Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Another day, another huge announcement from DC Comics, via Vertigo’s Graphic Content blog: After a over a decade in quasi-legal limbo, DC will release Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s Flex Mentallo in a deluxe hardcover format in Fall 2011.
Long one of the most eagerly sought-after “uncollectible” books in comics, this four-issue 1996 spinoff from Morrison’s storied Doom Patrol run featured, in the person of its titular hero, a parody of the famous Charles Atlas bodybuilding ad “The Insult That Made a Man Out of Mac” — and thus attracted the legal ire of the Charles Atlas company. Though the courts found in favor of DC, the Charles Atlas company’s trademark-infringement/dilution lawsuit apparently spooked the publisher bad enough that their plans to collect the four-issue miniseries, scrapped when DC received Atlas’ original cease-and-desist notice, remained mothballed even despite the rise to superstardom of its creators on books like New X-Men, All-Star Superman, and Batman and Robin…until now. As such it’s the most high-profile example yet of DC’s post-Paul Levitz willingness to (re)publish books previously considered verboten, a la Warren Ellis and Phil Jimenez’s long-suppressed school-shooting Hellblazer story “Shoot,” which helped launch the “Vertigo Resurrected” initiative. It just goes to show you: There’s no resisting the Power of Muscle Mystery!
What’s that you say? You didn’t know there was a secret? Well, various internet wonks have been kicking around a very intriguing theory about Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman — the Absolute Edition of which hits stores tomorrow — involving its villain, Lex Luthor. In his latest column at Techland, Douglas Wolk sums up the All Star Superman secret theory and runs down all the available evidence for it. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys picking apart literary mysteries for which there aren’t obvious answers present in the text — from Mulholland Drive to the end of The Sopranos — this is very much the article for you. And even if you aren’t, it’ll give you a whole new way to look at one of the past decade’s greatest superhero comics, which is always a good thing.
OH HAI GUISE, IM IN UR ACCLAIMED 2004 3-ISSUE VERTIGO COLLABORATION WITH FRANK QUITELY, INVENTIN UR LOLSPEAK
MTV shares the trailer for the upcoming animated DVD All-Star Superman, which adapts Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s excellent run on the comic of the same name. The animated movie features the voice talent of James Denton, Christina Hendricks and Anthony LaPaglia.
Last week DC Comics senior editor Ian Sattler teased “one of those great books that make us all stand around the editor’s office going ‘wow.'” He also shared a collage of images featuring Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Superboy, Red Robin and several other characters drawn by several different artists. In our comments section for that post, commenter funkygreenjerusalem wondered if maybe it was a teaser for Superman/Batman #75.
Yesterday editor Eddie Berganza also shared some artwork and details on an upcoming project, this one being Superman/Batman‘s 75th issue, and I’m starting to think maybe funkygreenjerusalem was right about the first teaser. Here’s what Berganza has to say about the issue:
Now under that icon, some very impressive talent has made its way through its pages. And this couldn’t be more true of the book that will be coming out soon. Starting with an awesome cover by Frank Quitely, the lead story is by Paul Levitz, who finally gets to team the Legion of Super-Heroes with Batman as well as Superman and Superboy, all lusciously illustrated by Jerry Ordway, no stranger to Strange Visitors. But this is just the beginning. What follows is a special section featuring 2-page strips. My homage to WEDNESDAY COMICS.
It starts with Steve Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen doing the only sequel they ever will to IT’S A BIRD… with “It’s A Bat, ” a story of how an editor tries to get a special section like this going. It continues with Billy Tucci and Peter Tomasi with Gene Ha each playing up the grand adventures of our heroes, while Adam Hughes, David Finch, J.T. Krul, Francis Manapul, Duncan Rouleau, Jill Thompson, Michael Green with Mike Johnson and Rafael Albuquerque and Shane Davis all show us how the Superman and Batman families have been inspired by these two icons. From Supergirls to super-pets, and a wild take on a Lex Luthor and Joker teaming by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, it has it all, but don’t just listen to me. Go check it out!
The issue goes on sale Aug. 25.
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…
Via the Source, here’s Frank Quitely’s cover to the Absolute Edition of All Star Superman, which is due in October.
After unveiling 75th-anniversary variants last week from the likes of Mike Mignola, Eduardo Risso, Lee Bermejo, George Perez and Walter Simonson, DC Comics this morning debuted Frank Quitely’s reinterpretation of Gil Kane’s classic 1967 cover for Green Lantern #52.
Quitely’s cover will serve as a variant for November’s Green Lantern #60. You can see the full image after the break.
