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Food or Comics? | Vengeance, Flight, crossovers and more

Vengeance #1

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. We’re coming a little late today due to a power outage in my neck of the woods — due to a blackout, not because I spent the money for the electric bill on Flashpoint or Fear Itself tie-ins.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, my first pick off the shelf would be Vengeance #1 (Marvel, $3.99); I love Joe Casey, and especially when he’s given a long leash and room to play in a big universe. Seeing Nick Dragotta drawing this is an added bonus. Next up would be comics’ dueling summer blockbusters, Flashpoint #3 (DC, $3.99) and Fear Itself #4 (Marvel, $3.99). After that, I’d get the excellent Flashpoint: Batman, Knight of Vengeance #2 (DC, $2.99); when Azzarello is on the ball he’s great to read, and this seems to be that.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Jimmy Palmiotti

Trailblazer

Anytime I get to talk to Jimmy Palmiotti, we never lack for projects to discuss. I can’t prove it, but I am willing to bet Palmiotti came up with at least two new story ideas while in the midst of this email interview. This Wednesday, July 6, marks the release of Trailblazer, a 48-page full-color western science fiction comic book ($5.99 [Image]) that he co-wrote with Justin Gray and art by Jim Daly. As detailed in this recent CBR release coverage, Trailblazer is “about a hired killer who turns in evidence against an employer for the murder of the woman who raised him. The government must then shield their star informant by enacting Operation Trailblazer, a witness protection program that uses not only location but time travel as well in order to keep their charges safe. As the assassin adjusts to his new life in the old west, he soon finds that no matter when or where he is the future is dead set in coming back to haunt him.” If you buy the book via Comixology, the original script is included as a bonus.

Before discussing this new Image release, we talked a bit about the impressive Jonah Hex 70-issue run (please note, for more scoop on Palmiotti and Gray’s plans for the new All-Star Western series be sure to read CBR’s Jeffrey Renaud’s recent interview with the creators)–not to jump the gun though, as issue 69 goes on sale this Wednesday (with art by Jeff Lemire). Also our discussion delves into the Palmiotti/Gray team reuniting with artist Joseph Michael Linsner on the Claws II (a sequel to Marvel’s Black Cat/Wolverine 2006 team-up) miniseries, which amazingly enough also goes on sale this Wednesday (check out the CBR preview of the first issue). Go into a comic book store this Wednesday, and bottom line, you will have your pick of Palmiotti product to buy. Palmiotti’s passion for comics and his equal commitment to meeting deadlines are two things I’ve always admired about him and that shine through in this interview. As you’ll read at the end of the interview, Palmiotti is curious to know what characters fans would like to see him work on, so please be sure to let him know in the comments section.

Tim O’Shea: You and Jonah Hex have a heck of a future together (with All-Star Western), no doubt. But I really want to talk about how amazing it was that you and Justin successfully told Jonah Hex for 70 issues. How proud are you of that accomplishment?

Jimmy Palmiotti: Very proud…and proud of the excellent work of so many amazing artists along the way. Justin and I would celebrate each and every year we were on Jonah , thinking at any minute it could be the last, but the great crew at D.C. comics always believed in us and believed in our choices and seventy issues is a huge milestone. They believed in us so much that with the new 52 books, they let us continue too do what we do best. In our minds, issue one of All Star Western is another chapter in the characters life and we haven’t missed a beat. The good news is that we are going to have a lot of fun with the other western characters in the D.C. universe.

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DC relaunch scorecard: DCnU or DC No?

Green Lantern #1, by Dave Johnson

Although it seems like DC’s big relaunch announcement came out an eternity ago, it actually took the publisher less than two weeks to roll out the 52 titles and their creative teams for the big relaunch/reboot/overhaul coming in September. Now that the cats are out of their respective bags, I thought I’d see where various creators and characters will land after the reboot.

So I went back through DC’s August solicitations to see who was writing or drawing what, and tried to map everyone to their post-relaunch project — if they had one. However, looking at DC’s August solicitations, there seem to be several fill-in issues, so where appropriate I tried to map the most recent ongoing creative teams to their new projects (for instance, I consider Gail Simone and Jesus Saiz the regular creative team for Birds of Prey, even if they aren’t doing the last two issues before September hits). Keep in mind that I just went through the ongoing series and skipped over all the miniseries … of which there are a lot, what with Flashpoint winding up in August.

It’s also worth noting that although several creators didn’t appear in the “big 52″ announcements, that doesn’t mean their tenure with DC is necessarily over — some, like Frazer Irving, have said they have future projects that haven’t been announced. So I tried to note where creators have talked publicly about their post-relaunch plans with DC (or lack thereof, as the case may be). The same could probably be said for some of DC’s characters as well. Or, as Gail Simone said on Twitter: “Again, September is NOT THE END. There’s still plans for characters that we haven’t seen yet.”

So let’s get to it ….

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Grumpy Old Fan | The Alternative Thirty

DC Universe: The Stories Of Alan Moore

[A quick note before we go too much farther: I started writing this post before DC’s big announcement about its September-and-beyond plans. In fact, I wanted this particular post to be about something other than Flashpoint and/or line-wide reboots -- so depending on your perspective, I picked exactly the right week, or exactly the wrong week, to draw that line. In any case, it’s probably not hard to tell, from the past few weeks’ worth of posts, where I stand on current events.

[So there you go. On with the business at hand.]

Since it’s pretty much summer, and time to think about catching up on reading, let’s revisit DC’s list of “30 Essential Graphic Novels” — “best-selling titles that you must read[, ]whether you are just beginning to discover graphic novels or you are an established fan looking to expand your collection.”

The list is almost four years old, and has had a few minor updates. (Pride Of Baghdad replaced The Quitter, and Crayon Shinchan replaced Sword Of The Dark Ones.) For the most part, though, it’s the same compilation — heavy on the Batman and the Jeph Loeb, a decent amount of Alan Moore (but no Swamp Thing), a couple of Sandman books and Hellblazer, but no Wonder Woman, no Joe Kubert, and no Jack Kirby. While there are at least a couple of representatives from each of DC’s imprints, there aren’t many hints at the real scope of DC’s diverse publishing history.

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

Justice League Generation Lost #24

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 a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

JK Parkin

If I had $15: It would be tough. For one thing, DC has three books for $5 or more each that I’m interested in — the last issues of Justice League Generation Lost and Brightest Day, as well as Action Comics #900. If I bought all three, well … I couldn’t buy all three, at least not for $15. I stopped reading Brightest Day several issues ago, so I’m more curious about the return of a certain character to the DCU proper than anything. And I’ll probably hold off on Action as well, at least for now. But Justice League Generation Lost‘s final issue ($4.99) would be at the top of my buy list for sure.

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Jeff Lemire to draw Jonah Hex #69

From Jeff Lemire's cover to "Jonah Hex" #69

DC Comics announced this morning that award-winning cartoonist Jeff Lemire (Essex County, Sweet Tooth) will draw July’s Jonah Hex #69, adding his name to an impressive roster of artists that has already included the likes of Darwyn Cooke, J.H. Williams III, Eduardo Risso, Fiona Staples and Jordi Bernet. Collaborators Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are, of course, writing the issue.

Check out Lemire’s full cover after the break.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Into the hundred-issue woods

Green Lantern vol. 2 #100

News of The Flash’s cancellation has led to speculation that the title, whenever it returns, will pick up its original numbering. Considering that Wonder Woman was renumbered last year to reflect the accumulation of all its various incarnations, and Adventure Comics resumed its original numbering as well, Flash might not be the last title DC renumbers.

Today I’ll look at Flash and several other DC titles which could get this treatment in the next several years.

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First, though, let’s consider Wonder Woman. Last year, the 45th issue of WW Vol. 3 was dubbed issue #600, thereby implicitly treating the current series and its predecessor as direct continuations of the original 1942 series. The math was pretty straightforward: Vol. 1 went to issue #329, and vol. 2 went to #226, so that left the 600th issue to vol. 3′s 45th. (329+226+45 = 600.) Volume 2 did have two irregularly-numbered issues, #0 (part of 1994′s “Zero Month,” which the rest of us called August), and #1,000,000 (for DC One Million, naturally).

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Grumpy Old Fan | Going on about ongoing series, Part 3

Jonah Hex, stability's poster boy?

The first two parts of this little exploration looked at DC’s attempts to launch ongoing series in the ‘80s and ‘90s, when line-wide events became regular occurrences in the superhero line. However, as those surveys made abundantly clear, said events didn’t seem to relate much either to concurrently-launched ongoing series or to the relative success of said series.

Instead, the number of new ongoing series debuting in a particular calendar year looks somewhat cyclical. There were five new ongoings in 1985 (the year of Crisis On Infinite Earths), up to 14 in 1988 and 17 in 1992, then easing down to 15 in 1994, 13 in 1996, and 10 in 1997. In 1998 and 2000, DC launched only four new ongoing series; in 1999, six; and in 2001, seven. At the risk of exciting you too quickly with more numbers, a later year will have sixteen.

For now, though, we pick up in 2002, at the beginning of a quieter time.

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

Joe the Barbarian #8

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Chris Arrant

$15:

This week’s a big week for me, so with only $15 I’d have to leave a lot of things back and make some hard choices. My five under $15 would start with Joe The Barbarian #8 (DC/Vertigo, $3.99) by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy. I’m a big fan of both guys, but I have to admit the story went over my head the same way The Filth did in serialization. Be that as it may, I’ve kept buying the issues just to amaze myself with Murphy’s art. Now that the complete series is out, I’ll re-read it all in one sitting and hope for the best. Second would be the fourth issue of Incognito: Bad Influences (Marvel/Icon, $3.50) because, well, Brubaker and Phillips can do no wrong. After that I’d get Secret Warriors #25 (Marvel, $3.99) because Hickman’s writing here plays up to all the things I like — espionage, secrets, and overly-complicated story arcs. Over on the DC side I would pick up Brightest Day #21 (DC, $2.99). This series has ebbed and flowed for me, depending on which story arcs are brought to the fore in each issue… but I’m excited to see what happens and that’s what it should be about, right? My last pick is a cheat — I only have some change left, but thankfully the Fear Itself Sketchbook (Marvel) coming out is a free promotional item. I’ll take Stuart Immonen sketches any day!

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

Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Michael May

If I had $15:

I’d start with Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever #1 ($2.99). I love weird western tales and can’t imagine a better creative team for one than the writers of BPRD and artist John Severin, who illustrated so many of Atlas’ classic westerns. Then I’d grab The Muppet Show, Volume 5: Muppet Mash ($9.99) because hey, Roger Langridge, Muppets and classic monsters.

If I had $30:

I’d add a couple of Big Two all-ages comics to the pile. If Marvel’s Super Hero Squad Spectacular #1 ($3.99) is half as fun as the show it’s based on, it’ll be worth taking home and reading to the boy. I’ll just have to keep ignoring the irritating, unnecessarily three-fingered character designs. I’m even more confident that we’ll enjoy DC’s Super Friends, Volume 4: Mystery in Space ($12.99) because we’ve been so delighted with the first three collections. David just turned nine and by way of celebration, he wanted to go back and re-read the Superman’s Birthday story from volume two.

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Fiona Staples saddles up to Jonah Hex

DC’s blog The Source just posted news (and art!) that up & coming artist Fiona Staples is drawing an upcoming issue of Jonah Hex.

Staples will be illustrating Jonah Hex #66, which is expected to hit shelves the first week of April. Staples has been rising in the comics world, with her most recently working with Steve Niles on IDW’s Mystery Society, and she also did the North 40 miniseries for Wildstorm as well as covers for DV8: Gods & Monsters.

Staples is just the latest in a long line of stellar artists that writers Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and the editors at DC have been able to wrangle. In its five year run, it’s had Tony DeZuniga, J.H. Williams 3, Darwyn Cooke, Jordi Bernet, Luke Ross, John Higgins, Phil Noto, Paul Gulacy, Brian Stelfreeze, Eduardo Risso, Russ Heath, David Michael Beck, Dick Giordano, Billy Tucci and more.

Wow. I get tired — and excited — just saying those names.

What Are You Reading?

Saturn Apartments

Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately. Our special guest today is Faith Erin Hicks, creator of the graphic novels Zombies Calling, The War at Ellsmere and the upcoming Friends with Boys. She also drew the recent First Second release Brain Camp and has a comic strip in her local weekly newspaper The Coast called The Adventures of Superhero Girl.

To see what Faith and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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The comics writer who wants to be his own man: Jimmy Palmiotti

Photo by Seth Kushner

Jimmy Palmiotti has been a lot of things in the world of comics: inker, publisher, editor, writer and even journalist and interviewer at times. A veteran inker who transitioned to writing and editing, back in the late 90s and early 2000s he and Joe Quesada helped turn around then-beleaguered Marvel Comics giving the publisher a new style and swagger. But when Quesada became Editor-In-Chief, Palmiotti famously decided to jump back into the freelance world and carved out a niche for himself as a go-to writer for superhero titles and also a strong voice in independent comics.

Fast forward to today, and he’s riding high on the success of his longest running series ever, DC’s Jonah Hex, is doing some editing for publishing newcomer Kickstart, and has a bevy of projects on both sides of the Big Two on the verge of announcement. But despite his success as writer, or perhaps because of it, his name is often bandied about as a viable candidate for top jobs at both Marvel and DC — but as of yet, Palmiotti continues to freelance. Why? That’s because he likes it.

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From the bin: Andrew Robinson’s Jonah Hex

Unused Jonah Hex cover by Andrew Robinson

Here is an illustration by Andrew Robinson done as an inventory cover for DC’s Jonah Hex series. I’d love to hold this in my grubby hands, or get a whole issue of Jonah Hex by Palmiotti, Gray and Robinson, for that matter. What do you say, DC?

If you’re attending New York Comic Con, make sure you stop by the Essential Sequential booth to meet Robinson. He’ll have several of his self-published books like Androx, the Dusty Star Sketchbook, Andrew Robinson Goes To Zanyzonkerville and Ten Paintings.  He’ll also be doing inked sketches and watercolor pieces for con-goers. And Saturday is his birthday, so make sure you tell him I said “happy birthday!”

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

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Conventions | A limited number of four-day memberships for Comic-Con International will go on sale at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST today as part of hotel-stay packages. [Comic-Con]

Conventions | Michael Cieply looks at Comic-Con as a destination for filmmakers to promote their next big projects, and convention attendees as “consummate insiders” who don’t always pick the box-office winners. [The New York Times]

Legal | As a Brussels court decides whether Tintin in the Congo should be banned in Belgium, Pallavi Aiyar provides some background on the book’s history and on the civil case. [Business Standard]

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