Showing posts with label DCU. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DCU. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The $420 bottle of Batman Perfume and DC Comics in 2024

A long time ago now, comic artist and famed "nice guy" Jim Lee became President of DC Comics.  He'd been put in a position of power during the Diane Nelson era, having had brought in the Wildstorm Universe to DC Comics, first as an imprint, and then shoehorning it into the New 52 (pretty much against logic and reason).  And he was the foil to Dan Didio's blustering and general ass-hattery.  

But every time an interviewer put a mic in front of Lee, he'd say things that I found confounding.  Chief among those things was that comics weren't really a form of reading, they were a collectible.  DC was in the collectibles business.  

Which makes sense if you made a million dollars because kids were speculating wildly on comics in the early 1990's, but has made minimal sense since that fateful era that almost killed the American comics industry.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Comic Geek Humor

From Geoff Johns' Twitter:

Bing Crosby imitator Sugar Bear is "Hope"...?

I assure you, this is hi-larious.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Jill's kid started a Bird-Watching Blog

So, young junior naturalist Arden H-W has started a blog all about his bird-watching hobby.


The League is impressed. That kid is going to be the next Audubon. His blog posts are also already five times more coherent than anything you're likely to find here at League of Melbotis.

I look forward to seeing what bird he covers next.

So Where Are the Kents in the Silver Age?

Fans of Silver-Age and Bronze-Age comics will note that the Kents are alive when Superboy is a lad, but by the time he becomes Superman, they're MIA.

Well, at some point, DC decided to address what happened. And somehow, this is the story they put on the page.

And, honestly, this sort of story makes more sense than 85% of what you're going to find in the typical Silver Age Superman story.

Mad Men

Did everyone get the important tip for office safety in this week's episode of Mad Men?

Not picking up JSA anymore

For the record, I'm agreeing with Simon and dropping JSA in December, if not before. Makes League cry, but... this just doesn't look fun.

Schwapp! sums it up nicely

Also, the perspective or something is completely off on the ocver to JSA All-Stars #1. Without getting too much into it, as an example, Cyclone (front right) looks like she was drawn in at the last second by an 8th grader who doesn't know how big parts are, or where they really need to go.

sometimes it helps to look at your drawing before inking and coloring it

Comic Previews and My Precognitive Abilities

A few days ago I was going through some Superman back issues and stumbled across a cover with 70's-era Superman buddy/ foil, Vartox, the character with the worst design in all of comic-dom. I paused and said to myself: they should really find a way to bring this guy back, without changing a damned thing.

Well, not change anything other than how seriously a reader in 2009 is likely to take ol' Vartox.

Vartox, by the way, is most likely what a very drunk comic artist decided was acceptable after seeing Sean Connery in the worst costume of all time in Zardoz.

Well, ask and ye shall receive. DC December 2009 Solicitations were released Monday.

Power Girl #7, coming in December:

The fellow on the ground is Dr. Mid-Nite. He is cool.

I am really growing to like this Power Girl comic.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Some Comics Bits from Loyal Leaguers

We always appreciate it when folks send us links to comics-related items. (a) It's nice to know that we're being thought of during your work day, and (b) it's instant blog material. Shazam!

The Hall of Justice is located in Cincinnati?

Baby, did you ever wonder? Wonder whatever became of me? I'm living in the Hall of Justice. Which is located in Cin-cin-nat-ti.

NTT sends this item along. Apparently, the Hall of Justice which 30+-year-old Leaguers may recall from the Super Friends cartoon as the majestic headquarters of the Justice League, is based on a train station.

I did not know that.

The article is here.

New Clip From Superman/ Batman Animated feature

Shoemaker sends along this link. It's a video clip from the upcoming home video release of "Superman/ Batman: Public Enemies".

I am anxiously awaiting the release of the DVD. The original story from the "Superman/ Batman" comic was a fun, big screen adventure-ride, even if the story never made a whole lot of sense. It wrapped the multi-year arc featuring Lex Luthor as the President of the United States and siccing a legion of super heroes and villains on The World's Finest.

The comic also featured art by Ed McGuinness. I confess I'm not sure either the story or art will translate perfectly, but you have to have hope that DCU Animated knows what its doing.

Superman's Birthplace Now a Landmark - Siegel Home Restored

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were living in Cleveland at the time when they brought Superman to the company that would become DC. Its one of my favorite parts of the history of comics that Superman was cooked up by teen-agers that were working with a gumbo of influences and didn't know the rules enough to think that Superman wouldn't sell.

The neighborhood where the Siegel house stood has changed, and the house itself fell into disrepair. The Shuster house was torn down several years ago.

Novel and comic author Brad Meltzer has done more in the past two years than the city of Cleveland has ever done to turn the house into an historical landmark and ensure the structure's future (which is somebody's house, I should mention).

JimD sent this. Which links to this page, featuring a video demonstrating the work done.

While this project may not be as important as many, its great to see that Americans care enough about the source of what's become an American icon to preserve a part of its history (and improve someone's living conditions as part of the deal).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Batman, Possible Power Shift, GL Promotion

Subject: Batman and Robin #3

Dear Rest of the Batman Books,

On the topic of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's "Batman and Robin #3".

decidedly not for kids

That is how you make a Batman comic.

Try harder.

That is all.


The League

Shifting Tides at DC Comics

Word on the street is that DC Comics, a subsidiary of Warner Bros., is shifting offices within the mega-corp that is Time-Warner. While remaining within the moive side of the business, rather than the print and publishing side of the business, it sounds as if DC will now be under Diane Nelson instead of Alan Horn.

I've not worked in Hollywood, but its my assumption that Ms. Nelson has got to be toughest of the sharks to have become head of a division at a company like Warner Bros.. This is all good news.

1) I don't know anything about Alan Horn, but I do know what DC Comics has been like as an entity under his watch, and the movie production schedule has been shoddy at best. As Marvel spits out 2 - 3 movies a year, DC is getting one every two years or so to the silver screen.

