Tagged: Marvel Comics

Venom-Verse Ramps Up This Week!

EDGE of VENOM-VERSE starts here!

It began as a series of variant covers and grew from there. Marvel released twenty-six Venom inspired variant covers in March of this year. Maybe the success of the initiative surprised them. Somebody over in the offices there thought, “Hey, fans really like these covers, is there a world with all of these Venomized characters we can play with?” Or maybe they had this idea in their head all along and were waiting for the fans response. Either way, Marvel has another event coming to us this summer and Edge of Venom-Verse #1 from Matthew Rosenberg and Roland Boschi is the beginning of the runway.

The Edge of Venom-Verse will be similar to the Edge of Spider-Verse series a couple years back (because anything Spidey can do, Venom can do better!). Each one-shot will showcase another character in a slightly altered reality that is attached to everyone’s favorite alien symbiote. For the House of Ideas’ first trick, X-23!

The story begins familiar enough. A young female clone of Wolverine is being cryogenically cooked up and is designated X-23. However, when she ends up crossing paths with a strange alien symbiote during her escape from The Facility, she makes a bond of a kind she didn’t bargain for. Now, with the symbiote influencing her every thought and driving her to madness will she be able to fight it or will they become Venom? It might be a dull story if she doesn’t but you never know. There might be a curveball thrown in.

Let’s all be honest, we really just want to see X-23 pop some claws looking like she’s going to bite some crook in half. Part of the appeal of Venom is, besides looking super cool, it unleashes your inner rage. No filters pop up anywhere. An X-23 with a symbiote assisted berserker rage? Yes, please.

 

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Marvel’s Netflix Heroes Unite In The Defenders #1

The streets of the Marvel Universe have never been safer…right?

So, nobody is surprised that this book is here, right? I mean, we all know that coming later this summer is the next Marvel Netflix TV series called The Defenders. So, of course the House of Ideas is going to release a comic book with the same title and line-up as the show. It’s just good marketing. If you’re psyched for the upcoming small screen offerings then don’t you want to get a sneak peek months early? Thus, Defenders #1 coming out this week on shelves.

Hey, that’s not a knock against Marvel. Putting Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones is not a bad (or new) idea. This is a street level team of heroes who are going to, well, defend the streets against a threat from their pasts who has become something greater than they can presumably beat up on their own. Can this team of TV stars/ex (current) Avengers find a way to coexist in this latest status quo shift at Marvel? It’s been an interesting time for all of these characters in their own solo series, it’s could be a lot of fun to see how they do, or don’t, mix when forced to suit up side by side at this moment in their journeys.

Plus, check out the big name on the credits (couldn’t quite get my “Pulp Fiction” reference to work but I tried!). Brian Michael Bendis has a long history with the majority of these characters. He took the ball from Kevin Smith and ran circles around him with one of the greatest runs of Daredevil EVER. Bendis also created Jessica Jones in Alias and is the current scribe on her self-titled series. He also brought Luke Cage to the forefront through Alias and his seminal New Avengers run. The only one I’m not sure he’s written much for is really Iron Fist, aside from supporting appearances in the aforementioned books that y’all need to read if you haven’t read.

This has mass market appeal written all over it. The juiciness is to see what kind of writing’s inside it or if, like another recently repurposed team moniker (Black Panther & The Crew), the writing will soon be on the wall.

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Creative Conversation With Adam Gorham

Adam Gorham is a rising star in comics. Don’t believe me? What else would you call someone who’s being shot straight to the stars by drawing one of Marvel’s highest profile characters with a movie coming out? Plus, the fact it’s a cosmic character with space crime overtones. Adam Gorham’s a model of work ethic and determination, not to mention humility. He gives us a rough outline of his journey thus far, what we can expect from the upcoming Rocket #1 out on May 10th and offers sage advice to artists drawing their own path in the industry.

MK: Adam, thank you so much for having a Creative Conversation with me today. One of the questions I always like to start with is, do you remember the first comic you owned or the first one that made an impression on you?

AG: the pleasure is mine! I’m excited to talk about Rocket with my pal Matt Klein!

MK: Nice rhyme.

AG: Totally unintentional. I amaze myself (laughs). The first comic I owned and really cherished, and has left an impact on me to this day, is Batman: The Cult, the graphic novel. My father got it for me, probably without even looking inside of it. This was when comics were at their height in the 90’s and the local newspaper and cigar shop sold comics. Bernie Wrightson’s work was my first major influence.

MK: I freaking love that book. I mean, Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson, it’s a gem. In talking with people in shops that’s an often undiscovered gem. You mentioned Bernie Wrightson as your first major influence, who were some others at different points in your journey to today?

AG: Well, I loved comics as a kid, but rarely read them. I liked them for the art and would draw what I saw. All the mythos and lore I got loosely from 90’s cartoons like [Batman: TAS], Spider-Man, X-Men, etc. so without knowing many names at the time, I was certainly informed by the heavyweights of the 90’s. However, I fell out of comics around ten or so, about the time when kids let go of their “kids stuff”. I didn’t get back into loving comic artwork until eleventh grade, and that was after discovering Alex Ross, particularly Kingdom Come.

MK: So good!

AG: It was a revelation for me. Ross’ work was the first time for me that comic art felt like classic works of art that could be hung somewhere.  When I started getting back into it, I was in love with what Bryan Hitch was doing on The Ultimates. In fact, I really liked Ultimate Marvel at the time. Leinil Yu was another favorite.

MK: There was a ton of top talent working on Marvel’s Ultimate Universe at that point. Do you have a favorite Ultimate Universe run or story?

AG: Well I really liked the Ultimate X-Men stuff for a while. The first arc was epic. I enjoyed most of Return to Weapon X. Ultimates 2 probably stands apart though as the height of those titles.it took FOREVER for it to come out, but in the end it was pretty satisfying

MK: Great art can be worth the wait. How did you come to the decision that working in comics was what you wanted to do?

AG: I drew all my life. That’s not saying much. Most kids love to draw. However, I was always applauded for how well I drew for my age, so I grew up with drawing as “my thing.” And for a long time that was enough. I didn’t have a direct application or career in mind for it, but I excelled at drawing superheroes, so comics seemed an obvious choice. The only thing is, I was a terrible student with no ambition. Drawing comics as a career was an easy thing to talk about, but pursuing it was murky and not always tangible. I did go to art school and flamed out because, as I say, terrible student. Ultimately, after a few years of working one dirty job or another, my partner dragged me to my first comic convention and really opened up my eyes to this world I’d previously only known through Wizard magazines and comic shops. I was working in a grocery warehouse. Things with my significant other were getting serious. We wanted to start a new chapter in our lives and it became clear I needed a new goal in life. Or a goal in life. So when I left the warehouse job, I went for broke and looked for a job illustrating. I found one off Craigslist (laughs).

MK: What was the job?

AG: My first ever gig drawing comics was a 128-page graphic novel, written by a Canadian film director who wanted to adapt his indie vampire movie into a comic. Before that I had drawn a few scant pages for my own ideas. And once I started there was no looking back.

MK: That sounds a bit like you jumped into the deep end with a 128 page project right off the bat!

AG: Totally. It was the first opportunity I found and I seized it. I didn’t know how or where else to find work. In the past I had sent submissions to publishers, back when most publishers still took open submissions. I have a polite and informative rejection letter from Marvel, actually.

MK: That’s freaking awesome though! You talked about going to a convention kind of blew open your mind about comics and the industry. As an artist, how do you like conventions now being on the other side of the table? because I remember that’s how we met and i bugged you for a sketch that i recently proudly showed off to io9.

AG: Going as a fan and going as part of your job are two very different experiences. Pros and cons to each side. When I went as fan all I could think about was getting comics signed and saying, “Hi” to people I admired. I put myself through crazy lines and jumped through hoops to meet creators like Alex Ross, Brian Bolland and so on. It was fun but exhausting. You really invested a part of yourself. As soon as I started tabling, that was out the window. It’s not like I made a conscious decision to regard conventions differently. It’s just that creating a book and taking it to market changes your priorities.

MK: it’s part of your business. you’re a brand now with obligations.

AG: Precisely.

MK: Do you have any memorable requests from fans at conventions? Or any favorite sketches you’ve done?

AG: I’ve never had a bizarre request. Everything I’ve been asked to draw has been pretty fun, although I think I’ve only recently started drawing well at conventions. The past couple years I’ve improved, whereas drawing at a table was an uncomfortable experience. I got the hang of it though. So anything beyond a year or two ago I look back on and cringe. Your Man-Bat is a favorite of mine. I did a Frank Miller Dark Knight at NYCC that was very nice.

Man-Bat sketch by Adam Gorham

MK: if you could go back some years, what advice would you give yourself about being a comic book artist?

AG: With hindsight there’s so much I would impart. My problems starting out was, I thought I knew just how much work was involved with making comics. I would go back and tell myself “Nope. Work harder.” One thing I tell others is not to feel beholden to any one thing they’ve drawn. Draftsmanship is so very important. teaching yourself to draw things over and over, refining, and not being precious about something because you spend an hour on it. Your ideas and skill will always improve with every pass if you put in the effort, so it’s crazy to me to draw something once and thinking, “Well, I can see this is off, this other thing is wonky, but I just spent two hours drawing it, so good enough.” I’ve redrawn entire pages because a better idea struck me while I was driving home or at the store or on a walk.

MK: How many hours a day do you draw?

AG: I draw every day. Working constantly. Some days I work eight hours and others twelve or sixteen. Depends on where I’m at. I have two kids that, once they’re home, I can’t do anything else until they’re in bed. So I don’t always draw as much as I want to in a work day. But I try to make up with time later

MK: That’s incredibly intimidating and inspiring at the same time (laughs). Let’s pivot real quick to your ridiculously exciting new series coming up. So, congratulations on being the artist on the upcoming Rocket #1 with Al Ewing. It seems like a pretty awesome moment to be working on this character with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 coming out so close to the release of the series. When you got the gig, how was the book described to you?

AG: It was a thrilling experience for me because of the sheer amount of suspense involved.

I was wrapping up The Violent at Image.

MK: Lovely book if i might add.

AG: I was worried what I’d move on to. Like, I had some options, and I had some ideas of what step to take next. I was gutted, to be honest, because i wanted The Violent to carry on. Ed [Brisson] had this great idea for the next chapter and I was ready for it. So, I was sweating it a little. Then later one afternoon while I was at the supermarket Ii got an email from Marvel asking if I was interested in working for them. That alone was very exciting, but it could’ve meant anything from a cover to a tie-in or whatever

MK: Sure.

AG: But naturally I said yes. they told me they’d have some information in a couple days. For two days my mind went WILD with possibilities

MK: Was Rocket Raccoon on that list of possibilities?

AG: Ha! No. I figured since I had just done a street level crime comic, something like Punisher or whatever would be the obvious route. I met with a good friend of mine, Michael Walsh, who was doing Rocket and Groot at the time. We were giddy over what it could be, no matter how small. When Marvel offered me a new #1 ongoing, I was intoxicated. Like, it wasn’t even that it was Rocket. At the time, we were calling it something else. The change of name was also in the cards. But the fact I’d be coming on with such a great opportunity was unreal. Anyway, when we finally got talking about what the book would be, my place as an artist began to make sense.

MK: How so? And this is an interesting pattern here, your first comic is a 128 page book, your first gig at Marvel is an ongoing for one of the most publicly recognized characters! You’re really seizing these opportunities that not everybody gets. It’s inspiring.

AG: I forget who exactly gave me the lowdown, but they said the vision for this book would be Rocket in his element pulling heists in space. In conversation we compared it to Parker graphic novels. Al [Ewing] had this idea to use prose, reinforcing the theme of a hard-boiled thriller. So right away we talked about how pages would be structured to accommodate Al’s prose. and how Rocket’s default outfit in this series would be a suit, open collar, no tie. Parker, even Daniel Ocean make good comparisons, but our Rocket has a broken heart that reminds me more of George Clooney’s Jack Foley from “Out of Sight.”

MK: You just named one of my top 10 favorite films of all time!

AG: IT’S SO GOOD! Fun story about that movie. When I was a kid I was grounded. I forget why, but I know I earned it. My parents left to get groceries one saturday afternoon. While they were out my friends called asking if I’d go to the movies with them. Somehow I thought I could sneak out, see a two hour movie, and bus it home before they ever got home. The only thing playing at the theatre was “Out of Sight” which I had seen ads for but wasn’t the type of movie I was rushing to see at the time. Man, oh man, it was the coolest thing I ever saw at that point.

MK: Uh, yeah! Seriously, anybody reading this who hasn’t seen “Out of Sight” needs to immediately go watch it!

AG: And I felt like such a smooth operator for sneaking out to see this slick flick. I was like, twelve or thirteen at the time. I can’t recall. But I walked out of the theatre like, “Look at me now, world!”

MK: Did you get busted?

AG: Oh, of course! My parents were out of the house for maybe an hour, discovered I took off, and had three hours to sit and plan my punishment. I walked into verbal cannon fire.

MK: That’s epic. Okay, we’re in the home stretch here. If someone’s been living in a bubble for the last few years and has no idea who Rocket is, how would you describe your new series to them?

AG: First off, congratulations on leaving your bubble. Let me introduce you to Rocket: he’s a scruffy outlaw, a lost soul, a space raccoonoid looking for his place in the galaxy when he’s not saving it with the Guardians. That place usually ends up being a dangerous one, where he’s risking it for, surprisingly, a chance at love lost. If that doesn’t work out, then cold revenge.

MK: Who is on your Mount Rushmore of comics?

AG: I forget how many heads are on Rushmore, but let’s say four, and my Rushmore of Comics is comprised of: Frank Quitely, Alex Ross, Bernie Wrightson, and Moebius.

MK: That’s an eclectic looking Mount Rushmore!

AG: Rushmore is really weird, when you think about it.

MK:  Last but not least: If you meet someone that’s never read a comic before, what 5 reads would you tell them to pick up?

AG: For Golden Age adventure, I recommend Prince Valiant. For super heroics I recommend All-Star Superman. For horror I’d suggest Afterlife With Archie. For great crime, if you’ve already read The Violent, be sure to check out Ed Brisson’s Murder Book. For sci-fi, Black Science is pretty neat.

MK: Adam, thank you so much for giving me this time. I really appreciate you, man. I can’t wait to read Rocket #1.

Make sure you pre-order Rocket #1 at Forbidden Planet now and pick it up on Wednesday, May 10th when it arrives in store.

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Creative Conversation: Brandon Montclare

Welcome to a Creative Conversation with comics scribe Brandon Montclare. Today we’ll dish on currently captivating run on Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, his controversial essential reads for newbies to comics, and some of his insane journey from intern, to editor, to writer. Along the way we’ll make pit stops at Tokyo Pop, DC Comics, Vertigo, and discuss some tips for new writers wanting to break into the comic book industry. And of course, we’ll get Brandon’s take on whose faces would be on his personal Mt. Rushmore of comics. Agree? Disagree? Let’s start the process…

MK: I am ready to have our next Creative Conversation with the current co-scribe of Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, THE Brandon Montclare. Thanks for joining me today, sir. Kind of just to ease in, get a little bit of background, do you remember the first comic you purchased, or the first one that stuck with you?

