Knee-Jerk Reaction: Marvel Cancels She-Hulk!

Add She-Hulk to the list of characters that Squirrel Girl has defeated.

Marvel comics has released their January solicits and it's clearly labeled that She-Hulk #12 is the final issue.

This seriously feels like something DC would do, doesn't it? And they'd take loads of crap for doing it. Message boards and twitter would be exploding with criticism as to why they can't seem to get anything right. And although She-Hulk is trending on twitter at the time of this post, it's different.

This is Marvel we're talking about. They hold a significant amount of top ten books each month (except in September because DC variants rule all) and their movies live in a fantasy world where people just throw money at them.

I'm betting that the people at Marvel think they can pretty much do anything they want at this point.

Marvel NOW branding allows them to cancel a title, only to re-launch it with a new #1 issue and a freshly squeezed adjective. Maybe that is what's happening here, but honestly the backlash is warranted (and encouraged) until fans get an explanation.

Charles Soule, who writes the She-Hulk comic book, just signed an exclusive deal to write for Marvel and this is how he's rewarded?



Looking forward to it!

image courtesy of comic vine

Charles Soule's Love Letter to Superman and Wonder Woman


With issue #12 of Superman/Wonder Woman, writer Charles Soule closes the door on his time with DC's power couple. As with any story's end, we hope to see character development. Meaning, that when the story ends, something has changed about the characters involved.

Clark went from being nervous about going public with their relationship, to expressing his love in front of an audience on on camera. Diana went from not understanding Clark's inhibitions, to respecting that as a part of who he is.

When this title started a year ago there was concern it would be a 'dating book'. Instead we received a year full of solid storytelling that took our heroes on a journey towards saving the world, while exploring each others soul. Delving deep inside their feelings from what started off as a simple kiss, the two have learned that they don't have to be carbon copies of one another for their relationship to work.

Diana, over the years, has built up an emotional wall. A relationship with Steve Trevor fell apart as his safety became a constant concern of hers. He was dragged into a world of Gods and heroes in which no mortal man could hope to endure. And it almost cost him his life. Fearful of his safety, Diana realized that her future could not involve a man who was not on her level. Physically she was his superior in every way and emotionally, her passion created too many crossroads as her warrior spirit came out in everything she did.

Clark, having grown up around humans his entire life learned how to love them. With all the power in the world, he used it to inspire hope and never put himself before mankind's needs. Emotionally disconnected from those around him, he longed for Lois to see him as more than just a co-worker but over time he realized the two could never last in a relationship. As she sought a relationship with another journalist, finding common ground with him, Lois never picked up on Clark's longing for her.

In a moment, shared between Clark and Diana in the pages of Justice League, they realized how alone they were as Gods among men. They could not hope to live with them and share their lives with them. Not if they were to remain defenders of the world. Protectors of humanity. Their time together on the Justice League exposed them to similar desires both personally and professionally.

But how could a warrior princess with a passion for combat sustain a relationship with a man who seeks peace and is a beacon of hope for much of humanity?

Charles Soule showed us how.

Dealing with enemies from Zod to Doomsday, to combating their own feelings for each other; Soule was able to intertwine a tale of romance with an action packed adventure. The balance Soule achieved provided a different experience based on the individual reader. Perspective would determine whether the main focus was on the romance or the action. Superman and Wonder Woman evolved from a relationship that started off with a simple connection, to one of pure love.

And they still remained focus on saving the world, the whole time. Never once did they let their relationship get in the way of what brought them together in the first place: helping people.

Just add oil.
Using what once was a prop, as a symbolic focal point, Soule showed fans how real their relationship really is. And we've all been there. As a writer, you want to touch readers emotionally. You want to connect with them on moments whether they're good or bad. And the bickering that occurred in the final issue was so petty, yet so real, that I couldn't help but want to scream at the two lovers. We have all argued over silly things, when we should just accept that accidents happen and move on to learn from our mistakes.

Granted most of our mistakes don't threaten the worlds petroleum supply.

