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What Are You Reading?

Scarlet #1

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately.

Today’s special guest is Ryan K Lindsay, a staff writer for comic news and reviews site The Weekly Crisis. He also runs a comic scripting challenge site called thoughtballoons where each week a character is picked, and every member of the site must write a one-page script about that character. He’s also been known to throw a think piece up at Gestalt Mash and is hoping one day to have his many comic pitches drawn by people with pencils.

To see what Ryan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading this week, click the link below …

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Tony Scott to direct Millar and McNiven’s Nemesis adaptation

Nemesis

Nemesis

The news that writer Mark Millar teased earlier this week has finally, officially broke — Tony Scott, director of The Last Boy Scout, Top Gun, Man on Fire and True Romance, will direct the movie adaptation of Millar and Steve McNiven’s Nemesis, their creator-owned title published under Marvel’s Icon banner.

“As you can imagine, I’m more than excited,” Millar wrote on the Millarworld forums. “Steve is delirious and this puts our books instantly in an entirely different league in Hollywood terms. Tony said this was a very timely project and Fox want to get this moving as soon as possible. Next up is a script and the writer we talked about did one of my top five movies of all time. The actor he’s shooting for as the lead character is going to blow your socks off.”

According to Deadline Hollywood, the rights were acquired by 20th Century Fox, and the film will be produced by Scott Free Productions.

Chain Reactions | Scarlet #1

Scarlet #1

Scarlet #1

Since details of the new Icon series by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev were revealed in April, fans have wondered what to expect from the reunion of these frequent collaborators — they previously worked together on such titles as Daredevil, Halo: Uprising and Spider-Woman — and from a storytelling approach that promised to smash the fourth wall.

With the release this week of Scarlet #1, we were introduced to a hard-boiled protagonist who addresses her readers, drawing them into the story’s ultra-violence and, in the words of one reviewer, making them complicit in it.

Some see the first issue of Scarlet as a return to form for Bendis and an example of Maleev at his best. Others, however, aren’t so certain. Here’s just a sampling of the reactions:

Dan Phillips, IGN.com: “For those of us who haven’t been all that fond of Brian Bendis’ ongoing Avengers saga but loved his earlier work on books like Jinx, Goldfish, Alias and Daredevil, reading his and Alex Maleev’s Scarlet #1 feels like reuniting with an old friend, or, to put it another way, rediscovering a bold storytelling voice that’s been sadly and inexplicably dormant for the past half decade.”

Jim Martin, Comics And … Other Imaginary Tales: “I’m very conflicted about this book and I’m not sure if this is just incredible pretentious crap or whether this is the beginning of a unique book that could turn into a very strong series.”

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Batman & Robin #13

Batman & Robin #13

With the cost of comics seemingly always on the rise, we’ve revamped our old Can’t Wait for Wednesday columns around cover price. Hence, welcome to our second Food or Comics? column, as we look at comics that’ll be in shops tomorrow.

Every week we’ll tell you what comics we’d buy if we had $15 to spend, if we had $30 to spend and if we had some “mad money” (like a gift card) to blow on what we’re calling a “Splurge” item. This week Chris Mautner and Brigid Alverson join Kevin Melrose and myself in our trip to the hypothetical comic shop, following our trip to the imaginary ATM machine.

You can play along as well in our comments section; check out Diamond’s shipping list for tomorrow to see what will be in shops.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15, I’d buy …

Batman & Robin #13 ($2.99)
Starstruck #11 ($3.99)
Godland #32 ($3.99)
Boys #44 ($3.99)

These are just about all the comics I’m currently reading in floppy form, minus a title or two. In fact, I’m relatively certain my LCS will be holding copies of these for me when I stop by this weekend. Three involve superheroes. One is a knotty sci-fi saga. One will almost certainly involve someone’s blood being sprayed across a room. That, or a bathroom joke.

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Quote of the day | Matt Fraction, on the economics of Casanova

Casanova #1

Casanova #1

“For all the bravado and, what you call it, callow youthfulness behind the idea of ‘Do it yourself!,’ at the end of the day, there’s a time in your life when you absolutely can, and there’s a time in your life when you’re married and you have a mortgage and a baby or two babies and you need diapers and food and it’s just like, ‘I can’t do that, I can’t work for free anymore.’ It’s not like anybody’s getting rich. It’s not like ‘Well, I need a BMW.’ No — I need to pay my light bill. That’s the reality of it. … So the idea was, let’s go off, and just build up the bank and get to a point where we can do seven issues for free again. Luckily, we haven’t had to. Luckily all three of our stars were in the ascendant and people at Marvel were really big fans of the work, and were excited to make Casanova an Icon book, so we’re very lucky — nobody has to work for free, and we still own Casanova and still control it.”

– writer Matt Fraction, in a highly recommended interview with GQ,
on the financial realities behind
Casanova’s more than two-year hiatus

Phillips reveals first cover for next Incognito series

Incognito: Bad Influences #1

Incognito: Bad Influences #1

Over on his blog, artist Sean Phillips teases the next Incognito series by posting a cover sketch for the first issue. The follow-up to Phillips and writer Ed Brubaker’s Eisner-nominated series is actually subtitled “Bad Influences,” Brubaker said on Twitter, saying it was “coming soonish.”

Update: Phillips has posted the final cover on his blog, which I’ve updated above.

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Tintin in the Congo

Tintin in the Congo

Legal | A Belgian court will rule next week whether Herge’s 1931 collection Tintin in the Congo will be banned because of its depictions of native Africans. The decision, originally expected today, following a nearly three-year-old effort by Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, a Congolese man living in Belgium, to have the book removed from the country’s bookstores, or at least sold with warning labels as it is in Britain. [Guardian, Mail Online]

Libraries | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson reports on a C2E2 panel devoted to helping librarians deal with public challenges to graphic novels. On a related note, she also talks to Jeff Smith about a Minnesota mother’s attempt to have Bone removed from libraries in her school district. [Publishers Weekly]

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C2E2 | A roundup of Day 2 news

For those playing along at home, here are highlights of the announcements (and confirmations) coming out of the inaugural Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo today:

Casanova: Luxuria #1

Casanova: Luxuria #1

• Marvel confirmed the long-awaited third volume of Casanova, the critically acclaimed spy-fi series by Matt Fraction, Gabriel Bá and Fabio Moon, will debut in July through its Icon imprint. The issues originally published in the Image Comics “slimline” format — 16 pages of story for $1.99 — will be re-colored, re-lettered and repackaged. “It’s going to be in full color,” Fraction told Comic Book Resources. “It’s hand-lettered by Dustin Harbin, who’s an amazing cartoonist and a very old friend of mine. So it’s really an entirely new presentation of the material. The color is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s going to be produced at full size. So what was once Casanova #2-3 will now be issue #2 of the Icon Casanova, and so on. You’ll be getting 32 full color pages for full price.”

• Via video, writer Allan Heinberg provided details of Marvel’s Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, the miniseries announced in October that reunites him with Young Avengers artist Jimmy Cheung. The bimonthly, nine-issue limited series that builds on plot threads dating back to House of M, and involves Wiccan attempting to find and redeem the Scarlet Witch.

• Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada revealed that “O.M.I.T.” — the mysterious acronym we’ve seen on guitar picks and in comic-book ads — stands for “One Moment In Time,” and deals with the controversial “One More Day” story that erased the wedding day of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Serialized in The Amazing Spider-Man #637-640, the new arc by Joe Quesada and Paolo Rivera will turn back the clock to show the events on what should have been the couple’s wedding day.

• Oni Press announced Yo Gabba Gabba! Story Comic Book Time, an anthology based on the wildly popular preschool television series. The 128-page hardcover will be released this fall.

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Details revealed on Bendis and Maleev’s creator-owned series Scarlet [Updated]

Scarlet

Scarlet

We may not be any closer to knowing what “O-X” is all about, but this afternoon we learned a few details about Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s new creator-owned title Scarlet.

On G4 TV’s Attack of the Show, “Fresh Ink” host Blair Butler revealed the Icon series is a “real-world” crime comic in the vein of Bendis’ Jinx. Scarlet centers on a woman “who is pushed to the edge by the fractured modern world” but fights back, starting a revolution in the process.

More intriguing, Butler said Bendis will experiment with a new storytelling approach in which “the fourth wall won’t just be broken to engage the reader — it’ll be smashed.” Scarlet is set to debut in July.

Scarlet marks Maleev’s first creator-owned work, and Bendis’ first since Powers, his long-running superhero-police procedural with Michael Avon Oeming. Bendis and Maleev first worked together in 2000 on the Spawn spin-off Sam and Twitch, and have since collaborated on such Marvel titles as Daredevil, Halo: Uprising and Spider-Woman. A creator-owned collaboration has been teased since at least July 2007.

Update: Watch the video after the break.

Update 2 (Friday A.M.): Bendis’ Jinxworld website now has a section devoted to Scarlet, featuring covers by Maleev, Oeming, David Mack and David Lafuente, desktop wallpapers and promotional banners. (And, yes, I realize now that “O-X” represents the … masking tape? … on Scarlet’s breasts. However, I was busy taking notes during the “Fresh Ink” announcement, and could do little more than glance at the images on the TV screen.)

Comic Book Resources has more details.

