Guillermo del Toro
It doesn’t look like there were as many comic-related announcements on Saturday at WonderCon as there were on Friday, but the second day of the con certainly brought some gems.
• IDW and DC announced that Mark Waid (Daredevil, Insufferable) and Paul Smith (Uncanny X-Men, Leave it to Chance) are teaming up for The Rocketeer/Spirit: Pulp Friction. “Not many writers have been lucky enough to write The Rocketeer or The Spirit,” Waid said in a press release, “so I feel like I’ve won the lottery. This is one of the most exciting-and scariest-assignments I’ve ever undertaken. Luckily, I’ve got Paul Smith to make me look good!” The first issue of the miniseries arrives in July.
If it’s the first Grumpy Old Fan of 2013, it must be time for “Ten From the Old Year, Ten For the New.” For those who came in late, every January I evaluate 10 predictions/observations from the previous year, and present 10 for the next. Accordingly, first we have commentary on 2012′s items.
1. The Dark Knight Rises. I had three rather superficial questions about the final Christopher Nolan Batman movie. First, “[c]an it make a skillion dollars?” Not quite — while it did make over a billion dollars worldwide, it didn’t make as much as its predecessor domestically, and it came in second to The Avengers. Next was “[w]ill it have Robin?” Well … [SPOILER ALERT] it depends on your definition of “Robin,” I suppose. And finally, referring to certain issues about Bane’s elocution, “[w]ill it have subtitles?” Nope — as it turns out, they weren’t needed. Instead, Bane’s accent was perfectly suited to breaking not just Batman, but Alex Trebek as well.
Comics have become ideal source material in Hollywood’s eternal search for the next blockbuster. But in the numerous attempts to transform comic-book heroes into movie stars, some have, inevitably, failed in the making. I don’t mean failed as in bad, but rather adaptations that were announced only to be canceled before moving into production. For today’s “Six by 6,” I look at six instances of movies that spiraled into an early grave, and commiserate over what could’ve been.
1. George Miller’s Justice League: In 2007, Warner Bros. was hard at work developing a a feature based on DC Comics’ top superhero team. In September 2007, the studio announced the hiring of director George Miller of Mad Max and Happy Feet fame, and pushed to get the film finished before the writers’ strike. The proposed budget clocked in at $220 million, with set already being constructed by early 2008 in Australia. Producers even went so far as casting Armie Hammer as Batman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Common as Green Lantern and Adam Brody as the Flash, before the project was abruptly shelved. After the creation of DC Entertainment in 2009, this Justice League movie was permanently canned in favor of a new approach. I would love to have witnessed a movie like this. Miller is an excellent, and mind-bendingly diverse, director, and much of the movie would have relied on the strength of the script.
Conventions | Organizers of Tokyo’s Comic Market (aka Comiket), the world’s largest self-published comic book fair, have received a threat letter, leading them to consider their options for the planned Dec. 29-31 event. The preparations committee said it has been in contact with local police and the Tokyo Big Sight, where the semiannual convention is held. The incident follows a series of threat letters containing powdered and liquid substances sent in the past month to more than 20 locations linked to Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki. About 560,000 attended Comic Market 82 over its three days in August (that’s turnstile attendance, not unique visitors). [Anime News Network]
Creators | Patrick Rosenkranz catches us up on S. Clay Wilson, who suffered a massive brain injury in 2008 (the cause isn’t clear) and is still recovering. “Wilson’s favorite word is still ‘No!’ He used to be a motor mouth but now he’s mostly monosyllabic. After a long life dedicated to being the baddest boy in comix, he’s become a grand old man, but he’s no longer in his right mind. He used to be able to out-talk, out-booze, out-cuss, out-draw, and outrage almost anyone but he doesn’t drink, smoke, snort or draw dirty pictures any more. He doesn’t walk much either and seldom leaves the house, and only in a wheelchair.” [The Comics Journal]
The New York Comic Con officially kicked off this afternoon, with fans eager to get inside and publishers eager to begin releasing news into the wild. So let’s see if we can’t herd some of those announcements together. Here’s a round-up from today:
• DC Comics Co-Publisher and artist extraordinaire Jim Lee will team with Batman scribe Scott Snyder on a new Superman title next year, just in time for the Man of Steel’s return to the silver screen. “This will play along with the other Superman books in the sense that it’s in continuity, but we really wanted to carve out our own territory,” Snyder told CBR. “This really is sort of the biggest, most epic Superman story we could do together while having our feet planted firmly in continuity and making sure that everyone had enough room.”
DC also unveiled a Kia Optima that features a Batman design by Jim Lee.
