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PostSubject: Marvel Comics Thread   October 1st 2009, 04:52

So in here, I'm going to post anything Marvel related that I think is interesting. So the Marvel series I read are: The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Tower, The New Avengers (though I may be dropping it), Spider-Man: The Clone Saga, Spider-Woman, Ultimate Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man.

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PostSubject: Re: Marvel Comics Thread   October 1st 2009, 11:39

The Marvelous Land of Oz Interview/Preview

Quote :
Newsarama: Eric, Skottie -- For our readers out there who haven't read the original story, tell us a bit about The Marvelous Land of Oz -- both the story and how it opens up the world of Oz.

Eric Shanower: The story of The Marvelous Land of Oz starts out small with Tip, an Oz boy with a mysterious past, playing a practical joke on his guardian, a crotchety old witch named Mombi. But the consequences are epoch-making for the Land of Oz.

Tip meets the Scarecrow, who’s the ruler of the Emerald City, and the Tin Woodman, who’s the Emperor of the Winkies, and they become involved in a takeover of Oz by a group of militant young women who want to run everything their own way. The final results change the political landscape of Oz forever.

New characters include Jack Pumpkinhead, the living Saw-Horse, the Gump, and Mr. H. M. Woggle-Bug, T. E.

Skottie Young: It takes the imagination of the first group of characters and pushes that limit even more. I'm trying to step up the designs and keep everyone wanting to see more and more characters.

Nrama: The original novel was heavily designed for a stage adaptation. Given the unlimited budget of comics, what have been the challenges in opening it up?

Shanower: The author, L. Frank Baum, had a major hit when his stage adaptation of the first Oz book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, took Broadway by storm in 1903. He hoped to repeat that success, so The Marvelous Land of Oz was written with a stage adaptation in mind, which is obvious from many of the characteristics of the book.

One of these is the way the story has a lot of static scenes in which the characters exchange dialogue peppered with jokes—very different from Wonderful Wizard with its continuous forward momentum.

This comics adaptation of The Marvelous Land of Oz is a faithful adaptation of the book. While writing the scripts I have had to keep my eye on the movement of the story, to make sure it’s not bogging down.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of terrific action scenes and lots of humor, but I’ve had to tighten up some of the dialog in and around the action and humor. But since Skottie Young is drawing the book, I have no fear that even the calmest conversation will have plenty of visual interest.

The stage adaptation of The Marvelous Land of Oz wasn’t as successful as the Broadway Wizard of Oz. I’ve been consulting Baum’s script of the stage version of Marvelous Land while writing this comics adaptation and incorporating details from that source wherever it makes the comics adaptation stronger.

Nrama: When revisiting the novel for the adaptation, did you discover anything new about it that you hadn't noticed before?

Shanower: Um, not really. I’ve been living with the Oz books as part of my life since I was six years old. Yes, here and there I stumble on something that strikes me anew when I’m re-reading an Oz book. But that doesn’t happen often, and I so far I don’t think it’s happened with Marvelous Land.

Young: I read the first novel again before we started on this project, but I've decided to keep the second novel closed this time around. I'm trusting Eric 100% and trying to use his words as my base for this story.

I'm doing my best to pretend that this is OUR book and every panel I read from Eric is the first time I'll envision it.

Nrama: The first volume was a real success story for Marvel and all-ages books. Were you surprised by how much fans and critics embraced it?

Shanower: Yes, I was surprised by the reception of the first series. I’d figured it would be pretty successful in collected form once it got beyond the comic book Direct Market, but the success in the Direct Market was unexpected. My career in comics is strewn with critical successes, but this Oz series has been really nice in turning out to be the biggest popular success I’ve had, as well as a critical success.

Young: I was very surprised. I'm not sure what I expected but I know it wasn't anywhere near the love that we ended up getting. I'm personally the most proud of how many people have written me and told me that they are enjoying the book with their children.

Critics surprised me the most as I've always been a bit on a tight rope with them. I'm either loved or despised for not being what you might consider a "typical" comic book artist. It seems that those traits really served us well on this project.

Nrama: Readers seemed to particularly enjoy the more surreal elements of the original novel in the last adaptation that have often been left out in other interpretations. Do you think mass audiences are finally ready to once again embrace the stranger side of Oz?

Young: I do. The source material is so rich with strange and wonderful imagery and the combination of Eric's knowledge of the world and my ability to think a little outside the box makes for a great pallet to re-introduce this material to the world.

Shanower: “Stranger side of Oz”? What do you mean? It’s all seems like normal Oz to me.

Nrama: How many volumes of the original series would you like to adapt for Marvel?

Shanower: I’d like to adapt the entire Oz series into comics for Marvel—as long as Skottie Young is drawing them.

Young: I'm in until they kick me out. I've worked for Marvel for 8 years, worked on various series at Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network, designed toys for a few toy companies, and anything else you can think of...but the level of fun I've had on this book has blown all the rest away. I'll do them all!

Nrama: Have you read the 1970s adaptation Marvel put out by Roy Thomas and Alfredo Alcala, and if so, what did you think?

Shanower: Are you kidding? Of course I read the Marvel adaptation by Thomas and Alcala when it came out. I still remember where and when I bought it. I thought it was great. Of course, I’ve refrained from looking at it since I started working on this adaptation.

Nrama: Also, curious on your thoughts as to Return to Oz, , which I feel is a really underrated film.

Young: I've always enjoyed it and think that it's pretty creepy.

Shanower: Return to Oz is a really problematic film. I loved it when I first saw it opening day, but my subsequent viewings have revealed major flaws to me. I still think Fairuza Balk did a terrific job as Dorothy, and some of the design—such as Tik-tok and Jack Pumpkinhead—is really great—Billina too.

But so many elements—among them the electric shock therapy and Ozma sending Dorothy into a mud puddle—just don’t work for me. Overall I find it really dreary and un-Ozzy.

Nrama: Eric, do you see yourself doing more full-on original Oz albums in the future?

Shanower: No, I don’t plan to be doing any major original Oz comics. My time is primarily consumed with writing and drawing my other series,Age of Bronze,, published by Image. That’s going to be continuing for quite a while into the future.

Of course, I don’t know what I’ll be interested in doing once ,Age of Bronze, is over, but I’m completely content to work on ,Age of Bronze, and write Oz adaptations for Marvel for the foreseeable future.

Nrama: What else are you working on right now?

Shanower: Today I’ll be inking the variant cover for Marvelous Land issue #1. Next is a cover Little Adventures in Oz, volume one, IDW’s new packaging of my Oz graphic novels. I just finished Age of Bronze #29 two weeks ago—that’ll be out in October and I need to get to work on issue #30.

HarperTeen is publishing a Young Adult anthology of LGBT short stories, titled How Beautiful the Ordinary and edited by Michael Cart. I contributed a 12-page comics story called “Happily Ever After.” It’s out this month and the reviews are good so far.

In 2010 Oxford University Press will be publishing a volume titled Classics and Comics, edited by George Kovacs and C. W. Marshall, a collection of essays about the use of Classical literature in comic books. I’ve contributed a 12-page comics story about creating Age of Bronze.

Sunday Press just published the complete run of L. Frank Baum’s 1904-05 newspaper comic page Queer Visitors from The Marvelous Land of Oz, a really extravagant full-color oversize book and I contributed a couple essays and a checklist of Oz comics to it. Readers of Marvel’s Marvelous Land should really check that book out since the story takes place just after the events of Marvelous Land, taking most of its main characters to the USA for an extended sight-seeing tour.

And I just finished the script for Marvelous Land #6, so I’ve still got #7 and #8 to write, and after that it’s on to the third Oz book, Ozma of Oz. And a few other minor projects that have to get done in among everything else.

Skottie Young and I will be presenting the keynote lecture on the program of the National Oz Convention of the International Wizard of Oz Club October 3 at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, so I’ve been working on that, too. Anyone who’s interested should come see us. I believe we’re signing books afterward, and we’ll both have Oz artwork displayed in an exhibit of Oz illustration and comics running in the Beach Museum on campus.

Young: I'm working on graphic novel of my own that's coming along slowly but surely.

Nrama: You know, Eric, you may well know more about Oz than anyone else on the planet. Why have the ideas and the books proven so enduring, Judy Garland film aside?

