Archive for the ‘Marvel Comics’ Category

‘The Problem’ of DC wanting to be Marvel

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Ask Chris #172: ‘The Problem’.

This not only gives you a great recap of DC and Marvel history, it explains why DC is so dark and serious now.  And it’s on the money.

Deadpool in-games character bios

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Jack Kirby interview from 1982

Monday, August 26th, 2013

This interview aired on Entertainment Tonight on October 28, 1982.

From my perspective the words are amazing, as are the pictures, but his Brooklyn accent, like all Brooklyn accents, sounds like a speech impediment. It is fantastic.

To be fair I have never heard Jack Kirby speak. I like the cut of his jib.

some bits of Wolverine and how he came to be

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Wolverine's adamantium skeleton, presumably from the first live action movie. Taken from The Infinite Revolution

Today I went searching for the very first mention of Wolverine having an Adamantium skeleton, and not simply bionic claws, and it was a waste of time for a number of reasons, most notably that I could not find it.

I found the page from an archive of John Byrne’s Byrne Robotics Forum where the topic was literally “Wolverine’s Adamantium Skeleton & Claws” and that by itself is extremely fascinating as John Byrne talks about elements and aspects to the character that were his and the art and method of collaboration with Chris Claremont and the sheer amount of respect between the two regarding how their differences would work.  There is a good deal of summary and recollection from fans, including the stuff that is definitively marked as “retroactive continuity”, artistic differences.  I also enjoyed how one of the fans described how different artists and then media depicted how Wolverine’s claws were arranged and portrayed on his hands.

What I love is that everything I thought about Wolverine literally as a kid, every problem I had regarding the character in the nineties, was something that John Byrne agreed with.  I thought bone claws were stupid because there was not only no reason for them, but no natural analogue.  Hey look!  A professional writer/artist agrees with a 14 year old kid!

Stuff after the jump. (more…)

DC versus Marvel: Creator Compensation

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Mark Waid states that he is not angry about the nature or function of comic book corporations or that rules are followed coldly by those same corporations when he details a history of work-for-hire and DC Comics compensation.

From the beginnings of American comics in the mid-1930s right up until the early 1980s, comics artists and writers were what we call today “work-for-hire”–they were paid a per-page rate by publishers, nothing else, and had no ownership stake in or claim to their creations. There were exceptions: though Siegel and Shuster were unquestionably undercompensated for Superman, they at least shared heavily in the royalties of his lucrative newspaper strip. Bob Kane cut a hell of a deal with DC on his co-creation Batman in the late 1940s by threatening to throw his weight behind Siegel and Shuster when they sued for Superman ownership unless DC renegotiated with him–consequently earning a hefty gross percentage on all things Batman until he relinquished most of his rights in the late 1960s for a reported million dollars. Simon and Kirby were guaranteed a percentage of Captain America and, when they suspected they’d been cheated, let DC hire them away for a sizeable sum. There were a few other creators in that time who were powerful enough or savvy enough or both to carve out unusual deals, but 95% or more of their peers were paid flat rates, and to some degree, that’s how it works today if you’re working for a comics publisher–you’re paid an agreed-upon rate for each page of material you produce.In the ‘80s, the powers that be at DC and Marvel (at the time, really the only games in town) overhauled their systems and added royalties to the mix. Unless you were working on top-tier characters like Spider-Man or Teen Titans, the thresholds weren’t easy to meet–initially, at DC, books available on the newsstand had to sell 100,000 copies before royalties were paid, 40,000 copies for books sold strictly to comics shops, and not many did, (but you could dream!); at Marvel, sales were higher but royalties were divided differently between writers and artists. Pluses and minuses to both sides, but an upgrade nonetheless. Both companies also revamped their work-for-hire contracts to guarantee payment for reprints, collections and reissues. Moreover, DC (under the guidance of publisher Jenette Kahn and exec Paul Levitz) drew up a creator-equity agreement for the talent, granting a small but significant percentage of all revenue on new characters created by writers and artists. Marvel later followed suit with something similar, and while sales (and royalty thresholds) have moved up and down over the years, that’s pretty much the way the system’s worked ever since.

