Author Archive for Brandon Staley

Avengers Head Back to Basics with ComiXology Originals Series

Avengers Head Back to Basics with ComiXology Originals Series

Marvel Entertainment and ComiXology have announced a new, original series, Avengers: Back to Basics, that will be available exclusively from the digital comics reading service. Avengers: Back to Basics will run for six issues on a bi-weekly release schedule. The series can only be purchased through ComiXology’s digital store, though it will be available to ComiXology Unlimited subscribers at no additional charge.

Avengers: Back to Basics is the latest in ComiXology’s line of original series, and not the first time the company has teamed with Marvel to create an exclusive. Other exclusive series include Black Panther: Long Live the King, The Immortal Iron Fists and Thor Vs. Hulk: Champions of the Universe. Marvel released over 10,000 titles on ComiXology last spring, all of which can be browsed under the ComiXology Unlimited program.

RELATED: Marvel Joins ComiXology Unlimited

Avengers: Back to Basics is written by Peter David, with art by Brian Level and Juanan Ramirez. Covers for the series are illustrated by Nick Roche and Chris O’Halloran. Avengers: Back to Basics follows a tale of Ragnarok, in which a solar eclipse heralds the arrival of a new Darkness. The Avengers must assemble if they wish to fight off the ancient evil.

avengers back to basics cover

Avengers: Back to Basics #1 will be available for purchase on ComiXology and Kindle (ComiXology is owned by Amazon) on March 7, 2018 for $2.99.

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SDCC: Jury Sides with San Diego Over Trademark of ‘Comic-Con’

SDCC: Jury Sides with San Diego Over Trademark of ‘Comic-Con’

Thinking of starting up a homegrown comic book convention? Best to excise the term “comic con” from your event’s title now, because a jury just sided with Comic-Con International in San Diego in a trademark case against a Utah-based comic convention.

A jury has ruled that Salt Lake Comic Con was in the wrong for using the phrase “comic con” in their event’s name. Representatives from San Diego Comic-Con argued that the use of the phrase “comic con” in the Utah event’s title was designed to confuse conventiongoers. The jury determined Salt Lake Comic Con did just that, though not intentionally.

RELATED: Deadpool 2 Teaser Promises Free Tattoos for Brazil Comic Con Attendees

The Hollywood Reporter reports that San Diego Comic-Con sought $12 million in damages, though only $20,000 of that was awarded. This was likely a relief for the Utah convention, which has only seen $3 million in profits since the event’s founding in 2013.

The trademark lawsuit was first filed back in 2014, with deliberations finally being held last Thursday. The roughly 140 events in the United States that include the phrase “comic con” in their title will likely be pushed to find a new name now that a legal precedent has been set.

The phrase “comic con” is a shortening of the words “comic” and “convention.” San Diego Comic-Con is the most notable event to include the phrase, but it didn’t start off that way. The inaugural San Diego Comic-Con was held in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention.

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Veronica is a Blood Sucker in Archie’s New Vampironica Series

Veronica is a Blood Sucker in Archie’s New Vampironica Series

The Archie comic books series might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering vampires, but that could be changing with the introduction of Vampironica, the newly-announced series from Archie Comics that reimagines Veronica Lodge as a blood-thirsty creature of the night. The series joins Afterlife with Archie, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Jughead: The Hunger in the comic publisher’s horror imprint, Archie Horror.

Helmed by Greg and Megan Smallwood, Vampironica will see Riverdale’s resident rich girl turned into a vampire by another blood sucker hundreds of years her senior. Forced to contend with this new, radical transformation, Veronica will have to deal with the prospect of feeding on her own small-town cohorts. Interestingly, the Smallwoods believe the change to undead could help humanize the bratty Veronica over time.

RELATED: Jughead: The Hunger Ongoing Continues Archie’s Werewolf Horror

“Fans can rest assured that we’ll be staying faithful to the core of these characters,” Greg said in press release provided exclusively to io9. “It was very important to Megan and I that Vampironica be the same Veronica that we all know and love, only now with fangs. Realistically, how would a narcissistic teenage shopaholic react to becoming a vampire? We found an equal amount of humor and horror in the answer to that question, but the story also takes us to some amazingly heartfelt places.”

