Tagged: spider-man

Spider-Men II Brings Answers To Miles Morales Mystery!

Marvel is finally making good on its tease from five years ago. Five years, in comic book terms that’s not the craziest amount of time to wait for a payoff. Spider-Men II #1 is fixing to answer the question from its previous series: Who is the Miles Morales of the Marvel Universe? Brian Michael Bendis is back helming this sequel bringing together the Spider-Men you know and love.

In 2012, Marvel did what they’d sworn to never do: crafted a crossover featuring characters from the Ultimate and 616 worlds. The Peter Parker, Amazing Spider-Man merry Marvelers have been reading since the swinging sixties journeyed to a world where he’d been killed. His replacement in the Ultimate Universe? Miles Morales. A kid with powers and the Spider-Man mantle who was in need of some guidance from Peter. They had a heck of a time. Fans and critics raved over the event. At the end of Spider-Men, Peter came home and looked up Miles in his world. The reaction on his face has taunted Spidey fans for five years. Now, with Miles Morales of the Ultimate Universe permanently calling the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe home, we will learn what shocked Peter Parker. And, according to solicits, “…that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

Bendis will be joined again by Sara Pichelli. This team has helmed some of Miles’ greatest adventures to date. The fan-favorite neighborhood Spider-Man is going to team up with Peter once again for what should be a gorgeous looking journey.

This sequel was a certainty. Hence, Spider-Men II. With the first storied team-up taking place in the Ultimate Universe it only made sense this follow up would take place in Peter’s homeworld. The question we’re going to have to weigh is, “Has it been worth the wait?” The Marvel Universe is a very different place. Miles and Peter’s relationship has been completely overhauled. Will Spider-Men II be able to do what Marvel has struggled with its events of recent years: Deliver!

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Here Comes the Spider-Man. Again.

Spider-Man! Spider-Man! Spider-Man! Every eight or nine months or so, the Spider-Man film franchise is rebooted from scratch to the absolute delight of everyone everywhere, without exception. Spider-Man: Homecoming is the latest installment, and wow does it look spectacular. If you’re anything like me, and we’ll assume you are so we can keep talking about Spider-Man, all the recent buzz has given you an insatiable itch for all things Webhead. But you don’t want one of those boring stories with just one Spider-Man; moderation is for Ant-Man fans. You want to indulge. We feel the same way, dear reader, and with that in mind we’ve put together a list of some of the most indulgent Spider-Man books in recent memory.

Spider-Island: There have been many, many crescendos during Dan Slott’s tenure on Amazing Spider-Man, but this book was the first. In it, the entire population of Manhattan is infected with a virus that grants them spider powers, giving them the perfect simulation of what it’s like to be Spider-Man. And by that, I mean things go great, and then they go terrible and life becomes a dumpster fire. Slott uses this premise as an opportunity to examine Spidey’s value as hero. What makes Peter Parker unique in a world full of people just like him? It’s a great dissection of the character’s relationship with the city he serves, and at times it becomes less of a Spider-Man story and more of a New York story. It takes full advantage of all Manhattan has to offer in terms of backdrop, and uses several major landmarks as prominent set pieces. One sequence features nearly every New York superhero charging into a colossal battle that tears its way through our very own Union Square Park, which I kind of remember now that I think about it. But perhaps the most compelling selling point I can present you with for this book is that starting in the first issue, Spider-Man learns and practices martial arts. If Spider-Man doing karate isn’t everything you’ve been waiting your entire life for, then you are lying, because yes it is, liar.

You’ve probably already gathered as much, but this book has a pretty blatant recurring motif, and that motif is spiders. Spidey has spawned a number of offshoot spider-themed allies over the years: Venom, Madame Webb, Araña, and the like. There’s a whole catalogue of characters to pull from, and just about all of them make an appearance here. And I haven’t even mentioned all the human-spider hybrid monsters! If you are at all arachnophobic, you might want to sit this one out. Also, that spider on your leg is huge.

Longtime readers will be interested to learn that Spider-Island technically serves as a belated follow-up to a story from Paul Jenkins’ stint on the character in the early 2000’s. But if you’ve been out of the loop, rest assured; it’s greatly rewarding for some, safe to read for all.

