Yeah, yeah, but when are we getting Shogun Warriors back?
Marvel Entertainment and Tsuburaya Productions are excited to announce a collaboration that will bring new Ultraman stories to comics and graphic novels! Unveiled at Tokyo Comic Con, this new collaboration will launch in 2020.
Ultraman has been a pop culture classic ever since its introduction in the 1960s, resulting in more than 50 years of stories told on screen and in the pages of manga and comics.
Yesterday, Sunday TODAY’s Willie Geist remembered mirthful Marie Severin, who designed, sketched and colored covers for many of the most famous characters in the Marvel Universe, including Doctor Strange; The Incredible Hulk; Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner; Spider-Woman; and the parody series Not Brand Echh, and who died last week at age 89.
It’s been a busy week for Marvel Comics! This past weekend new Marvel editor-in-chief CB Cebulski apologized for using the pseudonym Akira Yoshida in a piece for The Atlantic. Since then, many revelations about the future of the Marvel line have come to light.
A wave of cancellation announcements have been made since CB has taken over the reigns as well. Titles including Guardians of the Galaxy, U.S. Avengers, Royals, Uncanny Avengers,Iceman, Jean Grey, Hawkeye, Unbelievable Gwenpool, Like Cage, Secret Warriors and Generation X are all confirmed as canceled. All but confirmed as canceled include America, and Defenders, though Defenders could be on hiatus because of Bendis’ recent health issue. His leaving the company could end up putting the book to bed either way.Another book, Captain Marvel, appears to be going on hiatus for an unconfirmed amount of time as they appear to be changing editorial direction while keeping the creative team in tact.
These are the sort of big changes one may expect from a comics publisher bringing in a new editor-in-chief. It’s hardly the first time we’ve seen major shake ups like this and it will not be the last. While it’s disappointing to see a number of comics cancelled that prominently feature underrepresented communities with creative teams also representing those communities, it is important to note that all of those characters still exist in the Marvel Universe and will hopefully be heavily featured in other titles soon as well as giving other more diverse characters the chance to have the spotlight.
We wish Marvel the best during this transitional phase and most importantly we look forward to reading the new Marvel Comics that will be announced in the New Year.
Before we move on to my regularly scheduled column, I have to plug the Kickstarter going for a ComicMix comics collection running through September 15th. It’s got a lot of great talent like Neil Gaiman, Gabby Rivera and Gerard Way. Check it out!
Now that that’s out of the way, let me get back to my hot takes on the comics biz.
Last month I wrote about Spider-Man: Homecomingand how I wish they had more comics the reflected that interpretation of the character. There isn’t really a comic they put out recently that does, but I heard Spideyis kind of close so I picked up the first trade.
Spidey originally hit the stands back December of 2015 at #25 on the sales charts equating to 65,503 copies sold. The idea was to do an out of continuity Spider-Man that went back to basics; Peter Parker is back in high school, he’s back to crushing on Gwen Stacy, he’s back to taking pictures of Spider-Man for JJ, Aunt May is back to struggling to pay her bills, the bad guys aren’t quite as deadly serious, the book is more light-hearted and the stakes are lowered.
The series is written by Robbie Thompson and the first three issues are illustrated by Nick Bradshaw with Jim Campbell and Rachelle Rosenberg coloring. In the first three issues we have run ins with Doc Ock, Sandman, and Lizard. All three of them are doing what you normally expect them to do; Doc Ock is trying to steal technology, Sandman is trying to rob banks, and Lizard is trying to make more lizard people. While it’s all pretty goofy and at least somewhat self aware, Nick’s art is very sleek and his heavy inks with Jim and Rachelle’s colors really make the pages pop. It feels like Saturday morning cartoon quality work. Some of the characters could look a little more different from each other as I felt his Peter Parker and Harry Osborn look too similar, but I also acknowledge that’s a bit overly critical.
After issue three, the series takes a bit of a turn.
Nick Bradshaw has a very distinct style. Once he leaves after issue three, the rest of this trade is illustrated by Andre Lima Araujo. Andre’s style is drastically different from Nick’s. Gone are the heavy inks and Saturday morning cartoon look. In its place are very thin line inks, and the kind of art you may expect in a Top Shelf or Pantheon type graphic novel. Facial expressions and other little details like sweat are more prominent. The teenage angst and awkwardness spills out of the pages more, but the tone is so different from this art style that it’s jarring. On top of all that, in issue six Iron Man teams up with Spider-Man to stop Vulture from stealing things and it felt like such a push to do something that might tie in somewhat to Spider-Man: Homecoming that it immediately sucked me out of the story.
The most disappointing thing about reading Spidey after seeing Spider-Man: Homecoming is seeing how few liberties they take with a comic that isn’t in continuity. They don’t really change up the characters too much, everyone is still white who was white, all the characters are back doing exactly what you already know they do. What’s the point in taking another shot at retelling the early years of Spider-Man if you’re just going to give me everything we already knew and how we already knew it? This is likely at least part of why the series ends at issue twelve, making it only two volumes on trade paperback.
Overall, Spidey Vol. 1 was fun, had a few exceptional moments, but overall fell a bit flat. If you absolutely need more simple Spider-Man stories, you absolutely should pick this up. Or if you have a child in your life around ages 8-12 this is probably the most appropriate Spider-Man title for them to read. Spidey also gets bonus points for not having parallel universes, time travelling, and clones. Especially for not having clones.
It feels good to write about comics I’m reading again. So good even, I may just do it again next week!
