The Muppets Omnibus Coming in 2014?

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Marvel has announced that Roger Langridge’s Muppets comics are to be released in omnibus format.

The Muppets Show

The book is expected to hit shelves sometime in 2014, likely around March, when the second Muppets movie, Muppets Most Wanted – which stars Loki actor, Tom Hiddleston, and comedian, Ricky Gervais – is released; however, no release date has been confirmed.

Printing privileges – originally published by BOOM! – reverted to Marvel after the publisher’s parent company, Disney, acquired the rights to the Jim Henson characters. Langridge’s four-issue Muppets tale, The Four Seasons, was ‘in limbo’ after the acquisition but was recently released by Marvel. This omnibus is set to reprint The Muppet Show, The Muppet Show Comic Book: The Treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson, The Muppet Show Comic Book and The Muppets titles, according to Digital Spy.

Langridge's Doctor Who

I really like New Zealand-born Langridge, who I’ve met a few times at comic conventions and is always very giving with his time. He’s worked on Doctor Who Magazine and Inside Soap, as well as writing (and sometimes illustrating) a Popeye comic for IDW. Originally a miniseries, after the success of the first two issues, it was announced that Popeye would become an ongoing title and has inspired reprints of the original comic strips. He’s perhaps most famous for creating the Buster Keaton-inspired Fred the Clown and Snarked!

He’s also on the immensely well-received Thor: The Mighty Avenger and on the character, Fin Fang Foom, with writer Scott Gray.

Hearing the news of this upcoming omnibus, Roger said:

“I’m extremely proud of the work I did on the Muppet Show comic books and thrilled to hear that they’ll be available soon in this long-lasting format. This is one of those rare cases where corporate imperatives neatly intersected with a cartoonist’s own interests and passions, and I’m pleasantly surprised to hear that Marvel thought my efforts were worth commemorating with such a prestigious edition.”

This is a lovely, fun detour from the usual serious nature of omnibuses, one which I hope will be expanded upon in the future. Roger’s work (both his art and his writing) really is a joy to behold, so head over to his website now!

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News Round-up: January 2013, featuring Thor, Wolverine – and Rare Omnibuses!

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A second Mighty Thor omnibus is due for release in August, carrying on from where the first volume left off.

Thor Omnibus

Many thanks to Rubèn, who found this in the Marvel May to August Preview.

Thor Omnibus blurb

The first omnibus, released in January 2011, collected together Journey Into Mystery #83-120 and Annual #1; this second will continue from Journey Into Mystery #121, relaying the foundations of Thor, Loki, the Warriors Three and the rest of Asgard to readers before the release of the movie sequel, Thor: The Dark World, due out in October in the UK.

The Wolverine is also set to hit cinema screens this year (in July, to be precise), and to coincide, Marvel will release Wolverine by Mark Millar Omnibus, which I will personally be lapping up. With art by John Romita Jr (Thor; X-Men), Steve McNiven (Captain America; The Amazing Spider-man) and Kaare Andrews (Spider-man: Reign; Incredible Hulk), the 576-page book will include the popular Enemy of the State and Old Man Logan storylines. Here’s the official blurb:

He’s the best there is at what he does. And when writer Mark Millar (The Ultimates; Kick-Ass) gets his hands on Wolverine, what he does isn’t very pretty! When the Hand brainwashes Wolverine, he slices and dices his way through friends and foes alike — carving a swath of terror through the Marvel Universe that ultimately results in an X-Man’s death! Finally captured and deprogrammed, Wolverine swears vengeance against his tormentors — and the vengeance of Wolverine is a wonder to behold. Then: Nobody knows what happened the night the heroes fell, but the villains have been calling the shots ever since. Wolverine’s fate is the biggest mystery of all. No one has heard from him for fifty years, and in his place stands an old man called Logan.

Collecting Wolverine (2003) #20- 32, #66- 72 and Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1.

Wolverine Omnibus

With an RRP of $75, expect to pay about £50 when it’s released in July.

