Tagged: Bucky

Marc Alan Fishman: Wanted, Dead or Alive … Not Both.

Wolverine Potato HeadSo I guess when the AV Club is reporting on the future death of Wolverine, the cat is out of the bag, eh? In yet another PR stunt, the mainstream comic houses show their full hand in hopes mega media attention will somehow garner a boost in pulp sales. I’m reminded of that saying concerning the definition of insanity. And surely this is a topic we, the snarky columnists of any number of media outlets, have covered… well… to death. It’s still worth another look though, so indulge me, kiddos. It’s time to beat a dead horse.

Isn’t it a shame when the knee-jerk reaction of your most dedicated fan-base upon hearing about the death of a beloved character comes with an audible snicker and eye roll? Suffice to say when I’d read the newswire piece it didn’t come as a shock, as much as a continual reminder that my favorite medium was often regarded as kitsch. And truly, no other medium comes to mind – save perhaps for soap operas or pro wrestling– where the announcement of a significant loss bares no bitter fruit as much as it comes complete with scoffs from the peanut gallery.

Wolverine to be stripped of his healing factor and killed. Peter Parker’s mind is destroyed, only to be inhabited by Otto Octavius. Batman banished forever in time by the impact of some Omega beams. Superman dead. Thor dead. Professor X dead. Steve Rogers dead. Jean Grey dead. Colossus dead. Hell… Bucky Barnes dead. Phil Coulson dead.

Feh, I say. Feh! In each instance of the leaked announcement, I immediately retort “…until sales drop, or a movie comes out.” And if you’re a betting man, you’d be smart to go all in each time. I think though, that ranting and railing against something you could count on as easily as the tide coming in, is a waste of negative feelings.

What sits at the root of all of these stabs into the mainstream ether is the soul-crushing realization that our beloved cape-and-cowl crowd are all for-profit entities, each built to harness the dollars and cents of a loyal customer base that has proven more often than not to continually purchase product even while loudly protesting it. Simply put, one need not sweat the wrath of the fanboys and girls until they leave you high and dry at the checkout counter. And as attendance at comic conventions continue to swell, and the multiplex becomes choked annually with blockbuster after blockbuster… there’s little need to fear that our ink-and-paper rags are going away while the licenses need to be coddled.

And what would you do if you were the EIC of a major comic book publisher? You’d keep hitting your cash piñatas until they stop dropping Tootsie Rolls. One can’t simply let their comic character live and die with the times. They must constantly be in a cycle or dramatic repartee with one another. They must converge on mighty battlegrounds. They must make odd alliances. They must recalibrate, reinvent, and redefine their very being every few months. The moment they stop, the attention is drawn elsewhere. Even to let a mortal man, like Frank Castle – a character whose very mission is clearly drawn in severe black and white terms – die a hero’s death, is really just another way to bookmark him for a new series later. One cannot simply let a comic character die… not when there’s a bloodstone to find and money left on the table.

To learn of Wolverine’s impending dirt map should not actually be met with a scoff, and an upturned nose. As in nearly all my aforementioned examples of re-re-retconned demises… in their immediate wake came some of the best stories I’d ever read concerning that character! When Batman was time-bulleted away, Scott Snyder’s Detective Comics gave me the Dick Grayson I’ve always wanted to read. When Dan Slott took the leap to let Otto drive as the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler, he opened up a fantastic object lesson in proactive versus reactive heroism. And when Wolverine bites the big one, it will be less about ending his story as it is opening up a new chapter in the plethora of X-books that will no doubt be touched by the loss. Death, as it were, is then less about the loss specifically of the character in question, rather, it’s about the aftermath that needs to be considered.

It is sad to me that we must accept this as fate; that our heroes and villains are merely pawns in a never ending churn and burn of story arcs and universe resets. In the time since its inception, the Marvel Universe (the 616), and the DCU (whatever we call current continuity since it’s neither new, nor 52) have relegated themselves to reinvention at every turn of the corner. Unlike a soap or the WWE, where fictional characters can eventually die in real life… or even Doctor Who, who remains the same alien in spirit, but purposefully reimagined to coincide with the times – mainstream comic books must remain forever in Neverland. While DC tried hard to create legacies with a few of their major heroes (The Flash and Green Lantern, most of all), they too eventually succumbed to a massive PR stunt (the still-absolutely-unbearable Flashpoint), in order to move the zeitgeist back into its clutches.

So mourn not for James Howlett, folks. Let no tears stain your mutton-chopped cheeks for his once robust form. For now, he will join any number of other X-Men at the famed Marvel Island. He’ll enjoy the umbrella drinks, and free bacon… as the 616 spins out of control.

Because let’s face it, a world with Wolverine leaves a roster spot open on at least 1,246 different teams. And that is why we mourn.

Michael Davis: Don McGregor And Why Black People Love Him

Davis Art 130604I like Nick Barrucci.

Always have.

Right now Nick is dealing with an issue that involves my dear friend Don McGregor. I can think of a lot worse people to deal with than Nick who has always been cool with me. I have high hopes that Nick and Don get on the same page and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

However, I will say a bit more about Don. As readers of ComicMix have no doubt noticed I have some recurring themes in my articles among them African Americans in the industry, the High School Of Art and Design and Asian Women.

Even I know that sometimes returning too often to a theme can get a little tiresome. Except for the many Asian women mentions, I realize that the constant mentioning of my high school (the greatest high school on the planet) and black people (the darkest people on the planet) can just get tedious. Yes, mentioning Asian women can certainly get monotonous also, especially to black women, but I really could care less.

Black Women! That Was A Joke! I Love my sisters…long time.

There is a recurring theme I wish I revisited often and I don’t think my readers would object too and that’s my love letters to creators I’ve had the pleasure to meet and often become friends with. Every so often I meet and befriend a creator and it’s always cool.


Not as often I meet and befriend a creator who I idolized beforehand and that creator becomes like family to me, Don McGregor is one of those creators. I do so love me some Don McGregor and yes I’m going to write about black people but in a first for me I’m combining two recurring themes: black people in the industry and a love letter to a creator!

Don McGregor is just a great and I mean great guy. He also just happens to be one of the best writers to ever write for comic books.


When I met him I stammered like a little bitch I was so in awe of this man. THIS from a man who hangs out with academy award and Grammy winners and whose annual San Diego Comic Con party has a guest list that reads like a Barbara Walters after Oscar special. I’m not saying any of this to impress you I’m saying it to underscore how freaking jazzed I was to meet Don McGregor.

One of the reasons I started the Black Panel, a forum to discuss African Americans in the entertainment business, and why I return to the black theme so often in my articles is because the African American experience is a complicated one.

I’m just trying to give some insight into that experience from a black perspective. I’ll let you in on a little secret; black creators seldom think white boys write good black characters. Don’t get me wrong-some of the greatest black comic book characters were created by white boys.

The Black Panther, the Black Racer, Storm…err…. the Black Panther, the Black Racer…Storm.

Look, I’m sure there are others in fact I know there are others but the misses have been so massive that all my brain can come up with are the three I’ve listed. How massively awful are some of the misses?

This massively awful, Marvel some time ago introduced a new Bucky. He was a black man who stood six foot three inches.

Give that a sec; a 6’3” black man named Bucky.

Yes, that was long years ago, but in 2010 Mark Millar created a black superhero, Tyrone Cash, a.k.a. Leonard Williams. His story? Well, he was a scientist, I’ll say that again, he was a scientist named Leonard Williams THEN he subjected himself to one of his super soldier serums and gained the power of the Hulk.

What’s the problem, you ask?

He gained Hulk like powers yet he retained his intellect.

What’s the problem with that you ask?

Well after he got his Hulk like powers this scientist decides to become a fucking thug and start dealing drugs. So let’s recap: he retains his scientist intellect and becomes a thug drug dealer.

Look, I think Mark Millar is a good writer but a character gaining Hulk like powers while maintaining a scientist intellect becomes a thug and a drug dealer? How the fuck is that not some thoughtless stereotyping?

What’s next, Mark? A black member of Mensa gets the powers of Superman and becomes a pimp? BTW, I hear you’re English and I’d like your take on a graphic novel I’m writing. It’s about how Princess Diana gets the power of Wonder Woman and becomes a two-dollar whore.


I’ve got a lot more examples of screwed up black characters created by some white writers but that’s an entire book in and of itself so I’ll just let the two examples I used stand. Not that I give a shit what people think but let me say this, there are some incredible white writers who write great black characters and on the flip side of that there are some great black writers who write horrible white characters. Oh and Mark before I forget, when I received my PhD the first thing I thought about was robbing a liquor store. Nah, I’m just kidding, but as soon as I get Hulk like powers…

But as usual (sorry, Peter) I digress. Don McGregor body of work and original creations are simply awe-inspiring. I don’t think I’ve ever read a bad Don McGregor story. I know I’ve never encountered a bad Don McGregor original superhero. One of the reasons I was such a little pussy when I met Don is he writes the best black characters. Hell, I wish I could write black characters as well as Don does.

Sabre is one of Don’s creations is one of the best comics I’ve ever read. Sabre is a black character, in case you were born yesterday. Why didn’t I mention it above with the other great black characters created by white writers?

Because Sabre is in a class of its own.

Just like Don McGregor.




Dennis O’Neil: Resurrection

O'Neil Art 130328Spring is sprung

The grass is riz

I wonder where the boidies is…

Ah. Spring.

No matter that if you live in the midwest there may be snow on the ground, and if there isn’t, there was recently. It is, dammit, spring! What you gonna believe, Skippy – your eyes or the calendar?

And to herald spring, here comes one of my favorite holidays – Easter. You know the story: humanity’s savior gets crucified, chills in a tomb for three days, comes out and starts a religion. If you’re into comparative mythology. you can find that similar things happened to earlier deities, including Adonis, Osiris, and Mithra. The myths, and their attendant holidays, celebrate something real – the emotions,including hope, that we desperate humans experience when the long gloom of winter goes away and life returns to the Earth. Our ancestors tended to give phenomena they didn’t understand names and identities. Maybe that tendency still exists in their descendants.

Do we feel that you can’t keep a good god down?

Then what about comic book characters? They seem to have difficulty staying dead, too. I have personally participated in the demise of four that I can immediately remember, all of whom popped out of the afterlife in one form or another, and they’re only a few entries in a rather long list that includes some of the biggies: Superman, Captain America, Robin the Boy/Teen Wonder version two. And then there are the lesser but still prominent characters, including Cap America’s young pal Bucky, Elektra, and one of my personal favorite supporting cast members, Batman’s butler Alfred. (Full disclosure: Alfred wasn’t really dead, only, you know, deadish. For two years.)

And why do I feel compelled to include a spear-carrier who died and stayed dead? We’re talking Larry Lance, the detective husband of the original Black Canary. We gave him a one panel funeral in Justice League of America, sent his widow off to another universe and sweet love with Green Arrow, and forgot about him. Maybe I’ve given Larry a paragraph as a service to serious trivia freaks.

But Larry wasn’t even a superheroes and superheroes who die are our subject, so back to them. DC Comics has recently killed two prominent costumed good guys and raised a bit of a stink in the doing. The (late) characters are (were?) yet another incarnation of Batman’s youthful sidekick, Robin, and, evidently, John Stewart, the African American Green Lantern. What’s notable about the Robin is that he is (was) the first of his ilk who was Batman’s biological son. John Stewart? The stakes are a bit higher: he was one of the earliest of comics’ superdoers who wasn’t a white guy and for a time, he was pretty much the only Green Lantern in the DC Universe. I’d say that as fictional beings go, he’ll be missed. (The Robin? No idea.)

But will John (and Robin?) stay deceased? Well, they’re not gods, not exactly (though they are first cousins to the mythological deities). Will they return? History may be nodding its head yes, but I’ll content myself with a shrug.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman


Mike Gold: Bourne, On The Fourth Of July

I’m not the world’s biggest Jason Bourne fan. Not by a long shot. I’ve seen and enjoyed the movies but I haven’t read any of the books. But two days ago, as I was sitting in the theater awaiting The Amazing Spider-Man (for the ComicMix Mixed Review), I saw a trailer for the latest chapter, The Bourne Legacy. It’s a continuation of the series… but without Jason. As I was watching the trailer, I was thinking in the terms of my trade.

