Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fear Itself: Sketchbook - Sin's Redesign and Digital 'The Worthy' Tie-In Comic

Fear Itself is coming in only a few months so to ramp up more hype Marvel released a Sketchbook for free through their ComiXology iApp. Contained therein were juicy nuggets of information both written and visual that look at preview pages, character designs for one of the major villains, and the digital distribution of Fear Itself: The Worthy, a tie-in comic only available through the iApp it would appear. Hit the jump to get some sneak images and to get excited for Fear Itself.

A free sketch book for any comic is rarely going to contain much of worth, or at least it is easy to go in thinking this. There won't be any scoops on offer and most of the art will be available online anyway. It's a little extra, something for the fans, but nothing necessary. It's easy to think that so it's nice to see some new stuff given out, though I'm sure it will all hit the internet in hi-def soon enough. (Note: My images are not hi-def, they are very low-def, I'm sorry/deal with it/I'll put up better ones when such ones are available, thanks)

For now, if you have the Marvel ComiXology iApp then you can download this for free for as long as they keep it available. If history serves, then this will most likely be up for a few weeks, at least.

The first thing that hit me when I opened this sketch book was Scot Eaton's artwork in the preview pages for Fear Itself: Book of the Skull #1 - the prologue issue that deals with a flashback scene. This one-shot is written by Ed Brubaker because he was a large component in shaping much of this event in the writer's room - the event seems to rotate around Thor and Captain America heavily, especially because they both have movies this year, and so Brubaker and Matt Fraction write those two characters so they were the major spitballers. As it went further, the event became Fraction's, he was the writing running with the ball, but Brubaker was mainly only excited to write the prologue and flashback points so that has been all set into the one issue. This is a good idea and I hope will work for the best of the tale.

In the preview pages we can see The Invaders investigating a gruesome scene and being beset upon by some form of Asgardian creature. We also get to see some gleeful Nazi killing. The pages completely stand up to being tied to an event comic, and these are only the pencil and ink proofs, there's no colour yet. But just knowing that Brubaker is writing to his wheelhouse with old school WWII tales means I'm on board for this one. Don't believe me, have a look at the images below.

The next aspect of this sketch book to catch your eye and make it stand to attention is the Stuart Immonen preview art for the Fear Itself title at the centre of this Marvel event that will leave everything changed, forever! Immonen's pages and images are exactly what you expect from this professional and amazing artist. There's brilliant life coming out of each panel and if nothing else this event is going to look good. We get two pencilled pages to tease and then a nice coloured widescreen shot of some event-style destruction and momentous change.

Yet, these pages are nowhere near the best parts. The next part is possibly the best part of all these sketches, "we've got a first look at someone who's a major player in Fear Itself, but just who is it...and how did they gain this power?" We then get two quotes:

"Aww, look at Daddy's Little Girl, all grown up. In a few issues time she'll accomplish what even her father failed to do." Matt Fraction -- Writer, Fear Itself
"The design challenge for this character was to honor her previous incarnations while incorporating quasi-Norse ophidian elements. Moreover, the idea was to make her look powerful, imposing, and god-like. Nothing like raising the bar from page one, right?" Stuart Immonen -- Artist, Fear Itself
All signs, so far, would point to this character being Sin, the Red Skull's daughter. But Red Skull has always tried to kill Captain America, surely she's not going to succeed there, what with Cap only having just come back to life, and he's still not behind the shield, Bucky is. Only time will tell.

Take a look at the design, is this Sin with some Asgardian power set come through her hammer of fear?

I don't mind that design at all, though the ponytail is giving me an odd Shatterstar moment of confusion. The hammer, and the rest of the hammers teased in the Who Are The Worthy? images, strike me as kind of a cool idea. Why was the god of thunder the only guy with a hammer, everyone should have an awesome hammer to weild around and use to fly and summon lightning or put on the ground and trick others when they aren't worthy enough to pick up the hammer they just found on the ground.

Speaking of these hammers, and the teasers, images showed different Marvel characters clamouring for different hammers and while some got a sort of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World vibe it would seem that 'The Worthy' have been chosen. In fact, they've even been given their own spin-off tie-in miniseries. Look at this sneaky little image they put into the back of the sketchbook.

This image graces the bottom of the Steve McNiven cover for the second issue of Fear Itself but it appears it alludes to something taking place outside of the main event book as well. Juggernaut (though is it him, wasn't Collosus seen in an image recently putting on Juggernaut's helmet...?), Grey Gargoyle, and a bald and cybernetic Hulk are going to get their own hammers this summer. And they're also going to get their own 8-issue title that is digital and available only on the Marvel ComiXology iApp.

This initiative is a big step towards making digital more important to the overall scheme of the comics publishing industry. I'm sure this series will have shorter than 22 page issues, and the creative team won't be Fraction-Immonen, but it will surely still be cool. Look at that image, that's cool. I just wonder what the price will be? Anything more than a buck an issue and I don't see it working. I wonder if it will get much ad space in the actual comics? I hope so.