And finally… Amazon UK has an influx of older omnibus titles back on sale. The Incredible Hulk Volume 1, collecting Hulk #1-6, Tales to Astonish #59-101, and Incredible Hulk #102, is priced £63.75. Though they’re temporarily out-of-stock, they’re taking orders for The X-Men Omnibus Volume 1 (again, £63.75) and Brubaker’s Captain America Volume 1, for sale at just £47.59. The Avengers Omnibus, meanwhile, is just £48.

X-Men Omnibus

Get over there quickly – I’m sure they’ll sell out pretty fast!

MarvelNOW! Omnibus…?

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Marvel will reportedly publish an omnibus next year collecting the first issue of all their new MarvelNOW! titles.

Marvel NOW

The book, supposedly 688 pages long, will print such comics as Uncanny Avengers #01; Fantastic Four #01; Thor #01; Nova #01 and All-New X-Men #01, featuring writers like Rick Remender, Brian Michael Bendis and Matt Fraction, and artists like Mike Allred, Stuart Immonen and Esad Ribic.

The HC is rumoured to have a cover by Joe Quesada.

All-New X-men

MarvelNOW! is a relaunch of their core titles, shaking up the creative teams. Brian Michael Bendis, for instance, has been on the Avengers titles since c. 2005’s Disassembled – but is now working on All-New X-Men.

I have a few titles on standing order, including Captain America – just knowing John Romita Jr is on the book is enough to guarantee its inclusion in my pull list! – X-Men: Legacy (writer, Si Spurrier, is at the top of his game), and FF (with art that I initially disliked… but now I absolutely love). My surprise purchase, though, is Journey Into Mystery. I can’t even describe how good it is. Just pick it up.

JiM 656

It’ll be a new direction for the omnibus line, but a step which isn’t unheard of for comic fans: DC published a similar collection, with all the first issues of their ‘52’ titles.

The MarvelNOW! Omnibus is expected in June 2013.

“A Vision of Things To Come”: 40% Off Avengers Vs X-Men!

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It may not be classed as an omnibus, but the Avengers Vs. X-Men Companion is both the size and price of a normal Marvel omnibus… so I guess you kind folks will be interested, right?

AvX Companion

Released in May 2013, the HC is a huge 1088 pages long, featuring every Avengers Vs. X-Men tie-in! Naturally, a large RRP comes alongside the large page count: £75.

But if you pre-order it today (Tuesday 4th December 2012), you can claim 40% off, bringing the price down to just £45! All you need to do it get over to Forbidden Planet International.

It looks to be an amazing book. Here’s the blurb and contents:

Every AvX tie-in, collected in one massive volume! When Captain America declares war on the X-Men, how will Generation Hope and the Avengers Academy react to their mentors’ actions? As the Secret Avengers battle the Phoenix Force in space, Iron Fist discovers the connection between K’un Lun and Hope Summers! And when the Avengers try to secure the Jean Grey School, Wolverine must decide where his loyalties lie! But as the Phoenix Force arrives, tipping the scales of battle, the Avengers and X-Men realize the stakes are higher than they knew — and the that fate of the Earth is in their hands.

Collecting Avengers Academy #29-33, Secret Avengers (2010) #26-28, Avengers (2010) #25-30, New Avengers (2010) #24-30, X-Men Legacy (2008) #266-270, Wolverine & The X-Men #9-16 And #18, AvX: Consequences #1-5, Uncanny X-Men (2012) #11-20, and A-Babies Vs. X-Babies #1, written by Christos Gage, Rick Remender, Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen & Skottie Young, pencilled by Tom Grummett, Renato Guedes, Walter Simonson, Mike Deodato Jr., Rafa Sandoval, David Baldeon, Chris Bachalo, Nick Bradshaw, Jorge Molina, Greg Land, Daniel Acuna, Ron Garney, Gurihiru & others, with cover art by Jim Cheung.

AvX HC

The book os the perfect partner of last month’s Avengers Vs. X-Men hardcover, with an RRP of £55.99. (FPInternational has it for £37.51, though!)

