The Books Are Selling: Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley On The Company’s Gamble With Diversity
Marvel publisher Dan Buckley gave a three-part interview with comic industry blog ICv2 this week in which he discussed the company's performance in 2014 and its strategies for the year ahead. The interview ranged across digital sales, graphic novel sales, and the impact of the Marvel movies on the comics -- but of particular interest to ComicsAlliance were Buckley's comments on reaching a more diverse audience of new comics customers. While acknowledging that Marvel and the industry at large has never done much consumer research, Buckley said the company has been "aggressive in trying a lot of diverse product over the last two years," as part of an initiative spearheaded by Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso. According to Buckley, the results of that outreach have been very positive.
Run For Your Life: Samsung Integrates Ultron Into New Marvel Tie-In Products
Now that the threat of Skynet destroying us all has been averted by an increasingly crappy series of Terminator movies (or maybe they're just disappointing us to death), a new technological threat to all life on Earth has emerged. In order to promote the forthcoming pic Avengers: Age Of Ultron, tech giant Samsung has joined forces with Marvel to put Ultron in all your smart devices. Yes, the word "smart" to describe technology has never been more insidious than it is now. Smart; scheming; devious.
BOOOO: Mean Old Marvel Says No To Hunks And Babes; Anka & Wada Drop ‘Swimsuit Special’ Plans
The world needs a new Marvel Swimsuit Special. Not because the old ones were great works, and not because there's any shortage of cheesecake in the pages of superhero comics today, but because a new Swimsuit Special has the potential to be something wonderful. From a smart publisher, a book of pin-ups could celebrate the diversity of superhero sex appeal for a broad audience in a non-exploitative way, breaking down the old cliches about the genre. The world is ready for fun, positive, equal opportunity cheesecake and beefcake -- and Marvel has the artists to do it. Indeed, two of those artists were already doing it. Anyone following Kris Anka or Kevin Wada on Tumblr will have noticed of late that they were working on a "secret" project that plainly featured Marvel heroes in swimsuits. Today, Anka took to Tumblr to confirm that he and Wada had indeed been working on a new Marvel swimsuit book -- but that they have stopped production after failing to reach an agreement with Marvel. The Swimsuit Special the world deserves is not going to happen. This is terrible news.
‘Agent Carter’ Season 1 Recap, Episode 3: ‘Time And Tide’
We're onto the third of eight episodes of Agent Carter, and I already know it's not going to be enough. It's not going to be enough of Hayley Atwell's awesome Peggy Carter. It's not going to be enough time in her world. It's not going to be a long enough break from... that other show. And honestly, it may not be enough time for the rest of the show to come up to the level of its star; it's a very good show, but Atwell is great. I want to spend twenty episodes with this show to see if it can raise its game to match her performance. Episode three, 'Time And Tide,' is directed by Scott Winant and written by Andy Bushnell. Opening with a breathy Peggy recap of the first two episodes, it picks up the threads of that two-parter. In fact, at this point it's clear that this story may be an eight-parter; not a procedural with an arc, but a long-form story divided into eight chapters.
New ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Trailer Features Hulkbusting, And Hulk, Busting
The latest trailer for director Joss Whedon's Avengers sequel Avengers: Age Of Ultron has arrived, offering a few new glimpses of our heroes in action as they take on James Spader's tin-pot menace Ultron -- and each other. The highlight is an extended look at Iron Man's tussle with Hulk, with Tony Stark in the Hulkbuster armor. Also on display; lots of moody pouting, and a better look at Black Widow's sensational new 'do. So cute. Super cute.
Time To Beret The Dead: Deadpool Fights Ultimatum & Ultimatumly Dies In ‘Deadpool’ #250 (AKA ‘Deadpool’ #45)
The death of Deadpool has been a long time coming. He's a popular character, and nothing says "popular" like a specially renumbered epic death event. Also, Marvel's sales head David Gabriel already told ComicBook.com months ago that Marvel was planning to kill off the character (or "a character with the word Dead in his name", but we didn't think it was going to be Dead Girl again), so the writing was on the wall for ol' Wade Wilson. Now Marvel has confirmed to Nerdist that Deadpool will meet his end in Deadpool #250 (actually Deadpool #45) in April, in an issue that places the mercenary with a mouthcenary in a final confrontation with the jaunty beret-wearing goons of Ultimatum. The issue will be the last in the current series.
Illustrator Sarah McIntyre Offers Advice To Aspiring Cartoonists In Response To Charlie Hebdo Tragedy
Sarah McIntyre, the author and illustrator of popular children's books including Jampires, There's A Shark In The Bath, and You Can't Eat A Princess, has presented an inspiring response to the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo earlier this week. On her Twitter account she declared, "Let 2015 be the year more people from around the world take up cartooning/comics to tell their stories." Cartoonists responded to the deaths at Charlie Hebdo -- which included the deaths of five of their peers -- with cartoons that encouraged defiance and free expression. McIntyre took the idea one step further, encouraging people who have never expressed themselves through cartoons to see this as a moment to stand up and tell their stories. On her Livejournal she offers advice on how to get started.
