And suddenly I am nine years old again… Best picture of the year. Maybe ever.
And they’re reading a STAR WARS SCRIPT!!!
And suddenly I am nine years old again… Best picture of the year. Maybe ever.
And they’re reading a STAR WARS SCRIPT!!!
Let’s be honest – it’s the aging population of comic book readers flock to most comic cons, stinking up the place with their questionable hygiene and passionate apathy (oxymoron? Ask most fanboys what they think of the New 52 and they will summon amazing amounts of zeal in describing how little they care). And occasionally, a lone voice cries in the wilderness… didn’t comics used to be for kids?
They still are – you just have to know where to look. I give you Kids Comic Con in the Bronx.
The organizers of this event have gone to painstaking lengths to ensure this is a safe, fun environment for kids to embrace a love for comics. This goes way beyond simply making sure that the artists only bring “family friendly” material and to keep the area safe. Representatives from the likes of Archie Comics and Sesame Street will be on hand. A variety of organized cosplayers representing classic and popular Marvel and DC characters will be on hand for photo ops. The kindest, most encouraging portfolio reviews will be conducted for the kids. Several panels specifically designed to teach kids will be conducted by professionals in the field.
They’ve also been conducting a fundraiser to help provide free comics to kids – let’s get them reading!!!
And admission? FREE.
There’s also a little group-participation art competition called “Doodle Scribble Draw” in which some of the artists will be teamed with a group of kids and parents to meet challenges issued by the audience and by game creator/host Mark Mariano.
And while I don’t normally take up this blog space to hawk my own comic book work, that’s where I come in. I signed up because I thought it would be fun. Then I found out the prize is a pro-wrestling style belt. And I wants it precious. So check out the video link below, and I hope to see you May 11 in da Bronx!
You know, normally I have enough class NOT to simply make my post something derogatory about my erstwhile arch nemesis, the Evil Guy.
Yeah, but not today.
Recently I finally came across a long-missing gap in my Slott She-Hulk run, the elusive Civil War issue. And I knew just how I could enjoy it most – get Dan Slott to autograph it on my birthday, aka Free Comic Book Day.
And here is now he signed it.
Just sayin… hope that settles a certain matter there, “Spider Pal.”
We have a few updates coming, but this one is time sensitive and we needed to get it out quickly. Marvel Comics has brought Comixology to its knees, and you should be really excited about it. Here’s the how and why of it all:
Earlier this weekend at SXSW, a trade show for all things “music, film, and interactive,” Marvel made a few interesting announcements. Some were fairly easy to have predicted, such as Marvel’s upcoming move to producing a weekly Infinity Comics series. Others, like Project Gamma, and Earth’s Mightiest Show hosted by Blair Butler, I don’t think much of anyone saw coming. Click any of those links for videos explaining the details and the concepts, they’re worth watching.
There was one announcement that Marvel closed with, though, that seems to have been a bigger hit than any of the above buzz, though. Marvel’s #1 promotion, teased earlier this week, was revealed to be a collection of 700 first issues, one shots, and annuals being given away FOR FREE until 11PM on March 12th.
LOTS OF FREE DIGITAL COMICS, PEOPLE.
Unsurprisingly, Comixology defecated the linens, as they say. The downloads are going no where fast. The site does, however, appear to be registering your purchases. So it is entirely possible for you to reserve yourself a nice fat pile of free comics, and download them later when the server is under a more normal load.
Here are some of the highlights to be had for free:
Dark Reign: The List – Most issues of The List were stand-alones that focused on a particular character or team being taken off the board by Normal Osborne during the height of his power. Each issue was self contained, and most were very good – particularly The Amazing Spider-man issue.
Annuals – There are a LOAD of annuals ranging from the classic, such as Fantastic Four v1 Annual 1, to Bronze Age nostalgia like New Mutants v1 Annual 1, to more recent hits like New Avengers v2 Annual 1 or Avenging Spider-man Annual 1. Annuals are a great choice on this list because they’re also largely self contained, and usually pretty good reads.
Marvel’s Cosmic Titles – Marvel is drumming up interest in its cosmic oriented titles, and you can get a wide sampling from both Annihilation events and The Thanos Imperative. Not too many stand alone issues here, but if Marvel is going to plant a hook in your mouth, GoodGuy and I would both agree that these series are great ones to get hooked on.
