Marvel NOW!: Who Stands with Doctor Strange and the Avengers' "Quitters"?
Say what you will about the aging, frail yet brutal Batman of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, but he’d (probably) never let anyone get to your cash and credit cards. Not the Mutants, not The Joker, not even the Man of Steel. Of course if he did, say because of a bum knee or bad back, Carrie Kelley would be waiting in the wings.
That makes them the perfect Dynamic Duo to grace this (ahem) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Dynamic Duo Wallet, featuring artwork by Miller and Klaus Janson. Of course, it would be weird if the wallet featured anyone other than them ….
Graphic novels | The latest volume of Tokyo Ghoul topped the February BookScan chart of the bestselling graphic novels in the bookstore channel, and four volumes of that series made the top 20. The third volume of The Walking Dead Compendium took the second slot. Overall, the list is an interesting mix: It’s half manga, a couple of Marvel and DC Comcis titles, Dark Horse’s Plants vs. Zombies (an all-ages graphic novel based on a video game), and Philippa Rice’s Soppy: A Love Story, a print version of her webcomic about her life with her boyfriend. [ICv2]
Legal | Former Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Maurice Sinet has sued philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy for calling him an anti-Semite. Levy wrote in an article in Le Point magazine that Sinet, who goes by the pen name Sine, was “a former employee of Charlie Hebdo who was kicked out for his anti-Semitism and racism.” Sine wrote an article in 2008 claiming that Jean Sarkozy, the son of the former French president, had dodged the consequences of a car accident by saying he was planning to convert to Judaism and marry a Jewish woman. The story was intended to be satirical, but it caused a controversy and he was ultimately fired from the magazine. [Times of Israel]
DC Collectibles will test both the depth of your Batman devotion and the size of your bank account next year with the release of a limited-edition brass statue of the Caped Crusader. Limited to just 100 pieces, the statue carries a price tag of $5,000. Yes, that’s three zeroes.
However, if that’s just a little out of your price range, the company has also announced two limited-edition collectibles to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Dark Knight Returns.
The iTunes’ Terms and Conditions agreement has got to be the least-read-yet-most-signed contract in human history. For pages and pages (and a nearly limitless downward digital scroll), it enumerates Apple’s latest subtle shifts in policy regarding the ways we purchase, license and “own” music and media acquired through the most influential online marketplace to date. Who reads those things? Who could even pretend to? Can one even imagine a more arduous task than going through that document, line by line, and trying to parse what exactly it is we are all signing on for?
But ah, the magic of comics. Cartoonist R. Sikoryak, whose work has appeared in Drawn and Quarterly and The New Yorker, is publishing his painstakingly thorough, unabridged graphic adaptation of the iTunes Terms and Conditions agreement on Tumblr. This version of the contract is no mere dry rendering of legalese — instead, Sikoryak has transformed the document into a showcase of styles from talent all across the history of comics, making each page an experiment in the diverse visual language of the medium’s most beloved luminaries.
Frank Miller will return to the “Dark Knight” world this November with “Dark Knight III: The Master Race,” the conclusion of his Batman story that started with 1986’s seminal “The Dark Knight Returns.” Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson are illustrating the main story, but fans were left wondering to what capacity, if any, Miller himself would contribute art. That all changed Monday when DC unveiled cover art by Frank Miller for “Dark Knight Universe Presents: The Atom” #1, an Atom-centric minicomic included with the first issue of “Master Race.” The image is highly stylized, to say the least, featuring a wrinkled, grimacing Superman with huge fists and a noticeable bulge in the red underwear region. And boy, the Internet reaction was swift. The backlash was vocal, with fans Tweeting their disapproval, jokes and comparisons to Popeye and Miller’s output to the work of other divisive artists. io9.com jumped into the mix with a post titled “DC Lets Frank Miller Draw Superman’s Penis for ‘Dark Knight III.'”
Before too long, “Astro City” writer Kurt Busiek came to Miller’s defense with a string of tweets aimed directly at the haters. “This shot of Superman says everything Frank Miller wants to establish about Superman in this world,” tweeted Busiek before going on to further drive the point home that Miller’s interpretation of the Man of Steel is completely intentional. “It’s cartooning, it’s Frank presenting an idea of Superman that isn’t sleek and pretty,” Busiek said.
The debut of Frank Miller’s cover for the minicomic accompanying Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 was greeted Monday with a mixture of confusion and criticism, as many fans tried to figure out what happened to the legendary artist. “DC Lets Frank Miller Draw Superman’s Penis For Dark Knight III,” reads the headline on io9.com.
But as the jokes flew on social media, Astro City writer Kurt Busiek stepped up with an alternate view: that Miller, revered for his work on Daredevil, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, knows precisely what he’s doing.
Moleskine has arrived in Gotham City with a collection of limited-edition Batman notebooks, debuting today.
Produced in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, the series features four notebooks with cover art by John Cassaday, Mike Mignola and Jim Lee. A fifth with art by Frank Miller from The Dark Knight Returns on its cover and flyleaves will be available in a numbered run of 5,000 exclusively from Moleskine’s website and stores. All of the notebooks come with limited-edition Batman stickers.
