J.H. Williams III
“I was [...] seriously disappointed when I’d heard about the demise of Vertigo’s Hellblazer recently announced, in favor of transitioning the lead character into the DCU entirely, not an idea I’m overly fond of. As a longtime reader of Hellblazer it was disheartening. I felt as if Vertigo was beginning to slowly be sucked dry, its life’s blood drained away. And with the departure of Karen Berger I have to admit that I’m feeling even more disheartened. And speaking as bit of a fan here, not an industry professional, I’m feeling torn between a struggle of anger about some things and rather optimistic for what the future may hold for Karen, and in turn for us as readers. As a creative editor Karen has something to say, always has, and I’m certain her voice will rise up out of the din and resonate with something new. And when that voice does sound, in whatever form that may take, I know I’m there to listen. Comics needs Karen Berger! ”
– J.H. Williams III, responding to Monday’s announcement that Karen Berger, executive editor and senior vice president of Vertigo, will leave after nearly 20 years at the helm of the DC Comics imprint
The biggest news from this round of solicits is probably the cancellations of Blue Beetle, Grifter, Legion Lost, and Frankenstein. I’ve been buying Beetle and Frankenstein, so I’m sorry to see them go.
Naturally, this means we can look forward to four new titles in February. If I had to guess, I’d say a new Shazam! ongoing series will spin out of the current Justice League backup, but according to January’s solicitation, the backup doesn’t seem to have reached a suitable stopping place. It’s possible that February’s Issue 17 could wrap everything up one week and lead into Shazam! #1 the next, but that would depend on Justice League shipping on time (in the third week of the month), and I’d think DC would want more wiggle room in case of a delay. Accordingly, the odds of a Shazam! series in the next batch of solicits seem rather long.
Still, the backup series has been running in Justice League since #7, so (counting the Shazam-centric Issue 0, but subtracting the lack of backup in Issue 13) February’s Issue 17 would mark its eleventh installment. That is subject to change, since the October solicits advertised a Shazam! backup which was not in the actual issue. Still, if my rough math is correct, that’s about 154 total pages of story — more than the New Teen Titans: Games paperback, but less than the Superman/Shazam collection — but the solicit for January’s Issue 16 (part 11, remember) just talks about continuing the origin. With that in mind, even if Issue 17 concludes the backup, the character could still appear in JL as a Leaguer until he does whatever he’s going to do in “Trinity War.” Yadda yadda yadda, now I think probably no new Shazam! series until that event is over.
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While I don’t think there have been any official announcements about it, word is trickling out that Grant Morrison’s “putting the sex back into Wonder Woman” project is going to be Wonder Woman: Earth One. Bleeding Cool poses it as a question, but on the most recent 3 Chicks Review Comics podcast, Greg Rucka confirms it. He also says the gig was originally going to be his.
“I, at one point, was supposed to write Wonder Woman: Earth One,” he says. “ J.H. [Williams] was going to draw it.” Unfortunately, “I was told I was not going to do it. Dan DiDio called me and told me he was giving it to someone else. And I said if you take that away from me I can no longer work for you because I have taken many a job for you, sir, on the promise of doing this and now you’re taking it away and I can no longer accept your promises any more. He had his reasons for doing it; this is not me throwing stones. This is just the way things shook out.”
I know nothing about The Sword, other than that the Austin, Texas-based heavy-metal band has great taste in choosing comic artists to provide album art: Batwoman artist/co-writer J.H. Williams III has revealed a host of design work for the group’s new release Apocryphon on his blog. More art from the project can be found below.
MorrisonCon organizers have released the programming schedule for the Sept. 28-30 event, which brings together a limited number of attendees and such creators as Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Robert Kirkman, Gerard Way, Jim Lee and J.H. Williams III for an “intimate gathering” in Las Vegas.
Highlights include a spoken-word performance by Morrison and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way and James Dewees, a discussion of Morrison’s upcoming project (including Happy! with Darick Robertson, Multiversity, and Pax Americana with Quitely), separate panels with the event’s featured writers and artists, and spotlights on Kirkman, Williams, Jason Aaron and Jonathan Hickman.
