REVIEW: "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is a Lot of Fun, a Little Flawed, and Whedon All the Way
Comic Books, Film
The wishes of countless nostalgic comic book and animation fans appear to have been answered, because they can now purchase Underoos in adult sizes.
Produced by Fruit of the Loom beginning in 1978, the line of underwear — “Underwear That’s Fun to Wear!” — allowed children to wear T-shirts and underpants that mimicked the costumes of their favorite comic book, cartoon and movie characters, including Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, C-3PO and Archie and Veronica.
Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn! Today’s collection comes from Dan O’Rourke, who teaches courses like “American Comics,” thus giving him a reason to decorate his office with the likes of Superman, Captain America and more.
If you’d like to see your collection featured here on ROBOT 6, you can find instructions on how to do so at the end of this post.
And now here’s Dan …
Judge Dredd has crossed paths with Batman, Predator, the Xenomorph, Lobo and even Mars Attacks!, yet somehow Mega-City One’s finest has never run into the Man of Steel. But while Andy Diggle admits he doesn’t envision that changing anytime soon, the writer has an idea that may have fans pining for the heyday of the intercompany crossover.
“An object falls from space and crashes towards Mega-City One. The anti-missile lasers can’t seem to vaporize the thing, and it hits the ground and demolishes a fortunately uninhabited area of ground,” Diggle tells CBR News in an interview about the release of Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens: Incubus and Other Stories. “Turn the page. Cue close-up of tech Judges in radiation gear looking down into this crater. Superman is lying at the bottom of it. He’s basically been blasted into a parallel dimension by a device created by Lex Luthor, which has partly depowered Superman.
“He’s not as super as he used to be, partly also because of all the pollution in the atmosphere of Dredd’s world. It’s called the death belt, this layer of pollution and junk thrown up in the upper atmosphere by nuclear war. It cuts out the sun’s rays, which depower Superman a bit. Dredd is not going to like having an illegal alien running around in his city. Superman is not going to be very keen on this fascist version of justice. It’s no longer truth, justice and the American way, because it’s no longer America: It’s Mega-City One, creep!”
And that’s only the beginning, he assures. Although he has the story plotted out, it seems unlikely DC Comics will be in crossover mode in the near future. But if that changes? Diggle would “absolutely” be up for it.
(Commissioned Dredd art by Kevin Levell)
Comics | Check your longboxes, folks: Copies of Marvel’s Sunfire & Big Hero 6 #1, from 1998, with a CGC grade of 9.8 are selling for $450 and up ahead of the premiere of the Disney animated film, and even non-graded copies are good for $25 or more. [ICv2]
Creators | Captain Marvel writer Kelly Sue DeConnick talks about the character, and her reaction to the newly announced Marvel film: “I feel so proud of her, like Carol is this person who lives in my head, and ‘look what you did, girl!’ It feels like a friend just got a promotion.” [Speakeasy]
Publishing | Chris Butcher announced that, after three years as marketing director, he’s left UDON Entertainment to focus more fully on his work for the Toronto store The Beguiling (where he’s manager) and the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (where he’s festival director). [Comics212]
Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, where we take you into the home of one unsuspecting fan. Actually they send us these pics; the other way would likely result in an arrest.
Anywho, today’s shelves come from Steve M., who shows us his comics, statues and more. “I bought a house and the girlfriend allowed me to take one of the rooms,” Steve told ROBOT 6. “I tried to make the standout Superman in the room, but I collect a lot of other DC and spawn stuff. It’s still an ongoing process, but I think it’s coming along all right.”
Check it out below.
Even if you didn’t make it to New York Comic Con, you can still view the pristine copy of Action Comics #1 that fetched a record $3.2 million at auction — every single page of it.
Certified Guaranty Company, which graded the copy 9.0, has a digital version of the entire issue, which contained not only the landmark 13-page story by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster that introduced Superman, but also 10 other tales. The debuts of Zatara and Tex Thompson have been overshadowed by the Man of Steel, and the rest of the contents — “Chuck Dawson,” “Sticky-Mitt Stimpson,” etc. — are now little more than footnotes, but they’re still of historical interest.
Also, if you want a general idea of what a 76-year-old comic worth $3.2 million actually looks like … let’s face it, this is probably your only chance. The viewer on the CGC website is actually pretty decent, too, allowing you to zoom in to read the text and study the art.
Although the first issues of Who’s Who and Crisis \on Infinite Earths got a headstart in the closing months of 1984, January 1985 kicked off DC Comics’ 50th anniversary in earnest. No doubt real life — i.e., the DC offices’ upcoming westward move — is preventing the publisher from starting the 80th anniversary celebrations this January, and the solicitations certainly don’t have much in the way of commemoration.
(To be sure, the month’s variant-cover scheme involves the 75th anniversary of The Flash, which Robot 6 contributor J. Caleb Mozzocco has already covered extensively on his own blog.)
Therefore, while the real fireworks will probably have to wait another couple of months, the January solicitation tease the return of Robin, changes in the Super-status quo, and other various and sundry plot churning.
One thing that jumps out at me from these solicits has to do with numbering. Now, we all love numbering — big versus small, gimmicks versus straightforward integer progression — but the January books are soliciting the 38th issues of the remaining original New 52 titles. That puts the 50th issues of those series on track for January 2016; or, more likely, February 2016, if next September is another “take a break for a set of specials” month. If I were DC and wanted to relaunch my various titles, and I were a year away from a set of 50th issues, I’d probably wait a year.
French manufacturer Orangina Schweppes has partnered with DC Entertainment to produce special cans for its Oasis fruit-drink brand featuring some of the publisher’s most iconic superheroes.
