PREVIEWS: "Civil War II," "Punisher" & More Marvel Comics on Sale June 1, 2016
When DC Comics announced it was launching a series based on its popular Ame-Comi line of figures, I don’t think I heard a single person say, “Yes! I was hoping for that!” The Ame-Comi collectibles can be imaginative and attractive (some more than others), but no one was clamoring for a series that sexualized DC’s superheroines even more overtly than they already are. In fact, the most common responses were either head-scratching or eye-rolling, depending on how much the person thought DC has legitimately tried to reach out to female readers lately. But then the creators were announced.
Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray write the series and Amanda Conner drew the first couple of installments, which were serialized digitally first, 10 pages at a time. Putting the creators of the well-regarded Power Girl series on Ame-Comi Girls was a smart move and convinced a lot of readers who otherwise would have dismissed the comic – including me – to give it at least an initial look.
DC Comics kicks off its return to digital comics beginning Monday with the debut of the anime-influenced series Ame-Comi Girls. Based on a series of statuettes released by DC Collectibles (formerly DC Direct), Ame-Comi Girls features some of DC’s top female characters redesigned both in story and style to be more like anime and manga. DC says the new series’ first story arc shows the heroines fighting off a female Brainiac and a gang of “bad-girl” supervillains.
According to The Source, new weekly chapters will be available for download each Monday, with five individual character arcs — Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Duela Dent, Supergirl and Power Girl — leading up to a united Ame-Comi Girls series.
What makes this extra interesting is the talent behind the digital-first project: Co-writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are joined by a great assortment of artists like Amanda Conner, Tony Akins, Ted Naifeh and Sanford Greene.
This series will be joined in June by an anthology-style Batman series that the publisher pointedly says will be outside of “DC Comics continuity.” The creators involved on that is a treat as well, from the inspired pairing of Damon Lindelof and Jeff Lemire to B. Clay Moore and Ben Templesmith.
Well, she listens to his soundtrack while crazily racing towards deadlines, for one thing.
At The Huffington Post, Dave Scheidt asked several comics creators what music they listen to while making comics. In addition to Staples, he talked to Becky Cloonan, Tony Akins, Steve Niles, Michael Kupperman, and Rick Remender. Who likes Charlie Parker and Brian Eno? Who prefers Meat Puppets and Corrosion of Conformity? Who’s into Kveldssanger and The Mercian Sphere? Only one way to find out.
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 this week, I’d avoid Marvel and DC altogether and go for some more independent offerings. Top of the pile would definitely be Prophet #21 (Image, $2.99), Brandon Graham’s much-anticipated revamp of the Rob Liefeld book from the mid-90s, recreated (with artist Simon Roy) as some kind of Heavy Metal fever dream; I’m a massive fan of Graham’s, and excited to see what he can come up with when he tries to play it (relatively) straight. I’d also grab Dynamite’s Kirby Genesis: Dragonbane #1 ($3.99), another spin-off from the Busiek/Ross/Herbert series this time focusing on the almost Thor-analog warrior, and IDW’s Memorial #2 ($3.99), continuing the urban fantasy series that I enjoyed so much last month. Lastly, I’d grab the cheap relaunch for Antony Johnston’s Wasteland (#33, Oni, $1.00); I’ve really enjoyed this post-apocalyptic world building book for awhile, but this relaunch – which will return the book to a monthly schedule as well as debut new artist Justin Greenwood – looks set to be a good jumping-on point for those who’ve never sampled its charms before.
If I had $30, I’d be likely to put Dragonbane back on the shelf and try out Marvel’s Fear Itself: Journey Into Mystery Premiere HC collection ($19.99) instead. Not having been a fan of Matt Fraction’s Thor, I skipped the first few issues of this and then, by the time I kept hearing great things and realized I actually really enjoy Kieron Gillen’s writing, it was far enough into the run that I knew I’d end up waiting for the collection. Color me cautiously optimistic.
When it comes to splurging, my love of comics from around when I was born rears its ugly head again, and I find myself drawn to Marvel Firsts: 1970s Vol. 1 TP (Marvel, $29.99). This is possibly my favorite era from the House of Ideas, so the idea of an anthology of some of its weirdest hits sounds right up my alley.
DC Comics completed their list of 52 collections for the new 52 relaunch titles by announcing that a Wonder Woman hardcover, collecting issues #1-6 of the series by writer Brian Azzarello and artists Cliff Chiang and Tony Akins, will come out next May. The 144-page book will retail for $22.99.
DC announced via their January solicitations that Akins, who has previously drawn Jack of Fables, Elementals and, with Azzarello, a comic called Red Dragon from the now defunct Comico, would fill in for artist Cliff Chiang on issue #5 and #6. According to Chiang on Twitter, he’ll be back on the book with issue #7.
I was going to open with some snotty Wow, the holidays went by super-quickly! comment, but then I read the first issue of Justice League in seven weeks. Sometimes DC gets ahead of itself; sometimes it’s a little behind. Happens to the best of us — sometimes you do two solicitation roundups in three weeks….
Anyway, with the January solicitations, the New-52 books each turn five issues old. Series wrapping up their first arcs this month include Blackhawks, Batwoman, Animal Man, and the Deadman feature in DC Universe Presents. (Not to worry about the latter, because there is a lot of Deadman in these solicits.) I’m not sure why five issues is such a wonky number for story arcs — there are five-issue miniseries all the time and they collect just fine. Still, I expected most of the New-52 books to take six issues for their introductory stories, and most of them may yet do that. Only a few books look to finish their first arcs after December’s issue #4s (Hawkman and Frankenstein, probably OMAC, maybe Batgirl), and those plus this month’s are barely an eighth of the relaunched line. It makes next month’s solicits more intriguing, I suppose.
Regardless, we live in the now (as it were…) so — onward to January!
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DC Comics has begun parceling out its January solicitations ahead of the full release this afternoon, revealing Tony Akins as the first fill-in artist for Wonder Woman. As noted last week, Cliff Chiang will still provide the cover for Issue 5, which finds Diana back home in London dealing with “two of the most powerful deities of the pantheon.”
Chiang and Wonder Woman writer Brian Azzarello had one of the most acclaimed debuts in DC’s New 52.
Beyond that, the creative teams in the Justice League, Superman and Batman groups, the only solicitations released so far, appear stable in the fifth month of DC’s relaunch. The covers range from dazzling — Wonder Woman by Chiang, Batwoman by J.H. Williams III and Batgirl by Adam Hughes are particularly noteworthy — to confounding. Starfire appears to be bleeding from her hair on Red Hood and the Outlaws (damned cheap Tamaranian dye jobs), while the covers of Detective Comics and Superman employ some oddly executed split images.
And then there’s the enormous demonic creature gnawing on Nightwing …
Check out some of the highlights, and lowlights, below, and visit Comic Book Resources at 2 p.m. PT to see DC’s full solicitations for January.