Up, up and away! A place for comic-book fans to gather.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"The Amazing Race"

I watched the opening episode of the latest season of "The Amazing Race" with special interest last night. One of the teams is a pair of comic book geeks, Mark and Bill. They used the word geek, by the way. At least they're not wearing superhero outfits or anything. And they did fine in last night's challenge, though they were a bit slow on the long climb down the massive rope ladder.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Building a universe one movie at a time

The latest Wizard magazine has an interesting article on Marvel Studios' effort to build a Marvel movie universe, with characters overlapping into various films and leading into an Avengers movie. Well-known examples include Samuel L. Jackson's cameo as Nick Fury in the "Iron Man" movie and Robert Downey Jr.'s appearance in "The Incredible Hulk." What I didn't know is Marvel Comics' key role in the effort, such as the fact that Marvel writer Brian Bendis was called upon to write Jackson's cameo.

Speaking of Marvel movies, "Iron Man" is released on DVD on Tuesday.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

End of the line for Minx

Well, that's too bad. Newsarama reports that DC Comics is ending its Minx imprint as of January. Minx's line of graphic novels was aimed at teen girls who have been voracious readers of Japanese manga comics. The imprint had a pretty high level launch, but I guess it never caught on. Maybe because of readers like my teen daughter. She likes to read, but I tried to get her to read "The P.L.A.I.N. Janes," the first book in the line, and she basically gave it a glance and nothing more.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spider-Man the musical

The Associated Press reports that the long-discussed Spider-Man musical might make its way onto Broadway next year.

"The Internet has been abuzz about the web slinger's possible leap to the stage since last year, with casting call notices sparking fervent chatter," The AP says. "A move to Broadway would put Marvel in the company of Walt Disney Co., which has been very successful in extending brands such as 'Mary Poppins,' 'The Little Mermaid' and 'The Lion King' into theatrical productions."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Johns on "New Krypton"

I talked this morning with Geoff Johns, writer of "Action Comics," about the upcoming New Krypton story line that will encompass "Action," "Superman" and "Supergirl." The story, feature the sudden appearance of 100,000 Kryptonians on Earth, spins largely out of the current Braniac story line in "Action."

So Superman will no longer be the last son of Krypton. Far from it, in fact. So does that make less notable, less distinctive?

"If anything, it's going to make him more distinctive," Johns said. Just because you're from Krypton, just because you can fly, doesn't make you Superman, he said. The story will contrast Superman, and his Earth upbringing, against all these other Kryptonians.

Look for more on New Krypton in a future Comics Fan.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"All Star Superman"

DC's "All Star Superman" came to an end this week with issue No. 12. The series truly has been all star, with an imaginative, wistful story by Grant Morrison, distinct, detailed pencils by Frank Quitely and stunning colors by Jamie Grant. And it came out more on time than "All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder," which started before "All Star Superman" and has yet to end.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Embrace Change

Well, that's pretty wild. The Marvel P.R. machine has shifted into overdrive, including a TV commercial last night on ESPN-2 with the Skrulls from Marvel's big-event "Secret Invasion" pushing their message of "embrace change." If you missed it, like me, visit http://www.mtv.com/ and look for the ad at the Comic Book Movies Blog under the News category. There's also another video, and some more Skrull propaganda, at http://www.embracechange.org/.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Dark Reign"

Marvel has posted its soliciations for December, but there's not as much info there as usual. That's because of "Dark Reign," the mysterious aftermath to "Secret Invasion." So a lot of the blurbs read like this: "These solicits are classified until the release of Secret Invasion #8."

Digital comics

Marvel is launching two new comic book series, but you won't be able to pick them up at your friendly neighborhood comic book shop. They're created exclusively for the Web and available only through Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. Here's the press release:

NEW YORK, NY - For the first time ever, Marvel Entertainment is creating comic book series exclusively for the web as it launches all-new Iron Man and Incredible Hulk series this Fall that will only be available via its online subscription service, Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

Already featuring more than 5,000 comic books from Marvel’s illustrious archives, Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited will now enable fans to enjoy two digitally-exclusive tales featuring the untold stories of Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk, which tie directly into movie continuity. The series are being produced under the guidance of Marvel Studios, the creative force behind this summer’s blockbuster feature films that grossed more than $800 million combined at the global box office.

Iron Man: Fast Friends brings insight into the bond between Tony Stark/Iron Man and his best friend, Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes. Weaving in and out of the events in the feature film, the digital comic series explores the kinship of the two through the eyes of Rhodey. Featuring original storylines by Paul Tobin, with art by Ronan Cliquet and covers by Dave Bullock, the weekly series launches September 17, 2008, in advance of the September 30 DVD release of the Iron Man feature film.

Incredible Hulk: The Fury Files follows S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury as he finds out why it's a bad idea to make Bruce Banner angry. Written by Frank Tieri, with art by Salva Espin and covers by Steve Lieber, the weekly series will launch on October 8, leading up to the October 21 release of The Incredible Hulk on DVD. The series picks up when Nick Fury receives intel that Thunderbolt Ross's Super Soldier program has finally produced an unstoppable warrior. A hands-on guy, Fury wants see this "hulk" for himself. So he does...and that's when stuff starts breaking.

