- RSS Channel Showcase 8590501
- RSS Channel Showcase 6245713
- RSS Channel Showcase 6867621
- RSS Channel Showcase 3040011
Articles on this Page
- 07/27/18--13:48: _X-Men: How Do You P...
- 07/29/18--12:15: _Is The Marvel Villa...
- 07/30/18--08:33: _Robin & Superboy Te...
- 07/30/18--08:47: _New Green Arrow Vil...
- 07/30/18--13:45: _Den of Geek Book Cl...
- 07/30/18--17:18: _Claire O'Dell's A S...
- 07/30/18--20:45: _Doom Patrol TV Seri...
- 07/31/18--10:59: _What Else Has J.K. ...
- 07/31/18--11:00: _J.K. Rowling is One...
- 07/31/18--11:07: _How Harry Potter Sh...
- 08/01/18--08:45: _Venom: 15 Craziest ...
- 08/01/18--08:50: _Avengers: Infinity ...
- 08/01/18--10:04: _The End of a Green ...
- 08/01/18--21:15: _DC Cancels Problema...
- 08/01/18--23:16: _Andy Serkis To Dire...
- 08/02/18--09:19: _Avengers 4: How Tha...
- 08/02/18--12:12: _Sarah Kuhn's Heroin...
- 08/02/18--14:14: _Green Lanterns, Sup...
- 08/02/18--14:20: _Kraven the Hunter S...
- 08/02/18--19:23: _Exclusive: Serial B...
- 07/27/18--13:48: X-Men: How Do You Put the Mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
- 07/29/18--12:15: Is The Marvel Villain Problem Solved by the Disney/Fox Deal?
- 07/30/18--08:33: Robin & Superboy Team Up To Tackle Superman
- 07/30/18--08:47: New Green Arrow Villain Details Revealed
- 07/30/18--13:45: Den of Geek Book Club Podcast #4: Mary Robinette Kowal
- 07/30/18--17:18: Claire O'Dell's A Study in Honor Reimagines Holmesian Canon
- 07/30/18--20:45: Doom Patrol TV Series Casts Crazy Jane
- 07/31/18--10:59: What Else Has J.K. Rowling Written Besides Harry Potter?
- 07/31/18--11:00: J.K. Rowling is One of Our Best Serialized Storytellers
- 07/31/18--11:07: How Harry Potter Shaped Modern Internet Fandom
- 08/01/18--08:45: Venom: 15 Craziest Moments in Marvel History
- 08/01/18--08:50: Avengers: Infinity War Easter Eggs and Marvel Reference Guide
- 08/01/18--10:04: The End of a Green Lantern Era, and the Rebirth of Hawkman
- 08/01/18--21:15: DC Cancels Problematic Shazam! Reprint
- 08/01/18--23:16: Andy Serkis To Direct Animal Farm Adaptation At Netflix
- 08/02/18--09:19: Avengers 4: How Thanos Could be Defeated
- 08/02/18--12:12: Sarah Kuhn's Heroine Series Should Be TV's Next Superhero Show
- 08/02/18--19:23: Exclusive: Serial Box Reveals Bullet Catcher Cover
We look at several options Disney and Marvel Studios will consider before putting the X-Men into the Avengers-led MCU.
So as you’ve probably heard, Disney bought itself something really nice for the holidays, and the charge has finally gone through. Like $85 billion nice. Yes, that sounds like a lot, but it’s the price tag placed on the film, television, and other miscellaneous media acquisitions the Mouse House and 21st Century Fox just uniformly agreed to in their separate shareholder votes today. While we won’t know the full effect this has on the industry—from television to the invaluable Fox Searchlight—until it actually goes through, which is still some months off with final reguatory hurdles that need to be passed, but as the DOJ signed off on the deal last month (with some caveats), it looks increasingly done. And as Bob Iger, the Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO, has already notified investors that the plan is to incorporate 20th Century Fox’s licensed Marvel IPs, notably X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool, into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it looks like the mutants are headed home.
Regarding Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and Marvel’s First Family, Iger said earlier this year, “[The deal] provides Disney with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of interrelated characters and stories that audiences have shown they love.” In other words, the MCU is getting all of the superhero rights, even to Ryan Reynolds’ filthy and R-rated Deadpool franchise. We’ve had issues with this prospect in the past, but as it’s going ahead, it’s time to consider just how to make the MCU and X-Men universes collide.
A Cosmic Crossover
The easiest solution might also be the messiest, but there is a certain simplicity to it: organically integrate the existing franchise of X-Men movies into the MCU. It’s not like Disney isn’t having this conversation.
Indeed, among Iger’s other comments, he signaled the desire to maintain the R-rated brand to the rather beloved Deadpool franchise that currently exists in the X-Men cinematic universe. Says Iger, “[Deadpool] clearly has been and will be Marvel branded. But we think there might be an opportunity for a Marvel-R brand for something like Deadpool, as long as we let the audiences know what’s coming, we think we can manage that fine.”
This is hardly confirmation that they intend to keep the current continuity of the frequently timeline-muddled X-films, but there’s at least an opening if they want an R-rated Deadpool franchise. After all, that already exists at Fox and is doing fine without any of Marvel Studios’ tinkering. And the idea of someone else playing the Merc with a Mouth besides Ryan Reynolds might be close to sacrilege at this point. In fact, Reynolds teased exactly that on Twitter by suggesting his foulmouthed alter-ego could make an uneasy but amusing addition to the Happiest Place on Earth.™
Apparently you can%u2019t actually blow the Matterhorn. pic.twitter.com/2bEAAcZrUv
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) December 14, 2017
The simplest way to do that would be to have the existing X-Men universe crossover with the MCU, which is easier than it sounds. Admittedly, neither are natural bedfellows because the current X-Men franchise has created a rich in-universe history. Thanks to the last three “mainline” X-Men movies, we know that mutants have been public knowledge since the 1960s and have been involved in Earth-shattering events nearly every decade thereafter. They also go back all the way to ancient antiquity in Egypt. Conversely, the Marvel Cinematic Universe suggested Captain America is the the first superhero in the aptly named Captain America: The First Avenger, which is set during the 1940s. Other Marvel films have filled in events from the 20th century but mutants are nowhere to be found.
Yet the best answer for reconciling these differences is actually in the next X-film, X-Men: Dark Phoenix. That movie stars Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner as the most powerful mutant in history whose godlike, cosmic gifts will even attract the attention of intergalactic aliens. And as that film has been suggested to leave room for a sequel, the following film could easily have the Phoenix causing a reality-tearing event that merges her universe with an alternate one where Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man plays love taps with Chris Evans’ Captain America. Think about it, Phoenix causes mutants to show up in the MCU, and thus becomes an instant threat to Marvel’s traditional heroes. Talk about an easy fast track to an Avengers vs. X-Men movie without a decade-long build-up.
Would that be messy? Maybe. Impossible? Not in a world that has already created two alternative X-Men movie timelines thanks to X-Men: Days of Future Past (which remains one of the most popular superhero movies). This would also allow Disney to absorb, in addition to Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, a murderer’s row of talent already cast in the X-films, including Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Brolin (as flesh and blood Cable, not a CG-baddie), and rising newcomers like Turner, Maisie Williams, Tye Sheridan, and Anya Taylor-Joy. Not a bad deal right? Well…
Just Reboot It All
The next option, which is probably the most appealing to hardcore comic books fans (and perhaps Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige), is to simply give a hard reboot to everything. There is certainly precedent considering Marvel Studios integrated a Sony-produced Spider-Man into its mythos by starting from scratch and abandoning the Andrew Garfield-led The Amazing Spider-Man movies for a baggage-free Tom Holland.
Holland’s Spidey even opened bigger than The Amazing Spider-Man 2 when Spider-Man: Homecoming grossed $117 million in its first three days (up $26 million from Sony’s effort). This also would allow Feige to build the X-Men in his own image with no baggage from a universe where almost all the key parts have been cast (often twice). He also might find it easier to create his own Wolverine who won’t ever be tangentially connected to Hugh Jackman’s intimidating iconography (even if a cosmic event caused Logan to “live again.”).
It’s the cleanest route, and even Ryan Reynolds is replaceable. Iger spoke vaguely of a Marvel branded Deadpool, but that might be a franchise that has the MCU’s golden goose touch and none of the ownership Reynolds enjoys over the branded IP.
Read the Den of Geek SDCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine Here!
Why Not Pick and Choose?
Still… it seems like a shame to throw out the baby with the bathwater in the X-adjacent films. While X-Men: Apocalypse was a disappointment, Deadpool killed during the same year, and we personally consider this year’s Logan to be the best superhero movie of the last five years. Granted, Jackman’s Wolverine is dead, but that film is so far removed from other superhero movies, it could continue its own saga as unencumbered by other continuity as Marvel’s supposedly connected (but otherwise cinematically ignored) adult-themed Netflix shows, such as Daredevil and Jessica Jones.
James Mangold received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay of Logan and is currently still planning an X-23 spinoff starring Dafne Keen. It would be pointless to throw that away. Similarly, summer 2019 will (finally) see the release of Josh Boone’s The New Mutants. If the reshoots intended to make it the actual horror movie it was marketed as are well received, and has little or nothing to do with the mainline X-films, it would be silly to not greenlight a sequel that, again like Marvel Television, can be autonomous from Feige’s carefully curated MCU. One that also continues the journey that Boone is setting out to tell in a horror-themed New Mutants trilogy. Plus, the sight of superheroes going to Hell (or “Limbo”) in a sequel is too groovy of a concept to pass up.
It is almost inevitable Feige and Disney would rather start from scratch with the straight-ahead X-Men films, no matter the quality of next year’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix. It will be hard to replace the likes of Fassbender or McAvoy, but not impossible. But there really is no need to replace Keen, or Williams and Taylor-Joy in New Mutants, or especially Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. The smartest solution is to just let Reynolds keep doing his Deadpool thing in a “Marvel-R” while Feige starts from the ground up on the traditional X-Men IP, so it looks just like everything else in the MCU.
We won’t know the direction Marvel pursues for potentially years, but which would you like to see?
Bring on the bad guys! Villains like Dr. Doom and Magneto are just what the doctor ordered for the MCU.
After 20 movies, scratch that...20 wildly successful movies, Marvel Studios, for all of their crowd-pleasing accomplishments, has managed to deliver us exactly three truly memorable villains (Tom Hiddleston's Loki, Michael Keaton's Vulture, and Josh Brolin's Thanos, in case you had to ask). To use some Marvel-speak, we’re right on the cusp of “Phase Four,” and four is one higher than the number of genuinely worthwhile villains they’ve managed to put on the big screen in the last nine years (they've fared better on Netflix with Wilson Fisk, Kilgrave, Mariah Dillard, and Billy Russo, but we're talking about the movies here).
And while Marvel has struggled to deliver threatening villains since 2008, in that same period of time (and in far fewer movies) Warner Bros. gave us Heath Ledger's immortal Joker performance in The Dark Knight. Even a secondary baddie like Cillian Murphy's Scarecrow carried more weight than most of the punching bags Marvel has delivered. Tom Hardy's Bane not only broke Batman but crafted a nightmarish vision for a Gotham City that looked uncomfortably like New York. Hell, for all their struggles, the DCEU managed to give us Michael Shannon's brilliant General Zod in Man of Steel. So what's Marvel missing?
The Marvel formula is reasonably simple, and it's made even the less impressive films at least thoroughly entertaining. You make your hero, flawed though he or she may be, as enjoyable as possible to watch on screen, you keep the stakes big and loud if not demonstrably high, and you break the tension at every opportunity with some wit. It works. But audiences have caught on to this storytelling sleight-of-hand and realize that there has rarely been a moment where we really thought the villain would come out on top in a battle, let alone a war. The closest we've come is Thanos, with the godlike, reality-warping powers afforded him by the Infinity Stones, and the bonkers cliffhanger ending of Avengers: Infinity War.
There's little doubt that Tom Hiddleston's Loki was the most indispensable bad guy in the MCU. But Loki is very much a god of mischief, not a god of real evil, and with the exception of a few moments in The Avengers, it's far too easy to root for him while he's busy charming everyone in sight. On the other hand, no sane person really wanted to see the Joker, Bane, or Ra's al Ghul succeed in the Dark Knight trilogy.
The best that Iron Man had to offer, the Mandarin, had to be subverted (brilliantly or otherwise, depending on who you ask) in order to steer away from some of the more uncomfortably racist implications of the character for his appearance in Iron Man 3. Was Ben Kingsley's Mandarin memorable? Certainly. Is he a villain truly worthy of the third installment of a massive superhero movie franchise? Probably not.
But when the potential of an all-time great villain like the Red Skull (and a potentially perfect bit of casting in the case of Hugo Weaving) is squandered, something just ain’t right. Anyone remember much of what Johann Schmidt got up to in Captain America: The First Avenger other than get turned into a rainbow at the end? No? Me neither. On the other hand, outside of an exceedingly charming Robert Redford, Captain America: The Winter Soldier lacked one true villain for us to hang our hatred on, instead playing a long game with a redemption arc for the title villain. Nor was Heinrich Zemo ever sufficiently explored in Captain America: Civil War.
There’s an argument to be made that characters like Iron Man and Thor don’t have the most potent jerks in their closets to begin with, so it’s understandable that they’d have to face a parade of soldier villains in the course of their respective franchises. The problem is that, until recently, a sizable chunk of Marvel's best villains simply weren't available for use at Marvel Studios. That, of course, has changed with Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox, which finally opens up the doors for the rosters of the X-Men and Fantastic Four to join the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And while the Fantastic Four are a perfect tonal match for the MCU, and the X-Men may present more of a challenge, there's already no shortage of bankable heroes already in play (even accounting for a number of key contracts expiring after Avengers 4). But the Fox deal brings two characters far more important than the collective sum of their parts, and these two characters alone could reinvigorate Marvel movies for the next decade.
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
I am, of course, talking about Doctor Doom and Magneto.
Doom is arguably the greatest villain in all of comics (with apologies to the Joker). A key inspiration for Darth Vader, and long acknowledged as the driving force of villainy in the Marvel Universe from back when Thanos was just a vision in Jim Starlin's psychedelic explorations, Doom is exactly what has been missing from the MCU. A shadowy dictator with boundless scientific knowledge, a literal nation of his own to command, and an axe to grind. Think of all the technological wonders we've seen Tony Stark unleash on screen. Now imagine all of that and more being wielded by an Eastern European dictator with none of Tony's conscience.
All of the Fantastic Four movies have been deeply flawed, but the sin they all have in common is how grievously they failed the character of Victor Von Doom. My only regret is that Benedict Cumberbatch is already tied to the role of Stephen Strange, because it's difficult to imagine anyone embodying this role to more imperious perfection. Well, maybe Michael Fassbender, which brings me to our next baddie.
When you make your comic book villain Mt. Rushmore, Magneto gets a prominent place, right next to Doctor Doom and the Joker. Marvel is going to have some explaining to do about where mutants have been this entire time. If they want to explain why the world hates and fears mutants, and perhaps why most mutants prefer to keep themselves secret, then it's crucial that Magneto be the first mutant we meet in the MCU. Not only is the master of magnetism one of the most powerful mutants alive, his motivations and sense of purpose would be wholly unique to the mostly one-dimensional baddies Marvel heroes have been gleefully steamrolling. Of course, unlike Doom, who has no cinematic baggage to speak of, Magneto has a legacy of brilliant actors who have defined him. Finding someone who can fill the purple cape of Ian McKellen or Michael Fassbender will be a challenge
Neither of these are one-and-done villains, but nor are they the kinds of video game final bosses we've come to expect in most superhero movies. These are villains who carry so much weight that it's no coincidence that Fox once considered a Magneto solo movie (which eventually morphed into X-Men: First Class) or that Legion showrunner Noah Hawley has been developing a Dr. Doom movie for the studio (the status of this in the wake of the Disney buyout is currently unknown). In fact, the smartest thing Marvel can do to not only help combat superhero movie fatigue but do their best villains right and show fans they're committed to upping the threat level in future movies, is give both Doom and Magneto their own movies, and let that set the tone for their respective heroes' inclusion in the MCU. Warner Bros. is already making noises about giving baddies like Joker, Deathstroke, and Black Adam solo movies, so Disney should get ahead of this trend while they can.
While both Magneto and Doctor Doom deserve the spotlight treatment as soon as humanly possible, and it would seem the Thanos drip-feed approach is dead after Infinity War, there's one other baddie who comes to the table with the Fox deal who will require a similar assemblage of heroes to combat him when the time comes.
A giant cosmic being who literally drains the life-essence from planets and who has created a handful of marketable cosmic herals for himself? Yes, we'll be happy to meet Galactus briefly in a future Guardians of the Galaxy movie before everyone has to unite to take him on in Marvel's Fantastic Four III or whatever. And this time, you can bet your comic book collection he won't be a purple cloud.
In any case, before we all start falling over ourselves to try and cast the next Wolverine or Professor X, or start salivating at the prospect of a Brad Bird helmed Fantastic Four movie, Marvel Studios should use these key players from their latest acquisition to shore up the one glaring hole the MCU has. But after Tom Hiddleston set the standard, they'd better find some top-drawer talent to embody Doom and Magneto, pronto.
Bring on the bad guys.
(main image art by John Byrne)
In this preview of Adventures of the Super-Sons #1, Damian Wayne and Jon Kent take on an icon's icon.
It's weird to think this, but it's very possible that the defining voice for Damian Wayne is actually Pete Tomasi's. Despite being created by Grant Morrison for his seminal Batman run, Morrison's voice for Damian was always very...specific. But it was in Tomasi's stories, in both volumes of Batman & Robin and in the recently wrapped Super-Sons that Damian was given space to grow as a character and into the DC Universe as a whole. And, as we've discussed many times over, he's done quite a good job at it.
The Super-Sons pairing has been a great one. Damian has always been a young Batman - cold, dickish, ruthlessly efficient, but trying to learn about the humanity that Bruce Wayne brought to the package without having to go through the hurt. Superman has always been a bright spot of optimism for Batman himself (except when Batman is being written as a paranoid conspiracy theorist cough cough Hushcough), so it makes sense that Jon and Damian would be a great pairing.
DC sent along an exclusive first look at The Adventures of the Super-Sons#1, the first of Tomasi and Carlo Barbieri's 12-issue run with the duo, for us to check out. Here's what they have to say about the issue:
ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SONS #1 written by PETER J. TOMASI
art by CARLO BARBERI and ART THIBERT
cover by DAN MORA
variant cover by JORGE JIMENEZ
The Super Sons are back in an all-new 12-issue miniseries written by Peter J. Tomasi! Check out the lost and secret adventures of Damian Wayne (Robin) and Jon Kent (Superboy) in this flashback miniseries that takes a deep dive into the bombastic bromance between the sons of the DC Universe’s greatest heroes. It’s an epic dual storyline that transcends current events, as Superboy and Robin find themselves targets of an interstellar team of young badasses called the Gang.
This art is gorgeous, and hey let's give Dan Mora more to do please. Take a look!
Julie and Shawna Benson talk about what to expect from the newest Green Arrow villain.
Since DC kicked off their two year Rebirth initiative in 2016, Green Arrow has been one of the most consistently great books. It was one of those titles where the shift in focus was immediately apparent, with Oliver Queen finally reunited with Dinah Lance, and Ben Percy putting Ollie's actual social justice warrior instincts front and center in the title. With DC shuffling many of the creative teams across the line, they turned to a pair of writers who already had a lot of success with street level vigilantes: Julie and Shawna Benson.
The Bensons have just finished an acclaimed run on Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, not a million miles away from the world of Oliver Queen and Green Arrow when you think about it. They're not wasting any time introducing a new villain, the Citizen, who will be at odds with both Green Arrow and Oliver Queen. We sat down with them at SDCC to talk about where Citizen fits into Green Arrow's world and more, before Green Arrow #43 arrives on August 1.
Den of Geek: Before we talk about Green Arrow, you just finished a pretty serious run on Batgirl and the Birds of Prey.
Shawna Benson: We did, it's done, and I think the final trade just came out, so here we are before our Comic-Con the last trade, and so we're really proud of that run, you know. We're excited because we keep hearing there was going to be a movie. We have nothing to do with the movie, but we're excited there's going to be one. Yeah, it was a really good chance for us to really get the whole gang together and have a serialized story that every issue mattered to the penultimates and the finale.
But after writing those characters for two years, you kind of have license to know what you would want to see in a movie. For example, what do you think makes a definitive Birds of Prey story?
Shawna: I think the team. I mean, I would like to see Huntress. I would like to see Canary. Obviously, I'd like to see Barbara as Batgirl or as Oracle. I've seen rumors, I don't know who's in it, who's not in it, but I'd be happy with anyone. I heard rumors of Renee Montoya and Cassandra Cain.
And you're about to start writing Green Arrow now.
Julie Benson: We just finished writing the first arc. The first arc is about this new villain we created called "the Citizen" and we wanted to find something for Oliver. For us, Oliver is so, I hate this term, "social justice warrior." It's such a dirty word.
Shawna: For some people.
Julie: For some people. For us, it's like "yeah." He's so righteous in his indignation of criminals and so we wanted to find somebody who's even more than that and so we created this character called "the Citizen" who is really going after the one percent, the sort of evil one percent. And the ones that get away with murder. Almost literally.
Shawna: And maybe not the evil one percent, which is the question. It's sort of where his intentions may seem positive in a vigilante kind of framework, there's some question about his methods and about his view of justice as opposed to what we would consider to be justice in a regular society.
Julie: So the fun of course is who's somebody with a lot of money in Seattle that would probably be a one percenter that this guy would go after? Oliver Queen. And so, having him have to deal with the situation on both fronts, we wanted to squeeze him in the middle.
Shawna: Citizen thinks that Green Arrow is an ineffective vigilante and he also hates Oliver Queen, so you're getting the public of Seattle citizens kind of crushing Ollie from both sides. Both as his alter ego and as his normal persona.
Was there a take on Green Arrow that influenced you?
Shawna: We've written Ollie in a few issues of Birds of Prey and he's always kind of been a little bit of comedic fodder for us because he's an interesting character to throw into the mix with our ladies. So, going into this, it was really important to go into the research. We read as much Green Arrow as we possible could get our hands on. I think for us, influential runs included Jeff Lemire, Judd Winnick, and Denny O'Neil. Kevin Smith was interesting, there was a comedic sensibility there that I think is very interesting. Brad Meltzer's Archer's Quest was very influential for us. And of course, what Ben Percy was already doing, because he was doing amazing work on Green Arrow.
We boiled it down to its essence. Who is Oliver Queen? What is his purpose? His raison d'etre? What is his motive in life? Which is, he is someone who feels for the ninety-nine percent. He feels for the people and he wants to act on their behalf. But there is a dichotomy, a contradiction of him, which is that he is part of that one percent and how do you reconcile that?
Julie: We really loved the old school style of comics where you see Roy doing heroin for the first time. Like these books were so socially timely and motivated and it's just like hearing people today like "these books are too political and too socially active" and all of a sudden saying "Guys did you read the old stuff? Like it's insane, it's so good." Everything is so good. Ben Percy just gave us this gift of like "here, I've reunited Canary and Olie and here's Kate Spencer". I mean, we were so excited to maybe get the Kate Spencer arc in there. And it's fun to write a dude cause we just wrote twenty some-odd issues of a girl team.
Shawna: It's a similar area. We're dealing with street justice as opposed to big superhero powers. They're the people that have incredible skillsets but they aren't necessarily meta powered. They're not Superman, they're not even Batman. There's something there that is a little more down-to-earth and relatable to these. And I think that's why people like Oliver Queen and they like Green Arrow.
Green Arrow #43 kicks of the Julie and Shawna Benson era of the title, with art by Javi Fernandez, with covers by Alex Maleev (and variants by Kaare Andrews) on August 1.
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
Den of Geek chatted to Mary Robinette Kowal about her Lady Astronaut series.
Imagine an Earth on which a meteroite hit in 1952, not only decimating Washington D.C. and much of the Eastern seaboard, but setting the planet on a course for human extinction. This is the alternate history laid out in Mary Robinette Kowal's Lady Astronaut series, which sees humanity working to get to space and colonize Mars much faster than in our timeline.
The Lady Astronaut series began with Hugo Award-winning novelette The Lady Astronaut of Mars and continues in dual prequel novels The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky. The Calculating Stars, just out this month from Tor Books, begins with the meterorite crash and follows Elma as she works as a calculator for the International Aerospace Coalition as they work to put a man (or woman) on the moon. Coming up against the sexist expectations and constraints of the time, Elma, a former World War II pilot, dreams of going to space herself.
The story continues in The Fated Sky, out next month, which sees Elma and the International Aerospace Coalition working to put humans on Mars. Set slightly later than The Calculating Stars, in 1961, The Fated Sky, doesn't shy away from issues of race as the Civil Rights movement begins to gain momentum across the planet.
Den of Geek was lucky enough to talk to Mary Robinette Kowal who, in addition to being an author, is a puppeteer, podcaster, and audio book narrator. We chatted about building out a world that began in a novelette, the importance of showing Southern woman as mathematicians, and sneaking the Doctor into all of her books. Listen to our entire conversation below...
Special thanks to Mary Robinette Kowal for providing her half of the audio for this interview after some recording issues on our end!
Sherlock and Watson are black lesbians in a dystopian, near future D.C. in this wonderful new interpretation of the Conan Doyle canon.
When I first claimed A Study in Honor for a review, I expected it to be focused primarily on the advertised Holmesian connection. Instead, Claire O'Dell takes Arthur Conan Doyle’s introduction of Holmes and Watson in A Study in Scarlet and turns it 270 degrees, setting the mystery in a dystopian near-future, where Dr. Janet Watson (who, like her namesake, was injured in war) becomes the roommate to Sara Holmes, a woman with mysterious clients and condescending habits.
Both women are African American (the book is set in Washington D.C.) and LGBTQA, and as the story opens, I suspected that the plot would closely follow the bones of Doyle’s original, with the conceits of the gender/race swapping giving the story its interest. But O’Dell does so much more than that, and the story rises above its references to become something new and captivating.
While Sherlock Holmes readers are sure to appreciate the nods (the realtor who shows Watson the apartment is Jenna Hudson, a reference to Holmes’s landlady Mrs. Hudson; a pivotal character late in the novel shares a last name with "the woman"), O’Dell’s interest seems to be delving more deeply into the character of her Watson than Doyle ever did.
While, in Doyle’s original works, Watson is the affable foil and recorder of the exploits of Holmes, O’Dell’s Watson returns from war suffering PTSD, and the novel is as much about Watson beginning to heal as it is solving the mysterious deaths of veterans—and bringing those responsible to justice.
Janet Watson’s World
In A Study in Honor's near-future setting, the United States is at war with itself. O'Dell's world building seems to stem from the notions of "what if": what if the United States is truly as divided right now, in the real world, as the media presents it? What if the Trump presidency has brought out so much viciousness and hatred for the other that those emotions can never be successfully be shoved back into the shadows? What if a progressive Latinx female wins the presidency?
In Janet Watson’s world, the answer is that white supremacists and the voices that ally with them form a true rebellion, breaking the United States into a second civil war that begins in Oklahoma, but stretches through the middle of the country. The New Confederacy takes what territory it can, and the movement expands quickly enough that celebrated surgeon Dr. Janet Watson feels compelled to serve. No one understands her decision: her parents worry, her grandmother openly criticizes her, her sister thinks she’s trying to take on the world, and her girlfriend leaves her.
And then comes Alton, Illinois, which changes everything again. It’s an unprecedented attack of the New Confederacy on the United States, and they successfully overrun U.S. territory. Watson is there to see the destruction. Watson is among those trying to get her patients to the safety of the helicopters—to get them out of the massacre. And as that’s happening, a sniper’s bullet shatters her arm. Despite the world’s technological advances, which would allow her to have a mechanical replacement equal to her own surgeon’s fingers, in the field, they’re only able to attach an outdated arm that has nowhere near the dexterity and handling her work requires.
Angry at the world, and left angry and frightened from the war, Watson takes her case to Washington D.C., where she once lived, and where now she hopes to make a case to the VA that she needs a suitable arm. Bureaucracies being what they are—and with an unpopular war losing funding—she’s able to extract only placations. Perhaps they’ll be able to get her an arm if she can wait long enough. Perhaps, but no promises. Watson takes a job as a VA medical technician, logging in patient data as they arrive to see the doctors, as a way to earn money while she waits.
Racial tensions run as high in Watson’s world as they feel in modern America, and her voice reveals how this feels in understated moments. At one point, when very dark-skinned Holmes shouts at a white-skinned hospital receptionist, Watson chronicles the response:
Her voice was too loud, too flat. The woman jumped in her seat. I sensed movement rippling throughout the reception area. The white people staring at us. The few blacks going still and tense as they stared anywhere but in our direction.
Watson’s awareness of the social dynamics of race and class—of how she is impacted by them, and of the choices she makes and doesn’t make because of the way the world still works, separating people first by pigmentation and further by culture—reads as a strong social commentary, and as a window for readers who have never had to think about how their skin color impacts the way the world treats them.
Claire O’Dell is a pseudonym for Beth Bernobich. Bernobich is not, herself, African American, so this is not an #OwnVoices novel in terms of race or, for that matter, disability. (From this straight, white, able-bodied reviewer's perspective, it seems that she conducted extensive research to so convincingly write from both perspectives.) However, it is #OwnVoices for PTSD and bisexuality.
Watson’s inner life is fascinating, even without playing her against the very Holmesian Sara, whose superiority and cunning are a match for Doyle’s original, though her means and methods are different. Watson is tempted into becoming Holmes’s roommate because it gets her out of the miserable hostel in which she’s staying, and because, in all things, she is tempted by beauty. And it is good for Holmes that she recognizes Watson’s weakness, because Holmes makes herself insufferable.
She is imperious. She assumes her own way. She takes charge of situations without explaining herself and expects others to fall in line. There’s an implication that this is because she’s from a wealthy family—with whom she frequently disagrees, but who ultimately come through when she needs them. She’s hooked into all the latest tech: she wears cybernetic lace gloves and an earbud that give her access to an information cloud that puts the modern Internet to shame.
Holmes’s affluence is a thorn for Watson, though she initially does her best to ignore Holmes’s idiosyncrasies. When one of Watson’s patients dies—a woman suffering from similar PTSD to Watson’s own, whose sleeplessness and depression had her coming back for frequent appointments—Watson looks into the death, and finds herself suddenly targeted by a mugger on her way home from work.
Holmes locks Watson away from the world to recover from the attack (drawing Watson’s intense ire), and ultimately reveals a small bit about her work—as an intelligence agent of the federal government. Though Holmes is not authorized to investigate further, she partners with Watson, because the data refuses to line up, and Holmes sees connections that need more evidence before she can prove a conspiracy that threatens not only Watson, but the fate of the United States.
While Holmes never reveals the same kind of depth as Watson, there are hints of it there, as well as moments that show the impenetrable façade of her superiority hides a vulnerability. Holmes will strike readers as the kind of woman few people understand, and even fewer people befriend. Despite Watson’s initial dislike and fury toward her roommate, as the novel concludes, the two women are indeed friends and allies, and are well set up to complete further adventures.
The Holmes and Watson hook is a sure bet—there are enough spin-offs in mystery, film, and SFF for marketers to know that those names are an obvious draw. But, while you may come for the hook, stay for O’Dell’s characters, who are fully realized in their own right. Come for her world, a frightening and all-too-possible feeling dystopia. And come for the hope that, even when all the world seems unfair, there are people who fight for justice—and who find it, a little at a time.
A Doom Patrol live-action TV series is coming to the DC Universe streaming service
The weirdest team in all of comics is getting a live-action TV series, thanks to DC TV mastermind Greg Berlanti. The Doom Patrol, which is set to first be introduced on the upcoming Titans TV show, will spin off into its own series on the DC Universe digital service. Doom Patrolhas received a 13-episode, straight-to-series order.
The cast includes Bruno Bichir as The Chief, April Bowlby as Elasti-Girl, Jake Michaels as Robotman, and Dwain Murphy as Negative Man. Diane Guerrero (Orange is the New Black) will play Crazy Jane "an unlikely hero suffering from the world’s most severe case of multiple personality disorder. Each of her 64 distinct personas manifest a different super power making Jane the Doom Patrol’s most powerful member…and also its most unstable." (via Deadline)
Doom Patrol is written by Supernatural's Jeremy Carver, who will also exec produce with Berlanti and DC Entertainment president Geoff Johns. The series will begin production this year and debut in 2019.
Here's the title card:
According to the press release, Doom Patrol is a re-imagining of DC’s most beloved group of outcast superheroes: Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Girl and Crazy Jane, led by modern-day mad scientist Dr. Niles Caulder (The Chief). The Doom Patrol's members each suffered horrible accidents that gave them superhuman abilities — but also left them scarred and disfigured.
Traumatized and downtrodden, the team found purpose through The Chief, who brought them together to investigate the weirdest phenomena in existence — and to protect Earth from what they find. Part support group, part superhero team, the Doom Patrol is a band of super-powered freaks who fight for a world that wants nothing to do with them.
Picking up after the events of Titans, Doom Patrol will find these reluctant heroes in a place they never expected to be, called to action by none other than Cyborg, who comes to them with a mission hard to refuse, but with a warning that is hard to ignore: their lives will never, ever be the same.
It looks like the show will follow the same ethos from the original comics in that the Doom Patrol will take on a mission that's just too weird for the Justice League. The team was created by Arnold Drake, Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani.
Wel'll keep you updated as we learn more!
From crime novels to non-fiction, J.K. Rowling has found some time to write outside of the Potterverse.
J.K. Rowling will always be best known for her stories about a boy wizard and the world he inhabits, but she has written several works outside of the Harry Potter universe. If you'd like to see what Rowling's writing is like when she is not telling a story about wizards, check out one of these books...
The Casual Vacancy
The Casual Vacancy is a contemporary novel that touches on many of the issues Rowling couldn't easily put in Harry Potter: drugs, prostitution, rape, the list goes on. This is not a novel for those looking for a Potter-like escape, but it is a deftly told story that addresses some of the biggest social issues of modern Britain in bleak, insightful ways.
The premise? When a well-known local politician dies suddenly, the town of Pagford is thrown into an unexpected politic struggle over the question of who will fill his council seat, exposing the social fractures of the seemingly sleepy English town. The plot is told in seven parts (one for each Horcrux), and is definitely a slow burn, but it actually works as an interesting companion to Harry Potter.
I have heard several people mention The Casual Vacancy's interpretation of modern Britain as the Muggle world Dudley Dursley inherits, the one Harry doesn't have to live in because of his magical escape, and I think that is a fascinating framework. Don't go into this novel if you're looking for something like Harry Potter, though. There is no magic here. Only the unflinching mundane.
The Casual Vacancy was made into a BBC/HBO miniseries starring Rory Kinnear, Emily Bevan (Amy from the wonderful In the Flesh), and Michael Gambon, if that's more your speed. You can check out the for The Casual Vacancy trailer here.
The Cormoran Strike Detective Series
Written under the pen name Robert Galbraith, the Cormoran Strike series follow the adventures of London-based private detective Cormoran Strike, a surly war veteran and illegitimate son of a famous rock star. Injured both physically and psychologically in the warm, Strike uses the skills he developed as a Special investigation Branch officer in the military to crack cases the police are unable to solve.
The crime series has three installments so far: The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil. Rowling is currently working on the fourth book in the series.
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
The Cormoran Strike series is not doing anything new in the crime genre, but it does include two interesting main characters and some clever cases, using an old-fashioned structure to explore contemporary issues, like celebrity culture, privacy, and a boundary-crossing press.
Very Good Lives (and other non-fiction)
In addition to her novels and screenwriting, Rowling has written many non-fiction essays, book introductions, and op-eds. Her arguably most well-known pieces of non-fiction actually started as a speech. In 2008, Rowling delivered the Harvard Commencement address, a 24-minute speech on the "fringe benefits of failure" and the "importance of imagination." Here's a short excerpt:
Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared ...
The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet. My small participation in that process was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.
In the time since, the speech has been published as a book called Very Good Lives, complete with illustrations to accompany the words.
Elsewhere in the non-fiction world, Rowling has written about children's rights and modern-day "orphanages" for The Guardian, reviewed Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford for the Telegraph, and wrote a profile on Gordon Brown for Time Magazine.
Her Twitter account
If this seems like a weak ploy to add another item to this list, then you've obviously never stopped by Rowling's Twitter handle. The woman was born to snark, criticize, and empower in 140 characters. If you are a Harry Potter fan, then you already know how witty and insightful Rowling can be, but if you need a quick example, just read a sample of her tweets...
.@sjosiah0 The Internet doesn%u2019t just offer opportunities for misogynistic abuse, you know. Penis enlargers can also be bought discreetly.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 8, 2015
.@JMcGilchrist93 Book burnings! I'll bring marshmallows.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 10, 2015
.@WBCsigns Alas, the sheer awesomeness of such a union in such a place would blow your tiny bigoted minds out of your thick sloping skulls.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 26, 2015
They see me Rowlin'
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) February 17, 2016
Have you read any of Rowling's non-Potterverse work? Do you have a favorite? Sound off in the comments below...
