Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Fans often have their own ideas about who should play their favorite comic book characters on screen. But what if they could also do a little bit of gender-bending?
Ming Doyle, artist of The Kitchen and the upcoming Dark Universe, recently released a series of illustrations featuring popular DC Comics characters reimagined as women, even going so far as to cast popular actresses in the likenesses: Sigourney Weaver as Batman, Winona Ryder as Dick Grayson, and more. Then other artists got in on the kick.
For years after the ill-fated 1986 film, Howard the Duck was considered a joke character by many. However, the March-debuting new series from writer Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals) and Joe Quinones (Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell) looks to be taking Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik’s character more seriously than most recent depictions, while still having fun.
The latest evidence: a variant cover by Paul Pope — making a rare Marvel appearance — for Howard the Duck #1, revealed on Twitter earlier today by Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso. The cover channels Shakespearean pathos with a downright somber-looking Howard, albeit juxtaposed with a rubber ducky.
Pope’s full cover follows below.
Comics | Check your longboxes, folks: Copies of Marvel’s Sunfire & Big Hero 6 #1, from 1998, with a CGC grade of 9.8 are selling for $450 and up ahead of the premiere of the Disney animated film, and even non-graded copies are good for $25 or more. [ICv2]
Creators | Captain Marvel writer Kelly Sue DeConnick talks about the character, and her reaction to the newly announced Marvel film: “I feel so proud of her, like Carol is this person who lives in my head, and ‘look what you did, girl!’ It feels like a friend just got a promotion.” [Speakeasy]
Publishing | Chris Butcher announced that, after three years as marketing director, he’s left UDON Entertainment to focus more fully on his work for the Toronto store The Beguiling (where he’s manager) and the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (where he’s festival director). [Comics212]
DC Comics’ Selfie Variant Month posed a particular problem for Batman ’66, the digital-first series set in the world of the 1966-1968 television show, decades before the introduction of smartphones, or even digital cameras. Cover artist Joe Quinones could’ve gone with an instant camera, of course — what screams “1960s” more than a Polaroid Model 20 Swinger? — but instead he came up with a solution that’s both funnier and in keeping with the tone of the TV series.
Saturday, aka Day 2, of HeroesCon was much busier for creators, so I didn’t always get the opportunity to chat with them that I did on the first day of the Charlotte, North Carolina, convention. In those instances, in place of project updates I provide links to the creators and/or their related works.
I think DC Comics missed a trick with the long-awaited, Paul Dini-written Black Canary/Zatanna original graphic novel, which finally arrived in this week. Why was there no special edition, fishnet stocking-covered incentive variant? Publishers did a lot of crazy things with covers in the 1990s, and they’ve been doing increasingly crazy things with them in this decade, but I’m pretty sure no one’s ever published one draped in fishnet …
Fishnets are, of course, the most immediate visual commonality between the two superheroines, and this long-in-the-works project, first announced in 2006, was once jokingly referred to as The Fishnet Brigade (a riff on Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic series, in which John Constantine referred to himself, The Phantom Stranger, Dr. Occult and Mister E as “The Trench Coat Brigade”). Dini and DC do acknowledge the importance of the heroines’ legwear, as the cover under the dust jacket and end pages bears a fishnet design, and there’s a scene in which the pair goes shopping for stockings together (“At the rate we go through these things, that place should give us a fifty percent discount,” Zee tells Canary).
The two have a lot more in common than that, of course. They’re also fan-favorite characters who have never been able to break out as stars in their own right (at least, not for long), generally appearing in team books and as supporting characters. And, of course, they’re both among the longest-serving members of the Justice League who weren’t founders, the characters being among the earlier additions to DC’s premier super-team (Black Canary joined in 1969; Zatanna began appearing in the book in the ’60s, and was finally offered full membership in 1978).
Oh, and they both appeared often on the Justice League cartoon, often times written by Dini, who is a fan of both characters.
It boggles my mind that it’s been more than eight years since cartoonist Dean Trippe and current ROBOT 6 contributor Chris Arrant launched Project: Rooftop, a website dedicated to superhero costume redesigns, but indeed it has. They were inspired by a “Draw Batgirl” meme that made the rounds in 2006, and to mark eight years they returned to the subject with “Batgirl Begins Again,” to typically stellar results.
They’ve posted their top three entries, as selected by a panel of the site’s regular judges plus special guests; you’ll recognize the names of at least two of the chosen artists — Chris Samnee and Joe Quinones — and will likely be searching for more work by the third, Elizabeth Beals.
Check out Samnee’s Batgirl redesign, and visit Project: Rooftop for me. The site promises to show off the runners-up next week.
If you aren’t following the blog of artist Joe Quinones (FF, Wednesday Comics), then you’re missing out on some terrific glimpses of Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell, the long-awaited graphic novel written by Paul Dini.
Each Wednesday for the past month, Quinones has revealed one or two panels from the book, some more complete than others, as he counts down to the planned May 21 release.
DC Comics will resurrect its well-regarded anthology Batman: Black and White beginning in September with six double-sized issues.
Originally published in 1996 as a four-issue miniseries, the anthology was the brainchild DC’s Vice President of Art Direction & Design Mark Chiarello, then a Batman Group editor, who sought out such top creators as Bruce Timm, Joe Kubert, Bill Sienkiewicz, Neil Gaiman, Ted McKeever and Katsuhiro Otomo to offer their own interpretations of the Dark Knight — in black and white.
The concept was revived in 2000 as a series of backup features in Batman: Gotham Knights, featuring contributions by the likes of Alex Ross, Paul Dini, Warren Ellis, Jim Lee, Chris Claremont, Paul Pope, Steve Rude, Harlan Ellison, Paul Grist, Darwyn Cooke, Jill Thompson and Mike Mignola. That title ended in 2006, but several Batman: Black and White have since been adapted as motion comics by Warner Premiere and DC Entertainment, and inspired numerous statues released by DC Direct.
According to the solicitation text provided to MTV Geek, September’s Batman: Black and White #1 will feature stories by Chip Kidd and Michael Cho, Neal Adams, Joe Quinones and Maris Wicks, John Arcudi and Sean Murphy, and Howard Mackie and Chris Samnee. Priced at $4.99, the 48-page first issue is scheduled to arrive Sept. 4.
Not to mince words, HeroesCon is my San Diego. Scheduled for June 3-5 at the Charlotte Convention Center this year, I recently caught up with Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find Creative Director Rico Renzi, to discuss what to look forward to at HeroesCon 2011. Anyone that has read my past con reports knows how much I always enjoy this family friendly/comics focused con, and will not be surprised to learn I will be in attendance again this year. Thanks to Renzi for the interview and for giving us the scoop that Farel Dalrymple is returning to the con this year. I was also enthused to learn the con is trying a Friday night event this year, as well as introducing a new section of the convention floor devoted to comic strip creators.
Tim O’Shea: How are things shaping up with less than a month to go before the con, starting to panic? Planning-wise, how do you and Shelton Drum (con founder/organizer and owner of Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find) divvy up the heavy lifting of making this con happen?
Rico Renzi: HeroesCon is like breathing to Shelton so I’m pretty sure he’s not panicking. This is my first time doing anything like this so, yeah I think there’s some pressure on me. Maybe I get a pass since this is my first year though? Dustin Harbin has been a great help showing me the ropes on a few things, especially the floor plan. Deciding where everyone is going to sit seems like the hardest job to me right now. Aside from that we get great help from our warehouse manager, Seth Peagler. Whether I need someone to brainstorm with or edit my blog posts, Seth is my guy. Also, Andy Mansell has been instrumental in planning and coordinating our programming. These guys keep me sane!
Stumptown is over, and now it is time for the other Portland—Portland, Maine—to host its comics festival. Unlike its West Coast namesake, Portland, Maine, is not well known as a teeming hive of comics activity, but there are some homegrown cartoonists, and this festival has attracted quite a few Boston and New York creators as well.
While it doesn’t advertise itself as a kids’ comic con, the lineup is heavy on all-ages creators: Andy Runton (Owly), Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate), Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon (The Last Unicorn), Rick Parker (Diary of a Stinky Dead Kid, Harry Potty and the Deathly Boring), and Colleen AF Venable (Pet Shop Private Eye) leading the pack. Maine’s own Jay Piscopo, whose Capt’n Eli books are inspired by a Down East root-beer mascot, will be there as well. The one headliner who is not best known for his children’s work is superhero artist Joe Quinones.
The full guest list reveals a wider range of creators, including Carol Burrell, Cathy Leamy, and Mike Lynch. MECAF promises the pleasures of a small con; it is creator-focused (no card tables full of longboxes), affordable ($5 admission for adults, kids are free), and likely to be blissfully free of large crowds, which makes for a more relaxed atmosphere for creators and visitors alike. If I were in Maine, I’d make a day of it.
Paul Dini has a long history with DC’s resident magic woman Zatanna, and it looks like a long-gestating project will see him team the character with Black Canary. The girl-centric comics blog DC Women Kicking Ass picked up this scoop while walking the floor of the Boston Comic Con from none other than the artist himself, Joe Quinones.
Titled Bloodspell, the book is set to debut in 2012. The blogger recounted the plot as told to them by Quinones, saying “The book begins with a back story where an 11 year old Zatanna meets a 16 year old Dinah Lance. And the two don’t get off to a good start on this trip to Mt. Everest.” Here’s two pages from the project that Quinones had on display at the con.
Sometimes an artist’s work will just make your heart go pitter-patter. Take this pin-up by Joe Quinones:
Published on his blog, Quinones says this commission was done as an art exchange for a piece of Mike Allred art owned by a comics fan. A year in the making, this X-Men pin-up seems definitely worth it. Go to Quinones’ blog to see more about this, including an animated graphic showing the different stages of this project.
Joe Quinones is a relative newcomer to comics — he made his official comics debut on the “Green Lantern” strip in last year’s Wednesday Comics, and has gone on to do work on Marvel’s Spider-Man and some covers for Dark Horse’s Star Wars titles. He’s currently working on a graphic novel for DC that I hope is announced soon. And I take more than a little bit of pride in the fact Joe debuted on the comics scene over at the Project: Rooftop site I co-founded.