Spider-Man and Superman have very similar jobs in the world of comics: Both are the mascots for their respective publishers, both embody what kind of stories those companies tell (from the extremely powerful DC comics to the more personal Marvel style), both are unique in the realm of superheroes (or at least were at the time of their inception), and both underwent fresh reboots recently to update them for a new generation, much to the chagrin of their established fan bases.
On Thursday, we got the trailer for the second dose of Andrew Garfield and his super-excited-to-be-here hairdo swinging above New York City and facing down his next big threat. Or should I say threats, as this will not only continue his journey to find out about his parents but also about OsCorp’s role in their disappearance, making him the enemy of the Osborns plus Electro and the Rhino. We all saw the trailer, right? Spinoff Online has a nifty video with commentary from the actors and director.
After watching it, I wanted to compare the new Spider-Man to the new view we have of Superman, but really that’s just comparing apples and oranges. There are similarities, but the tone, style and message of both heroes are geared for different things. Especially now, with how modern movies are redefining major heroes for more general audiences and what’s in vogue story style-wise, both of these heroes are going to do different things for different people and to compare them would be a little antagonistic. A much better comparison would be looking at the new Spider-Man … and this guy:
It wasn’t that long ago that we showcased Paolo Rivera’s amazing Herge-inspired wedding invitation, and now we have some terrific souvenirs from the ceremony of Andie Tong.
The artist, whose work ranges from Spectacular Spider-Man (U.K.) to The Batman Strikes! to the upcoming Zodiac with Stan Lee and Stuart Moore, drew adorable “power couples” from comics and film for cards that were given to his wedding guests. Fans may quibble with Tong pairing Superman with Wonder Woman, rather than Lois Lane, but I imagine the guests were pleased with the favors.
With Tong’s permission, we’ve posted all of the illustrations below.
While a lot of nerdy parody videos and songs can be a chore to endure, Not Literally Productions’ ode to shipping, “I Ship It,” is really enjoyable, in part because it spoofs Icona Pop’s ubiquitous “I Don’t Care,” which bores into your brain like one of those eels from Star Trek II, but also because the lyrics are pretty clever.
For instance, “You’re on the canon ground, I’m up in crack ship space; Let’s start a shipping war, I don’t care if I get hate; Don’t like my pairings? Well, then you can hit the bricks; This is my OTP, I’ll go down with this ship.”
I apologize in advance for getting this stuck in your head.
I suppose the first clue that this wedding was going to be exceptionally nerdy, and potentially dangerous, was that the groom and groomsmen were decked out in pieces of armor. So it probably shouldn’t have been surprising when the minister was interrupted by a knight.
However, the choreographed sword fight with the groom? That was a bit tougher to predict. And no one could have anticipated cameos by an indecipherable Iron Man, an alarmingly manic Batman, the world’s wimpiest ninjas or … the battling bell-hops. Oh, or Jimmy Hart.
But, hey, the minister was a good sport.
In these last few years, my comics spending habits have changed dramatically. I buy fewer titles from comic shops and more original art and prints directly from artists, without my annual budget changing that much. I’ll blame social media for the shift: Once upon a time, original art sales were the preserve of agencies, and you couldn’t help but wonder where your money was really going. Now savvy artists can market themselves for free using Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., and then sell their own products with minimum fuss through a number of websites, like Redbubble or Society6, or by setting up their own storefronts using BigCartel or Shopify or a similar broker.
There’s a human side to this change, too. First through blogs, and now through Twitter and Facebook, social media means you get to know artists like you couldn’t even a decade ago. Barriers are broken; they invite you into their lives, you read as they fret about the day-to-day stuff. I suppose if I followed a load of farmers on Twitter I’d probably stop eating at McDonalds, but I don’t. I follow British comic artists. Buying art from ethically sourced, free-range creators now makes more sense to me than buying factory-farmed, battery-cage comics.
“It’s a terrible jumping-on point. I don’t think I’ve written an issue 20-something of anything that I’ve done that is a good jumping-on point. With the way you can download all the books now and everything is collected in trades, I’m not even sure I buy into the validity of the argument that every issue should be able to be read as if it was somebody’s first issue. That, of course, may be a complete construct to prop up my inability to do that. [Laughs] So yeah, it’s a terrible jumping on point …”
– writer Jonathan Hickman, addressing the notion that the “Point Now” part of Avengers #24.NOW means the issue is a good jumping-on point for new readers. Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, has a differing opinion on the matter.
