The headline news: Sony has announced the next installments of the webhead franchise, even though the sequel isn’t out yet. Amazing Spider-Man 2 arrives less than two weeks (May 2), and ASM3 is slated for June 10, 2016, to be followed by the two spin-off movies (no word on whether Spidey will appear in those movies, or what version of Venom we’ll be seeing). Y’all probably know that the Sinister 6 are six of Spidey’s most famous villains, including Rhino and Electro, and that all six will be introduced in ASM2 next month. But you might not know that Drew Goddard has been signed as director of the Sinister Six spin-off film. Marvel Studios had already gotten Goddard to be the showrunner for their Daredevil Netflix series, which starts filming in July, so it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to work on Marvel projects from both the Sony and Marvel Studios sides.

What does this mean? It means Spider-Man won’t be another three-movies-then-a-reboot, as has been done with the character before (and was done with Batman and Superman as well). I actually spoke with a guy at a comic shop yesterday who said he thought the Amazing Spider-Man movie was better than any of the Sam Raimi films. That man should be fired. My only hope is that the sequel is way, way better than the first one. And, you know, sequels usually are so much better than first films. Just look at Jaws 2!

Actually, now that I think about it, in recent years sequels actually have surpassed originals in many cases: Captain America Winter Soldier, The Wolverine, and Kick-Ass 2 being prime examples. And if we just look at “next” films, Iron Man 3 was better than Iron Man 2; X-Men: First Class was much better than X3; and the Fast and the Furious movies get better each time (except for #2). Of course, then there are Iron Man 2, Star Trek 2, Thor 2, Anchorman 2, Muppets Most Wanted, GI Joe: Retaliation, 300: Rise of an Empire, R.E.D. 2…All worse than the originals.

My only point is that past performance is even less of an indicator of future promise than ever before. Anyway, in other news….

MULTIVERSITY IS FINALLY COMING! The first issue of the long-awaited Grant Morrison DC project will arrive in stores on August 2014. It’s been rumored and discussed for almost a decade. The 10-issue limited series will feature different genres (Golden Age! Silver Age!) and artists for each storyline (several of whom are regular Morrison collaborators like Frank Quitely and Cameron Stewart), and will combine heroes from all 52 DC Earths, including the sons of Batman and Superman, the Charlton heroes (famously updated in The Watchmen), the Question, Nazis, a whole world of Shazam heroes, Captain Carrot, The Blue Beetle, the black Superman from Morrison’s underrated Action Comics run, Dr. Fate, and a dude called Dino-Cop. If it sounds a little like Morrison’s brilliant Seven Soldiers, it also will tell seven different stories. It also promises to break the fourth wall by putting the reader in the storyline. There’s no way this isn’t the best series of the year, right?

BOYS AND GIRLS ARE DIFFERENT. The producers of the Green Lantern cartoon ran a focus group for kids and found out that boys dug the action scenes and chicks liked the kissing. So tumblr and all those other too-correct-for-words sites can now stand down and admit that there’s an actual difference between the genders. And that there’s nothing wrong with that.

ORIGINAL SIN. I’m usually skeptical about Marvel events. They tend to be let-downs. But Original Sin has got me intrigued. A murder mystery involving the Watcher’s secrets allows Marvel the opportunity to add gloss (or even retcon) so many of its characters. Some of the things that have been teased sound like they could be springboards for cool, character-driven stories. How often does an event lead to something like that? The most interesting rumor is: Was Tony Stark responsible for the Gamma Bomb accident that created Hulk?

GROO VS. CONAN. I don’t usually like to write about books that aren’t coming out for many months, but in July Dark Horse will offer a four issue miniseries about the two best barbarians ever. It’s not often that a humor-based satire character meets his inspiration. It would be like Squadron Supreme fighting the Justice League, or Destroyer Duck taking on Howard the Duck. The creative team will be the Groo team of Mark Evanier and the great Sergio Aragonés, so Groo appears to have the home court advantage.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #100. I’m not checking Marvel’s math, but issue #14 is being touted as the 100th issue of GotG if you ignore the renumberings between the 1970s series and the one by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Marvel is celebrating by bringing in a new editorial team, a new artist (Nick Bradshaw), and most important: New members. Flash Thompson Venom and Captain Marvel will now be on the team.

FREE INHUMAN #1. Marvel’s first issue of “Inhuman,” the book that is supposed to launch a new direction for the Marvel Universe (by basically making The Inhumans into a new mutant population), will be free as a back up feature to April 30’s Amazing Spider-Man #1. Yes, the entire issue will be republished as a back up feature. Presumably because nobody bought it. I guess they think giving it away will generate new readers. But the problem with Inhuman #1 was…It kinda sucked.

MORE WARREN ELLIS COMICS. He’s definitely in my top 5 of writers working today, and when he hits a home run (like with Secret Avengers or NEXTwave or Fell), he’s my absolute favorite. Ellis has signed with Dynamite to reboot their “Project Superpowers” superhero universe—which consists of superheroes from the 1940s that are all in the public domain now.

AND ON THE BIG (and little) SCREEN….Lots of new projects developed this week:

  • CAPTAIN AMERICA VERSUS SUPERMAN. And speaking of Captain America: In a fit of pure, brash confidence, Marvel Studios has announced that Captain America 3 will open on May 6, 2016…The same day as Man of Steel 2. That’s a big risk, particularly since the new MoS film will basically be a Justice League movie. I know where I’ll be that weekend (I’ll be seeing both). Even though I really didn’t like Man of Steel—how can I not see the sequel? This is a ballsy move, but on the other hand, Warner Bros has already rescheduled MoS2 once already (moving it from 2015 to 2016), and we’re still two years away. Two years! Hurry up with that next Cap film already!
  • DREADSTAR! Jim Starlin’s “Dreadstar,” one of my favorite comics as a young lad and teen, has been optioned. I know that’s nowhere close to actually being a movie, but it’s closer than ever before, right?
  • WHO IS JAKE ELLIS? The Image Comics series that put Nathan Edmondson on the map may be adapted for the big screen by the writer of “Hanna,” a highly underrated action flick that all of you should go see right now.
  • SUPERIOR. One of Mark Millar’s better efforts, the comic was in many ways “Ultimate Shazam” (it’s about a boy who magically becomes an adult superhero) is being looked at for a movie by 20th Century Fox. Wonder how he got the connections? (Kidding of course—Millar is Fox’s official consultant on all their Marvel films.)
  • AGENT CARTER. There have been rumors for months about a pilot TV show for the chick with the laundry basket in Winter Soldier, who barely had anything to do, but now the rumor is it is going straight to series…And that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been renewed for a season two. Good on both. Marvel TV’s first season was rocky, but by the end they finally seemed to be figuring out what the show was about.
  • 12 MONKEYS. SyFy has ordered a full season of episodes of a series based on one of the most brilliant time travel movies ever made. Can an IDW comic book be far behind?
  • SCALPED. Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra’s wonderful Indian reservation thriller comic (published by Vertigo) is in development at WGN America, with Doug “Banshee” Jung signed on as writer.

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