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Avengers: Infinity War makes Thanos look unbeatable. Maybe these comics hold the answers to the one chance Doctor Strange saw to defeat him.
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.
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!
Gavin Jasper notices that Carol Danvers sure happens to partake in a lot of Thanos smackdownery. Huh. Follow Gavin on Twitter!
Everything we know about the Locke & Key TV show, which is now headed for Netflix.
The Locke & Key TV project has had a rough time! Back in July 2016, THR revealed that Hulu gave the show adaptation of writer Joe Hill's IDW horror comic book series a pilot order, with Carlton Cuse (Lost) set to serve as showrunner. While Andy Muschietti (It, Mama) was on tap to direct the pilot after Doctor Strange's Scott Derrickson had to withdraw, more changes appear to be afoot on this project's long road to a series order.
Third time's the charm? Try fourth time, since the latest attempt arrives after Hulu passed on the project! However, Cuse is still involved and odds seem better than ever that this beloved comic will be done justice.
Locke & Key News
After a recent unfortunate setback, Locke & Key fans can finally rest easy knowing that it’s about to close in on a home with Netflix. – Except that there’s a major catch!
While the project’s once-promising prospects with Hulu suddenly evaporated two months ago when the streaming platform passed on a pickup, it appears that a much-bigger fish, Netflix, has shown interest. Consequently, the streaming giant, according to THR, is finalizing negotiations for a series order deal that will see Locke & Key join the murderer’s row that is the Netflix original content lineup.
However, Netflix’s prospective pickup of Locke & Key will reportedly require crucial caveats that will bring the project back to the drawing board. Along with expectations to license the rights for the IP (from Joe Hill’s IDW comic book,) and redevelop the drama with IDW Entertainment, Netflix wants to scrap the Hulu pilot entirely, including the cast, headlined by Frances O’Connor, and its director, Andy Muschietti, who is no longer available, since he’s hard at work on It Chapter 2 (but will be credited as an executive producer on the series). – So, that’s huge.
Therefore, should the Netflix deal for Locke & Key get completed, it’s going to be a long while before the project finally surfaces.
Locke & Key TV Show Cast
Here's the main cast of Locke & Key, as gathered for the now-nixed Hulu pilot. It will be interesting to see if Netflix keeps anyone around.
Frances O’Connor was to play Nina Locke. The story would have centered on O'Connor's Nina, who, after her husband’s gruesome murder, takes her three children to move into their ancestral home in Maine, the Keyhouse. However, the Keyhouse has centuries of connections to the supernatural, serving as a dimensional portal through which malevolent demons wish to cross. Moreover, the magical keys connected to the house – forged from the metallic remains of demons who’ve tried to cross the portal – contain powers beyond comprehension.
O’Connor, an English actress, is known from roles in films such as The Conjuring 2, The Hunter, Bedazzled and, notably, in Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence as the mother figure to Haley Joel Osment’s proverbial Pinocchio. She’s also fielded numerous TV runs, most recently on Cleverman, as well as The Missing, Mr. Selfridge and Cashmere Mafia.
Sam Robards (Twisted, Gossip Girl) was to play Nina's ill-fated husband, Rendell Locke. Interestingly, this casting would have been an A.I. reunion, since Robards played the husband of O'Connor's character in that film.
Jack Mulhern (Walking to the Waterline) was to play Tyler Locke, the teenage son of Nina and Rendell. As the oldest of the young Locke siblings, Tyler finds himself as the man of the house, by default. This, of course, complicates his already-complicated adolescent existence enough. However, once his family moves into the supernatural-phenomena-plagued Keyhouse, his problems will exponentially increase.
Megan Charpentier (It, Mama) was to play Kinsey Locke, the middle child.
Jackson Robert Scott (It, Fear the Walking Dead) was to play Bode Locke, the youngest member of the Locke family. Bode is an optimistic, imaginative eight-year-old who is especially tuned into and vulnerable to the supernatural possibilities of the Keyhouse.
Nate Corddry (The Circle, The Marvelous Ms. Maisel) was to play Duncan Locke, Rendell’s younger brother and uncle to the trio of children. The actor also happens to be a younger brother to actor/comedian Rob Corddry.
Owen Teague (It, Bloodline) was to play Sam Lesser, a young man who’s suffered abuse, who is influenced by a spirit to carry out a murder that’s crucial to the story.
Danny Glover was to play a cameo role as Joe Ridgeway, an English teacher, described as “eccentric,” who works at Matheson Academy. There, he becomes a mentor to the Locke children and friend to their recently-widowed mother, Nina (Frances O’Connor). Yet, Joe knew Nina’s (brutally murdered) late husband, Rendell Locke, and is also aware of some of the tragic secrets that he withheld; secrets that are connected to his mysterious ancestral home, the Keyhouse, in which Nina and kids have now taken up residence.
Locke & Key Details
In 2016, IDW Entertainment released news that Locke & Key writer Joe Hill (he wrote the story for the comics, with art by Gabriel Rodriguez) was on board to write the pilot and executive produce the TV show adaptation as a straight-to-series project. It's unclear how Hulu and Cuse's involvement might change that plan, but Hill had previously said in a statement:
I love this story. The seven years I spent working on Locke & Key was the happiest creative experience of my life, and there still isn’t a day when I don’t think about those characters and miss visiting with them. The six books of the series are very like six seasons of a cable TV series, and so it feels only natural to bring that world to the little screen and to see if we can’t scare the pants off viewers everywhere.
Locke & Key begins with the story of three siblings returning to their family's ancestral home following the brutal and mysterious murder of their father. As they explore the house and its surroundings, it becomes clear that there are wonderful and terrible things lurking on the grounds. It is a comic book horror classic.
Previously, a TV show adaptation made it all the way to the pilot stage, but never garnered a pick-up. The episode was screened at Comic Con in 2011 and, as someone who was there for said screening, I can vouch for its awesomeness — a character-driven exercise in horror that deserved to continue its story.
The TV adaptation had Josh Friedman as a showrunner (The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Avatar 2) and an all-star cast that included Miranda Otto, Sarah Bolger, and Ksenia Solo. Check out the trailer...
Sadly, this version of Locke & Key never made it past a pilot, but the pop culture world seems better poised to embrace an on-screen version of this horror comic now. Not only are there way more comic book adaptations on TV and film, but Joe Hill has become more of a household name, especially with the recent film adaptaion of Horns. Hopefully, this adaptation is good and garners enough of an audience to ensure its continuation. Universe, you owe us this.
Looking for a good fantasy read? Here are some of the best new fantasy books to be released in June 2018.
Summer, one of our four favorite seasons to read, is upon us. Here are some of the fantasy books coming out in the month of June (and a few from early July... and one from late May) that we are most looking forward to checking out. Is your most-anticpated June fantasy read on the list?
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Type: Hardcover repackage of the first book in the (so, so good) Villians series
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: May 29
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates―brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find―aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge―but who will be left alive at the end?
In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn't automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.
Brief Cases by Jim Butcher
Type: Short stories from the Dresden Files series
Release date: June 5
The world of Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is rife with intrigue--and creatures of all supernatural stripes. And you'll make their intimate acquaintance as Harry delves into the dark side of truth, justice, and the American way in this must-have short story collection.
From the Wild West to the bleachers at Wrigley Field, humans, zombies, incubi, and even fey royalty appear, ready to blur the line between friend and foe. In the never-before-published "Zoo Day," Harry treads new ground as a dad, while fan-favorite characters Molly Carpenter, his onetime apprentice, White Council Warden Anastasia Luccio, and even Bigfoot stalk through the pages of more classic tales.
With twelve stories in all, Brief Cases offers both longtime fans and first-time readers tantalizing glimpses into Harry's funny, gritty, and unforgettable realm, whetting their appetites for more to come from the wizard with a heart of gold.
The Memory of Fire by Callie Bates
Type: Second book in Waking Land series
Publisher: Del Rey
Release date: June 5
Thanks to the magic of Elanna Valtai and the Paladisan noble Jahan Korakides, the lands once controlled by the empire of Paladis have won their independence. But as Elanna exhausts her powers restoring the ravaged land, news that the emperor is readying an invasion spurs Jahan on a desperate mission to establish peace.
Going back to Paladis proves to be anything but peaceful, however. As magic is a crime in the empire, punishable by death, Jahan must hide his abilities. Nonetheless, the grand inquisitor’s hunters suspect him of sorcery, and mysterious, urgent messages from the witch who secretly trained Jahan only increase his danger of exposure. Worst of all, the crown prince has turned his back on Jahan, robbing him of the royal protection he once enjoyed.
As word of Jahan’s return spreads, long-sheathed knives, sharp and deadly, are drawn again. And when Elanna, stripped of her magic, is brought to the capital in chains, Jahan must face down the traumas of his past to defeat the shadowy enemies threatening his true love’s life, and the future of the revolution itself.
The Traitor God by Cameron Johnston
Type: First in a trilogy
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release date: June 5
After ten years on the run, dodging daemons and debt, reviled magician Edrin Walker returns home to avenge the brutal murder of his friend. Lynas had uncovered a terrible secret, something that threatened to devour the entire city. He tried to warn the Arcanum, the sorcerers who rule the city. He failed. Lynas was skinned alive and Walker felt every cut. Now nothing will stop him from finding the murderer. Magi, mortals, daemons, and even the gods – Walker will burn them all if he has to. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s killed a god...
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
Type: Third book in the An Ember in the Ashes series
Release date: June 12
Beyond the Martial Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.
Helene Aquilla, the Blood Shrike, is desperate to protect her sister's life and the lives of everyone in the Empire. But she knows that danger lurks on all sides: Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable and violent, while Keris Veturia, the ruthless Commandant, capitalizes on the Emperor's volatility to grow her own power--regardless of the carnage she leaves in her path.
Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But in the hunt to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would help her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she'd have to fight.
And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that demands his complete surrender--even if that means abandoning the woman he loves.
Starless by Jacqueline Carey
Type: Standalone (so far)
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: June 12
I was nine years old the first time I tried to kill a man...
Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.
In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.
If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine.
Witchmark by C.L. Polk
Type: Standalone (so far)
Release date: June 19
In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.
Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family's interest or to be committed to a witches' asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans' hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.
When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhoarse
Type: First book in the Sixth World series
Publisher: Saga Press
Release date: June 26
While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.
Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.
Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.
As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.
Welcome to the Sixth World.
Black Chamber by S.M. Stirling
Type: Standalone (so far)
Release date: July 3
1916. The Great War rages overseas, and the whole of Europe, Africa, and western Asia is falling to the Central Powers. To win a war that must be won, Teddy Roosevelt, once again the American president, turns to his top secret Black Chamber organization--and its cunning and deadly spy, Luz O'Malley Aróstegui.
On a transatlantic airship voyage, Luz poses as an anti-American Mexican revolutionary to get close--very close--to a German agent code-named Imperial Sword. She'll need every skill at her disposal to get him to trust her and lead her deep into enemy territory. In the mountains of Saxony, concealed from allied eyes, the German Reich's plans for keeping the U.S. from entering the conflict are revealed: the deployment of a new diabolical weapon upon the shores of America...
City of Lies by Sam Hawke
Type: First book in the Poison Wars series
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: July 3
I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me...
Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he's a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state.
But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising...and angry.
The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri
Type: Standalone (for now)
Publisher: Titan Books
Release date: July 3
Four old school friends have a pact: to meet up every year in the small town in Puglia they grew up in. Art, the charismatic leader of the group and creator of the pact, insists that the agreement must remain unshakable and enduring. But this year, he never shows up.
A visit to his house increases the friends' worry; Art is farming marijuana. In Southern Italy doing that kind of thing can be very dangerous. They can't go to the Carabinieri so must make enquiries of their own. This is how they come across the rumours about Art; bizarre and unbelievable rumours that he miraculously cured the local mafia boss's daughter of terminal leukaemia. And among the chaos of his house, they find a document written by Art, The Book of Hidden Things, that promises to reveal dark secrets and wonders beyond anything previously known.
Francesco Dimitri's first novel written in English, following his career as one of the most significant fantasy writers in Italy, will entrance fans of Elena Ferrante, Neil Gaiman and Donna Tartt. Set in the beguiling and seductive landscape of Southern Italy, this story is about friendship and landscape, love and betrayal; above all it is about the nature of mystery itself.
Which fantasy books are you most looking forward to checking out in June? Let us know in the comments below or in our Den of Geek Book Club on Goodreads.
Looking for a good science fiction read? Check out these new science fiction books released in June 2018.
Books, books, books! Summer is a great time to dive into science fiction and explore other worlds. Here are some of the science fiction books coming out in June (and, OK, early July) that we are most looking forward to here at Den of Geek.
Free Chocolate by Amber Royer
Type: First book in The Chocoverse series
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release date: June 1
Latina culinary arts student, Bo Benitez, becomes a fugitive when she's caught stealing a cacao pod from the heavily-defended plantations that keep chocolate, Earth's sole valuable export, safe from a hungry galaxy. Forces arraying against her including her alien boyfriend and a reptilian cop. But when she escapes onto an unmarked starship things go from bad to worse: it belongs to the race famed throughout the galaxy for eating stowaways. Surrounded by dangerous yet hunky aliens, Bo starts to uncover clues that the threat to Earth may be bigger than she first thought.
Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee
Type: Third book in the Machineries of Empire trilogy
Release date: June 12
When Shuos Jedao wakes up for the first time, several things go wrong. His few memories tell him that he's a seventeen-year-old cadet--but his body belongs to a man decades older. Hexarch Nirai Kujen orders Jedao to reconquer the fractured hexarchate on his behalf even though Jedao has no memory of ever being a soldier, let alone a general. Surely a knack for video games doesn't qualify you to take charge of an army?
Soon Jedao learns the situation is even worse. The Kel soldiers under his command may be compelled to obey him, but they hate him thanks to a massacre he can't remember committing. Kujen's friendliness can't hide the fact that he's a tyrant. And what's worse, Jedao and Kujen are being hunted by an enemy who knows more about Jedao and his crimes than he does himself...
The Robots of Gotham by Todd McAulty
Type: Standalone (for now)
Publisher: John Joseph Adams
Release date: June 19
After long years of war, the United States has sued for peace, yielding to a brutal coalition of nations ruled by fascist machines. One quarter of the country is under foreign occupation. Manhattan has been annexed by a weird robot monarchy, and in Tennessee, a permanent peace is being delicately negotiated between the battered remnants of the U.S. government and an envoy of implacable machines. Canadian businessman Barry Simcoe arrives in occupied Chicago days before his hotel is attacked by a rogue war machine. In the aftermath, he meets a dedicated Russian medic with the occupying army, and 19 Black Winter, a badly damaged robot. Together they stumble on a machine conspiracy to unleash a horrific plague—and learn that the fabled American resistance is not as extinct as everyone believes. Simcoe races against time to prevent the extermination of all life on the continent . . . and uncover a secret that America’s machine conquerors are desperate to keep hidden.
Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn
Type: Second book in Star Wars: Thrawn series
Publisher: Del Rey
Release date: June 24
“I have sensed a disturbance in the Force.”
Ominous words under any circumstances, but all the more so when uttered by Emperor Palpatine. On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root—its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn. Fierce rivals for the emperor’s favor, and outspoken adversaries on Imperial affairs—including the Death Star project—the formidable pair seem unlikely partners for such a crucial mission. But the Emperor knows it’s not the first time Vader and Thrawn have joined forces. And there’s more behind his royal command than either man suspects.
In what seems like a lifetime ago, General Anakin Skywalker of the Galactic Republic, and Commander Mitth’raw’nuruodo, officer of the Chiss Ascendancy, crossed paths for the first time. One on a desperate personal quest, the other with motives unknown . . . and undisclosed. But facing a gauntlet of dangers on a far-flung world, they forged an uneasy alliance—neither remotely aware of what their futures held in store.
Now, thrust together once more, they find themselves bound again for the planet where they once fought side by side. There they will be doubly challenged—by a test of their allegiance to the Empire . . . and an enemy that threatens even their combined might.
Apocalypse Nyx by Kameron Hurley
Type: Book 1.5/1.7 in the Bel Dame Apocrypha series
Publisher: Tachyon Publication
Release date: June 26
Ex-government assassin turned bounty-hunter, Nyx, is good at solving other people’s problems. Her favorite problem-solving solution is punching people in the face. Then maybe chopping off some heads. Hey—it’s a living.
Nyx's disreputable reputation has been well earned. After all, she’s trying to navigate an apocalyptic world full of giant bugs, contaminated deserts, scheming magicians, and a centuries-long war that’s consuming her future. Managing her ragtag squad of misfits has required a lot of morally-gray choices. Every new job is another day alive. Every new mission is another step toward changing a hellish future—but only if she can survive.
A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White
Type: First book in Salvagers series
Release date: June 26
Boots Elsworth was a famous treasure hunter in another life, but now she's washed up. She makes her meager living faking salvage legends and selling them to the highest bidder, but this time she got something real--the story of the Harrow, a famous warship, capable of untold destruction.
Nilah Brio is the top driver in the Pan Galactic Racing Federation and the darling of the racing world--until she witnesses Mother murder a fellow racer. Framed for the murder and on the hunt to clear her name, Nilah has only one lead: the killer also hunts Boots.
On the wrong side of the law, the two women board a smuggler's ship that will take them on a quest for fame, for riches, and for justice.
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
Type: First book in The Lady Astronaut series
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: July 3
On a coldspring night in 1952, a meteorite falls to earth and destroys much of theeastern seaboard of the United States, including Washington D.C. The Meteor, asit is popularly known, decimates the U.S. government and paves the way for aclimate cataclysm that will eventually render the earth inhospitable to humanity.This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated timeline in the earth’s effortsto colonize space, and allows a much larger share of humanity to take part inthe process.
One of thesenew entrants in the space race is Elma York, whose experience as a WASP pilotand mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’sattempts to put man on the moon. But with so many skilled and experienced womenpilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elmabegins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too―aside from some peskybarriers like thousands of years of history and a host of expectations aboutthe proper place of the fairer sex. And yet, Elma’s drive to become the firstLady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions may notstand a chance against her.
Space Unicorn Blues by T.J. Berry
Type: Standalone (for now)
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release date: July 3
Having magical powers makes you less than human, a resource to be exploited. Half-unicorn Gary Cobalt is sick of slavery, captivity, and his horn being ground down to power faster-than-light travel. When he's finally free, all he wants is to run away in his ancestors' stone ship. Instead, Captain Jenny Perata steals the ship out from under him, so she can make an urgent delivery. But Jenny held him captive for a decade, and then Gary murdered her best friend... who was also the wife of her co-pilot, Cowboy Jim. What could possibly go right?
Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio
Type: First in the Sun Eater series
Release date: July 3
It was not his war.
The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives—even the Emperor himself—against Imperial orders.
But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.
On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe starts down a path that can only end in fire. He flees his father and a future as a torturer only to be left stranded on a strange, backwater world.
Forced to fight as a gladiator and navigate the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, Hadrian must fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.
What science fiction books are you most looking forward to checking out in June? Let us know in the comments below or in our Den of Geek Book Club on Goodreads.
Netflix's first comic book, The Magic Order, will arrive as a partnered project with Mark Millar's Millarworld.
Mark Millar’s next Millarworld comic book project will make its arrival under the purview of a most curious backer: Netflix. That’s because back in August 2017, the monolithic streaming company acquired the publisher, adding a new multimedia dimension to its own proverbial queue. Now, Millarworld’s first Netflix-era title, The Magic Order, is teasing its imminent debut with a trailer. (Yes, comic books have trailers now.)
The Magic Order Trailer
The Magic Order trailer showcases some terrific tidbits in motion comic style. While it's a "Wizarding World" in its own right, Millar's concept is more sinister than even a sinister Slytherin could fathom, since it's a world in which magicians – once revered – are being systematically murdered, Order 66 style.
The Magic Order Release Date
The Magic Order will manifest as a six-issue comic book series, set to hit comic shops on June 13. It will also be available for purchase in digital format.
It will be written by Mark Millar and feature the art of Olivier Coipel, whose prominent works include Marvel’s House of M, runs on New Avengers and X-Men (with a crossover between the two teams) and Thor, along with DC Legion of Superheroes titles such as The Legion, Legion Lost, and Legionnaires.
The story of The Magic Order will, as its title suggests, center in a world imbued with magic. However, with the additional element of monsters and real-world-rooted crime, Millar has put together a pastiche that is being touted as “magic meets the mob.” Here, five families of magicians are sworn to protect an embattled world from an enemy that’s picking them off. In a true superhero dynamic, by day the families live amongst the normal folk unnoticed, but by night, they put on their (figurative and literal) hats as sorcerers, magicians and wizards to fight the forces of darkness.
For Millar, the writing visionary behind a multitude of live-action-inspiring comic book works such as Marvel’s Civil War, Ultimates and Old Man Logan, along with Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kick-Ass, Empress and Superior, this first Millarworld outing as a Netflix subsidiary had to bring something unique to the new landscape. As he expresses in a statement:
“We wanted to make a splash with our first book for Netflix and this is it. I love dark fantasy and there’s an enormous gap in the market for something like this. Netflix hiring Olivier has also made me the happiest guy alive. I’ve been after him for almost ten years so to finally have our names in the same book is an absolute honor.”
There is, of course, the additional narrative here that Netflix’s acquisition of Millarworld is designed – in a manner akin to Disney’s acquisition of Marvel and Warner’s acquisition of DC Comics – as a way to concoct comic book-adapted properties with complete autonomy. Indeed, it would not be putting the cart before the horse to posit that The Magic Order seems all but certain to make an eventual transition into a live-action Netflix project.
The Hate U Give author Angie Thomas was at this week's BookExpo chatting about the film adaptation of her bestselling book.
The Hate U Give is one of the most successful young adult novels of the past year. The story of a 16-year-old black girl named Starr Carter who sees her childhood best friend gunned down by the cops has struck a chord with young people and adults alike who are finally starting to see more diverse protagonists and stories that better represent the America we live in.
The novel is getting a feature film adaptation starring Amandla Stenberg, with George Tillman Jr. (The Longest Ride) in the director's chair and a script from Audrey Wells (Under the Tuscan Sun). Set to come out in October, the film recently wrapped production and the book's author. Angie Thomas was in attendance at this week's BookExpo in New York City where she spoke about her involvement in the making of the film.
"I was consulted a lot," said Thomas during a BookExpo panel on book-to-film adaptations. "I have to say that the director, especially, he consulted me a lot. He still consults me a lot during post-production. He calls me just about every week about stuff. And, for me, that's an honor because it shows that he respects the source material and the source that is came from."
Thomas noted that this isn't always the case when it comes to book-to-film adaptations.
"I always tell the readers: I didn't make decisions, but they did consult me and they talked to me and they asked for my input," said Thomas. "And, for me, that's a big thing because, sometimes, when books are made into movies, authors are left out of the conversation and I can't say that that's what happened to me."
Thomas spent several weeks on the set of The Hate U Give film adaptation, which filmed in and around Atlanta. Giving an example of the kind of input she had as a creator visiting the set, Thomas told a story about noticing a photo of Starr's boyfriend on the wall in Starr's bedroom set. Those who have read the book know that Starr's father doesn't know about Starr's boyfriend, so it's not very likely she would have a picture of her boyfriend on the wall.
"And they took that and they were like, 'You're right,'" said Thomas. "And readers would notice that. That's the thing about, especially young adult readers, they would notice that picture on the wall and they would say, 'No, it shouldn't be there.' And who are they gonna come at? Me. So they took it down. It was sometimes the small things like that where I was consulted and then, too, on the larger things. So, I was very involved with the project and I'm happy with how it turned out."
The Hate U Give hits theaters on October 19th. For more information on the movie, check out our news hub. Angie Thomas' next novel, On the Come Up, will be released in 2019.
Diana gets pulled out of her war with the Dark Gods for a new spacefaring one in Wonder Woman Annual #2.
Frazer Irving should be put on a Green Lantern comic immediately, please. This is not to say that the crew working on the Lantern books is bad or anything. They're doing a very good job, in fact. But some people are born to draw space epics, and Irving is one of them. Especially because of the fact that he inks and colors himself, putting him on literally any Lantern Corps book seems like a no-brainer.
Apparently someone at DC agrees. In this exclusive preview of Wonder Woman Annual #2, the Star Sapphires pull Diana out of her conflict with the new Dark Gods who emerged on Earth following the events of Dark Nights: Metal. They bring her to Zamaron, with their busted central power battery and new, ominous dark god monolith floating over it. Here's what DC has to say about the issue:
WONDER WOMAN ANNUAL #2
Written by JAMES ROBINSONArt by MARC LAMINGCover by YASMINE PUTRI“Star Light”! An enormous, divine threat has the Star Sapphires in its sights—and only Wonder Woman can protect them! She’s wielded their ring before, but the Corps has changed since then...is even their combined power enough to stop a god?
Take a look at this gorgeous flashback.
A new mini-series will follow Archie and the gang as they face an uncertain new world.
With the world continuing to be a garbage fire raging out of control, there is something to be said for stability. But when it comes to the comics industry, these are things that are perennially in short supply.
Except of course in Riverdale. The past decade has repeatedly illustrated how Archie Comics has accomplished the miracle task of redefining themselves from being a static, mired-in-the-past company whose bread and butter was the sort of disposable reliability that made their digests a supermarket checkout staple to one that repeatedly takes new risks to advance these characters to the next stage in their evolution. Along the way, they've had to endure much belly-aching from Archie purists and criticisms claiming that Archie is just trying to throw a bunch a different things to the way to see what sticks. But let's examine just a small fraction of their recent track record, shall we?:
- The introduction of Kevin Keller, Riverdale's first gay character.
- The bizarre and involving Life with Archie: The Married Life magazine.
- Inspired team-ups that have had the Archie gang hanging with, among others, the Predator, The Ramones, and, coming soon, Adam West's Batman.
- The establishing of a horror line that includes the highly successful (and, admittedly much-missed) titles Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, along with the second wave of books: Jughead: The Hungerand Vampironica.
- The launch of the noirish and very adult Dark Circle line.
- The debut of Riverdaleon the CW, and its various tie-ins.
- Stellar reboots of Jughead and Josie and the Pussycats.
Arguably their most enduring recent property is the reboot of the core Archiebook that was spearheaded by Mark Waid. The influence of this book's modern take on the characters is a clear influence on Riverdale, a show that has increased Archie's visability in ways that hardcore Archie fans -- this writer included -- never could have dreamed of. So imagine our shock we learned of the news that Waid will be once again teaming with co-writer Brian Augustyn (The Flash), and artist Peter Krause (Irredeemable) for Archie 1941, a five-issue limited series that will transport readers back in time 77 years (none-too-coincidentally to the very era when the characters first appeared) to see how their post-high school lives are impacted by World War II.
The press release makes very clear that this will be a more grounded-in-reality take than the Twin Peaks-ian going ons over at the CW:
“Deep-diving into the characters and their parents from a whole new perspective, Brian Augustyn and I have been able to find a new, rich vein of stories to be told as America edges into World War II and what it'll mean to the kids,” Waid said. “It's been an exciting project made only more thrilling by the chance to be able to work alongside my longtime co-conspirator on Irredeemable and Insufferable, Peter Krause!"
Lending his signature style to the iconic Archie Comics characters, Krause has added a realistic touch to the teens fans have loved for generations. "How would Archie and the gang look in 1941? That is my responsibility, and my honor,” he added. “I’ve had great fun going through reprints of Sears catalogs and diving into online photo troves. Along with great colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick and wonderful lettering by Jack Morelli, we’ve done our darnedest to make it all look good."
It won't be all gloom and doom, as readers are also promised "the humor, heart, milkshakes, and dates that come with any Riverdale tale." It's unclear what lasting impact this mini-series will have on Waid's ongoing Archie book, but given his time commitments elsewhere we are a bit nervous as to what the future may hold there. Stay tuned.
Here's a look at the first issue of Archie 1941, showing something rarely glimpsed in Riverdale...graduation day:
Even with the disquieting choice of ditching Jughead's whoopee cap -- an enduring anachronism that was in style when the character debuted/when this book is set -- we are on board to see how Archie and friends grow into their roles as part of the Greatest Generation. The first issue of Archie 1941 will be released on September 12.
Brief Cases, a collection of Dresden Files-set stories that center around the theme of parenting, are fun for old and new fans alike.
Dresden Files fans, this is the book you've been waiting for.
True, this is not the newest novel in the Dresden Files. (Peace Talks, the sixteenth installment in the series, still doesn't have a release date.) But Brief Cases, a collection of several of Butcher's excellent short stories and novellas from within the universe of Harry Dresden, offers not only excellent short narratives that dabble between the scenes of the novels, it provides a new story about Harry Dresden's newest challenge: becoming a father.
In Brief Cases, Butcher carefully selects stories that bring the theme of parenting, and Harry's opinions about it, to the fore—as well as the importance of children, even to stone-cold criminals, within the world of The Dresden Files.
But the collection isn't just for Dresden fans—readers who only know a little about the setting are quickly brought up to speed and can enjoy each of these brief glimpses into the work of Chicago's only professional wizard without the full context of the novels.
Breaking down the stories...
Of the twelve stories contained in this volume, the first is a prequel, set in the days of the Old West, which could easily be a launching point for a spin-off series. Warden Anastasia Luccio, a character of whom Butcher says in his introductory note, "I've always ... wished she could have more stage time," faces off against a group of warlocks alongside Wyatt Earp and an ill-tempered näcken (read: fairy horse) named Karl. The Old West setting is a joy, even though—or perhaps because—Anastasia despises it. And nothing says weird west like Wyatt Earp fighting the raised dead. (Wynonna Earp fans, take notice.) The collection is worth the read just for the intro story alone.
The other stories fall within the timeline of the novels, most of them narrated by Harry Dresden himself. In "AAAA Wizardry," Dresden frames a story of one of Harry's failures by having Harry share it with a class of young Wardens. Putting Harry in front of a class actually works very naturally, and the story allows readers to get a broader sense of how magic works within the world, and the dangers that non-wizard sensitives face.
"Curses" has its rough moments in a post-#MeToo world (Bob the skull is a more cringe-worthy character than he was when introduced almost two decades ago), but the story of how the Billy Goat Curse on the Chicago Cubs came to be has a delightful supernatural twist that shows a true love for the sport. "Jury Duty" shows what happens when the White Court and crime lord Marcone use the justice system and Harry Dresden to resolve a turf war.
Three of the stories (previously collected together as Working for Bigfoot in a special-edition hardcover) feature Harry's misadventures with Irwin, the son of a Bigfoot and a human, as he goes from being a large and troubled elementary schooler to an accomplished college football star in love with a vampire who doesn't know her own powers.
As previously mentioned, Harry's own complicated relationship with parenting comes to the fore in these stories in particular; long-time readers know that Harry's father died when he was young, and his frustration with River Shoulders, the Bigfoot, over not doing more to reveal himself to his son is palpable, building to a climax in the final of these stories. Because the stories take place over a span of time in the series, readers have the chance to watch the characters—particularly Irwin, but also Harry and River Shoulders—grow, which makes this trilogy among the most satisfying in the book.
Several of the stories are narrated by side characters other than Harry: along with Anastasia, Marcone gets to voice his own story in "Even Hand"; Harry's apprentice Molly narrates both "Bombshells" and "Cold Case"; and former medical examiner Waldo Butters explores his first day as a Knight in "Day One." Seeing each of these stories in the context of the tales narrated by Harry gives not only a larger scope to the world, but also showcases Butcher's use of voice. While his general style is evident throughout, the nuances of the point of view characters in their unique narrations adds flavor to the normally Dresden-shaped lens readers get on the world.
The best story...
The best story in the collection is saved for last—and one of the things that makes it so delightful is that it's structured from the points-of-view of three different characters, discussing the events of the same day. Harry, his ten-year-old daughter, Maggie, and Foo Dog Mouse each narrate their unique conflicts of the day, each challenge tailored directly to the characters.
In the first version, told from Harry's point of view, it seems like a pretty typical Dresden Files story: Harry discovers a warlock in the zoo on his first outing with his daughter. The stories have all been leading to the types of choices Harry will make after discovering he has a child of his own, and what kind of parent he will decide to be, and this narrative beautifully explores those themes.
But, then, we get more: Maggie can see the types of creatures only children can defeat and, despite her anxiety and her worries that her dad won't want her because she's broken, she must figure out how to confront her fears by facing them... incarnate. Maggie's child-voice feels authentic, if precocious, and she's a pitch perfect counterpoint to her father.
But why are there two unique challenges tailored to the Dresdens? Mouse reveals that there was more than either human knew was at stake, and does so in a glorious doggy voice, simultaneously embracing and criticizing humans for not understanding the most important things in life. It's a fantastic new piece and a showstopper for the collection.
Dresden Files fans are sure to get joy out of having these previously anthologized pieces together all in one cover, especially with a new short story to tide them over until Peace Talks is released. Newcomers to the series will find plenty to keep them engaged with the world—and might help them overcome the intimidation that being new to a fifteen book series can bring. There's plenty to enjoy here, and this newest installment is definitely worth picking up.
An original graphic novel will feature Tommy and may settle a twenty year old fan debate.
Aww man, time for some stories of Old Man Tommy! If you ever wondered what the hell Tommy's been up to since we last saw him in the series (Super Megaforce) then BOOM! Studios and Saban Brands have you covered. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Soul Of The Dragon is an original graphic novel that will reveal "a powerful, untold chapter in the life of hte lengendary original Green Ranger." We've got the official description below.
It’s been a long time since Tommy Oliver has served as a Power Ranger. He’s defeated space witches, brought down evil armies, protected the galaxy, but now Tommy leaves protecting the world to the Power Rangers at Space Patrol Delta. But when his son goes missing, it’s up to Tommy to discover a secret in his past, in order to save his future. Now Tommy will call on all his training, his friends, and maybe even some of his enemies as he sets out on his most important mission: find his son and bring him home.
So here's the real question for the hardcore fans. With Tommy having a son is that the one that was hinted at in the Power Rangers Zeo christmas episode? If you remember in "A Season to Remember", there was a flash forward to the future where Tommy was talking with his grandson. We never saw Tommy's son but we did see he was married to Katherine. So does that mean Katherine and Tommy are confirmed married in this comic?
For many years fans have aruged whether that flash forward was canon so this comic might be just the place to settle it. Although it's unclear at the moment whether this comic will take place in the TV continuity or the newer BOOM continuity.
“Tommy Oliver has been part of the Power Rangers for the past 25 years,” said Jason David Frank, who played Tommy in the original series. “We've seen him morph into so many different Power Rangers. Now in Soul Of The Dragon we get to see an in-depth story of the life of Tommy Oliver as a Power Ranger and person. We go deeper into the multiple Rangers Tommy has become throughout time- I'm excited for all of you to see how Tommy evolves into the Legendary Power Ranger he is and the legacy he will leave behind forever."
Deeper into the multiple Rangers Tommy has become? More Dino Thunder Tommy stories, please! Below you can find the cover of this original graphic novel and the design for the older Tommy.
Does anyone else get an Old Man Logan vibe from this comic? JDF is a self professed huge fan of Wolverine and with him being a "special consultant" on this comic the influence can't be far off. We'll see once it's released!
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Follow him on Twitter!
We have exclusive details from Scott Snyder on how the new Justice League series expands on the DC Universe in new and unexpected ways.
Scott Snyder is probably DC Comics’ heaviest regular hitter working now. He started with the company at Vertigo, winning an Eisner for American Vampire. Then he hit a home run with “The Black Mirror,” a note-perfect Batman story in the pages of Detective Comics, and that led him to become the anchor of the New 52 era of Batman, crafting a defining run with artist Greg Capullo. Then he got to be the mastermind behind DC’s first post-Rebirth crossover, the absolutely bonkers Dark Nights: Metal, a book that, in addition to being ridiculously fun and very personal, also brought the full DC multiverse and all its crazy timelines back into play.
Now, in the wake of Metal, Snyder is taking over as writer on a new Justice League series. Mr. Snyder talked to us about his approach to breaking his characters down and building them back up and applying it to the League - specifically The Flash and the revelation that there’s another fundamental force that Flashes can tap into: the Still Force.
With the full cosmic scope of the DC Universe now in the picture, it means a slightly new approach is needed to tell Justice League stories. "The goal with Justice League is to have every arc focus on two characters in the League, even though everybody is sort of in every arc," Snyder tells us. "The goal is to expand everybody's mythology, show how amazing these characters are, and then show you secrets that you didn't know about them and about their mythos."
Each arc in Justice Leaguewill be four or five issues, allowing different pairings to take the lead. "In the first arc, we're really focused on Green Lantern and Flash," Snyder says. "And one of the things that's huge about our reveals about Flash and how they connect to Flash War is that the Speed Force has embedded within it other forces that have always balanced and counteracted it in ways that Barry has never completely understood."
In other words, just as Snyder's Batman introduced new elements of Gotham's history to great effect on Bruce Wayne, early on in Justice League we're going to learn something new about the team members and the DCU as a whole. In the case of Flash, it's called the Still Force, and, according to Snyder, it will "have a lot of influence on both where [Barry] goes as a character and also his past."
"The Still Force is an energy in the universe that's trying to slow everything down entropically, trying to stop everything, trying to bring everything to a standstill," Snyder explains. "And it has its own characters, it has its own figures that are connected to it who might not even know they are. And it's a complete enigma to Barry at this point."
But as its name suggests, the Still Force isn't something that is exclusive to speedsters. One of the important pieces of Justice League will be the introduction of the Legion of Doom, familiar to longtime fans as the antagonists of the classic Challenge of the Super Friends animated series. And one of that team's members might be particularly suited to harnessing it. "One of Barry's greatest villains, Gorilla Grodd, might have a leg up on him when it comes to figuring out how to control this thing," Snyder hints.
But the Still Force is only one of the new elements that will be introduced to the DC Universe
"The idea, really, is to show that these characters think they know their powers, think they know their mythologies, think they know even sometimes their histories and their missions," Snyder says. "And then to sort of blow those things up."
It won't stop with Flash. Green Lantern mythology is also set to be expanded.
"We revealed the cover, not long ago, that had Jon Stewart seemingly powered by an invisible emotional spectrum, ultraviolet, infrared, those kinds of powers that have been locked away and possibly known about by Sinestro for a long time," Snyder says. "So similarly, it's almost like with each pair of characters in each arc, we want you to feel as though you're learning things about their mythology you never knew existed, just as they are. They're challenged by bigger forces, bigger enemies, bigger conflicts and bigger mysteries than we've ever tried before with these guys. We want everything to feel new and unfamiliar."
And part of what makes the DC Universe bigger is its infinite realities approach to storytelling. Dark Nights: Metal opened up DC's multiverse in a way not seen since Grant Morrison's Multiversity, but with Justice League, another wild, alternate timeline/reality warping DC Universe concept will make its return: Hypertime.
"We have a very big story — not to spoil too much — called the Something of Hypertime," Snyder says. "I don't wanna give away what it is, whether it's like the Death, the Birth, anything like that. But that's coming both in Flash and in Justice League. This is our opus. This is my DC love letter/opus/soap opera that has started all the way back in Batman, but really ratcheted up to the whole DCU in Metal."
Hints of this are already being seeded in the weekly Justice League: No Justice miniseries, which Snyder is co-writing with James Tynion IV and Josh Williamson.
"No Justice sets up all the different books and tributaries by which we're going to be continuing it," Snyder says. "We're building out from this so that that story that we're doing in No Justice right now with the Omega Titans, and all of it's starting because the Source Wall broke, Amanda Waller tries to hack Brainiac...all of that stuff plays forward. So when you see Hypertime or one of the four energies, for example, that Brainiac references in No Justice...when that starts to go and what happens to it in No Justice happens, that greatly affects Hypertime, the Speed Force, the Still Force, all of that stuff."
All of this couldn't be more different than the Gotham-centric mythology Snyder and collaborators built up over five years on Batman. Snyder admits that "Batman will always be my favorite character" but he feels that Justice League is "the heart and soul of the line."
"Our goal is to be like the DC that you knew and loved and always enjoyed reading about not only is still there, but is invigorated and vibrant and robust and being done in a new way," Snyder says. "So none of it is looking backwards in nostalgia. All of it is like, 'Oh, Hypertime's coming back? Well, it's coming back in a new way. Martian Manhunter's back? Well, where has he been?' That's a big story. What happened to Hawkman? Where did he go? In Metal, you saw that he was somewhere trying to find out a secret. Well, here you go. Batman might have to go back to Barbatos, so the Dark Multiverse — now I'm spoiling too far ahead."
"While I think people have done incredible work on it over the years that I've been at DC, the thing that I've really wanted to bring back is a connectivity and a sort of core-hub feeling that this book lies right at the center of everything you're reading about in other books," Snyder says. "So even though the books function independently — you don't need to read Justice League to know what's happening in Aquaman, what is happening in Aquaman is reflected in Justice League. Our book is sort of, to me, a spotlight on all the great stuff happening around the DCU."
It turns out that Snyder has known he was taking over Justice League for over a year and he has a story plan that stretches "all the way through the end of 2019." And as you can expect, with each arc, new secrets of the DC Universe will be revealed.
"There will be really big points throughout this two-year plan I have on Justice League where the story blows out into other books or gives touch points that these books can react to and build story on if they want," Snyder says. So get ready for potential revelations about Aquaman and Wonder Woman (the focus of the book's second arc) or Superman and Martian Manhunter (the focus of the third arc).
"The thing that I felt was missing in some ways from Justice League was the connectivity," Snyder says. "That feeling that they're not just seven big characters that exist on the Watchtower and fight aliens and fight the biggest stuff and wrestle with their role with civilians and all that stuff. I always loved the version where it was like, 'They are the hub and they meet everybody.' In the first issue of Justice League, you're gonna see Vixen and Animal Man and Dr. Fate and Swamp Thing and The Atom. I promise you, you will get how big we're going from page one."
So it's no accident that the League is once again calling its most familiar headquarters home: The Hall of Justice.
"The Hall of Justice, to me, is the hub, it is the central core of the Justice League group," Snyder says. "So every group within Justice League — and also just any superhero at all — has access to this, and some of them even have portals to their team bases within the Hall of Justice. We want you to feel like when you pick you a DC book, Justice League speaks to and is connected to all those things that you're enjoying, gives you hints and even drivers towards things that will be happening soon, either because of events in Justice League itself or because of some of the great story planned in the books outside of Justice League."
One thing that can never be questioned, though, is Snyder's enthusiasm. "This story is going to weave through every Crisis, every historical DC story that we've done, to build to something very special," he promises. "Arc by arc, pair of characters by pair of characters, mythology by mythology, my goal is to have this be my giant DC soap opera opus. I mean, I have no plans after this. If I never made another superhero comic, I want this to be the one I can go out on. This is my dream to get to write this book, and I have such good partners in James Tynion and Josh Williamson, and artistically Jim Cheung and Jorge Jimenez. I have all the tools at my disposal and the partners that inspire me, I feel like, to make something that I hope is the best thing I've ever done in superheroes.
"These are the greatest characters in the world and my favorite people that have ever taken them, like Grant Morrison and others, they go out there and they risk falling on their face to do something really game changing and big. That's my goal."
Justice League #1 is in stores today.
There have been many stories to kill off the Clown Prince of Crime, but Batman's greatest enemy isn't so easy to get rid of for good.
In fictional worlds of heroes and villains who can shrug off bullets like they were nothing, there exists “plot armor” for the lesser folk. Plot armor is the reason why Frank Castle can mosey through a room with an uzi in each hand and somehow kill every single enemy while somehow never getting shot in any vital area. It’s why Stormtroopers have the worst aim and why the red-shirted Enterprise dudes have all the bad luck.
I’m having a hard time coming up with someone with stronger plot armor in comic books than the Joker. Hell, even Frank Castle died at least twice in continuity. The Joker should be dead a million times over, not just due to his injuries, but because with all the lives he’s taken, surely somebody would have murdered him by now. But again, not only does he take vicious beatings, if he isn’t apprehended at the end of a story, he usually falls off a cliff or is at the heart of an explosion or gets hit by a truck.
Then he’s back the next time, no worse for the wear.
The Joker’s been revealed as a playable character for Injustice 2. This is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser because the entire story revolves around Joker being dead. Like, really dead. The previous game had another Joker visit from another reality, but he seems to be off the table this time around. So what is he? Another alternate universe Joker? A hallucination brought on by fear gas? A copycat? A clone? Did he simply come back from the dead?
But that’s what the Joker’s all about. While the comics won’t ever truly get rid of him, there are many continuities that have done away with Mr. J. Yet even then, the Joker is never really gone. He tends to haunt and taunt Batman in one way or another via his violent legacy. For someone with such an ill-defined identity, he sure is a fixture in the universe.
HONORABLE MENTION: TIM BURTON JOKER
Jack Nicholson’s Joker completely ate it at the end of Tim Burton’s Batman. He fell from a great height while dragged down by a gargoyle. We saw the body. Dude was absolutely dead.
And he stayed that way! After that first movie, the most mention Joker got in that universe was a brief allusion in Batman Forever when Batman told Robin that revenge leads to emptiness.
We almost got a bit more of him, though! Before Batman and Robin ruined the concept of fun and killed that franchise, Joel Schumacher was originally going to do a fifth movie in that universe. Batman Triumphant, which you can read more about here, would have revolved around Scarecrow and Harley Quinn as the new villains. Scarecrow means fear gas and that would have meant Batman getting a hallucination sequence.
What would Batman fear the most? Probably the skin-dyed dirtbag that killed his parents. And so, had the movie existed, we would have had a scene of Jack Nicholson Joker confronting Batman during a psychological breakdown.
The movie would have been a dumpster fire, but...man, part of me is bummed we never got it.
Similarly, an unused Superman vs. Batman script from the early '00s would have included a plot point where Lex Luthor cloned the Joker to bring him back as part of a scheme to traumatize Bruce Wayne out of retirement and trick him into fighting Superman. Probably the most sense-making reason to connect Lex and Joker.
