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 411mania » Movies » Columns

Comics 411 03.19.14: Comic Book Doppelganger Edition!
Posted by Steve Gustafson on 03.19.2014

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Welcome back to the Comics 411! My name is Steve Gustafson and this is a corner of 411mania reserved for those interested in talking comics! As always, I want to thank everyone who took a few minutes to read and comment last week. Check out my Hollywood gossip (and anything else!) Hollywood 5 & 1 and my weekend movie recap The Big Screen Bulletin!

Click and read my interview with Playboy's Miss March Britt Linn!

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I'm bringing the Spike and Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation to DC! Presented by Spike & Mike on Thursday, April 10 at 7:30 PM at AMC Loews Georgetown 14 & IMAX (3111 K St NW, Washington, DC, 20007). Tickets are only $10.00 so if you live in the area, come on out and have a great time!

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Check out the evolution of the Bat Symbol. It has to be one of the most recognizable logos/symbols in the world.

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I've been wanting to do a Cover VS Cover since I started the Comics 411. It's real simple, each week I'll take two covers and you vote on your favorite. Some weeks the covers will be random, some will be themed, some will be classic, and some will be ones you've never seem. Have fun with it.

Last week I put two random covers up. The first featured Silver Surfer and the other had Spawn. Check it out:

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The results came down to this:

Silver Surfer 52.73%
Spawn 47.27%

A slim margin of victory but Moebius' Surfer won out. While I totally agree with the win, I expected Spawn to win due to everyone being a Todd McFarlane fans. If you haven't already, check out Moebius however you can. His stuff will blow your mind in detail and imagery.

This week I wanted to do an old school/new school theme. I saw an old school Black Panther cover from back in the day and a newer one and it really put a point on the differences. Which one is better to you? Which one would you pick up in the store?

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Who's the best antihero in comic books? Here's the list and the voting results:

The Punisher 39.84%
Deadpool 21.14%
Rorschach 9.11%
Catwoman 8.13%
Venom 7.48%
Constantine 4.23%
Namor 3.9%
Spawn 3.41%
The Comedian 2.11%
Elektra 0.65%

No shocker that the Punisher won this one. I thought Deadpool would have done a little stronger but he was solid. I thought Constantine would be a little higher but maybe his TV show will gain him some fans. Here's what you all had to say:

Comic Jerk: "Jason Todd for the win"

APrince66: "The Punisher by far. The brutality, the body count.... he's definitely the man"

Kyatollah: "I would say Deadpool personally. I always felt too much empathy for Frank Castle, Selina Kyle, Al Simmons and Walter Kovacs to truly consider them anti-heroes. As for Blake, Constantine, Brock, Elektra and Namor, I always considered them either too unlikeable or too boring. Wade, for all he's been through, has transcended both his rather derivative origins and the sheer psychopathy that should make him irredeemable, and he has become one of the most iconic, entertaining and memorable characters in Marvel's history. Many (myself included) are STILL waiting for a proper Deadpool movie to be made, and the reaction to his part in X-Men Origins speaks for itself. If Wade Wilson was real, I'd have crapped my pants by the end of typing this, but in media, he's like a more equitable, more unhinged, immortal Bugs Bunny. I just wish there were more crossovers with Spider-Man. Those are gold."

redhotrash: "This poll was made for Punisher. Hes the example people give when describing a anti-hero. I'll go the other route and say its a toss up between The Comedian and John Constantine. The Comedian is basically a villain on the government payroll. The only difference between him and the guys he takes out is that his crimes contribute to his 401k. Constantine is a hero for purely selfish reasons, and regularly abuses his powers. How many heroes use their abilities to mug folks, get free room and board, or steal cars? Don't let the mediocre movie color your opinion of him."