Continuing the march of best-of-the-year lists, the School Library Journal’s Good Comics for Kids blog has compiled its list of the Top 10 graphic novels for kids in 2013. It’s a pretty diverse group, ranging from historical fiction to fantasy to biography, with Abrams, First Second and Top Shelf well-represented:
- Fairy Tales Comics, edited by Chris Duffy(First Second)
- Odd Ducks, by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon (First Second)
- Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, by by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks (First Second)
- Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Donner Dinner Party, by Nathan Hale (Abrams)
- Monster on the Hill: Book One, by Rob Harrell (Top Shelf)
- Dogs of War, by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox (Graphix)
- Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
- March: Book One, by Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
- Hilda and the Bird Parade, by Luke Pearson (Nobrow)
- The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book One: Spelling Trouble, by Frank Cammuso (Abrams)
Follow the link to read about the Good Comics For Kids bloggers have to say about each of the selections.
Comics | Rupp’s Comics in Fremont, Ohio, will display a rare comic this weekend as part of the store’s 22nd-anniversary celebration: Detective Dan: Secret Operative No. 48, published in 1933, is the first comic book to contain a single original story (as opposed to several strips, or a compilation of reprints from newspapers). The new format was not an immediate success, and the series was canceled after just one issue. [The News-Messenger]
Creators | It’s old but it’s good: The Comics Journal dips into the archives for a 1989 interview with Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson. [The Comics Journal]
Creators | John Porcellino reflects on 25 years of King-Cat Comics. [du9]
ComiXology has branched out into yet another arena with the launch of eBay Digital Comics, which is pretty much what it sounds like: a dedicated digital-comics marketplace for users of the auction and shopping website. It’s now in limited beta test in the United States.
TechCrunch reports that while eBay previously permitted merchants to offer some digital items, with this expansion the website is actually involved in curating and selling content.
The new storefront essentially serves as a display window — for now, at least — allowing eBay users to browse the collection by character. Once a title is selected, buyers are taken to its page on comiXology, where they have to have an account to actually make a purchase. The FAQ at eBay Digital Comics indicates that, “We are working to provide you with the ability to purchase digital comics on eBay with your eBay account.”
It’s been more than a year and a half — 19 issues and an annual — but the New 52 version of Earth 2 still feels like a work in progress.
The series began with the last battle of an Apokoliptian war that claimed the lives of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, which was followed soon afterward by the debuts of “wonders” (not “marvels,” no sir) like the Flash, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl. To a certain extent, each was meant to remind readers of the heroes of the original Earth-Two, where Superman and Lois Lane met in 1938 and married in the early 1950s, and where Batman and Catwoman saw their daughter Helena become a successful attorney. When everything started getting organized into a Multiverse in 1961, Earth-Two became the home of DC’s Golden Age characters, including Jay Garrick’s Flash and Alan Scott’s Green Lantern. Indeed, for more than 70 years Jay and Alan were part of DC’s first generation of superheroes, serving as inspiration for the many who followed.
Not so with the current Earth 2, where Jay and Alan are themselves inspired by the heroic sacrifices of that world’s Trinity. On one level, Earth 2 is a way to reintroduce those characters in a present-day context, breaking them down into more basic forms and building them up through a series of fiery trials. Talk about a “never-ending battle” — in Earth 2, war is never far away, whether it’s the reminders of past devastation or the dark portents of new tragedies. Originally I thought this might be writer James Robinson’s way to evoke the world-at-war atmosphere of the 1940s, but now I’m not so sure. Current writer Tom Taylor may simply want to put the “wonders” through a pretty rigorous series of tests. Now, that in itself has become a well-worn DC trope (Geoff Johns personified it some 10 years ago with his updated Reverse-Flash), and it’s not one of which I am especially fond. It has tended to emphasize the “testing” more than the eventual triumph, so it threatens to become a trial for the reader as well.
And yet, like Caleb appreciating the Taylor-written Injustice: Gods Among Us,I have looked forward to each new issue of Earth 2. It’s definitely not the original. Sometimes it’s barely an homage to the original. However, it needs to be its own thing, and this week I’ll tell you why.
Continuing the theme of the previous post, Great Pacific writer Joe Harris pulls back on the curtain to reveal what might have been had DC Comics not canceled The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men earlier this year.
