Tag Archives: avengers

A Crafty Avengers-Themed Birthday Surprise

First things first: Tomorrow is the Northeast Ohio Arthritis Foundation’s annual Fall fundraiser L’Amour du Vin and I have a giveaway winner to announce for it.

After removing one pingback and placing the entries in Random.org, we have a winner:

Congratulations to entry #14 – Katie K. Email me at clueintocleveland (at) gmail (dot) and I’ll let you know how to redeem your tickets for tomorrow night’s event.

If you still need to purchase tickets for Lorain County’s premier wine and food tasting event, get them before it’s too late. L’Amour du Vin will take place tomorrow night from 6-9pm at the Avon Oaks Country Club. General admission is $60; $90 for the VIP Lounge. Learn more and purchase tickets at http://lamourduvin2012.eventbrite.com.

Now onto today’s primary business:

Cheers to you, Scott – Happy 30th!

Behind most of the photos taken on this blog is a fantastically silly, sweet, not-so-subtle and all-around swell guy: the one and only Scott T. Hicken.  And today’s a day of celebration in our household because Scott turns 30 (I know, I’m robbing the cradle).

All Scott wanted for his birthday this year was the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One Collector’s Set, complete with the briefcase and Teseract cube from Avengers. But then this happened, leading to a change in packaging and release date tentatively scheduled for Spring 2013.

Birthday Fail!

So I got crafty:

Take one and a half shoeboxes, some electrical tape and a pair of scissors…

…print out a couple of S.H.I.E.L.D. logos…

…glue it all together and – voila – my (very) makeshift take on the Avengers briefcase:

Add in a few gifts and a note from Scott’s favorite no longer deceased S.H.I.E.L.D. agent about a certain cosmic cube…

…and you have one mostly salvaged birthday.

The only thing that’ll make it better is when the full collector’s set does come out and Scott gets his actual birthday gift. In the meantime, we’ll be watching the Avengers Blu-ray that Amazon kindly sent to everyone who pre-ordered the collector’s set (EXCELLENT customer service move, by the way, Amazon!).

Happy birthday, Scott!

Among many, many other things, thanks for sharing your love of comic books with me and getting me back into something I was obsessed with as a kid.  And thanks for always putting up with this blog and me in general.

At the risk of crossing my Marvel film references, you’re my own Mr. Fantastic.

(Feel free to send your birthday wishes to Scott on Twitter @Husbanonymous.)

Hour 24 and counting: Late-night thoughts on The Avengers

Why am I awake at 5am posting on my blog without having gone to sleep last night? I think this photo explains it all:

I’m too excited to sleep!

Yes, that’s me waiting for the midnight showing of Marvel’s The Avengers to start.

After a few years of looking forward to this blockbuster and several weeks of working hard to avoid as many spoilers as possible, it was finally time at 12:01 am this morning to sit down and watch the Holy Grail of comic book movies.

Honestly, the last 24 hours were the most nervewracking in my countdown as my impatience finally got the better of me.

Scott at the PlayhouseSquare Golf Par-tee before Avengers

It didn’t help that Thursday was a scheduling nightmare with me waking up at 4 so I could work 7 to 6 and then some mini-golf at PlayhouseSquare’s Partners Par-Tee.

Afterwards we headed home for a large gulp of coffee. Even more than the jolt of caffeine, @PoiseinParma’s advice on Twitter is what helped me get through the day:

She’s going to make an excellent yogi one day soon

I even gained a bit of sympathy for Twi-Hards along the way (however, I still detest the books and movies). I  finally get their complete obsession as I’m pretty sure 3/4 of my tweets yesterday had to do with The Avengers and comic books (in my defense, though, The Avengers stands tall above Twilight in terms of quality).

So, how was the movie? It was everything I wanted out of The Avengers and then some. You won’t find any spoilers here, though I’ll admit one scene ranks as the most deserving ass-kicking between 2 people I’ve ever witnessed in a movie.

And as with Iron Man and the other movies leading up to this, be sure to stay til the very very end of the final credits.   We watched so many people leave right at the beginning of the credits who missed out on some exciting and hilarious extras.

Even my Traveling Hulk got to enjoy the movie

While I am completely biased (so take this for what it’s worth), I think non-comic book fans will enjoy The Avengers a lot too. Although the action sequences are a thing of beauty, Joss Whedon really succeeds by making it a funny, endearing, quirky ride.

