Marvel Comics seeks to inspire minds with STEAM Variant covers

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Marvel is Proud to Introduce STEAM Variants this Fall
November Variant Campaign to Promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math

New York, NY—Aug 22nd, 2016 — Marvel’s best and brightest heroes are stepping to the head of the class for a series of special variant covers! Marvel is pleased to announce 5 special STEAM Variants coming to some of your favorite Marvel titles this November!

“Our characters have been exciting fans for ages,” says David Gabriel, SVP Sales & Marketing, Marvel Comics. “With our new STEAM Variants, we plan to continue to motivate our fans to explore their passions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math and present these disciplines through some of our favorite young heroes who are doing just that – following their dreams and preparing for the challenges that await them ahead.”

We are excited to reveal the following STEAM Variants by some of Marvel’s great cover artists:

  • S (science) – MOON GIRL & DEVIL DINOSAUR #13 by Joyce Chin
  • T (technology) – SPIDER-MAN #10 by Pasqual Ferry
  • E (engineering)— INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 by Mike McKone
  • A (art) — CHAMPIONS #2 by Pascal Campion
  • M (math) – GWENPOOL #8 by Will Sliney

Through Marvel’s STEAM Variants, this campaign plans to ignite the spark of creativity and innovation that fuels and empowers the very heroes that have helped inspire generations around the world.

This November, join Marvel at your local comic shop as we continue to inspire champions of education, seekers of enlightenment, and the next generation of visionaries with Marvel’s STEAM Variants.

To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook.

Wonder Woman Film Costumes and Props on display in Las Vegas

First up comes all this news from the set of the new Justice League film, and now these images from the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, where costumes and props from the new Wonder Woman film (currently in production) are on display:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After the backlash received by Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, it looks like DC Comics and Warner Bros. have been going into overdrive to generate as much positive buzz as they can for their slate of comic book films.

What do you think about what you’ve seen so far?

“Opening the Mother Box: Exploring my relationship with comic books, religion and George Lucas”

marrowAbout a month ago, I was invited to speak at “The Marrow“, an event that takes place at The Whistler in Chicago each month. At this event, storytellers are asked to read an essay that gets to “the marrow” of who they are.

As it was the first time I’d ever done something like this, I was rather nervous and wrote a piece that was to be a deep, personal exploration of my self.

It was well-received, but after hearing some of the other storytellers that evening – one spoke about trying to find a rehab facility for his ex-wife on a holiday, another about her estranged relationship with her mother and how it all started the day her mom kicked her father out of the house – I knew that I had just skimmed the surface.

Next time, if there is a next time, I’ll go much deeper. But for now, I’ll share with you the essay that I announced that I’d never read in public again. :::laughs::: I’m so full of it:

***

The challenge to writing an essay about oneself, especially one that is supposed to get to the heart of who you are, is that you tend to get all caught up in your own bullshit.

You know, you get sidetracked by trying to turn a clever phrase, or using florid language that makes you sound smarter than you think you are.

You find yourself unconsciously using a verbal sleight of hand, one that distracts your reader from the truth that you don’t want them to see you tucking away in your pocket.

So there won’t be any of that from here on out…

Or will there?

(Continues after the jump!)

Continue reading

Marvel goes tiny in “Ant-Man” Blu-Ray promo

In what was their biggest gamble since “Guardians of the Galaxy”, the folks at Marvel Studios launched a superhero series in their “Marvel Cinematic Universe” (MCU) based on one of their lesser-known heroes named “Ant-Man.” Of course, when you have a character that’s best known for shrinking to the size of an ant, you have to change your way of thinking when it comes to promoting his movie. You have to get away from the larger-than-life scope of heroes like Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. You have to get…tiny.

With the blu-ray release of Marvel’s “Ant-Man” this week, the studio is “going small” by giving fans a new way to look at the world of Scott Lang, the secret identity of the titular hero as played by Paul Rudd.

