Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Digital comics | Casey Baseel has more details on Kadokawa’s new digital manga service ComicWalker, which will launch on March 22. The service will include a mix of original comics and manga that are currently serialized in Kadokawa’s magazines, such as Shonen Ace. The comics will be available in English and Chinese as well as Japanese, although initially just 40 will be translated. Kadokawa hopes to add French translations as well, to bring in readers in France and French-speaking Africa, which is not well served by manga publishers right now. The first three chapters of each series will always be available for free; collected editions will be available online two weeks after print publication and will remain available, for free, until the next volume comes out. The idea is clearly to use digital to entice people to buy the volumes in print, and to draw new readers to older series, Kadokawa is adding color pages to the classics Mobile Suit Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion. [Japan Today]
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out.
I should add that this post contains SPOILERS for Batman #28 and All-New X-Men #23, so read at your own risk. Now let’s get to it …
First I’d like to thank DC Comics for plastering its latest spoiler unavoidably across the Internet bright and early Monday morning. It did confirm something I’d suspected since before Christmas, but being surprised still has a certain appeal, you know?
(That assumes this isn’t reversed in an issue or two. Kyle Rayner was killed one issue and revived the next during a Blackest Night crossover, and something similar is eminently possible, albeit unlikely, in this case.)
Anyway, Caleb has done a great job covering the event’s immediate impact, and Corey and Michael have also talked about significant aspects of you-know-what, so for my part I’ll be taking a closer look at the “position” itself. Some people study the presidency, some the papacy, and some of us have spent most of our lives reading about … well, you know.
SPOILERS FOLLOW, I suppose.
While some are pointing to changes to a Batgirl costume in the digital-first Li’l Gotham comic as further evidence of behind-the-scenes hijinks designed to erase Stephanie Brown from DC Comics, the truth may less conspiratorial — if still a little odd.
Bleeding Cool pointed out this morning that a panel from the Dustin Nguyen/Derek Fridolfs story had been altered from the preview released early Wednesday. In the original version, a blonde girl can be seen among the trick-or-treaters dressed in what’s unmistakably a Stephanie Brown-Batgirl costume. However, in a second version posted on the website, the same girl is shown now with dark hair but without the purple stripe familiar to Stephanie fans, leading Bleeding Cool to conclude, “Yup, in the DC Universe, not even little kids are allowed to dress up as Stephanie Brown.”
But in the comic downloaded this morning by Robot 6 (below), the purple stripe remains, clearly marking the costume as Stephanie Brown’s. Still, it’s definitely odd, particularly considering that the ash-colored hair is almost indistinguishable from the mask. Of course, why that figure was the only one on the page changed is a bit of a mystery — as is why there are seemingly two edited versions of the panel floating around.
We’ve reached out DC Comics for clarification, but the offices are closed because of Superstorm Sandy, so it may take a while for a response.
Update (9:25 a.m.): It appears the panel posted at Bleeding Cool is fake. The girl’s hair color was changed from the time of the preview’s release, as Robot 6’s downloaded image shows, but not her costume.
Created by Sax Carr and Marisha Ray (who also plays Batgirl), the series follows Stephanie Brown as she fights crime and tries to determine whether this life of “adrenaline and danger, duty and honor” is one she really wants. As the earlier trailer teased, Batgirl: Spoiled features a large supporting cast that includes such DC Comics characters as Commissioner Gordon, Batwoman, Poison Ivy, The Riddler, The Penguin and Oracle (those last two appear in the first episode, “Blindside,” along with a third whom I won’t spoil here).
The second episode will be released in about 30 days; the producers are hoping to find a convention to play host to its premiere.
Artist Peter Nguyen takes on DC Comics superheroines in a terrific print for New York Comic Con that includes everyone from Batwoman and Big Barda to Wonder Woman and Miss Martian. “There are some women who I left out I am sure but for the sake of sanity let’s just say they are the little dots in the back,” Nguyen writes on his blog. “Or off world fighting a greater threat. I had a ton of fun with this one and i hope you guys like it. I added a cosmic treadmill for fun so we can get at least one Flash rep in there amongst all the fliers, glider, and rock floating riders.”
