Coming Up: Marvel Comics Due October 2010

So, do you think Marvel starts off its catalog with all the licensed junk — movies (Tron), video games (Halo), comics loosely inspired by big-name writers (The Stand), foreign imports (Soleil) — because that makes it easier to show the licensees how they’re presenting their properties? Instead of having to flip through and find the right pages, they’re up there first. And customers have to get through them to get to the good stuff.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #15

I thought the notice given to what might be Marvel’s first gay cover kiss (on Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #15, as shown here, $3.99, AUG10 0549) was both sweet and sad; the former because it’s romantic, the latter because it’s a huge shame that there’s so little content for that audience that this was seized upon so greedily. Then I noticed that in print, in the catalog, the two guys were blocked and cropped out entirely under a page margin color bar. I’m curious now to see what the actual cover will look like. If Marvel’s uncomfortable with the attention, then we may never see those two sweethearts again. (Click the link for a visual example of what I’m talking about regarding the catalog.)

A couple of years ago, everyone was rushing to put President Obama on their covers or in their comics to get some undeserved attention. This year, it’s vampires, as we get the one-shot Spider-Man Vs. Vampires ($3.99, AUG10 0561) to keep the ongoing X-Men vampire storyline company. (Or, if you’re Archie, this is the year you do both.) This one guest stars Blade, of course, and it’s also a Marvel Digital reprint, repurposing their online content. Also following the trend, several books this month get “Vampire Variant Covers”. You know, I seem to remember variants, once upon a time, were a way to show another cool scene from the comic, maybe by a different artist than normally worked on the book. Now, it’s cashing in on some other fad entirely. I guess that’s just as creative, but it feels even more calculated, like it’s trying to encourage those who spend more on alternate art to chase them all. (Although the Thing as a vampire, for the second cover to Fantastic Four #584, is funny.)

Decisions, decisions. I like Greg Pak and Fred van Lente’s writing, and they’re working together on the miniseries Chaos War starting this month. But it’s some stupid mega-universe crossover, returning a character from the dead when no one believed he’d stay gone anyway, and it’s $4 an issue. Worst of all, they’re promoting this with “the shocking death of a major Marvel character”, reinforcing the revolving door nature of the whole game. So I’ll pass.

Thor and the Warriors Four Digest cover
Thor and the Warriors Four Digest
Buy this book

Instead, I’ll stick with the charming Thor: The Mighty Avenger. #5 (2.99, AUG10 0628) is offered this month, and this all-ages series has finally made the title character interesting to me. (I’m not the only one: check out this great writeup by Glen Weldon.) That’s due to the talented writing of Roger Langridge and impressive art of Chris Samnee. And there’s a cool new friend for him named Jane, a museum curator who helps Thor adjust to Earth. I’ve only managed to read the first issue so far, but I’m signed on for lots more.

Also a good idea: the Thor and the Warriors Four Digest ($9.99, AUG10 0698), featuring the kid superheroes of Power Pack teaming up with this year’s hot superhero … and don’t forget Horsey-Man Beta Ray Bill! It’s a good story with plenty of hooks, from adventure to emotional appeal.

As I’ve said before, I’m really enjoying Marvel’s Heroic Age, but I have no idea why anyone would want a bunch of number one issues from various continuing series lumped together under that title for $25. The 300-page Heroic Age collection contains the Avengers #1s along with the first issues of Age of Heroes, Heroic Age: Prince of Power, Atlas, Hawkeye & Mockingbird, and other bits and pieces. They’re all good, but few of them are satisfying stories on their own.

8 Responses to “Coming Up: Marvel Comics Due October 2010”

  1. James Schee Says:

    The Thor All ages book sounds fun! I guess the librarian Jane, is and update on the old nurse Jane that was Thor’s love interst.

  2. David Scholes Says:

    I like Samnee’s art and I’ve heard good things about Langridge’s writing. I even like the storyline and the confrontation with Captain Britain.

    Unfortunately what turns me off is that it is a young Thor. I guess I like my Thor just a little older, more at the height of his powers.

    As an Aussie science fiction writer I’ve been a Marvel Thor fan since the original Journey into Mystery of August 1962.

    If you get a chance check out some of my Marvel (mainly Thor) fan fiction. Just scroll down below my author profile and you will see over 40 fan fiction stories here:

  3. Paul O'Brien Says:

    The colour bar in Marvel Previews appears on every single page, so as long as ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #115 was given a full-page solicitation on the right-hand page, the gay couple were always going to get cropped. Actually, they seem to have cropped the other side of the image as well – I’m not sure whether the dimensions of the original art would have filled the page, given that Ultimate books have a whopping opaque logo at the top of the cover, so perhaps they just had to zoom in to make it fill the page. At any rate, this seems to be nothing more than routine cropping of the art.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Perhaps. But based on Google, that portion of the art got a surprising amount of attention, so even routine treatment may be misinterpreted. (Or a company now owned by Disney may be backing away from that kind of scrutiny.) As I said, I’m curious to see how much of the full cover makes it to print.

  5. Thor and the Warriors Four Digest! Order Now! | Alex Zalben Says:

    […] if you don’t believe me, check out Comics Worth Reading, who recommends picking up the digest, saying: “It’s a good story with plenty of hooks, […]

  6. Simon Says:

    Hello. Could you create a “Category: Coming Up” to file your Previews reviews articles?

    Currently, I have to search your site each month for a string like “due October 2010″ at in order to locate the many posts you often have on the topic (though apparently you skipped DC/Indies/Manga this month and only did Marvel).

    A dedicated category for these posts would allow us to have a permanent bookmark like for direct access to these posts each month. (Also, I don’t think the current “Category: Superhero Reviews” is appropriate or useful to file that content.)

  7. Johanna Says:

    Yes, I only did Marvel this month because I ran out of time. Hopefully next month I’ll be able to better schedule the posts. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll keep it in mind, although I’m not sure how it will work with the other structures I have for the site. I’ll have to experiment. Thanks for reading and suggesting!

  8. Shopping Guide Created » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] on reader suggestion (thanks, Simon!), I’ve just created a new category here at the site, Shopping Guide. This is […]




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