Imagine a father and mother that share interests and passions and get together and have a child. But as the father and mother set about raising the child they realize they have different ideas and goals and hopes for the future and they can’t find a middle ground. So then the father decides it’s best to step away rather than subject the child to further strife between him and the mother. Eventually the mother falls for someone else and the child gets a step-father. And while the biological father certainly had an influence on the child it’s ultimately the step-father’s support and encouragement that allows the child to grow up into a fully functional adult.
Now imagine that the father is Edgar Wright, the mother is Marvel Studios, the step-father is Peyton Reed and the child is Ant-Man. While much was made of Wright’s departure from the film, I feel like it was best for everyone involved, and ultimately for the movie itself. It’s better that Wright not make a compromised version of his film, better that Marvel not get a movie that doesn’t fit their franchise, and better that Peyton Reed brought an unbiased perspective to balance both ends of the equation to make a more complete film. That is my take on the behind-the-scenes saga of Ant-Man, and thankfully the film itself has proven to be worth all the effort.
Another year, another Comic-Con International come and gone. I have yet to attend it myself but it’s still a major intellectual attraction for anyone with interests like mine. It seems like this year’s Con was a really good one, with a lot of great material showcased and some truly awesome-sounding experiences to be had. But not having been there myself, I’m going to have to limit my reactions to what news and media was put out there for the non-attendee masses, which I’ll do after the jump.
While superheroes tend to dominate the conversation when it comes to the comics world — to the point where “superhero movie” and “comic book movie” are somewhat interchangeable in cinephile circles — there has been a real expansion of the medium over the course of my lifetime. And the result of that is the current independent comics boom, which has seen an enormous number of original, boundary-breaking stories that really embrace and demonstrate the true potential of the comics medium. Leading that independent boom has been Image Comics, arguably the mecca of creative freedom and artistic ambition for comic book creators, and looking at both their present and future I think it’s safe to say that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
One of the great traditions of superhero comics has been the Event Crossover, where a massive story is told over multiple series that eventually has major repercussions across the entire self-contained universe. These have become a yearly occurrence over at Marvel Comics, and some truly exciting stories have been told through such events; one of them forms the basis of next summer’s Captain America: Civil War, while another leant its title to Avengers: Age of Ultron. While these events can sometimes represent the both the pinnacle of serialized comic book storytelling and the nadir of impenetrable continuity apocrypha, they often birth tons of great storytelling opportunities for the daringly creative. To me, this summer’s Secret Wars — and the All-New, All-Different Marvel relaunch that will follow it — represents the absolute best of what shared universe storytelling can be, and how in the right hands it can transcend the corporate mandates to become truly impactful mythmaking.
There is a lot of talk nowadays about diversity and representation in media, something that sometimes seems heightened in geek-centric pop culture that (more than most) has primarily only catered to straight white men/boys. And while there are many areas of geekdom that could still stand to improve in this area, one medium that is more and more leading the diversity charge is comics. The medium has seen a boom of diverse representation in the last few years, which in spite of the protestations of some hardline trolls is nothing but good news for both the artform and its audience. And while all of the major comics publishers have made great strides in these areas, perhaps the most stark change for me has been with DC Comics, who in many ways are running directly counter to what is expected of their brand to present diverse and original characters and series that everyone can (and should) enjoy. With San Diego Comic-Con set to kick-off on Thursday, I thought this would be a good time to appraise the comics industry for my fellow geeks, and DC’s diverse offerings seem like as good a starting place as any.
July is a bizarre stretch for me, as there isn’t really anything catching my eye until the 3rd Friday of the month. That means, among other things, that there won’t be anything new to see on my birthday (though with the surplus of offerings last month I won’t be completely lost).Thankfully July still looks like it will end strong, with a bunch of fun and intriguing films on the docket through the last few weekends. Let’s take a look, shall we?