Major "Justice League" #50 Revelations, Changes Lead Into "DC Universe: Rebirth"
Looking at the solicitations isn’t what it used to be, folks. We work with such a strange system already, trying to see into the future of three months from now and what we’ll like then, and the recent shift from paragraphs to bullet points just brings home the futility of it all. Who are the solicitations for? The readers, looking to get an idea of what’s to come with their favorite characters and titles so they can plan accordingly? Are they for the retailers, who have to pore over these lists and cover images, and figure out what people are going to want casually versus regularly? And what if, say, a month from now, a writer or artist has a better chance to tell you more about their book and reveal something the solicits couldn’t tell you? What if a book you see now just doesn’t make it to the print and we’re left with an echo of what could have been? This information can change with a story edit or a creative team switch-up. How do we handle this information anymore?
Well, hopefully I can take a look at what July means for Marvel and for you, the consumer. Gird your loins, Gentle Reader, and let’s look at what the House of Ideas wants you to know about Comic-Con Month, also known as ‘July’.
WARNING: Since Avengers vs. X-Men #2 came out this week, I might drop a few spoilers for that when talking about what that book might become later on. Also, I make an educated guess about a [REDACTED] name, so that means I also read Wolverine & the X-Men #9. Grab your copies and read along!
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Publishers, creators, retailers and fans rolled into Chicago this weekend for the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2. While the convention officially kicked off Friday, the announcements started rolling out Thursday during the Diamond Retailer Summit. After going through Kiel Phegley’s lengthy report on CBR, I’ve pulled out a few tidbits that publishers shared with attending retailers:
• Dynamite Entertainment shared that the first issue of Garth Ennis and Aaron Campbell’s The Shadow, which comes out next week, will likely go to second print. Following their Vampirella and Pantha projects, they also plan to roll out more of the former Harris Publications characters they now own, and they said they plan to work again with Kevin Smith in the future, who they’ve worked with on Bionic Man and Green Hornet.
• Dark Horse Comics announced two Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff miniseries; one featuring Spike and one featuring Willow (Editor Scott Allie spoke more about them with CBR). In addition, legendary artist Russ Heath will draw some pages in an upcoming issue of Buffy. Dark Horse will launch a new Dragon Age series in August, following the online miniseries that’s been running on Dark Horse Digital. They also confirmed that Becky Cloonan will return to Conan after James Harren’s three issues, and they announced Ex Sanguine, a five-issue miniseries by Tim Seeley and Josh Emmons. Finally, The Goon will go monthly with issue #40.
Bobby Rubio came up with a superior way for the Avengers and X-Men to resolve their differences. Less punching and more popping, heroes.
If you watch boxing or, say, UFC, first round knockouts can be incredibly disappointing. Depending on the build-up and the hype put on for the match, it can seem like a waste of talent. Worse, it can seem like a waste of your time and money that you spent ordering the darn pay-per-view or getting tickets ringside. Maybe you watched months of lead up, interviews, training docs, compilations of past fights and then, with one right hook, Junior Dos Santos is champ and FOX has some air time to fill. You can know your combatant so well that seeing anything less than three full rounds just won’t showcase their talents enough for a satisfying contest.
Well, with Avengers vs X-Men #1, you don’t have anything to worry about as far as first round TKOs go. With around 31 pages to fill, it feels like each team barely gets into the ring.
WARNING: Below, we will shorten some titles and talk about AvX #1, AvX #0 and about combat sports in general, the latter not too well. It’s a metaphor bonanza so grab your copies and read along!
Conventions | Comic-Con International spokesman David Glanzer addresses problems with the badge-buying process: “After the two aborted events last year, we learned that each person had a multitude of browsers open. That’s going to create a bottleneck no matter what you do. Were there issues? Are we trying to work on them? Yes, we are. I think people’s anger is understandable, when all they’re trying to do is pay someone for a badge to attend an event and they can’t do that. We do test after test, and lo and behold something will happen. But (selling out in) an hour 20 minutes shows us we’re getting a handle on it.” [U-T San Diego]
Comic strips | Darren Bell talks about having Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who was killed by a neighborhood watch member, appear in his comic strip Candorville: ” I decided to incorporate him into Candorville as soon as I saw one of my Facebook ‘friends’ post a photo of Trayvon [that turned out to not be this Trayvon], flipping off his webcam. Even if that had been the real Trayvon Martin, it wouldn’t have mattered. … What this told me was people were starting to dehumanize Trayvon, so they could rationalize what happened and insulate their own belief about ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, about race, about concealed carry laws, etc., from any fallout.” [Comic Riffs]
If you’re a Marvel fan with a hefty tax refund burning a hole in your checking account, you may want to pay a visit to Skottie Young’s blog, where the artist has posted original art for his Midtown Comics-exclusive AvX Babies cover for Avengers vs. X-Men #1. The brush and ink art — two 11-inch by 17-inch Bristol boards taped together — can be yours for a cool $6,000.
Legal | Comics reviewer and journalist Don MacPherson was notified by his web-hosting service of a complaint accusing him of violating the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. According to MacPherson, the complaint was filed by Scott Courrier, owner of Geeks Galore Computer Center in Marmora, Ontario, who lost a copyright-infringement lawsuit in 2009 after using one of cartoonist Rich Koslowski’s 3 Geeks images without permission. MacPherson wrote about the original judgment; he also posted a follow-up noting Koslowski hadn’t been paid and that the computer center was still using his artwork about a year later. In his complaint to the web-hosting service, Courrier accuses MacPherson of infringing on his copyright by “using my personal name and business information in a negative way without consent.” MacPherson’s hosting company briefly took down his site, but has since restored it, saying it won’t pull it down again unless ordered to do so by a court. MacPherson also followed up with Koslowski, who said the computer center is still using his artwork and hasn’t paid him the court-ordered monetary award from his case. [Eye on Comics]
Brian Michael Bendis and Jason Aaron, two of the five writers of Marvel’s upcoming crossover series Avengers vs. X-Men, gave folks a taste of what’s to come this week with the release of the crossover’s zero issue. Each writer told the story of a pivotal character from their respective franchise, both drawn by Frank Cho, as Aaron focused on Hope Summers and Bendis turned his attention back to the Scarlet Witch for the first time in many years.
There has been a lot of hype and some pretty big expectations from this series so far, so how did this first taste do in the “whet my appetite” department? Here’s a round-up of opinions:
James Hunt, Comic Book Resources: “Avengers Vs. X-Men #0 contains two stories: one starring the Scarlet Witch with the other starring Hope Summers. Both are used to succinctly introduce the characters forming the center of the crossover, explaining who they are and their current status quos. Rather than being simple recaps, these stories also move their stars forward, offering a piece of new information or new development in their lives you can’t get anywhere else. Whether you’re a fresh reader or an existing fan, you should feel equally satisfied with this issue.”
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d skip lunch and dig in to the overdue Choker #6 (Image, $3.99). I almost considered waiting for the trade on this one, but I know once I see the shiny object in front of me in stores I’ll want to find out the ending to Ben McCool and Ben Templesmith’s story. After that I’d get Uncanny X-Force #23 (Marvel, $3.99), which still holds the crown for my favorite current Marvel book. I was hesitant of Remender & co. going off into Otherworld despite my fascination with the realm going back to my Excalibur days, but I’m being rewarded with good story for my allegiance. The only thing it’s missing is an appendix reminding me of older stories that he references here. Last up would be a two-fer with Spaceman #5 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and Walking Dead #95 (Image, $2.99). I’ve talked about both at length here, and they continue to buffet me with greatness.
If I had $30, I’d first snag Daredevil #10 (Marvel, $2.99) to see more of Paolo Rivera’s work over the solid storytelling by Mark Waid. Then, I’d rub my eyes to make sure I’m not seeing things and pick-up the 5+ year delayed book Sharknife, Vol. 2 (Oni, $11.99). I’ve been a big fan of Corey’s work back when he was doing inspired Mega Man rip-offs, and the chance that I’ll finally see this sequel is exciting and heartbreaking. I hope the quality of the book inside is enough to stave off my feelings about the severe delay the book had.