One cover for the first issue of Vampironica shows the teen effectively draining the blood from the entire school football team, but apparently she’ll be the same girl deep down. The experience will be humbling for Veronica, who is used to getting her way. It will be interesting to see how the character develops around the necessities and rules of being a supernatural creature of the night. It sounds like she’ll be coping in a very Veronica Lodge kind of way…

RELATED: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Lead May Not Be White

“We let Veronica’s well-established personality lead the story at all times,” Megan said. “Vampironica is Dracula, your BFF and the most self-absorbed girl you know all rolled up into one. Veronica Lodge never lets anyone stand in her way and that definitely holds true for Vampironica. Veronica Lodge is not the kind of girl to join any ranks, let alone vampire ranks. True to form, Veronica instead relies on her own gut-instincts. They haven’t let her down in life and they won’t let her down as she navigates the surreal world of the undead.”

Written by Megan Smallwood, with art by Greg Smallwood and lettering by Jack Morelli, Vampironica will be available for purchase on March 14, 2018.

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Comics Creators Unite for Puerto Rico Benefit Anthology

Comics Creators Unite for Puerto Rico Benefit Anthology

Comic book publisher Lion Forge has announced it will release a comics anthology titled Puerto Rico Strong, the profits from which will go entirely to aiding Puerto Rico as the island struggles to rebuild its infrastructure after the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico Strong will collect the works of some of Puerto Rico’s most talented comics artists for an anthology that will touch on what it means to be Puerto Rican.

“When a particular area of the world is struggling, it is everyone’s responsibility to find ways to help” David Steward II, the founder of Lion Forge, said in a press release. “We at Lion Forge are always looking for ways to bolster diversity of content and creators, and we thought the best way to help the people of Puerto Rico would be to highlight some of the unique voices in our industry with a deep connection to Puerto Rican heritage. We are donating 100% of the book’s profits to the ongoing relief efforts.”

RELATED: Avengers Cast Raises $500,000 for Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief

Those proceeds will go to the Disaster Relief and Recovery Programs to Support Puerto Rico, which was founded by the Hispanic Federation to aid those affected by Hurricane Maria. The Hispanic Federation has helped Puerto Rico by organizing donation drives, distributing resources to the island and raising over $3 million in aid.

“For many, Puerto Rico is often considered a foreign land rather than a part of the United States,” Lion Forge Editor Desiree Rodriguez said. “What we hope to accomplish here is showcasing the vast diversity of Puerto Rico of our community and our history. There are those of us whose parents immigrated from the island, or who have family on the island still, or have never even seen Puerto Rico. We want to explore those stories of struggle and triumph through that lens.”

RELATED: Conroy, Strong & More Batman: TAS Alum Launch Puerto Rico Relief Auction

Puerto Rico Strong will include writing and art by Rosa Colón (Soda Pop Comics), Vita Ayala (BITCH Planet), Naomi Franquiz (Misfit City), Javier Cruz Winnick (A Reason to Smile!), Sabrina Cintron (La Borinquena), Tristan Tarwater (Hen & Chick), Fabian Nicieza (co-creator of Deadpool) and Joamette Gil (Power & Magic), among others. The anthology will be co-edited by Rodriguez, alongside Marco Lopez, Neil Shwartz and Derek Ruiz.

Edited by Lion Forge, Puerto Rico Strong will be available for purchase at comic book shops and bookstores in March of 2018.

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DC Comics Launches New Cover Design to Replace Rebirth Banner

DC Comics Launches New Cover Design to Replace Rebirth Banner

DC Comics fans have likely grown used to the blue Rebirth banner on their comic book covers, but those days will soon come to an end. Today, the comic book publisher unveiled its new cover design, which replaces the banner in favor of a sleek corner box.

The corner box will provide information about the issue number, price and rating. Each box will also feature the emblem of the starring hero or superhero group. So, Superman comics will sport his iconic “S,” Batman comics will display the telltale Bat-Signal and Green Arrow will get, well, an arrow.

RELATED: Bizarro Boy Am Going to Arrive in DC Universe in 2018

The new cover design will replace the Rebirth banner much in the same way it replaced the New 52 initiative’s banner. DC Rebirth was first introduced in 2016 as a way for DC Comics to enact a continuity reboot that incorporated elements of the New 52, but reset the world of DC Comics back to a point prior to the “Flashpoint” arc.

The end of DC Rebirth will usher in a new era called DC Universe, an expansive new initiative that will feed off the events of Rebirth and retain its continuity going forward.

(via 13thDimension)

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Could Doctor Manhattan Have Created a New Rorschach for Doomsday Clock?

Could Doctor Manhattan Have Created a New Rorschach for Doomsday Clock?

WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for DC’s Doomsday Clock #1, by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, in stores now.

There’s a good chance most comics fans are still digesting the events Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Doomsday Clock #1. That’s to be expected. The series is a follow-up to one of the most revered comics of all times, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen. Not only that, but Doomsday Clock ties into a totally separate comic book continuity; certain Watchmen characters will be making their way into the DC Comics Universe. Chief among them is Doctor Manhattan, who has already been tinkering with DC’s continuity, and Adrian Veidt, the hero-turned-villain Ozymandias. But another Watchmen character has turned up in the debut issue, this one having risen from the grave: Rorschach.

So far, no one really knows what to make of the new Rorschach — he’s got the mask and the unhinged internal monologue, but this is clearly a different guy. The last time we saw Rorschach, he had just been turned into a bloody mist by Doctor Manhattan for admitting he would reveal the truth about Ozymandias’ murderous master plan. The way the vigilante was dispatched left no room for debate. Rorschach was dead, murdered by one of his former allies. So, who is the new Rorschach? That’s the question on everyone’s lips, and the answer might lie between the pages of Doomsday Clock #1 and Watchmen, the latter of which suggests the new Rorschach is result of Doctor Manhattan’s meddling. What? You didn’t think he was just going to hightail it to the DC Comics Universe without tweaking a few things on the way out, did you?

RELATED: Doomsday Clock Introduces Major New Characters to Watchmen’s Mythos

The best evidence for Doctor Manhattan creating the new Rorschach are his own stated intentions at the end of Watchmen. Ozymandias’ plan goes off without a hitch and the world stands horrified in the face of a presumed alien invasion. Doctor Manhattan is none too pleased with Ozymandias’ actions, but he can’t exactly turn back time and undo the deaths of millions. He agrees to go along with Veidt’s plan, reasoning that if the hoax was revealed then the world would slip back into chaotic infighting. Thus, Rorschach’s execution. That doesn’t mean Doctor Manhattan is happy with the outcome, though. In fact, the whole ordeal disgusts him so much that he opts to leave for another galaxy entirely. Ozymandias argues that Doctor Manhattan had just found a new appreciation for human life, to which Doctor Manhattan agrees. “I think perhaps I’ll create some,” he says.

doctor manhattan create some people

This statement can be interpreted in many ways, but a major clue about Doctor Manhattan’s intent comes just moments before, when he decides to lie to Ozymandias about killing Rorchach, stating: “You needn’t consider Rorschach. I strongly doubt he’ll reach civilization.” Of course he won’t, Doctor, you just vaporized him. Regardless, it’s not a lie, so much as it is an omission of truth and a reminder that the good doctor might possess unfathomable power, but his moral compass is still set firmly to “human.” It’s unlikely the omnipotent Doctor Manhattan cobbled together a hasty Rorschach homunculus in the Antarctic snow, but the lie affords him enough time to make a double before he departs, and there are quite a few reasons why he would want to.

RELATED: Doomsday Clock: How Ozymandias’ Watchmen Plan Unraveled

The chief reason is liability. At the end of Watchmen, Doctor Manhattan’s goals briefly align with Ozymandias’. Both need to ensure that the alien invasion isn’t uncovered as a hoax, and the best way to do so is to ensure there’s no incriminating evidence left behind. So, if a doppelganger Rorschach is seen now and again laying down the hurt on some unsuspecting, irredeemable criminals, then no one starts to wonder why the masked vigilante suddenly went missing. Rumors, such as those perpetuated by the Marionette (“Rorschach killed Nite Owl and Silk Spectre before he offed himself. He went totally nuts. Is that what happened?”), serve to distance the vigilante’s death from Veidt’s plan and lessen the likelihood anyone goes looking for Doctor Manhattan’s old friends. And if anyone gets too pushy about trying to find any of the three, well, it’s simple enough to trot out the Rorschach double and keep the secret under wraps. In this way, the new Rorschach acts as both an alibi and a security policy for the departed doctor.

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New Autobot Action Figure Features a Pro-Trump Message

New Autobot Action Figure Features a Pro-Trump Message

One Transformers fan got a nasty surprise earlier this week after some Cybertronian text on the side of a Power of the Primes Jazz action figure was translated. The message embedded on the Autobot’s door for all to see? Four letters: “MAGA.” Yes, that’s the shorthand for “Make America Great Again,” the 2016 campaign slogan of current United States President Donald Trump.

According to io9, the mystery began when Twitter user @chrisrtxv posted a tweet complaining about the tiny text printed on the Autobot’s side.

Another Twitter user, @TheLastGherkin, translated the writing to the best of his ability.

RELATED: Bumblebee: Transformers Spinoff’s Official Logo Goes Retro

The result was questionable at first. The Cybertronian letters are, after all, only millimeters high and extremely difficult to discern. Then Hasbro, the toy’s manufacturer, weighed in with a damning response:

It was brought to our attention that a graphic appears on one of our Transformers figures that, when translated from Cybertonian letters to English, spells out MAGA. We investigated the issue, and discovered that one of our vendors inserted this as part of the design without authorization. We are addressing this with the vendor.

