Sunday, July 25, 2010

So I guess there was a trade show in San Diego this past weekend...

Top Shelf had a ton of cool stuff to announce, including The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century #2: 1969, The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti and Mike Huddleston, Any Empire by Nate “The Guy Who Made Swallow Me Whole” Powell (The above image is Powell's), Super Natural by Matt Kindt (Top Shelf PR notes that it stars “Amelia Earhart, Harry Houdini, and more!”), The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire, Incredible Change-Bots Two by Jeffrey Brown, plus five new kids series (including one by Chris Eliopoulos), more stuff from Christian Slade, Andy Runton and work by Jess Fink, Jennifer Hayden, Ray Fawkes and Vince Locke and Colleen Coover and Paul Tobin. Plus Masahiko Matsumoto’s manga Cigarette Girl.

That’s…that’s a lot of great sounding stuff right there.

Fantagraphics is apparently going to begin collecting and reprinting Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse comic strips, in cooperation with Disney. That is great news. I’ve seen very little of these strips, but what I have seen was incredible, and I wouldn’t hesitate to seek out more, if more were readily available.

As expected, DC announced another brand-new Batman ongoing monthly as the place where Grant Morrison will continue the Batman saga he started scripting about four years ago now.

It’s going to be called Batman Inc. and it’s going to be drawn by Yanick Paquette, who recently illustrated the third, pirate-themed issue of Morrison’s Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, and had previously collaborated on the 2006 Seven Soldiers miniseries The Bulleteer.

From Comic Book Resources coverage:
"All I'm going to tell you up front is basically it's almost a team book," explained Morrison. "I was looking at the Brave and the Bold cartoon which I love and I wanted to do that kind of thing—Batman with other people. We're come up with a structure that lets us do kind of a team book."

"This is why the book was called 'The Return of Bruce Wayne,'" he added. "This is what happens when Bruce is more in the equation and what he does with the Batman idea and turns it into a franchise."
I suspect the Club of Heroes will play a big role in this, based on the fact that Batman and his surrogates already more or less run all of DC’s major super-teams (save for the JSA), and that Morrison was quoted saying something about Silver Age Kate Kane having had an affair with Bruce Wayne and El Gaucho simultaneously in someone’s panel coverage that I can’t find now.

If that is the case, I think Batman: Club of Heroes is a better-sounding title than Batman Inc., but then Morrison seems to know what he’s doing.

Speaking of Batman and The Club of Heroes characters, I think I like the sound of this Knight and Squire book the more I hear about it:

Cornell joked that he plans on introducing at least 100 new villains in the "Knight & Squire" series. "We managed 50 in the first issue alone. This is a plot to kill the editors of DC through sheer hard work," he laughed. He added that his first arc featured Richard III brought back to life as a clone with an army of monarchs who try to re-conquer the world through Facebook. "That's what I'm doing right now."

And here’s another quote from Cornell:
The cover to "Action Comics" came on the screen and Cornell discussed the image. "This is Gorilla Grodd attacking Lex Luthor with his No. 1 attacking spoon," joked Cornell. He decided "Action Comics" with Lex Luthor as a "Super-villain punch up. It's Lex Luthor versus one of the DC Universe's biggest villains every month." The writer listed upcoming character appearances, including Mr. Mind, Deathstroke, Gorilla Grodd, and Neil Gaiman's Death—who the writer said isn't a super villain but "the personification of a natural force that's actually very lovely." He also said a crossover with the Secret Six will be forthcoming.
Damn, Mr. Mind too? I’m kinda regretting deciding to trade-wait this Action Comics arc of Cornell’s now…

This seems like a really good idea. The presence of Rocket Raccoon and Groot alone got me to buy the first issues of Annihilation: Conquest—Star-Lord and Guardians of the Galaxy (the quality of those first issues got me to buy subsequent ones in each series). This then looks a lot like a Let’s Just Give The People What They Really Want sort of comic.

And hey, nice Mike Mignola cover! I wonder if that alone will sell the book to Hellboy readers? Because just glancing at the image, it sure looks like something set in the Hellboy-iverse, due perhaps to combination of the leads not being household names (that is, a Mignola-drawn Spider-Man/Captain America cover would still look like a Marvel comic, Mignola or no) as well as Mignola’s signature style and cover composition.

This is an intriguing idea too, falling into the trying something slightly different category, which I was hoping to see a lot more of from DC after the executive/editorial rejiggeration (I think the last time DC tried a monster-as-hero character out it was Sam Kieth’s Scratch, and it didn’t work out well—but then, Kieth is hardly the most commercial talent, and that story seemed to have less to do with monsters and superheroes than it did with emotions and drama).

“Garbage Man” is a good name for a superhero, and the design is kind of cool in an ugly way, which is appropriate for a character with that name.

If John Romita Jr. ever needs a month off, they oughta get Rafael Grampa to draw Avengers for him. His image of Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Spidey and Wolverine, some of them in re-designed costumes—is fantastic. Robot 6 ran it above an announcement of Strange Tales II, a second round of Marvel’s indie/alt/arty comics artists do stories featuring the regular Marvel super-characters anthology.

I still haven’t read the first one, but the trade is oon my To Buy list, and this line-up of creators sounds every bit as impressive as the first round.

The collection must have done very well in shops and bookstores if a second series has been green-lit, because the single-issues of the original were waaaaaaay down the monthly sales charts, around what’s usually considered cancellation level for Marvel.

I’m not a video game guy, but I thought the trailers for Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and DC Universe Online are both pretty awesome-looking.

It’s strange to see the Spider-Man from the Spider-Man: Noir minis so prominently featured in the game alongside more long-lived and popular versions of the character. I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of more people will end up playing a video game with that version of Spider-Man in it then actually bought and read those comics? (I also wonder if Jeff Parker and Ramon Rosanas' frilly collar-ed 1602 Spider-Man is an unlockable character in this, or if they’re saving him for the sequel).

As for the DCU game, most of the characters, costumes and powers looked both accurate and cool, which I found sort of impressive, given the fact that GL and Flash seem so difficult to make move in a way that is realistic. Hal Jordan looks a lot better here than he does on that EW cover too, although maybe that live-action movie version of GL will look better in motion? Even Lex Luthor’s big dumb transformer suit doesn’t look so bad in that video game trailer (I guess the dust and dents instead of vibrant purple and green help a bit).

Kiel Phegley covered a "DC Nation" panel in this this article for Comic Book Resources, in which the snuffy Rise of Arsenal book came up, and several DC writers and editors defended it in a variety of ways:
The "Rise of Arsenal" issue by Krul that rocketed around the comics blogosphere with a largely negative reaction was brought up by a fan wondering if editorial interference was the cause of the story not connecting with fans. Didio took the question first, saying, "Every book isn't going to please everybody...that's why we sit in this room like this. You're not going to find two people with the same reaction to any book." He added, "We think that was the right tone and the right voice for what was going on there. You may disagree, and that's okay...The fact that we're talking about an Arsenal book is something that would never have happened [before this story.]"

Didio noted that most of the people that reacted positively to this story had small children of their own, meaning the writers "touched a real nerve" which was a good job and not a bad job.

Later, the issue came up again in terms of why writers would make such awful things happen to a character like that, and Krul said, "It's tricky to find a character you can take these chances can do stuff with Roy Harper that you can't do with Green Arrow." He then joked that they weren't going to cut off Green Arrow's arm...until issue #7.

Robinson chimed in on the hero. "If you look at the character and get a little zen about it, he's a self-sabotager," he said. "Even in the Titans back in the day, he was the bad want to make him interesting and see what you can do with him."
Eh, it all sounds like bullshit to me. I think Krul had the best answer, in making a joke about it.

I think DiDio’s “fact that we’re talking about an Arsenal book” comment reveals a rather depressing attitude. Is there really no way to imagine anyone at a con ever talking about an Arsenal book if that book didn't have plot points like the killing off of his five-year-old daughter, the loss of his arm, his getting re-hooked on heroin and so on?

