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OCTOBER WAS A GOOD MONTH TO BE A COMIC BOOK (and to be Robert Kirkman)—SALES NEWS, AND OTHER RECENT STORIES

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Batman (and his extended family) continues to be the only DC character that sells.  Batman is also, quite frankly, one of the only DC books worth reading…

COMIC BOOK SALES IN OCTOBER 2014

The good news for all of us comic book nerds is: Sales were up in October.  And up quite a bit.  Sales of both comics and graphic novels increased over 10% compared to October 2013.  But the real news is market share:  Image sold one out of every ten comics October. When you start pulling a 10% market share, the big two have to get worried.

Turning first to graphic novels, we see lots of books that actually deserve good sales—the first volume of Ms. Marvel, for example, which is easily one of the best comics of the year.  Add to that Scott Snyder’s Batman, Southern Bastards, Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey’s Moon Knight, Amazing Spider-Man, and Hawkeye…All great comics.   It’s very unusual not to see any Walking Dead volumes in the top 10 (or even top 20)—especially when the show’s season premier was this month.  Ponderous.

Here’s the top 10 graphic novels sold…

  1. Ms. Marvel Volume 1
  2. Hawkeye Vol. 3
  3. Batman Vol. 4
  4. East of West Vol. 3
  5. Batman Vol. 5
  6. Southern Bastards vol. 6
  7. Harley Quinn Vol. 1
  8. Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 (2014)
  9. Moon Knight Vol. 1
  10. Batman Death of the Family ($40 special edition)

On the “loose issues” front, The Walking Dead’s inclusion in Loot Crate bumped it to the #1 spot—the first time a non-Marvel/DC book has been #1 since…Ever, maybe?  The same thing happened to Rocket Raccoon a few months back when it was a Loot Crate giveaway.  Wolverine’s “death” did okay (the comic was a huge [HUGE!] letdown content-wise), but trailed Walking Dead by over 100k units.  And because Marvel zombies will buy any piece of steaming shit as long as it’s an event, Axis #1 came in fifth.  Seriously, guys—it’s terrible.  It doesn’t even make sense.  But because Marvel had two events and a gender-bending Thor out in one month, DC’s Batman didn’t place in the top 5.  In fact, DC did pretty badly overall—but it’s nice to see a Vertigo book ,Wytches, sell well.  It came in 18th and sold nearly 70k copies.

Here’s the top 10:

  1. Walking Dead #132
  2. Death of Wolverine #4
  3. Thor #1
  4. Death of Wolverine #3
  5. Avengers and X-Men Axis #1
  6. Batman #35
  7. Amazing Spider-Man #7
  8. Amazing Spider-Man #7, 8
  9. Harley Quinn Annual #1
  10. Avengers and X-Men Axis #2

 

Also worth noting: Paul Pope’s second Battling Boy story, Rise of Aurora West, made it to the top 20.  A very good all-ages indie superhero book—not many of those exist.

And now, your other news of recent weeks, which, unusually, has quite a few DC stories…

D.C. CONVERGENCE (THE NEXT BIG EVENT THAT WILL PROBABLY OVERLAP WITH OTHER BIG EVENTS).  While Marvel is promoting a summer 2015 event that will basically re-tell every single big event in Marvel history, anchored by Secret Wars (which most agree was the first “event book” of all time), DC is trying to get there first.  In Arpil, they’ll run 40 (yes, 40!) miniseries anchored by a 9-issue weekly book titled, “Convergence.” The story: Braniac is collecting bottles of cities from alternate universes and alternate DC timelines, and then everybody gets together to beat the crap out of the problem.  But what makes Convergence an event worth paying attention to is Greg Rucka. He’ll be writing a two-issue miniseries about The Question—fans of Gotham PD know that Rucka created the Renee Montoya version of the character, if that history is still canon after the New 52.  There’s a bunch of ministeries and tie-ins being planned, with at least one other very cool one:  Lee Weeks drawing Superman.