Classics and Guilty Pleasures – You can indulge yourself in true classics such as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s earliest works on classic Marvel titles such as Fantastic Four (I’m curious to see how some of that looks on a tablet, personally). Marvel is also offering up a smattering of more unusual #1 issues from characters such as Moon Knight, Dazzler, Balder the Brave, Cloak and Dagger, Nextwave, Alpha Flight, and more.
Giant Size Astonishing X-Men – This issue (for some reason broken up on line as two issues, possibly due to its large page count) has come to be regarded in a lot of circles as a modern X-Men classic. For the low low price of FREE I don’t see how you can go wrong here.
Get out there and get your freebies reserved. Even if you don’t get that wonderful instant gratification that Comixology is known for, you will be essentially sending your future self some great reads down the line.
Ben “the EvilGuy” West
Okay, at this point, if you haven’t read Amazing Spiderman 698-700, shame on you. Turn in your Merry Marvel Marching Society card. And if you’re not old enough to know what that is, sorry. Not really. I will warn you that spoilers are a plenty from here if you’re behind in your reading, so try and catch up, will you? You can’t expect the Internet to wait for YOU to take your sweet time waiting to get around to what’s really important in life.
As we proceed into the era of Superior Spider-Man, virtually every discussion includes variations on the following:
WHINING of the HATERS: Wah! You killed Peter Parker! I hate change! Marvel sucks! Look how tough I am by using big boy words to display how narrow minded and immature I am! Wah! Change my diaper!
CYNICAL SPOILSPORT: Don’t worry, they’re gonna bring Peter Parker back within a year.
PERSPECTIVE: Chill out and enjoy the ride. In Slott we trust.
We at GvE are of the third category, and clearly biased against the first. I am reminded that everyone is entitled to their opinions, however, even if they are stupid.
Addressing the middle category, lets be clear, NOBODY thinks you’re a genius psychic for predicting this. Other people have stepped in for Superman, but Clark Kent always comes back. Same for Iron Man, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Thor, Ghost Rider, Bucky, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, you name it. These are icons. In the end, everything new is old again. The powers that be have hundreds of millions invested in Peter Parker as Spider-Man. And that’s okay. We get to take a welcome diversion that will develop Parker and make him that much more interesting at the end of what WE expect will be a very cool arc.
That said, while Dan Slott takes us on this wild ride, here are the players you want to watch.
LIZARD – I’ve already mentioned this earlier. Doc confession prison confession to Peter (when he thought he was talking to Ock) was significant. We now know that, somehow, Connors is in control of his alter ego. That little nugget HAS to have some value to Peter, wherever he is (and I’m guessing where he is is buried in his own sub conscience under Otto). Developments in Avenging Spider-Man and issue 700 seem to be hinting that Peter is in there somewhere and swarming hard to pull some strings. Connors HAS to be number one on his radar.
MORBIUS -For much the same reason as the above, Peter briefly considered allowing Ock’s goons to free the living vampire. Parker has issues with him right now for sure, but there’s a reason he had become a player at Horizon Labs in recent days, and he played a role in Connors’ recent work as well.
SCARLET SPIDER – For some, Ben Reilly still remains an albatross of the abysmal Spider Clone saga. But recently, he’s been holding his own and gaining a following as a darker, less friendly neighborhood Spider-man. His confrontation with Superior Spider-Man is inevitable. Ad who knows Peter better than Peter’s own clone?
VENOM – This ones a double whammy. Pete’s best friend, Flash Thompson, and the symbiote that loves him. How will both react to a Peter Parker that ain’t quite right?
SILVER SABLE – Thought dead in Doc Ock’s last outing, but no body was recovered – and we all know what THAT means. What has she learned in her time buried in one of Otto’s old bases?
MARY JANE – She’s no dummy. She had it figured out once before. How long before she pieces the clues together?
AUNT MAY – Her ex-husband is in her nephew’s body. Ick.
NORMAN OSBORN – Another inevitable player just for shock value. But Osborn has taken shock value to incredible levels in the past few years. If he plays a role, it won’t be a bit role. I won’t even hazard a guess here how this will play out, just that it will be ugly if he’s in the game. Bottom line is that he’s been silent in Peter’s life since the end of Siege, and it’s time.
