Was Marvelman Fated to Appear in Marvel Comics?

Marvelman by Marvel EIC Joe Quesada

Marvelman by Marvel EIC Joe Quesada

Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada is one of the most approachable guys in the business. I still regret not taking his very open expression at the Chicago Comic Con a number of years back as an invitation to strike up a conversation because I wager it would have been a lot of fun. As it was I saw him stop to talk to two other fans and he seemed quite happy to talk shop. An artist as well as a writer an editor, Joe Quesada has led Marvel Comics through one of its most successful eras as it rose (Phoenix-like?) from the brink of bankruptcy and into a vibrant time when the guy on the street knows (and cares) who not just Spider-Man, but who Iron Man is.

As such, he is over the moon about the recent acquisition of Marvelman (announced at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con). A relatively obscure superhero made famous by the 200AD series by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, the series was the subject of much legal wrangling. The character now has a new home as a Marvel character and anyone familiar with the material will affirm that it’s a perfect fit.

Talking it over with ComicBookResources.com Joe Quesada recognized several unique coincidences that make it appear that Marvelman appearing in the pages of Marvel Comics was written in the stars including the date 2010 (the date of Marvel publication of the new Marvelman series) and the mention of the Daily Bugle (Peter Parker’s famous employer) both appearing in the early adventures of the character in the 1950’s.

Plans are still forming on what will come next year, but Mark Buckingham who worked with Neil Gaiman on the Marvelman story ‘Silver Age’ has some interesting thoughts:

“Obviously, for Neil and I this is a wonderful opportunity for us to finally get the material that we were doing back in the early ’90s back in print again because it’s been 16 years since our last issue hit the stands,” he told CBR moments after the panel ended. “Beyond anything else, we can get that stuff back in print now. There’s material that was produced that’s never been published, so from a fan’s point of view that’s fantastic. There’s more Gaiman and Buckingham just waiting for printing already.”

Marvel publisher Dan Buckley was even more specific:

“We don’t have a lot to say on the publishing right now. We will be publishing some Marvelman material next year. We are talking to all, besides having Mick on board – who by the way is 94 years old, and I spoke to him Wednesday for an hour and a half. It was a pleasure. We’re talking to all the people who were involved in the ’80s and ’90s material – Alan [Moore], Neil, Garry Leach, Alan Davis – we’ve reached out to all these folks. Mark Buckingham, who is also in the house…”

Neil Gaiman tweeted: “Re Marvelman: I think it’s great news that Mick Anglo’s creations is going to be seen again, and hopeful that my work & Bucky’s will be back.”

Quesada has yet to meet with Buckingham but to many the most obvious next step is to get the books back into print and finish what they started. After that… fight the Hulk (obviously).

For the full interview, click here and make sure to catch his weekly ‘Cup O’ Joe’ videos.

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Marvel – anime style

An announcement was made at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con that animation studio Madhouse (Tokyo Godfathers) will be adapting several Marvel Comics properties into anime-style versions. Working with cult comics icon Warren Ellis, Madhouse will revise the properties that fans have known for decades through a different vision, creating a brand new version of the successful characters.

Iron Man and Wolverine: anime-style

Iron Man and Wolverine: anime-style

Iron Man trailer

Wolverine trailer

One of the most respected animation studios, Madhouse is responsible for Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D, Trigun, Tokyo Godfathers, and Metropolis, the 2006 Venice Film Festival Official Section Paprika and award-winning The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

Both films will be released on DVD Spring 2010.

Two addition films will follow, based on the X-Men and Blade.

Robert E Howard’s Solomon Kane adapted for the big screen

Straight from the pen of Robert E Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian) comes Solomon Kane, an adventurer from a different era… the 16th Century.

Despite the setting, the film will be as much sword and supernatural content as Kane’s barbarian counterpart, Conan, pitting the puritan adventurer against zombies with only a flintlock and rapier in his defense.

Starring James Purefoy as the title character and Max von Sydow in a supporting role, the film is sure to appeal to fans of the comic book movie genre and horror/fantasy alike.
solomon-kane-official-poster-james-purefoy
To those not already familiar with Solomon Kane, he is a cool yet grizzled hero with a bit of Batman and ‘The Man With No Name’ mixed together in his persona.

Check out this film for an idea (and sampler of Howard’s prose)

The film’s trailer premiered at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con and has already generated some love from Ain’t It Cool News reporter Harry Knowles.

Currently the movie is without an American distributer, so fans may have to wait for the DVD unless the SDCC09 viewing convinced any backers of the film’s potential.

For more on Solomon Kane, click here.

World War Hulks

Two years back, Greg Pak orchestrated World War Hulk and put the green Goliath back on the map of many a comic book fan. Since then the additions of Skaar, Son of Hulk and the Red Hulk have both brought new facets to the Hulkiverse.

At this year’s San Diego Comic Con, the announcement was made that these characters and plot threads have been leading toward another big event. The arrival of a group referred to as ‘The Inteligencia’ will threaten the future of the entire Marvel Universe. The even is called World War Hulks.
wwhulks“This is what’s been brewing for quite some time,” the writer relates. “The first stage was to spend 12 issues of both HULK and SKAAR getting our major players into the Marvel Universe. That culminated in INCREDIBLE HULK #600. In #600, Banner’s life-and the Hulk’s-changed forever. The Hulk books split in two, [with] INCREDIBLE HULK going off with the Incredible Greg Pak and Ariel Olivetti and HULK continuing with me and Ed McGuinness. In order to give Ed enough time to do the entire World War Hulks series on the HULK side of things, Ian Churchill steps in for five issues to tell the story of what happens to someone when they learn the Red Hulk’s most carefully guarded secrets. It involves Wolverine, X-Force, the Punisher, Deadpool, Elektra and a host of others. Again, all planned to be part of the bigger picture that leads us into World War Hulks.”

Looking back at the last year-and-a-half of Hulk stories, Loeb teases that much of what has come before will have an impact on World War Hulks.

“It all matters. Everything. If you’ve been reading HULK and SKAAR for the past year, you will see all the seeds we’ve planted. Now, Greg and I will be harvesting what hopefully be the biggest Hulk story ever told.”

Ever since Planet Hulk, this series has been a must-read for fans of the Hulk and those new to the series. With readers wondering where it has been leading, this event is going to have a lot banking on its success. With Marvel EIC Joe Quesada swearing off major company-wide crossover, this could very well be an event story on the same scale as ‘Sinestro Corps War’ or ‘Annihilation.’ But will it be as successful as either?

World War Hulks: Alpha hits the stands January 2010.

Daniel Acuna named as new artist on X-Men: Legacy

I’ve been a fan of Daniel Acuña’s work from DC Comics’ Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters and Marvel’s Eternals (canceled far too soon), but it looks like I’ll soon be enjoying his fine artwork in the pages of Marve’s Mutant family the X-Men.
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A fan of Byrne and Cockrum, Acuña will bring a new kind of classic style to the book that fans will no doubt clamor for. Joining writer Mike Carey on X-Men: Legacy, I am hoping that the addition of a regular artist of this caliber will help the series find its footing. With a series of issues dealing with Charles Xavier facing his past with new eyes, the issues degraded into a mish-mash of sci-fi stories and something about Rogue and Gambit. I may be alone in my disappointment with the direction of this series but hopefully it will finds its way thanks to a new artist.

The focus seems to be shifting away from Charles Xavier and toward Rogue and Gambit, both of whom enjoy a loyal fan following. With Rogue finally in control of her powers rather than a slave to them, I am curious to see where Carey takes the title next.

As some of the characters fans may be surprised to know, not everyone in the comic biz is familiar with Rogue and Gambit, Acuña included!

Honestly, before I started drawing them they were the characters I was least interested on from the team (laughs). But that made it more interesting and forces me to work more. But now that I’m some pages in, I can say they are changing my mind. As characters, all three of them are really interesting, but I think I could do some work in making Rogue’s and Gambit’s look better – mostly Gambit, who’s some sort of ‘rebel without a cause’ character. So… an outsider with a black and fuchsia suit, with metallic knee pads? He’s not a super hero, per se, in attitude and motivations, so, why does he dress like one? I’m trying to think on something to make it all fit, visually and in my head.

I know that I often wondered why Gambit dressed in a black and fuchsia suit!

Acuña debuts on the title with the X-Men Legacy Annual out in September.

Moon Knight’s Charlie Huston to tackle Deathlok series

There has been a recent surge of bronze age comic book characters making a return to the world of comics. After super hero comics made a bold revival in the 1960’s, there was a mad time of invention and experimentation involving monsters, kung fu and even science fiction. A combination of two of these ideas was the robotic cyborg soldier known as Deathlok. Many of the
comics published in what has become known as the ‘Bronze Age’ were once ridiculed as outlandish and absurd but with many writers who grew up on the material, these ideas are finding a way back.

Just announced at the San Diego Comic Convention, the new Deathlok series could put the character back on the map. Former Moon Knight writer Charlie Huston and artist Lan Medina (of Foolkiller) will be penning a 7 issue mini-series published under Marvel’s adult ‘MAX’ line starting later this year.

deathlok
Set in a dark future of the Marvel Universe, Deathlok is the only ‘hero’ in his world. The product of a corporate experiment that starts with the military and expands into the toy market, the new Deathlok series is a bit of the old along with something new.

“I was a big science fiction guy, and I was probably 11 or 12, and even then I liked stories with dystopian and apocalyptic futures. Plus, Deathlok was another great visual character like Moon Knight [Who Huston discovered around the same time as Deathlok]. Also, I liked the way the character was written in ‘Astonishing Tales’ with the internal dialogue between Manning and Deathlok; there was a separate entity that was Deathlok,” Huston told CBR News. “It was a team concept from Moench and Buckler, and Moench was doing stuff that nobody else was doing, at least not in the comic books I was reading. It just felt different, and I always liked the dark stuff.”

“For the corporate armies, I tried to use as many of the businesses mentioned in the Deathlok stories as possible. Roxxon is, of course, the most obvious. The army that employs Manning and Travers is Roxxon,” Huston explained. “Then I did the same thing with character names. Simon Ryker is in this, and Doctor Hellinger, who was a big character in the original, is a major antagonist here. There’s a minor C.I.A. agent character in the ‘Astonishing Tales’ stories who plays a major role here, and I took a character who was a gangster in ‘Astonishing Tales,’ and now he’s the head of a toy division in Roxxon.”

“This is science fiction in the broadest possible sense,” Huston stated. “It’s not ‘Hard Sci Fi,’ where you take a science concept and try to extrapolate it to its natural conclusion. It’s two-fisted, pulp-adventure, science fiction.”

For any fans of his work on Moon Knight, this should be a book worth checking out.

(follow this link for my article on the original Deathlok series)

War Machine confirmed in Iron Man 2

Director John Favreau startled fans of the San Diego Comic Con today with an exclusive first look at Iron Man 2. Without an official release, we’ll have to rely on a transcript provided by ComicBookResources.com:

Spoilers abound, so stop here if you’d like to remain in the dark regarding cast members and revelations of plot details.

War Machine concept drawing by Iron Man movie artist Phil Saunders

War Machine concept drawing by Iron Man movie artist Phil Saunders

The 5-minute long clip starts off with Tony Stark in the Iron Man armor, sans helmet, eating a donut. The camera pans back and reveals that he’s sitting in the “Randy’s Donuts” sign. Samuel L. Jackson then walks into the scene as Nick Fury, shouting at Tony Stark to come down from the donut.

The two then have donuts and coffee together. Fury asks Stark to join a superhero group, Stark insists that he is a loner.

The scene then switches to CNN coverage of a trial. Gary Shandling portrays Senator Stern, and is grilling Stark about owning a high-tech weapon. Shandling demands Stark turn the Iron Man armor over to the U.S. government. Stark insists he won’t, then utters his famous, “I am Iron Man.” He says that turning the armor in would be akin to prostitution.

Don Cheadle makes his first appearance as James Rhodes in this scene. Stark and Rhodes have a cool exchange, and then Rhodes sits down at the trial. Tony Stark tells Senator Stern that he’s “welcome” for protecting the U.S. He then turns to the reporters and shouts, “I’ve successfully privatized world peace!”

Senator Stern, not happy with Stark’s antics, drops two “fuck you!”s on Stark, both bleeped out.

UPDATED with details from Slashfilm:

A montage begins with shots of newspapers and magazines with Stark on the cover. Voice over in a Russian accent “You come from a family of thieves and butchers…” Shots of Rourke putting together his whiplash suit. A bunch of random shots, including a bunch of girls dancing in front of a display with the American flag, and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, kicking ass. Rourke arrives at the race car track in his Whiplash suit. He activates it and the wires light up with electricity as he whips them around. Stark is bloody, in his racing suit, down on the concrete.  We see a close-up of Rourke laughing.

