Saturday, March 29, 2008

SubJugated SubCasts

As someone who has never previously ventured into the world of vinyl or statues or the like, I have been totally taken by TWEEQiM's Marvel SubCasts line through Upper Deck. I ended up picking up all four of the released editions. The first of the bunch, Spidey, is my least favorite. He just doesn't translate as well to the format as the others. The three subsequent releases, however, are nothing short of (ironically) spectacular! Iron Man, Ghost Rider, and Wolverine lend themselves perfectly to the funky proportioned polyresin. They are stunning, distinctive, beautiful works of art.

The official Upper Deck website and both of TWEEQiM's MySpace sites had indicated that we might see miQ and Thuy Wilmott's unique take on more Marvel icons, like Captain America, Thor, and Hulk, but it looks like those ideas won't see the light of day beyond some concept sketches found on those sites, and a SubCasts trading card of Cap put out by Upper Deck.

When I had heard this, I reached out to miQ, who responded with a gracious and thoughtful reply. While he couldn't comment on why the line was coming to an end other than to say it was a "bizz thing", he did seem genuinely disappointed. He acknowledged there was a conscious effort to approach these characters with "a bit of a quirky attitude" and indicated that there were a lot of directions in which they would have liked to have taken the line.

It really is a shame this is coming to an end, TWEEQiM's Marvel SubCasts line was able to breathe new life into the Marvel stable by taking two-dimensional characters that have been a part of the pop culture vernacular for decades off the page and rendering them in a fresh three-dimensional way.

The Wishlist

I love the concept art for Captain America, Thor, and Hulk, and would have loved to see them come to life. For what it's worth, here are the top five other Marvel characters I would have liked TWEEQiM to tackle in the SubCasts format:
  • Luke Cage (How great would this have been?!)
  • Namor (Marvel's ultimate anti-hero in the ultimate format.)
  • The Thing (He and Puck already have the proportions for the line, so it would have been cool to see where miQ and Thuy would have taken either of them.)
  • Colossus
  • Dr. Doom
Honorable mention: Beast, Daredevil, Nick Fury, and the aforementioned Puck. Not sure if it's because TWEEQiM hadn't gone there yet or what, but I had trouble getting my head around a female SubCast.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Avengers: Remastered Special Edition

I had been avoiding Marvel's Avengers Classic series in my local comic shop for months. I viewed it with high skepticism as a reprint cash-grab, but I buckled on my self-righteous morals when I saw issue #9 on the stands last month. Avengers #9 is the earliest issue of the original title I own. I remember picking up "The Coming of the... Wonder Man!" at a convention back in the mid-'80s -- when a con to me was a weekend stint of dealers and shops setting up tables at the local mall. So I decided to pick up Classic #9 and am actually pretty happy with it.

In the same way I enjoy the remastered editions of Casablanca or Vertigo or Blade Runner on DVD, I enjoyed the original Wonder Man tale presented in Classic. It had fresh, vibrant colors on quality paper that shamed the drab, 44 year-old original sitting in my long box. And, to take the DVD analogy a step further, the new ten-page story included in Classic #9 holds up well as a sort of bonus content special feature. The hyper-stylized story fills in the blanks about how Wonder Man captured Wasp to help put Baron Zemo's plans into motion in the original tale. Also included -- although less interesting than the between-the-panels story -- in this "special edition" of Avengers #9 is the original letters page reprinted from 1964.

So I guess there is some value-add to be found in the sexed-up repackaging, but I doubt I'll be double-dipping on any subsequent issues of Avengers Classic in the near-future. Probably because the next sequential issue of Avengers in the Original Collection is the second appearance of the Dane Whitman Black Knight in issue #48.