As seen in Secret Wars #9, that is all she wrote for the Fantastic Four. No, they didn’t technically die, and some of the characters will be appearing in other Marvel series, but the FF as we know them – the world’s greatest comic magazine – is done for.
Now Marvel’s Tom Brevoort has commented on Fantastic Four getting shelved as he tells CBR it’s because no one (fans and creators?) cares for them:
That said, and this is another conversation we’ve had in retreats and elsewhere, and I think we’ve even talked about it if not in these “Secret Wars” chats, then in other recent chats about previous event books. “Fantastic Four” has been one of those books that, for a number of years, has been effectively taken for granted. It’s been considered stodgy, or old school, or some people see it as a thing that’s there and people are comfortable because it’s there, but they’re not particularly passionate about it.
So we’re not going to have that book for a while. We didn’t have a Thor book for a while. We did “Avengers Disassembled” and Thor went away. For a couple of years, there was absolutely no Thor book, and when Thor came back, it was a huge book. It continues to be a huge book to this day. I think that absence was part of what made people cherish its return, and then it was just having great talent to execute that return. If the same sort of thing happens with Fantastic Four that would not be the worst thing in the world.
We’re guessing Brevoort is getting his opinion based on sales as Fantastic Four hasn’t been a “big” seller (maybe around 30k-ish). If that’s the case, does that mean Marvel plans on shelving: Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Ghost Rider, Punisher, Daredevil, Hulk, X-Men, Iron Fist, Captain America, Iron Man, various Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy-related titles, She-Hulk, Inhumans, Winter Soldier, Ultimates, Venom, Hawkeye, Howard The Duck, ad infinitum…?
Because all those listed above sell about the same or less than Fantastic Four.
And regarding Thor, it’s a “huge” book?
Thor sells around 30K as well — when the title is not getting relaunched a gazillion times with a million variants.
Nice, try, Tom. Give our regards to Perlmutter.
James Gunn recently stated Marvel isn’t going to be at Comic-Con, and that he might not be there either.
Of course, this caused quite the commotion online as comic book movies happen to be he biggest draw for the convention.
No Marvel Studios means no Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, no Doctor Strange. No Avengers.
With Gunn stating no Marvel does that mean Marvel Comics as well?
Thankfully it doesn’t, True Believers, as Marvel Comics’ Senior Vice President of Publishing and executive editor Tom Brevoort confirms the presence of Marvel Comics at Comic-Con this Summer.
“I have no idea what Marvel Studios does or does not have planned for San Diego,” Brevoort replied on Tumblr when a fan asked if Marvel Comics will be attending the SDCC. “Marvel Comics will be there.”
Marvel Comics normally puts on one of the best exhibits and panels at the various conventions, so at least fans can look forward to that.
Regarding Gunn’s comments, Marvel Studios has yet to officially announce they are bowing out of Comic-Con, but if it’s true, it’s thought Marvel Studios will be holding their own presentation later in the year (maybe to announce the new Spider-Man and such).
It’s no secret that the Marvel Studios movies are affecting Marvel Comics.
While Matt Fraction wrote Thor, he confirmed and complained that he had to follow a set of guidelines due to the movie.
Marvel Comics cancelled the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy comic book that inspired the $750 million movie because of the Marvel Studios film.
There is also Marvel Comics going with a Samuel L. Jackson version of Nick Fury and adding Agent Phil Coulson as a character.
Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, we’ll let you decide, but the latest Marvel Studios influence on the comics is regarding The Avengers 2, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
Marvel Studios can’t describe the Maximoff twins as X-Men or reference their father, Magneto. It’s also been said that Marvel Comics billionaire CEO Ike Perlmutter is at odds with Fox Studios over their Marvel-owned film properties, which has caused Perlmutter to order the cancellation of Fantastic Four (and maybe kill off Wolverine). In addition, when X-Men: Days Of Future Past was released, Disney released no merchandise or toys for the movie.
The latest issue of Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #7 saw Marvel Comics retcon away Magneto being Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s father, as this fits in with the Marvel Studios direction of the characters (is it possible the two are no longer mutants in the comics?). In the issue, Scarlet Witch casts a spell that can only impact her family, with it having no effect on Magneto, obviously revealing Magneto is not related to either Scarlet Witch or Quicksilver.
As the circumstances have caused controversy, Marvel Comics’ Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort has responded.
Brevoort tells Marvel’s PR extension at CBR the following:
I can talk a little bit about that, sure. Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch’s history has been fairly stable in recent years, but if you go back it hasn’t always been that way. They have kind of a confused and byzantine history. We’ve been told different things about them at different points, and we’ve believed different things about who and what they were. So we’re going to delve into all of that again.
Brevoort continues on his Tumblr account:
Who says that they’re Inhumans?
Heck, who even says that they’re not mutants?
UNCANNY AVENGERS in January is where that story will unfold. Everything beyond the little bits that were in AXIS #7 is people getting wound up and conjecturing.
Story’s not done yet. Heck, it hasn’t even really started.
On the rights of the characters in the films:
First off, Marvel owns all of the characters. What Fox has are the film rights and related rights to the X-Men.
What specific rights they have are defined by the terms of the particular contract that was signed by all parties. But typically, what that amounts to is either a specific list of characters, or some blanket provision that they get those media rights to characters who originated in X-MEN or related books.
So no, you couldn’t declare Wolverine or Iceman or Storm an Inhuman and suddenly have Fox no longer able to use them, nor would that give Marvel or any other studio the rights to use Inhuman Wolverine, etc.
In spite of Tom Brevoort’s snarky comments, Abnett’s Guardians 3000 #1 has managed to be a hit as sales estimates for October see the first issue netting almost 60,000 copies.
Guardians 3000 #1 is listed at selling 58,574 copies, which is an exceptional number as issues of the 2008 run (which had no support from Marvel) hovered around 25-30,000.
