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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Marvel Comics, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 45
1. Podcorn Podcast 06/01/16 — Captain America & Fandom

capsteveLast week, Marvel Comics published Steve Rogers: Captain America #1 by writer Nick Spencer and artist Jesus Saiz.  The response to the comic was immediate and vast, with many fans weighing in on the controversy surrounding the issue’s big cliffhanger twist, which revealed that Steve Rogers may have been an agent of HYDRA all along.  The […]

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2. REVIEW: CIVIL WAR II #1 Sets the Stage for What Might be Marvel’s Best Event Yet

CivWarIIBanner01Reviewing Bendis' and Marquez's latest foray into the Marvel limelight.

3 Comments on REVIEW: CIVIL WAR II #1 Sets the Stage for What Might be Marvel’s Best Event Yet, last added: 6/2/2016
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3. Marvel to Print a Book With Hip Hop-Themed Comic Covers

marvel logoBeginning in July 2015, Marvel has been publishing comic books with hip hop-themed variant covers. These artistic designs pay homage to several popular hip hop stars including Jay-Z (paired with Black Panther), Missy Elliott (paired with Black Widow), and Rhymefest (paired with Iron Man).

Now, the publishing team has decided to collect all 14 of these cover pieces and compile them into a 32-page book. Fans can pick up a free copy at select stores starting on Jan. 6, 2016.

Here’s more from The New York Times: “Eminem said on Twitter that he was honored to see his album cover for ‘Relapse’ reinterpreted. It became an image of the Scarlet Witch. Darryl McDaniels of the rap trio Run DMC, no stranger to creating comics, seemed to be beside himself with excitement — 12 of the characters in his Twitter post were exclamation points — over the transformation of the cover of ‘King of Rock.’ The new version featured an image of Groot and Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy. Ice Cube, whose cover for ‘Death Certificate’ now features an older version of Wolverine, said simply, “These hip-hop variants are dope.” (via Comic Book Resources)

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4. REVIEW: James Robinson’s Scarlet Witch #1 is Bewitching

Scarlet1By: Nick Eskey Writer: James Robinson Artist: Vanesa Del Rey Colorist: Jordie Bellaire Letterer: Cory Petit Cover Artist: David Aja Taking place after her stint in the Avengers team, James Robinson’s Scarlet Witch is now as she claims “alone.” The only acquaintance that we’re introduced to is the ghost of her old tutor in witchcraft, Agatha Harkness, who happens to […]

0 Comments on REVIEW: James Robinson’s Scarlet Witch #1 is Bewitching as of 12/10/2015 1:51:00 PM
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5. George R.R. Martin on Marvel Comics

What’s the most inspiring literature that Games of Thrones author George R.R. Martin ever read? Marvel Comics.

Martin revealed his taste in an interview at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival back in 2014. Here is an excerpt from Indiewire:

‘The Marvel comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the 1960s,’ he claimed proudly. ‘I had been reading DC comics before that, from Superman to Batman and The Flash, but when Marvel came along Stan Lee broke all the rules. Nothing ever happened in the DC comic books. They were circular. Superman would have an adventure but by the end he would finish in the same place where he started. Batman would have an adventure and come right back to where he was before. Nothing ever changed. There was no conflict. There were good guys and there were bad guys.’

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6. Marvel Month-to-Month Sales December 2015: “THE GROUND IS THE LIMIT!”

secretwars-lgMagic is the new trend at Marvel!

10 Comments on Marvel Month-to-Month Sales December 2015: “THE GROUND IS THE LIMIT!”, last added: 2/11/2016
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7. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Michael Del Mundo















Michael Del Mundo is an artist who’s responsible for so many great comic book covers of late, but I didn’t realize, until recently, who he was. The new Marvel Now Elektra series features both cover art, and interiors by Del Mundo, and it’s received a ton of well deserved critical acclaim. In fact, he, and writer William H. Blackman have impressed Marvel so much with their work that they’ve been promised another project once Elektra ends.

Del Mundo has brought the same unconventional, and dynamic style to his interior artwork, that has made his covers so memorable. I’m looking forward to see what comes next for this exciting, young artist!

Michael Del Mundo is from the Philippines, and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. You can follow his blog here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

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8. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Jamie McKelvie






YA Afterparty










If I was creating a new super-hero team, or relaunching an old super-hero comic book, the person I’d first think of to design/re-design my character’s costumes would be the great British artist Jamie McKelvie! He’s the one behind the excellent new costume designs of Captain Marvel, AKA Carol Danvers, and the wildly popular new version of Ms. Marvel, AKA Kamala Khan. You can see the design sheets posted above. McKelvie has been steadily producing some of the best conceived cover designs/art for many of Marvel Comics’ recent titles, including Ms. Marvel, Nightcrawler, and the recent(much too short-lived) Young Avengers re-launch.

Jamie McKelvie, and his frequent collaborator, Kieron Gillen, have recently launched a new, creator-owned series for Image Comics called The Wicked + The Devine. Their unique new-Mod take on super powered folks is a fresh addition to the usual, over-saturated fare.

You can see more art and follow Jamie McKelvie on his Twitter page here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

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9. Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

hawkeye 1 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye FanBy Kyle Pinion

I love Matt Fraction, David Aja and Annie Wu’s Hawkeye. It’s by far my favorite monthly (which I realize is a stretch to still call it that at this point) comic coming from the Big Two. Its mixture of high impact super-heroics, indie sensibilities, film influences, and raw emotion have paved its own niche in the crowded world of cape comics. With its rampant critical success and sales that aren’t anything to sneeze at, Hawkeye (along with Mark Waid’s wonderful Daredevil) sent Marvel into a more idiosyncratic direction that spawned a number of titles that could be noted as “auteur-driven”.