In a media age defined by long-form narrative, Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling is one of our best storytellers.
When people talk about the great storytellers of the modern era, J.K. Rowling should always be included on the list. The narrative of her writing of the Harry Potter series is one often defined by good luck, creativity, and — yes — a little bit of magic. However, that muse-centric, fairy tale structure is a lazy, simplistic way of talking about Rowling's skill with story. It takes away from the extreme intelligence, capacity for hard work, and storytelling genius that Rowling possesses.
In honor of the author's birthday, let's talk about the elements of storytelling that the British author demonstrates such an impressive command of in the Harry Potter series. And let's think about how, in a media age increasingly defined by long-form, serialized storytelling, Rowling is one of the very best...
Story structure in Harry Potter...
Rowling's true genius lies not in prose, but in story structure, which is perhaps why the books have translated so well into film form. Even when you take away Rowling's signature wit, the story itself can stand on its own in any medium. (We're looking at you, too, The Cursed Child.)
Pictured above is one of Rowling's many notes for the crafting of plot in Harry Potter. This specific spreadsheet is from the outlining of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth book in the series, and includes separate columns for most of the book's major subplots, including: what's happening in the main "prophecy" plot, what's happening with Cho and Ginny, what's happening with the Order of the Phoenix, what's happening with the unraveling of the Snape/James Potter backstory, what's happening with Dumbledore's army, what's happening with Hagrid/Grawp, etc.
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
Sure, this is typical authorial outlining stuff, but anyone who has read the Harry Potter series can explain to you how Rowling started foreshadowing the end of the series from the very beginning, especially picking up in The Chamber of Secrets. The Horcruxes were always integral to the story, hidden in plain plot sight — one example of the many narrative subthreads developed throughout the series and throughout each book. This development was rarely done in a heavy-handed way, which made the eventual reveals in The Deathy Hallows that much more rewarding.
For example, Harry spots The Vanishing Cabinet that Draco Malfoy would later use to get the Death Eaters into Hogwarts in The Half-Blood Prince way back in The Chamber of Secrets when he ends up in Knockturn Alley's Borgin and Burkes. In Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor Trelawney "reads" that Harry is born in mid-winter, even though his birthday is in July. As we later find out, she is actually seeing Lord Voldemort's birth in Harry, a sign of his Horcruxian tie to the Dark Lord.
The examples go on: Dumbledore tangentially mentions his brother Aberforth in one of the early books. We "meet" the Grey Lady in book one, only to learn about her importance to the founding of Hogwarts and the destruction of the Horcruxes in the seventh books. We could sit here listing the detail-payoff patterns in this series all day.
The fact that these narrative crumbs were spread over not just a trilogy, but seven books, is particularly impressive. The amount of forethought and adherence to planning that Rowling demonstrates in pulling off this series is mindboggling in its focus. Pair that with the patience it took to introduce extremely relevant plot points early on in the series, and have that greater relevance revealed later on, and genius of Rowling's plotting starts to take shape.
Characterization in Harry Potter...
Plotting is important, but the Harry Potter series would not be what it is without Rowling's command of characterization. The author creates a rich interpersonal world within the wizarding community that is so important in exploring the coming-of-age story's main themes of love, family, and loss. We care if Harry defeats the Dark Lord because we care about these characters. It's a simple narrative necessity, one that demonstrates emotional intelligence, but a skill that far too many storytellers don't actually have.
For me, one of the best examples of characterization in the Harry Potter series is Ron Weasley. Rowling's skill in articulating character is so well demonstrated with Ron because he is the character that is generally characterized the poorest when other writers take him on. In the movies (and, to a lesser extent, in The Cursed Child, too), Ron is too-often flattened for comic relief. We lose the rich texture of this character, the way his struggle to get out of the shadow of his many brothers and, now, Harry, is balanced by his intense goodness and loyalty to the ones he loves.
Ron isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. He's not great at expressing his feelings and he is often petty and stubborn when he is feeling slighted (e.g. his fight with Hermione in Prisoner of Azkaban or his fight with Harry in Goblet of Fire.) But he would do anything for his friends, and matures an immense amount over the course of the series, while still maintaining his distinct Ron-ness. When we meet Ron, he is a bumbling, yet good-natured kid who has some outdated views of a world he is very much still trying to figure out. By the end of the series, he is destroying Horcruxes and worrying about house elves, even whilst still occasionally succombing to his jealous, insecure side.
From the book's main protagonist to the seemingly most minor of supporting characters, Rowling has a gift for creating immediately distinct, relatable characters. Mrs. Dursley is a nosy gossip. Hermione Granger is a socially-awkward brain. Remus Lupin is a weary and mysterious, yet trustworthy authority figure. And, as with Rowling's plotting, these characters have arcs within the individual books and the series as a whole. We understand how they exist within the wider community, how they are seen by those who are closest to them and by those who only know their family name.
More than that, the steady adherence to characterization exists not only in the individual character arcs, but in the relationships between characters. We understand why characters do everything they do — and that's down to consistent characterization and the carefully-constructed relationships between characters. ("'Always,' said Snape.")
World-building in Harry Potter...
You can't talk about J.K. Rowling as a storyteller without discussing her skill for worldbuilding. Rowling's ability to create a just-out-of-sight magical world with its own system of lived-in logic may be the most impressive thing about the Harry Potter series. Rowling created an entire subculture, complete with economy, government, media, sports, history, lore, educational system, etc. Sure, it is very much based on the British social order, but it still exists as its own vividly-realized world.
As the Harry Potter For Writers website points out, Harry's first introduction to the wizarding world doesn't happen at Hogwarts, but rather at Diagon Alley where he visits the Leaky Cauldron, Ollivanders, Gringotts, and a slew of other shops. It is a mini-tour of the wizarding world, both for Harry and for the reader. We learn about wizarding money, customs, and the trappings of how Hogwarts works through the purchasing of Harry's school supplies.
This worldbuilding extends to Hogwarts in The Sorceror's Stone, then to the larger wizarding world with The Goblet of Fire's Qudditch World Cup and Triwizard Tournament and, eventually, Hermione and Harry's tour of wizarding England in The Deathy Hallows.
Rowling slowly broadens the scope of this world from The Sorceror's Stone onward, weaving setting and wizarding culture. However, its depth is apparent from day one. Like any good writer, Rowling exudes confidence in her writing, a promise that she knows where she is going, that every detail has meaning and value, that this narrative journey won't end in disappointing, disatisfying chaos. She doesn't break that promise.
The difficult importance of an ending...
It's hard to end a story in a satisfying way — especially a story that takes place over the course of seven books. You can't just hope for the best. An ending needs to have its roots in the beginning. It needs to be present in everything that has come before. It needs to be a truth illuminated in the final moments, but a truth that has somehow been there all along.
Epilogues and canon-extending plays aside, Rowling sticks the landing of the Harry Potter series, and she does it in an unexpectedly bold way by sending the Golden Trio away from Hogwarts to go on a dark, depressing adventure that not only calls into question the strength of their own relationships with one another, but the motivations of Dumbledore, a character that — up until this series-ending book — had been painted as a somewhat uncomplicated trustworthy mentor.
These challenging choices prove just how sure of her narrative Rowling was from the very beginning. She always knew where she was going, famously writing out the last chapter and keeping it hidden away in a safety deposit box, and it shows in the ending. If an ending needs to be informed by everything that has come before, then The Deathly Hallows is a parade of the Harry Potter series greatest hits, but a parade that never feels like a tired retreading of what has come before.
If many of the questions, characters, and settings are the same, they are maturing and deepening in necessary ways. Can love conquer evil? What does it mean to grow up divorced from your past and identity? Do the ones we love ever really leave us? The answers get more complicated, their potential relevance more immediately dire, in The Deathly Hallows.
But Rowling never lets the narrative heavy-lifting show. She makes the moving and fitting together of the many, intricate moving parts of this story look simple, doing so much work through her plotting, characterization, and worldbuilding that we never doubt for a second that she knows what she's talking about, that this world — and its meaning — is real in some sense of the word. In the way that any fiction is real: in the expression of theme and the exploration of humanity.
Dumbledore tells Harry at the end of The Deathly Hallows: "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" With Rowling, that master of narrative, moving us through this story, how could we ever believe otherwise?
For many, the true magic of the Potterverse lies not in its prose, but in the model of internet fandom it helped nurture.
In this second era of Harry Potter content, it can be hard to forget a time before the boy wizard and his magical world ruled the internet.
Harry Potter and the internet are so inextricably intertwined. Star Trek fandom may have written many of the rules of modern slash fanfiction. The X-Files fandom gave us the term "shipping." But it was the Harry Potter fandom that defined much of the community-based internet fandom culture we know and (mostly) love today.
As Harry Potter fandom continues to struggle, shape, and define how we engage with the most popular stories in the world, and with the other people who love them, let's take a look back at th fandom that helped shaped how we use the internet today...
(Image above via Dorkly.)
Harry Potter and The Birth of the Internet
The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was published in 1998 in the U.S., somewhere in the middle of the process that saw the internet graduating from a resource used mostly at universities and by privileged uber-nerds to mainstream use. By mid-1999, the internet was in a third of U.S. households. By 2001, it had reached the 50 percent mark.
Where was Harry Potter fandom in 2001? It was the year the first Harry Potter film was released. It was also one year into the so-called "Three-Year Summer," the longest stretch between the publishing of any two Harry Potter books (after The Goblet of Fire and before The Order of the Phoenix.)
The Three-Year Summer is known within Harry Potter fandom as a period of intense creation, discussion, and collaboration. It was when the Potterverse really came into its own, and it was perfectly aligned with the spread of internet technology across the U.S.
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
So was Harry Potter just in the right place at the right time? Definitely, but that doesn't negate the strength of J.K. Rowling's characters, plot structure, and world-building. It also doesn't negate the serialized nature of the Harry Potter story, a feature that Francesca Coppa argues made Harry Potter perfect fodder for fandom. In The Fanfiction Studies Reader, Coppa writes:
Harry Potter comes to us as the embodied protagonist of a series of stories that retell Harry's adventures during a series of school years ... The ongoing series of novels was then made into an ongoing series of films. In all these ways, the Harry Potter books resist the status of 'finished literary text' made up of particular words in a particular order, and instead construct themselves as the open-ended inspiration for future performative supplements that will allow its audience to reconstitute itself on a regular basis.
The stage was set.
Harry Potter and The Fanfiction
Fanfiction has always been a thing. From The Great Game to Wide Sargasso Sea to Spockanalia, fans have long been inspired to become creators in the fictional worlds they love. Fandom as we now know it today, however, is a more modern development. It has become much easier to create a community around fannish excitements since the development of mass media and, even more recently, the internet.
As we've already established, Harry Potter came around at a time when modern fandom was given its first chance to be. A huge part of this fannish revolution was in the writing, reading, and sharing of fanfiction. Websites like Fanfiction.net, FictionAlley, and LiveJournal gave Harry Potter fanfiction writers and readers a place to gather with like-minded fans, to find other people who enjoyed nerding out about and becoming creators within the world of their favorite story in a way that, previously, might have made you an outsider. The internet created accessible community in a way like never before. This was the first step toward mainstreaming fannish activities and behavior.
On September 4th, 1999, the first Harry Potter fanfiction story was uploaded onto Fanfiction.net. That same month, the Harry Potter for GrownUps mailing list is started. The following month, in October 1999, MuggleNet launches. Both were sites where fanfiction was shared and welcomed, though that was far from their only purpose. August 2000 saw Cassandra Clare (who would go on to write the wildly popular YA series The Mortal Instruments, source material for current Freeform TV series Shadowhunters) publish the first chapter of "The Draco Trilogy." The series would continue to be updated over the next six years and included almost one million words spanning three, novel-length stories.
For many young fans, fanfiction was (and is) more than a way of engaging in their favorite story; it is a way of better understanding the world and their own identities. It is a way of breaking outside the narrow boundaries of most canon culture and normalizing something other than the straight, white, male, financially-secure experience that dominates stories with corporate backing. Fanfiction is a way of saying: whoever you are, that's OK.
It's not a secret that much of the fanfiction (though definitely not all) involves queer pairings. Slash fanfiction is the name for fanfiction written about two same-sex characters in a romantic and/or sexual pairing. The term "slash" refers to the "/" between the two characters in question and comes out of Star Trek fandom, specifically the Kirk/Spock relationship.
Jameson writes about the influence of megafandoms like Harry Potter and Twilight on the sexual education of younger generations in her book Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World, saying:
Harry Potter slash helped shape and challenge attitudes toward sexual diversity among the generation that grew up reading it and arguing about it (a lot) online ... Where previous generations may have looked to parental porn stashes and the pages of Cosmopolitan, today's teens increasingly find such information in fanfiction.
They write it in fanfiction — and in some version or another, they always have. They used to write it in notebooks, and now they write it and share it online. Like it or not, this has become normal and public, a part of growing up for millions. If Twilightand Harry Potter have taught us anything, it's that authorial intent has nothing to do with the afterlives of characters.
The representation of queer characters has come a long way in the last 15 years, and I think it's fair to credit some of that progression to the mainstreaming of a fandom culture that has long been more comfortable with focusing on queer relationships.
Intellectual property attorney, FictionAlley co-founder, and fanfiction writer Heidi Tandy writes about the early days of Harry Potter fandom in Fic, saying:
A decade ago, I was slammed as immoral for letting teenagers discuss whether gay wizards even existed; in 2007, J.K. Rowling told us they did. Kids who were thirteen in 1999 and 2002 and 2004 are in their twenties now, and those who were college students then have kids of their own. If you told them that it was immoral to let thirteen-year-olds read YA stories about gay teenage wizards, they would probably laugh and tell you it'd be immoral to ban them from reading those stories. Or anything else.
Today, readers don't only have fanfiction for gay teen wizard stories. In 2015, Rainbow Rowell published Fangirl, a young adult novel about a college-aged girl and fanfiction writer. Her follow-up novel, Carry On, focuses on the Harry Potter-like characters first introduced as fanfiction characters in Fangirl. (Yes, Simon and Baz are teen wizards. And, yes, they fall in love.)
Carry On might not actually be fanfiction, but it does use many of fanfiction's most beloved tropes and serves similar functions, challenging, expanding, and dismantling many of the narrative constructs utilized in Harry Potter canon, most especially the "Chosen One" trope.
The story prioritizes interiority and emotionality, in a way that is much more common in fanfiction than it is in canon fiction, as Elizabeth Minkel explains in her Medium article "Harry Potter and the Sanctioned Follow-Up Work (or, Fanfiction vs. the Patriarchy)."
The privileging of character, of emotionality, of interiority, is par for the course in female-dominated transformative fandom, and pretty rare in the largely male-authored source works that rule the fan world, especially big-budget blockbuster franchises. It's at the heart of the shipping clashes between creators and fans, when creators throw up their hands and say "stop making this about romance and/or sex!!" Creators are making plot-oriented worlds first, then thinking about what the characters will do; female-dominated fandom is thinking about who the characters are, and in a given situation, what they feel.
Notably, an interest in interiority and emotionality are common traits in contemporary young adult fiction. One could make the argument that YA fiction partially gets this trait from the fanfiction tradition that many of its writers (and many of its readers) hail from.
Harry Potter and The Powers That Be
We've written a bit on Den of Geek about the ongoing tensions between sanctioned creaters and fandom. With the rise of social media, conversations between The Powers That Be and fandom are easier than ever. This means that it's easier than ever to give creators praise for and ask questions about the stories they've created, but it's also easier than ever to critique content directly to its creators, corporate backers, and rights-holders. Though this might seem like a more modern phenomenon, it has its foundations in the earliest years of internet fandom.
When Harry Potter fandom first began, the legal definitions of "fair use" and "transformative works" had not been tested in this new pioneer of internet fandom. They would be. In 2000, Warner Bros. bought the merchandising rights to all things Harry Potter, aside from the books themselves. They began sending out cease-and-desist letters that were, in the words of Tandy, "Umbridge-esque threatening letters to teens around the world, insisting they hand over domain names that included terms from the Harry Potter series."
What I, as a newcomer to online fandom, didn't know at the time was that a few fans who'd come to HP from other fandoms thought that the only proper response, if The Powers That Be asked you anything, was to shut down your site, pull down your fics and your discussions, and go away— maybe even change your online name, which definitely had no link to your real-world self. But how could you be a fan of a book that was premised on standing up to evil and saying no to overreaching by The Authorities, and just do that?
Henry Jenkins writes about this period of fandom history, known as The Potter War, in Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. Jenkins tells the story of how Heather Lawver, the then-teenage fan who ran the website The Daily Prophet, launched the Defense Against the Dark Arts campaign, coordinating media outreach and activism against the studio with other Harry Potter fans and site-runners across the world. Lawver told Jenkins:
Warner was very clever about who they attacked ... They attacked a whole bunch of kids in Poland. How much of a risk is that? They went after the 12 and 15 year olds with the rinky-dink sites. They underestimated how interconnected our fandom was. They underestimated the fact that we knew those kids in Poland and we knew the rinky dink sites and we cared about them.
Warner Bros. wasn't prepared for the Harry Potter fandom to be so well-organized, or perhaps to be a community at all. Unlike fandom before the rise of the internet, these groups of fans could communicate and coordinate like never before.
Fandom crossed boundaries of age, nation, language, and culture to push back against Warner Bros.'s campaign to keep this fictional universe firmly in the hands of The Powers That Be. And it worked. Diane Nelson, Warner Bros. Family Entertainment's senior vice president at the time, told Jenkins:
We didn't know what we had on our hands early on in dealing with Harry Potter. We did what we would normally do in the protection of our intellectual property. as soon as we realized we were causing consternation to children or their parents, we stopped it ... [Now,] we are trying to balance the needs of other creative stakeholders, as well as the fans, as well as our own legal obligations, all within an arena which is new and changing and there are not clear precedents about how things should be interpreted or how they would be acted upon if they ever reached the courts.
The reaction from internet fandoms of the time, including the ever-growing Harry Potter online fandom, shaped the rules for the current relationship between The Powers That Be and The Fans. If those Harry Potter fans had been less organized, who knows what the internet would look like today?
Harry Potter and The Conclusion
Books could be (and have been) written about the expansive Harry Potter fandom. From wizard rock to the Harry Potter Alliance to LeakyCon, the Harry Potter fandom is no one thing. It is massive and diverse. Fans participate for different reasons and in different ways and that makes it hard to come to any sweeping conclusions about its nature, purpose, or growth. However, it does seem safe to note its vital importance as one of the first major internet fandoms. A fandom that developed along with the internet and, in some small part, helped shape what it would become.
