Marvel Comics Celebrates 80th Anniversary with Special D23 Cover

Marvel Comics Celebrates 80th Anniversary with Special D23 Cover

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Marvel Comics was built by the luminous likes of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita, John Buscema, Gene Colan, and countless others. The House of Ideas turns 80 this year, and to celebrate, Marvel is releasing a special comicbook titled Marvel Comics #1000.

The main story in issue #1000 will be written by scribe Al
Ewing (Immortal Hulk, 2000 AD), but will
feature work from a plethora of Marvel Comics mainstays and celebrity guest
contributors such as Chris Claremont, Neil Gaiman, Walt Simonson, Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar, Jason Aaron, Adam Goldberg, Rob Liefeld, Brad Meltzer, Roy
Thomas, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Gerry Conway, Peter David, Erik Larsen, George
Perez, and so many more that we can’t list them all out here.

Disney’s D23 Expo, happening August 23-25 in Anaheim,
California, just so happens to be holding a special panel to commemorate
Marvel’s milestone. The panel, titled Marvel’s 80th Anniversary,
will be hosted by current Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski and long-time
Executive Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort. The two will take a walk down Marvel
memory lane Saturday at 5:30pm on Stage 28.

In addition to the presentation, Marvel has announced that
everyone in the panel’s audience will receive a free copy of Marvel Comics #1000 that will feature a
very rare event-only variant cover. The gorgeous cover features Mickey Mouse
handing a birthday cake to Marvel heroes Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Black
Panther, Iron Man, and Captain America with Marvel history Easter eggs filling
out the entire background.

The cover was drawn by artist Humberto Ramos (Amazing Spider-Man) with colors by Edgar Delgado (Star Wars: Darth Vader). Ramos tweeted, “This is a milestone cover for me.” He continued by instagramming a number of photos chronicling the process of creating the cover, discussing his inspiration in the caption:

Marvel Editor-In-Chief C.B. Cebulski also tweeted some comments, saying:

“Such a beautiful cover by @humberto_ramos & @delgaduck! Look at all the Marvel history included in the artwork!! Honored to be able to give this special version of Marvel Comics #1000 to the fans who join our 80th Anniversary panel at D23 on August 24th. Hope to see you there!”

We’ll definitely be in attendance for Marvel’s 80th
Anniversary panel to snag one of these beautiful variant issues of Marvel Comics #1000!

EXCELSIOR!

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‘Nuff Said! Stan Lee’s Unmistakable Voice

‘Nuff Said! Stan Lee’s Unmistakable Voice

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Stan Lee had a distinct voice. In fact, many fans were first introduced to Stan when they heard his voice on animated shows such as The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends in the early 1980s. Originally, the public first heard The Man’s dulcet tones on the highly collectible Marvel Merry Marching Society recording The Voices of Marvel from 1964.

Many
others recall thinking they heard Stan’s voice, then they’d then turn around to
see that yes, it was actually Stan Lee who stood right there behind them,
speaking with his unmistakable cadence. This was the most common way Stan would
be recognized before he became the face of Marvel film cameos in the early 21st
Century.

Voice casting directors loved Stan Lee’s voice. Every year, Stan would have voice-over sessions booked throughout his schedule. His voice-overs have appeared in nearly twice as many titles as his numerous film cameo appearances, in everything ranging from animated shows to video games, to prime time animated comedy shows like Robot Chicken and The Simpsons (twice!). I had the privilege of joining Stan for many of these recording sessions over my years working for him.

Stan came to these sessions with only the few pages of script
that he reviewed once or twice in hand and proceeded to blow these directors
away. To quote the ever-humble Stan himself, “Damn, I was good, wasn’t I?” Very
good. He often completed his lines in half or one-third the time scheduled for
him to do them. He acted each line with verve and vigor, repeating lines
without prompting, until the director called cut. After two to three takes, the
directors had exactly what they wanted from Stan, and more often than not they
stuck with the very first take (Stan nicknamed himself, “One-take Lee”). Only
occasionally would a director have to give direction, and Stan would take the
direction perfectly, and re-deliver the line exactly as asked. In a word, he
was a natural.

When he had the pleasure of working with other voice actors,
say Seth Green, Mark Hamill or (almost) the entire cast of The Simpsons, they were equally impressed with Stan’s talent, and
of course thrilled with the privilege to record with Stan. This was rare,
however, as getting Stan’s busy schedule to match up with the many voice actors
called in for various parts was difficult, to say the least. Stan did enjoy
working with other voice actors when he could, as he fed off their great
performances and in turn gave them great lines to work with in response.

Although Stan is no longer here to do more voice work or appear in cameos, his voice has been preserved for posterity on dozens of shows and games. HERE is a link you can reference to track down the many projects Stan has provided his distinct voice talent for.

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The Rocketeer Flies Again!

The Rocketeer Flies Again!

The Rocketeer might be the only comicbook character known more for his movie than his comicbook source material. Created in 1982 by writer and artist Dave Stevens, The Rocketeer first blasted his way onto the four-colored pulp pages as a backup story in Starslayer #2. It was the tale of racing pilot Cliff Seacord, who discovers an experimental rocket pack that had been stolen from its inventor.

The Rocketeer was published by the now defunct Pacific Comics, an independent comic publisher that produced top-notch work from 1981 to 1984. Set in 1938, the story drew inspiration from adventure movie serials of the 1930s and 40s, with an Indiana Jones meets Iron Man vibe.

Seeing the potential in his story, Stevens immediately began
shopping around the film rights to the comic, which passed between a number of
writers and producers over many years. After languishing in development for
nearly a decade, The Rocketeer was brought to the big screen by Walt
Disney Pictures and director Joe Johnston (October Sky, Captain
America: The First Avenger
) in 1991.

Much like the comic, the film was set in 1938 and follows stunt pilot Cliff Seacord (Billy Campbell) who discovers a stolen rocket pack invented by Howard Hughes (Terry O’Quinn). Cliff uses the pack to become a superhero but is pursued by a number of parties out to retrieve the rocket, including the FBI, the mob, and the Nazis.

The movie was a personal childhood favorite of mine that captured
my imagination with old Hollywood intrigue, superhero action, and Indiana
Jones-style adventure, my favorite moment of the film being when the FBI and
the mob put their differences aside and team-up to fight the Nazis. Unfortunately,
while The Rocketeer was critically acclaimed, it failed to bring in big
box office numbers, and so any dreams fans had of a sequel went down in smoke. Until
now…

The Flying Man soars again! Or should we say… the Flying
Girl! At this past San Diego Comic-Con, Disney announced plans for a brand-new
Rocketeer animated series complete with a teaser trailer!

As you can see, the new series will follow the young Kit Seacord, who may or may not be related to the original Rocketeer, Cliff Seacord. The Rocketeer actor Billy Campbell will be providing a voice for the series, so we hope that means Cliff will be making an appearance in some capacity. The series also showcases some impressive animation and harkens back to the days of Disney Afternoon’s high production values.

Those who were hoping for a new live-action Rocketeer movie, fear not! Back in 2016, Walt Disney Pictures announced the development of a sequel film titled The Rocketeers. While there haven’t been any updates since then, maybe this new animated series will spark more public interest in the property. We can only look to the skies and hope.

-Steve V.

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Take a Peek Inside ‘The Stan Lee Story’

Take a Peek Inside ‘The Stan Lee Story’

If you can believe it, TASCHEN’s magnificent The Stan Lee Story was in the works for close to one decade! But then again, nothing less than this kind of meticulous research, exhaustive image collecting, and astonishingly insightful text would be worthy of Stan The Man.

First published as a signed collector’s edition at the end of 2018, The Stan Lee Story sold out within one week. In the newly released unlimited edition of the book, fans will find over 600 pages bursting with more than 1,000 images—reproductions of old comicbooks, rare original art, family photos, and much, much more.

