Over at the All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast, we try to do the best we can, but sometimes we make some mistakes. One such mistake came in our last regular show - we forgot all about the trades of the week, and one of them was a biggie, or at least to me it was a biggie - Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow's Avengers. This trade comes in two volumes, and they are both on sale at, where else, All Things Fun!.
Now, for most of you out there, when I say 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' you're thinking, oh cool, Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, Groot, the new Brian Michael Bendis comic, and big budget Marvel movie next summer, right? Well, this ain't them. Those are the characters who took the name and ran with it. I'm talking about the originals.
In 1969 Doom Patrol and Deadman creator Arnold Drake, along with noted Silver Age artist Gene Colon, himself famous for his Daredevil, Iron Man, and Tomb of Dracula work, took a look at the Marvel Comics Universe in the 30th century. If that time sounds familiar, yeah, it was a direct shot to counter DC Comics' success with the Legion of Super-Heroes, also set one thousand years in the future.
Introduced in Marvel Super Heroes #18, we were introduced to a new superhero team, one composed of humans who had evolved for survival on different planets that Earth had colonized in the last hundred years. Led by thousand year old astronaut Vance Astro, who along with telekinetic powers and the inspiration of the heroes of today's world, leads this team against the alien Badoon, who have conquered the Earth.
The original members included Charlie-27 of Jupiter, made bigger and stronger by that planet's oppressive size and gravity. There was also Martinex, a crystalline being from Pluto, and Yondu, and weapons master from Alpha Centauri. They were quickly joined by flame-haired Nikki from Mercury, and the mysterious cosmic being Starhawk.
The team fought the Badoon across the backdrop of more than a few Marvel titles before defeating them and freeing the Earth with the help of the time-tossed Defenders. Saving the Earth was easy however, compared to what came next…
A new foe rose from the ashes to take over the 31st century Earth after that. He was part-man and part-machine, named Michael Korvac, a collaborator in the Badoon invasion. Korvac was really nobody until he fled to the twentieth century. There, he tried to download some of Galactus' technology, a stunt that embued him with the Power Cosmic. Now he was somebody. Korvac became one of the most powerful beings in the universe, calling himself alternately Korvac, Michael, and The Enemy.
His master plan originally was to erase the Guardians of the Galaxy from the timeline by killing Vance Astro as a child. The Guardians followed him back in time, and enlisted the Avengers to protect the young boy. Long story short, he decided that universal conquest was a better goal, and when the Avengers and Guardians tried to stop him, he killed them. Yeah, he was that powerful. You can read that story in The Korvac Saga, also available from All Things Fun!.
These are some of the tales that are included in volumes one and two of Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow's Avengers. It is a whole new world of Marvel Comics action and adventure, and one that eventually inspired the latest incarnation of the team, the one that will be featured in next summer's sure-to-be-hit movie.
That movie, it should be noted, might have more to do with the original Guardians of the Galaxy than we thought. Michael Rooker, of "The Walking Dead" fame, just got cast …as Yondu. I guess we'll just have to wait and see!
The newest jewel in the Marvel NOW! crown is the new series of Guardians of the Galaxy by the power duo of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Steve McNiven. Bendis is coming off of a decade plus old run on the Avengers franchise, as well as Ultimate Spider-Man and Marvel NOW!'s All-New X-Men, and McNiven is the artist who dazzled us on New Avengers, and the legendary Civil War. And they aren't the only reasons Guardians of the Galaxy is so hot.
For those not in the know, Guardians of the Galaxy is headed to the big screen in 2014 with a cast that already includes Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista. Here's your chance to get in on the excitement early with a number one issue that is a terrific jumping-on point for new readers. Marvel Comics superstar Iron Man joins the Guardians just as the Earth has been made a target for invaders from space. And it only gets better from there.
For more adventures of these classic Marvel cosmic characters including Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, Iron Man, and of course, Rocket Racoon - get on down to All Things Fun! and pick up Guardians of the Galaxy #1, on sale this week!
You've heard me ramble on about Ultron before, mostly here and here, and even a little bit here. Really, when you're talking about the Avengers, there's no getting around the topic of Ultron. With Ultron, it's not just about eliminating mankind to usher in a machine age - with Ultron, it's personal… because he's family.
Ultron was created by one of the original Avengers, Hank Pym, whom he calls 'father,' and he is in love with another, the Wasp, whom he calls 'mother,' and finally, he himself (itself?) created the Avenger known as the Vision, whom he calls 'son.' Oh yeah, it's a messed little Oedipus complex he has going there. And he pretty much wants them all, and the Avengers, and mankind exterminated.
