Axel-In-Charge: Waid & Samnee on "Black Widow" and the Dawn of the All-New, All-Different Era
Paolo Rivera has debuted his stunning contribution The Hero Initiative’s latest “100 Project,” in which 100 artists draw their own covers for the milestone 100th issue of The Walking Dead. The covers, by the likes of Charlie Adlard, Kevin Eastman, Dan Brereton, Mark dos Santos and, yes, Robert Kirkman, will be collected in a book (for sale sometime this year), with the originals auctioned off to benefit The Hero Initiative.
In his blog post, Rivera also reveals he’ll be doing his very first work for DC Comics: a variant cover for Action Comics #18.
Terry Dodson has made a name for himself as one of comics’ most impeccable artists, recently coming off a two-year run on Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men and doing a number of high-profile shorter assignments on Avengers, Avenging Spider-Man and Defenders. Unbeknown to most, however, is that Dodson has been producing creator-owned projects on the side, such as Songes (titled Muse in the United States). But in 2013 he’s moving this creator-owned focus front and center.
When we spoke earlier this month, Dodson addressed his decision not to renew his exclusive agreement with Marvel so he could devote more time to his own work, and opened up about Vouve Rouge (“Red Widow”), a rollicking espionage/celebrity story he’s creating with French writer Xavier Dorison, as well as other potential projects down the road.
Over the course of eight-plus seasons of NBC’s The Office, we’re learned a lot about Dwight Schrute: He operates a successful beet farm, and a not-so-successful bed and breakfast, he’s served as a volunteer deputy sheriff, his grandfather may or may not be a Nazi war criminal.
But last night’s episode provided viewers with perhaps the greatest revelation of all: As a child, Dwight spent time at a special school for children hated and feared by humanity for no other reason than … they are mutants!
That chapter from Dwight’s past surfaced as he interviewed candidates for a job at Dunder Mifflin — a pool that included his cousin Mose, his former babysitter/lover, and one of his classmates from “X-Men School.”
The Young Adult Library Association has unveiled the 2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens, a list of 55 titles that cover the spectrum from biography and mythology to superheroes and science fiction.
The finalists were selected by a committee from among 98 nominees recommended for readers ages 12 to 18. From those 55 titles, 10 were singled out for exemplifying “the quality and range of graphic novels appropriate for teen audiences.” The are:
“What do superheroes, serial killers and the stage crew have in common? They all have a place on the 2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list,” chair Rachael Myers said in a statement. “There is a graphic novel on this list for every teen reader and we think this is a valuable resource for teens and the librarians who work with them.”
You can see the full list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens on the American Library Association website.
In an interview with Crisp Comics, Ray Felix of Cup O’ Java Studio Comix recounts receiving a cease-and-desist letter in September 2010 after he registered a trademark for his comic series A World Without Superheroes. Following more a year and a half of exchanges between Felix and the companies’ attorneys, DC Comics and Marvel Characters Inc. in March 2012 filed a formal opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which decides certain cases involving trademarks.
Their original registration for “super hero” and “super heroes,” which received widespread attention when it was renewed in 2006, covers a range of products, from comic books and playing cards to pencil sharpeners and glue. However, Felix argues DC and Marvel have overstepped the bounds of their trademark.
Digital comics | ComiXology, which earlier this week announced the opening of a European branch, has revealed its first big score: a digital-distribution agreement with Delcourt, the top independent publisher in France. And comiXology kicked off the agreement by updating its dedicated Walking Dead app to include a French interface and the French editions of the comic. The company also plans a dedicated Lanfeust of Troy app, and of course it will roll out Delcourt titles on its regular app as well. [ComiXology]
Auctions | A copy of Detective Comics #27, which contains the first appearance of Batman (or, as he was called in 1939, “the Bat-Man”), will go on the auction block later this month. The comic, which is CGC rated 6.5, is expected to fetch $500,000, but there’s no reserve, so this might be an opportunity to pick up a bargain. [Art Daily]
Lately I’ve been pretty complimentary of Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke’s work on Green Lantern. Honestly, this is something of a shock. It’s not that I don’t like Johns, Mahnke, or GL — far from it — but the book has sneaked up on me, going from a nice habit to a must-read, and the new Lantern has a lot to do with it.