Spider-Men: When Spider-Man accidentally fell through a hole in time and space to the Ultimate Universe, I bet he was dreading the inevitable confrontation he would have to have with his alternate, Ultimate self. Those are always so awkward. Luckily, that universe’s Peter Parker died tragically in the prime of his young life. Phew! Instead, he bumped into the new kid. Enter Miles Morales, the plucky young man who stepped into the tight, webbed booties when the world needed him most. Miles has become a Marvel mainstay in recent years, with a close relationship to Peter Parker, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was a fresh-faced newcomer still learning to swing the proverbial ropes. This was not only the first ever crossover between the main and Ultimate Marvel universes, but it also saw Miles meet his hero and role model for the very first time. Spoiler: he handled it way better than I would have.

Drawn to stylish perfection by Sara Pichelli, Spider-Men is a genuine blast from beginning to end, and is guaranteed to give any fan of the Ultimate Universe a huge kick. That goes especially for fans of the original Ultimate Spider-Man who were heartbroken to see him go. This mini-series offers a lot touching and cathartic moments, as Peter is confronted by a cast of his supporting characters from a world that lost him too soon. Web yourself a hanky, kids–this one’s a tear-jerker.

Spider-Verse: Which alternate universe Spider-Man do you enjoy the most? Is it Spider-Girl of MC2? Spider-Man 2099? Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham? There’s a lot, so it’s always been hard for fans to agree on which is best. But it’ll probably be a little easier now, considering your favorite one was just eaten alive. Yes, you are right to gasp. Someone is traversing the multiverse in search of sweet, delicious Spider-Mans, and they are not picky. It’s going to take the combined might of every Spider-Man in existence to put an end to this sinister smorgasbord. Every. Single. One.

Taking every Spider-Man you’ve ever heard of (and some you haven’t) and squeezing them all onto the same page is obviously impossible, and you will giggle like a child when you see this book do it anyway. Spider-Verse is as big and grand a Spidey story as we will ever get, and when “grand” and “Spider-Man” are your two descriptors, there’s only one hero you can turn to: Olivier Coipel. If there’s anyone out there that still thinks Coipel could manage to draw an image of this character that isn’t gorgeous, this book will put that suspicion in its grave like the twitching carcass of your favorite Spider-Man. He can’t. It’s the one thing he’s unable to do, and believe me, here he is given every opportunity to try — Pig Spider-Man! Wolf Spider-Man! Vampire! Zombie! British! Skip’s wandering eye, that’s a lot of Spider-Mans. Dan Slott is back at the helm for this one, and for anyone who enjoyed his Superior Spider-Man run, there’s a character whose prominent inclusion here you are sure to appreciate. Not possible? I’ll say it again: Every. Single. One.
Renew Your Vows: It’s been ten years, and many of us are still giving the side glance at Marvel’s decision to have Peter Parker pawn off his and Mary Jane’s marriage like a baseball card. To Satan. Really it was just Mephisto, but I couldn’t type that name and pinch the bridge of my nose at the same time. It was kind of criminal, but I think we would all do well to just let it go at this point. Or not; if Spider-Man has taught us anything, it’s what can happen when we let criminals go. Wait–Uncle Lance! NOOOO!

In response to a decade’s worth of quivering lower lips, Marvel has released an ongoing title that answers the question: what if Peter and Mary Jane had stayed together? And had a child? And all three of them fought crime together as an Amazing Spider-Family? The more observant among you will note that that was three questions, but I assure you, genius reader, that the answers to all of them are incredibly endearing. Seeing Spidey embrace his role as a full-fledged family man presents a dynamic that writers have been afraid to tackle for decades, but now we finally know it’s a formula that can work. Vows is such a fun world to play in, and considering it’s basically a “what-if” story, the Marvel Universe it inhabits is surprisingly conventional and free from all the more recent convolutions that have been plaguing the main Marvel U. Volume one is out now, and all it will cost you are your cherished memories of a loved one.

No, it’s $15.99.

The Complete Clone Saga Epic: Mullets! Mullets! Mullets! You didn’t need to use your spider-sense to see this one coming, and even if you had, it wouldn’t have saved you. Read by many and beloved by one (me), the (very) 90’s Clone Saga is a thrilling, winding epic the likes of which has never been matched, before or since! I kid you not, there is no tale in all of fiction as elaborate and convoluted as this one. It’s such a long, involved portion of the character’s history that I get to genuinely say that no Spider-Man collection is complete without it. For years, an editorial battle for Spider-Man’s soul raged on behind the scenes, the bloody results of which are now being lovingly republished into these comprehensive collections.

