Archives for October 2013

The Super Fun Run: A 5K For Heroes

by Aaron Einhorn
Vito Nocero was a community activist, a good friend to many, and a huge fan of superheroes. He wanted to help kids learn to read, and to be happy. He died unexpectedly last year at the far too young age of 26. I didn’t know Vito, but I have a lot of friends in Columbus who did.

Vito’s mother, along with members of the community, organized the first “The Super Fun Run: A 5K For Heroes” this past Saturday in memory of Vito, and to raise money and awareness for Marburn Academy, a school with an emphasis on high-functioning students with ADHD and Dyslexia, which Vito had attended. The members of Heroes Alliance Ohio were only too overjoyed to be able to be a part of the event, and turned out in force with nine heroes present. Marburn is a great school, and one that Christina and I had actually considered for Cordy.

Superman, Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Catwoman, Green Lantern, Doctor Fate, Rogue and Thor were in attendance on behalf of the Heroes Alliance, and were joined there by a visiting Iron Man. We also saw a ton of costumes on the kids there, along with several adults who got in on the fun.

Despite the freezing temperatures, the event was well attended, and a great deal of fun was had by all.

Special thanks to Stephen Blanzaco for photography and out of costume support.

Marburn Academy has been built on the belief that a school program could be designed which would enable bright students with learning differences such as dyslexia and ADHD to attain their full potential in academic, social, and affective development. The goals of Marburn’s school programs are to develop the students’ academic and cognitive skills, to build strong work habits, to teach the values of persistence and courage in overcoming challenges, to build effective social interaction and problem solving patterns, and to strengthen their self-image so they may successfully return to their local schools, prepare for college or other post-secondary schooling, and pursue rewarding careers. To learn more about Marburn Academy, visit their website at: http://www.marburnacademy.org/

To find out more about the Heroes Alliance, visit http://www.heroesalliance.org

Marvel Brings Out Wave Two of “Marvel Now”

by Aaron Einhorn
So, Marvel made some serious waves a little over a year ago when they launched “Marvel Now,” an imprint seen by many as a direct response to DC’s “New 52.” The differences between the two launches were plentiful – Marvel was not rebooting their continuity, and not every title was getting a re-number. But we were seeing some of the longest running titles get relaunched with fresh creative teams. And by and large, at least in my opinion, the relaunch has been successful.

Last weekend, during New York Comic Con, Marvel unveiled the “All-New Marvel NOW!” Many titles are getting the “NOW” treatment, including a few that already were relaunched under the Marvel NOW! banner.

Ahead of the convention, Marvel had already announced Avengers #24.NOW, All-New Invaders #1, Inhuman #1 and She-Hulk #1. During the con, the also announced the following titles:

  • All-New Ghost Rider #1
  • All-New X-Factor #1
  • All-New X-Men #22.NOW (All-New X-Men #1 in All-New Marvel NOW!)
  • Avengers A.I. #8.NOW (Avengers A.I. #1 in All-New Marvel NOW!)
  • Avengers Undercover #1
  • Avengers World #1
  • Black Widow #1
  • Captain America #16.NOW (Captain America #1 in All-New Marvel NOW!)
  • Captain Marvel #1
  • Elektra #1
  • Guardians of the Galaxy #11.NOW (Guardians of the Galaxy #1 in All-New Marvel NOW!)
  • Iron Patriot #1
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard #1
  • New Warriors #1
  • Punisher #1
  • Savage Wolverine #14.NOW (Savage Wolverine #1 in All-New Marvel NOW!)
  • Secret Avengers #1
  • Silver Surfer #1
  • Superior Spider-Man #27.NOW (Superior Spider-Man #1 in All-New Marvel NOW!)
  • Thunderbolts #20.NOW (Thunderbolts #1 in All-New Marvel NOW!)

I’ll confess to being a little baffled by some of the numbering plans. Why do Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Superior Spider-Man and Thunderbolts get to keep their numbers while Secret Avengers and Captain Marvel just get a straight-up new #1 issue? Not that it really matters, but it’s an odd choice.

The more exciting part of this announcement though is that every first issue (at least) bearing the “All New Marvel NOW!” branding will include a code for a Free Digital Copy (already standard for all of Marvel’s $3.99 titles), and select .NOW titles will come with a digital code for the entire first COLLECTION of that series.