In Age of Ultron #1, the first issue of the maxi-series crossover event by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Bryan Hitch, the worst thing that could possibly happen, happens. Ultron wins. He gets what he's been after. Let's let that sink in a little bit. Ultron wins.
In a world where Ultron rules the planet, where are the Avengers? On the run, and in hiding. Who will stop Ultron now? Find out in Age of Ultron: Book One, now on sale at All Things Fun!. Be sure to get in on the ground floor of what is sure to be the comics event of 2013, and watch your back, Ultron is everywhere!
By Glenn Walker
Remember that time, way back in the Avengers Bendis-verse when the most powerful beings on Marvel Earth got together and decided they needed to stand in the shadows and run things for everyone else? You had Reed (Mr. Fantastic) Richards, Professor X, Tony (Iron Man) Stark, Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, and the Black Panther - and they called themselves, ominously enough, the Illuminati. It was a step in what they considered the right direction, a way to prevent misunderstandings between various super-teams, between nations, and to unify forces when Earth itself was attacked.
As shown on the first page of the brand new New Avengers #1, part of the Marvel NOW! initiative, by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Steve Epting, the Black Panther immediately thought it was a bad idea, and he bailed on the first meeting. Turns out the Panther was right, as this Illuminati failed to function during the Skrull Secret Invasion, and it certainly didn't stop this past year's battle to end all battles, Avengers Vs. X-Men. Now, however, in this issue, the Black Panther needs them.
Hickman and Epting produce, in New Avengers #1 (the third first issue of this title in a decade, I think), one of the best Black Panther stories I've read in a while. Now I'm a sucker for the Black Panther, and I love him in the Avengers, because there he embodies the perfect melding of Batman-like fighting prowess, scientific know-how, superhero pro-activity, and that classy regal-ness that running one of the world's most highly advanced civilizations brings with it. Gotta love the Panther. Usually will get one or two of these qualities, but Hickman gets it. This is the Black Panther done right.
Artist Steve Epting is also a star here. As an old school Avengers fan, I loved his art on the title back in the 1990s, and when I next saw his work, it was much tighter and smoother as he worked with Ed Brubaker on the now legendary Captain America series of the last decade. A peek back a year or so at Fantastic Four proves how well he works with Hickman as well. Here in New Avengers, he delivers his best work so far in my opinion.
Together the two spin a tale of the Black Panther and his Wakandan scientists as they discover a gateway to another planet, where dangerous forces seek to destroy the Earth, and possibly all Earths. Hey, who you gonna call? The Illuminati, of course. This is an awesome comic, and one of my picks for the week. Special bonus, there are even clues here to the origins of one of the new members over in Hickman's Marvel NOW! Avengers. New Avengers #1, on the shelves at All Things Fun!, and other comic shops (but ATF! is the best!). Do not miss!
This is big. Usually Marvel Comics doesn't do this type of thing often, it's the realm of DC Comics stories - this multiversal team-up sort of thing. But when Marvel does do it, they do it big.
Written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Sara Pichelli, Spider-Men #1 (of 5) brings together 'the most amazing heroes of two worlds' as Peter Parker, the Spider-Man of the Earth-616 Marvel Universe meets the new Spider-Man of the Ultimate Comics Universe, Miles Morales.
Bendis is one of the pros when it comes to writing both Spider-Men, and Pichelli's art is crisp and exciting. All this, and classic Spidey-foe Mysterio too! This is a great comic. Come on down to All Things Fun! this week and pick up Spider-Men #1 and find out what brings Peter Parker to the Ultimate Universe!
To say that this is a big week for Marvel Comics and the Avengers would be a serious understatement. With the release of Marvel's The Avengers this past weekend to the highest box office opening ever, I say this is the biggest week for the Avengers.
So if you haven't already, go out and see the movie, and if you've already done it, see it again, then come on down to All Things Fun! and pick up the biggest Avengers comic this week, Avengers Assemble #3.
The cinematic Avengers - Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye and the Black Widow - go toe to toe with the new Zodiac in this story by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley, featuring the biggest last page revelation you'll see this side of a Marvel movie end credit sequence.
Do not miss Avengers Assemble #3!
By Glenn Walker
Hopefully y'all have been following the All Things Fun! Comic Vidcast uploaded every Wednesday, and if not, get yourself over to its special webpage and enjoy. As I said, it's uploaded every Wednesday morning by 11:30 AM sharp Eastern Standard Time, and available for viewing – as are all the episodes, throughout the week afterwards. The Vidcast even has its own channel on YouTube.
I, along with co-hosts Allison Eckel and Ed Evans, discuss the new comics that come out that day for the week. We like to think we offer our own unique and informative view of the comics world and what's going on within it and around it.
Although, sometimes fifteen to twenty minutes just isn't enough to explain some of the references made during the vidcast, and it certainly isn't anywhere near enough time to justify the vast storehouse of useless comics knowledge spilling out of my head. We've had to do an explanatory post like this once or twice before, and hopefully this new edition of Show Notes might help alleviate the pressure on my brain.
Lucas "Snapper" Carr
Allison doesn't like this guy and thinks he's dumb, and didn't know why he was showing up in recent issues of the out-of-continuity Young Justice. Old folks like me were thrilled with both the history and irony of his appearance. Sadly, when most people do think of poor Snapper, they do think lame. That's because they don't have a sense of history, or perhaps don't know his history.
Snapper was designed to be the identifying character in Gardner Fox's Silver Age Justice League of America. He was the little-bit-out-of-date beatnik kid who got to hang out with the World's Greatest Heroes. "Wow, if we, the readers, could be Snapper, wouldn't that be cool?" was the line of thinking, but after a while, Snap got annoying. While Fox was on the book, Carr worked as a storytelling device, informing readers on the ins and outs of the team, the day-to-day operations, and he even had a friendship with the League's second new member, the Atom.
However, as time went by, even Gardner Fox got tired of poor Snap, and used him less and less. When Fox left, and new, younger, hipper writer Denny O'Neil came on board, things changed. O'Neil sought to streamline the JLoA to be more his style, and more in line with other books he wrote. More focus was placed on his pet characters like the darker detective Batman, Green Lantern, his revamped and more socially conscious Green Arrow, and the Earth-Two Justice Society transfer, Black Canary. O'Neil also got rid of folks. Over in her own title, he had depowered Wonder Woman, and here, he had her resign from the League. J'Onn J'Onzz returned to his homeworld, and O'Neil simply just ignored Aquaman as if he didn't exist.
Denny O'Neil had more sinister plans for poor Snapper Carr. In the writer's mind, as Snapper grew older, the League had gotten tired of him, and in turn, Snapper was weary of being made fun of by his peers for being the 'Justice League mascot.' In short, he was feeling alienated, and was ready to strike back at 'the man,' his mentors and friends in the JLA. Snapper fell under the sway of an anti-superhero public speaker (shades of the Glorious Godfrey who would come a few short years later) called Mr. Average.
The insidious Mr. Average convinced Snapper that he had to turn against the heroes, and he weaseled their biggest secret out of poor Snapper: the location of their secret headquarters, the Secret Sanctuary in Mount Justice. Oh, and did I mention that Mr. Average was actually the Joker in disguise? Yeah, this was bad. And it led to Snapper Carr's resignation as an honorary JLA member, and the move to a satellite headquarters in orbit.
But therein lies the irony of Snapper appearing in Young Justice, as you see, the YJ team meets in the old Mount Justice headquarters. Cool, huh? Snapper Carr eventually made amends with the JLA, but not after making further mistakes, like being misled once again by villains like The Key, the Star-Tsar, and the Privateer. He later sidekicked for the android Hourman from the future. Snapper Carr remains a case study in the idea that there are no bad characters, only bad writers.
The Absorbing Man
Stop snickering, Allison. I know how you like to make fun of the sometimes-lame names of Marvel Comics characters, but this one is really cool. And besides, it's DC that has characters like the Crimson Centipede, the Purple Pile-Driver, Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, and Don Rickles as a super-villain -- not Marvel, so take that.
The Absorbing Man began his comics life as small-time and not-so-bright criminal Carl "Crusher" Creel, and in the typical fashion of most Silver Age Thor villains, being unknowingly empowered by Thor's evil stepbrother Loki. In this case, Loki gave Creel the ability to absorb the strengths and properties of whatever he touches. For example, he touches stone, he becomes as strong as stone, and in actuality, stone. Needless to say, he's been shattered several times.
Over the years, other than Thor, he has clashed with the Hulk several times, giving you an idea of Creel's power levels. The turning point for the Absorbing Man was in the late 1970s in Avengers #183-184 when he made the big leagues. He ended up taking on the entire Avengers team when all he wanted was to be left alone. From that moment on, he was taken seriously and was considered a major Avengers foe, as opposed to that dumb guy with the ball and chain who sometimes bothered Thor and the Hulk.
