UnSHIELDed: "Agents of SHIELD" Evolves With the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Artist Cat Staggs and her partner, writer/actor Amanda Deibert, star in a pretty great new spot for Target in which they discuss their hopes for their baby, all while the nursery is magically furnished around them.
Staggs is probably best known for her Star Wars and Smallville Season 11 work, and Deibert for her television writing, but they recently collaborated on a story for DC Comics’ digital-first Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #1.
Last week saw the return of Sensation Comics to store racks, as DC Comics repurposed the long-defunct title for a new Wonder Woman anthology series, featuring stories by rotating creative teams that debut online as part of the publisher’s digital-first initiative. It’s a strategy the company previously used for similar anthologies Legends of the Dark Knight and the soon-ending Adventures of Superman.
It’s a great idea, and one well past due. Unlike Batman and the Man of Steel, Wonder Woman has long been confined to a single solo title, with fewer miniseries, specials and one-shots, and is more often subject to drastic new directions, due to a perceived notion the character needs to be “fixed.”
The current Wonder Woman series is a good example of this, with Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang and company reintroducing the character with an “Everything you thought you knew was wrong!” origin, accompanied by a weird and dark backstory for the Amazons, and a London setting for the heroine.
Last time I checked in with Wonder Woman, the title character was the demigod daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta and had become the goddess of war, dispatching her foes with magic swords — and when she’s really in a pinch, she takes off her power-dampening Amazon bracelets, which allows her to “power-up” into a sort of glowing Super-Wonder Woman.
This Halloween, DC Comics’ digital line is going to get broodier, bloodier and more dramatic, as Elena, Stefan and the rest of the residents of Mystic Falls make the leap to comics.
First announced in San Diego this summer with additional details shared today at the New York Comic-Con, The Vampire Diaries digital first anthology series will feature stories by B. Clay Moore, Colleen Doran, Leah Moore and John Reppion, Tony Shasteen and Cat Staggs, among others. Some of Shasteen’s character sketches can be seen below, and for more check out the official Vampire Diaries Facebook page.
More than four years after she last appeared on television, Lana Lang will return in DC Comics’ digital-first series Smallville Season 11.
In the eighth season of The CW drama in the Season 8 episode “Requiem,” Lana was forced to leave Metropolis after she absorbed a kryptonite bomb into the nanoskin of her power suit, making her unable to be near Clark Kent.
“Since then Clark has not only gotten over Lana, but he has moved on with his life,” Season 11 writer Bryan Q. Miller, who also worked on the TV series, tells TV Guide. “He got engaged to Lois Lane and became Superman. “A lot has happened in Lana’s absence.”
According to the website, she’ll be reintroduced April 5 in “Valkyrie,” a storyline drawn by Season 11 cover artist Cat Staggs that follows Lois Lane on assignment for the Daily Planet to the Congo to investigate the Angel of the Plateau, a costumed superheroine — guess who! — fighting African warlords. Miller indicates “we will see a villain from Smallville days past” in the second chapter.
April 12 will see the debut of the spring’s main arc, “Argo,” in which Superman and Booster Gold travel to the 31st century to see the Legion of Super-Heroes. New chapters of “Valkyrie” will appear between installments of “Argo.” New chapters of Smallville Season 11 appear online each Friday.
Enough time has passed since the release of Phantom Lady, by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Cat Staggs, that I wasn’t sure I should still write about it as part of the Women of Action series. However, think it continues to be worth thinking about for a couple of reasons: First, despite it being a miniseries from last autumn, it’s part of a continuing event that’s still playing out in the DC Universe (namely, the gradual introduction of the New 52 Freedom Fighters). Second, it’s pretty good. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
I have fond memories of a couple of Freedom Fighter comics (or possibly, appearances of the team in other people’s comics) as a kid, but I don’t know a lot about the group and didn’t read the most recent series before DC shut it down to make way for Flashpoint and the New 52. I’m familiar with Phantom Lady mostly through the character’s affiliation with Matt Baker, one of my favorite artists, and I know about Doll Man (who gets his name on the cover, if not in the official indicia), primarily thanks to Craig Yoe’s old Doll Man Monday feature on the Super I.T.C.H. website. In other words, I needed an introduction.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where we take a look at the comics, books and other things the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately. We kick off the new year with Brian Cronin from Comics Should Be Good! as our special guest. In addition to running our sister blog, Brian is also an author, having written two books on comics trivia. He also runs the blog Urban Legends Revealed, where he talks about sports and entertainment urban legends.
