Category Archives: jack kirby

Thor The Dark World

Thor The Dark World ~ Any Marvel movie at this point is an event, not just a promised blockbuster, but a legitimate mainstream event. Everyone wants to see the next big Marvel movie, and with the news this past week of Netflix’s picking up five different Marvel Comics projects as live action additions to their streaming own line-up that includes “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black,” and “Arrested Development,” the next Marvel movie is big, and that movie is Thor The Dark World, a movie so big, it opened alone this weekend.

One thing I was happy to see, that even though the Marvel superheroes are now part of everyday pop culture and even your grandmom is aware of Thor, the powers that be aren’t afraid to mine the source material for ideas rather than going off on a weird Hollywood tangent. One of the best Thor runs in the comics, other than the classic Stan Lee/Jack Kirby originals, would be the Walt Simonson run in the 1980s. Simonson did so much in his short run. He brought the character back to his roots, removed Don Blake from the equation, turned our hero into a frog, froze the planet, brought on both Surtur and the Midgard Serpent – and he also created Malekith and Kurse.

These two new characters were among the most powerful and dangerous the god of thunder had ever fought in the comics, making them more than adequate fodder for movie villains. I was more than pleased with former Doctor Christopher Eccleston as Malekith and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje from HBO’s “Oz” as Kurse, but I just wish they had had more to do and less make-up, as they’re both terrific actors. In both cases, Kurse more so, the make up hindered their performances.

Sadly, what I said about source material goes by the wayside quite quickly. In the comics, Malekith releases Surtur and opens the Cask of Ancient Winters amongst other evils, but here, it is a mysterious aether that is the MacGuffin and magical weapon of choice. I really got the sense, especially when seeing that a different group of folks wrote the screenplay than wrote the story, that this was a plot from something else that had been transplanted into this Thor movie – sort of like how 1987’s Masters of the Universe flick was a rewritten abandoned New Gods script.

Nevertheless, I like Thor The Dark World quite a bit. The cast was back in full force, and Chris Hemsworth seemed more comfortable in the title role this time, Natalie Portman was not as annoying, and as always Tom Hiddleston steals the show as Loki. I did think Anthony Hopkins looked a bit tired, and I was glad to see Idris Elba getting more screen time as Heimdall. I like Kat Dennings more every time I see her, sigh, I guess I’ll have to break down and watch that “2 Broke Girls” show. I was also delighted to see Chris O’Dowd, as well as (spoilers) Chris Evans.

I really enjoyed the movie, despite it sorta taking a lighter, more Avengers tone than the first Kenneth Branaugh directed film. I liked the new language of the Dark Elves, I liked their spaceships, and their weapons, especially the space warp bombs. It was a bit of a distraction to have guns going ‘pew-pew’ and I freely admit to saying out loud at one point, “Coruscant is under attack, where’re the Jedis?” Now, that said, the first movie made a concerted effort to explain that Asgard was not magic, but technology so advanced it appeared to be magic, so this does fit the Marvel Cinematic continuity.

Thor The Dark World was really cool, I’d see it again, and I’ll definitely get it for home viewing when it comes out. I didn’t think it needed much improvement, but female friends we ran into after the flick, as well as The Bride, all commented on the same thing regarding Chris Hemsworth. More bare chest. And butt, more butt. On that note, don’t forget to stay for the after credits stingers, this time there are two.

Arrow S02 E04: "Crucible"

My mantra in the review of last week’s episode was Who is the Black Canary? and now we know. For those of you who already know or figured it out on your own, you’ll just have to wait a couple paragraphs, and for those who don’t, you’ll have to sizzle too. I’ll get to it. All that said, I enjoy a little mystery surprise, and “Arrow” gave us a nice one to ponder last week.

Our opening has Oliver and Sebastian Blood parrying once again verbally. I know it’s leading up to Oliver running for mayor just like in the comics, and I know that Sebastian is Brother Blood, but I’m just not finding this storyline all that exciting. Oh, we might get references to great inspiring dialogue by Denny O’Neil or Elliot S! Maggin about ‘what one man can do,’ but on the other hand, I highly doubt that Sebastian is going to pull out the prayer shawl of Jesus or call upon Trigon.

Meanwhile Felicity figures out that the Black Canary (though not yet named so) is following Laurel, not Oliver. Knowing this, our hero ambushes and unmasks her. It’s the late Sara Lance, who supposedly died in the shipwreck that stranded Oliver on the island. At least it’s a Lance in the leather, oh, and she knows Oliver is The Hood.

Cue painful memory music, and island flashback, it turns out Oliver knew she wasn’t dead. On board the Amazo (the boat, not the one man Justice League), he encounters a Russian man in the next cell – will the Bat-connections never end? – it’s the KGBeast. I guess we know where Oliver got the tattoo and Russian mob contacts now. And Sara is there too, but not in the way we expect…

Meanwhile a new villain has arisen from the ashes and wreckage of The Glades, a man who ironically calls himself The Mayor, a merciless sociopath who is carving out a territory and a reputation in the city. He’s played by an actor I like a bit named Cle Bennett. The Mayor is running guns in Starling City. It seems like even after The Undertaking, Starling City is getting its groove back.

Diggle meets with Lyla of A.R.G.U.S. again regarding Deadshot. Summer Glau continues not to impress. I love her, but I just don’t find her believable in this role. I just don’t buy it. Laurel is drinking a bit and gets stopped by the cops. It seems that being demoted to beat cop has humbled Quentin Lance as he’s now trying to make amends with The Hood and Oliver both. I have the feeling this is an interim episode, just moving the pieces around the board for the big strike.

After a heart to heart chat between Oliver and Blood that invokes the title of the episode, The Mayor attacks a Cash for Guns rally. Our hero saves Blood, but Sin is caught in the crossfire. As you might imagine, this launches both our ersatz Green Arrow and Black Canary at the same target. Yeah, fangasm, baby. Best parts of the clash are tied, when the two trade weapons, and when The Hood deflects a rocket with an arrow.

In the odds and ends department, we had a Jack Kirby shout out, as Marvel’s King Kirby did a brief but brilliant stint on Green Arrow in the 1950s. On the bad side, I cringed at the continuity of Black Canary having black eye make up when her mask is on, yet it disappears when the mask comes off. Uncool.

In the end, we see The Mayor bound, but not by the police. He’s needle injected with some sort of drug by a man in a weird mask. Remember what I said about the ability of this show to surprise? Yeah, baby, Brother Blood is here, and is that venom?

Next: The League of Assassins!

Doris Danger on ComiXology

I have only recently caught up with the world technology-wise. I have only had my iPad Mini a few months, and I’m still learning. And it’s also only been a short time since I have been reading digital comics the, um, shall we say, the legal way.

ComiXology is my friend, my reding device, and the bane of my wallet, but it has been a new way for me to experience not only comics, but comics in a new way as well. It has also been a way for me to explore comics I might not have read otherwise or catch up on stuff I haven’t read in a while. In other words, I do a lot of exploring on ComiXology.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered an old friend and his work there, and I purchased it right away. I’m talking about Doris Danger by the talented Chris Wisnia. Chris has been doing comics for a while now and I have been following him and cheering him on for most of that time, whether it’s Tabloia, or Dr. DeBunko, or even Doris Danger, it is always a fun time reading comics. And really, aren’t comics supposed to be fun?

Currently only Chris Wisnia’s Doris Danger Giant Monster Adventures is available digitally, and some of the stories included are even specially formatted for optimal e-reading. I had read all the stories in the collection before, but still I was happy to not only have them all in one place, but also in electronic form.

