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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Welcome to Store Tour, ROBOT 6’s weekly exploration of comics shops, and the people who run them. Each Sunday we feature a different store, and also get to know the person behind the register.
This week’s store is Myths, Legends & Heroes, located at 240 Montreal Road in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. We spoke with owner and store manager Rob Zedic.
Last week, we pointed out that Wes Craig’s variant cover for The Flash #44, celebrating the 75th anniversary of Green Lantern, featured one Galactus-sized cameo. Marvel has now returned the favor with an even subtler guest appearance on one of its own front splahses.
Alex Ross’ cover for Secret Wars #8 is a gorgeous work of art, with Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Doom clashing in the middle as reality rips and explodes around them. You can see the origin of the Hulk; the death of Elektra; the birth of Franklin Richards; and even a ride with the Rawhide Kid, Kid Colt, and, oh, let’s say the Dakota Kid. Down in the bottom left corner of the cover is, of course, Spider-Man. But this isn’t a depiction of just any old “Spider-Man on a radio tower” scene, and he’s actually not alone in that image.
For its latest Comic-Con International exclusive, Gentle Giant imagined what it might’ve been like had Deadpool been around in 1984 for Marvel’s original Secret Wars. And then it thought even bigger.
The new addition to the company’s line of retro-style Secret Wars jumbo figures, the wise-crackin’ Merc With a Mouth stands 12 inches tall. Made from vinyl and ABS plastic, the figure features five points of articulation — hey, it’s based on the old Mattel seris — and comes equipped with a gun.
Welcome to Store Tour, ROBOT 6’s weekly exploration of comics shops, and the people who run them; think of it as the retailer version of Shelf Porn. Each Sunday we feature a different store, and also get to know the person behind the register.
This week’s store is Comic Depot, located at 514 Broadway in Saratoga Springs, New York. We spoke with owner Darren Carrara.
Hot Wheels, whose relationship with Marvel dates back to 1979, is teaming with the publisher for a Comic-Con International-exclusive Secret Wars Character Car 3-Pack.
Available for preorder at MattyCollector.com, it features die-cast cars representing Miles Morales, Superior Iron Man and Sam Wilson’s Captain America, each with is own window-box display with custom art by Jim Cheung, plus a book-style slipcase.
Sorry for the absence, but I’ve been doing a lot of traveling, in and out of the country this month, which has taught me a valuable lesson: the English language makes no sense.
English is complicated, difficult to learn for non-native speakers (and heck, even some native speakers!); it’s a mishmash of other languages just kind of thrown in a blender with a hope for the best. It’s amazing it’s gotten us so far, but it’s also easy to see why communication gets so tangled up between people when the words we use can be so imperfect.
Take, for example, that English doesn’t have a standard plural for “you.” In the United States, we have regional forms of a plural “you,” but there’s not a standard one taught that I know of. That makes direct speech all sound personal, when the speaker might be generalizing more to a group rather than than the person sitting down to read this right now (hi, Mom). I can say something like “You read comics” and, for the most part, be correct; if you’re visiting this site, you probably read comics in one form or another. But if I say “You also watch Game of Thrones,” that’s a lot more hit-and-miss.
Well, here we go. Three years in the making, two of Marvel’s most prestigious titles dedicated entirely to its development, a complex mythology created practically out of whole cloth by Jonathan Hickman involving a cast of thousands, all pursuing the end of everything.
I’m tired just typing about it; I can’t imagine the dedication and passion it took to actually produce it month after month. But here we are, at the result of all that hard work and creativity: Secret Wars. “Everything dies” has to be one of the most depressing taglines ever for a comic book story, but this is it. Everything is dying, and there’s nothing that’s going to stop it.
That’s not true. We all know that there’s going to be a Battleworld after this, and then Free Comic Book Day gave us a teaser for the All-New Avengers debuting in the wake of the immense summer event, so we know that not “everything’ dies,” just the world as we know it. Will we feel fine?
I haven’t done one of these in a while, because if you look too long into the solicitations, they start to stare back.
With all the access we have to spoilers, reviews, previews and other online chatter, it can be difficult to enjoy what’s in front of you when you’re already thinking about what’s to come three months from now, let alone when the next event is going to hit. But that next event is coming, along with a enormous overhaul of the Marvel line, so let’s hop in the time machine of this year’s June solicitations and try to find a road map for the end of the world.