For many, Harry Potter fandom is just as if not more powerful than Harry Potter canon itself. Any why wouldn't it be? Fandom involves millions of creators rather than just one. Of course it is richer than the book, stage play, and prequel movies that, by the broadest definition, include thousands of creators.
Fandom is a conversation. Canon is a lecture — often times, an articulate one, but one-sided nonetheless. Or, if you'd prefer, the statement that starts the larger cultural discussion that, through fandom, more people than ever before are able to participate in.
As Alanna Bennett touches on in her recent Buzzfeedpiece "The Harry Potter Fandom Is At A Crossroads," the current angst in the Harry Potter community is as much about seeing canon fall short of the infinity of fandom as it is about the lackluster quality of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
"The Potter fandom has crafted a legacy of engagement and creativity that the series’ modern canonical efforts are struggling to live up to. For so many fans ... it can be hard to get hype about Cursed Child when they recognize in it so many of the tropes they explored themselves a decade ago — in content they created and championed."
An entire generation of fans is being asked to reevaluate the presumed value of canon vs. fandom and coming up with an answer The Powers That Be might not like. The Harry Potter book series is often credited with getting an entire generation of kids to read, but, perhaps even more importantly, it gave an entire generation of nerds community-based fandom.
In turn, Harry Potter fandom gave us (with the rise of the internet) the mainstreaming of nerd culture. It taught an entire generation of nerds that they are not alone and that they don't have to wait for The Powers That Be to write people who look, act, and feel like them into the stories they love. They can do it themselves.
There is a nostalgia for these early days of Harry Potter fandom as much as there is a nostalgia for the Harry Potter books themselves, but I'm not sure how many people would want to go back to a time when fans' rights to act as creators in the stories that act as our modern myths were so uncertain. Not when, now, this community-based form of loving, challenging, and expanding the stories that make up our popular culture has become so normal.
Harry Potter canon might be aging into something less relevant and more problematic than its earlier incarnations, but the modern fandom it helped create is more important than ever.
As we get ready for the Venom movie, we take a look back at the oddball moments in the alien-clad character's Marvel history.
Ever since popping in during the late-80's, Venom has been popular enough to show up all over the place. He's been a vengeful supervillain and he's been a mentally-unhinged would-be superhero. He's been part of the Sinister Six and he's been part of the Secret Avengers. The costume has latched onto various hosts and three of them have been used as soldiers for the government. An inventive idea that's starred in more bad stories than good, the alien symbiote has found itself in a lot of crazy situations.
With the Venom movie on the way, I thought I'd take some time to look through Venom's history and some of the more eyebrow-raising moments. Except for anything from Spider-Man 3 because my therapist tells me I'm not ready to talk about that yet.
15. DR. DOOM'S ILL-DEFINED PLAN FOR WORLD DOMINATION
Spider-Man: The Video Game (1991)
The Spider-Man arcade game is fun to play, but good luck trying to make sense of the narrative. Having Black Cat accompany Spider-Man makes enough sense, but having Hawkeye and Namor as playable is just weird. At the end of the first level, you fight Venom. Once he's defeated, he's possessed by some mystical artifact and it enlarges him to about 25-feet-tall. After being beaten down to normal size again, he gives it another go and is once again wiped out. That appears to be the last you hear from him.
Late in the game, you find out that Kingpin isn't the game's big villain after all. He's working under Dr. Doom, meaning a trip down to Latveria for the climax. You'd think that taking out Dr. Doom (twice, since the first is a Doombot) would be the finale, but no. Once Doom is taken out, he unleashes the TRUE final boss! An army of Venoms literally rain from the top of the screen and you have to fight them all off. How random.
Coincidentally, Dr. Doom would unleash an army of symbiotes onto the populace in Bendis' Mighty Avengers many years later.
14. ALL ARMS ON DECK
Venom: The Madness (1993)
Ann Nocenti and Kelley Jones did a 3-issue arc with an interesting hook. See, Spider-Man was joined with a sentient parasite and thought it was too insane to keep around. Eddie Brock didn't have that opinion and gladly became Venom. So what if you added a third creature to the mix that drove Venom so insane that Eddie had to put his foot down and get rid of it?
After being stomped down on by Juggernaut to the point that he was inches from death, Venom was joined with a sentient virus made out of mercury. It healed him up and jacked up his strength, while at the same time giving him extra arms and tiny head sticking out of his neck because this is an Ann Nocenti comic. Unfortunately, Venom went a little too extreme and not in a good way. Like, he at one point attempted to rape his girlfriend because he was more impulsive than ever. It's seriously messed up.
Luckily, Juggernaut showed up for round two to interrupt that and Madness Venom was able to hold his own against the unstoppable one. He didn't get a chance to finish Juggernaut off because he's whisked away to a realm of madness, where he was attacked by dark copies of Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider. Comics!
13. SECRET SKELETON
What If #114 (1998)
The final issue of the 90's run of What If was a pretty cool one with a story based on Secret Wars. What if the Beyonder and Galactus killed each other and all the heroes and villains were stranded? 25 years later, we see a society where the survivors have paired up and reproduced. The main protagonists are the children of She-Hulk and Hawkeye, Wolverine and Storm, Human Torch and Wasp, Thor and Enchantress as well as Captain America and Rogue (try not to think too hard about how that one works). Remember, though, that this is based on the story where Spider-Man got his black costume. It's shown that he's still wearing it and with two and a half decades since its introduction, what could this mean?
Late in the story, the heroes all swarm Dr. Doom's castle and in one panel, Spider-Man is hit with one of Klaw's sonic blasts. It reveals that all that's left of Peter Parker is a skeleton. The symbiote has been controlling his remains like a puppet for who knows how many years. Yet this doesn't even faze Human Torch, who saves him and lends him a quip, as if he's long accepted that his buddy is just a pile of bones controlled by talking spandex.
12. ENDLESS FIRST IMPRESSIONS
This one isn't so much a "moment," but it's so deliciously 90's comics that I have to mention it. Back in that decade, Venom became popular enough to get his own run as an anti-hero in San Francisco...which then got him relocated to New York City because they needed those easy-to-write Spider-Man crossovers.
Except...Marvel had a peculiar way of running Venom's ongoing. On one hand, it really was an ongoing series. It started in February of 1993 and the last issue was January of 1998. Sixty issues across five years without a single month being off. On the other hand, they didn't treat it that way. There was no Venom #7. Rather than streamline all the comics into one easy-to-follow series, Marvel turned every single story arc into its own miniseries. What's going to sell better, a comic with a random number attached, or a Venom comic with a big #1 on the cover?
In the end, other than Venom #1-60, we got Venom: Lethal Protector #1-6, Venom: Funeral Pyre #1-3, Venom: The Madness #1-3, Venom: The Mace #1-3, Venom: The Enemy Within #1-3, Venom: Nights of Vengeance #1-4, Venom: Separation Anxiety #1-4, Venom: Carnage Unleashed #1-4, Venom: Sinner Takes All #1-5, Venom: Along Came a Spider #1-4, Venom: The Hunted #1-3, Venom: The Hunger #1-4, Venom: Tooth and Claw #1-3, Venom: On Trial #1-3, Venom: License to Kill #1-3, Venom: Sign of the Boss #1-2 and Venom: Finale #1-3. All that and a bunch of specials mixed in there. I guess marketing trumps a coherent reading order.
11. THE WAR IN FRANK CASTLE'S MIND
What If #44 (1992)
Kurt Busiek and Luke McDonnell collaborated for one hell of a comic in What If Venom Had Possessed the Punisher? Frank Castle stops into a church moments before Eddie Brock and because of this, he becomes the host for the symbiote. At first it helps him with his war on crime, but it begins to take over more and more and even tries to make him kill Spider-Man.
It all comes to a head when the Punisher fights Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Moon Knight on a rooftop. Spider-Man hits him with a sonic blast and it allows Frank to wrest control for just a moment. He shoots the sonic cannon and goes into a vegetative state. Inside his head, we see a really sweet sequence of Frank in his Vietnam gear as he feels himself being stalked by the creature. He changes into his Punisher duds, screams that he's not afraid, and fights the creature head on.
It's a completely badass scene, but the best part is still Moon Knight excitedly yelling that he's a creature of mysticism – AND THE MOON! Somehow saying that wins him the benefit of the doubt.
10. HE'S A DEMON ON WHEELS
Venom #36 (2013)
Cullen Bunn really did try to make his Venom run work, but a lot of the time, things never really clicked. In the latter part of his run, Flash Thompson Venom hangs out in Philadelphia and hunts down any information he can on crime boss Lord Ogre. Some criminals drive off and escape him and he's a bit disappointed that he doesn't have a ride of his own. He sees the husk of an old car with the wheels stripped off and gets an idea.
Existing for just one hell of a splash page, the Venom-Mobile shows that apparently the symbiote is able to work on machines too if the story calls for it. Either way, it's certainly a step up from the Spider-Mobile.
9. DOG IN THE EYE
Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man #4 (2009)
Brian Reed and Chris Bachalo's take on Mac Gargan Venom is a super fun read, telling the story of a horndog cannibal who's treated by the media as a great hero. Under the guise of Spider-Man of the Dark Avengers, Venom causes all sorts of trouble and makes a million enemies in his wake. The climax is at a big festival in the middle of Time Square. Norman Osborn gives Bullseye and Daken the orders to take Gargan out, since he's more trouble than he's worth. Since Bullseye can make any object into a lethal weapon, he chooses to use a tiny yapping dog.
The dog doesn't kill Venom, but it does get lodged deep into his eye. Venom proceeds to fight off Bullseye, Daken, various gang members, and a group of half-eaten supervillains out for revenge...all while he has a dog in his eye. Once cooler heads prevail, he finally pops it out of his socket and discards the poor guy off into the distance.
8. THE SINISTER SPIDER-HAM
What The--?! #20 (1992)
Spider-Ham was a creation of the 80's and his star wore out before Venom's introduction. The character was reprised in the early 90's as part of Marvel's parody comic What The--?! Issue #20 features a crossover between various regulars of the series in an adventure called the Infinity Wart. Forbush Man, Spider-Ham, Milk & Cookies, and Wolverina team up and face their evil selves. For Spider-Ham, it's an excuse to introduce his Venom counterpart, Pork Grind.
Speaking like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pork Grind fights Spider-Ham and Milk & Cookies. He mostly manhandles them until Spider-Ham eats his spinach and punches him out. Coincidentally, this is not the last entry on the list to feature Austrian Venom.
7. EDDIE BROCK: SISTER OF PAIN
Venom: Sign of the Boss #1 (1997)
Venom's 90's series became delightfully silly by the end, partially because they introduced a plot device where the symbiote was placated by eating chocolate. Believe it or not, there's actually a really well-written explanation for why the symbiote is calmed by chocolate, but that's neither here nor there. During the last couple story arcs, Venom is forced to work as an agent for the government or else they'll detonate the bomb in his chest. He's given an assignment to lay low in a church for some big speech on peace by a foreign leader. If anyone makes a move, Venom is to be alerted to spring into action and stop the assassination, but not a moment sooner.
The symbiote is able to mimic any form of clothing and disguise Eddie in all sorts of ways. That makes it extra funny when of all disguises, Eddie wears a nun's habit and asks the choirboys to not sing quite as high-pitched as it gives him a bit of a headache. Some gun-carrying thugs take them hostage, but Venom has to wait until he gets clearance to reveal himself.
Once he does, he violently murders the henchmen in front of the children, not realizing that he's traumatizing them into oblivion. Once finished, he tells them that violence is more of an adult thing and offers a chocolate bar to one of the kids. Because of course he has a candy bar on him. The boy is practically catatonic in fear, especially when Venom yells, "Come on! Take it!" Then Venom gets all huffy and offended, not understanding why he isn't being thanked.
6. THE FRENCH KISS OF DEATH
Venom #11 (2004)
Daniel Way's Venom series from the mid-00's is really, really bad and should not be read ever. It's mean-spirited, overly-complicated, and has nothing resembling payoff whatsoever. It's also a comic where Venom himself – at least the Eddie Brock incarnation – doesn't show up until the 11th issue. You see, the symbiote terrorizing everyone all this time is a clone. #11 starts a three-issue story that explains the clone's origin.
It has to do with a fight where Venom beats on Spider-Man until the Fantastic Four arrive to stop him. At first, Thing is able to overpower Venom, until Venom fights back by making out with him...TO THE DEATH.
Venom shoving his tongue down Thing's throat is one of the grosser things I've seen in a comic, but it actually serves its narrative purpose. Human Torch burns the tongue off and Thing coughs it up. A bystander picks the tongue up, brings it home and tries to sell it on eBay. He's immediately made a target by an old man made out of nannites who is really the force behind Noah's Ark and—oh my God, I don't want to get into any more of the plot of this series. Moving on.
5. THE MOLOTOV COCKTAIL OF AWESOME
Venom #13.4 (2012)
During the Rick Remender Venom series, Flash Thompson Venom starred in a crossover called The Circle of Four. It's quite a brilliant little concept that took me a minute to grasp. In the 90s, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk, and Ghost Rider teamed up to become the New Fantastic Four. Here we have a similar grouping with Venom, X-23, Red Hulk, and the female Ghost Rider that everyone's completely forgotten about five minutes after her series ended.
The four join forces to help save Las Vegas from the clutches of Blackheart, who is trying to create Hell on Earth. With the exception of X-23, the team joins together to make their own special version of Captain Planet, only more soul-shatteringly badass. Riding a giant motorcycle is Red Hulk, who has become the host for both the Spirit of Vengeance and the Venom symbiote. This is the cliffhanger before the final issue and it still makes me smile. I'm surprised the final issue isn't Blackheart throwing his hands up and saying, "Yeah, this isn't worth it. Sorry for all the trouble I caused, everyone," and going back to Hell where it's safer.
4. THE GROSSEST OF MATING HABITS
What If: The Other (2007)
The What If issue based on the Other tells the tale of Peter Parker refusing to break out of his cocoon and embrace his inner-spider. The world and his loved ones think he's dead, so he's going to keep it that way. The Venom symbiote senses that Peter's body is just sitting around, unused, and leaves Mac Gargan's body. It attaches itself to Peter's husk and is pretty pleased with being one with its original and favorite host once again. Peter has no consciousness to speak of, so the symbiote is completely running the show. Calling himself Poison, the creature confronts Mary Jane and wants her to be his mate. She tells him off and he leaves her be.
With Mary Jane not an option, Poison goes for an even grosser route. He spawns a symbiote offspring and uses it to control the rotting dead body of Gwen Stacy. You can thank Peter David for this piece of alien necrophilia incest. You can also thank him for...
3. THE NOT-READY-FOR-PRIME-TIME SMASHERS
Incredible Hulk vs. Venom (1994)
This is a comic released by Unicef that deals with Venom and Hulk fighting each other and then teaming up because a series of earthquakes are tearing apart San Francisco. A mad scientist calling himself Dr. Bad Vibes (not the villain from the C.O.P.S. cartoon, I checked) insists that he's been causing the earthquakes with his earthquake machine. Hulk has the mind of one of the world's greatest scientists and Venom is an accomplished journalist. Truly, they can put their minds together and figure out a great strategy in stopping Bad Vibes' reign of terror before it's too late.
Their plan is to quote Saturday Night Live.
Yes, they go into a news broadcast to do a Hans and Franz impression, complete with clapping. Honest to God, when I first read this scene, I had to put down the comic, get up, and just walk away because I simply could not deal with this.
2. DIAL-UP M FOR MURDER
Venom: Carnage Unleashed #4 (1995)
Thing with the symbiote is that the writers can tack on nearly any kind of ability and you can buy it because it's a blob from outer space that gives people super strength and copies Spider-Man's powers. Turns a car into a monster car? Sure, why not? Makes you immune to noxious gas? I buy it. Makes it harder for psychics to gain control? Makes sense to me.
Larry Hama created the most outlandish use of the symbiote's abilities with his Carnage Unleashed storyline. Carnage Unleashed – a story created based on the success of the Maximum Carnage video game – is about a Carnage-based video game that's become a big deal. It's about to be launched to the public with online multiplayer and Carnage's plan is to use this to his advantage and kill as many players as possible. How? By using his brand-new power of using the symbiote to travel through the internet!
The comic keeps stacking on more and more instances of, "Computers do not work that way!" that escalates to the point that Venom and Carnage are fighting inside cyberspace and it's being broadcast on the big screen in Time Square. Coincidentally, people are able to hear their banter despite, you know, there being no audio on that big screen. Venom wins when he sees a heat sink and destroys it, which causes a huge explosion that hurts them both and knocks them out of their computers. It is the stupidest, most glorious goddamn thing.
1. THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
All-Access #1 (1996)
Ah, Access. For those of you who don't know or remember, Access was a superhero jointly owned by DC and Marvel whose job was to make sure that both worlds remained separate and don't bleed into each other. Considering they've been refusing to do a crossover since JLA/Avengers, it's been a pretty successful decade and a half. Way to go!
Following the events of Marvel vs. DC, Access starred in his own miniseries based on keeping the peace via cosmic segregation. In the first issue, Venom finds himself in Metropolis and Ron Marz chooses to forget that Venom is supposed to be kind of a good guy around this time. Instead, Venom goes on a rampage until Superman and his post-resurrection mullet arrive. This should be a simple fight. Superman moves planets with his bare hands and Venom is just a stronger Spider-Man with a bucket full of weaknesses.
Then Venom throws Superman around like a ragdoll. The two have several fights and each time, Venom absolutely humbles Superman, making him look like a complete joke. Access brings Spider-Man into the DC world to help fight Venom and even that isn't enough! Put Superman and Spider-Man together against one threat and he still kicks their asses.
The only reason Venom loses is because Access shows up with a giant sonic cannon loaned from STAR Labs. Afterwards, Spider-Man tells Superman that Eddie Brock was never easy to get along with, what with him being a newspaper reporter. Then Spider-Man wonders why he's getting the silent glare.
A great contrast to this story is the Spider-Man/Batman crossover from a year or so earlier. That comic features Batman beating Carnage in a straight-up fight. No sonics. No fire. Just lots of punches. Batman beat up Carnage, who regularly used to beat up Venom, who beat up Superman. Somewhere, a Batman fan is yelling at a Superman fan, "See?! I told you so!"
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
We're tracking down every single Avengers: Infinity War easter egg and Marvel Comics reference, but we need your help!
This article is full of MAJOR Avengers: Infinity War spoilers. If you haven't seen the movie yet, read our spoiler free review here.
