The next phase of the New 52 begins in May, as six new titles debut and Rob Liefeld carves out his own niche with a handful of others. My first impressions of the Next Six remain largely positive, but we’ll get into that in a bit.
SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES (GOLDEN AGE EDITION)
Basically, what we know about Earth-2 so far is that it has its own (multi-generational) version of the Trinity, it’s home to Alan Scott, Jay Garrick and probably Ted Grant, and at some point Darkseid invades. This does not mean that everyone who first appeared during the Golden Age still did. Indeed, we can suppose that, because the New-52 Huntress is apparently in her early 30s (at most, I’m guessing), that would make her parents at least 50-ish and probably closer to 60 or even 70. Thus, the Earth-2 Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle could have become Batman and Catwoman anywhere from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. It’s a significant change from the original Earth-Two, where Helena Wayne was born in the early 1950s and became the Huntress in the late ’70s.
Here’s good news for fans of the television show Smallville who were left without their fix in May when the series went off the air for good: DC announced today that Smallville is coming back as a comic, which will be released first in digital and then in print form. The series will be written by Bryan Q. Miller, who was a scriptwriter for the show, and will pick up where the television story left off. Pere Perez, who worked with Miller on Batgirl: The Flood, will handle the art, and the digital cover above is by Cat Staggs.
DC has an interesting strategy for this comic: It will launch as a digital comic on April 13, with a new digital chapter coming out each week. (No word on pricing or length.) About a month later, it will come out as a print comic, collecting the chapters and adding an episode guide; the first print comic is due out on May 16, and Gary Frank (Superman Secret Origin) will be doing the covers for the print issues.
The weekly chapters are an interesting twist. Not only do they mimic the timing of the original show, they make the comic more of an immediate experience, something people come back to frequently and discuss in real time, as opposed to a monthly event. IDW is doing something similar with its Transformers series Autocracy, publishing an eight-page digital chapter every two weeks, priced at 99 cents. And of course there’s Shonen Jump Alpha, the digital reincarnation of Viz’s Shonen Jump, which publishes a chapter a week of six different manga within two weeks of their Japanese release, with a teen-friendly price of 99 cents per issue (less if you get the yearly subscription).
This Wednesday marks the release of writer Bryan Q. Miller‘s Batgirl 19, an issue in which “the “Order of the Scythe unleashes its first weapon in their war on Batgirl”. Miller was kind enough to do an email interview with me last week. I was surprised he was able to make the time, as I found out in the course of our discussion last week was also when he officially cleaned out his Smallville offices, where he served as executive story editor in the show’s final season. In addition to discussing Miller’s thoughts on Batgirl, we also delve into the collaborative aspect of writing Smallville. Miller also takes this interview as an opportunity to ask fans of the book to help spread the word about how great a series it is. As a fan of the series myself, I hope word of mouth on the series continues to grow and agree with Miller’s belief that “Stephanie Brown is ready for a bigger spotlight”.
Tim O’Shea: I’m looking forward to Batgirl going up against Slipstream, if for nothing else to see how she tackles someone with superspeed. Was that part of the appeal of pitting those two characters against each other?
Bryan Q. Miller: Batgirl’s been very re-active, as opposed to pro-active. As the Reapers start throwing themselves at her, she’ll have to learn to start being more of the latter, and less of the former. What someone with superspeed (like Slipstream) does for Steph is forces her to have to think even faster on her feet. Their first encounter may not go all that well, either.
I’ve read Wonder Woman regularly since the George Pérez days, and I watched the first few years of “Ally McBeal,” so naturally I feel somewhat qualified* to talk about David E. Kelley heading up a Wonder Woman TV series. The history of live-action small-screen superhero adaptations is a spotty one, characterized for the most part by budgetary issues and a general failure to embrace the source material fully. Also, at its worst “Ally McBeal” could be rather grating, so I’m a little … let’s say uncertain about Mr. Kelley’s handle on the Amazing Amazon.
That last probably isn’t entirely fair to Mr. Kelley, who (from what I have heard) has a range beyond quirky, flighty professionals with odd romantic histories. I have friends who really enjoyed “The Practice” (including sequels and spinoffs), “Picket Fences,” and Kelley’s time on “L.A. Law.” Still, given the apparent need to make Wonder Woman interesting — beyond being a diplomat, warrior, and princess sent by the gods of a lost civilization to teach peace to Patriarch’s World, that is — my first thought is that of course Mr. Kelley’s Diana will be quirky, flighty, and unlucky in love.
The popular supporting character, played by actress Allison Mack, was created specifically for the television series, and introduced in the 2001 pilot. She was set to be integrated into DC’s comic-book continuity in 2008 but those plans fell apart. However, the publisher at last announced in July at Comic-Con International that Chloe will have a recurring role in the Jimmy Olsen co-feature by Nick Spencer and R.B. Silva that kicks off with this month’s Action Comics.
Spencer, who’s best known for his Image Comics series Existence 3.0 and Morning Glories, tells TV Guide he had to make some changes to the character’s history to enable her to fit into the established DC timeline.
“It’s a pretty different continuity, which I think has always been the challenging part of bringing Chloe into the DC Comics Universe,” he says. “She’s never existed in the comics before, so in order to make a part of Clark’s life when he was a teenager in Smallville, you’d have to do it somewhat retroactively, and it would age Chloe as a character a lot, since Superman is well past that part of his life in the books.”
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.
