Happy New Year to all of you from all of us at Destination Venus. Time to look forward to some of the delights coming our way in 2019 - because there's a LOT to come.
Right off the bat we'd like to wish Saucer Award Winning Major Publisher Marvel Comics a very happy eightieth year. They have a lot of very cool stuff lined up for us, so let's have a wee look at what's on offer...
We'll start with the long awaited return of a character that we first remember from the late eighties, but who was the surprise hit of last year's best* comic book movie. That's right, True Believers - Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham will be coming back into print this year!
Sadly, there's no word on actual new content, but Marvel is planning to collect all of the Spectacular Spider-Ham stories that ran in the comic Marvel Tails back in the eighties, and the stand alone Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham series that came later into one volume.
It should be out in the early summer, and you can expect us to go just a little bit crazy with the anthropomoprphic puns around about that time.
The old Spider-Swine isn't the only web-swinging wonderment coming our way this year though. Sauntering around the corner of your very own street this very January we have the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man! Because let's be honest, we've been calling him that for years, but what is it really like to be Spider-Man's neighbour?
I mean, yes, there's the over-the-top villains smashing the place up, the property damage, the reporters coming in to report on the over-the-top villains and the property damage. That's gotta suck, right? Then again, Spidey does try to fix the damage, and he'll help carry your shopping, and now you come to think about it, all of that property damage is usually pretty minor, and it does help keep the rent down...
Basically, if Spider-Man's neighbourhood had a Facebook relationship status it would be set at "it's complicated..." and that's what the old All New Wolverine partnership of Tom Taylor and Juann Cabal set out to explore.
And if all that were not enough, in March we have the arrival of the console version of the character swinging onto the page in City at War.
Now, we know what some of you are thinking - "Hang on, I've alreadey beaten the whole game. Twice. Surely I know everything that could possibly happen, why would I buy this book?"
To which we say, "Yes, you may have a point, but they reckon there's a load of new content, so you probably ought to take a look..."
And of course some of us haven't played the game (yep, we're bad geeks) so we've got nothing to lose!
And of course there's stuff happening at Marvel that has nothing to do with arachnids of any kind. The House of Ideas is branching out of the Super-Hero genre a little, a welcome turn of events which heralds the return of Conan to the Marvel fold in not one but two books!
We're also getting some action from the old west in the shape of Gunhawks, an old title being revived by crack writing team David and Maria Lapham of Stray Bullets fame. Brace yourselves for a shed load of hot lead, vengence, violence and a bid dose of Western Justice.
You've seen all those movies with John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. You know that there were a lot of formidible people in the old west. Cowboys, rustlers, bandits, bounty hunters, law men - even the odd man with no name.
Well my friends, they all pale into insignificance next to the grim glory that was... the Gunhawks!
In all seriousness, it's good to see Marvel remember that they haven't always been just about Spandex.
One final blast from the past we want to mention before we move on to what other publishers might be doing in 2019 is a new edition of one of the best things that Marvel has ever done.
A long time ago, well, in 1994 at least, Marvel put out a four issue mini-series called Marvels. If you listen to The Geeks at the Gates podcast you might remember Steve waxing lyrical about it in the Stan Lee Tribute Episode a few weeks back. It was, in effect, the entire history of the Marvel Universe as seen through the eyes of one old reporter who happened to be on the spot for some of the greatest events in that world's history.
Written by Kurt Busiek, who would go on to create Astro City with art from Alex Ross it was magnificent.
Well, perhaps because it's their eightieth year, or perhaps simply because some people who were in their early twenties in 1994 and were blown away by this book are now in their late forties and running departments at Marvel, they're bringing it back.
But this is no straightforward reprint - you've always been able to get that. No, this is an annotated reprint. We're properly fanboy drooling over this. Marvels is so chock full of references and Easter Eggs hidden in the back of panels that a properly annotated edition had been at the top of my personal wish list since I bought the original series in 1994. I mean, it's taken them nearly a quarter of a century, but it's proof if proof were needed that if you're patient you often end up getting what you want...
What a year it's going to be at Marvel - and we haven't even scratched the surface really. There's a whole new Daredevil coming, Ms Marvel is getting a new creative team, Captain Marvel is getting her own book again (it's almost as if there were a movie on the way...), and there are all manner of eightieth brithday celebrations that we haven't even mentioned.
Of course, it must be said that these celebrations will be tinged with a hint of sadness. It would have been nice to have still had Stan Lee and Steve Ditko around to join in (and Jack Kirby too, but we lost him a very long time ago...) but perhaps, as we look to the future, it's time to let the glorious past slide into history.
We'll be back next week to take another glance at our crystal ball to see what all the other publishers have to offer in the year to come.
*In our opinion. Although we maintain that while you are entirely free to disagree with us, if you do so, you're wrong.