Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Manga | Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece, the bestselling manga in Japan, is getting a spinoff: Starting with the January issue, which ships in December, the manga magazine Saikyo Jump will carry a series focusing on Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates. There doesn’t seem to be any information yet on who the creators will be. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | In a business-oriented interview, Mark Waid talks about the strategy behind his digital comics site Thrillbent, especially its appeal to diverse groups of readers. The key is flexibility, Waid said, in terms of platforms and content. His goal is to make the comics readable on any digital device, which he says is not difficult once the site is set up. In terms of content, he says, “Pay attention to the audience, let them tell you who you’re clearly not serving, and go after them.” [The Wall Street Journal]
Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass points out that DC has changed the cover on Birds of Prey #13 from what was solicited. Ben Oliver created the artsy, solicited cover, while Trevor McCarthy drew the dynamic one that showed up with DC’s preview of the issue. Both can be seen in all their glory below.
They’re both attractive pieces of work, so this isn’t about one of them being bad. What I’m interested in are the different purposes the two covers serve. Oliver’s, as Sue points out, is eye-catching and “poster material.” Rob Staeger notes in the comments, however, that McCarthy’s cover, while busier, better communicates what’s in the story.
My question for you is: Which do you prefer? Not just for this particular issue, but in general. Are you more likely to try a new comic with an artful, but interchangeable depiction of the main characters? Or with a powerful representation of what’s going on in the story?
Writer Douglas Rushkoff repurposes the familiar acronym for the title of this original graphic novel, only here it stands for Adolescent Demo Division rather than Attention Deficit Disorder (although the association with the original definition is certainly attentional, and somewhat apropos).
The kids of this ADD are professional beta testers and something of a focus group as intentional society. They were raised from the cradle to test things, and to compete as the athletes of the near-future, where video game competitions are apparently the dominant professional sport.
Something’s a little off with these kids though, as civilians and their competitors all notice and never fail to point out, and they all seem to have some sort of developing superpower, as well. Protagonist Lionel can see through electronic information and codes of all kinds to the message and intent behind, his friend Takai can build and un-build just about anything, and so on.
When some of the kids themselves discover something’s off regarding their origins and the company that keeps them pampered prisoners, they try to escape. Rushkoff’s plot is well-structured, if quite familiar and predictable, and he obviously put a lot of care into crafting the near-future slang of the teens, most of which struck me more as funny than convincing (“Dekh” for decode, “Kopa” for cool by way of copacetic, “nexy” for a blend of new, next and sexy, etc).
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DC Comics continued rolling out announcements this week with word that Detective Comics and American Vampire scribe Scott Snyder, along with co-writer Kyle Higgins and artist Trevor McCarthy, will explore Gotham City’s dark secrets in Batman: Gates of Gotham.
Here’s the solicitation text:
BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM #1
Written by SCOTT SNYDER and KYLE HIGGINS
Art and Cover by TREVOR MCCARTHY
1:25 Variant cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN
When a mystery as old as Gotham City itself surfaces, Batman assembles a team of his greatest detectives – including Red Robin, Owlman, I-Ching and others – to investigate this startling new enigma. As clues are discovered and the mystery deepens, Batman’s team soon finds itself on a journey that explores different eras in Gotham’s history and touches upon notable Gotham families including the Waynes, Kanes, and Elliotts.
This miniseries spins out of recent events in the Batman titles and sets the stage for several exciting storylines in 2011. Additionally, this limited series touches upon mysterious story elements introduced in Grant Morrison’s RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE. Featuring many exciting Batman Family guest stars!
The six-issue series begins in May.