Abnett’s Guardians 3000 #1 came with four variant covers, as well as the main cover by legendary artist Alex Ross.
While Marvel booted Abnett off his book that inspired the $750 million Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Abnett has managed to turn the team from the future into a Marvel Cosmic must-read, and one that is light years ahead of its current timeline counterpart.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3000 #3 was released this week, which created quite the buzz as the issue featured a Nova related to the Rider family. Marvel also booted Abnett off the 2007 Richard Rider Nova run, replacing the title character with a different version, which has been selling less than Abnett and Lannnig’s Nova since the third issue.
Guardians 3000 #3 also saw a look at an Iron Man of the future as part of the A-Sentience, a techno-organic species created by The Stark.
The series features the future Guardians of the Galaxy in the year 3014 opposing the forces of the Badoon. Something is wrong with the timestream causing the Guardians to relive the war over and over, but hope arrives in the form of an earth girl, Geena Drake, who happens to have an enigmatic power that enables her to sense the timestream disruption.
Guardians 3000 #4 hits in January.
Marvel Cosmic fans may have finally had enough of Brian Michael Bendis and his Guardians of the Galaxy.
When word became known that Marvel Studios was moving forward on a major motion picture based on Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy comic book, the head honchos at Marvel Comics canceled their run, in essence firing the cosmic duo off the titles.
Bendis was named as the successor, with many people considering Bendis a backstabber in addition to highjacking DnA’s title, which again inspired a $750 million dollar movie.
Now with Bendis‘ recent attempt to explain the fate of Richard Rider, which interestingly enough was also first written by DnA in the best selling The Thanos Imperative, it’s looking like fans are coming to their senses.
Tom Brevoort was already questioned about the poor quality of the Richard Rider story in recent Bendis issues of Guardians of the Galaxy, which saw numerous misspellings and questionable art choices, with Brevoort blaming fans for – get this – actually wanting the story to be told.
Now the social network Reddit is responding as a fan has called for a boycott of Bendis‘ Guardians of the Galaxy #21.
Guys, can we all resolve NOT to buy Guardians #21 next week? Because f–k Bendis.Comics
I am on board with this. Plus his handling of the GOTG kind of sucks. I miss the old run.
he should probably have paid more attention to Thanos Imperative, given that what he’s writing is basically its followup. It’s like if I tried to write a sequel to No Country For Old Men without actually watching the film.
I don’t mind the stories so much as the characters. Most of the Guardians have been rewritten to the point where they might as well be new characters. Only, they’re not. And the fact that that he’s kept the names and labels means that any other writer who actually wanted to use the established characters can’t, because Bendis‘ OC characters are masquerading under their names. The only reason Marvel is pushing new cosmic material is because of the movie, and the movie only exists because of how well the 2008 run was received. Surely you can understand people being upset when the new material doesn’t reflect the stuff that parented it in the first place?
I mean, his job is literally to write comics. Having some understanding of the comics he’s writing for seems like it would be part of that job, no? Does Marvel really not have editors who check things like this?
Bendis appears to have no respect for this cosmic saga because the characters feel very different to who Abnett and Lanning.
Abnett & Lanning spent years revitalizing the cosmic side of Marvel and crafted one of the greatest comic book epics of all time. Then Bendis took over, disregarded key events, and changed everyone’s personalities until they were almost unrecognizable. It’s like he completely missed the point of what made the A&L stuff such a fan favorite. I’ve always been a big Bendis supporter but even I have to admit that he made a clusterf–k out of this one.
I wish there was some sort of Omnibus of all the cosmic Omnibus’ for Annihilation through Thanos Imperative.
I only read the first Bendis issue, and I normally like his stuff, but thought it was woeful compared to the DnA run. Still not got any better then?
Sure, Bendis ignores everything that happened in the Thanos Imperative, I mean everything, literally everything, cant even spell Richard Rider’s name right (Ryder). All major points in the story line were ignored. And that is not the worst thing, even ignoring all that, he took a 2 page story and dragged it across three issues with a shitty resolution that makes no sense. We are on issue 20 of Gotg, and nothing really interesting has happened…F— BENDIS
i’ve hated it the whole time anyway. it’s been typical bendis: absolutely no plotting and every character sounds the same.
I don’t hate him, but I think it boils down to this; With Avengers, he completely revamped a comic that wasn’t very good at the time, and it was much better for it. With GotG, he completely revamped a comic that was already one of the best and well loved comics around, and it is much worse for it.
Amen, brother. People need to wake up and stop supporting garbage.
Fans are also upset over Marvel’s decision to replace Richard Rider with an “idiot” (the creator’s own words) that they dub “NINO” (Nova In Name Only). The good news is that the NINO replacement is selling less than Richard Rider, and fans also voted Richard Rider a favorite choice for the Marvel Heroes 2015 video game, and Rider was the best-selling action figure of the Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite movie line.
Regarding Bendis‘ Guardians of the Galaxy and its high sales, Tom Brevoort stated it had nothing to do with Bendis writing the title, but everything to do with the movie interest.
Similar to Joe Quesada stating sales weren’t the factor in Abnett and Lanning’s cancellation, former Marvel Cosmic Editor Bill Rosemann, who was also in essence fired from the Marvel Cosmic titles, recently stated sales on DnA’s books were “rock solid.” Rosemann was also responsible for Rocket Raccoon becoming a member of the Guardians, with Rocket now a household name.
The first issue of the new Captain America, with Sam Wilson in the suit, arrived in local comic book shops this week.
Sam Wilson, aka Falcon, happens to be black, and now a former Marvel Comics writer and editor has come out and offered his thoughts.
LA Times caught up with Christopher Priest – Marvel’s first black editor – and also writer on a Falcon miniseries and Captain America and the Falcon series.
