Digital comics | Moulinsart, the company that holds the rights to Herge’s works, has released the complete Tintin comics in digital form. The iOS app is free, and it looks like the comics are $5.99 each, which is pretty reasonable. The catch is that they are all in the original French; it doesn’t appear as if translations are available yet. [Idboox]
Passings | Filipino komiks creator Jesse Santos died April 27 at the age of 83. Santos began his career in 1946 as an artist for the first serialized comic in the Philippines, Halakhak, and moved to the U.S. in the 1960s. He drew the sword-and-sorcery character Dragar the Invincible and took over from Dan Spiegle as artist for The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor. [Komikero Dot Com]
I’m no polyglot. My understanding of the Spanish on the pages these images come from is regrettably all from Google Translate, but I do know “awesome” when I see it, in any language. Mexican artist José Quintero has produced a series of digital paintings inserting superhero iconography into classically influenced themes. There’s “Alegoría del superhombre,” based loosely upon Michelangelo‘s mural on the Sistine chapel, and painting the Superman on the left with the face of Friedrich Nietzsche; “Alegoria de David Vs Goliat,” inserting Spider-Man and Venom into a composition influenced by Caravaggio; and “Alegoria de San Jorge y el dragon,” replacing the saint from Joseph Boehm‘s statue with Batman.
There’s extensive galleries revealing Quintero’s processes at his Behance site.
Much like Wayne Manor, the real selling point of Chris Weir’s home in Middletown, Delaware, is what lies underground.
When the lifelong Batman fan and his wife bought their suburban home in 2006, it was largely because it had enough basement space for Weir to construct his dream: his own Batcave.
Two and a half years and $150,000 later, the father of two had constructed his own subterranean lair, accessed through a hidden door in a bookcase that’s opened using a switch on a bust of William Shakespeare, just like on the 1960s Batman television series. Inside, as you can see in the video below, is a home theater made to look like a cave (naturally); it also houses what Weir describes as his “most prized possession”: a Batsuit featured in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
Although Weir’s wife claims to be fine with her husband’s expensive fixation — “I’m proud of what he’s done,” she says, “I think it’s really, really cool” — his oldest son looks as if he’s had about enough of Dad’s Batman nonsense.
Comedian, actor and occasional comics writer Patton Oswalt can now add another title to his resume: the perfect Penguin. In the latest installment of CollegeHumor’s “Badman” series — y’know, the parody in which they simultaneously mock the Dark Knight and Christian Bale’s Batman voice — Oswald Cobblepot teams with Commissioner Gordon to try to make the Caped Crusader understand the concept of death. The results are predictably hilarious.
I imagine that Dustin Nguyen’s cute, chibi-style drawings of the Batman cast in Batman: Li’l Gotham will weed out the segment of comics readers who truly don’t care for that kind of art. For those who like the style, though – or those who, like me, don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about it – the first issue of Li’l Gotham kicks off what promises to be a great all-ages series.
There’s a scarcity of DC and Marvel comics that are appropriate for kids, so I’m all for whatever new thing those companies want to try. Nguyen’s character designs for Li’l Gotham are so adorable though that when I first saw them, I expected a super-sweet tone that I wasn’t sure I’d respond to. I want comics that kids can enjoy, but I don’t want them to be slight or to change the characters’ personalities beyond all recognition. If Li’l Gotham was just going to be Batman’s Precious Moments, I wouldn’t be able to stay interested. But that’s not at all what it is.
Despite his shortened body and enlarged head, Li’l Gotham’s Batman is my Batman: overly serious and unswervingly dedicated to fighting crime. But his rogues gallery isn’t as homicidal or destructive as the current, canonized versions of those villains, so Batman’s able to be a little more relaxed about how he takes them down. They’re still lawbreakers, just not especially deadly ones. For example, Nguyen and co-writer Derek Fridolfs are able to get them together at an Italian restaurant for Halloween without murdering each other.
Publishing | Image Comics provided the retail news and analysis website ICv2 with worldwide pre-order figures for 15 of its March titles, allowing for comparison with estimates of Diamond Comic Distributors sales to U.S. direct market stores. [ICv2.com]
Creators | Mark Waid pens a tribute to the late Carmine Infantino. [Hero Complex]
Creators | Gilbert Hernandez distinguishes between autobiography and art in his new graphic novel, Marble Season, which takes on a 1960s suburban childhood not unlike his own. [Chicago Reader]
Don’t ask why — because the answer is too boring and has nothing to do with Steven Spielberg — but the other day I was thinking about the original 13 American colonies, and from there the general course of American history across the 18th and 19th centuries. Naturally, from there I imagined how DC Comics would solicit the story of a young nation. It ended up being something like a team book: Meet the states that will form a great democracy — and discover the shocking secret which threatens to tear them apart–!
And then, as fate would have it, DC released its July solicitations, and my stab at patriotic humor was somewhat justified. So there you go.
In any event, on to “Trinity War” –!
WORLD WAR T
Say, remember when “World War III” was an actual part of DC history? I’m not talking about the Great Disaster, or something that happened in the hazy interregnum between the present and the Legion of Super-Heroes, or even the final Grant Morrison/Howard Porter JLA arc. No, as part of 52 (2006-07), “World War III” was the name given to a week-long global Black Adam rampage. I bring it up because it’s no longer in continuity, and we still don’t know (beyond another “Villain Month”) what’s coming in September for the New 52′s second anniversary.
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.
I’d only just begun to recover from those haunting images of Comic-Con International attendees wearing those giveaway Court of Owls masks when I opened DC Comics’ July solicitations to find the publisher is offering the nightmare-inducing featureless disguises packaged with the trade paperback of Batman: The Court of Owls, by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion.