Back in 2007, there was talk of Smallville‘s Chloe Sullivan making the jump from the long-running TV show to the comics world. It ended up not happening at the time, but if you’re a fan of the character played for so long by Allison Mack, you’re in luck — Chloe will appear in the Jimmy Olsen co-feature that’s debuting in Action Comics #893 and being written by Nick Spencer.
Here’s a teaser image, featuring both Jimmy and Chloe, courtesy of DC’s the Source:
In addition to the bags that Warner Bros. is offering at Comic-Con this year, they’re also bringing back the hotel room keys that they did at last year’s con. A total of 29,000 branded room keys, designed to promote DC Comic’s digital comics application, Batman: Under the Red Hood, V, Smallville and Supernatural, will be distributed at 36 participating hotels throughout the San Diego area during the week of the Con. You can find more details here, and check out additional key artwork after the jump.
At last we arrive at the schedule for the final day of Comic-Con International — Sunday, July 25 (aka “Kids’ Day”).
Below you’ll find highlights of the comics-related programming, which include the final Smallville panel, an appearance by famed Japanese artist Yoshitako Amano, spotlights on Matt Fraction and Dennis O’Neil, and a look at the upcoming Spider-Man storyline “Origin of the Species.”
The full programming schedule for Saturday can be found here.
10 to 11 .m. Emily The Strange — Get your last day of Comic-Con off to a strange start with Dark Horse’s Emily the Strange panel! Meet Emily’s creator Rob Reger and Dark Horse editor Shawna Gore, and come prepared to quench your curiosity about all things Emily. Exciting announcements, wacky wordplay, and tasty news bits are all on the menu for this early bird panel! Room 3
10 to 11 a.m. Jack Kirby Tribute — It’s time once again to pay tribute to Jack “King” Kirby, the prolific writer/artist who co-created some of the world’s most famous superheroes, including the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, the New Gods and many more. Kirby biographer and friend Mark Evanier (Kirby: King of Comics) hosts this annual Comic-Con tradition and is joined this year by writers Marv Wolfman (Tomb of Dracula, New Teen Titans) and Kurt Busiek (Astro City, JLA/Avengers) and other Kirby fanatics to discuss the King. Room 4
Smallville, the long-running television series that’s already part of the dispute between Warner Bros. and the Siegel family, is now at the center of another legal battle.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s legal blog, THR, Esq., reports that Smallville creators and longtime executive producers Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, and series co-producer Tollin/Robbins Prods., have sued Warner Bros. Television, claiming the division made license-fee deals with The WB Television Network and its successor The CW Television Network that “were not arms-length.”
The lawsuit, filed on Friday, accuses Warner Bros. of licensing Smallville for broadcast on its co-owned WB and CW networks “for unreasonably low, below-market license fees, resulting in lower gross revenues for the series and less compensation for plaintiffs, and failing to renegotiate the series’ license fee to cover its production cost.” The plaintiffs also say Warner Bros. sold the series to foreign markets in a package with other, less-successful shows, resulting in a misallocation of licensing fees.
Although the complaint doesn’t specify damages, THR, Esq. notes that, “given the allegations and the longevity of the series, they could total in the tens of millions of dollars.”
The claim brings to mind one made in 2008 by the family of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, who accused DC Comics with striking a “sweetheart deal” with parent company Warner Bros. when licensing characters for Smallville and Superman Returns, a violation of the terms of their profit-sharing agreement. However, in July 2009, a judge ruled against the Siegels, determining that DC and Warner Bros. participated in a “fair market deal.”
Smallville, which debuted in 2001, was renewed earlier this month for a 10th season. Gough and Millar left the series in 2008 after seven seasons.
Smallville event “Absolute Justice” hit this week, and the long-awaited appearance of the Justice Society definitely got people talking.
It probably goes without saying that this post contains episode spoilers.
Entertainment Weekly has a couple of new shots from the upcoming Smallville episode Absolute Justice, including the one above of Hawkman laying the smackdown on Green Arrow. What, tension between those two?
Click on over to EW’s site to see the other new photo of Dr. Fate and Stargirl, who actually look like the comic versions of Dr. Fate and Stargirl.
Entertainment Weekly‘s Michael Ausiello has the first look at the trailer for what appears to be a very dark Season 9 of Smallville. Metallo, the iconic “S,” a scene-chewing Zod — it’s all there.
The new season debuts Sept. 25 on The CW.
Smallville star Tom Welling will make his first-ever appearance at Comic-Con, fanning rumors that the actor will debut a new, cape-less Superman costume at the show’s Sunday panel.
According to EW.com’s Michael Ausiello, this will be the first time the entire cast has assembled for the convention.
The news adds a new wrinkle to online rumors that Warner Bros. representatives have been randomly selecting Comic-Con attendees to view a redesigned Superman costume destined to debut in the Season 9 premiere.
However, a source close to the series told Robot 6 that they knew nothing about a suit being shown.
AICN reported speculation in June that The CW is planning a Smallville television movie for Christmas 2010 titled Metropolis, which also might explain Welling’s appearance on the panel.
The Smallville panel will be at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Fans checking into their hotel rooms over the next couple of days in San Diego may be in for a fun surprise, as Hero Complex shows off the designs for five different room keys featuring Warner Bros. properties, including Superman: Red Son (above). In addition to giving you somewhere to sleep, the cards also will allow users to download a free episode of one of the shows that are spotlighted — Chuck, Fringe, Supernatural or Smallville — or the Superman: Red Son motion comic.
I hope my hotel is one of the lucky ones …