EXCL. PREVIEW: "Avatar: Smoke & Shadow" TPB Threatens the Fire Nation
Some might say we’re experiencing the Golden Age of superheroes in film, but in reality it’s just live-action catching up to animation. Warner Bros. Animation has been a trailblazer in that area, with 26 feature films based on DC Comics’ characters since 1993. And with the recent release of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, based on the 2011 Flashpoint crossover, we’ve come up with a half-dozen other DC series or arcs Warner Bros. could (and should) look to for future animated films.
We do like a good comic-related GIF at Robot 6 (hence our frequent displays of love for Kerry Callen, or for the hypnotic delight of Rob Brindle’s Batman). Now here’s one created by cartoonist Dave Zissou after his experiments coloring Paul Pope’s gray-washed sketches of Jack Kirby’s Orion of the New Gods.
So this is what happens when you praise Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern run …
Let’s be clear: I do not generally have violent mood swings. My sense of well-being does not depend on the fortunes of DC Comics. I don’t pretend to have any special insight into the publisher’s inner workings, and I’m sure the reverse is equally true. However, after saying many nice things about Green Lantern a couple of weeks ago, and then eviscerating the humorless “WTF Certified” last week, it was pretty surprising to see the May solicitations address both topics.
NEXT, RAFALCA JOINS THE LEGION OF SUPER-PETS
The Green Team may have been a group of entitled, self-satisfied jerks with an abnormal need for validation, but if anyone can make them lovable — or, alternatively, entertainingly clueless — it’s Art Baltazar and Franco. I don’t see this book as DC scraping the bottom of the character barrel. Rather, I take it as a good-faith attempt to update a (perhaps misguided) concept for the sensibilities of our time. Not quite “at least they’re trying,” but … at least it’s not another big-name spinoff, you know? (Although a new Steel series is always welcome.) Regardless, the over/under for this book has to be somewhere around 6 issues.
Publishing | DC Comics may no longer hold the rights to create new stories about The Spirit and other pulp heroes like Doc Savage and The Avenger, but it does retain the license to publish The Spirit Archives for “the foreseeable future,” according to Denis Kitchen, agent for the Will Eisner estate. Most of the hardcover collections are out of print. [The Beat]
Digital comics | Third time’s the charm for retailer Steve Bennett, as he goes through three different tablets (one was stolen, one malfunctioned) on his way to the ideal digital comics experience. [ICv2]
Creators | Tom Spurgeon kicks off his annual round of holiday interviews with a lengthy conversation with Alison Bechdel, creator of Fun Home and Are You My Mother? [The Comics Reporter]
Every week, hard as it may be to believe, I try honestly to offer something I think might interest the larger group of DC Domics superhero readers. However, this week I am invoking a personal privilege. For one thing, with Halloween on a Wednesday (when I usually end up writing these essays), the holiday will more than likely take priority.
The main reason, though, is that today is my birthday, and as you might have guessed from the headline, this year is my 43rd birthday. Therefore, this week I have pulled together an especially memorable DC story and/or issue from each of those years, 1969 through 2012. (Note: They may not always line up with the actual year, but just for simplicity’s sake, all dates are cover dates.) These aren’t necessarily the best or most noteworthy stories of their particular years, but they’ve stuck with me. Besides, while I’ve read a lot of comics from a lot of sources, for whatever reason DC has been the constant. Maybe when I’m 50 I’ll have something more comprehensive.
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When Steve Rude made his comics debut in 1981, you could almost hear a sigh in comic shops nationwide as readers first witnessed his skills. In his creator-owned Nexus (with writer Mike Baron), Rude showed a timeless pop-art mastery of the human form that combined the kinetic energy of Jack Kirby with the shape of classic Renaissance artists. Over the years he’s been lured from time to time into doing work-for-hire for DC Comics and Marvel, but it’s Nexus that has been the backbone of Rude’s professional career. After a brief attempt at self-publishing Nexus in the mid-2000s, Rude and Baron returned to their previous publisher Dark Horse to continue their epic story, with new Nexus adventures debuting earlier this year in Dark Horse Presents.
But while Nexus might be Rude’s magnum opus, it isn’t his only passion. A few years back he challenged himself to learn classical painting, and he’s incorporated that into his breadth of work while teaching others in a series of intensive workshops. The artist continues to be prolific on the comics art market, doing a number of original commissions, from sketches to fully painted pieces, for fans. He’s maintained an active presence online, posting frequently on his blog and on his Facebook page and showing off a number of original pieces that never see print.
I spoke with Rude late last month by phone, and what I wanted to talk to him about wasn’t Nexus or whatever new comic cover he’s doing next, but rather what’s behind the art — and inside his head. He’s well known for expressing his opinions and standing up where others might back down for a freelance assignment, and is the single comic creator I know of whose first professional comics work — in his case, Nexus — is still his signature work and something he does to this day. People are talking a lot today about creator-owned comics, and Steve Rude’s been doing it for more than 30 years.
Ben Caldwell (Wednesday Comics, The Dare Detectives) posted a sneak peek at some projects he’s got coming up this year, including the above, censored image labeled, “apokolips, baby!” That should make some New Gods fans happy. Or at least some Ben Caldwell fans eager to see him do more work at DC.
Tom Scioli’s name might not have popped up in DC’s big list of creators for this September’s relaunch, but maybe it should have. The Godland artist has posted a “decreasingly jokey open letter” to the publisher on his blog, suggesting that maybe he’d be a good choice for a New Gods series.
And he’s got the art to back it up, like the above image of the Black Racer; click over to his post to see more.
Rumors began to swirl about a sequel to Wednesday Comics as soon as DC’s weekly anthology debuted in July 2009. But now we finally have confirmation from a contributor that something’s in the works.
Bleeding Cool picked up on word from the Facebook page of Steve Rude that the Nexus artist is working on a New Gods strip for a new Wednesday Comics. Years ago Rude and writer Mark Evanier were in line to do a New Gods series but it fell through (although they did do a Mister Miracle Special sometime back). For Wednesday Comics 2 there’s no word yet whether Rude is writing and illustrating or working with someone else.
The book’s editor Mark Chiarello confirmed last June, as the collected edition was released, that thought has gone into a sequel. All this begs the question — who else is in the book? Let’s put some pieces together …
Earlier in this year Jill Thompson told Newsarama she was approached to do a Wonder Woman strip for the first series but had to turn it down due to working on Beasts of Burden. However, she asked to be considered if Wednesday Comics came back.
During a panel at Baltimore Comic-Con in 2009, Chiarello and some of the contributors to the first series spitballed some ideas of what they’d like to see in the sequel. Read Comic Book Resource’s full report, or follow on for who recommended who:
And just as that first film was based on the first arc of the Superman/Batman comic, this one adapts the second arc of the Jeph Loeb-written comic, which reintroduced Kara Zor-El, AKA Supergirl, to the DC Universe. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse will again star Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy as Superman and Batman, and Firefly/Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles actress Summer Glau as Supergirl.
The movie follows Batman: Under the Red Hood, which comes out at the end of July.
Update: And not even 30 minutes after posting this, Warner Home Video sends out a press release on the animated film, which adds Ed Asner and Andre Braugher to the voice cast. You can read it after the jump.
A chance encounter at Tunde Adebimpe’s table at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival led to my discovery of Ben Herman’s impressive collection of Beautiful Dreamer sketches. In his sketchbook’s pages, the lovely telepathic New God from Jack Kirby’s Forever People is given her due by Dan DeCarlo, Dick Ayers, Ramona Fradon, Gilbert Hernandez, Mark Bode, Tania Del Rio, Michael Wm. Kaluta, Danielle Corsetto, John Bogdanove, Todd Nauck and many more. Go feast your eyes, and check out Herman’s entire assortment of ComicArtFans.com galleries — his Star Wars and Avengers sketchbooks are nothing to sneeze at, either.
Johanna Draper Carlson points out that Adam Prosser has posted his 24-Hour Comics Day comic on the web. It’s one part Kirby’s New Gods, one part Archie Comics and all parts awesome — heck, it’s likely the coolest thing you’ll see today.