By way of example, let’s take Impulse, a character I co-created with artist Mike Wieringo. Mike and I signed a contract that grants us a small percentage of all revenue DC might earn off Impulse action figures, merchandise, guest-starring roles on Young Justice or Smallville, what have you. It’s hardly buy-a-boat money; I get maybe a couple hundred bucks off of every action figure (because of the equity deal) and a few cents off every trade paperback collection or digital sale (because of the royalty agreement), but it adds up and I do see something, enough for a nice meal every few months. And that’s the deal I agreed to at the time, and that’s fine. But that’s the limit of DC’s legal, contractual obligation to us.

The confusion about extra-media compensation arises in that Levitz, while he was DC’s publisher, made it a policy to cut respectable bonus checks to writers and artists, regardless of legal obligation, if elements from any of their stories (even work-for-hire ones) made it into outside media adaptations movies or TV shows. Did you like the scene in Batman Begins where young Bruce Wayne climbs a Himalayan mountain holding a blue flower? Christopher Priest got paid for having come up with that. Or the scene where Bruce Wayne picks out a potential Batmobile from among his own holdings? That was lifted from a Chuck Dixon-written comic, and Paul sent Dixon a check to acknowledge that. Same with dozens of similar moments in cartoons, DVDs, and so forth and so on. It wasn’t legally necessary, it was totally at Paul’s discretion and only Paul knows what math he used to determine what he felt would be fair, but it was a goodwill gesture from an exec sympathetic to the creative community.

And most critically, it wasn’t a written policy or guarantee. It was a courtesy.

Once Paul left, that courtesy was deemed no longer necessary by the executives and the policy was rolled back, as was DC’s absolute prerogative. Currently, DC pays bonuses only on material that’s a straight and highly faithful adaptation of existing work; for instance, Frank Miller (rightfully) got a check for the recent DARK KNIGHT RETURNS animated movies, but if the next animated film takes its plot from (say) BATGIRL: YEAR ONE but calls it “BATMAN: BATGIRL BEGINS” and adds anything to the story, Chuck Dixon and Marcos Martin will receive nothing. DC has removed itself from the complicated business of having to evaluate how much certain adapted elements are “worth” and instead simplified the system to “pay” or “don’t pay,” with “don’t pay” the default. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed to learn, for example, that I’d be receiving no compensation for the JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM animated film even though WB was actively billing it as based on my and Howard Porter’s JLA: TOWER OF BABEL, but I couldn’t be angry or resentful and have a leg to stand on. DC or its owners, Warner Bros., were not legally entitled to compensate me for re-use of dialogue or plots or concepts because there was no contract that said they’d have to (and unless things have changed recently, such a contract would never have been an option). Moreover, they have no motive to issue compensation; paying courtesy bonuses don’t benefit the stockholders in any way, nor do they in any way uptick profits or sell more comics.

Would it be nice if the policy were different? Sure, but “nice” is a human behavior, and I say this without one hint of snark or cynicism, simply as fact: corporations are not designed to act based on society’s expectations of ethics or morality. They are designed to generate profit, and a responsible, publicly traded company will by design prioritize profit over all else. “Yeah, but…” No. Corporations aren’t people, my friends. It’s not unfair for us to expect people to base their behavior on a variety of factors–that’s kinda the definition of “society”–but a corporation isn’t built to be “fair” any more than is my coffee table. You may not like that, you may wish it were different, but that’s reality in the here and now. It is not a complaint any more than it is to say that the speed of light is constant. It just is.

A short summary that surprised me a bit is that DC Comics will pay you for when your character is used as merchandise or toys and your trade paperbacks will receive royalties but that when DC Comics paid you for your story concepts being used it was a courtesy and not part of the rules.

