DC News & Views (08/17/04)

There is just a ton of content on the site worth reading these days, so let me give you a quick rundown. Check out Near Mint Memories for John Babos retort on my retort of his Identity Crisis opinion (don’t worry, I won’t be retorting his retort of my retort, I don’t wish to bore anyone), Looking to the Stars for Matt’s retort to a Warren Ellis column (so much retorting going down here), James Hatton’s brand new Diner Talk where he retorts no one and everyone, all at once, and, of course, my favorite partner in crime, Ben Morse, has a new Watchtower. And no, it does not complete his trade paperback review series. Because that would be silly.

And now, screw those losers. The coolness is right here.

Convention Time Again, Doo Da, Doo Da!

You know the drill, a ton of links and a ton of coverage to wade through to get to the goodies. I wasn’t at this one in the flesh, but some of my talented Nexus colleagues were, so here is the coverage they have for you. And as always, it will be all brought together by my comments about what stuck out to me.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

And here are the links from all those other sites, although God knows why you’d need there coverage.

Green Lantern- Newsarama
Green Lantern (and a bit of Batman Begins)- The Pulse

Mapping the DCU Panel- The Pulse
Mapping the DCU Panel- Comic Book Resources
Mapping the DCU Panel- Comics Continuum

Blood of the Demon- Newsarama

Batman/Daredevil Initial Press Release
Batman/Daredevil- Newsarama
Batman/Daredevil- The Pulse
Batman/Daredevil- Bendis Talks Post Announcement- Newsarama

Alex Ross and Jim Lee Panel- Newsarama
Alex Ross and Jim Lee Panel- Comic Book Resources
Alex Ross and Jim Lee Panel- Comics Continuum

Wildstorm Panel- The Pulse
Wildstorm Panel- Silver Bullet Comic Books
Wildstorm Panel- Comic Book Resources
Wildstorm Panel- Comics Continuum

Vertigo Panel- The Pulse

Wizard Awards- The Pulse

Day 1- ComiXtreme
Day 2- ComiXtreme
Day 3- ComiXtreme

Alright, enough with the links, let’s get this party STARTED!!!! (And speaking of parties, look for coverage of Ben Morse’s College Graduation Fiesta of Debauchery in this very space next week. It is, as they say in the vernacular, the new hotness)

Any column covering the convention would be remiss not to mention the grand work of Daron and Chris. Their crackling chemistry, which they thankfully didn’t ruin Moonlighting style (oh, ask your parents!), brought us some great coverage and for that we are all truly thankful. They also brought us the Nightwing hiatus news, that I have yet to read anywhere else (though, admittedly, I am only halfway through with all the links).

Re: Nightwing

As far as that Nightwing news goes, it’s weird, but okay. Similar to the Hulk/Thing miniseries while the Hulk title is on hiatus and the Hulk title picking back up again when the miniseries is done that Marvel is doing, I suppose. I don’t “get” it, but hey, I’ll deal. In fact, with Dixon/McDaniel back on Nightwing, even for a short time and a flashback story, I am actually pretty damn pleased. I don’t know that I have ever made a big enough deal about Dixon/McDaniel in my columns. I should make a bigger deal. They are excellent. Like love. Like justice. Like peace. All rolled into one central being who then rides a motorcycle cross country dispensing lollipops (suckers to you Midwesterners) and beautiful advice. That’s what that creative team is comparable to.

Re: Green Lantern

Well that all sounds”¦rather ominous. For Kyle anyway.

For Hal, that all sounds pretty grand. Great creative team, brand new book, no more gray in the hair (hey, I just thought of something. As long as I continue to shave my head, I’ll never go gray. I will NEVER AGE!!!! SWEET!). And hey, the ring may not even have yellow issues anymore. Not a bad deal at all.

I’ll have more on this next week (in my Eulogy for Kyle feature) but you all know the basics of my feelings. Liked Hal, loved his arc as Parallax, wished the whole Spectre thing never happened. Like Kyle a lot as Green Lantern. Trust the creative team behind Hal’s return but would have preferred him not to return in the first place. Sad to see Kyle’s possible departure from the DCU (be it by death or simply being downgraded). Concerned that, with all these Silver Age icons returning (Oliver, Hal), Barry might not be far behind. I know that last one won’t happen, but I also knew Superman’s cousin was never coming back as Supergirl so”¦what do I know, really?

Re: Demon

But obviously, the book I am most excited about is Blood of the Demon because anything Byrne is on, I am so there for.

I can be so cruel when I kid, can’t I? (By the way, anyone know where Rod Odom is these days? Boy, does he love himself some Byrne.)

Re: Lee/Ross

So there joint announcement turns out to be”¦projects that have nothing to do with one another? Nice job Chicago Sun Times. Nice. Job.

Re: Batman/Daredevil
Well I want the damn crossover to happen, so I certainly sympathize there. Plus, it’s Bendis. He’s my dawg, informally speaking. Sorry, Jesse.

As far as it being “unprofessional”, I guess it is. But comics are the most professional business in the world. It is an industry where Loeb offhandedly calls all marvel comics “ultimately boring,” and claims that his last storyline in Superman/Batman is designed around the idea of mocking marvel comics. It is an industry where Marville was written and where Quesada calls DC AOL comics and makes comments to newspapers about their inability to produce quality comics and likening it to a well endowed adult film star being unable to “perform,” so whatever on the unprofessional score. Appealing directly to the fans hardly seems like the worst thing you could do.

That having been said, I am pretty sure that DD/Batman now is pretty much dead in the water. But I get the feeling it was there anyway.

As for his apology, I felt more like it was, “The way it happened sucked and I am sorry for that,” as opposed to a “I regret that I went public with my frustrations.” I think if the announcement had just been him saying, “We (the creators want it), Marvel is ready, DC is a little leery to work with Marvel,” and it been left at that, it would have been okay. The specific naming of who was leery and the whole Bob Wayne back and forth was not so hot.

It is a shame that inter-company conflicts will derail a project that has me literally itching to hit the ATM, empty my account, and buy as much of the comic and related memorabilia I can, but I get it. This certainly isn’t the first time and sadly it will not be the last. Still”¦damn. Brubaker, Bendis, Batman, Daredevil”¦I think I am going to cry.

As for those of you who are looking to have your voices heard on the matter, there are a dozen of so petitions out there and writing to DC is always an option. But be courteous about it. They’ll have no use for an angry diatribe so don’t go that route. And please, pray everyday. If not for yourself, if not for DC or Marvel, if not for the talent, then for me. Thank you.

Well, I think that’s all from me. I bid the Con adieu and move on to more news around the DCU. Join me, won’t you?

Welcome to Gotham, Where the Bullets Rarely Stray

Moving from the gritty streets of his own Stray Bullets to the gritty streets of the DCU’s Gotham City, writer/artist David Lapham will chart the course for Batman beginning in Decembe’s Detective Comics #801. As announced at Comic Con International: San Diego’s Batman panel, Lapham will write, lay out, and provide covers for a twelve issue storyline in DC’s namesake title.

Was that the best I could do headline-wise? Apparently, yes it was. But don’t hold it against Mr. Lapham. Still go visit him at Newsarama

Though I loathe to admit it, I have read very little Stray Bullets. I know, I know, they should revoke my comic reading license. However, what I have read, I have been very impressed by. A particular highlight is the story in which a man’s out of control jealousy makes everything he fears become reality. Great bit of cognitive dissonance (what do you want from me”¦I am studying to be a psychologist, so I talk like one occasionally) blown up to tragic scale. A great writer fit for Batman.

The question, however, is this. After the noir approach of Azzarello turned many people off Batman during that 6 issue stint, is this the way to go? In other words, were the people who disliked the story disliking Azzarello’s writing, plot, etc. or were they generally opposed to the Batman through noir lenses? It will be interesting to see if Lapham’s run can offer any answers to that question.

I too nearly wept (well, no, but I was darn sad) about the news of Sienkiewicz having to withdraw from drawing Lapham’s run. Sure, he’ll be doing Black Widow so I can get a Sienkiewicz fix there, but sometimes one just isn’t enough. Thankfully, the preview pages from Ramon Bachs did much to lessen that blow. They look gorgeous. Just beautiful art. I think we may have another star on our hands here. As one poster stated, the art looks so good in black and white that I am just praying the coloring captures that.

And like that, it looks like I’ll be buying ‘Tec again, which I could not be happier about. My bank account…less so. But me, thrilled. Great writer, great artist, cool concept. I am so there.

