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- 09/11/17--22:14: _Quantum & Woody Bri...
- 09/12/17--09:05: _The Defenders Endin...
- 09/12/17--09:30: _The Dark Tower: Wha...
- 09/13/17--09:15: _Can The Dark Tower ...
- 09/13/17--15:08: _The Walking Dead Se...
- 09/14/17--08:37: _The Fantastic Four ...
- 09/14/17--15:38: _Krypton TV Show: Tr...
- 09/14/17--17:08: _Hellboy: Dark Horse...
- 09/15/17--13:11: _Jon Hamm to Voice B...
- 09/15/17--14:57: _Wonder Woman: Warbr...
- 09/05/17--15:19: _John Green Reads Fi...
- 09/16/17--14:29: _Justice League Gets...
- 09/16/17--14:36: _X-Men: Grand Design...
- 09/17/17--12:00: _Cave Carson Has A C...
- 09/18/17--10:07: _The Legacy of Marve...
- 09/18/17--12:00: _Marvel vs. Capcom: ...
- 09/18/17--15:58: _Binging on Fiction:...
- 09/18/17--18:03: _X-Men’s Jean Grey R...
- 09/19/17--08:45: _Rick And Morty Comi...
- 09/19/17--09:08: _The Amazing Spider-...
- 09/11/17--22:14: Quantum & Woody Bring Back Foil Covers With Them
- 09/12/17--09:05: The Defenders Ending Explained
- 09/12/17--09:30: The Dark Tower: What Stephen King Wants to See in an R-Rated Sequel
- 09/13/17--09:15: Can The Dark Tower Franchise Be Saved?
- 09/13/17--15:08: The Walking Dead Season 8: Andrew Lincoln Talks Old Man Rick
- 09/14/17--08:37: The Fantastic Four Returns to Marvel in December
- 09/15/17--13:11: Jon Hamm to Voice Boba Fett in Star Wars Audiobook
- 09/15/17--14:57: Wonder Woman: Warbringer Book Review
- 09/05/17--15:19: John Green Reads First Chapter of New Book
- 09/16/17--14:29: Justice League Gets Amazing New Creative Team
- 09/16/17--14:36: X-Men: Grand Design Streamlines 30 Years of X-Men History
- 09/17/17--12:00: Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #12 Exclusive Preview
- 09/18/17--10:07: The Legacy of Marvel vs. Capcom
- 09/18/17--12:00: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite Review
- Waiting for Season 5 of The 100? Try ReMade.
- Waiting for Season 8 of Game of Thrones? Try the less-gritty but full of intrigue Tremontaine, which launches its third season on October 11.
- Looking forward to Marvel's Agents of SHIELD Season 5? Get your supernatural spy fix in Cold War Prague with The Witch Who Came in from the Cold.
- Can't wait for Season 2 of Victoria? Check out Whitehall, about King Charles II of England, his wife Catherine of Braganza, and his mistress Barbara.
- Wishing for a replacement for Sex and the City mixed with in jokes you'd find on The Big Bang Theory? Grab Geek Actually.
- October is too long to wait for the return of Supernatural? Get hooked on Bookburners.
- 09/18/17--18:03: X-Men’s Jean Grey Returns to Marvel
- 09/19/17--08:45: Rick And Morty Comics Are Worth Your Time Too
- 09/19/17--09:08: The Amazing Spider-Man TV Series Deserves an Official Release
Valiant's new comedy duo cranks the '90s nostalgia to the max with foil stamped covers
Remember the foil-pressed covers that were all the rage in '90s comics? No, not Uncanny X-Men #300 or Spectacular Spider-Man #200. Those were holofoil. You know what we're talking about. YES! The first wave of 2099 comics.
You know who else took some prodding to remember those comics? According to Valiant publisher Dinesh Shamdasani in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the people who actually print comics.
December's relaunch of Valiant's most visible comedy duo, Quantum & Woody, is a triumph of '90s nostalgia. The pair, created by Priest and Mark Bright in the 1990s for the earlier incarnation of Valiant, features a pair of adopted brothers who get super powers from their metal wristbands. They have to clang them together once every 24 hours, though, lest they disintegrate. Priest and Bright played the pair for jokes, and their return in 2013 (by James Asmus and Tom Fowler) saw as much critical acclaim, with a little bit of a higher jokes per minute comic equivalent.
Now, in December, Valiant is honoring the comic comic pair's '90s roots with a new series from Late Show with Stephen Colbert writer Daniel Kibblesmith and Valiant stalwart Kano, and foil stamped gimmick covers. Here's what Shamdasani said about the manufacturing process:
But here’s the crazy thing about most of the enhanced covers that swept comics in the ’90s – most manufacturers have literally forgotten how these types of covers were produced. It is literally a lost art. Fred [Pierce, Valiant's publisher] and our team have working behind the scenes on this initiative for close to three years, working with our printers, and trying to find the same technicians and specialized presses that perfected the science behind applying all sorts of crazy technologies to comics in the 1990s.
It’s a complex and labor-intensive project, but, after many months of searching, we finally hit the mother lode and discovered a vault that contains many, many kinds of foils and other enhancements that were used at the height of the 1990s and never reproduced again. So we’re reclaiming this material — which includes the exact same foils that were previously used on some big, big comics like Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.s#2, as well as some others that were never put into production — remixing them and bringing them into the modern day.
It's not clear if Shamdasani was kidding about WildC.A.T.s #2.
Kibblesmith's previous work in the Valiant Universe includes the Comixology Unlimited-exclusive Valiant High, an out-of-continuity high school parody of the Valiant universe akin to something a manga publisher would do with a popular property. The stories involved basically caricaturing the entire Valiant comics universe, which would seem to prepare him well for the tonal rigors of a comic where the main characters' father is a pregnant male goat who talks through a speak n spell. The first issue of Quantum & Woody is due out this December.
What does The Defenders ending mean for Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and future Marvel Netflix shows?
Just in case the title didn't clue you in, this article contains major spoilers for The Defenders and possible spoilers for Daredevil Season 3.
Well, it's over. Phase One of Marvel's Netflix initiative is complete with The Defenders. After five previous seasons of TV, The Defenders had a ton of work to do in order to wrap things up and set the stage for what's coming next. And while it was plenty satisfying, it left a whole bunch of mysteries that will need to be solved in future seasons. So let's get to work and see what's up with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist...
Is Daredevil Really Dead?
What? No! What did you do, shut it off before it finished? Anyway, Daredevil Season 3 is already confirmed!
OK, so what's next for Daredevil and Matt Murdock after The Defenders?
Ah, that's a much better question. Matt is currently recuperating in a mysterious hospital bed, attended by nuns. Are you ready for some possible Daredevil Season 3 spoilers? Good.
The nun keeping vigil over Matt tells someone to "get Maggie." The Maggie in question here is Sister Maggie. Who is Sister Maggie? Well, you know how Matt has some Daddy issues and his Mom wasn't around? That's because Sister Maggie is Maggie Murdock (nee Grace), who didn't die when Matt was young, and instead decided to take the vows of the Catholic Church and become a nun. And you thought Matt was carrying some Catholic guilt around!
This is the first time we've heard her name in this specific context, it's been clear for some time that Father Lantom, the long-suffering priest that Matt is constantly confessing his sins to, has known Sister Maggie's identity and is keeping it secret. Is this mysterious recovery room in the same church Matt attends? I don't know.
Sister Maggie first appeared in Daredevil #229, as part of the all-time greatest Daredevil story, Born Again. She was created by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. I have long maintained that Born Again, which deals with Wilson Fisk taking his ultimate revenge on Matt Murdock, would make an incredible season of TV, and Sister Maggie showing up here is one tiny step towards that happening. Plus, when Matt returns, he kind of will be "Born Again."
Is Elektra dead?
Probably not. She's harder to kill than pretty much anyone else in comics. She'll be back.
What's up with Luke Cage and Jessica Jones?
That scene in the bar with Luke and Jessica was really great, wasn't it? There's definitely more to their relationship than friendship or an FWB situation. In the comics, after kind of dancing around the issue for awhile, they get together. And by "get together" I mean they get married and have a daughter. I wouldn't expect to see this happen in the second season of either of their shows, but it's bound to happen eventually. Ship it, or whatever it is you kids do.
Luke, on the other hand, looks like someone who will be quite eager to get back to Harlem to take on the lingering problem posed by Mariah Dillard and Shades.
OK, fine, so what's next for Jessica Jones?
I thought it was a really nice touch for Malcolm to finally have her door fixed for her. The Alias Investigations window/shingle hasn't been in place since literally the opening moments of her first season, so there's some nice symbolism having that come around and get fixed at the end here.
Although, I have to confess, I kind of hope that in the first episode of season two she throws somebody through it again.
What's next for Danny Rand/Iron Fist?
Y'know, I have to say, Danny Rand's arc was the most pleasant surprise of this season. I wasn't a fan of Iron Fist, but it turns out that Danny's irritating behavior in season one was actually by design, and the plan was always to have his metamorphosis into a true hero finally take place in The Defenders.
"There's a quote in Iron Fist season one, I think it was like, 'Cast off the childish needs' or something like that. I mean, Lei-Kung said that to [Danny], and he really has done that by the end of Defenders."Finn Jones told me in an interview recently. "He's got his shit together. He's grown up, and he now understands the responsibility of the Iron Fist. Like, before, he didn't know what to do with it. He didn't really respect it because he has his own issues that he had to deal with... At the end of Iron Fist, Danny doesn't even know what a superhero is. So then to suddenly be interacting with these three superheroes, it gives him a deeper sense of what he can do with this power that he has, so really just make him kind of wise up and come to term with responsibilities a lot more."
You can definitely see that dawning on him in the later episodes, and the clear sense of responsibility at the end. The shot of Danny on the rooftop looking out over the city is clearly meant to evoke Daredevil, and we're meant to think it is until his fist starts glowing. Danny was clearly inspired by Matt and his sacrifice. "By the end of The Defenders we really see the full formation of Danny into the Iron Fist as a superhero."
Expect a far more focused Danny Rand, potentially with a costume, whenever Iron Fist Season 2 gets here.
What's next for Misty Knight and Colleen Wing?
This, friends, looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Misty and Colleen are longtime partners in the comics, operating as the Daughters of the Dragon (remember when Colleen called herself that when she was doing her cage fighting thing on Iron Fist?) and various versions of Heroes for Hire. Colleen mentions that Danny is going to help Misty get some state-of-the-art care after losing her arm. Why is this a big deal?
Because Misty is getting a robot arm, kids! In the comics, Misty's bionic arm was designed by Tony Stark. I don't really see a reason why they couldn't go down that road here, but it seems that whatever she gets will instead be made by some division of Rand Enterprises.
Anyway, I'd totally watch a series with just the two of them, wouldn't you?
Will there be a Defenders Season 2?
Almost certainly, but we're gonna see five other seasons of TV first. Even if Marvel goes quarterly with these, we won't get it until 2019. I got into the details of this a little bit more right here if you need it broken down further. I think you probably get the idea, though.
Mike Cecchini talks about superheroes an awful lot on Twitter. Sometimes he talks about other things, too.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
Den of Geek spoke to Stephen King about The Dark Tower movie and what he'd like to see in a potential sequel.
This Dark Tower article contains spoilers.
Although Stephen King published the first Dark Tower story, "The Gunslinger," in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in October 1978, it was decades before anyone even considered turning the writer's 8-book series into a blockbuster movie franchise. A lot of that had to do with technology, of course. There was a time when The Dark Tower series, which takes place in a universe full of grandiose settings, high fantasy, and strange machines was thought impossible to adapt. Certainly, if The Dark Tower movie had come out in the 80s or 90s, some parts of King's vision would have been unable to become a reality.
Thanks to heavy doses of CGI, this is no longer the case. The Dark Tower has finally come to the big screen. While reviews were less than favorable, neither Sony nor MRC show signs of slowing down. In fact, the prequel TV series is still in the works under the watchful eye of showrunner Glen Mazzara. There's a chance that The Dark Towerfranchise could return to the big screen, too. After all, the movie, which was made on a $60 million, made back its money and then some with a global take of $107 million as of this writing. Will that be enough of a profit to greenlight a sequel? It could go either way at this point.
If we were to get a sequel, what might see we in The Dark Tower 2?
Naturally, we decided to go straight to the source for the answers. At a press event back in August, we caught up with King and talked to him about what elements of the books he wishes had made it into the movie and what he hopes might show up in a potential sequel.
"Well, there are things that I think the hardcore fans are going to wish were in the movie," King told Den of Geek. "All I can say is, if the movie's a success, there will be a sequel."
With a runtime of only 95 minutes, The Dark Tower is quite economical in its storytelling. Many of the narrative decisions proved to be a bit controversial in terms of what's missing from the movie and how events have been remixed in this "sequel" to the book series. (If you remember, the final book ends with Roland's quest starting all over again.)
King paints a pretty intriguing picture for the sequel, though. While he stressed that he doesn't decide what's in the movies, King did mention a few things he'd love to see in the next one.
"I'd love to see those doors into our world -- and there's some of that in this movie," King said, referring to the portals in The Drawing of the Three, the second book in the series, that lead Roland to Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes (later Susannah Dean). Eddie and Susannah join Roland's ka-tet (the group that travels with the gunslinger to the Dark Tower), along with Jake Chambers and Oy the Billy-Bumbler.
That's not all King would like to see from The Drawing of the Three, either: "I would love to see Roland on the beach with those lobstrosities."
The lobstrosities appear early on in the book. They're monstrous creatures that look like a cross between scorpions and giant lobsters. When Roland encounters these monsters, they attack him and claim two of his fingers, one toe, and a chunk of his calf. Their bites are also poisonous. Yes, Roland is a little worse for wear after this particular fight.
How willing Sony would be to get rid of two of Idris Elba's fingers in the sequel remains to be seen. Perhaps don't bet on it. Elba looks damn good dual-wielding his sandalwood guns.
When asked if he thinks elements from The Drawing of the Three will definitely make it into the sequel, King answered simply, "I think that would probably happen. I think that would be the logical place to go."
This echoes what director Nikolaj Arcel told Cinemablend about what parts of the series the potential sequel would adapt: "The best way to continue the series, if we are lucky enough to continue, would be with what is actually book two, because now the other characters start coming into the story. They start gathering the band of heroes. This is really only trying to encompass novel one, with elements from some of the other novels."
Arcel also confirmed that Eddie and Susannah would show up in the next movie. "Yes. Of course. There's no way you can continue the story without bringing them in."
One thing that King did emphasize during our talk was that he hopes the next movie will be rated R, which would ultimately allow the filmmakers to adapt some of the series' darker material. King said that the rationale behind making the first movie PG-13 was to make it more accessible to general audiences and not just diehard adult fans.
"I was totally signed off on that," King said concering the PG-13 rating. "I think it’s the right thing to do. I want as many people in the tent as possible for all kinds of reasons, part of it having to do with the dynamic between the gunslinger and the boy because I think that's a father and son relationship. But I'd love to see the next picture be R."
Of course, neither a sequel or an R rating for The Dark Tower 2have been confirmed. It remains to be seen if Sony will want to invest in a second movie despite the very cold critical reception. We'll keep you updated as we learn more.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
The best path to the Dark Tower franchise's salvation is through television.
This Dark Tower article contains spoilers.
The Dark Tower, the movie based on Stephen King's beloved fantasy-western-sci-fi-horror series, was one of the many summer blockbusters to receive a battering from fans and critics alike. Despite the fact that The Dark Toweropened at number one in the box office, making a little over $19 million in the U.S. (the irony of 19 million should not be lost on King fans), most view this adaptation as a failure. Certainly, the film's 16% "Rotten" score on Rotten Tomatoes hasn't done the film any favors.
While I thought the film was an earnest attempt at tackling King's sprawling Dark Tower universe for a general audience, our very own Don Kaye tore the film to shreds in his review. And I agree with him on almost every single point. While I'm not going to break down every issue with the movie in this article (I think that's probably beating a dead horse after the week this movie has had), I did write more about that here.
Instead, I want to talk about how Roland's journey to the Tower might be saved. As of this writing, The Dark Tower has made a little under $49 million at the domestic box office -- still short of the $55 million Sony and MRC expected when they adjusted their projections after opening weekend -- which means the studios have really had to put butts in chairs in the international market in order to turn a profit for this $60 million movie. As of this writing, the movie sits at a little under $107 million worldwide.
There's also the matter of the movies the adaptation was competing against. Kidnap, a thriller starring Halle Berry (X-Men), was the only other movie released on August 4 that made it into the top five at the box office, making a little over $10 million. The other three films were Dunkirk in 2nd, The Emoji Moviein 3rd, and Girls Trip in 4th. All three of these movies have spent at least one week in the top five at the box office and are winding down. Basically, The Dark Tower didn't have to fight too hard to make it to number one in a very weak weekend for new releases.
These are all things that the studios will be considering when going forward with a sequel -- or perhaps a reboot. There's also a TV series in the works. Despite the film's critical thrashing (Varietycalled the movie a "glittering trash pile of deja vu action pulp"), Sony and MRC seem to be moving forward with the show, which would adapt the story of Roland Deschain's younger years as told by his older self in Wizard & Glass, the fourth book in The Dark Tower series. Glen Mazzara, who, in my humble opinion, helmed the best season of The Walking Dead to date, has signed on to serve as showrunner. Even stars Idris Elba (Roland) and Tom Taylor (Jake) are set to appear in the series.
In a way, the TV series would give Constant Readers exactly what they wanted in the first place. It doesn't take a seasoned King fan to know that his eight-book series makes for a HUGE fictional universe with lots of characters, settings, and plotlines. It doesn't help that The Dark Tower also involves time travel, tons of flashbacks, Lynchian moments of surrealist horror, a war between the forces of good and evil, alternate Earths, a meta-narrative involving King himself, and tons of connections and references to other books by the writer. It's truly a miracle that the movie, which combines bits and pieces from all of the books for a remixed stew of people, places, and plot elements, is anywhere near coherent at all.
It can't be understated: director Nikolaj Arcel and screenwriters Akiva Goldsman, Anders Thomas Jensen, and Jeff Pinkner shot themselves in the foot with Roland's Widowmakers when they decided to combine so many different things into one movie. There's no easier way to anger hardcore fans than to deviate from the source material, especially when the end result of all the mixing and matching changes so much of the journey in the books.
*Illustration by Michael Whelan.
It will always astound me that the filmmakers made adapting The Dark Tower so hard on themselves. If Sony and MRC wanted to make a summer blockbuster on the cheap, one that would hopefully spark a major franchise for the studios, why not just adapt the first book? The Gunslinger is basically a Western that takes place completely in Mid-World. There are only three main characters, just a handful of supporting characters, and a few monsters. Certainly the more minimalist approach of setting the movie in the Mohaine Desert, where Roland chases the Man in Black, would have really agreed with the budget.
The filmmakers explained away the adaptation's questionable choice of setting the movie in the middle of things (it covers most of the New York portion of The Waste Lands, the third book, and then kind of skips around from one book to the next) by making it a sequel to the book series, which ends right where the adventure started -- with Roland giving chase to the Man in Black. The movie picks up at the beginning of one of these restarts. While this makes The Dark Tower a canonical continuation of the story, it's no wonder it left so many fans dissatisfied, especially when so many familiar story elements felt completely out of place. (The Battle of Devar-Toi in the third act was the part that bothered me the most, tell the truth.)
When I spoke to King just a few days before the wide release of the movie, he said that the changes had been made with general audiences in mind.
"Some of those [narrative] decisions are related to telling a story that the general public will get," said King. "Not just the hardcore Dark Tower fans, the guys who show up at the fantasy conventions with Roland tattoos or something like that. You have to keep in mind that of all the books that I've written, the fans of the Dark Tower books are the most zealous, the most fervent fans of all, but they make up a small subgroup of the people who read books like The Shining or Misery. You know, they're an acquired taste. They're fantasy."
*Illustration by Jae Lee.
After the cold reception, it's all but clear that this was a grave error in judgement on the studios and filmmakers' parts. Despite the box office numbers, which aren't great to begin with for a blockbuster, the reviews and fan reaction are indicative of a single, basic truth: the fans want an adaptation that takes its time with the storylines, fleshes out the characters, and is faithful to the source material. They don't want a 90-minute "standalone introduction,"as Arcel put it to Indiewire, that plays like a greatest hits album. They want the epic saga they fell in love with.
The way to save The Dark Tower franchise is to continue it solely as a TV series, where it can have the space it needs to really tell its story. The small screen is where the franchise belonged in the first place. Actually, the plan of splitting The Dark Tower into both a movie and a television series has been in place for years. Producer Ron Howard even tried to put The Dark Tower on HBO around the same time a little show called Game of Thrones was set to premiere on the network.
While HBO wasn't yet so hot on fantasy in 2011, there's no doubt that an HBO Dark Tower series would have been a match made in heaven. It still could be...except that the network has since created its own Western sci-fi juggernaut, Westworld. The Dark Tower, a rocky franchise at best, and Westworld, a proven success, would clash on HBO's slate, although perhaps Sony and MRC could sell the series as a fuse of the best things in Game of Thrones and Westworld, which it ostensibly is, with a bit of horror for good measure.
It's clear that HBO is currently searching for the next Game of Thrones, which is the reason why the network is developing so many different spinoffs of the fantasy show at the moment, and The Dark Tower series could be that replacement. The studios are shooting for a 10-13 episode order for the series, which is the right fit for premium networks such as HBO or streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Yet, it would be difficult to convince HBO or any other network or service that the franchise isn't completely dead on arrival.
Wherever The Dark Tower TV series lands, Sony and MRC will probably want to keep the budget tight, especially after the film's performance. That's why tackling Roland's story chronologically makes so much sense. Most of Wizard and Glass, for example, plays out like a Western, with some crazy crystal ball magic and weird spatial abnormalities thrown in. You don't need the Devar-Toi, Dutch Hill, or the Dixie Pig. You just need some gunslinging and a good ol' Western backdrop.
Arcel, who wrote the pilot with Jensen, has promised that the show will follow the books more closely than the movie did.
"We’re going back in the past. It’s very, very closely adhering to the Wizard and Glass novel and parts of The Gunslinger novel," Arcel told Indiewire. "That was exciting to be even more like, 'Okay, now we’re going to be able to even lift lines directly, or like [write] characters exactly as they are.' Which, as a fan, was exciting in a different way."
Keeping things in the Western genre before crossing over to the series' other genres in later seasons is the way to go. There's plenty of material to explore in just Wizard and Glass and The Gunslinger. Plus, the show could also adapt things like "The Little Sisters of Eluria" short story and The Wind Through the Key, both of which take place around the same time in Roland's life. The Marvel comics could also flesh out major events such as the fall of Gilead, Roland's home, and the Battle of Jericho Hill, where all of the remaining gunslingers were wiped out except for Roland (a battle that the movie alluded to in the first act). And that's not even counting any new material the writers could add in between the lines to flesh out supporting characters such as Cuthbert Allgood, Jamie De Curry, and Alain Johns.
All of that material could easily carry several seasons of the show, especially if it took its time with each storyline. Constant Readers know that there's a lot of potential for big battles and at least one Red Wedding-esque event in the TV series. There's no doubt King himself would be asked to write an episode or two for the show, which could even add a bit more horror to the affair. (I'd like to watch a twisted Rhea of the Coos origin story episode written by King, for example.)
You might be asking yourself at this point: if the show were to focus heavily on the Western genre, wouldn't it be weird to then add in New York City, a crazed riddle-loving train, a flu-infested Topeka, and that meta-narrative to the show? Wouldn't it be too crazy a shift? That was the issue Arcel apparently had with adapting The Gunslinger directly. He felt that making the first movie a Western and then making the next a fantasy movie about doors into other worlds was a bit too harsh of a change for a general audience. He preferred combining everything from the start.
But that doesn't really have to be the case with the TV show if it's established from the very start that there's a frame story and that the story of the younger Roland is being told by the older one to Jake. I suspect that Elba's involvement in the show is indeed for this purpose and that a younger Roland will be cast to star. If you establish that the world has moved on since the days of Roland's journey in Gilead and Mejis and that present day Roland is on a quest for the Tower -- which is what the movie basically did -- there shouldn't be a problem when the series starts introducing the weirder stuff in later seasons.
Ultimately, the big question will be whether Elba will stick around long enough to star in those later seasons as the adult Roland. He's a movie star, one who has starred in some pretty big projects in the last few years. It's hard to say if he'd be interested in sticking around for anything less than an HBO show once his contract is up. As a frame of reference, Elba still stars in the British series Luther, which will film its fifth series in 2018, but that show airs sporadically and with much fewer episodes than a TV show in the American market demands. I don't think Elba's schedule will allow for such a high episode count. Miniseries of three episodes a pop would probably be more manageable. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The point is that The Dark Tower always belonged on television and now that the show is indeed on the way -- at least as of this writing, a week after the movie got clobbered from all sides -- we might get the adaptation the books actually deserve. A thoughtful take on the novels that offers up something new to say about the source material without simply rearranging and nodding to the universe. And for those who argue that expansive, sprawling epics might confuse general audiences who haven't read the books, point them in the direction of Game of Thrones, the most watched television show in the world. The Dark Tower movie was too busy dumbing itself down for every audience member to ever truly explore what makes the books so great. The series will hopefully to reconcile that by doing what Roland has had to do so many times before: start from the beginning.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
The Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln discusses the Season 8 trailer twist and what it means for the future of the series.
Warning: Potential SPOILERS for The Walking Dead Season 8.
The Walking Dead is readying a Season 8 return that will thrust our favorite survivors into the thick of the long-anticipated “All Out War” between the groups of Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes and Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan and his apocalyptic plunderers the Saviors. However, that conflict was hardly the most notable part of the Season 8 Comic-Con trailer, which hinted a tremendous time-jumping twist. Now, Andrew Lincoln is addressing this most intriguing tease.
The trailer tease in question seemingly answers the long-asked question of whether The Walking Dead TV series would follow suit with Robert Kirkman’s comic book series and engage in a post-All Out War time-jump. Speaking to EW, Andrew Lincoln himself gives a take on the teaser twist, stating:
“I was shocked and kind of excited by it. My instinct was, what a great storytelling device. That was my instinct. I thought it was very interesting, and also gives us an opportunity to do something else a little ahead of the game, which I think is very, very neat.” Adding, “I mean, it’s a gray Rick. It’s an older Rick. So, by virtue of the fact that you see, that means that it’s in the future.”
The Comic-Con trailer for The Walking Dead Season 8 showcased the conflagration ahead before shifting to a hazy epilogue showing a grizzled, grayer Rick Grimes waking up in bed, with a notable visual shift to a walking cane lying by his bedside. This is a huge deal to fans of the comic book source material, since the “All Out War” storyline culminates in a one-on-one battle between Rick and Negan in which Rick emerges victorious, but not before Negan grievously injures Rick’s leg. The subsequent issue (#127, released in May 2014,) jumps ahead two years, showing a worn, cane-walking Rick as a legendary leading figure of a thriving alliance of communities between Alexandria, Hilltop and, yes, even the Saviors. Possibly covering his bases, Lincoln further comments:
“It will become somewhat clearer after the October premiere. Then again, it may not be. It maybe still is somewhat opaque. I think that that’s possibly all I can say on the matter.”
Consequently, The Walking Dead possibly telegraphed Season 8’s “All Out War” outcome months before it even premiered. However, the series has been known to utilize hallucinations and dream sequences and the teased image of “Old Man Rick” could simply be a clever ruse on the part of the showrunners to troll comic-book-savvy speculators. Indeed, while Lincoln’s comments seemingly cement the idea of the time jump, his language is also vague enough about the context of what we’re seeing to be open to interpretation. Indeed, it might even end up being a Lost-inspired mental trip through time for Rick, seeing the extent of what he could accomplish.
Nevertheless, the parallel between the teaser scene and the 2010 pilot episode’s iconic sequence in which Rick awakens from his coma is hard to miss. If, indeed, The Walking Dead does go through with the time twist (presumably setting up Season 9,) we can probably expect the jump to be further reaching, since the timeline of the seven-year-running TV show – out of obvious necessity – operates more in sync with our passage of time, especially as the actors (notably child star Chandler Riggs,) continue to age. Thus, the idea of an “Old Man Rick” would make more sense that way, rather than if only two years had passed as in the comics.
The Walking Dead gets ready for a fantastic fusillade of apocalyptic action between respective makeshift militia generals Rick Grimes and Negan when Season 8 premieres on AMC on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
Marvel will slowly bring back the Fantastic Four with the kickoff of Marvel Two-in-One in December.
The Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, and their family have been missing since the end of Secret Wars, and there's been little hope of seeing more of them with all the problems on the movie side of the business. That might be coming to an end, though, with a secretly huge book coming in December from Marvel.
Marvel Two-In-One launches at the end of the year, and it will feature, according to an interview between Newsaramaand series writer Chip Zdarsky, the Thing and the Human Torch getting the best half of the Fantastic Four back together to figure out what happened to the rest of their family. Marvel Two-In-One was a classic team up title from the '70s that featured various Marvel heroes partnering with the Thing for short adventures. Here, Marvel's using it as a stealth Fantastic Four relaunch.
"It’s Ben and Johnny diving headfirst into the mystery of what happened to them," said Zdarsky. "The world presumes that Reed, Sue, and the kids are dead, but Johnny especially can’t accept that fact. So we’re heading on a road trip to find out what happened."
Zdarsky is probably best known for his comedic work. He is perhaps best known as one of the curators of Just the Tips, a collection of incorrect and frequently physically dangerous advice given to letter writers to his Harvey Award-winning comic Sex Criminals. He's also the writer of a number of critically acclaimed comedy comics like Howard the Duck and Kaptara, as well as a notebook full of sexually explicit Spider-Man pitches that mysteriously disappeared from the internet once he was named writer of the classically outstanding Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man comic.
Cheung is one of Marvel's superstar artists, having a hand in nearly every major Marvel event since his first big Marvel book, 2005's Young Avengers. Most recently, he helped relaunch Astonishing X-Men.
For more information on Marvel Two-In-One, or to hear me rave for an uncomfortably long time about how good Hickman's Fantastic Four/Avengers/Secret Wars run was, stick with Den of Geek through New York Comic Con!
Krypton will introduce Brainiac and Doomsday to the small screen, and will also feature Hawkwoman and Adam Strange! Plus, a new trailer!
Announced back in December of 2014, Syfy's Kryptonwill take the Gothamroute, and tell a pre-Superman story. So if Smallvilledidn't go far enough back for you, Krypton should do the trick. Syfy has ordered Krypton to series. The pilot will be directed by Colm McCarthy, and written by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel) and Ian Goldberg (Once Upon a Time). Sleepy Hollow's Damian Kindler is on board as series showrunner.
While the trailer that was leaked a few months ago was promptly taken down, I did a detailed analysis of it with screengrabs that you can read by clicking here. Despite the prominent mention of the name Kal-El, and the repeated use of the House of El crest (you know, Superman's "S") this trailer at least looks like Krypton is going to forge more of its own path than other notable TV prequels like Gotham or Smallville.
What might be the most interesting development here is that it at least appears to take place in the same universe as the DC superhero movies, rather than the TV shows. The aesthetic on display here is heavily influenced by what we saw in Man of Steel, from the color scheme of Krypton itself, to the design of the House of El crest, to the overall texture of the costumes and sets.
Here's everything we know so far:
It was revealed at the Krypton SDCC panel back in July that a couple of big name DC characters will be appearing on the show: Brainiac, Doomsday, Hawkwoman, and Adam Strange.
"It's a show that, although it takes place centuries ago on Krypton about the House of El, it's about a conspiracy from the present that has traveled back in time to to Krypton to prevent Superman's legacy from ever happening," DC president Geoff Johns said during the panel.
"Adam Strange and Hawkwoman come to Krypton trying to stop the conspiracy and save Superman's legacy," Johns revealed. "Doomsday will be in the show. Brainiac is long overdue to be on screen like that."
Now we know who will be playing Adam Strange: Shaun Sipos. According to Deadline, the Melrose Place and Vampire Diaries alum will take on the series regular role in the Superman prequel series, playing the "world-weary human, who finds himself stranded on Krypton as the unlikely mentor to Seg-El, Superman’s grandfather."
It was also revealed at the SDCC panel that main character Seg-El will have a romantic storyline with a member of House of Zod. A bit Romeo and Juliet there, huh?
More on Kryptonas we learn it!
Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!
A new teaser trailer has arrived for Krypton! Check it out below:
The Krypton panel at San Diego Comic-Con will take place on Saturday, July 22, at 1:15 pm. Here are the details...
Set two generations before the destruction of the legendary Man of Steel's home planet, Krypton follows Superman's grandfather (Cameron Cuffe of The Halcyon, FlorenceFoster Jenkins)-whose House of El was ostracized and shamed-as he fights to redeem his family's honor and save his beloved world from chaos. Based on DC characters, Krypton is from Warner Horizon Scripted Television and is executive produced by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Dark Knight trilogy) through his Phantom Four banner. Damian Kindler (Sleepy Hollow) will serve as executive producer and showrunner. Krypton, based on characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, published by DC, will debut in 2018 on SYFY.
Krypton Release Date
You can expect Krypton to arrive on Syfy in early 2018.
Here's the closest thing to an official synopsis we have right now.
Set two generations before the destruction of the legendary Man of Steel’s home planet, Krypton follows Superman’s grandfather (Cameron Cuffe, The Halcyon) — whose House of El was ostracized and shamed — as he fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his beloved world from chaos.
Krypton Cast and Characters
Camerone Cuffe (who recently appeared in Florence Foster Jenkins) will play Superman's grandfather, Seg-El. Varietyhas some character details:
"Seg-El is the scion of the once prosperous El family and is blessed with an intuitive brilliance for all things technical. He is now living in Krypton’s lowest caste after his family was stripped of its rank."
In addition to Mr. Cuffe as Seg-El, Georgina Campbell will play Lyta Zod, who is, as you expect, an ancestor of Superman villain General Zod. According to Deadline, Lyta Zod "is a member of Krypton’s military caste and the daughter of a general, Alura Zod. Lyta Zod serves as a cadet — and has also been having a clandestine, forbidden romance with Seg-El (Superman's paternal grandfather)."
Ian McElhinney (Barristan Selmy on Game of Thrones) will play Seg-El's grandfather, Val-El. According to Deadline, Val is "a rogue genius who believes that space exploration is a basic form of self-defense, and he has tried, without success, to warn the Kryptonian elite about the arrival of an ancient threat." Could that be Brainiac? An earlier TV Line description said "Seg’s genius grandpa defied death by going into the Phantom Zone, and is a staunch believer in space exploration."
Elliot Cowan is Daron Vex, "the Chief Magistrate of Kandor. His real business is defending Krypton’s established oligarchy against heretics and dissidents."
Ann Ogbomo (World War Z) is Primus Alura Zod, "Lyta Zod’s mother and a leader of Krypton’s military guild. She is an extremely tough and demanding training officer."
Rasmus Hardiker (Your Highness) is Kem, "a brilliant engineer as well as Seg-El’s best friend and partner in an underground tech-repair business."
Wallis Day (The Royals) is Nyssa Vex, "a junior magistrate and the daughter of Daron Vex."
Aaron Pierre (Tennison) is Dev-Em, "a cadet under the command of Primus Alura Zod." Incidentally, Dev-Em is from the comics, and is one of the Phantom Zone criminals who periodically ends up on Earth to annoy Superman. Dev-Em was a background character in Man of Steel, for example.
(thanks to Deadlinefor the casting descriptions above)
We'll get you more on Kryptonas we hear it.
Behind on Hellboy comics? Don't worry! Dark Horse is releasing a series of brand new omnibuses collecting all of the comics.
Since writer and artist Mike Mignola first introduced Hellboy in 1993, he's been dishing stories starring the gun-toting demon paranormal investigator. Twenty-four years later, there's a whole universe of stories surrounding Hellboy, including spinoffs featuring the adventures of many of the supporting characters. If you haven't been following the series since the 90s, this will almost certainly be overwhelming when it comes time to catch up before the new movie, which is due out in 2018.
Fortunately, Dark Horse has announced that it will be releasing a new series of omnibus collections that deliver the entire Hellboy saga in chronological order as well as all of the short stories.
Each of the six trade paperback volumes will be priced at $24.99. The first omnibus will be available in comic stores on May 23, 2018 and in bookstores on June 5, 2018. Both Hellboy Omnibus Volume 1 and Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 are available for pre-order now.
“I’m very excited to finally have all the Hellboy stories collected in chronological order,” said Mignola. “And I’m especially excited to have the three Duncan Fegredo books—all the stuff with Alice and the Queen of Blood—together in one collection for the first time.”
Here's what you need to know about each of the volumes:
Hellboy Omnibus Volume 1: Seed of Destruction
Available in comic stores on May 23rd and in bookstores on June 5, 2018.
The story jumps from Hellboy's mysterious World War II origin to his 1994 confrontation with the man who summoned him to earth, and the earliest signs of the plague of frogs. Avoiding his supposed fate as the herald of the end of the world, Hellboy continues with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, fighting alongside Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and drafting Roger Homunculus into his own ill-fated service with the B.P.R.D. This 368-page volume covers Hellboy’s adventures from 1994 to 1997, reprinting Seed of Destruction, Wake the Devil, and “Wolves of St August,” “The Chained Coffin,” and “Almost Colossus,” from The Chained Coffin and The Right Hand of Doom.
Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Vol. 1
Available Summer 2018.
The ultimate introduction to this supernatural hero features 16 standalone stories with Mignola’s greatest collaborators—stories that can be read in any order.
In 1994, Mike Mignola released the first Hellboy series, Seed of Destruction, as Hellboy faced his supposed destiny as Beast of the Apocalypse. Before that, he’d spent fifty years fighting monsters as a somewhat carefree member of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. The Complete Short Stories Volumes 1 & 2 present those early adventures. “The Crooked Man” and “Double Feature of Evil," both of which earned Mignola and his legendary collaborator Richard Corben Eisner Awards, are collected with the complete “Hellboy in Mexico" saga, featuring collaborations with Corben, Mick McMahon, Gabriel Ba, and Fabio Moon, as well as one of Mignola’s early masterpiece, “The Corpse.” This 368-page volume covers Hellboy’s adventures from 1947 to 1961, reprinting stories from The Chained Coffin, The Right Hand of Doom, The Bride of Hell, The Crooked Man, The Troll Witch, and Hellboy's childhood adventure, The Midnight Circus, drawn by Duncan Fegredo.
Hellboy Omnibus Volume 2: Strange Places
Available Summer 2018.
Hellboy loses faith in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense when they strap a bomb to one of his fellow not-quite-human agents. He gets answers about his destiny, like it or not, in over 300 pages of comics mostly drawn by Mignola, featuring award-winning guests Gary Gianni and Richard Corben. This 416-page volume covers Hellboy’s adventures from 1998 to 2005, reprinting Conqueror Worm, Strange Places, Into the Silent Sea, and “The Right Hand of Doom,"“Box Full of Evil,” and “Being Human” from The Right Hand of Doom and B.P.R.D. Being Human.
Hellboy Omnibus Volume 3: The Wild Hunt
Available Fall 2018.
The basis for the upcoming Hellboy feature film! Terrible powers determined to kill Hellboy force him strike a deal with the Russian witch, the Baba Yaga, and to confront the truth about his destiny. The human race hangs in the balance, as well as King Arthur's sword Excalibur, in a story that wipes England off the map and sets in motion the end of the world … Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo's complete trilogy is collected for the first time in this 512-page volume, reprinting Darkness Calls, The Wild Hunt, and The Storm and the Fury, and the short story "The Mole."
Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Vol. 2
Available Fall 2018.
Featuring “The Hydra and the Lion,” “The Troll Witch,” “The Baba Yaga,” “The Sleeping and the Dead,” “Heads,” “Goodbye Mister Tod,” “The Vârcolac,” “The Vampire of Prague,” “The Bride of Hell,” “The Whittier Legacy,” “Buster Oakley Gets His Wish,” “They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships,” “A Christmas Underground”, “Dr. Carp’s Experiment,” “The Ghoul,” “In the Chapel of Moloch,” and “Makoma.”
Hellboy Omnibus Volume 4: Hellboy in Hell
Available Winter 2019
Hellboy in Hell, The Exorcist of Vorsk, The Magician and the Snake
The Star Wars anthology will recount the events of a New Hope in 40 different stories, from 40 different points of view.
Jon Hamm (Baby Driver, Mad Men) will be voicing Boba Fett in the audiobook version of From a Certain Point of View, an upcoming Star Wars antholoy aimed at celebrating the 40th anniversary of A New Hope.
According to the official Star Wars website, the Del Rey novel will bring together more than 40 authors for 40 stories that retell iconic moments from Star Wars: A New Hope from different points of view.
"The stories of X-wing pilots, droid-hunting stormtroopers, and more background characters from Star Wars: A New Hope are about to be told," reads the official announcement.
Seems like Lucasfilm really took Rogue One's success to heart...
In addition to Hamm, the audiobook will include the voice talents of: Jonathan Davis, Ashley Eckstein, Janina Gavankar, Neil Patrick Harris, January LaVoy, Saskia Maarleveld, Carol Monda, Daniel José Older and Marc Thompson.
Neil Patrick Harris will be reading about an Imperial officer in the Death Star. Marc Thompson will be reading Gary D. Schmidt's Yoda-centric story. Saskia Maarleveld (who also read Claudia Gray's Leia, Princess of Alderaan) has been cast to read Madeline Roux's story about Leia's mother.
Book producer Nick Martorelli said of the project:
Since we have over 40 authors in this collection retelling different moments from Star Wars literary history, we wanted to use the audiobook as an opportunity to work with an all-star cast of narrators. We matched our veteran Star Wars narrators with stories that suited their talents, and from there we dreamed big and reached out to people who might have been interested in celebrating this landmark 40th anniversary project.
"This is like no other Star Wars audiobook ever," added book producer Aaron Blank. "It let us flex our casting muscle and really do 40 audiobooks in one."
From a Certain Point of View will be released on October 3 in hardcover, ebook, and unabridged audiobook forms.
Leigh Bardugo shows us Diana as a teen in Wonder Woman: Warbringer, a book in the DC Icons Series.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer, part of the DC Icons Series from Random House, provides a chance to see Diana of Themyscira as something other than Wonder Woman. The young adult novel is a classic coming-of-age story that blends mythology with modern warfare, and also happens to be one of Den of Geek's Summer Reading Recommendations.
Here's our full review of Wonder Woman: Warbringer...
Although Warbringer feels like a tie-in to the recent blockbuster film by Patty Jenkins, it's actually a stand-alone story, with the time period and some of the mythology surrounding the Amazons notably different from the feature film's interpretation.
A story exploring Diana's Amazonian upbringing would have been fascinating enough, but author Leigh Bardugo goes for extra points when she introduces Alia, a New Yorker who is shipwrecked while on a YOLO trip at sea. This story becomes the first time Diana explores Man's World — not as Wonder Woman, but as a girl on a quest to prove herself.
The stakes in Warbringer are world-endingly high. It turns out Alia is one in a long list of Warbringers, the descendents of Helen of Troy. When Warbringers come of age, their very presence in the world causes strife and war. Diana and Alia work together to reach the place where Alia's influence can be neutralized before a terrible future occurs. In true, race-against-the-clock fashion, this is an adventure that keeps you desperate to turn the page.
Half of the story is told from Diana's point of view in close third person. From here, we observe the girl who will one day join the Justice League. For now, however, she is the outsider in a group of highly-trained warriors. Diana is not thought of as an equal amongst her Amazonian sisters on Themyscira, given her unusual upbringing. She is not as strong or as fast as the others, and often feels left out.
Diana has her doubts about whether she deserves to be an Amazon, but her attitude in battle is distinctly what we have come to expect from this iconic character. She has a fierce loyalty and a sense of honor that she uses to her advantage as she plays bodyguard to Alia, who faces deadly threats on all sides.
The dialogue is also well-handled. "I think you've grown too used to people saying yes to you," Diana says to Alia's rich, powerful brother. "Have I?" he asks in response. Her answer: "But you have no idea how much I enjoy saying no." Diana's personality is embodied by that stubborn refusal to give in to those seeking power, but also by her acceptance of people different from herself. Through Alia, she meets all sorts of people and is able to judge for herself that mortals aren't all bad, setting the stage for what will come in the Wonder Woman film.
Bardugo blends the mythology and stories of the past into a struggle for the future. Not only is Alia's heritage causing trouble everywhere she goes, but later we see evil gods toss their will into the battle. The final struggle at the end contains a few key twists, a mix of science fiction and mythological fantasy to raise the stakes even higher.
What could have been a make-or-break selling point of this book was the cast of characters Bardugo planted alongside Diana. Sure, we're interested in the origin of Wonder Woman, but do we care about these other people? Alia, her friends, and her brother Jason could have felt like bland filler, but, instead, are imbued with unique characteristics that made them interesting beyond their connection to Diana.
It also helps that these characters are also notably diverse. I can't stress the enough the importance that media, especially media targeted at young adults, should reflect their diverse world. These characters give us that diversity without bashing us over the head with it.
My one critique? I wish the entire book, or at least more of it, was written from Diana's point of view. There are times when the viewpoint is switched to Alia that I wish it had stayed with Diana. Through Diana, we can see our modern world through Amazonian eyes. However, Alia's perspective does better articulate her own internal struggle coming to grips with what her Warbringer side could unleash. In that sense, the split viewpoint narrative has power.
Ultimately,Wonder Woman: Warbringer is a fast-paced read with plenty of action to keep you invested in the story. Better yet, Bardugo's characterization elevates it above the usual superhero novels that often forget to humanize its superpowered characters.
Pro tip: If you're one of the lucky ones with a first printing, you get a neat little poster of Diana on the inside!
Turtles All the Way Down will be Green's first new novel in over five years.
John Green is not only the bestselling author of contemporary young adult classics like The Fault in Our Stars and Looking For Alaska, he is also an internet celebrity, one of the first YouTubers (along with his brother Hank Green) to create a fan community via the streaming video platform. In other words, when John Green does something, the Interwebz takes notice.
Today, Green released a video of himself reading the first chapter to his much-anticipated new book, Turtles All the Way Down. The novel will be Green's first new book in over five years. Here's the excerpt...
Here's the official synopsis (via Green's site) for the novel...
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.
Turtles All the Way Down Release Date
Turtles All the Way Down will hit bookstores on October 10th. The book is now available for pre-order.
Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!
Christopher Priest and Pete Woods are going to steer the destiny of the Justice League starting in December.
December comics solicitations are due out early next week, so companies are furiously releasing the biggest news a little ahead of time to spoil the surprise. DC dropped a big one today:
Christopher Priest & Pete Woods will take over Justice League with December's #34 and #35.
Woods has most recently been on the excellent relaunched Archie with Mark Waid, and is one of the definitive Robin and Deadpool artists out there.
Priest currently writes the best DC book, Deathstroke, which garnered him an Eisner nomination. I will repeat, a comic about Deathstroke the Terminator was nominated for an Eisner award.
“Is the Justice League still relevant?” he said when asked about the comic. “What are their goals and how do we define them? In the ‘real’ world, how would various societies around the globe view this pantheon of godlike beings?”
Priest has been writing comics since 1980, but he ascended into legendary status with his late '90s run on Black Panther, which ended up being an in-depth examination of the geopolitical situation in a world where Presidents and Prime Ministers had to interact as legal equals with an Avenger, an Invader, the greatest X-Men villain of all time, and the greatest Marvel villain of all time, so him wondering how society would react to the Justice League is a positive sign.
Priest promised to also look at the interpersonal relationships of the League, and guaranteed at least one scene with Aquaman driving a bus.
For more from Priest and Woods, as well as more preview art, check out DCComics.com.
Ed Piskor of Hip Hop Family Tree fame streamlines X-Continuity in December.
Ed Piskor, the guy who took about 500 pages to sum up the first ten years of hip hop history in Hip Hop Family Tree, has set his sights on the first 30 years of X-Men continuity with X-Men: Grand Design.
The series is set to run as six 40-page issues, with two coming out each year and being packaged as a trade, sized similarly to Hip Hop Family Tree and containing a classic X-Men comic recolored by Piskor. His plan is to summarize the first 280 issues of X-comics which, if you take out the reprints that happened leading up to Giant Sized X-Men #1, should give him about a page an issue.
“X-Men: Grand Design is a tribute to everything comic book fans love about the X-Men from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s original run and Chris Claremont’s, epic 16-year stint as the series’ writer,” said Piskor. “It’s a compelling and complete story with a beginning, middle and an end, featuring everything from Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, Cerebro and the Danger Room to the Mutant Massacre, the Reavers, Gambit, and Genosha.”
This book should be a sales juggernaut (HA!) based on the projected quality. The greatest success of Hip Hop Family Tree is that it immediately conveys two things: that Piskor loves hip hop, and that Piskor loves '80s Marvel comics (and '50s EC comics). The press release sent by Marvel is telling in who it quotes: in addition to Piskor and Axel Alonso, Jim Rugg of Street Angel fame, Ben Marra of All Time Comics: Crime Destroyer and Terror Assaulter: O.M.W.O.T and Michel Fiffe of perennial best comic Copra all sent love Piskor's way. So even if it doesn't sell in obscene numbers, it should be very creatively successful.
The first issue of X-Men: Grand Design comes out on December 9th, and the first collection is due out on April 17th, 2018. For more on Piskor's X-Men condensation, stick with Den of Geek!
The Whisperer arc ends with some sobs in Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #12.
DC sent along an exclusive first look at Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #12.
We talked about the backups last time we talked about Cave, but it is worth mentioning that "Bane's Coloring Corner" (For YOU!) is one of the best things that's been put in a comic book all year. That said, the main story is also really worth checking out. Oeming and colorist Nick Filardi may have covered it with insanity-inspiring coloring, but the story that they and writer Jon Rivera are telling is a really emotional one about family and love, and also how much Wild Dog loves blowing things up.
Check out this issue, and if you haven't been reading, use the fall break between this one and the annual coming in January that will show how the Young Animal books fit in with the rest of the DCU to get caught up. It's a good series.
Here's what they have to say about the issue:
CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #12Written by JON RIVERAArt and cover by MICHAEL AVON OEMINGBackup story written by MARK RUSSELLBackup story art by BENJAMIN DEWEY and BRANDON BIRDThe final chapter of the Whisperer Saga is here! After learning the devastating truth behind his Cybernetic Eye, Cave teams up with a mysterious new ally to defeat the Whisperer and his forces once and for all. Plus, an all-new “Wonderful World of Rocks with Professor Marc Bartow” article and “Bane’s Coloring Corner” activity page!
Check out the pages here!
As we ready ourselves for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, let's look back at the decades-long history of these bizarre and fun collaborations.
When money is involved, there’s always a way, which is why I’m never too surprised to discover that there’s going to be a new Marvel vs. Capcom game. This week, we’re getting Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. Despite being considered "Marvel vs. Capcom 4" by some, it’s actually the ninth game to feature this unexpected, yet entirely fun crossover rivalry.
The partnership began back in 1993 when Capcom made the side-scrolling arcade brawler Punisher. The rad-as-hell beat ‘em up featured Frank Castle and Nick Fury taking out an army of goons sent by the Kingpin, which is rather odd when you realize that none of those three would show up in another Capcom game outside of ending cutscenes.
But our story doesn’t truly begin until the end of 1994. One-on-one fighting games were a fad that was truly catching on due to the success of Street Fighter IIand Mortal Kombat. The success of these titles created a fighting game free-for-all. Tons of companies set to work on new fighting games and/or ripoffs of more successful titles in an attempt to cash in on the trend. There were fighting games with monsters, fighting games with giant robots, fighting games with dinosaurs, fighting games with Shaquille O’Neil, fighting games with cartoonish clay beings, fighting games with murdered heroes from throughout history, and so on. Many of these turned out to be blemishes on the house that Capcom and Midway built. Luckily, Capcom was already hard at work on the next great fighting game.
The X-Men franchise was huge in the early 90s and having Capcom, the guys who gave us Street Fighter II, translate it into a fighting game was outright brilliance. 13-year-olds around the world yelled, “YES! EXACTLY! THANK YOU!”
X-Men: Children of the Atom was released at the end of 1994 (beginning of 1995 for the US) and built on the foundation of Street Fighter II. Much like Super Street Fighter II Turbo, it included the then-new super meter system, but tweaked the engine into a much more...explosive aesthetic. Characters could jump much higher and simple fireballs became beam attacks with directional control. It felt more like a superhero fight than what Capcom had previously given us.
The game itself didn’t have much more of a story than, “Magneto’s up to something. Let’s go stop him!” The roster wasn't huge, either. You could choose from six X-Men and four villains, while Juggernaut and Magneto acted as the bosses. Coincidentally, several of the characters came with samples from the voice actors who worked on the X-Men animated series. It was a design decision that would remain all the way into Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
But while X-Men: Children of the Atom had enough going on to be an instant classic, Capcom threw in a bit of a curveball. The game included an appearance by Akuma, the brand new mystery boss from Super Street Fighter II Turbo. There was no story logic behind it. In fact, Akuma hadn’t even been given much of a story by that point to begin with in regards to Street Fighter. Yet here he was, both as a hidden subboss and as a playable character through a fairly complicated code.
By defeating Magneto with Akuma, all you’d get was an end credits sequence littered with each X-Men character doing his/her dizzy animation.
This was the first step in the crossover rivalry and led to a sequel. For its next Marvel game, Capcom decided to go much bigger. After all, the X-Men corner of Marvel is cool, but why use Colossus as your obligatory big, strong guy when you can use the Hulk? Why settle for Silver Samurai when you can use Dr. Doom? Iceman is neat, but not as neat as his amazing friend Spider-Man.
And so, less than a year later, we got Marvel Super Heroes. It had the same basic line-up of six playable heroes (bringing back Wolverine and Psylocke), four playable villains (including Juggernaut and Magneto), and two boss characters (Dr. Doom and Thanos). The whole thing was a loose interpretation of the Infinity Gauntlet storyline and brought with it a new addition to Children of the Atom’s engine: the Infinity Gems themselves.
Throughout the game, you would gather more and more Infinity Gems, which could be knocked out of the fighter’s possession to create a game of reverse hot potato until they were used up. Different Gems powered up the characters in different ways, such as stronger defense, healing, better offense, and so on. Certain character/Gem combinations caused cosmetic changes, like shadow effects or multiple versions of the character appearing on screen.
The game also featured Shuma-Gorath, which was outright weird. Apparently, Capcom really wanted this obscure Dr. Strange villain to appear in the game and Marvel shruggingly let them. Not only was Dr. Strange not in the game, but in the early internet days, nobody was really able to find out what the hell Shuma even was. He had only a handful of appearance back then and his multiple appearances since probably owe at least a little bit to Capcom’s tentacle love.
The Japanese version of the game once again featured a secret character. This time they went with Anita, the little girl from Capcom’s Darkstalkers. It was really an exercise in Capcom being lazy, since she had very, very little in terms of animation. She would instead just stand around while Donovan Bane’s floating sword would attack for her. One such move included having Akuma simply appear and stand next to her. Much like Akuma in Children of the Atom, she had nothing in terms of story and was just there for the sake of being there.
Capcom did release a game called Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems for the SNES with a similar set of playable characters, yet it had absolutely nothing to do with the arcade fighter. What a letdown.
At the end of 1996, they built on the crossover even more with X-Men vs. Street Fighter. Not only were they turning it into a full-on crossover game instead of just a fun guest cameo, but they completely blew open the very concept of fighting games themselves by making it a two-on-two tag team game.
Poor SNK, whose tag-team fighter Kizuna Encounter came out the same month. That game never had a chance...
In this new game, the Street Fighter cast visited the Marvel engine. Now you could have Ryu jumping 50 feet into the air, only to stop himself and blast out a Kamehameha beam. The tag gimmick also allowed teammates to hit their super attacks side-by-side, adding overkill in their offense.
On the X-Men side, they introduced Rogue, Gambit, Sabretooth, and sorta final boss Apocalypse. With the Street Fighterfolk, they reused lots of Street Fighter Alphaand Alpha 2 sprites, with one exception. They used the game to introduce Cammy’s Alphaself with a brand new look (showing more cheek than ever), which would be used later on for Alpha 3.
Apocalypse came in his giant form, which would have made for a fitting final encounter. Instead, defeating him leads to a rather curious follow-up where the fighter you used to get the final hit has to take on your other partner in a one-on-one fight. Only then will you get to see your character’s ending cutscene.
One of the endings actually had a lasting impact, oddly enough. Charlie Nash was at the time known for dying in all of his fighting game endings due to being a prequel-based personality whose death is supposed to be Guile’s modern-day motivation. X-Men vs. Street Fighter ends with M. Bison capturing him and experimenting on him. In future installments, Charlie reappears as the darkened palette swap Shadow. He’s depicted as a brainwashed cyborg who breaks from his programming and targets Bison again.
Not only would the Shadow concept show up in UDON’s Street Fighter comic series, but it would be the inspiration for Charlie’s storyline and appearance in Street Fighter V.
Sabretooth came with assists by Birdy, a very obscure X-Men character who only appeared in six comic book issues before being killed off in the early 90s. If not for Capcom, nobody would ever remember her. Even then, nobody’s ever tried to bring her back or even reference her existence.
Despite being such a revolutionary take on the fighting game idea, X-Men vs. Street Fighter was a disaster on PlayStation. Due to the console's technical limitations, the port was just a one-on-one fighter with assists.
A year later and it’s Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter. Again, why stop at just the X-Men? On one hand, the game introduced “Variable Assists,” where you could call in your partner for a quick assist attack. This feature would become a big part of the games moving forward.
On the other hand, the game is incredibly lazy. Nearly all the sprites and characters are from previous Capcom games. There are a bunch of hidden characters, but they’re just palette swaps, such as Armor Spider-Man and US Agent. Not only does the game use Apocalypse again, but he’s the prelude to Cyber-Akuma, which is just Akuma with some cyborg pieces added to his usual self.
The most notable thing about Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter is the inclusion of Norimaro, a cartoony nerd designed by Japanese TV host Noritake Kinashi. Despite being the only truly original fighter in the game, Norimaro wouldn’t appear in the US version of the due to a rights issues. Plus, Marvel wasn’t especially happy with him being in there in the first place.
One thing that’s always stayed with me about this game is the official poster. It’s a great image that brings in all the different playable characters. Yet despite this being the most lighthearted game in the whole series, Sakura is shown crying in terror while Chun-Li tries to comfort her.
This is the game that has Dhalsim eating dinner with Shuma-Gorath, so maybe take it down a notch, girl.
Then early 1998 hit and Capcom wondered why it should even stop at JUST the Street Fighter crew? The result was Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes. While Capcom was pretty lax on the Marvel side, creating only one brand new playable character, one boss, and a palette swap with a new name and voice actor, they at least put in some real effort with the Capcom crew. Retaining only three Street Fighter guys and reusing Morrigan from Darkstalkers’ sprites, they also introduced Mega Man, Strider, Captain Commando, Jin Saotome, and Roll.
Variable Assists were removed and replaced with something a bit more ambitious, though never again used. A roulette of 22 assist characters would appear, each with a limited amount of times they could be called in. Outside of Thor and Jubilee, the Marvel side was made up of reused characters from earlier games while Capcom had only a few recycled animations mixed in there.
There were other interesting gimmicks tossed in, too. Ryu could switch his fighting style to play like Ken or Akuma. Duo Team Attacks allowed both members of the team to be active at the same time, a feature that was plenty broken.
Building on Apocalypse in the last couple games, the final boss was none other than Onslaught, a villainous concept that was big at the time, yet Marvel and their fans would soon uncomfortably creep away from it. Unlike Apocalypse, he came in two forms: a normal form where he’s about the height of the screen and a building-sized second form.
The thing that makes me laugh about this game is the set of secret characters. On the Capcom side, outside of Roll, they’re all palette swaps with different names. Chun-Li became Shadow Lady and Morrigan became Lilith. Which...is kind of weird, since Capcom already had Lilith sprites lying around and didn’t need to simply recolor Morrigan, even if they did have a story reason for it.
But remember how, in the previous game, Capcom had recolored Marvel characters renamed as other Marvel characters? It very much appears that was the plan for this title, but the folks at Marvel shook their heads no. And so, we get "Red Venom,""Gold War Machine," and "Orange Hulk."
"HULK CLOBBER TIME! PUNY YANCY STREET!"
Anyway, it was a fun game with a ton of personality. I have much love for the endings, featuring such moments as Venom trying to convince his partner to join him in being a mass murdering vigilante and Mega Man destroying Onslaught and then absorbing his powers.
Plus the hidden character theme is completely rad and overlooked.
Then came 2000 with Marvel vs. Capcom 2: A New Age of Heroes. Not only did Capcom realize, “Why stop at two-on-two?” but they also asked, “Why stop at just over a dozen fighters?” They had a whole library of fully-designed characters on either side of the crossover. It was time to shove as many characters as possible into one game.
The three-on-three fighting game featured 56 playable characters, gradually unlocked in the arcades via time release. Only a mere nine of them were new, with just two belonging to Marvel (Cable and Marrow, to be specific). On the Capcom side, new characters Ruby Heart and Amingo were apparently Darkstalkersrejects whose sprites were shoveled into Marvel vs. Capcom 2.
There were also two versions of Wolverine: one with adamantium claws and one without. Capcom being Capcom.
The game brought back Variable Assists, giving each character a choice of three possible assist attacks and making the three-on-three melee into absolute chaos at times. Players also had the ability to tag out via supers and do “Snapbacks,” which were one-hit attacks that would force an opponent off-screen and make them tag in someone presumably with less health.
The whole thing came off as a final frontier for the Marvel fighting game engine. Outside of the pesky single arcade ending (hey, I cared!), it felt like the ceiling of what Capcom had to offer. The best they could do was add more characters or maybe tweak the gameplay a bit, but nothing was going to feel like a major or meaningful leap.
In a way, it was just as well that Capcom would go on to lose the Marvel license. By early 2000, Capcom became notorious for no longer giving a shit. Outside of Capcom vs. SNK and its sequel, Capcom could no longer hide the stink of laziness. Even Capcom vs. SNK 2, which featured some beautiful sprite art, still reused the original Morrigan sprite from the first Darkstalkers, which looked like an eyesore and showed the true Wizard of Oz hiding behind the curtain.
Capcom’s Marvel stuff used to be Madden-like in how they would come out on a near annual basis. Then they went about a decade with nothing. What happened in the series' absence was interesting for all the parties involved.
Capcom mostly went silent for a while, occasionally re-releasing old fighters with slight updates. Once the SNK partnership dried up, the best Capcom could do to fill the vacuum was to crossover with themselves. They released Capcom Fighting Evolution, the saddest mashup, where they tossed a bunch of sprites from various fighting games together and locked them into differing engine styles.
In 2008, they finally started to get their asses in gear. Not only did they finally create a brand new Street Fighter game for the first time in forever, but they also went back to the ridiculous crossover genre with Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. In this game, Capcom properties took on anime heroes and villains from shows such as Gatchamanand Yatterman. The engine was a 3D cousin to X-Men vs. Street Fighter, going with the two-on-two tag style.
While Capcom certainly had some fun with the crossover aspect at times (especially since Tatsunoko character Doronjo was the inspiration for Capcom’s Devilotte and they played on that), the game didn’t catch on nearly as much as the Marvel series. Not only was it only available for the Wii in terms of home release, but the novelty wasn’t really shining in America, where the Tatsunoko guys were a bit too obscure.
Capcom still did better than Marvel. During the separation days, Marvel had Electronic Arts put together a Marvel fighting game called Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. It had Marvel staples take on the Imperfects, a bunch of newly-produced antiheroes created by the alien scientist Niles Van Roekel. The engine, which I can best describe as “gritty Power Stone,” was a decent start for something that could have worked down the line, but the game fell short and came off as mediocre at best.
At least it did have a rad tie-in comic miniseries written by Greg Pak and Renato Arlem. It's disappointing that Marvel at no point decided to capitalize on any of the Marvel vs. Capcom games by doing a comic miniseries. I think people would have read that. Right? But instead, we’ve had to settle with comics about Ryu and Chun-Li meeting Sonic the Hedgehog and the cast of GI Joe.
Well, GI Joeused to be Marvel!
Elsewhere in the video game world, Midway knew to jump on the most basic counter project to Marvel vs. Capcom and put together Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. It was released in 2008, unfortunately just before the Mortal Kombatgames figured out how to be good. While held back by its teen rating despite the Geoff Johns blood orgy that was DC Comics at the time, it was still fun and told a good crossover yarn.
Scorpion even got to show up in Injustice: Gods Among Usyears later, mainly due to the fact that Warner Bros. bought the Mortal Kombat franchise from the bankrupted Midway.
Even with all these crossover fighters being made to fill the void, it didn’t really matter. Marvel vs. Capcom 2players refused to budge. The Evolution Championship Series had its first official installment in 2002 and every single year they had Marvel vs. Capcom 2. It was the mainstay. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom got a single year while Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Marvel Nemesis, and even Capcom Fighting Evolutionnever even got a spot at the tournament.
Part of the allure came from how utterly broken Marvel vs. Capcom 2 had become. Various characters were so overpowered that it became almost like an arms race in who could exploit the game’s shoddy balance better than anyone else. As long as this was the final step in the franchise, it was going to be part of the rotation forever, even if there were no tricks left for players to discover.
But that wouldn’t be necessary. In the middle of 2010, a teaser trailer was released, announcing Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. In a single minute of cinematic footage, we got to see Ryu fight it out with Wolverine, as well as the unorthodox-yet-on-point rivalries of Morrigan vs. Iron Man and Chris Redfield vs. Hulk. And unlike the previous Capcom games, this was the more mainstream, rampaging version of Hulk instead of the smirking, smart one from the 90s.
The trailer also included a bunch of silhouettes with a handful of them identifiable, such as Viewtiful Joe, Chun-Li, Captain America, Dr. Doom, and Deadpool.
As the months passed, more and more characters were announced through character trailers and even more cinematic trailers. The cinematic trailers were supposed to tie into a story mode that Capcom talked up quite a bit, but it was quietly swept under the rug by the time of the game’s release.
Still, the game was delivered the same explosive goodness as past installments, only with modern graphics. Most characters still played the same and we had 38 to choose from. The big changes came in the form of a different button setup (taken from Tatsunoko vs. Capcom), the ability to do tagging air combos, and the X-Factor system. Each player could turn their team red and glowing for a limited time, in which they were faster, stopped taking chip damage, and could cancel into more combos. The less fighters remaining on the team, the longer the X-Factor would last.
The game also introduced Phoenix into the fray, whose ability to transform into an overpowered force of nature if you put all your eggs in one basket made selecting her a gamble of a strategy.
This time the big bad was Galactus. What resembled a story came in the form of a 12-page comic that came with the special edition, written by Frank Tieri and drawn by Kevin Sharpe. It had to do with a bunch of villains from Marvel and...one villain from Capcom (hi, Wesker!) teaming up to open a portal into the neighboring worlds, powering up the device by stealing from Galactus’ spaceship. AKA, the dumbest plan.
Tieri was brought in for the game to give it a few doses of character and charm. Not only did he write a lot of pre-fight and post-fight one-liners for the heroes and villains, but he also wrote endings for every single character. Many of them played up the crossover aspect, such as Chun-Li beating up Kingpin, Arthur fighting Fin Fang Foom, Tron Bonne reprogramming Sentinel, and so on. A couple of them seemed to exist for the sake of saying how cool it would be if ____ was in the game. Most notably Iron Fist in Ryu's ending and Ghost Rider in Dante's ending.
Wouldn’t you know it, less than a year after Marvel vs. Capcom 3 came out, Capcom announced Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The original plan was to have a handful of DLC characters for Marvel vs. Capcom 3, but that went out of the window due to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Instead, they did a discounted update featuring twelve new characters (hi, Iron Fist and Ghost Rider!) and some minor changes.
Funny thing happened prior to its release when one of the guys working the official website made it really easy to find out who the extra characters were going to be, thereby ruining all the surprises for Capcom’s marketing team. Whoops!
Despite being a real success, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and its Ultimatecounterpart didn’t last all that long on the physical and digital shelves. At the end of 2013, Disney let the Marvel/Capcom contract lapse. As far as they were concerned, why go third party? They had their own in-house stuff to make them money. Yeah, Marvel vs. Capcom 4 would be a license to print money, but that meant sharing and sharing is stupid.
That didn’t stop Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3from being one of the main events in every EVO after its release. Naturally, Capcom tried to distance themselves from the game’s tournament strength, considering they had no way of selling copies at the time.
And yet again, here we are. Reunited and it feels so good. Marvel and Capcom have banded together once more to make Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. The new installment goes against the grain by moving backwards instead of forwards.
Instead of building on the engine that culminated in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite appears to be like an altered evolution. It’s what the X-Men vs. Street Fighter concept could have become if it zigged instead of zagged. On one hand, it’s back to being two-on-two instead of three-on-three, but on the other hand, they brought back the Infinity Gems from Marvel Super Heroes.
Er, Infinity STONES. Because movies.
But while Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite goes backwards in terms of the engine, it also goes backwards in another, more damning way. The X-Men (and less-importantly, Fantastic Four) are off-limits. No Wolverine or Magneto in this big fight because Fox owns movie rights and Marvel only wants to focus on whoever’s able to be connected to their cinematic universe. Maybe they'll be DLC down the line. Maybe
On one hand, yes, that is totally bullshit. On the other hand, part of me wants to see how this takes a few major gears out of the machine. After seeing the likes of Sentinel, Storm, Magneto, and Dr. Doom dominate for years, seeing what happens in their absence (if there IS an absence) could feel fresh for at least a little while.
Either way, it does sully the path. We are where we are because once upon a time, back in 1994, Wolverine crossed paths with Akuma. The founding fathers of this franchise may just as well be written off due to petty politics.
Man, mutants really do get a bum rap.
Gavin Jasper wants a Guilty Gear vs. Valiant Comics game even if maybe three other people would be excited over it. Follow Gavin on Twitter!
The new crossover fighter scales down the tag teams and excludes all the mutants, but does it have the stones to pull it off?
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Platform: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC
The curse of the successful sequel is that eventually, you’re going to hit a wall. You can only get so big and soon all your releases are just the last installment with one or two new things added. With Marvel and Capcom’s relationship, they were able to keep it newer and bigger on the surface from game to game. What started as an X-Men fighter with a Street Fighter boss hidden in it became a fighter that had all of Marvel as well as a Darkstalkerscharacter tossed in. Then an X-Men/Street Fighter tag game followed by all-of-Marvel/Street Fighter followed by all-of-Marvel/all-of-Capcom. Then it went from two-on-two to three-on-three. Years later, they’d bring it back and spruce up the graphics to 3D.
So what do you do next?
When you dig past its many issues, Street Fighter V hit the same kind of wall. There wasn’t much they could do to differentiate it from the Street Fighter IV games, even if they did add a trait system. Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite tries not to fall into the same fate. It instead goes back and tries to evolve in a different path: what if the two-on-two gimmick from X-Men vs. Street Fighter was merged with the Infinity Gem system from Marvel Super Heroes?
It’s fitting that they didn’t just call this game Marvel vs. Capcom 4, since it does feel different. Not only are the teams downgraded from three-on-three to two-on-two, but they’ve dropped the constant assists that fill up the screen with nonsense. There’s more emphasis on the tagging, making it feel a bit more like a floatier Street Fighter X Tekken at times, but at least there’s still the absolute joy of catching both of your opponents with a hard-hitting attack at the same time and scoring some extra damage.
The Infinity Stones system is unproven at this early point, but at the very least a good idea. You choose which one you get pre-match, and unlike Marvel Super Heroes, you don’t need to worry about it getting knocked out of your hand. This time around, your Infinity Stone has its own meter that’s reminiscent of Street Fighter IV’s Ultra meter. With one button, you can build it up with a minor advantage like dashing forward with the Time Stone or a knock-back attack with the Power Stone.
Once it hits the halfway point of the meter, you can pull off an Infinity Storm. As the background transforms into a colorful hurricane, you have a potentially game-breaking advantage. Maybe the opponent is confined in a cube due to the Space Stone. Maybe the Power Stone enhances your offense. Maybe the Mind Stone maxes out your super meter (four bars, FYI). Or there’s the Reality Stone, causing all sorts of ice/fire/lightning/energy attacks to envelop the screen. I imagine there will be lots of tweaking on this with patches, but it’s an overall great start.
The game makes combos a little too easy, which I can live with, but I’m not exactly a fan of the damage scaling. If someone hits a gnarly enough combo, at one point you simply stop delivering any real damage. I get that they’re trying to get around the feel of the last game where the first hit tends to win on high-level play, but damage scaling never felt truly worth it to me. Just an ugly Band-Aid over a much bigger issue.
The roster starts with thirty characters along with the game’s boss situation. For the most part, the Marvel and Capcom combatants are reused resources from Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which is as Capcom as you can get. Newbies include Captain Marvel, Gamora, Ultron, Jedah, Mega Man X, and technically Thanos. It’s his first time in 3D and his moveset is very different from his Marvel vs. Capcom 2days. Otherwise, you have upcoming DLC in the form of Black Panther, Sigma, Black Widow, Winter Soldier, Monster Hunter, and Venom.
Having Sigma as DLC does feel really dumb, especially when he’s such an important part of the story. There’s a part in arcade mode where you face Ultron and a random partner and it just adds emphasis to how silly it is that Sigma’s being saved for later. Why am I fighting Ultron and Strider before the Ultron/Sigma hybrid?
Then there’s the big Mammomax in the room. The roster is completely devoid of X-Men and Fantastic Four-related characters. Kind of a big deal since Wolverine, Magneto, Storm, Sentinel, and Dr. Doom are such popular choices in the previous games and we wouldn't even be here if it weren't for the X-Men. In a time when a DC Comics fighting game can have Sub-Zero fight Hellboy while Geese Howard and Akuma trade blows in the latest Tekken, it’s the nastiest sore thumb that in the biggest crossover fighting game series, Marvel isn’t even allowed to crossover with itself!
Couldn’t even get Deadpool to show up...
Didn’t help that instead of being honest about the character embargo being based on movie rights spite, Capcom dug themselves deeper by claiming that nobody really remembers the X-Men anymore in a year when Logancame out. Plus it was said that it’s a moot point because in a video game, they aren’t so much characters as they are “functions.” Dude. Your franchise is built on being a crossover. Don’t be foolish.
At least in terms of bad PR lead-up, the graphics look way, way better than they initially advertised. That really unfortunate image of Chun-Li’s face that’s been going around is no longer relevant.
These Marvel/Capcom crossovers tend to have minimal explanation for what’s going on in terms of the narrative (even Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s prologue comic half-assed it), but due to the game’s story mode, there’s actually some delicious meat in there. Ultron of the Marvel Universe has come across Sigma of the...Capcom Universe...which means that everything from Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins, Resident Evil, Mega Man X, Strider, Monster Hunter, and so on exist in the same reality at the same time. Just go with it. The two have become such buddies that they merge into one being called Ultron Sigma and use the Reality and Space Stones to merge their worlds.
Basically, it’s the plot of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe without the dumb RAGE!!! gimmick keeping the good guys at each other’s throats. Instead, the game starts off three months after the merger. While the heroes and villains remain the same, their reality has amalgamated into a mixture. Mike Haggar is the mayor of New Metro City, Black Panther rules Valkanda, Thor fights for Xgard, Chris Redfield investigates AIMbrella, Tony Stark shares a lab with a hologram of Dr. Light, and so on. From the beginning, the heroes have all gotten to know each other and they’re knee-deep in Ultron Sigma’s plot of multiveral assimilation.
In fighting games, the story mode is merely a bunch of cinematics that get you from Fight A to Fight B, but as criminally short as Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite’s story mode is, it’s so damn fun. Maybe it’s because we’ve had to deal with two craptastic Marvel event comics in a row, but once you get past the whole “Capcom is all one world” thing, the story comes off as this rad event comic story told via video games. There are a lot of neat touches, like Ryu and Hulk bonding over their anger control issues, Mike Haggar’s antagonistic relationship with Frank West, Strider and Gamora’s mutual respect, and the entire dynamic of Thanos being the ultimate wild card that nobody wants to trust even though he might be their only chance to stop Ultron Sigma.
Let me tell you, the payoff to the Thanos subplot is the stupidest and most amazing thing these games have ever given us. It’s delightfully ridiculous.
Learning their lesson from Street Fighter V’s debacle, they actually put an arcade mode in this baby. Not that there are any endings to reward you, so...eh. Just as well, since while the Ultron Sigma final form is indeed crazy awesome, fighting him takes way too long for my taste.
The amount of hype during the last Evolution Championship Series made Capcom look like clowns due to how great every other upcoming game looked while Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite failed to intrigue. But if you’re expecting some schadenfreude from seeing a new release come off as a big turd, I’m afraid you’ll be let down. Infiniteisn’t perfect, but it’s definitely a fun package that has the right amount of refreshing newness mixed with the old.
Gavin Jasper realizes that Dr. Wily is a historical figure in the Marvel vs. Capcom timeline. Huh. Follow Gavin on Twitter!
Looking for your next serialized fiction fix? Serial Box is bringing the TV drama model to prose.
With Game of Thrones Season 7 over, and Season 8 not coming until maybe 2019, lovers of high-stakes episodic fiction may be looking elsewhere to get their fix— and it might be right on their phones.
Enter Serial Box, which strives to be "the HBO for reading," as co-founder Julian Yap has described the company. (If you've followed my "Best Serial Fiction You Should Be Reading," you know I've been keeping up with several Serial Box titles!)
Rather than relying on a single writer to pen any of their series, each serial's writing staff is modeled after television writers rooms, with a showrunner and writing staff who divide the episodes for the season. With six serials currently available, two of which are in or are entering their third seasons, there is plenty of content to read.
If you're like me and short on reading time, there's also plenty to listen to, as all the serials are released in prose and audio simultaneously. Serial Box is looking to reinvent the audiobook for their listeners.
"There's no reason why an audiobook in 2017 needs to sound like an audiobook from 1997," said co-founder and CEO Molly Barton. Teaming up with Podglomerate, Serial Box is making listening even more immersive for their audience, layering in ambient noise, sound environments, effects, and music behind the narrators, starting with the podcast-style launch of their popular YA dystopian serial, ReMade.
New episodes will release on Mondays and Thursdays, beginning September 25 on TuneIn's First Play program (and releasing a week later on other outlets) to lead up to the November 15 release of ReMade Season 2.
Podcast listeners will get a special Serial Box deal as well—but you'll have to tune in to find out the details!
Launching both audio and prose in tandem—and taking the podcast of ReMade to the next level—is in keeping with the multimedia vision of the company.
Several serial teams include screenwriters among the writing staff, including Bookburners writer Margaret Dunlap, who is currently writing for Netflix's Dark Crystal series and previously wrote for Middleman and Eureka, and Rachel Stuhler of television films including You Cast a Spell on Me, and who writes for the serial Geek Actually.
Transmedia expert, game writer, and solo serial author Andrea Phillips is also among the writers, working on both ReMade and Bookburners. Urban fantasy action series Bookburners, which is currently in its third season, features a team of Vatican-sponsored operatives who fight to keep dangerous magic out of the world; Geek Actually is a contemporary drama centering on a diverse cast of female friends who are all involved in the SFF scene, as fans, creators, and editors.
"What was initially most challenging was that we were working in blocks of episodes and Episode 1 wasn't written heading into it," Rachel told me via e-mail. "There are plenty of situations where multiple writers tackle the same characters, but, in this case, the only roadmap we had was an in-depth character development sheet that we'd fleshed out together. But there was no sample dialogue or physical description to work from, so there was a lot more editing needed on Episodes 1—4 than the rest."
For Andrea, working on a team rather than as a solo writer is a real perk to the Serial Box projects.
"Writing by yourself is so, so, so much harder than writing with a team," she said. "From the outside, sometimes people think group-based writing is all conflict and ego about who gets their pet plot point in or whatever. But that's never been the case for me. In fact, what happens is that, when you run into a thorny plot problem, you can take it to the group and say, 'I think this character moment is wrong but I can't figure out why,' and someone else will have the fix that you couldn't find. They save your bacon every time."
Margaret explained that the time frame for serial collaborations is very different from a television schedule.
"I think the main difference between the writers room on Bookburners as opposed to working on a one-hour drama like Middleman or Dark Crystal is that because we only have the weekend story summit to break the entire season, we're not getting into nearly as much detail about the actual episodes as we would for a TV show where the room is assembling every day for weeks."
But now that the Bookburners team has been together for three seasons (Season 3, Episode 10 releases on September 20), its writers have been able to get to know both the series and their fellow writers well.
— Serial Box (@serialboxpub) September 9, 2017
"We can look at the board now and everyone will pretty much agree. 'Oh, that one's going to be a Mur [Lafferty] episode.' or 'Brian [Francis Slattery] should take that one,'" she said. "We all like and respect each other, which is great and something we absolutely do not take for granted."
Comparing her two writing teams, Andrea wrote: "ReMade [has] a sprawling world with a lot of invented material to hash out, so our meetings tend to meander a little as we work through the implications of every beat and the enormous network of character relationships. Bookburners has a smaller cast and fewer elements that persist between episodes, so we usually have less to figure out, which in turn means we get in and out of our meetings much faster."
Rachel also highlighted the different strengths—and geek interests—her co writers brought to the Geek Actually team.
"All four of us are proud lady geeks, but as you might expect, we each had our own expertise (Cecilia—baseball and Harry Potter, Mel/Cathy—WoW, Mel/Me—Supernatural, Cecilia/Cathy—anime, Me—Doctor Who, comics), which informed our writing."
One of the reasons that the video game programmer character, Taneesha, listens to trailer music and scores when she's coding is because during their story summit, Cecelia and Rachel realized they shared a passion for score music, "which isn't everyone's cup of tea."
Both the characters and the writing team (two Asian-American writers, an African-American writer, and a white female writer) have an inclusive makeup—something Serial Box is committed to in both its storytelling and by supporting underrepresented voices.
"Serial Box worked hard to make sure that there were no baseline archetypes in these women," Rachel explained. And the teams show a lot of mutual admiration for their co-workers.
As Andrea wrote: "I love and respect every one of my co-authors on both teams, and I'm grateful for the chance to work with them."
So while you're waiting for the return of some of your favorite television series, consider pairing your favorite with a Serial Box title:
And if you need a watercooler partner to chat with about the latest episodes, come catch up with me over on Facebook. I'll geek out with you about the latest episode of Bookburners!
The X-Men comic book universe is getting Jean Grey back, as the original vessel of the Phoenix Force rises from the dead in December!
It’s been a longtime since Marvel fans have seen the Marvel Girl light the X-world in flames of gold, but those days are a-comin’ again! Indeed, Marvel Comics announced Monday that Jean Grey, the original vessel of the Phoenix Force and an O.G. founding member of the X-Men when she was introduced in X-Men #1 (1963), by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, is coming back to the Marvel 616 Universe which comprises now all major comic book titles.
Marvel announced that the X-Men will finally see Jean again in the limited run of Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey, which begins in December. Set to be written by Matthew Rosenberg and penciled by artist Leinil Yu, the series is undoing a death that has lasted for the unusually long stretch of 14 years—which is as close to permanent as a funeral can be in comic books. And the publisher is apparently taking that into major consideration.
“I’ve been an X-Men fan my whole life, and Jean is, in my mind, the true soul of the X-Men,” Rosenberg said. “So we aren’t taking this lightly. We're going for that perfect balance of universe shaking epic and intimate personal drama that only the X-Men ever truly achieve. This is all hands on deck for the X-Men as every available member heads into battle for the soul of their team and maybe even the fate of the Marvel Universe.”
This of course will undo the pretty final fate of Jean Grey inflicted in 2003 by writer Grant Morrison and artist Phil Jimenez in X-Men #150. In that iconic issue, a Phoenix powered Jean Grey died (again) at the hands of a mutant who seemed to be Magneto… but was later revealed to be the mutant imposter Xorn. In the story, Jean had finally come to terms with the Phoenix Force, which was retconned by Morrison to be a piece of her actual psyche, much like how Chris Claremont originally imagined it (and how it has been presented in the X-Men movies). However, the Phoenix Force has lived on in a series of X-Men comics stories in Jean’s daughter with Scott Summers, as well as other characters. It even proved to be the instigating point of tension that caused the X-Men and Avengers to throw down in the AvX miniseries.
This will not be the first time Jean Grey has risen from the dead. She was famously killed off in Uncanny X-Men #137 after, as the Dark Phoenix, she detonated a star. She then chose to die as a human as opposed to live as a god. Apparently in 2017, she’ll get to do both.
The Rick And Morty comics are a consistently solid fix of the adventures TV show fans know and love...
This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Once they managed to get McDonald’s to reproduce the Szechuan sauce first produced in 1998 for the release of Mulan, Rick And Morty established itself as part of the television furniture. As every struggling creative knows, however, success like this doesn’t come overnight. In the beginning (during the Earth year 2006), Justin Roiland created a short called The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti for Channel 101. If you haven’t seen it, then it doesn’t really have much in common with the end product so I wouldn’t worry about it. But when Dan Harmon came calling after his work on Community, Roiland suggested developing something based on the short.
From there, the program went through a series of retools until they ended up with a half-hour comedy about a mad scientist type (Rick Sanchez, genius, a barely-functional alcoholic) and his grandson (Morty, 14, slightly more level-headed, masturbates) going on dimension-hopping adventures. It’s a smart, high concept show that is incredibly clever; it looks at the family dynamic in a refreshing way and doesn’t shy away from the family’s flaws. The series is responsible for a lot of quotes that have entered everyday conversation and you’ll find that you quickly pick up a lot of favorites.
Rick And Morty has become the kind of success that creatives can only hope for when they’re putting a show together. The first season aired in December 2013 and the third is currently airing. But then you already knew that, it’s hard to get away from whatever’s going on in that week’s episode. For better or worse, it’s everywhere. It’s on shirts. There are action figures, video games, and all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff. But most pertinently to our feature, there’s a series of comics published by Oni Press.
For a show whose new episodes are so eagerly anticipated, the fact that Oni has been bringing us new adventures since 2015 is oddly little-known. But of course, given how many millions of viewers the show has and that a much smaller percentage of that would have bought the books, there’s going to be a large disparity there. So I thought I would do a public service and tell you why you should be reading the Rick And Morty comics.
Overall, the range is one of the better pieces of tie-in fiction that you will ever read. In terms of how much it gets right, it’s a shining example to the rest of the comic world.
For one thing, the artwork is consistently good and the range of artists allows for differences in the art style. Maybe it’s because the characters were animated to begin with, but most of the time the artwork is pretty spot on (although there was one howler where Jerry’s anguished face looked more like his orgasm face).
But maybe you haven’t come to this incredibly visual medium for the art style. That’s fine, they’ve got you covered. The writing is top-notch and is full of the same kind of one-liners and superb storylines that you’d find in the show. In each issue, you’ll find a good few laughs to keep you going. For those of you afraid that the strip would just be a rehash of old plotlines and beloved character comebacks, well, there is a tiny bit of that but not much and it’s usually fun. The Ball Fondlers special issue was worth every penny. Tiny Rick did make a return in a recent issue, but it was part of an inventive issue with lots of laughs. But the series is full of new situations and characters such as Peacock Jones, a pimp version of the Doctor who encourages his female companions to dress in sexy outfits.
Where the comic format really shines is the ability to write for the trade, as opposed to the TV show which tends to have a looser overall story. Here the story arcs are tightly plotted and fit into a single trade paperback with room to spare.
The extra room in each book (five at present) is given over to the bonus short stories featured in each issue. These can range from what Beth does when she gets her hands on a portal gun to a day in the boring life of Jerry Smith. This is reflected in my recommendations further down the page, but the bonus shorts that feature in each issue are, in a lot of cases, well worth reading in their own right.
Frankly, the main thing that makes it a must-have is that it’s a consistently solid fix of the adventures we know and love. Rick and Morty has a nasty habit of disappearing off our screens for far too long, and this series provides a monthly allowance of the good stuff (having said that, they still haven’t done an adaptation of Jan Quadrant Vincent 16. Get it sorted, guys). I’ve blabbered on for far too long. Go to your nearest bookshop and acquire the collections. I can’t imagine anyone coming to the TV series via the comics - though if you did, then I almost envy you - but those who are already fans of the show will find a lot to love in this series.
7 great issues to start with:
Issue #27. The draw here isn’t so much the main story (though it’s also great), but the absolute gem of a bonus which follows it, Look Cthulhu Talking Now, in which Cthulhu is not only real but knows Rick Sanchez and joins him in treating Jerry Smith like an idiot. Cthulhu’s line “That crib was not dope enough for my needs” is worth the price of admission.
Issue #1. The first issue of the series is fantastic throughout. This is the lead-in to a three-part story in which Morty and Rick get arrested and have to escape from a prison that Rick built. The very first page looks like a transcript from the show, with a typical Rick and Jerry face-off (which Jerry loses, of course). The standout character has to be Professor Tock, a guy with a time gimmick who delights in making watch puns.
Issue #29. At time of writing, the latest issue. In this one-shot, Morty becomes obsessed with putting a stop to Fascism and Hitlers wherever he finds them. His fanatical devotion to this cause causes him to act almost in a fascistic way, you might say.
Issue #25. Tiny Rick returns! I loved this one. Rick activates a device which shows in numbers how cool a person is. Rick is, naturally, the highest that a person can be (his score is in the thousands while Morty doesn’t even have a solid number to his name). The art style is also really unusual, thanks to the more stylised art of Kyle Starks (who also wrote the story).
Issue #17. In this fun little story, the duo explore the fun in taking infectious diseases to other planets that aren’t ready for them. But the B-plot, in which Rick gives intelligence to Summer’s phone and other electronics, is more enjoyable. The phone very quickly makes it creepy.
Issue #11: Both plots are great in this issue. In the first, Morty is put into a high-school simulator in an effort to give him his essential life experience in one day. Summer and Jerry end up switching bodies.
Issue #2: In the bonus story, Summer is interviewing for a job in a fast food restaurant and recalls her previous experience of ‘food management’. Glorious stuff.
On its 40th anniversary, we look at why The Amazing Spider-Man TV show from the late '70s has never had a DVD, Blu-ray, or digital release.
There's a good chance that if you're reading this, you've never really seen all that much of The Amazing Spider-Man, the live-action CBS TV series that aired between April 1978 and July 1979. The show produced a mere thirteen episodes (including two feature-length installments and an additional two-parter that sometimes aired as a TV movie), before vanishing into the abyss of infrequent basic cable airings, incomplete VHS releases, low-quality convention floor bootlegs, and finally, complete obscurity.
You've probably seen bits and pieces on the internet, wondered at the complete lack of memorable villains (a mad scientist with a grudge here, the occasional ninja there, and plenty of dudes in business suits), been blinded by the '70s fashions (those ties...so very wide), or snickered about Spidey's rope web-shooters and the show's relatively (by today's standards) low-budget look. But look a little closer, and you'll see what fans of the series do.
Nicholas Hammond's excellent Peter Parker deserves more recognition in the pantheon of superhero performances. The show's lo-fi aesthetic sometimes feels more true to Spider-Man's hard luck roots than most of the nine figure blockbusters that he's starred in. Most importantly, there are the incredible stunts. Spidey stuntman Fred Waugh most certainly scaled the sides of buildings, without the benfit of special effects, and often with a camera built into the headpiece of his Spidey rig. The occasional visible cable aside, there are some dizzying moments involving a very real Spider-Man dozens of stories up the side of a building, dangling from a helicopter, or in one (often reused) sequence, actually swinging from one building ledge to another.
After The Amazing Spider-Man left the airwaves, if you squinted hard enough, you might be able to spot it in your cable listings from time to time, popping up on local stations specializing in syndicated content or basic cable channels like TBS, USA, or even The Sci-Fi Channel (in its pre-Syfy years). Home video releases were scarce, with several individual episodes made available by companies like Playhouse Video (who were owned by CBS) and low-rent VHS houses like Prism and Star Classics. To give you an idea of the quality involved, my copy of Star Classics'"Photo Finish" episode was defective and didn't have sound. I was a dissapointed little kid.
Not even the great Rhino Home Video, who partnered up with the Sci-Fi Channel in 1997 to release a number of episodes on VHS, wasn't complete or definitive. For one thing, they left out "The Captive Tower," which has never had any official home video release that I can find, and the one most often missing from basic cable marathons (although I distinctly remember Sci-Fi Channel airing it). Ironically, it's the series' best, most exciting episode. I've never actually seen the Rhino versions, and wasn't even aware of their existence until this writing, so I can't really speak to things like picture or sound quality, but Rhino have always been known for putting out loving releases, so I would have to imagine they were better than their predecessors.
Another problem is that several unrelated episodes were edited together for overseas release or for airing as three cable TV "movies." As a result, the most widely available versions of six of the series thirteen total episodes have been spliced together, which also makes it impossible to watch the series in production or airdate order. The versions of those single episodes that pop up on YouTube from time to time are of even lower quality, since most of those never saw any kind of home video release in unaltered form. If that sounds a little too OCD for you, consider this: even as a fan, I'm the first to admit that some of these aren't great, and on its best day The Amazing Spider-Man isn't exactly binge-watching material. It's better in smaller doses.
Den of Geek doesn't advocate piracy. But when something is unavailable via official channels for as long as The Amazing Spider-Man, fans are gonna do what fans are gonna do. Even most convention floor bootlegs I've come across simply don't have many of these episodes in their original format (the "spliced episodes" issue, etc). What's worse, the quality isn't always consistent from episode to episode. I have yet to find one set, for example, that uses the same sources throughout. It would seem that the Rhino/Sci-Fi Channel branded VHS releases would coincide with a brief period when Sci-Fi would air Spidey marathons, but I haven't come across one set sourced entirely from those airings or the VHS. There's a dedicated group of fans out there doing some restoring work of their own, and you can see hints of it here.
You would think that after nearly 40 years, and with Spider-Man being handily the superhero merchandising champion of the world (he buries Batman, for example), someone would have finally wised up and given us some kind of definitive official release for this series. While it's quite likely that the suits simply don't believe there's much demand for the series (and they might be right), I have to wonder. Warner Bros. have made similarly forgotten superhero fare like the SuperboyTV series available through their budget Warner Archive label, and Marvel.com for a number of years even made the complete live-action Japanese Spider-Man sentai available for free streaming (it's long gone, sadly). If they were willing to do it for that one, why not The Amazing Spider-Man?
Let's have a look...
There have been persistent rumors through the years that The Amazing Spider-Man was denied proper home video releases simply because Stan Lee is ashamed of the show. Lee was never a fan, for sure. "I felt the people who did the live-action series left out the very elements that made the comic book popular...They left out the humor. They left out the human interest and personality and playing up characterizations and personal problems," Lee said in an old interview. Lee did at least have high praise for the show's practical stunt work. Anyway, I'm not sure Stan Lee has the power to block a home video release like that. But is it possible that the rights to The Amazing Spider-Man are tied up in a legal web, similar to what prevented the release of the 1960s BatmanTV series on home video for so long?
A look at recent releases of other Spider-Man television properties on home video doesn't offer many clues. The most recent Spidey animated series, Ultimate Spider-Manis released via Buena Vista Home Entertainment (a division of Marvel parent company, Disney), as is the '90s animated cartoon. Spider-Man: The '67 Collection (an excellent collection of Spidey's original cartoon, which is now sadly out of print) came from Walt Disney Video. This all makes sense, right?
But recent efforts like the MTV Spider-Man animated series released in the wake of the first Sam Raimi film and the excellent but short-lived Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon were both released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. See why this is getting confusing? It's hard enough figuring out what the deal is with Marvel and Sony when it comes to who is allowed to use what in the wake of Spider-Man: Homecoming, but now they're both in charge of releasing home video versions of various TV projects featuring the webhead. Perhaps The Amazing Spider-Man is caught somewhere in the middle.
My quest to figure out who has the actual rights to put The Amazing Spider-Manout on home video didn't get far. Inquiries with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Marvel, Rhino, and even Syfy (that last one was a long shot, I admit) were dead ends. I had a brief e-mail exchange with Chuck Fries, president of Chuck Fries Productions, the company that produced The Amazing Spider-Man for CBS, who informed me that his company had distribution rights for the series for twenty years, after which the rights reverted "in total" to Marvel. Of course, that was right around the time that the other rights issues surrounding Spidey, the ones that kept him out of the movies for so long (that's a whole 'nother headache), were about to get resolved, and it doesn't answer the question of whether or not Sony then got control of the rights to this series as part of everything else. A few folks have told me that Disney does indeed have the rights to release the show, they're just not interested in doing it.
I still can't determine if there's something blocking any kind of official home video or digital release of this series. But assuming there are no legal hurdles to clear, it's time to release The Amazing Spider-Man in some form. Look, nobody expects this to get some kind of reverential, deluxe treatment along the lines of the joyously received Batman: The Complete Television Series. Batman '66 was a genuine pop culture phenomenon during its heyday, an inescapable component of syndicated television for the next twenty-five years, and it defined the general populace's perceptions of the character until Tim Burton and Michael Keaton came along. One can't say the same about The Amazing Spider-Man.
But fans (including this writer) would happily settle for cleaned up versions of these episodes released online for paid download or streaming. I don't expect much in the way of a physical release, but at the very least, I imagine that stuntman Fred Waugh (the man who wore the Spider-Man suit and dangled hundreds of feet above ground on the side of buildings, all while wearing what could be described as a primitive GoPro) has some interesting stories to tell about his dangerous time in the Spidey costume, which would make for a fine special feature.
Check out this bit of archival behind-the-scenes footage of Fred Waugh in the Spidey suit:
I had an informal chat via Twitter with George Khoury, co-author of the excellent Age of TV Heroes book available from TwoMorrows Publishing, and his take on the situation was the same as that of many fans: a resigned acceptance that there just isn't enough demand for a release. But he did say one thing, which we should probably take to heart. "The studios don't see this stuff as fans...it's our job to let them know they exist."
So maybe we should make some noise on social media. Do you want to see The Amazing Spider-Man get an official release? Let us know. Maybe we can get something going. I will continue to update this article if and when new information becomes available. But the fact that Spider-Man: Homecoming was a big box-office success and we still got no love for this show isn't encouraging.
In the meantime, there's a petition to the folks at Buena Vista Home Entertainment that you can sign. It's worth a shot, right?
Until then, I leave you with this glorious video, encompassing lots of the crazy stuntwork that went into making this show, if nothing else, an interesting relic deserving of a second look. Dig the crazy tunes, too.
Mike Cecchini would sell you out so fast to get this series in high quality. Help him with his priorities on Twitter.