We’re going to start our first email of 2017 with a road map to the pop culture events that will highlight the year. There’s some pretty good pacing to it all, and I hope we can get you as excited as we are.
(Is the superhero genre oversaturated yet? Not by a longshot. I’m with Spielberg that it’s like the Western. We’ve got a long way to go, and some of the best stuff will be near the end.)
We’re going to start the year with one that looks hard to top on 2-10-2017, The Lego Batman Movie.
Here’s is a compilation of the the trailers that have been out so far. (Keep watching, they just get better and better as it goes along.)
There’s something very Cleveland about using the song “We Built This City”. Now I’m free, now I’m movin’, come on Batman let’s get grovin’!
Batman has an excellent monthly title right now written by Tom King, as well as a never ending supply of excellent graphic novel material.
Must read Batman graphic novels include: Year One, Long Halloween, Killing Joke, Court of Owls, Black Mirror, Dark Knight Returns, Arkham Asylum and Hush. Every employee will give you a different spin on their favorites, but those go without question. Two of my favorite ‘lost’ Batman graphic novels are Batman the Cult and World’s Finest by Steve Rude.
Two days later we’ve got the return of Walking Dead Season 7 on 2-12-2016. Rick and the crew have decided to man up and rebel against Negan’s reign.
After a pretty over the top start, this has been on of my favorite seasons. I imagine Negan as a bit more practical than theatrical, but they’ve nailed the character much better than the Governor.
We always keep every volume of Walking Dead in stock at all times. It’s always entertaining and always waiting there for you, deviating just enough from the show to keep the surprises coming.
However, Carl is pretty much equally annoying in both mediums.
Let’s jump to March and Logan on 3-3-2017.
That NIN song covered (Arguably the BEST cover ever) by Johnny Cash hits pretty hard and this could be the movie that “The Wolverine” wasn’t. (Great start, failed ending.) Old Man Logan is essentially the ‘Unforgiven’ of comic book yarns, so the Western look is appropriate.
This film will embrace one of the core values of the character; that of his role as a surrogate father figure. To Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Jubilee and now X-23. While not a direct adaptation of Old Man Logan we’d be remiss to not mention that it’s arguably the best Wolverine story out there. Others include Weapon X, Enemy of the State, and the Death of Wolverine. There’s a lot of great Wolverine tales out there, but sometimes you have to go outside of graphic novels to find them. Ultimate X-Men #41 and Spider-Man Extra #2 come to mind. X-23’s in the movie as well, and she’s currently featured in the monthly All New Wolverine series, taking Logan’s place after his death. She’s got a graphic novel inventory you can dig through as well.
You can celebrate St Patrick’s Day with the release of Iron Fist on Netflix on 3-17-2017.
Not sold on Finn Jones in the role, but we’ll see. I’ll a big Iron Fist fan so it’s one of those properties I’ll be scrutinizing like a weirdo. For a great story look no further than Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker and David Aja’s entire run on Immortal Iron Fist. (It was a creative precursor to their Eisner nominated run on Hawkeye.) Want more? Dip into some of the old stories from the 1970’s. There’s quite a bit in there that stood the test of time. Plus, John Byrne and Gil Kane at their best!
The Power Rangers have been around since 1993, but we’ll get their first serious treatment on 3-24-2017.
There’s another Johnny Cash song helping to pull a trailer together, this time Halsey covering him. The Power Rangers have a monthly comic book from BOOM Studios and the new Justice League Power Rangers Six Issue Mini Series starts next Wednesday!
Every year a movie is linked to Free Comic Book Day, and this year it’s Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 on 5-5-2017.
It looks like they captured the magic of the original. Brian Bendis has been writing the ongoing monthly GOTG comic and Marvel recently released a new ongoing solo series for Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, and Starlord. You can also look into the Abnett and Lanning runs, but be ready to get involved in a pretty far reaching space epic when doing so. Wrap your head around one of the Annihilation stories sometime.
(Oh yeah, expect this years Free Comic Book Day to be over the top with an overall exploration into the influence of Jack Kirby during his 100th birthday.)
June 2nd is the release date for Wonder Woman!
The comic book cinematic world needs more period pieces. Wonder Wonder also obviously has a large graphic novel inventory as well, with a lot of new books having been released in 2016 to coincide with her 75th Anniversary. Check out Kent local Jill Thompson’s Wonder Woman The True Amazon, Renae De Liz’s The Legend of Wonder Woman, or Grant Morrison’s Wonder Woman Earth One. She’s also a really fun character to trace through the decades by reading Gold and Silver age stories.
Spider-Man returns to cinematic greatness on 7-7-2017 in Spider-Man Homecoming.