Attendance is limited to 1,000. Ticket packages, which range in price from $699 to $1,099 (and include admission and a room at the Hard Rock Hotel), are still available at the MorrisonCon website. See the full schedule below.
“I’m imagining a hypercritical audience of roughly 50 million people going, ‘That’s not Sandman!’ But then I think, the great thing about Sandman was that from the moment I discovered the internet, and that people were talking about Sandman on the internet — which would have been, like, rec.art.comics.dc circa 1989, end of ’89 — what people were saying then never changed for the next seven years of comics. All they ever said was, ‘It’s not as good as it used to be.’ And the earlier stuff was always whatever somebody had picked up first and loved. And it carried on, with people talking about when Sandman was good, all the way up through 75.”
– Neil Gaiman, discussing his expectations for the release of the newly announced prequel
to his celebrated Vertigo series The Sandman
Thursday may have started a bit slow in the news department, but it sure ended with a huge bang. Here’s a roundup of announcements that hit today from Comic-Con International in San Diego:
• Neil Gaiman announced via video that he will write a new Sandman miniseries that will detail what happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman #1. J.H. Williams III will provide the art. “It was a story that we discussed telling for Sandman‘s 20th anniversary,” Gaiman said, “but the time got away from us. And now, with Sandman‘s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told.” The series will be published by Vertigo sometime next year.
• Legendary will also publish the Majestic Files by J. Michael Straczynski, which will feature art by Geoff Shaw and Matt Banning.
• Terry Moore will write a Strangers in Paradise prose novel to coincide with the comic’s 20th anniversary next year. He also plans to do an all-ages comic after Rachel Rising finishes in 30-40 issues.
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.
With my first $15 I’d get the following: The Massive #1 (Dark Horse, $3.50), X-Men #30 (Marvel, $3.99), Spider-Men #1 (Marvel, $3.99), and Saucer Country #4 (Vertigo, $2.99). That leaves me roughly 50 cents out of my budget. I dunno if it was planned this way or not, but two of Brian Wood’s latest projects, The Massive and his run on the X-Men (of the un-Ultimate variety), kick off this week. We also have the debut of Spider-Men, the crossover that features Peter Parker of the 616 Marvel U meeting up with Miles Morales from the Ultimate-verse. I’ve enjoyed the Miles Morales/Ultimate Spider-Man stories this far, which is the reason I’m getting it. Finally, Saucer Country is the best of the new Vertigo titles, featuring clever writing by Paul Cornell and great art by Ryan Kelly.
Add another $15 and I’d also get Captain America #13 (Marvel, $3.99), Uncanny X-Force #26 (Marvel, $3.99), Resurrection Man #10 (DC Comics, $2.99), and Frankenstein: Agent of Shade #10 (DC Comics, $2.99). Again, with some change left over for a candy bar or whatever. I laughed out loud at the big reveal at the end of the last issue of Captain America, as we learned who the new guy was behind the Scourge mask. I assume this is a What If? comic, along the lines of “What if (name redacted for spoiler reasons) wasn’t lame?” So I have to see this through. I mentioned this weekend on What Are You Reading? that I’d downloaded a whole bunch of the current run of Uncanny X-Force for 99 cents from comiXology, and since then I’ve completely caught up on the book, so I’ll definitley be getting the current issue. Add to that one of the final times I’ll get to see Abnett and Lanning’s Resurrection Man comic (sniff … well, it was probably a longshot anyway, based on how well his last comic did) and the debut of Matt Kindt on Frankenstein, and that rounds out my week of comics.
I don’t really have anything on my splurge radar this week, so maybe I’ll just hold onto the cash and save it for next time.
To see what Ed and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
Tom Richmond, J.H. Williams III, Ben Katchor and Jon Rosenberg were among the winners of the 2012 National Cartoonists Society Divisional Awards, which were presented last night in Las Vegas, Nev.
Richmond, a cartoonist known for his work on MAD Magazine, won the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. Williams’ work on Batwoman was honored in the comic category, while Katchor won the graphic novel category for The Cardboard Valise. Rosenberg won the online comic strip category for his webcomic Scenes from a Multiverse.
You can find a complete list of all the winners after the jump.