 

THRILLBENT TO SEE PRINT VIA IDW.  Thrillbent is the Digital-only comics company founded by the great Mark Waid, which has released some high-quality books by creators like James Tynion IV, Tom Scioli and, of course, Waid himself.  Now the digital releases will see print and distribution through a partnership with IDW comics.  The first book will be the “Empire” reboot by Waid and Barry Kitson, and a reprint of the original Empire series.  Other high-quality Thrillbent offerings to look forward to include Insufferable by Waid and Peter Krause; Albert the Alien; Moth City; and The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood.

GAMBIT GETS A MOVIE.  Channing Tatum will play Gambit in a solo film, with a script based on a plot by Chris Claremont. Was anyone looking for this?

 

SUPERGIRL.  CBS has already done a series order for its Supergirl TV show, and casting call information reveals that this will be the Linda Lee Danvers version of the character.  How confusing will this be to non-comic-book fans?  Marvel is putting out a Captain “Carol Danvers” Marvel movie about a female superhero who can fly and punch the Hell out of stuff and DC has a TV show that’s…Pretty close to the same thing.

OUTCAST: ROBERT KIRKMAN’S NEXT BIG TV SHOW.  If you’re not reading Outcast, the Image comic by Kirkman and Paul Azaceta, you’re missing Kirkman’s best writing ever.  Seriously.  He’s always been a great plotter, but his dialog and scripts have felt somewhat flat.  Nearly everyone in his comics has about the same voice—they often feel interchangeable.  But in Outcast, he’s crushing it.  Now he’s got a TV deal for a Cinemax series to star Paul Fugit in the lead role.  You may have heard of Kirkman’s other horror TV show, on AMC.  It’s called The Walking Dead.

TEEN TITANS: EARTH ONE.  So far, I’ve found DC’s “Earth One” series of hardcover novels underwhelming.  I’m still looking forward to Grant Morrison’s Wonder Woman, but I’m also wondering if it will ever come out.  In the meantime, later this month Jeff Lemire and Terry Dodson are revamping The Teen Titans for their Earth One debut.  The books are standalone stories outside of any “official” DC timelines or continuity.  They’re basically a way for creators to play with corporate toys without breaking anything.  The book will focus on originals, not sidekicks, like Raven, Cyborg, Jericho, Changeling, and Starfire.  Lemire’s DC work hasn’t been great so far, but his indie work has been terrific—and this project, since it is separate from the established DCU—has the potential for an indie feel.  I’m excited.

SUICIDE SQUAD TO FEATURE THE JOKER.  It looks like both Harley Quinn and Joker will appear in DC’s Suicide Squad film—as the company appears to have no immediate plans for a Batman solo movie.  (That’s baffling.)  Casting rumors put Margot “Wolf of Wall Street” Robbie as Quinn and Jared Leto as Joker.  Because I’m assuming Jake Gyllenhall wasn’t available.

 

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THE MARVEL-OUS 2015 SUMMER EVENT-RECYLE, THE END OF THE ULTIMATES, MARVEL’S PHASE 3 MOVIES, AND OTHER COMIC BOOK NEWS…

It’s no secret that 2015 will be the year of the been-there-done-that, as we see revivals of: Planet Hulk, Inhumans: Attilan Rising, Civil War, House of M, Age of Ultron (versus Marvel Zombies), Secret Wars (which seems to be the one to rule them all), Armor Wars, Infinity Gauntlet, Days of Future Past (retitled Years of Future Past), Future: Imperfect (Peter David and George Perez’s excellent Hulk story), and Old Man Logan.

All in the summer of 2015. Axel Alonso has assured Marvelites that there will be no reboot a la DC’s “New 52,” but we’ve also been told that we’ll see changes beyond the scope of any we’ve seen before, with long-term implications. Oh, and Beyonder (architect of the original Secret Wars) is involved.

But we’ve also been told that we’ll get “Ultimate Universe: The End.” All I can say to that is: “It’s about time.” The Ultimates started strong, with an absolutely brilliant reboot of Spider-Man and a terrific blockbuster series of Ultimates comics (volumes one and two). Then Jeph Loeb came along and it all turned to shit. Fast.