The covers and creative teams for the newly announced titles follow.

Call To Action! Report This Page!

by Aaron Einhorn
I wouldn’t normally post something like this, but part of the reason for the migration from Comic Hero News to this site was so that I could do a little bit more personal activity in this blog.

Facebook has become, for many of us, a kind of second life. Many of us keep in touch with friends through Facebook, we follow celebrities, and we take part in group discussions about our favorite fandoms. I have become friends with many costumers through Facebook, which let me have at least a basis for going up and talking to them when I attended DragonCon this past August.

And then there’s this.

For those of you not wanting to follow the link, here’s a screenshot.

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That’s right. It’s a Facebook page called “Fat Costumers,” and despite the “disclaimer” that everything here is a joke, it is anything but.

I hesitated to post anything about this page, because the last thing I want to do is give the… people… running this page any more attention. But the truth is, this sort of thing should not stand. So I urge all of my friends, family, fellow costumers and other decent humans to go to this page (for the love of God, don’t “like” it) and report them.

I’m overweight. Not obese, but overweight. And every time I put on my costumes, all I can see in the pictures is the belly roll or double chin. But I do it anyhow because I love the characters, and I love putting smiles on the faces of children.

People like the ones who run this page represent all that is the worst in us, and make it that much harder for any of us who don’t have a perfect comic-book physique to gather up the courage to express ourselves, our fandom, or our love for the characters.

Don’t let them get away with it for one second longer.

Sincerely,
Fat Superman

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Marvel to (Finally) Publish Miracleman!

by Aaron Einhorn
Several years ago at San Diego Comic Con, Marvel announced that they had obtained the rights to Marvelman/Miracleman.

For those not in the know, Marvelman began as a way for Warrior Magazine to continue making Captain Marvel stories after the licensing agreement with Fawcett Comics went kaput. A quick reskin of the character, change “Shazam” into “Kimota,” and voila, all new hero.

But what went from being a Captain Marvel rip-off became a whole new thing in the hands of Alan Moore and company, and then later on, Neil Gaiman.

(This is a horrid oversimplification. Read the full details here.)

I was in the crowd in 2009 when Marvel made that announcement, and I went nuts over it. I had been loaned a copy of the individual issues for Miracleman and loved the story. So, I was eager to see what Marvel would do with the character. After all, used properly, Marvelman could be a powerhouse and an icon on par with Superman. And he even had Marvel’s name in his title.

Of course, the licensing rights to Miracleman are a mess. And so, we got a few reprints of the original Mick Anglo stories, and then… nothing. For years. And most people assumed that the rights would be a part of Marvel/Disney’s portfolio and nothing would happen.

Then during Age of Ultron, it seemed like we would see Marvelman appear at the series’ conclusion. Instead, we got Angela, who Neil Gaiman still owned after creating her for Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. Nothing against Angela as a character, but her inclusion was somewhat anti-climactic to many. In a world without Hellspawn, her existence is confusing at best. It’s not that she can’t be retrofit to work in Marvel Comics, but is she needed?

(For the record? I am reading Guardians of the Galaxy, and I enjoy Angela’s presence there just fine. But I wanted to see Miracleman, dang it.)

Well, now, at least according to what was revealed at NYCC 2013, it seems like Miracleman is finally set to return.

According to a release put out today by Marvel, starting in January, we will see the Warrior/Eclipse comics series of Miracleman reprinted, and just as importantly, we will then see the series finished.

Because the sad truth is that Miracleman #25 was never printed. It was written, it was illustrated and it was ready to go, but it was never seen. And now, if all is to be believed, that final issue will also be printed and available.

Of course, I find it very interesting and curious that Alan Moore’s name is never listed in the press release. Hopefully that just means that Moore’s name can’t be used to promote it, and not that something weird is happening with his writing.

I’m thrilled, personally. I loved reading Miracleman, and am eager to own the issues myself. You can check out the full press release below, following a gallery of some of the covers that will be printed with the reprints.

