DC Films Finally Admits Marvel Studios Was Right All Along

A lot of information has been trickling out about the future of Warner Bros.’ DC comics film franchise—not least of which is the fresh news that WB C.E.O. Kevin Tsujihara is resigning in disgrace, following a report about some scandalous text messages. But long before Tsujihara’s controversy, Warner Bros. had already started to pivot its comic book movies away from the dark and dreary ethos that characterized the Zack Snyder era of films, including Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. With James Gunn essentially rebooting Suicide Squad before returning to his Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, the purported rivalry between Marvel and DC may finally be put to rest. In other words, from the outside, it certainly seems as though DC has seen that it can’t beat the fun, brightly colored vibe of Marvel Studios—and has decided to join it instead.

For a time there, the DC Extended Universe, or DCEU, endeavored to create a kind of counter-programming to the warm-hearted antics of the Avengers. At the world premiere of Suicide Squad, in 2016, director David Ayer shouted “Fuck Marvel!” His film—though profitable and even Oscar-winning—was roasted by critics and ridiculed by moviegoers, to the point where Gunn is now reportedly rebooting the franchise. That’s a bit confusing, given that Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is set to appear in at least one (if not several) new DCEU movies. But Forbes reports that Robbie may not appear in the next Suicide Squad at all; that, plus Idris Elba reportedly taking over Will Smith’s role as Deadshot means the Gunn version of this comic book Skwad may have nothing at all to do with Ayer’s gritty, gruesome take.

A lighter, zippier Gunn film would also be in keeping with the current trajectory of the DCEU, where Jason Momoa’s stand-alone Aquaman was hailed as bonkers good fun and turned into one of the studio’s most profitable efforts. Early word on Zachary Levi’s Shazam! is that this Big-esque take on a superhero origin story is ever more light-hearted. And even Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman—which arguably kicked off the studio’s profitable turn toward warm, Marvel-esque entertainment—will get a kitschier sequel in which the horrors of WWI will be replaced by the pastels of the 1980s with comedian Kristen Wiig in the villain role.

The two leading men of the Snyder era, Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck, have (probably) already left the franchise for good. But above all else, DC seems determined to bury the hatchet in the comic book wars. Suicide Squad producer Peter Safran told JoBlo.com:

What I love about James directing for both Marvel and DC is he has
always espoused the view that that which unites comic book and
superhero lovers is much greater than that which divides us. Because,
there’s always been this Marvel/DC rivalry, which he has said, and I
agree, is absurd. There’s room for everybody and certainly that which
unites us all is far greater than that which divides us, so hopefully
they’ll see that you can be both a Marvel and a DC fan and the world
won’t spin off its axis.

Gunn has, indeed, been banging this drum for a while now. Even Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige told Vanity Fair that he sees DC’s success as helping, not hurting, the MCU. The average filmgoer—who might not know Captain Marvel from Mar-Vell—may not be keeping score as to which studio produced the comic book movie they loved or hated. So, as Feige predicted, Wonder Woman’s success may have just meant more movie lovers would line up for Brie Larson’s debut in Captain Marvel. (And they did.)

But not everyone is thrilled with DC’s new direction. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ezra Miller—who has been attached to star in a Flash standalone movie for years now—is displeased with the latest, light-hearted version of a script written by Game Night and Spider-Man: Homecoming comedy duo John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. Miller, it seems, would prefer to pursue a version that hews closer to the DCEU he signed up for under the stewardship of Zack Snyder, and has partnered with comic writer Grant Morrison to write his own darker take on the Scarlet Speedster.

Miller has also reportedly nearly run out his holding deal on the film—which means that if this script doesn’t come together, his part could be re-cast entirely. With the studio so determined to have a new start and Miller still clinging to the DCEU of old, some fresh blood might be the best course of action after all.

From: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/03/suicide-squad-reboot-ezra-miller-flash-dc-marvel

Ezra Miller is writing a script for The Flash alongside comic book icon Grant Morrison

After starring in Justice League as The Flash and making short appearances in Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ezra Miller isn’t finished with the fastest man alive. The Hollywood Reporter has reported that the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald star is taking a crack at writing his own script for the upcoming Flash movie in an effort to keep the role. 

He may not have too much time though, as his holding deal to play The Flash expires this May. The fact that Miller is attempting to write his own script could make or break Warner Bros.’ decision to keep him in the company of the Justice League.

Miller’s partnered with iconic comic writer Grant Morrison, who’s known for his work on the Justice League of America and All-Star Superman comics, among many others, to create a darker take on the speedster superhero. It’s a different angle than the lighter Shazam-like approach that John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the duo who wrote Spider-Man: Homecoming, wanted since they joined the project in early 2018. 

The DC Extended Universe is in a weird spot currently. Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck have both hung up their capes as Superman and Batman (respectively) after a series of poorly received blockbusters. Cavill even dropped out of a small Superman cameo in Shazam! to focus on other projects, like The Witcher Netflix series. The Man of Steel hasn’t been recast either, leading fans to believe that the hero may not have appearances in the near future.