There’s so much to discuss. Like how much we love Tom Holland. Like how Zendaya was all over the marketing for a meh role in the actual movie. Like Donald Glover. Like how it’s so refreshing to have movie teenagers actually look & act like real teenagers. Like how Spiderman compares to Wonder Woman. And other stuff too, but you have to watch.
So are we sick of talking about Serpent Solutions yet? Yes. Then let’s talk about its older brothers, Power Brokerand Power Broker, Inc .
First, there’s one more thing about Serpent Solutions, that corporation of super villains which would hire itself out to other corporations that needed illegal things to be done. Serpent Solutions did the illegal things and the corporations paid Serpent Solutions for doing them. My recent thrashings of the reasoning – or lack there of; and I think we’ll go with the latter – behind this premise failed to address one important question; how did Serpent Solutions find its clients?
Did some masked serpent villain appear on a TV screen asking, “Do you know me?” then shill their skill on the premise that because Serpent Solutions was were a group of unknown super villain, they were the perfect people to hire to do what ever illegal stuff potential clients needed to be done? Did Serpent Solutions send out mass-market e-mails which they hoped didn’t end up a spam filter nestled between entreaties from Nigerian princes? Craigslist?
Well, the same question could be asked of Power Broker and Power Broker, Inc. Not just could be. In a little bit, will be. But first there’s another question: Who is Power Broker?
I don’t know. That is I knew once but I don’t know now.
The original Power Broker was Curtiss Jackson, a professional criminal who, along with Dr. Karlin Malus – yes him, again – founded Power Broker, Inc. Power Broker, Inc. had a fairly simple business plan; for a price, it gave its customers superhuman abilities using Dr. Malus’s experimental genetic manipulation techniques. Many became wrestlers in the super-human-only Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. Others just became straight-out super villains.
The second Marvel villain called Power Broker is whoever took over Power Broker, Inc. after Jackson disappeared and maybe died. We don’t know this person’s real name. All we know is that Power Broker II wears a battle suit and probably used the company’s augmentation process on himself, because he can project energy bolts from his hands.
The second Power Broker kept Power Broker, Inc’s original business plan. For a price, usually a hefty percentage of whatever the clients earned with their super powers, he gave super powers to people. In the case of those who wanted to compete in the UCWF, it was what they earned as wrestlers. In the case of the customers who wanted to become super villains, “earned” was a euphemism for whatever ill-getting means got them their ill-gotten gains.
Then Power Broker II branched out. In The Astonishing Ant-Man #1, Power Broker II introduced his newest business plan; the Hench app. The Hench app is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, despite the fact that what it sounds like is silly.
Hench is a smart phone app that uses a proprietary algorithm to match up super villains with jobs. Super villains, either ones that already exist or new ones who got their powers from Power Broker, sign up with Hench to become providers. They offer their services as independent contractors available for hire and are stored in the Hench database. Then customers who need crimes committed use the Hench app. The app would algorithm and algomusic and then suggest the perfect super villain from its database for the customer’s job. Who could ask for anything more?
Hench is Uber for the ubermensch. An invaluable service for those who have crimes that need to be committed. However, the Hench business plan begs a question. Begs it more than a terrier taking tables scraps. That question, which I asked before, is how does Hench find its customers?
I imagine it could find its super villains by posting one of those photostated “take a number” ads on the bulletin board in either location of the Bar With No Name, the infamous bar catering only to Marvel super villains that has franchises in New York City and Medina, Ohio. But how does Power Broker, Inc. find potential customers who want crimes committed or link them up with the criminals stored in the Hench app database?
Again, as with Serpent Solutions, Power Broker, Inc. can’t exactly advertise its services or the Hench app. At least not without drawing at least a modicum of unwanted attention from the local constabulary. Then there’s the question of how does Power Broker, Inc. get the Hench app onto people’s smart phones?
Apple screens apps before it allows them access to its App Store. Google does the same before it allows Android apps into the Play Store. I can’t imagine either of these corporations would accept apps whose sole purpose was to help people break the law and get the corporations prosecuted as aiders and abettors.
Yes, Power Broker, Inc. could set up its own web site where people could go to download the Hench app. But that process is not without a significant problem. It’s a very public way for conducting business that absolutely no one would want to be public.
So I’m just stumped. I don’t know how Power Broker, Inc. could attract any sort of client base without revealing itself to the authorities.
You see, I can think up the question, how could anyone actually do these criminal things without getting caught, but I can’t think up the actual ways that anyone could do these criminal things without getting caught. Guess it’s a good thing I became a criminal defense attorney and not a criminal.
For those of you who are old enough to watch Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix, you might have noticed her bestie, Trish Walker AKA Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat. Patsy Walker was the star of a comic book series from the 1940’s through 1960’s that reminded us a lot of the Archie comics, maybe even better. Then thanks to Jack Kirby & Stan Lee, Pasty was written into a Fantastic Four comic and slowly but surely found herself a superhero in a cool catsuit with retractable claws (watch the video…we explain it).
For those of us who might need to wait on the show, Patsy will be starring in a new comic series being released on December 23. We’re very excited about Marvel’s “Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat!” by writer Kate Leth and artist Brittney Williams and in this week’s episode will get you all caught up on Patsy’s backstory so the you will be excited too. And as a bonus give you some background on Jessica Jones and Anya’s She-Hulk impersonation.
As promised, here is Part 2 of our adventures at D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. In this video we take a look at some of our favorite things (Harrison Ford, Chris Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Teen Beach Movie, etc) and ask some expo-goers what their favorite things have been over the weekend. There’s also plenty of cosplay, some Broadway stars, new Disney things to acquire, and a special “hi” from Markiplier!