Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
This week it’s back into the DC/CW television universe, as news has broken about three “major DC characters,” each new to the TV realm, who will be part of the upcoming Arrow/Flash spinoff series. Some brief character descriptions are now fueling speculation about these folks. So who are The Traveler, Female Warrior and Mystery Hero — and why do we want to know?
“People clamor for Black Panther or Luke Cage, and the incredible response when the Static show was announced — that wasn’t just black fans going ‘yay, about time.’ That was fans going, ‘yay, about time.’ Everyone knows diversity is good. We want black superheroes, we want female superheroes, we want Latino superheroes. That makes things better. And they don’t have to be sidekicks or buddies, they can be rock stars themselves.”
— Reginald Hudlin, in an interview with Comic Book Resources, discussing the Static Shock live-action digital series, and the desire for diversity in superhero-comics adaptations
While there may not have been a slew of big announcements coming out of DC’s C2E2 panels this weekend, there were several fun little tidbits that came up during the panels, particularly during the Q&A sessions. Here are a few that caught my eye from the New 52 panel and the Superman/Batman panel:
• While Static won’t be joining the Teen Titans, Bob Harris, DC editor-in-chief, did say something “might be happening with Static relatively soon.” Static Shock was one of the first titles cancelled after the launch of the New 52, and I don’t think we’ve seen the character since then (I should always ask Tom before I make statements like that). He’s the most well-known character to come out of the Milestone universe, having had his own cartoon, so a return would make sense.
• A fan asked whether there would be “an answer as to Renee Montoya’s status in the New 52″ and whether Batwoman will be drawn closer to the other Bat-books. “Yes and yes,” Harras said. Montoya took over as the Question in the pre-New 52 universe, and since that role is already taken by someone else entirely in the New 52, it’s doubtful she’ll be taking on that name again (though I wouldn’t rule it out completely). But she had a pretty rich history in the DCU even before that, so she’d be a welcome addition.
The Hero Initiative has provided Robot 6 with Joe Illidge’s report on the memorial service held Monday night in New York City for original Static co-writer Robert L. Washington III, who passed away June 6 at age 47. His funeral was paid for through a fund-raising campaign spearheaded by the organization, which had assisted Washington with rent and food, and his former classmates and colleagues:
On Monday, June 25th, a funeral service was held for Robert L. Washington III in the Bronx borough of New York City, with a second service to come in Detroit, Michigan. The service was attended by various comic book creators, classmates, and friends from Robert’s various creative, work, and hobby circles.
Through the actions of Robert’s friends from Milestone Media, Inc. and his classmates from The Roeper School, The Hero Initiative was able to use all of your donations to pay for the service and provide Robert’s mother and two of his sisters with the means to travel from Detroit, Michigan to New York and give him a proper funeral.
Over three hundred people donated funds, and Robert’s mother, Kathy Washington, gives her thanks to all of you for your generosity and kind words.
We list the names of all the donors below, and apologize in advance if there are any typos. There were, after all, 365 donors in all.
To all of the fans, friends, journalists, and supporters who offered their time, money and sentiment for Robert and his family, you are the heroes. Thank you for helping The Hero Initiative create a happy ending to the story of Robert L. Washington III.
The list of donors can be found below. As Washington’s former classmate Craig Hicks noted on Sunday, donations can still be made in Washington’s memory to The Hero Initiative to help other creators in need.
A memorial service will be held Monday evening in New York City for original Static co-writer Robert L. Washington III, who passed away June 6 at age 47.
Upon learning that Washington, who had been homeless a few times and only sporadically employed in recent years, faced indigent burial in an unmarked grave on Hart Island, former classmates and colleagues joined with The Hero Initiative to raise money for a funeral and interment. According to Craig Hicks, who attended school with Washington from fifth through eighth grades and helped to spearhead the fund-raising campaign, that goal has been reached.
