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Marvel VS DC...

Every time a new superhero movie comes out this issue re-enters my head.  
Which universe is better and why. 
DC became big by buying out other companies and tyring to meld them into a single universe. Love the iconic characters (beyond Superman and Batman), but their comics are like their movies - seperate stories that only show signs of sharing a single universe when it is convenient. 
Marvel grew out from a single guy (Stan the Man) and expanded from within. The movies started with one (Iron Man) and grew to what they are now. 
So which is better? 
I'm skewed in my opinion because I grew up on Marvel, but I also loved the Super-Friends cartoon and Chris Reeve's Superman. 
But in the end, I think Marvel is better - both with their books and their movies.  
Here's why...  
DC is like building blocks - the wooden ones with letters, numbers and pictures on them. 
Marvel is like Legos. 
Build two identical houses. Same size, shape, area, etc. 
Throw a tennis ball at both. 
Which one is still standing?

HEY! Thor was #1 opening weekend…What does this mean?

So Thor was #1 last weekend, earning over $65 million in Domestic sales. When you add in Foreign sales, the movie more than earned back the estimated $150 million spent in making the film.

So what does this info tell us? Quite a bit actually…

1) Movies which the studios question their profitability will make money back faster in theatres with $15.00 ticket prices (3D IMAX theatres). Thor isn’t the first movie that went this way, and there are some movies that could have benefited from this process.

2) A lot of people went to see Thor…a movie based on a character that isn’t well known to the general public. I knew more about Thor than the average ticket buyer, but not as much as I do about Spidey, Supes, Bats, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. I went to see Thor because I wanted to see the next chapter in the evolving Marvel Movie Universe. The philosophy (referencing other characters and plot lines) works in comics, and Marvel proves it works in film too.

3) Most importantly, this proves that movies about lesser known comic properties can make a profit. I’m a firm believer that every character of every comic book company can be written in such a way to make them interesting and worthy of a film, and Thor just makes the point.

So go ahead Marvel – make the damn Black Widow and Ant-Man films! We’ll get in line. Along with Hawkeye, Hercules, Moondragon, Moon Knight, USAgent, Spider Woman…    


Marvel Licensing - Who owns what?

Can anyone help me out here? As far as I know, Sony still owns Spider-Man, and 20th Century Fox owns both X-Men/Wolverine and the Fantastic Four/Silver Surfer. 
But does Fox still own Daredevil and Ghost Rider? Does Lionsgate still own Punisher? What about Blade?  
I guess what I really want to know is: what other potential franchises in the Marvel Comics sandbox can Marvel Studios use to continue growing their movie universe that are NOT currently owned by other production companies?

Attention Comic Vine users...any advice?

I'm going to the Wizard New England Comic Con this weekend...
1) This is my first three-day convention...ever.
2) I'm volunteering throughout the weekend (so I can get in free)
I've read the articles and seen the clips about deodorant, breath mints, fresh clothes and such. This is a big deal for me. Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Majors and John Schneider are going to be there! 
I plan on having my camera with me, and have a list of things/events/panels I want to see, but never having been to events like this I have questions. How expensive is the food is at these things? How can I get into the post day events at local bars and such? Should I bring things I'm interested in selling/trading? Should I wait until the final day to shop/sell/trade? Can I use my Volunteer shirt to have people sign? Should I wait until the costume contest to take pictures? Is it better to leave the con for lunch (or dinner) and then come back, or to buy food there?
Any advice from previous attendees at either a Wizard con or SDCC or any multi-day event would be greatly appreciated!


Character Spotlight: Nite Owl (I)

Every character deserves a Spotlight. A moment of appreciation, reflection, discussion…and in some cases rejection. 

