Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Keeping Up With Marvel: The Unofficial Handbook of Updates From Markus Mueller

           The writing of my book has introduced me to some wonderful people including Nick Caputo, Mike Vassallo, Kid Robson, Batton Lash and Markus Mueller.

I worked so hard on my book, especially when listing credits, so I was totally impressed by Markus’  site of “The “Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators." The site can be seen at: It also reads: Since the fall of 2001 the "Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators" is an Authorized Marvel Fan Site.

This site is incredible….and it is also multi lingual! It has so much information; I don’t know where to begin!

I contacted Markus and we have been friends for a long time now. We have exchanged comments, corrections, additions, and comics and have helped each other out. Markus is Austrian and had a very different view of Marvel comics. He could not get them off the stands like I did. So while I saw them in strict chronological order, he saw the reprints as they often were often randomly printed. This changed my own perspective on my book, I knew that I had to write in a way to preserve that wonderful chronology. Also, comics were censored at that time in Germany and other parts of Europe. Nazi symbols, such as the swastika could not be shown.  This meant that certain comis were not reprinted their at all, and many of the Captain America stories had to be redrawn in parts to eliminate the Nazi references and symbols.

But you are probably wondering why I called you all here today.  While Markus has kept up with the evolving Marvel Universe, I have not and Markus has filled me in.  It all started with him asking me about some “current events” as of December 2007 that I did not know about. So I asked, “Please give me the details on the Hulk or Captain America or even  Spider-Man now that his identity is revealed.”

Here was his response from 2007. He has kept me updated ever since! And beneath that is his MOST current update from July 2013!!!!!

Here we go:



Let me start with the most recent events which is after the Marvel series "House of M". Before that, the Hulk was basically the same person he was for a long time. Depending on the writer, he was either stupid or intelligent or smashed or tried to help people. (The Hulk has multiple personality disorder and so depending on how the writer needs him, he is either grey, childlike, a brute or the "Professor". The only exceptional part I remember was in the Defenders limited series: Umar captured the brute Hulk and used him to satisfy her sexual needs - after all his stamina is legendary. After that, the Hulk turned back into Bruce Banner and was so relaxed that nothing could turn him into the Hulk again for quite some time.)

A little ret-con: After the Kree/Skrull war several heroes united to a secret kabal called "The Illuminati" in order to exchange information for preventing another disaster of that magnitude. The heroes were: Tony Stark, Reed Richard, Charles Xavier, Stephen Strange, Namor and Black Bolt. The Black Panther was invited to join, but refused.

"Planet Hulk": Now, after the Hulk went on another rampage, the Illuminati (except for Professor X, who was absent) with the help of Nick Fury, decided send the Hulk to another planet. They lured him into a spaceship and sent him off into space.  At this time The Hulk  had normal intelligence and full strength. Alas, due to a unforeseen event, the Hulk landed on the alien planet Sakkar. This was a savage, barbarian world, merciless ruled by the Red King.

Due to a very rough transit, the Hulk had lost most of his healing powers. For some time and was imprisoned and used as gladiator. During this time, the Hulk - now called "Green Scar" - befriended several other prisoners including:

Miek, an insectoid; a Brood warrior; Lavin Skee of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard; the woman Elloe; Hiroim, a Shadow Warrior; Korg (the brother of Margus, the leader of the Stone Men from Saturn from Journey into Mystery #83! Therefore Korg knows legends about the Hulk and other Earth-based heroes.). They called themselves "Warbound".

Controlled by "obedience disks" on their chests, the Warbound fought a lot of battles Because they were never defeated they became more and more popular. There was an old prophecy about the Sakaarson, who will come to heal the planet or break it. The Hulk becomes a prime suspect of being the Sakaarson - much to the dismay of the Red King.

In a battle against the imprisoned Silver Surfer, the Surfer regains his  self-control and frees all gladiators from the obedience disks. They rise against the Red King and join the rebels. The fight for freedom lasts four issues, and they are joined by Caiera, a Shadow Warrioress, former the right hand of the Red King. Hulk and Caiera develop a love relation. After the Warbound defeat the last ace of the Red King, the aliens called Spikes, the Hulk battles the Red King and beats him to a pulp. The Hulk is made the ruler of Sakkar, Caiera becomes his queen.