 “Reboot! Reboot!”

We can argue if this is a genuine reboot or not, but let’s ride with the concept for a bit. My next thought was “why do the teevee and movie people do successful reboots of major properties, while in comics we butcher it every chance we get?” Which, by the way, is way too frequently.

Recent media reboots have included James Bond, Doctor Who, and Sherlock Holmes – the latter, twice. Other reboots have included Superman, Batman and the aforementioned Spider-Man. Only the former lacked enduring success. The Batboot was stellar, and we’ll have to wait and see about Spidey. So, of the five major characters, only one was a bust.

Allow me some jealous feelings here. To paraphrase Paul Simon (the singer, not the dead politician), after reboot upon reboot, the comics biz is more or less the same. Yes, there’s usually a solid sales bump and maybe it lasts long enough to make a difference, but that’s almost always short-lived. Is the Spider-Man marriage thing resolved? Is Jean Gray forever dead? What about Uncle Ben? Are you sure? Go ask Captain America and Bucky.

Over at DC, they’ve pressed the reboot button more often in the past 37 years than a lab monkey on an crystal meth test. How long should a reboot last before it’s deemed successful? I don’t know; we’ve never had one that lasted more than a couple years. Is the New 52 successful? Well, yes, in the sense that Dan DiDio still has his job. But they’ve only got sales figures in for the first year, and over a third of the titles have either been cancelled or have endured new creative teams. That doesn’t make it a failure, but if simply cancelling some titles and changing the crew on others is all it takes to make a character work for a contemporary audience, then we don’t need reboots.

In fact, this is the error message we get over each reboot. There’s no system upgrade here. We could have provided stability and growth by simply cancelling some titles and incubating those characters within their universes, and by changing creative teams on others – creators who will not restart history, but simply put it on an exciting path out of the woods. This may be the real “success” of the New 52. We’ll see in maybe five years or so.

The fact is, the media people haven’t pissed all over the trust of their audience. Despite public perception, most all of the pre-reboot movies and television shows featuring James Bond, Doctor Who, Superman, and Batman made money (I really can’t say about Sherlock Holmes; he seems to have made PBS a lot of money in the form of enhanced underwriting and public support). Maybe not enough to support the highest-ups’ eight figure salaries, maybe not as great a return on investment to make the stockholders happy, but in an industry where they put tens of millions of dollars on the line with each project – more than enough in each case to support a front-of-the-catalog comic book publisher – a five million dollar profit might not be a desired return on investment, but it’s still five million dollars.

Comics executives and, more important, their corporate masters need to give the four-color medium the same degree of patience and, quite frankly, they need to give their consumers the same amount of respect.

We need a comic book industry with an attention span.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

MINDY NEWELL: Who’s Dead As A Doornail?

MINDY NEWELL: Who’s Dead As A Doornail?

Death aims only once, but never misses.

(Maxims: Political, Philosophical, and Moral, by Edward Counsel)

Except in comics.

I was doing a search for quotes about death when I found this one, which is so apropos. I never heard of Edward Counsel; did a Google search, but couldn’t find him?? Found a reproduction of his book on Amazon; the original was published before 1923. All I can gather is that he was an Australian who was born before 1900. Anyone who has more info is welcome to let me know in the comments section.

The reason I was looking for a quote about death – of which there seems to be milllllllllions – is because all us comic fans are buzzing about the YouTube video The Death and Return of Superman, by Max Landis (son of John Landis), who stars in The Chronicle. I was going to post it here, but Martha (Thomases) beat me to it three days ago – which amazingly points out that DC actually thought Tim Drake’s/Robin’s new costume was more of a P.R. event than Supe’s kicking of the bucket – so I won’t do that. All I can say is that, if by any chance you haven’t seen it, do so at once. You have my permission to stop reading this column, go watch it (it’s about 16:00 long) and then come back. It is bitingly hilarious, and exceptionally on the mark!!!! (Major kudos to Landis and his fellow actors btw!)

SPOILER ALERT!: Okay, I’m going to assume that you have either already seen the video or have taken the 16:00 to watch it before returning here, because I’m going to give away the ending here.

Landis concludes his short film by stating that Superman’s death and return opened the floodgates for other comic characters to die and then resurrect. In other words, said resurrection cheapened the dramatic impact of said death, and ended the ability of readers to mourn the loss of the character, because the reader knew the character would eventually return. Cynics like me will always point out that the death of a character in the comic book world is always due to (1) marketing; and (2) the dictates of Hollywood – as Martha ably points out in her column concerning Lois And Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

As a comics writer, a editor, and a reader, the “make-believe” of death in comics really pisses me off.

I’d like to point out that the ability of fiction (any fiction, from comics to television to movies) to help children understand and cope with finality of death is incredibly important. J. M. Barrie understood this, as he has Peter Pan say “To die will be an awfully big adventure.” And of course, J.K. Rowling did not flinch from the meaning of death in the Harry Potter And The novels; it was one of the themes of her “magnus opus” – beginning with the main character. Need I remind you that Harry was an orphan?

Okay, young readers of comics are scarce these days. We all know that. But they are still out there; my eleven-year old niece Isabel being one of them. And children are curious about death. About six months after my husband left me, the family was out to dinner. Right in the middle of the laughter and the eating, Isabel, six years old at the time, said to me, “Is John dead?” (That was a conversation stopper, let me tell you.) Of course her parents had explained what had happened. But obviously Isabel couldn’t grasp the concept of marital separation and divorce, so all she knew was that John was gone, which in her thoughts equaled death… because, as her mom told me later, she had just seen a movie – I don’t remember which one, it might have been one of the Harry Potter’s – in which one of the characters died. And she was trying to wrap her young mind around “death.”

Which I think is good; our society tends to put death into a dark, dusty corner where it molders and mildews and mutates into something unbearably monstrous. Remember the uproar over Terry Schiavo? How about the Republican bullshit of equating Obama’s healthcare bill with death panels? And as a registered nurse in the operating room, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen terminally ill or extremely aged patients subjected to the stress of unneeded or useless surgery or treatment because the family insists on it because they can’t deal with the impending death of their loved one.

Death can be welcomed as an end to unending pain and torment. Death can be aggressively fought against with all the tools of modern medicine. Death can be sudden, or it can be stretched out into nanoseconds.

But death is real.

I’m still reeling from the death of Kara Zor-El – Supergirl – in Crisis On Infinite Earth.  Don’t talk to me about the reboots.

The Very Short List of Comic Book Superheroes Who Have Died And Returned: Alfred Pennyworth, Aquaman, Aunt May, Big Barda, Bucky, Captain America, The Doctor, Elektra, Fahrenheit, The Flash, Firestorm, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, Hawkman, The Human Torch, Jean Grey, Moon Knight, Negative Man, Punisher, Robin, Supergirl, Superman, The Thing, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents (many if not all), Wonder Man, Wonder Woman, Yellowjacket.

TUESDAY: Michael Davis. Sponsored by the Bacon Council.

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: What I’m NOT Thankful For

I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving holiday was amazing. I myself hosted festivities for the first time in our new home. It was here, in 2011 where Marc Alan Fishman finally graduated from the kiddie table. Looks like all it took was making a meal for 10 people, in my own home. But with the assistance of my fantastic in-laws, and even more fantastic(ly pregnant) wife… we done pulled off a doosy. After last week’s lov-in, I unbuckled my belt, let my gut out, and took stock in those things that didn’t quite make me a happy camper. Sure, my initial articles covered some of those (The X-Men, Barry Allen, and Hal Jordon to name a few)… but here we are, nearing the end of the year. What exactly happened that cause my beard to stand on end? Let the hatespew begin!