See the full image below, and check out Nguyen’s work process on his blog.
Stephanie Brown still may be absent from the DC Universe — and, yes, the world of Smallville — but the superheroine is now receiving her moment in the spotlight in a fairly impressive trailer for Batgirl: Spoiled, a fan-produced webseries that follows the crime-fighter “on her journey to understand her place in Gotham.”
Directed by Damian Beurer, the teaser stars Marisha Ray as Batgirl, and features cameos by Oracle, Commissioner Gordon, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Batwoman, The Question and others. Information about where and when to watch the first episode is promised soon.
A brief indulgence before we get started: July 14 marked eight years since I started blogging about comics on my own little website, the now-dormant Comics Ate My Brain. Since one of my first posts was called “Robin Problems,” it’s a happy coincidence that this week we return to the original superhero-sidekick identity.
Although I’m not always happy with DC Comics as a company, I have a lot of empathy for the people who work on superhero comics, especially those who populate convention panels. Regardless of how we think they’re doing their jobs, those are still their jobs, and I wouldn’t want to go to work every morning facing a steady torrent of criticism from my customers. (We lawyers get more than enough workplace second-guessing as it is.) It also can’t be easy traveling around having to face one’s critics in person.
That said, if the alternative-fuels industry could harness avoidable fan outrage, DC Comics would be the new OPEC. Once again demonstrating a knack for how not to behave, its panelists practically laughed off legitimate questions about switching out fan-favorite Bat-protege Stephanie Brown for the “more iconic” Barbara Gordon.
After those original accounts appeared online (on Friday the 13th, no less), more details emerged to help explain just who did what. It’s still a situation where DC higher-ups asked to remove Stephanie (which, it can’t be said enough, is really asking for trouble); but apparently the series’ writer got to choose her replacement. Don’t worry, we’ll get into all the nuances.
Following some confusion at Friday’s Superman panel, DC Comics confirmed today at Comic-Con International that Stephanie Brown won’t be appearing as Nightwing in Smallville Season 11. As rumored, she’ll be replaced by Barbara Gordon.
The introduction of the one-time Spoiler turned Robin turned Batgirl alongside Batman in DC’s digital-first series was announced last month, giving some consolation to fans frustrated that the character has yet to be seen in the New 52. But even as Comic-Con began, a rumor emerged that the publisher had changed its mind.
On Friday, the fan who made headlines at last year’s convention as “the Batgirl of San Diego,” attended DC’s Superman panel in hopes of getting answers, but walked away with none. So today she returned for “The New Wave” panel, where Co-Publisher Dan DiDio delivered the official news: Stephanie Brown is out, and Barbara Gordon is in.
If you’re a Stephanie Brown looking to get to the bottom of a rumor about your favorite character, you’d think the best place to go for answers would be today’s DC Comics Superman panel at Comic-Con International. But you’d be wrong.
According to Comic Book Resources’ report, a fan dressed as Stephanie Brown approached the microphone to ask whether the character would appear as Nightwing next month in the digital-first Smallville Season 11, as the publisher announced last month, or whether there was truth to the rumor that she is being replaced by Barbara Gordon. Unfortunately for the fan, writer Bryan Q. Miller wasn’t on the panel as scheduled (he arrived late to San Diego), and the response she did receive was … let’s say unhelpful, and maybe a little flippant.
“The first rumor wasn’t known by us,” DC’s Vice President of Marketing John Cunningham replied, “and I have not heard of the second in the halls of DC, so I can’t comment.”
“But there was art!” the fan shot back.
“Are you going to believe art or are you going to believe us?” Superman writer Scott Lobdell said to the laughter of the audience. Cunningham gave her a Court of Owls mask, so that’s something.
Publishing | Heidi MacDonald catches word that Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik is moving on to a new job, which will be announced next month at Comic-Con International (Rich Johnston contends that gig is at BOOM! Studios). Friday will be Sablik’s last day at Top Cow; Social Marketing Coordinator Jessi Reid will assume his marketing duties. [The Beat, Bleeding Cool]
Creators | Through its partnership with the Small Press Expo, the Library of Congress has acquired works by cartoonists Matt Bors, Keith Knight, Jim Rugg, Jen Sorensen, Raina Telgemeier, Matthew Thurber and Jim Woodring. Dean Haspiel’s minicomics collection was added to the holdings just last week. [Comic Riffs]
Not satisfied with the recent announcement that Stephanie Brown will debut as Nightwing in the digital-first Smallville Season 11, hopeful fans of the superheroine are mounting a campaign to convince DC Comics to reintroduce the former Robin and Batgirl into its main universe.
Taking a cue from die-hard viewers of Jericho, who mailed more than 20 tons of nuts to CBS headquarters in an effort to secure a second season, the people behind “Waffles For Stephanie” are asking fans to mail (you guessed it) waffles to DC Comics on Aug. 10, along with a letter explaining why the character deserves a place beyond Smallville.
When Batman won’t be alone when he debuts in August in DC Comics’ digital-first Smallville Season 11 — that much was clear from the cover art released earlier this week. But it turns out that’s not Robin but Nightwing warning the Caped Crusader of
Superman’s The Blur’s arrival. What’s more, that’s not a young Dick Grayson under the mask, but rather Stephanie Brown.
“Bruce can be somewhat of an angry man,” writer Bryan Q. Miller explains to TV Guide. “Stephanie’s personality is so can-do and unsinkable and bright, so it’s very much on purpose on Bruce’s part that he has a good cop going out on patrol with him every night.”
The storyline, called appropriately enough “Detective,” will also explain why Stephanie is Nightwing and not Batgirl, the identity she assumed in the DC Universe from 2009 to 2011. Miller, a former staff writer and executive story editor on The CW’s Smallville, also wrote DC’s Batgirl during Stephanie’s time in the costume.
Batman and Nightwing will arrive online in Smallville Season 11 in August, and then in print in September. Miller is joined on the four-part arc by ChrisCross and Marc Deering.
Warming up for a grueling Comic-Con International schedule, DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio held a virtual convention panel last night on Facebook for fans who can’t make it to San Diego. Highlights from the Q&A include:
• DC no longer has the rights to Archie’s Red Circle superheroes.
• Stephanie Brown will remain part of the DC Universe following the September relaunch. However, DiDio won’t reveal where she is just yet. “Sorry, but we are keeping some secrets,” he wrote, “and one of them involves Stephanie.”
• He’s sticking by his earlier remarks about the status of the Justice Society, saying “the official answer on JSA is that ‘They’re resting’.”
• When can we expect the release of Dark Knight: Boy Wonder, the planned six-issue conclusion of Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder? “Probably when he is The Teen Wonder.”
• Asked whether we’ll ever see the new version of Who’s Who in the DC Universe announced in December 2009, DiDio replied, “the question is not who’s who but when’s when.”
DiDio’s first actual Comic-Con panel, “DC Comics — The New 52,” kicks off at 2 p.m. Thursday in San Diego.
“What would DC have to do to attract more women? Well, not add romance, puppies and rainbows. (I like kitties, though …) No, really, all they have to do is stop actively driving away the female audience with art too often based on porn poses and women so often portrayed as victims and not three-dimensional characters even when they’re in supporting roles. Give us art that’s not so obviously done to make woman sex objects only and make them well-rounded characters and we’ll be just fine. In fact, just keep the heroes you already have around instead of tossing them aside would be a start. Don’t, say, announce that all the Robins will be getting showcase titles when what you mean is that all the male Robins will be getting showcase titles and that the current Batgirl (former Robin) Stephanie Brown is going into limbo, along with former Batgirl current Black Bat Cassandra Cain. Because, apparently, there can only be one Batgirl as multiple ones would be too confusing but four Robins is just fine.”