Tuesday, May 31, 2016
The world needs a Man of Steel, but can Superman protect the world while raising a super-son with his wife, Lois Lane?
IT BEGINS: Now it's Clark's turn to be Pa Kent and teach his son what it means to be super, but who is hunting Superman's son—and why?
Out with the new, in with the old? That seems to be the motto for the Geoff Johns-written "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 -- sort of. The issue, illustrated by Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis and Phil Jimenez, restored a number of elements from DC Comics' history, things the New 52 relaunch seemed to erase from continuity, and all without overhauling the current, established status quo.
Considering the magnitude of the events of this not-quite-a-reboot, longtime DC Comics fan Jeffrey Renaud and newcomer Meagan Damore -- who came to the DCU with the New 52 reboot -- discussed the revelations, returns and twists in the continuity re-shaping on-shot. The pair discussed what it means for the publisher, what other changes or revelations they'd like to see in its wake, and what it means to DC readers old and new alike.
Meagan Damore: It'd probably be best to kick this off by discussing the guy who ties it altogether: Wally West. I actually don't have a lot of experience with the character, at least outside of the "Justice League" animated cartoon from the early 2000s. I picked up DC with the New 52, so I've read a bit about Barry, but not as much about Wally. As a longtime DC Comics fan, what was it like to see him back in action?
Jeffrey Renaud: It's kind of like Robin -- depending on your age or when you were introduced to comics, everyone has a Robin -- be it Dick, Tim, Jason, Stephanie or Damian. If you grew up reading comics in the early 1990s, Wally West is likely your Flash, and not Barry Allen. Mark Waid and a bevy of gifted artists -- including Salvador Larroca, Carlos Pacheco, Oscar Jimenez and Greg LaRocque -- delivered some epic stories at that time featuring Wally as the Fastest Man Alive, highlighted by a killer year-long run with Mike Wieringo in 1993-94. Wally is the opposite of Barry: he plays, and he plays hard, but he's also living his dream. He always wanted to be the Flash, and then, by a twist of fate (and a bolt of lighting), he became the Flash.
Creators talk all the time about a character or characters being a gateway into the story, a character representing the reader. We all wanted super-speed or super-strength as a kid growing up reading comics, and that's what happened to Wally. He's not from another planet, and his parents weren't gunned down in a dark alley. He's one of us.
Meagan: I've got to say, I thought it was an interesting segue between worlds. It married the two continuities pretty neatly; there were a few references in here that I wasn't quite familiar with (I'll talk about those, too, in a bit), but it managed to pique my interest in them. I really felt for the character, despite my peripheral knowledge.
Jeffrey: Totally. Wally and Barry have a very special connection. As I was reading the issue and he was bouncing around from Batman to Johnny Thunder to Linda Park, I kept thinking, "Just find Barry. Find Barry."
Meagan: Yeah, I was surprised to see him approach Barry last, even after Linda! It made a lot of sense from a storytelling perspective, though; that was a nice crescendo to the build in tensions.
Jeffrey: Agreed. But sadly, DC Comics is very non-Sith like: "Always two there are; no more, no less. A master and an apprentice." If Wally is back -- and, I mean, he is really back -- I fear for how long Barry Allen will remain front and center as the Flash.
Meagan: I didn't get that impression! Not with the inclusion of New 52's Wally, anyway -- who is apparently pre-"Flashpoint" Wally's cousin?
Jeffrey: True enough, but it does get a tad confusing for casual readers -- though, apparently, DC Comics isn't looking for casual readers anymore.
"The Flash" TV series is very popular right now, thanks in large part to the strength of Grant Gustin as Barry Allen. I love Wally, and I actually really returned to comics after a break with Bart Allen as the Flash, so I'm cool with multiple Flashes. I just don't know if I am the norm or the outlier.
Meagan: Wally was always my favorite character in Cartoon Network's "Justice League," so I'm pretty pumped to see him here! Though I'm a little worried that it might be at the expense of New 52's Wally, who never really got a chance to shine. If pre-"Flashpoint" Wally gets an opportunity to mentor Wally the Younger, that would be a golden opportunity, but I didn't get that impression. (Lord, that's confusing!)
Jeffrey: See, there's the problem. DC created a new Wally that really hasn't been explored yet, and now we have Classic Wally running around. And Barry! Again, I love the Speed Force and the concept of super-speed as a superpower, but it becomes a little less cool if half-a-dozen heroes share the strength.
Meagan: Okay, I'm going to switch tracks a little bit (as much as I see your point and agree!). There were two scenes completely out of my league here -- Thunderbolt, and a member of the Legion of Superheroes (which is a team I know Geoff Johns loves). Why should I, as a relatively new reader, be excited about these guys? Do you see a lot of opportunity for good storytelling with them moving forward?
Jeffrey: I know this will get me in trouble with all of the Marvel super-fans like Dan Slott, who is killing it in outer space right now with Mike Allred on "Silver Surfer," but I always think of the Marvel U as a few streets in downtown New York, and the DCU as representing all of space and time. When you tell stories with the JSA and the Legion, you get to tap the past and future of the DCU and it makes it a very safe place for readers of multiple generations.
I know I just spoke out(ish) against multiple Flashes, but it works in the DCU because -- like "Doctor Who" -- writers and artists have told storieswith multiple Earths, multiple timelines and multiple versions of multiple characters for the past 75 years. It makes sense that there is a villain known as Multiplex. Thanks, Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom!
