– New Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso kicked off an interview column at Comic Book Resources with a bit of a bombshell announcement in terms of bullpen news. Senior editor Ralph Macchio, who has been with Marvel for 35 years and edited everything from Frank Miller’s run on DAREDEVIL to Walter Simonson’s THOR to Brian Bendis’ ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, is retiring (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=33882). However, don’t sign him up for a gated community in Florida quite yet – Macchio apparently will return to writing, much like former editor-in-chief Tom DeFalco did.
– Last week, predicted by this column and virtually everyone online, Marvel started promoting what it deemed would be a big FANTASTIC FOUR comic for November (http://joltleft.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-comics-news-8-9-11-ff-turns-50-x-men-teasers-marvel-films-more). Lo and behold, Marvel have announced that FANTASTIC FOUR #600 will be sold in November as a “quadruple sized issue” – meaning, prepare to fork over about five bucks, minimum (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/four-marvel-teaser-110808.html). However, this will not mean the end of FF – a 12th issue of that will also debut in November and the two series will be sold side by side – similar to what Marvel did with INCREDIBLE HULKS #600 and HULK a couple years ago. Yet, if those 11 or so issues of FF were needed to get FANTASTIC FOUR to a 600th issue, how can the two exist side by side as numerical runs? Marvel Comics, folks – big on stunts, weak on math! And to think, DC threw away 900th issues of ACTION COMICS and DETECTIVE COMICS which were perfectly legitimate to do their “NEW 52” a few months later. At any rate, while seemingly deceased character Human Torch is on the cover of FANTASTIC FOUR #600, that isn’t confirmation that he’ll be resurrected – even if his demise in FANTASTIC FOUR #587 left no obvious corpse. Jonathon Hickman will be writing both, with various artists handling both; it seems Steve Epting may shift back to FANTASTIC FOUR, leaving FF in the hands of another artist. The point that renumbering stunts usually only boost sales for a month or two, or that the FF have never been a strong enough franchise to support a spin off (as evidenced by the dismal performance of FANTASTIC FORCE about 3-4 years ago) are lost on Marvel; Johnny Storm’s death boosted sales for a longer period than normal, so they’re going all in now. If Johnny returns and Spidey stays, wouldn’t they be the FANTASTIC FIVE? Or is that Marvel’s relaunch scheme for 2012?
– In November’s 8th issue of THE MIGHTY THOR, by Matt Fraction and Pasqual Ferry, a new thunder god is apparently debuting (http://www.comicbookresources.com/assets/images/articles/1313086053.jpg). As Thor has been a rather disobedient son, this may be a story in which Odin seeks to replace him. This would hardly be the first time Thor was “replaced” in a story; Eric Masterson served as Thor for a stretch in the 90’s, and Loki also duped mortal “Red” Norvell into becoming an imitator. This naturally doesn’t include the cybernetic clone of Thor, Ragnarok, which was made for CIVIL WAR and who showed up in AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE, BLACK PANTHER, and THOR. Considering this is coming off an entire event in which everyone and their mothers (and Attuma) are ripping off Thor’s “enchanted hammer” gimmick, is now a time for yet another pretender? Between SPIDER-ISLAND, the various HULKS, and Wolverine’s offspring, imitation seems to be the simplest form of innovation at the House Of Ideas.
– Guillermo del Toro, who has been assigned to direct and develop “THE HULK” as a weekly TV show for ABC alongside David Eick (“BATTLESTAR GALACTICA”), notes that it will not tie into the Marvel Studios’ films that feature the Green Goliath (http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2011/08/12/the-hulk-tv-series-wont-tie-into-marvel-films-del-toro-says/). He notes he and Eick have “been given license” to do what they want with the Hulk on TV, and that they’re hard at work developing it. The biggest riddle is handling the special effects of the Hulk on a TV budget. The famous CBS TV show that put the Hulk in the public eye from the 70’s and 80’s naturally employed a bodybuilder painted green; the two motion pictures of the 21st century have employed advanced CGI (as well “THE AVENGERS” next year). If there is anyone who can crack that nut it is del Toro, who managed to make both HELLBOY films look terrific despite both having very modest budgets (by summer blockbuster standards). While some CGI on a regular TV show is fine, most weekly TV budgets would not be able to make it look very good; thus, it may be employed for transformations and the Hulk could be created via prosthetics on an actor – arguably what some of the films should have tried. Lou Ferrigno is still beloved as the Hulk not just for nostalgia, but because when the Hulk is literally played by an actor, it is easier for an audience to connect then if he is a motion captured CGI cartoon.
– Despite apparently joining the X-Men, Magneto is NOT a hero. Proof? In November, Marvel will literally publish a four issue mini series titled MAGNETO: NOT A HERO, written by Scottie Young and drawn by Clay Mann. Bit on the nose with that one, eh? Newsarama has an exclusive with both creators (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/magneto-not-hero-announcement-110812.html); while Young has been drawing for Marvel comics for about a decade, this will be his first turn as a writer. Few specifics are noted, aside for love for the character and noting that Magneto always has some sort of dark plan somewhere. Ironically, during SECRET WARS in the 1980’s, the cosmic entity Beyonder did believe Magneto was a hero. Then again, Spider-Man had to teach him how to use the bathroom in SECRET WARS II.
– Marvel have revealed a variant cover for September’s relaunch of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1 (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=33885), featuring Sara Pichelli’s rendition of Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man, unmasked! At least he’s keeping with the fine (lack of) secret identity protection that Peter Parker often had in that book. Seriously, in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, it was a harder feat to find a villain/hero/supporting cast member who DIDN’T know who Spidey was.
– Think Nick Spencer isn’t writing enough 3-4 issue runs of books at Marvel? He has one starring Dr. Doom due in November (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-teaser-doomed-to-hell-110811.html)! Just commit him to one title already!
– The 13th issue of GENERATION HOPE will add Sebastian Shaw to the cast as well as writer James Asmus to the scripts (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=33903). Art will be done by Ibraim Roberson. Now, quite how does this make sense? Wait, wasn’t Shaw featured in a Fox X-Men film this summer? That’s synergy for you! And to think, Marvel denies that stuff is deliberate.
Last Week’s Marvel Comics News – http://joltleft.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-comics-news-8-9-11-ff-turns-50-x-men-teasers-marvel-films-more
This Week’s DC Comics News – http://joltleft.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comics-news-8-15-11-tdkr-s-batwing-plastic-man-and-spaceman
This Week’s Indie Comics News – http://joltleft.com/comic-books-in-new-york/indie-comics-news-8-15-11-flooded-comic-shops-mudman-hellboy-mark-wahlberg