Not to mention WB's inability to exploit anyone but Batman for kids' entertainment. That is completely ridiculous.

2) Horn has said, under oath, that he doesn't think the character of Superman is worth anything. Ie: he doesn't know how to bring it to the big screen, so it must not be possible.

Hogwash, says I and a whole lot of other Super-fans.

3) DC is probably unaware of how contentious their relationship is with their female readership. What may pass unnoticed on comic covers, in the overt sexualizing of DC's female charatcers, etc... may get a very different read from Paul Levitz's new boss.

Anyway, I would not want to be the Publisher having to explain the Guillem March Power Girl covers to the new boss.

4) New bosses mean new blood. While I do like Paul Levitz, in so far as I can tell, it would be nice to know that complacency is not the go word at DC. At minimum, even with no risk of turn over, it seems likely that everyone will be trying a little harder, and maybe actually worry a bit about the new executive looking over their shoulder.

I do hope this news is true. DC could use someone from up top looking down on what they're up to. I don't want anyone in particular to lose their job, but it'd be nice to see DC try a little harder to make less of their line so easy to dismiss.

Blackest Night Ring Promotion

Okay, this tidbit of marketing news puts a smile on my face.

I'm enjoying the heck out of Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi's epic over in the Green Lantern books "Blackest Night". In fact, as I type this, I'm wearing my official Blue Lantern shirt. Why, because these dudes are my new favorite dudes in comics.

Thus far, two key things have happened:

1) A whole spectrum of new colored Corps have begun to appear. Red = Rage, Blue = Hope, Yellow = Fear, etc...
2) The Black Lanterns have appeared. From an unknown source (so far) black rings have crossed the DCU, finding dead superheroes and those significant to our living superheroes, and raising the dead. Only, you know, EVIL.

It's some messed up stuff.

At any rate, DC will soon have a give-away promotion in which you can collect what will be cheap, plastic versions of the rings.

insert amazed/ delighted gasp here

In high school, I still remember DC putting out a Green Lantern ring, and I'm STILL mad I lost that thing (I bought one at a comic shop for $3 years later). So, yes, this sounds like a great idea to me.

Rings, please

I shall require, of course, a Blue Lantern ring for my everyday wear as well as one for display purposes.

Maybe when the new Flash ongoing materializes, we can see something similar for Barry's ring?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

In Which I Talk About Some Comics

editor's note: I've seen a surprising spike in traffic thanks to the link from When Fangirls Attack. Welcome to all new visitors! Please feel free to poke around, ask questions, take off your shoes, etc...

Poe #2
Writer: J. Barton Mitchell
Art: Dean Kotz

Obviously I'm a bit biased, what with knowing JackBart and all, but I was very pleased with Poe #2. The story took a supernatural turn I wasn't expecting, there's elements of Poe's work peppering the comic without weighing it down or feeling like a wink, and, honestly, its got an intriguing mystery that's a page turner.

I am also happy to report that there's a "blink and you'll miss it" shout out to a Leaguer or two in the comic.

Dean Kotz's style suits the mood for this story very well.

The comic comes in two different covers, so keep your eyes peeled if you pick up issues #1 and #2, so you don't think you're picking up different comics.

But I can safely recommend the book as a smart, well-characterized, well-paced read. For JackBart's first comic on the shelves, he's outdoing many of his veteran counterparts, and certainly bringing his own perspective to the work.

Color me impressed!

Power Girl #4
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray
Art by Amanda Conner

Power Girl has long been a point of contention in the comics-sphere. Her origin was a mess until 2006. She was sorta Supergirl/ sorta not. But mostly she became characterized as the poorly tempered hero with the cleavage-bearing costume.

Whether bloggers had actually ever read any comics featuring Power Girl or not, the character design was held up routinely as "what's wrong with comics". And given how many artists and writers handled the character, it was hard to argue the point.

However, the new series takes Power Girl in one of the two directions in which Power Girl seems to work best. Position 1 is: capable leader or the JSA, with a short fuse, but a decisive "let's take the fight to them" sort of attitude. It works in a team book, but in a solo project, Power Girl works well as Position #2: She's great at being a superhero, but is sort of sit-com-ish about everything else.

Power Girl takes on a big challenge

I adore Amanda Conner's work (also currently being seen in her Supergirl strip in "Wednesday Comics"), but have not not always been a fan of her writer-husband and his partner, Justin Gray. I'd initially skipped the first issue, but eventually decided to give the series a try.

I have to give kudos to Conner, Palmiotti and Gray. I wasn't sure how things would shake out on this series after the first three issues, but #4 tells me what this team wants to do with the book, and I'm in.

They're not resorting to an endless bunch of boob jokes, and there's a lot of love for the character they see as cranky, messy, and probably a lot unfocused. There's not an attempt to make the character a "bad ass", a la everything Warren Ellis ever wrote. Nor is she a Mary Sue, filling in for a 12 year-old's fantasy version of themselves.

"Fun" was a dirty word in superhero comics a few years ago, but I think when you see a project like "Power Girl", you can have a little hope that there's an audience out there for a different tone in their superhero reading.

Potential pitfalls include:
-Tying into grim'n'gritty storylines in which Power Girl might appear (see: JSA vs. Kobra)
-Deciding Power Girl doesn't have enough pathos and steering toward much of the rest of superherodom
-The current team leaving and a new writer going back to "Power Girl's boobs" jokes (ie: laugh at, not with)

I'm pleased to say I'm recommending the title.

Batgirl #1
Writer: Brain Q. Miller
Art: Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott

Spoilers below.

He he. Spoilers.

Dear DC: On your new Batgirl comic. No.

Let me confess, there's a certain drudgery to reading a certain percentage of Batman comics. At the end of the day, there are only so many things a Batman can actually do as he wages a war against colorful villains in what has got to be the worst @#$%ing place to live in the Western Hemisphere.

What separates the great writers from everyone else at DC Comics may be whether or not they can pull off an interesting Batman story in this day and age, while keeping the stories in an environment in which the most fantastic thing about Batman is that nobody in Gotham has pieced together that the traumatized billionaire with the technology company might also be the Bat-guy with all the crazy technology.

These days, I'm giving Morrison an "A" in this area, Dini a "B-" on Streets of Gotham, Rucka a "B", Winick a "C-" and everyone else, a solid "D".

There is absolutely no compelling reason to read the new Batgirl series.

Batgirl is the character formerly known as Spoiler, btw (if you read comics and didn't put that together, well, you need your nerd-card revoked). I still remember when Spoiler showed up the first time. She was the teen-aged daughter of Injustice League villain "Clue Master", a Riddler-like villain who occasionally annoyed Batman. To get back at her old man, Stephanie Brown put on a mask and tried to ruin his day. She became the girlfriend of the 3rd Robin.

Brown would later become famous as the "failed Robin", who was supposedly killed by Bat-villain Black Mask. DC, reacting to their fans calling shenanigans, brought Brown back. She was Spoiler again.

For a #1, this comic is so tied up in recent (post Silver-Age) Bat-Comics, it feels like what it is: another unnecessary splinter off the Batman franchise that absolutely nobody was asking for (see: Red Robin and Gotham Sirens). Were Stephanie Brown a new character and not tied up with what has to be almost 20 years of Batman history, I would be more enthusiastic (see: Rucka's current take on Batwoman in Detective Comics).

Miller, in the first issue, assumes we've all already been following Brown for two decades. There's no explanation of the all-important origin. The passing of costumes from Cassandra (The Batgirl who made fandom say 'Meh") Cain to Brown is contrived and nonsensical (she walks off, presumably, in her underwear?).

Little details also make no sense. In the first few pages, the all-new Batgirl lands, breaking a guy's knee without warning, after destroying his car, because people are racing for car titles?

Judd Winick's "Batman" shouldn't feel light years more competent than anyone's Batbook, but that's the case here.

Also, DC: Stop it with the blond teen-aged heroines.

Your three-main franchise teen-girl spin-offs will now all appear identical when handled by 50% of your pencillers. Not all teen-aged girls are blond. Many of them aren't even anglo. Just a little something to ponder.

Also, how many people's houses is a wheelchair-bound Barbara Gordon really going to break into? There's got to be somebody tracking this.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Worlds Collide: Big Bang Theory and Power Girl

There's a new comic out featuring the mostly obscure character of Power Girl.

PeeGee is about a female superhero with all the powers of Superman, with the added power of Super Curmudgeonliness.

In the next episode, it appears artist Amanda Conner has decided she should meet the cast of "The Big Bang Theory". BBT is on CBS and features former-high school drama chum, Jim Parsons.

Anyway, my worlds collide.

Here's the page.

Here's the full preview.

Thanks to Pop Candy
for finding this and pointing it out.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Preview released for "Superman: Secret Origin"

It is most likely that my colleagues who grew up in the 1980's and knew much of comics take it as common knowledge that the reboot of Superman by Marv Wolfman and John Byrne is a superior and better imagined version of The Man of Steel. As with all kids, we looked upon the old with contempt and the new with a belief in its obvious superiority as the new that it may not always have earned.

Unfortunately, the attitudes we pick up as kids are often not reflected upon again in a way that perhaps older eyes might look upon a bit more kindly (and, well, maybe spending as much time as an adult as I pondering upon Superman is not something you do). In the 1980's re-boot, much was lost in regards to the 48 years of comics which had painted a vast history for the Man of Steel. No membership in The Legion of Super-Heroes left the concept of the super-teens of the future adrift. Smallville became an idyll oft referred to, but seemed to hollow out Lana Lang and reduce the point of Pete Ross immeasurably.

And, of course, the 1980's reboot greatly aged Lex Luthor and dropped any notion that Clark and Lex may have known one another in their formative years.

All of this will sound "wrong" to my fellow Gen-X'ers, and that's okay, I suppose. However, there's a kind of mythology the Superman comics began working with, especially beginning in the 1950's, that drove a thousand stories.

Almost as quickly as Wolfman and Byrne had launched their version, the comics began trying to rebuild the mythology, only with the trick of keeping the new rules in place (Lex was older, Superman was the only Kryptonian, etc...).

In 2006, the Superman comics were more or less re-touched once again, with elements of the old and new co-mingling very well. However, no definitive origin ever surfaced.

It was just as well. The origin, told before the creative team had made a few creative stabs one way or another, could have once again accidentally painted DC into a corner from which they could not be free to return to favored ideas, find new concepts, etc...

But three years on, there is a new mini-series coming, once again from one of DC's top-flight talents, and one with no small skill at reinterpreting DC Comics for a modern audience.

The team which brought you "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" and "Brainiac" of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank is soon bringing the re-telling of the first days of Superman's career with "Superman: Secret Origin".

Check out some preview pages here.

As much as I enjoyed "Superman: The Man of Steel" as the first Superman reading I ever took seriously, and Mark Waid and Yu's "Birthright", I'm glad that someone will have the opportunity to do what was unthinkable until three or four years ago and restore the classic mythology in a context which will work for today's reader. Just as I sincerely hope that in 20 years' time, the story will be told again for that generation of readers, returning to the bits that work, and making way for new ideas, tweaks to characterization, etc... which will make the story work for that generation of readers.

Super-hero comics are a unique medium, paralleled only by the soap opera, with an ongoing story that depends upon audience engagement to continue. But unlike soap operas, the origins of each character are as important as Arthur's pulling the sword from the stone, Robin returning from the Crusades to discover his land bespoiled, Hercules' parentage, Achilles' propensity to take a dip... Without those elements as moorings, the "why" of the character gets lost, and we wind up with the 2D cartoon cut-outs of geeks in tights that so often make up the public's idea of a superhero.