Meagan: Speaking of multiple Earths and timelines, let's talk Doctor Manhattan. That was huge! (For reference, I have, of course read, "Watchmen.") If you'll pardon my French, my gut reaction was, "Holy shit!" What was your immediate, no-holds-barred response when you saw that?
Jeffrey: Honestly, I thought it was cool. Really cool. Why? Because it's something new. I understand completely that comic book readers get upset about certain storylines and concepts. For all of the readers upset about Captain America being a Hydra agent [in Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz's "Captain America: Steve Rogers" #1], I get it -- but come on, it's comics. We know it will all make sense in the end. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons are legends, and "Watchmen" will forever be remembered as one of the most important stories in the history of comics. Say what you will about what it represented or exposed about modern comic book storytelling, but it was mostly popular because we hadn't seen it before. We definitely haven't seen Ozymandias and Dr. Manhattan messing around with the DCU before. And the possibility of seeing Comedian as The Joker... Come on, that's bloody brilliant.
Meagan: Yeah, it felt like a shot in the arm to me. I've grown up surrounded by comic book media, and I've got to say this is unlike anything I've seen before -- it's new, and startling, and it has a lot of potential to be something great -- especially where there's a lot of discussion around "grimdark" superheroes. I believe Johns said Manhattan would be an "antagonist," not a "villain," which is also intriguing.
Jeffrey: I agree but, again, "grimdark" superheroes don't bother me. I recently interviewed Joshua Williamson about his upcoming run on "The Flash" and the first thing I wanted to ask him about was when he was going to do a Gorilla Grodd story, which has been done one million times. Why? Because I grew up watching "Super Friends" and Gorilla Grodd was awesome. But it's been done and done and done again.
Meagan: I definitely think there are some characters better suited to "grimdark." Batman, for instance, works very well in that kind of circumstance. However, one of the things that turned me off at the beginning of the New 52 was that kind of uniform approach. I'm glad to see more lightness being added to the DC Universe, but I don't think it should be a one-size-fits-all scenario.
Jeffrey: Is Zack Snyder's version of Batman and Superman my Batman and Superman? No. Too grim. Too dark. He tried something new, and it was widely panned. Why? Because it was different than what we are used to seeing. Did I love it? No. But I preferred getting a new story with new interpretations of these classic characters than I did getting a frame-by-frame retelling of "All Star Superman" or "Long Halloween," because I've already read those stories. I want something new.
Meagan: That's a great point -- and I think that circles back to the idea of Doctor Manhattan, in this context, being something new. That's what makes it feel so effective. Now, it could -- of course -- go anywhere, and I may not love how it falls out, but I feel like I'll remember that moment, years down the line. What did you think of the issue overall?
Jeffrey: There is not a single writer or artist in the world of comics I trust more than Geoff Johns. If he's driving "DC Universe: Rebirth" -- and believe me, he is -- I'm on board. Geoff is the master of big, big stories, and he loves these characters more than anyone else. If you are worried about Doctor Manhattan, Ozymandias and the Comedian re-writing the DC Universe, so is he. If you're worried about what Wally's return means for Barry, so is he. We haven't even discussed that he and Peter Tomasi also killed the New 52 Superman as a final goodbye. And again, if that upset you, it upset Geoff, too. Above all, "DC Universe: Rebirth" grabbed my attention. And that's a good thing.
"DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 is now on sale.
Monday, May 30, 2016
With last week's "Justice League" #50, writer Geoff Johns and artist Jason Fabok's run on the series came to an end -- as did the 11-issue "Darkseid War" story, which acted as a major superhero event contained within a single series. Given that "DC Universe: Rebirth" was released the same day and kicked off the "Rebirth" of DC Comics, "Justice League" #50 also served as something of an unofficial end to the New 52 era, which started in fall 2011 with Johns' first issue of "Justice League," then drawn by Jim Lee.
Courtesy of Fabok and DC, CBR has the artist's picks for his top 10 favorite moments from his time on "Justice League" -- which started in Nov. 2014 with the "Amazo Virus" story -- along with some behind-the-scenes glimpses at early black-and-white artwork, plus personal comments on why these images and the run itself were so significant to him.
10: Free Comic Book Day story -- A Glimpse into the Future
Jason Fabok: When Geoff and I first talked about joining forces on 'Justice League,' it was his 'Darkseid War' pitch that really got me excited. I had wanted to draw a big, epic event style book for a while and finally felt I had developed myself artistically and professionally to finally handle a big series.
This spread was my first opportunity to draw an image that would set the tone and stage for the rest of our story. I wrestled with a few different layouts for the big spread on top, mostly because I needed to show both Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor as powerful and dangerous without having one looking as if he had the upper hand on the other. After coming to a final decision, the rest of the image came together quickly.
9: "Justice League" #41 -- A Miraculous Entrance
Fabok: I originally wanted to do a different take on Mr. Miracle. I had designed him with a trench coat that would flow out when he flew around on his discs. But Geoff and I talked about it, and decided we wanted to go with a more classic take on the character.
So after designing a costume we were happy with, I came to this sequence in issue #41 that would introduce new readers to Mr. Miracle and give long-time fans something to cheer about. Brad Anderson did a great job on the colors and bringing the final image to life in a big way.
8: "Justice League" #42 -- The Bat-God Cometh
Fabok: One of the big in-jokes in comics is the fact that Batman always seems to rise above all the other heroes to defeat the biggest and baddest of villains, while superpowered heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman are left defeated. Fans online began to call Batman "Bat-God" when these things happened.