I cannot help but admire Mr Waid more than just a bit for not railing at an injustice for the pay structure, knowing that it is what it was when he signed his deals.  That said I’m disappointed that his work basically generated a movie for Warner Bros, Justice League: Doom, and he got nothing more than an acknowledgement on the packaging and in the promotions.

To be honest I suspect the biggest reason he does work-for-hire for DC Comics is simply that he enjoys working on these particular characters and would not have the chance if he created his own stuff and stuck to that exclusively.  I speak from ignorance on that front, of course, and could not say whether he gets paid more or less than for his own creations.

In an interview with The Wrap Len Wein directly compared these rules concerning Marvel Comics’ compensation to DC Comics’ compensation.  Mr Wein co-created Wolverine, whose  fifth movie (as I count the films) just came out last month, and Lucious Fox, who was a prominent character in the Dark Knight Triloy, as well as many other characters.

“When I work for DC, anything I create I get a piece of,” said Wein. “Lucius Fox, for example, who was in the last trilogy of Batman movies played by Morgan Freeman, bought my new house. At Marvel, I did see a check off ‘The Wolverine,’ the current film. But as a rule I don’t any of the ancillary money off of all of the toys and soaps and shampoos and skateboards and God knows what else that features the character.”

Though Wolverine has appeared in six films, Wein was only paid for the latest one because of esoteric rules requiring the film to be named after the character, he said. The rules are strict enough that he wasn’t paid for “X Men Origins: Wolverine.”

“They sent me a not-unreasonable check for the latest one,” he said.

When pressed on the amount, he only that it wouldn’t be enough to pay for another house.

These rules definitely seem twisted to me.  Despite that, Mr Wein, as well as Gerry Conway, did not seem angry.  I like how Mr Conway put it when describing his financial relationship with his co-creation the Punisher.

“To be fair, the companies are at this point trying to find ways to compensate people,” Conway said. “Because of the nature of the way the business was at the time … we knew what we were doing. We didn’t think any of this was going to have any legs. We thought the business was going to collapse, to be honest with you.”

If my opinion meant anything then certainly the respective companies should not act as if they owe the creators anything however the best thing to do would be to extend a very generous set of courtesies, if nothing else to create incentive for more original creations.  The most recently created Marvel Comics character is Deadpool, from the 1990s.  Before that the youngest Marvel characters to receive video games and movies are the Punsher, Ghost Rider, and Wolverine!  Those are Bronze Age 1970s characters!  That basically means that aside from four properties all of Marvel Comics’ multimedia franchises were created in the 1960s by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko!  I am not counting revamps like what happened to the X-Men in the seventies.

 

 

Deadpool the video game!?

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

I was aware. Now this playlist has the wonderful walkthrough and some other stuff. Spoilers abound.

I won’t watch this for I don’t have that much data, nor hours to watch it, and I want to play this game spoiler free.

All of that said of course I can embed this video as well, which features a lot of the wonderful jokes.

I cannot watch this either for the same reason.

why I don’t like the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

I’m feeling especially derivative here.

1. They (Jeff Loeb) canceled Spectacular Spiderman which was debatebly the best Spiderman show/adaptation to date.
2. Ultimate Spiderman, even though it has Ultimate in the title, has almost nothing to do with the Ultimate Spiderman comic universe.
3. Spiderman acts more like Deadpool than Spiderman (continiously breaking the 4th wall), not to mention the TERRIBLE jokes, compared to the cracking jokes from the comics (or Spectacular Spiderman/90’s Spiderman TAS)

I liked all Spectacular Spiderman episodes, only liked 3~4 episodes of the episodes aired thus far (First episode with Hulk as Guest Star, Green Goblin 2-parter and S2 episode with the Lizard).
I grew up with the 60’s spiderman cartoon (which aired during the 80’s too), but mostly the 90’s Spiderman (and X-men) cartoon.
For me it is now Spectacular > 90’s Spiderman > Spiderman Unlimited > MTV’s Spiderman > Ultimate Spiderman > 60’s Spiderman.

