DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee will appear with a half-dozen DC creators on the Jan. 22 episode of Face Off, the Syfy competition series that pits special-effects makeup artists against each other.
The episode, shot in July at Comic-Con International, challenges the competitors to create their own superheroes with assistance and advice from Lee, Mark Buckingham, Cliff Chiang, Tony S. Daniel, David Finch, Nicola Scott and J.H. Williams III. The winning design will be featured in Justice League Dark #16, which goes on sale Jan. 30.
Publishing | As part of its coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Variety spotlights DC Entertainment’s digital moves, particularly its “Digital First” initiative, with titles like Smallville, Arrow and Batman: Arkham Unhinged, and the increase in sales since the company began going day-and-date with its comic books in September 2011. “What we launched last year as an experiment, we’ll increase the frequency now because it’s gotten so popular,” Hank Kanalz, senior vice president of Vertigo and Integrated Publishing, says of Digital First. [Variety]
Retailing | Halifax, Nova Scotia, comics retailer Calum Johnston is looking for a new location for Strange Adventures, as the current location is being redeveloped and the rent will go up as a result. Johnston would rather pay for more staff than pay a higher rent: “When people come in looking for a major title like the death of Peter Parker in Marvel Comics’ The Amazing Spider-Man, they inevitably have questions about other titles. It is important to have staff available to keep customers up to date on new developments and titles.” [The Chronicle Herald]
While I would generally applaud efforts by comics publishers to reach young readers, the newly announced “DC Comics Super-Villains” program strikes me as more than a little tone deaf.
To celebrate October, “the spookiest time of the year,” DC Entertainment is introducing kids to the bad guys of the DC Universe with a multi-platform “Know Your Super-Villains” campaign that includes a mini-poster (above), an online quiz, “Who’s Who”-type guides in the DC Nation comics, a contest and the release of the DC Comics Super-Villains: The Joker’s Last Laugh DVD collection.
Never mind the Aaron Lopresti poster, which features a mishmash of villains from different eras, from early-’80s Lex Luthor to New 52 Darkseid (admit it, you went straight to continuity concerns). My question is, aside from extra website traffic and some DVD sales, what’s the purpose of this campaign?
Created by DC Entertainment and Craftsman, Craftsman Bolt-On System Saves the Justice League — yes, that is the title — introduces the world to The Technician, a square-jawed fix-it man tasked with keeping the Hall of Justice in working order. Everything from Wonder Woman’s invisible jet to the Batmobile to the security system at the Justice League headquarters are maintained with a squeeze of the trigger on the cordless drill/driver. (Never mind that a team that boasts Cyborg, Batman and The Flash could probably handle all of that itself).
However, The Technician isn’t merely a repairman. No, he’s the overalls-wearing, 5 o’clock shadow-sporting champion who — with the aid of the attachable hammer drill, impact driver and other what’s-its — takes down The Key and … well, I don’t want to spoil it for you. But The Technician is all that and modest, too, admitting, “It was my Craftsman Bolt-On Tool System that saved the day. Couldn’t have done it without this!” So, really, The Technician is more like the Craftsman Bolt-On Tool System’s sidekick.
The custom comic, written by Joshua Williamson and illustrated by Christian Duce, will be available for free Oct. 11-14 at the DC Comics booth at New York Comic Con, where, according to Forbes, there will be “a live-action project build of The Technician’s headquarters using the Bolt-On tool.” Fan will also be encouraged to upload their own ideas for The Technician’s next adventure.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment have released details for the Injustice: Gods Among Us Collector’s Edition, which goes on sale in April in North America for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii U.
Developed by Netherrealm Studios, the company behind last year’s Mortal Kombat reboot, Injustice: Gods Among Us is a fighting game featuring such DC Comics characters as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, The Flash and Nightwing engaging in epic battles on a world where the line between good and evil is blurred.
The Collector’s Edition features:
Alex Segura has rejoined DC Entertainment as executive director of publicity, he announced today at The Source.
He previously served as publicity manager at the publisher from 2006 to 2010 before taking the job as executive director of publicity and marketing at Archie Comics, where he also wrote last year’s four-part Archie Meets KISS story. He was promoted in June to vice president — publicity and marketing.
“This is an important time at DC Entertainment. And a great time to be DC Entertainment. The New 52 is in full swing,” Segura wrote at The Source. “The company is crackling with a creative energy that’s never been seen before – in comics and beyond. And while I could take up a lot of Internet real estate listing all the great things coming up, we’ll save that for later. Short version: big stuff is happening. Get ready.”
Segura will report to Courtney Simmons, senior vice president of publicity. His hiring likely fills the void left by the departure in April of Vice President of Publicity David Hyde, who had been with the company for nearly nine years.
Only a day after confirming the inclusion of Cyborg and Nightwing,Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment have released a new full-length Comic-Con International trailer for Injustice: Gods Among Us, the fighting game being developed by NetherRealm Studios — the studio behind Mortal Kombat.
Scheduled for release next year, Injustice: Gods Among Us features a large cast of DC Comics characters, from Batman and Wonder Woman to Harley Quinn and Solomon Grundy, in a world where the lines between good and evil are blurred. Comic-Con attendees have a chance to try their hand at the game this weekend at the DC Entertainment booth (#1915).
Rocksteady Studios, the British developer behind Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequel Batman: Arkham City, is believed to be developing a new installment of the blockbuster video-game series that will feature Superman, Wonder Woman and DC Comics’ other major heroes.
Variety reports the Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment game will serve as a prequel to 2009′s Arkham Asylum and revolve around Batman’s first meeting with his arch-nemesis The Joker, which apparently occurs around the time of the Justice League’s formation. Although the trade paper references DC comics of the 1950s, it seems more likely the team lineup will reflect the publisher’s New 52.
In a bid to retain full ownership of the Man of Steel, Warner Bros. filed a brief on Friday asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a 2008 decision that granted the heirs of Jerry Siegel half the rights to the original Superman story, and to enforce a deal abandoned by the writer’s family seven years earlier. If the 9th Circuit chooses not to rule, the studio wants the case to be remanded to a district court for trial.
In its 117-page brief, Warner Bros. seeks to overturn the earlier ruling that terminated the transfer of copyright to the Superman story in 1938′s Action Comics #1 under the 1976 Copyright Act. The 2008 decision allowed the Siegel family to reclaim many of the Man of Steel’s defining elements, including his costume, Lois Lane, his origin and secret identity — paving the way for the estate of artist Joe Shuster to do the same in 2013 — while leaving Warner Bros. and DC Comics with such later additions as Lex Luthor, kryptonite and Jimmy Olsen. As Hollywood, Esq. reports, the Siegel heirs appealed in December 2011, arguing they should have been permitted to recapture the rights in later Superman comics, which they contend Siegel and Shuster created “on spec,” and then sold to DC for $10 a page.
Batman fans on this side of the pond who have been eagerly awaiting word on when the Batman Live tour would hit the United States need wait no longer–according to the tour’s website, the multimillion-dollar production arrives in Anaheim Sept. 5-9, followed by stops in Los Angeles, Minnesota, Las Vegas and more.
Adapted from the DC Comics characters and stories, Batman Live focuses on Robin’s quest for justice, which leads him to follow in the footsteps of his hero – the mysterious vigilante known as Batman – much to the dismay of his protective guardian, billionaire Bruce Wayne, whom the audience knows is secretly Batman. Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson must learn to overcome their own fears and forge their own family – with the help of Police Commissioner James Gordon and Bruce’s trusted butler, Alfred Pennyworth – if they’re going to survive the combined forces of Batman’s larger-than-life rogues’ gallery, some of the most famous and beloved villains of the 20th century.
With a 42-member cast, Batman Live also features Alfred, Joker, Catwoman, The Riddler, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and The Penguin. The action takes place in several settings from the famed stories, including Gotham City, Wayne Manor, the Batcave, and Arkham Asylum.
Here are the North American dates they’ve announced so far:
Anaheim, CA — Sept. 5-9
St. Paul, MN — Sept. 13-16
San Jose, CA — Sept. 20-23
Los Angeles, CA — Sept. 27-30
Las Vegas, NV — Oct. 3-7
Oklahoma City, OK — Oct. 10-14
Rio Rancho, NM — Oct. 17-21
Colorado Springs, CO — Oct. 23-24
Loveland, CO — Oct. 26-28
When DC Comics and comiXology initially launched their branded DC app, you could find both DC Comics and Vertigo books in it to download. The in August of 2010, all the Vertigo titles disappeared from the app’s store. The DC app is a 12+ age-rated app, and the more adult content of Vertigo books didn’t meet Apple’s standards for being aimed at 12-year-old kids. Vertigo titles were relegated to being sold through the Comics by comiXology app … at least until today.
DC Entertainment and comiXology have launched a Vertigo app to sell and promote all of Vertigo’s digital titles. To kick it off, they’re holding a three-day in-app sale on all Sandman titles, which you can download for 99 cents each.
The timing couldn’t be better, as Vertigo prepares to launch four new titles over the coming weeks, starting with the Fables spinoff title Fairest today. As for the app itself, it’s no different than the other comiXology apps in terms of functionality, at least as far as I can tell in the first few minutes of installing it. And like those apps, it will automatically sync up your digital Vertigo purchases made elsewhere when you log in.
“Making all of our digital titles available in one downloadable location provides readers even more accessibility to our vast array of ground-breaking stories. What’s better than that? I can’t wait to get the app on my phone.” said Karen Berger, executive editor, Vertigo. “With four new series launching in March, this is the perfect time for fans to download the Vertigo app and keep coming back each and every week.”
“As the digital landscape becomes increasingly crowded, this stand alone app underscores DCE’s commitment to growing and spotlighting Vertigo by directly addressing its unique reader base,” stated Hank Kanalz, senior vice president of digital, DC Entertainment. “Vertigo fans can now access same day digital content faster and more conveniently on their iOS devices.”
With less than two weeks until the second-season premiere of Young Justice, Little Orbit and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have announced a video game based on the Cartoon Network series.
Arriving in early 2013 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Young Justice: Legacy is set between seasons 1 and 2 of the animated series, with an original storyline by show producers Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti.
Inspired by the DC Comics series of the same name, Young Justice premiered in November 2010, with teen heroes Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis serving as the covert-operations team of the Justice League while also honing their skills under the watchful eyes of their mentors. DC launched a new Young Justice comic series last year based on the cartoon.
DC Comics’ sweeping linewide relaunch appealed primarily to avid fans and lapsed readers, according to the unprecedented survey conducted last fall by the Nielsen National Research Group. The publisher presented the results Thursday in Dallas at the annual meeting of ComicsPRO, the direct-market trade association.
More than 70 percent of respondents described themselves as avid fans who visit the comic shop once a week, while more than 25 percent of in-store consumers were lapsed readers. Just 5 percent characterized themselves as new or first-time readers.
Ninety-three percent of respondents were male, and more than 50 percent reported an annual income of less than $60,000 — a figure that John Rood, executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development, told ICv2.com “validated DC’s attempt to hold the price point for most comics to $2.99.” Just 2 percent were under the age of 18, with an overwhelming majority of respondents falling between the ages of 18 and 44 (no real surprise).
Also worth noting: 50 percent of digital readers also read print comics, while just 16 percent of print readers said they read or purchased digital comics. Forty-eight percent of digital buyers were over the age of 35.
The three-pronged survey was conducted between Sept. 26 and Oct. 11, specifically targeting consumers who purchased DC’s New 52 titles. In-store questionnaires — you’ll recall Patton Oswalt’s encounter with a “pushy” Nielsen employee — accounted for 167 responses, while 5,336 came from the online survey. A third group of 626 was pulled from customers who purchased New 52 books through comiXology or the DC app.
Addressing one of the more frequent reactions to his involvement in DC Comics’ newly announced Before Watchmen project, J. Michael Straczynski has tackled the question, “How would you feel if Babylon 5 was being done without your permission?” His answer is, well, a little complicated.
The writer, who’s penning Dr. Manhattan and Nite Owl for the sprawling prequel to the acclaimed 1986 miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, drew some criticism yesterday when he told Comic Book Resources, “A lot of folks feel that these characters shouldn’t be touched by anyone other than Alan, and while that’s absolutely understandable on an emotional level, it’s deeply flawed on a logical level. Based on durability and recognition, one could make the argument that Superman is the greatest comics character ever created. But neither Alan nor anyone else has ever suggested that no one other than Shuster and Siegel should ever be allowed to write Superman. Alan didn’t pass on being brought on to write Swamp Thing, a seminal comics character created by Len Wein, and he did a terrific job. He didn’t say ‘No, no, I can’t, that’s Len’s character.’ Nor should he have.”
That of course led more than a few people to ask how Straczynski, who created the 1990s space opera Babylon 5, would feel if someone else were to develop a sequel, or prequel — “Babylon 4″? — to the television series (a revival has been long hoped for by fans, but the writer denied rumors as recently as August that he’s in negotiations with Warner Bros.). To answer the question, which he characterizes as “How would you feel if Babylon 5 was being done without your permission?,” Straczynski took to his Facebook page last night, writing, “It’s a fair question, and it needs to be fairly answered … but it has to be an honest comparison, apples to apples, not apples to pomegranates.”
“My history with Watchmen goes way back. In 1986 I was working at Thunder Road Comics in Burlington, New Jersey, and I sold every issue of Watchmen as they came out. It was a pretty amazing time: The Dark Knight Returns was also shipping, so superhero comics were enjoying a banner year. The mullets, parachute pants, and New Coke made up for it, though. YIKES.
Several years back, I was one of the first artists to contribute designs to Zack Snyder’s film adaption of Watchmen. I mean, I only worked on the film for, like, eight minutes, but I cast a long shadow! Did you like Silk Spectre in latex? That was ALL ME. That’s right — I’m preening!
So, you see, I have some strange sort of orbital relationship to Watchmen. I feel pretty honored to be working it. I’m looking forward to drawing all these characters. Yes, Doctor Manhattan is an unusual choice to assign me to, but I’m assured that DC has a plan! Maybe they believe that, since I’m well-associated with drawing female anatomy, I’m qualified to handle blue penises. Wait … that doesn’t sound right …”
– Dr. Manhattan artist Adam Hughes, kind of addressing one of the first questions that arose when he was confirmed as one of the creators involved with DC Comics’ Before Watchmen prequels