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Kirby 100: Daring Mystery Comics

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Back in the 1940s a pair of scrappy comic-making partners started creating the kinds of books that would change the face of the industry. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby launched a studio that introduced the world to Captain America, but before that, they worked on the last three issues of DARING MYSTERY COMICS for Timely Comics in the early part of the decade. Though not one of the more popular and lauded super hero anthologies from that era, the book did feature some very interesting work from the future “King of Comics” including the covers to installments #6-8 and the introduction of the very first Marvel Boy!

In an interesting mix of mythology, the tale explained that the ancient Egyptians figured out  reincarnation which also applied to Hercules, Son of Power as he died. The Greek demigod’s spirit rested in Valhalla for a time until World War II broke out and he decided to return to the land of mortals. He traveled to Earth, found a newborn baby named Martin Burns, and inhabited his body.

Upon his turning 14, a mysterious stranger appeared in the middle of a nighttime thunderstorm to give the youth a wrapped gift. The mystery man then popped into Martin’s room as a talking shadow and explained that the soul of Hercules resided inside him and that he would have the strength to topple fascism as The Marvel Boy!

The gift held Martin’s new super hero uniform, which he put on before heading out to stop a group of Fifth Columnists from bringing more Axis agents into New York City! With his incredible strength, Marvel Boy easily stopped the car transporting the new spies and also uncovered important information about the whole cell that he turned over to the FBI.

Daring Mystery Comics (1940) #6

Daring Mystery Comics (1940) #6

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That same issue also saw Simon and Kirby collaborating on a character the former introduced in the first issue of DARING, The Fiery Mask! In this one, Dr. Jack Castle made a house call to a woman going through shock after a member of the Legion of the Damned appeared and gave her a baby who would become the evil group’s champion! Castle returned to the house that night, but as his heroic alter ego Fiery Mask! He arrived just in time to see the baby get up and start walking around before summoning a giant, green assassin. Fiery Mask stopped the creature’s first attempt at murder and then followed the menace through some kind of portal that lead to an epic battle with demons!

In DARING MYSTERY COMICS #7, Simon and Kirby debuted another new character: Captain Daring. Set in a world where evil underworlders developed weapons that allowed them to easily infiltrate the United States and destroy cities, the tale found only one man ready to stand in their way. The Army’s Captain Daring used solar powered underground planes and a good deal of cunning to win the day and save the Earth in the process.

Looking back at these Golden Age Kirby offerings not only shows how his art style evolved over the course of his long career, but also some of the themes that h’’d never stop exploring like kids receiving immense powers, mythology and its relation to heroics, and coming up with really creepy monsters!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Rocket: A Bite Out of Crime

The Marvel Universe can barely contain the story of Rocket Raccoon.

He’s done it all—from his adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy, to finding love, to pulling heists with his own crew of ne’er-do-wells. And on October 11, writer Al Ewing and artist Adam Gorham present ROCKET #6, in which the smart-talkin’ hero continues his (not-so-successful) fight against rival rodent Castor Gnawbarque III!

We spoke with Al to break down Rocket’s past, present, and tenuous future in issue #6.

Marvel.com: Rocket’s changed a lot in recent times. How do you plan to reconcile his past with his current mentality?

Al Ewing: Well, I’ve hinted in interviews and in the actual text—in the “prose gutter” where we keep most of the narration—that Rocket remembers a little more of the old days than he lets on. We’ve actually seen him bump up against his past on Halfworld before, so this isn’t such a new development. But Adam and I add a little noir tinge to that—Halfworld feels explicitly like the Good Old Days in our book; the days that were lost and can never come again.

We’re leaning into the meta-knowledge that the once innocent, playful, fun character has become a hard-bitten sci-fi thief—we move forward, and that’s for the best, but at the same time Rocket’s lost something that he can’t quite define or put his finger on, and the knowledge eats at him.

Marvel.com: How much of Rocket’s old life will we witness as the series continues?

