Sunday, February 08, 2009

Some random thoughts on some NYCC announcements

(Above: J.H. Williams sure can draw, can’t he? From his upcoming run on Detective Comics, starring the lady with the custom-made bat-boots)

This is probably the news of the Con. Er, for me at least.

I don’t understand this concept at all. Robert Kirkman and Todd McFarlane are doing a book about a scary Spider-Man who wears a mask that looks like Spawn’s face, and he shoots…webs? Slime? Ectoplasm? Seriously, what’s that stuff he’s flinging around in that image? It’s pretty gross-looking.

—I read this write-up of the Superman panel, and I’m afraid I still can’t figure out what exactly is up with the Super-books going forward. I have both Action and Superman on my pull-list at the local comics shop at the moment, but I guess I’ll drop ‘em and proceed on an issue by issue basis going forward. I definitely want to avoid any issues of Action with Eddy Barrows’ art, as he’s in the Ed Benes/Tony Daniel neighborhood in my own personal aesthetic estimation.

And what’s with Superman leaving Earth for about a year…again? The first Superman story I read was the one that followed his death, the yearlong “Funeral for a Friend” and “Reign of the Supermen” sequence, which was all about defining Superman by his absence. That was about 15 years ago now, I suppose. About two years ago, Superman left Metropolis for a year of story time (but just a few months of our time) as part of 52, and stories were told defining him by his absence. The ongoing Trinity is all about what the world would be like without Superman (and Wonder Woman and Batman in it) and thus defining him by his absence. I get it, I get it—Superman is very important to Metropolis and to the whole world in general.

This particular storyline, which I guess takes place in a third Superman series, will have a different reason for him leaving, and some different creators involved, but it’s hard to get very excited about a world without Superman story again.

I’m still not at all interested in the X-Men. Although this image is pretty awesome, in a stupid-awesome kind of way:

Ditto Star Wars comics. I don’t know what it is exactly; I loved Star Wars growing up, and I love comics now, but I just can’t seem to get into any of the Star Wars comics. I did dig the Star Wars Tales trades and the Tag and Bink trade, but that’s as far as I’ve been able to wade into ‘em.

—What I find most interesting about the existence of a book called Dark Wolverine starring Wolverine’s son Dokken (did I spell that right?), who has two claws on each hand instead of three, is that it’s being co-written by prose writer Marjorie Liu, who is currently writing a low-selling NYX miniseries. Not that her co-writing a Wolverine book with Daniel Way is a negative thing or anything, it’s just not the next place I expected to see her name pop up at Marvel.

Vaneta Rogers covered the Batman panel, which was full of mysterious and exciting news.

For example, I’m kind of excited about the Greg Rucka/J.H. Williams III Batwoman arc on Detective, which will definitely get me picking up that title again. I am curious why it took DC so long to publish an actual Batwoman story after her high-profile debut in, when was that, 2006?

Also in June, DC will be relaunching Batman(hopefully with the original numbering still in place!) and launchng new books entitled Batman and Robin, Red Robin (A Jason Todd book? I’ll pass, but jeez, they sure did take their time getting around to telling a real Jason Todd story too, didn’t they?), Outsiders (New direction #16), Batgirl (which is pretty damn silly considering they cancelled a semi-successful Batgirl ongoing, then spent a few years doing their level best to wreck the character, and her just-ended miniseries sold pretty awfully), Batman: The Streets of Gotham and Gotham City Sirens.

They didn’t announce creative teams for any of those though, so who knows if any of those will be any good.

If Batwoman is taking over TEC due to Batman’s continued absence, than I suppose Jason Todd is in Red Robin, Dick Grayson reluctantly becomes Batman and stars in Batman and Robin and beyond that…I can’t make any guesses. Streets sounds like it could be a Gotham Central type book, and Sirens sounds like it could be the rumored girl book, which would be a natural place for Paul Dini.

I do hope Batman will be Grant Morrison’s story of Batman fighting his way through time from caveman days to the present.

—Okay, the plans for the Ultimate Universe post-Ultimatum just sound insane. Here’s a few paragraphs from Albert Ching’s coverage of the Cup O’ Joe panel:

Turning to Ultimatum, Quesada showed slides of "Ultimate Requiems." "We're kind of saying goodbye to those books," said McCann. "We're canceling Ultimate Spider-Man," said Quesada to a startled crowd. "We are done professionally!" yelled Bendis to Quesada, emulating the now-infamous Christian Bale rant.

