Not that I’d forgotten, but CSBG’s new 75 Greatest Batman Covers poll was just the latest reminder that this is Batman’s 75th anniversary year. According to Mike’s Amazing World of DC Comics, Detective Comics (Vol. 1) #27 hit newsstands on or about April 18, 1939, which means the celebrations don’t have to start right away.
Still, so far Batman’s 75th seems to be a rather low-key affair, at least as compared to Superman’s 75th last year. That anniversary included a special logo, a new movie, a few new ongoing series, a couple of celebratory collections (including one for Lois Lane, who shares the anniversary) and an animated tribute. Batman’s already gotten a giant-sized Detective (Vol. 2) #27, and the final Arkham Asylum video game is coming out. Additionally, before 2014 ends, we’ll probably see Ben Affleck in the new Batsuit, plus whatever Batman Eternal has in store. Beyond that, however, it seems like business as usual for the Dark Knight.
Fortunately, business has been pretty good for a while now, such that slapping an anniversary tag on the various Bat-offerings almost seems superfluous. By this point Batman practically is eternal — but what does that really mean?
A $20 entrance fee to the gallery, located at 920 Congress Ave., will go toward the Frazetta Estate’s preservation of the art for the planned new Frazetta museum. The original museum in Pennsylvania closed shortly after the artist’s death in May 2010.
The collection features 12 pieces: “Death Dealer 1,” “From Dusk Til Dawn,” “Dark Kingdom,” “Egyptian Queen,” “Fire and Ice,” “Death Dealer 2,” “Swamp Demon,” “At Earth’s Core,” “Conan Man Ape,” “A Requiem For Sharks,” “Neanderthal” and a Frazetta self-portrait.
The exhibit will also feature work by other artists Rodriguez has worked with and studied under over the years.
“This has to be the most kick ass museum in the world,” the co-director of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For said in a statement. “For one, it’s the only place you can see original Frank Frazetta art, 12 masterpiece paintings total, alongside original art by Frank Miller, Drew Struzan, Sebastian Kruger and Clete Shields. Throw in character paintings by the cast of Sin City 2 and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, and you will never see anything like this event anywhere, in any museum. I’m very excited to be showcasing this mind-blowing art by my favorite artists and collaborators in Austin.”
The museum will be open from noon to 8 p.m. through March 16.’
AMC and Finnish developer Next Games are producing a mobile game based on The Walking Dead, the hit television adaptation of the bestselling comic series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard.
The game is scheduled to launch in October to coincide with the Season 5 premiere of the TV series.
This week’s new releases include three more series launching as part of the “All-New Marvel Now” initiative — Magneto, Moon Knight and Wolverine & The X-Men — but of those, I only want to discuss the first two.
That’s because they’re actually new series, rather than an existing series simply relaunching with a new #1 issue and a new creative team. (The previous volume of Wolverine & The X-Men, the one written by Jason Aaron, seems like it just ended. When was that? Let’s see, it was … last week? Marvel’s not even waiting a whole entire month to relaunch titles now?)
Those two books are also solo series featuring lower-tier characters, making them the exact sort of comics Marvel has been allowing creators to pursue riskier, quirkier, more idiosyncratic and interesting approaches on since the success of Mark Waid and company’s Daredevil and Matt Fraction, David Aja and company’s Hawkeye.
And, of course, they also both start with the letter M.
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Disney Interactive slashed about 700 jobs on Thursday, more than one-quarter of its entire staff, as part of entertainment giant’s continuing battle to make its video game and Internet division profitable. Although the cuts had been anticipated for some time, few expected them to run that deep.
The Playdom group, which produces social-media games, is believed to be hit hardest. Disney purchased that company in 2010 for $563 million, an investment that clearly didn’t pay off.
Disney also plans to dramatically scale back in-house development of games, relying instead on outside licensing, which The New York Times characterizes as “a major shift in strategy.” The newspaper reports the company, which last year released about two dozen games, will reduce its output by 50 percent, and merge Playdom with the more successful mobile games unit.
