Avengers STATION

AvengersSTATION

The Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N exhibit in Times Square is something I’ve been looking forward to seeing since it opened. However, first things first. That acronym? Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network. Of course.

Officially, the exhibit is “a completely immersive experience that brings visitors into the world of The Avengers. Visitors of all ages are granted S.H.I.E.L.D. access to the official S.T.A.T.I.O.N. headquarters and taken deep into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here visitors will have open access to a vast array of intelligence files, classified studies and experiments that explores the history and scientific origins of Marvel’s The Avengers.”

It’s important to note that this exhibit is almost exclusively based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you’ve seen (and enjoy) the movies, then you’ll enjoy this exhibit. No comic book knowledge is required.

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5 Questions with G. Willow Wilson

G Willow Wilson

(previous interviews in this series can be found here.)

Welcome to another installment of 5 Questions with a 5-Year-Old. Today, Zoey chats with G. Willow Wilson: author of the ongoing Ms. Marvel series with Marvel Comics.

I should probably preface this with a brief history of how and why Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) found her way home with us. Luckily, I’ve already written about that. So please go read about it here. Go on. I’ll wait for you.

It should therefore go without saying that when Zoey found out the woman responsible for writing and bringing Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel to life was going to be at New York Comic-Con, she was right up there at the top of the list of people she wanted to meet.

If Zoey’s costume hadn’t given it away, she’s still very much a huge fan of the series, 9 issues (and 9 months) in. As am I.

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Marvel Universe Live!

MarvelLive_stageThere’s no denying it. The Marvel Universe is huge. For much of my youth, it always played second fiddle to competitor DC Comics–who seemed to have the somewhat unfair advantage of Superman and Batman.

However, for much of my kids’ lives, Marvel has simply dominated the pop cultural landscape. The Marvel Cinematic Universe launched with unlikely B-list superhero Iron Man in 2008 and hasn’t had a flop (or genuinely bad movie) since.

Since then, Marvel and the Marvel characters have dominated the big screen, the small screen, the direct-to-DVD market, toy aisles, and now…arenas.

Marvel Universe Live! is a new production from Feld Entertainment, the group behind other kid-friendly arena shows such as Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, and Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

There was a lot of hype leading up to the premiere of Marvel Universe Live!, and I for one was very intrigued. We finally got the opportunity to see the show last weekend in Fairfax, VA.

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Upcoming: Marvel Universe Live

marvellive

One of the best things about the recent explosion in popularity of the Marvel universe (aside from the movies) is all of the “extra stuff” that never would’ve happened if the movies hadn’t been such a success.

The Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibit in Times Square is one example. Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Superheroes is another. The Iron Man Experience (opening 2016) at Hong Kong Disneyland is a more distant example.

Yet another is the currently touring Marvel Universe Live! Quite possibly, it’s also the one I’m most looking forward to. Produced by Feld Entertainment, the group behind the Disney On Ice shows (among other things), Marvel Universe Live! is an original, live-action arena show that brings together an impressive 25 Marvel characters.

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Star Wars #9 (Marvel)

Issue #9 (March 1978): Showdown on a Wasteland World

  • Writer/Editor: Roy Thomas
  • Illustrators: Howard Chaykin & Tom Palmer

Previously in this series.

This issue begins with three solid pages of Han’s narration, bringing the reader up to speed on what happened in the previous two issues! I guess the creators weren’t confident enough that their readers either read or understood the nonsense that happened in those pages. Can’t say I blame them.

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Star Wars #8 (Marvel)

Issue #8 (February 1978): Eight for Aduba-3

  • Writer/Editor: Roy Thomas
  • Artist/Co-Plotter: Howard Chaykin

Previously in this series.

Our story, as it were, continues. The promise of Jaxxon is finally fulfilled. I mean, look! There he is, right on the cover!

We pick up right where the last issue leaves off, with Han and Chewie doin’ a little harmless womanizing in the cantina. Well, not quite harmless. Remember the blue woman who wanted to “take a walk and swap life stories” with Han? Turns out she has a boyfriend.

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Silver Surfer #1

  • Silver Surfer #1: The Most Important Person in the Universe
  • writers: Dan Slott and Michael Allred
  • color artist: Laura Allred
  • published by Marvel Comics
  • Roar Score: 4/5

Full disclosure time. Growing up, I was exclusively a DC reader. I never even read a Marvel superhero comic until I was an adult. The characters just never interested me. Blasphemy, I know.

Now, I’m a full-on convert. If we’re talking capes and spandex, it’s the Marvel universe that I find fascinating. I still flip through DC books every Wednesday, but I’m usually appalled at most of what I see. But that’s content for an entirely different post.

When I saw there was a new Silver Surfer book written by Mike Allred, I jumped. Allred’s Madman comics were a staple of my teenage years. And this new title just looked too cool to miss.

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Star Wars #7 (Marvel)

Issue #7 (January 1978): New Planets, New Perils!

  • Writer/Editor: Roy Thomas
  • Artist/Co-plotter: Howard Chaykin

Well, here we are. Finally beyond the movie. We finally get new stories! And….what a mixed bag we get.

The issue picks up where the movie left off. Han and Chewie say goodbye to Luke and Leia and blast off with their reward to pay off Jabba. Kudos to the writers for following up on this plot point. Beginning in this issue, we follow the exploits of Han and Chewie for a while. Why? They actually address this on the letters page:

For the present, in order to gain a breathing space while director/creator George Lucas himself is deciding where the movie sequel (and novelizations thereof) will head, the lads are concentrating a bit more on the adventures of Han and Chewbacca.

