Monthly Archives: February 2008

Blackwing to be in Wolverine movie

CORRECTED & UPDATED: Variety reported yesterday that actor Dominic Monaghan, known for his performances in the TV series “Lost” and the three Lord of the Rings feature films, has been cast for the part of Barnell in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a spin-off movie from the X-Men films.

Variety describes the role as “a mysterious character from Wolverine’s past who has the ability to manipulate energy and electricity”. Barnell is the first name of Beak and is speculated to be an adaptation of the same character, currently known as Blackwing of the current New Warriors team. Due to the power description, some have wondered if Variety got the character’s name wrong. However, E! Online today posted an article that seems to confirm Monaghan will be playing Barnell Bohusk. It is still unknown, however, what form of the character will be used (Beak or Blackwing), and to what extent the character will be adapted.

This will mark the first second time a member of the New Warriors has appeared in a theatrically-released feature film. (Jubilee had several cameos in X-Men, played by Katrina Florece, and then by Kea Wong in X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand.)

Additionally, South Korean actor Daniel Henney has been cast as Agent Zero a.k.a. Maverick, Bolt‘s former mentor. Variety describes Agent Zero as “a member of the Weapon X program and an expert tracker with lethal marksman skills”.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine stars Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. The cast also includes Liev Schreiber (as Sabretooth), Danny Huston (William Stryker), Lynn Collins (Silver Fox), Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Taylor Kitsch (Gambit), and will.i.am (Wraith). Gavin Hood (Rendition, Totsi) is directing from a screenplay by David Benioff (Troy). Jackman is also serving as producer along with Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter and John Palermo. Kevin Feige is executive producer. The film is currently scheduled to debut in US theaters on May 1, 2009.

Read the full Variety article

Read the full E! Online article


Thanks to Straight Edge for the Barry pic.

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New Warriors-related comics for May

Marvel Comics has released their listings for comics to be released in May 2008. The New Warriors #12 ends the first year and third story arc of the series with the team in peril and only Night Thrasher able to help. Nova #13 begins the 3-part story pitting the Human Rocket against the world-eater Galactus and his herald, the Silver Surfer. Power Pack: Day One #3 continues the new origin. Plus, another Thunderbolts one-shot, more recruits for Avengers: The Initiative and several reprint collections of note. Read on…!

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December 2007 Sales Figures

The December 2007 sales estimates have been out for several weeks now. In fact, January 2008 estimates should be coming out soon. So instead of trying to quickly cobble together a feeble analysis, I’ll defer to Paul O’Brien’s December 2007 edition of his Marvel Month-to-Month Sales column at The Beat, the comics blog for Publisher’s Weekly. O’Brien uses a different source for his figures than I do, but the difference is less than +/- 100 copies and usually less than +/- 50 copies, and so is rather negligible for these purposes. Of course, take everything with a grain of salt. Neither my analysis or O’Brien’s should be translated into factual statements on a given title’s success or lack thereof.

With that, here are some New Warriors-related excerpts from O’Brien’s column.

30 Avengers: The Initiative #8 – $2.99 – 58,091
31 Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1 – $3.99 – 57,586

The monthly series continues to bleed readers at a terrifying rate. On the bright side, for what it’s worth, the Annual manages to sells quite close to the core title. Normally they lag further behind.

But realistically, this is a book with serious problems. This is the third straight issue to drop by more than 10%, and there’s no sign yet of the book leveling out. It literally cannot carry on like this.

As ‘Somebody’ points out in the comments, the Annual was a Secret Invasion: Infiltration tie-in, with accompanying banner. This could have accounted for the Annual selling closer to the core title.

71 New Warriors #6 – $2.99 – 32,962
85 New Warriors #7 – $2.99 – 30,159

Another title with serious problems. The last five issues have seen an average drop of 8%, with the most recent issues being above that average. Once again, this simply isn’t sustainable beyond the very short term. If NEW WARRIORS carries on losing sales at 8% per issue, it’ll drop below 20K within six months.

83 Nova #9 – $2.99 – 30,451

Losing readers far too quickly for comfort. The drops should have levelled out by now, but there’s no real sign of it. Despite generally positive reviews, it’s hard to see NOVA sticking around in the long term if these numbers are anything to go by.

136 Marvel Holiday Special 2007 – $3.99 – 15,638

The annual Christmas anthology. The number is marginally up from last year.

245 Iron Man/Power Pack #2 – $2.99 – 4,852

As you surely know by now, these books are not aimed at the direct market, and they do most of their business elsewhere.

Read the entire article by Paul O’Brien

See the Sales Estimates figures dating back to 1996 and more information on what the numbers mean.

