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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

moleskine-batman1

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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DC Comics debuts an interactive guide to ‘Convergence’

convergence-interactive

Ahead of the April 1 debut of “Convergence,” which DC Comics bills as “the biggest story in DC history,” the publisher has unveiled an interactive guide to the “Multiverse-shattering” nine-week event.

The above image of Telos hovering before a honeycomb of characters from alternate Earths is likely familiar by now — it was released in November, after all — but on the DC website you can now place your cursor on the individual hexagons to learn more about the worlds they represent. Well, most of the hexagons; DC promises more content will be added.

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Comics A.M. | What does the future hold for conventions?

Emerald City Comicon

Emerald City Comicon

Conventions | Rob Salkowitz, author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, gazes into his crystal ball and predicts some new wrinkles to the convention scene this year, including more sophisticated use of technology: “New innovations such as beacons and near-field communications now enable real-time integration between digital content and the event itself in real time. In English, this means attendees can get instant notifications of nearby items that fit their specific interests, which could help navigate confusing and noisy exhibit halls.” And they could be used for real-time gaming as well. [ICv2]

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Artist’s custom DC and Marvel figures are startlingly realistic

zhang5

We frequently marvel at — or else are unsettled by — the uncanny realism of the figures from Hot Toys and other high-end collectibles companies, but they may have found a rival in artist Xiang Zhang.

Based in Shanghai, China, he works with 1/6th-scale models, creating photorealistic likenesses of Heath Ledger’s Joker, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson and more. Make notes that Zhang is so skilled at repainting and implanting hair, that he’s frequently accused of using Photoshop to fudge the final results.

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Grumpy Old Fan | DC in June strives with 45

It's its own variant

It’s its own variant

March is the final full month of the New 52, so appropriately enough it also brings the solicitations for the first full month of … well, whatever we end up calling these books. (The Fine 49? The Diverse Curse-Reversers? The Too Few For 52 Redo?)

Actually, this month it’s more like the Thrivin’ 45, because these solicits don’t include four ongoing series already announced as part of the post-Convergence lineup: Justice League United, Cyborg, Mystic U and Dark Universe. No doubt they’ll benefit from the extra month’s rest.

Among all the new and returning series are a number of associated changes and comebacks. There’s Tight-Shirt Superman, Mecha Batman, Pointy-Wristed Wonder Woman, Hoodie Green Lantern, the reintroductions of Reneé Montoya and Kate Spencer, and Selina Kyle back in the Cat-suit. Even with all that, though, there’s So! Much! More!

Let’s get started, shall we?

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Detective comics: ‘Batman Eternal’ finally reveals mystery villain

be 50I’m a big fan of weekly comics in general, and DC’s experiments with the format over the past decade in particular. Some of those weeklies have been among the best DC comics I’ve ever read (Wednesday Comics, 52), some have been so bad I checked out after after the first few issues (Countdown, Earth 2: World’s End), and some have fallen in between (I enjoyed Trinity, and have never hated The New 52: Futures End enough to drop it).

Batman Eternal, which published its 50th issue Wednesday, has been a great example of what’s so enjoyable about weekly comics (there’s something for you at the shop every Wednesday, they offer space for a large cast and sprawling story), in addition to providing a good blueprint for future weeklies (co-plotters, a small group of rotating scripters who also serve as consulting writers, and a focus on a single franchise), even while representing the main weakness of the format (without massive amounts of lead time, super-speedy artists or a carefully assembled roster of artists with compatible styles, the books will necessarily feature sub-par, often disjointed artwork that will only read worse in trade).

I’ve actually gotten more and more excited about Batman Eternal the longer it’s run, as there’s been a mystery to the storyline regarding the identity of the villain. On more than one occasion a villain appears who seems to fit the bill, only to be dismissed later, revealing that he’s either working for someone else, or was invited to take part in a conspiracy to destroy Batman and Gotham City by a person unknown to him.

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DC editor Rickey Purdin moves to Marvel as talent manager

B_WWzyHWEAACbOQ.jpg_largeWith the move of DC Comics’ editorial department from New York City to Burbank, California, rapidly approaching, Wednesday brought news of one DC editor who’s staying on the East Coast while switching publishers: Rickey Purdin, a DC Comics associate editor, has moved to Marvel as the company’s new talent manager.

“I can’t express how thrilling it is to join Marvel after so many years of reading these comics and being shaped by the characters, stories, and creative teams,” Purdin said in a statement. “Aiding Marvel’s extremely talented editorial team is a dream come true and incredible developments are already in the works.”

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Jason Dussault debuts comics-inspired mosaic artwork in New York City

JasonDussault3

Next week, mosaic artist Jason Dussault will present “Deconstructive/Constructive,” his body of comics-inspired artwork, at the Hoerle-Guggenheim Gallery in New York City.

“Growing up in a small rural Canadian town in the late seventies and early eighties with young parents struggling to find their way, I spent much of my time alone, and the only access to art I had was comic books,” Dussault explained in a statement. “I would spend hours trying to redraw these characters. ‘Deconstructive/Constructive’ is my tribute to comic book art, my first love and inspiration.”

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Grumpy Old Fan | Mystery of the missing monikers

Who wants to be a TV star?

Anyone here want to be on TV?

This week it’s back into the DC/CW television universe, as news has broken about three “major DC characters,” each new to the TV realm, who will be part of the upcoming Arrow/Flash spinoff series. Some brief character descriptions are now fueling speculation about these folks. So who are The Traveler, Female Warrior and Mystery Hero — and why do we want to know?

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Here’s your chance to win some original Bernard Chang art

bernard chang

With the release this week of DC Comics’ Green Lantern Corps #40, artist Bernard Chang has announced he’ll be giving away his original interior art from that final issue.

“Issues 21-40 have been some of the most challenging and yet rewarding work of my career,” he wrote on Instagram. “As a show of my appreciation, I am going to give away ALL of my original interior art pages from the historic final issue 40 to you! I am cutting up all the pages into individual panels (except pgs 17, 19, 24-25, and 28, which will be raffled off).”

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Jamie S. Rich joins Vertigo as senior editor

jamie-rich

As DC Entertainment continues to staff its Burbank, California, headquarters, prolific writer Jamie S. Rich announced he’s been hired by Vertigo as senior editor. He began work there Wednesday.

“Lots of exciting things in the works,” he wrote on Twitter. “Stay tuned.”

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