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Marvel Comics news: "Venom" and "Sinister Six" set to film and "Inhuman"

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The weekly web-slinging slate of Marvel Comics related news items for December 14th - 16th, 2013!

Sony commits to "Sinister Six" & "Venom" spin off films!

"Amazing Spider-Man 2" is set to debut in North American theaters in May, 2014; which means less than six months until payday for Sony, and thus the start of their overt and viral promotional campaign. To this end, the company set up a new website, "ElectroArrives.com", which offered a press release of titanic proportions. Before this, it had been known that Sony was gearing up behind its new Spider-Man film director, Marc Webb, with plans for "Amazing Spider-Man 3" tentatively set for June 10th, 2016. The press release notes that Webb's inclusion in this third film is not quite final, but "the studio hopes" he will be aboard for. In other words, the terms of his contract may expand or contract based on how well or poorly "Amazing Spider-Man 2" performs next summer. The reboot film starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone grossed less than what 2007's "Spider-Man 3" earned, but was also cheaper to produce and developed a new tone and universe for the license which Sony seem to be pleased with.

This pleasure is so great that Sony is already making plans to stretch that license as far as it can go with spin-off films dedicated to "Sinister Six" and "Venom". The studio has tapped a team of five writers - Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon, and Drew Goddard - to write the screen play for "Amazing Spider-Man 3" as well as these two spin offs. Kurtzman ("Star Trek", "Star Trek: Into Darkness") is also being seen to direct and co-write "Venom" alongside Roberto Orci and Ed Solomon. It isn't known which incarnation of Venom the film will run with. While the original, Eddie Brock, was a vengeful psychopath obsessed with killing Spider-Man as well as a sporadic vigilante, the current Marvel Comics incarnation is Flash Thompson, ex-soldier transformed into a superhuman agent due to gaining the suit to make up for his lost legs. Drew Goddard ("World War Z", "Lost", "Alias", "Angel", "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") is being eyed to direct and co-write "The Sinister Six". According to the most recent trailer of "Amazing Spider-Man 2", the roster for that team of villains would seem to consist of (at least) Electro, Rhino, Green Goblin, Vulture, and Dr. Octopus. Goddard will be a busy fellow; he has also been tapped to write and produce the "Daredevil" TV show set for Netflix in 2015.

Marvel Studios' "The Avengers" in particular and their "cinematic universe" in general have changed how studios envision these superhero film licenses. Rather than seeking to construct a simple trilogy, now the "fad" is on creating entire universes with flowing stories across more than three films, often using different characters to do so. Fox has demonstrated this by crafting "X-Men: Days of Future Past" which seems to merge their casts from "X-Men 3" and "X-Men: First Class" into a cohesive whole (as well as aims to cross over into a rebooted "Fantastic Four" franchise). Wisely avoiding a crossover with "Ghost Rider", the other Marvel license that Sony currently controls, the studio seems to envision using several films to build a team of rogues rather than heroes. While "Venom" has starred in his own comics throughout the 90's through modern day across several incarnations, the "Sinister Six" have never sold on their own, and investing over $100 million in a film about a team of costumed villains is ambitious, but also unproven. Perhaps there was hesitation at giving "Black Cat" her own film after Warner Brothers' "Catwoman" bomb? At any rate, it seems that the domination of the big screen by Marvel Comics characters, whether launched by their parent company Disney or licensed to other studios such as Sony, are not looking to diminish anytime soon.

Soule replaces Fraction in soon-to-launch "Inhuman"!

The upcoming "Inhuman" ongoing series has become an oddity to Marvel Comics; a series which is behind schedule before its first issue has debuted. This was expected when sluggish artist Joe "Mad" Madureira, who usually draws 3-6 issues of a comic within a year before returning to his day job of designing video games, was attached to the project. However, it seems that the true cause of the delay (which pushed the book's debut to April) was writer Matt Fraction. He's been replaced by Charles Soule, who is set to write the new "She-Hulk" as well as "Thunderbolts". Every year or so, some writer Marvel hires winds up writing or co-writing quite a lot of their titles, and Soule seems to be that fellow for 2014. Soule is best known for "27" from Image Comics and "Strongman" from Slave Labor Graphics before going on to write "Swamp Thing" and "Superman/Wonder Woman" for DC Comics.

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