Epic Events of Extremely Excessive Inanity

To be truly fair, I could spend the entirely of this editorial tearing DC and Marvel both for their predilection to create crappy crossover events. But let’s boil it down to the brass tacks, shall we? Simply put, these money-sucking whores create bloated wastes of ink and paper, all based on the idea that “everything you know will change.” This of course, preys on our fan-boy fear of being left behind. And it would seem over the course of the Aughts, such as they were, the Big Two have perfected their scheme:

Create a main book where all the bullet point action takes place. A few not so significant people will die. One or two major ones might kick it too. A great evil rises up. It looks insurmountable. Then a legion of the most marketable heroes get some brilliant form of upgrade, or a lost and forgotten hero comes back from the dead, or some other deus ex machina reveals itself in the nick of time for one last issue of double page Photoshopped explosions. What follows is generally seven to twenty seven epilogues setting up the next six months of editorial mandated character changes.

But it’s never just that one main title now, is it? These mega-loads of mega-suck bleed into the entire continuity of issues. Soon every book you’d normally pick up features the event-du-jour’s nom de plum across its masthead. What follows is generally exposition taken from bullet point A before bullet point B from the main series. Not reading that series? Well, I guess it sucks to be you. I was loving, L-O-V-I-N-G Matt Fraction’s Incredible Iron Man series until Fear Itself. And for four issues straight, all the world building he’d done was cast aside so I could follow Tony into Asgard to get drunk, swear, and make some action-figure-waiting-to-happen weapon variants for random heroes to use. Did I follow Fear Itself? No. Thanks for wasting my time, money, and love of the Iron Man book.

Don’t think for a second DC skates by here either, kiddos. Those cash-craving carnivores did one worse; they let the deus ex machina implode their entire line of comics. Flashpoint, by and large, will sit in my collection next to Countdown to Final Crisis as a testament to everything wrong with comic books today. “But why did you keep buying them, if you hated them so much?” Well… One – I’m a masochist. Two – the series promised to feature at least one or two characters I’d normally not get to read about. Three; – I didn’t want to come out of the other side confused as to why everything changed. Flashpoint even had the nerve to release wave after wave of mini-series to take us around this “Age of Not Quite Apocalypse.” And while Batman: Knight of Vengeance delivered an amazing Elseworlds tale, it was just that… An Elseworlds tale. Slap any title card you wanted on the cover, Dan, Geoff, and Jim. We all knew it should have said “Flash Point Over There and Distract The Fanboys While We Hit The Reset Button.”

4/5ths of the DCNu

And since we’re on the subject… the next thing that ground my gears was the rebooting of the DC Universe itself. I give credit where credit is due. It was a bold move that in fact did raise awareness, sales, and general levels of hope amongst the comic book readers of the world. But by and large, it was all smoke pellets and Mirror Masters.

Let’s face facts. Superman, Wonder Woman, the JLA, and Aquaman all got the reboots needed to make them matter again. Batman and Green Lantern may have gotten shiny new #1s on their books, but didn’t reboot a damned thing. Batgirl got to disappoint the handicapped community (not that the book is bad mind you, but still…), and a plethora of bad ideas were hurled out with hopes any of it would stick. What we’re left with is a mangled mess of a few fantastic books littered amongst total garbage. All the solid character-building moments that gave DC a strong legacy and continuity were thrown out with the bath water in hopes that a #1 and a power-cycle would somehow make comic books appeal to the masses who aren’t reading comic books. Guess what? Sales may have increased, but not by that much. Walk out on the street today, and ask a passer-by who OMAC, Voodoo, or Captain Atom are. Don’t be surprised when they need to Google it.

It’s still too early to say exactly what impact this reboot is going to make. Suffice to say, I hardly believe I’ll be telling my son “Oh yeah, in 2011, it all changed. DC created the new paradigm by which all comic books were created.” More likely? “Oh yeah, in 2011 DC rebooted everything, because they figured they’d move more issues if they had #1 on them. Superman turned out really good. I kind of forgot everything else.”

