One of my personal favorite single issues of The Incredible Hulk comics is Annual #11 from 1982! I remember when this came out, I was 8 years old and I carried this issue with me EVERYWHERE! It’s story is quite relevant still especially today as we see a gamma virus running rampant among the US population that makes people sick and turns them green! Yowza!!! This issue pits the Avengers along with Spider-man up against their old teammate The Hulk and it’s a glorious little superhero sci-fi tale that also features The Leader at the core of the mayhem. It also features a super sweet short solo adventure from Doc Samson too!! One thing of course I’ve always loved about this issue was it’s magnificently simple cover by Al Milgrom which deserves the spotlight here today:
True Believers, it’s never been a more perfect time for the ‘Great Lakes Avengers’ to make their grand entrance into the MCU! Ok, I know many of you casual Marvel movie fanatics out there are likely wondering just who and what the hell I’m talking about, but the “GLA” as they’re also referred to have been around since the late 80’s and have on a couple occasions attempted to actually replace The Avengers, most notably when they tragically disassembled in 2004 in the comics. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin based team are most well known as the ultimate gang of blundering misfit superheroes and when the Avengers disbanded they figured they’d simply take the mantle of the team for themselves to reap all the glory for themselves. Of course they quickly found out they weren’t quite qualified when it came down to taking out major threats to the planet. So why introduce these guys now into the MCU huh?
Well at the current moment in the movies The Avengers aren’t really a thing anymore, at least for the moment. With Cap old & retired and Tony Stark dead, it’d be the perfect time to check out the origin story and rise of ‘The Great Lakes Avengers’. In fact with the ‘Disney+’ streaming service there’s the platform needed to tell their ridiculously madcap story. Since 1989 when writer/artist John Byrne introduced the underdog team to the Marvel Universe (West Coast Avengers #46), I’ve been a big fan. In fact I listed them before as one of the obscure Marvel teams I thought would make a great movie or better yet today a comedic Disney+ series after the success of the D-listers The Guardians of the Galaxy. To me the team has so much more potential than GOG, with their origin story alone being a helluva good adventure, if even at times more of a dark comedy.
The name of the team alone would spark immediate interest and originally back in the comic books they’d even been coached by Hawkeye and Mockingbird who desperately tried to whip them into shape. You could even have Jeremy Renner make a cameo in an episode as Hawkeye to do just that. Considering the team’s ranks were filled from a classified ad in the newspaper would open the door to so many great comedic scenarios as well.
Then there’s the team themselves, which consists of Mr. Immortal, a mutant with a super-superhuman healing factor and the ability to survive the most gruesome deaths, Bertha who’s the most popular fashion icon in Milwaukee WI who has the ability to bulk up like the Blob, Dinah-soar the flying female reptilian, Doorman a mutant who can create doorways using alternate universes to pass through solid objects and finally Flatman, the team’s current leader & openly gay two dimensional version of Reed Richards. But wait the team was also home to the now iconic Squirrel Girl and this would be the perfect place for her to make her official MCU debut!
This team and their story would make for the perfect superhero series, there’s so many interesting angles to explore. From forming the team, to training to be the new “Avengers”, to their many failed missions and their attempt to square off against a real superhuman threat. There’s something truly charming about exploring an underdog group of down on their luck superhuman characters. The comedy practically writes itself and they’d be a surefire win in a series of their own as there’s nothing quite like them out there yet. So what do you think? Do you think now’s the time for this weird-o gang of midwest superheroes to enter into the fold?! If I’ve peaked your interest a good launch point of the team is the six issue mini series from Dan Slott from 2005 called “GLA: Misassembled”, I think that would be a perfect blueprint for a Disney+ series….
John Byrne’s run on the Fantastic Four in the 80’s is arguably the best the title has ever seen. One of the biggest changes the legendary team encountered during his run was when The Thing left the team & She-Hulk replaced him. It was a risky move at the time, but Jennifer Walters rounded out the female ratio quite nicely with her brute strength, beauty and charming sense of humor. We all know that Byrne was a huge fan of She-Hulk and Fantastic Four #275 features the character in one of my favorite covers. She-Hulk, especially in the 80’s had to deal with a LOT of sleazy men gawking over her, this cover features a prime example of exactly that. I’m also looking at this cover and thinking this depiction of the character would be a great one to base look of the upcoming MCU tv series character on. There’s so much you could do with She-Hulk in a live action series and I’m hoping it adds the comedic elements of Byrne’s classic version of the character. I’ve always loved John Byrne and to this day his iconic 70’s and 80’s comic book art, in my opinion, is easily some of the best of the era. This cover is truly classic SHE-HULK!