Superman could have disappeared into the folds of audience disinterest, but his alien origin, idealized Rockwellian childhood and move to the most modern of American cities is a simple enough story (and is often bandied about when the elbow-patch crowd describes Superman as the ultimate immigrant analog). And while those elements re-appear in no small measure in the pages of the monthly comics, its a good idea to return to those roots, to reach back and see the highlight reel.

And we're lucky enough that DC has put a crew of its most talented on the project.

Should be fun.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Reminder (about Wednesdays and Comics)

Comics come out on Wednesdays. Sometimes I get distracted and forget to post.

Also, Action Comics, Superman Secret Files and Adventure Comics? All good.

Action was wall-to-wall Super goodness, Superman Secret Files was a good "let's check in, because we know this is complicated" moment. And, of course, Adventure Comics was both lovely and promising as an ongoing.

Off to read Blackest Night and GL stuff.

G4 fans will have a good laugh at this month's Booster Gold cover.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Green Lantern: First Flight

There's a lot of good in the new DCU Animated film, "Green Lantern: First Flight", but one can't really help but find it hard not to wish WB Animation would let these movies run another 20-30 minutes longer to flesh out the story. For this viewer and comic dork, the movies don't give enough time to allow for the details that (a) fans would appreciate, (b) are part of the character's appeal and charm, and (c) probably would help a bit with what feels like 20 pounds of plot crammed into a 5 pound bag. Its understandable during the first few forays into the format, but at some point, it seems like DCU Animated would take a step back and try to figure out how to improve upon their process.

As a DC character with 50-odd years of history behind him, Hal Jordan, The Guardians, and the Green Lantern Corps are one of the more complete mythologies in the comics-verse. As a kid, I remember starting to uncover GL with Emerald Dawn and the GL series which followed (but which went off the tracks almost immediately as DC refused to let the series return to its conceit of Hal Jordan as one of 3600 space policemen). But the pieces were there. Hal, power batteries, Kilowog, a Guardian or two, and the rings... All kind of fascinating stuff. In high school I had a plastic GL ring that glowed in the dark, that I remember leaving in my window so it would always glow a bit at night.

And in watching the film, while I feel they absolutely tried, and that they did a pretty darn good job of making a movie people might enjoy, it was pretty clear that the parties responsible were not GL fans. It's not that they don't like GL, its that they seem to have just not really soaked in GL long before making their movie.

I'm not particularly wound up that after the canon (and required) transfer of the ring from Abin-Sur to Jordan that the team didn't stick to any known canon (be it Silver Age, Emerald Dawn I, or Johns' reinterpretation). But I do want to point out: There were no actual Lanterns in the Green Lantern movie. Not one.

As near as I can tell, somebody decided that the actual Lanterns/ charging device which each individual Corps member is assigned with their ring, would mess up the story they were trying to tell, and so just omitted them for narrative expediency. Not since Alan Rickman uttered "I AM the Half-Blood Prince!" have I been so underwhelmed by how pre-existing material was handled.

It's a single example, but I think a fairly telling one.

I do think it would have behooved the DCU Animation team to stick closer to Johns' reinterpretation of the GL mythos, as the cartoon feels dated even as one watches it, even with Sinestro in his Sinestro Corps togs instead of the classic Blue and Black.

The plot basically fast forwards through Hal obtaining the ring and speeds past Carol Ferris and Ferris Air in order to cut to the chase, but once you're there, the plot (skewed as I may personally find it) is well executed. For those of you not weighed down by GL comic history, it's an engaging tale of a rookie on the learning curve. And maybe the story is a bit tighter than what I think of when I ponder a character like Sinestro or Ch'P.

In many ways, its sort of "Training Day" by way of GL Corps, and that's somewhat accurate to the comics. It's a good tack to take, provides for a bit of intrigue, but GL fans will feel the tick of the clock hands and WB Animation's self-imposed time limits in cutting out any mention of Korugar and the realization of Sinestro's view of the world. That doesn't mean that it doesn't work in the movie, as Sinestro jumps from Corps Member to Antagonist, but the motivation doesn't stick quite as well.

The animation is excellent. It relies on the work of our neighbors from across the Pacific from time-to-time, and often just goes ahead and looks like anime, but I think that's actually pretty great. Its 2009, and if you can't appreciate a little anime in your movie, well, more's the pity. The design work on the costumes completely worked for me, and 90% of the character design. I did NOT like the re-design on Kanjar-Ro, from sharkish freak to semi-generic squid/ bug aliens (but do not get me started on how much I liked the re-design of the Weaponers of Qward). But Ch'p, Kilowog, Arisia, etc... and the Guardians looked great.

The pacing is dead on, the voice acting was very good, even if Kurtwood Smith as Kanjar-Ro was almost distracting in its Kurtwood Smith-ness. I do feel that Meloni was a good choice for Hal Jordan and that Victor Garber is an excellent choice for Sinestro.

I appreciate the work director Lauren Montgomery pulled off with the movie, and I'd be curious to see what she'd do if time and money were available on a Pixar-like scale. She's working with enough constraints to befuddle Mister Miracle, and she's still able to produce work that's setting new standards for storytelling and animation in the long, tough history of super-hero animation.

In the end, GL is often a comic-dorks' comic. Like Superman, its full of obscurities that only readers and fans will know (I only know, roughly, 1/3rd of the Lanterns' names I could know). But for folks coming fresh to Green Lantern, its a sort space opera/ fantasy. If you're looking for science in the science fiction, you will be deeply disappointed. But if you're looking for space-faring, interplanetary adventure, I honestly think the movie works pretty well.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Nathan C. sent me this story from

The article discusses the classic Superman story, "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?", now collected in hardcover by DC Comics.

This will seem odd to folks who don't follow comics, but in 1986, DC decided to "reboot" their comics, believing that the then 50 years of history were a problem for storytelling as well as bringing in new readers to comics.

