Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Robot 6 crew have been checking out recently. To see for yourself, click below …
As a chief architect of the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee co-created everyone from the wall-crawling Spider-Man to the rampaging Hulk to the flaming Human Torch — y’know, characters grounded in science – but he admits he finds the powers of one high-flying superhero a little “frustrating”: the Man of Steel.
Explaining his approach to creating the classic Marvel superheroes, Lee told TV Kids, “Basically, if you’ve read my stories you know I’m very scientific minded. For example, I didn’t just have Spider-Man gain a spider power miraculously, I did it as scientifically as possible — he was bitten by a radioactive spider. It could have happened to anybody. When the Hulk became the Hulk, it just didn’t happen casually — there was a gamma-ray bomb that exploded. If you ask me what a gamma ray is, I would have no idea at all, but it sounds very scientific, I think. The Fantastic Four, they gained their powers from cosmic rays, of which I know as little as I do gamma rays, but they sound impressive. At that point I ran out of rays, so when I had to do the X-Men, I took the cowardly way out, I said, well they’re just born that way, that’s all. They’re mutants. That got me off the hook there.”
After referencing Lady Gaga, the legendary writer has a little fun, insisting — with tongue firmly planted in cheek, no doubt — that, unlike so many of his characters, Superman’s flying ability doesn’t make much sense.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics, books and other things we’ve read this week. Today our special guest is Jason Green.
Jason Green is the editor of comics coverage for the St. Louis-based pop culture website PLAYBACK:stl, and a writer and editor for the comics collective Ink and Drink Comics, whose fourth release (a Western anthology titled Off the Wagon) will debut at this year’s C2E2.
To see what Jason and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
As the licensing machine revs up for the May 4 premiere of The Avengers, fragrance company JADS International — the company behind such brands as Sulu Pour Homme, Slave Leia Perfume and Shirtless Kirk Cologne — has rolled out scents inspired by Captain America, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Nick Fury and even Loki. Sorry, Hawkeye, you’re out of luck.
The Avengers Cologne Set boasts “four unique fragrances”: PATRIOT, Mark VII, SMASH! and Worthy; you can probably piece together which name goes with which hero. Loki, meanwhile, gets Mischief Cologne (“Made to Rule”), and Fury has Initiative Cologne (“Activate the Initiative”).
Check out the details below, or on the JADS website.
Crime | A drunken Coventry, England, man was arrested for selling drugs outside a nightclub while dressed as the Incredible Hulk. According to the article, “Police were alerted by his costume which was based on the TV and film character who becomes green and superhuman when angry.” [Coventry Telegraph]
Creators | Dinosaur Comics creator Ryan North discusses his work on BOOM!’s upcoming Adventure Time comic. [ComicsAlliance]
Creators | Colleen Doran posts some character designs she worked up years ago for a never-completed animation project written by Warren Ellis; she admits to using Star Trek actor George Takei as the model for the main character. [A Distant Soil]
Greg Pak‘s Afterword tribute to Bill Mantlo in the final issue of his Hulk run (The Incredible Hulks 635) genuinely gave me pause (and as I said as much in that week’s WAYR). Then last week when Kevin Melrose made us aware of LifeHealthPro/Bill Coffin‘s devastating profile of Bill Mantlo’s life since 1992, which clearly struck a chord with many Robot 6 readers. Once I saw Pak’s comment in the thread, I realized I wanted to talk to Pak about Mantlo. While I have long respected Pak as a writer, his decision to set up a donations page for Bill Mantlo’s care is the reason why I admire him. My thanks to Pak for the interview and for scanning the cover to the actual copy of his first Bill Mantlo comic (Micronauts 3), which we get to discuss also.
Tim O’Shea: At what point in your run on the Hulk did you realize that you wanted to write the Afterword, partially about Bill Mantlo?
Greg Pak: I’d cited Bill Mantlo as a big influence many times over the years in press and publicity for my various Hulk storylines. So it was a natural for me to focus on him in the afterward to Incredible Hulks #635. And it was a huge pleasure to be able to formally dedicate the run to Mantlo on that final page.
Next week’s Incredible Hulk #2, solicited with Marc Silvestri as penciler, instead has six artists credited with pencils and finishes. Additionally, the original three inkers have grown to at least five. That’s 11 total artists for a 20-page story.
Taking advantage of an apparent glitch that made the issue briefly available last night on some comiXology platforms, Rich Johnston grabbed a screenshot of the credits box, which shows Silvestri joined as penciler by Whilce Portacio and Billy Tan. Michael Broussard and Eric Basaldua are credited with “pencil assists,” while Scott Hanna receives a nod for “finishes.” Solicited inkers Joe Weems, Jay Leisten and Don Ho, meanwhile, now receive help from Rick Basaldua and Crimelab Syndicate.
