Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
I talked about it last week, but there’s a lot to unpack in the recent Williams-and-Blackman-leave-Batwoman imbroglio. Part of it is DC Comics’ apparent need to keep characters relatively unchanged, which these days includes being young and unmarried. Co-Publisher Dan DiDio has already explained this in terms of heroic sacrifice, so I suppose that’s as close as we may get to official company policy on the matter.
However, before DiDio made his comments, I was wondering whether DC didn’t want the non-costumed half of Batwoman’s main couple to remain single and uncomplicated. After all, Maggie Sawyer goes back further than Kate Kane, and has appeared in both the animated Superman series and in Smallville. Thus, a certain part of the TV-watching public probably associates Maggie Sawyer more with Superman than with Batwoman; and DC might not want to have her tied permanently to the Bat-office.
This, in turn, brings up the issue of DC as a “content farm,” providing material for future adaptations. Obviously the publisher has almost 80 years’ worth of characters and stories ready to provide inspiration. Indeed, over the decades, that inspiration has gone both ways. However, more recently it seems like the adaptations have been influencing the comics to a greater degree than the comics have been influencing the adaptations, and in the long run that’s not good for either side.
As DC Comics, retailers and fans prepare for another round of New 52 titles next week, here’s a collection of the latest news and such …
• DC’s Bob Wayne told CBR’s Kiel Phegley that they planned to extend certain sales incentives to retailers through December, and this week DC released more details on what exactly that means — additional discounts for qualifying retailers on certain books, returnability on many titles and variant covers for several books, including the fourth issues of Justice League, Batman, Action Comics, Flash and Green Lantern.
• Wired’s GeekDad talks to Tony Bedard about the relaunched Blue Beetle series, which is due in shops next Wednesday. Bedard notes that the new series will be “less convoluted” than the last one in terms of Beetle’s origin, noting that this time around it isn’t tied to Infinite Crisis. He also notes Ted Kord won’t figure into the new series: “I loved the Ted Kord Blue Beetle as much as anyone. But he doesn’t figure into this new Blue Beetle series at all. My mission right now is to make 15 year-old El Paso high school student Jaime Reyes into the best character and the best Blue Beetle imaginable. And I have really good material to work with there. As anyone who read the last series or caught his appearances on Brave & The Bold will tell you, Jaime is a character teens and twenty-somethings can really latch onto. He has a terrific supporting cast and I’m building a ‘rogues gallery’ for him that will knock your socks off. None of this means that Ted Kord never existed. It’s just that before we go back and rehash the past, we are going to build a solid future for DC, and Jaime Reyes is the future.”
While a lingerie-clad Harley Quinn received a lot of attention leading up to the Wednesday release of DC Comics’ Suicide Squad #1, the issue’s most radical makeover doesn’t appear on the cover. Instead it’s reserved for the final page, where readers discover that, post-Flashpoint, Amanda “the Wall” Waller is now thin and apparently significantly younger.
Since her introduction in 1986’s Legends #1, the tough-as-nails congressional aide turned Suicide Squad leader turned Checkmate’s White Queen has been depicted in comics as short and overweight, her size varying from artist to artist. Co-creator John Byrne tended to exaggerate Waller’s features, with her large frame supported by stiletto heels. In more recent years, she’s sported a slimmer look — although she’s never been “thin.”
Until Suicide Squad #1, by Adam Glass and Federico Dallocchio, Waller was one of the few prominent heavy-set characters in superhero comics. Rarer still, her weight wasn’t used for comic relief (like, say, Etta Candy in her earliest incarnations) or somehow connected to superpowers (as with Bouncing Boy, or Marvel’s Blob or Big Bertha). In a sea of ageless and impossibly thin and tall figures, Waller stood out as a squat, middle-aged force to be reckoned with.
Now, however, “the Wall” is young and svelte, like much of the DC Universe … and flashing a bit of New 52 cleavage.
You can see Waller’s unveiling after the break. But be warned: It contains spoilers for the end of Suicide Squad #1.