INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
We’ve known for a while that DC’s superhero line will go through some changes in the wake of Forever Evil, and as the March solicitations bring the end of that Big Event, not surprisingly the month looks rather transitory. In fact, Forever Evil #7 is scheduled to appear on March 26, just as the final issue of Blackest Night — also written by Geoff Johns as a spinoff of his highest-profile series, in case you’d forgotten — dropped on the last week of March 2010. (It must be pure coincidence that these solicits feature a $200 White Power Battery tchotcke.) Back then, BN #8 was supposed to “set the stage” for the “next epic era of DC Comics,” which turned out to be about 18 months long and featured the biweekly sort-of-sequel miniseries Brightest Day. This time, Forever Evil #7 teases the importance of the “Hooded Man” and promises to “leave the DC universe reeling and reveal the secrets to the future.”
So, yeah, sounds like another cliffhanger ending, perhaps even leading into another big-deal miniseries — specifically, the May-debuting weekly Futures End. Considering that the three tie-in miniseries (ARGUS, Arkham War and Rogues Rebellion) all seem to feed into FE #7, the actual content of that final issue may well be a giant scrum, not unlike the final issue of Flashpoint, in which some cosmic button is pushed, defeating the Crime Syndicate but at a significant cost to DC-Earth. As it happens, there’s no mention of the “Blight” sub-crossover (bringing together Phantom Stranger, Pandora, Constantine and JL Dark) feeding back into Forever Evil, but I’m not sure how much it’s supposed to relate, beyond being about the JLD trying to pick up the post-invasion pieces.
Happy Marriage?! Vol. 1 (Viz Media): Maki Enjoji’s Josei rom-com dispenses with the suspense of the typical will-they, won’t-they business, marrying off her heroine and the handsome, mysterious, prickly bachelor in the first chapter. Here, the couple starts off married, and then must get to know one another and fall in love.
Our heroine is Chiwa Takanashi, who works in an office by day and a hostess in a club by night, in an ultimately hopeless attempt to earn enough to get her ridiculous-with-money father out of his astronomical debt. She finds an unlikely way out of that situation when company president Hokuto Mamiya suddenly proposes marriage. It turns out the chairman of the board (and Hokuto’s grandfather) owes a debt of kindness to Chiwa’s family, and would only agree to let Hokuto have full control of the company if he marries Chiwa.
And that’s the set-up. The middle-class Chiwa suddenly finds herself married to one of the most eligible bachelors in Japan, and in the difficult situation of having to keep the marriage secret from almost everyone (something about the business advantage of a bachelor image, I think), and trying to make the most of a loveless relationship — although each chapter makes it more and more clear it won’t be loveless for too long.
Awards | Although the website for the 40th Angoulême International Comics Festival is down, several outlets managed to pick up on the official selections for the 2013 festival, to be held Jan. 31-Feb. 3. Contenders for book of the year include Big Questions by Anders Nilsen, Daytripper by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, Fables by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges and others, The Hive by Charles Burns, The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon, Paying For It by Chester Brown, and The Walking Dead Vol. 16 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. Fatale Vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, and The Green River Killer by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case were among those named in the crime comic category. [BoDoi]
Publishing | Bluewater Productions Publisher Darren G. Davis isn’t afraid to talk about real numbers: Bluewater’s income is about $2 million a year, and the most popular titles sell 5,000 to 10,000 copies apiece, although others never make it out of the triple digits. And while he admits he doesn’t have a thick skin, Davis says he has gotten used to criticism: “I’ve learned that I’m not my company. When they attack my company, they are not attacking me personally.” [The Columbian]
This week sees the print debut of Legends of the Dark Knight, the ongoing print version of DC’s digital-first Batman anthology. By design it’s not part of the regular Batman line, and therefore not counted as one of the New 52. However, it gives me an excuse to ask how many Bat-books DC Comics really needs.
Now, I don’t mean that to be as dismissive as it sounds. The current Batman line is built on years, if not decades, of steady readership and fan attachments, and you don’t just wave that away. Nevertheless, if there are only 52 slots in the main superhero line, must the Batman Family claim a quarter of them? The relaunch has made pruning these titles both easier and harder, and today I want to look at the opportunities it presents.
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Although we’ve seen many new titles in DC Comics’ New 52, there really haven’t been new characters. Sure, we’ve been introduced to new versions of old favorites or new additions to larger, historic franchises, when you’re talking about wholly new concepts, with no years of built-up awareness, then the New 52’s titles are rather … old. That is, until September’s Talon series.
