Friday, October 14, 2011

Welcome to the weekend - I hope you survive the experience !

As you may have noticed I have changed the layout a bit to set the right mood for Halloween. I know I shouldn´t mess with the layout since the last time I did it I couldn´t get the old one back. But since when do I listen to myself ?

I know, you expected to finally read more about D - Gruppe ( me too, fella ! ) but there has been so much stuff piling up since the last weekend that I just had to do another one of my ever - so popular link posts. I hope Terry can forgive but I hope that I can use the time to re - read the D - GRUPPE issues.

As usual let´s start with the DC reboot news and with the one that started the most controversy and like last time there are spoilers abound so skip the parts if you don´t want to be spoiled.


Status : Probably true

You know you have a problem when your whole " new and exciting " approach to relaunching your whole sortiment of comic series is based on an old WIZARD magazine article. Okay, this may or may not be true but it DOES look like when Dan Didio needed some inspiration for the costume designs of the new 52 he just cracked open an old issue of WIZARD magazine ( issue 136 from January 2003 to be exact ). The issue featured an article about how it would look like if DC did an ULTIMATE DC universe since Marvel had just succesfully launched their ULTIMATE line. The costume designs were done by artist Ken Lashey who´s one of the new artists involved in the new 52.

I don´t know if he was compensated in some way because they used his designs as a springboard because so far there has been no comment on this. There is an interview with Francis Manapul, Jeff Lemire and Ken Lashley but it´s not mentioned. I thought I´d share the designs with my readers since it´s making the rounds on the internet, I first discovered it through a link by Los Comic Geekos .

The Batman design is - of course - more akin to the look he has in the movies but they got rid of the shorts like in the rebooted version. Unlike the rebooted version he has the yellow Bat - emblem which they just got back in the comics and of course had to change for the rebooted version. So because this version has the classic Batsymbol it looks better than the new version.

Like the rebooted version the ultimized Superman costume has the red boots with a blue collar and no yellow anymore. But while the rebooted version makes the blue parts look like 80s Robotech gear the ultimized look uses slick unison blue, a stylish version of the S and instead of a boring red belt the red parts are split on both sides giving him a hip and trendy look. In short words : in 2003 they knew how to pimp Superman.

Ultimate Wonder Woman also has hints of what DC used for the reboot : different tiara, the red torso piece that´s more cloth only instead of a skirt she got pants - or trousers depending which day of the week it is.

Green Arrow´s gear on the other side looks very much like the reboot version down to the hood. I´m just not sure if he´s still in the Justice League. Below are the rest of the designs for the Ultimate DC and while Flash and Green Lantern have not yet appeared in new duds it´s still possible. Now you decide how new the NEW 52 really is. The funniest thing about the article in WIZARD magazine is that in 2003 nobody thought that DC would ever do an ultimate version because they were more interested in producing solid books and would never resort to such cheap marketing ploys. That´s showing them, Mr. Didio.

About the whole Starfire controversy there´s nothin new since there is a new interview with Scott Lobdell about TEEN TITANS but he decides not to talk about it.


Yesterday I was at my comicshop so I finally had the chance to check out CATWOMAN 1 for myself. And I have to say that everything I read so far is true. While it´s not uncommon that some comics pander to the smallest denominator ( called headlights in some articles ) it is weird that DC comics took that approach in an effort to gain new readership. It´s difficult to imagine that they really didn´t know how the general reaction would be.

I didn´t buy the comic because the art didn´t strike me as particularly spectacular or appealing but it´s solid and Guillem March sure has a hand for the ladies. The scene at the end did seem a bit odd and here are my three reasons for that :

1 - it brings the whole Catwoman / Batman relationship into new territory and once you have taken that step you can NEVER take it back

2 - why did it take place on - panel ? Was there any reason they couldn´t do the usual before / after shots ?

3 - most important : IF you feel the need to go into that direction and IF you have to show it on panel - why did they keep their clothes on ? That´s the most disturbing part for me. Not the Catwoman / Batman sex but the Catwoman / Batman cosplay sex. Who is the target audience for this ?

And it looks like CATWOMAN will continue on it´s new unpopular " ceesecake for ceesecake sake " path as you can see in the preview pages for CATWOMAN 2


But Starfire and Catwoman are not the only female superheroes who have troubled times ahead of them. After the whole pants / shorts ordeal the princess of the amazons is in the news again and this time not for beheading horses but because DC felt the need to give their brandnew Wonder Woman a new origin . After the whole traincrash of JMS´ Wonder Woman story including an altered reality with a new origin it looks like DC´s answer for everything is just hitting the reset button again and again and again. I read somewhere that the definition of a fool is a person who keeps doing the same thing expecting a different result.


And we continue with the problems for DC although in this case it´s one of their own making. Because they apparently earn too much money DC has made a deal that 100 of their graphic novels are now exclusively available in digital form via Amazon´s new Kindle Fire prompting Barnes & Noble to pull said 100 DC graphic novels from their shelves .

B & N spokesperson Mary Ellen Keating said that " Our policy is that unless we receive all formats of a title to make available to our customers, we will not sell those physical titles in our stores. " adding that readers could still order the print books through or special order them to brick and mortar stores. And on top of that Books - A - Million followed suit . I just hope that the new deal with Amazon covers the losses from Barnes & Nobles and Books - A - Million. Is it just me, or does it look like there are a few moneygrabbers at DC who are just interested in lining their own pockets when it´s time to make a decision, and make a quick exit stage left as soon as possible ? I wonder how you sell the idea of offering 100 graphic novels exclusively on one portal against through every distributor available to a sane person. Simple mathematics should prove that the second option has more possibilities to create revenue.

But maybe they are above such mundane things now that DC Comics dominated the September sales charts and sold over 5 million issues in six weeks . For those interested in the whole number crunching the Mayo Report analyzes DC´s September sales in detail.

“ We did more than just change Superman’s costume and renumber the entire line. We took a huge risk and it’s paying off,” said Jim Lee, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher and artist of JUSTICE LEAGUE. Sure they did. They changed most of the other costumes too, renumbered 52 of their titles and canceled the rest. As for their " huge risks " just read the above parts.


But not everything must be gloom and doom as Tom Spurgeon offers 9 thoughts on advantages DC may have moving forward . One of his points ( a fresh opportunity for talent development ) may be already on the horizon as there are more changes in the creative rosters than the ones reported in my last weekend roundup : Andy Kubert will do 2 issues of ACTION COMICS and one of the best DAREDEVIL writers ever - it´s when John Romita Jr lured me into the series with his minboggling style, back when the only reply by my borther was " which style ? " - Ann Nocetti replaces the unpopular T J Krul on GREEN ARROW . Not really " new " talent but who knows what´s still to come.

One of the things that I found weird was the selection of artists for the new 52 that had some really odd choices while artists of the calibre of a Kevin McGuire or Jerry Ordway were buried in some obscure anthology title. Lately Jerry Ordway at least had the honor of finishing the last incarnation of the JSA - who probably will not be back in the nearer future judging from the new 52 line up.

But Kevin McGuire just recently proved in the JLA RETROACTIVE the 90s special that he´s as good as ever. I don´t know what it is about this particular incarnation of the Justice League....well, that´s not true. If you want to know, it´s all because of the creative team of Keith Giffen, J.M DeMatteis and Kevin McGuire that whenever a new special or miniseries comes out it´s like it hasn´t been ten years since we last saw these characters. You open up the comic and it´s like you´re timetravelling back to when the last issue came out.

Well, despite all that DC has other creators on their top books and you have to get your Kevin McGuire fix from MY GREATEST ADVENTURE 1 ( preview ) which continues where WEIRD WORLDS left of.

More of Kevin McGuire´s Tanga and Aaron Lopresti´s Garbage Man who are joined by the all - new Robotman, a Las Vegas P.I. with a penchant for trouble and mysterious dames, and a disturbing knack for self - destruction !

And since we´re on the subject of previews, this week includes previews for BATGIRL 2, BATMAN & ROBIN 2, BATWOMAN 2, DEATHSTROKE 2, DEMON KNIGHTS 2, FRANKENSTEIN, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. 2, GREEN LANTERN 2, GRIFTER 2, LEGION LOST 2, MISTER TERRIFIC 2, RESURRECTION MAN 2, THE SHADE 1, SUICIDE SQUAD 2 and SUPERBOY 2 . On the interview side we have new interviews with Scott Snyder on BATMAN, SUPERNATURAL´s Adam Glass on SUICIDE SQUAD , Michael Green and Mike Johnson on SUPERGIRL and NYC GRAPHIC´s interview with Dan Didio before the DC reboot . Enjoy !

Last week we started with Comic Geek Speak´s coverage of DC´s new 52 and this week they finish it with new episodes : week 4 - part 1 / part 2 and the final thoughts . Steve Sunu at ROBOT 6 also continues his series about the new books with the newest installments new 52 pick up week 6 and new 52 pick up week 7 as always full of spoilers so only read this if you have already read the issues ( as if I have to tell you that ).

More reaction to the new 52 are coming in as fellow blogger Get - A - Life - Boy does a pretty good account why some new readers don´t like the Legion ( blasphemy ) and Santiago García does a devastating in - depth analysis of the new 52 ( sorry, it´s in spanish ). One thing he mentions is that the best thing in the new rebboted comics are the Converse ads

but I have to say, for a campaign that is all about CLASSIC HEROES it sure doesn´t use ONE real classic comic picture. It´s made to look like Jim Lee, Frank Miller, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez or Bill Finger but any comicfan who has read more than one Batman comic can see they are fake.

So what happened here ? DC wanted some extra money and Converse was too cheap to pay it ? Man, I don´t think it makes any sense to start a " classic " ad campaign with " not classic " comic art.

On a funnier note THE JOY OF TECH has a funny comic about Superman´s problems with google plus that you should definitely read.

After so much to read and listen let´s finish this post with CBR TV´s video with the new 52 creators on elevating their titles’ characters :

Since I only got to cover the DC news in this post the next one will be about what happened at Marvel and all the other publishers since last weekend.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest


collectededitions said...

Maybe it is as skeezy as it sounds, but I keep hoping maybe it was a Batman impostor at the end of Catwoman #1. That doesn't make it much better, but it just gets disturbing in this issue #2, if Bruce is going up to talk to Selina when he knows about the relations between them and she doesn't ... just strange.

I understand why a father-focused plotline as the first story of the DC Relaunch Wonder Woman might be an ill-advised choice, but I'm amazed no one came up with this sooner. When Wonder Woman's very origin is that she doesn't have a father, I'd imagine more writers would try to create one or at least tease the idea. Gail Simone came close, I think, with a story where some of Diana's blood comes from a monster living under Paradise Island, but the monster was never acknowledged as Diana's "father" per se.

I side with DC/Amazon over the exclusive digital content issue. They state the exclusivity is temporary, so Barnes and Noble and Books-a-Million only train customers to look elsewhere for certain books while they bide their time on this. Letting alone, it's rare if ever that I buy a graphic novel in a physical big box store like Barnes and Noble, in as terrible shape as their comics sections often are (and let's not blame readers; comics shops manage to have their books look just fine). To me this only cements how out of touch these big box stores are, rather than my rooting for them for taking a stand.

SUBZERO said...

I´m not sure if i´m going to follow up on the whole Catwoman thing since i´m not reading the book.

Where Wonder Woman is concerned : I´m still waiting for my issue 1 to arrive with the mail and I can´t say if I´m going to follow the book in floppy form or if I´ll wait for the trades. I´m not sure if her origin has to be changed.

As for Barnes and Noble I´m not so much rooting for them making a stand but rather pointing out that somebody at DC should have known this could happen. So they either knew it and risked it or somebody got sloppy. The question is, if it´s only temporary why did they do it in the first place ? And did they inform the bookstores before ?