Why The Russos Are The Best Thing to Happen to the MCU Since Joss Whedon
Since ending his run on Animal Man in 2012, artist Travel Foreman has released relatively limited comics work — primarily covers and short stories — largely because he remains focused on his long-gestating creator-owned project Zuerst. However, it turns out he nearly tackled another series for DC Comics, with his Animal Man collaborator Jeff Lemire.
On his blog, Foreman posted sketches created in preparation for Lemire’s Justice League United title. That work ultimately never came to pass, but these sketches — and the raw creativity shown by Foreman — are certainly invigorating, if perhaps disappointing for fans who’d have enjoyed seeing the story arc materialize.
Although we already ran the epic fan trailer the DC vs. Marvel movie that will never happen, I couldn’t pass up these two fan-created teasers for Suicide Squad that might not be too far away from director David Ayer’s vision.
In both, Will Smith, Tom Hardy and Jai Courtney, who are among the actual cast, take center stage, with footage and voiceover of Viola Davis making us hope an unconfirmed report of her involvement as Amanda Waller is true. Because Viola Davis makes everything that much better.
I’m pretty sure that a Suicide Squad with the look and tone of either of these videos would make a lot of fans pretty happy. The Warner Bros. film arrives Aug. 5, 2016.
Conventions | Clem Bastow notes a disconnect at Oz Comic-Con in Melbourne, Australia, where women were a slight majority in the audience but were severely underrepresented as guests; DC artist Nicola Scott was the only woman in the comics contingent. Organizer Rand Ratinac said it was purely a matter of availability: “We offered for literally dozens if not hundreds of different guests, we always do, because you’re dealing with people whose schedules they sometimes can’t lock in until a month before the event. This time, of the people that we wanted, there were just a lot of guys that were available. Next year, it could be a whole bunch of girls; it all just depends who can come.” But Scott points out that there are simply fewer women in superhero comics than in the other sectors of the industry and superhero creators are what brings the audience in the door. [The Guardian]
Matt Kindt, who followed Ales Kot as writer of Suicide Squad beginning with October’s Issue 24, revealed he’s leaving the DC Comics series with the conclusion in March of the title’s five-part tie-in to “Forever Evil.”
“It’s just for ‘Forever Evil’ and then I’m done,” Kindt told Comic Book Resources. “It’s one of the things I’m scaling back on, because I don’t have time. It’s driving me crazy to do so much. I knew I could do a finite amount of time on that and do it well, but I can’t sustain it for that long and make it good, still — ‘for sure’ good. There’s a chance it could be good. I told my editor, ‘At a certain point, it’s just going to be like flipping a coin — it could turn out all right or not, depending on how I’m feeling that day.’ It’s better to take a little bit of time off and recharge my batteries.
Kindt, who also writes DC’s Justice League of America, certainly has a full plate, although increasingly at other publishers: In addition to his critically acclaimed spy series Mind MGMT, he has the four-issue Star Wars: Rebel Heist and the original graphic novel Poppy! in the works at Dark Horse. He’s also writing the new Valiant Entertainment series Unity, and a smattering of smaller projects for Marvel.
Kindt’s tenure on Suicide Squad was announced in July with the release of DC’s October solicitations, which signaled the abrupt departure of Kot after just four issues. The publisher hasn’t revealed who will follow Kindt.
Conventions | Organizers of Tokyo’s Comic Market (aka Comiket), the world’s largest self-published comic book fair, have received a threat letter, leading them to consider their options for the planned Dec. 29-31 event. The preparations committee said it has been in contact with local police and the Tokyo Big Sight, where the semiannual convention is held. The incident follows a series of threat letters containing powdered and liquid substances sent in the past month to more than 20 locations linked to Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki. About 560,000 attended Comic Market 82 over its three days in August (that’s turnstile attendance, not unique visitors). [Anime News Network]
Creators | Patrick Rosenkranz catches us up on S. Clay Wilson, who suffered a massive brain injury in 2008 (the cause isn’t clear) and is still recovering. “Wilson’s favorite word is still ‘No!’ He used to be a motor mouth but now he’s mostly monosyllabic. After a long life dedicated to being the baddest boy in comix, he’s become a grand old man, but he’s no longer in his right mind. He used to be able to out-talk, out-booze, out-cuss, out-draw, and outrage almost anyone but he doesn’t drink, smoke, snort or draw dirty pictures any more. He doesn’t walk much either and seldom leaves the house, and only in a wheelchair.” [The Comics Journal]
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!”
