Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Every Wednesday evening for the past few months, I’d visit my local comic shop, scan the little piles of Secret Wars tie-ins stacked on the counter and flip through many of the more appealing-looking ones before ultimately setting them down, knowing I’ll get to them eventually, when they’re collected. Due to the price of almost all of Marvel’s comics, I’ve given up on reading them as they’re released, and instead wait to read them in trade.
Now I have read a handful of Secret Wars comics that I found at my friend’s apartment — the first issues of A-Force, The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Secret Wars Journal, X-Men ’92 – so I understand the general premise of the tie-ins, if not what’s going on in the main book. The downside of reading trades instead of single issues is that you’re always one event series behind everyone else. (How about that Axis, huh?)
I mention my own buying habits here only because this week I encountered a Secret Wars tie-in that looked so good, and looked even better the more I flipped through it, that I simply couldn’t resist buying it, despite its fairly substantial $4.99 price: Secret Wars: Secret Love #1, a one-shot anthology featuring five romantic stories set in various corners of the “patchwork world” of Secret Wars. And the fact that I did break down and buy it is kind of a review in and of itself.
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As one famous Marvel hero is prone to saying, “Flame On!”
Plans for the first New York City-based LGBTQ convention are ramping up, as Flame Con has announced artist Phil Jimenez (Wonder Woman, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin) as its latest guest.
UPDATE 1/14/2014 4:25 PM PT: Kris Anka has clarified the nature of the scrapped project on his Tumblr, writing, “The sketches I posted were not for an official project to be published by Marvel. They were for an artists’ sketchbook that Kevin Wada and myself were going to pitch to Marvel for approval. Kevin and I decided to pull the plug on this project, not Marvel. We were proud of our work so far, so we wanted to share what we had done.”
If you were holding out hopes for a return of the Marvel Swimsuit Specials of the early 1990s, you’re about to be disappointed: Artist Kris Anka revealed that while he Kevin Wada were indeed working on a one-shot, that’s unfortunately no longer the case.
“I write to you today with the somber news that after a few months back and forth with the powers-that-be, circumstances have arisen that have forced us to stop production on this project,” he said on his blog, later adding, “While we are both disappointed that we can no longer work on this, there was no malice behind this decision. It is what it is.”
Sideshow Collectibles, best known for its premium figures, has expanded into limited-edition art prints featuring Marvel and DC Comics properties, and its own Court of the Dead.
Its Premium Art Print line debuts with Gotham Sirens: Poison Ivy by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau, Spider-Woman by Scott Forbes, and Kier: Call of the Forsaken Valkyrie by David Palumbo, with upcoming work promised from the likes of Ariel Olivetti, Kris Anka and Fabian Schlaga.
Priced at $79.99, each 18-inch by 24-inch print is hand-numbered, and includes a penciled artist signature and embossed seal of authenticity.
Kris Anka stays pretty busy as one of the regular rotating artists of Uncanny X-Men, but you want to see him take a spin on another of Marvel’s marquee franchises, look no further than his depiction of the Sentinel of Liberty and his supporting cast from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Although Anka debuted the artwork only last week on his blog, it was produced a few years ago and never released. He explained it was intended to accompany Sideshow Collectibles’ Captain America Premium Format statue, but it wasn’t approved in time to be included in the packaging.
Marvel’s X-Men titles have by far the highest number of iconic female characters in all of comics — whether it be the superhero genre or elsewhere. It’s thanks in no small part to the work of writer Chris Claremont and artists like John Byrne and Paul Smith, but man others followed, and added to the ensemble, including Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, who created Abigail Brand. And now artist Kris Anka is paying tribute to these X-Men in an expansive, limited-edition print called “Ladies of X 2.”
As most readers likely have seen by now, Marvel confirmed last night on The Colbert Report that Sam Wilson is the new Captain America, but you may not caught a heartbroken Stephen Colbert learning from Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada that, alas, he won’t be the one taking up the shield. Watch the video below.
Colbert made a pretty good case for himself, saying, “Obviously, you have to be truly patriotic, you have to look decades younger than your actual age. … It should be someone who actually owns Captain America’s shield. That’s right, that’s right — the shield has been up there since 2007. I needed it for my battle against Nickelback.” (It was actually given to Colbert by Quesada during the “Death of Captain America” storyline.)
