Kurt Busiek’s Marvels Snapshots Continue with Captain America and X-Men

[From a press release.] When Marvels Snapshots begins in March, fans will get to see Marvel’s greatest characters from the Golden Age to today, in new legendary tales told through the eyes of ordinary people! As curator of this landmark series, Kurt Busiek has handpicked the creative teams for each standalone, double-sized issue and he’s put together an amazing assemblage of talent to tackle April’s issues focusing on Captain America and the X-Men.

First up, Eisner nominated writer Mark Russell will revisit Jack Kirby’s classic Madbomb storyline from his 1970s run on Captain America.

“Some people, when they call, you gotta pick up the phone. And Kurt Busiek is one of those people,” says Russell. “I was pretty instantly sold on the project once he started describing it to me— stories about the human cost of these famous conflicts in the Marvel Universe. I truly enjoyed working on this with him.”

Known for his work on books like Second Coming and Wonder Twins, Russell says Marvels Snapshot: Captain America will focus on “the Madbomb’s impact in the South Bronx, a community which had already been effectively abandoned by the rest of the nation, that community’s struggle for survival, and of the search for heroes of its own.” He will be joined by acclaimed artist Ramón Pérez (All-New Hawkey).

Next, in X-Men: Marvels Snapshot, readers will see the rise of super heroes from the eyes of a young orphan named Scott Summers, the boy who would grow up to be Cyclops. The future X-Men leader couldn’t be in safer hands. Jay Edition, the co-host of the popular X-Men podcast, Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men, makes his Marvel Comics debut with a tale about one of his favorite characters.

“This is a story that’s pretty personal to me—because I’m me, and it’s a Cyclops story; but even more because it’s about the ways that superheroes and the stories around them can become lifelines. If I’m going to be really sappy about it (which I absolutely am), I get to give one of my favorite heroes the same kind of touchstone he’s been to me over the years,” says Edidin. “I’d say it’s a dream come true, but given that I’m the kind of uptight overachiever who overidentifies with Scott Summers in the first place, maybe also a bit of an anxiety dream come true. That said, it’s been a blast to get to sit down and play in a sandbox I’ve spent years cataloguing and analyzing and explaining.”

Teaming up with Edidin will be artist Tom Reilly, a rising star artist known for his recent work on Immortal Hulk.

Undead Rise in
Marvel’s Zombies Variants

[From a press release.] This April, Marvel Zombies are back in a big way when the corpse of Galactus’ arrives on Earth in Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Leonard Kirk’s Marvel Zombies: Resurrection. In anticipation for the coming of this interstellar terror, your favorite heroes have been zombified in a collection of hauntingly beautiful variant covers! Feast your decaying eyes on them below and look for these horrors on the cover of our hottest titles this April!  

AVENGERS 33 MARVEL ZOMBIES VARIANT by RYAN BENJAMIN with colors by DAVID CURIEL

CAPTAIN AMERICA 21 MARVEL ZOMBIES VARIANT by PATCH ZIRCHER with colors by EDGAR DELGADO

CABLE 2 MARVEL ZOMBIES VARIANT by DAVID YARDIN with colors by MORRY HOLLOWELL

DAREDEVIL 20 MARVEL ZOMBIES VARIANT by WILL SLINEY with colors by DAVID CURIEL

DOCTOR DOOM 7 MARVEL ZOMBIES VARIANT by MIGUEL MERCADO

DR. STRANGE 5 MARVEL ZOMBIES VARIANT by LUKE ROSS with colors by FRANK D’ARMATA

NEW WARRIORS 1 MARVEL ZOMBIES VARIANT by DECLAN SHALVEY

X-MEN 10 MARVEL ZOMBIES VARIANT by RYAN BROWN

Superman Comic Strip Debuted

By Cat Eldridge: On this day in 1939, the Superman comic strip appeared for readers for the very first time.  Let me tell about it as it’s a fascinating story. It began on this date, and a separate Sunday strip was added on November 5, 1939. Both of the strips ran continuously without an interruption until May 1966. In 1941, the McClure Syndicate which controlled its distribution had placed the strip in hundreds of newspapers. The Syndicate says that some three hundred papers with twenty million readers had access to the strip at its peak.

Setting aside the numbers, let’s turn to who created it. Joe Shuster was the initial artist but within a few years, he had turned over those duties to his bullpen including Paul Cassidy, Leo Neowik and Jerry Siegel who were among the first and Bill Finger would be the last to do it before it ceased in the Sixties. 

Siegel wrote them before he was drafted in 1943. Whitney Ellsworth, who had begun working on the strip in 1941, did them for four years. Jack Schiff began his writing on the strip in 1942 and worked on the strip off and on until 1962. Alvin Schwartz first started writing on it in 1944, and he continued on the strip more or less until 1958. Finger and Sebel finished off writing it in the last several years.

The strip had a number of firsts including the telephone booth costume change, the appearance of a bald Lex Luthor, and the appearance of Mr. Mxyzptlk. 

Superman: The Complete Comic Strips 1939-1966 is an unofficial name for the strips now in exquisite hardcover collections published by The Library of American Comics. 

Marvel and Tsuburaya Productions Team Up To Publish Ultraman Comics

A dozen years ago John Hertz and I were discussing the silly controversy about Nippon 2007’s Hugo Awards base. From all the griping you’d think the Japanese superhero Ultraman practically dwarfed the Hugo rocket.

A lot of fans thought it was perfectly fine for a Japanese Worldcon to honor an icon from its country’s sf tradition. But for or against, all fans seemed to take for granted that the figure of Ultraman was exaggerated. No one ever asked whether Ultraman and the rocket might, in fact, be in proper proportion to one another, or how to find that answer.

Ultraman is supposed to be 130 feet tall. Just how big do we conceive the Hugo rocket to be? I came up with an answer in “How Tall Is the Hugo?” It turned out the proportions were just fine.

That memory returned when I saw a press release from Marvel Entertainment and Tsuburaya Productions announcing their collaborative plan for new Ultraman comics and graphic novels in 2020.

Ultraman has been a pop culture classic ever since its introduction in the 1960s, resulting in more than 50 years of stories told on screen and in the pages of manga and comics. Today, Ultraman continues to be a worldwide phenomenon, but fans will always remember the groundbreaking thrill and wonder of the first generation of Ultraman that started it all. Beginning next year, Marvel will expand that iconic era of the Ultras through the lens of Marvel’s art and storytelling.

“As one of the world’s most popular franchises, Ultraman has brought together some of the most passionate fandoms in pop culture today, and we can’t wait to bring his story to even more fans around the globe,” said Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski. “Like Marvel, Ultraman captivated generations by telling spectacular stories grounded in the real world, and it continues to be a beloved classic through its television shows, movies, toys, games, comics, and more. We are so thrilled to introduce new chapters to the Ultraman Multiverse next year.”

Story and creative team details will be shared at a later date. Stay tuned at en.tsuburaya-prod.co.jp and Marvel.com for more information and updates

An Auspicious Date
in Comics History

Compiled by Cat Eldridge: I’ve no idea why three newspaper comic strips were first published on this date. Before you think that can’t be possible, I’ve double-checked and yes, they were. I think it has to do with traditional Christmas holidays at that time in American history, so they’d be launched after those holidays.

January 7, 1929 — The Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D. comic strip premiered. Philip Francis Nowlan Was the writer for the first decade with Dick Calkins and Russell Keaton being the artists for the first three years. At its peak in 1934, Buck Rogers appeared in 287 U.S. newspapers. Like many other popular comic strips of that day, Buck Rogers was reprinted in Big Little Books in a reformatted form. 

January 7, 1929  — The Tarzan of the Apes strip was first published.  It was drawn by Hal Foster (the first decade of strips) and Rex Mason (nearly twenty years’ worth) with Don Kraar adapting  Edgar Rice Burroughs story.  A full-page Sunday strip began on March 15, 1931, with artwork by Rex Maxon. A dozen artists would draw the strip including Gil Kane and Mike Grell in its waning years. Russ Manning’s portrayal of Tarzan Is considered by many to be the definitive one. We’ve included two strips here, one with him as artist, the first with Hal Foster. 

