Not only is today Jim Starlin’s 66th birthday, but this month also marks the 40th anniversary of the release of his game-changing Warlock #9, one of the books that cemented his legacy among some of comics’ all-time greatest creators, and made his name synonymous with Marvel’s cosmic universe.
“The Infinity Effect” became more than just a starting point for Adam Warlock’s adventures with his evil future self; it set the groundwork for arguably the grandest four-color space opera of all time. The saga of the Infinity Gems and the characters linked to those stones – including Thanos, Gamora, and, of course, Warlock – has spun into numerous universe-shattering events and limited series over the last few decades. And, more significantly for even the casual superhero fan, it has become a slowly building central plot point for Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Seeing Thanos slide the Gauntlet onto his purple mitt in the final scene of Age of Ultron might have been the coolest big-screen teaser since seeing Thor’s hammer chilling in the desert.
So to celebrate Starlin’s birthday, and help prep the uninitiated for the coming Infinity blitz, here’s a Top 5 primer on his Marvel cosmic canon. Rather than rank these, they’re being presented chronologically, from the early 70’s right through the present day. Continue reading Jim Starlin and Marvel’s Cosmic Infinite→
The concept for my 2011 Halloween Special came to me when I was still writing my 2010 Halloween Special, and I was a little depressed that I would have to sit on such a great idea for a whole year before I could implement it. But October has finally rolled around at last, and now that it’s time to complete what I had planned, I’ve realized that it’s much easier to conjure up these things that to actually do them.
But I’m committed, come hell or high water, to watch every movie in the original Halloween series in a single sitting. That’s eight feature films. None of them are of epic length, mind you, but it’s still a pretty decent chunk of time to have an ass parked on a couch. Luckily, my skill at sitting almost motionless for hours at a stretch is unparalleled, except by certain species of…
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the horizon, it seems only appropriate that Disney and Lucasfilm create their very own holiday. How to celebrate? Empty your wallets.
As Mel Brooks is wont to remind us, it’s all about the merchandising. For the nerd in all of us, regardless of age or generation, no single property has generated more games, toys, and random bullshit than Star Wars. And of course, there’s an incredible amount of new crap to buy. In honor of Force Friday (as if we needed any more prompting to spend money in the name of The Force) all manner of new swag has obligingly awakened.
Assuming money were no object, we, Idlers, have compiled a list of our top-five must-haves from a galaxy far, far away. Shop wise, you must.
Han Cholo hancholo.com Stormtrooper Ring SS: I’d buy this if I wasn’t still planning on having sex in the future.
From the website: “Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, ‘Han Cholo’ designer Brandon Schoolhouse grew up immersed in the sub culture of Hollywood’s music and art scene… the line has become the “it” accessory among Hollywood fashionistas and celebrities alike.” Continue reading Force Friday, Take Our Money→
Picking a Kirby story is hard enough, let alone a Kirby character. For me, his New Gods space opera for DC will always be the quintessential King. It’s Kirby at his most expressive and free as you see the love put into every page and character. The story is simple: two planets full of gods have been at war since they split. One, New Genesis, is the beautiful unsullied world of the nice gods while the other, Apokolips, is the hellhole nightmare world run by a tyrant. The rulers decide to a truce by sending their sons to the other planet which cues the birth of my favorite character, Scott Free aka Mister Miracle. Continue reading Jack Kirby’s Mister Miracle→
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly Kendrick Lamar offers his reflections on where he has come from on his journey through the music industry, recalling some of the most influential figures in hip-hop to celebrate his origin and climb to the top. While acknowledging his success, Lamar struggles with the toxic nature of fame that’s inseparable from it, and the responsibility of being a cultural icon in a time when our culture is saturated with race-related violence. A lot of Lamar’s verses are conversations from one aspect of his feelings to someone in his life, or himself, or in one excellent piece of found footage editing, Tupac. Besides it’s political content, the album delivers dynamic, raw vocal performances, finely utilized samples coupled with an amazing studio band, and is one of the most engaging records to come out in the last decade. To Pimp a Butterfly is a work that could be dissected, discussed, and enjoyed for years to come. And it probably will.