Ben Reilly joins Super Hero Squad

Also at this weekend’s Toy Fair, Hasbro displayed their expanding Super Hero Squad toy line. Among the Spider-Man focused characters was Ben Reilly in his Spider-Man costume. Superhero Times again has pictures.

See the Ben Reilly Spider-Man figure

New Minimates: Nova, Cloak & Dagger

At this weekend’s American International Toy Fair in New York City, Art Asylum debuted their next series of Marvel Minimates. Toy news site Superhero Times has pictures from the trade show which show that the line-up will include Cloak & Dagger, as well as Nova in his current costume. The Nova Minimate appears to come with a replacement head of Richard Rider without his helmet. A Minimate of Rich’s occasional girlfriend Gamora is also part of the line-up. Release dates are not yet known. (UPDATED with better pictures)

See the Nova Minimate (close-up of Rich Rider head)

See the Cloak Minimate

See the Dagger Minimate

Roundtable Review: New Warriors v4 #8

Next week sees the release of New Warriors #9, the return of regular artist Paco Medina and the start of a new storyline. In the meantime, the NWCC Roundtable sits down for a close look at New Warriors #8, the conclusion to the two-part “Reunion”.

Flank, Jeremy and Corey compare notes to see how the issue held up. Be sure to share your own thoughts on the issue in the comments.
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Steve Gerber, 1947-2008

Writer Steve Gerber died on Sunday, February 10, 2008 at the age of 60 from complications of pulmonary fibrosis.

Best known for creating and writing Howard the Duck, which eventually led to an industry-changing fight for creator rights, and Omega the Unknown (with writer Mary Skrenes), Gerber is best known among New Warriors fans for taking over the 1970s Sub-Mariner series following Bill Everett’s death. While never happy with his run on the book, Gerber was the first to shake up the status quo of the newly-created Namorita. Her storyline also crossed over into Gerber’s Marvel Two-in-One.

Gerber also co-wrote, along with Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Chris Claremont, Scott Edelman and Roger Slifer, Giant-Size Defenders #5, the first appearance of young Vance Astrovik, who would later become Marvel Boy, and later still take the name Justice.

Years later, Gerber and artist Rick Leonardi were brought in to try to rejuvenate Cloak and Dagger volume 3 in 1991. Unfortunately, the shift came too late to save the series from the weakening sales of the previous 13 issues of ‘Mutant Misadventures’.

In 1996, Gerber returned to Howard the Duck for Spider-Man Team-Up #5, which featured Ben Reilly as Spider-Man and a cover by New Warriors volume 1 artist Darick Robertson. The issue slyly interconnected with Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck #1, also written by Gerber and published by Image Comics. The issue was illustrated by former Nova writer/artist Chris Marrinan. The two issues effectively removed Gerber’s original Howard the Duck from the Marvel Universe and replaced him with a double in a protest over Marvel Comics’ past mishandling of the character.

Despite his occasional New Warriors connection, Gerber is most known for creating Howard the Duck, the acerbic social satire of the 1970s. The unlikely main character won such a following that a presidential campaign in 1976 resulted in several hundred votes. A newspaper comic strip also spun out of the series, an achievement rarely obtained by Marvel Comics characters. However, a protracted battle over the rights of the character began in the late ’70s, resulting in the removal of Gerber from both the comic strip and the comic book. One Marvel executive allegedly proclaimed that Gerber’s name would never again appear in a Marvel comic. In the interim, the infamous Howard the Duck movie was released in 1986. Gerber’s involvement was limited and the movie’s success famously even more limited. The movie remains one of Hollywood’s biggest bombs. Many creators rallied around Gerber during the proceedings. Eventually a settlement over the ownership of the character was reached, and while the details are limited, Gerber stated he was “no longer angry”. The legal battle created a shift among comic creators in what they deserved and the worth of their work.

Gerber is also remembered for his quirky run on The Defenders and his imaginative series with co-writer Mary Skrenes Omega the Unknown. The latter was never completed. Marvel drew criticism from Gerber recently when they relaunched the story without consulting him.

Gerber was also involved in animation. In the 1980s, he was chief story editor for “G.I. Joe,” story editor and co-creator of “Thundarr the Barbarian” and story editor on “Dungeons & Dragons”. In the 1990s, he won an EMMY for his work on “The Batman/Superman Adventures”.

His creator-owned series such as Nevada and Void Indigo while less cited also drew praise from critics. The latter, however, was found to be objectionable by some distributors and retailers who refused to sell it. The more recent Hard Time reunited Gerber with writer Mary Skrenes. While it failed to make strong enough sales, perhaps hindered by a failing imprint, the series won positive reviews from critics and readers. At the time of his death, Gerber was working on the final issues of Countdown to Mystery, a mini-series relaunching Dr. Fate for DC Comics.

