"Gotham" EP Hints at Azrael's Arrival, Mr. Freeze & Hugo Strange's Alliance
TV, Comic Books
Marvel, which previously uploaded episodes of the Japanese live-action Spider-Man series in 2009, has dusted off a couple of those gems in anticipation of The Amazing Spider-Man #12, which introduces Takuya Yamashiro and his giant battle robot Leopardon as part of the “Spider-Verse” crossover.
Produced by Toei Company, the Japanese Spider-Man aired for 41 episodes, from May 1978 to March 1979. Although licensed from Marvel, beyond the hero’s signature costume, the series bore little resemblance to the publisher’s comics.
The pieces, some of which can be found in the “Comic Bricks!” gallery, range from classics like Detective Comics #27 and Adventure Comics #445 to modern issues like The Amazing Spider-Man #700 and Invincible #63. Ewoks, from Marvel’s old Star Comics imprint, even makes an appearance.
Todd McFarlane’s original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #300 is expected to sell for more than $250,000 when it goes up for auction later this month.
The 1988 issue not only marked the 25th anniversary of the Marvel comics series but also the first full appearance of Venom, the popular villain created when Spider-Man’s black symbiote suit merged with Eddie Brock. The cover is signed by McFarlane three times on the front, and includes a handwritten note on the back from the artist (presumably to series editor Jim Salicrup).
Following news of an expanded partnership with Marvel for its Artist’s Edition line, IDW Publishing has announced it will release deluxe hardcover editions of the Amazing Spider-Man comic strip through its Library of American Comics imprint.
The strip debuted in January 1977 with a storyline by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. that pitted wall-crawler against Doctor Doom, and it’s continued daily ever since. For much of its run, the comic has been produced by Larry Lieber, who was joined in more recent years by Paul Ryan, Alex Saviuk and Joe Sinnott.
Although U.S. publishers occasionally experiment with weekly series — DC Comics, for examples, will soon have three on its plate, with Batman Eternal, New 52: Futures End and Earth 2: Worlds End — comic books in North America traditionally have been released on a monthly schedule. It’s been that way for decades.
However, today sees the conclusion of weekly miniseries that not only make you reconsider that tradition, but also leads you to wonder whether the story’s impact would have been lessened by monthly release.
Created by writers Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman and artist Afua Richardson, the five-issue Genius was published weekly throughout August by Top Cow Productions (the final two installments went on sale this morning). This break from the tradition allowed the story to build a momentum that would have been missed had it unfolded over the course of five months.
Publishing | Both Marvel and the manga publisher Yen Press are caught in the middle of the Amazon/Hachette dispute: Hachette is accusing Amazon of suppressing sales of Hachette titles in order to force the publisher to agree to its terms, according to The New York Times. Marvel uses Hachette as its distributor and Yen is a Hachette imprint; ICv2 found evidence that several of Amazon’s cited tactics, which include shipping delays and lower discounts, were being used on their titles. In fact, Amazon is offering no discount at all on Yen Press titles at the moment. [ICv2]
Comics sales | ICv2 runs the numbers on April comics sales, and The Amazing Spider-Man #1 is the spring phenom: After three months of no comic selling more than 100,000 copies, ASM #1 sold more than 500,000, thanks in no small part to its nearly 50 variant and retailer custom covers, generating a record $3.19 million. Two other comics, Superior Spider-Man #31 and Batman #30, also hit the six-figure mark. ICv2 has the numbers for the top 300 comics and graphic novels as well. [ICv2]
Marvel welcomed back Peter Parker this week in a relaunch of The Amazing Spider-Man that brought with it an avalanche of variant covers that undoubtedly triggered ’90s flashbacks with some readers (that may explain why you suddenly began worrying about Ross and Rachel and the whereabouts of your Rollerblades). But just how many covers are there?
The publisher hasn’t released an official figure, but best counts put the number close to 50, most of which are retailer custom covers purchased exclusively by stores and conventions. To get their hands on one of those exclusives, a retailer (or a convention, or a trade group like the Comic Book Retailers Alliance) had to order a minimum of 3,000 copies of The Amazing Spider-Man #1 for a standard edition; for a sketch version, the number dropped to 1,500 (both are the standard numbers for Marvel’s custom variants).
Passings | Isabelle “Barbara” Fiske Calhoun, who as Barbara Hall was an artist for Harvey Comics during World War II, died Monday at age 94. Calhoun and her first husband, Irving Fiske, left New York in 1946 and founded a commune in Vermont on land they bought with their wedding money. The commune became the Quarry Hill Creative Center and is “Vermont’s oldest alternative and artist’s retreat.” While the obituary mentions Calhoun’s comics career only in passing, Trina Robbins has more detail in Pretty in Ink: She says Calhoun drew the Black Cat, one of the first comic-book superheroines, and then was the artist for the Speed Comics feature, Girl Commandos, an all-woman team of Nazi fighters led by Pat Parker, War Nurse. “She left comics when her husband-to-be persuaded her to give up cartooning and become an oil painter, a gain for the world of fine art but a loss for comics,” Robbins writes. [Burlington Free Press]
In conjunction with the return of Peter Parker next Wednesday in the relaunched Amazing Spider-Man #1, respected Toronto comic store The Beguiling will auction off copies of the hero’s first two appearances: 1963’s Amazing Fantasy #15 and The Amazing Spider-Man #1.
