Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
The New York Comic Con officially kicked off this afternoon, with fans eager to get inside and publishers eager to begin releasing news into the wild. So let’s see if we can’t herd some of those announcements together. Here’s a round-up from today:
• DC Comics Co-Publisher and artist extraordinaire Jim Lee will team with Batman scribe Scott Snyder on a new Superman title next year, just in time for the Man of Steel’s return to the silver screen. “This will play along with the other Superman books in the sense that it’s in continuity, but we really wanted to carve out our own territory,” Snyder told CBR. “This really is sort of the biggest, most epic Superman story we could do together while having our feet planted firmly in continuity and making sure that everyone had enough room.”
DC also unveiled a Kia Optima that features a Batman design by Jim Lee.
• Marvel announced three more Season One graphic novels: Iron Man, written by Howard Chaykin with art by Gerard Parel; Thor by writer Matthew Sturges and artist Pepe Larraz; and Wolverine, written by the team of Ben Blacker and Ben Acker, with art by Salva Espin. Also, Cullen Bunn returns to Deadpool with Deadpool Killustrated, a miniseries that pits the Merc with a Mouth against Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes, Beowulf, Don Quixote and more. Spoiler alert: he’s gonna kill them.
WeLoveFine.com recently held a contest where they asked artists to design shirts with a Marvel villains theme, and they’ve now posted the winners. The above shirt was the judge’s pick, chosen by Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston, and designed by Mariel Thompson. You can see the other winners at their site.
If you are a fan of Dan Hipp’s work on Amazing Joy Buzzards, Gyakushu!, Ben 10 or his wonderful art blog, then you might want to know that Threadless recently turned the above image, “Zombie Survivalist,” into a T-shirt and a hoodie. No doubt it will sell out quickly, so head over there fast if you’d like to grab one for your very own.
One of the unique parts of a comic convention is the chance to get sketches and fully-rendered art commissions from some of the medium’s top artists. They could draw the characters they’re known for best, or even something off-the-wall like the Swedish Chef that colorist Justin Ponsor did for me once. But a recent posting on artist Tony Moore’s blog shows just how crazy things can get when you get two artists to collaborate, or ‘jam,’ on a single piece
I’m trying not to post about Ben Caldwell every single day, but he’s making it difficult. Look, I resisted when he posted this picture of George Washington and a cave-girl fighting Zombie Blackbeard, but then he had to go and make an actual comic out of it. I’m not made of cave-stone here. Click the link to see the whole, one-page comic, then join me in begging for more.
WonderCon opened its doors Friday at the Anaheim Convention Center, a first for the convention as it moves south from its usual San Francisco home this year. Will it be a permanent move? The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald, who is at the show, has some thoughts on why that may not be a bad idea.
Here’s a round-up of news from yesterday at the show:
• Daredevil and Irredeemable writer Mark Waid announced several digital comics plans, beginning with a PDF comic available now on his website. The zombie comic, called Luther, is drawn by Jeremy Rock. It will be followed in May by a digital comics imprint. “In May, I’m rolling out a digital comics website where material will be going up in weekly or twice-weekly installments. But before that, on April 2, MarkWaid.com goes live again as a process blog for webcomics and what we’re doing. All throughout April, we’ll be giving sample material away for free, showing what the format can do, and I’ll be doing interviews with pioneers in this field. My own artists will also be there to talk about the projects we’re doing and how we’ll be building them.” Waid was also on hand for the Marvel House of Ideas panel, which went into detail on their recently announced digital and augmented reality plans.
Legal | Ryan Matheson, who was stopped at the Canadian border in 2010 and charged with criminal possession of child pornography because of a manga image on his computer (which even the officials who arrested him couldn’t agree was child pornography), talks about his ordeal in a personal statement on the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund site. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund announced Thursday that the Canadian government has dropped all criminal charges against Matheson. [CBLDF]
Comics | Leah Moore sees two things: a huge number of women who like comics, and a comics industry that is in serious trouble, and thinks it’s time to connect the dots and start making comics that appeal to the other 50% of the audience. “Okay, well, let’s say, instead of jumping in and writing comics designed to attract women readers (Minx comics discovered this is harder than it looks), how’s about writing comics which don’t actually put women off? How’s about a bit less objectifying, a bit less sexualisation, a bit less pervy gusset shots and tit windows? Just a bit? Make some of the regular mainstream big name books everyone enjoys reading a bit less eyewatering and weird about women. That would be a great start.” [Warren Ellis]
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes and first issues so that we don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “Batwoman is still awesome!” every month. And we’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
One cool change this month and for the foreseeable future: I’m joined by Graeme McMillan who’ll also be pointing out his favorites.
Finally, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist – I admit, I tend to run hot and cold on Clowes’ output, but I’m a sucker for coffee-table career retrospectives, so the idea of taking 224 pages to look back at his career to date (with, of course, the traditional little-seen artwork and commentary) seems like a must-look at the very least. [Graeme]
Rachel Rising, Volume 1: The Shadow of Death – Terry Moore’s latest series gets its first collection and I love the premise of a woman’s waking up in a shallow grave with no memory of how she got there and needing to figure out who tried to kill to her. [Michael]
Vertigo Comics announced today that writer Dan Abnett and artist I.N.J. Culbard will team up on an eight-issue miniseries titled The New Deadwardians, a comic set in post-Victorian England where the upper class voluntarily becomes vampires in order to escape the lower class, who have all become zombies.
