In putting together the ComicsAlliance week-in-review posts, I read a lot of comics-related news that isn't usually of personal interest to me, like stuff about videogames (The last videogame I played with any degree of consistency being Super Mario Bros. 3).
I was pretty fascinated by this particular news, which I think I've mentioned before: Stan Lee, Spider-Man co-creator and self-proclaimed "King of the Cameos", is a playable character in the latest Amazing Spider-Man game. This post at CA includes a little video demo of Lee's videogame avatar in action, complete with Lee-specific, Lee-performed dialogue.
What makes it even more surreal is that the Lee avatar is essentially a skin (is that the right term?) you put over the Spider-Man sprite (do they still use that word?), and so Lee's movements are the same as Spidey's: He can web-swing, web-shoot, climb walls and perch like an insect atop the edges of skyscrapers. That makes this game, played that way, as a sort of What If...Instead of Co-Creating a Character Who Was Bitten by a Radioactive Spider and Given Spider Powers, Stan Lee HIMSELF Was Bitten by a Radioactive Spider and Given Spider Powers?.
More than a game I want to play, that's a comic book I'd like to read. What if Lee decided he was selfishly wasting his life writing, editing and promoting Marvel Comics, and decided that instead of writing lines like "With great power comes great responsibility," he was gonna start living them, and fighting crime in Big Apple...?
I kinda hope Marvel starts putting Stan Lee in all their videogames going forward. What I'd really love, though, would be to see him in a fighting game...along with the various Marvel Bullpens from over the years.
The other interesting video-game related thing I saw in CA this week was this post, which links to another trailer for Lego Batman 2 (I don't know if it's the familiar, more Batman-ly music, or the more Batman-ly sounding voices or the way the action and humor beats mesh, but it really seems to be advertising a better Batman movie than this trailer, which also features supervillains and some jokes).
I went to IMDb to check out who was doing voices for it, as Lex Luthor sounded like Justice League Unlimited Lex Luthor (with good reason; it was the same guy), and The Joker sounded like Mark Hamill, although I thought I'd read he had retired his Joker voice-acting (interestingly, it's another actor doing The Joker the way Hamill did The Joker).
Anyway, I was pretty surprised to click on the Lego Batman 2 page, and see this weird character creator's list:
(in alphabetical order)
John Broome characters: Green Lantern & Sinestro
Chuck Dixon character: Bane
Bill Finger character: Robin & Catwoman
Gardner Fox character: The Flash
Bob Kane character: Batman
Gil Kane characters: Green Lantern & Sinestro
William M. Marston character: Wonder Woman
Doug Moench character: Bane
Graham Nolan character: Bane
Harry G. Peter character: Wonder Woman
George Pérez character: Cyborg
Joe Shuster character: Superman & Lex Luthor
Jerry Siegel character: Superman & Lex Luthor
Mort Weisinger character: Aquaman
Marv Wolfman character: Cyborg
I don't know enough about IMDb to know if the company responsible for the product, in this case, a videogame publisher instead of a movie studio, provides that stuff, or if it's more like Wikipedia and users/readers submit this stuff, or what, but it's pretty cool to see creators credited with their creations. I'm used to seeing Bob Kane and Siegel and Shuster created for Batman and Superman, but I'm not so used to seeing Bill Finger get credited for his contributions to the Batman franchise, or creators of characters of as recent a vintage as Cyborg (1980) and Bane (1993) get credit.
In fact, given the nature of Bane's introduction to Batman comics, starring in a one-shot meant to introduce him to readers before the entire line of Batman comics plunged into a long, crossover story written and drawn by all of the line's Batman writers and artists, I couldn't have told who created Bane; I would have guessed either "Denny O'Neil" (as the character seemed to be created specifically to beat Batman, break his back and force him into an early retirement in order to make way for a new, darker and more temporary Batman) or "A committee of writers and artists".
But according to IMDb, it was 90s Batman writers Chuck Dixon and Doug Moench and artist Graham Nolan.
I wonder if they will see money from The Dark Knight Rises this summer...? Any of the real comics journalists in the reading audiences want to look into that? If I remember correctly, Len Wein said something a while back about how he received more money from his creation Lucius Fox's supporting roles in the current cycle of Batman films than he did for his co-creation Wolverine starring in the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And Jim Starlin noted earlier this summer that he had to buy his own ticket to see The Avengers, which featured a tease based on one of his more famous additions to the Marvel character catalog.
Not to get all DC vs. Marvel on you guys, and credit one shitty corporation for being less shitty than the other shitty corporation, but is Warner Bros. more generous with this sort of thing than Disney's Marvel Studios...?