I mostly blame Jeff Loeb though. Ever since his kid died of cancer, it seems he has made it his job to cancel good stuff and replace it with crap.
He canceled:
Wolverine and the X-men, which was imo a great show compared to X-Men Evolution (But slightly less good than X-Men TAS)
Spectacular Spiderman
Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with HIS new (ultimate) avengers show so it can be in the same continuity as Ultimate Spiderman. Plus Loeb is against “story arcs”. Heck, to save face he said that the new show will be a “continuation” of the previous Avengers:EMH and resolve some of the plot lines. Which fans of the 3 above shows know Loeb is lying about.

My reasons specifically is that

  1. I liked Spectacular Spider-Man and while I understand that Marvel/Disney/Loeb cancelled a successful cartoon show to make more money, assert creative control, centralize licensing, and have a Spider-Man show with Marvel guest stars, they did so by eliminating a program before the story arcs could be resolved.  In doing so they also terminated a good program.
  2. Deadpool is a multifaceted character who has, as part of his schtick, a habit of breaking the fourth wall.  Breaking the fourth wall is where the character is not simply narrating or thinking but addressing the viewer directly and taking his personal narrative out of the story.  That schtick is not part of a Spider-Man’s repertoire.    He doesn’t do that.  Deadpool does do that.  This Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon has Spider-Man making less wisecracks to the villain and telling less jokes.  Instead he breaks the fourth wall for comedy.  Many fans of the show, bless them for having whatever tastes float their respective boats, assume that that sort of comedy is inherent to the character when in fact this is a first for him.  Deadpool is appearing on the cartoon show, taking his normal schtick with him.  This will not help Spidey stay unique on his own show.

Kevin Feige has faith in a Justice League movie

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Kevin Feige is the madman/genius that made Marvel’s Cinematic Universe/Phase 1/Avengers franchise from the Marvel Comics to the theatrical screens.  He provided his advice to Warner Bros regarding their efforts for a similar/parallel Justice League film series.

“I’m sure they have smart people over there who have a plan and know what they’re doing. Man of Steel looks like it’s going to be awesome and obviously Dark Knight is awesome. I don’t know,” Feige told Collider when asked about Warner Bros.’ troubles with Justice League. “It’s what I say all the time and have said over the years, which is, have confidence in the characters, believe in the source material, don’t be afraid to stay true to all of the elements of the characters no matter how seemingly silly or crazy they are.”… Feige also acknowledged that the idea of bringing preexisting characters together to form a superhero team came from Justice League originally. As he said, “Justice League was first.”

“I think there have been a lot of great DC stories and there are a lot of great DC characters, and if they focus on those things the audience will be interested,” Feige said. “It was a very unique model that we were lucky enough to be able to do — introducing each individual hero before introducing The Avengers. That, to me, is what was always interesting about The Avengers. … The Avengers was cool because they were preexisting characters that teamed up for a big event. I think that’s why Justice League was cool, Justice League was first. That’s what they did first in comic form.”

That all sounds correct.

Marvel Comics launches robot Avengers title

Friday, March 29th, 2013

I find this concept to be horrifically boring and like one of those old concepts they refuse to acknowledge they did multiple times already.

“Springing out of the increasingly razor-thin crawlspace between the organic and synthetic worlds comes ‘Avengers A.I.’,” said Axel Alonso, Editor In Chief, Marvel Entertainment.  “When one of the Marvel Universe’s preeminent brainiacs, Hank Pym, embarks on a long road to redemption, he must assemble a team unlike any other, a team composed of heroes that will challenge the very definition of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and the way you look at super heroes.”

How many times and under how many different writers has Hank Pym hit a low point and then was redeemed?  Don’t bother counting it will just make you wish they stopped writing new comic books if you try.

I also fail to see how we can get a good robot Avengers team when I don’t see Machine Man (a.k.a. X-51 a.k.a Aaron Stack) or Jocasta, both of whom were in Marvel Zombies.  The last time I saw Machine Man before that was in Warren Ellis’s Nextwave: Agents of Hate comic book.

I’m sure if I think about it I can come up with other robot super-heroes in the Marvel Universe.

Now I looked and here is another release with another description for the book.  I just don’t plain understand this concept.

“The Marvel Universe within the blink of an eye is being colonized by A.I.s who may or may not have positive feelings about the way humanity has been treating them for the past 100 years,” said writer Sam Humphries of his new series. Featuring art by Andre Lima Araujo, the comic sports a line-up of robotic characters: the Vision, Ultron’s son and former Runaway Victor Mancha, a new character named Alexis and a Doombot who has until now been held prisoner by the Avengers. Joining them is Ultron’s father, Hank Pym and Monica Chang, the 616 Universe’s version of Humphries’ “Ultimate Comics Ultimates” S.H.I.E.L.D. commander.

“He comes back after having transformed himself, after upgrading himself, and now that he is in the age of artificial intelligence in the Marvel Universe, he has a new role to play,” Humphries said of the newest incarnation of the Vision, currently seen terrorizing his fellow Avengers in the pages of “Age of Ultron. “He’s not just a bridge between humanity and A.I. but he is a leader. All of a sudden, he’s not just the robot in the room — he’s an A.I. in a world of A.I. and humans.”

The team will face off against a new villain named Dimitirious while facing challenges not typically found in the hero/villain dynamic “”Artificial intelligences are a product of human ingenuity, and although they are going to be going down their new path, they will remain a mirror to humanity,” Humphries said “Understanding that and exploring that in ways that are going to be funny and touching and endearing are definitely going to be parts of this book.”

I don’t care now.  In the blink of an eye we have 100 years of robots?

Michael Clarke Duncan is dead at 54

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Michael Clarke Duncan was a “hulking” individual, and used his size and strength to his advantage for many roles, especially genre roles, including Daredevil, where he played the Kingpin of Crime.

He passed away of a heart attack.

Clarke died Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was being treated for a heart attack, said his fiancée, Reverend Omarosa Manigault, in a statement released by publicist Joy Fehily.

The muscular, 6-foot-4 Duncan, a former bodyguard who turned to acting in his 30s, “suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered,” the statement said. “Manigault is grateful for all of your prayers and asks for privacy at this time. Celebrations of his life, both private and public, will be announced at a later date.”

Apparently trading meat for vegetables did not save him. Eating healthy and living a more healthy life is possibly a way to extend your life, but more important is that eating vegetables actually made his life more enjoyable and more comfortable.

So taking actions to extend the quality and quantity of life are both good, but enjoying and using the life as you have it, in a productive fashion or fun, is very important. I won’t mind-read but given how prolific Mr Duncan was I doubt he would dispute the quality of his life.

He played the Kingpin in the film adaptation of the Marvel Comic DAREDEVIL. He played that role again in the MTV-made SPIDER-MAN adult cartoon soon after.

Among the genre films Mr Duncan has made

“The Green Mile” and such other box office hits as “Armageddon,” “Planet of the Apes” and “Kung Fu Panda,”

and SIN CITY, an adaptation of Frank Miller’s noir series. his current project was a supporting role in the television series THE FINDER.

We all know why Green Lantern failed

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

 

I think it’s pretty clear to everyone that Green Lantern tried to do too much and pack in too much exposition.  But just in case you haven’t heard it enough:  Why Iron Man Succeeded Where Green Lantern Failed.

Haven’t had enough of seeing Stan Lee? Here you go!

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

The Complete Guide to Stan “The Man” Lee’s Marvel Movie Cameos.

Best Captain America Trailer Yet!

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Now that’s a tagline!

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

“Heroes Are Made In America”
THAT’s what needs to be on the posters!

Isn’t it strange how during all the pre-production press, director Joe Johnston is out there talking about how it’s not going to be flag-waving and jingoistic (what, is the guy allergic to selling tickets?), but once it’s time to promote it in America they just give you trailers that make you say, “Hell, yeah!”?