Now, everything is fine for the Hulk: He finally has a place where is not considered a monster, where he can use his strength as he likes it and has even a queen and a child coming. Alas, the space ship that brought him to Sakkar is discovered and for unknown reasons the reactor exploded, killing Caiera. This drives the Hulk over the bend. He gathers the Warbound and uses another space ship to go to Earth. He blames the Illuminati for sending him to Sakkar and for destroying his happiness.

Back on Earth, the She-Hulk learns what the Illuminati have done to her cousin and she goes rampage on Iron Man. Also, the young genius Amadeus Cho (called "Mastermind Excello") who is a big fan of the Hulk, gathers some heroes from Hulk's past: Namora, Angel, Hercules.

On the Moon, the Hulk beats Black Bolt to a pulp, then he goes to NY and give the Illuminati 24 hours to surrender before he destroys the city, presenting them the beaten Black Bolt. [This story line is called "World War Hulk" and gives place for many specials, limited series and introducing new characters. I'll stick with the most important ones.]

Believing that the Hulk's cause is just, Cho and the other heroes help him fending off Earth's fighting forces.

Hulk's first target are the X-Men, as he wants to know on which side Professor X stands. Hulk beats every single X-Men and X-Woman, but it is the young Mercury who convinces him that his attack is not just.

As said, the first Illuminator to fall is Black Bolt, followed by Tony Stark in a special Hulkbuster armor. Dr. Strange, the Avengers (Mighty and New), the Fantastic Four, all try to stop the Hulk and his Warbound.

To no avail. She-Hulk tries to talk sense into her cousin. No luck. The US army - again - has no chance against the green goliath.

Strange's magic reverts the Hulk to Banner, but when Strange comforts Bruce, he turns green and smashes Stephen's hands. In a desperate attempt to stop the Hulk, Strange gives himself over to Zom, the demon berserker. This seems to help, but then Strange hesitates, seeing the people hurt in their fight, and the Hulk gets the upper hand again.

Now there is only one hero left standing: The Sentry (imagine a blonde Superman). There was a time, when the Hulk and the Sentry were friends, and so his is reluctant to fight the Sentry. But not for long, then they have a slaughter fest. [That you have to see, it is hard to describe.] After a big explosion, the Sentry is powerless and the Hulk has turned to Banner. But not for long, then he is the Hulk again and the fights start over. But now, the Hulk has to learn that one of his Warbound betrayed him: Miek knew that the people of the Red King were going to kill the Hulk, but did not say anything as he wanted no King Hulk, but a fighting Hulk. Tony Stark uses this moment to unleash a powerful ray upon the Hulk. And for the last time the Hulk turns into Banner, who is comatose and transported away. End of "World War Hulk", but there are some aftermath series.

The Hulk series goes over to "The Incredible Hercules", but there a is new red Hulk appearing in a new series. I do not know anything about him yet.

Captain America: Still dead. The series goes one, with the Winter Soldier, Agent 13, Falcon, Black Widow, all trying to figure out who is behind the killings. The Red Skull and Dr. Faustus do their best that they don't find out. (After all they ARE behind the killing. Faustus brainwashed Sharon to deliver the killing blows; Red Skull set up an attack by Crossbones as diversion.)

Spider-Man: After revealing his secret ID, everything was fine for Peter. He was the hero of the people, everyone loved him. Except J.J. Jameson and all his former enemies. Some of them attacked him, like Mysterio who even took Peter's pupils prisoners (Peter teaches at Midtown High. Another teacher there is Flash Thompson, who has a hard time of accepting the meek Pete is his big idol.)

But over time, Peter gets doubts about the plans Stark and Richards are implementing, and in the middle of the Civil War, Peter switches sides.

