Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
DC Comics hasn’t had a particularly good run of things lately. To be frank, the publisher has done blown it a number of times over the past few years. But don’t worry, DC fans — I’m sure it’ll soon be Marvel’s turn, as the two rivals seem to trade off every five years or so.
I’ve been calling out DC for the past couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean everything it does strikes me as wrong. It’s important to declare shenanigans, but it’s also important to recognize when a publisher does something that’s good for comics.
So here are six things DC is doing right:
1. Digital comics: Legends of the Dark Knight and Adventures of Superman are digital-first anthology series that feature some excellent creators (from Jeff Parker and Chris Samnee to J.M. DeMatteis and Jeff Lemire) producing completely accessible and entertaining stories that stand on their own; no college course on the New 52 or Crisis on Infinite Earths required. Yes, these stories are out of continuity — so for a percentage of readers, they don’t count. That’s a mistake, because there’s nothing wrong with a straight-up superhero tale that exists on its own terms. These two anthologies are the gems of DC’s digital-first line-up, but Batman ’66 and Batman: Li’l Gotham also offer fantastical takes on the iconic Caped Crusader that are bright and fun. For those exhausted by the angsty versions of serious stories, you owe it to yourself to check these out.
DC Collectibles has unveiled four convention-exclusive products that will be offered only to those attending Comic-Con International, held July 18-21 in San Diego.
Fans of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation programming block may want to grab the three-pack of Super Best Friends Forever action figures (above), designed by Lauren Faust and sculpted by Irene Matar. Supergirl, Batgirl and Wonder Girl each stand 6.5 inches, 5.45 inches and 6.8 inches, respectively. The three-pack is priced at $49.95. Or, there’s the Aardman: Superman action figure, designed by Rich Webber and sculpted by Phil Ramirez. Standing at about 6.5 inches, it’s prices at $24.95.
On the heels of Tuesday’s announcement that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will release a sequel in October to its blockbuster Batman: Arkham City video game, Game Informer has debuted the first screen shots from Batman: Arkham Origins.
Courtesy of Nintendo Everything, we can now see images of Batman squaring off against Deathstroke, Black Mask wielding a hatchet and forceps, Gotham City police officers in tactical gear, and the Penguin brandishing a cattle prod. As the game’s title suggests, Batman: Arkham Origins takes place before Batman: Arkham Asylum when eight of the world’s greatest assassins come to Gotham City on Christmas Eve to kill Batman.
Rocksteady Studios, the British developer behind Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequel Batman: Arkham City, is believed to be developing a new installment of the blockbuster video-game series that will feature Superman, Wonder Woman and DC Comics’ other major heroes.
Variety reports the Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment game will serve as a prequel to 2009’s Arkham Asylum and revolve around Batman’s first meeting with his arch-nemesis The Joker, which apparently occurs around the time of the Justice League’s formation. Although the trade paper references DC comics of the 1950s, it seems more likely the team lineup will reflect the publisher’s New 52.
Before we jump into 2012, I have one last bit of business to take care of: toting up my 2011 predictions, and offering a set for the new year.
1. The Green Lantern movie. Last year I predicted that GL would be “more lucrative than Captain America, not as much as Thor. It ended up making $116 million domestically ($219 million worldwide), well behind Cap’s $176 million ($368M globally) and Thor’s $181 million ($449M globally). Also, it wasn’t as good. I liked it well enough (and from what I hear I may like the Blu-Ray version more), but apparently I was in the minority.
2. Superman and Wonder Woman after JMS. I just had questions for this entry: will Roberson and Barrows stay on Superman? (No.) Will Diana keep the jacket and pants? (No jacket, pants optional.) Finally, I asked “[w]ill sales improve once ‘Grounded’ ends?” Guess that depends on how you define “ends,” because “Grounded” closed out that Superman series; and the next issue of Superman was a New-52 No. 1 which sold almost 100,000 more copies than its predecessor. We may never know what might have happened to Superman without the New 52, but probably not that.