One of the more unique trends I’d seen regarding the series was how it had served as a form of gateway comic for a number of new readers. In my travels at various convention settings, I’ve learned that a lot of these (often-times younger) readers aren’t quite sure where to head next in their comics reading, or whence to dig further into the various references and influences of Fraction, Aja, and Wu that have informed or been worked into the title.

With that said, here’s my take on a “Hawkguy” shopping guide..

Where to go if you’re looking for more Clint and Kate

young and secret 1000x305 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

Secret Avengers and Young Avengers – The obvious place to jump off point if you’re a fan of a series that dictates itself as “What Hawkeye does when he’s not being an Avenger…” is to read about what he’s up to when he is. With Ales Kot’s and Michael Walsh’s work on Secret Avengers and Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers, you can do just that for both Clint and Kate respectively. While other Avengers books, including the previous Nick Spencer-written run on Secret Avengers, also feature Hawkeye at times, Kot and Walsh’s Secret Avengers comes the closest to Fraction’s work in overall tone and feels somewhat of a piece with the sort of “knowing” vibe found in the series. It’s also absolutely bonkers and worthy of attention on its own merits. Young Avengers is, conversely, like all Gillen-McKelvie collaborations, a tonal pop record of a comic. It gives you another look at Kate, with a great focus on her romantic entanglement with Marvel Boy, while also featuring an incredibly diverse cast. Also, both books are colored by the incredible Matt Wilson, Bonus!

Films and Television that inspired the series

Hawkeye is, as previously mentioned, inspired by visual media, with both subtle tonal similarities, and much more overt homages. Here are a few worth noting…

the long goodbye 300x180 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

The Long Goodbye – Remember Harold from Kate’s adventure in LA? The cat food buying freelance writer that Kate would encounter in the grocery store and would inspire her to become a “hero for hire”? While the character was created for Tomb of Dracula by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, Matt Fraction and Annie Wu basically transformed him into a pastiche of the hero of Robert Altman’s hazy LA noir classic The Long Goodbye. Recently released on Blu-ray this week, treat yourself to one of the best films of a film-making master.

Rio Bravo John Wayne Dean Martin 300x169 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

Rio Bravo – What this John Wayne Western classic, that also stars Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson, actually has to do with the finale of Hawkeye is still to be determined. But, the solicit of Hawkeye #21, the first of the upcoming two-part finale, explicitly references it. While it still remains to be seen how much the tale of a small-town sherriff and his unlikely band of allies keeping a murderer behind bars from the attempts of a brother trying to set him free will actually play into the finale…we’ll play it safe and say its a big influence.

hot fuzz 300x187 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

Hot Fuzz – In interviews, Annie Wu has specifically cited Edgar Wright as a major inspiration for her work, particularly in her tendency to have disembodied hands pop up into close-ups to deliver notes or a phone. A slighter inspiration for sure, but well worth viewing for those unfamiliar with his work. Given the subject matter at hand, Hot Fuzz, one of Wright’s more under-appreciated films and one based more on a (very!) heightened version of reality than the sci-fi or horror outings that surround it, is probably the way to go.

enter the dragon 1973 685x385 300x168 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

Enter the Dragon – So much of Hawkeye, especially in its earlier issues, is indebted to 70’s action films. Really, you could find any suitable choice to fill in this slot, from the Steve McQueen starring Bullitt or the Gene Hackman fronted masterpiece The French Connection; but given that Fraction was recently interviewed by NPR about his love of Enter the Dragon, the titular Bruce Lee tour de force, we’ll go with that. You can’t go wrong with the Hackman vehicle either!

Rockford Files 300x170 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

The Rockford Files - Even in the promotion of the first issue, Fraction was drawing parallels between Clint Barton and Jim Rockford, the hero of the unusual for its day 70’s detective series The Rockford Files. When you break it down, the similarities are definitely there: a private detective taking on cases of the lost and the dispossessed while living in a trailer off the coast of Malibu, with his life in some state of financial disarray, resorting to humor over violence. While his original James Bond-esque take on the character appears in the two-part Javier Pulido drawn “The Tape” story-line, James Garner’s atypical gumshoe informed a great majority of Fraction’s scripts surrounding it.

Comics at the root of Hawkeye

The comic book inspirations that drive Matt Fraction and David Aja are wide-ranging and could fill up an entire post by itself, but for a wide overview its impossible to overstate the influence of Los Bros Hernandez, Warren Ellis and Howard Chaykin on Fraction, while David Aja is clearly indebted to the work of illustrative wizard David Mazzucchelli. I’ve cited three key works from the first three creators that Fraction himself has signaled out that are must reads, and for Mazzucchelli, while his superhero career was sadly all too short, his revolutionary take on Daredevil with Frank Miller is fitting given that we’re talking about another Marvel character.

MAGGIE 1 241x300 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

Maggie the Mechanic – The first chapter in Jaime Hernandez’s decades-spanning LOCAS story in the legendary Love & Rockets. While both Hernandez brothers were/are equally influential in Fraction’s formative story-telling growth, its the punk rock aesthetic and energy of Jaime that rings closer to the tone of Hawkeye. This is a journey worth taking from the beginning.

bornagain 203x300 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

Daredevil: Born Again – For my money, maybe the best thing to ever host the Marvel logo. Buy it, if you haven’t already.

