DC Collectibles has unveiled four convention-exclusive products that will be offered only to those attending Comic-Con International, held July 18-21 in San Diego.
Fans of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation programming block may want to grab the three-pack of Super Best Friends Forever action figures (above), designed by Lauren Faust and sculpted by Irene Matar. Supergirl, Batgirl and Wonder Girl each stand 6.5 inches, 5.45 inches and 6.8 inches, respectively. The three-pack is priced at $49.95. Or, there’s the Aardman: Superman action figure, designed by Rich Webber and sculpted by Phil Ramirez. Standing at about 6.5 inches, it’s prices at $24.95.
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?
While comics fans may miss seeing new work from Joshua Middleton on comics shelves (the covers to Sword & Sorcery and Before Watchmen were nice!), there’s some consolation in knowing that although the artist isn’t actively illustrating comics he is keeping within the superhero landscape. Middleton recently posted some landscape designs he created for Warner Bros. Animation’s Green Lantern: The Animated Series, which he worked on for some time. What he’s revealed so far is his renditions of Oa, interplanetary headquarters of the Green Lantern Corps. In his brief post, Middleton explains some of the obstacles from an art direction standpoint to the Green Lantern concept and how he overcame them for his work on the series.
“One major problem from an art direction perspective, with Green Lantern: The Animated Series and anything Green Lantern in general, is the overabundance of green,” Middleton writes. “It can be difficult to come up with nice color palettes when everybody and everything in the scene is glowing green. Matters were not made better with the introduction of Red Lanterns, as we now had the world’s weirdest Christmas to deal with.”
Last month we posted shaky footage from a short from Cartoon Network’s DC Nation programming block called “Bat Man of Shanghai.” Featuring an anime-influenced Catwoman in 1930s China, it made me long for the return of DC’s Elseworlds imprint, in which creators reimagined familiar characters in different time periods and settings.
Now, just as the Elseworlds nostalgia had subsided, Cartoon Network has released a three parts of the series online — each spotlights a different character — showing us Bane’s ode to King Kong, Bruce Wayne’s transformation into Bat Man and a high-speed three-way fight.
Back in July when Mark Waid announced that Thrillbent — his digital comics portal — would be ramping up to phase two (as detailed in CBR News Editor Kiel Phegley’s recent Waid interview), I hoped writer Tom Peyer would be part of the mix. Soon enough, I discovered that indeed Peyer was writing Clown Tales, a horror story set to launch this fall. The story should be interesting on many levels, given that this marks Peyer’s first foray into writing horror — and that clowns bored him as a child (as I learned in this interview). While I had Peyer’s attention I also asked him about getting to recently write for TV (on DC Nation/Cartoon Network’s Doom Patrol interstitials) and working for Stephen Colbert back in 2007. Added bonus, at one point Peyer taunts clowns in our discussion.
Tim O’Shea: Was Clown Tales already in the work before you signed onto Thrillbent, or was it developed just for the site?
Tom Peyer: A few years ago I wrote some short horror stories, mainly to see if I would enjoy it. A publisher was planning a clown horror anthology that didn’t end up happening, but I put clowns in some of them just in case. I’d written humor and superheroes, but I’d never gone near horror before. I had a great time and I liked how they came out. It felt like taking a new route to the humor and pathos I always try to write toward anyway. But it felt more direct, maybe because I hadn’t taken that route before.
“Take away the suit of armor and what are you?”
“Uh, genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.”
You too can join the G.B.P.P. Club, courtesy of artist Ryan Astle and TeeFury. Memberships are only available to Tony Stark’s very exclusive organization (even more exclusive than the Avengers, who will let anybody in) for 24 hours, so buy it now if you want it. ” I imagine Tony giving Steve this shirt as a gag gift at Christmas,” Astle said.
In case we didn’t already miss DC Comics’ Elseworlds imprint enough, at Comic-Con International on Sunday Cartoon Network premiered a fantastic clip from DC Nation’s three-part short series “Batman of Shanghai,” featuring an anime-influenced Catwoman in 1930s China (there’s also a cameo by a floppy hat-wearing Bane). If DC Comics doesn’t do something with Shanghai Catwoman — I love that character design — well, they’re really missing the boat. Maybe they can relaunch the character’s solo title (again) in the next wave of the New 52.
Check a somewhat shaky, but surprisingly decent-quality, fan-captured video of the clip below.
DC Entertainment has rolled out details of its new monthly kids magazine and mobile app built around Cartoon Network’s DC Nation programming block, touted at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.
According to Variety, the 64-page DC Nation Super Spectacular will debut on newsstands next month, featuring new comics based on DC Nation shows like Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series, as well as programming details and exclusive content, like “DC Nation Secret Files.”
The DC Nation app, meanwhile, boasts free digital first issues of such comics as Batman Adventures, Superman Adventures, Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! and Tiny Titans, as well as the first six installments of “DC Nation Secret Files.” In addition, more than 100 kid-friendly DC titles, including Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade and the original Young Justice, are available for 99 cents. The features appear virtually identical to those of DC’s LEGO Hero Factory app, which debuted in January; Warner Bros. Interactive’s upcoming video game LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is sponsoring DC Nation Super Spectacular.
The trade paper notes that since debuting in March, the DC Nation animated block has improved Cartoon Network’s season-to-date ratings 32 percent among boys 6 to 11.
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 has announced it will publish the long-hoped-for collection of its 1980s fantasy property Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld in September — no doubt thanks to the character’s inclusion in Cartoon Network’s upcoming DC Nation programming block.
Created by Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and Ernie Colón, Amethyst debuted in 1983, at a time when DC boasted such fantasy series as Warlord, Arion, Lord of Atlantis, and Arok, Son of Thunder. The initial limited series, subsequent short-lived ongoing and later one-shot and miniseries centered on Amy Winston, a teenager who discovers she’s actually the orphaned princess of Gemworld, a magical realm ruled by the evil Dark Opal. In short, it’s the perfect setup for a children’s fantasy story (although the later issues took on a darker tone than the original miniseries).
The 648-page Showcase Presents: Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, Vol. 1, collects the character’s first appearance in 1983′s Legion of Super-Heroes #298, the original Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld 12-issue limited series, the subsequent Amethyst Annual #1, the one-shot with Superman in DC Comics Presents #63 and the first 11 issues of the 16-issue ongoing titled simply Amethyst. That leaves the last four issues of the ongoing, the 1986 Amethyst Special and the final four-issue miniseries for another (thin) volume.
Check out the solicitation information below:
“I had no idea it [Amethyst] was being animated. You know, when you create something, it isn’t unreasonable to imagine it belongs to you. That whoever is in charge in the corporate structure, they’ll want to consult you as to where your character is headed. Not DC Comics. Maybe not any corporation. Maybe we could have been better business people, better negotiators. Amethyst has been through a wringer, twisted by lesser lights than the guys who created her — Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and — if you’ll permit me — me.”