Tagged: spider-man

Clone Call In Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1

Heeeeeeee’s Baaaaaaack!

Yes, that’s right you’re reading this correctly, THE Ben Reilly is web-slinging is his way into an all-new ongoing series, Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1. One of the most polarizing characters in the history of comic books is starting a new chapter where his fate will hang in a balancing act between the hero he aspires to become again versus the villain his flaws led him to recently being. Can this unhinged clone of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man find his way back onto the righteous path?

After the events of The Clone Conspiracy, most all of us readers thought that Ben Reilly has met his maker for the umpteenth time. Turns out….psych! Ben’s back but sure as heck doesn’t have it all together. Haunted by warring parts of his psyche, Ben is torn between finding his way back to the days when he wanted to be the best hero out there and falling back into his recently resurrecting ways. Far from home, this new old Scarlet Spider is going to have a lot on his plate right from the get-go.

Peter David‘s no stranger to dealing with characters that have, um, identity issues. See his entire run on X-Factor for more. Nor is he a stranger to the Spider-Man corner of the Marvel Universe (Spider-Man 2099, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Death of Jean Dewolff). Now, though, Peter David has set himself up with the task of crafting the character journey for a man who’s talking to the manifestation of his hoodied hero former self on one shoulder and the masked villain he’s running from being on the other shoulder. With all the voices he hears in his head, not all comfort him or understand, will Peter David be able to lead Ben Reilly back into the hearts of the public and the readers? Well, not if Kaine kills him first!

Welcome to Sin City, Ben Reilly. What are the odds you make it out alive? Find out this week in Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1.

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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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The Amazing Spider-Man #25 Plans To Over-deliver!

The “Osborn Identity” begins here!

With the “Clone Conspiracy” now a thing of the past, officially at least, it’s time for Peter Parker’s next chapter to begin afresh from writer Dan Slott and incoming superstar artist Stuart Immonen. To celebrate, the folks at Marvel are attempting to go a couple extra miles by making this issue FORTY pages. Mr. Slott has been crafting one of the most significant runs in all of Spidey’s history and there’re no signs of him slowing down. It’s time for Mr. Slott to bring forth the epic confrontation that all Spider-Man fans know you can count on like death and taxes: Spidey vs The Green Goblin! Well, maybe…This time, Peter Parker’s on the hunt for Norman Osborn. The big twist? This is an Osborn without the goblin serum pumping through his veins that makes him an insane super-villain who revels in killing the people Parker loves and Spider-Man gets close to. How will this next phase of the webslinger’s adventures pan out? There’s only one place to look and that’s in this week’s The Amazing Spider-Man #25.

But wait: THERE’S MORE! I mentioned this was Stuart Immonen’s debut as the ongoing artist for the series? Well, he’s not the only one that’s coming aboard the Spider-Man train. There’s a backup feature written by Mr. Slott with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli. AND Hannah Blumenreich writes and draws a flashback tale to Spidey’s more formative years. AND Christos Gage pens a new tale featuring the classic villain (you know he is) Clash. AND that’s not all but I’m running low on web fluid.

Want to know more? Don’t ask me, ask Dan Slott himself who will be at Forbidden Planet signing the same day The Amazing Spider-Man #25 comes out. Official start time is 6pm. Don’t miss out, or you’ll be missing out.

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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Man/Deadpool #8

Spider-Man_Deadpool_Vol_1_8_TextlessSpider-Man/Deadpool #8

Joe Kelly, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, Livesay, Jason Keith

Marvel $3.99

After a 2 month break, the team of Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness return to Spider-Man/Deadpool to wrap up their first arc. Truth be told I had no idea that the “Bromance” arc had another chapter left in it, but I’m not complaining. This issue sees our dynamic duo going after the person who put a hit on Peter Parker, something Spidey hasn’t gotten over yet. To be fair, Deadpool did kill him twice.