I received a neat little “Ant-Man” memento courtesy of the film studio and toymaker Janky Toys. It was a miniaturized replica of the blu-ray, complete with its own sleeve!

(Images and more after the jump!)

Continue reading

Sexy Superhero Costumes up for auction in “FSC After Dark, Capes & Panties”

In the Spring of 2014, I interviewed adult entertainment director/producer Axel Braun about the costume design on his superhero porn parodies like Spider-Man XXX and Batman XXX. He had a bit to say about why the costumes in his features were more faithful to the comics than the big-budget films were, with his passion stemming from his love for the source material.

(You can read the interview and see a couple of the costumes HERE. Yes, the article is SFW.)

Turns out that many of those costumes will be up for auction in a fundraiser being held by the Free Speech Coalition. The event is taking place in Los Angeles near the end of the month and I’ve even got a pair of VIP tickets to give away! Read the press release below and check out details on how to win the tix after the jump:

FSC AFTER DARK, CAPES & PANTIES, ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME GALA FASHION SHOW/AUCTION PARTY, HOSTED BY THE FREE SPEECH COALITON ON SEPT 24 AT THE SUPPERCLUB LA

The First Ever All Porn Star Fashion Show & Auction of SuperHero Collectible Costumes, Movie Props, Sex Toys and Baci Lingerie is Open to the Public

LOS ANGELES – Free Speech Coalition, the leading non profit trade association for the adult entertainment and pleasure products industry, will present “ FSC After Dark, Capes & Panties” a once-in-a-lifetime porn star fashion show and auction to support free speech on Thursday, September 24 at the Supperclub LA (6675 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028.)

Wicked Pictures’ star Jessica Drake and superstar Tanya Tate will host the fun and fantasy party and the industry’s top stars will be modeling the dazzling, one-of-a-kind superhero costumes coveted by collectors from Vivid Entertainment’s bestselling adult parodies and the most erotic Baci lingerie styles.

More info after the jump!

Continue reading

Debating Peter Parker versus Miles Morales in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

I’m honored to have been brought on board as a contributor to the new Gabatron.com podcast network! Brainchild of former radio producer Keith Conrad, Gabatron.com is chock-full of commentary on the world of pop culture, technology and politics.

My first foray into the world of on-demand digital audio is via the podcast Geek/CounterGeek where Keith and I debate/discuss opposing views on a particular geeky topic from comics, television and movies.

Our first edition of Geek/CounterGeek has us discussing the news of Sony Pictures signing a deal with Marvel Studios to bring Spider-Man tSpider-Men_Vol_1_2_Pichelli_Variant_Textlesso the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

Until now, Spider-Man was restricted from being a part of the MCU due to the licensing deal with Sony. This kept everyone’s favorite wall-crawler from appearing in Marvel Studio films like “The Avengers” or “Captain America.” Those restrictions are now gone, true believers!

But now that you can have Spidey appearing alongside Iron Man, Thor and the Black Widow, should Marvel bring in Peter Parker? Or should they go in a new direction with the “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man” in Miles Morales?

Keith and I discuss what going in either direction can entail; how Sony Pictures has flubbed with the Spider-Man franchise; and how the way Superman developed strange new powers in the Christopher Reeve films made no sense. (Of course I voiced my greater disdain for “Man of Steel” too.)

I also take a few playful shots at Damon Lindelof (LOST, Prometheus) for good measure. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

Steve Rogers & Devil Dinosaur on PLANET HULK?

Yeah, that headline reads like a “what if?” story doesn’t it? But according to Marvel, it’s actually happening in continuity as part of the upcoming Secret Wars event!

Here are the details on the new “Planet Hulk” series from the “House of Ideas”:

PLANET HULK #1 Smashes Into the WARZONE! For a New Secret Wars Series!

Planet_Hulk_1_CoverNew York, NY—February 12th, 2015— Get ready to SMASH your way through Secret Wars, True Believers as Sam Humphries (Legendary Star-Lord) and Mark Laming (All-New Invaders) take you to the north pole of Battleworld and beyond for an epic rescue mission in PLANET HULK #1 – a brand new Secret Wars series debuting this May as part of the WARZONE!

