INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
Comics | The comics industry has undergone seismic changes in the past few years, and Heidi MacDonald rounds up some recent comments from retailers and pundits about what they’re seeing. It’s a good read that leads to many other good reads, but here’s the takeaway: “ The real issue — one that many people in the industry may have trouble dealing with — is that the comics audience has changed. They didn’t get into comics during the first run of the Ultimate universe. They didn’t come in with the original 52 mini series or Final Crisis. They probably didn’t even start with the New 52. The methods and product mixes that were formulated to deal with a readership that grew up when comics were a niche product for nerds have to be reevaluated when new readers are coming in from the top properties in every form of entertainment, from graphic novels that they were taught in school, from webcomics, from creators with strong social media, from every which way. There is no well marked four lane highway to comics any more, just a delightful variety of roads, interstates and worn down dirt paths.” [The Beat]
Creators | Stan Lee arrived at Sydney Airport for the Supanova Pop Culture Expo and was immediately presented with a “Captain Australia” shield, colored gold and green rather than red and blue. The Supanova Pop Culture Expo kicked off today, and continues through Sunday. [The Daily Telegraph]
Comics | Hussain Al-Shiblawi says he doesn’t usually mind the pamphlets he regularly receives from the local Bible Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia; even though he’s Muslim, he finds them inspirational. But he takes strong exception to the latest one, a Jack Chick tract titled Unforgiven, which claims that all Muslims are going to hell. The pastor, who declined to go on camera, says his church doesn’t create the pamphlets, it just distributes them, but he’s willing to meet with Al-Shiblawi to discuss the comic. [WDBJ News]
The family of a 3-year-old in Hespeler, Ontario, is upset that the girl was given a couple of the controversial evangelical comic tracts during a night of trick-or-treating.
“Anyone thinking that a 3-year-old Princess Rapunzel … needs to be subjected to pictures of cruelty and violence on any day, let alone [Halloween] – a day for kids to be kids – is pretty shameful,” the girl’s father Rod Murray told the Kitchener Record.
One of the booklets lil’ Rapunzel was handed was “Somebody Loves Me,” which depicts a child beaten with a club by his alcoholic father and thrown out of the house. While sleeping in an alley, the gravely injured boy is told by a passerby that “Jesus loves you” before he dies and his carried off by an angel. The other is more difficult to figure out from the article’s description, but it apparently involves people — possibly Adam and Eve among them — covered in sores. In other words, comic tailor-made for a 3-year-old.
Jack Chick is best known as the creator of Chick Tracts, the little religious comics that predict dire fates for those who celebrate Halloween, read Harry Potter books, or adhere to any religion not approved by Chick. But how did he get his artistic chops?
At the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum & Library Blog, Caitlin McGuirk posts a fascinating selection of Chick’s pre-tract comics, a caveman series from the 1950s titled Times Have Changed? Like The Flintstones and BC, both of which came later, the comics use modern-day gags in a caveman setting. The writer was P.F. Clayton, and Chick handled the art.
Crime | Police in Jackson, Mississippi, have recovered a comic-book collection valued at $19,000, and arrested two suspects in the burglary. [WJTV]
Legal | Gerry Giovinco questions why Marvel and DC Comics zealously defend their intellectual property rights, going so far as to sue a birthday party company that rented out lookalike costumes, but don’t even touch the many porn parodies of their comics that have sprung up in recent years. [CO2 Comics]
Comics | A Florida mother was upset to discover Chick tracts among her children’s trick-or-treat haul, saying the comics are racist and offensive. It’s the second time in as many weeks that the long-controversial evangelical comics have been publicly called out by a displeased parent. [KTNV]
Comics | After all of these years, the evangelical comics of 88-year-old cartoonist and publisher Jack Chick still stir controversy. The latest is in Buffalo, New York, where a mother is upset that a local church left on her doorstep a Chick tract that was read by her 7-year-old daughter. “It seems like a Lifetime movie or something that was put into a kid’s comic book and expose my 7-year-old to this horrible of an idea of a family life,” Brandi Gillette says. Titled “Happy Hour,” the 2002 comic depicts an alcoholic, abusive father whose wife dies following a beating (while he’s bellied up to the bar). When his two children start to go hungry because he’s spending the family’s money on alcohol, the girl smashes his liquor bottles and, after threatening to cut him with the jagged glass, convinces him to go to church, where he devotes his life to Christ. Chick Publications, which publishes the tract, says “Happy Hour” is intended for adults, not children. [WIVB]
Comics | Green Lantern writer Geoff Johns talks with The Wall Street Journal about the introduction this week of the newest member of the Green Lantern Corps Simon Baz, an Arab-American Muslim from Dearborn, Michigan: “As fantastic as the concept of Green Lantern is of an intergalactic police force, the comic has had a history of grounding in the now and dealing with modern characters and concepts and Simon Baz is that. I wanted to create a character that everyday Americans have to deal with. When 9/11 hit, he was 10-years-old. His family was devastated, just like every other American. He’s grown up in that world. It’s just part of the daily life, the new normal.” [Speakeasy]
Comics | The new Spider-Man, Miles Morales, reaches a key moment in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #14, when Aunt May gives him Peter Parker’s web-shooters and the formula for for his web fluid. Writer Brian Michael Bendis explains why he waited so long to pass along the iconic tools: “‘This is like Excalibur. This is it. This is like being bequeathed the sword,’ Bendis says. ‘But, young Miles and (his friend) Ganke trying to figure out how to make web fluid is going to be my favorite stuff to write ever in the history of writing of anything. Just because someone gives you a formula and says, “Here, cook this,” doesn’t mean you can.'” [USA Today]
Less than a month ago (and just before the 10th anniversary of 9/11), Rick Veitch‘s latest project (published by Image), The Big Lie, was released. While the one-shot has already been released, it’s clear that Veitch hopes the comic can foster discussion. As a storyteller who began pursuit of his craft in the early 1970s, Veitch has a perspective and creative voice shaped by a wealth of experience that few active current creators possess. In that spirit, I interviewed Veitch via email about his latest collaboration with artist Gary Erskine. While it was a one-shot so far, Veitch clearly intends to do more with The Big Lie platform. Here’s Image’s official description of the story: “A lab tech travels back in time on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 to try and get her husband out of the world trade center before it falls, but will the facts convince him before it’s too late?” For additional context on The Big Lie, be sure to also read CBR’s August interview with Veitch as well the preview we ran in late July.
Rick Veitch: Only in the sense that the “Truther” name lumps together everyone who doubts the government’s version of what happened. I think there’s a huge difference between the architects and engineers who’ve put their professional careers on the line by speaking out and those who are claiming space aliens were responsible.