“We are incredibly excited to launch these compelling new comic book series exclusively for Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited,” said Dan Buckley, President, Marvel Publishing. “Spinning out of two of this summer’s biggest blockbuster films, the new Iron Man and Incredible Hulk series feature original, untold stories presented in a unique digital format. The series will serve as a terrific complement to continuity of the films, and will undoubtedly engage all the new Iron Man and Hulk fans out there who want more of Iron Man and Hulk. I can think of no better way to get more people involved with Marvel Comics.”
In addition, these exclusive Iron Man and Incredible Hulk comics represent the premier releases in a continuing slate of comics available only to subscribers of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. Digital-only exclusives will be published regularly on Wednesdays at the pace of three or more comics per month. Upcoming titles include top Marvel characters and creative teams, fan-favorite holiday-themed specials, explorations into science fiction, martial arts and Westerns genres and so much more.

Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited subscribers already gain access to an ever-growing library of Marvel comics featuring an enormous array of titles from every era of Marvel’s celebrated publishing history. Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited is curated by Marvel editors, and serves as an ultimate digital comic Internet destination, allowing unparalleled access to thousands of titles from Marvel’s historic comic book archives. From the first issues of Amazing Spider-Man, The X-Men, Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four and other favorites, to unforgettable recent storylines, mini-series and special issues. The Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited site presents each digital comic in the highest-resolution available.

Friday, September 12, 2008

$40K and counting

My Comics Fan column on Brad Meltzer and his new novel, "The Book of Lies," as well as his effort to save the Cleveland home where a young Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster dreamed up Superman, is this Sunday. Over at Newsarama, Michael Sangiacomo reports that the effort to preserve the Superman house, which includes an online auction all this month, has raised about $40,000 so far.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"G.I. Joe" No. 0

I talked today with Andy Schmidt, editor of the upcoming line of G.I. Joe comics from IDW Publishing. Coincidentally enough, I was at Bargain Comics yesterday and ran into Jonboy Meyers, a local comic book artist who I profiled many months ago. Why is that a coincidence? Because Jonboy provides one of the covers for "G.I. Joe" No. 0, which comes out next month and serves as a preview of the new line.

"All Star" obscenities

So have you been following the "All Star" furor? Newsarama and others have reported that DC Comics asked comic book shop owners to destroy any copies of "All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder" No. 10 and that replacement copies would be coming soon. Seems that the dialogue was sprinkled with profanity that was supposed to be blocked by black bars, but the black bars weren't dark enough and the offending words could be seen.

What the .....? Why put the words in there to begin with if they were going to be blacked out? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. Either keep the words in there and make it an adult comic, or just don't go there at all.

Meanwhile, of course, many of the copies destined for destruction are instead showing up on eBay. ....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Fringe" the TV show

I watched "Fringe" last night, so I understand the role of the comic book a bit better. Looks like the comic will be shedding light on the past of Walter Bishop and the mysterious William Bell.

The show has some roots in "The X-Files," but what about comic book influences? Seems a bit reminiscent of Warren Ellis' "Planetary," to me.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"Fringe" the comic

"Fringe" debuts tonight on Fox. But there's also "Fringe" the comic book, a six-issue miniseries from DC's WildStorm. The first issue features two stories, the first delving into the past of Walter Bishop, a key character on the show. The back story has to do with an experiment in which people's minds and bodies are switched; fairly well-worn plot there, including a good guy waking up in a bad guy's body.

Friday, September 05, 2008

"New Ways to Die"

After the events of "Brand New Day" (in which Peter and MJ's marriage was magically wiped away), I only stuck with "Amazing Spider-Man" for a few issues before drifting away. I've returned, though, for the current "New Ways to Die" storyline. For one thing, it has brought back artist John Romita Jr. Plus, I'm always a sucker for the hero against impossible odds kind of thing, and this has Spidey up against the Thunderbolts and Menace and who knows what else. And then there's the new Anti-Venom vs. Venom. All in all, a rollicking good time.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Siegel and Shuster Society

Want to help fix up the childhood home of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and get some cool stuff in return, like a walk-on role on TV's "Heroes" or a Superman T-shirt signed by Siegel? The Siegel and Shuster Society, started by writer Brad Meltzer (who I'm scheduled to interview this weekend), is holding a month-long online auction, with the funds going to repair the former Siegel home in Cleveland. The home is featured in Meltzer's new novel, "The Book of Lies," which came out this week and mixes some Superman fact into the fiction.

To learn more, go to www.ordinarypeoplechangetheworld.com.

Meltzer, by the way, will be in Colorado next week, with a book-signing at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch, 9315 Dorchester St.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Chemistry? What chemistry?

I received this e-mail in response to my Comics Fan column Sunday on "Smallville." The story had a quote from producer Kelly Souders about the chemistry between Clark (Tom Welling) and Lois Lane (Erica Durance). This reader couldn't disagree more. Any Erica fans out there? Or other Erica haters?

"Anyone who has actually watched the show is painfully aware that Erica Durance has absolutely no chemistry with her co-star, Tom Welling, nor can she act. ...

"The real Lois Lane is always a well educated woman who earns her way into the Daily Planet under a legitimate and experienced editor like Perry White. Erica Durance’s character in no way resembles the real Lois Lane, since her “Lois” is portrayed as an uneducated (without even a high school diploma) bimbo who writes tabloid crap and who was hired by the fake-editor/cloned-brother of Lex Luthor because he liked her looks and she later slept with her boss for favored treatment in return. No real Superman and Lois Lane fan want to see the future Superman end up with this pathetic character and I should know since I have been reading the adventures of Superman for over fifty years. This Not-Lois is an insult to the legend and the producers of Smallville should be ashamed of trying to shove her horrible character down our throats."