Enter Greenland, the territory in Battleworld’s barren northern hemisphere. With its unchecked population of wild Hulks – rampant and untold destruction are everywhere. No one dare venture to Greenland’s forbidden lands without the knowledge they’ll never return.

Freed from the shackles of captivity, a battle-worn gladiator named Steve Rogers and his steadfast companion Devil Dinosaur are given what could be their last task. Together, they must journey deep behind enemy lines in search of a friend, held in the clutches of the Red King! An army of Hulks could not stand between these two and their warbound comrade – yet they will try!

Planet_Hulk_Mark_Laming_Concept_Sketch“I wasn’t sure what to expect from Sam when he first sent in his pitch for Captain America as an axe-wielding-yet-noble gladiator riding Devil Dinosaur into a land of wild Hulks”, says Senior Editor Mark Paniccia. “…but I can say now with all certainty… HULK FANS WILL LOVE THIS!!!”

“And artist Marc Laming is like a kid in a candy store”, continued Paniccia. “Before I got off the phone with him he started doing warm up sketches and character designs. What a great imagination this guy has and It’s a joy to see an artist this inspired. Wait till you see some of the Hulks he’s created. They’re completely insane.”

Axe and shield shall slash Hulk flesh and razor sharp teeth shall shatter Hulk bone in a desperate bid to recover what was lost. The journey into the darkest depths of Battleworld begins this May in PLANET HULK #1, smashing in to comic shops and digital devices this May!

Planet_Hulk_1_Singh_VariantPlus: PLANET HULK #1 will also feature a surprise bonus story from a top secret creative team. For more information, stay tuned to Marvel.com and be sure to join in on the conversation on social media using the hashtag #SecretWars.

PLANET HULK #1

Written by SAM HUMPHRIES
Art by MARK LAMING
Cover by MIKE DEL MUNDO
Variant Cover by MUKESH SINGH

On Sale in May!

****

Now if I can just get a KA-ZAR in space comic I’ll be happy! Maybe I should pitch that to Marvel? Hmmm…

Archie Comics and The Marvel Universe join forces on Scribd

The world of comic book readership got a little bit bigger this week when it was announced that some of the top comics publishers would be making their titles available on the Scribd digital reader. Referred to as “Netflix for book lovers” Scribd offers subscribers unlimited access each month to e-books and audiobooks via their app and website.

ArchieiPad“We are very excited to take this step in expanding our subscription service beyond books,” said Trip Adler, co-founder and CEO of Scribd. “This addition gives comics readers the freedom of unlimited reading, while also giving our ebook and audiobook lovers the opportunity to discover comics and graphic novels.”

comicsMarvel and Archie Comics, along with IDW, Valiant, Dynamite and other publishers will be part of the popular e-reader’s “comics” section, offering unlimited access to over 10,000 comic books featuring some of the most popular characters in the medium. DC Comics is not currently participating.

Now, when the announcement was made, the first question that came to my mind was what books were these publishers offering and would they be the same ones they offer through their own reading apps? Marvel Comics has their Marvel Unlimited app which gives subscribers access to a huge backlog of issues. But the Marvel Unlimited library alone exceeds what is being offered cumulatively by all the publishers on Scribd, so it does appear that folks who get their first taste of the Marvel Universe on the app will need to go over to the publisher’s own portal to get the full meal. The same holds true for the other publishers. All in all, I think this is a nice way of getting folks who wouldn’t normally read comics online to give them a try.

comics-tmnt2Here’s a rundown of what Scribd is offering to subscribers according to their press release:

