In honor of Women’s History Month, the current class of Marvel’s Stormbreakers will be depicting their favorite women super heroes in March’s batch of Stormbreakers Variant Covers. These action packed covers feature some of today’s most popular comic book icons including She-Hulk, Gamora, Ms. Marvel, Shuri, Ghost-Spider, Ironheart, and Squirrel Girl.
Each month, Marvel’s Stormbreakers flex their skills with exciting themed variant cover collections for fans’ favorite comic series and characters. The current group of artists includes Elena Casagrande, Nic Klein, Jan Bazaldua, Chris Allen, Martin Coccolo, Lucas Werneck, Federico Vicentini and C.F. Villa.
Each of these artists embody the raw talent and creative potential to shatter the limits of visual storytelling in comics today. As the next evolution of the groundbreaking Marvel’s Young Guns program, Marvel’s Stormbreakers continues the tradition of spotlighting and elevating these powerful artists to showcase their abilities, artwork and prominence in the world of comic books.
Check out all seven covers following the jump. For more information, visit Marvel.com.
Marvel Studios’ X-Men ’97, a follow-up to the classic Nineties X-Men: The Animated Series is coming soon to Disney+. In anticipation of the upcoming X-Men ’97 animated series, some favorite Marvel characters flash back to the ‘90s in new variant covers in February.
On sale throughout February, these new covers capture the essence of this blockbuster era by depicting these superheroes in their iconic ‘90s looks, reuniting ‘90s lineups, and paying homage to memorable ‘90s covers. For more information, visit Marvel.com.
By Daniel Dern: “Done Patrol,” Season 4 Episode 12, and the season/series finale episode of DCUniverse/HBO/Max’s The Doom Patrol, (finally!) (as announced in File770’s September 21, 2023 scroll, Item 12: Final Doom) aired, on Thursday, November 9, 2023, letting (us) fans (“Doomies” is the term I’ve seen) breathe a bittersweet sigh or three of relief.
One, we have gotten to see all the 44 episodes, albeit the final season’s second half-dozen more than half a year later than originally scheduled, so, avoiding the potential “shelve unshown” fate of other HBO Max properties (e.g., the Batgirl movie — two days ago, I would have added the live-action/animation Coyote vs Acme, but it looks like the movie, like Wiley C., may yet survive).
(<grumbling memories of other shows with unshown or very-belatedly-elsewhere episodes, e.g. Awake and Wonderfalls, omitted>)
Two, satisfactory ending (In My Opinion, ditto a few friends). Major plot lines and character arcs have been wrapped up, and many characters were given (screen) time for closure and we had the chance to say our farewells.
Alan Brennert, a friend and fellow comics fan (and Nebula/Emmy award-winning tv, mainstream, sf and comics writer, the fan favorite Batman-marries-Catwoman story, “The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne” (included in Tales of the Batman: Alan Brennert), says “THE DOOM PATROL was, in my opinion, the best adult television adaptation — so, not including movies — of a superhero comic I’ve ever seen. It was amazingly faithful to the surrealism of Grant Morrison’s run on the series, while blending in favorite characters from the 1960s original series and giving them more sophisticated and satisfying backstories.”
In the process, the show’s also received a fair number of award nominations, including GLAAD Media Awards 2022 for Outstanding Drama Series.
It’s been a great multi-year ride, starting with an intro/cross-over in November 2019, in Season 1 Episode 4 of DC Universe’s Titans (see my scroll Scouting Ahead: The Doom Patrol – note, some links there no longer work), albeit with some characters played by different actors, and some other differences versus the DP series.
We’ve gotten to see heroes from across the various creators and plot arcs, including Crazy Jane, Flex Mentallo, Danny The Street, Steve “Mento” Dayton, and Casey “Space Case” Brinke, and often-surprising turns from the antagonist side, like the Brotherhood of Evil’s The Brain, Monsieur Mallah, and Madame Rouge, along with Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, Mr. 104, Garguax, and Mister Nobody.
