Blake Hennon

Nov. 12, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

‘All-New Captain America’ lands at Marvel’s diversity front line

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When Marvel took to ABC’s “The View” and Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” in July to announce that a woman would become Thor and a black man would become Captain America in its comics, debate ignited over what in Asgard’s name the House of Ideas was thinking. Such dramatic changes coming simultaneously to two of the publisher’s classic marquee brands – names that front blockbuster film franchises at its sister company Marvel Studios – were celebrated by many people as positive progress, but others decried the decisions: “This is political correctness run amok,” “Affirmative Action Man” and “PC Avengers, Assemble!” read parts of some readers’ reactions posted on Hero Complex stories about the announcements. Whether they’re meeting fans or foes, the new Captain America and Thor represent two ongoing concerns for Marvel and the comics industry’s growth: minorities and women. […]
Nov. 11, 2014 | 9:43 a.m.

Rick Remender considers rewards, risks of ‘All-New Captain America’

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“All-New Captain America” No. 1, starring former Falcon Sam Wilson in the red, white and blue title role, launches Wednesday, and as the story unfolds in the coming months, writer Rick Remender, supporters and doubters will finally see how this change flies. That Sam would replace his longtime friend Steve Rogers as Captain America was announced by Marvel’s chief creative officer, Joe Quesada, on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” back in July, part of a two-part TV reveal that also saw ABC’s “The View” tell its audience that the comics giant’s next Thor would be a woman. Those choices were hailed by some as progress and derided by others as politically correct pandering and/or sales stunts. Rather than coming from an editorial edict, Marvel, Remender and “Thor” writer Jason Aaron have said, the ideas for the changes to the two […]
Nov. 06, 2014 | 9:53 a.m.

‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ gets title: ‘The Force Awakens’

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“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is the title of “Episode VII” in the sci-fi adventure film franchise, Walt Disney Pictures announced Thursday. The title had remained a mystery since plans for the film were announced more than two years ago. Walt Disney Pictures unveiled the title in a tweet announcing the completion of principal photography for the movie. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has completed principal photography. #StarWarsVII #TheForceAwakens pic.twitter.com/mFTP9YbKNN — Star Wars (@starwars) November 6, 2014 “The Force Awakens,” directed by “Star Trek” alumnus J.J. Abrams, takes place 30 years after the events of “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” with original stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker joining Ford as part of the ensemble cast. Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and newcomer Daisy Ridley, in addition to Irish actor […]
Oct. 28, 2014 | 10:00 a.m.

‘Wytches’ writer Scott Snyder’s 13 picks for Halloween horror

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Scott Snyder prefers horror where the humans are worse than the monsters. That idea, rooted in the Eisner Award-winning, bestselling writer’s early exposure to George Romero’s classic “Night of the Living Dead,” is at play in his new Image Comics series with artist Jock, “Wytches,” which arrived to enthusiastic reviews earlier this month. In “Wytches,” the titular terrors look more fearsome than “cackling women around the caldron,” as Snyder put it in a phone conversation with Hero Complex about his favorite horror stories. But what he hopes is more frightening than their bestial, skeletal appearance is that “they don’t come and eat anybody unless someone gives that person to them.” ‘Wytches’ preview: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 The witches’ far-advanced knowledge of natural sciences means they can do […]
Oct. 27, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.

‘Wonder Woman’ 35: Azzarello, Chiang end a ‘no-cheesecake’ Diana epic

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Wonder Woman is an epic character, and writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang promise a suitably epic ending to the saga they’ve created during the last three years. The duo, who have guided the superheroine’s solo adventures since DC’s New 52 reality reset in fall 2011, have memorably taken Diana of Themyscira’s classic origin as a girl made from clay and remolded it to make her the biological daughter of Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, and Zeus (born of a love affair, not one of the Greek god’s tricky trysts). Tying Wonder Woman into the Greek pantheon — eventually replacing the felled Ares as god of war — has given her an extended family with whom every reunion is rife with conflict. In the final issue of Azzarello and Chiang’s acclaimed run (which also featured art by Tony Akins […]
Oct. 20, 2014 | 10:00 a.m.