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Following the runaway success of Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequel Arkham City, don’t look for Warner Bros. Interactive to return to movie tie-ins anytime soon.
Instead, the new Warner Bros. Games Montreal has been given a mandate: to just make good video games. Specifically, good games based on DC Comics properties. “It’s really about make the game what it needs to be and forget the movies,” Reid Schneider, the studio’s head of production, told Canadian Business.
“If you look over the past decade of superhero games, there were two. The first one was when Neversoft made Spider-Man — I think it was back on the PS1. People were like, ‘Wow, this is really good,’ and then a couple of things came out that were okay,” he said. “Then Rocksteady came out with Arkham Asylum and that again changed the expectations. If you look at the similarities between the two, they weren’t based on movies per se. They were just taking that really rich fiction from the comic books and exploring the characters. It’s not about hitting the movie date or some arbitrary date — it was giving the game the time it needs to be successful and really just concentrating on the quality of it.”
‘Tis the season for decking those halls, trimming those trees, lighting the menorah and, of course, figuring out what to buy for your friends and family. To help give you some ideas, we reached out to a few comic creators, asking them:
1. What comic-related gift or gifts would you recommend giving this year, and why?
2. What gift (comic or otherwise) is at the top of your personal wish list, and why?
We’ve gotten back a bunch of suggestions, which we’ll run between now and the end of the week. So let the merriment commence …
1. Exclusive 2011 Janet Lee Holiday Ornaments
Every year, Janet does about 12 ornaments, three sets of four. This year, she has done Hipster Animals, Scary Toys and Art Nouveau Angels. They are signed and dated, and at the end of the season, that’s it! She stops making them. I’ve been collecting them since 2007, and now our tree is almost completely filled with Janet’s art. You can buy them exclusively through her Etsy shop.
Oh, and if you’re REALLY nice, she MAY have a very limited Dapper Men ornament or two. Just ask!
2. This year, for myself, I’m going with a mix of Blu-Rays (portable Blu-Ray player, please, Santa!) and books. But the thing I’m REALLY excited for is the hardcover edition of the Complete Ripley novels, by Patricia Highsmith. Most people only know of Ms. Highsmith through The Talented Mr. Ripley (and classic film lovers through Strangers On a Train). There were actually five Tom Ripley novels, and the collection looks amazing. Why these books? My spouse recently Tweeted a quote from John Lithgow that struck me as a writer: “Duality, duplicity, truth and deception, good becoming bad and vice-versa are crucial elements of great storytelling.” Highsmith was and remains an unsung hero of mastering that, so I hope I learn something in the process!
Happy Holidays from the Dapper Lariosa-McCann household!
Jim McCann is the writer of Return of the Dapper Men and its upcoming sequel, Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol, Hawkeye:Blindspot and the upcoming Mind The Gap.
Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth has proven himself useful in many situations, whether it’s helping out at dinner parties, seeing Wayne’s “friends” out with a fresh-baked muffin or even using his archery skills to help Batman fight crime. Now Alfred is moving into new territory by hosting a search engine, Alfred At Your Service, to promote the release of the well-reviewed video game Batman: Arkham City. While it operates like an ordianry search engine, putting in Batman-related phrases like “Harvey Dent” and “Crime Alley” produces quotes from Alfred about the search term.
Ask Jeeves better watch his back.
In a Los Angeles Times profile pegged to today’s launch of Batman: Arkham City, Warner Bros. Interactive President Martin Tremblay drops an enticing crumb: In addition to a new Lord of the Rings video game and a sequel to LEGO Batman, next year the studio will release an adaptation of a DC Comics superhero he wouldn’t name.
That Warner Bros. is looking to develop more DC properties for its rapidly expanding games division is no secret — a new studio in Montreal is being set up specifically for that task. But what could this mysterious title be?
Kotaku notes that while a Superman game may be the obvious guess, given the release of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel in June 2013, it hardly requires a veil of secrecy. After all, movie tie-ins are par for the course.