Publishing | John Jackson Miller profiles Diamond Comic Distributors to mark its 30th anniversary, offering a timeline of major events in the company’s history. [Comichron]
Retailing | Dark Horse Publisher Mike Richardson will give the keynote address at this week’s ComicsPRO Annual Membership Meeting. [NewsOK]
Retailing | Hypno Comics will open Saturday in Ventura, California. [Ventura County Star]
In a Los Angeles Times profile pegged to today’s launch of Batman: Arkham City, Warner Bros. Interactive President Martin Tremblay drops an enticing crumb: In addition to a new Lord of the Rings video game and a sequel to LEGO Batman, next year the studio will release an adaptation of a DC Comics superhero he wouldn’t name.
That Warner Bros. is looking to develop more DC properties for its rapidly expanding games division is no secret — a new studio in Montreal is being set up specifically for that task. But what could this mysterious title be?
Kotaku notes that while a Superman game may be the obvious guess, given the release of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel in June 2013, it hardly requires a veil of secrecy. After all, movie tie-ins are par for the course.
As DC Comics, retailers and fans prepare for another round of New 52 titles next week, here’s a collection of the latest news and such …
• DC’s Bob Wayne told CBR’s Kiel Phegley that they planned to extend certain sales incentives to retailers through December, and this week DC released more details on what exactly that means — additional discounts for qualifying retailers on certain books, returnability on many titles and variant covers for several books, including the fourth issues of Justice League, Batman, Action Comics, Flash and Green Lantern.
• Wired’s GeekDad talks to Tony Bedard about the relaunched Blue Beetle series, which is due in shops next Wednesday. Bedard notes that the new series will be “less convoluted” than the last one in terms of Beetle’s origin, noting that this time around it isn’t tied to Infinite Crisis. He also notes Ted Kord won’t figure into the new series: “I loved the Ted Kord Blue Beetle as much as anyone. But he doesn’t figure into this new Blue Beetle series at all. My mission right now is to make 15 year-old El Paso high school student Jaime Reyes into the best character and the best Blue Beetle imaginable. And I have really good material to work with there. As anyone who read the last series or caught his appearances on Brave & The Bold will tell you, Jaime is a character teens and twenty-somethings can really latch onto. He has a terrific supporting cast and I’m building a ‘rogues gallery’ for him that will knock your socks off. None of this means that Ted Kord never existed. It’s just that before we go back and rehash the past, we are going to build a solid future for DC, and Jaime Reyes is the future.”
This week, I count at least five New-52 books picking up pretty much where they left off. Chief among these are Green Lantern and Red Lanterns; followed by Batwoman, which was supposed to come out months ago. Batman and Robin keeps its previously-announced regular creative team, and Legion Lost spins out of the pre-existing Legion of Super-Heroes. Overall I thought this week was pretty strong, but there were a few clunkers, including at least one book which really disappointed.
Just think — after this week, we’re more than halfway done…!
SPOILERS FOLLOW, but not too many.
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Continue Reading »
While a lingerie-clad Harley Quinn received a lot of attention leading up to the Wednesday release of DC Comics’ Suicide Squad #1, the issue’s most radical makeover doesn’t appear on the cover. Instead it’s reserved for the final page, where readers discover that, post-Flashpoint, Amanda “the Wall” Waller is now thin and apparently significantly younger.
