The summer is ending, and we’re not so bad off, are we? There’s a cosmic war, Spider-Man’s re-reinventing himself again, there’s an event book with an oncoming slew of tie-in titles, but it all doesn’t feel like the years of yore. There’s no pressure to keep up with any of this; instead of seeing a Broadway production, we’ve got tickets off Broadway, so it’s a little experimental, a lot less expensive and not the main stage. But, in a way, just as important.
This is indeed the week we look at the future and what Marvel has in store for us, but it’s nice to know that from where we are now, the holidays look to be rather pleasant. There’s no great drop to be looking at as the year ends, just more changes and more stories and for some reason, that’s a lot less pressure.
Unless you’re a Thor fan, then you’ve got eight titles to sort through. Yeesh.
Let’s take a look at November and see what’s ahead for the House of Ideas, shall we?
Kevin is out sick today, so I’m filling in on Comics A.M. … apologies for the lateness.
Publishers | Viz Senior Vice President and General Manager Alvin Lu discusses the state of the company after the layoffs that occurred in May, as well as the overall manga market. “We continue to get great support from our retail partners. They do see that these very popular series continue to do well. They are getting up there in the 40s and 50s of the volume count, and there is the challenge of bringing in newer readers, to catch them up. I was looking though a calendar from several years ago when we were looking at Bleach Vol. 5 or something. That is a conversation we’ve been having with the bookstores, and they’re being very responsive on how to work with us, to continue to drive the category. They’ve been very supportive of helping us launch new series as well. So it’s a balancing act of getting the space to launch new series while nurturing the more mature series that continue to enjoy a loyal readership.” [ICv2]
Events | Brian Heater from the Daily Cross Hatch and Sarah Morean from Blog Chicka Blog Blog have declared Aug. 28 “International Read Comics in Public” Day. They’ve started a blog that features, as you might guess, people reading comics in public. [Daily Cross Hatch]
Neil Gaiman thinks modern vampires suck.
And not in a good way, but in a weak, namby-pamby embarrassing kind of way. They have sullied the good name of Dracula and horror antagonists everywhere!
Okay, maybe he didn’t say that, maybe it was better put and far more eloquent or politely than I would have said, but a gist could be taken. From the interview in The Independent:
He said he hoped that mainstream culture would lose its interest in the undead so that vampire fiction could regain its potency. “Maybe it’s time for this to play out and go away. It’s good sometimes to leave the field fallow. I think some of this stuff is being over-farmed,” he said.
He also said far more damningly:
“My next big novel was going to have a vampire. Now, I’m probably not. They are everywhere, they’re like cockroaches.”
Yikes, cockroaches? Really? I’d say that’s a bit iffy on the eloquent and probably not polite. I certainly know enough Gaiman fans who feel a little more than put out by the shelving of what could be another incredible story from an unbelievably popular writer because of Stephanie Meyer’s work. Should we put the vampire genre, like Gaiman says, “back underground for another 20 years or another 25 years.” Will a whole new generation have to discover the fascination of the alluring and inhuman, the forces of will, the metaphor of sexual awakening and the ancient mythology of human hunters in the night because of the Cullens?
Let’s read X-Men #1 and find out!
(WARNING: Surprise! There are spoilers for X-Men #1 ahead. No, not the one from 1991. Certainly not the one from 1963! No, these would be the new X-Men… wait. No. Let me come in again…)
Continue Reading »
“The saddest thing is that it runs the risk of making vampires not scary. I will be glad when the glut is over. Maybe they will be scary again. I like my creatures of the night a little nocturnal … My next big novel was going to have a vampire. Now, I’m probably not. They are everywhere, they’re like cockroaches.”
–writer Neil Gaiman, on the vast army of fictional vampires infiltrating pop culture
Astro City writer Kurt Busiek and novelist Daryl Gregory are teaming up on a new Dracula title, Dracula: The Company Of Monsters — coming from BOOM! Studios in August.