“It feels like a stunt. It would have felt like a stunt had I done it,” Priest said.
The article goes on to mention that Priest also stated he felt Sam Wilson wouldn’t become Captain America, with Priest continuing.
“Putting the black sidekick in the suit, when everyone knows sooner or later you’re going to switch things back to normal, comes off as patently offensive,” he added.
Priest also said he would be “delighted” to be wrong about the black Captain America change being a stunt.
“Black America will be watching,” Priest said, questioning: ” Does this have real depth, or is it just surfacey costume-switching?”
Finally, Christopher Priest had some advice for Marvel: “Hire some actual black people.”
Marvel’s Tom Brevoort attempted to provide some spin about the backlash at their pr site, Comic Book Resources, but did end up admitting Steve Rogers will probably be back, which answers Priest’s question.
“In terms of it being a temporary thing and not being a stunt, everything we do is storytelling. Everything we do, on a certain level, is a stunt. [Laughs] It’s all stories. Is it likely that at some point Steve Rogers will be Captain America again? The tide of history tells us that’s probably the case.”
Below you can check out my ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video.
I now nominate Marvel’s Tom Brevoort to take part.
I’ve also donated 50 bucks to ALS, and if Brevoort answers the call, I’ll donate another 50.
The Ice Bucket Challenge is a month long campaign designed to bring awareness to ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Participants dump a bucket of ice on their head – and also donate at least $10 to ALS – and then nominate three others to do so as well.
You then have 24 hours to either do the same or donate $100 to ALS.
Writer, BMB, graciously consented to an interview with this independent reporter. He was met in his Soho apartment where he was found relaxing in a beanbag chair, smoking Kretek via hookah, and sipping a Dr. Pepper slushie apparently acquired from a local Taco Bell.
TL: I must say that I’m surprised you granted me an interview given my critiques of your work.
BMB: [offers TL a hit from the hookah] Peace pipe dude.
TL: No thanks. Allergic to cloves. But I do appreciate the gesture.
BMB: [Winks and makes the shooter gesture] No prob.
TL: You know, I just finished reading GotG #17 and I have to say that I just don’t resonate with the change in the tone of this series since you took over from DnA.
BMB: [takes a hit from the hookah and a sip of slushie] D-n-A, Shcmee-n-A.
TL: Excuse me?
BMB: Look. You cosmic fans clearly don’t understand the business of comic books. Brevoort has told you that over-and-over. Here’s the skinny. We just want to sell as many books as we can as fast as we can. Period. None of us Architects much cared about cosmic in the past, so we let DnA play by themselves, and they sold a few books. Nothing like the sales of one of our headliners like, say, Avengers or X-Men – but enough to keep a book going for a while. Small potatoes – you know.
TL: And then their material was used as the basis for a major motion picture that was expected to be a big hit.
BMB: [sips the slushie] Right. So us Architects decided we better get on board and ride that tidal wave of cash [mimes water skiing actions] coming from the movie hype. So, Schmee-n-A had to go. Like I said – small potatoes. And it paid off, didn’t it? The movie hype sent sales of the book up, and I got a payday.
TL: Sure – but that doesn’t explain the change in tone. Why un-necessarily deviate so far from the source material? I mean – your portrayal is not even that close to the movie portrayal – so what’s the point? For instance, in #17, Star-Lord gets rescued by an Avenger, is inexplicably worried that the Avengers will be mad at him, processes his daddy issues once again, and once again accomplishes very little in the big scheme of things. This is very different from past continuity when the Guardians didn’t take marching orders from Earth, weren’t overly concerned with Earth, and single-handedly dealt with the big issues.
BMB: [takes a hit from the hookah] Continuity, schmontinuity. Too much is made of continuity among you fans. Sales is what’s important. Sales. Get it? If I throw in as many Avengers as possible, write the book like these third-rate space jamokes are B-team Avengers, and ride that wave of cash from the movie hype (again mimes water skiing actions) – we all get another big payday.
It’s simple really – I just make up a few new curse words for Rocket and try to find him a catchphrase every issue. “Glarkgin” is the new curse word this issue. Brilliant, huh? He says it about 9 times over 4 panels. I thought of that one when I put some gin in my Dr. Pepper slushie while I was eating a Clark bar. Mouthful of gin and Clark bar at the same time equals Clarkgin, right? Then you just science-fiction it up by changing a letter and you get Glarkgin. If I can find a made-up curse word or a catchphrase that catches on; it’s gonna be all over t-shirts and bumper stickers – and there’s another payday. The rest is just a few contrived fights and a bunch of meaningless conversations about little issues. Gotta save the big issues for Avengers and X-Men, you know.
TL: Yeah. That’s what I thought you’d say.
BMB: [Takes hits from the hookah, blows smoke rings, stares into space]
TL: The editing has been lackluster on this book from the start, but with a few notable exceptions; the art has been pretty good. Until this issue, that is. The art was pretty bad this time out.
BMB: Art, schmart. Who cares about the art? We’ll sell thousands if for no other reason than the movie. Marvel Zombies are brand loyalists. They’ll buy anything with the brand on it – regardless of art, regardless of writing. Quality, shmality. Why pay for good art, when the zombies will buy it anyway? It’s all about sales, baby!
TL: Well – at least we agree on the brand loyal thing. What about the editing? I noticed quite a few grammatical errors – and you even spelled Rich Rider’s name wrong at the end.
BMB: Editing, schmediting.
TL: How did I know you’d say that? Seriously – Rider is spelled with an “i” and not a “y.”
