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Gay superheroes ‘mainstream’ at Comic-Con 2012

By Rory Carroll, The Guardian
Monday, July 16, 2012 12:13 EDT
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Green lantern's ring via JD Hancock at Flickr
 
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And so Comic-Con wraps for another year. As the costumes are packed away, stalls dismantled and banners folded how do you summarise five days of myriad deal-making, networking, announcements, interviews, previews, debates, awards?

Short answer: you don’t.

The Con, as aficionados call it, defies any overarching narrative. Spider-Man couldn’t weave a web around all the strands. All you can do is pick out some highlights. Here goes.

Joss Whedon, as expected, basked in Firefly and Avengers glory. Such is his following that no one batted an eyelid at the prospect of him starring in front of the camera in a new web sitcom, Husbands.

An ordinary mortal’s head would swell to frightening dimensions from the acclaim, but Whedon’s still seemed like it would fit in the newly unveiled Iron Man helmet.

The studios fuelled buzz for next year’s IM3 and Superman reboot, giving just enough preview footage and detail about costumes, casting and plot (Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin gets to blow up Tony Stark’s Malibu mansion) to whet the appetite.

Those who grumbled that Hollywood was overdosing on superheroes were, as ever, ignored. Marvel announced its Captain America sequel, due in April 2014, will be titled The Winter Soldier. A Thor sequel, due in November 2013, will be called The Dark World and directed by Game of Thrones’ Alan Taylor.

Marvel also confirmed rumours it was making a Guardians of the Galaxy film – prepare to meet Drax, Groot, Starlord, Gamora and Rocket Raccoon some time in 2014, just before an Avengers sequel (which Whedon may or may not direct).

Deadline.com took the perpetual debate over to what extent – if at all – Comic-Con boosts a movie on another spin.

Marvel – how soon before its logo changes to an octopus with a tentacle in every media? — then announced its first link-up with Disney in the form of Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel, in which the two boys meet Hulk, Thor and friends.

Once upon a time in a land called corporate synergy …

Mixed news for comics. Despite the 130,000-plus attendance, sales at exhibition floor booths were flat, prompting some to say they would not be returning next year.

The writer Bill Willingham had special reason for huff, and to say he won’t be back, after being shoved by the bodyguard of, as he put it, “some pissant little minor TV personality”, subsequently revealed to be Paul Scheer.

The good news was Fantagraphics revealing a digital distribution agreement with comiXology, the digital publisher, starting with the first four issues of the Hernandez Brothers timeless Love and Rockets: New Stories.

Business-wise, Comics Beat reckoned the age of exclusive contracts – in other words, DC and Marvel tethering writers — was ending. “Are we going into a period where creators are trying to find more balance in their portfolio? Spread the risk between publishers and keep some copyrights for themselves?”

For Tom Spurgeon, guiding light of comicsreporter.com and winner of this year’s Eisner award for comics-related journalism, the big story was the resurgence of Image Comics, which allows creators retain copyright.

The LA Times concluded that gay superheroes, until recently either invisible or gimmicky, w consolidating their presence in the mainstream. It quoted James Robinson, who brought the Green Lantern back as gay. “My goal was to present him as a fully rounded human being whose sexuality is merely a part of who he is along with his style, wit, bravery and innate goodness,” he says.

Anything else? Plenty, but just two more snippets. Edgar Rice is to finally make the much trailed Ant-Man (tag line: “Ant-Man will kick your ass one inch at a time”) next year.

And look out Manhattan. A certain giant, grumpy lizard is coming back, according to Simon Pegg.

© Guardian News and Media 2012

 

[Photo credit: JD Hancock, via Flickr.com.]

 
 
 
 
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