"We are introducing Ultimate Comics," said Quesada. Bendis talked about Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, starting with a new #1, with David LaFuente as the new artist. "You can tell it's going to be good because it has the New Avengers lightning bolt on the cover," said Bendis.

Of LaFuente, Bendis said "This is his first ongoing series. He's awesome." Bendis said it's a fresh start, but not a reboot, though some time will have passed between the series. "Some new characters, maybe someone new in the costume," he continued.

I really like LaFuente’s art—he did the Peter/MJ sex life annual, and the Hellcat miniseries—and I’m sure I’ll continue reading Bendis’ new version of Ultimate Spider-Man, but I’m pretty surprised that they’re relaunching it, as doing so is kind of anathema to the whole line’s original concept. And Stuart Immonen didn’t end up sticking around all that long after all, did he? (Of course, New Avengers, which he’s taking over, sells better, so I can’t exactly blame the guy).

I love the way LaFuente draws Spidey's head, by the way.

They also announced Ultimate Comics Avengers—these kinda sound like Japanese titles using English words, don’t they?—by Mark Millar and too-slow-for-a-monthly Carlos Pacheco, continuing the proud tradition of ridiculously late Millar Ultimate Avengers books, I guess.

This kinda sorta excited me. From Albert Ching’s DC panel coverage:

DiDio asked Giffen what his post-Reign in Hell comic will be. "Two words: Doom Patrol," said the veteran creator. Giffen then asked how many of the crowd were fans of the Grant Morrison Doom Patrol. Many cheered. "You're going to be really disappointed," said Giffen. "How about the original Doom Patrol?" Slightly less cheers, but still positive. "You guys are going to be really disappointed," said Giffen, playing the audience. He said that they were going to make the Doom Patrol accessible to people.

"So what's your problem with Justice League International?" asked Giffen in DiDio's direction. "Does anyone really think I have a problem with JLI?" DiDio snapped back. (Apparently, much of the crowd did.) This led to an announcement that the classic JLI team — Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire — will be doing Metal Men back-ups in Doom Patrol.

—I don’t know what to make of any of the Final Crisis Aftermath books without hearing the names of any creators attached, but only the Super Young Team seem to naturally extend from FC and show any glimmer of the possibility of maybe being a minor hit. It also scares me to hear Ian Sattler say of Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape, "Dan described this book as a combination between The Prisoner and Saw.” I thought all DC books were now a combination of something and Saw.

—Fellow Blog@ contributor David Pepose covered the Radical Publishing panel, of which the most interesting news to me was this:

In addition, Levine said, after this Comic Con, Radical would no longer publish 22-page single issues, instead collecting six-issue arcs into three 48-page books. “It's just so much easier for readers to invest themselves in 48 pages rather than 22,” he said. “We'll keep it at $4.99 so it’s cheaper than two issues.”

Hey, yeah, that is great news. A five-dollar bill gets you 48 pages, whereas Marvel and DC charge you six bucks for 44 pages.

Assuming that there are prices associated with the production of individual books that would be involved with the production of a bigger book with two books’ worth of pages inside (i.e., making two covers, laying out the ads twice, etc.), that would be a way to save money, right?

If industry leaders DC and Marvel are really thinking they need to move to a higher price point, as Marvel’s already in the process of doing, the Radical model sure sounds promising. Currently, Marvel’s charging $3.99 for 22 pages of New Avengers; a pretty rotten value when put up against $4.99 for 48 pages, isn’t it?

The downside for the Big Two transitioning to double-length books would be publishing each one less frequently, which means potentially getting those customers into the shop less frequently, but smart publishing schedule planning could alleviate that.

For example, if Marvel’s publishing 20 X-Men books a month, they could simply schedule five a week. People! This could work! Try this before you go charging $3.99 per chapter of New Avengers!

—Hey, look at this!

Lockjaw and The Pet Avengers, apparently.

DC, your pets are like more numerous and much cooler; I can’t believe you let Marvel beat you to the punch on an all super-pet team book.

—Kevin Maguire will also be drawing Spider-Man: The Short Halloween, which is being written by some guys from that Saturday Night Live show I used to watch in high school. That’s still on, huh? Anyway, a lot of upcoming Maguire comics is good news


Rich said...

It's Daken. Dokken is the rock band. \m/

I was pleased to hear about Stuart Immonen taking over art on New Avengers with #55. Always like him. Not really interested in all the Dark Reign tie-in stuff. Sounds like the Skaar arc with Silver Surfer might be fun, though I haven't been keeping up with that book. Good on Marvel for signing Eaglesham (on FF w/ Hickman after the Millar/Hitch run) and Pacheco to exclusive deals too.

