INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
Kotobukiya is rapidly assembling an entire Batman Family, today adding Red Robin to its series of DC Comics ARTFX+ statues.
Standing more than 7 inches tall, Tim Drake is depicted in his New 52 costume, complete with utility belt, chest harness, segmented cape and jetpack (note even the Teen Titans logo on the shoulder pad).
As we’re on an unintentional licensing and merchandising spree, it seems only fitting to cap off the day with perhaps one of the stranger, but certainly most delicious, tie-ins: Red Robin’s Wolverine-themed hamburgers.
Not that Red Robin, although that would be wonderfully bizarre. No, this is the Colorado-based restaurant chain whose name is usually followed by “Yummmmm!“ (seriously, you can’t think “Red Robin” without hearing that in your head). The company has partnered with 20th Century Fox’s The Wolverine to create two gourmet burgers inspired by the film.
This week sees the print debut of Legends of the Dark Knight, the ongoing print version of DC’s digital-first Batman anthology. By design it’s not part of the regular Batman line, and therefore not counted as one of the New 52. However, it gives me an excuse to ask how many Bat-books DC Comics really needs.
Now, I don’t mean that to be as dismissive as it sounds. The current Batman line is built on years, if not decades, of steady readership and fan attachments, and you don’t just wave that away. Nevertheless, if there are only 52 slots in the main superhero line, must the Batman Family claim a quarter of them? The relaunch has made pruning these titles both easier and harder, and today I want to look at the opportunities it presents.
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Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Von Allan, creator of the self-published graphic novel series Stargazer. The first volume is still available, while the second one is due in shops in October.
To see what Von and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Chris Butcher.
Butcher is the manager of The Beguiling in Toronto and founder of The Toronto Comic Arts Festival. He’ll be at the UDON Booth #5037 and The Beguiling Original Art Sales Booth #1629 at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend.
To see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Following leaks on retail websites, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment have finally confirmed that Robin will be a fully playable character in the challenge mode of Batman: Arkham City, the hotly anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed 2009 video game Arkham Asylum.
However, the “Tim Drake Robin pack” — yes, it’s Tim Drake, not Dick Grayson — is available only to those in North America who pre-order the game from Best Buy. So, sorry, fans of Dick Grayson, Damian Wayne and … anyone outside of North America.
Batman: Arkham City is set inside the newly constructed fortified walls that have transformed part of Gotham’s slums into a sprawling maximum-security prison for the city’s gangsters, thugs and criminally insane. Robin, who comes with his own gadgets and special moves, will be playable in all challenge maps, as well as to additional maps included with the pack — Black Mask Hideout and Freight Train Escape. There’s also a bonus Red Robin character skin.
Developed by Rocksteady Studios, Batman: Arkham City will debut in October.
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 ….
1. For Batman and Green Lantern, if it ain’t broke, DC’s not fixing it. In 2010, you had to go all the way down to the Direct Markets #109 bestelling title, the debut of J. Michael Straczynski’s abortive tenure on Superman, before hitting a DC book that wasn’t part of the Batman line, the Green Lantern line, or the Green Lantern-spawned Blackest Night and Brightest Day events. DC has rewarded the creators behind these franchises’ success by keeping them more or less in place, albeit with some title-swapping and artist-shuffling. Geoff Johns, Tony Bedard, and Peter J. Tomasi are still writing the three main Green Lantern series (along with the previously announced Peter Milligan on Red Lantern), while Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, Tony Daniel, David Finch, and Tomasi are still handling the books with “Batman” in the title (with long-time Gotham Citizens like J.H Williams III, Gail Simone, and Judd Winick filling out the line).
2. DC’s rolling the dice big-time on an I Can’t Believe It’s Not Vertigo-verse. Today’s big announcement of new “dark” titles features such Vertigo characters as Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Shade the Changing Man, John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, as written by such Vertigo creators Peter Milligan (Hellblazer), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth), and Scott Snyder (American Vampire). That’s quite a vote of confidence in Vertigo’s taste in creators, characters, and tone, especially given that many industry observers saw the line as an afterthought for the new regime. Of course, how this will impact Vertigo itself has yet to be seen. It’s also worth considering that Vertigo’s biggest and most durable hits over the past decade or so have tended to be creator-owned titles existing in their own worlds and straying pretty far from the imprint’s horror-magic roots, so launching eight shared-universe horror-magic books — over one-sixth of the new DC Universe line — is a gamble in and of itself.
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? Today’s special guest is writer and artist Dean Trippe, creator of Butterfly and co-founder of the Project: Rooftop blog, among other credits. He posts regularly on his Tumblr site Bearsharktopus-Man, where he is currently selling this nifty Doctor Who/Batman crossover print. He also has some art in the Webcomics Auction for the Gulf.
To see what Dean and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
My name is Josh, I’m 25 years old, and I like comics.
No, this isn’t some introduction to a “comics-anonymous” editorial, but rather an acceptance of something I’ve long ignored: Dick Grayson is not my Robin.
That’s a hard pill to swallow, considering how long I’ve been of the belief that Grayson was my Robin. But the reality is that Dick Grayson gave up the job of Robin the year I was born (how is that right?). The Robin I should have known is either Jason Todd or Tim Drake. But I didn’t start reading comics until the early 2000’s, and I used to watch Batman: The Animated Series a lot, so all I knew was Dick Grayson as Robin (we shall not speak of Chris O’Donnell, okay?).
I’m not going to talk much about the time between 1984 and 2009, as it’s not really important to what I’m trying to say. I’ve read a fair bit of the stuff from those years and garnered these thoughts: Jason Todd never got a fair shot; Dick Grayson as Nightwing is a brilliant character; Tim Drake was a really great Robin; and Barbara Gordon is a brilliant character.
It’s amazing, actually, how much time has passed, almost without our realizing it: some 26 years since Nightwing made his appearance, and 21 years since Tim Drake appeared as Robin and Barbara Gordon debuted as Oracle. A lot of people still consider Dick and Barbara the “feature couple” of the Bat-universe. They are Robin and Batgirl, the No. 2 and 3 of that close-knit Bat-family after Batman/Bruce Wayne. But so much time has passed, and I’m forced to ask the question, are they still that feature couple?
By now most folks will have read Red Robin 4 (which was released on September 9), but if it’s still in your reading pile from this past week please make sure to read it before reading this interview with series writer Christopher Yost. (Consider that your official spoiler warning.) In addition to discussing the events of the issue, we delve into the plans ahead for the book and the life of Tim Wayne (formerly Drake), as well as the premiere of the new series artist Marcus To as of issue 6.
Tim O’Shea: Issue 4 is now out and had a fairly big reveal in the hunt for Bruce Wayne. This has been building up for four issues, did DC tell you exactly how they wanted the reveal to occur–or did they give you some creative levity to structure the reveal in your own way?
Christopher Yost: [Editor] Mike Marts and I had been talking about this from day one, and it was something that I wanted to do from the start. Tim’s incredibly smart, incredibly driven… if there’s evidence and clues out there, he’s going to find it. And as you saw, he did. We still haven’t revealed what put him on that road, of course… but I knew I wanted to tie Red Robin into the end of Grant’s Final Crisis super-early on.
But to answer the question, DC has given me nothing but freedom and creative levity. It’s pretty great.
DC Comics announced over on their Source blog that Marcus To will take over as artist of Red Robin beginning in November. To previously worked on Soulfire for Aspen, as well as some issues of Black Panther for Marvel. He also worked on some of the webcomics for NBC’s Heroes.
To’s first issue will be Red Robin #6. Former Red Robin artist Ramon Bachs is staying in the Bat family; he’s moving over to Azrael, with writer Fabian Nicieza. That ongoing series kicks off in October.
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.