Martin Freeman Joins "Captain America: Civil War" Cast
Creators | In an interview to be published in Japan next Friday, Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto says he plans to spend some time with his wife and child, and take a long-delayed honeymoon, before starting his next series. And as he is about to turn 40, he hints that he may not be up for another weekly series. [Anime News Network]
Comic strips | The first color Sunday funnies appeared on Nov. 18, 1894, in Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. David Shedden observes the 120th anniversary of this innovation with a look back at some popular comic strips and footage of New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia reading the funnies over the radio during the newspaper strike of 1945. [Poynter]
You didn’t think Mondo was finished with those “75 Years of Batman” prints did you? After the first wave went on sale today, the collectible-art boutique revealed which posters will be available on Wednesday: They’re illustrations inspired by Batman ’66, Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond by Jason Edmiston, Tiny Kitten Teeth, Phantom City Creative, Craig Drake, Gianmarco Magnani and Kilian Eng.
Check out the prints below, and keep an eye on the Mondo Twitter feed on Wednesday for the sale announcement.
We’ve already seen plenty of 75th-anniversary tributes to Batman, but the year isn’t over just yet — and beginning Friday, Mondo takes its turn.
The collectible-art boutique, which in July debuted a series of Batman: The Animated Series 7-inch vinyl records featuring Danny Elfman’s theme, will celebrate the Dark Knight’s milestone with a gallery show in Austin featuring posters and original art from more than 30 artists.
This week has already seen an incredible ancient Mayan-inspired Batman suit and a somewhat-disturbing supercut of all of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s onscreen deaths, so it’s perhaps only fitting that we close it out with something else Dark Knight-related: “Batman Evolution,” an arrangement of the live-action television and movie themes, performed on piano and cello — actually, 100 tracks of cello — by The Piano Guys.
While the music would be satisfying on its own, as you can see below there’s a beautifully shot video that prominently features the appropriate Batmobile for each of the themes (Neal Hefti’s 1966 “Batman Theme,” Danny Elfman’s 1989 “The Batman Theme,” and Hans Zimmer’s 2008 “Like a Dog Chasing Cars”). You may also notice how the cinematography and screen dimensions shift from theme to theme, reflecting each adaptation.
Arrow Season 2.5, which debuted Monday, will alternate weeks with The Flash: Season Zero. Set between the second and third seasons of the hit television series, Arrow is penned by executive producer Marc Guggenheim and staff writer Keto Shimizu, and illustrated by Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson. The Flash: Season Zero, meanwhile, takes place between the events of the pilot and the second episode, and is written by Andrew Kreisberg, Brooke Eikmeier and Katherine Walczak, with art by Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur.
Following DC Comics’ solicitations over the past few months has been fairly intriguing. The company’s West Coast move in early 2015 looms over all its actions, and makes it hard to gauge whether a new series or new creative team is a long-term commitment or a brief burst of experimentation. Moreover, that makes it tempting to say that anything you don’t like — or, for that matter, anything you do like — might be gone by April.
Oh, well. A little paranoia can’t hurt, but we’re not here to talk about that. Open a window to the November solicits and read along!
November brings new creative teams for Wonder Woman (the Finches and Richard Friend), Superman/Wonder Woman (Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke) and Supergirl (Mike Johnson, Kate Perkins and Emanuela Lupacchino). I’m still in wait-and-see mode on the Finches. However, after several years of reading Tomasi and Mahnke’s work, I feel like I know what’s coming from them. S/WW should look great, as Mahnke is no stranger to either Superman or Wonder Woman, having drawn JLA and various issues of the New 52 Justice League. I suppose I’m cautiously optimistic about Tomasi, because this is the sort of book that plays to his strengths. He’s good at reconciling and unifying different perspectives on characters, and that’s pretty much what S/WW has always had to overcome. Ironically, it’ll probably be less of a concern in the absence of Azzarello and Chiang, but I suspect Tomasi will keep those elements around.
“Why has it endured? Because you, sir, can be Batman — you hang out with me, and you’ll see. All you have to do is be crazy enough to fight crime 24/7, right?”
