Well, don’t I feel foolish?
Here I am, plotting out my resources to master the world of comic conventions and it turns out I’m on the wrong coast! NYCC was the place to be this weekend and not only was Newsarama there with every bell ringin’ and whistle blowin’ you could imagine (go team!), but so was the Mighty Marvel Media Machine! WOW! Jam packed with panels and interviews and movie news and special footage and I’m sure there had to have been a free t-shirt or two because that’s really the only thing missing out of the bash for the House of Ideas!
So, while I’ve been the Maytag repairman out on the West Coast, let’s see what Marvel brought to the New York Comic Con. There’s tons of info out there, so think of the following as a few digestible bits that can satisfy any Marvel Zombie.
First off, I’m glad to see the Secret Invasion Checklist a little more rounded out. Wikipedia seems to be the best place so far for a concrete listing and look ahead to November when this big crazy Skrull train should be either hitting the station or veering wildly off the tracks. Looking at the list that doubled in size every month only to stop suddenly in July was nearly as frightening as being invaded by a hostile alien race. But, never fear True Believer, as there is good news. It’s only seven (only seven, she says) new titles starting up in August that will grease the Secret Invasion plot wheels, all spotlighting particular elements of the Marvel Universe. Cosmic level stories are getting their say as our eyes turn to space for a Secret Invasion: Inhumans four-part mini as well as Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova tie-in issues. The X-Men, Thor and Spider-Man seem to be leaving their respective title books alone to let their on-going stories play out, getting a mini-series each to work out their particular plotlines in Secret Invasion.
It’s a semi-new idea (though one can argue that Annuals did it first and better regarding tying in major characters into huge arcing plots without disturbing their ongoing run), and one that’s certainly keeping Thor nearly in two separate worlds. On one hand, you have J. Michael Straczynski’s more introspective run on Thor, and then you have Matt Fraction coming from the Land of the Ice and Snow (from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow) on both Thor: Ages of Thunder and Secret Invasion: Thor, both of which promise heavy action like a hammer to the brain pan. Looking at all three of these books, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a second ‘Mighty’ title on the stands for our Norse Hero coming soon. Maybe Matt Fraction doesn’t need to sleep.
NYCC also sees the Brand New Writers Guild getting larger with the additions of Joe Kelly (who I’ll never stop thinking of as the guy who brought Deadpool to life for me) and Mark FREAKIN’ Waid, a man who needs no introduction. Now, this brings the writing staff up to six which just nearly gives me a heart attack of J. Jonah Jameson proportions, but both editor Steve Wacker and Mark Waid were very clear on what writing Spider-Man is all about these days:
Waid: I think the difference is going to be in the tone or the approach of the outside material. But what brings it all together is Spider-Man at the end of the day. That’s going to be your consistent note throughout. It’s not so much what the writers do over dinner or the conversations they have that bring unity to book — it’s Peter Parker himself.
We also got a confirmed date on a couple new starts to some pretty popular people: the Runaways and the Punisher (sadly, no team up is scheduled). Terry Moore will finally debut his relaunch of the last surviving Tsunami title with a #1 in September (as well as finally showing us his stuff with Mary Jane Loves Spider-Man also slated for September). Considering the delays the book has gone under and a certain amount of tone change between Brian K. Vaughn’s start and Joss Whedon’s rocky end, I don’t think a #1 is all that bad an idea. Normally, renumbering a book can do more to roll a fan’s eyes that turn a new reader’s gaze towards the book, but the Runaways could use a fresh start in their as of yet unseen new form. We do know that it will be set ‘post-Invasion’, there will be a line up shake up and Xavin does survive, so… make of that what you will.
Ironically, it looks to be taking three men (all celebrated crime fiction authors in their own rights) to fill Mr. Ennis’ shoes over on Punisher MAX; Gregg Hurwitz, Victor Gischler and (now Marvel Exclusive) Duane Swierczynski will be telling five-issue story arcs and giving each their own individual stamp on the character of Frank Castle with their own individual artist. Where as the Brand New Day writers are more than willing to tell you (at length) about their core character dynamic and the great and wonderful story they’re weaving together, the MAX side of things seems a little less overarcing. Which makes sense, in a way; the Punsher is a pretty singular kind of guy and that these three writers are taking him on in their own way kind of mirrors Castle himself. Unsurprisingly, all three promise violence and crime, so maybe that’s all you need for an overarcing Punisher story?
Considering how unbearably close and yet so far away from the big Marvel Movie Bonanza (I ran out of M words), NYCC could not pass without a few words from our friends in Hollywood. I’m proud to see that some Incredible Hulk love is getting doled out by the execs and the buzz is late, but arriving in the nick of time and with backup. You see, there is exclusive footage and then there is PANDIMONUM LET LOOSE UPON THE FANS. Rejoice, fellow Marvelites as Tony Stark will indeed be making a sexy guest appearance in the Incredible Hulk movie. This is, quite frankly, an epic occurance; with a few simple moments of screen time, Marvel Studios is flexing their muscles as a studio and laying a subtle but solid foundation for a unified Marvel Movie Universe. I know the Incredible Hulk has gotten sort of a ‘forgotten child’ attitude amongst the hype, out-shadowed by ‘big brother’ Iron Man and the wildly reported editing woes between Marvel Studios and Edward Norton. I know the last movie wasn’t all that good and that the Hulk himself seems to be having some problems finding his place within his own books, not to mention keeping his color, but this, my friends, is something we’ll all be looking back on hopefully in years to come as the moment that something greater than the sum of its parts was forged in the movie biz. It happens in comics and TV shows like you wouldn’t believe, but I’m hard pressed to know when not only does a movie have a cameo in it from another movie entirely, but can actually reward the viewer with some plot… and that a unified world can be started without a sequel number after it…
Well, maybe I haven’t studied film enough or am simply getting a little starry eyed, but I definitely believe this could be the start of something big. And it makes me think we might get an Avengers movie and that’s a beautiful thing, whether actually possible or not.
Can you believe there’s more? I didn’t even get to half of it! Panel after panel, interview after interview, NYCC did everything but come to the West Coast where I was waiting at the airport with a bouquet of flowers. My hats off to every single Newsarama newshound on the scene as the coverage was a warm, snuggly blanket of awesome over on the mini-site. There’s got to be some sore feet and some tired fingers on the mothership and I would like to thank them all for bringing us all the news that’s fit to jaw on about for the next few months. Go check out their hard work and delight in the NYCC goodness.
Me? I’m watching you, Marvel. SDCC is only three months away. Come to Cali.
For the latest and greatest news on the New York Comic Con, please see the exclusive Newsarama mini-site.