While we had hundreds and hundreds of votes, the comments were light. I guess you all wanted your vote to speak for itself! This week we look at comic book doppelgangers! I was reading Anthony Kennedy's awesome Comics 8 Ball this week on the Top 8 Comic Book Copycat Characters. A comment by Rey Henry got me thinking. He said, "how about the top 10 comic evil dopplegangers: ie. venom, bizarro, deadshot, merlyn, omega red."

Not bad! So I'm swiping that and making it our poll for this week! Thanks Rey!

OK, here's my thinking. I'm going to take the idea of this is the hero if he was a bad guy. Here's the ones I'm putting in the poll:

Bizarro (Superman)
Sabretooth (Wolverine)
Black Adam (Captain Marvel)
Venom (Spider-Man)
Sinestro (Green Lantern)
Professor Zoom (Flash)
Vengeance (Ghost Rider)
Abomination (Hulk)

Most of these should be pretty self explanatory. While each has similarities in power, they differ in how they use that power. Who did I miss? I left off super teams and a couple notable ones that I'm sure you'll mention. Vote and comment below!

Oh yeah. The picture here has nothing to do with doppelgangers. A friend sent it to me and it keeps making me laugh.

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Do YOU want to be a reviewer for COMICS 411? Send me an email at stevethegoose@gmail.com to find out how! Take it away, RobF!

Captain Marvel #1

By RobF

I have never been a fan of Captain Marvel so I was curious to see why she deserved yet another series after several failed ones. She's been an Avenger, a StarJammer, an alcoholic, and now I don't know what she is. And apparently neither does Carol Danvers.

The new series opens up with the Captain on the alien world of Ursor 4, a desert outpost. Carol is there with an unknown crew and they seem to be evading some kind of galactic authorities while they search for contraband of some kind. A brawl breaks out and in the melee Carol loses one of her companions.

Cut to a flashback to six months ago. Captain Marvel is now living in the head of the Statue of Liberty with a little girl. Not having read the last series I have no idea who they are and how they ended up there. A little explanation for new readers would have been nice in this regard.

She saves the city from a meteor that is really some kind of spaceship with a young alien girl inside, whom we recognize from the prologue. Later we see the beginnings of how they end up in space together. Iron Man shows up and makes Carol a proposition – he feels the Avengers need a representative in space and then nominates James Rhodes, the Iron Patriot, for the job. Of course this just makes Carol want it more, which was Tony's plan from the beginning. Another point I may have missed: When did Carol start dating Rhodes? Is this relatively new or have they been together a while? Again a little history might help here.

The artwork is serviceable here. Nothing special. With a fringe character like Ms. Marvel you would think Marvel would try to blow your doors off with some great art to gain interest. Not the case here.

Carol is lost -- spiritually, mentally, emotionally -- and an opportunity to be an Avenger in space gives her the chance to chase down her fate in an attempt to battle the restlessness that plagues her. I can't say I'm going to join her on her journey. There just isn't enough here to add it to my buy pile.

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Thanos! This May, Thanos' creator Jim Starlin is taking the his creation back to the battleground of his first-ever defeat to begin to piece together his next major gambit. In Thanos Annual #1, Starlin will reteam with his Infinity Gauntlet collaborator Ron Lim for a story that goes into the past...all the way back to 1974's Captain Marvel #33...and into Thanos' future and our own. Starlin sat down to talk about it and here are the highlights:

On the story of Thanos Annual #1: "It takes place at the end of Captain Marvel #33from back in 1974, where he shatters the Cosmic Cube and Thanos is handed his first defeat, ever. Thanos Annual #1 is about what happens when the Cosmic Cube - and Thanos' hopes - get blown away, and reveals the first meeting between him and Mephisto. In this meeting, a mysterious third party comes in which expands out the story further and reveals more of what is going to occur with Thanos and the Marvel Universe in the future."

On how Thanos Annual #1 ties in with Thanos: The Infinity Revelation: "When I first sat down to write it, I thought they'd be coming out around the same time. But as I understand it Thanos: The Infinity Revelation comes out in August andThanos Annual #1 comes out before it, in May. Either way, Thanos Annual #1 is a prequel to the graphic novel and they both lead into a bigger cosmic story we have planned involving Thanos and the entire Marvel Universe."