“May I just confess that this is a story that involves both zombies and vampires, two things I swore I would never write about because they had both long since jumped the shark,” Abnett said in his pitch. “Then this idea came to me and wouldn’t leave me alone. Please be tolerant of the zombie-and-vampire-ness of this until you’ve heard me out. It’s essentially a detective story set in an alternate history England, circa 1900.”
Here’s how they described the book on the Vertigo blog:
Set in post-Victorian England, nearly everyone in the upper class has voluntarily become a vampire to escape the lower classes who are all zombies.
Thrust into this mayhem is Chief Inspector George Suttle, a lonely detective who’s got the slowest beat in London: investigating murders in a world where everyone is already dead!
But when the body of a young aristocrat washes up on the banks of the Thames, Suttle’s quest for the truth will take him from the darkest sewers to the gleaming halls of power, and reveal the rotten heart at the center of this strange world.
Abnett, of course, is one half of the DnA writing team with Andy Lanning, who together write Resurrection Man and New Mutants. Culbard has done work for Dark Horse and SelfMadeHero, a British publisher, including the adaptation of Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness that won a British Fantasy Award earlier this year.
The first issue comes out in March.
Artist Dusty Higgins has a knack for getting involved with projects with titles that make you scream, “Hey, why didn’t I think of that?” Over the last couple years, he’s worked with Van Jensen on the Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer series of graphic novels, the third of which is due next year from SLG Publishing. It of course pits the little wooden boy against monsters whose weaknesses include wooden stakes through the heart.
Now he’s teamed with writer Ron Wolfe for Knights of the Living Dead, a story that brings zombies to Camelot. The first issue is now available for free from SLG Publishing’s website, where you can also buy the second issue for 99 cents.
Wolfe says not to let the title fool you – the book is no spoof.
“I love the title, but don’t let it mislead you. The book is no spoof on zombies. It’s as dark as anything I’ve ever written,” Wolfe told Robot 6. His previous work includes Death’s Door and Old Fears, both horror novels co-written with John Wooley, as well as Hellraiser comics for Marvel. “That said, the premise allows for some playing around. But I really think, if I just happened to pick it up, this thing would trouble me for some time.”
In seeking to explain the pervasive popularity of the zombie genre, talkers-about pop culture have long espoused the theory that tales of the unhappy undead catch on during times of national stress, usually of a military variety.
I bought that, as 2002’s 28 Days Later re-mainstreamed zombies between the U.S.-lead invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, but zombies are still around, and more popular than ever. The argument could be made that they’re still here because we’re still stressed out and America is still engaged in the same wars we were fighting a decade ago , but then, hasn’t every single year of American history been stressful for the folks living in it? Haven’t we almost always been at war with someone somwhere?
So I’m developing my own theory. I think zombies are popular not necessarily as a psychological reflection of the common consumers anxiety about terrorism or immigration or mortality or economic decline or the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United, but simply because the proliferation of cheap filmmaking and publishing technology and the hydra-like increase in media outlets makes it easier to make and transmit zombie products, and the astronomically more specialized consumer of the past decade means its easier to sustain popularity of particular genres. It’s now possible for almost any genre to become popular enough to be self-sustaining in today’s media environment.
For example, producers pitching Walking Dead to AMC in 2010 didn’t have to worry about mass appeal in the same way that a previous generations producers might have had if they pitched a Night of Living Dead series to NBC in 1985; if they get the people who participate in zombie walks and the comic book people and the horror people, that’s more than enough to tune-in and buy DVD collections.
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, I’d first get the third issue of my favorite New 52 title, Batwoman #3 (DC, $2.99). Seriously, J.H. Williams III is hitting a home run on every outing here when it comes to my tastes. Although the writing isn’t up to the level of Greg Rucka’s time on the book, it’s close and only bound to get better. Next up I’d get Point One #1 (Marvel, $5.99). I think this format–an extra-size preview book for what’s coming next–is an interesting experiment, and I’m intrigued most by the Nova story, but also interested to see what the others do. Third would be Uncanny X-Force #17 (Marvel, $3.99), to get the one-two punch of Rick Remender and Jerome Opena. Iceman as a bad guy? I dig this.
As we noted on Sunday, The Walking Dead co-creator Robert Kirkman was a guest on The View‘s “Halloween Spectacular” episode, where he survived a gauntlet of questions about his popular creation, zombies and zombie survival. You can check out Kirkman’s appearance below; his “Zombies 101″ segment begins at about the 11:20 mark, after the first commercial break.
Back in May the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took a fun approach to encouraging folks to prepare for disasters with a blog post about how to get ready for the zombie apocalypse. That post proved to be very popular, so they’ve followed it up with a comic on the same topic.
Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic was created in-house, the CDC’s David Daigle told USA Today. The same article points out that the initial zombie blog post cost $87, to buy a stock photo as an illustration. “We got an estimate for the blog that it’s worth $3.4 million in marketing value,” Daigle said. So maybe lightning will strike twice with the comic.
Their timing, of course, couldn’t be better, what with AMC’s The Walking Dead returning to television this past Sunday. Both the show and the CDC claim Atlanta as a home, which has led Atlanta Magazine to declare the city “the Zombie Capital of the World.”
The Alamo Drafthouse theaters held six “Mondo Mystery Movies” in Los Angeles this past weekend, and they had different artists create limited edition posters for each of them. One of those artists was Charlie Adlard of Walking Dead fame, who created the above poster for 28 Days Later (with title treatment from Jon Smith).
There’s also a variant edition — same poster, different title treatment — after the jump, along with the other movie posters they released for Iron Giant, City of Lost Children, Hellraiser, Assault on Precinct 13 and The Mist.