Inside Pulse » Bob Harras http://insidepulse.com A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Thu, 23 Oct 2014 01:30:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » Bob Harras http://insidepulse.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://insidepulse.com The Gold Standard: The Lobdell Problem, A Top Five List, And A Weekly Roundup http://insidepulse.com/2012/09/19/the-gold-standard-the-lobdell-problem-a-top-five-list-and-a-weekly-roundup/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/09/19/the-gold-standard-the-lobdell-problem-a-top-five-list-and-a-weekly-roundup/#comments Wed, 19 Sep 2012 14:00:07 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=311960

Let me start by saying that I have spent much of my time as a comic book fan as a fan of Scott Lobdell. The man wrote X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Excalibur, Wolverine, hell, he created Generation X and wrote some of my first Iron Man (Heroes Reborn). I have nothing but nostalgia and good memories attached to his name, and he’s one of the reasons that I’ve been such a diehard fan of the X-Men for all these years. I mean, sure, there are other writers from that era who helped; Fabian Nicieza, Mark Waid, hell, Jeph Loeb and Rob Liefeld. I was a child of the Atom, so to speak, I’ve been a loyal X-Men reader since 1996 and did go back and read up from 91 on.

 

That means X-Cutioner’s Song, Fatal Attractions, The Phalanx Covenant, the Age of Apocalypse, Onslaught, and even Zero Tolerance. I have nothing but fond memories for all of these events that made me love events. Scott has had his name placed on a special pedestal by my childhood nostalgia.

 

So what’s the problem? He was great back in the day!

 

Well, there’s the issue in a word, ‘back in the day’. It’s been well over a decade since his best work was on the table at Marvel, and since he moved to write horrible Wildstorm. His big move to DC? Terrible. Gone is the pacing and enthusiasm and well crafted characters of his epic run with Marvel’s Mighty Mutants, and in the place of it we have….nothing.

 

Teen Titans has been a complete and utter black hole of crap that is screaming for a writer to take over with a clearer vision for the future. Superboy was unreadable crap that has recently improved…due to Lobdell leaving in favor of Tom DeFalco, who excels at writing teenage characters. Red Hood…I caved after two issues and never looked back. There’s no real charm to what he’s doing, no real care or class.

 

Superboy, Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Rose Wilson, Skitter, Bunker, Solstice, Caitlin Fairchild, Arsenal, Red Hood, Starfire. He’s rolled out a ton of characters and the ones who have received personalities?

 

Red’s Robin and Hood got some love in the Night of the Owls, in a Bat book untouched by Scott. Superboy and Bunker developed personalities under DeFalco’s pen in an issue of Superboy. Kid Flash’s best moment thus far came in a Fabian written issue of DC Universe Presents. Caitlin and Rose? For as bad as Ravagers is, at least the characters are well handled. Scott is just completely failing to define anyone.

 

Hell, another issue is the pacing, arguably the biggest issue. Last issue of Teen Titans was part two of a story that didn’t have a part one. He’s picking up and dropping plots like it’s the thing to do, throwing crap at the wall before our very eyes to see what sticks. Remember Skitter? If not for her origin being in the zero issue this month, I’d have said I wouldn’t be shocked to never see her again. Bunker and her are BFF’s and then she vanishes and he’s Superboy’s best friend. He swung, he missed, and Skitter is heading for the bench. Not unlike so many failed X-characters.

But hey, can I really attack him for trying new things, even in failure? That’s not generally my thing, I mean, I have no problem attacking someone in failure, I relish it, but I try to reserve it for the people I don’t like. It’s why I rub salt in the wounds when I go on Alan Moore rants, or why I simply try to not acknowledge Alex Ross. But for the most part I try to attack the project more so than the creator…well, unless they really offend me as a reader; Avengers vs. X-Men.

 

What I can attack Lobdell for, however, is being an arrogant sack of crap. For being the sort of person to ride the reigns of his own legacy and expect to be treated as an A list sort of talent while not doing anything to warrant the desired treatment. For being someone who politics his way into jobs, who seems to always have his books being spoiled at Bleeding Cool, and for being the kind of person who will stroke his own ego while badgering a fan…yes, the Stephanie Brown fan from San Diego is a part of this. To top it all off though? He’s full of it.

 

So why would I say he politics himself into place for a job? I look at the landscape of the New 52, and yes, there are writers with multiple books. Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Gail Simone, Peter Tomasi, Judd Winick, Scott Snyder, Paul Cornell, Tony Bedard, Peter Milligan, Jeff Lemire. These are writers that handle multiple books, possibly a few omitted, but look at that list. These are DC Comics talents, and for the most part, have been for a while. You have your super stars, your rising stars, the old faithful, all your real archetypes. The point is that with 52 books they let the people that were proven to be able to handle the job do the job.

 

But then you had Scott Lobdell who hadn’t written anything of name value in…how many years? And he was given how many books? Three? And then they go and take Superboy from him, poor Scott…wait, he’s got Superman now? And Bleeding Cool is breaking the story? Bleeding Cool who also had the exclusive on Vibe debuting to be Bunker’s boyfriend in Teen Titans? Now, do I have any proof that Scott is leaking info to Rich Johnston? No, I don’t, but I do have the dates on Bleeding Cool’s reports. How they broke the rumor of Lobdell taking over Superman at the end of April, complained about DC delaying the announcement in June, and then had a big story up about the formal announcement within hours of complaining. Complete with a post devoted to ‘getting it right’ with a poor photoshop job. Sure, anyone could have given Rich the information, but there’s some history there.