We even (minor non-plot spoiler) got, unexpectedly (to me and others I’ve talked with), got a musical episode, including at least one great production number, in the Season 4’rs preantepenultimate episode, “Immortimus Patrol,” (Previous episodes have included some song/song-and-dance numbers, it’s worth noting, including a novel rendition of “Shipoopi” from The Music Man.)
(Advisory note: Doom Patrol includes lots of cussing, some sex, violence, and some scenes that may be triggering.) How/where to watch:
Online, according to JustWatch include MAX, Apple+, and Amazon Prime.
Physical media: All four seasons are now available on DVD and BluRay — if you don’t want to buy/own them, try your public library. (I see that mine currently has the first three seasons.) (Or seek out used copies.)
NO GOTTA-READ/WATCH PREREQUISITES, THANKFULLY: One of Doom Patrol’s notable virtues for new viewers is the near-zero knowledge barrier-to-entry (unlike far too many of the other Marvel and DC movies, shows and comics).
No previous familiarity with Doom Patrol comics, characters, or plotlines needed. Per-character origins and backstories get brought in over time, but you don’t have to know anything before you start watching. And while the show draws heavily on the Doom Patrol characters and plots — largely from Grant Morrison’s exquisite run, but also going back the very first issues, and post-Morrison as well, notably Gerard Way and artist Nick Derington’s Casey “Space Case” Brinke, we get their origin stories as the series progresses.
No larger-“universe” knowledge needed. The show takes place within the DC universe, but (IIRC), there’s no reference to other plots, plans, arc, or whatever, with the arguable exception of Cyborg, who was (and continues to be) linked with the (Teen) Titans and the Justice League). The closest it comes (IIRC) is the names “Superman” and “Justice League” (and possibly “Batman” and one or two other DC heroes do get mentioned a few times, but not as plot points.
Having read some or all of the Doom Patrol will help know who’s who/what a little sooner than if you come in cold…but it won’t help you know where it’s going most of the time.
THE COMICS BACKGROUND, SUMMARIZED AND SIMPLIFIED, IN CASE YOU’RE INTERESTED. For those not familiar with the Doom Patrol (from their decades of comics, and/or the TV), some briefish non-spoiler backstory.
Here’s what-started-as-brief recap/spoiler free info about the Doom Patrol, comic, Max series, etc.:
Doom Patrol began as a DC comic, first appearing in My Greatest Adventure #80 (June 1963), created by writers Arnold Drake and Bob Haney, along with artist Bruno Premiani. Perfect timing for a kid like me willing to gamble twelve cents (which was real money and a meaningful piece of my own money at that point in time). (I was a DC kid, just in time for their Silver Age, not encountering Marvel until college.)
The DP’s initial members were Professor Niles Caulder, a (in most episodes) wheelchair-confined doctor/scientist, Cliff Steele (“Robotman”), Larry Trainor (“Negative Man”) and Rita Farr (“Elasti-Woman”).
The DP debuted a few months before Marvel’s X-Men #1, dated September 1963 — another group of people with powers (here, teenagers), also led by a smart adult in a wheelchair.
Whether this was coincidence, information leakage, or deliberate, I dunno; Wikipedia speculates. Similarly, Wikipedia observes one might character-correlate the initial DP members with Marvel’s Fantastic Four’s powers of smart/strong/flying/size manipulation; this was new to me, and I again have no opinion.) (Feel free to discuss.)
In both the comics and this TV series, DP membership over time included Dorothy Spinner, Victor Stone (“Cyborg”), Casey Brinke (“Space Case”), and were often joined by great characters like Flex Mentallo and Danny The Street.
(Flex also went on to his own four-issue miniseries, written by Grant Morrison, art by Frank Quitely — I highly recommend this book! — available in book format, on Hoopla, etc.)