The Fallacy of Death in Comics

If 2011 has taught us nothing else, then we should all learn this: Death is meaningless in comic books. In the long-long ago, in a time and place far far away from here… dying meant dying. No mysterious body swaps. No time-bullets. No psuedo-science backtracking. Dead meant dead. In 2011, Marvel iced the Human Torch, Bucky Barnes (again…), and Thor (again, again). Human Torch didn’t even stay chilled long enough to be missed. With Fantastic Four #600, his mighty resurrection (as predicted by just about everyone) came to pass. In Fear Itself, Bucky and Thor each bit the dust. Who here is man enough to say they’ll stay that way for 365 days? With The Avengers movie hitting megaplexes next summer, I doubt Mr. Odinson will be resting for even a fortnight. Oh, and it looks like the Phoenix force is coming back too. As it stands, I can’t even tell you for sure who is alive and who isn’t. Only Ultimate Peter Parker seems to be the most likely candidate for a spot next to Gwen Stacy of the 616 in the land of the “neva’ coming back.” And thanks largely to Flashpoint, DC was able to kill off whole portions of their catalog, with the promise to thaw them out the second sales dip. Did someone say JSA?

Goodbye 2011. May 2012 boast less deaths and less events. See you next week, when my column resets back to #1.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander


Marvel Comics has announced an ongoing Winter Soldier series by Ed Brubaker and Butch Guice to launch in February with covers by Lee Bermejo.

“I knew 90 percent of the angry ‘You killed Bucky’ fans were fans who were upset that I brought him back in the first place who I had won over,” Brubaker said. “Hopefully I will be able to win them back again.”

The series will touch on Bucky’s history from the Cold War and will feature Black Widow, and, to a lesser degree, Nick Fury.

Marvel Comics October Pulpy Offerings

Coming in October from Marvel Comics.


Based on the Novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Adaptation by Roger Langridge
Art by Filipe Andrade
Cover by Skottie Young
The comic-book adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ tale continues! See John Carter meet the beautiful but deadly Princess Dejah Thoris! Watch him make a dangerous enemy! And discover the fate of those who dare to cross the Martians, when Carter takes the life of a Thark warrior! The world of Barsoom continues to unfold in this brand new interpretation of a great classic.
32 PGS./All Ages …$2.99

JOHN CARTER of Mars: world of mars #1 (of 5)Based on the Novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Written by PETER DAVID
If you thought all the action on Mars began with the arrival of John Carter—are you in for a shock! John Carter: World of Mars is the official prequel to the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures blockbuster film releasing March 2012 and reveals the shocking events that transpire before the hotly anticipated motion picture! Plus it features some of the greatest characters ever conceived by Edgar Rice Burroughs, including Princess Dejah Thoris, the valiant, four-armed Tars Tarkas, John Carter and Burroughs himself!
Dejah Thoris has yet to meet the love of her life, but she has her hands full with the malicious Sab Than, would-be ruler of Zodanga, who sees kidnapping the princess of Mars as a short-cut to winning the thousand year war between his people and her city of Helium. Meanwhile Tars Tarkas is not yet the leader of his people, but instead an unambitious warrior who is caught between the desires of the female he loves and his best friend who needs Tars’s help to become Jeddak of the Tharks…assuming that his ambitions don’t kill them all. It’s a compelling tale of romance, court intrigue and an unending war on a distant world. Take an unforgettable journey to Barsoom. It’s a trip you can’t afford to miss!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Art & Cover by SKOTTIE YOUNG
The Wizard of Oz is back and the Mangaboos have him! These deadly vegetable people also have Dorothy, her cousin Zeb, their horse Jim and kitten Eureka. To save their lives, the humbug Wizard must win a contest of magic against a real Sorcerer—using only his wits and nine tiny piglets. The beloved Oz adaptation continues with the critically acclaimed and Eisner Award winning team-up of Eric Shanower and Skottie Young.
32 PGS./All Ages …$2.99

First it was American Panther, now it’s…Six-Armed Panther? The arachnid infection griping Manhattan hits T’Challa, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stop trying to protect Hell’s Kitchen! And when Overdrive breaks into the quarantine zone, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Panther swings into a deadly race across the streets of New York City. What has the Spidey villain stolen that’s worth smashing through a hero-protected border, and why is the lethal Lady Bullseye trying to keep him from getting back out?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

AVENGERS 1959 #1 & #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. (each)/Rated T+ …$2.99 (each)

CAPTAIN AMERICA #4Written by Ed Brubaker
Pencils & Cover by Steve McNiven
Fantastic Four Anniversary Variant by MARKO DJURDJEVIC
Brubaker and McNiven continue their heart-stopping run on Cap with a nightmarish trip down memory lane – and that’s bad news when your memory lane goes right through World War 2!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

