Creators | The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has given $500,000 toward the creation of a chair in animation at the University of California, Los Angeles. The Matt Groening Chair in Animation at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television will “allow visiting master artists to teach classes” and “bring working professionals with wide-ranging expertise” to work with students. The cartoonist, a graduate of Evergreen State College in Washington, makes an annual $50,000 donation to UCLA to help students who create socially conscious animated shorts. [The New York Times]
Legal | Attorneys for comics retailer and convention organizer Michael George, who’s serving a life sentence for the 1990 murder of his first wife Barbara, made arguments Monday on a motion for acquittal or a new trial — that would make George’s third — on the basis that there was insufficient evidence for conviction, and that the prosecutor raised a new issue in closing arguments. [Detroit Free Press]
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 this week, I’d avoid Marvel and DC altogether and go for some more independent offerings. Top of the pile would definitely be Prophet #21 (Image, $2.99), Brandon Graham’s much-anticipated revamp of the Rob Liefeld book from the mid-90s, recreated (with artist Simon Roy) as some kind of Heavy Metal fever dream; I’m a massive fan of Graham’s, and excited to see what he can come up with when he tries to play it (relatively) straight. I’d also grab Dynamite’s Kirby Genesis: Dragonbane #1 ($3.99), another spin-off from the Busiek/Ross/Herbert series this time focusing on the almost Thor-analog warrior, and IDW’s Memorial #2 ($3.99), continuing the urban fantasy series that I enjoyed so much last month. Lastly, I’d grab the cheap relaunch for Antony Johnston’s Wasteland (#33, Oni, $1.00); I’ve really enjoyed this post-apocalyptic world building book for awhile, but this relaunch – which will return the book to a monthly schedule as well as debut new artist Justin Greenwood – looks set to be a good jumping-on point for those who’ve never sampled its charms before.
If I had $30, I’d be likely to put Dragonbane back on the shelf and try out Marvel’s Fear Itself: Journey Into Mystery Premiere HC collection ($19.99) instead. Not having been a fan of Matt Fraction’s Thor, I skipped the first few issues of this and then, by the time I kept hearing great things and realized I actually really enjoy Kieron Gillen’s writing, it was far enough into the run that I knew I’d end up waiting for the collection. Color me cautiously optimistic.
When it comes to splurging, my love of comics from around when I was born rears its ugly head again, and I find myself drawn to Marvel Firsts: 1970s Vol. 1 TP (Marvel, $29.99). This is possibly my favorite era from the House of Ideas, so the idea of an anthology of some of its weirdest hits sounds right up my alley.
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics, graphic novels, books and what-have-you we’ve been reading lately. This week our special guest is Brian Ralph, creator of Daybreak, Cave-In and Reggie 12.
To see what Brian and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
Accompanying its story about DC Comics’ New 52 sellout — that’s right, all 52 premiere issues have sold out at the distributor level — The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog runs our first look at Greg Capullo’s variant cover for The Flash #2.
Unfortunately, the image is small, so we don’t get to fully appreciate the illustration, complete with the “OMG” setting on the speedometer. Hopefully DC’s Source blog will provide a larger version of the cover soon.
Capullo, who’s already receiving praise for his work with writer Scott Snyder on the relaunched Batman, also provided variant covers for Green Lantern #1 and the upcoming Justice League #3 and Action Comics #4.
In case you haven’t read the official announcement at Comic Book Resources, DC also revealed this morning that Aquaman #1 is the 11th title from the relaunch to sell more than 100,000 copies. It joins the first issues of Action Comics, Batgirl, Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman: The Dark Knight, Detective Comics, The Flash, Green Lantern, Justice League and Superman in doing so. In addition, Batman has joined Action Comics and Justice League in breaking the 200,000-copy mark.
The Flash #2, with the Capullo variant, arrives Oct. 26.
“Luckily the story I want to tell with Bruce is one giant sort of story in the form of other books I’ve really loved like the Long Halloween or Hush that stand as stories you can jump on at issue one and know nothing about Batman and sort of be fine with. So for us it was really designed to be accessible from go and then when the relaunch happened and it got numbered at number one I looked at it and thought,’Okay, now I’m going to have to change some stuff to be more accessible.’ And as I was reading it, I realized I really didn’t, it has everything in issue one that, to me, introduces a new fan to the world of Batman and celebrates the world of Batman for an older fan — the rogue’s gallery, the relationships between Bruce, Dick, Tim, Damien, they’re all there. The manor, the grandfather clock with the hands at 10:47 and Alfred, the Batmobile, the Batcave with all new gadgets, Commissioner Gordon — I wanted all those things to be at the beginning of the story because it’s really about Batman being comfortable, and Batman feeling excited to be in Gotham and to be in control of the city. Issue one establishes the status quo of Batman, which is the classic status quo, so our story really didn’t have to be changed at all to fit this kind of number one idea. At the same time I’m really excited for it to be a jumping on point for new fans because it’s a story that, as much as I was excited to bring to fans of the character with tons of references and Easter eggs, it’s also a story that’s designed to be able to introduce new fans, like my son when he gets a little older for example. Or for it to be a the first Batman book for someone and have them be able to pick it up and say, ‘Oh this is why I love Bruce Wayne, why the writer likes Bruce Wayne, I can see it from the beginning.’ And it makes them excited and it’s a good access point to the whole world and mythology of Batman.”
– Batman writer Scott Snyder, discussing his approach to introducing new readers to the character and continuity
The artists behind this September’s “New 52″ have taken to Twitter, thanks once again to David Macho, revealing a whole lot of art from the new books that are due next month. There are a couple of hash tags to follow over on Twitter … #52splash will show you pages of new stuff from Greg Capullo (above), Scott McDaniel and many others. And as Kiel noted last week, #thenewvillains hash tag that kicked off last week slowed down after last week’s push, but a few new posts have popped up today.
And speaking of villains, I don’t think anyone has shared artwork yet for the villain of the new Justice League title — who it turns out is one of DC’s biggest and baddest, Darkseid.
Check out more artwork after the jump, and watch the hash tags for more!
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 ….
Co-created by Todd McFarlane, the Image Comics series centers on Daniel Kilgore, a Catholic priest who’s haunted by the ghost of his estranged brother Kurt, a murdered secret agent. The two combine to form the superhero Haunt.
“The word ‘haunt’ is a very evocative word,” McFarlane tells USA Today. “I didn’t think we had hit that word yet in terms of being dark and moody and creepy in some of the things.” Casey says that he and Fox, who collaborated on Marvel’s Dark Reign: Zodiac, are taking “a real grindhouse/exploitation approach to the series. Hopefully the end result will be appropriately lurid and over-the-top while being a real nail-biter at the same time.”
Kirkman is reportedly leaving Haunt because of demands on his time by AMC’s adaptation of The Walking Dead — the second season began shooting this week outside of Atlanta — while Capullo is teaming with writer Scott Snyder on the September relaunch of DC Comics’ Batman.
DC spent the day rolling out announcements about the Batman books in anticipation of its line-wide September relaunch…with one conspicuous absence until the very end.
So, Bruce Wayne is reclaiming sole possession of the mantle of the Bat, while Batman and Detective Comics are swapping creators: Batman writer/artist Tony Daniel will be taking over Detective Comics, while ‘Tec writer Scott Snyder is taking over Batman with artist Greg Capullo of Spawn fame. Both books will star Bruce Wayne rather than his protege and stand-in Dick Grayson beneath the cape and cowl.