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The first Nite Owl is a fantastic character, both within the grand Watchmen story and in his own right.
Alan Moore was given newly bought Charlton Comics character Blue Beetle to introduce into the DC Universe, but his rough draft was deemed too intense for DC to use outright, so DC gave him essentially a pocket universe to tell his story. As a result, had to change everything about Blue Beetle and come up with a new character with a different name and appearance. When was faced with this challenge, Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons told him of a character Gibbons created when he was fourteen named “Night Owl”, along with his drawing of the character. loved it, and came up with the name Hollis Mason.
Moore’s use of Mason in Watchmen was to introduce the superheroes of this world to readers in a relatable and realistic manner. Sure the story took place in 1985, but costumed heroics began almost fifty years earlier – during Mason’s time. We also learned why Mason got dressed up in the first place, where the name “Nite Owl” came from, and how public opinion regarding his actions and those of his comrades changed over time.
And did all of this using excerpts from Mason’s autobiographical novel, which was never revealed in full.
The first time I read Mason’s words, I kept hearing Adam West’s voice in my head, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone. Hollis had that sense of nostalgic appreciation to heroics of the past that come up every time I saw a Batman re-run. Keep in mind Watchmen came out in 1986, and I first read it in 1988 - when there was talk of a new Batman movie being made (thanks in part to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns) - and West’s name kept popping up. He was first considered for the lead, then for a cameo as Thomas Wayne, and for the longest time fans and West himself felt that he should be somewhere in the movie because of his long-standing association with the character. It never happened, but there was a definite similarity between West and Mason – two older men retiring in obscurity, being replaced by the next generation of ‘hero’.
I read the first seven issues and thought it was a great story, but when I reached the last few pages of #8 I was furious. Mason’s death, in that manner, really drove home to me ’s intended message of expanding the potential of comic book storytelling. I was crushed. I was heart-broken. I almost gave up reading the rest of the story. My eyes were opened…and I hated it. Looking back, I realized it had to be done.
It just sucked b@!!$.  
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My Thought on Captain America…The Movie

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Okay. So first I explained my opinions on the Thor movie and how it would connect to the Marvel Movie Universe. I’ve thought it through, and figured how to do the same thing with Captain :

First the plot – the first act would be about Steve Rogers, growing up in in the thirties, enlisting in the army, getting selected for the ‘Super-Soldier’ program (that is mentioned in Incredible Hulk) and ends with Steve completing the process and getting the new body. Act 2 would be about his army days, sneaking around, being an inspirational leader on the battlefield, meeting Bucky and having him learn Steve’s secret identity, and would end with Cap being defeated and/or captured by the Red Skull. The final act would be Steve’s victory against the Red Skull, defeating whatever Nazi plans he had, and the movie would end with Cap (and Bucky) continuing the never-ending battle for victory in WWII.


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So basically, it’s the plot of the 4-part The Adventures of Captain America mini by Fabian Nicieza and Kevin Maguire from 1991/1992.
But the major difference is in the post credits…
There’s a shot of a newspaper headline dated at least a year after the movie takes place, but still during World War II, that reads: CAPTAIN AMERICA MISSING!!! Then we see darkness, but obviously underwater. Lights are shining from around and behind the camera into the water in front of us. Then we see an iceberg, with a familiar shield encased in it, and an arm, and the rest of Cap’s body. Coming into frame, on either side, we see the sources of the lights – Iron Man’s glove, and Thor’s hammer…

That’s it. That’s all you need. The movie itself connects to The Incredible Hulk, and the post credits connect to Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Thor.

Done deal.


My Thought on Thor…The Movie


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When I saw Iron Man 2 (which is FANTASTIC by the way), I knew how Marvel managed to connect it with Thor, the next installment of the Marvel Movie Universe.

Here’s my question: How will Marvel connect Thor with the previous two movies (Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk)?

Here’s my answer…

The explosion of the Arc Reactor – which was a unique achievement that has never existed before, and therefore no one could predict the ramifications of its detonation – was somehow noticed by the gods of Asgard. Either it woke them out of some form of suspended animation, or brought them back into existence, or just made them aware of the power humans now have and they feel threatened. This would cause some of the gods, most likely Tyr and Loki, to want to attack humanity in self defense. They would enlist the Frost Giants, Dark Elves, trolls and others as their army. Other Asgardians, including Odin, Thor, Balder, Sif, Valkyrie and the Warriors Three, would try to stop them, believing that humanity should be left alone. The resulting battle, with humanity at stake, causes the tremendous storm we see in The Incredible Hulk.

