Kerry Callen posted this before Thanksgiving, but it seems especially appropriate now that the holiday is over. Ever wonder how super heroes handle clean-up chores after those big turkey dinners? Callen has the answer. Are Flash’s pals being unfair? Can he convince them that they are? Only one way to find out.
As someone who spent a significant portion of his childhood in superhero Underoos, I can appreciate the sentiment behind these new DC Comics-branded boxerbriefs from Diesel and Warner Bros. — even if I can’t envision myself, as an adult (lacking the body of an underwear model), wearing them. Or, y’know, shelling out $34 for the pleasure.
However, if you’re itching to sport the logos of Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash and The Joker above your cotton- and elastane-clad buttcheeks — or to see someone else do the same — then these are for you.
There’s probably a “stocking stuffer” joke to be made — also, “The Fastest Man Alive” — but I’ll do my best to resist. Alas, the folks at Diesel apparently don’t have that level of restraint, as the (let’s hope intentionally) hilarious promo video for the underwear drops the phrases “heroes will rise” and “show ‘em what you’ve got.” You can check it out below.
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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Last week I asked why the Silver Age is so pervasive in DC lore. Even though that’s something of a rhetorical question, I felt like it was left largely unanswered. The short answer is that the Silver Age represents the modern DC Universe’s origin story, so you’re never going to get rid of it entirely, regardless of reboots, relaunches, and/or legacy characters. However, in terms of style and tone, things are naturally more complicated.
It’s hard for me to talk about the Silver Age without relating it to the subsequent Bronze Age, mostly because I grew up with the comics of the mid-1970s. I see the Silver Age as an era of wild ideas, told in standalone stories which were light on consequences, whereas the Bronze took those stories and ideas and extrapolated a more “realistic” status quo from them. This is not to say that the Bronze Age was some vast improvement, since realism in superhero comics is a tricky prospect at best.
However, to me that point of compartmentalization, at which a previous creative team’s run goes from an ongoing concern to a finished body of work, is highly significant. That’s when the rules governing a feature are established (or amended), and therefore that’s when the people in charge of that feature decide how (and how much) it can grow. The same applies in the aggregate to the universe those features share.
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Three recent bits of DC news are running together in my mind. Cumulatively they may amount to nothing — housekeeping details and/or fallout from the New-52 relaunch — but individually they seem significant, because they may well speak to the proverbial “reset button” which DC claims does not exist. Put simply, I think that reset button exists, I think it affects all of the New-52 books, and I expect it to be revealed within the next year or two. Whether it gets pushed, and/or how much resetting occurs, is another matter.
While it may be overprotective to put a SPOILER WARNING so early in the post, I realize some of you may want to discover these things as they are actually published.
I don’t blame you — I was trying to avoid the Wonder Woman thing, but that’s what I get for reading convention coverage. (And yes, I have seen the recent news about a certain Flash character.)
Anyway, SPOILERS for potential DC milestones big and small….
Peppered with questions over the past few months about the status of Wally West in DC’s New 52, The Flash collaborators Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have professed a fondness for the character, and even teased that he would crop up at some point.
But in a just-posted interview with Comic Book Resources, the co-writers revealed they’ve submitted a Wally proposal to DC. The problem is, the publisher doesn’t seem to be in a rush to reintroduce the former Kid Flash turned Fastest Man Alive.
“The pitch is on Dan [DiDio's] desk,” a laughing Manapul tells CBR. “Let’s see if he finds it! That’s really all there is to say!”
However, when contacted by CBR, a DC representative said there are no plans for Wally West at this time.
Buccellato addressed the Wally Question on his blog in August, shortly before the relaunch: “We often get asked that very fair question, and we wish we had an answer that would satisfy. But the simple truth is we don’t. Our book is about Barry. We are focusing on Barry. And there is nothing we can say to put Wally fans at peace. Sorry, guys. I really am. And we are not bothered when we are asked about Wally. It’s okay to ask us … I’m glad there are people out that that feel so strongly about The Flash. Unfortunately, there is no new information to impart. I can’t tell you why there is no Wally.”
He did offer some speculation, though, centering on Wally’s origin being dependent on Barry Allen, and Warner Bros.’ interest in a Flash movie featuring the latter version.
Check out the CBR interview with Manapul and Buccellato for details of their plans for The Flash.
