Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was full of details about current and future projects during a recent screening of new footage from The Incredible Hulk, according to various reports from the event.
Among the juiciest of the news was info related to two highly anticipated Marvel Studios films, The First Avenger: Captain America (When did this film get slapped with the "First Avenger" portion of the title, by the way? Did I miss something?) and the big-screen debut of Marvel’s favorite Norse god, Thor.
According to Feige, Captain America will be a period piece, with a story that occurs during World War II, while the plot of Thor will rely heavily on scenes occurring in Asgard, the mythic Norse realm where the gods go about their godly business.
"The film is not all Asgard, but it will be a big chunk in Asgard, yeah," Feige said.
Feige promised an announcement about a director for Thor "later this summer." Mark Protosevich (The Cell) is drafting a script, which should be submitted in a couple of weeks, he added.
Feige also confirmed that a familiar object in the background of a scene in Iron Man was indeed Captain America’s shield. As the sleuths over at io9 report, the object was absent in the film’s trailer, which happened to include the very same scene — making me that much more impressed with Marvel Studios’ willingness to include these types of Easter Egg elements.
Head over to SciFi Wire for more on Marvel Studios’ slate of films and information from the Hulk screening, and check out the before-and-after screenshots from Iron Man (featuring a glimpse of Cap’s shield) posted over at io9.
Kudos to Marvel, who blew the pants off the competition in this week’s batch of issues, with an unprecedented four books being so good I have to list them all as tied for the top spot. And, surprise surprise, none of them were Skrullapalooza ’08 tie-ins.
Superheroes aside, a good mix of indies came out as well, making for a well rounded week that I’ll count as an early birthday present to yours truly.
Book(s) of the Week — While these four Marvel books are all essentially equals, the pole position goes to Black Panther #36. Now, I’ve long been something of a Reggie Hudlin hater, but he packs so much story into this issue without making it feel overloaded that it reads like a pre-Bendis Era comic. Killmonger – who makes a surprisingly good villain – rallies a destitute African nation around him in a way that truly captures the continent’s actual unrest. Meanwhile, we finally see the Storm-BP marriage addressed in a believable way, some intense fighting and the line of the week: "He’s already the Mole Man! What more could we do to him?"
Over in Ghost Rider #23, Jason Aaron follows last issue’s big buildup with a huge explosion (literally), and a storyline that perfectly depicts just how tortured Johnny Blaze really is. The art, by Roland Boschi, continues to shine, all scratchy and intense.
Captain America #38 makes the cut as another flawless entry from Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting, with special credit for an entirely plausible and non-Skrullish explanation to the mysterious Steve Rogers that Sharon found last go-round. Meanwhile, Bucky continues to gain his sea legs as the new Cap and the Red Skull’s plans meet political reality.
Lastly but not leastly, Peter David wraps up his Arcade storyline in X-Factor #31, which pulls readers deeply into the looming destruction of Mutanttown with the little emotional moments David is so good at. He also lets Arcade continue to be a relentlessly entertaining villain and makes this team of non-heroes truly heroic.
The Runners Up:
Scalped #17 — I’ve always been on the fence about this series, which has gone back and forth between too action-heavy and too slow. This issue strikes a solid balance as the community buries Dash’s mother and he finally lets himself mourn.
Robin #174— The best from DC this week, as Robin and Batman figure out the identity of the new hero muddying Gotham’s waters. I won’t spoil it here, but it’s a true surprise that doesn’t seem TOO contrived. The real highlight is the realistic way Chuck Dixon captures everyone’s emotional response to the big news.
Big name superheroes like The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers aren’t the only Marvel properties hitting the big screen.
The lesser known characters are getting their crack at film stardom, including the ragtag group of young heroes known as the Runaways.
Created in 2002 by Brian K. Vaughan as part of Marvel’s Tsunami line, Runaways follows a group of kids who discover their parents are evil supervillains. Vaughn, who left the series at the conclusion of the second volume, will return to the property he co-created and write the script for the upcoming movie.
No director is currently attached to the film, but maybe they’ll hire Richard Donner and the movie will be like a super-powered version of The Goonies.
A quick scan of the shelves at your local comic shop this month should be all it takes to realize that writer/artist Todd Nauck has been keeping busy. The popular Young Justice artist’s name graces the cover of four different issues in a five-week span, including the launch of two new miniseries and the grand finale of another series.