Peter Parker’s life is collapsing all around him. All his loved ones have either died or revealed themselves to be killer robots, which is always a shame. And then his wife left him, presumably just to see the look on his face. At this, his lowest point, he finds himself face-to-face with the absolute last people he wants to see–Peter Parker, Peter Parker and Peter Parker! This was either the work of someone who hates Spider-Man, or someone who really, really likes him. But no one disliked superheroes in the 90’s more than themselves, so when our hero is confronted with a book club’s worth of himself, it doesn’t take long for things to get ugly.

Clone Saga was a story that more than once pushed the limits of Spider-Man’s sanity, as it will yours, and I can guarantee that you will never, ever predict what the next issue holds. Unless your prediction was ‘more clones,’ in which case you just spoiled the beginning, middle, and end. It was a constant revolving door for all his greatest rogues, and saw the introductions of fan-favorites like Ben Reilly and Kaine, characters that endure to this day (specifically in the pages of Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy and Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider)! Peter Parker may not quite be one of a kind anymore, but The Clone Saga most certainly is.

Read and see for yourself, true believers

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Spider-Man’s Spectacular New Series

Spider-Man gets back to basics!

Over the last couple of years Peter Parker has undergone a makeover of sorts. He hasn’t been the only Spider-Man web slinging around the city. He’s also now the head of a global company called Parker Industries. It’s a little different from the bullied nerd in science class or the photographer scraping together enough to make ends meet. Peter Parker, in a lot of ways, has had a lot of luck going for him once he got his mind and body back as his own. Indeed, the Superior Spider-Man did a lot for Pete and he’s been reaping the benefits of it ever since. This hasn’t been your traditional friendly neighborhood wallcrawler.

Now, from the mind that brought you the recent Howard The Duck romp comes a back to basics approach to ol’ webhead. Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert are a dream team. They’re here to show you that Peter Parker’s as much of a lovable loser as he always was. Even if he’s winning on paper with a high-rise in Manhattan, that doesn’t mean he’s not got the soul of the Spider-Man we all grew up with. Now, this isn’t going to replace the main Amazing ongoing series. Instead, think of Spectacular as a sister series.

Finally, Peter will be back patrolling the neighborhood, grabbing a bite with Johnny Storm, maybe a classic team-up, and dealing with complex romantic debacles. There’ll be old fan favorite foes and some new ones who’ll be looking to build a place amongst the classics. And it’s Chip Zdarsky, so, you know, banter will abound. We gotta have a snarky Spidey!

If you’ve longing for a slightly more familiar status quo for Peter Parker, here’s your new favorite of the three ongoing series with the title, well, you know, in them. As much as things change, some things will always stay the same. Oh, and get your copy signed in-store by the creators tomorrow!

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Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert Spectacular Spider-Man Launch Signing at Forbidden Planet NYC

Head to Forbidden Planet NYC on Wednesday June 21st when our signing guests will be Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals, Howard the Duck) and Adam Kubert (Superman: Last Son, Avengers vs X-Men) to celebrate the release of their new comic Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #1!

Fans are also welcome to bring up three items from their personal collection in addition to any books purchased from Forbidden Planet NYC on the day of our event. There will also be representatives of the CGC on hand if collectors wish to have comics processed through them.

The festivities kick off at 6:00pm. Hope to see you here!

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A Story Three Decades In The Making In Venom #150

Eddie Brock’s Got That Old Familiar Feeling in Venom #150

Venom’s solo series turns 150 this week (although checking the math on how you get to 150 is quite the arithmetic aerobic exercise). With such a milestone for one of the most fan beloved Spider-Man villains of all time, Marvel is going all out with variants galore and most importantly for all of you, dear readers, is that Eddie Brock is back bonded with the Venom symbiote. That’s right, the first, most famous, and some fans may argue the best Venom has returned to web-slinging around New York city again.

It’s been a big year for Venom. Sony’s announced that the solo film is back on and progressing through development. Heck, they even have signed on Tom Hardy to star and Zombieland director,Ruben Fleischer, to helm the project. Eddie Brock is back in the symbiote’s saddle again. Why not throw a big party to reinvigorate one of the great Marvel villains (sometimes anti-hero) and it looks like the House of Ideas is going to do it in pretty grand style.

This will be an anniversary issue with what Marvel’s claiming to be “an oversized and brutal main story” plus there will be  a back up feature from fan-favorite creators David Micheline and Ron Lim. There are still questions out there about how the symbiote parted ways with Flash Thompson, or Agent Venom, and what is to come now that the original Venom, Eddie Brock. Well, this might be a good place to start looking for the answers to some of the most important questions for Venom that have been plaguing fans for too long.

 

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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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