Hey, True Believer!
Those of you keeping track of the growing trend of mainstream media coverage of Marvel Comics should head to your local newsstand to pick up the April 26th issue of Entertainment Weekly. The double-sized issue of the mega-popular pop culture magazine profiles both the highly anticipated Spider-Man movie and Marvel's well-reviewed X-FACTOR miniseries.
First, beating out films such as Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Scooby-Doo, the new dynamic duo of Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst scored the cover of EW's annual Summer Movie Preview issue. The arachno-mania continues inside with a massive seven-page feature article on the big-budget film which hits on May 3rd (one day prior to this year's Free Comic Book Day). In the article, writer Tom Russo states that "in comics-industry terms, the character is a superstar; Marvel currently publishes four different monthly Spider-Man titles that together sell as many as 500,000 copies, second only to the company's chart-topping X-Men books."
The article goes on to analyze the wall-crawler's amazing popularity, citing the Spider-Man's depth of complexity compared to the often two-dimensional heroes created by other publishers. Russo states that "when Spider-Man debuted 40 years ago, the character revolutionized the industry; for the first time, a superhero was depicted as an extraordinary figure who nevertheless struggled with everyday anxieties. Rival publisher DC's heroes suddenly seemed a little above-it-all by comparison." EW then pokes fun at sister-company DC's iconic figures, noting that "Superman tended to get more bummed out by Kryptonite than anything going on in Clark Kent's life, while Batman always had those fabulous Bruce Wayne resources to fall back on when the superheroics got tough." Finally, Russo quotes Marvel Editor In Chief Joe Quesada as saying: "Marvel heroes lend themselves to the screen because we focus on the individual more than the costume. They're real people first."
Continuing the magazine's comic book coverage, reviewer Marc Bernardin showers praise on X-FACTOR, the new miniseries written by former EW staff reporter Jeff Jensen. Under the "By Our Colleagues" banner, Bernardin says that the four-issue story "sets an agenda a little loftier than the average comic book," and applauds Jensen for "ably weaving together racism, homophobia, religion, Hollywood depravity, and poor parenting into a four-color tapestry that speaks of both hope and hopelessness." The review also gives a big thumbs-up to the book's visuals, saying that "the intricate artwork by Arthur Ranson grounds X-FACTOR in a reality that could very easily be ours."
Comic book readers and retailers should stay tuned for more mainstream media coverage of Marvel projects as we move closer to the bigscreen debut of Spider-Man!
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