Well, not all of it. Ultimate Spider-Man has never really lost its shine and quality. Brian Michael Bendis even made sure to kill off Peter Parker when the book was getting stale, and the Miles Morales story has been terrific. (Despite the recent arc which is reviving Peter Parker—the jury is out on that.) In fact, Ultimate Spider-Man is the most consistently good Marvel title since…Amazing Spider-Man. Hmmm.

If they’re ending the Ultimate Universe, that’s a good idea. The whole point of the Ultimates was that things would matter and the books would take risks, but they got so popular that they stopped taking risks and stopped mattering.

So, what else happened over the past few weeks?

MARVEL’S PHASE 3 MOVIE SLATE! Not to be outdone by DC’s major announcements, Marvel dropped some bombs. Here’s what we can expect to see in the coming years:

  • JAMES BROWN IS BLACK PANTHER. Specifically, Chadwick Boseman. He’ll first appear in Captain America 3: Civil War in 2016, and then a solo film the following year. There’s only been a few black lead characters in superhero movies: Blade, of course, was the best. Then there was Spawn, Hancock, Catwoman, and Blankman.
  • A MARVEL WOMAN! Captain Marvel will be the first Marvel Studios woman to get her own movie, in 2018. Too bad it’s this one. I would have loved a Ms. Marvel movie about the new, Muslim character whose comic book is easily one of the best of the year. Like Black Panther, there have only been a handful of female-fronted comic book movies in the past. Elektra, Supergirl, and Catwoman. All were terrible.
  • THOR: RAGNAROK. This one could be good if they base it on Walt Simonson’s story and have Executioner wielding M16s. Thor 2 was not a good film, at least by Marvel Studios standards.
  • INHUMANS. Also in 2018. This will probably be the Marvel Studios version of the X-Men, since they don’t have the rights to mutants.
  • BENEDICT STRANGE. Dr. Strange will be played by Benedict Cumberbatch in a 2016 solo film.
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA VS. IRON MAN. Captain America 3 will indeed be based on Marvel’s Civil War ,and will feature Robert Downey Jr.
  • AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. A two-part movie, released in May 2018 and May 2019. How annoying to have to wait…

STATIC SHOCK GETS A TV DEAL. The African-American DC character who seems vaguely like Black Lightning only with a less-cool name and a less-cool costume will be featured in some kind of live-action “project,” the exact nature of which (and where it will air) is unknown. It will be written, produced, and directed by Reggie Hudlin, who wrote a great Black Panther arc about ten years ago, and who also was the head of Black Entertainment Television.

CONSTANTINE. I have to say, I enjoyed the premier episode of this show, based on the DC character who starred in the longest running Vertigo comic of all time, Hellblazer. I wasn’t a big fan of the comic—horror really isn’t my cup of tea—so I can’t say how faithful it is as an adaptation, but it seems like a good show. So far. Based on one episode. Plus, it had a cameo by Dr. Fate’s helmet!

CRIMINAL MOVES TO IMAGE. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have created the best (not “some of” the best, the best, period) noir comics of all time. Incognito. Sleeper. Scene of the Crime. The current ongoing series Fatale and The Fade Out. And, of course, their masterpiece: Criminal. The Criminal books were published under Marvel’s Icon imprint, which distributes creator-owned content. Recently, the team signed an exclusive deal with Image Comics to produce whatever they want, and now they’ve announced that the next Criminal installment will be part of that deal. Marvel’s Icon publishing line has become increasingly thin, and this has to be a huge blow. Particularly as other great creators like Matt Fraction, Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon, J. Michael “JMS” Straczynski and others have made the move over to Image. Icon used to a be a way for Marvel to keep these creators close and incentivize their corporate work—now, it seems, Image can provide similar publicity and distribution without making the creators work on superhero titles.

PUNISHER CANCELLED…AGAIN. Marvel keeps cancelling perfectly good Punisher books. Greg Rucka’s run was terrific, but got canned. Now, Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads run is also ending. I’m not a huge fan of the current Punisher title, but it isn’t awful. Anyway, it’s ending and we’re being promised that the character will undergo a major change. Really? Punisher is the one character whose appeal is based on the fact that he never changes. Anyway, another reboot series (with a #1, of course) will appear next year. We’re also promised a new PunisherMAX. The MAX Punisher books can be summarized as: Garth Ennis’ stuff (the greatest Punisher stories ever told, and some of the best comics ever written, period); Jason Aaron’s MAX book (quite excellent); and everything else (crap). Let’s hope the new one is a good one, because a good Punisher MAX is some of the best comics ever.

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL. She gets her own comic in January 2015, even as Marvel cancels She-Hulk—a book that has slowly become one of my favorites. If this book is taken seriously, it’s easy to see a novelty character in a quality book. As I said, She-Hulk is great. But if it’s treated as a joke, like Rocket Raccoon’s book, it will quickly become boring and pointless.

NO BLOW JOBS FOR STEVE JOBS. Ales Kot and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz’s Image Comic, Zero, recently featured a somewhat explicit oral sex scene, and as a result Apple refused to carry it in their comic book store. More censorship from Apple—and its odd, because Zero is a war comic that has shown very explicit violent—as Kot himself tweeted: “ZERO #11 is my first comic book to be rejected by Apple — apparently dead children and horrific brutality are okay but oral sex a no-no.” Well, maybe this will help sales. It’s a very different, very interesting comic book.

zero oral sex blow job

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THE TOP 10 RECENT COMIC BOOK NEWS DEVELOPMENTS

Yes, I went to NY Comic Con. It was fun, sure, but I have to say: Not all that different from Baltimore Comic Con, which is both smaller and more manageable and with more (and better) cosplayers. NYCC outsold San Diego by over 20k people—and you could feel every body crushing into you. Way too crowded. I didn’t go to any panels (I was there for one day and just wanted to see and experience the floor), but lots of news came out of NYCC, and some of it is below. Here they are, ten thoughts, musings, and newsy things about comics….

1. IN 2015, EVERYTHING OLD AT MARVEL WILL BE NEW AGAIN. Marvel released a series of big event announcements for next year, and all of them sound familiar. The vague references to “Civil War” appear to be about Captain America 3—where we’ll see Cap versus Tony. There is no doubting its potential awesomeness. But there were also comic book teasers that retool some of Marvel’s most successful events. The hype ranges from looking stupid to very, very cool…

  • Stupid: Marvel Zombies: Age of Ultron. Robots take over the zombieverse. Nobody is looking for this, are they?  I’m curious, but …
  • Probably stupid: Planet Hulk. A poster shows what looks like Steve Rogers holding a Captain America sword and an axe jumping off Devil Dinosaur’s head into a pile of Hulks and She-Hulks. The original Planet Hulk was great. World War Hulk was pretty good. This looks..Weird. But I’m willing to give it a try.
  • Smack dab in the middle because there’s not enough information yet: Years of Future Past. The classic “Days of Future Past” was a three-issue arc (that’s it!) by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, at the peak of their powers. It was the first time we saw an alternate Marvel future, and it has inspired countless retools, reiterations, reboots, and even a few movie ideas. It’s not clear what this one will be.
  • This is the one that’s cool: Secret Wars. Marvel announced a 12-issue event beginning in Spring 2015 titled “Secret Wars.” They’ve promised it will be “huge,” involving both print and digital comic releases. And, of course, the Marvel Universe will “never be the same again.” The story ties into Jonathan Hickman’s “Time Runs Out” storyline in Avengers/New Avengers. The teaser image, by Alex Ross, features several Captain Americas, Ghost Rider 2099, mutants (including Wolverine, who will be “dead” by then), Avengers, Iron Men, etc.—and Bendis has confirmed that his X-Men time travel storylines will tie into it. In short, it looks like it will fix the fracturing we’ve seen in the Marvel universe over the past several years. If this is in fact the reboot everyone has been suspecting, Marvel is doing it right. DC rushed it and failed to take full advantage. If you’re going to destroy your universe, have fun with it. Like, destroy the Ultimate universe, kill Wolverine, make Iron Man evil, Thor a woman, and Captain America black.

2. SUICIDE SQUAD: THE MOVIE.

A film version of DC’s villains-turned-black ops team is in development. I wonder if James Gunn (the director of the Guardians of the Galaxy) saying repeatedly in interviews that he wants to do a Thunderbolts movie had anything to do with Warner Bros finally moving ahead with this long-gestating project? I just did a whole post on the state of the comic movieverse, so go read it here.

