Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Remember the rumor that Marvel was going to get rid of all its mutants? Last year, there was a big fear among some fans that, due to backstage politics between Marvel and Fox, the X-Men would be “No More’d” out of existence with a line-wide reboot that would effectively replace mutants with Inhumans.
That sounds terrible, obviously, but it’s the kind of thing that nags at us when we think about film rights (as we so often do). However, while it can be fun to ponder a character’s place in a fictional universe, there’s little use in trying to discern the plans and motives (rumored or otherwise) of corporate executives. That way lies madness, Dear Reader.
Keeping the comics over here, the movies over there, and the business dealings far, far away is probably the best way to enjoy the stories. Yet, there’s no denying that mutants and Inhumans can be viewed as similar entities in the Marvel Universe — and, believe it or not, there are some decent reasons to at least readjust the X-Men’s place within in it.
In a way, it’s may be a good thing the Fantastic Four movie is doing so poorly, because now we get to talk about Marvel’s First Family.
For some reason, interest goes up whenever the Fantastic Four are in dire peril, whether that’s imminent death or cancellation. Most recent writers have chosen to threaten the team’s existence to generate interest, with mixed results: James Robinson came on under “The End of Fantastic Four”; Matt Fraction said the radiation that gave them their powers would kill them; Jonathan Hickman killed Johnny Storm, then rebranded what was left; and that’s just in the past five years.
It seems every time the team appears in danger of falling apart, or losing its title, is precisely when fans and critics like myself haul out the tributes and care about the Fantastic Four’s place within Marvel history. There’s an image we all have of what the Fantastic Four is and what it means in our heads. It’s just that putting that idea onto paper and sold for $3.99 is a difficult journey.
If you lived in the Marvel Comics universe, chances are you wouldn’t spend your days swooping through the skies and patrolling in the name of justice — unless you lived near a radioactive zoo, at any rate. You’d probably be working that 9-to-5 grind like most citizens, and Empire Flippers (via AV Club) has conveniently put together a map of fictional Marvel businesses based on location so you can know just where to apply.
The map focuses on U.S.-based companies only, spanning from New York City to Los Angeles, California and everywhere in between. From Roxxon to Worthington Industries to Ant-Man Security Solutions, this map will find the location and services for you. Check out the full map below.
In the never-ending war to determine once and for all which Big Two comic publisher is definitively the best, America is inherently biased. Yeah, the capital of the United States is Washington, D.C.. Think about that for a sec — !
In all seriousness, Chris Gethard, host of Fusion’s “The Chris Gethard Show,” decided to take the totally subjective, most nerdy of all nerd fights extremely serious while at Comic-Con International in San Diego and petition con-goers to make a real difference by changing the country’s capital to Washington, MARVEL.
Wouldn’t it be nice to reinvent yourself every year? Just toss out all your old clothes, get a new job, take a new direction in life? It’s fun to think about, but really difficult to put into practice; there’s a lot of security in knowing who you are and working a job (you hopefully love) for year after year. We crave consistency but yearn for change. It’s why fiction is so important as an escape, from what comforts us. Heroes can risk it all in these huge, life-changing decisions, and we can watch from the bleachers, cheering them on or judging them harshly.
Let’s get to doing that with the latest all-new, all-different titles at Marvel, arriving in October.
Oh, man. The toughest part of these announcements is the sheer weight of information we get at once. Marvel could reveal these one at a time, but I think that would take away some of the spotlight, as one new title would be forgotten as the next new was announced. Instead, we get this 45-title avalanche showcasing a variety of new books and looks for our favorite heroes and villains, leaving people like Yours Truly to sort it all into manageable chunks. How do we parse all of this?
When it comes to comic convention exclusives, people talk about a lot of things: rarity, price, availability, etc. Now that Marvel has announced the first in their line of exclusive products available only at Comic-Con International in San Diego, they’ve added a whole new factor to the discussion: adorability.
As revealed over on MTV, Marvel is bringing a set of 28 enamel pins based on Skottie Young’s series of baby variant covers with them when they arrive at the massive show. You’re gonna have to figure out a battle plan in order to collect the entire set, though, as they’re divvied up between 4-packs, blind box 2-packs and more.
