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Batman and Detective Comics expand to 40 pages in April

Batman #8, by Greg Capullo

Batman and Detective Comics will expand to 40 pages beginning in April, a move that brings with it back-up stories and a price increase from $2.99 to $3.99, DC Comics announced over the weekend.

Batman #8 will see writer Scott Snyder re-team with American Vampire artist Rafael Albuquerque for the first in a series of back-up stories examining the history of the Court of Owls, the shadowy organization that has plagued the Dark Knight and Gotham City in the first arc of the relaunched comic. Co-written by James Tynion IV, the stories also dovetail into “The Night of the Owls,” a crossover that will launch in May and run through all of DC’s Bat-books.

“The first backup, in issue eight will give a sense of the terrifying scope of the Court of Owls’ attack on Gotham. This really will be the first shot in a war for the soul of Gotham City,” Snyder wrote this morning on DC’s Source blog. “And then, starting in issue nine, we’ll begin a three part story called ‘The Fall of the House of Wayne’ that will investigate the secret history of the Court of Owls and its relationship to the Wayne family – particularly to Thomas and Martha Wayne, Bruce’s parents. The story will be told from the point of view of Jarvis Pennyworth, Alfred’s father, and offer some big surprises and shocks about the forces that shaped the bat-mythology as we know it. Can’t wait for you all to see these stories!”

In a pair of interviews with Newsarama and ICv2, DC’s Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Business Development John Rood and Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne also revealed Detective and Green Lantern will join Action Comics, Batman and Justice League as “combo pack” titles, meaning that for $1 more, readers receive a redemption code allowing them to download a digital version of the comics, leaving the print editions “pristine.”

Check out Albuquerque’s Batman sketches below.

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What Are You Reading? with Comic Book Resources

Officer Downe

Hello and welcome to a special birthday bash edition of our weekly “What Are You Reading” feature. Typically the Robot 6 crew talks about what books we’ve read recently, but since it’s our anniversary, we thought we’d invite all our friends and colleagues from Comic Book Resources and Comics Should Be Good! to join in the fun.

To see what everyone has been reading, click below …

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Grampá channels pop music icon for unused Nightcrawler redesign

Those of you who enjoyed the Rafael Grampá Batman art I posted earlier this week and want to see more from the artist should dig this … one of the folks who commented in that thread, Serge, shared a whole bunch of links to more great Grampá stuff (with a bonus Rafael Albuquerque piece). It appears that the artist regularly writes and shares artwork on ig.com, which has proven to be a treasure trove of cool stuff.

Just like the original post, his columns are all in Portuguese, but if you’re interested in reading them, you can try an internet translation site or use Google Chrome, which gave me the option to translate them. As is typical, the translations are far from perfect.

–Those of you who were calling for Grampá to do more Batman should enjoy this column, where he details the process he used to create the piece, a tribute to Frank Miller. Lots of nice process artwork.

–Also of interest, Grampá draws the Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler, who as of late has been appearing in Uncanny X-Force:

Nightcrawler, King of BAMF!

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King: Vampires should be ‘stone killers,’ not ‘boy-toys with big dewy eyes’

American Vampire, Vol. 1

Bestselling author Stephen King, whose vast body of work includes Salem’s Lot, has some strong opinions about vampires. So it comes as little surprise that he would voice those views in an interview promoting the hardcover collection of American Vampire, the Vertigo series whose initial story arc he co-wrote, and in his introduction to the first volume.

“A traditional vampire is always a taker, and that’s the story of American expansion and laissez-faire and the rise of industrialism,” King tells USA Today, referring to his Western outlaw Skinner Sweet. “The idea that he wants to come back and get his vengeance and he wants to get it as fast as he can and as harshly as he can, that’s a very American desperado thing.”

In the collection’s foreword, reprinted at EW.com, King takes aim at the likes of Twilight and True Blood: “Here’s what vampires shouldn’t be: pallid detectives who drink Bloody Marys and only work at night; lovelorn southern gentlemen; anorexic teenage girls; boy-toys with big dewy eyes. What should they be? Killers, honey. Stone killers who never get enough of that tasty Type-A. Bad boys and girls. Hunters. In other words, Midnight America. Red white and blue, accent on the red. Those vamps got hijacked by a lot of soft-focus romance.”

Read the full introduction at EW.com. American Vampire, Vol. 1, by King, Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque, is in stores today.

Vertigo unveils Albuquerque’s American Vampire #2 cover

American Vampire #2

American Vampire #2

Here’s a fun one for the process junkies: over on Vertigo’s Graphic Content blog, artist Rafael Albuquerque walks through the creation of the cover to American Vampire #2, the upcoming series by Scott Snyder and Albuquerque that’ll also feature a story by Stephen King.

Above is the final cover, and you can see early sketches and the like over at Graphic Content.

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