Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
I know several aspects of the film have stirred passions of some devotees who know and like Superman better than your average movie-goer, and there are sharply divided views on some of the Man of Steel’s actions. (I thought it was a pretty-OK film, far better than the last couple of Superman films, and most of its major problems could have been corrected by an edit that left some of the less Supermanly activity on the cutting-room floor. And a Krypto cameo. And 100 percent more more Jimmy Olsen).
I don’t really pay much attention to box-office receipts, nor do I aggregate film reviews, but, as far as I can tell, the movie seems to have done all right and to have been generally well-received. It may not have been The Dark Knight but, at the very least, it didn’t go over like a radioactive lead balloon, like Jonah Hex or Green Lantern. I hope it did well enough to generate a sequel, mostly because I’d like to see Hollywood get a chance to dig deeper into Superman’s superlative rogues gallery than just using Luthor and/or the Phantom Zone criminals over and over.
And partly because I think it would be awful if the next Superman film wasn’t a Superman film, but a Superior film.
Welcome to the first “Report Card,” a new feature we plan to run every weekend. If “Cheat Sheet” is your guide to the week ahead, “Report Card” is a look back at the week in review. It will include an overview of top news stories you might have missed, as well as a look at the Robot 6 team’s favorite comics that we read this week.
So read on to find out what we thought of Batwoman #21, X-Files: Season 10 #1, Becky Cloonan’s Demeter and much more.
Comics writer and film producer Mark Millar (Kick Ass, Wanted, Jupiter’s Legacy) has been recognized by Queen Elizabeth II as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to film and literature on the just-released Queen’s Honours Birthday list.
“These kind of honours you usually see going to other people, so it’s nice,” Millar told The Herald. “I got an honorary doctorate last year so I am starting to feel very respectable. I want my kids to write MBE on my Father’s Day card.” Millar received an honorary doctorate of letters from Glasgow Caledonian University last year.
He later joked on his message board, “Soon the Sith will rise again and I will take my throne in Parliament!!!”
An order of chivalry established in 1917 by King George V, the Order of the British Empire consists of five ranks: Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross, Knight Commander or Dame Commander, Commander, Officer and Member. Last year Millar’s former writing partner, Grant Morrison, received the same honor.
Superheroes | Writer Jim Zubkavich tackles the burning question of why there are so few Canadian superheroes: “We don’t have a long standing superhero tradition in this country. We don’t have a long-standing focal point character people recognize (I like Captain Canuck, but the average person on the street does not know who he is). We’re not a country galvanized by heavy-duty patriotic pride that lends itself to a Superman, Captain America or even a Batman. We don’t have the kind of rampant crime that ‘needs’ a heroic symbol to fight back against.” [Zub Tales]
Digital comics | The first issue of Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy sold more than 100,000 copies in stores, but was that because he refused to allow it to be sold in digital format the same day? Steve Bennett is doubtful, because so many people (including himself) didn’t realize until the last minute it would be print-only for now. [ICv2]
Here’s Mark Millar explaining why he doesn’t want his creator-owned comics to be released in digital the same day as print:
Digital comics are like TV rights to me in that they’re the tertiary phase of all this. These are for the most casual, mainstream readers or viewers and much cheaper than the primary or secondary waves. They’re a great way of pulling people in for the next product coming out in theatres or in comic stores, but absolutely not the bedrock of your business. The fact they’re not on paper doesn’t matter as these guys aren’t collectors as such and the lower price point is very attractive to them.
That was in November 2011, when same-day release of digital comics was still something of a novelty. Now it is so commonplace that, as Rich Johnston noted, Twitter was full of confused readers last week who couldn’t figure out why the first issue of Millar and Frank Quitely’s new series Jupiter’s Legacy wasn’t available digitally.
You can’t fault Millar for not being able to see the future. It’s pretty counterintuitive to think that sales in the direct market would go up in tandem with the rise of digital media, but that’s exactly what has happened. There’s zero evidence that digital sales are hurting comics shops.