“It was like trying to stop a force of nature. He was a sponge. The last time he came, he’d gotten a six-page assignment, and I went over what he’d done wrong, how he could make it better. He said, ‘You’re saying I have to draw it over again.’ I said, ‘Well, yeah.’ He said, ‘OK, but the problem is, I turned it in, and they accepted it.’ I said, ‘In that case, don’t draw it over again; I think you just started your career.’”
— Neal Adams, discussing a young Frank Miller, who repeatedly stopped by his New York City studio for critiques. It’s from Sean Howe’s Wired profile of Miller, probably the best of a handful published ahead of the premiere of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
It’s certainly the most unflinching, touching upon the effect of 9/11 on the artist and his work — “I think many people didn’t get over it, that it will continue to affect their lives forever,” Lynn Varley, his longtime colorist and former wife, says. “And I think Frank is one of those people.” — the failure of The Spirit, the response to Holy Terror, the disappearance of All Star Batman & Robin, his tirade against the Occupy movement, and speculation about his health.
“The Dark Knight series is all from Batman’s point of view. But if you look at Dark Knight 2, you’ll see a Superman who’s much calmer than the one in the first Dark Knight. Batman and Superman are dead opposites. I love Superman. Do I love Batman more? They’re not people. They’re only lines on paper.”
Crime | The comics community of Kirkcaldy, Scotland, just north of Edinburgh, has rallied around a local comics shop after thieves broke in two weeks ago and stole cash, a computer, a two-and-a-half-foot-tall Darth Vader figure and a copy of New Mutants #98 (the first appearance of Deadpool), with a total value of more than £500 (about $835 U.S.). It could have been worse: The thieves left some comics boxed up, ready to go, but apparently they were interrupted. But you won’t believe what happened next: Kingdom Comics owner Andrew Magee says customers donated their own comics and DVDs to help rebuild his stock, and a number of local artists have donated art to be auctioned off to help the store. [The Courier]
Creators | Bryan Lee O’Malley discusses his new graphic novel Seconds, and how it reflects where he is in his life. [BoingBoing]
DC Entertainment and Warner Bros.’ year-long celebration of Batman’s 75th anniversary will continue in a big way later this month at Comic-Con International in San Diego, with several of the creators most associated with the character set to appear on the “Batman 75: Legends of the Dark Knight” panel on Thursday, July 24.
Notably, The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One‘s Frank Miller — in a relatively rare appearance at a comics-centric panel — will join fellow Bat-luminaries Grant Morrison, Jim Lee, Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, current Batman team Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, and DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns.
On Saturday, DC will commemorate the Caped Crusader’s storied history in other media, with Batman: The Animated Series vet Paul Dini, longtime Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy, Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet co-writer Ralph Garman and more.
The two panels are something of a bisected version of the treatment DC gave Superman last summer, with a Superman 75th Anniversary panel including folks from both the worlds of comics (Morrison, Dan Jurgen) and movies/television (Henry Cavill, Tim Daly).
Creators | Stan Lee arrived at Sydney Airport for the Supanova Pop Culture Expo and was immediately presented with a “Captain Australia” shield, colored gold and green rather than red and blue. The Supanova Pop Culture Expo kicked off today, and continues through Sunday. [The Daily Telegraph]
Comics | Hussain Al-Shiblawi says he doesn’t usually mind the pamphlets he regularly receives from the local Bible Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia; even though he’s Muslim, he finds them inspirational. But he takes strong exception to the latest one, a Jack Chick tract titled Unforgiven, which claims that all Muslims are going to hell. The pastor, who declined to go on camera, says his church doesn’t create the pamphlets, it just distributes them, but he’s willing to meet with Al-Shiblawi to discuss the comic. [WDBJ News]
Considering that the July solicitations also previewed September’s Futures End tie-ins, and the final issue of Forever Evil arrives this week after being scheduled originally for March, the August listings feel like just one more ingredient in a jumbled publishing stew. When it’s all done, maybe we’ll see that it’s all worked together. Now, though, we might have to wait until the October solicits for a clearer picture of where DC’s superhero line is going.
In the wake of the New 52’s various revisions, the Grant Morrison-written The Multiversity miniseries seems like an artifact — if not a relic — from the pre-relaunch days. Like the Morrison-written Batman Incorporated, it was originally conceived in that environment, when legacy characters abounded and beloved Silver Age elements were reemerging. Of course, with Earth 2, Worlds’ Finest, Forever Evil and Futures End, parallel worlds have hardly been absent from the New 52; so perhaps The Multiversity is meant to expand that storytelling device even further. I get the feeling that many things are about to change (again) for DC’s shared superhero line, and if some Morrison-infused characters are going to be part of that, I hope they stick around for a while.
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to something great fans are doing to an awesome comic that came out. So let’s get to it…
Even if Frank Miller and Jim Lee never finish All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder — and, let’s face it, they’re never going to — they can take satisfaction in introducing a grateful world to “I’m the goddamn Batman,” a phrase that launched a thousand memes and ended at least as many comic-book arguments. (“How could Batman survive a fall from that height?” “He’s the goddamn Batman, that’s how.”)
And now it’s been immortalized on an Arizona license plate as “GDBTMN,” registered by Phoenix resident, and Batman fan, Art Landis (seen below). “I decided to finally personalize my plates, as celebration of Batman’s 75th,” he tweeted over the weekend. “I honestly didn’t think the MVD would let it happen.”
Now Landis just has to come up with something for next year, the 10th anniversary of the release of All Star Batman & Robin #1.