Harlan Ellison’s original teleplay for the acclaimed 1967 Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever,” which was rewritten before filming began, will be adapted in a miniseries debuting in June from IDW Publishing.
“Presenting Harlan Ellison’s brilliant original script for ‘City on the Edge…’ has been a goal of ours since IDW first began publishing Star Trek comics in 2007,” IDW Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall said in a statement. “The episode justifies its position atop ‘best Star Trek episodes’ lists but even it ain’t nuthin’ compared to what Ellison did in his original teleplay. This is truly going to be a Star Trek adventure unlike any other, even to fans who have that beloved episode memorized.”
The five-issue Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay is adapted by writers Scott Tipton and David Tipton and artist J.K. Woodward, with regular covers by Juan Ortiz and variants by Paul Shipper.
“The City on the Edge of Forever” follows Kirk and Spock as the pursue a temporarily delusional McCoy through an ancient time portal, where they end up in 1930s New York City. There they must not only rescue their friend but save their own future, which has been changed by McCoy’s actions in the past. The episode won the 1968 Hugo Award for best dramatic presentation.
“It was a superlative joy of my long life to have worked with Leonard Nimoy, who became my friend, and many others at Star Trek,” Ellison said, “and an equally heart-happy joy to be working with J.K. and the Tipton Bros. and Chris Ryall on this long-awaited visual of my (humbly, I say it) brilliant original ‘City…’”
The finalists have been announced for the Lambda Literary Awards, which this year debuts a graphic novels category. No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics was selected in 2013 as best anthology, marking the first time a graphic novel had one in that division.
Now in their 26th year, the Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender writing for books published in the previous. The finalists in the graphic novel category are:
- Artifice, by Alex Woolfson and Winona Nelson (AMW Comics)
- Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir, by Nicole J. Georges (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- Duck! Second Chances, by Tana Ford (Bang A Left)
- The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker and Steve Dutro (Dark Horse/M Press)
The winners will be announced June 2 during a ceremony held in New York City.
Legal | Eriq Gardner delves into the issues underlying the continuing legal battle over unauthorized replicas of the Batmobile from the 1966 Batman television series and the 1989 film: This summer the Ninth Circuit will consider the appeal of Gotham Garage owner Mark Towle, whose Batmobile replicas were found in February 2013 to violate DC Comics’ copyrights and trademarks. While Towle argues that Batman’s ride is a “useful article,” meaning a utilitarian object not protected by U.S. copyright law, a federal judge ruled the Batmobile is “a copyrightable character.” Gardner notes that if the appeals court sides with DC/Warner Bros., “Hollywood studios would win a powerful weapon to stop products that are similar to props like light sabers and ruby slippers.” [The Hollywood Reporter]
Malaysia’s Home Ministry has banned the release of Ultraman the Ultra Power, claiming the comic book contains elements detrimental to public order.
While it’s unclear what specific content in the Maylay edition alarmed the ministry, The Malay Mail reports the decision has been met with widespread mockery online. One government official even questioned the move, with Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin tweeting, “What is wrong with UItraman?”
Eric Stephenson means well. As publisher of Image Comics, and even before he held that position, he’s often called out for change in the comics industry. I love these calls to action, even if they’re not always graceful; change usually isn’t. Most of us agree that changing the comics industry for the better is in everyone’s best interest, but how to change it and how we define better is when things get messy. I’m usually in agreement with what Stephenson is saying, but his speech last week at the ComicsPRO annual meeting was jumbled and tripped over itself when it came to licensed comics.
Stephenson got hung up on a significant sector of comics publishing, and I think it muddied his larger message. In his speech, as I’m sure you’ve seen re-quoted multiple times by now, he claimed that licensed comics like IDW’s Transformers and GI Joe, and Dark Horse’s Star Wars “will never be the real thing.” In the lead-up, he also explained there are “only two kinds of comics that matter: good comics and bad comics.” Now, he never outright said licensed comics are in the “bad” category, but some certainly viewed that as the implication.
