Poorly Drawn Lines is a rather funny webcomic. Check it out if this makes you giggle.
For all of you that are watching “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” or are behind and still need to catch up, this post is not a spoiler. It is my conjecture based on what we’ve seen so far. It’s about the mystery of Agent Coulson and how he is alive after the events of the “Avengers” movie. I will not give evidence in the main post about why I think this is the case, as that would be loaded with spoilers. I’m only going to make my one sentence prediction and leave it. Mostly, I want to get this out there and date-stamped in case I’m right. Plenty of viewers will eventually be saying, “I knew it” and have no way to show that yes, they did indeed know it. Alas, here’s my prediction.
Agent Coulson is a Skrull.
It was announced this morning that the Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel comics for $4 billion dollars. Disney now owns the rights to over 5,000 Marvel characters, including much-loved characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Wolverine.
I’m not sure what this is going to mean for the two companies and their characters, but so far I’m excited about this buyout. I’ve been a big fan of Disney for almost my entire life, making my first trip to Walt Disney World when I was 4 years old and having gone back nearly once every year since. I watched Disney cartoons almost exclusively growing up, not because they were all that were available to me, but because I simply liked them more. My father even works for Disney part-time now that he’s retired.
As for comics, I’m a relative newcomer to the medium, only considering myself a regular reader for the past couple years. While I do read comics from several publishers, the vast majority of my comics are Marvel. Marvel’s characters are the ones I find the most interesting and their events are the ones that I find the most entertaining. While the comics world may be filled with people and events that can’t possibly be real, it’s Marvel’s ability to make them feel real that impresses me and draws me to their books. To sum up it all up, Disney and Marvel coming together is the corporate business version of two good friends finding love and getting married.
For the most part, I don’t expect much, if anything, to change for the weekly comics that Marvel publishes. I think the most change will come to other aspects of the business. For example, I can see Marvel characters showing up as cameos in Disney movies and video games. One place where I personally hope the Marvel characters show up in the Disney world is literally at Disney World. Right now, the theme parks of Universal Studios have the rights to have rides and attractions based on Marvel characters. I can’t see that arrangement lasting much longer with Universal Studios being Disney’s largest competitor in the theme park business.
Brian Lynch is a comic book writer who doesn’t write for Marvel comics, but is making many comments about the Marvel-Disney news on his Twitter account today. Here’s a few of his funnier ones. If you are a Twitter user and you find these amusing, please follow him @BrianLynch
* Donald Duck and Howard the Duck just met at Chateau Marmont to work some shit out.
* Only thing stronger than adamantium? Love.
* Mary Poppins? Mutant.
* First Disney/Marvel collaboration: Hannah Montana refuses to reveal secret identity, goes to war with Iron Man. Iron Man wins easily.
* Disney just read a FANTASTIC FOUR comic while watching THE INCREDIBLES and decided to sue itself.
* Disney’s first change for Marvel: When Bruce Banner gets angry, less hulking out, more breaking into song.
The big announcement from Marvel this week, which was only big if you didn’t pick up on the blatant hints that they had been dropping for months, is that Captain America, who was gunned down back in March 2007, would be coming back. I’m not sure how this is all going to go down, but I think it may be started in anniversary issue Captain America #600 (out today) and then continuing in the announced five-part series “Captain America Reborn”, starting in July.
I’m not thrilled with this, even though I prefer the original character of Steve Rogers as Captain America to Bucky’s current Captain America. I know this is comics and this is how the industry works. A character is killed off and is then brought back sometime in the future. But I’m new to comics, having started reading seriously less than 2 years ago, and that doesn’t mean I have to like this practice. In my opinion, two years is not long enough for a character to be out of the books for their return to get any kind of huge, news-making hype. Ten years, maybe, but two? At least Cap’s death lasted longer than Superman’s, which was only about a year.
But I’ll deal with it because I trust writer Ed Brubaker to do the right thing with Captain America. Brubaker is an amazing writer and I know that even if Marvel wanted Cap’s death to be a big publicity stunt, he won’t write it as one. I may also be ultra sensitive to this whole thing as it’s my first big death-rebirth as a relatively new reader; a new reader that was hoping the death-rebirth cycle that I’m not fond of would possibly be abandoned by Marvel for a while.
I’ve already sat down over the past few weeks and made decisions about which comics to keep reading and which ones to let go. While this was originally done as a measure to cut down on the amount of money I was spending on comics from week to week, it also reflected I slight loss of interest in comics. Instead of reading anything in main Marvel continuity I could get my hands on, I was choosing the few writers/characters I really liked and getting rid of the rest. I’m not giving up on comics, but the voracious reader I once was is gone, replaced by a selective reader that is more concerned with how he spends his free time and money.
At a time when I’m looking to significantly cut back on the number of comics I read, it doesn’t work in Marvel’s favor to employ the one device that I really don’t like. What were they thinking? They really should have consulted with me first. If they really wanted a big return, I would have pushed them to bring back the not-actually-proven-to-be-dead Kitty Pryde from the X-Men. They get their big return without having to resurrect a character, as we don’t know for sure that she’s really dead. I love Joss Whedon, but I still haven’t forgiven him for “killing” one of my (and his) favorite characters. But I should have expected that from Joss. He takes characters that you love and destroys them, either metaphorically or by actually physically doing it. But that’s another blog post for another time.
