New Hugh Jackman As Wolverine Picture

July 26, 2013 cannot come out soon enough. Twentieth Century Fox released this official image of the next installment of the Wolverine spin-offs from their X-Men series of films. Hugh Jackman is back as everyone’s favorite Canadian bad-ass in next summer’s The Wolverine.

This sequel borrows a lot of its story from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s Wolverine mini series from 1982, so expect lots of samurais, ninja and organized crime set in Japan. And for good measure, Silver Samurai and Viper are going to be thrown in.

 

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Frank Miller’s Holly Terror Star The Fixer’s Missing Debut

Remember the Fixer from Frank Miller’s Holy Terror graphic novel? Miller admitted that it was a stand in for Batman, but there is a secret history to the Fixer. A Reddit user who went to high school with Miller stumbled over this: a comic strip that Miller did as a teenager called the Fixer!

It’s interesting from a historical perspective, seeing how elements of his style go back this far.

Someone Flipped The Switch On Poor Death Row Marv!

Death Row MarvPoor Marv. Not only did he bite it in the electric chair in the Sin City comics, but even his action figure winds up that way as seen in this one from McFarle Toys in 1999.

This action figure is without a doubt the creepiest one I own. Marv is strapped to the electric chair and there is a switch you flip to fry him, for lack of a better word. Inbetween the shaking and eyes glowing Marv speaks his final words: “That the best you can do, you pansies?”

The grim nature of this action figure caused controversy with many parents groups and anti-death penalty groups who objected to how graphic it was. That wasn’t the last time that Marv got killed for our enjoyment; Mickey Rourke reenacted this scene in the movie version of Sin City.

Anyway, this picture is of my Marv. I took it a while ago and only recently figured out what to do with it. Enjoy!

Frank Miller’s Holly Terror

Frank Miller’s been a bit of a hot topic in the comics world the last couple weeks, in part because of his comments about Occupy Wall Street which either delighted or disgusted you, depending on which side of the cause you occupy.

Never a stranger to controversy, Miller’s recently released Holy Terror is, well, controversial. This project has its roots going back to the mid 2000s, as he announced a project that would have Batman avenging a September 11 type attack on Gotham City. Miller got somewhere between 50 to 100 pages into it and decided that the story should stand alone, and that is how we got Holy Terror.

So how was it? Well, I wonder if the Batman version was any better. This book, published by Legendary Entertainment’s comic book arm, is a mess.

The book starts out with our Batman stand in, the Fixer chasing cat burglar Natalie Stack. After fighting over Empire City’s skyline, the two inexplicably decide to stop for a little rooftop coitus. This gets interrupted by a few buildings exploding around the city, and the two uncover a conspiracy between some Middle Eastern terrorists and the Empire City police.

Well, at least the art was good. The book looks a lot like his work on Sin City and the Dark Knight Strikes Back, but misses the polish of those works. Story wise, the characters are extremely shallow and there isn’t a lot of depth to anything. You really question why you bought this book, as its a quick read and that’s never something that crosses your mind in a good way.

The main theme of the book is that violence only leads to more violence; Miller stresses the importance of this theme of vengeance to an absurd point. I don’t think that I’ll be reading this again any time soon.

Cyriaque Lamar pretty much summed it up perfectly over at iO9 “[this] is way less fun than Ronnie James Dio’s “Holy Diver.”

Batman: Year One Animated Coming Out Soon

What’s better than reading Frank Miller and David Mazzuccheli’s reinvention of an early Batman in Batman: Year One?  Watching it!

This straight-to-video adaptation of 1987’s epic tale shares the first encounters of Batman, Comissioner Gordon and Catwoman. You can bring it home on October 18.

Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko

When I picked up Blake Bell’s Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko, I figured I would learn more about the comic book creator. Instead, after finishing this book, I only have more questions. This isn’t a shortcoming of the author; his subject is just that complex.

Bell shares a glimpse into the mind of Ditko, someone who is very important in the history of American comics but at the same time is more elusive and mysterious than the Question–a character he created.

So what did I learn about Ditko?

By the time you finish Strange and Stranger, you learn what motivated Ditko. It’s not fame and fortune, or other forms of personal success. It’s following the Ayn Rand philosophy of objectivism. So what’s that?

“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” Ayn Rand

So what does that mean and how does it apply to Ditko? Basically, he had his own strong sense of what was right and wrong, and he would only do things on his own terms. This strong sense of black and white in his worldview is what influenced his career. Bell shares many stories from Ditko’s peers–and excerpts from the artist–that show how they shaped his business decisions, for better or worse.

Bell does a great job of showing how the characters created by Ditko incorporated objectivist theory, like how Hawk and Dove may have differing theories on how to get there but ultimately coming to the same conclusion of what is right. I can now look back at his work on the Creeper and the Question and see how this influences the characters’ actions. I also was introduced to Ditko’s Mr. A, a somewhat more sinister and objective version of the Question, who wasn’t afraid to take a life of a criminal.

Even if you don’t agree with them, you can’t help but not respect Ditko’s decisions. He is a man who would rather lose personal success then compromise his personal values. This is evident in the tale of Frank Miller wanting to collaborate on a Mr. A project, but Ditko refusing since Miller didn’t share the same views on the character.

So ultimately, I’m more intrigued about Steve Ditko than ever before thanks to this book b y Blake Bell. Does anyone have any recommendations of where I should start?

30 Things I Like About Comics—#9 Frank Miller’s Daredevil

A lot of people are partial to 300, Sin City and his Batman work, but my favorite Frank Miller material was his run on Daredevil. We’re talking about his nearly three-year run from issues 158 to 191.

To call this story an epic is an understatement. Miller’s Daredevil reads a lot like a modernized version of Will Eisner’s the Spirit, filled with shady criminals, detective work, strong touch broads, and tons of twists. This is something that can take a bunch of posts to explain but the general story involves Daredevil trying to stop NYC crimelord the Kingpin. Things only get more complicated as the Kingpin sets assassins Bullseye and Elektra–Daredevil’s former girlfriend–after him. Throw in investigative reporter Ben Urich figuring out Daredevil’s secret identity, Daredevil saving Kingpin’s wife, and a healthy dosage of ninja gangs, this all builds to a huge tragedy for the Man Without Fear.

This movie was loosely adapted into the Ben Affleck film, but that pales in comparison to the original. Go out and get this NOW.

What are you waiting for?