Though I woke up this morning knowing I had only one panel to cover — on my favorite Superior Spider-Man— I felt the urge to show up early. And thank God I did, because I was treated to an exceptional DC 101: Essentials panel with their talented editor-in-chief, Bob Harras, and the company’s other editorial big hitters, John Cunningham and Bobbie Chase, in the same room. If you have been following my most Marvelous coverage over the last year, you know very well that I eat, breath, sweat and shit Marvel. (Wait! In no way possible does this healthy Apostle “eat shit” — even with all the Embassy’s free bacon.) Surprisingly enough, the “House that Supes built” more than opened my eyes. DC Comics discussed their latest strategies with a very tight, admirable panel that has seemingly revitalized their line since I last took a look. It’s rather arguable that DC has taken a beating in recent times, in terms of its competition with the blossoming Marvel cinematic world and their rivals’ vast array of now movie-related comic titles over the last couple years.
No matter which side of the fence you’re on, there’s no question each company has had its share of immense geek backlash with all the serious changes. The New 52 has been a success — despite all its pundits — and Superior Spider-Man has caught a fairly good share of solid reviews as of late and is flying off the shelves.
Maybe web-heads are starting to accept all the nonsense that is Octavio Parker.
Or not. I was smart enough to slide in the prior panel with all the potential that was picketing fangirls/boys asking for SSM writer Dan Slott’s head on a sticky stick. Within these walls, even The Marvel Apostle himself has learned all kinds of interesting facts about where DC is planning to go on all sides of the mask.
Don’t bury me with a lo on.
From: comics with their new Justice League-centered Trinity War and Forever Evil reign, to movies and their planned rebranding of the DC animated world with the New 52 stamp. Two years have passed since the DC “realignment” took over and it has done wonders for the Warner Bros/DC pocket books as you can tell from increased comic sales and the box office-crushing Man of Steel.
The biggest event coming down DC starts off with a supervillains orchestrated Trinity War, which pits the US government’s Justice League of America vs. the classic Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman run Justice League vs the ever dapper John Constantine headed Justice League Dark. After the dust settles and capes burn, the Super-villains will have taken control of the world leading to the DC main event of the year, Forever Evil. This will begin with a Villains Month in September, with all of the New 52 books being replaced by the likes of dastardly powerhouses Lex Luthor, General Zod, Joker, and even Killer Frost (hello Injustice!).
DC is also now all New 52, from comics to animation and feature films. Sitting through the panel/Q&A though, still left me with the vibe of a company that is still shrouded in the Golden Age, paralleled with a push for more of the digital. It’s a truly twisted function. The first question on the Q&A really delved into this notion, when a young fan was asked how he read his comics: digital or print. His response elicited a roar of applause from the crowd when he preferred the traditional smell of paper — something both Marvel and DC should remember when trying to push Digital on us Fans. The lad was then awarded a Kindle FIRE for all his concerns.
Oh, the irony.
Ending the DC101 panel, can really be summed up by a noted quote from John Cunningham. “Have you seen our films? We don’t do anything fast.” The question I was left wondering at the end of all this was, if nothing is done fast will that ever be fast enough to catch up to the behemoth that is Marvel?
Sure, now you’ve got Superman/Batman in the works — with whoever the new Caped Crusader is — but Marvel just showed off 3 of their latest blockbusters on Saturday at the Con, with a more promising teaser than you fellas for a fourth.
Imagine the probable thoughts of Bill Murray from What About Bob?.
After my foray back into the original capes and cowls, I was ready for the Arachnid. Unless you have been living under a rock in the past year, Peter Parker is dead and is “never coming back” (until May 2014, you know…) and the Doctor Octopus has taken his place and is here to stay. I walked into this panel equipped with full riot control gear! Thankfully, both Kidpool and an overweight Rogue sat next to me, thus my life was sure to be saved.
To all my Ock shock, the Superior panel offered both a very controlled and docile crowd thanks in part to the Alpha Dog/fratboy qualities of both Arune Singh and Nick Spencer (The Superior Foes of Spider-Man). There was barely a mention of “Peter Parker is dead and not coming back…. No ghost…. No Parker.” With charm, humor and, perhaps, suspense, Marvel detailed the future of Spidey-Ock and how the company has fully embraced the Superior attitude of their Spidey books. Despite ruffling the red spandex panties of many Marvel die-hards, there’s no doubt the controversy has resulted even more readers to the Spiled-side.
“It’s amazing to be part of a story that upset so many people. It just means that you guys care about what happens, whether you loved it or hated it,” stated Superior‘s assistant editor Ellie Pyle.
The next 18-24 issues of the Superior Spider-Man seems to have Spider-Ock maybe biting off more then he can spin. Beginning with the return of Spider-Man 2099, the editor went on to compare the impact of issue #20 of Superior (with Black Cat) to Amazing Spider-Man #698 — when all the body switching first began. Finishing up the Spider-Ock announcements was the inevitable first meeting between Superior Spider-Man and “Flash Venom” Thompson, aptly named “Darkest Hour.” The panel even teased what would happen if Parker’s favorite symbiote was to ever come home to daddy and find out…there’s a new daddy.
The rebranding of the The Superior Spider-Man Team-Up will finally tell the tale of what Spider-Ock has planned with his collection of Sinister Six ole-mates; a new bowling league, it is not. Marvel’s latest entree in the world of graphic novels will also tapper over to Spidey with some of the best news of the day for Parker fans! Peter Parker is back with a sister, co-written with Mark Waid, but, sadly, the story will not be in current continuity since the events take place before Ock plays a bad version of Big on Parker called Family Business. The question I have though, if he has a sister where is she now?
Probably joining the X-Men.
Thehe future of the Scarlett Spider and the newly minted Superior Carnage also offered that Kraven the Hunter is coming for Scarlett in October, with no shot at Trick or Treats. According to writer Chris Yost (X-Force), there’s enjoyment in “watching Kaine’s very uneasily growth into a hero. We’ve moved him to Houston. He’s got this second chance at life, and things are actually getting pretty good. So of course, this is where it all kind of goes bad.” In the pages of the limited series Superior Carnage, Kevin Shinick is building a very new and very superior Carnage that will bring him right back into the Marvel universe. Whatever that means, hopefully he will just continues his crazy killing spree.
Despite all of the (cue Kanyeezus…) flashing lights, and even the ghost-like qualities of a phone in the floating voice of the scared-for-his-life Slott (least according to a fellow conspiracy nerd behind me) answering fan questions, The Superior Spider-Man panel left me surprisingly upbeat. It certainly helped to have a shoutout to the team Man Without Fear, for Daredevil has without a doubt become the most consistent Marvel comic to his the shelves in years.
And now I kinda like the DCU. Happens.
So, congregants, my misted-over eyes just ascertained a perplexing situation. To my left, I have two Cloud Cosplayers asking me where I got my Aquaman kicks (I have a propensity for wearing everything DC, despite…), and a, perhaps, first ever black Emma Frost manwoman who I sure PRAY has been eyeing this section of the room for the last half hour for my seat. Either/or, it’s time this writer hit the bricks and yearn a saving grace from all this madness that is Comic Con.
And it’s only Day One!
(Or One Day?….)