He's been animated several times, beginning with the Thor segments of 1966's "Marvel Super Heroes," and most recently in Disney XD's "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" as both an adversary of the Hulk and the whole team again. Creel has even made it to the big screen, albeit in a mangled comics-to-film version. In Ang Lee's Hulk movie, Nick Nolte plays Bruce Banner's father, who is imbued with the Absorbing Man's powers.
Crusher Creel continues his major threat level status even today as one of The Worthy in Marvel Comics' latest big crossover event, "Fear Itself."
Here's another name Allison has busted on, and a character with a lot of history, and an amazing character when written right. Currently he's being miswritten by Brian Michael Bendis in theAvengers comics franchise, as a bitter former member who wants to stop his old teammates by starting his own group, the Revengers. It all sounds familiar, but essentially out of character.
Wonder Man began life as a one-shot, one-note character in the classic Avengers #9 by Stan Lee and Don Heck. Simon Williams was recruited byBaron Zemo and the first Masters of Evil to gain super powers and infiltrate the Avengers and destroy them from within. With a mysterious 'ionic' process, Williams was given enhanced strength, endurance and invulnerability, as well as a rocket belt for flying. He joined the team, and then when the Masters of Evil attacked, Simon had a change of heart and fought against them. Zemo double-crossed him, and Wonder Man became the first Avenger to die in battle. At least he died on the side of the angels.
Wonder Man was not forgotten. His name and memory came up often in the Avengers series. Things got hot when Simon's brother, the Grim Reaper, attacked the team seeking revenge. It was revealed later that Simon's brain patterns were actually recorded, and used as a template for the android Vision's mind after he had been reprogrammed. And much later, Avengers arch-foe Kang stole Wonder Man out of time and used him as a pawn in his Legion of the Unliving. In all cases, fan response was strong.
All of these post-death appearances told the powers-that-be at Marvel one thing: Wonder Man was popular. And what do you do with dead characters in comics when they're popular? You bring them back from the dead of course! Wonder Man returned in Avengers #151, first as azuvembie (don't even ask, or just click, but you've been warned), and then for real and for good, regaining his full member status on the team.
Wonder Man became a fast fan favorite, became a founding member of the West Coast Avengers, best friends with teammate the Beast, got his own series, and yes, died a couple more times, and came back as well. He's become known as a loyal support Avenger, his colorful, and sometimes drab costumes, and for coming back from the dead frequently. What he's not known for is being vengeful and unfoundedly proactive. Again, it's Snapper Carr time -- there are no bad characters, only bad writers.
That said, Wonder Man, and the Revengers, can be found in recent issues of the Avengers franchise of titles, fighting his former friends, the Avengers.
That's all for this time. I'm sure there will have to be more explanations of obscure and arcane info from my twisted mind. Maybe next time I'll teach y'all how to pronounce all the 'O' villains in the Justice League's rogues gallery…
By Glenn Walker
What was good about the year 2010 in comic books? Hmmm. If I have to think that hard about it, maybe it wasn’t such a good year. But it was. I can best sum it up with some paraphrased Dickens, but not the seasonal kind – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
In my estimation, this was not a great year for comics, but there were some shining lights. One of the most consistently best comics out there in 2010 would have to be Tiny Titans from DC Comics, so I have to give props right off. I would also recommend indies like The Boys, Irredeemable, and something ATF! main man Ed Evans turned me on to: Chew.
On the more traditional side of things I have to say I love that DC and Marvel Comics brought both Aquaman and the Avengers back to recognizable popularity. Writer Geoff Johns has not only returned Aquaman and his supporting cast back from the dead but back to publishing life with Blackest Night and Brightest Day. I have always been an Aquaman fan, from the Filmation cartoons of the 1960s to the wonderful Jim Aparo run of Adventure Comics in the 1970s. He is a great character with much untapped potential, and I’m thrilled to see Johns showing that to the rest of the world.
Also at DC Comics, I’d have to say that, much like Geoff Johns, everything Paul Cornell touches has turned to gold. His Knight and Squire is by far one of the best comics out there, along with his revitalization of Lex Luthor in Action Comics. And as the year ends he’s bringing a rather gruesome Bat-villain to chilling life as well as crossing swords with Gail Simone’s Secret Six. Good times.
