Showing posts with label Marvel Comics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marvel Comics. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

International Ink extra: The She-Hulk Diaries

Along with Rogue Touch, The She-Hulk Diaries by Marta Acosta (Hyperion, $15) is Marvel Comics' latest experiment in reaching a new audience. The books are superhero romance novels. As a superhero fan, I'm perhaps 1/2 of the audience they're aiming at; I'm certainly not a woman who reads romance novels. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this novel.

I'm not currently keeping up with Marvel's ever-expanding Avengers line, so I'm not sure how the book fits into continuity. In Acosta's story, Jennifer Walters and her alter-ego She-Hulk (annoyingly aka Shulky) have a Jekyll and Hyde relationship with one personality displacing the other rather than the comic book's original version of She-Hulk as a more confident, less uptight and fun-loving version of Jennifer. John Byrne even had She-Hulk practicing law (which is referenced in this novel, but not in a believable fashion). Like Byrne, Acosta has a light humorous hand with the character, and refreshingly doesn't take superheroism too seriously.

As with Hyde, She-Hulk is a released Id and has been tossed out of Avengers Mansion for being too destructive and disruptive. Jennifer, narrating the story via her diary, is living in a borrowed apartment and looking for a new life - a new job, a new apartment and a new boyfriend. Her secret identity as She-Hulk is making all of these objectives difficult.

In coincidences that could only happen in a comic book, or a romance novel, Jennifer gets a job at a law firm that is suing over failing artificial organ transplants, and her former lover Ellis Tesla is the son of the firm;s owner, engaged to its hot-shot lead attorney AND being sued by the firm in the organ case. Tesla is a former musician whose most famous song "Flesh-Eating Bacteria Girl" is about Jennifer, although she continually denies it. Acosta keeps a lot of balls in the air as Jennifer works all of these things out, as well as random attacks by a minor league supervillains, while trying to keep a lid on She-Hulk.

The story is full of lines such as "In order to get Ellis out of my head, which is already crowded by Shulky sprawling all over the place, I decided to participate in something outside my comfort zone" (which is a Game of Thrones party at a bar). After a few minutes of reading, one gets used to them and begins looking forward to the next escapade. This novel won't be for everyone, but if you're a fan of strong female superhero characters, give it a try.

Next up: Tommysaurus Rex by Doug Tennapel

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Marvel Comics & Williams-Sonoma - together again & on sale!

These pictures were taken last night at the Williams-Sonoma kitchen store in Clarendon in Arlington. You can get a lot of baking equipment to make your Marvel Comics characters, and it's on sale! And so are the Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk spatulas - I got Iron Man! $3.99!

Photos courtesy of Claire Rhode.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Atlas Returns in Baltimore

It’s easy to forget how close Baltimore really is, but it is less than an hour away and has one of America’s few comics museums. Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (aka GEM), housed in a former railroad station right outside the Camden Yards ballpark, is a magical place for comics fans. Steve Geppi is the owner of Diamond Distributors, the largest comic book distributor in the country, and his museum is a showcase for his collections. The main hallway is filled with large posters (including one for the original King Kong movie), original comics artwork, advertising signs, and a letter from Walt Disney to Mrs. George ‘Krazy Kat’ Herriman expressing condolences on her husband’s death.

The exhibit galleries tell the story of popular culture via characters, beginning in the 19th century with Palmer Cox’s Brownies (although there’s a nod to earlier history in the first one – you can see Ben Franklin’s original newspaper cartoon in it). They jump decade by decade, hitting highlights such as The Yellow Kid, Superman, Disney’s characters, Little Orphan Annie, Popeye and the like before ending with Star Wars in the 1970s. Each room is packed with toys and merchandising.