MIRACLEMAN RETURNS! MARVEL TO PUBLISH GROUND-BREAKING ORIGINAL SERIES AND NEW STORIES BY NEIL GAIMAN!
“[Miracleman’s] heights are highs Watchmen cannot touch. It’s that good. It’s that important.” –Sequart.org

It was the series that changed comics forever. With the utterance of one word, Michael Moran transformed from the ordinary into the extraordinary – and Miracleman was born!

Long out of print, Marvel Comics is pleased to announce that the earth-shattering stories that injected new levels of sophistication into the super hero genre will finally see the light of day once again! Starting this January, Marvel will begin publishing the legendary run of Miraclemanby the original creators that began in Warrior Magazine and continued under now defunct publisher Eclipse Comics!

Fans lucky enough to have read these trailblazing stories when they were originally produced have often referred to this legendary run on Miracleman as “the lost Watchmen,” and Marvel is proud to finally bring these incredible comics to an audience that has clamored for them.

“The wait is over,” says Editor In Chief Axel Alonso. “Marvel will finally be bringing these timeless, ground-breaking stories to a whole new generation of reader.”

“We’ve been working with the Miracleman artists to obtain original artwork or photostats in every instance possible, and then applying the same painstaking restoration methods and rigorous quality standards that are utilized on the Marvel Masterworks line. The Marvel Special Projects team have even been developing some new techniques specifically for this project. These Miraclemanissues will receive the most advanced restoration possible to ensure the most authentic reading experience,” says SVP of Marvel Publishing David Gabriel. “The art is crisp, clear, and looks as good – if not better than the day it was published! Also, the stories are being completely relettered to meet today’s standards.”

Making these stories available to an entirely new generation is one thing – but following the original groundbreaking run, the epic more than 30 years in the making will reach its cataclysmic conclusion! You heard correctly – Marvel will also be publishing all-new Miraclemanstories from legendary creators Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham! Long left unfinished, Gaiman and Buckingham’s famous storyline will ultimately see the light of day!

“The tragedy of Miracleman was that we published two issues, wrote three and a half – and then it all stopped,” Gaiman said, in an interview with Marvel.com. “And Miracleman #25has been sitting in the darkness – nobody has seen it. It was drawn, it was written, it was lettered over 20 years ago.”

“I love the idea that I will get to finish this story,” added Gaiman.

“That Neil and Bucky can finally finish the story they started, is a great relief to still-gasping fans — myself among them,” says Alonso.

Re-presented in serialized form, each issue of Miracleman features additional content including new art, interviews with the creators as well as new covers from some of the industry’s most legendary artists! Look for Miracleman #1 in print and digital this January!

Columbus Walk Now For Autism Speaks 2013

by Aaron Einhorn
Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disorder in the United States, and with that in mind, Heroes Alliance Ohio was only too happy to join Autism Speaks at the 2013 Columbus Walk Now For Autism Speaks this past weekend. Speaking on an entirely personal level, my oldest daughter is on the Autism Spectrum, so of all the charities that we’re able to support, this is the one that probably means the most to me. Similarly, I know that our new Thor also has a family member on the spectrum.

Superman, Supergirl, Thor and Wonder Woman were on hand to support children with autism and their families as Autism Speaks raised money to research treatments for autism. The event drew over 20,000 people, mostly children with Autism and their families, and in addition to the team of the Heroes Alliance (working alongside the Ohio 501st and other costumed characters), the event contained a massive resource fair to provide information about services to Autism Families, arts, crafts, food, drink and entertainment.

The Walk took place at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio, and raised just shy of a million dollars to support the cause.

Special Thanks to Stephen Blanzaco and Christina McMenemy for out-of-costume support and picture taking. You’ll notice that Christina also brought the girls out to the event – appropriately, since Cordy is the entire reason I am aware of Autism Speaks.

Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.

To learn more about the Heroes Alliance, visit

Marvel and Disney Come Together Under the “Disney Kingdoms” Banner!

Disney_Kingdoms_Seekers_of_the_Weird_Coverby Aaron Einhorn
I am not one of those fans who was scared by the Disney acquisition of Marvel. Why? Well, because I had already lived through the full integration of Pixar under the Mouse. I never thought that Disney would do any harm to Marvel, and that we would in fact see Marvel able to benefit from the increased marketing dollars from their new owners.

