Tagged: Joe Quesada

Mike Gold: Feige Island and the Sharks of Doom

Le Pétomane

Last week, Rich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool wrote one of his typically brilliant pieces about how Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige aced out Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter and put to death the Marvel Creative Committee – Alan Fine, Brian Michael Bendis, Dan Buckley, Joe Quesada and others from time to time such as  Jeph Loeb and Axel Alonso.

That last bit makes my head hurt. Consciously turning your back on such a gifted, knowledgeable and successful group of people because you think you know how to do it better is not the act of a good businessperson, it’s the act of a megalomaniac.

Rich asks the question “how did Feige manage to strong-arm Disney into this decision?” That’s a fascinating question, as historical inquiries go. I’d like to toss out some comments about the future of Feige Island (Rich’s term; I only steal from the best). To paraphrase the most over-paraphrased phrase in comics, “with great power comes great exposure.”

This is not a prediction, it’s an analysis. Lots of shit will come down the pike. However, this is one of those rare occasions where logic is useful. Sooner or later, Marvel Studios is going to drop a turd. No slight against Marvel; it’s the second law of thermodynamics, although I phrased it somewhat differently. It’s going to happen sooner or later.

The highest dictum of business is “cover your ass.” Once again I shall quote the great Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles, where he played Governor William J. Le Petomane at his conference table. “We’ve got to protect our phony baloney jobs, gentlemen!”

This is the principle by which business, government, and Hollywood lives and is bound to live. So, when Marvel Studios finally lays that egg, who is going to get the blame? If the buck stops at Kevin Feige’s wallet, who else is there to blame? Ike Perlmutter? Nope; he’s been banished from Feige Island. If Kevin doesn’t get himself a fall guy… then he is the fall guy.

Why the hell would a creative manager void himself of input from the likes of Bendis, Buckley, Quesada, Loeb, Fine and Alonso? Did Feige actually see any of the Marvel Studios product?

How about the balance sheets?

(For a swell time, Google Mel Brooks’ muse Le Pétomane, the stage name of the French flatulist Joseph Pujol. Seriously. You’ll be amazed and delighted… and, probably, a bit disgusted.)

Are We at Peak Superhero?

Are We at Peak Superhero?

Mark Harris at Grantland points out that we might be hitting the mass media equivalent of the 90’s comic glut:

Even as they dominate the box office, comic-book movies are approaching a moment fraught with peril. If one definition of a bubble is that everybody with an investment to protect insists that it isn’t a bubble, then we should probably take as a warning the breezy assertion of Marvel’s chief creative officer, Joe Quesada, that “We’re not the Western … The sky’s really the limit for us, as long as we as a collective industry continue to produce great material.” But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and try out a more specific definition: A bubble reaches its maximum pre-pop circumference when the manufacturers of a product double down even as trouble spots begin to appear.

That, I would argue, is what has happened in the last month, in both movies and television.

via Are We at Peak Superhero?

There’s a reason why we called our category for media versions of comics “Every Comic Eventually Gets Adapted”.

REVIEW: Miracleman #1

Miracleman #1 cover by Joe Quesada

Miracleman #1 cover by Joe Quesada

I won’t lie to you… I never thought this day was coming.

I never thought Marvel Comics would be able to untangle the legal Gordian knot that was the history of the character originally known as Marvelman when they announced they’d secured the rights from creator Mick Anglo nearly five years ago.  With all the people involved, all the hands through which the rights had passed, actually and allegedly, it seemed insurmountable.  But Marvel took its time, with the patience of a father untangling the box of Christmas lights, and now here we are, a couple weeks after Christmas, but given a wonderful and shiny present.

(more…)

Win a Copy of Marvel’s Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United

IMH Box ArtIn case you missed it, Marvel’s Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United was released last week and we’ve got one giveaway package of the Blu-ray Combo Pack along with an exclusive Iron Man MiniMate courtesy of our friends at Shout! Factory.

In order to win, tell us who would win a fight — Iron Man or the Hulk — and why. Your entries have to be received by 11:59 p.m., Saturday, December 14. Open only to readers in the United States and Canada. The judgment of ComicMix‘s judges will be final.

Synopsis:                         

Marvel makes history again with one of the greatest Heroic team ups in the universe. Hulk’s brute strength and Tony Stark’s high-tech intellect come together to create a powerful duo necessary to face off against one of the most dangerous enemies.

