Today I learned that Avengers Mansion, home to stalwarts like Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, and do you really need me to rattle off the full roster, is based on a real place in New York– the Henry Clay Frick house, a city-block sized mansion at 1 East 70th St., right opposite Central Park. (The theoretical address for Avengers Mansion is 890 5th Avenue, which is in the same location.) Today the building houses the Frick Collection of art and is open to the public– so it’s quite possible Joss Whedon could shoot there.
This was brought to my attention by Gothamist (yes, I know, it should be covering DC, not Marvel) which had a brief piece showing a number of the secret rooms in the Frick that aren’t shown to the general public. Of course, even Gothamist wasn’t allowed to take photos of the Quinjet hangar.
Frick himself, incidentally, was the Lex Luthor of his day, known for strikebreaking and being at least partly responsible for the Johnstown Flood, and was dubbed one of the Worst C.E.O.s in American History by Portfolio magazine.
This week, [[[Thor]]] comes to theaters! With a director like Kenneth Branagh, stars such as Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins, and rave reviews happening from advanced screenings, many fans old and new can’t wait for this latest film from Marvel Studios and Paramount. It stars Thor, god of thunder, who in the Marvel Universe divides his time between living in Asgard, traveling through other dimensions, and acting as a superhero on Earth.
Over the years, Thor’s had some pretty epic adventures. So let’s take a look at six tales that any new Thor fan should check out.
“BUT DR. BLAKE CAN DIE!”
Thor vol. 1 #145-153
For his impudence, Thor is banished to Earth without his powers. As he continues to act as a superhero as best he can, Thor’s allies plead to Odin, the All-Father, to return his son’s full abilities. This story keeps building up the stakes as Thor’s sometimes lover and constant ally Sif inhabits the powerful Destroyer armor. Meanwhile, Loki arrives to make another bid for power and Ulik the troll shows up to cause more trouble. Elsewhere, Hela, goddess of death, watches and waits. An epic storyline that highlights both Thor and Don Blake as heroes and is a classic tale of the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby days.
No sooner do we get tired of thumbing through the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue than Maxim gets temperatures rising with their annual Hot 100 issue. Coming to newsstands next week, we learn that model turned actress Rosie Huntington-Whitely has been crowed the top hot babe. She displaces Megan Fox, who tumbles to #17, in this summer’s not-eagerly-awaited Transformers: Dark of the Moon and has become the new It girl (at least this month). Huntingon-Whiteley tells Maxim that being named number one “is a huge honor. It’s a great title to have for a year and you can have some fun with it, I think.”
The 100 is listed below and since hotness is in the eye of the beholder, we will all have our quibbles with the order, inclusion or absence of our personal favorites. Me, I have issues with many in the top 10 alone.
Our genre is certainly well represented with Rosie, followed by #2’s Olivia Munn, future Catwoman Anne Hathaway (#7), Thor’s Natalie Portman (#8), Avengers’ Cobie Smulders (#9), and X –Men First Class’ Jennifer Lawrence (#10).
The full list, with comments from the magazine’s editorial staff, is behind the cut and let the debating begin!(more…)
I wish I could put my finger on exactly why Marvel’s animated efforts leave me cold. Time and again the vocal casting, character design or animation displays cheap production values and they are far from entertaining. The latest such offering is [[[The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes]]], which has been airing on Disney XD and is now available in two DVDs released this week by parent company Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.
The cartoons are based more on the feature film reality than the comic book source material the films were based on, but there’s enough material borrowed from the comics it feels like a mixed bag. We start with a cocky Tony Stark who chases Hydra for stealing Stark Industries technology, which was actually taken from S.H.I.E.L.D. Meantime, it’s a world of countless super-villains, captured somehow and locked away in one of four unique facilities – the Vault, the Cube, the Big House, and the Raft.
But it’s a world without the Avengers. Iron Man is the only established hero, while the Hulk is on the run, and Ant-Man and the Wasp focus entirely on scientific research, preferring to keep Nick Fury at arm’s length. Then there’s Thor, who loves Earth but doesn’t seem overly engaged with its super-villains. Meanwhile, in Africa, T’Challa has just assumed the Black Panther mantle and wants revenge against, Klaw, who was instrumental in his father’s death.
Beyond the Hydra conspiracy, Bruce Banner worries that General Thunderbolt Ross and maybe S.H.I.E.L.D. want to build their own army of Hulks. Then there’s Kang the Conqueror who blames Captain America for somehow destroying his timeline and wants to alter a sequence of events.
That’s about par for comic book storytelling but everything feels incredibly disjointed. Maybe that has something to do with its origins, with the show actually conceived as a 20-part microseries of animated tales that debuted online then became edited into 22-minute episodes for cable. Mimicking the 2012 feature film, now in production, the team is composed of Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man and Wasp with tons of other heroes working solo or for S.H.I.E.L.D. including Black Widow and Hawkeye (also because of the film series). (more…)
If you can’t wait two weeks for Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, we have a surprise for you. This is the post credit sequence at the end of the movie– the quality isn’t great and we’re looking for a better one, but you can figure out a whole lot.
Seriously, we aren’t kidding: if you don’t want to see what happens in this sequence, don’t view it, as it gives clues that lead us up to Marvel’s upcoming films Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers.
The Crimes of The Scarlet Ace: The Complete Stories of Major Lacy & Amusement, Inc. by Theodore A. Tinsley, covers by Frank Tinsley & Eugene Fradzen, Introduction by Will Murray
Major John Tattersall Lacy, once of the U.S. Marines–and now field leader of the Emergency Council for Crime Control with orders to meet the racketeers at their own game, to fight terror with terror and death with death…. Backed with tremendous resources, and the power of the six foremost men in the metropolis, Lacy and his ex-marine mates have broadcast their challenge–“Run, rat, or die!” And underworld war-lords ready an answer.
From the author of THE SHADOW! Reprinted in its entirety for the first time, the entire saga of Lacy’s battle with the underworld army of the Scarlet Ace from the pages of BLACK ACES and ALL DETECTIVE. And it features an all-new introduction by Will Murray.
Dan Fowler: G-Man Companion by Tom Johnson, Will Murray, Robert Sidney Bowen, Charles Greenberg, & Norvell W. Page
For nearly 20 years, Dan Fowler and his G-men battled crimedom in the pages of G-Men Detective. Now, author Tom Johnson has indexed each issue, listing everything you need to know about the series. Also included are complete reprints of the two best Dan Fowler stories as chosen by Johnson and pulp historian Will Murray: “Give ‘Em Hell” by Norvell W. Page and “Bullet Justice” by Charles Greenberg. And reprinted in its entirety for the first time: “I Cover the Murder Front,” the lost, rejected Dan Fowler story.
Featuring additional articles by Johnson and Murray, this is the ultimate history of the series.
414 pages | $34.95 softcover | $44.95 hardcover
The Green Lama: The Complete Pulp Adventures Volume 1 by Kendell Foster Crossen, Illustrated by V.E. Pyles, Introduction by Will Murray
Om! Ma-ni pad-me Hum! The first of its kind, the complete adventures of the Green Lama follows the adventures of Buddhist Jethro Dumont and his aides as the battle the forces of evil in the western world.
Written by Kendell Foster Crossen, it’s non-stop action in the vein of The Shadow!
Never completely reprinted before, the series is collected in three volumes. Each volume contains an all-new introduction, focusing on a different aspect of the character’s life across several forms of popular media. Volume 1 contains in introduction by Will Murray and features the first five stories: “The Case of the Crimson Hand,” “The Case of the Croesus of Murder,” “The Case of Babies for Sale,” “The Case of the Wave of Death,” and “The Case of the Man Who Wasn’t There.”
524 pages | $34.95 softcover | $44.95 hardcover
NOTE: Volumes 2 and 3 will follow immediately after the release of Volume 1.
Riding the Pulp Trail by Paul S. Powers, Edited by Laurie Powers
Most fans of Western fiction know Paul S. Powers as one of the foundation authors of the famous pulp magazine of the 1930s and 1940s, Wild West Weekly. Now, for the first time, are twelve Paul Powers stories written in the years after Wild West Weekly stopped publication. Six of these stories were published in magazines such as Exciting Western, Thrilling Western, The Rio Kid Western and Thrilling Ranch Stories. The other six are brand new stories – never before published – that were discovered in 2009. Altogether they make for an outstanding collection of western stories that represent the glory years of the Western short story and the best of Powers’ prolific pulp Western career.
350 pages | $29.95 softcover | $39.95 hardcover
Alias The Whirlwind by Johnston McCulley and Tom Johnson
Written in the depths of The Depression, this collects the entire saga of The Whirlwind, Johnston (Zorro) McCulley’s other Southwestern hero of the Old West!
Never before reprinted, this omnibus includes an all-new Whirlwind adventure by novelist Tom Johnson.
228 pages | $19.95 softcover | $29.95 hardcover
Secret Agent “X” – The Complete Series Volume 5 by Paul Chadwick & G.T. Fleming-Roberts, Introduction by Tom Johnson
For 41 issues from 1934 to 1939, SECRET AGENT “X” battled the forces of evil in the pages of his own pulp magazine. Now, for the first time… the complete pulp series is being reprinted in nine deluxe omnibus editions! The text has been reset and all the original interior illustrations have been remastered. This volume contains the next five stories, by Paul Chadwick and G.T. Fleming-Roberts: “MONARCH OF MURDER,” “LEGION OF THE LIVING DEAD,” “HORDE OF THE DAMNED,” “RINGMASTER OF DOOM” and “KINGDOM OF BLUE CORPSES.” This is THE Secret Agent “X” reprint series to own!
576 pages | $34.95 softcover | $44.95 hardcover
Secret Agent “X” – The Complete Series Volume 6 Authored by G.T. Fleming-Roberts & Paul Chadwick, Introduction by Tom Johnson
For 41 issues from 1934 to 1939, SECRET AGENT “X” battled the forces of evil in the pages of his own pulp magazine. Now, for the first time… the complete pulp series is being reprinted in nine deluxe omnibus editions! The text has been reset and all the original interior illustrations have been remastered. This volume contains the next five stories, by G.T. Fleming-Roberts and Paul Chadwick: “BRAND OF THE METAL MAIDEN,” “DIVIDENDS OF DOOM,” “THE FEAR MERCHANTS,” “FACELESS FURY” and “SUBTERRANEAN SCOURGE.” This is THE Secret Agent “X” reprint series to own!
492 pages | $34.95 softcover | $44.95 hardcover
The Complete Adventures of Senorita Scorpion Volume 1 by Les Savage Jr, Introduction by Will Murray
Saddle up! Taken from their original appearances ACTION STORIES from 1944-45, this book collects the first four adventures of Senorita Scorpion: “Senorita Scorpion,” “The Brand of Senorita Scorpion,” “Secret of Santiago” and “The Curse of Montezuma.” Volume 1 also includes an all-new introduction by pulp historian Will Murray.
I’m pleased to announce I will be editing and contributing to a brand new anthology of short stories dedicated to the ’60s sexy PI chick Honey West.
Honey West began as a series of paperbacks in 1957 with This Girl For Hire, written by the husband and wife team of Gloria and Forest Fickling under the penname G.G. Fickling. The novels were a tad risque for their time and ran 10 novels through the ’60s, with two more in an early ’70s comeback. They became a cult favorite TV series in 1965-66, starring Anne Francis and running some 30 episodes, and while the toplessness might have been toned down for prime time, Anne was still allowed to be a slinky sexy investigator with a big pus–um, ocelot, named Bruce, at her side. She was one of the first female private eyes on television, given to quips and leopard print outfits, though the series made her a bit more like The Avengers’ Emma Peel, with Judo expertise, exploding compacts and other gadgets. Unfortunately, that very tact helped contribute to her demise on TV because it was cheaper for the network to import The Avengers than to continue with the series.
Recently Moonstone began a new series of Honey West comic books, written by the much talented Trina Robbins, who is slated to pen a brand new tale for this anthology. A number of other talented scribes have been brought aboard as well, such as Elaine Lee, Will Murray, Mark Ellis, CJ Henderson and Mel Odom, along with some surprises.
It promises to to be a Honey of a book.
MOONSTONE ANNOUNCES AVENGER: JUSTICE, INC. TABLE OF CONTENTS!
While at the C2E2 retailers summit a few weeks ago, a few details fans might be excited to find out about were accidentally leaked. At a DC Nation panel, the mid-western retailers were shown a few slides of “in-production” artwork, and DC’s Jim Lee and Dan DiDio were teleconferenced in with Marvel’s Axel Alonso to prime the pump for the 2011 summer event. While cameras and laptops were forced off before the event, a few local shop owners emerged from the panel with some juicy tidbits. Here’s the skinny:
• Current Marvel heavyweight Matt Fraction will be penning the five part mini-series with co-plotters J.T. Krul and Tony Bedard from DC. All that was said was “Access (from Marvel Vs. DC 1) returns a far more powerful man than when we left him.” Krul said. “He finds a way to tap into the power cosmic and gets his mitts on the White Lantern… but that’s really only the catalyst to it all.”