When it was announced last month that Heavy Metal magazine had signed Grant Morrison to serve as their new editor-in-chief, it seemed to be the exact real-world approximation of that comic cliche: a team-up that nobody anticipated, but that makes perfect sense when considered from the right angle.
Heavy Metal is a title that, in its '70s/'80s heyday, redefined the limits of comic book form and content, much as Morrison has eschewed conventional stylistic and genre constraints throughout his career. Today, the magazine's name is shorthand for a specific style of exploitative genre fiction --- usually involving some combination of sci-fi, sword & sorcery, swearing, and sex --- but owners Jeff Krelitz and David Boxenbaum have been vocal about their hopes to expand the Heavy Metal brand and reignite the revolutionary spirit that it originally embodied.
ComicsAlliance sat down with Morrison at this summer's San Diego Comic-Con to talk about his personal history with Heavy Metal, ask some questions about his plans, and get a glimpse into the approach he's bringing to his new role at the magazine.
Nostalgia is a powerful drug. Now that almost all the kids that were collecting the likes of Kenner's Super Powers and Mattel's Secret Wars toys are closer to 40 then they are their pre-teen years, there's a built-in audience for revisiting these memorable action figure lines. What's more, these eternally young-at-heart fans now have disposable income, and can afford re-issues that are solely for collecting and not playing.
While you may initially scoff at the idea of paying around $100 for a jumbo-sized Secret Wars Wolverine or Super Powers Superman, it's hard to quiet the child inside when you see Gentle Giant's modern replicas in person. Not only are the figures captured from the original plans, but the packaging too is rendered almost exactly as it was all those years ago. The value of how cool it will look on your shelf immediately begins to tip the scales from how much just one of these figures will impact your wallet. These figures, as well as Gentle Giant's Star Wars and Batman: The Animated Series lines, toe the line at the intersection of comic art and nostalgia.
Joe Phillips' table in Artists' Alley is always an essential stop for me at San Diego Comic Con. The former Heretic and Superboy artist is one of the only guys at any comics show who can always be counted on for a great selection of quality beefcake pin-ups that rival the cheesecake that's so prevalent on other artists' tables. If you're in the market for a coquettish Angel, or a stripping Steve Rogers, Joe Phillips is your man.
But this year Phillips had something new on his table --- and so incredibly camp that it may appeal to much of the same audience that loves the hero beefcake. Phillips has taken some of the biggest stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood and cast them as some of the biggest names in superhero comics, to give fans a vision of what these movies might have looked like in another era.
ThreeA has long been crafting original figures and collectibles based on the art and designs of co-founder Ashley Wood, but in recent years, the company has expanded its reach with a variety of licenses in comics, animation and films. That essence of Wood's aesthetic is still ever present though, and his influence still informs the design sense for many of ThreeA's upcoming pieces.
At San Diego Comic-Con this year, the company went all out with a major presentation of its upcoming slate. Normally included as a small part of IDW's booth, ThreeA's installation this year was set up like an art show, and showed off a great deal of promising figures in a range of scales and sizes. With figures from Frederator and 2000 AD, as well as Marvel, it appears the company is finally ready to make a big splash in the market beyond its original works.
This year, TT Games continues its brief tradition of rotating comic book Lego game releases from Marvel and DC with Lego Marvel's Avengers. Based on the two Avengers films, Lego Avengers will allow you to play through both movies with the actual cast doing the voice overs. No new audio will be recorded of course; like Lego The Hobbit, this game will reuse the dialogue from the films in place of having actors like Robert Downey, Jr or Chris Hemsworth reprising their roles.
TT Games held a small interview session before the panel at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, and we spoke with producer Matt Ellison about the upcoming action game. As the third Lego game TT will be releasing this year (Lego Jurassic World is available now, and Lego Dimensions arrives this fall), we discussed what makes Lego Marvel's Avengers different and what new elements would be incorporated, from characters to mechanics, to keep the Lego experience fresh.
In recent months, commemorative poster-creating powerhouse Mondo has expanded its reach to more realms of film-inspired memorabilia. While the Austin-based company has been pumping out vinyl soundtracks, VHS re-releases and clothing options, to name a few, Mondo has only just begun dipping its toes into the figure and statue game. However, this year at San Diego Comic-Con, Mondo made a big splash, offering early looks at a variety of new comic and movie-based pieces inspired by some of the most iconic characters and creators of our generation.
We spoke with Mondo's Creative Director of Toys and Collectibles, Brock Otterbacher, about the company's fresh slate of offerings, and how he hoped to stand out in an ever-crowding market. With new items based on Hellboy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the way, Mondo is clearly setting the bar high for itself. Factor in the wealth of artists and creatives at Mondo's disposal, and you have a company that seems poised to make a major dent in the collectible space (and wallets) in 2015 and beyond.
It's easy to get lost in the sea of companies offering statues, figures and other collectibles at San Diego Comic-Con, but it's awful hard to miss Kotobukiya's bright green banners wherever it sets up. With a display full of statues, the company's SDCC 2015 showings introduced new items a range of sizes and from a variety of licenses.
Back in April, Amazon sent an e-mail to customers claiming that Avengers: Age of Ultron was available for pre-order on DVD and Blu-ray and would include an “extended edition”. The online retailer quickly retracted that statement saying that nothing had been officially confirmed by Disney and/or Marvel. Now, director Joss Whedon has had his say on the upcoming Avengers 2 DVD and can confirm that there will be no extended or director’s cut of the film, mostly because he’s “super f---king lazy”.
A few months ago, IDW said that they were planning a comic series with author William Gibson, inventor of cyberspace and general prophet of the future we live in today. The publisher formally announced details of that comic at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend. Archangel, with artist Butch Guice, will debut next year.
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