To see what Brian and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
I don’t know quite why, considering I’ve been feeling cynical and disinterested in the DC Universe over the past couple of weeks, but I find myself tempted by both Flash Annual #1 and Justice League International Annual #1 (both DC Comics; $4.99) this week; something even more surprising considering I haven’t been following the JLI series past trying out the first issue. And yet, if I had $15 this week, I suspect I’d be using a chunk of it for that. I’d also grab Joe Hill and Gabriel Hernandez’ Locke & Key: Grindhouse (IDW Publishing, $3.99), because, well, Locke & Key is a very, very good comic book.
If I had $30, I may find myself picking up the first collection of Peter Panzerfaust (Vol. 1: The Great Escape; Image Comics; $14.99) because I like the high concept behind it even if I managed to miss the single issues. People who did pick it up in singles: Is it the kind of thing I’d like, do you think?
Should I find the money and ability to splurge, I find myself surprisingly drawn to Dark Horse’s Star Wars Omnibus: Clone Wars Vol. 1 ($24.99); I blame people in my Twitter feed talking about Star Wars Celebration last week, and my thinking, “I haven’t really kept up with Star Wars in ages” in response. Does that count as peer pressure?
Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, who wrote the pre-New 52 Freedom Fighters title, will return to at least two of the characters this summer as they write a new Phantom Lady miniseries. Cat Staggs and Rich Perotta will provide the art for the four-issue series, which will co-star Doll Man. This being the New 52, though, they’ll have no relation to the previous versions of the characters.
“Phantom Lady and Doll Man is an exciting return to the roots of the characters as pulpy, street level crime fighters with a few new twists and some heavy sci-fi overtones,” Justin Gray told The Source. “We took the best of their original core concepts and updated them with no relation to our previous work on Phantom Lady and Doll Man in the Freedom Fighters. You’re getting in on the ground floor of the origin story of two people whose lives intersect and a common threat that transforms them into pretty amazing and engaging superheroes.”
Phantom Lady #1, which features a cover by Amanda Conner, goes on sale Aug. 29.
Here’s good news for fans of the television show Smallville who were left without their fix in May when the series went off the air for good: DC announced today that Smallville is coming back as a comic, which will be released first in digital and then in print form. The series will be written by Bryan Q. Miller, who was a scriptwriter for the show, and will pick up where the television story left off. Pere Perez, who worked with Miller on Batgirl: The Flood, will handle the art, and the digital cover above is by Cat Staggs.
DC has an interesting strategy for this comic: It will launch as a digital comic on April 13, with a new digital chapter coming out each week. (No word on pricing or length.) About a month later, it will come out as a print comic, collecting the chapters and adding an episode guide; the first print comic is due out on May 16, and Gary Frank (Superman Secret Origin) will be doing the covers for the print issues.
The weekly chapters are an interesting twist. Not only do they mimic the timing of the original show, they make the comic more of an immediate experience, something people come back to frequently and discuss in real time, as opposed to a monthly event. IDW is doing something similar with its Transformers series Autocracy, publishing an eight-page digital chapter every two weeks, priced at 99 cents. And of course there’s Shonen Jump Alpha, the digital reincarnation of Viz’s Shonen Jump, which publishes a chapter a week of six different manga within two weeks of their Japanese release, with a teen-friendly price of 99 cents per issue (less if you get the yearly subscription).