Welcome to “Report Card,” our new week-in-review feature. If “Cheat Sheet” is your guide to the week ahead, “Report Card” is a look back at the top news stories of the previous week, as well as a look at the Robot 6 team’s favorite comics that we read.
So read on to find out what we thought of Hawkeye #11, the second issues of Green Team and The Wake, SpongeBob Comics Annual #1: Super-Giant Swimtacular and much more.
“It just seemed like a good time. I introduced the ‘Hell on Earth War,’ which shook things up to such a degree that it seemed to me that I could not really top it. This series has been going for 10 years, and the sales were solid but not huge. It just somehow seemed a logical, dramatic climax to everything that I’ve been doing.”
Viz Media has been busy snapping up licenses for its VizKids imprint, and now has announced a new one: a series of Ben 10 Omniverse graphic novels that will tie in with the Cartoon Network show.
Ben 10 Omniverse is the fourth iteration of the Ben 10 cartoon created by four comics writers (Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steven T. Seagle), beginning as the story of 10-year-old Ben Tennyson, who changes into different types of aliens with the help of a device called the Omnnitrix. In Ben 10 Omniverse, Ben is now 15 and has a new Omnitrix that transforms him into different creatures. His Grandpa Max pairs him up with a rookie plumber named Rook (who’s “highly skilled with his Proto-Tool, but lacks any field experience,” according to the press release) to explore an alien city and stay one step ahead of the bad guys who are in hot pursuit. If this is making you feel a little lost, here’s some good news: Cartoon Network is having a “Ben 10 Bootcamp” this weekend, with 17 hours of Ben 10 programming so everyone can catch up.
Ten weeks after suffering a stroke, Peter David “is making steady progress,” able to take a train into New York City for a meeting — and even return to bowling.
“He was able to navigate the house with minimal help when he got home and now he is pretty much able to get around on his own,” his wife Kathleen David wrote today on his blog. “This is a big considering we were talking building wheelchair ramps and the like so he could get into the house when we were first talking about getting him home.”
The 56-year-old writer had a stroke Dec. 29 while in vacation in Florida, losing control of the right side of his body. Following rehabilitation in Florida and now out-patient therapy in New York, Kathleen said his right arm and leg are growing stronger each day.
“He has been working hard at his out-patient therapy,” she wrote. “He goes twice a week and then does exercises on the days that he is not in therapy. It is not easy and we have our good days and our bad days but we have days which is a blessing indeed.”
For those interested in helping David and his family with medical expenses — he has health insurance, but there are co-pays to contend with — there’s information on his website detailing how.
It sounds like some interesting announcements were made at the ComicsPRO meeting over the weekend in Atlanta, and one that is already hitting the streets is that IDW Publishing will release an entire line of comics based on Cartoon Network properties.
“Many of these Cartoon Network shows have only grown in popularity since they originally aired,” Chris Ryall, IDW’s chief creative officer and editor-in-chief, said in the press release, “and we’re excited to be able to offer new iterations of the characters in comic-book form alongside both our planned reprint material and also some new animated ventures Cartoon Network has planned, too. There’s a wealth of fun properties to play with here, and we’ve already got some unique things in mind for them.”
The starting lineup will include The Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10, Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Johnny Bravo and Generator Rex. Many, if not all, have been made into comics before: DC released 70 issues of its Powerpuff Girls comic and 34 issues of Dexter’s Laboratory, in addition to a Cartoon Network Action Pack anthology, which featured many of the network’s other characters (like DC Entertainment, Cartoon Network is a subsidiary of Time Warner), and Del Rey published a Ben 10 graphic novel that was written by Peter David and illustrated by Dan Hipp. So there is an interesting back catalog to draw on in addition to new material.
An IDW spokesperson told ICv2 that the first release in the new line will be a Powerpuff Girls comic this fall.
To see what Josh and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Less than two weeks after suffering a stroke, writer Peter David is able to walk forward and backward, with assistance, at the rehabilitation center in
New York Florida.
“He is working on balance and trying to get the right leg to cooperate with what he wants it to do,” his wife Kathleen wrote today. “There was a minor set back with the arm that is being worked on. He does have a better range of motion than he has had since all this started so we are cautiously happy about it but he has a long way to go.”
Kathleen David, who last week asked those interested in helping to cover insurance co-pays to purchase some of Peter’s books from Crazy 8 Press, today said she will add a donate button to his website on Monday, and plans to organize online auctions. She also encouraged fans to send him cards and assorted well wishes:
c/o Second Age, Inc.,
P.O. Box 239,
Bayport, NY 11705
On a related note, EW.com has published an essay Peter wrote in early December to mark the 50th anniversary of the Incredible Hulk. In the piece, the writer recounts being offered the reins of the title in 1986, his approach to Bruce Banner and, 12 years later, the circumstances that led to his departure.
“Out of fifty years of his existence, I took up twelve straight years (plus annuals and such) covering the concerns and chaos that the Hulk had to face daily,” he wrote. “If I’d known that I’d be leaving the book the issue afterward, I’d never have killed off Betty (although since then she was brought back to life and is now the red She-Hulk, so that made a lot of difference.) I had up periods and down periods. Times where I had the book fully under control and times where I was roughing it and had no clue what I was doing. In retrospect, if I had to draw one conclusion from my time on the series, it was this: Hunh. Nope. I still got nothin’.”
Writer Peter David will undergo in-patient rehabilitation once he’s released from the hospital following a stroke he suffered Sunday while on vacation in Florida. However, it’s unclear when that will be.
“We are working on the where, how, and who and still awaiting the when,” his wife Kathleen wrote Thursday. “And they can’t give us an exact when because a number things have to be in place and Peter’s vitals have to be consistently at a certain level before they will even think of releasing him. Until that happens, we are in a holding pattern.