According to The Ephemerist, the promotion is tied to the 75th anniversary of Batman, here portrayed by Mangue Debol. He’s joined by Ramon Tafraise as The Flash, Fambougeoise as Wonder Woman and Orange Presslé as Superman. It’s worth noting that all four heroes seem to be wearing a variation of their New 52 costumes, which don’t often appear in licensing efforts.
You can see closeups at Geek Art.
A bronze statue honoring 5-year-old abuse victim Jeffrey Baldwin, depicted in his Superman costume, was unveiled Saturday at Greenwood Park in Toronto.
The story of the Toronto boy, who died in 2002 of starvation and septic shock after years of abuse by his grandparent guardians, received renewed attention in Canada last fall with a coroner’s inquest, during which Jeffrey’s father testified to his love of Superman. “He wanted to fly,” Richard Baldwin recalled. “He tried jumping off the chair. We had to make him stop. He dressed up [as Superman] for Halloween one year. He was so excited. I have that picture at home hanging on my wall. He was our little man of steel.”
Jae Lee’s work on Superman/Batman has simultaneously been among the most unique and divisive of DC Comics’ New 52. After years working on Marvel’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, Lee’s return to superhero work has found a balance between iconic and creepy; while his style might seem tailor-made for the likes of Batman and Catwoman, his depiction of Superman has been both haunting and boyish in all the various main- and alternate-universe incarnations.
And now, DC is using those designs as the basis for a line of collectible figures.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
Ever since its return under the Vertigo banner, Astro City (from Kurt Busiek, Brent Eric Anderson, and company) has been pretty great on a consistent basis. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always been a highlight of my pull list; but the current run has really been something special. Last month’s issue #15 — concluding the story of a sweet little old robotics genius and the supervillain who sought to ruin her — was particularly heartwarming. (What’s that? Something in my eye? No, I’m just tired….)
Then, however, I read this week’s issue #16. Readers looking for familiar pastiches will be rewarded immediately, since the broad strokes of the story are deliberately reminiscent of Silver Age Superboy and Lex Luthor. (The energy-headed hero Starbright also looks a bit like Firestorm, but that’s more incidental.) It’s a tale of awkward friendship, super-powered rivalry, and an act of simple kindness which literally transforms a life. As Busiek reveals on the letters page, the middle part of the story comes from his unpublished eight-page script for an installment of the backup feature “Superman: The In-Between Years.” In hindsight it’s easy to see how that script would have worked as a look into the developing dynamics between the Collegian of Steel and his former friend — but as usual, Astro City has taken those elements in undreamt-of directions.
Last week I laid out a lot of numbers and background on the distribution of character-oriented franchises in the New 52. (Along the way I got confused about the New 52 version of G.I. Combat; it was canceled after Issue 7, but its zero issue brought its total to eight.)
Accordingly, this week discusses whether the New 52 needs to get back up to its eponymous number of titles, or whether a smaller stable of ongoing series is a more sustainable environment. We’ll get into some other concerns as well, but the overarching question — as DC transforms its biggest franchise, the Bat-books — involves how the publisher chooses to allocate its resources.
(Because I forgot to do it directly last week, I want to acknowledge my debt to Dave Carter, who started me thinking about all this when he charted New 52 longevity in January and who, providentially, has just started listing DC rosters of Augusts past.)
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In the aftermath of the controversy about a pair of sexist shirts licensed by DC Comics, celebrated artist Bill Sienkiewicz has created a his own revised design for the “Superman Does It Again” tee.
His version includes a second image, on the back of the shirt, with the Man of Steel’s “Score!” answered with Wonder Woman’s “Fail!!” — and an Amazonian fist to the Kryptonian’s jaw. “Maybe a bit too on the nose,” the New Mutants and Elektra: Assassin artist wrote on his Facebook page, “but there you go …”
Note: This week’s post, and probably next week’s, get pretty number-heavy. Also, this week’s post contains a lot of history and background data. I have tried to make it all entertaining, but consider yourselves warned. Either way, there’s still the Futures Index.
Starting this week, the Batman line gets a makeover. Gotham Academy, from writers Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher and artist Karl Kerschl, is a delightfully spry addition to the Bat-landscape. Amid a franchise dominated (not unreasonably) by stylized, unflinching urban avenging, GA’s unique perspective is both welcome and necessary. Waiting in the wings are new Batgirl and Catwoman creative teams, as well as new titles Arkham Manor and Gotham After Midnight. (The three new books apparently take the places of Batman: The Dark Knight, Batwing and Birds of Prey.)
All look promising, and each offers a new look at a seldom-seen aspect of the Batman mythology. Moreover, it’s vitally important for DC to reach out to a diverse audience, particularly one that may have felt underappreciated over the past few years.
However, all this innovation comes at a time when the in-name-only New 52 has been stuck for a while at around 40-odd series. Only 21 of the original 52 ongoings are still being published, although books like Teen Titans, Suicide Squad and Deathstroke have been relaunched with new volumes. Similarly, we might view Grayson and Justice League United as continuations of Nightwing and the New-52 version of Justice League of America.
Two licensed T-shirts featuring DC Comics’ Trinity have sparked accusations of sexism among online fans.
The first shirt, as reported at DC Women Kicking Ass and spotted by CBR contributor Tamara Brooks this past weekend at Long Beach Comic Con, depicts Superman and Wonder Woman in a passionate embrace with the caption, “Score! Superman Does It Again!” As takedowns of that shirt began to circulate on social media, another one, bearing the phrase “I’m Training to Be Batman’s Wife,” was brought into the discussion.
Both shirts present undeniably sexist messages: The former positions the most prominent female superhero as a prize to be won, stripping away the character’s 75 years of nuance and feminist themes. The latter would be perfectly acceptable if it had only stopped before that final word; the assumption that the goal of any woman’s training would be to become someone’s wife is antiquated at best.