BMB: [grins and sips the slushie] So I spelled Dick Rider’s name wrong. So what? He’s history. Loeb’s version is where it’s at, baby! Cha-ching! You know? Out with the old and in with the new. We’ve been busy shoehorning Loeb’s version into everything we possibly can. Hey – Loeb’s gotta eat too, ya know? Can’t have Dickie-boy around stealing attention away from Loeb’s version, right? Just wait till you see the number I do on old Dickie-boy next issue!
TL: And here I was going to apologize for calling you Minister of Hackery for the A-Holes. No apology will be forthcoming now.
BMB: [laughs] Yeah – we all got a laugh about that in the bullpen. The A-Holes, huh? Funny. After next issue, you’ll have to promote me to King of the A-Holes and demote Brevoort to Cardinal of Douche-Baggery.
TL: [winks, makes the shooter gesture] No prob. Is there anything else you’d like to say to the Cosmic fans before we close?
BMB: Well, I don’t normally concern myself with small, vocal minorities like the cosmic fans. That is, other than to just call them small, vocal minorities anytime anybody asks about why they’re so upset with how Loeb and I have treated them. Especially since there is no more “Marvel Cosmic.” I mean – cosmic, shmosmic. It’s all about the Marvel Universe, baby! And by Marvel Universe I mean Earth. Well, just New York City, really. And maybe a few of the boroughs around NYC. I mean, come on – we sell Earthcentric superheroic fantasy stories. Who needs cosmic anyway? Cosmic is just about giving some funny-looking characters some goofy things to do in space and making up a few new words along the way, right? As long as we make it read like Avengers and somehow tie it to NYC, we’re golden, right? Don’t believe me? Just ask Loeb.
(Editor’s note: This continues our series of satirical parody reviews)
A couple of weeks ago, it was rumored that Marvel Comics would be cancelling their two Fantastic Four titles because Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter didn’t want to help promote the new Fantastic Four movie as apparently Disney is said to be at odds with Fox Studios, who also owns the film rights to the X-Men (which Disney isn’t thrilled about).
Interestingly enough, the rumor of the cancellation was confirmed by Marvel’s main pr site, Comic Book Resources.
Now at this weekend’s comic book convention in NYC, Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Publishing and head editor, Tom Brevoort, stated Fantastic Four will still be published in 2015 (the Fantastic Four movie’s release), but offered that by the month of May it could potentially be cancelled to due their big “Time Runs Out” event (via Newsarama).
I’m going to publish it. It will have four characters in it! I presume that James Robinson will write that all the way into the future. At least until Time Runs Out, then anything can happen.
“Time Runs Out” kicks off this September that sees Jonathan Hickman time-jump Avengers #35 and New Avengers #24 eight months into the future.
Marvel also previously released the following teaser teasing “it” will happen May 2015 that will force Marvel to do something the company has never done in its 75 years.
The Fantastic Four movie has a June 19, 2015 release.
We first got a sneak peek at the next Avengers event at the Diamond Retailer Summit at Las Vegas, and now Marvel Comics has officially announced “Time Runs Out.”
This September sees Jonathan Hickman time-jump Avengers #35 and New Avengers #24 eight months into the future.
Each issue will be double-sized as well.
“After the cataclysmic events of the Avengers tie-in to Original Sin and the revelation as to what the Illuminati has been up to all this time, we jump the storyline ahead to the moment where time runs out for everybody,” Marvel Senior VP – Executive Editor Tom Brevoort revealed to Marvel.com. “In addition to setting the table for the astonishing climax of Jonathan Hickman’s run, we’ll also be providing a glimpse into the immediate future of our characters and what changes await them over the course of the next eight months of publishing. This isn’t some maybe-future; this is the real deal, what’s awaiting the Marvel Universe in the coming year.”
Marvel also teased that the time-jump will feature a new roster of teams, and that the issues will tie into something coming in May 2015, which has previously said will force Marvel to do “something the company has never done in its 75 years.”
The following covers for Avengers #35, illustrated by Jim Cheung, and New Avengers #24, with art by Mike Deodato, were also revealed.
Avengers #25; cover art by Jim Cheung:
New Avengers #24; art by Gabriele dell’Otto:
Thanks for the answer, Tom.
Something we’ve been saying all along…
Per Tom Brevoort’s Tumblr:
I understand your explanation of why big-name creators are more likely to work on big-name books, but isn’t Guardians Of The Galaxy a good counterargument? That wasn’t an A-list title, but Marvel clearly wanted it to be (presumably because of the movie), & I’m sure Bendis’s involvement was partially an attempt to bump Guardians up to the big leagues. And it worked pretty well! Why not do that more often, using big-name creators to boost interest in B-list creators (and hope that interest lasts)?
You’re acting a little bit as though this happened in a vacuum.
Taking absolutely nothing away from Brian and Steve and Sara and everybody who worked on the series, the other big draw for GUARDIANS was that there was a movie on the horizon, one that was beginning to be promoted. That created interest in the property regardless of who was working on it. So in tandem, this all led to a top-selling series—but while you could manufacture some of it potentially with another property (assuming that you could convince creators like Brian or Steve or Sara to work on it), you wouldn’t have the driving interest in the film to help bring people to the series.
This isn’t such a surprise if you have been with us from the launch of the site since 2008 when we were extensively covering Marvel Cosmic, Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy.
With the reboot of Nova under Loeb (NINO) and Guardians under Bendis (Garbage), Marvel wiped the slate clean and decided to cater to the Marvel Comics zombies who buy anything Avengers and X-Men (no matter how good the actual content).
Even though both Kevin Feige and James Gunn credit DnA for inspiration of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie (not Bendis and Loeb), Axel Alonso decided to cancel the line (nice place to work) and give it to Loeb and Bendis.
Sales for NINO have been a disaster as the series has been selling less than DnA’s from issue three. Garbage of the Galaxy has seen good figures (but dropping) due to 30 variants covers, false promises of big creator names and fan curiosity about the new movie.