• Marvel announced three more Season One graphic novels: Iron Man, written by Howard Chaykin with art by Gerard Parel; Thor by writer Matthew Sturges and artist Pepe Larraz; and Wolverine, written by the team of Ben Blacker and Ben Acker, with art by Salva Espin. Also, Cullen Bunn returns to Deadpool with Deadpool Killustrated, a miniseries that pits the Merc with a Mouth against Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes, Beowulf, Don Quixote and more. Spoiler alert: he’s gonna kill them.
Legendary Comics announced today at New York Comic Con that it will publish a graphic-novel prequel to Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming giant-monster epic Pacific Rim as well as sci-fi miniseries written by Grant Morrison.
Produced by corporate sibling Legendary Pictures, Pacific Rim centers on monstrous creatures known as Kaiju that rise from the sea to consume Earth’s resources, and the massive piloted robots called Jaegers that are constructed to save humanity from destruction.
The graphic novel, which will be released before the film’s July 12 debut, is written by Pacific Rim screenwriter Travis Beacham and delves into the early days of the Kaiju attacks and how mankind reacts to the realization that these aren’t isolated incidents but rather a full-fledged invasion.
Del Toro tells Hero Complex that the book won’t simply have his name slapped on the cover. “I try to get involved as much as possible,” he said. “The first decision that is needed from me is to hire the right artist, the right colorist, the right writer for the books. That’s the part that I think is most important. It’s like directing in the comics. … In Pacific Rim, I expect to approve the layout, the pencils, the inking, the coloring, the cover, the script … everything.”
Morrison describes his project, Annihilator, to Heat Vision as “my big L.A. story. It’s a devil’s deal story, it’s a science fiction story, it’s a horror story.”
The six-issue miniseries follows Ray Spass, a screenwriter grappling with a brain tumor, lack of inspiration, and a deadline for a sci-fi movie script about an antihero named Max Nomax who’s in a haunted prison on the edge of a black hole after loosing a battle with an artificial lifeform. But Spass’ life changes when the real Nomax appears, and it’s revealed the tumor contains information key to preventing worldwide destruction.
If you’re a fan of BPRD, you know that the above image is from that comic and not Guillermo del Toro’s giant-monster film, Pacific Rim. You also know that Guy Davis is pretty great at designing giant monsters.
What you may not know is that Davis is the concept artist for Pacific Rim. No concept art has been shared yet, so this completely slipped by most of us. The other thing you may not know is that he’s been working on the film for almost a year, but is now done with his part of it. The movie doesn’t come out until next year, but seeing it is suddenly even more exciting; something I didn’t think possible in a project involving del Toro and giant monsters.
This week saw the release of the $1 first issue of The Strain from Dark Horse Comics, an adaptation of the trilogy of novels by director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) and novelist Chuck Hogan (The Town, Prince of Thieves). Stray Bullets creator David Lapham joins artist Mike Huddleston (Butcher Baker Righteous Maker, The Homeland Directive) in adapting the vampires-meets-Contagion story into comics form.
Here’s a sampling of what folks are saying about the first issue:
Rocco Sansone, Review Fix: “The Strain: Volume 1 does follow the original novel closely with the introducing all the main characters, the plane with everyone dead and the prologue with the old lady telling the tale of Jusef Sardu. Sometimes adapting a novel into comic form can be tricky and Dark Horse has managed to pull off the prologue and the first chapter in a good way.”
Big Tim, Giant Fire Breathing Robot: “The Strain #1 primarily focuses on a Boeing 777 at JFK International Airport that sits silently on the runway. Before long, fearing a terrorist attack, the Center for Disease Control calls in our hero, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, and his team of expert biologists. What does this potential terrorist attack have to do with an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem? Well, I guess you’ll have to wait and see. Taking the reigns of The Strain and translating it to comics, is Eisner Award-winning writer David Lapham, and judging by the first issue, he has captured the twisted mystery of del Toro’s imagination, firmly planted in the urban fantasy setting.”
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Dark Horse assistant editor Jim Gibbons, who I spoke to about his new job on Friday.
To see what Jim and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Earlier this year Jim Gibbons, publicity coordinator for Dark Horse Comics, made the jump from the publicity side of the business to the creative, as he became an assistant editor for the publisher. Old habits are hard to break, though, so when he emailed me recently to suggest a few possible interview subjects he’s been working with in his new role, I thought I’d see if he’d be interested in answering a few questions about his new job.
We spoke with Gibbons, who is also a Wizard Magazine alum, about his move to Dark Horse back in 2009, so catching up with him again about his new role seems to bring everything full circle. My thanks to Jim for agreeing to answer my questions.
JK: When did you start working for Dark Horse, and what were you hired to do?