Al Ewing: We get deep into it in issue #6…I won’t get too spoiler-y about how the memories come up, but they provide quite a contrast between how Rocket used to be and how he acts now. Fans of the old Bill Mantlo and Mike Mignola series will hopefully be happy with the glimpse they get of some of the old gang—and our superstar artist Adam Gorham puts his all into bringing them back to life.

Marvel.com: What made you originally decide to tell a crime noir story in this series?

Al Ewing: When I got the call to do ROCKET, I’d been reading a lot of Richard Stark and that sat heavy on my mind. I knew Rocket had become a little shadier since the early days—and obviously in the films he’s a much more criminal character—so the idea of putting this little Raccoon guy in a suit and having him pull off stylish sixties-influenced heists really tickled me. And when the initial absurdity of the situation wore off, I started thinking about how interesting it’d be to get into the deep-down melancholy of this character.

Marvel.com: What traits did you feel were integral to bringing Rocket to life in this storyline?

Al Ewing: Well, they’re more Raccoon-centric than Rocket-centric, but I found out raccoons have excellent senses of touch and hearing, which pretty much instantly made me think of safecracking. But, as we’ve seen, he also applies that to listening to people.

In terms of specifically Rocket-centric traits, he projects a lot of confidence in this two-parter. Rocket knowing how to wear a suit becomes bizarrely integral to the plot. And his ability to take a good thing and screw it up also jumps to the front and center.

Marvel.com: How does Rocket handle the difficulties of his tragic past while simultaneously dealing with the Technet?

Al Ewing: The Technet are a fun addition to the book. You can thank [Editor] Jordan White for that, since he asked me to bring them back, which I was more than happy to do…in fact, my one regret is not thinking of it myself.

We’ve set up a will-they-won’t-they, flirtatious thing between Rocket and the Technet’s leader, Gatecrasher, but whether it’s all going to end well…well, we’ll have to see. Somehow I doubt it.

Marvel.com: What inspired the “prose gutter” format of this comic?

Al Ewing: The “prose gutter” became part of the plan from pretty much the very beginning. I’d done it once before in an old issue of MIGHTY AVENGERS, but, full disclosure, it’s not a new idea—it shares some DNA with a few comics that came before. ROCKET presented me with an opportunity to use the noir voice, but I’m sure I’ll break it out of storage in the future, as well—it can be so fun to write in that sparse, gritty style.

Marvel.com: With Otta Spice now in the picture, what happened to Rocket’s romance with Lylla?

Al Ewing: We set up Otta as the rebound fling from Lylla—Rocket has a “type,” essentially, and while there may be a height difference, we made them visually very similar on purpose. How much like Lylla Otta actually acts…well, we’ll find out. But Rocket’s certainly projected an awful lot of Lylla onto Otta in a way that absolutely can’t be healthy or smart. And I doubt I’m giving out any big spoilers when I say it all comes back to bite him.

Writer Al Ewing and artist Adam Gorham’s ROCKET #6 drops on October 11!

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Star Wars Spotlight: Droids – The Protocol Offensive

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

Many say that the best way to write a character is to really get inside of them and figure out what makes them tick. So, who better to work on a story focusing on everyone’s favorite protocol droid, C-3PO, than his big screen portrayer Anthony Daniels?! He, Ryder Windham and Brian Daley wrote a one-shot called STAR WARS DROIDS: THE PROTOCOL OFFENSIVE with art by Igor Kordey that debuted in 1997. 

Star Wars: Droids - The Protocol Offensive (1997) #1

Star Wars: Droids - The Protocol Offensive (1997) #1

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Set a few years before the events of “A New Hope,” this tale starred Threepio and his longtime pal R2-D2 during a time when they represented the Tion Hegemony in their efforts to set up a trade route with Tahlboor, home to the warring Hobors and Troobs. Said negotiations took place on a space station hovering above the planet.

The two droids proved themselves to their new owners after Artoo fixed his boss’s datapad and Threepio revealed that the existing interpreter had not been strictly truthful. After everyone agreed to allow ol’ Goldenrod to act as translator, they took a recess which gave readers a look at the extensive ship, including its huge bar and casino.

Once there, General Krax of the Troobs attempted to buy Threepio, a request that Tion representative Jake Harthan denied. However, Madam Krax won the droid in a game of Sabacc played against Harthan’s father! This move lead to even more mistrust on the side of the Hobors whose Chief Nimondro saw this exchange of property as potentially detrimental to the process of making a fair deal. 

To prove their power, the head of the Hobors said the planet spoke through him and then called up a huge beam of light that shot out from a mountain and nearly blinded everyone on the ship floating in orbit. Having demonstrated his powers, Nimondro then demanded that they reconvene the talks on planet and also desired to purchase Artoo because he’d help them win at space slots!

That night, the two groups went to war after it seemed like Nimondro’s daughter Larka killed Krax’s son. Worse yet for Threepio? It sure looked like Artoo helped facilitate the young woman’s escape!

As Jake and Threepio tried to figure out the best way to get off planet and avoid this war, Artoo tried keeping the supposed murderess alive in a cave with a monster. After receiving the coordinates from his partner, Threepio stole a speeder bike of sorts and took off to save his friend! From there, Threepio learned some very interesting truths about the Hobors, including the secret behind their supposed power. Nimondro also learned something, that his daughter loved the Krax boy and would never harm him. 

In an attempt to stop the impending war, Threepio made a transmission to everyone explaining that Larka had not killed her lover, but instead it had been committed by Jake Harthan himself so he could use the weapon hidden in the mountain to take over his own planet.

In the morning, with Jake no longer a threat, the two groups started making inroads to peace, but Larka planned to leave the planet with her new droid friends.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

STAR WARS DROIDS: THE PROTOCOL OFFENSIVE marked the one and only time Anthony Daniels wrote a Star Wars comic, so far. As Ryder Windham noted in the book’s Afterword, he came into contact with the actor while working on various DROIDS projects. He also came to know Brian Daley who had not only written the Star Wars radio adaptations, but also Han Solo-starring novels. He worked with Windham to come up with the story which Daniels also had input in. The idea would be for Daley to write the script with Artoo’s words and then Daniels would fill out Threepio’s lines. Daley wrote up a rough outline, but then had to work on the radion version of “Return of the Jedi,” which he completed just before passing away in 1996. Windham eventually came back to the Star Wars fold to help finish the story which came out in 1997.

Before “A New Hope,” Princess Leia goes undercover as seen in the second arc of STAR WARS: EMPIRE.

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Marvel Cosplay at Dragon Con 2017

Additional reporting by Maggie Klimentova

For the ninth year, Marvel’s own cosplay expert Judy Stephens returned to Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA to cover the incredible Marvel Cosplay on show throughout the convention.

Dragon Con, which draws fans from all over the world, saw a record number of attendees—over 80,000!—visit over Labor Day weekend. And there were hundreds, if not thousands, of cosplayers showing off their love for Marvel in photo ops, during panels, and on the convention floor.

Marvel cosplayers gathered to show off their creativity and talent during the Marvel Universe Photoshoot, organized by the Super Hero Costuming Forum, on Sunday, September 3. More than 400 cosplayers attended, representing characters like Captain Marvel, Spider Gwen, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Wolverine, and more!

Check out this gallery to see some of the amazing costumes captured by Judy Stephens and photographer Nicole Ciaramella.

If you’d like to share your Marvel cosplay photos from Dragon Con, please send them to Cosplay@marvel.com!

Marvel’s use of all photos are governed by the Marvel.com Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. All submitted photos must be of cosplayers 13 years of age or older. All selected individuals/groups will be required to sign and return Marvel’s likeness release and waiver form.

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