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How much does Thor’s hammer weigh? Neil deGrasse Tyson knows

Astrophysicist, and science superstar, Neil deGrasse Tyson isn’t one to rest on his comic-book laurels. After helping Superman to locate his homeworld of Krypton in Action Comics #14, the director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium has moved on to a weightier question: Just how heavy is Thor’s hammer?

Tyson raised the subject this week on Twitter, writing, “If Thor’s hammer is made of neutron-star matter, implied by legend, then it weighs as much as a herd of 300-billion elephants.” Alas, he didn’t show his work, leaving Slate.com to break down the math (video below), multiplying maximum elephant weight by 300 billion.

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Cute but deadly: Jonathan Edwards’ abstract Marvel heroes


I’ve loved Jonathan Edwards‘ work since he was drawing dandies in powdered wigs for Deadline. I was even known to occasionally buy the NME just for his POP! A Complete History strips. Last week he posted these images to his blog: abstracted versions of some of Kirby and Ditko’s classic character designs for Marvel superheroes. Lovely stuff, and they speak volumes to just how durable those designs are, remaining recognizable even when rendered in a minimum of lines and blocks of color.

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What Are You Reading? with James Asmus

Revival

Welcome to What Are You Reading? Today’s special guest is writer and comedian James Asmus, who you know from Gambit, Thief of Thieves and the just-released The End Times of Bram & Ben.

To see what James and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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Food or Comics? | Steak or Star Wars

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop 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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Star Wars #1

Chris Arrant

If I had $15 (big “if” this week!), I’d take a break from the struggles of adult life and find sanctuary in the pages of high mythology thanks to Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s Thor: God of Thunder #4 (Marvel, $3.99). Aaron and Ribic have really build up an excellent foil for Thor in the God-Killer, and also snuck in the idea of Young Thor and Old Thor – something I’d love to see expounded upon in their own series or one-shot (hint-hint). Second up would be the startling potent promise of Star Wars #1 (Dark Horse, $2.99). I never thought I’d see Brian Wood do a Star Wars comic, but I’m so glad he is – and seemingly doing it on his own terms. Thinking of him writing Princess Leia, and the potential there specifically has been rolling around in my brain for weeks. Third, I’d get two promising artist-centric series (at least for me) in B.P.R.D.: Hell On Earth — Abyss Time #1 (Dark Horse, $3.50) and TMNT: Secret of the Foot Clan #1 (IDW, $3.99). James Harren and Mateus Santolouco, respectively, are two artists I’ve been keen on for the past year and both of these books look like potential breakouts to a bigger stage. On the TMNT side, I’ve always thought Shredder and the Foot Clan to be one of the most overlooked great villains in comics, so I’m glad to see some focus on that and some potential answers.

If I had $30, I’d continue my super(comic)market sweep with Womanthology: Space #4 (IDW, $3.99). This series has two things I love: new, young creators and a space theme. I’ve been on a space opera/sci-fi kick for a while now thanks to Saga and re-reading some Heinlein, so this anthology series comes to me most fortuitously. Next up would be Legend of Luther Strode #2 (Image, $3.50). Luther Strode is a real down-and-out kind of hero, like some sort of action-based Charlie Brown. Tradd Moore’s artwork really makes this sing, too. Finally, I’d get two Marvel books with Secret Avengers #36 (Marvel, $3.99) and Wolverine and the X-Men #23 (Marvel, $3.99). I’m gritting my teeth on the latter – not because it’s bad, but because it isn’t as good for me as the previous arcs. For Secret Avengers, I feel Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera’s run on this has been sadly overlooked in the wave of Marvel NOW books, but this mega-arc about the Descendents and now Black-Ant has been great. I’d love to see Black-Ant as a permanent part of the Marvel U.

If I could splurge, I’d throw practicality out the door and shell out big bucks for the Black Incal deluxe hardcover (Humanoids, $79.95). There’s few times I’d spend nearly 80 bucks on a comic, but this classic story by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius is one of those once-in-a-blue-moon kind of things. This has been reprinted numerous times (I have an older one), but I’m re-buying the story here for the deluxe treatment this volume has with its large size.

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Food or Comics? | Black beans or Black Beetle

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop 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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Black Beetle: Night Shift

Graeme McMillan

It’s beginning to look a lot like the final Wednesday before Christmas (and the final full one of the year), so with my $15, I’d get some gifts for myself that I know I’ll enjoy: the second issue of Chris Roberson (and now, Dennis Calero)’s Masks (Dynamite, $3.99), the third issue of Brandon Graham’s Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity (Image, $2.99) and Francesco Francavilla’s The Black Beetle: Night Shift #0 (Dark Horse, $2.99). Also, I suspect that I’ll be unable to resist the first part of Vertigo’s adaptation of Django Unchained (DC/Vertigo, $3.99), too.

