PREVIEW: Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Universe Presents: The Atom"
Publishing | Popular comic-book guest star President Barack Obama will make a brief appearance in this week’s Flashpoint #4. DC Comics Executive Editor Eddie Berganza told USA Today that the inclusion of the actual President, rather than a fictional counterpart, signals that the danger is real — something that will get pushed as the publisher prepares for the September relaunch. [USA Today]
Conventions | More than 31,000 anime and manga enthusiasts flocked to Baltimore over the weekend for Otakon, one of the biggest fan-oriented anime conventions. There were a few anime and manga licenses announced, but mainly it was a meet-and-greet for fans and publishers. [Anime News Network]
Jamie Coville regularly attends a whole bunch of comic book conventions and records various panels (with the panelists’ permission), then posts them on the internet as podcasts. He’s now posted several from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, including the Dwayne McDuffie and Gene Colan tributes, several spotlight panels, the Eisner awards and the Indie Comics Marketing 101 panel (featuring Sam Humphries, Ben McCool, Chip Mosher, Laura Hudson and me!). He’s also got pictures from them posted on Picasa, which is where the above photo of our beloved leader comes from.
You’ll find the full list of available MP3s after the jump, or head over to Jamie’s site for his complete archive.
To see what Daniel and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
CBR and Comics Should Be Good contributor Sonia Harris’s report from the Love and Rockets spotlight panel — in which all three of Los Bros Hernandez, Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario, analyzed one another’s work with moderator Kristy Valenti of The Comics Journal — is pure L&R-nerd heaven for a whole bunch of reasons. But not least among them is the revelation that Gilbert will be returning to the streets of Palomar, the tiny fictional Latin American village in which the bulk of his acclaimed stories for the series were set for years, with next year’s Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 from Fantagraphics. It’s a welcome surprise — emphasis on surprise, given how Beto has talked about his Palomar-based material lately.
Gilbert left the village behind years ago, with the end of the first volume of Love and Rockets in 1996. Subsequent stories were set in the same world, but shifted to Los Angeles and largely centered on the American sisters of Palomar matriach Luba, who moved to the States along with several other Palomar characters. Since L&R Vol. 2 wrapped up in 2007, the bulk of Beto’s work has come in the form of “adaptations” of the Z-grade movies that Luba’s psychologist-turned-actress sister Fritz has starred in within the Palomar world. The resulting material has been much more genre-based than the naturalistic/magic-realist Palomar comics, and absolutely suffused with graphic sex and violence. The move has left critics divided, but Hernandez told our own Chris Mautner that he wouldn’t have it any other way: “The Fritz series frees me of any obligation to be a do-gooder cartoonist, something most regular L&R readers probably don’t want to hear. I felt straight jacketed with ‘Palomar’ and the like after a while, really. I have a lot more going on in my imagination than I’m expected to utilize.”
On the panel where he announced his return to the town, he was appropriately enough a bit more conciliatory about his older work. “People always compare my [current] stuff to the ‘Palomar’ stuff, but lately, my stories have been just a little colder edged because I’m more interested in that,” he said, later adding that creating the “Fritz-verse” of movie-based comics enabled him to go wild without stuffing too much weirdness into “Palomar” for it to work properly as a setting.
As for what, specifically, is in store for Palomar’s residents, Hernandez hinted that the story will involve the legacy mothers leave their daughters — which, if you know your Beto, is enough to make you very excited and very nervous.
I might still like to do the Atom. I think there’s something great to be done with the Atom that hasn’t been done yet…I like the idea of doing an Atom story where he can only shrink to a certain size for each episode. One of the things I felt didn’t work about the Atom was that he was up and down [in height] and could do anything. I thought it would be really good to do stories of a guy who has so much power to shrink that he does it for missions when he’s brought in. So it’s slightly more Indiana Jones, where this guy works as a professor during the day, but sometimes he’ll get a call from the President — “There’s monsters in the White House carpet” kinda stuff. — and he comes in and deals with that. But in another episode he might just shrink to six inches and be chased around a room by bad guys and cats and dogs, like Incredible Shrinking Man stuff. I thought there’s a sci-fi series in there, where each issue is him at a different scale. In some he could be trapped at a molecular scale, and in other ones he’s one inch and trapped in the garden.
–Action Comics and Supergods writer and superhero-revamper extraordinaire Grant Morrison in conversation with CBR’s Jonah Weiland, who asked him what B-list characters he’d still like to take a crack at. And hey, Morrison’s proven his proficiency with sprawling supporting-player revamps in the past with projects like Seven Soldiers (not to mention the upcoming Multiversity, which he says will have a similar focus on DC’s deep bench), so would it be out of the question for him to throw a Ryan Choi: Rebirth and Atom Incorporated into the mix? For now, I’ll file this with his much-discussed desire to write Wonder Woman under projects we’ll hopefully get to see one day.
Watch the entire video above for more Morrison commentary on the Lois & Clark marriage, Superman’s costume, Action Comics, New X-Men, Supergods, Sinatoro and more.
