Is this the very definition of a slow news week? With the exception of our own JK Parkin’s APE report, it’s been a surprisingly quiet last seven days. I mean, when one of the most interesting stories of the week was that scientists have discovered real-life kryptonite, you know that nothing’s happening. Not that that stopped DC from trying to capitalize on the discovery, as the end of their press release about it displayed:
Despite the harmless nature of this world’s kryptonite, Superman is far from off the hook. The first storyline in the newly-launched ongoing SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL series, from writer Darwyn Cooke (New Frontier) and artist Tim Sale (whose work has been featured on NBC’s “Heroes”), revealed a new take on Superman’s first encounter with the malicious mineral, and how it affected a young Superman’s early career as a hero.
The mineral, which is a potential source of lithium and boron, will be put on display tomorrow at the West London museum. Reports that the mineral will be encased in lead are unconfirmed.
See how they subtly mentioned their book in there? You could hardly notice.
Not that that’s the only weird promotion for DC books this week; the new paperback releases of Brad Meltzer’s novels now feature ads for his DC comics at the back of each book. Meltzer explained to the mothership how he felt about the subject:
Sure, a lot of people will say it’s all crass marketing in the end, but it’s all crass marketing for the very right reasons. I hope it has a deeper impact. Mark my words – you’ll see it in action when San Diego hits this year – look at how many more mainstream publishers are there this year – including my own – I think they’re all going. I love that about San Diego now – after years of being kicked around, and made to feel secondary, we are being catered to. The comic book reader is being courted. I love that for once, all the pretty boys of Hollywood, and all the movie stars who are gorgeous, and all the people who have the money and the nice suits are coming to us and sucking up to us, because they value our opinion. I don’t know if it’s just the vindictive bastard in me, but I take victory in that.
There were arguably only two real pieces of news this week, Kryptonite aside. As part of the truly exhaustive IDW Week (No, really, it was insanely exhaustive – I’ll get to it later), IDW Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall announced a new line of non-licensed books:
We haven’t done anything like give these books a designation like “IDW Select” or anything, but they’ll all be notable because we’ll be presenting them in deluxe hardcover formats, giving them the best showcase possible for their work.
That’s as opposed to giving their other books the crappiest showcase possible, of course.
Keeping with indies and best showcases possible, Kazu Kibuishi announced this week that Flight was going to have an all-ages companion title, Flight Explorer:
When Flight 4 came together, we ended up with more material than we expected and all of it was of the highest caliber work we’ve seen so far. We overshot the expected page count by 80 pages. People often told us that we should just hold extra material back for the next volume, but knowing that we’ll have even more material on top of that when the deadline for the next one comes around (as well as the fact that the artists would like to be included in the most current volume), I decided I needed to come up with a different solution. And since I still didn’t feel we were ready to raise the frequency of publication, I decided it would be a good idea to create a new kids’ version of Flight… I’m wondering how this will affect Flight 5 as well. I suppose we’re about to find out! From its inception, the Flight project has been a series of leaps of faith, so I guess this is the next step. I’m just as curious as everyone else to know where it’s all going to take us.
Other than that, the week was about interviews. Warren Ellis on Doktor Sleepless:
We’re in an interesting position. The future is moving very very fast. But the culture has stopped dead. Politically, the Western world is in absolute stasis at ground level. Cultural distrust is at an all-time high. There’s a palpable sense of “we’re all screwed and there’s nothing we can do” that I haven’t seen since the 80s — and even in the 80s there were voices we considered authentic and that we trusted. There’s none of that any more. In fact, as I’ve recently said elsewhere, we punish people for being real now. These years are rudderless. It’s no surprise that so many arts have been looking back to the Weimar period in the last few years.
And that’s a frightening place to be. Because, in a space where there’s no plurality of speech, one strong clear voice can do terrible damage.
And that, in part, is what Doktor Sleepless is about.
I was writing Tales of the Unexpected and looking to write and draw something. Bob (Schreck) let Vertigo know I was on the prowl, and Shelly Bond called me and said, “What do you want to do?”
Now I know guys who are stockpiling ideas all the time. They have so many ideas they fill notebooks with ideas. That’s not me. When I need an idea, I usually start blank and have to think, which sucks and hurts my head. One of the nice things about the mainstream stuff had been being handed a piece of the puzzle to start. When Bob said, “How about Batman,” I was able to sit down and think about Batman, what I thought about the Batman myth, and come up with my own take on it. So when Shelly called me, that’s the part that usually scares me, because my first answer is usually “I dunno.”
I lucked out with Silverfish because I had already developed much of it as a possible story arc for Stray Bullets. I had put it aside because it clearly became its own thing and didn’t fit in Stray Bullets. So when Shelly called and said lets do a graphic novel, I knew this was the format for a big story like this.
Now, if thousands of Amazons descend on D.C., the truth of the matter – in a fictional sense, of course – is that they’re going to kill a hell of a lot of people. It’s a war, after all, and it’s not so much that not having them kill anyone would trivialize the concept of real war – especially when the U.S. is waist-deep in a very real war, it’s the without those deaths – without some consequences to the actions of the Amazons – the story wouldn’t feel, for lack of a better term, “real.” It needs to have a certain dramatic weight to provide the momentum of its emotional impact, and all those fictional deaths – or at least the threat of them – help build that weight. It’s not an added burden – it’s just the logical way to write the story. Amazons Attack is in no way a portrayal of a real war, but for the comic to work, it has to feel that way, at least to an extent.
Actually, I was completely surprised when the offer was made. I kept pestering Dan [Didio] on a regular basis to do more writing for the company not only for the extra dough [in addition to regular DC editorial pay], which is great, but also because I simply can’t turn off the writing switch in my head when it comes to these characters. A conversation between Dan and I evolved into Dan simply saying maybe it’s time to put away your editing hat and put on your writing hat full time, and literally two minutes later talk of an exclusive contract was underway. So, as they say, timing is everything, and the offer of the exclusive writing contract from DC was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
But for the interview motherload, look no further than IDW week. Want to read about 30 Days of Night? Then look for interviews with Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith, Bill Sienkiewicz and movie director David Slade. Is Star Trek more your speed? Then what about hearing from editor Dan Taylor, Scott and David Tipton, Steve Conley or David Tischman? Ohhhh, wait. You want to read Eric Holmes and Nick Roche talk about the Transformers work, don’t you? Or maybe IDW’s Angel is for you? Then read Brian Lynch and (squeee!) Joss Whedon himself talk about the upcoming Season Six (“Season six—that is, the storyline we were planning to pursue—made much more epic and fleshed out quite a bit. We’re looking at it as a 12-issue miniseries, to keep it tight and intense. Brian and I have been exchanging juicy ideas. And some that are more bran-y. For health… I’ve always known exactly [what happened after the last scene of season five], unless someone brings me a better idea. (It was Jeff Bell and the Angel staff who pitched me Wesley’s death—once we knew we’d got the chop.) The better idea makes it to the canon. But the line up is pretty much what I planned. It’s not pretty. I’m pretty.”). But wait! That’s really not all! You can also read about IDW’s Scarface prequel, read interviews with Gene Simmons and, bizarrely enough, his son Nick Simmons, or more amusingly, Alan Martin on Tank Girl:
ow that I’ve opened the floodgates, I just can’t stop the torrent. I’m pooing Tank Girl at the moment. I intend to push the comics envelope until, well, until it becomes a larger envelope. A large, stamped, self-addressed envelope. Know what I mean?
Worryingly enough, I think that I might. This is why I need more news – To stop thinking about stationary.