Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Chris Butcher.
Butcher is the manager of The Beguiling in Toronto and founder of The Toronto Comic Arts Festival. He’ll be at the UDON Booth #5037 and The Beguiling Original Art Sales Booth #1629 at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend.
To see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
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. We’re coming a little late today due to a power outage in my neck of the woods — due to a blackout, not because I spent the money for the electric bill on Flashpoint or Fear Itself tie-ins.
If I had $15, I’d make a mad grab for American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #2 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99); I love what Snyder and Murphy are doing here, and anyone who knows me knows how big a fan I am of Murphy’s work. Next up would be the debut of Jonathan Hickman’s Redwing #1 (Image, $3.50); after seeing Hickman blossom at Marvel, it’s great to see him re-invest in creator-owned comics. Third would be Jason Aaron and Carlos Pacheco’s X-Men Schism #1 (Marvel, $4.99); I have a sense Aaron’s the kind of writer to bring his “A” game when it comes to special stories (he did it recently in Scalped #50), so I’m interested to see what he does here. Last up would be Northlanders #42 (DC, $2.99).
Although it seems like DC’s big relaunch announcement came out an eternity ago, it actually took the publisher less than two weeks to roll out the 52 titles and their creative teams for the big relaunch/reboot/overhaul coming in September. Now that the cats are out of their respective bags, I thought I’d see where various creators and characters will land after the reboot.
So I went back through DC’s August solicitations to see who was writing or drawing what, and tried to map everyone to their post-relaunch project — if they had one. However, looking at DC’s August solicitations, there seem to be several fill-in issues, so where appropriate I tried to map the most recent ongoing creative teams to their new projects (for instance, I consider Gail Simone and Jesus Saiz the regular creative team for Birds of Prey, even if they aren’t doing the last two issues before September hits). Keep in mind that I just went through the ongoing series and skipped over all the miniseries … of which there are a lot, what with Flashpoint winding up in August.
It’s also worth noting that although several creators didn’t appear in the “big 52″ announcements, that doesn’t mean their tenure with DC is necessarily over — some, like Frazer Irving, have said they have future projects that haven’t been announced. So I tried to note where creators have talked publicly about their post-relaunch plans with DC (or lack thereof, as the case may be). The same could probably be said for some of DC’s characters as well. Or, as Gail Simone said on Twitter: “Again, September is NOT THE END. There’s still plans for characters that we haven’t seen yet.”
So let’s get to it ….
Marvel’s solicitations for July revealed a new/old project yesterday — Defenders: From the Marvel Vault #1 by Fabian Nicieza, Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley. Fans might remember that Busiek once worked with Erik Larsen on a Defenders title circa 2001. Busiek explains on his blog that the book’s editor, Tom Brevoort, had commissioned Nicieza and Bagley to do a fill-in issue just in case the regular team fell behind, and after Bagley drew it based on Nicieza’s plot, it went into a drawer, unscripted, and wasn’t used.
And when Marvel decided recently they wanted to publish it, Nicieza was unavailable to do it because he’s exclusive to DC. So they recruited Busiek, who wrote the script based on the art without a copy of Nicieza’s original plot (which Nicieza lost in a hard drive crash years ago):
Retailing | Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reports that Borders Group may file for bankruptcy protection as early as next week. Additionally the struggling book chain, the second-largest in the United States, will likely close at least 150 of its 500 remaining namesake stores. Company stock plunged in the wake of the news. A Borders spokeswoman declined comment, but referred to a Jan. 27 statement from President Mike Edwards in which he raised “the possibility of an in-court restructuring.” [Bloomberg]
Legal | Rich Johnston and retailer news and analysis site ICv2 look at potential trademark issues surrounding Marvel’s “Who Are the Mystery Men?” They note that cartoonist Bob Burden owns the trademark to the one-word “Mysterymen,” while Dark Horse and Universal Pictures control the two-word “Mystery Men” — both relating to the characters created by Burden and the 1999 movie adaptation. Dynamite Entertainment also has laid claim to “Super-Mysterymen” for its Project Superpowers series. “I have not heard from Universal yet, but I’m sure Universal will proceed in an orderly and propitious manner,” Burden said. [Bleeding Cool, ICv2.com]
A new “virtual sports theme park” launching later this spring seeks to combine “the most appealing aspects of online gaming with the joys of real world play,” and helping them to do that is Red Robin writer Fabian Nicieza.
FunGoPlay will allow kids to earn medals, points and power-ups in the virtual world by wearing branded sports gear when they play in the real world that apparently keeps track of their activity levels and sends it back to the game.
“Our research shows that kids’ activity levels are determined when they are eight and nine years old. Not coincidentally, this is the time that they are being sucked into the often sedentary lifestyle of video games and surfing online,” said FunGoPlay President David Jacobs in a press release. “We saw an opportunity to combine two leading kid passions—digital entertainment and real world active sports play—so we changed the game by introducing a virtual world that rewards kids for playing and being active in the real world. We see this as a future of online gaming that both parents and children can enjoy.”
Nicieza, the longtime comic scribe who also served as editor-in-chief of the Acclaim’s comic line, is the head of creative for FunGoPlay. He will write all the storylines for the various characters that appear in the game, a spokesperson said. The company also includes David Mauer, former president of Mattel USA and current CEO of EB Brands, and David Jacobs, formerly with Sesame Workshop.
DC’s The Source blog announced today that the Justice League will meet Teshkeel Comics’ The 99 in an upcoming mini-series. Fabian Nicieza, who is no stranger to either set of heroes, will write the book (CBR spoke with Nicieza about the project back in 2007). The release date and artist will be announced at a later date.
THE 99 team, which debuted in June 2006, was recently identified by Forbes Magazine as one of the “Top 20 Trends Sweeping the Globe.” Not too shabby, huh? In THE 99 — created by Naif Al-Mutawa — are a team of superheroes, including Jabbar the Powerful and Noora the Light who must collect 99 gems encrypted with the wisdom and power of the ancient Dar Al-Hikma library of Baghdad, which are spread across the globe.
They even have their own theme park, and a cartoon is in development.
Although I wrote quite a lot over the past year about DC’s weekly series Trinity, I kept coming up with questions that went outside the scope of my weekly notes. Fortunately, writer Kurt Busiek was nice enough to participate in the following e-mail interview, conducted after Trinity concluded (and after he returned from a well- deserved vacation).
We discussed the nuts and bolts of producing Trinity, its connections to a couple of Busiek’s other DC projects, a few nitpicky items, and what the year-long series leaves behind.
* * *
Continue Reading »