Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Welcome to Store Tour, ROBOT 6’s weekly exploration of comics shops, and the people who run them. Each Sunday we feature a different store, and also get to know the person behind the register.
This week’s store is Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop, located in Kamm’s Plaza, 17462 Lorain Ave. in Cleveland, Ohio. We spoke with store president John Dudas.
Given the project’s title, it’s certainly understandable that fans might draw a connection between the newly announced Fox drama Gotham and the former DC Comics police procedural Gotham Central. However, as far as Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka know, one has nothing to do with the other.
I don’t know anything about that Gotham show, and I have no idea if it’s anything to do with Gotham Central in any way. I’m guessing not,” Brubaker, who co-wrote the comic with Rucka, said on Twitter shortly after the announcement. “[…] I only point this out because people keep congratulating me and as far as I can tell, this show has nothing to do with Gotham Central. And it’s weird to be congratulated mistakenly.”
But even if the show did have a connection to Gotham Central, Rucka wrote on his blog, “that wouldn’t matter, because DC owns the rights and the characters, as they should. This was work-for-hire, something all of us knew at the start.”
Gotham, which has been given a series commitment by Fox, is said to explore the origins of Jim Gordon and some of the city’s villains. Developed by Bruno Heller (Rome, The Mentalist), it centers on Gordon as a detective with the Gotham City Police Department, before he ever met Batman.
Last week’s solicitation roundup included the prediction that “Death of the Family” would kill young Damian Wayne. As most of you know, Damian is supposed to be about 11 years old, was raised by the League of Assassins, and has served (for the past “year or so” of comic-book time) as the latest Robin, the Boy Wonder. The solicitations were strangely silent concerning him, and thanks to the peculiarities of comic-book deaths, I figured he could take it.
That was last Thursday.
Since last Friday, I have rolled around that morbid prediction in my head, along with countless other real-world doomsday scenarios and nightmare moments. I am a fantastically lucky individual, and that is not meant as any kind of boast. I mean it simply to say that nothing remotely horrible has happened to me — no broken bones, no extended hospital stays, no natural disasters; and certainly nothing as devastating as my child’s death.
What does Ed Brubaker leaving Captain America have to do with New-52 storytelling? For me, the connection goes through Gotham Central.
Okay, that requires a bit more explanation. Mr. Brubaker isn’t leaving Captain America on bad terms, but apart from Winter Soldier he’s not especially interested in writing any more superhero comics. It’s not the same as Chris Roberson’s principled departure from DC, but it puts me in a similar mood.
Like Roberson, Brubaker is a good storyteller who can incorporate shared-universe lore effectively into his comics. For example, Winter Soldier’s first issue started out as a straightforward super-spy caper, but abruptly veered close to Silver-Age-Wacky territory with [SPOILER ALERT, I guess] the arrival of a gun-toting ape. The rest of the arc combined a couple of longtime Fantastic Four villains (one minor, one pretty major) with the threat of regional warfare. It never did get truly goofy, but it was rooted in a Marvel Universe where the former Soviet Union had some pretty odd operatives. Of course, the Winter Soldier concept itself is a retcon (Bucky was revived as Soviet covert agent) of a retcon (he died near the end of World War II).