Tag Archives: marvel

They Speak English in What?

storm“What country you from?”  “”What?”  “What ain’t no country I ever heard of. They speak English in what?” Samuel L. Jackson’s memorable phrase from Pulp Fiction is humorous but also highlights an interesting aspect of pop culture when it comes to our own perception of other places in the world, including through the medium of comics.

In the ongoing wake of All-New Marvel NOW! the first issue of Storm was recently released (the second issue is in stores this week), the first for the heroine in her own self-titled series. After surviving a brief encounter with a tidal wave, Storm finds herself in the small country of Santo Marco. Santo Marco has some history with the X-Men and by extension Storm, having been the small country which the Brotherhood of Mutants once overran and ruled before being driven out. Storm arrives to find herself welcomed by the locals, some of whom seem to worship her. Soon the army show up and engages in some subtle sabre-rattling against the heroine informing her that she cannot use her mutant name, as mutant names are not allowed, and then informs her that mutants aren’t Storm_1_Preview_2allowed either. This leads to her departure and inevitable return to stand up to the army brutes.

It is an interesting episode and one which digs a little deeper than most comics do for context. Instead of some supervillain having a plan to destroy a city (or the world) the threat here is not something which can be easily overcome. There is no power punch or melding into shadows which will help the island of Santo Marco, instead it requires a long-term approach, and to its credit that is part of what Storm returns to do. Before the army intervenes she is seen helping to clear the beach of the village from debris.

An interesting question though is where is Santo Marco? The medium of comics has a tendency to make up places as a necessity to replicate modern conflicts, but is there any benefit in that? Based on its name and the representation of its setting, Santo Marco would appear to be either in the Caribbean or in South America somewhere, but its name is generic enough, as is its setting, that it could really be anywhere in the region (or even potentially further away.)  DC Comics does a similar thing with some of its own countries – in the 1980s Kahndaq became a substitute for Iraq and later the home of Bane became an equally obscure and non-existent country known as Santa Prisca.

In current events right now, the world is seeing a fairly tumultuous period, with tensions running high in Gaza, Iraq and Ukraine, while in North America, usually considered benign by world standards, the race riots in Ferguson are igniting an underlying dialogue which is rarely spoken about the state of racial relations in the United States. Ferguson is an especially interesting case though, as many have heard of Ukraine, Iraq and Gaza, but how before last week had ever heard of Ferguson? Other than residents of Saint Louis, the name probably meant nothing and might have been mistaken for a number of other things than an actual place.

Comics is perhaps more than most mediums one of absolute escapism. There is very little basis for superheroes exhibiting super abilities as it relates to the modern world in most senses. Is the realm of escapism so entrenched though that it is unable to tackle current events in their actual setting? In a historical perspective of the medium, the answer would be no. One need not look farther than the first appearance of Captain America to see that heroes could and did attack real world problems (even if at the time that this was being used partially as a propaganda tool.)  There are two approaches to the problem of the non-places. The first is that they don’t exist and therefore they don’t actually represent real-world problems, and by extension that they are more easily disregarded as just more comic fluff. The evil dictators and army generals are just exaggerated versions of real life people, and the caricatures are so over-the-top as to be unbelievable. The second approach to this would be that the in being nowhere that these places could in fact be anywhere.  That Santo Marco could be Gaza or Crimea and that it forces people to think outside the box of what they perceive to be the ills of the world.

Of the two approaches, the end result probably comes down to the individual reader. Some readers look for pure escapism in comics and don’t want to face real world problems when trying to escape.  Others look for something deeper in their reading and look for more connections. Interestingly though, that both possibilities exist is an indication that the comic book companies are trying to play the middle ground, being neither too ignorant nor to divisive. Perhaps once again the bottom line determines the finished product, but I think in either case that it is time for the valuable medium to stop playing pretend and to get real.

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Spider-Woman #1 is Ass-Tastic

Marvel has been on a role lately with their All-New Marvel NOW! initiative which has given us some refreshing new series, many of which feature women. To say many of these books are empowering and the much-needed “female” touch that’s been missing in comics for some time is an understatement. Many of these series are some of my favorite comics on the market right now.

The latest entry is Spider-Woman, debuting in November, a character who has had numerous series in the past, many of which I’ve enjoyed. However, judging by the first two released covers for the series by Greg Land and Milo Manara, that good will might be going off the rails.

Up first is Land’s cover, which you can see below. There’s so many issues with the cover, from the strange chest out pose of Jessica Drew, her missing lower legs, or the odd contortion of Silk as if she’s purposely trying to show off her ass. There’s a retro vibe about it, but not in a good way.

spider-woman 1 greg landAnd if Land’s cover wasn’t bad enough, enter Manara’s entry, going for the whole enchilada of pure sexual exploitation. Manara, an Italian artist, is best known for his “erotic” artwork, and we can see it here with the focus of his image being Jessica Drew’s rear-end. Not only is the contortion of her body odd, the position actually matches Manara’s previous erotic work in Click!. The pose is sexual, unrealistic, the anatomy doesn’t make sense, and generally you have to wonder what the hell everyone was thinking approving either of these.

spider-woman 1 Milo ManaraMarvel has excelled at trying new things when it comes to their female centric new titles, but this just feels like the past grasping to hold on. One step forward, two steps back I guess.

Adrianne Palicki Joins Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

palickiIt’s being reported by The Hollywood Reporter that Adrianne Palicki, who rose to fame on Friday Night Lights, has been tapped to guest-star as superspy Bobbi Morse aka Mockingbird on Marvel‘s television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She will debut in the fifth episode of the series.

The debut of Mockingbird was teased by Patton Oswalt at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

Mockingbird is not only an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., but also an Avenger, so it’s a character that potentially bridges the television show and movies. She also for a time was married to Clint Barton aka Hawkeye played by Jeremy Renner in the movies.

Palicki is no stranger to shows based on comics. She was tapped to play Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in the David E. Kelly series that never made it past the pilot. She appeared on Smallville. In 2006 she was also in the Aquaman television movie (there was a television movie!?). She also has appeared in the second G.I. Joe movie, and listed for the third.


Comic Fantasy Football

SuperPro 1Unless you’ve been living a cave the last few weeks you know football season is soon approaching if not by all commercial coming up advertising this network or that network. Then by someone in your office telling you about their lame-ass fantasy football team. For the record I have never played fantasy football and never plan to because I root for my team and my team only (Yeah I’m that guy!).

During a long flight for work I got bored and thought what it would be like if two of the things I am most passionate about crossed over and so I give you the ultimate comic fantasy football team (please note only Marvel characters were used because I don’t have a large working knowledge of the DC Universe).

I present to you, the comic book fantasy football team!

Owner – Tony Stark, Iron Man, because hey if there aren’t two people in sports and comics that live almost identical lives it is Jerry Jones and Tony Stark.

GM – Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, with number nerds taking over sports and the move towards analytics I pick Marvel’s number one nerd.

Head Coach – Steve Rogers, Captain America, a coach must command the respect of everyone in the room and he’s Marvel’s top dog.

QB – Peter Parker, Spider-Man, you want your quarterback to be athletic and intelligent enough to get you in and out of the right plays. There is a lot of Andrew Luck in Spider-Man as the quarterback just cool enough that he is still respected, a nerd at heart and smart enough to put it all together when it counts and then there’s this because the QB lands all the chicks.

RB – T’Challa, Black Panther, first I know what you are thinking why not Quicksilver or someone like that? In football if you only have one talent it’s easy to scheme for and erase (as you will see when you get to the defense). Secondly running backs need to have cat-like quickness and agility. Finally, insert race card here, most skill position players are black in football so the King of Wakanda gets the nod.

FB – Cain Marko, Juggernaut, Bo Schembechler famously said once “I recruit fullbacks that 6’0 because when they are done playing for me they will be 5’9”.” The fullback is bulldozer and opens the holes so why not take the Juggernaut. I know up until this point it’s been only superheroes, but there was the brief stint when Juggernaut was part of the X-men so I’m taking him as my fullback.

WR1 – Richard Rider, Nova, you have to have a receiver that can take the top off a defense so why not the Human Rocket. With success of the Guardian of the Galaxy I think we can all envision a Nova movie coming soon.

WR2 – Matt Murdock, Daredevil, I know what you are thinking. Why Daredevil? The answer is simple. A second wide receiver is usually the most reliable. He finds the weakness in zones, is a tactician at running routes and just gets the job done. This epitomizes Daredevil, he’s not Marvel’s biggest hero, but series after series he just delivers a great book.

WR3 – Genis Vell, Captain Marvel, a typical third wide receiver is usually a combination of the first two wide receivers (Genis Vell has super strength & speed along with Spacial Awareness), but also not quite as consistent. So of course Genis Vell is a third wide receiver. When he was re-introduced as Captain Marvel instead of Legacy he looked awesome and his character in Avengers Forever gave him a good story to go alongside his new look. But like most third wide receivers he is considered polarizing.

TE1 – Luke Cage, Powerman, the tight end has to be tough enough to make catches over the middle along with being strong enough to hold up as an inline blocker. Cage gives you both and can’t you see him having a big season and then holding out for a better contract?

LT – Peter Rasputin, Colossus, the left tackle is blind side protector and “a dancing bear.” Left tackle is also a finesse position and while there are other powerhouses out there this position suits Colossus more than other heroes.

RT – Ben Grimm, The Thing, Grimm serves as the perfect counter to Colossus as left tackle because the right tackle is a mauler and road grader and more of a power player. Few in the Marvel Universe are more about power than The Thing. It also doesn’t hurt he was an All-American at ESU.

C – Hank McCoy, Beast, another Marvel Hero with a football background Hank McCoy is the prototypical center. He is smart enough to recognize defense and put the rest of the O-Line in the right protections.

LG – Elvin Haliday, Rage, here is another character that may come as bit of a shock, but I want a big physical O-Line. Not only does Rage fit the criteria, but he also essentially wears a football uniform for his costume.

RG – James Proudstar, Warpath, because of his mutant abilities he is the ideal right guard. The right guard usually does most pulling, trap and wham blocking so he needs to have size, strength and the ability to move well. Plus if you were on the opposing team and you saw this for a guy’s team pic you would probably think twice about crossing him.

Part two coming soon. The DEFENSE!!! Let me know what you think, and your fantasy team below, and as always thanks for reading!

Marvel Comics Guardians of the Galaxy #17 Variant Comic At Chicago Comic Con

guardians of the galaxy wizard world chicago variantMarvel Comics and Wizard World, Inc. have revealed their Guardians of the Galaxy #17 convention variant, drawn by Spanish native Alvaro Martinez. Just in time to celebrate the blockbuster movie, VIP attendees at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con, August 21-24 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, will receive a free copy of the limited-edition book at registration.

Martinez is scheduled to be on site at the event to sign copies (autograph fees may apply). Leading professional comic grader CGC will also be on hand to accept books for grading and Signature Series.

The exclusive version of Guardians of the Galaxy #17 will be limited to 4,000 copies and provided free at registration to all Wizard World Chicago Comic Con VIP attendees, including any celebrity VIP packages.

The cover features several Guardians characters, including Drax the Destroyer, portrayed by Dave Bautista, who will be a guest at the event on Saturday, August 23, and available to autograph copies of the comic. Castmates Karen Gillan and Michael Rooker are also scheduled to attend the show.

Martinez has worked on numerous Marvel titles, including Cataclysm: Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Comics X-Men and Iron Man Annual Vol. 5. The native of northern Spain (Cantabria) previously drew Harbinger #10 and Archer & Armstrong #9, gaining the attention of Marvel.

For more on the 2014 Wizard Chicago Comic Con, go to .

Preview: The Truth of Xavier’s Will Revealed in Uncanny X-Men #25 – a Tie-In to Original Sin!

This September, the secrets of the greatest champion for mutant/human relations come to light in the oversized Uncanny X-Men #25 – the shocking finale of The Last Will & Testament of Charles Xavier! Superstar creators Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo unearth a devastating secret of their former mentor that will send shockwaves through both camps of X-Men! What has Xavier been hiding? A mutant so powerful their very existence was a threat to mutant’s way of life. A destructive force so powerful they would’ve wiped out any chance of a peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants. An unstoppable power now unleashed in the wake of Xavier’s death! Against such overwhelming power, the splintered squads of X-Men must unite if they have any hope of stopping it. And the story of how it came to be will cast a new light on their beloved teacher – and the depths he would go to protect mutant/human relations. Witness Xavier’s final “gift” to his children, but will it be their undoing? Find out when The Last Will & Testament of Charles Xavier comes to its staggering conclusion in Uncanny X-Men #25!

UNCANNY X-MEN #25 (JUN140625)
Art & Cover by CHRIS BACHALO
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Variant by Phantom City Creative (JUN140626)
FOC 8/11/14, ON-SALE 09/03/14


Joe Quesada Crafts Stunning Variant Cover for Death of Wolverine #1!

Marvel has released a first look at Marvel Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada’s jaw dropping variant cover to Death of Wolverine #1 – the story that has the whole world talking! Brought to life in Quesada’s iconic style, this stunning cover features the titular mutant in his final days.