The Doom Patrol also appeared in a several DC animated shows, a decade or so ago, including in their own three-episode mini-series, of which I’ve recently skimmed a few.
The Doom Patrol comics have all been collected into “graphic novel” books, available at your local comic shop, and many public libraries. Library-digital-wise, Hoopla has at least a dozen volumes, and Libby.org has several (harder to suss out there). DC’s Infinite Universe (until they rename it again) service has all or nearly of the Doom Patrols, in single-issue and “omnibus” form — I’ve just (And I’ve got a bunch of collections and issues in my shelves and boxes.)
(Also be sure to look for the DC/Young Animal Milk Wars six-issue miniseries, which may not show up in searching on Doom Patrol.” Ditto the Grant Morrison/Keith Giffen (and other artists) one-shot Doom Force.)
And, earlier this year, the Doom Patrol started up again, under the series title The Unstoppable Doom Patrol. (Up to #6 as I write this.)
Thanks, MAX, for (finally) running those last six episodes.
And thank you to the show’s producer(s?), writers, actors, and the myriads of people doing costumes, sets, props, music, and digital stuff — you exceeded my expectations, and it was a wild ride.
My only remaining question: Do the BluRays include any added features making it worth doing a library-borrow?
Next year marks 50 years of Wolverine being the best there is and Marvel Comics will celebrate its most ferocious hero in various ways including new series like the recently announced Wolverine: Madripoor Knights, special reprints, and a new variant cover program.
Launching in January, the Wolverine Wolverine Wolverine variant covers sees Logan take over the most iconic covers in Marvel Comics history, filling in as each and every character along the way. The covers gave artists the chance to spotlight their favorite Wolverine costumes, identities, and alternate versions, and also feature other members of the “Snikt Family.” It’s the perfect way to celebrate one of Marvel’s most ubiquitous and storied heroes and proves that there’s no such thing as too much Wolverine.
Check out 15 Wolverine Wolverine Wolverine covers following the jump. For more information, visit Marvel.com.
It’s a new season of the witch! Following November’s Scarlet Witch #10, Steve Orlando’s current ongoing Scarlet Witch series will evolve in a fascinating way this January before ultimately returning later next year. In a few weeks, fans will discover Marvel’s exciting plans for the iconic Wanda Maximoff, but in the meantime, her coven of fans can get a sneak peek at the epic season finale of her current era.
Bold new developments are in store but first, behold Scarlet Witch’s climactic duel with her new archenemy, Hexfinder, in Scarlet Witch #10. The vicious witch hunter has been plaguing Wanda since the start, and Wanda will hold nothing back as they finally meet on the battlefield!
Scarlet Witch Vs. Hexfinder! When chaos magic meets alchemical might, it’s all Wanda can do to keep her town — and her friends — from getting caught in the crossfire. Hexfinder has sworn vengeance on all witches and won’t stop until Wanda is a trophy on her wall. Wanda is one of the most powerful forces in the Marvel Universe – but can she stand against someone who’s trained her whole life to eradicate magic?
Check out all four Scarlet Witch #10 covers following the jump, along with never-before-seen artwork by Sara Pichelli. For more information, visit Marvel.com.
In Titan Comics’ Doctor Who: Once Upon A Time Lord, in order to survive the fiery Pyromeths, Martha Jones must spin three sensational yarns about the Tenth Doctor and his greatest adventures with old and new foes alike.
Martha Jones’ only hope is to keep them distracted with sensational untold tales of the Tenth Doctor facing off against his greatest foes.
Dan Slott’s Doctor Who features cameos from multiple Doctors and their enemies, including the Daleks and Cybermen. And there is a special bonus story starring the Ninth Doctor and Rose.
As of now, 15 September 2023, the comic book property called Fables, including all related Fables spin-offs and characters, is now in the public domain. What was once wholly owned by Bill Willingham is now owned by everyone, for all time. It’s done, and as most experts will tell you, once done it cannot be undone. Take-backs are neither contemplated nor possible.
Q: Why Did You Do This?
A number of reasons. I’ve thought this over for some time. In no particular order they are:
1) Practicality: When I first signed my creator-owned publishing contract with DC Comics, the company was run by honest men and women of integrity, who (for the most part) interpreted the details of that agreement fairly and above-board. When problems inevitably came up we worked it out, like reasonable men and women. Since then, over the span of twenty years or so, those people have left or been fired, to be replaced by a revolving door of strangers, of no measurable integrity, who now choose to interpret every facet of our contract in ways that only benefit DC Comics and its owner companies. At one time the Fables properties were in good hands, and now, by virtue of attrition and employee replacement, the Fables properties have fallen into bad hands.
Since I can’t afford to sue DC, to force them to live up to the letter and the spirit of our long-time agreements; since even winning such a suit would take ridiculous amounts of money out of my pocket and years out of my life (I’m 67 years old, and don’t have the years to spare), I’ve decided to take a different approach, and fight them in a different arena, inspired by the principles of asymmetric warfare. The one thing in our contract the DC lawyers can’t contest, or reinterpret to their own benefit, is that I am the sole owner of the intellectual property. I can sell it or give it away to whomever I want.
I chose to give it away to everyone. If I couldn’t prevent Fables from falling into bad hands, at least this is a way I can arrange that it also falls into many good hands. Since I truly believe there are still more good people in the world than bad ones, I count it as a form of victory.
2) Philosophy: In the past decade or so, my thoughts on how to reform the trademark and copyright laws in this country (and others, I suppose) have undergone something of a radical transformation. The current laws are a mishmash of unethical backroom deals to keep trademarks and copyrights in the hands of large corporations, who can largely afford to buy the outcomes they want….
…Of course, if I’m going to believe such radical ideas, what kind of hypocrite would I be if I didn’t practice them? Fables has been my baby for about twenty years now. It’s time to let it go. This is my first test of this process. If it works, and I see no legal reason why it won’t, look for other properties to follow in the future. Since DC, or any other corporate entity, doesn’t actually own the property, they don’t get a say in this decision.
Q: What Exactly Has DC Comics Done to Provoke This?
Too many things to list exhaustively, but here are some highlights: Throughout the years of my business relationship with DC, with Fables and with other intellectual properties, DC has always been in violation of their agreements with me. Usually it’s in smaller matters, like forgetting to seek my opinion on artists for new stories, or for covers, or formats of new collections and such. In those times, when called on it, they automatically said, “Sorry, we overlooked you again. It just fell through the cracks.” They use the “fell through the cracks” line so often, and so reflexively, that I eventually had to bar them from using it ever again. They are often late reporting royalties, and often under-report said royalties, forcing me to go after them to pay the rest of what’s owed….
Q: Are You Concerned at What DC Will Do Now?
No. I gave them years to do the right thing. I tried to reason with them, but you can’t reason with the unreasonable….
…Note that my contracts with DC Comics are still in force. I did nothing to break them, and cannot unilaterally end them. I still can’t publish Fables comics through anyone but them. I still can’t authorize a Fables movie through anyone but them. Nor can I license Fables toys nor lunchboxes, nor anything else. And they still have to pay me for the books they publish. And I’m not giving up on the other money they owe. One way or another, I intend to get my 50% of the money they’ve owed me for years for the Telltale Game and other things.
However, you, the new 100% owner of Fables never signed such agreements. For better or worse, DC and I are still locked together in this unhappy marriage, perhaps for all time.
But you aren’t.
If I understand the law correctly (and be advised that copyright law is a mess; purposely vague and murky, and no two lawyers – not even those specializing in copyright and trademark law – agree on anything), you have the rights to make your Fables movies, and cartoons, and publish your Fables books, and manufacture your Fables toys, and do anything you want with your property, because it’s your property….
This November, Peach Momoko kicks off a new series of one-shots that see visionary creators spinning new Star Wars comic sagas in Star Wars: Visions.Announced on StarWars.com, Marvel superstar Peach Momoko will lead the way with Star Wars: Visions – Peach Momoko #1.
Momoko previously blended classic Marvel Comics characters storylines with Japanese folklore in her acclaimed Demon Days saga. And earlier this year, readers got a haunting look at Momoko’s interpretation of the ways of the Sith in Star Wars: Darth Vader – Black, White & Red #1. Now see Momoko’s imagination fully unleashed with a twisted tale about embracing the power of the dark side! The story will introduce a whole new cast of characters that fans can check out now in Momoko’s original design sheets!
Centuries after the death of a great Sith Lord, a cult has grown around him and are worshipping the dark side. Ankok believes she is the successor to the Legacy of the Sith with her dark side powers! But is she truly in tune with the Force? Or is she just exploiting the people in her village? Kako and Gel are about to come face-to-face with the truth…even if it kills them!
“I really enjoy thinking about how to tell my own version of Star Wars, while keeping in mind the concepts of the original universe,” Momoko told StarWars.com. For more information, visit Marvel.com.
STAR WARS: VISIONS – PEACH MOMOKO #1: Written, Art, and Cover by Peach Momoko. On Sale 11/15.
Essential Judge Dredd: The Apocalypse War (1981 / 2022) John Wagner, Alan Grant & Carlos Ezquerra, 2000AD – Rebellion, £19.99 / Can$34 / US$25, trdpbk, 160pp, ISBN 978-1-781-08890-6
Review by Jonathan Cowie: This is part of the relatively new Essential Judge Dredd series of graphic novels. It is a welcome reprint of a collection of one of the first Judge Dredd sagas that originally appeared in the weekly British comic 2000AD in 1982 with its prequel, “Block Mania” appearing in 1981: the stories ran consecutively. This collection features both “Block Mania” and “The Apocalypse War” and they really are a single tale.
That this is a “welcome” reprint is evidenced by this volume having had a second printing in 2022. This graphic novel is a key component to the overall Dredd plot arcs demonstrating that Dredd is not adverse to a bit of wholesale genocide if he feels it lawful.
It begins with “Block Mania” when citizens of Mega-City One’s blocks begin inter-block warfare. This was not healthy. Just as today, the US has citizen gun problems, in Mega City One the matter is compounded by each block having its own Citi Def squads – the city’s voluntary civil defense corps. The mania began with the Dan Tanna block battling Enid Blyton. But the neighboring blocks joined in taking sides. Soon there were six blocks at war with the addition of Rikki Fulton, Henry Kissinger, Betty Crocker and Pancho Villa blocks. With the Garner Ted Armstong block and others adding to the fray, soon the whole of Mega City One’s northern sectors were fighting. It was all out internecine war.
The Judges had their hands full. But then things got worse. Suddenly the Judges themselves began acting strangely and joined in! Dredd suspected that something was causing this, and he was right. Block Mania was a first strike designed to weaken Mega City One. The Diktatoriat of the Kremlin in East Meg One – the capitol city of the Sov Block was currently being led by Supreme Judge Josef Bulgarin. He and the rest of the Diktatoriat wanted to repay Mega-City One for all the so-called ‘indignities’ they had heaped on the Sov Block. They wanted Mega-City One’s “decadent citizens [to] be slaves to the might of the glorious East Meg”.
Dredd and the Judges were going to be hard pressed to defend Mega-City One and Dredd himself would ultimately have to take the war to East Meg One…
As said, this is one of the earliest Judge Dredd sagas. Much of the artwork was done by Carlos Ezquerra who co-created Dredd (specifically his visual portrayal) with John Wagner (who was more responsible for the character’s concept). The script was written by John Wagner together with Alan Grant. This was one of their early Dredd collaborations – there were eventually many, and though they had collaborated before on Dredd, I have a feeling that this was the first time that they did all of a Dredd saga together. On this occasion the writing team did so pseudonymously under the moniker T. B. Grover.
