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Grumpy Old Fan | When not to cross over

Good soldier

Good soldier

For all its attempts at inclusion, Convergence is limited to what DC Comics has “allowed” historically within its shared universe. The three main Convergence time periods are basically 2011, 1994, and 1984-ish, and they each interact with other superhero-flavored genres.

However, through the years there’s also been a thread of DC superheroics set outside the main-line milieu. More often than not, these stories aren’t really concerned with detail-oriented “what ifs” — Communist Superman, vampire Batman, etc. — but with the larger questions surrounding the superhero genre itself. If you’re going to talk about DC and you don’t want to talk about Convergence, more than likely you’re going to run into these stories.

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‘Arkham Asylum’s’ Joker comes to life in new Sideshow statue

joker-sideshow1

Following a little tease last week, Sideshow Collectibles has debuted its new Joker statue, the first in a collection based on the hit 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Standing 24 inches tall, the “Premium Format Figure” (translation: “zero points of articulation”) is decked out in a recreation of his purple pinstripe suit and brandishes the “Ace of Spades” revolver in his right hand. The Sideshow-exclusive version includes “a swap-out laughing portrait” (below) for that extra-creepy touch.

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DC says goodbye to New York, Marvel responds perfectly

dc vs marvel

When DC Comics bid farewell this morning on Twitter to New York City, its home since the founding of National Allied Publications in 1934, it may not have expected the touching reply from its biggest competitor.

“Thanks, NYC, for being part of DC Comics’ history for so many years,” the publisher tweeted as the last of its staff makes the move to Burbank, California. “And special thanks to everyone who’s worked here over those years.”

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Square Enix’s Wild West Batman may be the best Batman of all

batman-timeless1-cropped

Square Enix’s Variant Play Arts Kai line has produced some terrific-looking action figures — we only recently spotlighted Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Stormtrooper releases – but this Wild West Batman may be my favorite to date.

Part of the Batman Timeless series teased at New York Comic Con that will include Spartan Batman, Medieval Batman and Steampunk Batman, it’s like a glorious return to DC Comics’ Elseworlds titles. Standing more than 10 inches tall, Wild West Batman is ridiculously detailed — ornate, even — with a tattered cape, chaps, boots, a grapnel gun (with holster), tomahawk and, best of all, a cowboy hat with its own little Bat-ears.

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Grumpy Old Fan | ‘Crisis’ at 30, Part 5

Not pictured: Two-Face

Not pictured: Two-Face

This month’s look back at DC Comics’ signature Big Event comes at a very appropriate juncture. The first four issues of Crisis on Infinite Earths culminated in the destruction of Earths-One and -Two, which (for the most part) represented DC’s Silver and Golden Ages. Issue 5 — which appeared in the Direct Market during the first week of April, 1985 — began to combine the various parallel universes, although as we’ll see the process wasn’t exactly smooth. In fact, one might say it informs the basic setting of DC’s current multiversal event, Convergence. That’s probably not an accident, and we’ll look at those similarities in due time.

Besides that, though, Crisis issue 5 is noteworthy for a few reasons. First, it marks the arrival of inker Jerry Ordway, whose distinct finishes complemented George Pérez’s pencils quite nicely and gave Crisis a unique look. Second, it kicked off a set of plot threads that would run through most of the rest of the “maxi-series,” including the mechanics of multiversal melding, the identity of the mysterious villain, and the team of Superman and Superman. Finally, it shifted the focus decisively from a handful of characters and settings to the embryonic “DC Universe” itself. Starting this issue, the featured players changed from issue to issue, producing the superhero crowds for which Crisis became (in)famous.

Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 was written and edited by Marv Wolfman, penciled by Pérez, inked by Ordway, colored by Tony Tollin, and lettered by John Costanza. Bob Greenberger was the associate editor and Len Wein was the consulting editor.
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Famous album covers get a DC and Marvel remix

dr doom-dr dre

Music and comics are frequently overlapping, from the storied creation of Marvel’s Dazzler to numerous comic biographies and comics about musicians, but artist Uwe de Witt is taking it one step further.

Evocative of Cliff Chiang’s appropriation of Prince’s Purple Rain  for a Batgirl illustration, de Witt has taken popular album covers from the past 40 years and reinterpreted them with Marvel and DC Comics characters. De Witt, who has worked for German comics publisher EEE, goes for the deep cuts, with the Doctor Doom variants of Doctor Dre and Pink Floyd covers being particularly striking.

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Warner Bros. to launch ‘Disney Infinity’-style ‘LEGO Dimensions’

lego dimensions2

Quickly catching up to an online link, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has officially announced LEGO Dimensions, a new video game that allows players to mix and match characters from different universes, including DC Comics, The LEGO Movie, The Lord of the Rings and Back to the Future.

Arriving Sept. 27, it’s a “toy-to-life” console game, similar to the popular Skylanders and Disney Infinity. However, in this case, players won’t purchase characters but instead LEGO sets that they’ll build into characters, vehicles and devices that can be introduced into the game with the Toy Pad.

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Kotobukiya teases Black Canary Bishoujo, Red Hood ARTFX+ statues

kotobukiya-red-hood-cropped

Over the weekend at WonderCon Anaheim, Kotobukiya offered glimpses of its Black Canary Bishoujo and Red Hood ARTFX+ statues.