Green Lantern Simon Baz debuted in September’s Issue 0 as an Arab-American caught up in various schemes, who of course demonstrated the ability to overcome great fear. He wears a ring containing messages from the dead-ish Hal Jordan and Sinestro, but he carries a gun in case the ring fails him; the first fellow Lantern he encounters is B’dg, the extraterrestrial squirrel. Simon endures it all with courage and spirit, and in short order he’s kicked GL into another gear.
Simon’s introductory arc concludes this week — sort of, SPOILERS FOLLOW — with Green Lantern Corps Annual #1, the final installment of “Rise of the Third Army.” However, this just paves the way for “Wrath of the First Lantern,” which goes for the next couple of months. After that, April’s Lantern titles may not be part of an overarching story — at least, not one with a “_____ of the [Numbered] _____” title — but these plot threads apparently won’t be resolved before then, either.
As Tomb Raider prepares to return to consoles in March, Dark Horse and Crystal Dynamics have announced a comic-book homecoming for Lara Croft beginning with the video-game prequel Tomb Raider: The Beginning.
Written by game scribe Rhianna Pratchett and illustrated by Nicolas Daniel Selma and Andrea Mutti, the 48-page, six-part hardcover omnibus “follows the story of how the crew came together for The Endurance’s fateful mission to discover the lost Japanese kingdom of Yamatai. Originally intended to feature as the latest installment of Dr. James Whitman’s successful archaeology show, Whitman’s World, the show-biz archaeologist gets more than he bargained for when he enlists the help of Captain Conrad Roth. As Roth’s unique and eccentric crew gradually come together and share their stories and secrets, the expedition faces unexpected threats before it’s even begun.”
The Beginning will be available as a bonus when players pre-order Tomb Raider at Best Buy. Details of the new series are promised following the March 5 release of the game.
Welcome to the first “Art Barrage” of the new year, in which I intend to bombard you with loads of interesting work you might not have seen before. Some of it is comic art, while sometimes it will come from the increasingly comics-besotted worlds of illustration, fine art and street art. Let’s kick off with the above image, from the second series of Mike Mitchell’s surprisingly disturbing re-skins of the classic pose from the cover of Superman #6 (we featured the first lot here at Robot 6 in October). See them all here — the They Live and Krang ones are genuinely freaking me out. That Margot Tenenbaum is pretty creepy, too.
Below is a piece that reminds me of what Mitchell is doing: Hillary White‘s T-shirt design for Threadless from last year, “Super LOL.” It gently takes the mick out of that sublime piece of Golden Age DERP!-thinking, that somehow just putting on a pair of glasses could ever instantly render Superman anonymous. Are you familiar with Ary Sheffer’s “Temptation of Christ“? Well, the second image below is White’s tribute, “Temptation of Robin.” It’s from her series, Pop-Reinterpretation, which also featured the much-blogged and Tumblred “True Muppet.”
Plenty more from around the world after the break, including France’s Didier Cassegrain, Italy’s Adriano De Vincentiis, Japan’s Patrick Awa, the U.K.’s Will Kirkby, the U.S.’s Babs Tarr, and Sweden’s Robert Sammelin.
The first issue of the improbably titled Injustice: Gods Among Us includes a dystopian future featuring a fascist Superman, a half-dozen or so superheroes, a handful of supervillains, a pregnant Lois Lane, the deaths of multiple characters, a submarine hijacking and the detonation of a nuclear bomb.
I was most interested in what everyone was wearing.
Injustice is the print version of the digital-first comic based on the upcoming fighting video game from the makers of Mortal Kombat. The game is, of course, based on DC’s characters, so with the release of this issue, the circle is complete: This is the precise part of the tail where the transmedia ouroboros chomps down.
The aspect of DC’s overall New 52 refurbishing — from the de-cluttering continuity reboot to the costume redesigns — that has most fascinated me is that the timing seemed to indicate it was part of a transmedia strategy, which of course has led to months of trying to figure out why particular changes or decisions might have been made, and what that indicates about the publisher’s priorities.
This deep in to the New 52, it’s clear DC eschewed making its comics universe more closely resemble that of the popular, all-ages cartoons like Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans, the decades of assorted Batman shows and even Young Justice, which seems rather remarkably able to synthesize aspects of complicated comic-book continuity. And it’s clear the publisher has instead focused its energies on the older teen/adult audiences of video games Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City and, to a lesser extent, Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies and their DC Universe Online video game.