10000 years ago when Joe Kelly was writing Deadpool, the usually comedic book had the tendency to dip into some dark territory, which made sense given the fact that Wade Wilson killed people for money. This issue of Spidey/Deadpool is very much like those comics, only with a darker, angrier Spider-Man playing the role of the brooding lead. At first glance that MAY sound terrible, but Kelly does enough to with the concept to make it work, via suggesting that a high-end villian may be messing with our boys. Also angry-pants Spidey makes the usually sassy spideydp-8-3-193708and violent Deadpool the straight man in this pairing (well as straight as a pansexual character can get), which is humorous for it’s own set of reasons. Joe Kelly makes sure that Spider-Man’s morals are never compromised, so he doesn’t stray too far from the character’s M.O..  So while it’s a darker issue than what we’ve been use to, but not to the point where it’s ever too overbearing.

Ed McGuiness is once again incredible on this book. Not only does he design a slick new suit for Spider-Man, but he does some fantastic work designing a trio of grotesque monsters for the issues. There’s also a bitty Wolverine, which is somehow cuter than it sounds. I love what the new suit does for McGuiness’ Spidey, who looks more menacing and sleeker during the book extended fight scene. A lot of it is done via his body language, and which paired with the more sinister colors by Jason Keith help make Spidey look more aggressive and blood thirsty. Those are words usually not associated with the web-help, but it works because it’s so off model, not to mention just looks cool. I also dig that the monsters McGuinness cooks up definitely pay homage to video games and horror manga, but still end up looking unique that you can’t quite place where you’ve seen these beasts before. spideydp-8-5-193710Inking Mcguinness this month are Mark Morales and Livesay, who do a bang up job of keeping this book clean looking.

Spider-Man/Deadpool remains a title that reads as great as it looks. Allowing the creative team to take a break between arcs was a good call, and I’m glad they’re rested and back producing a great looking book. Issue #8 is comic that will definitely surprise readers, possibly shock them, but not in a way that will alienate them. I’m really curious as to what the next arc will bring, and what the relationship our heroes have with the mysterious Patient Zero. Super Hero Team up books are RARELY this good, so I cannot recommend this title enough.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Man/Deadpool #3

Spider-Man_Deadpool_Vol_1_3_TextlessSpider-Man/Deadpool #3

Joe Kelly,Ed McGuinnes, Mark Morales, Jason Keith, Joe Sabino

Marvel $3.99

I’ve been reading Deadpool comics since Fabian Niceza and Joe Madureira were working on them, and it’s interesting to see how the character has developed over the last few decades. Wade Wilson has gone from a one note character to one that could support several books, one in particular that’s chock full of queer subtext, and both geopolitical and white privilege commentary. Fandom is a weird, yet wonderful thing at times, and it really feels like Deadpool as a character under editor Jordan D White is aware of what Tumblr users think of Wade, and have incorporated those elements into the character. It also helps that Joe Kelly, a man who helped make Deadpool a more three dimensional character all those years ago is the one doing this, mixing his take on the character with the incarnation that Gerry Duggan has been writing over the last 4 years.

d18b1878-cbf9-4908-9605-8df72c1ca522Spider-Man/Deadpool #3 is a comic that sounds simple enough (Spider-Man agrees to hang out with Deadpool for a day) but turns out to be a lot deeper read than one would expect. Oh sure there’s a lengthy fight scene involving a ton of forgotten 90s Marvel characters, but there’s also a shocking amount of emotion involved. Also jokes. The humor in this issue is fantastic, ranging from Looney Tune-esque violence you would expect from these characters, to some more mature and smart stuff. Kelly manages to do a lot in this 20 pages, never overloading readers with dialogue, and knowing when to let the art do the heavy lifting. He’s the perfect writer for this book, and nothing against Dan Slott or Duggan, but he’s probably the guy best sorted for these characters, given his history with them both.

I have never not loved Ed McGuiness’ art, and obviously this issue of Spider-Man/Deadpool isn’t going to change that fact. Spidey, Deadpool and his team of mercenaries head overseas for a job in this issue, and McGuiness, along w/ inker Mark Morales and Jason Keith, 54yk9bwproduce some fantastic art. We get to see Ed get to draw a plethora of characters featuring different body times, and it’s just so kinetic and fun. The whole thing looks like highlights from a top tier fighting game tournament, which is referenced at the end of the fight in those most Scott Pilgrim of manners. Which by, props to letterer Joe Sabino, who has to deal with a ton of dialogue due to who’s starring in this book. Also the inker and colorist are a big reason while the final big scene in this comic works, perfectly playing light off of the darkness to help make the emotional impact of Spider-Man meeting a very important person in Pool’s life work as well as it does.

A book like Spider-Man/Deadpool could be a success just by the popularity of the title characters alone. But editors Jordan D White and Nick Lowe really went above & beyond, getting Joe Kelly and Ed McGuiness to come back to their most famous collaboration, which is resulting is a phenomenal comic. There’s a layer of depth and emotions one wouldn’t expect from a book starring two of Marvel’s biggest IPs that surprisingly, but not in a way that clashes with the appeal of the characters. It also happens to be a fun super hero book, thanks to Kelly’s wonderful quips and McGuiness’ larger than life art. Spider-Man/Deadpool #3 is a terrific comic, and something Marvel should be extremely proud to be publishing.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Man/Deadpool #2

Spider-Man_Deadpool_Vol_1_2_TextlessSpider-Man/Deadpool #2

Joe Kelly, Ed McGuiness, Mark Morales, Jason Keith

Marvel $3.99

With the new Deadpool movie currently breaking all sorts of box offices records, it would make sense for me to capitalize on that and talk about a Deadpool comic. As fate would have it, Spider-Man/Deadpool #2 dropped this past week, and is an exceptional comics.

The premise for the “Bromance” arc isn’t exactly high concept, but it is a ton of fun. Someone’s put a hit out on Peter Parker, and Deadpool is  the guy they want to do the job. While Wade doesn’t know that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, he’s still torn on the matter as he’s sort of a an Avenger now, and his idol Spider-Man “works” for Peter. Spidey has no idea this is all going down, and his focused on the launch of his new Apple Watch-like device. Obviously this is an issue where a lot of shenanigans go down, especially when you add Miles Morales and a Green Goblin Army to the mix.

As I said in the last review, it’s been a hot minute since we’ve seen the likes of Joe Kelly spider-man-deadpool-2-shirt-ruinedand Ed McGuiness work on a project together for Marvel. But 2 issues into this series and it’s like they never left the characters. Joe Kelly manages to keep on top of the status quo of 2 of Marvel biggest characters and manages to tell a story that is a ridiculous amount  of fun. His Deadpool isn’t as pop culture obsessed or 4th Wall breaking as one would expect, but he’s hilarious none the less. This issue isn’t as dick joke heavy as the last one, but there is one gag I’m amazed Marvel let slide into a comic where Spider-Man shows up. He also manages to put some real depth into the character, which isn’t exactly a surprise as it’s something he’s famous for, but it’s also something incredibly welcomed. While I’m hoping his Spider-Man lightens up soon, I definitely enjoyed the dark turn the book takes in it’s final pages.

Ed McGuinness is so so good on this book. Every character he draws in this comics looks so iconic and timeless, be it the classic silver age villains that show up, to some of the OvLASVunewer characters who’ve only been around for a few years. His Miles Morales is particularity striking, and way more sleek and agile looking than his Peter Parker, which is a nice contrast and visual. I’m constantly impressed with how much detail and expression McGuiness can pack into his panels. Additionally Mark Morales and Jason Keith do a bang up job with the inks and colors, making it one of the few Marvel books that looks are good in print as it does in digital.

Even though we’re only two issues in, it’s easy for me to say that Spider-Man/Deadpool is my favorite book coming out from Marvel. While it may not be as deep or medium defying as some of other books coming out from the publisher, it is hilarious and a ton of fun, which means it goes on top of my pull list. Kelly and McGuinness prove that you can go home again, and the results are fantastic for the fans.

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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Man & Deadpool #1

Spider-Man_Deadpool_Vol_1_1_TextlessSpider-Man & Deadpool #1

Joe Kelly, Ed McGuiness, Mark Morales, Jason Keith

Marvel $3.99

Coming into this review, you dear reader may expect some annoyance and snark from me regarding Marvel putting out yet another Deadpool title.  That’s fair assumption, given the books I like can make me come across as a bit of a comic snob. But it’s also totally wrong in this instance, haha, way to blow it nerd . Now let me tell you about why Phonogram is amazing…

No wait, let me actually get back on topic. CHRIS FACT: Joe Kelly and Ed McGuiness’ Deadpool book from the late 90s kept me in cape comics. It’s a run that I really enjoyed, was my favorite book for a long time, and having them reunite on a Deadpool book warrants an instabuy from me. The fact that Spider-Man is involved too is nice, as I really enjoyed Joe Kelly’s all too brief run on Amazing Spider-Man, especially since it result in  THE BEST Spider-Man/Deadpool interaction of all time. That is not an opinion by the way, that is fact, how dare you imply otherwise.

spider-man-deadpool-1-interior-590x900Spider-Man and Deadpool #1 is a fantastic read. It’s also the gayest Marvel comic I’ve read since Angela, and that’s something I mean in the best way. Marvel has been not so great with LGBT representation in leading roles as of late, and giving a pan-sexual character like Deadpool another amazing creative team is nice to see, especially when it results in some of the most creative genital jokes I’ve seen in a Marvel comic. It’s also really funny, which is important given these two characters personalities, and looks stunning, thanks to the team of McGuiness, Mark Morales and Jason Keith. It also does a nice job of fitting into the status quo of both these heroes, which props to Joe Kelly and the editorial team, without having to sacrifice much of the charm Kelly brought to Deadpool and Spider-Man way back when.

The visuals created by Ed McGuiness and Mark Morales are top notch, even though I wish Ed would draw Spidey not as jacked as he does. I prefer my Spider-Man/Men drawn sleek, not like he’s dropping passing for the Jets. But that’s a minor nitpick, as his stylistic, Capcom fighting games meets John Romita Sr. style looks fantastic overall, especially in the case of Deadpool. He gets a lot of emotion from these character’s body language, which is very impressive, and his action scenes look great. Mark Morales’ inks are bold and clean, resulting in some crisp art that is colored superbly by Jason Keith. The art team comes together to create beautiful art that really captures the fun tone you would expect from a Spider-Man & Deadpool book.

GreyPouponIt’s been quite some time since Joe Kelly and McGuiness have collaborated on a Marvel book, although you couldn’t tell from Spider-Man and Deadpool #1. Both creators create a comic that feels like they’ve never stopped working together since the mid-90s, making for a great read for old and new readers alike. It’s a super accessible book that looks great and has a number of quality jokes, making it another fine addition to the relatively solid catalog of action/humor titles Marvel has been putting out as of late. The book may not convert any haters into fans, but anyone longing for more Deadpool in the style of one of his greatest runs is in for a real treat, with no fear of sudden cancellation.

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Chris’ Comics: Howard the Duck #5

4730614-howard2015005_dc11-page-001Howard the Duck #5

Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones, Joe and Paolo Rivera, Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

Oh Howard A Duck, you are a gift.

Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones and Rico Renzi’s first arc/volume (NEW HAT THOUGH!) wraps up with a massive super hero fight in Manhattan for the fate of the world, a concept Chip and Joe claim they were the first to come up with. In case you don’t know how #JOKES work, that is one and an example the A+ comedy one gets from a Chip Zdarsky penned comics.

tumblr_nt0y86mP6j1qeeerco2_1280There’s a lot to like in Howard the Duck #5. First and foremost is Joe Quinones drawing a massive amount of of Marvel’s NYC-based heroes, and them looking fantastic/amazing/marvelous/other puns. Quinones’ style is clean and detailed, and his takes on all these characters comes across as looking quite iconic. His commitment to to his craft results in some fine looking lay outs, mashing up some of Marvel most beloved, as well as some of their newer, heroes up against the ridiculous threats he and Chip Zdarsky have conceived. I like what Joe does with facial expressions, as several maskless character perfectly express the absurdity of the whole scenario, especially on the final page with has arguably the best drawing of the Human Torch and Spider-Man in some time. Assisting Quinones on art duties is the brilliant father and son inking team of Paolo & Joe Rivera, giving Quinones’ work the clean, thin lines it deserves. Rico Renzi’s colors pop off the page, completing the art package, and giving Howard a high quality look you wouldn’t expect coming from a comedic book.