Gerber had a website at SteverGerber.com and had been writing an online journal, stevegerblog, covering his work and health struggles. Since Gerber’s death, friend and colleague Mark Evanier has been managing the blog and providing people with a place to share remembrances. If you have fond memories of any Gerber’s work or of Gerber himself, please stop by and share them.

Gerber’s friends and family have asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Hero Initiative.

Obituaries and remembrances: Los Angeles Times, New York Times, POV Online, The Comics Reporter, The Beat, Journalista

Also: Gerber interview from The Comics Journal #41, August 1978

Nova Week Wrap-Up at Nerdage

Time once again to play catch-up from the last week of New Warriors news.

The Nerdage blog concluded its Nova Week theme with more interviews and articles:

  • Nova Prime Page webmaster Doug Smith Interview Part 3 and Part 4
  • Heroes for the 90s, an article about Nova in the New Warriors
  • Reviews on What If? Annihilation and Nova Annual #1
  • Nova editor Bill Rosemann Interview with a sneak peak at a page from Nova #11 by Paul Pelletier. Rosemann confirms that Pelletier’s run will be 2 issues (#11 & 12) and that Wellington Alves will return for a 3-issue run. No news yet on whether Alves will be the new regular artist or if someone will take over with issue #16.
    • Excerpt:
      • Rosemann: “Currently, a vicious virus is racing through Nova’s system. What’s fun about that (for readers, at least) is exploring the question: What good is the ability to soar through space and hurl massive force beams if your own body is betraying you? You can see how that fight is taken to it’s ultimate level in Nova Annual #1, on sale next week. Then he’ll confront the afore-mentioned Warlock in March and April. Will he help Nova in his current quest to take down the techno villains known as the Phalanx? After that…yeah, it’s time for Galactus and the Silver Surfer! What can our Human Rocket do against a giant who eats planets? You’ll have to come along for the ride in May to find out!”
  • Nova Gets First Annual article from local newspaper The Oklahoman, which hosts the blog Nerdage
  • New Warriors volume 2 writer Jay Faerber interview where he talks about his time writing Nova and the New Warriors
  • Podcast reviewing Nova Annual #1

Nova Week continues at Nerdage

Nerdage, comic book blog of The Oklahoman newspaper, continues it’s Human Rocket celebration with the second part of their interview with Nova Prime Page webmaster Doug Smith, as well as a feature on how the Nerdage blogger came around to being a fan of Nova.

Read part 2 of the Doug Smith interview.

Read the Learning to Love Richard Rider article.

Nova Week begins at Nerdage

Nova Weekend at CBR may be over, but like a virtual relay race, Nerdage picks up the baton. Nova Week begins today at the NewsOK.com blog with a quick interview with Nova Prime Page webmaster and Rocket Boosters fanzine publisher Doug Smith.

Read the full interview.

Nova Weekend Part 3: Mahmud Asrar

CBR’s Nova Weekend wrapped up this past Sunday with an interview with Nova Annual #1 artist Mahmud Asrar. Four preview pages are included.

Some excerpts:

Naturally, I knew about him but I hadn’t read any of the Nova series before. It’s funny because despite not having read his books I’ve always had this positive opinion about Nova since, to me; he represents everything that a superhero comic should be about. As soon as I was assigned to this job a friend gave me his copy of The Essential Nova as a gift which was very cool since it helped as reference, but most importantly I’ve had the opportunity to finally read Nova comics. I really feel Marv Wolfman’s concept of Nova is a great example of a true Marvel character.

Working on the Nova Annual was heaps of fun.

What I wanted to achieve was to do justice to the script while staying true to the character and his world as best as I could.

What makes him special is actually that he’s not a special person at all. He’s very much like you or somebody you know very closely. In essence that’s something I tried to capture with my work. A normal college kid who’s experiencing something out of this world in his life, when he’s also forced to face the goodness and hero within him. So when trying to convey these attributes I really didn’t have too much trouble since I could consider my youth similar in some senses. I was never the popular kid nor was I the discarded outcast.

I’ve also had the chance to humbly pay homage to John Buscema, one of my oldest and greatest influences, which was without doubt the most rewarding aspect.

Read the full interview and see the preview pages.

Nova Weekend Part 2: Paul Pelletier

Catching up from the weekend, CBR’s Nova Weekend series of columns continued on Saturday with an interview with Nova artist Paul Pelletier, who begins his run with issue #11. Seven preview pages are included.

