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Grumpy Old Fan | After ‘Convergence,’ the flood

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun

Finally, it’s here. After months of speculating about the practical effects of DC Comics’ cross-country move, the publisher revealed its regular lineup, which starts in June. With 20 new ongoings and four new miniseries joining 25 returning titles, it’s widely seen as the end of the New 52. I wrote about that aspect of DC’s news over the weekend, but today it’s time to dig into the emerging details of the new superhero line.

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Actually, let’s begin with one more nail in the New 52’s coffin: Just 12 of those initial 52 ongoings will continue unabated in June’s lineup. Moreover, eight of those 12 are books DC will publish until the last sun flickers out: Action Comics, Superman, Detective Comics, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Justice League. The other four charter New 52 members surviving to June are Batgirl, Catwoman, Green Arrow and Aquaman.

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Superman made his radio debut 75 years ago today

Seventy-five years ago today, radio listeners first heard the immortal words “Up in the sky! Look! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!” And the rest is pop-culture history.

Within months of his debut in Action Comics #1, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuter’s superhero had already made the leap to newspaper comics pages, but the radio offered DC Comics an opportunity to reach an even larger audience.

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It’s ‘Flash Appreciation Day’ (minus the presidential declaration)

flash-reverse flash

As you may have guessed by the absence of an early-morning address from the White House, the organizers of the petition to have Feb. 11 declared by President Obama as “Flash Appreciation Day” fell short of their goal. However, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

No, they contend, the blame falls squarely on the Reverse-Flash. It seems the WhiteHouse.gov petition actually received the 10,000 signatures required for consideration, promptly leading to a presidential declaration. However, Reed Beebe of Nothing But Comics writes that the Scarlet Speedster’s arch-nemesis “went back in time and changed history so that none of that happened.  In our altered timeline, the petition still received an impressive amount of signatures (over 700), and a lot of fan support, but just not enough to merit official consideration by the President.”

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Plan for Superman statue finally takes flight in Cleveland

A fiberglass prototype of the planned Superman statue

A fiberglass prototype of the planned Superman statue

Long recognized as the birthplace of Superman, Cleveland may at long last get a statue commemorating the creation of the Man of Steel.

According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, plans are under way to erect a 12-foot burnished-steel statue of Superman near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, about five miles from the house where teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster dreamed up the superhero in the early 1930s.

Sculpted by David Deming, who’s been working on the project for nearly seven years, Superman will be mounted atop a 30- to 35-foot pedestal, with smaller, life-size statues of Siegel, Shuster and Lois Lane model Joanne Siegel looking up at him.

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DiDio compares DC’s post-‘Convergence’ plans to ‘Infinite Crisis’

Teen Titans during the "one-year gap"

Teen Titans during the “one-year gap”

If DC Comics’ announced overhaul of its publishing line in the aftermath of Convergence took you back nine years to Infinite Crisis and “One Year Later,” you’re definitely not alone.

“To me, the similarities between the two are quite prevalent,” DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio wrote over the weekend on his Facebook page. “In terms of expectations and challenges, the lessons learned in the ‘One Year Later jump’ were applied to insure our June series (hopefully) don’t experience some of the same pitfalls (you can draw your own parallels after reading).”

Launching in March 2006, the “One Year Later” storyline pushed the narratives of all of the DC Universe titles one year after the events of Infinite Crisis, allowing creators to explore the ramifications of the crossover’s continuity changes (there were also numerous series cancellations, launches, relaunches and renamings). That time gap was then filled in with the weekly series 52.

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Not to bury ‘The New 52,’ but to praise it (sort of)

dc comics-new 52

This past week, DC Comics revealed the new roster for its line of superhero books. Starting in June, the publisher is debuting 24 new titles (including a handful of miniseries) to go along with 25 returning series. Because these numbers don’t add up to 52 ongoing series, and because the phrase “The New 52″ doesn’t appear anywhere in either of DC’s press releases about the roster, many comics news sites (including CBR, ComicsAlliance, and The Beat) have deemed this to be the end of the New 52 brand.

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Mezco teases Mutant Leader ‘Dark Knight Returns’ action figure

mezco-dkr-cropped

Mezco, which in October unveiled its Dark Knight Returns Batman 1/12th-scale action figure, is now teasing an unexpected addition to its One:12 Collective line: the Mutant leader from the landmark 1986 miniseries by Frank Miller, Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley.

Details are, well, virtually nonexistent. The toy company posted the photo of the recreated standoff, accompanied by a DKR quote — “You don’t get it boy .. .this isn’t a mud-hole … it’s an operating table. And I’m the surgeon.” — and a note saying it’s gearing up for a pre-Toy Fair event to be held today.

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Grumpy Old Fan | ‘Crisis’ at 30, Part 3

He's got the whole issue in his hands

He’s got the whole issue in his hands

The third issue of Crisis on Infinite Earths, which appeared in comics shops 30 years ago this week, or thereabouts, is probably the first to feel all “Crisis-y.” After two table-setting issues introducing the Multiverse to the characters and situations that would reshape it, Crisis #3 ramps up the carnage. From the New Teen Titans to the Haunted Tank, from the Legion of Super-Heroes to Jonah Hex, and otherwise across time and space, the issue is one giant disaster-movie trailer.