BM: Yeah, no, I never have and people ask me all the time. I’ve thought about it and I’ve thought, okay let me try to reconstruct that “what was my first comic” and truth be told it was Savage Sword of Conan. And I was a little kid, and we had the direct market but about a million stuff you would see on the newsstand and Savage Sword of Conan being magazine size either just by luck of where I lived or because of the actual distribution I couldn’t tell you. It was a little more common.

MK: Do you miss the magazine format?

BM: Yes, very much so. And they were kind of old, kind of before my time even though Savage Sword of Conan lasted for a million years and I was reading it all throughout. But it would  have been “Savage Sword somewhere in the early hundreds and I actually, okay, so I had this one and this was earliest, and you go online to find it. And then I said, “Okay, I know Spider-Man with the black costume was around that time” and Daredevil, I know the covers. Was Marvel Team-Up, I was joking earlier about Starfox before but there was this Marvel Star Fox, this Marvel Team-Up was a book I had and I can’t find anything online about it.

MK: But you know it existed because you owned that comic.

BM: Well yes, because I said I had that and I saw that cover a hundred times. You know what that means? So, and then I should remember what the numbers are and everything else but I don’t. So…

MK: I’m terrible with remembering numbers. I’m like you, I can remember the cover, I can remember the story, but the actual issue number, I’m just not wired that way.

BM: Yeah but I have brothers who are four years older than me. Two of them, they’re twins of each other and there were comic books around and my grandfather, he was a big reader of magazines in general but also comic books and everything else. Because he spent many years at sea. He worked on, for Exxon, he worked on ships, he was an engineer. So it was kind of part of his personality where he would, even though he at that point working was up at Albert Einstein Hospital up in the Bronx, but he kind of still had that mentality where it was, “You’re in port so go buy a bunch of stuff and then take it back to your little room on the ship” so to speak. So he would buy comics and magazines and everything else like that. And the comics at least would filter down.

MK: That’s incredible. The generational passing of the stories. I mean, it’s one of those really special things about comics though.

BM: Yeah, and I don’t know that he even grew up on comics. It was just something where he would, you’d be at sea for a couple of months so he would go and he would just take Time magazine and he would take all the comics, too. And like I said he was a big reader. So there were always piles around. What the first one is I don’t know. But Savage Sword of Conan was a favorite.

MK: Were there any other series growing up that stick with you?

BM: Yeah, you know it was probably a year or two after my, quote-unquote, “first comic” that I was into collecting. I was in grade school, right, so it’s not like you have money to be a real collector but it starts with maybe the issues that you missed that you want to have. I think you’re influenced back then in the 80’s, mid-80’s, with all the advertisements in the books were for back issues. You know what I mean? And collectors are all, “Oh, I want this, that and the other thing.” Oddly enough I don’t know if it was because of Conan or not but Groo was one of my favorite books. That was probably the first run of comics I had. But then there was a lot of Marvel stuff. I liked Spider-Man, all the titles they had like, three titles, right? Web of Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man, and Amazing Spider-Man. I was in full swing when all that pre-Image stuff came out. When like McFarlane Spider-Man and Jim Lee’s X-Men and everything else. But, yeah, so I was a big fan, Mostly Marvel. Some DC also, I liked Green Lantern along with Batman.

MK: So you’re collecting comics as a kid. And you’ve had probably one of the most unique journeys that I can think of, as far as how many different boxes in the comics world you can check off having done. Can you tell people a little bit about your journey.

BM: I mean, I guess I’ve done it all. I was in junior high, so, I don’t know-seventh grade, and selling at local conventions. I grew up near enough to New York City. My father grew up in Manhattan and, uh, but my parents were divorced so, I shouldn’t say that, my father lived in Manhattan. I grew up in Westchester. But even Westchester had a bunch of comic stores. New York had a monthly comic convention. So, since I was eleven or twelve, I was selling every month at the Grady Stern conventions. You know, buying and selling. Making a little bit of money. Then, at nineteen, I opened up a comic book shop. And this would have been in the crash of the early-mid 90’s. So…

MK: So you’re timing was perfect.

BM: Well, I don’t think as a nineteen year-old I could have opened, I did open a shop. I should say there was a shop going out of business and I took over half of it. Which was Alternate Realities up in Scarsdale. Which I always proudly said, “still going strong” but not anymore. They closed up about a year ago.

MK: But it’s a legendary comic shop. If you know comic book stores, you know about Alternate Realities. And they had that documentary on it and everything.

BM: Yeah, yeah yeah! So I was a former employee but, so, yeah, worked at cons, worked at retail, at nineteen it was very cool to be a comic shop owner. In my mid-20’s, I personally didn’t feel it was that cool anymore (laughs). And it was a lot of work, you know. I mean you’re working more than eighty hours a week.

MK: People don’t realize the hours that goes into running a comic book shop.

BM: Yeah, definitely. So, I was married, well I still am married, my wife at the time, and still my wife (laughs) so I have no idea why I’m phrasing it that way.

MK: Congratulations (laughs).

BM: Yeah, there you go. She was relocating for school, she has a Ph. D in chemistry. We’re basically fire and ice on the formal education scale. But she was doing a post-doctorate in California, Cal Tech. It was supposed to be eighteen months, wound up being two and a half years. I’d sold most of my interest in the store. I went back to school. And as part of that I got an internship working at Tokyo Pop. In editorial. Tokyo Pop, infamous, maybe more than famous. They did translations of manga. That was kind of their bread and butter. They had a lot of money coming in and always trying to expand the business. People would literally call up the office or contact the office and say, “Oh, we want to do a cartoon of Fruits Basketor “We want to take Sailor Moon and put her on a lunch box.” Tokyo Pop only had a license to do reprints, right? They didn’t have any merchandising rights. So, the Powers That Be, who were a bunch of lunatics, said “We should start creating comics in the manga style, with creators, and that way we have properties that we can license off.” And they had a bit of a controversy with some of the deals that they gave to creators and I’m not saying that stuff was weird over at Tokyo Pop. A lot of good people worked there, too.

MK: How long were you at Tokyo Pop?

BM: I was there probably a little bit more than a year. It seems like a long time because you’re young. But I was an intern and then they hired me as like a freelance editor. Which only meant that [I] kind of had reduced hours which was fine because, as I said, I’d gone back to school.

MK: So you were editing manga for Tokyo Pop while you were also going to school.

BM: Yes.

MK: That’s the best side gig ever.

BM: (Laughs) It’s, well, it’s complicated because you don’t know what you’re going to do with life. You know, my wife has a Ph. D in chemistry so her kind of goal and the plan always was to find an academic position. Tenure track someplace. Which luckily wound up being back in New York, she’s at NYU. But it could have been anywhere. So it’s like, “Oh, I’ll go back to school, I’ll do something, and we’ll see.” I was a terrible student in high school. And my first phase of college. But when I went back I became a very good student. So we had no idea though [whether] we would wind up in College Station, Texas A&M or you might wind up at Syracuse, right, not necessarily the biggest cities in the world. And I had done some writing also for Tokyo Pop. But I wasn’t really thinking of that. So, like I said, I was doing my thing at Tokyo Pop and a lot of these type of businesses have a structure. You know interns would become a freelance editor like me then maybe they would offer you a staff position. And I got offered a staff position right when things were looking like they were about to get bad. So I was one of the, I hate to say rats leaving a sinking ship BUT ended up locating back to New York anyway.

MK: When you got back to New York where did you land?

BM: At DC Comics. I was lucky, I got, well I should say I was offered from Marvel and at DC Comics to be an assistant editor and maybe because I was overqualified more than I was just super brilliant. But both those places were getting hundreds of applications. But I worked for Bob Schreck over at DC Comics. And the reason I took DC, even though I was reading more Marvel stuff growing up was the opportunity to work with Schrek on All-Star Superman and All-Star Batman, with Paul Pope on Batman: Year 100

MK: Just, little known titles that probably no one’s ever heard of (laughs).