The sketchbook also shows us other teaser images, the sort of stuff you really have seen before. There's a page showing the Fear Itself schedule for April - the debut issue, the Sin's Past tie-in debut, The Home Front tie-in debut, The Invincible Iron Man tie-in for #503, and the Journey Into Mystery tie-in for #622. I doubt these issues are all necessary, but that's the usual wide net an event casts. No surprises there, and surely it will only get bigger as the event plays out.


The design for Sin looks cool, nothing ultra amazing but I'm sure Immonen will make it look good in action, and we get the news of a digital only tie-in mini. That's pretty handy for a free sketch book. You should go download it, right now, and enjoy. That's what this is all for, for you to enjoy. And then talk about, what are your thoughts on Sin's new look, and a digital mini, and Fear Itself in general, let us know in the comments.

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Bart said...

Okay now seriously this is marvel bias. This could clearly be shown in matt's free comics review , yet a marvel boo... Not even a book 16 pages gets a whole feature

Jate said...

Ugh fractions work on marvel has been atrocious . Iron man and x men just feels wrong and his writing feels pedantic and arrogant

Anonymous said...

Completely off topic, but when you mention It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World it seems that that makes you a little skeptical. Am I wrong on that speculation? Cause man, if Fraction could synergize the madcap slapstick of that film with the "real world" seriousness of a Marvel event I'd be golden ;). Combine all those disparate factors into something that makes the perfect pop comic event I say. Also, Mad Mad Mad Mad World is just comedic perfection in a crime-type movie and we should all embrace that influence.

Anonymous said...

Agree wit Jate . Thor has also been awful . Loki back from the dead , balder dead , and Odin back from the dead . Such weak writing sadly

Don Winslow said...

Really looking forward to this event. Fraction's been knocking it out of the park on Iron man, X-men and Thor. Really great stuff.

Anonymous said...

I really do not understand how he is branded a megastar . I mean casanova is the only thing credible of that status

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Anon3 - Oh, no, my good man, no sense of skepticism in my mention of that movie. I only watcheed it again the other day, it's zany but damn fun. I name drop for the quality it holds, not to poke fun or complain. I'd be happy for Fraction to go that route because it would be something new and different.

@Anonimies who don't like Fraction's work - I can see where you're coming from. I don't read any of his Marvel output right now, and what I have read just doesn't grab me. Yet I'm still inexplicably keen for Fear Itself, or at least wiling to give it a shot. Does that make me an optimist or gear in the decide.

As for labelling him megastar, the fact he's risen so fast so quick should be enough to give him that title but I think there's been immensely amazing work from him, sadly it's just all mostly in his past now; Casanova, Immortal Iron Fist, even The Order and Punisher:War Journal were fun, not so much his work now.

@Bart - what's my agenda, then? I didn't leave this for Matt purely because it has two major slices of info, Sin's design and The Worthy as a digital comic. I didn't think that info needed to wait at all. So I went out of my way to put it here, in it's own post, early.

You let me know when DC puts something amazing, with actual news contained, out for free on their iApp. Maybe I'll write a post on that...or maybe not. I choose my focus. And if you want to see DC get a fair tack you're allowed to submit a guest post about them because I rarely write them, and I've explained why before.

Matt Duarte said...

I normally don't cover any previews or sketchbooks like this, only full comics. Otherwise, my column would be 10 times longer, as there are A LOT of previews uploaded every week. So it doesn't bother me that Ryan decided to cover this, as it was evidently a big deal for him and it didn't affect my column at all.

And besides, not that long ago Ryan wrote an almost equally long article about the 10-page Jimmy Olsen preview that was uploaded on the DC app.

Anonymous said...

immortal iron fist was mostly done by brubaker . you'd notice because danny didn't sound like an arrogant arsehole

jenna monsoon said...

he is not a megastar , millar , ennis , willis, heinberg ,moore, miller ,brubaker, and Johns are megastars. rising to better writing gigs really quickly does not make him a megastar

Anonymous said...

why don't you write about DC . genuine intrest seeing as you have just said you don't like fraction's marvel titles


Matt Duarte said...

From interviews, it seemed that Fraction actually did a whole lot more than Brubaker at the time. Sort of like he was doing the major plot points and Fraction the script and other minor parts. I certainly remember Brubaker mentioning that people gave him too much credit for it than he deserved, because he argued that Fraction did more than him.

Retcon Joe said...

Unlike many of the comments posted, I rather enjoyed your review of the sketch book. I'm glad someone out there did it, since I haven't had the privilege of downloading it.