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.
It is, thankfully, the last week of September which means that, if I had $15, I only have one more week of new launches from DC to pick out potential favorites, Sophie’s Choice-style. This week: Aquaman #1, Flash #1, Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Men #1, Justice League Dark #1 and Superman #1 make the cut (All DC, all $2.99 each).
If I had the chance to add some more money to take that total to $30, I’d go for some Marvel books: Brian Michael Bendis gets well-represented with Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #2 ($3.99); New Avengers #16.1 ($2.99), his “new readers jump on” issue with art by Neal Adams; and Brilliant #1 ($3.99), his new creator-owned book with Mark Bagley. Here’s hoping I’m in a suitably Bendis-y mood when I read all of these ones.
Splurgewise, it has to be Habibi (Pantheon, $35), Craig Thompson’s new graphic novel. I know a few people who’ve had a chance to read it already, and everyone has made it sound like a large leap ahead from Blankets, and something almost worth the many-year wait it’s been since his breakthrough last book. I’m really looking forward to this one.
Accompanying its story about DC Comics’ New 52 sellout — that’s right, all 52 premiere issues have sold out at the distributor level — The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog runs our first look at Greg Capullo’s variant cover for The Flash #2.
Unfortunately, the image is small, so we don’t get to fully appreciate the illustration, complete with the “OMG” setting on the speedometer. Hopefully DC’s Source blog will provide a larger version of the cover soon.
Capullo, who’s already receiving praise for his work with writer Scott Snyder on the relaunched Batman, also provided variant covers for Green Lantern #1 and the upcoming Justice League #3 and Action Comics #4.
In case you haven’t read the official announcement at Comic Book Resources, DC also revealed this morning that Aquaman #1 is the 11th title from the relaunch to sell more than 100,000 copies. It joins the first issues of Action Comics, Batgirl, Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman: The Dark Knight, Detective Comics, The Flash, Green Lantern, Justice League and Superman in doing so. In addition, Batman has joined Action Comics and Justice League in breaking the 200,000-copy mark.
The Flash #2, with the Capullo variant, arrives Oct. 26.
Although this won’t raise the pop-culture alarms that news of the end of the marriage of Clark Kent and Lois Lane did, DC Comics has confirmed that another, much older union will bite the dust in the publisher’s line-wide relaunch: that of Barry Allen and Iris West.
The word comes this afternoon from editor Brian Cunningham, who writes at The Source that Barry, like Clark, is a single man who’s never been married. “I’ll give you all a few seconds to take that in and digest it,” Cunningham says.
That’s right, as with Clark and Lois, post-Flashpoint the nearly 45-year-old marriage of Barry Allen and Iris West never happened. It’s probably not a huge surprise, considering the push to make superheroes younger and/or more relevant tends to involve the jettisoning of spouses (see also: Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson).
But in the New 52, Iris and Barry aren’t dating, either. No, like Lois, The Flash is seeing somebody else — in his case, his longtime lab assistant Patty Spivot, who was introduced back in 1977, when Barry and Iris had only been married for 11 years. Surely the Central City Police Department has rules about relationships in the workplace …
“If that upsets you, sorry about that,” Cunningham writes. “But I make no apologies for opening up a traditional storytelling avenue with our hero’s romantic life, something that’s been shut closed for a very long time now. This is no indictment of marriage. I’m a married man and wouldn’t trade it for anything. But in the realm of fiction, I feel strongly that this change to Barry opens up fresh, new creative directions and exciting new storylines.”
He assures Iris fans that she’ll remain a part of The Flash‘s supporting cast, writing a blog for the Central City Citizen’s website.
The Flash #1, by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, arrives in stores Sept. 28.
I’m pretty sure every other DC-Comics blogger in the known universe will be doing this, but for me it is an imperative: from now through the end of the month, this space will give short, probably reactionary, and likely ill-considered reviews of all 52 new titles. Not surprisingly, then, this week is all Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1.
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I liked Flashpoint #1 pretty well. I thought it was a promising start to a story that — in a daring departure for a big event — could stand on its own without universe-altering ramifications.
Of course, that was in early May, a lifetime ago.
