Red and yellow are not only the colors of summer weather; this year they’ve attached themselves to a blockbuster summer movie as well. And Iron Man, the iconic character sporting those gaudy heat-heavy tones, kicks off the summer movie season with the much anticipated Iron Man 2, setting off another long summer season filled with comic book movies. Later this summer we’ve got director M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender and, of course, director Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, coming later this summer.
In addition to the Marvel publications tied to Iron Man 2, likely the biggest comic book movie of the year, we’re going to highlight books and a “motion” animated comic as well—attached to them. And next summer we can look forward to Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, that’s right—still more big time comic book movies.
Film: Iron Man 2, opened this past weekend.
Two years after the first Iron Man film, the gang’s (mostly) all back. Now officially revealed to be the man behind the mask, Tony Stark is even cockier than he was in the past. This sets up him up perfectly to be the target of some evil villains, such as the evil Whiplash. From Burger King to 7-11, Iron Man is plastered everywhere making him the unofficial star of the summer. To celebrate, Iron Man’s publishing home, Marvel, has launched a bunch of titles both tied directly, and indirectly, to the movie.
The periodical comics: Invincible Iron Man #25 by Matt Fraction. A special double sized periodical issue created in tandem with Iron Man 2, Marvel claims this issue of Iron Man’s flag ship series is “the perfect jumping-on point for fans of the films and readers new and old alike.”
Iron Man Legacy by Fred Van Lente with art by Steve Kurth. Iron Man got a brand new, second, ongoing series, in early April, which gives readers a closer look at the character. It’s perfect for anyone seeking out greater insight into the life of Shellhead before seeing Iron Man 2.
Iron Man 2: Public Identity by Joe Casey & Justin Theroux with art by Barry Kitson. Another Iron Man series, this one set in the world of the “Iron Man” movies. Here, you’ll read what happened between the movies. Obviously the world changed when Tony Stark just flat out said, “I am Iron Man” at the end of the first film. Iron Man 2 starts a few months later. Fill in the blanks with this comic.
Black Widow by Marjorie Liu with art by Daniel Acuna. Portrayed by Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2, this classic Marvel super-spy doesn’t have any real super powers but she’s held her own along side everyone from Captain America to Daredevil. Now, hot on the heels of her big screen debut, the black-leathered beauty gets her own ongoing series.
Digital: Iron Man: Extremis by Warren Ellis with art by Adi Granov, the motion comic. In a digital world, it’s hard to keep comics on the page. So, Marvel has launched this title, available on iTunes, Zune and X-Box Live. It’s a 6 part series with each running 20 minutes, retelling a popular Iron Man storyline from 2005. While not directly tied to the movie, it provides some enlightening background and action for Tony Stark and Iron Man.
Film: The Last Airbender, opens July 2
The writer and director of The Sixth Sense, and one of the most underrated comic book movies of all time, Unbreakable, is getting his Nickelodeon on with The Last Airbender. M. Night Shyamalan helms this story of a powerful boy named Aang who can manipulate elements and finds himself at the center of an epic war. Originally an award winning animated Nickelodeon series (which was called Avatar: The Last Airbender), it spawned a slew of popular books and manga. Del Rey/Random House is keeping the tradition going.
The books: The Last Airbender: Prequel: Zuko’s Story by Dave Roman and Alison Wilgus with art by Nina Matsumoto (Del Rey, May 18). What happened right before the movie The Last Airbender begins? Well, this manga prequel tells the story of Zuko, a prince from the Fire Nation who is banished and must travel the world to find his one chance at redemption. That one chance comes in the person of the all-powerful Avatar.
The Last Airbender by Dave Roman and Alison Wilgus with art by Joon Choi (Del Rey movie tie-in, June 22). Seeing a movie in a theater is one thing, reading it in manga form is a totally different beast. This adaptation of the film will tell the story of the Avatar, his affect on the world around him and the war waged at his expense. It’s perfect for fans of the film or anyone who wants to go in with a little more knowledge.
Avatar: The Last Airbender #1 (Del Rey, June 22). This book, the first in a new ongoing manga series, follows the story of the original animated television show, not the movie, but features many of the same characters and themes.
Secrets of the Avatar (Golden Books, May 11). Secrets of the Avatar, along with Fire Power and Air Strike, highlight a series of activity and puzzle books based on the film version of The Last Airbender and are aimed younger kids.
Film: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, opens August 13.
Scott Pilgrim is a normal kid who has fallen in love. The girl, Ramona, just happens to have seven evil ex-boyfriends and in order to be with her, Scott must defeat them all. Heavily influenced by comics, manga, videogames and, indeed, pop culture of all kinds, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s cult comic series is getting the big screen treatment thanks to director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead). To tie-in with the film, which is named after the second book in the series, Oni Press is releasing the highly anticipated sixth and final volume of the saga right before the film hits theaters.
The book: Scott Pilgrim Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour, to be published July 20. It’s something of a spoiler to say that Scott has already defeated six of Ramona’s evil ex-boyfriends and finally, in Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, he will face the biggest and baddest of them all, Gideon Graves. Anyone who has been following Scott’s exploits already has this one on preorder. Anyone who hasn’t will read this as soon as they see the movie.