Marvel also recently announced a new Rocket Raccoon series by Skottie Young which is described as being like Looney Tunes. Most recently, director James Gunn stated Rocket is not the Bug Bunny of the Avengers.
Now straight from the horse’s mouth – just in case any of the Marvel Cosmic fans were still wondering – Tom Brevoort matter-of-factly states there are no more Marvel Cosmic books while letting it be known they intentionally kept Cosmic away from the Earth characters.
Well, there really aren’t all that many of what you’d call “cosmic” books at the moment, and it seems like there’s plenty enough cohesion between them to me. But part of that is that I feel like, in the past, we’ve “ghetto-ized” titles such as these by separating them from the Marvel Universe as a whole. So we’re keeping these titles cohesive with the MU instead—as witnessed by the GUARDIANS/ALL-NEW X-MEN crossover, and Nova being a big part of ORIGINAL SIN #0.
Tom’s mention of cohesion is a stretch as the NINO is the direct opposite of Richard Rider. Guardians – as stated above – play second fiddle to both the Avengers and X-Men.
Marvel Comics had an opportunity to build a bridge, but instead they burned it down and replaced Cosmic with something that is truly an insult to intelligence and the great stories of the past.
Many readers define graphic novels by Marvel Comic’s first, The Death of Captain Marvel. Even more readers define great cosmic comics by the man who wrote and drew that work of fiction, the magnificent genius named Jim Starlin.
Few have contributed more to our love of space adventures, and in particular Marvel Universe adventures, than Starlin. And now, three decades after killing off a noble Kree warrior, the creator returns with a tale of his greatest creation along with a character he did not create but defined.
Thanos and Adam Warlock are back, and in graphic novel format, this summer in Thanos: The Infinity Revelation, which is part of a larger overall Starlin project under wraps by the House of Ideas. We also learn that Starlin re-teams with artist Ron Lim on a new previously unannounced project.
To find out more, Cosmic Book News M.E. Byron Brewer exclusively rendezvoused at the bar on Knowhere named for the creator and filed this interview with Mr. Starlin.
Cosmic Book News: First, Jim, how does it feel to be back in the Marvel Universe?
Jim Starlin: Like all jobs, it’s a mixed bag. It’s great playing with old friends, like Thanos and Adam Warlock. Tom Brevoort’s office has been good to work with; very responsive and professional. But I am getting older and there are no seventeen page comics any longer. When I started on the one-hundred-page Thanos graphic novel, all I could think was that I might well be on Social Security by the time I finish this job. Just kidding.
Jim Starlin: Well, the graphic novel came about when Marvel Comics and I decided to work together again, after a long spell of not dealing with each other. The graphic novel format was Tom Brevoort’s idea. Once I started coming to the end of that first project, I wanted to go onto another Thanos story I had in mind. A key character in the story was temporarily unavailable, so it was suggested I do a yet-to-be announced story arc that would lead into this delayed tale. I’ve still got two issues of that four-issue story arc to pencil and write. The third project was scripting a thirty-page story for an annual this summer. This sort of came out of nowhere, but it gives me the chance to work with Ron Lim again, so I couldn’t pass it up.
Jim Starlin: It’s like hanging out with old friends again after a long separation.
Part of it is learning what they’ve been up to since I last saw them.
Some are doing better. Some have fallen on hard times. It came as a surprise to me to learn that Adam Warlock was dead.
Jim Starlin: Both. Neither. It’s complicated.
Jim Starlin: To be honest with you, after a certain point I kind of lost interest in Drax back when. Warlock, Thanos and others I found much more interesting characters to play with. Drax and his blind hatred of Thanos was sort of a one-note pony. Which is why I eventually brain damaged him in Infinity Watch. I’ve found I’ve enjoyed what I have read of Abnett and Lanning’s version of the character.
Jim Starlin: It involves alternate realities, which is something I haven’t played with much before. The story’s very much about the dangers of acting on undefined urges and having to deal with the consequences afterwards.
The ramifications from Thanos: the Infinity Revelation will continue to reverberate long after the reader has finished that story. Thanos goes through a major change at the end of the tale. And Adam Warlock?
Can’t get into that just yet.
Jim Starlin: Foretellers to begin with and commentators who don’t know what they’re talking about near the end. Is that obscure and confusing enough for you?
Jim Starlin: Some of the Guardians of the Galaxy make a brief appearance and later in the story the Silver Surfer and the Annihilators stop by.
Jim Starlin: I tried to connect it up as best I could but Tom Brevoort wasn’t exactly forthcoming about what was taking place in the Infinity series. Now that it’s come to an end I realize I shouldn’t had Corvus Glaive standing in the background of one panel in the graphic novel, seeing that he gets killed at the end of the Infinity series. My story doesn’t start with Thanos having to get out of a block of amber either.
Jim Starlin: Just those I mentioned before.
Cosmic Book News and I would like to thank the great writer/illustrator Jim Starlin for taking time out of his very busy schedule to speak with us about this very special project. Thanks also to Marvel’s own Chris D’Lando, who helped make this rare interview possible.
“Thanos: The Infinity Revelation” hits stores this summer!
Spider-Man editor Stephen Wacker is officially gone from Marvel Comics having moved on to take a position with their animated TV division.
Wacker edited the Spider-Man comics as well as (NINO) Nova and Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy.
X-Men Editor Nick Lowe will take on Spider-Man.
It’s unknown who will be editing Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, though I am waiting a reply back from Tom Brevoort for more info.
To give you an indication who Nick Lowe is, you can check out the video QnA below in regards to Quasar appearing in X-Men Vs. Avengers (and now we know the answer: no).
As they say…out of the frying pan…?
Former DC Comics editor Mike Marts returns to Marvel as well as an executive editor.