3. ESTROGEN AT MARVEL.

Marvel has announced a solo series for Gamora, the green-skinned woman of the Guardians of the Galaxy, to be written by screenwriter Nicole Perlman. That leaves only Groot and Drax without solo deals. They’re like the bass player and drummer for Bon Jovi. Marvel seems to be making great strides in featuring both female creators and female characters. Black Widow, She Hulk and Ms. Marvel are three of the best Marvel comics out right now, and Secret Avengers (which has become my favorite Avengers book) has a female-led, female-dominated team. Mmm. Femdom.

And speaking of women, Marvel announced a new series based on the Gwen Stacy Spider-Man introduced by Jason LaTour and Robbie Rodriguez in Edge of Spider-Verse #2. I’m not loving all the Spider-Verse tie-ins, but the Spider-Gwen one was far and away the best so far. Marvel also announced an ongoing series for Silk, the female version of Spider-Man who is currently running around with Peter in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. I don’t know how Dan Slott can still be writing that book so well—he’s (ahem) amazing at it.

4. ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR. That’s not a joke. Archie and Dark Horse will team up for this comic.

5. CROSSED: DOA. Garth Ennis’ miniseries about a disease that turns people into homicidal sadomasochists has lead to multiple books and has basically becomes Avatar’s tentpole title. They’ve announced upcoming Crossed projects with luminaries like Alan Moore and Kieron Gillen, and now … A TV show. Kind of. “Crossed: DOA” will start out as a web comic and will then turn into a series of webisodes written and directed by Ennis. The first Crossed web comic, “Wish You Were Here,” went on for several years and, at times, was truly brilliant.

6. DARK HORSE NEWS FEATURING BRIAN WOOD. Dark Horse announced “Rebels,” a new book by Brian Wood and Andrew Mutti about the American Revolution. Think “Northlanders” (Wood’s terrific book about Vikings) but set in the 1700s. The first story will feature Ethan Allen’s militia group The Green Mountain Boys. Sadly, when one door opens another closes: Wood’s post-apocalypse book “The Massive” will end with issue #30. I’ve been loving that comic, but I know not many people other people are reading it.

Dark Horse also announced a sequel to Donny Cates’ miniseries, “Buzzkill,” about a recovering alcoholic who gets super powers when he drinks. It will be titled, “The Paybacks.” The story will focus on heroes who get their powers from technology that they can’t afford to pay for. Sounds good.

7. THE FANTASTIC FOUR’S DOOR CLOSES, BUT OTHER DOORS OPEN… The Fantastic Four is being cancelled—not rebooted. At least not any time soon. Marvel still denies that this is at all related to the fact that Fox owns the movie rights and appears to be planning to remove all traces of Lee and Kirby from their 2016 movie. But as the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens:

  • ORIGINAL S.I.N. Peggy Carter gets her own TV show when SHIELD goes on hiatus, and these days that means she also get s comic. The good news is, it will be written by the highly underrated Kathryn Immonen and illustrated by Rich Ellis. Immonen wrote one the great unsung female-titled comics in Marvel history: Patsy Walker, Hellcat. She also had a decent run on Runaways and wrote a fabulous original graphic novel titled, “Moving Pictures” about the Nazi’s destruction of art during World War 2. So she’s comfortable with period pieces. This new book will also take place in the 1940s. It will be a prequel to the underwhelming Original Sin event, so we’ll learn about the guy who did Nick Fury’s cosmic assassination work before Fury came along.
  • HAWKEYE. Everyone with any sense at all is sad to see Matt Fraction leave Hawkeye’s solo title, but his replacement is interesting: Jeff “Sweet Tooth” Lemire. Lemire’s corporate writing hasn’t been anywhere near as good as his indie stuff, but I’m rooting for him here. Hawkeye is the kind of quirky title he seems well suited for. Lemire promises an intimate book along the lines of what he did in Essex County, and says it will focus on Clint Barton’s childhood and will split screen time between Hawkeye and Kate Bishop, the “other” Hawkeye, who is kind of like his adopted little sister.
  • ANT MAN. And in news that’s no surprise to anyone, given his upcoming movie deal, Scott Lang Ant-Man gets a solo book early next year, under the creative team of Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas.

