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Home > News, Articles & Multimedia > Blog Entry > The Comic Speculator: Comics, and their Characters, They are a Changin’

The Comic Speculator: Comics, and their Characters, They are a Changin’

by Matt Baum (07/22/14).

All-New Captain America #1 cover by Stuart Immonen. Steve Rogers is stepping down and his good friend, Sam Wilson, will be the new Captain America.

All-New Captain America #1 cover by Stuart Immonen. Steve Rogers is stepping down and his good friend, Sam Wilson, will be the new Captain America.

The comic book world is constantly in flux. Characters die, characters return, good guys go bad and vice versa. It’s part of what brings readers back every month. In the age of the Internet, publishers love to leak news snippets and watch the fans squirm. And wow, do they. Sites like Twitter and Tumblr explode with each new controversial comic book happening or announcement. This past week was a perfect example.

It started in the pages of Life with Archie #36 (Archie Comics, 2014). For a while, now series writer Paul Kupperberg has been showing fans two separate, future realities for Archie Andrews: one where he marries Betty; and one where he marries Veronica. Here, Kupperberg is bringing the story to its conclusion with an event we thought could never take place in sweet, idyllic town of Riverdale; the death of Archie.

As part of the LWA story, Archie’s good friend and newly elected senator Kevin Keller (a gay character introduced in the pages of Veronica #202 in 2010) is targeted for assassination, but Archie bravely takes the bullet for his friend. Yes, I’m seriously talking about Archie Comics. In recent years, the publisher has proven there are no subject off limits in Riverdale, introducing gay characters, HIV-positive characters, giving characters terminal cancer and even school shootings. And readers have taken notice. All five variant covers of Life with Archie #36 ($4.99 cover price) sold out before shipping and are already selling for $8-$10. The big winner seems to be the Magazine edition that collects issues #36-37 (the finale issue that takes place a year after Archie’s death), which selling for $45-$60 due to low print runs. Sets of all five of the covers are selling for $45-$55 and it doesn’t look like any of these will cool off soon.

Life with Archie #36 Adam Hughes cover.

Life with Archie #36 Adam Hughes cover.

Life with Archie #36 Magazine format.

Life with Archie #36 Magazine format.

Life with Archie #36 Fiona Staples cover.

Life with Archie #36 Fiona Staples cover.

Life with Archie #36 Francesco Francavilla cover.

Life with Archie #36 Francesco Francavilla cover.

Life with Archie #36 Mike Allred cover.

Life with Archie #36 Mike Allred cover.

Life with Archie #36 Ramon Perez cover.

Life with Archie #36 Ramon Perez cover.

For more on the actual issue, check out my podcasting partner’s review on the latest episode of the Two-Headed Nerd Comicbook Podcast, where I got a little misty.

Marvelous Changes

Not to be outdone, Marvel countered the death of Archie with a few announcements that would shake up the core of the Avengers. Last Tuesday on “The View,” Whoppi Goldberg and the other hosts announced that this October, Marvel would be relaunching the Thor title. Nothing too remarkable there. But this time, wait for it… a woman would be brandishing the hammer, Mjolnir.

A rendering of the female Thor by Esad Ribic.

A rendering of the female Thor by Esad Ribic.

Now, let’s be clear: This isn’t Thor-Girl, She-Thor or a gender swap for the God of Thunder (it’s happened in the past and it was less than spectacular), but a whole new female character assuming the role of Thor. The series will be written by current series writer Jason Aaron, who has already proven he’s not afraid to shake things up for the Thunder God. In his first story he showed readers a future Thor with one eye and missing an arm.

Next, Entertainment Weekly revealed that Steve Rodgers will be stepping down as Captain America after having the Super Soldier Serum drained from his body. Steve will be replaced by his best friend Sam Wilson—a.k.a. the Falcon—will carry the shield in the pages of All-New Captain America #1 hitting the shelves this November.

NOTE: Wilson will be the second black man to wear the stars-and-stripes suit.

Fan reaction has been equally for and against both announcements, but one thing is for certain: love it or hate it, comic-nerds everywhere will be picking these issues up to see what happens.

Both the new Thor and Captain America issues are guaranteed to ship with multiple covers, all of which will be heavily printed, which means they shouldn’t be too hard to find. The issues leading up to these stories could be worth watching, though. It’s a safe bet the identity of the woman who will become Thor will be revealed in the pages of the current series, and soon. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Sam Wilson in the Cap suit before the launch of his new series. Both of these issues will be the ones to grab.

If these changes do become a hit with readers, it might not be too long before we see a female Thor and Black Captain America on the big screen.


Matt Baum is WorthPoint’s comic book Worthologist. If you have any questions about these books or anything else in the comic book world feel free to contact Matt or post your question below in the comments section below. If you need more comic-nerd in your life, you can follow Matt on Twitter, where he’s always screaming about something nerd-related. Thanks to all Matt’s new followers and keep the comments coming!

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