An "X-Force" To Be Reckoned With - Marvel's Mutant Militia Turns 25
The first page of Marvel’s Star Wars #1 is essentially a splash-page version of a screen cap, featuring the blue “A long time ago …” opening text. And they’re not kidding. The first Star Wars film opened 38 years ago, in 1977, which is when Marvel initially published licensed Star Wars comics. The company kept a monthly series going for a decade before canceling it. The racks were Star Wars-less for just four years before Dark Horse picked up the license, beginning a fruitful 23-year relationship that produced some pretty great comics — in fact, almost all of the good Star Wars comics (that aren’t the product of Jeffrey Brown, anyway).
And now, thanks to various corporate acquisitions, “The Greatest Space Fantasy of All!” is back in the hands of Marvel, which used to refer to it as such in the ’70s (and its principal heroes as “The Star Warriors”).
So how is the much-hyped, $4.99, 30-page comic with a variant cover for every star in the sky? Not bad. Not bad at all.
It’s a big month — heck, a big year — for fans of both Star Wars and of Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, as Marvel debuts the flagship title of its new line of comics, which picks up following the destruction of the Death Star in A New Hope.
However, before you can even get your hands on that million-selling first issue (it goes on sale Jan. 14), Marvel has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at pages from February’s Star Wars#2, illustrated by Cassaday and colored by Laura Martin. In the issue, the Rebel assault continues, even as Luke Skywalker is cornered by Darth Vader, and Han Solo, Princess Leia and the others find themselves trapped.
Although Saturday at Comic-Con International was dominated by movies and television — led by Warner Bros. Pictures, Marvel Studios and Legendary Pictures — there was still room for plenty of comics news. First and foremost, the announcement of Marvel’s Star Wars plans.
That line, telling canonical stories set between the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, launches in January with Star Wars, by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, followed in February by Star Wars: Darth Vader, by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca with covers by Adi Granov, and in March by the miniseries Star Wars: Princess Leia, by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson.
“What’s great about this time period is that all the characters are kind of on the table,” Aaron told CBR News. “Of course this is still early on and these people have pretty much just met each and just come together. So they’re still finding their place within this group and sort of figuring out their relationships with each other. Then there’s the fact that when you look at the gap between Episode IV and Episode V there’s some pretty major beats that happen off screen. So this gives up the opportunity to grab those beats and lay them down as part of the same canon as the movies.”
At Comic-Con International in San Diego, IDW Publishing announced that Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo will return in a new series titled Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, by Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez. As it turns out, there’s more to Little Nemo than just one new book.
Comics store turned small-press publisher Locust Moon is putting together an anthology of Little Nemo stories called Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream. Scheduled for release in 2014, the book has an eye-opening A-list lineup, including Peter Bagge, John Cassaday, Neal Adams, Bill Sienkiewicz, Becky Cloonan, Scott Morse, David Petersen, Mark Buckingham, Paul Pope and J.G. Jones. This book is a follow-up from the company’s anthology Once Upon a Time Machine, released last year by Dark Horse.
Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream will be published by Locust Moon as both a newspaper and a hardcover book, at the full size of the original Little Nemo pages — 16 inches by 21 inches. Described by Locust moon as a “love song for Winsor McCay, Little Nemo and the limitless possibilities of comics,” this is definitely one to watch. Here are several sample pages:
To see what Ales and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Marvel NOW! is, well, now, with the launch of the you-got-your-chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter comic Uncanny Avengers last Wednesday. The first issue, by Rick Remender, John Cassaday, Laura Martin and Chris Eliopoulos, follows up on the conclusion of Avengers vs. X-Men as Captain America forms a new team that brings together members from those previously competing rivals.
Is the mix-and-match strategy oil and water, or a yummy Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? Here are a few thoughts from around the web:
Alex Evans, Weekly Comic Book Review: “For those familiar with Rick Remender’s work, this title is very different from anything we’ve seen from him prior. With John Cassaday’s slick, polished artwork, this is the big, flagship Marvel Comic sort of book. Rest assured, however, that Remender nonetheless nails it, giving us an issue that almost feels like an issue from an event. That said, while Remender’s usual weirdness takes a backseat, it’s still very much there, giving the book a real edge to it.”
