EXCLUSIVE: "Gargoyles" Co-Creator & "Archer" Artist Launch Marvel's "Starbrand & Nightmask"
While most of the political world is following the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jeb(!) Bush and Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been making waves in a few nerd realms. First came his Simpsons impressions, and then his assertion that Captain James T. Kirk was/is/will be a Republican. Now Cruz is listing Watchmen’s Rorschach as one of his favorite superheroes.
However, Cruz isn’t the first candidate to invoke nerd culture. President Obama, himself a Star Trek fan, listed The Amazing Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian as his favorite comics growing up, and was photographed in Metropolis, Illinois, imitating its Superman statue. In return, Obama was immortalized on a Spider-Man cover, and depicted in another Superman-inspired pose by painter Alex Ross.
For that matter, the election year of 2008 featured a couple of seminal superhero films with clear political overtones. The first Iron Man showed its hero working within the military-industrial complex, and The Dark Knight inspired pundits to compare Batman’s surveillance technology to government eavesdropping.
Believe it or not, there’s more to LEGO Dimensions than throwing together a bunch of characters from unrelated franchises into the same video game. There’s actually a story, as this new trailer demonstrates.
You see, evil mastermind Lord Vortech vows to rule the LEGO Multiverse by summoning characters from assorted worlds to help him find the Foundational Elements that will allow him to achieve his goal. When a powerful vortex appears and sweeps up characters from DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings and The LEGO Movie, Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle set out to save their friends, only to discover that Lord Vortech is summoning villains from different LEGO worlds to help him gain control.
It may be aimed at ages 8 to 12, but I have a sneaking suspicion DC Super Heroes Origami will be on the wishlists of more than a few adult comics fans.
Created by origami designer and author John Montroll and illustrator Min Sung Ku, the 448-page book offers step-by-step instructions on how to transform a simple piece of paper into Superman, Wonder Woman, the Daily Planet, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl, for starters. You can even make (no joke!) Jumpa the Kanga and Aquaman’s seahorse Storm.
In an era where the creator’s rights conversation is as loud as its ever been in comics, this week saw some surprising news quietly slip out onto the web: Black Lightning creator Tony Isabella and DC Comics have taken the first steps towards reconciling a very contentious relationship.
The writer has long contended he’s the sole creator of DC’s first black superhero to star in a solo series as the character wasn’t introduced under a work-for-hire agreement but rather a partnership between he and DC. It was only after Isabella sought to buy out the publisher’s interest in the character following the cancellation of that first series in 1978 that he says DC declared artist Trevor Von Eeden as Black Lightning’s co-creator.
While Isabella did some later work with the publisher — most notably the first nine issues of a 13-issue Black Lightning revival in 1995 — he’s spent the majority of the past two decades being very vocal about his discontent with the publisher and their treatment of him. Most recently, the writer spoke out against DC’s choice to revive and redesign the hero as part of the New 52 initiative.
Funko has unveiled a new series of Pop! Heroes vinyl figures inspired by the video game Batman: Arkham Knight.
Debuting in September, the line will feature Batman, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow and, of course, Arkham Knight. Whether additional figures will be released remains to be seen.
The comics I bought this week were full of ex-Teen Titans, and I don’t even read Teen Titans. Besides the usual mimbo antics in Grayson, Donna Troy and someone who looks a lot like Aqualad showed up as antagonists in Wonder Woman and Aquaman, and Wally West was mentioned but not seen in The Flash.
And then there was Cyborg, relaunching the Titan-turned-Leaguer under the guidance of writer David F. Walker, penciler Ivan Reis and inker Joe Prado. Last year, when a Cyborg movie was announced as part of Warner Bros.’ ambitious superhero slate, I thought DC Comics might well look to the original Marv Wolfman/George Pérez New Teen Titans stories as the foundation of any upcoming solo series. Now that series is here, and Vic isn’t quite the same character he was in the 1980s. The 2011 reboot severed his ties to the Titans in favor of an origin based around the Justice League. What’s more, 12 years of animated adventures as part of Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! have no doubt affected readers’ perceptions.
Legal | DC Comics has filed a trademark lawsuit against clothing manufacturer Mad Engine, claiming one of its T-shirt designs infringes on the iconic Superman shield (it replaces the signature “S” with “Dad”). The shirt was sold through Target, which isn’t part of the suit. DC sent a cease-and-desist letter to Mad Engine on June 1, but, the publisher claims, the clothing company didn’t respond until June 19 “in an effort to allow the Infringing T-Shirt to remain available for sale through Father’s Day.” [The Hollywood Reporter]
Retailing | David Harper asked 25 comics retailers how they feel about their business (spoiler: mostly optimistic), what their customer base is like, how they determine which comics to order (some really interesting comments here), and their thoughts on the industry as a whole. With the caveat that it’s a small group, it’s fascinating stuff. [Sktchd]
Passings | Archie Comics artist Tom Moore died yesterday at the age of 86. Moore got his start as an artist in the Navy, where he served during the Korean War: His captain found a caricature that Moore had drawn, and instead of calling him on the carpet, he assigned him to be staff cartoonist. Moore’s comic strip, Chick Call, ran in military publications, and after the war he studied cartooning in New York, with help from the GI Bill. Moore signed on with Archie Comics, drawing one comic book a month, from 1953 until 1961, when he left cartooning for public relations. “It’s important to create characters that can adapt to anything, but whose personalities are consistent,” Moore said in a 2008 interview. “Establish that, and don’t deviate. Betty doesn’t act like Veronica, and Charlie Brown doesn’t act like Lucy.” He returned to cartooning in 1970, drawing Snuffy Smith, Underdog, and Mighty Mouse, and then went back to Archie to help reboot Jughead, staying on until his retirement in the late 1980s. After retiring, Moore taught at El Paso Community College and was a regular customer at All Star Comics. [El Paso Times]
Publishing | DC co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio talk about the comics market as a whole, variant covers, and their move to Burbank, among many other topics, in a three-part interview. [ICv2]
Commentary | Christopher Butcher discusses the way the comics audience has diversified, and the way that parts of the industry (the parts that aren’t involved, basically) have refused to acknowledge the enormous popularity of newer categories of comics by “othering” them: “‘Manga aren’t comics,’ went the discussion. They were, and are in many ways, treated as something else. The success that they had, the massive success that they continue to have, doesn’t ‘count’. All those sales and new readers were just ‘a fad’, and not worthy of interest, respect, or comparison to real comics. It was the one thing that superhero-buying-snobs and art-comics-touting-snobs could agree on (with the exception of Dirk Deppey at TCJ, bless him): This shit just isn’t comics, real comics, therefore we don’t have to engage it.” Butcher sees these attitudes changing at last, though, thanks to the massive commercial and critical success of books like Raina Telgemeier’s Smile (three years on the New York Times graphic novel best-seller list!) and Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer. [Comics212]
Last week, we pointed out that Wes Craig’s variant cover for The Flash #44, celebrating the 75th anniversary of Green Lantern, featured one Galactus-sized cameo. Marvel has now returned the favor with an even subtler guest appearance on one of its own front splahses.
