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Jul 242014
 

fourColorBullet1

Welcome to the regularly scheduled edition of Four-Color Bullet, the only comic book review column sponsored by LuthorCorp. Yesterday, I featured a special Batman Day edition highlighting my Top 10 Batman stories. Check it out  if you haven’t seen it, yet. I forgive you. It was a pretty important day, after all. But let’s get to the business at hand.

This week from Marvel, The X-Men’s Storm flies solo in the first issue of her new book, titled Storm; Peter Parker discovers that he wasn’t the only one bitten by that radioactive spider, in Amazing Spider-Man #4, an Original Sin tie-in;  and Preston discovers something from Deadpool’s past that needs to be dealt with, but he and Dazzler are neck deep in vampires, in Deadpool #32, an Original Sin tie-in.

Over at DC, Zero Year, the New 52 retelling of Batman’s origin, comes to a powerful end, with Batman taking on Riddler, in Batman #33; Take a further glimpse into the possible grim future of the DCU, in Futures’ End #12; and the House of Mystery is heading into the Void of Non-Being, while a team member is possessed, in Justice League Dark #33.

And IDW rounds out the bullets with Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever #2, as Kirk, Spock, and Yeoman Rand return to the Enterprise after their first encounter with the Guardians, only to find a darker timestream awaiting them.

Written by Mark Waid Art by Javier Rodriguez Cover Art by Chris Samnee

Written by Mark Waid
Art by Javier Rodriguez
Cover Art by Chris Samnee

In Original Sin, a group of heroes was subjected to a blast from one of the Watcher’s stolen eyes. The blast imparted many of the Watcher’s secrets into the minds of those in the blast radius. One of those heroes was Daredevil. Daredevil’s entire crime-fighting career was predicated on the hero-worship of his father, Jack Murdock, a boxer, a good man until his death. But in this tie-in, Daredevil makes the shocking discovery that his father wasn’t the saint he thought he was.

This was another great issue from writer Mark Waid, who is joined by Javier Rodriguez on pencils (and inks and colors) instead of Chris Samnee, delivers a story about what happens when our heroes turn out to not be as heroic as we think they are. And when DD tries to contact his mother for answers, he discovers she and some other nuns have been arrested and are being extradited to Wakanda as part of a bizarre conspiracy. Chris Samnee stepped off the penciling duties for this issue but Rodriguez’ clean art looked great depicting Waid’s words. And it’s nice to revisit Matt’s mother, who happens to be in quite a bit of trouble. And we get a glimpse of what Jack Murdock’s sins were, and Rodriguez’ art shows us some pretty obvious spousal abuse. This one will be continued next issue with some obvious emotional baggage that may resonate in Matt’s life for years to come.

 

 

Written by Bill Finger, Brad Meltzer, and Scott Snyder Art by Bob Kane, Bryan Hitch, and Sean Murphy, and Chip Kidd

Written by Bill Finger, Brad Meltzer, and Scott Snyder
Art by Bob Kane, Bryan Hitch, and Sean Murphy, and Chip Kidd

This year marks Batman’s 75th anniversary and DC Comics designated yesterday Batman Day. Many comic shops across the globe gave out Bat-swag, including a free issue of a new 75th Anniversary issue of Detective Comics #27. You get four stories in this free book, including a reprint of the original story from the 1939 Detective Comics that featured the first appearance of Batman in a story called The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, written by Bill Finger and drawn by Bob Kane. In addition to this, thriller novelist and sometime comic-book scribe Brad Meltzer wrote a modern-day telling of that same story, that was penciled by Bryan Hitch. This alone was enough to snag the book in my opinion. You get to see the original story and compare it to Meltzer’s retelling and with Hitch’s gorgeous artwork that comics fans have seen in stuff like The Ultimates and Civil War. And it’s fun to compare the two, seeing how Kane and Finger’s creation has evolved over time. A real treat for fans of comic book history.We get all of that history, plus Scott Snyder  provides a future tale of Batman. And Meltzer teams up with Chip Kidd for a sneak peek of their take on Kane and Finger’s original story.

Did I mention it’s free? If you didn’t do it yesterday, go to your local comic shop and see if they have any left. It’s worth it.

