EXCLUSIVE: Battleworld Gets Dangerous in Marvel's July 2015 Solicitations
For most of its existence, peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol BitTorrent has been associated with mass piracy, a reputation the company of the same name (co-founded by Bram Cohen, inventor of the protocol) has fought against in recent years. To that end, BitTorrent started offering commercial bundles of music and TV shows in 2013, and today unveiled its first foray into comic books: “The Dynamite Mega Bundle,” featuring more than 200 digital comics released by Dynamite Entertainment.
The bundle has both a pay-what-you-want option, with more than 170 comics available for a minimum of $6, along with 30 comics free to download. Comics offered include “Kirby: Genesis,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Project Superpowers,” “Red Sonja,” “Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet” and the full run of Dynamite’s adaptation of Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time.”
If you’re a Barack Obama supporter, you’ve probably gotten a lot of emails from him, from his campaign and from his administration over the years. Like, a lot. Even the most ardent Obama boosters may have tuned them out.
Yet one that arrived today is certainly worth noting, as the president speaks directly about his comic book fandom:
This week, The Nib published a comic strip by artist Ronald Wimberly, whose work includes Prince of Cats and Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm, titled “Lighten Up.” In it, Wimberly details his experience of being asked by a Marvel editor to lighten the skin tone of supporting character Melita Garner in a recent issue of Wolverine and the X-Men.
On Wednesday afternoon, CBR asked its Twitter followers a simple question — what was your first comic book?
— Comic Book Resources (@CBR) March 18, 2015
The hashtag #MyFirstComic — which has been used in the past by comics artist Mike Norton, among others — quickly gained traction, trending nationwide, with many comic book pros and fans joining in. Here are some highlights from among comics creators and industry professionals, and peruse #MyFirstComic on Twitter for much more.
With the move of DC Comics’ editorial department from New York City to Burbank, California, rapidly approaching, Wednesday brought news of one DC editor who’s staying on the East Coast while switching publishers: Rickey Purdin, a DC Comics associate editor, has moved to Marvel as the company’s new talent manager.
“I can’t express how thrilling it is to join Marvel after so many years of reading these comics and being shaped by the characters, stories, and creative teams,” Purdin said in a statement. “Aiding Marvel’s extremely talented editorial team is a dream come true and incredible developments are already in the works.”
Legendary comic book artist Bernie Wrightson has had a difficult road in the past year, with a hospitalization last July following a series of small strokes. Wrightson since recovered and returned to the convention circuit, but recently underwent brain surgery. His wife, Liz, provided an update on his condition on Facebook, and while the news post-surgery is not what they were hoping for, with biopsy results indicating cancer, she says they are optimistic — his “prognosis is excellent,” and no cancellations of appearances are expected despite radiation and chemotherapy.
The results are in from the latest LEGO Ideas Review, and depending on your perspective, it’s something of a good news, bad news situation.
Two of the sets up for review will indeed move into official production: “Doctor Who and Companions” and “WALL-E.” While LEGO has produced multiple Disney and Pixar-themed sets, this will be the first Doctor Who-themed LEGO release. (Who building sets have been released in recent years as part of the United Kingdom-based Character Building line.) Official details — final design, pricing and release date — are yet to come.
The Doctor Who set was submitted by gaming artist Andy Clark; WALL-E hails from Angus MacLane, a Pixar animator and director who worked on the 2008 film.
Two years ago this month, DC Comics announced that all of its April 2013 New 52 releases would be “WTF Certified,” its name for a series of gatefold covers poised to reveal surprising developments when folded out. The promotion drew some criticism, stemming from the fact that the “F” in “WTF” stands for a word you won’t find in any of DC’s superhero comics. Ultimately, while DC went forward with the gatefold covers themselves, the “WTF Certified” branding was abandoned.
Marvel showed they haven’t forgotten any of that with the release of a “WTD Certified” teaser image on Thursday afternoon, closely mimicking DC’s scrapped “WTF” logo. What exactly “WTD” stands for in this instance is unclear, though “What the Deadpool” is an easy first guess (he’s dying that month, after all). An answer should be coming soon — “WTD Certified” is tied to April’s releases, and Marvel’s solicitations for that month are likely to hit early next week. The full teaser follows below.
For years after the ill-fated 1986 film, Howard the Duck was considered a joke character by many. However, the March-debuting new series from writer Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals) and Joe Quinones (Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell) looks to be taking Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik’s character more seriously than most recent depictions, while still having fun.
The latest evidence: a variant cover by Paul Pope — making a rare Marvel appearance — for Howard the Duck #1, revealed on Twitter earlier today by Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso. The cover channels Shakespearean pathos with a downright somber-looking Howard, albeit juxtaposed with a rubber ducky.
Pope’s full cover follows below.
Artist Norm Breyfogle — a comics veteran known best for his years on various Batman titles for DC Comics — has been hospitalized after suffering a stroke, according to a post on his Facebook page written Wednesday afternoon by Barbara De La Rue.
This is Barb I’m norm’s ex from California. Norm won’t be answering any txt’s from you friends out there. Norm just had a stroke and is in the hospital. Please keep him in your thoughts and your prayers. At this point norm is expecting a full recovery but time will tell.
A regular fixture on the Batman books from 1987 to 1993, Breyfogle has once again become a regular fixture at DC Comics in recent years, drawing Batman Beyond and Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger. He also illustrated much of the initial run of the Life With Archie series for Archie Comics starting in 2010, widely credited as a major turning point in that publisher’s ongoing evolution.
All of us at Comic Book Resources wish Breyfogle a speedy recovery.
In this past summer’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, the latest live-action iteration of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird enduring multimedia franchise, Splinter tests the foursome’s mettle by attempting to break their concentration with a 99-cheese pizza dubbed “Novantanove Formaggio” — which for those counting at home is a full 95 cheeses more than a comparatively pedestrian four-cheese pie.
With the film out on DVD and Blu-ray today, Paramount actually attempted to create the mythical concoction — first crafted by an Australian chef — and sent it out to media outlets, including Comic Book Resources. A publicity stunt? Yes, but when a publicity stunt involves dozens of melty cheeses sent to our door, you can bet that we’re going to mark the occasion accordingly.
Oni Press series Hellbreak met a bit of a delay earlier this year, with coloring duties migrating from Eisner-winner Jordie Bellaire to Eisner-winner Dave Stewart, and Terrible Lizard, also written by Cullen Bunn, took the book’s place on the schedule. But the book — written by Oni veteran Bunn and illustrated by The Secret History of D.B. Cooper‘s Brian Churilla, is on track for a March 2015 debut.
“It follows a group called the Kerberos Project, which is working closely with the Catholic Church,” Bunn told CBR of Hellbreak in March of this year. “We find out that when someone is possessed, their soul is actually displaced so a demon or devil takes up residence in the person’s body and kicks their soul into Hell. There are an infinite numbers of Hells out there, each one different, each one ghastly and horrible in its own way.”
ROBOT 6 has the first look at a variant cover for issue #1 illustrated by Cliff Chiang, who recently wrapped an acclaimed three-year stint on Wonder Woman. Retailers can “unlock” the Chiang variant by ordering 100 copies of Hellbreak #1. The issue will have a total of three variants, each with a $3.99 cover price; but the standard cover by Churilla will be sold for the introductory price of $1. Chiang’s variant and Churilla’s standard cover both follow in full below.
UPDATE 11/25/2014 3:25 PM PT: A Comic-Con International representative has provided CBR News with the following statement:
There is no excuse for offensive or threatening behavior. The fact that it comes from a purported member of our committee is clearly upsetting. Even though we cannot control what an individual says, we can address issues that have a direct effect on our organization or persons affiliated with our organization. We would also like to mention this individual no longer holds a volunteer position with our association. We encourage any individual who feels threatened by these comments or others to seek assistance from law enforcement.
The reaction to the announcement Monday night that a grand jury chose decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown sent thousands to social media to voice their feelings on the decision. Within the comics industry, much of the discussion on Twitter has involved a self-identified Comic-Con International volunteer known as “Bill in San diego,” who has posted a series of inflammatory and disturbing tweets.
In the past couple of weeks, “Bottle of Wine,” a one-page comic by Russ Heath rightfully captivated the imagination of many industry observers, where the legendary artist addresses the appropriation of his work by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. Lichtenstein got rich and famous, the strip relates, and Heath received no monetary compensation. A silver lining, Heath describes, is that the work of The Hero Initiative — a nonprofit focused on aiding comics creators in need — has provided him with financial support decades later, including assistance after a knee-replacement surgery.
A tweet on Nov. 1 from cartoonist Dylan Horrocks helped bring widespread attention to the comic — 1,325 retweets and 1,000 favorites as of Wednesday afternoon — and renewed critiques of Lichtenstein’s body of work, frequently derivative of existing comic book art with no credit to the original illustrator. Outlets from Boing Boing to ComicsAlliance all picked up on Heath’s strip, bringing greater awareness to both the Hero Initiative’s work and Lichtenstein’s problematic oeuvre.
Hero Initiative President Jim McLauchlin reached ROBOT 6 to clear the air on a couple of elements of the “Bottle of Wine” coverage. First, the comic strip (colored and lettered by Darwyn Cooke) was initially published in May 2012, in IDW’s Hero Comics 2012. (In fact, ROBOT 6 ran the comic that month.) Also, the Lichtenstein work cited in the comic, 1963’s “Whaam!,” was actually based on a panel by Irv Novick in 1962’s All-American Men of War #89, published by DC Comics — Lichtenstein lifted from Heath in 1962’s “Blam,” with a panel also from All-American Men of War #89. Same issue, different artists.
James Callahan, artist of the acclaimed Oni Press series The Auteur, has illustrated an exceptionally detailed poster for the cheerfully titled film Why Don’t You Play In Hell?, and ROBOT 6 has the first look.
Why Don’t You Play in Hell? debuted in 2013 in Japan, written and directed by the prolific Sion Sono. The movie gets a U.S. release on Friday, courtesy of Drafthouse Films. Here’s the official plot synopsis: