IRON MAN HOUR: Hannah Meets The Mechanic in Iron Man 3

The first Iron Man movie landed like a bomb blast in my personal pop culture universe, making me believe that superhero films could find their own voice while forming a dialogue with comics. Strict adaptations hadn’t been that great in the past and there needed to be another approach, one that had a deeper understanding of heroes in films in terms of visual film language including pacing and dialogue.Iron Man I was a big fan and it made me start taking superheroes in other forms of pop culture aside from comics seriously.

Iron Man 2 did not disappoint me, though I heard mixed reactions from friends and fans. I liked seeing Tony Stark’s troubled personality popping up again- becoming a hero doesn’t solve everything, and it was believable that he’d go off the rails and find himself ill equipped to handle the stress of becoming a good guy rather than just an ego maniac.tumblr_l9bc9479S81qcx2po I was also very happy with the idea that Stark had developed a new element as an energy source because this suggested he could really change the world as a form of self-serving and society-serving hero.

[*Spoilers Below!]

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On the Scene: Pros Wrestle with Tony Stark’s Appeal in ‘Iron Man at 50′ Event

The fact that both the Iron Man character and the Avengers team has reached their 50th anniversary since creation hasn’t received a lot of attention in the press, and this could be because the immense success of the IRON MAN and AVENGERS films means that the powers that be don’t particularly want the public to be reminded of the age of these characters. As Danny Fingeroth said, introducing the Comic Book Round Table event celebrating this milestone, Iron Man and the Avengers have created a “tremendous legacy” but are also now “really old”.  But the trick is, of course, to celebrate the hero and the team not only for their longevity but also for their dynamic ongoing appeal. In many ways, both Iron Man and the Avengers are bigger than they have ever been.

IMG_5537The reflection on this legacy was hosted by former Marvel editor and author Danny Fingeroth (who has also written IRON MAN and AVENGERS comics), and he was joined by distinguished guests Denny O’Neil (IRON MAN writer, BATMAN writer and editor), Marie Javins (former Marvel editor and colorist as well as author of the recently released IRON MAN: EXTREMIS prose novel based on the Warren Ellis/Adi Granov miniseries), Stuart Moore (former IRON MAN writer and co-writer with Javins of the recently released ART OF IRON MAN 3), and Keith DeCandido (editor of Iron Man prose novels). Author of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN for its run of 60 issues, Matt Fraction, also took part in the discussion via video link from his home in Oregon at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art on May 1st.

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Matt Fraction Says Iron Man 3 is as Big as The Avengers!

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Matt Fraction skyped in to celebrate Iron Man’s 50th anniversary at a Comic Book Round Table event held at John Ordover’s Soho Gallery for Digital Art in New York on Wednesday night, and provided some heartfelt insights into the way in which the armored playboy has drastically changed Fraction’s own life. Along the way, he gave his thoughts on the past Iron Man films and gushed about the preview of Iron Man 3 which he had just seen the previous evening. Fraction and Salvador Larocca’s INVINCIBLE IRON MAN comics title, which had some close affinities to the characterization and ethos of the Iron Man films, also displays some of Fraction’s most personal feelings about the character, he said. He had “empathy” and “fascination” with the character for many reasons, not least of which was his own battle with addiction and alcoholism and living “in recovery”, he said frankly. Fraction explained that writing Tony Stark felt like “my own history”. Another motive was at work, as well, in luring him to writing the Iron Man title. “I love getting characters people hate, finding a reason to love them, and making people love them”, he declared, and considers his “mission accomplished”.

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Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman to write for Da Vinci’s Demons

David S. Goyer’s Starz TV series Da Vinci’s Demons has recently been confirmed as getting a second season, which has led the writer to bring in some new writers for his staff – namely, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman, two of Marvel’s top writers. There’s long been a connection between TV and comics – Geoff Johns has written for Smallville and Arrow, and numerous TV writers including Ben Acker & Ben Blacker, Zeb Wells and Christos Gage have jumped onto comics over the years.

