That's what Dirk Deppey said he had no intention of doing today, and the very prospect of doing it would give him dry heaves. But I have a very high tolerance for star-fuckery and product announcements, so here are the big stories that came out of this past weekend's San Diego Comic Con. Or at least the big stories I saw covered somwhere else and cared enough to say something about...
MANY PEOPLE HAD THEIR PICTURES TAKEN:
I’d highly recommend Kevin Church’s photos, as he has some experience with a camera, and captures the faces of a lot of the folks you’re probably used to reading the writing of on the Internet, and Bully’s, because, well, comic con photos are usually better when there’s a little stuffed bull in the foreground.
Looks like Bully finally met the girl of his dreams, as well as the girl of Chris Sims’ nightmares (not Anita Blake; the other one).
EISNERS AREN’T REALLY MUCH OF AN HONOR AFTERALL, I GUESS:
I was going to congratulate Matt Brady, Troy Brownfield, Vaneta Rogers and the other good folks at Newsarama.com for winning an Eisner, but then I saw that Brad Meltzer won the Eisner for Best Single Issue (Or One-Shot) for JLoA #11 (The World Trade Center starring Roy Harper and Vixen issue), and realized that apparently Eisners aren’t the big deals I thought they were.
And that was the last entertainment industry award I still believed in, too.
NEW BATMAN CARTOON TO BE TOTALLY AWESOME:
Oh, wow. Plastic Man, Silver Age Green Arrow, Kite-Man, Jaime Reyes, Gentleman Ghost and a sweet jazzy instrumental Johnny Quest-sounding score…Jesus, I wish I had cable.
Here’s hoping Jann Jones is already rounding up talent for the Johnny DC companion comic…
THE BLACK PANTHER CARTOON PROBABLY WON’T BE ALL THAT AWESOME:
The Black Panther trailer is a weird beast. It’s extremely faithful to John Romita Jr.’s art on the first six issues, which is great, because he provided what was probably the best Black Panther art since Jack Kirby, but, based on this short snippet, it looks like it might be too faithful. I don’t know what the exact process was, but much of it looks like they just scanned JRJR’s art and used some computer magic to make it move around. Some of it turns out pretty neat looking (the bit of BP running, for example), and some of it just looks cheap (the close ups of the raiders talking to one another).
I wonder what they’ll do after they finish adapting that first story arc, too. That was the end of JRJR’s involvement in the title, and while I’m not 100% positive, I think every single issue after that tied into other Marvel comics (there was an X-Men crossover, then a House of M one, he “Black Avengers” arc, the wedding with Storm, the world tour arc, Civil War, the “Initiative” branded stories that tied into Fantastic Four, and I believe BP is currently fighting Skrulls).
VERTIGO TO STEAL HAUNTED TANK AND UNKNOWN SOLDIER FROM DC, DASH MY HOPES AND DREAMS:
Actually, I guess they were probably the last imprint to use The Unknown Soldier, unless you count the (excellent) Showcase Presents collection.
But where does Vertigo get off grabbing The Haunted Tank? This just confirms that there won’t be a Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang Dr. 13 sequel. Or, if there is, the Ghost of General J.E.B. Stuart wont’ be in it.
(Also, The Ghost of General Stuart won’t be able to join the Justice League either).
MARVEL TO PUBLISH ANOTHER COMIC WITH THE WORD “WAR” IN THE TITLE:
I would be really excited about this “War of Kings” story if it were about Atlantis and Wakanda going to war, but I guess it’s just some space stuff.
I suppose Atlantis and Wakanda have already gone to war in some old comic I never read though, haven’t they? I mean, they’d have to have had a war by now, right?
I guess I am kinda curious when Blackbolt was replaced by a Skrull, if only because the revelation that he was a Skrull kind of retroactively siphons some awesomeness out of World War Hulk, but I imagine that will be addressed in Secret War: The Inhumans rather than this space story.
THE DC UNIVERSE TO ABSORB MORE SUPERHEROES, AS THEY JUST DON’T HAVE ENOUGH YET:
Among the bigger DC announcements, at least from a what’s up with the DCU perspective, is that they would be returning both the old Archie comics superheroes (the stars of the briefly extant DC-run Impact line of comics) and the Milestone characters (the ‘90s company which created a line of comics heavily featuring minority characters, including Icon and Rocket and Static Shock).
