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    The women of the superhero world take back their stories in this cathartically angry book by Catherynne M. Valente.

    Review Kayti Burt
    Jul 6, 2017

    The world of superhero storytelling — the most powerful, myth-making pop culture force on the planet right now — has a imbalance when it comes to gender representation. Though we just got the gift from the gods that was Wonder Woman, Hollywood has a long way to go in diversifying its parade of white, male, straight superheroes.

    The Refrigerator Monologues, a collection of interlocking stories by Catherynne M. Valente (with accompanying illustrations by Annie Wu) about the women who have been "fridged" as part of a male superhero's story, is not only a sharp and biting critique of that lack of diversification, it's an example of the wealth of storytelling that is possible when you look outside the narrow identity boundaries mainstream superhero storytelling almost exclusively limits itself to. 

    "Origin stories are like birthday parties," one of the narrators in The Refrigerator Monologues laments at one point, "very exciting and colorful and noisy, but in the end, they're all the same." This book is not an origin story; it's one form of salve for the redundant elements of mainstream superhero storytelling. It's main source of inspiration may be the way female characters are too often treating in superhero storytelling, but its frustrations are broader that that, and they are angrily, cleverly sprinkled throughout this refreshingly rageful reading experience.

    What is fridging? If you've never heard of the term, it's the storytelling trope that sees a someone a main character loves killed, maimed, abused, raped, etc. for the sole purpose of emotionally torturing and motivating that main character to do something. More often than not, the character being brutalized is a woman and the character being motivated is a man. Comic book writer Gail Simone created a whole website called "Women in Refrigerators" to list all of the women in comics who have been "depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator."

    Some recent on-screen examples include both Lance sisters in Arrow. Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man. Even when fridged women don't get straight-up murdered, their lives are defined by their relationship to the male superheroes they're in relationships. When they suffer, that suffering belongs to Peter Parker. When they love, that love belongs to Oliver Queen. There's no complexity to their existences. They belong to the men in their lives.

    But that's enough about talk about stories that are not the excellent Refrigerator Monologues. While the book is undoubtedly informed by its superhero context — and comic book readers will be able to spot the Gwen Stacy, Harley Quinn, and Alexandra DeWitts characters amongst the tales of woe — it is a story, much like the female characters who inhabit it, that can stand on its own legs.

    The Refrigerator Monologes is set in Deadtown, the place people go when they die. Doomed to an eternal afterlife where they must wear the same clothes they were buried in and love the same people they died loving, the citizens of Deadtown have a culture all their own. Every night, the Hell Hath Club, a support club of women killed because of the men who loved them, meets to tell each other (and, by extension, us) their stories.

    In less-deft hands, this wonderful concept could have fallen flat, a retelling of stories we already know. However, Valente imbues each section with a vivid, specific voice. This work was never simply about telling the stories of female characters; it was about letting these female characters tell their own stories, giving them a chance to explain how they feel about the trauma and tragedy they have endured. By eschewing a traditional narrator and/or protagonist and switching the voice of the segment to the character whose story it is, Valente gives them the opportunity too few have before. 

    And these stories are good. There's Paige Embry, a super smart scientist who accidentally gave her boyfriend superpowers before being thrown off a bridge by his nemesis. There's the all-powerful Julia Ash, who can exist in multiple timelines at once, and who still manages to be a footnote in some dude's story. There's Pauline Ketch, the one who fell in love with the crazy Mr. Punch during their time at the asylum, only to be murdered by him. 

    Wisely, Valente doesn't try to save these characters. Terrible things happen to them, just as they so often do in the comic book stories we know and love. The stakes of the storytelling haven't changed. These female characters simply get to be characters rather than ciphers. 

    "I was just a prototype," Paige tells us, "the Act One conflict who had to go so the story could grow a little more gravitas. Some days, I'm okay with that. But some days? Some days I want to rise up out of the dark, rip open Kid Mercury's throat, and drink back every drop of my 2.21% solution, my fault, my mother, my quicksilver, my speed, my strength, my story." This book is one of those days.

    The Refrigerator Monologues is available to buy via Amazon. I highly recommend it.


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    Long before Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel Team-Up paired Spidey with the rest of the Marvel Universe.

    Feature Marc Buxton
    Jul 6, 2017

    You may have noticed the front and center marketing of Iron Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming. In truth, Iron Man and Spider-Man joining forces is nothing new as the Friendly Neighborhood Wall-Crawler has teamed with just about every Marvel hero at some point or another. In fact, the very first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man features a team-up of Spidey and the Fantastic Four.

    Peter Parker joining forces with other heroes is such a Marvel tradition that the Spidey-starring Marvel Team-Up became a cornerstone of Marvel’s Bronze Age. Each and every issue, Spider-Man would join forces with another Marvel character to have some of the most memorable and strangest adventures of the '70s and '80s. Some of Spider-Man’s amazing friends that shared the Marvel Team-Up marquee were profoundly unexpected. So since Spider-Man: Homecoming could be considered essentially a big budget Marvel Team-Up film between Spidey and Iron Man, let us take a look back at some of the most memorable issues of Marvel Team-Up to grace the Bronze Age newsstands.

    25. Marvel Team-Up #9 (1973)

    Spider-Man and Iron Man

    By Gerry Conway and Russ Andru

    After an earthquake hits New York, Spidey and Iron Man are thrust into the future and into a time traveler war between Zarrko the Tomorrow Man and Kang the Conqueror. Now for those of you not in the know, Kang is like Marvel’s version of an evil Doctor from Doctor Who while Zarrko the Tomorrow Man is, well, he’s Zarkko the Tomorrow Man. Zarkko is kind of like the backup infielder version of a time tyrant, he’s okay once in a while, but really, his name is Zarkko the Tomorrow Man. But in this Marvel Team-Up, Zarkko has stepped up to the big leagues and has managed to take down the future Avengers. Spidey and Iron Man must save their future comrades, defeat both chronal despots and find a way home. Yes, all in one single issue. These days, this one issue of MTU would be a 12 part event series with 32 crossovers, but back in the day, Conway and Andru loaded a single issue with Marvel madness and thrust it upon a hungry readership.

    This issue also serves as a prototype for many Spidey/Iron Man team ups to come, including the one that’s about to break the box office bank. Reading this issue today, one will find it interesting to see Parker and Stark as heroic equals rather than the mentor/student relationship we’ve gotten in all sorts of media. But here they are, in all their 1973 glory, Spider-Man and Iron Man lost in time, fighting two time dictators, and punching people with science. All in one thin, brilliantly realized, crazy pants single issue.

    24. Marvel Team-Up #41-42 (1976)

    Spider-Man, Vision, and Scarlet Witch

    By Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema

    Remember how we said Marvel Team-Up has a tendency to get bug nuts? Well, strap in because we have ourselves another time travel tale!

    This time, Spider-Man, Vision, and Scarlet Witch get transported back to 1672 Salem, Massachusetts where the witch hunter Cotton Mather has taken control of the Scarlet Witch. The whole thing starts in Doctor Doom’s castle and ends as Spidey and Vision fight to save the corrupted Wanda Maximoff from Salem villagers bent on burning them all. Spider-Man and his friends must fight through a crucible (HAH!) of folks pitchforks and torches in order to save their witchy pal from being just another Salem statistic.

    So in these issues, we have Doctor Doom, a witch hunter, time travel, an android fighting to save his possessed by a mystical religious zealot witch wife and Spidey trying to survive in a time where there’s pretty much nothing to swing from.

    23. Marvel Team-Up #62 (1977)

    Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel

    By Chris Claremont and John Byrne

    The creative team of Claremont and Byrne will be all over this list because when these two creative juggernauts got together in the 1970s, that was one of the truly greatest Marvel team-ups of all!

    This story features the first team up of Spidey and Carol Danvers, the hero then known as Ms. Marvel. We all know that Danvers as Captain Marvel is coming to the MCU in and it is inevitable that she will meet Spider-Man when she arrives. But the heroic legacy of Danvers and Parker begins here in an issue where the two heroes must battle the Super Skrull. For those not versed in the finer points of cosmic Marvel villainy, Super Skrull is a hyper powered shape shifting alien who possesses all the powers of the Fantastic Four. Imagine getting punched in the face by an invisible stretchy rock fist that’s on fire. That’s Super Skrull! But Ms. Marvel and Spidey find a way to combine their heroic might and defeat the alien villain.

    22. Marvel Team-Up #127 (1983)

    Spider-Man and The Watcher

    By J.M. DeMatteis and Ed Hannigan

    A Spider-Man and Watcher team up is odd enough, but what about a Very Special Christmas Spider-Man and Watcher team up? That’s right, in the halcyon days of 1983, Spidey set out on a mission to find the missing granddaughter of one of Aunt May’s elderly pals. Spidey finds the girl’s murdered roommate who was killed because the missing girl Spidey is searching for stole some cocaine from the mob. Wow, that’s just dark.

    On this very messed up X-Mas, the Watcher appears and helps Spider-Man find and save the troubled teen as the Watcher claims that the young lady’s good health is just as important to the universe as defeating Galactus because of...reasons? The Watcher then defies Watcher code of non-interference to help the endangered girl. Now, that’s a bit of a stretch but seeing Spidey team up with a giant bald moon person to save Christmas needs to be addressed. Especially when this feel good Christmas special also incorporates mob hits and stolen narcotics into the tale. I’m not sure, but I don’t think Charles Dickens ever imagined a Christmas tale where a bald alien being helps a super hero save a junkie from being murdered by drug dealers. I may be wrong though.

    21. Marvel Team-Up #86 (1979)

    Spider-Man and The Guardians of the Galaxy

    By Allyn Brodsky & Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod

    Years before the modern incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy, there was a Guardians team from the future that would pay infrequent visits to the present day MU. Modern fans just met a few of these future heroes in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, such as Sly Stallone’s Stakar, but there was a time when the 30th century Guardians were the only Guardians. Back in those days, the Guardians were kind of fringe characters in the MU and did not pop up all too often. So when Starhawk (yup, that’s Sly’s character), Martinex (the mirror crystal looking dude played by Michael Rosenbaum in the new film), and the flame haired Nikki popped up in an issue of MTU, it was a rare treat.

    It’s kind of funny that Marvel stuck the Guardians with Spidey but only a select trio of Guardians. But even with the abbreviated Guardians roster, this issue is still a blast as Spidey helps the Guardians battle the villains Hammer and Anvil as the pair of thieves try to abscond with some of the Guardians’ future tech. If you’re not familiar with Hammer and Anvil, they are two super strong thugs connected by a power gauntlet. So they only have their powers while cuffed together. In other words, you have a team of future heroes teaming with Spider-Man against the hyper powered murderous version of the two dudes from The Defiant Ones. These days, a Spidey/Guardians joint is a marketing bonanza, but back at the time this issue of MTU was published, it was a fun little curiosity that is totally worth revisiting.

    20. Marvel Team-Up #67 (1978)

    Spider-Man and Tigra

    By Chris Claremont and John Byrne

    It’s Spidey teaming up with a cat lady in a bikini to take on Kraven the Hunter. This comic might be the most '70s thing ever. I mean seriously, this comic should have been printed on velvet. Not to mention that the Spidey Tigra team was brought to readers by Claremont and Byrne at the height of their creative prowess and you have a fur flying, mustache pulling romp that is just screaming for a bass heavy softcore porn soundtrack.

    So the story starts out with Kraven drugging Spider-Man. Spidey has some weird ass hallucinations that would put an 8th grade anti-drug Health film to shame and passes out. He awakes to find himself at the feet of a lounging Kraven and a chained up Tigra and Spidey must save Tigra and himself. Actually, Kraven just wants to kill Spider-Man, but the Hunter gets his leopard print butt kicked when Spidey frees Tigra from Kraven’s control collar. Tigra is such a fascinating (though underused) character that it’s always nice to see her in action even if the results are a bit cheesecakey.

    19. Marvel Team-Up #81 (1979)

    Spider-Man and Satana

    By Chris Claremont and Mike Vosburg

    So in the previous issue of MTU, Doctor Strange was transformed into a werewolf because this comic was awesome. Spidey was desperate to save his wizard pal when Satana, the Devil’s Daughter shows up and offers aid. So now, Spidey must team up with Satan’s girl child to save Doctor Strange from an eternity of chasing his tail and eating people. I love this series.

    This team up was supposed to feature the final death of Satana who sacrifices herself to save Stephen Strange - and it actually was her last appearance for quite a while. Like all characters, Satana returned to life, but listen, she’s the devil’s daughter, I’m not going to blink at a little resurrection. But the fact that this issue was supposed to be Satana’s final dark adventure shows that big things happened in MTU. Plus, you know, Satan’s kid helping Spidey cure Doctor Strange from being a killer lycanthrope.

    18. Marvel Team-Up #109

    Spider-Man and Dazzler

    By David Anthony Kraft and Herb Trimpe

    Ah, Herb Trimpe. Is there anything more comforting that a '70s comic drawn by the masterful Herb Trimpe? No there isn’t.

    In this issue, Spidey teams up with Dazzler and the Paladin in the heart of the disco era. The trio take on a villain known as Thermo and his death cult of worshippers. Just good old fashioned old school superhero action with Spidey and a mutant with roller skates and a disco ball around her neck taking on a super powered death cult. The ending of this issue is kind of odd as Thermo is freed from his madness and is hugged by his wife and Spidey and Dazzler leave together, we are left with a sad Paladin wishing he had someone. Sad Paladin needs to be a meme.

    17. Marvel Team-Up #25 (1974)

    Spider-Man and Daredevil

    By Len Wein and Jim Mooney

    These days, with the complexities of the Marvel Cinematic and TV Universes and with the Sony Marvel team up, we’ll probably never see a live action team up between New York’s premiere vigilantes Spider-Man and Daredevil. But you can scratch that itch with this story as the Wall Crawler and the Man Without Fear join forces to take on a bunch of furries! That’s right, Daredevil and Spidey must team up to take on the Unholy Trio, a “classic” villainous team made up of Ape-Man, Bird-Man, and Cat-Man! You know why Frank Miller had to steal Kingpin from the Spidey rogues gallery to bolster the Daredevil rogues gallery? Because of Ape-Man, Bird-Man, and Cat-Man, that’s why.

    In all seriousness, this issue is a fun little superhero slugfest as the team of Murdock and Parker must save a kidnapped girl from three killers. No multi-part crossovers, no navel-gazing, no political agenda, just two super heroes punching a guy in an ape suit.

    16. Marvel Team-Up #12 (1973)

    Spider-Man and Werewolf by Night

    By Gerry Conway and Ross Andru

    One of the coolest things about this issue (other than it being a team up between Spidey and a classic werewolf) is that it is written by Gerry Conway, the legendary creator who wrote "The Death of Gwen Stacy." This was published right after Conway killed off Gwen and in this issue, the writer got to explore the ramifications of that death, so it's a sort of sequel to one of the most classic and tragic Spidey tales of all time.

    To get away from his grief, Peter Parker travels to San Francisco. After Parker arrives, he keeps getting attacked by a werewolf (been there Pete!). Spider-Man fights off Werewolf by Night until the monster transforms back into his human form, a young man named Jack Russell (yes, really). Russell explains to Spidey that an evil stage magician named Moondark took control of Russell’s werewolf form and sent him to attack Spidey. Spidey and Werewolf by Night track down Moondark and the evil magician ends up getting killed to death after Spidey accidently kicks Moondark into a magic portal that leads to the ledge of the Golden Gate Bridge. Man, Conway likes tossing pretend people off famous bridges.

    And listen, as a company rule, we here at Den of Geek love ourselves some Werewolf by Night, so this issue was a pleasure to read. And its place in Spider continuity make it unexpectedly historically important as well.

    15. Marvel Team Up #95 (1980)

    Spider-Man and Mockingbird

    By Steven Grant and Jimmy Janes

    We mentioned in our Satana entry that MTU did feature events that were important to the overall tapestry of the Marvel Universe. But this issue might be the most important issue of the all because it features the debut of Bobbi Morse as Mockingbird! That’s right, Bobbi Morse, long time Avenger, ex-wife to Hawkeye, feature player on TV’s Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, and star of her own greatly missed award winning solo comics Bobbi Morse first donned her battle togs and took up the Mockingbird identity in the pages of Marvel Team-Up.

    Before donning the Mockingbird garb, Morse kicked around the Marvel Universe for a bit in books like Ka-Zarbut this issue of team-Up features Morse becoming a big time player as she dons the mask of Mockingbird for the very first time in order to save the life of Nick Fury. Of course, this issue started the long association between Mockingbird and SHIELD as Spidey was witness to the rise of a pretty important and beloved character in Marvel history.

    But sadly, no werewolves.

    14. Marvel Team-Up #131 (1983)

    Spider-Man and Frog-Man

    By JM DeMatteis and Kerry Gammill

    Leap-Frog was one of Daredevil’s earliest villains. C’mon Murdock, Unholy Trio? Leap-Frog? What the heck was up with you villains? Luckily, when Daredevil began fighting real villains like Elektra, Bullseye, and Kingpin, animal kingdom losers like Leap Frog were all but forgotten.

    But in the pages of Marvel Team-Up #121 (Spider-Man and the Human Torch battle the Speed Demon. It’s good, read it), a lonely portly young lad named Eugene Palilio finds the old Leap-Frog battle suit and dons it to become the heroic Frog-Man! In MTU #131, Frog-Man returns to help Spider-Man battle the evil but beautiful White Rabbit because Marvel really was a furrie convention for many years. Just with more bank robberies.

    In all seriousness, this JM DeMatteis scripted issue is all heart and humor and holds up as Marvel does its own street crime version of The Wind in the Willows, just with more punching.

    13. Marvel Team-Up #112 (1981)

    Spider-Man and King Kull

    by JM DeMatteis and Herb Trimpe

    Ah, more DeMatteis brilliance. Plus Herb Trimpe art and a Marie Severin cover? Pure heaven! In the previous issue (Spider-Man meets Devil Slayer, hell yeah, Devil Slayer! So metal!) Spider-Man was bit by an evil serpent person. In MTU #112, Doctor Strange sends Spider-Man’s astral form back into the past to find a cure. 10,000 years in the past to be exact where astral Spidey meets the great Robert E. Howard literary creation King Kull! Interactions between the mainstream Marvel Universe characters and the Howard pantheon were few and far between back in the day despite the rousing success of Conan the Barbarian, so seeing Spider-Man interact (even if it is in ghost form) with the legendary King Kull is pure nerd bliss.

    Truly, this is an example of what makes Marvel Team-Up so awesome. Readers got to see Spidey and other Marvel characters battle side by side with characters that they would be unlikely to meet anywhere else. And in this issue, we get to see a ghost Spider-Man team up with an ax wielding king of ancient Atlantis to battle evil snake people. It is glorious.

    12. Marvel Team-Up #24 (1974)

    Spider-Man and Brother Voodoo

    By Len Wein and Jim Mooney

    This book often acted as a chance for Marvel to bring some of its oddball fringe characters into the mainstream Marvel Universe, and here we have the first appearance of Brother Voodoo outside his own features! Yes, Brother Voodoo! Jericho Drumm, a witch doctor hero who has merged with the deceased spirit of his fallen brother to become a champion against black magic!

    In this issue, Spidey travels to New Orleans to help the good Brother defeat the evil Loa Moondog. Spidey basically fights Moondog’s thugs while Brother Voodoo does the mystical heavy lifting, but it’s just really cool to see these completely incongruous heroes together. And again, where the heck are you going to see a New Orleans witch doctor ghost hunter demon slayer team up with Spider-Man? So thanks Marvel Team-Up!

    11. Marvel Team-Up #137 (1984)

    Aunt May and Franklin Richards

    By Mike Carlin and Greg LaRocque

    Now we have a sort of Spider-Man adjacent team-up as Peter Parker’s dear old Aunt May teams up with the son of Reed and Sue Richards to take on Galactus. And no, I’m not kidding. In this unforgettable and absolutely hilarious story, Aunt May transforms into (wait for it) Golden Oldie to become the latest Herald of Galactus. With Franklin, the new cosmically powered senior citizen forgoes her Matlock reruns to lead Galactus to a planet other than Earth so the Devourer of Worlds can satiate his endless hunger.

    You see, the reason that Galactus is so ravenous is because the inhabitants of the planet he tried to eat before Earth collectively committed mass suicide to avoid being devoured by the Eater of Worlds. Umm, ha- ha? That’s kind of dark for a humorous parody issue. But hey, Marvel brings the funny back as Golden Oldie and Franklin lead Galactus to a giant Twinkie in space. In order to devour the Twinkie planet, Galactus must do battle with the Pillsbury Dough Boy! At the end, it’s all revealed to be a dream (or is it?), but who can forget an issue that juxtaposes a parody those old school Hostess comic book ads with mass planetary cosmic suicide? 

    10. Marvel Team-Up #4 (1972)

    Spider-Man and the X-Men

    By Gerry Conway and Gil Kane

    This issue is pretty significant. Firstly, the first three issues of MTU featured team-ups between Spidey and the Human Torch. It seemed like Marvel’s original idea for Team-Up was to have a co-feature between Peter Parker and Johnny Storm, but with issue #4, Marvel began the idea of rotating guest stars. Secondly, at the time of MTU #4’s publication, the X-Men title was a low selling reprint book so this team-up was a rare X-Men appearance of the early '70s. And what a team up it was as Spidey and the original class of X-Men join forces to take down Morbius the Living Vampire. Mutants, heroes, vampires, all rendered by the great Gil Kane. And now vampires have joined the lycanthrope, devil slaying, voodoo awesomeness that was Marvel Team-Up! All we need is The Frankenstein Monster to complete this creepy pantheon of coolness.

    9. Marvel Team-Up #36 (1975)

    Spider-Man and The Frankenstein Monster

    By Gerry Conway and Sal Buscema

    Hey, look at that, it’s like I planned it or something!

    After being knocked out while stopping a routine robbery, Spider-Man wakes up in a castle in the Balkans, or Germany, or Sweden or something next to the Frankenstein Monster (similar things happened to me in my college days). Spider-Man finds himself prisoner of the evil Baron Von Shtupf, the Monster Maker. Wait, Baron Von Shtupf, the Monster Maker? Really? O-kay.

    Anyway, seeing Frankenstein and Spidey together was such a treat for any kid who lived for classic monsters and super heroes. But usually a Frankenstein and Spider-Man mash-up only took place in 1975 with Mego dolls, but there they were in MTU#36. Conway actually finds some good pathos in the Monster character which isn’t an easy thing to do when writing a comic that has the sheer grapefruits to name a character Baron Von Shtupf, the Monster Maker. This issue is just overflowing with Bronze Age glory as history’s greatest monster and greatest super hero immerse themselves in shlocky glory.

    And it’s not over yet because...

    8. Marvel Team-Up #37 (1975)

    Spider-Man and Man-Wolf

    By Gerry Conway and Sal Buscema

    More werewolves. Hell yeah, you have a mad scientist, a super hero, Frankenstein’s Monster, and now, a werewolf that once fought evil in space!

    At the end of MTU #36, when Frankie and Spidey join forces, it is revealed that Baron Von Shtupf, the Monster Maker has an ally and it's none other than the astronaut son of J. Jonah Jameson, the feral Man-Wolf! It's a nice touch by Conway to use Man-Wolf in this monster mash instead of Werewolf by Night because of the personal connection to Spider-Man. The former John Jameson has a brawl with Frankenstein that harkens back to Universal Monster glory of yesteryear (Dark Universe, take note).

    Again, through all the silliness, Conway finds time to explore the themes of being an outsider as Spider-Man proves that he can fit into any story even a Universal inspired creature feature starring a villain named Baron Von Shtupf, the Monster Maker.

    7. Marvel Team-Up #135 (1983)

    Spider-Man and Kitty Pryde

    By Bill Mantlo and Ron Frenz and Mike Esposito

    Bill Mantlo, the writer that created Rocket Raccoon, Rom, and so many other Bronze Age moments of awesomeness, presents an absolutely atmospheric team up between Kitty Pryde and Spider-Man as the two heroes must find a way to escape the hideous Morlocks. In 1983, it was a rare treat to see the ultra-popular X-Men interact with the rest of the Marvel Universe outside the X-books, and this issue was a sort of MU coming out party for the young Kitty.

    Mantlo, Frenz, and Esposito build a sense of drama and terror as the salivating Morlocks (for some reason, not mutants) crawl out of the sewers on a terrifying kidnapping spree. The story opens with the ‘locks kidnapping of the kids Kitty is babysitting and things get even more 1980s horror from there. Spidey and Kitty defeat the Morlock leader and save the day in this claustrophobic beauty of a comic. It also serves as a bit of other-dimensional foreshadowing as the Ultimate Universe versions of Kitty and Spidey would be romantically linked decades later, but this issue is the first time the mutant hero and the Wall-Crawler shared a marquee.

    6. Marvel Team-Up #74 (1978)

    Spider-Man and The Not Ready for Prime Time Players

    By Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum

    Wait, what? Yes, not a dream, not a bad acid trip, not a good acid trip, it’s Spider-Man teaming up with the original cast of Saturday Night Live. Yes kids, Laraine Newman is an official part of Marvel continuity. If your brain doesn’t melt from seeing Bill Murray and Gilda Radner sharing a page with Peter Parker, are you ready for an appearance by Stan Lee himself? But it isn’t all fun and games, as Spidey and the Not Ready for Prime Time Players have to battle Silver Samurai, but somehow, his inclusion just enhances this too-fun-for-words story. And yes, John Belushi in his Samurai Delicatessen garb does indeed go sword to sword with Silver Samurai, Marvel’s greatest swordsman.

    Everything that’s great about comics, comedy, the 70s, and really, just life in general is jammed into this issue. Sadly, the Marvel/Saturday Night Live team up thing did not become an annual event. Imagine Luke Cage meets Eddie Murphy, New Mutants meets Wayne’s World, Silver Surfer meets the Coneheads...the possibilities are endless. Also, can you tell I haven’t watched SNL since like 1992?

    5. Marvel Team-Up #128 (1983)

    Spider-Man and Captain America

    By JM DeMatteis and Kerry Gammill

    Today we call it cosplay, but back in the long long ago (1983), they called it a photo cover. Whatever you call it, MTU #128 spots a cover featuring two actors decked out as Spidey and Cap. Believe me, this thing may look a bit stiff now, but that popped off the spinner racks back in '83. Under the unique but awkward by today’s standards cover, JM DeMatteis and Kerry Gammill delivers another gem as Cap and Spidey team up to take on the repellant half human, half rat creature known as Vermin.

    DeMatteis would go on to use Vermin to great effect in his classic "Kraven’s Last Hunt" storyline in Amazing Spider-Man so it’s really fun to see the writer pen an early appearance of the man rodent. And it’s always fun to see Spidey and Cap get together to battle a sewer monster. In truth, DeMatteis’ take on Vermin is front and center as the writer makes the disgusting creature an object of the reader’s sympathy.

    DeMatteis hits all the right notes in this early predictor of cosplay and the issue remains a pure example of the magic of MTU.

    4.  Marvel Team-Up #69-70 (1978)

    Spider-Man and Havok and Spider-Man and Thor

    By Chris Claremont and John Byrne

    First off, anytime we get to see John Byrne draw Havok in his classic gear is okay with us. But these two issues of MTU are bombastic super hero slugfests that pull heroes from different parts of the Marvel Universe to great effect.

    The story opens with a villain known as the Living Pharaoh attacking Havok and Polaris. Spidey comes to the two X-Men’s aid and helps battle the ancient Egyptian king. Claremont manages to throw in little references to current X-Men and Spider-Man continuity and keep the action moving forward. At the time, Polaris and Havok were in the periphery of the X-Men so it was awesome to see them get the spotlight.

    Later, the Living Pharaoh transforms into the Living Monolith, a giant honking stone god that Spidey compares to Thanos himself. Our heroes needs a major power up and wouldn’t you know, a literal Deus Ex Machina shows up in Thor and one of the greatest slugfests in Bronze Age history gets even bigger as mutants, Avengers, and Spidey all take the fight to the Living Monolith in a team up that defines the words fun and epic.  

    3. Marvel Team-Up #79 (1979)

    Spider-Man and Red Sonja

    By Chris Claremont and John Byrne

    We covered just how cool it was to see Spidey team up with Robert E. Howard creation King Kull, but it was even cooler to see the Howard adjacent addition to the Marvel pantheon Red Sonja join forces with Spider-Man. When the ancient Hyborian wizard Kulan-Gath arrives in the present day to wreak havoc on modern day New York City, the spirit of Red Sonja possesses Mary Jane Watson to stop her immortal enemy.

    Okay first off, talk about a fish out of water story. Red Sonja, the chain mail bikini clad She-Devil With a Sword in modern day New York. Second off, Red Sonja possessing MJ Watson? Is there ancient Hyborian magic say that says only a ginger can possess gingers? Whatever the case, a Red Sonja possessed MJ is a twist of genius in this story that just has to be read to be believed.

    This issue was so strong that Marvel and current rights holders to Red Sonja Dynamite Comics published a five part sequel to it in 2007. You know an issue of MTU is legendary when there’s a five part follow up! Seeing Red Sonja and Spider-Man swing into action together was (at the time) a once in a lifetime experience as two characters that couldn’t be more different battle a classic Howard villain. I would totally read a Mary Jane possessed by Red Sonja comic! It’s too bad we never got to see Conan himself come to the pages of MTU, but this bit of brilliance by Claremont and Byrne more than makes up for it.

    2. Marvel Team-Up #59-60 (1977)

    Spider-Man, Yellowjacket, and the Wasp

    By Chris Claremont and John Byrne

    Byrne and Claremont are absolutely legendary because of their run on Uncanny X-Men, but their work on MTU was just as amazing. The creative duo’s team-ups weren't bogged down in countless spinning plotlines, they were simple superhero tales with humor, pathos, and wall-to-wall action and should serve as a modern day textbook on how to spin a super hero yarn.

    In these issues, Spidey teams up with the husband and wife team of Hank Pym in his Yellowjacket identity and the Wasp as the trio of heroes take on the half fire/half ice menace of Equinox. Equinox was once a sick child that was caught in the explosion of his scientist father’s lab, so there is plenty of pathos with this little known but powerful and tragic villain. Claremont and Byrne waste no time getting to the heart of each character. In fact, at the end of the first issue of this two-parter, (forty year old spoiler) Hank Pym seemingly dies, and Wasp’s reaction is so spot on that a reader has no choice but to buy in.

    No, Hank isn't dead, but the twists and turns in this perfect yet simple tale will keep even a hardened modern day comic loves in a lather.

    1. Marvel Team-Up #1 (1972)

    Spider-Man and the Human Torch

    By Roy Thomas and Ross Andru

    We mentioned before that at first, Marvel Team-Up looked like it was going to be a monthly team-up book between Peter Parker and Johnny Storm. If the whole darn series was as strong as the first issue team up between Spidey and the Torch, then that idea would have been an excellent one. By the way, in the early days of MTU, the Human Torch would occasionally take the starring role of the book. Over the course of the series, Torch teamed with Hulk, Iceman, Thor, Son of Satan, and Doctor Strange.

    This is a Christmas tale that sees Spidey and Torch go up against Sandman. The heroes battle Sandman all over a festive NYC until it is revealed Sandman was just on his way to deliver a gift and visit with his old mother. How heartwarming!

    Actually, this debut issue of MTU establishes the more sympathetic heart of Sandman, a facet of the character that would play into many future comic appearances. This softer side of Sandman also played a role in Sandman’s only film appearance. Come on, tell me Sandman wasn’t the best part of the otherwise stinky Spider-Man 3, and that characterization began in this story.

    In addition, Roy Thomas has the Parker/Storm banter down while Ross Andru delivers eye popping artwork that makes this a bundle of super hero team up perfection. If all that isn’t enough, during the course of the Christmas adventure, Spider-Man rescues a tall and athletic looking African-American woman from a mugger. Years later, it is revealed that the woman in question was none other than Misty Knight, so Marvel Team-Up #1 retroactively became her first appearance! 

    So there you have it. We could have mentioned so many more teams like Howard the Duck, Man-Thing, Valkyrie, Dominic Fortune, Moondragon, Doctor Doom, Falcon, Luke Cage, Wonder Man, Black Widow, and so many more. But before you go see Spider-Man join forces with Iron Man on the big screen, we want you to hit your local back issue bin and experience the glory, wackiness, and wonder of Marvel Team-Up!


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    Spider-Man: Homecoming is packed to the webs with Marvel Universe easter eggs and history. We unpack it all for you...

    Feature Mike Cecchini
    Jul 6, 2017

    This article consists of nothing but Spider-Man: Homecoming spoilers.

    Well, Spider-Man: Homecoming certainly doesn't disappoint. For a movie that could have gotten way too bogged down in Marvel Cinematic Universe lore, or spent time apologizing for previous entries in the franchise, it manages to pretty much give everybody what they want. This is a wonderfully self-contained Spider-Man movie to be sure. But make no mistake, there's cool Marvel stuff and Spidey history hiding in nearly every scene.

    I think we've managed to find everything hiding in the margins of this one, but just in case you spot something I didn't, give me a shout on Twitter, and I'll update this. I'll probably update this after I see it again, anyway.

    So, let's get to work...

    Keep in mind that even though this isn't an origin story, there are some key elements that come out of some of Spidey's earliest comic book adventures.

    For one thing, the intro, which establishes right out of the gate that Peter doesn’t have a date for the homecoming dance, is practically right out of his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15.

    Spidey's overwhelming desire to join the Avengers somewhat mirrors his attempt to join the Fantastic Four in The Amazing Spider-Man #1. The difference there is that Peter assumed the FF paid really well when, in fact, they're a non-profit. Peter's motivations with the Avengers are more altruistic and eager, but then again, in early stories Peter was a much angrier kid. Seriously, he was a dick.

    Anyway, it didn't work out.

    And two of our villains (Vulture and Tinkerer) come right out of The Amazing Spider-Man #2. Early Spidey comics occasionally featured two complete stories, and that was the case there. These guys had nothing to do with each other.

    Okay, we should probably talk about the villains now, right?

    Who Are The Spider-Man: Homecoming Villains?

    The Vulture

    Adrian Toomes/The Vulture was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and as I just mentioned, he first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #2. Toomes was originally a lot more elderly and Mr. Burns-looking than the working class villain we got from Michael Keaton in this movie. But he was the earliest indication that most of Spidey's foes would be significantly older than him, which helped illustrate a kind of generation gap. In the comics, Toomes' supervillain origin story was also tied to similar frustration, although there, instead of a Tony Stark funded government department robbing him of his livelihood, it was his co-inventor/business partner.

    Also note: in the comics, ol' Adrian was not Liz's Dad. But giving him a connection to one of Peter's classmates does kind of position him as the "Norman Osborn" of this franchise, right down to knowing Pete's secret identity. But I suspect they have more interesting plans for him.

    The Tinkerer

    They never name him, but Michael Chernus' Phineas Mason is The Tinkerer, who also first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #2. He's a pretty minor figure in Spidey lore, but I think they used him nicely here.

    Also, remember the name "Cobbwell" in that image above, as I'll get to him in a minute...

    The Shocker

    So this is kinda cool. There are two shockers in this movie. Logan Marshall-Green is Jackson Brice. But in the comics, Jackson Brice was a member of The Enforcers, and he went by the useless nom-de-douchebag, "Montana." Because... he was from Montana. But Brice is another holdover from the earliest Spidey comics, as he first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #10 (1964). He was created by Stan Lee and... not Steve Ditko, but Jack Kirby!

    But then we have the real Shocker, and that's Bokeem Woodbine's Herman Schultz.

    The Shocker comes a little later in Spidey's history but still from one of the character's classic eras. He was created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #46 (1967).

    So we have one subset of the villains to deal with since he's mostly set up for the future...

    WHO IS MAC GARGAN?

    He’s the Scorpion, silly! See that tattoo on his neck?

    There's already one deviation from the comics with this big screen version of our potential Scorpion. Originally, Mac Gargan wasn't a straight up criminal, but a shady private eye hired by J. Jonah Jameson to investigate Spider-Man. Then Jameson got him a super suit which he ended up bonded with and, well, things never really went great for Scorpion. 

    But the prospect of Michael Mando as the lead villain of a future Spider-Man movie is incredibly appealing. He has been nothing short of brilliant on Better Call Saul recently, so if anyone can make a relatively straightforward villain like the Scorpion into something special (like Keaton did with Vulture in this movie), I believe he’s the guy.

    The fact that he's mentioning other friends interested in Spider-Man makes me think that maybe Sony hasn't given up hope of that Sinister Six movie after all.

    There's one more "villain" introduced here and he's tied to another fan favorite Spidey, Miles Morales.

    WAIT... WHAT ABOUT MILES MORALES?

    No, Miles Morales isn’t in this movie, but there’s a very cool connection here. Donald Glover is Aaron Davis, a low level criminal... and the uncle of Miles Morales. He even specifically mentions that he doesn’t want those high-tech weapons hanging around because “I got a nephew who lives here.” That’s who he’s talking about.

    Now there’s more to this. For one thing, Donald Glover at one point campaigned for the role of Spider-Man in 2010 during the previous reboot. While he (obviously) did not get the role, it did partially inspire Marvel to create Miles Morales, aka the second Ultimate Spider-Man. And of course Glover himself went on to voice Miles on two of episodes of the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series.

    So his character here, Aaron Davis, becomes the minor supervillain known as The Prowler. And you can see Aaron get excited when the crooks mention they have some kind of cool climbing technology, which would be one of the Prowler’s signatures. You can see these seeds being planted, and I would love to see him again in another movie.

    Incidentally, in recent comics, Prowler has become an ally to Peter Parker, so there you go. Interestingly enough, Sony is currently working on an animated Miles Morales Spidey movie, which will feature Mahershala Ali as the voice of Aaron Davis. That's probably not going to be in continuity with this movie, but it's still pretty great.

    Also, the “gun” that Shocker Numero Uno tries to sell him appears to be something fashioned out of an Ultron arm.

    Okay, enough about the bad guys.

    Why is Iron Man in this movie?

    Well, aside from the obvious reasons that Sony and Marvel wanted to make the biggest possible deal about bringing Spidey to the Marvel Universe, and Robert Downey Jr. is their most bankable star, there's a fine history of Spidey and Iron Man team-ups in the comics.

    For one thing, there was an entire series dedicated just to teaming Spider-Man with other heroes. It was called (appropriately enough) Marvel Team-Up. It looks like future entries in this new franchise will continue the Marvel Team-Up theme, but with other heroes.

    And Spidey's ties to Iron Man became more overt in the Civil War comics, where an adult Peter straight up went to work for Tony, and got a slick new costume out of it, kinda like what we got here... although that comic book one was more in line with Tony's taste in colors.

    See for yourself...

    Still, that cool costume that Tony offers Peter at the end of the movie has a few similar design elements to the "Iron Spider" costume he rocked for awhile during the Civil War comics, as well as the more high-tech suit we've seen in recent issues of Amazing Spider-Man. I'm pretty happy that they're sticking with the current design, though. That's a solid superhero costume.

    Also, since we're talking about the suit, I think this is the first time we've expressly had the webbing serve different functions. It's definitely the first time we've had Spidey costume/tech mainstays like the spider-tracer onscreen, as well as the arm webs, which were pretty much always around when Steve Ditko was drawing the character, but that fell out of fashion shortly after he left.

    This doesn't count as a "Marvel Team-Up" but you have to love how they squeezed Captain America into this movie. This is clearly an old video, recorded before Cap went anti-authority in The Winter Soldier and Civil War. This kinda makes me think that this brighter version of the costume from The Avengers was always intended as more of a "public" costume, as opposed to the more practical suits he has worn elsewhere.

    THE SUPPORTING CHARACTERS

    A couple of notable things about Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May.

    First of all, yes, she’s younger than our traditional cinematic Aunt Mays. But this is something inspired by the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, which took Aunt May from her traditional role as a sickly, elderly woman to a younger, more vibrant, and considerably tougher modern lady. For one thing, that version of the character famously stood up to J. Jonah Jameson for bullying her nephew. Also, like we see at the end of this film, she eventually figures out that Peter is Spider-Man, and her reaction is about what we see here. She's definitely about to ground the shit out of Peter, for one thing.

    Also worth noting: they’ve made May Italian-American (like Ms. Tomei). In the comics, May’s maiden name was Reilly. Draw your own conclusions.

    They’ve got that Italian-American mothering thing down perfectly with her too. “You see something like that happening, you turn and run the other way,” is like, word for word something from my childhood.

    - Liz Allan first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15. That's Betty Brant with her here, who first came around in The Amazing Spider-Man #4. Both were created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Betty wasn't a classmate of Peter's in the comics, but then again, neither was Ned Leeds. I'm curious to see if we get a nod to the comics romance between Betty and Ned in future movies.

    - Betty’s co-host on the school's news show is Jason Ionello, an exceedingly minor Spidey supporting character who first appeared in the underrated Untold Tales of Spider-Man series from 1995. He was created by Kurt Busiek and Pat Olliffe. Also worth noting is that Betty Brant was introduced originally as J. Jonah Jameson's secretary at The Daily Bugle (she was played by Elizabeth Banks as such in the original Sam Raimi trilogy of films) but she went on in the comics to become her newspaper's star reporter. It appears that Angourie Rice's Betty is getting a jumpstart on that investigative career in this universe. 

    - Tony Revolori’s Flash Thompson is absolutely perfect, even though they kinda changed Flash’s MO a little. In the comics (and the movies, for the most part), Flash has always been a dumb jock. Here, he’s an irritating rich kid, and I have to say, I’ve known plenty of guys just like him. “Penis Parker,” indeed.

    (fun note about the above image... you can spot Dr. Bruce Banner up there on the wall along with history's greatest scientists)

    - Mr. Cobbwell, the nice Academic Decathalon teacher, is named after Professor Cobbwell, who was the patsy in 1962’s The Amazing Spider-Man #2, the same comic that introduced not one, but two of our villains in this movie. In this case, the story that involved Cobbwell centered around the Tinkerer.

    - Jacob Batalon is an absolute scene stealer as Ned Leeds, but I'm obligated to point out that he has nothing in common with his comic book counterpart. That version of Ned Leeds first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #18 (1964) and yes, he was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Ned was an older reporter for The Daily Bugle, a future romantic suitor for Betty Brant, and someone with some ill-fated criminal connections which I doubt we'll ever see explored in this franchise.

    BUT...

    Ned's general demeanor and his relationship with Peter is much more in line with a different Marvel character entirely. That would be Miles Morales' best friend, Ganke Lee. 

    - So... is the movie still just trolling us with the whole is Michelle/isn’t Michelle really Mary Jane Watson thing? There’s that whole “my friends call me MJ” moment to consider. But the idea that we might eventually get a reveal similar to Mary Jane’s first comic book appearance is kinda cool.

    - I love that the girls at Peter’s high school are playing “fuck, marry, kill” with the Avengers. This is such a fun little moment that helps illustrate where superheroes really fit on the whole fame scale in this universe.

    - They establish the Department of Damage Control in this, and while that may just sound like your typical, boring federal agency, these folks are right out of the comics. They had a few really clever series in the late '80s/early '90s, and they had a pretty killer creative team of the late, great Dwayne McDuffie and the brilliant Ernie Colón.

    Oh, and look who was on the cover of their first issue!

    Tyne Daly is playing Anne Marie Hoag, who headed up the company in the comics, and she looks absolutely perfect.

    The thing is, in the comics, Damage Control was a little bit more like the operation that Adrian Toomes and friends are running. They were private contractors, not a government agency. In any case, it’s not clear where this leaves the proposed Damage Control TV series though. I'd be cool with seeing Tyne Daly headline that.

    - You aren't hallucinating, that is indeed Kenneth Choi as the principal of Peter's school. Choi played Howling Commandos member Jim Morita in Captain America: The First Avenger("I'm from Fresno, chief") and he's Principal Morita here. Yes, he's Jim Morita's grandson. Kinda cool, right?

    THE TIMELINE

    Okay, so...the timeline of this movie is all screwy. For the most part, Marvel movies have taken place in “real time.” So they’re set usually around the same time they’re released. But here, we learn that the events of The Avengers (which came out in 2012) took place eight years ago. I’m not sure how that works.

    So how far after the events of Captain America: Civil War are we? It can’t be that long, right? Certainly no more than a year. But it’s also long enough that the Sokovia Accords can be taught in one of Peter’s boring ass classes.

    But this brings up the most ridiculous nitpick you are likely to read about this movie all day, if not all week. This movie kicks off in early to mid-September, because we know the Academic Decathalon is happening on Sept. 14. That’s fine and everything, but it’s clear that school has been in session for months at this point with talk of how Peter quit marching band six weeks earlier... which would be around the beginning of August. In New York City (and most of New York State) schools aren’t in session until after Labor Day.

    Yeah, it’s minor, but this stuff messes with my head.

    MISCELLANEOUS COOL STUFF

    - Ummm... of course Peter Parker is a Mets fan. He's from Queens. But more importantly, the Mets are basically the Spider-Man of baseball. Even when they're good (which, in my lifetime, if not their history, is pretty rare), that team can't catch a break.

    The pennant you see on the wall is celebrating recent Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Mike Piazza. Piazza is the greatest offensive catcher in baseball history and a Mets legend. He hasn't been a Met since 2005, so if my math is right, Peter would have been about two-years-old. You'd think he might have a David Wright flag on his wall instead. Maybe this was Uncle Ben's? Anyway, it doesn't matter. Peter Parker is a Mets fan. It's official. Don't @ me.

    Also note Peter's AT-AT, which I think might be a vintage Kenner version.

    - It's so appropriate that we finally get to hear a Ramones tune in a Spider-Man movie (in this case, it's the famous "Blitzkrieg Bop"). Three of the four founding members of that band (including/especially Joey Ramone) were born in Forest Hills, Queens, which is where Peter Parker is from.

    - Of course, that's not the only appropriate musical nod. You can hear Michael Giacchino's orchestral version of the theme song from the 1967 Spider-Man animated series during the Marvel intro, and it seems to be quoted a couple of other times throughout the film.

    When Spidey is trapped under all that rubble and lifts it, it’s an homage to The Amazing Spider-Man #33, in an incredible sequence from Steve Ditko...

    Also during that sequence, he sees his reflection, and we get the famous “half Peter/half Spidey” image from the early comics, usually used to indicate that Peter’s Spidey sense was tingling, or to let readers in on the fact that we know something that everybody else doesn’t.

    At one point there’s some graffiti that clearly spells out the name “Bagley.” Mark Bagley has probably drawn more Spider-Man comics than any other human, and his partnership with Brian Michael Bendis on Ultimate Spider-Man, a comic series that definitely inspired elements of Homecoming, is the longest consecutive run by a writer/artist team on any Marvel comic ever, eclipsing even Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s legendary Fantastic Four run.

    Stan Lee’s cameo, and the ensuing chaos, reminds me of this...

    When Peter stumbled on “The Avengers” he asks if “you forgot your pin number.” This reminds me a little bit of Christopher Reeve’s brilliant line delivery in Superman: The Movie where he asks a skyscraper-scaling cat burglar if there’s “something wrong with the elevator.”

    You can overhear some discussion about SHIELD being busy cleaning up “the Triskelion mess.” I haven’t kept up with Agents of SHIELD, so I don’t know what this means. Help me out in the comments and I’ll update this.

    So by now we all know that Thor’s hammer is named Mjolnir. But in Norse mythology, what’s equally important is his belt... which I’m pretty sure has never been named in the movies. The name that Happy struggles with is Megingjoro. And no, I don’t know how to pronounce it either, so don’t ask.

    - Is... that Howard Stark on the mural over Peter's left shoulder?

    - I love that there’s a bodega cat in this movie. Don't be one of those idiots who calls the health department when you're in NYC because there's a cat hanging around the bodega.

    - Spidey's failure to kiss Liz in the Washington Monument is a fun nod to the famous "upside down kiss" from Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man flick. Oh yeah, and that's Jennifer Connelly as the voice of his suit. If Jennifer Connelly tells you to kiss someone, you might consider listening.

    Also, fun fact, Jennifer Connelly is married to Paul Bettany, who of course played Jarvis, Tony Stark's digital butler in the Iron Man films. That gig ended with him getting to be Vision, so maybe there is a superhero role in Ms. Connelly's future as well?

    And don't worry, Spidey does eventually join the Avengers in the comics. He was a longstanding member during the New Avengers era.

    Spot anything I missed? Shout 'em at me on Twitter, and if it all checks out, I'll update this!


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    Kevin Feige and Jon Watts tell us their spoilerish thoughts about those Spider-Man: Homecoming ending scenes.

    News David Crow
    Jul 6, 2017

    This article contains Spider-Man: Homecoming spoilers.

    Spider-Man: Homecoming is a delight in every possible way a summer blockbuster can be. Despite being a superhero extravaganza with all the special effects and hype that goes with that, it nevertheless is filled with humor, heart, and more than its fair share of surprises. Indeed, judging by the stunned gasps and laughter that accompanied the final button placed on the film of Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) staring at Tom Holland in the Spider-Man suit, she wasn’t the only one ready to scream “what the f—!” Of course the last syllable is cut off by the sound of the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop,” but it also would’ve been deafened, no matter what, by the audience cheers. It’s a moment every bit as audience-baiting as Zendaya’s Michelle revealing that “My friends call me MJ.”

    So too will everyone now.

    Thus when we at Den of Geek had the opportunity to sit down with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and director Jon Watts last month, those moments were at the top of the conversation. While both were cagey, they still gave some interesting reads on the situation.

    For Feige’s part, he wanted to tread carefully by underlining the fact that Zendaya is still playing a character named Michelle and not Mary Jane Watson. However, he will at least agree that calling Zendaya’s character an MJ of a different name does underscore she will have some similarities to comicdom’s most famous redhead.

    “In setting up this will be a very different thing, she’s not Mary Jane Watson, that’s not who the character is.” Feige tells me. “But giving her the initials that remind you of that dynamic certainly is intriguing about what could go forward.”

    Indeed, after we note that Michelle is keeping sharp eyes on Peter’s coming and goings (just like Mary Jane Watson did in Tom DeFalco’s run of The Amazing Spider-Man), Feige adds, “Clearly, she says she’s not obsessed with him, she’s just observant. But she’s there. And to have fun with that while at the same time having it be different characters that can provide a different dynamic [is the point].”

    Feige explained that the logic of this was to take Peter Parker (and his supporting cast) in directions we haven’t seen before, be they auburn-fringed or otherwise.

    “Peter’s had a lot of friends over the years in the comics, and a lot of schoolmates and characters he’s interacted with. It wasn’t just Mary Jane Watson; it wasn’t just Gwen Stacy; it wasn’t just Harry Osborn. So we were very interested in the other characters, and that’s where Liz came from and that’s where the version of the character Michelle came from.”

    Yet in terms of Aunt May discovering Peter Parker is Spider-Man, that is something that has occurred before between the web-head and one of his most important supporting cast members in the comics. But never this early in his web-slinging career, and of course never onscreen. When I bring that moment up to Watts, he is reticent about who first came up with the idea—nor is he exactly sure where this moment will lead for Peter other than instant, mega grounding.

    Says Watts, “That was a thing where I don’t remember exactly at what point it came up when we were just brainstorming ideas, but as soon as that came out, it was like, ‘We gotta’ do that. Like we gotta’ do that!’ It’s like when you have an idea that makes everyone excited and nervous, and feels like, ‘Are we seriously going to do that?’ Then you know you have to do it… And it definitely has opened up a huge can of worms, and I have no idea how we’re going to address it.”

    Watts is also unsure exactly how Peter and May’s conversation will play out—or whether we’ll get a glorious flashback of Tomei raining hellfire down on her movie-nephew—but he strongly implies that this will change things in the status quo, including possibly Avengers: Infinity War (where we’ll next see Tom Holland as Spider-Man). There will be no excuses made for Peter to doublespeak his way out of this discovery.

    “How do you explain your way out of that? I don’t think you can!” Watts laughs.

    As per what will happen in a potential sequel Feige and Watts could make to Spider-Man: Homecoming? They are, for now, just hinting at how Infinity War will drastically affect the events of any future solo Spidey movie.

    “Of course the way Civil War informed what happened to him in Homecoming, what’s happening in Infinity War and Untitled Avengers will very much inform Homecoming 2, and what happens after that,” Feige says with a smile.

    That may be, but for now we’d love to be a fly on the wall for what comes immediately next in that scene of a spider caught in his own web.


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    Lee’s wife Joan passed away yesterday while Cronenberg lost his spouse last month.

    News Don Kaye
    Jul 7, 2017

    Terrible news has struck two of genre entertainment’s most formidable and beloved talents as the wives of both Marvel Comics titan Stan Lee and director David Cronenberg have passed away.

    Stan Lee’s wife of 69 years, Joan Lee, died on Thursday (July 6) in Los Angeles at the age of 93, according to Variety. Joan had reportedly been hospitalized earlier this week after suffering a stroke. A spokesperson for the family said in a statement, “I can confirm the sad news that Joan Lee passed away this morning quietly and surrounded by her family. The family ask that you please give them time to grieve and respect their privacy during this difficult time.”

    A one-time hat model, Joan married Stan on December 5, 1947. They met almost by accident when Stan showed up to take Joan’s friend on a blind date -- and ended up falling instantly for Joan instead. Joan had already married -- unhappily -- an American soldier on an impulse a few years earlier. She got divorced in Reno with Stan waiting in the room next door to marry her.

    Together, they had two children: Joan Celia (J.C.), born in 1950, and Jan, who died three days after her birth in 1953.

    The couple lived in New York City for decades, while Stan began what would become a storied career at Timely/Atlas Comics, which later changed to Marvel Comics. Dissatisfied for several years there, Stan was encouraged by Joan to create one last comic book before quitting -- that project was the Fantastic Four, which he created in 1961 with artist Jack Kirby and which changed the course of pop culture history.

    Stan, with artists like Kirby, Steve Ditko and Bill Everett, went on to originate characters like Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, Iron Man and countless others. He and Joan moved to California in 1981 so he could develop Marvel properties for TV and film, while Joan did voice work on the 1990’s animated Marvel shows Fantastic Four and Spider-Man as Miss Forbes and Madame Web respectively. She also had a role in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.

    Joan Lee also authored a novel, The Pleasure Palace, in 1987 and reportedly had three other unfinished novels in her files.

    Meanwhile, filmmaker David Cronenberg’s wife Carolyn passed away on June 19 at the age of 66, with the news only becoming public this week. According to the Hollywood Reporter, she passed away at home in Toronto after an undisclosed illness.

    A statement issued by the family said that Carolyn was “caring, kind, compassionate, loving, and by far the best person any of us has ever known.”

    Carolyn and David met when she worked as a production assistant on one of his early horror films, Rabid. They married in 1979. A filmmaker and editor herself, she had editing credits on several of her husband’s pictures, including The Brood. She later directed Acts of Violence, a 2006 documentary about David’s film A History of Violence, and a short film called Too Commercial for Cannes, about her husband bringing A History of Violence to the Cannes Film Festival.

    Carolyn is survived by David, their son Brandon and daughter Caitlin, and Cassandra, a daughter from David Cronenberg's first marriage to Margaret Hindson.

    Den of Geek sends its deepest condolences to both men and their families.


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    Vulture and Shocker are already coming to Spider-Man: Homecoming, but there are plenty of others we still haven't seen.

    Spider-Man Villains
    The Lists Marc Buxton
    Jul 7, 2017

    Considering how many villains already appeared in the five Spider-Man movies released since 2002, not to mention the ones we already know are coming to Spider-Man: Homecoming, a fan would think that Hollywood has covered all the great Spider-Man villains (just think of how many were set up or teased in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, for example). With Marvel and Sony promising at least two more Spidey movies after Spider-Man: Homecoming, Kevin Feige and friends are eager to give audiences something they haven't seen before...and that means new villains.

    Since Spidey has one of the greatest rogues' galleries in all of comics, there are still plenty of quality bad guys who we didn't get to meet in the Sam Raimi or Marc Webb movies. So here is a look at the Spider-Man villains who might share the screen with Tom Holland as we go forward...

    Spider-Man Villains

    25. Stegron, the Dinosaur Man

    First appearance: Marvel Team-Up (1st series) #19 (1974)

    Created by Len Wein and Gil Kane

    With ties to the Lizard, Stegron might be obscure, but he could be an intriguing possibility for a future Spidey film. Who wouldn’t want to see Spider-Man fight dinosaurs? Stegron controls dinosaurs, which if you think about it, might be the most useless power ever. Let’s say Oscorp creates dinosaurs and then creates Stegron. It could happen right? There’s some strange things going on behind Oscorp walls.

    Let’s not pretend that Spidey fighting a T-Rex wouldn't make the five year old in all of us hyperventilate with excitement.

    24. Videoman

    First Appearance: Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, Season 1, Episode 7 (1981)

    Yeah, Videoman. To any child of the '80s, Videoman was as integral a part of the world of Spider-Man as the Green Goblin or Doctor Octopus. Videoman was introduced in the first season of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friendsand he trapped our intrepid heroes in a stand up arcade console.  

    Listen, in the '80s, there wasn’t a comic film every two months, or a bunch of TV shows featuring our beloved comic icons. We took what we had, and what we had was Videoman, and we loved him.

    23. Man Wolf

    First appearance: (as John Jameson) The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (1963)

    Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    Poor John Jameson was sort of wasted in his first and only film appearance in Spider-Man 2. The son of J. Jonah Jameson was left at the altar by Mary Jane and then never heard from again. An American hero and astronaut deserves better, especially one that has a tendency to transform into a werewolf. J.J.J. will probably be reintroduced in the new Marvel Spider-Man movie so it would be a simple matter to introduce his son, a character Spidey rescued in his very first issue back in 1963.

    When Jameson is exposed to the Godstone during a space mission, he was transformed into the Man Wolf. At first, Man Wolf was a fairly typical werewolf, but then he took to the cosmos and found that in space; he could control the wolf and became a galactic champion called Stargod. Yes, he was like Flash Gordon, but a werewolf. Can you say: solo movie?

    22. The Prowler

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #78 (1969)

    Created by Stan Lee and John Buscema

    When young prodigy Hobie Brown lost his job, he grew disenfranchised with the system and created the Prowler armor to stick it to the man. When Spidey was believed to be part of the death of Captain Stacy, the Prowler decided to bring the wanted wall crawler to justice. 

    The Prowler is one of the richest but least talked about latter day Stan Lee characters, and it’s about time such a cool anti-hero has his day. Armored heroes are certainly popular, and since Spidey will be hanging around with Tony Stark in the new movies, maybe it's this guy's time to shine.

    The Aaron Davis version of the character (well, not as the Prowler...just as an unpowered, non-costumed Aaron Davis) popped up in Spider-Man: Homecoming (played by Donald Glover). He's also going to appear in the upcoming Miles Morales animated Spidey movie, so that might put a damper on his live action possibilities.

    Spider-Man Villains

    21. Speed Demon

    First appearance: (as the Whizzer) Avengers #70 (1969) (as Speed Demon) Amazing Spider-Man #222 (1981)

    Created by Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema

    The Flash is a TV star while Quicksilver has appeared in two, count 'em two, film franchises. As all this proves, everyone loves a speedster and with the comic’s heroic runners present and accounted for across all platforms of media, maybe it’s time fans get to experience a faster than light douchebag like Speed Demon.

    In the pages of The Superior Foes of Spider-Man (you need to go read this comic), the Speed Demon stole a puppy. At super speed. He’s a dick. And if featured in a future Spider-Man film he can be a high profile dick.

    spiderman

    20. Swarm

    First appearance: Champions #14 (1977)

    Created by Bill Mantlo and John Byrne

    He’s a Nazi made of bees, what else do you need to know?

    Who can forget his signature cry of “SWWWWARRRRMMMM” from his appearance on Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends? Swarm could be an Oscorp experiment gone horribly wrong. I mean really wrong. I mean "Nazi made of angry bees wrong." In a cloak.

    19. Big Wheel

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #182 (1978)

    Created by Marv Wolfman, Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito

    Of all the villains that have not yet appeared in a Spider film, none are more worthy… no, I can’t DAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Big Wheel, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, what an ass. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I’d like to buy a vowel HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Look at this schmuck HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Ok, moving on...

    19. Hydro Man

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #212 (1981)

    Created by Dennis O'Neil and John Romita, Jr.

    Seriously, this list could almost be called the top 25 villains created by John Romita Sr and Jr...jeez, what a creative force of nature that family is. Anyway, we got to see Sandman featured in Spider-Man 3, and while that isn’t the best Spidey movie of the bunch, the Sandman scenes were really powerful and visually stunning. If you think about it, Hydro Man has a pretty terrifying power, the ability to drown anyone, anywhere, or sneak into any facility through a faucet or a, eww, toilet.

    The comics never really gave Hydro Man his due, but let’s all be honest, the second you saw the water aliens in The Abyssback in the day, you thought of old Hydro Man. And who can forget, Amazing Spider-Man#217 (1981), where Hydro Man and Sandman bonded to form the gigantic Mud Thing, an event so traumatic, it led to Sandman reforming, another seminal Spider event that would make good film fodder.

    And think of the Poland Spring endorsement deals!

    18. Spider Queen

    First Appearance: The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol 2 #15 (2004)

    Created by Paul Jenkins and Michael Ryan

    Lots of classic villains on this list, but other than Morlun, there’s not a great deal of modern baddies. Well, the Spider Queen is certainly deserving of consideration. The Queen was originally the first female Marine to go into combat in World War II, when she was exposed to radiation from an atomic bomb test; her “insect gene” is activated. She wants to transform the world’s population into arachnid hybrids like her, and was the big bad in Dan Slott’s fantastic Spider-Island event.

    17. Jack O’Lantern

    First appearance: Machine Man #19 (1981)

    Created by Tom DeFalco and Steve Ditko

    Another heir to Green Goblin legacy, the villain known as Jack O’Lantern started out as something of a joke. There have been a number of Jacks over the years, and they have gotten more deadly as time has marched on. The original Jack, Jason Macendale took up the legacy of the Hobgoblin, but it’s the newest Jack O’Lantern introduced in the pages of Venom, that has become one of the most horrific new villains in the Marvel Universe.

    As a child, this new, unnamed Jack O’Lantern murdered his own parents under orders from the Crime Master and claims to have killed all the former wearers of the Jack O’Lantern suit. Ties to the Goblin legend and ties to Venom (who you just know Marvel will bust out eventually), and a cold blooded psychotic freak, this often overlooked creep show has all the makings of an A-list film villain.

    spiderman villains

    16. Hammerhead

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #113 (1972)

    Created by Gerry Conway and John Romita, Sr.

    Spidey’s war with organized crime is on hold while he deals with Oscorp and their future cadre of enhanced killers, but crime is still rampant and the tattooed killer is still out there. Hammerhead is the most Dick Tracy-esque of all Marvel villains, and might be a bit anachronistic for the big screen, or he might be the exact thing future Spidey films need to be different.

    How many hi-tech villains can one franchise have? Maybe we need a little old school evil, and this cigar chomping old school douchebag fits the bill.

    15. Tarantula

    First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #134 (1974)

    Created by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru

    What’s cooler than a mustachioed mercenary with pointy shoes? Pretty much nothing really, am I right?

    Tarantula was one of the cooler Spidey villains introduced in the '70s and in the pages of the comics, he sometimes transforms into a Man Spider, and we all know how much Hollywood likes its giant beasties.

    C’mon, it’s a dude with a bandana mask and stabby boots, how is that not marketable?

    14. The Beetle

    First appearance: Strange Tales #123 (1964)

    Created by Stan Lee and Carl Burgos

    The original Beetle was created by Carl Burgos, the creator of Marvel’s original super-hero the Golden Age Human Torch. That’s some cool stuff right there.

    Anyway, the Beetle is a unique visual with his odd extendy fingers, his unique helmet and his funky wings. The original Beetle armor would have a really cool retro vibe if put in the film, or Marvel can go the route of the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon by making the Beetle a silent, armored killer.

    Whatever way they go, as all Thunderboltfans know, Abner Jenkins becomes more than a one note villain when he turns to the side of the angels while a member of the T-Bolts, and that little added wrinkle could be just the edge the Beetle needs to be a pretty compelling movie villain.

    13. Sin Eater

    First appearance: Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #107 (1985)

    Created by Peter David and Rich Buckler

    When Sin Eater arrived on the scene in the early '80s, things got very real for Spider-Man and his world. The Death of Jean Dewolffwas the first major work by legendary writer Peter David and it remains one of the most intense, grounded, and violent Spider-Man stories of all time. Any true Spider-Fan should be giddy with anticipation at the prospects of seeing the Sin Eater on the big screen.

    It can be argued that the Sin Eater saga was when Spidey grew up and the saga also started Eddie Brock on his dark path as the photojournalist wrongly accused the wrong man of being the Sin Eater. Any movie focused on Sin Eater would be a departure for the Spidey films, but it would certainly make the new Marvel Spider-Man movie stand out from the crowded superhero pack.

    12. Vermin

    First appearance: Captain America #272 (1982)

    Created by J. M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck

    Spider-Man movies certainly like their human/animal hybrids, and there are none of those combos more horrifically disturbing than Eddie Whelan, the creature known as Vermin. In the comics, Vermin was created by none other than Arnim Zola, who we've gotten to know in movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldierand on Agent Carter.

    Vermin was the perpetual victim, a misunderstood and tormented creature suddenly given unspeakable power. Like Curt Conners’ ability to control lizards, Vermin can control rats and stray dogs, so there is film precedent for Vermin’s abilities. Vermin also ties into the classic Kraven’s Last Hunt storyline, and wouldn’t we all like to see that story adapted to the screen with Vermin along for the ride!

    11. Tombstone

    First appearance: Web of Spider-Man #36 (1988)

    Created by Gerry Conway and Alex Saviuk

    Lonnie Lincoln, albino gangster and cold-blooded killer, has been one of Spidey’s most enduring street level foes. In fact, when Daredevil absconded with Kingpin, Tombstone took over as head gangster of Spidey’s world.

    Tombstone is an incredible visual and is a very different animal than the science freaks Spidey has been fighting in the recent set of films. The comic Tombstone has a deep connection to Daily Bugle editor in chief Robbie Robertson, so once the Bugle crew is introduced in earnest; it could also be time to introduce the iciest gangster in Spidey history, the stone cold killer, Tombstone.

    10. Carrion

    First appearance: Spectacular Spider-Man #25 (1978)

    Created by Bill Mantlo, Jim Mooney, and Frank Springer

    Whoa Nellie, is this a complicated one. Carrion started out as the rotting clone of Miles Warren (more on him in a bit) but the Carrion persona ended up being wielded by two other sick and twisted individuals. A future film could jettison all that and just focus on the villain’s horrific power set, the ability to turn organic matter to dust, telepathy, levitation, telekinesis, and intangibility.  

    No matter who wielded the power, Carrion was a freak of science, a lab-created nightmare and could be Harry Osborn’s ultimate weapon against Peter Parker or a master villain in his own right. Carrion was also a running buddy of Carnage and could fit into any saga that utilizes that particular maniac, like teaming John Wayne Gacy and Jeffry Dahmer, but with really, really scary super-powers.

    Spider-Man Villains

    9. Morlun

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #30 (2001)

    Created by J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita, Jr

    Not every idea J. Michael Straczynski presented in his run on Amazing Spider-Man was gold (Gwen and Norman Osborn having an affair my webbed butt), but the introduction of the villainous Morlun was the stuff of legend. When Morlun appears, fans get the feeling that Spidey cannot win; he is the ultimate test for Peter and one that Peter has barely survived. Morlun is the devourer of those with Spider powers, an ancient evil that does not rest.

    To Morlun, the ol' Web-Head is a totem, a being that carries an animal spirit, and to Morlun, these beings are dangerous and must be destroyed. As we all know, there are plenty of totemistic beings in the Spider film universe, which could be just what Morlun needs to make his big screen debut. Morlun would up the ante for Peter, a foe that really tests Peter’s power and will.

    Plus, Morlun rocks an ascot, so you know he’s badass.

    8. The Jackal

    First appearance (As Miles Warren) The Amazing Spider-Man #31 (1965) (As the Jackal) The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (1974)

    Created by (Miles Warren) Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (Jackal) Gerry Conway and Ross Andru

    The mad geneticist Miles Warren, a former professor of Gwen and Peter, cloned poor Gwen, kicking off a cycle of torture for Peter Parker that ended with one of the most infamous stories of all time, The Clone Saga. The Jackal was in love with Gwen and couldn’t live without her; he blamed Peter for her death and created a clone of Gwen and later, a clone of Spider-Man himself. 

    Okay, maybe he's best saved for later movies...

    7. Chameleon

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (1963)

    Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    He was the first costumed villain Spider-Man ever faced. Chameleon has deep familial ties with Kraven the Hunter, a character who has also never been seen on film. Whether with Kraven or solo, the Chameleon is one of Spidey’s deadliest foes because he could literally be anyone. The first Spider-Man villain definitely deserves some film love, and his power set would bring some unique challenges to the big screen.

    6. Morbius, the Living Vampire

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (1971)

    Created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane

    Morbius was once dying of a rare blood disease, but found himself transformed into a bat-like creature of the night when he tries to devise a cure for his ailment. This tale of life and death has enough drama to carry a film and present Spider-Man with a very different, very tragic sort of foe. A post modern, high tech vampire, now that’s a concept that deserves its time in the sun. This vampire don’t sparkle, he just kicks acres of ass, and it’s time mainstream Spidey fans get to experience the Living Vampire.

    5. Hobgoblin

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #238 (1983)

    Created by Roger Stern and John Romita, Jr.

    Spider-Man’s greatest foe of the post Bronze Age era. Many different men have worn the mask of the Hobgoblin to bedevil Peter Parker for decades. Whether it was the original Hobgoblin Roderick Kingsley or the arrogant scoundrel Phil Urich of the modern era, the image of the Hobgoblin has always caused Spidey fans’ hearts to skip a beat. After the unthinkable act committed by Harry Osborne as the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man 2 (hands up if got freaked when you saw poor Gwen’s green jacket), the vile legacy of the Goblin is secure, and the Hobgoblin has always been the next step in that heritage of evil.

    Marvel needs a new kind of villain for their movies, and could feature different men behind the Hobgoblin mask. Seriously, who can forget the cover of Hobgoblin’s first appearance? The villain ripping an effigy of Spider-Man in half is burned into the brains of Spider-fans forever. Not many villains secure their legacy on their first cover appearance alone, but Hobgoblin did and it's time that legacy extended to other media.

    4. The Scorpion

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #19 (1964)

    Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    Yeah, we know, Michael Mando shows up as Mac Gargan in Spider-Man: Homecoming. But until he's in that green suit, it doesn't count! Possibly the longest running and most important Spidey villain not yet featured in a film, the Scorpion has deep ties to Spidey, Venom, and the freshly sort-of introduced J. Jonah Jameson. Mac Gargan was a salty dude, a skell that was hired by Jameson to at first track Peter Parker and then, to be grafted into the Scorpion battle suit, a suit which he got trapped in, making him into a freak and a bitter killer. The hate filled Gargan dedicated his life to destroying both Spidey and Jameson.

    The insect motif, the quest for vengeance, the obsession, all these aspects of the Scorpion would make Gargan a perfect screen villain. Gargan later became bonded to the Venom suit, so if Marvel wants to do something with Venom but avoid the Eddie Brock baggage from an older franchise, there's a way out.

    3. Carnage

    First appearance (as Cletus Kasady) The Amazing Spider-Man #344 (1991)

    Created by David Michelinie, Erik Larsen, and Mark Bagley

    Just the words “Maximum Carnage” alone would send children of the Chromium Age into a tizzy. Perhaps serial killer Cletus Kasady can be introduced in a future Spidey film before we meet his more famous symbiotic big brother.

    It would be hard to do Carnage justice in a PG-13 movie as he is more of a Freddy Krueger type than a classic Marvel villain. Carnage is sometimes maligned as being an empty one-note baddie, but there can be no arguing that he is one of the most popular Spider-Man villains created in the last 25 years...plus, he has a cadre of maniacs and monsters that can also be used to bedevil Spider-Man. With Carnage can come Shriek, the Spider Doppelganger, Carrion, and other assorted maniacs and nightmares.

    This is probably going to happen, but not in the way you might expect. Carnage is likely going to be the villain of the Venom solo movie

    2. Mysterio

    First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #13 (1964)

    Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    A former special effects guru, Quentin Beck turns to a life of dome-headed crime as...Mysterio! Look, it doesn't sound that exciting, but imagine what could be done with a guy who uses practical effects and holograms to confound Spidey and friends on the big screen.

    We nearly got Mysterio on the big screen not once, but twice, but three times. He was kicked around as a potential villain when Cannon Films were trying to get a Spidey movie off the ground in the 1980s. He would have appeared (briefly) in Sam Raimi's never-to-be Spider-Man 4 (played by Bruce Campbell, no less!). His mask even appeared in the stinger of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and there were plans at Sony to make him a key piece of their Sinister Six movie. 

    It still looks like Sony has plans to make that supervillain team-up flick they've been dreaming about for years, and Mysterio would be a natural fit. He had better have a fishbowl on his head, though.

    1. Kraven

    First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #15 (1964)

    Created by: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

    Now, stick with us, because a guy in a fur vest might not sound like the best candidate for a big screen Spider-Man movie. But we have our reasons...

    For one thing, Kevin Feige is hinting that we'll see more low-key threats in order to keep the focus on the personal drama in Spidey stories. You know what an insecure teenager like Peter Parker would take personally? A reality show star like Sergei Kravinoff coming to town with a very public mission to hunt and capture Spider-Man.

    Even if Kraven isn't the main baddie of the first film and gets his furry ass handed to him in suitably humiliating fashion in the first act, it allows them to set up one of the greatest (and darkest) Spider-Man sagas of all time for a future film, Kraven's Last Hunt. You'll just have to trust us on that one if you haven't read it, but we promise, it's like nothing Spidey has ever had to deal with on screen before.

    A version of this article originally ran on May 9th, 2014. It has been significantly updated to reflect all of the crazy, happy developments regarding the Spider-Man franchise, Sony, and Marvel.


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    The Vulture and Mysterio were two of the villains set for inclusion in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 4.

    News Mike Cecchini
    Jul 7, 2017

    Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 4 is one of the great "what could have been" stories in superhero movie history. Spider-Man 3 wasn't well received by critics or fans, but it still took in nearly $900 million at the box office, and this was back in 2007, long before it was "billion dollars or bust" for superhero franchise installments.

    So of course, Spider-Man 4 was planned by Sony. Encouragingly, Sam Raimi was set to return, as he had directed the first two excellent installments, even if the third wasn't quite what everyone hoped for.

    It's amazing that a movie of this size that got so far along in its conceptualization that so little concrete information is out there. John Malkovich, who had at one point been tapped to play Norman Osborne in the first Spider-Man movie, was apparently ready to give the supervillain thing a try as Adrian Toomes, the Vulture (we finally got him via Michael Keaton in the excellent Spider-Man: Homecoming), and there were lots of other hints and rumors, but not much else. A script for Spider-Man 4 has infamously made the rounds, but it was absolutely, 100% fake. 

    But thanks to concept artist Jeffrey Henderson, we have our first genuine look at what Spider-Man 4would have contained, and there are some really cool revelations. Mr. Henderson doesn't reveal too many details, and it's clear that there's much more than what is revealed here. There are multiple villains here again, although it at least appears the main focus is the Vulture.

    Let's start with the Vulture...

    ...who certainly looks a little like John Malkovich in this next image, doesn't he?

    But then there's Mysterio, although he appears to not be a major villain and more of a brief distraction...

    But there's something particularly interesting about Mysterio without his helmet...

    He looks an awful lot like Bruce Campbell there, doesn't he? Now I really wish this movie had been made. Campbell, of course, had cameos in all three of Raimi's Spider-Man movies, as the brilliant ring announcer in the first, the snooty usher in the second, and a hapless maitre d' in the third. Turning him into frustrated actor Quentin Beck for Spider-Man 4 would have been amazing.

    But then there's also a mysterious young woman who Peter is smooching in some of these storyboards. Could she be Felicia Hardy/The Black Cat?

    It fell apart, and Sony rebooted the franchise, where they promptly proved they learned nothing from the mistakes of Spider-Man 3 by loading The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with multiple villains and plenty of alienating sequel set-up. Marvel and Sony are now off to a much better fresh start with Spider-Man: Homecoming.

    "It would’ve been one absolutely kick ass movie," Henderson says of Spider-Man 4. "Seriously. We were working on some crazy- cool stuff, because everyone, from top to bottom, felt that Spidey 3 was a bit of a ‘missed opportunity’, and we all really wanted to help Sam take SM4 to another level so he could end the series on a high note."

    Go check out the rest of the storyboards that Mr. Henderson is allowed to share "without pissing Sam off" over at his site! 

    Thanks to Den of Geek UK for the tip.


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    Gotham City and Riverdale collide in Archie Comics' next big crossover.

    NewsChris Cummins
    Jul 7, 2017

    Recent years have seen Archie and his pals and gals encountering everyone from The Ramones to the Predator. These crossovers are always interesting (and they follow a long-standing trend that arguably began when the characters hung out with Soupy Sales back in 1965), but it has been awhile since the Riverdale gang actually met up other popular comic book characters. The most infamous example of this is 1994's Archie Meets the Punisher, although equally shithouse bonkers -- if somewhat underappreciated -- is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Meet Archie from 1991.

    With Archie now distributing Marvel Digests, it seemed at least within the realm of possibility that it was just a matter of time until another Archie/Marvel crossover event happened. But one thing that has become evident of late is to always expect the unexpected with Archie is involved, because they are nothing if not full of surprises.

    Enter the announcement of Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica. from none other than Paul Dini, Mark Andreyko, and Laura Braga. This upcoming one shot hits stores on October 4th, and here's a breakdown of what insanity you can expect:

     “It's the sort of offer you scream out ‘YES!’ to before your eyes reach the middle of the email,” said Paul Dini in a statement. “I've always wanted the chance to play in Riverdale, and to help Harley and Ivy invade it is a dream come true.  Marc's a great talent and a good friend. Writing this series with him has been like sitting on the lawn during summer vacation and reading a big pile of DC and Archie comics.  Except we have to stay indoors and type a lot.”

     “It's going to be a blast to bring these amazing ladies together in this once-in-a-lifetime crossover,” said Braga. “Each character is different and special. While Harley is one of my favorite characters ever, Betty and Veronica are giving her a run for her money! I love all these ladies, and this book is going to be non-stop fun. ”

     “When I got the call for this, I was in disbelief!” said Andreyko. “Getting to co-write with Paul on a series bringing four of the most iconic ladies in comics together under one roof for the first time? This must be what winning the lottery feels like! I cannot wait for readers to see what mischief Paul, Laura and I have dreamed up!”

    Here's the official synopsis:

    Harley and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica starts with a plan for free college tuition for all Riverdale residents. The town just needs to build a new campus by draining the wetlands that lie between Riverdale and Gotham City.

    The only snag? A certain botany-obsessed super-villain.

    When Poison Ivy enlists her bestie Harley to kidnap both Veronica Lodge, daughter of Riverdale’s most important citizen, and her friend Betty, she’s counting on some assistance—and mayhem. Are these two teams of BFF’s headed for disaster?

    There's a lot to love about this, primarily the fact that Archie's leading ladies should make great comedic foils for the Gotham troublemakers. And then there are the laugh-packed possibilities of seing how eternal player Archie inevitably falls for either (more likely, both) Harley & Ivy, and how this will complicate his already fraught relationships with Betty & Veronica. Seeing how Betty is, spoiler alert, currently laid up after a car wreck in the main Archie continuity, this new crossover exists outside of that, just as the other oddball team-ups of recent years do. The DC tie-in actually makes a great deal of business sense too, as Riverdale runs on the DC-centric CW network, both of which are, synergy time, owned by Warner Brothers.

    So while this writer's dreams of a Jughead/Howard the Duck book written by Chip Zdarsky, who did memorable runs on both titles, are still just wishful thinking, there is much excitement to be found in the fact that Dini, Andreyko, and Braga have much mirthful mayhem in store for all of these characters. Bring on October folks, this one sounds unmissable.


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    Dark Horse's The Umbrella Academy might be in production as a TV series for Netflix.

    News John Saavedra
    Jul 7, 2017

    According to a report by Splash Report, Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's The Umbrella Academy might be coming to Netflix as a live action series. The comic book series, which debuted in 2007, was first optioned as a movie before Dark Horse signed a deal with Universal Cable Productions to adapt the comic as a TV series. Splash Report says that Netflix could announce the series at San Diego Comic-Con.

    Dark Horse declined to comment on this story.

    The series is said to use the pilot script Jeremy Slater (Fantastic Four) wrote for Universal. In 2016, he told Collider that the series was in the process of finding a home:

    I definitely wrote the pilot for The Umbrella Academy. I think it’s really exciting. I think it’s really surprising and funny. I took the job because I’m such an immense fan of what Gerard [Way] and Gabriel [Ba, the artist] did with that book. It’s one of those things where I would rather be the guy to screw it up than sit back and let someone else come in and do the bad adaptation. So, I was really adamant about taking the job, but the only way I was going to do it was if I could make it weird and make it true to the spirit of the book. There’s a lot of weird shit in The Umbrella Academy, and it would be very easy to sand down some of those weird edges and make it more familiar to American audiences. I’m fighting very hard to not let that happen. We’re shopping around the pilot, at the moment. We’re trying to find the right home for it and trying to find someone as excited as we are.

    Rawson Marshal Thurber (Dodgeball) was originally tied to the project when it was still being considered for the big screen. He told CBR in 2016 that the series would be too difficult to adapt as a film, citing the weirdness of the book as something that could be lost in translation at a big studio. 

    Slater echoed Thurber's thoughts in his interview with Collider:

    I think the relationships and the dynamics are so rich in that book that, if you tried to distill it down to 90 minutes, everyone gets reduced to a cartoon and a caricature. It really is The Royal Tenenbaums with superpowers. In order to do justice to that premise, you need time to unpack those characters, and dig into what makes them tick and the different relationships that they have with each other. There is so much fertile material there to tell really interesting, really funny, really unique stories that to compress it all into an hour and a half and throw in a bunch of giant action sequences, you’re going to wind up with some total mish-mash. It’s going to be Mystery Men. It’s going to be yet another wacky comedic superhero movie that no one really wants to see. It has its own unique DNA, and I think people should respect that DNA, or they should not do the project.

    Way began writing The Umbrella Academyjust a year after the release of My Chemical Romance's magnum opus, Welcome to the Black Parade. The series is about a dysfunctional family of superheroes past their prime who are forced to reunite for one more fight. The Umbrella Academyis 15 issues of Eisner Award-winning goodness that has continued to inform Way's career as a comic book writer, especially with his current run on Doom Patrol and his Young Animal line at DC. Artist Gabriel Ba has also done some of his best work on the series. (If you want something really great by Ba, check out Daytripper, which he created with his twin brother, artist Fabio Moon.)

    The Umbrella Academy has been on a bit of a hiatus since 2009. Only two volumes, The Apocalypse Suite and Dallas, have been released thus far, although Way and Ba plan at least two more volumes. The third volume is called Hotel Oblivion, and it's been in the works since at least 2013 when Way tweeted out an update with some sketches of new characters. Way and Ba had agreed to begin work on Hotel Oblivion in 2014, but a lot's happened since then. Besides his music projects, Way has his own line of comics and two comic book series to write.

    While it's not likely the Umbrella Academy will return on the page any time soon, there might be hope for the TV show. We'll keep you updated as we learn more. 

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    Filmmaker Michael Mann will direct upcoming limited series on the bloodiest battle of the Vietnam War in FX’s Hue 1968

    News Tony Sokol
    Jul 7, 2017

    Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Heat, Starsky and Hutch) and Michael De Luca, the producer of Moneyball, will executive produce an adaptation of Mark Bowden‘s recently-released bestseller Hue 1968 into a limited series for FX.

    Mann, the Oscar-winning director of Collateral and The Insider, is expected to direct the pilot and several of the eight to 10 episodes. This isn’t his first TV job. He directed an episode of  Police Woman in 1977, an episode of Crime Story in 1987, and the pilot for HBO’s series Luck in 2011.

    The novel focuses on the 26-day siege of Hanoi’s 1968 Tet Offensive.

    “The first battle book from Mark Bowden since his #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down, Hue 1968 is the story of the centerpiece of the Tet Offensive and a turning point in the American War in Vietnam,” reads the official synopsis at Amazon.

    In the early hours of January 31, 1968, the North Vietnamese launched over one hundred attacks across South Vietnam in what would become known as the Tet Offensive. The lynchpin of Tet was the capture of Hue, Vietnam’s intellectual and cultural capital, by 10,000 National Liberation Front troops who descended from hidden camps and surged across the city of 140,000. Within hours the entire city was in their hands save for two small military outposts. American commanders refused to believe the size and scope of the Front’s presence, ordering small companies of marines against thousands of entrenched enemy troops. After several futile and deadly days, Lieutenant Colonel Ernie Cheatham would finally come up with a strategy to retake the city, block by block and building by building, in some of the most intense urban combat since World War II.

    With unprecedented access to war archives in the U.S. and Vietnam and interviews with participants from both sides, Bowden narrates each stage of this crucial battle through multiple viewpoints. Played out over 24 days and ultimately costing 10,000 lives, the Battle of Hue was by far the bloodiest of the entire war. When it ended, the American debate was never again about winning, only about how to leave.”

    The series will aim at different perspectives during Tet Offensive. Characters include an innocent Vietnamese schoolgirl turned revolutionary; a war hero Marine captain from Pennsylvania; a Hanoi teacher who fights for the North Vietnamese army’s infintry; and Ameran president Lyndon B. Johnson.

    “We are them,” Mann told Deadline when the project was first announced in April. “There are no background people; people abstracted into statistics, body counts. There is the sense that everybody is somebody, as each is in the actuality of their own lives. The brilliance of Bowden’s narrative, the achievement of interviewing hundreds of people on all sides and making their human stories his foundation, is why Hue 1968 rises to the emotional power and universality of For Whom the Bell Tolls and All Quiet on the Western Front.”

    SOURCE: DEADLINE


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    Everything we know so far about Outlander Season 4...

    News Kayti Burt
    Jul 7, 2017

    Let's talk Outlander Season 4!

    Yeah, we know. Outlander Season 3 hasn't even aired yet, but that doesn't mean we can't start talking about Outlander Season 4, right? Starz has already picked up Outlander with showrunner Ronald D. Moore for Season 4, which will adapt Diana Gabaldon's Drums of Autumn novel. 

    Outlander Season 4 Latest News

    Outlander writer Anne Kenney, who has been with the drama since Season 1 and wrote fan favorite episode "The Wedding" (and one of my personal favorites Season 2's "Useful Occupations and Deceptions") will not be returning for Season 4. The TV scribe took to Twitter to break the news...

    Kenney wrote the second episode of the upcoming Season 3. We wish her luck on whichever show she ends up moving to next!

    Outlander Season 4 Cast

    Will Frank and/or Jack Randall be back in Outlander Season 4? While neither character gets any serious mentions past the Voyager book, Ronald D. Moore recently told TV Guide about the possibility of Tobias Menzies return in Season 4 or beyond:

    You never know. We've talked about it. There's always the possibility of flashing back and revisiting him in either role if we had a reason to. Diana in subsequent books kind of touches back to Frank for various reasons. We might do that. It really depends on how we break that in subsequent years.

    In other casting Outlander Season 4 casting news, according to Entertainment Weekly, Starz has cast its Rollo, the wolf hybrid who joins the Fraser clan after being found by young Ian Murray and becomes a beloved member of the family. Yes, they are just as adorable as you would expect...

    Move over, direwolves. You have some competition.

    Though production on Outlander Season 3 is not yet finished, the producers wanted to begin training these Northern Inuit puppies as soon as possible for their Season 4 role. According to Starz: Rollo has a "penchant for getting into trouble, often sticking his large, wet nose into places it doesn’t belong ... The dog will play a key part in the adventure that lies ahead."

    What does Gabaldon think about the all-important casting? She said:

    They look cute, but tough. They should be just right to play Rollo when the time comes. They’d need to growl and look menacing on command, I think, and carry back prey of one kind or another to their master. I assume they wouldn’t let them catch things on camera … especially fish, of course.

    Outlander Season 4 Release Date

    Outlander Season 3 will be hitting Starz in September of 2017, so we wouldn't expect Outlander Season 4 to come around until at least September 2018. We'll keep you updated with any new information as we hear it.

    Outlander Season 4 Plot

    Outlander Season 4 will adapt Gabaldon's Drums of Autumn novel. Though we don't have an official synopsis for the upcoming season, we do have a synopsis for the book (via Gabaldon's official site). If you aren't into spoilers, avert your eyes...

    DRUMS OF AUTUMN is the fourth book in the OUTLANDER series, following VOYAGER.  Here Claire and Jamie, with Jamie’s nephew Young Ian, seek to find a place for themselves in the colony of North Carolina, treading a dangerous line between Governor Tryon’s patronage and Claire’s knowledge of the brewing revolution in America, between the help of Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta, last of his MacKenzie kin (“MacKenzies are charming as larks in the field–but sly as foxes with it.”) and the unwanted obligations of her slave-run plantation.  As they find mountain land and begin to build their first cabin, their newfound life is bittersweet, with the thought Brianna–the daughter Claire has left behind, the daughter Jamie will never see–always near.

    For information about Outlander Season 3, check out our news hub.


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    The world of online serialized fiction has never been richer, and Geek Actually is a great place to start.

    FeatureKayti Burt
    Jul 7, 2017

    There is a difference between intellectually knowing that you are rarely represented in your favorite kind of media and truly feeling it. The feeling of it only comes when you the absence is filled, when you watch, read, or play a story featuring a main character who shares some major identities with you. It's why women cried during Wonder Woman, and it's one of the reasons why I couldn't put the first five "episodes" of Geek Actually down.

    Geek Actually is a serialized fiction released weekly via Serial Box Publishing. The story of five female nerd friends and their various lives, it's pitched as a story for anyone who loves both Sex and the City and Star Wars, and it features five totally nerdy characters: Michelle, a sci-fi book editor; Taneesha, a video game programmer; Christina, a production assistant; Aditi, a first-time fantasy author; and Elli, a cosplayer who lives with her parents.

    The five women met at a con and have been friends ever since, staying in frequent touch through their #RebelScum Slack chat group, which opens up each episode of the series.

    While I get the Sex and the City reference (after all, there is a fair amount of delicious sex in this story), for me, the reading experience reminded me more of when I ravenously devoured the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books as a teen. Both the Traveling Pants books and Geek Actually do an incredible job of making us believe in the bond between a group of female friends, while rarely showing them in the same physical place.

    Rather than letters and pants, Geek Actually's bonding threads come in the form of some of the best tools of the modern internet age. These women call, text, chat, and see one another at cons. Fandom has brought them together and, as someone who has crafted groups of friends through this method, I can attest that internet friends are real friends. If you've ever made a friend at a con or online because of a shared interest in a thing you love and obssess over, then I don't have to tell you that. You know how it feels. Geek Actually is one of the rare stories out there right now that knows how it feels, too.

    It also knows what it's like to be a female geek, which also tends to be somewhat rare in a pop culture still struggling to understand that women don't read comics because their boyfriends asked them to; they read them because they are their own person with their own interests and passions.

    These female characters not only demonstrate that point in their own geeky passions, but actively talk about a lot of the issues female nerds and female nerds of color have to deal with online and in real life. This makes sense, given that the story was written by a diverse group of four talented women — Cathy Yardley, Melissa Blue, Cecilia Tan, and Rachel Stuhler — who are no doubt no strangers to the off-base, offensive assumptions made about female nerds.

    While Geek Actually features characters who are obsessed with everything from superheroes to Star Wars, this is not a genre story. It has its foundation firmly in the land of character-driven drama with a healthy dash of romance. It operates under the assumption that female nerds can like hard science fiction and also like "chick flicks." Liking the two is not mutually exclusive. We female nerds who also like romance novels are not pretending to like comic book stories, too.

    It is here that I suspect the Wonder Woman example I used in my introductory paragraph might need some clarification because this isn't about seeing more fully-drawn female characters in speculative fiction (for that, I highly recommend The Refrigerator Monologues). It's about seeing female nerd characters in more grounded fiction. These women aren't going to suddenly develop the superhuman ability to fly, but they would think that was really cool — and it wouldn't be because their boyfriend thought it was cool first.

    Geek Actually is set up like your favorite TV show, with each weekly "episode" taking roughly 40 minutes to read. The installments tend to end on a juicy, character-driven cliffhanger that will leave you eager to read the next episode. There will be 13 episodes in total over the course of the first season, with the next installment — the sixth in the series — set to come out on July 12th.

    You can subscribe to Season 1 of Geek Actually for $1.59 per episode, or you can buy individual episodes for $1.99 a pop. For $19.99, you can get the whole season in both text and audio form. If you're on the fence, check out a free preview of Season 1 here. And, if you're looking to learn more about the world of online serialized fiction, head over to our guide.


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    Everyone knows that iconic theme song, but the 1967 Spider-Man animated series also featured some incredible background music.

    Feature Mike Cecchini
    Jul 7, 2017

    Everyone knows the iconic theme tune to the Spider-Man animated series that ran from 1967-1970 on ABC, and then endlessly in syndication after that. You know the one I'm talking about. It has the lyrics that want you to know that the title character "does whatever a spider can" and that he "spins a web, any size" and "catches thieves, just like flies" thanks, of course, to his "radioactive blood." The fact that they managed to get the words "radioactive blood" into a theme song will never not be amazing to me.

    The tune is such a big deal that it made its way (in various sneaky forms) into Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, and most recently, in full orchestral form thanks to Michael Giacchino in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The Ramones put their distinctive spin on it as a hidden track on their farewell album, Adios Amigos. This is, unquestionably, the most important piece of music associated with Spidey. Danny Elfman's themes for the first trilogy weren't terribly memorable (especially when compared to the work he did on the first two Batman films), so the tune by Paul Francis Webster and Bob Harris, is where it's at. Superman has the John Williams theme. Batman has Neal Hefti's opening credits theme. Spidey has Webster/Harris.

    So when people talk about this particular Spider-Man series from Grantray-Lawrence, they usually focus on two things: the crude animation, which simplified Spidey's design, and that theme tune. But what's often forgotten about it is just how incredible all of the music from it is. There's hardly a moment in the series where there isn't some kind of background instrumental music, and it's all absolutely brilliant.

    As detailed in this essential, wonderful article from WFMU, the first season of Spider-Man featured music by some of the same folks who worked on that theme tune, jazz musicians Bob Harris and Ray Ellis. Unlike that theme song, though, the music in seasons two and three wasn't composed specifically for the series. Instead, much of it was "stock music" and the musicians involved were uncredited at the time (although in recent years, these names have also surfaced, see that WFMU article I mentioned). The music came from the KPM Library in England, and some of these tracks also popped up on shows like The Prisoner (another piece of 1960s perfection) and Doctor Who. Luckily, whoever was picking the stock music for Spider-Man picked stuff that sounded perfectly appropriate for Spidey and his world. 

    So you probably want to get to where you can listen to all of these amazing tunes. 

    WFMU followed up on their original quest to find out the details of this lost Spider-Man music with a podcast, featuring selections from the actual masters, featuring the isolated music itself. You can (and should!) listen to it here!

