Tag Archives: avengers vs. x-men

Whatever Happened to Jessica Jones?

JessicaJonesNYCC

Unfortunately, Jessica Jones hasn’t had a solo series since The Pulse was cancelled in 2006, except for a special one-off for 2015’s New York Comic Con. She’s had stories featuring her as the lead character in Brian Michael BendisNew Avengers, had a solo story by Bendis and her co-creator Michael Gaydos that is all but a pitch for Alias II in the Marvel 75th Anniversary Special, and even was a co-headliner in Chris Yost and Mike McKone‘s Spider-Island: The Avengers with Carol Danvers, but there have been no ongoing or miniseries with her as protagonist.

Also, even though Bendis gave her the semblance of an arc through six years of New Avengers as she went from mom to superhero and back to mom, Jessica has sadly become defined by her relationship with her husband Luke Cage and her daughter Dani. However, along the way, he has developed her relationships with Carol Danvers, Daredevil, and even Spider-Man, who she used to have a crush on back in high school and inspired her to first put on the Jewel costume. (This story is told in a wonderful backup drawn by former Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada.)  And when Bendis was running the Avengers (and by extension) and the main Marvel events, she made appearances in such high profile storylines as Secret Invasion, Siege, and Fear Itself and the tie-ins to Civil War and Avengers vs. X-Men. With Hickman in charge of the Avengers the past couple of years and Bendis focusing on the X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy, she hasn’t appeared in any recent Marvel events, but this is going to change with Bendis penning Civil War II with artist Dave Marquez. Finally, Jessica is a consistent source of sarcasm and one-liners in the Marvel Universe making her a natural fit for the quip-heavy back and forth of the New Avengers team.

JessVows

The first defining post-Pulse event in the life of Jessica Jones as a character is her marriage to Luke Cage in New Avengers Annual #1, which acts as kind of an epilogue to The Pulse. Also, it ensured that thousands of more readers would be exposed to the relationship between Jessica and Luke, and it gives their wedding an “event” feel, like the previous high profile Marvel weddings between Reed and Sue Richards, Vision and Scarlet Witch, and Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson. Luke and Jessica were separated once when she decided to sign the Superhuman Registration Act to protect her and her baby, but they still remain married after 10 years. Bendis also doesn’t give into cliche in this issue and has the New Avengers fight the Super Adaptoid before the big day instead of having Black Widow’s replacement ruin the fun. Jessica also makes her own vows and says that Luke has inspired her and helped her not be stuck in her own head all the time, like the early arcs of Alias. It is touching climactic moment in their relationship, and artist Olivier Coipel captures it in usual clean art style and gives her a really poufy dress.

JessvsStark

The next big Jessica Jones moment (Sans her final guest spot in Young Avengers as team mentor where she gives Hawkeye’s bow to Kate Bishop and a couple appearances in Black Panther with Luke) is in New Avengers #22, which is a Civil War tie-in focused on Luke Cage deciding to not sign the Superhuman Registration Act. Bendis uses lots of loaded language and metaphors about the KKK and Jim Crow laws, but basically Luke wants to protect Harlem on his terms, not the government’s. Plus Jessica gets to call SHIELD, “the United States of corporate sellouts”. She shares a sad moment with Carol Danvers as it looks like the superhuman Civil War is going to fracture their friendship for a while, and she ends up not taking part in it going to Canada with her still unnamed daughter in tow for the duration of the event.

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After the war, Jessica ends up on the run with the New Avengers, but instead of going on cool missions with them in Japan and fighting Japan, she stays cooped up in the Sanctum Sanctorum with Dani. Wong or Luke even does her shopping for her because of the Registration Act. Of course, this leads to some major cabin fever, and she snaps in New Avengers #33, which kicks off “The Trust” arc when the New Avengers decide to work with the Mighty Avengers to take on the Hood and a consortium of supervillains, who want to blow up Stark Tower. As a stay at home, she feels like she is suppressing who she really is, and this is confirmed in New Avengers #34 when Doctor Strange does an “imagery” spell on the team to see who they really are on the inside (and if they’re Skrulls.), and Jessica’s image is her in her Jewel costume. Bendis is foreshadowing her possible return to the superhero life, but she won’t join the New Avengers for quite a while. She does get to name her daughter, Danielle, after Danny Rand even though she jokes that the baby was named after Danny Partridge and empathizes with Luke’s paranoia that Dani is a Skrull in light of Elektra being outed as a Skrull in a previous arc.

JessWarOver

If New Avengers Annual #1 was the happiest moment for Luke and Jessica’s relationship, then New Avengers Annual #2 and its followup issue New Avengers #38, which is drawn by Michael Gaydos, is its darkest hour. In a frightening sequence of events, the Hood, who is majorly overpowered, overcomes the defenses of the Sanctum and Sanctorum causing Jessica to give Dani to Spider-Man while she runs away. She and Dani almost get sniped by Punisher villain Jigsaw, but Spidey saves them with his webs. The trauma of this attack causes Jessica to go to Avengers Tower and sign the Registration Act to protect Dani from both supervillains and Skrulls. She and Luke have a long argument where she tells him that he put his principles before being a father, and that all she cares about is Dani’s safety. He even almost gets arrested by the Mighty Avengers, but Carol does Jessica a solid and lets him go if he “thinks” about registering. Because Luke put his ideology before his family, Jessica and him separate with her staying in Avengers Tower, and him in an apartment owned by the Rand Corporation with the other New Avengers.

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However, thanks to a Skrull invasion and crossover event, Jessica and Luke reunite as she joins the fray in Secret Invasion #7 leaving Dani with Jarvis in Avengers Tower. This is the first time Jessica has been in action since she fought Norman Osborn in the first arc of The Pulse, and there’s nothing like a big group superhero fight to rekindle a relationship. Unfortunately, Jarvis is a Skrull and kidnaps Dani. In spite of this momentous event, Bendis even takes some time away from the action to tell a flashback story in New Avengers #47 with Michael Gaydos from her days in Alias Investigations when Luke hired Jessica (His third P.I. choice after Jessica Drew and Dakota North.) to find his dad so he can tell him that he’s not a criminal, but a hero. The flashback part is paced much like an issue of Alias with silent opening sequence and a dialogue heavy interview sequence shot with Luke emoting while Jessica is quiet and listens. Jessica does track him down and meets Luke’s step mom, who reads about his exploits as Power Man in the newspaper, and tries to show his father Luke’s good side. Sadly, they aren’t reunited, and Gaydos puts a literal screen door between them. However, Luke and Jessica grow closer and share a joke about Luke’s costume choices during the Bronze Age, and it cuts to the present where they talk about how Dani won’t have a normal life because they’re both superpowered people, but at least she’ll see the world.

Bendis uses Dani’s kidnapping as an opportunity to make Jessica and Luke the focus of the first post-Secret Invasion arc of New Avengers during 2009’s Dark Reign when the US government thought it was a good idea to put Norman Osborn in charge of SHIELD. After being just a mom and wife for most of his New Avengers run, Bendis and artist Philip Tan give her a more active role in the plot as she, Luke, and Wolverine interrogate a SHIELD agent, who is a Skrull after Jessica gets a Skrull detector from Invisible Woman. Then, Luke shows that he is willing to put Dani first and teams up with Norman Osborn and the Dark Avengers to get her back from the Skrulls. However, he beats up Venom and Bullseye with a crowbar to show them that he doesn’t work for Osborn, which creates a tension leading to a conflict between the New Avengers and the government sanctioned, yet utterly evil Dark Avengers.

