Monday, April 24, 2017

Insane Speculation about Marvel Legacy

So, did you hear about this new Marvel thing: Marvel Legacy?  

You can read about it here, but it's basically a return to form for Marvel. Classic characters back in their status quo (yay?), a return to legacy numbering (thank fucking God), corner boxes on covers, fan reach out stuff (like FOOM and hopefully bullpen bits); basically it's Marvel's version of DC Rebirth.  Which, hey, I'm all about.

Don't get me wrong, I hate to see the House of Ideas become a recycling center, but I love the basic intent: energize the base, tell good stories, and expand from there.  No joke, DC Rebirth was one of the best comics I read in 2016 and had one of my favorite moments ever in all of comics (I'm a sucker for big, heartfelt returns).  And that's coming from a life-long Marvel zombie!  To think that Marvel might actually pull something off half as good fills me with all kinds of optimism I haven't felt since…  Well, at least a decade.

And just to head you off at the pass, while I'm excited for things like legacy numbering and fan reach out stuff, I'm less excited for the return of the classic status quo.  While I don't read a lot of books right now, I like the idea of JaneThor, Miles, and SamNova and most definitely don't want to see those rolled back.  However, if we could see Sam and Miles develop a strong rogues gallery all their own so they could become their own heroes not living in the shadows of their predecessors, well that'd be just peachy.

Anyway, I'm not here to give you unsolicited opinions about Marvel Legacy.  I'm here to mindlessly speculate about Marvel Legacy.  And everything begins with these quotes:

"Let's just say there's a last-page reveal that's probably gonna break the Internet." - Axel 

"[It's] the return of a central piece of Marvel mythos that readers have been mourning in recent months" - Tom Brevoort

So yeah, at the end of the big relaunch book will be a huge reveal of a Marvel Mythos that will break the internet.  People are already speculating that it's the return of the Fantastic Four (which is the easy money right now) or the first 616 appearance of Miracleman (or Marvelman, if you're a traditionalist), but they're both wrong.

The reveal is totally going to be about Mephisto and the Spider-marriage.

I know, I know, it's totally insane, but hear me out and you'll realize just how sane it sounds.

1- "Readers mourning" = Readers loving Renew your vows

Undoing the Spider-Marriage by way of demonic intervention was always a bitter pill to swallow and it made me (a staunch supporter of the marriage) vow to never buy another Spider-book until it was undone.  And then they launched Renew Your Vows which was the exact book I (and presumably many others) was looking for.  Reading it has reminded me just how great that Peter MJ relationship is and why it was such a shitty idea to get rid of it in the first place.  Which is probably why…

2- Mary Jane is returning to the Spider-books

After being sidelined for years and most recently getting shipped off to Iron Man, MJ makes her triumphant return to the world of webs in Chip Zdarsky's new 'back to basics' Spectacular Spider-Man book.  However, it also said that he's modeling Peter and MJ's relationship after his with his ex-wife, so they could just end up being weirdo pals.  However… 

3- Mephisto has been a plot point in Spider-Man/Deadpool

This, well, let me show you two excerpts from Spider-Man/Deadpool #5 from Joe Kelly and Ed Mcguiness:

Click to embiggen so you can read it!

Sounds like a man (er…  demon) with a plan.  Maybe someone who has the power, ability, and motive to bend reality around a person (or people because it's both him and Mary Jane) to make them experience a vast emptiness and therefore unhappiness with their life.  Which almost sounds like what DC is doing with Dr. Manhattan in Rebirth.  I mean, after all, if you're going to copy something, why not go all out:

4- Mephisto will be the Dr. Manhattan of Marvel Legacy

In Rebirth, the big reveal was that some God-like creature stole time from the universe, rejected happiness, and generally put the heroes onto the path of despair.  In a meta sense, it was a great way to explain away some terrible story decisions and gently reset the world as if they never happened.  Who's to say Mephisto couldn't be the same kind of force for Marvel?  Maybe his deal with Peter and MJ was less "I'll take your marriage for your Aunt's life" and more "I'll take everyone's happiness for your Aunt's life".  Which would explain why fs all of the big company wide crossovers have been increasingly about heroes fighting other heroes as opposed to, you know, bad guys.

I guess we'll find out this Fall what the reveal is.  Oh, which reminds me, there is one big anniversary coming up this November:

5- November is the 10th Anniversary of One More Day

Huh.  Can you believe that.  Ten years since they shoved the Spider-Marriage 'genie' back into the bottle.  It was such a big deal that then-EiC Joe Quesada took time out of his busy schedule to pencil the whole thing and give us that one iconic cover:

Crazy.  And who's doing the big, four-page foldout cover for Marvel Legacy?

Right.  I'm sure that doesn't mean anything.

So…  do you still think I'm totally insane?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I'm sure you noticed the significant drop off in posts around here circa 2012.  I assure you it wasn't due to a lack of love for comics, lack of desire to write, or a passing interest in blogging, but rather because my time was being taken up by something else.  That something else was a movie.  And now you can buy it on DVD and/or VOD.

Crazypants, right?

The movie is LOVE IN THE TIME OF MONSTERS, and I'm super proud of it.  The epitome of a passion project, it's something that my cohorts and I have been working on for a LONG time.  It's a tribute to not only to the power of hard work, but also the grueling realities of independent filmmaking.

"So, yeah yeah, hard work and all that.  What's this thing about?" I can hear you asking (BTW, you really should stop talking to yourself)

LOVE IN THE TIME OF MONSTERS is a horror comedy in the grand tradition of Evil Dead 2 and Slither, full of gags, gore, and girls.  It's fun for everyone!  Assuming everyone is over at least 16.

The movie follows sisters Carla and Marla as they travel to a kitchy roadside lodge to surprise Carla's fiance who works as a costumed bigfoot performer.  But wouldn't you know it, as the girls arrive the fiancĂ© and his coworkers fall into a lake of toxic waste only to emerge as murderous monsters (underneath their bigfoot suits, 'natch).  Now the sisters, trapped at the lodge with other colorful employees, have to fight the monsters while saving the one they love.

As Best Horror Movies put it: "It is the very definition of a highly entertaining film.”  

And Fanboy planet continued:  "Once you think it’s gonna stop, it doesn’t. It literally doesn’t stop until the credits roll."

Excited yet?

What if I told you, in addition to this killer concept, the cast included Kane Hodder (Jason from Friday the 13th 7-X and Victor Crowley from Hatchet), Doug Jones (Abe Sapien from Hellboy, Fauna from Pan's Labyrinth, and just about everything), Mike McShane (Friar Tuck from Prince of Thieves and as himself in the British Who's Line Is It Anyway?), and Heather Rae Young (Playboy's Miss February 2010)?  Not to mention the slew of fantastic up-and-coming actors I'm sure you'll be hearing from more like Gena Shaw, Marissa Skell, Paula Rhodes, Ben Palacios, Hugo Armstrong, Alex Sanborn, and more!  I dare you to find a bad performance in the bunch.  Hint, you won't be able to, that's how great everyone is.

Don't take my word for it though, just check out what Doug had to say about Gena in particular when he was talking to Dread Central:  "She is a total movie star,”Jones said. “She is a screen presence that we’re going to be dealing with for years to come. She reminds me of a young Jamie Gertz, who I recently worked with on ‘The Neighbors.'"

Can you feel the excitement bubbling up inside?

How about our big official trailer.  Courtesy of our distributor, Indican Pictures:

Pretty cool, right?

"Okay, okay. Where can I see this thing?" I hear you asking (seriously though, you need to stop talking to your computer).

Well, if you're one of those modern kids who don't need a DVD, you can buy/rent a copy via most of the big sites like iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and more.  We're also available on some cable providers, so make sure to give them a look if that's all you got.

Alternately, if you're like me and like to own DVDs, we're listed on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Best Buy.  I don't know if we'll make it into the stores (blame the weird economics of selling DVDs for that) but I'll let you know if/when we find out.

You can go for either one, but I suggest going for the DVD if only because it comes with the added benefits of a Blooper Reel, Deleted Scenes, BTS videos, and a commentary by me, the producer, and the writer.  We tried to make it full of as much material we had because we, like you, hate bare bones DVDs.

Now you know why I'm excited.

If you're curious, but not quite hooked or totally hooked and want to know more, then I'd like to turn you towards the official LOVE IN THE TIME OF MONSTERS web presence.  You can read about everything from our start to now at the official site,  You can keep up on the day to day at our Facebook page.  Or you can get little snippets of stuff via our Twitter, @UncleSlavko.

If you've read all that AND you love everything then I urge you to spread the word.  Tell your friends, your twitter feed, your Facebook, your barber, whatever.  We're doing what we can to get the word out, but any way you can add to the noise not only helps but is greatly appreciated.

I hope you end up enjoying it as much as I enjoyed making it.  Now, back to griping about comics... 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The (Possible) Marvel Reboot.

Today Marvel had a big press conference about their latest Earth-Shattering crossover, Secret Wars, and it looks like it might actually live up to the hype.  In said press conference they announced this crossover would be the climax for the story that's been running in Hickman's New Avengers about different Earths smashing into each other.  And, surprising no one, said crossover would involve the Ultimate and 616 Marvel Universe smashing into each other and becoming something new.

To quote Tom Brevoort himself, "The Marvel Universe as you know it is done."

To say I am unhappy with this is an understatement.

I get what they're trying to do.  They (Marvel) wants to make the Marvel Universe a place that's accessible to everyone (and especially the younger set) by doing away with the years and years of awesome, weird, and ugly stories that they've accumulated throughout the years.  They're probably thinking that by streamlining everything they'll get more readers because they won't feel as daunted by the vast history staring them in the face.

It's a noble goal, to be sure, but it's crazy flawed.  Continuity isn't a hold up for kids, it's a hold up for adults.  

Way back when I started reading, I jumped into the middle of the most continuity driven era of X-Men ever and I loved it.  I didn't really know who all the players were or what was really going on, but I was excited to discover it all.  I would pour over manuals, guides, trading cards, you name it so I could learn who all these weird characters were.  And then that expanded to the multiverse, then to other universes and whatever new fun continuity popped up.  It left me with all kinds of weird trivial knowledge that I'll never really need outside of terrible Geek gameshows.

It was my hobby, and like all good hobbies when you're younger, it kinda took all my attention.

But, as I got older and my attention was needed elsewhere - like paying rent, getting a girlfriend, and hanging out with real people - my focus became diffused and I didn't have time to worry about all the ancillary comic stories and continuities.  I knew what I liked (the 616) and I only wanted to read the stories set in that universe and not waste my precious brain resources on anything else(sorry Ultimates, MC2, and 2099).  And that's not to mention my outright refusal to try to learn any new universes (sorry Valiant, I'm sure you're awesome).

Anecdotal?  Maybe.  Just consider this:  When was a last time a kid didn't think they were ready for, say, the latest issue of Avengers because they hadn't read the 50 years of books leading up to it?  You know who does that?  Adults.

If Marvel really wanted to appeal more to a younger set, they ought to refocus their books to be more about the big fights and less about conversations.  Maybe if they stopped doing 6 issue arcs for everything, tightened up the storytelling, and just started having more fun with the stuff they can do they'd get that audience they want.  But as it stands, they're courting an audience who won't care at the expense of the ones who do.

I really hope I'm blowing this announcement out of proportion.  I very much wish that this crossover ends up being like all the rest with minor cosmetic changes to the 616 and maybe a few new characters hanging around (I'm looking at you, Miles.)

Otherwise, it's been a good run Marvel, but I'm too old to learn a whole new history.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Original Sin: The Best Marvel Event In A While

Original Sin might be Marvel's best event crossover since Civil War.  But instead of trading on controversial character actions, Original Sin seems to be more interested in high adventure and boundless imagination (and maybe one controversial character action).

I know this picture looks like it's all the same ol' characters, but I promise it's not!

The setup was simple enough:  Someone murdered The Watcher and now someone has weaponized the secrets he accumulated over the years.  Now I'll admit, I was a little worried about this whole setup coming in.  Most of the time when someone uses the "Everything you knew was wrong" trope, everything's a little worse for wear.  Fortunately, the only big big reveal that came out of this whole thing was about Nick Fury, which I'll get to in a minute.

Anyway, with the mystery of the Watcher's murder hanging thick in the air, a ragtag group of heroes - including Moon Knight, Dr Strange, The Winter Soldier, among others - are assembled to follow the clues to find who really did it.  And I'll tell you, it was nice to see some lower tier guys get the spotlight in a big crossover like this.  Not that I don't like seeing Iron Man and Captain America mixing it up, but you know, the universe is bigger than just the Avengers.

And lemme tell you, it's fucking great!  The Punisher and Dr. Strange hanging out in a nether realm talking about the merits of murder, The Orb beating the Avengers with an eye of the Watcher, and Nick Fury being the biggest badass in the galaxy; What's not to like?

If he can't net an action figure after all this, I don't know what would

And listen, I understand if you're shaking your head at the Nick Fury stuff.

A bit of SPOILERS here, please just skip on down if you don't want this big reveal spoiled for you (more than it already has).  So, as it turns out, Nick Fury has become an old man since he got replaced (stupidly) by his long lost son Marcus 'Nick Fury Jr' Johnson - Seriously though, if you're mom got murdered while trying to protect you, wouldn't you keep her name?  What kind of asshole takes the name of his deadbeat dad instead?  I would rather they have brought over the Ultimate Nick Fury during some shitty crossover than this ridiculousness.  But, that's a deal for another day - Ahem.  Where was I?

Right.  The real Nick Fury.  So apparently the effects of giving up the last of the Infinity Formula to keep Bucky alive post-Fear Itself have finally taken their toll on the old warhorse and have made him age appropriate.  That is, he's turned into Bruce Wayne from Batman Beyond; old, crotchety, and supported by a cane.  But while that was the biggest physical reveal, it wasn't the BIG reveal.  That honor goes to Nick's reveal of his job all these years:  The Frontline Defense for Earth aka The Man on The Wall.

It's actually not a terrible setup, but one that falters a little when you think of the stuff Nick let come through.  Sure he was out there murdering rogue planets and developing inter-dimensional bullets, but he was also letting things like Maximum Security (The Earth is chosen to become an intergalactic prison), Secret Invasion (where the Skrulls nearly took over the planet while Nick was busy starring at photographs), and infinity (where Thanos made a run at Earth, landed, and fucked stuff up) happen when he probably could have stopped those from starting.

Regardless, the idea is neat, even if the last thing the Marvel Universe needs at this point is another secret society (Nick hangs with a bunch of LMDs, that's a society in my book) that's secretly running/protecting the world from stuff.  Do you think they ever got in each other's way?  Like, one group is trying to, I dunno, stop an intergalactic war by doing something that totally undermines whatever the opposite group is attempting.  Maybe that's the real reason Operation: Galactic Storm happened.

Back to the book, the only thing I'm not to hot on is the art.  Mike Deodato does some fantastic stuff with some of the craziest layouts ever, but it's totally not my thing.  I respect what he does, but it's too… muddy for me.  It's like Neal Adams' stuff fell into an inkwell but with more boobs.  

In a way, the series reminds me of The Infinity Gauntlet as something that can is very much of the era and can stand on it's own fairly well.  I mean sure, The Infinity Gauntlet had much more story lead up and had the craziest, highest stakes ever, but in the end you could just read those six issues and get nearly the full story of what was going on.  Meanwhile Original Sin, in a welcome change from other modern event crossovers, tells a full story over the course of 8 issues while giving enough motivation to any spin-off series that wants to exist.

You would think that this is where Spidey would remember selling his marriage to the devil.  But then I guess that isn't an ORIGINAL sin.

I really hope this is the model of events for Marvel moving forward.  You know, assuming that they insist on doing these with increased frequency (I see that Axis starts next month… sigh) it'd be nice if the actual event was worth reading and not something utterly disappointing like the past dozen or so.  In the meantime, at least I got this one and it was pretty awesome. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Behold the Mighty GALACTYPUS!


