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Grumpy Old Fan | 10 from 2014, 10 for 2015

Ring in 2015?

Ring in 2015?

As the new year is still fairly new, it’s time once again to revisit some old speculation, and offer a fresh batch.

2015 promises to be an unusual year for DC Comics, thanks to a couple of well-publicized real-world events: moving its offices from New York to California, and publishing two months’ worth of retro-themed comics while the regular series take a break. Although I’m getting tired of writing about these things, they will continue to dominate DC news for the next little while. Accordingly, counterintuitive though it may be, this week I’m going to resist talking about them as much as possible. You know they’re coming, I know they’re coming; but let’s try to find some other topics in the meantime.

Now to catch up on 2014’s items:

1. Anniversaries. Besides Batman’s 75th, which naturally got lots of play, I noted that last year was the 50th anniversary of the Teen Titans, the 55th of the Silver Age Green Lantern, Nightwing’s 30th, Zero Hour’s 20th and Identity Crisis’ 10th. The Titans got a commemorative hardcover and IC likewise received a new edition. However, Nightwing-the-series ended in 2014, as Nightwing-the-identity was exposed and Dick Grayson got a new spy-oriented comic. I also wondered whether the 50th anniversary of Batman’s “New Look” would get some special attention (it didn’t, unless you count the flood of Batman ‘66 love that accompanied the long-awaited home video releases of the New Look-inspired series).
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DC Collectibles spotlights new Wonder Woman statue

wonder-woman-statue

DC Collectibles has released a video showcasing its upcoming DC Comics Cover Girl: Wonder Woman statue.

Solicited last month for release in July, the statue is designed by artist Stanley “Artgerm” Lau, and sculpted by Jack Mathews, the approximately 10-inch statue is a limited edition (5,200) priced at $99.95.

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Comics A.M. | Defiant ‘Charlie Hebdo’ plans to publish next week

"Je Suis Charlie"

“Je Suis Charlie”

Publishing | The French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo will be published next week, to demonstrate that “stupidity will not win,” according to columnist Patrick Pelloux. Ten of the magazine’s staff members were among those killed Wednesday when three armed men attacked their Paris headquarters, apparently because Charlie Hebdo published cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad. [The Guardian]

Political cartoons | Adam Taylor looks at the history of controversies regarding depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. [The Washington Post]

Political cartoons | Cartoonist and syndicator Daryl Cagle pens a remembrance four of the slain Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, some of whom he knew personally, and also talks about the importance of editorial cartooning in France. [Darylcagle.com]

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Comics A.M. | First Second’s Mark Siegel on ‘new mainstream’

This One Summer

This One Summer

Publishing | In a three-part interview, First Second Books Editorial Director Mark Siegel talks about 2014, the upcoming year, and the emergence of a “new mainstream.” In Part 1 he discusses the 2014 releases and ends with some numbers (print runs rather than sales); the imprint’s top books are Ben Hatke’s Zita the Spacegirl and Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer, both of which have 30,000 copies in print. In Part 2 he looks at the importance of the library market and support from librarians, especially for children and teens, as well as the emergence of a new category of graphic novels that he calls “new mainstream.” Part 3 focuses on First Second’s planned releases for 2015, including Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor, which will have a print run of 100,000. [ICv2]

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‘Dark Knight’ Tumbler puts other remote-control cars to shame

mini-tumbler2

It’s understandable if your enthusiasm for Dark Knight trilogy merchandise has waned in the more than two years since the release of the final film, but that will undoubtedly change with this: Soap Studio’s remote-control Tumbler.

Unveiled last month at Toy Soul 2014, this isn’t just any remote-control car. Oh, no. The 1/12th-scale Tumbler is controlled through an iOS or Android app, which will also allow you to open and close the cockpit doors, kick in the turbo boost, adjust the spoiler, LED lights and sound effects, and record with a camera in standard and night-vision modes.