I did, however, figure that there would be some changes with licensed properties, both for the good and for the bad. And there was some bad. I still mourn the death of Spectacular Spider-Man from the airwaves. Similarly, I suspect that the day is not too far off when Universal Orlando will have to rebrand their Marvel Adventure Island as Disney World opens their own Marvel attractions.

(Especially in light of this news.)

What I was not expecting, but am really excited to see, is Marvel comics based on Disney attractions. But not necessarily the ones you would expect.

It turns out that Disney and Marvel are creating a new line “Disney Kingdoms,” which promises “new and exciting adventures expanding upon already beloved lands, attractions, characters and worlds of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.”
This is an interesting idea, and something Disney has certainly played with before, but not quite like this. We’ve seen movies based on Disney attractions already (some successful, and some less so). Similarly, we’ve seen Ridley Parson’s Kingdom Keepers novels, which take us into a world where the Disney attractions come to life at night, and a gang of teenagers are responsible for protecting the magic. (I began reading them with Cordy, and they’re quite enjoyable.)

So, what will the first comic under this imprint be? Will it be based on Expedition: Everest? How about an intergalactic adventure based around Mission: Space?

Well, no. Instead it will be based on an attraction that was never constructed. But what an attraction they picked.
Famed Imagineer Rolly Crump envisioned the Museum of the Weird back in 1965, designed to be a collection of mystical curiosities unearthed from all around the globe. This was conceived as a spooky walk-through attraction to be connected to the Haunted Mansion, but was left unrealized following Walt’s passing.

Using the concepts behind this attraction, Marvel and Disney will be bringing us Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird. Written by Brandon Seifert (Witch Doctor) and illustrated by Karl Moline (Avengers Arena), Seekers of the Weird will focus on teens Maxwell and Melody who find themselves working alongside their strange uncle as they race through the world’s strangest and most dangerous museum following the kidnapping of their parents. An evil secret society opposes them, and the teens will discover their “wild and weird” destiny along the way.

Seekers of the Weird will be a five-issue miniseries, and I hope it does well, because this sounds like it could be a lot of fun. I’ve been disappointed that we never saw more of Marvel’s last experimental line of mini-series in the form of the Crossgen titles, so I’d love to see this one do well.

Fans at this weekend’s New York Comic Con will be able to see a preview of Seekers of the Weird at the Saturday “Cup of Joe” panel. In the meantime, you can read Marvel’s press release. Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird #1 will hit shelves in January of 2014.

MARVEL AND WALT DISNEY IMAGINEERING PRESENT DISNEY KINGDOMS!
All-New Comic Series Starting With “SEEKERS OF THE WEIRD”

Marvel & Disney are proud to present your first look at Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird #1, the first comic series published under the all-new Disney Kingdoms banner! Created in close partnership with designers, producers, and creative directors from Walt Disney Imagineering, the Disney Kingdoms line promises new and exciting adventures expanding upon already beloved lands, attractions, characters, and worlds of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

This January, experience the first all-new adventure inspired by Disney’s legendary – but never constructed – Museum of the Weird! Dreamed up by famous Imagineer Rolly Crump in 1965, the Museum of the Weird was home to a collection of mystical curiosities said to have been unearthed from all corners of the globe. Originally conceived as a spooky walk-through attraction connected to the Haunted Mansion, Crump’s innovative designs were left on the drawing board following the passing of Walt Disney….until now!

“We’re thrilled to be part of this historic launch that taps into the immense creativity of Walt Disney Imagineering to create background stories for so many beloved attractions,” said SVP of Marvel Publishing David Gabriel. “Grounded in rich Disney history, Disney Kingdoms is a great way to link Disney fans and Marvel fans!”

Disney Kingdoms is the ultimate team-up for fans of Disney and Marvel,” said Editor Bill Rosemann. “Working hand-in-hand with the world-famous Walt Disney Imagineers, Marvel’s best and brightest creators will unleash entire worlds inspired by and built around the attractions and characters that you’ve always known—but will experience for the very first time!”

