We’ve seen the Avengers, Spider-Man and his rogues, a cadre of villains and a quartet of superheroines, and now Marvel and Feld Entertainment have debuted the first look at the X-Men from the upcoming arena show tour Marvel Universe Live!
“Storm’s look has evolved in many directions,” costume designer Cynthia Nordstorm explained. “I mixed her flair with hints of Egyptian royalty. Pairing leather and boots really sets her up to ‘rock’ alongside her fellow X-Men.”
Launching in July, Marvel Universe Live! will bring Marvel’s most iconic heroes and villains to 85 cities across North America in the show’s first two years. The live-action production will integrate a character-driven storyline with state-of-the-art special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts and martial arts for what producers say will “redefine the live show experience.”
When Professor X gave Wolverine and Gambit their pink slips, he was only getting started: In the latest “Ex-Men” sketch for his new late-night show on TBS, comedian Pete Holmes once again dons the bald cap to hand Angel, one of the founding members of the X-Men, is walking papers.
“Do you have any idea how many of the X-Men fly and do something else incredible?” asks Holmes’ Xavier. “You just fly, and it’s not even like an internal power, like something you focus. You literally have giant f—ing wings. You’re a f—ing bird.”
Watch the video below. The Pete Holmes Show airs weeknights at midnight ET/PT on TBS.
X-Men: Battle of the Atom seems poorly named. The title references the nickname “Children of the Atom” often given to mutants for an old school, sci-fi feel, so you think this battle would have something to do with being a mutant, when in actuality, it has more to do with time travel and really, just being an X-Man. They could have called it X-Men: Fight for the Future and that would have made more sense, but then everyone would have just thought about that one X-Files movie and that would have gotten us nowhere.
Still, while X-Men: Battle of the Atom is an awkward title, it seems to promise one thing, deliver another and both ideas were a little oversized to begin with, much like the story the title denotes. Brian Michael Bendis once again hits the readers with a surgical strike, but this one’s a little more invasive and disguised than the clean-up or shakedowns of events past. Comparing it to Infinity, Hickman seems to be working from very broad concepts (intergalactic battle, world building/destruction) that started his Avengers event to the very narrow (save Earth, Thanos has a son, new Inhumans popping up on Earth) and more easily understandable to the reader, almost like a reward. Did you bear with us for the Alephs and Builders and high concepts? Here are some new characters and human interest stories to make it more palatable. In the end, I think Infinity will work much better as a coherent trade and over-arcing narrative telling a big space yarn.
In X-Men: Battle of the Atom‘s case, the story started out simple (put the time-traveled X-Men back where they came from) and got more and more complicated as he wrote further, from a narrow point to broader strokes full of brand new characters who had maybe a glimpse of a reason to be there. The story reads much better as single issues, like tiny bites of candy that make you sick if you eat them all at once. In the end, it will probably make more sense… well, let’s face it: at the next big event.
Let me see if I can make sense of what went on….
WARNING: I’m giving you the short, short version of X-Men: Battle of the Atom so if you want to read it for yourself, stop here and visit your friendly neighborhood comic shop! If you’ve already read the X-Event, read on!
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the X-Men, as well as the X-Men: Battle of the Atom crossover, WeLoveFine has unveiled an informational graphic by Leigh Wortley featuring characters from every era of Marvel’s mutant saga, from 1963 to the present. There are 150 represented, but considering the size of the X-universe, those probably aren’t all of them.
It looks like Wolverine will have some company on the unemployment line — and I’m sure he’d be excited to know it’s Gambit.
The Cajun X-Man is the latest victim of Professor X, played by comedian Pete Holmes, who is apparently culling down the X-Men. Holmes finds Gambit’s card tricks unimpressive, saying “Are you hearing as we’re speaking how incredibly lame you are?”
Watch the full clip below. The Pete Holmes Show premieres Oct. 28 on TBS.
Steve Rude is a comics legend, both for his artwork and for his over-sized personality. But as I was reminiscing about his work while waiting for him to release something new, I came across a mysterious blind spot in my memory of the Dude: the time he drew the X-Men.
In 1999, Marvel put together Rude and writer Joe Casey for a throwback three-issue miniseries titled X-Men: Children of the Atom, which documented the recruitment of the original X-men by Charles Xavier. Out of print since 2001, this diamond in the rough is especially poignant now given the return of that era’s X-Men in All-New X-Men … but more generally because, well, Rude’s art is great.
Above is a commission Rude drew of the original team, and I’ve pulled together some of the covers from this forgotten (at least by me) miniseries, as well as some illustrations the artist has created with the team in the time since.
“The metaphor is strong and it hasn’t gone away. Chris Claremont was the one who decided that it was a full-on allegory for race and religion and sexuality. I’m a Jewish kid, and I have a multicultural family [two of Bendis’ daughters, one Ethiopian and one African-American, are adopted], and with that comes all sorts of stuff that you witness or are a victim of. I have it pretty easy, and still I’m like, ‘Wow, you really said that right to my face?’ So it’s nice to have a book I can shake it off a little bit. I’ve never had that. [...] It’s not a mistake that Kitty Pryde, the most Jewish superhero that has ever lived, is the leader of the X-Men now.”
– writer Brian Michael Bendis, discussing X-Men in an interview in The Oregonian that touches upon his life in Portland, Oregon, his role in “full-on luring” other creators to the city, and his career at Marvel. Bendis and recent Portland transplants David Marquez and Michael Avon Oeming will be signing Wednesday at Things From Another World.
Comics love kids. Whether as protagonists or antagonists or (especially) readers, comics have a long-established history with the young and young at heart. Youth are blessed with innocence and wonder, easily fitting into fantasy situations without fail and delighting in the escapism that most “grown-ups” would dismiss with cynicism or disbelief. It’s an easy starting point for a story to begin in a character’s youth or with the cliche “I was born …,” because it’s something everyone reading can relate to. We can all shout, “Hey, I was born once, too!” and suddenly everyone’s on the same page.
So, it sort of makes sense that comics hate parents. Any chance they get, parents are abusive, neglectful, swept off stage or, frequently, killed. Having parents around limits a character’s independence. They drag a “real world” sensibility into fantastic situations where we all have to wonder who are the people putting these kids up at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, taking us out of the fun of just having a super-powered school in the first place. Parents also tend to prove that kids don’t really “know everything,” and can put a damper on the adventurous spirit that kid superheroes require. And, let’s face it, not everyone has been a parent and, sadly enough, not everyone has had parents that stuck around. Aside from some debatable exceptions (and one awesome mom in Sue Storm), parents don’t get panel time in comics unless they are an obstacle to overcome.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals handed Marvel a significant victory this morning, upholding a 2011 ruling that Jack Kirby’s contributions to the publisher in the 1960s were work for hire, and therefore not subject to copyright reclamation by the artist’s heirs.
However, as Tom Spurgeon first reported, the appellate court vacated the New York district judge’s summary ruling against two of Kirby’s children, California residents Lisa and Neal, on jurisdictional grounds; the judgment against Susan and Barbara stands.
Secondarily, the Second Circuit upheld the lower court’s exclusion of expert testimony offered by John Morrow and Mark Evanier on behalf of the Kirby heirs, agreeing that “their reports are by and large undergirded by hearsay statements, made by freelance artists in both formal and informal settings, concerning Marvel’s general practices towards its artists during the relevant time period.”
We’ve seen comic-book superheroes take the movie world by storm, but Italian art teacher Zach Roper has taken the trend one step further by creating some inspired mash-ups mixing Marvel heroes with recent cult hits.
“After seeing the recent Wolverine movie and being (once again) disappointed at another halfhearted adaptation, I got to thinking about which directors would be perfect for my favorite comic book characters,” Roper tells ROBOT 6. “I’ve begun working on some sketches of how these characters might appear in each of the films, and here they are!”