Well, it's finally here. The culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has arrived with Avengers: Infinity War, and as we all suspected, it's insane, and absolutely packed with everything fans want to see.
But don't be fooled by the fact that this is a story about Thanos wielding an all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet to make life miserable for all your favorite Marvel superheroes. Avengers: Infinity War is full of crazy surprises, and all the comics knowledge in the world won't prepare you for what's coming. We're trying to track down all of the Marvel easter eggs in the movie...but we need your help. So if you spot something that we missed, shout it out down in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter, and we'll keep updating this until it's the most complete Marvel easter egg guide to Avengers: Infinity War around!
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
Now, let's get to work...
The Infinity Gauntlet
- The movie takes plenty of liberties with the original The Infinity Gauntlet comic story. In fact, you can't even really call this movie an adaptation of that story...and it's certainly not an adaptation of The Infinity War comic, either. But there are still some early similarities. But the fact that Thanos spends most of his time gathering the stones during the movie makes it more of a loose adaptation of The Thanos Quest by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim than anything else. But again, it's a pretty loose adaptation.
- The Hulk falling to Earth from space and landing in Doctor Strange's Sanctum is reminiscent of something that happened early on in The Infinity Gauntlet comics, except there, it was the Silver Surfer who warned Strange of Thanos' coming, not Bruce Banner, right down to the "Thanos is coming."
- Loki is dead. Most fans (including me) expected Loki to serve the kind of role that Mephisto did in The Infinity Gauntlet comics. There, Mephisto was kind of an obsequious "guide" for Thanos, and that's the word that Loki offers...before he tries (and fails) to betray Thanos. Well, if you've gotta go, this is the way to do it.
But seriously, couldn't you just imagine Loki behaving like this for his own ends? Even the body language is the same!
Also, Loki's attempted betrayal/stabbing of Thanos reminds me of Prince Thun trying to take out Ming the Merciless in Mike Hodges' masterful Flash Gordon movie.
- Wong tells the origin of the Infinity Stones, which is kind of like the creation myth of the entire Marvel Universe when you think about it. Something very similar was done in the pages of The Thanos Quest, and they basically hint that these are fragments of God!
(thanks to Dylan Bates for helping me out with that one!)
- The weird reality-warping "deaths" that Thanos inflicts on Drax and Mantis is really reminiscent of the ways that Thanos tortured Eros, Nebula, and others in The Infinty Gauntlet comic.
- In the comics, and certainly by The Infinity Gauntlet era, Thanos was known as the Mad Titan, and he was a pretty irrational dork most of the time. Thanos was in love with the cosmic physical manifestation of death, and this whole thing was a way for him to impress him. He's a really needy, giant purple MRA, basically.
But here, Thanos is kind of rational, if still a dick. Here is obsession is with bringing balance to the universe to preserve resources, and his motives are almost like, I dunno, an extremely shitty environmentalist or something. If anything, his motivations here more resemble the character as he was portrayed in The Thanos Imperative comic than The Infinity Gauntlet.
Thanos' armor and helmet bears the strongest resemblance to recent designs in the comics, as well as the design for Thane, his son's outfit in Infinity.
- Gamora has "always hated" Thanos' weird throne/chair, which is pretty hilarious considering it was such an iconic part of the character's whole "thing" for so many years.
- Have we seen Thanos' vaguely Ancient Egyptian looking guards before? They're the ones guarding Nebula while she's being tortured. What a cool design they have. I feel like maybe they were hanging around with Ronan in the first Guardians movie, but my brain is so fried from this movie I can't trust myself.
- Thanos creepy army of Alien-looking drones are called Outriders, and they're also from the Infinity crossover.
- Thanos' crack about how he could "finally rest" once he achieves his goal is a reference to the "Farmer Thanos" he became in the comics, and that we glimpse at the very end of this movie.
- Thanos literally snaps his fingers to bring about the end of half of all life in the universe, which is exactly what he did in the first chapter of The Infinity Gauntlet comic. And that's what he did BEFORE the fighting started there!
- In the closing credits, there's a line that reads “the producers would like to recognize Jim Starlin for his significant contribution to the film.” Saying Starlin made a "significant contribution" to this movie is an understatement. The vast majority of Thanos stories, and certainly the Thanos stories that matter, were written and often drawn by Jim Starlin. That's HIS character, just as surely as most of the others on screen are Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's.
The Black Order
We're introduced to Thanos' Black Order early on, and they first appeared in Jonathan Hickman's massive Thanos vs Avengers story, Infinity. In the comics, they were also known as the Cull Obsidian, and are basically Thanos' generals, but here it's implied that they are Thanos' children. We went into MUCH more detail about them right here.
Check out the whole skeevy squad in the movie...
From left to right, that's Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, Corvus Glaive, and Cull Obsidian. Your ears do not deceive you, that is Carrie Coon as Proxima Midnight.
“Even in death you have become children of Thanos” - this line from Ebony Maw (who never shuts the hell up) hints at Thanos' obsession with death as a concept, even if the movie gives him a more practical outlook than his comic book counterpart, and a less physical manifestation of Death herself. We'll get into more of that in a bit. I also couldn't help but feel that Ebony Maw kind of acts like a "herald of Galactus" when it comes to announcing the coming of Thanos.
But speaking of death...
Heimdall is dead, and it's always going to be a shame that this franchise never used Idris Elba to the fullest.
Guardians of the Galaxy
- The song playing during the Guardians' intro here is "Rubberband Man" by The Spinners, and it's kinda great. And as it turns out, James Gunn did indeed choose the tune. "The first song is James," co-writer Stephen McFeely told us. In fact, go read the whole interview with the writers because it's a riot.
- The Guardians are flying a new ship. This ain't the Milano...it's the Benatar. And for real, nobody can tell me that "Invincible" isn't the best Pat Benatar song.
- Teen Groot is playing a handheld version of the 1981 arcade game, Defender, which is an all-time coin-op classic. This is the closest we're going to get to the Netflix Defenders on the big screen, though. We wrote lots more about Groot's favorite game right here.
- Thanos calls on the Collector to pick up the reality stone from him. In The Thanos Quest comic, he does indeed kick the Collector's ass for a stone, but there it was for the soul stone, not reality.
- This is a great catch (thanks to Andrew Gallo!), Thanos'"where is the stone" line to the Collector echoes Benicio del Toro's line in Snatch!
By the way...what is the tree in the Collector's place, there? It looks familiar, but I can't quite place it, and I feel like I'm going to look like an idiot as soon as one of you points it out to me.
- The Collector for whatever reason owns Tobias Funke of Arrested Development fame (which is even confirmed in the end credits). Tobias is covered in blue paint, much like the episode of the show where he tried to join Blue Man Group. I don't even want to get into the can of worms with the continuity considering Tobias once put together a Fantastic Four musical.
- As the Guardians are heading into the Collector's lair, there's some circuitry on the wall that kind of reminds me of the Jack Kirby-esque designs we saw so much of in Thor: Ragnarok.
- The unnecessary reference to Footloose is a callback to the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but also feels a little out of place with Spidey. It makes sense that Spidey would be down with things like Star Wars and Alien, but Footloose? C'mon. Nobody his age cares about that flick.
- Drax is eating a bag of Zargnuts...which makes me think of Zagnut, the candy bar that Beetlejuice used to lure an insect to its death in Tim Burton's classic movie which had seriously better never have a sequel or reboot ever. Anyway, this is perhaps an unnecessary pop culture connection to make and I now apologize to Peter Parker about my Footloose crack above.
- Worth pointing out that Nebula is Thanos' daughter in the MCU, but she's his granddaugher in the comics. His shitty treatment of her remains the same. Seriously, dude...lighten up.
We see Nebula half-disassembled and held in stasis, in a state of constant agony. In the comics, Thanos used the power of the Gauntlet to burn her to a crisp and keep her in a state between living and dying. Zombie Nebula with flesh dripping off her skeleton might have been a bit of a stretch for PG-13 MCU stuff, but this is the closest we're likely to get to that. It's definitely inspired by the comics.
- During the flashbacks detailing how he adopted Gamora, I'm pretty sure you can spot those giant Chitauri worm ship things from the first Avengers movie.
- In the comics Gamora has always been a big fan of blades and edged weapons. I feel like we get the "origin" of that with the knife here.
- Maybe Gamora knows ANOTHER secret about Thanos? For example, in the comics, Thanos always plants the seeds of his own defeat, because subconsciously he feels that he isn't worthy of power. Is this something Gamora knows? Well, knew...because she's dead. Right? Nah.
- While Gamora's death is a powerful scene here, this is the one proper on-screen death that I don't expect to stick. James Gunn has plans to complete the team's story in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and I can't imagine Marvel would rob him of one of his most important and interesting characters.
Don't be surprised if it turns out Gamora is just imprisoned in the soul stone. And seriously, how amazing is Zoe Saldana in this movie?
- This movie has the best Thor moments of any of his big screen appearances. And yes, I'm including the wonderful Thor: Ragnarok. The fact that they took us to Nidavelir, the home of the Norse Dwarves, and instead made it the heart of a star where Mjolnir was forged, well, that's a pretty wonderful way to do things.
- Making Peter Dinklage into the dwarf, Eitri, was even better. The Marvel Comics version of Eitri isn't nearly as cool as Peter Dinklage, but he made his first appearance in Thor Annual #11 in 1983.
- Is this the first time we learn Thor's actual age is 1500 years old?
- The whole sequence of Thor "starting up a star" is the kind of crazy "only in comics" thing that I love so much, and it feels like something that would come right out of the mind of Jack Kirby or Jason Aaron.
And c'mon, tell me this next shot doesn't look like a Jack Kirby panel come to life!
- Oh my god, Thor is wielding Stormbreaker now! Stormbreaker wasn't ever really Thor's weapon in the mainstream comics, but rather that of Beta Ray Bill, the noble, horse-faced replacement Thor, who we kinda sorta got a glimpse of in Thor: Ragnarok. He did wield a hammer/ax just like it in the Ultimate continuity, though.
- We get our first ever MCU use of Peter's Spider-sense in this movie when the ships arrive!
- Peter swaps out his regular costume for Tony's "17A" model, which we glimpsed at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming. This is the cinematic equivalent of the dreadful "Iron Spider" armor Peter wore in the Civil War comics, right down to the extra appendages it gives him. This design is a little better than the comic book one...but only a little. It's kinda hideous, really.
Go back to the blue and red, kid.
- Spidey's line, “I’m being beamed up,” is a slight nod to Star Trek.
- But more importantly, and please tell me whether or not I'm crazy here, does the Tony/Peter relationship and banter in this movie feel like Rick and Morty to anyone else? I didn't get that vibe in Captain America: Civil War or Spider-Man: Homecoming, but it definitely felt that way here.
Except when Peter dies. That was heartbreaking.
Nice to see Peter got the old "web to the face" in that he did on Thanos in The Infinity Gauntlet comic, too!
The Stan Lee Cameo
- You all spotted Stan Lee driving the bus, right? Good. Now, someone get Stan away from the skeevy vultures currently handling his affairs, please.
The Avengers 4 Roster
So maybe we shouldn't be surprised that the folks who survived are the core Avengers from the first movie. Our Avengers 4 roster will consist of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Bruce Banner, Black Widow, Hawkeye (even though he's not here, we can confirm he isn't dead...more details here), plus War Machine, Rocket Raccoon, and Captain Marvel. The jury is out on whether Ant-Man makes an appearance, I think.
I wrote more about what's next for the MCU in the leadup to Avengers 4 right here.
The Post Credits Scene
The post credits scenes kind of drive home the fact that the ending of Avengers: Infinity War is basically the beginning of the MCU version of The Infinity Gauntlet comic. In the second chapter of Infinity Gauntlet we saw how the world was affected when half of all humans just disappear, and yes, that includes car accidents, aviation mishaps, etc.
That final symbol you see belongs to Captain Marvel, but since this article is long enough already, I wrote in much, much more detail about the post-credits scene and everything it means right here.
Miscellaneous Cool Stuff
- Did I hear this correctly, and is the Asgardian spaceship known as the Ice Guardian? I know they also say "Asgardian families" when sending the distress call, but I feel like this was how they identified the ship.
- Overall, the opening to this was more akin to a Star Wars movie than anything Marvel usually does, just dropping us right into the jaws of a defeat with a seemingly unstoppable villain. Shades of A New Hope right off the bat...although some of the genuinely gruesome carnage with the dead bodies lying all over the place made me think of the end of Rogue One.
- At the Central Park reservoir, before Tony is told that "the fate of the universe is at stake" (which is some proper comic book dialogue right there), he makes a reference to Pepper having an eccentric uncle named Morgan. I'm drawing a blank on what this might be a reference to, though.
- You can basically just consider Cap's team the Secret Avengers in this. The lineup is similar enough!
Cap taking on Thanos in hand-to-hand combat is amazing. Thanos is, after all, a guy who could go at it with Thor or Hulk and come out OK. But this in particular reminds us of a specific scene from the original Infinity Gauntletcomics...
Cap is the best, you guys.
- Tony calls Ebony Maw "Squidward" which is pretty great. I...don't have to tell you who Squidward is, right?
- During the fights on the streets of NYC you can spot a New York Post newspaper dispenser. Still no sign of The Daily Bugle in the MCU. Seriously, what the hell? Although it's fun to point out that the layout and logo of the Bugle in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies was based heavily on the Post. I'm just surprised they used the Post here and not the Marvel Netflix-centric New York Bulletin. Apparently the producers considered having The Defenders make an appearance, but it just couldn't work out. It's probably for the best.
-Xandar's destruction was a key plot point in Annihilation, the opening chapter of the greatest era of Marvel space stories ever. Maybe that's the jumping off point of the Nova movie rumored to be in development?
- When Glave tries to take the Eye of Agamotto from Strange, his hand gets burned/branded, like Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- Captain America's phone number appears to be 678-136-7092. I haven't called it yet. I'm not going to AND NEITHER SHOULD YOU because if I read that wrong on the screen some poor senior citizen is going to get bombarded with phone calls and it's going to be my fault.
- I'm pretty sure that Vision and Scarlet Witch never lived in Scotland in the comics, but I'm willing to be corrected. Still, they're right on the verge of committing for life here, and assuming poor Vision manages to make a return at the end of Avengers 4, I'd love to see them get married, like they did in the comics.
This is a pretty radical departure for Black Widow. It's actually referencing the second comics Black Widow, Yelena Belova, who was created in Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee's late '90s Inhumans series and ended up being an evil foil for Natasha.
- Who the hell has a bass guitar in Avengers HQ? Please tell me that's Thor's.
- The Alien tribute with Ebony Maw is an absolute highlight.
- If Avengers movies had been made in the 1980s, wouldn't David Bowie have been the most perfect Vision ever? And I'm getting such Bowie vibes from Paul Bettany's Vision performance that now I want him to star in a Ziggy Stardust movie. Hollywood, call me. I'm waiting by the phone. Alone. Writing about the intersection of Marvel superheroes and David Bowie. For the love of gods, someone please call me...
When Vision "dies" he's drained of color. While he isn't completely white like he was in the West Coast Avengers comic, there's definitely a resemblance.
That look pretty much defined the character in the early to mid '90s, too...including in the still awesome Captain America and the Avengers arcade game.
- When we're on Titan, and see the flashbacks to how it was before, are we basically seeing the seeds of Eternals society, there? They do have a movie in development, now.
- Vormir (the location of the Soul Stone) is a "real" place in the comics, existing way the hell out in the Kree galaxy. It was first mentioned in Avengers #123 in 1974.
- C'mon, admit it, NOBODY saw that Red Skull surprise coming, right? Sadly, that isn't Hugo Weaving, it's The Walking Dead's Ross Marquand. Bummer. On the bright side, maybe if we ever get a Captain America 4 this means the Skull can return!
OK Avengers, it's time to assemble! Let us know what we missed down in the comments or on Twitter, and if it checks out, we'll update this!
Robert Venditti is ending his time steering the adventures of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, and taking the Hawkman challenge.
Six years ago, Robert Venditti took on the unenviable task of following up Geoff Johns as writer of Green Lantern for DC. Johns had just wrapped up one of the most critically and commercially successful creative periods in the history of the character, one that was beloved by fans and expanded the boundaries of what was possible within the world of the Green Lantern Corps.
But Venditti was up to the challenge, steering Hal Jordan's destiny for the remainder of DC's New 52 initiative, and the beginning of the Rebirth era, with the launch of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps in 2016. Venditti will finally leave the Corps with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50 in August, capping what has turned out to be a historic creative run on the character of his own.
Of course, why make things easy? He has already relaunched Hawkman (with Bryan Hitch) for DC, a character who comes with challenges of his own. Despite being one of the most striking visuals in comics, trying to explain Hawkman to a non-comics reader has historically been a frustrating enterprise. But Venditti loves a challenge, and has crafted an accessible, even movie-ready version of the character.
We sat down and spoke with the writer, who reflected on the past and looked to the future.
Den of Geek: You have been writing Green Lantern for six years. That's one of the most impressive runs by a writer on Green Lantern in modern age. People don't usually stick around for that long.
Robert Venditti: Yeah, Geoff Johns did a really good long run before me as well, but you're right. It is, I think, becoming less common for a writer or artist to stay on a book for an extended period of time whereas back in the '80s and '90s that was much more common, so I feel super fortunate to be able to do it. I did 85 issues over that time frame between the New 52 Green Lantern series and then when it relaunched as Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps for Rebirth. 51 issues of that, then there were some annuals in there too, so it's even a little bit more than 85. It feels a little bit compressed because the Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps stuff was twice a month so I did those 51 issues in just two years pretty much. I feel super fortunate to be on a character like that that long, to be able to hopefully put my own stamp on things and do something that was a little bit different than everybody else. I feel like it's a good time to go and to work on some other stuff.
When you started, did you think you were going to be on this book for six years?
No, it's like that with anything. Comics is a monthly business and I go into every project hoping I'll be on it for 12 issues and really hoping I'll be there for 24 and then after that it's all gravy. You just can't predict, since there's so many variables that come into play with a monthly book and I think what a lot of people don't really understand about being in comics and it's even harder for artists in that it's just that constant demand to generate content and every 28 days the book's gotta go to the printer and it's gotta be written penciled, inked, lettered, and colored.
It's kinda relentless. It's always just the next thing coming up so, there's so many variables that come into play that can affect how long you're on a book and the things you do. To be able to start a project or be on Green Lantern this long or start something like Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps with the number one, the Rebirth issue, and then go all the way to where I wanted it to end and bring it to my own conclusion is not a common thing. I feel really fortunate about it.
When did you start thinking about that end point for Green Lantern?
