Jim Shooter was born on September 27, 1951, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Less than 15 years later, he was a comics professional. Less than 15 years after that, he was the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. Shooter's legacy may look very different to different comics fans, but nobody has ever had a career in comics that looked like his.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our years on the Internet, it’s that there’s no aspect of comics that can’t be broken down and quantified into a single definitive list, preferably in amounts of five or ten. And since there’s no more definitive authority than ComicsAlliance, we’re taking it upon ourselves to compile Top Five lists of everything you could ever want to know about comics and pop culture.
Previously I told you about Marvel's five worst events, but this week, instead of laughing at their failures; I'm going to applaud their greatest storytelling successes! This week we're looking at some of the very best Marvel Comics events!
Doctor Doom first appeared in Fantastic Four #5 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott and Stan Goldberg, published on April 10 1961. One of the most iconic villains in comic book history, Victor Von Doom has always remained steadfast in his goals: Take over the world for its own benefit, and kill Reed Richards along the way, if there's time.
Superhero comics as we know them have been telling singular ongoing narratives for over seventy-five years, and they can be incredibly intimidating to new readers. Comics companies have been seeking fixes to the problems caused by continuity for almost as long as they’ve been releasing them, and the it seems like publishers are getting far more comfortable reaching for the big red button marked “reboot.”
Continuity isn’t necessarily a four letter word, but satisfying an existing fan-base while trying to appeal to new readers can be a tricky tightrope to walk. With Marvel’s not-a-reboot Secret Wars recently behind us, and DC’s not-a-reboot Rebirth event on the horizon, what can a company do to try and solve the problems caused by long-term continuity?
Civil War #1 arrived in May 2006, and the Marvel Comics Event in Seven Parts took over the entire line for close to an entire year and was arguably Marvel’s biggest and most successful event to date. There had been events before, such as Infinity Gauntlet, Acts of Vengeance, and House of M, and line-specific events had been a staple of the X-Men since the mid-80s, but Civil War was a new level of huge.
Peter Parker’s decision to unmask was national news, and now any time a hero is killed, or resurrected, or gets a new costume, it goes straight to USA Today. Civil War is just as culturally relevant in 2016 as it was ten years ago, with Captain America: Civil War arriving in theatres in a couple of months, and Civil War II by Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez due in May from Marvel.
It still feels like it was just yesterday that Marvel asked us “Whose Side Are You On?”, rather than a whole decade, and Marvel has stuck hard to its event formula in those ten years. Now we have event comics twice a year, and each time we’re told everything will change forever. Let’s look back at the past ten years of Marvel Comics events.
Superhero comics had crossed over many times before 1984, with various crises on various earths and plenty of Marvel characters invading other characters' titles, but the comic that set the template for the event series as we know it today is undoubtedly Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, the first issue of which was released on this week in 1984 (cover dated May).
The brainchild of Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter, the series spanned 12 issues and threw nearly every Marvel Comics character into the mix. It even started the trend of more than one artist taking on penciling duties, as Mike Zeck and Bob Layton traded off every few issues.
Back in March of 2015, a full-page advert appeared in the back of various DC comics, which asked; “Would you sacrifice another world so yours can live?” If you were following Jonathan Hickman's Avengers titles around the same time, you might have asked yourself, just for a moment: since when does Batgirl run ads for Marvel's next big event That question presents essentially the same set-up as Marvel's Secret Wars, which saw Reed Richards, Black Panther, and their Illuminati friends facing the threat of alternate Earths on a collision course with their own. Eventually, it all went wrong, and Dr Doom had to take the remnants of the multiverse and combine them into a single multi-dimensional world.
Turning the page, the ad was revealed to be promoting Convergence, DC's own big event for 2015, and an entirely different story. In Convergence, an omnipotent villain pitches characters from disparate realities against one another in a multiversal battle royale. Each reality co-exists on a planet apparently of the villain's creation, a kind of 'battle-world'. Oh, hang on...
As Marvel Comics’ Secret Wars event continues, the publisher is still busy announcing titles for the All New, All Different Marvel status quo that follows it. Today, Marvel revealed another of those books, Red Wolf, written by Nathan Edmondson, with art by Dalibor Talajić, and covers and design work by Jeffrey Veregge.
Cyclops is the absolute worst. He's a bad husband, a bad father, a bad leader, and his whole deal is acting like the king of the martyrs around people who have it so much worse than him. Oh no, do you have to wear glasses all the time, Cyclops? I can't imagine what that must feel like! Cyclops is so bad that even when he becomes a villain, he's the most boring villain on his island. Cyclops is so bad that there's a petition to transfer him to the DC Universe so that Aquaman can feel cooler than someone.
On the other hand, Stacey Lee is the best. Propelled to fans' attention thanks to her amazing work on Silk with writer Robbie Thompson, she's fast proved be one of the best new superhero artists in the business. She's so good, she can even make Cyclops look like a badass on her variant cover for Secret Wars #7 by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic, out next week.
I was skeptical about the mystery contents of this month's box when Secret Wars was announced as the inspiration. Basing a collectible delivery around an untested crossover event with little knowledge as to how the storyline would be received seemed risky. Additionally, where the films reach a massive audience globally, we all know comic books themselves top out in the hundreds of thousands in sales. Depending which sales source you believe, Secret Wars has been the most popular book for the past few months, but even still, that concept hasn't reached as wide a consumer base as Age of Ultron or Ant-Man.
As the first box in Funko's Marvel Collector Corps to not be based on a film property, no one really had any idea what to expect from the Secret Wars box. To be fair, there have only been two boxes in the subscription service so far, with both having arrived at the same time as one of Marvel's cinematic escapades. There won't always be a movie to base one of these themed boxes around, but if the Secret Wars box is any indication, that won't be a problem for Funko.