STANFORD BIOLOGIST SCIENTIFICALLY EXPLAINS HOW CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE HULK GOT THEIR POWERS
The short, short version of both Captain America and The Incredible Hulk‘s origin stories is simply, “science.” Steve Rogers got injected with a serum that made him the perfect human specimen; Bruce Banner absorbed a bunch of gamma radiation that made him turn into a big, green (or sometimes gray) guy.
For decades, comics fans have pretty much just accepted those origin stories as science fiction, but Stanford University biologist Sebastian Alvarado says there are for-real scientific explanations for how the two heroes got their powers.
MARVEL SAYS ‘F*CK IT’, RELEASES BEST PART OF ‘GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY’ ONLINE
NOTE: We’ve uploaded it ourselves, but if Tumblr is being weird just click here to watch it on ComicsAlliance.
WHY MARVEL STUDIOS SUCCEEDS (AND HOW IT WILL FAIL IF IT DOESN’T DIVERSIFY)
Guardians Of The Galaxy just enjoyed a very successful weekend at movie theaters, taking home around $94m, far in excess of expectations. The movie also stands at 92% positive reviews on aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, joining all previous Marvel Studios movies in receiving predominantly favorable notices.
Marvel Studios is doing very well. In six years and ten movies, it has avoided both critical and commercial disasters, and frustrated naysayers who hailed the demise of the superhero movie at every step. Marvel’s rivals at Fox, Sony/Columbia, and Warner Bros, have enjoyed commercial success as well — but not with the acclaim, consistency, or proliferation of Marvel. So how does Marvel do it, and can they keep doing it?
I think the secret to Marvel’s success owes much to necessity. Marvel simply can’t afford to screw up the superhero movie business, because it’s the only business the studio is in. That sounds like a circular argument — it succeeds because it can’t fail — but I think Marvel’s singular focus forces it to be smart, ambitious, and innovative in ways that its rivals are slow to understand. Marvel Studios succeeds because it goes all-in.
Look at Marvel’s competitors and it becomes clear that superhero movies are not their sole priority. Fox has its Fantastic Four reboot and its X-Men franchise, but it makes plenty of other movies, including other franchises — Assassin’s Creed, Ice Age, Planet Of The Apes, Taken, etc. Sony/Columbia wants to build a universe around Spider-Man with Sinister Six, Venom, and perhaps Black Cat or Spider-Woman, but it also has the James Bond franchise, Jump Street, The Smurfs. DC’s parent company Warner Bros. is a beast, and it didn’t just make the Dark Knight movies; it also had Harry Potter, The Hobbit, The Hangover, and much more, including the new Godzilla. There are people at Warner Bros. who never have to think about Batman.
There is no-one at Marvel Studios who doesn’t have to think about Captain America.
WHY ‘GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY’ IS THIS GENERATION’S ‘THE LAST STARFIGHTER’
By Mike Ryan
After watching Marvel’s new sci-fi offering, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ I joked that this is the type of movie that everyone around my age would think of fondly if it came out in the mid-1980s. But there is some truth in that statement, in that ‘Guardians’ does have a distinct ‘80s feel to it that’s hard to ignore, even aside from Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) references. As much as ‘Guardians’ is a modern Marvel money-making machine, it’s also a tribute to a genre that died in the mid-‘80s. A genre that includes those very movies that people around my age think of fondly – in other words: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is more a tribute to movies like ‘The Last Starfighter’ than it is to ‘Star Wars.’
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ opens with a young Peter Quill being abducted by aliens in order to serve in a larger interstellar cause. This is pretty much exactly how ‘The Last Starfighter’ begins. (And both were picked for specific reasons, though I won’t delve too deep into why Quill was chosen as to avoid spoilers.)
NEVER HESITATED FOR A SECOND: JASON AARON ON WRITING ‘STAR WARS’ FOR MARVEL [INTERVIEW]
By Andy Khouri
Arguably the “biggest” announcement of Comic-Con weekend was Marvel’s unveiling of the creative teams for its first three all-new Star Wars comics. The new books have been hotly anticipated since plans for Marvel Star Wars books were first announced back in January, shortly after the company’s corporate parent, Disney, acquired Star Wars creator George Lucas’ Lucasfilm.
Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca will team for a Darth Vader ongoing series; Mark Waid and Terry Dodson will author a five-issue Princess Leia miniseries; and Jason Aaron and John Cassaday have been named as the creative team for a Star Wars ongoing series. The three series will launch through the first quarter of 2015, each telling original stories set between the events of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back — the obvious place within the original trilogy to expand the universe and explore the characters.
The core Star Wars title from Aaron and Cassaday will naturally focus on the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo as they go up against Darth Vader’s imperial forces. To learn more about the project, ComicsAlliance spoke with Aaron and series editor Jordan D. White (unfortunately Cassaday was not available for comment before publication time).
SHE’D RATHER NOT TALK ABOUT IT: NEW ‘SPIDER-WOMAN’ TEAM ON JESSICA DREW’S PAST (AND FUTURE)
Last weekend at the “Women of Marvel” panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Comics announced a new ongoing Spider-Woman series that will debut in November, from writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Greg Land, which will follow directly on from events in the Spider-Verse crossover. We had the opportunity to have a quick chat with the creative team in the wake of the announcement, and ask a few questions about their plans for the series.
ComicsAlliance: Jessica Drew is a character with a notoriously convoluted history, and while she’s a fairly iconic figure for fans who came of age in the ’70s and ’80s (she even had her own Saturday morning cartoon), she hasn’t had a particularly high profile in comics in recent years. What should readers know about her going in?
Dennis Hopeless: I think of Jessica as a woman who has been down a long dark road. The whole thing was exhausting and most of the time she’d prefer not to talk about it. Which isn’t to say we’ll be avoiding Jessica’s past. She carries those experiences with her always and it very much colors how she approaches the world. Our story just leans more toward Jessica in the now. She’s dealing with problems right in front of her face.
I’m a big fan of the Bendis/Maleev Spider-Woman series and “the Skrull years” fascinate me so I’d love to eventually revisit some of that. It just might be a while before we get there. Jessica has a lot of moving forward to do before she’ll have time to look back.
MARVEL ANNOUNCES MARK WAID’S S.H.I.E.L.D. AND MORE AT NEXT BIG THING PANEL
Marvel really likes to spread its announcements around at San Diego Comic-Con, and that’s never more evident than at the publisher’s final panel of the weekend, which it calls ‘Next Big Thing’, possibly because Columbo has a prior claim on using the phrase, ‘One More Thing,’ just as you’re getting ready to leave.
The major new announcement out of the Next Big Thing panel is that Marvel is finally going to publish a new S.H.I.E.L.D. book (which I’ll henceforth refer to as SHIELD, because no-one has time for that much punctuation). Mark Waid will write the new series, with Carlos Pacheco on issue one and a rotating team of artists thereafter. Agent Phil “Cheese” Coulson will be the book’s lead, and each issue will tell a self-contained story.
I, VADER: KIERON GILLEN & SALVADOR LARROCA TALK ‘STAR WARS: DARTH VADER’ [INTERVIEW]
Few in the Star Wars universe are more enigmatic, more revered, or more quoted than Darth Vader. And yet, despite being introduced to Vader’s conflicted adolescence and troubled past in George Lucas’ most recent film trilogy, we are still not fully aware of who the galaxy’s most sinister villain really is beneath that obsidian faceplate. Sure, some of us root for the rebels. Some align with the Empire. But we all, without a doubt, want to peek under the mask of the most interesting villain in the universe; especially during that mysterious time between the first Death Star’s destruction and The Empire Strikes Back.
Now we finally get more pieces of the personality puzzle with a story taking place during a time when Vader’s vengeful thirst for power solidifies. It’s a period explored before in various Expanded Universe stories, but never before by Kieron Gillen (Young Avengers, The Wicked + The Divine) and Salvador Larroca (Invincible Iron Man, Uncanny Avengers). Their new ongoing series, Star Wars: Darth Vader, is one of three new series announced by Marvel at Comic-Con International in San Diego over the weekend, the first since Marvel acquired the Star Wars comic book license as a consequence of Lucasfilm’s acquisition with Marvel parent Disney.
We spoke to the creative team about the psychology of sci-fi’s most famous villain and what to expect from the new ongoing series.
UNAPOLOGETICALLY STRONG: MARK WAID & TERRY DODSON TALK ‘STAR WARS: PRINCESS LEIA’ [INTERVIEW]
Earlier this year, it was announced somewhat controversially but unsurprisingly that the Star Wars comic book license would be leaving Dark Horse, its home of more than 20 years, and moving to Marvel Comics. This was not a surprise, as once Marvel corporate parent Disney bought Star Wars owner Lucasfilm, fans felt it was only a matter of time before Marvel announced that it would produce its own original Star Wars comics for the first time decades. But no one knew what exactly Marvel would actually dowith Star Wars.
Saturday at Comic-Con International, Marvel announced no fewer than three new Star Wars series to the San Diego crowd: two ongoings titled Star Wars and Star Wars: Darth Vader, and a miniseries called Star Wars: Princess Leia.
Princess Leia is, of course, one of the most famous characters in science fiction, and very arguably the most famous female character. She’s iconic, recognizable, and quotable. Leia is a character with a lot of implied depth that the Star Wars movies didn’t fully explore, even across three films in which she appeared. Of course, hardcore Star Wars fans could tell you a lot about Leia’s numerous adventures in the Expanded Universe of novels, comics and games, but as evidenced by Marvel’s plans to start anew with its own adventures that are fully canonical with the films and new animated series, there’s something to be said for offering film fans a fresh start with this most important character.
That start is to be facilitated by some of American superhero comics’ most popular creators: writer Mark Waid and penciller Terry Dodson, who along with editor Jordan D. Whitespoke with ComicsAlliance about their auspicious new gig.
MARVEL STUDIOS AT SAN DIEGO: LATEST ON ‘ANT-MAN’ AND ‘AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON’
Marvel Studios held its annual crowdpleaser panel in the vastness of Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday afternoon. The casts of Ant-Man and Avengers: Age Of Ultron were both on hand — but there wasn’t much in the way of announcements, beyond confirming a lot of things we already knew. No new movies announced. No casting news that hadn’t already leaked long ago. But with those disappointments suitably girded against, here’s what we learned…