During the promotional push for DC Comics’ “New 52″ relaunch, executives stressed steps were being taken to prevent late-shipping titles. We’ve already seen evidence of that commitment in the use of fill-in artists and some creative assists, but now it looks as if one of its titles is missing a beat — and it’s the biggest title the company has.
Justice League #5 was scheduled for release Jan. 18, according to the Previews catalog as well as the publisher’s own website, but recent information from Diamond Comic Distributors suggests it won’t make that date.
Although a late title clearly isn’t unheard of, this one is intriguing for two reasons: first, because it’s the flagship of DC’s “New 52,” and second, because the creators involved, writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee, are also company executives who, at least indirectly, oversee the line editors whose responsibility it is to make sure books ship on time. It’s important to note the reason for the lateness can’t be connected to Johns or Lee; the blame could fall on any step of the production chain.
Byron Mosley explains how to defeat a Force-user in this comic strip called “The Lando Effect.” You can probably guess the final panel, but that makes it no less funny to see. Actually, Mosley has a lot of funny strips on his site, so you should plan to spend some time there.
(via Geeks Are Sexy)
Dark Horse starts a new Conan series next month with Conan #1, by Channel Zero and Demo collaborators Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan. Based on Robert E. Howard’s “Queen of the Black Coast,” the comic will weave new adventures into Conan’s two-year journey with the notorious female pirate Bêlit, a period barely touched on in the original short story. Comic Book Resources has a preview of the first issue.
I spoke with Wood and Cloonan about their plans for the series, using the classic Howard tale as their framework, and the dynamic between the young Conan and Bêlit.
ROBOT 6: How did each of you first encounter Conan — in the novels, the movie, or the older comics?
Wood: I’m sure it was the Arnold movie that was my first exposure, but not in a really meaningful way. I was 10 when it came out, so I wouldn’t have seen it, but we all played it at recess anyway. Later on, as I started to become more aware of comics, I became aware of Conan as he was drawn by masters like BWS and Frazetta. Funnily enough, the novels came last.
“I guess the idiot lunatic fringe does some bitching and moaning about it. But the reaction that I’ve seen has been positive. It’s been ‘This is great—thank you! It’s about time! These are the kind of stories we want to see.’ And if people can’t deal with it, well, go away, don’t read it. That’s okay. I don’t care what you think. [...] When the story broke a month or two ago, there was a comment left on some Fox News site, and they didn’t cite me by name, but it was essentially ‘Whoever would write and draw and publish such a story should get AIDS and die.’ And you know … I thought that was great. [Laughs] I have so much power that I can write a simple comic-book story and that can cause you to wish me death! I am mighty. [Laughs]”
– writer Paul Kupperberg, discussing response to the introduction of Riverdale’s first gay resident Kevin Keller, and the marriage of the character to Clay Walker in Life With Archie #16
A month after crime novelist Denise Mina revealed she’s adapting Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium trilogy for Vertigo, DC Entertainment confirmed this morning she’ll be joined on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Leonardo Manco, Andrea Mutti and Lee Bermejo. The graphic novel is set for release in November.
Announced in October, each book in the acclaimed mystery series — The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest — will be presented as two graphic novel volumes that will be available in print and digital formats.
The Millennium trilogy, which has sold more than 60 million copies worldwide since the release of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in 2005 in Sweden, centers on Lisbeth Salander, and eccentric computer hacker, and Mikael Blomkvist, and investigative journalist and magazine editor. They’re brought together in the first novel to solve a 40-year-old missing person’s case. Larsson, a Swedish journalist and author, passed away in 2004 at age 50, leaving the completed manuscripts for the first three novels in what was intended as a 10-book series.
“We’re thrilled to be adapting this incredible story into a series of graphic novels,” Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger said in a statement. “Denise, Lee, Leonardo and Andrea have such great passion for the material and stylistically they’re a perfect match to bring it to comics life. Their beautifully dark and visceral work will certainly blow us all away.”
The Dark Knight Rises is on its way. Man of Steel is filming. The costume from that David E. Kelley Wonder Woman show will finally get some air time. I wouldn’t even bet against Green Lantern 2.