Sunsoft made Batman: The Video Gamefor NES and the story was the general plot of the movie, only with lots and lots of ninjas and robots added because Batman needs something to fight. The ending is roughly the same, though Batman’s a bit more cold-blooded. He beats the Joker down, tells him, “You killed my parents,” and then tosses him to his doom. We see Joker’s lifeless corpse and roll credits.
Then a year later, they released Batman: Return of the Joker. The Joker’s back with some scheme involving stealing explosive metals and...he’s back. He’s alive again. Somehow. Neither the game nor the manual have any explanation. Just go with it.
Upon further review, both the Genesis and arcade adaptations of the movie make it vague whether or not falling from the top of a cathedral is enough to take out the Joker, so maybe Jack Nicholson's Joker is more resilient than anyone ever realized.
FRANK MILLER JOKER
Dark Knight Returns features one of the most chilling incarnations of the Joker, who comes out of a catatonic state the moment he finds out Batman’s back on the streets. Joker’s killing spree goes farther than the 1980s comic-reading public was used to and Batman ALMOST has it in him to kill the Joker for good. Since killing Joker is neither a horseshoe nor a hand grenade, Joker finishes the job by snapping his own neck and making it look like Batman’s finally gone over the line, thereby making him a prime target of the authorities.
Enduring one massive beating and a fake death (which people regard as “totally beat Superman in a fight” for some reason) later, Batman is fine.
Many years later, Frank Miller made his sequel Dark Knight Strikes Again, otherwise known as, “that mess.” In a story that focuses on Lex Luthor and Brainiac while including lots of DC heroes and Hal Jordan’s dinosaur space penis, the Joker appears a couple times as a looming threat. He kills the Creeper, Guardian, and even Martian Manhunter while bringing up the mystery of who he could possibly be.
Joker II shows up at the end of the comic as the final boss showdown. He is, in fact, Dick Grayson, whose only mention in the original story was not being on speaking terms with Bruce. As the story goes, Batman fired him for being an incompetent whiner once upon a time and rather than celebrate being free of the lunatic that is Miller Batman, Dick instead went a bit mad and allowed Luthor and Brainiac to give him shape-shifting/quick-healing powers.
Even though he’s capable of surviving decapitations and the like, Joker II is eventually done in by being knocked into some lava. Can’t heal if there’s nothing left of you.
Back in the late-90s, Alan Davis and Mark Farmer put together a three-issue Elseworlds story called The Nail. This “what if” tale shows how the DC Universe would have formed had Superman’s rocket not been discovered by the Kents. Without Superman as a symbol, metahumans aren’t exactly looked upon with love and astonishment. It’s more of an X-Men deal where the public’s mood is, “Thanks for saving the world...I guess.”
As part of the comic’s big villain conspiracy (and I won’t spoil who’s behind everything), the Joker is armed with a pair of gauntlets made from Kryptonian tech. They make him virtually unstoppable and he proceeds to liberate Arkham and then make the Bat-villains fight each other to the death for his amusement. Batman, Robin, and Batgirl appear and Alan Davis leans into things to finally answer the question, “What would it take for Batman to murder the Joker?”
The answer: have the Joker use his telekinetic gauntlets to slowly and painfully tear Robin and Batgirl to pieces while forcing Batman to watch. Jesus. Yeah. That’ll do it.
With some assistance from Catwoman, Batman’s able to free himself, damage the gauntlets and snap Joker’s neck. While the public display and selective context makes the Justice League look bad, nobody takes the incident harder than Batman himself. Both the graphic deaths of his sidekicks and the realization that he murdered a man sends him to the brink of sanity. It’s the comfort of Catwoman, who becomes Batwoman, that keeps him from falling apart.
Regardless, once the story is over, Batman gives himself up to the police. He’s acquitted of murder charges, but chooses to leave the Justice League.
Several years later, we get Another Nail, which basically exists to give upbeat closure to a story that had a bunch of downers. Batman continues to fight crime in Gotham, but he starts hearing the Joker’s laughter. Due to the convoluted plot of the miniseries, things are screwy with the afterlife and the Joker is able to escape Hell.
Threatening to kill Batwoman, Joker – who has Carnage-like powers – fights Batman. Batman attempts to sacrifice himself by tackling Joker back to Hell, but the spririts of Robin and Batgirl rescue him. Batman finally decides to get on with his life and rejoin the Justice League.
KINGDOM COME JOKER
The Joker’s death in Kingdom Come is a major turning point for society. After Joker murders Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and a lot of other people at the Daily Planet, he’s apprehended by the police. We’ll never know how Superman would have instinctively dealt with his loss as new superhero hotness and Cable pastiche Magog stops by to vaporize the handcuffed Joker.
Magog is put on trial, everyone and their mother is pretty okay with the Joker being murdered in any way, and Superman leaves in a huff. This causes a new dawn of “superheroism” where it’s less about heroism and more about people in cool costumes getting into fights with no care for anything but themselves. You know, kind of like a Zack Snyder movie.
While the Joker doesn’t come back from the dead, he does inspire one troublemaker to become the new Joker’s Daughter (otherwise known as Harlequin). Although we never get much on her, as she’s mostly a recurring background character, she represents the chaotic world where the mighty can do what they want while the weak are left deal with the consequences.
It does remind me that one of the most clever moments in the whole comic is when Batman betrays Lex Luthor and admits to only joining up with him in the first place in order to see what Captain Marvel’s deal was. As he puts it, Captain Marvel is a wild card and if there’s anything Batman hates, it’s a wild card.
BATMAN BEYOND JOKER
Batman: The Animated Series is arguably better than sliced bread and its dark future Batman Beyondwasn’t bad either. Despite taking place years in the future, the writers were stingy on the details of what became of a lot of the old guard. While we got to see what became of Mr. Freeze and Bane, bigger deal characters like Robin and Joker were glazed over.
At most, during the show’s run, we saw that the Joker was replaced with an ever-changing circus-themed gang called the Jokerz. That was cool and all and fits into the nature of this list, but Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker went beyond just that.
In the dying days of the Animated Series era, the Joker kidnapped and tortured Tim Drake Robin. He warped the poor boy, made him squeal about Batman’s secret identity, and then transformed him into a giggling child version of the Joker. Depending on which version you watch, Tim would get his revenge by either shooting Joker in the chest or electrocuting him to death.
In the Beyondera, the Joker appears yet again, making the futuristic Batman Terry McGuiness question the many ways that’s possible. In the end, the Joker turns out to be Tim Drake, unknowingly taken over by a secret implant that transforms him into having the Joker’s DNA and personality. Terry is able to put an end to this Joker by frying the implant with an electric joy buzzer.
DIGITAL JUSTICE JOKER
Speaking of the future, there’s this Elseworlds taking place towards the end of the 21st century. While the Joker presumably died of old age, considering Batman retired, he lives on in the form of a sentient computer virus and...
For God's sake, look at that thing. Actually, better idea, let’s not. Just...next entry.
RED RAIN JOKER
Throughout the '90s, Doug Moench and Kelley Jones did a trilogy of Elseworlds stories based on the very simple high concept of Batman being a literal "bat man." In the story Red Rain, Batman gets bitten by a vampire and fights Dracula. It’s pretty rad. Batman wins and Dracula’s dead for good.
A couple of years later, they do a sequel called Bloodstorm, which is based on the very human Joker leading Dracula’s horde for the sake of taking over the criminal underworld. Vampire Batman teams up with Selina Kyle, who also goes literal by being a werecat. Selena’s love is the only thing keeping Batman from going all-you-can-eat-buffet, so once Joker kills her with a crossbow, Batman has nothing left to keep him in check. Although part of him tries to fight it, he still powers through multiple crosses and holy water to snap Joker’s neck and feed on his blood.
Being that Batman is the smartest dude, he knows to shove a stake through Joker’s heart just in case because Vampire Joker is the last thing we need.
It’s moot, since not only has Batman killed his rival, but he’s given into his vampire instincts. He has his buds Alfred and Commissioner Gordon stake him to prevent any further benders.
Those two, unfortunately, never got around to removing his head, so despite being rendered immobile, Batman is still kicking. A few months later, Alfred removes the stake because Alfred is dumb as hell in this world. Not only does Batman have a taste for blood while being driven insane from months of his body rotting, but it’s implied a few times that ingesting Joker’s specific blood makes him even more out-of-control.
Yeah, things do NOT end well for any named character in that final chapter.
BATMAN 666 JOKER
During Grant Morrison’s lengthy run on Batman’s comics, he wrote a one-off story it Batman #666 that depicts Damian Wayne as a more ruthless Batman in the future who may or may not have sold his soul to the actual devil. There are two alternate follow-ups to this story. One of which has Damian adopt and raise Terry McGinnis, leading to a take on the Batman Beyond era.
Then there’s a path where everything goes wrong. The Joker has died and while we don’t know the details, we do know that the madman had his own failsafe. In his death, he releases a virus that transforms its victims into Joker-like monsters, like a clown version of 28 Days Later.
Damian Batman finds a baby who appears to be immune to the virus, but his attempts to use the child to create a cure leads to disaster when he discovers that the baby is merely a carrier. Overwhelmed by infected clown people, Damian watches in horror as Gotham is nuked to contain the outbreak.
I think I like the first future better.
In the Rocksteady Arkhamtrilogy, Joker suffers from injecting himself with Titan, otherwise known as Super Bane Juice II: Turbo. In the aftermath, he’s dying, so he figures he’ll inject his own poisoned blood into Batman’s veins to push Batman into finding a cure. I’m guessing Joker saw that episode of South Park where Cartman had AIDS and had a moment of inspiration.
Though Batman cures himself, Joker shivs him. Either because he thinks Batman’s going to leave him to die or because shivving seemed like a good idea at the moment. That makes Batman drop the antidote and Joker succumbs to illness and dies, laughing at Batman’s claim that he was totally about to give him the antidote after all.
Then in Arkham Knight, we discover that having Joker blood in your system plus breathing in Scarecrow’s fear toxin transforms you into superhero Fight Club. Joker appears in visions while Batman (and some other soon-to-be-dead saps who also have Joker blood) gradually becomes Joker-like in behavior and appearance.
Batman ultimately wins out by turning the two infections against each other and confronting Joker with his own fear: being dead and forgotten. Batman goes back to normal and gets back to his mission of handing Scarecrow a knuckle sandwich.
The Batman prequel series features Jerome Valeska, as played by Cameron Monaghan. Jerome is what I’d call the How I Met Your Mother of Jokers. He’s the Joker, but not really. Maybe. He could be. He might not be. He’s possibly a red herring. Or he can lead to the actual Joker. We’ll just have to wait and see to get an answer.
For all intents and purposes, he’s the Joker. Pretty much.
The charismatic psychopath and showman is killed off early in the second season during an attempt on the life of the adolescent Bruce Wayne. He gets stabbed in the neck by Theo Galavan in an act of betrayal, but dies with blood covering his lips as he smiles. Various people watch footage of Jerome on TV and go into giggling fits, including two guys who laughingly murder a homeless person, then turn on each other.
With that not being enough for viewers, they then go and bring Jerome back to life via televised comic book science. So maybe he’s the Joker after all! Or not. Again, How I Met Your Mother.
Coincidentally, Jerome’s father, a fortune teller, claimed that Jerome would leave behind a legacy of death and madness. Sounds about right.
The Injusticestoryline is the aftermath of the Joker growing bored of messing with Batman and moving on to Superman. Using some kryptonite-laced fear gas, Joker gets Superman to hallucinate that a pregnant Lois Lane is Doomsday. Lois’ heart is linked to a detonator that nukes Metropolis upon her thrown-into-space death.
This especially puts Superman in a bad mood to the point that he appears before the captured Joker and impales him with his fist. Over the next five years, Superman doubles down on his decision and ultimately transforms into a frustrated dictator.
Over the years, as Superman’s hold on the world becomes more frightening, Jason Bard starts up a protest group invoking the Joker’s image. Superman doesn’t take this well and fries a whole lot of them in a fit of anger. Even then, the Joker Clan grows to become an anarchist underground counter to Superman’s regime. Even though Harley Quinn’s grown to despise the Joker and what he stood for, she chooses to become the leader.
Then a handful of superheroes from the regular DC Universe are brought in via portal. Inadvertently, Joker is one of them. He quickly takes over the Joker Clan and wins over the heart of Harley, undoing years of personal progress on her part. Eventually, that world’s Lex Luthor helps Harley break the spell and she not only beats the shit out of that Joker until he begs his world’s Batman to take him home, but her more loyal Joker Clan members rebranded themselves as the Harley Horde.
Even with that all cleaned up, we’re now about to get another appearance by the Joker. A Joker. What’s his deal?
Who's to say? There are just so many options.
Gavin Jasper appreciates that Flashpoint Batman killed the Joker a couple hours before the world exploded. That’ll get you the last laugh. Follow Gavin on Twitter!
What has Wolverine been up to since he was turned into an adamantium statue? We're about to find out!
James Logan, the real Wolverine, has been on a walkabout through the back pages of various Marvel comics this month in *rubs bridge of nose, sighs heavily* "post-credits scenes," and he's finally returning to Marvel, yellow costume and all, in September.
Logan Classic has been dead since 2014. Charles Soule and Steve McNiven took him on a tour through important locations from his history, then poured a bunch of adamantium on him, making him into an oxygen-free statue. Since his death, the mantle of Wolverine has been passed to several characters, including Laura Kinney, his teen girl clone from the Weapon X project, in the absolutely delightful All-New Wolverine; elderly, grumpy Logan from an alternate future where he killed all his friends in Old Man; and his son from the Ultimate universe in X-Men Blue. All-New Wolverine also had Laura's "younger sister" (another clone) Gabby and an actual pet wolverine, Jonathan. That book is too pure and beautiful for this world.
Logan's return began in The Hunt for Wolverine, a 40-page one shot from Soule and artist David Marquez (Civil War II), which then led into a number of one-shots, and several Wolvie appearances around the Marvel Universe. But now things are getting real, with his proper return on September 19 in the pages of (you guessed it) Return of Wolverine...by original Logan-murderers Charles Soule and Steve McNiven.
“Wolverine’s body has been missing. The entire Marvel Universe has been looking for him, because he’s a very important part of the Super Hero puzzle. And at long last, he will be found,” says Soule in a statement from Marvel. “I thought this was a real opportunity to do things that would make him feel new and fresh in a way; if you come back from the dead, it should mean something. One of the outwardly physical manifestations of that is that now, from time to time, his claws—once they’re popped—they can heat up. They can get really hot.”
For more information on Logan, Old Man Logan, girl Logan, son of Logan, Mrs. Logan, second girl Logan, or Logan Lucky, stick with Den of Geek!
Rainbow Rowell is writing a follow-up to Carry On, her 2015 novel about queer wizards in love and danger.
Carry On, Rainbow Rowell's follow-up to her fandom-centric Fangirl, is at once both a clever, cathartic critique of the Harry Potter series and other Chosen One narratives and its own fantastical love story—and now it's getting a sequel!
Rowell announced during last weekend's BookCon that she would be writing a follow-up to her young adult book about queer wizards Simon Snow and Baz and their friends at Watford School of Magicks. The upcoming young adult novel from the author of Eleanor & Park and Marvel's Runaways already has a cover, thanks to the brilliant Kevin Wada. Check it out...
No, that's not Harry Styles on the cover of Wayward Son, but, yes, it does look like him...
(It%u2019s not Harry. But it is a Gucci-ish suit that Baz wears in the book. @kevinwada made it gorgeous.)
— Rainbow Rowell (@rainbowrowell) June 5, 2018
Details on the book thus far are relatively sparse, though Rowell has answered a bunch of questions via her Twitter, including confirming that Penelope and Agatha will be back for the sequel as well as other main characters Simon and Baz.
— Rainbow Rowell (@rainbowrowell) June 5, 2018
Wayward Son Release Date
When can we expect Wayward Son? There's no specific date yet, but it is slated for a 2020 release. Rowell said that the specific release date will depend on the writing and editing process, which is, you know, always the case with books.
— Rainbow Rowell (@rainbowrowell) June 5, 2018
The book is not yet available for pre-order, but Rowell has shared a Wayward Son playlist, which is maybe even better?
More news on Wayward Son as we hear it. In the mean time, check out the young adult books we're most looking forward to this year. Or come chat nerd books with us over at the Den of Geek Book Club.
Ngozi Ukazu's webcomic about queer hockey bros is about to start its fourth year.
Check, Please, the little webcomic that could, has an official "Year Four" start date! The fourth "season" of the comic about baking and hockey bros will premiere on Monday June 11th. Check, Please creator Ngozi Ukazu (who we were lucky enough to talk to last year) made the announcement via Twitter earlier today...
— Ngozi %u2606 ALA New Orleans (@ngoziu) June 6, 2018
Check, Please: Year Four will pick back up with Bitty and Jack and the rest of their friends from Samwell Hockey community and beyond. If you've yet to check out the queer hockey comic, now is the perfect time to catch up. It is available to read in its entirety via the official Check Please website.
Here's the description of Year Three from the web comic's Year Three Kickstarter page (spoilers!):
Junior year is filled with challenges for Bitty and Jack--on and off the ice. As they embark on a new relationship, Bitty and Jack must decide how they want to reveal their relationship to friends, coworkers, and family. Not only that, but Jack and the Falconers are now a big part of the NHL--and Bitty's life! It's a hockey season filled with victories and losses.
Ukazu is currently campaigning to get Check, Please: Year Three printed. Check, Please: Year One and Check, Please: Year Two were already printed with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, and are also set to get a printing from First Second Books. The release of the first volume in the series is slated for the fall.
Diane Nelson is no longer DC Entertainment President.
Diane Nelson, who has been President of DC Entertainment since 2009, has left the company. Nelson has been on leave since March, citing family issues.
"Diane has been a friend and colleague as well as a valued member of the Warner Bros. family for more than 20 years," Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara said in a statement obtained by THR. "Throughout her tenure, her leadership and contributions have helped shape the way the studio operates today, and we’re better for having had her on our team. While we're sad she’ll be leaving us, we completely respect and support her decision. Whatever her next chapter holds, I know she'll make it amazing."
“Warner Bros. has been my home for over 20 years with a wide variety of incredible professional experiences,” Nelson said in a statement. “The last nine — rebuilding and managing DC Entertainment — have been a particular highlight and privilege. With the support and talents of our staff and creators, I am proud to leave DC even stronger than when I joined it. I will miss everyone — particularly my executive management team — without whom none of our achievements could have been realized. And I am excited to take on my next professional adventure.”
The executive management team she mentions includes DC co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, DC chief creative officer and DC Films co-chair Geoff Johns, and DC executive VP of business marketing and strategy, Amit Desai.
Nelson's success with Warner Bros'Harry Potter franchise helped pave the way for her time at DC. During her tenure, we've seen the explosion of DC live action and animated properties on the small screen, and the long-awaited launch of a shared DC movie universe. While those movies have met with mixed critical and commercial results, the last nine years have been a boon for DC fans, with more opportunities to see favorite characters brought to life than at any point in the company's history. Despite a hiccup or two, DC Comics has kept up the pace as well, with a wealth of new talent and all time greats in the fold. It's a good time to be a DC fan, and quite a bit of that comes down to Nelson's efforts.
Marvel heard you liked the Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy scenes in Avengers: Infinity War...
The Asgardians of the Galaxy are coming. But I can certainly hazard a guess or two.
Marvel has been releasing cryptic teasers for this summer's Infinity Wars comics crossover event. Infinity Wars is written by Gerry Duggan, who has also been writing the Guardians of the Galaxy comic for the least year or so (with spectacular art by Aaron Kuder), so it would make sense that he would steer the team into a new iteration of some kind. The Duggan/Kuder (not to be confused with Dunning-Kruger...that's our President) Guardians comics are the most perfect distillation of everything you love about the Guardians of the Galaxy movies right now, and I can't recommend them highly enough.
This teaser promised that "The Guardians of the Galaxy are no more" before asking the question "Who are the Asgardians of the Galaxy?"
And now Marvel has revealed the lineup...
ANGELA, the not-so-beloved half-sister of Thor.
The hotheaded VALKYRIE – and the human who shares her form, Annabelle Riggs.
SKURGE the EXECUTIONER, freshly returned from Hel.
THROG, the mightiest frog of thunder.
Kevin Masterson, the boy who took his father’s mace to become the hero THUNDERSTRIKE.
And the DESTROYER, the Asgardian armor built to take down Celestials – its wielder unknown.
Look, Marvel knows when they've got a good thing going. Naming your massive summer publishing event something close to one of the biggest movies of all time is a perfect piece of synergy. And noting that audiences certainly took to the idea of Thor becoming a pirate-angel to Star-Lord, Rocket, Drax, and Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War, so it makes sense to go for a little of that vibe on the page. On the other hand, since many of the other recent Infinity Warsteasers also promised that "Death wins" maybe we shouldn't get too attached to Star-Lord and friends right now.
Vertigo returns with a new boss, a new logo, and a new timeliness.
Vertigo, DC's thinking-person's comics imprint started in the early '90s, announced today that it was relaunching with a new executive editor and a promise to "return to its roots."
The new editor is Mark Doyle, who got his start as a Vertigo editor before he took the reins of the Batman family. He's widely credited with bringing Scott Snyder into the team, and his talent search is expected to continue at Vertigo. "From the corners of television, games, music, activism, podcasting, comics and more, all of our creators are passionate and have something to say. These sophisticated stories have amazing new characters and vast worlds to explore," said Doyle.
The new books include:
Border Town from Eric Esquivel (Adventure Time) and Ramon Villalobos (the extremely underrated Nighthawk), about a crack in the Earth that releases Mexican monsters into an Arizona border town, which the town residents blame on "illegals." A group of teenagers has to figure out what's really going on.
Hex Wives, from Ben Blacker (a fantastic run on Thunderbolts) and Mirka Andolfo (Shade the Changing Girl) about a coven of witches brainwashed to be Stepford Wives who are slowly regaining their memories.
American Carnage by Bryan Hill (Michael Cray) and Leandro Fernandez (Punisher MAX) which follows a biracial FBI agent who goes undercover with a white supremacist group.
Goddess Mode from Zoe Quinn (Crash Override) and Robbi Rodriguez (Spider-Gwen). A woman who does tech support on the AI who runs humanity in a near future dystopia discovers monsters and super-powered women battling behind the scense for the cheat codes to reality.
Rob Sheridan, former art director for Nine Inch Nails, teams up with OmegaMen's Barnaby Bagenda for High Level, about a smuggler delivering the messiah to a mysterious city far in the future.
Tina Horn (Why Are People Into That, a kink/sex explainer podcast) and Mike Dowling (Unfollow)'s Safe Sex about a gang of sex worker freedom fighters, in a sentence I really enjoyed typing.
And finally, Second Coming from Flintstones' Mark Russell and It Doesn't Matter, I've Already Preordered It's Richard Pace (oh crap he's really good too, though). God sends Jesus to Earth to learn the family business from Sun Man, God's popular jock other son. Really, what more could you want?
Vertigo is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and is doing so with more...obviously political...books than when it first launched. Early titles for Vertigo included Sandman, Grant Morrison's Animal Man, Peter Milligan's Shade the Changing Man, Hellblazer, Swamp Thing, and Doom Patrol. These books were cerebral, weird, beautiful and important, but only rarely were they nakedly political in a way that many of these books seem.
