Howard Stern?! Really?! Yes! Hit the break! But in the meantime, check out this amazing cover for this year’s Marvel event, “Fear Itself.”
This week, let’s start with news about . . .
SALES FIGS FOR ’10. One of my favorite sites, CBR posted its roundup of annual sales with the lead: “2010 was both a good year and a bad year for comic book sales.” It’s a fascinating article if you’re a total nerd (guilty!), and in it they describe how Marvel and DC are able to offer alternate covers—but only to retailers who order a certain number of books—thus inflating their sales, but doing so artificially and at the expense of retailers who are left with unsold, and unreturnable, copies of the issue that they ordered solely to qualify for the alternate cover. Also, although Marvel/DC superheroes dominated (exclusively) the top 400 single-issue sales, with books like Avengers, X-Men, Blackest Night/Brightest Day and the Batstuff (no surprises so far), the opposite was true in the trade arena. The only Marvel/DC book to crack the top 10 was DC’s original graphic novel, “Superman: Earth One.” The rest was all Walking Dead, Scott Pilgrim and Kick Ass (which is on a Marvel imprint, but is creator-owned). In other words: Movies and TV move trades of indie books, but not Marvel/DC books. (No Iron Man, no Avengers, no Batman). In fact, the only other Marvel/DC superhero book to crack the top 25 was Blackest Night, which had no movie/TV tie in at all. We’ll see what happens this year, with major films about Green Lantern, X-Men, Captain America and Thor all slated to hit mid-year.
THE AMAZING FANTASTIC FOUR. Spider-Man will replace Johnny Storm–who is dead but probably not really (see this hilarious page, e.g.). Ugh. I know it’s temporary (despite this *hilarious* theory otherwise), but I’ve seen the new costumes (pictured at right) and that’s what I have to say: Ugh.
MATT FRACTION AND OLIVER COIPEL ON THOR. Oliver Copiel is one of the best artists around, and Matt Fraction is (at times) one of the best writers. I haven’t read his Thor stuff yet—it’s on my shelf—but since he has a big hammer, I’m hoping it will be closer to Matt’s quality Iron work (Fist and Man) and far removed from his surprisingly dull team-based books (X-Men). Anyway, they’ve announced a new, out-of-continuity Thor title to be released in April. I wonder why they’re doing a self-contained series on Thor in April? Hmmmm. Anyway, it won’t be an adaptation of the movie, but clearly it’s designed to capitalize on it. Rumor is: Thor fights Galactus.
Secret Six #30. If you’re not reading Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore’s masterpiece, you’re missing Bane going on his first date of his life . . . With a hot stripper. That’s right: BANE DATES A STRIPPER. This is the book Ellis promised us when he started Thunderbolts, but left too soon to deliver. It’s about bad guys trying to be good but being unable to be good because, well, they’re bad. It’s brilliant and hilarious. Seriously. Go scoop up the trades. Now.
AVENGERS ACADEMY GIANT-SIZE #1. If you’re not reading Avengers Academy, you’re missing out on what is probably the best of the Avengers books right now. Paul Tobin (writer) and David Baldeon (pencils) had created an Avengers Academy/Spider-Girl/Young Allies vs. Arcade three-issue arc (the regular writer of the title is Cristos Gage), which Marvel seemed to have no place for. Turns out, it’ll be not an annual but an $8 “giant size” book. I haven’t shelled out
for any of these “big” books in the past because they’ve been collections of shorter stories grouped with reprints, and I haven’t felt the need. But for this one I might—especially since I’m not sure how they’d ever release it in trade.
HOWARD STERN. True confession: Howard Stern is my father. Or he might as well be. I’ve listened to every hour of every show (and that’s actually close to
non-exaggeration) since 1985, which cumulatively means I’ve probably spent more time with him than my father, mommy, wife and kids combined. And now my favorite person to listen to is coming to my favorite medium: The man with a face for radio will have a bio-comic fromBluewater Productions titled “Orbit: Howard Stern.” Says Howard (who does not endorse the product): “Nobody wants to buy that.”
ZOMBIES. Trying to capitalize on all the zombieness, publisher IDW is infesting its titles (G.I. Joe, Transformers, Star Trek, and Ghostbusters) with the undead this week. Will that actually make anyone buy their books? And speaking of GI Joe, it can’t possibly be a coincidence that GI Joe Cobra #12 looks like another very famous #12, can it?
THE AVENGERS. Soon after Samuel Jackson leaked that there’s going to be a female sidekick for Nick Fury, the studio confirmed that Cobie “How I Met Your
Mother” Smulders is cast as Maria Hill. Jackson has also said he’s got appearances in Thor and Captain America, but the scenes aren’t shot yet. I truly hope they don’t make it one of several alternate post-credits scenes—because when they did that for Wolverine I got the boring one in the bar, not the one with Deadpool, and man was I pissed. Oh. And there’s also a new rumor that Ms. Marvel might be in the movie after all, but I think that’s pretty specious. Joss Whedon has confirmed again and again that Wasp will be the only Avengerchick.
THOR AND CAP. Yeah, the Superbowl trailers have been seen by all. Thor was a bit of a let down really, since we had pretty much seen it all in prior trailers. Cap showed us a bit more–Chris Evans’ head on little bitty Stevie, Cap swimming, Dum Dum Dugan and Union Jack. That was cool.
Meanwhile, Bucky pix have leaked to the web . . .
WOLVERINE. See, now I enjoyed the first Wolverine movie, but according to Hugh Jackman, director Darren Aronfosky told him to get bigger for the next one, saying that he was too long and tall—which is the opposite of Wolverine. It’s a good sign that Darren seems to understand the character from a comic-fan point of view.
R.I.P.D. Rumors circulate of a film version of this Hellboy spinoff with Ryan Reynolds (which would mean no Deadpool film of course) and Zack Galifianakis.
BLACK PANTHER. Documentary-maker Mark Bailey (“Ghosts of Abu Ghraib”) has been hired by Marvel Studios to write a screenplay. Obviously, we’re still a long
way away from anything actually developing.
V.I.C.E. The Top Cow comic has been picked up for development into a feature film.
WONDER WOMAN. No sooner did David E. Kelley announce that the pilot was too expensive for TV than NBC picked the show up, and then started juggling it like a hot potato. Feminists are still sore about Ally McBeal, expecting the show will be an anti-woman T&A fest. (Frankly, I never thought Ally McBeal was antifeminist, but what do I know? I’m just a man.) Comic fans are concerned, too, because the titular heroine is being touted as “reimagined” as a vigilante crime fighter in Los Angeles. Basically, the origin is the same: Steve Trevor lands on Paradise Island and for some unfathomable reason leaves the place where he’s the only guy among hundreds of chicks who all look like Linda Carter, takes Diana with him, but the show starts after they’ve broken up and she’s on her own. This could be a tired one-joke show about how this perfect chick doesn’t need men and doesn’t understand how to work a Blackberry. It doesn’t look good folks.
THE CAPE. Anybody still watching it? Because they’ve already shortened the season from 12 to 10 eps. Cancellation can’t be far behind. I’ve been hanging in with it, but I have to say: It’s not very good.