Exclusive: Image Announces ‘Kaptara’, From Chip Zdarsky & Kagan McLeod: ‘Gay Saga’ In A Weird Cosmic Toybox [Interview]
Sex Criminals co-creator Chip Zdarsky and Infinite Kung Fu author Kagan McLeod plan to take readers to colorful, strange, and rather gay new worlds with their new Image ongoing title Kaptara this April. Announced by Zdarsky himself and Image publisher Eric Stephenson at the one-day Image Expo in San Francisco on Thursday, the book sees a waylaid earthman sent on an odyssey through peculiar worlds inspired by the action figures of the 1980s, on a mission to save his home planet. The two Toronto-based writer-artists have known each other for years, and as they told ComicsAlliance, the roots of this collaboration go back to the studio they once shared. Kaptara is written by Zdarsky and illustrated in full color by McLeod, an acclaimed magazine illustrator making his return to comics. The story offers echoes of Flash Gordon and John Carter, and of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' Saga, only... gayer. More gay. ComicsAlliance met with the team to find out just how gay, and to get the ball rolling on Motivational Orb mania.
Marvel Releases Seven Pages Of ‘Star Wars’ By Aaron, Cassaday & Martin
We're less than a week away from the launch of Marvel's Star Wars line with the first issue of, hey, Star Wars, by Jason Aaron, John Cassaday, and Laura Martin, so Marvel has put out a couple of sneak peaks of the issue -- one lettered, one unlettered. We've helpfully brought them together so you can enjoy more of the story of fan favorite character Overseer Aggadeen and... the cast of Firefly, I think? I don't really know Star Wars; sorry. Star Wars #1 is an officially in-continuity comic (for now, anyway!) that picks up directly after the end of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, following the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow in the wake of the destruction of the Death Star. Finally, a sequel to Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope! I can't believe they've never done that before.
Cartoonists Respond To The Massacre At Charlie Hebdo
Wednesday's attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo left twelve people dead, including nine of the magazine's journalists. Five of those journalists were cartoonists. Though the manner of Charlie Hebdo's satire was often of a quality and tone that many would find distasteful, there can be no argument, no pretense, that violence and murder were an appropriate response. Cartoonists, satirists, and commentators have the right to free expression, and should be held accountable for their views in ways that do not threaten their lives or safety. Cartooning has long been one of the most vibrant and incisive forms of public commentary, and that tradition should be celebrated. In that spirit, ComicsAlliance has compiled a collection of some of the responses to the Charlie Hebdo massacre by cartoonists and illustrators; cartoons that acknowledge the tragedy and represent defiance in the face of fear.
‘Agent Carter’ Season 1 Recap, Episodes 1 & 2: ‘Now Is Not The End’/’Bridge & Tunnel’
Agent Carter, Marvel's second live action TV show set in its cinematic shared universe, made its debut with a two-hour double-bill on ABC on Tuesday night, with Hayley Atwell reprising her role as spy Peggy Carter. Atwell's Carter debuted in the 2011 movie Captain America: The First Avenger, based on a character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and she's now the second character from the movies to spin off into her own show, following Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) in Agents of SHIELD. Agents of SHIELD is now on its second season, and trying to recover its energy after a largely awful first season. Agent Carter will run for only eight episodes across seven weeks, rather than a standard 20+ episode season -- a format arguably closer to what Marvel plans to do with its Netflix TV shows -- so it may be the better test of Marvel's TV ambitions. In Cartergraphy, I'll be recapping the show every week using my new 'S.S.R.' method, breaking it down into Strategic Review, Scientific Analysis, and Reserved Englishness.
Oh Thank God: Spider-Woman Rocks A Great New Look, Courtesy Of Kris Anka
As everyone knows, Spider-Man's costume is the best; a true masterpiece of design. The webbing, the colors, the chevron belt, the split arms, the wide-eyed mask; it's all perfect. Steve Ditko smashed it out of the park. It's also inspired some amazing costumes, like the black Spider-Man costume designed by Mike Zeck in 1984 (reportedly based on a suggestion by fan Randy Schueller), and this year's Spider-Gwen costume by Robbi Rodriguez. And then there's Spider-Woman. Her costume was designed in 1972 by Marie Severin, and it hasn't really changed since -- and I hate it almost as much as I love Spider-Man's costume. It's ugly, tacky, and it doesn't match the personality of Jessica Drew, the woman behind the mask. So I'm delighted that artist Kris Anka has given Jess a new set of togs that look chic, modern, and appropriate to her character.