On Tuesday morning Whoopi Goldberg and the hosts of The View announced that Marvel will relaunch Thor this October with a 'worthy' woman brandishing the hammer. Marvel followed that announcement with two more high profile switcheroos on Wednesday night as Entertainment Weekly revealed a new-ish and possibly superior Iron Man, and Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada joined comedian Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report to announce that a new guy will take up Captain America's shield.
That in itself isn't much of a surprise -- original Cap Steve Rogers has passed on his mantle a few times, before eventually yanking it back. After spending some time in Dimension Z and fighting the Iron Nail and whatnot, he's now too old to Avenge from the front lines. The big reveal is that the new Captain America will be Sam Wilson, the African-American superhero currently known as Falcon.
Changing the racial identity of characters has become a contentious issue amongst fans of superhero comics and their adaptations in other media. The awful practices of casting white actors to play people of color, or of turning previously non-white characters into white characters, is all too common in movie adaptations of books, cartoons, TV shows, or even real life stories -- but rather surprisingly, superhero comics and their adaptations have mostly avoided this problem.
In comics, the controversy takes a different direction. Several white characters have become non-white, mostly in movies, and sometimes in reboots. Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in the new Fantastic Four; Helena Bertinelli aka the Huntress in the New 52; Nick Fury in the Ultimate Comics line and on screen. These are changes that agitate some readers -- but realistically, the changes don't go far enough. Superhero comics have a cultural bias towards white characters that has everything to do with their institutional history and nothing to do with what makes sense to the stories.
Windblade, a recent addition to Transformers universe, is not like all the other bots that came before her. She's the first Transformer created entirely by fans, through a series of polls on toy manufactuer Hasbro's website.
The Windblade toy debuts later this year, but to learn more about the character fans should pick up the new Transformers: Windblade four-issue series from IDW Publishing, debuting later this month from writer Mairghread Scott and artist Sarah Stone. The comic is also a little different from those that came before it, in that it's the first Transformers comic by a female writer/artist team.
All Hail The King is a short movie -- a "one shot," as Marvel calls them -- about what happened to Iron Man 3 character the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) after he went to prison, written and directed by Iron Man 3 co-writer Drew Pearce. It's light, it's funny, there are some good lines and a neat twist. For the most part, I liked it.
One thing left a bad taste in my mouth.
If you haven't watched the Marvel one-shot/short movie All Hail The King, released a supplemental feature with Thor: The Dark World on Blu-ray/DVD, and you haven't watched Iron Man 3, and you want to see either of them unspoiled, skip the rest of this post. That's your spoiler warning.
Sam Orchard has been making his webcomic Rooster Tails since 2010; a series of weekly autobiographical strips about life as a transguy in New Zealand. It's an honest, sweet, nerdy, funny, and charming insight into one person's experience with transitioning.
Orchard has expanded his canvas to look at the experiences of other queer and transgender people in his new book, Family Portraits, and he's turned to Kickstarter to crowdfund the book and an American promotional tour. Rewards include PDF and print copies of the book, postcards, art prints, and custom comics. ComicsAlliance spoke with Orchard to find out more about the project.
Back in November Marvel Studios announced a deal to make five TV shows for Netflix; four solo series based on the Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage characters, and a Defenders series that brings them all together.
Filming on the first of these, Daredevil, begins in July in New York City. No casting announcements have been made, but they're sure to come soon, and some fans see this as an opportunity to make a change to one character. They've created a petition asking that an Asian American actor be cast as Iron Fist.
We like diversity here at ComicsAlliance. We've said it before, and we'll say it again. We're also big fans of superheroes, and that probably goes without saying.
We especially like diversity with our superheroes. Diversity broadens the genre's reach, encourages respect and understanding of people's differences, and gives minority audiences more chances to see themselves in fiction, and those are all great things. Because of this, we've come up with a new way to look at diversity in superhero comics - particularly team books. We call it the Harvey/Renee Index.
Next month Marvel will release the much anticipated Ms. Marvel #1, the new series from creators G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, and edited by Sana Amanat. It is a rarity in the industry: you can practically count on one hand the number of titles published at Marvel and DC combined that have starred a woman of color. Further, the new Ms. Marvel -- Kamala Khan -- is a Muslim Pakistani-American teenager, the first Muslim character to star in a monthly solo series at Marvel. As such, the title has received significant attention, and rightfully so; it's obviously early in the year, but it's no stretch to say that this may be the most important comic published in 2014.
And if not the most important, so far I'd say it's the most anticipated. Before the first issue has even hit stands, it has already received the type of media attention seldom afforded a super hero comic, and that type of attention breeds curiosity. With that in mind, Amanat has set up the Ms. Marvel tumblr, which gives people looking forward to the title a peek behind the curtain at the process of putting the book together, as well as explaining a few things you may have missed.
So this is pretty cool. Artist Sean Murphy (The Wake, Punk Rock Jesus) is working with longtime Batman writer Scott Snyder on a story for next year's Detective Comics #27, a special 96-page book celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Dark Knight's first appearance in the 27th issue of that series' original volume in 1939. A character in that piece will be a new Robin who will be the first African-American to wear the iconic "R" badge.
Good news; Marvel is launching a new ongoing series with an LGBT lead character. Loki: Agent of Asgard debuts in February from the creative team of writer Al Ewing and artist Lee Garbett, and Ewing confirmed via Tumblr that the lead character will not only be portrayed as bisexual --but be able to change gender. Bad news; Loki is not exactly a good guy. He's a trickster, a manipulator, a supervillain. He's also the second bisexual male to get his own ongoing book at Marvel, and here's the problem; the other one was Daken, son of Wolverine, and he was also a trickster, a manipulator and a supervillain.
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