 

Little bit off topic there, back to where I started, where do I get off claiming he got his job via politics? Because Scott Lobdell and Howard Mackie both have work right now for the first time in the big two in years, and Bob Harras is the Editor in Chief at DC. Last time he was the EiC somewhere, Marvel was digging it’s own grave deeper by the week. I have little to no doubt in my mind that his job is entirely based around who he’s friends with, and that his ability to score a job writing Superman in the wake of how awful his three debut New 52 books were speaks volumes to the fact that he must be in somebody’s ear convincing them that he’s the right choice.

 

Now, for why he’s a dick.

 

I love Stephanie Brown, this is not news. I was excited about her showing up in Smallville, again, not news. I was not impressed with Scott’s handling of the fan who stood up to a panel to ask about DC’s completely pathetic handling of the situation (Dan DiDio later handled the situation better in an interview with a fan at the Toronto Expo a few weeks ago). When the girl, dressed like her beloved favorite character, stood up to ask her question, she was treated horribly. The table seemed to not know, or really care, about the answer to her question, and when she said indicated that she’d seen art of Steph in action, Scott only had a few words.

 

Are you going to believe art or are you going to believe us?”

Well, Scott, let me find a quote from you tagged a bit less than a year prior.

 

Similarly, Superboy comes to Teen Titans and his own series with a lot of his D.C.history in place. He still showed up shortly after the Death of Superman, he is still the clone of Superman and Lex Luthor. How we reconcile his past with the opening issues of Teen Titans and Superboy? That, I’m afraid, has to remain vague for now”

 

Now, maybe I’m just really bad at reading, but I could have sworn that Superboy #1 opened with the characters birth and debut. A brand new character that Scott spent the summer promoting as the old character with a twist. Hell, if I could remember where I’d read it (or find the link), I’d provide a quote of him confirming that New 52 Superboy is old Superboy with a mind wipe. So I’m going to believe the art, because the writer isn’t exactly a reliable source of information.

 

But hey, this is the same guy who already retconned one of his own books to the point where the trade was released with altered and removed captions to cover up his faux pas. If he wants to get something backwards, or double back on an idea he changed his mind on, that’s his right! He wrote X-Men!

Well, so did Fabian Nicieza, but I imagine he wouldn’t screw the pooch when trying to write Teen Titans. I imagine he wouldn’t sit at a convention table as the new guy in the room and take jabs at fans asking questions he didn’t want to answer. I imagine his characters would be properly defined, and that the Tim Drake we saw in the first issue would be the same one we saw in the twelfth.

 

Or maybe that’s a knock on DC editorial and their inability to decide what they’re doing. It would also explain how, despite this being the first team of Teen Titans, in the first issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws we saw Roy rattle off New Teen Titans members to Kori who remembered none. Wait, Lobdell wrote that one too, didn’t he?

Have their been continuity hiccups across the board? In some cases, sure, but somehow I keep seeing Scott Lobdell rewriting his own canon, retconning his own characters on the fly, and just completely phoning it in….and getting rewarded for it. Especially considering that none of his books are flying off of shelves, and his name value is quickly deteriorating.

 

It’s the time for some new blood at DC; you’ve already had Rob Liefeld storm out angrily (I love Rob, and actually feel he made the right decision for himself, but it was also the right decision for DC), now keep moving away from the 90’s. Dump Ann Nocenti while you’re at it, Green Arrow is terrible and I have no expectations for Catwoman.

 

Now, I’m not saying dump all old talent, just the ones under performing. In the 2000’s I would have said to Marvel to boot Chris Claremont off of anything with an X on it after he proceeded to suck on X-Men, suck on Uncanny X-Men, suck on X-Treme X-Men, and then absolutely slaughter the Exiles franchise. Marvel’s eventual solution? Give him X-Men Forever, never market it, and place it as far away from continuity as they could. It made it easier to move him out of the writer pool and free up jobs for writers who have a better grasp on the industry today. It made X-Men able to propel writers like Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron, and Kieron Gillen into Marvel’s upper echelon.

 

Now, just imagine what an opportunity to write Teen Titans or Superman would do for a young and hungry talent looking to make their name. Imagine that and understand why I’ve completely gotten over the novelty of having Lobdell’s name on a book. If the books were good, this piece would be about Marvel’s fucking up of the X-Men in AvX, but they aren’t, so this is what you get instead.

 

What I read this week:

 

  • Batman #0
  • Green Lantern Corps #0
  • Grifter #0
  • Legion Lost #0
  • Resurrection Man #0
  • Suicide Squad #0
  • Superboy #0
  • Team 7 #0
  • Avengers Vs. X-Men #11
  • Avenging Spider-Man #12
  • Fantastic Four #610
  • Scarlet Spider #9
  • Uncanny X-Force #31
  • Uncanny X-Men #18
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #16
  • X-Men Legacy #273
  • X-Treme X-Men #3
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #13
  • Manhattan Projects #6
  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron #3
  • Batman Beyond #11
  • Legends of the Dark Knight #15
  • Smallville Season 11 #16

 

Top Five Books of the Week:

 

5. Smallville Season 11 #16

4. X-Treme X-Men #3

3. Green Lantern Corps #0

2. Uncanny X-Force #18

1. Batman #0

 

What I Watched This Week:

 

  • White Collar
  • Thursday Night Football
  • Sharktank
  • College Gameday
  • Sunday Afternoon Football
  • Sunday Night Football
  • Weeds
  • Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
  • Monday Night Football
  • WWE Raw
  • Revolution 

 

The Worst Things I Saw On Shelves:

 

You know what, I’m just going to link you to my review of Avengers vs. X-Men #11 and reiterate that Chuck Austen wrote better X-Men.

 

The Best Things I Saw This Week:

 

Same old Rams? Dead and buried. Here’s to the future! A top notch defense, a quarterback finally performing like a first pick in the draft, and a coach who actually coaches! It’s a great time to be a season ticket holder in STL.

