The original Iron Man film was an unprecedented success that came out of nowhere to capture the imaginations of millions across the country. The film was a runaway hit with fanboys and non-fans a like, leading to both financial and critical success. The sequel was inevitable and filmgoers should be pleased that the majority of the original cast will be returning, with the exception of Terrence Howard who will be replaced by Don Cheadle. Joining the cast are Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, and Scarlett Johansson.
Writer JT Krul began his career writing for Michael Turner’s Aspen company, but started building a solid foundation for himself at DC this year through a series of fill-in issues and the surprisingly awesome Blackest Night Titans miniseries. Krul has shown a great penchant for balancing character-focused storytelling with big action. His handful of Blackest Night tie-in issues (both as part of the Blackest Night Titans mini and the regular Teen Titans series) were incredibly solid and showed that head mastery over a number of characters, including longtime fan favorites like Deathstroke and lesser-knowns that he made incredibly compelling like the female Hawk and Dove.
DC put a lot of effort in 2009 into unifying the Superman titles, despite moving the Man of Steel off world. Superman, Action Comics, Supergirl, and World of New Krypton were all part of multiple crossovers all focuses on how the Kandorians have adapted to life on New Krypton, as well as the aggressions they have faced from the humans who perceived them as a threat. The World of New Krypton miniseries, which is the only title that actually stars Superman, ends in 2010, which would imply that big changes are on the horizon for the hero and his family of titles.
Just this week, DC announced a new initiative to release graphic novels that chronicle the origins and adventures of new interpretations of their classic heroes. These stories will take place on “Earth One” and will be stand separately from the regular DC Universe. Kicking off the series in 2010 will be the origin of Superman by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis and the origin of Batman by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. According to Johns, these stories will offer lots of creative freedom for the writers and will be released at a rate of two volumes per year. This is very similar to how many European comics are released.
One of the biggest announcements of 2009 was that Marvel had acquired the publishing rights to Marvelman, also known as Miracleman, from creator Mick Anglo. The rights for the character and his stories have long been in dispute, with the most vicious battle being between industry giants Todd MacFarlane and Neil Gaiman. For those unaware, Marvelman’s story began in the UK in the 1950s when Anglo created the character, whose powers and back story very similar to Captain Marvel. It wasn’t until the 1980s when comics-god Alan Moore dusted off the character for some of the most critically acclaimed stories of his career that featured a much darker version of the character. Neil Gaiman then picked up the reigns of the character in the 1990s in an equally as acclaimed, but unfinished story that abruptly ended when its publisher, Eclipse Comics, went out of business.
Comic book conventions have been a staple of the industry for decades now and are the best way for fans to meet their favorite creators and interact with other members of the fan community. For years these conventions have been held all over the world without many major problems—that is, however, until 2009 when the Reed Company announced that it would be hosting the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) in April 2010, making it the first major convention to make a run against the United States’s second largest convention, Wizard World Chicago, which is held each August.
In 1989, DC announced that George Perez and Marv Wolfman had begun working on Games, a Teen Titans original graphic novel that would reunite the creative team behind New Teen Titans for the first time. The 120-page story would follow the Titans through a series of “games” contrived by King Faraday that would traverse the entirety of New York City. The project was delayed from the start thanks to the increased workload of George Perez who was to complete all of the art based upon the plot he had developed with Wolfman, who would then complete the dialogue after the art had been finished. Perez had reportedly completed between 70-80 pages before the project was scrapped in the early 90s when elements of the story were then folded into the then-current Teen Titans run. This August, rumor monger Rich Johnston announced that Perez and Wolfman had returned to the project and were eyeing a potential 2010 release to coincide with the 30th anniversary of their legendary New Teen Titans run.
A few years back I discovered the work of Ryan Stegman by flipping through his first Marvel superhero book, a done-in-one Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man story guest starring the Fantastic Four. Since then, I’ve been hooked on his work. This past year was great for Stegman as he did a number of great covers as well as providing the interior art for the Riftwar adaptation with Bryan J.L. Glass and a simply amazing arc on Incredible Hercules.
Vertigo’s upcoming Area 10 original graphic novel drops in April and is likely to make it on a ton of a “Best of 2010” lists. Writer Christos Gage and artist Chris Samnee tell the story of an NYPD detective on the hunt for a serial killer who suffers a brain injury in a freak accident that leaves his perception of time completely altered. Area 10 sounds to be a great mix of gritty crime fiction and high concept pulp with one of the strongest creative teams assembled in recent memory.
It looks like 2010 will be another banner year for comic book movies. The tent-pole release is clearly going to be Iron Man, while films like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and The Losers will be clamoring for niche nerd money. There is no doubt in my mind that some of these movies are going to be huge, but no comic book film is going to garner a reaction quite like Kick-Ass. The film is based upon Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s ultra-violent series printed under Marvel’s Icon imprint and follows a daring nerd named Dave who foolishly sets out to be costumed crime fighter with disasterious—and potentially deadly—results.