Today (Saturday) is literally a once-in-a-century kind of day. It’s the day recognized by nerds everywhere as Pi Day, as the date 3/14 mirrors the first two digits in pi. Seeing as it’s the year 2015, however, the date 3/14/15 actually lines up with even more digits in the mathematical constant, an event that only happens once every 100 years. And if you stretch that out to 9:26:53 and farther into microseconds, there will be a precise moment when the time and date match up to pi out into infinity.
To celebrate the nerdiest of holidays, Marvel has released a recipe inspired by one of their characters who would probably find the most joy in the numerically unique day: Ultron! Yes, they’ve presented fans with a complete recipe for Ultron Cherry Pie, which you can find ahead along with more pictures of the delicious, devilish treat.
OK, first let’s get this out of the way: A-Force? Really?
That’s a terrible name! That’s just going to lead to schlocky journalists serving up headlines like “These Marvel ladies are A-FORCE to be reckoned with!” It seems lazy and uninspired, although you could say that they were inspired by X-Force, but that’s a tacky name I’ve had decades to get used to. Also, it was the ’90s, everyone had tacky names. I suppose I could count myself lucky they aren’t “Force Works,” but when the Defenders are right there and Valkyrie was already tasked to create a team of heroines … ugh. A-Force.
More important than the name or the roster is the writing team of G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite Bennett, who are bringing incredible work to the pages of Ms. Marvel and Angela: Asgard’s Assassin, respectively. Both authors have taken the idea of diversity in stride, making representation in their books relatable and honest. Ms. Marvel isn’t just a Muslim superheroine; she’s a teenager with the same hopes and likes as a variety of readers, young and old. There’s a new element added into Angela: Asgard’s Assassin that I won’t spoil, but it’s an accomplishment to be sure, done with heart and little fanfare.
Two years ago this month, DC Comics announced that all of its April 2013 New 52 releases would be “WTF Certified,” its name for a series of gatefold covers poised to reveal surprising developments when folded out. The promotion drew some criticism, stemming from the fact that the “F” in “WTF” stands for a word you won’t find in any of DC’s superhero comics. Ultimately, while DC went forward with the gatefold covers themselves, the “WTF Certified” branding was abandoned.
Marvel showed they haven’t forgotten any of that with the release of a “WTD Certified” teaser image on Thursday afternoon, closely mimicking DC’s scrapped “WTF” logo. What exactly “WTD” stands for in this instance is unclear, though “What the Deadpool” is an easy first guess (he’s dying that month, after all). An answer should be coming soon — “WTD Certified” is tied to April’s releases, and Marvel’s solicitations for that month are likely to hit early next week. The full teaser follows below.
(Time once again for ROBOT 6 contributors Tom Bondurant and Carla Hoffman to email each other about the year in DC and Marvel superhero comics. This year’s exchange took place between DEc. 26 and Dec. 30. And be sure to check out Part 1 of the conversation.)
Tom Bondurant: One of the more pleasant surprises this year was the extent to which the Big Two started going after a different audience. New books like Ms. Marvel and Gotham Academy, and makeovers for Batgirl and Catwoman, have found success with distinctive, unconventional approaches. How long can they keep this up? Will digital distribution help these books, if it’s not doing so already? Are the Big Two really committed to branching out?
Carla Hoffman: Branching out is such a double-edged sword. It sounds weird to say that, because diversity is so championed online, but when a book can alienate old readers, you really have to draw in a lot of new readers to make up for it. Believe it or not, there were some who complained that Kamala Khan took the Ms. Marvel name rather than getting her own moniker. The good news is that Ms. Marvel is such a quality book and so important to the next generation of comic readers, not to mention Marvel Comics itself, I couldn’t care less if a (pardon my use) grumpy old fan can’t change with the times. Marvel published about 40 new titles this year — everything from Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu to Rocket Raccoon. Not all of the titles stuck (R.I.P. She-Hulk, try again later), but that’s still a lot of new stuff to try that isn’t just another variation of a Wolverine comic.