On his blog, Harris, who came on board the series as co-writer with Issue 7, touches upon some of his ideas that never made their way into the book — “Things got changed around a bit, and I had to do a lot of rewriting to fit shifting plans, sudden crossovers, and other changes made on high, so much of this stuff never saw the light of day” — before breaking out something truly impressive: the “mindmap.”
You can check it out for yourself at the link, but it’s effectively a flow chart that lays out his vision for “Firestorm Year Two & Beyond,” with color-coded plot threads. I’m a habitual list- and chart-maker, so I was instantly drawn in by Harris’ dedication to planning and detail.
However, the writer notes, “Honestly, this map, while big, is conservative for me. You should see the master sheet I keep together for X-Files ideas!”
As with Cullen Bunn’s exploration of the development of The Fearless Defenders, Harris’ post and accompanying chart makes for interesting reading for fans and process junkies alike.
With the release this week of the 12th issue, writer Cullen Bunn says goodbye to Marvel’s canceled Fearless Defenders with a post that should be of interest to both fans of the series and those interested in a look at the comic-book process.
“We were (according to many) over-sexualized, pandering, a long shot, a sleeper hit, too silly, too cruel, too compressed, too decompressed, and a host of other contradictions … which works for the spirit of the book, I think,” Bunn writes on his website. “But there were a lot of folks who REALLY loved this book … even when they were really mad at us. And that means a lot to me. Those folks made it all worthwhile … and I have a feeling I’ll be seeing them online and at conventions for years to come.”
LEGO modelers the Arvo Brothers have recreated Kaneda’s bike from Katsuhiro Otomo’s landmark manga and anime Akira, using only those little Danish bricks, of course. What’s more, they’re going to share just how they did it in a 200-page book that will be available beginning next week — complete with die-cut decals.
A Centaur’s Life, Vol. 1 (Seven Seas): Easily the weirdest comic I read this month, Kei Murayama’s manga is about an alternate world where everything is the exact same as it is in ours, save for the fact that there are multiple races like centaurs, angel folk, goat folk, cat folk, dragon people and so on. Oh, and while human beings apparently still exist, the only one glimpsed is a medieval knight seen in flashback, having enslaved a centaur is some bizarre armor/restraining device in order to ride him.
What makes the manga so weird, however, is that there doesn’t seem to be any reason, at least not in this first volume, for why our heroine Himeno is a centaur, and why her classmates are all various fantasy races living out an otherwise completely mundane existence.
Himeno is a sweet, shy, pretty and popular Japanese schoolgirl (who is also a centaur). She’s afraid of boys, likes hanging out with her friends, and love sweets, although she worries about getting fat. The stories are mostly of the frivolous high-school comedy sort that could easily have been told with human characters.
In the first story, Himeno is self-conscious about her genitals, which she’s never looked at, as she’s afraid they might resemble those of a cow the kids once saw on a field trip (unlike some centaurs, the ones in this comic keep their horse parts covered in elaborate pants that appear difficult to put on and take off). In another, her class puts on a play, and she’s cast as the female lead, while her best friend — a girl with bat wings, a spade-shaped tail and pointy ears — is the male lead. In another, she’s suspected of doing some modeling work, in violation of school policy regarding part-time jobs.
Among the nominees announced earlier this week for the 41st annual Annie Awards is none other than Guy Davis, creator of The Marquis and longtime artist of B.P.R.D., for his contribution to the opening titles of The Simpsons‘ “Treehouse of Horror XXIV.” He shares the nod for Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production with director Guillermo del Toro and storyboard artist Ralph Sosa.
Davis, who provided the monster designs for del Toro’s Pacific Rim, has been described by the director as “one of the best monster designers alive right now!” Their collaborations go beyond those two projects, however: Davis is a concept artist for FX’s upcoming vampire thriller The Strain, based on the horror novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan (the filmmaker co-wrote and directed the pilot, and serves as an executive producer), and on the long-discussed feature adaptation of Pinocchio.
The Simpsons couch gag, which you can watch below, is an epic homage to some of the director’s own works as well as horror classics, filled to the brim with references to Ray Harryhausen, Alfred Hitchcock, H.P. Lovecraft and more.
The winners of the Annie Awards, which recognize excellence in animation, will be announced Feb. 1.