Brian Truitt, knower of all that is right and true in this world, has an interview on USA Today with writer Mark Waid, announcing a new Spider-Man graphic novel called Spider-Man: Family Business. The book, set before Superior Spider-Man, will see Peter Parker learning more about his secret agent parents – as well as find out that he has a sister.
Marvel got on the dog and bone again today, for a conference call around the comics internet – CBR, Newsarama, John Siuntres and others. I was in on the call too, ready to hear all about the new ‘Mighty’ series Marvel have planned for later this year. A team book led by Luke Cage and featuring Blue Marvel, She-Hulk, Power Man (the other, younger one), White Tiger (the new one seen in Avengers Academy) and Superior Spider-Man, the series will be written by Al Ewing and drawn by Greg Land.
Spider-Man is hands down one of the most popular characters ever to leap from the pages of Marvel Comics, and is even a strong contender for one of the most popular comic characters produced by any comics publisher. He’s also displayed a particular trademark flexibility in successfully taking to the silver screen and flourishing through merchandizing. It may come as a surprise that it’s taken this long for a collection of scholarly essays on Spider-Man to make it onto the shelves, but it’s here at last with WEB-SPINNING HEROICS: Critical Essays on the History and Meaning of Spider-Man, edited by Robert Moses Peaslee and Robert G. Weiner, both pillars of the scholarly community when it comes to getting books and essays about comics into print, and colleagues at Texas Tech University. The field of comics scholarship is taking off at colleges and universities world-wide, introducing courses and even degrees in comics studies, prompting a need for texts about comics and models for approaching comics scholarship with attention to detailed analysis, historical context, and solid research methods.
[Dr. Robert Moses Peaslee and Robert G. Weiner. Photo taken by Isaac Villalobos, used courtesy of The Daily Toreador]
Way back in 1993, circa January, Dan Slott was a journeyman comics writer, toiling away writing stories about Marlin T. Höek and Stimpson J. Cat. While the meddlesome meddling of the corporate overlords of Nickelodeon eventually convinced Mr. Slott to explore creative opportunities elsewhere (writing a character with long green hair, for example), he did manage quite a bit of creativity given the restraints.
One such example: The Ren & Stimpy Show #6, featuring Spider-Man subbing for Powdered Toast Man. Why, you ask? Well, since everything has been spoiled by everyone everywhere, I’ll just post the image right below.
banana fanna fo foilers
fee fy mo moilers,
!!! SPOILERS !!!
That’s right… evil mastermind Dan Slott foreshadowed one of the greatest malefactor in heros plots of all time some twenty years ago in a comic book little read by superhero fans. How devious! How crafty! How bloody brilliant! Frankly, this should come as no surprise, as Mr. Slott also wrote the “Ask Dr. Stupid” column in each issue.
Well played, sir.
I have just one question: What role does Mr. Dinkle play in the “Superior” storyline? Any relation to “Mr. Dingle“? (The plot sounds like something from Amazing Fantasy!)
If you wish to read the entire story, and possibly divine other possible plot contrivances, it can be found in the trade paperback collection: The Ren & Stimpy Show: Tastes Like Chicken. Highly recommended, even if you’re not a big fan; Mr. Slott does funny quite well!
Via Midtown Comics, A recent letter from Steve Ditko.
A recent letter from Steve Ditko to one of our customers. He asked Steve what he remembered about designing Spidey’s costume. #ditko #spiderman (at Midtown Comics)
50 years is a long time…and Stan Lee doesn’t remember anything either. The intensely private Ditko has long refused to give interviews about his work at Marvel, and at age 85, perhaps telling people he just doesn’t remember is the best way to lay the whole thing to rest.
While the storyline in the final issue of Amazing Spider-Man has been getting a lot of attention for just who — or what — is wearing the Spider-Man costume, and as a 104-page extravaganza:
While the main storyline sounds exciting enough, so do the backups and Marvel has provided the Beat with an exclusive peek at the van Meter/Buscema tale. It’s always a good time when the Black Cat shows up, and even better when it looks this great.
Celebrate the end of Marvel’s year long celebration of an amazing 50 years featuring the World’s Greatest Super Hero with 104 action-packed pages that when all is said and done, will leave you demanding more! Plus stories by JM DeMatteis & Giuseppe Camuncoli and Jen Van Meter & Stephanie Buscema AND letters answered by Stan Lee! Secrets are revealed, but the twists and turns are not done yet – no fan can miss this!
Confounding those who thought they knew what the identity of the Superior Spider-Man would be, Marvel have announced that top candidate Alpha will be starring instead in his own miniseries next year.
The last day of New York Comic-Con was a day of relative peace and tranquillity, unless you were Dan Slott in which case it was a day of being chased by an angry mob whilst cackling like Machiavelli. It’s the day when people settle down, explore the booths which haven’t sold out, get their final sketches and autographs, and gently sip their last cup of convention coffee. As a result there’s rarely much news coming out from the last day, apart from the final sprinkling of covers.