But even as his cape-crusading friends are changing faces, Miller has doubled down on his ambitions to continue as Barry Allen. He’s been one of the few constants in the Flash’s slow and bumpy road to a silver screen adventure, though his time could be running out. 

Erza’s version of the script could be submitted to the studio as early next week to help increase his chances of retaining the character. Here’s hoping his role is more than just a flash in the pan. 

If you’re looking for something to satisfy your need for superheroes while The Flash sputters along in development, check out our list of the best superhero movies of all time.

From: https://www.gamesradar.com/ezra-miller-is-writing-a-script-for-the-flash-alongside-comic-book-icon-grant-morrison/

Can Ezra Miller Save ‘The Flash’ Movie?

Flash Fact: Ezra Miller and Grant Morrison may be just the answer to the yet unsolved equation of getting the scarlet speedster back on his feet and on the road to cinemas. On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that The Flash is getting an assist from Barry Allen himself (Miller), who is penning a script with Morrison.

While stars taking a hands-on approach to high-profile superhero projects is nothing new, we’ve seen both the upside and downside of such involvements. Ryan Reynolds proved instrumental in getting Deadpool (2016) to work and finding the character’s voice, and earned a screenwriting credit on Deadpool 2. Ben Affleck, on the other hand, couldn’t find a way to bring The Batman to life as writer or director, and ultimately left the cape and cowl behind for a younger actor. Miller, though he lacks any credited feature screenwriting credits, certainly isn’t in a bad position with famed comics scribe Morrison at his side, and he may be able to move forward with a character that has clearly become dear to him since he was first cast in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). The Flash has reached a fork in the road, and what comes next could determine just how far and fast the character can run.

Warner Bros. is currently in the midst of reshuffling its cinematic universe, and with that reshuffling comes a renewed focus on standalone stories and filmmaker-driven projects that are not averse to recasting familiar faces. The success of Wonder Woman (2017), Aquaman (2018), and the positive response currently surrounding Shazam! ahead of its release, has proved to Warner Bros. that it is no longer have to be dependent on Batman, Superman, and strict continuity for its superhero movies to capture the attention of audiences. It’s a realization fans wish had come a little earlier back when Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) was attached to direct The Flash, rumored to be as an edgy urban superhero movie co-starring Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. Famuyiwa’s take apparently clashed with Warner Bros.’ vision, and he exited in October 2016. He was not the first to try to tackle the project (Seth Grahame-Smith was once attached to direct, while Phil Lord and Chris Miller wrote a treatment and at one point were considering directing).

There’s little doubt a Flash film will happen eventually, but the big question is whether or not it will happen with  Miller.

Last March, the news broke that John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who had impressed Warner Bros. with Game Night (2018) had been hired to write and direct The Flash. It’s a year later, and there’s been little movement on the film. This was largely chalked up to Miller’s shooting schedule for another Warners property, Fantastic Beasts. But now creative differences have come to light.  Daley and Goldstein are said to want the film to take a light approach, which isn’t a surprise given their comedy backgrounds and screenwriting work on Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). Miller, on the other hand, wants the film to take a dark and serious approach, more akin to what the role promised when he first signed on back in 2014. There’s enough source material to lend credibility to either direction, but Miller’s enthusiasm for the character, as well as his frequent mentions of time travel, multiverses, and dimensional theories in interviews, makes his vision seem all the more worthy of making it to the screen.

It’s no surprise that Miller has found a kindred spirit in Grant Morrison. They both seem to share the same next-level energy that stems from an interest in psychedelics, multiverse theories, and queer identities. The Scotland-born Morrison, who is currently writing DC Comics’ The Green Lantern, is a staple of modern comics, having pushed the medium forward by expanding on familiar concepts and taking a comprehensive approach to continuity is known for his engaging and challenging work on Doom Patrol, The Invisibles, Animal Man, New X-Men, and Batman. Morrison co-wrote several issues of The Flash alongside Mark Millar in 1997 and 1998, and has written the character in JLA, Final Crisis, and The Multiversity. Two of his most significant contributions to the Flash mythos were Black Flash – the source of death for those connected to the speed-force, and Hypertime (co-created with Mark Waid) that allowed for multiple timelines to exist within DC’s multiverse and for continuity to be rewritten on the fly. One of Morrison’s foremost comic book influences is The Flash No. 123, Flash of Two Worlds (1961) which introduced the multiverse and brought together the Golden Age and Silver Age versions of the Flash, Jay Garrick and Barry Allen. It’s easy to see how these elements could play into a film adaptation that lines up with Miller’s interest in the trippy sci-fi aspects of the character, and could position the character for a film that takes us to entirely new worlds in the way James Wan’s Aquaman did.