So here’s a comic book based on the company’s next big video game, which was being developed and produced just as the New 52 line was being developed and produced: What will this comic look like? What will it be like?
Less than two weeks after the iconic vehicle from the 1966 Batman television series sold at auction for $4.62 million, a custom carmaker was arguing that a federal judge should dismiss DC Comics’ claims that his Batmobile replicas infringe on the company’s trademarks.
The publisher sued Gotham Garage owner Ben Towle in May 2011, accusing his California-based business of manufacturing and selling unlicensed replicas of the 1966 and 1989 Batmobile (the company also offers a recreation of the TV show’s Batboat). DC seeks a permanent injunction, the destruction of all infringing products and damages of no less than $750,000 for each infringement.
While Towle failed to persuade a judge in February 2012 that the complaint should be thrown out on the grounds that the U.S. Copyright Act affords no protection to “useful articles,” Law360 reports on Wednesday his attorney took a different approach, arguing that DC waited too long to assert its rights.
Matthieu Bessudo, the French artist commonly known as McBess, is becoming very popular indeed with the advertising industry. Known in the comics world primarily for the work he’s produced for the boutique U.K, publisher NoBrow, his background is both in animation and music, playing guitar in various bands, making him the perfect man for this great ad for the streaming music service Deezer.
The 32-second short features a host of trademark McBess tattooed rock ‘n’ rollers who refuse to allow music to be contained like a genie in the bottle, letting it spill out in a series of bravura flowing animated musical set pieces, then ending with the motto “nothing will stop the music.” McBess’sstyle has previously graced ads for the Nissan Qashqui SUV and this memorably filthy and effective one for the charity Good Books.
Following an audacious heist that makes the recent Smurf assault seem like small portabellas, police in Hannover, Germany, are on the crumb-littered trail of a missing cookie — a 44-pound golden cookie. The prime suspect? A certain blue-furred compulsive eater by the name of Cookie Monster.
The gilded bronze sculpture was stolen early this month from a 100-year-old sculpture atop the headquarters of German baker Bahlsen (below), leaving authorities puzzled. While Cookie Monster adamantly denied any involvement in the crime — “Me no steal the golden cookie. But me willing to help find real cookie thief!” — not even the promise of a $1,350 reward for information could turn up anything about the real culprit.
But then on Tuesday, someone stepped forward with some demands. Some very delicious demands.
The store put out a call for help Wednesday afternoon on its Facebook page following a smash-and-grab that resulted in the theft of the comics, some of which dated back to 1940: The Amazing Spider-Man #1-2, The Amazing Spider-Man #1 signed by Stan Lee, The Avengers #4, Batman #4 signed by Jerry Robinson, Giant-Size X-Men #1, Green Lantern #76, House of Secrets #92, Incredible Hulk #102, Incredible Hulk #181, and Superman #33, signed by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. According to the post, the suspect smashed the front door and display case, and was likely in and out in less than three minutes.
Luckily a little later Wednesday, a suspect was apprehended and Beach Ball Comics owner Thomas Gaul was able to retrieve all of the books except the Lee-signed Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers, Green Lantern and Superman.
“Thanks to the help of Paul at House of Secrets in Burbank and the quick thinking Ed & Nick at Collectors Paradise in Winnetka, we were able to coordinate police action to take a suspect into [custody] today,” he wrote. “[…] The culprit removed the CGC SS Batman from the case, so we expect the missing Green Lantern and Avengers books ended up the same way.”
Festivals | The Angoulême International Comics Festival has opened in Angoulême, France, and that’s where all the cool kids are. Bart Beaty surveys the scene for the rest of us; the president of this year’s show is Jean-C Denis (last year it was Art Spiegelman), and there will be an exhibit of his work, but Beaty says the big draw will be the exhibit of work by Albert Uderzo, co-creator of Asterix. [The Comics Reporter]
Editorial cartoons | Rupert Murdoch has apologized, on Twitter, for an editorial cartoon by Gerald Scarfe in the Sunday Times that depicted Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu bricking Palestinians into a wall with blood-red mortar. Many commentators were concerned that the cartoon, which Scarfe intended as a commentary on the recent elections in Israel, came too close to old anti-Semitic blood libel. Making things worse, the cartoon was published on Holocaust Memorial Day. [The Guardian]