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While comics fans may miss seeing new work from Joshua Middleton on comics shelves (the covers to Sword & Sorcery and Before Watchmen were nice!), there’s some consolation in knowing that although the artist isn’t actively illustrating comics he is keeping within the superhero landscape. Middleton recently posted some landscape designs he created for Warner Bros. Animation’s Green Lantern: The Animated Series, which he worked on for some time. What he’s revealed so far is his renditions of Oa, interplanetary headquarters of the Green Lantern Corps. In his brief post, Middleton explains some of the obstacles from an art direction standpoint to the Green Lantern concept and how he overcame them for his work on the series.
“One major problem from an art direction perspective, with Green Lantern: The Animated Series and anything Green Lantern in general, is the overabundance of green,” Middleton writes. “It can be difficult to come up with nice color palettes when everybody and everything in the scene is glowing green. Matters were not made better with the introduction of Red Lanterns, as we now had the world’s weirdest Christmas to deal with.”
Last month we posted shaky footage from a short from Cartoon Network’s DC Nation programming block called “Bat Man of Shanghai.” Featuring an anime-influenced Catwoman in 1930s China, it made me long for the return of DC’s Elseworlds imprint, in which creators reimagined familiar characters in different time periods and settings.
Now, just as the Elseworlds nostalgia had subsided, Cartoon Network has released a three parts of the series online — each spotlights a different character — showing us Bane’s ode to King Kong, Bruce Wayne’s transformation into Bat Man and a high-speed three-way fight.
Back in July when Mark Waid announced that Thrillbent — his digital comics portal — would be ramping up to phase two (as detailed in CBR News Editor Kiel Phegley’s recent Waid interview), I hoped writer Tom Peyer would be part of the mix. Soon enough, I discovered that indeed Peyer was writing Clown Tales, a horror story set to launch this fall. The story should be interesting on many levels, given that this marks Peyer’s first foray into writing horror — and that clowns bored him as a child (as I learned in this interview). While I had Peyer’s attention I also asked him about getting to recently write for TV (on DC Nation/Cartoon Network’s Doom Patrol interstitials) and working for Stephen Colbert back in 2007. Added bonus, at one point Peyer taunts clowns in our discussion.
Tim O’Shea: Was Clown Tales already in the work before you signed onto Thrillbent, or was it developed just for the site?
Tom Peyer: A few years ago I wrote some short horror stories, mainly to see if I would enjoy it. A publisher was planning a clown horror anthology that didn’t end up happening, but I put clowns in some of them just in case. I’d written humor and superheroes, but I’d never gone near horror before. I had a great time and I liked how they came out. It felt like taking a new route to the humor and pathos I always try to write toward anyway. But it felt more direct, maybe because I hadn’t taken that route before.
In case we didn’t already miss DC Comics’ Elseworlds imprint enough, at Comic-Con International on Sunday Cartoon Network premiered a fantastic clip from DC Nation’s three-part short series “Batman of Shanghai,” featuring an anime-influenced Catwoman in 1930s China (there’s also a cameo by a floppy hat-wearing Bane). If DC Comics doesn’t do something with Shanghai Catwoman — I love that character design — well, they’re really missing the boat. Maybe they can relaunch the character’s solo title (again) in the next wave of the New 52.
Check a somewhat shaky, but surprisingly decent-quality, fan-captured video of the clip below.
Organizations | Tom Spurgeon reports that The Hero Initiative has now received close to $3,000 so far due to campaigns asking those people who watch Marvel’s The Avengers to donate money to the organization. The Jack Kirby Museum, meanwhile, reports it has received $1,300 from Avengers-related giving. [The Comics Reporter, The Kirby Museum]
Conventions | Chris Butcher, co-founder and director of the Toronto Comics Art Festival, reports that about 18,000 people attended this year’s TCAF-related events: “TCAF 2012 was the most ambitious festival yet, and my most ambitious personal undertaking. With more off-site and lead-up events than ever before, more partnerships than in previous years, an additional day of programming, and more than 20 featured guests, I worried in the weeks leading up to the show that perhaps we’d bit off a bit more than we could chew. Luckily through the talent and support of some wonderful folks we had varying levels of success on every front, and as always, lessons were learned and we think 2013 will be even stronger.” [Comics212]
DC Entertainment has rolled out details of its new monthly kids magazine and mobile app built around Cartoon Network’s DC Nation programming block, touted at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.
According to Variety, the 64-page DC Nation Super Spectacular will debut on newsstands next month, featuring new comics based on DC Nation shows like Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series, as well as programming details and exclusive content, like “DC Nation Secret Files.”
The DC Nation app, meanwhile, boasts free digital first issues of such comics as Batman Adventures, Superman Adventures, Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! and Tiny Titans, as well as the first six installments of “DC Nation Secret Files.” In addition, more than 100 kid-friendly DC titles, including Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade and the original Young Justice, are available for 99 cents. The features appear virtually identical to those of DC’s LEGO Hero Factory app, which debuted in January; Warner Bros. Interactive’s upcoming video game LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is sponsoring DC Nation Super Spectacular.
The trade paper notes that since debuting in March, the DC Nation animated block has improved Cartoon Network’s season-to-date ratings 32 percent among boys 6 to 11.
With less than two weeks until the second-season premiere of Young Justice, Little Orbit and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have announced a video game based on the Cartoon Network series.
Arriving in early 2013 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Young Justice: Legacy is set between seasons 1 and 2 of the animated series, with an original storyline by show producers Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti.
Inspired by the DC Comics series of the same name, Young Justice premiered in November 2010, with teen heroes Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis serving as the covert-operations team of the Justice League while also honing their skills under the watchful eyes of their mentors. DC launched a new Young Justice comic series last year based on the cartoon.
DC Comics has announced it will publish the long-hoped-for collection of its 1980s fantasy property Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld in September — no doubt thanks to the character’s inclusion in Cartoon Network’s upcoming DC Nation programming block.
Created by Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and Ernie Colón, Amethyst debuted in 1983, at a time when DC boasted such fantasy series as Warlord, Arion, Lord of Atlantis, and Arok, Son of Thunder. The initial limited series, subsequent short-lived ongoing and later one-shot and miniseries centered on Amy Winston, a teenager who discovers she’s actually the orphaned princess of Gemworld, a magical realm ruled by the evil Dark Opal. In short, it’s the perfect setup for a children’s fantasy story (although the later issues took on a darker tone than the original miniseries).
The 648-page Showcase Presents: Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, Vol. 1, collects the character’s first appearance in 1983′s Legion of Super-Heroes #298, the original Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld 12-issue limited series, the subsequent Amethyst Annual #1, the one-shot with Superman in DC Comics Presents #63 and the first 11 issues of the 16-issue ongoing titled simply Amethyst. That leaves the last four issues of the ongoing, the 1986 Amethyst Special and the final four-issue miniseries for another (thin) volume.
Check out the solicitation information below:
A few months ago, I picked up Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline’s minicomic The Potter’s Pet and was really impressed — it’s a cleverly written, beautifully drawn, handsomely produced little comic. I have been a fan of Lamb’s work since I discovered his (unfortunately incomplete) webcomic Kitty Hawk years ago; Paroline’s work was new to me, but her lively lines quickly made me a convert.
So I was delighted to see that they will be handling the art for BOOM! Studios’ Adventure Time comics, which are based on the animated Cartoon Network series.
Everyone else seems to be excited about the concept here, but we don’t watch a lot of Cartoon Network in our house and, to be honest, I have never seen the show. It’s the creators who have me interested in this series, which is the opposite of how things used to work with licensed comics. When I was a kid, the Disney comics I read all looked alike, and they weren’t signed because the Disney folks wanted me to think that they all flowed from Walt Disney’s magic pen. More and more, though, creators are putting their own stamp on licensed comics and becoming an important part of the package. Think of Roger Langridge’s run on The Muppet Show comics, or Dan Hipp’s reinvention of Ben 10. What’s more, licensed projects give artists a chance to work on their skills and bring in a regular paycheck without the risks of creator-owned work. If you want to see the up-and-coming artists of the next decade, check out BOOM!’s Pixar and Muppets comics or Archaia’s Fraggle Rock anthologies.