BM: And that was stuff and for a short time, when I knew that I was coming in and Bob was transitioning out of it just the regular Bat-office. I didn’t want to miss out on that opportunity. Because I loved editing. I had done some freelance writing, and a lot of people have a goal of becoming a freelance writer. It wasn’t my goal. I loved editing. A lot of me wishes I could still do it.

MK: What was one of the most rewarding aspects about editing and what was one of the most challenging aspects?

BM: The reward was completely, it’s like, when you’re a kid you want to be an artist, you want to be a writer, whatever you want to do, you want to be the creator. But when you think about it, [being an editor] it’s the ultimate fan position. I mean, I’m a writer, if I’m working on two or three books, which would be a lot for me, but even if you’re the most prolific writer working on four books-

MK: Oh, you mean Jeff Lemire? (Chuckles)

BM: Yeah, there you go (laughs). Maybe more than four, I worked with Jeff, I was the first editor on Sweet Tooth. And that came later. So, you get to work with all these guys, you get to work with a bunch of, you know what I mean, you get to work with artists and writers. And by that point I was into a lot of new people. I mean I gave Shane Davis some of his first jobs, Amy Reeder her first job, Sean Murphy, I kind of worked on his early stuff. Also got to work with Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, Michael Kaluta.

MK: You get to work with your heroes and help maybe create some new heroes in the process.

BM: Yeah, so it was like amazing to be an editor. What are the challenges? Generally it’s a nine to five job. Given the opportunity to work freelance there’s that, you don’t have to go to the office everyday. But the challenge at DC was, and it wasn’t unfair, but it’s just kind of the reality of that work, is you’re low man on the totem pole. You’ve got to wait your turn. I had gotten a few books that had gotten approved that I had a hundred percent put together myself. There’s a China Mieville Swamp Thing that never came out…That’s not a secret, it got absorbed back into DC and this was later, towards the end of me being there, it was New 52 spinning out where it was, “Oh, we’re going to bring him downstairs.” And that was a Scott Snyder book. So China had written, I think, it might have been the full scripts on the first ten issues. They certainly had the outlines so they made good by him for his work.

MK: That’s one of those situations I’m always amazed by. It’s learning how many scripts have been written for characters by major creators that’ll never see the light of day. And you’re wondering how it just stays in a drawer.

BM: Yeah, there’s an issue eleven of All-Star Batman that was never drawn. And it was kind of like a standalone Joker story. So there’s a Frank Miller script that was never drawn. And I think part of the reason was, and with good intentions, that Frank and Jim Lee would come back one day, maybe condense it to give it an ending. You know what I mean? That thing was paced for four hundred million issues

MK: If Marvel finally got out Captain America: White and David Lapham finished the initial run on Stray Bullets, I still can have hope for All-Star Batman & Robin.

BM: Yeah, but thinking about that script, if Jim Lee’s only got time to draw one issue then every six issues you’d have to restructure it so that’s something but there’s stuff like that. So at the end of DC I was doing too many books, uh, more than they would let me as an Associate Editor. And at that time Paul [Levitz] had stepped down and there was kind of an interim, they didn’t name the Dan DiDio, Jim Lee double-headed publisher so, it was time to go. So I said, “Okay, I’m not going to give away books that I singlehandedly put together just because I have too many books.”

MK: How did you find the transition from being an editor to being a writer? Did you feel more prepared?

BM: Well, I had done some writing before. At one point you’re mystified by it where you don’t even know how this comes together. It’s probably a lot easier now than it was ten or so years ago because of the internet. I mean obviously the internet was around ten years ago but maybe it’s easier to get scripts and talk with creators with social media kind of demystifying it. So I think a lot of it is that. [As an editor] you’re familiar with scripts, you’re familiar with artists. You know more what does work, what doesn’t work. And if you have a good head on the shoulders coming out of editorial maybe even if you’re not the best writer – And I’m not saying I’m the best writer or the worst or anything else – but I did the stupidest thing imaginable. I left on very good terms, everybody loves me over at DC. I didn’t want to be the guy, because I’d taken so much pride in editing, and a lot of people use that as a stepping stone and are upfront about it, and that’s totally cool. But I loved editing so much, I didn’t want to be the guy that was even perceived as using editing to take a stepping stone to writing. That was half of it. The other half says, “Hey, since I’m going freelance writing, why don’t you give me a couple of books?” I didn’t want to make other people feel like they had to humor me. So my first gig was kind of a cold gig at Marvel. I mean nothing’s cold because everybody knows everybody. But my first gig was at Marvel having no connection to them as a publisher. Like anybody else I had a couple of short things that nobody remembers. The first thing I did wasn’t the first thing that got printed. The first was an eight page back up, it was in Hulk, it was with Korg, who was The Thing, Ben Grimm looking alien from Journey into Mystery #83, the first appearance of Thor. Which Greg [Pak] had been hocking and then brought into continuity. And it’s funny because, in comics, people think, “Oh, I’m going to pitch Hawkman. And it’s going to be such a good idea that they’re going to give me my gig and it’s going to be Hawkman.” Or, “I’ve got the best pitch for Spider-Man and Black Cat, I’m gonna pitch that and they’re going to give me that book.” What happens often, and it’s probably the first half dozen gigs you’re going to get is that an editor likes your stuff and they groom it for you. So they say, “Hey, Brandon, we’re doing eight page back ups for all the supporting characters in Hulk. Do you want to do Korg? Because nobody’s doing Korg.” My answer was literally, “Korg, that’s fantastic! A hundred percent. That’s my favorite.” I had to go look up for Korg was (laughs).

MK: When someone offers you a job, you take the job.

BM: Yeah!

MK: It’s like, “yes, sir, I can build that submarine for you! When’s that check in the mail?”

BM: Absolutely. And I got Simon Bisley to do it since I worked with him when he was on Hellblazer. I was the guy that said let’s put him on covers. Which isn’t a brilliant move. Right? I mean Simon certainly had done covers before he’d done any for me. But-

MK: Still a good get.

BM: Yeah. What came out first but that I wrote second was, there was a crossover called Chaos War, which was with Hercules and there was a bad guy in that called the Chaos King. And I got to do the Chaos King one-shot and it wound up being over-sized…They wanted to feature the bad guy who had to speak in haiku? In all appearances. And I said, “Well that’s fine if he’s like the mysterious guy,” cause he had this God-like power cosmic level. So I said, “Well, that’s fine if he’s the guy behind the star that Hercules hears, he can hear it in haiku. But if you want to have an actual story with him, how often does he have to talk in haiku?” I sent that letter in. And it’s technically my second gig so I’m trying to be very nice saying, “What if I, I’ll give him a voice obviously that fits a cosmic entity but maybe I can just punctuate it with haiku. Like maybe he’ll start in a different voice and then when makes a big point he’ll do it in haiku.” I wondered if we could get away with that and I got a response that said, “No, he always speaks in haiku.” So I had to make a thirty page story with a guy speaking in haiku. Luckily, he’s a cosmic entity so I broke it up so that it was different people bouncing it off of him. But, when the actual, if Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak are reading, they should cover their eyes right now, because when Chaos War came out, Chaos King, he wasn’t talking in haiku in every scene. So it’s like, “Thanks, thanks a lot.” (laughs) They tried that for a day and decided “not.”

MK: And it was your day.

BM: Exactly.

MK: When you were an editor and you were getting a pitch, were there certain things you looked for fundamentally? In terms of formatting or the types of pitches? What advice would you give to someone writing their first pitch?

