INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
DC Comics this morning unveiled variant covers for Before Watchmen by Jim Steranko, Steve Rude, Paul Pope, Tim Bradstreet, Jim Lee, Cliff Chiang and David Finch.
The sprawling, and hotly debated, prequel to the seminal 1986 miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Before Watchmen debuted last month with the first issues of Minutemen, Comedian, Silk Spectre and Nite Owl, all of which landed on Diamond Comic Distributors’ Top 10 for June. According to sales estimates, all four titles broke the 100,000-copy mark. Before Watchmen: Minutemen #2 arrived in stores Wednesday.
Check out all seven variant covers below.
Crime | A trailer filled with convention set-up and inventory of Avatar Press was stolen from the parking lot of Corner Store Comics in Anaheim, California, on Tuesday as the publisher prepared to head to Seattle for the Emerald City Comicon. The trailer contained cases of several graphic novels, including Neonomicon, Crossed, Freakangels, Night of the Living Dead and Fevre Dream, as well as limited-edition copies created specifically for conventions and large quantities of books by author Max Brooks. Avatar founder William Christensen asked West Coast retailers to keep an eye out for anyone looking to sell large quantities of Avatar books as they continue to work with local law enforcement. “Needless to say, this is a significant setback for us in terms of lost inventory, but I want to assure everyone that we have additional inventory of the graphic novels warehoused and available for restock to comic retailers and bookstores. As word of this has spread and people have been asking me what they could do to help, the other thing I’ve been mentioning is to simply keep asking your local retailer for books from Avatar Press. As for upcoming conventions, we will still be attending every con on our schedule, so we hope to see you at upcoming shows as well.” Any information on the stolen books can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. [Bleeding Cool] Continue Reading »
Out for just three weeks, Justice League #1 — the flagship title of DC Comics’ New 52 — is already heading back to press with its fourth printing. That, of course, means another cover: a modified version of the lampooned variant created by David Finch (see below). There’s now an apocalyptic-looking red background — somewhat fitting, considering Superman’s foreboding “Obey!” pose — and, more importantly, Cyborg. That’s right, Victor Stone, absent from Finch’s original cover, has been squeezed into the Justice League lineup, behind The Flash.
Along with the Justice League announcement, DC revealed that all 12 titles debuting Wednesday have already sold out on the distributor level, and are also going back to press. Even Red Hood and the Outlaws.
Cartoonist Kelly Turnbull, creator of the webcomic Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, turns to illustration to make a hilarious and biting point about the depiction of women in superhero comics, selecting David Finch’s variant cover for Justice League #1 (below) as her target.
In response to a comment that “we’re reaching a point of just complaining about any and every little thing,” Turnbull replied: “The point of contention still is, as it always was, that people are getting tired of seeing all of the female leads drawn with body language and uniforms that make them appear less heroic, powerful, legitimate, and all-around able to be taken seriously than their male counterparts.” To underscore her point, she offered a look at Wonder Woman’s male teammates might look like in similar costumes, striking a similar pose. Aquaman’s flaccid trident may be particularly cruel commentary about a lack of power …
Visit Turnbull’s blog to see the full illustration, with Green Lantern, Batman and Superman.
Publishing | Charlaine Harris, author of the “Sookie Stackhouse” novels on which HBO’s True Blood is based, says that after she finishes the last two “Sookie” books, she plans to work on a graphic novel with Christopher Golden. “I’m very excited about that. It’s called Cemetery Girl with Christopher Golden, and it’s a very exciting opportunity.” Harris had mentioned wanting to do a novel called Cemetery Girl back in 2009, about “a girl raised by ghosts in a cemetery,” but put it on hold when she found out the plot was similar to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.
Based on the description in the news report, it sounds like the story has been tweaked, as it says the graphic novel “centers on a woman who finds herself living in a cemetery with no memory of her past but a clear sense of a mysterious threat hanging over her.” This isn’t the first time Harris’ characters have found their way into comics, as IDW publishes comics based on HBO’s True Blood, and an adaptation of her Grave Sight novels has been published by Dynamite. [NBC San Diego]
Publishing | Former Marvel Comics editor and Transformers writer John Barber has joined IDW Publishing as a senior editor. IDW also announced the promotion of Tom Waltz to the company’s first senior staff writer position, in addition to his duties as editor, and the expansion of the company’s book department with longtime IDW employee Alonzo Simon becoming an assistant editor. [press release]
Although it seems like DC’s big relaunch announcement came out an eternity ago, it actually took the publisher less than two weeks to roll out the 52 titles and their creative teams for the big relaunch/reboot/overhaul coming in September. Now that the cats are out of their respective bags, I thought I’d see where various creators and characters will land after the reboot.
So I went back through DC’s August solicitations to see who was writing or drawing what, and tried to map everyone to their post-relaunch project — if they had one. However, looking at DC’s August solicitations, there seem to be several fill-in issues, so where appropriate I tried to map the most recent ongoing creative teams to their new projects (for instance, I consider Gail Simone and Jesus Saiz the regular creative team for Birds of Prey, even if they aren’t doing the last two issues before September hits). Keep in mind that I just went through the ongoing series and skipped over all the miniseries … of which there are a lot, what with Flashpoint winding up in August.
It’s also worth noting that although several creators didn’t appear in the “big 52″ announcements, that doesn’t mean their tenure with DC is necessarily over — some, like Frazer Irving, have said they have future projects that haven’t been announced. So I tried to note where creators have talked publicly about their post-relaunch plans with DC (or lack thereof, as the case may be). The same could probably be said for some of DC’s characters as well. Or, as Gail Simone said on Twitter: “Again, September is NOT THE END. There’s still plans for characters that we haven’t seen yet.”
So let’s get to it ….
1. For Batman and Green Lantern, if it ain’t broke, DC’s not fixing it. In 2010, you had to go all the way down to the Direct Markets #109 bestelling title, the debut of J. Michael Straczynski’s abortive tenure on Superman, before hitting a DC book that wasn’t part of the Batman line, the Green Lantern line, or the Green Lantern-spawned Blackest Night and Brightest Day events. DC has rewarded the creators behind these franchises’ success by keeping them more or less in place, albeit with some title-swapping and artist-shuffling. Geoff Johns, Tony Bedard, and Peter J. Tomasi are still writing the three main Green Lantern series (along with the previously announced Peter Milligan on Red Lantern), while Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, Tony Daniel, David Finch, and Tomasi are still handling the books with “Batman” in the title (with long-time Gotham Citizens like J.H Williams III, Gail Simone, and Judd Winick filling out the line).
2. DC’s rolling the dice big-time on an I Can’t Believe It’s Not Vertigo-verse. Today’s big announcement of new “dark” titles features such Vertigo characters as Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Shade the Changing Man, John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, as written by such Vertigo creators Peter Milligan (Hellblazer), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), and Scott Snyder (American Vampire). That’s quite a vote of confidence in Vertigo’s taste in creators, characters, and tone, especially given that many industry observers saw the line as an afterthought for the new regime. Of course, how this will impact Vertigo itself has yet to be seen. It’s also worth considering that Vertigo’s biggest and most durable hits over the past decade or so have tended to be creator-owned titles existing in their own worlds and straying pretty far from the imprint’s horror-magic roots, so launching eight shared-universe horror-magic books — over one-sixth of the new DC Universe line — is a gamble in and of itself.
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.
For most of us, it’s getting to be the middle of April. Everything is blooming and getting greener. Our thoughts turn to familiar rites of spring like baseball, taxes, and that new Green Lantern preview.
On Earth-Solicits, of course, it’s July. The greenery is withering in the heat, the tax refund is spent, and half the Reds are sick thanks to being downwind from the Proctor & Gamble plant. Nevertheless, the residents of Earth-Solicits are just bursting at the seams, excited to tell you all that’s been happening in their world …
… but they can’t tell you everything, because then you’d have no reason to visit.
This sort of fan dance is especially pronounced in the current crop of solicitations. When something like a third of DC’s superhero line is taken up with titles like War of the Green Lanterns: Aftermath, Brightest Day Aftermath, and especially the cottage industry which is Flashpoint — titles which jump off from endings readers have yet to see, and/or which go deeper into books yet to begin — it’s hard to get excited, because right now it’s all hype for hype’s sake.
Thankfully, that’s not all there is to the July solicitations, so let’s cruise on….
Not since Bane broke all the lunatics out of Arkham Asylum has Batman had this eventful a week. Perhaps to avoid the avalanche of news coming out of San Diego next week, DC has spent the past few days announcing a slew of new Batman projects and creative teams. And heck, even Marvel got in on the act, sorta…
“What is October’s RETURN OF THE BLACK LANTERNS?” asks DC’s The Source blog, and frankly, your guess is as good as ours. All we’ve got to go on is the accompanying David Finch image, featuring undead Black Lantern versions of Aquaman, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, Firestorm, and Deadman — six of the twelve characters who were granted full-fledged resurrections by the White Light at the end of Blackest Night and who are currently the protagonists of Brightest Day. Halloween’s as good an excuse as any to let their black light shine again…
Following in the Bat-footsteps of Tony Daniel and J.H. Williams III, artist David Finch is slated to go from simply drawing the adventures of the Caped Crusader to writing and drawing them. CBR and The Source are revealing that following a Grant Morrison-scripted, Finch-illustrated October one-shot called Batman: The Return, Finch will be serving as a writer-artist auteur for Batman: The Dark Knight, a new monthly series.
Favorably citing the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams run on the character, Finch — a longtime, vocal Batman super-fan — says his new series will feature “demonology, dark arts,” and “a darker path where he’ll be stretched to his physical and psychological limits.” Given the furrowed-brow, gritted-teeth intensity of Finch’s shadowy art, that all seems appropriate enough. Personally, I’m wondering if and when Frank Quitely, Cameron Stewart, and/or Frazer Irving will get their own turns at Bat…
DC Comics announced that Last Stand on New Krypton artist Pete Woods will join writer Marc Guggenheim on Action Comics in June, providing interior art for DC’s longest-running title. And they’ll be joined by cover artist David Finch, who began working at DC exclusively earlier this year (he drew the Lex Luthor you see to the right).
“I am absolutely thrilled to be working with Marc on Action Comics,” Woods told DC’s The Source blog. “I also feel incredibly blessed to have David Finch doing covers — I have been a fan for years. Marc and I have some fun plans for this book and intend for it to live up to it’s name!”
Guggenheim spoke about his upcoming work on the book with Comic Book Resources back in December, where he discussed the challenge of writing a character who theoretically could get out of any situation.
“It’s funny. I’ve actually given a lot of thought precisely to that problem,” Guggenheim said. “In part, one of the things I want to do is introduce some villains that Superman could be defeated by. The truth is, his powers are not infinite — he has weaknesses and he has limitations to his powers. Truth be told, I could come up with a cosmic character that could just squash him like a bug. But the bigger challenge is, if I were to tell that kind of story, convincing the reader that there is some legitimate danger. Just because it’s Superman, it means I’m not going to squash him like a bug. Even if I did a whole arc where Superman lost his powers, I think people would be kind of hip to the idea that Superman is probably going to come out of this OK. They’re not going to let me destroy a multi-million dollar property.”