8. COMICS ON TV: IT’S MARVEL VS. DC, AND MARVEL IS LOSING.

Despite the fact that Ming-Na Wen seems to get hotter with every episode, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD show is just not resonating with me. I’m still watching it because I can’t stop hoping it will do what it should be doing, and because I occasionally get rewarded (Absorbing Man was awesome), but the central narrative is lacking tension. I want to blame Coulson, because his character is so…drab…but I don’t think that’s fair. The show has too many dark, broody sequences that don’t have any real sense of danger. In fact, there’s really no danger at all in the show. It all feels kind of random, and when we do get to see something or someone interesting (like Deathlok or Patton Oswald’s character), the story quickly veers away and we hear nothing about it for several episodes. It’s baffling to me why this isn’t a better show.

But look at DC, knocking both The Flash and Gotham out of the park! I expected Flash to be good but silly, but it turns out it’s both fun and exciting, and I expected Gotham to be a total downer but it’s actually good as a standalone show—even if you ignore all the Bat-references.

Of course, there is one that rules them all: The Walking Dead.

9. CAPTAIN CARROT. Any of you reading Grant Morrison’s Multiversity? I’m really enjoying it, and not just because he brought back Captain Carrot. But in recognition of that revival, DC has issued a reprint of the old 1980s series: “Showcase Presents: Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!” It’s a little dated by today’s standards, but still holds up as a fun, all-ages comic.

10. PEOPLE REALLY LIKED GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. It’s now made over $700 million worldwide. It’s the only Marvel movie to do that that wasn’t either a sequel or The Avengers. It’s also the best popcorn movie of all time.

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AXIS, EVENTS, AND THE TEN BEST MARVEL COMICS ON THE STANDS RIGHT NOW


There are so many Marvel “events” and “crises” these days that it’s hard to keep them all straight. The Uncanny Avengers is telling about the end of the world in a story I can’t understand at all. New Avengers (which his actually, finally, getting good) is telling a ridiculously complicated time-travel story that promises a complete shake up of the Marvel Universe. In six months. The X-books are all time jumbled and time jumped, to the point where time and continuity seem to have little meaning. Spider-Man is entering a whole Spider-Verse. And all of this is on the heels of the “Original Sin,” line-wide event.

It’s not that any of these are bad (well, okay, Uncanny is pretty bad), it’s just that it’s all too much. It’s impossible to keep it all straight.

The next big event will be helmed by Rick “Uncanny” Remender, and will bring the X and A teams together, and promises to “flip” villains into heroes. And the key villain in all of it will be Tony Stark.

Sound familiar? It’s because Brian Michael Bendis already did this, brilliantly, in the “Dark Reign” era.

Personally, I wish Marvel would settle down a bit and just tell good stories. Remember how great the Avengers was under Roger Stern, when it was focused on the interpersonal relationships of people like Janet Van Dyne and Hank Pym, who didn’t even have solo books? Or how great the self-contained Uncanny X-Men title was under Chris Claremont, when the threats they faced were way out in space or just involved Magneto being a dick? The level of stress and tension is so high that it has become meaningless—if everything is a global threat event, then nothing matters.

I’m not saying I hate events. I actually kind of liked Original Sin—it was small enough to be self-contained, but offered lots of screen time for relatively minor characters to meet with the holy trinity (Cap, Iron Man, Thor). I’m just saying it can’t all twist time into knots and threaten to destroy everything. And I really like The Death of Wolverine, which, again, is self-contained and feels “small” (even if it’s telling a really big story).

