Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
I’m a sucker for pint-sized versions of superheroes, ranging from Skottie Young’s “baby” Marvel variants to Dustin Nguyen’s Li’l Gotham to Art Baltazar and Franco’s Tiny Titans, but my new favorite may be Ben Oliver‘s adorable “little” take on the big-screen Avengers.
When ROBOT 6 contributor Tim O’Shea spotted some of the illustrations on Cully Hamner’s Facebook page, he contacted Oliver, who was kind enough to send them our way. In his email, Oliver said this is the set “so far,” which I hope means we’ll be treated to child-sized renditions of Loki, Hawkeye and Agent Coulson.
The art is, of course, terrific (don’t dwell too long on the idea of kids with facial hair; that way lies madness), but it’s Oliver’s perfect and hilarious word balloons that will win over even the most stonehearted superhero fan.
Just when it seemed the debate had cooled surrounding Lobo’s “new look,” Frank Cho stepped into the fray with a classic interpretation of the character, accompanied by a word balloon that read, “Who’s the ass that changed the costume and made me look like a ponce?”
Now Ben Oliver, who drew Justice League #23.3: Lobo, has poked back with an illustration of his own, sporting just one word: “Wah.”
DC Comics kicked off its Villains Month last week, as the evil opposites of the Justice League invaded the DC Universe, seemingly disposing of all the heroes and taking over the world.
Likewise, the villains have been taking over DC’s New 52 line of comic books, with the MIA heroes finding the covers of their books occupied by bad guys. Those are, of course, the collectible and somewhat-controversial (among retailers) 3D lenticular covers.
But as the case with books, we shouldn’t judge a comic by its cover, so let’s continue reviewing our way through the contents of the Villains Month issues. As with last week’s batch, I’m rating each book on a 10-point scale of how evil it is, with “Not Very Good” being the worst and “Absolute Evil” the best, and noting its connectivity to the Forever Evil crossover event that sparked the promotion in the first place.
Online backlash to DC Comics’ younger and slicker “new look” for Lobo may have been a little premature, as writer Marguerite Bennett assures fans the lewd and violent interstellar bounty hunter “is much bigger, meaner and nastier” than the concept art would lead them to believe.
In fact, she contends the character that appears in September’s Justice League #23.3: Lobo one-shot doesn’t look like the Kenneth Rocafort design unveiled Friday on the DC blog, or the Aaron Kuder cover.
“I was not in charge of the Lobo redesign. Ben Oliver was not in charge of the Lobo redesign,” Bennett wrote in a blog post that’s since been deleted. “I wrote my script, and after it was completed, I was shown what the new character would look like. For the record, the images you’ve seen — Ken Rocafort’s design and Aaron Kuder’s cover — are not what Lobo actually looks like in the book. I respectfully disagree with the decision to release that image.”
Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass points out that DC has changed the cover on Birds of Prey #13 from what was solicited. Ben Oliver created the artsy, solicited cover, while Trevor McCarthy drew the dynamic one that showed up with DC’s preview of the issue. Both can be seen in all their glory below.
They’re both attractive pieces of work, so this isn’t about one of them being bad. What I’m interested in are the different purposes the two covers serve. Oliver’s, as Sue points out, is eye-catching and “poster material.” Rob Staeger notes in the comments, however, that McCarthy’s cover, while busier, better communicates what’s in the story.
My question for you is: Which do you prefer? Not just for this particular issue, but in general. Are you more likely to try a new comic with an artful, but interchangeable depiction of the main characters? Or with a powerful representation of what’s going on in the story?
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guests are the creative team behind the upcoming self-distributed indie comic LP, Curt Pires and Ramon Villalobos. You can read more about the comic in the interview Tim O’Shea did with Curt earlier this week.
And to see what they’ve been reading lately, click below.
DC Comics celebrates the first year of the New 52 relaunch by declaring September “Zero Month,” where each #0 issue of their titles takes us back in time before the events we’ve seen over the last 12 months. This week saw the release of several zero issues, including Action Comics by Grant Morrison and Ben Oliver. These zero issues, no doubt, are the “perfect jumping on” point for new or lapsed readers who may have fallen off certain titles since the relaunch, at least in theory. Does that theory hold up for Action Comics #0? Here are a few opinions from around the web:
James Hunt, Comic Book Resources: “In many ways, this is good stunt for someone with Morrison’s sensibilities. The writer’s earliest issues were by far the best of the series, presenting a radically different and interesting take on Superman with very clear ideas about his situation. Recent issues have seen that gradually give way to something a bit more conventional (if you can call the super-armor conventional) but Morrison has taken the ‘zero issue’ approach quite literally with a story that fits almost perfectly before last year’s Action Comics #1.”
Jesse Schedeen, IGN: The best compliment I can give this issue is that it feels more consistent and cohesive than the majority of Morrison’s previous issues have been. The plot is relatively simple by Morrison standards, so rather than cutting between scenes and points in time intermittently, Morrison is able to follow the journey from point A to B in a more methodical manner. Issue #0 opens where one of the recent backup stories left off, with Clark ordering his first batch of Superman T-shirts. From there, we see him settle into his role at the Daily Star, interact with Jimmy Olsen, and put his growing abilities to the test for the first time as Metropolis’ new defender.”
DC spent the day rolling out announcements about the Batman books in anticipation of its line-wide September relaunch…with one conspicuous absence until the very end.
So, Bruce Wayne is reclaiming sole possession of the mantle of the Bat, while Batman and Detective Comics are swapping creators: Batman writer/artist Tony Daniel will be taking over Detective Comics, while ‘Tec writer Scott Snyder is taking over Batman with artist Greg Capullo of Spawn fame. Both books will star Bruce Wayne rather than his protege and stand-in Dick Grayson beneath the cape and cowl.
Hello and welcome to Wha Are You Reading? Today our special guest is illustrator, photographer, writer, filmmaker and jazz musician Dave McKean, whose works include Cages, Mr. Punch, Signal to Noise, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, Violent Cases, Coraline and many, many more. He has a new book with writer Richard Dawkins, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True, coming out in October, as well as a graphic novel called Celluloid coming out from Fantagraphics in June. Special thanks to Chris Mautner for asking him to participate this week.
To see what Dave and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …