One week after Iron Fist, Netflix now cancels Luke Cage.

Click on the link below to read the entire story:

http://epicstream.com/news/NobelleBorines/Luke-Cage-Season-3-Cancelled-By-Marvel-And-Netflix

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Cover charges: the Return of the Fantastic Four, or “Marvel is doing WHAT!!?”

I love the Fantastic Four. I was a bigger DC fan through my youth (during the Silver and Bronze Age), but even then, I collected Fantastic Four comics. The first Marvel character I knew was Spider-Man, naturally. That’s probably the character most non-Marvel fans were most familiar with…

As I became a collector I appreciated and became a fan of Thor. Avengers also became a favorite and thanks to reprints and the black-and-white Essentials series I’ve managed to read most of the adventured of the Big Guns (Iron Man, Captain America, etc.).

My daughter says my favorite hero is Thor. For Marvel characters, that is probably true, with Captain America a close second.

But comic-book-wise, as a group dynamic, the Fantastic Four is my favorite. While waiting three weeks on Long Island it was the Essential collections of the FF that helped me pass the time. It was my comfort comic during stressful times.

***

After a long legal hiatus, Marvel will resume publishing a Fantastic Four comic starting in August. Why so long? The rumor is Marvel cancelled any FF comic in retaliation for Disney/Marvel not assimilating absorbing attaining the rights to the group cinematically from 20th Century Fox. I suppose the logic was if Marvel nixed any FF comics, the movies would suffer.

Funny how the word “suffer” automatically brings up the 2015 Fantastic Four film. It wasn’t baaad, but it wasn’t good. I liked it better than Uncle Thor’s Goofy House of Wacky Fun (others call it Thor: Ragnarok), but I enjoyed my colonoscopy more than Ragnarok … maybe because I saw Fantastic Four on DVD for free with my pizza order from Marcos and I had to pay to see Ragnarok (which actually cost about the same as my colonoscopy…).

***

So as of August 2018 the Fantastic Four will be once again a comic published by Marvel. To celebrate, Marvel is honoring the event in much the same way they have handled the FF over the past decade …

… poorly.

The party line is as follows:

“The Fantastic Four have returned, and what better way to celebrate the homecoming of Sue, Reed, Ben and Johnny than with a collection of variant covers highlighting the different iterations of Marvel’s beloved first family? This August, some of the industry’s most acclaimed creators will bring you the Fantastic Four through the years, highlighting the team during their many different and memorable eras in Marvel Comics!”

***

Here are some of the covers … would YOU buy these comics based on these covers?

Tony-Stark-Iron-Man-3

This just screams “The new Iron Man comic! I must buy it!”

 

 

 

Now, at least THESE comics feature the star (well, She Hulk WAS also an Avenger) … but again the interior story has nothing to do with the cover…

 

 

Another comic that at least has the star on it. And I must admit this is a GREAT cover! (based on the events of Fantastic Four #347-349 in 1990 or so)

Immortal-Hulk-4

Here is a sweet variant cover by Chris Sprouse …

ASM-4

I will probably pick up the new FF comic – at least for a few issues … out of loyalty if nothing else. Let’s hope for good stories and good art …

{sigh}, yeah, me either…

Original material by Michael Curry

 

Agents of Shield Renewed for Sixth Season

The agents will return for another season! ABC has renewed Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD for a sixth season. Unlike the usual 22-episode count, season six will air during the 2018-2019 season with 13 episodes. It remains to be seen if this will be the final season for the superhero drama.

Earlier this year, executive producer Jed Whedon teased that the events of Avengers: Infinity War would “open up a whole new playground” for the show if it received another season. “The thing that we love about what our show has become is, the movies sort of blaze a path. Doctor Strange introduced magic, all of a sudden we could have Ghost Rider on our show. We’re just waiting for that movie to come out, so it can open up a whole new playground for us.”

It seems season six will now give fans the chance to see how the fallout from Infinity War effected the agents. The fifth season finale aired Friday, May 18, which sees Coulson’s life hanging in the balance as General Talbot prepares to tear the earth apart in his quest for more gravitonium.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. stars Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Henry Simmons, Elizabeth Henstridge, Ian De Caestecker, and Natalia Cordova-Buckley.

Thank you Scoop for allowing me to reprint your article: http://scoop.previewsworld.com/Home/4/1/73/1012?ArticleID=212531

So, the question is … why? Agents of Shield is the unloved stepchild of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and on a constant mission of catching up. It has always reflected the events of the MCU with no reciprocity. None. A ship is about to explode in the atmosphere killing everyone on earth. Why wasn’t Iron Man called in? And as far as I know, the Avengers STILL are unaware of Colson’s survival – the whole reason for their staying together during the last half of the first movie. What would Captain America make of what they did to Colson?

Incorporating the events of Infinity War may make for some interest episodes. But what then?

After an interesting premier season, the next two seasons were abysmal (oh boy, they’re fighting Ward again this week …).

The first few episodes of Agents were everything that was wonderful about the MCU – fun and exciting. The show’s reaction to the events of Captain America Winter Soldier brought back the excitement for a time, as did shows that actually folded into the MCU (Sif’s appearance in “Yes Men” (1st season) and “Who You Really Are” (2nd season)).

Unfortunately, it was followed by two years of tedium … Ward, Inhumans, Ward, more Inhumans, more Ward, “I know there’s still good inside Ward!” Blam blam! “I’m bleeding out – but I know there’s still good inside Ward…”, still more Inhumans, still more Ward, Powers Boothe, and still even more Ward.

Then came Season Four and Ghost Rider. Despite some finally-injected-differences, their ratings were still in the lower mesosphere and have remained there.

I think they are doing the right thing – 13 episodes is enough to tell the tale (actually it is about 12 more than should be needed) and if the ratings are still horrid, Disney will renew it anyway.

Comic book fans should be grateful – if this wasn’t a Marvel show it would be jettisoned in its third week.  Agents of Shield averaged 2.073 million viewers per episode (https://tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/marvels-agents-shield-season-five-ratings/), abysmal for a network show (the #1 shows bring in 11 million viewers, the #10 show usually brings in 7 million).

Let’s hope the next season is as good as the past two. Enjoy it while we can – they could bring Ward back at any time now…

In the meantime, Season 5 will be available on Netflix as of June 17th.

Original Material 2018 by Michael Curry

With Great Power Comes Great … Debt. Marvel Comics’ 1996 Bankruptcy.

I have a blog where I discuss various legal issues. Sometimes the issues cross over with this more … nerdy-culturally-aimed blog …

Thought you might get a kick out of it …

Celebrity Spotlight: Marvel Comics

Bankruptcy affects people of every age, creed, sex or ethnicity from every part of the country. Even celebrities both loved and disliked have their financial problems and depend on the bankruptcy laws to get out from under crippling debt.

Sometimes even superheroes…

marvel-case-presentation-26-638

From Den of Geek: my thanks for aloowing me to reprint their wonderful article…

Marvel Comics had grown in stature throughout the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s thanks to the often stunning art and storytelling in such comics as Fantastic Four and The Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel’s financial success had reached a peak by the early ’90s. But then a series of bursting financial bubbles and questionable business deals saw Marvel’s stock value collapse; shares once worth $35.75 each in 1993 had sunk to $2.375 three years later. An ugly fight between a group of very rich investors followed, and for a while, the company’s future seemed uncertain.

Yet somehow, Marvel fought through all the corporate intrigue which dogged the company in late 1996 and for many long months afterwards, and emerged from the rubble a decade later as a film industry behemoth.

In 1993, while Marvel and the comics industry as a whole seemed to be in rude health, Sandman writer Neil Gaiman stood before about 3,000 retailers and gave a speech which few in attendance wanted to hear.

In it, he argued that the success of the comic book market was a bubble – one brought on by encouraging collectors to buy multiple editions and hoard them up in the hope that they’ll one day be worth a fortune. This, Gaiman said, was akin to tulip mania – a strange period in the 17th century when the value of tulip bulbs suddenly exploded, only for the market to collapse again.

“You can sell lots of comics to the same person, especially if you tell them that you are investing money for high guaranteed returns,” Gaiman  said. “But you’re selling bubbles and tulips, and one day the bubble will burst, and the tulips will rot in the warehouse.”

The bubble Gaiman described had begun several years earlier, when comic books, once considered disposable items by parents, were becoming prized items by collectors who’d grown up with their favorite superheroes as kids. By the 1980s, comic book collecting had gained the interest of the mainstream media, which latched onto stories about Golden Age comics selling for thousands of dollars.

Publishers were themselves courting the collector market by introducing variant covers, sometimes with foil embossing or other eye-catching, fancy printing techniques. These were snapped up hungrily by readers, but also by speculators assuming that they’d stumbled on a sure-fire means of making money by storing copies up and selling them for a profit in the future.

While the comics were flying off the shelves, Marvel attracted the interest of a man named Ron Perelman. Often pictured with a broad grin and a huge cigar in his hand, Perelman was a millionaire businessman with a variety of interests: in 1985, he’d made a huge deal for cosmetic firm, Revlon through his holding company, MacAndrews & Forbes. In early 1989, Perelman spent $82.5 million on purchasing the Marvel Entertainment Group, then owned by New World Pictures.

Within two years, Marvel was on the stock market, and Perelman went on a spending spree: he bought shares in a company called ToyBiz, snapped up a couple of trading card companies, Panini stickers, and a distribution outfit, Heroes World. All told, those acquisitions cost Marvel a reported $700m.

Through the early ’90s, Marvel was buoyed by the success of Spider-Man and X-Men, which were selling in huge numbers. Sales of a new comic, X-Force, were similarly huge, thanks in part to a cunning sales gimmick: the first issue came in a poly bag with one of five different trading cards inside it. If collectors wanted to get hold of all five cards, they – you guessed it – had to buy multiple copies of the same comic. With the boom still in full swing, that’s exactly what collectors did – as former Comics International news editor Phil Hall recalls, fans were buying five copies to keep pristine and unopened, and a sixth to tear into and read.

Then, just as Gaiman predicted, the bubble burst. Between 1993 and 1996, revenues from comics and trading cards began to collapse. Suddenly, Marvel, which at one point seemed invincible as it grew in size, now looked vulnerable.

“When the business turned,” observed then-chariman and CEO of Marvel Scott Sassa, “it was like everything that could go wrong did go wrong.”

Some in the industry went further, and argued that Perelman’s tactics had endangered the entire industry:

“[Perelman] reasoned, quite correctly, that if he raised prices and output, that hardcore Marvel fans would devote a larger and larger portion of their disposable income toward buying comics,” Chuck Rozanski, wrote CEO of Mile High Comics. “Once he had enough sales numbers in place to prove this hypothesis, he then took Marvel public, selling 40% of its stock for vastly more than he paid for the entire company. The flaw in his plan, however, was that he promised investors in Marvel even further brand extensions, and more price increases. That this plan was clearly impossible became evident to most comics retailers early in 1993, as more and more fans simply quit collecting due to the high cost, and amid a widespread perception of declining quality in Marvel comics.”

Whether Perelman was directly to blame or not, the consequences for the industry as a whole were painful in the extreme. Hundreds of comic book retailers went bust as sales tumbled by 70 percent. Suddenly, the boom had turned to bust, and even Perelman admitted that he hadn’t anticipated the dark future Gaiman had warned about in his speech.

