Tagged: Avengers

Barnes & Noble Announce Nook Tablet; Launching With Marvel (and ComicMix) Graphic Novels

And the other shoe drops. Marvel Entertainment announced today that the long-anticipated Nook Tablet from Barnes & Noble will offer readers access to  a digital library of Marvel graphic novels.

“This is a huge opportunity for Marvel—and the entire comics medium—to reach a wider audience than ever before thanks to Barnes & Noble’s exciting new NOOK Tablet,” said Peter Phillips, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Marvel Digital Media Group. “Barnes & Noble is committed to offering customers a broad array of Marvel graphic novels, both digitally and through their massive in-store selection, which can only help bring fans into our exciting world of Super Heroes and unparalleled storytelling.”

Users can purchase digital copies of their favorite Marvel graphic novels through NOOK Bookstore™, with a selection including such hits as Civil War, Invincible Iron Man, Captain America, Thor by JMS, Astonishing X-Men, New Avengers, Marvels and more! These graphic novels will also be available on the highly-acclaimed NOOK Color™.

“We’re excited to bring NOOK customers the largest available digital collection of graphic novels from Marvel Entertainment,” said Theresa Horner, Barnes & Noble’s Vice President of Digital Content. “The high resolution of our VividView color touchscreen makes the action virtually jump off the page, and takes graphic novels to a whole new level of entertainment.”

This is as good a time as any to note that ComicMix also has graphic novels available for the Nook platform, starting with the Harvey Award nominated EZ Street by Robert Tinnell and Mark Wheatley. More titles will be announced shortly.

JOHN OSTRANDER: Comics Lied To Me!

I’ve had some medical tests recently. Seems I have heart palpitations; lordy me, Ah do seem to be a swoon and mint julep away from being a Southern belle. (Hm. Wonder if they make chocolate mint juleps?) It means that my heart skips a beat every so often.

So I went to a cardiologist and he set up a battery of tests to see what this all means. In the first one, they injected a radioactive tracer so they could then do X-rays of my heart from different angles and see what’s going on.

I was ready. I knew the score. If comic books have taught me anything, it’s that radioactivity triggers a DNA change and gives you super-powers. Prime example is Spider-Man – got his powers from a radioactive spider, right? The Hulk got his from gamma radiation, which is a type of nuclear radiation, right? And it was a stress test, okay? What happens when you combine radiation and stress? The Hulk.

So I figured the radioactive stuff would combine maybe with X-rays and I’d get X-ray vision whenever I stressed out. Or maybe a bug might creep into the machine and I’d get X-ray and bug like powers. Spider-Hulk.

All I got was a bill. Not a duck bill. Or a goose bill. I received a financial statement saying I owed them money. What a rip off!

They also did what is called an “Echo Test” a couple of days later. It’s like when they do a sonogram for pregnant women using ultrasound only they do it for the heart. Ultrasound, eh? Okay, that could become something. Something ultra. I know the Ultra line was a failed bunch of comics for Malibu that Marvel bought up and forgot they had until recently… but it could maybe work, right? Combine ultrasound with the radioactive particle and the stress test and maybe I wind up with ultra hearing and X-ray vision. Add in any Hulk-like side effects and now we’re getting somewhere!

Zap. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. That’s what I’ve gotten. So far.

When they did the second part of the stress test, I had a choice. I could climb on a treadmill and get my heart rate up to a certain point or they could do it via an injection of chemicals that would also make my heart beat faster. Of course, some of the shots of the naked Scarlett Johansson – soon to return as the Black Widow in The Avengers flick – that popped up on the web would also probably do the trick but I wasn’t offered that option.

It was a hard choice. We all know about the treadmill in The Flash and how he uses it combined with his superspeed for time travel. Maybe being on the treadmill would combine with an increased heartbeat and would trigger the change. Seemed reasonable.

I opted, however, for the chemical version for three reasons. One – that seemed more likely to interact with the other events and convert my DNA to complete the change. Two – if I got superspeed and went back in time, I might change a little something that would induce a reboot of reality and DC just did that and it resulted in a skinny Amanda Waller. Third – I could do the test lying down. At my age, if you can do something lying down, that’s the option you take.

So I got the chemicals injected, waited forty minutes for them to travel through my system, and went back for more x-rays. I had high hopes for this one. I’d seen Captain America – The First Avenger and that’s more or less what they did with Steve Rogers: injected him with chemicals and bathed him in rays. That turned out pretty spiffy, right? Not only did he get turned into Captain America but it was a pretty darn good superhero film to boot.