Review: Ultimate Avengers By Mark Millar Omnibus

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Mark Millar is a controversial figure.

No one can doubt what he’s given to comics and, indeed, films. He changed the Marvel landscape with Civil War, gave us London’s Kapow! convention, and launched CLiNT magazine. Oh, and supplied us with possibly the most violent and swear-ridden comic known to man.

It’s been ten years now since the critically-acclaimed Ultimates hit the shelves, introducing warped versions of the familiar MU Avengers. And in Mark Millar’s latest omnibus collection, we’re introduced to warped versions of the warped versions.

Ultimate Avengers By Mark Millar Omnibus collects the first three volumes of the titular comic book (each comprising of six issues) and Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #1-6 in a beautiful white and gold/green exterior that won’t break your wrist unlike some other omnibuses. And with an RRP of £55.99, it’s pretty reasonably priced, considering that you can typically get a copy for about £35. As ever with the omnibus range, it’s wonderfully presented, with nice glossy finishes, a stand-out, white spine and a few ‘special features’ at the back, like variant covers, sketchbooks and cover ideas; it’s fleeting, but a welcome addition.

It begins three weeks after Ultimatum, an event generally considered as bad as comics get, and immediately sets up the premise of the whole book, even though this won’t become apparent until quite a way in. This first arc ushers in the return of Carlos Pacheco (Avengers Forever; Fantastic Four) to Marvel, and his stunning art echoes the widescreen-work of original Ultimates illustrator, Bryan Hitch. He’s a perfect choice for the book, and, coupled with colourist, Justin Ponsor and a plethora of inkers, gives the volume a fresh and exciting feel. The spreads and flowing layouts really help its pace, which has the feel of a blockbuster movie to it. And this is something Millar is often criticised for.

Ultimate Nick Fury sets out his agenda

I can see it both ways. Yes, comics are a medium of their own right; a medium that doesn’t have to be defined by or likened to others, particularly films. This is the reason Alan Moore doesn’t like to see V for Vendetta and Watchmen on the big screen. However, I also feel that as long as it sparks the imagination, it doesn’t really matter.

We also have to remember that many will be flocking to comics after seeing the big-hitters like Avengers Assemble and The Amazing Spider-Man in cinemas and on DVD, so these ‘widescreen,’ sweeping techniques are well suited as an introduction to the medium. As long as the characters are well-written, the dialogue is snappy, and the plot is interesting and relevant, does it really matter if an issue or storyline has the feel of a movie?

The Ultimate origin of the Red Skull…

And maybe this is an issue with Millar’s Ultimate Avengers. While much of the dialogue is good – “[Spider-Man] can drive a man to suicide in three or four exchanges,” someone remarks – and the characters involving, not all of them are particularly likeable. And this is surely a big problem with heroes you’re supposed to be rooting for. Indeed, some of the pointless deaths that occur hardly make an impact. Captain America and Hawkeye remain the most likeable, especially as the former is the personification of a one-man army, but many of the others are just there as replacements for the original Ultimates line-up. There’s a new Black Widow, a new Hulk (or two), and a new Iron Man (sort of) – and only the latter is remotely successful. In fact, I really hate what Millar’s done with the Hulk: the ‘original’ Hulk is a useless addition, while the ‘Nerd’ Hulk is ridiculous.

‘Nerd’ Hulk vs… Iron Man?

Oh, and in case that wasn’t enough, there’s a new Captain America too. Even though the original’s still there, on the whole. And this new Captain is… uh, the Punisher. Maybe this is why the deaths are meaningless: you know another replacement will be along any minute.

The low point for the team comes in volume two, where they’re overshadowed by an amazing Ghost Rider, awesomely drawn by Leinil Francis Yu (Secret Invasion; Wolverine), as he goes up against Blackthorn. (In fact, his Ghost Rider might be the best rendition I’ve seen!) It’s not that strong a story, mainly due to a ragtag team of Avengers who you know won’t gel. With the original Avengers and Ultimates, there were many arguments and fisticuffs, but you just knew that, in the end, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor would get along. But here, there’s too little chemistry and heart.

