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[SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains spoilers for “The Legendary Star-Lord” #5, on sale now.]
While Marvel Comics'”Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex” crossover is still a ways off, the event’s architect, Sam Humphries, is already laying groundwork in his series “The Legendary Star-Lord.” Alongside artist Paco Medina, Humphries introduced a number of new elements for “The Black Vortex” event in “Legendary Star-Lord” #5, including the revelation that The Black Vortex is actually an object, as well as a new set of villains known as the Slaughter Squad: Mister Knife’s elite group of agents who are a darker version of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
NYCC: Humphries & Marts Open Up Marvel’s “The Black Vortex”
To shed some light on the reveal of the actual Black Vortex in “Legendary Star-Lord” #5, Humphries spoke with CBR News, discussing the power of the actual object, how it’s managed to stay hidden for so many years, the importance of Mister Knife and the Slaughter Squad, Peter Quill and Kitty Pryde’s relationship and much more.
X-Men #1-3: Primer
Where the X-Women Continue to Do What They Best by Jerry W. Vandal
“know what would make your all-female book better? Some male characters”-20% of the emails I’ve gotten.-
That was a tweet Brian Wood put up months before the relaunch of X-Men # 1, a book that looked by solicitations to differentiate itself from the other X-titles by showcasing a team comprised of only female X-Men. The picture was eye-catching as most of Oliver Coipel’s work is. Part of the appeal was clearly meant to be that above the X-Men logo stood six women. But, the bigger appeal to me was the cast of character. Six characters I’ve come to like and/or love over the years on a team together had the potential to be a good read. I wonder if any other book outside of the X-verse could have pulled this off without it feeling like a publicity stunt. There are the Fearless Defenders, Bird’s of Prey, there was Danger Girl and there’s been a few others—but none that have the spotlight the X-Men, Avengers or Justice League have. I can’t see an all Avengers female team working or even a Justice League. That could just be my lack of history with those franchises. These women however, ( in part thanks to the love Chris Claremont showed them over the years) were prepared for this.
All New X-Men
All New X-Men Review : Where the Past Meets Its Future
By Jerry W. Vandal
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Marte Gracia
In 1963 Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought to the world a group of individuals with uncanny abilities unlike any of the other heroes that would become stalwarts in the Marvel Universe. What differentiated these individuals was that their powers were not freak accidents. They were born with powers and abilities that made them something other than human—mutant. Charles Xavier recruited Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Robert Drake, Warren Worthington III and Henry McCoy to be his first students at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. Xavier’s goal was not only to teach these young mutants how to control their powers, but how to live in a world that would hate and fear their existence while also being examples of why those notions of hate and fear were not warranted. They became his X-Men.
Save The Date—Marvel Announces Landmark X-Men Marriage
Northstar Proposes To His Longtime Boyfriend In Astonishing X-Men #50, on-sale tomorrow
Astonishing X-Men 50 Cover
New York NY—May 22nd, 2012— The X-Men, one of the world’s most popular super hero teams, have always been at the forefront of the biggest stories in comic history; and today is no different as Marvel is proud to announce the wedding that has everyone talking! Today, fans worldwide learned on ABC’s The View, that Jean-Paul Beaubier, AKA Northstar and a popular member of the X-Men, proposes to his boyfriend Kyle Jinadu in Astonishing X-Men #50, on-sale tomorrow in comic stores, on the Marvel Comics app http://www.marvel.com/marvelcomicsapp and at the Marvel Digital Comics Shop.
The creative team of New York Times best-sellers Marjorie Liu (X-23¸ the urban fantasy Hunter Kiss series and the Dirk & Steele paranormal romances) and Mike Perkins (Stephen King’s The Stand) have put Northstar and Kyle’s relationship to the test—and now they’re about to take their biggest step yet. But will their path to wedded matrimony in New York City be smooth or are there hidden dangers around the corner?
Through the Ages: Transition in Comics – Part Four by Jerry Whitworth
(see Part One , Part Two , and Part Three here if you haven’t already)
While Grant Morrison and Alex Ross helped nudge a new direction in the comics industry, they certainly didn’t get there alone. Two men who helped push this new direction to what it is today are Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio. Johns was an up-and-comer in the film industry mentored by legendary director Richard Donner (Superman, Lethal Weapon series) when he met DC Comics editor Eddie Berganza who offered Johns the opportunity to pitch ideas. One of those ideas reached fruition with Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., an update on the DC property Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy. However, his next two projects at the publisher would provide much more fanfare. The Flash, coming off a longtime critically-received run under scribe Mark Waid, needed a fill-in team to cover the book while an ongoing team could be established. Johns came aboard with the storyline Wonderland and fans enjoyed it so much, DC found their new ongoing writer. When James Robinson moved on to work on projects in Hollywood, Johns would replace his position as co-writer on JSA with David S. Goyer and he struck gold again. Meanwhile, Dan DiDio, who was a writer and story editor for Mainframe Entertainment (ReBoot, Beast Wars: Transformers), was hired as an administrator at DC, first as vice president of editorial in 2002 and two years later as executive editor for the DC Universe. It was around this time DC Comics vigorously pursued exclusive contracts for work at the publisher, including luring talent from Marvel.