Some excerpts:

I wasn’t too familiar with Nova, but I like the sci-fi adventure feel that this newest version of Nova has. I had tons of fun penciling Negation for CrossGen, so I figured this book could have some of that same flavor. I had heard great things about [writers] Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s writing on this book, which was a nice incentive for me to work on this title.

Besides the tight deadlines, everything about Nova [has] been great so far! I really enjoy working with Dan and Andy’s plots, and reuniting with [editor] Bill Rosemann has been a blast. I also get to work with my friend (and excellent inker!) Rick Magyar once again. All is good!

Read the full interview and see the preview pages.

Skolnick remembers the Warriors

Former New Warriors writer Evan Skolnick reminisces a bit in an interview with horror writer/game designer Richard Dansky. He also talks about his time as a Marvel editor.

Some excerpts:

When I look back on my run as writer of New Warriors – having taken over the reins four-and-a-half years into the series – I’d say nearly all of my issues were heavily tied into continuity I inherited, created, or purposely dug up from the rich history of the characters. I felt like it made for good monthly reading. But it would be next to impossible to extract any of my Warriors storylines from continuity and blow them up to the big screen without jettisoning and/or altering a lot of the material.

But when it comes to superheroes, there are so many untapped comic book characters out there that the leading publishers could feed off their massive I.P. collections for decades to come and not run out of good material. A few characters I’d love to see make it to the big screen from Marvel are Turbo, Helix, Khaos, Timeslip, Tracer, and Hybrid. But I may be a bit biased on those… 😉

The full interview can be found in the News section of RichardDansky.com (no direct link, unfortunately).

Code of Honor #2 & 3 added

Previously unmentioned elsewhere, the 1997 mini-series Code of Honor has brief appearances by Cloak & Dagger.

Thematically a bit of a sequel to the highly-acclaimed Marvels by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross, Code of Honor was a fully-painted 4-issue prestige format mini-series written by Chuck Dixon that traveled through the 1970s and 1980s of the Marvel Comics universe through the eyes of a New York City police officer. Namorita had a very tiny cameo in issue #1.

It has been discovered that Code of Honor #2 has a nearly full page silent sequence with Cloak & Dagger that takes place soon after they moved in with Father Delgado in Cloak & Dagger volume 1 #1. Additionally, Cloak & Dagger make a single-panel silent cameo in Code of Honor #3 that takes place during the very beginning of the 1984 Secret Wars mini-series. I have placed this appearance after the first Cloak & Dagger mini-series and just before their next appearances as guest-stars in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #94-96. Father Delgado makes a slightly more significant appearance in both issues as well.

Check out the History page and the individual pages and checklists for Cloak & Dagger to see how these two new discoveries fit in.

Nova Weekend Part 1: DnA

Comic Book Resources is having a Nova Weekend theme of articles. First up is an interview with the Nova writing team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, collectively nicknamed “DnA”. An uncolored preview of Nova #11 by new art team Paul Pelletier and Scott Hana is included.

Some excerpts:

“We wanted to send Nova on an adventure that was closely related to [Annihilation: Conquest] without actually binding him into the main event for its entire length — otherwise Nova’s book would have been engaged with Conquest for the best part of a year. But readers will learn that [Nova] issues #8-12 do in fact connect to the Phalanx invasion, and the final issue of Conquest will show how the two parallel stories dovetail.”

On Nova Annual #1:

“The Annual will see Nova fighting the ultimate struggle to retain control of his own mind and body. This will include not only explorations of where he’s come from but also shocking revelations of what his future might be.

“This is a big story, with lots of huge action, but also one with moments of quieter reflection. Without giving too much away, we’re going to revisit Nova’s origin (as a nostalgia fix for long term readers and for the benefit of newcomers), and we’re also going to glimpse his future. We think it’s a very special story, one that will delight and intrigue all of Nova’s fans, with some playful homages to the past and some genuine twists and surprises.”

“The annual is embedded in both Nova’s ongoing quest and the consequences of Conquest. And it pays off heavily into both, whilst allowing us a moment to re-define who Richard Rider is, what he stands for, where he’s come from and where he’s going. It’s pretty much essential!”

On Nova #11:

“Paul [Pelletier] is a fabulous artist and we’ve been fans of his for some time. His work on Negation at CrossGen proved he has the artistic chops to handle large scale science fiction stories and his excellent run on The Fantastic Four confirmed his abilities as an outstanding superhero artist. Working with Paul has made us up our game as we want to challenge him with more and more outrageous and extreme ideas and visuals. So far, he’s more than risen to the challenge and is knocking it out the park with every page!”

On Nova’s future:

“If you think that Conquest was a big challenge for Nova, wait till you see what’s on the horizon in the issues following. It’s big, it’s purple and it devours worlds!”

Read the full interview.