    You can buy the 1967 Spider-Man animated series on Amazon.


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    Ant-Man and the Wasp has added Fresh Off the Boat's Randall Park as one of Marvel's oldest characters.

    News Den Of Geek Staff
    Jul 8, 2017

    Ant-Man, released in 2015, represented the culmination of nearly a decade of delays, directorial shake-ups and numerous script revisions. Showcasing a most unlikely of cinematic centerpieces with a version of Marvel’s proportionally protean Avenger team member, the payoff would be substantial, yielding a $519.3 million global gross.

    Now, director Peyton Reed returns behind the camera for sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp with star Paul Rudd as the insect-size-shrinking hero, joined atop the marquee by Evangeline Lilly, who – as revealed in the first film’s mid-credits scene – will assume the role of the sequel’s co-titular Wasp in a scale-shattering team-up blockbuster.

    The Marvel Cinematic Universe's smallest (and biggest) superhero(es) will be back in front of cameras in July and there are no surprises when it comes to the shoot location for the sequel - Atlanta's Pinewood facility, which has been the home of many-a-Marvel production to date.

    Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat) will play Jimmy Woo, a SHIELD agent familiar to fans of Marvel's Agents of Atlas series (via The Tracking Board). The character of Woo has actually been around since the pre-SHIELD days of the 1950s, although he became a SHIELD agent when characters from the earlier comics were absorbed into the Marvel Universe in the 1960s.

    Ant-Man and the Wasp Release Date

    Ant-Man and the Wasp opens on July 6th, 2018.

    Ant-Man and the Wasp Cast

    Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Peña will all reprise their Ant-Man roles, as will their characters' sagely overseer Michael Douglas, who revealed the state of his goatee on Facebook in his confirmation for the production's July 2017 kickoff

    Additionally, the nigh-ubiquitous David Dastmalchian returns, as will rapper/actor T.I.

    Hannah John-Kamen will join the cast of Ant-Man and the Wasp for what will apparently be a “key role” in the film, reports Variety. For now, that is the extent of what is known about John-Kamen’s casting in the Marvel cinematic sequel.

    Ant-Man and the Wasp is one of the increasingly prestigious projects booked for the U.K.-born Hannah John-Kamen, known for her role on the space-set Syfy ensemble series Killjoys. John-Kamen has been notably seen in two separate episodes of the popular horror anthology series Black Mirror, fielded a recurring role on Game of Thrones in 2016’s Season 6 and played a nameless First Order officer in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

    However, bigger prospects lie ahead for John-Kamen with a role in director Steven Spielberg’s 2018 video game-centric sci-fi thriller Ready Player One and a supporting role in director Roar Uthaug’s 2018 Tomb Raider reboot film, which stars Alicia Vikander as the new Lara Croft.  

    Ant-Man and the Wasp Villain

    Mr. Reed confirmed at a press event for the Ant-Man Blu-ray last year (with Den of Geek's Don Kaye in attendance) that they already have a "definite take" on who the villain will be this time around.


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    Captain America 4 hasn't been confirmed by Marvel yet, but we all know it's coming. These stories should be considered.

    The Lists Marc Buxton
    Jul 2, 2017

    Captain America: Civil War was a bona fide smash, making the Captain Americatrilogy one of the most successful action adventure sagas in recent history. Starting with Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel has crafted three amazing films highlighting the adventures of Marvel’s purest hero, from the tale of Cap’s origins to the coming of the Winter Soldier to a Civil War, fans have been treated to three epics.

    Along the way, classic Cap villains like Arnim Zola, Baron Zemo, Batroc the Leaper, Crossbones, and the biggest, baddest Nazi of them all, the Red Skull have tested Captain America’s mettle. It seems like fans have seen it all.

    Not so fast, true believer! There is almost a century of great Cap stories that can still be adapted as the legend of Captain America continues to grow...

    “Secret Empire”

    Captain America #169-175 (1974)

    By Steve Englehart, Mike Friedrich, and Sal Buscema

    No not that one! The original!

    Secret Empire was published right in the middle of the Watergate scandal and was a true test of Captain America’s loyalties and patriotism. In this classic story, Cap must face down the Secret Empire, a cabal like group of masked power brokers who have infiltrated the American government on every level. Let’s face it, the current political situation in the US doesn't exactly scream of unity, and so many of the themes explored in this tale are as prevalent today as they were back in ’74.

    The Falcon and Black Panther both play pivotal roles in this saga and a few cool villains are utilized like the male version of Moonstone and the Tumbler. Okay, one cool villain, the Tumbler kind of stinks. I guess these days he would be some evil dude that posts fitspo memes constantly, but back in the day, he tumbled and was evil. Ass.

    I digress.

    In the same way Watergate tested the entire nation, the Secret Empire saga tested Cap’s sense of duty and patriotism. By the way, when the leader of the Secret Empire was unmasked, it was Richard Nixon. Yeah, the story goes there, plus, it has a super cool appearance by the X-Men.

    While a film could never include Marvel’s merry mutants, a few choice Avengers could potentially bring this politically charged saga to cinematic life. I think we know what taco bowl loving orange presidential candidate would be under the Secret Empire hood these days, don’t we?

    Buy the original Secret Empire on Amazon!

    The Roger Stern/John Byrne Era

    Captain America #247-255

    By Roger Stern and John Byrne (duh)

    It might have only lasted nine issues, but the Roger Stern and John Byrne issues of Captain America stand as some of the greatest Cap stories ever published, and packaged together this set of stories would make for one killer film. The opening issues introduce perennial Cap villain Machinesmith and also reunited Cap with his original uniform and shield. Captain America runs for president and after that bit of awesome, fans of the era were treated to the introduction of Baron Blood! Now, I think the world is ready to see Cap take on a murderous Nazi vampire, don’t you?

    Let that sink in, not just a vampire, a Nazi vampire.

    The same story that debuted Baron Blood also introduced the modern day Union Jack, and I don’t know about you, but I need to see a cinematic Union Jack before I’m six feet under. The Baron Blood tale bounces back and forth between World War II and the modern day and we need more flashbacks to Cap’s WWII adventures with the Howling Commandos...especially if they’re fighting vampires. There's also one of the best choreographed fight scenes in the history of Captain America as Cap engaged in an epic final battle with the siegheiling bloodsucker. Let’s just say Cap did Peter Cushing proud.

    These brief nine issues by Stern and Byrne are a freakin’ smorgasbord of awesome Cap moments just waiting to be exploited in future films. And I know I glossed over the whole Cap as President thing, but in this election year, Cap as President has a greater appeal than ever and I swear that will be my last political dig for this article.

    Kevin Feige, if you’re reading this: Nazi vampire! Why aren’t you green lighting this.

    Buy Captain America: Dawn's Early Light on Amazon!

    “Justice is Served”

    Captain America #318-320 (1986)

    By Mark Gruenwald and Paul Neary

    If you're a Cap fan of the '80s, the very name Scourge should send you into a tizzy of nostalgia. For those not in the know, Scourge was a masked vigilante that went around shooting Z-list villains across the Marvel Universe. Thanks to Scourge, Marvel fans no longer had to deal with asshats like Bluestreak, Captain Kraken, and the Rapier.

    In fact, in an unforgettable sequence in "Justice is Served," a metric ton of loser villains got Scourged in in a seedy bar. The whole thing could play out like a killer morality tale as Cap must protect the villains of the MCU from the bloodthirsty Scourge. It’s justice versus vengeance as Cap must protect a cadre of villains from a vigilante that doesn't believe in the American system of justice.

    "Captain America No More”

    Captain America #332-350 (1987-1989)

    By Mark Gruenwald, Kieron Dwyer, and Tom Morgan

    There can be no doubt that the late and greatly missed Mark Gruenwald was one of the greatest Cap scribes in history, and "Captain America No More" was his finest hour. In this tale, Gruenwald introduced John Walker, the Super Patriot, an intensely nationalistic conservative who protected his nation with an intense zeal.

    The US government wanted to gain control of Captain America because, after all, Steve Rogers was created by an experiment paid for and designed by Washington. Like he does in Civil War, Rogers refused government control and gave up his red white and blue uniform and shield. Instead, Rogers donned the black uniform of The Captain and continued his mission. Meanwhile, the government gave the Cap suit to Walker and a tale of two heroes played out.

    This story of a fractured American point of view is more poignant today than it was first told and Gruenwald’s conflict of idealism could be a perfect thematic sequel to Civil War. Of course, when this tale played out, Walker became the US Agent and who wouldn’t want to see that badass fighting American come to life on film?

    Truth: Red, White and Black (2003)

    By Robert Morales and Kyle Baker

    In 2003, Marvel embarked on one of its most ambitious projects to date, the introduction of the first Captain America, an African American Tuskegee airman named Isaiah Bradley. Bradley’s tale would be a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as he essentially could be portrayed as the super hero version of Jackie Robinson. The US government used Bradley as a guinea pig and injected him with an experimental dose of the super soldier serum.

    Imagine a film where Rogers has to unravel the mystery of Bradley in the modern day as the film flashes back to the airman’s WWII tale. Bradley’s story is an important one as it sets a foundation of diversity in the Marvel Universe. It is also incredibly open and honest about the treatment of the black soldiers of the greatest generation, men who were willing to sacrifice everything for the country that treated them with inequality or downright hatred.  

    It’s also about time the genius design work of Kyle Baker gets some film love!

    Buy Truth: Red, White, and Black on Amazon!

    “Red Menace”

    Captain America (Vol. 5) #15-17 (2006)

    By Ed Brubaker and Mike Perkins

    Yeah, Marvel indeed rules the world but it does have a miserable villain problem. Too many of Marvel’s film baddies arrive a bit stillborn. Red Menace was all about the villains as Ed Brubaker (yeah, Ed Brubaker, half of the Winter Soldier creative team) and Mike Perkins put the spotlight on the daughter of the Red Skull, the vile Sin.

    "Red Menace" was Natural Born Killers by way of Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko as Sin teamed up with perennial Cap baddy Crossbones. This tale told the origin of Sin and had juicy parts for Sharon Carter and the Falcon as Cap and his crew must put a stop to Sin and ‘bones’ spree of mayhem. There is still so much to explore in future Cap films as far as the legacy of the Red Skull is concerned, and this arc is a great way to push the evil of Johann Schmidt into the modern age and finally introduce a deadly female adversary into an Earth based Marvel cinematic adventure.

    Buy Red Menace on Amazon!

    Fear Itself

    By Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen

    It seems like any future Cap film will feature both Captain America and Bucky Barnes. Fear Itself was an intense Marvel crossover where both Steve and Bucky play central roles.

    In Fear Itself, Bucky wore the mantle of Captain America while Steve Rogers took on the position of the director of SHIELD. While a potential film could play fast and loss with this paradigm, Fear Itself is a sweeping epic steeped in Captain America lore. Sin, the aforementioned daughter of the Red Skull, is the central antagonist as she uses Asgardian magic to empower a number of Marvel villains. During the course of the tale, thanks to Sin’s machinations, the Hulk becomes Nul, an evil anti-Hulk that just looks awesome. Seriously, putting Nul in a film would be like a license to print merchandising money. All the major Marvel movie players play key roles in this story from Hulk to Natasha Romanov to Hawkeye to Falcon and so many more.

    Fear Itself is a story of American unity and perseverance that combines real world politics with Asgardian myths. Most importantly, it is an intense story that united Steve and Bucky to do what they do best: kick goose-stepping asses.

    Buy Fear Itself on Amazon!

    Sam Wilson: Captain America

    By Rick Remender, Stuart Immonen, Nick Spencer, and Daniel Acuna

    Marvel’s cinematic future is always based on the actors and whether they will return or not. And while we're not in any hurry to see Chris Evans hand over the shield, there's a long history of other brave soldiers who have donned the red, white, and blue raiment of Captain America.

    For example, currently, Cap readers have enjoyed a year and half of Sam Wilson as Cap, and it has been great! Wilson has always been a fascinating character, but now that the social justice Avenger has stepped out of the Falcon gear and into one of the most iconic uniforms in comics, it’s a whole new day for Sam Wilson. And it’s a day that could conceivably arrive in cinemas. 

    The films have been building Sam Wilson up as an A list hero since he raced Steve Rogers at the beginning of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the high flying Wilson could totally carry his own film. For the past year and a half or so, Marvel has been building the legacy of Sam Wilson, bringing in classic Cap villains to test the mettle of the new Star Spangled Avenger and as Marvel continues to build Wilson’s comic book cred, the way becomes clearer for Wilson making his film debut in the Cap threads. 

    Buy All-New Captain America Volume 1 on Amazon!


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    Despite its fun characters and over-the-top story, Tekken's attempts at comic books seem to fall apart before they can truly begin.

    Feature Gavin Jasper
    Jul 10, 2017

    Fighting game storylines lend themselves well to comic books. It’s the nature of the stories, which feature tons of characters, some ready-made conflicts, and excuses for fights to happen. Different games have led to different tie-ins. Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat each have a long history of comics of differing quality. Games like Darkstalkers, Killer Instinct, Primal Rage, Eternal Champions, and Virtua Fighterhave had a couple minor releases here and there.

    But what of Tekken? In terms of U.S. mainstream popularity, Tekkenis up there with Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. The game’s story would surely lend itself well to a comic book adaptation. And yes, it did get a handful of attempts. It’s just that...well, there’s a reason why nobody talks about them.

    Like I said, the basic concept of Tekken’s storyline works. There’s an evil, power-hungry criminal mastermind who holds a corporate and military chokehold on the world. He holds a fighting tournament for his amusement, and of all the combatants, only one man is able to stand up to him. Unfortunately, this man – his son – is just as corrupt as his father. As decades pass, their bloodline’s reach expands and threatens to engulf the planet itself.

    We begin in late 1997. By this point, Tekken 3 had already released in arcades across the world and was only months away from taking the PlayStation by storm, becoming the second-best-selling fighting game in history. (#1 is Super Smash Bros. Brawl, so if you’re one of those guys who’s all, “Smashisn’t a REAL fighting game!” then fine, Tekken 3 was the best-selling fighter of all time.)

    Comic company Knightstone released The Tekken Saga #1, written by John Kim with art by Walter McDaniel. Coincidentally, it’s not the only fighting game comic incident involving Walter McDaniel. He would go on to draw the infamous comic moment where Deadpool asked Kitty Pryde about Street Fighter before hitting her with a Shoryuken. Then years later, Deadpool was doing Shoryukens in an actual Capcom video game based purely on that gag.

    Tekken Saga is easy to laugh at, but looking at it again years later, I’ll admit it’s more of a mixed bag. It tells the story leading up to the first Tekkengame and does a pretty good job setting everything up without simply making it nothing but Heihachi vs. Kazuya. The opening scene shows Heihachi Mishima talking to his three top underlings, who just happen to be the fathers of Michelle Chang, Eddy Gordo, and King. It’s on-the-nose as hell, but at least it’s setting up a ton of stuff in its own way.

    Instead of introducing the Devil Gene, the comic talks up the Toshin Stones, which Heihachi wants in order to power himself up and rule the world. Bernard Chang secretly has two of the three and opposes him (WITHOUT the Stones, the dunce), getting himself killed for his efforts. Kazuya ends up getting powered by one, which is supposed to explain the jewel-like third eye that comes from his Devil form.

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    Now, McDaniel’s art is mostly fine on its own. He even does a snazzy drawn recreation of a rendered promo image from Tekken 2, which is used as a pin-up at the end. If anything, it’s the overall design that makes this thing harsh to look at. The word bubbles look like Hell and the text is clown shoes to the third degree.

    Look at this sequence, where Heihachi spars with Kazuya. It’s pretty much THE Tekkenorigin scene and well...yeah. Look at it.

    Where does one start? The thought bubble coming out of Heihachi’s fist? The MS Paint word bubbles? The cavalcade of fonts? The narration gradients? “AH$HITTT!!”?

    Of course not. The first thing you talk about is “RIPSPLISTS!!!”

    Kazuya, pissed that his father horribly scarred him in a training session for the hell of it, then misses a jump kick and falls to his supposed death.