PLAN OMNI DJ copy 300x438 205x300 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

Planetary – What The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is to Victorian Literature, Planetary is to Pulp and Comic Books. Everything critics were praising in Ellis’ short run on Moon Knight had its start here. Ellis has worked many comic book wonders, but Planetary is his best, at least for those with a predilection towards superheros and their archetypes.

American Flagg 193x300 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

American Flagg – When it comes to the 80’s works that revolutionized comics everyone talks about Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, and Maus. Yet had American Flagg ever stayed in print regularly, there’s no doubt that Howard Chaykin’s opus would be in that conversation as well. Sleek, sexy, whip-smart, and colored like an EGA computer game, American Flagg‘s first 12 issues are must reads for anyone wanting to get a masterclass in great comics.

If anyone has a great suggestion for influences on Annie Wu’s art, please toss them at me in the comments! My knowledge only goes so far.

Music to play in the background while you’re reading all those new comics

pet sounds 300x300 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

Pet Sounds – Not only because its an unimpeachably great album, but a Brian Wilson-esque character plays a big role in another one of Annie Wu’s LA based issues. More than 50 years later and this is still the sound of Southern California to my ears.

Or you could check out the various songs and pieces that David Aja listed in the back of a number of the earliest issues of the series, of which someone was kind enough to post up a good deal of on Youtube. I’ll never turn down free Miles Davis.

If you can’t get enough Fraction in your life

Though, if you’re into Hawkeye, you may just want to chase down more Fraction books, and who can blame you? Chances are, you’ve probably already heard about or read Sex Criminals, his very popular Image Comic with artist Chip Zdarsky. It’s great of course, as is his team-up with Howard Chaykin, the 50’s television mystery Satellite Sam (which, like Hawkeye, is going to have its own peek into New York and LA) but I might also recommend the following specifically…

iron fist 195x300 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

The Immortal Iron Fist – Fraction and Aja’s other team-up on a blonde Marvel hero. This is where the Enter the Dragon inspiration really comes to the fore, especially in the masterful tournament storyline “The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven”. Its also a series that was for a time, co-written by Ed Brubaker.

casanova 200x300 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

Casanova – Though my pick for favorite Fraction book is the multi-dimensional spy saga Casanova. One part Pynchon, one part Morrison’s The Invisibles, and a whole lot of great Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba art. This is a writer completely unfiltered and is the kind of series I find myself reading at least once a year, where I discover something new every time. Image has just started to release brand new hardcovers as well, so there’s never been a better time to introduce yourself to Casanova Quinn.

Fun Hawkeye swag

hawkeye minimalist logo 300x300 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

Hawkeye Messenger bag – From the fine folks at WeLoveFine, I got this at San Diego Comic Con this year and I love it.

pizza is my business 300x300 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

Pizza Dog shirt – Also for you Pizza Dog lovers, there’s now a shirt!

Looking into the future

Hawkeye 1 Ramon Perez c5b04 195x300 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

And lastly, you may know that Jeff Lemire and Ramon K. Perez will be taking the reins from Fraction and Aja starting in March of next year. You might be curious about what they’re bringing to the table. Rest assured, the works below, including Lemire’s first take on an archer character in his New 52 Green Arrow run, his rural Canadian hockey saga Essex County and Perez’s essaying of Jim Henson’s A Tale of Sand script should leave you feeling pretty excited about the future of your favorite purple clad hero.

green arrow kill machine 195x300 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

Green Arrow: The Kill Machine

essex county 200x300 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye FanEssex County

a tale of sand 202x300 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye FanJim Henson’s A Tale of Sand

Happy Shopping!

hawkeye 1000x402 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Hawkeye Fan

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10. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Michael Golden


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golden - marvel universe - 1982

Michael Golden is part of an elite class to emerge out of comics Bronze Age(1970-85), along with other legends like Mike Zeck, Frank Miller, and John Byrne. He worked briefly at DC in the late 70’s, before making a name for himself over at Marvel with his dynamic, detailed drawing style on the miniature superhero team, The Micronauts. Golden would go onto create one of the most popular Uncanny X-Men characters, Rogue, with writer Chris Claremont, and enjoyed critical success with his work on The ‘Nam(a war comic written & edited by Vietnam War veterans Doug Murray & Larry Hama).

Michael Golden is also an accomplished advertising, and commercial design artist, but he still finds time to create covers for some of the biggest titles in comics, including The Fantastic Four, and The Walking Dead.

You can listen to a recent podcast with Michael Golden talking about his early days in comics at Panel Borders here.

For the latest news, and art images from Mr. Golden, you can follow his facebook page here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

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11. Review: Thor #8, Total Universe Woman

Thor #8



Story: Jason Aaron

Artist: Russell Dauterman

Colors: Matthew Wilson

Letters: Joe Sabino

Publisher: Marvel



This is it, seven months of mystery and red herrings all culminate in Thor #8. Hey that sort of rhymes. If you’ve managed to avoid the spoilers of the character’s identity reveal, rest assured I will not be the fly in your ointment. What you read here will be as major spoiler free as it can possibly be, but we will talk a bit about what this new revelation could mean for the Marvel Universe’s future.

