INTERVIEW: DiDio & Lee on "Dark Knight 3," Vertigo's Future & DC's Evolving Readership
Released Tuesday, DC Comics’ solicitations for April not only includes the listings for the DC Collectibles Designer Series action figures inspired by Jae Lee’s work, but also the first deluxe figure from the line based on Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures: none other than Roxy Rocket!
Created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for 1994’s Batman Adventures Annual #1 before making the leap to television in 1988 with the New Batman Adventures episode “The Ultimate Thrill,” Roxy is a Hollywood stunt double turned jewel thief who initially mistook Batman’s high-risk pursuit of her for romantic interest. She reappeared on an episode of Superman: The Animated Series.
Batman is celebrating his 75th birthday this year, which may come as a surprise. I mean, look at that smooth, handsome face, or what little of it is visible beneath his cowl. Look at those ripped muscles, or the way he runs across rooftops and beats up criminals — why, Batman doesn’t look a day over 35!
Now just as it did recently for Superman, DC Comics is releasing a pair of hefty, 400-page hardcover collections that serve as a sort of survey for how the character has been portrayed and functioned in the publisher’s comics line during since his first appearance. Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years and The Joker: A Celebration of 75 Years aren’t exactly the comics equivalents of greatest-hits albums, but they are nice starting points for newcomers and/or casual fans, offering quick, compelling overviews of the title characters through the decades.
The Batman volume, featuring Jim Lee’s rendition of the character from the 2003 storyline “Hush” on the dust jacket, must have been particularly challenging to assemble, given the thousands and thousands of pages of Batman comics, featuring dozens of different takes by scores of creators.
I think DC Comics missed a trick with the long-awaited, Paul Dini-written Black Canary/Zatanna original graphic novel, which finally arrived in this week. Why was there no special edition, fishnet stocking-covered incentive variant? Publishers did a lot of crazy things with covers in the 1990s, and they’ve been doing increasingly crazy things with them in this decade, but I’m pretty sure no one’s ever published one draped in fishnet …
Fishnets are, of course, the most immediate visual commonality between the two superheroines, and this long-in-the-works project, first announced in 2006, was once jokingly referred to as The Fishnet Brigade (a riff on Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic series, in which John Constantine referred to himself, The Phantom Stranger, Dr. Occult and Mister E as “The Trench Coat Brigade”). Dini and DC do acknowledge the importance of the heroines’ legwear, as the cover under the dust jacket and end pages bears a fishnet design, and there’s a scene in which the pair goes shopping for stockings together (“At the rate we go through these things, that place should give us a fifty percent discount,” Zee tells Canary).
The two have a lot more in common than that, of course. They’re also fan-favorite characters who have never been able to break out as stars in their own right (at least, not for long), generally appearing in team books and as supporting characters. And, of course, they’re both among the longest-serving members of the Justice League who weren’t founders, the characters being among the earlier additions to DC’s premier super-team (Black Canary joined in 1969; Zatanna began appearing in the book in the ’60s, and was finally offered full membership in 1978).
Oh, and they both appeared often on the Justice League cartoon, often times written by Dini, who is a fan of both characters.
If you aren’t following the blog of artist Joe Quinones (FF, Wednesday Comics), then you’re missing out on some terrific glimpses of Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell, the long-awaited graphic novel written by Paul Dini.
Each Wednesday for the past month, Quinones has revealed one or two panels from the book, some more complete than others, as he counts down to the planned May 21 release.
Auctions | The Leicestershire (England) Police are auctioning about 1,200 comics — most of them are post-2000 DC Comics titles, described as in mint condition — seized as criminal assets in Dorset (the police force doesn’t have its own eBay account). “Some are signed by the artists and they are mainly Superman and Spider Man, that sort of thing,” said Dave Hargrave, proceeds of crime asset realization manager. “[…] The person who had the comics was obviously a collector.” About 400 comics have been sold, bringing in £600 (about $985 U.S.). [Leicester Mercury]
Publishing | Avatar Press has returned to Diamond Book Distributors as its distributor to bookstores, the mass market, library services, and other markets. Avatar left DBD in 2011 to sign on with BOOM! Studios to distribute its books through Simon & Schuster in the United States and HarperCollins in Canada. [ICv2]
“Yeah, I have a big Batman story in me, it’s a very personal one and I’ve just got permission from DC to do it” he tells SFX. ‘We’re just finalizing the deal right now for me to write it as a graphic novel and I’ve very excited about it.”
Dini, who recently wrote Batman: Streets of Gotham and Gotham City Sirens for the publisher, says that while he’s already begun work on the project, it probably will be another year or two before it’s released. “It’s going to be a change of pace for Batman and it’ll take some of the fans by surprise when they ultimately see what the story’s about,” he says.
Beyond that, the former writer and producer of Batman: The Animated Series is hesitant to provide any details.
“I think it’s going to a really terrific story,” Dini tells the website. “I’ve gotten nothing but great response from the folks at DC on it. I really can’t say much more until we announce it formally but I’m really looking forward to this and jumping in and devoting my entire energy to nothing but writing this Batman story.”