So today, I’m here to talk about adapting The Flash.
Apparently a Flash movie has been in development for several years, at least since Green Lantern went into production (and from a few of the same folks). I don’t know the basics — which by now may well have changed — but I suspect many of us fans would start from the same points: which Flash, which Rogue(s), etc. After so many superhero-comic adaptations, we can derive certain formulae from the things.
However, to me The Flash is different.
The idea of super-speed is ideal for the comics medium, because time basically slows down for everyone but the speedster, and comics excel at playing with the reader’s perception of time. Ironically, though, in a moving-picture setting, the real effect of super-speed is trickier to pull off. Sometimes it works to show everyone else slowing down, as in The Matrix’s “bullet time,” the bionic running of The Six Million Dollar Man, or the tray-catching scene of the first Spider-Man. (Naturally, the last always seemed to be an homage to Barry Allen discovering his powers in Showcase #4.)
Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass came up with an interesting idea in light of the demise of Friends of Lulu and its annual Lulu Awards for female comics creators. She points out the variety of categories the Lulus celebrated as well as the Hall of Fame, but specifically misses the Kim Yale New Talent Award, named in honor of the late writer whose many accomplishments include, with husband John Ostrander, developing Barbara Gordon into Oracle.
“I hate to see an award that honors and remembers a vital creator like Kim Yale no longer exist,” Sue wrote. “While one can debate whether there is still the need for an organization like Friends of Lulu, recognizing and encouraging new female creators — especially in light of the discourse that’s gone on in this market this past year — is, I believe, still very important.”
For the most part, news that DC Comics is canceling six titles from the initial New 52 didn’t come as much of a shock — with one possible exception. The critically acclaimed O.M.A.C. by Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen is marked for cancellation with Issue 8, alongside the other fledgling series whose sales have foundered.
While DC Comics Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras expounded on both the “Second Wave” of the New 52 and the reason for the cancellations, the fact remains that, month-to-month, O.M.A.C. has been a consistent all-star in reviews, even going so far as to be the No. 52 title on CBR’s Top 100 Comics of 2011.
Wait … No. 52? Fifty-two as in, “The New 52″?
Whether it was dumb luck or a harbinger of things to come, that is indeed the slot O.M.A.C. took in CBR’s Top 100 of 2011, a fitting piece of offbeat trivia for one of the quirkiest books of the DC relaunch.
Controversial artist Rob Liefeld — and by “controversial” I mean people tend to either love his work or hate it — seems to be in one of the most productive phases of his recent career, drawing a monthly book for five consecutive issues, and about to take the reins as both writer and artist.
And the Liefeld-created Extreme Studios properties have returned to Image Comics, which is launching continuations of several of the books as part of an ambitious resurrection of Liefeld’s early-’90s characters.
And here’s the weird thing — the two aren’t connected.
Liefeld’s monthly book is DC’s current volume of Hawk and Dove*, a perennial lower-tier property conceived by artist Steve Ditko in the late 1960s. One of Liefeld’s first big breaks was a penciling gig on a Hawk and Dove series in the late ’80s, and DC has kept the characters around in one book or another almost ever since.
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I’ve always been a lost cause when it comes to math and science, so usually my eyes glaze over when there’s any talk of “formula” or “coefficient.” But I perked up when at Wired.com scientist and author Samuel Arbesman took on the question of inbreeding in Marvel’s X-Men universe. (It was the X-Men part, not the inbreeding, that piqued my interest, thankyouverymuch.)
Using as a guide Joe Stone’s X-Men Family Tree, with its lines designating clones, offspring nemeses and so on, Arbesman has determined that — surprise, surprise! — “there is no inbreeding whatsoever among the X-Men.” He does, however, raise an eyebrow at Ultimate Quicksilver and Ultimate Scarlet Witch.
“Despite the clones, immortality, and occasional mind control of comic books, the X-Men lack inbreeding,” he writes, “at least according to this chart. If we delve a bit deeper though, it turns out that the twin children of Magneto do have a sexual relationship. While no children have resulted from the union of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, this would have resulted in an astonishingly high inbreeding coefficient of 25 percent, similar to a Pharaoh.”