Jason Aaron once again scribes an excellent issue in the narrative of this new female Thor. Under the control of Cul, brother of Odin The All Father, The Destroyer has been sent to put an end to the goddess of thunder. Used to be Thor or as he’s simply refered to now, Odinson, and the All-Mother Freyja gathered an all-star group of female heroes to aid Thor in battle. What unfolds is an epic “girl power” combat the likes of which Marvel has never seen. The real beauty is how it manages to pull itself back from being a cliché and simply stay a — girls kick ass — book. What this particular issue does better than any before it is make use of its cameos without having them steal the focus away from our lead. Some of my favorite quips come from Jessica Drew’s lesbehonest lines. We even get teased with finding out what made Odinson “unworthy”. My money is on parking tickets or dropped the hammer on an elderly woman at a Home Depot. Once the end reveal of this new Thor’s true identity epilogues the book, readers will be left both excited for the future and wishing they didn’t have to go through Secret Wars to get there.


The visual team of artist Russell Dauterman and colorist Matthew Wilson have a unique style for a big action book like this. It’s best described as light hearted most of the way but nails the intense moments when it needs to. Really the only hiccups to be found in the book were some odd camera angle choices during simple dialogue scenes after the battle.

If you’re one of those readers that’s been on the fence about trying Thor, or you just like to jump in on the big moments; Thor #8 is worth the money.

Now let’s talk about what Thor means for the future of Marvel post Secret Wars. With this series being replaced (for the moment) with Thors, it could have been a place to return everything to the status quo. Nothing about where this issue went suggests that to be the case. I admit, in the beginning of all this I was hestitant about the changes to the character. Seeing new characters be built from the ground up always makes more sense to me than changing an existing character to make them relevant again.

Side Note: Hey Marvel if you really want to have every Thor ever in the Thors series, don’t forget these guys…



Jason Aaron’s female Thor has been something special and unique in a publishing line we thought was all but out of fresh ideas. In a way he’s just getting started. Yes, it wouldn’t be the first time a superhero would be taken out by cancer. We know that this Thor’s story will end after Secret Wars in a tragic and guttwrenching way, but how we get there could be one of the most emotional stories Marvel has ever told.

1 Comments on Review: Thor #8, Total Universe Woman, last added: 5/14/2015
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12. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Stephanie Hans











French illustrator Stephanie Hans has been painting some of the most striking covers of late for Marvel’s version of Neil Gaiman’s character Angela and other titles. Hans first started making a splash at Marvel with some of her Journey Into Mystery covers, that featured famed Thor/Avengers nemesis Loki. You can see the range that Hans has an artist with her interior line-work on the new Marvel Secret Wars crossover, 1602 Witch Hunter Angela. Hans’ strong painting skills and obvious appreciation of classic art is a welcome addition to today’s mainstream comics scene!

You can follow Stephanie Hans on her tumblr site here. There’s a nice painting process post on there, if you scroll down.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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13. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Nick Pitarra



















Nick Pitarra helps to kickoff the new comic John Flood this week with another one of his stellar variant covers. His intricate line work channels the work of comics legends Geoff Darrow and Seth Fisher, but at the same time Pitarra brings his own brand of mirth and mayhem to the stage!

Proving that artists should take art contests seriously, Pitarra was famously discovered from his submission to the 2007 Comic Book Idol competition. Apparently, superstar writer/artist Jonathan Hickman was so impressed by Pitarra’s work that he later offered him the job as artist on The Manhattan Projects, which would go on to be a multi-Eisner nominated fan favorite hit!

The Manhattan Projects, a satirical, mind-bending re-imagining of what happened after Albert Einstein and his team built the Atom Bomb, is still going strong today. The series just kicked off Volume 2 and Nick Pitarra’s work continues to get better and better. He’s also become one of the top cover illustrators for a slew of special variant covers for a wide range of titles including Red Skull, Weirdworld, And Then Emily Was Gone, Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

You can get the latest Nick Pitarra news & art on his twitter page here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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14. The Retailer’s View // Quite A Lot Of Variants

Today, I’m staring down the initial order deadline for titles releasing in November. The initial order deadline is something I neglect to realize is coming until a few days before they’re due – and while there’s always a lot of prep that is done ahead of time, going through the order book will still take […]

10 Comments on The Retailer’s View // Quite A Lot Of Variants, last added: 9/22/2015
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15. Rilla Goes to Oz


Illustration by John R. Neill

I loved the Oz books as a kid. Loooooved them. Collected the whole series, the Baum-authored ones plus a couple of the Ruth Plumly Thompson sequels, and enlisted my father’s help to track down the best editions, the white-bordered oversized paperbacks with John R. Neill illustrations.


I reread the entire series regularly all through high school and even on college vacations. Dorothy, Ozma, Tik-Tok, Scraps, the Hungry Tiger, the Glass Cat, Betsy Bobbin, Billina, Polychrome, General Jinjur, the Shaggy Man, Button-Bright: this astonishing array of lively characters peopled my imagination and taught me a great deal about diversity, varying points of view, and fun. They were an outspoken bunch, these Oz folks. They had strong opinions; their perspectives clashed; they worked through conflicts and celebrated one another’s quirks. I adored them. Still do.

Strangely, the Oz books never seemed to take off for my kids as read-alouds. Baum’s prose is, I confess, a bit arch, sometimes saccharine. His genius was for character and plot, not lyricism. My older three girls went through waves of reading the series on their own, but they didn’t seem to catch Oz fever with the intensity I had.

Enter Rilla. Well, first enter Eric Shanower and Skottie Young, who are bringing the Oz books to a new generation of readers via truly gorgeous graphic novel adaptations published by Marvel. Oz, overflowing as it is with colorful, outlandish characters, was made for graphic depictions. Eric Shanower (who has become a friend of mine through Comic-Con and SCBWI) is a true Ozian—why, his own press is called Hungry Tiger, and his contributions to Oz literature and fandom are staggering. His adaptations are faithful, deft, and affectionate. And Skottie Young’s art, while a departure from the John R. Neill images burned into my brain as canon, is wholly delightful. It’s clear he is having tremendous fun bringing these creatures to life.

I’ve mentioned before that Rilla, as a reader, is drawn to books with a heavy illustration-to-text ratio. She prefers Brambly Hedge to Little House, for example; those gorgeous, intricately detailed drawing of tree-stump pantries and attics can occupy her for a full afternoon. She’ll spend an hour talking to me about Eric Carle’s techniques. For her, art is the magic; an accompanying plotline is simply a nice bonus.


We brought Eric and Skottie’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz home from SDCC last month, and Rilla—well, you’d have thought we gave her an actual trip to the Land of Oz, she was so excited. It’s the longest, hardest book she has read on her own. Oh yes, it’s a graphic novel, but the text is quite sophisticated: there’s some nice meaty vocabulary in the dialogue. Baum didn’t talk down to his young readers, and neither does Eric Shanower. (And of course I’ve written volumes before about the excellent reading skills imparted by comics: there’s a lot of complex decoding going on as a young reader navigates those panels.)

“Bad news,” she told me mournfully one day. “I finished the best book in the world.”

“Guess what,” I whispered. “There are more.”

Her gasp, her shining eyes: no Princess of Oz was more radiant.

The next week’s worth of bedtimes saw her poring over The Marvelous Land of Oz, one of my favorite books in the series (both the original and the graphic adaptation). Every morning, she narrated the previous night’s events to me, dancing with suspense as the story unfolded, and belly-laughing over the ending.


Then came Ozma of Oz, a book about which my deep affection renders me nearly incoherent. Even that sentence is on shaky grammatical territory. Imagine a lot of squealing noises and some Rilla-esque bouncing around. I mean, I mean, Tik-Tok and the Wheelers! The lunch-pail trees! The loathsome, fabulous Princess Langwidere and her collection of interchangeable heads. SHE WANTS DOROTHY’S HEAD FOR THE COLLECTION, YOU GUYS. Come on. And then the Nome King and his high-stakes guessing game (shades of Heckedy Peg), and Billina the Hen’s surprising trump card. Oh, oh, oh.

Don’t tell Rilla, but I’d already given a copy of Ozma to my goddaughter, Vivi, whose mother is, if anything, an even bigger Oz fanatic than I am. She even looks like Ozma. (Kristen, why why why didn’t we ever go as Ozma and Polychrome for Halloween?)

polychrome meets ozma

Polychrome, the Rainbow’s Daughter, meets Princess Ozma. Illustration by John R. Neill.

Rilla hasn’t met Polychrome yet. She will swoon, mark my words. The Rainbow’s Daughter? Polly of the swirling robes and floaty hair? Rilla’s a goner. Like Ozma, she’ll make Polly’s acquaintance in The Road to Oz. I can’t wait to see what Skottie Young does with Polychrome and the Shaggy Man. Both characters are bubbling over with the whimsy he captures so well.


But first comes Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. Even for Baum, this is a bizarre tale. Dorothy gets caught in a San Francisco earthquake and falls all the way to the center of the earth, where weird vegetable people (as in, they grow on vines) called the Mangaboos are on the verge of executing her when, whew!, who should float down in his balloon but Dorothy’s old acquaintance, the Wizard?


After that comes The Emerald City of Oz. Rilla and I may not be able to wait for the collected edition; we might have to start picking up the floppies from our local comic shop.


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16. Marvel’s Second Wave is ‘All-New Marvel Now’, Starting with All-New Invaders

In an interview with delightful hero Brian Truitt of USA Today, Marvel have unveiled the branding for their next wave of comics. Called All-New Marvel Now, the two launch books will be All-New Invaders by James Robinson and Steve Pugh; as well as Matt Fraction and Joe Madiurera’s Inhumans.


All-New Marvel Now will start in December, and certain current books will be renumbered to take that into account. As a result, Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers will feature an issue 24.NOW, for example. Which, yes, is ridiculous. Across the line, Marvel will be rebranding the design of their comics to match the covers you can see here, whilst Captain America seems set to be put in the spotlight (handy when there’s a new film coming out soon!)

All-New Invaders will see Cap reunited with Namor and the Original Human Torch – AS WELL AS The Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes. Written by James Robinson and drawn by Steve Pugh, this new ongoing series will send the team off to another war – one with the Kree, an alien race returning in force.


Inhumans was already announced, and will also launch as part of All-New Marvel Now. Matt Fraction will write and Joe Mad will pencil the series, which looks to redevelop the concept of X-Men – a minority forced to band together in the face of overwhelming oppression – but for a franchise whose film rights aren’t owned by FOX.


Avengers 24.NOW, by Hickman and Esad Ribic, will begin the new phase for Marvel on December 24th. Hey, that’s Christmas! Once Marvel send out larger versions of the covers, I’ll update the article accordinglu.

One of the most notable parts of the announcement, however, is that certain ANMN issues will come with a digital code which gives you access to the original run of comics. So readers can not only get these new comics – they can also get a look at the classic stories as well, to catch them up.