PeterJessFriends

At her new abode of Bucky’s apartment (He’s the current Captain America.), Jessica doesn’t get to play superhero, but she has more input in the New Avengers plans, like telling them to keep their battle with the Dark Avengers out of the apartment, and starts to forge a platonic relationship with Spider-Man after he reveals his secret identity to the team. Bendis and Tan mine a lot of humor out of Jessica’s high school crush on Peter, Luke’s feigned (Or is it.) jealousy, and the fact that he only knew her as “coma girl”. Bendis and Joe Quesada explore their relationship in more depth in a backup story in Amazing Spider-Man #601 retconning a background girl in Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Amazing Spider-Man #4 to be Jessica Jones as she watches Spider-Man beat up Sandman. She also gets a great line about Spider-Man starting his own religion with  “With great power comes great responsibility” and says she’ll teach Dani about that. Spider-Man talks to Jessica about showing Dani her best side, and maybe that means a return to superheroing. It’s a great backup that gives Jessica another relationship outside of Luke and Carol, but Quesada’s art is overly posed and not his best work. Jessica Jones also looks like Mary-Jane Watson with brown hair for some reason.

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And Jessica does return into action when the Dark Avengers kidnap Luke, and Stuart Immonen ups New Avengers‘ visual quality when he becomes the new artist on the title towards the end of 2009. After shaking off some criticism from her mother, who is keeping Dani, Jessica spearheads Luke’s rescue by saying, “You don’t fucking mess with Luke Cage.”, a one-liner that should definitely be said some time in the Netflix Defenders show. And, in New Avengers #59, she assembles her own Defenders lineup of Daredevil, Hellcat (First canon meeting between Patsy and Jessica.), Dr. Voodoo, Misty Knight, The Thing, Valkyrie, and of course, Iron Fist to spring him from Norman Osborn. They rescue him easily, but in action movie villain fashion, there’s a bomb on Luke’s chest. It doesn’t detonate when Spider-Man plays it cold and blows up Osborn’s summer home again. (He probably did Harry’s homework there.) These events cause Luke and Jessica to consider their mom’s advice about finding a more normal life about Dani, and they daydream about walking through the park with Dani in her stroller and finding a place to live where they don’t have to be in hiding.

JewelisBack

Continuing the tradition of big Jessica Jones moments in New Avengers annuals, New Avengers Annual #3 features the return of the Jewel costume thanks to artist Mike Mayhew, who did the covers for The Pulse. The setup is reminiscent of DC’s Birds of Prey as the female members of the New Avengers: Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman, and Mockingbird plus Jessica Jones team up to rescue Clint Barton from the Dark Avengers. They infiltrate Osborn’s helicarrier, kick around Mentallo aka the wannabe version of Mastermind, and grab Clint in a majestic fashion thanks to Mayhew’s painted art style. The successful mission has Jessica even more interested in being a superhero again and also features the return of Steve Rogers back from the dead to throw a wrench into everything as he becomes the head of SHIELD after Norman Osborn is arrested after the events of Siege, and the Superhuman Registration Act is repealed. This has a huge effect on the life of Jessica and Luke as they are no longer fugitives and take Dani on a simple walk in a New York City park in a gorgeous splash page from Bryan Hitch in New Avengers Finale #1.

But even if the happier times of the Heroic Age are upon Jessica Jones, she drew the short straw as Luke Cage got his own four issue miniseries called New Avengers: Luke Cage, written by BPRD‘s John Arcudi and drawn by Eric Canete (Martian Manhunter) and Pepe Larraz (Kanan). While Luke is off busting a crime and drug ring in Philadelphia, Arcudi writes Jessica Jones as a stereotypical nag constantly calling about him being back home instead of being sarcastically empathetic as a former superhero and private eye. To add insult to injury, Canete draws her like a teenage girl in a manga instead of an adult woman adding an air of creepiness into her all too brief scenes. Arcudi can spin a crime yarn, and Anete’s Philadelphia has real character, but their depiction of Jessica Jones is one note.

JessPunchesAgamotto

But even as she is turned into a sitcom wife in New Avengers: Luke Cage, Jessica Jones fared much better in the Heroic Age relaunch of New Avengers where Luke Cage bought Avengers Mansion from Tony Stark for $1 to house and support the New Avengers, who received a paycheck from SHIELD. Luke was still wary of getting a government paycheck because of his desire for independence, but Jessica accepted the check on his behalf and made a great quip about him being the original “hero for hire”. And she almost immediately jumps right back into battle when the Eye of Agamotto possesses Luke in New Avengers #2. Jessica punches it off him, and there is a lot of magic and possession genre stuff going like The Exorcist meets a standard superhero comic. She does get to punch ghosts and fly in Luke Cage to stop Agamotto (He’s a guy, actually.) opening a portal to scary dimensions along the way and rescue Carol Danvers from being incinerated by magical energy. You basically just want her to join the team.

JessBeatsDoombot

And she does take another step to being a full-fledged New Avenger by searching for a nanny in New Avengers #7, which features some funny Marvel D-lister cameos as Bendis and Immonen show they can deftly balance humor and action. She and Luke eventually settle on Squirrel Girl even though she has a bushy tail and a weird past with Wolverine because she can easily control her powers and is interested in working in childcare while she is a student at NYU. Getting Squirrel Girl as a nanny allows Luke and Jessica to go on their first real date possibly ever in New Avengers #8 as Daniel Acuna draws her at her most gorgeous. Luke thinks that Jessica would make a great Avenger as well as a mom and suggests the moniker “Power Woman” for her, which of course, she vetoes. In the issue, Bendis shows her torn between wanting to be present for Dani while wanting to inspire her as a superhero. And there’s a battle between her, Luke, and Doombot where she take the robot out with a fire hydrant. This is the spark that she needs to decide to join the New Avengers for real with Luke adorably saying, “Boo yah.” New Avengers #8 is the lighter counterpart to New Avengers #31 as Bendis focuses in on Jessica and Luke’s ever changing relationship and takes a break from villain plots or magical mumbo jumbo to give her a real milestone as a character even if she is technically a supporting character in the title.

JessJoinsAvengers

Jessica’s first mission is a pretty fun espionage tinged one fitted for Mike Deodato‘s photorealistic, noir style of art as she and the New Avengers hunt down Superia, who they later find out has a briefcase with the Infinity Formula that Nick Fury alive, not too old, and strong. She gets a pretty fun moment as she actually drives a truck to take down Superia while Luke carries his with his super strength with Iron Fist in it because Danny doesn’t have a driver’s license. Later, as a tie-in to Fear Itself, Jessica gets to punch Nazi robots controlled by the Red Skull’s daughter Sin, who has godlike status. It’s nice to see Jessica have an active role in a Marvel event for once instead of running away to Canada in Civil War, or staying in some kind of domicile like in Secret Invasion and Siege. She also gets a mini-team up with Squirrel Girl, who surprises Jessica with her squirrel summoning abilities, and successfully sets up the Avengers Mansion safety protocols to protect Dani. Nothing climactic happens to her in New Avengers Annual #1, but Bendis remembers she has a friendship with Daredevil from his days as her lawyer in Alias and client for her bodyguard services in his run on Daredevil. This is why it’s fitting that she gives him an Avengers keycard and welcomes to the team for a short duration as Bendis basically gets to make the New Avengers a clubhouse of all his favorite characters.

NormanThreatensDani

However, Jessica Jones’ Avengers status is less than permanent, and she completely unravels as a superhero in New Avengers #16.1, a special issue drawn by Neal Adams. Jessica is part of an escort to transfer Norman Osborn to the Raft when he becomes the Green Goblin again and threatens to kill Dani until Wolverine forces him to stand down with his claws. However, he ends up escaping, and a few issues later, Jessica confides in Luke that she is afraid to leave Dani’s side because Norman Osborn on the loose. Jessica’s concern for Dani’s safety causes her to sit out of the team’s next mission even though Squirrel Girl is there to watch the baby. Later, she uses her status as a relatively unknown superhero and tries to speak to protesters who decry the destruction left in the wake of the Avengers’ battle, but gets called a spoiled princess. This causes her to go on the run yet again with Dani and Squirrel Girl and argue with Luke for putting their daughter in harm’s way by being at Avengers Mansion. This is basically a rehashing of what went down in “Dark Reign”, but with Deodato instead of Immonen art except with Jessica quitting the Avengers team. Bendis and Deodato also make a clumsy parallel between Luke’s participation in Avengers vs. X-Men with a soldier going to war and leaving his family behind.

JessCaptainMarvel

Michael Gaydos makes his final (for now) return drawing the character of Jessica Jones in New Avengers #31, which is mostly a conversation between Jessica Jones and Carol Danvers, who has taken on the identity of Captain Marvel. Jessica feels like she has driven Luke to quit the New Avengers and is a “bad wife”, but Carol reassures her by telling her that it just took him a while to understand his responsibilities as a father and husband. Jessica is really happy with Carol’s new name and costume saying that it suits her as a great superhero and friend as she gets sarcastically sentimental. Even though some of the writing makes Luke seem flighty or a deadbeat dad, Bendis and Gaydos really capture what is great about Jessica and Carol’s friendship, and it’s a pity that they haven’t had much time to interact in issues after this arc of New Avengers. This is probably because Carol’s solo books, especially the past two volumes of Captain Marvel, are more concerned with cosmic threats and adventures than earthbound things. With Bendis on Civil War II, their lack of interactions will likely change, and it will be interesting to see if they resent each other after such a long absence.

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After a magically caused battle between the New Avengers and Avengers team, Jessica Jones finally says her goodbye to the team in New Avengers #34 as she, Luke, and Dani are there for the unveiling of a statue of Victoria Hand, who went from Norman Osborn’s stooge to government liaision to the Avengers, and dying heroically. It’s a pretty touching issue filled with lots of jokes about the events of previous issues, and she even gets a warm hug from Spider-Man. Deodato draws a beautiful double page spread showing all their big moments from Alias onwards as Bendis tries to make an argument that they were the heart of his New Avengers run. I could maybe see that Luke Cage was the focal point of his nine years on the family of books as he went from being a barely used supporting character in Daredevil and Alias to a team leader of both the New Avengers and the Thunderbolts. (He was more of the Tbolts’ babysitter.) However, Jessica Jones, despite her showcase issues, ended up mainly being a mom and sarcastic comic relief. For every scene where she got to punch a Doombot or joke around with Spider-Man, there’s another one where she’s standing silently with Dani on her arm with a baby bottle.

But, at least, while Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers was a key book in the Marvel Universe and led to or tied into the big summer event books, Jessica Jones got panel time. This hasn’t been the case since Jonathan Hickman and other writers have taken over the books titled Avengers and New Avengers. Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and Mike Hawthorne use her as a nagging wife stereotype in a couple of stories dealing with Deadpool’s team up with Luke Cage and Iron Fist against the racist supervillain, White Man. It’s a pretty funny parody of the old Power Man and Iron Fist comics, and Jessica Jones does get one great moment when she punches Deadpool out a window when he remarks on her “post baby body.”

Jessica later becomes a supporting character when Luke Cage starts yet another Avengers team in Mighty Avengers, but Al Ewing is careful not to tread on old Bendis plot points and has Luke have the team meet in an old theatre while Jessica and Dani have their own apartment. She doesn’t factor into the plot much except for a great scene where she gets to clock Superior Spider-Man (When Dr. Octopus’ brain was in Peter Parker’s body, and he was a pompous ass.), but continues to be occasional support and comic relief and gets past Blue Marvel’s hard shell to chat about his college age daughter. Jessica plays a similar supporting role in David Walker and Sanford Greene‘s Power Man and Iron Fist where she exists to say funny lines and get on Luke’s case for not spending enough time with Dani. Again, she hasn’t factored into the plot so far in the first three issues.

On a brighter note, Jessica made an appearance in the epilogue of Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #5 in an homage to her friendship with Patsy in the Jessica Jones television show, which is the equivalent of her friendship of Carol Danvers in Alias without the extra Avengers and cosmic baggage. Jessica Jones is a P.I. for Alias Investigations in Hellcat and is actually working for Patsy’s rival, Hedy, which should stir up some real drama as the comic continues. And hopefully this portrayal continues to seep into the other corners of the Marvel Universe as Jessica is supposedly playing a role in Civil War II and getting her own solo series in its aftermath, written by Bendis with art by Michael Gaydos and covers by David Mack.

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Thanks to the high status Brian Michael Bendis has had in the Marvel stable of writers since in the mid-2000s, Jessica Jones had consistent appearances in the New Avengers titles as well as appearing in Avengers when she became a New Avenger during the Heroic Age. Because of her friendship with Spider-Man, she also appeared in some issues of Amazing Spider-Man, like when the New Avengers helped in the whole “Spider-Island” situation when random New York citizens all got powers, including Dani Cage-Jones, who promptly stuck Squirrel Girl to the wall. But her myriad appearances were mostly in support of Luke Cage or the New Avengers team with the exception of the occasional “solo” issue of New Avengers that Gaydos drew, or special annual that gave her a semblance of an arc.

Fans of Jessica Jones can only hope that Marvel’s heroic character who doesn’t want to be a superhero, overcame PTSD to be a great mom and Avenger, and might have the sharpest wit in all the Marvel Universe, but cares for the little guy and often helped out civilians while the rest of the New Avengers were punching things, gets a story of her own in the years to come and doesn’t have to play second fiddle to Luke Cage. The other Jessica gets a nuanced portrayal as mother, friend, and superhero in Dennis Hopeless and Javier Rodriguez‘s Spider-Woman, and I hope Jessica Jones gets a series like that soon, especially with the critical and commercial success of her Netflix show.

Fan-Fiction as the “Uberization” of Canon

I recently came across a blog by Nassim Taleb Nicholas describing the “Uberization” of education, the proliferation, of bottom-up alternatives to education such as MOOCs and other means of training that are slowly catching up with the traditional paradigm of formal education. Nassim was making the point that decentralization and perhaps disruption is becoming the norm, allowing people a greater range of freedom by providing means to bypass rigid establishments (i.e. the University). This article was a timely find for me as I have been really obsessed and invested in all variants of decentralization and disruption both academically and by virtue of curiosity. The following is an example of some various forms of disruptive industry.

Digital DisruptionUpon some reflection I would  argue that fan-fiction could be considered an “uberized” response to traditional canon. Admittedly I am no expert on the phenomenon of fan-fiction, however I do know enough to recognize its mass and broadening appeal to people of many ages within various fandoms and tastes. Within the world of fan-fiction there truly appears to be something for everyone and this momentum doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Fan-fictional works span from the fan imagined continuation of cancelled series, fictional universe mashups/crossovers, to the practice of romantic “shipping”  that ranges from platonic to the outright erotic (slash/fiction). I find this absolutely fascinating. There is a degree of creative wish fulfillment going on here that is very alluring and seemingly all encompassing. Perhaps fan-fiction represents the “made-to-order” consumer-oriented advent with respect to canonized fictional works. A lot of people forget that 50 Shades of Grey technically started out as erotic Twilight Fan-Fiction. Not that I’ve ever indulged in that swill *spits on the ground*

Phoenix and WandapngI experienced my appreciation for fan-fiction first hand after reading Marvel‘s mega event Avengers vs X-Men. AvX arrived with much marketing and fanfare, the culmination of years of Marvel lore, and a controversial smackdown between two major franchises. AvX excited me in the run up to the event but afterwards in its aftermath I was ultimately underwhelmed by it. In sum AvX was just too big. Too many writers, too many tie-ins to dance between. Overall the event felt constrained perhaps by editorial restrictions and glaring continuity errors. At 10 issues long I felt the overarching goal was to just sell as many issues as possible rather than to focus on good storytelling. Ulitmately the resurgence of mutantkind should have been a monumental occurrence, AvX made it feel like a whimper. Additionally The Phoenix force a pillar of X-Men lore was relegated to a mere plot device. Likewise Hope Summers a Character Marvel spent years investing and developing was essentially a McGuffin for the story. In my judgement mega comic events tend to  become productions that are too-big, and collapse under their own weight. Large teams of writers or “Architects” are enlisted and eventually things become cacaphonic.

Mutant ResurgenceSoon after I stumbled upon a fanfic on a website called Archive of Our Own titled Firebirds which was billed as the story that AvX should have been. A “fix-it” story as labelled in one if its tags. This was no lie, the story was everything an X-Fan or Avengers fan could want from the AvX conflict with some unexpected edge. The story was gritty, dark, violent and punctuated with some very shocking deaths that kept you reading. Oh and did I mention the profanity? That was nice touch to be included. Above all else I really loved the creative twist that the author took with the AvX storyline, the readers were to introduced some broader plot elements/factions that fleshed out the continuity, and the characterization was razor sharp.  You could really tell that the author knew the characters and their history and showcased this wonderfully in their interactions. Firebirds was my first bonafide foray into fanfiction and it was a surreal experience because it was a non-canon story that I enjoyed more than its canonical counterpart!  I remember uploading every single chapter to my kindle and waiting impatiently for each new update on the story after finishing each installment.

This experience made me realize that perhaps Marvel’s house of ideas and arguably other publishers alone don’t hold a monopoly on creative story telling. If Marvel’s AXIS was any indication, Marvel itself seems to be waning in this regard. There is even some evidence that most of Marvels’ acclaimed architects are gravitating towards more creator-owned ventures. Kieron Gillen, and Matt Fraction are notable examples. The glaring and more recent example of this dearth of creativity would be Marvel’s AXIS event, which rehashed so much of the plot of AvX and past event story-lines it was unbearable to endure.

The popularity and enjoyment of fan-fiction is definitely something to watch for I would argue, as other forms of media are poised for their own encounters with “uberization.” I follow an artist on Tumblr who has put together several X-Men team concepts one of which “Endless Summers” I would definitely pay to read . The concept is essentially a Summers reunion of sorts planned with some very appropriate villians with contemporary and fitting plot elements. Though it is way too early to say whether fan-fiction can maintain enough momentum to become a viable alternative to traditional fictional media, I believe there is a case to made that if publishers are looking to inject fresh blood into their respective house of ideas they should start paying close attention to fan-fiction or perhaps consider hiring fan-fic writers. Shameless Plug Alert, although I am not currently looking for work in the comic industry, I did put together a fan-fic of my own called Aerie. Inspired by Firebirds and my love for all things Shi’ar I wanted to put forth a creative story that was hybrid of sorts of the Shi’ar and the HBO series Rome. Life and school got in the way and I was not able to continue the venture, but I am very proud of the first chapter and the opportunity to add my own imagination to the growing tapestry of fan-fiction. Have a look if your curiosity has been piqued!

What do you think? Is Fan-Fiction an idle waste of time? Or is here to stay? What are the legal ramifications of it? Who “owns” the characters? are respectful disclaimers enough? Do fans have the right to write creatively about the characters they love? I’d love to hear some thoughts in the comments section below!

ComiXology Black Friday Sales

avengers vs xmen comixology

ComiXology‘s Black Friday Sale starts today with two big sales that run through Cyber Monday. First up, there’s Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men Sale running from 11/29 – 12/2 and also a sale on Image trades that also runs 11/29 – 12/2. Complete details are below.

11/29 – 12/2 – Avengers vs. X-Men Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale:

All the following issues are marked down to $0.99 each

Avengers vs X-Men #0-12
AVX: VS #1-6
AVX: Consequences #1-5
Avengers vs X-Men Infinite #1, 6, 10
Avengers Academy #29-33
Secret Avengers #26-28
Avengers #25-30
New Avengers #24-30
X-Men Legacy #266-270
Wolverine & The X-Men #9-16, 18
Uncanny X-Men #11-20
A-Babies vs. X-Babies #1

Avengers vs. X-Men: Collected Edition – marked down from $39.99 to $19.99

11/29 – 12/2 – Image Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale

East of West Vol. 1 $4.99
Fatale Vol. 1 $5.99
Fatale Vol. 2 $5.99
Five Ghosts Vol. 1 $4.99
Five Weapons: Making the Grade $7.99
Great Pacific Vol. 1 4.99
Happy! 3.99
It Girl & The Atomics Vol. 1 4.99
Lazarus Vol. 1 4.99
Mind the Gap Vol. 1 3.99
Mind the Gap Vol. 2 4.99
Mind the Gap Vol. 3 5.99
Peter Panzerfaust Vol. 1 3.99
Prophet Vol. 1 4.99
Revival Vol. 1 3.99
Saga Vol. 1 4.99
Saga Vol. 2 4.99
The Legend of Luther Strode 7.99
The Manhattan Projects Vol. 1 3.99
The Manhattan Projects Vol. 2 4.99

image comixology

Best Comics of 2012

It’s the first day of a new year and so that means we’re doing our “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2012. Generally these are comic books that came out in 2012, though some are from earlier times and I got around to reading them, or limited series that continued. Keep in mind, this is what I have read. If it’s not on here, I just might not have read it.

Best Super Hero Comic – Hawkeye

Hawkeye_2_CoverHawkeye, Marvel Comics’ least likely hit is as cool as the minimalist covers by David Aja. Written by Matt Fraction with art by Aja, Hawkeye follows the Avenger and shows him not as his cockiest (as portrayed elsewhere), but instead as a character who isn’t totally sure of himself. The series is a deconstruction of this hero, putting him at the street level, as likely to take on Hydra as his is some petty street thugs who say “Bro” a lot.

The series shares a lot with last year’s winner Daredevil. Both have a pulp sense about them, but there’s something with Hawkeye’s simple story telling that makes it stand above the rest. The art, the story, the covers, it’s all there blending perfectly.

There’s a fantastic mix of action, humor and simple human interaction that pulls together to make it the best super hero comic I’m reading, but also one of the best debuts of the year. Hopefully the comic finds the audience it deserves as accolades are poured upon it, but if nothing else, this is a series that’ll be looked upon as at the top of it’s game, no matter the year.

Runners Up:

  • Daredevil – Last year’s winner is still one of the best comics on the market. Mark Waid’s writing is fantastic as he took Matt Murdock down holes (literally and metaphorically). We again questioned Murdock’s sanity and Waid was able to mix in pulp fun with super heroes and not make it all seem silly when we got our reveal at the end.
  • Idolized – Aspen Comics’ first entry into true super heroes was a comic I looked forward to reading each month. Centered around a reality tv super hero contest, we’re given a character we can relate to, cheer on as well as scold all at the same time. The art is top notch and here’s hoping it lasts for quite some time.
  • Batman – Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have put together a Batman run that’s up there with the best. This year they’ve given us the Court of Owls and Talons which are villains that feel appropriate for Batman but also his equal in every way.
  • Wolverine & The X-Men – Wolverine is now the headmaster at a school that’s as chaotic as him in beserker mode. Each issue I walk away smiling after a few laughs. In a year of uneven “X” books, this one has been consistent fun.

Best Non-Super Hero Comic –The Massive

massivepromoNYCC_2_swimWriter Brian Wood‘s DMZ won last year, so is it any surprise his new series by Dark Horse is this year’s winner? This to me is not just the best non-super hero comic, but also the best “new series” and “best series” of the year. It’s that damn good. It’s the future after a massive environmental disaster and aboard a ship the Kapital is a crew of environmental activists on a mission to survive as well as find their sister ship The Massive.

The comic is as good as they come, with an amazing cast of characters that we slowly get to learn more about as layers pealed apart issue by issue. The world is destroyed and while familiar, the environmental devastation has left it so that we’re kept on our toes.

The cast of characters are some of the most realistic and interesting in any comic out there right now. It’s diverse and varied in backgrounds, motivations, attitudes, everything. There’s someone for everyone to cheer for and hiss at. We have heroes and villains and motivations that still remain murky and elusive.

The Massive is the one series I immediately read upon release no matter what I have going on. The downside is, I have to wait a month to do so between each issue.

Runners Ups:

  • Saga – Brian K. Vaughn has written some modern classics and Saga looks like it’ll be right up there with his past works. An epic in the making that’s a mix of science fiction and fantasy following two enemy soldiers who fall in love, have a kid, and go on the run. Each issue keeps you on your toes as to what expect next.
  • Revival- Did you hear zombies are still big in entertainment? This new series follows a town locked down by the CDC after the dead come back to life. What’s the cause? What exactly is going on? Little by little we’re finding out, but the focus is really the realistic characters dealing with this strange world.
  • Mind MGMT- Matt Kindt is an amazing writer and this series involving mind controlling secret agents is trippy and exciting as they come. The art is his usual water color like style, unique and recognizable in today’s comics. The comic feels like Ah-Ha’s Take On Me music video, with psychics and world traveling, aka, it’s awesome.
  • Rachel Rising – Another horror comic that’s fantastic each and every issue. Another people coming back from the dead comic that again keeps you on your toes as what’s going on plays out slowly over each issue. This is a slow build, page turner.

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Princeless

PRINCELESS_TPB_CVRFairy tales are rather played out. Girl needs a prince to rescue her from the tower and to do so, the prince must defeat the dragon. Then, comes in Princeless, which takes all of that and skewers it with some of the best female empowering political/societal skewering this year. The lead is a female black princess out to save her sisters. It’s girl power and it’s awesome.

The sly commentary about society and gender roles makes this first volume and it’s two one-shots stick out. The fact it’s done in a package that’s as fun for kids as it is for adults, makes it one of the best of the year.

The comic has gotten praise, landing on a few other lists and even receiving Eisner nods, all the accolades are deserved. We get a second volume in February, and you better pre-order it to make sure you get a copy.

If you’re looking for a comic to hand to your kids, female or male, this is a great one to start, but lets be honest, it’s so entertaining, you’ll be the one reading it.

Runners Up:

  • Point of Impact–  Image Comics released this series which is only in it’s third issue, but it’s basically Law & Order, the comic book. The story is as solid as you’d see on that show and should be a great crossover to draw fans of that television series over to comic books. If you’re a fan of that tv show, even a casual one, go grab this series if you can find it.
  • Stumptown Vol. 2Greg Rucka brings back his detective series for a second volume. This one focusing on musicians and the drug trade. The series is still playing out and man it’s good. The series also decided to try some things new visually, like having you turn the pages during a car chase. Solid story and innovative art to boot!
  • The New Deadwardians – Vertigo’s limited series is the British upper crust meets vampires and zombies. Did I also mention that it’s a detective thriller?
  • Archaia Free Comic Book Day – You have to give Archaia props for this free comic, not just due to the excellent content within, which included Rust, The Return of the Dapper Men and more, but it also was a hardcover comic. The absolute best presentation and giveaway for Free Comic Book Day ever.

Best Single Issue – Batman #5

Batman #5 CoverScott Snyder‘s Batman epic event Court of Owls was an amazing read, giving us a villain that seemed the equal or better of Batman. Something that hasn’t been felt in a long time. But, the story was helped by Greg Capullo‘s art. If you need evidence of how important that was, then go back to this issue. Though it came out in the beginning of the year, it’s stuck with me since.

Batman is captured and dumped in the Owls’ maze. As he’s drugged and descends in to madness, we’re taken with him. Before we know it, we’ve turned the issue on it’s side, then completely upside down as we go down the spiral with our hero. We’ve scene that sort of visual before, in movies, on television, but the tactile holding of the book, instead of the passive watching ads an element that drags us into the experience.

It’s a perfect example of the marriage of story and art and why comics are an entertainment medium unlike any other.

Worst Single Issue of the Year – Thunderbolts (Marvel Now) #1

Thunderbolts_01_CoverI’ve loved Marvel’s Thunderbolts in ever version we’ve gotten over the years. Even their latest time travel spin, while silly at times, ended well enough to justify the trip. Marvel NOW! was supposed to be the best creative teams creating some of the best comics, but this first issue is such a stinker, it’s sad and I wonder how it got approved.

The issue is the very non-creative gathering of the members of the team. In a movie, it’d maybe be 10 or 15 minutes, and possibly covered in the opening credits. Add on top of it we wonder how General Ross is getting from place to place, the entire issue is poorly plotted, thought out and just beyond boring. Add in a waste of art talent and I can only hope things get better going forward, cause this was really bad.

It’s a shame to see such cool character be used so poorly with a set-up that is predictable and at the same time, make no sense. The fact this is supposed to get people excited and draw them in since it’s Marvel NOW! just makes it even more of a travesty.

Runners Up:

  • Deadpool (Marvel Now) #1- Deadpool versus zombie versions of past Presidents. The story arc is silly and just pointless. This is not Deadpool at his best.
  • Happy! (any issue) – If there was an award for the most use of “fuck” in comics, this would win. If that’s supposed to be edgy and entertaining, I’ll pass.

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Economix: How Our Economy Works & Doesn’t Work

Economix_Cover-300x426Take a complicated subject of economics and most people’s eyes glaze over just before they fall asleep. What this graphic novel does, is take a complicated and dense subject and makes it easy to understand, and somehow does it in an entertaining fashion.

The graphic novel begins in the early stages of economics and follows through to modern times, including the fiscal meltdown over the last decade. Not only are the philosophies that impacted the thought of the time discussed, but the major events of the time are added in to give us a perspective as to how it all fits together.

The graphic novel isn’t preachy at all, instead it allows us to make up our own mind as to how it all works together. We’re presented with the history without the personal opinion or perspective (for the most part).

This is a graphic novel that should be a required reading in all high schools and colleges. Not only does it educated, but it also entertains. In one read, I learned more on the subject than all of my education put together. For that the graphic novel deserves accolades.

This is a prime example of how graphic novels and comics have transcended their origins and are more than silly heroes in tights.

Runners Up:

  • My Friend Dahmer – Want to know the “origin” of Jeffrey Dahmer? Well here you go, directly from a person who knew him in high school. This graphic novel will leave you scratching your head and disturbed at the killer and monster he was, but also wonder how anyone could of stopped it.
  • Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City – Guy Delisle’s latest about his time spent in Israel. The commentary and perspective of his experiences is amazing and really gets you to think. A travel guide like no other, Delisle’s work is beyond entertaining perfect for comic and non-comic fans alike.
  • Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland and Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me – These are some of Harvey Pekar’s last works before his passing this year. Both are as personal as they come discussing his faith and growing up in Cleveland. Masterpieces both.
  • Building Stories – The most praised release of the year is a collection of stories in a box the size of a board game. The interconnected stories make you rethink what comic books are and could be.

Best Writer of the Year – Brian Wood

Brian WoodThe Massive would put Wood in the running this year, but add in his run on Conan the Barbarian and his release of Mara and Brian Wood is the best writer this year. Each series is varied in topics and characters, but what they all have in common is strong characters.

Wood, throughout everything he’s written has focused on that. They voices he writes through run through the spectrum, and through it all he tackles some great socio and political commentary. His writing is a commentary in the world we live in or a world we could live in.

All three series are some of the top of the year, and with Star Wars on the horizon in 2013, there’s a good chance he’ll be towards the top of the list then too.

Runners Up:

  • Mark Waid – Waid is a master writer turning anything he touches into gold. He’s got Daredevil, last years best series, and take the reigns on the Indestructible Hulk, plus there’s his work at Thrillbent. I can’t wait to see what he releases in 2013!
  • Scott Snyder – The man has injected excitement and new ideas into Batman, giving us new bad guys that seem like a threat and the return of the Joker. On top of that there’s his work on American Vampire and Swamp Thing. 2013 sees Man of Steel from DC comics, we’ll see if he can give us the Superman we deserve.
  • Matt Kindt – Mind MGMT has gotten Kindt on to the list. The story and how it’s laid out, with fake ads and small details in the margins makes it a series that sucks you in, in every way.
  • Brian Michael Bendis – The man wrapped up his epic run on the Avengers and gave us the All-New X-Men after juggling the epic battle of Avengers Vs. X-Men. Probably the most controversial person on the list, he’s taken concepts that shouldn’t work and some how have made them so.

Best Event of the Year – Court of Owls

Court of OwlsScott Snyder’s Batman event has given us a threat that really makes us think Batman has met his match. Talons, undead assassins are unleashed on Gotham to cleanse it and bring in the reign of the Court of Owls a secret society that’s been around since the cities’ earliest of days.

We got some retconning and wedging in of the concept, but it all works. Snyder pulled it off giving us a hell of an exciting story and one I wish went on longer. It’s only downside was it was too short, but I’m sure it’s ramifications will be felt in the long run, setting up a plot line for Batman that’ll be around for years.

Runners Up:

  • Rotworld – Swamp Thing and Animal take on the Rot, which might consumer us all. The least talked about event and story-arc of the year is one of DC’s best.
  • Avengers Vs. X-Men – It should of been horrible, but every battle, every fight was entertaining and filled up that small part of us that want to see comic characters beat the crap out of each other. Oh yeah, and the Phoenix returned. It gave us the new Marvel status-quo, so it was also one of the most important story arcs.
  • Uncanny X-Force: Final Execution – Will Kid Apocalypse turn evil? This is what the series has been leading to, and in the end it’s all a comment on nature vs. nurture.
  • Return of Valiant – Valiant is back! And while the comics are all over the map in quality, they’re all good to great. 2013 sees the publisher’s first big events, so we’ll see where they land next year. Welcome back Valiant, you’ve been missed!

Best Genre of the Year – Indie Comics

Is it a “genre”? We can argue about that, but lets face it, 2012 was a year we saw major creators shrug off the big two, instead launching creator owned series at other publishers, digitally or through Kickstarter. We saw more comics, in more varieties, on more subjects and more ways to consume them, than any time before. It really wasn’t the year of the Big Two, this was a year that we as consumers could find something that’d fit our tastes.

With more channels for distribution and more ways to produce comics, we’re in a golden age where the old ways of publishing no longer hold back the creativity that abounds.

Runners Up:

  • Zombies – Zombies have become a cultural phenomenon, lead marching shuffling along by The Walking Dead. Revival changed the genre a bit, with so many releases giving us so many other spins and perspectives. The genre has crossed over in to movies, television, books, toys and more. We’ll see how soon before it all comes grinding to a halt.
  • Digital Comics – Digital first. Digital exclusive. Web comics. This was the year digital comics began to break through. Lead by the platform comiXology, we also saw some creativity in how to sell digitally by Viz. This distribution method will only grow in 2013 as more ways to gain revenue from it are explored.

Best Comic Tie-In of the Year – The Walking Dead Episodes 1 to 5

wd gameThe game has gained numerous accolades in the video game industry. It released as episodes, mimicking comic books and the television series it built off of. You make choices and try to survive in a world filled with zombies, with your decisions impacting the story. It also was a break through for episodic video game content, something toyed with, but not really ever gaining the acceptance it deserved.

This is the video game based on a comic book that didn’t suck. Something rare when it comes to video games. A second volume is out in 2013, so expect this to make numerous lists then too.

Runners Up:

  • Marvel and DC Lego Sets – How awesome are these? I have all the sets released, plus the key chains and some of the limited edition figs. All are awesome, and there’s more out in 2013!
  • The Walking Dead (Facebook game) – Take The Walking Dead and make it a fun social game you can play on Facebook. A fun time sink that plays off it’s source material perfectly.
  • Minimates – Kind of like Lego figures, but more points of articulation and so many choices to make. There’s over 50 sets out and the characters and properties they cover is massive. A great niche form of toys and one I got in to in 2012.
  • Marvel Universe – The out put this year seems to have dropped of these G.I. Joe like toys. But, the quality was up there. Topping the list for me was my Guardians of the Galaxy toy set with Rocket Raccoon and Groot!

Best Comic Book Related Movie/TV Show – The Walking Dead

WalkingDeadSeason3Poster-610x903This was a juggernaut. The television series based on the Skybound/Image Comics comic dominated television, putting up ratings that haven’t been scene before in a cable television series. It crushes the competition in key demographic categories and only seems to be getting bigger and bigger.

It become a focal point between AMC and television cable companies in their battles this year. It also has driven people to pick up the source material. The Walking Dead television series has done what no other movie or television series based on comics has done, it’s driven people to buy comics. The Walking Dead trade paperbacks have been in the top ten of lists for much of the year and stores can’t keep them in stock.

Issue 100 of the series was one of the biggest selling comics of the last decade driven by the popularity of the television show. It’s back in February and I’m expecting only bigger ratings and fandom to come.

Runners Up:

  • Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope – A celebration of fandom, the movie took us to San Diego Comic-Con and helped us understand the buzz and comic fans, never talking down about or making fun of them. A documentary that truly celebrates it’s subject.
  • Avengers- The movie was flawed, but Marvel and Joss Whedon pulled off what many thought was impossible, pulling together Marvel’s characters and creating a cohesive comic movie universe. That gets it to make the list.
  • The Dark Knight Rises- The end of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy fails to stand on it’s own, but it’s a great end cap to the three movies wrapping up it’s themes nicely. The whole is stronger than any individual part.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 – The source material is fantastic, so not a shock the animated feature is any less. Now I want part 2!

Best Surprise of the Year – Image’s come back

image comicsImage celebrated it’s 20th anniversary this year, and it came back and kicked ass. Each released seemed to create bigger and bigger buzz with constant sell-outs. And should it be any shock this was the case? Image drew some of the biggest talent in the comic industry as creators threw off the shackles of the big two and instead released quality indie comic after indie comic.

There was something for everyone this year from Image, and they moved passed their reputation of big guns and pecks comics, instead bringing us varied titles that at times pushed the medium.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Marvel NOW!

Marvel ComicsI’ll start off by saying there’s some great comics in Marvel NOW!. But, there’s also some real stinkers. We were promised the best creative teams tackling the best characters, but so far, this big shake up has seemed like business as usual. Sure, there’s solid comics, All-New X-Men, Thor, Avengers, but for each good one, there seems to be some turds too.

Add on top of that, a promise of promotion that hasn’t been scene. There was Jimmy Kimmel, but that seemed to make fun of comic books. There was Jeopardy that every contestant avoided like the plague.

What should of been a huge multi-media event instead turned into another launch point aimed at people already reading comics, offering nothing new or different. Just the same old comics, with different creative teams.

Sure there’s the Marvel augmented reality, but do I want to pull out my phone to read a comic? It’s a toy added to what should be the real draw, the comic story and art. This just feels like an accessory to the action figure that’s not needed.

We also have a release schedule that makes me slap my head. Some issues see their fifth issue out in less than two months. Some are a weekly release, some are monthly. This is overload of the worst kind when it comes to releases.

Instead of innovating and challenging what comics are and who reads them, we get what’s come before with some new polish.

Best Character – Callum Israel

callum israelCallum Israel is the main character of Brian Wood‘s The Massive. A former mercenary who worked for a Blackwater like operation, is now the leader of an environmental group trying to find their sister ship in a world destroyed by ecological disaster.

We’re still learning more and more about this character, much like everyone in Wood’s amazing read. We know were he’s from, that’s brought up a lot. We know a bit about his past and partially why he stopped his former life. There’s a gap however between then and when he became an environmental crusader and so much else we don’t know about.

A leader whose mysterious and tough. Israel is a character I want to learn more about.

Runner Up:

  • Batman – A successful comic series and event(s) plus a successful movie that end caps a fantastic movie trilogy. That was followed up about rumors as to how he’ll be handled in the upcoming Justice League movie. This was Batman’s year when it comes to super heroes.

Publisher of the Year – Kickstarter

KickstarterI thought long and hard about who should have this mantle. I decided there should be a couple of factors when choosing the “Publisher of the Year.” I wanted a “publisher” that not only put out solid comic books, but in this digital age, pushed the envelope some how. While not technically a publisher Kickstarter did both.

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform where individuals put up projects and people submit pledges to help those projects meet their goals. Pledges may contain various gifts back, like digital comics, printed comics, posters, prints, t-shirts or more.

Kickstarter is now roughly the third largest publisher in it’s output each month, but what’s more amazing is that it’s democratized the creation process. In the past the publisher was the one that decided what was printed and what the masses could read. Sure there was indie comics, but for the most part the the decision process was top down.

Instead, Kickstarter is a publishing platform, allowing creators to pitch their ideas and creations and allow the masses to decide what gets funded, and by being funded, what gets printed. It destroys the creation process and throws out the out-dated beliefs.

Comics you’d never see otherwise are now getting created and in to the hands of fans. Some of the most buzzed about projects are starting there first and then going to publishers. Some of the industry’s biggest creators are going there to get their projects out there.

Kickstarter has really gotten the ball rolling in a change that will fundamentally change the entertainment we enjoy and will eventually lead to a publishing process years from now we don’t even recognize today. What’s more amazing is, it’s just getting started.

Runners Up:

  • Image Comics – Image has had a banner year, getting past stereotypes of the type of comics you’d expect from them and drawing in some of the industry’s biggest creators. It gave us some of the most talked about comics of the years, creating some of the biggest buzz. All of which during it’s 20th anniversary.
  • Dark Horse – Conan, The Massive, The Strain, the Goon, Dark Horse Presents, Mind MGMT, Ghost and I could go on and on. Dark Horse gave us some amazing monthly series, but also collections of modern comics as well as classic comic archives.
  • Viz Media – I don’t read Manga. I’m not the biggest fan, but I’m checking it out more and more. Why Viz Media makes the list is because they’re changing up revenue models. Not only did they launch Neon Alley, but they have given a digital Manga platform which you can pay for or read digital comics by watching ads. Add in a deal with CafePress and this is a company willing to try new things and see what works.
  • Archaia – Archaia has put out some of the most beautiful comics this year. They went digital first, which I think hurt a bit, but the comics themselves are fantastic. They really have something for everyone and if you want to get someone in to comics, this is a company to start with. The presentation alone will get people to change their minds. When I think of Archaia, I think quality.

Around the Tubes

The weekend is here! I’m spending it reading comics and playing video games!

Around the Tubes

The Beat – The money model again: digital and the web and what works -An interesting read and breakdown.

ArtsBeat – Graphic Books Best Sellers: ‘Fables’ Spinoff Starring Sleeping Beauty

IGN – Hobbit Star Talks Guardians of the Galaxy ScriptHobbit star? How about Pushing Daisies!?

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Animal Man #15

Ely Standard 24 – Avengers Vs X-Men and AvX

CBR – Detective Comics #15

Kevin’s Meandering Mind – The Red Pyramid

ICv2 – Zoo: The Graphic Novel

Avengers vs. X-Men: Round 2! New AvX Minimates at Toys R Us!