On his blog, J.H. Williams III unveils his stunning cover for August’s Batwoman #12, complete with the promise of an appearance by Wonder Woman, and walks us through his process.
“I felt it important for the image to work from a design idea properly, the logo had to become a part of the art directly, to play up the mirror effect as needed,” he writes, “so I embedded it into the final in a way that there is no other version. You’ll note I digitally did a mirror effect for Batwoman rather than draw that in by hand. I felt it best to handle it that way because of the Bloody Mary part is so bold. I think it would’ve been extremely problematic to have tried drawing Batwoman mixed with Blood Mary and then be able to have multiple effects in the final color. This allowed me to keep the style used for Bloody Mary independent from everything else. So the last digital additions, the use of a background setting, and the pop color of the inset stars and star panel against the surreal quality of the idea, helped to make this cover unique from previous Batwoman covers I’ve done. So that’s good, I’m always wanting the covers to do new things.”
All of Williams’ covers are beautiful, but with the one for Batwoman #12, he definitely raises the bar. Check out the full cover below, and visit Williams’ blog to see more of his process.
On his blog, J.H. Williams III breaks down his cover process for June’s Batwoman #10, the penultimate chapter of the “To Drown the World” story arc that finds Kate Kane ambushed by Killer Croc.
“The goal was to keep things almost monochrome, or a limited palette. Placing all of the focus on Batwoman through color use,” Williams writes. “And on the encircling villains I used only simple grey textures, just enough to darken the image, while retaining the graphic quality of that portion of the cover. And then by leaving the background white and digitally painting white fades over the edges of the villains gives this very nice tunnel effect, Batwoman emerging from the light into the threatening darkness …”
Visit Williams’ blog to see his ful process. Batwoman #10 goes on sale June 20.
Batwoman, by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, won the GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding Comic Book.” The award was announced last night in New York.
“This is extremely gratifying, because we’ve been working very hard to make this character multifaceted and someone to believe in, while showing her develop realistic personal relationships over time,” Williams wrote on his blog. “So the recognition from the GLAAD awards bolsters us greatly. And thank you for all of the support the series has been getting from you all, the comics readership community.”
The awards honor outstanding portrayals of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities in various media. Other comics that were nominated in the category included Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, by Allan Heinberg and Jimmy Cheung; Secret Six, by Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore; Veronica Presents: Kevin Keller, by Dan Parent; and X-Factor, by Peter David, Emanuela Lupacchino, Valentine De Landro and others.
You can find the complete list of winners on the GLAAD site.
It’s fast becoming Jamaica Dyer week here at Robot 6. Yesterday she contributed to the weekly What Are You Reading column, and today she is the subject of an interview. Dyer joined me in this email interview mostly to discuss the serialization of her graphic novel, Fox Head Stew (at MTV Geek), the tale of two twentysomethings–Dee and Sam (aka Bunny Boy)–making their way through life. But she was also enthused to discuss the Isotope Comics-arranged Live Art Show as part of San Francisco’s Noise Pop Music Festival 20th Anniversary. My thanks to Dyer for her time.
Tim O’Shea: While Fox Head Stew is being serialized at MTV Geek, I am curious are you looking to release it through a traditional publisher at some point?
Jamaica Dyer: Yes, I would love to see Fox Head Stew printed as a book. I don’t have a publisher for it yet but I’m definitely on the market! I did some print-on-demand copies last year and it looks amazing on paper. Finding a publisher for it is difficult, because while it’s the sort of story that indie publishers like, they typically only print black and white books, and I have to insist on having it printed in color. It’s my own fault for insisting on painting the whole thing!
My hope is that through exposure on MTV Geek, the audience might decide that a book about girls experimenting in college, glam rock bands, and psychedelic fantasy sequences rendered in watercolor are the sort of stories they want to read in comics! There’s a definite perception in mainstream comics of superheros and action stories, but this is an exciting opportunity to change that perception and expose new genres to the MTV audience.
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where we share what comics, books and other good stuff we’ve been checking out lately. This week our special guest is Thomas Hall, writer of the science fiction/fantasy comic Robot 13.
To see what Thomas and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.