There were also artists involved with cover art. Lettering was done by the legendary Tom Frame.
Originally, when the stories were first printed in 2000AD back in 1981/2, each weekly episode was six pages long with just the first two, which covered the comic’s centrefold being in colour: the rest were black and white. (2000AD itself did not go full colour until 1991 but did have some extra colour pages before then in addition to the centrefold.) The first graphic collection of the stories, if my memory serves, was in 1984 by Titan Books. This was a two-volume set and published throughout in black and white: even what were originally the colour centrefolds were black and white in this first graphic novel edition.
Then, in 2003, Titan reprinted the saga in a single volume as a hardback and then reprinted the following year as a large format (outsized A4) paperback (allowing a rendition of the strip in approximately the same size as the original). For a while Hamlyn – Egmont took over from Titan to produce 2000AD graphic collections. When Rebellion took over publishing 2000AD from Fleetway (a part of Egmont) in 2000 (yes, in 2000AD!), they soon published their own graphic collections. Here, in the main, these Rebellion graphic novels are published in a slightly reduced-sized format, but this particular edition is different…
As mentioned earlier, this edition of The Apocalypse War is published as part of a new series called Essential Judge Dredd and is in full color and is in a slightly larger format to the usual Rebellion Judge Dredd graphic novels. So again rendition of the strip in approximately the same size as the original comic.
This Essential Judge Dredd series is a really neat idea as, as with this saga, the early Dredd stories were originally published over four decades ago. Assuming a younger reader age of say 10, that means that today, anyone under the age of 50 is unlikely to have encountered these Dredd tales the first time around (something that really ages me). Therefore these reprints are vital for the new generation of Dredd fans if they are to catch up and appreciate the character’s history and ethical background.
Finally, a word about The Apocalypse War’s social context. 2000AD writers are socially aware and were so way back when it all began in 1977. Writers John Wagner and Alan Grant (as T. B. Grover when this story was first published) regularly went through the newspapers for news stories that they could then take to the next level and satirize in a Dredd story. This is why Judge Dredd seems prescient about the slow creep of Britain towards a police state. What younger readers may not realize was the international tension in the 1960s and through to the early 1980s between the Soviet Union and NATO was palpable: there was a real threat of nuclear war. (I recall being on a bio’ geo’ fieldtrip in 1980 to hear on breakfast radio that overnight NATO had increased its Defcom status.) Today, we have climate extinction marches, but back then it was ban the bomb. Dramatized documentaries such as The War Game (1966) and the Threads (1984) film really were terrifying. This fear of nuclear war was a real cultural phenomenon and even influenced the popular music charts with things like Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s number one in the charts hit Two Tribes (1984). The original six-month run of “Block Mania”/”Apocalypse War” was conceived by Grant and Wagner as a satire on the then, and indeed current, policy of “mutually assured destruction” (MAD).
Today, with a mad man and his cronies in the Kremlin not afraid of over 100,000 casualties (so far) of his own people in pursuance of his brainless war with Ukraine for Orwellian, fictional reasons, we see an uncaring leader that very much echoes that of Supreme Judge Josef Bulgarin. When he is informed of the likely Sov casualties (up to 12%) in the early phase of the conflict, he is asked whether or not the Sov people should be informed as to what is coming and why? To which Bulgarin answers: “The people? What have they got to do with it?” It is hard not to feel that somehow Wagner and Grant got hold of a newspaper over four decades into their future…
After the devastating events of the Macross saga, Rick Hunter must face an all new threat, along with the ghosts of his past – when a Zentraedi splinter group attacks Yokohama, Rick is called to investigate. Piloting the new prototype YF-4 Veritech, Rick encounters old friends and new enemies, all while recounting the moments of his life that shaped most epic moments in the Robotech universe.