Together, Miller and Morrison have the opportunity to challenge audiences and the conventions of the superhero movie with their take on The Flash. The CW is currently airing the well-received TV show, The Flash, which has taken a light approach. If a film is going to happen, perhaps it should set itself apart from the television series and have a reason for existing beyond simply putting the character on the big screen. A Flash film that goes heavy into the speed-force, multiverse, and the kinds of high-concepts Morrison is known for seems too good an opportunity to pass up. And Ezra Miller, whose most significant time as Barry Allen has so far been held back by Justice League reshoots, deserves a chance to finally run. Miller and Morrison’s Flash may be the test to see if Warner Bros. is really on board with experimenting with the character and taking him to new dimensions, or simply settling for a well-trod path. 

The Flash

From: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/can-flash-star-ezra-miller-save-his-movie-will-he-exit-1195205

‘Superman: Year One’: Frank Miller And John Romita Jr. Take On Man of Steel

Frank Miller delivered a milestone masterpiece in the 1980s when he took Gotham City’s caped crusader back to his beginnings with Batman: Year One. Now, the restless creative mind behind The Dark Knight Returns, 300, Sin City, Ronin, Elektra: Assassin, and Give Me Liberty is taking the Man of Steel back to his ground-floor days with Superman: Year One, which will be published by DC Comics under its Black Label imprint.

The first issue arrives in June in a large-format periodical version, followed by issue No. 2 in August and issue No. 3 in October. The complete three-issue story arc will be collected up into a single volume that will hit bookstore shelves in November.

John Romita Jr., the respected, longtime Marvel artist known for his work on Amazing Spider-Man, DaredevilUncanny X-Men, Iron Man, and Kickass, is handling the interior art on the limited series, working with inker Danny Miki and colorist Alex Sinclair. Romita’s art graces the three periodical covers, which can be seen below. The fourth cover, also below, with art by Miller and showing Superman from behind — that’s the one that will accompany the collected-story version of Superman: Year One that arrives in November.

The project synopsis from Warner Bros.-owned DC Comics: “Superman: Year One is a coming-of-age story for the future Man of Steel, featuring a young alien-boy just trying to find his place in a new world. Faced with the need to hide his heritage and powers in order to survive, Clark will find his humanity through the grounding of the Kent family and the relationships that will define the man he will become. Told by two of the most revered voices in comics, Superman: Year One is more than a superhero story – it’s about the choices made by Clark Kent on his path to becoming a legend. It’s a testament to the importance of choosing to become a hero.”

The “Year One” title connects the new Superman project to one of Miller’s career peak achievements. In 1987, Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli delivered Batman: Year One, which revisited the formative days of Bruce Wayne’s caped alter ego in a four-issue run of the monthly Batman comic book series. The sublime result has rippled through Batman mythology and high-profile adaptations ever since, most notably Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and the Fox series Gotham, which is now in its fifth and final season. Batman: Year One was also adapted in a namesake, feature-length animated home video release in 2011.

Below, three cover images by John Romita Jr. for the Superman: Year One bimonthly comics and a fourth by Frank Miller for the collected story arc version that will reach stores in November.

 

 

From: https://deadline.com/2019/03/superman-year-one-frank-miller-and-john-romita-jr-take-on-man-of-steel-1202576391/

The Comics History of All 9 CAPTAIN MARVELS

The name “Captain Marvel” is unique among comic book superheroes in that it has been shared by nine different characters spread across three publishers.

The original hero called Captain Marvel, who currently goes by the name Shazam, was one of the most popular superheroes of the Golden Age of the 1940s. Introduced as young Billy Batson, a boy reporter for WHIZ Radio, he became the superheroic Captain Marvel once he uttered the magic word “Shazam,” the name of the wizard who granted him his powers. From 1940 to 1950, Captain Marvel was the comic book industry’s biggest hit, with spin-off titles galore. He was a certifiable cash cow for publisher Fawcett Comics.

But National Publications, known today as DC Comics, saw Captain Marvel as a knockoff of its own Superman and sued Fawcett. Eventually DC won, and Fawcett was forced to retire publishing Captain Marvel, leaving the name completely unused. In 1966, once the name Captain Marvel fell into public domain, a minor publisher named MF Enterprises created their own Captain Marvel—one that almost no one remembers today.

This Captain Marvel wasn’t only a knockoff of the ’40s Cap; he ripped off Superman too! This Captain was an alien android powered by an M-emblem medallion on his chest, who had been sent to Earth by his creators to escape the atomic destruction of their planet. Apparently Superman didn’t even have dibs on his own origin story.

In another instance of ripping off Superman, he took on the secret identity of a journalist named Roger Winkle. Borrowing from Batman, he had a young ward named Billy Baxton. (The original Captain Marvel’s real name, let us remind you, was Billy Batson. We know, it was pretty shameless.) This Captain Marvel even managed to rip off Archie Comics, as he lived in the small idyllic town of Riverdale… uh, we mean Riverview, USA.