DC Comics’ Selfie Variant Month posed a particular problem for Batman ’66, the digital-first series set in the world of the 1966-1968 television show, decades before the introduction of smartphones, or even digital cameras. Cover artist Joe Quinones could’ve gone with an instant camera, of course — what screams “1960s” more than a Polaroid Model 20 Swinger? — but instead he came up with a solution that’s both funnier and in keeping with the tone of the TV series.
What’s this? DC Digital Editor Jim Chadwick doubling down on the delayed debut of television’s Two-Face? An unproduced script from the immortal Harlan Ellison to be adapted for the Batman ’66 digital-first series?
That was the word from the DC Digital panel at this year’s Comic-Con. Not to be outdone by IDW’s adaptation of Ellison’s original “City on the Edge of Forever” script, writer Len Wein, penciller Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and inker Joe Prado are bringing Two-Face into the Batman ’66 world.
The biggest comics news Thursday out of Comic-Con International was undoubtedly that, after years of debate, comiXology has introduced DRM-free backups of titles purchased from its storefront, with Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent, Top Shelf Productions and Zenescope Entertainment signing on to the program.
An email went out last night notifying customers that books they’ve purchased can be downloaded and stored as PDF or CBZ files, and pointing them to an FAQ on the subject.
“This has been an oft-requested feature,” comiXology CEO David Steinberger said during the company’s Comic-Con panel. “It’s a real backup file — it’s a fairly plain PDF or CBZ. They are high resolution, not a lot of bells and whistles, and my feeling is that people will continue to use the cloud-based reader to do their reading.”
The other big announcement was that Marvel will publish Avengers: Age of Ultron, an in-continuity graphic novel by the Uncanny X-Force team of Rick Remender, Jerome Opeña and Dean White scheduled to arrive in April 2015, ahead of the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Mattel has revealed a lineup of Comic-Con International exclusives that includes Cyborg and Doomsday action figures, the Batman: Arkham Knight Batmobile and — get this — a replica of the Caped Crusader’s utility belt from the 1966 TV series.
I would delve into all of the other offerings, like the Hot Wheels Darth Vader die-cast car or the Masters of the Universe figures, but you’re probably more interested in that utility belt (so I’ll leave the rest of that stuff to USA Today).
When I first heard about DC Comics’ digital-first Batman ’66, I thought it was going to be a novelty with little staying power. Nostalgia for the campy Adam West TV series has been pretty high lately, especially in the wake of the popular The Brave and the Bold cartoon, and the artists behind Batman ’66 are faithful to the ’60s pop-art look, most spectacularly rendered by Jonathan Case in the debut issues. But what happens once the initial thrill has passed, and you clear away the cobwebs of nostalgia?
Second, there’s the unique format: When you swiped the page on a tablet, you’d sometimes get limited animation, you’d sometimes get a view of the artwork with the balloons out of the way, and sometimes you would experience a slight shift in the color palette with some retro screentone effects here and there. Sure, it’s a little gimmicky … but it was employed a truly artistic sensibility that’s impossible to replicate on paper. Sadly, as early as Issue 4, the novelty is seemingly abandoned.
Politics | Framing the controversy as part of a larger political battle between South Carolina’s lawmakers and its public universities, The Washington Post wades into the ongoing saga surrounding the House of Representatives’ vote to reduce funding to two schools after they selected gay-themed books for their summer reading programs. The newspaper uses as its entry point the Monday performances in Charleston of Fun Home, the musical adaptation of the Alison Bechdel graphic novel that was chosen last summer by the College of Charleston, drawing the ire of a South Carolina Christian group and conservative lawmakers. The Post reports that several state legislators suggested they viewed the staging of the musical as “a deliberate provocation,” and will seek to cut even more funding in response. The South Carolina Senate has yet to vote on the state budget, which includes the cuts to the schools. [The Washington Post]
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out. So without further ado, let’s get to it …
Italian artist Denis Medri has made a name for himself on the comics Internet for his various series of themed superhero portraits, from 1950s Rockabilly Batman to steampunk Spider-Man. As it turns out, this fanart attracted the attention of DC Entertainment.
Although Medri said the company balked at making an official comic based on his art, saying it would “create confusion,” an editor asked him to submit sample pages for the then-forthcoming Batman ’66 digital-first series. Medri did a number of samples specifically for the project, but never heard back. Undeterred, Medri has posted these samples online: