For those playing along at home, here are highlights of the announcements (and confirmations) coming out of the inaugural Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo today:
• Marvel confirmed the long-awaited third volume of Casanova, the critically acclaimed spy-fi series by Matt Fraction, Gabriel Bá and Fabio Moon, will debut in July through its Icon imprint. The issues originally published in the Image Comics “slimline” format — 16 pages of story for $1.99 — will be re-colored, re-lettered and repackaged. “It’s going to be in full color,” Fraction told Comic Book Resources. “It’s hand-lettered by Dustin Harbin, who’s an amazing cartoonist and a very old friend of mine. So it’s really an entirely new presentation of the material. The color is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s going to be produced at full size. So what was once Casanova #2-3 will now be issue #2 of the Icon Casanova, and so on. You’ll be getting 32 full color pages for full price.”
• Via video, writer Allan Heinberg provided details of Marvel’s Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, the miniseries announced in October that reunites him with Young Avengers artist Jimmy Cheung. The bimonthly, nine-issue limited series that builds on plot threads dating back to House of M, and involves Wiccan attempting to find and redeem the Scarlet Witch.
• Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada revealed that “O.M.I.T.” — the mysterious acronym we’ve seen on guitar picks and in comic-book ads — stands for “One Moment In Time,” and deals with the controversial “One More Day” story that erased the wedding day of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Serialized in The Amazing Spider-Man #637-640, the new arc by Joe Quesada and Paolo Rivera will turn back the clock to show the events on what should have been the couple’s wedding day.
• Oni Press announced Yo Gabba Gabba! Story Comic Book Time, an anthology based on the wildly popular preschool television series. The 128-page hardcover will be released this fall.
Marvel’s senior VP-executive editor Tom Brevoort shares a fun blast from the past over on his Marvel.com blog: a proposal for a series called Young Avengers. But this isn’t the Allan Heinberg/Jim Cheung book that came out in 2005; it’s a proposal from 1989, by studiomates Jim Valentino and Rob Liefeld. Before Youngblood, Shadowhawk, Deadpool, X-Force or even Guardians of the Galaxy, the duo pitched a series about Namorita, Firestar, Vance Astro, Speedball and Richard Rider — as Torpedo, rather than Nova — coming together with two new characters to train under the direction of Rick Jones.
“At the time this was written in 1989, while both of them had dabbled in doing Marvel work, neither creator had really had a break-out hit. Sharing a studio at the time, they hoped that YOUNG AVENGERS might be it, with Jim writing and Rob illustrating a series they would co-plot,” Brevoort writes.
Although the pages are a bit blurry when scanned in — they were typed more than 20 years ago — you can still read about some of the plots and villains they planned to use, as well as new characters they were creating named Cougar, Brahma, Photon and Combat. Which may sound familiar to readers of Youngblood and related titles.
“As it turned out, work was already underway on the book that eventually was entitled NEW WARRIORS, which prevented this incarnation of YOUNG AVENGERS from moving ahead. It’s actually pretty extraordinary to see how close the line-up for what Jim and Rob proposed was to the eventual NEW WARRIORS team,” Brevoort writes.
If only they’d given Rick Jones some battle armor and a skateboard …
Behind every good man is a good … mom. Comic books may not always be kind to moms — just ask Martha Wayne, Mary Parker or Lara-El — but the moms who do survive their children’s origin stories go on to do some pretty incredible things. So in honor of Mother’s Day, here are six comic book “mom” moments, where mothers really stepped up to the plate for their kids.
1. Martha Kent knits Superman’s costume: I’m not totally 100 percent sure if this is still considered to be in continuity or not, but it’s something I always accepted — that Ma Kent, Superman’s adoptive mother, made Superman’s costume. That’s probably because of my earliest exposure to the character (beyond the Superfriends cartoons, anyway) — the reruns of The Adventures of Superman I used to watch as a kid. The first episode saw Ma Kent sending Clark off to Metropolis with a suit made from the baby blankets in the rocket that brought him from Krypton to Earth, with the idea that the fabrics wouldn’t tear. When John Byrne rebooted Superman in the 1980s, he kept that element, sort of; in Man of Steel, Ma Kent makes Superman a skintight costume out of ordinary Earth fabric, so it will have “near invulnerability through its close proximity to Superman’s aura.” In any event, a good superhero needs a good costume to wear while fighting evil, and Ma Kent more than stepped up to the job.
Marvel announced this weekend at the New York Comic Con that Paul Cornell and Mark Brooks are working on a Dark Reign: Young Avengers mini-series, set to debut this May. In the book, Patriot, Stature and the rest of the crew run into a new group of super-folks calling themselves the Young Avengers, and chaos, naturally, ensues.
“This is a bit of a dream project for me,” Cornell writes on his blog. “It’s basically the Young Avengers running head on into a new group of, well, are they heroes or not? At any rate, they’ve stolen the Young Avengers’ name. Our heroes are put in the same place as the original Avengers were put when they themselves appeared, how do they react to these new kids who don’t really know what they’re doing: fight; mentor; feel attracted to? How about varying degrees of all three?”
But fans looking at this new crew of teenage malcontents will recognize some of the names as not Avengers, but their archenemies, The Masters of Evil. Back in 2006, original Young Avengers writer Allan Heinberg said he wanted to introduce a Young Masters of Evil in his second season of the book. He added they’d have ties to the originals “in the same way the YA have ties to the Avengers.” Heinberg’s second season of Young Avengers obviously never happened, as he became busy with Grey’s Anatomy. But it’s nice to see the idea didn’t die and has been picked up by the very capable Paul Cornell. And it seems a natural tie-in to the themes introduced in Dark Reign, particularly Dark Avengers.