I'll check out that new Doom Patrol once it's in TPB.

Rich said...

And NOW I click the "Dokken" link. "Dream Warriors" indeed.

snell said...

Re: Batgirl. This new Batgirl series will be starting after a 3 issue mini-series entitled Oracle: The Cure.

Could be just a tease, but you gotta figure there's a fair chance this series might not be starring Cassandra Cain...

Hdefined said...

Morrison already said he's coming back to Batman in June. No idea which title, but one of them.

the2scoops said...

No announcements on the James Robinson "Justice League" book huh? I think it's time for a "Doug Mahnke for Justice League artist" post. The man draws, he draws well, and he draws on time.

SallyP said...

Superman just seems to like taking time off. He just got finished taking an entire year off, back in 52, and now he's at it again.

The concept of "dark" Wolverine/Daken just cracks me up.

Matt said...

Does it matter what's going on with Superman so long as they've got Johns/Rucka/Robinson spread out over five books?

Those are going to be pretty good comics right there.

Sea_of_Green said...

Darned if that Wolverine cover doesn't look like Logan's being confronted by a bunch of pissed-off Green Lanterns: "Oh, so you think your claws are oh-so impressive, bub? Get a load of THESE!"


Matt Ampersand said...

Green Lantern claws? I was thinking more along the lines of a Kryptonite/Adamantium alloy so Wolverine can finally go up against Superman.

Michael said...

Dokken is going to ruin his father's legacy as Wolverine, according to the interview.

So is Dark Wolverine going to be the guy that smells great, acts rationally, follows orders, tries not to kill and always wears a motorcycle helmet? No?

Daniel Way drinks Xtreme Mountian Dew. Bet on it.

That Doom Patrol/Metal Men news is great. Will need to update the pull list.

Same for Pet Avengers.

DC reshuffling the entire line AGAIN makes me so very tired.

EDP said...

I'm excited about the Batman books, though I'm baffled by the Red Robin announcement.

Shep said...

Pet Avengers is possibly the greatest concept Marvel has ever come up with. Ever.

Josh said...

Daken has three, black claws not two. They have a weird, gnarled texture and the third comes out of his wrist, palm-side. X23, the inexplicably compelling and interesting female clone of Wolverine, has two claws on each hand with one on each foot.

I have to disagree about the DC pets being better than the Marvel ones. I'm a huge Krypto fan but really, how original is it to just shove a cape and Superman powers onto any random animal? A super-giraffe or something would be cool but instead we get a cat, a horse and a monkey. I'll give you Ace the Bat-hound but the last time he was seen was during the Gotham earthquake or something.

If only because I'm waiting to see Neils the Bouncing Cat's (apparently taking the name Hairball now) opinion of Speedball going all teen-cutter/whiner as Penance.

Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool said...

OMG..Lockjaw? Thunderfrog? I assume Speedball's kitty? I want to have this comic book NOW NOW NOW..I assume they talk in a language regualar people can't understand like Space Buddies or Stewie on Family Guy. Put them on a deep space adventure with Cosmo from Gaurdians of the Galaxy and you got the scope and breadth of the best of Marvel

David said...

The Batgirl book will be about Barbara Gordon. It's part of Dan Didio's and Geoff John's neverending quest to turn everything into 1967 plus decapitations.

caleb said...

Re: Batgirl. This new Batgirl series will be starting after a 3 issue mini-series entitled Oracle: The Cure.

Oh God. I was hoping that was gonna be a miniseries of Babs making a mixtape of all her favorite Cure songs to give to Nightwing...I think giving her her legs back would be the most insane thing ever, but I suppose it's possible. I once thought bringing Barry Allen and/or Jason Todd back would also be the most insane thing ever.

No announcements on the James Robinson "Justice League" book huh?

No, I didn't even see anyone ASK about it during any of the QnA portions, but maybe it was asked about in a report I didn't read. I think they've made the world wait long enough for a Congorilla appearance, though.

Superman just seems to like taking time off. He just got finished taking an entire year off, back in 52, and now he's at it again.

I suppose fighting a never-ending battle isn't so bad if you take one out of every three years off...

Darned if that Wolverine cover doesn't look like Logan's being confronted by a bunch of pissed-off Green Lanterns

was thinking more along the lines of a Kryptonite/Adamantium alloy

Huh. I thought of Jedi Wolverines. That cover is truly a rorshach test, I guess...

