Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
“I think worrying about the life and death of superheroes is pretty meaningless. The search for ‘importance’ by the superhero comic audience is a problem, a disease. The only thing that’s important is story. If it’s a good story, it’s important and meaningful. Saying ‘I’ll bet he’ll be back within a week’ is to proudly affirm that you know Kermit is just a puppet.”
– Wolverine writer Paul Cornell, addressing a Comic Book Resources reader’s question about the often-temporary nature of superhero deaths
With the debuts of Winter Soldier: The Bitter March, Rick Remender and Roland Boschi, and the relaunched Wolverine, by Paul Cornell and Ryan Stegman, quickly approaching, Marvel has supplied ROBOT 6 with exclusive new looks at pages from both comics.
The preview begins with a color splash page from Wolverine #1, previously released in black and white, and concludes with an action-packed (and snowy) two-page spread from Winter Soldier: The Bitter March #1, which kicks off the five-issue miniseries set during the 1960s.
Both comics arrive in February. See the full pages and solicitation text below.
“In the past, comics companies have tended to suggest diversity should ‘happen naturally,’ as if when you leave a comic book open overnight gay men might grow in the pages like mustard and cress, so it’s great that Marvel are now championing it, doing it deliberately. Because that’s the only way it can be done. Jeanine’s [Schaefer, his editor on Wolverine] a force for change. And there are a number of prominent female editors now who are altering the face of pro comics culture pretty swiftly.
Online comics fandom, meanwhile, if you judge solely by the comics message boards, remains conservative and behind the times. The action is to be found on Tumblr, where the Carol Corps lives.”
— writer Paul Cornell, who adheres to a strict “panel parity” rule at conventions (he won’t appear on all-male panels), talking to the New Statesman about embracing political issues in mainstream comic books
(Carol Corps ID card from PsychoAndy)
Retailing | Following a price war during which it lost $11,000 a day, Overstock.com has vowed to match Amazon’s price on books, including graphic novels, going forward. Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne thinks he can get better prices from publishers who want to boost competition for Amazon. However, as ICv2 points out, Overstock’s graphic novel selection is smaller than Amazon’s, and prices overall have risen since their recent price war. [ICv2]
Creators | Todd McFarlane recently claimed no work that was “trying to get across a message” has succeeded as a comic, but Laura Sneddon finds proof to the contrary at the Stripped festival in Edinburgh, where she talked to Joe Sacco, Paul Cornell, Stephen Collins and Grant Morrison about the ideas that drive their comics. [New Statesman]
“We haven’t signed contracts yet but I have every reason to believe we will be starting season two in comic form next year,” Cornell tells Alex Dueben at Suicide Girls. “In February, even. We’ve been talking to some lovely people about this and I think Saucer Country readers have a huge reason to be hopeful. I’m very much thankful to them for that.”
Axed in January in a round of DC Comics cancellations that included DC Universe Presents, I, Vampire and Superman Family Adventures, the creator-owned series follows New Mexico Gov. Arcadia Alvarado who, on the eve of announcing her candidacy for president, is abducted by aliens. It debuted in March 2012 to nearly 16,000 copies, but by November’s issue that number had been more than cut in half. Saucer Country was nominated in March for a Hugo Award.
To see what James and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below …
Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.
Joining us today is Paul Cornell, writer of comics like Wolverine, Saucer Country, Action Comics, Demon Knights, Stormwatch, Captain Britain and MI: 13, Doctor Who, Knight and Squire, Dark X-Men, Wisdom and many more. He’s also written prose, like London Falling, British Summertime and many Doctor Who novels, as well as TV shows like Robin Hood, Primeval and, you guessed it, Doctor Who. You can listen to him talk about science fiction on the podcast SF Squeecast and follow him on Twitter.
Now let’s get to it …
In late 2011, when DC Comics relaunched its entire superhero line with the New 52, some characters were completely overhauled while others saw no changes at all. But with the debut last month of Justice League of America’s Vibe, we saw writers Geoff Johns and Andrew Krisberg attempt to transform a D-list character — a comic-book punchline — into a new hero and a force to be reckoned with. The artist tapped to help make that happen was Pete Woods.
Beginning his career in the 1990s an intern at Wildstorm, Woods has quietly become a trusted artist in DC’s stable. He’s had extended runs on Robin and Catwoman, but his most celebrated work came when he partnered with writer Paul Cornell to give Lex Luthor a chance ot shine in Action Comics. Woods recently completed a run on Legion Lost, and split time doing brief stints on Aquaman as well as Marvel’s Avengers Assemble while preparing for his current assignment on Vibe. He’s an artist’s artist, constantly refining his style and innovating in his approach. But he’s also an editor’s artists, consistently meeting deadlines.
I reached out to Woods to talk about his current gig, and discovered he’s in the early days of switching up his style. After years of doing much of his work digitally, Woods decided to return to his roots and draw his pages the traditional way. The computer’s still there for the odd task, but this 17-year comics veteran is going for a fresher, more organic style by doing it all by hand.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? It’s an abbreviated edition this week — maybe everyone’s doing their taxes, like I am today — so let’s just get to it …
Writer Paul Cornell and artists Alan Davis, Mark Farmer and Matt Hollingsworth waste no time dropping Wolverine into the thick of it in the latest first issue for Marvel’s merry claw-popping mutant. All is not as it seems when a father shopping for sneakers for his kid goes on a lethal rampage at the mall with a strange gun, leaving us with a naked Wolverine waiting for his healing factor to kick in … and that’s where we start the book.
Carla talked about Wolverine at length on Friday, and here are a few reviews from around the web to help you decide if the latest take on the character is worth your money — or if you should save it for a new pair of sneakers:
Publishing | Dark Horse President Mike Richardson discusses how he became one of the first publishers of manga in the United States, explains how the company selects its titles, and suggests some manga for first-time readers. [Previews]
Digital comics | Retailer Ron Catapano points to the comiXology server crash triggered by the response to the free Marvel comics promotion as “the problem with digital content that fans keep complaining about”: “I can’t read the books I paid for because I can’t save them on my own computer and I’m limited in what I can save to my tablet by the small storage on tablets. Instead, the books I pay for are kept by comiXology and as long as I have a high speed internet connection available… I can log on and read my books on their web site or I can download a few to my tablet. BUT NOT TODAY … because someone decided it was a good idea to put 700 Marvel issue #1’s up for free at the same time.” [ICv2.com]
As DC Comics parcels out its April solicitations ahead of their full release at 2 p.m., we learn that I, Vampire and DC Universe Presents will be canceled with Issue 19, and Saucer Country with Issue 14. Update: The all-ages Superman Family Adventures also will end with Issue 12.
Launched in September 2011 as part of the New 52’s “Dark Group,” I, Vampire teamed writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Andrea Sorrentino for a revival of the horror-romance serial that appeared from 1980 to 1983 in the House of Mystery anthology. Although the new series was a solid performer out of the gate, with the debut issue selling nearly 36,000, by the 14th issue that figure had slid below the 14,000 mark.
“Yep. I, Vampire is done as of 19. It’s been an amazing ride,” Fialkov wrote this afternoon on Twitter. “Thanks to all of my collaborators and stay tuned for the kickass conclusion. I’ve known For almost four months and got to write the ending I wanted. No complaints.”
Another of the New 52 launch titles, DC Universe Presents debuted with a Deadman storyline before embracing such diverse characters as the Challengers of the Unknown, Vandal Savage, Kid Flash, Blue Devil and Blue Beetle. Like I, Vampire, the anthology started solidly enough, with more than 41,000 copies but — again, like I, Vampire — it had plummeted below 14,000 by Issue 14.
Passings | Dr. Michael J. Vassallo notes the passing of Marion Sitton, who drew romance, crime and Western comics for Timely and Atlas (earlier incarnations of Marvel) as well as Fawcett, Quality and other publishers. He was 92. [Timely-Atlas-Comics]
Publishing | Heidi MacDonald interviews Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson, who was selected by readers of The Beat as the Comics Industry Person of the Year. [The Beat]
Organizations | Babymouse creator Jennifer L. Holm has joined the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund board of directors. [CBLDF]
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.
Comic Book Creator #1 (TwoMorrows, $8.95): I still fondly remember the now-defunct Comic Book Artist magazine from years ago, and now the creator of that magazine, Jon Cooke returns with a new 80-page offering to take its place. With a first issue filled with Jack Kirby, Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross, this is a must-read for me.
Mark Waid’s The Green Hornet #1 (Dynamite, $3.99): Waid has been having a career renaissance, in terms of recognition at least, and that led to getting his name on the title of this new revamp of Dynamite’s Green Hornet line (art is by Daniel Indero). I dig the creator, I dig the character, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when the two collide.
The Secret History of Marvel Comics HC (Fantagraphics, $35.00): I’ve been looking forward to this one since I first heard about it. Blake Bell looks at the non-comics material being published by the company that would one day become Marvel Comics, including pulp and girlie mag work by Jack Kirby, Bill Everett and Dan DeCarlo. It’s like the perfect companion for Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story!
Star Wars: Legacy — Prisoner of the Floating World #1 (Dark Horse, $2.99): As if the Brian Wood series wasn’t enough to get me back into Star Wars comics, now we get a new series from the Planet of the Apes team of Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman? If these are the final days of Dark Horse’s Star Wars license as many are rumoring, then they’re definitely going out with a bang.
Wake Up, Percy Gloom HC (Fantagraphics, $24.99): I fell madly in love with Cathy Malkasian’s beautiful Percy Gloom graphic novel a few years back, which was as beautiful as it was unexpected, so there is little to no way that I am not eagerly anticipating this follow-up. For those who like gorgeously-illustrated, melancholy and touching books: This is for you.
To see what Greg and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …