Back at March in C2E2 in Chicago, Marvel announced the newest addition to their creator-owned Icon lineup — Brilliant, from the noted Ultimate Spider-Man team of Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, with a first issue set for July. Today is July 25, and Brilliant #1 hasn’t yet showed up in comic shops. Bendis took to his message board this morning to give an update, and it turns out it all has to do with inking.
As disclosed in the interview we did with Bendis and Bagley back in March, the original plan for Brilliant was to go straight from Bagley’s pencils to Nick Filardi’s colors, a practice seen in past books like the Andy Kubert-illustrated 1602 . In Bendis’s words, he “decided people who were used to seeing us together on Ultimate Spidey and Avengers wouldn’t find this experiment entirely appealing,” so the book gained an inker. A big one, too: Joe Rubinstein, a veteran of the comic industry since the ’70s.
The first issue is now set for August, with Bendis promising that subsequent issues will ship on time. Black and white previews of the new inked pages follow after the jump, and Bendis says he’ll have full-color art previews ready to share later in the week.
The way the comics companies I believe are producing online comics is that they are old comics uploaded online and made available. That I don’t think is the way to do it, because comics storytelling is entirely predicated upon the print technologies of the late 1930s. We have six panels of page on average because that was the optimum numbers of panels to put on a page in a periodical of something like 32 pages. This is what has formed the very language of the comic book. The fact that you turn over the pages. And you can time it so that turning over a page will be the moment of some big revelation. Which you wouldn’t want your reader to have spotted on page 24 just because it’s opposite page 23. And subtler things that really affected the way that a comic story should be told.So what I’m saying is that I don’t think these devices are quite there yet but they have some very interesting possibilities. But before we would be thinking about putting something like the League into that format, I would want to think long and hard about the possible advantages of that new medium and the ways in which my storytelling craft would have to be adapted to best effect from this new medium. Much the same as when comics were just a 24-page thing that you drew on pieces of paper. I was always trying to find what the medium was capable of and to push it as far as possible. Like I said I’ve been having some thoughts about this. People shouldn’t be too surprised if they were to hear something about me working in this kind of area.
Color me curious about the possibilities. Also, go check out the rest of the interview, in which Moore talks about his love of working with indie publishers, and his thoughts about future superhero work.
I get that origins make a lot of sense as a starting point, because – well, it’s the starting point for the character, and it allows the reader to get in on the ground floor. But, I can’t help but wonder whether that common sense formula is beginning to wear a little thin, given not only these projects, but also Superman: Earth One and the various superhero movies that are, essentially, origin stories that these new readers are, presumably, familiar with. Isn’t the “they were schlubs, something fantastic happened, and now they are heroes” arc something that readers have come to expect these days – and wouldn’t it be better to offer them something that’d surprise and impress them, instead?
It’s not true that origins are the only way into characters – I think that most current readers of comics found entry points that weren’t origin stories, and there are definitely all manner of fan favorite characters that appeared (and found success) well before their origins were revealed, after all (Hey, Cable! Good to see you, Wolverine! Not to mention Superman, of course…). Is it that modern audiences aren’t able to process the idea of not knowing how our heroes ended up that way at the very start, or that creators are overly paranoid about providing sensible jumping-on points? And, either way, is there some way that we can get away from obsessing over origin stories and start telling new stories, instead?
I love writers like Arnold Drake, John Broome, Gardner Fox, and Jack Kirby — stories that bombard you with these pure bolts of imagination. It’s unlike anything else… I feel like I’ve said all I have to say about where we are now in comics with “Fear Itself.’ Everything I’ve done this whole last year has felt like the a summation of that first period. I’m getting restless. I’m looking to try and start new conversations. I’m going to dig around and find new and weird stuff to do. I’m looking for my new sound, whatever it is.
Okay, two thoughts, but the second one is the one I want to bring to your attention (The first was that, after reading Simon Reynolds’ Bring The Noise: 20 Years of Writing About Hip Rock and Hip-Hop and Grant Morrison’s Supergods simultaneously, I’d been thinking about comic creators in musical terms, finding analogs between creators and musicians, and so Fraction talking about finding a “new sound” seemed weirdly coincidental). It seemed weirdly appropriate to me that, of the four creators Fraction mentions, three of them are remembered mostly for the work they did for DC Comics, because – for whatever reason, and it’s one I can’t really explain – I’ve always thought of Fraction as a creator more suited to DC than Marvel, even though, to the best of my memory, he’s never actually worked for DC. (more…)
Announced last week at San Diego Comic-Con, Castle star Stana Katic will voice Batman’s long-time love interest in the Batman: Arkham City video game.
According to USA Today, the game has gained the classic Batman villain for its roster. Paul Crocker of Rocksteady Studios said, “We can’t really say why she is in the game because it would spoil an awesome part of it.”
“She’s a good girl who has naughty habits. We’re not sure if their tryst is over yet,” said Stana Katic, “She’s an ambiguous interesting character with a Persian/Greek accent.” The actress told the crowd at the Arkham City panel at SDCC, ”Talia is such a complex character and it was great to voice her in Batman: Arkham City. I was amazed at all the detail put into the project and it’s great to see how excited the fans are about the game.”
No specific details were given as to Talia’s specific role in the game but Katic said, “She’s just kick-ass, man.” Jim Lee also announced at San Diego Comic-Con that the Arkham City comic mini-series written by Paul Dini will be released as a graphic novel on October 18, the same day the video game is released.
Good news for Marvel: Opening a superhero movie during Comic-Con doesn’t turn out to be a bad idea at all – The first midnight screenings of Captain America: The First Avenger made $4 million last night, which (as Deadline Hollywood points out) is more than Thor, X-Men: First Class and Green Lantern managed for their midnight debuts. So much for so for those suggesting that a superhero movie slump is around the corner.
Here’s some unexpected good news for the comic industry: It’s not dying everywhere.
According to sales data presented at the pre-SDCC ICv2 Comics, Media & Digital Conference, bookstore sales rose 7% in the first half of 2011, ending a downward trend that’s plagued that market since 2009. Interestingly enough, the bookstore growth more than offsets the 6% drop in graphic novel sales in the direct market, resulting in an overall 3% increase in GN sales across all markets, due to the larger size of the bookstore market than the DM.
The data also suggests that a rise in sales of all-ages/kid-centric GNs offset a decline in adult-oriented fare, and that manga as a whole is still declining, but at a slower rate than before; 10% drops, instead of 15% last year. Now, if only we could work out some way to stop the bookstore market as a whole from collapsing, then we could maybe turn this whole thing around…
On Marvel’s new Fear Itself spin-off The Fearless – This is getting ridiculous, isn’t it? A twice-monthly spin-off from a major event book exploring the aftermath, co-written by the writer of said event? I guess someone at Marvel really, really liked Brightest Day (or wants to cement my feeling that Fear Itself is some kind of bizarro Blackest Night). But between this and the Superman: Earth One – Season One similarities from earlier this week, I now feel as if Marvel is just looking over at what works for DC and then ripping it off wholesale. I’m telling you, if this September relaunch works, I fully expect The Fearless to spin-off into a Pete Wisdom mini-series called The Fearless Aftermath: The Search For Man Thing before we get a rehash of Flashpoint (Itself a rehash of Age of Apocalypse, itself a rehash of “Crisis On Earth-A” from Gardner Fox’s Justice League of America run back in the ’60s) and then every series will get relaunched all over again by the end of 2012.
On the plus side, I can’t wait to see the uproar online over whether Thor will be wearing pants or not.
Like some of the other crew at Newsarama, I am currently running around like a madman at Comic-Con International. As such, between attending panels, interviews and the occasional live-blogging, there just wasn’t time for a full-blown Agent of S.T.Y.L.E. piece this week.
But for those of you who need a quick superhero fashion fix, here’s something you might like in the interim. A video where I and Jennifer Ewing, one of the co-hosts of my web-series Crazy Sexy Geeks, reunite with Tim Gunn, fashion authority, host of Project Runway, and one of the leading minds at Liz Claiborne, Inc.
Enjoy, everyone! And if you see me wandering the halls of the San Diego Convention Center, please feel free to come up and say hi!
Alan Kistler writes the comic book history/fashion column Agent of S.T.Y.L.E. He is an actor and freelance writer living in New York who has been recognized by Warner Bros. Films and major media/news outlets as a comic book historian. He is also a creator/host of the web-show and podcast “Crazy Sexy Geeks: The Series.” He knows entirely too much about the history of comics, Star Trek, Doctor Who, time travel, and vampires that don’t sparkle.
According to Box Office Mojo, by Wednesday the Potter series had grossed a total of $2.223 billion, beating out Star Wars‘ $2.218 billion. The two franchises are the only two movie series to have passed the $2 billion mark, although both Batman and James Bond would get there once adjusted for inflation (Although, considering the latter has had 22 movies to date, that’s not necessarily such an impressive feat for Britain’s most famous secret agent).
The final Potter is continuing to dominate the box office, becoming the fastest-grossing entry in the series, and having broken The Dark Knight‘s record for the highest four-day opening in cinema history.
Keep looking up in the sky – but not for awhile. Variety is reporting that Warner Bros. has moved the release date of Man of Steel, the next Superman movie, from an unscheduled December 2012 date to summer 2013: June 14th, 2013, to be exact.
This is potentially good news for the movie, to be directed by Watchmen‘s Zack Snyder from a script by The Dark Knight‘s David Goyer (That latter movie’s director, Christopher Nolan, is acting as executive producer on MoS), as it seemingly makes the movie Warners’ big summer tentpole of the year, suggesting that the execs are feeling confident about what they’ve seen so far. It also means that it’ll be going up against Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University (the sequel to Monsters, Inc.) and the Ryan Reynolds-starring adaptation of Dark Horse’s RIPD, both already announced for summer 2013 releases. It’ll be interesting to see if it’ll be the only DC superhero movie to hit screens that summer, considering both Green Lantern 2 and The Flash are in development as we speak…
Look carefully at the comics community and you’ll see that the work traditionally done by such industry groups as trade associations or unions–legal guidance and advocacy, collective business promotion, provision for the needs of employees–is now performed by a network of charities and commercial companies that aren’t themselves publishers. The San Diego Comic-Con is a charity, but it functions in many ways like a trade show. The Hero Initiative cares for creators in need, while comic and cartoon museums highlight the value of characters, creators and companies. Reed, a for-profit venture, brings together nonprofits and comics-themed businesses in a commercial con. Each of these–and any number of other groups–promotes the comics industry, but the industry itself lacks the sort of collective voice that we continue to see in film, television and music.The main reason for the withering away of the trade association is that the traditional comics industry no longer exists. The mainstays of the CMAA have become platform-agnostic. Instead of maintaining a commitment to comics as a medium, the post-comics industry has evolved into a network of IP farms that have internalized content regulation as an integral part of brand management. An industry code has become corporate social responsibility–not paternalistic rules imposed by external industry police but an organic extension of each brand’s defining values.
Censorship, Trexler argues, may have been seen to have lost the battle, but it’s won the war by becoming so ingrained in the culture that publishers may not even be aware that they’re doing it. It’s a good read. Go check it out.
Hopefully, you’ve been reading Vaneta’s interviews with DC co-publishers Dan Didio & Jim Lee, and SVP of sales Bob Wayne, over on the main site over the last couple of days. If not, you should, because there’s a lot of good stuff there – but I can’t help but be fascinated by this quote from Wayne, over DC’s market share:
Our goal is to be the best publisher of comics that we can be. I have not been given a goal to make DC No. 1 at all costs. So no, this is not about DC being No. 1. I certainly look at the market share. And I know there’s a lot of internet chatter about the market share in the direct market, but that does not represent the complete business.We do our own analysis of the bookstore market, and we go through all the Bookscan data and build our own internal report. We also have an internal report where we combine the bookstore sales of graphic novels with the comic store sales of graphic novels and the sales of periodicals. There are multiple platforms and opportunities that we internally measure our success by.
We certainly are aware of market share, but that is not our primary goal. But market share is not the only way we look at our success internally.
That’s… comforting, yes, but also surprising, given that, when Lee and Didio became co-publishers, the latter clearly said “Our goal without a doubt is to be the #1 publishing company in comics.” (more…)
Dark Horse Comics, who recently launched their digital catalog, are holding a tremendous giveaway at San Diego Comic-Con this week for a few lucky fans.
Each day at the convention, Thursday-Sunday, Dark Horse will be giving one lucky winner $500 in digital comics from Dark Horse Digital. At their booth, #2615, from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., raffle tickets will be handed out to fans who will have presumably been lining up as early as possible for their chance to win. At 10 a.m. sharp, one lucky ticket will be drawn and that fan will walk away $500 richer in digital comics.
Dark Horse titles like The Goon, Solomon Kane, B.P.R.D. and Hellboy are all currently available as well as countless others in single issues or bundles. Digital Store purchases can be read on your laptop, desktop, mobile browser, and Dark Horse Bookshelf app, available on iTunes. Good luck Dark Horse fans!
I’ll admit, Marvel’s new line of Season One original graphic novels just leaves me feeling peculiarly ambivalent. On the one hand, it’s good to see Marvel finally doing some OGNs that aren’t licensed material – I guess they finally got over that “It’s not financially viable” idea they’ve been concentrating on, having looked at the success that DC had with Superman: Earth One and Joker – but on the other… I can’t help but feel that this line is a weird half-assed attempt at the same mainstream, non-comic-buying audience that Earth One was courting that seems almost doomed already. (more…)
Some of you folks are headed to San Diego and some of us at Newsarama will be there! And two of us in particular hope that you’ll come say hello!
For the past couple of months, Jill Pantozzi and I have been hosting the podcast Crazy Sexy Geeks, an off-shoot of my web-series of the same name. Each week, we not only discuss the latest in pop culture and comic book news, we also give out fun dating advice for geeks! Those weeks where we don’t give out specific advice, we get to share fun/embarrassing dating stories that help illustrate what NOT to do. We also have fun guests, such as Jessica Mills of the web-series Awkward Embraces and Kristin Reilly of GeekGirlsNetwork.com.
If you haven’t been listening, you really should. We’re available on iTunes and you can download the audio files directly at http://CrazySexyGeeks.libsyn.com. Jill and I will both be wandering the floor of SDCC, so if you have ideas for topics we can discuss on the show in upcoming weeks, please feel free to let us know! You can follow our progress through the con via our Twitter feeds: @TheNerdyBird and @SizzlerKistler.
And if you have any fun questions or dating stories to share, feel free to drop a line at Jill’s Tumblr account and/or at my e-mail: AlanSizzlerKistler@gmail.com. Until next time, cheers!