This is not surprising for those of us who have been Whedon fans for awhile. If The Avengers was your first taste of Whedon and you want some more, I personally recommend the shortlived but cult favorite Firefly (as well as its followup movie Serenity) and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

The man is a master storyteller and writes pitch perfect characters. The Avengers was no different with Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk portrayal being the best Hulk I’ve seen to date.

E 9th St in downtown Cleveland, where a lot of the footage for Avengers’ epic NY battle was filmed

Of course, if you’re from Cleveland, you may be eager to see whether there were enough shots of our city to justify shutting down parts of downtown last summer. Without wanting to spoil things, I can say The Avengers utilized the city much more than Spiderman 3 did – especially with a certain Berlin exterior scene.

Plain Dealer columnist and comic book writer Michael Sangiacomo put together a nice article that covers a few of the The Avengers scenes featuring Cleveland.

For those who haven’t read the comics or are familiar with all of the characters, Sangiacomo also offers this helpful primer on The Avengers.

Scott and I enjoying some Steak ‘n Shake after the movie (I got a mint shake in honor of my favorite Avenger)

All I know is I was so jazzed after seeing it that I am STILL awake enough to stay up and write this blog post after inhaling a late-night burger and milkshake. And I definitely plan on seeing it again…very soon.

I hope you do too…and feel free to share what you thought of it in the comments below. Good or bad. I may dress up with Hulk gloves in my free time; however, a well-articulated opinion even if it’s different than my own won’t make me ‘hulk out.’

Of course I’ve been awake for 24+ hours so I don’t think I’d have enough energy for you to see me get angry, even if I wanted to.

Not tired yet of all this comic book talk? Check out my earlier post on comic book creators from the Cleveland area.

Cleveland, Assemble and Clue Into CLE Comic Book Creators!

Avengers Assemble this Friday! (from marvel.com/avengers_movie)

Only a few days remain until a movie opens that I’ve been anticipating for years: this Friday, the Avengers assemble!

As a longtime Marvel fan, I’ve been looking forward to this blockbuster since it was first officially announced after the success of Iron Man.

And as if I needed another reason to see the movie, downtown Cleveland was transformed last summer into one of the film’s urban battlefields. As much as I love Cleveland, the idea of seeing E9th Street getting blown up on screen really excites me.

Needless to say, I’ll be heading out to a midnight showing on Thursday night near my local comic book shop in Sheffield Village. I plan on seeing it at least twice – once so I can revel in my Marvel fangirldom, and a second so I can enjoy the glimpses of Cleveland besieged by explosions and bad guys.

Action Comics #1 (from comics.org)

This isn’t the first time, though, that the world of caped crusaders has collided with Cleveland.

As the birthplace of Superman (created by Clevelanders Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster), Cleveland boasts an amazing heritage when it comes to writing and drawing comic book heroes.  Even today, current and former Clevelanders continue this legacy – writing, drawing and inking for both indie publishers and powerhouses like Marvel and DC.

Awhile back I did a post on some of the ways Cleveland and comics connect – from Harvey Pekar to Calvin and Hobbes’ Bill Watterson. In honor of the Avengers opening, this time around I want to share a few crimefighting and sci-fi comics with a Cleveland connection:

Brian Michael Bendis, who grew up in Cleveland and is the architect of many Marvel books including Avengers, at C2E2 2011

Brian Michael Bendis: It’s fitting that one of Marvel’s heavyweights and the architect of a number of current Avengers titles is originally from Cleveland’s eastside. In 2000, Brian Michael Bendis helmed the debut of Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man and continues writing it today with over 100 issues under his belt.

Having also written House of M and Daredevil, among many other books for Marvel, he’s currently writing for my favorite Avengers team: the New Avengers. In addition to traditional superheroes, Bendis created and writes the gritty Powers as well as the Jinx line of crime comics.

Taskmaster #1 (from comics.org)

Fred Van Lente: Called one of the more idiosyncratic and insightful voices in comics, NYT-bestselling author Fred Van Lente shared in a 2008 interview that he grew up in the Cleveland area after moving here.

When I pick up a Van Lente book I have high expectations for a seamless combination of action, humor and really relatable characters — even if those characters are the Incredible Hercules or Taskmaster, which was one of the most simulataneously touching and action-packed Marvel miniseries I’ve read in the last few years.

