March is shaping up to be an interesting month for movies hailing from the geekier side of Hollywood. We're getting a pseudo sequel to a popular film based on a graphic novel (which was itself based on historical events), a big-screen adaptation of a best-selling video game franchise, a movie based on a canceled television series, and a new adventure with the Muppets – and that's just what's hitting theaters.
Things only get more eclectic when you look at some of the highlights from this month's batch of comics, collectible, and releases on DVD and Blu-ray.
Here's some of the assorted geekery to look out for this month:
What to Read
Crossovers between licensed properties can be tricky to pull off, but IDW Publishing has a history of doing right by both of the licenses when it brings them together. Its latest crossover features the Lone Gunmen – a popular trio of supporting characters from The X-Files – interacting with the publisher's other licensed properties. Previously, they got caught up in adventures with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Transformers, and this month they'll tangle with James O'Barr's famous creation in The X-Files: Conspiracy – The Crow.
Also arriving on shelves this month from IDW is a pair of Star Trek comics worth checking out. Star Trek: Gold Key Archives, Vol. 1 collects the first six issues of the first-ever Star Trek comic book series published in the late '60s. Meanwhile, Star Trek, Vol. 7 collects the most recent set of stories in IDW's modern series, which unfolds in the continuity of the cinematic Star Trek universe. The latest volume chronicles a war between the Klingons and Romulans that spins out of the events of Star Trek Into Darkness.
There's been a lot of buzz related to Marvel's superheroes lately, with both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy on the way to theaters and a host of new streaming series entering production soon for Netflix and Marvel. One of those upcoming Netflix series will be focused on Daredevil, so it's the perfect time to get reacquainted with the hero known as “The Man Without Fear.” Fortunately, Marvel has you covered with a brand new, ongoing series that kicks off this month. Daredevil #1 hits shelves soon and the series features the award-winning creative team of writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee. If you've been waiting for a good jumping-on point, this is it.
For the second straight month, Marvel isn't skimping on its star-spangled Avenger. A new, single-issue story titled Captain America: Homecoming pairs Captain America with Black Widow for an adventure set within the cinematic universe that takes the duo to Steve Rogers' old neighborhood in Brooklyn. And just as the studio has done with previous films, Marvel also has a movie-themed art book hitting shelves ahead of the film's premiere. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – The Art of the Movie is a fancy, hardcover, oversized art book featuring exclusive artwork and photos from the upcoming film. This is the book to look for if you know a big fan of the Marvel movie-verse.
Of course, the other big Marvel movie that everyone's talking about these days is Guardians of the Galaxy, and no surprise here: there's a book hitting shelves this month that will help you get up to speed with the lesser known characters featured in the film. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Cosmic Avengers collects the four issues of the current series, and offers a nice introduction to the characters that – due to the timing of the series – probably won't be too far off from their big-screen versions.
Okay, here's where things get confusing: This month also features the release of Noah, a 256-page graphic novel written by filmmaker Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel which is not in fact based on the upcoming Noah movie directed by Aronofsky. Got that? Basically, one of Aronofsky's early ideas for Noah was to set the story on a fantastic world filled with all sorts of crazy creatures, mashing up the classic biblical story with science fiction elements. That story was scrapped early in the moviemaking process in favor of a big-screen dramatization of the biblical tale, but Aronofsky liked his sci-fi version of Noah so much that it found its way to the comics world. This is that comic, and it arrives on shelves this month.
What to Watch
As we mentioned earlier, it's a weird month for movies – but that doesn't mean there's a shortage of films worth seeing. 300: Rise of an Empire hits theaters March 7, and it serves as a prequel, sequel and parallel story to 300, which told the story of the Battle of Thermopylae and was based on Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name. Not only does it offer up an origin story for Persian “God King” Xerxes, but it also shows you what was happening elsewhere around the region while those 300 Spartans were holding the line against the Persian army.
Also premiering this month is Need for Speed, a movie based on the popular road-racing game franchise. The real hook for this movie isn't the game franchise, though, because it stars Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul in his first featured role since the conclusion of that ridiculously popular series. Can Jesse Pinkman become the next action hero?
Finally, the long-awaited Veronica Mars comes to theaters this month, and to be honest, we're not going to believe it actually exists until we're watching it. Oh, and The Muppets Most Wanted also hits theaters this month, which is nice because that movie had our ticket money since the day it was announced. We're hoping this will finally be the performance that gets Rowlf the Dog the Oscar nomination he deserves.
What to Put on Your Shelf
If you're like us and the sad news of Harold Ramis' passing prompted you to watch Ghostbusters for the umpteenth time, just go ahead and add a 24-inch Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man Coin Bank to your home décor. It's not cheap (selling for around $100-125 currently), but it looks great and holds enough coins that you can probably afford your own Proton Pack when the bank is filled.
If Ghostbusters isn't your go-to license for banks, how about Godzilla? In addition to the Marshmallow Man bank, there's also a vinyl coin bank in the likeness of everyone's favorite city-stomping product of atomic radiation gone awry hitting shelves this month. The Godzilla 1989 Vinyl Bank is based on the version of the character that appeared in 1989's Godzilla vs. Biollante and it stands about 12 inches tall. Atomic breath not included.
And just in case you forgot about the imminent arrival of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in theaters during the four seconds since I last mentioned it, here's another reminder. Diamond Select Toys has a specialty figure coming out this month based on the movie version of Falcon, Captain America's wing-enabled partner who's played by Anthony Mackie in the new film. The seven-inch Falcon figure is a cut above the standard line of action figures that accompany every Marvel movie (and won't be sold in the usual toy stores), so if you know a hard-core collector – or are a hard-core collector – this is the one to look for.
We still have a few months before we discover whether Marty McFly Jr.'s color-changing hat in Back to the Future II really is the height of fashion in the year 2015, but you can get ahead of the game with a replica hat that goes on sale this month. It's one-size-fits-all headwear, because that's how they do it in 2015, and has a Velcro closure (because apparently that's how they do it in 2015, too). Oh, and it will look great with your hoverboard.
Finally, any and all Whovians out there (that's Doctor Who fans, of course) will want to keep an eye out for the Doctor Who K-9 Talking Plush that will be available this month from Underground Toys. Not only is it a soft, squeezable version of the greatest robotic canine companion of all time (and I will hear no argument to the contrary), but it also says things like “Affirmative” and “Maximum Defense Mode” when you activate it. It is truly a Time Lord's best friend. (And wannabe Time Lords, too.)
And that's it for this month's look at the world of new things to drop your hard-earned money on! I'll have April's highlights coming your way in the first column of the month, so save up some cash between now and then, okay?
Oh, and see you next week!
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.
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