Tag Archives: Marvel

“‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ nears $210 million in China, likely won’t top ‘Furious 7′”

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” soared past the $200-million mark in China last week, but box office records appear to be out of reach for the Marvel superhero film.

The movie earned $53.4 million for the week, bringing its cumulative gross to $208 milllion, according to data from industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway. The movie accounted for 71% of all ticket sales in the seven days ending Sunday.

But it clearly will not challenge the performance of “Furious 7,” which raced to more than $390 million at the mainland box office earlier this spring.

“Avengers” earned 10 times the amount of the No. 2 movie at the mainland box office last week, the Indian import “PK,” starring Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan. Nevertheless, the film is India’s all-time box office champ, and even with its $5.1 million debut on the mainland, it can now call itself the best-performing Indian film ever in China. The plot revolves around an alien (Khan) who comes to Earth on a research trip, befriends a journalist and questions religious beliefs and superstitions…”



“The Secret History of Ultimate Marvel, the Experiment That Changed Superheroes Forever”

Bendis wasn’t blind. He knew that by 2011, the decade-long Ultimate experiment had lost much of its luster. He was constantly talking to colleagues about how to fix the world he’d launched. “I would say, ‘Hey, what did we do right? What did we do wrong? What would I have done differently?’” he recalled. “In those conversations of what we did right or wrong, we’d come about the idea of Peter Parker being of a different race. That if you really look at the origin, there’s no reason that character wouldn’t be of color. In fact, maybe it makes more sense.”

He soon became fixated on the racial questions posed by the Spider-Man archetype. If a middle-class teenager was growing up deep in Queens in 1962, sure, he’d be white. But in the New York of 2011’s profoundly multiethnic outer boroughs? Statistically, he’d almost certainly be a person of color. But if Bendis was going to introduce a nonwhite Spider-Man, what would he do with the existing Spider-Man? That’s where the magic of the anything-is-possible Ultimate Marvel approach paid off.

“We started thinking about who ended up being Miles, and it became obvious that the only way Miles works is if Peter isn’t there,” Bendis said. “Then you realize that the trigger has to be pulled.” Bendis wrote a story in which Ultimate Peter dies a hero’s death. Around the same time, shy teenager Miles Morales gains similar abilities to Peter’s and tentatively starts fighting crime in his stead. The ensuing story lines were classic Bendis: tender, streamlined, and optimistic. Miles wasn’t just an Afro-Latino Peter Parker. He was his own person, kind and quiet, reluctant to stand out and perpetually struggling with self-doubt — in many ways, an even more believable teenager than Ultimate Peter had been.

Miles was also an enormous hit immediately after his August 2011 debut. Sales for the series spiked, but more important, Miles was a publicity sensation, drawing attention in mainstream media outlets and among fans who had long ago grown bored with Spider-Man. Just a few months into his existence, long before Marvel had made any Miles merchandise, fans were constructing their own Miles costumes (his uniform has a slightly different color scheme than Peter’s) and wearing them to conventions. Marvel knew it had a hit on its hands, and has recently started cranking out Miles costumes, Miles toys, and a version of Miles in the hit Saturday-morning Spider-Man cartoon. “Miles was something that was vital and important, and he sold,” Hibbs said. When Sony announced it was rebooting its Spider-Man movie franchise yet again, there were cries across the internet for the new Spidey to be Miles…”


“Why Marvel Was Smart to Commit to New, DIverse Heroes”

“This week Marvel Comics revealed the lineup to their “All-New, All-Different Avengers” that will form after the events of this summer’s Secret Wars, and it certainly looks like they meant every word of that overly long title.

The team consists of classic members Iron Man and Vision, but also the African-American Sam Wilson continuing his role as Captain America and the female Thor who has the respect and blessing of the old Thor. Rounding out the team are three teenagers heroes — the plucky Sam Alexander as Nova, the Muslim Kamala Khan as the Spider-Man analogue for a new generation in Ms. Marvel, and an actual Spider-Man for a new generation, the half-black/half-hispanic Miles Morales.