The android Captain Marvel’s powers were among the worst in comics history. He would yell out the world “Split!” and his limbs would come apart, and then project themselves at his enemies, leaving the good Captain just a torso with a head. It was as terrifying looking on paper as it sounds.

This version only lasted five issues, from 1966 to ’67, the likely reason being that Marvel Comics was in the middle of their most fertile creative period and wanted the name Captain Marvel badly. Legend has it they paid off MF, which was tiny publisher, for the rights to the name, after which they secured the trademark. Although unconfirmed, the timing certainly holds up, as in late 1967, they introduced Mar-Vell, A Kree warrior who protected the Earth. He would soon gain his own title, which lasted throughout the entire decade of the 1970s.

Meanwhile, DC Comics acquired the rights to produce new material featuring Fawcett’s original Captain Marvel, which was ironic seeing as how they once sued that character right off the printed page. But because Marvel had their own legally trademarked Captain Marvel, they could not print a comic with “Captain Marvel” as the title, nor would they likely want to. So all comics featuring their Captain Marvel were now called Shazam! and his heroic name could only be used inside the comics themselves. To sum up, at this time, there were two official heroes named Captain Marvel—one owned by Marvel and one by DC. This wacky scenario would last four whole decades.

While Billy Batson remained as DC’s Captain Marvel during all this time, Marvel’s Captain went through several iterations of heroes using the name. Mar-Vell lasted from 1967 through 1982; then there was Monica Rambeau, who was introduced as Captain Marvel in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 and would go by the handle until the mid ’90s (she would go on to use names including Photon, Pulsar, and Spectrum).

Immediately afterward was Mar-Vell’s son Genis-Vell—who, after being introduced as Legacy in 1993, became Captain Marvel in Captain Marvel Vol. 3 in 1995—followed by his sister Phyla-Vell, who came along in 2003’s Captain Marvel Vol. 5. Then there was another Kree named Noh-Varr, who became Captain Marvel in 2009’s Dark Avengers #1. There was even a Skrull named Khn’nr who was brainwashed into believing he was Mar-Vell, and he was Captain Marvel for a brief period of time between 2007’s Civil War: The Return and 2008’s Captain Marvel series.

Eventually, the former Ms. Marvel, Mar-Vell’s former love interest and protégé and longstanding member of the Avengers, finally became the Captain Marvel in 2012. Fans had been campaigning for this for years.

Also in 2012, DC was in the middle of the massive New 52 reboot. Their own Captain Marvel got a reboot as a part of that, thanks to creator Geoff Johns. The first thing he did was get rid of the name Captain Marvel and rename him Shazam officially. Because the comic had to be called Shazam! for legal reasons, most people referred to the character as such already, and had for decades. Getting rid of the Captain Marvel name in an official capacity just seemed like the smart thing to do.

In the final analysis, there have been nine Captain Marvels altogether over the years, with the great number of them coming from Marvel Comics. But even Stan Lee himself could have never envisioned a scenario where arguably the two most famous bearers of that title enjoyed their big screen debuts within a month of each other. Only in Hollywood.

Images: Marvel Comics / Marvel Studios / DC Comics / Warner Bros.

From: https://nerdist.com/article/9-captain-marvel-comics-history-shazam/

DC ROUND-UP: Superman #9 and an Ultraman we didn’t know we needed

DC Comics is trying something new. In the wake of their Rebirth initiative, the publisher has rapidly expanded its content to include diverse new imprints such as Wildstorm, Jinxworld, Wonder Comics, Black Label, Young Animal, Ink, and Zoom. As their lineup expands, it can be hard to figure out what to pick up each week. That’s what our team is here to help with, every Wednesday, with the DC Round-Up.

THIS WEEK: Ultraman is not a fellow we’d invite out for drinks.

Note: the reviews below contain spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.


Superman #9

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Ivan Reis and Brandon Peterson
Inker: Joe Prado
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Josh Reed

One of the defining characteristics of Brian Michael Bendis’ work writing both Superman titles (Superman and Action Comics) as well as his pair of Wonder Comics books (Naomi and Young Justice), is that the veteran creator seems determined to touch upon nearly every corner of the DC Universe. This makes sense, given that he spent nearly two decades at Marvel, with a good 50 percent of iconic (some might say the most iconic) superhero properties out of his reach. And as Bendis himself has pointed out at conventions, his age these days doesn’t lend itself to prolonged runs the way it once did.

In Action Comics, this first manifested in brief not-quite-cameos for characters like The Guardian and The Question, before now spiraling into a storyline called Leviathan that seems likely to incorporate all of DC’s (apparently many) shadowy crime organizations, spy agencies and clandestine operations. In Superman, it has meant that Clark and the rest of the Kent family have bounded between planets and dimensions, bringing in segments of the more science fiction-heavy concepts that have long been part of the DNA at DC.