A comics veteran best known for his work on Aquaman, The Incredible Hulk, Young Justice and X-Factor, Peter David posted on his blog Sunday that he “lost control of the right side of my body,” couldn’t see properly and was unable to move his right arm and leg. Kathleen later reported doctors determined her husband suffered a small stroke in the pons section of his brain. “We know that a total recovery is slim because damage to the brain doesn’t go away but the brain can be trained to work around the damage and give Peter back what he has lost,” she wrote Monday.
“Peter is doing better every day,” she offered Thursday. “Yesterday he was able to lift up his right arm by himself and the fingers are coming back a little more every day. He can stand up but still can’t walk and the standing only lasts for so long. His face is even more normal than the day before. And he sat up in a chair for the first time since Saturday which he was very happy about and I was thrilled. The more he can get up, the sooner he gets out and onto the next step of the journey. … Keep those good thoughts coming. Peter says it is both gratifying and humbling about the number of people who are praying for them and keeping him in their thoughts and he appreciates and is thankful to each and every one of you.”
Over the holidays, writer Peter David announced on his blog that he had suffered a stroke. On New Year’s Eve, his wife Kathleen explained more, and another update followed Tuesday. She’s planning to let people know of David’s recovery on a daily basis.
Our thoughts are definitely with him and his family and friends. As the husband of someone with multiple sclerosis and lupus, I can somewhat relate to what they’re going through. A health scare like what they’re going through is just that, scary. Really, it’s downright terrifying. In addition to the emotional response and challenging medical decisions to be made, there’s also the question of how to pay for the ambulance ride, CAT scan, MRI, multiple other tests, medication, physical therapy, and whatever else. I don’t know David’s healthcare situation, but it reminded me how many freelancers and self-employed workers, which is the vast majority of comic book creators, have little to no healthcare benefits of any kind.
Rantz Hoseley recently sent out to creators and other industry figures a rough outline for a proposed American Sequential Arts Guild, which would include access to healthcare coverage for members. Note that he is not proposing a union, but instead an advocacy group. Some discussion ensued, like on this thread at The Beat. But I haven’t seen much movement since. Perhaps it’s happening privately, but based on past incidents, I fear it’s not.
Peter David, writer of X-Factor, Aquaman and Hulk, among others, posted on his blog that he had a stroke while on vacation in Florida.
“We were on vacation in Florida when I lost control of the right side of my body,” David wrote. “I cannot see properly and I cannot move my right arm or leg. We are currently getting the extent of the damage sorted out and will report as further details become clarified.”
David has written countless comics, with classic runs on Incredible Hulk, Aquaman, Young Justice, Fallen Angel, Supergirl and X-Factor, which he currently writes for Marvel. He has also written novels, video games and television shows over the course of his career.
Our thoughts are with David, and on behalf of everyone at Robot 6, we wish him a fast and full recovery.
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.
* * *
After a late afternoon opening to the general public on Thursday, the New York Comic Con kicked into high gear today with panels, announcements and the usual con craziness we’ve come to expect from big shows. Here’s a round-up of comic-related news and announcements coming out of Friday. If you missed anything from Thursday, I’ve also got your back. I’d also point you to Brigid Alverson’s rundown of the ICv2 sessions before NYCC that go deep on comic sales in 2011 and 2012 thus far, if you’re into that.
• Keith Giffen returns to the stars next year with Threshold, a new DC Comics series that features Blue Beetle, Space Ranger, Star Hawkins, the original Starfire and other space heroes, with a Larfleeze back-up. Giffen also seemingly confirmed that the current Blue Beetle series is coming to an end.
• Vertigo announced several new projects today, including The Wake by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy, Trillium by Jeff Lemire and an Unwrtten/Fables event that will see the Unwritten characters wander into the Fables comic. Snyder said that American Vampire will go on hiatus after issue #34 so he and artist Rafael Albuquerque can catch up on it. When it returns, it’ll jump ahead to the 1960s.
Passings | Artist and writer Harry Harrison, who worked with Wally Wood on many EC Comics — and persuaded them to start their sci-fi line — has died at the age of 87. Harrison is best known in science fiction circles as the author of the Stainless Steel Rat stories, and the movie Soylent Green was based on his 1966 novel Make Room! Make Room! [The Comics Reporter]
Publishing | Marvel is ending its Premiere Classics line of hardcovers collections with Vol. 106. [Blog@Newsarama]
Conventions | ComiCONN is this weekend, and although it is the largest comics and sci-fi show in Connecticut, you won’t need your jet pack to navigate it, says Life With Archie writer Paul Kupperberg. Kupperberg and Peter David will be among the guests. [Connecticut Post]
When Marvel wants to tell zombie tales, writer Frank Marraffino has been a go-to person in recent years, as exemplified first by last year’s Marvel Zombies Supreme miniseries as well as the upcoming Marvel Zombies Destroy, a five-issue miniseries that launches this Wednesday, May 9. In this new email interview, Marraffino discusses writing the first two issues of the miniseries (in which Howard the Duck, Dum-Dum Dugan team up with a dozen heroes to fight Nazi Zombies) and details the health issues that prevented him from writing the remainder of the miniseries. I was pleased to learn Marraffino is feeling better and happy to discuss his work as well as the thrill of having industry veteran Peter David step into take over the project. Once you’ve read the interview, please be sure to check out CBR’s recent four-page preview of the first issue.
Tim O’Shea: What is it about zombies and dark comedy that make them work so well together?
Frank Marraffino: Maybe the fact that the threat comes from something that is falling apart. That is a little funny. The menace is one to itself also!
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest this week is Beth Scorzato, managing editor of the excellent comics news and commentary site Spandexless.
To see what Beth and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.