Sometimes I'm convinced that they write comics just for me.

Seriously though, now that this is a thing, can I get a mini-series or something?  I promise I'll be good...

Via issue 5 of Ultimate FF by my new heroes Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andre Araujo.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

When Did I Become an Old Man?

The other day I was griping to the wife about how the Avengers appear in other books.  

"It's always Cap, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man all hanging out in the tower when a problem pops up," I complained, "Even though they don't really share a book together and they got better things to do than hang out with each other.  I mean, what about the Unity Squad?  Hickman's freaking opus?"  (At this point I can tell The Wife checks out of "our conversation")

UGH! They're even stealing lines from the movie....
Loki: Agent of Asgard # 1 - Exhibit A
(the Black Widow is there too, she's just around the corner)
It reeks of the comics falling over themselves to be more like the movies and adapt their adaptation like some kind of weird literary turducken.  And I understand that economically it behooves a comic with a readership somewhere in the 50k range try to lure in the millions upon millions that saw the movie.  Regardless, it bothers me.

But then it hit me:  I sound like the Old Time Fans I was annoyed with back when I was a new fan.

Ugh.  When did that happen?

I remember hitting up newsgroups, and later Alvaro's Comicboards, and being shocked at the reaction to the books I loved on the stands.  The general feeling on every board was that the Marvel Universe ended in 2000 when Joe Quesada took over as E-I-C.  His loose approach to continuity, decompressed story lines, and fear of basic costumed adventures really raised the ire of those fans of the big fans prior to the year 2000.  (For the record, I was one of those fans, but I was really into the new way they were telling stories at the turn of the century).

So, here we are, thirteen-ish years later and I'm suddenly the guy complaining about a bygone era when The Avengers were a consistent team from book to book.  I'm the guy telling these new whippersnappers about what the Avengers are supposed to be.

Ugh.  Past me is so disappointed in Present me.

Me circa 2014

Whatever.  Make the Avengers more consistent!  And get off my lawn!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Deathlok In Name Only

If you keep up on your comic news and/or are a viewer of Marvel's Agents of Shield, then you might be aware that they just recently added a bonafide superhero to their ranks, namely Deathlok.  Or at least, that's what all the hype (both sanctioned and fan-generated) would have you believe going into their last new episode.  Sadly, who they introduced has about as much to do with Deathlok as they do with Captain America.

This was the least badass picture I could find.  I wanted to give poor Mike a fighting chance.

For those of you not in the know, AoS's Deathlok is Mike Peterson, the super-ish human from the pilot episode.  He ran around the pilot episode as a man corrupted by the power he was given, trying desperately to show his son he was a hero while coming off more like a monster; Standard tragic hero stuff.  For a one off, it wasn't terrible even though I personally hoped that he was someone from the Marvel catalogue and not someone made up whole cloth for the show.  

Ten episodes later, Mike showed back up as a Shield agent in training until he was assigned to a mission with the team that brought him in originally.  And of course, in the name of dramatic twists, he betrayed the team and met his apparent demise running between two exploding trucks (like you do).  Alas, he wasn't dead, just missing a leg and kinda singed with a spy camera implanted in his brain ready to blackmail him into doing more misdeeds.

Is it healthy to leave those scars exposed like that?

In the latest episode, T.R.A.C.K.S, he received a fancy bionic leg and got all stone cold killer on us.  After his rampage, at the end of the episode as he's asking the people on the other side of his blackmailing camera eye if he can see his son again, the camera zooms WAY into his leg to show us that it is indeed the fabled 'PROJECT: Deathlok'.


It's just…  ugh.  Like most of Marvel's Agents of Shield, it misses the point.

You know, if this was a licensed show (like how X-Men and the Fantastic Four are licensed properties to Fox), I would be less disappointed, but it's because of Marvel Studios fantastic track record of adaptations that makes this sting.  I expect this kind of hodgepodge mentality when it comes to other executives who think they know better, but not something under the fantastic stewardship of Kevin Fiege.

Deathlok, at his core, his a character about humanity: It's a man fighting against technology to reclaim his identity.  Honestly, he's Robocop, just instead of a Detroit police officer he's a solider.  Meanwhile, Mike Peterson is a man fighting for redemption, like The Hulk.  He's made some mistakes, but always for noble reasons, and now has to prove that he's better than the monster he's made out to be.  It's a fantastic arc, but it's not a Deathlok arc.  You can't just slap a robot leg on him and call it Deathlok; that's disingenuous to the character.  Both of them.

I had really high hopes for Marvel's Agents of Shield coming into the season, but all it has done since is let me down.  The characters are bland, the stories are shoddy, and now they're not respecting the source material.  Worse, the show runners come off as smug assholes when responding to valid criticisms about the show.  

For the record, I don't really want Agents of Shield to feature a new superhero every week or am holding out hope that Tony Stark is going to show up.  I just want the show to be compelling, with interesting characters and engaging plots, but if they opt to debut a hero from the books in the show, I want them to be faithful to their core.  

So far, they're off to a terrible start.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Threshold

Real Talk:  Infinity is not very good.

It's cold, impersonal, and ultimately pretty boring.  Sure, it has some real epic set pieces, but that junk don't make an impact if I don't care about who or what it's impacting.  And don't even get me started on how the whole Thanos thing feels shoehorned into this over-arcing plot about The Builders and the Ex Nilhos;  it's tenuous at best, but mostly it's just terrible.

Not as advertised.

But, even though I complain and complain, I'm still going to buy the final issue next week.  Why?  Because I have the other five.  And therein lies the rub.

It was about a decade ago now when I made the conscious effort to stop buying books on inertia.  If I  wasn't enjoying the direction of the book, the creative team, or was just generally not excited about reading it anymore then I wasn't going to read it anymore.  It's a solid policy that's harder than you'd think to enforce, but aside from the odd Secret Warriors run, I've been pretty good at staying true.  
Except,  I just can never figure out the right time to stop buying a miniseries.

Take, for example, Infinity:  It's first couple of issues were good enough to warrant the buy, but after issue 4 I found myself increasingly disengaged with the story on a whole.  Culminating on the point I find myself at today:  I have five issues of a six issue miniseries, so I feel I need to see how it concludes, but I'm not really excited by it.  

I passed the point of no return and now am bound by my stupid feelings of completion to finish off the series.  It sucks.

So the question is:  Where is that Threshold?  What's the optimal number of issues to buy of a miniseries before making a true decision whether to continue or not.

Clearly, buying the first issue is a given.  It gives you a good sense of the tone, style, and hopefully has some gripping plot point that keeps you going.  A great first issue goes a long way to getting me to buy at least the next two to three issues and or looking out for the eventual trade.  A good one has me looking out for the next issue, and of course a bad one has me never going back to that well.  Seems simple enough, right?

Second issues is where things start getting dicey.  If it's no good, or just generally doesn't expand on the promise of the first, I'm out.  If it's good enough, I'll give it another go around before I opt for something more re-reading convenient.  And therein lies the dicey.  

Third issues are trouble because typically (at least with the newer 6-issue series) this is where something big happens that makes you (or me at least) feel the need to buy the next issue.  Then suddenly your four issues into a series you weren't sure about that's going to end in another issue and you might as well keep the train moving.

In other words, we end up where I am with Infinity.  Bleh.

Ugh.  Just stop.

I find myself at a loss.  I don't know how to solve this little conundrum.  So, how do you get around this?  How do you decide when to stop buying a middling miniseries?  Or better, when do you decide to stop buying single issues and just switch to trades?  

I'm curious if any of you have any tips for me and my issues with issues.

Also, does anyone really like Infinity?  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Um... What?

Well...  Looks like I just found something new for my reading list.  Let's hope I can trust Harlan Ellison on this one.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Cocaine's a Hell of a Drug

Before you know it, it'll have you dressed up like a 20-something Santa Claus looking to spread a new gospel.

Just say no.  You know, unless you're into that kind of thing.

From Steve Englehart and Joe Stanton's New Guardians #2 via Comics Should Be Good