– Last week, the big Marvel news was the official announcement of Northstar’s wedding with his lover Kyle in ASTONISHING X-MEN #51, as written by Marjorie Liu. This week, more developments from this story have emerged. As one could predict, this story provided Marvel a good excuse for their favorite promotional push – variant covers. Two are being designed for ASTONISHING X-MEN #51, including a “Create Your Own Wedding Photo” cover which can be customized by the shop and ordered if the shop orders enough copies (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/astonishing-wedding-album-variant.html). This is similar to a variant AMAZING SPIDER-MAN which allowed retailers to have a photograph of their shop on it if they hit certain order thresholds. The customizable cover features snapshots from other Marvel weddings – from well known ones like the Richards to the Pyms to obscure ones like Namor’s marriage to Marrina from ALPHA FLIGHT – but the big story is what was omitted. There isn’t one snap of Peter Parker’s wedding to MJ, which endured for 20 years and was THIS CLOSE to being immortalized on film. The omission of the Spider-wedding broaches an inconvenient subject. When Marvel went about deconstructing that marriage in late 2007, they (especially then editor-in-chief Joe Quesada) belittled prior editorial regimes for producing it as a “publicity stunt”. Marvel then subsequently paired up Black Panther and Storm with little narrative build-up and promoted it with the assistance of a daytime soap opera.
Thus, the reality that Marvel can and has undone a wedding it once heavily promoted at a whim does risk taking some of the air out of this promotional event. Senior editor Tom Brevoort – second in command at Marvel Comics after new editor-in-chief Axel Alonso – answered such a criticism on his Formspring account. Brevoort naturally denied Marvel was acting hypocritical and claimed that marriage did not suit Spider-Man because he is a “youth-based character” and marriage implies age (http://www.formspring.me/TomBrevoort/q/329978588084326409). In fairness, the marriage between Kyle and Northstar has had better development than the one between T’Challa and Storm as they were dating for a bit in comics Northstar appeared in (such as the recent ALPHA FLIGHT mini series). The possibility of this marriage being undone somehow – spouse of a superhero is a risky profession regardless of orientation – still looms, but that’s part of the comic biz. Hopefully this works out better than Marvel’s previous attempt to capitalize on a gay superhero; back in 2005 Brevoort made a big statement about the openly gay Freedom Ring becoming the star of Robert Kirkman’s MARVEL TEAM-UP, only for Freedom Ring to wind up murdered a couple issues later.
Meanwhile, the group One Million Moms (OMM), who called protests against the Kevin Keller character in ARCHIE COMICS, has called for boycotts of Marvel and DC Comics over their latest stories regarding homosexual characters (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/one-million-moms-marvel-dc.html). Marvel creators contacted about it expressed irony considering that targetted boycotts by OMM have often had the reverse effect – sparking a boost in sales due to the attention as well as a majority of Americans being far more tolerant. Regardless, this is the most attention ASTONISHING X-MEN has gotten in roughly six years.
– After three weeks as the #1 movie in North America, “THE AVENGERS” was bumped to second place by “MEN IN BLACK 3” starring the perennial king of the box office, Will Smith (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/170791-will-smith-returns-as-the-summer-box-office-king). Ironically, MEN IN BLACK began life as an ill recieved comic owned by Malibu Comics, which Marvel purchased in the 90’s. Whether Marvel and/or Disney see any revenue from the MIB license is unknown, and Marvel Comics has not attempted to publish anything with it since about 2001. Regardless, “THE AVENGERS” was still #2 over the Memorial Day weekend, grossing just under $47 million. It also crossed the $500 million marker in domestic tallies, becoming only the fourth film to accomplish this feat. In related news, “MEN IN BLACK 3” also stars Josh Brolin, and whatever his agent was paid for getting him this slam-dunk role after the bomb that was “JONAH HEX” was well earned.
– In “IRON MAN 3” news, actor Ashley Hamilton has been cast as the villain Firepower in the Shane Black directed picture. In addition, Jon Favreau – who directed the first two “IRON MAN” films – will return in a cameo role as Happy Hogan, Tony Stark’s driver (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/170755-ashley-hamilton-could-bring-firepower-to-iron-man-3). William Sadler, best known for “DIE HARD 2”, has also been cast in “IM3” in an unknown role (http://latino-review.com/2012/05/25/exclusive-iron-man-3-adds-die-hard-2-cast-member/). “IRON MAN 3” rockets into theaters May 3rd, 2013.
– Variety notes that Mads Mikkelsen, best known as the villain in the recent James Bond film “CASINO ROYALE”, is being approached for the role of the villain for “THOR 2”, which is set for release Nov. 15. 2013 (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118054627). Tom Hiddleston’s Loki is still expected to appear.
Last Week’s Marvel Comics News – http://ovalpike.com/article/marvel-comics-news-5-24-12-x-marriages-the-wolverine-a-superheroine-film
This Week’s Indie Comics News – http://ovalpike.com/article/indie-comics-news-5-30-12-walking-dead-season-3-harvester-more
This Week’s DC Comics News – http://ovalpike.com/article/dc-comics-news-for-5-30-12-dark-knight-returns-animated-dc-s-new-gay-hero