I’m going balls to the wall with these New Jersey sketches for the Asbury Park Comic Con. I think there’s an audience there, and I’ve got a wedding to pay for, a house to find, a new car to buy and a daughter that grows out of something every day.
This one is of my current favorite hero, Nova. I’ve been high on the hog (terrible expression) on this character for about ten years now, when Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning took Marvel’s much-neglected cosmic characters – space farers like the Guardians of the Galaxy, Silver Surfer, the Kree, Nova, etc – and thrust them to the forefront of Marvel’s storytelling with a series of events, starting with Annihilation and running through Annihilation: Conquest, War of Kings, The Thanos Imperative and a bunch of other shit I already forgot.
I have my own theories as to why Marvel finally shone a much-needed light on its C and D-list characters, which, let’s be honest, is exactly what all the cosmic characters were.
1. The Disney Machine: No organization gets as much out of its properties as Disney. Now that Marvel is under the rat’s banner, the sky’s the limit for everyone from Moon Knight to Misty Knight to the Nightstalkers to Sleepwalker. It’s not just a Spider-Man/X-Men one-two punch at the House of Ideas anymore.
2. Hollywood: Speaking of Spidey and the X-Men, back when Marvel was broke as a joke in the late 90s, they sold the movie rights to those properties (as well as Blade, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, the Fantastic Four, and others). According to the agreement, the studios (Sony for Spidey, Fox for X-Men, FF) had a set amount of years to produce a new film for each respective franchise, or the rights would revert back to Marvel. That’s why we see shitty new Spider-Man, X-Men and Wolverine movies every 45 minutes. Those studios make too much money to ever let those cash cows go home, so as a result, Marvel is finally forced to elevate their lesser-known characters.*
This is why Iron Man is suddenly the cat’s meow. Ask any diehard comic book fan. In over 50 years of Iron Man comics, there are maybe two stories – the origin, “Demon in a Bottle” – worth mentioning from the 20th century. Captain America, Thor and the Avengers at large also rode in the back seat of the Spider-Man and X-Men money-making Mercedes for DECADES.
Now, with the two biggest properties off the table, Marvel is dusting off the rest of its spandex wardrobe. The Avengers will only go so far before its overkill, so here come the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and rumors of Dr. Strange, Black Panther and others. I think it’s only a matter of time before Nova hits the big screen, too. And the focus group for this and every other Marvel property will be the local comic shop. And let me tell you, they’re KILLING IT in the funnybooks.
*I do think that some day, maybe within the next 10 years or so, Marvel/Disney throws out some obscene number (a billion dollars? ten billion?) to buy out the other studios and retrieve the rights to their heroes, so we can finally see Peter Parker interact with the Fantastic Four, or Wolverine team up with Captain America in a World War II adventure.