 

Team 7 didn’t have the awesome first issue we got out of Phantom Stranger last week, but it was pretty solid. The entire team is established, the links to the old Wildstorm universe hinted at, and while I’m not totally sure what they are going to be doing in this book, I’m excited. John Lynch is one of my favorite characters in comics, Deathstroke is an incredible badass that we’re going to get to see in his pre-Deathstroke days, and Grifter in a book that makes sense! I love the potential for this book.

 

I love Guy Gardner’s new origin, it works perfectly for the character without, to my knowledge, really ruining any of the old stuff. A far cry from John Stewart who went from career architect to marine because he was a marine on a cartoon.

 

Resurrection Man ends and I fully expect to see him bounce around the Dark line in the future, possibly through JLDark for an arc, but I don’t expect him to be prominent again. Thank you, DC, for giving Mitch another chance. The book might have been confusing as hell, but it was fun!

 

I don’t know why I get Fall of Cybertron. I don’t hate it, but I don’t really get psyched to read it, I’m not buying the game, and I’m not a big Transformers fan. And yet…I keep buying it.

 

Smallville proves that Bryan Q. Miller can successfully write any character DC gives him access to. Best Superman title on the market? Check. Best Batgirl ever? Check. Badass Batman? Check. Keep up the great work, Q! You’ll be recognized as the superstar you are sooner than later!

 

X-Treme X-Men is awesome fun. I mean, it’s Exiles, plain and simple, but that’s a good thing! Exiles was awesome before it turned into a vehicle for discarded plots from Claremont’s time writing for Marvel UK in the early 80’s. Dazzler is a great lead, Jim Howlett is turning into one of my favorite versions of Wolverine, and Kid Nightcrawler? I love Kid Nightcrawler. You know what else I loved? The twist in the first arc that reminded me of the first arc of Exiles, where they think they’ve found the good guy and he’s as evil as they come. I shall enjoy this title for as long as Marvel keeps it on shelves and written by Greg Pak.

 

Man, Remender is setting up to go out with a massive bang on Uncanny X-Force and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for it. He’s built this up so well for so long that now I’m just waiting for everything to explode and see who gets out in one piece. I’m looking at you, Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler.

 

My Pissed Off Moment of the Week:

 

If you haven’t picked up on it based on how I opened this piece, I’m a fan of the X-Men, so Marvel wiping their collective ass with the franchise in a way to make the Avengers seem more important annoys the crap out of me. Yes, the Avengers is the only property they actually have the movie rights for, so they should make it seem bigger than it is, or make it as big as the movies, but not like this. Not at the expense of the actual number one franchise. Come October there will be Uncanny Avengers and not Uncanny X-Men, and that’s just wrong. We don’t have X-Men: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, or Avengers: The World’s Greatest Comics Magazine. Giving the Uncanny label to the Avengers is Marvel symbolically trying to upgrade that to their biggest book by giving it the flagship name.

 

Because let’s be honest, X-Men has been the bread and butter of Marvel since Dark Phoenix.

 

Top Five Moments Of The Week

 

5. It might have lacked any real emotional impact with Hope being the one to yell “NO!”, but I can’t deny the strength of the visual of Scott killing Xavier from Avengers Vs. X-Men #11.

4. There was a lot of good in this issue, but man, Illyana is just the craziest of crazy bitches. Kieron Gillen gives the Phoenix Five their first bit of decent writing in Uncanny X-men #18.

3. Can James Tynion write a Red Robin ongoing? The entire issue was amazing, but I have to go with Tim Drake’s origin from the backup for Batman #0.

2. Guy Gardner earns his Lantern, designs his look, and becomes an immediate pain in the ass of Hal Jordan. I loved Green Lantern Corps #0.

1. I might have hated the book, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t an awesome visual. It pains me to do it, but Avengers Vs. X-Men #11 gets two spots in this list. Olivier Coipel was the best thing about the book.

Don’t forget to like this column, share it, tweet it, plus it, all of that good stuff. Add me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and be sure to keep coming back to the Nexus!

 

The Gold Standard
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Demythify: Marvel Now, Amazing Spider-Man Movie Reboot & The New 52 DC Comics Relaunch http://insidepulse.com/2012/07/09/demythify-marvel-now-amazing-spider-man-movie-reboot-the-new-52-dc-comics-relaunch/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/07/09/demythify-marvel-now-amazing-spider-man-movie-reboot-the-new-52-dc-comics-relaunch/#comments Mon, 09 Jul 2012 04:01:40 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=304189 The big news from last week was Marvel’s answer to the DC Comics Relaunch’s New 52 in the form of: Marvel Now.

Now, before anyone gets in a tizzy, the official Marvel Comics line from their Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso has been:

    “Well, one thing we did learn [from DC Comics' New 52 relaunch] is that slapping a #1 on a bunch of cover sure gets you noticed! [Laughs] Look, DC does what it needs to do; we do what we need to do — and we’ve been building toward this for some time. Marvel NOW! hearkens back to 11 years ago, when “NuMarvel” employed the simple strategy of “Great writer, great artist, great character, great hook…GO!” Only this time, we’re embracing the #1 on the cover — and we’re determined that each issue is earns it — and we’re very conscious that these stories take place in one universe. We’re leaning into the concept of shared-universe; while each title tells an independent story, they’re part of a larger whole.”

I respect EIC Alsonso, Executive Editor Tom Brevoort, and Chief Creative Office Joe Quesada who have been doing the rounds lately to plug Marvel Now.

