comics

My Comic Book Origin Story by Craig Kerbrat

Once upon a time, I was a baby nerd just figuring out that I didn’t really care if people knew I loved all things sci-fi and fantasy. It was about 15 years ago and my last year of high school was coming to an end. The first X-Men movie had come out, I was obsessed with the X-Men: Evolution cartoon, and I wanted more. And that’s when I discovered Marvel comic books for the first time.

One of the first titles I ever picked up was Exiles, a series about a ragtag group of X-Men-related characters from different universes pulled together to save the multiverse from destruction. I remember picking up a few random issues at first, simply because the cover art looked cool. I took them home, read them, fell in love, and immediately went about finding all of the back issues. I read every issue until the series ended in 2009, and I’ve been waiting for more ever since.

This week, Exiles has finally returned.

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I literally could not wait to read this one today. I bought and downloaded it and read it on my lunch at work. I might have run out of time and finished it when I was supposed to be working right after lunch. Oops.

The book is different, of course. The new writer even specifically mentioned that it won’t be the same old Exiles. But I loved the first issue.

They brought back Blink, one of the main characters of the original series, who lasted almost the entire run. To bring back a series like this, you’ve got to bring back a classic character, and she’s the obvious choice.

The other return from the original is the Tallus, a bracelet-like device used to jump between universes. Interestingly, in the original series it was basically just a tool, whereas now it seems like it’s got a mind of its own. One of the mysteries of the new series.

Everything else about the series, apart from the jumping between universes, feels new. There’s a new threat. New characters. New mysteries. I need to read more so I can get a better understanding of where the book is going.

One of my favourite things about Exiles classic and new is the characters. Every characters is an alternate version of a character you know. Even Blink is the Age of Apocalypse version of a less famous version of herself. This series so far has introduced Khan, an old grizzled version of Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel, and a seemingly less heroic version of Iron Lad, who is already a young Kang the Conqueror.

Getting confused? Don’t worry. Those details aren’t important, but they’re fun for a giant nerd like me.

Next issue looks to be a good one. We get the introduction of a version of Valkyrie based on the character seen in Thor: Ragnarok, who is very different from the usual comics version. I’m definitely excited to see Tessa Thompson’s likeness running around the Marvel multiverse. We’ve also got an X-babies version of Wolverine set to join the team. ‘Cause why not?

I'm really curious if there will be more to the team, and what kind of turnover we might see with the team members  the original series saw quite a few changes in the roster  no one was ever safe, and characters often died on missions, only to be replaced shortly after by another strange alternate version of a familiar character.

I'm also really curious if we’ll find out what happened to the rest of the surviving characters from the original series. Nocturne and Morph are two of my favourite Marvel characters, and neither has been seen since Exiles ended. I’d love to see them again at some point in the future.

Overall, it seems like it’s going to be a weird and awesome ride. I can’t wait. Comic books are one of my nerdy passions, and I love that Marvel is constantly renewing my excitement to read them. Fifteen plus years, and I’m still as excited about an Exiles comic as I was way back then.

Marvel Collector Corps: Secret Wars by Craig Kerbrat

Friday last week was a magical day. For the third time this year, I got something exciting in the mail at work. My Marvel Collector Corps box.

August's theme was Secret Wars, taken from the big Marvel-wide comic event going on right now. It's been a very big thing taking over every monthly book being published, and it's pretty darn exciting, so when they announced that the theme of the August box would be Secret Wars, I was immediately on board. And when I finally got the box, I literally couldn't wait to open it.

The first thing to see when I opened it up, as usual, was an exclusive pin and badge. This time we get the "superior" version of Iron Man, and Sam Wilson/Captain America. I initially thought the pin was War Machine 'cause Iron Man is no longer using the white suit. And I don't really like the picture they used of Captain America for the badge. He looks so angry, it's weird and off-putting. They really could have chosen a better picture. Anyway.

The next thing was the t-shirt. I kind of love it. The Pop! versions of these characters are all kind of adorable. They remind me of the baby Avengers in Giant-Size Little Marvel: AvX, where Skottie Young is pitting the A-Babies versus the X-Babies. In any case, it's very cute and I'll definitely wear it.

After that was this month's exclusive variant comic, fittingly a variant of Secret Wars #1, and keeping the Thor theme of the box art and the t-shirt. It's a pretty cool cover. The more I can get of Jane Foster as Thor, the better. And I got more. 

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The last thing in the box was not one, but TWO Funko Pop! figures.  I feel like they're spoiling us! And especially me, because these are two of my favourite characters in comics right now. I'm loving this new version of Thor, and I can't wait to see what else is coming from Jason Aaron when the Mighty Thor relaunches this fall. And Miles Morales has been a character I've loved since his introduction back in 2011. Brian Michael Bendis has done a great job since introducing him, and I'm actually a bit amazed that Miles has been around for four years already.

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All in all, I'm very satisfied, and pretty excited about the Secret Wars box. My only criticism is a very small one, and it's just that the name doesn't actually fit with the contents of the box all that well. The only thing Secret Wars is the variant comic, everything else came before the event, or spins out after. Jane Foster became Thor, Sam Wilson became Captain Amaerica, and Iron Man went bad with the white armour all well before Secret Wars. And Miles Morales ends up in the regular Marvel universe as a result of Secret Wars. But I guess Avengers NOW! and All-New All-Different Marvel don't necessarily fit on the box as well.

