Except for a brief run by Warren Ellis, Marvel’s Secret Avengers book has always … sucked. But as a tie-in to their current “Original Sin” event, the Secret Avengers are going to appear in Mighty Avengers. “Mighty,” aka “the black Avengers,” is probably the most fun Avengers book on the market, and the most in line with what the book has always been about up until Brian Michael Bendis abandoned the title. From its inception through the 2000s, all of the Avengers titles (New, Mighty, Dark, etc.) were about fun: Getting a whole mess of heroes together and letting them rip it up and interact. Recently, though, at the hands of Hickman and Remender, the titles have become cosmic, complex and humorless. This has infected all the spin-offs as well, except one. Al Ewing’s work on Mighty Avengers has had the right tone, the right balance of drama, melodrama, and character-based interaction, and, most of all, the right combination of powerful and less powerful, street and super. So when I learned he’s be telling a tale of a 1972 Avengers team, I immediately double checked my pull list. I’m hoping for some good old Power Man and Iron Fist stuff…Incidentially, PM&IF is probably the comic I re-read more than any other, except maybe Frank Miller’s Daredevil.
Maybe I should do a feature on Power Man and Iron Fist, reading every issue? I’ve thought about it a lot, but I’m afraid I’ll find the series too dated. What do you all think?
With the massive information dump (mostly from Marvel) at Chicago’s Comic Con last week, there’s tons of stuff we all need to catch up on. I’ve organized it roughly by publisher, in short, sharp articles– so you don’t have to read too much. Let’s do this…
THE D.C. MOVIEVERSE
Lots of news on this front. First of all, some dude named Ray Fisher has been cast as Cyborg in the upcoming Batman/Superman movie starring Henry “boring Superman” Cavill and Ben “I ruined Daredevil” Affleck. Second, DC has announced that Zak “my Watchmen adaptation wasn’t awful” Snyder’s third and final DC film will indeed be a Justice League movie. I’m not saying that I have low expectations for this film, but keep in mind that it was chased away from a July 17, 2015 debut date by Ant Man.
DC is also developing movie versions of Captain “Shazam” Marvel, The Metal Men, and several Vertigo series including Sandman, 100 Bullets and Fables, but they all seem very far away from production.
Their TV roster is far more impressive, with a Batman prequel (Gotham), more seasons Arrow, its spin-off The Flash, and iZombie and Constantine, which won’t be as easily identified with DC by the mainstream public. And it’s not clear if these shows will tie to the movie versions of Batman and, inevitably, Flash and Green Arrow. Or if including Renee Montoya on Gotham means she won’t be The Question if they ever get around to letting Guillermo Del Toro do that Dark Justice League movie he keeps talking about (and which would be the only DC project I’d jump and down about in excitement).
As usual, DC is a mess. They have great properties and no vision.
Say what you want about Mark Millar as a writer (in my book, he’s half genius, half hack), but you can’t deny his ability as a marketer. His newest comic, “MPH,” which just launched on May 21, was optioned for film before it was published. This, in addition to ongoing deals for Superior, a sequel to Wanted, another Kick-Ass movie, and an adaptation of The Secret Service to be directed by Matthew Vaughn.
THE MARVEL MOVIEVERSE
Marvel calls it the “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” but come on. Marvel makes movies, not cinema. Damn fine movies, though. And they proved it by having the highest grossing April release of all time—Captain America: Winter Soldier pulled in $225 million last month in US sales alone.
Also, Stan Lee will appear in Guardians of the Galaxy. Yay! For all the grief people give him as a corporate shill who did nothing but steal from Jack Kirby, I have to say: He’s done a lot for the industry and deserves all the accolades he gets. Kirby does, too. It’s not a zero-sum game.
THE XBOX VERSE
Not a typo. Xbox Entertainment Studio, which is owned by Microsoft, is will produce a live-action miniseries based on Chuck Dixon and Jorge Zaffino’s IDW comic book Winterworld. Dixon is known for muscular writing and good plots—so it makes perfect sense to me. I haven’t read the book (I tend to avoid IDW titles), but I hear it takes place in the future and is about survivors fighting to survive an ice age.
X-Box will also be adopting Gun Machine, a novel by one of the greatest comic book writers of all time, Warren Ellis.
Yeah, they were responsible for the glorious crap that was Sharknado. But they also did Battlestar Galactica, one of the best Science Fiction shows of all time. So let’s hold out hope that their planned adaptation of Frank Miller’s Ronin series goes well. I loved that book. See why here.
SyFy is also planning to adapt Jonathan Hickman’s Pax Romana (with Hickman attached as an exec producer) (Image Comics); Letter 44 by Charles Soule and Alberto Alburquerque (Oni Press); and Juan Jose Ryp’s Clone (also Image).
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, THE CHEWVERSE: The movie fell through. The Showtime live-action show is deader than the people Tony Chu eats. But the cartoon? It’s well underway, with voicework by Steven “Walking Dead” Yeun and Felica Day.
Now, on to the main event. But first: An editorial.
I know Marvel scored big with its movie announcements, promises of Winter Soldier, Falcon, and more Thanos (and, remarkably, still no talk of Avengers 2). But on the comic book front, their panels were underwhelming and underinformative. And why, with all these movies, do they never mention comic books? Why is there no kid-holding-a-comic in a Marvel movie? Why no advertising their print line in a little during-the-credits bump? I actually though Jonah Hex—a terrible movie by any standard—did one thing right: In the opening credits, his origin was told using panels from the comic book.
Here’s my fear: Marvel’s A-List talent either goes to the screen where the money is (see: Brian Michael Bendis, Jeph Loeb, Joe Casey, others) or decides to go indie (see: Ed Brubaker, Paolo Rivera, Matt Fraction), and Marvel starts giving away its comics like pamphlets used to promote movies. Kinda like what Mark Millar is basically doing, writing 5-issue comic storyboards for films.
Marvel: Remember who made you (and, frankly, who keeps making you—without comic fans and bloggers, you’re toast). Invest, promote, and produce the best comic books. Like you always have, frankly.
I guess I’m just nervous.
Hit the break to find out what’s news for Marvel’s properties…