Written by chart-topping writer Charles Soule and superstar artist Steve McNiven, this four issue limited series chronicles the last stand of the Wolverine as he faces down his deadliest foes. Left without his healing factor, the indestructible killing machine must come to terms with his newfound vulnerability. And when word gets out that the Wolverine is mortal, villains from Logan’s past and present set their sights on their greatest enemy!

After being the best there is at what he does for over a century, the day has arrived where his best will not be good enough. With Death of Wolverine poised to shake the foundations of the Marvel Universe this September, no fan can afford to miss out on this epic comic event of September! What does the world look like without Wolverine in it? Find out when this spectacular Death of Wolverine #1 Joe Quesada variant cover hits comic shops on September 3rd!

Art & Cover by STEVE MCNIVEN
On-Sale September 3rd!

Death_of_Wolverine_1_Quesada_Sketch_Variant Death_of_Wolverine_1_Quesada_Variant

Preview: Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: Drawing of the Three – The Prisoner #1

This September, Stephen King’s fan-favorite Dark Tower epic returns to Marvel for an all-new beginning in The Dark Tower: Drawing of the Three – The Prisoner #1! Marvel has released a new, lettered look at the highly anticipated first issue. New York Times Bestselling writers Peter David and Robin Furth along with critically acclaimed artist Piotr Kowalski and colorist Nick Filardi present an all-new spin on King’s dark fantasy magnum opus that will keep even the most die-hard fans on their toes!

As King’s saga moves into the second volume, The Drawing of the Three, the action shifts from the dusty plains of Mid-World to the mean streets of New York City! Fans will meet Eddie Dean – an innocent child who grows into a troubled young man with a powerful gift: the ability to unlock doors to other realms. But forces conspire against Eddie – and he must overcome his inner demons if he is to rise up and challenge the Man in Black. Witness the story of a man on his path to destiny and the most important journey of his life

Filled with all the drama, pathos and horror you’ve come to expect from master storyteller Stephen King, no fan should miss out on The Dark Tower’s triumphant return to comics. Perfect for new and long-time fans, a bold new chapter begins in The Dark Tower: Drawing of the Three – The Prisoner #1 – on-sale September 3rd!

Variant Cover by SKOTTIE YOUNG (JUN148269)
Teaser Variant Cover by CHRISTIAN WARD (JUL140680)
FOC – 08/11/14, On-Sale – 09/03/14


You Voted, Marvel Listened! Presenting the Cover & Contents of the Marvel 75th Anniversary Omnibus!

Marvel asked for our help picking the 75 best Marvel stories of all-time – and we delivered! Thousands of votes have been tallied, and Marvel has officially unveiled the stories chosen to be included in the massive Marvel 75th Anniversary Omnibus Hardcover! But that’s not all! Get your first look at the dust jacket that will sheathe this titanic tome – featuring stunning artwork by master painter Paolo Rivera!

Collecting Fantastic Four (1961) #1, #48-50 & #285; Hulk (1962) #1; Avengers (1963) #1 & #57; Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #31-33, #50 & #121-122; Incredible Hulk (1968) #181; Giant-Size X-Men #1; X-Men (1963) #141; Uncanny X-Men (1981) #142; Daredevil (1964) #181; Marvel Graphic Novel #1 & #5; Thor (1966) #337; Marvels #1; X-Men Alpha; Thunderbolts (1997) #1; Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #36; The Ultimates (2002) #1; Captain America (2005) #25; Hawkeye (2012) #11 and material from Captain America Comics (1941) #1, Amazing Fantasy (1962) #15, and Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #248 & #700 – this massive omnibus features some of the most iconic Marvel stories of all time!

Want to see where your favorite story ranks among the top 75? Head over to Marvel.com for the definitive ranking of the top 75 Marvel stories of all-time, as voted by you!

But that’s not all true believer! The release of the Marvel 75th Anniversary Omnibus in stores will also coincide with the release of a special digital bundle on the Marvel Comics App & Marvel Digital Comics Store, featuring 75 issues for $75, one from each of the entries on the countdown! Be a part of Marvel history this November when the massive Marvel 75th Anniversary Omnibus and Marvel 75th Anniversary Digital Bundle take you back to the best of the best – as voted by you!

Marvel_75th_Anniversary_Omnibus_Cover Marvel_75th_Anniversary_Omnibus_Dust_Jacket

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