Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Event books seem tricky, but they’re really not. With their sprawling casts, catastrophic plotlines and massive fallout for books yet to come, it’s easy to see how some events (we’re looking at you, Siege) can go horribly wrong. But there are some key items each event must have to succeed, if not always spectacularly, whether or not we readers liked the outcome.
We will always need a threat, something too big for one hero, or, we hope, one team, to deal with. If the event were called Ninjariffic! and everyone just fought the Hand, we’d throw Daredevil at the problem and it would be solved. No, we require a large cast, as many and as diverse characters as we can assemble. After all, event books are here to help promote the rest of the Marvel line, and if it were just an Avengers story, it’d be an arc in one of their many books.
If the event can be personal, then we can have a role for all of our different heroes to play where no one is left out, or simply included to fill in space on a splash page. At the end of the event, we need some sort of ramifications for subsequent comics; it doesn’t have to be life-changing (though deaths are a go-to for this kind of thing), but it should shake up at least a few titles. On the other hand, the ripples don’t necessarily have to be massive, as the rest of the books have stories to tell as well; we don’t want one event ruining other creators’ work.
Civil War is an example of doing things right, no matter how much the end of the series fell apart. It had a threat in the form of the Superhuman Registration Act, it affected characters personally by making them choose sides, and the aftermath continues to be felt in the Marvel Universe. Another good example — and again, controversial in reader’s judgments — is Fear Itself. The threats posed were entire realms at war using Earth as a staging ground. It affected heroes personally, as they all faced their fears, and at the end of the day, the fallout was mostly contained to Asgard, letting the other stories get back to work in their own books. Whether or not you enjoyed the stories, they were told pretty artfully and got the job done.
Did Original Sin pass the test? Read on and find out!
WARNING: BIG HONKIN’ SPOILERS for all of Original Sin, mostly the big finale that came out this week so grab your copies and read along!
Bad news for fans of the BrooklyKnight: Grantland reports the Brooklyn Nets mascot won’t return next season, and is likely headed for mascot limbo. “We put a lot of effort into the BrooklyKnight,” the team said in a statement, “but we’ve decided to go in a different direction.”
The current mascot is the result of a 2012 consulting deal with Marvel, which designed a basketball-themed superhero in a metal mask and shield. As the BrooklyKnight’s Instagram shows, the Marvel connection continued to play a role in his appearances. In addition to photos of the mascot with Nets fans, there are shots of the “official superhero of the Brooklyn Nets” at New York Comic Con 2013, posing with cosplayers and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. convertible.
While we all roll our eyes or groan inside (or on message boards) when the summer blockbuster season rears its ugly head, part of me hopes we get another clean, classic Secret Wars out of the bunch. It had a great mix of heroes and villains from across the Marvel Universe who didn’t normally hang out together. It took those character completely out of their normal element (quite literally) to give them room to interact and put everyone on an equal footing. There was a clear common goal and a threat to face in the form of the Beyonder, and a host of villains he collected to fight our heroes. We had some new characters created in Volcana, Titania and Spider-Woman, growing the event into an origin story. And then everyone went home having learned a little something and … oh, yes: the black costume.
Secret Wars had a lasting effect on the comics that came after it despite having a clear finish when it was released. Heroes go to Battleworld, they battle the Beyonder and Doctor Doom, everybody dies, everybody comes back, they overcome their obstacles and go home (or stay, as Ben Grimm would do). It wraps up but still gives us so much to work with for future comics. This should be a checklist for all of Marvel’s event series.
Sadly, it’s not. However, Original Sin has the potential to get back to those classic roots. Please note that we’ve only really seen the zero and first issue, but there is just something from the simplicity of storytelling to the theme of the event that gives me hope. Let’s see if I can’t translate that hope to you, Dear Reader.
WARNING: I’m going to talk about Original Sin today, and if you’ve been avoiding promotional material and interviews to remain spoiler-free, you might want to skip this one, too. Everyone else, grab your copies and read along!
Happy Mother’s Day and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics, books and what have you we’ve been checking out lately. Joining us today is Allison Baker, co-publisher of Bandette, Edison Rex and all the other Monkeybrain Comics you can find on comiXology.
To see what Allison and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at all the comics and other stuff we’ve been checking out lately. Today our special guest is Chris Sims, senior writer for ComicsAlliance, blogger at Chris’s Invincible Super Blog and writer of comics like Dracula the Unconquered and Awesome Hospital.