  • Classic Comics – Classic runs of the Avengers, the X-Men, Daredevil, Archie, Judge Dredd, the Rocketeer and more
  • Top Characters – Spider-Man, the Avengers, Betty and Veronica, Kevin Keller, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, G.I. Joe, Bloodshot, Adventure Time
  • Major Creators – Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Fiona Staples, Darwyn Cooke, Mark Waid, Ed Brubaker, Renee French, Jeffrey Brown, Joe Hill, and many more
  • Acclaimed Graphic Novels – March, From Hell, Swallow Me Whole, Underwater Welder, Spiral-Bound, The Ticking, Too Cool to Be Forgotten
  • Award Winners – League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, 30 Days of Night, Locke & Key, Alec, Will You Still Love Me if I Wet the Bed?
  • Hit YA Titles – Ultimate Spider-Man, Runaways, Afterlife With Archie, Harbinger, Lumberjanes
  • Manga – Partnership with MediaDo brings titles from Cork and Harlequin Manga, including work by acclaimed artist Moyoco Anno
  • Leading Publishers – Marvel, Arcana, Archie, Boom! Studios, Dynamite, IDW/Top Shelf, Kingstone, Space Goat, Top Cow, Valiant, Zenescope

captain-americaThe press release also states that “Readers will have the ability to browse comics in a variety of ways, allowing long-time fans to dive deep and find what they love and new readers to explore comics”:

  • By Character – Character pages allow readers to follow their favorite characters through their series and guest appearances.
  • By Series – Readers can browse by title and read series entire series from start to finish.
  • By Curated Collection – Readers can browse over 100 expert-curated collections of comics, such as Incredible Team-Ups, Classic Marvel Moments, Zombie Horror, Welcome to Riverdale, Funny Women, Supernatural Romance, and more.

With the current comic book market struggling to expand readership, I think that any effort to increase access is a positive thing. This partnership with Scribd allows the publishers to set up a gateway for new readers, which hopefully will draw them in to want more of what they have to offer.

If you’re curious, Scribd does offer a free, one-month introductory trial period, which I’ll be checking out myself.

The question remains how this announcement will affect those who work in the Direct Market, and how it is being received.

Talking Moneyball and revisiting “The Economics of Digital Comics” with Todd Allen

When we last spoke, Todd Allen was in the middle of making revisions to his book “The Economics of Digital Comics.” First published in 2007, Allen set out to explore the developing landscape of the “webcomics” field and help fans (and creators) understand where and how money was being made.

A lot has changed since then and Allen set out to address those changes when he completed the newest revision in 2014. The book has been met with praise, winning the endorsement of Thrillbent.com founder Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, Insufferable) who also wrote the forward.

I caught up with Allen as he was preparing to send out some Kickstarter editions and returning to his duties as comics market analyst – and all around gadfly – at The Beat:

Geek To Me: What compelled you to revisit “The Economics of Digital Comics“?

INTL5658
“The Economics of Digital Comics” Author Todd Allen

Todd Allen: Too much has changed since I wrote the last edition of the book in early ’07.  I’d actually started the background research for an update in the summer of 2010, but every time I’d start to make progress, something would come up and pull me away for 6 months.  Eventually, I had a break in the schedule and decided I was just going to hole up and finish the update.  I’d been away from the book for about a year at that point and it was almost like starting from scratch.  There was a LOT of change from 2013-2014.

In general, I think it’s important for people who want to work in the comics field to know where the money flows from.  How do publishers make the money that they give to you?  How do comics work if you want to go it alone?

When I started documenting these models back in ’02-’04, comics were in very shaky shape and I wanted to make sure people knew what their professional options are.  It’s not nearly as dire a landscape right now, but it’s still important to know the different markets, what your options are and whether you’re being treated fairly.

Geek To Me: What changes did you see in the market from when you did the first version of the book to this current one?

Todd Allen: The eBook/digital download format like you see with Amazon/Comixology and iVerse didn’t exist back then.  Crowdfunding didn’t exist back then.  The first edition came out in 2005, so I don’t think xkcd had quite launched yet. The Oatmeal was four years away and PAX hadn’t started up.

The fundamentals of day to day webcomics are similar (advertising is a little easier to get), but everything else has evolved.

Continue reading