"Gotham" EP Hints at Azrael's Arrival, Mr. Freeze & Hugo Strange's Alliance
TV, Comic Books
Amazing X-Men, Vol. 1: The Quest For Nightcrawler (Marvel): Writer Jason Aaron transitions quite seamlessly from his 42-issue (or eight-trade paperback) run on Wolverine & The X-Men to this new series, which maintained the same setting and much of the same cast, only a switch of focus. Rather than the student body of the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning, the stars of this series are the superhero teaching staff, with a few additions not seen in Wolverine & The X-Men (Firestar coming in to replace Kitty Pryde, who was spirited away from the cast by Brian Michael Bendis to appear in his X-Men books, plus Northstar and the guy whose name is in the subtitle and is front and center on the cover).
Aaron’s main partner for this first volume is penciler Ed McGuinness (inked by Dexter Vines and colored by Marte Gracia), an artist whose big, muscular, cartoony style fits perfectly with the slightly zany tone of the story, and Aaron’s X-Men comics in general. Cameron Stewart draws the sixth issue in this collection, a sort of epilogue in which most of the other characters you would want to see reunite with Nightcrawler do so.
Welcome to Best of 7, our new weekly wrap-up post here at Robot 6. Each Sunday we’ll talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out on Wednesday.
So without further ado, let’s get to it …
Although he’s currently known for his work on brawny heroes like Superman and Red Hulk, upcoming Astonishing X-Men artist Ed McGuinness got his big break from a very different kind of hero: a merc with a mouth. In 1997, he and writer Joe Kelly joined forces to put the ’90s anti-hero Deadpool head-deep in hijinks and human suffering, and gave the mercenary an oddly lovable supporting cast that included Blind Al and Weasel. The series gained cult status among for its ballsy slapstick humor that grew to become a trademark for the once-dark character.
And now, Marvel is pulling together Kelly and McGuinness’ run — along with a few extras — in a massive tome titled Deadpool by Joe Kelly Omnibus. Although I have a bit of an issue with not including the artist’s name in that title, I’m excited to get all these issues in my hand. For this early 2014 collection, Marvel commissioned McGuinness to create a cover commemorating the run. “It was a blast revisiting these characters,” the artist wrote on his DeviantArt page.
Deadpool by Joe Kelly Omnibus is scheduled for release in January.
This week Sam Alexander, a.k.a. the new Nova, joins a small group of characters (like Harlequin and Firestar) who made their debut on television before jumping onto the printed page. Alexander made his debut on the Ultimate Spider-Man animated show, then showed up last year in the big Avengers vs. X-Men crossover comics event.
Now he’s got his own ongoing series by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Does Nova once again soar, or does he fizzle out in his latest attempt at an ongoing series? Here are a few opinions on the first issue from around the web:
David Pepose, Newsarama: “Those who have met Sam Alexander through Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, you might be a little bit surprised by this comics incarnation — Loeb brings a surprisingly dark edge here as he dives into the dynamic between Sam and his father Jesse. In a lot of ways, the Southwestern locale, the space angle and the focus on family reminds me a bit of Keith Giffen’s Blue Beetle, but the laughs don’t quite make it over here. Unlike the happy-go-lucky character on the TV show, Sam seethes with resentment—both for covering for his father’s alcoholism, and for enduring his larger-than-life tales as a member of the Nova Corps.” (7/10)
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d buy the leading contender for best ongoing series this year, Saga #10 (Image, $2.99). I loved the last issue focusing on the Will, but I’m excited at the prospect this one teases of Izabel returning – although in a red-tinged, seemingly evil demeanor. After that I’d get another creator-owned gem with Francesco Francavilla’s The Black Beetle #2 (Dark Horse, $3.99). I love the latitude Dark Horse is giving Francavilla in the design packaging here – that cover is something special — and luckily, the insides have the promise of being even better given what happened last issue. Third and last in my $15 haul this week would be Dark Horse Presents #21 (Dark Horse, $7.99). Criminally underrated and consciously mind-blowing, this issue promises three new serials debuting plus a collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Paul Chadwick about alien saucers. Why isn’t this a top-selling book?