The massive Avengers vs. X-Men crossover in Marvel Comics may be over (it was a tie!), but the fallout from the conflict continues… in the form of new toys! Phoenix Killer Iron Man, the Scarlet Witch and Protector take on Phoenix Five leader Cyclops in Diamond Select’s new, fan-voted Marvel Minimates AvX box set, and it’s recently been spotted in Toys “R” Us stores! Each Minimate is 2 inches tall with 14 points of articulation, and with plenty of interchangeable parts and accessories. And Iron Man’s bulky armor has a more streamlined Iron Man underneath! Check out the packaged shots below, and look for it to show up on toysrus.com in the not-too-distant future!

AvengersVsXMen_inbox1AvengersVsXMen_inbox2aAvX_FanPoll1

Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Putting together a gift guide is a daunting task in that there’s so many cool items out there. We could go crazy and over the top with suggestions that would seem never ending. So, we’ve come up with some simple suggestions that would be fun and hopefully a bit different this year. If you’ve got suggestions and additions, sound off below!

Comics for Kids

PRINCELESS_TPB_CVRWhere’s my Shoggoth? – Not a comic book, the illustrated children’s book is a twisted horror take on Are You My Mother?. The story is fantastic making me giggle the entire time. A children’s book for the Cthulhu set, it’ll definitely mix up the usual bed time routine. Get Where’s My Shoggoth? at Amazon.

Princeless – One of my favorite reads this year, this fairytale takes the usual sexism and throws it out the window turning it all on it’s head. This is an empowering comic, perfect for both girls and boys as well as adults. Read it and try not to smile and enjoy it. Check local stores and online for print editions, but you can also get it digitally at comiXology.

Comics for Adults

AvengersVsXMen_1_CoverAvengers Vs. X-Men – Epic is the only way to describe this sprawling story that pitted the Avengers against the X-Men for the fate of the world. The Phoenix force is heading to Earth, but will it bring destruction or rebirth? What does this mean for the future of man and mutant kind? The story is massive and one of the best “events” Marvel has put on for years. This also set the path for the current Marvel NOW! status. Get it at Amazon

Batman Vol. 1: Court of Owls – DC’s relaunch/reboot/revamp has been hit and miss, but Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman has been amazing. The two have presented villains that feel like an actual challenge to Batman. This is just the first volume with the second hitting in early 2013. Get it at Amazon

Go Digital!

Give the gift of digital this holiday season with digital comics on comixology! You can send comic books to individuals as gifts and they can read them anywhere, their computer, laptop, phone or tablet. It’s a great way to give the gift of comics to folks who might not have room for physical books or prefer digital.

Do Some Good!

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Membership – Give the gift of “good” by donating, buying a membership, or gifts from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The organization helps fight for free speech and against censorship. Yes, in this age, this organization is still needed.

Video Games

new-batman-arkham-city-bonus-costumes-revealed-earth-one-the-animated-series-batman-beyond-and-moreBatman: Arkham City – Rocksteady Studios proved that Arkham Asylum was just a warm up when it comes to their Batman video games. This year saw the release of a video game whose story is at the top of it’s medium as well as comic books. Get it at Amazon

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes upped the fun bringing more characters to the screen in animated Lego goodness. The game play is fun for people of all ages and the humor had me laughing often. The game is a perfect example of something that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Get it at Amazon

The Walking Dead – Telltale Games has a possible “Game of the Year” here pulling off an episodic game unlike anything that’s come out before. You can get all five episodes of the first “season” now or wait another week to get it on disc. Get The Walking Dead on Amazon

Movies

movie compIt’s been a year unlike any other for comic book fans and luckily the summer blockbusters are all on DVD and Blu-Ray, perfect to give and watch during this holiday season.

The Dark Knight Rises – Christopher Nolan’s brilliant trilogy ended this year and the movie is out this week. There’s a lot of options to choose from as far as how you want to consume the film with limited edition box sets and more. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor. Get it at Amazon

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 – Adapting the classic comic series, this animated series is broken up into multiple parts. The first part is out now with the second out in January. This is for folks who are bummed that Nolan’s Batman is over. Get it at Amazon

The Avengers – The third highest grossing film of all time is a ton of fun. Joss Whedon was able to pull of the near impossible creating a film that was enjoyed by all. The film must be watched for any comic fan. Get it at Amazon

The Amazing Spider-Man – Some said it was too soon for this reboot, but Andrew Garfield proved he was an excellent choice to fill the spandex as Peter Parker and Spider-Man. The movie is lots of fun with a new villain and a nice updated feel to it. Get it at Amazon

Toys

LEGO_LogoHave to go with Marvel and DC Universe Lego sets which allow you to play out scenes involving Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and more.

The sets are varied with prices that fit anyone’s budget. There’s even some mini-sets perfect for a stocking-stuffer.

There’s lots more sets coming in 2013, with even more characters for you to play with. The choices are amazing and play is endless. For comic book fans who also enjoy Lego, these are a must!

The Walking Dead Fan

walking-dead-board-gameI got to play The Walking Dead Board Game at Gen Con last year and this game is a blast allowing you to play as survivors and zombies. The mechanics are simple enough and the twists that come as team members die will keep folks howling with laughter and fun. The Walking Dead Board Game is available on Amazon.

The Star Wars Fan

death-star-tea-infuserA tea infuser that looks like the Death Star? Um, sold! I’ve become a tea fan over the past year, enjoying a cup or two or three while sitting back and reading my latest comic purchases. This is one stylish way to make destroy a planet make a cup of tea. Available at ThinkGeek.

The Doctor Who Fan

drwho_tardis_tea_pot_575

This glazed lightweight ceramic pot that’s dishwasher and microwave safe, with a more than 25-ounce capacity is perfect for any Who fan who enjoys some tea while watching the Doctor’s adventures. The tea pot is $39.98 currently at BBC America.

Around the Tubes

It was new comic book day yesterday. What did folks get? If you didn’t go, what are you getting this weekend?

Around the Tubes

Bleeding Cool – Guardians Of The Galaxy – Five Actors Testing For Role Of Peter Quill, StarlordI could get behind that pick.

The Mary Sue – So Here’s the Slut-Shaming, Homophobic Post on Superheroes by… the Director of Guardians of the Galaxy – And then there’s this.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

IGN – All-New X-Men #2

CBR – All-New X-Men #2

IGN – Arrow #1

IGN – Avengers vs. X-Men Hardcover

IGN – FF #1

Examiner – Morning Glories #23

Comics Alliance – My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #1

Complex – Review: “Chew” Pulls Off One Of The Most Shocking Twists Of The Year

New AvX: Avengers vs. X-Men Minimates Box Set Coming Soon to Toys “R” Us

A few months ago, Diamond Select Toys asked fans to vote on the next exclusive box set of Marvel Minimates for Toys “R” Us, based on the blockbuster Avengers vs. X-Men crossover event. The poll pitted three Avengers against three members of the Phoenix Five, with dominance of the box set hanging in the balance. Well, now the results are in!

The Avengers were the clear winners, with Phoenix Buster Iron Man, the Scarlet Witch and Protector taking three of the four spots in the set, with the remaining slot filled by Phoenix Five leader Cyclops! Plus, Iron Man’s armor will open up to reveal a more bare-bones Iron Man Minimate inside! Phoenix Five Emma Frost and Colossus may not have made the cut this time around, but don’t count them out yet — they’ve both cheated death more than once.

Check out the figures below, and look for the set in Toys “R” Us stores this holiday season!

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