Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
“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.
• iFanboy has named Petrograd by Phil Gelatt and Tyler Crook as their book of the year.
• Johanna Draper Carlson shares her top ten graphic novels of the year, a list that includes Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol, Criminal: The Last of the Innocent by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Love and Capes: Wake Up Where You Are by Thomas Zahler and Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton.
• Danny Djeljosevic, Nick Hanover and Jason Sacks at Comics Bulletin count down their top ten graphic novels of 2011, which include Frank Miller’s Holy Terror, Oil and Water by Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler, and Habibi by Craig Thompson.
• Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson continues her countdown of the top people of 2011. Jeffrey Brown comes in at No. 71, while Brian Selznick lands at No. 55. Jeff Lemire is at No. 31. Robert Kirkman and Kevin Smith both break into the top 20. I won’t spoil the No. 1 pick, but I agree with it wholeheartedly.
• Jonathan P. Kuehlein of the Toronto Star picks his year’s best, including Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey by GB Tran, Joe The Barbarian: The Deluxe Edition by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy, and Scarlet: Book 1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev.
Frank Miller, whose tirade against the Occupy movement was met with a largely negative, and frequently heated, response, has found an unlikely defender: left-leaning writer Mark Millar.
In a post on his Millarworld forum, the writer of Kick-Ass and The Ultimates says, “It’s strange to watch your favourite writer getting strips torn off him for a couple of days.”
“Politically, I disagree with his analysis, but that’s besides the point,” Millar continues. “I wasn’t shocked by his comments because they’re no different from a lot of commentators I’ve seen discussing the subject. What shocked me was the vitriol against him, the big bucket of shit poured over the head by even fellow comic-book creators for saying what was on his mind.”
As one commenter points out, it probably shouldn’t be shocking that Miller’s no-holds-barred screed, which characterizes Occupy protesters as “a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists” who “can do nothing but harm America,” was answered with a degree of vitriol. Or, in the commenter’s words, “if you throw the first bucket of shit […] then you should be prepared for some splashback.” Perhaps if Miller’s commentary had been more reasoned and less inflammatory — “decorous,” as Miller himself would say — the reaction might’ve reflected that.
Legal | Prosecutors in Macomb County, Michigan, rested their case Friday in the second trial of Michael George, a former retailer and convention organizer accused of the 1990 murder of his first wife Barbara in the back room of their Clinton Township comic store. The judge this morning will hear a defense motion for a directed verdict, seeking dismissal due to lack of evidence, before testimony resumes.
George, now 51, was arrested in August 2007, after a detective reopened the cold case, and convicted seven months later of first-degree murder and insurance fraud, among other counts, and sentenced to life in prison. However, the judge later set aside the verdict, citing prosecutorial misconduct — George’s mug shot was shown to the jury — and the release of new evidence that could lead the jury to believe another person was responsible for the murder. His retrial began Sept. 14, and should conclude this week. Prosecutors contend that George staged the killing to look like a robbery so he could collect money from an insurance policy and a shared estate, and start over with another woman. George insists he was asleep at the time of the shooting, and that his wife was the victim of a robbery gone wrong. [Daily Tribune]
Publishing | Chip Mosher, marketing and sales director for BOOM! Studios, left the publisher on Friday after four years. Marketing coordinator Emily McGuiness will take over his duties. [BOOM! Studios]
There’s no way to get around it: Even in its reworked form, Holy Terror is a goddamn Batman story. Frank Miller’s long-awaited superhero vs. terrorist graphic novel finally emerges this week, and it’s everything you’d think it would be … including “visually impressive,” “disturbingly simplistic” and, to be honest, proof that terrorism seems to have worked in Miller’s case.
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.
It is, thankfully, the last week of September which means that, if I had $15, I only have one more week of new launches from DC to pick out potential favorites, Sophie’s Choice-style. This week: Aquaman #1, Flash #1, Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Men #1, Justice League Dark #1 and Superman #1 make the cut (All DC, all $2.99 each).
If I had the chance to add some more money to take that total to $30, I’d go for some Marvel books: Brian Michael Bendis gets well-represented with Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #2 ($3.99); New Avengers #16.1 ($2.99), his “new readers jump on” issue with art by Neal Adams; and Brilliant #1 ($3.99), his new creator-owned book with Mark Bagley. Here’s hoping I’m in a suitably Bendis-y mood when I read all of these ones.
Splurgewise, it has to be Habibi (Pantheon, $35), Craig Thompson’s new graphic novel. I know a few people who’ve had a chance to read it already, and everyone has made it sound like a large leap ahead from Blankets, and something almost worth the many-year wait it’s been since his breakthrough last book. I’m really looking forward to this one.
Legendary Entertainment has premiered the poster and print ad for Holy Terror, the long-awaited graphic novel by Frank Miller.
The revenge tale, set for release in September, follows The Fixer, a “Dirty Hairy”-style hero who takes the fight to al Qaeda after his city is target by terrorists. Initially, and famously, conceived as a Batman story, Holy Terror is described as “a no-holds-barred action thriller told in Miller’s trademark high-contrast, black-and-white visual style, which seizes the political zeitgeist by the throat and doesn’t let go until the last page.”
See the full poster below. And don’t miss the five-page preview of Holy Terror released last month.
Legendary Comics announced at its panel this afternoon at Comic-Con International that it will publish new projects from Paul Pope and Matt Wagner.
Set for release this holiday season, PulpHope is a more than 200-page retrospective of Pope’s career, featuring many pieces that haven’t been seen before. A previous edition was published in 2007 by AdHouse Books.
The Tower Chronicles, developed by Wagner with Legendary CEO Thomas Tull, is a supernatural action-adventure about a bounty hunter with a hidden past who, backed by a team of high-tech mercenaries, protects civilians from the things that go bump in the night.