‘Oddly Normal': Otis Frampton discusses a young half-witch’s bad wish

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Oddly Normal is as conflicted as her name. The smart, sullen schoolgirl star of writer-artist Otis Frampton’s emotionally stormy all-ages Image Comics series is the daughter of parents from different worlds: Her father is an average-as-average-gets Earth guy; her mother is a most unusual woman – a witch from the fantastical Fignation. And being a half-witch girl – complete with naturally green hair and pointy ears — in a typical American school isn’t easy. A social outcast with a sardonic wit for self-defense, she feels like an outsider even in her own family, who live in the sole creepy Victorian manse on a street of cookie-cutter suburban houses. In an angry moment on her 10th birthday, as seen in last month’s well-reviewed first issue, she isn’t careful what she wishes for. “Oddly Normal” No. 2, out Wednesday, continues Frampton’s reboot […]
Oct. 10, 2014 | 2:30 p.m.

‘Fables: The Wolf Among Us': Matthew Sturges, Dave Justus on the case

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Just as Bigby Wolf is a fable no matter whether he’s in the mundane world or more mystical realms, so is his story “Fables” no matter what format it’s in. That’s the thinking that guides “Fables: The Wolf Among Us,” an upcoming Digital First comic series written by Matthew Sturges and Dave Justus, which is based on TellTale Games’ well-regarded “The Wolf Among Us” video game — itself a prequel to Bill Willingham’s lauded and long-running Vertigo comic “Fables.” Sturges, who has a fabled past writing the spinoff “Jack of Fables” with Willingham, and Justus will be joined by artists Stephen Sadowski (“Fairest”), Travis Moore (“JSA All-Stars”) and Shawn McManus (“Fables,” “Fairest”), with Chrissie Zullo (“Cinderella” miniseries, “Fairest: In All the Land”) creating the covers. The series, the debut Digital First title from Vertigo, DC’s imprint for mature readers, will […]
Sept. 29, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.

Long Beach Comic Con: Lois Lane and the advancement of women in comics

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Lois Lane may be the most famous woman in comics, and the fearless Daily Planet journalist got her due from several “Ladies First: The Impact of Women in Comics” panelists during a wide-ranging discussion Saturday. Barbara Randall Kesel, a writer and editor who has worked at DC Comics, said the character’s portrayal “rises and falls with what is happening with women in the real world” – from being a “spitfire” like new career women in the ’30s and ’40s, to being diminished to “comedic foil” for Superman as women were being encouraged to relinquish jobs and focus on their husbands in the ’50s, to becoming a more feminist character as the equality movement has advanced. Lane is “a superhero without any powers,” popular artist Amanda Conner, who co-writes DC’s “Harley Quinn” series, said. “She’s got that assumption of authority – […]
Sept. 28, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.

Long Beach Comic Con: Mike Mignola happy to dwell in hell with Hellboy

Mike Mignola has gone to hell with Hellboy, and he has every intention of staying there. “I find the hell that I’ve created very, very cozy,” he told a crowd at Long Beach Comic Con on Saturday afternoon. “I don’t want to leave it.” So what’s so great about the “Hellboy in Hell” underworld where Mignola plans to spend most of, or maybe all, of the rest of his career? “If you could look inside my head, this is the world that’s in there,” the Hellboy creator said. “It’s entirely made out of the things I like,” which include old buildings and forests and exclude cars, planes and the pressure of trying to illustrate real places. “I just want to draw that world,” he continued. “The trouble is, that world’s really big, so it’s going to take a really long […]
Sept. 28, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.

Batman 75: Toasting Robin(s), Batgirl, Batwoman at Long Beach Comic Con

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Much has been made of Batman in marking his 75th anniversary, and the comic-book talents gathered Saturday at Long Beach Comic Con for a panel celebrating the Dark Knight had plenty to say about various versions of him – but they also toasted the heroes he’s inspired. A highly anticipated new take on Batgirl, Bruce Wayne’s cousin Kate Kane (a.k.a. Batwoman) and a couple of different Robins all came up in the conversation among writers and artists who have told – or will tell – those characters’ tales, as did opinions about Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman, choice Bat-obscurities, fan passions and possible future projects. PHOTOS: 75 enduring images of Batman Babs Tarr, the new artist on the redesigned “Batgirl,” which begins with the Oct. 8 release of No. 35, said she’d been warned by her writer collaborator Cameron Stewart […]
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