In the end, true love prevailed as they stopped the threat while realizing there were other reasons for the argument. Isn't that usually the case? Bickering over something so silly as remembering to 'oil' a plant, stemmed from outside influence. It's like having a bad day at work and getting angry because the garbage wasn't taken out. That garbage, while smelly and in the way, will not stop the world from turning and it shouldn't stop love from growing. Diana shows us that sometimes if we stop and listen, we'll discover that there's an underlying reason for the excess anger.


Over the course of Charles Soule's run, we have seen our power couple oppose each other, on occasion, but their love endured it all. They don't always see eye-to-eye, but their ability to understand and accept another viewpoint is part of loving someone. You can't (and shouldn't) change someone if you love them for who they are. If you don't agree on something, respect that and in time love will help you find common ground.

During this year long run, Superman and Wonder Woman have evolved to become not only partners, but a team. Founded on trust, built on respect and fortified by love. They will be ready to face any challenge, together.



Unfortunately, they'll have to do it without Charles Soule, the man who helped usher their relationship to a place no one thought they could go. And as he walks off into the sunset, he reminds us fans that our favorite couple will endure...

Star Wars Rebels Will Lead to A New Hope (For Fans)

I can't express how excited I am for the premiere of Star Wars Rebels tonight on Disney XD (9pm EST)! Even though Clone Wars was a great show by all accounts, I could never get into it. An animated series that was supposed to fill the gap between Episode's II and III just didn't peak my interest.

I was disappointed in the new trilogy as it portrayed Obi-Wan Kenobi as an incompetent Jedi, compared to Anakin. When we watch the two square off in A New Hope, Vader seems determined to prove his worth by defeating his old mentor.

Obi-Wan was touted as a great and powerful Jedi Master.

After watching Episodes I-III, nothing could be further from the truth. In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan did all he could to prevent from getting cut down by the student forced upon him by his own master, Qui-Gon Jin. The disappointment in Obi-Wan's character left me a bit empty.

To sum up, I had no desire to watch 'The Anakin Skywalker Show' that was poorly titled: The Clone Wars.

Star Wars Rebels has it's own destiny though.

Tasked to fill some empty space between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Rebels borrows a page from the tale of Robin Hood. We are given a band of adventurers who are a pain in the Empire's side, while helping out the little folk along the way.

Leading the charge is one-time Jedi hopeful, Kanan (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr), who has been hiding his talents since the order to hunt and kill all of the Jedi was given. Not wanting to reveal his presence, he has traded his lightsaber for a blaster. It's not until he meets up with the street theif, Ezra, who also demonstrates the ability to use the Force, that he outs himself as a Jedi in order to train the boy.

Ezra, I must caution, appears to be older than what Anakin was when he started his training. Keep in mind the concern Yoda had about Anakin's age when he started. We could see some parallels as the show goes on. Especially since Kanan's training isn't as refined as it should be given his hiatus.


Ezra and Kanan are supported by a crew of the ship The Ghost, whose Captain is the Twilek named Hera. And what crew would be complete without the muscle? Zeb is the Chewbacca to Kanan's Han Solo. The Little John to Robin Hood. A giant, burly creature with a penchant for getting into fights. Also part of the crew is the young and beautiful Sabine, but don't let her delicacy fool you. Underneath her stolen Mandalorian armor is a girl who enjoys the art of blowing things up! Rounding off the crew is the grumpy astromech droid, Chopper. He's sure to be a fan favorite with the kids watching this show as he's sure to handle every task given to him begrudgingly.

Maybe he has a bad 'motivator'!

It won't be all fun and games for this rag-tag crew though. The Empire is growing and as we all know from the original trilogy, the Death Star is being built. As they secure the systems in the Outer Rim of the galaxy, the Empire intends to close it's fist on the core systems. What started out as a way to stabalize peace by removing the Old Republic, has now become problematic for those who long for democracy once again. Pockets of rebels are appearing, making life difficult for the Empire to secure it's hold on the galaxy.

It's up to Agent Kallum and the Inquisitor to snuff out any spark before a rebellion ignites.

The Inquisitor will be our Darth Vader for this series and by all previews, he appears to be a ruthless killer. He's better than everyone and he knows it, like a cat toying with a field mouse, as he expends very little energy when faced with a foe. Once Kanan reveals himself as a Jedi, expect the Inquisitor to be called in to deal with him. Agent Kallum assumes the role of a lesser version of Tarkin, albeit with a more 'hands on' approach.