Van Lente also created Cowboys and Aliens (the basis for last summer’s movie) with Andrew Foley, as well as one of the first comics Scott introduced me to – Action Philosophers! with his Evil Twin Comics cohort Ryan Dunlavey.  This August, he’ll be participating in Valiant Entertainment’s relaunch with Archer & Armstrong.

Wonder Woman #8 (from comics.org)

Brian Azzarello: Although he may now call Chicago home, DC’s Brian Azzarello was born and raised in the Cleveland area. He became most well-known for writing 100 Bullets. Published through DC’s Vertigo line, the dark, hard-boiled crime series was honored with both the Harvey and Eisner Awards.

Among a long line of DC characters, he has written for both Batman and Superman, as well as Doc Savage.  And although we’re not even halfway through, 2012 has been a powerhouse year for Azzarello:

  • His post-apocalyptic Spaceman miniseries rockets to its conclusion this summer.
  • On his ongoing run of Wonder Woman, the character has undergone a number of fascinating changes and risen to be a Top 20 title for the first time in years.
  • And he’s collaborating on not just one – but two – of the books in DC’s highly anticipated Before Watchmen series – taking on my two favorite Watchmen characters Comedian and Rorschach.

On a personal note, meeting him and briefly chatting about favorite dishes at Greenhouse Tavern was one of my highlights from this year’s C2E2.

All-Ghouls School Tradepaperback (from sumerak.com)

Marc Sumerak: After spending time in NYC where he worked on Marvel’s editorial staff after college, editor and writer Marc Sumerak moved back to his hometown of Cleveland in 2003 to continue his career.

In addition to titles like Power Pack and Franklin Richards: Boy Genius, Sumerak’s most recent work includes his first original graphic novel All-Ghouls School and Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four: Hard Choices, a free comic in Marvel’s substance abuse prevention campaign.

Sumerak gives back to the Cleveland comic book community as well by hosting POP! The Comic Culture Club. Open to all Cleveland-area comic book fans, retailers and professionals who want to share their love of the medium, the group meets twice a month at the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Parma Heights Branch.

Marc Sumerak’s Pop! Comic Culture Club is open and free to all Clevelanders interested in the medium

Other Cleveland-grown authors and artists to clue into (and by no means is this an exhaustive list):

  • Brian K. Vaughn, who wrote the critically acclaimed Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina and Marvel’s Runaways and recently returned to comics with his newest book SagaI’ve torn through the first two issues of this St. Ignatius alum’s fantasy “space opera” and highly recommend picking them up along with issue #3 when it comes out in a couple weeks.
  • Michael Sangiacomo, a longtime reporter at the Plain Dealer on the breaking news and crime beat. In addition to sharing his love of comics through his PD column on pop culture, he is the author of several graphic novels including Tales of the Starlight Drive-In and Phantom Jack, the story of a newspaper reporter who can turn invisible.
  • P. Craig Russell, whose artwork is such a thing of wonder that I’d be remiss if I didn’t include him in this list though he’s from south of the Cleveland-area.  Included within his vast body of work is a comic-adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline  and a story in issue 113 of my favorite ongoing series Bill Willingham’s Fables.

Michael Sangiacomo’s Tales of the Starlight Drive-In (from talesofthestarlightdrivein.com)

While you can order many of these creators’ books online, Cleveland is blessed with many independent comic book stores scattered throughout the region.

I’m a huge proponent of heading to these brick-and-mortar stores instead because you’ll not only be able to get many of these books there, but also explore an entire world of comics worth your time.

And this Saturday, comic book stores nationwide are making it easy for newcomers to discover new reading material.  Free Comic Book Day takes place every year on the first Saturday of May and it’s the one day during the year when participating comic book shops give away free comics to anyone who visits their stores.

Search for a participating comic book store near you at freecomicbookday.com

From the east to westside, Clevelanders have a number of shops to choose from to pick up their free comic books. Cleveland.com has put together a rundown of the different stores’ festivities and Cleveland Scene’s The Dork Side features 5 of the 40+ free books you need to pick up.

Come Saturday morning (after catching up on my post-Avengers zzz’s), I’ll be at Comics Are Go! in Sheffield Village.

Formerly Astound Comics, Comics Are Go! recently moved their store from Westlake to Sheffield Village (5188 Detroit Rd., Exit 148 off I-90) and on Free Comic Book Day they’ll be introducing new and longtime customers to the new location starting at noon.

Hopefully I’ll even see a few new comic book readers there!