Axel-In-Charge: Waid & Samnee on "Black Widow" and the Dawn of the All-New, All-Different Era
Being a superhero may be a full-time job, but everyone’s got to have a life outside of work … right? Artist Des Taylor, creator of the upcoming series Scarlett Couture, answered that question recently with illustrations featuring the likes of Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Batgirl and Lois Lane, and they don’t disappoint.
“There are enough artists drawing them kicking the hell out of each other,” Taylor writes on his deviantART page. “I like to illustrate my favourite heroes doing everyday casual stuff.”
Teased Monday by Bond, and immediately deduced by DC Women Kicking Ass and others, Fallout follows a high school-age Lois new to Metropolis, where she’s determined to figure out how a group called the Warheads is using an immersive video game to mess with the mind of another girl.
“Having a really hard time articulating more than ‘YES THIS IS HAPPENING, NOW YOU ALL KNOW’ at the moment,” Bond tweeted on Monday. “But I love Lois & I love you guys. Because Lois is … LOIS. And I want to do the character justice. I hope that I did and that you guys think so too. (And also FUN.)” She followed that this morning with photographic evidence of her excitement.
On Tuesday, Comic Book Resources interviewed Superman writer Geoff Johns, penciler John Romita Jr. and inker Klaus Janson, who (as the headline put it) want to “inject optimism” into the series. As part of that interview, Johns contended that the Man of Steel’s desire to connect with his fellow Earthlings makes him “more relevant now than ever.”
Considering a couple of ongoing storylines, this current focus on positivity sounds like a voice crying in the wilderness. Today we’ll look at the end of Earth 2’s “The Kryptonian” — which features two alternate Supermen — as well as the latest installments of “Doomed” in the regular Super-books.
Naturally, SPOILERS FOLLOW for Earth 2 #26, Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #1, Action Comics Annual #3 and Action Comics #34.
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Although the five-years-later setup of Futures End won’t be here until May, it got me thinking about a not-so-new New 52. The current comics take place some five years after Superman and company debuted — plus, apparently, a year for the face-free Joker to recuperate — so if you add five more years, it’s like double the amount of history! Well, double the amount of history that “matters,” I guess.
As I have been pretty critical of the present timeline, I’ll be curious to see how Futures End treats those additional five years. I suspect that, for the most part, they’ll be five years of “filler,” in the sense that mostly bad, Futures End-specific things happened during that time to bring DC-Earth to whatever sorry state we see in FE #1. I’ve heard that when all the New 52 books jump ahead five years (in September, naturally), they’ll reflect where their creative teams would like to take the characters in five years — but those will only be single issues, as opposed to the year-long weekly installments of Futures End. Besides, my bitter, resentful impulses remind me that it might well have been simpler just to start off with a 10-year timeline that would only have tweaked the old pre-relaunch status quo, not thrown out huge chunks of it.
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.
Warning: There will be a good bit of “in my day” talk in this survey of DC’s February solicitations. It’s the unavoidable contradiction of the publisher’s current superhero-comics model: Make everything “new,” but tease enough of the familiar old elements to keep longtime fans interested. While this practice goes back decades in corporately run superhero comics, the New 52 has tried so hard to distinguish itself that the old ways sometimes stand in even starker contrast.
Probably my biggest frustration with Forever Evil is its limited scope. Oh, sure, every electronic device on DC-Earth says “THIS WORLD IS OURS,” and writer Geoff Johns has teased a revamped Blue Beetle and Doom Patrol — but from the three issues published already and the three more solicited, it looks to be nothing more than Luthor’s Legion of Doom (plus Batman and Catwoman) vs. the Crime Syndicate. Ho-hum. We know the three Justice Leagues are imprisoned, the Teen Titans are bouncing through time, the Suicide Squad is depleted, and Nightwing is the Crime Syndicate’s prisoner, but where are the rest of the superheroes? What happened when they presumably rose up to challenge the Syndicators?
After teasing us in recent weeks with glimpses of “Tales of Metropolis, Starring Lois Lane” and “Metal Men,” DC Entertainment has announced that, beginning Tuesday, it will be adding the animated shorts from the second season of DC Nation to YouTube and the DC Comics videos page.
That means those of us who aren’t glued to Cartoon Network on Saturday mornings will soon get to enjoy “Tales of Metropolis,” Art Baltazar and Franco’s “Super Pets” and Robert Valley’s stylish Charger-driving Wonder Woman in their entirety.
The comic book annual has, in recent years, become an endangered species. Once an oversized, extra-length dose of the characters and concepts a reader could count on appearing once a year (or, you know, annually), the changing funny-book landscape has made them a less appealing proposition.
The rise of the graphic novel and trade paperback collections made “novel-length” adventures appearing in actual, off-the-rack comic books somewhat obsolete. The rising price of comics helped make annuals seem less practical; if a 20- or 22-page comic costs $2.99 or $3.99, a 48- or 56- or 64-page one would be prohibitively expensive. And with the shrunken market, it doesn’t make sense for a publisher to release an additional, extra-long issue of almost every title in its line.
