So let’s see if we can get this straight. The reason Captain America Steve Rogers and stand-in Captain America Sam Wilson are no longer on speaking terms is because one’s a Democrat and one’s a Republican? And we’re given the rather trite challenge of trying to guess which one is which? Um, no. That would be too simplistic and, given that Marvel doesn’t want to risk alienating any longtime fans (or new ones, recruited by their cinematic universe), pretty dumb. No, Captain America must represent ALL Americans. He can’t take political sides. He must remain neutral. At least that’s how Steve Rogers views it, and so do I.

Sam, though, wants to take a more active role in political matters. That’s the crux of their argument. It’s an intriguing story idea, having Sam as Cap speaking out more openly on certain issues than Steve did. Marvel can be a little controversial—remember, the Captain America comic has in the past offended some Rightwing group, and reaped some free publicity from it—without tarnishing the iconic character as he is depicted in the movies. How far are they willing to go? Just how vocal will Falcon-Cap be? We’ll just have to wait to find out.

source: io9.com

Times sure have changed, and they changed pretty fast. Just a few short years ago, the hinting that a comic character MIGHT be gay was enough to get a writer fired (Remember when Northstar was “outted” in Alpha Flight?) and have fans boycotting. Now you can’t turn a comic book page without hitting a gay character. This is a good thing. I believe comics SHOULD feature a wider diversity of characters; not all our heroes and villains need to be heterosexual white males. Comics should reflect real life in that regard. People come in all shapes, sizes, colors, religions and sexual orientations.

Do you sense a “but” coming?

BUT. If it feels forced. (If you are retconning an established character, for example.) Even when handled by a master scribe like Brian Bendis. If you are basically shoehorning a character into a new role—Let’s make this hero a female! Let’s make this hero gay! Oh, we need a Latino superhero now. Let’s create one!—just for the sake of having a gay/Latino/Muslim/vegan/whatever, it becomes a case of tokenism. That’s a bad word. “Token.” It cheapens the value of that diversity creators are trying to establish in comics.

Iceman has been around for 50 years. And we’re just NOW learning that he is gay?

source: www.advocate.com

After watching the FIRST fantastic fiasco to be played out on the silver screen and leaving the theater grousing and shaking my fists at the sky, lamenting the film’s greatest sin, the grave disservice it had done to Doctor Doom, my lovely better half, not as up on her comics culture as you or I, asked me, “What’s so great about Doom, anyway.” This launched me into a fifteen minute diatribe on Marvel’s greatest villain.

First, I explained that Doom is only a villain in that he frequently tussles with superheroes. His motivations, though, are ultimately noble. Doom wants to save the world. He wants to see an end to the sufferings brought about by human frailty. It’s just that he’s such an egomaniac, he believes the only way he can save the world is to conquer it and impose his inflexible will upon it. The only way he can protect the human race is to rule over it. But Doom isn’t motivated by hate (except his hatred for Reed Richards). The Fantastic Four are passé and have been for quite some time, but Doom is as vital as ever. Marvel needs him.

And my lovely better half, after hearing me extol Doom’s virtues, began to shake her fists at Hollywood, as well. To know Doom is to love him.

source: www.vox.com

I’ve spoken previously about my concerns for the NEW new Marvel Universe, now that so many of their top-level writers, including former “architects” Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and Jonathan Hickman, along with fan favorites like Rick Remender and Kelly Sue DeConnick, have all departed for greener pastures. (Double entendre alert!) I expressed optimism, though, in that Brian Michael Bendis and Jason Aaron were sticking around, and that talented scribes like Charles Soule, Mark Waid and Al Ewing would be stepping up to fill the vacuum left by the departed. And, while not crazy about the current reshuffling of major players—the Hulk is now Aamdeus Cho; the Falcon is Captain America while Captain America is now an old man; Wolverine and Thor are both women; Peter parker is now Tony Stark and there’s a pretender posing as a second Spider-Man—I’m content to wait it out.

I’ve read the first issues of books like UNCANNY AVENGERS (hate the artwork, but good story), DOCTOR STRANGE and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and the first couple of issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and INVINCIBLE IRON MAN. So far they’re good. Up to the level of quality I’ve come to expect and demand of Marvel good. Even Spider-Man. I was initially worried that Spidey wouldn’t fly away from his urban NYC roots, but so far . . . Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

I heard again this past weekend how Zack Snyder’s MAN OF STEEL “ruined” Superman because of its ending. “Superman doesn’t kill,” this person said. “EVER!” I agreed, with the caveat that for every rule there is an inevitable exception. A fanboy might complain that he prefers his Superman painted in lighter tones—and I don’t just mean the color palette used for the movie—and this is a legitimate opinion. Some fans enjoy goofy and silly instead of dark and gritty where certain characters are concerned. However, within the context of this particular movie, Snyder put the Man of Steel in a situation where there WAS no other choice. Either Superman killed Zod, or Zod killed innocent people. Under those circumstances, what else could he do? Had he placed his ethical stance against killing above those people’s lives, would he not then have been complicit, to some extent, in their deaths?

It’s a much larger debate than superhero morality. Does perfect pacifism work? Had the world followed Gandhi’s suggestions NOT to violently oppose the Nazis in WW2, would the Nazis not have conquered the world, murdering hundreds of millions of innocents? There are some gripes where MOS is concerned that carry weight. (I for one thought that fight scene with the other two aliens went on too long—and this coming from a guy who loves fight scenes.) But Superman killing Zod isn’t one of them. Superman did the moral, conscientious thing. Ugly as it was, it was necessary.