Through the Ages: Transition in Comics – Part Three
by Jerry Whitworth
(see Part One and Part Two here if you haven’t already)
During the Bronze Age, comic books began to make the transition from being sold at newsstands, convenience stores, and supermarkets to a direct market in comic book shops. As people began to stumble upon these stores, they would also discover that comics could be worth quite a profit as some books could be found selling for thousands of dollars. Word would spread and people began seeing comic books as savings bonds, buying and storing them like rare collectibles. Unfortunately, they failed to realize that those books going for thousands got that way because of managing to survive fifty years of being treated as disposable entertainment that was often thrown away or burned (with issues that survived generally being horribly mangled). Still, the industry took advantage, printing issues with multiple covers, sometimes with different cover art, other times with gimmicks like hologram stickers, glow-in-the-dark images, 3-D plastic pop-out items, foldout covers, and more. People were compelled to form “complete sets”, one book notorious for this was Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 (1991) which to this day remains the highest grossing single comic of all time making nearly seven million dollars and selling over 8.1 million units (and printed with five unique covers four of which had different versions such as newsstand and direct market editions). The phenomenon was a boon for the industry, with new publishers popping up all over the place and comic companies in many ways couldn’t print enough books. However, as with roller coasters, this success was bound to crash when the people who became collectors realized not only were the conditions not right to make the huge payoff for their investment they believed they would get, but with so much product overproduced, the books they did buy were virtually useless as a collectible because everyone had it. To this day, you can still find comic shops with dozens of copies of X-Men #1 they can’t give away. The comic book industry nearly went out of business again roughly four decades after Wertham and Congress left it crippled.
Through the Ages: Transition in Comics – Part Two by Jerry Whitworth
(see Part One here if you haven’t already)
Amazing Spider-Man #96
Comic publishing continued on, but stories about colorful superheroes swooping down to save the day, which was already considered childish, seemed even more out of place during the end of the Golden Age and on with protests against the government, the growing recreational drug market, the war on segregation, the spread of venereal disease as soldiers from foreign countries return home to “free love,” the country coming to the end of the witch hunt led by the House Un-American Activities Committee to root out Communism, and a general change in what America was up to that point; about the only place this landscape largely went unnoticed was in comic books (due in no small part to the Comics Code Authority). In the early 1970s, companies DC Comics and Marvel Comics tackled the real world at almost virtually the same time (while within the next decade companies like Dell, Harvey, Gold Key, Warren, and Charlton faded away). Stan Lee and Gil Kane dropped CCA approval for several issues of Amazing Spider-Man when the hero’s best friend (and neglected son of the Green Goblin) Harry Osborn becomes addicted to an unnamed drug after Marvel was approached by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to raise drug awareness. Spider-Man, dealing with his friend’s downward spiral while Green Goblin hunts him like an animal, forces his nemesis back into reality when he has him confront Harry who’s near-death which shocks him into becoming Norman Osborn again (the success of this arc actually inspired change in the CCA). At DC, the creative team Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams collaborated on Green Lantern/Green Arrow which had the heroes tackle virtually all the major controversies that divided the nation, beginning with racism and classism and culminating into the emerald duo discovering Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy addicted to heroin. These stories reflected a change in approach by both companies to storytelling as their worlds became more real and more dangerous.
Top 10: Rogues Galleries by Jerry Whitworth
For the American comic book, superheroes reign supreme. It doesn’t matter if it’s DC, Marvel, Image, or any of the indies. Throw a cape or mask on someone and you got a much better shot than virtually anything else. But, superheroes are useless without another key component: supervillains. Alien invasions and gangsters are great padding, but we read comics to see colorful characters knocking down buildings or placing loved ones in perilous death traps. Imagine a comic book without a Dr. Doom, Joker, or Lex Luthor or a superhero without some Rogues Gallery, Sinister Six, or Monster Society of Evil to battle him or her. It’s a rather depressing notion because what’s the point of dashing off of rooftops or barreling out of a exploding building if there’s no one to legitimately challenge our hero when they survive? Lets see what villains stand atop all others. Though, before we begin, a little disclaimer: I’m purposely sticking to superheroes. With villains for heroes like James Bond, Doctor Who, and Dick Tracy, the list would be too challenging for me to cut to ten.