His argument is that comics should rely on original ideas to produce original content, a point he underscored by pointing to the perennial bestseller The Walking Dead and the fast-growing Saga, both coincidentally published by Image. I agree original comics are where the magic can happen, and where the creators can most benefit. But that doesn’t mean everything else is by default a waste of time.
How do trolls find true love? How do you a draw a sexy female dwarf with a beard? Those are the kinds of questions artist and long-time fantasy fan Milos Slavkovic has found himself wondering over the past few months. Those idle thoughts have turned into plans for a full-blown graphic novel, and he’s reaching out from his Serbian home for help making it true.
Slavkovic has turned to Kickstarter to raise $10,000 to fund the publication of Enchanted Explorer, a graphic novel taking a sexy look at dating in a fantasy world. The cartoonist says Enchanted Explorer is “by no means an adult comic book,” but rather a satire of the fantasy genre and dating in general.
In a world where computers are taking over every facet of their lives, there’s only one hope to save them all: video game heroes.
That’s the gist of the upcoming graphic novel Overrun. Created by Forty-Five writer Andi Ewington along with Matt Woodley and artist Paul Green, Overrun mixes the action and world-within-a-world ideas of The Matrix with the tone and humor of Wreck-It Ralph — with a dose of inside-tech humor of the original Tron. Case in point: Detectives Norton and McAfee. And it doesn’t stop there. Here’s the official blurb:
Considering that Marvel’s Original Sin begins with the discovery on the moon of the Watcher’s body, minus his eyes, it’s perhaps unsurprising the publisher opted for a somewhat ghoulish way to promote the upcoming event series in comic stores: Marvel-branded bouncy balls that resemble Uatu’s missing eyeballs.
And given that writer Jason Aaron teased last month, “Whoever holds one of the eyes is able to explode a bomb full of secrets and unleash all the various secrets of the Marvel Universe into the wild through that eye,” it seems only fitting that Marvel Senior Vice President Tom Brevoort, keeper of many of those secrets, has been spotted with one of the missing organs. There’s no telling what may come of this …
The eight-issue Original Sin debuts in May.
Following news that it had acquired the North American rights to Naoki Urasawa’s Master Keaton, Viz Media announced a handful of other releases for the fall and winter, including Yūsei Matsui’s supernatural action/comedy Assassination Classroom and the print edition of Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama’s newest work.
Debuting in July 2012, Assassination Classroom centers on a class of misfits who try to kill their new teacher, an alien octopus with bizarre powers who destroyed most of the moon and is threatening to do the same to Earth within a year — unless his students can destroy him first. The series will be available bimonthly in print and digitally from Viz beginning in December.
Previously serialized digitally by Viz, Toriyama’s quirky comedy Jaco the Galactic Patrolman follows a retired scientist who lives alone on a desert island, where he researches time travel. However, that quiet life is interrupted when galactic patrolman Jaco crash-lands on the island and decides to move in. Featuring new, bonus content for Dragon Ball Z, the print edition debuts in January.
Those two manga are joined by One Piece Box Set 2 (November), which includes Vols. 24-46, the third and fourth story arcs of the “Skypiea” and “Water 7″ arcs, as well as the “Strong World” minicomic, and Naoki Serizawa’s Resident Evil, a five-volume prequel to the video game Resident Evil 6 (November).
By now we’ve all seen, or at least heard about, the Twitter-rocking star-studded selfie orchestrated by Ellen DeGeneres during Sunday’s 86th Academy Awards ceremony. Snapped by Bradley Cooper (who actually owns the rights to the image), the photo was retweeted a 3.2 million times, shattering the previous record of more than 778,000 set in November 2012 with the election-night post from President Obama.
While the not entirely spontaneous stunt certainly paid off for ABC and Samsung, which was reportedly promised airtime for the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone as part of its $20 million sponsorship and ad buy, they weren’t the only ones to get promotional mileage out of the photo.