4.29.2009

Writers Chris Claremont and Matthew K. Manning talk Wolverine


Tonight was a nice little event at the MoCCA museum – that’s the museum of comics and cartoon art in Soho – where comics legend Chris[t] Claremont and author of the new book, WOLVERINE: Inside the World of the Living Weapon, Matthew K. Manning, had a great discussion about everything Logan, James Howlett (well, not really), Patch, Wolvie, the ol’ kanuck, and whatever else you want to call him. Moderating this discussion was Marvel and DC Comics historian and author, Peter Sanderson. [1st photo is of Chris Claremont]

They had a pleasant discussion about how Wolverine has become an icon, the stand out character from the X-Men that wasn’t the intention at the onset. But there was something about the scrappy little guy as he kept getting back up when he was knocked down – and people liked it. [Note for the uninitiated: Claremont wrote the Uncanny: X-Men for something like 16 years, from 1975 - 1991, longer than any other writer. His "Dark Phoenix Saga" is the thing of legends.]

Author of DK Publishing's, WOLVERINE: Inside the World of the Living Weapon, Matthew K. Manning, chimmed in with some great points and was well versed on all thing Wolverine. When I went to get my copy signed after the panel, and mentioned how much I liked his book and how much I was surprised I didn't know about the events in the last several years of Wolverine's life in the comics, he nodded, saying he read about 400 comics to get caught up across the board. Impressive. [2nd photo is of Matthew K. Manning.]
Claremont brought up, more than once, the new book he’s writing for Marvel, X-MEN: Forever. It sounds very exciting, he explained it that he has pushed to the side many of the things about the last few years that didn’t fit into his version of the hero, and will introduce elements in Wolverine’s life the way he sees them, including a new father [and mother] that obviously differs from the Wolverine: Origin story of a few years ago, which seems mixed in to the new X-Men Origins film which releases tomorrow. This book sounds exciting, with Jim Lee on artist duties for the arc anyway, and promises to leave fans wanting more – looks to be out in about 5 weeks too.
It was interesting to hear Claremont talk about the savage/samurai connection, something that I loved about his limited series book with Frank Miller from the 1980s and the Uncanny X-Men I read growing up. Logan was a little, hairy, indestructible tough guy – and I loved him.

Peter Sanderson did a decent job steering the conversation, asking questions of the panel, making historic points, and referencing the cultural impact Wolverine has had on us all. [3rd picture is of Peter Sanderson.]
The crowd even chimed in with a few questions at the very end, but the panel ran over, there still needed to be a bit of time for a signing [which both writers happily signed my copy of the new book, sweet!] Although I'm sure he felt he went on and on, I could listen to Claremont talk about Wolverine all night, as he is clearly one of the talented few writers who understands all that is Wolverine. I think I'll be picking up that new X-Men: Forever book. And if you haven't grabbed a copy of the new DK book - I highly recommend it, and it makes a great gift for any fan.

4.22.2009

Out today: THE BEST OF SIMON AND KIRBY

Out today from Titan Books (the wonderful folks I volunteered for at this year's NYCC) is an amazing new book: The Best of Simon and Kirby. I was privy to the page proofs at this past New York Comic Con as my former boss from my Marvel intern days, Steve Saffel, had them to show fans.

Of course the real highlight was having an appearance by comics legend Joe Simon, as well as the beautiful limited edition lithographs that Joe signed over the course of the con weekend.
The oversized pages and expertly restored artwork make this book quite a gem! I'll be picking up my copy when I hit the comic shop tomorrow, that's for sure.

[4.23.09: Edit note: made a few corrections here] Featuring the work of dream team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, and edited by Steve Saffel (former Marvel Comics editor and author of SPIDER-MAN: ICON), art restoration by Harry Mendryk, with an introduction by Joe Simon, and essays by Mark Evanier (author of 2007's KIRBY: King of Comics), this beautiful book is a treasure for any comic book fan, and contains material selected by Joe, himself.

Some of the pages sent out are just too good not to include here, although I'll admit posting them doesn't do them the justice they deserve. The color pops on the actual pages, and you'll be amazed at the reproduction, printing, and design of this book.

All types of material is included from the many years of collaboration between these two icons: superhero stories, horror, westerns, romance (see image below) as well as detective stories. It also includes work from their Marvel and DC days, including the early hit collaborations, Captain America and Boy Commandos.

This book is a testament to these legends of the field. The fact that Joe Simon still attends comics conventions, well into his 90s, just shows what a class act he is; he's a special guy. Join me in supporting this wonderful book--you won't be disappointed!

4.18.2009

Steal Away

Sometimes, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, even with loads of work to do on the computer, it still feels good to escape for a quick bike ride to the park.

I know I'll be back home soon, where the work will be waiting for me. But for this guy, ever since as far back as I can remember, there is nothing more therapeutic, like the sound of the freewheel as I ride in the afternoon breeze. Easy breezy.

Back indoors now. Doing my "homework," I feel like I'm 13 again...

4.16.2009

My first game at Citi Field

I've been to my first game at Citi Field and it was amazin'. The Mets won 7 - 2 against the Padres last night, and it was a beautiful night for baseball. Yes, it felt very different from the Shea I grew up in, but new is good, and I started to feel at home right away.


The hardest thing to get used to was no orange and blue seats, but I read that the dark green seats and the exposed dark blue steel throughout the stadium pay homage to Ebbets field, the historic Brooklyn Dodgers ballpark. Classy touch.

The game itself started slow, but then the action picked up with a wild pitch by the Padres which led to a few runs including Reyes scoring from first base. It was awesome to watch. Then Carlos Delgado smashed a solo home run some 405 feet over the odd zig-zag outfield wall.

I had a burger, fries, and a soda for a pretty reasonable price and will definitely try the Shake Shack booth next time I'm there (all who know me, know I love the Shake Shack in Madison Park).

Anyway, I know this is not a book-related post, but what is a blog for if I can't share my life as a New Yorker as well.

4.06.2009

Lots of Wolverine Buzz out there

Good morning loyal readers, I know I've been away from the blog for a few, with no excuse other than deadline madness. But the internet continues to be a buzz with talk and early reviews out regarding the one-month early leak of the new Wolverine film. Fox had to pull one of it's own blogger's reviews down (and there is some discussion whether he actually was fired or not for posting it). It'll be interesting to watch how this month early leak affects the film's actual release.

Being a big Wolverine fan, reading X-Men and Wolverine comics as far back as I can remember, I'm going to reserve judgement until I can see the film myself. I know there is a lot of confusing Wolverine history to try to blend into a two hour film, so I fully realize that it can't be done seamlessly. But I'm looking for them to get that feel right, the type of thing that lets me know they understand the character (like the first two X-Men films did).
I just wanted to quickly chime in on this topic, and say hello. I've spoken to one friend who has seen some early footage of the movie, and held him off from telling me anything significant. A few weeks from now, when I've seen it myself, let's have this conversation again.

[Note: I ask that if anyone posts a comment, please keep it spoiler free. Thank you].