Taking visual and audible cues from the original trilogy, Star Wars Rebels is sure to reign in old and new fans who have access to the show. Disney XD isn't the place most adults think of, but Star Wars Rebels has landed there due to the Lucasfilm purchase by Disney. As they look to add canon to the Star Wars Universe, Disney is making this an official lead-in to Episode IV. Expect to see things that appear to set up some of the events from A New Hope.

Tonight's premiere has given me something from Star Wars that I can look forward to, for the first time since Episode III was released back in 2005.

Will you be tuning in?

Trick-or-Treat, Give Me Something Good to READ...

...with a Halloween ComicFest Mini-Comic Pack!


For generations candy has been the reward for dressing up and bearing the elements. Children everywhere are showered with sugary treats as they parade about neighborhoods with bags and buckets. Their bounty is then restricted by parents based on behavior, eating habits and/or completed homework. And lately many of the costumes patrolling the streets at night are something us nerds are very familiar with. Gone are the days of ghosts and witches. Kids are trading in the bedsheets for capes. It's no longer creepy...it's Cosplay!

So it makes perfect sense that there's a new candy alternative available: Comic Books!


No, I don't mean digging through the 99 cent bin at your local comic shop, I'm talking about brand new mini-comics! For $4.99 you can purchase a Halloween ComicFest Mini-Comic Pack to hand out to the kids that come to your door. This way you can share the gift of comic books as well as promote literacy! And since comic books don't have an expiration date, any leftovers can be packed away with your decorations and handed out next year!

This is a fantastic idea and one that is sure to be successful. When kids get home with their bags, the first thing they want to do is dive into their goodies. Well, many of us concerned parents want to have the candy 'checked' first. Checking the candy is an important part of the process for us adults. I mean, we can't have them eating bad candy! So while they wait for us to sort through the sugary morsels, this will give kids something to read. And let's not forget the importance of sequential art, which is such an important (and often overlooked) part of the medium.


No expiration date.
Let's face it, kids get plenty of candy each year. If you try something different, they won't exactly go into withdrawal. The best thing is, there are a nice variety of all-ages titles to choose from. Angry Birds, Betty and Veronica and Plants vs. Zombies round out the more popular options. Then there are lesser known titles like BOOM! Studios Fright Fest, LBX Little Battlers, and Mermin and Vamplets.

While it's sad that we aren't getting offerings such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman or any other top names; this program is certainly a gateway to bigger things. Picking up a few packs of mini-comics will go a long way to ensuring the growth of this program.



Still not convinced that comic books are a good alternative? Let's take a look at the pros and cons of each:

Candy
Pros: Tastes great!
Cons: Can't be shared after its been consumed, promotes: cavities, diabetes and obesity, excess consumption may cause stomach aches.
Comic Books
Pros: Can be shared after its been used, promotes literacy and sequential art, lasts forever and provides entertainment for the whole family.
Cons: It's not candy!

So this Halloween, instead of buying giant bags of candy, purchase a Halloween ComicFest Mini-Comic Pack! Find out where to purchase your Halloween ComicFest Mini-Comic Pack by searching for your local comic shop today!

UPDATE (10/16/14): Participating comic shops will be handing out FREE COMIC BOOKS on October 25th to anyone who comes in celebration of Halloween ComicFest! For details and which shops will be participating, please visit their website.


Supergirl TV Series Should Land on Teen Nick

Smallville. Arrow. The Flash. Gotham. Constantine. Teen Titans (as reported by WSJ)! WB is pulling out all the stops in their attempt to flood our TV screens with comic book related shows. And each one of these projects has me excited as we move a step closer to a exposing comic book related content to the average fan. These TV shows could be the gateway for future readers.

But there is a depressing theme with all of these shows. They seem to be targeting adult audiences, with  dark tones and dramatic plot-lines.


So, When I first heard that a TV show based on Supergirl was being pitched, I immediately wanted it for my daughter. While initially the obvious landing place would be the CW, there seems to be some confusion as to whether or not they want the show for their network. While I think it could work, I'd much rather see the show go in a different direction. Something geared towards an age group closer to Kara's.