If I had $30, I’d add another pile of favorites to that list: Judge Dredd #2 (IDW, $3.99), the by-now-amazingly-late-but-still-enjoyable Bionic Woman #6 (Dynamite, $3.99), Hawkeye #6 (Marvel Comics, $2.99), and the latest issue of the always-wonderful Saga (Image, $2.99).

When it comes to splurging, however, then I’m going to be playing it relatively cheaply: That Star Trek 100-Page Winter Spectacular (IDW, $7.99) feels like it might offer just the kind of space-age cheer I’ll be grateful for by mid-week … Happy Warpspeed Holidays, all.

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Jeff Victor teaches evolution (of Batman)

The Evolution of Batman

Illustrator/character designer Jeff Victor has gotten some attention lately for his Evolution of Tom Hanks T.Hanksgiving piece, but it’s just one in a series of “evolution” images he’s created, a few of them comics-related. In addition to Batman above, Victor has chronicled Jack Nicholson, Uma Thurman, and Natalie Portman, all of whom have starred in comics adaptations. Hit the break to see those three and Victor’s site for many others.

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Butcher Billy inserts some four-color magic back into superhero movies

We’ve featured the Brazilian artist Butcher Billy a couple of times in Art Barrage; he’s an illustrator whose work demonstrates a keen eye for modern culture and a wicked sense of humor. His latest portfolio of work, posted at the creative network Behance, is “The Superhero Media Crossover Project,” a collection of images inserting comic art into stills taken from their movie adaptations. It’s very effective, and strangely moving, for this fan of classic comic art, anyway. These images demonstrate what, to me, is missing in just about every comics-to-film adaptation  — a little pop-art brightness and fizz (Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World being the only one in recent times to get a pass on this matter — am I really the only one who wants to see sound effects rather than just hearing them?). In Billy’s own words:

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Comics A.M. | Two graphic novels crack Costa Book Awards shortlist

Dotter of Her Father's Eyes

Awards | Graphic novels for the first time have made the shortlist for the Costa Book Awards (formerly the Whitbread Awards): Mary and Bryan Talbot’s Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes in the Biography category, and Days of the Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart in the Novel category. [The Guardian]

Passings | Indian politician and former editorial cartoonist Bal Thackeray has died at the age of 86; Thackeray was in the news most recently supporting fellow cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, who was jailed briefly on charges of sedition. [The Comics Reporter]

Awards | The Australian Cartoonists Association has bestowed their highest honor, the Gold Stanley Award, on David Pope, cartoonist for The Canberra Times. [The Canberra Times]

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Comics A.M. | Ape Entertainment scores digital hit with Temple Run

Temple Run #1

Digital comics | The top-selling digital comic may not be what you think: Rich Johnston reports that Ape Entertainment’s game comic Temple Run is the top paid book app in the iTunes store (it was No. 2 this morning). He also reveals that Ape Entertainment has sold a million copies of its digital Pocket God comic. [Bleeding Cool]

Publishing | Jen Vaughn and friends pay a visit to the offices of MAD magazine. [Flog]

Conventions | Corinna Kirsh files a report, with plenty of pictures, on last weekend’s Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. [L Magazine]

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The Fifth Color | The Cycle of Thor and heroism

I love the language of Thor. Sometimes, I even love more of what Thor says in comics than I remember what he’s actually done. Even the font in his word bubbles has always been a little fancy, a little script-like, just right for the Son of Asgard who speaks so boldly. His phrases are packed with story and character: “Ultron … We would have words with thee.” “I say thee NAY!” I’m sure, Dear Reader, you have your own awesome Thor quote tucked away just in case. Mine’s “‘Tis I, Alchemist, I will pilot your Blood Colossus,” and you’d be surprised how often I get to use it. A new Thorism I’ll add to my repertoire is from this week’s issue:

“Bring me my Doom Ring.”

The Mighty Thor #22 is Matt Fraction’s last, a final Marvel THEN! before Marvel NOW! brings in Jason Aaron to rock us like a metal album cover. It’s missing that letter in the back to fans that other last issues are posting to take us through a whole issue with one last concept to ponder over, a long reflection for storytelling, the medium and tropes of comics and what essentially Thor means. In this, Fraction pretty much brings us full circle all the way back to the ideas behind Thor: Ages of Thunder, then breaks that circle into pieces.

Let’s talk more about The Mighty Thor #22 after the break!

WARNING: Yes, the most recent Thor issue, so spoilers ahoy! Please take a moment to read the issue, see what you learn from Thor’s trials and then grab that copy and read along!

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Loki is a big fan of Kieron Gillen’s Loki

Oh, sure, he may have enslaved Hawkeye and Dr. Selvig, wreaked havoc on Cleveland Stuttgart, Germany, and Cleveland New York City, and killed Agent Phil Coulson in Marvel’s The Avengers, but deep down Loki is a pretty swell guy. Er, god.

For proof you need look no further than this week’s Journey Into Mystery #645, which marks the departure of writer Kieron Gillen, whose take of “Kid Loki” has made the pint-size god of mischief beloved by Tumblr users the world over. Gillen’s final “Journey Into Stationery” letter page starts with a laudatory message from a certain Tom Hiddleston, who knows a thing or two about Loki:

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NYCC | A round-up of news from Thursday

Superman by Jim Lee

The New York Comic Con officially kicked off this afternoon, with fans eager to get inside and publishers eager to begin releasing news into the wild. So let’s see if we can’t herd some of those announcements together. Here’s a round-up from today:

• DC Comics Co-Publisher and artist extraordinaire Jim Lee will team with Batman scribe Scott Snyder on a new Superman title next year, just in time for the Man of Steel’s return to the silver screen. “This will play along with the other Superman books in the sense that it’s in continuity, but we really wanted to carve out our own territory,” Snyder told CBR. “This really is sort of the biggest, most epic Superman story we could do together while having our feet planted firmly in continuity and making sure that everyone had enough room.”

DC also unveiled a Kia Optima that features a Batman design by Jim Lee.

• Marvel announced three more Season One graphic novels: Iron Man, written by Howard Chaykin with art by Gerard Parel; Thor by writer Matthew Sturges and artist Pepe Larraz; and Wolverine, written by the team of Ben Blacker and Ben Acker, with art by Salva Espin. Also, Cullen Bunn returns to Deadpool with Deadpool Killustrated, a miniseries that pits the Merc with a Mouth against Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes, Beowulf, Don Quixote and more. Spoiler alert: he’s gonna kill them.

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NYCC | Marvel expands Season One with Thor, Iron Man, Wolverine

Today at New York Comic Con,  Marvel announced it’s expanding its Season One line with three graphic novels recounting the early days Iron Man, Thor and Wolverine. They join a lineup that already includes volumes devoted to the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men, Daredevil, the Hulk, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange.

Launched in February, Season One features current creators retelling classic superhero tales. For instance, with Wolverine: Season One writers Ben Blacker and Ben Acker (Supernatural, The Thrilling Adventure Hour) and artist Salva Espin take Logan back to key moments in the hirsute mutant’s storied history.

“We get to tell the most iconic ‘early days’ story Wolverine has: his encounter with Wendigo and The Hulk,” Acker told Marvel.com. “This story is about the first time Logan put on his classic yellow and black suit and got the code name Wolverine.”

Thor: Season One is written by Matthew Sturges and illustrated by Pepe Larraz, while Iron Man: Season One pairs Howard Chaykin with artist Gerard Parel.

Check out previews from the three books, and keep following Robot 6 and Comic Book Resources for more New York Comic Con news.

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Amanda Visell crafts wood idols of Wonder Woman, Thor and more

Amanda Visell has created an amazing series of one-of-a-kind hand-painted wood idols featuring characters ranging from Wonder Woman and Thor to Lion-O and … Michael Jackson from Thriller. Each comes with its own equally amazing hand-painted wood box.

While some of the idols already have been sold, several of them are still available. For $800 each. If I had that kind of extra cash, I’d buy that Thor figure in a heartbeat. Alas, I do not. You can see that figure, as well as Batman and Superman, below. The full lineup (including more angles of each idol) can be found on Visell’s website.

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Wish This Was Real | Brian Kesinger’s Steampunk Avengers

There have been other steampunk Avengers, but with the Hulk in suspenders and a bowler? I’d read a comic just about him.

Anyway, Brian Kesinger is awesome and you should check out his blog and DeviantArt page. He also does steampunk other things, like Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Star Wars. But if steampunk’s not your thing, his Hip Hop Boba Fett and Pooh vs. Voldemort are cool, too. I posted bunch of my favorites below.

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