The comics world honored the lives of three men this week, each lost at very different points in their lives. One gone far too soon, lost in his twenties; another in middle age, having spent some 30 years bringing comics into the public eye; and the last, among of the first to have a hand in what we now call the comics industry. Each left an indelible mark on the world around them and on comics itself.
One of the original giants of the comics industry, Stan Lee, passed away this week at the age of 95. Co-creator of such iconic characters as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and Iron Man, Lee began his career with Marvel before it was Marvel. His passion for comics and its fans carried him through more than seven decades in the industry in various roles. Lee also strengthened the world of superheroes with his conceptualization of the Marvel universe, the single playground where all these characters co-existed.
Lee’s impact on comics, while complicated by his efforts to downplay the roles of his co-creators (including legendary artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko) and a recent sexual harassment lawsuit, could be seen across the globe as artists, writers, actors, readers, and countless others paid tribute online.
On Veterans Day comics creator Judd Winick honored AIDS educator and friend Pedro Zamora. Zamora, Winick’s roommate during The Real World: San Francisco, died from complications of the disease 24 years ago, only a few months after filming ended. Zamora was an outspoken activist who was open about both his sexuality and his struggle with AIDS – he was one of the first openly gay television personalities, and his commitment ceremony with partner Sean Sasser was the first same-sex ceremony broadcast in the United States. Winick’s friendship with Zamora, although tragically brief, inspired him to create Pedro and Me, an autobiographical graphic novel published in 2000.
On November 10, the comics world lost San Diego Comic Con president John Rogers to complications from a brain tumor. Rogers had served as president since 1986 and had overseen the con’s transition from niche market to pop culture Mecca.
Overall, this was not a good week for Marvel. Court testimony alleged Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter obtained his New York City gun permit renewal with the assistance of a corrupt former New York Police Department (NYPD) sergeant in exchange for tickets to Marvel movie premieres. David Villaneuva testified to receiving tickets to the premieres from Perlmutter assistant Marisol Garcia and to helping facilitate Perlmutter’s permit renewal after Garcia sent him the paperwork. Villaneuva previously pleaded guilty to accepting bribes while part of NYPD’s License Division.
In addition, Marvel officially canceled Shadow of Vader, the Darth Vader series written by Chuck Wendig after firing the author last month. Wendig had completed three of the run’s scheduled five issues, but Marvel will not sell any of the finished issues. The move by Marvel mirrors its cancellation of Chelsea Cain’s Vision series.
DC, on the other hand, took a step in the right direction as G Willow Wilson’s Wonder Woman debuted this week. The former Ms Marvel writer’s goal was to make her run as accessible as possible. Filling the gap between a well-received feature film and its 2019 sequel, Willow’s Wonder Woman seems positioned to welcome new fans of the character who have not previously read the comics.
I made this first arc as new-reader-friendly as I possibly could without breaking current continuity. You should be able to jump in even if you’ve never read another Wonder Woman comic before. https://t.co/zmXmnFQyWW
— G. Willow Wilson (@GWillowWilson) November 13, 2018
My Little Pony fans will be excited to hear about two new MLP projects from Seven Seas. First, everypony’s favorite friends are making their manga debut in My Little Pony: The Manga – A Day in the Life of Equestria. The initial volume is scheduled to be released in June 2019. For pony fans who are part of the maker scene, Seven Seas is releasing My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Papercraft – The Mane 6 & Friends. This book, also being released in June 2019, will contain foldable die-cut characters ready to be popped out for hours of play.
This week’s quick hits:
The inimitable Spike Trotman built an excellent lesson on Black cartoonist Ollie Harrington on a Veterans Day post by professor Lou Moore.
San Francisco’s Bat Kid received word this week that he is cancer-free!
Ella Jay Basco joined the cast of “Birds of Prey.” She’ll play Cassandra Cain, daughter of assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva who (in the comics) eventually dons the mantle of Batgirl.
Marvel announced their new team helming Daredevil in 2019: artist Marco Checchetto and writer Chip Zdarsky.