– Marvel have released several “teasers” about upcoming comic book content. The biggest one is a teaser for January 2012 which offers a red star and asks, “What if there wasn’t only one?” (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-teaser-only-one-111007.html) Obvious guesses are either the return of James “Bucky/New Cap” Barnes, after barely a few months of being dead in FEAR ITSELF, or more super-soldiers akin to Captain America. Marvel has published stories adding so-called additional super-soldiers to PROJECT REBIRTH via “retroactive continuity” (or “retcon”) such as in the 90’s with Protocide and in the 21st century with RED, WHITE, AND BLACK. Longtime CAPTAIN AMERICA writer Ed Brubaker has also left a dangling plot threat in the mini series STEVE ROGERS: SUPER SOLDIER in which the Shadow Council (his villains from his year long launch of SECRET AVENGERS) have perfected a replication of the original super-soldier treatment that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. The oddity is that so many Marvel stories of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s have produced variants which have created superior soldiers to the Captain, at least physically. The process that turned Carl Lucas into the bullet-proof, 30 ton pressing Luke Cage/Power Man was one such improved variant. The “Power Broker Treatment” of the 80’s produced characters such as U.S. Agent, Battlestar and G.I. Max (among others) who were all as strong as Spider-Man on paper. And after 2006’s CIVIL WAR, and especially in Matt Fraction’s mini series THE ORDER, Tony Stark invented nanobots which could be injected into any human being (or de-powered mutant) and bestow virtually any super power in creation within them for a year, making it the ultimate method of creating short-term superheroes. Yet here Marvel is hyping yet another story in which a method which allowed a guy to bench 800 lbs. without working for it is being replicated. For the record, if Bucky is returning, he’d have barely been dead for barely more than half a year.
– Marvel have also released a teaser for November’s BATTLE SCARS #1, which apparently involves Captain America, Deadpool, Taskmaster, and SHIELD super-agent Daisy Johnson chasing after a mysterious new character named Marcus Johnson (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-teaser-battle-scars-111010.html). The series will be written by Chris Yost, Matt Fraction and Cullen Bunn and drawn by Scott Eaton. Each teaser will revolve around one of the fore aforementioned characters. Best bet? Marcus Johnson is related to Daisy Johnson, who was created in SECRET WAR in 2004 by writer Brian Bendis as a “retroactive continuity” lost daughter of Calvin Zabo, the villainous Mr. Hyde. Thus, he may also be another “retcon legacy character” and is supposedly important. Or he has data in his head that all the factions want, akin to “CHUCK”.
– Newsarama has exclusive sneak peaks at SIX GUNS, a modern Western series which re-invents many of their old Western characters like Two-Gun Kid, Tarantula, and Max Slade and may have biker gang themes. Is this a timely revamp, or an attempt to imitate “SONS OF ANARCHY”? Who knows. At any rate, sketches (http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album.php?aid=44488) and a six page preview can be had (http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album.php?aid=44483). The series is written by Andy Diggle (DAREDEVIL, SHADOWLAND) and drawn by Davide Gianfelice. In addition to their CROSSGREN revamps, at the very least Marvel is dipping a toe into alternate genre comics. It will sell dreadfully, in all probability.
– Brian Wood is returning to Marvel after years at DC and VERTIGO to produce what appears to be a mini series starring Quentin Quire and the X-Man who needs more publications – Wolverine (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-nycc-brian-wood-111007.html). That was sarcasm, by the way. Ironically, sales figures suggest that Wolverine as a franchise is very close to B-List after years (or decades) of over-exposure. His spin-off series are sinking like stones, he cannot support more than one ongoing title, his own “main” ongoing title has middling sales, and he literally sells better alongside teams of which he is a member of (like the NEW AVENGERS or X-FORCE or X-MEN), or teamed up with Spider-Man. Is now, or 2012, the time for yet more spare Wolverine mini series?
– These are the covers to POINT ONE #1 (http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album.php?aid=44498).
– Marvel Comics has teamed with ComiXology, along with their new public relations guru Chip Mosher (formerly from BOOM! Studios) to launch their own Marvel Comics App for Andriod devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.). This will allow Marvel fans digital access to Marvel’s online store of recent back issues as well as their own “day and date” releases, which include most of their X-Men line (http://blog.comixology.com/2011/10/11/marvel-comics-on-android/). Given that ComiXology also has key deals with DC and Image, Marvel may see them as quickly becoming the Diamond Distributors of the comic app market and wanted to get in on the action, too. This may also be because Marvel’s website has often been difficult to navigate, which hinders them in selling digital comics directly.
– In Marvel’s corporate news, The Beat is reporting that longtime Chief Operating Officer of Marvel Comics Jim “Ski” Sokolowski is no longer with the company, and may have been fired (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/10/06/marvel-has-no-circulation-coo-jim-sokolowski-gone/). He had spent many years with Marvel as well as with DC Comics in recent years before moving back to Marvel in 2007 due to publisher Dan Buckley offering incentives. Among his many tasks were setting prices and publishing plans. While nothing official has been said, The Beat connects this to the earlier sacking of Director of Operations Justin Gabrie to the notion that Marvel Comics is seeking to trim company costs, and the best way to do that is to axe executives with high salaries. These two folks worked in regards to magazine distribution and trying to penetrate markets outside the direct market, which as Marvel seems to be re-doubling their focus on the direct market, made them expendable. Marvel Comics has long had a dilemma with keeping trade paperback collections in print compared withDC, and their lack of a back catalogue online. Marvel owner Ike Perlmutter is a notorious penny pincher who does not like investing in keeping circulation rates high, focusing on the weekly grind. The irony is that while DC has risked a lot in their NEW 52 roll of the dice, Marvel Comics seem to be relying on more modest hedging of bets, such as by slashing pay rates for freelance talent (aside for the big names). Perhaps Marvel could decide to publish some fewer comics to cut costs? Even with DC’s New 52, Marvel usually publishes more product a month. It also doesn’t bode well to those to fear that if the comic market contracts any further within the next 1-2 years, Marvel’s corporate master (Disney) could decide to license out the comics to other companies rather than pay to publish it themselves.
– The official Marvel Studios trailer for “THE AVENGERS”, set to hit theaters in May 2012, debuted online today (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/168594-the-trailer-for-the-avengers-is-here). The trailer naturally hints that Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is the villain of the piece who leads what may be an invasion of Earth, which forces Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to assemble a team of heroes to defend or “avenge” the world. This film will unite the solo heroes of previous films, as well as most of those starring actors, since 2008’s “IRON MAN” and up to this year’s “THOR” and “CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER” under one banner. The sound one hears is millions of comic fans online gasping collectively in anticipation.
– While Fox’s “THE WOLVERINE” – which will star and be produced by Hugh Jackman – won’t film until next year, Jackman did discuss the rating of the film (http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/698641/hugh-jackman-talks-next-wolverine-film.jhtml#id=1672077). In it he states that he would like to shoot at R-rated Wolverine film, but doesn’t want to dismiss kids in the audience who would (theoretically) be unable to attend anything rated above PG-13 without a parent present. He suggests two versions of the film being made, which would naturally be a boon to future DVD sales. He’s thinking like a movie producer, at least. Frankly, if FOX isn’t willing to allow an R-rated film starring it’s top X-Men character and actor, any chance of them doing do with “DEADPOOL” is a pipe dream. Maybe Jackman should realize in America, making an R-rated film won’t make inaccessible to kids; they grow up fast these days.
Last Week’s Marvel Comics News – http://knotmove.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-comics-news-10-4-11-scarlet-spider-the-twelve-wolvie-s-school-movies
This Week’s Indie Comics News – http://knotmove.com/comic-books-in-new-york/indie-comics-news-10-10-11-red-circle-heroes-return-to-archie-comixology-more
This Week’s DC Comics News – http://knotmove.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comics-news-10-10-11-dc-1-september-dc-nation-tv-block-wonder-woman