But like I said, it's just a minor thing that in no way diminishes my love for this month's box. I'm very happy I signed up for Collector Corps, and will continue to shovel my money over to Marvel and Funko. If you're interested in signing up, head on over the the Collector Corps website and give it a shot. And in case you missed it, you can see my reviews of the first two boxes here and here. the next box hasn't had a theme reveal yet, so we'll just have to wait and see, but I'll post my review of October's box as soon as I get my hands on it!

Marvel Collector Corps - Ant-Man by Craig Kerbrat

Friday at work, I had a random visit from Andrea at my desk. It's not uncommon for her to show up and chat, she does work right upstairs, but this time was different. She was particularly excited. And then she lifted up a couple of matching boxes and I knew why.

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Our Marvel Collector Corps - Ant-Man boxes arrived! We very excitedly opened them up immediately at my desk, so there was no chance to do an unboxing video. Upon first opening it up, we were treated to some Ant-Man comic art and a pin and badge like last time.

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After pulling everything out, I had to quickly stuff it all back in the box so I could help a customer out, but below is a picture of everything that was inside. There were two Marvel Mystery Minis (an Ant-Man and a Yellow Jacket), an Ant-Man t-shirt featuring an "actual size" Ant-Man, and Ant-Man #5 featuring an exclusive variant cover.

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I haven't been reading Ant-Man, but I'll give this issue a read just to see what the fuss is all about. I've heard good things about it. But back to the box the last thing inside was this:

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A Funko Pop! Unmasked Ant-Man, with a tiny little Ant-Man bobble-head. This is definitely my favourite part of the box, and it's what makes it totally worth it. The detail on these two figures is great, and I'm happy to add them to my Pop! collection. I'm not really a big fan of Ant-Man in the comics, but I'm really looking forward to the movie, and this box was full of win. 

I'm really curious what the next theme is going to be. There are no more major Marvel movies coming until next year, and that's been the focus so far. They could go with something comics-related. Secret Wars will be half over, but they'll have all of the All-New All-Different Marvel titles announced by then. They could also do something Marvel TV-related. Agents of SHIELD starts a month later so maybe they'll feature that.

Whatever they decide to do, I'm sure it will be great. I'm definitely not regretting my decision to sign up for Collector Corps.

One Month... by Craig Kerbrat

Alright. I know I just posted a blog post this afternoon, but there are a lot of exciting things happening right now, and before the next thing happens, I just want to get out my thoughts on this one first. 

It is exactly one month to the day until Andrea and her Mum and I leave for San Diego. One month from now we will be hanging out in our hotel room getting ready for bed after a fun day of travel and shopping so that we are rested up and ready for Preview Night... Who am I kidding? One month from now, we will all be way too excited to sleep because we'll be going to SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON 2015!!!

I've had a countdown going on Twitter for a few days because I just keep getting more and more excited and I really just don't know how to handle it. Every day for at least a month now there's been countless seemingly insignificant things that remind me of Comic-Con or just San Diego itself and every time I get more and more excited. Even just the summer sunshine now makes me think of the trip. I don't even know how to properly convey my excitement.

And I'm so ready to go! I've got my US money put aside already, we've got flights paid for, I've paid the deposit on the hotel room, we've got our barcodes for our badges. Now I'm just watching desperately for any news of guests or panels or exclusives. It's a bit crazy. So much effort and excitement for a week-long trip. And when it's done I'm going to be so exhausted. But I can't wait.

And this year is special! This will be my and Andrea's fifth Comic-Con in a row together! Andrea coined the hashtag 5thComicConniversary. And to make it even more special, Andrea's Mum is coming with us this year! I'm so excited to share this with her this year, even if she only gets to join us for the one actual convention day. It's going to be so much fun!

Anyway, that's really all I had to say. I just really needed to vent some of my excitement out into the world. Like a pressure valve. So now there's room for more excitement to build up. So stay tuned for more!

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Supergirl Sneak Peek by Craig Kerbrat

Happy Saturday! I say that in hopes that this day will improve. Not that it's a bad day necessarily. I'm just suffering from mega allergies and I don't like it. Anyway.

Because I'm a giant nerd, I felt like I needed to nerd out a bit about the special sneak peek for Supergirl that came out earlier this week. If you haven't seen it yet, here it is. Watch it. Go ahead, I'll wait. 

Done? Okay, good. I'm not gonna lie, for some reason, this trailer got me a little bit emotional. I'm not really sure why. Maybe it's 'cause I'm feeling a bit sick, or maybe it's just 'cause it's that awesome. In any case, I am very excited for this show to be released in the fall. I hope there's a panel for it at Comic-Con this year...

And let's talk about the casting! Melissa Benoist is adorable as Kara. She's not who I would have initially thought to cast in the role, but she really seems perfect for it. And I love that Chyler Leigh, who played Lexie Grey in Grey's Anatomy, is playing Alex Danvers. I always loved her on Grey's, so hopefully I'll love her in this show too.  And Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant! Very exciting. Not to mention Helen Slater and Dean Cain as mommy and daddy Danvers. I can't wait!

It's funny, I am a diehard Marvel fan, but DC characters make for such great TV shows. I always loved Smallville when it was on the air, and the old Lois & Clark show was great. Gotham, Arrow, and the Flash are all great, and Legends of Tomorrow looks to be a lot of fun as well. So many awesome DC properties have been very successful on TV. So I really hope Supergirl is as good as it looks.

Anyway. There are plenty of other things I could probably talk about, but I feel my mind wandering so I'm going to leave it here. I think it's time to finally watch the season finale of Arrow...

Photo belongs to CBS/Warner Bros

Photo belongs to CBS/Warner Bros