Lamb and Paroline have honed their craft working on BOOM!’s Muppet comics: Paroline was the artist and Lamb the colorist for Muppet Snow White, which is apparently out of print, and Paroline actually drew the Muppet Show #0 comic. From what I have seen, Adventure Time will be worth picking up for their art alone.
“I had no idea it [Amethyst] was being animated. You know, when you create something, it isn’t unreasonable to imagine it belongs to you. That whoever is in charge in the corporate structure, they’ll want to consult you as to where your character is headed. Not DC Comics. Maybe not any corporation. Maybe we could have been better business people, better negotiators. Amethyst has been through a wringer, twisted by lesser lights than the guys who created her — Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and — if you’ll permit me — me.”
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.
The Monday before Halloween, as well as the Monday before the release of the Beasts of Burden/Hellboy one-shot (Set for release this Wednesday from Dark Horse), was the ideal time for an interview with writer/artist Jill Thompson. October has been busy for Dark Horse and Thompson, given that earlier in the month the publisher released the new hardcover Scary Godmother collection of the four “Eisner Award-winning, fully painted children’s books … (Scary Godmother, Revenge of Jimmy, The Mystery Date, and The Boo Flu)”. The prospect of new Scary Godmother was a great topic to cover with Thompson, as well as learning her thoughts on how she creates certain tales and how organic the creative process is for her. Thanks to Dark Horse’s Jim Gibbons for arranging this interview, and I offer a great deal of gratitude to Thompson for this discussion.
Tim O’Shea: How satisfying is it to have all of the fully-painted Scary Godmother stories repackaged into one book? You considered teaming with different publishers to collect the stories, but what factors motivated you to go with Dark Horse?
Jill Thompson: Well, the original books, published by Sirius Entertainment had been out of print for a long while and I was very anxious to find a way to get them back out to the reading public. Since there are two animated specials in seasonal rotation on the Cartoon Network I knew there were a great many new fans I could introduce or reintroduce to the original material. I’m so happy that the book is back in print and available at comic shops and bookstores and online.
The image is actually from a poster that will be given away at this weekend’s New York Comic Con. Executive producer Bruce Timm, producer Giancarlo Volpe and producer/story editor Jim Krieg will be signing the poster at the DC Comics booth from 4-5 p.m. Eastern on Saturday.
A release date for the new animated series hasn’t been announced yet, but no doubt it’ll coincide with the Green Lantern feature film, which hits theaters next June.
Viper Comics, publisher of the Middleman comics and Dead@17 before it moved to Image, announced yesterday that they have picked up the licenses to produce graphic novels based on two animated series, Inspector Gadget and Johnny Test. From the press release:
Jessie Garza with Viper states, “We’re ecstatic to have been granted the opportunity to give both of these characters the comic treatment. These are two awesome properties to add to our line-up of recently acquired license (Odd Rods).”
Inspector Gadget is a semi-bionic detective who is the cartoon descendant of Inspector Clouseau and Maxwell Smart; the live-action movie came out last year. Johnny Test is a normal 11-year-old boy who frequently serves as an experimental subjet for his super-genius 13-year-old twin sisters; the animated cartoon runs on Cartoon Network. Both graphic novels are due out in 2011.
Peter David has announced he’s writing several episodes of Young Justice, the much-anticipated Cartoon Network series based on the DC Comics title he worked on for nearly five years.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to reconnect with the characters,” he wrote this morning on his blog, “even if there are some differences between the guys I wrote and the new incarnation. I would love to tell you all about my first episode, but I’m afraid that it’s … oh, what’s the word … Secret.
Fans of the DC Comics series, published from 1998 to 2003, will undoubtedly recognize the not-so-subtle allusion to Secret (aka Greta Hayes), the incorporeal “mist girl” introduced in the 1998 “fifth-week” one-shot Young Justice: The Secret. She, Wonder Girl and Arrowette joined the original Young Justice line-up of Robin, Superboy and Impulse.
We know from the sneak peek that the animated series will focus on a six-person team of Robin, Superboy, Kid Flash, Miss Martian, Artemis and Aqualad. However, in the words of producer Greg Weisman, that is “really just the tip of the iceberg.” The cartoon will feature a 16-member Justice League that mentors the teens plus, judging from the character sheets, appearances by characters like Speedy/Red Arrow and Mary Marvel.