Marvel Cosmic fans who participate on various message boards will probably be happy with the Wacker news.
I think we have the reason why Tom Brevoort has been so crabby on his Tumblr, and that is because the latest numbers are out for the Jeph Loeb NINO Nova series.
Following the much-hyped “Nova #100” issue, NINO Nova #11 has dropped considerably – close to 5000.
November’s NINO Nova #10 saw 32,716 – with a half dozen variant covers or so – and now December’s #12 dropped to 27,982.
That’s a loss of 4,734.
Abnett and Lanning’s own Nova #11, featuring Richard Rider, from the 2007 series sold better (with zero promotion) at 28,154.
Bendis‘ Garbage of the Galaxy dropped as well going from 68,647 (#7) and 63,494 (#8) in October to 57,665 (#9) and 53,527 (#10) in December.
That’s a lost off over 15,000 and almost 20,000 for both.
(numbers via Comichron)
Tom Brevoort is back at it again, answering fan questions on his Tumblr account about Richard Rider and Marvel Cosmic.
As it’s Tom’s account, he tends to be choosey about how and what he answers.
The latest has Tom and myself getting into it about how Marvel Cosmic and Nova was promoted compared to Loeb’s NINO Nova.
Tom wonders how Marvel treated them differently.
How come Rider was never promoted like Loeb’s? And you were the head Marvel Cosmic editor, too.
Sorry, but how was the current Nova promoted better than the previous Nova, apart from launching during Marvel Now?
For a change, I decided to throw the following video up on YouTube with some of my thoughts.
We’ll see how this works out. Maybe there will be more.
Head on over to our Marvel Cosmic forums for more.
The Cosmic Triune
“The Lo(e)botomization of Nova”
Lobotomization: to deprive of intelligence, vitality, or sensitivity.
-Definition courtesy of Merriam-Webster Dictionary
According to Marvel Editorial, Issue #10 of NINO is the 100-issue mark of “Nova” comic books published. I dis-respectfully disagree. I count 90 issues of true Nova comic books and 10 issues of Nova In Name Only comic books. It’s insulting to equate Nova with NINO in any way, but Marvel Editorial’s whole approach to the Nova fans since the “hiatus” of Volume IV has been insulting. They frequently talk about Rich and NINO in the same breath as if there’s no difference between the history of the two. Hey Marvel Editorial – they’re not interchangeable. Rich was great. NINO is a farce. And a sub-standard farce at that.
Sure I know it’s just a marketing gimmick to try to improve the rapidly declining sales of the ongoing insult to and dis-respect of true Nova fans that is NINO, but I think this “occasion” calls for an analysis of how the “creative team” of Loeb, Wacker, Bendis, Brevoort, and Alonso took a good concept and ruined it for all the wrong reasons. I liken their process of turning Nova into NINO to the above defined dis-credited Neurosurgical procedure of lobotomization as popularly portrayed in such movies as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sucker Punch – and I refer to their process as “Lo(e)botomization.”
The Deprivation of Intelligence:
Loeb himself has been directly quoted in various articles saying NINO should be written as an “idiot.” I could stop writing this section directly after such a quote, but I think it’s important to detail how this Lo(e)botomization is made a reality and how it affects fans of the true Nova concepts.
Let’s start with a little Nova history. In 1976, Rich Rider was created and portrayed as a late teen/young adult struggling to learn how to control and use the powers he had been granted by an emergency deputization. Finally, in the Annihilation event, he was transformed into a powerful and mature leader of men. Fans both old and new praised this metamorphosis, and Nova Volume IV became the best Nova series to date with its imaginative, intelligent, action-packed storylines and its new and improved hero. Of course, it received none of the marketing hype and support that NINO has enjoyed, and it was eventually placed on “hiatus.” What we didn’t know is that prior to “hiatus” it was apparently decided by Alonso et al to declare Rich “dead” even though Volume IV writers, Abnett and Lanning, have been quoted as saying that in their storyline Rich was never dead but merely temporarily “marooned” in the Cancerverse. Obviously, Rich was declared “dead via editorial fiat” in order to create room for Loeb’s new “idiot” character, Sam Alexander (aka NINO).
Setting aside Alonso’s disrespect for and disregard of Rich Rider fans for a moment, his decision marks the beginning of the “deprivation of intelligence” aspect of the Lo(e)botomization of Nova. Loeb immediately created a 14-year-old Peter Parker-ish character (without the Parker intellect), hi-jacked and watered-down the look and concepts of the Nova mythos, eliminated all true cosmic elements by plopping the little “idiot” on Earth in a one-horse town, and set out to appeal to a pre-pubescent audience (and to a small post-pubescent audience who just can’t seem to get enough of hackneyed teen angst storylines) with silly, implausible stories involving the “idiot,” NINO, blundering and cheating his way through every situation. To say that the NINO storylines are juvenile, puerile, un-imaginative, boring, and intelligence-insulting in comparison to Volume IV would be an understatement.
To make matters worse, Loeb has presented no reason why NINO deserves to have or keep the powers other than that the powers are “inherited” by NINO from his drunken father’s “magic helmet.” Even worse, 14-year-old NINO has had no training to use powers equivalent to the power of a tactical- nuclear-weapon-carrying fighter jet and is continually put in kill-or-be-killed combat situations with the full knowledge and consent of his (apparently negligent and unfit) parents.
So readers are expected to believe that an “idiot” child can responsibly confront situations on Earth and in space for which he has no prior experience/training; that he can safely handle powers that could level a city without endangering himself and the public; that his parents have no problem with him constantly risking his life sometimes light years from home, and that everyone in the Marvel Universe is completely fine with it? I don’t know about other people, but I like a modicum of plausibility in cosmic stories. Loeb’s scenario for NINO is intelligence insultingly implausible.