Earlier this year writer Chip Zdarsky joked that he was cramming in a lot of content and guest appearances in Howard the Duck as he was expecting to be fire after every issue came out. Howard #5 won’t be Chip’s last ride with the character, but you’ll definitely get you 4 dollars worth from it. This issue wraps up the arch, reveals a supporting character’s secret, and makes several intriguing hints regarding the future of the this book. Oh and is absolutely hilarious as well. We get more “Inconsolable Spider-Man” jokes, editor notes for hilariously titled comics that never existed, several deep cut Marvel jokes and a subplot involving a rather obscure Marvel book that results in Howard freaking out. It’s not all jokes either, as Chip and Joe do some cool stuff with the Howard and Tracy relationship, injecting some heart warming material into the book. Again, a lot of stuff goes down in this book, but it never feels over crowded or bloated.

tumblr_nsznomBLdn1sajkn0o1_400Howard the Duck #5 is a great ending for a fantastic first arc. Howard is easily up there with Superior Foes of Spider-Man and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl in terms of being some of the best modern Marvel humor books, and the star power behind it should hopefully ensure that it sticks around for quite awhile. You can tell Zdarsky & Quinones definitely love or at least heavily appreciate the classic Steve Gerber era Howard, and embrace it while pushing the character forward. Howard the Duck is book I’ll continue to buy when it returns later this year, especially if the creative teams continues to put out this level of quality comic month after month.

 

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Five Questions with Forbidden Planet: Dan Slott!

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!

For our inaugural Five Questions, John Petrie thwipped Spidey writer, Dan Slott to the wall and made him talk. Then there was some awkward, upside-down makey-outies, but that’s neither here nor there, except to say, “We’re all very sorry, Dan.”

On to the questions!

Forbidden Planet: Who would win in a creepy laugh contest: Green Goblin, Hobgoblin or the Joker?

Dan Slott: Now that Norman Osborn’s had the Goblin Serum removed from his system? Sadly, no contest. Joker.

FP: Since we all love cosplayers, what’s the one character you’ve never personally seen cosplayed that would make you smile?

DS: Spider-UK. I’m going to a show in London this summer, so fingers crossed.

Spi11

FP: So, chaos magic, does it exist or not?

DS: Totally exists. We confirmed that during my run of MIGHTY AVENGERS.

FP: Would you rather live in a world without any flavor ice cream or a world without movie popcorn?

DS: Without movie popcorn. Couldn’t live in a world without ice cream.

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

DS: Spider-Man. And I’d pay. Would just want to apologize for the hell I’ve put him through in the past… and… will be putting him through in the future.

FP: If you could write a series with any character (or characters) who don’t currently appear in a Marvel book, who would they be?

DS: Indiana Jones, Doctor Who, and Batman.

Thanks again, Dan! And keep an eye out — there will be more FIVE QUESTIONS WITH FORBIDDEN PLANET featuring your favorite comic creators coming soon!

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Just Kill Me

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover…somebody should tell that to Clown Fatale #1 from Dark Horse. I don’t WANT to think that this may be the stupidest human creation of all time, but I don’t want to spend the money in order to make an informed decision. LOOK at this monstrosity!

 

I always envision every comic book taking place in an alternate universe… it helps with the suspension of disbelief. What we have here is an alternate universe in which there are still roving circuses. In one of these, the clowns are a drop dead gorgeous troupe of multi-ethnic ladies who dress like strippers. Our story transpires when criminals, due to a wacky misunderstanding, hire these sexy lady clowns in full make-up to kill, mistaking them for assassins. The clowns naturally accept.

 

I’m not sure if my suspension of disbelief stretches this far.

 

I’ll rationalize it, however, by reminding myself of the strange universe we DO inhabit; We live in a world where someone at a highly successful comic book publisher rationalized that A) People LIKE clowns (hint: They don’t) and that B) People like sexy women, so logically people will like sexy women clowns. I’m sure this creative genius then spent the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out whether the clowns should be Vampires, Assassins or Crime Scene Investigators.

 

Maybe they figured that Harley Quin was popular, and wanted in on some of that action. Regardless of motives, Clown Fatales #1 seems an affront to all art, past, present and future, as well as a finger in the eye to the indomitable human spirit. A veritable raspberry in the face of taste and sense, this.

 

But I will buy it. And I will read it. And I will judge this erotic, tightly paced crime clown drama on its own merits. And I will write a review. And I will weep at the funeral of my artistic credibility, and I will morn my dignity as I bury the last shreds of my self respect.

 

NOT TO SPOIL THE FUN

And you’ll weep, too, if you miss out on Wolverine #11 this week! SOMETHING huge and crazy is going to happen…but WHAT?! There’s much to suggest this issue will be a massive milestone, a sales bonanza to rival Spider-Man’s wedding or the death of Captain America. I’d guess Wolverine is going to die (again,) but the maybe we’re in for something stranger?

 

Marvel, a Disney Entertainment company, wants to make movies off of the Avengers as a step in the process of making money off the toys and merchandise from Marvel comics. A fly in their ointment, however, is the prior business deal wherein Fox owns the motion picture rights to the X-Men franchise and Sony own the Spidey movies.

 

Spidey and Wolvie fighting alongside the Hulk, Thor and Scarlet Johanson would sure sell some lunchboxes.

 

Here’s Unkiedev’s crazy prediction for Wolverine #11…it’s a doozy. It will be revealed that Wolverine is actually AN ALIEN, the last son of a distant planet called Canadaton, which blew up after his parents messed up an experiment. To cover up their mistake, they sent their only son in a small spaceship to a planet where he would have fantastic superpowers…and brain washed him through pre-recorded messages to tell anyone who ever asked that THEY didn’t destroy the planet, they were the only ones trying to stop it from blowing up the whole time!

 

See what this does? Wolverine is no longer a mutant, and no longer tied to the X-Men continuity. That’s why the big Marvel movie coming up is Guardians of the Galaxy! Wolverine #11 will plant these seeds when alien warriors from beyond the stars come to the long ignored planet Earth to bring Wolverine to justice for his parent’s crimes!

 

Or he might just die. I’ll never know. I’ll probably be so traumatized after reading Clown Fatales #1 that I’ll wander into traffic and get hit by a semi. If I see Wolverine in Hell, I’ll send you kids an e-mail.

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SIMPLY THE BEST

All of the Forbidden Planet crew had an excellent time this past weekend on Free Comic Books Day! I’m sorry I couldn’t make it out in person to see everybody, but I unfortunately don’t exist anymore since Wolverine and Sue Storm went back in time to “take care of some business” in Age of Ultron #6. That’s right, I’ve been retconned out of existence.
STILL LUCKY
I still consider myself lucky, really. I’m sure the Avengers or whoever will work the problem out. Reading the LA Times in Limbo, a crazy story caught my eye! Apparently a dangerous suspect was arrested by police after a foiled hit-and-run assault which culminated in the perp trying to muscle her way into a Free Comic Book Day event at a Los Angeles comic shop! Comic book fans, some in costume, gazed in amazement as the suspect forcibly tried to hide in the shop after smashing her get away vehicle through a nearby street sign, only to have the car coast into the wall where the fans had JUST been standing.
The arrest was made possible by the shop owner who held the doors fast when he realized something was amiss.
Comic book retailers working hand in sweaty hand with the LAPD to arrest criminals usually left to Spidey, Nightwing and other fictional (street level) do-gooders. This sort of activity reminds me who the REAL super-heroes are…you know who?
THAT’S RIGHT
YOU! You are the greatest, bravest heroes we have! On behalf of Forbidden Planet, I want to thank you, the readers, fans and supporters for giving us a reason to open our doors! Retail is tough, comic book retail is FREAKIN’ tough, but not half as tough as you folks and your unswerving loyalty to comics.
Thank you for choosing Forbidden Planet as your watering trough for refreshing comics! If there’s every anything more we could be doing, a book you’d like us to carry or material you’d like to see, please be sure you let us know. We exist to serve…well, the rest of the staff does. I don’t (currently) exist at all. Stupid Wolverine.
IF I DID
When I do come back, hopefully with an eyepatch and some crazy new powers, I’ll have to hunt down the back issues of this week’s hot books! The Walking Dead #110, Batman (and Batman and Robin ) #20, Bravest Warriors #8, and some new Richard Corbin horror material from Dark Horse and Creepy Comics #12 all have to be mine!
The main Star Wars book has been a fun read, and Star Wars #5 hits this week, too! Plenty of back issues to scoop up if you haven’t been following it yet. SPEAKING of “star” properties, Star Trek Into Darkness drops this week, and the latest issue of IDW’s Star Trek Ongoing #21 picks up RIGHT after the movie ends! I repeat: DO NOT read Star Trek Ongoing #21 on Wednesday, but do read it Friday after you’ve seen the movie! I can’t wait!
Deadpool #9, Thor #8 and Avengers #11 round out a decent roster of Marvel Must Haves, and with that I lay another column to a close.
At the end of the day, the Forbidden Planet stays open because of you. We are gracious for your business and we hope you come back, soon. As long as you’re there to help, The Forbidden Planet will be there with all your comics, sci-fi, horror, Manga, and various plastic objet d’art you need.
Be good, stay safe, and see you next time!