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 start with a couple of Marvel firsts, even though one of them isn’t technically a first issue: Uncanny Avengers #1 ($3.99) and Red She-Hulk #58 ($2.99). This is the first week of Marvel NOW, and they’re starting with books by creative teams I’m excited about. Next I’d get Stumptown V2 #2 ($3.99) and wind things up with the Halloween Eve one-shot. I actually supported the Kickstarter for the latter, so my copy is probably already on the way to my mailbox, but hypothetically let’s assume that it wasn’t. It’s by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder, two creators whose work I’ve enjoyed in the past. So if it wasn’t coming to me in the mail, it would come home in a paper bag from the comic shop.
If I had $30, I’d add an outgoing Marvel title (Marvel THEN?), Fantastic Four #611, which features the end of Hickman’s run before he moves on to Avengers and Matt Fraction takes over the first family of Marveldom. Next I’d grab Green Lantern Corps #13 ($2.99) as I like the direction the GL books have been headed in lately, and Conan #9 ($3.50), the second half of Brian Wood’s collaboration with Vasilis Lolos. Finally, I’d grab Point of Impact #1 ($2.99), the new crime book by Jay Faerber and Koray Kuranel.
This is a splurge in price only; if I had $50, then Chris Ware’s Building Stories would definitely have been at the top of my buy list this week. It’s a big box of little comics, as Chris put it, and as luck would have it I really do have $50 in gift certificates that I got for my birthday to buy it with. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Nearly lost in the hustle and bustle of Comic-Con International was the release of the sixth installment of Threadless’ Comics-On Tees, which features Neil Gaiman’s poem “The Day the Saucers Came” as interpreted in four T-shirt designs by John Cassaday, Brandon Graham, Ben Templesmith, and Estudio Verso (the winner of the website’s Comic Book Legal Defense Fund challenge). A quarter of the sales generated from
Estudio Verso’s design all four designs will be donated to the CBLDF.
You can check out all four designs below.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has been very busy lately, fighting censorship laws and border searches, as well as launching an advertising campaign. So they’ve got a lot planned for Comic-Con this year, with plenty of chances for fans to help contribute to their cause.
Here’s a quick rundown of their merchandise, art auctions and more:
You can check out the Graphitti Designs shirts after the jump.
The standard format for digital comics is single issues, which can be an expensive way to read an entire story. Fortunately, more and more publishers are experimenting with digital bundles and graphic novels, and here’s the biggest one of them all: ComiXology is offering Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s Planetary, all 633 pages/27 issues of it, for $24.99. (Unless I’m missing something, this is only available on comiXology’s Comics app, not on the DC app.) That’s quite a bargain compared to buying it one issue at a time, which would set you back almost $52 (the first issue is free), and it includes an eight-page introductory story as well.
This is where the rubber meets the road for potential digital customers. On the one hand, $24.99 is a lot of money for something that is “only” pixels on a screen; on the other hand, it’s cheaper than the print edition—even secondhand, if Amazon is any guide. This looks like it may be a trial balloon of sorts, as it is only available until July 16. One has to wonder why—hopefully DC isn’t going in for that “digital vault” stupidity. Once you put the package together, it should stay on the digital shelf forever—it’s not like you’re going to run out of books. On the other hand, having the deal end just before Comic-Con may be significant; maybe there’s something more on the way.
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Today’s special guest is Shannon Wheeler, New Yorker cartoonist and creator of the Eisner Award-winning comic book Too Much Coffee Man, Oil & Water, the Eisner-nominated I Thought You Would Be Funnier and the upcoming Grandpa Won’t Wake Up.