And there’s a moral issue, too. Why does Marvel/Disney believe it is perfectly moral to un-willingly induct a minor child into a para-military organization and place said child in kill-or-be-killed combat situations? The rest of Western Civilization would disagree on moral grounds, and even as this article is being written the United Nations is forming a resolution condemning use of child combatants. Since Disney makes its money selling entertainment to kiddies, do they really want to send the message that minor children performing combat operations is perfectly acceptable to their company? If so, I can’t wait to read their official explanation justifying their position.
The Deprivation of Vitality
In Annihilation, Nova Volume IV, and The Thanos Imperative, Giffen and DnA gave us a true Nova – a mature, powerful, effective, true leader of men actually leading other powerful beings to confront and overcome universal threats. These were big stories with edge-of-your-seat excitement that left the reader anxiously anticipating the release of the next issue. These stories talked up to their readership with adult themes and high-stakes situations where literally anything might happen.
In contrast, we have NINO stuck in a small town dealing with schoolyard bullies and blundering/cheating his way through the occasional boring confrontation with a super-villain. Yawn. Have you read that teen super-hero story somewhere before? How many times? Yeah – me too. Loeb, Brevoort, and Wacker present this hackneyed, puerile non-sense that talks down to readers as if it’s something new and special. In actuality, it’s old, boring, listless, clichéd, and utterly predictable. Loeb even made sure to kill off all the “Black Novas,” the only truly innovative and exciting idea he had in putting together the ongoing travesty that is NINO. Those characters were much more interesting than NINO – and readers said so. Once again, Marvel Editorial ignored the readership and retreated to the clichéd old angst-ridden teen superhero formula.
What was vital about Rich Rider’s Nova, and potentially vital about the “Black Novas” had they been developed, was the “military science-fiction” aspect of the characters/storylines. What made modern Marvel Cosmic (i.e. the Marvel Cosmic of the Annihilation event forward until hi-jacked by Loeb and Bendis) vital, new and interesting were the elements incorporated from both popular military science-fiction/science-fantasy (e.g. Star Trek and Star Wars), hard-core classic written military science-fiction (e.g. Lensmen and Starship Troopers) and written heroic fantasy (e.g. John Carter of Mars). This was made possible because the pre-Loeb/Bendis Marvel Cosmic was niche-audience focused and largely ignored by the “super-heroic fantasy” selling, mainstream-oriented Marvel Editorial staff. Once a Guardians of the Galaxy movie was announced and expected to be a big hit, Cosmic suddenly moved from “neglected niche” to the forefront. It then, of course, had to be made to conform to the “super-heroic fantasy” formula that Marvel sells, so the very essence or vitality of what made Volume IV of Nova and Volume II of Guardians of the Galaxy was discarded and replaced. In the case of Star-Lord, we went from the Giffen/DnA “approaching middle-aged,” scruffy Han Solo-ish characterization to a 20-something feckless dream-boat-ish characterization. In the case of Nova, the powerful, mature, leader of men that was Rich Rider was replaced by an “idiotic,” blundering, immature, obnoxious, teen Peter Parker-ish character sans the saving grace of the Parker intellect. In both cases, the Cosmic aspects of the characters were made incidental rather than central, and we’re left with un-interesting characters obsessed with the petty and parochial problems of Earth. Jeez, Marvel Editorial! Don’t you have enough Earthbound super-heroes to deal with Earth’s petty problems without sucking away the vitality of the cosmic heroes just to make them conform to your comic book selling formula? Ever consider maybe actually promoting a different approach? Maybe if you’d supported DnA’s efforts the way you’ve supported Loeb and Bendis’, this article would never have had to be written.
The Deprivation of Sensitivity
I’m not using sensitivity to mean “emotionality.” Everyone knows Loeb has loaded NINO with enough smarmy, maudlin, and/or puerile sugar-sweet moments to send diabetic readers into a coma. I know Disney loves that garbage – just watch any of their child-oriented movies if you don’t believe me. For those of us over the age of 8 though – it just comes across as corny and annoying.
I’m using sensitivity as it’s used in a medical-scientific context to mean “reactivity to external forces.” I’ve already discussed how NINO reacts to the external forces of plausibility and morality. NINO gets a grade of “F” in reaction to those two external forces, and I needn’t re-iterate the ground already covered in previous sections of this article. I touched upon what the fans really want under the vitality section and will cover it in more detail now in this section.
Brevoort has made it clear over on his Tumblr page that Marvel Editorial expected a backlash from Rich Rider fans once it was clear that Rich was to be replaced with NINO. He has also made it clear that he thinks Rich had so few fans that the backlash would be of no consequence to Marvel or to NINO’s sales. Alonso made it clear in several interviews that he thought Nova fans would buy ANYTHING with the word “Nova” smeared across the cover and he expected Rich Rider fans to “embrace” NINO. Loeb simply said Rich’s story was “over.” And Wacker has never missed an opportunity to insult, denigrate, and otherwise disrespect the Rich Rider character and Rich Rider fans in general over at a Certain Boot-lickingly Repellant website’s forums where he is given free rein to do so and where the moderators protect him from any fan talk-back. Does that sound like sensitivity to a set of fans many of whom loyal Nova readers since Rich Rider’s premiere in 1976? Heck – that doesn’t even conform to Disney’s model of hospitality. Marvel Editorial Staff – you need to go on down to Orlando and undergo Disney’s Hospitality Training course. You should probably send Wacker and Brevoort two weeks early since they’ll need the remedial (i.e. “slow learner”) version.