As I noted in the intro to the first round of HeroesCon 2014 Day 1 photos, I tried to cover a lot of ground in taking photographs. It turns out I got around to so many people on the first day that I needed to split the photos into two posts. Now on with part II!
Anyone can be a hero, and in the independent comic series The Pride writer/creator Joe Glass has crafted a superhero supergroup made of LGTBQ characters. Debuting in 2012 in the United Kingdom with a six-issue series, which was followed by a spinoff called The Pride Adventures, the comic has been sold by Glass at conventions, by mail and via PDF. And this week it makes its debut on comXology.
“When I was growing up, and coming to terms with my sexuality, one of the things I always felt sad about was the fact there were no visible, openly gay superheroes I could relate to,” Glass wrote for an Indiegogo campaign for the series. “Sure, there were one or two, but they lived in the background or were poorly represented. Ever since then, I wanted to change that. And that’s what The Pride is all about.”
“Handcrafted with austere beauty and fierce determination, Princess Diana of Themyscira dons her iconic costume of stars and stripes, sworn to protect the world and uphold her mantle as Wonder Woman,” the Sideshow description reads. “[…] She carries a long spear across her shoulders, and her iconic shield grasped firmly at her side – but above all, she carries the Amazons’ message of peace and justice.”
The Sideshow Exclusive version gives collectors the option of replacing Wonder Woman’s shield with a labrys. Both versions are priced at $399.99; preorders begin Thursday.
Inspired by Brett White’s recent Comic Book resources column, Evan Shaner gathered together old sketches of his favorite X-Men, “yearbook-style,” which in turn inspired some other artists to draw their own top picks — as if ripped from the pages of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters/Jean Grey School for Higher Learning annual: Uncanny X-Force‘s Kris Anka, Thugg, Russel Dauterman, George Kambadais and, to bring everything full circle, Brett White.
You can see Shaner and Kambadais’ contributions in full below, with the others at their respective links.
Last month on our sister blog Comics Should Be Good, columnist Kelly Thompson wrote a piece titled “6 Sublime Superheroine Redesigns” that profiled several recent costume makeovers she thought effective and true to the characters. In the post and the ensuing comments, talk abounded about the subject of superheroines often being saddled with revealing costumes that lean more toward fan service than suitable crime-fighting gear. Some posters argued there’s a current trend toward female characters having less-revealing costumes than in the past — Psylocke’s recent wardrobe redesign by Kris Anka was cited as an example — and that it’s an overreaction by publishers and designers that panders to feminists.
Anka took umbrage with some of the comments, and it opened the floor to an interesting debate about the look of superheroes. On the surface it questions the near-universal portrayal of female superheroes in more sexualized garb, but also attempts to draw a line between drawing a superhero as sexy without necessarily being sexist.
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, my Wednesday haul would start with Glory #30 (Image, $3.99). This series has been great, and since Kris Anka began doing covers, it’s gone to very great. Now, seeing New Yorker cartoonist Roman Muradov coming in to do a story makes it potentially even more, well, great. I’m psyched to see Glory face off against her sister, and Campbell’s depiction of both has been mesmerizing. Next I’d pick up Comeback #1 (Image, $3.50), featuring letterer Ed Brisson making his major writing debut. The cover design by Michael Walsh is impeccable, and the concept of time traveling for grieving loved ones is a fascinating concept. Next up, I’d get a Marvel double – Wolverine and the X-Men #21 (Marvel, $3.99) and Hawkeye #4 (Marvel, $2.99). This carnie issue of Wolverine and the X-Men is intriguing; it’s going out on a limb, but after what Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw have done so far, I trust them. With Hawkeye, I’m slightly hesitant to pick up an issue knowing David Aja isn’t drawing it, but Javier Pulido has the potential to be an ideal temporary substitute.
If I had $30, I’d look back on my $15 and reluctantly put Hawkeye #4 back on the shelf to free up money for Derek Kirk Kim’s Tune, Book 1: Vanishing Point (First Second, $16.99). Man oh man, do I love Kim’s work, and seeing the previews for this online makes me see a honing of the artist’s style akin to the way Bryan O’Malley did between Lost At Sea and Scott Pilgrim. Count me in.
If I could splurge, I’d take a chance on the anthology Digestate (Birdcage Bottom Books, $19.95). I’m no foodie like C.B. Cebulski, but I like food and I like anthologies so this is right up my alley; especially when the chefs include Jeffrey Brown and Liz Prince. Where’s my order?