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And now that continues, as Goyer revealed on his website today. Congratulations to all! The pair will be co-writing two episodes of the next season. This isn’t the first time Jonathan Hickman has written about Da Vinci, and it isn’t the first time Matt Fraction has written about boobs. So both should fit in perfectly!

The Blue Ear Triumphantly Returns to Marvel Comics

Last year, Marvel received a letter from the mother of a young fan, Anthony Smith, who had hearing difficulties, and had been told by doctors that he would require a hearing aid. The mother was wondering if there were any heroes who had ever had hearing difficulties, who might serve as the inspiring spark for Anthony to accept the hearing device.

On getting the letter, editor Bill Rosemann not only pointed her to Hawkeye, who has in the past suffered from hearing problems, but also spread the letter to the Marvel offices.

And that’s what led Marvel to create a new character called The Blue Ear, who doesn’t let his hearing problems stop him from saving the day. Created with Marvel staffers Manny Mederos and Nelson Ribeiro, the character is based on Anthony himself. You can read Blue Ear’s origin story in my original post announcing the character,

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Mini Marvels: Hawkeye #8 – My Bad Penny

Hey bro. Bro! You reading Hawkguy bro? Missin’ out bro.

Hawkeye #8

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Review: Hawkeye #7 – Don’t Say The ‘B-Word’

I’m not saying it! I don’t think I’ve seen a single review of Matt Fraction’s superhero-free series which hasn’t eagerly slipped in at least seventeen b-words inbetween sentences. We’re better than that here at T’Beat, promise. The most recent issue of Marvel’s new most-praised book was a fill-in issue brought about at the last minute by Fraction himself. After the experience America went through last year during Hurricane Sandy, he decided he was determined that something should be done to keep it in memory, and address how people got through the event. And so he drafted in two of his favourite artists, added two new white hairs to Steve Wacker’s head (which he calls Jaye and Kurt), and wrote this issue.

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Marvel Now: Everything is Annotated

One of the more interesting aspects of Marvel’s relaunch is how involved some of the creators have been in discussing their craft with fans. While Jonathan Hickman’s formspring account has been pinging away daily with fresh questions from Namor and Black Panther shippers, several other writers have set up frequent ‘annotations’ after the release of each issue. It’s rather interesting, if you’ll permit me to slip into British excitement. Rather sodding well interesting indeed, chaps. I’ll briefly run through the various writers and books you can catch up on, as a quick Sunday treat:

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Hawkeye #7 has guest artists and benefits Sandy relief

Hawkeye 7 Cover

HAWKEYE #7 sports a stylish cover by David Aja but the insides are by two other stylists—Steve Lieber and Jesse Hamm—in a story that features Clint Barton and his protegé Kate Bishop helping victims of a superstorm on the East Coast. If it sounds familiar, it should be—the issue was put together at a feverish pace after the events of real-life Hurricane Sandy. And as writer Matt Fraction reveals in the video below from MTV Geek, he’ll be donating his royalties from the issue to the American Red Cross. So make sure to buy a bunch of copies.

Aja returns in issue #8.

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“The Disappointed Optimist”, A Review of Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts

by Glen Downey

Just over an hour into Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts, the charismatic chain-smoking troubadour of transhumanism observes that he isn’t—as some have suggested—a cynic: “I think it might be truer,” he says with a grin, “to think of myself as just a constantly disappointed optimist.” But Ellis’ true feelings about the human condition, as Garth Ennis observes, are more sincere and more profoundly endearing than even this: “What he’s saying is: `Why don’t we dare to hope that we might make it?’”

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Image at NYCC: New books from Gillen, McCann, Hickman, Asmus, Fraction, Chaykin, Diggle…..