15 Comments on Marvel’s Second Wave is ‘All-New Marvel Now’, Starting with All-New Invaders, last added: 9/9/2013
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17. Marvel in December: Welcome Back, Peter Parker, Bye Kaine

Marvel have released their solicitations for December, including a lot of odd decimal placements, an apparent return for Peter Parker, the finale of Scarlet Spider, and a whole load of other stuff. Here’s a few bulletpoints about what you can look out for over Christmas:

If you want the full set of solicitations rather than this cherry-picking of the bigger details, head to CBR.


It looks as though Peter Parker is returning, as is the Amazing Spider-Man brand as a whole. Five issues will be out this month, lavvelled 700.1, 700.2, and so on. A number of creators are involved on this book: David Morrell and Klaus Janson on the first two issues, followed by Joe Casey, Kevin Grevioux, Jen Van Meter, Tim Green, Tim Seeley, Emma Rios, Clay Chapman, Javier Rodriguez, Brian Reed, Lee Weeks and Sean Chen. Phew!


Kathryn Immonen is returning to comics once more, and reuniting with her Hellcat collaborator David LaFuente for a new one-off story. They’re in charge of Avengers Assemble Annual – one of three annuals out this month – which promises the debut of

Zamira! She’s Meryl Streep with a vengeance!

There is also a Hulk annual, as well as a Thunderbolts annual.


Brian Michael Bendis is bringing X-23 into the cast of All-New X-Men, which basically spoils one element of Avengers Arena. It looks like she has a new costume. Elsewhere in the Bendis World, Kevin Maguire’s issue of Guardians of the Galaxy comes out this month.


Wolverine Origins II starts, with Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert handling the five-issue miniseries. The first cover will have an acetate cover variant.


After 25 issues Scarlet Spider is ending in December, with Chris Yost and David Baldeon the team for this final issue. Ryan Stegman provides a cover for the issue.


Inhumanity starts, followed by a number of ridiculous tie-in issues like Mighty Avengers 4.INH and so on. This issue will be by Matt Fraction and Oliver Coipel, seemingly leading us towards Inhuman the ongoing series in 2014.


Avengers Assemble brings in co-writer Warren Ellis for a new story arc, working alongside Kelly Sue DeConnick. Art will be by Matteo Buffagni. And yes, it’ll be Avengers Assemble 22.INH.


No sign of an X-Factor relaunch this month, although it turns out that Brian Wood is the creator who’ll be trying to fix the almost conclusively broken Monet, following a dreadful last few months of X-Factor for the character. Monet will be joining the team in X-Men, with Terry Dodson on art.

If anyone CAN sort her out, it’s Brian Wood! Fingers crossed.

13 Comments on Marvel in December: Welcome Back, Peter Parker, Bye Kaine, last added: 9/13/2013
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18. Marvel Reaches Settlements with Gary Friedrich, Bob Layton

It appears that Marvel have offered Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich a settlement, thus ending the lengthy case which had previously bankrupted the veteran writer. The details of the settlement have not been offered to the public, but Friedrich’s attorney has informed a federal New York judge that the case can now be dismissed.


Hopefully this is good news for Friedrich, whose battle for rights over the Ghost Rider came to a head in 2007, when the first movie was released. There was sniping on both sides, with Friedrich suing Marvel and then  Marvel counter-suing Freidrich and, well, let Jeff Trexler explain it all in more detail.

Interestingly enough, however, writer Bob Layton – best known for his work on Iron Man, aspects of which were reflected in the subsequent film releases – has also taken to Twitter to announce that Marvel have also made a settlement with HIM over a character issue. Referencing David Michelinie in his tweet, this almost certainly refers to the ‘Demon in a Bottle’ storyline he wrote.

I wonder if we’ll see other creators revealing settlements over the next few weeks. It looks like some new policy might have come in, and hopefully it’s one which will give all creators the best possible deal.

15 Comments on Marvel Reaches Settlements with Gary Friedrich, Bob Layton, last added: 9/13/2013
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19. C2E2: Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm

Marvel are kicking off a weekend of announcements today with news about some Original Sin tie-ins. The main Original Sin series will see The Watcher get shot up something rotten, his eyeballs getting ripped out, and everybody finding out deep and dark secrets which previously only Uatu knew about. It’s like superhuman wikileaks, basically. And amongst the tie-ins has just been announced a five-issue miniseries from Jason Aaron, Simone Bianchi, Al Ewing, and Lee Garbett: Loki and Thor: The Tenth Realm.


Those would be the creative teams for Loki: Agent of Asgard and The Mighty Thor, of course. The storyline also concerns another character, however – the noted Angela, fresh from her stint in the Guardians of the Galaxy. After a lot of wondering about why she was important to the Marvel Universe, and why it was such a big deal that she arrived, courtesy of Neil Gaiman, into Marvel Comics… it appears the answer has finally come.

She’s Odin’s daughter. Making her the sister of both Thor and Loki. Uh-oh! In this five-issue miniseries, Angela will be heading across for a family reunion, causing problems for Thor, Loki – and also for Odin. You have to imagine that Frigga won’t be particularly thrilled, either.

Marvel note that the series will be numbered as Original Sin #5.1 across to #5.5. It’ll start this July.

4 Comments on C2E2: Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm, last added: 4/28/2014
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20. C2E2: Marvel Announce ‘The Legendary Star Lord’

Marvel continue to roll out announcements today, with the news that Sam Humphries and Paco Medina will be the creative team for an ongoing Star Lord series. Following the exploits of the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy (and star of the upcoming movie), the series will see him fighting the good fight off – and, it looks, on – Earth.


The series is pitched as being about Star Lord as a solo hero, rather than as a member of the GOTG – the announcement comes with a brief description of issue #1, in which he’ll be fighting various alien foes and attempting to save an orphanage from destruction. You know – heroic stuff.  More details are currently being announced at Wonder Con right now, although it’s made clear that Kitty Pryde will be a member of the supporting cast – having finally ditched Iceman, thank goodness, it looks like she’s set her sights a little higher…

The series is set to start in July. The above cover is by Steve McNiven.

2 Comments on C2E2: Marvel Announce ‘The Legendary Star Lord’, last added: 4/29/2014
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21. The Retailer’s View: On Rocket Raccoon Orders Topping 300,000

by Brandon Schatz

When Marvel first announced the Rocket Raccoon book, I was fairly excited. Pairing the character with Skottie Young just as interest would crest for the movie seemed like a no-brainer, one that I could use to sell a few copies to interested parties. I was expecting healthy sales, but nothing that would eclipse the character’s parent title – especially given how stylized Young’s art is. What I hadn’t counted on was for Marvel to play their hand almost perfectly, netting a fairly unprecedented 300,000 copy order before the book’s final cut-off. How in the world did they swing such a huge number – especially with a relatively small amount of incentives? Let’s break things down.

art by Skottie Young

art by Skottie Young

It starts at the core: with creator Skottie Young. Over the years, Young has built himself as a brand quite handily. Choosing projects that played to his strengths, and running with the swell of goodwill garnered by his spot-on series of hilarious “baby” covers, the man went from some punk kid drawing the Human Torch Tsunami book, to an overwhelming creative force through sheer force of will and talent. Witnessing this, Marvel offered him Rocket – a book that not only fit his art style, but his story telling sensibilities – and while almost any comic can sell given the right bit of zeitgeist and marketing, there’s no comic that blows up this big without the core being so strong from the get go. Take a look at the numbers for any of the big two’s recent events. Marvel and DC (and pretty much any company) would have killed to have numbers like this for one of their events – books that they push so hard and stack so high with talent that they can’t help but move tens of thousands of copies without breaking a sweat. Rocket seemed to accomplish a lot more, using relatively less.

The numbers on this series are indicative of Marvel’s creative direction as of late. While you won’t find a shortage of people decrying their tactics or stories, there’s little you can do in the face of numerical data – and while the industry isn’t pulling in the numbers it did in it’s heyday, any upswing that’s occurring within Marvel is down to some genius marketing on their part. If we’re talking Rocket and the Guardians of the Galaxy specifically, it begins with the relaunch of Guardians a year ago on the back of the movie development, and the creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven. Combining a bit of meticulously planned timing with that specific creative team (and the regular round of marketing and variant thresholds), the series launched to an estimated tune of 211,312 copies for issue one – or, if you want to nitpick, 80,344 copies for the prologue issue #0.1. To put that in a kind of context, the previous ongoing Guardians book from 2008 debuted to a paltry 36,282 copies. Why? Well, there clearly wasn’t anything wrong with the creative team – after all, they formed the basis of what would become the current phenomena – it was a matter of marketing and timing. Quesada, for all the good he did for the company, never quite understood the cosmic side of the Marvel universe (a fact that he’s admitted in several interviews over the years) and as a direct or indirect result, when good books were coming out in this realm, the marketing never gelled. The same goes for any comic shop – if your proprietor doesn’t understand the appeal of a certain title, there’s a good chance that book won’t get a big push within the walls of that store as focus tends to remain elsewhere. As a business entity, it always pays to ignore taste (to an extent) and push through the blocks set up in your mind in order to gain the largest audience for the property in question. This is a lesson Marvel has clearly learned.

Everything about the release of Rocket Raccoon makes sense. A great creator matched with a great concept, dropped not a month before he stars in a big movie. An announcement made months in advance of regular solicitations to build up pressure alongside the movie, allowing retailers to hear whispers from their customers long before orders are even available to place, culminating in a fever pitch when orders are due. And then, there’s the fact that Marvel let the numbers slip the week before retailers had to set their Final Order Cut-Off numbers, allowing lazier retailers to shake their head and wonder if they’ve ordered enough themselves. Everything about this launch was perfectly timed, and should result in solid sales – at least for Marvel. As for possible sell through, that remains to be seen. Some of this hypothetical 300,000+ print run involves incentive covers running off of qualifiers that have goosed the numbers – but considering the fact that Marvel put heavier incentives on the first issue of Guardians and still came up with a smaller number speak volumes for what they’ve put together here.

art by Paco Medina

art by Paco Medina

Now before I call it a day, there remains another facet of this marketing tale left unexplored: that of the Legendary Star Lord book from Sam Humphries and Paco Medina. In all of the hubbub for this, I you’d be hard pressed to find people talking about this book, which I think is a shame. For all the good Marvel did in marketing Rocket, they really dropped the ball on Star Lord – which is to say, the numbers are probably very healthy, but could they be as healthy as they could have been? This should have been announced the week after the Rocket Raccoon announcement. The company should have been out there pounding the pavement with preview art and concepts. I’m a big fan of the works of both Humphries and Medina, and think they are a great match for this character – one that might not be as zeitgeist grabbing as the dude responsible for years of amazing variant covers and the gorgeous art that graced the Marvel Oz books, but still, there should have been more happening. As a result of some personal hustle, I have pre-order numbers that are quite comparable to that of my Rocket Raccoon numbers. That’s down to marketing – and while I understand there will never be a time where companies like Marvel or DC will treat all properties equally, it always pains me to see a marketing opportunity lost. I want books in the hands of people who are going to enjoy them, and I can’t always do that by myself. The comic book industry needs everyone to pull their own weight the keep it running, and while a 300,000+ run of Rocket Raccoon is nice to see, it would have been great to see even a 200,000+ run of Legendary Star Lord announced as well.

That said, it isn’t over until it’s over, and who knows? Maybe in a few months time, retailers will be swimming in Rocket Raccoon #1’s while scrambling to get second prints of Legendary Star Lord. The market is a strange and wonderful place, and in the end, despite, it’s always the readers who have the final say. Hopefully, we get two very healthy ongoings out of this, as I feel both books will deserve a healthy readership. Time will tell.

[Brandon Schatz has been working behind the comic book counter for eight years. He's spent the past four as the manager of Wizard's Comics and Collectibles in Edmonton, Alberta. In his spare time, he writes about the comics he likes over at Comics! The Blog and stares at passive keyboards and empty word documents, making secret wishes and bargains that will surely come back to haunt him. You can find him on twitter @soupytoasterson. The opinions expressed are those of Schatz and do not necessarily reflect those of The Beat]

15 Comments on The Retailer’s View: On Rocket Raccoon Orders Topping 300,000, last added: 6/12/2014
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22. Rocket Raccoon #1′s Initial Orders Inflated By Single Source

art by Skottie Young

art by Skottie Young

by Brandon Schatz

A few days before the book’s final order cut-off with retailers, Marvel let it slip that their upcoming Rocket Raccoon series had garnered over 300,000 initial orders, well above expected estimates for the series. Yesterday, the other shoe dropped as reports came in regarding mass quantities of the book having been ordered by Loot Crate, a company that sends boxes filled with assorted genre and video game paraphernalia to homes via subscription.

With numbers ranging from roughly 100,000 upwards to 180,000, depending on who’s been dong the digging, many feel as though this places an asterisk on the numbers Marvel so proudly announced. To put this into context, people who are subscribing to a service are receiving product, much like a shop’s regular subscription service. What’s more, many of these copies will be read and experienced by those who don’t normally make the regular trip to the comic shop, exposing the series and comics in general to a new audience – and while Marvel’s initial announcement wasn’t all that forthcoming, the information stands: Rocket Raccoon #1 has received over 300,000 in initial orders, a number that has no doubt grown as retailers made their final order adjustments with that information in mind.

11 Comments on Rocket Raccoon #1′s Initial Orders Inflated By Single Source, last added: 6/13/2014
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23. SDCC ’14: ‘All-New Captain America: Fear Him’ Digital Comic

The first Marvel announcement from SDCC came today at their ‘House of Ideas’ panel, as the creative team of Dennis Hopeless and Szymon Kudranski will put together a six-issue digital series featuring Sam Wilson, the new Captain America.


These six issues will all be released at the same time, telling the first adventure of the character as he moves out of the red feathers and puts on the red white and blue suit. This’ll be set during between, to be exact, Captain America #25 and All-New Captain America #1.




Marvel have also announced, possibly before in fact, that Marvel Unlimited will now also feature the Infinite Comics that the publisher have put out over the last few years. SDCC!

0 Comments on SDCC ’14: ‘All-New Captain America: Fear Him’ Digital Comic as of 7/25/2014 12:56:00 AM
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24. Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans on ‘Angela’ #1

Angela, the character created by Neil Gaiman in another lifetime as part of the Spawn universe, will be receiving her own ongoing series later this year from the creative team of Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans.


I don’t know how we reached this point either, but that’s a packed lineup of creators up there. Jimenez is superstar enough, and his presence bodes well for the project. Gillen and Bennett will co-write the series, with Hans working on a back-up strip which’ll appear in each issue. That looks like her work on the cover as well.

The book will follow the character – revealed to be Thor and Loki’s sister in an Original Sin miniseries which either has or hasn’t started yet – as she decides to head off and make a name for herself in the Marvel Universe, primarily through the method of slashing people up and presumably growling at them a whole lot.

An ongoing series, the book will be edited by Wil Moss, and start in November.

3 Comments on Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans on ‘Angela’ #1, last added: 7/25/2014
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25. SDCC ’14: Mighty Avengers Relaunches with Captain America in the Lead

Did you know that Falcon is Captain America now? Just thought it worth mentioning ahead of time, so this article doesn’t confuse you. He’ll be the lead in a relaunch for Mighty Avengers in November, you see, with Al Ewing and Luke Ross on as the creative team for the series.



The team, as you can see, seem largely to have remained intact. Monica Rambeau is up there, along with Blue Marvel, White Tiger, and I think Luke Cage with rocket feet.

You’ll also see Spider-Man trying to catch up with them in the image – having annoyed all of them back when he was inadvertently ‘superior’, one of the first storylines will see him attempt to rejoin the team, to the particular dismay of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones.

Sam Wilson will be the lead role in the book now, as he assembles the team once more specifically for himself to lead. Starting in November, Captain America & The Mighty Avengers will be an ongoing series.

1 Comments on SDCC ’14: Mighty Avengers Relaunches with Captain America in the Lead, last added: 7/25/2014
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