Cut to:  Iron Man flying through the night air, dodging missiles which explode behind him, as he blasts towards Earth.

The Iron Man 2 logo appears on the screen, along with the music.

Then we get an extra sequence. Rhodey in a air plane hanger. Justin Hammer walks over and asks what this is about and Rhodey says it’s classified. Hammer looks down at a suit, which appears to be Stark’s old Mark II armor. “Is that what I think it is?” “What can you do for us?” Hammer shows Rhodey a bunch of different weaponry. Rhodey tells Hammer “I think i’ll take it.” “Which one?” “All of it.”

Cut to: A shot of War Machine blasting off his guns.

War Machine tackles Iron Man

War Machine tackles Iron Man

Ask any Iron Man comic book fan what they would like to see in a sequel and you will find War Machine in that list.

For my full article on who War Machine is, follow this link.

The addition of Don Cheadle as Jim Rhodes working with Justin Hammer as War Machine against Robert Downey Jr’s suave and collected Tony Stark should raise the bar but… how much is going on in this movie?? The only negative I can mention attached to this news is that I fear the sequel will try and cram too much into the film and end up a convoluted mess.

Or it might not, making it the sequel that we all want it to be.

Director John Favreau really hit it out of the park with his superhero debut Iron Man and it is looking like he will be repeating that success next Summer when Iron Man 2 arrives. Additionally, Favreau had little to say about the Avengers project waiting at the end of the next Iron Man 2 – Thor -Captain America movies but did say that the design work on Thor is exceptional.

Like many of you reading this, I dearly wish that I was in San Diego today.

UPDATED:

Here is a still image of War Machine from the 5 minute preview:

wm

Marvelman Returns!

This just in via the streaming live blog coverage of the San Diego Comic Con, Marvel Comics now owns the rights to the ground-breaking UK superhero series by Alan Moore and later Neil Gaimian… Marvel Man (AKA Miracle Man).

Marvel Man (AKA Miracle Man)

Marvelman (AKA Miracle Man)

Almost unknown in the US, Marvelman was a British answer to Captain Marvel of Fawcett Comics fame (and was even initially named Captain Marvel!) published by Mick Anglo.  Young Micky Moran received atomic powers from a strange physicist (but aren’t they all?). By reciting the magical word ‘Kimota!’ he would transform into the superpowered being called Marvelman. Later teaming up with Young Marvelman and Kid Marvelman (you can see why they got sued by Fawcett), the series ran with some success but is known today thanks to the intervention of the king of post-modern comics.

Brought back to life for Warrior Magazine by Alan Moore  (who would later gain critical acclaim for writing V for Vendetta, the Watchmen, From Hell and Swamp Thing), the new version of  the superhero was a more sophisticated take on the genre than readers had ever seen before. Finding new meaning in the original ideas the new Marvelman comics used the fusion of alien and human biology as the basis of its hero rather than magic or atomic energy. Utilizing the innocent original comics as a fake memory implanted in Micky Moran’s mind, the hero discovered the truth and even encountered a socipoathic killer Kid Marvelman as a nemesis. On the flipside of things, the comic also featured the first graphic depiction of childbirth I have ever seen as the first superhuman baby was born.

After Alan Moore left the character, relative newcomer Neil Gaiman took the reigns with artist Mark Buckingham. Reprinted in the US as Miracleman by Pacific and Eclipse Comics, the series fell out of print as the many publishers that held these adventures went out of business.

The rights of the material have kept these hard-to-find comics from seeing the light of day. A brutal legal battle errupted in 1996 between Neil Gaiman (who owned a ‘portion’ of the character through a gentleman’s agreement with the publisher) and Todd McFarlane who had visions of action figures and battles with Spawn in his head. Nothing much came of it and the Marvelman comics remained a kind of cult comic book that only a select few had read… until now.

At the 2009 San Diego Comiccon today, Editor-in-chief Joe Quesada revealed a hidden Marvelman T-Shirt and announced that Marvel now had the rights to Marvelman. Marvel Comics has apparently come to an agreement with Mick Anglo and are planning some earth shattering comic books, hopefully including the reprints of these classic comics.

Make no mistake, this is huge news that has been coming for many years.