What’s coming up (in May)

Well, the mystery of why Marvel wasn’t a big part of the previous Previews was solved.  Of course, I’m sure if I had looked carefully I would have been able to glean the information from said Previews.  Or I could have researched it online.  The internet has everything you know, including this!
Secret Wars is huge!  I mean, it’s all over the cover and then runs rampant throughout the entire magazine.  This is it.  The next big thing.  Everything will change, except a few things, and then everything will change again later.  At least, that’s the expectation of everyone on the internet.  I think that it could be cool, but will probably be bogged down by stuff.  I’d like to believe, but when it comes to comic books, I’m a bit of an agnostic.

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So it appears to be the regular Marvel Universe is going to be colliding with the Ultimate Universe and NEITHER WILL SURVIVE!

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There’s some preview art, including sad Apocalypse.
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I learned a lot about this event from the magazine and here’s what I can piece together.
With universes colliding, all the different versions of characters are getting thrown together in the “battleworlds” to fight until there is one left standing.  (There can only be one Highlander, I mean, Black Knight.  Oh man, I hope Martin Laurence is in there as an alternate version of Dane Whitman.)  After the battles conclude, a new Universe will emerge featuring the champion characters.  I’m probably far off, but hey, weirder things have happened.
I like the look of Secret Wars: Battleworld #1.  I mean, how could I not?

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Two other great old(er) stories are making re-appearances.  Infinity Gauntlet (maybe tied to the movies?) and Old Man Logan, both of which I loved.
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I might have to check out the Old Man, but Infinity doesn’t quite have that Starlin feel to it, which I feel is a big part of the story.  image
Then, there is Secret Wars 2099, which is, of course, my jam.  But it better have Ravage.

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M.O.D.O.K. also has his own series going on.  It’s only a 5-part story, so that might be worth checking out.
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Howard the Duck is mentioned, and oddly it includes preview art of issue 1.  I say “oddly” because the pages it gives away for free include the last page of issue 1.  Very odd.  Speaking of odd, did you know Night Nurse is getting her own nod.  Super-sized-one-shot-nod.  For $8.  Are you kidding?
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In the hardcover/collected edition section, there is a good selection of Ant-Man stuff, just in time for the movie and Raoul Pudd’s rise to superhero stardom.  Some Daredevil, since Netflix is looking to do better than Affleck did.  But nothing back there really draws me to it.
Overall, there is a lot of stuff Marvel puts out that I just don’t know or care about anymore.  It’s kind of sad, because I used to love the whole connected universe.   It makes me wonder how big of an impact the people in charge are willing to let Secret Wars have, given that there are so many ongoing titles that would be affected by a giant-sized reboot.
There were a lot of things that I am interested in, though I don’t know if I’m willing to commit money to them.  I also noticed that Deadpool wasn’t featured quite so prominently as he has been in the past.  Perhaps his popularity has waned enough that there won’t be three new mini-series announced each quarter.

So that’s it for Marvel in May.  Of course I skipped a lot, so if you’re really interested in more, I apologize, but it seemed boring.  Good-bye and good reading from your home for giant-sized comic stuff.

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WIP What If Podcast Ep 22 – Age of Vision on YouTube

The video is up for the What If Podcast episode 22, discussing Age of Ultron, Vision, Daredevil, and the future of 2013!

The WIP is featured on theslimjames.com/wip

As well as iTunes:
http://tiny.cc/wipit

Stitcher:
http://tiny.cc/wipst

Blubrry:
http://tiny.cc/wipbb

Vimeo:
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WIP Wrestling Is Podcast Bonus Episode on YouTube

The What If Podcast discusses WrestleMania 31 as I try to explain to them what wrestling has become in the last 10 years. All your favorite stars will be there: Eddie Guerrero! Chris Benoit! And we’ll ask: In a 16-on-1 handicap pitting Sunday Night Heat vs John Cena, who has the handicap?

The WIP is featured on theslimjames.com/wip

As well as iTunes:
http://tiny.cc/wipit

Stitcher:
http://tiny.cc/wipst

Blubrry:
http://tiny.cc/wipbb

Vimeo:
http://tiny.cc/wipvm

What’s coming up (in April)

As another new feature for the site, we are going to try to being you some looks at comics that are coming out in the future!  I know, I know, it’s amazing.  It’s also a drastic change from what we usually do, which is look at comics that came out in the past, with a heavier emphasis on those from the 90s.

Here we are in March, so it’s time to look at April!  It was so nice of my LCS (that’s Local Comic Shop for anyone who’s wondering) to be giving away the Previews for free!  Typically you have to pay.  Oh, so nice.

It’s a thick volume, and I am, by no means, going to go through the entire thing, page by page.  Instead, I have read through it and tried to pull out the things that stood out to me.  I know I may have missed some things, but hopefully this will get you excited about something.

As we begin, I should note that this volume came out last month, so perhaps I’ll even do another in a week or two.  For February, (aka Black History Month) there was a collection of comic book covers that first featured black superheroes.  Pretty neat to look at.  I will also point out, that as this was my first time really looking through the entire volume, I did not realize that it was in fact like a real magazine, and not just a collection of previews.  There are articles, interviews, lists, and all those great things that make a magazine work.  For instance, there was the top 100-selling comics list of a given month.  I had no idea that Image comics held such a small percentage of that.  The had a comic in at numbers 12, 41, 50, and maybe two more spots.  All the rest seemed to be Marvel and DC.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I did think that Image was slightly bigger than that.

Free Comic Book Day news!  This got me excited.  There are two Gold level free comics that I desperately want.  The first is the Fight Club.  I have always been a fan of Fight Club, both in it’s original form as a novel, and the surprisingly-great film adaptation.  I have been looking forward to this new series since I heard it announced, and will try my best to get a copy.  The other one was Bob’s Burgers, which you may remember from past articles, is a great cartoon show that is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

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Dark Horse comes up next, and a couple of things caught my eye.  The Massive looks pretty cool.  Then I saw Archie vs. Predator. Really?  I was never big into Archie and I honestly haven’t read any of the many crossovers, (Kiss, Punisher) but come on.  What is this? Last thing that made me pause was The Strain.  My wife loves the books, and she and I both have enjoyed the show, so this might be worth checking out.  Of course, last time I got her a comic (True Blood) she wasn’t too impressed.

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There’s a big DC event coming up.  I have never been much into DC comics, so this is all new stuff to me.  Convergence?  Isn’t that similar to what is going to be happening at Marvel?  All the universes are coming together?  Who did it first?  I don’t know.  Either way, smells like another reboot.

Vertigo has SFX coming out which looks like sound effects as a comic.  Cool idea, and I would be interested in seeing how it works.

IDW still does Disney comics?  I would have thought that would all be over at Marvel now.  A lot of stuff looks hardcore mediocre, but there is an Edward Scissorhands comic, and that’s cool with me.

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Image always has a lot of cool things going on.  It seems like a lot of small limited series, but that’s fine with me. Stories do not need to go on forever, (I’m looking at you DC and Marvel).  Savior, Kaptara, and No Mercy all look intriguing. Hickman has another series, The Dying and the Dead.  I always enjoy his work, so maybe I’ll check that out.  More Luther Strode, which is one of those books that I have heard good things about, but never tried myself.  Walking Dead and Saga are still going on, which is nice to see.  But most importantly, from Image, is God Hates Astronauts.  If you have never read this comic, you are missing out.  Go do it now.

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Marvel doesn’t have much in this volume, but does have a small teaser for Ultron Forever #1 which looks like yet another alternate future, and also Uncanny Inhumans, which I would be more interested in.

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Also, appearing several times in this issue, there is an ad for a Deadpool head Jello mold.  Over and over I saw this, and every time I chucked to myself because down in the corner, you can see that they also offer Spider-Man.  Never did I, a child of the 90s, think that Spider-Man would be shoved down in the corner as an aside, instead of being the main focus of anything.