Now, I didn’t say the issue itself is a disaster, but some seams may be starting to show in the overall story. This 25-page installment was written and edited by Marv Wolfman, penciled by George Pérez, inked by Dick Giordano and Mike DeCarlo, 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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Kotobukiya teases ’80s flashback to DC Super Powers Collection

super powers2

Fans who grew up in the 1980s no doubt fondly remember Kenner’s Super Powers Collection, if not for the action figures themselves, then for the comic-book miniseries, ubiquitous ads and the two Saturday morning cartoons it inspired (Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians). Ah, the ’80s, when many animated series were merely long commercials for toys …

As the name “Super Powers” suggests, the emphasis was on the characters’ powers. OK, not so much powers as whichever action a figure performed when a kid squeezed its arms or legs. Aquaman had a “Deep Sea Kick,” The Flash “Lightning Legs,” Wonder Woman “Deflector Bracelets” and so on. I remember them being fun, if perhaps overly muscular, even for comic-book superheroes. But those damned capes …

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Yamato Toys USA reveals its Harley Quinn statue

harley1-cropped

Considering that DC Comics has proclaimed February as Harley Quinn Month, it’s only fitting that Yamato Toys USA has revealed its upcoming 1/6th scale statue of the fan-favorite antihero.

Designed by Luis Royo and sculpted by Shin Tanabe, the resin statue stands about 10.25 inches tall, including its base, and comes complete with art card, certificate of authenticity and number plate.Priced at $250, the Harley Quinn statue is set to arrive in May.

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McFarlane reveals abandoned Spawn/Batman crossover plans

spawn-batman

Todd McFarlane has unveiled a glimpse of a planned Spawn/Batman crossover that never saw the light of day. In what the Image Comics co-founder characterizes as “a bit of fate,” the project was to have been drawn by current Batman artist, and longtime McFarlane collaborator, Greg Capullo.

“Years ago there was a deal for DC Comics and myself to do a cool Batman/Spawn cross-over book (for those not hip to comic lingo, that’s a book in which both characters are in the same issue),” McFarlane writes in a Facebook post accompanying the long-lost cover. “I [was] to have written and inked it, while a talented penciller, Greg Capullo, was going to draw it. For a variety of reasons (mostly on my shoulders) the book never got off the ground, but a few pages and promo pieces were done for it. Below is one such piece drawn by Greg and inked by myself.”

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DC Comics charts ‘Superman’s first new power in decades’

super flare

Ahead of the debut of the Man of Steel’s new power and costume in Wednesday’s Superman #38, DC Comics has released a graphic charting the history of his abilities, from super-speed to flight to, now, super flare.

The conclusion of the “Men of Tomorrow” storyline by Geoff Johns, John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson, the new issue apparently climaxes with the unleashing of what the writer calls “the most destructive power Superman has.”

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Kotobukiya offers peek at Wasp statue, teases Raven

kotobukiyu-wasp2-cropped

Ahead of Toy Fair 2015, Kotobukiya has offered the first glimpse at its upcoming Wasp statue, part of its Marvel Bishoujo line, accompanied by the quote, “We need a name! It should be something colorful and dramatic, like … the Avengers!” It’s from 1963’s The Avengers #1, of course.

In addition, the Japanese collectibles company teased a Raven statue, part of the DC Bishoujo line, with a detail of the concept art and the quote from 1983’s The New Teen Titans #27: “Do what you know is best. Speak strongly and your words can level the mightiest of mountains.”

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11-year-old argues for more female superheroes, and DC agrees

justice league chibiEleven-year-old Rowan has the same complaint that a lot of fans do — that there simply aren’t enough comics, movies and toys featuring female superheroes. So she wrote a letter to DC Comics, saying, “Please do something about this. Girls read comics too and they care.”

Today, DC answered.

The letter, posted Wednesday this week on the blog of family friend David M. Perry, garnered a lot of attention on Twitter. “I love superheroes and have been reading comics and watching superhero cartoons and movies since I was very young,” Rowan writes. “I’m a girl, and I’m upset because there aren’t very many girl superheroes or movies and comics from DC.”

The goes on to point out the disparity between the number of toys based on male heroes and those based on female heroes, not to mention the lack of a Wonder Woman television series. “Marvel Comics made a movie about a talking tree and raccoon awesome,” she notes, “but you haven’t made a movie with Wonder Woman.”

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Grumpy Old Fan | The Power Girl problem

Anyone here from Earth-Two?

Who’s here from out of town?

For a while now, it’s been hard to avoid talking about some sort of Multiverse.

Between Forever Evil, Futures End and World’s End, The Multiversity, Convergence, and recent looks back at Crisis on Infinite Earths, the grand structure of DC Comics’ cosmos has come back into the spotlight. Even Marvel is jumping into the deep end of the infinitely varied pool. (All things being equal, there will be another Crisis post next week, so the talk will continue at least in this space.)  While I’m inclined to leave Battleworld and its ramifications to the experts, it’s all been reminding me of a “Power Girl Problem” — and no, it’s not costume-related. This week we’ll talk Kara Zor-L and a few other continuity tangles, with an eye towards avoiding future pitfalls.

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Paul O’Brien sums up the basic difficulties nicely:

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