It was the shout heard ’round the world. In the opening minutes of DC’s very first daily “New 52″ panel at the San Diego Comic-Con last Thursday, when Co-Publisher Dan DiDio turned to the audience and asked what DC would have to do to change the minds of those skittish about the impending relaunch, one man yelled “Hire women!” The number of women creators working on the DC Universe, he added after audience applause, had dropped with the relaunch from 12% of the total to just 1% (i.e. Gail Simone, and Amy Reeder if you count the later Batwoman launch). DiDio’s response was to turn the question back on the questioner and ask him whom he thinks DC should hire. The move raised some eyebrows, to be sure, given that an audience member isn’t in the kind of position to assess all the professional comics talent available to be hired that the brass at a major publisher would be in. Still — and I’ll just quote myself here from another time this topic came up — “I think it behooves those of us who argue for the inclusion of non-white non-straight non-male people in a creative team or superhero team or panel or article or exhibit to have candidates ready to hand,” so turnabout is fair play, I suppose.
Say the name Liam Sharp to a group of comic readers and it’s bound to bring up different images for each person. To some he’s best known for the early ’90s Marvel UK series Death’s Head II, while others think Judge Dredd and even others remember his ill-fated comic company Mamtor from a few years back. Although Mamtor failed to become a lasting presence, it featured impeccable work (and design from Tom Muller) that is a great back-issue find if you’re so lucky. And at Comic-Con International over weekend, Sharp announced his new publishing outfit — Madefire Publishing.
Launching as a digital-first comics publisher, Madefire is intended to be a modern-day equivalent of the comics from Sharp’s childhood — “cheep, accessible entertainment,” as he’s told Bleeding Cool. Using the wide user base of smartphones, Madefire’s digital comics app hopes to touch into both the hardcore fan, the lapsed fan and the future fan with their line-up of titles.
In addition to his own project Captain Stone is Missing, Sharp has assembled a great line-up of creators for the effort, including Mike Carey and Dave Kendall’s Houses of the Holy and a new series called Treatment written and drawn by Dave Gibbons (!!).
No word yet on when their first projects will be released, but I’ll be keeping my ears up looking for more information as its announced.
Superheroes are coming to the world of LEGO, as the Danish toy company signed deals with DC Comics and Marvel Entertainment this month that will allow their characters to be used in a LEGO Super Heroes line. Lego already has a Batman line, but the deal with DC gives them access to every character in the DC canon, including Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. The Marvel line will focus on the Avengers, the X-Men and Spider-Man, and it will launch in May 2012, at the same time The Avengers movie opens. Both the Marvel and the DC line will include both minifigures and buildable figures.
Update: JK Parkin returns from Comic-Con with pictures from the LEGO booth! Check’em out after the jump.
As is typical, Sunday was a bit slower in terms of announcements at the San Diego Comic-Con, but there were some on the last day of the show:
• At the Fear Itself panel, Marvel made several announcements, including a new Defenders series by Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson. The team includes Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Namor, Red She-Hulk and Silver Surfer.
• Jason Aaron and Marc Silvestri will chronicle the adventures of Bruce Banner and his alter ego starting in October, when Incredible Hulk #1 hits the stands.
• Much like Siege begot the Heroic Age, Fear Itself will bring Battle Scars, a post-event branding for the Marvel Universe titles. Several Shattered Heroes one-shots will be released, focusing on how Fear Itself impacts various Marvel heroes.
• Marvel confirmed the launch of The Fearless, a bi-weekly series by Matt Fraction, Chris Yost, Cullen Bunn, Mark Bagley and Paul Pelletier.
• DC Comics released a gallery of character designs and sketches for the New 52 launch.
• Comic-Con International released the full list of Inkpot Awards recipients from this year’s show. The list includes Steven Spielberg, Alan Davis, Chester Brown and many more.
On the same day that Fantagraphics announced The Complete Zap Comix, the publisher revealed it will bring yet another treasure trove of groundbreaking comics back to the stands. At its panel at Comic-Con International and in an interview with The Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon, Fantagraphics announced it had acquired the rights to publish the EC Comics library from the representatives of its late publisher, William M. Gaines.
Known for pushing comics’ boundaries of formal innovation and craft as well as raw content before anti-comics hysteria and the creation of the Comics Code helped stifle the publisher in the mid-’50s, EC has generally been reprinted in formats that center on its (in)famous horror, crime, science fiction, and war anthology series, such as Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, The Haunt of Fear, Crime SuspenStories, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Two-Fisted Tales, and Frontline Combat. What sets the Fantagraphics reprint project apart is that individual creators’ work will be culled from the series in which it appeared and presented in a series of black-and-white solo spotlight volumes. The first four books announced will collect war stories written by Harvey Kurtzman (Corpse on the Imjin and Other Stories, featuring art by Kurtzman, Gene Colan, Russ Heath, and Joe Kubert), suspense stories by Wally Wood (Came the Dawn and Other Stories), horror stories by written by Al Feldstein and illustrated by Jack Davis, and science fiction stories by Al Williamson.
