Now that Avengers: Age of Ultron is in theaters, what's a movie-loving geek to do?
Fortunately, there's no shortage of cool stuff to check out this month in addition to Marvel Studios' latest blockbuster. From comics and collectibles to the next batch of big-screen adventures, May is a busy month for geekery.
Here are 10 things to look for this month:
1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
If you haven't seen Avengers: Age of Ultron yet, what's the hold-up? Get thee to a cinema! The sequel to 2012's The Avengers has already earned a spot in the record books with the second-best opening weekend of all time in the U.S. (after The Avengers, of course), so if you haven't seen it yet, make that happen. Once you have seen it, though, move on to the rest of this list.
2. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope graphic novel
A long time ago, in a comic shop far, far away (unless you live close to a comic shop), Luke Skywalker was first introduced to the world in the pages of Marvel Comics' Star Wars #1, which hit shelves a few weeks before George Lucas' franchise-launching Star Wars arrived in theaters. The first six issues of the series were based on the film's script, and now that initial arc is being reprinted by Marvel as a hardcover Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope graphic novel. With an adapted script by Roy Thomas and interior art by Howard Chaykin, the book even features a few scenes that never made it into the final cut of the film.
3. The Art of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
At this point, the scale of Marvel's cinematic universe can be a little overwhelming, with 11 movies and two television series to account for when considering the continuity of the series. Hitting shelves this month is a handy (and beautiful) hardcover collection of photography, interviews, and art spanning the entirety of the MCU up to Avengers: Age of Ultron. You'll be able to pick up The Road to Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron: The Art of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in mid-May (pictured above), and it's basically must-have material for your favorite Marvel movie fan.
We know Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in front of the camera, but he appears to be flexing some different muscles in his upcoming film Maggie. The film (which hits theaters May 8) casts the Hollywood tough guy as a father who wants to bring his daughter home to die in peace after she contracts a virus that slowly turns its victims into flesh-hungry zombies. Everything about the film seems to indicate that it's a distinctly dramatic turn for Schwarzenegger, but still right in line with his genre roots.
5. Mad Max: Fury Road
Ever since the first footage of Mad Max: Fury Road blew up during San Diego Comic-Con, everyone's been looking forward to the premiere of George Miller's return to the post-apocalyptic world he created. There's been all kinds of positive buzz surrounding the film, which casts Tom Hardy as “Mad” Max Rockatansky, the former lawman who now prowls the wasteland trying to survive another day and avoid roving gangs of crazed thugs. Will it live up to the hype? We'll find out May 15.
It's a big month for movies, and Disney's Tomorrowland is quickly becoming another one to keep on our collective, finely tuned radar. Oscar-winning filmmaker Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, The Incredibles) directs the film, which follows a bright teenager (Britt Robertson) who comes into possession of a pin that transports her to a city filled with jetpacks, rocket ships, and all manner of sci-fi wonders. Along the way, she gets caught up in a wild adventure that has her teaming up with a former boy genius played by George Clooney.
7. Marvel Collector Corps
You may have seen the various subscription-based monthly collectible programs like Loot Crate and Nerd Block, but now there's a program specifically aimed at Marvel Comics (and movie) fans. Marvel Collector Corps recently launched with its own, Marvel-centric monthly batch of collectibles delivered to subscribers' doorsteps. No surprise here: The first box in the program had an Avengers: Age of Ultron theme. You can still get in on the action and set yourself up with “Founder” status if you subscribe now.
8. Death Star Beach Ball
The weather is starting to get nicer, so that means summer fun is on the horizon. You can keep things geeky on your next trip to the beach (or the pool or even your own backyard) with the Star Wars Death star Light-Up Beach Ball, which can be tossed around with abandon and even lights up on impact. Just remember: That's no moon.
9. Justice League Batman Bust 3-D Puzzle
No matter how you feel about Bat-fleck's debut in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, we can all agree that Batman is generally pretty awesome. And so is the Justice League Batman Bust 3-D Puzzle, which manages to combine the experience of putting together a puzzle with the experience of having a really cool bust of Batman. That's a win-win situation, folks.
10. Mad Max: Fury Road Comics
If you're looking to get a jump on Mad Max: Fury Road or just can't get enough of the franchise's post-apocalyptic universe, DC Comics' Vertigo imprint is publishing a series of tie-in comics and prequels connected with the film through May and June. Mad Max: Fury Road: Inspired Artists hits shelves May 6 and features 65 well-known artists interpreting the world of the Mad Max franchise with character portraits, landscapes, and action sequences that draw on their unique styles. Later in the month, Mad Max: Fury Road: Nux & Immortan Joe #1 serves up a prequel story that explores the origin of the film's villain, Immortan Joe, and one of his “War Boys.”
Question of the Week: What are you looking forward to reading, watching, or collecting this month?
Rick Marshall is an award-winning writer and editor whose work can be found at Movies.com, as well as MTV News, Fandango, Digital Trends, IFC.com, Newsarama, and various other online, print, and on-air news outlets. He's been called a “Professional Geek” by ABC News and Spike TV, and his personal blog can be found at MindPollution.org. You can find him on Twitter as @RickMarshall.