What really bugs me about Millar’s comment, though, is that he seems to be giving the back of his hand to readers who get their comics digitally. Someone should tell him there’s a large audience out there that’s fully engaged, to the point where they are willing to pay full cover price for digital comics in order to get them the day the print editions come out. Those fans seem to me to be precisely “the bedrock of the business.”
I won’t pay $3.99 for a single-issue digital comic, but there is apparently a substantial audience out there who will. Publishers and digital distributors aren’t in the business of losing money, and they wouldn’t maintain that full cover price if people weren’t paying it. Someone who will pay top dollar to get a comic right away, rather than wait a couple of months for the price to drop? That’s an engaged fan.
The first issue of Jupiter’s Legacy — “This is your summer event,” the teaser promised — arrived this week, setting into motion a multi-generational superhero tale by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely. The duo set a high bar for themselves and superhero comics more than 10 years ago with their work on The Authority. And since then they’ve each built up quite a resume that includes Ultimates, Kick Ass, All-Star Superman, Wanted, Sandman, Batman & Robin, Civil War and many more. Now the pair re-teams for a creator-owned “superhero event.”
“It’s very, very much a superhero event. Marvel and DC have their various events this year, and I’m planning on blowing them both away with this,” Millar told Comic Book Resources’ Kiel Phegley. “I see this as the big creator-owned superhero event. Nobody’s tried anything like this before, but it’s a big thing covering a huge time period with tons of characters and tons of dramatic twists. Like I said, this is my love letter to America and everything I like about America. America has had its problems, but this is my way of reminding you what’s cool about America. It’s very timely. This story couldn’t have been done five years ago. It’s straight out of the headlines of today.”
So how does the first issue stack up? Here are a few opinions from around the web:
Image Comics has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at Dave Johnson’s variant cover for the debut issue of Jupiter’s Legacy, the Wagnerian superhero saga from Mark Millar and Frank Quitely.
Announced in January 2012 as Jupiter’s Children, the 12-issue miniseries centers on the offspring of superheroes who have essentially squandered their inheritance, failing to live of to the example set by their parents, who gained their powers in the 1920s after discovering a mysterious island.
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. We’ve each picked the five comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a list of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.
As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
Crater XV HC (Top Shelf, $19.95): I’ve been following (and loving) the serialization of Kevin Cannon’s follow-up to Far Arden in the digital pages of Double Barrel, but I know that I’ll be picking up this hardcover collection of the further adventures of sea dog Rusty Shanks nonetheless. The Canadian space program deserves no less.
In The Days of the Mob HC (DC Comics, $39.99): To say that Kirby’s 1970s take on the organized-crime world of the 1930s is something I’ve been longing to read since I first discovered its existence would be an understatement, so I’m definitely looking forward to this deluxe reprint, complete with material that wasn’t in the original edition.
Indigo Prime: Anthropocalypse TP (Rebellion/2000AD, $24.99): John Smith’s cosmic authorities are one of comics’ most secret treasures, I think, especially when he’s paired with an artist like Edmund Bagwell, who brings a wonderful Euro-Kirby influence to the stories in this collection. Really looking forward to this one.
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen GN (First Second, $17.99): As a sucker for good autobiographical comics and also good food writing, the idea of Lucy Knisley creating a food-centric memoir — complete with recipes! — is far too good to ignore. I love that publishers like First Second are publishing work like this.
Solo Deluxe Edition HC (DC Comics, $49.99): Even though I own most of these issues from their original appearance, the oversized hardcover format is waaaay too tempting when you consider some of the material this book has up its 500+ page sleeve: Paul Pope covering Kirby! Brendan McCarthy channeling Ditko as only he could! The amazing Darwyn Cooke issue! The only thing that could make this better would be if it included work completed on follow-up issues before the plug had been pulled … But maybe that can appear in a second volume, one day…
The Hollywood Reporter teases the April debut of Jupiter’s Legacy with a first look at colored and lettered art from the Image Comics series from Mark Millar, Frank Quitely and Peter Doherty.