Alex Ross’ cover for Secret Wars #8 is a gorgeous work of art, with Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Doom clashing in the middle as reality rips and explodes around them. You can see the origin of the Hulk; the death of Elektra; the birth of Franklin Richards; and even a ride with the Rawhide Kid, Kid Colt, and, oh, let’s say the Dakota Kid. Down in the bottom left corner of the cover is, of course, Spider-Man. But this isn’t a depiction of just any old “Spider-Man on a radio tower” scene, and he’s actually not alone in that image.
This week, Warner Bros. dismantled a decades old cartoon-themed mural which in recent years served as the public face of the studios’ connection to DC Comics.
Cartoon Brew caught some photos of the removal of stories-high homage to the likes of Superman, Batman, Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo at the Warner Studio lot in Burbank. While the mural once held a “cartoon Mount Rushmore” featuring the likes of Fred Flintstone, since 2009 it has served as the most public expression of the company’s commitment to the DC superhero line.
Of course with a full DC Editorial office now in Burbank, it’s not as though Warners is looking to downplay its ownership of the likes of Batman and Superman any time soon. But with such a long-running cornerstone of the company’s cartoon pride coming down, what could possibly take its place?
This month’s look at DC’s immediate future is going to be a little more concise than usual, because I am dealing with a summer cold which refuses to go away (and it has nothing to do with Comic-Con, to boot). If the Lord had visited a plague of mucous unto Pharaoh, it would have been something like this.
Anyway, in the wake of Comic-Con, DC has released its October solicits to remind us that all those ideas for movies and TV shows have to come from somewhere. Speaking of which, October is also the month when Flash and Arrow return to The CW, and when Supergirl debuts on CBS. Accordingly, I was expecting a little more tie-in product, but I guess that will have to wait.
The biggest news — at least in terms of reader commitment — comes once more from the Bat-office, in the form of the new six-month weekly miniseries Batman And Robin Eternal. Following up structurally, if not quite thematically, on 2014-15’s Batman Eternal, apparently it will deal with the repercussions of a case from the Dick-as-Robin days, and also it will bring back Cassandra Cain. The old case is advertised as “the most disturbing of their crimefighting career,” so yay for that. Presumably it’s “most disturbing to that point,” because by himself the Joker has probably committed a half-dozen fairly disturbing capers.
In the never-ending war to determine once and for all which Big Two comic publisher is definitively the best, America is inherently biased. Yeah, the capital of the United States is Washington, D.C.. Think about that for a sec — !
In all seriousness, Chris Gethard, host of Fusion’s “The Chris Gethard Show,” decided to take the totally subjective, most nerdy of all nerd fights extremely serious while at Comic-Con International in San Diego and petition con-goers to make a real difference by changing the country’s capital to Washington, MARVEL.
Have you ever gotten the Frozen Smile? The eyes say “I have no idea how to respond” while the mouth still thinks everything’s fine?
I got it the other day while talking to a co-worker about Teen Titans Go!. She loves it as much as her kids do, and my daughter loves it as well. I then mentioned that I haven’t had as much of a chance to see it, but I do have all the DVDs from the 2003-06 Teen Titans series. That brought things to a halt. When I mentioned the earlier show, it was evidently like saying I’d read the scripts in the original Klingon, because her face froze after that and she got out only an “Uh-huh….”
Today I’m going to talk about some of DC’s just-announced 2016 miniseries, and Raven in particular, because once again I suspect a lot of potential readers may be giving DC the ol’ frozen smile.
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It really shouldn’t come as a surprise when two very different, yet very popular franchises come together for a special crossover or mash-up. And yet, I don’t think anyone could have seen this one coming: Thomas the Tank Engine meets the DC Universe.
Debuting on YouTube, a new cartoon short features the cast of the pre-school juggernaut franchise as Superman, Batman and Cyborg tackling a pair of iconic DC villains to save the day.
By admitting you remember Crazy Foam, the shaving cream-like kids’ soap, you’re likely dating yourself, but let’s take that risk. Why? Because, like Underoos, Crazy Foam is back — and with DC Comics characters once again on the cans.
Launched in 1965 by American Aerosol Company, Crazy Foam was intended to make bath time fun for kids. As the parade of television commercials throughout the ’70s and ’80s demonstrated, children could spray copious amounts of Crazy Foam — on themselves, on walls or one each other — from colorful canisters featuring the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and Popeye. Instant fun!