The characters will be incorporated into the DC Universe proper, meaning that Icon can fight Superman and Static can join the Teen Titans. The Milestone characters will start popping up in JLoA, which Milestone co-founder Dwayne McDuffie is currently writing, and the Archie heroes will be introduced by J. Michael Straczynski in his Brave and the Bold run.
DC has a long, long history of absorbing heroes from other companies to expand their universe, including Captain Marvel and the other Fawcett Comics heroes, the Charlton heroes (Blue Beetle, The Question, Captain Atom, etc.) and the Quality Comics heroes (Plastic Man, Uncle Sam, Doll Man, etc.)
They haven’t had a ton of success figuring out how to properly capitalize on any of their acquisitions, however; at least, not for very long, anyway. Just look at the state of the Marvel Family franchise in the DCU at the moment, thirty-some years after they acquired it.
Some of these characters fit in quite well for a while (Plastic Man in JLA for several years, the Denny O’Neil Question series, Blue Beetle and Captain Atom in the JLI books, etc), but DC’s never been able to turn any of them into the next Green Lantern or Flash (or even Aquaman or Wonder Woman).
So this seems like a pretty curious move. It should be interesting to see how it plays out (probably from afar, as I have no desire to see Ed Benes drawing Rocket and Icon in JLoA), particularly since a lot of what made those old Milestone comics so great was that they weren’t sharing story-space with Superman, and could address topics like abortion or racism in a more realistic fashion that is typical of issue-oriented super-comics.
Hopefully this means we’ll get trades of the old Milestone material, and I can quit longbox spelunking to complete my Icon run. I seem to recall the old Impact comics being better than average for the time as well, but I haven’t read as many of those.
ONI PRESS GIVES ME A BUNCH OF THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO:
Not only did they have the title, cover and estimated time of arrival for the next Scott Pilgrim volume, but we’ll finally be getting more Corey S. Lewis’ Sharknife and, at long, long, long, long last, more of Chynna Clugston’s Blue Monday series of miniseries. Also, more Black Metal, more Salt Water Taffy and more Courtney Crumrin, and a bunch of new projects, some of which sound pretty good and some of which sound kinda lame.
KEVIN SMITH SAYS HE’LL WRITE A COMIC BOOK, AND IT’S NOT THE REST OF THAT DAREDEVIL MINISERIES HE STARTED DURING THE 1920s:
I really liked the superpower-less vigilante serial killer Onomatopoeia that Kevin Smith introduced during his brief run on Green Arrow. He’s a character who spoke only in sound effects, as he was making them. So like, he’d shoot a gun and say, “Blam,” and at the same time the letterer would draw a BLAM sound effect in the panel. A very neat, very comic book-y villain.
Smith is apparently going to write a new Batman miniseries featuring the character, which is kind of exciting, although Smith’s GA collaborators Phil Hester and Ande Parks apparently aren’t drawing it, which is kinda too bad.
I have a feeling the story will address who exactly Onomatopoeia is and what his whole deal is, which is also kinda too bad—the mystery of not knowing who the hell he was or why the hell he was doing what he was doing and why he talked like that is a pretty large part of his appeal.
MARVEL TO PUBLISH AN AGENTS OF ATLAS ONGOING FOR SOME REASON:
Of Marvel’s announcements, the one I was most excited to see was that the company was going to go ahead and giving Agents of Atlas an ongoing.
It was my understanding that the miniseries didn't sell too terribly well—although one could argue any Marvel book featuring characters this obscure capable of selling in the thousands at all is pretty good—so I wonder if they've been encouraged by the extremely positive critical reception smaller books from Immortal Iron Fist and Incredible Hercules on down to Captain Britain and Guardians of the Galaxy have been getting to go for more books of similar stature.
Or has Parker's star been on the rise enough from his exemplary work on X-Men First Class and Marvel Adventures Avengers that Marvel wanted to give AoA another shot?
Or do they maybe just love awesomeness?
GET THIS—A REAL LIVE TV WRITER TO WRITE A COMIC BOOK!:
Good news: Judd Winick isn’t writing Green Arrow/Black Canary any more! Bad news: He’s got room on his schedule to start fucking up some other book/character/franchise.
Andrew Kreisberg wasn’t a name that was on my radar for the next person to write GA/BC, but mainly because I just assumed Winick would write it forever. It’s interesting (to me) that the fact that any TV writer taking on a comic is still treated as a kinda sorta big deal, since Kreisberg is just a writer on Eli Stone and not, like, a big huge hit or anything. (Like, “From a writer on Eli Stone probably doesn’t carry quite the same weight in nerd circles as “From the creator of Lost” or “From the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and That One Show They Cancelled But Still Made A Movie Out of.”)