What’s most surprising about this announcement isn’t how it’s packed full of diversity or that Miles will be surviving the assumed destruction of the Ultimate Universe in Secret Wars — although, hey, those are both great things — but that Marvel is showing earnest commitment to their newer heroes.

Marvel has been around for over 50 years, and despite the thousands of characters created in that time, generally the same core cast have been given the most spotlight: Spider-Man, Wolverine and the X-Men, and the Hulk. And due to the recent comic book and movie success, you can now add Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America to that list…

But what is so intriguing about Marvel’s All-New, All-Different Avengers is that the team lineup reads as a commitment to using those headline-grabbing characters instead of letting them fade into obscurity like so many others have in the past. It is, of course, too soon to say that Marvel has decided to embrace these characters for the long run, but currently, things are looking pretty good….”


“How Well Does ‘Daredevil’ Handle Disability Issues?”

“When the 13 episodes of season one of Daredevil went live on Netflix on April 10, Daredevil/Matthew Murdock, played by Charlie Cox, instantly became the most prominent disabled character in media.

The online community of disability activists was certainly excited. (I am a member. My son has Down syndrome and I often write about disability-related stories for mass media.) A friend of mine in England had watched ten episodes before I even got out of bed on the 10th. Alice Wong, founder of the Disability Visibility Project, organized a viewing and live-tweeted episode one under the hashtag #daredevilDVP.

But before people could even parse the quality of the episodes, the decision by Netflix not to provide audio commentary became a problem. Many blind people follow television through specially added audio descriptions of scenes and actions. The issue swept through social media. Many articles commented on the irony of a show entirely based around a blind main character being inaccessible for the blind.

An online petition was launched . After a few days, Netflix made the wise decision not only to add audio commentary to Daredevil (available as of last Tuesday), but the company also promised to add audio descriptions to lots more of its programming . Regardless of whether or not Daredevil will defeat Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio), he’s already won a victory for accessibility.

I went into the show interested in how the directors would handle scenes of what might be called “ordinary” blindness, scenes in which Murdock simply goes about his day as a regular non-superhero. Murdock is, of course, anything but ordinary.  Through his heightened senses, he’s able to perceive the world in ways that mitigate the disabling effect of his blindness. But he is still blind… ”


“How the Success of Marvel’s Female Superheroes Heralds a More Inclusive Age of Comics”

“Promoting women-led series might seem like a novel move for Marvel, but it’s not. What’s novel is that they’re succeeding. Over the years, Marvel writers and editors have tried their hands at a number of series with female leads, but they rarely panned out, and in each case, the books were quietly canceled. One starring Peter Parker’s daughter, May, Tom DeFalco’s Spider-Girl launched in October of 1998 and, despite the protests of its fanbase, was canceled in 2010. X-23, which starred a mutant named Laura Kinney, ran for only about a year and a half — from September 2010 to March 2012. Although there have been other woman-led superhero series in Marvel’s past, they’ve been few and far between.

But now the women of Marvel are taking off in their own right. With female readership hovering at about 47 percent and women as the fastest-growing comics-reading demographic, Marvel is finally succeeding with a more diverse lineup of superheroes.

Spider-Gwen — a story set in a universe where Gwen Stacy, not Peter Parker, is bitten by a radioactive spider — is one of Marvel’s top sellers, with more than 250,000 copies of its first issue sold. Ms. Marvel, which launched just last year, is already one of the most successful books in Marvel’s lineup as well. Captain Marvel has one of the most dedicated fanbases in comics history. The new Thor features a woman in place of the hunky Hemsworthian Thunder God, and she’s outselling dude Thor by 30 percent. Silk, Black Widow, Gamora, Angela, and Spider-Woman are all female-led titles that Marvel’s launched in the past few years, and A-Force is another big step forward.

So what changed? Why are these new Marvel series succeeding where other series from the company failed? There are a few factors at work: the rise of digital comics, the growing power of female-dominated online fandom, and an increase in women creating comics…”