Black Canary is of course part of the company’s popular line of DC Comics heroines based on illustrations by Shunya Yamashita. Other releases include Batgirl, Starfire, Batwoman and the upcoming Zatanna.

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Figures Toy Company to release reproduction of Mego Batcave

batman-batcave-cropped

No, this isn’t a belated April Fools’ Day joke, Figures Toy Company plans to release reproductions of not only Mego’s Batcave playset but also Aquaman vs. The Great White Shark.

They were originally released in the early 1970s as part of Mego’s World’s Great Super Heroes line of 8-inch dolls (excuse me, action figures). While I can recall desperately wanting the Batcave for Christmas one year — my brother and I had several of the DC and Marvel characters* — I can’t remember the Aquaman/shark set. But, hey, it’s a shark. What kid wouldn’t want that?

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Grumpy Old Fan | Events’ End, Part 2: The un-endings

Healing the Multiverse by beating Brainiac up

Healing the Multiverse by beating Brainiac up

Those of us who follow DC Comics’ superhero line have been waiting for this week for a long time. One year ago, Batman Eternal kicked off what became a trio of weekly series, with the other two apparently set to transform DC’s shared universe. Last week I talked about the next-to-last installments of each of those series, plus the next-to-last issue of Multiversity, which covered some of the same conceptual ground. I was hoping Multiversity would end this week as well, but since it didn’t come out, that just gives me a future topic.

Regardless, this week not only sees the conclusions of Batman Eternal, Futures End, and Earth 2: World’s End, but the start of Convergence, yet another (albeit shorter) weekly series running through the end of May. Today we’ll look at how the first three wrapped up, and whether Convergence #0 had a successful start.

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DC’s ‘Convergence’ begins, while its weeklies end … weakly

First she was Robin, then she was Batgirl and now she's Batman?

First she was Robin, then she was Batgirl and now she’s Batman? Make up your mind, Stephanie!

Fans of the weekly format — like yours truly — had an interesting new comic book day. That’s because all three of DC’s weekly series concluded on Wednesday, and the publisher kicked off its next weekly series with a zero issue.

When it comes to weekly comics, the first and last issues are the most important. Weeklies have a distinct advantage over monthlies, in that readers tend to be more forgiving from issue to issue. Perhaps the art is rough, but we excuse it, because we understand the brutal deadline pressure. Perhaps the story drags and stalls, but because a new issue arrives each week, we don’t have a lot of time to dwell on the flaws — and there’s always the hope it will get better with the next installment, which, of course, is just seven days away. But when we reach the final issue, that hope is gone, and readers discover whether their investment in the story— time and money — was worthwhile.

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Lee, Miller and more cover new Moleskine Batman collection

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Moleskine has arrived in Gotham City with a collection of limited-edition Batman notebooks, debuting today.

Produced in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, the series features four notebooks with cover art by John Cassaday, Mike Mignola and Jim Lee. A fifth with art by Frank Miller from The Dark Knight Returns on its cover and flyleaves will be available in a numbered run of 5,000 exclusively from Moleskine’s website and stores. All of the notebooks come with limited-edition Batman stickers.

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Comics A.M. | Parent to appeal school district’s ‘Palomar’ ruling

Palomar

Palomar

Libraries | A parent plans to appeal a decision by a New Mexico school district to keep Gilbert Hernandez’s Palomar on the shelves of the Rio Rancho High School Library. Catrenna Lopez complained in February after her 14-year-old son brought home the acclaimed hardcover, insisting it contained “pornographic” images and promoted prostitution. A review committee appointed by the superintendent of Rio Rancho Public Schools voted 5-3 last week to retain the book. In response to the decision, Lopez said, “To me, this book is kind of like having a Hustler magazine in the schools.” If she follows through with her plan, the appeal would go to the school board, which would take a public vote on its decision. [KRQE]

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Grumpy Old Fan | Events’ End, part 1: The penultimates

Pronounce it "Ul-Traah," as in "open up and say"

Pronounce it “Ultraah,” as in “open up and say”

The last New Comics Day of March 2015 is also the final “normal” ship week of the New 52. Next week, each of DC’s three weekly series will publish its final issue (although in Batman Eternal’s case, “final” only for Volume 1) and Convergence will begin with a zero issue. Multiversity is set to wrap up next week as well.

Therefore, I want to look at the next-to-last installments of Batman Eternal, Futures End, Earth 2: World’s End and Multiversity: Ultra Comics. As you might expect, there will be SPOILERS, not just about these issues but about the series themselves. These comics collectively just got a little more meta, and not necessarily where you’d expect, either …

Ready?

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Funko’s new Batman Dorbz figures are Gotham’s cutest

dorbz-bat-cast

On the teeny-tiny heels of those Guardians of the Galaxy figures, Funko and Vinyl Sugar have announced a Batman Dorbz series that manages to make even Killer Croc look cuddly.

Set for release in July, the series of 3-inch vinyl figures also boasts Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Harley Quinn and the Penguin, all sporting that irresistible smile. The Joker is curiously absent, but maybe he’ll pop up in a later wave.

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