Continue Reading »
Marvel has provided Robot 6 with an exclusive preview of Spider-Woman #5 by Dennis Hopeless and Javier Rodriguez. The issue – the first after the conclusion of Spider-Verse – marks the debut of a new costume for Jessica Drew. Designed by Kris Anka, the new costume was announced in December and is the first time the character’s look has dramatically shifted since her first appearance, and according to Marvel, it has a lot to do with how Spider-Verse concludes.
“Jess comes out of this event with a very different point of view on herself and her place in the world,” Marvel editor Nick Lowe told CBR in December. “[The costume] represents a big change for her moving forward.”
Spider-Woman #5 hits stores in March.
(Time once again for ROBOT 6 contributors Tom Bondurant and Carla Hoffman to email each other about the year in DC and Marvel superhero comics. This year’s exchange took place between Dec. 26 and Dec. 30.)
Tom Bondurant: First let’s address the elephant in the room — or, more accurately, the infinite number of parallel rooms, each containing a slightly different elephant. In 2015, both Marvel and DC are building Big Events around their respective multiverses. Conventional wisdom predicts that DC is doing this to address fan criticisms of the New 52, perhaps resulting in some continuity tweaks.
Carla Hoffman: Oh, man, I hope that’s true! Honestly, I have a hard time judging the inner workings of our respective companies sometimes because I always hear more from the fan side than the production team. Enough customers come in, day in and day out, with a piece of their mind on how things should be run or changed, but rarely do the people in charge — not creators and editors, mind you, the people who sign the checks at the end of the day with real power — come forward to say, “We feel this is the right direction.” Tom Brevoort on Tumblr comes close with his tireless open forum, but even then there’s always going to be company policy. If DC is brave enough to go “Maybe we shouldn’t have thrown the entire baby out with the bathwater” and massage their continuity into a more pleasing shape for fans, that’s going to be a heck of thing that will have an effect on readership, for sure.
Tampa, Florida retailer Heroes Haven is very excited for the release of Marvel’s upcoming Star Wars #1 — so much so that it actually put together a trailer for a special store-exclusive variant cover for its Facebook page. Heroes Haven certainly has reason for excitement — its store-exclusive variant by Mike Perkins is a cool homage to one of Marvel’s most well-known comics of all time: Giant-Size X-Men #1.
Artist Ken Lashley leaped into the spotlight this week with his collaboration with writer Gail Simone on DC Comics’ latest incarnation of Secret Six. No stranger to the publisher, he’s provided covers for such titles as Suicide Squad and Superboy, and drawn interiors for Superman: Doomed. A quick glance of CBR’s previews archives reveals the variety of work he’s done for other publishers in recent years, including a couple of AXIS Revolutions covers for Marvel.
To get an idea of the variety of characters Lashley draws, as well as some of his commissions, one needs only to look at his Instagram profile (where he posts under the username Ledkilla). In addition to the range of talent he shares with his fans, he clearly relishes shooting some of his samples at interesting angles, adding a layer of kineticism.
It’s a wonderful thing when two things you love seem to love each other as well.
When I read that former wrestling superstar and current Walking Dead enthusiast CM Punk is contributing a story for February 2015’s Thor annual, I enjoyed a small moment of having my cake and eating it too. Forgive my indulgence, but trust me, comics and wrestling sort of sit together on the school bus of storytellling; although they’re different mediums entirely, they share some common traits and interests that let one sort of lean into the other from time to time.
If you think about it, pro wrestling (or sports entertainment if you want to be more direct ) and comic books share a style of visual storytelling that starts in very broad strokes and becomes a masterpiece through the details and context of their respective works. Both deal in good and “bad”; whereas comics has its heroes and villains, wrestling has its faces and heels. Both heels and villains tend to do a lot of the heavy lifting, story-wise, as it’s their antagonism that creates the context and drives the plot. It’s why when Captain America and Iron Man fight, they’re never doing it for the competition; one of them will be in the wrong, enabling the reader to root for or against someone. When the Undertaker fights Hulk Hogan, no matter how cool the Undertaker is (and he’s so cool), Hulk Hogan is our hero, often our champion, so we hope he defeats the “bad guy.”