JACKAL – I’ve also mentioned this one before – it was not an accident that a lame character like Jackal was pulled out of moth balls recently. My guess is that sub-conscious Parker is going to suddenly have a very keen interest in clones of himself.
MADAME WEB – Remember, she predicted this. How long before she puts it all together?
THE SINISTER THREE – Hydroman, Paste Pot Pete and Scorpion. Spider-Man “killed” Doc Ock while he owed them each a few million bucks for busting him out of prison. They will need to take it out of someone’s hide.
MR FANTASTIC – Dark horse here. Smartest man alive, although probably would be aloof enough not to notice slight variations in Parker’s behavior. However, he IS the leader of the Fantastic Four, of which Spidey is a member (like Eric Clapton to the Beatles). He also has a weird little history with Doc Ock. Anyone remember that storyline? Sue’s second pregnancy during the John Byrne days?
There are a bunch others, or course. Black Cat. The Avengers. The Human Torch. The other third of the Sinister Six (Rhino and Mysterio). The list goes on.
Sure, part of the purpose of this little essay is to show you how smart I am. But more than anything, I wanted to demonstrate why I’m excited about this upcoming story arc. The possibilities are huge and mind boggling. And my bet is, Dan Slott is giggling his little head about what he has in mind.
Gonna be a fun ride!
Now watch Newsarama rip this off when they come out with their own oh-so-witty Top-Ten List list this week. I can’t wait to link to it!!!
Ain’t I a stinker?
So, heard any good stories lately?
No, seriously, spoilers freaking abound from this point forward.
Yes, Dan Slott has done it and delivered – as promised, and reiterated for the last 100+ issues of Amazing Spider-man – a finale that hasn’t simply broken the Internet in half, but tore down its walls and let the roof collapse on the huddled masses within. Doctor Otto Gunther Octavius, better known to the masses as Doctor Octopus, has finally and undeniably defeated Spider-man.
That’s right, folks. Doc Ock’s middle name is Gunther. You Adventure Time fans out there may revel in your moment of narrative parity and justice.
For the rest of the non-Adventure Time fans, the impact is slightly more accentuated upon the multistage twists and turns that issue 700 has taken us through, as at each turn Spidey and Doc Ock play a game of one upmanship. Each of them has access to the other’s memories and resources, each of them laying down moves and counters at an alarming rate, until finally one is left standing.
And this time, people, the bad guy has won. As he should have. But at a terrible price – he is now so burdened with thousands of issues of continuity that he… er, that is, he is now understanding the full weight of what drove Peter Parker to be Spider-man that he, himself, has succumbed to the urge not only to be Spider-man himself, but to be a smarter, improved, and yes, Superior Spider-man.
Look for it in a couple of weeks at your local comic shop, fans.
For those that can’t wait for a taste of what the future holds, Avenging Spider-man 15.1 does a nice job of setting up the new status quo for our
protagonist antagonist main character. It is clear to we the readers that this is Doctor Octopus fully in charge of Peter’s body, powers, professional life, and (most alarmingly) his personal life. It is obvious at this early point that even as the Doc’s ego clouds his judgement that even if he were inclined to try to be exactly like Peter Parker he couldn’t do it – his voice, his needs, his priorities are still completely Otto Octavius. He still needs the goggles. He is most comfortable in the lab. His feelings for Aunt May are very strong, but for totally different reasons.
Things are going to get interesting from here for the duration of this part of the ride. How long will this go on? How long will we go without Peter Parker as Spider-man?
Well, let me turn my own intellect to that question.
The conventional wisdom seems to be that with the sequel to the (horrid) Amazing Spider-man film already in the works that Peter Parker will be back in time for that film’s release. After all, we’ve got to have the comic match up to the expectations set by the new movie, right? … right? Or have we seen this kind of thing go wrong before?
Heh. I can feel the shudders from those of our readers who are well versed in their comics history. It. Is. Tasty.
For those less steeped in comics lore, may I present The Life of Reilly in all of its 35 part glory. Or, if you prefer, we can call it The Clone Saga.
Yes, Peter Parker has been replaced before, and anyone who was reading it in the 90s can tell you that WOW did it go off the rails. And as it left the rails it jumped a school of sharks. And then it train wrecked. And then I ran out of abused cliches about narratives that went tremendously poorly. And then it kept going after that. For two years, across every Spider-man related title.