Fact is, NINO is a failure. It’s a failure conceptually, morally, in entertainment value, and – increasingly – in sales. Potential buyers are voting with their dollars and for the most part they’re voting thumbs down. NINO sells less than Volume IV sold without all the hype. NINO has failed to be embraced in large part by the Rich Rider fans who feel insulted and alienated by the treatment shown them by Marvel’s Editorial staff. Heck – even the cover to NINO #10 lavishly portrays an insult to long-term Nova fans with “idiot” NINO standing in a pose of defiant triumph with his foot on Rich’s helmet. There’s a reason why something similar is NOT seen on any of our actual war memorials. It’s because that’s a universal sign of disrespect to a fallen enemy. Apparently that’s how Wacker et al view the Rich Rider fans and they’ve not so subtly made that clear with NINO #10’s cover. If they wanted to show respect, NINO should have been placed standing behind his fallen BETTERS with his head bowed and his hands folded in front of him. In a way though, NINO #10’s cover sums it all up. Marvel Editorial isn’t sensitive to the desires of the Rider Nova fans. Heck – they didn’t even care what we wanted. They just wanted to dish up some warmed-over and “Lo(e)botomized” Spider-man.
Suggested further reading:
Article by Timelord
Dedicated to Loeb, Bendis, Wacker, Brevoort, and Alonso for their tireless efforts toward making Marvel Cosmic mundane enough to appeal to the lowest common denominator of comic book reader.
The opinions reflected herein are purely the opinions of the author of this article and do not necessarily reflect the official opinions of CosmicBookNews.
It’s really a shame that this book is called Guardians of the Galaxy when it’s such a pale imitation of all the preceding much better efforts using the same name. I wish Bendis, Brevoort, Wacker, Alonso, et al would just get it over with and re-name this book Space Avengers or, more accurately, Avengers in Low Earth Orbit, or my personal favorite: Holy Fark! Not ANOTHER Avengers Book!
Let’s face it; Bendis’ version of GotG is just another Avengers book. And even though the GotG is made up of people who actually have valuable knowledge about how the cosmos works, the politics of the local group of galaxies, and the advanced technology of the great powers of the local group – they’re relegated to wasting time protecting Earth from fairly minor threats while Earth’s protectors are in way over their heads out in the cosmos. Make any sense to you? Me neither.
So the woman who fought Ronan to a stand-still can’t take Angela? So the entire team that has fought The Magus, Thanos, The Phalanx, etc. (and won) can’t take Angela? But a single shot from Quill’s element gun lays her out? Right. Good one Bendis. And it only took you the entire issue to pull off that particular deus ex machina.
As usual, Iron Man is completely out of place, and Bendis writes most of the rest of the cast out of character – particularly Drax. At least he’s stopped trying to create stupid catch-phrases for Rocket. A great improvement in this book could be accomplished simply by dropping Iron Man from the cast and sending him back to Earth where he belongs.
“Editor” Wacker must shoulder a large part of the blame for the decline in Marvel Cosmic’s quality. He along with Bendis and Loeb seem hell-bent on erasing everything that made DnA’s revamping of cosmic into something worthy of a big budget movie, and replacing it with hackneyed storylines aimed squarely at the lowest common denominator of comic book readers. Thankfully we’re spared Wacker’s smarmy glad-handing of easily pleased non-cosmic fans as there’s no letters page to suffer through this issue. Coipel’s art is certainly respectable, but it’s not quite up to the bar set by Pichelli. It’s a shame the writing is not up to par with the art as Pichelli makes an excellent addition to the artists who render cosmic well. Ponsor’s colors remain at their usual eye-catching best. As usual, the art and coloring are the best things about this book.
I suppose the movie hype and the appeal to Avengers-zombies are the elements that keep this book selling as well as it does. That’s too bad as these characters deserve such better treatment than they’re now receiving. In the hands of a capable cosmic writer, GotG could be great again. As it is, Bendis’ GotG is just another Avengers-like glorification of mediocrity which is not truly written as cosmic and not truly meant for cosmic fans.
For once we are given a tie-in to Infinity that actually progresses the story and is not drawn out between at least two issues or has nothing to do with the event!
Jonathan Hickman and Mike Deodato are a stellar team that comes through for any Marvel fan!
The issue sees Thanos‘ lieutenants make their way to Earth in search of the last Infinity Gem. As seen in Infinity #1, the Outrider has robbed the memories from Black Bolt giving Thanos the identities of the Illuminati. As the Black Order make their way to Earth to confront the Earth’s mightiest, heroes are gutted, heroes are victorious, and heroes are no more! Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Namor, and Beast are all targets of the Mad Titan’s cosmic henchmen.
Finally, Earth gets a taste of what it’s been like to live amongst the stars as the great beyond holds threats beyond their wildest imagination, and now those threats reach Earth! As the heroes have bickered amongst themselves for the past 10 years, Marvel Cosmic saw epic battles with the fate of the universe at stake! It’s just a shame that Marvel chose to cancel all the previous Marvel Cosmic-goodness and not include Abnett and Lanning’s Cosmic as part of Infinity. Shame on you, Marvel!
I did have one small problem with this issue and it was the last page; I had no idea what it was supposed to depict. Was it an Infinity Gem, as the issue seemed to be building toward it? Was it a repulsor blast? Did Black Bolt borrow Iron Man tech? No! In order to find out you had to use the Marvel AR App which revealed an utterly ridiculous video with some guy dressed as Black Bolt. Seriously?! What Black Bolt is actually holding is a beacon that can call the other New Avengers. I don’t think we needed a dumb Marvel AR App video for that, Tom!
Ranting aside, the issue was pretty great. You can’t beat Deodato’s photo-realistic art. The page with Doctor Strange getting probed felt like I was experiencing it as well! The Wolverine battle was just as impressive! And who would have thought Black Panther?! (though he could have used some more scrapes, cuts, bruises etc.)
If you are reading the main Infinity event and enjoying it, you will love this issue. If anything, stick with Hickman’s Avengers and New Avengers as the must read tie-ins to read.