To see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
When you stop and think who are Marvel’s top creators working today, your mind is invariably drawn to Brian Michael Bendis, as he’s become the chief writer for the company’s top titles over the past decade. But there’s someone else who’s played a big role, working side-by-side with Bendis and others to help create what Marvel is in the 21st century: artist Mike Deodato Jr.
The Brazilian-born artist came into modern memory as one of the primary artists on J. Michael Straczynski’s Amazing Spider-Man run, then jumped to revitalize Thunderbolts before teaming with Bendis on New Avengers. Over the years Deodato has worked with Bendis on some of the biggest books Marvel’s had to offer, be it New Avengers or Dark Avengers. And while writers seem to get the lion’s share of attention in the press, the story of Deodato’s career is something most people don’t know about.
Deodato first onto the comics scene in the mid-’90s with an Image-inspired style on DC’s Wonder Woman, and quickly became one of the workhorse artists of the era. But after being stretched to his limits both personally and professionally, Deodato withdrew from comics for a time to refocus himself and find a style better suited to how he saw comics. Drawing on inspirations from icons like Neal Adams and his own father, an accomplished cartoonist in Brazil, Deodato re-emerged in 2001 at Marvel and steadily rose up the ranks to become one of the company’s most trusted artists with a style far removed from everyone else working today.
I talked with Deodato from his home in Brazil about his career, his personal life, and his real real name.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday 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 this week, I’d immediately go for Flashpoint #1 (DC Comics, $3.99) – I am very, very unsure about the number of tie-ins DC are pushing out for the new crossover event, but with Geoff Johns in charge, I’m suspecting that the main book will be worth a look at least. I’d also grab the relaunched GI Joe #1 (IDW, $3.99), if only to follow up on the “Cobra Civil War” storyline that I admit has completely caught my attention unexpectedly. Curiosity would also get me to pick up both Moriarty #1 (Image, $2.99) and Total Recall #1 (Dynamite, $1.99), two new launches that will hopefully take familiar ideas and characters in directions I wouldn’t expect…
Red Giant Entertainment has recruited several top names in the comics industry to contribute to Japan Needs Heroes, a graphic novel that aims to raise money for the Japan Society, a non-profit organization that has created a special disaster relief fund to aid victims of the Tohoku earthquake in Japan.
A press release that went out today from comiXology, which will distribute the book digitally when it is released, listed Stan Lee (who will provide the forward), Peter David, Ron Marz, Mike Deodato, Larry Hama, Jimmy Palmiotti, Elaine Lee, Amanda Conner, Howard Mackie and Brandon Peterson as contributors. You can find a list of additional creators on the book’s Kickstarter page, which Red Giant is using to fund the printing.
“My wife is from Japan,” said Benny R. Powell, CEO of Red Giant, “and her family still lives there. We hear daily reports of the fear and uncertainty they face. I realized we had to do something. Comics have a power to reach massive audiences and that’s a powerful thing. As more and more creators join our cause I believe we can raise a lot of money to help. This transcends any genre, medium, or publisher. This need is bigger than anything our world has ever faced, and we truly believe that together we can make a difference.”
Sometimes covering comics-related news gets Harry Dean Stanton’s gut-wrenching cry from Red Dawn — “AVENGE MEEEEE!” — stuck in my head. Today’s one of those days.
First up: First Avenger: Captain America director Joe Johnston has been making the rounds in support of his new horror remake The Wolfman, and that means the nerd press has been wringing info out of him about his upcoming take on Marvel’s most patriotic hero. So far, we’ve learned that the film’s villain will be the Red Skull, that the previously promised World War II-era superteam the Invaders will in fact play a major role throughout the film’s entire second half (via), and that Cap will, uh, perform for the USO (via). Here’s hoping Bob Hope brings him out in a bathing suit and tells the troops “I just wanted you boys to see what we’re fighting for.”
Second, as you’ve seen on CBR, today Marvel announced the May launch of Secret Avengers, a new series written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Mike Deodato. Unlike the promo images unleashed by the company for Brian Michael Bendis & John Romita Jr.’s adjectiveless Avengers last week, this one is just a silhouette of a crouchy superhero — leading candidates around the Internerd appear to be Spider-Man, the Beast, Black Panther and Gorilla Man after a few months on Jenny Craig.