While Flashpoint #5 finishes that story, it does so in a way that feels maddeningly hollow. Not the epilogue, mind you — that sequence just manages to avoid mawkishness, and is a well-done counterpoint to the end of issue #1. No, my problem with issue #5 (and to a lesser extent with the miniseries generally) is the way in which writer Geoff Johns apparently just decides he needs to wrap things up.
SPOILERS FOLLOW for Flashpoint #5, and later for Justice League #1 …
DC Comics continues the promotional onslaught for its line-wide relaunch this morning by unveiling the variant covers for The Flash #1 – one by series artist and co-writer Francis Manapul, and the other by Ivan Reis and Tim Townsend.
The Flash #1, which pits Barry Allen against an all-new foe who can be everywhere at once, debuts Sept. 28.
One of the more precarious parts of DC’s New-52 relaunch is this notion that a whole lot of in-story history happened over just five years of comic-book time. So far, this comes primarily from narration in the new Justice League #1, indicating that the team was formed “five years ago,” when “the world didn’t know what a super-hero was.”
Now, this may not be an entirely accurate measurement of the relaunch’s age. Practically by definition, the Justice League consists of heroes with fairly well-established careers, so we have to think that its charter members had been around for a little while before teaming up. Furthermore, in the context of the New 52 specifically, we can infer from what we know about the new Action Comics — which will show him less-powerful and with a more mundane costume — that Superman debuted some time before the events of Justice League #1. (According to Comics Alliance’s account of Friday’s New-52 Comic-Con panel, Action initially takes place just a few months before Justice League.)
Even as filming begins on The Dark Knight Rises and production gears up for Man of Steel, DC Comics appears poised to transform a relaunched Justice League into its flagship title.
The new series, by superstar creators (and DC executives) Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, kicks off a sweeping editorial shakeup that sees the publisher restarting its entire superhero line in September with 52 No. 1 issues that will introduce “a more modern, diverse DC Universe,” with many characters sporting changed origins, ages and costumes. It also marks the beginning of same-day digital release for all DC Universe books.
As Comic Book Resources reported late yesterday, the 52 titles are believed to include Superman by Grant Morrison, Hawkman by James Robinson and Philip Tan, Birds of Prey by a writer other than Gail Simone, Green Lantern by Johns, Teen Titans by Fabian Nicieza, Justice Society of America, Wonder Woman that bears little resemblance to J. Michael Straczynski’s truncated run, and the previously announced Aquaman by Johns and Ivan Reis. We can likely add to the list the delayed Batwoman by J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman and Amy Reeder (both because the series has been in production for a long time and because DC is reaffirming its commitment to diversity with such characters as Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle, Cyborg and Kate Kane).
But leading the charge is Justice League — no “of America” this time, just Justice League — a title that will feature, at its core, DC’s A-list superheroes: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash and Aquaman. The team roster, USA Today reports, will ultimately boast 14 members — judging from the cover of the first issue, Cyborg, and not Martian Manhunter, will round out the traditional Big Seven — but the focus will be on those iconic characters. Now with their flipped-up collars, new ‘dos and revamped origins.
This is not necessarily another post about DC’s post-Flashpoint superhero titles. However, since we superhero readers must deal with a climate of perpetual change, I often wonder just how far DC could go in rolling back its big changes.
In a sense, the first big set of changes started in 1956, with Barry Allen’s debut as the new Flash. Barry’s introduction acknowledged explicitly that there had been a previous (albeit “fictional”) Flash, whose name Barry took and whose costume was Barry’s inspiration. You know the rest: new versions of Green Lantern, the Atom, Hawkman, etc., followed; they all teamed up as an updated Justice Society called the “Justice League”; and they were joined by a number of new characters like Adam Strange, the Hawk and the Dove, and the Doom Patrol.
After that, though, DC’s Silver Age of the 1960s was exciting but uneventful, because (outside of a few marriages) its status quo was never really challenged. Accordingly, when the Doom Patrol was murdered (in September 1968′s issue #121) and Dick Grayson left Wayne Manor (in December 1969′s Batman #217), DC’s shared superhero universe moved into a new phase.
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Journeys is selling Converse All Star Hi-Tops featuring a selection of DC superheroes for $60. Fans can choose between Superman, Batman, Green Lantern (in two styles, one featuring other members of the Corp), The Flash and The Joker.
Which would you get? Or would you rather hold out for another character?