His appearance in Captain America Civil War was a highlight of last year. (As was the whole movie actually.) Spider-Man more than any other is just a great character, so tracking his history is a worthwhile endeavor as well. Who can forget Amazing Spider-man #33, or #50, or #121, etc. There are some really good collections out there too, like Kraven’s Last Hunt, JMS (J Michael Straczynski) Ultimate Collection Volume One, and New Ways To Die. The Ultimate Spider-Man line is great as well, from the early stories through the introduction of Miles Morales and beyond. Check out the Death of Spider-Man story for a real tearjerker. Any staff member can recommend some great stories that are personal to them as well.
We actually jump all the way to 11-3-2017 for the much anticipated Thor: Ragnarok. We don’t have a trailer but here’s what Thor’s been up to between movies:
Lots of new characters will be introduced to the MCU in this movie, like the Grandmaster, Skurge, Valkyrie and Hela. It’s also the big lead-up to the Infinity War in 2018. If you’ve never been introduced to any of Thor’s history before, look for graphic novels by Walter Simonson, J Michael Straczynski and of course Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Hulk and Doctor Strange will be playing a significant role as well, and while Hulk’s only in his gladiator duds for a short period, we cannot recommend the Planet Hulk and World War Hulk graphic novels enough. For Doctor Strange we’re always going to suggest The Oath by Brian Vaughan (of Saga fame.) Don’t forget to read Thanos Quest and Infinity Gauntlet too to get ready for 2018!
If all goes according to plan we’ll be looking at the new Justice League movie on 11-17-2016. They’ve correctly decided to lighten the mood after a very bleak introduction to the characters in Batman Vs Superman.
If you’re looking for some great Justice League stories, dive into Grant Morrison’s run from the beginning to the end. There’s a lot of 80’s fun in the early Giffen/ DeMatteis run, including a great early run-in with the Suicide Squad. Mark Waid’s Tower of Babel is also a classic. For something more modern the recent Trinity War and Forever Evil stories are epic.
We’ll close the year on 12-15-17 with Star Wars Episode 8.
Rouge One was everything I ever wanted from a modern Star Wars film, and has re-energized my whole perception of what’s possible. Since Disney took over Marvel, there are some amazing comic books coming out every month, and some great collections of those stories. Check out Vader Down or the first volumes of Star Wars and Darth Vader to get you started.
Oh yeah, we also have The Defenders from Netflix some time in 2017!
Luke Cage and Danny Rand are both relics of two 1970’s genres that could no longer afford their own following. (Blaxploitation and Martial Arts.) Together they became stronger and the original Marvel bromance. Throw in Jessica Jones and Daredevil and we’ll ingest that show in a day.
As excitement builds for these films the staff of CNJComics will be here to point you in the direction of stories that will resonate most with you! You’re on the ground floor of where all of these ideas came from, and we’re happy to be your tour guide through the pulp within the shop. I truly believe our staff is the best out there, period.
On a related side note, look for Jack Kirby 100th birthday to be a big deal in our shop in 2017. It’s not just a celebration of the man, but of the medium in general. They say there are only two art forms that were born in America, Jazz and Comic Books. Jack was the King of this movement. Lee for show, Kirby for go. Both of the big two publishers are recognizing this in early 2017 with two new series inspired by Kirby’s work.
At Marvel, we’ve got the five issue mini series, Monsters Unleashed.
Written by Cullen Bunn and drawn by Marvel’s best: Steve McNiven, Adam Kubert, Greg Land, Salvador Larroca and Leinil Yu. This book will unite the heroes in a battle against Kirby’s Monsters from the 1950’s. (Finally, a unifying event from Marvel.) There will be only eight one shot tie in issues and this will run over the months of January through March. A well defined tightly knit event with artist paying their tribute to some of Kirby’s designs.
If you stop in the shop now, we’ve even got a free preview book in that lays it all out for you.
DC will have the twelve issue Kamandi Challenge, with a different writer artist team picking up each issue where the others left off.
- Issue #1 by Dan Abnett/Dale Eaglesham
- Issue #2 by Peter J. Tomasi/Neal Adams
- Issue #3 by Jimmy Palmiotti/Amanda Conner
- Issue #4 by James Tynion/Carlos D’Anda
- Issue #5 by Bill Willingham/Ivan Reis
- Issue #6 by Steve Orlando/Philip Tan
- Issue #7 by Marguerite Bennett/Dan Jurgens
- Issue #8 by Keith Giffen/Steve Rude
- Issue #9 by Tom King/Kevin Eastman (HOW COOL IS THAT?)
- Issue #10 by Greg Pak/Joe Prado
- Issue #11 by Rob Williams/Walter Simonson
- Issue #12 by Gail Simone/Ryan Sook
Kamandi was an early creation by Jack from about a year after his move to DC Comics in 1971.
Monsters Unleashed will begin on 1-18-2017 and The Kamandi Challenge starts on 1-25-2017.
I’m sure there will be more to come by the time Jack’s Birthday hits in August but we think this is a great way for the industry to start the new year!
Let’s get ready for an awesome year in 2017!