”We couldn’t get a handle on how much of the market was driven by speculators,” Perelman said; “the people buying 20 copies and reading one and keeping 19 for their nest egg…”

By 1995, Marvel Entertainment was heavily in debt. In the face of mounting losses, Perelman decided to press on into new territory: he set up Marvel Studios, a venture which he hoped would finally get the company’s most famous characters on the big screen after years of legal disputes. To do this, he planned to buy the remaining shares in ToyBiz and merge it with Marvel, creating a single, stronger entity.

Marvel’s shareholders resisted, arguing that the financial damage to Marvel’s share prices would be too great. Perelman’s response was to file for bankruptcy, thus giving him the power to reorganize Marvel without the stockholder’s consent.

Marvel filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 27, 1996. Coincidentally, its highest debt of $1.7 million was owed to Disney. Over one-third of Marvel employees were laid off.

There followed a bewildering power struggle which raged for almost two years. A stockholder named Carl Icahn tried to oppose Perelman, and the financial press eagerly reported on the very public spat which ensued. Perelman, Icahn argued, “Was like a plumber you loan money to get him started in business; then he comes in, wrecks your house, then tells you he wants the house for nothing.”

The battle, when it finally ended in December 1998, had a strange outcome which few could have predicted: after a lengthy court case, ToyBiz and Marvel Entertainment Group were finally merged, but Perelman and his nemesis Icahn were both ousted in the process. Other executives with ties with Perlmutter were also severed, including CEO Scott Sassa, whose tenure had, all told, lasted just eight months.

They’d been pushed out by two ToyBiz executives who’d been on Marvel’s board since 1993: Isaac Perlmutter and Avi Arad. With Scott Sassa gone, they installed the 55-year-old Joseph Calamari, who’d been at the helm of Marvel in the 80s, as its new CEO.

With the financial intrigue in the boardroom settling down, Marvel began to turn its attention to a target it had been trying to hit since the 1980s: the movie business. The rest, as they say …

MArvel money

***

Please check my legal blog for other famous bankruptcies!

***

Cap money

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

A Final Classic Christmas Comic!

Behold!

Bronze age Christmas

Special Christmas Edition

Marvel Classics Comics #36 (final issue), December, 1978

Cover Artists Bob Hall

“A Christmas Carol”

Writer:  Doug Moench

Penciler & Inker: “Diverse Hands”

Colorists: Francoise Mouly & Mario Sen, Letterer: Diana Albers

Editors: Rick Marschall & Ralph Macchio, Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter

***

Do you REALLY need a synopsis of the plot?

CC page 1

***

The story stayed true to the original book, complete with religious references left out of televised versions.

As the name for the penciller and inker shows, this was likely drawn by committee. They did a good job, not bad, but not spectacular. This panel, depicting one of the few action-oriented scenes of the story, still seems tame compared to the typical “Marvel Manner” espoused lo, that previous decade-and-a-half.

CC good panel

Whereas the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was as you would expect …

the final spirit

The art-by-committee is most obvious with Scrooge himself – his facial features changed from toothless and gaunt to Ben Franklin-esque. At times he looked like William Hartnell as Doctor Who!

But it was drawn moodily and darkly. It looked like it came from DC’s horror line. One expects to see Cain, Abel or Destiny bookending the chapters. It was also wordy, more akin to a DC Silver Age comic than Marvel. But this affected the entire series, if “affected” is the correct word. I certainly didn’t mind…

Carol marvel method

Like most of the series, it was a canny and thorough version of the story the issue depicted. They even did the Welsh miners and the boat. Almost every movie and TV version of this story skip the Welsh miners, the lighthouse keepers and the boat. Anyone expecting a Marvel or comic booky twist to the story (even if in just style and layout) will be disappointed.

***

I loved this series and this was its final issue. Appropriately this is also my final Christmas Edition of Behold the Bronze Age.

Look for more in the new year! Merry Christmas and, of course …

final panel

***

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

We wish you a Merry X-Men (Uncanny X-Men # 143, that is…)

Behold!