Stan played an active role in the book’s writing and editing; he even sat down at length with author Roy Thomas, an old friend and colleague of his for over 50 years who succeeded Stan as Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics in the 1970s. As a result, Roy’s in-depth essay is incredibly observant, granting fans a one-of-a-kind take on Stan’s life from someone who was actually there for a big part of it! After such a long journey to bring this extraordinary work to fruition, it was bittersweet that Stan received the first printed copy of The Stan Lee Story before his passing last year. He truly relished flipping through the pages and reminiscing on his incredible life and legacy.

For more information on the unlimited edition of The Stan Lee Story, click HERE. And take a gander at some pages from the book below!

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Ghost Rider Blazes a Trail onto the Small Screen (and Helstrom Too!)

Ghost Rider Blazes a Trail onto the Small Screen (and Helstrom Too!)

“The most supernatural superhero of all!” That was the tagline when Ghost Rider first debuted in August of 1972 in Marvel Spotlight #5. Stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze traded his soul to the demon Mephisto in order to save the life of his father and became the GHOST RIDER!

Every night hellfire burned away his flesh, his head became a flaming skull, and the tires of his motorcycle… also were composed of fire. Lots of fire. He stalked the Marvel Universe as the Spirit of Vengeance. I can’t think of a cooler looking visual for a supernatural horror hero.

Growing up in the 1990s, my first exposure to Ghost Rider was not the original Johnny Blaze version, but Danny Ketch, who rode a more modern ninja-style bike with a shield-shaped front end. Ketch also wielded a flaming chain that obeyed his every thought. Hey, it was the 90s!

In the modern era there’s a new Ghost Rider in town who doesn’t even ride a motorcycle at all! East Los Angeles Mexican-American resident Robbie Reyes drives a flaming (of course flaming) 1969 Dodge Charger in his quest for sweet vengeance.

It’s this version of ole’ flame-head that will be starring in his very own TV series on Hulu with Gabriel Luna playing the part. This isn’t Luna’s first-time depicting Skull Face either. He previously portrayed Robbie Reyes on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In addition to Ghost Rider, Hulu will also have a Helstrom series starring Marvel’s mysterious Son of Satan, Daimon Helstrom, who first appeared in Ghost Rider #1.     

Marvel’s Head of Television Jeph Loeb recently talked to Deadline about the two series, calling them “Marvel’s Adventure Into Fear.” Loeb said:

“…when you say horror, it means so many different things… What we love is the notion of how we can present a Marvel hero who was truly feared and truly believed that they were a monster. But as the stories go on, they realize, oh, ‘I’m the hero of the story. I’m not the villain of the story.’ That’s not something we’ve ever done before. So, we started with Ghost Rider. We went out and managed to get Gabe to come back and reproduce the role. Then we’re going to do Helstrom, and then there’s a couple more that we haven’t yet revealed to the world.”

I remember watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. back in its first season, then falling off the bandwagon a bit due to so many other superhero options, including Marvel’s Netflix series. But when I heard Ghost Rider was going to make an appearance I came back to the show. For someone who didn’t grow up with Robbie Reyes and was skeptical of that version of the character, I was pleasantly surprised by Gabriel Luna’s performance. ABC didn’t completely shy away from the supernatural and dare I say horror elements of the character either.

Loeb touched on those concerns a bit with Deadline, saying:

“… we never intended for Ghost Rider to be on ABC because we wanted to do a show that was more mature. Look, it has the weight in the best way that there had been a Daredevil movie, so that when there was a Daredevil television show, people knew the name. There was a lot of weight that came with the Daredevil movie that we had to shake off and prove ourselves that we could make a television show that became what it was. The good news is people love Gabe, people love the way that character works, the feature film level special effects – and the part that’s really exciting is we’ll push it further. It will have a little fun that folks will really dig.”

Consider this skeptic converted into a True Believer who will totally be tuning in to see what Marvel and Hulu do with the non-motorcycle-riding Spirit of Vengeance… and Helstrom too!

-Steve V.

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