I’m so excited to be on my way to an oil change this afternoon.
You may have read that last sentence and thought, “What? Who gets excited for an oil change?” Rest assured, dear reader, that I’m not typically a person that gets excited at the prospect of shelling out some dough to have fluids in my car swapped out. Truth be told, I could care less about the actual oil change. What I’m really looking forward to is the 45 minute wait as the brilliant service technicians at Schaefer’s Service Center work on my Prius.
Okay, I know I really have you scratching your head with a perplexed look on your face now. Who gets excited about sitting in a waiting room on a plastic chair for the better part of an hour? It never used to be me. I would sit there flipping through their collection of several-month-old magazines trying to find articles that were both interesting to me and contained information that I didn’t already pick up in the 5 months since the magazine originally hit the newsstand. After way too many years of doing this, I finally realized that it was okay for me to bring my own items to keep myself occupied during this time. As long as it wasn’t something that disturbed the people working or the other members of the waiting room contingent, there’s really nothing wrong with it. Since then, I’ve always showed up with something to read, a game to play on a portable device, or at the very least, a fully charged mobile phone with internet access.
This afternoon’s time will be passed by reading comics. Even though shiny new comics came out yesterday, I will be reading last week’s titles. Wonderful times spent with my family and girlfriend over the past 8 days have prevented me from reading most of last week’s comics haul. I’m quite excited to tear into them and find out what all of my illustrated “friends” have been up to since the last time I saw them. While I will have this week’s batch of comics with me just in case, I doubt I will get to them in the 45 minutes it will take for the oil to be changed in my car. Maybe I’ll get lucky and my oil change will go long and take an hour.
Now that’s a sentence that may never be written again.
A few years ago I started getting into comics. This new interest of mine was mainly fueled by the X-Men and Spider-Man movies that were being released. Despite having almost no interest in comics, I was really enjoying the movies and characters. My friend Erik suggested that if I enjoyed the characters so much, I should check out some of the comics. I picked up some X-Men and Spider-Man books and while I enjoyed them, I wasn’t quite hooked, yet.
I found the heroes of these books interesting, but not having any exposure to heroes as a kid, they weren’t enough to push me beyond being a casual reader to a full-blown comics fan. Erik assured me that comics weren’t all heroes and tights, so we looked for some other, non-hero stories. One of those happened to be Brian K. Vaughn’s Runaways.
While set in the hero-filled Marvel universe, Runaways isn’t about heroes. It’s about a group of teenagers that discover that their parents are some of the worst villains on the west coast. While the kids come to discover that they have powers of their own, they are far from heroes. Still, they choose right over wrong, runaway from their parents, and then try to stop their evil plans. It’s an amazing coming of age story set in the world of Marvel heroes. It’s just what I needed to push me closer to becoming the comic book geek that I am today.
After writing 42 issues of Runaways, Brian K. Vaughn left the series he created in order to become a writer/producer of the television show Lost. My fears of losing the title to a writer that didn’t understand the characters that I loved were soon relieved when Marvel announced that Buffy’s Joss Whedon would be taking over the comic for 6 issues. While I wasn’t quite thrilled with Joss’ work on it at the time, his run on Runaways certainly holds up over time. Reading all 6 issues back to back as one complete story proves to be a much better experience than reading them in single issues. My claim is backed up by the American Library Association just recently awarding the hardcover of Joss’ Runaways story as one of the 2009 Top Ten Books for Young Adults.
When Joss left the Runaways title to concentrate on television and movies, I was afraid once again for the future of one of my favorite stories. My fears were quickly calmed when Marvel announced that Terry Moore would take over writing duties for the book. Moore’s Echo comic, which he both writes and illustrates, is simply amazing. I had high hopes, but unfortunately he seems to be struggling with my beloved cast of teens. The characters don’t seem like themselves and the story just isn’t working for me. I will admit that the final issue of Moore’s first arc was quite good and renewed some of my hopes, but that was short-lived as the next issue once again didn’t hold up. It also doesn’t help that the new artists on the project are drawing the kids in an almost anime-style. They no longer even resemble the kids I care about! Moore’s 8th issue comes out today. My expectations are low, so I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised when I read it.
All that being said, I strongly recommend Brian K. Vaughn’s original issues when he created this amazing group of teens. If you are someone that is interested in comics but not so sure that heroes are your thing, Runaways is a great book to pick up. It’s also a great title if you are a parent who has teen children that are interested in comics but aren’t sure where to start. The volume one hardcover edition of Runaways is available on Amazon and it contains the complete original story of the kids and their evil parents. I’ve read these initial 18 issues over several times now and it just keeps getting better and better. I can’t praise this story enough.
Update – It was announced just moments before I published this entry that a new creative team (writer and artist) are taking over for Runaways starting with issue 11. Writer Kathryn Immonen and artist Sara Pichelli will be taking over for my favorite group of teens. I haven’t seen any of the previous work from either of these gals, but I’m excited for a changing of the guard at Runaways. No offense, Terry Moore. I love Echo, but you just don’t seem to get these kids.