Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Winter finally caught up with the Memphis suburbs over the past couple of weeks, bringing nasty bouts with freezing rain and (currently) a little snow. Digging out from under the ice has been more tedious than anything else, but the persistent cold kept us all housebound for a little while. Of course, compared to folks in other parts of the country, we are very lucky.
Still, the mere idea of days at home with nothing else to do made me want to search the DC archives on comiXology for decent binge-reading material. Everything from the New 52 forward is available there, so the following recommendations are for older series. I’ve tried to stay away from the bigger names, and go instead for stories and series which might make the time indoors a little more tolerable. They’re also organized according to Convergence eras, so even if you’re not coping with the cold, you can still look forward to April and May.
You may recall in late October we spotlighted The Daily Planet Files, a fan project by Brittney Williams that focuses a bit more on the less-super aspects of the Man of Steel’s life, namely his day job at Metropolis’ premier newspaper. Williams is back now with even more art, including adorable character designs for Lois Lane, Clark Kent, Superman and Jimmy Olsen, and a cast shot that adds Steve Lombard, Perry White, Ron Troupe and Cat Grant into the mix.
“After working on what has now become The Daily Planet Files since May of 2013, I’m finally happy with the designs and what this has developed into,” Williams writes on her blog. “Who know what surprises 2014 holds for these guys.”
See some of the art below, and even more on Williams’ blog.
Following the recent (and adorable) Bizarro animated short, Cartoon Network has released a clip from “Tales of Metropolis, Starring Lois Lane,” which premieres Saturday as part of the channel’s DC Nation programming block. While the previous installment of “Tales of Metropolis” gave us a glimpse of a no-nonsense Lois, this preview reveals her in intrepid-journalist mode — “Best reporter ever!” — as she refuses to allow Batman to dodge her questions about his sources of funding.
Moving from supporting player in the Bizarro short to star here, it’s obvious the only place Lois has left to go is her own animated series, Lois Lane: Best Reporter Ever – preferably with Jimmy Olsen as her faithful, if clueless, sidekick.
DC Nation airs Saturdays at 10 a.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network.
In case you missed the animated short when it aired last month as part of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation programming block, DC Comics has now made the adorable “Tales of Metropolis” available online.
It’s just a little more than a minute long, so I don’t want to spoil it, but the short centers on a downright-endearing Bizarro, whose attempts to pass as a mild-mannered reporter (Not-Bizarro!) are foiled first by a tenacious Lois Lane and then by an alien invader. As with so many of the DC Nation shorts, the characterizations just about perfect (even the three-second cameo by gullible/clueless Jimmy Olsen).
Watch the full short below.
The University of Kentucky has developed an awesome tool for making the periodic table of elements fun. The Periodic Table of Comic Books allows users to click an element and discover comics that talk about it, while also reading analyses of how scientifically accurate those comics are.
It’s still a work in progress, so there aren’t yet entries for say, meitnerium or astatine, but there are a surprising number of references for elements like hafnium and lutetium in addition to expected ones like oxygen, nitrogen, and – of course – krypton. As an example, below is Scrooge McDuck talking about lithium, but there are also fun examples of Jimmy Olsen looking for germanium and the Beyonder turning an office building into gold. A fun, educational way to kill some time.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week’s special guest is Simon Monk, an artist whose “Secret Identity” paintings we featured here on Robot 6 not too long ago. Monk is actually selling limited edition prints of his paintings on his website now, so go check them out.
To see what Simon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
If you’re perplexed by the denim-clad Man of Steel on the cover of Action Comics #1, Grant Morrison has two words for you: The Boss.
“With what we’re doing he’s wearing jeans and a T-shirt – a Bruce Springsteen version of Superman, that’s the angle we’re taking,” the writer tells London’s Metro. “The cape’s still indestructible but the rest is picked up in a shop.”
I’m not sure precisely what that means, but if it leads to Jimmy Olsen becoming the Steven Van Zandt of the New DCU — complete with flowing bandanna — I’m all for it.
The relaunched Action Comics, by Morrison and artist Rags Morales, has been touted as the writer as a “big beginning” and a “new chapter” for the 73-year-old character. “We want to introduce a take on Superman that’s going to be so different that no one can expect what might happen next,” Morrison promised in a video address released last month. “One of the things we’re going to do in this book is also to show you how Superman is, who he is, why he ended up wearing the costume that he wears. And to show kind of a different side to the character than we’ve ever seen before.”
To Metro, Morrison adds: “I want to solve some of the problems that have grown up around the character. People now ask: ‘Why the hell would he dress up like that?’ I want to make Superman a more contemporary character. We’ll be changing how he looks, dresses and behaves. He’ll be more like the Superman who appeared in 1938 – more socially active and a champion of the oppressed.”
Action Comics #1 is set for a Sept. 7 release.
Jimmy Olsen spent much of the Silver Age bouncing from one misadventure to another: traveling through time, uncontrollably growing facial hair, transforming into strange creatures, blah blah blah. In fairness to Jimmy, many times these consequences were somewhat undeserved (although he was kinda asking for trouble drinking that beard tonic).
Therefore, it’s not surprising that once again, our Mr. Olsen is a victim of circumstance. Follow the bouncing ball….
The good: Last year, starting in Action Comics #493, Jimmy got a great new co-feature by the very talented team of writer Nick Spencer, penciller R.B. Silva, and inker DYM.*
The bad: The feature was yanked after four installments when DC decided to discontinue all the co-features.
The good: Spencer, Silva, and DYM got to finish “Jimmy Olsen’s Big Week” in the pages of the probably-still-on-sale Jimmy Olsen Special, which runs 58 pages (including parts 1-4) and is well worth your $5.99. Really, this story couldn’t be more fun if it were called Superman’s Pal Scott Pilgrim.
So where’s the “victim” part come in?
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday 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 what we call our “Splurge” item.
If I had $15:
I’d start with IDW’s Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #1 ($3.99) and have Wednesday night’s bedtime reading for my nine-year-old taken care of. And as long as we’re talking about Phil Hester comics, I’m not leaving the store without Wonder Woman #609 ($2.99) and the return of the classic costume. Then I’d add Captain America and the Secret Avengers ($3.99) because it’s Kelly Sue DeConnick’s writing Black Widow and those are two of my favorite people in comics. And I’d round off the order with Elephantmen: Man and Elephantman #1 ($3.99) because I’m behind on Elephantmen and this sounds like a good place to check in and catch up.
News from New York started pouring out last week before New York Comic Con even started, as publishers got a jump-start on press releases leading into the show, and ICv2‘s Conference on Comics and Digital provided plenty of discussion points about the current and future state of the industry.
• At Comic Book Resources, Kiel Phegley has a thorough report from the conference, where Milton Griepp of ICv2 shared that industry sales are down in 2010, as comic sales are only slightly up at 1 percent, with a 20-percent decline in the graphic novel category. Manga sales are also down 20 percent. The bulk of the conference focused on an area where the story isn’t quite so grim — digital comics. While ICv2’s 2009 report gave a $500,000 to $1 million sales estimate for digital, 2010’s number pointed toward a market of $6 to 8 million.
• Coinciding with the conference and the con, several companies, of course, had announcements regarding their digital plans. Dark Horse announced a new homegrown digital comics app that will work across the various Apple devices and on the web, offering single issues for $1.49. It will be available in January. BOOM! Studios made three announcements late last week, about its comics being available on the PSP and from MyDigitalComics.com. The publisher also announced the availability of Farscape through its comiXology app on the iPad and iPhone. Longbox announced that its comics app will be “the exclusive pre-installed service for purchasing, cataloguing and reading digital comics on all four of Notion Ink’s announced tablets.” And finally DC Comics announced Sunday that Hank Kanalz, former general manager of WildStorm, will head up the DC Digital Comics division in Burbank, Calif. Kanalz jumped right into his new role, leading a Sunday panel on DC’s digital initiatives.
Saturday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, once upon a time, was “big movie day” at the con … back before every day became big movie day at the con. Still, today somewhat lived up to its reputation for being eventful, as the Avengers assembled on stage, Green Lantern movie footage was shown and one poor fan was stabbed in the eye while attending programming in Hall H, where several of the big movie panels took place. The victim was taken to UCSD Medical Center, while his attacker was taken away by police after attendees detained him.
In happier news, here’s what was announced on the comics front:
• Marvel Editor-in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada confirmed that Marvel is “gonna be doing some CrossGen stuff.” CrossGen, which published numerous titles like Sojourn, Way of the Rat, Abadazad and Meridian starting 1998, went bankrupt in 2004. Disney bought their assets that same year.
Their titles covered many different genres, from fantasy to horror to detective stories. “I think with the CrossGen stuff you’re going to see us attempt a little more genre publishing, which I think is much-needed in our imprint,” Quesada said. No word yet on what properties they plan to bring back.
• Kurt Busiek announced that American Gothic, the urban fantasy comic announced at last year’s WildStorm panel, will now be called Witchlands. The series will be drawn by Connor Willumson. Busiek is also working on an Arrowsmith novel titled Arrowsmith: Far from the Fields We Know, which will include illustrations by Carlos Pacheco.
Back in 2007, there was talk of Smallville‘s Chloe Sullivan making the jump from the long-running TV show to the comics world. It ended up not happening at the time, but if you’re a fan of the character played for so long by Allison Mack, you’re in luck — Chloe will appear in the Jimmy Olsen co-feature that’s debuting in Action Comics #893 and being written by Nick Spencer.
Here’s a teaser image, featuring both Jimmy and Chloe, courtesy of DC’s the Source:
Warner Home Video sent out a pre-holiday treat last week — four new images from the upcoming animated release Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, which comes out in February. The direct-to-DVD release pits the Justice League against their evil counterparts, the Crime Syndicate. Up above is the Jester, a heroic version of the Joker from the Crime Syndicate’s world. After the jump you’ll find a really angry Jimmy Olsen, the Flash and a Crime Syndicate group shot.
If you haven’t checked out the latest trailer, you can find it here.