My daughter LOVES Supergirl but, at only 9 years old, she's not allowed to read the comic book. It's not written for her age group and, unless they give her the Batgirl treatment, it could be awhile before I let her start reading it. Her first introduction to Supergirl, aside from pink 'S' shields and Super Best Friends Forever tees, was in the pages of Superman Family Adventures. I want her to connect with the character's story, not just the image.

A Supergirl TV show should be about bringing in a new generation of fans to the character, therefore connecting to a younger audience. I hope and pray they don't pitch a pilot that runs along the lines of Arrow or Flash. Dark, violent and not airing until 9 or 10 pm.

My daughter has school in the morning.

Putting a Supergirl show on Teen Nick, however, as part of an after school lineup, would make perfect sense. Here are snippets of plot synopsis* from some of their current shows:
__________

"She'll have to try to fit in, find new friends AND pass Sikowitz' silly assignments if she wants to make it to the big time." ~ Victorious

"...until they can find a way home, they're stuck in a small seaside town called Lightning Point. Their new friend Amber agrees to keep their secret, but the girls can't help attracting attention..." ~ Alien Surf Girls

"Thankfully they find a new ally in Bella, the new girl in town who reveals an equally surprising twist: she too is a mermaid with extraordinary super powers." ~ H2O
__________

So let's take a look at what we have:
Shows like H2O and Alien Surf Girls prove that Teen Nick isn't opposed to trying something out of the ordinary and require some level of special effects. Most importantly, the station is experienced in putting on shows that can really connect to young female audiences.
  • Girl trying to fit in? Check!
  • Alien who is far from home, keeping a secret? Check!
  • New girl with super powers? Check!
Teen Nick is already doing what a Supergirl show NEEDS to do in order for it to be successful. And  it will be right in the laps of young girls as they finish up their homework and flip on the TV to catch their favorite shows. Teen Nick does drama, fun and special fx to make their shows work.

Featuring original programming geared towards pre-teen and teenaged audiences, it's a perfect fit for Supergirl.

I know there are a lot of older, male, comic book fans out there that want the show for themselves on networks like TNT, Fox or The CW but Supergirl needs to be for a younger generation and be able to connect to an audience that can relate to her problems. I'll be able to enjoy the show, as many other comic book nerd dads can, by watching it with her. It can be fun and light-hearted with a little teen drama sprinkled in for effect.

So, while WB is shopping it around, I hope they make a call to the executives at Nickelodeon so they can put a young, female superhero in front of a young, female audience.

*Plot synopsis' were taken directly from Teen Nick's website

Review: Marvel Unlimited

During the 2014 SDCC, a code was passed around for people to purchase a month of the digital comic book subscription, Marvel Unlimited, for only 99 cents.

For those who aren't familiar with it, Marvel Unlimited is like Netflix for comic books. A flat rate fee, that you can pay monthly or yearly (for a better rate), to read all the comic books your eyes can handle. It's an endless buffet of comic books for your reading pleasure and all you have to do is queue them up on your web browser, smartphone or tablet.

I used the code, paid the 99 cents and after a month of using it, I've decided to share my experience for those who are still on the fence about it.

*NOTE: This review was based on my experience using the Marvel Unlimited app through the Google Play store, downloaded onto my 2nd generation Nexus 7.

Price

Starting off at $9.99, even as a trial month to see if you like it, isn't that bad of a deal. Given the cost of most comic books these days it's like reading 3 books. Granted, with Marvel Unlimited, your essentially flipping through the digital 'back-issue bin', so if you want to say that they wouldn't be full price books anyways, you can make that argument. If you read 10 books at this price, your talking a buck an issue! Still the math plays to your favor and if you love to read and knock out one comic book a day, you're increasing your value with each book. At the next tier of $69, it boils down to paying $5.75 a month which increases the value even more as those ten books you plan to read are now .57 each! That 'Annual Plus' plan though! If you have $100 to drop on a subscription, that's the way to go. Not only does it save you $1.74 off the monthly fee, but you get 15% off any digital comics purchases, collectibles AND 10% off merchandise. There are other 'token' perks as well, like a member kit, welcome letter and member card.

