Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at all the comics and other stuff we’ve been reading lately. Our special guests today are Brendan Tobin and Pedro Delgado, who run the March MODOK Madness site. And with this being March, the madness is in full swing, so head over there to check out a lot of fun art featuring everyone’s favorite big-headed villain.
To see what Brendan, Pedro and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
I mentioned a few days ago that March MODOK Madness was kicking off. And while most of their contributions are artistic renderings of Stan and Jack’s big-headed boy, this year they started strong with a cosplay contribution from Genevieve Tsai. That’s her boyfriend dressed up in a homemade MODOK costume, and iGenevieve wearing a MODAM costume. Because even big-headed evil scientists need love.
Guess what time it is — March MODOK Madness time! Or at least it will be in a few days. Pedro Delgado and Brendan Tobin are once again hosting artwork featuring Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s big-headed creation all throughout the month of March, so go check out their blog to see them starting later this week or to learn how to submit your own.
Nick Abadzis might be best known for his creator-owned work such as Laika, but beneath that independent exterior lies the beating heart of a Marvel fanboy. In addition to work on Marvel’s UK imprint in the 1990s and more recently on X-Men: To Serve & Protect, he’s wrapping up a cover for an upcoming special by Classic Marvel Figurine Collection featuring comics’ biggest brain, MODOK. Check it out:
Man, oh, man.
So, yeah, it looks like Fantastic Four, one of the most important comics to come from the House of Ideas, will return for its 600th issue. A momentous occasion to be sure, as a little less than a year seems to be about enough time for people to understand Johnny Storm’s place on the team, what makes the Fantastic Four different without one of its founding members and, hopefully, we’ll all appreciate him a little more now that he’s … well, on the cover. Gotta wait for the issue to be super-sure, but let’s give the boys in the Bullpen the benefit of the doubt and say that the Human Torch is back to stay.
Technically, he’s been gone for nine months, an auspicious amount of time as the rest of his team has somewhat given birth to an absolutely new idea: the Future Foundation. A sort of in-house Illuminati, if you will; the same old adventuring team paired off with its greatest villains, looking to safeguard all their interests at once. The white-and-black uniforms don’t really do that idea justice, do they? That’s a lot of gray area to be working with. And in the end, it was all masterminded by a little girl named Valeria.
The Richards’ kids have their own plot, their own motivations and their own secrets to keep. These two supporting characters have taken a lot of the center stage, both in Future Foundation and even in Fear Itself (seriously, go read Book Five and tell me these kids don’t deserve their own title). Franklin’s been around for years, an interesting new generation that actually was born and grew into an independent character as we read. He’s like the child actor who grows up and gets his own prime-time TV show.
Tell me that’s not cool. Tell me that seeing background or supporting characters step into the foreground and, sometimes, even get their own books is not a masterful trick of storytelling. Writer Jonathan Hickman wasn’t telling the story of the Death of Johnny Storm, he was telling us of the Rise of Franklin and Valeria. And now when November hits, Future Foundation stories will have gotten their foundation, so to speak, and support themselves as their own title while the newly reformed FF can go have a different style of adventure.
More about character balance, the size of your supporting cast and M.O.D.O.K. fighting Nazis after the break …
Remember all the hubbub earlier this year around everyone’s Zodiac sign changing when really nobody’s Zodiac sign changed? There was widespread panic about it for a couple of days before everything was okay again, and during the mass confusion I thought about starting an initiative to have MODOK declared my own personal Zodiac sign. But then everything returned to normal, and I guess I missed my window.
So, like Ophiuchus, M.O.D.O.K. may have missed his chance to have his own day-by-day calendar, but at least he still has March. Once again the folks over at the March MODOK Madness blog are posting all sorts of artwork honoring everyone’s favorite giant head. In addition, MightyFine T-shirts, who do the build-your-own Scott Pilgrim shirts, have added MODOK to their mix. Currently they offer shirts featuring MODOk dressed as Captain America, Thor and Hulk (as well as in original MODOK goodness), and they’re also asking fans to tell them what other Marvel characters he should dress as. So head over to either site and share in the MODOK love.
