Ever since Marvel Comics became an official property of the Disney empire in 2010, the company has gained access to larger channels for advertisement and corporate synergy. Thus far this has played out via the "house of Mouse" being involved in film distribution of Marvel Studios productions as well as both live action and animated Marvel shows airing on networks owned by Disney (such as ABC and Disney XD). Today, this relationship expanded further as one of the largest of the slew of daytime talk shows was utilized to promote what is essentially a comic book relaunch for October.
Yesterday, it was teased that Marvel Comics would make a "thunderous" announcement on "The View" the following day. This led to speculation about it being Thor-related, possibly an official title for his vaguely planned third film. Longer shots were an announcement about a heroine led film (such as "Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel", whose symbol is often a thunderbolt). It turns out that the announcement was for a relaunch of the main "Thor" comic in October under current writer Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman (who is currently drawing "Cyclops"). The biggest twist is that for the first time, the main mantle of Thor will be held by a woman who has been considered "worthy" of the hammer Mjolnir at a critical time when the regular Thor (Thor Odinson, a.k.a. Donald Blake) proves to be "unworthy". Exclusive images were revealed on "The View" of a blond woman wearing the armor and weapon of Thor. An official press release which followed the reveal stated that this was "a brand new female hero" with an unknown connection to Asgard and the Marvel Universe. As for the regular male Odinson, Marvel has also released a promotional image featuring him carrying an ax as well as a cybernetic left arm. The most curious thing, besides the new female Thor, is an official declaration from Marvel's press release that this is a move specifically geared towards appealing to women, who are seen as a budding new demographic. ComiXology has long since proven this with hard numbers, despite many, many years of obvious evidence at comic conventions and shops worldwide. "This female THOR is the 8th title to feature a lead female protagonist and aims to speak directly to an audience that long was not the target for Super Hero comic books in America: women and girls", read the blurb.
For the record, this is neither the first female character to carry an Asgardian hammer nor the first woman who be "worthy" of carrying Mjolnir. Tarene, an alien from another galaxy, eventually became involved in some of Thor's adventures during the run by Dan Jurgens and John Romita Jr. in 2000, gained her own magical hammer and attempted to become his ally as "Thor Girl". Tarene was mostly forgotten from the core "Thor" book once Jurgens left, but she was last seen in the 2011 "Fear Itself" mini series, "Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt". And although the majority of additional "worthy" figures in canonical Marvel Comics lore have been men, a notable exception is Storm from the X-Men, who finally got to use the hammer in 2010's "X-Men: To Serve and Protect". Additionally, Valkyrie has also long been attached to the franchise even as she's branched out as a member of various incarnations of the "Defenders", and Angela (from "Spawn") has since moved to the Marvel Universe (via some business arrangement with her co-creator Neil Gaiman) and is soon to be revealed as Thor's long lost sister. However, as this new Thor is said to be a "new" character, it is extremely unlikely that she is either Tarene or Valkyrie - even if it would be fun if one of them popped up as a sidekick figure much as Thunderstrike and Beta Ray Bill were often around for the male Thor.
Aside for the randomness of choosing "The View" as the venue to advertise a comic book (as the audience of "The View" are typically not the younger demographic of women who tend to read comics), there are some additional caveats. While Marvel are proudly bragging about the company's attempt to have eight ongoing titles with a woman as the lead protagonist (only a couple years when "X-23" was their only one), it is worth a mention that most of them are selling poorly and in danger of being canceled by or shortly after a twelfth issue (such as "Elektra", "She-Hulk", and even "Black Widow"). Considering that the next Thor film is inevitable, fans with long memories don't expect this new female version to be the star beyond 2015. In addition, with no end of feature films starring no end of male heroes, the clamor for a superhero film starring a lady has risen over the past decade, and there was a sense of disappointment online (such as Jezebel) that the news on "The View" wasn't bigger. Regardless, Marvel isn't dancing around the female demographic anymore, and it will remain to be seen how much farther they will reach out to them or use Disney ties to promote comics. Maybe commercials for them for their shows on ABC and Disney XD?
Full trailer, cast, and character posters for Disney's animated "Big Hero 6"!
With the full media press rolled out for August's "Guardians of the Galaxy", it is easy to forget the first Marvel licensed property to be adapted to a Disney animated motion picture. Disney Animation's first choice is the quirky Japanese superhero team "Big Hero 6", who were originally a spin off of "Alpha Flight". Set to debut on November 7th, a full two minute trailer as well as a cast list and poster roster have been released online by Disney. The trailer includes a look at the cast as well as balancing the tone between action and comedy, as well as a look at the masked villain of the piece.
The voice cast consists of Ryan Potter as the teenage genius lead Hiro Hamada and Scott Adsit as his robot pal Baymax. The rest of "Big Hero 6" will be T.J. Miller as Fred/"Fredzilla", Jamie Chung as Go Go Tomago, Genesis Rodriguez as Honey Lemon, and Damon Wayons Jr. as Wasabi. The rest of the main cast stand as Maya Rudolph (Aunt Cass), James Cromwell (Professor Callaghan), Daniel Henney (Tadashi Hamada), and the ever reliable Alan Tudyk as Alistair Krei. The film will be directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams, the team behind "Frozen" and "Wreck-It Ralph". The plot of the film, naturally, involves this rag tag band of teenage heroes seeking to save their home town of "San Fransokyo" (a fictional merging of San Francisco and Tokyo).
"The Logan Legacy" picks up the pieces from "Death of Wolverine"!
With the (temporary) death of Wolverine in this fall's weekly "Death of Wolverine" series, this means the opportunity for spin offs dealing with the aftermath. Not only will there be crossover tie-in's across a variety of X-Men books (which is sadly not dubbed, "Mourning for a Midget"), there will be a seven issue mini series called "Death of Wolverine: the Logan Legacy". It will be written by Charles Soule and will feature the exploits of X-23, Lady Deathstrike, Daken, Sabretooth, and Mystique as they deal with the death of Wolverine. Yes, Mystique has shifted away from being a general X-Men threat and a personal adversary for Nightcrawler, Rogue, and/or Carol Danvers/Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel. No word on whether they will decide to call themselves "the Wolverine Corps".