If I had $30, I’d make it a Dark Horse trifecta with Conan the Barbarian #13 (Dark Horse, $3.50). How does Brian Wood do it, finding such great artists that no one else knows about like Mirko Colak? This time, Conan tries to conquer the desert. Then I’d do a Marvel trifecta: Avengers #6 (Marvel, $3.99), Nova #1 (Marvel, $3.99) and Thor: God of Thunder #5 (Marvel, $3.99). Avengers has seemingly the origin of my formerly most favorite D-list hero in the Marvel Universe, Captain Universe – until she upgraded to the A-list as an Avenger. Then Nova has a spirited, seemingly kid-friendly romp by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Then Thor … Thor. This thoroughly dark and mythic story has made Jason Aaron’s beard even more ominous than before.
If I could splurge, I’d get Alter-Ego #115 (TwoMorrows, $8.95). Normally a magazine about comics, in this issue they collect some lost gems – namely the stereoscopic comics (3-D!) – of the 1950s. 3-D glasses included, this issue contains work by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Curt Swan (!!), George Tuska and more. Truly a highlight of the week.
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. We’ve each picked the five comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a list of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.
As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
G.I. Joe #1: As if G.I. Joe wasn’t entirely in my guilty pleasure wheelhouse already, IDW Publishing relaunches the title with Fred Van Lente as writer and the tease of social and media commentary as the team is forced to go public in its fight against Cobra. Seriously, that’s just unfair, people. (IDW, $3.99)
Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon TP: One of the best-looking comics around, thanks to David Aja (and Javier Pulido, on a couple of the issues contained herein), and something that I suspect I’m going to want in a collected edition to give to friends wanting some fun, fast-moving action stuff to read. Best thing Matt Fraction’s done in a long time, too. (Marvel, $16.99)
New Tales of Old Palomar HC: Continuing my Love and Rockets education, a chance for me to pick up Gilbert Hernandez’ return to Palomar in this new collected edition of his Ignatz series. This is definitely my favorite of Beto’s work, so I’m happy to see more. (Fantagraphics, $22.99).
The Sixth Gun: Sons of The Gun #1: A new spin-off series from Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s spectacular horror western? Why, I really don’t mind if I do, thanks very much. For added benefit, having Brian Churilla show up for art duties is pretty sweet, as well. (Oni Press, $3.99)
Young Romance: A New 52 Valentine’s Day Special #1: Even if I’m feeling less than enthused about the majority of DC’s superhero line lately, I have to admit, the idea of a Valentine’s Day special one-off is just far too tempting for me to ignore. (DC Comics, $7.99).
While I was enjoying my time at APE up in San Francisco, the New York Comic Con was raging on with announcements and such. Before I get into a rundown of the comic-related news coming out of the East Coast today, let’s jump back to yesterday real quick so I can update one of the items from my Friday round-up. I mentioned that Dark Horse would publish a comic based on the upcoming video game The Last of Us, but I didn’t know at the time the most important part — the always awesome Faith Erin Hicks is co-writing AND drawing the comic. That’s a “Stop the presses” moment if I’ve ever seen one.
Ok, now on to Saturday …
• Apparently space is the place at NYCC … following DC’s announcement of Threshold yesterday, Marvel officially announced the return of two of their cosmic titles — Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova. Guardians, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Steve McNiven, comes out in February and apparently will feature Iron Man, or at least someone in his armor. Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness are the creative team for Nova, which features Sam Alexander, the Nova from Avengers vs. X-Men.
Welcome once again to Robot Roulette, our interview feature where we throw random questions at comic creators and see how they respond. We’ve come up with 36 possible questions, and each week I will randomly select which of those questions our guest has to answer.
Today artist Paul Maybury puts on his best James Bond tuxedo and steps up to the roulette wheel. You might know Paul from such projects as Aqua Leung, D.O.G.S. of Mars, Party Bear and the upcoming Reign with writer Chris Roberson.
My thanks to Paul for agreeing to be one of our early guinea pigs on Robot Roulette. Now let’s see what he has to say about Fishbone, scary kids movies and Ed McGuinness.
5. If you were given the opportunity to spend 48 hours with absolutely anyone, living or dead, who would you spend it with and what would you do?