That makes him an outlaw, he loses his red-gold armor that Stark designed for him and has to go back to his red-and-blue costume.

Peter, MJ and Aunt May go into hiding. While he is helping the anti-Registration Act forces and the Mighty Avengers in costume, he tries to protect his family while out of it. Alas, the Kingpin (who is still in prison), puts an assassin on Peter; but the bullet hits Aunt May and puts her into a coma. Peter and MJ bring her to a hospital under a false name; then Peter - donning his black costume ["Back in Black" crossover] searches for the killer. This time, the gloves are off. No fancy banter, just hard knocks and broken bones. He finally finds out that the Kingpin is behind it and goes into prison, humiliating Fisk in front of the other prisoners. He lets him live - with the promise to kill Fisk when Aunt May dies. And then he gives a warning to all other prisoners to let his family alone.

Alas, a police detective finds traces of Aunt May (unrecorded gunshot), and Peter and MJ have to transfer May to another hospital. During that, Peter has to break at least 10 laws - and has to realized that he has become the menace Jameson always said he were.

Now we are in part three of four of "One More Day". Mephisto makes Peter and MJ an offer: he saves Aunt May, but the two will have to separate, all memories of their love erased. How will Peter decide? Which woman will he lose? Can the devil be trusted? And why keeps us Marvel waiting for so long?!?

After that there will be "Brand New Day" a promised new beginning for Peter.

And Now: The Current Stuff!

Uncanny X-Men #5-8

In "Uncanny X-Force", Angel became possessed by Apocalypse and in order to accelerate evolution, he detonated a bomb powered by Celestial energy in Montana, wiping aout a small town with 5000 people. His team mate, Fantomex, however, containd the effect of the bomb by putting a time dome over ground zero. Still, within the dome time rushed on for many millions of years.

After a few hours the dome collapses and the Uncanny X-Men (lead by

Cylops) travel to Montana to investigate. They find strange, evolved life forms and primitive humanoids who worship superheroes as gods.

Psylocke (Elisabeth Braddock) is part of the group and although she knows what happens (as she is also a member of X-Force), she does not tell anyone, except Magneto when he blackmails her.

They encounter specifically two sentient beings who are the last of their race: An armored man who gives them a hard fight, before he escapes. And a woman who - after the usual misunderstandings - tells the X-Men the history of her race, like that the armored man was a scientist who wanted to break out of the dome.

The woman also tells them that the armored man wants to release the remaining Celestial energy, but without dome that would effect all of Earth. She brings the X-Men to the former palace where they find the armored man. They try to talk him out of his plans, but fail. Again, they fight, again the armor man escapes.

But one last task remains: When the dome vanished, so did the only protection against the UV rays of the sun. Therefore Scott informs SHIELD and they build a new protective dome over the habitat and define it as protected area to keep humans out of it.

Beside the main story, we learn that Colossus finally realizes that he cannot control the Juggernaut-side of himself; Emma Frost's arm is attached again; and Namor pays a visit to the local underwater queen of the habitat and starts diplomatic relations. (As these relations also seem to contain a physical side and the queen is anything but human in figure, a shocked Hope asks him "You didn't really Imperius Sex her?")

Villains for Hire #0.1, 1-4

Some time ago, the Purple Man manipulated Misty Knight to start "Heroes for Hire", intending to use Misty to get rid of unwanted competition.

But when he sees that he no longer has control over her and her partner Paladin, Killgrave decides to start his own group "Villains for Hire".

One of the villains Misty and her crew takes down is a new Stilt-Man, who is actually a woman insisting to go by the traditional name.

Killgrave's team is: The Shocker, Avalanche, a new female Death-Stalker and a new Scourge (male). Their first mission: Rob the PDA of a Maggia boss, that is moved as evidence in an armord car. But they meet unexpected resistance from another group of villains: Tiger Shark, Bombshell, Crossfire and Nightshade (actually an LMD).

And it is this other group that gets away with the PDA which contains the account numbers of several Maggia off-shore accounts. Killgrave is not happy and would be even less would he know that the victourios group of villains was secretly hired by Misty Knight.

