When you think of Cosmic Marvel, you think of something specific, even though that's never been the title of a comic. Some of what you're thinking of comics from Jack Kirby: Galactus, Silver Surfer, Celestials. But chances are even more of that cosmic stuff came from another writer-artist: Jim Starlin. Thanos, Drax, Gamora, the Infinity Gauntlet, Kronos and Mentor and everything happening on Titan. That's all Starlin, doing what he does best: re-imagining superhero comics as psychedelic space opera.
The Diamond Retailer Summit is underway in Baltimore this weekend, timed to coincide with Baltimore Comic Con, and Marvel has taken the opportunity to unveil more new titles for the All-New All-Different line relaunch, including ongoing series for two former West Coast Avengers, Moon Knight and Mockingbird.
I've already checked out of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 18 months in advance, so every announcement about the upcoming Zack Snyder film and its attendant roster of spinoffs and franchises has been idle curiosity. Until, that is, it was announced that the KGBeast would be making an appearance.
As longtime CA readers may recall, the Beast is one of my all-time favorite villains. Originally created by the team of Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo in a four-part story called "Ten Nights of the Beast" that ran in Batman #417 - 420, the KGBeast was an assassin for hire who battled Batman in one of the most over-the-top stories of all time. And while I can hardly believe I'm saying this, he's kind of the perfect villain for David S. Goyer and Zack Snyder's version of the cinematic DC Universe.
Director James Gunn's Guardians Of The Galaxy is a big gamble for Marvel Studios. It's an unknown quantity even to most comic fans. It's a space opera at a time when non-Lucasfilm space operas don't perform well. It's a movie with a talking raccoon at a time when even Disney princess movies don't have talking animals.
Of course, all of Marvel's movies have been gambles. Iron Man wasn't a household name, despite how we think of the character now. Thor was a sci fi fantasy movie -- what could be worse? Captain America seemed an impossible sell for overseas markets. Bringing those franchises together for Avengers? Insanity. Marvel Studios' safest bet was probably Hulk -- a household name and a proven quantity -- and that's been the studio's weakest performer. So it looks like the big gambles are where Marvel excels. If Guardians Of The Galaxy is the studio's biggest gamble to date, it makes a weird kind of sense that it's also one of the studio's most delightful successes.
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No one does cosmic quite like Jim Starlin.
Since breaking into comics in the early 1970s, the longtime writer and artist has done much of his most memorable work creating space opera tales, from his Cosmic Odyssey miniseries for DC to his celebrated (and soon to be republished) run of Adam Warlock tales for Marvel. Now the comic veteran is returning to his most famous creation, as Marvel has announced Thanos: The Infinity Revelation, a new graphic novel written and illustrated by Starlin. This new book represents Starlin's first Thanos story in nearly a decade.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great images on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it’s awesome.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great images on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we've created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it's new, some of it's old, some of it's created by working professionals, some of it's created by future stars, some of it's created by talented fans, and some of it's endearingly silly. All of it's awesome.
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 hits stores today, a new series by Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven that hopes to boost the profile of Marvel's space-faring super-team ahead of next summer's movie release, so that when your non-comics friends ask you, "Who are these Guardians of the Galaxy?", you don't answer, "the who-dians of the what-now?"
But... who are the Guardians of the Galaxy? They're actually talking owls from a series of fantasy novels about... no, sorry, my editor is telling me that is not correct. Let's see... the series tells the story of Jack Frost, Santa Claus, the Sandman and... no, I'm getting another note here, hang on... A talking raccoon and a tree? That can't be right.
If you're feeling a little confused, don't panic! ComicsAlliance is here to tell you everything you need to know about the Gladiators of the Gridiron! And then some.
Many people met him for the first time during his mid-credit appearance in the record-breaking officially-third-most-successful-movie-ever The Avengers, but even for those of us who've been familiar with the character for a long time, there's still one question to be answered about Thanos: What makes him tick...