Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Artist Ken Lashley leaped into the spotlight this week with his collaboration with writer Gail Simone on DC Comics’ latest incarnation of Secret Six. No stranger to the publisher, he’s provided covers for such titles as Suicide Squad and Superboy, and drawn interiors for Superman: Doomed. A quick glance of CBR’s previews archives reveals the variety of work he’s done for other publishers in recent years, including a couple of AXIS Revolutions covers for Marvel.
To get an idea of the variety of characters Lashley draws, as well as some of his commissions, one needs only to look at his Instagram profile (where he posts under the username Ledkilla). In addition to the range of talent he shares with his fans, he clearly relishes shooting some of his samples at interesting angles, adding a layer of kineticism.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
The Movement was cancelled and she’s almost done with Batgirl, but fans of Gail Simone’s DC work can now look forward to the return of Secret Six. Launched in 2005 as a big-event tie-in, the fan-favorite series ended in the summer of 2011 and had yet to reappear in a New 52 context.
To see what James and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below …
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.
* * *
Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore, who were the creative team on the final arc of DC Comics’ Secret Six, are back at work on Leaving Megalopolis, a standalone graphic novel they’re funding funding Kickstarter. Here’s the tease:
IGN.COM called the final issue of Secret Six, “the best single comic issue of 2011,” and in this dark ride of a story, we go even wilder! LEAVING MEGALOPOLIS is a journey, by two professional creators, with no holds barred and no limits imposed. Our groundbreaking work on SECRET SIX was only the beginning. If you thought that was dark…
The finished graphic novel will include an introduction by Mark Waid and an extra prose story by Simone.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we detail what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. Our special guest today is David Harper, associate editor over at the recently redesigned Multiversity Comics.
To see what David and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Nominations have been announced for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s 23rd annual Media Awards, which honor outstanding portrayals of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.
The nominees for outstanding comic book are:
This is the third nomination in a row for X-Factor, which won last year, and the second for Avengers: The Children’s Crusade and Veronica. Winners in all categories will be presented during ceremonies in New York City (March 24), Los Angeles (April 21) and San Francisco (June 2). It’s unclear at which event the comics category will be presented.
With last week’s final issue of Secret Six, the curious journey of a fan-favorite title came to an end. It began as Villains United, a six-issue miniseries (with subsequent special) which tied into 2005-06’s Big Event, Infinite Crisis. The characters proved popular enough to warrant their own six-issue sequel, called simply Secret Six (and collected as Six Degrees Of Devastation); and that in turn earned them a respectable 36-issue regular-series run. I suspect Secret Six could probably have gone as long as writer Gail Simone wanted, but the New-52 relaunch seems to have gotten in the way.
Now Simone is moving on, co-writing Fury Of Firestorm and writing the Barbara-Gordon-centered Batgirl — but before that, she and penciller Jim Calafiore gave the Sixers an eminently appropriate sendoff.
(SPOILERS FOLLOW for some parts of the Sixers’ sordid past….)
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item. We’re coming a little late today due to a power outage in my neck of the woods — due to a blackout, not because I spent the money for the electric bill on Flashpoint or Fear Itself tie-ins.
If I had $15, my first pick off the shelf would be Vengeance #1 (Marvel, $3.99); I love Joe Casey, and especially when he’s given a long leash and room to play in a big universe. Seeing Nick Dragotta drawing this is an added bonus. Next up would be comics’ dueling summer blockbusters, Flashpoint #3 (DC, $3.99) and Fear Itself #4 (Marvel, $3.99). After that, I’d get the excellent Flashpoint: Batman, Knight of Vengeance #2 (DC, $2.99); when Azzarello is on the ball he’s great to read, and this seems to be that.
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 ….
If the news on the new Suicide Squad comic that Newsarama reported on earlier today wasn’t enough of an indication, Gail Simone confirms that August’s Secret Six #36 is indeed the last issue of the series.
Man, that sucks.
“On behalf of everyone who worked on this book, I want to thank those readers. In this market, there is no way that a book starring CATMAN, of all people, should even exist, let alone be the favorite read of so many pros, readers, and critics. More comics pros and staffers from all companies told me it was their favorite DC book than anything else I have ever worked on. I think the message was that there was room for outsider comics even during a time when the focus is so intent on the icon characters,” she said in a post on her forum over at the Bendis Boards. If you were a fan of the series, click on over there and read everything she has to say.