It was a much more compressed schedule at launch because it was twice a month, so one lot faster and there's demands that are placed on you in that regard as well where at different times I was writing four different scripts for four different artists drawing four different stories all at the same time out of order because an artist will take 4, 5, 6 weeks to draw an issue and if it comes out every two weeks, you can see how that need to do issues and do story arcs and things are compressed and it speeds up.
I started to get a sense around issue 25 that we had a good thing going on and what we were doing with the four key Lanterns that are in our book, Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner. They've never really shared the same book for that amount of time, and to see them interact with each other was different. I started to think, okay here's where I think I want to go long term with the stories, maybe around 50, but you really have to be like a speedboat. You have to be able to adjust because something like Metal will come in and they'll want to do some Metal tie in issues or things like that so you kinda have to adjust things around and be flexible in that regard. In some ways from the first issue, there are elements that this is what I want to develop and this is how I want to end it and other ways it was stuff that came in right around the end of the first year.
Green Lantern has always been the spine of the cosmic DC universe. You had this whole wealth of concepts to work with. Does that make it easier or harder when you're trying to plan 12 issues or 24 issues in advance?
For me, that's actually a lot of what the appeal was for me. There's so many books that DC publishes and so many of them are based on Earth. Here was an opportunity to do a character that's based out in space and you had this whole tapestry, and especially with Rebirth and its mission statement of embracing a lot of the legacy and a lot of the history of these characters and these concepts. Now you're out in space and there's just so much out there you can do and one of the things that I wanted to do was not really build a lot of new mythology for the character because Geoff Johns' run, which is gonna go down as one of the greatest runs in Green Lantern history, was very much a mythology building run and introduced a lot of different Corps and things like that. What I wanted to do was take the Green Lantern concept and blend it in with the wider cosmic DC universe in ways that we hadn't really seen before.
I had the Green Lantern Corps go up against General Zod, who is traditionally a Superman villain. I had them interact with Brainiac and the whole Corps gets trapped inside of Brainiac's bottle and they had to get out. I brought in characters like Space Cabbie or Rip Hunter or things that you don't normally associate with Green Lantern. Why has Space Cabbie never been shown as an informant for the Green Lantern Corps? That makes total sense. He's a cabbie! Everybody talks in the back seat, forgets about the cab driver listening and then he knows what's going on and he tells Guy Gardner. Just try to bring in those concepts and weave them together and really embrace that wider cosmic tapestry. Of course the drawback of that is you're not on Earth and so you're not having those moments with Flash, or Superman, or Batman, or those personal relationships that Hal has with his brother and his nephew and niece or with Carol Ferris or any of those kinds of things.
I just felt like it was a good opportunity to really explore the cosmic space and embrace that aspect of it which would be different from what a lot of what the other titles were doing.
What would you like to see in a Green Lantern movie?
A lot of the characters that I created. I would love that. That would be awesome. No, what would I like to see in a Green Lantern movie. I would like to see all four of these guys, which is nothing against Simon Baz or Jessica Cruz, I just don't really have any experience writing those characters. I concentrated on those four classic Lanterns, Hal, John, Guy, and Kyle and I would love to see them all in there. I think that one of the things I really want to do with the run, it's almost by decade. You have your Hal Jordan fans and you have your John Stewart fans, you have your Guy Gardner fans, you have your Kyle Rayner fans. I really wanted to show how these four characters, and how different they are even though they share very similar power set, how they get to that will power and how they use that power set is very different based on their personalities. As different as they are, how much love and respect they have for each other because of everything they've been through.
I took to calling them The Four Corpsmen which is sort of a play on The Four Horsemen name. That bond that they had is really what I think I would want somebody to get out of the series more than anything else. If Hal Jordan likes Guy Gardner and you're a Hal Jordan fan, then you should like Guy Gardner too because they respect each other. I think there's so much interesting about each of them individually and they're stronger together.
You went from having all this cosmic mythology to play with to dealing with the character who has possibility the most complicated backstory in all of DC comics with Hawkman. Can you tell everybody why they shouldn't be intimidated by Hawkman anymore?
Actually that's a great question. I can do that. I don't come from comics. I started reading comics when I was in my mid to late 20s. Even just walking off the street back then and trying to find an entry point with any character, Spider-Man, Superman, whatever, was very daunting because of high issue numbers and you feel like you have to know all of this continuity. So continuity is something I'm very conscious of and making every issue new reader friendly.
Everybody has holes in their game right? Nobody's the perfect writer. It's art, you're never going to have it all down, but I think that one thing that I do do well is I'm a good puzzle piece person and what I mean by that is you can dump a mix of things on a desk and I'll be able to figure out a way to make them all fit together, make a story, make sense of them. I like that aspect of monthly comics writing and having to do that on a monthly basis and having to do it on a quick turn around.
Hawkman is like the ultimate puzzle. Not having grown up reading comics, all I knew about him was that he was just so confusing and it was just a morass of continuity. I started researching the character; within the first hour of me just doing very cursory research online, I came up with my idea of how I was gonna unify all of it. The more I read 200+ issues of Hawkman and Hawkman related stories, the more sense it made to me, so for me it's a very simple concept: Hawkman is a character who reincarnates across time and space.
In past lives here on Earth, he has been an ancient Egyptian prince and a medieval knight, but he also at one point was a Kryptonian. He was a Thanagarian. He was Rannian. He's somebody who for ten thousand years, perhaps longer, has been reincarnated across time and space and in many ways he's the living historical document of the DC Universe.
It's part Indiana Jones, because he's an archeologist who's exploring. It's part National Treasure because he's following this trail of clues throughout time to find out about his true past and find out about this great threat that's coming to destroy Earth that he's somehow connected to, but all the clues have been left by himself because as he was reincarnating over all these millennia, he started to forget. It's got a lot of high adventure, it has action. It's very new reader friendly which is something that I take great pride in with any character I work on. Hawkman, Green Lantern, whatever, because I was very much that new reader.
Working with Bryan Hitch on the story has been amazing. He's such a great collaborator, obviously very skilled as a draftsman and as a storyteller, but just as a collaborator and the way that we're able to build these stories together and bounce ideas back and forth off each other and one person says A and the other person says B and together we come out with C. It's just we've got a really good thing going on. Every issue he's in a new location, unique to the DCU, makes a new discovery, and then goes to the next location and explores again and makes a new discovery and so we're really keeping that pace of new places, new discoveries, every issue. Don't be intimidated by it.
If you are a reader who has liked Hawkman historically, whether it's the Thanagarian police officer version, or the reincarnating Egyptian prince version, it all counts now. They're all unified under one concept. We've got things that we're gonna do with those mythologies that we're gonna show you in a different way. How there were secrets buried within things this entire time you've been reading Hawkman you never knew about and you're gonna discover those secrets as Carter Hall discovers them himself. Or if you're a new reader who doesn't a single thing about Hawkman, you can pick this up and you can get high, high adventure in the style of the Indiana Jones of the DC Universe.
Robert Venditti's final issue on Green Lantern, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50, arrives on August 8. Hawkman ships monthly from DC Comics.
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil was supposed to get a deluxe reissue from DC, but...
With the Shazam movie opening in April 2019, it's time for DC to dig into their back catalog and give fans the best of what the character has to offer. And let's face it, the Shazam Family was never better than during the glory days of the 1940s, when steered by the likes of Otto Binder, C.C. Beck, Pete Costanza, and others. There's a fairytale simplicity to many of those early stories, and a level of craftsmanship that wasn't always present in many of their peers.
One story in particular, "The Monster Society of Evil" is a particular standout from the era. Serialized over two years (at a time when all superhero comics only contained multiple, self-contained stories), it told the story of Mr. Mind, the evil worm and his quest for world domination. It's often cited as a key Captain Marvel story, but it hasn't been officially reprinted in decades, making this particularly tough to track down.
Here's the official info from DC's solicitations (first revealed by the good folks at 13th Dimension):
At first he was simply a disembodied voice on the radio, taunting Captain Marvel with his ever-more-fiendish schemes to conquer the world. Then, readers gasped as Mr. Mind was revealed—all two inches of him! Was this lowly creature really the epitome of evil he claimed to be? Fortunately, Billy Batson understood the folly of underestimating someone based on their size! As small as he was, Mr. Mind was big trouble—especially once he turned the menacing members of his Monster Society of Evil loose to wreak havoc!
This new title collects the entire 24-chapter serial from the Golden Age of Comics with new essays by Fawcett Comics expert P.C. Hamerlinck and film producer and comics historian Michael Uslan. Collects stories from CAPTAIN MARVEL ADVENTURES #22-46!
Well, anyway, this was supposed to arrive in February 2019, and now DC has pulled the plug on the collection (via CBR). So why hasn't this seen the light of day? Well, a good chunk of that is almost certainly because of the use of offensive racial stereotypes that were unfortunately commonplace in comics of the era. You can find more specific details on why "The Monster Society of Evil" has been buried for so long here.
It makes sense that DC wouldn't want to spotlight a story with seriously problematic elements two months before its Shazam movie hits theaters. While "The Monster Society of Evil" is a key Shazam story, and a piece of comic book history, the issues surrounding this story are bound to bring the wrong kind of attention at exactly the wrong time. The unfortunate attitudes of previous decades hasn't stopped Warner Bros. and other studios from placing disclaimers on old animated cartoons that featured similarly unacceptable racist caricatures, but perhaps DC simply isn't ready to navigate those waters, and it's tough to blame them.
DC has done an excellent job of making the back catalog of characters who are getting the TV or movie treatment readily available for fans. Hopefully they find other classic Shazam stories to reprint instead. I'm ready for a Shazam: The Golden Age tpb or omnibus, as those stories haven't been reprinted since the now defunct Archives editions.
Meanwhile, the Shazam movie opens on April 5, 2019, and we're due for a new comic series from Geoff Johns this fall.
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
Netflix has greenlit an adaptation of George Orwell's Soviet allegory Animal Farm with Andy Serkis directing.
All Netflix movie adaptations are equal but some are more equal than others.
Netflix has purchased the movie rights to an adaptation of George Orwell's classic novel Animal Farm. Longtime successful CGI actor turned live-action actor and producer Andy Serkis will direct, according to Variety.
Serkis has owned the rights to option Animal Farm since 2012 when he tried to adapt the novel as a TV show. That project fell through and now gains second life in the streaming world as a film. In addition to directing, Serkis will produce the movie alongside his Imaginarium partner Jonathan Cavendish and 6th & Idaho’s Matt Reeves, Rafi Crohn and Adam Kassan.
Serkis came to prominence as a "CGI actor" in films like The Lord of the Rings and the modern Rise of the Planet of the Apes trilogy. We've been seeing his face a little more frequently in front of the camera recently with live-action starring roles in movies like Black Panther. Now he's ready to go incognito once again in his next career as a director. Netflix rescued Serkis' second ever directorial effort, Mowgli, from certain doom just five days ago and will release it next year.
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
Animal Farm is one of Orwell's two best-known works alongside Nineteen Eighty-Four and the themes of the two novels are similar. Animal Farm, published in 1945, takes place on a farm where animals essentially unionize and overthrow their human masters. The animals build their new utopian animal society on the principal that all animals are equal. They find out, however, that their new structure of power can't hold to those ideals. Yep, there are political purges featuring farm animal in this book.
Animal Farm is an allegory for the Soviet Union under Stalin and roughly tracks Russian history from the Revolution in 1917 to Orwell's present time in the World War II era. The book is widely included in high school English curriculums across the world because it's hard to find a more slam-dunk example of allegory. Shouts out to all the high school kids out there who are soon going to have the option to watch a movie rather than reading the book.
Avengers: Infinity War makes Thanos look unbeatable. We look for the one chance Doctor Strange saw to defeat him in Avengers 4.
Thanos the Mad Titan is kind of a big deal these days. A decade of Marvel Studios movies led to one starring him that painted him as being the king badass of bad guys. The opening five minutes of Avengers: Infinity War alone make him look like the toughest, most imposing threat to any and all superheroes. Not only is he a dangerous brick house of a purple man, but his adventures usually lead to him buffing up his power with Cosmic Cubes and Infinity Stones.
How do you solve a problem like Thanos?
Scouring his comic history, I’ve compiled a list of all the times Thanos has been taken down a peg. Maybe one of these is that "one in fourteen million chance" that Doctor Strange mentioned in the movie.
You can either watch the video for the short version, or keep reading the full article for more details!
THANOS WAR (1974)
Thanos started off as a Dr. Claw-type of threat who was treated like a big deal, but never got his hands dirty. Like how in his first appearance, in an issue of Iron Man, Thanos’ “defeat” came in the form of a robot duplicate. He didn’t truly take a big L until possessing the Cosmic Cube and facing Mar-Vell.
Using his newfound omnipotence, Thanos rid Earth of its population and discarded the Cosmic Cube by becoming a big, scary Neon Noodle face in the sky. Captain Marvel wasn’t much of a match for Thanos, especially in this form, but he realized that even if discarded, the Cosmic Cue was still the source of Thanos’ abilities. While Thanos tried to disorient Mar-Vell’s surroundings and even speed up his aging, the Captain was able to use his last ounce of strength to karate chop the Cosmic Cube, thereby seemingly killing Thanos and setting everything back to normal.
DEATH WATCH (1977)
Adam Warlock teamed up with the Avengers to go stop Thanos from blowing up the solar system. They all failed horribly and Warlock was killed; his soul winding up inside the Soul Stone with Gamora and Pip the Troll. Moondragon reached out and showed all this to the mind of a sleeping Peter Parker, who in turn went to Thing and said, “Yo, I had the weirdest dream. Want to help me save the world just in case?”
While Thanos got huge villain points for refusing to monologue in front of the heroes at the cost of giving the heroes an advantage (in 1977, no less! Wow!), Spider-Man and Thing freed the heroes anyway. The Avengers and Thing jobbed out to Thanos something fierce, but Spider-Man was able to shatter open a special globe with the Soul Stone in there, releasing Adam Warlock in fiery ghost form. Warlock grabbed onto Thanos and transformed him into a statue, albeit one with the retained ability to cry.
SPIDEY SUPER STORIES (1979)
As mentioned in the list of weirdest Thanos moments, Thanos appeared in the all-ages 70s pile of ridiculousness that is Spidey Super Stories. This dorky take on Thanos chased the Cat (Hellcat) with a helicopter and later stole the Cosmic Cube from a teenage skateboarder named Speedy. Having the Cosmic Cube in hand, he seemed unstoppable to the Cat and Spider-Man.
That is, until he created an earthquake, which not only affected his enemies, but also caused the Cosmic Cube to fall out of his hand. Spider-Man told him, “You were too tricky for your own good, Thanos!”
Speedy picked up the Cosmic Cube, wrapped Thanos up in grass, and then the police led Thanos away in handcuffs. It’s one of those images that will never not be funny.
INFINITY GAUNTLET (1991)
The big event that inspired Avengers: Infinity War had Thanos trip himself up in his moment of ultimate victory. Thanos had the full Infinity Gauntlet, which allowed him to mold the universe at his will, all to impress Death. After defeating the surviving superheroes and overpowering the cosmic entities, he went one-on-one with Eternity himself.
Thanos won, escaping his physical body to instead become an unbeatable force living in the fabric of the cosmos. Thanos’ folly was that his lifeless body still held onto the Infinity Gauntlet and like a car with the keys in the ignition, that godly power was there for the taking. Nebula zipped over to snatch it, gaining omnipotence, while Thanos was demoted.
Thanos then joined the heroes against Nebula and afterwards faked his death by getting hit so hard by Thor that he exploded. Sweet plan!
WHAT IF THE SILVER SURFER SUCCEEDED? (1993/1998)
The most memorable part of Infinity Gauntletwas the sequence where Thanos powered himself down just enough so that the remaining superheroes had the slightest chance to beat him. They all died horribly, but that was part of the plan. It was all a distraction for Silver Surfer to zip by and grab the Gauntlet off of Thanos’ hand.
He missed, of course.
Two What If comics showed what would have happened had he removed the Gauntlet. One story had the Silver Surfer wield the Infinity Gauntlet with good intentions to make the universe a better place, only to gradually go insane from its power. Dr. Strange brought in Shalla Bal to talk some sense into him, which caused the Surfer to destroy the Gauntlet itself (seemingly at the cost of his own life, but instead, he and Shalla snuck off to a paradise planet).
Thanos pondered over his defeat and smiled at how close he got to victory.
In the other story, Surfer pulled the Gauntlet off Thanos, but fumbled it due to Thanos blasting at him. Surfer lost his hold on it and it was snatched out of the air by the comedic Impossible Man. The issue was more about Silver Surfer as the main character and while Thanos was depowered, he practically forgotten about within a couple pages.
URBAN JUNGLE (1998)
Back in the late-90s, Mark Waid and Andy Kubert did a Ka-Zarongoing that lasted roughly a year. Much like Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ka-Zar took on his evil brother who turned out to be working for Thanos. Thanos had some plot based on terraforming the entire universe so that all the plant life would kill everyone else, including Hillbilly Stephen King.
Somebody out there will get that reference.
In this story, Thanos absolutely towered over Ka-Zar and was able to shrug off all of his attacks. They fought it out in the middle of a volcano and while Thanos had Ka-Zar in a bearhug, the power of love gave Ka-Zar some crazy Spider-Man-under-a-pile-of-wreckage strength and he both escaped the hold and knocked Thanos into the lava below.
That wasn’t the end of Thanos, as he rose from the lava, but the aftermath was a bunch of confusing jargon involving a magic medallion.
CALL OF THE WILD (1998)
After his loss to Ka-Zar, Thanos was locked up in some kind of energy dimension, unable to escape without help. In the form of a giant, he tried to convince the Hulk to pull him out of that dimension in exchange for power, only for Nate Grey to interfere. Alone, Hulk and X-Man were no match for the colossal Thanos.
Together, X-Man was able to transfer his telekinetic armor onto Hulk’s body. Bouncing around, looking like The World from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Hulk proceeded to overpower Thanos and sent him back into the portal from whence he came. Thanos’ connection to reality was cut completely and the heroes went their separate ways.
Seriously, though. He looks exactly like The World.
THE FINAL MORNING (2000)
Thanos teamed up with Mangog to best Thor, power up with a bunch of cosmic artifacts (as Thanos is wont to do) and bring forth the end of all life in the universe. Thor was able to take out Mangog in a way most badass, but he was still no match for the amped-up Thanos. Luckily, Odin had Jagrfelm the Blacksmith make some extra special weapons powered by the Odinforce to buff up Thor to Thanos’ level. Odin summoned Firelord to make the delivery in time.
