1. BLACK PANTHER IS DAREDEVIL. Okay, lead story has to be that the Gambit rumors were all wet and the new Daredevil is T’Challa. Or will be, anyway, when Daredevil #513 comes out and the title is: Black Panther: Man Without Fear. It’s all temporary until we get Daredevil: Reborn next year, a miniseries by Andy Diggle. BP:MWF will bring BP back to his karate-chop roots, as he’s not in Wakanda anywmore. Just as well. The Black Panther series itself got stale, mostly because BP was portrayed as a guy with so much cool tech and bodyguards that nothing could hurt him. He lost his “man of the people” roots. All this is more than a little annoying, because the Daredevil book was selling well and the stories were great. I don’t know why DD needed a reboot. But maybe it’s because Bendis and then Brubaker had basically taken the character so far down that the only way out was through the bottom. Again. Daredevil seems to go through this over and over. And over. Anyway, if Diggle really can freshen up Daredevil so he doesn’t basically go through the same cycle again (rises back from the bottom, beats Kingpin, gets darker, turns back on friends, falls), I’m all for this. I must admit being disappointed that the Gambit-as-DD rumor ain’t true, but I’ve always wanted to have a great Black Panther book to read, and I’ve never really gotten one.
2. RUNAWAYS MOVIE. The story now is that a Runaways Movie (based on Brian Vaughn’s Marvel series about a group of kids who find out that their parents are a society of super villains) will start shooting in LA in March, and will be directed by Peter “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist” Sollet. The comic book started strong and then kind of petered out after about 10 issues. We’ll see what they do with the flick.
3. MAD TV. Cartoon Network ran the first eps. You’ll never guess what happened. I laughed! A lot! And my 11-year-old son laughed so hard he couldn’t breathe. It’s actually very good, particularly for boys age 10-13. Which is pretty much how my mind runs anyway. The Regular Show, on in the same half-hour block, is pretty funny, too.
4. DOC STRANGE! There’s new rumors that Brendan McCarthy, the writer of Spider-Man: Fever, will pen a Doctor Strange animated movie for Pixar. Seems far-fetched to me. Plus, although I enjoyed last year’s Marvel DVD Dr. Strange movie, I can’t say I find his character all that compelling. I do love the Mindless Ones, though. I used to have sexual fantasies about . . . Sorry, I digress.
5. I REFUSE TO REPORT ON THE SPIDEY MUSICAL.
6. WHAT IF STAN LEE WROTE WHAT IF #200? Marvel is doing more creative numbering and will release What If #200 later this year, with a tale by the generally-pretty-good Marc Guggenheim (with Dave Wilkins on the art) titled, “What if Norman Osborn Won the Siege of Asgard?” It could be good, although the recent What If? stories have been universally underwhelming. The back up story will be by Stan the Man, with art by one of the best Marvel artists around, Dale Eaglesham, and is titled, “What if the Watcher Murdered Galactus?” I dunno if you’ve been reading Stan’s back-up stories (comedies) in Amazing Spider-Man, but they’ve been pretty good. Nowhere near as self-indulgent as some of his “classic” writing. This is actually a book I’d consider buying just for the back up feature.
7. THE RETURN OF HEROES FOR HIRE. Looks like, based on official Marvel teasers, the title will return starring Falcon and Elektra. Strange union. Sadly, no return of Palmiotti and Gray, who made the first return of Heroes for Hire a terrifically terrific romp.
8. SALES FIGURES! And for the ubernerds out there (raise your collectible white lantern rings if you got ‘em!), the Diamond sales figures are out for July and Brightest Day, as usual, took the top two slots with three Avengers books right behind it. I don’t know about you all, but I find Brightest Day a crashing bore. On the trade paperback front, Scott Pilgrim and Walking Dead continue to dominate. Shows the power of movie and TV to sell comics—but not necessarily vice versa, apparently, as Scott Pilgrim was a box office dud.