And one more special thing about this issue: it features the first and only time Bill Finger has ever been credited on any cover of a comic featuring the character he helped create. Bob Kane, whose name we see plastered all over anything Batman, came up with the concept, but Batman’s modern appearance, from the cowl to the boots, was all Bill Finger. Many older fans know this, and many don’t. And there are many younger fans who know nothing about Bill Finger. And I’ve been more than vocal in other venues on my thoughts of Bill Finger getting shafted, so I won’t mention them here. But it is a crime to the industry, and a slap in the face to the man who more than helped Bob Kane bring this beloved pop culture icon to life, to have ignored his contributions for 75 years.  Bless DC Comics for putting his name on the cover where it belongs. I know for a fact that there was a collective cheer that went out when fans saw it. I was one of them.

And that is Four-Color Bullet for this week. Email and comments are always welcome. Be sure and check out Krypton Radio’s coverage of San Diego Comic-Con this week. We have geek boots on the ground on location, as well as live broadcasts. Tune in from your mobile device while you’re waiting in line! So if you’re in the area, find one of our roving Nerd Newshounds and say ‘hi.” Maybe they’ll put you on the air. And then you can brag that you hung out with the best, fastest-growing Internet radio station in the multiverse. And then your friends will get jealous because they don’t rock like you do. Totally worth it.

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See ya next week!

Jul 162014
 

Rocket Raccoonby Nur Hussein, staff writer

The comic book movie trailer is a special kind of beast; it needs to introduce weird characters to a general audience in a way that gets them excited about it, and at the same time it can’t reveal too much about the story. A good trailer hooks us, creates buzz and ultimately makes us want to go see the movie. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable comic book movie trailers over the years, and why they are so very effective in their presentation.

X-Men (2000)

We start with the film trailer to Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie in 2000. While Blade (1998) was the first moderately successful film to star a Marvel property, it was X-Men that got the positive reviews from critics and it is arguably the first film in the 2000s that spearheaded an era of superhero and comic book films.

The producers of the first X-Men had their work cut out for them when they created the trailer; they had to communicate the premise of the movie and introduce an eclectic mix of characters to audiences that weren’t necessarily familiar with the premise. Plus, there weren’t really any ensemble comic book hero movies yet.

With this trailer, they went the direct route: simply name them all in an action montage of each. It was simple, and it worked. Audiences unfamiliar with the characters got to see them all, and the geeks got to hop up and down as each mutant got his or her name called. The concept could have gone very badly, but this trailer is stylish enough that it’s not (too) cheesy and childish. Viewing it now it looks a bit dated and silly, but at the time it was very effective.

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Say what you like about sequels, but some of the best superhero and comic book movies are seconds, even better movies than their firsts. Getting people excited about Part 2 of a movie franchise is in some ways easier than a brand new property: you don’t have to introduce many characters since we can assume the audience is familiar with them from the first part. But you have to give viewers a reason to come back from more.

In this particular teaser trailer for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, we see Peter and Mary Jane sharing a “will they/won’t they” moment before an entire car just smashes into the restaurant! Then Doctor Octopus makes a brilliant entrance! No “in a world where …” voiceover, no text snippets explaining the situation, just a short clip and a bang. Then the usual action montage starts, but I like how we’re thrown into the action from a quiet character-based moment.

The Dark Knight (2008)

This teaser trailer for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is textbook perfection for teaser trailers. Honestly, it was the only trailer they ever needed, (though they did release a full trailer, which was also pretty good). When I first saw it, it gave me chills. It is just a simple animation: the Batman logo slowly disintegrating with the voice-overs from Bruce Wayne, Alfred, and the Joker. It cleverly introduces the situation and the key players without showing a single scene. Batman is about to face a terrifying villain, and the maniacal laugh with the brief glimpse of the Joker card at the end just seals the deal. To this day “some men just want to watch the world burn” remains one of the most memorable movie quotes of all time.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

We saw this one pretty recently, the first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy. As a relatively obscure Marvel property, the filmmakers had to make a trailer that was both exciting and introduced all the oddball characters. Like the X-Men trailer, we are given a character roll-call, but in a more subtle way. It is framed in a scene where the protagonists are described in a prison line-up, one by one, by a Nova Corps (Marvel’s space police) officer.

One of the more memorable aspects of this trailer is the use of Blue Suede’s song, “Hooked on a Feeling.” Instead of the usual generic dramatic music, we got an old pop song, subverting our expectations. Then, said pop song was remixed to work in a dramatic, exciting way (the corny “ooga chaka” chant got turned into the montage music), subverting it twice. The trailer is humorous and creative, and it gives us good vibes for the movie (which Marvel is promoting like crazy). It remains to be seen whether the film will be any good, but the trailer was one super effective introduction to the movie.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and additions! Sound off in comments below, or on our Facebook page.

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Jul 102014
 

fourColorBullet1Welcome to  the Four-Color Bullet, the only comic book review column dedicated to those of us who wanted to be Superman, and have the x-rays to show for it. Let’s get to the Bullets.

Over on DC’s side of the multiversal boundary, Dick Grayson has traded in the Nightwing togs and Bat-tech for spy-tech, as he begins his new career as an agent of  Spyral, in Grayson #1; Joker’s Daughter, Deathstroke, and Black Manta join the Suicide Squad, as DC starts the series over again, in New Suicide Squad #1; and Knightfall’s deadline for all criminals to leave Gotham or be killed on sight is fast approaching. But Batgirl is not without a plan, in Batgirl #33.

Meanwhile, in the Marvel Universe, it’s Deadpool and Dazzler vs. Dracula, with all of the fallout from Original Sin, in Deadpool #31; Jim Hammond, the Original Human Torch, reveals a dark secret from the Invaders’ past in the Original Sin tie-in of All-New Invaders #7, and Spider-Man’s biggest fan becomes his first super-villain, in a telling of a story of the days after Peter Parker became Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl #1.3

From IDW this week, Q plagues the crew of the new Star Trek films in an adventure that will send Kirk and the Enterprise colliding with pieces of  Star Trek lore, beginning with the crew of a certain space station, in part one of The Q Gambit in Star Trek: Ongoing #35; Black Dynamite goes to the aid of some Shaolin monks in Tibet, where he discovers a Red Chinese/neo-Nazi conspiracy to create deadly kung-fu fighting Man-Beasts, in Black Dynamite #3.

And Dark Horse Comics brings us the next-to-last Star Wars tale before the whole shebang moves to Marvel, as Han, Luke, and Leia are together again on a mission for the Alliance, but IG-88 might be in the way, in Star Wars #19.

Written by Peter David Penciled by Will Sliney MARVEL

Written by Peter David
Penciled by Will Sliney
MARVEL

Back in the 90s, when gimmick covers were all the rage, with their die-cuts and holograms and foil, all poly-bagged for extra protection; when parents thought they could get an issue of Superman #75, lock it in a safe, and send their kids to college on what it would sell for;  when comic-shop owners over-ordered X-Force #1 and we all bought 10 copies to help out;  when baseball card companies were getting into the comics craze, and going bankrupt as a result, Marvel released a series of books that all took place in the year 2099.  They spotlighted the return of a “Heroic Age” as new heroes would emerge to take up the mantles of heroes long dead and forgotten. Among these new heroes were the Punisher, the X-Men, Spider-Man, a dude named Ravage, the original Fantastic Four after a temporal accident, Ghost Rider, Hulk, and even Doctor Doom. And all of them had “2099″ tacked on their titles. The most successful of these would be Spider-Man 2099 and would run 46 issues before being cancelled, a mere two issues after series writer Peter David left over an editorial dispute. The series starred Miguel O’Hara, a geneticist working for the villainous mega-corporation Alchemax in Nueva York in the year 2099.

In a nutshell, O’Hara has an accident that results in half of his DNA being re-written with spider DNA, giving him spider-like powers. He can climb walls with the use of tiny retractable talons on his hands and feet, shoot webbing via organic web-shooters in his forearms, and heightened speed and strength. The accident also turned O’Hara’s irises red, giving him a sensitivity to sunlight and forcing him to wear sunglasses. He also received a set of fangs, forcing him to alter his manner of speech to keep from revealing them, and as a result, he’s often accused of mumbling. As Spider-Man, Miguel’s foe was largely Alchemax and its corporate evil. Recently, however, in the pages of Superior Spider-Man, Alchemax sent Miguel back in time to 2014 to be rid of him. Now Miguel is stuck in the past, and trying to keep New York’s newest corporation, Alchemax, who he works for yet again, from becoming the evil entity it will become in the future.

Peter David returns to the series that was an instant fan-favorite back in the day, and Mr. David hasn’t missed a step. David’s sardonic wit and humor, and goofy asides fly in the first issue of Spidey 2099′s return to comics. O’Hara is just as charming and sarcastic and even heroic as he was before, only this time, in addition to his own burgeoning supporting cast, he also has Peter Parker’s cast to play off of. For example, Liz Allan, longtime Peter Parker foil, is part of Alchemax’s corporate management and is going to provide Miguel with no end of difficulty, starting with discovering who he is after a fight with a new, throwaway villain lands Spidey 2099 in her office.

But there is one thing that bugs me, and here it is:

complete with possible spoilers

Miguel’s new foe comes from a future organization called T.O.T.E.M. (Temporal Oversight Team Eliminating Mistakes), who has come to the past from a further future to erase Miguel’s existence. I won’t tell you why. But to stop the villain, Miguel kills him. Kills him. And to me, it just kind of put the screeching brakes on the story. Now, I know that Miguel isn’t Peter Parker, and Miguel has killed in the past when necessary. But, I don’t know. This issue would have perfect if not for that drag-the-needle-across-the-record moment.

Spoilers over

Written by Mark Waid Penciled by Chris Samnee MARVEL

Written by Mark Waid
Penciled by Chris Samnee
MARVEL

But while there’s no Rick Leonardi penciling in this new series, readers are graced with Will Sliney’s beautiful rendering of our temporally misplaced hero. The action is fast paced and is as good of a first issue launch as I’ve seen. I can’t wait to see where Peter David takes it. A fantastic and fun book that will give readers a sense of home, especially for those of us old-timers who loved the original.

After Daredevil’s move to San Francisco, Matt felt it was necessary to fake Foggy’s death to keep him safe, and, with his suffering from cancer, wouldn’t be a hard lie to sell. This issue is light on action, but focuses on the story of the details of Foggy’s “death”. I loved Matt’s unique solution to combating Foggy’s cancer, combating, not curing. Writer Mark Waid simply writes a poignant tale of two longtime friends and the efforts of one to give the other a place in the world. Really not much to say about this one, except it was enjoyable, and one more great addition to a great series.

And that is the Four-Color Bullet for this week. As always, feel free to leave comments below or shoot me an e-mail. Thanks to the many readers and listeners of Krypton Radio. Your loyalty and, dare I say, ability to recognize greatness, is deeply appreciated.

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you next week!

-30-

Jun 262014
 

fourColorBullet1

Welcome to this week’s Four-Color Bullet, the comic book review column that proves that getting picked on in high school because you read comic books was totally worth it. Let’s get to it, fellow geeks.

Over at the Marvel bullpen this week, thanks to Original Sin, the secrets of the Marvel Universe are out, and Bruce Banner has learned that Tony Stark had a hand in the accident that created the Hulk. Hulk? Not happy. Iron Man? In big trouble, in Hulk vs. Iron Man #1; Robbie Reyes has some trouble keeping the Spirit of Vengeance in check as the streets of East L.A. run red with Dr. Zabo’s drug-fueled gang violence as the adventures of the new Ghost Rider continues, in All-New Ghost Rider #4; and Star-Lord fights alone against a mysterious new foe, in Guardians of the Galaxy #16.

DC Comics introduces Joltin’ John Romita Jr. to the DC Universe for the first time in his career, as he and Geoff Johns begin their destined-to-be-a-classic run on Superman with #32; A New TV Series! Based On Batman! The Dynamic Duo … Not Happy! in Batman ’66 #37;  and in Justice League #31, meet the new Power Ring. But what’s her agenda?

From IDW this week, Samurai Jack’s arch-nemesis Aku has assembled a League of Extraordinary Villains from the worst evil-doers of different universes, threatening the worlds of the Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10, Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory, and even Ed, Edd, and Eddy. Now these unlikely heroes must join forces to stop Aku’s goal of interdimensional domination, in Super Secret Crisis War #1; in The X-Files: Season 10 #13, the alien “black oil” is back, and along with it, one Alex Krycek; and a paranormal event on nearby Hart Island causes two teams of Ghostbusters to investigate, only to come face-to-face with an escaped-and-stronger-than-ever Vigo the Carpathian, as the Mass Hysteria story and the series counts down to its finale, in Ghostbusters #17

And from Dark Horse Comics this week, to save the lives of her friends, Lara must return to Yamatai in order to put things right, in Tomb Raider #5.

Written by Robert Kirkman Penciled by Paul Azaceta Colored by Elizabeth Breitweiser Cover Art by Azaceta and Breitweiser IMAGE/SKYBOUND

Written by Robert Kirkman
Penciled by Paul Azaceta
Colored by Elizabeth Breitweiser
Cover Art by Azaceta and Breitweiser
IMAGE/SKYBOUND

In this humble reviewer and comic book geek’s opinion, horror comics are hard to pull off. I’ve read plenty and they haven’t always been satisfying. Notable ones are DC’s old (practically ancient) horror anthologies House of MysteryHouse of SecretsUnexpected, and still more from that period. Tomb of Dracula from Marvel in the 1970s was another good one. So when Robert Kirkman’s new horror comic Outcast came out on New Comic Day, I was really afraid to pick it up. Because you don’t just want to read it in your local comic shop. All that does is make your hard-working retailer angry, and you don’t want that. But I bought it, because it’s from Robert Kirkman, which usually promises to be good, (check out Marvel Zombies and Invincible if you don’t believe me) and it’s his first horror series.

Yes, I said his first, because The Walking Dead is not horror. It’s a story about survival. Ask Kirkman if you don’t believe me. He’ll tell you the same thing. But his new creation, a horror comic called Outcast, deals with a troubled man named Kyle and his being inextricably linked to fighting demonic possession, a belief that Kirkman holds a lot of stock in, according to a brief author’s note at the end of the book.  And Kirkman found Paul Azaceta to do the penciling, and I’m tellin’ ya, here’s a guy that can draw some horror. Dark, shadowy, and the way he draws the possessed kid in those contortions … And then he got Elizabeth Breitweiser to do the colors, and she makes the blood RED! And there’s a blood. Oh, yes. There is blood.

And Robert Kirkman and his crew want you to buy this book so much, they’re giving you 44 pages of bloody, demonic-possession-filled horror with NO ADS. No interruption of story. Now, that said. as much as I enjoyed it, it was a little confusing in places, so I had to read it twice. But I don’t really regret that. All that made me do was find stuff I’d missed from flinching at Azaceta’s depiction of stuff like — nope. I’m not saying. I’ve said too much already. Outcast was my surprise read, and I suggest you pick it up if you haven’t already.

 

Written by Dan Slott Penciled by Humberto Ramos Cover Art by Humberto Ramos MARVEL

Written by Dan Slott
Penciled by Humberto Ramos
Cover Art by Humberto Ramos
MARVEL

The continuing new adventures of the newly-resurrected Peter Parker hits its third issue, with a peek at the upcoming Spider-verse event, and Black Cat returning to her villainous roots. Dan Slott continues to bring the funny, pretty much cementing himself as one of Amazing Spider-Man‘s more popular writers. It was kind of nice to see Felicia Hardy return to Spidey’s life as an antagonist, because she is crazy scary when she’s mad, and boy, is she pissed. So much so that she teams up with — well, I won’t give it away. But it’s plain to see that things are developing in that Dan Slott way, and when he releases the flood of things he’s building, I’ll feel sorry for the web-slinger. And Humberto Ramos is one of the best pencilers in the industry and his work on ASM is never anything short of nice. Eye candy, indeed. Really, another solid issue.

And this concludes another Four-Color Bullet. As always, thanks for reading. Email me or comment below if you want to talk comics. If you read Outcast, let me know what you think.

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you next week!

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Jun 132014
 

Welcome to this week’s Four-Color Bullet. All comics should have been bought, read, and sorted, and your comic shop owner given enough money to at least keep the lights on. Without further ado, cast your eyes downward, fellow comic geeks and behold the Bullets …

DC Comics treats us this week with Batman and Catwoman teaming up against the peril of Professor Pyg, in Batman: Eternal #10; Barbara Gordon is being watched. Tapped phones, secret meetings. But can she figure out what’s going on without compromising her secret identity, in Batgirl #32; and The Minstrel! A deadly recital for Batman and Robin! The Dynamic Duo … costumeless! All in Batman ’66 #36.

Over at Marvel, J. Jonah Jameson warned us that emulating this new Spider-Man character would prove to be troublesome. And he was right. Meet Clash!  New York’s newest menace. And Spidey’s biggest fan, in the continuing untold tale of the days and weeks after Peter’s fateful spider bite, The Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl #1.2, Shang-Chi is back, in London, and hip-deep in mystical kung-fu types, in Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu #2; and as the Watcher’s death reverberates across the Marvel Universe and secrets are revealed, even the Invaders aren’t immune to the crazy, in All-New Invaders #6.

Dark Horse brings us Star Wars #18, where Princess Leia’s wedding day has arrived. And so has the freakin’ Empire! Vader’s fleet bears down on the vulnerable Rebels as they scramble to escape the deadly double cross.

And Valiant rounds out the Bullets with the first big crossover of 2014: Armor Hunters.

Written by Al Ewing Penciled by Greg Land Inked by Jay Leisten Colored by Frank D'Armata Cover Art by Greg Land MARVEL

Written by Al Ewing
Penciled by Greg Land
Inked by Jay Leisten
Colored by Frank D’Armata
Cover Art by Greg Land
MARVEL

In Original Sin #3, the Orb held aloft one of the Watcher’s eyes and caused it to explode, and everyone within the blast radius became privy to some of the Watcher’s secrets. One of those secrets was imparted to one Luke Cage, leader of a street-level Avengers squad dubbed The Mighty Avengers. Luke learned that, even after his father, ex-cop James Lucas, alienated him because of his career, Mr. Lucas led a super team himself back in the 70s. And what follows is a story of another bad mother– (shut your mouth) worthy of an Isaac Hayes theme song, with all of the fun of 1970s blaxploitation films.

This issue of Mighty Avengers , an Original Sin tie-in, was fun, as they all have been, despite being the “little brother” of the Avengers books. Writer Al Ewing makes the book fun and charming, without taking away any of the seriousness and the danger. And penciler Greg Land is one of the best in the industry, producing beautiful shelf porn with every issue he draws. And although they’re an urban, grass-roots kind of team, the team is spreading into the supernatural, largely due to Blade, the vampire slayer being part of the team. And as a fan of horror-comedy, I’m excited to see where Ewing takes me as a reader. And after reading about him after I fell in love with the comic, I learned that he essentially got to hand pick the characters, and everyone on the team is everyone he liked when he read comics as a kid, especially one Monica Rambeau a.k.a. Captain Marvel, a.k.a. Proton, a.k.a. Spectrum. And I liked reading The Flash over at DC for the same reason when Geoff Johns wrote it. Because he was a childhood fan of the character, and usually you can count on the fans doing the character the most justice, giving it the most care and commitment.

I think that’s a lot of why Mighty Avengers is so fun. And this issue is no different.

 

 

Written by Nathan Edmonson, Stuart Moore, and Ryan North Art by Rick Geary, Mike Perkins, and Ramon Villalobos Cover Art by Mark Brooks MARVEL

Written by Nathan Edmonson, Stuart Moore, and Ryan North
Art by Rick Geary, Mike Perkins, and Ramon Villalobos
Cover Art by Mark Brooks
MARVEL

Original Sins (plural) is a five-issue mini series dealing with the rest of the secrets that the Watcher’s eye revealed and, with the exception of seeing Deathlok return to the Marvel U., was largely disappointing and not at all worth the 3.99 price tag. I just couldn’t like it as much as I wanted, possibly because Brian Michael Bendis overused The Hood so much in his New Avengers run, I had honestly hoped never to see him again.

Again, the Deathlok story was pretty good, solidly written by Nathan Edmondson with some bang-up art by Mike Perkins, who brought the awesome to Ed Brubaker’s Captain America run. And there’s the first of a five-part tale starring the Young Avengers that left me needing water when it was over because it was so dry. And Rick Geary’s art in that particular tale was off-putting. But there’s also a fun Lockjaw story, so it isn’t a total waste if you decide to pick it up. You don’t need this to enjoy Original Sin. Feel free to stay away.

And that is Four-Color Bullet for this week. As always, I welcome emails and comments. Thanks for checking in.

It’s a great time to be a comics fan. See you guys next week.

WAIT! I almost forgot!

Happy Father’s Day to us dads and the moms pulling double duty!

You may be excused. Have a great week, y’all.

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Jun 052014
 

 

Amazing Fantasy 15 Spider-manby Hannah Carter, contributing writer

On this date in 1962, Spider-Man made his debut in Amazing Fantasy #15. He was one of the first teen comic book characters not relegated to a supporting role. Spider-Man creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko wanted to create a character that the growing number of teen comic book fans could more easily identify with. Stan Lee had a picture in his mind of Peter Parker as an everyday high school kid and rejected initial attempts to make him unrealistically heroic. After reviewing the sales of Amazing Fantasy #15, some of the best they had ever seen, Marvel put out The Amazing Spider-Man, the web-slinger’s first solo series.

