Welcome once again to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy based on certain spending limits — $15, $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we call the “Splurge” item. Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
It’s a weird week for new releases, with everyone but Marvel taking it easy and pulling back on massive hauls in order to give our wallets a nice holiday break (unless you’re a Marvel completest, in which case, yowza. Look out). That said, if I had $15, I’d put it towards the special 200th issue of What If? ($4.99), the first issue of event tie-in Chaos War: X-Men ($3.99) because I’m curious how Chris Claremont and Louise Simonson handle Marvel’s version of Blackest Night, and the second issue of Scott Snyder and Jock’s Detective Comics run (#872, $3.99), because I was really happily surprised by how much I enjoyed the first.
If I had $30, I’d put Chaos War and What If? back on the shelf, and get Emitown ($24.99) instead. I’ve heard really great things about this print collection of Emi Lenox’s autobio webcomic, and I like the idea of seeing 2011 in by discovering a new cartoonist to love.
Splurging, I’d go back to Marvel, with the brand new Ka-Zar collection by Mark Waid and Andy Kubert ($19.99). I missed out on this series back in the 1990s, but as a fan of both fish-out-of-water stories and Mark Waid stories, something tells me that this might be right up my street.
Welcome to another installment of “Food or Comics?” Every week we set certain hypothetical spending limits on ourselves and go through the agony of trying to determine what comes home and what stays on the shelves. So join us as we run down what comics we’d buy if they only had $15 and $30 to spend, as well as what we’d get if we had some “mad money” to splurge with.
Check out Diamond’s full release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
If I had $15:
I’d pick up Salimba ($9.99), because it’s Paul Chadwick drawing a jungle girl who fights pirates. Then I’d add Chaos War: Alpha Flight #1 ($3.99) to that pile. I’m a huge Alpha Flight fan and can’t wait to read about the original team’s new adventure, even if they are dead.
Scott Snyder, who writes the awesome Vertigo title American Vampire, is set to make his debut on Detective Comics next week. Over on DC’s the Source blog, he talks about his upcoming run on the book with artist Jock.
“On the surface, the run will constitute a kind of back-to-basics approach, with Dick Grayson, as the newly anointed Batman of Gotham, solving brutal crimes around the city with new, high-tech CSI toys,” Snyder said. “But the run will also be about the dark and mysterious relationship the city has with Bat. Because for Bruce, Gotham has produced the Joker, Two-Face and all the great villains we know and love as dark and twisted reflections of Bruce himself. And now, with Dick in the cowl, the city seems to be changing, becoming meaner, more vicious. Which makes him wonder – what if being Batman in Gotham means having to face your worst childhood fears come to life, in the flesh? What if Gotham is like a black funhouse mirror to whoever wears the cowl?”
Crime | A St. Louis retailer was subdued Thursday night after a nearly four-hour standoff with police, who had attempted to arrest him on rape and weapons charges. Officers reportedly arrived at Legends Comics & Sports Cards late Thursday afternoon to serve warrants Kenneth McClure when the 57-year-old store owner drew a gun. The officers took cover inside the store and radioed for assistance, and by 9 p.m. McClure was taken into custody. He had been charged in the first-degree statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl, third-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon. McClure is being held on a $75,000 bond. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Riverfront Times]
Graphic novels | Jeff Lemire’s Essex County and Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki Skim are among the CBC’s prestigious Canada Reads program’s Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade. Voting continues online through Nov. 7 for the final Top 10. [Canada Reads, via Top Shelf]
Retailing | Laura Hudson surveys a handful of retailers about what part higher cover prices may have played in August’s plummeting comics sales. “This summer has underperformed, and I think [the $3.99 price point] is a big part of it,” says Chris Rosa of Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles, “but also I think the lack of an event and the fact that the big books at both [companies] are extended denouements to events. There’s nothing really inspiring people to run out to the stores. People are tired of buying four Avengers titles at $3.99 a pop.” [Comics Alliance]
Publishing | Tom Mason looks at the return of Atlas Comics: “If you were 13 years-old in 1975 when the original books were out, you’d be 48 today. In other words, the age of the average direct market fanboy. But in order for these new books to succeed, they’d have to appeal beyond nostalgia because with most Marvel and DC comics at $4.00 a pop, you’ve got to have something special and excellent to lure some of those buyers into your own circus tent.” [Comix 411]
Jock’s website has been a treasure trove of sneak peeks lately, from his covers for Tron: Betrayal to unused concept art for a Dune film to his cover for Daredevil: Reborn #1 (okay, the last one debuted first on Twitter, but still). Now comes a first look at the cover for Detective Comics #872, the second issue of his upcoming (ongoing) run on the series with American Vampire writer Scott Snyder.
It’s the second installment of “The Black Mirror” arc, in which “a series of brutal murders pushes Batman’s detective skills to the limit and forces him to confront one of Gotham City’s oldest evils.” Detective Comics #872 is due in stores in December. See the full cover after the break.
DC Comics announced on Friday that Scott Snyder, who takes over the writing chores on Detective Comics in November, is also writing a back-up feature for the book starring Commissioner Gordon. Snyder will be joined by artist Francesco Francavilla on the feature.
“I’m a huge fan of Francesco’s work and have been for quite some time,” Snyder told DC’s The Source blog. “His style is dark and daring with a good amount of noir to it, but there’s also a striking physicality to his art – his characters always look very real, very vulnerable and human. Which is why I always thought he’d be perfect for the job; because this story is dark and dramatic with some big revelations, but it’s also about Jim Gordon, the man, coming to terms with some very tough skeletons from his past… Or rather, one skeleton in particular – someone who has just now returned to Gotham, too… So I simply could not be more excited about Francesco’s involvement. With Jock on feature, Francesco on back-up, this is exactly the team I’d hoped for! (Huge giant-penny-sized thanks to our editor Mike Marts for the creative freedom and support.) Can’t wait to see what you think of the book, DC Nation!”
Kevin is out sick today, so I’m filling in on Comics A.M. … apologies for the lateness.
Publishers | Viz Senior Vice President and General Manager Alvin Lu discusses the state of the company after the layoffs that occurred in May, as well as the overall manga market. “We continue to get great support from our retail partners. They do see that these very popular series continue to do well. They are getting up there in the 40s and 50s of the volume count, and there is the challenge of bringing in newer readers, to catch them up. I was looking though a calendar from several years ago when we were looking at Bleach Vol. 5 or something. That is a conversation we’ve been having with the bookstores, and they’re being very responsive on how to work with us, to continue to drive the category. They’ve been very supportive of helping us launch new series as well. So it’s a balancing act of getting the space to launch new series while nurturing the more mature series that continue to enjoy a loyal readership.” [ICv2]
Events | Brian Heater from the Daily Cross Hatch and Sarah Morean from Blog Chicka Blog Blog have declared Aug. 28 “International Read Comics in Public” Day. They’ve started a blog that features, as you might guess, people reading comics in public. [Daily Cross Hatch]
Morrison, Finch, Cornell, Paquette, Snyder, Daniel, Tomasi, Gleason, Scott…Larroca?: A Batman news round-up
Not since Bane broke all the lunatics out of Arkham Asylum has Batman had this eventful a week. Perhaps to avoid the avalanche of news coming out of San Diego next week, DC has spent the past few days announcing a slew of new Batman projects and creative teams. And heck, even Marvel got in on the act, sorta…
DC rolled out two more variant covers this week, as artists continue to provide their renditions of classic DC covers. Ironically, the two artists featured here are responsible for a good number of classic covers themselves.
First up, here’s Walt Simonson’s version of Jerry Robinson’s Detective Comics #69 cover, which will be a variant cover for Detective #866:
Here’s a great way to celebrate your 700th issue … have Mike Mignola draw a variant cover based on a classic issue.
Above is Mignola’s cover for Batman #700, based on the cover to Detective Comics #168 by Lew Sayre Schwartz. DC’s Alex Segura says this is the first of many variant covers they’re doing this year by “some of the biggest names in the industry,” to celebrate DC’s 75th anniversary.
“There is no drama here, folks. It is as it appears,” Rucka wrote this morning. “I’m stepping away from DC to pursue different opportunities. Nothing more nefarious than that. Nothing less sinister. Time is a commodity that is as precious to me as it is rare, and there’s simply not enough of it.”