Ultimate Ghost Rider. Wow.

However, this isn’t a terrible omnibus, as many expected. Actually there’s a lot to enjoy.

As previously stated, Captain America really kicks butt, particularly in the first arc, which heralds in the first and only appearance of the Ultimate Universe’s Red Skull. The twist on his origin isn’t that surprising, but it’s still pretty cool, and suitably gruesome. The death of Nikolai Laskov is particularly horrible – so naturally, there’s some mindless violence lingering on from Kick-Ass.

The third arc riffs off the huge vampire trend of late, something which Millar has come under criticism for. But it’s actually a great move. Keeping up with trends, and predicting the next ones, will always draw readers in, and it’s something that Marvel – and, indeed, every noteworthy company – has always done. Plus there’s a fantastic Twilight parody.

 I was initially sceptical of Steve Dillon’s artistic contributions to the storyline that introduces us to Blade, but, actually, it’s very fitting. But Leinil Yu makes a welcome return in the final storyline, which pits the Ultimates against the Avengers. There are plenty of surprises throughout, but especially in this concluding tale, which starts off really strong. The addition of Spider-Man seems forced – as the Punisher aptly notes, “where the %&*# did HE come from?!” – but Frank’s guilt is great.

The ‘Hulked-out’ heroes in Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #5 is a bit too silly for my liking, but generally, Millar’s conclusions are really strong. The finale to the third arc is very visual and cinematic – clever too – as is the way the Red Skull is dealt with in the first storyline.

Yes, there are plenty of clichés thrown about, and character depth isn’t at its most fascinating, but there’s still a lot to enjoy here. Well worth thirty-odd quid.

If you want to see Mark Millar at his best, pick up The Ultimates. But if you want him in his “not-at-his-best-but-still-much-better-than-most” mode, order Ultimate Avengers now.

Walter Simonson draws Thor!

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This is amazing. Simonson has a lot of fans out there… and rightly so! The ease and quickness of his sketching is truly inspirational.

There’s a bit of Beta Ray Bill, which is cool enough for one video, but I love his Thor, which he starts at about 2:30.

If you’re impressed (of course you are), you can get the huuuuge 1192-page omnibus with one of two covers at Amazon.co.uk for the amazing price of £51.17 here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thor-Walter-Simonson-Omnibus/dp/0785146334/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322407101&sr=8-1

That’s a saving of nearly £45 – perfect for a comic fan at Christmas!

“The Next Generation”: 40% Off Ultimate Comics Avengers!

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April 2012 sees the release of the Ultimate Comics Avengers omnibus, which collects some of Mark Millar’s final work for Marvel (though he may still return after the expansion of the MillarWorld line).

Art by Leinil Yu.

Until 16th November – yep, just under a week – you can pre-order the HC for £33.59, a 40% saving off its RRP of £55.99, from forbiddenplanet.co.uk.

http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_music_info&products_id=67238

Written by Mark Millar, and pencilled by Carlos Pacheco, Leinil Francis Yu, Steve Dillon and Stephen Segovia, the omnibus collects Ultimate Avengers #1- 6, Ultimate Avengers 2 #1- 6, Ultimate Avengers 3 #1-6 and Ultimate Comics Avengers Vs. New Ultimates #1- 6, and sees the Ultimates and Avengers battling against the Red Skull, Ghost Rider and a whole heap o’vampires!

Carlos Pacheco's Ultimate Cap!

The material in the 608-page book is also collected in paperback and hardcover graphic novels, under the titles: The Next Generation; Crime and Punishment; Blade vs. The Avengers; and Avengers vs. New Ultimates: Death of Spider-man.

Amazon.co.uk and thebookdepository.co.uk have the omnibus for £41.99, while forbiddenplanet.com has it on pre-order for £38.63.

Art by Leinil Yu.

Will you be buying it? Are you a Mark Millar fan? And did you pick up the last Ultimates omnibus? Please share your views; all are welcome.

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