Although it seems like DC’s big relaunch announcement came out an eternity ago, it actually took the publisher less than two weeks to roll out the 52 titles and their creative teams for the big relaunch/reboot/overhaul coming in September. Now that the cats are out of their respective bags, I thought I’d see where various creators and characters will land after the reboot.
So I went back through DC’s August solicitations to see who was writing or drawing what, and tried to map everyone to their post-relaunch project — if they had one. However, looking at DC’s August solicitations, there seem to be several fill-in issues, so where appropriate I tried to map the most recent ongoing creative teams to their new projects (for instance, I consider Gail Simone and Jesus Saiz the regular creative team for Birds of Prey, even if they aren’t doing the last two issues before September hits). Keep in mind that I just went through the ongoing series and skipped over all the miniseries … of which there are a lot, what with Flashpoint winding up in August.
It’s also worth noting that although several creators didn’t appear in the “big 52″ announcements, that doesn’t mean their tenure with DC is necessarily over — some, like Frazer Irving, have said they have future projects that haven’t been announced. So I tried to note where creators have talked publicly about their post-relaunch plans with DC (or lack thereof, as the case may be). The same could probably be said for some of DC’s characters as well. Or, as Gail Simone said on Twitter: “Again, September is NOT THE END. There’s still plans for characters that we haven’t seen yet.”
So let’s get to it ….
Paul Dini has a long history with DC’s resident magic woman Zatanna, and it looks like a long-gestating project will see him team the character with Black Canary. The girl-centric comics blog DC Women Kicking Ass picked up this scoop while walking the floor of the Boston Comic Con from none other than the artist himself, Joe Quinones.
Titled Bloodspell, the book is set to debut in 2012. The blogger recounted the plot as told to them by Quinones, saying “The book begins with a back story where an 11 year old Zatanna meets a 16 year old Dinah Lance. And the two don’t get off to a good start on this trip to Mt. Everest.” Here’s two pages from the project that Quinones had on display at the con.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week’s guest is Alex Segura, executive director of publicity and marketing at Archie Comics. But we’ll always know him as the guy who founded The Great Curve, the blog that would one day morph into Robot 6.
To see what Alex and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below …
Last week Jingle Belle creator Paul Dini said on Twitter that the previously solicited Jingle Belle special for this year was canceled, but the content would be combined with the Top Cow Holiday Special.
“Low preorders necessitated the Jing titles to be combined into the Top Cow special,” he later told an inquiring fan. “Ironically preorders shot up after that.”
According to Top Cow, the two former single issues, along with a lot of other material, will now be one graphic novel.
“Jingle Belle and the Top Cow Holiday Special (both single issues) were combined this year and will appear as the Top Cow Holiday Special OGN,” said Top Cow’s Christine Dinh. “It’ll be a flip book of both new issues.”
The graphic novel will arrive in stores Dec. 22, just in time for Christmas. Dinh said the 96-page OGN will retail at $12.99 and will include the content from The Top Cow Holiday Special #1, Jingle Belle: Grounded #1, the previously released Jingle Belle: Santa Claus vs Frankenstein, a 4-page preview of Marc Silvestri’s new project September Mourning and additional bonus material. You can check out a preview of some of the Jingle Belle artwork here.
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where you’ll hopefully find something to add to your summer reading list. Our guest this week is Chris Arrant, who you may know from his comic book journalism work for Newsarama, Comic Book Resources and various print magazines for Marvel Comics, or from his comic book writing, which includes Female Force: Princess Diana, Tori Amos’ Comic Book Tattoo and 24Seven Vol. 2.
To see what Chris and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click the link below …
Quick Stop Entertainment is hosting a webcomic starring Paul Dini’s Jingle Belle; the first one went up last week, and a Christmas Eve story will be posted Thursday. Dini also says Belle will return in 2010 with “more winter fun.”
So there I was in the spring of 1988, a college freshman buying snacks at the local convenience store, when I saw Amazing Spider-Man #300 sitting on the magazine shelf. I knew artist Todd McFarlane had helped make the book pretty popular, and I had fond memories of writer David Michelinie from his earlier work on Iron Man and Avengers. Accordingly, I stuck with ASM through the end of McFarlane’s run (in #325), and never gave much thought to Spidey’s two other regular titles. Spectacular Spider-Man and Web Of Spider-Man might have been great reads, but for whatever reason, I just wanted the “headliners,” Michelinie and McFarlane.
I suspect the same is true these days with the Batman line. Yesterday’s releases of Detective Comics #854 and Gotham City Sirens #1 close out the first month of the Big Batman Relaunch. The Grant Morrison-written Batman And Robin (drawn initially by Frank Quitely) has drawn the most attention, with much of the rest going to Detective‘s Batwoman lead (written by Greg Rucka, drawn by JH Williams III). Each of these high-profile creative teams has been charged with producing new-reader-friendly stories, and thereby building an enduring foundation of loyal consumers.