As Stan Lee sayings go, “Every comic book is someone’s first” isn’t quite as well-known as “With great power comes great responsibility,” but it’s nevertheless one that comics editors and creators should integrate and internalize just as thoroughly. It’s probably much less true today, now that comics are sold primarily through specialty shops (and, increasingly, online) instead of on newsstands and spinner racks, than whenever Lee first said it.
But regardless of whether Executive Assistant Assassins #13, Fearless Defenders #7 or Tarot Witch of the Black Rose #81 — to pick three titles from this week’s shipping list — will actually be anyone’s first comic book, as long as publishers continue to sell comics as serialized stories, then the thought that one of those could be someone’s introduction is a pretty good guiding principle for creating those comics.
With that in mind, this week I read a handful of second issues of some prominent new books from the biggest players in the direct market, with an eye toward how friendly the material might be toward a new reader starting the series — or comics in general — with that issue.
In case you didn’t notice, Comic-Con International happened last weekend. As always, it was an epic affair with tons of announcements, stunts and surprises. Amid cannons firing, actors dressing up as themselves, and big movie plans, there were also a good number of genuine surprises from comics.
Usually I end up picking a winner of Comic-Con, but after Dynamite Entertainment flooded the air waves with announcements the days before the event, no one else seemed to stand out as the clear winner. It’s not that everyone slacked off, however: They brought a good variety of interesting and exciting projects, and a number of standout announcements made my ears perk up. So instead of declaring a winner, I’m going to run down my Top 6 Comic-Con surprises in comics.
Before I start, though, two publishers deserve a little recognition for serious contenders for the Comic-Con crown. Top Shelf Productions classed up the joint by bringing in Congressman John Lewis for the debut of his graphic novel, March: Book One with artist Nate Powell and co-writer Andrew Aydin. I have little doubt this trilogy will end up being a historic release with profound benefits for schools, libraries and organizations looking for a powerful teaching tool and first=person account of the Civil Rights Movement and non-violent resistance. Plus, come on, photos of Lewis meeting Neil deGrasse Tyson and Lou Ferrigno? Everybody else, just pack it up. Maybe not as much of a milestone, but IDW Publishing also deserves a nod for the pure quantity and variety of good-looking books announced.
OK, on with my list:
Animation designer Andry Rajoelina has created an uplifting, and occasionally funny, series of prints featuring the families of superheroes. That’s “family” as in Superman Family, not as in Jonathan, Martha and Clark Kent. The first set was focused on DC, but he’s now done a second group with Marvel characters.
Some of the characters, but not all, are biologically related, and that’s part of what makes the series so heart-warming. One of the nicest, most reassuring messages of the X-Men was always that people without families could form their own. (I’ve always loved the idea of the X-Men as a family much more than the idea of them as a school.) Rajoelina’s two series highlight that. They focus on adult/child relationships (the Fantastic Four leaves out Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, for example), but Rajoelina is able to figure out a workaround for Green Lantern, even if it’s a little sad in a humorous way.
Prints of the Justice Families series can be purchased at the Geek Art Store.
Inspired by Brett White’s recent Comic Book resources column, Evan Shaner gathered together old sketches of his favorite X-Men, “yearbook-style,” which in turn inspired some other artists to draw their own top picks — as if ripped from the pages of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters/Jean Grey School for Higher Learning annual: Uncanny X-Force‘s Kris Anka, Thugg, Russel Dauterman, George Kambadais and, to bring everything full circle, Brett White.
You can see Shaner and Kambadais’ contributions in full below, with the others at their respective links.
It’s not that long since we featured Butcher Billy’s New Wave Justice League, but here’s another artist working a similar beat: James Zark‘s punk rock/X-Men mash-up, the X-Pistols. James is selling prints of these designs through his Society 6 storefront. Above is Glenn Danzig as Wolverine, but my favorite is the Debbie Harry-as-Phoenix one, which is also available as a pillowcase. And why not? Throw pillows are punk, too. See them all after the break.