Image have yet again taken to the stage at a major convention and revealed a number of high-profile titles, this time offering new books from Kieron Gillen and Ryan Kelly, Andy Diggle and Jock, Jim McCann and Janet K. Lee, as well as a number of other writers and artists. Let’s run through them all, while at the same time thinking about how dreamy Eric Stephenson is. Images will be updated as they hit the net:

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The Marvel NOW! Comic Parade

By Steve Morris

It’s been a hectic week for Marvel, not least because they’ve spent the past seven days batting aside my probing questions about the possibility of an ongoing Pixie solo series come November. But Pink-Haired Welsh Fairies aside, Marvel have now confirmed eleven of their apparent twenty relaunched/new ongoing titles for their rebranding, and this week saw confirmation interviews with eight of the creative teams. Here’s what was announced from the company:
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Marvel Showcase Fraction's Fantastic Four and FF – But Defenders is Cancelled

By Steve Morris

Marvel have spent this week showing off shiny covers for their Marvel NOOOWWWWWW!!! rebranding, and I’ll gather them all together at the end of the week (Friday, just so you know) for you to look into. But USA Today have today revealed the first cover for Matt Fraction and Mike Allred’s ‘FF’ series and, well…

So the book is heading in a radically new direction, you can see. Not only does the focus seem to have moved away from the students enrolled at Reed Richards’ ‘Future Foundation’, but it’s moved towards Ant Man, Medusa, She-Hulk, and… a woman wearing a Thing costume.

This sounds like exactly the kind of project which would play to Fraction and Allred. Apparently the new female character is called ‘Miss Thing’, which means she’ll likely become an instant fan-favourite amongst camp people. And can you even imagine how exciting the world is, now that we know Mike Allred is going to be drawing She-Hulk EVERY MONTH? These are golden times.

Over on the Fraction/Mark Bagley Fantastic Four title, it looks like Valeria and Franklin Richards are going to head back to their family for some cosmic adventuring, too. Fraction seems set on making this a big adventure series, with all six members of the Fantastic Four back together in the same book.

Now for the sad news. The article also confirms that Fraction’s Defenders – which had a massive decline in sales figures – will be concluding with issue #12 in November. From one She-Hulk to another, and one team to two teams. Sad to see the book go, but it’ll be interesting to see what this means for Marvel’s lineup next year. Will Dr Strange or Iron Fist show up somewhere else, now? Is this the last time we’ll get to see a Defenders title?

Fraction, Bagley and Allred are on the Fantastic Four

The final teaser image for Marvel’s week of NOW! has gone up on the USA Today’s website, revealing that Matt Fraction will be writing a relaunch of both Fantastic Four and the FF. Joining him will be Mark Bagley and Mike Allred.

Bagley will draw the Fantastic Four series while Mike Allred will draw FF, which follows the ‘Future Foundation’ school set up by Reed Richards during Jonathan Hickman’s soon-concluding run with the team. MIKE! ALLRED! Dunno about you, but I always feel a compulsion to shout his name out like a cheerleader and wave my pom-poms.

This will be slightly worrying for fans of Bagley’s Icon series ‘Brilliant’, as there’s no word yet on if this announcement will affect the shipping of the book/mean the book has been cancelled. It does mean, however, that Marvel aren’t going to rename the team ‘The Uncanny Fantastic Four’ or ‘FF Avengers’. So there’s another trend bucked by the First Family of Comics!

The teaser image above only relates to FF, I know. USA Today say they have the second one, so we’re just going to have to trust them until they decide to actually put it online. You wouldn’t have had this delay if you’d just sent the image to us, Marvel!

This means we now have confirmation for Uncanny Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, Fantastic Four, FF, Thor, Deadpool, and All-New X-Men as part of Marvel NOW! That’s half the books, with another half yet to be announced. Anyone for a solo PIXIE series? Time to make some noise if there is! Let’s lead a charge! Get your pom-poms out.

Advance Review: Hawkeye #1

By Steve Morris

Hawkeye’s appeal is, as Matt Fraction nails immediately in issue #1 of his new series starring the character, that he is the ‘normal’ Avenger. He doesn’t have any powers, only his skill with a bow and willingness to commit to a full gym schedule. However, for the past ten years his main characterisation has been ‘bit of a dick’, and that’s also something Fraction nails, for better or worse.

Hawkeye #1 is a strong issue both in terms of writing and (this will be a shock to no-one) David Aja’s art. Aja has long been one of the smartest and most creative artists in the industry, whose storytelling is without comparison. He excels here once more, with a series of scenes which could’ve looked utterly boring, but are instead visually intricate and fascinating. There are a lot of conversational scenes here, with Hawkeye barely in costume, and yet Aja manages to create diverse panels, laid out in a manner which enhances every scene.

The fight scenes are chaos when they need to be, and yet still filled with details – check the line he draws for Hawkeye’s deft flick of a playing card, which flies straight to the throat of a mafia goon from the fingers. It’s a tiny detail which builds on the rest of the panel, and yet draws all the attention. While Aja’s Clint Barton does look a little like Danny Rand with lighter-hair, his body-language and fighting style are noticeably different.

Also, he draws a lot of puppy-dogs. I know this will be a draw for many of you.

Fraction’s script reads like a Tarantino film, as it features a non-linear timeline and a small-scale look at crime in the Marvel Universe. This works for the most part, although some of the verbal tics – like a gangster who keeps punctuating his speech with ‘bro’ – are a little irritating. There’s also a lot of blanked-out swearing, which has always served to take me out of a story in the past. It just looks silly, and takes a lot of threat out of the villains who use it.

The rest of the dialogue is pretty decent, but the narration is the main driving force of the story, here. Cutting between scenes rapidly and with some great twists, Hawkeye’s narration punctuates the shifting time-line and strengthens the issue. We see Hawkeye act like a complete dick for almost the entire issue (in classic Hawkeye fashion) but his narration is blind to just how annoying he is. There’s a very interesting disconnect at play here – whether it will be explored in future issues is, however, up for debate.

Much like the previous Captain Marvel #1, this issue is very much a one-shot story which doesn’t give us much of an idea about the overall narrative Fraction wants to put in place, here. Marvel do seem to be concerned with establishing their characters by having them take part in a single, wrapped up story, which gives them some definition but doesn’t establish the ongoing threat. Here again we have Hawkeye dealing with some small-scale threats, but we see him more as Clint Barton than as an Avenger. Once the story wraps up, there’s no idea what we might have coming next, and readers looking for big superhero feats are going to be disappointed.

I don’t know if this structuring idea will pay off for Marvel – it feels like it may lead some people to drop the series, having enjoyed a concluded story with no cliff-hanger or ongoing mystery to bring them to issue 2 – but it does help build some structure back onto Clint Barton, as a personality.

As a character study for the guy who has spent the last ten years shouting randomly, swearing at people, and having sex with whichever female Avenger shows up next, it’s a much-needed story. As HAWKEYE 1, it’s perhaps a little lacking. But it’s a confident piece, which may well grow into something deeper as the series continues. Much like Captain Marvel #1, really. These are books which won’t be characterised until we’ve seen their first arcs conclude, and it’s hard to grasp them with just this one issue.

On the basis of this first issue, however, Fraction’s run looks like it’s going to be a fun, unpredictable ride, which handles the Marvel Universe from a perspective which we haven’t seen before.

SDCC 2012 Image Announce Even More Comics Than You Could Ever Believe

What have Image got to offer us? Y’know, on top of EVERYTHING ELSE they’ve been offering us this year? Here’s a look at the books announced tonight at their SDCC panel. I’ll throw some pictures at the bottom, but let’s just try and get a hang on just what’s being announced! They are announcing TONNES OF COMICS. I’ll re-update this with new pictures and info as soon as possible, folks.

So far we have:

Non-Humans - Whilce Portacio and Glen Brunswick

Nowhere Men – Eric Stephenson

Satellite Sam - Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin.

A murder mystery set in the world of children’s television.

Pretty Deadly - KellySue DeConnick and Emma Rios

A spaghetti western in classic style

Multiple Warheads – Brandon Graham

Saviour - James Robinson and J. Bone

About an alien invasion of earth by shapeshifters, and a stoner’s attempts to stop them

Sex - Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski

The Bounce – Joe Casey and David Messina

Lazarus – Greg Rucka and Michael Lark

Gritty sci-fi thriller set in a dystopian future

Reign – Chris Roberson and Paul Mayberry

Oliver – Darick Robertson and Gary Whitta

Point of Impact – Jay Faerber

Great Pacific – Joe Harris