On working with Ron Lim: "It's really good to have Ron here, but he was not the original artist. Mark Bagley was supposed to draw both theThanos Annual #1 and the Thanos: The Infinity Revelationgraphic novel, but his scheduling with Marvel didn't allow for it. As you know, it ended up being me drawing the graphic novel and Ron drawing the annual. It turned out well, as working with Ron is always a pleasure; he has a sense of storytelling that's very close to what I do, and when I give him a script his visual are almost always what I would have done myself - or better."

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Wolverine! Wolverine's life entered a new chapter when he was robbed of his healing factor by Sabretooth in Paul Cornell's first Wolverine series, and now it seems Marvel is counting down to what comes next:


Announced in a Q&A with CBR, this June's Wolverine #8 will be the start of an arc titled "3 Months to Die". Illustrated by Kris Anka, the series title will count down to September Wolverine #11, issue #9 will be "2 Months to Die," issue #10 will be "1 Month to Die." This ties in with Marvel's previously announced plans for Wolverine #12 to be a "double-sized landmark issue" that Marvel said will garner "national attention for its game-changing story."

Yes. A game-changing story.

Will Marvel REALLY be killing Wolverine? Although Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso and Senior Editor Mike Marts wouldn't reveal one way or another, Alonso said "this is not a bull$#~^ title." Marts elaborated, "We're not messing around with the title. ‘3 Months to Die.' We are going to fully explore Wolverine's mortality, what that means to him, what that means to the X-Men, what it means to the Marvel Universe -- and we're not going to be shy. We're not going to be nervous about what storylines we might decide to pursue here."


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Great Idea! Something different that I wanted to spotlight. CBS 3 Philadelphia ran a story on Chris Romberger, a 19-year-old with Down syndrome and autism who's not only doing well at his job at Villanova University's student cafeteria, he's even started his own business...a custom-made comic book vending machine.

When Romberger was taken to a comic store by job coach Chris Haas, he loved it. Like most of us, he had a dream of having his own store but, also like most of us, couldn't afford to open one of his own. Here's where he got creative. He and Haas came up with an alternative: a vending machine that operates under the banner of Comic Man Comics and Books. While Comic Man Comics and Books has only been in operation for a few weeks, CBS 3 says he's already sold several issues. Romberger, whose mother once worried for his future, now has his sights set on additional vending machines.


Top Comics!! Here's the sales breakdown for February, 2014. The sales numbers below are estimates based on the information provided by Diamond Comics Distributors earlier this month. These numbers are just estimates for the sales through Diamond to direct market retailers. It does not include any sales outside of the Diamond channel such as newstands, book stores or overseas markets. Since the majority of habitual comic book readers are served through this sales channel, these numbers are a good indicator of the core sales trends at the retail level. While not all copies will sell to readers, each retailer is buying what they think they can sell so the trends at the retail level should be a close enough reflection of the sales trends at the reader level for the purposes of discussion.

The estimated total sales for the 300 comics was 6,223,779 comics which is down by 271,073 units from January and down by 783,743 units from February 2013. Marvel Comics had the largest percentage of the top 300 comics with 40.02% of the total units sold followed by DC Comics with 33.01%.

The top selling comic from Marvel Comics was "Wolverine (2014)" #1 in slot 3 with an estimated 88,923 units and for DC Comics was "Batman (2011)" #28 in rank 1 with an estimated 114,089 units. The estimated total sales for the 300 trades was 311,379 trades which is down by 258,987 units from January and up by 5,258 units from February 2013. Topping the trades list in February was "Locke and Key v6: Alpha and Omega" by IDW Publishing with 4,532 units.

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Before I say GOODBYE!
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That's all the time I have. See you next week!


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