The latest and most updated Marvel Comics related news stories from October 19th - 21st, 2013!
"Fearless Defenders" canceled in December!
As has become typical in recent years, Marvel Comics doesn't always officially announce when an ongoing series is being canceled due to low sales; they simply fail to solicit it for a given month and await the creators to reveal the inevitable via a blog or Twitter or Facebook or so forth. To this end, writer Cullen Bunn has announced at his blog that "Fearless Defenders #12" in December will be the final issue of the series. Regular artist Will Sliney confirms the news at his own blog, and both creators express some regret about it, especially given positive fan reactions at the recent New York Comic Con.
This news was seen as a tragedy at various blogs and Tumblrs across the internet (such as DC Women Kicking Ass), especially because "Fearless Defenders" was not only the first Marvel Comics series to feature an all-female team (at least for a few months before Brian Wood's relaunch of "X-Men"), but it featured a prominent lesbian character in Annabelle Riggs who has since become tied to immortal heroine (and longtime "Defender") Valkyrie. In reality, this news was inevitable and Marvel's editorial board did give the book more rope than some other titles which sold as poorly or worse, such as their recent "Morbius the Living Vampire" relaunch. The "cut off" point in terms of sales for regular Marvel Universe ongoing series is below 21,000 copies, and "Fearless Defenders" fell to that tally back in May-June. Instead of canning it then, the price was hiked by an extra dollar as of the seventh issue in an effort to bring in more cash revenue on the series in the short term. As a strategy to "save" the series, price hikes never work, but it did allow the series to last until a twelfth issue instead of a ninth or tenth issue. The series earned some ire online when it seemed as if Annabelle Riggs died in issue six, but such infamy did nothing to hike sales; nor did one shot issues by "hot" artists such as Phil Jimenez or crossovers.
Why did this series fail? While Cullen Bunn is a skilled writer with "The 6th Gun" and other titles, neither he or Sliney are big names, and neither are the central cast of the series regardless of gender (Valkyrie, Misty Knight, and Mirage). "Fearless Defenders" came out just two months after Matt Fraction's stab at a "Defenders" series was canceled at a twelfth issue as well as a follow up to "Fear Itself: The Fearless" mini series from 2012 which Bunn co-wrote. In addition, Marvel had published "The Last Defenders" in 2008 and a four issue "Defenders" mini series in 2004 which all have offered drastically different casts, tones, and creative teams. In addition, while the series has been a fun read, it may not have reached the level of cult appeal as many other hit series.This comes as a double whammy for Bunn, as his other ongoing series at Marvel, "Venom", ends this week.
Disney confirms "Space Mountain" graphic novel!
At the start of October, it was revealed that Disney would publish a line of comics with themes based upon rides at their theme parks called "Disney Kingdoms" at Marvel. The logic being that such a strategy worked well in film with "Pirates of the Caribbean" and could work in smaller terms for a line of comics and graphic novels. The first of these series was set to kick off in January 2014.
It has since been revealed that a 176 page graphic novel called "Space Mountain" will be released on May 6th, 2014 under the "Disney Comics" banner which will likely be distributed by Marvel. It is written by Bryan Q. Miller and drawn by Kelley Jones, and features a story about two kids and a flying saucer trying to save the world during a time travel field trip in the year 2125. This is the first of a trilogy of titles planned for 2015 and 2016.
Michael B. Jordan cast as Human Torch?
Fox Studios is finally moving ahead with plans to reboot their "Fantastic Four" film franchise (licensed from Marvel Comics) since the underwhelming performance of their second licensed film, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" in 2007. Josh Trank, director of "Chronicle", has been attached to direct a new film which is slated to start filming this year for a potential release March 6th, 2015. No major casting announcements have been made, which means rumors are bound to fly. The biggest one is that Michael B. Jordan, who was in "Chronicle", will be cast as Johnny Storm/Human Torch, which has been claimed as an "exclusive" by Schmoes Know.com. Other online news outlets have run with the story, including Vibe earlier today. Neither Fox, Trank, or Jordan have officially confirmed anything, as Fox is currently focused on "X-Men: Days of Future Past" which hits next year. If true, this would not be his first comic book related role; he voiced Victor Stone/Cyborg in the recent Warner Brothers direct to video animated films, "Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox". Jordan may be more memorable in TV roles in "The Wire" and "Friday Night Lights".
How has the reaction been? The same as any announcement or rumor of any actor who is a different ethnicity than the comic book version of the character they've been cast to play. Lots of level headed responses aside for the racists, who tend to make the most noise.