Well, leave it to Geoff Johns to take the things that fans discuss and actually realize it in a comic book. After Wonder Woman pulls Metron off of the Mobius chair, Batman jumps on in order to use it to find the answers that the Justice League needs to defeat the Anti-Monitor -- and becomes the god of Knowledge.
If you look closely, as Batman is fusing with the chair, and more knowledge is being opened up to him. The panels slowly expand until they bleed off the page, signaling that Batman is now the new occupant of the Mobius chair. This leads to our big splash, with a slightly cocky Batman announcing he now knows everything.
"DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 has a lot of people talking, including lapsed and longtime readers, and the comics industry as a whole -- so naturally, Marvel has some thoughts on the game-changing issue, as well. Speaking to CBR News, Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort discussed his opinion of the one-shot, and the decision to crossover with "Watchmen."
Praising the issue, Brevoort touched on the central twist, and why -- if Marvel had the rights -- he would also choose to crossover with "Watchmen." "I did read it, and I will say that I thought it was -- and I mean this in a good way -- the most 'DC' comic that I'd read in a long while," Brevoort said. "I'm kind of conflicted in terms of the central twist that is revealed there, because philosophically as a fan, I kind of feel like that work is a complete work, and I've liked the fact that people have stayed away from it, except in really recent memory, and let it be its own thing. On the flipside of that, as the guy that does all this publishing for Marvel, I know that if that book was in our back catalogue, there would definitely have been interaction by this point, and it probably would have happened much sooner. So I can't fault them for doing exactly what I would do, at least in the abstract, if I had the publishing rights. The real proof for me is going to be, 'OK, what happens now in terms of all their new launches?' and how much of the spirit and the promise of the kickoff book is carried out into all those individual books. But it's good. It got a lot of people into the stores to read 'Captain America' Tuesday night [Laughs]."
Addressing the major "Captain America" twist that caught a lot of attention on the same day of "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1's release, Brevoort clarified that the timing was simply a coincidence: "That was a total fluke. We did not plan that. I feel some sympathy for them -- it's two bad bounces. Bad bounce No. 1, their story leaked a couple of days earlier, so people had those conversations beforehand. The second part was, people just responded to this 'Captain America' twist, even to a greater degree than we had anticipated. We knew it would be big, we knew it would get readers' eyebrows arching; we did not anticipate this kind of a response. I feel sorry for them at least on that level. I'm sure the book sold well, and it seems like it's getting a good response. It's not like it hurt them particularly, it just means the conversation moved away from them for a day. I would do it again in a heartbeat. [Laughs] But it's not like it was any Machiavellian planning on our part, it was just the way the chips happened to fall."
Head over here for CBR News' full interview with Brevoort.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
Baaa before Zod: Zoo’s newborn goat named after Superman foe
The Maryland Zoo clearly doesn’t know what it’s in for.
The 135-acre park in Baltimore welcomed a new addition to its herd of African pygmy goats on March 16, and promptly named it Zod. Yes, after the Kryptonian supervillain.
You see, the zoo has established a Superman theme for its pygmy goats; Zod’s parents are Lex and Lois, which opens a whole other can of worms that will likely be addressed in DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative.
Zod now weighs seven pounds, and according to the zoo, is growing rapidly, undoubtedly from absorbing energy from our yellow sun.
“He is still quite young, but is exploring his new barn, playing with Lois and napping,” Carey Ricciardone, mammal collection and conservation manager, said in a statement. “As always, our staff will continue to monitor Lois and Zod closely to ensure that they are doing well together.”
Ricciardone added, “We encourage visitors to stop by to visit Zod and watch him grow up all summer long,” after which point the Kryptonian kid will launch his conquest of the zoo.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
The heroes of Burnside fight together one last time! What did you think of BATGIRL #52? Are you excited to see where Babs goes next? by dccomics
The images offer closeups of Artemis and Bizarro by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Batman Beyond by Bernard Chang, Bumblebee by Brett Booth, the new Super-Man by Viktor Bogdanovic, and Red Robin by Eddy Barrows.
As with the previous character designs we've revealed, these include the New 52 versions (when that applies), as well as annotations. So, you'll note, for instance, that Tim Drake's costume now features a double-R logo, while the latest take on Bizarro does, indeed, boast "a gorilla-like build."
Launching this week with "DC Universe: Rebirth," the initiative's rollout continues Wednesday with the release of "Batman: Rebirth" #1, "Green Arrow: Rebirth" #1, "Green Lanterns: Rebirth" #1 and "Superman: Rebirth" #1.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Following the events of "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1, the Dark Knight is back defending the streets of Gotham in Tom King and David Finch's "Batman: Rebirth" #1. In Ed Benes' store-exclusive variant cover for Comic Hero University, he also gets to go up against some old foes, as he holds the Joker by the throat against the Gotham city skyline.
King and Finch's "Batman: Rebirth" #1 goes on sale June 1.
#DCRebirth Moments That Matter; Damian turns 13! Find out more in DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 out now! by dccomics
In "Justice League" #50, Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok wrap up their epic with page after page of fist pumping action sequences, intense character moments and some jaw-dropping revelations that satisfy the promise of this showdown. This oversized finale to "The Darkseid War" reads like a series of dominoes toppling over while a hurricane fights an earthquake all around them.
Johns sticks the landing so hard with this issue. His knack for long term storytelling is stellar, and fans with some patience will find that it pays off here. The Crime Syndicate -- the other threat that's come closest to eradicating the League and changing life on Earth -- gets their final chapter written here, and I felt for them, as they were the only survivors of a dead world operating on fear. They were also total dirt bags, of course, but seeing Superwoman hold her baby aloft only to get incinerated panels later was tragic. If you're a fan of these characters, you may be sad to see them get their final comeuppance here, but -- since "Forever Evil" -- a smackdown like this has been on the way.
Grail finally gets taken down by the Power of Love, though it's a little cheesy that the mother-daughter sacrifice moment is what neutralizes Darkseid (but it's not like there aren't faces meeting fists and torsos spitting laser beams a few panels over). The character's hatred burned so brightly that she was willing to throw away the universe for revenge on her father, all stemming from how she was raised. Choosing to build instead of destroy is a big theme in this arc, and the issue follows suit by rewarding Grail with a second chance at a life with her father, who is now an infant.
As for the League, Johns and Fabok give them so many revelations and big hero moments that it's hard to pick a favorite. Fabok -- who has already operated at superhuman levels throughout the entire series -- goes as big as possible, with action so huge it almost doesn't fit on the page. Honestly, this is an issue that would have been fully justified using one of those eight-page gatefold spreads just to showcase how much happened on the battlefield. It was hard not to cheer out loud when Hal Jordan sprinted across the battlefield to give Batman his ring, so that Bruce could fight his way off the Mobeius chair; or when the Flash and Black Racer burned through the streets, the latter hungry for a deadly tribute; or when Superman stopped Luthor from using lethal force, reminding him how the League does things. Through it all, Fabok's attention to character detail and acting is on an elite level: the look in Barry's eyes when he thinks he's going to die; the unbridled power of Steve Trevor, struggling not to fight Diana; the final moments of Superwoman; the smug look on Owlman's face as he snatches the Mobius chair. It's just so damn impressive that the creators crafted these smaller character moments in the middle of a war story; not one character feels shorted. It may be a little rushed, but wars do end in the blink of an eye, after all.
Johns truly understands the motivations and personality traits of the characters in the DC Universe. The love he has for the franchises bleeds through every word he types. With some writers, you can feel which characters are their pet projects, but Johns gives time and attention to all his children; he puts them in such dark places because he believes they can succeed. It seems like he writes stories that he would be just as excited and shocked to read, and there's no shortage of shocks here either. Delays are always a bummer, but we as fans were fortunate for them in this case; it's a good thing this issue hit the same day as "Rebirth," because the wait from the cliffhanger ending of this issue would have been torture.
"Justice League" #50 has its cake, eats it, threatens to use it to rule the universe, then winds up saving it, only to show us another cake that may be even better so we're even hungrier than before. It's an epic conclusion to Johns' tenure with the series and the best it's been since Grant Morrison and Howard Porter's "JLA" 20 years ago. If the rumors are true that Johns is stepping away from writing comics because of his current job responsibilities, it's a bummer but a hell of punctuation mark for this stage of his career. Between this issue and "Rebirth," he didn't just drop the mic -- he lit the stage on fire, tore down the PA systems and dared the rest of the DC writers to top that. It's going to be a challenge to do so.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Feast your eyes on these beautiful pencils & inks from the pages of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1! http://bit.ly/1sPTwqq by dccomics
Barbie's Wonder Woman-themed figure, dressed in the character's movie garb, is just one of Mattel's exclusive offerings at this summer's San Diego Comic-Con. The Gal Gadot-inspired doll includes the hero's signature bracelets, tiara and lasso, and retails for $80.
Mattel's entire line of con-exclusive toys, debuting via , will be available to pre-order on June 17 via MattyCollector.com. The collector's items include a Ghostbusters/Monster High mash-up figure, a new Thomas & Friends/DC Comics mash-up vehicle that transforms as you roll it from one end of its box to the other, and an oversized She-Ra action figure.
The figures will be available, while supplies last, at Comic-Con International in San Diego, from July 20-24.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoiler for "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1.
In Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis and Phil Jimenez's "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1, fan-favorite character Wally West made a grand re-entry into the DC universe -- and now that he's returned in full, he'll don an all-new costume courtesy of artist Brett Booth.
Booth posted a rendering of Wally's new Flash costume to his Twitter. The new costume blends elements of the classic Flash outfit with some Kid Flash stylings, though it uses silver instead of gold.
"DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 is now on sale.
"It's a beautiful book," writer Geoff Johns says of his massive, continuity-shifting DC Comics one-shot, "DC Universe: Rebirth." "I put everything I had into the story; it's an emotional book, it's a fun book."
In an exclusive clip from the latest episode of DC All Access, Johns explains how excited he is for fans, new and old, to discover "DC Universe: Rebirth," and why he can't pick one relaunching title as his personal favorite.
Check out the clip below, along with the full DC All Access episode.
"DC Universe: Rebirth" #1, from Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Ivan Reis, Phil Jimenez, Ethan Van Sciver and more, is on sale now.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
DC, DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE
There are spoilers floating out there for this week's "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 that I will not be repeating here. I've read them, don't get me wrong, but I maintain a spoiler free zone at Pipeline for books that aren't out yet.
Some of the details that have startled people and gotten them ready to raise the pitchforks actually came across as pretty clever to me. Given the state of DC Comics today, they make sense. You may not like them, but those horses left the barn years ago. It's too late to get irate that they're running free now.
That said, the whole situation at DC is a morass. A confusing, complicated, interconnected snake eating its own tail Em Ee Ess Ess.
It says a lot that things have gotten so bad that this is the way they choose to simplify things. It's almost to the point where having 52 separate universes feels like a cleaner status quo than a world that combined multiple universes into one and tries to have its cake and eat it, too. Furthermore, relying on the characters' knowledge of this merged universe as a plot point just makes it harder for a new reader to jump in.
