INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
At first I wasn’t especially excited about too much in DC’s February solicitations. However, the more I looked around, the more optimistic I became. Six months into the New 52, some connections are starting to gel, and their interactions (well, as far as what you can glean from the ad copy) seem more organic. As always, there were a few pleasant surprises in the collected editions, and some details from which to spin hopeful speculation.
But enough with the purple prose — let’s hit the books!
TO UNLIMITED AND BEYOND
The gee-whizziest news of the February solicitations has to be the digital-first format of Batman Beyond Unlimited. I have not been the quickest to adapt to digitally-conveyed comics, mostly because my personal technology level hasn’t caught up. However, I do read a number of webcomics, as well as newspaper strips online, and if the price were right, I’d gladly sample BBU’s features on my computer before picking up the print version. Having Dustin Nguyen and (yay!) Norm Breyfogle involved doesn’t hurt either.
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Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15, I’d first grab hold of my favorite of DC’s New 52, Batwoman #2 (DC, $2.99). J.H. Williams III has successfully kept up to the immense expectations he accumulated following his run with Greg Rucka, and the artwork seems to benefit even more by J.H.’s input into the story as co-writer. Next I’d dig down for two of my regular pulls, Northlanders #45 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and Uncanny X-Force #16 (Marvel, $3.99). For my final pick, I’d have to miss a bunch of other titles for the chance to get the CBLDF Liberty Annual 2011 #4 (Image, $4.99). I love the anthology format, and having that plus the good cause plus the a-list talent makes it a must get; seriously, can you imagine one comic book containing new work by Frank Quitely, Williams, Mark Waid, J. Michael Straczynski, Matt Wagner AND Craig Thompson? BELIEVE IT!
DC editor Chris Conroy took over DC’s Twitter feed today, and he’s been sharing concept art, pages and tidbits about some of his books all day. Conroy edits Superboy, Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Legion of Super-Heroes and Demon Knights, and here are a few of the tidbits he’s shared:
–Mike Choi will draw Demon Knights #4 (that’s his cover at the top of the post).
–Walt Simonson will draw Legion of Super-Heroes #5.
–The red-head in Superboy #1 is who most people seem to think it is.
–Cliff Chiang’s original artwork from Wonder Woman will be on display at Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn beginning Sept. 24.
–Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder have “big plans” for when Animal Man and Swamp Thing meet up.
And after the jump you’ll find a whole bunch of art, which I’ll update if he posts more.
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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I don’t have a lot after the jump right now, but I’ll add more as I see them today.
Although it seems like DC’s big relaunch announcement came out an eternity ago, it actually took the publisher less than two weeks to roll out the 52 titles and their creative teams for the big relaunch/reboot/overhaul coming in September. Now that the cats are out of their respective bags, I thought I’d see where various creators and characters will land after the reboot.
So I went back through DC’s August solicitations to see who was writing or drawing what, and tried to map everyone to their post-relaunch project — if they had one. However, looking at DC’s August solicitations, there seem to be several fill-in issues, so where appropriate I tried to map the most recent ongoing creative teams to their new projects (for instance, I consider Gail Simone and Jesus Saiz the regular creative team for Birds of Prey, even if they aren’t doing the last two issues before September hits). Keep in mind that I just went through the ongoing series and skipped over all the miniseries … of which there are a lot, what with Flashpoint winding up in August.
It’s also worth noting that although several creators didn’t appear in the “big 52″ announcements, that doesn’t mean their tenure with DC is necessarily over — some, like Frazer Irving, have said they have future projects that haven’t been announced. So I tried to note where creators have talked publicly about their post-relaunch plans with DC (or lack thereof, as the case may be). The same could probably be said for some of DC’s characters as well. Or, as Gail Simone said on Twitter: “Again, September is NOT THE END. There’s still plans for characters that we haven’t seen yet.”
So let’s get to it ….
While most DC Comics fans wait impatiently for the publisher to announce the final details of its sweeping 52-title relaunch, one industrious reader went to work to unearth the covers to Superman #1, Superboy #1 and Supergirl #1.
That leaves only one series, by all accounts Action Comics, which as Comic Book Resources reported last week will likely be written by Grant Morrison. Bleeding Cool contends that Rags Morales is the artist.