Shanower: I’m not sure that I know more about Oz than anyone else on the planet—I’ve met some real intense fans who can blow me away with the trivia. But I try.

I think Oz has endured because the stories Baum wrote manage to take the reader to the Land of Oz—at least while you’re reading them. Baum didn’t write down to kids, and he didn’t try to make his writing anything but straightforward. His characters are fascinating and he presents them so believably.

Baum’s story plots often leave a lot to be desired, but the characters and places are so lifelike, it’s easy to believe they could be real. I think that’s a lot of why Oz has endured.

Nrama: Anything else you'd like to talk about that we haven't discussed yet?

Shanower: I’m really happy to be writing this series of Oz book adaptations for Marvel. The editorial team has been great, and the other members of the creative team are doing a superb job. I want to especially thank all the readers who’ve embraced our Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and I hope they also will enjoy The Marvelous Land of Oz and beyond.

Here is the cover art to the first issue:



Here is the linerart (which is the art before coloring, word bubbles added)










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PostSubject: Re: Marvel Comics Thread   October 1st 2009, 11:52

Amazing Spider-Man #608 preview + interview with writer Joe Kelly





Quote :
One of the nice things about living a double life as a costumed superhero would be the fact that if one life got too complicated you could escape to your other life for awhile. Unfortunately the titular character of Marvel Comics' "Amazing Spider-Man" can't do that right now. That's because in issue #606, on sale now, writer Joe Kelly and artist Mike McKone kicked off a new storyline that saw the return of Spidey's old flame the Black Cat, AKA Felicia Hardy. CBR News spoke with Kelly about the storyline, as well as his next two Spider-Man tales: a one-off guest starring Deadpool, and a multi-part saga to be published next year.

When the "Brand New Day" era of "Amazing Spider-Man" began back in 2007, several ongoing mysteries were also kicked off. One long running mystery has been what exactly Peter Parker did to erase the world's knowledge that he was in fact Spider-Man. Recently, Peter has re-revealed his identity to his friends on the Fantastic Four and the New Avengers, and in "Amazing Spider-Man" #604, it was revealed that Peter's ex-girlfriend Mary Jane Watson knows that he's Spidey. He wasn't quite so trusting with all his old flames though.

"The Black Cat doesn't remember that Spider-Man is Peter." Kelly told CBR News. "Part of the reason why she's so hot to trot again is because she doesn't know who Spider-Man is anymore. She remembers they were together, and at one point she knew who he was and that's what broke up their relationship. She was really into Spider-Man - not whoever was behind the mask."

When Spider-Man's friend, the Human Torch, found himself with sudden amnesia about his pal's secret identity, he became angry and hurt. The Black Cat had a much different reaction. "For someone like her, not knowing is exciting. It's tough to talk about the Cat and how sexually charged she is without making her sound like she's a ho for Spidey, but I think she's very conscious about how she wants to conduct her personal relationships," Kelly said. "So, something like this is intriguing to her. It's like, 'Hey I got this thing back that I really enjoyed while I had it.' To her, this is a second chance, not at love, but a really good time. And just like last time, Spidey has to decide whether that's something cool for him or not.

"I obviously love writing the Black Cat. I read a lot of the recent Black Cat stories as well as Kevin Smith's 'Spider-Man/Black Cat' mini-series, and I think she's a really interesting and deep character with a lot of layers to her. She's someone who makes choices about what she reveals of herself to certain people," Kelly continued. "In an upcoming issue of 'Amazing,' there's an eight page story with art by Ken Nimura, who drew 'I Kill Giants' for me, and it's about that dichotomy within her. She's a very complicated woman who has chosen to live different lives, and that's fascinating.

"Whenever we write the Black Cat, me and my fellow writers are always checking ourselves to make sure she's not gratuitous even though that's part of her personality," Kelly remarked. "She'll throw out a gratuitous joke because that's what she does. She is one of those characters who use their feminine wiles to distract poor stupid guys like us and she's not ashamed to admit it. I think that's a fun aspect of her character."