Written by Brandon Seifert (Witch Doctor) and drawn by Karl Moline (Avengers Arena) – when their parents are kidnapped, teens Maxwell and Melody are thrust into a thrilling race through the world’s strangest – and most dangerous museum! Together, they must join forces with their mysterious and swashbuckling uncle as they attempt to rescue their family and save the world from an evil secret society! And they just might discover the truth behind their wild and weird destiny along the way!

What terrifying secrets lie inside the mysterious Museum of the Weird? Find out this January as the harrowing journey begins in Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird #1!

Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird #1 (of 5)
Written by BRANDON SEIFERT
Art by KARL MOLINE
Cover by MIKE DEL MUNDO
Variant Cover by WALT DISNEY IMAGINEER BRIAN CROSBY
On-Sale In Print & Digital This January!

Why I Take What The Heroes Alliance Does Seriously

HAlogoby Aaron Einhorn
In recent days, the Heroes Alliance Ohio branch has had a lot of discussion as we’ve been doing some internal reviews about some of the rules that the organization has in it’s Standard Operating Procedures. These discussions have focused mainly on conduct during events and on quality of costumes, and it’s led to some hurt feelings.

One person said to me “You’re a cool guy, but you’re taking this free group a little too serious for me.”

This hurt. A lot. It left me wondering if maybe I was making a mistake. Maybe I shouldn’t be taking this seriously. Maybe I’m the wrong guy to be the Branch Leader. I’m not married to the position – I was happy to get the group started, but I’d be happy to step aside.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he was wrong.

Yes, I do take the Heroes Alliance very seriously. I am very concerned with making sure that the organization is seen in the best possible light and that we are doing the most possible good in our communities.

I take a lot of pride when I see mission reports from any of the teams across the country, and it makes me feel really good to see all of the “Likes” and comments on Facebook.

The last thing I ever want to do is make it not fun for our team members – we’re all volunteers, after all. But do I take it seriously? Yeah, I do. And here’s why.

Iron-Man.1-200x269In 2012, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the press conference for Iron Man 3 at SDCC. In the crowd there was a young kid in a Tony Stark Cosplay (like, 7 or 8 years old, with eyeliner-pencil goatee).

Near the middle of the Q&A with the press, Robert Downey Jr. stopped to say “Ok, I want to know when we get to hear from the young Tony Stark,” to which the moderator assured that they would get to him. The Q&A continued, and then it was time for the last question. “Well, then, it has to go to the kid,” Robert said.

The moderator laughed, and said, “Ok, well, this pretty much better be the best question in history. Go ahead,” and the mic was given to the child.

“This question is for Robert,” the kid said, “I want to know what it’s like to be a hero.”

The room went silent until the moderator laughed and said, “Well, Robert, this pretty much better be the answer in history.” This broke the tension for all of us, but Robert took a moment to actually think about his answer.

Robert took a moment and said “I think I speak for any of us who get to live in this world. There was just one of these photo things with a bunch of kids where they dressed up as Iron Man. There were a couple of War Machines, too. There’s something about it that’s just … wow, a great opportunity. It’s an odd thing. I take this as seriously as Shakespeare.”

Most kids will never get to meet Robert Downey Jr., or Chris Evans, or Chris Hemsworth or Henry Cavil, or Andrew Garfield, or Ben Affleck. So when kids at the Walk For Wishes, or Give Kids the World, or at Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital get to meet the members of the Heroes Alliance, that is their opportunity to meet Iron Man or Captain America or Thor or Superman or Spider-Man or Batman.

If Robert Downey Jr. takes it as seriously as Shakespeare, how can we possibly do any less?

Superhero Day at Books & Co.

by Aaron Einhorn
One of the greatest gifts we can give to children is the gift of reading, and with that in mind, Heroes Alliance Ohio was overjoyed to come out to Books & Company in Beavercreek, Ohio for their Superhero Day in conjunction with their LEGO club.

Superman, Batman, Thor and Ms. Marvel were on hand to help pass out LEGO starter kits to the kids, assist them in building their creations, and to encourage them to read. The store expected roughly 75 kids, but were overwhelmed with over 100 children and their parents.

Special thanks to Andrew Merola for out-of-costume support and picture taking.

To find out more about Books & Company and the special events they have at their location, check out http://www.booksandco.com/

To learn more about the Heroes Alliance, visit http://www.heroesalliance.org/