Daken has three, black claws not two. They have a weird, gnarled texture and the third comes out of his wrist, palm-side

Oh. I've never read any books featuring him, but that sounds kinda weird. Is X-23 related to Wolvie in anyway, or are her claws just a coincidence?

I have to disagree about the DC pets being better than the Marvel ones.

Well, DC has a much deeper field of animal sidekicks and animal stars (Hoppy The Marvel Bunny! Tawky Tawny! Detective Chimp! Power Girl's Cat! Teekl! Et Cetera!), in large part because they've been around so long and absorbed so many other companies.

They also own Rex The Wonder Dog, who could dismantle Lockjaw's whole team all by his lonesome.

The Batgirl book will be about Barbara Gordon. It's part of Dan Didio's and Geoff John's neverending quest to turn everything into 1967 plus decapitations.

Personally, I thought it worked pretty well when the BATGIRL monthly was about Oracle and Cassie (when the title first launched) so both Batgirls were involved. It'll be awfully weird if thirty-something Barbara starts calling herself Batgirl, while there's this Batwoman lady running around town...

LurkerWithout said...

IIRC X-23 is a clone of Wolverine. So she's a daughter or sister depending on how you look at clones...

Hdefined said...

"thirty-something Barbara"

Where did you get that number? Bruce is supposed to be in his mid-thirties and Dick in his mid-twenties, and Barbara's supposed to be around his age.

The Inkwell Bookstore said...

Will glow-stick Wolverine claws become the next 'Hulk Hands'? Ah..if only this was the 90's, we could've marketed this to ravers...

Josh said...

X23 is a female clone of Wolverine. Now, I know how completely stupid that sounds. I despised the character without ever actually seeing her appear in anything, even specifically skipping the episode of X-Men Evolution which introduced her to the world. It was a couple of years until she actually appeared in comics at all, popping up in the first series of NYX (the Quesada-written, Joshua Middleton-drawn debacle) as a prostitute that cuts herself because she's blah emo blah.

So not exactly a stellar beginning. But then I found her first two mini series in a quarter bin and picked them up (based solely on the art of Michael Choi). Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, the guys that created her for XEvo, wrote the minis are I highly recommend them. They turn what is 100% a gimmick type character into a compelling one.

Long way around, she's just a clone of Wolverine and he's since taken a paternal attitude towards her, seeing a lot of his post-Weapon X days in her.

Caleb said...

Thanks for the X-23 info, guys.

Where did you get that number? Bruce is supposed to be in his mid-thirties and Dick in his mid-twenties, and Barbara's supposed to be around his age.

I just pulled it out of mid-air while writing that. I know the official company line that editors and writers mention whenever asked about it is that Superman and Batman and their generation are supposed to be in their thirties, but I always imagine them to be in their forties.

Without going on too long about it, Connor Hawke's whole at-least-19-year-long life started after Oliver Queen became Green Arrow, which was presumably after Superman and Batman became Superman and Batman, so that's about 20 years of superhero-ing right there. (More recently, Black Lightning's had some daughters retconned into existence, so he became Black Lightning around 20 years ago, after Superman was already Superman).

Barbara would have been in her mid-twenties before even becoming Batgirl, as she would have needed to have been out of college and grad school to be a librarian (Or was she now no longer a librarian...? I haven't read her Year One as recently as her Showcase) That was when Dick was still in high school.

But then, there was a recent Nightwing Annual where they were said to be 16 simultaneously...was that a mistake or the new continuity?

DC's timeline has been broken for a while now, and who knows what's what at the moment, between the universal reboots that occurred in Infinite Crisis, 52, Countdown and Final Crisis...and then there are Superboy punches and Darkseid's death disturbing continuity as well.

But, at any rate, Babs taking the name Batgirl at this point in her career when there's some other gal dressed as a Bat who's only been at this about a year calling herself BatWOMAN seems kinda off to me...

Lucas said...

Batman and Detective both keep their numbering, Caleb, have no fear.

As to the rest of the Bat stuff? Keep on speculating, and I'll sit here smiling! :D

Derek said...

Timeline of the DC Universe

According to that, Bruce is 38, Dick is 30, and Babs is 33.

Though, if I recall correctly, Dick used to be slightly younger and Babs slightly older. DC has been sliding Dick and Babs ages closer together lately (probably so it doesn't seem as weird for them to have dated).