“We sit at home and make comics and we don’t really see the impact until we go to a comic show or we get letters. I get letters just about every day. I either get a letter or a tweet. I get physical letters mailed to my P.O. Box still, which is cool. That’s how you know you’re doing it — you’re doing it right — because when I’m at home, I am making comics and throwing out the garbage. But when we’re at a convention, we’re like rock stars. [Laughs] And if we get recognized at the grocery store or a comic book shop, that’s pretty cool too.”
– Art Baltazar, about introducing children to reading through comics, in an interview with CBR about the return of Tiny Titans
Longtime collaborators Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani have been on a roll recently, partnering their Aw Yeah Comics store with Alter Ego Comics, tackling Itty Bitty Hellboy at Dark Horse, which will also collect their Aw Yeah Comics series, and bringing the “Li’l” treatment to several Dynamite Entertainment titles.
However, they’re not finished yet: Aureliani announced over the weekend on Twitter, “Big news out of DC comics and @dandidio1 says so: can you say: Tiny Titans?,” followed by, “Yes! It’s true! New Tiny Titans coming soon!” Although there’s been no official announcement, DC Comics Co-Published Dan DiDio re-tweeted the second message.
The Eisner Award-winning all-ages series, which ran for 50 issues from April 2008 to May 2012, depicts the lighthearted adventures of child versions of DC heroes (primarily the Teen Titans) at Sidekick City Elementary, where Deathstroke is principal and Darkseid is the lunch lady.
There’s no word yet on when, or in what format, fans should expect the return of Tiny Titans.
Legal | Palestinian cartoonist Mohammed Saba’aneh was released from an Israeli prison on Monday, as scheduled. Saba’aneh, who was originally held without charges and eventually sentenced to five months for “contacts with a hostile organization,” drew several cartoons while he was in prison and plans to do a show of his prison drawings, focusing on Palestinian prisoners who, he says, are in prison “just because they are Palestinians.” [PRI's The World]
Manga | In a major coup for a manga publisher, Digital Manga (which, contrary to its name, also published print manga) announced at Anime Expo that it has signed a deal with Tezuka Productions to publish all of Osamu Tezuka’s works in North America. While the details aren’t entirely clear, it sounds like Digital is working on some new licenses and will have digital rights to books released here in print by other publishers. [Anime News Network]
This should lift the spirits of readers still mourning the end of DC Comics’ Tiny Titans: Cool Toy Review and Fwoosh have the first looks at Mattel’s Comic-Con International-exclusive boxed set featuring five figures — Robin, Raven, Cyborg, Starfire and Beast Boy — based on the character designs from the Eisner Award-winning series by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani. As you can see from the image above, the package is actually a Sidekick City Elementary bus driven by principal Slade Wilson and bearing the slogan “Convention or Bust.” On the back is a comic strip by Baltazar and Aureliani depicting the five pint-sized heroes, including a cosplaying Beast Boy, at the convention.
Check out more images below, and at Cool Toy Review and Fwoosh. The set will be available at the Mattel booth at Comic-Con for $20, and at MattyCollector.com later.
I often look at fan art and wish that it was from a real comic. But sometimes — rarely — the artist goes right ahead and makes a real comic out of his fan art. That’s what Yale Stewart’s done with Little League, his webcomic featuring the grammar-school adventures of the Justice League of America.
There are obvious similarities to Tiny Titans, but Stewart’s has a slightly different tone from that series. Like Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani’s wonderful comic for kids, Little League is cute and funny and occasionally references events in the regular DC Universe (like the current storyline in which some of the heroes get new costumes in order to appear grown-up). The differences have to do with format and probably with the characters themselves.
I’m not ashamed to tell you that when I read that DC Comics was canceling Art Baltazar and Franco’s Tiny Titans series, I collapsed to my knees, raised my eyes to the heavens and let out a long, low “Nooo!” I would have torn out my hair, if I had any hair to tear out, and I did try to rend my garments. However, I quickly discovered that either I am too weak to rend garments, or my garments were simply too well-made to be easily rend-able.
Tiny Titans quite gradually had become my favorite comic book-format comic; I picked up the first issue out of a mixture of curiosity and cynical disbelief that you could do a mass-appeal kids comic based on DC’s Titans franchise (after all, DC seems to have had trouble doing a narrow-appeal grown-up comic based on the franchise over the decades, if you see how many times its been canceled, relaunched and given new directions and new creators since Marv Wolfman stopped writing it). But I never dropped it, as Baltazar and Franco had decided to do an old-school (like, John Stanley old-school) gag comic featuring kid characters for kid readers, and do it in Baltazar’s own super-cute style, and fill it full of DC trivia and ephemera.
The silver lining of its cancellation was the announcement of Superman Family Adventures, which uses a name most recently used by DC for their Showcase Presents collections combining stories from Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane and Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. The new comic was to be by the exact same creative team, which preview art suggested would be told in a similar style. Well, the first issue hit the stands yesterday, and I have some thoughts about it.
The operative word for Mattel’s San Diego exclusives this year would be “cute,” if the three DC Comics items they posted on their MattyCollector site today are any indication. As you can see above, they’ll be offering a set of Tiny Titans collectible figures with a display base. And if that’s not enough of a cute overload for you, click below to see the Death figure and the Polly Pocket Comics Villains set, featuring a trio of Bat villains, labeled “A” for “Adorable.”
They also announced some Masters of the Universe and Ghostbusters exclusives as well, so click on over if you want to check those out.
Baltazar, Aureliani’s Superman Family Adventures coming next May; Tiny Titans ends with #50 [UPDATED]
Along with the rest of the “Silver” comic books coming on Free Comic Book Day next year, DC Comics announced the DC Nation 2012 Free Comic Book Day Super Sampler, which will feature comics based on their animated series Green Lantern, Young Justice and a new series called Superman Family Adventures. Today on the Source, DC announced the creative team for that book–the Tiny Titans team of Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani are working on the monthly Superman Family Adventures, which kicks off next May.
“I have been sitting on the edge of my seat, biting my tongue about Superman Family Adventures since Thursday, July 21 at approximately 4 p.m., when Art and Franco came to see me at SDCC and showed me the proposal for this series,” said series editor Kristy Quinn. “Whew. Now, at least, you’re all stuck waiting with me—I was getting lonely sitting at my desk with all this cool stuff I couldn’t share!”
Update: Issue #50 of Tiny Titans will be the final issue, as noted in today’s solicitations. Baltazar and Aureliani have been the creative team on Tiny Titans since DC started publishing it in 2008.
Here’s a quick review of DC’s Red Lantern Corps concept, introduced by Geoff Johns and company in 2007: Long ago, The Guardians of the Universe created an android army to police all of an existence, but a glitch in their programming caused them to commit genocide in “Sector 666,” killing all of the billions who lived there save five. These five formed a terrorist cell, and eventually one of them, named Atrocitus, killed the other four and used the power of his anger and need for revenge to form the Red Lantern Corps.
They wield the red energy of rage, and becoming a Red Lantern involves expelling all of the blood in the body, replacing the beating heart with the ring itself, and then pumping a sort of gory, acidic, liquid energy through the veins, which is often spit and vomited out as a weapon.
If you’ve only a passing familiarity with Green Lantern comics, the Red Lanterns are the characters you see puking blood on the covers.
So, perfect for little kids, right?
One might not think so, but artist Art Baltazar seems to have developed a knack for turning some of the modern DC Universe’s least all-ages concept into kid-friendly gold, as he demonstrates monthly in his Tiny Titans comic (Wherein Dr. Light is a science teacher, Deathstroke a elementary school principal and all the minor Titans characters brutally murdered in the pages of Teen Titans live in perfect harmony).
