What do we want out of a comic-based television series?
At this point in pop-culture history the corporate synergies are so closely aligned, and the fans so plugged in, that we can all come up with various ways to adapt our favorite comics into TV shows or movies. I mean, when I heard about the proposed Gotham drama — lots of Gordon, no Batman, some supervillains — it got me thinking about a half-dozen other DC features that would make passable TV series.
For example …
• Martian Manhunter: that detective’s really an alien shapeshifter with all of Superman’s powers, but he doesn’t know his version of General Zod is also on Earth and looking for him!
• Challengers of the Unknown: living on borrowed time after inexplicably surviving a plane crash, four adventurers solve the world’s weirdest mysteries!
• Adam Strange: it’s Indiana Jones with a jetpack, as an Earth archaeologist finds himself on another planet!
Publishing | This may seem a little inside-baseball, but it’s actually pretty significant: Dark Horse will switch from Diamond Book Distributors to Random House for book-market distribution, effective June 1, 2014. The publisher is sticking with Diamond for comics, but a lot of its line has appeal outside the direct market — the Avatar graphic novels, the Zelda guide — and Dark Horse wants to expand its presence in bookstores. This also makes for an interesting consolidation of manga distribution, as Random House also distributes Kodansha Comics (with which it has a strong business relationship) and Vertical books. [ICv2]
Comics | Superheroes may rule on television and in film, but comics continue to be a niche medium. The Associated Press reporter Melissa Rayworth talks to a comic-shop owner whose customers skulk in on the down low, an opera singer whose friends are surprised she reads comics, and Comics Alliance writer Chris Sims, who does a good job of putting things in perspective. [ABC]
Warner Bros.’ oversized totes, considered the must-have accessory for Comic-Con International, are returning to San Diego — and they’re wearing capes. This year’s version is a backpack, rather than a traditional bag, so the capes make sense, at least visually. Don’t worry, though, they’re detachable, and can be worn separately.
More than 130,000 backpacks will be given for free to attendees throughout the convention, promoting Warner Bros. television series Arrow, Teen Titans Go! (complete with Beware the Batman cape), The Big Bang Theory, The Following, Revolution, Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries, the classic Batman TV series, the DC Universe Original Animated Movie Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and the forthcoming films Godzilla, The LEGO Movie and 300: Rise of an Empire.
Each backpack features the official Comic-Con 2013 design on one side, and the Warner Bros. property on the other. Unfortunately, art wasn’t released for all of the backpack designs, but you can get a pretty good taste below.
Comic-Con International kicks off Wednesday with Preview Night.
It’s always a great feeling when you find good comics in a place you weren’t suspecting. But as a reader, fan and journalist, I was surprised at how good the DC Comics digital titles are. But why? DC has put out great books, and continues to do so now with some of its New 52 line-up; I was also a big fan of the publisher’s previous digital-first endeavors with Zuda. Why then is it so surprising that the current crop of DC Digital is good? Then I figured it out.
First, a primer: Launched in early 2012, the DC Digital titles premiere online with weekly installments and are later collected in print. Originally consisting of just two series, Batman Beyond Unlimited and Smallville: Season 11 (both coincidentally continuations of canceled television shows), the line expanded in the fall with the anthology-style Legends of the Dark Knight, companions to the TV drama Arrow and the video game Injustice: Gods Amongst Us, and Batman: Li’l Gotham. The imprint’s most recent addition is an anthology called Adventures of Superman.
DC Comics has declared Wednesday, Oct. 10 as “Arrow Day” to celebrate the premiere of the Arrow television series on The CW.
What’s Arrow Day, you ask? Well, when fans visit direct-market stores on Oct. 10, they’ll receive a free Arrow #1 Special Edition custom comic — it’s characterized as “the perfect companion for the show’s premiere that night” — as well as a six-page preview of Green Arrow #0, which was released earlier this month. The publisher is also providing retailers with promotional posters and bags for the TV series.
Readers will also be able to download the first chapter of the new Arrow digital comic series written by the show’s executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg, with art by Mike Grell.
Developed by Guggenheim, Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti, Arrow centers on wealthy young bad boy Oliver Queen, who after being marooned on a remote island for five years returns to Starling City with a mastery of the bow and a determination to make a difference.
The series stars Stephen Amell (Hung) as Oliver Queen, Colin Donnell as Tommy Merlyn, Katie Cassidy (Supernatural, Melrose Place) as Laurel Lance, David Ramsey (Dexter) as John Diggle, Willa Holland (The O.C.) as Thea Queen, Susanna Thompson (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) as Moira Queen and Paul Blackthorne (24) as Detective Quentin Lance.
Arrow premieres Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
Here in Memphis this week, September finally turned the corner into fall. High temperatures are mostly in the 70s, the air is getting crisper, and the sky is turning a paler blue. Unlike July or August, when October and November seem far in the future, a nice September makes December that much easier to imagine.
In September you start to settle into the routine which will take you through the winter — and that’s apparently true as well for the New 52 superhero books. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
Ivan Reis and Joe Prado head to Justice League with December’s Issue 15, and I for one am happy. Although I like Jim Lee fine, I think Reis is better-suited to big, multiple-character action. It’s hard for me to explain the distinction, so consider this: How would “Sinestro Corps” or Blackest Night have looked if Lee had drawn them? Reis manages crowds quite well, and Justice League should be crowded.
Also, while I’ve been rather down on Justice League of late, the expanded roster (teased over a year ago) and the Atlantis-centered storyline make me optimistic that the book is … well, doing what I’d like it to do, which is being a showcase for, and gateway to, the larger superhero universe. So, well done, solicitation!