Since her introduction in 1986’s Legends #1, the tough-as-nails congressional aide turned Suicide Squad leader turned Checkmate’s White Queen has been depicted in comics as short and overweight, her size varying from artist to artist. Co-creator John Byrne tended to exaggerate Waller’s features, with her large frame supported by stiletto heels. In more recent years, she’s sported a slimmer look — although she’s never been “thin.”
Until Suicide Squad #1, by Adam Glass and Federico Dallocchio, Waller was one of the few prominent heavy-set characters in superhero comics. Rarer still, her weight wasn’t used for comic relief (like, say, Etta Candy in her earliest incarnations) or somehow connected to superpowers (as with Bouncing Boy, or Marvel’s Blob or Big Bertha). In a sea of ageless and impossibly thin and tall figures, Waller stood out as a squat, middle-aged force to be reckoned with.
Now, however, “the Wall” is young and svelte, like much of the DC Universe … and flashing a bit of New 52 cleavage.
You can see Waller’s unveiling after the break. But be warned: It contains spoilers for the end of Suicide Squad #1.
• At Comic Book Resources, Kiel Phegley checks in with direct market retailers after the first full week of the DC relaunch.
• USA Today previews Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1, which kicks off the “War of the Monsters” story arc. “It’s basically Frankenstein and these classic Universal monsters against as many other monsters as I could throw at my poor artist [Alberto Ponticelli],” writer Jeff Lemire says. “Literally, I had pages where he was drawing thousands of monsters. It’s really fun and big and over the top and a lot of black humor as the team gets to know each other and interact, and the readers get to know them, as well.”
• TV Guide previews Suicide Squad #1, written by Supernatural co-executive producer Adam Glass, who details his take on the radically redesigned Harley Quinn: “The thought was, let’s see her operate outside of the Joker, not being obsessed 24/7. One thing that I think gets downplayed with her is how smart she is. This is a woman who is a mastermind in her own right. […] We didn’t lose any of the humor. She’s still funny, she’s still sexy, she’s still a little crazy. This is Harley if she’s moved away from home, her chance to shine on her own.”
• Writer Scott Snyder talks at length with Complex about Swamp Thing, and his approach to Batman: “The way DC approached me about the relaunch was that it was a way to tell any story that you wanted about your favorite character, no holds barred. And the story I wanted to tell was one that was already really rooted in what’s already happened in Batman, but is accessible to anybody that hasn’t been reading Batman. It’s a big epic, ambitious story about Bruce Wayne and the way he thinks of Gotham as his friend and this kind of ancient evil under Gotham that exists, or may exist, that he has somehow overlooked as Batman. So it has to do with the history of the Wayne family and the Grayson family, and there will be big revelations about this enemy from the past, and this enemy is going to bring all the weight of history against the Bat family and try to crush them.”
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.
[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.
Retailing | A bankruptcy judge is expected to hear arguments today from the bankrupt Borders Group, which is seeking to pay $8.3 million in bonuses in a bid to retain key corporate personnel. The struggling bookseller says that 47 executives and director-level employees have quit since the company declared bankruptcy on Feb. 16 — two dozen just this month — leaving only 15 people in senior management positions. In a court filing last week, U.S. bankruptcy trustee Tracy Hope Davis objected to the bonus proposal, characterizing it as “a disguised retention plan for insiders, which also provides for discriminatory bonuses for non-insiders.” [The Detroit News]
Publishing | Todd Allen looks at sales estimates for the first issues in Marvel’s “Point One” initiative, which featured self-contained stories designed to serve as a jumping-on point for new or lapsed readers: “With the sole exception of Hulk, retailers ordered less copies of the ‘jump on’ issue, than the regular series. If you figure people picking up the title would also pick up the ‘.1′ introductory issue, this is a flaming disaster and there aren’t going to be a lot of these comics finding their way into the hands of new readers. It smack of very low buy-in from the retail community.” [Indignant Online]