“Thanks to the efforts of many generous fans and friends — and loads of support from the Hero Initiative — Robert Washington’s remains will now get a proper burial,” Hicks wrote last night in a comment on Robot 6.
Fans, friends and colleagues are invited to the memorial service Monday at 7 p.m. at Ross-Roden Funeral Home, 725 E. Gun Hill Road, Bronx, New York City. Those unable to attend can sign the guest book, or send flowers or sympathy cards, through the funeral home’s website.
Comic Book Resources last week published Washington’s final interview, in which the writer discussed his comics work, receiving assistance from The Hero Initiative, and contributing a story to the organization’s 2012 anthology.
Writer Robert L. Washington III, who with Dwayne McDuffie and John Paul Leon introduced Static in 1993, passed away Wednesday at Mount Sinai Queens in New York City after suffering multiple heart attacks. He was 47.
Although perhaps best known for co-writing the first 18 issue of Static, he also worked on Shadow Cabinet for Milestone Comics, Extreme Justice for DC Comics, Timewalker for Valiant, and Ninjak for Acclaim.
However, Washington, like many other creators, had difficulty finding work in the industry following the mid-1990s comics implosion. He’d lately been employed sporadically by a call center and catalog warehouse.
Washington had been homeless a few times, and had received assistance from The Hero Initiative with rent and food, which he recounted in his final work — a one-page autobiographical strip he contributed to Hero Comics 2012 (below), the charity comic released last week to help raise money for the group.
To mark what would have been the 50th birthday of Dwayne McDuffie, who passed away a year ago Tuesday, actor-director Stefan Dezil is circulating the trailer for Static Shock: Blackout, a 12-minute short based on the late writer’s best-known creation. Shot on RED for $5,000, the short centers on Daisy Watkins, a New York City reporter who travels to Dakota City to discover the identity of the teenage vigilante.
Static Shock: Blackout, which stars Dezil as Virgil Hawkins and Nadine Malouf as Daisy Watkins, will debut online in mid-March.
I was going to open with some snotty Wow, the holidays went by super-quickly! comment, but then I read the first issue of Justice League in seven weeks. Sometimes DC gets ahead of itself; sometimes it’s a little behind. Happens to the best of us — sometimes you do two solicitation roundups in three weeks….
Anyway, with the January solicitations, the New-52 books each turn five issues old. Series wrapping up their first arcs this month include Blackhawks, Batwoman, Animal Man, and the Deadman feature in DC Universe Presents. (Not to worry about the latter, because there is a lot of Deadman in these solicits.) I’m not sure why five issues is such a wonky number for story arcs — there are five-issue miniseries all the time and they collect just fine. Still, I expected most of the New-52 books to take six issues for their introductory stories, and most of them may yet do that. Only a few books look to finish their first arcs after December’s issue #4s (Hawkman and Frankenstein, probably OMAC, maybe Batgirl), and those plus this month’s are barely an eighth of the relaunched line. It makes next month’s solicits more intriguing, I suppose.
Regardless, we live in the now (as it were…) so — onward to January!
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It was the strangest thing — when I woke up this morning I was younger, single, and most of my clothes had high collars and funky seams….
Okay, let’s cut that out right now. Don’t worry, I’m still middle-aged and married, with the same beat-up wardrobe. However, I have read all but one of this week’s New-52 books, and now I get to share them with you. (The local comics shop got shorted on Batwing #1, which is too bad, because as one of the few sort-of new concepts being offered, I was especially looking forward to it. Next week for sure!) Generally I thought most had at least some potential, and I was mostly impressed with the efforts the various creative teams made. Of course, that doesn’t mean I liked everything, but I did like more than I thought I would.
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Somehow I missed that Scott McDaniel got the jump on the trailers for individual titles in DC Comics’ September relaunch with this teaser for Static Shock #1, which of course stars the Milestone superhero created by Dwayne McDuffie and John Paul Leon.
The brilliant, slightly awkward high school student Virgil Hawkins transforms into the cocky electromagnetic hero Static!