When “Zzzax,” a seemingly invincible, energy devouring monster threatens to destroy the planet, these two Avengers are mankind’s only hope. Alone, neither can defeat the awesome power of Zzzax. As a team, they just might have a chance – if they can find a way to work together without smashing heads before time runs out!

Packed with explosive action, loaded with bonus features and presented in groundbreaking Marvel CG Animation, Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United is a must-own movie event that will blow you away!

Iron Man MiniMate InfoVoice Cast:                       Adrian Pasdar (TV’s Heroes, Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man) and Fred Tatasciore (TV’s Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man)

Supervising Creative

Director:                           Eric Radomski (TV’s Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man, Batman: The Animated Series)

Supervising Director:      Leo Riley (TV’s Mad, The Rickey Gervais Show)

Writer:                              Henry Gilroy (TV’s Animatrix, Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond) and Brandon Auman (TV’s Iron Man: Armored Adventures, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes)

Executive Producers:       Alan Fine (Marvel’s The Avengers, Thor, Iron Man 2), Dan Buckley (TV’s Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.) Joe Quesada (TV’s Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man) and Jeph Loeb (TV’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Bonus Features:              

Marvel “Inter-missions”

Marvel puts a humorous twist on their old-school original animated series. What better way to take a break from fighting villains than hitting pause and enjoying a little comedy with Marvel Mash-Ups.

Marvel Team-Up with Ryan Penagos and Joe Q.

Super Heroes are larger than life on their own. But when they join forces with another, they become a force to be reckoned with.  Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada, joins Ryan Penagos (Agent M) in an intimate and lively one-on-one conversation about these Marvel Team-Ups.

Rating:                              PG
Feature Run Time:           72 minutes
Aspect Ratio:                    1.78:1
Audio:                               Dolby Digital Surround Sound: English 5.1 – Spanish 5.1 – French 5.1
Languages:                       English, Spanish, French
Subtitles:                          English: ESL, English: SDH, Spanish, French

Marvelman / Miracleman Scheduled; Hell Freezes Over?

After their first announcement at San Diego four years ago that they had obtained the rights, Marvel Comics announced last weekend at New York Comic Con that reprints of the original Alan Moore / Neil Gaiman Miracleman series would begin in January 2014.  Gaiman will then continue the story with issue 25, which he said was completed, but never released, back when Eclipse was publishing the series.

Joe Quesada made the announcement at his “Cup O’ Joe” panel at the convention, to an appropriately appreciative audience. Marvel will be reprinting the entire series, starting with its first issue as seen in the UK magazine Warrior, reprinted in Eclipse’s Miracleman #1.  The early issues were written by Alan Moore, but his name is not being used in any publicity for the series.

Originally named Marvelman, the character became “Miracleman” in America after Marvel Comics contacted its US publisher, Eclipse, and asked it be changed to avoid confusion in the marketplace.  Marvel, who has been referring to the character as “Marvelman” since their first announcement of the acquisition, has decided to reprint the series under the US title of Miracleman after all.  Tom Brevoort explains, “Gaiman and Buckingham worked on Miracleman, and that’s the name under which the series is best known in the States. So Miracleman it is.”

The series will be re-lettered and re-colored, but there no editing or alteration of the art is planned.  Some of the violence was quite intense in the original series, and issue nine featured very graphic depictions of childbirth, so the plan not to censor the art is good news indeed.

Marvelman was created by Mick Anglo when the British comics publisher who was reprinting the popular Fawcett Captain Marvel needed material when the various Captain Marvel titles ended, pursuant to a DC lawsuit.  Marvelman bore more than a slight thematic resemblance to Captain Marvel – young boys given a word of power to change into a powerful hero – a deliberate choice by the publisher.

Marvelman

Marvelman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the early eighties, Alan Moore wrote new adventures for the hero, the first of his “Everything you know is wrong” style of completely revamping a heroes origin while still paying respect and adherence to the stories that were told.  He would do this again with great success on Swamp Thing when he came to the US to work for DC.

The issue of ownership of the character has been a rats’ nest of red tape, even during the original run in Warrior.  To attempt to summarize the tale would not come close to getting across the complexity – The management suggests you seek out the exhaustive work of Irish comics journalist Pádraig Ó Méalóid, whose exhaustive history of the boondoggle puts all obsessive comics writers to shame.

Specific details of the schedule and format of the Miracleman reprints will arrive shortly with the January solicits.  If the book is published monthly, with the same page count of the Eclipse issues, it would Neil’s new material would not be seen for two years.  But considering the nigh-legendary status of the run, new readers will finally have a chance to read this seminal series, both in the careers of the creators involved and the exciting storytelling style.

REVIEW: Wolverine: Origin

wolverineorigin1

In 2000, Bill Jemas arrived at Marvel and began a long process of pulling the company out of bankruptcy. He tapped Joe Quesada to give up running the Marvel Knights imprint and take over Marvel Comics as its Editor-in-Chief. It was a fresh beginning and break from some truly bleak creative years. There was a new atmosphere that said anything was possible which was made manifest with the launch of the Ultimate line of comics.

Sometime that year, Jemas and Quesada held a creative summit and the topic of Wolverine’s origin came up. Shrouded in mystery and misdirection, it was a tale no one dared to tell, which was catnip to Jemas, who was more interested in stirring the pot as creatively and as commercially as possible.

Although discussed with writer Paul Jenkins that year, nothing much was done about it, percolating in the background. In the spring of 2001, when I arrived, Bill and I were informed there was a projected budget shortfall and something had to be added to the schedule to fill the large gap. At that moment, necessity sparked invention and the project was jumpstarted.

Origin, launched in the fall, delivered on its promise. Top talent told a story that fans had been waiting to learn and it was poignant, moving, and exciting. It was not at all what fans expected, which was good. The miniseries sold a ton of copies, made up the budget gap and then some, establishing new lore in the Marvel Universe.

A powerful story, it was a logical step for it to be added to Marvel Knights’ Motion Comics, and released on disc today from Shout! Factory.

Jenkins pulled elements from his childhood to tell the story of poor James Howlett, a sickly child living in19th Century Canada. To keep him company, his father, John Howlett, Sr., brings the redheaded orphan, Rose, to the plantation and they become best friends. Their play dates were extended to Dog, the battered son of the groundskeeper, Thomas Logan. All seemed idyllic but it was far from it, with Thomas’ cruelty, the near madness of James’ mother Elizabeth, who never quite recovered from her eldest son John’s death. As time passes, tensions mount until Thomas comes to rob the mansion and take Elizabeth, with whom he may have had an affair, away with him. When John intervenes, he is shot to death before all three children. The traumatic incident ignites James’ latent mutant powers and the claws pop for the first time, forever changing his life.

It’s a powerful story, honed to near perfection by Jenkins with enough input from Quesada and Jemas to earn them shared story credit. What helped make the miniseries ever better was the artwork from Any Kubert. He leapt at the assignment and then labored over it all summer and that fall, crafting his pencils to such richness that they need not be inked. That gave the story a unique look which was then layered with the watercolor art of Richard Isanove. The Photoshopped color was subtle and meticulous, making him a true collaborator with Kubert. Coupled with the symbolic covers by Quesada and Isanove, it was truly special event.

Unfortunately, Kubert’s lifelike artwork is marred when figures are asked to go from static to kinetic, making this one of the weaker motion comics efforts. The painterly imagery was never intended to move like this and it shows, with awkwardly positioned heads or arms. Thankfully, the vocal cast, usually a weak point on these discs, is above average. The 66 minute, six chapter, story actually would have benefitted more from a proper score than limited motion.

The Blu-ray disc comes complete with two nice extras, the first is a 12:48 look back by Jemas, Quesada, and Jenkins that goes back to the creator summit and how the story came together. The second piece continues the story and over the 14:50, those three are joined by Kubert and Isanove, discussing their visual approach to Jenkins’ story and how each learned to enhance their storytelling. Both pieces make for a good look at the creative process at a key moment in the modern Marvel era.

Martin Pasko: Got Jokes?

Pasko Art 130704By now, those of you who probably greeted with thudding indifference my first regular post here last week may be whining (privately) about my tone.

As of this writing, that piece hasn’t gone up yet, so I haven’t yet read the comments I probably won’t get. No doubt some of you will slander me as a cranky old fart. I would prefer that you read me, if you read me at all, as Grumpy Cat with alopecia and a litter box that looks like a Mylar snuggie.