It’s unclear whether those changes will make The Incredible Hulk #2 returnable; the issue has yet to appear on Diamond Comic Distributors’ product changes list.
Announced in July at Comic-Con International, the new series from Silvestri and writer Jason Aaron debuted in October as Marvel’s highest-selling title, with an estimated 106,470 copies. Silvestri, who received pencil assists from Broussard on the debut issue, concludes his first arc with December’s Issue 3. Portacio will draw the fourth.
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.
If I had $15, I’d be a judicious comics buyer and pick the top four out of over 20 titles I’d want this week. DC/Vertigo makes it slightly easier by making the new Brian Azzarello/Eduardo Risso joint Spaceman #1 only $1. This dollar price point for first issues combined with the $9.99 price point they sometimes do for the first volume of comic trade paperbacks surely gets a lot of traction. Next up I’d get Jason Aaron’s new era of the X-Men in Wolverine & X-Men #1 (Marvel, $3.99) with Chris Bachalo. I’d also get my regular pulls of DMZ #70 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and The Walking Dead #90 (Image, $2.99) and last–but first in my stack to read-–would be Secret Avengers #18 (Marvel, $3.99). I hear some Ellis guy is writing it, but the big draw for me is artist David Aja. His Iron Fist run is one of my top favs in comics in the past ten years, and he’s a titan in my book.
Fresh from its clothing deal with the Dallas Cowboys, Marvel announced this morning that it’s licensing such characters as Spider-Man, The Hulk, Wolverine and Captain America for a line of co-branded apparel for the University of Southern California.
The agreement was made through the Dallas Cowboys subsidiary Silver Star Merchandising, which in May signed a 10-year contract with USC for the exclusive rights to manufacture, license and distribute its sports apparel on campus and at its athletic venues. The Marvel Super Heroes collection will include clothing and hats for infants, children and adults featuring USC colors of cardinal and gold, as well as the school’s logos and Trojan mascot. The line will be available beginning later this month online and at mass and sporting good retailers, and USC bookstores.
You can see two more T-shirt designs at Marvel.com.
I hate to start it out this way, but we have to talk.
Despite fan apathy, despite the louder bolder act from the Distinguished Competitor, Fear Itself is a mighty fine event book. It has a very easy premise that people unfamiliar with comics can get into (hey, you know Thor? It’s like all the bad guys are that strong now), it’s got that “Versus” style atmosphere where people can debate all day long on who should have really been the first down or defeated in the Worthy vs. Heroes, it’s got a super-powered upgrade coming up for us by Iron Man, there’s been some tragedy and some triumph, and coming up in October, we’ll have closure with an ending that multiple comics can build up or down from.
Or maybe not.
Remember in the last Lord of the Rings movie when they just kept having to tie up so many loose ends or add so much finality to the main story that it just felt like the audience just didn’t know where to applaud in a well-made film? Or even worse, you drank a really big soda during a three-hour+ movie and really wanted it to have a firm sense of a finish so you could escape? Yeah.
So, thanks to some New Math numbering by Marvel, it looks like #7 of Fear Itself really doesn’t end so much for our heroes because come November, we’re getting a Captain America ending, an Iron Man ending and a Thor ending (Depending on how well you do playing through the game, does this unlock any achievements?) If your mini-series is seven issues long, you should be able to tell me a complete story between issues #1 and #7. Afterwards, if there is a banner theme running around the books as they’ve done historically since Avengers: Disassembled and even further with some of the old annual arcs, so be it. I think, as comic readers, we’re more familiar with picking up what looks good coming out of a major event and deciding for ourselves that hey, let’s see the prologue with a certain character after the book is finished. Even a Fear Itself: Thor #1 one-shot would be more preferable, because at least with some distance from the main series, it feels like we’re moving on and not buying a very sneaky issues #8, 9 and 10.
Yeah, it’s probably too much of a sour note to play against the backdrop of a very solid set of storytelling, but man. What a way to start November.
Let’s see what else is coming from the House of Ideas in November 2011, shall we?