A mysterious tragedy forces the Hawkins family to relocate from Dakota to New York City! Virgil embarks upon new adventures in a new high school and a new internship at S.T.A.R. Labs!
As Static, he dons a new uniform and establishes a new secret headquarters! But is he ready to take on the new villains who lurk in New York City’s underworld?
Written by McDaniel and John Rozum, and illustrated by McDaniel, Jonathan Glapion and LeBeau Underwood, Static Shock #1 arrives in stores on Sept. 7.
The artists behind this September’s “New 52″ have taken to Twitter, thanks once again to David Macho, revealing a whole lot of art from the new books that are due next month. There are a couple of hash tags to follow over on Twitter … #52splash will show you pages of new stuff from Greg Capullo (above), Scott McDaniel and many others. And as Kiel noted last week, #thenewvillains hash tag that kicked off last week slowed down after last week’s push, but a few new posts have popped up today.
And speaking of villains, I don’t think anyone has shared artwork yet for the villain of the new Justice League title — who it turns out is one of DC’s biggest and baddest, Darkseid.
Check out more artwork after the jump, and watch the hash tags for more!
[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.
Dwayne McDuffie was a great writer of superhero stories, consistently producing solid, entertaining tales about characters familiar and unfamiliar, across a variety of media. He was also a vocal advocate for diversity in the superhero genre, both in terms of characters and creative personnel.
My first real exposure to Mr. McDuffie’s work was through Static, the 1993 series he co-created with fellow Milestone founders Derek T. Dingel, Denys Cowan, and Michael Davis. The Milestone panel at the ‘93 Chicago Comic-Con was handing out copies of Static’s first issue — a shiny-silver-logo variant, naturally — and I was hooked instantly. In any age Static would have stood out as an energetic and thoughtful teen-superhero serial. In the summer of 1993, though, with the speculators’ market at full swing and superhero comics chasing one fad after another, Static’s reliance on fundamentals was especially refreshing.
To some extent I think that’s what helped make Mr. McDuffie’s work so effective. He understood that the best superhero stories bring the epic and fantastic down to personal levels, but he was careful to slight neither the epic nor the personal. His work spotlighted relationships as much as spectacle. When Earth was invaded by Hawkgirl’s home planet of Thanagar (in “Starcrossed,” a 3-episode arc of “Justice League”), it tested both Hawkgirl’s loyalties and her relationship with Green Lantern. McDuffie’s tenure on Fantastic Four started by repairing the damage to the Richards’ marriage wrought by the events of Civil War. The Beyond! miniseries (a sort-of sequel to Secret Wars) was all about relationships, since it stranded a handful of superheroes on a distant planet.
I’m still in shock over the sudden, tragic death of comics writer, Milestone Media co-founder and animation producer Dwayne McDuffie, as I’m sure many of his fans, friends and fellow creators are. I’ve rounded up some thoughts and memories from some of those folks, as well as a few items of note about memorials and some of his work.
Learning that DC was cancelling five superhero titles reminded me immediately of the “Saturday Night Massacre,” when President Nixon’s firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox led directly to the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckleshaus. But, you know, that’s just me. I may be one of the few superhero-comics bloggers who went through a Watergate phase in college. Got two term papers out of it, at any rate.
But I digress. As we all know, the May solicitations are out, and DC will still be publishing a significant number of superhero comics — so let’s get to ‘em, shall we?
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YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD THERE IS A GREEN LANTERN MOVIE
Seems like the last time DC did a multiple-issue “prequel series” to one of its big movies was 2006, with four lead-ins to Superman Returns. I liked Superman Returns, but those related comics weren’t too memorable. However, I do like the creative teams on these one-shots — Geoff Johns (a no-brainer for GL), Marc Guggenheim, Jerry Ordway, Joe Bennett, Karl Kerschl, Fernando Dagnino, and Cliff Richards, plus the screenwriters — so they may be more worthwhile.