I do also believe that after almost 11 years of stories, it seemed that a lot storylines were coming to an end at around the same time — threads and plots that started all the way back with Avengers Disassembled. I get that it was also time reintegrate the X-Men with the Marvel Universe proper as well as the cosmic heroes like Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy. Those are all sold story-based “WHAT” or content reasons to refresh and, um “ReEvolution” the Marvel Comics line.


Marvel Now Content with DC New 52 Marketing

However, “HOW” Marvel chose to package their Marvel Now initiative is very much influenced by the DC Comics New 52. Certainly, they are different stories content wise – DC’s initiative was a line-wide reboot whereas Marvel’s is a select branding of several new titles – but they both have the same goal of appealing to new and lapsed readers as well as retain existing readers. However, (A) the “Marvel Now” branding and the embracing of a large number of new #1’s is very much influenced by the success of The DC New 52 and (B) spacing out the new #1’s weekly between October 2012 and February 2013 is influenced by the criticism by some retailers and readers of the all-in-one-month relaunch plan DC Comics implemented in September 2011.

So, yes, story-wise this is clearly is all Marvel Comics, but the marketing of Marvel Now is very much DC New 52 inspired – positive and negative.

EIC Alonso also threw a dig at DC Comics – carrying on the tradition of Brevoort and Quesada – that clearly shows they have watched and learned from DC’s bold experiment.

    “And a couple things I want to emphasize: Marvel NOW! starts with the creators, so don’t expect writer shake-ups across the line by the fourth or fifth issue, or half the titles to get cancelled and replaced by a new #1. We aren’t throwing $#!# at a wall, seeing what falls off and then replacing it with more $#!#. [Laughs] We’re building books we expect to last. Retailers that order them, and fans that read them, will be purchasing new ongoing titles, not limited series. Also, Marvel NOW! unfolds across four months, not one. Each week, we will be offering at least one new entry-point into the Marvel Universe for readers — old, lapsed and new. It’s a patient rollout that demonstrates respect for the fan and his wallet.” [Laughs]

As part of Marvel’s charm initiative it was also reported that Marvel Now is pretty much a net new number of ongoing series. There are no cancellations deliberately planned to make room for the new #1’s:

    The Marvel NOW! initiative doesn’t have a set number of books to it and will be comprised almost entirely of ongoing series. That means there will be quite a few new volumes and new Marvel titles coming in the months ahead, but no existing Marvel titles are being phased out to make room for the Marvel NOW! books.

When I returned to writing for the Comics Nexus in 2010, I opened with a few columns on the state of the industry including what I termed Marvel’s “Concentrated $ameness“. It would seem Marvel is at the same state they were then. Their solution is to capitalize on successful brand names. Lots of Avengers, X-Men and Spider-Man books and multiple Thor, Hulk, etc. books. These are popular franchises and likely more guaranteed sellers.

On the other hand, DC Comics New 52 was a right-sizing of their line as well as story-line relaunch, Marvel’s is building on their existing output with new #1’s.

That makes DC Comics’ virtual tie with Marvel Comics for unit and price share of the comic industry most impressive since DC puts out significantly less than that Marvel.

In fairness, back in 2010 DC Comics also had a “familiarity” editorial policy while many of the bigger independents had (and still have) a reu$e and recycle policy. However, with DC Comics New 52, DC has mixed some successful franchises with new efforts and the reimagining of older concepts. Yes, there are a few Batman books by DC, but certainly not in the same number as Marvel’s Spider-Man. And, there is also the twice monthly shipping of Marvel’s more popular titles with I think Amazing Spider-Man still shipping thrice monthly.

While Marvel lacks diversity, it certainly has proven that doubling down or tripling down or more on successful franchises is a sales strength for the company. Marvel has dominated sales charts for several years and since last year is pretty much tied with DC or slightly edging DC month to month. So, let’s not cry for Marvel. It remains a major comics industry success story.

With that said, while Marvel Now also has the potential to cannibalize its own readers with around 20 new #1’s, with no corresponding cancellations, I am excited about a few books announced or hinted at with their teaser. The Marvel Now initiative naturally has some positive potential.


The Marvel Now Promise

The Marvel Now teaser is intriguing. It is interesting that we don’t see Spider-Man’s full costume since he’s hunched over. Could his costume be revamped and more aligned with the recent Amazing Spider-Man movie reboot the way that (A) Marvel Comics recently introduced a bald, black, one-eyed Nick Fury and a non-heroic Hawkeye costume to align with the mega popular Avengers movie (which I loved) and (B) DC Comics dropped the red trunks for Superman to conceivably be more similar to the new Superman movie reboot costume?

There are also some other interesting costume changes in the teaser for Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, Sue Storm of Fantastic Four and Cyclops of the X-Men. There’s also the return of Cable and Marvel Girl / Jean Grey; the latter in a new series written by Brian Bendis called All New X-Men featuring the time-displaced Jack Kirby and Stan Lee X-Men that are in the modern Marvel Universe to stay.

I do support Marvel’s plan to embrace the shared universe concept. With X-Men and cosmic characters more integrated with the main Marvel 616 universe that the Avengers have been traversing in since Avengers Disassembled.

To that end, while yet another Avengers book on one hand makes my eyes roll, on the other hand the new Uncanny Avengers book featuring equal measures of Avengers and X-Men seems like an interesting bridge book for me. Havok, Cyclops’ brother, will lead the team which includes Rogue, who hates Avengers due to the rearing of her step-mom Mystique, and Scarlet Witch whose “no more mutants” hobbled mutants for generations. Writer Rick Remender is joined by artist John Cassaday on the book. Instead of getting another X-Men book or another Avengers book, I’ll sample Uncanny Avengers that will give me both in one book. Win-win (for me). :)

I currently read several DC Comics, several independents and one Marvel book monthly; that Marvel book is Winter Soldier.

