I’ll be doing a post later this month about 10 specific “NEW” books to buy in 2014 where I talk in detail about some new series coming out that I’m excited to read in 2014 (and you should be too). However, I thought I’d do a list of more generally “comics related” things I’m excited about as well since there are a good number of them this year.
There’s a lot of Marvel on this list, guys. But what I can I say? I like the cut of their jib these days aka they’re dominating like a BOSS.
01. LADY-TASTIC MARVEL BOOKS
Elektra, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, and Ms. Marvel. The definition of an embarrassment of riches, especially considering that we still have adjectiveless X-Men with its lady-tastic cast and a good number of good books with ladies taking names and kicking ass - Uncanny X-Men, All New X-Men, and various Avengers titles - though not so much with the Uncanny Avengers. :(
Also worth a look and looking interesting for ladies and as well as creative talent is the new Wolverine & The X-Men with art by Mahmud Asrar, an all new X-Factor in, ahem, All-New X-Factor with Polaris leading the team, as well as of course the ever brilliant Hawkeye, which has done a great job featuring female characters, despite being called Hawkeye.
We lost some good lady-led books last year due to poor sales - most criminally Journey Into Mystery. Fearless Defenders was a great experiment that never quite worked for me, but I hope Marvel won't shy away from trying something like it again. Red She-Hulk wasn't so good and never actually felt like it was a book about Red She-Hulk, but again, points for trying. Young Avengers will of course be sorely missed, but since the creators wanted to end it and did so on their own terms I can only respect their wishes (and shed a couple little tears).
Will all of the new books be perfect books? Or books that last? Probably not, but it’s a very good time to be a fan of superheroines and a reader of comics. And I say again that I appreciate that Marvel is keeping their shoulder to the wheel. I’ll advocate yet again that they try to be mindful that building a readership for a character(s) can take some time and that I’d appreciate it if they gave these titles some room to breathe and find their footing and audience before hitting the kill switch, but so long as they keep trying, so will I.
Of all of the female led titles on the list which am I most excited for? Man. Tough call. Black Widow is certainly the book that feels like it should have the best shot, given the rise in popularity of the character paired with Phil Noto’s art (the previews looks excellent), but I confess to huge intrigue about what artist Mike Del Mundo can do with Elektra. Del Mundo’s covers are some of the best and most inventive comic covers I’ve seen in years and the idea of him on interiors? Well, color me incredibly intrigued. Already the various bits of concept art we’ve seen have been off the damn chain.
02. MARVEL ON NETFLIX
Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and eventually a Defenders mini-series event. Is this heaven? No, it’s just earth Netflix-style. Love it. Doesn’t sound like any of these will actually release in 2014 but the year is surely to be peppered with exciting development news. Hell, some of the news out already is great (Drew Goddard on Daredevil for starters is a GREAT sign).
There’s quite frankly nothing about this Marvel/Netflix development that doesn’t excite me. The characters are well chosen for the format with slightly more limited powers (er, maybe not Iron Fist) and a generally darker tone that should be a more natural fit to translate well to television. Then there’s Netflix as a producer. If you haven’t watched any of the Netflix originals you should remedy that right away. House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black are two of the best shows I watched all year, regardless of where they were born. It all adds up to an exciting damn time for superheroes.
Sidebar: If you didn’t already see IGN’s fun casting bit that came out in November following the Netflix/Marvel team up news, they’ve got some pretty good suggestions for each lead.
There are a lot of actors on the Daredevil list that would work, but my heart belongs to Joel Kinnaman. For Iron Fist I’d go with Ryan Kwanten. The man is so damn charming and talented he even made me love stupid Jason Stackhouse (like, a lot!). Jennifer Carpenter would be my pick for Jessica Jones even though I’ve seen precious little of Dexter. I love Amy Acker TO DEATH, but she’s just so tiny, she doesn’t have the physicality needed for the role, then again, ILLYRIA, so who knows?~ Luke Cage is the toughest for me with the choices they have selected. The Rock certainly has the presence and physicality, but his acting is still hit and miss. I’m not that familiar with their other choices though, my dream cast would probably be Idris Elba, but he’s BIG TIME NOW, so probably not a hope he’d take something like this on. Then again, Kevin Spacey stars in the Netflix House of Cards series, and he’s pretty big time himself. So you never know.
With the exception of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman comic, The Bat-universe has been tough for me to love over the last couple years for a variety of reasons and it’s been a bummer since Batman remains my favorite comic character. So I’m excited to see some change headed our way on that front in 2014. There was of course the announcement in October that Stephanie Brown would be returning to comics in a modern fresh take that “honors the character” in Batman Eternal, the weekly comic debuting in the Spring of 2014. Most importantly however, Batman Eternal boasts Snyder as “head writer and architect.”
But before we even get to that we’re getting a 75th Anniversary oversized edition of Detective Comics (#27) this month, with a slew of talented creators - including some of my personal favorites - Scott Snyder, Dustin Nguyen, and Francesco Francavilla - lending their talents to Batman stories. Following issue #27, more great change is headed our way with Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul taking over the Detective Comics title. I don’t know for sure that this will be for me, but I welcome the chance to try the book again. It doesn’t hurt that Manapul’s visuals thus far are gorgeous (see above). Of course, to buy Detective Comics #27 I'll have to get past the super offensive Frank Miller/Catwoman cover...which somehow seems easier buying digital...but maybe it shouldn't be? Hmmm. I'll put a pin in that for later. But man is it frustrating that even when I have something I want to buy/support DC is still finding ways to make it hard/impossible. Did you see those covers in the "lady-tastic" #1? Do you see how exactly NONE of them are horribly offensive or off-putting? Amazing how that works, isn't it? This is not rocket science, kids. Not even close.
But back to Batman Eternal, in addition to the rumor that Brown will show up in issue #3, DC is pitching this book as being very self-contained, and that is good for me. I’ve been slowly stepping away from DC over the last three years as the books have felt increasingly “not for me,” but I miss those characters, no doubt. So a series that I can read, that features a lot of creative talent (the opening artist, Fabok is not my favorite but I will certainly give him a chance) and that will be an engrossing (it’ll be huge at 52 parts) story that can stand on its own outside of other things going on in the DCU is a great way for me to have a chance to begin reading some DC again. We’ll see if it can deliver!
I didn’t get Iron Man 3 for Christmas (WTH!?) and so I haven’t yet seen the Agent Carter short film that comes with IM3, but I’ve seen the teaser, and it’s absolutely fantastic. News just last week that we may be getting an Agent Carter television show, starring Atwell, and in 2014 no less, is so huge I kind of can’t process it. It makes a ton of sense, given SHIELD (more on that below) and the way those two shows COULD potentially intersect and talk to one another, and yet don’t have to and can actually avoid getting in each other’s way...it’s all VERY INTERESTING!
05. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON TEN
I have a love/hate thing going on with the Buffy comics. I have truly unabashedly loved some things they have done, but time and again, the books fall apart for me as the “season” lumbers toward its close. It happened for Season Eight (hardcore - you all know what I’m talking about - what with Buffy and Angel and their ridiculous superf***ing); and to a lesser degree it happened in Season Nine, after a really strong start and some choices that blew my mind in how right they were. But there’s no reason not to be optimistic about the creative team from the excellent Angel & Faith - Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs coming on board for Buffy Season Ten. I am REALLY excited, guys. I’m actually trying to lower my expectations a bit, because insanely high expectations is just a recipe for disaster, but I cannot wait to see what Isaacs and Gage will do, and if it’s half as good as what they brought us for Angel & Faith, then I expect to be one happy Buffy fan!