This terrific e-comic is ninety-six pages of tales of giant monsters in the Atlas Comics tradition of the legendary Jack Kirby. Yes, Kirby homage is kinda old hat these days, but Chris was not only doing it before it was cool, he was (and is) doing it better than all the other guys. He’s found that elusive groove between respect and humor with falling into insult or mockery. Each page is lovingly rendered and showing what was so cool about 1950s giant monster comics, both good and bad.

The book is described thusly: “As a teen, Doris Danger was abducted by a giant monster. Ever since, she’s had a burning desire to prove the existence of giant monsters, but has been unable to prove her beliefs by snapping an indisputable photograph. While she has convinced many, she has also met many who doubt, who try to disprove, or even lie, manipulate, and cover up evidence. Doris Danger crosses the X-Files with the classic Lee/Kirby giant monster comics, with a little bit of Godzilla thrown in for good measure.”

Chris Wisnia rocks these comics, that also feature fabulous pin-ups by artists you have definitely heard of like Russ Heath, Steve Rude, and Mike Mignola among others; and great letters columns and text pieces detailing the history of these amazing comics, both real and fictional.

I love these books, and whether you have or haven’t experienced them before, you should definitely check out Doris Danger Giant Monster Adventures in electronic or hard copy form, and also stop by Chris’ website to see all the other creative stuff he has going on, and Follow him on Twitter as well.

RIP Joe Kubert

Legendary comics creator Joe Kubert passed away this weekend at the age of 85. He was there back at the beginning of the Golden Age of comics, and was still producing work today. His legacy is carried on by perhaps the first and best school for comics creators which he founded and named after himself, and his two sons Adam and Andy, two of today’s hottest comics artists themselves. We have truly lost one of the geniuses, one of the legends, one of the greatest contributors to the comics industry. Joe Kubert will be missed by anyone whose experienced his work, and that probably includes the entire comics field.

I first was introduced to Mr. Kubert at the Berlin Farmer’s Market. There was a store there that sold comic books with the covers torn off, three for a quarter. The store is still there but it’s much more expensive. I was a superhero guy, but at that price I could explore titles I wouldn’t normally have picked up. In that way, I picked up comics featuring Tarzan and Sgt. Rock, illustrated by Joe Kubert. It was also through one of those Tarzan comics that I was turned onto John Carter of Mars and the rest of the Edgar Rice Burroughs fantasy universes.

Joe Kubert was my introduction into so many other worlds. His artistic vision and technique was unique in comics. Much like Jack Kirby, he was an original. There was no one who drew like him, but everyone wanted to and tried to draw like him. Still to this day, if Tarzan, Sgt. Rock, Viking Prince, Enemy Ace, Tor, Ragman, even Hawkman and Hawkgirl, are not by Kubert – my mind will automatically say that’s not the real thing. Those characters, and many many more, are the trademark, the realm, and the legacy of Joe Kubert.

We have lost perhaps one of the greatest in comics. We are all in mourning.

Thor

Thor ~ This Marvel Comics film is one of conflicts and contrasts, most of them terrific. If you loved the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby comics, and even the Lee and John Buscema comics, you will be swept up in a world conjured by those stories. Some of the themes and explanations have changed, but unlike a lot of things the DC Comics have done, these changes are for story logic.

There’s a rough beginning where astrophysicist Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster (an odd job change for her character but it works in the context) is looking for an anomaly and ends up hitting Thor with her car. When we’re hooked, we’re hit with the real beginning. The wonderfully cast Anthony Hopkins as Odin clues us in to the origins of the Norse gods as beings of superior science and technology, which we perceive as gods and magic. We meet the family, his sons Thor, about to ascend the throne, and his darker brother Loki.

More great casting comes with their friends the Warriors Three. I love Josh Dallas who is the de facto substitute for Cary Elwes in parts the original is too old and chunky for. The main roles of Loki and Thor are also perfect cast. Tom Hiddleston has the correct slinkiness and sneakiness in his voice and physical stature. And nobody else could ever have played Thor better than Chris Hemsworth in my opinion.