In "Amazing Spider-Man" #606 it wasn't just the Cat's personality and her sudden reemergence in Spider-Man's life that proved off-putting. The Wallcrawler was also caught off guard by the fact that the Black Cat had regained her bad luck super powers. "I loved that aspect of her character. It made her unique. It certainly separated her from characters like Catwoman. Plus, this idea that Spidey could be attracted to something naturally bad for him was a great conflict as well. I prefer the Black Cat with her luck powers," Kelly explained. "For Spidey it's a perfect metaphor. You know this relationship is going to go bad, no matter what happens. It's literally smacking you in the face every time you're around her, but she's so irresistible, how do you say no? So her powers work way to well to dump them."

In issue #606 readers caught a glimpse of how the Black Cat's bad luck powers work and their limitations, and in #607 they'll learn more about how the Cat's powers work. "They do have a range and she can kind of control them, but I don't think she ever had as much control over her powers as she would like to say she does. In the next issue she makes a joke about giving someone appendicitis, but I don't think she could concentrate and blow up somebody's appendix. I do think she can intentionally alter the laws of probability," Kelly explained. "It would be interesting to see what happened if she walked through some place like the stock market, but I think her powers tend to be very specific, pretty physical, and affect things in close proximity. So they work great when she's in a fist fight with somebody. Her opponents will be tripping over their own feet."

The Black Cat's bad luck powers weren't the only trouble Spidey had to contend with in "Amazing" #606. He also had to deal with the sudden appearance of the villain Diablo, a centuries old master of alchemy, who regularly tangles with the Fantastic Four. "I was looking for a fun character with interesting powers to use in this short two part story, and Diablo came up. There are aspects of how his alchemy works that ultimately play into why the plot of this story is what it is," Kelly revealed. "Taking his alchemy and putting it through a modern lens where the things he could do would be a lot bigger and visually exciting then we might have seen in the past seemed like a fun challenge as well.

"He does some stuff in the second part of this story that is really cool," Kelly continued. "I think the scene in the first part where he transforms somebody's intestines to granite was a pretty awesome use of his power as well. It's weird science, and with a lot of these villains sometimes the cornier the better because if you can make them scary it's great."

The last corny villain Kelly tweaked and made scary in the pages of "Amazing Spider-Man" was Hammerhead. The writer doesn't have room in this particular story to revamp Diablo to that extent, but he does see plenty of potential in the villain. "I think we can make him a little creepier and interesting and just play him in a different way. The guy is very long lived, so he thinks differently and we don't have to play him as a bank robber or anything like that. He can have other, weirder agendas, and I like those types of characters.

"This two-parter is about Peter and the Black Cat reconnecting and how it's going to work if he decides to go down a certain path. The story with Diablo facilitates that," Kelly continued. "Having finished this story though, I have to admit, I kind of dig Diablo and we might see him again."

When Peter wasn't contending with the Black Cat and Diablo in #606, he was dealing with troubles from the other women in life. Peter tried to explain to his angry roommate, Michelle Gonzales, that they weren't a couple, when his co-worker, Norah Winters, burst in. This caused Michelle to make some jealous, catty comments, and Norah responded in kind. "I love writing Norah. She can hang out with the guys and has just as foul a mouth," Kelly stated. "You don't know if she likes Peter or not. She's totally playing it as a post modern version of romantic sparring where you're wondering, 'Is she saying this stuff because she likes Pete? Or is she just being a pain in the ass?' That's why I love her so much."

The fact that Norah is currently dating the son of her editor, Robbie Robertson, doesn't necessarily mean that she's not romantically interested in Peter Parker. "She is definitely dating someone, but when she says things like, 'Pete hasn't found the stones to ask me out,' you wonder if she said it just to spite Michelle, or if she was giving Peter a subtle hint," Kelly remarked. "That's the way she rolls. She's a storm. She blows in and makes a mess of things."

Norah didn't visit Peter's apartment in "Amazing" #606 with the purpose of fighting with Michelle. She came to confess that she had sat on an incriminating story about Norman Osborn. "At the end of the 'American Son' arc, Norah received this very creepy e-mail through an encrypted account. It was Norman openly threatening to do bad things to whoever she was. Whether or not Norman actually knew it was her or just knew that he was sending a message to a particular person is unclear, but it turned her off from the story. She chickened out and didn't write anything," Kelly explained. "And from her introduction, Norah has wanted to be the tough reporter. So the next step in her arc is admitting to Pete that she chickened out.