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.
DC Comics goes bad in September, turning all 52 slots of its superhero line over to its less-savory characters. That’s pretty much the story of the superhero solicitations, although there are some interesting collections coming this fall.
On its face, Forever Evil sounds like a pretty straightforward, traditional superhero story. I think the “heroes disappear, villains romp” plot was even an episode of Super Friends. Accordingly, all things being equal, I have no problems with using it for a line-wide crossover. No doubt the DC Comics of 2013-14 will season it with plenty of violence and depravity, sucking away my goodwill accordingly; but those details will have to wait until the comics themselves come out.
THE SHAPE OF EVIL
In fact, the part of “Villains Month” that interests me most is its structure. Yes, there are 52 single issues coming out of the superhero line in September, plus Forever Evil #1. However, those 52 issues ostensibly “represent” only 18 series: Action Comics, Aquaman, Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman/Superman, Batman: The Dark Knight, Detective Comics, Earth 2, The Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Justice League, JL Dark, JLA, Superman, Swamp Thing, Teen Titans and Wonder Woman. Furthermore, 16 of the 52 are Bat-books, more than the Justice League books’ 10 issues and twice as many as the Superman books’ eight issues. Add Batman/Superman #3.1, and 35 of the 52 will have “Batman,” “Superman” or “Justice League” on their covers. In fact, 16 of the 18 series are already on my pull list (sorry, Green Arrow and Teen Titans), so I’ll probably be putting back a fair amount of these, which won’t make my comic shop’s job any happier.
Conventions | Comic-Con International in San Diego is about six weeks away, so it’s time for Tom Spurgeon to post his massive list of tips for those planning to attend: “It helps to remember that the hassle of going to Comic-Con is mostly an accident of our recent cultural history — All those spectacle movies! All those fantasy franchise books! Marvel’s post-bankruptcy comeback! All those graphic novels! The toy explosion! The rise of manga and anime! — rather than something the convention itself enjoys or endorses or requires or was ever shooting for. I honestly don’t have any more fun going now than I did in ’96 or ’01, back when it was so much easier to attend the con that the worst-case scenario was registering on-site and staying in a $65 hotel ten blocks away. It wasn’t that long ago! But I also can’t stress this enough. I still have fun.” [The Comics Reporter]
Seventy-five years ago, on or about April 18, 1938, the company that would become DC Comics published the first issue (cover-dated June 1938) of a new anthology series. Today, Action Comics #1 is remembered mainly (and justifiably so) for introducing Superman.
Naturally, many of the elements and concepts from that first Superman story have changed over time. In Action #1, all we see of Krypton is its final fate. Pa Kent doesn’t have a first name, and Clark works for the Daily Star. There’s no Lex Luthor, no Jimmy Olsen, no Kryptonite, and no Superboy. Even Superman’s powers pale in comparison to what they would become.
However, two characters are already fleshed out pretty well, with motivations and dynamics instantly recognizable to today’s readers. One, of course, is Clark Kent, who creates the Superman identity to “turn his titanic strength into channels that would benefit mankind,” and who hides that strength behind a pair of glasses and a meek demeanor.
The other is Lois Lane.
Beginning later this week, customers of That’s Entertainment will be able to find Worcester, Massachusetts’ “Pop-Culture Emporium” at the corner of Park Avenue and Lois Lane. The store isn’t moving from its 20-year-old location, however. Rather, the city is changing the short private road that runs beside the building from Marmon Place to Lois Lane, in honor of Superman’s longtime love interest.
That’s Entertainment owner Paul Howley and manager Ken Carson made the formal request in March 2011; it received unanimous approval in August from City Council. The store is paying for the manufacture and installation of the new street sign, which will be put up this week. A formal ceremony will be held Sunday, with artist Paul Ryan drawing sketches of Lois Lane on a special commemorative print given free to attendees. There also will be a Lois Lane look-alike contest.
Serialized storytelling provides superhero-comics publishers a pretty handy buffer. Anything can be judged unfairly, perhaps even after the whole story has been collected. Don’t like a preview image? Wait until the issue itself comes out. Don’t like how the story is going? Wait for it to end, so you can evaluate it in a more proper context. Don’t like how the story ended? Hey, at least you got the thrill of following it issue by issue.
There will always be a certain distance between fans and professionals, simply because the pros know where the stories are going and the fans can only make educated guesses. The previous paragraph’s view of it may be cynical, but I don’t think it’s too far off. Beyond nostalgic, blue-sky wishes for publishers to stop aiming low, and for fans to stop assuming the worst, I don’t have any easy solutions. Sometimes I just wish these sorts of observations weren’t necessary.
Having said all that, I’m not going to call the latest Superman/Wonder Woman pairing (in this week’s Justice League #12, as you might have heard) The Dumbest Thing DC’s Ever Done. I’m not sure it’s even in the Top 20. Heck, I’m not sure it’s the dumbest thing DC’s done in the past 12 months.
What I will say is that it misses the point.