By Steve Morris
Via that very best of methods: the Dustin Weaver giganti-cover. The covers for issues 1-3 of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers relaunch have been revealed by Marvel today, establishing that more X-Men have moved over to Cap’s Crew. While there are no surprises about which members of the Avengers movie cast made it into the series (all of them), the cover does still hold a few surprises. So! Who’re The Avengers?
By Steve Morris
Fan Expo Canada unfolded across this weekend, bringing all sorts of unwashed comic creators to Toronto. And with them came all sorts of pictures and words which, when assembled into coherent form, will result in exciting and surprising announcements for us all to digest, before experiencing a series of hot sweats. Read on for a handful of the announcements, eh.
Oh c’mon! Everybody enjoys a good pun, and you know you felt a thrill of wordplay-based excitement race down your spine as you read that title. Frankly, I don’t know why we aren’t all punching the air right now in glee.
Dan Slott, who nowadays lives mainly in Spider-Editor Steve Wacker’s dungeon and is only allowed to see natural light once every three months, has been hinting for a while that issue #700 of Amazing Spider-Man will see a momentus moment happen, and so has now started to build up momentum for his momentus moment, as you’ll learn momentarily. After the current battle with lizard which connects over to the release of the Amazing Spider-Man movie, Marvel have revealed that Slott’s next arc on the title will be ‘Alpha’.
In this story, Peter Parker – who is nowadays a scientist, specialising in cycle helmets and inadvertent weaponry – will give a tour to a group of young high-schoolers, who are excited to see his lab. But oh no! Due to the ever-dangerous nature of science, something will go wrong and a young boy called Andy MacGuire will be zapped by SCIENCE RAYS. These rays will give him great power, much like science gave to Peter all those years ago. Were we ever so young?
…Knowing that with great power comes something or other, Peter will take the young Mac under his, uh, web-wings, and try to teach him how to become a responsible superhero in his own right. Titling himself Alpha, Andy will apparently become Spider-Man’s sidekick, for better or worse.
Drawn by Humberto Ramos, this arc will see everything go really smoothly. Or! Andy will prove a liability. One of the two. At any rate, things are certainly escalating as we head towards issue #700…
With HeroesCon now settling into the dusty annals of past history, the time has come for companies to start promoting what will happen at the almost-here-taste-it San Diego Comic-Con. For Marvel, that means some new teasers for whatever will follow their Avengers Vs X-Men event. Two have been released so far, promising lucky readers that the much-hated characters Thor and Wolverine will finally have their uppance come, during a story simply known as ‘War’.
This is likely to be a requiem-style miniseries following on from whatever the aftermath of AvX is, as you can see from the images of Thor’s broken hammer and Wolverine’s hand being…. well, who knows what’s happening in there. Expect a broken Captain America shield within a week, and probably some shredded Spider-Man clothes or something too.
Oh! Maybe this is something to do with that randomly-scheduled Brian Michael Bendis-written finale to the Avengers, Ultron War? That story has been slated to happen for over a year now, and there’s still no sign of it. In that case, expect a teaser image of Luke Cage’s beanie, which was accidentally put in the wash with some colours, and has now stained pink. What horrors. Marvel say that this story, whatever it is, will be announced at the Spider-Man panel during SDCC, on July 15th.
Ultimate Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man are two of Marvel’s most consistent titles, with writers Brian Michael Bendis and Dan Slott respectively putting an incredible amount of energy into two very long-running books which should by rights have become stale and repetitive by now. But while Peter is fully established and one of the most powerful, recognisable personalities to be found anywhere in comics; Miles is still new and relatively untested as a character. While Ultimate Spider-Man is a well-written book, Miles has only been the star for a few months and the pacing is glacial.
In a few years we’ll probably be able to look back and view Miles as a character with a rich history (well, let’s hope so!) but at the moment of writing, he’s neither punched an eight-limbed astigmatic nor hit the jackpot.
Which is why Spider-Men is a smart idea for Marvel. Bendis is in charge of the entire storyline – rather obviously, given his affinity for Spiders both Peter and Miles – and has five issues to bring the two characters across universes, and into sight (and fists) of each other. And it’s probably one of the freshest, most energetic and fun takes on superheroics that I’ve read in ages. The story is so by-the-numbers that I could already likely tell you what happens in each of the following four issues, and guess at least three of the cliffhangers – but the characterisation is invigorating, the pacing fast, and the concept strong.
Peter takes most of the attention in this first issue, with Bendis finally getting his chance to do some solo work with the character. He’s clearly been wanting to write about the Amazing Spider-Man for years now, adding him to various Avengers teams and contributing short stories whenever a new anthology or anniversary issue comes out. He’s funny here, although there are still very strong reminders why Bendis’ version of the Amazing Spider-Man is widely hated by everyone who has to spend more than five minutes with him. The jokes tend to work, although sometimes they grate extensively. When Bendis treats this as a throwaway, fun story, which isn’t *important* but is widely entertaining, he is at his best. There’s a rare sense of freedom in the story, which is probably because the Ultimate Universe is still an alterable playground for writers.
It feels a lot like artist Sara Pichelli has loosened up Bendis’ writing over the past few months working with him, with her layouts allowing the book to look structurally like some of the classic Stan Lee stories, but with updated art and lush colours from Justin Ponsor. Pichelli has to spend a lot of time with a character who is relatively new to her here, and it would’ve been easy for her to give Peter the body-type and language of his predecessor. She doesn’t so that. Peter is reconfigured to look bigger, bulkier; and he moves with more swagger and confidence than Ultimate Peter ever did.
While Bendis’ script is solid, there are several moments – especially during a scene midway through – which would’ve crashed without someone as flexible as Pichelli to handle them. Her decision to stick rigidly to a panel layout means that the fight scenes can sometimes feel a little like a progression of moves, instead of a fluid, flowing fight, however. Her refusal to break between panels does slow things a little. But it’s more than made up for through her actual fight choreography, which rolls across slowly and allows readers the chance to see what’s actually going on. There are no wasted panels of posing and charging – these is a properly assembled fight sequence.
The script does at times hint that a sense of extremely artificial danger is going to be blown up as the story continues – Bendis does have a tendency to mishandle the building-up of tension in his superhero stories sometimes, making them feel deflated and directionless. And really, I enjoyed the fun, carefree moments so much that I hope the forthcoming issues aren’t going to hammer a sense of tension into readers – this should be fun, not serious. There’s also a lack of Miles at the moment, with the first issue told entirely from Peter’s viewpoint. That’s a small complaint though – Bendis isn’t going to ignore his creation in a book called Spider-Men. This is a character-focused story, and Miles will surely have his time to shine as it continues.
Currently, Spider-Men looks set to be a brilliantly fun – if slight – addition to the world of Miles Morales. Pichelli is the clear standout, but Bendis’ characterisation is stronger here than it’s ever been in his Avengers work. Together, the pair have set up a purely enjoyable comic book, and three cheers if that continues through to the end.
Columbia has just released the FIRST official picture of Andrew Garfield in full, mask-on Spidey-garb and revealed that the next Spider-Man movie will be called THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. A fine title. Directed by Marc Webb from a script by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves, the film will be released July 3, 2012.
A few set photos floating around this afternoon are of interest for various reasons.
¶ A fan on the street snapped a shot of a Spider-Man action scene underway in LA. Can you see what is wrong with this picture?
ANSWER: IT IS BEING SHOT IN LA. Feh. Faw. Their Spring Street is not like OUR Spring Street!
¶ This photo of the cast of X-MEN: FIRST CLASS was first up on MSN, then yanked, and then put up all over, but now people are saying it might be a fake. The still shows, left to right, Magneto (Eric Fassbender), Dr. Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), Emma Frost (January Jones — MEOW), Azazel (Jason Flemyng), Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), Havok (Lucas Till), Angel Salvadore (Zoë Kravitz) Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence)and Professor X (James McAvoy.)
Directed by Matthew Vaughn, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS is due in June and deals with the ’60s history of mutants, as Xavier and Lehnsherr battle for the souls of the young outcasts. It’s notable for the sheer number of youngish fresh –and reasonably priced — talent in the film, such as Jennifer Lawrence, a frequent award nominee this winter for her work in WINTER’S BONE. And yes, January Jones.
Our spider sense says fake. Don’t ask us why…it just does.
Poor Emma Stone. As lovely and charming as she is, she did not know that by answering some nerdy question on the red carpet she was stepping into a hotbed of fannish research. While everyone went all Zapruder inspecting the bulges on Andrew Garfield’s wrists in the recently released look at him in Spider-garb, she innocently answered the burning question:
“It’s a device,” she said on the Golden Globes red carpet when MTV News asked about the discs on her co-star’s wrists.
So given that the new big-screen Spider-Man will use a contraption to emit webs, moviegoers should look out for a story line involving Parker’s invention of “webs” composed of a chemical he invents when the flick hits theaters in summer 2012. Although Stone dropped that tidbit, she was more tight-lipped about her own character, Gwen Stacy, and her evolution over the course of the film. “You’re just going to have to wait and see,” she said.
See, she knew better than to reveal any plot points, but she didn’t know that mechanical vs bio shooters is one of the most hotly debated questions in Spider-film lore. Sam Raimi’s decision to give Tobey Maguire built-ins was a matter of grave concern to comics scholars.
It is her first superhero film, to be fair. She’ll know better in the future. Here’s the video.