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As we keep moving on, the picking become a little more scarce.  I see Jungle Girl, which is just Shanna.  I mean, come on.  It’s Frank Cho drawing an Amazon-type blonde wearing a loin cloth bikini and carrying a spear?  As an aside, I once heard he originally had Shanna being completely nude, but Marvel wasn’t down with that.image

Then I saw Rick & Morty.  Have you ever seen this show?  I have, but I still don’t know the best way to describe it.  I fully admit that I haven’t watched more than 2 or 3 episodes, but I got a vibe.  The vibe was that it was going to be big.  How big?  At least comic form.  To me, the show is Doctor Who meets Family Guy.  Good enough for me.

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Towards the very back, we start to see some non-comic merch, including regular books.  Oh, no!  Books without pictures?  How will the masses manage?  Well, the book in question just happens to be the latest installment of the Shakespearean Star Wars.  I have never read any of these, but it is only because I never see the books for sale where I go, and my Amazon wish list is already miles long.

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And last, but certainly not least, I feel I must mention the wonderful Jay and Silent Bob swag.  Bluntman hat?  Yes, please.  Jay and Silent Bob Monopoly?  Hell, yes.  Buddy Christ?  Well, why not.

 

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That wraps it us for us this month.  Next time I get some free Previews, I’ll be sure to share them with you again.  Until then, look to the sea, reflections of the waves will spark your memories.

Spider-Gwen #1 – A Review

I admit it. I got sucked in by the hype. My Facebook feed and the comic sites I visit were all hyping “Spider-Gwen #1”. It’s Gwen Stacy, as Spider-(Wo)Man! Holy moley!

I don’t read too many new comics, but I always have a soft spot for Spider-Man and all things related, and compounding that was how much my girlfriend prefers Gwen Stacy over Mary Jane (based on their characters in the movies) and the fact that Jason Latour will be appearing at the Boston Comic Con this year, so there’s potential for some sweet signage on my issue. With those facets in mind, and with a gift card to Newbury Comics paying for all of it, I decided to take the dive and pick up Spider-Gwen #1.

Would I opt for the regular cover, or spend $2 more on a Newbury Comics-exclusive variant? Well, I liked the regular cover better, so that combined with the sweet taste of savings had me going the standard route. Sometimes covers feel less “monumental” and “iconic” than those of years passed, and it could be because they haven’t been put through the filter of nostalgia yet, but the bold colors, sharp contrasts, and simple pose on Spider-Gwen #1 spoke to me more than a lot of other covers I’ve seen in recent memory (standard cover Amazing Spider-Man #1, I’m looking at you).

The interior art is great, bringing a sense of energy to the whole affair and working in a “cooler” color palette that could help this book stand out on its own. The character design of Spider-Gwen is great, using the familiar Spider-Man elements and bringing some uniqueness to the table without being too cute about the whole thing and looking corny or overdone.

The writing is what sold me on it, as Spider-Gwen brings some of the things I love about Spider-Man into a modern setting. Spider-Gwen’s got jokes and it really feels like a classic Spider-Man tale of yore as she takes on The Vulture in the first issue. Spider-Gwen also has to deal with being spurned by public opinion, as any good Spider-person has to, and deal with the very much alive Captain Stacy, which brings up something I always want to see more of: superheroes having to deal with their parents. It seems too convenient that most classic heroes were orphans (Superman, Batman, Captain America [at least according to the movie], Spider-Man) so actually seeing a heroine have to deal with a parent is refreshing. My only nitpick might be about the MaryJanes sub-plot, if only because most fictional takes on the “meteoric rise of a band” ring false to me, mostly because I’m jaded and think any band that plays instruments isn’t allowed to be famous anymore. That said, the actual story elements of layering Gwen Stacy’s Spider-Woman problems on top of band strife is unique, and it does serve to underscore what my girlfriend has thought this entire time: Mary Jane is an egotist and Gwen Stacy is far better. In that respect, I’ll give it a pass.

My other quibble would be with the alternate-universe trope of “look what these characters are doing in this universe” popping up in the form of Ben Grimm and Frank Castle involved in the police force, but that’s very much in the background and probably more a result of me reading too many “What If?”s and seeing it over and over again.

Overall, I give Spider-Gwen #1 an A-minus. The comedy is sharp, the plot elements are intriguing, and the modernity of the entire thing doesn’t feel forced. Give it a read!