REVIEW: "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is a Lot of Fun, a Little Flawed, and Whedon All the Way
Comic Books, Film
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Tim Seeley, whose work you may know from Hack/Slash, Bloodstrike, Witchblade, Colt Noble, the upcoming Ex Sanguine and Revival, and much more.
To see what Tim has been reading lately, click below.
Creators | Alex Zalben talks to James Robinson about his rebooted version of DC Comics’ Justice Society in Earth 2, and the process of creating a world of one’s own: “It always starts with certain plot points that immediately come to you, and you always want those moments to happen at some point, and you work towards them. There are some characters that come to you almost fully formed in your mind, and those are you anchors. And same with the world, there are some aspects of the world that you say, this is what I want to do, here or there, or there. They’re the anchors, and you slowly begin to add the other pieces so it links, and forms, and becomes a whole tapestry.” [MTV Geek]
Creators | Geoff Johns talks about the new, more nuanced version of Billy Batson that he and artist Gary Frank are creating in the Shazam back-up stories in Justice League: “Billy is trouble, but trouble in a way that I think we’ll find understandable, relatable and fun. He has a heart, a big one, but he also has a protective shell around it. He’s mischievous, independent and strong. He’s conflicted, tough and sad. And many other things. For us, Billy had to be as complex and as interesting as his alter ego.” [Hero Complex]
Rich Watson sent over this year’s nominees for the Glyph Comics Awards, which will be presented in May at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philadelphia. The awards recognize “the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color from the preceding calendar year.” Rich also announced that this will be his final year as chairman of the awards.
Check out the complete list of nominees below.
Story of the Year
The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury, Brandon Thomas, writer, Lee Ferguson, artist
“On Being Crazy” from African-American Classics: Graphic Classics Vol. 22, Tom Pumplun, writer, Kyle Baker, artist
Princeless, Jeremy Whitley, writer, Mia Goodwin, artist
Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man Volume 1, Brian Michael Bendis, writer, Sara Pichelli, artist
Auctions | An original watercolor by Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson, showing his creations lounging under a tree, fetched $107,000 at auction. [Comic Riffs]
Publishing | David Barnett writes an appreciation for 2000AD, the U.K. comics anthology that turns 35 years old this year: “For a seven-year-old, 2000AD was anarchic and fascistic and funny and frightening and gory and exciting and thought-provoking, all rolled up together. They called it 2000AD, presumably, because no one expected the comic to live that long. But 35 years after the first issue, which had a 26 February cover date, and in the year that Queen Elizabeth II marks her diamond jubilee, 2000AD is still going, delivering (in the magazine’s own words) ‘thrill power’ every single week since then.” [The Guardian]
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 had to happen; I’m so uninspired by this week’s offerings, I’d skip the $15 altogether and go straight for the $30 option, which I’d spend on the Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis Premiere Edition Vol. 1 HC (Marvel, $24.99); I ended up skipping out on the single issues after #3 because of the price, but I enjoyed it enough that I’d happily pick up the collection.
If I were looking to splurge even more than that, there’s also the Spider-Man: Spider-Island Companion HC (Marvel, $39.99), which gives me a chance to catch up on the peripheral titles from the recent event; I picked up the Spider-Girl series, but missed out on the well-reviewed Cloak and Dagger and other books.
You know who is getting a lot of my money this week? Abrams, that’s who: I’m going two for two on their releases this week.
If I had $15, I’d keep it all-ages, with their Explorer: Mystery Box anthology, edited by Kazu Kibuishi, who was also responsible for the Flight anthologies, so you know the talent lineup will be stellar. At $10.95, the paperback edition won’t break the bank, and it’s a good deal for 128 pages of full-color comics. That leaves just enough for issue #5 of Roger Langridge’s Snarked ($3.99).