I will likely check out a few of the nee #1 titles. I’m a huge fan of Hawkeye, Forge, Madrox, Gambit, Bishop and Cable (can you tell what era of Marvel Comics I am a huge fan of? ;) ), but while I don’t like Hawkeye’s new comic book costume, I am intrigued by the new Gambit series and am tickled by Cable’s insertion in the Marvel Now promo poster.

Also, if Marvel is taking requests, can I ask for an Ares ongoing series? Or does the reason that Thor has swords in the promo pic is because he is a god of war now too?

Maybe lapsed readers like me might sample more Marvel books due to Marvel Now, but the jury is still out on how many new readers the DC New 52 brought in. Likely some for sure. Are there such thing as new readers and have they come into the industry in large numbers in the last year or so?

With Marvel’s abundance of popular “franchise” or “family” titles, twice monthly shipping popular series, and now new #1’s of Marvel Now books likely a large number of which align with franchises such as Avengers, Spider-Man, etc. how many of its existing readers will Marvel cannibalize? In a lingering recession and finite disposal income, will the likely success of Marvel Now take away from other Marvel titles?

The big question about Marvel Now for me is how many Avengers books can Marvel put out without oversaturating the market? This is clearly a trial and error thing because there is no set formula. That said, my hope is Marvel Now is less about its well know characters and profitable franchises, but more about its own neglected properties and even new concepts.

Marvel Now needs to be a vehicle for greater diversity not simply more $ameness. The teased Guardians of the Galaxy – with Rocket Raccoon – should be the poster child of Marvel Now.

The future looks promising for Marvel and the comics industry. A real competition between Marvel and DC Comics is a great gift to modern fandom.

So, in 2012/13, make mine… Marvel?! The next few months should be fun.



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DC Comics Launches National Comics Ongoing Series In July 2012 – New 52 Or New 53 Now? http://insidepulse.com/2012/04/22/dc-comics-launches-national-comics-ongoing-series-in-july-2012-new-52-or-new-53-now/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/04/22/dc-comics-launches-national-comics-ongoing-series-in-july-2012-new-52-or-new-53-now/#comments Sun, 22 Apr 2012 20:00:07 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=297200 Interesting news came out recently. Turns out DC Comics will be launching a new ongoing series firmly set in the New 52 continuity. However, we haven’t been advised as to what book, if any, it will replace to keep the New 52 at 52 as opposed to morphing into the New 53.

Yes, 52 is a bit arbitrary as a number of ongoing series, but DC has had good fortune with that number and now with the branding of the DC Comics Relaunch. Clearly, it’s not necessary for DC to cancel another title for it launch an ongoing National Comics series, but with titles in DC’s “bottom 10″ selling books, perhaps there are some cancellations coming?

That said, below is the good news regarding a new onging DC series. I’ve added links to the DC Wikia site on each of the named characters so you can familiarize yourself with the pre-Flashpoint incarnations if you choose to.

The news…

    This July, DC Comics will be launching a new stand-alone series, entitled National Comics. National Comics will tell done-in-one stories, exploring some of The New 52′s characters that, while interesting, don’t currently have an outlet for their tales. The first four in the spotlight will be Eternity, Madame X, Rose and Thorn, and Looker. Each of these will have one issue to introduce the reader to their little corner of the universe, with the hopes of building from there.

    The first issue, written by Jeff Lemire with art by Cully Hamner will center around Eternity. This is the story of police coroner Christopher Freeman. After being given a second chance on life, he finds himself with the ability to resurrect the dead. Freeman uses his new ability to help those he resurrects to find their murderers and to gain closure, so they can continue to the other side.

How similar will these New 52 characters be to their pre-Flashpoint incarnations? We’ll soon see.


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The Culling Watch: Bob Harras, Ian Churchill, Howard Mackie, Etc Talk Ravagers & Teen Teams X-Over http://insidepulse.com/2012/04/21/the-culling-news-bob-harras-ian-churchill-howard-mackie-etc-talk-ravagers-dc-teen-teams-x-over/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/04/21/the-culling-news-bob-harras-ian-churchill-howard-mackie-etc-talk-ravagers-dc-teen-teams-x-over/#comments Sat, 21 Apr 2012 04:00:32 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=296410 During C2E2 this past weekend, there was a buzz at the DC Comics panels about the New 52 second wave titles including DC’s next teen team book, Ravagers, springing from the teen crisis crossover called the Culling in May 2012 flowing from Teen Titans Annual #1 and the #9 issues of Teen Titans, Superboy and Legion Lost.

DC Comics Editor in Chief Bob Harras addressed the head shaking over the very different debut of Beast Boy last week in the pages of Superboy and his role as a lead in the Ravagers (as seen on the Ravagers #1 cover released – see right). Interestingly, no words on the “other” Ravager lead who also made their debut last week. ;)

    The final Second Wave title, “The Ravagers” will be spinning out of the events of “Teen Titans.” “Some of the characters you might recognize,” said Harras, mentioning Caitlin Fairchild and Beast Boy by name, but emphasizing there was a reason the traditionally green hero is now red.

Artist Ian Churchill, penciller of Ravagers, talked about his the new series and its vibe stemming out of The Culling. Also, check out the black and white interior pencils for Ravagers #1 to the immediate lower left.

    RAVAGERS spills out of the ‘Culling’ event and hits the ground running – quite literally! These characters aren’t quite superheroes and they’re not quite supervillians either. In fact, they’re very difficult to pigeonhole. If you crossed LOGAN’S RUN with THE TERMINATOR, you may have an idea of the tone and vibe of the book. [Writer] Howard Mackie has lots of twists and turns planned for the fugitives that’ll keep everyone guessing, and might well take your breath away!