Well, it would have an be an artist, and my favorite has always been Van Gogh. I’ve simply never lost my enthusiasm for his work, and have had the opportunity to view it person often in my life. I might have an overly romanticized view of his passion for art, due to Kirk Douglas’s portrayal in Lust for Life, but I would love to observe someone paint with that sort of tenacity. Every piece of work moves, and I think there’s a lot of valuable lessons to take from his work as a comic creator.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15: I’d be all over Fatale #1, as I’ll grab anything Brubaker and Phillips do together. I’d go out on a limb and say that’s one of the best and consistently stellar collaborations in comics going on right now. I’d probably get the latest issue of The Boys as well, because that’s what I do.
If I had $30: Well, I haven’t read the first volume yet, but everyone says that the transgender manga series Wandering Son is stellar so I’d at least give it a look through, and perhaps nab volume one as my splurge for the week.
Cue up the Steely Dan: Marvel has announced their intention to do it again by offering retailers a rare Ed McGuinness variant of Fear Itself #6 for every 50 covers they send in from certain Flashpoint tie-in titles from DC. Dubbed “Comics for Comics,” the divisive program is intended, according to Marvel, to offer relief to retailers who they say have been saddled with unsold product during the current economic climate. (This claim has met with some skepticism, Tom Brevoort’s protestations notwithstanding.)
Marvel’s done this before: Last year, they offered a J. Scott Campbell Deadpool variant of Siege #3 in exchange not just for unsold Blackest Night “power ring” tie-ins the from DC, but for unsold Siege and X-Men: Second Coming tie-ins as well. A copy of that comic [UPDATE: a signed, CGC-graded one, which I’m told makes a difference] recently sold on eBay for $625 (via ComicsAlliance commenter Tom). I’m curious as to whether Marvel will eventually make its own books eligible for this trade-in, too. (I’m also curious as to whether some other country will provide us with a functioning legislature in exchange for every 50 House GOP members we send them if we default on our debt, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there.)
Three down, one to go … here’s a list of the major comics-related announcements made at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Saturday:
• A number of new projects were announced or promoted at Image’s Creator-Owned Comics panel, not the least of which is the return of Brian K. Vaughan to comic books. Vaughan will write a book called Saga, which is co-created and drawn by Fiona Staples. Vaughan told CBR that the book is “an epic drama chronicling the life and times of one young family fighting to survive a never-ending war. 100 percent creator-owned. Ongoing. Monthly. Fiona and I are banking issues now.”
• Image also announced that Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is collaborating with Charlie Adlard on a new series of graphic novels called Album. The books will be released roughly 18 months apart, 60 pages long, with different themes each year, with the first being Passenger. It’s co-published with Delcourt in France and will be available simultaneously in English and France.
• Jonathan Hickman and Nicky Pitarra will team up for The Manhattan Projects at Image. Hickman is also doing a book called Secret with artist Ryan Godenheim.
Not to mince words, HeroesCon is my San Diego. Scheduled for June 3-5 at the Charlotte Convention Center this year, I recently caught up with Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find Creative Director Rico Renzi, to discuss what to look forward to at HeroesCon 2011. Anyone that has read my past con reports knows how much I always enjoy this family friendly/comics focused con, and will not be surprised to learn I will be in attendance again this year. Thanks to Renzi for the interview and for giving us the scoop that Farel Dalrymple is returning to the con this year. I was also enthused to learn the con is trying a Friday night event this year, as well as introducing a new section of the convention floor devoted to comic strip creators.
Tim O’Shea: How are things shaping up with less than a month to go before the con, starting to panic? Planning-wise, how do you and Shelton Drum (con founder/organizer and owner of Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find) divvy up the heavy lifting of making this con happen?
Rico Renzi: HeroesCon is like breathing to Shelton so I’m pretty sure he’s not panicking. This is my first time doing anything like this so, yeah I think there’s some pressure on me. Maybe I get a pass since this is my first year though? Dustin Harbin has been a great help showing me the ropes on a few things, especially the floor plan. Deciding where everyone is going to sit seems like the hardest job to me right now. Aside from that we get great help from our warehouse manager, Seth Peagler. Whether I need someone to brainstorm with or edit my blog posts, Seth is my guy. Also, Andy Mansell has been instrumental in planning and coordinating our programming. These guys keep me sane!