Jim: I was hired on as a publicity coordinator in 2009. In fact, Sean T. Collins interviewed me about being hired by Dark Horse for Robot 6 way back when! As a publicity coordinator, I was responsible for arranging stories (interviews, previews, artists process pieces, etc) with a number of different online outlets and just generally doing everything in my power to get coverage for Dark Horse projects both big and small. I was (Still am!) a massive comics fan, so making it my business to learn the ins and outs of numerous different comics and graphic novels in order to promote them properly was a pretty fun way to make a living. At a certain point, putting in a lot of effort to increase the amounts of online publicity Dark Horse was getting on top of my passion for these projects and comics in general gained me some recognition by folks like Dark Horse president/publisher/head honcho Mike Richardson, VP of marketing Micha Herschman, senior managing editor Scott Allie, editor Sierra Hahn and my old boss, the director of publicity, Jeremy Atkins and the prospect of moving over to editorial was put on the table. (A big, big thank you to those fine folks, by the way! Especially Scott Allie and Sierra Hahn—many, many thanks!) I excitedly confirmed I’d love to move to the editorial department and when the stars aligned, I was transitioned from one dream job to the next!
Comic-Con International in San Diego hasn’t officially started yet—tonight was Preview Night—but the news has been rolling in. So let’s take a look at today’s announcements
• Dark Horse announced three new projects earlier this evening. They will publish a comics adaptation of The Strain, the sci-fi/vampire trilogy by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The comic will be written by David Lapham with art by Mike Huddleston.
• They also announced a series written by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello with art by Scott Hepburn. Orchid is about a 16-year-old prostitute in a dystopian future “becoming the Spartacus of whores.” Each issue will come with a music track by Morello.
• And finally on the Dark Horse front, they will publish comics set in the young vampire world of P.C. Cast’s House of Night novel series. It will be co-written by Kent Dallan with art by Joëlle Jones. You can see a trailer promoting all three new books on YouTube.
Following through on its teaser from earlier this week, Dark Horse announced this morning that it will publish an adaptation of The Strain, the trilogy of sci-fi vampire novels by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan.
Variety reports that the 24-issue series, which launches on Dec. 14, will be supervised by del Toro and produced by Stray Bullets writer David Lapham and Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker artist Mike Huddleston. Each issue will receive a same-day digital release.
“I supervise everything,” del Toro tells the trade paper. “I give my opinion on the art, the covers, the screenplays. [Lapham] is capturing the novel very well.”
Published in 2009, The Strain follows a biohazard expert and an elderly Holocaust survivor who battle a vampiric virus that breaks out in New York City. The 2010 follow-up The Fall details the spread of the virus and a war that breaks out between Old World and New world vampires. Third novel, The Night Eternal, will be released in October.
According to Variety, The Strain will run as an eight-issue series, ending in July 2012, with the eight-part The Fall debuting later that year.
Further information will be revealed tonight at Comic-Con International in San Diego at the Dark Horse booth. Stay tuned to Comic Book Resources for more details.
Dark Horse Comics released the third and final teaser for projects they’ll announce on Wednesday night during Preview Night at the San Diego Comic-Con. Based on the last name at the top and the image, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that one of the three projects they’ll announce is a comic adaptation of Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain. But I could be wrong.
Unfortunately, the previous two teasers aren’t as easy to crack … check’em out after the jump.
We’ve sung the praises of the awesome posters that Mondo, the collectible art boutique arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, has done for various film debuts like Scott Pilgrim and Iron Man 2. In December, the site announced a “Director’s Series” of posters from director Guillermo del Toro, and this Friday will see the release of two posters that should be popular with fans of his adaptation of Mike Mignola’s signature character — Hellboy and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.
The poster above for Hellboy is by Florian Bertmer and will be limited to 240 copies. The poster for its sequel, which you can see after the jump, is by Ken Taylor. It’s limited to 360 copies, and each of them costs $45. Look for them on the site this Friday, or follow them on Twitter to watch for an “on sale now” announcement.
Editor’s note: As a part of Robot 666 Week, we welcome guest contributor Van Jensen, writer of Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and its upcoming sequel.
by Van Jensen
I was on a panel with Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson to discuss horror comics earlier this year, and I admitted that I didn’t really like horror as a genre. I can’t even see a trailer for Saw MCXVII (or whatever number they’re up to) without feeling repulsed. But Steve and Bernie talked me down from the ledge. The problem isn’t so much with the horror genre, it’s with the trend of comics and movies that use gore as a substitute for real fright. So here’s my list of favorite horror comics and films, and they’re all projects that rely heavily on atmosphere and thrills (the real hallmarks of horror) rather than buckets of blood.
1. House, by Josh Simmons.
Simmons’ debut graphic novel is a relatively simple story, with three teenagers exploring a giant old house in the woods. Things go wrong, which is predictable, but in an unpredictable way. Simmons uses no words through the entire story, but his real accomplishment is utilizing the design of the pages to deliver an increasingly claustrophobic, disorienting and terrifying story.