On the Dark Horse blog, editor Dave Marshall shares the cover process for Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Promise Part 1, from writer Gene Luen Yang’s rough ideas to art duo Gurihiru’s cover sketches to Avatar co-creator Bryan Konietzko’s notes to the final product.
The 80-page graphic novel, the first in a series of digests continuing the adventures of Aang and his friends, arrives Jan. 25.
“With all these books, and this is where I’m going to sound corny, every book we put out, we want to succeed. Every book is kind of like a child, you want it to work. Books like O.M.A.C., yes, I loved O.M.A.C., and you know the hard work that goes into that. Unfortunately, sometimes these books don’t find the audience you were hoping they would. We knew from the beginning, when we created the New 52, some of these books that we were discussing earlier, there was always the discussion of replacement titles if something was not performing to the extent where we’d like it to be. It’s always unfortunate when something doesn’t work out the way you’d like. It doesn’t mean these characters are going to go away. One thing I really think is exciting is you will see O.M.A.C. land in another book. You will see Hawk and Dove land in another title. This is the fourth time I’ve used this term, so again I apologize, but we are world-building. These characters, even if their books are going way, they are still part of the DC story. We’ll still be seeing them.”
With so much being reported about Alan Moore’s connections to the Occupy movement — through his endorsement of its ideals, his contribution to Occupy Comics, and protesters’ co-opting of the David Lloyd-designed Guy Fawkes masks — U.K.’s Channel 4 News coaxed the V for Vendetta writer from his home in Northampton to London to meet some of the demonstrators for the first time.
“It’s a bit surprising when some of the characters you thought you made up suddenly seem to escape into ordinary reality,” Moore told some disguised protesters. “I mean, what is it about the mask — is it just useful, or what?”
The report also delves into Frank Miller’s criticism of the Occupy movement, Moore’s displeasure with film adaptations of his works and, yes, the irony that each Guy Fawkes mask that protesters buy puts more money into the coffers of Time Warner, one of the world’s largest media conglomerates.
Digital comics | Geoff Johns explains how digital presentation made him re-evaluate his approach to writing Aquaman #1, as digital readers focus on stories panel by panel rather than page by page. He notes that they also spend more time on individual panels, taking in all the details before moving on: “It’s weird to go back and look at some of the old comics now. If you read something in this fashion you will notice stuff that you skipped over so quickly because your eye takes in the whole page instead of the panel individually. I think that’s probably one of the biggest advantages of digital.” Johns also reveals digital considerations have also led him to scale back on internal dialogue to “let the art and characters expressions speak for themselves.” [Variety]
Digital comics | On a related note, Shaun Huston ponders the challenges of making “comics as we know them” work on digital devices: “While there’s some latitude to read full pages on the iPad, and the Fire at 4.7” x 7.5” (or the Nooks) affords that option more realistically than the iPhone or similarly-sized devices, in all of these cases there will be situations where most readers will shift to Guided View in order to effectively see some particular detail on a page. For many, Guided View will be the primary choice, which is a qualitatively different experience than reading page-by-page. In fact, while in that mode, ‘the page’ arguably becomes irrelevant as panels are strung together into one linear sequence, rather than into a series of page-specific sequences.” [PopMatters]
It’s taken me a while to get around to taking a look at Bernard Krigstein on this column, though that’s hardly because I haven’t wanted to. Quite the opposite, in fact: every week when I write one of these things, he’s the first artist I think of spotlighting. The reason he’s gone unmentioned for so long is that the challenge he presents to the analyst of comics art is just so daunting. Even when one sets aside his razor-sharp drawing ability, his intuitive, museum-worthy compositional skill, and his unsurpassed way with graphic design to look at the sequencing alone, there’s more going on than could possibly be said. So I ended up giving up on finding a single, telegraphing Krigstein sequence and elected to pack as many as possible into today’s column, because put simply, Krigstein wrote the book on sequencing — his every page a bold statement about effective, economical, and above all dramatic presentation of content.