These are the ten most consistently good Marvel books on the market right now, and none of them are “big”:

10. Rocket Raccoon
9. Storm (just a few issues in, but so far, so great)


8. Secret Avengers
7. Moon Knight (giving the new creative team the benefit of the doubt, but the six issues by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey were magnificent)
6. Black Widow
5. Daredevil
4. Superior Foes of Spider-Man
3. She-Hulk
2. Amazing Spider-Man
1. Ms. Marvel


If you buy just ten Marvel books a month, buy those. If you need a few more, I didn’t include Hawkeye or Avengers Undercover (because they are both ending in the next month)—get them in trade. Also, Captain America is pretty good. But I’m a sucker for Cap.

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GREAT NEWS ABOUT MOVIES ABOUT MARVEL CHARACTERS (BUT NOT NECESSARILY MARVEL MOVIES), DC’S MEDIAVERSE, AND MORE COMIC BOOK NEWS


I haven’t been posting news posts weekly anymore because I’m not sure how many people are reading them.  There are plenty of sites that “break” news.  That’s not what you’re here for.  So instead, I’ve decided to wait until I have a bunch of items that interest me, and then blast out a healthy essay.

But before I launch into the main story, there’s two fantastic pieces of news from FOX studios.  First, the Fantastic Four reboot has been postponed.  Sure, it’s only two months (June to August of 2015), but I appreciate any time between now and the horrid destruction of Jack and Stan’s most important cocreation.  Seriously.  It’s not that there are minorities cast in main roles, that doesn’t bother me.  It’s everything I’ve read about it, from the cast being told not to read the comics to the fact that based on their ethnicities it appears they will not be a family anymore.  And family is at the heart of F4.  It was the whole basis for the team’s creation!

But there’s much better news: DEADPOOL IS A GO!  Put in your leave requests from work now: On February 12, 2016, we’ll get the movie, to be directed by newcomer Tim Miller.  Miller did visual effects for Blur Studios, which is the company behind the Deadpool test footage that leaked over the summer.  No word on whether Ryan Reynolds, a longtime advocate of the film, will get the lead, or whether they’ll be using the script written by the folks behind Zombieland, which got stamps of approval from Reynolds, Rob Liefeld, and the great Guillermo Del Toro.

And in other news…

THE ROCK IS BLACK, AND D.C.’S MOVIEVERSE STRATEGY.

the rock as black adamDwayne Johnson will play the villain in a Shazam movie coming some time after 2015, to be written by Darren “Shrek Forever After” and “Goosebumps” Lemke.  Yes, it’s being written by a guy who writes kids’ films.  DC has said it will have a different “tone” from the Batman/Superman movies.  Frankly, I think DC’s attempt to create a shared movieverse is a mistake.  Marvel owns, really, only one iconic character: Spider-Man.  And they don’t even own the movie rights to him ‘cause they sold them back in the 1990s.  When you’re relying on characters that many people have never heard of (Black Widow, Hawkeye) or most only know of from a show they watched as a kid (Hulk), a shared universe brings a sense of importance and consequence to each movie.  Sure, Captain America is an icon now, but ten years ago?  And Iron Man was at best a B-lister before Robert Downey, Jr., got involved.  At least compared to Batman, Superman, and even Wonder Woman.  Hell, even Green Lantern!  Since DC’s characters are already iconic, there’s no need to create a shared universe: These characters can stand alone.  Batman did it recently for a trilogy that was appreciated by critics and most fanboys.  By doing this, DC can have a different character for its movies.  Frankly, if it were me, I would have introduced Batman 2.0 (aka Baffleck) in his own movie, with Robin, and maybe only brought Wonder Woman into the next Superman movie.  Then, they could have released Wonder Woman solo, Teen Titans, and then Batman vs. Superman.  I’m not saying tying Batman and Superman together is a mistake (but I do think it’s way, way, waaaaay too soon), but I am saying keeping Shazam separate is a good idea.  And I think it would be a good idea if they did the same for some other lesser characters, like Hitman, Lobo, Aquaman, Manhunter, or Sinister Six.  All those would make great movies, but each would be a unique kind of film that would suffer if it were knit too closely with the bigger franchise.

DC ON TV.  DC’s movieverse may still be a confused and rushed mess, but there may be hope for its TV verse.  In addition to the generally well-liked Arrow, there’s its spin-off, Flash (coming 10/1, and I’m extremely optimistic), and Gotham (coming next week, and I am extremely skeptical).  And there’s even more arriving:

  • Supergirl by the guy behind Arrow and Flash is in development, and of all of them, I think this one has the most potential.
  • ConstantineComing October 24th, a TV series that is sure to suck.  But DC is very interested in its “dark” universe.  Which is ironic, because Marvel seems to proving that hope and light sell.  In fact, Thor: The Dark World was the worst Marvel movie to date.
  • Lucifer.  Speaking of dark stuff, this one is based on the Vertigo series about Lucifer Morningstar from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman (Sandman is also being developed, for the big screen)
  • Titans.  See, it might be cool to see a show about Nightwing, Raven, and Starfire.  But it’ll be on TNT.
  • And to heat up the internet, Machinima is partnering with DC for a series of animated shorts called, “Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles,” leading up to a 2015 full-length animated film produced by the geniuses behind “Batman: The Animated Series.” It’s another “dark” take on DC heroes.

BUT WHAT ABOUT D.C.’S COMICS?  WELL, IF THERE WAS EVER A REASON TO READ THEM, IT’S GAIL SIMONE.

I read about twenty Marvel comics each month (but granted, only about twelve are really worth the read), about the same number of indie books, and only two DC comics: Batman (because when it’s good, it’s very good) and Superman (because I’m enjoying Geoff Johns and J.R.Jr.’s work).  But now they’ve announced a reboot of Gail Simone’s brilliant Sinister Six book—a comic so good I’ve featured it here on my blog.  The revised team will include Black Alice and Catman, members of Simone’s previous SS teams, and we’re promised that Catman will, finally, be overtly bisexual.  The rest of the cast has not been disclosed.  Like I said, this may be reason to increase my DC reading by one title.

MARVEL COMICS ON THE OTHER HAND…

…Are generally still good, cape-based corporate fun.  Most don’t break a lot of new ground (notable exceptions being Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, and She-Hulk), but they’re comforting to my childhood soul.  And here’s some neat stuff coming soon:

  • Spider-Man and The X-Men: In which Wolverine, who’s dead by December, is replaced by a non-mutant.  It will be written by Elliott Kalan (a writer for The Daily Show) and drawn by Marco Failla. Mutant cast will include Jean Grey, Shark Girl, Hellion, Rockslide, Jubilee, Glob Herman, Eye Boy, No-Girl, Ernst, and others.  Hmm. A few Grant Morrison creations getting the spotlight—about time!
  • Powers: On Marvel’s creator-owned Icon imprint, a new ongoing by series creators Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming—presumably to capitalize on the coming TV show.

MEANWHILE, AT MARVEL STUDIOS…

Scott “Silence of the Lambs” Glenn will play Daredevil’s ninja mentor, Stick.  Aside from David Carradine, I can’t think of a better person for the role.

AND FINALLY, IN THE WORLD THAT ISN’T MARVEL/DC….

A NEW ALAN MOORE COMIC THAT HE WON’T OWN THE RIGHTS TO SO HE’LL PROBABLY SHIT ALL OVER IT IN A FEW YEARS.  But that would be strangely appropriate, as the book in question is a new “Crossed” miniseries.  Six issues of profane, disgusting, and completely offensive violence from one of the best writers in the industry.  It will take place 100 years after the first cases of the crossed disease.  Moore did Neonomicon with Avatar Press a few years ago, and is publishing a sequel (“Providence”) with them as well.  And that book had explicit demon-on-human rape.

THE GHOSTBUSTERS CINEMATIC UNIVERSE.   The Hollywood Reporter quoted Dan Aykroyd as saying that the Ghostbusters franchise should get a bunch of movies and TV shows, saying: “I’m thinking what does the whole brand mean to Sony? What does Pixar and Star Wars mean to Disney? What does Marvel mean to Fox?”  Dude.  You’re comparing a franchise that was only good once (in the first movie) to the Star Wars movies?  The Marvel movies?  Pixar?

GHOST IN THE SHELL.  Last but not least, Margot Robbie, best known for teasing us with her crotch in Wolf of Wall Street, may be starring in a movie verison of Masamune Shirow’s manga, Ghost in the Shell.

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