BM: Unfortunately, editors are different…You want to tailor something to an editor and you want to tailor it to your strengths. I always try to not get hung up on format. I always thought it was crazy, you’d say, “Give me a pitch in the form you think is strongest” but the editor wants it a certain way. So, some editors will give out, if not an outline, “Here’s the pitch that I got that’s the perfect form, use this.” And sometimes that’s the demands of the publisher they’re at because it has to cycle through certain things. But, obviously you want to keep it short. Because these things happen in stages. A lot of places can’t take unsolicited pitches anyway. So you have to have a relationship. A lot of the gigs are going to come in. I did have to give a pitch on the story of what Korg was going to do (laughs). I mean it was eight pages so it probably didn’t take me too long. This is the least sexy answer. You’re probably going to be in a relationship with them if you’re pitching anything now. And they’ll tell you what they need. But personally, shorter is always better. Because things will change so much anyway. And if you have something you believe in, think of it this way, your editor believes in you but if you got the assistant, like I was, he’s got to convince a lot of people above him. You almost don’t want to have too much information in it because that generates more questions.

MK: The more information you give, the more opportunities you’re giving someone to poke holes in it and you’re not necessarily in the room to talk it through.

BM: Exactly. So you don’t want to get too married to your pitch. The process of rewriting and going through the team it’s going to be so different anyway. To me, you want to sell yourself. Because the editor’s going to have an easier time selling the talent than the pitch.

MK: See, that’s brilliant. That’s, brilliant. I don’t know what you mean that’s not a sexy answer.

BM: Well people want a formula. And that, you’ll be forgiven for being a little bit overenthusiastic, you hope (laughs). Because everyone’s excited and everyone in comics was the person who at one point wanted to be in comics. So hopefully they’re forgiving.

MK: Also, if you catch them on a bad day…

BM: It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. And some people will be jerks, that’s going to happen, to0. But you know, you have to make it happen.

MK: Switching gears a bit, and thank you again for very generously taking the time to do this. Your Mount. Rushmore of comics, who would go on there?

BM: I read the first installment and I was thinking about this question. So, for me, all I could think about was who should be on the actual Mount Rushmore of comics. And then I realized, well, I have to also make this somewhat controversial. Alright. So that I thought of and then I forgot everyone. Well, first you got to put Stan Lee. Because Stan Lee doesn’t get enough credit. Well, okay he gets a lot of credit, but people ask, “Oh, does he deserve so much credit?” I’m a big fan of Stan Lee. I don’t know about his business dealings. I don’t know about his personal dealings…I’m sure he’s taken credit from a lot o people. But he’s kind of the guy that made comics what it is, I think. And not by his writing and maybe not by his editorial acumen, maybe it is, I don’t know, but just by being the hawker. Neal Adams has to be on there. Frank Miller has to be on there. Neal Adams because just such an influential artist but also did more for creators rights which I also think translates to in a lot of ways creative freedom and people being able to do their best work, which I think more than everybody else combined. Frank Miller because he did everything in my mind. He was a writer, he was an artist, jumped into Hollywood and was able to sell himself there. Well, if you put Stan Lee on there I guess you have to put Jack Kirby on. And then I think about wanting to create controversy and then people are going to think I hate Jack Kirby, I love Jack Kirby. I do a Kirby book! So I’d almost throw Todd McFarlane on there just to drive people crazy. And I say that completely seriously though.

MK: McFarlane revolutionized the business. You can’t argue that. Whether you think it was for the better or worse, or what you think of what he’s become now and what he was then. But you can’t deny his contribution.

BM: He was a popular artist and people [still] dig his stuff. And not for an artist but for his contribution to the business. So my personal Mount Rushmore is, I’ll give you four guys I like and it’ll change down the road. I’m a big Sergio Aragones fan, and these are just guys who influenced me and I like. I’m a big Larry Stroman fan because Alien Legion was the first book I really liked. And that stuff totally holds up now…Amy Reeder and Frank Quitely on there, too. I worked with them, too.

MK: I might put Amy Reeder in the top five of everything. And I hope she’s going to read this.

BM: She is a world class artist that I’ve gotten to work with a lot. Having sat next to her at dozens of conventions, the list of people that seek her out to tell her, “How do you do that, you’re amazing?” From Bill Sienkiewicz, to Frank Quitely, to Adam Hughes or lots of artists in between. I mean, she’s that good.

MK: And you guys have worked together, on Madame Xanadu you were an editor, you selected her for a competition at Tokyo Pop-

BM: That’s true.

MK: And then you’ve got Rocket Girl that you created together. And now you’ve got Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. What makes you the yin to each other’s yang?

BM: It’s just cause it works. Friendship and working with friends, I think, is underrated. I hired Amy, I gave her her first gig at Tokyo Pop. It was a contest. And she won it fair and square, I was the judge on one of them. We would take the top ten entries and make a little anthology out of them. I thought she was really talented. I was then leaving Tokyo Pop si I never got to stick around and work with her directly. I always wanted to work with her so I got her the Madame Xanadu gig at Vertigo. Which was a lot of fun to work on. And you know, as an editor you take a lot of credit for hiring somebody but they’ve got to make you look good. If I put her in the batter’s box, she’s got to hit out of the park or at least try to get on base and she hit it out of the park again and again and again. We had a really good relationship And when she was a little bit burnt out after Batwoman and leaving DC it was, let’s just do a quick project I don’t even want to think about it. Which became the Halloween Even one-shot which was very successful. And then we said, “Hey, we should do more of this.” So we tried something longer which was Rocket Girl. We decided we’d do five issues and see how it does. Who knew ten issues would take four years. In a way it hasn’t been a tremendous amount of pages but some of that is it takes a lot of time for Amy to do what she does.

MK: Sure, comics can take a long time to make.

BM: So Rocket Girl was a lot of fun. Rocket Girl opened the door to Moon Girl literarlly when Marvel said, “We want you to do something at Marvel like you guys do with Rocket Girl.” Amy wasn’t sure if she’d be able to draw that but she’s a great writer. And really doesn’t get enough credit for it.

MK: You had already seen her chops as a writer.

BM: Yeah, so we’ve co-written for Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, this is not a secret, she’s leaving with issue nineteen. And she did her part, she also did covers and designs. Amy can pick up the phone and call ten different publishers and get twenty different offers for covers. It was for her because Rocket Girl wasn’t coming out on the shelf as often so if she was going to do a cover, she should do one on something she was writing. Then it became a comfort level, her not growing up on the Marvel and DC stuff, working with me.

MK: Okay, now for the few people reading this that haven’t read Moon Girl yet, how would you describe the title?

BM: Well, it’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Devil Dinosaur is an old Kirby dinsoaur that went out eating other dinosaurs and sometimes some cave men. Marvel came to us and said, “Hey, give us some ideas of what you can do.” And we wanted some obscure characters so it started with Devil Dinosaur but when it went to Moon Girl, she gave us something creatively to get excited for. So if you look at my files on computer it went from Devil Dinosaur, to Devil Dinosaur and Moon Girl, to Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Whereas it is really, with all due to respect to Devil Dinosaur it’s really a book about Moon Girl. She is a nine year-old super smart engineer, inventor, scientist, who doesn’t get any recognition. She’s still in public school and doesn’t get why the world around her isn’t respecting how smart she is. Over the course of now eighteen issues going strong, Marvel, and this is an idea we pitched to them that they picked up on, Marvel has named her the smartest person in the Marvel Universe. But she’s still a kid, she still has challenges of getting along in the world. And Devil Dinosaur has become a buddy comedy, where maybe it’s her with the least smartest person in the Marvel Universe. But it’s a person who doesn’t judge her, that’s very faithful, that she can rely in, and in her entire life she hasn’t had that. And they form a bond.

MK: Right now, in recognition of her new status, she’s in the midst of the story arc, “The Smartest There Is” that’s getting ready to wrap up. She’s rubbed shoulders with X-Men, Hulk, Doctor Strange, can you give our readers a tease of what to expect from the final chapter of this epic adventure?