Who is Earl Norem?

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

When I was a child I owned a couple of Transformers Kids Stuff Big Looker storybooks. Sentimentality and giant transforming robots aside these particular books came with vinyl records playing the audio for the story.

I owned When Continents Collide which can be seen as fairly terrible. The visual of the oil drilling oil ship has been stuck in my head for over twenty years but for some reason I remember it being alien and cool and not human and incongruous to any plot or setting. Oh well. I’m not going to read it again so I don’t have to worry about nostalgia betraying me. My memory is so shot on this it might have come with an audio cassette tape and reconciling memory and reality does not bother me.

The first book, which does interest me, is The Battle For Cybertron, and that did come with a vinyl record. Despite some wacky scale issues the book has something I appreciate now more than as a small kid: the violence. Well, I loved violence in my fiction then but the graphic art presentation is something I appreciate more than then. When you grow up with a cartoon as the typical storytelling format you never see He-Man behead someone with his Power Sword and very rarely does and Autobot or Decepticon get a hole blown him or circuits torn out.

The man responsible for the violence in the art is Earl Norem. This interview reveals how he remembers almost none of that stuff because as an 81-year-old retired professional artist he has had a long life of turning in decent art in exchange for a living. He is also a World War II veteran; that is more impressive.

Here is a gallery on the Transformers wiki.

Farewell to the great Dwayne McDuffie

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

I think it’s fair to say that most everyone in the comic book industry is in shock right now.  Dwayne McDuffie has passed away, reportedly due to complications during surgery.  We still don’t know too much about what happened. Through this last weekend he was still posting on his blog about the debut of his next animated film, “All-Star Superman” (which debuted yesterday) and the announcement of an action figure based on his creation, Static.  (Or as he put it, “From the Department of Oxymoronica: Static Action Figure Has Arrived“)

And then he was gone, one day after his 49th birthday.

I wish I could say I knew Dwayne personally.  I didn’t.  Indeed, I had seen him at the local Midwest Comic Book Association Convention and yet I didn’t talk to him, for the same reason I often don’t talk to creators I have a lot of respect for:  I don’t know what to say that doesn’t sound like what he must hear all the time.  Just one more “I loved your writing on Icon” or “Justice League Unlimited was awesome and it should have never ended” or… even my examples sound trite.  And now that I know I’ll never get another chance, I’m filled with regret that I didn’t talk to him even if I came off as bubbling with unoriginal geeky praise.  For all I know, it was a slow day and he could have used the boost.  Or maybe he had already heard it a lot, but what could one more accolade hurt?

I don’t know if Dwayne saw himself as a mover and a shaker, but he certainly was.  He created a comic book imprint at DC, Milestone, that drew a lot of critical praise and had a good run in the mid-1990s.  He was the creator and writer for the animated show “Static Shock” based on one of his Milestone characters.  He has been the staff writer/producer and/or show-runner for the Justice League animated series and for the series of animated movies that have been hitting the DVD market in rapid succession since JLU ended.  He returned to writing comic books while continuing to work as a producer, though it often seemed as if he got a raw deal here and there…writing Firestorm for the last few issues before it was canceled, and Justice League of America during yet another era when DC dictated which big icons couldn’t be in the JLA (hint: most of them).

Dwayne pushed for increased ethnic diversity in comic book characters, and in his writing he demonstrated how to achieve it without simply racial bean-counting.  I’ll freely admit, I bristled at the pitch for his book “Icon”.  A conservative black superhero meets a street-wise girl who tells him he’s out of touch and she pushes him to get active in his community.  Sounds like a  “The Wiz” version of “Green Lantern/Green Arrow”, right?  In actuality, the book is far subtler and more politically fair than I ever would have expected.  Icon is a fully-developed character who imparts as many lessons as he learns from his young sidekick, Rocket, and she urges him to play a role in his community not so that he can learn the error of his political ways but so that he can be an inspiration to others, which he isn’t doing when he hides out in his big house.  Dwayne McDuffie had a way with clever dialogue, such as “it’s easy to tell others to pull themselves up by their bootstraps when you can fly” (that’s quoted from memory almost two decades later, so hopefully I’m getting it right).  Dwayne handled hot-button issues like teen pregnancy and abortion without being preachy or unfair.