Wonder Woman changed clothes and people couldn’t shut up about it. Superman stopped flying and started visiting real cities and people talked about it. There are a lot of various “stunts” that can be pulled to get people talking about an Arsenal/Red Arrow/Speedy/Roy Harper comic book that don’t involve killing toddlers (repeatedly, thanks to flashbacks!) and suchlike, from finding celebrities and popular novelists to write his comics to media coverage-baiting plot events.

And then they could always just make a really great Aresenal comic, with brilliant writing and gorgeous art.


This headline made me think that J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon were collaborating on a major motion picture inspired by the 1980’s toy line/cartoon series “Visionaries.” That is not the case.

—I'm not sure what to make of the Marvel-has-Crossgen announcement. I only read literally a handful of Crossgen titles long after they were published—a couple of issues of Ruse, a couple issues of Way of the Rat, something in which George Perez illustrated a sea battle—and while I liked the first two of those just fine, it seems to me that Crossgen’s weird way of making comics and the incredible talent they managed to secure for an upstart company, were a lot more noteworthy than any of the characters or concepts.

That is, I think they were popular because of Mark Waid and Chuck Dixon and Greg Land and whoever were popular, not because Sigil was the new Wolverine or anything. (Sigil was a character’s name, right?)

Additionally, past announcement of Big Two companies acquiring the rights/deciding to publish the super-characters of other, defunct companies recently have come to naught—or, at least, naught-ing noteworthy—so I’m not sure this is anything for anyone to do cartwheels over.

That said, I’d probably read a Ruse trade paperback collection.

—I'll probably read this in trade, but I will read it.

—Is the announcement that Marvel will be producing Epic Mickey comics the very first Marvel comics project using Disney characters? If so, that seems pretty noteworthy.

—I like the way this manga looks, but I like the way that sweater looks slightly more.

—I was disappointed that DC's "DC Kids: Aww Yeah!" panel didn't include anything solid regarding the future of their kids line, as it sure looked like it was being canceled (of the four kids comics with DC super-characters in them, three of them have either shipped their final issue or will shortly).

As far as I can tell, they will be rebooting the books with new numbering, but there weren't any details regarding titles and creators and so on. So maybe nothing's changing, other than the numbers...? The rest of the panel consisted of the usual vagaries about wanting to appeal to kids more, trying to find good ways to make kid-friendly Supergirl and Wonder Woman comics, etc.

The way the timing had worked out, I was really expecting more than a "stay tuned" this weekend.


Randal said...

Marvel's doing a Tron book, too, but I imagine you mean the Mickey Mouse-verse Disney.

I'm fuming about Crossgen. Literally, just this past Wednesday, I decided to get rid of my entire collection - every issue, trade paperback...even the damn oversized book thing...Decided it was just time. Cut the cord. Walked away. I have them sitting in several groery bags in my garage ready to take to the used book store this coming Wednesday. And then I hear this. I've already gotten to the acceptance stage, and now there's...well, not news; not even a bit of hope, either, really. But now I am forced to wonder...I'm still getting rid of them, I think. Next step - Valiant.

LurkerWithout said...

After seeing that Rocket Raccoon pic, I had to go and look at my copies of the original mini again. And yep, Mignola did do the pencils and covers for it. Which really showcases how much of a stylistic shift he's had as an artist...

Michael Hoskin said...

>That said, I’d probably read a Ruse trade paperback collection.

And what's preventing you from picking up the existing trades now...?

David said...

The Flash in the DCUO trailer was kind of offputting. Felt like the return of Jogging Man from the Justice League cartoon.

I mostly remember Sigil as being the only readable Mark Millar comic I've ever read. I liked Sigil and Meridian, thought Sojourn was okay, absolutely hated that one grimdark comic near the end of the line all the critics loved.(Nexus? Void?)

The videogame parts in the Grant Morrison interview were the odd bits to me, since you don't normally think of Grant Morrison as the type to play videogames. I'm now stuck imagining Batman with an arm whip thing talking to rebel leaders with some of the worst voice acting imaginable.

mordicai said...

I've said for a while that multiple Batmans is the way to go. Keep Dick in the suit, & put Bruce in the suit, & put Kane in the suit & Cain (oh Cassandra) have the other superheroes be like "Batman? ...Batwoman? Is that you under there, Bruce?"

Batman: in more than one place at a time!

KentL said...

—I'm not sure what to make of the Marvel-has-Crossgen announcement.

My response was kinda surprised, but ultimately "meh". I do hope they bring back Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. That was the only book I read, and it didn't get past five issues.

—Is the announcement that Marvel will be producing Epic Mickey comics the very first Marvel comics project using Disney characters? If so, that seems pretty noteworthy.

Is Marvel actually publishing the book? All of the reports I read didn't really say either way, but one implied that if Disney hadn't bought Marvel, Peter David wouldn't be doing it, because he is exclusive to Marvel. That kinda tells me that Disney is publishing it (maybe through Hyperion?). Also, as Randal pointed out, Marvel is doing a Tron book in October, which appears to be their first foray into Disney properties.

—I was disappointed that DC's "DC Kids: Aww Yeah!" panel didn't include anything solid regarding the future of their kids line

Same here. Not sure what the point of that panel was if they weren't going to clear up the confusion. Especially after Didio said at the DC Nation panel that they weren't really canceled. Also, they know how to make good kid-friendly Supergirl comics. My daughter loved that series.

Oh, speaking of DC's kid friendly fare, Valerie D'Orazio reports that Wildstorm may be getting most of the Johnny DC stuff ( Interesting.

Jacob T. Levy said...

based on the fact that Batman and his surrogates already more or less run all of DC’s major super-teams (save for the JSA),

Hey, now there's a hook for a story! Max Lord's invisible machinations convince Mr. Terrific that Batman's returning to his Brother-Eye-building ways, and also convince Batman that Terrific is leading Checkmate in a bad direction. Conflict ensues between the JSA and all the Bat-family teams (JLA, Titans, Teen Titans, Outsiders, Birds of Prey)-- with much of the book being Terrific as the chess-player portrayed in JSA vs Kobra trying to out-think Batman-the-planner as portrayed in Rock of Ages.

Yan Basque said...

You should totally jump on the bandwagon for Paul Cornell's Action Comics run. The first issue was awesome and it's probably the DCU book I'm most excited about at the moment. At least check out #1.

Nick Ahlhelm said...

Crossgen at Marvel makes a lot of sense as they pretty much have every former Crossgen penciler working for them. Now the writers are scattered all over the place (with only Waid doing any work for Marvel), but I think there is a lot of potential for these characters to continue. If they are truly interested in reviving it, they should start it with the conclusion of Bedard and Pelletier's Negation War though. It could set up a nice little new world of Crossgen characters.

Sigil was a title, not a character. Very few Crossgen books had character names in the title. (The only one that comes to mind is Brath.)

And David, Mark Millar never wrote Sigil. It was written by Barbara Kesel, Mark Waid, and Chuck Dixon.

As to the DC Kids line, I am not sure why they even had that panel at the convention. But it sure sounds like Billy Batson is at least dead, as they hinted that the current team will be working on the new Young Justice book that's on the way.

Lazarus Lupin said...

Too much to comment on really. That's a sign of a good post! Just the things that hit my radar.

Garbage man: LOVE IT.
Rocket Raccon: Also a deep and abiding love.
Gorilla Grodd on the cover with a spoon: Sorry too much of a good thing, went into a coma and came back.

Lazarus Lupin
Art and review

Caleb said...

Marvel's doing a Tron book, too, but I imagine you mean the Mickey Mouse-verse Disney.

I didn't catch/notice/care about the Tron book announcement I guess, but that's interesting. Marvel hasn't done much in the way of licensed comics in a least, not the way they used to. These days it seems to be more literary tie-ins/adaptations. And Halo.

And what's preventing you from picking up the existing trades now...?

Ignorance of their existence, I guess.

Is Marvel actually publishing the book?

Now that you mention it, I don't know. The Beat had the announcement grouped under a "Marvel" heading, which is where I got that...all of the announcements regarding it that came up in my Google News alerts mentioned that there would be comic books made, but they don't designate a publisher.