Editor Julius Schwartz hired an up and coming comic-writer from across the pond by the name of Alan Moore. Moore would set about telling a story about the last battle for Superman. It's an oddly melancholy story, and one of my favorites for many reasons (including Curt Swan's phenomenal art).

Anyhow, you guys probably don't care too much, but I'd remiss if I didn't mention the article as it discusses the reissue of not just a great Superman tale, but the drawing to a close of one of America's original myths.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

San Diego ComicCon- Highlights for The League

As I don't attend San Diego ComicCon, I spend a lot of time reading up on the panels.

These days, with YouTube and sites like incorporating Tweet-line live posting (which archives) on each panel, I can get through an hour of discussion, etc... in about 6 - 10 minutes.

And after reading these reports for the past 7 years or so, someone from SDCC really, really needs to begin handing out a flier with the entry pass on "Are you wasting your time and everyone else's with your question? (ie: Is your question stupid?)"

At any rate, DC and Marvel have finally realized that their clever hints at SDCC and other Cons were giving away entirely too much, so the panels aren't exactly useless, but its hard to say what one would get out of a lot of the discussion.

So, while I can't say I thought I missed much in the way of announcements, here were some tidbits I am excited about:

1) Superman titles are mostly planned out through 2010. That means fairly stable creative teams and a vision for the books, as they've had since Idleson took over as editor.
2) 2010 may also see a Superman event, somewhat how Blackest Night is a DC event right now. I think this makes much more sense than how cross-overs/ events had been handled
4) The re-launched "Adventure Comics" will be where I can see Krypto.
5) DC is building its line around known, workable franchises. Sounds like we may get not just a new "Flash" series, but a "Kid Flash" series. Also, two JSA series (which is fine, that's a huge cast). I won't be shocked to see two JLA titles before all is said and done.
6) Reports about the upcoming animated, direct-to-DVD Green Lantern movie were very positive. Sounds like WB got 4000 people to simultaneously give the GL oath. That's just awesome.
7) Marvel seems to think they own "Marvelman". I'll eat my hat if they didn't just purchase a whole mess of legal trouble, but it's something.
8) Mattel is putting out a "Movie Masters" line, that will include a General Zod figure and Christopher Reeve Superman. If it does well, they will continue the line (hopefully with Ursa, Non, Jor-El, Lara, etc...).
9) Mattel will also be releasing a Power Girl and Question figure. I'm mostly done with non-Superman collectibles, but I'd pick those up. There are also a few other Super-related items I'll be looking for.
10) This shocks even me, and I know they'll fail me, but some of the conversation at the "Smallville" panel sounded promising. Also, Johns is writing a JSA episode. Which is awesome. Please, oh deities of the DCU, give me Jay Garrick and Alan Scott (and Carter and Shayera Hall, if it won't kill you).
11) Ready for Cameron's "Avatar".
12) Marvel is doing some anime cartoons of their properties. Iron Man looks ridiculous but cool.
13) DCU Online is making progress
14) "Boom" having so many darn announcements is just good news.
15) The sequel to Iron Man sounds like it will be the same fun as the first installment
16) I may actually pick up Doom Patrol.
17) Two of my three hopes for a "prop replica" from DC Direct were on display, as "coming at some point". A Batman utility belt (which I will not be able to afford) and Wonder Woman's tiara and bracelets. I eagerly await the pricepoint on the tiara and bracelets.

All in all, looks like another good year. DC and Marvel are changing their editorial tactics to work with the collected format and their older audience. Its an interesting growth in how narrative is managed.

There were plenty of announcements that left me unimpressed, but surprisingly few that made me cringe (in fact, none come immediately to mind outside of the clip I watched of Marvel's anime-animated Wolverine).

Outside of Doom Patrol, Marvelman and a few items from "Boom", I haven't seen any comics which caught my attention, which is odd. It seems my reading is inline with the narrative thrust, at least at DC. I just don't pay too much attention to Marvel these days, and saw no notes about Captain America, etc... that I thought were terribly exciting.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Google + DCU = The League approves

I am assuming that, in honor of the San Diego Comic-Con, Google's theme today has been a DC Comics-based theme.

from left: Batman, Plastic Man, Wonder Woman, Robin, Green Lantern (and yet more Plastic Man)

They've also introduced several comics related themes for iGoogle. I have selected "Superman: New Krypton"

if you are surprised that I giddy, then you don't know me at all

Click here for comic themes!

thanks to: Doug, Randy and NTT for links!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Superman on a Boat, Wednesday Comics, Elvira at the Alamo, etc...

Working on some e-mail interviews for upcoming projects by Loyal Leaguers. More to come on that. In the interim, here's some other stuff.

Superfans: On a Boat?

Apparently someone is putting together a cruise for Superman Fans. A Cruise. I don't even know what to make of this.

Should The League be on a cruise with with other superfans? What would that be like? I can scarcely begin to guess.

Here's the promotional website.

From the Superman Homepage.

Sadly, a cruise is probably out of the question, anyway. Jamie can't do a cruise, so it's unlikely I would abandon her for several days of fun and super-snorkeling, etc... without her to go hangout with complete strangers. Even if they could land Noel Neill for the cruise.

I also have some questions about whether or not a cruise is the right way to express our Super-fandom. I'd think maybe something a bit more selfless would be a good way to stand up for Truth, Justice and the American Way (although taking a cruise in the name of a fictional hero does seem terribly American).

It's all very strange. Then again, I've never been on a cruise.

Wednesday Comics

This week sees the debut of DC's project "Wednesday Comics". If its been a while since you stepped foot in a comic shop, this would be a great week to do so. For a mere $3.99, you can get a tabloid-sized comic featuring the best and brightest in the genre/ industry.

I think Busiek is on GL. Stuff like that.

