The other week saw the biggest event in the comic book world: the San Diego Comic-Con. Over four days, 100,000 people passed through its doors to enjoy celebrity panels, stalls, merchandise and hot ladies dressed in silly outfits. If, like me, you didn’t get a ticket to SDCC, don’t worry: here’s our better-late-than-never round-up of the best bits!
First, an awesome set of posters for The Avengers, helping to fuel the already rampant anticipation for next May’s superhero smack down. Seven designs in total, each depicting a character from the film, forming one big, glorious image (below). We have Captain America in his upgraded costume, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, Hulk and members of SHIELD. Each has a background scene showcasing events from Marvel’s movies to date, such as Thor fighting Loki, or Tony Stark embracing Pepper Potts. Pretty damn sweet. It also confirms that Hawkeye won’t be wearing that god-awful mask (sorry to the purists out there).
Click it for a better look.
In a cool, Avengers related move, Marvel Studios also brought a replica of the SHIELD Helicarrier set to the show. No one treats geeks as well as these guys.
Marvel also announced the launch of their Season One graphic novel range, which will celebrate the company’s 50th Anniversary. Taking a page from DC’s Year One books, they are releasing modern revamps of their most beloved characters, while giving new artists and writers the opportunity to bring their talents to ageing titles. Between this and The Avengers, it’s going to be quite the celebration. The first batch will be released each month from February:
- Fantastic Four: Season One by Roberto Aguirre-Sarcasa and David Marquez.
- X-Men: Season One by Dennis Hopeless and Jamie McKelvie.
- Daredevil: Season One by Anthony Johnston and Wellinton Alves.
- Spider-Man: Season One by Cullen Bunn and Neil Edwards.
It’s about time that the company invested in some new blood, and it’ll be intriguing to see the results. Marvel’s Tom Brevoort spoke to USA Today and alleviated some fanboy concerns about the new series:
“These are individually new stories, even though they’ve got bits and pieces of the old formative stuff in and around them, as well. Everything that’s existed for the last 50 years, still exists and is still there. If you want to dip your toe in the water and find out what Marvel is all about, here is a nice place for you to start, in big sizable, meaty chunks.”
Naturally, word on Marvel-related movies is never far behind. It looks like Fox have finally decided on a villain for Hugh Jackman to battle in the sequel to 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It shouldn’t surprise geeks: Logan will be going toe-to-toe with the Silver Samurai. If you didn’t already know, the film will focus on Wolverine’s time in Japan, drawing from the highly acclaimed Frank Miller/Chris Claremont mini-series.
The Silver Samurai is certainly a formidable opponent; a mutant able turn his power into energy, which he channels into a sword, giving him the ability to cut through anything (well, anything bar adamantium). He was introduced to the Marvel Universe back in Daredevil #111 as a professional criminal hired by Mandril.
The sequel, currently titled The Wolverine, is being directed by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line), and co-stars Kelly Hu and Ken Watanabe. There’s no start date, yet, but Fox hope to get it into cinemas by 2012.
As well as the posters for The Avengers, a one-sheet has surfaced for The Amazing Spider-Man which looks very similar to designs from Sam Raimi’s trilogy. It’s merely the logo on Spidey’s iconic costume, but it’s kinda cool. It’s blue…like really blue!
I’m looking forward to this film, which can’t be as atrocious as Spider-Man 3, although it must be said that the recent trailer hasn’t caused much excitement online. The Comic-Con panel didn’t do much to amp people up either, but it was notable for Andrew Garfield’s surprise appearance in a cheap Spidey outfit. Pretending to be a convention attendee, he took to the mic and proceeded to deliver a passionate speech about his love for the character. The kid’s heart appears to be in the right place. The Amazing Spider-Man is due for release next year.
Thankfully, there was also some news on Spidey’s comic book activities. This teaser image shows what appears to be the Spidey suit in flames. More accurately, it is web-head’s Fantastic Four costume. For the uninformed, Peter Parker joined the team after the Human Torch’s untimely demise, and has been a part of the new-look FF ever since (or, as they are now known, the Future Foundation). So does this signal the end of Spider-Man’s membership? Is Johnny Storm coming back? Let the speculation begin.
DC Comics seemed to be left behind in the Comic-Con blitz, especially after announcing their biggest news a few weeks ago; the complete reboot of their brand, and the launch of 52 new titles. These are expected to come out in graphic novel form later in the year, just in time for Christmas. Naturally, most of DC’s convention presentations revolved around showcasing art from these upcoming issues, including the one that excites me most: Animal Man #1 (right), which will be written by the brilliant Jeff Lemire (The Nobody).
Most of the DC hype centred on the Justice League of America panel starring DC wonder boy Geoff Johns, and all-around funny book legend Jim Lee. The discussion provided an 8-page preview of the first issue. Personally, I am not too jazzed about the new JLA – I like the concept, but will it top the stories that came before it?
DC also offered some details about Superman’s place in this new, refreshed universe. We’d already heard that Kal-El and Lois are no longer a couple, and now it’s confirmed, with an introduction to her new love interest, Jonathan Caroll (below), who will make his debut in Superman #1. I still can’t get my head around this idea – Clark and Lois have always been together – but maybe massive changes to the mythology is what is needed to make these characters vibrant again. The first issue lands next month.
We also got a glimpse of Frank Miller’s latest project, Holy Terror, which was originally intended as a Batman story in which the Dark Knight protects Gotham from Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks. Miller eventually parted company with DC, but he took the concept with him, creating a new character called the Fixer, who takes on the extremist group. At SDCC we saw a snippet of the comic in motion format (below), and it looks like classic Miller. It also strikes me as a bit of a publicity stunt, especially as it is being released on September 11th to mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks in New York. It might be in poor taste, but it promises to be interesting.
A big part of the weekend was the Eisner Awards, which are essentially the comic book Oscars! They’ve been going since 1988 and were named in honour of pioneering writer/artist Will Eisner (The Spirit), who was a regular participant until his death in 2005.
The big winners this year were John Layman and Rob Guillory, who created the truly brilliant Chew, one of my favourite titles at the moment. It follows Tony Chu, a FDA agent who solves crimes by getting psychic impressions from food. It’s as bizarre as that description sounds, but also inspired and recommended reading.
Scott Synder, who is doing an amazing run on Batman, picked up the gong for “Best New Series” with his American Vampire comic, and Joe Hill – scribe of the brilliant Locke and Key – got the award for “Best Writer.”
Last, but certainly not least, is the news that both DC and Marvel are partnering with LEGO to release a line of mini-superheroes! I can’t wait to build my own Hall of Justice out of little, multi-coloured bricks. Why do children get all the cool shit?