Click on over to The Comics Reporter for more details, including an interview with editor and co-publisher Gary Groth.
Three down, one to go … here’s a list of the major comics-related announcements made at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Saturday:
• A number of new projects were announced or promoted at Image’s Creator-Owned Comics panel, not the least of which is the return of Brian K. Vaughan to comic books. Vaughan will write a book called Saga, which is co-created and drawn by Fiona Staples. Vaughan told CBR that the book is “an epic drama chronicling the life and times of one young family fighting to survive a never-ending war. 100 percent creator-owned. Ongoing. Monthly. Fiona and I are banking issues now.”
• Image also announced that Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is collaborating with Charlie Adlard on a new series of graphic novels called Album. The books will be released roughly 18 months apart, 60 pages long, with different themes each year, with the first being Passenger. It’s co-published with Delcourt in France and will be available simultaneously in English and France.
• Jonathan Hickman and Nicky Pitarra will team up for The Manhattan Projects at Image. Hickman is also doing a book called Secret with artist Ryan Godenheim.
When the line-up for the post-relaunch Justice League was revealed a few weeks ago, many fans wondered who the woman was on the right, beneath Green Arrow and Hawkman. Was it Zealot, Black Canary, Power Girl, Savant, Lady Quark or any of the other characters fans guessed?
Well, if you guessed the 1940s character Lady Luck, then you’re in luck …
At the DC Comics “New 52″ panel today in San Diego, Justice League writer Geoff Johns solved the mystery. As Kiel Phegley reports on CBR, the character is “a reinvention of an old character called Lady Luck…every time she buys a lottery ticket she wins. She’s going to get involved with the JLA after she attempts to buy out WayneTech.” He added she takes up crime fighting because she feels her life of luck has left her frustrated and directionless.
If you’re curious as to who the original Lady Luck was, a quick look around the internet reveals she was created and designed by Will Eisner in the 1940s under the pseudonym “Ford Davis,” along with artist Chuck Mazoujian. She was created to fill the back pages of a 16-page Sunday newspaper supplement that was done in the form of a comic book; Eisner’s The Spirit occupied the first half, and Lady Luck shared the spotlight with Ms. Mystic. Other creators who worked on the character include writer Dick French, and artists Nick Cardy, Klaus Nordling and Fred Schwab. In those comics, Lady Luck didn’t have super powers, and her alter ego was Brenda Banks. You can find more information on her here and here.
Jock of Detective Comics and Losers fame has a created a poster for Mondo, Alamo Drafthouse’s collectible art boutique. The poster is for the upcoming movie The Divide, and the poster was revealed last night during a “special basement screening” at the San Diego Comic-Con (How cool does that sound — basement screening? I imagine them having cage fighting right afterwards).
The movie, due in 2012, is described as such:
In this graphic and violent, post-apocalyptic thriller, nine strangers—all tenants of a New York high rise apartment—escape a nuclear attack by hiding out in the building’s bunker-like basement. Trapped for days underground with no hope for rescue, and only unspeakable horrors awaiting them on the other side of the bunker door, the group begins to descend into madness, each turning on one another with physical and psycho-sexual torment. As supplies dwindle, and tensions flare, and they grow increasingly unhinged by their close quarters and hopelessness, each act against one another becomes more depraved than the next. While everyone in the bunker allows themselves to be overcome by desperation and lose their humanity, one survivor holds onto a thin chance for escape even with no promise of salvation on the outside.
As was revealed during today’s Fantagraphics panel at San Diego, the Seattle-based company plans to publish The Complete Zap Comix. The book, which will collect every issue of the seminal underground comics series to date, is tentatively scheduled to be released in the fall of 2012. It will be a hardbound, two-volume slipcase, similar to their collections of Harvey Kurtzman’s Humbug magazine and Bill Mauldin’s Willie & Joe series.
One of the most influential comics ever published, the first two issues of Zap were created entirely by Robert Crumb, who then invited other artists to contribute, including Spain Rodriguez, the late Rick Griffin, S. Clay Wilson, Victor Moscoso, Gilbert Shelton and Robert Williams. The series quickly not only catapulted Crumb and the other artists to stardom (or a relative stardom at any rate), it quickly became seen as one of the more prominent symbols of the counterculture movement of the 1960s, along with LSD, rock music and head shops (where issues were usually sold). While it was not the first underground comic, it was viewed by many both inside and outside the counterculture movement as the lodestone for the underground comics scene, and its existence and influence directly led to the development of the alternative comics scene in the 1980s and 1990s.
Fantagraphics was kind enough to share today’s revelation with Robot 6 prior to the start of the San Diego con, and we took the opportunity to talk to publisher Gary Groth about the project, its origins and the comic’s significance.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is holding an art auction tonight in San Diego to raise money for their various programs, but even if you can’t attend the live auction, you can still bid on some really nice art (like the above Snarked image by Roger Langridge). But you’ll need to hurry — bids will only be accepted until 1 p.m. Pacific today. You can find complete details, including a list of what’s up for auction, on the CBLDF site or after the jump.