First off, 33 series will reach their “616 finales” as a result of Secret Wars, with some returning in one form or another. The list is extensive, with some titles cleared away for redundancy after two Marvel NOW launches, probably a few canceled for poor sales (I’m looking at you, Avengers World), and then you see this: The Amazing Spider-Man. But let’s think of this another way, as in the long, long ago of the 1990s, Marvel canceled every one of its bestselling X-Men titles. The whole line was scrapped … and retitled under “Age of Apocalypse.” Yeah, there was no Uncanny X-Men or Adjectiveless X-Men anywhere, but we did have Amazing X-Men and Astonishing X-Men, so it was a name and a theme change for the larger event. So while the announcement might sound the air-raid sirens that something super-drastic has happened, it probably hasn’t. Post-Secret Wars, we’ll probably have a new Spider-Man book with a new #1 on the cover (ugh) and a new creative direction.
One of the neat things about this upcoming Secret Wars mega-super-hyper-combo event is that a lot of cool projects are coming out of the woodwork — not just to support the unfolding crash of realities, but to sneak in some books that make entirely too much sense. While Battleworld rages on, it would be ridiculous not to have a cadre of teen heroes roaming the field and making their way in the mighty Marvel manner. Since the Secret Wars themselves are happening to create a universal order on a massive scale and enforcing a set universe out of countless others, it makes sense that someone (or someones) are going to want to rebel against that universal order. Thus, the Runaways.
Smashing a guitar on stage is cool, or at least was cool when Pete Townshend of the Who popularized the act in the mid-1960s. The Who breaking their instruments in one form or another was the No. 1 spot on VH1’s 100 Greatest Rock & Roll Moments on TV and among the Top 50 of Rolling Stone‘s “50 Moments That Changed Rock and Roll.”
But what does it really mean? Townshend admitted it started as an accident that then became sort of performance art. When you think of a band smashing their instruments these days, it seems like this big rebellious expression. It’s a statement that only lasts up to a certain point. Bands that are just starting out can’t really afford to break their stuff; it’s all they have. Big-name bands, however, can go hog wild and break everything, knowing full well that their manager or their label is going to produce new instruments at the end of the show.
Knowing that, the act loses meaning and seems wasteful. Matthew Bellamy of Muse holds the Guinness World Record at breaking the most guitars in one tour, with 140, and that just sounds expensive and cruel.
That said, I’m not sure whether Brian Michael Bendis is Pete Townshend or Matthew Bellamy.
WARNING: There’ some mention of this week’s issue of Uncanny X-Men, so grab your copies of Issue 30 and read along!
Was anyone else expecting something bigger? When Tuesday came around and the big announcement from Marvel was finally revealed, we all learned that … well, Secret Wars is going to happen and the multiverse is going to do battle on a Battleworld to see what reality makes it out alive. When I type that out, it sounds crazy-exciting, but when it’s revealed as this big surprise, it falls a little flat.
We’ve been prepping for this series of events since Marvel NOW!, when Jonathan Hickman took over the Avengers books and put us on a very wordy adventure toward universes colliding into one another. Longtime readers sort of just assumed that was the direction they were going to go, whether through reading the books with a keen eye — Oh, hey! That’s why they called Hickman’s run “Avengers World”! I just got that! — or other announcements made before Tuesday.
I’m certainly not trying to say it wasn’t a big announcement; multiversal collision and universe dominance is kind of the biggest concept you can get until you start pitting multiverses against multiverses, and that won’t happen, no matter how much we might want to see Daredevils fight Batmen. It’s just that the announcement isn’t a surprise. It makes too much sense, what with all the radical continuity changes of late. The Ultimate Universe has gotten pretty far off course, and it deserves to go live on a farm somewhere and be happy. There are already multiversal characters appearing throughout the Marvel Universe, so the idea that we might wrap all of this up on a Battleworld is a cool direction to be heading in.
But this is just the facts of the announcement. We haven’t even gotten into the angry ranting and the wild conjecture! Join me, won’t you?
Following Marvel’s Secret Wars press conference on Tuesday, fans were left to speculate what a combined Marvel Universe and Ultimate Universe might look like. We already have some pretty intriguing ideas, courtesy of an enterprising cartoonist named Calvin.
Getting the jump on the official announcement, he’s reimagined the Marvel Universe in a series of of illustrations called Supreme Marvel. Described as his “own little reboot” of Marvel, Calvin comes to this with a mission in mind: “One of the main driving points of this project was to introduce more diversity in the Marvel Universe, as well as highlight existing diverse characters!”
Writer Brian Michael Bendis appeared last night on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, where he talked about Marvel’s big Secret Wars announcement, how he stumbled into a job at a comic store, and consulting with Sony Pictures on The Amazing Spider-Man.
But first and foremost, he was there to promote the upcoming premiere ofPowers , the long-developing adaptation of the comic he created with Michael Avon Oeming (note how Bendis politely corrects Meyers, ensuring his collaborator receives proper credit).
(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.