Marvel Comics seeks to inspire minds with STEAM Variant covers

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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.

“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!)

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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!)

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Stark Industries takes over Gillette to create Avengers-inspired razors?

So…last night I kept hearing about this “top secret event” that was going to take place this morning, something involving Stark Industries (as in Tony Stark) and the Gillette Razor. Of course it had to do with the upcoming release of “Age of Ultron”, so you know they were gonna do something big. Turns out that they had staged a “takeover” of the Gillette labs by Tony Stark, which resulted in the creation of a number of razors that were inspired by four of the Avengers, namely Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor. (It’s beyond me why the Hulk would even need a razor. Does he even think about shaving?)

As far as marketing stunts go, this one will make you chuckle:

Of course, this got me thinking that we’d be getting some cool, superhero razors. Alas it was not to be. Way to get my hopes up guys!

Check out the photo gallery after the jump!

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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.

Soldier for The Empire: Peeking Inside “The Imperial Handbook” with Dan Wallace

If you ask me, Dan Wallace is living the dream! As the author of such geek-tastic tomes like The Jedi Path and The Iron Man Manual,” he has gotten to play with some of the most iconic characters in pop culture.

Now, after giving readers a look at what it’s like to become a Jedi Knight (or follow the path to the Dark Side in Book of Sith) he delves into the life of an Imperial recruit in “Star Wars: Imperial Handbook.”

Corresponding via e-mail, Wallace and I discussed what it’s like working in the Star Wars Universe; how Stormtroopers really aren’t clones; and who would win in a face-off between Darth Vader and Iron Man:

Geek To Me: Let’s get some of the basic fanboy stuff out of the way, shall we? How long have you been a Star Wars fan?

NewessentialguidetodroidsDan Wallace: Since forever! I had the toys, memorized lines, the whole deal. I’ve soaked in Star Wars pretty much my whole life, so to have a chance to contribute a tiny piece to it in my own way is just the best.

Geek To Me: Of all the characters in the saga, which one really resonated with you the most?

Dan Wallace: Personality-wise, I’m most like C-3PO. Not particularly heroic, obsessed with minutiae and procedure. But from a favorite character standpoint I’ve always liked Lando Calrissian. He’s like Han Solo but with a lot more suaveness and gambling skills. Lando is 20% James Bond.

Read more after the jump!

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Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer #2

The second trailer to Avengers: Age of Ultron premiered during last night’s National Sportsball Championship Game, bringing together both comic book and sports geeks alike. It has a few bits of new footage, without giving away too much, which I appreciate. And the piano keys riffing on “Got No Strings On Me” gives it creepy vibe. It better be on the movie soundtrack, IMO.

I think this trailer is cool, but I liked the first one better. The overriding question I have from seeing this is: Why did the Black Widow stop straightening her hair like in “The Winter Soldier”? I loved ScarJo’s hair in that movie.

May 1st can’t get here soon enough.