Baltazar gets his drawing hands on Red Lantern Dex-Starr, The Red Lantern who is also a house cat, in Super Hero Splash Down, one of the DC Super-Pets line of heavily-illustrated prose books for younger readers (Each are about 50 pages long, consist of three chapters, and have big, comic book sound effects embedded in the paragraphs, making for fun books to read aloud).
Conventions | Although final figures aren’t yet available, WonderCon organizers confirm attendance likely surpassed the 39,000 fans who came to last year’s convention. [Publishers Weekly]
Publishing | On his always-interesting new blog, Jim Shooter reminisces about the genesis of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars: “We went through a number of ideas for names for the toy line and series. Mattel’s focus group tests indicated that kids reacted positively to the words ‘wars’ and ‘secret.’ Okay.” [Jim Shooter]
Publishing | Longtime print broker Chikara Entertainment, which also offered book packaging and consulting services, has closed. [ICv2.com]
Retailing | Sarah Cohen provides a snapshot of South Florida comic stores struggling amid a weak economy and a changing marketplace. Some retailers have changed their strategies by diversifying their merchandise, holding events and reaching out to customers via the Internet. Others, however, prefer to do business the way they always have. “Making events and using social networking is pushy,” says Jorge Perez, owner of A&M Comics and Books in Miami. “It might help business, but then you would be on the computer all day doing stuff like that.” A&M, the oldest comic store in Florida one of the oldest in the nation, has seen business drop by about 40 percent since 2008. [Miami Herald]
To see what Jim and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click the link below.
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.
Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
If I had $15 this week, IDW would be seeing a lot of it. It’s a cheat, because I’ve actually already read both Doctor Who Vol. 2 #1 and GI Joe: Cobra II #12 (both $3.99), but both are licensed comics done right in my opinion; Who in particular really catches the tone of the TV show in a way that the last series, as fun as it was, didn’t quite do (despite the writer, Tony Lee, being the same for both), and Joe has an ending that’ll get the nostalgics in the audience jumping up and down. It’s a weird mix of anti-nostalgia and art appreciation that gets me looking at my other pick of the week, Marvel’s Invincible Iron Man #500, which I’ll be picking up less for the story – although I like the “What if this really was #500 of the current series, and set 40-odd years in the future?” idea behind it – than the art, seeing as the wonderful Nathan Fox, KANO and Carmine Di Giandomenico join the okay-if-you-like-photo-tracing Sal Larroca for this oversized issue.
Welcome to a long holiday weekend (at least here in the United States) edition of What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Doug Zawisza, who writes reviews and the occasional article for Comic Book Resources.
To see what Doug and the Robot 6 gang are reading, click below.
The Source brought the news last week of yet another crossover, and it’s a doozie: Turns out the Tiny Titans live right near Riverdale, and at last they are going to meet up with their counterparts, Little Archie and his pals. It looks like the result will be extreme cuteness, with Tiny Titans artist Art Baltazar coming up with a fresh yet familiar look for the Riverdale set. (It’s interesting to speculate on what the crossover would have looked like if it went the other way, with Archie artists drawing the Tiny Titans.) It looks like this is going to be a series, with Tiny Titans/Little Archie #1 making the scene in October.
Meanwhile, at First Comics News, would-be Archie writer Jeff Krell, the creator of the long-running gay comic Jayson, explains why, after almost 30 years of his own comic, he still yearns to write about Riverdale. You can tell that both he and interviewer Mark Haney are longtime Archie fans, and there are a lot of intriguing insights and ideas there.
The Archie folks are heading to SDCC this week, of course, and their schedule is here, on their excellent Archie News blog.
We’ve seen Jonah Hex in a faux Justice League recently, so why not the Tiny Titans? Artist J. Bone offers a glimpse at what a Tiny Titans version of DC’s cowboy movie star might look like, squirt guns and all.