After what seems like quite a few weeks of relative silence, DC seemed to take over Newsarama this week, whether it be interviews or news stories. In a week that showed that even the Metal Men can get a movie deal, or that DC couldn’t manage to just slip 4 more pages into the double-sized 52 final issue (Don’t get me wrong, 48 pages for $2.50 is still very nice, but still. 52 pages would’ve just been better, somehow), it was as if DC’s poor showing in the February sales figures and the fan reaction from that made Dan Didio’s crew suddenly aware of what the mothership had to offer them.
Biggest DC publishing news of the week is arguably the first-shoe-dropping that was Gail Simone leaving Birds of Prey (New boy at DC Sean McKeever is taking over). Stealth-announced in Dan Didio’s “DC Nation” column in this week’s DC books, Simone talked about the reasoning for her decision on Friday:
[T]he truth of this matter is, I was simply offered a project I couldn’t turn down. A dream book with a dream art team, and a real chance to reshape comics’ history. DC’s always been great to me, but this is just…insane. It’s unbelievably exciting.
And I want to pour everything I’ve got into it. I had to let something go, and for reasons that I think will make more sense as things are revealed, it meant letting go of some beloved bird friends of mine… It was short notice, but completely an honor and a delight. It wasn’t something pushed at me. On my recent visit to New York, Dan [Didio] asked me into his office and made the proposal, and my eyes just bugged out of my skull. I couldn’t turn it down. It’s something that almost feels like destiny, as goofy as that sounds, like something I’ve been working towards my entire career as a writer.
That dream project, which will undoubtedly be the larger part of the news story? Simone isn’t talking, but the rumors – spinning out of her appearance last week at Emerald Con – are that it’s going to be something Wonderful.
Over at Wildstorm, Christos Gage is becoming more of a player. In addition to his ongoing work on Stormwatch PHD (which brings on Andy Smith as regular artist with issue 7), he’s also going to be taking over The Authority with artist Darick Robertson with the fifth issue of that delayed series:
I was asked if I’d be interested in writing an arc on The Authority, and Darick was mentioned as a distinct possibility for the artist… It’s worth noting that our story takes place before the one currently running by Grant Morrison and Gene Ha, so over the course of our arc readers will discover things like why Rose Tattoo is no longer with the team in Grant and Gene’s run.
So, a fill-in arc, then, but one that has already reignited fan excitement about the stalled relaunch…
Talking of relaunches, writers of two of DC’s biggest relaunches were feeling rather argumentative this week, addressing some criticisms of their work. In one of two interviews this week about the seventh issue of the latest series of Justice League of America, Brad Meltzer talked about the leisurely pace of his opening arc:
Is there a way to tell a story faster? Yes. Is telling a story faster better? That’s a matter of opinion and taste. There’s no right or wrong. I really do believe that the coming together has much more effect here, because you got to meet the characters and interact with them, and then you get to see the whole big ka-bang.
(Artist Eric Wight was responsible for the ka-bang of the two covers for JLofA#7; he also talked to the ‘Rama about the book this week.)
Geoff Johns, meanwhile, has taken some hits online for the violence of his Justice Society relaunch (dismembering families at picnics!), and in the first of a somewhat surprising regular feature about the JSA, he explained why blood and guts are so good, at times:
It was supposed to be horrifying and terrible. They are Nazis. For me, like you, this made the triumph and the ultimate message of the first arc resonate that much more within the scene between Ted and his son at the close of issue #4. You can’t kill these symbols. So don’t try.
But next time we’ll portray nicer Nazis.
Of course, it’s not just superheroes and Nazis at DC; there’re vikings, as well, as Brian Wood explained when he talked about his upcoming Vertigo series, Northlanders:
I was talking to editor Steve Wacker when he was still at DC, trying to see if there were any old, dead DC properties I could revive. He was leafing through some reference and held up a picture of The Viking Prince, who is this mostly naked boy with a fur skirt and a lot of bling. That just didn’t square with any notion or idea I had about who the Vikings were. But the idea of Vikings in general stuck in the back of my mind, and months later when I decided to pitch my Vertigo editor, Will Dennis, another monthly, I decided to try Vikings – my own Vikings. I had been encouraged to work outside what Will called my “comfort zone”… you call it street level stories. I’m not sure what I would call it, but it seemed like a dark bit of historically-inspired fiction might be the way to go.
Jason Aaron also held up the Vertigo banner this week, explaining why fans should check out his Scalped and The Other Side series:
I don’t know, do they enjoy napalm explosions or people getting hit in the face with nunchucks? Surreal, psychological horror? Gritty character drama? Profanity? Nudity? If so, look no further. You’ve hit the motherload.
In comparison, Marvel has a quiet week. You can’t blame them; they’ve been dominating the news cycle lately and probably wanted a break. Aside from a couple of interviews, the House of Ideas was surprisingly quiet. Well, aside from Brian Michael Bendis talking about future plans for his creator-owned Powers series, and explaining editorial snafus about who gets to work on what book:
I’m sorry for any embarrassment to Angel [Medina, who announced a few months back that he would replace Frank Cho on Mighty Avengers for an arc, and has now been replaced himself by Mark Bagley], but the announcement that made it out there was just premature… He has another project that has to get done, and there were scheduling problems as well, so it just wasn’t going to work out.
Sure, Marvel tried to get some more headlines on the front page by taking over Shotgun Reviews (I’m just jealous that I don’t get advance copies), but for this week, they’d have to be happy ruling the sales roost for once.
Elsewhere, Tony Lee talked about his Group Editor position at Markosia and other freelance projects on the same week that Markosia started serializing Starship Troopers on the mothership, the Luna Brothers explained that naked women are like pizza (“I love pizza. When you haven’t had it in a long time, and you take a big bite into a warm slice, it takes so good. So satisfying. But if you eat pizza everyday…it becomes boring. Ordinary. Unnoticeable. That’s exactly what we’ve been exploring with the naked girls. Repetition and duplication is another theme. In a sense, having hundreds of naked women on a page seems less sexy than one naked woman.”), Brandon Graham hopefully convinced some more of you to pick up his awesome King City graphic novel, and Kelly Sue DeConnick gave the best quote about working with Steve Niles that you would ever want to read:
He had this book he wanted to do, but he had too much going on to take on another full project. At that point, the guy had, like, sixteen production companies, 12 comics, ten movies and eight ongoing prose novels – not to mention his four foot man-eating pet turtle Gil, who was demanding to be fed two red-headed orphans at every full moon. Those orphans wouldn’t just kill themselves. So, you know, Steve had his hands full.
We’d been friends for a couple of years. He was always very kind about my prose work and he knew I was a fan of the 30 Days series and the character of Stella in particular, so he asked me if I’d be interested in helping make the book happen. Clearly, I was… I write (and rewrite – my first, and often second, drafts suck) pages then send them to him for polish. If there’s a portion that I think really needs to be his voice – like a few passages from Stella’s book that appear in the first issue – Steve does those. He also bails me out when I have a moment of, “I need something here, but I don’t know what I’m looking for exactly.”
Steve’s been writing comics since 1860, so he’s got that sort of thing down. I’m new. And young. Make sure to mention how young and vibrant I am. I also have all my own teeth.
That just goes to show why I could never work with Niles – I may be young (Well, young-ish) and vibrant, but my teeth? All stolen from the corpses of those I have had to kill in the name of comics blogging.
It’s an ugly game, I have to tell you.