If I had $30, I’d put Snarked back on the shelf and pick up another Abrams book with a more adult subject: My Friend Dahmer ($17.95 for the paperback). Derf Backderf went to school with Jeffrey Dahmer; one grew up to be a cartoonist, one became a serial killer. I’m always interested in how people evolve, and by all accounts, Backder’s story of the young Dahmer is fascinating.
Splurge: A big pile of manga! This is Viz’s big release week for comics stores, and they have a lot of worthy titles: Vol. 19 of Naoki Urasawa’s outstanding 20th Century Boys, vol. 6 of the lovely pseudo-historical shoujo drama The Story of Saiunkoku ($9.99), vol. 9 of the I-want-to-be-a-mangaka drama Bakuman ($9.99), and the first volume of a new series about a sassy girl in a new school, The Devil and Her Love Song ($9.99). There are some weeks when I can barely figure out how to spend any money at all, but between Abrams and Viz and BOOM!, this week really does bring an embarrassment of riches.
Publishing | Jennifer de Guzman announced that, after 10 years, she has left her position as editor-in-chief of SLG Publishing: “My decade SLG was, I suspect, like no other decade anyone has spent working anywhere. I had great co-workers and got to work with fantastic creators, all of whom I will miss very much. (Though because this is comics and a community like no other, we will always stay in contact.)” [Possible Impossibilities]
Retailing | Chris Powell, current general manager and chief relationship officer for Texas-based comic chain Lone Star Comics, has accepted the newly created position of executive director of business development for Diamond Comic Distributors. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund board member will start his new position in March. [ICv2]
Publishing | Four months in, the DC Comics relaunch seems to be a success. The most recent sales figures show Justice League #1 selling more than 360,000 copies since August, and Batman #1 and Action Comics #1 selling more than 250,000. By contrast, Marvel’s strongest seller was Ultimate Spider-Man #160, which was in the 160,000-copy neighborhood. These figures seem to reflect sales in the direct market only; it would be interesting to see how many digital copies have been sold. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Awards | Nominations are open for this year’s Eagle Awards. [Eagle Awards]
Retailing | San Francisco retailer Brian Hibbs shares the top-selling graphic novels in his store for 2011, by units and by dollars. [Savage Critics]
Retailing | Christopher Butcher looks back on the events of the past year in the comics store he manages, Toronto’s The Beguiling. [The Beguiling blog]
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Andy Burns, editor-in-chief of the pop culture site Biff Bam Pop!, which is doing a holiday gift guide with giveaways through Dec. 24. You can follow them on Twitter for more information.
To see what Andy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Dark Horse assistant editor Jim Gibbons, who I spoke to about his new job on Friday.
To see what Jim and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
His costume is already set to appear next month in the Spider-Man: Edge of Time video game, but Miles Morales will follow that with a Minimate of his very own.
The new Ultimate Spider-Man will join Diamond Select Toys’ line of Marvel Minimates next summer with a 2-inch figure that comes with two heads a removable mask, so you can showcase the character with or without his identity concealed. There’s also a “webline accessory.” The figure will be available exclusively at Toys “R” Us in a two-pack with a classic Spider-Man villain that will be revealed later.
“It would have been nice if we were past certain places in people’s hearts about race. That kind of surprised me. There was a lot of veiled weirdness. What I could completely appreciate is, ‘I love Peter Parker as Spider-Man, what the hell are you doing?’ Completely with you on that. When it goes into that area where they think it’s affirmative action, or like Glenn Beck said about Michelle Obama making us do this, that was weird. I did not expect that. What I was more mad about was this dismissive, ‘Oh, it’s only a comic book, who cares?’ thing that was coming out of Glenn Beck. I’m like, ‘Hey. Now you’re making me mad. This isn’t just a comic. This is pop art, man. This is our culture. How dare you, sir!'”
DC Comics continues its promotional assault in the press to push “The New 52″ to a mainstream audience, with the theme this week, apparently, being diversity. At least four stories this week — three of which were posted Wednesday — tackled the subject and put the spotlight on Static Shock, Batwing and more. Here are some of the highlights:
• The Huffington Post previewed the first issue of Judd Winick and Ben Oliver’s Batwing yesterday, the same day it arrived in shops. Winick spoke to Bryan Young about the origins of Africa’s Batman: “… if you consider that we’re coming from a starting place that this is a Batman who lost his parents to AIDS and was a boy soldier. That’s square one for us. In the first couple of pages Batwing is talking about the fact that one of the things Batman has to do is instill fear. And Batwing points out that he’s not really sure that a man dressed up as a bat is really going to scare the average criminal in Africa. Batman just tells him that ‘you’re just going to have to sell it.’ And that’s the point, it’s a different world.” An unabridged version of the interview can be found at Big Shiny Robot.
Marvel is offering a special deal for retailers on Ultimate Fallout #4, which is the first appearance of the new Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales — order 5,000 copies, receive a full page ad for their store in “upcoming Marvel comic books.”
The notice is posted on Diamond’s retailer website and says that the deal can apply to orders for both the first or second printing of the comic, “or any combination of the two.” And orders must be placed between Aug. 25 and Aug. 29. Retailers who qualify will also receive one Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 Pichelli Sketch Variant, which is limited to just 20 copies total.
Here’s the text, which doesn’t offer many details on where exactly the ad will appear:
Order 5,000 copies of Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 (JUN110611D) or Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 Second Printing Bagley Variant (JUN118244D) — or any combination of the two — from August 25 through August 29, and you will receive a free full page ad for your store in upcoming Marvel comic books, either of your design or designed along with Marvel. Qualifying retailers will be contacted by Marvel to coordinate design of the ad.
Plus, you will get a free, extremely rare Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 Pichelli Sketch Variant, limited to a print run of 20 total copies. This offer is on a first-come, first-served basis as supplies are limited.
But wait! There’s more. According to the notice, “One good variant deserves another, especially when it comes to the much-discussed, high profile comic that is Ultimate Comics Fallout #4.” So Marvel is also offering retailers one free copy of the Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 Second Printing Sara Pichelli Variant for every copy of Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 Second Printing Mark Bagley Variant they ordered. That’s two second printings for the price of one.
You have to wonder what drove this special deal — did they overprint and are now trying to move copies with the reward? Or is this the first salvo in the upcoming fall chart wars that DC’s 52 new issues will likely ignite? As noted earlier this week, the first issue of DC’s relaunched Justice League has garnered initial orders of more than 200,000. The figure will make Justice League #1 the bestselling direct market comic of the year, knocking Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #160 and its 168,000 copies out of the top spot. Could this help push Ultimate Fallout #4 up to those numbers? And it’s only August — the real action should begin in September, which not only brings 51 more first issues from DC, but also Ultimate Spider-Man #1. It should be an interesting fall for chart watchers.
Ultimate Fallout #4 came out Aug. 3. A second printing is due Aug. 31. You can find a screenshot of Diamond’s site after the jump.
If you were perplexed by some of the negative reaction to the news that half-black, half-Hispanic (but not gay) teen Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, veteran cartoonist Ty Templeton helpfully explains it all in the latest installment of his Bun Toons comic strip.
Comics | In a post subtitled “Why the new biracial Spider-Man matters,” David Betancourt shares his reaction to the news that the new Ultimate Spider-Man is half-black, half-Latino: “The new Ultimate Spider-Man, who will have the almost impossible task of replacing the late Peter Parker (easily one of Marvel Comics most popular characters), took off his mask and revealed himself to be a young, half-black, half-Latino kid by the name of Miles Morales. When I read the news, I was beside myself, as if my brain couldn’t fully process the revelation. My friendly neighborhood Spider-Man was … just like me? This is a moment I never thought I’d see. But the moment has arrived, and I — the son of Puerto Rican man who passed his love of comics to me, and a black woman who once called me just to say she’d met Adam West — will never forget that day.”