Digital comics | Sony launched its much-anticipated PlayStation Digital Comics service on Wednesday with hundreds of titles from such publishers 2000 AD, Archie, Disney, IDW Publishing and Marvel. Several titles, including Atomic Robo #1, G.I. Joe #0 and Young Salem #1, are being offered for free download to PlayStation Portables. [PlayStation Blog, Kotaku]
Crime | More details emerged Wednesday in the family feud that led to the arrest last week of Alfonso Frank Frazetta Jr. on charges of stealing 90 of his father’s paintings from the Frank Frazetta Museum near East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. A notary supported Frank Jr.’s claim that his 81-year-old father had authorized him, in a signed document, to secure the paintings “by any means possible.” The notary also said she revoked the power of attorney held by Frazetta Sr.’s other three children Bill Frazetta, Holly Taylor and Heidi Gravin. A judge reduced Frank. Jr.’s bail from $500,000 to $50,000. Meanwhile, Frazetta Sr.’s art collection, valued at $20 million, has been removed from the museum by Bill Frazetta, who says, “They’re not going to be displayed back here in the Poconos after this.” [Pocono Record]
Crime | Closing arguments are expected to be delivered today in the trial of Jevon Sawyer, the 19-year-old accused of shooting retailer David Pirkola during the April 2008 robbery of Apparitions Comics and Books in Kentwood, Michigan. Pirkola, 58, spent weeks in a hospital and still hasn’t fully recovered from his injuries. [The Grand Rapids Press]
DC’s The Source blog shows us Frank Quitely’s cover to Batman & Robin #6, which features Batman’s “most dangerous, psychopathic, murderous foe,” The Flamingo, according to editor Michael Marts.
Now all the motorcycle-riding killer needs is a string of one-word named “apprentices” of the female persuasion …
First off, a big thank you to Robot 6 reader Mark Spitz, who shared this with us over email. Mark recently purchased some original Frank Quitely art from Graphic Collectibles, and it included a bonus of sorts.
“I was lucky enough to purchase a couple of Frank Quitely pages from Batman and Robin #1, including #22 (the “do not miss” page),” Spitz wrote. “I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there were actually two versions of the Red Hood panel and both were included in my purchase. The original shows the Red Hood in a different costume with different guns.”
Here are all three versions, starting with the original version and ending with a scan from the published issue:
Again, thanks to Mark for sharing this cool purchase!
So there I was in the spring of 1988, a college freshman buying snacks at the local convenience store, when I saw Amazing Spider-Man #300 sitting on the magazine shelf. I knew artist Todd McFarlane had helped make the book pretty popular, and I had fond memories of writer David Michelinie from his earlier work on Iron Man and Avengers. Accordingly, I stuck with ASM through the end of McFarlane’s run (in #325), and never gave much thought to Spidey’s two other regular titles. Spectacular Spider-Man and Web Of Spider-Man might have been great reads, but for whatever reason, I just wanted the “headliners,” Michelinie and McFarlane.
I suspect the same is true these days with the Batman line. Yesterday’s releases of Detective Comics #854 and Gotham City Sirens #1 close out the first month of the Big Batman Relaunch. The Grant Morrison-written Batman And Robin (drawn initially by Frank Quitely) has drawn the most attention, with much of the rest going to Detective‘s Batwoman lead (written by Greg Rucka, drawn by JH Williams III). Each of these high-profile creative teams has been charged with producing new-reader-friendly stories, and thereby building an enduring foundation of loyal consumers.
DC Comics has released the cover art to Batman and Robin #4, the new series by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely that took the world by storm this week with the release of its first issue. The cover shows the new (dynamic?) duo who appeared on a preview image at the end of the first issue. Since I’m always wrong when I start guessing who might be under the mask, I’ll leave that to you guys …
Batman and Robin #1
by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
DC Comics, 32 pages, $2.99.
See, this is how it should have been from the start.
Much was made when Grant Morrison took over the writing reins for Batman, though few ultimately found merit in the confusing and at times even dull slog through canon and character that the book turned into (though, of course, the series does still have its fans. I also understand there are people who collect milk bottles).
Batman and Robin chucks all the excess baggage that hampered Batman R.I.P. — the elbow in the ribs riffing on classic tales of yesteryear, the need to make an important statement about the character, Tony Daniel — fills up the gas tank to its flying Batmobile with rocket fuel and proceeds to floor that puppy out of the cave with nary a glance backward. The result is a streamlined, but no less surreal or smart, tale that’s one of the most satisfying superhero reads I’ve had so far this year. This is a really fun comic book.
Now, I haven’t been following Battle for the Cowl at all, so I have no idea what has or hasn’t been revealed up until this point and thus will probably unleash all manner of spoilers without meaning to. You’ve been warned.
The flowing river of marvelous previews that is the DC Comics Source blog runneth over today, with a sneak at Frank Quitely’s cover to Batman and Robin #3:
They have a couple of interior pages, too, so be sure to follow the link to check them out.