My purpose here is mainly to provoke thought, but in this overcrowded blogosphere, what that means is, one has to provoke, period. So I also try to entertain by trying to be funny. (I have some experience with this, having been paid to do so on several occasions.) I’m counting on there being ComicMix readers who know that “shock jock” doesn’t have anything to do with Lightning Lad’s penis.

Which brings me to my subject today (Why Patton Oswalt Is So Lonely At Comic Book Conventions). Fanboys have no sense of humor? Well, why the fuck not?

You like to laugh, right? And you love comics, right? Where is it written that loving something means you can’t see its absurdities? (Oh, wait. Married Geeks = a minority. Forgot.)

OK, now that we’ve solved that problem…

Assuming you do like laughing and you like comics…WTF have you got against a one-and-done, and getting both fixes from the same place? Why do so few of you have any interest in comic books that aren’t populated by characters so teeth-grittingly grim that they always look like they’re on the crapper and constipated? Is it too gross to contemplate the idea of a comic book that tries to make you laugh?

Where have all the funny mainstream comics gone? Plastic Man has either gone all deadpan or invisible; Kyle Baker’s given up on the Big Two; Joe Quesada probably doesn’t even know WTF Not Brand Ecch was; and Mike Richardson won’t be blowing any money on another Instant Piano anytime soon. But when did the industry get so risk-adverse? When did their commitment to product diversity become so transparently lip-service?

I know being married to the floppy is a burdensome job, but let’s all learn to lighten the load by leavening it with laughter, aight? In the grand scheme of things, comics aren’t really that important, yo. Your school, if you’re unlucky enough to go to one, will still have textbooks designed to turn you into a Marching Moron. Or it will keep you in debt till long after comics have ceased to exist.

Your job, if you’re lucky enough to have one, will still suck, and the fries that go with it will have been reconstituted, blow-dried, flavor-sprayed, and frozen by a 12-year-old Chinese girl in one of those two-cents-an-hour laborers’ dormitories that gave Mitt Romney a hard-on. And even if you don’t get around to reading this till September, your phone company will still be letting Black Ops guys look at pictures of your junk.

Me, I will recklessly continue trying to bring smiles to your lips, despite your dogged resistance. If I and like-minded writers can’t be funny in comic books, I, at least, will defiantly and unapologetically try to be funny about them – as I did here, and got hugely trolled for it by a lot of Geek jobs who sounded like they were about to cry.

That’s why you’ll also find in my columns that there will be links for some things you don’t immediately understand but also for others that you do.

Well, FYIYCTAJ. And I’ll let you figure out what that stands for on your own time.

You’ve been warned. But imagine a smiley face after that.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

 

Wolverine: Origin Motion Comic Comes to Disc

Wolverine OriginsShout! Factory is releasing the next Marvel Motion Comic, this one the adaptation of the acclaimed Wolverine: Origin miniseries. Here are the formal details:

This summer, Marvel fans will learn the secret history of WOLVERINE that changed the Marvel Universe forever! Written by Eisner Award winner Paul Jenkins from a story by Joe Quesada, Paul Jenkins and Bill Jemas with captivating artwork by Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove. The adventures of Wolverine’s early days and the startling revelation of his true origins are brought to life when MARVEL KNIGHTS ANIMATION’S WOLVERINE: ORIGIN debuts for the first time on home entertainment shelves nationwide on July 9, 2013 from Shout! Factory. This highly anticipated Marvel Knights Animation presentation boasts engaging storytelling combined with visual rich animation and insightful bonus content. Featuring cover art illustration by Joe Quesada and Richard Isanove, this deluxe DVD is collected in a unique comic book style packaging that bridges the comic book to DVD concept. As one of the most important stories of all time in the Marvel Universe, this DVD is a must have for loyal fans, comic book enthusiasts and collectors. MARVEL KNIGHTS ANIMATION’S WOLVERINE: ORIGIN is priced to own at $14.97.

Exclusive behind-the-scenes bonus content features interviews with the creators and illustrators to provide an intimate and retrospective look at the development and production process of this amazing story. Marvel Knights Animation remains true to the heritage of panel-by-panel graphic storytelling, boasting groundbreaking illustrations, sensational soundscapes, and of course, the explosiveness of the Mighty Marvel Universe. Behind every image and every word lies the genius of Marvel’s celebrated creators.