Wait, I don't get it
Professional Tom Brevoort stalker Graeme McMillan notes the Marvel Entertainment executive editor was asked if readers might ever see a trade collecting the Hostess comics ads of the 1970s, something I've called for repeatedly.
Brevooort responded negatively, saying it would involve profit sharing with Hostess, that such a trade "would tend to be a niche item in the first place" and that "you could only do the Marvel ones, not the DC or Archie or Harvey ones."
Poppycock, I say.
Firstly, certainly each publisher could do their own own books, and come to their own arrangements with Hostess. Like, there could be a trade collecting the Marvel Hostess ads, a trade collecting the DC Hostess ads, and so on, if there's demand for Archie and Harvey ones (I could see Archie ones; not so sure about Harvey ones). Although DC and Marvel have co-published comics and trades in the past, and DC and Archie have done so even more recently.
Secondly, Hostess and DC Comics have worked together in the extremely recent past, so figuring out rights and profit-sharing regarding Hostess snack cake ads can't possible be as complicated as, say, figure out the rights to Rom or The Micronauts.
And finally, yes, it was be a niche item. But you know what else is a niche item? Virtually every single trade collection that Marvel publishes.
Did you hear that artist Paolo Rivera is leaving Daredevil to focus on creator-owned work?
It's great news for Rivera, terrible news for Daredevil, and worse news for people who read Dardedevil.
Maybe now they'll reduce the accelerated publishing schedule of DD to accommodate current artist Chris Samnee (whose latest blog post said he would be the sole artist on the book going forward), and make it a monthly again instead of a book that's published every week, every other week or twice a month, depending on the month?
If not, then hopefully they'll find someone of a high enough caliber of talent and a compatible enough style to do every other arc. I nominated Francesco Francavilla, although Mike Allred and/or Nick Dragotta would be great, too.
I'm sure whatever Rivera does next will be excitedly reported anywhere comics publishing news is reported, but, in the mean time, here's Rivera's blog if you want to keep a look out for yourself. He's just posted some fine commissioned headshots of various Marvels.
Sean Collins' linke round-ups are better than mine. Here's his latest, and here's the first tidbit quoted full, on account of its hilariousness and remarkable condensing of an argument into a few well-chosen sentences:
* People drawing an equivalence between DC’s use of Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons’s Watchmen characters in Before Watchmen and Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill’s pastiche of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter characters in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen would have a point if and only if Moore released this issue as “BEFORE HARRY POTTER,” starring all the actual Harry Potter characters rather than parody versions of them, using the Harry Potter trade dress, through Harry Potter’s publisher, exploiting a loophole in a contract he arranged with Rowling, over Rowling’s explicit and unequivocal objections, following a two-decade string of mistreatment and broken promises.I haven't read the latest LOEG yet, but it's worth noting that Harry Potter is, as Rowling herself would admit, a particular version of a Brit lit, magical school boy fantasy character type who has appeared in several other works prior to hers, the one most mainstream comics ones are most familiar with being Tim Hunter in the Neil Gaiman-written Books of Magic series, and the various Vertigo sequels and spin-offs.
Reminder: The occasional bad cover aside, Guillem March is awesome.
This is a good example of what I mean when I saw DC is wasting March's talent. Yes, he's draw a variety of Batman spin-offs, but he he's not drawing Batman or Detective (Tony freaking Daniel is), or even one of the three other Batman books starring Batman (Batman and Robin, Batman: The Dark Knight or Batman Incorporated). Even if he were though, DC still probably wouldn't be making the best use of him.
I mean, can you imagine a Catwoman writer Judd Winick or even fan-favorite Batman writer Scott Snyder penning a script in which calls for the artist to, say, draw in the style of R. Crumb for a scene? Because Guillem March can totally do that.
If I were making this list, I woulda excised First Wave (why remind readers of one of the publisher's bigger misfires of the last few years, and that Azz was maybe the most responsible for that misfire, being the most present of the creators involved) for Doctor 13: Architecture and Morality, the best super-thing he's ever written.
Also, I thought The Joker wasn't very good, but I guess it was popular, which, from a marketing standpoint, is probably close enough to be the same thing.
Oh man, I just read the funniest Dinosaur Comics comic ever last night, and thought I cut-and-pasted the link somewhere where I wouldn't lose it, but now I can't find it. Then I went back to its home page, figuring "No big, I'll just scroll back until I find it," but then I realized I found it by hitting the random comic selection function, and so I can't find it, and may never find it again.
Anyway: That comic is usually pretty funny, and, this one time, it was funnier than it ever was before.