Turn on the Fireplace, Dim The Lights, It is Time to Get Intimates

After a first look in June’s Wizard #154 and a dramatic debut at Comic-Con International: San Diego 2004, THE INTIMATES, one of WildStorm’s most eagerly anticipated launches for 2004, is set to reach comic book stores in November! Written by Joe Casey, with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Jim Lee & Sandra Hope and covers by Lee & Hope, the series takes readers to the Seminary where super-powered teenagers learn to be heroes. THE INTIMATES is co-created by Jim Lee & Joe Casey, with character designs by Lee. Along with art by Camuncoli & Hope, the series features additional panels of a comic-within-a-comic by Lee & Hope.

Can you hear the Barry White on the stereo baby? Oh, I know you can. And I know it is calling you to Silver Bullet Comics. Why fight it?

Right to it again.

Last week, Wildcats writer Joe Casey dropped by to speak on the cancellation of the long running Wildstorm series (click here). This week, Casey and I chat about Eart’s Mightiest Heroes and The Intimates, two new series that the critically-acclaimed writer is bringin’ to you this fall. Enjoy.

And when you done with that first part, head on back to Silver Bullet Comics for a little hot follow up action.

Despite my creepy attempt at a flirty beginning this book actually has little to nothing to do with gettin’ it on”¦er”¦being intimate. It is actually about a sort of monastery for future superheroes. So why is it called The Intimates? Well, because Jim Lee said so. If Jim Lee wanted to call it, “The JLA meets the Avengers and They All Make Babies Together” he damn well could. So just accept it, okay?

On a more serious note, I do hope this works out for Casey. Guy’s been having a bit of a rough time of it as of late. I just think that it would be nice if the universe threw him a break on this one.

Johns, The Detroit Pistons Fan Turned Writer, Talks JSA/JSA

To many fans “JSA” is the DC book that could- a series based on the Justice Society of America, who seemed to be dead to many fans, that became one of DC Comics’ best selling books because of the quality of the product, not hype or gimmicks. And with scribe Geoff Johns going solo on writing chores, the Detroit Pistons fan is taking the JSA back to their roots”¦ literally.

Hey, did you know Johns is a Pistons fan? It’s true. To read more about it, check out Comic Book Resources.

Did I mention that Johns likes the Pistons? Oh, good. Cause I was worried about that.

Okay, I am done hassling CBR for that odd non sequitur at the beginning of the article, let’s move on.

Sadly, there is nothing new here for you readers of Ben and I’s San Diego adventure (I promised to stop bringing that up, didn’t I? Sorry ‘bout that.). That doesn’t mean it is not worth reading. It is very boss to read a creato’s comments who clearly loves comics as much as you do. In the case of Johns, he might even love them more. It leaves you with an optimistic sense of who is in charge of the destiny of these characters. If they care for comics as much as you do, it will all work out okay, you know, that sort of thing.

By the way, there is some stuff that was announced in SD (again”¦dammit, I’m sorry) that didn’t make this article, but it too sounds excellent. The next few arcs in JSA are going to be most enjoyable. Trust me.

If That’s the Bell, Than it Must be Time For: Infantino! Lawsuit! Update!

While the complaint was filed in early June, DC Comics has yet to submit a response to the District Court in the matter of Carmine Infantino’s suit.

As Newsarama reported earlier, the complaint contains a virtual laundry list of characters and other objects Infantino alleges that he created on his own, and therefore, retains some, if not all the rights to. The complaint focuses on the time period between 1943 and 1967 during which Infantino was a freelancer working for DC.

Infantino is seeking a $4,000,000 judgment.

Do your “boy do I love lawsuits” dance on over to Newsarama

The more I read about this lawsuit, the less I get it. Why is DC dragging its feet? How should Infantino have filed to avoid the Motion to Dismiss which is apparently highly likely? Did Infantino really get inspired to sue because some DC exec didn’t mention him specifically by name in an interview?

Also the more I read about it, the less I find myself caring. Which is why this View is so short.

The Grant Morrison Experience: Do You Dare

This is one of DC’s new minisites. If you dig Morrison (and how could you not), it is worth a look. Plus, the pure hyperbole of naming a website “The Grant Morrison Experience” deserves props, in my humble opinion. I am also a big fan of anyone who can write, “They say there’s a fine line between genius and madness—and if that line had a name, it would be Grant Morrison,” and maintain any sort of professional composure. Bravo good sir. That isn’t as brilliant as the Warlock solicitations, but it is very much something worth being proud of.