SYNOPSIS

Wolverine is the best there is at what he does – although of course, what he does isn’t very nice. But long before he was a member of the X-Men, a tormented experiment of the Weapon-X project, or even a savage bar brawler known as Logan – he was simply a young boy.

What incredible forces created this man, the world’s greatest killing machine? For years, Wolverine has searched desperately for answers from his past, from the wilds of the Canadian Wilderness to the teeming cities of Japan and beyond. And despite his perseverance and longing for the truth, he remains an enigma to himself and those around him. But, in this landmark event, Marvel reveals all: the birth and childhood of young James Howlett…the intriguing secrets of his family history…and the tragedy that changed everything.

Welcome to the greatest story never told.

Bonus Features Include:

An exclusive retrospective with the Eisner Award-Winning creative team behind Origin.

Total Feature Running Time: +/- 66 minutes

REVIEW: The Inhumans

The Inhumans motion comicThe Inhumans were one of the last great creations by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Beginning with Medusa, introduced in Fantastic Four #36 in 1965, the full complement showed up nine months later. They were another branch of humanity, although it was a long time before readers learned the full story, especially as succeeding writers found new ways to tie them in to the evolving Marvel Universe cosmology. They were a fascinating, colorful bunch but each time they received their own series, it never quite caught on. Still, that hasn’t stopped people from trying, including Paul Jenkins who brought a radical approach to the race for the fourth attempt in 2003. His twelve issue maxiseries was drawn by Jae Lee, propelling him into the spotlight.

Jenkins focused on what the societal structure of Attilan, must be like. We knew previously of Black Bolt and the royal family, but we also came to know that there is a subservient class of Alpha Primitives. The maxiseries contrasts relations between the Inhumans and the mutants along with the Inhumans and the world governments. To tell the story, he focused on a group of teens as they undergo Terrigenesis, a rite of passage that exposes each to the Terrigan Mists, which unlocks their special genetic heritage.

Stirring the unrest among the Primitives is one young Inhuman, an outcast from their society. Stirring unrest among the governments is the king’s insane brother Maximus the Mad. And yes, there’s an insidious connection between the two. Various governments covet the high tech prowess possessed by the Inhumans while Black Bolt just wants to live apart from humanity. Geopolitics, fueled by family infighting, ignites and propels the story.

This was adapted into a series of motion comics shorts that ran online a while back and has been collected onto DVD by Shout! Factory. As with the other motion comics, the process is a modern day version of the 1960s Marvel cartoons with the artwork lifted from the comics and limited animation added. Jae Lee’s artwork does not lend itself well to the process and the modifications to his work by others are evident.

Jenkins’ story, already episodic, breaks into neat chapters and flows nicely. He clearly has his favorites such as Karnak the Shatterer, and doesn’t know what to do with others such as Triton and Crystal. In the center remains the mute Black Bolt, long-suffering sovereign of a people that cannot find lasting peace. He also gives new characters to embrace such as Tonaja, one of the newest Inhumans and Rexel Toiven, who considers himself an outcast and decides to take his problems to the world governments in the name of his king. Of course, the humans fight back and Attilan is brought to the brink of a global war. With Maximus stirring up the Primitives, Black Bolt has his gloved hands full.

As befit Marvel Knights at the time, this is a darker take on the Marvel Universe and their allegorical themes. In this case, the Inhumans stand in for the standard fear of mutants but there are several other themes Jenkins explores and does well, although the comic actually does a better job with this aspect.

I wish I could explain it, but as usual, the vocal talent here is lackluster although better than most of the other motion comics from Marvel. Brian Drummond’s Maximus gets an A.

Shout! merely collects the chapters without editing them into a seamless movie so you get each installment’s recap and by the midpoint it feels very repetitious. The 132 minute running time could have been streamlined and the story made stronger in the process.

Unlike some of the other DVDs in the series, this one comes with A Look Back At The Inhumans with fresh interviews from Jenkins and then-Marvel Knights chief  and now Chief Creative officer Joe Quesada. Jenkins does a nice job talking about the motivations for the project, his thoughts on the Inhumans as characters in the Marvel Universe, and writing the maxiseries. Quesada is a bit more generic and rah rah.