Fear Itself and DC's Flashpoint are making this spring and summer very tantalizing. Now if only Marvel could stagger when their cosmic stuff comes out I'd be financially happier.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Anon9 - In regards to the job share on Immortal Iron Fist - Brubaker has addmitted that at the start it was relatively shared, though it seemed to be more plot from Bru and script pages from Fraction, but by the end of their run Bru was a glorified editor to Fraction's wild ideas.

@Jenna Monsoon - See, i find some of your names as megastars true to interesting to laughable. But to help the definition, try to think of megastar as being one of the biggest and flashiest names, not necessarily the best. Orlando Bloom was once a burgeoning megastar, but he can't act out of a wet paper bag.

@Anon11/stellio - I admit I don't like Fraction's current Marvel output, that doesn't mean I don't love some of the other Marvel work coming out. Rick Remender, Ed Brubaker, Jeff Parker, these are the Marvel names I follow. I say I don't write about DC but that's misleading, I read two Batman titles and a fair few Vertigo titles in floppies and trade.

I wouldn't mind reading more DC titles but I honestly have no idea where to start. People say Secret Six is the business but can I pick up the next issue and be satisfied and informed? The same with Power Girl. I'm looking for DC titles to get in on the ground floor with but there doesn't appear to be much. I'm not keen on picking up Batwoman, even though I hear good things...I know, shame.

@Retcon Joe - thanks, mate. See, I figured someone out there would be relying on this to get their news, that makes me feel useful, great!

Anonymous said...

This is the Marvel Crisis all over again....

Definetly not a place for DC fans =(


Matt Duarte said...

Avayan: I'm sorry, but I have to ask: are you fucking serious? Not a place for DC fans?

Just for shit and giggles, let's look at the last three review columns we have done (which coincidentally is one each for Ryan L., Ryan S. and myself).

Free Comics Review (that's me): 3 DC books (1 Vertigo, 1 Wildstorm, 1 main DCU), 4 Image books, and one creator owned. No Marvel.

Weekly Crisis Down Under Review (by Ryan L): 2 DC books (1 Vertigo, 1 main DCU), 3 Marvel books, 2 Image books, 1 Dark Horse and 1 IDW book.

Power Rankings (by Ryan S.): 3 DCU books, 4 Marvel books, 2 IDW books, 1 Dark Horse, 1 Boom.

Grand total?

8 DC Books (including Vertigo/Wildstorm)
7 Marvel Books
6 Image Books
3 IDW books
2 Dark Horse books
1 Boom! book
1 Creator owned book

Well, holy shit, look at that! Not only did we have more DC books reviewed, but you could probably argue that we have an Image bias, considering how many of their books we reviewed this week and that they put out a considerably smaller number of books.

Ivan said...

Tron lines for everyone!

I'm a DC fan and I'm perfectly happy with the WC crew.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Avayan - you make it sound like DC fans get lynched here and we bathe in their blood while singing the Merry Marvel Marching anthem. I'm sure you just mean DC come here and don't get the skinny on Superman, GL, Flashpoint, and the rest, and I guess you'd be right. We certainly try our best to cover all we can, and all that interests us. We aren't a site that posts press releases for every little item that comes along. We write what we know, and most people seem to like that.

Oh, and that whole lynching thing, we only save that for diehard Bluewater fans, ugh.

Anonymous said...

Hey matt, calm down. You sound like a girl who got her feelings hurt.

Matt Duarte said...

Yeah, sorry I get upset when people accuse me of doing something which is not only false but actually against evidence that can be easily seen.

Anonymous said...

please don't jump down my throats and I do not believe this site is bias but ryan , you have not explained why you are excited for the event even though you have said you disliked fraction and your reasons or lack of not getting into DC is very weak .

do a trade review of secret six . It's criminal how unnoticed the title goes .


Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Ronan - please notice when someone doesn't act like a dick we don't jump down their throats. You've asked a question and you'll get a response. It is that easy. I wish everyone knew it.

As for why I'm keen for Fear Itself - I've covered this before, I think when the solicitations broke, but I'm happy to answer again. I'm keen for FI purely on a fanlad level. I don't assume it will be good but I'm very interested to see how Fraction, a man who previously was quite vocal about hating crossover events, will handle his own event now that he's big time (some might even call him a megastar;) I'm curious more than anything but I'm also most certainly in for this one. Or at least the first few issues to see how it is handled. Consider it Fraction's last chance to win me over to his Marvek work - though, to be honest, he's written some of my favourite issues of all time so I'll generally give him a pass, not that I even tried his Thor.

AS for why I don't dig into DC more, I think my reasons are fine. I don't find much interesting me or available to me, I'm very much a DC layman.

If you want to see Secret Six get more press just check out Ryan The Iowan's Power Rankings, he's been loving that title since forever.

As for me reviewing a trade, the moment someone wants to buy me a trade I'll write 2,000 words about it. But while it's my money on the chopping block, and I only usually get to buy a few trades, I'll just have to pick up what I really want. Secret Six hasn't topped my ;must buy' pile yet.

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