One of those new miniseries marks the return of Nauck’s popular creator-owned series WildGuard to comic shops, and provides yet another look at a world where superheroes are chosen via American Idol-esque competitions and readers have helped determine everything from storylines to costumes.
Nauck also lends his considerable talents to the first two issues of American Dream this month, featuring the alternate-reality heroes of Marvel’s MC2 universe — specifically, the female Captain America. The first issue was a sellout for Marvel, with rave reviews for the work of both Nauck and series writer Tom DeFalco.
However, it isn’t all new beginnings for Nauck, as he helps close the door on the cartoon-inspired DC series Teen Titans Go! with issue #55 at the end of May. The kirds-oriented series has had Nauck embracing a new artistic style — one that’s now turning up in his other projects, too.
I spoke with Todd about nearly achieving the "quadfecta," finally finding time for more WildGuard and juggling the different artistic styles required for each of his very-different projects this month.
COMICMIX: When we spoke during New York Comic Con, you were excited to have the "quadfecta" schedule this month, with an issue hitting every week of May. Although some last-minute scheduling shifts pushed up one of the release dates, it’s still an impressive run of four comics in five weeks. When you first found out there was a chance of the schedule lining up like this, did you push for the quadfecta or was it entirely by chance?
TODD NAUCK: Entirely by chance. I couldn’t have planned it. The only book I could have a say in the release date was WildGuard: insider since that is my creator-owned book. I had the release date on May 14th for WildGuard: Insider #1 set around December or January for solicitations.
Then I come to find out my Marvel series American Dream is coming out bi-weekly with issue #1 out May 7th and issue #2 out May 21st.
Then I had to find out when Teen Titans Go #55 (the last issue of that series) was coming out. As I frantically flipped through the DC section of Previews I was hoping it would be May 28th. And wouldn’t you know, that was the exact date for Teen Titans Go #55.
I had hit the "quadfecta!" Four books, each coming out in a different week of the same month.
WildGuard: Insider #1 did get released early for Free Comic Book Day, though. But a lot of WildGuard fans probably expect it in their pull boxes for May 14th. So it’s still quadfecta-ish!
There is a special exhibition at the Costume Institute at New York’s Metropolitan Musuem of Art called Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy. I haven’t been able to go yet, but according to the exhibit’s web site, the show features costumes designed around these groups:
•The Patriotic Body (Wonder Woman, Captain America)
•The Virile Body (they cite The Hulk and The Thing, which sort of creeps me out)
•The Graphic Body (Superman and other characters with logos)
•The Paradoxical Body (Catwoman and other hyper-sexualized heroines)
•The Armored Body (Iron Man, Steel)
•The Aerodynamic Body (The Flash)
• The Mutant Body (they cite Rogue)
• The Post-Modern Body (Ghost Rider, Punisher).
The show and its parties are sponsored by Conde Nast, DC and Marvel, and Giorgio Armani. The opening night was extremely glamorous, with attendance from stars like George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Tilda Swinton, and the Olsen Twins. Heidi has written great stuff about it at The Beat and the Fug Girls are all over it.
Some of these groupings I understand, and some seem to be redundant (really, is Rogue that much different from Catwoman in the way she’s presented in this show?). However, none of them seem to consider superhero garb the way I did, when I was considering being a superheroine.
It’s true that I was designing my costume when I was eight years old, when fashion was not my foremost concern, nor did I need to worry about where I was going to keep my breasts at that time. I wanted something that would allow me to hide in the shadows, mysteriously, even while showing off my beautiful blonde hair (I had a few blonde cousins, and thought all I needed was more time in the sun to achieve the same golden tresses). Midnight blue, I thought, was the perfect color, at least among those choices in my Crayola box.
This weekend I had the pleasure of heading up to Stockbridge, MA, for the Comic Arts Festival and "LitGraphic: The Art of the Graphic Novel" exhibit at the Norman Rockwell Museum.
It was my first trip to the museum, and as I mentioned in my previous tease for the event, I’ve been kicking myself for not making the trip years ago, when I lived a much shorter distance from Stockbridge. The area surrounding the museum is a beautiful, rural landscape that was a breath of fresh air (literally) from the New York City madness.
The "LitGraphic" exhibit consisted of several rooms filled with various pieces of art from both well-known creators and some who I’ll admit I had never heard of prior to seeing their work on display in Stockbridge. On the day we attended, the museum was also playing host to some of the creators whose work was featured in the exhibit, and had scheduled several signings and other events as part of a "Comic Arts Festival."