BM: Yeah, sure. What’s coming up is, this was really a coming out party for Moon Girl. It’s one thing to say she’s the smartest person, it’s another thing to show it. So how do you show it? With someone that’s always been isolated let’s show her meet all the heavy hitters. It was Hulk and then Thing, and then Iron Heart, and Dr. Strange, and most recently the X-Men. Issue eighteen is called, “Full Moon” and it’s a battle royale versus a mysterious Doctor Doom that doesn’t seem to match any of the other Doctor Dooms in Marvel right now. It will also have a pretty big reveal of Moon Girl’s powers, that she switches brains with Devil Dinosaur and some other cool stuff coming up. It’s been kind of the opening trilogy, I mean it is the third arc. But issues one through eighteen is in a lot of ways the first arc. And it’s going to kind of leave her, where she started as a nobody, now she’ll have a defined place in the Marvel Universe. The next arc after that will actually take a step back and just focuses on Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. I don’t want to spoil it too much but there’s a secret mission they have to do.

MK: No spoilers, I hate spoilers. If people want the secrets revealed they should come down to Forbidden Planet and pick up what is, I say unabashedly, one of the best books from the House of Ideas.

BM: That’s right.

MK: Okay, last questions. For someone who maybe has never read a comic book before. If you were running a store today and somebody walked in, what five stories would you tell them to read?

BM: Okay, I worked in a store and all my reads are wrong! I say, don’t read Watchmen, that’s something people should read later, it’s too confusing but people read Watchmen and love it. I say, “Sandman’s great but start with the second trade.” Which they actually used to do (laughs). But people seem to just want it all. And it’s funny having worked on both All-Star Superman and All-Star Batman & Robin, another fire and ice, All-Star Superman is great, and it won all the awards, but All-Star Batman & Robin might be a little more, accessible? I don’t know, do you have to love and be familiar with comics to read All-Star Superman? I do not know. But, Saga, you can pick it up and read it right away. So that’s number one. I think, Dark Knight Returns doesn’t get enough credit, because people always want to try to get cute and say, “Oh, you should do Year One instead.” Year One’s a perfectly good story but I’m going to put that classic on there. See I got to be contrary and do all weird stuff.

MK: Do it! You got three more.

BM: Daytripper, which I edited. I worked on a lot of great books, some of which I was just lucky enough to be sitting there when Bob Schreck landed them or Karen Burger landed them. Daytripper might be the best thing I ever worked on. And I think everyone can read it. It’s got an interesting form, it shows you what comics can do.

MK: I agree.

BM: I teach a class, too, so I should be a little bit more up on this stuff. You know, keeping it new also, Ms. Marvel, I think is as good as advertised and it’s a great book. And for the last one, because it’s obscure but great, Dial H For Hero by China Mieville and that’ll bring us full circle. I don’t know if those are essential but those are five oddball ones. Ask me again in five minutes, I’ll give you five new ones.  

 

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It’s A New Dawn in X-Men Gold #1

Is this a new Golden Age for X-Men comics?

There’s going to be a big question developing an answer over the next few months: Are you Team Gold or Team Blue? This week we get our first taste of the former as the Resurrxion of the X-Men franchise looks to build off of last week’s status quo establishing one-shot, X-Men Prime #1. This week? X-Men Gold #1 hits shelves. Who’s leading? Who’s following? Is this truly a return to the great X-Men stories of lore?

Coming out of the Inhumans Vs. X-Men, Kitty Pryde will take on the role of team leader for a squad of what Marvel’s billing as the most iconic X-Men. Let’s take a look at the roster and see if you agree: Storm (true). Colossus (pretty true?). Nightcrawler (true). Old Man Logan (kind of true). Prestige (Rachel Grey re-branded). Not an uninteresting line-up. Right now things look rough for mutantkind (when hasn’t it?). But Kitty Pryde’s X-Men are set with a mission and a purpose: to be heroes and defend even those who fear them. There’s no easy path to go down, and time will be needed to see if the X-Men can win back all the hearts and minds of those who distrust them, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Can X-Men Gold #1 help build a place again in your heart and on your pull lists for the merry mutants?

Find out in this new beginning from writer Marc Guggenheim (X-Men, S.H.I.E.L.D., the DC CW shows including “Arrow”) and Ardian Syaf (Batgirl, Superman/Batman, Brightest Day).

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Don’t Worry, America #1’s Got You

America Chavez’ fights for what’s right in her new series!

Overdue. That’s probably the best way fans of America Chavez would describe the new America #1, on shelves this New Comic Book Day. The displaced powerhouse has been part of an ensemble in books like Young Avengers and has become one of the preeminent butt-kickers as the leader of Marvel’s latest incarnation of the Ultimates. Except that’s just America Chavez the hero, who saves the world from aliens and super villains on the weekend. Where’s a super-powered teenager going to discover more of what life and the world has to offer? America goes to college!

Helmed by YA novelist Gabby Rivera (Juliet Takes A Breath), the new issue gets right to the point and establishes the larger framework that America #1 will be exploring. America #1 makes no bones that it’s going to connect its eponymous character with the country she’s named for. From the beginning this series will beg the questions: Who is America and what does she stand for?

To help explore the answers while she lays the smackdown on a couple interdimensional monsters and tries to shutdown an alien cult who’ve begun worshipping her adventures, Marvel’s brought onboard some all-stars. Joe Quinones (Howard The Duck) brings the heat and the heart with his inks while father-son slam dunk duo Joe and Paolo Rivera delve into the depths of America’s journey with their colors. This collaboration will bring the high-octane solo adventures of America Chavez into what we can only hope will be a bright and riveting future.

There may not be a more important new series from Marvel in 2017 than America #1. Pick up your copy. Come together and show your support. Be bold. Be brave. Be…an American.

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Sin City, Here Comes ELEKTRA #1

It’s going to be a hot time in the old town tonight…

Marvel’s been building their own mini-universe within the Daredevil section of 616. Broadly titled “Running With The Devil” there’s a trio of titles to go along with old hornhead. Earlier this month we previewed the on-target Bullseye #1. We followed it up by highlighting the comeback of Wilson Fisk in Kingpin #1 (written by Forbidden Planet’s former master of the hand sell, Matthew Rosenberg). Now, we cap off this trifecta with Marvel’s deadliest assassin! Odds are this series is going to be killer.

Elektra‘s had quite a past. What with dying a few times, having been the head of the Hand, her epic love story with a certain pointy-headed blind vigilante, and at one point being the highest paid assassin in the world. If you were carrying all that baggage where would you go to get away from it all? Vegas, baby! Surely no one will notice her amidst all the neon and ulterior motives. Of course, can a former ninja assassin really expect to escape all of her history of violence when a new player wants to get in on the game? Welcome to the table: Arcade!

If you wanted some further Marvel Netflix U crossover then boy have you got it with this book. Not only is it a new adventure for the character after her television debut in the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil but it’s written by newcomer Matt Owens. Get it? You don’t get it. Okay, Matt Owens is a television writer who worked on Marvel’s Luke Cage and even had a couple episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This marks Matt Owens’ first foray into comics after a career on the small screen and internships under Cully Hammer and Brian Starfleeze. Plus, it’s got art by Juan Cabal, so Owens has plenty of muscle to tell the first story entitled, “Casino Battle Royale.”

This new comic book day, Elektra’s changing the rules. Wanna play?

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Chris’ Comics: Invincible Iron Man #1

New York Comic Con is a thing that happened, and a thing that made me grateful I have PTO at my day job, as I did not get out of bed until 10am this morning. It was a massive show that was super fun, I got to see a bunch of great folks, talk comics, and attend some neat panels. Now let us never speak of it again, unless it’s relevant to a comic book I’m discussing.

unnamed-138879Invincible Iron Man #1

Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, Justin Ponder

Marvel $3.99

BEHOLD, THE MOST IMPORTANT MARVEL COMIC OF THE YEAR, I MEAN RIGHT AFTER STAR WARS AND SECRET WARS THAT IS!

Marvel’s made it no secret that they’re out to make Iron Man their flagship character these days, undoubtedly inspired by the success of the character on the big screen. A move I’m sure that will work, much like the Inhumans replacing the X-men-oh.

Snark and Bleeding Cool rumors aside, Marvel Comics has enlisted a team of top notch creators to make Iron Man their premiere super hero title; Brian Michael Bendis, who’s written the character numerous times in the past, David Marquez, a top talent who’s been a very good artist  for the last few years, and Justin Ponder, and excellent colorist in his own right. No disrespect to the previous creative teams, but this is by far the strongest group of creators Tony Stark has had since Matt Fraction was attached to the book several years ago.

IIM-Preview01-58c53Assigning David Marquez and Justin Ponder to this book was a brilliant move. Aside from already having a solid working relationship with Bendis, the pair of artists create a gorgeous looking book that says “This is an Iron Man comic for 2015”. Marquez’s style is perfect for a character like Tony Stark, blending Robert Downey Jr’s good looks with a new suit of armor that feels new and refreshing. I dug how detailed, not to mention how cool, his armoring up sequences where in this book, as well seeing the new suit flying around. Sadly most of the action scenes were limited to another long time Iron Man villainess who also gets a slight redesign, but I’m sure Bendis will give Marquez a chance to blow our minds somewhere down the line.  Justin Ponder’s colors are incredibly strong in the comic. Bendis and Marquez give Ponder a number of locations and characters to work with in this issue, and he absolutely nails the environments and lightening perfectly. These two creators have given us a great looking book, and I’m excited to see more from them on this title.

Invincible_Iron_Man_1_Preview_3I believe this comic marks the first time long time Marvel comics Brian Michael Bendis has tackled Tony Stark in a solo capacity, only writing him as a part of team or in crossovers. Bendis’ take on Stark is very much influenced by RDJ as well, which is good, because this book is suppose to be super accessible to new readers. That being said, his take on the character is still pretty faithful to the core of the character, so long time fans won’t be put off by it. Bendis does an excellent job creating a new status quo for Iron Man, and manages to craft a post-Secret Wars comic that doesn’t spoil the event much, if at all. The much hyped final page is cool, and definitely lets reader know that this is VERY much a Marvel Universe with Iron Man at the center of things. And I REALLY like the 2 new female characters introduced in this issue, and hope they stick around for the long haul My only compliant is that the book feels brief, which is more of a nitpick I guess, because it definitely has me wanting to read more.

Invincible Iron Man certainly has the potential to be one of the biggest Marvel books of the year in terms of sales and excitement. Will it dethrone Star Wars or the surprisingly wonderful new Amazing Spider-Man is yet to be seen, but also not a concern of mine. It’s a good comic that I dug, with a fantastic creative team who can hopefully give us the best run of solo Iron Man stories since the last incarnation of an Invincible Iron Man book.

 

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5.5 Questions with Marvel Editor Daniel Ketchum

One of the nice things about comics is that the people who write and draw ‘em are just as likely to show up at Forbidden Planet on a Wednesday to pick up their stack as anyone else.

And that’s when we strike!

This week we caught up with STORM, MAGNETO, and X-MEN editor, Daniel Ketchum. No Pokemon questions were asked. Probably for the best.

FORBIDDEN PLANET: So, as an editor, I’m assuming that you sometimes have to be the bad guy. SO in the world of bad guys are you more like Simon Cowell, Gordon Ramsay or Judge Judy?

DANIEL KETCHUM: If I had to choose one, I’d say Gordon Ramsay, because he’s a Tiger Mom like I am–he criticizes out of love and only wants people to be their best. But when it comes to likening myself to reality show judges, I have definitely said that I am the Michael Kors of Marvel. (e.g. “It looks like you colored that page with a trackball mouse and an eye full of lemon juice!”)

FP: If you could put any single character in all of your books, who would it be and why?

DK: Definitely Mary Cherry from your favorite TV show, Popular. (“Y’all, I’ve got two words for you: EXORCISM!”) But if we’re talking about a Marvel character I would put in all of the books that I edit, it would be STORM…and I do.

FP: If you could have any non-comic writer (novelist, screenwriter, poet) write book for you, who would it be?

DK: Oh, lordy. You know, the last book book I ran to the store to buy the day it was released was Joan Didion’s BLUE NIGHTS. I can only vaguely imagine what a comic written by Joan Didion would be like. But I’d love to read it and, even more so, I’d love to be the editor who got to collaborate with her on it.

FP: If you could have dinner with any comic character (you’re paying) who would it be and why?

DK: I would take Alfred Pennyworth and Jarvis to dinner because they deserve a chance to kick back and enjoy a delicious meal they didn’t have to lift a finger for. I might also take Jubilee, because it looks like she’s fallen on hard times…

FP: Follow-up: Would your answer change if they were paying?

DK: Yes. Because then I would be dining with ALL-NEW X-MEN‘s Hank McCoy and I would expect no less than a magical evening. MAGICAL.

FP: Who would win a Magic the Gathering game? Batman, Reed Richards or Emma Frost?

DK: Obviously Emma Frost. You can’t play a card game with a telepath! And you know Emma would totally cheat and, like, read her opponents’ minds to find out what their face-down morph creatures are…

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Our 200 Best-Selling Graphic Novels of 2013

Even though it’s damn near the middle of February I thought the following list of Forbidden Planet NYC’s most popular, best-selling graphic novels of 2013 would be of some interest.

Perhaps you’re looking for a new read, and are curious as to what the cool kids in the heppest city in the solar system are picking up (even if some of these books have been perennial faves for years and years).  Perhaps you’ll be looking at this list for some other reason (stalkers). Either way, thanks to all our customers who made 2013, and every year, such a great time to be in the business of slinging quality books!

It’s a rather lengthy post so it continues after the jump…

Continue reading

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TODAY IS THE BEST DAY.

Not only is it May and it’s 45 degrees outside and raining in New York (shivers of excitement in anticipation of cozy/anxious Twin Peaks watching later), the weather has met in complete conjunction with how it will be on the day that this new book releases at the Brooklyn Book Fest in September…shivers of anticipation and sweaty palms….

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Post-Turkey Day Weekend Recap

For the 5 of you who follow the adventure of Chris Troy and Fantasy Football, I wisely started the Patriots defense over the weekend. That was 25 points I needed. A shame it was up against the Jets who I actually like and are doing terrible this season…… HEY WHERE ARE YOU GOING, I’LL TALK ABOUT TOYS IN A FEW MINUTES I SWEAR!

::: Makes several jokes about the Mcfarlane Tim Tebow figure collecting dust of on our shelves that maybe 3 of you would get first :::

Usually I’d just type “COULSON LIVES!!!” and call it a day, but I imagine some context would be nice. Otherwise I’m on a Tony Harris level of confusion (RELEVANT JOKE!). Hot Toys announced that everyone’s favorite Marvel Cinema S.H.I.E.L.D.Agent will be getting the Hot Toys treatment next year, and pre-orders are available. Given the demand of the Avengers line, you may want to swing by the store and look into that. Also keep your eyes out for the newly released Hot Toys Hawkeye figure, which much like every Hot Toys released is amazing.

If you always dug Hot Toys  but maybe wanted something not comic book movie related (What the hell is wrong with you?!?!), FPNYC still has you covered. We have a nice variety of Sci-Fi related Hot Toys, covering classic movies like Terminator 2 with the T-8000 up to more modern flicks like Avatar and Predators (pictured is the Tracker Predator, which is an awesome set!) And if your more of a Star Wars type of person, there’s the delux Bespin Luke Skywalker figure, which comes with  TON of accessories, ranging from various lightsaber props to an actual light-up base. You definitely get your $300 worth with that one. It’s also worth noting the other figures I mentioned aren’t exactly slouches in the props department either as  all Hot Toys come with a variety of weapons, variant heads and hands. They are definitely the kings of the high end toy market. And if you are someone who digs more super hero based Hot Toys, we have figures from everything from Spider-Man 3 to….the Avengers.

Believe it or not, I’m actually a bit behind on my coverage of Marvel Universe figures! We’ve been getting in a ton of figures as of late, making up for the “drought” we’ve had over the summer! Wave 19 dropped a little back, and featured several re-releases, as well as some new figures. The new ones include the likes of She-Hulk (O.G. Jennifer Walters for the record), a new Punisher figure (with a machine gun, 2 handguns and a knife), Kang the Conqueror (with a ray gun), Scarlet Witch (with a Hex Bolt) and Spider-Man in  his Future Foundation outfit, with the variant being Peter in his “Bag-Head Fantastic Four” costume. It’s actually a really solid line-up, and the sculpting on the females actually quite good for a change.

There’s also been a plethora of releases in the Greatest Battles 2-pack sets. There’s a classic Mandarian (repainted from the Iron Man 2 movie line) and Silver Centuiron Iron Man, Classic Colossus and a unmasked Juggernaut, 1st Appearance Wolverine and Hulk, a Jacky Kirby era Falcon and Captain America, & a Defenders 2 pack featuring Dr. Strange and the Silver Surfer. A nice mixture of repaints, and harder to find figures, I recommend picking up a few of these packs to fill in any gaps in your collection!

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Avengers Vs Quality -What I pulled this week

So my ankle been’s acting up, as has my left kneecap. My lower back kind of hurts t00-GET IT? I SAID PULL IN THE TITLE AND YOU THOUGHT I WAS REFERRING TO COMICS BUT THEN I STARTED TO TALK ABOUT PHYSICAL PAI-never mind this joke is bad and I feel bad.

Loran is a bit behind thanks to the college year starting up, and the my next toy article is still being worked on.  Which means if I want to get paid, something needs to be tossed on the ol’ Daily Planet, or the powers that be will send me a displeased e-mail. It’s a lot more threatening than it sounds, I assure you. So, to please the pay-gods, I’ve decided to type up an article about what comics I bought this week, and if they’re worth your money.  Warning, slight spoilers below for those who trade wait.

The 11th issue (or “Round”, as it’s called on the cover) of AvX (Avengers Vs. X-Men) dropped this past week and man….I’m torn. Writer Brian Michael Bendis is probably the weakest of 5 “Architects”  working on this book,  as issue 11 is….kind of rough in the script department. Marvel having 5 different writers on this thing did not do it much service, as characters and the story  struggle to have one consistent voice,, not to mention act incredibly out of character at times, making either side hard to pull for. The Phoenix 5 (er 2…1) are suppose to be the bad guys for the last 5 or so issues, but the Avengers have been jerks since issue 1. It’s a rough read and the hyped up death is pretty weak, considering this is the UMPTEENTH time this character has died. Luckily,Oliver Coipel handles the art for this issue, so it’s a pretty trainwreck.

However, Uncanny X-men #18 follows the proud Marvel tradition of  being a book that is ” A tie-in book that’s actually better than the main series”. Kieron Gillen has been KILLING on this series, making the Extinction’s team fall from grace way more compelling that the core AvX series has, and we have Ron Garney drawing this issue, which is a HUGE step up in the art department. The book gives  more of an in-depth look  of the battle and events from AvX #11, and the B-story focuses on a plotline that dates back from “Fear Itself” with a shocking twist. “Uncanny X-Men” #18 is well worth the $4, where as AvX #11 is strictly for completionists, or fans of Coipel’s worth to the point where the plot means nothing to you.

I only pull 2 books from DC monthly, and they happen to come out on the same week this month. They also happen to be quite excellent. Batman #0 drops with the EXCELLENT team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. This issue focuses on Bruce Wayne from 6 years ago, fresh from his global training, ready to make a change. It also brings back and semi-reinvents some baddies that tie into another Bat-book, and sets the stage for a story in 2013. The back-up, written by James Tynion IV & Andy Clarke, focuses on 5 supporting characters, and how Batman’s present influences them, and shapes their destiny. This is the PERFECT jumping on point for this series and a great issue overall. Well worth the $4.

Sean Murphy’s Punk Rock Jesus #3 came so very, very close to being my book of the week. It’s a great mini by Murphy, who’s been kicking all sorts of ass on various Vertigo titles these last few years. This is the 3rd chapter of a 6 issue mini where the clone of Jesus Christ is the focus on a reality tv show, and the world that the Clone of Jesus (Chris) is born into is beginning to take it’s toil on the boy, which means we should be getting a heavy dose of punk rock next issue. Also the last 4 pages are the perfect cliffhanger, making the wait for #4 quite painful. A great creator owned title, and the $3 will get you a story I’m surprise DC will publish and some of the best art coming out of the big 2 today. Buy it now, and then double dip for the eventual trade.

And while both DC releases were amazing, Uncanny X-Force #31 is without a doubt my pick of the week. Rick Remender’s final arc is halfway through, and after having their asses hunted down and kicked several times, X-Force is ready to go on the offensive and take the fight to the new Brotherhood. Literally in this book is amazing, from the script to Phil Noto’s pencils, to the coloring and letting. I could gush on more, but I’m sure you get the point. Granted it’s a $4, 20 page book, it’s well worth the money. Buy it on sight, unless you’re not reading it, then buy all the trades and get caught up.

That’s it, which is bad, because I am not so great wrapping up articles. So um….buy comics. Preferably at Forbidden Planet NYC. Setting up a pullist with us would be fine as well.

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Hyped for Punisher #1

Time to update your pull list… cause a new Punisher #1 drops Wednesday!

Punisher #1 Writer: Greg Rucka Artist: Marco Checchetto

For Frank Castle death comes easy…life is where things gets complicated. As New York City’s body counts continue to rise, the city’s streets are teeming with more methodical criminals than ever and a police force doing it’s best to keep its head above water.

The Punisher has returned to serve his own brand of justice with everything’s he’s got… but can he survive the darkness stored in his own arsenal? Plus bonus pages exploring some of the new personalities in Frank’s life…and how closely intertwined living is with dying.

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You must read Uncanny X-Force HC Vol 1

This coming Wednesday Marvel’s Uncanny X-Force Volume 1 The Apocalypse Solution hits the shelves.  Written by Rick Remender and illustrated by Jerome Opena, so you know its got the Matt D approval.  You’ll see me pushing their Fear Agent, or Punisher regularly.

When the singles of this came out people were in here rabidly eating them up.  Gone by Thursday night the latest.  When asked for  back issues I would have to ask the person “Where have you been?.. . Man.”   Every one loves a new X-Book.  Not only does this have some of the most beautiful art I’ve seen in modern comics, this one is easily accesible by guys like me who have a hard time following X-Books. I’m not totally lost because I haven’t been reading all 17 different X-Titles coming out each month.

I like comics that only need one book on the shelf to get the point across, thats why I read stuff like Punisher and Fear Agent in the first place.  Gimme a comic with one guy up against everyone in a no win situation over one with a team beating on one dude any day.  But we can trust our buddy Rick to do a heck of a job writing a sick and twisted team book easy enough for new comers to enjoy yet involving current X-Universe stuff to keep hardcore fans pleased.   So thats the X-Scoop on this X-Trade that you can order from our X-Web Store, or buy in our X-Store on X-Wednesday.

Did I mention it has Deadpool in it.

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