Anyway, Kreisberg isn’t completely new to comics. He’s written Hellen Killer, which is actually a seriously very, very good comic book, whether you believe me or not.
NEIL GAIMAN, THE ONLY WRITER WHO COULD WRITE A COMPANION PIECE TO AN ALAN MOORE BOOK AND NOT SEEM PRESUMPTIOUS, TO WRITE “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER”:
Details are few and far between, but the artist he’ll be working with is Andy Kubert, which immediately begs the question of how exactly this will be anything like Alan Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”, since that was drawn by classic Superman artists, and Kubert is merely the would-have-been-current-Batman-artist-if-he-could-draw-fast-enough.
Does this mean the value of my copy of Secret Origins Special #1, in which Gaiman wrote the framing sequence starring Batman and I’m pretty sure The Riddler story too, will be rocketing up now?
TORI AMOS COSPLAYS AS ONE OF THOSE CHARACTERS FROM HER CONCEPT ALBUMS OR SOMETHING:
The panel I would have been most excited to go to if I were at San Diego this year would undoubtedly have been the Tori Amos one dealing with the new comic anthology inspired by her songs that I can’t wait to read.
But damn Tori, what exactly are you wearing?
MARK MILLAR TO RETURN TO THE ULTIMATE UNIVERSE TO WRITE WHAT HE THINKS WILL BE THE GREATEST COMIC BOOK EVER:
Newsarama’s Eisner-award-winning Matt Brady talked with Mark Millar for a bit about the news he’d be writing some more material for the Marvel’s Ultimate line of books. After some allusions to erections and orgasms, here’s the very end of their interview…
NRAMA: Finally, and to give you one last chance for a vague-ish but exuberant tease, is the artist someone you've worked with before?
MM: No, but I've dreamed about it. He's probably the biggest artist in the industry. This guy is a superstar and Marvel is really stepping up to the plate with this revamp. It's exciting times.
Any guesses as to who the hell he might be talking about? Who’s “probably the biggest artist in the industry?” I assume it’s not Jim Lee or Frank Miller, who both seem to have their plates full of DC stuff, and I can’t imagine Alex Ross being interested in painting the Ultimate Universe characters.
And that would take care of the artists I would think of as “probably the biggest artists” in the (superhero comics) industry.
I suppose going by the latest sales charts, the top artist at the moment is Secret Invasions’s Leinil Yu, and Millar does seem to be a writer remarkably attuned to the goings on of the sales charts, so perhaps that’s who he’s referring too.
MARVEL HIRES SOMEONE WHO ISN’T EVEN A WRITER TO TRY WRITING A COMIC FOR THEM:
Comics companies have been hitting up writers from other media to try their hands at comics quite a lot over the last few years—actors, directors, musicians, book writers, TV and film screenwriters—but Marvel has apparently sunk to the level of hiring a blogger, the lowest form of writer there is (Please note irony of previous sentence, which is appearing on a blog; it’s intentional). And not even one that’s demonstrated any real skill at writing on her blog (Perhaps her scripts are better than her prose, but Occasional Superheroine is probably the most-read badly-written blog in the comics blogosphere).
So I would have been seriously shocked to hear that Valerie D’Orazio would be writing a new Cloak and Dagger series for Marvel, if Rich Johnston didn’t say she’d be writing a Marvel series in his column last week, and Kevin Huxford correctly predicted the title a few days later.
The art looks pretty nice, but an Internet-famous first-time comics writer paired with a manga-style artist on a fan-favorite (read: obscure) property from decades ago? It doesn’t sound like a formula for success, particularly considering D’Orazio has spent much of the last year picking fights with and alienating the online critics and commentators who help generate buzz and enthusiasm for books like these until they can find their (often non-direct market) niches.
I hope it does pretty well though, if only to encourage Marvel to start scouring the blogosphere for new talent. I for one would love to see a Sims-written Batroc: Face-kick Journal or a What If Christopher Bird Wrote Civil War Instead of Mark Millar?.
NEWSARAMA HAS AT LEAST ONE STORY NOT PERTAINING TO SDCC:
And that would be this week’s Best Shots column. I contributed a review of the Corey Barba’s extremely cute Yam, which I invite you to go read.