REVIEW: "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 Makes the Future of DC Comics Look Genuinely Bright
The good burghers of 2000AD have sent along a raft of preview images for new thrills they’ll be running in their venerable anthology in 2014:
• Paul Grist’s Demon Nic. Appearing in the creator-owned slot of the Judge Dredd Megazine previously held by critically acclaimed strips as “Numbercruncher” and “Ordinary,” this will be Grist’s first work for the 2000AD stable since 1993.
The proposed “day of action” for the “Make a Dredd Sequel” campaign turns out to be a rather cleverly planned piece of corporate synergy. The date, Sept, 17, is of course a New Comics Day, and the day 2000AD Prog 1850 (as anticipated by ROBOT 6’s Brigid Alverson in this week’s Cheat Sheet), and Judge Dredd Megazine #340 are released. Both comics are optimized for new readers, featuring high-profile new series and contributors.
These new series include a Dredd strip based upon the movie continuity (as previewed here last week), and “Ordinary,” a creator-owned strip by the critically acclaimed team of Rob Williams and D’Israeli (again, previewed here last week); the press release from the publisher Rebellion flags the recent high-profile gigs for all the talent involved, such as “Damnation Station” being written by Mighty Avengers‘ Al Ewing.
Next week sees the release of Judge Dredd Megazine #340, featuring the debut of “Ordinary,” a creator-owned strip by writer Rob Williams and artist D’Israeli, the creative team behind the acclaimed 2000AD strip “Low Life,: I’ve been a big fan of both their work for quite a while now — in Williams’ case, since his first published work, the great Cla$$war, in 2002; in the case of D’Israeli, scarily enough, it’s been since his “Timulo'”strip ran in Deadline in the late 1980s. I managed to grab a word with Williams about the new series, and he happily obliged, and sent along a veritable mountain of preview art to boot.
Robot 6: So Rob, the last ordinary man in a world of the super-powered, eh? But what’s Ordinary really about?
Rob Williams: I’m a little wary of frightening people off by talking about themes. “Ordinary” is filled with spectacle, big-Hollywood action set pieces and outlandish characters that are, hopefully, quite memorable, This is a world where everyone gets a different superpower, after all — no two people are the same. But, at its heart, it’s about emotionally allowing yourself to come to terms with fatherhood, really. Out main character, Michael Fisher, is a divorcee who very rarely sees his son when we first meet him. And then the world starts going to hell and it’s up to him to try and find this boy he hardly knows even though there’s a super-powered danger around every turn. And, for Michael, it’s coming to realise the real reason he never sees his son. The book’s called “Ordinary” for reasons that aren’t just about super powers and explosions and giants and talking bears and huge battles. There’s an emotional arc for our lead that is pretty unusual for modern comics, I think.
The folks at 2000AD are clearly fed up of waiting to see if the accountants at DNA Films will bow to the online petitions and constant fan-badgering and release a sequel to 2012’s Dredd: They’re taking the initiative and starting their own continuation of the film, beginning next week in Judge Dredd Megazine #340. This new continuity doesn’t replace Dredd’s ongoing 36-year-old saga, instead running parallel. Y’know, like an Ultimate Judge Dredd. I can see how the whole “sequel to Dredd movie” angle may well play well with the mainstream press, perhaps generating some mass-media attention.
The strip, “Dredd: Underbelly,” is by writer Arthur Wyatt and artist Henry Flint. 2000AD sent along these images, showing Flint’s process for creating the issue’s cover, from preliminary sketch to finished item.
As a prime mover in U.K. comics since the 1970s, Pat Mills has been directly or indirectly responsible for promoting entire generations of artistic talent. He was IPC’s go-to guy for launching comics in the mid-’70s, and even after his stint editing 2000AD; many great artists there tended to get their first breaks working on his strips, which surely can’t be coincidental. Similarly, although he didn’t edit Crisis, he was arguably the driving force behind the comic, where again an entire generation of new comickers earned its stripes 00 and then yet again at Toxic!, where several noticeable new artistic talents worked on strips written or co-written by him.
Mills is at it again, bringing on Fay Dalton as co-artist with Clint Langley on American Reaper in the Judge Dredd Megazine. Mills was on the panel of judges when Dalton won a competition ran by the illustration agency Pickled Ink in 2010 to find an artist to draw the graphic novel Party Girls by Jenny McDade, some sample pages from that project can be seen at her website, her work then revealing the possible influences of James Jean and Frazer Irving. A further look around her website now reveals an artist influenced by the golden age of commercial illustration, such as the work of Robert McGinnis, and her comic pages (as previewed at Mills’ blog) show some influence from Look In-era John M Burns. She’s came a helluva long way in the three years between the two projects. Here’s hoping she stays in comics for the long run: her work is like nothing else being produced in the form right now.
Graphic novels | Two volumes of The Walking Dead Compendium topped BookScan’s list of the Top 20 graphic novels sold in bookstores in March, and Vol. 60 of Naruto was No. 3, but ICv2 thinks the new Avatar: The Next Airbender graphic novel premiering at No. 4 is headline-worthy. [ICv2]
Awards | With his duties complete, Charles Hatfield describes what it was like to be an Eisner judge. [See Hatfield]
Creators | Gilbert Hernandez talks about his childhood and that influences, from Dennis the Menace to Steve Ditko, that shaped his latest graphic novel, Marble Season. [The Chicago Tribune]
Good news for fans of the lesser-spotted psychedelic comics legend Brendan McCarthy. This Wednesday will see the release of IDW Publishing’s The Zaucer of Zilk #1 in the United States, and in the United Kingdom, the new issue of The Judge Dredd Megazine (#329) comes festooned in a wraparound image of Judge Anderson. This cover is something of a warm-up for McCarthy, as he has an Anderson back-up strip in Issue 2 of IDW’s upcoming Judge Dredd comic, written by Duane Swierczynski. Images from both below.
Anyone who missed the U.K. publication of The Zaucer of Zilk is in for a real treat. McCarthy says the work has “been described as Harry Potter meets Yellow Submarine. .. Mix a bit of David Lynch in there and I’ll go along with that.” I’d throw in a recommendation for fans of Dr. Strange (it’s a massive Ditko fan doing a story about a dimension’s Sorcerer Supreme, after all), and McCarthy’s previous cynical hipster superheroes, like Paradax, Zenith and Rogan Gosh.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. To see what the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Inside the new issue of 2000AD is the above teaser for the lead strip in next month’s Judge Dredd Megazine (scan via ECBT2000AD). Any day with news of upcoming art by Tiernen Trevallion is a good day, so I tracked him down to his local golf club and ruthlessly extracted the following preview page from him: Continue Reading »
First mentioned as early as November 2008, the thriller is described as a “tale of cold-blooded killers and sinister conspiracies” about a San Francisco slacker who finds a smartphone containing photos of a murder victim. “Then the phone begins to ring …”
The duo’s first creator-owned project, Snapshot marks the return of Diggle and Jock to the Megazine, where they first worked together on the Judge Dredd spinoff Lenny Zero more than a decade ago. At one point, the comic seemed destined for Image.
“Jock and I have been chipping away at Snapshot for a few years now in our spare time, assuming we’d approach a publisher once we had enough material to show,” Diggle told the 2000AD blog. “But when I bumped into Matt Smith at the New York Comic Con, he suggested the Megazine’s creator-owned slot might be the perfect place for it. After all, the Megazine was where Jock and I first worked together on Lenny Zero, back before The Losers or Green Arrow: Year One. So it feels like coming home.”
Judge Dredd Megazine #322 arrives March 28 in the United Kingdom and April 11 in North America.