Overview

Card?s Game

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It started small. It started as a novella in a science-fiction magazine. That story proved popular enough to be expanded into a full-length novel. That novel proved popular enough to warrant a sequel. The sequel then gave birth to an entire series of books in the shared universe.

This is the path Ender’s Game took. And now, it is being adapted into comic books.

The novella that started it all appeared in a 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. It took author Orson Scott Card eight years to flesh out the story into a complete novel. But when Ender’s Game hit in 1985, it took the sci-fi world by storm. The novel won both major science-fiction awards that year—the Nebula and the Hugo—and was a financial success.

The sequel—Speaker of the Dead—arrived the next year and repeated the success of the first book, including the unheralded feat of capturing the Hugo and Nebula once again. Since then, the Ender’s Universe has spawned seven more novels—with two more on the way—and nine short stories.

The novels deal with a futuristic Earth that is dealing with the aftereffects of a series of alien invasions. In order to defend the Earth from the next invasion, the nations of the world develop a program where the planet’s best and brightest children are enrolled in a training program in order to find the next commander of the military forces. Part of the program is making the children play a series of war games. The higher they score, the faster they move along.

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is humanity’s best hope. His aptitude towards strategy and his massive intelligence catches the eye of the military elite. Although only a child, he quickly is promoted through the training program—much to the dismay and anger of his classmates.

This description only scratches the surface of the epic saga. Card has created a rich and complex mythos to build his universe upon. Said universe is malleable enough that all manner of stories could be told in it, which explains the series’ longevity and continued fan interest.

It was only a matter of time before the series would have made its way into comic book form. But while this might be the first time Ender’s Game has been a comic, it isn’t Card’s first foray into the four color medium.

Dabel Brothers have adapted two other Card works, Wyrms and Red Prophet-The Tales of Alvin Maker, into comic form. And Marvel has tapped the author to write two miniseries dedicated to its Ultimate Iron Man character.

Marvel is taking the same track with Ender’s Game as they are with Stephen King’s adaptation. They will be adapting Card’s epic in a series of miniseries. Originally it was planned that this current miniseries was going to run concurrently with an adaptation of Ender’s Shadow (a novel set in the same time frame as Ender’s Game but taken from the perspective of one of that novel’s supporting characters), but that other miniseries has been delayed.

Card has long expressed a desire to see Ender’s Game made into a major motion picture. He hopes filmmakers will be inspired by Marvel adapting his work into a visual medium to bring the concept to the screen.

But even if Marvel’s miniseries doesn’t kick start a film project, it should be the start of a long lasting partnership. The Ender’s Game saga could provide years of comics for Marvel to adapt. There is a very good chance that the comic version of this Game will never be over.

Also out this week:

Marvel Zombies 3 #1:

There are some out there that think the zombie trend, which the Marvel Zombie franchise is indicative of, has run its course. Comic books in general have reached their saturation point and this particular storyline is played out. It seems like no one was asking for a Marvel Zombies 3, especially one without Robert Kirkman at the helm.

I, however, am not so willing to give up on the zombies so quickly. Fred Van Lente is a great writer, and he’s bringing some fresh ideas and intriguing concepts to the franchise. I mean, we are going to see Machine Man fight zombies. That could be majorly cool. So, I am more than willing to give this series a shot.

Fred Van Lente (W), Kev Walker (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. Four-Issue Miniseries.

Emiko Superstar:

A few weeks ago, I was singing the praises of MINX comics, thinking if they had done well enough to have a sequel to their first offering, that they might be strong enough to survive. Unfortunately, I was wrong, as DC recently announced that they were pulling the plug on the entire line. This title will be one of its last.

There is a lot of finger pointing going on, looking for reasons why the imprint failed. But it was simply because it didn’t sell. Whether the lack of sales was due to reader disinterest or lack of promotion or something else, it is anybody’s guess. But they didn’t sell enough to keep in business.

This issue deals with a girl who goes from a bored babysitter to an urban art star. That might sound ideal, but there’s bound to be complications.  

Mariko Tamaki (W), Steve Rolston (A), MINX/DC Comics, $9.99. Original Graphic Novel.

Deadworld: Slaughterhouse #1:

While there has been a rise of popularity in zombie books in the last several years, don’t believe that zombie comics are something new. This franchise is unliving proof of that.

The first Deadworld comic appeared on stands way back in 1987. For over 20 years, the franchise has outlasted at least two comic book companies and various booms and busts in the industry and it is still going.

In a world infested with zombies, you’d think the undead would be more dangerous than the living. That’s not the case in Safe Haven, however. The doctors there are desperate to find a cure for the zombie plague, and they need living humans for lab rats. Any human that comes into Safe Haven goes from being a survivor to being a test subject. And the horror the doctors inflict might be much worse than what the zombies do.

Gary Reed (W), Sami Makkonen (A), Desperado Publishing, $3.99. Four-Issue Miniseries.

Labor Days:

The slacker lifestyle is not one which lends itself to action and adventure. Slackers are known for laconic lounging while watching the TV, sleeping, and doing as little as possible. Going on a globe-trotting journey of discovery is something they’d rather avoid.  After all, they wouldn’t ever get off the couch unless they had to.

However, a slacker by the name of Benton “Bags” Bagwell doesn’t have much of a choice. When a mysterious videotape drops into his lap, it is a sign that his days of slacking are over. He is forcibly pulled into a world of secrets and lies. Now, he must travel throughout Europe to find out the riddle behind the tape before it’s too late.

Phillip Gelatt (W), Rick Lacy (A), Oni Press, $11.95.  Original Graphic Novel.

Gears of War #1:

It’s hard to come up with a hit video game. You can never predict when a game is going to catch on with players. Many games are released for every platform and most of these are quickly forgotten. But, every so often, a video game comes along that comes from out of nowhere to become a pop culture phenomenon.

This was the case with Gears of War. When it was released in 2006, fans really took to it and their word of mouth really made it one of the best selling titles for the Xbox 360.   The third person shooter became a massive success and of course a sequel was imminent.

That sequel is set to arrive in November and the writer of that game is providing us with a tie-in comic series from Wildstorm. So, if you can’t get enough alien warfare, you have something else to satisfy your needs.

Joshua Ortega (W), Liam Sharp (A), DC/Wildstorm Comics, $3.99. Ongoing Series.

13 Chambers:

One of my favorite types of stories is historical fiction. These are tales set in the past that use historical events as a back drop or a plot point for their narrative. For a history buff like me, it is interesting to see how a creator’s imagination can play into real world events.

This one-shot is an example of that. It puts forth the idea that Abraham Lincoln had a secret team of 13 Marshalls that worked covertly during the Civil War. This group of gunfighters were issued a special firearm and given carte blanche to use it as they saw fit.

One of Andrew Johnson’s first jobs as President was to disband the 13 Marshalls and retrieve all the firearms. Unfortunately, one of the guns has fallen into the wrong hands. Now, the 13th Marshall must get the pistol back—no matter what cost!

Christopher “mink” Morrison (W), Denis Medri (A), Image Comics, $5.99. One-Shot.

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William Gatevackes is a professional writer living in Mamaroneck, NY with his wife Jennifer. He also is the comic review editor for PopMatters and is the comic book movie editor for Film Buff Online. Links to his writing can be found at his website, www.williamgatevackes.com.

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