Continue Reading »
Creators | Robert Crumb pens a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, explaining why he pulled out of the Graphic 2011 festival: “I was quite alarmed when I read the article in the Sunday Telegraph. I showed it to my wife, Aline, who said, ‘That’s it, you’re not going.’ She got a very bad feeling from the article. She feared I might be attacked physically by some angry, outraged person who simply saw red at the mention of child molesters. She remarked she’d never seen any article about me as nasty as this one.” Sunday Telegraph staff writer Claire Harvey, meanwhile, responds to Crumb’s comments and criticisms lobbed at the newspaper: “Crumb seems to be living in fear of the reaction he once sought to provoke. It seems a sad place for any artist to be.” [The Sydney Morning Herald]
Passings | Kim Thompson eulogizes Argentina cartoonist Francisco Solano López, who passed away on Friday. [The Comics Journal]
Conventions | Reporting from this weekend’s Wizard World Chicago, the Chicago Tribune talks to former comic shop owner Gary Colabuono, who displayed rare ashcan editions of comics from the 1930s and 1940s featuring Superman, Superwoman, Superboy and Supergirl at the show. Blogger Matthew J. Brady has pictures of the ashcans, as well as a report from the show. [Chicago Tribune]
Publishing | Popular comic-book guest star President Barack Obama will make a brief appearance in this week’s Flashpoint #4. DC Comics Executive Editor Eddie Berganza told USA Today that the inclusion of the actual President, rather than a fictional counterpart, signals that the danger is real — something that will get pushed as the publisher prepares for the September relaunch. [USA Today]
Conventions | More than 31,000 anime and manga enthusiasts flocked to Baltimore over the weekend for Otakon, one of the biggest fan-oriented anime conventions. There were a few anime and manga licenses announced, but mainly it was a meet-and-greet for fans and publishers. [Anime News Network]
The cover of the August Previews catalog gives us an indication of how Marvel will follow up Fear Itself, and what we should expect to emerge from the publisher’s Sunday panel at Comic-Con International.
October will see the debut of The Fearless, “an event that shows readers what’s in store for their favorite characters in the wake of the Fear Itself event. Anyone that enjoyed Fear Itself should be interested in finding out how Captain America, the Avengers, and other characters from all across the Marvel Universe deal with the aftermath.”
Although further details haven’t been publicly released by Marvel or Diamond Comic Distributors, Newsarama reports that the twice-monthly series will be written by Matt Fracion, Cullen Bunn and Chris Yost, and illustrated by Mark Bagley and Paul Pelletier. The website also confirms the October launch of Incredible Hulk, by Jason Aaron and Marc Silvestri.
Stay tuned to Comic Book Resources for more information as details surface from Comic-Con.
[Editor's Note: Due to technical issues, Carla's column from last Friday was delayed until today.]
It is more fun to announce things at comic conventions where there’s a live audience to ooh and ahh at all the new and exciting products you’re putting out than it is to post it on the internet. It’s the difference between selling your car in a showroom as opposed to an ad on Craigslist. I’m sure there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere, so feel free to fill it in for yourself, but the point remains. So that’s why we didn’t get the Marvel Comics solicitations for June 2011 when we usually do; as all the other kids down the block showed off their upcoming new comics, Marvel waited until C2E2 was over because the big show came first.
Or so I thought.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Marvel Comics has unleashed the full power of their June line-up. They weren’t waiting for the live announcements to go first, they were keeping their readership safe from the imminent disasters that will befall us in the future! They were protecting us! They had only our safety in mind and now the true story can be told! I present the June 2011 solicitation list that will very nearly END EXISTENCE AS WE KNOW IT!!!
Anyone prone to heart conditions, seizures or who could be pregnant, read the following list of colossal entertainment at your own risk. These comics are rated M for “Oh MY God, these comics will crack the internet in half!”
Marvel has published X-Men Forever, X-Factor Forever and New Mutants Forever, series that allow writers Chris Claremont and Louise Simonson to pick up where they left their classic runs years earlier. So why not Hulk Forever, continuing Peter David’s award-winning, 12-year stint on The Incredible Hulk?
In an interview with Comic Book Resources, David said he’d love to work on Spider-Man, Wolverine or the Hulk — or even Hulk Forever. However, he concedes, “I don’t know if the fan support for such a title would be there.”
David’s landmark run lasted from 1987 to 1998, during which time the writer explored Bruce Banner’s dissociative identity disorder, introduced the gray Hulk’s “Joe Fixit” alias as well the “new” Hulk that merged all his personalities, and killed Betty Ross. David left the title following a storyline disagreement with Marvel editors — they reportedly wanted Betty’s death to lead to the re-emergence of the Savage Hulk persona — and returned only briefly in 2005.
With Guillermo del Toro and David Eick reportedly sprearheading the Hulk’s return to live-action television, it might be an ideal time for Marvel to revisit one of the character’s defining eras.