I don't want to jump into the DC Universe today. It's a universe that doesn't even know who Superman is, for goodness sakes. Once you've reached that level, it's time to give up hope.
In a completely unrelated note, have you read Abhay Khosla's detailed case against Dan DiDio? The prosecution is stunning, but well documented and detailed. It's purposefully one-sided, but worth a read.
MY SCROOGE IS GONE
Tad Stones, producer on "Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers" and "Darkwing Duck," offered his tribute to Alan Young on Twitter over the weekend.
To the consternation of many old school Duck fans, I'm sure, I came to Duck fandom through DuckTales. I never knew of an Uncle Scrooge who spoke in anyone's voice other than Alan Young, even going back a bit to "Mickey's Christmas Carol," which I had seen earlier.
Sadly, Young died this week at the age of 93. He continued to be the voice of Scrooge up until a couple of years ago. The new "DuckTales" series will have to go on without him, which will take some getting used to. Let's hope they don't just hire Mike Myers (Shrek) to be the new Scrooge. He needs more than just the Scottish accent and the ability to properly pronounce "The heather in the loch goes round and round the block."
The funny thing is, I knew Alan Young as Wilbur before I knew him as Uncle Scrooge. Sit back, kids, and let Grandpa Augie tell you a short story: In the early '80s, when Nickelodeon was new, the station didn't program a never-ending diet of Dan Schneider-created tween sit-coms. Schneider wouldn't even don the guise of Dennis Blunden for a few more years.
Nick survived on re-purposed Canadian shows ("Turkey TV," "You Can't Do That On Television," "Mr. Wizard's World," anyone?) and old black and white family friendly sitcoms. I remember as a kid spending afternoons watching "The Brady Bunch" (over on TBS) before turning to Nickeloden for "My Three Sons" and "Mr. Ed." I didn't know it then, but Mr. Ed's owner, Wilbur, was Alan Young, the man Disney would turn to to be the voice of the great rich Scottish waterfowl, Scrooge McDuck.
Because everything old is new again, years later those shows would show up on Nickelodeon again as part of their "Nick at Nite" programming.
I ate up "DuckTales" when it debuted in the late '80s. Through that, I came to pick up a couple of Gladstone comics around 1989 or 1990. I devoured those comics for the next 10 or 15 years, always enjoying the Scrooge comics the most. I still consider Don Rosa's "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck" to be one of the finest comics in my lifetime.
While the characterization of Carl Barks' Scrooge and DuckTales' Scrooge had its differences, I always heard Alan Young's voice in my head as I read those comics. I think even many of the comics purists would admit that Young did a good job there.
I doubt there's any other voice anyone in my generation could imagine taking its place. When the new "DuckTales" series starts up next year, I suppose we'll find out if it's possible to recapture the original series' energy. One thing's for certain: their job just got a whole lot harder.
Rest in peace, Alan Young, and thanks for all the memories.
HISTORY OF COMICS IS A FOOL'S ERRAND
It might be less painful for him to dive into a large bucket of chum and then throw himself into shark-infested waters. There is literally no way to win with a project like this.
No, strike that. There is a way, and that's to stay the heck off the Internet and not to listen to comics fans for the duration of the project, plus the two to three years that follow.
Obviously, there's no way to cover everything comics-related from the last 100 years in the span of six hours. Wait, I've already offended those who want to make the case for cave wall paintings being the earliest examples of comics. ("Why does Kirkman hate the native peoples?")
He can pick and choose some big events, but people will grouse about that. He can pick the formation of Image Comics, which was definitely one of the biggest comics industry events of the last 30 years, and catch flack that he's just self-promoting. He can cover the bankruptcy of Marvel Comics through to their story of Hollywood domination and a $4 billion sale to Disney, and be accused of being Yet Another Documentary that only talks about American superhero comics.
The truth is, to make a television series to appeal to a larger niche than just the tens of thousands of people left reading comics, that's the first place he has to go -- to a topic where a broader demographic will show interest and be curious. People know comics from the superhero movies that rake in a billion dollars every year. They aren't Robert Crumb fans. They aren't kicking in to Fantagraphics' Kickstarter.
If he dares to ignore the Internet's favorite cause du jours from independent comics, underground comics, Asian/Women/LGBTQ/etc., he'll be accused of rampant misogyny, racism, homophobia, patriarchy, etc.
I'm not making this stuff up; I already saw one comments thread on a blog asking if he was going to discuss the problems in his own work with all those -isms.
This is a no win thing. I hope his asbestos suit is freshly pressed and ready for him to wear. He's going to need it.
Why can't we have nice things? Tune in to find out...
WHO'S COPYING WHO?
This is a question I ask every so often as the landscape of (mostly superhero) comics shifts:
What style is everyone copying today?
25 years ago, it was easy. Everyone was trying to be Jim Lee, who was already just trying to be Art Adams. That style took hold fiercely not just across Homage/Wildstorm, but particularly poorly at Marvel and DC.
Joe Madureira came around and a new wave of artists tried that manga style.
Bryan Hitch inspired the photorealistic/cinematic knock-offs.
But who's the artist that everyone coming up next wants to be now? Who's the influencer?
Has comic art fragmented to such a degree now that we don't have that one style anymore? That would be a good thing.
Lots of people express their admiration for the likes of Darwyn Cooke or Frank Quitely or Chris Samnee or Art Adams (still), but are there lots of copycats of those styles? I don't think so.