For more on Vertigo or why political comics are good, stick with Den of Geek!
The new Hawkman series has Carter Hall acting like Indiana Jones with wings.
Robert Venditti is not one to shy away from tough jobs. Not only is he the guy who relaunched the Valiant Universe after years of dormancy, but he’s also the guy who had to follow Geoff Johns on Green Lantern. He flourished on each, with long runs on both Green Lantern and X-O Manowar. But now he faces maybe his toughest task: restarting Hawkman.
Predictably, he knocks it out of the park. The first issue, which pairs Venditti with Bryan Hitch, is smart and fun in a completely unexpected way, and gorgeous in a completely expected one. We had a chance to talk with Venditti about his approach to such a many-rebooted character and working with Hitch. The following interview has been lightly edited for flow and clarity. Take a look!
Den of Geek: How do you reconcile the competing backstories, the variety of continuities that follow Hawkman when you're trying to boil him down to his essence as a character?
Robert Venditti: Well, I think we do that very same thing in this issue. For me, it comes down to who he is internally, beyond all of the Thanagarian space cop or ancient Egyptian prince reincarnated as an archeologist. What are the core traits about him that sort of run through all those things? For me, the one that I really seized upon, and it's really kind of the theme of the series, is the concept of exploration and discovery. Why does he go on adventures, and what is he seeking out and why is he so driven to far-flung locales? The kind of adventures that he has throughout his history are different than what you see from Green Lantern or Flash or things like that. They're, I guess, much more, to put quotes around the word, "adventurous."
Cosmic locations, whether ... it could be an earthbound location, but they're always sort of walking that line between fanciful and historic. The enemies that he combats do the same. For me, it was looking at those aspects of the character and then coming up with a way that all of it would link together into one unified whole. That's what we're trying to do with the series. That's what we've tried to do with the first issue. By doing that, we'll bring Carter Hall and Hawkman back to the center of the DC Universe where he really belongs.
By the same token, your Carter Hall feels more fun, more worldly and almost playful, a little bit, in a way that he hasn't always necessarily been. How do you see Carter and how is he a distinct part of the Hawkman story?
I see him as a scholar. From his life history, living the many lives that he has, he is an authority on history in a way that no other person on Earth is. I see him as someone who has a great amount of respect and reverence for all cultures, all peoples, all languages. In some ways, he's the walking museum. His memories are a walking museum of everything that he's experienced and everywhere he's been, but he's also a very skilled warrior.
He's a scholar and he might not hit you first, but he's going to hit you last. That's kind of the way I think about him. If you pick a fight with this guy, he has the skill and the mindset and the intelligence as a tactician to make you wish you had never picked that fight. It's that interesting balance...Carter Hall the scholar versus Hawkman the warrior and how we weave those two things into the series that make him a character that's unique in the DC Universe.
You say that Carter is kind of an authority on history, and it's clear from the first issue that he's got the ability to access in some small way the past lives. In addition to resetting Hawkman in the DC Universe, are you going to be using the series as kind of a Tomb Raider for the DCU or accessing the secret history of the post-Rebirth DC continuity?
Very much so. Tomb Raider is another good example, but the way I like to talk about the series is it's part Indiana Jones, part National Treasure. Every single issue he's in a new location, he discovers something new, and that propels him on into the next issue. In the beginning, what he's seeking to discover are the secrets and the truths of his own past, because he finds out in the first issue that there's a threat coming to destroy him and all of Earth. He had forgotten all about it until now. Now he wants to know what else about himself he doesn't know and how, somewhere buried in his past, there must be an answer for how he's supposed to fight this threat.
He's on a race against the clock to uncover his own past and find these secrets in time, before the threat arrives. In doing so, we're going to take him to places that are unique to the DC Universe. We have a lot of plans for them, and it is a bit of revealing of secrets pasts and things we never knew before.
For example, where he ends up at the open of the first issue, he's at a location that's unique to the DC Universe dealing with a culture that's established in the DC Universe, but showing you an aspect of it that we've never seen before. We're going to be doing a lot of those sorts of things. I would even say that, while a lot of what we're doing, especially in the first issue, is very earthbound, Hawkman is one of those few characters that is a perfect blend because of his diverse history, that's a perfect blend of the earthbound and the cosmic. When I say DC locations, I don't necessarily just mean places on Earth, but the entire DC Universe is a canvas that we're going to be able to play with.
The new incarnation of Hawkman is rooted firmly in the reemergence of the Dark Multiverse. Are we going to be bouncing around in the Multiverse at all? Is there a chance that he's been reincarnated, not just in time and in space, but on alternate Earths also?
You can expect a lot of exploration, and that's kind of what I was saying earlier, beyond just the earthbound. It's important, I think, that we drill in on something you just said, which is, speaking of Metal and the Dark Multiverse and how much what we're doing is picking up from what was done in Metal and by the expansion of the character's history beyond what we normally knew of it as being in ancient Egypt and the thousands of years that have been added to the character's history. That's an awful lot of time and an awful lot of lives to fill that space.
I couldn't even tell you how many plotlines and how many story ideas are packed into this one issue that might not be immediately apparent, but as the series progresses and we follow Carter along his journey, you'll see how many of them we seeded from the very, very earliest pages.
That's really interesting, because most people, when they're trying to reinvent the character, they try and get right down to the core of it and really narrow the scope to redefine the character from scratch. But it seems like you went in the absolute opposite direction with Hawkman. It seems like you decided to go as big as you could possibly get. Do you ever step back from that and say, "Wow, what did I do?" Do you ever get worried that you made it too big?
(laughs) I have not. As I started reading the stories, that was what spoke to me about the character, that was where the opportunity was. I didn't sit down and say, "I want to do this type of story. How am I going to make Hawkman fit into that?" That's not what happened at all. It was the reverse, with me learning about the character and realizing that this was the type of story that I felt the character was suited for.
I also feel it's something that is wholly unique. This isn't the type of story and this isn't the type of character that you can really see anywhere else in comics. The kind of things we're going to be doing are things that Hawkman could only be doing. I think that just speaks to who he is a character, what makes him so unique, and how we get him back to that place of prominence that he deserves in the DC Universe.
Did you find yourself changing what you wrote or the way that you wrote it to match his abilities? For example, did you put a chase scene in between Hawkman and a giant winged stone gorilla because you're working with the original widescreen comics guy, or did the giant stone winged gorilla just come naturally?
It's a bit of both. (laughs) I'm very fortunate to be working with an artist like Bryan whose style is so expansive. There's art from much more than that already that's been turned in from future issues. He can draw anything, and his approach to the character, even something as, I don't want to say small, but something as confined and singular and just the character of Hawkman himself, how he renders Hawkman in flight, the motions of the wings, the poses. The skill with which he does that, and then the way he renders giant settings with hieroglyphics in the smallest detail written on every single square millimeter of the background ... He's able to do all those things.
A lot of what you read in this first issue and a lot of what the series is is me coming in with a plot and then him reading it and us talking about it, and as he's drawing, he'll even come up with ideas that hit him in the moment. He'll send me an email and say, "Hey, what about if all of a sudden the statue has wings?"
I think that's the creative energy that you can feel, and that's what you want. I don't want it to feel like a chore when I'm writing it and the artist doesn't want it to feel like a chore when they're drawing it. If you're working on something and the ideas are coming as they're drawing and they're coming up with new inspiration, that's exactly what you want. As I'm looking at his art and I'm doing the dialogue, seeing what he does gives me different inspirations as well, so it's very much this back-and-forth collaborative effort that I feel is really the best of what a working relationship in comic books could be. I couldn't be happier than to be working with him and to be building this whole thing with him together.
Hawkman #1 by Venditti and Hitch is out on June 13th. For more on the fallout of Metal or for more on Hawkman, stick with Den of Geek!
In the multiverse, Daredevil has been an undead mass murderer, a samurai warrior, a blind prize fighter, a SHIELD agent, and more.
Daredevil is setting the world on fire. The Netflix series has been incredibly well-regarded and there's a third season on the way. It was only fitting that he was chosen as leader of The Defenders, since Daredevil is sort of like the king of Marvel’s street level characters.
Sure, Spider-Man is more popular, but Matt Murdock is known for his rough life and being fate's punching bag even more than Peter Parker. Unfortunately for him, it’s not just the universe that rarely cuts him any slack, but the multiverse as well. Daredevil has starred in a handful of stories in Marvel’s What If?series and they aren’t always sunshine and lollypops. They’re still some interesting storylines with some cool ideas, though.
WHAT IF THE WORLD KNEW DARDEVIL WAS BLIND?
WHAT IF? V.1 #8, 1978
Don Glut, Alan Kupperberg, and Jim Mooney
The Original Story: Back in his yellow costume days, Daredevil took on Spider-Man villain Electro. Electro caught Daredevil off-guard at one point with a bolt to the back, but Daredevil eventually recovered and defeated him.
But What If... Spider-Man entered the fray? Having problems of his own, Spider-Man took a break from his personal adventures once he noticed Electro sneaking around a nearby building. Spider-Man breaking through a window alerted Electro and prevented his sneak attack on Daredevil. Instead of zapping Daredevil in the back, he went at him head-on and missed. Electro was confused as even if it didn’t hit him, it still should have at least blinded Daredevil, yet he didn’t even react. After getting his ass handed to him by the team of Daredevil and Spider-Man, Electro smiled. He may have lost, but he knew Daredevil’s secret and that would certainly have an effect on history.
One of the things that’s great about this issue is an early moment where Daredevil and Spider-Man discuss Daredevil’s lack of sight. Despite being from the 70s, the issue is still self-aware enough for Spider-Man to outright make fun of the old yellow costume as being an eye-sore that only a blind man would wear.
Most of the issue feels like a regular Daredevil vs. Owl story with the change that the Owl knows how to use Daredevil’s weakness against him by playing a really loud alarm of owls hooting along with filling the room with contrasting smells. In this reality, Karen Page figures out the secret identity thing really early on (Daredevil happens to sound a lot like the other blind guy she knows and accidentally called her by name) and is able to give him someone to confide in and help him overcome the Owl’s obstacles.
WHAT IF DAREDEVIL BECAME AN AGENT OF SHIELD?
WHAT IF? V.1 #28, 1981
Mike W. Barr and Frank Miller
The Original Story: A car crash took away Matt Murdock’s sight when toxic chemicals splashed into his eyes. It took years of training and heartbreak for him to step up and become something more than human, allowing him to fight against evil as Daredevil.
But What If... somebody knew what this meant for Matt’s future? The chemical truck belonged to Tony Stark, who decided to keep an eye on the situation after telling the driver that driving through the city would be way too dangerous. His instincts were correct when he found a boy doused in the eyes with the chemicals. He took the boy to Nick Fury on the SHIELD Helicarrier, figuring he’d know what to do.
Much like the previous entry, this one ends up being kind of upbeat, mainly because Daredevil wasn’t as much of a tragic character in mainstream Marvel just yet. Instead of Stick figuring Matt could make the best ninja, we have Fury figuring that he could make for the best secret agent. Hydra gets wind of this and immediately kidnaps Jack Murdock, leading to a pretty sweet action sequence where Matt goes to get him back.
The weird thing about this comic is that it doesn’t use the title as a springboard into a story, but uses it as an endpoint. Matt Murdock joining SHIELD is the very last panel and the story is merely about his origin.
WHAT IF ELEKTRA HAD LIVED?
What If? v.1 #35, 1982
The Original Story: After escaping prison, Bullseye was tasked with eliminating Elektra. In a rather nasty fight, he took her apart and impaled her with her own sai. The love of Daredevil’s life was snuffed out.
But What If... Bullseye was done in by someone else’s true aim? As Bullseye tried to escape, he was shot right in the head by a prison guard. That meant that Kingpin would have to rely on lesser assassins to punish Elektra for her failure to kill Foggy Nelson.
This one always confuses me because it tends to be on people’s lists of favorite What If? issues and I really don’t understand why. I’ve never gotten a straight answer other than, “It’s Miller.” I mean, is it just the novelty that Frank Miller wrote and drew it? Yes, the Elektra fight scene is beautiful, albeit short, but there’s honestly nothing to this story. It’s just there and it just ends.
Then there’s the framing sequence where Uatu the Watcher proceeds to be the biggest asshole in the Marvel Universe, which Ed Brubaker liked enough to do an homage in What If? Civil War many years later.
WHAT IF? V.1 #38 (1983)
David Michelenie, Alan Kupperberg
The Original Story: We tend to read our comics about Matt Murdock as being a fairly young adult. Characters don’t really age all that much in the mainstream, so we aren’t going to be seeing him depicted as a middle-aged man in the near future.
But What If... we got to look at the future? This issue of What If? is made up of three stories based on jumping decades into the future. One is based on an older Captain America and his wife Sharon. One is a rather touching story about Vision coming to terms with Scarlet Witch dying of old age while his android body remains the same. Then there’s this one, taking place 30 years in the future, where Russian President Natasha Romanoff comes to America to meet with Vice President Foggy Nelson. Matt works for Foggy and is just a big curmudgeon about everything because his unnamed wife has recently died.
It’s a very, very strange comic. Terrorists attack the UN and our two heroes turn out to both have their costumes on underneath their outfits. It makes some sense for Natasha, despite being a bit too old to be wearing skintight spandex, but Matt hasn’t worn his tights in decades, so his decision to have them on just in case is ridiculous. Then his life lesson about not letting tragedy destroy him is so ham-fisted that it’s rather hilarious.
WHAT IF DAREDEVIL HAD KILLED THE KINGPIN?
WHAT IF? V.2 #2, 1989
Danny Fingeroth and Greg Capullo
The Original Story: During “Born Again,” Matt Murdock was brought to his breaking point and chose to visit Wilson Fisk, the man responsible for his troubles. He wanted to kill him. Physically, he wasn’t up to the task and got absolutely destroyed. Only in his defeat was he able to build himself back up and come out stronger than ever.
But What If... on the way to meet Fisk, Matt bumped into one of the bodyguards and smuggled away his gun? Matt then confronted Fisk and shot him. He stayed around long enough to make sure his heart wasn’t beating, then walked out with nobody knowing about it for another fifteen minutes.
Matt’s greatest antagonist in this story isn’t the underworld or the superheroes, but himself. As a justice-loving Catholic, he’s distraught over what he’s done. He becomes delusional, hallucinating homeless people as judges and begging for them to find him guilty. He pleads with the Punisher to shoot him dead as punishment, since he’s no better than all the other criminals he preys on. Meanwhile, Richard Fisk admits that he doesn’t know how to feel about his father’s passing and when Matt goes to him to receive judgment, Richard is unsure of how to react.
This one’s one of the better What If? issues out there. Not only does it have some strong character moments, but it has an ending so cool that I almost wish it was canon.
WHAT IF THE PUNISHER HAD KILLED DAREDEVIL?
WHAT IF? V.2 #26, 1991
Kurt Busiek and Luke McDonnell
The Original Story: As the Punisher beat up a junkie on a rooftop, Daredevil got in his way to stop him. The Punisher fired a tranquilizer dart and knocked him out, allowing him an easy escape, all while Daredevil got a nap out of it.
But What If... Daredevil was just a little too close to the edge? To Frank Castle’s horror, Daredevil fell to his death. Well. That would change a lot, wouldn’t it?
As you can guess, this one is less of a Daredevil story and more of a Punisher one. Foggy appears early on and Ben Urich gets a pretty major role, but it mostly comes down to Punisher vs. Kingpin. It’s still a really good issue and the subplot about Spider-Man is kind of heartbreaking. As Daredevil’s superhero BFF, Spider-Man blames himself for what happened, since he always let Punisher kind of do his own thing as long as he wasn’t nearby. Now he dedicates himself to bringing him in and it all goes very, very wrong.
The same creative team would come back to do another Punisher/Daredevil story soon after.
WHAT IF VENOM HAD POSSESSED THE PUNISHER?
WHAT IF? V.2 #44, 1992
Kurt Busiek and Luke McDonnell
The Original Story: Spider-Man had gotten rid of his black alien costume on the rooftop of a church. Moments later, a disgraced reporter Eddie Brock entered the church to pray for forgiveness for his impending suicide and was greeted by the symbiotic creature. He then became Venom and was obsessed with getting revenge on Spider-Man.
But What If... the Punisher entered the church a couple minutes before Brock? He noticed Spider-Man swinging away and started thinking about him for a second, which was like catnip to the symbiote. It attached itself to him and at first he figured it was some kind of SHIELD tech, not even entertaining the thought that it could be something more sinister.
This is one of the few What If? issues where Daredevil has some kind of supporting role. Usually, unless he’s the star, he just gets a couple panels where he dies. Here, he sees Castle swinging by and can tell that something’s up. Then he even has to team up with Typhoid Mary to protect the Kingpin from this new, deadlier Punisher, who appears to be more violent than ever and on some kind of permanent adrenaline high. In the end, Daredevil teams up with Spider-Man and Moon Knight to put an end to the Punisher’s reign of terror.
This is a definite must-read issue, mainly for how badass Frank is with the costume and when he’s against the costume.
WHAT IF DAREDEVIL HAD SAVED NUKE?
WHAT IF V.2 #48, 1993
Ron Marz and Kevin Kobasic
The Original Story: The psychotic super soldier Nuke was sent to raze Hell’s Kitchen to the ground to draw out Daredevil. During the adventure, he took a bullet to the chest. Daredevil tried to get him to a hospital and save him, but he was too late. Daredevil ended up dumping the dead body onto Ben Urich’s desk.
But What If... he was able to get Nuke to the hospital in time? The doctors were able to stabilize him enough that when Kingpin’s armed goons made a go at them, Daredevil was able to escape with Nuke still breathing. He then kept him in a hiding spot, hoping his enhanced biology would heal itself and if things turned out right enough, he’d be able to use him to help destroy the Kingpin through testimony.
This is a fast-paced issue that doesn’t waste much time, but it’s a lot of fun. To make sure Nuke is taken out of the equation as fast as possible, Kingpin brings Bullseye back into the fold. Even though a good chunk of the comic is dedicated to Daredevil having to rescue Karen from Bullseye and Kingpin, the issue is ultimately about Nuke – despite minimal dialogue – coming into his own and redeeming himself. The ending isn’t too radically different from what happened in main continuity, but Nuke still comes out a winner in this reality. He doesn’t fight for what he’s told is right but for what he knows is right.
WHAT IF THE KINGPIN OWNED DAREDEVIL?
WHAT IF V.2 #73, 1995
DG Chichester and Tom Grindberg
The Original Story: Matt Murdock’s father was taken from him. The blind boy continued his training with the hardened martial arts master Stick, hoping to one day achieve justice. He rose up as both a vigilante and a talented lawyer, becoming the guardian of Hell’s Kitchen.
But What If... Wilson Fisk investigated the murder? It didn’t sit well with him that the Fixer overstepped his boundaries and had Jack Murdock killed, even if it should have been below his notice. Fisk discovered that young Matt had been in regular contact with Stick and Fisk had enough knowledge of that man to know that there must have been something special about this boy. Fisk told Matt that he could try and get revenge himself and likely perish or let Fisk take care of it and have it all wrapped up overnight. Matt understandably chose the easy way.
Matt grows up as Wilson Fisk’s second son, continuing his work to become a top-notch lawyer, though he has an excess of tutors who will teach him everything from genuine law to knowing how to use his own blindness for sympathy. The question arises of whether this situation will lead to Matt becoming corrupt or if he might actually get through to his adopted father.
If you watched through the Daredevilseries and it made you want to read a Daredevil comic, this is a fantastic one-shot that builds on what you’ve learned about the main characters. Not only do we get to see a fascinating look at a world where Fisk and Matt are close, but it goes out of its way to show us what becomes of the would-be supporting people in Matt’s life. What would have become of Foggy, Karen, Elektra, and so on? Would they be better off or worse off?
WHAT IF DAREDEVIL WAS THE DISCIPLE OF DOCTOR STRANGE?
WHAT IF V.2 #83, 1996
Ian Edgington and Mike Baron
The Original Story: Having lost use of his hands in a car accident, egotistical surgeon Stephen Strange searched for a cure, which led to him finding out about the Ancient One. He found answers, but not what he was initially expecting. Rather than return to his life as a doctor, he found enlightenment as Sorcerer Supreme.
But What If... Stick was there to squash the rumors of the Ancient One? As Strange searched for information on the Ancient One, Stick convinced him that the real solution was searching for the Chaste. Dr. Strange’s journey led to him not becoming a top-of-the-line wizard, but a highly-skilled ninja master. Stick then sent him to be the one to train a young Matt Murdock, but Strange wasn’t able to quell the boy’s rage.
This one’s concept is higher than Tommy Chong, but it’s so weird that it kind of works. Dr. Strange had lost Matt to the Hand and moved on to mentoring Elektra. This gives us a completely badass Hand Daredevil outfit that they would introduce into regular continuity during the whole Shadowlandstoryline. It also gives us a Romeo and Juliet story, only with lots of well-drawn ninja action. Really, is there any better selling point than that?
WHAT IF... STARRING DAREDEVIL
WHAT IF V.2 #102, 1997
Bill Rosemann and Hector Collazo
The Original Story: Jack Murdock knew that if he didn’t take a dive against Crusher Creel, his life was over. In the end, he chose pride and the belief that he needed to be a role model for his son, so he knocked out Creel. Jack was killed by the mob for his audacity and Matt would go on to become Daredevil.
But What If... the mobsters warned Jack that they would go after Matt? Jack realized he had no choice. There would be no defiance and mortal sacrifice. The only sacrifice would be his dignity as he faked defeat for the sake of the criminal underworld.
There isn’t much to Jack Murdock’s story. His luster is gone and he never sniffs the top of the ladder ever again. Instead, he takes in-ring beatings until he’s just left in a coma.
Matt, on the other hand, lives his life as he normally would, only to be pulled away by his father’s massive hospital bills. He’s still too young to be a lawyer, so he earns money by following in Jack’s footsteps and becoming a boxer. He’s able to fake having sight and Wilson Fisk ends up buying him. Time starts over again as Matt Murdock is given a title shot and is instructed to stay down. Of course, Matt has too much pride to do something like that...
WHAT IF KAREN PAGE HAD LIVED? (2005)
Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Lark
The Original Story: When facing Bullseye, Daredevil was saved by his longtime friend and occasional lover Karen Page. As Bullseye left, he threw Daredevil’s billy club right at the hero. Karen dove in front of it and sacrificed herself, taking the club to the chest and dying in Matt’s arms. It was later discovered that this was all a plot by a dying Mysterio, who had bought information on Daredevil’s identity from the Kingpin.
But What If... the club didn’t hit Karen in the heart and only put her in critical condition? Nearly losing Karen instead of actually losing her would have driven Matt into a rage and Daredevil would have made a more lethal visit to Wilson Fisk’s home. In a fit of anger, Matt threw his club right into Fisk’s throat, killing him. Too bad Fisk had a failsafe that if anything were to happen to him, proof of Daredevil’s identity would flood the media.
This issue is not very good. I don’t fully blame Bendis for it, since it was originally supposed to be written by Kevin Smith, the guy who killed off Karen originally. It was instead given to Bendis, who is the worst fit for a What If? comic. The guy simply can’t write a normal-sized one-shot where a healthy amount of exposition is part of the narrative. Much like that year’s What If Jessica Jones Joined the Avengers?, Bendis literally spent the first half of the comic retelling the original story. The scene of Daredevil in Karen’s hospital room that starts this reality tangent is the 11th page out of 23 and that’s including double-page spreads.
Plus the story is just mean. It’s not so much a story as it’s a series of burials and feel-bad moments. It isn’t all that much different than how Bendis’ Daredevilrun would finally end, only with more finality due to being non-canon and not having to deal with the status quo. Don’t read it unless you’re a Bendis completist or you just want to be thoroughly depressed.
WHAT IF? FEATURING DAREDEVIL (2006)
Rick Veitch and Tommy Lee Edwards
The Original Story: Daredevil is Matt Murdock, a swashbuckling vigilante and also lawyer who fights crime on two levels, mostly against a big, fat criminal mastermind. He also has an assassins ex-girlfriend and a nemesis who has really good aim. He does all of this in the present day in New York City.
But What If... it took place in Feudal Japan? This came out during a really weird year of What If?releases where instead of just being one thing that changed the course of history, the issues took place in one alternate Earth where everything was different. On Earth-616, a hacker calling himself the Watcher was able to hack into another reality and, through reading its internet, realize the many differences between worlds. This included stuff like Wolverine being the Punisher of the 1930s, Thor being the Herald of Galactus, the Fantastic Four being Soviets, and Daredevil being a samurai.
It maps out the usual Daredevil origin tropes with a samurai bend. Japan is run by the Emperor, but he is in the pocket of the large-and-in-charge Shogun (who practices sumo because he’s fat and it’s Japan). A ronin called the Old Devil runs afoul of one of the Shogun’s men named the Owl and his son Masahiro is mystically blinded. To save his son’s sight, Old Devil is tasked with destroying a boat of visiting Americans so that he can steal their rifles for the Shogun. He ends up destroying the rifles, gets killed for his betrayal, and his buddy Stick secretly raises and trains Masahiro into being a warrior known as the Devil Who Dares. Elektra’s tossed in there as the daughter of slain Greek ambassadors turned into a vengeful concubine and you have a pretty basic story.
What’s interesting in it is that on that destroyed American boat is Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson. Murdock survives the attack and becomes a rifle-using marksman calling himself Bullseye. Yes, this story features both a guy who is Daredevil and a guy who is Matt Murdock. It ends up coming together very nicely and the art is a treat as well.
WHAT IF? DAREDEVIL VS. ELEKTRA (2010)
Karl Bollers and Rafael Kayanan
The Original Story: Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios were college lovers. As terrorists attempted to kidnap Elektra’s father, Matt donned a mask and helped take them down. The authorities got a little overzealous and opened fire at the window when Elektra’s father had his back to it. He was gunned down and died. It broke Elektra and she went on to become a cold, high-ranking assassin. Eventually, she was killed and brought back to life by the Hand.
But What If... it was Matt who got shot up? His attempts to stop the terrorists led to him struggling with one of them in front of the window, causing him to get filled with a couple sniper rounds. A week later, Nick Fury found Matt’s grave to be empty. A blind man fighting off several armed men seemed impossible and the Hand was interested in investigating that.
Years later, Elektra is not an assassin, but an agent of SHIELD. The “Born Again” Matt Murdock has overtaken the Hand and now calls himself the Advocate, a clever name it took me a while to get. SHIELD is after him after the slaughter of the Kingpin and his employees. Let me tell you, if any part of this issue is fun to read, it’s Fisk sending Bullseye after the Advocate and watching him get taken apart like he was nothing. Especially with the sweet Kayanan art.
Elektra’s world is torn down piece by piece and ultimately she’s trained by Stick and put in charge of creating a reborn Caste. Together, she and her team go after the Hand while she holds out hope that she can get through to Matt Murdock or at least put an end to his reign of terror.
In the past few years, they’ve relaxed on doing What If? comics a bit and considering New Avengers and Secret Wars has been vaporizing all the different alternate universes, who knows if we’ll see another take on Daredevil like this in the future. Are there any cool What If? ideas you’d like to see Daredevil star in? Sound off in the comments!
Gavin Jasper has spent years wanting a comic where Daredevil ended up on Battleworld instead of Spider-Man and donned the black costume. Follow Gavin on Twitter!
These characters have met their demise on the HBO series but are still alive and kicking in the literary "A Song of Ice and Fire."
Both in books and on television, Game of Thrones is one of the bloodiest fantasy stories ever told. It seems like every week on TV or in every chapter of the stirring book series, someone is murdered, executed, stabbed, bludgeoned, burnt, killed by disease, eaten, or drowned. Well, would you believe that there is even MORE death on TV than there is in the books?
That’s right, on HBO characters who have died still draw breath in George R.R. Martin’s epic book series. So join us as we take a look at those characters that we have had to bid farewell to on television that are still playing the game of thrones in the novels.
Who can forget brave Grenn’s death in season four of Game of Thrones? Who can forget Grenn and his boys bravely reciting the oath of the Night’s Watch’s as Mag the Mighty, ancient king of the giants, charges the gate that would not hold? Grenn and his companions were all that stood between the Watch and certain death, and Grenn stayed proudly and defiantly...and Grenn then died.
It was one of the most stirring and epic moments of season four and one that will not be soon forgotten. But in George R.R. Martin’s books, Grenn is alive, still serving in the Night’s Watch. Grenn pops up in A Feast For Crows and in A Dance With Dragons, and is still loyal to his new Lord Commander Jon Snow. Grenn doesn’t do much in either of those books, which is perhaps why he was chosen by the Game of Thrones showrunners to make his most noble of sacrifices in season four. In the show, Grenn will always stand out as a stirring example of bravery and sacrifice as he fell so his brothers could live, defeating impossible odds along the way. But in the book, Grenn continues to fight the good fight, because his Watch has not yet ended.
In the same battle that took Grenn’s life in Game of Thrones, the loyal Crow Pyp also died, albeit not as dramatically as his brother in black. Pyp died fighting on the Wall side by side with Samwell Tarly. It was quite a shocking moment for "A Song of Ice and Fire" fans when Pyp, a character still alive in the books, took a Wildling arrow to the throat. Right there, even readers knew that the stakes in the war with the Wildlings was high, and truly, no one would be safe no matter what happened to a character’s literary equivalent.
In truth, Pyp doesn’t have a huge role to play after the battle with the Wildlings, but he is still there on the Wall, serving under Lord Commander Snow. In fact, Pyp seems to resent Snow in the books, a feeling that some of Snow’s old comrades share as the bastard of Winterfell becomes more withdrawn due to his new responsibilities. Well, on TV, Pyp will not feel resentful of Jon Snow or anyone else, not after that shocking arrow pierced his windpipe silencing this mummer’s son forevermore.
Whether it is in the books or in the TV series, Catelyn’s death is arguably the most brutal, unfair, and crushing death of Martin’s entire saga. When the Frey knife opens Catelyn’s throat, the book series lost one of its most capable and fair-minded players.
In the series, Catelyn tragically remains dead, but in the books, oh by the Seven that in the books, Catelyn rises thanks to the magic of Beric Dondarrion. Catelyn rises and the Seven Kingdoms must face the fury of Stoneheart, a viciously vengeful version of the fallen Stark matriarch out to crush the enemies who took her beloved family’s lives. Whether HBO fans will ever come face to face with this lady of vengeance remains to be seen, but as for now, Lady Stoneheart, the brutal mockery of a once noble lady, is a horror only fans of the books have had to endure.
On HBO, poor Jojen Reed’s visions did not help him survive an assault of the undead...or from having his throat slit by his own sister...or from being blown up real good by a little elf kid’s fireball.
But in the novel series, Jojen lives and is still dwelling with his dear sister Meera, Bran, Hodor, Coldhands, and the Children of the Forest. Actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster was brilliant as the prophetic young ally of Bran Stark, but we had to bid farewell to him in season four as he led his group to meet the Children of the Forest; it’s a darn shame too since we will no longer be able to enjoy the young actor’s skills. But we will be able to experience more Jojen when Martin’s next novel hits.
Willis Wode was a warrior who swears loyalty to Catelyn Stark at the Crossroads Inn when she takes Tyrion Lannister prisoner. In the books, Wode successfully helps Catelyn navigate the Mountains of the Moon and also helps her survive the attack of the Hill Tribe. He bears witness to Tyrion’s first trial by combat where Bronn defended Tyrion at the Eyrie, and is still currently alive and kicking, although his whereabouts are unknown. Wode witnessed all these iconic GoT moments and lived to tell the tale; on television, Wode was killed by the Hill Tribes while defending Lady Catelyn, causing the Starks and Tullys to lose a staunch defender.
Mago was the unfortunate bloodrider who insulted Daenerys and had his tongue ripped out of his throat by Khal Drogo for daring to speak ill of the Khal’s moon and stars on Game of Thrones. The death of Mago punctuated just how badass Drogo could be, particularly when challenged. I mean, he pulled the dude’s tongue of his throat! Yet, in the books, Mago insults Khaleesi and lives to tell the tale. When Daenerys forbids the Khalasar from gang raping its prisoners, this creates a ton of bad blood between some of Drogo’s men and their Khaleesi.
When Drogo falls ill, Mago declares himself Khal and takes the women back that Daenerys spared from him. The Mother of Dragons swears vengeance but as of yet, Daenerys Stormborn has yet to deliver her fiery retribution on Mago, who still rides the grass sea as Khal in the Game of Thrones novels.
Where Mago betrays and abandons his Khaleesi, the bloodrider Rakharo stayed loyal to his queen and joined her as she transverses the Red Waste. Sadly for Rakharo, when Khaleesi’s loyal follower goes on a scouting mission, he does not survive the HBO experience. In a tragic moment, Daenerys and company find Rakharo’s stallion with the bloodrider’s head stuffed in one of his own saddle bags.
The true tragedy is that without a whole body, according to Dothraki legend, Rakharo won’t be able to complete his journey to the Night Lands and his eternal reward. In the books, it is Dany’s handmaiden Doreah who dies in the Red Waste of exposure and illness, as Rakharo not only survives the harrowing journey but still serves at his Khaleesi’s side to this day.
Qarth's Council of Thirteen
Who can forget the moment the ghostly doppelgangers of Pyat Pree slew Qarth’s Council of Thirteen in front of a stunned Daenerys? When Dany left Qarth, she left its ruling class in ruins, showing every city across the Narrow Sea that Daenerys Targaryen is not a woman to be trifled with. However in the novels, the Council stands and remains in control after Dany leaves Qarth. In fact, after Khaleesi’s dragons burned the House of the Undying, Dany flees Qarth because the Council orders her death. So in the books, the governing body of Qarth is still an enemy of the Mother of Dragons while on the show, the corpses of the Thirteen have long turned cold.
Pyat Pree murdered the Council of Qarth on HBO only to be burned by Khaleesi’s dragons. But in the literary world of Westeros, this terrifying mystic still poses a threat to the ambitions of Daenerys Stormborn. First off, man, is Dany’s arc different in the books, and second, the TV version of the Mother of Dragons may have been wiser than her literary counterpart, because TV Dany executed this dangerous blue lipped wizard.
In the books, Dany burns the House of the Undying, but Pyat Pree lives. In fact, in A Dance With Dragons, Dany is warned that Pree and three of his warlock followers are still hunting Daenerys. In the books, Dany still must have a reckoning with Pree, while in the series, Pree is a threat long dead thanks to a blast of dragon breath.
Xaro Xhoan Daxos
Ah, poor Xaro Xhoan Daxos, having the hardest name to type in all of the Seven Kingdoms did not stop this chilling and memorable HBO death. Remember, Xaro Xhoan Daxos was locked in an impenetrable vault for helping Pyat Pree steal Khaleesi’s dragons? Well in the novels, Xaro Xhoan Daxos seems utterly devoted to Dany and begs the Mother of Dragons for her hand in marriage.
The always wise Dany suspects that Xaro Xhoan Daxos only wants to marry so he can claim one of her dragons as part of an ancient Qartheen marriage custom. Despite his machinations, Xaro Xhoan Daxos never betrays Dany and so he still lives. In A Dance With Dragons, it is revealed that Dany’s actions have disrupted Xaro Xhoan Daxos’ slave trade. He offers her a fleet of ships provided she leaves for Westeros to finally take the Iron Throne. Dany refuses the gift angering Xaro Xhoan Daxos, who leaves a bloody glove for Dany on a silk pillow, a symbol of war between Qarth and the Mother of Dragons. It seems that Xaro Xhoan Daxos’ death might be coming after all but it won’t be in the fateful vault in Qarth, the location of the slave trader’s death on television.
Poor loyal Irri, killed when Pyat Pree stole Khaleesi’s dragons. In the book, Irri is Dany’s loyal handmaiden, instructor in the sexual arts, friend, confidant, and even paramour. But on TV, Irri’s fate was to bleed out on a cold stone floor, caught in a struggle for power between her Khaleesi and the warlocks of Qarth. Literary Irri is even still among the living in A Dance With Dragons, as she argues with Jhiqui over the affections of the still living Rakharo. So what have we learned from this list? It is more dangerous to be a supporting character of Daenerys Targaryen than it is to be a red shirt on the Starship Enterprise.
Joyeuse, Walder Frey's Wife
The most shocking moment of HBO’s Game of Thronesunquestionably is the Red Wedding. Starting with the death of Robb Stark’s wife Talisa, the gore just flows faster and redder than in a climax to a Lucio Fulci film. One of the victims of the TV’s Red Wedding was Walder Frey’s wife, Joyeuse. Of course, the disgusting and traitorous Frey has had many wives, so the brutal patron of House Frey sheds no tears when a devastated Catelyn Stark carves a new smile in Joyeuse’s throat.
Yet, in the books, Joyeuse is alive and well (as well as one can be living under that letch Walder Frey). The last time readers saw Joyeuse, it was revealed she was pregnant (I guess Walder still has some wildfire in the flask). On TV, there will be no little Freys being produced by Joyeuse for she was the final victim of the eternal rage of Catelyn Stark.
What was I saying about the dangers of running with the TV version of Khaleesi? In the books, Barristan Selmy is Daenerys’ most trusted advisor after the exile of Ser Jorah Mormont . The old ser advises Khaleesi and even lends his sword to her cause on numerous occasions. He is still with Dany at the end of A Dance With Dragons and seems to have a huge role to play if Dany ever crosses the Narrow Sea to take the Iron Throne. But in the show, he is dead, murdered after a brave standoff with the Sons of the Harpy. How Barristan’s death will impact the narrative of HBO’s epic remains to be seen, but Ser Barristan still has a literary role to play in Game of Thrones. Man, Khaleesi really has to start giving workman’s comp.
Speaking of the Freys, Old Walder himself, the traitor of the Starks, still draws putrid death. While the Frey patriarch met a delicious fate on Game of Thrones when Arya Stark pulled his head back and slit his throat after going all Titus Andronicus on his kids, this heady moment continues to be merely wish fulfillment on the page.
Walder has lost several children to Lady Stoneheart, Catelyn Stark’s undead alias, but the old bastard remains safe behind his walls at the Twins while Arya Stark is still an ocean away in Essos.
Because of Cersei Lannister’s action at the Sept of Baelor (y’know, when she blew the whole damn thing to the Seven Hells), this list of Game of Thrones characters that are dead on TV but not in the novels has gotten considerably longer. Blowing the Sept was truly Cersei’s most cunning and vile act, and in doing so, the Queen Regent took out many of her greatest enemies.
Most prominent of these enemies is Margaery Tyrell, the queen that was younger, more beloved, and seemingly at times, more cunning at the Great Game than Cersei. But Cersei proved that not to be the case. With one brilliantly timed explosion, Margaery and all the threats the young, brilliant, and beautiful Tyrell queen represented was nothing but cinder and ash.
Yet in the novels, Margaery still lives. When last we saw King Tommen’s beloved, Margaery had been arrested and set for trial by the High Septon and the Faith. This arrest of Margaery also led to the arrest of Cersei as King’s Landing stands ready for two royal trials. In the TV series those trials never came, but in the books, Margaery still stands, ready to prove to the Seven Kingdoms who the true queen is. With Margaery awaiting trial, the tragedy at the Great Sept is still in play, but the question remains, does Mr. Martin have plans for Margaery or will the literary version of the Tyrell queen also be burnt to nothingness by Cersei’s wrath?
Like Margaery, Loras Tyrell, the Knight of Flowers, also was consumed by the fires of Baelor. But while actor Finn Jones went from Westeros to the Marvel Universe so he could endlessly declare that he is the immortal Iron Fist, Jones’ Loras Tyrell smoldered by his sister’s side. Not so in the novels.
In the books, Loras is still alive—barely. Loras was gravely injured in a violent Lannister siege of Dragonstone. In A Dance with Dragons, it is revealed that Loras is horrifically injured but not dead yet. It seems like Martin might have plans remaining for the Knight of Flowers. We may see the destruction of the Tyrell line in the books yet, but it seems like, due to his injuries, Loras won’t be anywhere near Baelor if Cersei’s plans come to fruition in Martin’s next tome.
The High Sparrow
And the High Sparrow who kept the Tyrell siblings trapped in the Great Sept also met his fiery and deserved end. He thought he could play the game of thrones and topple the elite, but he couldn't take good advice from one of them (who also was a woman). And his pride cameth before the emerald-tinted fall.
Lady Olenna Tyrell
The Queen of Thorns may have escaped the destruction of her clan during the burning of the Great Sept, but the old, brilliant OG of the Tyrell family still met her end like a boss thanks to a cup of poison served by Jaimie Lannister. But not before Olenna pimp slapped the Kingslayer by revealing that it was she who murdered King Joffrey on his wedding day. Olenna’s words will forever echo in Jaime’s ears as she went out on her own terms, proud and unbroken.
The literary Olenna is still alive to scheme and plot, and eat as many prunes as she damn well pleases in Martin’s text. The books make it very clear that the Queen of Thorns was indeed responsible for Joffrey’s brutal and oh, so satisfying assassination. It remains to be seen what the still living Lady Olenna and all her connections in High Garden have in store for Cersei and the Iron Throne.
Last season, fans were horrified to bear witness when Cersei Lannister imprisoned Ellaria Sand and forced the former consort of Oberyn Martell to watch the slow and painful death of her beloved daughter. Ellaria might also still be alive in the bowels of the Red Keep, but as her daughter died before her eyes and she is left to rot… does that really count as living?
But things are a bit more complex when it comes to the literary Ellaria Sand because the TV Ellaria Sand is an amalgamation of two characters. The TV series basically morphs the book arcs of the literary Ellaria and one Arrianne Martell. Arrianne swears vengeance against the Lannisters and plots in Dorne while Ellaria leads her Sand Snakes. Ellaria was forced to witness Oberyn’s death at King’s Landing at the hands of the Mountain while Arrianne stays back in Dorne and plots vengeance.
So you can see that the TV version of Ellaria basically mashed together into one narrative, a tale that ended with Cersei’s cruel kiss. But both parts of TV’s Ellaria Sand are still alive and well in the book, although Arrianne’s plot was discovered by an unimpressed Prince Doran in the book, and we know not what will come next for the princess. Still, we think her odds are better than either television’s Doran or Ellaria, as Doran is secretly plotting to align his family with the Targaryens in the books still (although as his second son, who isn’t in the show, died in Meereen while courting Dany, that might change…)
He rules yet in the books, despite being assassinated by Ellaria on the show.
The Sand Snakes
Like Ellaria, the book version of the Sand Snakes are still stabbing, whipping, and flaying their way into legend. Obara, Obella, Tyene, Elia, Loreza, and the rest of Oberyn Martell’s bastard daughters are ready to take the fight to the Lannisters as the plotting of the Dornish continues unabated in the novels. TV’s Cersei and Euron Greyjoy might have ended the threats of the Tyrells and the Martells, but the book Cersei still has both families to contend with. The Sand Snakes are also making Lannister loyalists bleed in Martin’s world of prose and that can only lead to more violence and chaos for all involved. Euron Greyjoy may have ended the threat of the Sand Snakes on TV, but the Greyjoys and the Sands have yet to meet in the novels and it does not look like their paths will cross anytime soon.
Who can ever forget the Battle of the Bastards? What Game of Thrones fan doesn’t have the indelible image of Jon Snow and Sansa Stark taking back Winterfell from the ultra-violent Bastard of Bolton burned into their brain? Of course it all ends with Bolton’s own dogs making a chew toy of the Bastard’s face meaning that Ramsay Bolton is no longer a threat on TV. In fact, the novel’s Bastard of Bolton’s tale diverges significantly from the sadist featured on the HBO series.
In the book, Bolton did not marry Sansa, he has yet to kill his father Roose Bolton, and his central scheme centers on a mummer’s farce marriage to a faux Arya Stark. Bolton is still a major literary player and is ready to geld Westeros. Can you just imagine how Martin would make with the blood red narrative in his version of the Battle of the Bastards? It’s all possible because Ramsey Bolton has yet to become prose puppy chow.
We should also note that Roose is also still technically the Warden in the North. His son hasn’t betrayed him either, albeit that is because Roose has already let Ramsay murder another bastard without repercussions and his wife has yet to give birth to a threat to Ramsay’s claim. And it may not matter either, because even though Ramsay claims in A Dance with Dragons to have defeated Stannis Baratheon’s army (we haven’t had confirmation yet on the page if this is the truth), the North remains much more loyal to the Starks in the books. And Lord Manderly has a scheme that could spell Roose’s death.
Also on the note of the Boltons, the fate of Stannis Bolton is still unknown in the books. When last we left off with the man who would call himself king, Stannis appeared to be heading to a possible defeat as he marched on Winterfell with an army drowned in early winter snow. However, he was still alive and notably, his sweet daughter Shireen was nowhere to be seen.
Conversely, he is as dead as Jacob Marley on the show, defeated before the walls of Winterfell and then summarily executed by Brienne of Tarth. But given what he did in his final days, no one really misses the TV version of the brittle monarch.
Selyse Baratheon is also still alive in the show, far from going the full Lady Macbeth on herself in the woods. However, she is keeping Shireen, a daughter she loathes, pretty close to herself and the Red Witch. So there's time...
Oh, poor innocent Shireen! The pain is still too great to speak more than fleetingly about, but the sweet child lives still in the books! But as according to the showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, this poor babe has already been conscripted to the flames by George R.R. Martin... who told them about this horribleness.
Also on the count of belvoed characters, we were forced to say goodbye to Hodor in an end that Martin likewise concocted. Which explains why, like Shireen, it hurts so much. You'll never hear "hold the door" the same way again.
The Three-Eyed Raven
Also on that count, Max von Sydow's mentor is still being a mentor to Bran.
Randyll and Dickon Tarly
Sam Tarly also is now heir apparent to Horn Hill since his father and brother have been turned to ash. Randyll Tarly was obviously a bastard and had it coming, but at least on the show Dickon didn't seem like a bad bloke. He just had a bad father who led him to ruin. On the page, however, they're still riding around, and in fact Randyll is riding to King's Landing to aid in the rescue of Margaery Tyrell, and to see Cersei taken to justice. This makes his bending the knee to Queen Cersei still seem like an invention of narrative convenience on the television show's part.