“So. I’m creating and co-writing a new series about a very, very old character, thrust into a modern world unfamiliar to him in a lot of surface ways, but very familiar underneath,” Busiek wrote on his blog this morning.
The book features art by Scott Godlewski and will “take you through the dark corridors of the corporate American boardroom and show you vampires aren’t the only kinds of bloodsuckers!” according to the press release.
“Dracula’s a character who’s always fascinated me,” Busiek said, “and getting a chance to build something firmly rooted in Dracula’s real-world (and Stoker-novel) history, but with a very modern edge, is the kind of creative challenge I love. It’s the world’s greatest vampire against the corporate world — and there’s no easy way to tell who’s the real villain, and who’s the hero. I’m thrilled to be working with Daryl, Scott and BOOM! on this. Putting it together feels like the early days of working on Conan, and I think the results are going to be a real treat for readers.”
Busiek has written everything from Avengers to Thunderbolts to Conan to DC’s Trinity series, as well as the creator-owned Astro City and an upcoming series from Wildstorm that used to be called American Gothic.
Amulet Books will pull yet another egg out from under their golden goose on November 9, when they release the fifth book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. The press release makes it seem like the big news is that the color scheme of the new book will be purple, and to be fair, that probably is the most important feature to the readers, who are already sold on the first-person tales of Greg Heffley, average guy. However, author Jeff Kinney also hints at a major shift in the relationship between Greg and his best friend Rowley; apparently, nothing will ever be the same again. Not something I was expecting from the Wimpy Kid books.
Can’t wait that long? You can scratch both the Twilight and the Wimpy Kid itch with a single parody, The Diary of a Wimpy Vampire which is just out this week; it’s from a British publisher but is supposed to be published internationally. According to the UK paper The Independent,
Aimed at kids aged 12-15, the book is called a “comic tale of a teenage vampire’s struggle with the angst and traumas of adolescence.” It focuses on Nigel Mullet, who was made into a vampire as a teenager and will therefore spend eternity at the awkward age of 15.
Now that is a fate worse than death. Speaking of which, if you’re thinking “Why didn’t someone do a zombie mashup of Wimpy Kid?” wonder no more; Papercutz has you covered.
(Hat tip: Martha Cornog.)
Marvel.com has a brief write-up today on an ongoing Namor series that’s launching in August. Written by Stuart Moore and drawn by Ariel Olivetti, Namor: The First Mutant will tie into the big X-Men vs. vampires storyline, “The Curse of the Mutants”, that’ll run in the new X-Men title coming later this year.
Per Marvel.com, “Stuart Moore and Ariel Olivetti set the world’s first mutant on his most dangerous mission ever! Namor may be able to end the vampire threat, but is he willing to sacrifice Atlantis? And what can stop the threat of…the Atlantean vampires?” The first issue will have covers by Joe Quesada and Jae Lee.
Created by Bill Everett, Namor has appeared in a slew of ongoings, miniseries and team books over the years since his introduction way back in 1939, from Sub-Mariner Comics back in the 1940s to Namor, the Sub-Mariner in the 1990s. He’s been an Invader, an Avenger, a Defender and a member of the Illuminati, and most recently has been hanging out with the X-Men.
Confirmed last month at C2E2, the storyline will launch a new, “adjective-less” X-Men title in July by novelist Victor Gischler and artist Paco Medina. You can see the full updated teaser image, and read Marvel’s description for “The Curse of the Mutants,” after the break.
The first-ever C2E2 — Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo — is all but over, and no doubt Brigid and Michael will have more to say about the whole experience here soon. For now, here’s a roundup of news and info coming out of various panels from today, to go with our roundups from Friday and Saturday.
- The X-Men vs. vampires storyline, whose teaser last week set off Ultimate Avengers writer Mark Millar, will run in a relaunched adjective-less X-Men title by novelist Victor Gischler and artist Paco Medina. Gischler, who fans know from his work on Punisher and Deadpool for Marvel, is no stranger to vampires, having written the novel Vampire a Go Go. “It’s going to be a nice fresh look at vampires,” Gischler told Marvel.com about his first story arc in the new title. “I think people are going to be pretty impressed.” The series begins in July.
- September brings another new X-title, as X-23 gets her own solo series written by Marjorie Liu, who wrote the recent X-23 one-shot. “X-23 is a loner at heart, but she’s been forced into a team setting for quite some time now,” Liu told Comic Book Resources. “A pack, if you will. And those conflicting instincts to be alone – and with others – will continue to tug at her. So yes, there will be a rotating supporting cast – a couple of former X-Men who, against their better judgment, will try to mentor Laura. Or at least, be there for her when she needs mentoring. That won’t be without conflict, though – physical and emotional.”
- Wolverine: Weapon X will be replaced by a new Wolverine title by Jason Aaron and Renato Guedes, with covers by Jae Lee. In it, Wolverine goes to Hell. “His soul goes to Hell, and we’re going to see what happens when he’s not around to be in control of his own body,” said editor Jenine Schaefer. The first issue ships in September. Meanwhile, the former Wolverine title, now called Dark Wolverine, will get another title change, as it becomes Daken: Dark Wolverine in September. Liu, Daniel Way and Giuseppe Camuncoli will remain as the creative team.
It look as if Mark Millar’s vampire-induced disaster has been averted.
If you’ll recall, on Thursday Millar was upset to see Marvel’s “We are the X-Men” teasers that hint at a mutants-versus-vampire storyline. That’s because some of the elements — Blade and vampires attacking mutants, namely — seemed awfully similar to an Ultimate Avengers arc that Millar had been talking about publicly for some time.
So, before Millar contacted Marvel, he took to his message board, writing, in part: “How the Hell did this happen? It wouldn’t have been as big a deal if I hadn’t started the series yet, but it’s almost done and just going to look foolish following an X-Men event. Am honestly just so disgusted with this as I’ve talked about it many times. [...] I’m hoping this is some horrible misunderstanding. I’ve only seen what you’ve seen online with Blade and the X-Men and a vampire Jubilee (again, very close to stuff I’m doing). Fingers crossed this bullshit gets fixed, but am getting closer and closer to just doing my own stuff every day.”
But by the end of the day Millar had updated his forum members, saying he had spoken to Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley, and that the misunderstanding would be sorted out today. And that appears to be what’s happened.
“It seems there was something of a communications problem between the Ultimate U and the Marvel U, which is understandable because they don’t share the same continuity,” Millar wrote today. “Anyway, the similarities between these storylines were evident, but with a few tweaks these are being cleared up and Marvel have been great about it. The extra good news is that Ultimate Avengers 3, the arc guest-starring Blade, has now been pulled forward by a month or two and fans of the book are going to get lots of double-shipping. [...] Marvel took the miscommunication problem very seriously and we sorted it all out today with a couple of conference calls.”
The X-Men storyline, which presumably ties into The Death of Dracula, is expected to be announced Sunday at C2E2.
In its presentation Thursday at the Diamond Retailer Summit at C2E2, Marvel seems to have all but confirmed an “X-Men vs. vampires” storyline with the announcement of The Death of Dracula.
In its extensive overview of the summit, IGN.com reports that Arune Singh, the publisher’s manager of sales and communications, said the demise of Marvel’s lord of the vampires isn’t simply a throwaway story or an attempt to draw in horror fans.
“One of the biggest changes in the Marvel Universe in years starts here,” Singh is quoted as saying. It’s unclear from the report whether The Death of Dracula will be a one-shot, a miniseries or a banner for a crossover. Presumably, more details will be revealed this weekend in Chicago.
Dracula, who made his Marvel Universe debut in 1972, most recently appeared in the Hugo Award-nominated “Vampire State” story arc of the now-canceled Captain Britain and MI13. He was shown seemingly being destroyed at the end of the storyline, dispatched by an Excalibur-wielding Faiza Hussain.
Hammer Films and Dark Horse have partnered for a line of comics and graphic novels based on films from the legendary horror studio.
However, Heat Vision reports that the first title won’t be an adaptation of one of the Hammer classics from the 1950s and ’60s, but rather a tie-in to Let Me In, the company’s remake of the 2008 Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In (based on the 2004 novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist).
Manhunter writer Marc Andreyko has been hired to pen the comic, described as a “spinoff” that “will incorporate some of the film’s characters and mythology with some fresh themes.”
Set for an October release, Let Me In centers on the relationship between a bullied 12-year-old boy and a centuries-old vampire child. The remake moves the setting from a suburb of Stockholm to a small town in New Mexico.
So you’ve seen the X-Men teaser images Marvel’s been putting out featuring (among other strange character choices like Elektra and She-Hulk II) Blade and what sure looks like Vampire Jubilee, right? So has Ultimate Comics Avengers writer — and current toast of Hollywood thanks to Kick-Ass — Mark Millar.
Apparently the “X-Men vs. vampire mutants” storyline people have deduced from the teaser images is awfully similar to an upcoming Ultimate Avengers storyline Millar’s been talking about for years…and he’s very, very upset about this. Like, to the point where if I were Marvel, I’d worry that he might show up at the office in a green-and-yellow jumpsuit with a crowbar or two.
Here’s the rundown of Millar’s furious posts on his message board, in a thread titled “I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS X-MEN/ BLADE THING” (all-caps in original):
While the U.S. comic-book scare of the 1950s boasted Senate hearings, bonfires and the founding of the Comics Code Authority, it always seemed to be lacking a certain … something. It turns out that “something” was vampire-hunting children.
Don’t worry, though, Scotland had our backs.
In its preview of an upcoming BBC Radio 4 documentary, BBC Scotland recounts the incident that set off the United Kingdom’s horror-comic panic and led to strict censorship laws: On the evening of Sept. 23, 1954, hundreds of children, armed with knives and sharpened sticks, descended on a Glasgow cemetery to hunt the so-called Gorbals Vampire, a 7-foot-tall revenant with iron teeth who was said to have eaten two local boys.
The children, ages 4 to 14, were sent home by a constable, but they returned night after night, determined to find and destroy the fiend.
Of course, there was no vampire, and no missing schoolboys. But just as the Glasgow youths were swept up in an urban legend, they were caught up in a media and political feeding frenzy as adults were eager to find an explanation — or a scapegoat, perhaps — for the unusual, and unnerving, behavior.
Much like politicians on this side of the Atlantic, those in the U.K. settled on American horror comics, such as EC’s Tales From The Crypt and The Vault of Horror. Never mind that there were no iron-fanged, kidnapping vampires in any of those titles. In 1955 the Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act was passed, banning the sale to minors of magazines and comics portraying “incidents of a repulsive or horrible nature.” And, well, that was that.
The Radio 4 documentary, which airs at 4 p.m. PST on March 30, sounds fascinating, as it includes interviews with people who as children participated in the hunt for the Gorbals Vampire. (You should be able to listen to the story on the BBC iPlayer.) Plus, y’know, vampire-hunting children!
More than five decades later, it appears as if the iron-fanged creature actually may have sprung from a local nursery bogey — a monster created by parents to keep naughty children in line — called the Iron Man, and not from those awful, awful American horror comics. So … oops?
(The accompanying newspaper clip is borrowed from the Southern Necropolis Research website).
On the heels of this morning’s interview and preview, Stephen King’s official website has debuted a 40-second trailer, complete with an Omen-style musical score, for American Vampire, the author’s comic book-writing debut. The Vertigo series, by King, Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque, premieres this week.