Meet the man, ride the wave that is The Grant Morrison Experience

Michael Chabon’s Speech: The Reaction

Try to read as much of the Millarworld thread as you can, there are some great points on either side of the debate being made. Also, there is a grand bit of weirdness between Rich Johnston and Warren Ellis and involves a possibly dead Beatle running into Johnston after he had engaged in considerable amounts of imbibing. Funny stuff and a nice feel of the “comic community” comes out of it.

The Grant piece is just very well written and does much to hammer home the idea of comics for kids vs. comics for parents.

And finally, I still think the speech was great, a strong rallying cry to arms. There are just layers to the debate. And me, I love layers.

In place of directly commenting on these links, I will instead reproduce an e-mail conversation myself and my good friend Tim Sheridan engaged in, as inspired by these links. For the sake of ease, Tim’s posts are labeled “The Didz” and mine, “Un Gajje.” Enjoy.

The thread is here at Millarworld

Steven Grant’s musings can be found at Comic Book Resources

Un Gajje: Not sure if you’ve seen this, but it is a great bit of debate about Chabon’s Eisner speech.

The Didz: I agree with you on this. SOME comics should be for kids, but the truth is, kids don’t like them so much, so stuff like Ultimates and DD, they write to a particular audience.
Much like films, there can be comics for every audience. They don’t just make merhcant/ivory movies

Un Gajje: Maybe they should! Yeah for period pieces!

Un Gajje: I apologize for the previous e-mail. It was all a lie. Boo period pieces.

The Didz: They’re fine”¦.but I don’t need to see them all the time. Sometimes I want Bad Boys II.
Perhaps it was a poor analogy. They don’t just make kids movie. There, much better.

Un Gajje: No, I got you the first time. I just like the idea of only Merchant Ivory films because that would be so silly to the extreme. Much like comics only aimed toward kids.

The Didz: Maybe Chabon should just stick to writing novels.

Un Gajje: Nah, I liked the speech, it was a nice call to action. I think the problem is more comics natural tendency to go all the way one direction or another (i.e. “everything grim n’ gritty”, “hey, dig it, Silver Aged wackiness, nonstop,”) and so when someone says “more comics for kids” most interpret it as “all comics for kids”

The Didz: I just would like to read another one of his novels. Been a while it seems.
There was a reason the silver age stuff worked”¦..because they did it in the silver age. There was a reason Byrne’s Man of Steel worked too”¦.it was of the time. Comics like every medium need to evolve, all the while being readily accessible to a new audience.

Un Gajje: You are very right. The reason Marvel Comics was so huge on college campuses in the 1960’s is because it was uniquely of the moment. Seems like so many comic fans these days want it to exist in a world separate from our own, because that will make it timeless somehow. What makes comic stories timeless is being good, not being from a generic time or place.

The Didz: Like Watchmen!

Un Gajje: Yes! Would Watchmen be as genius if it was “Capitalist Country” vs. “Communist Country” at “some undefined point”?

The Didz: In Viking times.

Un Gajje: Hmm”¦interesting. I’m listening.

(Sadly, Tim did not describe such a story, Watchmen in Viking Times, to me. It is a loss to me, you, and the artistic community. Like Kubrick’s never made Napoleon picture or the no long available Crystal Pepsi.)

Un Gajje: Hey, I think I am going to reproduce this convo in my column this coming week. Is that cool with you?

The Didz: Yeah sure.

Un Gajje: Thank you. Now my column won’t suck, for once.

The Didz: You have permission to use anything I say in your columns. Even the world domination stuff. I mean, everyone is gonna know about it eventually, right?

Un Gajje: That’s true. Why not sooner than later?
By the way, did you know that Highlander was a documentary and it was told in real time?

Cause it was.

The Didz: You’re d@mn right it was!

Because last week’s column was so column and this one is getting up there as well, I’ll hold off on the reviews until next week. So next week, we’ll have reviews, Ben’s party recap, and your usual DCU news. Oh, also, my (metaphorical) Eulogy for Kyle. We don’t know if he’ll die, but I am pretty sure his days as a front and center character are numbered. Thus, I’ll pay tribute to the man so we can all move on. Dig it next week, I think you’ll be surprised where I go with it. I hope so anyway.

They say there’s a fine line between genius and madness—and if that line had a name, it would be Un Gajje

(Thank you man from Grant’s minisite for that sweet send off)