January 7, 1934 — First published on this date, the Flash Gordon comic strip was inspired by the success of, and created rather obviously to compete with, the already established Buck Rogers strip. The story goes that King Features tried to purchase the rights to John Carter of Mars from Burroughs who refused, so King Features then turned to Alex Raymond, one of their staff artists, to create a similar story. The rest is history. Raymond’s strip would run until 1943 with the various artists and strips continuing for decades.

Kurt Busiek Assembles an
All-Star Team for Fantastic Four Marvels Snapshot

Last week, Marvel announced Marvels Snapshot, a new series from Marvels co-creator Kurt Busiek that brings together incredible creative teams to tell new tales showcasing Marvel’s greatest heroes. The series debuts in March with a golden age romp by Alan Brennert and Jerry Ordway before this epic tour through the Marvel Universe continues later that month with Marvels Snapshot: Fantastic Four. This second installment will take readers into the zany silver age, turning the spotlight on the Fantastic Four’s own Human Torch in a story by comic book creators Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer. Known for books like Beasts of Burden as well as writing credits on animated series like Space Ghost: Coast to Coast and Superman: The Animated Series, this duo feels right at home penning this classic tale rooted in the Marvel mythos.

“I’m still blushing that Kurt chose Sarah Dyer and I to tell one of the Marvels Snapshot stories, especially this one, because the Fantastic Four was my favorite super hero team book as a kid, and Marvels did a great job of showing how the larger-than-life Marvel characters affect the average person on the street,” says Dorkin. “We’re trying to do right by both series, packing the story with as much heart, wonder and fun as we can for both older and newer fans to enjoy.”

Fantastic Four: Marvels Snapshot reunites Dorkin and Dyer with artist Benjamin Dewey who brings this tale to life with the acclaimed art he’s known for from books like The Autumnland and Beasts of Burden.

“Teaming up with Kurt, Evan, and Sarah is delightful, challenging and a real education in the deep-cuts lore of characters I thought I knew! I’ll do my best to bring the same spark of joy and enthusiasm to the art that has clearly gone into the writing process,” says Dewey. “Ultimately we want to offer a story that gives fans a different angle on a beloved comics universe that they might not get from any other project.”

All curated by industry legend Kurt Busiek, this extraordinary series is sure to be a modern classic! Here’s what Busiek had to say about the passion project:

I was thrilled to get the chance to do Marvels Snapshots — to get a look at the Marvel Universe through a variety of eyes, from people who know the super heroes personally to people inspired by them, scared by them…even one who eventually joins them.

In Marvels Snapshot, we range through time, getting a look at the Marvel Universe from the very early days (as in Alan Brennert and Jerry Ordway’s Sub-Mariner story), through the dawning days of the Marvel Age, up through events of the 1970s, 80s, all the way up to today. And I went out looking for a wide variety of creators to do a wide variety of perspectives. I wanted lots of different approaches, and I was delighted that so many creators I admire were willing to join in, from longtime pros to relative newcomers, and from Marvel mainstays to those who’ve done very little with Marvel before.

In the second Marvels Snapshot, I asked Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer to write about the Human Torch’s ten-year high-school reunion as seen through the eyes of his ex-girlfriend Dorrie Evans, because they’ve done such warm, human, affecting work on material from Superman: The Animated Series to the awesome Beasts of Burden to Evan’s pop-culture-obsessed Eltingville Club stories, and I knew they’d embrace the crazy minutiae of comics history but bring that sense of heart and emotion to it. And I couldn’t get anyone better to draw it than Benjamin Dewey, bringing his impeccable craftsmanship and rich sense of character to the story.

And this is just the start — we’ve got plenty more to come!

This eight-part series will be released twice per month over the course of four months and will feature new painted covers by the legendary Alex Ross. Be on the lookout for news about upcoming titles in this landmark series. Which of Marvel’s many great moments will readers get to dive into next?

[Based on a Marvel press release.]

Shades of Magic: Night of Knives by V.E. Schwab Blog Tour
Visits File 770

Today File 770 presents an extract from Shades of Magic: Night of Knives by V.E. Schwab published by Titan Comics.

This is the second volume in V.E. Schwab’s three-arc prequel to her Shades of Magic novels. It collects Shades of Magic: Night of Knives issues #5-8.

V. E. Schwab

Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince: Night of Knives
Writer: V E Schwab, Artist: Budi Setiawan, Andrea Olimpieri
Softcover, 112pp, $16.99, £13.99
ISBN: 9781782762119

Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab and torn from the universe of the Shades of Magic sequence, this all-original comic book adventure continues the story begun in The Steel Prince – perfect for fans of bloody, swashbuckling adventure and gritty fantasy.

The young and arrogant prince Maxim Maresh, having faced the terror of the Pirate Queen, now aims to capture the respect of the combative port town of Verose – by taking the impossible challenges of the Night of Knives… and surviving, where none has survived before.

These are the hidden, secret adventures of Maxim, from long before he became the king of Red London and adoptive father to Kell, the lead of A Darker Shade of Magic

The first issue in the final volume, The Rebel Army, is available now, too, from Titan Comics.

Marvel’s Outlawed Arrives
in Spring 2020

This March, Marvel’s brightest heroes will defend their very right to save the world in Outlawed, an event one-shot that will kick off one of 2020’s biggest events! A devastating tragedy causes the government to crackdown on young vigilantes, sending shockwaves throughout the entire Marvel Universe.

With the lives of Marvel’s most popular heroes from Miles Morales to Ms. Marvel thrown into chaos, Outlawed will raise tough questions that Chicago-based writer and scholar Dr. Eve L. Ewing (Ironheart) is more than ready to tackle.

“To me, this story isn’t just about young people being in conflict with the government, but much bigger questions about what we ask of young people, how they’re expected to be independent sometimes and subservient other times,” Ewing said in an exclusive interview with A.V. Club.. “Every era of history brings new challenges, and young people today are coming of age… yet we often don’t recognize their wisdom and their insights. It’s like we get above a certain age and lose all empathy. I just wanted to explore that tension, and them being superheroes really ups the stakes because they’re literally out there saving lives every day, but aren’t seen as full people or full citizens. AND, at the same time, maybe the law is a good idea? Maybe it really is for everyone’s protection? It’s intentionally kind of morally ambiguous.”

“We’re bringing the next generation of heroes to the forefront in a major way and swinging for the fences in terms of story, stakes and scale,” added Editor Alanna Smith. “Outlawed introduces an ongoing status quo that will be reflected in books across the line—almost every active character who’s under 21 (and even a few who are older) will be affected by the decisions made in Outlawed, and they won’t all agree on whether the new world order is good or bad. But there are real, serious consequences now for those who go against the ruling passed down in Outlawed, and it’ll interfere with their lives in a way they’ve never experienced, leading to some really interesting stories.”

For the full interview, chock full of insights from Ewing, Smith, and superstar artist Kim Jacinto, visit A.V. Club.

Sample pages follow the jump.

[Based on a press release.]

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Adler Teams with League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen

Irene Adler is on a mission to take down Sherlock’s greatest nemesis, Moriarty, in Adler #1, written by World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar, with art by Paul McCaffrey (TMNT, DC’s Men Of War).

In Titan Comics’ new title, Adler teams up with the League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen, a host of famous female faces from science, history and literature to defeat the greatest criminal mastermind of all time. The League summons iconic figures such as Jane Eyre, Lady Havisham, Marie Curie, Carmilla and Ayesha.

In stores February 5, 2020. Issue #1 comes with four covers to collect including a fantastic art cover by Butch Guice (Captain America).

Sample pages follow the jump.

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Blade Runner Blog Tour
Visits File 770

Today File 770 presents an extract from Titan Comics’ graphic novel Blade Runner 2019 Vol. 1: Welcome to Los Angeles, the first original comic series set in the iconic neo-noir world of Blade Runner.

Detective Ash is a veteran Blade Runner, set on the trail of a kidnapped child in the streets of Los Angeles, 2019 – but as the bodies mount and Replicants crawl from the shadows, Ash’s own secrets come under fire!

From writer Michael Green (screenwriter for Blade Runner 2049) and Mike Johnson (Star Trek), and illustrated by Andres Guinaldo (Justice League Dark, Captain America).