“We are thrilled to be working with Pope and Wagner on these upcoming projects for Legendary Comics,” Editor-in-Chief Bob Schreck said in a statement. “Just as our film division works with the best-in-class talent and filmmakers to produce content for the fandom demographic, so too will Legendary Comics move forward on our mandate to publish works from the best in A the industry.”
Legendary also will release Frank Miller’s Holy Terror in September.
Update: The Hollywood Reporter reports that Simon Bisley will provide artwork for the Tower Chronicles. They also provide additional details on the PulpHope book, calling it “a revamped version of the artist’s out-of-print art book titled PulpHope, stripping away 100 pages and throwing in 100 new ones incorporating work Pope has done in the music, toy and clothing spheres, as well as other material.”
Legendary Comics, the comic-publishing arm of Legendary Pictures, has revealed a new trailer for Frank Miller’s upcoming graphic novel Holy Terror. The project began as a “Batman vs. al-Qaeda” book for DC Comics before Miller eliminated Batman from it in favor of a new character called The Fixer, who you can see in action in the trailer.
The book will be published this September to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The trailer was revealed by Legendary as the “first of four locks” being opened, and they ask fans to help open additional locks by sharing content on Facebook and Twitter. “This was the first of four locks that will reveal exclusive content throughout the weekend, so be sure to check back regularly. Remember, the more you spread the word, the faster each reveal will be released!”
Comics | Frank Miller says he has finished his upcoming graphic novel, Holy Terror, which is due from Legendary Comics in September. The book, which once was set to feature Batman fighting terrorism, now stars a character called The Fixer: “I took Batman as far as anyone, and this guy is just not him. He’s been playing the crime fighter to stay in shape. What he really wants to do is fight terrorism. He knew the day would come. The story is essentially New York under attack by suicide bombers and our hero is out to find out their greater scheme. He’s much more a man of action than a detective. He’s a two-fisted Dirty Harry type, really.”[Hero Complex]
Comics | Calling it a “sick magazine comic strip depicting shootings in schools,” The Daily Mail reports on “Beat My Score,” written by UK comedian Jimmy Carr with art by Ryusuke Hamamoto. The reporter says the comic, which appears in the latest issue of Mark Millar’s CLiNT magazine, “will horrify the families of school shooting tragedies such as Dunblane and Columbine with his ultra-violent story.” CLiNT responded by saying the strip is “a nihilistic satirical sideswipe at the glamourisation of violence, tackling the difficult and disturbing effects as seen in school shootings around the world.” The comments are fun. [Daily Mail]
Rich Johnston and Heidi MacDonald are both reporting that Frank Miller’s long-awaited graphic novel Holy Terror will be published this September, the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks to which the book is a response. The project began as a “Batman vs. al-Qaeda” book for DC before Miller, feeling he’d taken the story too far outside of the Batman comfort zone, rejiggered it with an original hero called the Fixer and took it elsewhere. That elsewhere turns out to be Legendary Comics (the publishing subsidiary of the Legendary Pictures film shingle), helmed by former Oni/DC/IDW editor Bob Schreck. This oughta be a pip.
The global ramifications of the killing of Osama bin Laden on Sunday by U.S. Navy SEALs will be pondered by intelligence experts, media pundits, politicians and historians for weeks, months and years to come. On a much, much smaller scale, and one germane to comics readers, it also raises an immediate question:
How will the death of Al Qaeda’s leader affect Frank Miller’s long-gestating graphic novel Holy Terror?
Announced in 2006 as a Batman project, the book was described by the artist at the time “as a piece of propaganda” that would pit the Dark Knight against the terrorist organization. “Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That’s one of the things they’re there for,” Miller said.
The revenge-fantasy concept drew more criticism and bewilderment than praise, with Grant Morrison firing perhaps the most widely reported shot across Miller’s bow: “Batman vs. Al Qaeda! It might as well be Bin Laden vs. King Kong! Or how about the sinister Al Qaeda mastermind up against a hungry Hannibal Lecter! For all the good it’s likely to do. Cheering on a fictional character as he beats up fictionalized terrorists seems like a decadent indulgence when real terrorists are killing real people in the real world. I’d be so much more impressed if Frank Miller gave up all this graphic novel nonsense, joined the Army and, with a howl of undying hate, rushed headlong onto the front lines with the young soldiers who are actually risking life and limb ‘vs’ Al Qaeda.”
More than three months after confirming that his long-discussed Holy Terror graphic novel no longer involves Batman fighting Al Qaeda, Frank Miller has revealed who’s taking the Dark Knight’s place.
“The character is called The Fixer and he’s very much an adventurer who’s been essentially searching for a mission,” he tells Hero Complex. “He’s been trained as special ops and when his city is attacked all of a sudden all the pieces fall into place and all this training comes into play. He’s been out there fighting crime without really having his heart in it — he does it to keep in shape. He’s very different than Batman in that he’s not a tortured soul. He’s a much more well-adjusted creature even though he happens to shoot 100 people in the course of the story.”
Miller says that Holy Terror, which was announced in 2006 (as a Batman project from DC Comics), will be released “next year, certainly,” although he hasn’t signed a publisher. He also addresses the leeriness of DC Comics executives, and his reasons for replacing the Caped Crusader with the new character.
“I pushed Batman as far as he can go and after a while he stops being Batman,” he says. “My guy carries a couple of guns and is up against an existential threat. He’s not just up against a goofy villain. Ignoring an enemy that’s committed to our annihilation is kind of silly. It just seems that chasing the Riddler around seems silly compared to what’s going on out there. I’ve taken Batman as far as he can go.”