But how does this explain the presence of Thor’s hammer at the end of Iron Man 2?

Instead of Odin sending Thor to Earth to learn humility (as it was in the comics), Thor winds up on Earth during the battle, and forgets everything about his Asgardian self. It could be from an injury, or it could be from a spell cast on him by Loki. While the rest of the movie deals with Thor recovering from the injury/spell and rediscovering himself, the battle ends with Loki’s forces victorious, and preparing to invade Earth…

Now I have to figure out how to connect this with the Captain America movie.


Character Spotlight: Elektra

 Every character deserves a Spotlight. A moment of appreciation, reflection, discussion…and in some cases rejection.

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First of all,  there’s something important many people have overlooked:   
Elektra is the poster lady of the Retcon.
Frank Miller had her on the back burner, waiting for the opportunity to write her into Matt Murdock’s life, which was Daredevil #168 when Miller took over writing duties. 
How did he do it? He brought her in as a professional assassin with a back-story where she and Matt met in college. Matt became totally infatuated with her and they had a great time until tragedy struck - her father was accidentally killed on campus during a political skirmish. She was so distraught over her father’s death that she decided to leave . Matt begged her not to go, but she went anyway. Back in the present, Matt realizes what she’s become, and his greatest love is now the opposite of everything he stands for both as Daredevil, and as Matt Murdock Attorney At Law.
Retcons work when they add to a story or further a character’s development. Miller succeeded here. We learned more about Matt’s post-accident/pre-Daredevil days, and saw how deeply Elektra affected him. (Having been in a similar relationship myself, I completely buy the idea of losing oneself when around another person.) Miller made their relationship even stronger by connecting her to Stick, another important person in Matt’s life. 
Elektra became all the more interesting when Miller killed her off after only thirteen appearances (including Bizarre Adventures #28).
Thirteen Appearances. 
That was it. By Daredevil #181, she was dead. It was confirmed in #182 after Miller played with us the whole issue. We saw her corpse. Matt touched it. In What If? (Vol. 1) #35 (which Miller also wrote), Uatu even showed Matt what his life could have been like had Elektra lived
But this is comics we’re talking about, and she was too good a character to leave dead. 
Miller hadn’t planned on bringing her back, but thanks to fans asking for more, he did in Daredevil #190. 
Do the math. She stayed dead fewer issues than she was alive.
The way she was brought back, though, was well within the scope of Elektra’s world. It wasn’t a dream, an alien (although that does happens later), or an alternate reality/timeline version of herself that wound up on Earth-616. The Hand resurrected Elektra to be their assassin, and Matt’s love and purity of heart cleansed her soul, allowing her to be ‘reborn’ (an overused word lately, but applicable here) with a new outlook on life. The last page showed her at peace, dressed in a white version of her red outfit; pure, strong, ready for what’s next.
What did happen next was a bunch of hooey.
Miller must not have known what to do with her, because outside of the occasional reference, we didn’t see her again until Elektra: Assassin…three years later.
With Elektra’s reappearance, I first noticed the visuals. I love Bill Sienkiewicz’s work and thought he should have stayed on New Mutants forever, but we had only seen Elektra as Miller drew her up to this point, and visually, a new look signifies a new direction for the character. That, in and of itself, is fine but…
…I was hoping for a great story involving Matt and Elektra reuniting and an epic battle against the Hand. Matt would realize that he wasn’t complete without her and Elektra would thank him for bringing her back. Instead, it was a story about government corruption, mind control, new powers - and no sign of Daredevil whatsoever.  
Elektra: Assassin was a shark moment that I could have easily jumped over and not given a second thought to. 
But Elektra went missing for three more years until Elektra Lives Again.  
Being put off by Assassin I wasn’t about to try again. While I have read the occasional issue of her 2001 series by Bendis and have hit the highlights of her involvement in the Skrull storyline, I haven’t collected comics since the bubble burst in the early nineties (around the time Daredevil got his new suit), my focus being on filling holes in my existing collection. 
So for me, Elektra has been living on top of that mountain at peace ever since, replacing Stick as the new leader of The Chaste and training new warriors in their continuous fight against The Hand.