There is one bit of casting that seems to have caused a controversy in some dark corners of our world, and that is Idris Elba as Heimdall. Some racists have made a big fuss about the character being African-American. Now if these were truly Norse gods, one could make the argument that the Norse would perceive their gods as like themselves, as in white skin. But it should be noted in the context of the movie, the Asgardians are not Norse, they may not even be human, and can be of whatever race. Just because the Norse thought Heimdall was white doesn’t mean he is. Add to this Elba’s amazing performance, and I have no problems at all.

It’s just like Lawrence Fishbourne being cast as Perry White in The Man of Steel. There’s nothing that says he isn’t, or can’t be. I think there are a small handful of characters who are definitely of one race or another. Established African-American characters can’t really be white. For instance you just couldn’t do it with the Black Panther or Black Lightning (and not just because of the names), but Blade could very well be portrayed as white. Of course you will get an argument from me on Wonder Woman. Sorry, Beyonce, but Wonder Woman is Greek. But enough on this sidetrack, suffice it to say, Idris Elba’s Heimdall is one of the highpoints of the flick.

Once Odin’s explanation of the universe is over we move to a very special occasion – Thor becoming his replacement as king of Asgard. The ceremony is ruined by a break-in by some Frost Giants trying to steal back the Casket of Ancient Winters. Thor wants to attack the Frost Giants and start a war, and his father disagrees, seeing this as a bad kingly decision. Like a good spoiled brat prince, Thor gets his brother and his friends together, and off they go to Jotunheim to rumble with the Frost Giants.

This is Lee/Kirby/Buscema made live on the big screen. This sequence is among the best of the flick. I love it and can watch it over and over again. I know the story of Thor is him on Earth, but man oh man, what I wouldn’t give for a Thor in Asgard chilling and killing with his friends movie. Note should be made of the movie Asgard. The realm Eternal is a glorious place, not necessarily that of the comics, but a beautiful vision of futuristic and mythic society. Comparisons could be made to the cityscapes of the first Star Wars trilogy (one of the few things I liked about those movies). And take note, DC Comics, the awe inspired by Asgard is what viewers should have felt when they saw Oa in the Green Lantern film.

After attacking the Frost Giants, Odin has had it with his spoiled brat of a son, and banishes him to Earth to learn humility, just like in the comics, and we come full circle in our movie story. Following a weird light anomaly in the sky, Jane Foster – along with her scientist friend Erik played by Stellan Skarsgard and her intern Darcy (Kat Dennings) – whacks our exiled thunder god with her car. Some great fish out of water scenes follow, and we soon learn that the first anomaly Jane detected was Thor’s hammer falling from the sky as shown in the post-credits scene in Iron Man 2. Nice continuity there, Marvel.

Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster is a bit of an anomaly herself, going from nurse in the comics to astrophysicist here. The job change needed for both story logic and because Thor’s human alter-ego of Dr. Donald Blake doesn’t really exist in this tale, although the name does pop up as an Easter egg for comics fans. Jane really only exists here as a romantic foil for Thor. Her mentor has all the keys and her intern does all the work. I would have rather had Jane have all the answers and the intern be her sounding board. Skarsgard wasn’t really needed here. Please give me strong women in the movies made from the comics, if not the comics, ya know? Jane Foster could have been that character.

There are great scenes at the hammer drop site of folks trying to lift it, including one with creator Stan Lee. While Thor plays fish out of water on Earth, and SHIELD takes over the hammer site, Loki takes over the throne of Asgard. Loki also sets his sights on bringing all the realms to their knees, and sends the Destroyer to, what else, destroy Thor. Also, Avengers fans, don’t miss the fifteen second cameo by Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye the Marksman. When the Warriors Three come to Earth, it’s total coolness, though I wish more had been made of it. The same goes with the battle with the Destroyer. When the only real complaint one can have is that I wish there was more of it, that’s a good thing. When is Thor 2 again? And, geekgasm, how about a Lady Sif and the Warriors Three movie?