And thus fell, Petyr Baelish, one of the major players of the Great Game. The combined brilliance of Arya and Sansa Stark finally outplayed Lord Littlefinger and the conniving Lord of the Vale bled out on Winterfell’s great hall floor. The TV Littlefinger that is, because in the books, Littlefinger is still moving his pieces and his end game is still unknown.
As stated, in the novels, Littlefinger does not marry Sansa off to Ramsey Bolton and is still playing that long game. When last we saw Littlefinger in A Feast for Crows, he was Lord Protector of the Vale, plotting to win the Lords of the Vale over to his side. Only Littlefinger knows that Sansa is actually disguised as a simple servant girl. He is Sansa’s protector, but I think we all know that Littlefinger’s attentions are never pure of heart.
Literary Littlefinger controls the Vale and he controls Sansa, and he is just beginning to plot to take Winterfell back from the Boltons. This all could put him at odds with the Stark sisters if Sansa and Arya ever enjoy the same reunion they do on TV. But truthfully, Littlefinger has yet to make some of the same repellant moves in the books that he did on TV. There’s no forced marriage to Roose Bolton, and the book Baelish seems to be playing a much longer and subtler game than he did on HBO. Whatever Littlefinger’s fate, he is still plotting and conniving with Sansa Stark as his favored game piece. But he should always be wary because Arya Stark’s dagger is waiting should Littlefinger step out of line. Until then, in Martin’s tale, the Game continues with Littlefinger still holding the dice.
Thoros of Myr
Ah Thoros, he met a violent end at the hands of the White Walkers when the greatest D&D party of them all led by Jon Snow quested to capture a Wight. Thoros was the first to fall and his flaming sword and bravery (and penchant for potent mead) will not be forgotten. In the books, Thoros is part of a different party, a grouping led by Lady Stoneheart, the undead, vengeful Catelyn Stark. Thoros is troubled by Stoneheart’s methods, and who wouldn’t be, as the Red Priest and his Brotherhood without Banners continue to serve as Stoneheart’s enforcers.
When last readers met Thoros in A Feast for Crows, Thoros is protesting some of the former Lady Stark’s more violent methods. Will Thoros still be loyal to Stoneheart or will he somehow find his way to the side of his fellow worshipper of R’hllor, the Red Witch Malisandre? Whatever the case, the blazing sword and good heart of everyone’s favorite drunken cleric still serve the Lord of Light. Just not on HBO, alas.
Gwenda Bond will write an Eleven-centric novel as part of a series of Stranger Things companion books for adults and younger readers.
Stranger Things is coming to your local bookstore! Penguin Random House and Netflix have put together a deal for worldwide distribution of a series of companion novels based on the popular original series from the streaming giant. While some titles are for younger readers, one title coming next spring seems particularly intriguing: a prequel centering around Eleven’s mother and the MKUltra program, which played a significant part in giving the young girl her powers of the mind.
Gwenda Bond, who is known for her body of work in young adult literature including Girl on a Wire and Lois Lane: Fallout, will write the prequel. Earlier releases this fall include a behind the scenes companion entitled Stranger Things: World Turned Upside Down and an as-yet untitled gift book which will offer, according to the publisher, “advice, wisdom, and warnings from the Stranger Things world.”
Additional books are scheduled for the latter part of 2019, but this initial run is sure to satisfy those waiting for news about Stranger Things season 3. Although casting news has been enticing with announcements that Cary Elwes, Jake Busey, and Francesca Reale will be joining the cast, the books will be a nice way to tide fans over until the release date, which should also be in early 2019.
The Stranger Things novel companion series will appear first in the US and UK under the imprints of Del Rey Books, Random House Children’s Books, Cornerstone Publishing, and Penguin Random House Children’s UK, with international distribution to follow.
The leader of the All-Starr band admits all he’s got are some photographs for Ringo Starr: Another Day In The Life.
Ringo Starr bought a Pentax in Japan the first time The Beatles toured there and has had an eye behind the lens ever since. One of his first solo hits, written with George Harrison, was “Photograph.” Credited as Richard Starkey M.B.E., he was the director of photography for the band’s surreal film Magical Mystery Tour. Now that he’s a knight, and a hard day’s one at that, he’s putting out a scrapbook, Another Day In The Life, capturing his photographic art.
“I love taking photos of random things, and seeing how they all fit together,” Ringo said in a statement. “Whether it is at home or on the road, certain things catch my eye – and when I see something that interests me, that’s the emotion of it, and I want to capture it. I am a photographer as well as a musician.”
This is Ringo’s third photo album following the sell-out success of Postcards From The Boys (2003) and Photograph (2013). The book will be published by Genesis this fall. David Letterman once joked that a new edition of The Beatles’ Anthology was coming out because Ringo remembered a new anecdote. The book will present a “previously unpublished collection of his photographs, captioned with his own thoughts and anecdotes,” according to the web site.
“Reflecting his love of music, travel and nature, Another Day In The Life shows us the world as seen through Ringo's eyes," reads a statement. "From Los Angeles to Tokyo and everywhere in between, many of Ringo's observational images celebrate the quirkiness of life. Other photographs are taken behind the scenes during historic events, such as Ringo's acceptance of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and his return to New York's Plaza Hotel, 50 years after The Beatles first visited the USA. Featuring Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh and a host of All-Starr friends, Another Day In The Life shares personal moments from Ringo Starr's legendary life in music, and offers a unique and inspiring look at the world around us."
Photos include Starr receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and his return to New York's Plaza Hotel, 50 years after the Beatles first visited the United States. The book's cover is designed by Shepard Fairey.
The book’s release will coincide with Starr’s previously announced tour of North America. Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band will perform 20 shows in September. The 2018 edition of Ringo's All-Starrs adds first-time member Graham Gouldman from 10cc, who put thousands of overdubs on their etheric love denial song “I'm Not In Love,” but admitted it was one of the “Things We Do For Love.” Colin Hay from Men At Work, which comes from “Land Down Under,” will also be returning. Steve Lukather, the guitarist from Toto, keyboardist Gregg Rolie from Santana continue on from the 2017 tour. The beats will be laid by drummer Gregg Bissonnette and percussionist Warren Ham, who doubles on sax. Todd Rundgren and Richard Page made other plans this year.
Starr released his most recent album, Give More Love, in 2017.
Ringo Starr: Another Day in the Life will be available in the fall.
The Marvel reboot rolls on with Ta-Nehisi Coates writing a new Captain America series.
The current Captain America title by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee just came to a close. To take its place, Marvel is launching a new Captain America series in July as part of their "Fresh Start" reboot initiative. And they've enlisted none other than current Black Panther writer Ta-Nehisi Coates to guide Steve Rogers' adventures.
“I think it’s a really exciting time to be writing Captain America right now,” Coates said in a statement. “The country is in an interesting place, and I look forward to inhabiting Steve Rogers’ character - this guy who has been a sort of awkward fit for the world, out of time as people say. I hope fans are excited to see something different, and I think there are some really compelling villains old school Captain America fans and Marvel fans will be familiar with.”
Coates went into more detail about why he decided to take on writing Captain America in an essay at The Atlantic. It's definitely worth a read, and he'll certainly bring a different focus to the character.
“Finding the right voice to tell the tales of Marvel's beloved characters is never an easy task, but when it came time to hire the new hand to guide Captain America, we just knew it had to be Ta-Nehisi Coates!” added Editor-In-Chief C.B. Cebulski. “After re-inventing the Black Panther for the modern era, Ta-Nehisi now brings his sharp scripting sensibilities to Steve Rogers and his new place in the Marvel Universe. With Leinil Yu and Sunny Gho bringing all the incredible action to life in big, bold visuals, you will not be able to put this book down. And our launch is timed perfectly for release on the Fourth of July!”
Coates will be joined by Leinil Francis Yu on art, while Alex Ross will provide painted covers for the series. The first Coates/Yu Captain America story will appear in the Avengers/Captain America Free Comic Book Day Special, which arrives on May 5. This is all good news, but what is also good news is that Captain America will not take the place of Black Panther on Coates slate. Considering his two years and counting on Black Panther have been some of the best in the character's history, it's great to hear he has room on his schedule for both.
Check out the trailer Marvel released to celebrate the new series...
The new Captain America series launches, appropriately enough, on the Fourth of July.
In this exclusive preview, Riddler is trying to get a date to the wedding of the century.
There aren't enough one-offs in modern comics. It struck me as I was looking through last week's Prelude to the [Batman and Catwoman] Wedding: Nightwing vs.Hush that it was the kind of story that doesn't really happen anymore.
DC is running check ins with the associated Bat-family ahead of the Batman #50 mega event. The first was Damian and Ra's al Ghul, a lovely story about Batman's son and fiancee building a relationship with each other. The second, the above-mentioned Nightwing vs. Hush, was a character exploration specifically of Dick Grayson. It was also a lot of fun.
Let's be upfront about this: these books are mostly fluff. They probably won't turn the course of the meta-narrative in the main Batman stories (though the Hush revalation might stick for a while). But their value lies precisely in the lack of pressure that's put on the story. In big or even regular comics, part of the job is character development, but part of it is moving the characters from point A to point B. In one-offs like these, the only thing that matters, what they succeed and fail on is the craft and skill of character development. In that, Tim Seeley, the writer of these tie-ins, is doing a wonderful job. Both issues have had really nice character moments for Damian, Catwoman and Nightwing, and an interesting dig into the psyche of Hush.
That looks to continue here, in Prelude to the Wedding: Batgirl vs. the Riddler. DC sent over an exclusive glimpse at it. Here's what they have to say about the issue.
BATMAN: PRELUDE TO THE WEDDING — BATGIRL VS. THE RIDDLER #1 Written by TIM SEELEY • Art by MINKYU JUNGCover by RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUEOn the eve of Batman’s wedding to Catwoman, two of Gotham City’s finest minds clash. In her role as Oracle, Barbara Gordon wired all of her allies together. But when The Riddler takes on Batgirl, will he tear everything asunder?
This is a good pairing with a great cover. Check it out.
Geoff Johns has launched Mad Ghost Entertainment, and he will work exclusively with Warner Bros. to bring more DC to the page and screen.
The DC Entertainment shakeup continues. Just days after the announcement that Diane Nelson has left the company, Geoff Johns, who has served as Chief Creative Officer at DC Entertainment and co-chair of DC Films, is relinquishing his post to spend more time on the creative end of the business. To that end, he's launched Mad Ghost Productions, where he will take a more hands-on role writing and producing comics, movies, and TV featuring DC characters.
“Geoff is a super talented writer and truly embedded in the DC Universe and its characters,” said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group in a statement. “We’re thrilled that he’s returning to his passion and his roots as a writer and producer. And, it’s even better that he’s staying in our Warner Bros. family. We look forward to working with him on Green Lantern and other projects going forward.”
“Geoff is one of DC Comics’ most prolific writers, and we can’t wait to see what he does next now that he will be dedicating 100 percent of his time to telling the best DC stories possible across all media," added DC co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. “The new publishing projects we are working on together will be instant fan-favorites.”
“I took on a role at DCE because I love the characters and this universe more than anything. But, I want to spend my days writing and on set. I’m thrilled to get back to a more hands-on creative role. It’s a dream job on dream projects, reaching even deeper into DC’s vast pantheon of characters,” said Johns. “I’m also excited to continue to work with the amazing team at DCE and my colleagues at Warner Bros.”
Johns already has a full dance card at DC Entertainment, and there are some new details that have come to light alongside this announcement. He is writing and executive producing Wonder Woman 2 alongside Patty Jenkins, he'll be writing and producing the Green Lantern Corps movie (characters he has a long history with), and he co-wrote and executive produced this December's Aquaman movie. He's also serving as executive producer and writer on the upcoming Titans and Doom Patrol series for the DC Universe streaming service.
On the comics end of things, Watchmen sequel Doomsday Clock will continue over the next year on a bi-monthly schedule and he'll launch a brand new Shazam! series (artist to be announced) this fall in advance of that film's spring 2019 release. His long promised "Three Jokers" story will finally be told (with Jason Fabok on art), and he'll launch a new imprint at DC Comics, known as The Killing Zone, which will focus "on new and lesser known DC characters and titles."
Freeing Johns up to spend more time on the creative end of the DC Universe, on both page and screen, seems like the right idea. It has been two years since DC Comics relaunched their entire line with the Rebirth initiative, a back-to-basics approach championed by Johns, which resulted in some of the publisher's best work in a decade. He has helped develop nearly every DC superhero TV show of the last few years, all of which feel very much in the spirit of what the characters should be. Giving him more freedom to write and consult should only help the film division, which, despite the commercial successes of Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, has struggled to capture the heart of the characters the way 2017's Wonder Woman, a notable critical and commercial success, did.
The Game of Thrones spinoff prequel will be set in the golden Age of Heroes. Here are 11 tales from that era that are ripe for exploration.
While Game of Thrones is poised to meet the Many-Faced God of TV Death next year, our dance with George R.R. Martin’s dragons has only just begun. Indeed, HBO famously commissioned the development of five pilots last year, all potential prequels set at different points in the Westerosi timeline. Now at least one has been ordered to pilot: Jane Goldman’s spinoff set thousands of years ago during “the golden Age of Heroes.” The developing series is immediately intriguing for more than just its Game of Thrones pedigree. After all, Goldman co-wrote the screenplay adaptations for Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, Kingsman, and most fortuitously Stardust. The latter might even be a guide to how she and Martin (who co-created the overarching storyline for Goldman’s prequel series) will seek to differentiate the Game of Thrones prequel spinoff with the mainline series. Nevertheless, we know it is set in one Westeros’ most mythical and enigmatic eras.
From the tidbits scattered throughout the trenchant tomes that comprise Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”—as well as the many secondary texts he’s had published about Westeros over the years—we know the Age of Heroes was a time of high fantasy and vast magic. It also was vast, period. Lasting for about nearly 4,000 years, it really is impossible to say we know what will happen. Still, we can take an educated guess as to what might happen based on some of the most popular stories from that period which have been passed down to curious Bran Stark while sitting on Old Gran’s knee, or to a skeptical Tyrion bored with his own mythologized lineage. This was supposedly the time of Bran the Builder and the Kings of Winter; the time of children’s laughter in the forest and ice spiders in the dark; the time of Heroes.
Different Bran, Same Wall
Perhaps the most seismic event that occurred in the Age of Heroes is Brandon the Builder constructing the Wall that guards the realm of men (and decided who was free to travel where they please, and who was doomed to live forever in the land of eternal winter).
In actuality the entire series might very well build to this major development, given the Wall was constructed at the end of the Age of Heroes after the Long Night. We already know from HBO’s official synopsis that we will study the “true origin of the White Walkers… and the Starks of legend.” This in itself clues us into the idea that it will be set in the middle of the Age of Heroes, which was about 8,000 years before Game of Thrones. After the Long Night (more on that later), Brandon Stark according to legend built the Wall of ice, either with magic or the aid of giants, depending on who you ask.
From that day forward the Night’s Watch was formed, and unlike in the current timeline, they were an order of the highest regard, situated just north of Winterfell. In fact, Brandon Stark is also alleged to have masterminded the construction of Winterfell’s ancestral seat (we wouldn’t be shocked if it’s revealed he only built one or the other in the series and perhaps took credit for both). It is in Winterfell he was named the first King in the North, with a lineage that spans all the way to Eddard Stark and his progeny on the current Game of Thrones. Albeit, the Kings of Winter lost their crowns when Torrhen Stark became “the King Who Knelt” before Aegon the Conqueror about 300 years before Jon Snow was born.
A story of how the Starks came to power, perhaps not so heroically as we once were led to believe, might be worth a long series. One even be informed by The Long Night.
The Long Night
Indeed, the Long Night walks hand-in-hand with the Wall, meaning both of these elements will be part of the series. One even wonders, for narrative variation’s sake, if the first season of the Game of Thrones prequel will be about an end to the Long Night, as that darkness is said to last a generation.
A period of years and years of complete darkness and heavy snowfall, it is said kings and peasants alike lived and died in frozen hell without ever seeing the rays of morning glory. It was in this perpetual blackness that true winter, and the White Walkers, came. Given that we know the prequel will address the origin of the White Walkers, this will almost certainly play a part in the series, presumably closer to the beginning as building to this event would be incredibly reminiscent of Game of Thrones’ story structure. And unlike what will presumably be the winter of our current series, it is said this cold saga lasted decades. Aye, Old Nan summarized it best:
“Oh my sweet summer child, what do you know about fear? Fear is for the winter, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep. Fear is for the Long Night when the sun hides for years, and children and live and die, all in darkness. That is the time for fear, my little lord—when the White Walkers move through the woods. Thousands of years ago, there came a night that lasted a generation. Kings frozen to death in their castles, the same as the shepherds in their huts, and women smothered their babies rather than see them starve, and wept. And felt the tears freeze on their cheeks.
… In that darkness, the White Walkers came for the first time. They swept through cities and kingdoms, riding their dead horses, hunting with their packs of pale spiders as big as hounds.”
So could we see these mythic giant spiders? At this point, if the prequel has season 7 and 8 sized budgets, I don’t see why not. It also honestly sounds like an even grimmer time than where Game of Thrones season 8 is headed…
The Children of the Forest Unifying with the First Men
According to legend, a band of heroes set out to find the Children of the Forest, who in the Age of Heroes lived throughout the continent of Westeros in a state of alternating conflict and peace with the First Men. It wasn’t until the Andals came (2,000 years after the Long Night) that the Children of the Forest were alleged to have been hunted to near extinction by man. And yet, we know from Game of Thrones Season 6 in a flashback that the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers to combat the encroaching settlements of the First Men.
Obviously, there is plenty of ambiguity to unpack here, however what is clear is that the “last hero” made a pact with the Children of the Forest after being the lone Dungeons & Dragons styled adventurer to survive the White Walkers, Giants, and other monsters who hid in the woods. And after a new alliance between the First Men and Children was formed, the two were able to drive back the White Walkers to the Land of Always Winter in the War for the Dawn. Afterward, the First Men and the Children had a relatively prosperous peace until the Andals came and created the Southron Kingdoms—ending the Children of the Forest and slaughtering their Heart Trees south of the Neck.
But prior to that point, the Children of the Forest and the First Men lived in relative harmony, with the Heart Trees and weirwoods growing throughout Westeros. The First Men, Ned Stark’s ancestors, even took up what became the “old gods” worshipped by the Children. It is said the Children carved the faces into the weirwood, which lasted longer than any name until a millennia later when the Andals brought their axes.
The Boltons vs. the Starks Round 1
While this is a bit repetitious given how Game of Thrones Season 6 played out, one also must wonder if the origin for the Starks and Boltons’ uneasy relationship will be explored. After all, it is in the Age of Heroes that the Boltons earned their sigil of the flayed man.
In fact, the Boltons technically are of an older royal lineage than the Starks. For when Bran the Builder became the first King of Winter, he was not (technically speaking) the actual King in the North. That is because southeast of Winterfell, it is believed the Boltons ruled as the Red Kings of the Dreadfort. Lords of their own territory, they were in a state of constant rivalry with the Starks. It was during this constant give-and-take for power that the Boltons are alleged to have begun skinning Starks alive when they were captured. Several Starks were almost certainly flayed alive and had their flesh hung like flags from the ramparts of the Dreadfort (hence the symbol of House Bolton). Other Starks became cloaks of human flesh to be worn by Red Kings, including after King Royce Bolton II burned Winterfell to the ground for the first time (King Royce Bolton IV followed in the family tradition generations later).
The Red Kings didn’t truly submit to Stark rule—thus unifying the north under the Winterfell banner—until the Age of Heroes ended with the Andal invasion. Until Rogar the Huntsman bent the knee to the Kings of Winter, the Boltons were a thorn in Winterfell’s side, even if they occasionally united with their rival against a common foe like Bael the Bard. Who is Bael the Bard you ask? Well…
Bael the Bard’s Treachery
Long before there was Mance Rayder or even Jon Snow’s brief flirtation with being King in the North, including to the wildlings, there was ol’ Bael. Legend has it that Bael was the first King Beyond the Wall, and he was also a bit of a smartass if truth be told.
Prior to his war with Winterfell, Bael actually visited the Stark ancestral home in disguise. Apparently a Brandon Stark (but not the Brandon the Builder Stark) had called King Beyond the Wall a coward, so the celebrated raider of the free folk climbed the Wall and visited Winterfell in disguise as a singer. With a voice so silky smooth that he even impressed his Stark lord, Bael was offered any reward he wanted, so Bael requested “the most beautiful flower blooming in Winterfell’s gardens.” Brandon gave Bael a blue rose, but Bael that not disappeared Brandon’s adult, virgin daughter. He also left the blue rose Brandon had mistaken as Bael’s request in her bed….
Bael is said to have fathered the Stark girl’s bastard in the crypts of Winterfell, and her son went on to become the new Lord Stark, because the house’s line was near extinction. Decades later Bael returned to the Wall with his army and tried to breach it. Yet upon meeting his bastard son, now King of Winterfell, before the icy barrier, Bael couldn’t bring himself to raise a weapon against the lad. So he instead let himself be beheaded by his own child. Apparently oblivious of his patricide, this Stark brought back Bael’s head to Winterfell, causing his mother to commit suicide by throwing herself from one of Winterfell’s towers. This son of Bael was in turn slain by the Boltons and turned into a nice human coat.
Twisted? Sure. We imagine there is more to it, especially given how it is either a Stark or Bolton who is likely the…
The Night’s King
It is easy to imagine a Game of Thrones prequel conflating Brandon the Builder with Brandon the Bael’d given it is hinted that cruel chapters in family history have been well erased. Such is the legend of the Night’s King, who should not be confused with the Night King that’s currently riding an ice dragon on Game of Thrones.
It is said that not long after the Wall was built (so after the Long Night), a particularly wicked Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch fell in love with a woman beyond the Wall. It also said she was blessed “with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars… her skin was as cold as ice.” While maesters have since insisted that this was a Barrow King’s daughter (the Barrow Kings lived closer to where the Wall is now and called themselves Kings of the First Men, predating the Starks), everyone else with common sense knows this is obviously referencing a White Walker.
This undead bride, taken by an oathbreaking Lord Commander, led to a time of darkness falling upon the Wall. It is said this “Night’s King” took his bride and an enslaved legion of Night’s Watch conscripts to the Nightfort and reigned there for 13 horrendous years. It’s still whispered in the North that he and his wife committed unspeakable atrocities that included torture, human sacrifice, and ritualistic butchery as they mingled sadism with sensuality. This was put to an end by Brandon the Breaker (yet another Brandon Stark), King of Winter, and the then-King Beyond the Wall, Joramun. They laid siege to the Nightfort from both sides of the Wall after they learned the Night’s King was feeding children to the Others (the novels’ name for the White Walkers). And they routed them too.
After the Night King’s execution, the Starks erased all trace and written record of the fiend. Yet some believe there is an ulterior motive, including that the Night’s King was a Stark himself who’d gone lecherous. Others argue he was a Bolton, but who had the most to gain from erasing his name from the history books?