Announced in January as Jupiter’s Children, the 12-issue miniseries centers on the offspring of superheroes who have essentially squandered their inheritance, failing to live of to the example set by their parents, who gained their powers in the 1920s after discovering a mysterious island.
“We have the last remains of these old-school heroes and their mainly vacuous children living in L.A., a massive disappointment to the first generation of super-people and just lost, no real direction in their lives beyond advertising gigs and opening night-clubs,” Millar explained in November. “This is literally where we find everyone and then we go into the future, taking these guys on a journey like we’ve never seen in comics before.”
On his message board, the writer indicted he’ll likely release more comics through Image, which published his unfinished 2008 miniseries War Heroes. “I like the Image guys,” he wrote. “I’m great friends with the Marvel guys too, of course, but seeing how this goes with Image. They’re doing great things over there and I have plans to do a lot more with them if this hits as big as I think it’s going to. Kick-Ass 3 is still going to be through Marvel’s Icon imprint, but I have high hopes for future stuff at Image.”
Check out some of the panels from Jupiter’s Legacy below, and visit The Hollywood Reporter to see more.
Awards | The National Press Foundation has named political cartoonist Robert Ariail, who draws for Universal UClick and the Spartanburg, South Carolina, Herald-Journal, as the winner of this year’s Berryman Award. [The Washington Post]
Creators | Brothers Wesley and Bradley Sun discuss their upcoming graphic novel, Chinatown; Wesley is a hospital chaplain in Chicago, and Bradley quit his job in Florida to join his brother and work on the book. [Hyde Park Herald]
Citing an increased workload at Millarworld and Millarworld Productions, organizers Sarah and Lucy Unwin have announced London’s Kapow! Comic Convention won’t return next year. However, there are hopes for “an even bigger and better show” in 2014.
“Sarah and I have had to make a very tough decision, and after much deliberation and poring over upcoming work schedules, we have decided to put Kapow! 2013 on hold,” Lucy Unwin said in a statement. “The event is a genuine pleasure to work on and everyone has been a total delight, but this year we are unable to dedicate the time necessary to deliver a weekend that once again exceeds the expectations of attendees, guests, exhibitors, publishers and studios.”
Mark Millar, who launched Kapow! in 2010 “to bring “San Diego Comic-Con to these shores,” added on his message board: “4 movies, 4 new comic series, overseeing the Marvel movies at Fox and starting our TV line mean 2013 just too mental for Kapow this year, I’m afraid. we absolutely hope to come back and wow everyone in 2014 tho.”
In addition to signing on in September as a consultant on Fox’s Marvel film properties, Millar has Kick-Ass 2 opening next year, and a handful of adaptations — Nemesis, Supercrooks and The Secret Service among them — moving into production. Add to that such Millarworld comics projects as Jupiter’s Legacy, Nemesis 2 and Kick-Ass 3, and the aforementioned television line, which begins Jan. 3 with the BBC One documentary Pavilion of Dreams.
“We just preferred it when we were playing around with finished logos and decided to tweak the title while we still could,” Millar tells Comic Book Movie. “The front cover will now look as below, out in April from Image Comics and priced at a very lovely $2.99. Artist and co-creator Frank Quitely and I are very proud of this little superhero epic and look forward to taking all your money next year.”
Announced in January, the 12-issue miniseries centers on the offspring of superheroes who have essentially squandered their inheritance, failing to live of to the example set by their parents, who gained their powers in the 1920s after discovering a mysterious island.
“We have the last remains of these old-school heroes and their mainly vacuous children living in L.A., a massive disappointment to the first generation of super-people and just lost, no real direction in their lives beyond advertising gigs and opening night-clubs,” Millar explained last month. “This is literally where we find everyone and then we go into the future, taking these guys on a journey like we’ve never seen in comics before.”
