EDITOR’S NOTE: I pledge allegiance to the spoilers of the Ultimate Comics of Marvel…

If it was really that easy, Bart Simpson would have been the President of The United States since 1992.

I have previously mentioned that the Ultimate Comics Divided We Fall storyline feels, to me, a lot like Wildstorm’s World’s End arc from a few years back: a major publisher making their sub-universe story playground look more relevant by turning it into an arbitrarily violent cesspool to drive large-scale storylines that the characters themselves weren’t weighty enough to introduce with any believability. Stories like this are the zombie apocalypse of comics: create some form of MacGuffin that sends society into turmoil, like a Kherubim attack or the rise of The Children of Tomorrow or a probe from Venus, and let the circumstances allow characters to do shit that you would never accept in a remotely realistic world.

The problems with stories like that is that you need to buy into the circumstances that have broken society. That’s easy with something like Night of The Living Dead – if you can buy the concept of space bacteria making the dead walk, the overrun of society by the zombies is an easy next step. But if you want to buy into the chaos at the heart of The Ultimates #15, even if you decide to ignore the Sentinels going apeshit in Arizona and that most of the northern eastern seaboard is under National Guard control (despite barely seeing any signs of even traffic snarls in Ultimate Spider-Man), you need to believe that the entire West Coast has united under the rule of pastiches of what appears to be Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Now, my day job is in a software company, and I can tell you with some authority that there isn’t a serious techie in the world who would cross the street to piss down either of those guys’ throats if their hearts were on fire. If this happened in the real world, California’s computer systems would die like pigs in a chute as all the real programmers emigrated to Arizona, because I guarantee you that the Sentinels run on Linux. But I’m getting off on a tangent here.

Share

Once again, Wednesday has come and gone, and all we have to show for it is a fresh liver nodule, the weak hope that we can survive another 120 or so hours to get the four-disc Blu-Ray of The Avengers (the definitive edition! You know, until next Christmas, when an eight-disc “Mighty” edition will undoubtedly arrive!, Probably with a teaser trailer for Guardians of The Galaxy! And a working repulsor glove!), and terminal, day job-related exhaustion. Well, those things, and a big pile of comic books. And one of those four things means that this…

…is the end of our broadcast day.

But this is actually a decent-looking week. Sure, we’re still in DC’s Zero Month, which has been kinda feast or famine, but this week we have Catwoman #0 (with new writer Ann Nocenti), and Justice League #0, with art by Gary Frank, and showing us the first actual appearance of the New 52 Captain Marvel (known these days as “Shazam,” but those of us older than 30 know better). We’ve also got the conclusion of Bendis’s Spider-Men, a new Mark Waid Daredevil, the continuing aftermath of Glenn’s murder in The Walking Dead, and the coronation of President America in The Ultimates #15!

But you know the drill: before we can review them, we need to wash off the stink of our respective employers, sober up, and then have time to read them. So for at least the next twelve hours…

See you tomorrow, suckers!

Share

Back at the San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Editor In Chief Axel Alonso and The Ultimates writer Sam Humphries teased a huge event occurring in The Ultimates #15. “This will be one of the biggest comics of the year… siesmic,” Marvel’s Director of Communication Artie Singh said at the time, showing off upcoming covers to The Ultimates while withholding the cover to #15 and further teasing that the covers for #14 and #16 they were showing weren’t the final versions.

Which, at the time, felt like just some nifty hype; the entire panel in which this information was teased was far more hype and far less actual hard information. And I don’t think I can remember an SDCC where someone from one of the Big Two publishers didn’t say something like that, and usually the big reveal winds up being something stupid and ultimately inconsequential, like Wonder Woman buying a pair of pants, or Thor installing a pair of Truk-Nutz on Mjolnir.

Well, The Ultimates #15 will be out in comic stores tomorrow, and Marvel has leaked the big development to The Washington Post. Which means that, as a classic inverted pyramid lead, this article totally sucks, but I needed enough words (assuming “Truk-Nutz” counts as a word) to build in a cushion for the jump, to protect your tender little eyes from the big spoiler…

Share

I haven’t really paid much attention to Frankenstein: Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. since its first issue, which, if I recall correctly, we felt only merited a summarizing in our first podcast as “a mildly entertaining yet inferior Hellboy knockoff.” However, given the combination of a new zero issue – meaning a one-and-done – and the news from San Diego Comic-Con that the title would be taking part in Jeff Lemire’s and Scott Snyder’s Rotworld crossover, it seemed like a good time to jump back in, re-familiarize myself with the character, and see if things have become any different.

However, based on my initial impressions of the first issue of the book, I’m issuing myself a challenge, here: I want to try to get through this entire review commenting on the book on its own merits, without mentioning Hellboy or B.R.P.D. even once.

Flips to page with panel of Frankenstein battling a giant Nazi spider

Ooookay. Strap in; this might be a bumpier ride than I originally thought.