There’s been all sorts of controversy about Brie Larson lately on the internet in regards to the upcoming Captain Marvel movie. Some people are fully up in arms about her recent statements regarding white males as film critics, not wanting to be interviewed by ‘white dudes”, wanting fewer white males on her Captain Marvel press tour and just wanting more diversity in general. I understand her concerns, but It’s clear that her approach to the topic has clearly triggered some fans. She could have stated her issues in a much smoother way that’d likely have spoke to fans of the comic books, who have ironically been throughout the years mainly white males. Will all of her recent statements about calling hard for diversity in the film biz affect the box office numbers for the Marvel blockbuster? We’ll have to wait and see but one thing I’ve been perplexed about from the initial announcement of Captain Marvel the REAL controversy: the decision to base the character on a white female, “Carol Danvers” and cast Brie Larson at all. I’m ok with the decision but would’ve much rather my era Captain Marvel been given a chance. The one who came before the “Carol Danvers” character way back in the early 80’s. Growing up, my Captain Marvel was first and foremost, Monica Rambeau.
Yep, Monica was the first female Captain Marvel, appearing in The Amazing Spider-Man annual #16 and eventually went on to become the leader of The Avengers in the 80’s. She’s a total badass who harnesses a multitude of energy forms, irradiated with energy blasts from different dimensions that also gave her the ability to move at light speed. Besides being the leader of The Avengers she was also the first black superhero to join the ranks of the team. In my opinion she’s also a much more interesting character in general. Monica was a New Orleans native and worked for the harbor patrol there operating as an ACTUAL captain of ship. At one point she caught wind of a wicked plot to create of a dangerous supernatural energy weapon, Rambeau took it upon herself to try to stop the threat and in turn was exposed to a powerful extra-dimensional energy.
She gained the ability to convert her body to pure raw energy. Soon, the papers began to refer to her as “Captain Marvel”. It wasn’t long after that she’d run into issues controlling her vast new power and her growing energy abilities almost made her a danger to the public. With the help of Iron Man & Spider-man she was able to successfully release the excess of it safely. She made the decision to utilize her powers to fight for the good of the earth under the name she was given by the media. Using the same name of a pervious male super hero Mar-vell, she’d quickly drawn attention of Earth’s mightiest heroes, The Avengers. Joining the team she worked her way up as one of the greatest members in their ranks and eventually accepted the role of leader of the team. Her story is pretty awesome and as a kid growing up she was one of the main superheroes I’d known as the leader of The Avengers along with Captain America & The Wasp.
To me Monica’s Captain Marvel should have been given the chance to front her own MCU movie. As much as I do agree with what the overall points that Larson has been trying to make about “white dudes”, it appears a bit like she’s been trying to exploit the topic of diversity to gather attention for her movie. With the topic being a big part of her MCU campaign, I’ve been perplexed since I’d first heard many of her comments about diversity, just why Marvel chose her character to be the “Captain Marvel” we see in the first female led superhero MCU movie. As a white woman herself and the FIRST female Captain Marvel being ‘Monica Rambeau’, (a character of color who worked her way to the top roster of the Avengers) isn’t it a bit odd to choose ‘Carol Danvers’ who only first took the Captain Marvel mantle as recently as 2012?
I do think Larson should have addressed this, especially with her campaign for diversity in the film industry recently gathering so much attention. She maybe even could have even suggested the character for the movie be Rambeau, in respect to the iconic character and just diversity in film in general. Whatever the case, it’s good to get the history of the female Captain Marvel character out there for discussion, in my opinion Marvel made a HUGE mis-step in not presenting the true original female Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau for the upcoming movie.
So it seems that the Marvel Netflix shows have run into some problems recently with the cancelation of the Iron Fist and Luke Cage shows as well as the low viewership of the third season of Daredevil. The prospect of a second season of ‘The Defenders’ is certainly not in the cards anymore either. So with that being said could it be possible we just might get the classic comic book incarnation of the iconic team sometime in the near future? This new Netflix version of the team kinda bothered me, using the name when indeed, these characters never banded together in the comics (a couple briefly joined the ranks in the comics at different points in time) at least before this series was announced. It seems possible that a movie version of the team could indeed happen as Marvel Comics is reviving the original characters as The Defenders once again next month! A couple of the characters to complete one of the most classic versions of the team already exist in the Marvel cinematic universe, so banding the Defenders for the big screen would be pretty easy and thrilling as well while being able to add some awesome never before seen characters from to Marvel Cinematic Universe onscreen to the team.
We’ve already got some of the classic members in the movies, Doctor Strange & The Hulk/Banner are all ready to go cinematically. The pairing of these two existing core members for an insane cosmic/multi-dimensional adventure would be most excellent to see materialize on the big screen.