The current incarnation of the Secret Six first appeared in the Villains United miniseries back in 2005, as Catman, Scandal Savage, Ragdoll, Deadshot, Parademon and Chesire were recruited by the mysterious Mockingbird to oppose Lex Luthor’s Secret Society of Super Villains. The team next appeared in its own miniseries and in Birds of Prey before moving on to their own ongoing series in 2008. Although the membership changed slightly over the years, the tone and quality of the stories has not, as Simone and her artistic partners — Dale Eaglesham, Nicola Scott and J. Calafiore, among others — have shown that B-level villains can be just as intriguing and entertaining as A-list heroes (and sometimes even more so).
Simone says that the editors gave the creative team enough warning about it ending that they were able to end “the way we wanted, with our team intact.” That’s great to hear, and I look forward to seeing what happens to one of my favorite books in August.
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Robert Stanley Martin.
Robert writes for his blog Pol Culture, and is a contributing writer to The Hooded Utilitarian. He is a past contributor to The Comics Journal, and his essays on R. Crumb’s The Book of Genesis Illustrated and Eddie Campbell’s Alec: The Years Have Pants are featured in the soon-to-be-released The Comics Journal #301.
To see what Robert and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click on through …
[A quick note before we go too much farther: I started writing this post before DC’s big announcement about its September-and-beyond plans. In fact, I wanted this particular post to be about something other than Flashpoint and/or line-wide reboots — so depending on your perspective, I picked exactly the right week, or exactly the wrong week, to draw that line. In any case, it’s probably not hard to tell, from the past few weeks’ worth of posts, where I stand on current events.
[So there you go. On with the business at hand.]
Since it’s pretty much summer, and time to think about catching up on reading, let’s revisit DC’s list of “30 Essential Graphic Novels” — “best-selling titles that you must read[, ]whether you are just beginning to discover graphic novels or you are an established fan looking to expand your collection.”
The list is almost four years old, and has had a few minor updates. (Pride Of Baghdad replaced The Quitter, and Crayon Shinchan replaced Sword Of The Dark Ones.) For the most part, though, it’s the same compilation — heavy on the Batman and the Jeph Loeb, a decent amount of Alan Moore (but no Swamp Thing), a couple of Sandman books and Hellblazer, but no Wonder Woman, no Joe Kubert, and no Jack Kirby. While there are at least a couple of representatives from each of DC’s imprints, there aren’t many hints at the real scope of DC’s diverse publishing history.
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics and other stuff we’ve been enjoying lately. Our special guests this week are Aaron Alexovich (Invader Zim, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Serenity Rose, Fables) and Drew Rausch (Sullengrey, The Dark Goodbye, Cthulhu Tales), the creative team behind the horror/comedy comic Eldritch!
To see what Aaron, Drew and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below …
While it might not be much, Saturday’s Free Comic Book Day will bring our first real glimpse at the world of Flashpoint. I’ve been looking at the looming alternate-universe epic as little more than a fun way to spend the summer — which would be fine, by the way — but apparently that is just crazy talk. Everything will change, as it always does; as it did with Brightest Day and Blackest Night and Final Crisis, etc., etc.
Naturally, there are different degrees of “change,” from wholesale reorganization to continuity tweaks. 1985’s Crisis On Infinite Earths gave DC carte blanche to rework characters from the ground up. 1994’s Zero Hour, 2005-06’s Infinite Crisis and 52, and 2008-09’s Final Crisis also allowed DC to tinker with the timeline, mostly on a small scale. More esoteric devices like Hypertime, Super-punches, and plot-specific time travel have produced and/or explained certain changes.
However, in practical terms, the post-COIE changes haven’t upset too many apple carts. Oh, Zero Hour tried to clean up Hawkman’s history, and it also facilitated a new Legion of Super-Heroes timeline, both of which were big deals. More recently, though, Infinite Crisis gave Clark Kent a “secret Superboy” career and restored certain aspects of Batman’s and Wonder Woman’s histories, but those developments stayed in the background. Accordingly, a change that doesn’t affect a title’s regular storytelling practice doesn’t seem like much of a change.
And therein lies the real puzzle of Flashpoint: what room is there, across DC’s superhero line, for the kind of change which excites more than it frustrates? Of the 55 DCU/superhero-line titles DC will publish in July (as the big event reaches its midpoint), 17 are part of Flashpoint, and many of the rest are dealing with their own ongoing arcs. Today we’ll look at who might be flexible, and speculate a little on what might happen.