Here’s The Trailer For Loki!


Like many people, I was broken-hearted when it appeared that Tom Hiddleston’s Loki was killed during Avengers: Infinity War. Then I was happy to see that he came back (in a fashion) in Avengers: Endgame! As for the upcoming Disney+ series featuring Loki …. well, let’s just watch the trailer and patiently wait for June 11th, shall we?

It looks good to me but, of course, you knew I was going to say that. I’m among those who feels that Tom Hiddleston can do no wrong so I’m going to be happy to see him in just about everything. Does this series make Loki the first Marvel villain to get his own MCU vehicle? Good for him. Who doesn’t love Loki?

Here’s The Latest Trailer For Black Widow!


The Black Widow in happier times

As I’ve said before, both on this site and on twitter, I have mixed feeling about the upcoming Black Widow film. On the one hand, Natasha was my favorite member of the Avengers and I’m glad that she’s finally getting a solo film. On the other hand, it annoys me that she’s only getting a solo film after being killed off in Avengers: Endgame. Don’t even get me started on the screwed-up logic of her sacrificing her life when Clint was the one who had basically spent 5 years killing everyone that he met. Natasha may have made mistakes when she was a spy but at least she was never a serial killer!

Apparently, the Black Widow solo film takes place in between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War and it seems very likely that it’s also going to serve as an origin story for a character played by Florence Pugh, who may end up becoming the new Black Widow. I hope that’s not true but, from what I’ve heard, it seems probable. I’m not particularly excited about the prospect of that happening. I don’t want a replacement Black Widow. I want the original to come back to life and I want Clint to do the right thing.

To be honest, though, I’m now at a point where I just want to see the damn movie. That release date has been moved around so much that I no longer care whether or not the film’s any good or not. I don’t care whether or not they’re going to do the right thing and resurrect Natasha from the dead. I JUST WANT TO SEE THE DAMN MOVIE! Hell, I’ll even spend the extra 30 to see it in Disney Plus, I don’t care. I JUST WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE!

Anyway, with all that in mind, Black Widow is going to be released on July 9th and it’s about time! Here’s the latest trailer:

Great Moments In Comic Book History: The Death of Doctor Druid


Dr. Druid never got much respect.

First introduced in 1961 and originally known as Dr. Droom (his name was changed to prevent anyone from mixing him up with Dr. Doom), Anthony Ludgate Druid was a magic user who hunted monsters and who had studied the mystic arts with a Tibetan lama.  Later, the lama was retconned into the Ancient One and it was said that Dr. Druid was the runner-up for the position of Sorcerer Supreme.  This was a way of acknowledging an obvious truth, that Dr. Druid was an unsuccessful dry run for Dr. Strange.

With Dr. Druid’s monster hunting activities never becoming popular with readers, he was eventually just used as a host for Weird Wonder Tales, a series that reprinted old monster comics from the 50s.  One look at Dr. Druid at this time shows why he was never able to seriously challenge Doctor Strange for the role of Marvel’s most popular sorcerer.

Eventually, Dr. Druid did enter the mainstream Marvel universe.  He joined the Avengers and distinguished himself by getting himself elected Avengers chairman while possessed by a villainous and then disbanding the team.  Even after Dr. Druid got his mind back, no one wanted much to do with him and he faded into obscurity.

He remained forgotten until 1995.  That was when he was resurrected for a series that lasted for four issues.  To this day, there’s debate over whether the series was meant to be a miniseries or a continuing series.  What everyone can agree on is that Warren Ellis radically challenged what everyone though they knew about Dr. Druid.

Now, heavily tattooed and simply calling himself Druid, the former hero was an embittered alcoholic who embraced the dark side of his powers.  For four issues, Druid roamed through London and killed almost everyone who he met.  Druid was a dark and brutal series and it’s probably not surprising that it only lasted four issues.

The final issue featured Druid doing his usual killing and destroying until, in the final pages of the issue, Daimon Hellstrom suddenly appeared and announced, to Druid: “You’re a lunatic, a religious maniac, a bad idea. You should have been stamped on at birth. And, in the end, you’re a failure.”  Hellstrom proceeded to burn Druid to a crisp and what I’ve always remembered about that issue were the final lines announcing that Druid’s corpse was left in a trash can.

When you’re a kid just reading a comic book, that’s some pretty heavy stuff!  Those last moments of Druid have always stuck with me.  I’ve always felt bad for Dr. Druid.  He went from being a failed Sorcerer Supreme to a failed Avenger to eventually getting tossed in a trash can.  He’s also one of the few Marvel characters not to return from the dead. He’s gone, never to return.  He probably won’t even get to appear in a movie.

Alas, poor Druid.  He was the Rodney Dangerfield of second-tier Marvel heroes.  He never got any respect.  No respect at all.

Druid (Vol. 1 #4, August, 1995)

“Sick of it All”

  • Writer — Warren Ellis
  • Penciler — Leonardo Manco
  • Inker– Leonardo Manco
  • Colourist — D’Ireali
  • Letterer — Jon Babcock
  • Cover Artist — Leonardo Manco

Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:

  1. Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance” 
  2. The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
  3. Crisis on Campus
  4. “Even in Death”
  5. The Debut of Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man
  6. Spider-Man Meets The Monster Maker
  7. Conan The Barbarian Visits Times Square
  8. Dracula Joins The Marvel Universe

Spider-Man Strikes Back (1978, directed by Ron Satlof)


When three college students decide to prove the folly of the nuclear arms race by stealing enough plutonium to make a nuclear bomb of their own, it’s up to Spider-Man (Nicholas Hammond) to sort them out!  He better do it quickly, too, because the police suspect that the plutonium may have been stolen by a grad student named Peter Parker.

However, Spider-Man is not the only person who wants that bomb.  The evil Mr. White (Robert Alda) also wants the bomb, though he’s not planning on using it to make the case for world peace.  Instead, he plans to blackmail the government into giving him a fortune in gold.  Now, Parker not only has to clear his own name but he has to keep Mr. White from blowing up Los Angles while, at the same time, preventing a nosy reporter (Joanna Cameron) from figuring out that he’s really Spider-Man.

Spider-Man Strikes Back was released as a feature film in Europe and was advertised as being a sequel to Spider-Man.  Gullible audiences who paid money to see it ended up sitting through a two-part episode of the Amazing Spider-Man TV show, albeit one that was edited into a 90-minute movie and which didn’t have stop for commercial interruption.

Spider-Man Strikes Back highlights exactly what went wrong with the first attempt to do a live action version of Spider-Man.  There were several members of Spider-Man’s regular rogues’ gallery who could have stolen that bomb and threatened Los Angeles.  It sounds like a typical Sinister Six plot.  Even the Kingpin, on a bad day, might be tempted to get in on that action.  Instead, the villain is a bland arms dealer named Mr. White.  CBS reportedly refused to use any classic Spider-Man villains because they wanted to keep the show grounded in reality but the minute Spider-Man crawled up a skyscraper for the first time, the network should have forgotten about trying to keep it real.

To repeat what I said in my review of Spider-Man, Nicholas Hammond is miscast as everyone’s favorite webcrawler.  Hammond is likable but he doesn’t come across as being at all insecure and it’s Spider-Man’s insecurities that distinguished him from other comic book heroes.  Spider-Man Strikes Back also suffers because it’s clear that much of the Spider-Man footage was reused from the pilot film.

I still enjoyed watching Spider-Man Strikes Back, though.  When I was a kid, Spider-Man was my favorite and, even in something like this, it’s still fun to watch him climbing up buildings and webbing up crooks.  Though there’s nothing cinematic about Spider-Man Strikes Back and it’s clearly just an extended episode of a TV show, I still liked that the climax took place in an preserved old west ghost town.  That was just strange enough to work.

Though Spider-Man Strikes Back was not as successful at the European box office as Spider-Man, it still did well enough that one more feature film would be crafted from the Spider-Man TV show, Spider-Man: The Dragon’s Challenge.

The Universe Is Expanding: Here’s The Super Bowl Disney+ MCU Trailer!


The universe is expanding!

Out of the three shows that are featured in the teaser below, it’s the one with Wanda and Vision that most interests me.  I can’t wait to see what happens with those two characters.  And, of course, there’s no way I couldn’t smile a little when Loki popped up.  His death in Infinity War depressed me almost as much as Black Widow’s death in Endgame.

Sony surprises with the Morbius Teaser trailer.


When it comes to all things Marvel, the name Morbius is vague to me. I remember Todd McFarlane’s final run for Spider-Man back in 1991 which had a 5 to 6 issue story arc on the character. Basically, Morbius (not to be confused with Moebius, the great Jean Giraud) is kind of a vampire, or as Blade would say, he’s something else. Personally, I think Sony’s scraping near the bottom of Marvel’s barrel, but maybe Sony’s on to something here.

If they have the same success with this as they had with Venom, they should be on good footing to create their own ongoing story arc with The Sinister Six. Anyone who’s ever read any of the Marvel Comics or played the last rendition of Sony’s Spider-Man for the PS4 knows of a set of Spidey’s villains that joined forces to take him down. The trailer below looks like it ties itself into Spider-Man: Homecoming with a cameo by Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes (a.k.a. The Vulture).

Morbius stars Jared Leto (Blade Runner 2049) as Michael Morbius, a biology genius afflicted with an illness. In his efforts to come up with a cure, he becomes a supervillain with powers and a thirst for blood. Morbius also stars Jared Harris (Chernobyl), Adria Arjona (Good Omens), Tyrese Gibson (Black and Blue), and Matt Smith (The Crown) 

Morbius premieres in cinemas this summer.

 

The New Mutants has a new date and trailer.


Marvel’s The New Mutants was a film that was supposed to come out in mid 2019, but was pushed back. The New Mutants focuses on a set of kids in a hospital and takes more of a horror/drama stance that’s similar to F/X’s Legion.  It’s a little different for Marvel, and fits for the Fox banner.

The New Mutants, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Alice Braga, and Charlie Heaton, is set to premiere in cinemas on April 2020.

Great Moments In Comic Book History: The Debut of Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man


As a super hero, Spider-Man never got any respect.

From the beginning of his costumed career, Spider-Man was often misunderstood.  Perhaps because of his early days as a professional wrestler, he was often dismissed as being an immature attention seeker.  Unfortunately, when you combine that with Peter Parker’s legendary lack of luck, bad things are going to happen.  Especially during the early run of Amazing Spider-Man, being close to Peter Parker meant that there was a good chance that you would end up dead and Spider-Man would somehow be blamed for your death.  Leading the charge would always be J. Jonah Jameson, the bombastic editor of The Daily Bugle.

At the start of Amazing Spider-Man #124, Spider-Man is again finding himself being blamed for two deaths.  This time, though, it’s personal.  Spider-Man is still coming to grips with the death of his first love, Gwen Stacy.  Meanwhile, both the police and Jameson suspect that Spider-Man is also to blame for the death of businessman Norman Osborne.  (What they didn’t know, however, was that Norman had actually been terrorizing the city as the Green Goblin and, as was revealed decades later, Norman wasn’t really dead.)  While Peter Parker struggles to get back into rhythm of everyday life, Jameson demands that Spider-Man be brought to justice.

However, Jonah has a bigger problem to worry about.  His son, John, has returned home.  John is an astronaut and, up until this issue, was always portrayed as being everything that Peter wasn’t.  While Peter was struggling to pay the bills and keep Aunt May from being evicted, John was going to the moon and returning a national hero.  John, however, has brought back something from his mission.  The moon rock that John wears around his neck as a necklace causes John to turn into the Man-Wolf, a werewolf who is full of rage at John’s father, J. Jonah Jameson.  Can Spider-Man save the man who has dedicated his life to making him miserable?

Spider-Man always had a rich and well-drawn supporting cast, with characters like Mary Jane Watson, Flash Thompson, Liz Allan, and Harry Osborne becoming almost as well-known as the webslinger himself.  No character, though, was as beloved and hated as J. Jonah Jameson.  For all of his bluster, Jonah was frequently portrayed as being not evil but misguided.  He may have been too stubborn to admit that Spider-Man was not a menace but Jonah was often portrayed as having his own brand of integrity.  Usually, he tried to do the right thing.  The Man-Wolf saga put Jonah’s integrity to the test.  After years of accusing every super hero in New York of being a menace, how would Jonah react when the menace was his own son?

These two issues also provide a turning point in Spider-Man’s character.  Despite being haunted by Gwen’s death, Peter realizes that he cannot shut himself off from the world.  And, despite his justifiable anger at Jonah Jameson, Spider-Man still saves his life and protects his son because he know that’s what a hero does.

This saga ends with John Jameson temporarily cured and freed of the curse.  Of course, it wouldn’t last.  Man-Wolf would return, sometimes as a hero and sometimes as a menace.  And Spider-Man would be there to meet him.

Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #124 (September, 1973)

“The Mark of the Man-Wolf”

Writer:Gerry Conway
Inker:John Romita Sr., Tony Mortellaro
Colorist:Dave Hunt
Letterer:Art Simek
Penciler:Gil Kane

Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #125 (October, 1973)

“The Man-Wolf Strikes Again”

Writer:Gerry Conway
Inker:Tony Mortellaro, John Romita Sr.
Colorist:Dave Hunt
Letterer:Art Simek
Penciler:Ross Andru

Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:

  1. Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance” 
  2. The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
  3. Crisis on Campus
  4. “Even in Death”

Great Moments In Comic Book History: “Even in Death…”


The Uncanny X-Men #144 finds Scott Summers (better known as Cyclops, the occasional leader of the X-Men) working on a fishing boat in the Florida Everglades.  Scott’s new boss, Lee Forrester, is obviously interested in him but Scott is still mourning Jean Grey.  It’s been months since Jean, consumed by the Dark Phoenix, chose to protect the universe by destroying herself.  Scott has taken a leave of absence from the X-Men to grieve and, as they used to say back in the day, find himself.

When the fear-inducing demon D’Spayre shows up, it not only drives Lee’s father to suicide but it also forces Scott to deal with his deepest fears.  Scott hallucinates the plane crash that led to him and his brother being separated from their parents.  He visualizes the X-Men dead, having been killed by Sentinels.  And finally, in the issue’s most famous scene, he finds himself walking down a church aisle with Jean.

As they walk down the aisle, Jean’s costume changes to reflect all of the different roles that she played as member of the X-Men.  She goes from being in her underwear to being in her green Ms. Marvel costume to being the Phoenix to being the Hellfire Club’s Black Queen to finally being the Dark Phoenix.  When they reach the minister, Jean is dressed as a bride.  When the minister tells Scott that he may kiss the bride, Jean suddenly reaches up and lifts Scott’s visor.  A blast a red energy brings the wedding to an abrupt end.

Eventually, Scott teams up with the Man-Thing (who is Marvel’s version of Swamp Thing) and is able to easily defeat D’Spayre.  Since all you have to do to make D’Spayre go away is refuse to believe what he’s showing you, he is not one of Marvel’s most intimidating villains.  Still, Scott’s church hallucination provides not only a perfect coda for the Dark Phoenix saga but it also shows a comic book character dealing with depression.  That’s an emotion that, until Chris Claremont started writing the X-Men, super heroes rarely had to deal with for more than an issue or two.  Even Spider-Man, with all of his problems and guilt, always kept his sense of humor.  This issue of the X-Men finds Scott deeply mired in his grief.  Even after Scott defeats D’Spayre, the sadness remains but he swears to himself that will not surrender to it.

Of course, the impact of this issue is lessened by the fact that Marvel would later reveal that the Dark Phoenix who sacrificed herself was just an energy force that took on Jean’s memories and personality while the real Jean remained in suspended animation at the bottom of Jamaica Bay.  X-Men #144 is still a good issue and a good example of Chris Claremont’s ability to bring out the humanity in even those with super powers.

Plus, we learn how Cyclops plays pool

The Uncanny X-Men #144 (April, 1981)

“Even in Death”

  • Writer: Chris Claremont
  • Guest Penciler: Brent Anderson
  • Inker: Josef Rubenstein
  • Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
  • Colorist: Glynis Wein
  • Editor: Louise Jones
  • Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:

  1. Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance” 
  2. The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
  3. Crisis on Campus

Great Moments In Comic Book History: Crisis on Campus


This has always been one of my favorite Spider-Man covers.  Credit for it goes to John Romita, Sr.

This issue of The Amazing Spider-Man came out in 1969, at the height of the student protests that rocked campuses across America.  Since Spider-Man was a student at Empire State University at the time, it makes sense that he would eventually be drawn into the protests.  In typical Marvel fashion, Spider-Man ended up supporting both the protesters and the police who later busted them.  Spider-Man felt the protesters had a right to protest but that the police were also necessary to maintain the peace.  Of course, in the end, the Kingpin would use the distraction of the protests to steal an ancient tablet, leaving the students to take the blame.

This cover perfectly captured the ambiguous place of both Spider-Man and Marvel in the counter culture.  Spider-Man may appear to be with the protesters but it’s also not a coincidence that he’s swinging above them, indicating that Spider-Man was both a part of the counterculture and yet above it all at the same time.  At a time of intense national polarization, Marvel manged to pull off the balancing act of supporting both sides at the same time.

Is Spider-Man a part of the protest or is he the one being protested?  It all depends on what you want to see.

The Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 #68 (January, 1969)

“Crisis On Campus!”

  • Writer: Stan Lee
  • Penciler: John Romita Sr. and Jim Mooney
  • Inker: Jim Mooney
  • Letterer: Sam Rosen
  • Editor: Stan Lee
  • Cover Artist: John Romita, Sr.

Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:

  1. Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance” 
  2. The Avengers Appear on David Letterman