Things are beginning to resemble a Thor comic at this point, and that’s a good thing – because it works. Director Kenneth Branagh has succeeded in repeating the magic with which Jon Favreau brought Iron Man to the big screen. He brings what made the comics special to the screen. Thor is near perfect. Along with the original Iron Man and Captain America which followed Thor in July, it’s a perfect trinity of Marvel’s greatest characters.

This bodes well for 2012’s Avengers movie. And speaking of which, don’t forget, as with all Marvel movies, don’t forget to watch the post-credits sequence with more foreshadowing of the Avengers film. Thor is easily one of the top ten, perhaps top five, superhero movies of all time, do not miss.

Bookmark and Share

Aquaman Returns

My friend Rob Kelly is a guy with a lot of passion. Whether it’s his work or his hobbies, he puts everything he has into it. Case in point – his brainchild the Aquaman Shrine. His love and respect for the Aquaman character knows no bounds and his passion to see Aquaman get the props he deserves is phenomenal.

When the sea king, in his most classic and recognizable form, was set to return in the pages of The Brave and the Bold, Rob set up a campaign to make sure as many folks as possible were both aware of and ordered the issue. Even here at Welcome to Hell I supported the effort.

Yesterday Brave and the Bold #32 came out, featuring the classic Aquaman and Jack Kirby’s The Demon, and here’s my review…

Writer J. Michael Straczynski has been rolling throughout time and space in the DC Universe with his tales in Brave and the Bold, and this issue marks the subtitle on the cover ”Lost Stories of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” to further ensure he wouldn’t be hindered by continuity. Sometimes the complicated soap opera mythology of comics gets in the way of telling stories. If you want to read good stories and worry about that tangled mess – JMS’ Brave and the Bold is for you.

This issue, illustrated by frequent collaborator Jesus Saiz, is no different. This done-in-one story brings the classic Aquaman together with The Demon to stop a decidedly Lovecraftian elder entity from entering our dimension. An excellent short story, “Night Gods” tells the tale of Whitford Crane who is trying to find out if he’s insane or not by digging up his friend’s grave. When captured he relates the story from his point of view. The first two pages have the feel of the old 1970s DC horror comics. I could almost see the Phantom Stranger appearing next, but instead it’s the rather odd pairing of Aquaman and the Demon.

The unlikely duo get together once a year to stop this invasion of an elder god into our world, and poor Whitford is stuck in the middle. While Lovecraft is more in the Demon’s field, the focus is actually more on Aquaman. As a man of the sea himself, Crane has a healthy respect for Aquaman, and his narration lovingly paints him as the dynamic hero he is. The sea king’s underwater fighting prowess and especially his telepathic powers are displayed breathtakingly.

I agree with Rob wholeheartedly that this is the Aquaman we want, and hopefully sales on this issue should tell DC Comics how much we feel this. And even if you’re not an Aquaman fan, or even a comics fan, Brave and the Bold demonstrates what good storytelling is all about. Definitely check it out. Highly recommended.

Bookmark and Share

Doris Danger Is Back

SLG, formerly Slave Labor Graphics, will be publishing Chris Wisnia‘s 96-page digest-sized comic, “Doris Danger Giant Monster Adventures,” this November (Diamond Previews #SEP090572).

It features a cover by Shag, inks by Dick Ayers, and pin-ups of giant monsters by Arthur Adams, Mike Allred, Gene Colan, Peter Bagge, Ramona Fradon, Dave Gibbons, Russ Heath, Los Bros Hernandez, Mike Mignola, Tony Millionaire, John Severin, and Bill Sienkiewicz. And the inside of course is filled with the genius of Chris Wisnia.

