Category Archives: Comics News
Yesterday, Marvel/Disney released a set of three photos from the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy (check here), the first movie in the Marvel Cinematics Universe that will take place entirely in space and will feature the wider (science) fantastical world of Marvel comics. Its going to feature the team often dubbed as the Cosmic Avengers and has some interesting star power behind it in the form of Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana in two of the lead roles with WWE wrestler Dave Bautista in a third and the other two CGI-animated characters being voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel.
We also got a 15-second teaser trailer at the same time, which was kind of nice, but far too brief. Personally, I don’t like teaser trailers. They are far too short to do anything really, even if I end up liking them. But then, but then just this morning, I saw a tweet by actress Karen Gillan in which she shared the FIRST FULL TRAILER of the movie! And I was hooked. Man, if the movie holds up to what this trailer is showing, this movie is going to be great.
For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my eleventh and penultimate pick is Archie and the Riverdale gang from Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla’s Afterlife With Archie, a new mini-series in the world of Archie that deals with the zombie apocalypse, and in a really good way too. The series started off in the Halloween month and it continued pretty damn strongly in November. With the third issue due imminently, I’m very excited about the continuing madcap adventures of the Riverdale gang as they all deal with the outbreak of the zombie magic-virus.
Hit the break to see why I picked these characters.
A few days ago I did my best of 2013 list for the books I had read in the second half of the year. In a departure from previous such lists I divided the books and the comics into separate posts so that I didn’t have one massive post up. Massive posts are a bit tough to handle, especially when you are promoting them on social media. And with the split posts, the directions are different and there’s no unnecessary crossover.
So, with the books already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite graphic novels of the year. A post with the best single issues will follow on later.
You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
By now I’m sure that you have all heard the news. Actress Gal Gadot has been cast as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel movie. To use the big cliche going around the interwebs, the movie still does not have an official title. It is being referred to as both Man of Steel 2 and Batman vs Superman. Complicating that somewhat is the fact that we know Wonder Woman is going to be in the movie in some capacity and there are rumours going about that we might see Batman’s protege Nightwing in the movie as well, and that there might even be Doomsday, the big bad alien bio-construct who killed Superman in one of the most popular comic events of all times. So there’s a lot to handle.
But the focus of this editorial is the casting of Gal Gadot as the iconic Amazon Princess, who is the most recognisable and most popular female comics hero in the world, despite her 71 year history in the medium. She’s the only female comics hero that I know of who has sustained her own solo title for high triple digits, something like around 650 issues or so, not to mention all the other titles she’s been a part of, or the fact that together with Batman and Superman, she forms DC’s Trinity, the three most important and central properties the publisher and its parent company Warner Bros. owns.
This Fall, Marvel/Disney marked their first major step together outside of movies with Agents of SHIELD, the first live-action TV Show based on various Marvel properties. The show has seen six episodes so far, with varying rating reactions, and it will be going on for a full season at least. You can read my reviews of the show here. Set in the aftermath of last year’s Avengers movie, the show could be said to have been a success thus far, although for me, it has been struggling to define itself and maintain a consistency in tone and mood.
However, it appears that Marvel and its parent company Disney are not about to let that stop them. Recently, the rights to making live-action adaptations of a number of properties were reverted back to Marvel. Most people, including myself, thought that Marvel/Disney would leverage these returned properties by adding some of these characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and make brand-new movies out of them.
Turns out, Marvel has had bigger plans.
Yesterday evening, I read an article on the geek news site The Mary Sue, which touched on an interview that ToonZone had with James Tucker recently (link to article). In this interview, he was asked by Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara’s recent comments that the studio really needs to get on with making a Wonder Woman movie because it is too big a thing to miss out on, essentially. Tucker is a supervising producer of the studio’s DC Animated division and as such, what he says should carry some weight in the discussion that has surrounded this topic of late: Wonder Woman getting her own live action movie, or at least the failed television show being given the go ahead.
I’ve been quite frustrated with all the non-news about the topic, particularly since DC and WB seem to be dragging their heels on the subject. What little comments that have filtered down to the masses, other than Tsujihara’s somewhat positive take, have all been about gender inequality and this notion that Wonder Woman can only work if she has THE perfect script going for her because she is, in a nutshell, too difficult a character to bring to the mainstream cinema audiences. Tucker’s comments fueled that fire further with his own brand of such silliness.
So, in a fit of frustration, I took to Twitter to talk about it and had a very interesting discussion with a few people about what is happening. This post is an offshoot of that entire discussion.
I’ve blogged about diversity in comics before. I’ve even talked about it extensively on Twitter and Facebook as well. As an Indian comics reader, comics diversity is something that I think about a lot, and being a reviewer has helped me to think about it in several different ways that I didn’t quite consider before. Diversity doesn’t just stop with gender, or race. It is much more. It is about religion, geography, physical attributes, mental state, health disorders, etc. One point I’ve iterated on again and again is that today, comics readers aren’t just white males in their teens and twenties and living in UK/US. They are much. Comics readership crosses all sorts of boundaries today. All sorts of people, from all walks of life and with all kinds of backgrounds read comics in this day and age.
Hell, comics aren’t just print anymore. They went digital and they have only been growing despite the ridiculous scaremongering from those who dislike the medium or are hopelessly wedded to their print collections to the exclusion of all else.
In a world like this, diversity is an important topic to discuss. And there are no better agents to discuss this topic than the Big 2, Marvel and DC. They are the giants of the industry who together make up about 67-75% (give or take a couple percentage points) of the market in terms of unit sells and market shares in any given month. They have the longest legacies, and thus the most material to contribute to such a discussion.
Earlier this month I posted two surveys on my blog. Sort-of surveys at any rate. You can find the one about books here and the one about comics here. I really had a lot of fun doing those, and I thought it would be fun to doing them again, but with a cool twist that I hope sounds as inspired to you as it does me. Or maybe not.
I spent the last 3 hours thinking of some kind of a blogpost to write. There are some ideas I had but nothing I could put up today, which was the whole point really. So yeah, this is going to follow the same meta layout as the other surveys. I’m not limiting this survey to just novelists, I’m including comics writers as well.
Hope you enjoy! And do share your thoughts in the comments!
So apparently, we are definitely getting a new Batman in about two-years’ time, and the role will be played by actor/producer/director Ben Affleck. For the uninitiated, we saw Christopher Nolan wrap-up his Batman movie trilogy last year with the Christian Bale-starrer The Dark Knight Rises and Ben Affleck has done comic book roles before in Mark Steven Johnson’s Daredevil.
This is certainly an interesting time for DC/WB since they just recently launched their own cinematic universe with this summer’s hit Man of Steel and we know that there are going to be three more movies in this “phase 1″ at the least: Batman vs Superman (2015), The Flash (2016), and Justice League (2017). I blogged a while back about how DC could start building its own cinematic universe to counter what Disney/Marvel have been doing with an incredibly successful line of Marvel movies.
This “plan” of mine, called Justice League: Strange Union, called on WB studios to make movies with characters that we haven’t yet seen in a live action adaptation for the cinemas and to keep any characters they wanted to reboot for the eventual Justice League film where Martian Manhunter could be added in as a new character for people to get to know.
As things stand though, based on the information that came out of San Diego Comic-Con last month and from all Hollywood sources last night, my plan is pretty much what I knew it would be: a mere hopeful fantasy.
A few days ago I was talking with fellow TFF reviewer about how DC could, and should, revamp its “Young Justice” comics. To clarify, I realise that there was an animated show of the same name and that there were accompanying digital comics as well. However, I use that term as a catch-all to describe all the second generation superheroes in the DC universe for the purposes of this discussion. This includes heroes like Superboy, Supergirl, Batgirl, Red Hood, Nightwing, Teen Titans and so on.
We did some preliminary discussions around the idea and it gave me the idea for this post, since our discussion was held on a forum where the comics discussions are extremely limited. And I wanted to explore the idea in greater depth and provide a much more visible platform for it as well.
I remember seeing the first trailers and gameplay footage of Assassin’s Creed back in 2007, in my Video Game Production class back in college. It was a rather surreal moment and the game had my complete attention. I’ve never been a “get the game at release!” kind of gamer and so I didn’t get a chance to play Assassin’s Creed until much later. And I was hooked. Its been ages now and I remember little of the game, but what I do remember is how much fun it was to explore the cities and carry out all the assassin-related hijinks with Altair.
I’ve largely fallen off the gaming scene in recent years, preferring to focus instead on my fiction writing and reviewing, so I’m not current on much of what is happening in the industry.
But then I heard about a new Assassin’s Creed graphic novel, and suddenly I wanted to play the game once more.
Just a quick update on things before I post my monthly report for last month later this weekend. Its been a somewhat hectic couple weeks, and I haven’t been able to collate all my writing data as yet.
Anyway, moving on.
This past weekend was my first Free Comic Book Day, or FCBD for short. It is a global event and comics publishers all over put out a handful of comics that are free of cost for readers. Print or digital, they are absolutely free (the stores still have to pay though, so keep that in mind!). All I can honestly say is that it was a downright blast, at least as long as we don’t consider my Iron Man 3 experience on the same day, something that is best left to my review, which I’m hoping to get done this weekend.
My local bookstore of choice had a fair range of titles on offer by the time I got there, although they had already sold out on a few I had really been looking forward to, such as IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dark Horse’s Star Wars, Top Cow’s Aphrodite, and 2000 AD’s Judge Dredd. Pretty gutted really, but I did manage to pick up a few interesting titles, one of which happens to be an Archie’s Digest, a comic I have not read in YEARS. Possibly an entire decade at the least!
Here are the books that I picked up this weekend, including a couple trades for graphic novels that I’ve had a blast reading in digital. Money well-spent as far as I am concerned.
Left to right, that’s an X-Men spoof poster by somebody someone, Batgirl Volume 1 by Gail Simone, Witchblade Volume 1 by Ron Marz, Demon Knights Volume 1 by Paul Cornell , Green Lantern: Rebirth by Geoff Johns, Thanos Rising #1 by Jason Aaron, FCBD: A World of Archie’s Digest, FCBD: Marvel Infinity by Jonathan Hickman, FCBD: Superman #1 by Geoff Johns, FCBD: Valiant Masters, and FCBD: Valiant 2013.
Now, on to other things.
I finished the second-pass edits on Dharmayoddha last month and sent the novella out to a few beta-readers. Response has begun trickling in and so far its all been quite positive, with a few minor niggles here and there. I am pretty confident of the project now. This is, I think, just the right boost that I needed, and I can’t wait to hear back from everybody, and then begin the third-pass edits, fine-tuning things as and where they need to be, and there are few for sure, no doubts about that.
Also, I just finished the prequel story to Dharmayoddha, tentatively titled Dharmasankat: Crisis of Faith. It clocks in at 5,130 words exactly and I’m really glad that I finally got it done. The short story is intended for the Manifesto UF anthology by Tim Marquitz, and the submissions window for that closes on the 15th. I’m hoping that I can get it polished in time for the deadline, but the fear niggles that I left this off too long, and that it might not be ready.
If it is not, well, then, I can consider other avenues. Hopefully. We’ll see how that pans out.
But now, I’m pretty damn excited, being in a really good place with my writing.