“I didn’t think we were going to get hammered for it for a few reasons – there was not one sexual element to it. I was careful with that – there was nothing sexist.”
That’s Brian Michael Bendis, showing that apparently he hasn’t seen the cleavage shots of Tigra as she gets beaten up while being videotaped in New Avengers #35, which he happened to write. Because, you know, there’s definitely nothing about a scene of violence that includes the victim’s shirt opening to reveal her cleavage… Nooooo…
(Bendis’s apparent ignorance about the finished product aside, it’s worthwhile reading the interview, if only for the chance to read the original script for the scene, which does lack a lot of sensationalism of the final version.)
But why should Marvel care about this kind of thing, anyway? I mean, they’re number one in the sales charts again, this time dominating September even without The Dark Tower. This lengthy victory has obviously panicked DC, who are retaliating in the most obvious ways – releasing the long-delayed Bob Haney/Jay Stephens/Mike Allred Teen Titans book, and replacing Tony Bedard and Koi Turnbull on the soon-to-launch Batman And The Outsiders book with Chuck Dixon and Julian Lopez. Dixon explained what little he knew:
No one in this business has greater respect for Tony [Bedard] than I do. The guy is dedicated, conscientious and has never written anything less than world-class comics entertainment. But whatever it was that the folks at DC wanted from this book, it just wasn’t coming together. I take this on faith as I wasn’t shown any of their material.
That said, I’ll be running with what they set up in the one-shots in a whole different direction simply because I have no idea what their direction was to be. The character line-up and the dynamic of the book will be what Tony set up in Outsiders #50. By editorial fiat and the demands of continuity the line-up will change with issue #3 and #4… Just from the inferences at the initial meetings it seems like my take will be more direct action as opposed to Tony’s more intrigue-laden plotlines. Tony does that whole intrigue thing so much better than I do. Of course, I’m only going off of the very vaguest notions of what the book was to be like with Tony on board.
(Bedard’s sin that ended with his getting replaced? paraphrasing Garrison Keilor, apparently.)
Elsewhere, Geoff Johns talked about his upcoming arc on Action Comics, and regaining reputation:
[L]ook, I know we have to earn the retailers’ and readers’ trust again on shipping. DC knows it. [Editors] Matt Idelson and Nachie Castro know it. That’s our absolute number one priority along with delivering the very best Superman stories we can.
Meanwhile, Vertigo got some play on the mothership this week – Brian Wood talked about Northlanders, his new series for the publisher, and how happy he is there:
I’ve been waiting to get in at Vertigo, since way before I even started in comics. The books I always liked to read were Vertigo books, and an ongoing series there was my holy grail. Now I’m mainly concerned with not fucking it up!
It does feel like a place I belong, both because of the people I work with whom I like very much, and also for the types of books I want to do. I firmly believe Vertigo is the best deal you can get in the industry for creator-owned material, financially and otherwise. I have no plans to ever stop working with them.
Steven T. Seagle, on the other hand, realized that that choice isn’t always the creator’s to make, writing about the cancellation of his Vertigo book, American Virgin:
Our first issue not only sold relatively well, but it actually sold out a four thousand copy overprint. American Virgin #1 clocked in at around 24,000 units (you never get that from these charts everyone analyzes month in and month out). Our second issue sold out too, and while I thought something would be made of the sell-outs, nothing was. Our bad – a lost opportunity to get some extra juice. And very quickly – despite really great reviews and buzz – and I mean very quickly, we were down to half that amount, and falling. I didn’t worry, because there was a lot of great press about the book and I thought, much like some other launches of the time, we’d get our rebound from the reviews and the release of the collections. But the reviews dwindled off and the second collection never seemed to come out until the writing was on the wall.
It was a fairly interview-heavy week on the main site; in addition to those mentioned above, Tony Lee stopped by to talk about his new book, Hope Falls, and why new readers should check it out…
I’m very much aware that I’m only recognizable to a small percentage of the comic reading community. I’ve not written a Vertigo book, not been on a bestseller list. Why should people trust me with a non-mainstream spandex book?
But just because that’s what I’ve had out, that’s not what I have written. I have books coming out over the next year with AiT/PlanetLar, Walker Books, Antarctic, Moonstone, Titan – and that’s just the beginning. I cut my comic teeth with Starship Troopers and Midnight Kiss, but now? I’ve been writing in TV and radio for two decades. I’ve been writing comics for five years. I’ve been Eagle Award nominated twice. I know that I can write a story.
First off, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Howard the Duck, ever since I was a kid I’ve devoured everything Howard has ever appeared in. I dug the comics, the black and white magazines, the newspaper strips, even his fairly low-brow appearances in What The..? and CRAZY! I love Howard so much, I even like the movie (something that almost no one else has ever said.) So the chance to write dialogue and stories involving one of my five favorite Marvel characters was off the scale. However, I’m very aware of a large group of Howard fans who consider anyone who isn’t named Steve Gerber working on the Duck, a form of blasphemy. Obviously I don’t consider it blasphemous, or I wouldn’t have taken the gig, but I get where these uber-Howard fans are coming from, and I’m disappointed I won’t be able to reach them with this story.
[W]hen I retired, I told myself I wasn’t going to take on any project that would require my working two days in a row. So generally…it’s a negotiation [laughs]. Marvel will call and say they have an eight-page sequence in a nostalgia book they want me to do. I’ll say, “How about two?” They’ll counter with five. I’ll say, “How about three?” And we’re settled! What I’m trying to do is leave myself enough time so that I can do what I to do, and do all the things I couldn’t do when I was fighting deadlines for 50 years.
(The Hero Initiative is offering the chance to have lunch with JRsnr in their new contest, for those who’re much luckier than I. How much fun would that be, seriously?)
Or maybe you’re all about the multimedia experiences. Perhaps you’d want to read a two part interview with Heroes’ Tim Kring and Kristen Bell? Perhaps you’d prefer Dark Horse’s Randy Stradley talking about their 2008-long Star Wars crossover, Vector:
The events in Vector will, obviously, have the biggest affect on Legacy — because that’s an area where continuity is the most open. We can’t drop some galaxy-changing event on Luke Skywalker in the period between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, for instance, without creating a giant rip in existing continuity. But we can have things happen which will change certain characters — propel them to more heroic roles, send them onto darker paths, change their allegiances, etc. The best stories are always about characters, rather than events, and the events in Vector are not only driven by the choices made by certain characters, but those events will force other characters to make decisions they’d rather avoid.
Where readers will see the biggest changes to each of our series will be in the lives and the attitudes of the characters from those series. Some will change — and not always for the better. Some won’t survive the events in Vector, but more importantly, some will.
(The actual writers of the books have their say on the crossover here.)
Of course, the big multimedia news of the week is the 30 Days of Night movie opening, which was trailed here by five days of coverage, starting with a Steve Niles interview, which was then followed by an interview with 30 Days publisher, Ted Adams of IDW. There was also a Reading Guide to the series, as well as a movie review, before coming full circle with a second interview with Steve Niles, who reflected on his success:
With writing, I don’t know if you ever feel like you’ve made it. You know? ‘Cause it’s such a fast-moving world that even when I get something done, I still feel like I’m very much the kind of person who is saying, “OK, what are you going to do next?” I’m always looking to the next project. So, I don’t know. I feel pretty good. I feel like I’ve had a decent career going. But I’m never going to rest on that.
You know what’s apparently good for your career, Steve? Non-sexist scenes of women being assaulted, their shirts being ripped open, while the whole thing gets videotaped…