Why did it go so far off course, and last so much longer than intended? The Life of Reilly tells it better, and I’m sure our friend Arlen Schumer could get hours of really entertaining material out of it, but it comes down to Marvel’s marketing department begging for it to be stretched out because sales were so high.
And we all know history has a way of repeating itself.
Either way I find this all vastly entertaining, both as a reader and as a blogger. Will Ock-as-Spidey gain a following that merits a continuance of this take on the character? Will it crash and burn, forcing Marvel to return Peter Parker prematurely? That, folks, is likely more interesting than anything that will end up on the page, even with Dan Slott at the top of his game.
Ben “the EvilGuy” West
Some things are just too cool not to post, and at the same time too cool for words.
So I leave you with a link and a picture:
A few more entries in the Marvel Now debut kickoffs. All three of these titles had very VERY recent relaunches already, so the purpose of the relaunch here is PURELY to capitalize on the increased sales of a premier issue. But dear readers, we deserve better than that! We deserve something huge in a relaunch, don’t we? I’m not talking about an event. I am talking about a quality, character driven story, a stellar creative team and a first issue that makes me want to buy the next.
Aaaaand we have a winner!
CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 – In a word, outstanding. Rick Remender takes Cap WAY out of his comfort zone, but as one might expect, Cap handles it with a grace that says, “Take care of business first, be awestruck later.” A classic villain in new digs, and the amazing art team of John Romita Jr and Klaus Janson. DYING to read the next issue – that’s what cliffhangers are all about!
INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #1 – Honestly, it’s a little hard to imagine that we could still cover new ground with Hulk, and this issue kinda proves that. Having Hulk work for SHIELD is new but not exactly groundbreaking, ya know? Therefore its up to Mark Waid to make it exciting. Waid in my opinion is genius of a writer, proven by his amazing runs on Fantastic Four, Irredeemable and Daredevil among others. He’s able to get inside the heads of his cast and make it very real and very clever. I have complete confidence that he will be taking us on some terrifically violent adventures with lots of wow moments, and issue 1 sets it up. PS – It helps to read Banner’s parts like Mark Ruffalo.
THOR GOD OF THUNDER #1 – In the words of Meat Loaf, two outta three ain’t bad. Thor is an epic fail. Jason Aaron takes us on a weird little trip back in time and out in space, playing on the idea that Thor is a god who, as a god, also answers prayers and even polices other gods, like they all go to conventions once a year or something. This book blew chunks. It left me confused, apathetic and utterly disinterested in the next issue. I was actually thinking, wow, we have a little sci if spin here, a little Hercules spin, a little cockiness – but it didn’t work at all for me. Two words Marvel – WALT SIMONSON. Make it happen.
In other news, DEADPOOL #2 hit on all cylinders. Who’d a thunk this would become one of my favorite books overnight? And we’re winding into AMAZING SPIDER-MAN‘s conclusion at issue 700 with Dan Slott’s controversial storyline that will leave someone sinister behind the red mask. The internet has been breaking in half over the developments over there – the hate is laughable, and the Slott loyalists are laughing all the way like it’s the roller coaster of our lives. Slott has been taking a stagnant Peter Parker to new levels since he got started. This next step now seems inevitable.
You know, it’s hard to snark on DC’s New 52 from last year’s relaunch given their sales figures (at least that’s how the board and shareholders see it), but in terms of quality, delivery, and honoring the loyalty of the fans, Marvel NOW is beating that over-hyped garbage hands down. The disenchanted DC fans are growing louder, and sales from that camp are dissolving rapidly. With the cancellation of FRANKENSTEIN, I will personally be down to reading just one DC title now – SUICIDE SQUAD. And even that feels like a chore. Every title feels like the writers have been left adrift in a sea of uncertainty, don’t know where they’re going, don’t know where they’ve been. I don’t know how they’re going to get themselves out of this corner they’ve painted themselves into, but it’s got to be becoming evident real fast.
While the internet cracks in half today talking about the incredible development in Peter Parker’s life in this week’s issue of Amazing Spiderman, we at Good Versus Evil hereby salute Dan Slott for taking us on the ride of our lives.
Also, courtesy of our good friend Marty, we also salute him for this:
And THAT is what I’m thankful for this holiday season.