Since the events of… oh, really who knows any more – events at Marvel Comics seem to be forever coming and going, it’s hard to keep track any more. Let’s just say since the last big event at Marvel, the Avengers franchise has been reshuffled once again, and once all the nuts and bolts shook out, we were gifted by a new adjective-less Avengers title, written by now longtime Avengers scribe Brian Michael Bendis with art by John Romita, Jr.
This title features a nearly recognizable line-up of big gun Avengers: Thor, Iron Man, the new Captain America, Hawkeye, along with newbies (but famous newbies) Spider-Man and Wolverine. More traditional than any Avengers team has been for more than a few years, even though written by Bendis, this is a breath of fresh air, and supposed return to more traditional superhero adventures. Let’s hope.
Also at Marvel is a couple of interesting Avengers-related spin-offs Ant-Man and Wasp by newcomer Tim Seeley and of course Mighty Avengers by Dan Slott and Khoi Pham. The latter gave some respect to, rather than beating down, another character with much untapped potential – Hank Pym. Late in the year we were treated to the mini-series Dead Avengers by Fred Van Lente and Tom Grummett, part of “Chaos War,” yet another Marvel crossover event. Dead Avengers makes my list because it features two of my favorite old school Avengers, the Vision and the Swordsman. I can taste the 1970s, and it’s a good thing.
Non-comics-wise, the Avengers were also part of what I enjoyed about 2010 in television. “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” on Disney XD showcases probably the best animated superhero action since the Justice League left Cartoon Network. And “The Walking Dead” on AMC is just simply some of the best television, period.
For 2011, I look forward to fewer crossovers and events from not just Marvel, but all the big companies. Of course I know that won’t happen as we know both Marvel’s "Fear Itself" and DC’s "Flashpoint" are coming, but at least the latter will have the Flash. In the summer we will have several movies to look forward to, not the least of which feature Thor, Captain America, and the much-anticipated Green Lantern. So far, so good, for 2011. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
By Allison Eckel
I have been crippled by the Internet.
I am now three (ok, four) days late on my post because every time I sit down to write, I first have to check Twitter. After reading countless posts by writers, comedians, politicians, bloggers, and friends, I usually get a new topic idea, set to research it, and run out of time for the day.
Case in point: Over the weekend I started following a story about Lois Lane. A fan in England started an online campaign to get Lois her own comic series. The trending topic #LoisLaneSeries turned into a big deal (although many of the participants appeared to be sequential accounts of the same three people). They contacted comics writers and asked for re-tweets and many actually gave positive comments as well.
Great, I thought: I will write a blog post about the great, unsinkable Lois Lane, about her history in comics and other media, and what her own title today might look like. Of course, I will also speculate on the effectiveness of a grass-roots Twitter campaign on the engine that is DC Comics Editorial.
As I sat down to write this awesome Lois Lane blog post, I first checked Twitter. Newsarama beat me to it. Theirs is the article I wanted to write. I guess that will teach me to play with my kids all afternoon instead of writing, right?
Here's another lesson learned by this: The comics creators are more approachable today than ever before. Most of them are on Twitter, so you don't have to communicate through the letters column anymore. Oh, right: There is no letters column anymore.
So, bookmark this page and fire up your Twitter account. Here is a smattering of comics creatives who are currently active in social media. And there are more, so feel free to post a few others in the comments section.
Brian M. Bendis (writer, Avengers)
Paul Cornell (writer, Knight & Squire)
Sterling Gates (writer, Supergirl)
Phil Hester (artist, Green Hornet)
Geoff Johns (DC Comics Chief Creative Officer, writer Brightest Day)
Ron Marz (writer, Velocity)
Bryan Q. Miller (writer, Batgirl)
Chris Samnee (artist, Thor: The Mighty Avenger)
Gail Simone (writer, Secret Six)
Paul Cornell also has a blog on which he is running a contest. The prize: an entire box of comp issues from DC Comics (122 monthlies plus a handful of trade paperbacks and other goodies). To enter, visit this page of his blog and attempt to answer the really challenging trivia questions. Example: 6: In what way are 'Wonder Woman', Metallo and Roger Penrose the same person?
His contest deadline is December 22, so hurry!
In the meantime, send notes of encouragement to your favorite comics industry creatives.
By Glenn Walker
Hopefully y'all have been following the All Things Fun! Comic Vidcast broadcast live every Wednesday, and if not, get yourself over to its special webpage and enjoy. As I said, it's live every Wednesday morning at 10:30 AM sharp Eastern Standard Time, and available for viewing, as are all the episodes, throughout the week afterwards.