We do not intend for our products to carry political messages, and apologize to anyone who was offended by this message.

So, somebody’s in trouble. For now, there’s no word on whether the toy will be recalled due to the unauthorized alteration. Jazz will just have to bear some dubious political connections for the time being.

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‘Real-Life Iron Man’ Sets Guinness World Record

‘Real-Life Iron Man’ Sets Guinness World Record

A new Guinness World Records title may herald the coming of a completely new way to fly. Or, barring that, a completely new way to get yourself into all kinds of dicey situations, just like Tony Stark. The record is for “fastest speed in a body controlled jet engine powered suit.” Yep, someone went and strapped jet engines to their hands and flew around a lake very fast. Now that’s the Tony Stark spirit of invention.

The man with the brains to pull off the record-setting feat is Richard Browning, the founder of Gravity Industries — a little Stark Industries in training. Seriously, the company’s entire purpose is to invent, build and file patents relating to human propulsion technology.

RELATED: Invincible Iron Man’s Marvel Legacy Mysteries, Explained

To set the record, Browning had to fly across a pond in Lagoona Park in Reading, UK and achieve a speed of over 30 MPH. After a bit of trouble (Browning lost control of the suit briefly and ended up taking a swim) he was able to achieve a speed of 32.02 MPH across a distance of roughly 100 meters.

Luckily, Browning didn’t have to make the suit under the same conditions as Stark. In the comics, Stark is struck by shrapnel while performing a military demonstration in Afghanistan. He’s captured by terrorists and told that if he builds a powerful enough weapon he will be given a life-saving surgery. Instead, Stark builds a prototype version of his iconic suit of armor and breaks out of captivity.

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Bendis Teases Announcement About ‘All of Our Favorite Characters’

Bendis Teases Announcement About ‘All of Our Favorite Characters’

It sounds like Brian Michael Bendis will be departing Marvel Comics with a bang. The long-time Marvel writer will soon be leaving the company for an exclusivity deal with DC Comics. In light of news of his departure, some Marvel fans have been wondering what will happen to the many series he helped define and the characters he created. A new tweet reveals that fans needn’t worry. According to Bendis, he’s been given all the time he needs to set up his characters for the next big thing.

In the tweet, Bendis calls out Tom Brevoort and Nick Lowe for all their support during his career transition. Brevoort is the Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing at Marvel Comics, while Lowe is Marvel’s Executive Editor and Vice President for Content and Digital Publishing.

RELATED: What Brian Michael Bendis’ Exclusive Deal Means For DC (and For Marvel)

Bendis is best known to fans for his work on Ultimate Spider-ManDaredevil, Secret Invasion and Jessica Jones. He is the creator of Riri Williams and Miles Morales, who were for a time the interim Iron Man and Spider-Man, respectively. Bendis is currently the writer behind four Marvel series: Invincible Iron Man, Spider-Man, Jessica Jones and Defenders.

What the “next big chapter” for these series might be is anyone’s guess, but it could refer to Marvel’s forthcoming Avengers: No Surrender arc, which will bring together Avengers past and present to battle an evil that has kidnapped the Earth itself. There’s no telling what exactly Bendis has planned for the diverse cast of characters he helped create (and those he took up), but, as always, more announcements are forthcoming.

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EXCLUSIVE: Warhammer 40,000 Gets New Deathwatch Series at Titan Comics

EXCLUSIVE: Warhammer 40,000 Gets New Deathwatch Series at Titan Comics

Titan Comics and Games Workshop have teamed to bring countless Orks — and the Deathwatch Space Marines who hate them — to comics fans this coming January. Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch is a four-issue miniseries based on the standalone Deathwatch board game.

The miniseries sees the Deathwatch team assailed by hordes of Orks while the fate of an entire sector hangs in the balance. In Warhammer 40,000 lore, the Deathwatch team is an elite group of Space Marines tasked with defending humanity and the Imperium of Man from the alien terrors of outer space, including not only Orks, but also the Tyranids, Dark Eldar, C’tan and Necrons.

RELATED: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III #3 (Preview)

Three variant covers will be sold for Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch #1. The covers (which can be found below) are illustrated by Ørjan Svendsen, Fabio Listrani and Tazio Bettin.

Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch will be written by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, the author behind multiple Black Library books (Black Library is Games Workshop’s publishing division), like The Horus Heresy: The First Heretic. Wagner Reis (Red Sonja) will provide art for the series. Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch #1 goes on sale on Jan. 3, 2018.

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