This week also sees a new issue of Superman: New Krypton and the fist official issue of the Green Lantern Mega-Event, "Blackest Night".

My nerd radar is going crazy.

USA Today is running the Superman section of Wednesday Comics online. View it here. (Flash is required)

A little forewarning: I'm kind of suspecting that these strips are more about the art than the content in some cases.

Rumble (by Ross)

Art for the upcoming Absolute Edition of the Jim Krueger/ Alex Ross comic "Justice".

I've been waiting something like four years for this Absolute Edition.

click for big screen awesomeness

Post from the DCU blog
with info on the book.

Elvira in Austin

So.... DITMTLOD, Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson, will be at the Alamo in July.

I need your help. You all know I adore The Mistress of the Dark, but I don't see myself getting to both Elvira screenings.

Should I go to see Elvira on Tuesday (the show with the better location and showing time)? Click here.

Or should I go to see Elvira on Wednesday at the Ritz for a late show, but with the movie I prefer of her two starring vehicles? Click here.

And... Who wants to join me on this adventure? Let me know which flick you want to catch!

I do not see any reason here why I would not wish to attend

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The League Talks Comics - Batwoman, GL and Superman

Editor's Note: Leaguers, I'm going to go back to occasionally talking comics around here. Feel free to ignore these posts, friends and family who don't care!

I'm also going to mostly focus on suggestions for stuff I liked. It'll save us all a lot of time.

Detective Comics #854
Written by Greg Rucka; Art by JH Williams and Cully Hamner; Cover by JH Williams : Variant Cover by JG Jones

We're on issue #854 of Detective Comics, where Batman made his first appearance in 1939ish in issue #29. So, this is the first issue in quite sometime given over to someone other than Batman, or people standing around talking about/ thinking about Batman.

Instead, after 3 years of getting our chain yanked by DC with its sporadic appearances of the "all new" Batwoman (That's Batwoman, not Batgirl), DC finally committed to the character and gave her a chance to make it on her own. Apparently DC is also trying to make amends with novelist/ comic scribe Greg Rucka, with whom it seems things got crosswise during the "52" event of 06' - 07', by giving him "Detective" and then, just to be extra nice, assigning artist JH Williams III (of Batman and Promethea fame) to the storyline.

With karate she'll kick your ass, from here, to right over there...

Longtime readers will know I'm a fan of Rucka's work on Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, OMAC, and I spent a lot of time in Costa Rica reading his "Queen & Country" comics. Rucka does fetishize a certain type of female character, as evidenced by his similar treatment of Renee Montoya from Gotham Central/ The Question, Queen and Country and now Batwoman. Highly competent, jaded, and a personal life in shambles. And maybe he needs to shake that off a bit, which he's forced to do when he's handling characters he didn't manage from scratch (and which he handles quite well).

There's nothing wrong with the narrative here, and, in fact, Rucka does an amazing job of setting the stage for who Kathy Kane is and where we're headed. But Detective Comics just jumped page count and increased its price by 25% with a Question back-up feature by Rucka, that will probably remind readers a bit too much of how similar the two characters actually are.

I'm counting on the back-up feature intersecting with the main feature at some point. We'll see. But both characters have been tied up with Rucka's ongoing "Religion of Crime" storylines at different times.

I'd be remiss in discussing the new Batwoman as character if I didn't point out, like everyone else has, that she is part of DC's efforts at representing the world "as is", in that Kathy Kane has been established as a lesbian. It's not an overarching part of the plot, but its not hard to see that DC was trying to spread its wings a bit with the character intended to be part of its mainstream offerings. Which, I just realized, means that Detective Comics #854 features not one, but two gay heroes.

The art: Is phenomenal. I really don't know what else to say about JH Williams, other than that the man is one of the most wickedly talented people working in the comics business. His style is vastly different from, say, Frank Quitely, but I feel he's in the same category, and it'd be nice if he were a bit better recognized/ had greater influence on the comic art community. I suggest going here and then clicking "view preview" to see his stuff.

Green Lantern #42
Written by Geoff Johns: Art and Cover by Philip Tan and Jonathan Glapion; Variant Cover by Rodolfo Migliari

This is more an endorsement of Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi's work on Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, two books I enjoy immensely. Johns and Tomasi have both been using the serial and ongoing nature of the books to lead to an event in "Blackest Night", which is hitting at the end of the summer. (And if you're reading GL but not GLC, you are crazy. Seriously.)

Johns and Tomasi have managed to greatly expand the conceits of the GL books of decades past, and have introduced a spectrum of colors and their varying allegiances, roles, etc... And its been a fascinating read.

The last few issues of GL have focused upon the Guardians' attempts to negotiate with Larfleeze, a being who seized the Orange Lantern (think Gollum, but with the power of a thousand GL's) millions of years ago.

As a single issue, it would be incredibly difficult to walk into GL #42, so The League recommends picking up with the Sinestro Corps stuff in trade paperback.

Every once in a while when you're reading a comic, it just clicks, and it becomes abundantly clear that the comic you're reading is going to be remembered and become essential reading for decades. It may eventually spawn movies, etc... And, most certainly, that's the case right now with Green Lantern, provided the whole ending for Blackest Night doesn't crater.

Superman #689

Written by James Robinson; Art by Renato Guedes and José Wilson Magalhães; Cover by Andrew Robinson

Like Batman disappearing from the pages of Detective, Superman hasn't actually appeared in "Superman" for the past few months as the "World of Krypton" mega-story has taken over the Superman wing of the DCU. Clark Kent/ Kal-El is off planet at the moment (a move I confess to thinking was nuts when I first heard it), and has left Metropolis in the hands of a fellow alien, Mon-El. Meanwhile, Action Comics is now featuring an all-new Flamebird and Nightwing, a Kandorian super-team hunting down Phantom Zone criminals.

Mon-El has appeared in the Superman-related comics since the early 1960's, first in Superboy, and then in the Legion of Super-Heroes. From the planet Daxam (and actually named Lar Gand, but given a Kryptonian name by a young Superboy) Mon-El has similar abilities to a Kryptonian. However, unlike Kryptonians, Daxamites are affected by the simple element of lead the way Superman might be affected by Kryptonite. In today's continuity, he was found by a young Clark Kent who was forced to place him into the Phantom Zone to save his life.

Freed from the Zone and given a temporary cure, he's taken Superman's place in protecting not just Metropolis, but, as this issue explores, Earth. Its a great story, showing how this very human alien relates to the planet and is trying to make the most of his time.

I'm not as enamored by Robinson's writing as some, and some scenes, such as The Guardian's defense of Mon-El to Morgan Edge feel simply rushed. Like Robinson had an item he felt he wanted to check off his list of narrative moments, but didn't quite know how to frame it, and so a fairly simple speech cleared up an entire storyline. It seemed almost quaint in this era of televised punditry. It also felt oddly like a call back to Superman's defense of Krypto circa issue 680.

But the issue is an overall enjoyable read, and a great beat in this ever-expanding storyline of World of Krypton, as it runs through the Superman titles.

Sure, its odd that DC has decided that Clark Kent himself isn't the star of his self-titled comic at the moment, but I'm enjoying the feeling of a broad, epic vision for the Superman comics at this moment. Superman's displacement doesn't feel artificial as it did in "Superman: Exile", and I feel that Robinson's stewardship on the title is sound.

Plus, I like the artwork.

That's it for the moment. I doubt this will be a weekly thing, but doing some comic-related writing felt like a good idea today.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Superman/ Batman: Public Enemies

A few years back, DC launched a new series: Superman/ Batman.

It was in the spirit of the old comic series, World's Finest, which had been the series launched in the 1940's which put Superman and Batman in the same comic (it had originally been conceived as "World's Fair Comics", to coincide with the 1939 World's Fair in New York).

Comics are awesome. Oh, yes they are.

After 20 years of Dark Knight Returns inspired animosity, the powers that be at DC finally decided that just because Superman and Batman didn't always agree on methods, etc... they were more interesting as a mismatched pair of cops than they were as Batman being a jerk and Superman just standing there letting Batman rattle on (I mean, seriously... at what point would Superman not just start avoiding the guy?).

So was launched Superman/ Batman, with words and story by Jeph Loeb (the writer of Teen Wolf! and Commando!) and art by Ed McGuinness. McGuinness had come to notoriety through his work on Mr. Majestic, one of several Superman-like titles that popped up in the 90's explosion, and which was eventually folded into the DCU multi-verse (along with the entire Wildstorm Univere). He went on to pencil Superman circa 2001, and I actually have one of his original art pages from the "Our Worlds at War" storyline.

Super Pals

The first storyline was entitled Public Enemies, and drew to a close the long-running storyline set up in the Superman comics when Lex Luthor nabbed the 2000 election, becoming President of the United States. So what happens when he puts out a warrant for the arrest of Superman? And a bounty for his capture? Awesomeness. That's what happens.

Anyhow, I don't want to reveal too much, as DCU Animated is now bringing the story to DVD as an animated movie. The art style is probably as close as they could get to translating McGuinness's unique style to an animated form. They'll probably also have to drop a few elements of the comic tied to continuity, but I'm optimistic that this will be a really fun ride.

The comic was a big, ridiculous action flick sort of thing. Looks like the movie will be more of the same.

Check out a semi-legal trailer here.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Best Comic Superhero Movies of All Time

So in the comments on my post about Wolverine, Jason challenged me to name the best and worst superhero movies of all time. I think, wisely, Jason suggested I stick to
superhero movies that were actually adapted from comics or graphic novels.

Like any genre or sub-genre of film, there's a few shining stars, there's several in the mid-range, and then some movies that are epic in their failure to execute and/ or entertain. Those films often gain legendary status among geeks, as (in)famous as their more successful counterparts. But, of course, they enjoy the word-of-mouth "you haven't seen it? Oh. My. God." status.

The problem with superhero movies (much like sci-fi) is that there seem to be a far greater number of movies that hit the ultra-bad status rather than the very good.

So what did I pick?

How about this? Here's my top five in no particular order.

1) Superman: The Movie
Sure, its Metropolis scenes are hopelessly mired in the ill-conceived fashions of the 1970's, and the whole "Can you read my mind?" sequence is a test of anyone's patience/ sanity... But it also tells a deeply complete story on a scale that's still difficult to match. I still find the characters and motivations of everyone but Otis (read: RHPT) to be truly thought out from a writer's perspective. Cliche they may be these days, but lest we forget: Superman originated a lot of those cliches, so credit where credit is due.

Its hard to believe Reeve is in his early 20's (about the same age as Routh, who was often criticized as "too young") as he managed to define the character of Superman for a generation. Throw in Kidder's "tough city reporter", the essence of Lois Lane, and Hackman as a daffier-than-expected Lex, and it adds up to the capstone on a great cast.

Its also got one of the most memorable scores in all of filmdom, fantastic cinematography, amazing practical effects and manages to tell an amazing, epic story. Something almost no other superhero movie has managed to pull off.

And I know you think Superman II is better, but its far campier and goofier than what you remember. I assure you.

2) Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2
Spidey swung in on a web and saved the superhero movie for the 21st Century. When we'd come to expect dreck (more on that later), Sam Raimi's love of the wall-crawler in both the first and second installments hit pitch perfect with the audience and recreated the superhero film by actually paying attention to the original source material instead of dismissing it as kiddie-garbage.

Raimi, unlike Burton and his Batman, "got" Spidey in all the ways that mattered, and understood what had made the original source material work. Rather than slavishly try to hit all the beats, he distilled down why we love made the damn best two hours of a Spidey movie anyone could ask for.

Sadly, Spidey 3 was a terrific mess and a disappointment.

But Spidey 1, especially, is a hell of a lot of fun. Who didn't want to web-swing after that movie?

3) The Dark Knight
I grew up as a huge fan of the Burton films, but they never felt exactly like the comics I was reading when I'd head home from the store with Detective or Batman comics in my hand. The Dark Knight built on the based-in-comics foundation of the Goyer-assisted Batman Begins (which was great, but could have used more Year One), and sets Batman firmly in a world much more like our own. And then drags the audience along, like someone tied to a galloping horse for about two hours.

In many ways, the Batman comics WISH they were as we well put together as Dark Knight, and I don't think any writer since Morrion did "Arkham Asylum" or Moore and Bolland finished The Killing Joke has managed to make the Joker so completely frightening or menacing in a way that seems all too possible.

Sure, I've failed to do a Maggie Gyllenhaal "DITMTLOD" post, but the replacement of Katie Holmes as Dawes is not what makes me love the movie. Its just a rock-solid film from start to finish with clearly defined characters struggling in a world where morality is punished.

Also, the score is nothing to listen to for relaxation, but its a huge part of the environment of the movie.

4) Iron Man
It's a recent entry, and so I'm reluctant to place it so high in the rankings, but Iron Man is a great story of circumstance creating a hero from the complacent.

Its tough to imagine anyone but Downey in the role these days (Tom Cruise actually had the role locked up for a few years until the rights expired).

Had Iron Man not been overshadowed by Dark Knight's insistence on refining the genre, it would be the movie we'd all still be talking about (I am. I have it on Blu-Ray. Thanks, Jason!).

The movie was probably mostly there in the script, but its not too difficult to imagine how it could have gone wrong. Humorless. Forcing in the alcoholism angle of the 1980's too early. Too many one-liners. Someone deciding it was a kids movie, and could we lighten up the middle-eastern portion... So many ways it could have been nothing but, literally an empty suit of a movie. But Favreau and Downey found some perfect pitch to hit. Sure, its spirals into the same mad scientist/ my evil twin-ness of several other superhero movies, but its a great ride getting there.

Plus, I liked Gwyneth Paltrow again. Who knew?

If Dark Knight made me want to lay down for a while afterward, Iron Man made me want to stand up and cheer.

5) Justice League Unlimited
is not a movie. But it's available on Netflix, and is the best representation of the JLA I've seen. And that includes Morrison's JLA, to which I have a slavish devotion (Rock of Ages? Best. JLA. Story. Ever.).

It doesn't hurt to watch the preceding two seaons or so of the series "Justice League", or all the various seasons of Batman or Superman (also available via Netflix). But JLU's two seasons were a high point in American televised animation.

Brilliantly voice-acted, well-animated, and with a team of peopel scripting the thing at a level not seen on most prime-time shows (aside from, maybe, Lost or something...), JLU encapsulated everything there is to love about the DCU. Big stories with small, personal moments. A wide cast of characters fighting for the common good, questions of power and responsibility... all that stuff. Plus a wild array of villains and villainous plots, grounded by well defined characters on both sides of the good/ evil dichotomy.

Plus, Amanda Waller.

Its a great run on a great series. Never embarasrsed about being a show about superheroes, and never feeling that because its a show about folks in capes that it should be anything less than the best show they could make it.

If not for the greed of Cartoon Network officials (unhappy the toy money was going to DC and not to them), we would have had another few seasons. But I'll take what i can get.

And if you don't find anything cinematic in the season endings to either season, the Amazo episodes of JLU, the Dark Heart episode, etc... well, more's the pity. I love that they can do this on the comic page, and I love it that Timm, McDuffie and Co. brought me such imaginative work over so many episodes.

But I also don't mind their straight-to-DVD features. All of which have been worth picking up, in my opinion.

Honorable Mentions:

Obviously X-Men and X2 are great movies. Simply terrific at condensing down the expansive X-Universe. But the first film's ending is kind of goofy, and I'm not sure the second film's ending pays off the set-up of the film on the scale I would have preferred.

I actually like both of the recent Hulk movies for different reasons, and would gladly pay to see a sequel to the Edward Norton-starring Hulk. I really don't know what else you're going to do with the Hulk, so it worked for me.

Superman II and Superman Returns certainly get an honorable mention.

Hellboy 1 (but, sadly, not Hellboy 2).

I still like the short-lived Flash TV series, Seasons 1-3 of Smallville, and Wonder Woman.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wednesday Comics

When DC's 3rd weekly series, Trinity, ends in a few weeks, DC is trying a new format for a few weeks as a weekly series. They're calling it "Wednesday Comics", and I think this could be one of the most straight up fun comics to come out of either of the Big 2 in a while.

They're allowing top-flight talent to run rampant across the DCU in non-continuity stories (I think). It's being printed on big ol' newsprint sized pages, I think, so its a lot of comic per comic.

Paul Pope released some panels from his take on Silver-Age Sci-Fi hero (who really harkened back to 40's and 30's era sci-fi) Adam Strange.

I've not been a huge fan of Jim Starlin's take on the DC Cosmos (with the exception of "Mystery in Space"), but I think its because I wanted less Starlin and more of what Pope is doing here:

click to embiggen

There's going to be all-new Sgt. Rock, Karl Kerschl on Flash, Gaiman and Mike Allred on Metamorpho, etc...

Something for you kids to look for.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

DCU Online Preview with Doomsday

DC is working with Sony Online entertainment to create a massive multi-player game, similar to World of Warcraft.

I'm very excited about the game despite the fact that playing means I will need either a new computer or a PS3. It looks like everything I was hoping City of Heroes would be, but because it didn't employ DC (or Marvel) characters or storylines, I just never got all that into CoH in the 6 months or so I played.

The latest out of the DCU Online dispatches is a trailer for a scenario in the game in which Luthor's team tries to liberate Doomsday from STAR Labs. I'm no gamer, so don't go buying the thing on my say-so, but it's neat to look at.