Share

Chris Hardwick may currently have the greatest job on Earth. He gets to rub elbows with Doctor Who and Walking Dead muckity-mucks, run a whole channel of geek oriented programming as part of Nerdist Industries, and now, hang out with the Ben Folds Five and The Jim Henson Company as part of the 30th anniversary of Fraggle Rock. Here’s the scoop from the press release, in which Hardwick describes how this came together and the inherent awesomeness of his job:

In a meeting with Lisa [Henson, CEO, The Jim Henson Company], she casually said, ‘Next year is the 30th anniversary of ‘Fraggle Rock.’ Would you want to do anything with the Fraggles?’ ‘WHAT THE [expletive]?? That’s an OPTION?!’ I loudly replied. I think I scared her a little. I knew Ben [Folds] had a new album releasing in September so I threw his name out. Lisa said ‘that would be amazing’ without hesitation. It was beautifully serendipitous. It seemed like a no-brainer to me, but I still cautiously pitched it to Ben, not really knowing his relationship with the show. I think I just spit words out, ‘YOU. VIDEO. FRAGGLES. ME PAY FOR!’”

This video for the new single “Do It Anyway”, by Ben Folds Five, speaks to my inner child who had to sneak episodes of Fraggle Rock at friends’ houses because my parents refused to get HBO. It also speaks to my inner early twenty-something for whom Ben Folds Five’s Whatever And Ever Amen was the soundtrack to the year I moved out of the house after college. It also makes me question my life choices because, no matter what I might accomplish tomorrow, next month, or next year, it most likely won’t be a video shoot with Fraggles. This. This is how the full on midlife crisis starts.

Check out the video full of awesome win, in which Ben Folds and the Fraggles are joined by Chris Hardwick, Rob Corddry, and Anna Kendrick, after the jump!

Share

Batgirl #0 is kind of a strange book. It endeavors to explain Barbara Gordon’s first work in a bat costume, and some of her motivations behind her initial moves into costumed adventuring, and it does that… kind of. But it also leaves open as many questions as it answers, introduces a bunch of vague mysteries that allow writer Gail Simone to tease assumed future stories, and winds up leading directly into the flashback of one of the most famous moments in the history of the character. It also spends a lot of time telling us Barbara’s character traits by, well, telling us about Barbara’s character traits, and it never really explains why Barbara is so fascinated with Batman – certainly not to the point where it makes sense that she’d put on a suit and start working with him.

But on the plus side, this is a superhero comic drawn by Ed Benes that features almost no gratuitous ass shots. Then again, depending on your taste, that might be a negative.

Share

We will be performing some pretty extensive and much-needed site maintenance today, so you might see some some outages, errors, and wild changes in layout.

Please be patient with us; the drugs will eventually wear off, and all will return to normal soon.

Share

Goddammit Marvel, now you’re just fucking with me.

Last week, Marvel released a series of one-word teaser posters hyping the winter round of Marvel Now relaunches (but not reboots! Marvel doesn’t reboot! And Mile Morales has always been Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe! And Cyclops has always dressed like Nightwing on his way to an evening at The Ramrod’s Tower of Power night!). And while the first round of pre-San Diego Comic-Con teases were pretty transparent – “Mighty,” Marvel? Really? – the last few have been downright inscrutable. “Killers” could mean anything from a team led by The Punisher to some anonymous soul in Marvel editorial subtly bragging about blowing Brandon Flowers.

But yesterday, Marvel outdid themselves… and not necessarily in a good way, depending on how you interpret it.

Share

It can’t be this easy. And make no mistake, it won’t be… but as of a week or so ago, Marvel Comics now seems to have the rights to the trademarks of Marvelman and Miracleman, putting them under the same roof for the first time in… well, considering Dez Skinn started publishing Marvelman stories in Warrior back in the 80s without necessarily paying Mick Anglo, the character’s creator know, maybe ever.

So here’s how it apparently plays out… and let’s all keep in mind that I am not a lawyer, I am not privy to nearly 30 years of discussions and legal paperwork, and I am quite hung over: Neil Gaiman settled the main part of his lawsuit against Todd McFarlane over the rights to the Spawn characters Gaiman created for McFarlane back in January of this year. But apparently there was still an outstanding issue: McFarlane had filed a trademark for the Miracleman character after he bought out Eclipse Comics in the early 2000’s, and Gaiman had, in turn, filed an opposition to that trademark. And that trademark has remained in dispute since then, even after the disposition of the original lawsuit, meaning that even though Marvel bought the rights to the Marvelman trademark from Anglo back in 2009, the trademark for Miracleman – which includes all the Eclipse-printed Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman stories form the 80s, which are the only ones anyone gives a fuck about – was still up in the air.

Well, whether as part of the terms of the settlement, or via sheer laziness or forgetfulness, it seems McFarlane has legally abandoned his claim to the Miracleman trademark. And on September 5th, Marvel Comics filed their own notice of trademark on the name.

Share

During the mid-90s, when Wildstorm was an independent publisher run by Jim Lee and before it because a launching-off point for Warren Ellis’s groundbreaking writing on Stormwatch and then The Authority, I knew it less as an imprint known for publishing creator-owned comics, and more as “one of those X-TREEM Image-type publishers that’s fucking up comics,” while I spent three or four years in mostly Vertigo-fueled superhero comics exile. Oh sure, I’ve read some of the old Wildstorm stuff in reprints, and have become familiar with some of the “classic” characters via the more recent Ellis and Ed Brubaker-written stories, but when it comes to a lot of the stuff from, say, 1994 through 1998, I’m what you’d call tabula rasa.

And having read Team 7 #0, by writer Justin Jordan and artist Jesus Merino, that is going to simultaneously bite me in the ass and make me wish I hadn’t spend my mid-20s sneering so hard at books that weren’t named PreacherTransmetropolitan or Jonah Hex.

Share