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Bendis and Maleev tease their creator-owned title O-X

Teaser for the creator-owned comic by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev

Teaser for the creator-owned comic by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev

As the industry gears up for next weekend’s C2E2, the websites of frequent collaborators Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev have been rebranded to promote their long-promised creator-owned project.

The mysteriously titled O-X, set to debut in July from Marvel’s Icon imprint, will be officially announced on Thursday — the day before the Chicago convention — during Blair Butler’s “Fresh Ink” segment on G4 TV’s Attack of the Show!

O-X will mark Bendis’ first creator-owned title since Powers, his long-running superhero-police procedural with Michael Avon Oeming.

Bendis and Maleev first worked together in 2000 on the Spawn spin-off Sam and Twitch, and have since collaborated on such Marvel titles as Daredevil, Halo: Uprising and Spider-Woman. A creator-owned collaboration has been teased since at least July 2007.

John Romita Jr. confirms Shmuggy and Bimbo from Icon, Gray Area trade

The Grey Area

The Grey Area

Last summer John Romita Jr. told CBR’s Jonah Weiland about a new creator-owned book he’s working on with Howard Chaykin called Shmuggy and Bimbo. iFanboy recently caught up with Romita on his press tour for the film Kick Ass, and Romita talked about the project as well as a reprint of his creator-owned series The Gray Area. He says that both projects will be published through Marvel’s Icon imprint.

Grey Area is gonna be re-released by Marvel in a trade with new colors and new lettering, and a new scene added,” Romita said, noting that the series was getting some interest from Hollywood. “This is what Kick Ass is doing to me.” You can find the conversation about these books around the 21-minute mark.

He also talks about the Kick-Ass film (of course), his upcoming run on Avengers and the fact that he’d like to work on Doctor Strange at some point.

Millar and McNiven’s Nemesis, and the Times Square billboard that wasn’t [Updated]

The Times Square billboard purportedly promoting "Nemesis"

The Times Square billboard purportedly promoting "Nemesis"

From Mark Millar, the man who brought you the story of Orson Welles’ efforts to produce the very first Batman movie, comes this photo of a billboard purportedly advertising Nemesis — in comic shops today! — in New York City’s Times Square.

“Times Square, New York City, 15 minutes ago,” Millar wrote this morning on his message board. “Is this what happens when you give a comic-book writer some movie royalties?”

Well, not necessarily. Eagle-eyed viewers, or Google Image searchers, may recognize the photo as originating from slightly more than “15 minutes ago” — like January, when much hay was being made over the Weatherproof billboard that featured President Obama.

So, no Nemesis billboard. Decent bit of Photoshop work, though; it certainly convinced some people.

You can see the original photo after the break.

Update: In the comments thread, reader MD shares a snapshot of what the billboard on that street corner actually looks like this morning. (If you’ll recall, Weatherproof Garment Company agreed to remove the Obama ads at the request of the White House.)

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Mask up, bitches: Kick-Ass tears through South by Southwest

Red Mist

Red Mist

This past weekend South by Southwest in Austin hosted the premiere of Kick-Ass, the movie adaptation of the comic by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. The film was accompanied by a panel featuring both creators and members of the cast … and a trio of really cool retro posters that attendees received. Above is one featuring the Red Mist, and you can also check out the ones featuring the title character and Hit Girl.

Reviews of the film have also started to pop up around the web, on sites like io9 and Reuters, among many others. Millar and Romita also spoke with the Wall Street Journal about the film.

New outdoor posters released for Kick-Ass

"Kick-Ass" outdoor posters

"Kick-Ass" outdoor posters

Ahead of the movie’s world premiere on Friday at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Lionsgate has released outdoor posters for Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of the Icon comic series by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.

The film, which stars Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Moretz, Mark Strong and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, will be released on April 16. You can see the individual character posters after the break.

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Mark Millar Ideas takes a jab at … Mark Millar’s ideas

From the MarkMillarIdeas Twitter feed

From the MarkMillarIdeas Twitter feed

Spurred, we may presume, by a tagline for Mark Millar’s next project — “What if Batman was The Joker?” — someone has created a Twitter account to have a little fun with the writer’s approach to high-concept pitches.

Millar began teasing the creator-owned miniseries, Nemesis, in late October before finally revealing the details on Friday at Comic Book Resources: The Marvel/Icon comic, with Civil War and “Old Man Logan” collaborator Steve McNiven, centers on a billionaire genius who uses his attributes to unleash anarchy rather than to fight crime.

“What if this genius billionaire was just this total shit, and the only thing that stood between him and a city was the cops?” Millar told CBR. “It’s Batman versus Commissioner Gordon, in a weird way. Or maybe a super-villain version of Se7en. A billionaire anarchist up against ordinary people. The Joker’s the best thing in the Batman movies, so this guy is a bit of an amalgamation of all the stuff we like.”

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