My love of Kamandi began in college. Though I had been a fan of comic books nearly all my life I had yet to delve into their history. I had always thought that older comics were corny, or too message-based to appeal to me. I like badasses like Spawn and Wolverine. I admit I even had a fondness for the extreme 90s styling of Rob Liefeld. It wasn’t until high school that I began to branch out of Marvel and into DC, and even then it was only Batman and Birds of Prey that caught my attention. At some point in those halcyon days of Mountain Dew and Taco Bell I remember seeing an old issue of Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth for sale at my local comic book store. At first I thought the book looked ridiculous; here was this boy with flowing golden hair, Hulk-like ripped pants, and a gun. Once I opened the pages though I remember seeing the genius of Jack Kirby in full view. A tribunal of Ape-men sentencing a Lion-man and a Dog-man to death with the caption “Clemency denied!” I wish I had picked up that book and began my love of Kamandi and Kirby a few years early.
Still, that initial exposure to the world of Kamandi stayed with me. Though the boy’s name was soon forgotten, that imaginative world, that Planet of the Apes on acid, stuck with me until one day at the SF State campus bookstore I saw the Kamandi Omnibus Volume 1 for sale. There he was, there was that lost world again. So I sat down and read the entire thing, completely forgetting the two or so classes I had that day. It was okay though, my teachers would understand. There were gorillas riding jeeps into battle with a tiger army that was a bit more pressing than Philosophy of Art. Continue reading Jack Kirby’s Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth→
Captain America Comics #1 burst onto newsstands in 1941 with that now-famous flying right hook to the jaw of Adolf Hitler. The book and cover are largely credited to Joe Simon, but his young partner Jack Kirby, 23 at the time, became an increasingly integral part of the design and development of one of popular culture’s most enduring characters.
When Kirby came back to Marvel in the early 60’s to partner with Stan Lee on the birth of the Marvel Universe, he also helped bring back a character who many thought might have just remained a campy footnote in the propaganda-laden pulp trade of the 1940’s. In an even more memorable issue with a singularly milestone cover, Captain America became well and truly Jack Kirby’s superhero. Continue reading Jack Kirby’s Captain America→
I remember the day I played sick from high school to read entire collections of Mark Millar’s Ultimate X-Men, thus kicking off an expensive habit of collecting the trades as they came out. And I collected every stupid iteration of the team from X-Babies, to Exiles, and those gory X-Force books, because the depth and width of their universe is fucking incredible. These days I don’t read many comics, but I always find myself asking MMDG or another Idle Timer about what’s going on with my team. I love those X-books, and I guess I kind of love Jack Kirby for starting it.
Truth be told, Jack Kirby didn’t have to do with much of the X-Men I know. Wolverine, or Hugh Jackman, as some people may know him, was the brain-baby of Len Wein, Roy Thomas, and John Romita Sr, before being fleshed out into the tormented berserker by Chris Claremont. A lot of the stories and characters from the X-Men cartoon are from the Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne era, too.
While I have no doubt that the rumored Bryan Singer involvement with Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot would do wonders for the franchise, and help save what was an atrocious first attempt, I think the problem is severe enough that the crisis council needs to start researching some other options.
RF and I have simmered on this for two weeks and we wanted desperately to say, of the recent Fantastic Four film, “It wasn’t that bad. It has potential.”
It’s not the worst movie to be stamped with the Marvel logo, but it’s in the conversation. Maybe Top 5. Having said that, however, we both agreed that the “potential” remains. And we hashed out one sure-fire way to make the most of said potential and rescue Marvel’s First Family from cinematic purgatory. Our patience is wearing thin; this is the fourth attempt at doing these characters justice. We need Marvel Studios to step in. Continue reading How Marvel Studios Can Save The Fantastic Four→