Norah sitting on the Osborn story is something that will play out over time, and just because her confession to Peter was done in a joking sort of way doesn't mean she's okay with what she did. "She's zeroed in on Pete as a potential dumping ground/confidant," Kelly said. "Whether or not she really trusts him or just feels that she can go to confession with him and it won't really matter, remains to be seen. It looks like Norah wears her heart on her sleeve, but I don't think that's true. She plays things a little closer to the vest."

Peter's scene with Norah and Michelle in issue #606 was complicated even further by the unexpected arrival of his ex-girlfriend, Mary Jane Watson, who he ended up accidentally yelling at. Readers can expect more scenes of romantic tension and misadventures in the months ahead, because for the remainder of 2009, Kelly and his "Amazing Spider-Man" co-writers will explore the mess that is Peter Parker's love life. "I love writing that stuff. Women problems are great fodder for comedy, but I also find my own awkwardness around women my entire life helps me slip into that role and relate to the character," Kelly explained. "I always think of him as in high school even though he's not. So whatever girl trouble he's got, it's always the high school version of it in my brain. It may not manifest that way, but that's his reaction. It's always like he's this disaffected man-boy, and that's why Norah calls him her 'Man-Child.' It's because he's not fully equipped to deal with all these romantic slings and arrows, particularly after being in such a long relationship with MJ."

Another one of Spider-Man's female acquaintances played a role in "Amazing" #606, but she'll be causing him superheroic problems instead of romantic ones. That's because the blind psychic Madame Web has been abducted and is being used by her captors to spy on Spider-Man. "It's funny, Madame Web is one of those characters who I remember as a lot cooler than she necessarily was [Laughs]," Kelly remarked. "A blind seer certainly isn't anything new, but something about the visuals of her really struck me as a kid and just kind of stuck with me. I thought it was eerie that she kind of looked like Aunt May. It was like, what's her deal?

"Plus, Madame Web works on a storytelling level. I like any sort of fortune tellers. They're great storytelling devices. You can be really creepy with them, and I really like the metaphor of fate as a web," Kelly continued. "It works really well with exploring the future and Spidey's bigger mythology. Madame Web plays a key part in the long story I'm building towards, which plays out next year. So periodically we'll check in on her, and unfortunately for her those scenes won't be pretty."

"Amazing Spider-Man" #607 is in stores this week and sees the continuation of Spider-Man's female problems. "There's a lot of comedy, exciting stuff, and significant destruction," Kelly hinted. "And what the Spidey-Black Cat relationship will become kicks off in this issue!"

After issue #607 Kelly returns to "Amazing Spider-Man" in November with issue #611, a one-off tale that pits him in quip-to-quip combat with Deadpool, the Merc With a Mouth. "The Black Cat story is rompy in a way but #611 is a full on insanity fest with Spidey and Deadpool," Kelly said. "Eric Canete is knocking it out of the park. He's not drawing it with a cartoony style, but a really fun exaggerated style that goes with the over the top Deadpool component.

"Believe it or not, the Deadpool issue actually does play into continuity," Kelly continued. "The story of Madame Web's abduction continues in that issue, and Deadpool's mission plays into this bigger agenda. So the issue hangs pretty well with the long story, and I think it works pretty well as a standalone."

Once #611 is in stores, fans of Kelly's writing will have to wait till 2010 for his next "Amazing Spider-Man" story, a major chapter of the upcoming storyline, "The Gauntlet." "I guess, technically it's the last chapter, and it's going to be pretty hardcore. We've been talking about this story for quite a long time. Some of it actually predates my involvement with the group, but I think because of what it is and where it's gotten to, it's going to be pretty epic and scary," Kelly said. "It allows us to look at some of the other characters in the Spider-Universe in a different light, and allows us to do some stuff with interesting continuity threads that are just hanging out there. I'm excited about it. It's going to be really bad ass.

"It's a dark 'Spidey's in a hell of a lot of trouble' style story," Kelly said. " It's also a Spidey responsibility story in terms of who gets yanked into the conflict through no fault of their own. It's going to be very cool."

_________________
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Second WDW Trip - September '07
Third WDW Trip - December '10
Fourth WDW Trip - October '11

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