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HAM FISTED

The other day I was about to eat a ham sandwich when I suddenly realized I wasn’t hungry. No sooner had I put the thing down that it started to talk, telling me how it was a magical sandwich, that it was the prince of Hamsandwichia and how thankful it was that I spared its life and yadda yadda yadda.

Long story short: I’m now the king of the magical land of Ham Sandwiches. This realm is its own, separate reality. I have no idea how to get back to our time, and the absolute worst part of it all is there are NO comic books in Hamsandwichia.  

GOOD READS


Great books out this week, and I can’t read a dang one of em’ because I’m the frickin’ “chosen-one” for an entire stupid kingdom of lunchmeat. Have fun finishing up the latest storyline in Adventure Time #14 with out me, everybody. Tell me how it freaking ends if I ever get back to Earth.   Then there’s All New X-Men #9 (new x-costumes!), Deadpool #6 (wrapping up one of the best runs on Deadpool ever) Superior Spider-Man #6 and the premier of X-Termination #1.   X-Termination is a two issue series written by David Lapham where a bunch of alternative X-folks from many divergent X-Futures throw down like dominoes over the survival of their time lines. Too bad I can’t enjoy that.   DC alone has, like, 18 incredible books out which is apropos as the great “New 52” Experiment is up to issue 18. Action Comics, Catwoman and a bunch more all get #18’s, plus the second issue of Justice League of America and the FIRST new issue of Constantine. As speculative numbers go, these are all pretty impressive…though the most impressive numbered book this week belongs to Simpsons Comic #200 from Bongo! Not impressed? Bongo is a third party comic celebrating its #200th issue of a full color monthly title. Not too many publishers outside of Image and Dark Horse have pulled that off.   Sure, it has Simpson’s money behind it…those still aren’t numbers to scoff at.  

HOLD THE RYE-OT

Wait up, crew. The Ham Sandwich equivalent of my Major Domo has approached the throne asking me to sign some edicts. All royal decrees in Hamsandwichia have to be signed in French’s Mustard on white bread with the laws toasted onto them using special techniques. It sounds delicious except A) I hate French’s and B) I’m not allowed to eat any of them. I’m not allowed to eat anything.   I have to secretly sneak out of the palace at night and eat my subjects in their sleep. It’s only a matter of time before they figure it out and try to kill me. I’d be more worried if the toughest weapon in the land weren’t a butter knife, but still…   Constantine #1 is a spiffy title, but I’m more enticed by Star Wars Legacy #1, the new Star Wars book from Dark Horse. Legacy follows the adventures of Han Solo’s great-great-granddaughter as she lasers her way though a familiar, yet hostile, galaxy of betrayal and conflict.   Then there’s Invincible #101 (What the heck is going to happen next?!) as well as an amazing deluxe Hard Cover collection of Bob Fingerman’s impressive working class comedy Maximum Minimum Wage. Funny, sad and worth every penny.  

SANS SANDWICH

I’m hungry, I’m surrounded by idiotic talking sandwiches and I can’t publicly eat a single one. This must be how Edward Cullen feels. Until next week, this is Unkiedev, the King of the magical land of Sandwichia urging you to eat every sandwich you see. The life you save could be your own.

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FIGHT!

Logic assures that there can be Good comic books which do not contain fight scenes, but emotion would remind you that fight scenes are incredible awesome. Here at Forbidden Planet we want you, the comic book buying populous, to get in on all that the genre has to offer. Today we shall recommend a few tantalizing comics of the FIGHTING genre to whet the appetite for violence.

If these books inspire the youth of America to disassemble into full scale riot, then we have all done our jobs.

FIGHT!