Rocksteady and Warner Bros. have released a new trailer for the upcoming Batman: Arkham City video game, one that features the villain Mr. Freeze. The game is due Oct. 18 in North America and Oct. 21 in Europe.
London’s Metro has unveiled a new render of Two-Face from Batman: Arkham City, the eagerly anticipated sequel to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s bestselling 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum.
Developed by Rocksteady Studios, Arkham City is set inside the newly constructed fortified walls that have transformed part of Gotham’s slums into a sprawling maximum-security prison for the city’s gangsters, thugs and criminally insane. As earlier screenshots suggest, and Metro confirms, the disfigured Harvey Dent holds Catwoman hostage in Arkham City, and is prepared to execute her — something that players, as Batman, must stop.
Arkham City will be released Oct. 18 in North America and Oct. 21 in Europe.
Warner Bros. has unveiled the 10 designs for the official Comic-Con International bags, which this year include promotional art for DC Comics’ relaunched Justice League, Cartoon Network’s Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Batman: Arkham City.
More than 130,000 of the oversized bags, described by Entertainment Weekly as the San Diego convention’s “ubiquitous accessory,” will be available to those attending the July 20-24 event. This year, for the first time, the 24-inch by 28-inch bags convert into backpacks. Other designs include The Big Bang Theory, Fringe, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, The Looney Tunes Show, ThunderCats and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7.
Check out the designs for Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Batman: Arkham City after the break, and visit TheWB.com to see the rest.
MSN has debuted a new trailer for Batman: Arkham City that spotlights the Riddler and his role in the hotly anticipated sequel to the bestselling 2009 video game Arkham Asylum. Developer Rocksteady Studios is inviting fans to comb the video for riddles and post them on the game’s official message board by Thursday.
Produced by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment, Arkham City is set inside the newly constructed fortified walls that have transformed part of Gotham’s slums into a sprawling maximum-security prison for the city’s gangsters, thugs and criminally insane.
Check out the trailer after the break. Arkham City will be released Oct. 18 in North America and Oct. 21 in Europe.
If you were perplexed by the Robin design released last month for Batman: Arkham City by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment, you weren’t alone. Some Robot 6 commenters referred to the look as “Eminem” and even (shudder) “horribly Schumacher-esque,” while at the Batman: Arkham City Community forums the discussion continued at length.
Now, however, Rocksteady Studios senior concept artist Kan Muftic has stepped forward with “the final word on Robin,” providing some insight into the game’s version of Tim Drake and revealing an additional piece of color concept art.
“We wanted to create a Robin that players would identify as a contemporary character and move away from the traditional ‘Boy Wonder’ image that most people know,” Muftic wrote in a message posted on the forum. “Our vision of Robin is the one of a troubled young individual that is calm and introverted at times but very dangerous and aggressive if provoked. The shaved head is inspired by cage fighters, because we thought that Robin might be doing that in his spare time to keep him on his toes. Still, we kept all the classic trademarks of Robin’s appearance, such as the red and yellow colors of his outfit, the cape and the mask. We really hope that people will discover our Robin as one of their new favorite characters in the Batman universe. He is back and he means business.”
Batman: Arkham City, the sequel to the bestselling 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, is set inside the newly constructed fortified walls that have transformed part of Gotham’s slums into a sprawling maximum-security prison for the city’s gangsters, thugs and criminally insane. Robin will be available as a playable character in the challenge mode to those in North America who pre-order the game from Best Buy.
Arkham City will be released Oct. 18 in North America and Oct. 21 in Europe.
Warner Bros. Interactive and DC Entertainment released the cover art to the upcoming Batman: Arkham City video game, which comes out in October.
The sequel to the well-regarded Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City is set inside the newly constructed fortified walls that have transformed part of Gotham’s slums into a sprawling maximum-security prison for the city’s gangsters, thugs and criminally insane. The folks at the WB say it will be five times larger than the playable area of the first game. It will feature, of course, Batman, as well as the Joker, Catwoman, Two Face, the Penguin and a playable Robin (if you order it from Best Buy).