As he’s done with some of his other creator-owned projects, Millar held a charity auction for the right to name one of the characters in the comic. The effort raised $3,550, which will go to the St. Bartholomew’s Primary School Pantomime Fund to help send students in Glasgow, Scotland, to Christmas shows.
Midway through the two-day charity auction to name one of the main characters in Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s Jupiter’s Children, the high bid is already $2,550 (the starting bid on Wednesday was $100). Proceeds again will go to the St. Bartholomew’s Primary School Pantomime Fund to help send students to Christmas shows.
Millar previously auctioned the rights to name characters in Kick-Ass (Dave Lizewski), Nemesis (Matt Anderson and Blake Morrow), Supercrooks (Chris Matts) and The Secret Service (James Arnold), with proceeds going to such projects in his native Scotland as a playground for children with special needs and a specially equipped mini-bus. Last year’s Secret Service auction also helped to raised funds to send children from his elementary school to the annual pantomimes.
“It’s something I’d like to do every year and expand into other schemes in the community with a few other ideas I have,” Millar told The Hollywood Reporter. “Some of the kids had never been to the city before and when I went back to my old school to hand out prizes last summer they all told me how much they enjoyed it.”
Announced in January, Jupiter’s Children centers on the offspring of superheroes who have essentially squandered their inheritance, failing to live of to the example set by their parents, who gained their powers in the 1920s after discovering a mysterious island. The 12-issue series is expected to debut in April from Image Comics.
By way of comparison, last year’s winning bid to name the villain in The Secret Service was $5,100; the Nemesis auction in 2010 brought in $8,500. You can bid on eBay until Friday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
The Hollywood Reporter has debuted a first look at Frank Quitely’s character designs for Jupiter’s Children, a planned trilogy that writer Mark Millar hopes will be as epic as The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.
Announced in January, the ambitious story centers on the offspring of superheroes who have essentially squandered their inheritance, failing to live of to the example set by their parents, who gained their powers in the 1920s after discovering a mysterious island.
“We have the last remains of these old-school heroes and their mainly vacuous children living in L.A., a massive disappointment to the first generation of super-people and just lost, no real direction in their lives beyond advertising gigs and opening night-clubs,” Millar tells the trade paper. “This is literally where we find everyone and then we go into the future, taking these guys on a journey like we’ve never seen in comics before.”
The writer offers character descriptions to accompany a gallery of Quitely’s designs, but he won’t reveal any of their names or powers. So we get a look at figures like “the lady in red,” “the eagle-crested super-heroine,” “the cool guy,” and “the duo,” whom readers will recognize from Quitely’s cover for the first issue, debuted in January on Comic Book Resources.
Check out Quitely’s designs below, and visit The Hollywood Reporter to read Millar’s comments about each of the characters. Originally planned for a September 2012 debut, Jupiter’s Children is now targeted for spring 2013.
Aiming to cut the fat from the bloated pop-culture extravaganzas, a new creator-branded model for comic conventions is drawing fans to a more curated and unique experience.
For decades, comic conventions have been building up (or “diversifying,” if you prefer) to include television shows, movies, video games, board games, toys, novels, scantily clad models, and new-media companies that used speech balloons in their marketing campaign that one time. Basically they’ve become magnets for any project with an air of geekery, regardless of the lack of any sequential art or cartooning. A number of cons can feel more like a pop-up strip mall in their efforts to be everything for as many people as possible. And con-goers feel it. You really haven’t had the full convention experience if you don’t hear someone grumble how the con used to be about the comics, man. It’s a chorus that seems to attract more voices each year.
Perhaps in response to the growing Grumble Choir, a number of event organizers have been testing more focused conventions branded under a single creator or identity. These conventions bring in vendors, guests and exhibitors that more directly reflect the name on the banners, resulting in a more authentic and cohesive experience. While it’s splicing a niche market to a niche within a niche, it’s also creating a more irresistible ticket item for people within that sub-niche. And those fans coming to see the name they recognize are probably super-fans eager to experience, sample and buy more at a deeper level than the more scattershot crowd under the general geek umbrella.