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Capullo’s Batman looms 8 stories high in Times Square ad

(via 13th Dimension)

(via 13th Dimension)

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman is big in New York City. Well, huge may be more like it.

At 13th Dimension, Dan Greenfield has a gallery of photos taken over the holiday weekend at Times Square, where Google’s block-long, 8-stories-tall digital billboard — the largest in North America — ran an ad for Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls (available on Google Play, naturally).

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The Grumpy Color: Tom and Carla dissect 2014, Part 2

Split decision

Split decision

(Time once again for ROBOT 6 contributors Tom Bondurant and Carla Hoffman to email each other about the year in DC and Marvel superhero comics. This year’s exchange took place between DEc. 26 and Dec. 30. And be sure to check out Part 1 of the conversation.)

Tom Bondurant: One of the more pleasant surprises this year was the extent to which the Big Two started going after a different audience. New books like Ms. Marvel and Gotham Academy, and makeovers for Batgirl and Catwoman, have found success with distinctive, unconventional approaches. How long can they keep this up? Will digital distribution help these books, if it’s not doing so already? Are the Big Two really committed to branching out?

Carla Hoffman: Branching out is such a double-edged sword. It sounds weird to say that, because diversity is so championed online, but when a book can alienate old readers, you really have to draw in a lot of new readers to make up for it. Believe it or not, there were some who complained that Kamala Khan took the Ms. Marvel name rather than getting her own moniker. The good news is that Ms. Marvel is such a quality book and so important to the next generation of comic readers, not to mention Marvel Comics itself, I couldn’t care less if a (pardon my use) grumpy old fan can’t change with the times. Marvel published about 40 new titles this year — everything from Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu to Rocket Raccoon. Not all of the titles stuck (R.I.P. She-Hulk, try again later), but that’s still a lot of new stuff to try that isn’t just another variation of a Wolverine comic.
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Exclusive preview | Bunn and Haun’s ‘Wolf Moon’ #2

wolf-moon-cropped

The Sixth Gun co-creator Cullen Bunn is certainly no stranger to the supernatural, but for his first major Vertigo comic, he’s biting into another kind of horror.

The publisher has shared with ROBOT 6 an exclusive first look at pages at Wolf Moon #2, by Bunn and Jeremy Haun. The series explores a viral werewolf disease that transfers to a different victim every full moon, marrying the conceit with a procedural detective story for a bloody addition to the Vertigo line.

Under a cover by Ryan Kelly, Wolf Moon #2 arrives on Jan. 7.

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The Grumpy Color | Tom and Carla dissect 2014, Part 1

Comin' at ya

Converging

(Time once again for ROBOT 6 contributors Tom Bondurant and Carla Hoffman to email each other about the year in DC and Marvel superhero comics. This year’s exchange took place between Dec. 26 and Dec. 30.)

Tom Bondurant: First let’s address the elephant in the room — or, more accurately, the infinite number of parallel rooms, each containing a slightly different elephant. In 2015, both Marvel and DC are building Big Events around their respective multiverses. Conventional wisdom predicts that DC is doing this to address fan criticisms of the New 52, perhaps resulting in some continuity tweaks.

Carla Hoffman: Oh, man, I hope that’s true! Honestly, I have a hard time judging the inner workings of our respective companies sometimes because I always hear more from the fan side than the production team. Enough customers come in, day in and day out, with a piece of their mind on how things should be run or changed, but rarely do the people in charge — not creators and editors, mind you, the people who sign the checks at the end of the day with real power — come forward to say, “We feel this is the right direction.” Tom Brevoort on Tumblr comes close with his tireless open forum, but even then there’s always going to be company policy. If DC is brave enough to go “Maybe we shouldn’t have thrown the entire baby out with the bathwater” and massage their continuity into a more pleasing shape for fans, that’s going to be a heck of thing that will have an effect on readership, for sure.

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Exclusive preview | Hal heads to Earth in ‘Green Lantern’ #38

green-lantern-cropped

DC Comics has provided ROBOT 6 at an exclusive first look at Green Lantern #38, by Robert Venditti and Admira Wijaya.

Although the third act of the “Godhead” crossover is still playing across the Green Lantern books, this issue finds Hal Jordan returning to Earth for some rest and relaxation. However, judging by the solicitation text — to say nothing of history — he likely has little chance of finding either.

The issue, which features covers by Billy Tan and Doug Mahnke, goes on sale Jan. 7.

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Yuko Shimizu teases ‘Detective Comics’ cover process

shimizu-detective1

Acclaimed illustrator Yuko Shimizu, perhaps best known to comics readers for her Eisner-nominated work on Vertigo’s The Unwritten, is branching out into the DC Universe with a cover for an upcoming issue of Detective Comics. And for the past few weeks, she’s been offering her Facebook followers a glimpse into the cover process, from reference material and initial sketch to inking details and finally, last night, a taste of colors. Alas, that may be all we see until DC releases the solicitations for that issue.

“Alright, this may be the last share,” Shimizu writes. “For the final result, please see it on an upcoming cover of DC Universe’s Detective Comics. My editor is on vacation, so I am not certain which month this is going to be.”

See some of Shimizu’s process below, and more on her Facebook page.

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LEGO releases Wonder Woman’s invisible jet

lego-invisible-jet

LEGO is starting to roll out its superhero sets for the New Year, and one in particular is sure to catch the eyes of comic fans and collectors alike. While it may not be completely invisible, LEGO’s newest DC Super Heroes set features a smaller version of Wonder Woman’s invisible jet. io9 has posted photos and details on the new LEGO building set, which will retail for about $50 and officially goes on sale Thursday.

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Comics A.M. | Comiket 87 draws 180,000 on opening day

Comiket 87

Comiket 87

Conventions | About 180,000 people flocked to the Tokyo Big Sight on Sunday for the first day of Comiket 87, the world’s largest convention dedicated to self-published comics. That’s an increase of about 10,000 from the opening day of the summer edition — Comiket is held twice yearly, in August and in December — and about the same as last winter’s event. Comiket continues through Tuesday. [Anime News Network]

Comics | Kevin Drum does some very loose calculations to check the claim that millennials are addicted to comics, and he reckons that given the current size of the market, about 2 percent of millennials are comics readers. [Mother Jones]

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Forget digital piracy, someone’s bootlegging classic comics

comicexample6

Before trade paperbacks and digital comics, if you wanted to read a classic comic, you — and your wallet — were hard-pressed to find a solution unless the issue was reprinted. But even now, with a large percentage of Golden and Silver age comics available digitally or in collected editions, some fans still want to be able to hold a copy in their hands.

Someone has come up with a way for collectors to do just that, without paying the high prices often asked for the original. However, the approach doesn’t appear to be legal.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Rest beside the weary road

Bending near the earth

Bending near the earth

The Futures Index is taking a break for the holidays. In fact, this post looks to be about 1,300 words on the value of taking a break. You might not think the topic should take that much space, but breaks can be tricky things.

For starters, downtime isn’t always an easy commitment, not least because it means giving up control. If you’re not checking messages until Jan. 2, you’re admitting that the world can get along without you. Accordingly, comics publishers that have new material for Dec. 24 and 31 are telling their customers not to worry — the comics will be there for them. (There are a lot of “important” comics out this week too, like the Robin Rises special and a few installments of the Lantern books’ “Godhead.”)

Still, no matter what — or if — you’re celebrating, the last week of December all but forces you to slow down, because so many others are. Sometimes this slowdown doesn’t occur until the very last hours of the 24th or 31st, when you’ve done all you can do and the ticking clock can no longer be outrun.

DC Comics faces a similar deadline on April 1, when its regular roster of series goes on hiatus for two months. We know already the Convergence comics will feature stories set in previous versions of DC continuity, but so far we can make only educated guesses (at best) about what will be next.

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