Once again, I find myself having completely forgotten about the necessary task of the newsletter until late, late, late on Tuesday night. And there's a lot to talk about this time! So Marvel Panel by Panel might have to skip a week - replaced by the pilot for an exciting new feature... THOR, PANEL BY PANEL! By Odin! What doth it mean? Hath what was only rumour been replaced by official announcement?
GREAT NEWS FOR ALL OUR READERS!
Yes, the word has hit the streets – this August sees the launch of THE IMMORTAL THOR.
The official announcement happened here - I got into my reasons for the "Immortal" moniker in that space, but it basically boils down to wanting another bite at that particular apple, wanting to swing for the fences again - issuing a challenge to myself to do better. There's a possibility that I'm setting myself up for a fall here, obviously - but I'm bringing my A game, and we've got the lovely Martin Cóccolo on art, Matt Wilson on colors and Alex Ross back for cover art, so I think people are going to like it.
Issue #1 is forty pages of story, a widescreen odyssey of big, crashing beats, vast power chords, epic action built around ancient myths. I will say that there's a certain joy to be had in writing Loki again - but Thor is the star of the show, and it's his eyes we look through. A man who's suffered troubles, doubts and fears, but has come through them intact and with a clear understanding of himself, who he is, who he should be. To quote Jim Starlin about a completely different character, this is a man who knows truth and peace...
I'll talk more about this as we get closer to it - but for now, let's celebrate my new job as steward of Thor by taking a random look at a Thor panel of the past...
THORS OF YORE
How this works: I took a random number generator, asked for an issue of THOR Vol. 1 (including the JIM issues) and then asked for a random page and a random panel. And the machine spat out... this! Our introduction to the God of Thunder...
I haven't examined the context for this - and the point isn't context, anyway. It's what a single random panel can tell us about Thor. Let's see what we can see.
To start with - he's an Avenger. A mainstay of Marvel, in fact - there he is with Iron Man, the usherer-in of the current Marvel Movie Era. The company he keeps marks him out as a big wheel in this particular cracker factory. What else? Well, he's got a magic hammer that can get people to places - in fact, it doesn't take much speculation to see what he's doing as creating a space portal or dimensional rift of some kind – no small feat. So he's a powerful fella. Earlier, if we're to believe ol' Shellhead, he promised he could do it - now he keeps that promise. A man of his word, then, though he's a man of few words here. No boasting, no declamations... and though the caption tells us these Avengers are "anxious", it's only Iron Man's body language that really shows it - he's in a crouch, ready to start blasting at the first opportunity. Thor seems calmer, but still ready for battle - he's grim, stoic. eyes shadowed. What dark deeds must be done here for the sake of the world? I don't know, I've only read this one panel. But if this is Thor when he's anxious, I wouldn't like to fight him when he's confident.
In terms of Thor representation, I'm going to give this panel an 8/10 - good hammer use, noble demeanor. Maybe next time we can get him to speak.
MEANWHILE... WHAT'S OUT TODAY?
Fury #1, that's what!
No, not that Fury #1 – this Fury #1!
This was a very fun assignment - similar to the recent Ant-Man series, in that it explores the various eras of Fury and I get to work with Tom Reilly and Jordie Bellaire again - as well as Scot Eaton, Adam Kubert and Rob Rosanas, all of whom do some of the most incredible work I've seen in some time. It's a smorgasbord of everything Fury fans will love - sexy spies, wild gadgets, dead Nazis, smooth moves, funky panel layouts and just a pinch of sliding timeline. (Hope everyone's ready to meet Jasper Sitwell's gung-ho grandpa!)
What can we say, except don't yield - back S.H.I.E.L.D.!
LATE EDIT DEPARTMENT: Sorry to be clogging your inboxes with two of these in one week, folks - but I was so sleep-deprived last night I forgot all about EXTREME VENOMVERSE #2!
In which myself and Vincenzo Carratù craft a tale of the Black Cat which, if I do say so myself, fits even more neatly into continuity than the Fury book – plugging right into one of my very favorite eras of Spider-Man, and one of my very favorite costumes! No, I'm not talking about ol' squishy himself, the Venom symbiote – I'm talking about the return of the Bombastic Bag-Man! And maybe the real reason why Venom and Pete never managed to make it work...
Also this issue, stories of wierd what-ifs and gooey gestalts by Clay McLeod Chapman & Paul Davidson and David Pepose & Ken Lashley! Three times the thrills, true believer!
As an extra apology for a rare double mail-out, here's an extra musical treat - in honor of Felicia's thieving ways, it's the band that launched the gorgeous David McAlmont and his voice on the world - Thieves! With "Unworthy"!
AND THAT'S IT! FOR REAL THIS TIME!
It's late and I fell asleep in my chair - I'll be cranky in the morning - but we just about got another one out the door, so this is still the place to find me. Love and strength to all who need it, and I'll play us out with Bonnie Tyler and "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?"