An authentic rip-off of the Kirby-style giant monster genre, Doris Danger is a photo-journalist who, as a teen, was abducted by a giant monster! Ever since, she’s had a burning desire to prove the existence of giant monsters, but has yet been unable to prove her beliefs and snap that indisputable photograph! Along the way, she has met many others who believe, as she does, in giant monsters! She has managed to convince many, foremost of them, her boyfriend, former astronaut Steve Wonder! And she has met many who doubt, try to disprove, or even lie, manipulate, and cover up evidence!

Join everyone’s favorite Tabloid photo journalist as she encounters giggling scientists, a fezz-wearing cult, the Monster Liberation Army, FBI “G” Division, robots disguised as African tribesmen, actors disguised as robots, menacing mannequins, hillbillies, and GIANT MONSTERS!

Doris Danger crosses the X-Files with the famous Lee/Kirby giant monster comics (with a little bit of Godzilla thrown in for good measure) to create a fun and exciting read.

NOTE: This issue collects most everything from Doris’s Tabloia Weekly Magazine appearances, Doris Danger Seeks… Where Giant Monsters Creep and Stomp!, Doris Danger Greatest All-Out Army Battles, Doris Danger in Outer Space, and Doris Danger Seeks… Where Urban Creatures Creep and Stomp! But SMALLER THAN EVER (digest-sized 5″x7 1/2″)! It’s a “MUST-HAVE!”

Get it here!

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday Comics Are Here

I love comics. Anyone who knows me knows that. We all have our hobbies, our obsessions, our passions. But how often does something happen within that interest that you are just compelled to tell everyone about it? And I mean everyone. For me, and for comics, that happened this week.

It’s called Wednesday Comics, and it came out on, duh, Wednesday. You might remember me talking about this before, a few weeks back. Then it was just an item of interest that I had not personally seen yet, only heard about and seen a few previews of. Now that I have it in my hands, I am stunned. This is the coolest thing to happen in comics (and maybe in print) in years.

This is not just the return of Sunday color adventure comics, it’s not even just the return of comics on newsprint. DC Comics has done both of those things, but they filled it with the best work they had to offer. This is amazing.

Kyle Baker’s Hawkman is stunning. Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred have recreated the Silver Age Metamorpho perfectly. The Flash is the peak of sequential storytelling. Great to see a jet age Green Lantern, it’s the era he was created for. Father and son Kuberts do Sgt. Rock, just as husband and wife Palmiotti and Conner give us a delightful take on Supergirl, Krypto and Streaky. Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook pay homage to Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant with Jack Kirby’s Kamandi just as Paul Pope does the same for Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon with his Adam Strange. It’s just beautiful.

And for those of you for whom that last paragraph means nothing, don’t worry. The best thing about Wednesday Comics is that it’s non-continuity. In English, that means it’s mainstream – it’s accessible to any readers new or old. If you’ve been reading these things forever or if you wouldn’t know a Teen Titan from Tony the Tiger, you’ll still enjoy this.

.

Hulk Vs…

Hulk Vs. ~ This is the newest of Marvel Comics and Lionsgate’s direct-to-DVD features, this one a double feature with the Hulk fighting Thor and then Wolverine, two different stories, one great DVD. I watched the Thor half of this animated flick first so the thought didn’t occur to me right away, but after the Wolverine half it became clear what this reminded me of. Decades ago, after CBS’ live-action “Incredible Hulk” series was canceled, they produced a couple made-for-TV movies with the same cast but using the Hulk character as a spin-off point for other Marvel heroes. We were ‘treated’ to albeit greatly-altered versions of Daredevil and Thor, hopefully for pilot purposes that thankfully never manifested.

That’s what this disc is, spin-off pilots for Thor and Wolverine, because like those telemovies, these featurettes really have little to do with the Hulk. The stories are firmly Thor and Wolverine stories, set firmly in their worlds and among their supporting characters and opposing villains. There’s really not that much Hulk honestly in this Hulk DVD. Really, any rampaging beast could have subbed easily in these Thor and Wolverine adventures.