His approach to diverse characters worked well because he never saddled any character with being a positive representative of his or her entire race, something which often plagued black characters in media.   As he put it,  “If you do a black character or a female character or an Asian character, then they aren’t just that character. They represent that race or that sex, and they can’t be interesting because everything they do has to represent an entire block of people. You know, Superman isn’t all white people and neither is Lex Luthor.”

Dwayne McDuffie, February 20, 1962 – February 21, 2011.  R.I.P.

who or what is Landau, Luckman and Lake?

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Well I already knew the answer:Wolverine Files 010: Landau, Luckman and Lake (and Jasmine Falls) | Wolverine Files.

Sometimes I think good ideas like this are best left to the stuff dropped for them in the decades they originated in because the contemporary writers’ elaborations often do not feel ‘true’ when set next to the context of the old stories.

Of course this is coming from someone who doesn’t care for Geoff Johns’ Hawkman, nor his Hawk and Dove.

Did you know that Jack Kirby created the comic adapting 2001 A Space Odyssey?

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

I did. I used to own a few issues, specifically the ones featuring “Mister Machine”, later to be brand-identified as Machine Man.

In any case, here are two articles plus some original art:

2001 A Space Odyssey Comic Book, Jack Kirby, Arthur C. Clarke

This stuff was apparently right up the King’s alley. No real surprise that the stuff that appealed to me was the stuff these guys just ignored and supposedly that the King hated. It’s hard to say.

Of course I just love Machine Man and apparently they do not. I hesitate to declare that the King hated Machine Man.

Chris Yost interview right before the Kang release

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Read with fascination Robot 6 interview with Chris Yost. Mr. Yost’s grasp of Marvel lore is quite impressive.
Note how he explains the Hawkeye dynamic.

you generally need one of the big three… (in order for it to be “‘really the Avengers'”) but honestly… In my mind, Hawkeye’s the fourth of the big three. To me, if the team is Black Knight, Sersi, Doctor Druid, Photon and Namor, I’m skeptical – and obviously I love those characters, I mean two of my top five are in there. But you could just as easily call them the Defenders or something. But throw Hawkeye in that mix, and it’s the Avengers again.He’s the guy you or I could be, if we worked hard enough. Iron Man is similar, but his armor is one step past reality. Not Hawkeye. He’s got the attitude…. he’s a normal guy, standing shoulder to shoulder with the gods, and he’ll get right in their faces. He’s the Han Solo of the team.

Mind you that in Hawkeye’s introductory episode he and Black Widow teamed up to knock the Hulk unconscious, so either Jade Jaws is either significantly weaker in this show than in the Marvel Comics (unlikely) or Hawkeye himself has his trick arrows slightly more beyond reality than in the comics.

It is also possible that he is simply name-dropping.  He also talks about the Avengers being “guides” in exploring the Marvel Universe as if this is a Marvel show.  There is also an explanation for why Captain Mavel is blue and not using his most awesome costume.

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel is dead. Long live Captain Marvel!

The appearance is based on the Ultimate Captain Marvel, which I suppose makes sense to me, especially if at least four of your main characters are already pale-skinned blonde-haired males.

Ultimate Captain Marvel

One more bit of name-dropping but their enthusiasm for the material shows through their comic book series for Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

I really wanted to flesh out the world of the series, do some of the things we couldn’t do in the show for this reason or that, and just to have fun. We’ll have Batroc’s Brigade, Super-Adaptoid, Mad Thinker, the Winter Guard, Elders of the Universe… we just go for it. This is the Marvel Universe, and it’s full of amazingness. And working with Scott Wegener and Patrick Scherberger has been a blast and a half.

