Nova Week: From The Oklahoman – Nova gets first annual
From The Oklahoman
By Matthew Price
Acting Assistant Features Editor
Given powers by a dying alien, Richard Rider became the embodiment of the Nova force. Most recently, he’s been at the forefront of the heroes repelling the incursion from the arch-villain Annihilus. Richard Rider will star in his first annual Wednesday, as he battles a techno-organic virus.
Ain’t it Cool News called “Nova” “without a doubt, the best Marvel ongoing series of the year.” Marvel.com named Nova one of Marvel’s top-10 heroes of 2007. But Nova taking charge of a strike force taking on galactic threats, as he did in the recent “Annihilation” saga, was a long time coming. For much of his publishing history, Nova has been a second-tier character, though one with devoted fans.
“The Man Called Nova” launched in 1976, written by Marv Wolfman (“Teen Titans,” “Tomb of Dracula”) with art by John Buscema (“Avengers”) and Joe Sinnott (“Fantastic Four”). The cover proclaimed “In the marvelous tradition of Spider-Man!” Clearly, there were big plans for the Man Called Nova.
In Nova’s first issue, Richard Rider is a 17-year-old from Queens, N.Y. After being harassed by the school bully, Richard retreats to the ice cream shop. It’s there that the everyday teen is hit by the energy beam that gives him the power to become Nova.
Doug Smith, owner of the comprehensive fan site about Nova at www.novaprimepage.com, says he was a fan from the very beginning, when at age 12 he picked up “The Man Called Nova” No. 1 from the local grocery store.
“I was sitting on the floor making my pile of new comics when I saw something new,” he said. “It was an incredible cover of a super-hero flying through the air surrounded by a montage of cool action scenes. And it was a first issue! I knew this because it told me so in great big bold letters. I had never collected a series from No. 1 and had never been able to follow a super-hero from his first appearance.”
Smith said while Nova’s costume drew his interest, Richard’s personal life made Nova all the more intriguing.
“Richard Rider turned out to be me! I could relate to him on a level that I had never been able to before. Rich was an average kid trying to get through school and life the best he could. To me, he wasn’t a loser. He had a girlfriend, friends, a normal family life, etc. His biggest failing was a lack of self-confidence,” Smith said. “And being in junior high at the time, I could really relate to that.
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