In this week’s Superman #9, the prodigal Jon Kent continues to tell his parents about where he has been, which for them was only a couple weeks but for him has been years. This just so happens to be Earth-3, which is home the evil alternate Justice League, the Crime Syndicate, last seen (to my knowledge) during the Darkseid War storyline that essentially marked the end of the New 52. Most importantly, Bendis gets access to Ultraman, the group’s Superman, enabling him to write a character that is pretty much everything Clark is not. Past depictions of this character have simply made him aggressive or amoral, and, to be certain, Bendis does that here as well, but he also really leans into some other despicable character traits that might be more familiar to readers than being willing to take over a planet or murder someone with heat vision eyes.

In Superman #9—which has present day and flashback segments, drawn by Ivan Reis with inker Joe Prado and an assist in places by Brandon Peterson—Bendis gives us a maddeningly volatile and inconsistent alternate reality Superman, one whom is as prone to sudden rage-fueled violence as he is to self-indulgent rambles and ugly self-pitying sobbing. It seems almost as if Bendis thought of what really made Superman tick—how admirable he is, how dignified—and leaned into the opposite, making Ultraman not only violent and evil but also a guy you just really would never want to spend time around.   

This, to me, speaks to another hallmark of Bendis’ nearly-year-old Superman writing tenure (like that little seguey?), his willingness to try something new and different, while logically extending the core qualities of the characters. This has made some superhero fans uncomfortable—the fellow at my local comic book store grumbles about Jon Kent’s accelerated puberty pretty much every Wednesday—but for me personally, it’s working, and the Ultraman we get in this issue is a prime example of why, with the whole: I’ll see you one planet dominating maniac, and raise you a guy you would also never want to go on a car trip with.

And while I still think Action Comics is maybe an easier book to really love than Superman, I’m increasingly not differentiating the two comics in my head, instead thinking of this Bendis Superman era as one amalgamation of trying something new with one of the oldest still-standing (flying?) characters in all of pop culture. Jon, for one, is slowly getting more agency here. The Rebirth era of Superman was nice, a great reminder of the core of the character, but this one to me seems poised to give Jon Kent more agency than he’s ever had before (perhaps even a full blown Legion of it), and I’m all the way in on that.

Basically, both Superman and Action Comics have felt like they’re building to major things. I’m not sure where we’re going in the end—and really, I don’t even have a guess—but this issue almost certainly pushed us closer. Now accepting guesses, theories, and outrageous claims about what Superman’s waking vision (which was gorgeously illustrated in the opening pages of this issue) meant, and whether it will somehow come to pass. I’m also dying for someone to annotate that one two-page spread with all those characters (see above). I’m not detail-oriented enough to do that sort of thing myself, but I love it when others take the time.

Verdict: Buy


Round-Up

  • Wonder Twins #2 by Mark Russell and Stephen Byrne made me chuckle to myself I don’t know how many times. This book has a sensibility that feels like it’s custom-tailored for me. There’s also a real Superior Foes of Spider-Man thing going on with the bad guy (poor poor Drunkula). Wonder Twins is one of those comics where you can feel the creative team having fun, and I love it.
  • G. Willow Wilson’s run keeps improving with Wonder Woman #66. She’s putting Diana with characters we haven’t seen her confront (meaningfully) in some time, and the book has been all the better for it.
  • In Catwoman #9, guest writer Ram V. and guest artist John Timms put together a stylish heist story that plays around expertly with form. This run has been one of DC’s better offerings in consistently great artwork, regardless of who is drawing it, and this issue is no exception.
  • I’ve said this before, but Cover #6 was my favorite issue of the Jinxworld series to date. The meta comic by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Mack is such a charming look behind the scenes of the comicbook industry. Unflinching and honest too, with Bendis regularly taking shots at himself. This issue, besides being a great finale for what I believe is the book’s “first season,” is worth the price of admission alone for a two-page spread that depicts some of the industry’s most famous comics creators, some with their real first names (Frank Miller is Frank) and others with goofy analogs (Tom King is Bill Prince).
  • Scott Snyder’s Dark Multiverse is the gift that keeps giving (doesn’t seem like the right phrase…), insofar as it continues to let him tell twisted alternate Batman stories in continuity. This week’s The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight one-shot is a collaboration with writer James Tynion IV, artist Eduardo Risso, and colorist Dave Stewart, a really smart meditation on a range of topics, from gun rights fallacies to the militarization of the police to capital punishment to surveillance and corruption.  
  • Supergirl #28 injects levity into these proceedings with a burgeoning love triangle…yet it doesn’t have to sacrifice any of the drama in its plot to do it. This book has been great since it reoriented and sent Kara on a space quest with Krypto. Basically, it’s a steady must-read, just like the rest of the Superman line at present.
  • Red Hood Outlaw #32 sees former New 52 Teen Titans member Bunker seemingly starting to suspect continuity has been tampered with, noting, “But—sometimes I feel like reality is…arbitrary. As if everything I believe has been reset and reborn and rebooted again and again.” The use of the word “reborn” is interesting. After last week’s Doomsday Clock #9, I can’t help but feel like we’re on the brink of a major continuity shift, line-wide…
  • Titans is really stumbling to the finish, which is fine because I don’t want to end up mourning it the same way I did (and still am) Green Arrow (RIP…for now).