The galleries begin with one devoted to the history of the comic book which begins with early collections of comic strips from the 1900s through the ‘20s, then moves into pulps and a whole wall of Big Little Books, before showcasing Geppi’s collection of key comic books. Atlas At Last! the current temporary exhibit began in this room. Atlas was a company that barely existed from 1974-1975. It was created by Martin Goodman, the former owner of Marvel Comics (which had used the name Atlas in the 1950s), for his son Chip to run, in an attempt to outstrip his former company. As Diamond’s Scoop site notes, “By paying top rates, the company attracted creators such as Russ Heath, John Severin, Alex Toth, Walter Simonson, Ernie Colon, Neal Adams, Pat Broderick, Mike Ploog, Rich Buckler, Frank Thorne, Tony Isabella, Jeff Jones, Boris Valejo and others. One series, The Destructor, featured longtime Warren, Marvel and DC editor Archie Goodwin as its writer, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange co-creator Steve Ditko on pencils, EC veteran and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents creator Wally Wood on inks, with Marvel veteran Larry Lieber (one of the Atlas editors and Marvel impresario Stan Lee’s brother) providing the cover.” It’s worth noting that talents did not move between the major companies at the time, and one could be blackballed for doing work for a competitor.

Mark Huesman, JC Vaughn, Mike Wilbur, Philip Zolli & Mark Wheatley

The exhibit features most, if not all, of the comics, that Atlas published and some striking original art down for the books. These are drawn from the collection of Philip Zolli, the enthusiast behind The Atlas Archives website (which he started in 2003). Zolli bought the comics he could fine when they appeared originally, and has continued completing and filling out his collection over the intervening thirty-five years. Mike Wilbur (employee of Diamond International Galleries) was one of the show’s curators and provided some of the comic books on display. The other of exhibit’s two curators, J.C. Vaughn (of Gemstone Publishing), invited me to the opening of the show. Of Atlas’ enduring appeal, he told me, “I’ve worked in comics for sixteen years next month, and I freelanced for a year before that, so I’m not a novice, I’m not your average fanboy, but I was totally a geeked-out kid. I got two of the comics in a trade when I was a kid, like 1976, a year after they died, and I got so into them -- that’s the seed of the exhibit being here now.”

The Atlas line has just been relaunched by Ardden Entertainment and grandson Jason Goodman, and Vaughn says, “I think there’s a better understanding of the company now … we’re talking 72, 73 publications in 1975, and the fact that we’re still talking about them in any sense is amazing, and the fact that anyone’s bringing them back is even more amazing.”

Phil Zolli was attempting to collect his comics before there were comic book stores. “I remember there several stationary stores had the spinner racks, and they were there, and Atlas in my area got good coverage, so I was able to buy them right off the newsstand. They just struck a chord with me because all I knew at the time was Marvel and DC, and I got to be at the ground floor of a brand-new company. It was very exciting. A year later, they disappeared.” He didn’t buy all of the line at the time – Archie knock-off Binky, Gothic Romances and other magazines waited for later, as did buying original art. “Once I started the site, and I had searches out because I wanted to accumulate as much information as I could, E-bay was a great source of information and artwork that popped up. I thought, ‘This is great and relatively inexpensive. I’m going to buy it.’ Zolli’s original artwork is interspersed with other artwork, both in the main comic book exhibit room and the museum’s main hall, a weakness in the show’s design that lessens the impact of the art. Very little of the original art exists. Vaughn noted, “When people went up to the Atlas offices, after they ceased publication, there was one secretary that denied that they were ever in comics, Simonson had a whole story missing… some have cast glances at some of the last editorial employees and others have just heard that it got thrown out.” Maryland comic artist Mark Wheatley, who noted that he published the first or second story done by Howard Chaykin, said “During that period, it’s quite likely it just got tossed.” Zolli is continuing to collect the new versions of the comics, and has been buying original art from those series as well.

The second Atlas failed for a couple of reasons. Vaughn points out, “They hired Jeff Rovin from Warren [a black and white comics magazine publisher] and put him in charge of color comics; they brought in Larry Lieber who worked at the core of silver age Marvel, and put him in charge of black and white magazines…” Wheatley said of Atlas, “They looked like Marvel deliberately, and then the distributors forced them to change and not look like Marvel” while Vaughn says that “a lot of the changes were capricious like the Movie Monsters [magazine on display] originally had differently colored lettering that didn’t get lost in the background orange, but the Goodman’s came by and made them change it.” Discussing how much the comics industry has changed, Zolli says “Larry Hama was doing the second issue of Wulf, and his mother was dying, and Martin Goodman refused to push the deadline back. The guy quit right after that. A lot of people were bitter.” Distribution was a problem for the company, as other companies such as Skywald and Charlton were still fighting for space on the racks. Wilbur remembers, “The place I was buying my new comics in the ‘70s was a bookstore / newsstand place. I went in there often enough that they would let me put out the new comics when they came in. They had no say in what they got – they would just get these bundles of comics strapped together and it was just totally random. Maybe this month you might get ten copies of this title, next month you’d get two copies and the next month you’d get twenty of them.”

The failure of this newsstand distribution system is what led Geppi to begin Diamond, his distribution company – so he could get his own comic books to read. If you’re curious about a little company that didn’t matter much, or are interested in cartooning history, the museum is located at 301 W. Camden Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, 410-625-7060, sliding scale entry fee begins at $10 for adults.

[Corrected June 1, 2011 for the misspelling of Mr. Zolli's name as Zullo. I regret the error].

Friday, July 09, 2010

Superheroes Who Are Super at the Capital Fring Festival beginning tonight

Save the Day Productions is presenting its live readings of comic books, "Superheroes Who Are Super" at the Capital Fringe Festival beginning tonight
Friday, July 9 @ 8pm
Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man and Wonder Woman #1
Saturday, July 10 @ 10pm
Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man and Wonder Woman #1
Wednesday, July 14 @ 9:45pm
Batman Adventures: Mad Love
Friday, July 16 @ 10:15pm
The Uncanny X-Men #127-128
Sunday, July 18 @ 3:30pm
The Uncanny X-Men #127-128


The Apothecary
1013 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC
Tickets: $15

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

April 13: Fantom Comics 1st Comic Book Happy Hour

From their March newsletter...

Fantom Comics would like to invite you to our first Comic Book Happy Hour, to be held from 6-8pm at The Laughing Man Tavern (just off Metro Center) on the 2nd Tuesday of every month.

April 13th will be our first event, featuring a panel of three policy wonks and a Marvel Comics editor discussing "Politics in Comics". Come for the 20 minute discussion and Q&A, stay for the fun of meeting other comic book nerds in the area! More details will be posted on the website in a couple of weeks, but remember to save that date: Tuesday, April 13th!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Shawn Martinbrough on Luke Cage

Shawn Martinbrough talks about his Luke Cage artwork at Black Superhero Luke Cage Ignites Marvel Comics, by Lynette Holloway, Black Voices Jul 31st 2009. The article says he lives in Washington and NY - I thought he'd left the area, but I guess not completely.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Baltimore Comic-Con PR

2010 Dates Announced!

BALTIMORE, MD (May. 26, 2009) -- The Baltimore Comic-Con is proud to announce that top creators of today's Marvel Universe will find themselves in Baltimore this October 10th and 11th as guests of the Baltimore Comic-Con. Jason Aaron (Wolverine), Brian Michael Bendis (Avengers), Frank Cho (Ultimates 4), David Finch (Ultimatum), Matt Fraction (Uncanny X-Men), and Barry Kitson (Amazing Spider-Man) will all convene to help celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Baltimore Comic-Con.

"This modern day Marvel bullpen, the writers and artists of today's Marvel Comics, will really help to make this year a great show. This will be the first time that Jason Aaron and Matt Fraction have joined us, and a great second year for Brian Michael Bendis. Brian made a special effort to speak with all of his fans last year, and was a guest that many of our fans requested come back," said Marc Nathan, promoter of the Baltimore Comic-Con. "We missed David Finch in 2008 due to the birth of his lovely daughter, and it is great to have him back. And of course, we are thrilled to welcome perennial fan favorites Frank Cho and Barry Kitson back to the halls of the Baltimore Convention Center."

As we continue to get ready for the show on October 10-11, 2009, we would also like to announce the Baltimore Comic-Con's 2010 dates: August 27-28, 2010. "We have spent 10 years putting on great comic book-centric shows, and I am proud to start on a second great decade. The fans come to our shows to meet and greet with their favorite artists and writers, and we plan to continue that tradition well into the future," remarked Nathan. "While it may be early for some, we want our partners, guests, exhibitors, and fans to know our plans so that they join us in 2010."

In coming weeks, look for more announcements from the Baltimore Comic-Con. We are looking forward to highlighting our guests, the Harvey Awards, industry exclusives, and programming. The latest developments can always be found at our website, Facebook, MySpace, and ComicSpace pages.

This year's Baltimore Comic-Con will be held October 10-11, 2009. Convention hours are Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM and Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM. The ceremony and banquet for the Harvey Awards will be held Saturday night, October 10th.

About The Baltimore Comic-Con

The Baltimore Comic-Con is celebrating its 10th year of bringing the comic book industry to the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area. With a guest list unequaled in the industry, the Baltimore Comic-Con will be held Oct 10-11, 2009. For more information, please visit

About The Harvey Awards

The Harvey Awards are one of the comic book industry's oldest and most respected awards. With a history of over 20 years, the last 4 in conjunction with the Baltimore Comic-Con, the Harveys recognize outstanding achievements in over 20 categories. They are the only industry awards nominated and selected by the full body of comic book professionals. For more information, please visit

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How screwed is Marvel's collection publishing biz?

So screwed that yesterday they put out a free comic-sized publication, Marvel Reading Chronology 2009, to tell you what order you should read their collections in. So for example, after getting Daredevil vol. 13: The Murdock Papers tpb, you then need to jump to Daredevil: The Devil, Inside and Out vol. 1, tpb. Nice, huh?

Monday, April 27, 2009

OT: Rather offensive Marvel PR

In "Captain America: Where Were You? We conclude Captain America Week by asking Marvel creators and editors to recall where they were the day Steve Rogers died," (Posted: 2009-04-24 Updated: 2009-04-27), Kevin Mahadeo opens with:

It was a day that will live in infamy.

Television news stations, talk show hosts and comic shops across the nation broke the shocking and unimaginable news: Captain America—the symbol of hope and freedom, the embodiment of the American dream—was dead.

No, actually it was a comic book, as opposed to the opening of a World War... December 7th 1941 may not live in infamy forever, as Franklin Roosevelt would have it, but real men died that day as opposed to a comic book character.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Zadzooks on Halo videogame

Not comics for the most part, but you can view this as animation - "Zadzooks: Halo Wars review: Microsoft Game Studios latest a fans' epic," Joseph Szadkowski, Washington Times Wednesday, March 11, 2009.

"Bennett's Best for the week of March 1," By Greg Bennett, Zadzooks Blog March 09 2009 recommends a couple of Marvel titles.

"Zadzooks: Watchmen movie versus comic books," BY JOE SZADKOWSKI, Zadzooks Blog March 13 2009.

Washington Times reporters Sonny Bunch and Joseph Szadkowski compare Zack Snyder's Watchmen movie to the Watchmen comic book series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Where can I get the President Obama meets Spider-Man comic book?"

People who know I collect comics have been asking me about getting copies of Amazing Spider-Man 583, the President Obama meets Spider-Man issue, coming out this Wednesday. The issue will have two covers - one of which features Obama (pictured on right) and one regular issue which does not (pictured below). All of the stores listed here will have gotten the regular issue as part of their normal ordering process and should have copies of that for sale. Marvel Comics made getting the Obama cover more difficult by first not telling retailers that it would be a special issue, and then offering the two covers and requiring retailers to buy a certain amount of the standard cover before they could order the Obama cover.

Marvel's website has a story on the comic - "Marvel Team-Up: Spidey/Obama Spider-Man editor Steve Wacker talks about the Webhead’s historic meeting with president-elect Barack Obama" By Matt Powell, 2009-01-09.

In my first real act of reporting, I've called some local stores to see if they'll have the Obama meets Spider-Man cover.

Laughing Ogre stores in Lansdowne and Fairfax (near Burke) are going to be your best bet. One of the clerks, Frazier says, "We're taking reservations, but will only have so many." Drew, the assistant manager, told me, "We're limiting people to two copies at first to make sure that everyone who wants a copy will get one. It was a special order thing so you had to be on top of it."

Alliance Comics is in Silver Spring (the store that used to be Geppi's back in the day) and Bowie, MD. Troy Allen of the Silver Spring store says "Marvel dropped this on people at the last minute and our orders had already been placed so we're hoping to have enough to get through the day and then they'll probably fast-track the reprint, if the Death of Captain America is any indication." Some of the people in the store are working on their own comic book as well, so check back for more details.

Big Monkey Comics has been reserving comics for people who have been calling in and hopes to have some to sell on the rack - Assistant Manager of the DC store James Rambo says, "We've been reserving copies and have gotten a ton of reserves. We're definitely going to have to get extra copies in."

Beyond Comics of Frederick and Gaithersburg, MD has enough to cover to their subscribers and a couple of extra copies because "Marvel didn't release news about what would be in the issue until the after the initial order, and then had a very short reorder period" during the week before Christmas.

Joel Pollack of Big Planet Comics's Bethesda store said, "Marvel, in their infinite wisdom, made it impossible for us to get a reasonable number of copies of the Obama cover. We will try to fulfill subs with the Obama cover, but cannot guarantee it. We will be getting the Obama cover second-prints, hopefully on January 21."

Fantom Comics in Tenleytown and Union Station will have just the regular Spider-man issue, which still has the story featuring Obama, and hopes to have enough copies for people to drop in and buy them.

Barbarian Book Store is in the Wheaton Triangle, but does not appear to have a functioning website and the telephone number I found on the web goes to a payphone.

Any other stores in the area who would like to let me know about their plans is welcome to write in:

For those who like to collect this type of comic, Obama met Savage Dragon last fall and also appeared before the election in a biographical comic book. And as Randy noted last week, the free alternative comics Bash Magazine that's on the streets now has an Obama caricature by Halbert as the cover.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pentagon and Marvel propaganda comic books program questioned

"Exclusive: Pentagon Pro-Troop Group Misspent Millions, Report Says," By Noah Shachtman, December 12, 2008. These comics, credited to AAFES, are sometimes available at Walter Reed. They're not good. As I read this article, the comics in particular are not a problem, and it's the whole program instead.

Thanks to Tim for the tip.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Comic advertisements - a few old snapshots

Here's some more advertisements using comics motifs.

Dick Tracy Franklin Bookman standup - Crown Books 199803
Dick Tracy advertisement for Franklin Bookman standup - Crown Books March 1998.

Spider-Man - Hardees 199905
Spider-Man advertisement - Hardees May 1999 (in Kentucky, I think).

Thing - Dodge Caravan ad - NJ Turnpike 199909
Thing from Fantastic Four - Dodge Caravan advertisement - NJ Turnpike September 1999.

Spider-Man - Got Milk Metrobus 199908
Spider-Man - Got Milk Metrobus advertisement, August 1999, Washington, DC.

Disneyland ashtray 2
Disneyland ashtray.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Comic Riffs breaks news of Black Panther's breast implants

David Betancourt and Michael Cavna have broken the story of Marvel's new female Black Panther. They write, "The first modern black superhero is about to get a serious facelift -- even if we can't yet see under the mask" but I believe they've gotten the type of plastic surgery wrong, since they follow that up with "Black Panther will now be a woman warrior."

The comments are hot and heavy though - proving something about comic book readers perhaps.