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Grumpy Old Fan | Going on about ongoing series, Part Two

Starman #0

[Last week I started a look back at DC’s ongoing series in a post-Crisis environment of annual line-wide events. Thanks as always to Mike’s Amazing World Of DC Comics for its invaluable data.]

The second half of the 1980s was, to put it mildly, a transitional period for DC. Beginning with the watershed Crisis On Infinite Earths, most high-profile titles were relaunched, book by book — not just to take characters like Superman and Batman “back to basics,” but to open them up to new creative possibilities. Building on Crisis’ success, the publisher also tried to launch new titles from line-wide events.  By the early ‘90s, however, the speculator market was imposing its own will on the superhero books. …
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Fellow creators and fans remember Dwayne McDuffie

I’m still in shock over the sudden, tragic death of comics writer, Milestone Media co-founder and animation producer Dwayne McDuffie, as I’m sure many of his fans, friends and fellow creators are. I’ve rounded up some thoughts and memories from some of those folks, as well as a few items of note about memorials and some of his work.

  • If you’re attending the Emerald City Comicon March 4-6, they’ve announced a memorial panel remembering McDuffie that will take place Saturday at 7 p.m. in Room 4C1-2. Per writer Mark Waid, C2E2 is also planning to hold one.
  • Both Heidi MacDonald and Rich Johnston posted pages featuring the parakeet metaphor that McDuffie first introduced in Hardware #1 — a scene that, for me personally, sparked one of those lengthy late-night discussions about society, racism, politics and a whole lot of other things with my older brother. As Heidi points out, McDuffie revisited it in both X-O Manowar and at the end of the Milestone Forever two-parter, basically bookending the life of the Milestone Universe.
  • The Weekly Crisis, meanwhile, looks at a poignant page from McDuffie’s more recent Fantastic Four run.
  • The good folks at the Project: Rooftop site have declared “McDuffie Week” at their site, and have put out the call for redesigns of Static. Dean Trippe writes: “Dwayne’s work in the field of comics and animation was near-universally respected. His knowledge and understanding of the DCU heroes in particular, always meant a lot to me. He worked for Marvel, DC, founded Milestone along with Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek T. Dingle, achieved more respect and admiration as a screenwriter for Justice League Unlimited and other DC animated projects, faithfully bringing the light of our heroes to the non-comics-reading public. Dwayne has left us far too soon, with too many wonderful stories left untold.”

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Grumpy Old Fan | Don’t know much about history

The Atlantis Chronicles #1

Last week’s big reorganization project is finished (for now) — but by reintroducing me to Peter David and Esteban Maroto’s The Atlantis Chronicles, it has already paid off.

The Atlantis Chronicles was a seven-issue 1990 miniseries designed to give Aquaman a more “classically mythic” backstory. Like the Old Testament or your average Shakespearean tragedy, it is full of intrigue, violence, sinister motives, and secret affairs. Along the way it traces the history of twin cities Poseidonis and Tritonis from their sinking to Aquaman’s birth, explaining such things as marine mental telepathy, why the Tritonistas are mer-people, and when the Idyllists broke off into their own community. It was all in service to a PAD-written Aquaman regular series which ended up being delayed for a few years; and which, when it finally did appear, produced the cranky, hook-handed Aquaman of the ‘90s. Re-reading The Atlantis Chronicles reminded me that some noteworthy plot elements — including an involuntary amputation — foreshadowed similar events in the later series. Some characters from TAC also reappeared in David’s Aquaman, further connecting the two.

I enjoyed The Atlantis Chronicles on its own merits, but I couldn’t help but think how it would have been treated better in today’s marketplace. That, in turn, got me thinking about the roles various “historical” DC miniseries played (and might still play) in the building of their legends.

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Comics A.M. | Another actor injured in Spider-Man musical mishap

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Broadway | A fourth actor was injured Monday night during a performance of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the $65-million musical that’s been plagued by delays and technical mishaps. Aerialist Christopher Tierney, who serves as a stunt double for Spider-Man and the villains Meeks and Kraven, fell about 30 feet when the cable to his harness snapped during the closing minutes of the show. Some equipment reportedly dropped into the audience as well. The performance was put on hold and then canceled as an ambulance arrived at the Foxwoods Theatre to take Tierney to Bellevue Hospital. Tierney is in stable condition, but no further information has been released. [BroadwayWorld, The Associated Press, CNN]

Publishing | Fantagraphics has laid off Dirk Deppey,The Comics Journal‘s online editor, former managing editor, and longtime writer of the Journalista! blog. His final day is Wednesday: “No regrets: The last ten years have kicked ass. I’ve done great things and meet interesting people, and was paid it. How great is that?” [Twitter]

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Peter David wouldn’t mind a shot at a Hulk Forever series

The Incredible Hulk #377

Marvel has published X-Men Forever, X-Factor Forever and New Mutants Forever, series that allow writers Chris Claremont and Louise Simonson to pick up where they left their classic runs years earlier. So why not Hulk Forever, continuing Peter David’s award-winning, 12-year stint on The Incredible Hulk?