Arriving Oct. 2, the $24.99 Batman: The Court of Owls Book and Mask Set offers you the chance to introduce a friend or loved one to the first arc of the relaunched Batman — and then scare the bejeezus out of them by wearing the mask. That is, if you’re willing diminish its potential value by opening the box. Oh, go ahead, it’ll be worth it …
Passings | French cartoonist Theodor Friedrich Otto Aristidès, aka Fred, passed away Tuesday in a Paris hospital at age 82. He was best known for Philémon, his surrealistic comic about a French farm boy who fell down a well into a fantasy world akin to Wonderland. Fred was awarded the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême in 1980, and had been the oldest living recipient. [L'Observateu de Beauvais]
Creators | John Layman, who’s writing the 900th issue of Detective Comics (No. 19 in the New 52 continuity) talks about his plans for that and his creator-owned series Chew, and contrasts the two: “Well, the cases are weirder in Chew. There is an element that’s the same – you introduce a conflict, and then you have a detective with a certain skill set resolving it. … Batman’s just happen to be gadgets and fists. I guess if there’s a formula in the skeletal layer, it’s probably the same.” [Hero Complex]
As part of its “We Can Be Heroes” campaign to fight hunger in the Horn of Africa, DC Entertainment has kicked off an effort on Indiegogo to raise $50,000 in donations in exchange for “epic Batman stuff.”
Perks range from five Batman comic digital downloads (for a $10 contribution) to an exclusive Batman: Earth One lithograph by Gary Frank ($50) to a copy of the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game signed by creator Ed Boon ($250) to a cameo in the second volume of Batman: Earth One ($5,000). The copies of Batman and Robin #18 signed by Peter J. Tomasi have already signed out. There are even more rewards on the Indiegogo page.
The Batman-themed fundraising effort ends May 17.
WonderCon Anaheim 2013 kicked off yesterday at the Anaheim Convention Center, with badges for Friday selling out at some point during the day. Saturday and three-day badges already sold out, so it looks like just Sunday is left if you were hoping to attend but didn’t purchase your badge in advance.
There weren’t a lot of announcements coming out of the show yesterday, and in fact I’m not completely sure what could be considered “WonderCon news” and what was just, um, news, but here’s a round-up of stuff you may have missed from Friday:
• 2014 will bring a crossover between DC’s two Earths, according to Earth 2 writer James Robinson. “If I’m talking about a big event that’s happening in 2014, it’s all these characters meeting each other,” said Robinson, citing Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Justice Society during his spotlight panel in Anaheim. Robinson also said his goal was to make sure the writers involved in the event were invested in the story, and described himself as “the point guy” when it comes to the event, saying that Scott Snyder, Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio are also very involved. Earth 2 is also getting its own Batman, and the book will also feature the introductions of Starman (Ted Knight), Red Arrow (Earth 2′s version of Green Arrow), Hourman, Wildcat, Mister Miracle and Big Barda in the future.
You may remember the story of an antisocial teen working his way into Bruce Wayne’s life, and even becoming part of his family, before dying in a Robin costume.
You might also remember this story being called “Punish Not My Evil Son,”* as told by writer Bob Haney, penciler Neal Adams, and inker Dick Giordano (note: GCD credits Adams), in The Brave and the Bold vol. 1 #83 (April-May 1969).
Like much of the Haney oeuvre, “Punish” depends on unique circumstances that otherwise might not fit well within Batman’s shared universe. Young Lance Bruner, who’s around the same age as teenager Dick Grayson, is the son of one Prof. Bruner, Thomas Wayne’s “closest friend.” When we first meet him he’s horsing around with a couple of Wayne valuables and smarting off to Alfred, so already he’s off to a bad start. However, he shows Bruce an agreement signed by both Prof. Bruner and Dr. Wayne, which provides that “if anything ever happen[s] to the professor[,] the Wayne family promises to adopt and raise Lance.” Indeed, Bruce remembers seeing baby Lance in his dad’s arms, and recalls further that the professor was “the finest man I’ve ever known … besides my own dad!” Lance has already tearfully played the orphan card, so Bruce reminds a skeptical Dick how a certain other kid came to live at Wayne Manor — and away we go.
DC Comics will expand its digital-first comics line this summer with the debut of Batman ’66, a series based on the classic television series.
The announcement came last night in Hollywood, where Warner Bros. Consumer Products launched its Batman Classic Television Series licensing program during an event co-hosted by Junk Food Clothing and Meltdown Comics.
Inspired by the television series, which aired from 1966 to 1968 on ABC, Batman ’66 is written by Jeff Parker and illustrated by Jonathan Case. In an ironic turn, Michael Allred, whose Adam West/Batusi cover (below) couldn’t be used for DC’s Solo because of legal issues, will be providing the cover for the first issue. Like the DC’s other digital-first comics, Batman ’66 will be collected monthly in print.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that Kippa Man owner Avi Binyamin agreed to pay each company $17,000 for infringing on their trademarks; they’d originally sought $27,000 in damages.
Binyamin told The Jerusalem Post in September that he doesn’t produce the yarmulkes, but merely sells them like many other shops in the area. “They make them in China, I just bring them,” he said. “There are 20 stores on this street, they all sell the same thing,” Indeed, the newspaper reported that nearly every store on Ben-Yehuda Street displayed yarmulkes outside. However, Kippa Man is the most successful and best known outside of Israel.
The Times of Israel then characterized the lawsuit as “the first move by Marvel against what it perceives as widespread copyright infringement in Israel, where products featuring its copyrighted superheros are commonly sold.” Lawyers for Marvel and Warner Bros. told the Israeli newspaper Maariv that the companies will pursue legal action against other small stores that violate their trademarks.