Garth Greenhand Gets Handsy
Yet if you’re curious about something happening that is unrelated to Northernmen shenanigans, look no further than Garth Greenhand, the supposed paterfamilias for the vast majority of houses in Westeros. While some even claim he was the father of Bran the Builder, it is more likely that Garth was his contemporary, and a lascivious one at that.
Earning wealth and power for supposedly teaching smallfolk how to farm, it is also likely he mastered irrigation and the ability to move and find water when not sitting exactly on a river. Maesters have later diminished his standing, claiming Garth was but a war chief who was the first king to cross the deserts of Dorne and cause the southern spear to bend the knee. No matter what though, he is considered the High King of the First Men, ruling across the south from Dorne to the Reach.
Garth’s first son was Garth the Gardener, founder of Highgarden, which his family ruled on high from as a monarchy until Aegon Targaryen scorched King Mern Gardener IX to cinder during his conquest. Mern’s ally, Loren Lannister, quickly bent the knee to the dragon king, as did Mern’s steward, Harlen Tyrell (hence Margaery and Olenna Tyrell’s powerful family in Game of Thrones).
But during the Age of Heroes, it was the Gardeners who ruled Highgarden thanks to Garth. Garth is said to have been able to make young girls “blossom” just by his stare and collected eager maidens wherever he traveled, including from fathers who believed a bastard born of Garth would always be a strong son or fair daughter, and signaled a splendid harvest. So either Garth is a regular Casanova in the best case scenario or he's a lusty old fart and serial rapist. Either way, the legend has smoothed that into a benign figure of good spirit with a crown of vines in his hair and a twinkle in his eye as he laughed alongside the Children of the Forest at giants attempting to master farming. Think Santa, except his gifts tended to be multiplied by twos or threes in the case of his frequent siring of twins and triplets.
Lann the Clever Swindles Casterly Rock
And one of old Garth’s many bastards is alleged, depending on who you ask, to be Lann the Clever. Aye, once upon a time Casterly Rock did not belong to the family of Tywin and Cersei; it was in fact owned by a family called the Casterlys. Imagine that.
The Casterlys ruled the westerlands for generations before Lann came a-knocking. Well, actually, he didn’t knock at all. Rather he sneaked into the Rock by stripping naked and coating himself with butter, allegedly doing so to squeeze through a hidden cleft in the stone. (We imagine this is one of the many aspects that have been embellished). Once inside the Rock, the legends vary as to how he pushed the Casterlys out. My personal favorite is that he set up traps and howled in the night like a ghost or demon, convincing the Casterlys their castle was haunted and driving mad whichever brother tried to next take the crown for himself (he also turned brothers against each other by framing them with murderous ambition). This admittedly sounds like a bloodier episode of Scooby-Doo, and that’s why I like it.
Other legends say that Lann infested Casterly Rock with rats that scared out the residents. Yet others still say the Lion of Lannister sigil comes from Lann infesting the fortress with actual lions who ate the men but spared the women for Lann’s bed. And yet the most notorious myth further suggests Lann somehow raped all of the Lord Casterly’s daughters while they slumbered peacefully, siring their children. When the babies were born, the girls still insisted they were virgins and couldn’t explain the babes’ fair hair that was as “golden as the sun.”
No matter how it happened, Lann, whom depending who you asked was either Garth’s bastard or an enterprising Andal who crossed the Narrow Sea a few millennia prior to his countrymen, became Lord of Castlery Rock and lived to the supposed ripe old age of 312, siring hundreds of beautiful blond sons and blonder daughters. His children were so many that they were forced to found the city of Lannisport just to have enough space for separate bedrooms
Storm’s End Defies the Gods
In what has the strongest hint of Greek myth, the story of why it rains so much in Storm’s End is apparently because of love—the love of a Durran Gosgrief, the first Storm King, and Elenei, the daughter of gods who dared fall for a mortal. There is something Tolkien-esque in the tenderness of this bitter sweet tale, thus I’m a bit wary of seeing it undercut with a probably much uglier reality.
According to the songs, Durran was but a humble man who dared to love Eleni, the daughter of the God of the Sea and the Goddess of the Wind. The two deities disapproved of their daughter’s marriage to this nobleman, but the hopelessly in love Durran and Eleni wed anyway. So on their wedding night, as husband took bride to his bedchamber, the gods’ wrath let forth a terrible storm that shattered Durran’s keep and killed all of his family and guests. Durran alone survived among the mortals, shielded by Eleni. In defiance, Durran declares war on the gods, who replied by further increasing the intensity of storms bombarding his lands.
In kind, Durran built one castle after another, facing and mocking the sea. Each castle in turn fell to ruin. That is until Durran mastered his construction process, building Storm’s End, a castle so strong that the gods themselves could but bay at the door like an unwanted beggar. Some even claim this fortress was built by Bran the Builder himself. Either way, Durran is claimed to have lived for another thousand years with his beloved Eleni by his side.
The Grey King Marries a Mermaid
The Iron Islands meanwhile have their own fairly fantastical myths that explain their origins. So enters the Grey King, a figure said to be of grey complexion in his hair and beard, even in his youth. His eyes were likewise as grey as “the winter sea.” He earned fame and notoriety in the Iron Islands though for supposedly slaying Nagga, a sea serpent dragon. From Nagga’s teeth, the Grey King built his crown, and from Nagga’s bones he constructed his Grey King’s Hall.
It is in that hall the Grey King is said to have ruled the Iron Island for 1,0007 years, bringing fire to the Islanders, beginning with the still living flame of Nagga, which the monarch used to keep his home toasty warm. Also in that keep, he took a mermaid as his wife, wedding a beautiful sea siren so that his children could live in the water or on the land. Almost every great house (by Iron Islander standards) on the Iron Islands claims to be descended from this man.
I am not as well versed in Esssos lore, however if we are going back in time thousands of years, then we obviously will see Old Valyria, the first, second, third, and fourth wonder of the world in its many ages. An obvious stand-in for ancient Rome in “A Song of Ice and Fire” and on Game of Thrones, Valyria is a lost city located on a peninsula facing the Summer Sea. It is also said to be a city rich in decadence and treasure, as it is in Valyria where the dragonlords mastered their flying monsters and built Valyrian steel out of magical properties that still remain unmatched.
With fortresses that reached toward the heavens like ancient skyscrapers, Valyria was ruled over by a race an ethnicity of people who looked a lot like the Targaryens: silver hair and violet eyes (Dany’s eyes are purple in the books). They conquered much of Essos, including the Slaver’s Bay region that Daenerys would one day reclaim as her own, however they did this so as to acquire slaves for their mines. Their wealth was as great as their cruelty until one day… they vanished.
Valyria was lost when the Fourteen Flames, volcanic hills surrounding Valyria, much like the hills of Rome, exploded into mountainous ash. The cataclysm was so great, even dragons were consumed and melted by the apocalyptic rain of ash and fire. The seas boiled into acid, the sky was blotted out, and other allusions to Pompeii occurred as the world ended for all… save the Targaryen family. Twelve years prior to the Doom of Valyria, Daeneys the Dreamer told her father that she had a vision prophesying Valyria’s annihilation. The Targaryens thus moved their family and five dragons to the island of Dragonstone, escaping catastrophe.
It was obviously a natural disaster that took Valyria, yet some claim that in their mines beneath the Fourteen Flames, the mages and pyromancers of Valyria discovered and made pacts with creatures from the Seven Hells below. While we will never see the Doom (as it occurred about only 400 years prior to Game of Thrones), such whispers is fertile ground for a more fantastical television series.
So there you have it, 11 things we might just see in a Game of Thrones prequel. Which, if any, is the most exciting? Or would you rather let sleeping dragons lie? Let us know in the comment section below!
Geoff Johns is working on a new Shazam series for DC.
Over the last two years, DC Comics has found its soul again. Kicking off with the Rebirth one shot in spring 2016, DC combined a kind of back-to-basics approach to its heroes with a knack for matching the right creative teams to their characters. We've had some potentially all-time great creative runs on Green Arrow, Batman, and The Flash, potentially all-time great comic series such as Mister Miracle, and recent all-star launches like the Brian Michael Bendis Superman books and Scott Snyder's Justice League.
But where has Shazam been in all of this? Back in January, DC publisher Dan Didio said that DC had "the right team, we're just waiting for them to be available." Well, we know that half of that team is Geoff Johns, recently freed from his executive duties to focus more on writing. Johns was the writer of the New 52 Shazam reboot, which is the basis for the 2019 movie starring Zachary Levi in the title role. Usually, when there's a movie about to drop, DC puts together a big launch for a character, so we're likely to see something special when this new Shazam series hits.
Here's the official synopsis from Johns' website:
Billy Batson and his surrogate family; Mary Bromfield, Freddy Freeman, Darla Dudley, Eugen Choi and Pedro Pena unlock the mysteries of the Rock of Eternity and delve into the secret worlds of magic to discover their ultimate destiny!
Now the big question is, who's going to handle the art? Frequent Johns collaborator (and the artist who rebooted the Shazam concept with Johns in 2012) Gary Frank is presumably unavailable because of his ongoing commitment to Doomsday Clock. Not that DC is listening, but it would be great to see Doc Shaner on a regular Shazam book (he did excellent work with the character on a Convergence-related tie-in). And Chris Samnee has just finished his contract with Marvel, too. Either would be a perfect fit on art.
Right now, all we know is that the new Shazam book is due in the fall of this year. As soon as there are more details, we'll update this!
Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War put Hulk front and center. We want more stories with the big green guy.
In the next few years, relatively obscure characters like Aquaman and Captain Marvel will get their shot on the big screen. Meanwhile, Hulk is still front and center in all the Avengers movies, right after he had some gladiatorial fun in Thor: Ragnarok.
But a new Hulk solo movie? It doesn't look good. It has been ten years since the last time Hulk headlined his own movie.
There are several reasons for this. Marvel shares distribution rights with Universal for any potential solo Hulk film which complicates things a little. Hey, if Marvel Studios and Sony can get together and deliver Peter Parker and the world of Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is not such a stretch to imagine that Marvel and Universal can find some common ground to deliver a Hulk solo movie, right?. But in the meantime, Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War will have to do the trick.
But a new Hulk movie would have to be very different than any Hulk flick that came before it. There's only so many times you can work that tortured Jekyll/Hyde thing. But these stories that could make great Hulk movies, and some of 'em could even be spun as something other than Hulk solo movies, which might make things easier on Marvel Studios...
Marvel and the concept of hero shrinkage (not like that you perv) have long gone together - even in the pages of The Incredible Hulk. One of the Hulk's greatest loves, Jarella, is the queen of a sub-atomic world known as K'ai. When the Hulk is shrunk to sub-atomic size by the villain known as Psyklop, he finds adventure and romance in a John Carter-like swashbuckling journey through Jarella's world.
While on K'ai, the Hulk was hailed as a hero and fought microscopic boars and boa constrictors (which of course were huge to the even smaller Hulk) and who wouldn't want to see that awesomeness play out on the big screen? In addition to the innate coolness of this concept, Jarella and her world were created by Harlan Ellison and it would be beyond amazing to see Marvel exploit some of Ellison's comics work in film.
Later, Jarella would return and become a major Hulk supporting character until her tragic death in Incredible Hulk #240. The Hulk is certainly not known as a romantic character (despite his recent cinematic liaison with the Black Widow), but the tale of Hulk and Jarella stands as one of the most poignant romances of Marvel's Bronze Age.
Now, how is all this more than just another Hulk solo story you ask?
Simple, instead of Psyklop, how about tying the Hulk's shrinkage to the world of Ant-Man and making a journey to Jarella's realm a buddy film between Marvel's biggest hero and its smallest?
Now, follow me here, this could get a little red tapey. The Hulk isn’t the only Marvel character that Universal has a stake in. The rights to Namor, the Sub-Mariner are also held by Universal so perhaps if Marvel Studios is to come to some sort of Sony like accord with Universal, the Sub-Mariner can come along for the ride. If Marvel and Universal were to try and package the Hulk and Namor together then they need look no further than Incredible Hulk#118. This Stan Lee/Herb Trimpe masterpiece is the most perfect Sub-Mariner/Hulk mash up ever.
The book starts with an unconscious Hulk washing up on in Atlantis and found by Sub-Mariner's consort, the Lady Dorma. Enter Mistress Fera, a rival to Dorma for Namor's affections. Fera tells Namor that she has seen Dorma canoodling with the Hulk and the battle is on.
Of course, any film adaptation of this particular issue would probably have to go a little farther than the machinations of a jilted lover causing the colossal struggle, but the battle between the Hulk and Sub-Mariner in this issue is pure majesty. If Marvel and Universal want a cinematic conflict between these two titans than the whole thing is masterfully storyboarded right here in this issue. This is probably all wishful thinking, but hey, if Aquaman makes DC and Warner Bros serious bank, the prospect of a Sub-Mariner film (especially packaged with the Hulk) will become a bit more compelling to those that hold the rights to Marvel's Golden Age great.
Marvel's Cinematic Universe hasn't gotten timey wimey yet, but if we do get some Marvel time travel at some point, then I can think of no better story to start the chronal madness than Future Imperfect.
In this seminal event by legendary Hulk writer Peter David and legendary everything artist George Perez, the modern day Hulk travels to a dystopian future to take on that future's brutal dictator. The despot in question is none other than a bearded, futuristic version of the Hulk named Maestro.
Future Imperfect is so big and involves so many Marvel characters that it could really be a huge event film. The Maestro could serve as a reminded just how dangerous the Hulk could be and also be a way for Marvel to tell a huge Hulk stories while presenting alternative versions of its favorite heroes. Plus, it's time Marvel starts exploring some of Peter David's work in other media as he was one of the best writers Marvel had to offer in the '80s and '90s.
Hulk versus Hulk with the fate of the future of the Marvel Universe at stake, what more can a moviegoer ask for?
The Pantheon Saga
Speaking of Peter David, one of the scribe's most memorable arcs during his incredibly long run on The Incredible Hulk was the Pantheon saga. The Pantheon storyline ran for three years and put Bruce Banner's alter ego into some very new and surprising situations, situations that are cinematic enough in scope to be considered for a future film. The Pantheon were all super powered descendants of the half Asgardian/ half human god Agamemnon who led his team in its mission to protect humanity.
Hell, after Hulk's recent adventures with the Asgardians in Thor: Ragnarok, that can be your way into this. The members of the Pantheon were all given enough foibles and motivation to come to the big screen fully formed and a Hulk/Thor meets high tech Greek demi-gods joint sounds big enough to us to solve the Hulk solo film conundrum.
Are you up for a Hulk: Agent of SHIELDfilm? You bet your purple pants you are! That's what Mark Waid's Indestructible Hulk essentially was.
The high concept of this great book is Bruce Banner agreeing to allow SHIELD to use him as a weapon in the hottest of hot zones in exchange for funding his humanitarian efforts. Waid weaved the Hulk into some surprising settings such as time travel adventures, an adventure in Asgard, and even a team up between the Hulk and the Inhumans, any of which would make for some big budget and intriguing film fodder.
Original Sin: Hulk vs. Iron Man
You want a Hulk movie to make some serious cash? Drop him in Jurassic Park. But since that's impossible, instead, how about teaming big green with Marvel's surefire superstar Iron Man.
Original Sin: Hulk Vs. Iron Man presented the perfect set up for a Hulk Vs. Iron Man battle. This series showed readers just how deeply Tony Stark and Bruce Banner were involved in each others' lives before they became Avengers. The series also put both characters' past sins on display and suggested that Tony Stark and his ego may just be responsible for the Hulk's existence.
Fans have been clamoring to see more of the science bros since the first Avengersmovie and the HulkBuster Vs. Hulk battle in Avengers: Age of Ultron just solidified how awesome it is when these two marvels clash. Wrapping Hulk into an Iron Man film could be just the push the Green Goliath needs to take the character to the next level and it gives Marvel's most bankable star another chance to headline.
World War Hulk
Just call it Avengers 5 if you want, but all the Hulk threads that began in the first Avengerscould culminate in World War Hulk. Marvel is going to need to go bigger and badder if it is to follow up Thanos and the Infinity War movies, and a revenge seeking post-Planet Hulk Banner is as big and bad as they come.
If Marvel wants to fully exploit Hulk as a franchise character, then this tale of tragedy, betrayal, and revenge is the perfect blockbuster direction. The entire Marvel Universe versus the Hulk and his space armada, what else can you ask for? Many of the key players of this storyline, Iron Man, Black Panther, Black Bolt of the Inhumans, are already in place (or soon will be) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so the stage is set for World War Hulk- the biggest Hulk story of them all.
The Outsider, the most recent novel by Stephen King, is already getting a TV series adaptation.
Stephen King’s latest novel, The Outsider, just hit book shelves and devices on May 22. However, in case you haven’t noticed, the entertainment industry is in the midst of a Kingaissance of sorts, with adaptation-minded studios stumbling over each other to voraciously scoop up anything the man has written, be it a novel, short story, or cocktail napkin on which he wrote directions to a rest stop (that last one’s a joke, but oddly feasible). Consequently, The Outsider is already heading for adaptation pastures, with plans for television series blooming.
Media Rights Capital, the company that produced the 2017 King film adaptation, The Dark Tower, has optioned the still-fresh King best-seller, The Outsider, according to Deadline. The plan is to adapt the novel as a 10-episode limited series. Promisingly, before The Outsider gets shopped to networks and streaming platforms, the pilot will be written by none other than Richard Price, a veteran screenwriter, whose recent works on HBO shows The Deuce and The Night Of were preceded by shows NYC 22 and The Wire, as well as films like Child 44, Shaft (2000 Remake), Ransom, Sea of Love and The Color of Money. He also wrote Michael Jackson’s music video for “Bad.” Price will be joined here by executive producers Jack Bender and Marty Bowen, who will represent MRC. King also has the option to executive produce.
The story of The Outsider puts a mind-blowingly monstrous twist on traditional accused-of-murder fiction (in which King previously delved with his 1982 novella, Rita Hayworth andShawshank Redemption). Here, police detective Ralph Anderson fields an investigation in the fictional Oklahoma town of Flint City that upends the local populace when a well-liked local man, Terry Maitland, is arrested for the shockingly malicious murder of an 11-year-old boy. While a mountain of evidence – including DNA and fingerprints – make the case seem open-and-shut, Maitland vehemently swears his innocence; an idea that gains momentum when his alibi – of being out of town at a conference – checks out, leading the investigation to a potentially supernatural turn.
Interestingly, there’s some King Universe crossover potential with this project, at least, as far as the story is concerned. In The Outsider novel, investigator Ralph Anderson is partnered on the Maitland case with Holly Gibney, a character from King’s 2014 novel, Mr. Mercedes, which, of course, has already been adapted as a television series for Audience Network, on which the character was played by Justine Lupe (Madame Secretary, Sneaky Pete). However, that series is the construct of different production companies, which might complicate a prospective crossover.
For now, The Outsider is just the latest King project to be procured for live-action plans. The Hulu television series, Castle Rock arrives on July 25, plus small screen reboots of The Stand (with CBS) and The Dark Tower (with Amazon) are also in the works. Plus, on the movie front, the Pet Sematary remake will once again prove that “dead is betta” when it arrives on April 19, 2019, and It: Chapter 2 is quickly casting the adult version of the Losers’ Club, heading towards its September 6, 2019 release. – And there's certainly a lot more to come.
We’ll keep you updated on The Outsider TV series as things develop!
Tom King is developing a series about "a crisis center for superheroes" for DC Comics.
DC Comics'"Sanctuary" project has a title—Heroes in Crisis—and a first issue release date: September 26th. The new, seven-issue series will center the subject of superhero PTSD and other forms of trauma, giving the comic book world's masked crusaders a place to go—the Sanctuary crisis center—to help them process their trauma.
Heroes in Crisis comes from the minds of former CIA counter-terrorism operations officer Tom King, the man behind recent titles like Marvel's The Vision, DC's Batman and Mister Miracle, and Clay Mann. According to the recent press release, it will feature a crisis center that "combines Superman’s Kryptonian technology, Wonder Woman’s Amazonian mysticism and is p
It will explore themes of "war and conflict, and a hero’s struggle to put their war and their trauma behind them ... against the backdrop of a murder mystery involving Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Booster Gold, and the rest of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes."
Here's a look at the cover for the first issue...
Speaking about the importance of the project in the press release, King said:
I feel like I’m part of a rolling generation of people who spent their twenties overseas fighting terrorism. Millions of people cycle through that machine and come home to America. And I think that sort of experience of violence is shaping who we are as a culture, and as a country. And I want to talk about that. I want to talk about that experience, the experience of what violence can do to a person, to a community, to a nation, to a world.
"If I could do anything to the DCU," continued King, "it would be to bring a sense of community of superheroes and people. I feel a duty to talk about what violence does to a society through the comics I'm creating."
King first announced the project back in January during DC's DC in D.C. event.
"The DCU has a bunch of superheroes and all they do is fight, every time, and that must have a psychological effect on them, right?" said King during the event's "Battle and Trauma in Comics" panel. "You can't live a life of violence and not feel that violence deep in your heart."
Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman act as parental figues of sorts for the DC world, said King. They care about helping other heroes deal with trauma for two reasons...
One, because they're good people, but two, if superheroes feel trauma and it drives them a little mad, that's a danger. So, as both a practical and a compassionate matter, they've set up something called Sanctuary, which is a place that you can go, modeled on veterans' crisis centers—which is an interesting name for them—and talk about this trauma and admit that this had an effect on you.
Den of Geek asked King about how the idea came about during a roundtable interview following the panel.
"Dan DiDio, my boss who doesn't get enough credit for all the good stuff he does, he came to me and said, 'I want to do something big and I want to talk about a big issue of something deep,'" said King. "It was vague, and I wanted to write something about PTSD and its effect on things. This was such an instant, easy idea: The idea that people who are living a life of trauma would be affected by that trauma."
Fo King, helping other heroes work though their trauma is part of the Trinity's "sworn duty to help people."
"It's one of the most logical things that's existed," said King, "so of course it would exist in DC, and of course Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman would get together to help superheroes who've been through this, and to help themselves get through it."
Check out the full "Battle and Trauma in Comics" panel below at the 3:39:45 mark.
The first issue of Heroes in Crisis, written by Tom King with art by Clay Mann and Tomeu Morey, lettered by Clayton Cowles, and edited by Jamie S. Rich and Brittany Holzherr, will be available digitally and in stores on September 26th.
Warner Bros. may be wary of making more Superman movies in the DCEU, but there are possibilities beyond Man of Steel 2.
This article contains Justice League spoilers.
Despite how cagey Warner Bros. was about keeping Henry Cavill’s Superman out of most of the marketing for Justice League, we always knew that his return would be a key moment, not just for the movie, but for the entire DCEU. And while it took a few years to get there, the final act of Justice League makes it pretty clear that the studio is finally ready to give audiences a classic interpretation of the character. Or, they would be, if Superman hadn’t been such a difficult business proposition on screen over the last decade or more.
The good news is that Henry Cavill is still contracted for one more turn in the cape. The bad news is that Justice League fell well short of expectations at the box office, making it the fourth troubled Superman movie in the last 11 years. This has had ramifications for the entire DCEU slate going forward (Justice League 2 has no release date), and the implications for the Last Son of Krypton aren’t particularly encouraging. There's not much reason for Mr. Cavill to stick around at the moment.
The simplest proposition, Man of Steel 2, still seems the least likely to happen. Even the most ardent Superman fan will likely agree that an earthbound Superman story revolving around Metropolis and the Daily Planet is going to be a tough sell. After all, once you’ve done two full blown alien invasions, it’s tough to follow that. Cramming Superman’s death and return into two movies where he was relegated to co-star not only robbed that big story of the spotlight it deserves, but lowers the stakes for the character in the future. Once you’ve beaten death, what’s left?
While it would be great to see a Justice League 2that centers Superman as the leader and inspirational figure that the current film hinted at, it doesn’t seem likely right now. If the Flashpoint movie still ends up getting made (and current indications are that The Flash movie is no longer taking its main inspiration from that story), there’s a chance we could see a version of Superman who was raised in captivity by the government from the moment he landed on Earth. There has been idle chatter about adapting Red Son, which deals with a Superman who grew up in the Soviet Union, and the attendant world-changing ramifications that would bring. Neither of these non-traditional takes sounds terribly appealing to Superman fans waiting for a Richard Donner-esque return to glory.
But it would be a mistake for Warner Bros. to turn their backs entirely on Superman. They just need to adjust their thinking a little. These are some low risk ways they can get one more flight from Cavill, continue to exploit their shared universe of the DCEU, and use Superman to introduce (or reintroduce) characters:
Take Him Off-World
The DCEU hasn’t been shy about playing up Superman’s inherently alien nature and the “stranger in a strange land” elements of the character. Getting him out of Metropolis and out into the cosmos where he can cut loose will help mitigate any fears that audiences won’t accept another “traditional” Superman movie. By doing this, Warner Bros. could help reinvigorate a far more toxic franchise.
Green Lantern Corps currently has a 2020 release date, but little else. The intention is for GLC to play up the interstellar nature of the Corps, and keep the action away from Earth. Writer Elliot S. Maggin often played with the idea that Superman was a source of fascination for the Guardians of the Universe on Oa, and his classic Bronze Age story “Must There Be a Superman?” in which the Guardians worry that Superman is interfering with the proper development of human civilization, would be the perfect jumping off point to get Supes into space. There’s your first act, and then Kal-El and the Corps can go to town on the alien menace of your choice.
Adding Superman to the Green Lantern Corps movie (I’m not suggesting giving him a ring, calm down) hits three important DCEU notes. Moments of it can be a loose adaptation of a classic DC Comics story (they love doing this), it removes Green Lantern Corps even further from the DOA 2011 Green Lantern movie, and the theme of Superman wondering whether he can do more good out in the cosmos rather than potentially stunting humanity’s growth would be in line with the sometimes somber tone of the DCEU.
On a similar note, WB could use Superman to solve one of the problems they caused in Justice League. Steppenwolf was a woefully underdeveloped villain, and Jack Kirby’s epic (in the actual sense of the word) Fourth World and New Gods concepts weren’t well served on screen. If we’re ever going to see Darkseid, we need to care about the war between the planets New Genesis and Apokolips, and in order to do that, they need screen time.
Several of Jack Kirby’s earliest Fourth World stories involved Superman coming into contact with various New Gods and Forever People, and his longing to be among beings who are more like him. Let Orion and Lightray come to earth to enlist Superman’s aid in their cosmic war, similar to how these concepts were introduced in Superman: The Animated Series. Superman becomes the audience’s POV character, we no longer have to worry about him automatically being the most powerful person in the room all the time, and the DCEU can properly introduce Darkseid without having to stage yet another invasion of Earth.
The good news is that Ava Duvernay is currently developing a New Gods movie. There's no word on whether or not this will have any ties to the DCEU.
Team Him Up with Established Stars
Even without Justice League 2 being a priority, there are plenty of stars in the orbit of the DCEU. Dwayne Johnson has long expressed a desire for his Black Adam to “throw down” with someone like Superman, and Johnson and Cavill have made some teasing posts on social media together. Johnson’s Black Adam will no longer be introduced in 2019’s Shazam movie, and instead has a standalone movie of his own coming.
But despite the star power of Johnson, Black Adam isn’t the most recognizable character in DC’s stable (for that matter, neither is Shazam these days), but Superman certainly is, and an easier match for a team-up (or throwdown) than say, Batman. Check out the Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam animated movie for a natural way to let these characters bolster each other. The Rock is often referred to as “franchise viagra” and, frankly, Superman’s box office takings have been stuck at about half-mast.
Although my personal dream would be to re-team Superman with DC’s two safest cinematic bets: Batman (whoever he may be) and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. The DCEU loves adapting the broad strokes of classic comic stories, so a big screen version of the Watchmen creative team of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “For The Man Who Has Everything” would tick all the appropriate boxes, without the pressure of it being a full blown Justice League sequel (which at the moment seems about as improbable as Man of Steel 2).
“For the Man Who Has Everything” is the superhero story that has everything. A powerful alien puts Superman into a hallucinatory coma, causing him to live in a dream world where he grew to maturity on a Krypton that never exploded, all while Batman and Wonder Woman fight for their lives. This could play almost like Inception (or a Twilight Zone episode) with superheroes, and it would allow another big screen appearance for Krypton, the visual and world-building highlight of Man of Steel. In a way, this story, which forces Superman to confront and make peace with his guilt at being the sole survivor of his world, would feel like a fitting sendoff for Cavill’s Superman.
The full DC superhero movie release schedule can be found here. Maybe we'll get a Superman story added to it one of these days.
Mike Cecchini thinks about Superman stories too much. Pelt him with Kryptonite on Twitter.
A screen adaptation of Maria Machado's collection of queer, feminist short stories is in development at Imagine Television.
We're living in a cultural moment of both anthology series and the increased visibility of the horrors of being a woman (hopefully, the latter lasts longer than a moment), so it makes perfect sense that Maria Machado's National Book Award-nominated Her Body and Other Parties is getting Hollywood development.
According to Vulture, Imagine Television has won the rights to develop the short story collection after a competitive pitching process from various producers, writers, and directors. Writer Gina Welch (Feud, The Terror) is attached to adapt the stories into their screen anthology form, billed as a kind of feminist Black Mirror.
Here is the book's official synopsis from publisher Gray Wolf Press:
In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.
A wife refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store's prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella 'Especially Heinous,' Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgängers, ghosts, and girls-with-bells-for-eyes.
Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.
Her Body and Other Parties"capture[s] the intense, unspoken psychology of inhabiting a woman's body today," president of Imagine Television Samie Kim Falvey told Vulture, adding that the anthology series will "undoubtedly be a force in the conversation about gender."
More news as we hear it.
The Den of Geek Book Club is a place to geek out about our favorite science fiction, fantasy, and horror books.
We have launched a Den of Geek Book Club as a place to recommend, discuss, and obsess over our favorite fantasy, science fiction, and horror books. Join us in discussing our latest pick...
June/July: Brief Cases by Jim Butcher
Brief Cases, a collection of several of Butcher's excellent short stories and novellas from within the universe of Harry Dresden, is a delight for new and old Dresden Files fans alike. Centered around the theme of parenting, the stories in the collection range from a prequel set in the Old West to a Rashomon-style tale of Harry discovering a warlock at the zoo.
You can read our full review of Brief Cases here, or head over to the Den of Geek Book Club to discuss the book. We're also giving away a complete set of the Dresden Files books, if you're looking to add to your own collection. Find out how to enter here.
May/June Pick: Ship It by Britta Lundin
Riverdale is one of Den of Geek's favorite shows, so when we heard one of its writers was coming out with her debut novel, you better believe we put it on our must-read list.
Britta Lundin's Ship It is the story of a teen fanfiction writer, Claire, who is pulled into the behind-the-scenes world of her favorite TV show, and Forest, one of the show's male leads who understands absolutely nothing about fandom. Ship It is an exploration of fandom, queerness, TV creation, and love in its many forms. Read our full review here, then check out our podcast interview with Lundin.
Join the Ship It discussion over on the Den of Geek Book Club Goodreads page.
April/May Pick: The Power by Naomi Alderman
Imagine a world that completely flips the balance of power when it comes to gender. This is the setting for The Power, Naomi Alderman's 2016 science fiction novel set in a world in which women develop the ability to shoot electric jolts from their fingertips, leading to their dominance as a gender.
As Delia Harrington notes in a review for Den of Geek, The Power is a vital read for a time in which some falsely claim that women have stolen all of the power from men. President Obama named this one of this favorite books of 2017, and the book somehow feels even more relevant now than it did when it was published just two long years ago.
March/April Pick: Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone is the first book in the West African-inspired fantasy series Legacy of Orisha. The debut from 24-year-old Tomi Adeyemi made waves when it was bought by Macmillan for a reported seven-figure sum.
The story follows Zelie, a girl who lost her mother in the purge of magic executed by Orisha's totalitarian ruler, Saran. In the first book, Zelie sets out to restore magic to the land and take down Saran, with a little help from her friends: a giant lionaire, her older brother Tzain, and Princess Amari. Prince Inan, another protagonist in the book, pursues Zelie as she undergoes her quest, torn between his family and, you know, doing the right thing.
Children of Blood and Bone is a promising start to a new young adult fantasy series that is set to take the world by storm. Head over to our Den of Geek Book Club page to join the discussion!
February/March Pick: All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
All Our Wrong Todays is a time travel novel where the "wrong" timeline is our own. When protagonist Tom Barren travels back in time using his father's technology, he changes the world from a utopia where the problems of war, poverty, and under-ripe avocados have been solved, into, well, this one. By centering our timeline as the "wrong" one, author Elan Mastai subverts many of the classic time travel narrative trope, giving us a fresh science fiction novel for anyone who worries they're living in the darkest timeline.
January/February Pick: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a Hugo Award-winning novella about a young African woman who leaves her home on Earth for the first time to attend an intergalactic university on another planet. On the voyage, something goes terribly wrong, forcing Binti to rely on her mathematic skills and her culture to survive.
The Afrofuturist space adventure novella is unlike anything I have ever read, coming from one of the most exciting authors working in science fiction right now. The story continues in two follow-up novellas already published.
Batgirl is getting a new costume in Batgirl #27. Check out the costume here!
Batgirl is getting a new look designed by artist Sean Murphy, as DC shakes up the creative team behind the heroine's solo book. As first reported by Polygon, writer Mairghread Scott and artists Paul Pelletier and Elena Casagrande are taking over Batgirl with issue #26, which is out on Aug. 22. Hope Larson, who has been the regular writer on Batgirl since the Rebirth relaunch in 2016, wrapped up her run this month with #23.
The new costume ditches the purple and yellow design first introduced by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr for the soft relaunch of Batgirl in 2015. Instead, Murphy's costume is a callback to a more classic look for the character. Fans of 2003's Batgirl: Year One will certainly find the Murphy costume familiar. It's also very reminiscent of Batgirl's costume in Batman: The Animated Series, an era Murphy is clearly fond of, based on his recent work in Batman: White Knight.
Check out the costume for yourself:
"This is supposed to be a version of the costume that she was working on when she still lived with her dad," Scott explained about Batgirl's new look. "That’s why it looks so much like her original Batgirl: Year One outfit — like, she’s with her dad. She can’t get out back to Burnside, and this is like the emergency. So the version that she was working on [back in the day] that she had stashed here just in case. It helps us with the story a little bit too, because it’s a little less bright — we wanted her to be more stealthy, and we want her to be able to integrate some more tech with the belt.”
Scott, Pelletier, and Casagrande's debut issue begins a whole new era for Batgirl, who is leaving the Burnside neighborhood she's protected for the past few years to return to Gotham City proper. The new arc, which is titled "Art of the Crime," will also see the return of Grotesque, a villain created by Gail Simone and Ardian Syaf during the New 52 era. According to the solicitation for the issue, Grotesque is going after the implant in Batgirl's spine that allows her to walk after being crippled by the Joker in The Killing Joke:
“Art of the Crime” part one. During a high-speed chase with murderous art thief Grotesque, the villain K.O.’s Batgirl with a souped-up stun gun that temporarily fries the device implanted in her spine. (That thing that helps her, you know, walk and be Batgirl?) Babs finds herself in for a whole new world of hurt now that old wounds have been opened up—and so does Grotesque.
Batgirl's new costume will debut in issue #27.
The Den of Geek Book Club is giving away a complete set of the Dresden Files in honor of the Brief Cases release.
This month's Den of Geek Book Club pick is Jim Butcher's Brief Cases, and we're giving away a complete set of Dresden Files books in celebration!
Brief Cases is a delightful collection of several of Butcher's excellent short stories and novellas from within the universe of Harry Dresden, all centered around the theme of parenting. The collection isn't just for Dresden fans—readers who only know a little about the setting are quickly brought up to speed and can enjoy each of these brief glimpses into the work of Chicago's only professional wizard without the full context of the novels.
Entry in the giveaway is simple:
- Join the Den of Geek Book Club over on Goodreads.
- Comment in one of the Brief Cases discussion threads.
Unfortunately, only readers who reside in the United States qualify for this contest. Final entries will be accepted Friday, June 29th! One (1) winner will be drawn at random and contacted via Goodreads message. Good luck!
Conan the Barbarian has wandered long enough, and returns to Marvel in January.
For over 20 years, Marvel was the home of all Conan the Barbarian comic series. The original Conan the Barbarian comic helped bring brilliant artist Barry Windsor-Smith to prominence in the industry. Marvel's line of adult-oriented black and white magazines followed, and the long-running Savage Sword of Conan was a staple of magazine racks and comic shelves too high for little kids to reach, and featured a level of gore and violence unlike their Comics Code Authority approved counterparts.
For the last few years, Conan has made his home at Dark Horse, who have stewarded the legacy well with plenty of high quality new material, as well as gorgeous reprints of the older Marvel stuff. Conan even crossed paths with DC's Wonder Woman recently, in a collaboration between those two publishers. But the wandering Cimmerian is returning to Marvel, beginning in January 2019.
The first thing we're getting? A massive omnibus of his early comic stories! Here's the official word from Marvel:
Know, oh prince, that in the year 1970, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, sword in hand, slashed his way into four-color life. This January, ahead of Conan’s triumphant return to Marvel Comics, Marvel is proud to announce the release of CONAN THE BARBARIAN: THE ORIGINAL MARVEL YEARS OMNIBUS. Fully remastered, this tome features Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith’s ground-breaking adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s iconic character.
Collecting CONAN THE BARBARIAN #1-26 from 1970-1973—as well as material from 1971’s SAVAGE TALES #1 and #4, CHAMBER OF DARKNESS #4, and CONAN CLASSIC #1-11—the CONAN THE BARBARIAN: THE ORIGINAL MARVEL YEARS omnibus presents each story in all its glory, from covers to letter pages, all painstakingly restored to match the beauty of the original editions.
Relive the early exploits of Conan across shining kingdoms of an age undreamed of, as he becomes thief, slayer and a legend.
“From Barry Windsor-Smith to John Buscema to Neal Adams, a legendary line-up of amazing artists brought Conan to life in the pages of Marvel comics,” said C.B. Cebulski, editor-in-chief of Marvel in a statement. “It's a legacy we're now going to live up to with the talent we have lined up for the Cimmerian barbarian's homecoming in early 2019. We’re excited!”
“We’re thrilled to be working with Marvel and look forward to the new adventures in store for Conan,” added Fredrik Malmberg, President of Conan Properties International. “As the most well-known and creative publisher in the industry, we think Marvel is a great fit for our stories.”
Obviously, we're going to get a new Conan ongoing series, although there are no details of that just yet.
If we're lucky, they'll treat it like they did when Star Wars returned to them, where Marvel Unlimited subscribers suddenly found themselves with countless classic tales on the service.
In any event, we'll keep you updated on the details as Marvel announces them.
Batwoman and Batman throw down as Alice's mutagen covers Gotham in this exclusive preview of Batwoman #16.
Let's talk about panel layouts NO COME BACK THIS IS IMPORTANT.
Modern comics feel like their panel layouts tend towards one of two styles: completely straightforward grids, which are clear and provide a clean structure to a story, even when the story is complex; and the elaborate, artistic flowing patterns of artists with painterly sensibilities, like JH Williams or Mike Del Mundo.
Fernando Blanco, the artist on this arc of Batwoman, is one of the few people doing something in between. He can do the six panel grid and he's really effective at it. He's got a very clean line and an eye for blocking out motion that gives you a strong sense of the space it's happening in. But take a look at this exclusive preview of Batwoman #16. He doesn't just block out the motion of Batman, Batwoman and Alice to give you a sense of their movements - he actually moves and twists the panels themselves to show mood and motion. This is a classic trick that feels very early Vertigo, like something Mark Buckingham did a lot on Sandman. Needless to say, it's well done and very entertaining to read.
Here's what DC has to say about this issue.
BATWOMAN #16 Written by MARGUERITE BENNETTArt by FERNANDO BLANCOCover by DAN PANOSIANVariant cover by MICHAEL CHORetailers: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the order form for details.“The Fall of the House of Kane” part four! Alice’s deadly plague of virus-ridden bats may have been torn from the sky, but she still roams free. Now Batman must do whatever it takes to stop her—even if that means going through her sister, Batwoman, to do it. Blood ties and betrayal wage war in a clash for control that’s been in the making since the day Kate Kane put on the cowl: Batman vs. Batwoman!
Now go look at what I was talking about! This is good comics.
Warner Bros. has updated its "unauthorized commercial activity" guidelines surrounding Harry Potter fan events.
Warner Bros. is cracking down on Harry Potter fan events, according to a recent AP article. The story highlights a Pennsylvania-based Harry Potter fan festival that was recently sent a letter by Warner Bros. to inform the organizing committee of new guidelines that prohibit festivals from using of any names, places or objects from the series. The event has since been changed to a more generic Wands & Wizards theme.
"Warner Bros. is always pleased to learn of the enthusiasm of Harry Potter fans, but we are concerned, and do object, when fan gatherings become a vehicle for unauthorized commercial activity,” the company said.
This represents a more active policing of copyright for the historically fan-unfriendly Warner Bros. In addition to the Pennsylvania festival, directors for Harry Potter-themed events in other cities, such as Aurora, Illinois and Ithaca, New York, have reported receiving letters.
“Magic existed before Harry Potter, and you can’t put a trademark on enthusiasm and creativity,” said Darlynne Overbaugh, the director of Ithaca’s 'Wizarding Weekend," who received a letter from Warner Bros. in February.
While fans argue that these sorts of usually free events only increase interest in the intellectual property, in this case the world of Harry Potter, Warner Bros. seems to think that these sorts of fan events endanger their trademark.
“Obviously one could argue that is the wrong business decision and that by having these informal pop-up festivals, it makes all the Harry Potter fans more enthusiastic and more likely to go to the movies and theme parks,” Gregory Mandel, professor of intellectual property law at Temple University, told the Associated Press.
Whatever the financial truth, this is not a good look for Warner Bros., which has already frustrated Harry Potter fans with decisions surrounding the Fantastic Beasts film franchise. Will these frustrations result in a loss in revenue for Warner Bros.? We'll see.
Stephen King's Pet Sematary is moving forward, starring Jason Clarke as the new Louis Creed.
Pet Sematary is set to be interred (and revived) in the proverbial haunted Indian burial ground that is Hollywood’s reboot/remake wave; a practice that often affirms the film quote, “sometimes dead is betta.” Of course, this Paramount revival of the 1983 novel-turned 1989 movie will be amongst an insane array of other film and television projects in the pipeline that adapt Stephen King’s work.
Here, Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes, Scream: The TV Series) have landed the job of directing this long-developing remake, working off a screenplay by David Kajganich and Jeff Buhler. Hopefully, they’ll keep that killer Ramones theme song.
Pet Sematary News
The Pet Sematary remake movie has officially started rolling cameras! Co-director Dennis Widmyer commemorated the kick-off by posting a photo of himself standing alongside co-director Kevin Kolsch, together brandishing their newly-christened clapperboard.
Pet Sematary Remake Cast
Amy Seimetz has landed the female lead role in Pet Semetary, per Deadline.
Seimetz will play the wife of Jason Clarke's Louis Creed and mother of their son who jumpstarts the tragic and terrifying events of the film. In the 1989 film, this role was embodied by Denise Crosby's Rachel Creed. Seimetz has been on a bit of a roll lately with a prominent role in Alien: Covenant and a brief appearance in Stranger ThingsSeason 2.
She first came to prominence directing and producing several independent films and became better known as an actress after her starring role in Upstream Color alongside her eventual fiance Shane Carruth. She also produced, wrote, and directed Starz The Girlfriend Experience series.
John Lithgow has joined the Pet Sematary reboot, reports EW.
The film icon and former 3rd Rock from the Sun star will play the crucial – exposition-providing – role of Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne's character in the 1989 movie), the next-door neighbor to Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who opens the proverbial Pandora’s Box on the titular Pet Cemetary with a well-intentioned suggestion to reanimate young daughter Ellie’s pet cat, Church (more on him, later). However, Jud’s further warnings against escalating the scope of those burials will, unfortunately, go unheeded. – An understandable result, since his warnings against the prurience and debauchery of dancing in 1984’s Footloose also experienced that same trajectory.
Lithgow, a range-possessing veteran American actor, has been utilizing his comedic skills in recent films such as Pitch Perfect 3, Daddy’s Home 2 and the imminently-returning NBC sitcom, Trial & Error. He also recently flexed his dramatic muscles with an Emmy-winning performance on Netflix's historical hit series, The Crown, as Winston Churchill, the beloved U.K. wartime prime minister for whom “Church,” the famously undead cat of Pet Sematary, was named.
Jason Clarke will, according to THR, play Louis Creed (played by Dale Midkiff in the 1989 movie), a doctor, who, after moving to the Ludlow, Maine setting, becomes stricken with an escalating series of tragedies after burying his daughter’s beloved pet cat, Church, in a haunted Micmac burial ground (the titular pet cemetery,) believed to resurrect the dead. While the cat does, indeed, return, its 10th (undead) life is one defined by evil. Consequently, as more curse-related tragedies strike Louis, he keeps turning back to the burial ground to resurrect loved ones, despite the advice of sagely neighbor, Jud, and even a benevolent ghost, named Pascow. – Truly, one of the more frustrating protagonists in the annals of literature and film.
Clarke, a veteran Aussie actor, is coming off a duo of fact-based films in the Helen Mirren haunted house movie, Winchester, and Chappaquiddick, in which he plays Ted Kennedy during the titular 1969 tragic car accident/political scandal. His major roles include Terminator: Genisys, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Everest, Zero Dark Thirty and Public Enemies, along with TV runs on The Chicago Code, Brotherhood, Stingers and Farscape. – He’ll next be seen opposite Keira Knightley in the World War II drama, The Aftermath, in writer/director Steven Knight’s drama Serenity and in the Ryan Gosling-starring Neil Armstrong biopic, First Man.
For those unacquainted, here's the trailer for the original 1989 Pet Sematary movie:
Pet Sematary Remake Release Date
Pet Sematary is currently scheduled to be released on April 19, 2019.
It will be interesting to see if that holds, since the date was marked back in December, and several Stephen King adaptation greenlights have occurred since then, possibly requiring some rearrangements.