In an interview with Comic Book Resources, David said he’d love to work on Spider-Man, Wolverine or the Hulk — or even Hulk Forever. However, he concedes, “I don’t know if the fan support for such a title would be there.”

David’s landmark run lasted from 1987 to 1998, during which time the writer explored Bruce Banner’s dissociative identity disorder, introduced the gray Hulk’s “Joe Fixit” alias as well the “new” Hulk that merged all his personalities, and killed Betty Ross. David left the title following a storyline disagreement with Marvel editors — they reportedly wanted Betty’s death to lead to the re-emergence of the Savage Hulk persona — and returned only briefly in 2005.

With Guillermo del Toro and David Eick reportedly sprearheading the Hulk’s return to live-action television, it might be an ideal time for Marvel to revisit one of the character’s defining eras.

SDCC ’10 | A roundup of Sunday’s news

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Announcements slowed down on Sunday at Comic-Con International, and apparently so have I. So let’s get to it …

• Marvel announced that Dan Slott will be the sole writer on Amazing Spider-Man, as the “Brand New Day” storyline comes to a close. He’ll work with artists Humberto Ramos, Marcos Martin and Stefano Caselli on the series. The book will ship twice a month.

At that same panel, Marvel announced the creative team on the new Spider-Girl series teased in recently in Previews will be Paul Tobin and Clayton Henry. They also announced a new Carnage miniseries by Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain, as well as an Osborn miniseries by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios about Norman Osborn’s time in prison.

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SDCC ’10 | Peter David writing episodes of Young Justice cartoon

Young Justice

Young Justice

Peter David has announced he’s writing several episodes of Young Justice, the much-anticipated Cartoon Network series based on the DC Comics title he worked on for nearly five years.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to reconnect with the characters,” he wrote this morning on his blog, “even if there are some differences between the guys I wrote and the new incarnation. I would love to tell you all about my first episode, but I’m afraid that it’s … oh, what’s the word … Secret.

Fans of the DC Comics series, published from 1998 to 2003, will undoubtedly recognize the not-so-subtle allusion to Secret (aka Greta Hayes), the incorporeal “mist girl” introduced in the 1998 “fifth-week” one-shot Young Justice: The Secret. She, Wonder Girl and Arrowette joined the original Young Justice line-up of Robin, Superboy and Impulse.

We know from the sneak peek that the animated series will focus on a six-person team of Robin, Superboy, Kid Flash, Miss Martian, Artemis and Aqualad. However, in the words of producer Greg Weisman, that is “really just the tip of the iceberg.” The cartoon will feature a 16-member Justice League that mentors the teens plus, judging from the character sheets, appearances by characters like Speedy/Red Arrow and Mary Marvel.

Slash Print | An iPad roundup, naturally, plus more

Echo on the iPad -- that was quick!

Echo on the iPad -- that was quick!

Tablets | Hey, guess what? Apple’s making headlines with a new product. On the heels of yesterday’s iPad announcement, Comic Book Resources and Newsarama both reach out to members of the comics industry to get their thoughts on the new device, from traditional publishers to digital comics companies. Rich Johnston has a collection of reactions from Twitter. Meanwhile, we heard from Dark Horse directly:

“We, like all publishers, are excited about this new format, and all of the possibilities which come along with it. We have already experienced great success with our existing iTunes program, and are excited to see just how this new interface will fit into our company’s overall digital strategy,” said Neil Hankerson, executive vice president of Dark Horse Comics.

Other links of note …

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‘A fictional character announcing that he’s gay should not be national news’

At, X-Factor writer discusses the relationship between Rictor and Shatterstar, and recalls the immediate ramifications at Marvel of Northstar’s much-publicized 1992 outing:

Alpha Flight #106

Alpha Flight #106

When you really get down to it, the concept of a fictional character announcing that he’s gay should not be national news. He’s fictional. It’s like Dan Quayle saying that Murphy Brown’s actions are a poor guide to single mothers. She’s fictional. But nevertheless, it wound up making national news and blowback from that came as a result of a major retail chain – and I’m not refusing to name it because I’m trying to cover their asses, I’m refusing to name them because I don’t remember … as they say, “I didn’t know there’d be a quiz.”

This major retail chain informed Marvel they were going to cease carrying – and this just gives you an idea of the kind of homophobia that pervades corporate America – they informed Marvel they were going to cease carrying any mutant toys because they didn’t want to risk being associated with this gay mutant who was being talked about on CNN, which is bizarrely hilarious or ironic or sick, depending on how you want to look at it when many people perceive mutants in the Marvel universe as a metaphor for how gays are treated in the United States of America. Because Northstar outed himself in the pages of Alpha Flight, they didn’t want any mutant-related toys. They wouldn’t sell Wolverine in their stores. They wouldn’t sell Wolverine action figures because of the taint, which was insane. Particularly when you consider there were no Northstar toys at the time.

As we noted earlier this week, Northstar will officially get his first boyfriend — in the primary Marvel Universe, at least — with January’s Nation X #2. Hey, it only took 18 years …

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