Enhanced and ready for a piece of the Mad Titan, Thor fought Thanos to a standstill at first until destroying one of the empowering artifacts and turning back Thanos to normal. From there, it was only elementary that Thor would thrash Thanos into a purple mess. Thor’s ally Tarene then used her magic tears to explode Thanos into a smoldering corpse.
Thanos creator Jim Starlin would later retcon this loss, as well as the Ka-Zar incident, as being against mere clones. I have to imagine that’s more because of Thanos getting outright killed or his plot to wipe out the universe, since Infinity Gauntlet made it apparent that Thor (even Eric Masterson Thor) could possibly tear Thanos apart if he didn’t have the Infinity Stones.
SQUIRREL GIRL (2006)
Squirrel Girl joined the Great Lakes Avengers with the dynamic being that they’re lame heroes and she’s lame on the surface despite being able to take down major threats. GLX-Mas Special (during the time when they were the Great Lakes X-Men) had Thanos come to Earth moments after Squirrel Girl just took down MODOK. Thanos talked up some plot about ruling the universe with something called the Pyramatrix.
Squirrel Girl ran into action as a way to end her part of the story. Later in the issue, it was shown that she defeated Thanos all on her own with Uatu the Watcher verifying that it was indeed him. HOW she won was never explained.
A later comic would claim that it wasn’t actually him because we can’t have nice things.
The first Annihilationwas essentially the story that planted the seeds for modern-day Guardians of the Galaxy being a thing. In it, Thanos was more of a henchman to main villain Annihilus, much like how the Grim Reaper is somehow the henchman to Dracula in the Castlevaniagames. Part of their reign of terror had to do with Galactus being captured and weaponized against his will. Eventually, Thanos realized that Annihilus’ plans were a bit too far for him and decided that he’d help the heroes by releasing Galactus.
Before he could do that, he noticed Death hanging out in the room. As he realized what was up (his time, to be more specific), Thanos suddenly saw his own heart torn out of his chest from behind. Drax the Destroyer was created to kill Thanos and damn it, that was exactly what he was going to do.
MARVEL ADVENTURES (2006)
In the family-friendly world of Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four #16, Thanos clobbered Captain Mar-Vell so hard in the middle of a space battle that the Kree hero was knocked into Earth. There, he teamed up with the Fantastic Four to fight Thanos. Part of the issue centered around an invention of Reed’s called “utility fog,” which was a cloud of shape-shifting nanites.
At first, the heroes used the utility fog to create duplicates of themselves and fight Thanos 10-on-1. This didn’t work out, but Sue was able to funnel the fog into Thanos’ mouth, allowing the nanites to shut down Thanos from the inside.
MARVEL ZOMBIES 2 (2007)
The original Marvel Zombiesminiseries ended with a handful of heroes-turned-zombies devouring Galactus and absorbing his cosmic abilities. They moved on to scouring the cosmos to devour both planets and the inhabitants. As of Marvel Zombies 2, not only did their ranks increase to include various high-ranking space characters like Phoenix, Gladiator, and Thanos, but they also seemingly finished off all the food in the universe.
Zombie Thanos ranted about Zombie Hulk eating too much food and putting them in this situation, but the argument ended pretty succinctly with Hulk clapping over Thanos’ head and causing an explosion of gore. Gladiator tried eating some of Thanos’ exploded brains and skull fragments, but then immediately vomited them back up.
THE NEWER FANTASTIC FOUR (2009)
A What If issue showed a world where Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Ghost Rider remained the New Fantastic Four due to the demise of the original team. A sequel showed how things would have gone had they existed during Infinity Gauntlet. Due to Ghost Rider being erased in the Finger Snap Heard ‘Round the Universe, Iron Man took his spot.
The team didn’t agree to Adam Warlock’s “everyone die so we can maybe steal the Gauntlet” plan, but their attempts at fighting Thanos head-on didn’t work out either. It was Wolverine’s attention that saved the universe, as he took note the way Mephisto was able to lead Thanos around, as well as Thanos’ feelings for Death. Wolverine smooth-talked Thanos into smiting Mephisto and making Wolverine his new advisor.
Wolverine, having a better understanding of women than Thanos, talked up how important touch is to a relationship and insisted that Thanos march over to Death and touch her face. By the time Thanos built up the resolve and reached over, Wolverine chopped his arm off and called him a sucker.
Hulk beat down Thanos, Spider-Man set things right with the Gauntlet, and the day was saved.
AVENGERS AND THE INFINITY GAUNTLET (2010)
A more all-ages take on Infinity Gauntlet had the team of Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine, Ms. Marvel, Dr. Doom, and space trucker US Ace take on Thanos. It was a silly endeavor, but very much worth reading.
When the heroes (and Doom) fought Thanos, they got their asses handed to them as expected. Out of nowhere, US Ace drove his space truck into Thanos. It didn’t kill him, but it did knock off his Gauntlet. Dr. Doom stole it, but it didn’t do him any good due to the realization that he was just a Doombot.
Thanos tried to put the Gauntlet back on, only for Spider-Man to steal it with a web yoink and put it on. Spider-Man wished that Thanos never found the Infinity Gems and the story reset itself where only Spider-Man and Thanos remembered the incident.
REBIRTH RAMPAGE (2010)
The Universal Church of Truth seemed like they were resurrecting Adam Warlock or his evil self Magus, but instead they brought Thanos back from the dead. Not only was that something that would piss Thanos off on principle, but his mental faculties weren't back to normal just yet. The Guardians of the Galaxy had to fight what was essentially a purple Hulk with his junk flapping around.
The Guardians had a hard time fighting the revived Thanos, as he even seemed more powerful than ever. Groot’s brute force failed, Gamora’s god-killing sword broke on Thanos’ skin, and Drax didn’t do much better. The Guardians hit him with everything they had and it only pissed him off.
Finally, Star-Lord pulled out a cracked Cosmic Cube and used it to lure Thanos over. Then he let loose with a blast – straight into the crotch – that proceeded to knock out Thanos.
DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE (2012)
In one universe, Deadpool became aware that he’s a fictional character and instead of making him all wacky, it broke him and turned him into a brutal nihilist. The four issues were mainly just him killing various characters in occasionally inventive ways. At the beginning of the final issue, we got to see him take out tons of heroes and villains in one fell swoop in what appeared to many as a mass suicide.
Turned out Deadpool was using the Puppet Master’s puppets to control people and make them kill themselves. To show he was thinking big, he pulled out a Galactus doll and we got to see Galactus and other cosmic types floating dead in space. This included the upper half of Thanos.
AVENGERS AND GUARDIANS ASSEMBLE (2012)
The first arc of Avengers Assemblehad two major roles in relation to Marvel synergy. First, it came out around the time of the first Avengersmovie and capitalized on both the Avengers’ popularity and the post-credits Thanos appearance. Second, it introduced the Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them, tweaking the character traits a little bit and mostly ignoring how their previous series ended because they had a movie coming out in two years and this was Marvel’s way of planting the seeds in the readers’ minds.
Thanos came to Earth to steal what he thought was a Cosmic Cube, leading to a team-up between the Avengers and the Guardians. Thanos succeeded and became this unstoppable giant, banishing the heroes to another dimension. Turned out it wasn’t so much a real Cosmic Cube as a replica created by the US government. With the help of the Elders of the Universe, the heroes returned with a weapon that would destroy the fake cube. Thanos returned to his normal form.
Hulk threw a growing Groot at Thanos, who delivered a couple haymakers until being swatted away. Then Thanos looked in horror as the Guardians of the Galaxy and several Avengers rosters (including two Hulks) rushed him down and started curbstomping him into oblivion. Thanos acted like he still had some fight left, but then the Elders popped in to steal him away.
Usually, Thanos’ deal is that he’s trying to get his girl, but around the time of Infinity, Thanos’ deal was that he got the girl too many times. As some kind of galactic Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Thanos sired children all over the universe and one day decided that, oh wait, making babies is counterproductive to stanning for Death. Remembering the time he knocked up an Inhuman during a trip to Earth, he returned to make sure his offspring was wiped out.
The whole event led to a cloud of Terrigen Crystals spreading across the world and one of the people empowered by it was Thanos’ son. Calling himself Thane, the youngster came across Thanos fighting off the Avengers and let loose with his power to encase people in amber. Locked in a cube of amber in a pose similar to that time he was turned into a statue, Thanos was stuck in a horrifying stasis where he was conscious but completely immobile.
Deadpool and Thanos worked together to free Death from the clutches of Eternity. After all, with no Death, there was no...death. Death allowed the two to tap into her power in order to bring Eternity to his knees, but Thanos started to go too far and intended to kill Eternity once and for all. Death removed her powers from Deadpool and Deadpool realized that Death wanted this. The entire universe was going to die.
Not enough to fight Death-powered Thanos on his own, Deadpool ended up getting a big buff in the form of the Captain Universe Uni-Power. That allowed him to fight Thanos head-on, but that wasn’t what got him the win. Deadpool pointed out that Thanos’ resilience and refusal to die or even stay dead makes him more of an agent of life than death. Death pondered this on the side and chose to remove Thanos’ newfound abilities.
Screaming that he was weak and alone once again, Thanos vanished in an explosion caused from Deadpool’s blasts.
WHAT IF? INFINITY: INHUMANS (2015)
In this reality, Thanos gave Black Bolt the ultimatum where if Black Bolt didn’t kill the Illuminati and the Avengers, then Thanos would wipe out the entire Inhuman race. Fast-forward to an Earth ruled by Thanos and his henchmen.
A hooded figure was treated as the ultimate weapon against Thanos that needed to be protected against all threats. In the climax, she revealed herself to be Dazzler. Between her ability to turn sound into light blasts and the excessive power of Black Bolt’s voice, Thanos was easily annihilated.
WHAT IF? INFINITY: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2015)
After Infinity, Thanos was locked up in a cube of amber in the custody of the Illuminati. In this alternate timeline, Rocket Raccoon stumbled upon this fact from spying on Iron Man. He and the Guardians proceeded to fight the Illuminati and free Thanos for the sole purpose of killing him.
The actual death isn’t shown or 100% explained. All it needed was a two-page spread of the Guardians being accompanied by various cosmic allies like Beta Ray Bill, Ronan, Gladiator, Annihilus, and so on. Star-Lord told him that they’re the Guardians of the Galaxy and the galaxy is sick of Thanos’ shit.
Afterwards, they all got very drunk in celebration while Earth's heroes were told that they were grounded and could no longer venture into space.
WHAT IF? INFINITY: DARK REIGN (2015)
Nobody’s perfect, but certain villains are better at using the Infinity Gauntlet than others. Wielding such power comes with such responsibility, so of course who would botch controlling the Infinity Gauntlet worse than a Spider-Man villain?
In a world where Norman Osborn got his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet, he reached back several decades to bring his father into the present and showed him his many accomplishments. While his father was abusive and cruel, he was still able to call out Norman for being a monster. Norman then figured he’d just make his father love him with his omnipotence and it worked!
Then they returned to his stronghold to find all of the Dark Avengers killed by Thanos. The two battled it out and while Thanos couldn’t scratch the Green Goblin, he was at least able to get under his skin by pointing out that he never forced Death to love him because he’d know that it wasn’t real. Norman would soon realize the same about his father’s glowing words.
Norman rendered Thanos into a pile of smoking bones via blasting a Goblin Glider into his sternum. He confronted his mind-controlled father by asking why he loved him. Not finding, “Because you’re my son,” satisfactory, Norman wiped out his father’s existence from history itself.
Realizing his mistake almost immediately, Norman faded away as well. What a maroon.
SECRET WARS (2015)
As the culmination of Jonathan Hickman’s epic Fantastic Four and Avengersruns, Secret Wars was the story of Dr. Doom gaining omnipotence and creating a world made up of scraps of broken alternate universes. It was kind of trippy but very awesome.
When the heroes waged war against God Doom, Thanos challenged him head-on. Without the Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos talked a big game like he had any chance at all and Doom simply tore out his spine like he pressed forward, down, forward, high punch.
At least with the Norman Osborn fight Thanos set him up to lose in his death.
SECRET WARS: THE INFINITY GAUNTLET (2015)
One of the reasons why Secret Wars was such a rad event was the many spinoff stories about the various alternate universes-turned-kingdoms. One of which centered around a family of Nova Corps members in a society overrun by space bugs. Stalking and later befriending the family was Thanos, who carried with him the Time Stone. The Nova family happened to have the Reality Stone.
By the end of the story, Thanos had an almost full Gauntlet while the Novas only had that one Reality Stone. The father put up a good fight, but was still no match for Thanos’ might. The daughter, Anwen, offered to give him the Reality Stone in exchange for their lives. Agreeing to the terms, Thanos placed it in his completed Gauntlet and gloated over his absolute power.
Suddenly, the Gauntlet shorted out while being overcome with purple flame and Kirby Krackle. It overwhelmed Thanos and turned him into a charred skeleton, all while Anwen revealed that she used the Reality Stone to create a poisonous replica called the Death Stone.
CIVIL WAR II (2016)
So Civil War II was a really bad miniseries by Marvel that acted as well-meaning character assassination for Carol Danvers Captain Marvel. Regardless, the first issue had a taste of rad Thanos action. The Inhuman known as Ulysses had a premonition that Thanos was going to be snooping around Earth. Against Iron Man’s wishes, Captain Marvel put together a team to ambush Thanos. Interestingly enough, the miniseries didn’t even show how the fight went down for the most part. All it showed was Thanos’ surprise, his critically injuring She-Hulk, and his fist going through War Machine.
An issue of Ultimatesat least showed that afterwards, the Ultimates roster joined together to pour it on Thanos until he went down.
ULTIMATES REMATCH (2016)
Thanos was locked up in the Triskelion, but as you’d expect, he got free. The Ultimates tried fighting him and this time he was able to overpower them. Black Panther realized that the secret to stopping Thanos wasn’t brawn, but brains. While Ms. America and Captain Marvel kept Thanos busy, the others put together a device that prevented electrical synapses in his brain. Thanos collapsed and went silent.
Black Panther pointed out that such a device would kill anyone else, but it’s possible that Thanos simply can’t die.
THE GROUNDED GUARDIANS (2017)
Thanos escaped custody once again and left the planet, which was extra frustrating for Gamora as the Guardians of the Galaxy lost their transportation during Civil War IIand were stuck on Earth for a while. Luckily, or unluckily, Thanos decided to head back to Earth as part of an agreement with Annihilus, the Brood, and the Badoon. This was Brian Michael Bendis’ final issue writing Guardians of the Galaxy and he wanted to go out with a bang.
It started with Drax vs. Thanos, but over time, the whole Guardians roster started to trickle in to lay in on Thanos. Star-Lord, Groot, Venom, Kitty Pryde, Thing, Angela, Rocket, and Captain Marvel. The Avengers were apparently on the way. Then Gamora arrived, ignoring Thanos’ claims that this world could have been hers had she not betrayed him. Gamora smugly agreed that this way was better and the Guardians rushed Thanos.
While the end of the fight wasn’t shown, the final pages did give us an imprisoned Thanos in the hands of the Nova Corps, looking all Hannibal Lector.
THE SHI’AR IMPERIAL GUARD (2017)
In Thanos’ recent ongoing series, he started to realize that his body was breaking down and he’d regularly cough up blood. He went to Mentor to find a cure, but Mentor’s failure led to death as punishment. Thanos was then met by the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, who tried to overwhelm him with their vast numbers. Thanos had his moments of dominance, but it was apparent that he wasn’t as strong as he usually was and they were getting the best of him.
Exhausted and weakening, Thanos saw the Imperial Guard’s heaviest hitter Gladiator standing behind him. With one hell of a punch, Gladiator knocked Thanos into next week. Thanos was under arrest.
PHOENIX THANE (2017)
Not only was Thanos weakened, but a handful of his enemies joined together to end him once and for all. With Death whispering in his ear, Thane put together a team of himself, Nebula, Starfox, and the Champion of the Universe. In reality, Thane was planning on betraying them anyway, as his plan was to steal a Phoenix egg and grant himself the power of the Phoenix Force.
When the time came for him to confront Thanos, there was very little to the fight itself. Just one blast of cosmic flame that depowered Thanos even further and teleported him to a slum planet, cursed to live out the rest of his pathetic life.
In the end, Thane’s former allies helped Thanos regain his abilities and stop Thane. Apparently, it was part of Death’s plan all along, but Thanos was all, “I don’t want your love anymore!” Those feelings lasted like a week.
THANOS VS. THANOS (2018)
“And if Thanos must die?”
“No one kills Thanos but Thanos.”
At the end of his ongoing, Thanos was brought to the distant future to meet up with his older and very victorious self, King Thanos. Over countless years, Thanos wiped out seemingly all life in the universe. The only things left were his henchman Frank Castle (a failed Ghost Rider/Herald whose mentality has made him more Deadpool than Punisher over the years), the Hulk (treated as Thanos’ dog), and the threat of a vengeful Silver Surfer armed with Mjolnir. King Thanos brought his younger self over to help him kill the Surfer, hoping that it would bring forth the missing Death.
When only the two Thanos’ remained, Death showed herself and made it apparent that she wanted them to fight to the death. Their battle was brutal, but the younger Thanos was supreme. Still, he would not be goaded into killing his older self, purely out of disgust. Instead, he went back to the present with the promise that he would make sure that King Thanos’ future would never come to pass, killing him with non-existence.
I guess they took the whole “Thanos undoes his own victories” thing literally.
Any other Thanos losses you want to remind me of? Sound off in the comments!
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
Gavin Jasper notices that Carol Danvers sure happens to partake in a lot of Thanos smackdownery. Huh. Follow Gavin on Twitter!
We'd also take movie adaptations of Sarah Kuhn's Heroine Trilogy about Asian American superheroes living and saving the world in San Fran.
Sarah Kuhn's Heroine's Journey is our current Den of Geek Book Club pick, and it shouldn't be hard to understand why. The Heroine series, which begins with Heroine Complex, is an easy trilogy to fall in love with. Set in an alternate Bay Area that happens to be home to a demon portal problem, the books follow three Asian American superheroines as they work to keep San Fran safe, figure out their own complex interpersonal drama, and have karaoke nights with the rest of their superhero team/found family.
While Heroine Complex followed superheroine-assistant-turned-superheroine Evie Tanaka and Heroine Worship followed Evie's childhood best friend and superhero partner Aveda Jupiter, Heroine's Journey brings us into the head and life of twenty-something aspiring superheroine Bea Tanaka, the younger sister of Evie as she works to make her own superhero mark on the world, fighting her supportive, yet overprotective big sister every step of the way.
The series is ongoing, and I'd like to see someone step up and bring this world to the big or small screen (I'm not picky). Here are just a few of the many reasons why the Heroine Trilogy would make such a good on-screen adaptation...
We may be living in a time of on-screen superhero story abundance, but those superhero narratives tend to fall into the same, narrow patterns. Ten years into this era of furiously adapting superhero stories for the big and small screens and white cishet men are still majorly over-represented in the superhero field. Kuhn's Heroine Trilogy centers three Asian American women as superheroes. (Evie and Bea are Hapa, Japanese-Irish American, while Aveda is Chinese American.)
TheHeroine series is filled with characters who are diverse in so many ways, and while those identities inform their characters, they are allowed to be more than any one identity. One of those identities is their respective superheroines deals; all three women have awesome abilities: Evie has fire powers. Aveda is telekinetic (and a total martial arts badass). Bea can manipulate others' emotions. Demon cupcakes (yes, there are demon cupcakes in this series), beware!
A superhero series that centers female relationships.
I'm over the era of the Strong Female Protagonist. Give me a female protagonist who isn't defined by any one identity and give her tons of supporting female characters with whom she can interact. The Smurfette Principle should not still be a thing, but it sadly is—especially in on-screen superhero fare.
Kuhn's Heroine series has female characters, relationships, and community in spades. The two most important relationships in the book are the ones between childhood besties Evie and Aveda, and sisters Evie and Bea. In the first case, Kuhn absolutely nails the complexity of a female friendship that has existed since adolescence and that has become unhealthy in some of its patterns, but is still very much based in love.
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
The other central dynamic, the one between Evie and Bea, is similarly complex, but in very different ways. Evie and Bea lost their mother when they were young and are estranged from their father. This strengthened their relationship, as they are the only biological family each other properly has left, but it also put an impossible weight on their dynamic in that Evie feels the need to fill a maternal role for Bea. Now that Bea is an adult, she is chafing against Evie's overprotective support more than ever.
"Bea was a teenager in the first two books, but now she's a little more grown up," Kuhn told Den of Geek at SDCC. "She's still pretty impulsive, she's still kind of a problem child, she still has a lot of issues. She is trying her best and she wants to be a superheroine alongside her big sister." It's riveting stuff, you guys, and the kind of female-driven superhero story we rarely see.
Women characters who are allowed to be angry.
Those who are socialized as women are strongly discouraged from expressing anger, but that doesn't keep us from feeling it. Too often, that anger is turned inward, repressed and contorted into something ugly out of what can be a healthy, appropriate emotion. In our real world, we are starting to get better about giving women space to express anger and validating that anger, but we still have a long, long, long way to go.
One of the aspects of the Heroineseries that is most refreshing is the way Evie and Bea's powers in particular are connected to their emotions. Emotional intelligence has long been considered a traditionally feminine trait and is therefore undervalued by our society. In Heroine Complex, Evie is only able to properly tap into her superpower of setting shit on fire when she lets herself recognize her anger rather than suppress it.
"I always loved the idea that there's power to be found in just acknowledging that you're kind of a mess, because we're all a mess," said Kuhn at SDCC. "Let's be honest, we're all a mess. And I think a lot of the time we're trying so hard to like tamp down on that or control it or make it go away, and I did like the idea that it is actually quite powerful to acknowledge emotions and process them and honor them."
In a sea of superhero stories where dudes can throw stuff, hit hard, and run fast, it's nice to see a superhero story that is so firmly based in the world of emotions, while not giving up any of the excitement or spectacle of superhero fighting that is so much fun to watch or read.
Superhero-ing in the social media age.
Outside of Batgirl of Burnside and Captain America fanfiction, superhero stories suck at incorporating social media and other modern technologies into their narratives. It's not a storytelling problem specific to superhero narratives, but it feels like a particular missed opportunity in stories that are so tied to public identity and celebrity.
"If we had superheroes in our world, obviously they would be like celebrities," said Kuhn. "Everyone would be trying to get that paparazzi shot of them. Everyone would tweet if they saw them eating lunch somewhere. And that's kind of part of what played into what you were talking about before with women always sort of having to present this perfect image. I thought that, especially someone like Aveda, who is so invested in presenting a perfect image and feels like she can never mess up or make a mistake. I thought it would be interesting to look at how she kind of always has to be so on because everybody is watching."
Spoiler alert from someone who has read the books: It is.
A new city to save.
I'm not sure how much help San Francisco needs in our real world—it seems to be doing OK?—but, in the world of the Heroine series, San Fran is ground zero for demon activity. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to see superheroes save not-New York City for a while. Really, I'm just ready for more superhero stories that realize setting in richer ways, making place and the ways it affects character more integral to the story. (Cloak and Daggerhas done this well, as has Black Lightning.)
San Fran is also just a fun place to set a superhero series.
"The streets actually sparkle," said Kuhn of the Bay Area, which she moved to attend Oakland's Mills College and where she had a second coming-of-age. "There's so many fun, interesting locations. There's so much to do. There's always people out and so I thought it would be fun to set it in San Francisco just because it's such a vibrant city, but also because I felt like having a sort of twenty-something coming-of-age was something that I could really relate to and hopefully write authentically."
We rarely get to see San Fran on screen, probably because it doesn't have a film production infrastructure in the ways other American cities do. (I'm hoping Star Trek's proposed Starfleet Academy series figures out a way to render future San Fran in rich ways.) A screen adaptation of Kuhn's Heroine series would be the perfect excuse.
This world can support many stories.
The Heroine series is far from over. Kuhn will be writing another trilogy of books in the world, a sequel for each of her protagonists: Evie, Aveda, and Bea.
An on-screen adaptation could use the classic one book to one season structure, changing the central, POV protagonist a la Skam, or the series could extend the focus of each book to make it less specific to one protagonist and more of an ensemble piece. The world definitely has the room for it, with a well-realized group of supporting characters who appear in all three books.
Visually and tonally, the books are ripe for an on-screen adaptation, something Kuhn herself would be eager to see, saying: "Of course I would love to see a series focused on three Asian American women, three women of color who are superheroes and friends and sisters and it's just sort of about that."
What is the chance of us getting an on-screen adaptation?
"There's definitely some interest and there have definitely been some discussions and we'll kind of see where it goes," said Kuhn. "But, honestly, it just makes me so happy that, that's something that people are interested in, that, that's something that they ask for because when I first started writing these books, I didn't even know if they were going to get published. I didn't know what was going to happen, so the fact that we are at that point is amazing to me."
Dan Jurgens reflects on his time with Superman, tells us what's next for Green Lanterns, and talks about why Booster Gold keeps coming back.
Dan Jurgens is often remembered as one of the men who killed Superman, but he's also someone who gave the Man of Steel as much life as any number of legendary creators. Jurgens' time with Superman spans nearly 30 years, and his work at DC Comics has allowed him to play with nearly every major character and concept over the decades.
Incredibly accomplished as both a writer and artist, Jurgens just finished his latest run with Superman, wrapping up his time as writer on Action Comics, and writing and drawing the lead story for Action Comics #1000. He's currently writing Green Lanterns, his first time on a proper Green Lantern book, despite having made his mark on that world (albeit indirectly) back in 1993.
And while stuff like Superman and Green Lantern are the marquee names, comic book fans also know Jurgens as the creator of Booster Gold, the beloved time-traveling screw-up whose antics often feel like the inspiration for the Legends of Tomorrow TV series. We sat down with Mr. Jurgens at SDCC to talk about what he's been up to recently...
Den of Geek: So, you just kicked off an arc on Green Lanterns, let's talk about that.
Dan Jurgens: I'm doing Green Lanterns now, along with Mike Perkins, who has just come over to DC from Marvel. Mike and I have wanted to work together for a long time, and he's doing absolutely fabulous stuff on it, and it is so much fun to see his interpretations of the entire Green Lantern Corps. I keep throwing more stuff at him, saying, "Draw this character, draw that character," and he's doing a great job with it.
What we have done, is introduce a mystery into the Green Lantern Corps, where by the end of our first issue, which is number 50, one of the Guardians is dead, and it starts to look like a murder mystery, with different Lantern characters being pegged as the murderers. So, it's very much a story about the Corps, it's about mistrust, it's about whether or not you can trust each other, and whether or not you can even touch these cool rings that they wear, which is what makes them the Green Lantern. So, we're having a lot of different things we're playing things we're playing with in this that make it, I think, somewhat different then the typical Green Lantern type of story.
And how long is this arc running for?
We're running from issue 50 to 57, eight issues, and when you have that many characters as we do there, and I want to touch on the entire Corps, certainly with focus on Simon Baz, and Jessica Cruz, 'cause they were sort of the cornerstone characters. But we're using Kilowog, and we're using Guy Gardner, and we're using Hal, so we have a lot we want to touch on.
Is this the first time you've written any of the Green Lanterns outside of guest appearances in other the books?
Well, and that's what's really weird, because it is the first time I've done it directly, and the funny thing is that if we go back to Death of Superman days, when we destroyed Coast City, that's kind what drove Hal off the edge, and turned into the Parallax stuff, which I also did in Zero Hour. I've had this relationship with Green Lantern for a long time, but never have done it directly. So, yeah, this is the first time.
I can't stay away from your Superman work, because it's just such tremendous body of work there is that I've come back to again and again as a fan. What is your proudest moment as a Superman writer, artist, and creator?
I think it's really hard to beat Superman #75, and the whole Death of Superman thing, because that was so unique for its time, and these days it's really almost impossible for those who weren't there, to try and tell them what it was like in terms of the public reaction to it overall. So, that's a part of it, but I think also, and not to cheat, because this will sound like a bit of a cheat, is just to have had that long of an affiliation with a character, and continue to be able to add things that contribute overall to the old tapestry that is Superman.
And, through that time, you've been a writer, you've been an artist, you've been a writer and artist. Were there any particular collaborations that you felt where you were really firing on all cylinders with people?
Yeah, well, and I think if we go back to what we were during The Death of Superman, there were four Superman books, and we were essentially a weekly comic book. And, it was a group of writers, it was me, along with Jerry Ordway, and Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern, as well as artists like Jerry was drawing his book, and we had Tom Grummett, and John Bogdanove, and all together it was a very special time for what Superman was, so there was that.
I mean, even more recently, I was so fortunate to have really good artists on the book. Patrick Zircher kinda helped us kick it off with Action Comics #957, because we were doing the Rebirth stuff and everything, and from that all the way on up through, I think I was really fortunate to have really nice, solid artists, each of whom brought something special to Superman.
Do you ever see yourself drawing a monthly again?
Yeah, I do. I think, more and more, I keep telling myself that I'm gonna have to do it again, because one of the realities is, even as I draw more sporadically now. For example I just did the story in Action Comics #1000, that I wrote and drew. And when I got done with that I said, "This was fun to get back and do this, I have to draw more," so at some point I'm gonna have to do it here.
Do you feel now that your Superman story is complete? You wrapped things up at the end of your Rebirth run, but do you feel like you've told that story now? Or do you still feel that you have more stories to tell with Superman?
I think the answer to both of those is yes. I think I told that story and brought it to the conclusion I wanted it to have, but I think that there are more stories out there, and whether or not we'll ever get around to doing it, who knows, we'll see. But I think there are always more stories out there.
Superman is such a tremendous character, and what I like about him is that he is so elastic a character, and by that I mean you really can tell a story as small as, it's his son Jon's birthday, and Lois is out working on a story and he's fighting Brainiac or somebody, and poor Jon is sitting there home alone. You can tell a story that is as small as a family moment, and at the same time, tell a story as big as Superman fighting the biggest cosmic threat there is, and that's what I like about the character.
You are also known as the creator of the creator of Booster Gold, and Booster has been absent from the DC Universe the last couple of years until that story that came towards the end of your run on Action Comics. What was it like revisiting Booster yet again, and are we ever going to see him again, or see you working on him again?
Well, it's always fun to work on Booster Gold, and it's sort of like he comes up for a while, then he fades and comes back. Working on him in Action was a lot of fun. Watching Tom King use him in Batman was a lot of fun, and obviously Tom is using him in a new series that's coming up, called Heroes in Crisis. And, after that we'll see. Booster is, I think, this fun jovial character who is very complicated on one level, and at the same time very direct. In comics we have characters with secret identities, and all sorts of secrets they try and protect. Booster just wears it on his sleeve, and it's all out there for everybody to see, both the good and the bad, and he has plenty of faults. I think that's what makes it fun to work on Booster Gold, so yeah, hopefully out there we'll see something.
And you've been involved with DC's initiative to get comics out into the hands of casual fans again, with their work with Walmart.
We have four titles that are going into Walmart on a monthly basis, Batman, Superman, Justice League, and Teen Titans. I am writing the Teen Titans lead story. Each of those books are a hundred pages, and they have one new story in the front. I'm writing a Teen Titans story with great art by Scot Eaton, and right now the Titans are in this bit of a renaissance, and even that's hard to say, because it's not like the Titans ever really went away. But we have the Teen Titans Go! movie, and there's a Titans live action TV series that is coming here this fall, and so to kind of be out there in that different sort of venue trying to find a new reader, and kind of find those casual readers so that we can later entice them into a comic book store, it's a lot of fun.
What do you think it would take to really get Superman to work on the big screen again?
I think they're very close to it. I think they have the right cast, and I think at the end of the Justice League movie, we really started to see the keys of what could make it work. We saw the Superman/Flash race, which is such a quintessential Superman moment, the color was brighter, the sun was out, it was outdoors, it was positive. We saw Superman smile, we saw Superman have sort of that command presence that I think he has to have, which I think Henry Cavill really embodies. So I think it's very close.
Green Lanterns arrives every other Wednesday from DC Comics.
Sony’s Spider-Man spinoff movie endeavors appear to be contemplating Kraven the Hunter, since a writer was reportedly named.
Kraven the Hunter might be movie-bound for a Sony solo effort.
The October-scheduled Venom, starring Tom Hardy, will serve as Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man spinoff canary in the box office coal mine for several mooted projects. However, the studio’s universe-expanding ambitions might be too urgent to await the outcome of that experiment, since it appears that another rogues gallery cinematic centerpiece in Kraven the Hunter is getting behind-the-scenes momentum. Indeed, Collider reporting that Sony has appointed The Equalizer 2 scribe Richard Wenk to write the script.
Wenk, primarily an action movie screenwriter, wrote the 2014 Denzel Washington-starring, 1980s TV series-adapting actioner, The Equalizer, and its just-released sequel. He’s also banked scripts for Tom Cruise action sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, 2016 Western remake The Magnificent Seven, 80s action icons sequel The Expendables 2, Jason Statham actioner The Mechanic and Bruce Willis thriller 16 Blocks.
Sergei Kravinoff, a.k.a. Kraven the Hunter, is one of Spider-Man’s earliest recurring villains, marking his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #15, dated August 1964. He’s a Russian big game hunter who develops an obsession with making the already-famous Spider-Man into his next trophy. Kraven is an A-list antagonist and – with Doctor Octopus, Electro, the Sandman, the Vulture and Mysterio – formed the first lineup of the Sinister Six. He also happened to be the center of one of the darkest Spider-Man comic storylines, 1987’s “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” which culminated in the character's suicide; a watershed moment for the comic industry, just as DC was about to come to the table with Batman: The Killing Joke.
Of course, Kraven would be resurrected, remaining a thorn in Spidey’s side in myriad comic iterations, and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler even revealed that he (unsuccessfully,) attempted to procure Kraven as the film’s villain.
Consequently, it will be interesting to see what Wenk – a gritty crime movie-inclined director – would bring to the table with a Kraven the Hunter movie, which, like Venom, would presumably operate under a context that’s removed from his rivalry with Spider-Man, despite his innate connection to the Wall-Crawler. However, it has been apparent for a while that Sony was eyeing Kraven for something. Last year, reports surfaced that the studio was considering both Kraven the Hunter and master of illusion Mysterio for solo efforts. Of course, Mysterio would become spoken for when the Tom Holland-starring sequel, Spider-Man: Far from Home cast A-list star Jake Gyllenhaal for the role.
While we’ll have to wait for the box office numbers of Venom to get a better gauge on moviegoers’ feelings about Sony’s cold introduction Spider-Man-less villain spinoff movies, it’s a concerning endeavor that seems to be putting the crossover cart before the franchise horse, especially as the projects are piling up, consisting of offerings such as the Jared Leto-headlining Morbius (the Living Vampire), Silk (a female hero imbued with similar powers to Spidey) and the recently-shelved Silver & Black (a female-led team-up of Black Cat and Silver Sable).
Regardless, we will keep you updated on Sony’s Kraven the Hunter project as the developments occur!
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
If you like Dark Tower or Logan, Serial Box's new dark fantasy western, Bullet Catcher, should be on your to-read list.
Coming this fall from online serial fiction platform Serial Box, Bullet Catcher is a startling new dark fantasy western, in which orphaned Imma Moreno apprentices herself to a bullet catcher: a warrior who can’t be shot and who can bend bullets to his will.
For readers who love Stephen King’s Dark Tower fantasies, or who loved the mentor relationship between Wolverine and Laura in Logan, Bullet Catcher introduces a world that feels old, gritty, and ready for a hero. But when Imma discovers the answers she’s searching for, she may realize that the difference between heroes and villains isn’t what she expected.
Check out Den of Geek's exclusive first look at the serial's gorgeous cover...
Unlike most Serial Box titles, Bullet Catcher is the work of a single author, novelist and reviewer Joaquin Lowe. Beginning with the first issue, released on October 17, 2018, the series will run weekly over fourteen episodes. It joins Serial Box’s catalog of excellent, intense fantasy series, such as Bookburners, Tremontaine, The Witch Who Came in from the Cold, and Born to the Blade.
What's Bullet Catcherabout? The story is set in a world where the war between the bullet catchers and the gunslingers ended a long time ago. Imma grew up on stories of their battles, of tales of good versus evil told by her brother, Nikko. At the orphanage where they grew up, Nikko created dreams of a future in which he’d become a rich bullet catcher, and he’d ride back to the orphanage and save Imma.
But Nikko disappeared long ago and, in her heart, Imma knows he’s dead. When a real bullet catcher arrives in town, Imma has nowhere to go: she’s washing dishes in a dead-end job—a dead-end life. Her hope rekindled, she follows the stranger out of town, demanding to be taught to become a bullet catcher herself.
But most of all, Imma wants to know what happened to her brother. Nikko pledged to come back for her. Imma knows he’s dead, but she wants to know how. And if he was killed, she wants to face his murderer herself.
Stay tuned for more coverage of this upcoming serial! In the mean time, check out our guide to the best serial fiction on the internet and head over to the Serial Box website to pre-order the entire first season of Bullet Catcher.