This stuff makes me think that the cartoon is in good hands.

One more thing must be mentioned. The upcoming episode features the greatest Avengers villain of them all, Kang the Conqueror. That was inevitable given the time traveler’s position as one of the top villains of the Marvel mythology, even if he is not the most marketable (he did get a Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars action figure in the 80s).

The cool thing is that the title of the episode is “The Man Who Stole Tomorrow”. Its namesake is obscure unless you are a literary fan and as a bibliophile myself I recognized it immediately. The source of the title was a science fiction prose novel that Avengers comic scribe David Michelinie penned for the Pocket books Marvel series. I have owned this book for nearly two decades. It must have been over ten years since I have last read it.

Not only is the book surreal and brilliant simultaneously but most of those prose books are canonical within the Marvel Comics universe! The then-contemporary character relationships were a lot of fun. I still have my favorite line memorized:

George Lucas would puke!

Ah, Hank McCoy….

I bet the Kang episode will more likely resemble a 1960s or 1980s Kang story than the novel’s plot, but you never know.

In any case, you should buy a copy.

After all of this I still have to ask… why does Iron Man have blue nipples?

Which do you think are the most significant Super-Heroes and are the number of the most important only seven?

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Adherents has had a website dedicated to exploring the respective religions of various fictional characters for some time now and whenever I wander over there (which is very rarely) I find it fascinating.

One of their side pages is The Significant Seven: History’s Most Important Superheroes.

It is, for the most part, an excerpt from a book by Mike Benton that I never read entitled The Comic Book in America: An Illustrated History. So when I dispute adherents’ conclusions, I dispute Mike Benton’s ideas, but considering that at the end the site wants us to contact them if we find what needs correcting, I suppose we should contact them for the one thing I find factually incorrect in Mister Bention’s assertions. The rest is historical speculation, opinion, or genuinely correct.

I notice he limits himself to only comic book super-heroes, of course, as Batman and Superman have slightly limited originality if you count their pulp fiction fore-bearers. There is also only characters that are currently owned by DC Comics and Marvel Comics. Although then the characters were genuinely significant Plastic Man and Captain Marvel were owned by Quality and Fawcett Comics respectively.
The Significant Seven are as follows:

Superman
Batman
Wonder Woman
Spider-Man
Captain America
Captain Marvel
Plastic Man

My questions are not whether these characters are significant for they surely are and certain I can dispute just how much more significant they are than most other characters. Yet I wonder if they really are only seven significant super-heroes in the fashion that the author intended.

Superman is Superman, that which other costumed characters follow. Wonder Woman is the Woman, and regardless of the creator’s intent she is now the female super-archetype in comics for better or for worse (usually for worse). Batman is the peak human being; his presence is the indicator that one need not be superhuman to fight evil. So we have Super-Man, Super-Woman and Man-Man.

What they’re missing is Green Lantern.

For my point any Green lantern will do, from the original to the modern to the one that was simply in print the longest consistently.

Batman is a normal human being with no special powers beyond what a man can gain or obtain with extra-normal amounts of time and ambition. Leaving aside the factor of talent there are professional athletes that could be real life comparisons. Superman’s core attributes when it comes to sheer ability and power are beyond us mere mortals obviously but then comes Green Lantern. He is a mere mortal, a normal human like us, that wields the power of gods through an artifact, a mcguffin. Green Lantern is a man and not a god (although that really could be arguable). Superman would have to be someone else entirely to not be Super; Green Lantern just needs to remove the ring, not recharge the ring, or in the contemporary comics discharge the weapon completely. He possesses abilities but they do not come from him; they are not internalized. His identity like Batman is of a man but his abilities as a super-hero are separate because of his powered artifact, and those capabilities are closer to Superman than a mere mortal.

Green Lantern is the midpoint of Superman and Batman. That is precisely why he is Significant.

I also think the article should have the first hero that only has one power but I cannot say for sure who that is.