I, along with co-hosts Allison Eckel (fellow blogger) and Ed Evans (All Things Fun! owner), discuss the new comics that come out that day for the week. We like to think we offer our own unique and informative view of the comics world and what's going on within it and around it.
Although, sometimes fifteen to twenty minutes just isn't enough to explain some of the references made during the vidcast, and it certainly isn't anywhere near enough time to justify the vast storehouse of useless comics knowledge spilling out of my head. Hopefully these show notes might help.
I am not a nice person. I have been known to tease young children, take candy from babies and frequently have poked X-Men fans with pointed sticks, but nothing was as terrible as when I convinced Allison that there was not only a Golden Age Deadpool, but also a Silver Age Deadpool. I'm a cruel, cruel man.
In reality, Deadpool was created for Marvel Comics in 1991 by the infamous Rob Liefield. The wildly popular character is in many ways an in-joke for comics readers, even his real name, Wade Wilson, is a reference to DC Comics' mercenary anti-hero/villain Deathstroke (aka Slade Wilson). His healing factor and super-reflexes are a product of the same program that created that other Canadian superhero, Wolverine. The 'merc with a mouth' often talks to the readers directly, and rarely shuts up, to be honest. The character is so popular that hardly a week goes by without some Deadpool offering from Marvel Comics.
This one, a teenaged mutant super-heroine with rodent-like abilities and the power to communicate with, yes, squirrels, was created by comics legend Steve Ditko in 1992. In her first appearance she and her sidekick, a squirrel named Monkey Joe, first fought, then teamed up with Iron Man, and then when the Golden Avenger was defeated, she was victorious against the sinister Doctor Doom. Don't laugh. This really happened.
John Byrne created the Great Lakes Avengers in 1989 as a joke, another in-comic reference to other characters, in this case conceptually, to another DC Comics idea - the Legion of Substitute Heroes. These heroes had dumb powers and were ridiculous characters but would serve as back-up, should the real heroes fall in battle. Squirrel Girl was a perfect fit for the team.
Her service on that team led to the character being featured in the recent I Am an Avenger #1 and writer Brian Michael Bendis choosing her to become nanny for Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' daughter in upcoming issues of New Avengers.
When the Japanese Microman toy line came to America in 1976 as Micronauts by Mego, Marvel got the license for their comic book adventures. With Bill Mantlo on story and Michael Golden on art, characters, history and an entire universe - or more accurately a Microverse - was created simply based on the toy designs and one or two names. Just my opinion, but for about a year or so, them's was some darn good comics.
Two concepts remain after all these years. First Bug, who continues to appear as part of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and in their cosmic-based mini-series epics. The other, Captain Universe, is equally cosmic. Whenever a person, any person, is in a time of crisis, the Uni-Power, also known as the Enigma Force, can transform them into a cosmic-powered superhero known as Captain Universe. Interesting idea, he's the hero who can be you. Notably, Spider-Man once became Captain Universe, and he beat the living snot out of Firelord. Yes, really.
Hmmm. Let's take the second part first. Man-Thing was Marvel Comics' swamp monster counterpart to DC Comics' Swamp Thing. Like the Doom Patrol and the X-Men, and the Red Tornado and the Vision, this was one of those times when both major comic book companies came up with a concept at roughly the same time, summer of 1971. Sometimes great minds think alike, but it's notable to mention that The Heap, the swamp monster from the Golden Age, predates them both by nearly thirty years.
Unlike Swamp Thing, the Man-Thing was frequently used as a tool to tell stories, or the catharsis for other stories. They were rarely about him. Other characters surrounded him and were launched after appearing with him, such as Wundarr, Foolkiller and Howard the Duck among others. And as the Guardian of the Nexus of All Realities (don't even ask) it seemed like anything could happen when Man-Thing was around.
Now for the embarrassing part. In the mid-seventies, Marvel upsized several of their comics to more pages and more cents with a line they called Giant-Size. Almost every Marvel comic had a "Giant-Size" version, including, you guessed it, Man-Thing. Over the years, this double entendre has become a legendary joke in the industry, but it should be noted that Giant-Size Man-Thing lasted for an entire year, five whole issues. And I just bet that writer Steve Gerber giggled like a madman every time it came out.
That's all for this time. I'm sure there will have to be more explanations of obscure and arcane info from my twisted mind that makes into our live vidcast. Maybe next time I'll teach y'all how to pronounce all the 'O' villains in the Justice League's rogues gallery…