To see what Shannon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Although they may be at the top of the charts in American comics, some of the biggest artists today have some books out that most American have never seen. For years, artists working in the Anglophile comics market have moonlighted in European comics, probably most memorably with Travis Charest leaving for years to do a volume of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Metabarons.
But Charest isn’t the only one — John Cassaday did the series I Am Legion for Humanoids while working on Planetary and Astonishing X-Men, Geoff Johns and Red Star artist Christian Gossett did a story in Metal Hurlant, Terry Dodson worked on a graphic novel called Songes: Coraline, Kurt Busiek wrote a book called Redhand, and Fear Itself artist Stuart Immonen did a little-known book called Sebastian X which follows a surfer turned freedom fighter in the near future.
Yeah, I’d buy that.
And this isn’t past tense — Criminal and Incognito artist Sean Phillips spoke last month about a graphic novel he’s doing for France’s Delcourt called Void 01, which he describes as “a cat and mouse sci-fi story set on a prison ship in the depths of space”.
Yeah, I’d buy that too.
There’s no word yet on any English — American or otherwise — release of these stories.
If you’ve been a comic fan for any length of time, you’ve come to appreciate the talent and skills of certain creators. Whether they be mainstream heavyweights to cult-favorite indie cartoonists, they’re a big draw for you as a reader — and someone whose work you’d buy, sight unseen, based on their previous work you’ve loved. But just like childhood friends and lovers, sometimes they disappear, and a small piece of you longs to see them again.
Without getting too sentimental, here’s a list of some comic creators I’ve grown to love over the years that have (unfortunately) dropped off the American comics scene by-and-large. If you know them, tell them I’d raid my bank account for new work by them!
Brian K. Vaughan: Arguably one of the 21st century’s most successful creator-owned comic creators outside of Robert Kirkman, Brian K. Vaughan worked through the ranks at Marvel and DC to do both great company-owned superheroes like Runaways and The Hood, and his own inventions. After signing on to the TV series Lost, Vaughan has slowly drifted away from comics with his last series Ex Machina ending last year. DC just put out a collection of his Batman work, but no new work has been formally announced. In Vaughan’s last major recent interview, the writer states that while he’s become embroiled in movies and television, he “craves comics.” Among several television and movie projects in the works, Vaughan says that he has new comics stuff “percolating in the background.”
After 18 years, former Image studio and current DC Comics imprint WildStorm is shutting down this December. And as many have noted already, the house that Jim built has produced many awesome, memorable and even game-changing (to steal a phrase from Rob Liefeld) works in the last two decades.
Here are six of them that we found to be particularly awesome; let us know what we missed in the comments section.
1. Sleeper: There have been many comics that mash up superheroes with down-and-dirty genres like crime and espionage over the past decade; this may just be the best. The high concept is a gripping one: Super-spy Holden Carver is so deep undercover in an international super-criminal organization that when his one contact is placed in a coma, literally no one knows he’s secretly on the side of the angels. Carver’s predicament, the way he plays and gets played by both sides, his growing unwillingness or inability to draw the ethical lines needed to save his soul, if not his life–such is the stuff of a great crime drama. Superstar in the making Ed Brubaker brings all his talents and obsessions to the table here: his knack for crafting morally compromised characters while neither romanticizing their misdeeds nor softening them up, his recurring theme of how the secrets and sins of our pasts never truly leave us, his belief that damaged people seek out other damaged people to repair that damage, his eye for and ability to work with strong visual stylists. In this case that meant Sean Phillips, never better in his ability to believably root spectacular action and super-powers in a naturalist-noir milieu. All of this in a WildC.A.T.s spinoff, proving just how wild WildStorm was once willing to go.
Even its relatively short run redounds to its benefit: The complete story of Holden Carver is yours to own inexpensively, read easily, and ponder at your leisure. (Sean T. Collins)
J. Michael Straczynski’s first issue of Superman, issue #701, joins the list of comics that will feature classic DC covers redrawn by contemporary artists. However, unlike the covers unveiled so far, this one is the comic’s main cover, rather than a variant.
Check out the full cover after the jump.