    While the issue plays up Kazuya’s rebirth thanks to Michelle Chang finding him and healing him with the Toshin Stone (which Kazuya then steals), it also builds up other subplots. King prays for forgiveness for using the King of Iron Fist tournament as a means to raise money to save an orphanage. Exhausted waiter Marshall Law gets in a fight with Paul Phoenix, befriends him, and then quits his job so he can enter the tournament. Nina and Anna Williams are sent by the U.S. government to take part in it as well. There’s also a scene of Lei Wulong discussing the Mishima Zaibatsu with Jun Kazama, which also briefly includes a pre-cyber-zombie Bryan Fury. The cliffhanger is a scene where Kazuya runs afoul of Yoshimitsu’s Manji ninja clan, but they’re forced to team up when Kunimitsu and Prototype Jack show up out of nowhere.

    Despite being an eyesore, it’s not the worst thing I’ve read. Better than most of Malibu’s Mortal Kombatcomics at least. Unfortunately, the next issue wouldn’t hit stands for a while. About a year, to be precise.

    Although it’s a direct follow-up to The Tekken Saga #1, the next issue is called Tekken 2#1. This issue came with two different covers: Photo Edition and Manga Edition.

    Other than Kazuya working his way out of that cliffhanger while Yoshimitsu gets his hand chopped off, we get a scene of Paul Phoenix going into a nightclub and getting in a scrap/meet-cute with an undercover Nina Williams. I guess they’re the closest thing Tekkenhas to Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade so...sure, ship away, John Kim.

    The preliminaries of King of Iron Fist show the fighters beating up off-brand Street Fightercharacters as well as not-Sub-Zero and not-Terry Bogard. Fake Terry even has to yell for help from “Joseph” and “Andrew” to really make it more obvious.

    Once we’re down to the named characters, some of the matches get clean endings while others are swerves. Anna Williams forfeits so she can do spy stuff, King drinks drugged Jack Daniels before a match with Lee Choalan, and when Paul is about to defeat Lee, he gets a poison dart in the arm that causes them to both lose.

    The finals give us Kazuya vs. Michelle, and although Kazuya overpowers her, he almost transforms into his Devil form. It’s Jun’s presence in the audience that suppresses it. Regardless, he wins and the comic rushes through his fight with Heihachi. After all, they’re going through an entire tournament in one issue.

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    In the end, Kazuya throws Heihachi off a cliff and boasts about how he’ll take over the world. Nothing says "Tekken 2 comic" more than retelling the story of the first game. You could argue that obviously the next issue would be about Tekken 2, but despite the promise of an issue focused on Anna vs. Nina, Knightstone never would release that second (er, third?) issue.

    Three years passed before the arrival of another Tekkencomic. This time it was released by Image, a far more well-known publisher than Knightstone. Late 2001 gave us Tekken Forever #1 by the creative team of Dave Chi and Paco Diaz. Even though Tekken 4 was in the arcades at the time, Tekken Forever’s story is based on Tekken Tag Tournament.

    This would prove to be the comic’s downfall.

    Tekken Foreverhas better art and better (though still incredibly flawed) lettering and design. That’s for damn certain. The fight scenes flow way better and the battle between Paul and Kazuya is pretty rad.

    On a storytelling level, it’s a complete mess. Back with the Knightstone stuff, they at least decided to build it up from the beginning and did an okay job with it. They laid the foundation for the first game’s story before completing it and building towards the next two games. Ugly as it was, it was a story you could easily follow.

    Tekken Tag Tournament is a non-canon game that merges characters from the first two Tekkengames with Tekken 3, which takes place nearly 20 years later. There’s stuff in there that’s never meant to be explained because it’s nothing more than a dream match showcase. So you have to introduce someone to the plot of Tekken, the next generation of Tekken, and the inexplicable batshit stuff surrounding a werewolf-possessed woman dressed only in sludge, all while telling a four-issue story.

    So how do you begin this epic arc? Just throw us in the middle of it with no explanation, I suppose.

    In case you’re wondering, he’s telling Bruce to knock off singing, “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” by Drowning Pool (I swear I'm not kidding). Bruce sings it with five exclamation points, which is way too loud no matter how much you enjoy that song.

    But yeah, the comic starts off right after Kazuya Mishima beats up more than half the roster by himself, including Heihachi and Unknown. It honestly feels like it could have been a follow-up to the Knightstone comics if the reader missed out on ten issues in-between. It’s so jarring and never gets around to feeling coherent.

    There’s even an interlude involving Lei Wulong and Yoshimitsu vs. Bryan Fury that doesn’t feel connected to anything.

    The comic then ends just as it begins. Kazuya beats everyone up and we get a cliffhanger where he’s planning on killing Ling Xiaoyu so he can absorb all of Jin’s Devil powers. It doesn’t matter as for the third time in a row, a Tekkencomic doesn’t move past its first goddamn issue!

    There are some unfinished and unlettered pages from the second issue online, which seemingly would have provided more backstory on what was going on. Alas, it was not to be.

    There have been a couple examples of Tekkenmanga out there, but for this article, I’m only focusing on stuff that was readily available in the U.S. That would bring us to Tekken Comic in 2009 to 2010.

    Appearing online on Ultra Jump’s website for a time, Rui Takato’s 11-chapter series is a pretty fun time. The opening depicts an amusing tournament battle between Paul Phoenix and Craig Marduk, but the manga then focuses on Asuka Kazama. Tying into Tekken 6, Asuka discovers that her cousin Jin has started a world war and chooses to take him down herself.

    She ends up meeting Lili for the first time and we get to see their oddball rivalry play out. Though it does go really hard into the fanservice at times. More than you’d expect for an official work like this. Like the skirt-wearing Lili is introduced by parachuting crotch first into Asuka’s face, which we see from Asuka’s POV. Then they bathe together later on because of course they do.

    The Tekken 6 newcomers are introduced here and there, such as Alisa, Lars, Zafina, Leo, and my favorites, Bob and Miguel. There’s a subplot where Jin – concerned about Miguel coming to punch his face into newspaper – hires bounty hunter Bob to get in his way. Miguel and Bob cross paths on an airplane, brawl out of the plane, land on the ground, and then keep fighting for miles and miles until there’s finally a winner.

    Another part I loved is how towards the end, Nina Williams gets taken down by one of the heroes and mopes through the fourth wall about how she was in the very first Tekkengame yet was relegated to a lesser role. She deserves better, damn it.

    Ah, well. At least she got to be in a comic that ended.

    When Street Fighter X Tekken launched in 2012, the collector’s edition came with a comic. It’s very short and there’s really not much to talk about. Ryu and Chun-Li fight Kazuya and Nina in Antarctica while succumbing to the influence of Pandora’s Box. The only part of note is the reveal that Pandora, the mysterious thing everyone in the game is fighting over, was created by forgettable Street Fightercharacter and cosmic force Ingrid.

    As of this writing, we’re in the middle of yet another attempt at a Tekkencomic. This time it’s Titan Comics’ Tekkenby Cavan Scott and Andie Tong. The four-issue miniseries takes place after Tekken 6with Jin Kazama putting a team together to find a maguffin before Heihachi or Kazuya can. Jin’s team includes Nina, Paul, Xiaoyu, Panda, Yoshimitsu, and King.

    It’s a solid beginning so far, but kind of falls into the same trap as Tekken Forever. It’s a tie-in to Tekken 7 and with so many installments of the series to draw upon, there’s a lot to take in. Scott does a good enough job setting things up and he writes a good Paul Phoenix.

    “THWAM?” Well, it’s no “RIPSPLISTS” but I’ll take it.

    Gavin Jasper needs more comics about Bob’s wacky adventures. Follow Gavin on Twitter!


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    Catwoman joins up for a Calculator heist story

    NewsJim Dandy
    Jul 10, 2017

    Normally, rooting around in recently retconned continuity is a recipe for disaster. I know most of us don't want to accept "because comics" as an explanation for major changes. But the Bensons have been doing a good job of adding layers to Batgirl, Huntress, and Black Canary's world while moving background info around so it fits the Rebirth world.

    Calculator is a weirdly classic Batgirl/Oracle villain, the kind of character no one ever clamors for, but is great when handled right, and he's been handled very well here. Roge Antonio's art is fun and energetic, and Allen Passalaqua's colors are a great fit for the tone of the book.

    DC Comics sent along an exclusive first look at the upcoming Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #12. Here's what they have to say about the issue:

    BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #12 Written by JULIE BENSON and SHAWNA BENSONArt by ROGE ANTONIOCover by YANICK PAQUETTEVariant cover by KAMOME SHIRAHAMA“SOURCE CODE” part two! Oracle crossed half the criminal underworld in his early years—and now, he’s caused a black cat to cross the Birds of Prey’s path! Catwoman’s been waiting for a chance to get her claws on this guy for a while…but at this point, do the Birds even want to stand in her way?

    Check it out!


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    The Justice League faces horrors unimaginable in DC's new anthology coming in October!

    News John Saavedra
    Jul 10, 2017

    Beware, something wicked is coming to DC Comics just in time for Halloween. The Justice League is about to enter the House of Horrors! In the spirit of DC's classic horror anthologies, House of Secrets and House of Mystery, House of Horrors is a one-shot 80-page anthology coming October 25. 

    Here's a synopsis for the book:

    Martha Kent fights for her life against a creature from a spacecraft that lands in front of her farmhouse! A young woman is possessed by the spirit of a murderous Amazon warrior! The last surviving member of the Justice League faces down a horror beyond imagining!

    The stories will be written by established horror writers, such as Brian Keene, Weston Ochse, Edward Lee, Mary SanGiovanni, Wrath James White, Nick Cutter, Ronald Malfi, and Bryan Smith.

    Artists include Rags Morales, Bilquis Evely, Howard Porter, Scott Kolins, and Dale Eaglesham. Kieth Giffen will also participate in the anthology, although it's unclear whether he'll be writing or drawing this time around. Perhaps both?

    Check out this really cool cover:

    Werewolf Flash looks so awesome! We want a spinoff book ASAP.

    Newsarama

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    The New Warriors will be a Marvel TV series, and the roster will feature fan favorite, Squirrel Girl.

    News Mike Cecchini
    Jul 10, 2017

    Are you ready for a half-hour comedy series set in the Marvel Universe? One that features younger heroes with offbeat codenames and superpowers? Well, you'd better be, because Marvel and ABC are developing New Warriors as a 10 episode series on Freeform. Kevin Biegel will write the first episode and serve as showrunner.

    The New Warriors first appeared in Marvel Comics in the late '80s/early '90s, and featured young heroes with unfortunate names like Night Thrasher and Speedball. There's no word on who would make up the TV roster, except for one important name: Squirrel Girl. Yes, Squirrel Girl, former Great Lakes Avengers member and star of current Marvel Comics sensation The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson. 

    Here's the official synopsis from Marvel:

    “Marvel’s New Warriors” is about six young people with powers living and working together.  With powers and abilities on the opposite end of the spectrum of The Avengers, the New Warriors want to make a difference in the world… Even if the world isn’t ready.  Not quite super, not yet heroes, “Marvel’s New Warriors” is about that time in your life when you first enter adulthood and feel like you can do everything and nothing at once — except in this world, bad guys can be as terrifying as bad dates.

    Milana Vayntrub (This is Us) has landed the all-important role of Squirrel Girl (via THR). The character is descibed (in case you aren't reading the comics) as "a totally empowering fan girl—tough, optimistic and a natural leader. Doreen is confident and has the powers of a squirrel… She’s acrobatic, can fight and talk to other squirrels. Her most important trait is that she has faith in people and teaches them to believe in themselves."

    The full cast list (via THR) with descriptions (courtesy of TV Line) follow...

    Squirrel Girl - Milana Vayntrub

    Superpower:“The powers of a squirrel, the powers of a girl” (i.e. she is acrobatic, strong, can fight… and can talk to squirrels)

    A natural leader, Doreen is confident and tough, but not innocent. Her greatest quality is her optimism. She also takes her pet squirrel, Tippy Toe, everywhere.

    Mister Immortal - Derek Theler

    Superpower:Cannot die. Ever. Maybe. So he says.

    The team troublemaker and lothario, Craig is kind of like “The Most Interesting Man Alive,” except he’s more cocky than confident and, at times, charmingly grumpy. Although Craig’s superpower seems amazing, he hasn’t made use of it at all. (He’s lazy and figures if he has all the time in the world to learn how to fight, what’s the rush?)

    Night Thrasher -  Jeremy Tardy

    Superpower:None

    A local “hero” with his very own YouTube channel, Dwayne is brilliant, strong, noble and maybe a bit full of himself. But he also deeply believes in justice – at least his version of it. Dwayne hides the fact that he comes from a really rich family because he’s afraid he’ll lose his street cred.

    Speedball - Calum Worthy

    Superpower:Can launch kinetic balls of energy

    Having grown up watching Quinjets take off from Avengers Tower, Robbie loves the idea of being a hero. Alas, while you would think that throwing kinetic balls of energy would be awesome and effective, his are completely out of control.

    Microbe - Matthew Moy

    Superpower:Can talk to germs

    Zack is a shy hypochondriac whose ability nearly makes him a telepath – the germs tell him where you’ve been, what you ate and who you hung out with. As such, it’s impossible to keep secrets around him.

    Debrii - Kate Comer

    Superpower:Low level telekinetic; trickster

    Confidently out as a lesbian, funny and quick-witted Deborah has experienced deep loss in her personal life as a direct result of super “heroics.” She’s the one who calls people on their BS and has no fear of putting her opinions out there.

    "Marvel's New Warriors have always been fan favorites and now particularly with the addition of Squirrel Girl, they are Marvel Television favorites as well," Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb said in a statement. "After the amazing experience we've had with Freeform on Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger we can't think of a better place for our young heroes."

    We'll probably see New Warriors hit Freeform in 2018. We'll update this with more information as it becomes available.



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    The Joker is Gotham's White Knight in a new 8-issue miniseries from Sean Gordon Murphy.

    News John Saavedra
    Jul 10, 2017

    Writer/artist Sean Gordon Murphy (The Wake, Punk Rock Jesus, Tokyo Ghost) has unveiled his mystery Batman project. It's called Batman: White Knight and it's about what would happen if Batman existed in a Gotham City with real-world problems such as race and class inequality. In this Elseworlds-style 8-issue miniseries, Murphy suggests that Batman's brand of vigilante justice would be seen as villainous. 

    "It's sexy to think crime can be stopped with a fist, but the real solution is a lot more boring than that: education, increasing wages, and building trust,"Murphy told Wired. "The line Batman rides between 'noble vigilante' and 'overzealous oppressor' will always be shifting as our own society changes."

    So who steps up to protect Gotham when vigilante justice isn't enough? The Clown Prince of Crime.

    Set in a world where the Joker is cured of his insanity and homicidal tendencies, The Joker, now known as “Jack,” sets about trying to right his wrongs. First by reconciling with Harley Quinn and then by trying to save Gotham City from the one person who he thinks is truly Gotham’s greatest villain—the Batman.

    “We know Joker's a genius, we know he's relentless, and we know he can play the crowd, so why not make him a politician?” said Murphy. “Why not strip away the psychosis (the thing that's holding him back) and let him challenge Batman unimpeded? And to make it even scarier, what if he did it legally and without breaking any rules, so that Batman couldn't stop him?”

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    Murphy revealed that his main inspiration for his take on the Joker was Mad Men's Don Draper.

    "Frank Miller modeled him after David Bowie. Chris Nolan showed him as a controlled sociopath. I see the Joker as Don Draper."

    It must be said that the Joker does look pretty dapper in his suit. 

    “Seeing Gotham for the first time with clear eyes, his psychosis now cured, he starts to understand the absurdity of vigilantism and how Batman's actions are only contributing to Gotham's endless crime cycle,” said Murphy. “Joker sets out to beat Batman by becoming the White Knight that Gotham really needs.”

    A good Joker, huh? Something tells me that this new status quo won't last very long...

    Batman: White Knight #1 arrives on October 4. 

    Here's the cover for the first issue:

    Murphy has also released a few pages from the book, which you can check out below:


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