Killgrave next target: Adamantium-etched ISO chips. He sends Bushmaster, Death-Stalker and Monster (Brady Briedel, who can change into the worst fear of his opponent). But Misty's crew (Stilt-Man, Crossfire and Speed

Demon) is also there and Speed Demon gets away with the chips.

Now Killgrave declares war on his opponent. He gives Tiger Shark and Bombshell a lot of money in exchange for information about their boss.

And while that info leads him to Misty Knight, he still does not believe that Misty went over to the dark side. (And he does not want to kill her just to be sure 'cause that would bring the super hero community down on


Paladin, who cares a lot about Misty, also does not believe that she is now employing villains. Until she obviously kills him. Seeing this, Killgrave finally is sure he targets the right person.

Killgrave's crew attacks Misty's HQ and she calls her own crew for defense. The fight between the two crews ends in a super-villain team-up when Misty's crew learns that a) they have been working for a super hero and b) Kilgrave is offering a lot of money to capture Misty.

Now it is just a matter of minutes before Misty is captured, disarmed

(literally) and brought to Killgrave. Alas, he has to learn that there is another player in this game - the Puppet Master, who is looking for revenge on Killgrave for framing him.

Puppet Master and Killgrave fight for control over the villains. Misty uses this opportunity to attach her bionic arm back to herself. The fight for mind-control ends with the unexpected result that the villains get their free will back. Now they turn on Killgrave (and his right hand woman, Headhunter) and on Misty. Misty uses a gas that negates the Purple Man's powers and put out most of the villains. The others flee - except the Scourge, who turns out to be Paladin in disguise.

In the end we learn that a month ago Misty and Masters made up a plan to put out the Purple Man. Paladin's death was staged to convince Killgrave that Misty had gone bad.

Killgrave and the captured villains are rounded up by the police, the Puppet Master turns himself over because he wants to proof that he was framed by Killgrave and to resume his civilian live.

And Misty and Paladin enjoy their first quiet evening since a long time.

Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive #525-529: The Kingpin of Wakanda The Black Panther made a promise to Daredevil to keep an eye on Hell's Kitchen, while DD went away after the Shadowland event. That put him into direct opposition to Wilson Fisk, who now holds control over the assassin guilde, the Hand.

The Kingpin targets the board of directors of the Bank of Wakanda's branch in NYC. He kills two of them, but the Panther is in time to stop the assassination of the third member. Several Hand warriors, Lady Deathstrike and Typhoid Mary give him a hard fight, still T'Challa escapes with the saved woman alive.

He leaves her in the care of a friend, then goes looking for the last member of the board who went undercover. When he finds the last member, he sees that it is a trap set up by the Kingpin. T'Challa takes out the Hand warriors, then learns from the frightened member that the Kingpin wants to control the Bank of Wakanda and through it the country itself.

The Panther sneaks into Fisk's HQ and warns him to stay off Wakanda.

So far he has acted exactly as Fisk predicted and Fisk is satisfied that his plan goes well. But he does not know that T'Challa knows that. And that T'Challa brings in two of his friends, the Falcon and Luke Cage.

Then T'Challa goes searching for a rat in the Bank who works for the Kingpin. When he finds the man, he forces him to sign over his bank job to T'Challa.

Next, T'Challa lures Lady Deathstrike and Tyhopid Mary into a trap, from which both just barely escape.

Enraged, the Kingpin deploys his Hand warriors in a direct assault on the royal palace in Wakanda's capital. But warned by T'Challa, his sister, the princess regent Suri (the new Black Panther), and her body guards easily defeat the Hand ninjas.

Then she attends to a meeting of the board of directory of the Bank of Wakanda, where she manages to stall the decision to sell the bank to Fisk for a week.

IN NY, T'Challa distracts the Kinpin with a fight, while one of his friends hacks into the Hand's computer and hands over all information about their illegal operation to the FBI.

Together with the Falcon, Cage and Suri (who came all the way from Africa for the showdown), T'Challa defeates the Kingpin, his ninjas, Lady Deathstrike and Typhoid Mary, while all over the world the police starts cleaning up Fisk's operations.

In the aftermath, T'Challa gets an unexpected from Matt Murdock, who has come back to Hell's Kitchen (and his own third series). His promise fulfilled, the Panther returns to his homeland.



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Stan Lee doing Stand Up!

This is all Roy Thomas’s fault. In 2008, he made a funny, causal comment saying that he’d like to see Stan Lee do a Stand Up comedy act.  So, I sent Roy these very bad jokes. So while I am on a summer hiatus I thought I’d put them up.  So please blame Roy if you don’t like them!!!!

“Fans always asked me about the  Hulk and his cloths.  When Banner changed into the Hulk his pants stretched.  When he became Banner again, what kept his pants up? That’s easy, the Comics Code!

And who wants to be the Thing? Last month he had was a victim of
identity theft. They called two weeks later and wanted give it back! He wouldn’t take it!

Who stole the identity? The Wizard. The Wizard started the Frightful
Four, but Paste Pot Pete was the glue that held it together!

Hey, and what about Clint Marko: Being the Sandman is no day at the beach…well maybe it is a little bit.

Take the Ant-Man Please. And what's the buzz on the Wasp? They not only talked to ants, they played Jeopardy with them.  And they did better than me!

And what about the Human Torch and Toro—A match made in heaven. Or at least, matchsticks make in heaven.

People talk about the Silver Surfer. Kirby gave him form, I gave him
substance. But neither of us gave him pants!

And take Tony Isabella. They ruined Black Lightning for him. So he
is starting a new strip: Jewish Lightning. His only problem, on
Saturdays someone has to come in and turn on his lightning!

Bruce Banner goes into his doctor: Doc he says, every morning I get up
I have a great headache. The doctor says, Bruce, how any times do I have to tell you, when you get out of bed it's feet first!

Don Blake goes to the Doctor: Doc, my leg hurts what should I do?

Dr. Strange called his assistant to tell him he’d be late for dinner, but got the Wong number.

At DC all the super-heroes had to have secret identities all of them,.  Even their pets.  Batman’s dog even wore a mask, so the other dogs wouldn’t recognize him and threaded his family! Don’t ask don’t smell. The Elongated Man revealed his identity and still wore a mask. Now that’s stretching it!

You ever notice that during the Marvel Age, all heroes had to be single when they got their powers? Peter Parker, Sue and Reed, were all single. It’s called getting powers without a hitch!

What’s up with Superman coming to earth: The planet is exploding and they have
minutes left to live. Jor-El tries to put his wife and child into the rocket ship. She
refuses, with just minutes left to live she says. “My place is with you, Jor-El.”
 At Marvel we would have Jor-El say “Alright, you stay; I’ll go.”

Poor Iron Man: in Tales of Suspense #56 he is fighting the Unicorn, having heart problem and does not answer The Avengers call. So what do they do? Suspend him. From what? Their baseball team?  Do The Avengers meet in the mansion and play pool together? No, he is suspended from saving the  Earth from total destruction. Do they also withhold his pay?

At Marvel How come villains recruit new villains, How come the good guys don’t recruit? Why are they so far behind? Wouldn't

they be trying to employ costumed, super powered good guys? It would be great to see a costumed hero punching in at the beginning of a shift. He could fight for truth, justice and health insurance!

Hey, you notice how much longer stories are these days: In fact, if they re-re doing John Buscema’s book and calling it “How to Draw Out Comics the Marvel Way”

Whenever we wanted to have two heroes on the  cover fighting each other we used Mind Control.  The Puppet Master and the Mad Thinker were great at this. But Diablo was the best he had Dragon Man. Dragon Man was a statue!  That’s right, Diablo used Mind Control on creatures that didn’t have minds.

And finally Tony Stark.  For his first ten years he fought the cold war. He kept  fighting Khrushchev and Russia. That’s right; the man with no heart in a tin suit paid no attention to the man behind the Iron Curtin.”