One of the first pieces of art I encountered was a series of Niko Henrichon’s original, inked pages from Pride of Baghdad, including the impressive two-page "Baghdad Cityscape" spread. My less comics-savvy partner, who accompanied me on the trip, was amazed at the linework on the pages, and on several occasions when I wandered off to view other elements of the exhibit I returned to find her admiring this piece again.
Several pages of Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise also found their way into the exhibit, with one piece in particular catching my eye. Titled "The Point Is, She Found Me," the inked two-page spread included a sequence of progressively smaller square frames within a larger scene. The frames directed the reader’s eyes to a figure hidden in the bushes — something that might have been overlooked entirely without the frames zeroing in on the small face in the scenery. It was a nice, unconventional layout that added to the story instead of distracting from it.
In a corner of the exhibit were also some sketchbooks from artist Barron Storey, showcasing his jumbled, mixed-media style of work that appeared in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: Endless Nights anthology. The display also featured a variety of dog-eared pages from his sketchbooks, including among other things, a set of small, incredibly detailed drawings of Saddam Hussein and Yassir Arafat on opposing pages. The former sketch was captioned with a single sentence: "Hussein, looking a bit like Stalin."
To be filed under "Talk Amongst Yourselves," we were recently sent a link to a Century 21 ad for a property located in Congers, NY, that piqued our interest. Apparently, the office of Wizard Entertainment, publisher of Wizard Magazine, is being shopped around for potential buyers.
According to the ad, the owners of the property (Wizard Entertainment) are looking for $4 million in exchange for the 35,000 square-foot property. Although we’re not sure what to infer about this aspect of the posting:
Owner would prefer to deliver building vacant but would be agreeable to a lease back 60-100% of office/warehous [sic] space.
When asked for comment on the posting, a representative of Wizard identified only as "Ed" said that the publisher was simply "checking our business options."
Additionally, when asked about the company’s plans should the building find a new owner, the Wizard representative responded, "We may not go anywhere. We may sell the building and stay as a tenant. We may sell the building and move across the street."
Neither Century 21 nor representatives at Wizard would offer any further comment on the sale or its implications for the publisher.
What we really want to know, though, is whether the pricetag includes that warehouse full of comics seen in the ad. Maybe there are a few good issues of Captain America hidden in there.
Even people who’ve never picked up a comic book are looking forward to seeing the new Iron Man movie debuting tomorrow, starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark, "the cool exec with a heart of steel!"
When Stan Lee and Don Heck introduced Anthony Stark, he was a modern-day Howard Hughes, a weaponsmaker who was investigating his interests in a war zone when he was injured by shrapnel and captured by guerilla soldiers. Desperately needing a life-support system to keep his heart beating, as well as a weapon to fight off his captors, he used materials around him created a make-shift suit of high-tech armor that earned him the name "Iron Man."
Returning to the states, the world welcomed its new superhero, believing him to be the rich playboy’s bodyguard, and he soon became a founding member of the famous Avengers. Over the years that followed, "Ol’ Shellhead" has been through many armors, as well as many personal changes. He had his heart repaired and battled alcoholism. He had his heart injured again and replaced it with a mechanical one that needed constant recharging. Recently, his body was finally healed and his resources greatly enhanced after merging with an experimental form of nano-technology.
Much like The Dark Knight reading list we provided you as prep for Batman’s upcoming return to the big screen, ComicMix has assembled ten recommended reads that showcase how clever and resourceful our hero is while also displaying the forces and passions that drive him in his double-life. They have been assembled in chronological order, so you can follow Iron Man’s evolution.
Born in 1947 in Indianapolis, Indiana, Steve Englehart graduated college from Wesleyan University and served briefly in the Army before moving to New York. He got his comic book start working as Neal Adams’ art assistant at Warren Publishing.
Art was not Englehart’s chief interest, however, and he soon switched to different areas, going to work for Marvel as a proofreader. Then he got the opportunity to write a story for Amazing Adventures, and from then on it was writing all the way.
Englehart wrote The Avengers from 1972 to 1976 and also wrote Doctor Strange, Captain America, and The Hulk before moving over to DC Comics to help revamp their core characters in Detective Comics, Superman, Flash, and other titles. Englehart left comics and the U.S. in the late ’70s and early ’80s to travel Europe and work on a novel, but later returned to design video games and created Coyote for Eclipse.
Englehart has since written Green Lantern, Fantastic Four, Night Man, and several others, and has written more videogames and several animated series as well.