Well it’s officially election day and it’s been one helluva mess this election season that’s for sure! It seems like this election has been going on forever and even stranger are the two candidates at the forefront of it all. Both Trump & Clinton are the most disliked candidates in ALL of American history. It seems that the people just couldn’t find and honest or non-offensive person any where near the Democratic or Republican party in 2016 (Wait there was a guy called Bernie Sanders running at one point). It made me remember a classic comic way back from 1980, Captain America #250. Yeah that’s when Steve Rogers gave serious consideration of running for president as Captain America. Now there’s an unbeatable candidate huh? I’d like to see Trump or Hillary try to win that contest!
I really liked the idea of Cap running, and it was cool that in this issue he was hanging out with a third party called the Populist Party whom he save from a terrorist attack. He’s given the idea by them that he himself should be indeed running for President as their candidate. Cap at first thinks it’s a bit of a foolish idea but then gets to really thinking about it and starts giving it some serious consideration. The newspapers get wind and begin printing stories about his campaign, which pushes Rogers even further into thought about it.
Reporters & people are going nuts around the idea and I guess you could say the ‘Cap for Prez’ movement started going “viral”! He talks to his fellow Avengers about it and get their feedback, some supportive and others discouraging. In the end he decides against it, realizing he’d be really unable to fight for America the way he does best. Perhaps he just needs to wait until he’s like seventy years old like most politicians?!
It’s a great issue and if there’s ever been the perfect time to read it I’d say it would be tonight! It’s got a truly iconic cover & art by John Byrne and this issue always just begged for a ‘What If?’ story- “What if Captain America did indeed run for President?” Anyway check out Cap # 250 it’s a total classic. I hope in 2020 Steve Rogers finally reconsiders and comes back on the scene for the Populist Party!
Ok after all of my recent Marvel Comics bashing I had to take a minute here to mention that I’m actually pretty pumped about the upcoming Great Lakes Avengers ongoing series! Since 1989 when John Byrne (one of my top comic book idols) introduced the underdog team to the Marvel Universe in West Coast Avengers #46, I’ve been a big fan. In fact I listed them as one of the obscure Marvel teams I thought would make a great movie or better yet a comedic Netflix series after the success of the D-listers The Guardians of the Galaxy. Of course I have my bias as well, growing up in Wisconsin, that’s where this team is from. If you ask me the Midwest just doesn’t get enough love in the comic books. So the fact that these guys are still representin’ means a great deal to me.
I highly suggest checking out some of their earlier appearances, the classic Byrne West Coast Avengers is a great place to start but back in 2005 Dan Slott gave us an excellent 4 issue series as well. Most notable from the series today was the inclusion of Squirrel Girl to the team in that series, who we all know now is one of Marvel’s hottest titles.
That’s a great place to start and you get a chance to see in ‘Misassembled’ the origins of the team as they take on some serious Marvel Villains who arrive in their neck of the woods to raise some hell. The team finds themselves in serious trouble as they face a real threat for the first time. It’s cool little story with some great humor.
This new series finds the original core group back together in smaller numbers this time as Squirrel Girl has left the team and original member Dinah Soar died in battle over a decade ago. The team consists of Mr. Immortal, a mutant with a superhuman healing factor and the ability to survive the most gruesome deaths, Big Bertha who’s the most popular fashion icon in Milwaukee WI & has the ability to bulk up like the Blob, Doorman a mutant who can create doorways using alternate universes to pass through solid objects and finally Flatman, the openly gay two dimensional version of Reed Richards.
In the new series the team have been anointed official Avengers and are stationed in Detroit to keep the region safe. The team on the cover of the first issue appear to be milking the fact that Squirrel Girl was part of the team and are seen carrying around a cardboard cutout of her. I’m hoping that they can convince Squirrel Girl to join the ranks again, it’d be a selling point for the book but more so she was a perfect addition to the team.
It’s clear we’ll be getting quite a humorous depiction of the team once again and I can’t wait to see what kind of mischief they get into. The new series comes out this fall by Matt Gorman & Will Robson.
Ok so I saw the latest Deadpool flick and though I was never a huge fan of the character (aside from him in the Remender X-Force books which I totally dug) in this case I’ll actually say I think Deadpool works better on the silver screen than in the funny books! Yep, I really quite enjoyed the Deadpool flick, heck I thought this was the first good movie Ryan Reynolds starred in as the lead. It was action packed, well written, never boring, surprisingly funny and was about as over the top as you can get.
It’s also responsible for getting us an upcoming R-rated Wolverine flick by golly, something I’ve hoped for forever. So yeah, nice work for once Hollywood! Anyway I keep reading all these articles about how Deadpool was the first major superhero to “break the fourth wall” in the comics, something many think is the key to his success as he and the audience are “in it together”. Well I got news for you! For those of you who may have forgotten the late 1980’s She-Hulk run from John Byrne you need to bust out the back issues asap! She-Hulk, you betcha was “doing the Deadpool” before he was even created!