In the post, Rucka stressed that he tells stories — whether they’re in the form of comics, prose novels or video games — and will continue to do so.
“All I’m doing in stepping away from DC is carving time to tell the stories that have been whispering in the back of my mind for years,” he continued. “The last Carrie Stetko story. The next case for Dex Parios. The story of a family’s service to their country, told over two hundred years. The woman in blue. The other one, looking for a soul. The kids who take what they’re told. The killer who guards a park. The soldiers forever at war. The spy with one wound too many.”
During his spotlight panel at WonderCon on Friday, Rucka mentioned, among other projects, the continuation of Stumptown, the potential for a new Queen & Country series, and a collaboration with Detective Comics artist J.H. Williams III that he describes as “Bladerunner meets Blake’s 7.”
Following Greg Rucka’s revelation on Friday that he’s walking away from DC Comics and Batwoman, his Detective Comics collaborator J.H. Williams III offers some hope for fans of the character.
“I was afraid something like this was going to occur but held out hope that it wouldn’t happen,” Williams wrote this afternoon on his blog. “That DC and Greg could come to some sort of agreement, apparently not going to happen. So what does this mean for Batwoman and the project I’ve spent a decent amount of time and thought on? I don’t know. I do know that DC is firmly committed to this character from what I hear from them. So where does all of this leave us? I believe DC will want the character to continue somehow. In what form? I’m not sure, but she’ll be back, I’m sure of it. This character has too much potential to just go by the wayside. So we should be hearing some sort of news at the appropriate time I assume.”
Williams’ comments would seem to indicate creative differences between Rucka and the publisher, rather than editorial hesitancy regarding the character, led to the parting of the ways and the apparent shelving (for however long) of the solo title.
For fans of the Rucka-Williams team, the writer announced during his WonderCon spotlight panel that they’re collaborating on a project he describes as “Bladerunner meets Blake’s 7.”
Williams also reveals that, along with assorted variant covers, and a co-feature for DC Legacies, he’ll be illustrating another issue of Jonah Hex. His previous effort, Issue 35, was nothing short of stunning. In case you missed it, you can view several of the pages on Williams’ Flickr account.
The bombshell from the first day of WonderCon wasn’t the announcement of a new title but rather the apparent confirmation that DC Comics has again shelved plans for a Batwoman series.
Unofficially announced in December, the Batwoman title, by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III, was to have continued their award-winning story arc from Detective Comics — itself the product of years-long corporate starts and stops. But last month, at Emerald City ComiCon, Williams offered the first indication the project had hit another roadblock: “I don’t know if that’s going to happen.”
Rucka all but confirmed the title’s fate Friday during his WonderCon spotlight panel, where he revealed he doesn’t know what will happen with Batwoman. He also said that on Thursday he turned in his last work for DC, at least for the foreseeable future.
“It is agonizing to walk away from Batwoman,” the writer was quoted as saying.
Batwoman’s starring turn in DC’s Detective Comics was honored Saturday night as outstanding comic book at the 21st annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City.
Presented by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the awards recognize media for their representations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and issues.
The critically acclaimed run on Detective Comics, which began in June with Issue 854, featured Batwoman in a lead story by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III, and The Question in a co-feature by Rucka and Cully Hamner. Both characters are lesbians.
The new Batwoman, Kate Kane, was introduced in summer 2006 amid a hail of mainstream-media coverage. But a long-rumored Batwoman series faced one delay after another, which some chalked up to DC’s nervousness about the potential effect the character’s sexual orientation could have on the lucrative Bat-brand. Finally, in February 2009, it was officially announced that Batwoman would step into the void left by the “death” of Bruce Wayne and become the star — temporarily, at least — of DC’s longest-running title.
Rucka revealed in December that he and Williams will reunite later this year for a Batwoman solo series. Their Detective run ended with Issue 860, and was followed by a three-issue arc by Rucka and Jock.
Renee Montoya was created for Batman: The Animated Series, but debuted first in March 1992 in Batman #475. A Gotham City police detective, she played a prominent role in the acclaimed series Gotham Central, in which she was confirmed as a lesbian. She assumed the guise of The Question after the death of Vic Sage in 52.
The other nominees for the GLAAD Media Award were Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Madame Xanadu, Secret Six and X-Factor.