Bronze age Christmas

Special Christmas Edition

Uncanny X-Men #143, March, 1981

Cover Artists Terry Austin & Rick Parker

“Demon”

Writers: Chris Claremont & John Byrne

Pencilers John Byrne, Inkers Terry Austin

Colorists Glynis Wein, Letterers Tom Orzechowski

Editor: Louise Jones, Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter

From Marvel Wikia:

Flashback – The X-Men’s first battle with the N’Garai, specifically Storm’s destruction of the obelisk which was the nexus of the gateway between their world and ours. The X-Men believed that, with the obelisk gone, the gate was sealed, but a lone demon slowly crawled from amidst the rubble, free in our world.

In the present day a couple out looking for their first Christmas tree. Quickly their happiness became ashes – the N’Garai demon killed them swiftly and then feasted upon them, body and soul.

Meanwhile at the X-Mansion Kitty was learning how the Blackbird ran, backwards and forwards, when, to her relief, Angel interrupted to let Xavier know that it was time to be going. In the entrance-way, Logan introduced Mariko Yashida to Professor X. A mistletoe prank of Kurt’s with Mariko drew Wolverine’s ire, but things were soon set aright, although the mood was tense. Kitty lightened it by playing a similar trick on Colossus, who blushed deeply. Then most of the X-Men departed: Wolverine and Mariko, Angel off to see Candy Southern, and Professor X, Peter, Ororo, and Kurt off in the Rolls. Kitty Pryde was left in the mansion alone.

Kitty, feeling lonely, tried calling her parents with no luck. Scott called to wish everyone a merry Christmas. Finding only Kitty in the mansion, he promised to call tomorrow. He then found Lee Forrester to see about taking a job as a sailor. He is a little surprised to find that Lee is a woman when he was expecting the ship captain to be a man.

Still at loose ends, Kitty decided to work out, using a Danger Room exercise program. However, her work-out was interrupted by the intruder alarm activating in Ororo’s room. Not wanting to disturb the police over what may be something as simple as a fallen branch, Kitty decided to investigate only to discover the N’Garai demon.

Kitty lead it on a merry chase through the mansion, phasing through walls with it fast on its heels. Losing it briefly at one point, she tried to make it to a phone to call the other X-Men. The demon was waiting for her, however, and while she phased in time, she still felt the claw as it scythed through her incorporeal form.

She escaped to the Danger Room, air-walking up to the control booth to use the room against her. The demon was taking its time to show, however, and she was starting to wonder just how smart it was when it entered the control booth instead of the room below. Kitty backpedaled into the Danger Room and it pursued her through the ‘unbreakable’ glass. The Danger Room came alive, and Kitty managed to barely keep just ahead of it and not get nailed by the room. Of course, the demon just tore through everything the room had to offer, but it delayed it long enough that Kitty got a good head-start, out of the Danger Room and to the rail-car to the hangar. Halfway to the hangar the demon ruptured the rail, forcing Kitty to travel the rest of the distance on foot.

Weary from exertion, Kitty got into the blackbird, its turbine engines pointed down the tunnel, the only realistic path for the demon to follow into the hangar. She started going through the ignition checklist. At the last second she ignited the engines, crisping the demon but wrecking the blackbird. She exited the plane, air-walking, confident nothing could have survived, when a burned claw arced towards her.

The X-Men returned home to a darkened house, having encountered police earlier warning them of gruesome murders that had occurred in the area. Wary, and with Professor X’s telepathy somehow foiled, they entered cautiously. Kitty was curled up watching TV with a fire, and was overjoyed that the X-Men had returned. Kitty’s parents were also with them.

It turned out that last swipe was the creature’s dying attempt to kill Kitty. It made the supreme effort and it failed.

***

This issue followed the superb “Days of Future Past” story arc and was the last issue f John Byrne’s regular run as artist.

***

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!