As the year draws to a close, we thought it would be the perfect time to look back at the most “Oh my God!,” “What?!” and “What were they thinking?!” moments… and there have been plenty! It was hard to narrow down this list! Not quite making the cut were Ultimate Captain America being elected President in the aftermath of the United States crumbling and Marvel giving Sif her own comic book! Not to mention DC announcing that they were giving Vibe his! So what topped these reveals? Keep reading!
10. Ms. Marvel Gets Promoted to Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Gets Demoted To Shazam
Marvel made the decision to drop Carol Danvers’ slightly dated code name, Ms. Marvel and instead bestowed upon her the proud and iconic title of Captain Marvel, a name that has been utilized by many characters, but most famously associated with deceased Kree expat Mar-Vell, who played a role in Carol gaining her powers in the first place. She was also given a new military-inspired costume that completely concealed her from the neck down, in a move that was arguably to make readers take her more seriously. (She is rumored to be soaring toward the silver screen.)
On DC’s part, however, after over 70 years, DC renamed its Captain Marvel “Shazam.” The character was created by C.C. Beck and Bill Parker and for a period outsold Superman! DC acquired the character (and his extended family) from original publisher Fawcett Comics in 1972 and the character has been a fixture in the DC Universe since, even starring in a beloved live-action Saturday morning TV show and appearing on scores of merchandising. But, in the meantime, Marvel had secured the rights to the name Captain Marvel (DC, in fact, cannot publish anything with Marvel in the title) so DC was forced to put “Shazam” on everything featuring the good Captain, including the TV show. Much of the general public is actually under the impression that that is the character’s name, so DC made the ballsy decision to make that the case. No more worries about copyright infringement, but 70+ years of tradition out the window!
9. Aquaman Still Rules
Every “New 52″ title debuted huge, but sales of many dropped off almost immediately. Several were axed within mere months. Others have seen sales trailed off over time. Aquaman hasn’t. Despite his previous status as a laughing stock due to his frequent lack of usefulness on the Super Friends (“Talks to fish!”), Aquaman’s title has retained 76.2% of its initial sales. According to the November sales chart, Aquaman outsold both regular Avengers books, Superman, Flash, Wolverine and the X-Men, Wonder Woman and hundreds of others. And with his taking centerstage in the current “Throne of Atlantis” crossover, expect those number to rise! Talks to fish, huh? Pfff!
8. So Long Sam!
DC made waves and scored mainstream press headlines when they announced that in their parallel universe series Earth 2, written by James Robinson and illustrated by Nicola Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott was going to be reimagined as a gay man. The publisher even provided media outlets with artwork showing Scott kissing his male lover Sam. Then when the infamous issue arrived, fans were stunned by the last page which depicted Sam and a full trainload of people dying in a fiery explosion! It was kind of a Women in Refridgerators moment. Sam had really been given no personality or even a last name. His death was simply a plot device meant to inspire Alan to battle evil as Green Lantern. Even so, message boards were buzzing after fans finished the issue!
7. Image is the New Vertigo
In the same year the Image founder Rob Liefeld attempted to revive his splashy, dreadful Youngblood comic, the company he and several other artists-turned-”writers” founded– initially famous for its books being being pretty but not particularly original– emerged as possibly the most intellectual publisher on stands. Already home to smash hits The Walking Dead and Invincible, the imprint added titles like Fatale, Dancer, Revival and most famously Saga which have been embraced by critics for their stellar writing and artwork and are already landing on Best of 2012 lists. The books aren’t mainstream and bear no resemblance to one another, but their sheer quality is undeniable!
6. Before Watchmen
How DARE they?! Did anyone really want more Watchmen? The original miniseries is possibly THE most respected work in comic history, but everybody knows that writer Alan Moore had a very public falling out with DC afterward and has disavowed any Watchmen product to come along since, including the 2009 live-action film. Besides, the story had a beginning, middle and end. Where else was there to go? Well, DC when where ever that was bu announcing “Before Watchmen” a group of miniseries starring the various cast members in tales set before the original! They assembled an all-star cast of creators– arguably the best in the business– and the results have been phenomenal! Rich, gorgeous and fantastically written, these minis have converted many a doubter… including myself!
5. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Sold How Many Copies?!
I doubt that when IDW licensed the rights to make a comic book out of cult favorite cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic that they expected these results, but the first issue– an all-ages title– had astounding pre-orders of over 100,000 copies! That places it ahead of, oh nearly everybody. Iron Man, Thor, Batman and Robin… all crushed under the hooves of these shiny, happy ponies. They even vastly outsold Aquaman and we already discussed how well that was selling. Say what you want about Brony Nation, but these sales are huge and most buyers were first timers. With comic sales waning in recent years, this could bring in a fresh new audience.
4. Cyclops: The Most Hated Man In The Marvel Universe
Some heroes go bad. Some villains go good. But rarely has a hero made so spectacular a spiral into villainy. Once the Steve Rogers of the mutant population, Cyclops was a straight-laced, by-the-numbers field leader to the best of the best, the X-Men. But corrupted by the power of the Phoenix Force, he along with Emma Frost, Namor, Colossus and Magik declared war, taking on the Avengers and eventually their own fellow X-Men, who realized how out-of-whack he’d become! One by one, his fellow Phoenix hosts lost their power and he absorbed it until it was too much and he became Dark Phoenix… and killed Pofessor Xavier! Hope Summers exocised the Phoenix Force from him and used the energy to revive the mutant population. Upon learning this, he had the audacity to say that despite the destruction and Professor X’s death, he would do it all again to save the mutants. He was imprisoned but broke out with the help of Magneto and Magik and he is now on the run from the law, attempting to stir up a mutant rebellion. What an ass!
3. (Tie) Clark Kent Quits The Daily Planet/Superman and Wonder Woman Hook Up
In a stunning move, Clark Kent, fed up with the state of journalism and comparing it to the entertainment industry, quit the Daily Planet, a position he’s held since 1938 in the real world, to become a blogger. Fans were stunned and the move even made mainstream news… well, entertainment news. Ironic, right?
But an even bigger fuss erupted when DC announced that the Man of Steel, single again since the “New 52″ relaunch, was going to begin dating WonderWoman, the biggest female hero in comics! Feminists instantly recoiled, fearing that such a powerful, iconic female hero may now simply be reduced to “Superman’s girlfriend.” The fact that Good Morning America dubbed her his “New sexy sidekick” certainly didn’t help. It’s been three months and honestly, there’s been very little development in the relationship, so we’re still going to have to wait and see how this goes.
2. Glenn’s Death in ‘The Walking Dead’
It had been building for months. Rick Grimes, leader of a pack of human survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse, had been hearing about Negan, a man running a “protection racket” picking off walkers and charging the survivors of the settlement Hilltop half their resources in exchange. Rick decided he and his crew could take over that job and threw down the gauntlet, taking out some of Negan’s people and sending one back to deliver this message. The ellusive Negan never actually appears until issue #100 and what an introduction! In his first appearance he murdered the beloved Glenn, one of the original survivors and arguably the one everyone seemed to care for the most. Glenn represented optimism throughout the series and he had just decided that he, Maggie and Sophia were going to permanently relocate to Hilltop after discovering that Maggie was pregnant. Instead, Negan brutally crushed his skull with Lucille, a baseball bat wrapped in barb wire, while Maggie, Rick and the others looked on helplessly. R.I.P. Glenn.
1. The Death of Spider-Man
Doctor Otto Octavius, Doc Ock, one of Spidey’s oldest and most persistent foes, created a way to swap minds with Peter Parker, trapping Spider-Man in Ock’s rapidly dying body. Otto planned to use Spider-Man’s abilities to become an even more powerful villain. Peter, trapped in Octavius’ body, desperately tries to switch their minds back, but Octavius has taken too many precautions and Peter… DIES!!! Yes, the real Spider-Man, Peter Parker in the real Marvel Universe… star of stage and screen… is dead! This is the highest profile super hero death since Superman’s! (Of course, unlike Glenn, he’s sure to return.)
Yes, I know it was DC-heavy. I considered others, but these genuinely felt like the biggest news events this year… and DC had a big year. What do you think? Did I miss anything major? Please replay in the comments below!