When the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 invaded and seemingly conquered Earth-New 52 in Forever Evil #1, claiming to have killed the members of the Justice Leagues, the home-Earth villains took over DC comics, scrawling their names over the logos of their foes and initiating other evil acts like using decimal points in their issue numbers and putting the wrong stories in the wrong titles. (A Dial H epilogue and a Lobo one-shot in Justice League comics? A Batgirl story in a Batman comic?). But, most nefariously of all, the villains of DC Comics raised the price of each issue by a dollar and launched one of the biggest gimmick covers schemes in the modern history of direct market super-comics: heavy, plastic, 3D lenticular covers primed to be collected more so than read, and sparking insidious speculation, goosed my unpredictable shortages to many retailers. The monsters.
But while most attention has been focused on the covers, there are, in fact, stories beneath them, and so for the past three weeks we’ve been not judging the books by their covers, but by their contents. (Here’s Week One, Week Two and Week Three, if you missed ‘em.) As in the previous months, I’ve been ranking the books on their overall quality, on a scale of one to 10: Not Very Good, Somewhat Disobedient, Naughty, Morally Deficient, Without Scruples, Iniquitous, Wicked, Maleficent, Evil and Absolute Evil (although, as none received a perfect 10, you might want to adjust your reception of my ratings up by one).
Also, and perhaps more importantly, I’ve been noting how connected each is to the Forever Evil event that ostensibly led to this state of affairs at DC, so, if you’re only interested in these things for their narrative import rather than their creators or characters, you’ll know which are worth your attention. So let’s take one last wallow in the evil of (almost) every issue of this week’s Villains Month, and hope for the swift and triumphant return of our heroes starting next month.
August brings the preludes to the Swamp Thing/Animal Man crossover that writers Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire have been talking about for awhile now, as Team Red and Team Green take on The Rot. According to Lemire, the crossover, Rotworld, is an “epic superhero/horror story” that he’s been working with Snyder on for the past year. “Buddy Baker and Alec Holland join forces to lead a pre-emptive strike deep into The Rot, the consequences of which will tear both of their worlds apart forever,” he said on his blog.
The crossover runs through each title’s 17th issue and will feature art by regular series artists Yanick Paquette and Steve Pugh, who worked together on the above joining covers for Animal Man #12 and Swamp Thing #12.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Robot 6 crew has been reading lately. Today our special guest is Jamaica Dyer, creator of Weird Fishes and Fox Head Stew, which can be read over at MTV Geek. She also recently did a concert report in comic form from San Francisco’s Noisepop for Spin Magazine.
To see what Jamaica and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Following today’s creative-team reshuffling that sees Steve Pugh return to DC Comics’ Animal Man, artist Travel Foreman stopped by the Comic Book Resources forums to explain why he’s leaving the well-received series for Birds of Prey.
“The change on Animal Man boils down to the reason I was on the book to begin with, which was that I needed to take on a job after my mother died (to deal with the financial end of someone being sick for a while and then passing) and Animal Man was the only thing DC was going to let me do. Which in any other time frame would have been perfect,” Foreman wrote. “But really the context of me dealing with the death of my mom and drawing the kind of content in Animal Man just burned me out sooner than I thought.”
Foreman, who before Animal Man was best known for his work on Com.x’s Cla$$war and Marvel’s Immortal Iron Fist, launched the series in September with writer Jeff Lemire as part of DC’s New 52. But with the solicitations for March’s Issue 7 came the news that Pugh would fill in as artist — well ahead of today’s announcement. Pugh continues his fill-in with Issue 8 before becoming the regular artist the following month.
“I had hoped to stay on the book until at least the spring so that the artist I wanted to replace me was free from his commitments,” Foreman continued, “but I would have ultimately just dragged the book down if I did, because it was becoming harder and harder to concentrate on the work. Steve was bending over backwards on his fill-ins to keep the book on schedule so you have to keep that in consideration. Really, he won’t skip a beat once he’s doing the book full time.”
On his blog, Lemire wished his collaborator well, writing that, “The success of Animal Man is due in no small part to Travel’s artistic vision and I was lucky to have worked with him.”
(via The Beat)
DC Comics announced they’re reshuffling the deck a bit on the New 52, with Birds of Prey artist Jesus Saiz is moving to Resurrection Man and Resurrection Man artist Ferndando Dagnino moving to Suicide Squad. Both are effective with issue #9 of each series, which also happen to contain a crossover between the two titles.
“I’m going to miss Birds of Prey immensely, although it’s also true that I was dying to work on the Dark line of books,” Saiz told DC’s The Source. “There’s some very interesting stuff happening in these books, and I’ve always considered horror / creating dark settings are some of my stronger areas as an artist, and I really haven’t had many chances to flex those muscles working in this genre during my career. So…I think I’m really going to enjoy working on Resurrection Man! Crrrrazy fun!”
“Call me insensitive but I must admit I’ve really enjoyed killing Mitch twice or thrice per issue,” said Dagnino. “Nevertheless, it all falls into place knowing that he will be in Jesus’ hands now. This run on Resurrection Man has REALLY been loads of fun but now I must confess I am even more excited to take over the responsibility of dealing with such a thrilling cast of characters as the Suicide Squad. Harley…I’m coming!”
No word yet on who will be drawing Birds of Prey after Saiz, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we find out later today. The cover above, for Resurrection Man #9, is by Rafael Albuquerque.
“A big reason I love the Animal Man character so much is because of the work Steve did on the character back in the 90′s with Jamie Delano,” Animal Man writer Jeff Lemire posted on his blog. “In fact, I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that I have been heavily influenced by a lot of the concepts Steve an Jamie created and represented them in my tenure on the book. So, to have Steve join colorist Lovern Kindzierski. letterer Jared K. Fletcher and I is a a dream come true for me. Steve is an incredibly talented illustrator as well as an extremely professional and reliable guy and with everything we have planned on Animal Man coming up, I know the Baker Family is in good hands!”
In a clever bit of product placement and cross-promotion, DC Comics is offering “Evolve or Die” T-shirts featuring Travel Foreman’s cover for Animal Man #1 just ahead of the shirt’s debut in the seventh issue of the series. It certainly makes sense within the context of the relaunched title, which opened with a Believer interview in which Buddy Baker was asked how it felt “to have your face plastered on kids’ dorm rooms and T-shirts all over the country.”
The shirts will be available in direct market stores, and at GraffitiDesigns.com, at the end of the month (prices range from $18.95 to $24.95, depending on size). There’s no word yet as to when we should expect that “World’s Best Grandpa” design.
Animal Man #7, by Jeff Lemire and Steve Pugh, arrives March 7.