On the plus side, the Thor adventure is a wonderful journey into the mythology of that character as it was designed and established by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby back in the day. Watching this I was filled with nostalgia and an urge to go back and read those comics. This was magic. While Odin sleeps, Loki and the Enchantress possess the Hulk to destroy, who else, Thor. See the wonder of Asgard and the fanboy fantasy of an old-fashioned Thor/Hulk slugfest, complete with character development, originality and suspense. A solid story backed up with the crisp animation Lionsgate has become known for with these productions.

Whereas the Thor part seemed to be all about what was right about comics of the 1960s, the Wolverine segment equally reflected, in my opinion at least, everything that was wrong with comics of the 1990s. While I was happy it was not a simple rehash of the Hulk’s first encounter with Wolverine (that character’s first appearance by the way), I was disappointed that it turned into just an excuse for the Hulk to smash foes who could not die and characters who can cut and slash to cut and slash without killing. Honestly with all the regenerating I can’t help making a comparison to Frank Miller’s ridiculous take on The Spirit and the Octopus in his recent but horrible film.

While hardcore X-Men fans may delight at seeing Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, Omega Red and especially Deadpool, someone who I have never been able to divine the popularity of, this was all just a horse and pony show to me. I would have rather seen the Wendigo. At least that story had a plot.

This DVD is well worth the rental, but not the purchase, and unless you’re a serious X-fan, just watch the Thor half.

Wizard World Philly – Saturday


WIZARD WORLD PHILLY

SATURDAY

After a bit of a late start I met up with Comic Widows co-horts Anthony and Ray. We began with a strategy meeting regarding some interviews planned for the day. And trust me, it was nowhere near as cool as it sounds, but we were taking it pretty seriously.

In the midst of our war council we also interviewed the young lady we were sharing the pressroom with at the time, Nicole Boose. We also learned she was with Marvel editorial and reviewing art portfolios at the con. Very cool lady, and pleasant informative interview.

As the pressroom overlooked the con floor we also did some costume spotting. From our vantage point we got to see quite a few good ones, and of course some bad ones as well. Among the former were several Marvel Girls in the Neal Adams green mini-skirt, a bright-green Riddler, a foam rubber Galactus, what might have been Nightwind from the Legion of Super-Heroes, Dr. Strange, the prerequisite dozen Stormtroopers that show up at every con, and a bald Robin. Also throughout the day there were many others spotted – a pair of Tomb Raiders, Zatanna, the cast of the new Indiana Jones flick, a baby Batgirl, a flat-chested Power Girl, and, ahem, a tranny Power Girl. And then there was also The Blob. Oh wait, that wasn’t a costume.

Then we hit the con floor and did a kinda noisy interview with Jared Barel of Loaded Barrel Studios. They do a startling and unique melding of photography and comic art that needs to be seen to be believed. They call it making ‘live-action graphic novels’ and it looks great. Check them out, it’s terrific stuff. I really did like their work, and really, it’s not just because they were giving out Twizzlers and Tootsie Rolls at their booth, but let’s be honest, that never hurts. Lessons to learned for other folks with booths at these cons.

After exploring the floor for a bit I ducked into the Crisis Now panel in the midst of questions and answers. Dan DiDio was in the house and mocking and ridiculing the characters we all love as if that was his job. Oh wait.

Several different things were addressed while I was there. When questioned on “Batman RIP,” DiDio repeatedly said in staccato fashion, “Batman dies!” then rescinded, “Batman doesn’t die, but he’s gonna wish he was dead.” Other items – the Milestone characters are not available for DC to use, but never say never. We will see Christopher Kent again. Apparently there is an unannounced Zatanna series coming at some point.

DiDio admitted that 2007 was not a year where everything was clicking as well as possible. And he added that it’s his job to make this year as great as possible. He also confessed that Steve Wacker leaving for Marvel was a huge loss for DC.