“These two books are what you might call ‘Holy Grail’ books for comic book collectors,” The Beguiling owner Peter Birkemoe said in a statement. “They’re two of the most valuable and sought-after issues from the Silver Age of comics, and we’ve had tons of interest already from fans looking to add them to their collections.”
Marvel and Wizard World have debuted John Tyler Christopher‘s exclusive variant cover for The Amazing Spider-Man #1, available for free to VIP attendees of the May 30-June Wizard World Atlanta.
Limited to 3,000 copies, the color version will be provided free at registration to those with VIP packages. As at previous shows, the black-and-white sketch variant will presumably be available for purchase at the Wizard World Store on the exhibition floor.
Let’s get this one right out of the way: it’s going to cost you about 12 whole dollars to get the big finale to the Octo-Spidey era and the beginning of the return of Peter Parker. That’s some serious cash to spend, and it’s the price point that really takes me out of the story and into the “Well, isn’t this a fine marketing ploy!” territory.
Let’s face it, we all knew Peter was coming back; this isn’t the Ultimate Universe, after all, and there’s a movie career to think of. At the same time … maybe if it had just been regularly priced issues? Or if they’d been at annual prices? Or heck, just one of them at the big $5.99 bucks and the next issue back down to normal, I don’t know.
Is price how we demarcate importance in comics? Or is it the #1 issue? Or the anniversary issue? The amount of variant covers to be had? Could it even be the (gasp) the story inside?? Let’s take a look at April and see what’s going to be important in the months ahead for Marvel (or at least make our best guesses).
Following Sunday’s big announcement that Peter Parker will return in April in a relaunched Amazing Spider-Man series — well, it was spoiled earlier in the week by a leak — Marvel unveiled a Marcos Martin variant cover for the first issue that’s simply breathtaking.
Of course, the Eisner Award-winning artist is no stranger to Peter Parker, having drawn about a dozen issues of The Amazing Spider-Man between 2008 and 2011. See the full cover below.
Dan Slott, who’s collaborating with Humberto Ramos on the new series, spoke with CBR News this morning about The Amazing Spider-Man.
The illusion of change is the usual approach to mainstream superhero comics. It offers the excitement of change without losing the successful elements to actual change. It’s cynical but it’s smart from a corporate standpoint. Every once in a while, however, actual change happens. Or maybe change is just talked about. Some like it, some don’t like it. And then there are the people that really, really don’t like it, and head down to their local torch-and-pitchfork store.
Such is where we find ourselves in the ongoing discussion of The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield’s hypothetical consideration of making Peter Parker bisexual.
But why did Garfield’s idea trigger such heated responses? I’m not talking about the calm “Oh, I don’t know, I’m not crazy about that idea, but rather the aggressive, threatening and hateful reactions that seem to come from a very dark place.
Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee has responded to actor Andrew Garfield’s recent what-if scenario in which Peter Parker could be gay or bisexual, joking, “I figure one sex is enough for anybody.”
Appearing over the weekend at Fandomfest in Louisville, Kentucky, the 90-year-old comics legend appeared caught off-guard by a question from the audience about Garfield’s “request to make Spider-Man bisexual and Mary Jane male.” Lee initially offered a glowing assessment of the actor’s performance in The Amazing Spider-Man, before the question was explained to him.
“He’s becoming bisexual?” Lee exclaimed in disbelief, eliciting roars of laughter from the audience. “Who have you been talking to? Seriously, I don’t know anything about that. And if it’s true, I’m going to make a couple of phone calls. I figure one sex is enough for anybody.”
Garfield, who’s filming The Amazing Spider-Man 2, sparked a good deal of discussion among comics fans when he related a conversation with a producer in which he said, “I was kind of joking, but kind of not joking about MJ. And I was like, ‘What if MJ is a dude?’ Why can’t we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality? It’s hardly even groundbreaking! … So why can’t he be gay? Why can’t he be into boys?”
If you don’t hear about the super-secret screening at Comic-Con International of a clip from director Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, you’re certainly not the only one. Fear not, though, as talk-show host Conan O’Brien has you covered.
“They showed it, and it was very private, very secret, and they showed it — fans lost their minds,” he said on last night’s episode of Conan. “They’re not going to show it again. We actually get a hold of the clip. Yes, you’re welcome! […] We got a hold of it, and we’re risking a lot of legal trouble here, but we’re just gonna go for it.”