You can also 'gift' a subscription to someone, which makes the perfect gift for the digital comic book reader in your life. Or, it makes the perfect suggestion you can make to people buying for you!

IMPORTANT: Be cautious when signing up on a month-to-month basis. It automatically renews and will charge your account unless you cancel it.

Catalog

Boasting a catalog of over 13,000 comic books available to its Marvel Unlimited subscribers, not a single book is newer than 6 months old. For those who NEED to know what's happening, when it's happening, this would pose as a problem. That being said, there are a ton of great books on the shelves that you either didn't want to add to your pull-list or were only casually interested in. With a subscription, you can go back and read most of these books and feel none of the guilt.

Keep in mind, the value increases with each book you read and there is no shortage of those. Math isn't my specialty but with over 13,000 to choose from it'll take you a long time to get through the entire catalog and seeing as how, they add new books each week...odds are you'll never catch up.

You'll find all kinds of titles from 6 months ago to yesteryear. I've enjoyed going back to a time that I was absent from collecting comic books. Many of the stories I missed out on are now at my fingertips. It's like carrying a virtual library around in your pocket.

UI (User Interface)

The app on my tablet is easy to navigate and shouldn't be difficult for anyone to figure out. With four tabs that make up the: 'Home', 'My Library', 'Browse' and 'Account' section, it shouldn't be too difficult for anyone to find the books they're looking for. You can browse by series, character, creators, events or publication date which really creates a friendly searching experience. Everything is listed alphabetically or you can use the search and plug in what your looking for.

'Home' 
'Home' screen
The home screen provides a list to show you what new titles have been added this week as well as featured titles. You'll also be able to browse popular titles and titles that are recommended based on your reading habits.

These are great features to have so you can do a little fishing to see what else is out there. It's like having a shelf at the local comic shop with employee picks or hot sellers. I don't find myself using it much now, but I'm only a month into usage so I'm still catching up to all the books I know are out there. Once I've reached a point where I need help finding something new to read, these suggestions will certainly come in handy.



'My Library'
'My Library' screen
The service boasts the ability to add books to your personal library and when you do, there they'll stay. I haven't discovered a way to remove them in order to clear out the clutter. I don't know if this is a feature that's necessary, but if all the books are available to me anyways why keep them in a 'library'? Keeping a short-list of titles in the library makes sense to have books at your fingertips, but once it starts growing with titles, your scrolling anyways.

My suggestion, to the developers, would be to create a feature that allows you to add 'titles' to your library, not the individual books. I'm not sure this is possible though, because it seems tied to the 'offline viewing' mode that's allowed. I don't know if they would consider folders either. Right now my library isn't so expansive that it's unmanageable, but I imagine with time...it could be.

You can choose to display your library in a 'list view' or 'thumbnail view'. Right now, I prefer the thumbnails but I'm sure as my collection grows, I'll opt for the list view to reduce the scrolling I'll need to do.

The 'offline viewing' allows you to save up to 12 books to read offline simply by toggling the switch on-screen. Make sure to 'refresh' your library, while your still on WiFi, because it doesn't work automatically. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why I kept getting a message saying I needed to add books and that there were none available. Now that I've refreshed it, though, its proven to be a really nice feature. Being able to bring digital comic books wherever you go, regardless of signal or WiFi connectivity, is a definite plus.

Reading Experience

For anyone who has purchased digital comics, you may be familiar with 'guided reading'. This is a feature that zooms in on the panel your currently looking at. A swipe of the finger transitions you to the next panel. For Marvel Unlimited, There's no 'guided reading' mode. Instead you receive the entire page which, depending on your device, makes it very difficult to see. You can zoom in on the pages to make the panels easier to see/read but then you miss the bigger picture. Zooming in to read the book and then zooming out to enjoy the art transitions create separate reading experiences.

This may not appeal to everyone. Thankfully if your using a tablet, typically your screen is going to be large enough that you can just read it like a tiny comic book. In that case you can flip it on its side when your pages go from portrait to landscape mode. Or to get a really nice shot of those ever popular splash pages. You are able to jump to a page from the menu screen, which is a nice way to speed things up if you need to reference a previous page. I realize why guided reading doesn't exist here. Cataloging and converting all those back issues into digital books takes enough time as it is, adding in the guided reading feature for each book would slow down the process considerably.

Marvel's AR feature is not lost in 'Unlimited'. With the menu screen, you can tap the camera icon and see all the AR videos that were included with the print version and viewable through their mobile app. You can watch them anytime you want as the menu screen is always available.

Comment/Share

My attempt to comment and share,
failed.
After your done reading the book you may have something you want to say about it. Maybe you want to offer an opinion or leave a review. This feature is available on Marvel Unlimited, which is a great way to learn about books before adding them to your library. Is it any good? How is the art? Why does it matter if the book is free once you've ponied up the subscription price? Well, it doesn't really, but it helps to create a subscriber-type community and is a natural way for Marvel to add content.

The ability to share your comments via Facebook and Twitter is a built in way for Marvel to expand the reach of it's Unlimited service. It's free marketing for them by allowing its subscribers to let the world know they're reading digital comics.

Unfortunately I haven't had much luck adding comments or sharing through social networks. Maybe it's a problem with the app, I'm sure the feature works much better through the web browser. I'm not shy about sharing my love for comic books (hence the blog) so I'm actually looking forward to being able to share what books I'm reading on Facebook and Twitter. I'm very active on Google+ as well, so hopefully they add that in the future. There's plenty of room at the bottom of the screen to expand the social networks. Which one do you think they should add?

Summary

I've really enjoyed my first month with Marvel Unlimited and have been 'auto-renewed' for a second month at the $9.99 price. I just may sign up for a year when the end of my second month draws near, assuming I've got the extra cash to drop on it. I highly recommend this for people that have tablets and want to read more comic books than they can normally afford to. It's also nice for people who don't want a growing collection of physical books, taking up space in their homes, as they're tucked away in long-boxes.

If you have any questions about the service, feel free to ask in the comment section below and I'll be happy to answer them.

*NOTE: I am in no way affiliated with Marvel Comics and was not paid to write up this review of their service. This was done on my own free will to help others make an informed decision on a product they may not know enough about. All images are screenshots taken from my Nexus 7, with the exception of the Marvel Unlimited logo which comes courtesy of Google Play.

August 28th is Read Comic Books in Public Day!


Image courtesy of the official Read Comic Books in Public Day Facebook page.

August 28th is 'Read Comic Books in Public Day', which was created by Brian Heater and Sarah Morean at the now defunct indie comics website The Daily Cross Hatch. It's a way to raise awareness of comic books and to help promote readership. It's also, by no small coincidence, comic book legend Jack Kirby's birthday!

Whether people realize it or not, comic books have an important place in modern (and classic) literature. It's not just a book, but it's also a piece of sequential art.

Comic books are the best of both worlds!

No need to be ashamed that your an adult (young or old) reading a book with pictures in it. We, as a comic book loving community, should share our love for them and let people know by reading them in public.

A very good example of the important role comic books play in literacy, hits close to home for me. My youngest son, Dakotah, absolutely hated reading. As a matter of fact he struggled doing it, which certainly contributed to the vitriole. However, since he started reading Captain America by Rick Remender, he has sat down to read a book once a month. And he probably doesn't even realize he's doing it!

There's still a majority of people out there who don't view comic books as real literature. They still think that they're 'kids books' and that those of us doing it need to 'grow up'. The less reading we do in our homes and the more we do out in public, will show others that there are great comic books out there to be read.

And, most importantly, they aren't just for kids!

Here are a few places that provide excellent opportunities to read comic books in public (other than your local comic shop):
  • Bus Stops
  • On the Bus
  • Coffee Shops
  • Breakrooms
  • Parks
  • Beaches
  • Waiting Rooms
    • Doctor
    • Dentist
    • Auto Repair
Don't forget to have a couple extra handy in case someone is inspired and wants to flip through one!

So get out there and read those comic books in public and come back to let me know if it sparks conversation or if you have any interesting stories to tell.

Where do you plan on reading?

<- That there is your Comic Book Nerd reading at his daughter's Cheerleading practice!