MightyFine T-shirts, makers of the Squirrel Girl and Rainbow Galactus T-shirts, among others, have updated their MyTee application that lets you build your own T-shirts. First up is a do-it-yourself Scott Pilgrim shirt in the style of a two-player fighting game that allows you to pick what characters you want to match up — Scott vs. Nega Scott, Ramona vs. Roxy, Knives vs. Gideon or whoever you’d like to see brawl for it all.
In addition, MODOK fans should check out the site as well … right now you can design your own MODOK shirt, which includes four different designs, but per MightyFine they’ll be launching something called a “MODOK maker” in full next month. Can’t wait.
After being defeated in last year’s World War Hulks storyline, the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, aka M.O.D.O.K., apparently decided it was time for a makeover. Above is a rough sketch of the new design for the character, compliments of artist Gabriel Hardman.
“It’s a new age, and we need a new M.O.D.O.K. who works in new ways,” writer Jeff Parker told Marvel.com. “This one will get out and interact in a way the previous model didn’t. And he’s a bit of a charmer.”
Hardman went into detail on his design process for the lovable killing machine.
“Jeff had some specifics he wanted to integrate, specifically the legs and bald head. My design process was to go back through the previous iterations of M.O.D.O.K.’s look to get a feel for the choices other artists had made over the years. But I mainly focused on his early appearances. Anytime I design something for Marvel, I want it to feel like it could fit into the world Jack Kirby designed, even if it has more contemporary industrial design elements,” Hardman said.
And if the spider legs aren’t working for you, never fear — Parker stated on Twitter that M.O.D.O.K. would have several different modes. “That’s only one of MODOK’s modes, @NinjaCyborg -hope you like the others more,” he said.
The new M.O.D.O.K. debuts in Hulk #29, on sale Feb. 2.
March MODOK Madness is almost done for another year, as the end of March approaches and April brings April Avengers Anxiety or April Aunt May Awesomeness or … well, whatever April brings.
Anyway, artist J. Bone sent in a recent contribution to the MMM folks, featuring everyone’s favorite villain in a more awkward stage of his life — “as a surly, lonely teen (he eats lunch alone),” Bone writes. Poor MODOK.
March winds bring … MODOK! Yes, with March almost here, it means it’s also almost time for March MODOK Madness! The MMM blog is about to unleash everyone’s favorite giant-headed bad guy with a month of MODOK artwork. Head over there to check out last year’s pieces, as well as to find out how you can contribute.
You might remember that Ryan Dunlavey did a humorous M.O.D.O.K. story last summer for Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited that tied into the events of Dark Reign. Well, he has another M.O.D.O.K. story coming out this week on the site, with this one playing off of the “Fall of the Hulks” storyline. It’ll be up on MDCU on Jan. 6.
Courtesy of Marvel Comics, you can find an exclusive preview of the story after the jump.
Fall of the Hulks: M.O.D.O.K. #1
On-Sale: January 6, 2009
About: M.O.D.O.K. has finally stepped out of the shadows of his hometown bullies and joined the ranks of the Intelligencia alongside fellow “big brain” villains like the Leader, the Mad Thinker, and Red Ghost! But can such a choice assemblage of evil nerds ever truly be free of lame-brain jocks? Find out as the Intelligencia comes face to face with… the Insmelligencia!
Jordan White (Editor)
Ryan Dunlavey (Writer, Artist, Inker, Colorist, Letterer)
Colleen Coover shares a recent commission that’s the spiritual brethren to a Jim Rugg piece from last month. Colleen’s features one of the greatest tag teams in comic-dom, Captain America and the Falcon, taking on MODOK in a falls count anywhere match. Place your bets …
Artist Jim Rugg shares this fun commission he recently did of the classic Marvel Comics villain M.O.D.O.K. taking on several masked luchadores. I’m not sure how effective that chair shot is going to be …
But it’s still early yet.