Has the industry matured to the point where the entry point is so high that such copycats don't have a chance to get through? Those Jim Lee rip-offs came at a time when Marvel was expanding super fast in the face of mad money to push everyone else off the racks. We don't have that issue these days.
Do we need to look at DeviantArt and other on-line sites to get a grip on what that new Wannabe style is?
I don't have an answer to this one. If you have any ideas, please tweet them at me or leave a message on the Pipeline message board. The links for both of those are at the end of this column.
Arthur reminds Scavenger who the true ruler of the sea is, and Dead Water's origin is revealed! What's your review of the final AQUAMAN #52? by dccomics
Marvel and DC Comics have officially dropped a case against small businessman Graham Jules over the use of the word "superhero." According to The Mirror, Jules can now legally use the word in his book title "Business Zero to Superhero."
When Jules attempted to publish his start-up manual, the two major comic book companies contested his use of "superhero," as the two publishers had jointly trademarked the word in 1979, covering a range of products, from comic books and playing cards to pencil sharpeners and glue. Their renewal of that mark in 2006 drew widespread attention, as well as scrutiny from those who question whether such a term should be allowed to be registered. They claimed Jules' title infringed on this trademark, while he argued that the word had become part of everyday language.
However, after two-and-a-half years and just four days before they were due at a legal hearing, Marvel and DC backed down and dropped the case for "commercial reasons."
"I was on the verge of scrapping the book, so this is an amazing result," Jules shared. "At the beginning I felt helpless and scared. It shows that even the little guy can achieve something with determination."
"I can't believe I have defeated the X-Men, Spider-Man, and Iron Man all by myself," he added.
In a similar scenario, American small-press publisher Ray Felix last year publicized his fight with DC and Marvel over “super hero,” insisting the publishers had overstepped the bounds of their trademark in opposing his registration of his comic series A World Without Superheroes.
In 2004 small-press publisher GeekPunk changed the name of its series Super Hero Happy Hour to Hero Happy Hour following objections by DC and Marvel; in 2009, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board sustained their opposition to the registration of “Super Hero” for a line of suntan lotions, sun block and beauty creams.
Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock, better known to X-Men fans as Psylocke, will play a major role in 20th Century Fox's "X-Men: Apocalypse." Debuting in 1976, the character had a complex and convoluted comic book career prior to joining the X-Men. Of course, once she joined up things didn't get any less complicated. From her early precognitive powers to her signature psychic katana, Psylocke has changed roles, powers and even swapped bodies. Through it all, she's been an enduring part of Marvel's X-Men titles over the last forty years.
Ahead of her role as one of Apocalypse's Horsemen in "X-Men: Apocalypse," CBR exhaustively chronicles Psylock's journey to stardom and tries to make sense of some of the more confusing parts of her story.
Betsy Braddock debuted in the "Captain Britain" #8, the twin sister of the eponymous character, AKA Brian Braddock, in a story by Chris Claremont, Herb Trimpe and Fred Kida. Betsy was already an accomplished pilot in her first appearance, and considering Claremont's mother was a pilot it's no surprise a number of different women in his comics have turned out to be charter pilots (including Madelyne Pryor a few years later in "Uncanny X-Men"). In that same first appearance, Betsy is mentally attacked by the dreaded Dr. Synne, who has a feud with Brian and Betsy's older brother, Jamie. Betsy is manipulated into almost killing Brian and Jamie by Synne in "Captain Britain" #10. Brian and Jamie take her to a clinic for people with "diseases of the mind," but it turns out that the clinic is secretly run by Synne himself! Luckily for Betsy, Claremont left the title with that issue and incoming writer Gary Friedrich drops the plot quickly, as Betsy recovers abruptly (much to Dr. Synne's consternation).
We next see Betsy in 1977's "Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain" #243 (by Jim Lawrence, Larry Lieber, Ron Wilson and Mike Esposito), where she is now inexplicably a fashion model! In that same issue, readers met a new Captain Britain villain, the assassin known as Slaymaster who would eventually play a major role in Psylocke's life.
Captain Britain kept appearing here and there in various Marvel UK publications. Dave Thorpe and Alan Davis gave Captain Britain a brand-new start in a Captain Britain feature in the weekly "Marvel Superheroes" in 1981, where Davis designed a brand-new costume for Brian. Alan Moore soon replaced Thorpe on the series and he and Davis brought the Captain Britain feature over to the monthly title, "Daredevils." In "Daredevils" #3, Moore and Davis brought Betsy back in a big way when she meets up with Brian for the first time in a number of years and has drastically changed. Her hair is now dyed purple!
While she is still working as a fashion model, it's actually a cover for Betsy's new job as part of S.T.R.I.K.E., Britain's answer to S.H.I.E.L.D. She works in the Psi-Ops division, making this the first time readers learned Betsy is a telepath and a precognitive. She came to Brian for help because members of her division are being hunted down and killed by Slaymaster. Brian ultimately saves Betsy from Slaymaster and Betsy remained a supporting character throughout Moore and Davis' famous run on the Captain Britain feature in "Daredevils" and later in "Mighty World of Marvel."
Betsy continued as a supporting cast member in the relaunched "Captain Britain" ongoing series by Jamie Delano and Alan Davis. In "Captain Britain" #5, a double of Captain Britain attacks Betsy and Brian at Braddock Manor. The double is seemingly defeated, but in reality it was the real Captain Britain who was taken away. The double attacked Betsy, leading her to eventually kill him. Betsy then accepted the protection of the Resources Control Executive (RCX), the organization that took over from the now-defunct S.T.R.I.K.E., and the group took up residence at Braddock Manor. Brian did not like this and cut out for a while. When he returned in "Captain Britain" #12, he discovered that the RCX had made Betsy the new Captain Britain in his place! The Captain Britain suit gave Betsy power on top of her telepathy, but it turned out not to be enough to stop Slaymaster when he showed up in "Captain Britain" #13 (written and drawn by Alan Davis) as the villain blinded Betsy. Brian manages to save her and seemingly kill Slaymaster. The next issue was the final one of the "Captain Britain" ongoing series, and readers got to check in with Betsy to see that she was adjusting well to being blind, using her telepathic powers to see. She also specifically rejected an offer from RCX to give her cybernetic replacement eyes.
Meanwhile, Chris Claremont had been working on Alan Davis, trying to convince him to come over and draw X-Men comics. While still doing "Captain Britain," Davis had already begun working on the American side of things for DC Comics on "Batman and the Outsiders" in 1984 and followed "Outsiders" writer Mike W. Barr to "Detective Comics" in 1986. Davis, though, was having issues with DC, so he agreed to work out a deal with Marvel through Claremont where he would bring Captain Britain over to the American Marvel offices. This would eventually become the X-Men spinoff, "Excalibur." While he was waiting for "Excalibur" to get ready to begin, however, he found other work at Marvel, drawing two issues of "Uncanny X-Men" and both the 1987 "Uncanny X-Men Annual," as well as the 1986 "New Mutants Annual." His first assignment for Marvel with Claremont was "New Mutants Annual "#2. And guess who came along for the ride with Alan Davis? Betsy Braddock herself!
Monday, May 23, 2016
Twister aims to devour the world's heroes, but the heroes before him aren't teens anymore--they're the Titans. What did you think of the final TITANS HUNT #8? Are you excited to see the team in TITANS: REBIRTH #1? by dccomics
Note: This review does not contain major spoilers, though it does discuss the presence of some key characters who appear in the issue.
It's easy to flip to the epilogue of "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 to find out which old character has been dusted off and set up for a conflict with the heroes of DC Comics, but doing so is a great disservice to both the story and you as a reader. That's because Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis and Phil Jimenez use the rest of this issue to lay out an important path for DC's line of superhero comics to follow, and it's one made very clear with a single four letter word: hope. Ignoring the first 60 pages of "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 is about the biggest mistake a reader could make.
Johns' script does not, as many people had speculated, wipe the slate clean or restart the company's continuity. Instead, we get a tour of the modern DC Universe through the eyes of someone who had been more or less erased from continuity with the start of the New 52: Wally West. It's a logical choice for Johns; having written the character for many years, Johns not only founded his early reputation as a comic book writer on Wally, but Wally's small presence over the last four years of DC Comics has been notable. Placed outside of continuity, Wally bounces from character to character in "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1, trying to re-establish what was lost.
Sometimes, this process is as simple as showing the reader a character's missing motivation; other times, it requires an entire team of characters that have been MIA. What's nice is that Johns doesn't zero in on a single era throughout this early part of the comic. Characters from the dawn of DC Comics get as much of a push as ones that were created only a few years ago. Some of these characters had been excised from continuity; others, just mothballed after the first year of the reboot. In each case, Johns shows us they're still around and quickly points out what we've been missing. Circumstances have changed for some, but what's familiar is the overall emotion attached to them; for instance, the sequence with Jaime Reyes and Ted Kord has so much fun at its core that it's hard to keep from getting interested. Jaime comes across likable and grounded, while Ted is so excited about the possibilities surrounding the scarab that Johns and Frank make the emotion just radiate off of the page.
"DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 reads like both a manifesto and a map for moving forward. When Johns writes about a darkness that's infected the DC Universe in recent years, one can't help but feel that it's a pointed commentary on the trend of the company's superhero comics as a whole. While there have certainly been exceptions to that rule, this is a rallying cry to try and reverse that trend. The issue also recognizes character decisions that may have been a bad idea and slowly updates them. Sometimes, it's a hint of what could be around the corner, as shown by a sequence where Green Arrow and Black Canary are subconsciously pulled together. Sometimes, it's more blatant, as seen in the two pages spotlighting Aquaman and Mera or the removal of a character introduced at the start of the New 52 that never quite clicked with readers.
There are parts of "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 that are little more than plugs for other titles and their new storylines and directions, which makes sense. Considering this is 66 pages of story and art for $2.99, a little cross-pollination was almost a given. While some plugs are stronger than others, it works well enough; it helps that Johns never loses sight of the central viewpoint character, and including a scene like Wally finally being able to see his wife Linda Park again is the perfect way to pull it all together. Reis draws the scene between Wally and Linda, and his rendering of Wally's hopeful half-smile and the love in his eyes as he extends his hand to her in order to escape the Speed Force is a beautiful moment. Even if you'd never read any of Johns' comics with Wally and Linda, both the words and the art bring home how much love existed between the pair in that era of DC Comics.
Over and over again, Johns and all of the artists on the book raise the specter of hope, but it's never more apparent than the scene where the old Wally West meets the modern Wally West (as it turns out, the two characters would be cousins, both named after the same great-grandfather). It starts a sequence in which we're reminded of how Wally learned to love his role as Kid Flash, before he moves on to visit Barry Allen. Both of these present-day Flashes exult in the joy of their roles; Jimenez gives modern-Wally a sense of wonder as he activates his power and is able to see the rain slowing to a stop around him, and then the big grin on Barry's face as he not only stops an initial problem but goes above and beyond to make all parties involved comfortable. Once again, hope is propped up here as what's needed in order to make these characters heroes.
Strictly from a storytelling perspective, the character revealed in the epilogue -- who is also the force attempting to eradicate hope from the DC Universe -- is a logical choice. In many ways, it's a figure who brought in a darker, grimmer take on the superhero genre, both within the story as well as in the medium as a whole. It's a little unfortunate that so much attention will be attached to this character's return -- and, to be fair, I suspect all parties involved understood that this would be a polarizing choice -- but it feels like a careful decision to use this character in this role.
Artistic big guns like Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis and Phil Jimenez illustrate "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 to great effect. Each of them bring their own style to the book, but they all bring the same overall look, with varying degrees of detail in the fine lines carving out their characters. At the same time, it's fun to enjoy the slight differences as we jump from one artist to the next. Van Sciver's flashbacks for Wally West's time as Kid Flash remind me almost of Greg LaRoque's work on "The Flash," albeit with a slightly cleaner and more rounded feel to the figures. Frank adds a wrinkled, craggy look to older characters like Johnny Thunder or Dean Plumm, even as they serve as a contrast to younger faces like Captain Maggie Sawyer a page or two away. Reis and Joe Prado's smooth figures are great, reminding readers of his time on "Aquaman" with a lithe Arthur and Mera as they move through the sea in a way that proves they were literally born to do just that. Jimenez and Matt Santorelli's particularly fine lines are able to bring entire scenes to life in a single panel without ever feeling cramped or too small. At the same time, they also know when to use empty space to tell a tale; the moment where modern-Wally raises his hands up is dramatic because of the absence of rain around him, even as it fills other panels.
If we're lucky, "DC Universe: Rebirth" #1 will truly herald what the title suggests. It's a very loud, almost forceful attempt at a course correction; as readers, we're told in no uncertain terms that the path of dark superheroes is detrimental. Based solely on the effort seen here, though, the future looks genuinely bright. Over the last few years, so many of DC Comics' big events comics have signaled doom and gloom; here, however, we're told that the only way to defeat a character known to personify dark and gritty storytelling is for everyone else to rediscover a brighter, more hopeful attitude. Here's to hoping it sticks, but -- judged solely on what we get here -- Johns, Frank, Van Sciver, Reis, Jimenez, Prado and Santorelli have done a good job of making that point. Fingers crossed, but this could really be the rebirth readers have wanted for years now.
Comics A.M. | ‘Hi Score Girl’ to return following copyright dispute
Manga | Rensuke Oshikiri’s romantic comedy manga Hi Score Girl will resume serialization in Square Enix’s Monthly Big Gangan magazine, after a lengthy hiatus due to copyright issues. The manga was suspended in 2014 after the game company SNK Playmore filed a criminal complaint against Square Enix, claiming the manga used characters from SNK’s games without permission. Copyright violations are taken seriously in Japan: Police raided Square Enix’s offices, and the publisher not only stopped selling the series but issued a recall. Although Square Enix filed a counterclaim, Tokyo police initiated charges against 16 people, including Oshikiri and Square Enix staffers. The parties agreed on a settlement in August 2015. In addition to resuming serialization of the series, Square Enix will publish the sixth volume and new editions of the first five. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | In a two-part interview, DC co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee discuss their goals and plans for Rebirth, their pricing strategy, reaction from retailers and more. [ICv2]
Auctions | Vincent Zurzulo, co-owner of Metropolis Collectibles, explains how the increase in interest in black superheroes has led to a rise in auction prices for comics that feature them. A copy of Fantastic Four #52, in which the Black Panther made his debut, sold for $19,200 in 2012; this year a copy in similar condition fetched $83,650 at auction. [Los Angeles Sentinel]
Passings | Czech painter, illustrator and cartoonist Adolf Born has died at age 85. During his long career, his work garnered him the Grand Prix at the International Salon of Cartoons in Montreal and a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in France. Born worked primarily as a cartoonist in the 1960s and 1970s, and focused on illustration after that; he’s best known in his native country as the animator of the children’s cartoon Mach and Sebestova, which features two children who enjoy adventures with the help of a magic telephone. [The Washington Post]
Publishing | I spoke with Yen Press publisher Kurt Hassler about Yen Press LLC, the new joint venture that brings together the American publisher Hachette (the former parent company of Yen Press) and the Japanese publisher Kadokawa. Hassler discussed how this will affect both Yen’s line and those of other publishers, as Yen now has a first- and last-look option for Kadokawa manga, and why the move was a logical step for both companies. [Publishers Weekly]
Political cartoons | In a radio interview, Sudanese political cartoonist Khalid Albaih talks about his journey across the United States to visit landmarks of the Civil Rights movement. [BBC World Service]
Creators | Kirk Baird covers a joint appearance by cartoonists Lynda Barry and Matt Groening, who met when they were students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and have been friends ever since. [Toledo Blade]
Creators | Farel Dalrymple discusses the new edition of Pop Gun War being published by Image Comics. [Women Write About Comics]
Creators | Sophia Foster-Dimino talks about life as a freelancer and how it is reflected in her latest comic My Girl. [Okey-Panky]
Comics | In a radio interview, New York Times reporter George Gene Gustines discusses the trend of prose writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michael Chabon and Margaret Atwood turning to comics. [NPR]
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Archive of Top Five Lists
Here is an archive of all of our past “Top Five” lists. The lists are in chronological order, so the most recent lists are at the end.
28. Top Five Robins
97. Top Five Fives
105. Top Five #300 Issues