The Devil also said that Death of the New Gods was a celebration of Jack Kirby’s work on the New Gods. Wtf? Kill them to celebrate them? In answer to the next question, DiDio stated that Final Crisis will involve all Flashes. A fan asked “Even Bart?” and DiDio answered “All Flashes.” Just don’t kill Jay Garrick like you killed the Martian Manhunter, okay? Bastards. And during the lightning round he answered “Yes.” to the question of whether barry Allen was coming back.

Same room, a bit later, Cup O’ Joe with Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, standing room only, much like the DC panel before it. In attendance – (duh) Joey Q, Fred Van Lente, C.B. Cebulski, Tom Brevoort and another person whose name I didn’t catch – he didn’t talk much and ran the slide show though. The slide show announced Marvel Zombies 3 where the fan fave monsters invade the Marvel Universe proper, due in September.

Old news came with slides depicting the new Devil-Slayer series by horror novelist Brian Keene and Stephen King’s The Stand also starting in September. Mystery pics of Lady Bullseye followed (and of course quickly leaked to the internet) who Ed Brubaker is introducing in Daredevil. Nice art, but seemingly just a female version of Bullseye. Yawn.

Um, who brought the baby to a panel? Who brought a baby to a convention? Please just make it stop crying. Great parenting there, folks. Although he/she stopped crying, I wondered if the wonder-parents were still in the room when J.Q. dropped an F-bomb later on in the hour.

Then came, predictably, questions and answers. There will be more Squadron Supreme, written by Howard Chaykin, with a demented twist, and Greg Land on covers. And no, Land on covers is not the twist. Speaking of twisted, there’s been a big secret in the undercurrent of the Ultimate Universe, to be revealed in Ultimate Origins. Something major in their lives is a huge falsehood. Maybe the secret of why Ultimates 3 is so late will be revealed.

More “One More Day” backlash reared its ugly head and Joe explained that all of Spider-Man’s history is intact, save that he and Mary Jane didn’t get married on their wedding day. Something happened and that story just hasn’t been told yet. Joe says he’s seen it and it’s great. In response to another question, Tom B said that Peter and his Aunt May did in fact live at Avengers Tower. Some racy humor about May and Skrull Jarvis followed unfortunately. Either way, Joe and Tom certainly seem tired of doing OMD damage control; it’s in their faces.

My friend Ray hit Joe Q with a good one. He referenced the difference between two Jack Kirby reprint volumes, one from DC and one from Marvel – the difference is that DC paid the Kirby estate royalties and Marvel did not. Joe kinda dodged the question, saying that he doesn’t discuss Marvel policy in public. He added that Marvel is currently working with the Kirby estate and that should speak for itself.

Other items included that Baron Zemo was coming back, and a new Thunderbolts writer has been chosen but unannounced – could these be related and Fabian Nicieza is coming back? There is a Runaways film in development with Brian K. Vaughn involved. There are possible plans for the female Bucky from the Onslaught universe. The sequel to Marvels is coming in October. Whoever is left at the end of The Twelve will remain part of the present MU.

Quesada coined the term “Marvel lifestyle” for the fact that now Marvel does their own comics, movies and videogames – in response to a question about digital comics. I like it. Joe also claimed that he thought Spider-Man 3 was a pretty good movie. “Maybe one villain too many.” Wow, you said a mouthful, Joe.

At the close of the panel, the 18 carat gold Iron Man cellphone was given away. Over $1500 was raised for the Hero Initiative on the raffle for it. Great job, folks!

At this point, I was toast and had to go home, home to my super-cool Avengers glass that the Bride had gotten for me earlier in the day, and home to the Bride too, of course. But I’ll leave you with another quote, this one a bit dated, but it was shouted by a guy in a Nightwing t-shirt exiting the men’s room earlier this afternoon. “Hey, I found Ray Palmer!”