The three covers, found Thursday on the DC server by a Comic Book Resources forum member with the time and patience to try numerous file-name combinations, aren’t particularly surprising; Superman and Supergirl, at least, were sure bets for the relaunch, and Scott Lobdell had let slip earlier this week that he’s writing Superboy. However, they seem to confirm Bleeding Cool’s report that George Perez will be drawing, and presumably writing, Superman. Screenwriters Michael Green and Mike Johnson, who worked together on Superman/Batman, are thought to be penning Supergirl, with Mahmud A. Asrar on art (at least judging from the cover).
A question mark remains over Superboy, in part because the character looks radically different on this cover than he appears on the one(s) for Teen Titans #1. (Update: A commenter identifies the Superboy cover artist as Eric Canete.)
DC was expected to officially announce the Superman books today, but as the hours pass it’s beginning to look as if the publisher may hold back until Saturday afternoon, when Co-Publisher Jim Lee and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns appear at the Hero Complex Film Festival in Los Angeles.
Update 2: DC officially unveiled the remaining titles this afternoon after all, confirming Morrison and Morales on Action Comics, Perez writing but Jesus Merino penciling Superman, Green, Johnson and Asrar on Supergirl, and Lobdell, R.B. Silva and Rob Lean on Superboy. Comic Book Resources has the details.
Check out the covers for Superboy #1 and Supergirl #1 after the break.
Comics really can bring people together. Take, for instance, the above art by Francis Manapul, who created it as a favor for a friend who was proposing to his girlfriend. That friend is none other than Arune Singh, Marvel’s director of communications.
“It’s really a sweet story,” Manapul explains on his DeviantArt blog, “as [Arune] put a picture book together of them and this was revealed on the last page of the book as he got down on one knee to propose. ”
At Singh’s direction, Manapul depicted him as Superboy and Arune’s fiancée Michelle as Wonder Girl. Although it might seem odd for a Marvel staffer to ask a DC-exclusive artist for help on popping the big question, at the end of the day there are many friendships across the stretches of the Big Two. And this isn’t the first time a comics fan — or comics professional — has used the powerful language of comic to pop the big question: Cartoonist Dave Roman famously did an elaborate comic strip to spring the surprise question to his now-wife Raina Telgemeier, and I recall Rob Liefeld doing the same in the mid-’90s as a back-up to one of his comics.
… and before you ask, she said yes. Congratulations, Arune — and congrats, Michelle!
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on what we call our “Splurge” item.
If I had $15:
I’d start with Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever #1 ($2.99). I love weird western tales and can’t imagine a better creative team for one than the writers of BPRD and artist John Severin, who illustrated so many of Atlas’ classic westerns. Then I’d grab The Muppet Show, Volume 5: Muppet Mash ($9.99) because hey, Roger Langridge, Muppets and classic monsters.
If I had $30:
I’d add a couple of Big Two all-ages comics to the pile. If Marvel’s Super Hero Squad Spectacular #1 ($3.99) is half as fun as the show it’s based on, it’ll be worth taking home and reading to the boy. I’ll just have to keep ignoring the irritating, unnecessarily three-fingered character designs. I’m even more confident that we’ll enjoy DC’s Super Friends, Volume 4: Mystery in Space ($12.99) because we’ve been so delighted with the first three collections. David just turned nine and by way of celebration, he wanted to go back and re-read the Superman’s Birthday story from volume two.
Welcome to the first Food or Comics? for 2011. Every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on what we call our “Splurge” item.
Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
Hey, it’s the first week of 2011, and time to get some awesome comics, right? Right? So for my $15, I’ll pick up… Oh. Kind of a slow week, then, huh? Well, there’s always Steel #1 (DC, $2.99), the sure-to-be-controversial one-shot that launches the retro “Reign of Doomsday” crossover, and my love of James Robinson’s Justice League will ensure I pick up the Starman/Congorilla one-shot (DC, $2.99), if only to find out what all those interludes in the middle of the current “Omega” storyline are all about. Curiosity compels me to pick up Image’s Walking Dead Weekly #1 ($2.99), if only to see if it’s pretty much an exact reprint of the original first issue with a different cover, but that remaining $6 may just end up burning a hole in my pocket. Maybe I’ll put it toward my $30 haul…
There’s so much I find fascinating about Vaneta Rogers’s Newsarama interview with Steel #1 writer Steve Lyons that I hardly know where to begin. I suppose I’ll start by saying that there’s a lot to be excited about in the comic, which kicks off DC’s “Reign of Doomsday” event. For example, I’ve long argued that Steel is one of the most undervalued characters and designs in DC’s pantheon. Iron Man’s powers, Thor’s hammer, Superman’s cape, and an African-American folk hero’s name? That’s pure gold. And seriously, what a great design: The Alex Garner cover to the issue — itself part of DC’s genuinely awesome iconic-cover line-up for the month of January — is practically payoff enough. Plus, in a genre often (and accurately) decried for its lack of strong non-white heroes, John Henry Irons is an armor-clad, hammer-wielding, ‘S’-shield-wearing super-genius whose role in Metropolis’s scientific and business community is basically “the anti-Lex.” Tough to top that.
Similarly, at nearly two decades’ remove from the controversial “Death of Superman” storyline, I’m much better able to appreciate Doomsday him/itself. He’s no longer just the out-of-the-blue newcomer who got to deliver the coup de grace to the Man of Steel over more “deserving” villains like Lex Luthor (and set sales records in the process). Rather, he is to the villainous side of the superhero genre what the Hulk is to its heroic half: The power fantasy in its purest form, i.e. giant unstoppable guy pounds the crap out of everyone in his way. On an inner-eight-year-old level, that’s a thing of beauty. And remember how in his original appearances he slowly shedded a Kirbyesque jumpsuit-and-goggles look to reveal badass bone spikes and claws jutting out of every possible place on his body? He’s basically a microcosm of the direction of the entire superhero genre from that period, a walking symbol of ’90s excess at its boldest and best. Finally, in story terms, he accomplished the pinnacle achievement for any DCU villain: He killed Superman! Okay, so he got better, but still. As I believe Geoff Johns has argued, Doomsday’s name alone should scare the crap out of every character in the DC Universe. As such he’s a terrific basis for a crossover event.
Legal | Michael Renaud, the only witness who can place retailer Michael George at his comic store around the time his first wife Barbara George was killed, testified Monday that a meeting with detectives shortly after the 1990 murder detailed in a recently published book did take place, despite its lack of mention in police files. Defense attorney Carl Marlinga questioned during the evidentiary hearing whether Renaud, who admitted to smoking marijuana, has a reliable memory of events. [Detroit Free Press]
Digital piracy | Four publishing groups in Japan, including the Digital Comic Association, is demanding that Apple stop selling pirated works of Japanese authors in its App Store. Apple says that it removes pirated material upon notification by the copyright holder. [The Wall Street Journal]
Publishing | Although a bill to further restrict the sale in metropolitan Tokyo of manga and anime depicting “extreme” sex won’t be voted on until Wednesday, some creators say the legislation has already had a chilling effect. For instance, one boys love artist contends her publisher is refusing to release works set in schools or featuring school uniforms. [Sankaku Complex]
Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately.
Today’s guest is Zom from the Mindless Ones blog. To see what Zom and the rest of the Robot 6 team have been reading, click below.
If it’s Tuesday, it must be time for Food or Comics?, where every week some of the Robot 6 crew talk about what comics we’d buy if we were subject to certain spending limits — $15 and $30. We also talk about what we’d buy if we had extra money to spend on what we call our “Splurge” item. Check out Diamond’s release list to see what arrives in comic shops this week,then play along in our comments section.
I’m running behind and want to go vote, so I’ll try to make this quick:
If I had $15:
The Boys #48 ($3.99) and Godland #33 ($2.99) are the the two must buys for me this week, along with the 17th issue of Berlin ($4.95). It’s been awhile since Jason Lutes published a chapter in this now-decade-plus long serial set in pre-Nazi Germany. I’m just impressed that he’s still sticking to the serial pamphlet format while every other indie artist has abandoned it. Bully for you, Lutes.
Welcome to another spook-tacular edition of What Are You Reading? Our special guest this week is writer Sam Costello, who operates and writes horror comics for the site Split Lip. If you’re looking for some spooky stories to read tonight, it’s a good place to start.
To see what Sam and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below, if you dare …