SPOILER WARNING: There are no spoilers. You already can guess the outcome. I just got test results is all. They said I was normal. Normal. Since when?

I go in to see the cardiologist next week to get the findings. Friends have suggested that all I’ll get told is that I have an overheated imagination.

If there’s a cure for that, I’m out of a job.

MONDAY: Mindy Newell

Halloween Costume Contest — Send Us Your Marvel Super-Hero Pictures!

Halloween Costume Contest — Send Us Your Marvel Super-Hero Pictures!

Kids and adults are no doubt dressing up for school and office parties in celebration of Halloween. Many of you will no doubt be dressed as Marvel characters and we want to see them.

Not only that, we want to publish your pics and name two as the best, awarding lucky winners with a complete set of [[[Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes]]] courtesy of our friends at Walt Disney Home Entertainment. That’s right, all four volumes can be yours if you impress us. Just go to our Contact Page, select “I’d like to submit a file for review!”, fill out the form and upload your picture.

Submission constitutes permission to publish your name and picture. The submission must be accompanied with your full name and address so winners may receive discs. Submissions must be timestamped by 11:59 p.m. Monday, October 31. The judgement of ComicMix’s expert panel of judges will be final.

Happy Halloween!

And as part of our Saturday Morning Cartoons section, here are some clips from the DVDs in question:


V3 Clip: Walk in Both Worlds (Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther)


V4 Clip: Stuck in the Realms (Hulk, Black Panther, Iron Man)

V4 Clip: What Needs To Be Done (Giant Man, Ultron, Iron Man, Hulk)


Press Release – For Immediate Release

LUCIAN: Dark God’s Homecoming–Now Available for Kindle!

Acclaimed SF/Action/Mystery Pulp Debuts on Popular E-Reader

Smithton, IL (October 26, 2011) White Rocket Books proudly announces the release in Kindle format of LUCIAN: Dark God’s Homecoming, the acclaimed Science Fiction/Action/Mystery pulp by Van Allen Plexico (SENTINELS; GIDEON CAIN).
Drawing inspiration from the fantastic pulp-SF tales of Roger Zelazny (Chronicles of Amber), Jack Vance (The Dying Earth) and Philip Jose Farmer (World of Tiers), LUCIAN introduces us to the Dark Lord of the Golden City, an arrogant and selfish god whose insurgency to rule in Heaven failed and led to his exile on the human-occupied worlds of the far-future. When circumstances conspire to bring him back to his celestial City, Lucian discovers that most of his fellow gods and goddesses have been murdered and that, as the devil, he is of course the prime suspect. Now he’s on the run, barely a step ahead of his vengeful brothers and sisters, seeking evidence to prove his innocence (at least this once!) and to find the real killer—before his fellow gods catch him and end his immortal existence once and for all. Along the way, he becomes saddled with a beautiful and resourceful starship captain, who may force him to confront the hard truths about himself—if he doesn’t kill her first!
Says Van Allen Plexico of this new electronic edition: “The response this book has received in its paperback format, from Airship 27, has been more than gratifying. Readers seem to love this black sheep of a character and find themselves enjoying rooting for the bad guy! Now that it’s available on Kindle, I’m hoping it finds a whole new audience that will take the Dark Lord into their hearts!”

Pulp Fiction Reviews said of LUCIAN: “Fans of Jack Vance and Roger Zelazny will eat this up. Good stuff start to finish.”
Van Allen Plexico is best known for the popular SENTINELS series of contemporary superhero pulp novels, as well as for the sword-and-sorcery anthology GIDEON CAIN: DEMON HUNTER (with Kurt Busiek and others) and the ASSEMBLED! books, exploring the history of Marvel Comics’ Avengers. In 2011 he was nominated for Pulp Story of the Year (by the Pulp Factory, for “The Red Flame of Death,” from GIDEON CAIN) and Writer of the Year (by PulpArk).
White Rocket Books is a leader in the New Pulp movement, publishing exciting action and adventure novels and anthologies since 2005, in both traditional and electronic formats. White Rocket books have hit the Amazon.com Top 15-by-Genre and have garnered praise from everyone from Marvel Comics Editor Tom Brevoort to Kirkus Reviews.
On sale as of October 25, 2011, LUCIAN: Dark God’s Homecoming is a $2.99 Kindle e-book from White Rocket Books.

Steed and Mrs. Peel Return!

Boom! Studios has announced that Steed and Mrs. Peel issue #1 will be in stores January 2012. Written by Grant Morrison with illustrations and a cover by Ian Gibson, this comic book mini series is based on characters created for the classic British TV series, “The Avengers”.