Apparently, at the time, no one thought Han and Chewie would play much of an important role in subsequent movies. Anyway, back to this issue…

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Star Wars #6 (Marvel)

Issue #6 (December 1977): Is This The Final Chapter?

  • Writer/Editor: Roy Thomas
  • Artist/Storyteller: Howard Chaykin

In what’s starting to feel like a theme, we need to first address this cover. Last week, we were given a cover that was all about misdirection, and it must’ve worked (from a marketing perspective). I mean, of course it worked. Just look at the entire Silver Age. Anyway, take a look at this one. “See Luke Skywalker Battle Darth Vader!”

Well, I guess so, in a manner of speaking. I mean, Vader did chase down Luke’s X-Wing during the trench run, but they never actually “do battle.” I don’t think Luke even fires on Vader. And they certainly don’t have a lightsaber duel with a helpless Princess Leia cowering on the ground next to them. What a disservice to her character, especially since her tough, independent demeanor is actually represented in these comics.

Are you prepared for the “soul-shattering climax”? I know I am…

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Star Wars #5 (Marvel)

Issue #5 (November 1977): Lo, The Moons of Yavin!

  • Writer/Editor: Roy Thomas
  • Illustrators: Howard Chaykin & Steve Leialoha

Moving toward the conclusion of the movie. Before diving in, we’ve got another doozy of a cover. Talk about your misdirection! This is what I love about old comics like these. What you see on the cover was almost never what you found inside. I mean, c’mon, the Death Star is right there! It’s not in orbit; by all rights, it should be crashing into the planet at this point. But, oh no! Look out! It knocked over a wall with that laser beam!

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Ms. Marvel

Why I read Ms. Marvel to my 5-year-old daughter

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I don’t know who I’m supposed to be. . . . I want to be beautiful and awesome and butt-kicking and less complicated.” —Kamala Khan

When I picked up the first two issues of the new run of Ms. Marvel, they were in a stack of “kid stuff” for my daughter. I think we also had a Super-Pets book and a Scooby-Doo comic in there. The cashier made a point to ask if these two were for me (and not, presumably, for my daughter who was beside me). After a hesitant “yes?” on my part, he simply said, “good.”

I took another look at the covers. Rated T+. I hadn’t noticed anything really offensive during my initial flip through either. Maybe I missed something? After we got home, I read both and instantly fell in love. And, nope, I hadn’t missed anything offensive. I’m assuming they’re rated T+ for some drug and alcohol references. I don’t think ratings are given based on cultural references.

At this point, there’s really nothing I can say about the new Ms. Marvel or Kamala Khan that hasn’t been said (better) elsewhere. This is not meant to be a synopsis or review of the books. This is an explanation for why I think this might be the perfect character for my 5-year-old daughter.

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Star Wars #4 (Marvel)

Issue #4 (October 1977): In Battle with Darth Vader

  • Scripter/Editor: Roy Thomas
  • Illustrators in Tandem: Howard Chaykin & Steve Leialoha

This issue has a lot of exposition and covers a lot of ground. It’s also got some downright disturbing images. You’ve been warned.

Zoey was quiet for much of it, but she seemed to be involved with the story. As usual, much of the narration and dialogue is excessively pedantic. This is Star Wars Revised with a Thesaurus.

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Star Wars #3 (Marvel)

Issue #3 (September 1977): Death Star!

  • Scripter/Editor: Roy Thomas
  • Artists/Illustrators: Howard Chaykin & Steve Leialoha

Issue 3 brings us halfway through the treatment of the first movie. First of all, take a look at that cover. Just soak it in. Look at the determination on their faces, especially Leia. I think we’re seeing more emotion in Luke’s face here than we actually see on screen in the entire movie! I kid.

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Star Wars #2 (Marvel)

Issue #2 (August 1977): Six Against the Galaxy

  • Scripter/Editor: Roy Thomas
  • Illustrator: Howard Chaykin

Issue 2 picks up right where Issue 1 left off. In other news, the sky is blue and the sun will rise tomorrow.

Alert Star Wars fans–or really, anyone with a pulse–will immediately realize that the cover of this issue is a total bait and switch. “Luke Skywalker Strikes Back!” #1: Nice completely accidental foreshadowing there. #2: Really? Luke strikes back?

Why is Luke leading the charge in a cantina brawl? Why is Ben pulling up the rear? Why is Luke firing a blaster in the cantina? Wait…a cantina brawl? Did I miss something?

Also, they spelled it lightsabre. Huh, maybe Luke is British.

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Star Wars #1 (Marvel)

Issue #1 (July 1977): Star Wars

  • Scripter/Editor: Roy Thomas
  • Illustrator: Howard Chaykin
  • Letterer: Jim Novak

My daughter has been a Star Wars fan since before she could talk. She knows all of the characters (we’re talking original trilogy, non-EU here) and can quote entire scenes. But she’s never seen the movies. She’s 5. I’m holding out. I’m actually a little worried she won’t like it anymore once concrete images consume what her imagination has built up. We’ve read countless Star Wars books and listened to the old story records more times than I can count, but I like that the movies are still there….waiting. To be seen for the first time.

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