Talon spirals out of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman story arc “Night of the Owls,” in which Bruce Wayne discovers a centuries-old secret society named the Court of the Owls has been operating under his nose. The new series follows Calvin Rose, a member who goes rogue and tries to stay one step ahead of the organization. This isn’t a new character carrying the legacy prefix of Bat-something, Super-something or continuing the legacy of an entrenched hero like Green Lantern; Talon is a new character, cut from a new cloth. And that’s important.
DC and Marvel have been chided (and rightfully so) by fans and pundits for their inability to create new characters with new titles to join established stalwarts like Spider-Man and Batman. But just as Hollywood studios find it easier to produce sequels and retreads, the superhero universes of DC and Marvel create new feature characters largely by riding on the coattails of established ones. What would Daken or X-23 if they weren’t the children of Wolverine? Would Batwoman have as much impact if she didn’t share the Bat-emblem? And just look at the recent switch-up of Thunderbolts to Dark Avengers, to better align itself with the more recognized “Avengers” mantle.
And while Talon isn’t completely new, as he springs out of an organization introduced in recent Batman comics, he’s by far the closest thing to new DC or Marvel’s superhero universes have seen in some time. Let’s see how it works.
DC Comics in September brings together two gimmicks. This being corporate-run superhero comics, naturally these two things have been tried before. September’s unified cover themes remind me of January 2009’s “Faces of Evil” (not particularly uplifting) and January 2011’s “Salute to White Space.” The new “Zero Month” recalls August 1994, when every main-line DC superhero title got an Issue #0 in the wake of July’s weekly, timeline-tweaking Zero Hour miniseries. Just over four years later, in September 1998, the weekly DC One Million miniseries launched all the superhero books into the 853rd Century with #1,000,000 issues.
Personally, I’m looking forward to September 2013’s Roman Numeral Month, September 2014’s Hexadecimal Month, and September 2015’s Binary Month (can’t wait for Justice League #100100!).
Continue Reading »
On Friday, DC Comics announced four titles will launch in September, at which point the New 52 DCU (or New52U) will be one year old, and every title will get a special zero issue (you remember; you were there).
At this point, it’s unclear whether DC will be canceling four existing books to make room for this third wave of new titles — remember when the publisher announced a half-dozen new books in May, it was to replace a half-dozen canceled ones — but given the amount of work that went into making “The New 52″ a thing, it seems likely that four books will be canceled shortly to keep the number consistent.
Of course, DC doesn’t always do what seems most likely, does it? For example, when rebooting and relaunching the entire line of comics in an attempt to increase readership by seeking out new audiences, it mostly just rearranged their creative teams, so the “new” DC Comics were being made by the same people who made the “old” DC Comics, which is a little like a losing baseball team deciding to have all the players trade positions and see if that helps.
But what about these new titles? Who is making them, and what chance do they have in today’s market? Better than Hawk and Dove and OMAC? What chance do they have of growing today’s market or, at the very least, growing DC’s readership?
Let’s take a closer look at the books, and judge them by the judge-able information DC has released: Continue Reading »
Although DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio emphasized just last month that his goal is to keep the core DC Universe line at 52 titles, with new books introduced only after others are canceled, this morning’s official announcement of four series debuts alongside the September “Zero Month” initiative will push the count past that magic number. At least temporarily.
IGN.com confirmed with DC that there will indeed be more than 52 in September with the addition of the “Night of the Owls” spinoff Talon, the fantasy Sword of Sorcery (anchored by “Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld” with a “Beowulf” back-up), The Phantom Stranger and the DCU/Wildstorm-merging Team Seven. Each title will debut with a zero issue, and then continue in October with #1.
However, that doesn’t mean no New 52 titles are being canceled: The publisher already revealed that Justice League International will end in August with Issue 12 (artist Aaron Lopresti is now penciling the Amethyst feature in Sword of Sorcery), and it’s likely it won’t be alone for long.
“We’ve announced one cancellation already, which is Justice League International, and at this time, we’re looking at reviewing the rest of the line,” DiDio told Newsarama. “But one of the primary goals is to maintain the number 52 as the number of series that we’ll be doing on a continuing basis. […] One of the things we try to do in this case is, as the expression goes, [not] throw the baby out with the bath water. So if a series does go away, we want to make sure we have a proper place for the characters, because the idea of just bringing everything to an end or a close so that nobody else can use anything else from there is detrimental to the line and the universe that we’re building. So the primary goal here is, even if a book comes to an end, that there’s some aspect of that series that moves forward and still continues on.”
DC has rolled out its “Third Wave” announcement with interviews across the Internet with Talon co-writer Scott Snyder, Sword of Sorcery creators Christy Marx and Aaron Lopresti, The Phantom Stranger writer Dan DiDio and Team Seven writer Justin Jordan. Check out the zero-issue covers for Batman Incorporated, Team Seven and Talon below. (Update: Now with full Talon cover and The Phantom Stranger promo image.)