I recommend you start off slowly. Pick up some almost ANYTHING by old Jack Kirby, especially his early Fantastic Four. As an appetizer, try some Savage Dragon, Invincible. Then start spiking your violence intake with some horror, maybe Hack/Slash. Now let’s begin in earnest to learn the art of fighting.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a catchy, yet descriptive, name for a comic which hid some of the best fight sequences of the eighties. While Marvel and DC where still just showing buffoons punching each other in the face or gut, the turtles were choreographing fight sequences detailed to feints and blocks. Pick up some of the classic Turtle books, ESPECIALLY the Return to New York saga.

DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, Frank Miller (W/A), DC

When picking the single greatest fight in comics, Dark Knight Returns Batman vs Superman is a strong contender.  If you haven’t read this book, do so now. Frank Miller may be a crazy misogynist homophobe who believes that “Might Makes Right,” but that is precisely the kind of kook you want writing violent comic books. Don’t get me wrong, Miller is as bad as his worst critics say, but his twisted belief in his limited moral compass makes for spectacular fights. Sin City, Wolverine, 300, Holy Terror, all flawed masterworks of brilliant brutality. Speaking of Miller’s other works:

HARD BOILED, Frank Miller (W), Geof Darrow (A), Dark Horse

Miller and Darrow won the 1991 Best writer/artist team Eisner for this baby, and I think that was a very nice bone for the committee to throw Frank’s way. It’s like saying Dolly Parton had nice ankles.

There is a plot to Hard Boiled, something about robots and insurance, but I can’t remember it to save my life. I do remember pages of gut churning fights between robots, humans and mutant freaks the likes of which have never been topped.

Hard Boiled is the most brutal fighting in comics, and Geof Darrow is the most brutal artist in comics. Darrow can draw metal squishing human face flesh into hamburger meat better than any man alive, which is why he was picked as the lead designer on the Matrix films.

Start here to see the craziest, grossest fights you can, and then if you ain’t sickened, go grab Darrow’s other works such as Shaolin Cowboy and Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot.

MORE MORE!

Ah Crap, I’m running out of room. Kick-Ass is a great punch em’ up, as are its sequels and spin offs. Michael Avon Oeming draws some pretty fair dust ups in the pages of Powers. Both Civil War and Secret Invasion have some nice full-scale skirmishes.

Although, really, so does most of the stuff you can buy here. GO VIOLENCE!

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Valentine’s Day Shopping Help Part 1 FPNYC 2013 Bestsellers

Valen’s Day is coming up, and for those of you still stuck for a gift for the geek in your life (and for those of you interested in Forbidden Planet sales… stalkers) here’s a quick rundown of what’s hot and popular in the shop so far this year.  The following are FPNYC’s best-selling items in terms of quantity for their respective departments for the dates covering January 1st through February 10th, 2013.

Follow the links for more details.  Who knows?  Mebbe something on the list below will inspire you.

Graphic Novels

  1. Saga Volume 1
  2. Adventure Time Volume 1
  3. Fables Volume 18
  4. Walking Dead Volume 1
  5. One Trick Ripoff/Deep Cuts HC

boom volume 1 tp adventure time

Art Books and Novels

  1. Legend of Zelda Hyrule Historia HC
  2. World War Z TP
  3. Walking Dead TP Rise of the Governor
  4. Marvel Encyclopedia HC
  5. Gun Machine HC

Blind Box/Box Toys

  1. Star Wars Angry Birds Mystery Bags Wave 1
  2. Dunny Series 2012
  3. Persona 4: The Animation GCC Mini-Figures
  4. Tokidoki Unicorn Blind Box Series 1 (temporarily unavailable)
  5. Living Dead Doll Blind Box Series 2

mystery bags toys

Other Gifty Stuff

  1. MtG Gatecrash Booster Packs
  2. Doctor Who Disappearing Tardis Mug
  3. Heroclix Amazing Spider-Man Boosters
  4. Marvel Select Barbarian Hulk
  5. Doctor Who TARDIS Tin Tote Gift Set
  6. Oh! And anything Sailor Moon!

Doctor Who SDCC Tardis tin tote gift set Biff Pow

…Just a small sampling of what we have to offer, but hopefully this list will plant some seeds and be of some service.  Whatever you do this February 14th, and no matter with whom you spend it (even if you’re flying solo), have fun and enjoy!

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