Just over a year ago, EvilGuy and I put some serious opinion and expectation forth about DC’s New 52. After all, this was historic – the across-the-board cancellation and reboot of its entire line, erasing much of the mythology we had come to know and love.
A year later, yeah, it all pretty much sucks wet duck farts. We’ll cover that separately.
Today I’m talking about Marvel’s recent relaunches, code-named “Marvel NOW.” Frankly, this is nothing new. Marvel has relaunched its titles many, many times over the past decade, for little reason other than slapping a “1″ on an issue makes it sell like hotcakes. You don’t need the hot writer, the perfect artist, or a ground breaking story. Nope. You need a “1″. And a couple years later, when sales normalize, you gradually reintroduce the old numbering system just in time for a big anniversary issue, then BAM, here comes a new #1. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I say that to be clear that no one should be doing cartwheels and having ridiculously high expectations. There’s nothing new under the sun. “Fabulous Collectors Item First Issue” is the snake oil of mainstream comics. That and variant covers. But by Crom, us fanboys just gobble that stuff up, don’t we?
OK, so I got the general snarking out of my system. Mostly. Evilguy and I went to a few panels at the New York Comic Con to learn more about Marvel Now, and admittedly, some of it sounded intriguing. The new Wolverine series starting out in the Savage Land got my interest. But I don’t want to speculate at this point – NOW is upon us, and I want to share my thoughts on the four premiers I have read so far.
UNCANNY AVENGERS #1 – This is the one everyone was just all aflutter about, but c’mon, for reals? This book comes off the heels of AvX, which was a disappointment to most every fan except the board of directors at Marvel and the shareholders at Disney. Didn’t hurt that there were 18 variant covers (and possibly more if you include the con variants). Utterly shameless in its attempt to capitalize on two huge franchises, the “assemble the team” opener is as formulaic and action-free as it gets. I expected a yawn, and I got several. I’m really at a loss with how some fans are still either pretending or hallucinating that this issue wasn’t crap crap crappity crap. But by Crom, it’ll sell.
FANTASTIC FOUR #1 – On the other end of the spectrum is Marvel’s flagship title, still pounding away, still innovative, still creative. Matt Fraction doesn’t miss a beat after Hickman’s groundbreaking run, and has impressed me that, once again, there is ALWAYS more story to tell with these characters. Mark Bageley’s art, I must say, was the best I’ve seen from him in years. This issue has been a little off-putting to a few reviewers who have not been reading the series these past few years, since this is very much a continuation of what’s been happening (Johnny’s death and resurrection in the Negative Zone, the Future Foundation, and the multiverse Reeds to name a few). So they’re hitting the ground running. It’s not impossible to piece it together, but if you’re among those who have not been reading, you could do worse than to go grab some trades and get cracking.
ALL-NEW X-MEN #1 – Okay, first, Bendis haters gonna hate. That said, this book reads like the opening to a good short story, NOT a full blown series. I can’t imagine they can run with this concept for long: the original X-Men find out that their future is bleak and that their choices are largely to blame (again, dragging in AvX, do they really think they’ll get as much mileage out of this as they did with Civil War?). Ok, I’m seeing four issues here, or 28 “Bendis” issues (they’re decompressed and are like dog years). Then what? How long can you call a series “New”? (Huh? New Mutants? New Teen Titans? New Avengers? Never mind…). Bottom line – not bad but I don’t see how it has legs, and the original X-Men, let’s be honest, bor-ing.
DEADPOOL #1 – Nope, not kidding, bought Deadpool. Why? Tony Moore’s art. Groundbreaking? Nope. Hysterical fun? You’d better believe it. Posehn and Duggan are off to a great start with a fresh new story that is brilliant in its delivery. I’ve made it clear that I’m not a Deadpool zombie. I’m not a fan of the character. However, get the right team behind him and it’s genius.
Four books with quality like a roller coaster. What worked and what didn’t? The books that are editorial pushes to capitalize on the names and deliver great big concept with little substance, fail. The two books that decide to tell us a new story, and make me think, “huh, actually, I DON’T think I’ve been there done this before” they were winners – in this case, Fantastic Four and Deadpool. Sadly the big sellers are the high-concept ones. That’s what we buy more than anything.
And THAT is why fanboys bemoan that they hate comic books – because they’re BUYING THE WRONG STUFF!!!!