RED SKULL #4 (of 5)Written by GREG PAK
Cover by DAVID AJA
The life of Johann Schmidt has been a tragic, tortuous road. As his destiny and doom drag the future Red Skull to his inevitable crossroads, Johann plots a shocking assassination…one that could change the course of history… By the acclaimed writer of MAGNETO: TESTAMENT, Greg Pak, and the breakout SECRET WARRIORS artist, Mirko Colak
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$2.99

Penciled by CHRIS SAMNEE
Behind enemy lines! Bucky and Cap have faced the horrors of war on many fronts, but this issue, they go further into the depths of evil than our young heroes realized possible. And what is the secret that connects the Cap and Bucky series to the modern day stories – the clues begin to add up this issue, as Brubaker, Andreyko, and Samnee keep the pedal to the medal.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

Last month, the Punisher fell. Hard. Now Frank Castle is a man brutally and violently broken and barely grasping onto life. And for Frank Castle… it means he’s more dangerous than ever.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

KA-ZAR #5 (Of 5)Written by PAUL JENKINS
Pencils & Cover by PASCAL ALIXE
The Pangean people confront their utmost limits as the calamity in the Savage Lands hits its critical apex. Corporate oil has seeped throughout the jungle and children perish from foreign remedies. Now two battles erupt that will ultimately decide the fate of Pangea. One man stands alone in the austere chambers of the United Nations, while one nation must finally rise against the threat from within. Amidst the bloodshed, can Ka-Zar protect the integrity of the land and people he swore to? Or will exploitation and internal strife ensure the destruction of his beloved home?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

Art & Cover by JUAN DOE
A monster adventure to scream over!
Elsa Bloodstone hates monsters – and when the trail of a mysterious serial killer leads to their underground city, Elsa’s ready to kick some horrific butt. Morbius the Living Vampire, Werewolf by Night, the Living Mummy and the slithery Manphibian have news for her, though; the monsters are innocent, and the real killer is out there…a creature so terrifying and vicious that even monsters are scared to death! Elsa Bloodstone and the Legion of Monsters are on the case!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Penciled by STEVE DILLON
The Punisher is at his lowest point. Homeless, penniless, gun-less. But none of this changes the fact that he’s got his sights aimed squarely on the most powerful man in the country: the Kingpin of Crime. Fearing for his life and paranoid, the Kingpin brings in a new bodyguard, the best money can buy: a hard-as-nails woman going by the name of Elektra.
32 PGS./Explicit Content …$3.99

Penciled by STEVE DILLON
His final confrontation with Bullseye left Frank Castle wounded and reeling in more ways than one. Now confined to a prison hospital bed, Frank must begin the long painful process of healing — not just his broken body, but also his horribly scarred soul. To do that, he’ll have to face the darkest secret of his past — one he’d hoped would stay buried forever. Collecting PUNISHERMAX (2010) #12-16.
120 PGS./Explicit Content …$19.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-5208-8
Trim size: standard

For a full listing of Marvel’s October Release, visit them at http://www.marvel.com/.

Captain America’s Pulpy WWII Adventures Continue!

New Pulp Artist Francesco Francavilla (Zorro, The Black Coat) joins New Pulp Writer Ed Brubaker (Crimnal, Incognito) on Marvel Comics’ series, Captain America and Bucky starting with issue #625 in December!

Cover Art: Francesco Francavilla

Written by Ed Brubaker & James Asmus
Pencils & Cover by Francesco Francavilla
• The original Human Torch guest-stars as Captain America teams up with Bucky in the present day… for the first time?!
• Rising stars James Asmus and Francesco Francavilla join Eisner award winner Ed Brubaker for a rollicking adventure into the future of the star-spangled Avenger’s past!
• Brand new arc! Easy jumping on point!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

For more on Ed Brubaker, visit http://www.edbrubaker.com/
For more on Francesco Francavilla, vist http://pulpsunday.blogspot.com/
For more on Marvel Comics and Captain America, visit http://www.marvel.com/