Writer Howard Mackie, writer of Ravagers, shared his memories of the beginnings of DC’s teen crisis The Culling.

    …a group of teens that are snatched from their real lives, tortured and experimented on, forced to fight every day for food, water, and shelter — Periodically the kids are all thrown into this huge pit, and have to use their Metahuman powers to fight to the death… to thin the heard… it’s called THE CULLING.

Superboy editor Chris Conroy also had some information on a Wildstorm alumni‘s debut during The Culling on DC Comic’s blog.

    …Harvest, the driving force behind N.O.W.H.E.R.E., always intended for his home-grown Kryptonian clone to be a savage, unstoppable force of nature — and that it took a serious beating from one of the nastiest psychos Superboy’s met yet to bring that out of him. Well, in ‘The Culling,’ he’s put Superboy, the Titans, and the Legion Lost up against a veritable army of bloodthirsty killers — and there aren’t many more frightening than SUPERBOY #9 cover star Warblade. The man’s basically made of knives! And Superboy’s got to square off with him in a pit of molten lava.

Legion Lost editor Brian Cunningham shared some info on The Culling on DC Comic’s blog.

    In “The Culling,” the Titans and the Lost Legionnaires learn that they each have something in common, and that something is a new heavyweight villain named Harvest. Harvest has invested considerable time and effort into corralling both the Titans and these Legionnaires together. Turns out, Harvest somehow knew these Legionnaires would be coming back in time to 2012 and factored them into his über-plan in a huge way.

Lastly, check out the Teen Titans Annual #1 cover, that kicks off The Culling in May, by Brett Booth on the left.

Sweet!


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DC Comics Relaunch: DC Launches THE NEW 52 Website http://insidepulse.com/2011/07/02/dc-comics-relaunch-dc-launches-new-52-website/ http://insidepulse.com/2011/07/02/dc-comics-relaunch-dc-launches-new-52-website/#comments Sat, 02 Jul 2011 13:00:24 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=254958 While we have been priding ourselves here at Nexus for keeping everyone up to date with the latest news regarding DC’s relaunch, if you guys want news right from the horse’s mouth, you might want to check out DC Source’s new “The New 52” site.  The site includes a great launch video for 52 featuring Jim Lee, Dan DiDio, Grant Morrison, and Bob Harras talking about the idea behind the relaunch and some of the new series.

There are also links to individual webpages for each of the 52 series (which can be found below).  Check them out!

SUPERMAN

Action Comics #1Action Comics #1

Superman #1Superman #1

superboy-1Superboy #1

Supergirl #1Supergirl #1

BATMAN

batman-1Batman #1

detective-comics-1Detective Comics #1

batwing-1Batwing #1

batman-the-dark-knight-1Batman: The Dark Knight #1

batman-and-robin-1Batman and Robin #1

batgirl-1Batgirl #1

batwoman-1Batwoman #1

nightwing-1Nightwing #1

catwoman-1Catwoman #1

birds-of-prey-1Birds of Prey #1

red-hood-and-the-outlaws-1Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

GREEN LANTERN

Green Lantern #1Green Lantern #1

Green Lantern Corps #1Green Lantern Corps #1

Green Lantern: New Guardians #1Green Lantern: New Guardians #1

Red Lanterns #1Red Lanterns #1

JUSTICE LEAGUE

Justice League #1Justice League #1

Justice League International #1Justice League International #1

Aquaman #1Aquaman #1

Wonder Woman #1Wonder Woman #1

The Flash #1The Flash #1

Captain Atom #1Captain Atom #1

The Fury of Firestorm #1The Fury of Firestorm #1

Green Arrow #1Green Arrow #1

The Savage Hawkman #1The Savage Hawkman #1

Mister Terrific #1Mister Terrific #1

DC Universe Presents #1DC Universe Presents #1

THE DARK

Justice League Dark #1Justice League Dark #1

Swamp Thing #1Swamp Thing #1

Animal Man #1Animal Man #1

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1

I, Vampire #1I, Vampire #1

Resurrection Man #1Resurrection Man #1

Demon Knights #1Demon Knights #1

THE EDGE

Stormwatch #1Stormwatch #1

((Voodoo)) #1Voodoo #1

Grifter #1Grifter #1

Deathstroke #1Deathstroke #1

Suicide Squad #1Suicide Squad #1

O.M.A.C. #1O.M.A.C. #1

Blackhawks #1Blackhawks #1

Men of War #1Men of War #1

Men of War #1All-Star Western #1

YOUNG JUSTICE

Teen Titans #1Teen Titans #1

Static Shock #1Static Shock #1

Hawk & Dove #1Hawk & Dove #1

Blue Beetle #1Blue Beetle #1

Legion of Super Heroes #1Legion of Super Heroes #1

Legion Lost #1Legion Lost #1

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Exclusive Dan Jurgens Interview (II): Green Arrow, JLI, & DC Comics Relaunch http://insidepulse.com/2011/06/21/exclusive-dan-jurgens-interview-green-arrow-jli-dc-comics-relaunch/ http://insidepulse.com/2011/06/21/exclusive-dan-jurgens-interview-green-arrow-jli-dc-comics-relaunch/#comments Tue, 21 Jun 2011 11:00:55 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=252834 Today we have part 2 of our new 3-part interview with comics legend Dan Jurgens. Our first part yesterday gave Justice League International the spotlight.

Today its Green Arrow‘s turn, a book which is also part of the DC Comics Relaunch and on my Top 19 from September 2011 DC offerings.

JLI slips in a bit too. :)


Comics Nexus: How different is your creative process when you are writing one book (JLI) and drawing another (Green Arrow)? Do you have to change your approach to storytelling?

Dan Jurgens: One of the things DC is trying to accomplish here is to get creators talking again.

Over the last several years, the medium has become very much a “script first” style of writing. The writer would write a full script, turn it in, often without knowing who was going to draw it, and really not have any contact beyond that.

I’m a firm believer in “plot first” writing. The writer writes something that is short of a full script and the artist then gets to actually pace the story and get a little more control over its flow and visual elements. That makes for a more dramatically visual comic.

Green Arrow #1 (ships September 2011)When writers and artists talk, you get a far greater sense of collaboration. That builds cohesiveness and enthusiasm within the creative team and, in turns, creates a better product. My approach has changed in that I want to find out what JT is trying to communicate-what’s most important to him and for the story and characters-and get it in the book while making it visually compelling.

Nexus: What attracted you to art chores on Green Arrow? Were you a fan of Oliver Queen? And, how involved are you with JT Krul in shaping where Oliver Queen is taken story-wise?

Jurgens: I am a huge fan of Oliver Queen. I have always found him to be one of the most compelling characters in the DCU. In terms of personality, Ollie has often been given more definition and character than a lot of them.

Bob Harras and I first talked in general about GA and what kind of book it might be, what would work, what might not, etc. We talked about the idea of greater creator collaboration, of working plot/pencil/script, etc. That was part of a very broad DCU discussion and it was a couple of weeks later that they asked if I’d like to work with JT and draw the book.

Since then, JT and I have had a number of conversations about the tone of the book, the type of guy Ollie is, the supporting cast and where we want to go. JT is a tremendously nice, dedicated guy and he’s working very hard to make this happen.

Nexus: How involved were you in the redesign of Green Arrow and the look of the characters, rogues, and backdrop for the book?

Jurgens: I took the first run at a redesign of the character. Then Jim Lee took it and added/adjusted a couple of elements for the final design. As for the supporting cast, rogues, whatever, that’ll be me, along with suggestions from JT, in coming up with the final look.

Nexus: Superman has Lex Luthor. Green Lantern has Sinestro. Batman has Joker, Penguin and so many more. Who do you think is Green Arrow’s arch enemy? Is revitalizing or even creating an interesting and enduring rogues gallery for Green Arrow a priority for you an JT Krul?

Jurgens: His main villains would probably Merlyn and Count Vertigo. Merlyn is interesting because he’s an archer and therefore an obvious sort of “opposite”, though I wish he had a different name.

JT and I have spent an incredible amount of time talking about what we wanted to do in terms of villains and are working overtime trying to build some interesting adversaries for GA.

Nexus: Since you are a writer and artist you have a unique perspective on both disciplines. What is it like working with JT Krul on Green Arrow and Aaron Lopresti on JLI?

Jurgens: It’s occasionally good for me to get away from just writing and drawing my own stuff. I have enjoyed writing for others, whether it was John Romita, JR., Andy Kubert, Steve Epting, Ron Frenz, Stuart Immonen or a number of others and I’ve enjoyed drawing stuff put together by other writers.

Whenever I work with others that way I tend to learn something. They’ll often bring something to the table I might not have thought of and that’s great.

Right now, I love seeing what Aaron is doing with some of the characters’ individual personality traits on JLI. He’s creating a nice, visual language for the book that he’s carrying over from the GENERATION LOST stuff. JT is building some very nice stuff for GREEN ARROW that will give me a lot to play with.


[Updated with the link to part 3.]

Tune in tomorrow for Part 3 of our 3-part interview with Dan Jurgens. Tomorrow we talk Booster Gold, Flashpoint and more. For more on Dan, check out his new website: www.danjurgens.com
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DC Comics Relaunch: 2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back: Superman, Batman, Robin, Batgirl & Justice League? http://insidepulse.com/2011/06/16/dc-comics-relaunch-2-steps-forward-1-step-back-for-superman-batman-robin-batgirl-justice-league-more/ http://insidepulse.com/2011/06/16/dc-comics-relaunch-2-steps-forward-1-step-back-for-superman-batman-robin-batgirl-justice-league-more/#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2011 09:00:26 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=252324 Teen Titans, Red Robin and the Outlaws (both on my Top 19), and Superboy writer Scott Lobdell had some interesting comments to ease fans of Teen Titans. Following that, DC Comics’ Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras and Executive Editor Eddie Berganza did a round of interviews today to reassure fans as well. Here’s what was clarified.

Scott Lobdell:

Bleeding Cool:

Death of Superman happened.
– Superboy IS a clone of Superman and Lex Luthor.
– Tim Drake is a former Robin and discovered Batman’s secret identity through detective work

What's Still In ContinuityBob Harras / Eddie Berganza:

Newsarama:

Death in The Family and Killing Joke happened.

– They may actually be the starting point for a few stories in September. (Babos’s take: Well, with Barbara Gordon walking in September, I imagine Gail Simone will tackle the Killing Joke.)

Blackest Night and Brightest Day happened too.

Identity Crisis happened.

CBR:

“…(In terms of JSA) just because a title doesn’t exist within the 52 titles doesn’t mean we might not have plans to role out those characters or concepts later. This is just the beginning”.

– Batman Beyond will be relaunched at a later time. Its an important part of DC’s plan going forward.

Bob / Eddie: “There is a plan“:

– A timeline of the DCU and the DC characters has been created.

– It’s a document DC is using regularly going forward for all the characters that incorporates their pasts and serves a platform for future stories.

- “It’s a living, breathing document, and as ideas come through, we find out what fits and what makes for the best story. We keep adding to their lives.”

– “But everything’s based on what’s most important to the character and what events have had an impact on their lives that will drive story in the future.”

– “And what’s nice is that those events are usually the ones that fans really like and the ones that we like. It makes for a nice history.”

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DC Comics Relaunch: New Superman, Wonder Woman, Booster Gold & Other Costumes NOT Final? http://insidepulse.com/2011/06/15/dc-comics-relaunch-new-superman-wonder-woman-booster-gold-other-costumes-not-final/ http://insidepulse.com/2011/06/15/dc-comics-relaunch-new-superman-wonder-woman-booster-gold-other-costumes-not-final/#comments Wed, 15 Jun 2011 12:26:07 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=252116 New Wonder Woman Costume)Superman #1 (ships September 2011)Through Rich Johnson, we’ve been made aware of a posting by artist Cully Hamner that reveals some interesting news. Cully was one of the artist working with DC execs to redesign the new DC characters.

Well… you haven’t yet seen the final look [for Wonder Woman]. Not sure it’s quite as different as you might think. In fact, a number of the images released aren’t final– not sure why, to be honest. Suffice to say, though, that some details will change in the books as released.

So, who will have a costume that changes between now and when the DC Comics Relaunch happens in September 2011?

Clearly Wonder Woman will. Perhaps Booster Gold will as well since the Justice League International (JLI) #1 cover is not the final. I also wonder if the Superman armour costume was released the way it was reenergize fans and make them remember what they liked about Superman.

Is a switcheroo coming in September 2011 with some of the new 52 #1’s? According to Cully Hamner there is.

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10 Thoughts on News from Last Week: Geoff Johns Flashpoint, Marvel’s $2.99 Pricepoint, and the New Venom Revealed http://insidepulse.com/2011/02/01/10-thoughts-on-news-from-last-week-geoff-johns-flashpoint-marvels-2-99-pricepoint-and-the-new-venom-revealed/ http://insidepulse.com/2011/02/01/10-thoughts-on-news-from-last-week-geoff-johns-flashpoint-marvels-2-99-pricepoint-and-the-new-venom-revealed/#comments Tue, 01 Feb 2011 15:00:21 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=234109 1. The big Flashpoint news breaks down to one thing for me: More Peter Milligan. I’m not a fan of Barry Allen as the Flash, nor do I enjoy Geoff Johns current run on that book, so Milligan taking Atrocitus and the Red Lantern book as well as a Suicide Squad mini with George Perez is a huge deal to me and both are books I love. And yes, there are too many spinoffs to this. Fear Itself and Flashpoint are sure to lead to me dropping books.

2. The Expendables and Kick Ass are both now $10. That sounds like great news, but really, the Expendables, despite the big names and cool moments, is a lesser movie than similar action moves The Losers and, especially, A-Team. Kick Ass, meanwhile, is far better than the overly dark comic. It’s far from deep, but at least it has a sense of fun with it’s winking ain’t-I-cool attitude.

3. Marvel has spoiled the New Venom’s Identity. While it’s interesting to see the symbiote on someone who idolizes Spidey for a change, they really had me at Remender.

4. Green Lantern Move Heroclix show a few new Movie Characters. As for me, I just want the figures. A new Killowog is long overdue and we finally get Salaak!

5. Marvel is going to follow DC in pricing, going down to $2.99 per book, but experimenting in different page counts. If they end up at 20 pages, they will try 13 issues per year. $3.99 is too much for a piece of a serialized story, so I’m all for the experimentation.

6. Bob Harras is Editor-in-Chief of DC, so Scott Lobdell may be allowed back in the mainstream. I’m a huge Lobdell fan and totally unsure why he was booted from the mainstream. I strongly urge DC to give him Teen Titans!

7. Wizard is gone and my love for ComicsNexus Creator and former Wizard Employee Ben Morse prevents me from saying vehemently just how little that bothers me.

8. War of Green Lanterns is to lead to less earthbound Green Lanterns. That’s awesome news… except that besides Hal, none of the Earth Lanterns have been on Earth since Blackest Night. Way to announce you’re changing nothing, DC.

9. Dr. Who has Legos. Yeah, I don’t care either, but this is a good excuse to ask: where and how to
I begin to get into the Dr. Who mythos?

10. Marvel is teasing the The End of the Fantastic Four, but undermining themselves in premeditating that the dead member will be back for issue #600. Still, Hickman’s story is phenomenal and you must read it. Check out my review under #10 here
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Scott Lobdell To Take Over A DC Comics Title? http://insidepulse.com/2011/01/25/scott-lobdell-to-take-over-a-dc-comics-title/ http://insidepulse.com/2011/01/25/scott-lobdell-to-take-over-a-dc-comics-title/#comments Tue, 25 Jan 2011 20:00:13 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=233101 Bleeding Cool is rumbling that with Bob Harras now the Editor in Chief at DC Comics a door has been opened to former X-Men writer Scott Lobdell to come back into the main stream.

Lobdell was a pretty big name writer in the 90’s, being one of the more prominent writers in the X-Men office along with guys like Fabian Niceza and Jeph Loeb, and during the big boom of the industry he had issues selling in the seven figures. Then Joe Quesada came in, Grant Morrison took over X-Men from Lobdell, and Scott has been just sort of….around ever since. I’ve seen his name attached to fill in issues on books like Gotham City Sirens (that former Nexus EiC Manolis Vamvounis claimed were older unused stock issues), but he hasn’t really had a name brand project in a while.

But apparently that’s all going to change, as he has a good working relationship with Harras, who has already decided on a title to give to Lobdell. BC doesn’t have a name for which title, however, as the current writer on the book has yet to be informed of the impending creative shift.

I’m….not sure whether to be scared or excited. This better not screw with Batgirl or Red Robin!
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