The popularity of the comic series led to the release of ABC’s animated series Spider-Man (1967-1970), which helped make Spider-Man a cultural icon. In fact, despite the countless Spider-Man titles in various types of media, “‘60s Spider-Man” (as he is widely referred to on the internet) is arguably the most widely recognized world-wide. This is partially due to the spike of popularity the Spider-Man series reached after Marvel made all of the episodes accessible online in 2009. Fans of the old show and more recent Spider-Man series alike began watching episodes on platforms that allowed them to pause the video. People quickly began noticing some of the humorous facial expressions, poses, and logical fallacies in the Spider-Man series and began posting image and GIF files of Spidey’s hijinks for the amusement of their fellow internet users. Almost overnight ‘60s Spider-man became a full-fledged meme. To this day, reaction images (both with and without added text) and silly GIFs of ‘60s Spider-Man can be found on sites like Facebook, tumblr, Twitter, YouTube, and 4chan.

'60s Spidey moves like JaggerSince the 1970s, Spider-Man has been featured in cross-over comics with characters from the Marvel universe and other universes (namely DC). Two of my personal favorites are Batman & Spider-Man: New Age Dawning, in DC/Marvel Crossover Classics #4, and Ultimate Deadpool, an episode of Disney XD’s ongoing animated series Ultimate Spider-Man. They are the two extremes of cross-over interactions. Batman, with his all-business attitude, serves as a perfect straight man for Spider-Man’s signature wit, whereas Deadpool, who frequently breaks the fourth wall and the laws of physics, makes Spidey look positively serious.

In the vast collections of comic books, graphic novels, animated series, merchandise, and movie franchises over the 52-year span of his existence, Spider-Man has undergone several costume changes. Virtually everything about Spidey’s suit, from the color scheme to the size and shape of his eye panels, has been known to change from series to series. Other notable changes include his body type and personality. In his early days, Spider-Man was portrayed as a relatively bulky guy, sporting plenty of muscle definition. There has since been a movement to depict Spider-Man as a wiry, quick, and clever teen, which is seen by some fans as fitting better with Peter Parker’s image as an adolescent whose hobbies usually involve science.

Spider-Man’s motivations and personality have also varied by series. The Amazing Spider-Man: An Origin Story, an interactive comic application released by Marvel Reads, says that in Spider-Man’s early days, once he gained some clout for saving the city, he was self-centered and spent entirely too much time with the media. This ultimately costs him his beloved Uncle Ben, who is killed by a criminal that Spider-Man had the opportunity to stop but didn’t. After he realizes just how much of a mistake it had been not to capture said criminal, he decides that he should stop being selfish and fulfill the responsibilities that were thrust upon him when he got his powers. In other series, he did not have a direct relationship with the criminal who killed his Uncle Ben but the death still serves as a catalyst for Peter fully assuming the hero role.

tobey maguire vs andrew garfieldPeter Parker’s personality has been the subject of controversy among fans over the years. Possibly the biggest split in the Spider-Man fandom is whether or not the ­Spider-Man movie franchise from the early 2000s (directed by Sam Raimi) offers a valid depiction of Peter Parker’s character (played by Toby Maguire). Many fans have expressed displeasure with Maguire’s performance. On the other hand, fans seem to be whole-heartedly embracing Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker in Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, which just had its second film in theaters earlier this year. Although, this could be due to the fact that The Amazing Spider-Man starts while Peter is in high school whereas Spider-Man begins with Peter in college, which means he was dealing with an entirely different set of problems each time.  Andrew Garfield has what many are calling an “awkward cuteness” which adds to the sincerity of his character, while Toby Maguire is known for appearing sad or troubled and is often perceived as being “whiny.” Andrew Garfield also has the wiry build that some fans have come to expect of Spider-man.

Whatever the case may be, the Spider-Man fandom is still going strong and growing after 52 years. Generations of kids have grown up on Spider-Man cartoons, comics, and toys and have retained their love of the iconic web-slinger. Here’s hoping for another 52 years. Happy anniversary, Spidey!

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