EXCL. PREVIEW: Superman Escapes a Black Universe in "Dark Knight III" #5
I know several aspects of the film have stirred passions of some devotees who know and like Superman better than your average movie-goer, and there are sharply divided views on some of the Man of Steel’s actions. (I thought it was a pretty-OK film, far better than the last couple of Superman films, and most of its major problems could have been corrected by an edit that left some of the less Supermanly activity on the cutting-room floor. And a Krypto cameo. And 100 percent more more Jimmy Olsen).
I don’t really pay much attention to box-office receipts, nor do I aggregate film reviews, but, as far as I can tell, the movie seems to have done all right and to have been generally well-received. It may not have been The Dark Knight but, at the very least, it didn’t go over like a radioactive lead balloon, like Jonah Hex or Green Lantern. I hope it did well enough to generate a sequel, mostly because I’d like to see Hollywood get a chance to dig deeper into Superman’s superlative rogues gallery than just using Luthor and/or the Phantom Zone criminals over and over.
And partly because I think it would be awful if the next Superman film wasn’t a Superman film, but a Superior film.
When you make your formal American comics debut drawing a Top 5 book, you’ve really set the bar high for the rest of your career. But Filipino artist Leinil Yu doesn’t think about it too much.
Yu’s introduction to the U.S. comics market was in 1997 with Wolverine #113, but he wasn’ t a complete newcomer: He had worked for a time as an assistant at Whilce Portacio’s studio, and even gained some recognition by winning a Wizard magazine contest. Yu went on from Wolverine to draw everything from Uncanny X-Men to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even had a hand in reinventing Superman’s origins in Superman: Birthright before returning to Marvel and becoming one of the publisher’s top-tier artists with New Avengers and Secret Invasion. After that, he moved into creator-owned comics with Mark Millar, first on Superior and then on Supercrooks. Yu continues to excel with Marvel’s superheroes, joining Mark Waid to relaunch the Hulk in the Marvel NOW! title Indestructible Hulk — a return of sorts for Yu, who drew the Hulk in the well-received (albeit much-delayed) Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk.
I’ve always been an admirer of Yu’s work, from his brief stint on Chris Claremont’s X-Men return to his lesser-known creator-owned book at DC, Silent Dragon (with Andy Diggle) and High Roads (with Scott Lobdell). When he returned to Marvel, I noticed him experimenting with his style in both composition and rendering. Upon doing research for this interview, I learned about Yu’s varied attempts to explore different mediums — branching out from his pencils and pens and to painting, digital modelling, and even digital speed-painting. I conducted this interview with Leinil Yu earlier this month, on the eve of Indestructible Hulk‘s announcement.
If the growing guest list isn’t enough to draw fans and media to the inaugural Kapow! Comic Con, Mark Millar & Co. are raising the stakes by setting their sights on two Guinness World Records that most probably didn’t know existed.
Millar and collaborator Leinil Yu have given permission for their Superior character to be used at the convention to help secure the records for Fastest Production of a Comic Book and Most Contributors to a Comic Book.
To do so, such attending creators as Paul Cornell, Andy Diggle, Dave Gibbons, Jock, Frank Quitely and John Romita Jr. will lend their time on April 9 to create a 20-page standalone comic. For the Fastest Production record, the entire issue — from concept to script to art to lettering — must be completed between 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. A Guinness World Records official will be on-hand to certify the requirements have been met.
The finished product will be printed and distributed through Marvel’s Icon imprint, with all royalties going to Yorkhill Children’s Foundation, which provides enhanced medical equipment and resources for sick children and babies treated by Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow.
In recent years, we’ve seen a boatload of comic books and graphic novels make their way to the silver screen, from “big two” stalwarts like Spider-Man and Batman to independent titles like Scott Pilgrim and 30 Days Of Night. Among the various adaptations, though, some creators have emerged as magnets for Hollywood types — one creator who seems to love it more than anyone else is Mark Millar.
After bouncing around the UK comics scene and later DC, Mark Millar made a name for himself for his big-picture epics on The Authority and The Ultimates. Working with artists like Frank Quitely and Bryan Hitch, Millar borrowed some of the wide-screen cinema techniques of film to display comic stories in a new light. From very early on, movie-makers have been cribbing notes from his comics; X-Men: The Last Stand screenwriter Zak Penn said Millar’s work was influencing his own. He was even brought in to act as an informal brain trust to give advice to Jon Favreau during the production of the first Iron Man film.
After seeing glimpses and glimmers of Millar’s influence on company-owned comics-turned-films, it was when Hollywood took notice of his creator-owned work that his bibliography became catnip for movie producers. After back-to-back successes with feature film adaptations of his comics Wanted and Kick-Ass, virtually every creator-owned comic from Mark Millar comes with the question, “How soon will there be a movie announcement?” This attention from movie producers has even led Millar to begin filming his own original movie, which is currently underway.
The question today is this: Of the creator-owned work Mark Millar’s done that haven’t become films yet, which should, and how should they look?
Over on his message boards, writer Mark Millar teases a crossover between three of his creator-owned properties — Kick-Ass, Superior and Nemesis — with some art by Leinil Francis Yu.
“Leinil’s just finished some layouts here, but it’s a nice teaser for everyone,” he said about the art. “The picture really says it all: Nemesis, Superior, Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass. The first Millarworld crossover event.”
No other details were given in terms of what this is or where it might appear, but his Clint Magazine might be a likely venue.
Update: It’s three covers.
Like he’s done previously with characters in Kick-Ass and Nemesis, writer Mark Millar is once again auctioning off the opportunity to name one of his characters. This time around Millar is offering the naming rights to the young boy who transforms into Superior, star of the upcoming comic of the same name by Millar and artist Leinil Francis Yu.
The auction will once again benefit a special needs unit in a school where his brother, Dr. Bobby Millar, has been raising money for a new mini-bus.
“It’s amazing how much the Nemesis one made compared to the Kick-Ass one,” MIllar said on his forums. “We made about sixteen hundred bucks on the Dave Lizewski name (which went towards the school itself), but a whopping $17,000 (£10,000) for Nemesis and the first steps towards their mini-bus a few months back. This plus some private donations means they now have £10,000 left to get what they want: Not too shabby considering they only started raising this dough after Easter this year.”
“Stephen King did this a while back and it’s great. A reader gets their name in a book, I get a real name for a realistic wee character and some special needs kids get something they were needing. Perfect.”
You can place your bid on eBay.
A variant cover for the Mark Millar guest-edited issue of Wizard, in stores this week, provides the first look at Superior, his upcoming creator-owned project with artist Leinil Francis Yu.
Teased a month ago at Comic Book Resources, Superior has remained somewhat mysterious, with Millar keeping uncharacteristically tight-lipped about the title. But with the release of Wizard #228, we get a glimpse at the comic’s hero — and his wrestling belt.
“His visual is based on the same old strongman look from the ’30s as [well as] lots of other old heroes,” Millar writes on his message board. “The story starts with Superior 5 in cinemas and nobody really caring anymore. It’s a character who’s been around for a long time. My love-letter to another costumed hero.”
What costumed hero could that be? Hm …
“I love the fact that nobody has guessed the tone of this yet,” writes Millar, adding that more will be revealed in an interview at CBR closer to the October launch. “This is your Super 8-style teaser for now.”
Update: Rich Johnston has a few more details (and a couple of scanned images) plucked from Millar’s Wizard interview, in which the writer says, “What I suppose I’ve done here really is kind of Marvelize Superman.” Superior apparently centers on a 13-year-old boy with multiple sclerosis who becomes “an adult overpowered superhero.”