From writer Grant Morrison — “The Golden Game Part One: Crown and Anchor!” Your favorite Avengers finally return! When Tara King is kidnapped by a mysterious organization, John Steed and Emma Peel must reunite to solve this mystery. Featuring gorgeous art from Ian Gibson, best known for his work with Alan Moore on “The Ballad of Halo Jones.” A science fiction/spy fiction mash-up from Grant Morrison and two of TV’s most iconic heroes!

32 pages, $3.99.

Boom! Studios’, “Steed and Mrs. Peel” is a 6 issue mini series starting in January 2012.

For more information on BOOM! Studios and their offerings, visit http://www.boom-studios.com/.

Some Additional Convention Thoughts

Some Additional Convention Thoughts

Spider-Man and Superman

Image by heath_bar via Flickr

Sometime in the late 1970s, there was a show in New York where DC Comics actually had a booth and I got to wander over as a fan and chat casually with president Sol Harrison. It was the earliest memory I had of a publishing taking booth space on the convention floor. Before then, the tables were given over to fanzine vendors, back issue and new release dealers and that was about it. Little in the way or merchandise and even less original art was being sold.

Fans and creators could mix in the aisles, chat in the lobby, and talk before and after panels. It was a far smaller, more collegial atmosphere and certainly formed relationships with people I still have today.

By the time I joined staff at DC in 1984, the major publishers had been taking booth space with increasing regularity at shows from coast to coast. These were standard trade show booth designs that were decorated with the company’s wares, maybe a TV monitor with a video tape playing but that was about it. Editors and creators sat at tables and signed comics, did sketches, and handed out sampler comics or buttons.

During the 1980s, things continued to grow and more customized booth set-ups were showing up but fans could still walk into a publisher’s booth and talk to editors and talent. That began to change in 1992-1993 when Image arrived with show biz razzle dazzle and DC, flush with Death of Superman profits, gave us a mammoth booth dubbed Wayne’s World, nicknamed after Bob Wayne. Since nature abhors a vacuum, this new space filled with a growing number of fans, but patient ones could still talk to staff and freelancers.


What Was It Like Working For “The Incredible Hulk”?

What Was It Like Working For “The Incredible Hulk”?

The Incredible Hulk

With the imminent return of The Incredible Hulk to television (currently being developed for ABC and spinning out of the Avengers movie next summer) it’s illuminating to go back and take a look at how the original TV series was made. Allan Cole (perhaps better known as the co-author of the [[[Sten]]]novels) was a writer for the series, and he’s been reminiscing…

To understand The Incredible Hulk you have to first know that everybody on the show was nuts. Some were nice nuts. A few, not so nice. And others bounced back and forth like green balls of silly putty with no notice whatsoever.

It also helps to understand that the very premise of the show was schizoid, with this wimpy little doctor-type guy (played by Bill Bixby) transforming into a big green monster (played by Lou Ferrigno) when somebody kicks sand in his face and pisses him off.

Put another way, scripting for the Incredible Hulk was like writing for Kabuki theater. As Chris said, “one frigging thing out of place and everybody and everything goes apeshit.”

The writing experience could be frustrating, agonizing and drive you just plain bonkers. On the other hand, of the hundred and fifty odd shows Chris and I worked on, it was one of the most fun and satisfying. Once you got the formula down pat, you could write just about anything you wanted. More importantly, what you wrote went on the screen, so you didn’t hesitate to open up and address broader themes than one might expect in a show about a comic book character.


NYCC 2011 Cosplay, Part 2: White Queen vs. Dark Phoenix, Catwoman, Dr. McNinja, and Two-Face

Still churning through some great photographs, although sadly my photos of Banana-Wolverine didn’t come out at all (just for the caption “In Canada, banana slices you! </yakovsmirnoff>”) but luckily, ComicsAlliance caught him.

But we have photos of everything else, from Astro Boy to Avengers, from Slave Leia (of course) to the littlest Sinestro, and Optimus Primes both large and sub-Optimus… let’s take a look!


Nick Fury’s Pulp Avengers 1959

Avengers 1959 Cover Art: Howard Chaykin

Marvel Comics has released a synopsis and sneak peek at the second issue of their pulpy Avengers 1959 mini series from Howard Chaykin.

AVENGERS 1959 #2 (Of 5)
Written and Penciled by HOWARD CHAYKIN

It’s the tail end of the fabulous fifties. NICK FURY and his AVENGERS roar into their secret mission, hunting down NAZI SUPER VILLAINS…men and women relentlessly preparing to unleash hell on a troubled world barely holding onto peace…only to find the Avengers have what appears to be serious competition in their manhunt for these escaped ubermenschen…when their mission is suddenly compromised by interference from an unlikely source.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

Avengers 1959 Pg 1. Story & Art: Howard Chaykin

Avengers 1959 Pg 2. Story & Art: Howard Chaykin

Avengers 1959 Pg 3. Story & Art: Howard Chaykin

Avengers 1959 Pg 4. Story & Art: Howard Chaykin

For more on Marvel Comics, visit http://www.marvel.com/.

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Lights. Camera. Avenge.

So, I just watched the trailer for The Avengers. I had to change pants. Because I pooped them. Why the premature defecation, you inquire? One movie with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Worthless Chick and Bow and Arrow Man… that’s why! In all seriousness (that would be the seriousness of a comic nerd geeking out at maximum dorkatude), it’s because this is the culmination of years of planning on Marvel’s part. And simply put, it looks like they aren’t going to screw it up.

In their own rights, each of the Marvel heroes who have been given a solo movie have done spectacularly well. Iron Man grossed over $318,000,000; Thor nabbed over $181,000,000; and the glorious Captain America took in over $175,000,000. Bob Wayne at DC once said “You vote with your dollars…” and by the looks of it, America (nerd and non-nerd alike) has proven its love for the Marvel movies.

Speaking purely from a fan-boy perspective, I’ve had nothing but mad love and respect for their cinematic endeavors. Iron Man was grounded in reality (for 4/5s of the film), and elevated by a continuously energetic performance by Robert Downey Jr., Thor was able to mix the completely ridiculous with powerful mythology and gave us perhaps one of the hardest to believe Avengers such that we as an audience believed a God could be a superhero. Captain America was able to build a fantastic period piece that gave the world an iconic and fearless leader. And now, Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios is cramming all of them (and a handful of others) into a single picture.

The basic fear most fanboys have had since the idea of an Avengers movie was dropped on our collective consciousness revolved around over-complexity. Rumors of Loki, the Kree/Skrull war, Red Skull, and numerous other villains danced on message boards. And let’s face it. Putting 4 or 5 “A-Types” into a team picture will potentially numb any chance at character building and nuance. If Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk each required their own picture, how can they share the limelight? And on top of it… Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury looks to be far more than just a cameo to boot. In simpler terms, The Avengers could easily become 10 gallons of Superhero in a 5 gallon hat.

If the trailer is to be any indicator of what the final product will be, I feel like Marvel is headed in the right direction. With the origins of every character now “public knowledge,” things feel natural. Iron Man and Captain America are both formidable leaders in their own right. In the trailer, they knock heads almost instantly. Whedon, who wrote the script, has a real clarity of character. Tony’s response is pitch perfect. Thor, while not uttering a word, carries himself as we expect… Regally, with a dash of arrogance.

Other glimpses of the titular characters are equally impressive. Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner certainly holds himself with a quiet struggle. And the choice to make Loki the villain creates a real urgency for the assembling. A mad god? Yeah, that’s a job for the Avengers. I know this all seems a bit of a hyperbole of analysis, given that all we’ve really seen is 12,000 seconds of footage (with a solid third of that dedicated to ominous shots of New York, explosions, and Iron Man flying)… but I’ve watched the trailer a couple times now, and each time I retain the same silly grin.

Marvel’s missteps – Wolverine, Elektra, Daredevil (which I actually liked), and most likely one (if not more) of the Blade flicks – all shared a plethora of groan worthy moments. In each, the self-seriousness never felt earned by the fans. That, and Wolverine was given Clark Kent’s origin part-way through his movie. I wish I could pinpoint exactly why the Avengers, with its surplus of superheroes, seems to capture my glee, with no bitter aftertaste of “this could be a train wreck.” Could it be I just want it to succeed too much? With Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor all leading up to this, it may very be such that I can’t fathom this flopping. I’ve dropped far too much cash at the multiplex to see Marvel bellyflop.

At its core, the Avengers is true fanboy porn. An assembling of Marvel’s best and brightest (and Hawkeye, cause, you know…) to fight the biggest of fights, is the stuff dreams are made of. To see it in live-action glory, with a bevy of computer effects and explosions is everything comic fans have dreamed of. I postulate it’s akin to The Dark Knight, where the general masses will appreciate our medium in a new light. It raises our collective mojo up just a notch. And anytime a comic nerd looks better than a Trekkie or LARPer… well, that’s just gravy. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do go watch the trailer… and come back here to tell me if I should stave my excitement, or just invest in a few more pair of paints prior to its debut.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander