantastic Four #586

Come October, writer Jonathan Hickman’s time with Marvel’s first family will run out.

In an interview with iFanboy from last weekend’s Image Expo, Hickman discusses not only his upcoming Image projects, but also his current Marvel ones. “I’m off of Fantastic Four at the end of the year…S.H.I.E.L.D. is wrapping up. I turned in my last issue of Ultimates last week,” he said. You can watch the full interview, conducted by Ron Richards, after the jump.

Hickman expands on the end of his Fantastic Four and FF runs in an interview with Marvel.com’s Ben Morse. “I always had an end point in mind, but along the way I really fell in love with writing Marvel’s First Family and I also had all these dangling bits to clean up, so I agreed—[and] wanted—to stay on,” Hickman said. “Then all the gears started turning on all the [Avengers Vs. X-Men] stuff and what comes after and it just became obvious that October would be a good time to hop off.”

Hickman’s run on the title, which eventually led to the launch of its sister title, FF, began with issue #570. His last issues of Fantastic Four and FF will be issues #611 and #23.

Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, Tom Brevoort, told our own Tim O’Shea earlier this year that when he was looking for a new writer for the title back in 2009, he was looking to bring “a younger voice into the mix” to follow writers like Mark Millar, JMS and Dwayne McDuffie. “…I wanted to bring in somebody who would have something new to say, and who maybe wouldn’t be as shackled in his thinking to the past. At the same time, I wanted to maintain the overall positive/optimistic flavor that the series has always had when it’s been really clicking, in my opinion. Given those parameters, it didn’t take me long to start speaking with Jonathan Hickman, with whom I was working on Secret Warriors at the time. Jonathan went away, pulled together his ideas, and came back with a strong pitch for the series—and away we went!”

No word yet on who will replace him or where he might go to next in the Marvel Universe, but with the news that Brian Michael Bendis is leaving the Avengers titles later this year, Richards speculated at iFanboy that perhaps a run on Avengers is in his future. Where do you think he’ll end up, and more importantly, where would you like to see him?

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Talking Comics with Tim | Tom Brevoort

Tom Brevoort, photo by Luigi Novi

Let’s not mince words, the online presence of Tom Brevoort has provided hours of great reading for Robot 6 readers. Given his constant and unflagging willingness to interact with consumers via social media, Brevoort is a quote machine (His Twitter bio? “A man constantly on the verge of saying something stupid–for your entertainment!?”). There’s always a directness (some would say bluntness) to his manner online–making him the ideal subject for an interview. Last year saw Marvel promote Brevoort to senior vice president for publishing. 2011 was a year of some major successes for Marvel, as well as a year where some hard business decisions were made. In this interview, conducted in mid-December via email, I tried to cover a great deal of ground (we even briefly discuss DC’s New 52 success)–and Brevoort did not hold back on any of his answers. For that, I am extremely grateful. Like any high profile comics executive, Brevoort has his fans and his critics (and many in between), but I like to think this exchange offers some perspectives everyone can enjoy.

Tim O’Shea: Whether it’s in your job description or not, fan outreach via social media is definitely part of your job–clearly by your own choice. What benefit or enjoyment do you get from interacting with the fans/consumers?

Tom Brevoort: I’m not sure that I get a particular benefit, except maybe just being the center of attention for a few minutes—maybe everything I do is motivated by ego! I’m a whore for the spotlight! But I started doing this kind of outreach back in the formative days of internet fandom, largely because I like the idea of internet fandom. I know that, if the internet had existed when I was a young comic book reader, I’d have been on those message boards and in those chat rooms all the time, obsessively—just like a certain portion of the audience today. So I like the idea of giving back, of being accessible enough that anybody who has a question or a concern knows where to find me, or at least to find somebody with an insider’s track who might have the background and knowledge to speak to their point. In a very real way, it’s all an outgrowth of what Stan Lee did in his letters pages and Bullpen pages. Joe Q, I think, was really the first person to perfect that approach for the internet age. As EIC he was incredibly available to the audience in a myriad of ways. It’s a philosophy that’s very much woven into our DNA at Marvel. And for the most part, our fans are interesting, vibrant, cool people, especially when you meet them in person.

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Ilias Kyriazis imagines the Avengers 15 years from now

by Ilias Kyriazis

I linked to Ilias Kyriazis’ image of his favorite DC characters earlier this month, and as we wait patiently for the Marvel version he mentioned he’s starting, here’s something to enjoy in the meantime: Kyriazis imagines what the Avengers might look like 15 years from now.

The line-up includes several kids of current and former Avengers, like Luna Maximoff, Valeria Richards and Danielle Cage, all grown up and following in the footsteps of their parents. They’re joined by a few wild cards like Molly Hayes and Quentin Quire. If you head over to his blog, he shares the background of each character and why he chose their respective looks.

What Are You Reading? with Andy Burns

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Andy Burns, editor-in-chief of the pop culture site Biff Bam Pop!, which is doing a holiday gift guide with giveaways through Dec. 24. You can follow them on Twitter for more information.

To see what Andy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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The Fifth Color | Keep your eye on the Fantastic Generation Gap

FF #12 Cover

What, did you think I was going to show the panel? Go buy this book!

There is a page in FF #12 that would knock Jerry Springer’s socks off. Not in trashiness, but in the complexity of the relationships of the people on panel. Let’s see who we have here: there’s an alternate Reed Richards who came from a collective of Reed Richards..es. There is the time-traveling Nathanial Richards, his not-quite father. Doctor Doom sits collared by the machinations of alter-Reed, while Kristoff demands justice for his not-exactly father and the inherited name of Doom. Did I mention there’s a Wikipedia entry that has hinted that Nathaniel Richards might actually be Kristoff’s biological father? Yeah, wrap your head around this, because this is key: the relationships of these people on this page are why no one should be dropping this title due to the return of the Fantastic Four.

Potential spoilers for Fantastic Four #600 and FF #12 after the jump!

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