A good Batman story can be told without Batman even appearing in it. I actually quite enjoy those rare stories that focus on Gotham City itself, on the everyday citizens who live there, and on the mythic, ever present effect that Batman has on it and them. Batman’s PRESENCE can suffuse a story whether or not he is there physically or not. Granted if they tried to serve up too many stories like that it wouldn’t work. People buy Batman comics because they want to see Batman. That’s the problem I’m having with Scott Snyder’s new story arc in the main Batman comic.

Here’s the thing: Snyder’s story is good. The idea is good. And it’d be a welcome change of pace. IF. If DC hadn’t ALREADY spent the past several years screwing with their most popular character. Playing switcheroo with the cape and cowl, experimenting just for the sake of experimenting. Either that, or the writers have just been too lazy or not creative enough to come up with some original Batman stories THAT ACTUALLY HAVE BATMAN IN THEM. Snyder was doing that for awhile, and doing it well. Is he out of ideas now, too?

source: www.theverge.com

I’ll go on record now. I am officially worried about Marvel Comics. Right now, anyway. I’m excited but apprehensive at the same time. Overall, the books and stories they’ve been producing over the past several years have been so damn good, I’m afraid they can’t maintain that high of a standard. Especially now, with so many of their leading writers leaving the House of Ideas. Hickman’s run on the AVENGERS books may have been controversial and something of an acquired taste, not as accessible as Brian Michael Bendis’s stellar run, but he built it to a crescendo of awesomeness with SECRET WARS that leaves me wondering, honestly, how ANYthing could NOT be something of a letdown in its wake.

Throw in the fact that Marvel is tinkering with so many of its prominent characters. Captain America is an old man and the Falcon is calling himself Captain America now. Amadeus Cho is the Hulk instead of Bruce Banner. Jane Foster is now Thor, and Peter Parker has become the new Reed Richards. Oh, and there are now TWO Spider-Men, and the Avengers roster has suffered some serious shrinkage. Maybe Marvel feels secure enough to experiment, risking the loss of some older readers by trying to hook new ones. I lack their confidence. New is good, but TOO new, not so much.

Were you around back in the dismal 90s? If so, first off, I can sympathize. We comic lovers really had it bad back then, didn’t we? The trend towards flashy art and creator-owned titles (which were mostly blatant rip-offs of existing series, usually the X-Men), with the focus solely on the visuals and no real attempt made at story content, culminating in the rise of Image and the speculator market that almost destroyed the entire industry—in other words, the good ol’ days they were decidedly NOT. Back then, did you ever think you’d see the day when the Avengers would outsell the X-Men? And could any of us have predicted a day when the X books would be in such a decline?

Lacking the movie rights to the X-Men franchise, Marvel is not-so-subtly downplaying the mutant line. As the X-Men and their fellow mutants take more of a secondary, simmering on the rear stove eye position in the new Marvel universe, the Inhumans are rising to fill that void, and I personally am thrilled. It’s about time the Inhumans get their due, and with an INHUMANS movie on the docket, it only makes sense for Marvel to hype the hell out of them. They can’t rely on another GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY repeat, where the movie made a mint despite its featuring obscure characters. By the time the Inhumans hit the big screen, I’m betting they won’t be so obscure anymore.

source: www.newsarama.com

DC Entertainment will now give Bill Finger official credit for his work in film and television projects based on his creations, including Batman v Superman.

This is a long overdue honor, and is still incomplete. Writer Bill Finger needs to be credited in EVERY Batman comic, should be credited on every television show, every cartoon, every movie in which Batman appears. Retroactively there isn’t much we can do; an awful lot of Batman comics have been printed, giving sole credit for the character’s creation to artist Bob Kane. But we can educate today’s casual fan. We can make sure to properly give the credit deserved from this point onward. Better late than never, and justice delayed is not necessarily justice denied.
All Bob Kane did was draw the character, and this under Finger’s direction. (Kane originally envisioned a character named “Birdman.”) It was Finger who named the character, and the character’s alter ego Bruce Wayne. It was Finger who devised Batman’s origin story and crafted all the mythos with which we are so familiar today. Finger is to Batman what Stan Lee is to Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Iron man, the Hulk, etc. and etc.—if Jack Kirby had selfishly stolen all the credit for himself, which is what Bob Kane did, actively excluding Finger as the rightful co-creator of the world’s most recognized superhero. Batman would not have approved.

source: www.superherohype.com

Man of Steel and Watchmen director Zack Snyder responds to Steven Spielberg’s comments on superhero movies and addresses the rumor mill around the DCU.

I’ve actually been a little worried about this myself. Commenting in the past on the Hollywood beast’s inability to generate any original ideas, lamenting its tendency to simply mimic what is currently popular and churning out one comic-based flick after another while giving no thought as to what, exactly, makes those successful examples of the genre work in the first place. And Hollywood will continue to do this, snatching up ANY comic property, no matter how obscure, no matter how unlikely those properties are to make any money at the box office, completely out of touch with the movie-going public, regurgitating what they believe to be a secret formula to big box office returns while milking the cash cow to death. It is only natural that people will eventually get sick of it all. Is Steven Spielberg right? Will we see a day when NO comic book movie will perform well in theaters?

Zack Snyder shares my concern that Spielberg might be accurately prognosticating the fate of the genre. However, he maintains that the only thing a director of such films can do is try to make the best movies possible, hoping that quality will win out despite Hollywood running the whole comic book one hoss shay into the ground. I concur, and as long as there are those who pursue quality over quantity where superheroes are concerned, the reign of the spandex-wearing superstar has miles and miles left to run before it implodes.

source: www.superherohype.com