Miss any of our earlier reviews?  Check out our full archive!

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.

From: https://www.comicsbeat.com/dc-round-up-superman-9-and-an-ultraman-we-didnt-know-we-needed/

Captain Comics: The many iterations of Captain Marvel

It’s time to discuss Captains Marvel.

Yes, Captain Marvel in the plural — because there have been a lot of them. Ironically, the character starring in “Shazam,” premiering April 5, started out as a Captain Marvel. And the character starring in “Captain Marvel,” premiering March 8, did not.

But given those movies, the long strange history of the name “Captain Marvel” must be addressed. And it’s a doozy.

The Shazam guy, it should be noted, was the first, original Captain Marvel. Debuting in “Whiz Comics” No. 2 (1939), from Fawcett Comics, young orphan Billy Batson was able to turn into the adult, super-powered Captain Marvel by saying a magic word: “Shazam,” the name of the wizard who gave him his powers.

Those powers included flight, super-strength and invulnerability — which he shared with another famed superhero, Superman. And Billy Batson became a journalist (a radio reporter), an element he shared with Clark Kent. The publishers of Superman, the forerunners of today’s DC Comics, decided that was enough to sue “The World’s Mightiest Mortal” for copyright infringement.

The lawsuit dragged on into the 1950s, and eventually Fawcett threw in the towel. They got out of the comic book biz altogether in 1953.

Without anybody protecting it, the trademark for the name “Captain Marvel” fell into public domain. Anybody could use it. And the first company to do so was a tiny firm called M.F. Enterprises.

The new Captain Marvel launched in his own eponymous title in 1966. It only lasted four issues, though, because the whole concept was utterly terrible.

For one thing, he wasn’t a he — he was an it. The new Captain Marvel was an alien robot, sent to Earth to escape the nuclear destruction of his home world. He had jet boots and laser eyes, but that wasn’t his main, or most memorable, super-power.

That would be his ability to break apart into six discrete parts by yelling the word “Split!” His arms, legs and head would separate from his torso, and all those parts would go into battle separately.

Yeah. The awful image that just crossed your mind is entirely accurate. Somebody actually thought that was a good idea.

As noted, though, the M.F. Enterprises Captain Marvel didn’t last long. But maybe it lasted long enough to alert Marvel Comics that the name “Captain Marvel” was up for grabs. And if you’re “Marvel Comics,” wouldn’t you want that name?

And they got it. According to the book “Slugfest,” Marvel actually nudged M.F. Enterprises to get out of the Captain Marvel business, and threw in a $4,500 sweetener.

And lo, a Marvel Captain Marvel was born. An anthology title, “Marvel Super-Heroes,” introduced Captain Mar-Vell in 1967. A spy for the Kree Empire, Mar-Vell was assigned to Earth, specifically to Cape Canaveral, where he took the disguise of dead rocket scientist Walter Lawson.

Unfortunately for Mar-Vell, Lawson had a criminal past, and he immediately became an object of suspicion for the Cape’s tough head of security, USAF Captain Carol Danvers. More on her, anon.

Needless to say, Mar-Vell didn’t stay a bad guy for long; he came to love Earth and began fighting for her in his green-and-white Kree uniform, which we gullible Earthlings assumed to be a superhero costume. Going by the name Captain Marvel — a corruption of his actual name and rank — Mar-Vell graduated to his own series, where he fought aliens, met Avengers and was given super-powers by mysterious cosmic entities.

Oh, wait, that last part probably deserves explanation. A cosmic intelligence named “Zo” informed Mar-Vell that he was destined to be the “balance” of the universe, and in concert with the Supreme Intelligence — an amorphous blob of minds that leads the Kree — remade Mar-Vell. He gained flight, super-strength, great resistance to injury and “cosmic awareness,” a sort of universal clairvoyance or precognition.

He also gained a snappy red, blue and gold super-suit — and his own Billy Batson, sort of. Writer Roy Thomas tipped his hat to the original Captain Marvel by sending the new version to the Negative Zone, where he could only be freed when ubiquitous sidekick Rick Jones changed places with him. Instead of yelling “Shazam,” teenage Jones would clang together cosmic wrist jewelry called Nega-Bands — “Ktang!” — and be replaced by the adult Mar-Vell. Mar-Vell could reverse the swap by ktanging his own Nega-Bands together.

But all good things must come to an end, they say, and Mar-Vell did as well. In a shocking twist, he died of cancer, in the aptly-named “Death of Captain Marvel” graphic novel (1981). Which freed up the name “Captain Marvel” again.

Marvel wasn’t about to let it get away, especially since DC Comics had acquired the original Captain Marvel. Unable to use the name on covers due to Marvel’s trademark rights, DC had begun publishing the first Captain Marvel in all his glory in a series titled “Shazam” in 1973.

So Marvel created another Captain Marvel in 1982: Monica Rambeau, a police lieutenant in the New Orleans harbor patrol. Able to transform herself into any kind of energy, Rambeau has been poorly used in comics, ceding the name Captain Marvel in the ‘90s and taking in succession the names Photon, Pulsar and Spectrum before more or less fading into comic book limbo. (A character named Monica Rambeau will appear in the “Captain Marvel” movie, so she’s got that going for her.)

And to whom did Monica cede the legendary name? Why Genis-Vell, Mar-Vell’s formerly unknown biological son. Despite the blood connection, though, he didn’t last in the role either, taking the name Photon (again, from the hapless Monica Rambeau) before dying, being dismembered and having his parts spread throughout the Darkforce Dimension so they can never be reunited. (It’s true that no one is ever really dead in comics, but this comes pretty darn close.)

Did I mention Genis had a sister? He did, and his sibling Phyla-Vell also became Captain Marvel for a spell, before changing her name to Quasar, then Martyr, and apparently dying (although we’ve seen her soul in an infinity stone, so don’t count her out).

Then a Skrull named Khn’nr wore the Nega-Bands, and was brainwashed into thinking he was Mar-Vell, somehow resuscitated. After he died, another Kree named Noh-Varr claimed the bands and the name, before changing his nom du combat to Protector.

Gee, that’s a lot of Captains Marvel. A cynical mind might assume Marvel was just assigning the name to one character after another to protect the trademark.

But now it’s finally stuck. Remember Carol Danvers? You should, because she has claimed the mantle, and with her upcoming movie, is unlikely to ever give it up.

But she didn’t get the name right away. She surfaced as a superhero in 1977 with her own comic book and Captain Marvel-related super-powers. Unfortunately, Mar-Vell wasn’t dead yet, so she settled on the name Ms. Marvel. Various adventures saw her changing her name again and again, but “Captain Marvel” was never available when she did. She become Binary, then Warbird, then Ms. Marvel again.

Finally, in 2012 she was again ready to change her name, and nobody was using “Captain Marvel.” So now she’s got it. Whew!

Meanwhile, over at DC Comics, Captain Marvel struggled along without being able to use his name on a cover. With one series after another using some variation of “Shazam” as a title, fans began calling him that — and now it’s official. With its 2011 reboot, DC gave up on “Captain Marvel” and renamed Billy Batson’s other self “Shazam.”

And that’s why when you say “Captain Marvel” to a comics fan, he or she will inevitably say “which one”? It’s a storied title, but the stories star a lot of different people!

 

From: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/life/2019/03/12/captain-comics-many-iterations-captain-marvel/3091589002/

Visitors to Marvel artist’s Lake County exhibit ‘enter into such a different world’

The first thing Bruno Junqueira did when he left O’Hare International Airport at 5 a.m. Saturday after a long plane trip from Brazil was to drive to the Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County in Libertyville.

There he met his hero, Alex Ross, a renowned artist of superheroes and villains for Marvel Comics and DC Comics.

Junqueira was among more than 600 people who came to the opening of the exhibit “Marvelocity: The Art of Alex Ross” at the Lake County Forest Preserves museum. Ross was there for three hours to autograph his new book “Marvelocity,” as well as various other books, drawings and other works of art he created that superhero and art lovers brought to the event or purchased there.

Ross, who lives in the Chicago area, is recognized as one of the nation’s finest modern comic book artists — and his colorful, detailed art work depicting Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Iron Man and others grace the museum walls. Also on exhibit are superhero figures Ross drew and sculpted when he was a young boy.

A life-sized, three-dimensional Captain America sculpture Ross created is also on display, flanked by busts he sculpted of the Hulk and other superheroes. Some of this art has never before been seen by the public, said Ross, who has spent nearly three decades turning drawings of superheroes created by Marvel Comics and DC Comics into fine art.

When Junqueria learned he’d be flying into Chicago for a business trip the same day the exhibit was opening and that Ross would be there, he knew it would be his first stop. “My luggage is still in my car,” he said.

Junqueira added that “my biggest inspiration is Alex Ross’s work,” pointing out the artist’s ability to create detailed, colorful works to look as if they were either done in an acrylic paint or with water colors, or both.

“Since I was 6 or 7, I loved comic books and drawing,” Junqueira said. “It’s amazing how with that, you can enter into such a different world.”

Junquiera, a budding comic illustrator, brought Ross a gift — a drawing of Ross himself, which the artist graciously accepted just before beginning a three-hour stint of signing his works for his admirers.

Young and old were there because they love superheroes, and they love the art of Alex Ross. One woman wore a Batman sweater, earrings and necklace. Adults and children took selfies with the paintings and sculptures. Others browsed the gift shop filled with Ross’s work.

One superhero lover didn’t even know Alex Ross and his works would be there when he visited the museum.

Mason Reid, 8, of Vernon Hills, and his father Jerry came because Mason won a free pass to the museum at school.

“I walked in and I saw Captain America and all these pictures, and noticed this is a whole area dedicated to superheroes,” Mason said.

His favorite drawing was one showing Sandman attacking Spider-Man. “Spider-Man is using the force to defend himself,” said Mason, who loves to read comic books and draw — and, of course, he was Batman one year for Halloween.

The young boy recognized that superheroes weren’t one-dimensional.

“There’s some good and maybe a little bad in them,” he said. “Batman has a dark side.”

When asked what it was about superheroes that attracted adults and children, Mason said, “It’s a great way to express powers we don’t have.”

Mackenzie Kick, a junior at Barrington High School, came to the event to purchase Ross’s new book for $50, and have him sign it.

“I like his art style,” said Kick, a ceramicist who enjoys reading comic books. “You can see right there on the pages what you’re reading about.”

Justin Torres just plain loves superheroes. When the Chicago resident noticed that the displays included a sculpted bust of The Thing that Ross had created, he immediately took a selfie.

Torres knows all about The Thing. “He just got married and he’s Jewish,” Torres said, showing a cellphone picture of The Thing wearing a yarmulke for the wedding ceremony.

“He’s one of the original Fantastic Four from the ‘50s. He’s cool and grumpy,” Torres said.

Torres added he didn’t realize Ross lived in the Chicago area and that there was a museum in Lake County featuring exhibits like this one.

“This is a hidden gem,” he said.

Some visitors at the event asked Ross who his favorite superhero was.

His immediate response: “Captain America.”

“He’s always trying to do the best, be the best version of us,” Ross said in an earlier interview.

The exhibit continues through Sept. 8 during regular hours at the museum, which is located at 1899 W Winchester Road. Special events are planned, including a program on superheroes of the animal world.

Sheryl DeVore is a freelance reporter for the News-Sun.

From: https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/news/ct-lns-marvelocity-exhibit-opens-st-0312-story.html

Superman Sunday – Action Comics #1007: The Comic Source Podcast Episode #727

In this episode we discuss;

Superman Sunday – Action Comics #1007

The Comic Source Podcast

Episode #727

Jace talks about the first part of the Leviathan Rising arc from Action Comics and why he still has reservations about what is going on with Lois Lane.

Action #1007

Writer – Brian Michael Bendis, Artist – Steve Epting, Colorist – Brad Anderson, Letterer – Josh Reed

From: https://lrmonline.com/news/episode-727/

Review – Superman: Action Comics #1008: Leviathan on the Hunt

Owner/Publisher, Editor-at-Large

Ken Denmead

Editor-in-Chief

Matt Blum

Managing Editor

Z

Senior Editors

Jonathan H. Liu, Jenny Bristol, Corrina Lawson, Patricia Vollmer

Gaming Editor

Dave Banks

Assistant Editor

John Booth

Associate Publishers*

MacKenzie Paulus, Megan Fulton, Tim Johnides, Jeff Williams, Dante Lauretta, Magnus Dahlsröm, Jayson Peters, David Michael, Gerry Tolbert, Andrew Smith, Ray Wehrs, Joel Becker, Scott Gaeta, Beth Kee, Joey Mills, talkie_tim, Danny Marquardt, Adam Bruski, John Bain, Bill Moore, Adam Frank, Lacey Hays, Peter Morson, James Needham, Matt Fleming, Adam Anderson, Jim Reynolds, Seiler Hagan, Bryan Wade, Petrov Neutrino, Jay Shapiro

Editor (Emeritus)

Chris Anderson

Core Contributors

Darren Blankenship, Rory Bristol, Robin Brooks, Mathias DeRider, Ray Goldfield, Jamie GreeneRyan Hiller, Rob Huddleston, Will James, James Floyd Kelly, Anthony Karcz, Michael Kaufman, Mordechai Luchins, Joey Mills, Brad Moon, Tony Nunes, Anton Olsen, Skip Owens, Jules Sherred, Shaun Washington, Simon Yule

Occasional Contributors

Tim Bailey, Sara BlackburnPreston Burt, Stephen Clark, Jeffrey Cohen, Adam Dimuzio, Mathias DeRider, Tom Fassbender, Luke Forney, Logan Giannini, Travis Hanson, Sean Hallenbeck, Michael Harrison, Kim HaynesWhit Honea, Greg Howley, Michael J.Angela Leach, Michael LeSauvage, Jim MacQuarrie, Eric Parrish, Michael PistiolasRicardo Rebelo, Drew Rich, Mitchell RoushMariana Ruiz, Tony Sims, Randy Slavey, Erik Stanfill, Andrew TerranovaGerry TolbertMark VorenkampChris Wickersham, Sean Z.

From: https://geekdad.com/2019/02/review-superman-action-comics-1008-leviathan-on-the-hunt/

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