Yep back in 1989 The Sensational She-Hulk came out and it was one of the best comic books ever. In fact Dead Pool comedy-wise in the comic books can’t hold a candle to Byrne’s She-Hulk.
I’m really enjoying the latest Marvel Netflix original series ‘Jessica Jones’ and I totally loved Daredevil. It really got me thinking about why these shows seem so far (at least to me) so much better than the Marvel cinematic experience!
After a little thought I decided to nail down my five reasons Marvel should send some of their more popular characters down the same path as Jessica & Matt Murdok!
1.Better Character Development:
It’s clear one of the main reasons why I’ve liked the tv shows more so than the movies is simply because we have so much more time to really get to know the characters inside and out. It can be tough sometimes within only a couple hours to really get a character to the point where you actually understand them and their true motivations without everything feeling a bit rushed.
Netflix gives us the time we need without boring us to really fall in love with the characters. It plays out much more like a comic book taking the time it needs to tell a great story. Some of the Marvel movies simply try and pack way too much shit into too small a time. Not only that but Marvel movies are so concerned with tying everything together between franchises that sometimes you get lost in a big sloppy plot. Imagine for a minute if Captain America would have been a tv series, how much more it would have meant to see Bucky come back as the Winter Soldier after spending a whole season with him and Cap in World Ward II?!
2. Believable Special Effects:
Sometimes when I’m watching a Marvel movie I feel like I’m watching a frikin’ cartoon. There’s soooo much CG and special FX work that it ends up a bit feeling like I’m watching ‘Roger Rabbit’. The Netflix shows have really done a spectacular job with the special effects and they flow nicely alongside the story and the action sequences.
They haven’t required the amount of CG that say The Avengers used but sometimes I really wonder if these big bloated shiny CG stuffed spectacles really need to be telling stories that need that much in the way of FX. More is NOT always better folks and some of these Marvel movies just have NOT aged well and it hasn’t even been that long.
One thing the Marvel movies do NOT have going for them are good villains. The Netflix series works hard at giving us reasons to love and at times really hate the villains. We never really get much in the way of character development for the bad guys in a Marvel movie. Usually they’re just merely there as a reason to see some crazy ass battle go down.
The Netflix series give us the time with the bad guys that we need to really understand them or just really wanna see them get their asses served up. I haven’t once given two shits about any villain in a Marvel movie. And folks your superheroes are only as good as their evil counterparts. So if you ain’t got a good bad guy you ain’t got shit.
Yep, the Marvel movies are all about money and selling boatloads of shit to the kids. Making a killing with merchandise means the movies can never go too dark. However the Netflix Marvel stuff doesn’t have to worry about that, they can cuss, draw blood and have tons of sex if they want to.
The Marvel movies don’t dare go too dark or violent, perhaps that’s one reason why their villains just suck so bad? They’re not allowed to really get all of their evil out onscreen, now imagine the what the Red Skull would have been like in a Netflix series…
5.They Don’t Follow the Marvel Movie Formula:
Let’s all face it, the Marvel movies most definitely have a bit of a tired and predictable formula. I really liked Ant-man but it really felt so “2008”, while watching it’s plot unfold I thought “man we’re really doing this whole thing again?” It felt pretty interchangeable with any other Marvel movies I’ve seen. Good guy gets powers, boring bad guy who has similar powers, cute love interest in danger, big CG fight at end. Blah blah blah..
Or if you’re The Avengers movies you have them all fight a super blah bad guy and then at the end of the movie a big CG slugfest, in a big city, fighting a bunch of similar looking CG clones. The second Avengers movies was really just a retelling of the first, instead of Loki you had Ultron and instead of the hordes of CG Chituari Warriors you had the horde of CG Ultron clones fight at the end in Sokovia instead of New York.
The Netflix shows have broken away from the usual mold at least for the moment and that’s god damn refreshing. Hmm….But then again there is this now:
Maybe I’m out of the loop here but I recently discovered this whole Marvel Universe Live! thing by accident on Youtube! Anyway this is like a dream come true for the 10 year old me…..and… the current day me too it seems!
Well Marvel is all the rage these days with all of the movies still drawing absurd amounts of money so this here I guess isn’t that much of a surprise I suppose. The whole Marvel Universe Live is like Ice Capades but jam packed with Marvel Comics characters both popular and rather obscure-minus the ice skates. This has become a touring show and this trailer was was recently released check this shit:
Looks pretty fly huh? Well check out this live footage of The Hulk looking pretty awesome & doing some serious battle! Now THIS is fun:
The whole thing follows a story loosely inspired by the movies but we get a bunch of villains as well as a more classic look of costumes ripped from the classic comic books!
Anyway call me crazy but this looks like damn good albeit totally ridiculously stupid time, so check your local listings because Marvel Universe Live is on tour now! It look s like it costs around 25 bucks. It hits my city, Portland, Oregon March 3-6th at the Moda Center!