And for splurging, I’d spend my CBR paycheck on Gone To Amerikay (DC/Vertigo, $24.99). This book is at the intersection of three reasons I’d buy it: Colleen Doran, Derek McCulloch and historical Irish narratives. I’d hold McCulloch’s Stagger Lee up to any graphic novel of the past decade in terms of skill and potency, so to see him pair that with Colleen Doran’s crafty linework bears my immediate attention.
Carol Danvers has gone by Binary, Warbird and of course Ms. Marvel, but later this year she’ll be promoted to Captain Marvel in a new series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy.
Marvel Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort revealed what those teasers were about during his Talk to the Hat panel at WonderCon today. Brevoort said the series spins out of this year’s big Avengers vs. X-Men event. Click over to CBR to see some pages from the new book.
“Yeah, of course — that’s what people want to think. But let’s be clear: The DC relaunch is a response to everything Marvel’s been doing, and not the other way around. You don’t set fire to your entire house for no good reason. And by the way, I tip my hat to them. They did something daring and it worked for them. They boosted sales of some of their books. But Avengers vs. X-Men is something that’s been on our docket for publishing for several years now.”
– Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, reacting to suggestions
that Avengers vs. X-Men is a response to DC’s New 52
Artist Skottie Young makes our dreams come true with the above variant Avengers vs. X-Men #1 cover he created for New York retailer Midtown Comics. Their online site has it available for pre-order for $5.10, which isn’t a bad price for all that cuteness.
Publishing | David Gabriel, Marvel’s senior vice president of publishing, says that Marvel is putting “the biggest marketing investment that we’ve ever put into a series or an event” behind its upcoming Avengers vs. X-Men event. The campaign will include online, social media, radio and television promotion. “They’re actually treating every issue as an event, because there’s a different fight going on in every issue, and I’m told that they are pushing every single issue through all 12 issues,” Gabriel said. “The story itself has three acts, and each of those acts has a natural marketing hook to it, so they’re pushing those as well.” [ICv2]
Publishing | While DC’s New 52 has been good for comics sales overall, there is a dark side: Sales of pre-reboot collected editions are down. ICv2 also lists the Top 10 comics and graphic novel franchises in a number of different genres. [ICv2]
Legal | The Justice Department brought more charges of fraud and copyright infringement against Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and his colleagues on Friday, but also revealed that Megaupload isn’t all that mega: The file-sharing site had only 66.6 million users, not the 180 million previously claimed, and fewer than 6 million had ever actually uploaded a file. The indictment mentions one user who uploaded almost 17,000 items, including copyrighted movies, which were viewed 34 million times. [The Washington Post]
Marvel started using bullet points. When you scroll through the list of comics debuting in April, there’s not a comic that has a paragraph-style description, it’s all just bullet points. Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes those paragraphs all started to blur together after awhile and the slew of outrageous questions continues (“Who is this guy/gal? What’s going on? How will they survive?” etc.), everything has been distilled down to three or so talking points. Some of these talking points include story information like who’s appearing in these books, some just point out that this book will tie into another event like AvX, others just shout at you that this is the book where EVERYTHING CHANGES. Something tells me this says a lot about comic book marketing, but that’s for another time.
Right now, we’re looking at the April 2012 solicitations for Marvel Comics and hey kids, do you like… the Avengers? Marvel sure hopes you do, so let’s take a look at what the month before the Avengers movie debuts and EVERYTHING- well, you know.
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“… After several years of super-serious Marvel events, all of which have had some kind of ‘torn from today’s headlines’ subtext to them, I’m actually kind of in the mood for an old-fashioned super-team slugfest. However as a retailer it’s more than a little disappointing. It’s a business as usual kind of move that shows the shallowness of short-term thinking at work that might help Marvel win the summer and us sell some comics. But in the long-term the survival of the entire industry hinges on a publisher’s willingness to appeal to more than its dwindling base.”
– retailer Steve Bennett, of Super-Fly Comics and Games, on Marvel citing its upcoming Avengers Vs. X-Men miniseries as the kind of creativity that will drive the company this year