DC News & Views

Pekar and Vertigo Make a “Quitter”

Briefly mentioned by DC President and Publisher Paul Levitz at New York is Book Country this weekend, Harvey Peka’s new OGN, The Quitter will call DC’s Vertigo imprint home when it’s published next fall.

As with his American Splendor series (upon which the acclaimed 2003 film was based), The Quitter will be autobiographical, and will deal with Peka’s childhood and early adolescence.

Just give up now and yield to your weak willed need to click on over to Newsarama

Confession time: I saw American Splendor a year or so ago. I liked it, it was good. That being said, it is a touch overrated. The performances were strong as was the writing. However, the lovefest that followed it”¦it was all a bit much. Don’t get me wrong, it deserved good reviews, it just didn’t deserve reverence.

Sorry, but in the spirit of honesty, I just had to got that off my chest.

This is great for Mr. Pekar and DC. I am sure someone out there is decrying Peka’s entering of the mainstream (such as it is) comic world, but whatever. I expect these are the same folks that stopped listening to The Clash after London Calling because “everyone else was,” so I don’t pay them much mind. For DC, this brings a sort of credibility (if only they could have nailed this down a year or so ago, think of the cross promotion) and for Pekar, the chance at a wider audience. Heck, even the fans benefit in that I am sure this will be easier to hunt down than most of his other stuff. Now this is a win-win situation.

We Need a HERO

All good things must come to an end and, although Will Pfeifer’s series H-E-R-O started out with a bang, the explosion seems to have fizzled recently with the series ending with November’s issue # 22. Pfeifer feels it was a good run. He was able to bring closure and end the series as he originally planned. He thinks followers of H-E-R-O will be pleased. Pfeifer also gave us a bit of information on why he’s a fish out of water in Aquaman.

I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight
“¦oh”¦
well fine, if you don’t like my song, just go on over to The Pulse

I have said it before, but I’ll say it again here, mostly for my own benefit. It is too bad the series is ending, but it is very cool that Pfeiffer had enough of a heads up to write a solid unrushed concluding story. I give DC points for that.

As far as Aquaman goes, I gave it a shot. For me to give Aquaman a shot at all says something about Pfeiffe’s talent. However, after the first issue (and that damn panda), the storyline just never clicked with me and I drifted away (pun? You decide!) from the title. However, I expect that that has more to do with aforementioned disinterest in Aquaman then any particular failings of Pfeiffer.

And speaking of Aquaman”¦

Yes, Speaking of Aquaman”¦

Starting in December, DC’s Aquaman gets a new driver as John Arcudi steps in as the series’ new regular writer with issue #25.

For those who haven’t picked up Aquaman recently, the series ain’t exactly how you may remember the character. The long hair and beard have been gone for a while, along with the hook-hand and Chippendales-themed outfit. He’s back in his classic togs, with short hair, no facial hair, and his left hand is translucent blue (more on that in Arcudi’s future issues).

And Atlantis isn’t his primary home these days – it’s Sub (no, not a typo) Diego.

Feel like you need some Aquaman 101? That’s why Dr. Arcudi’s here.

Take a trip to watery Sub Diego via Newsarama

Does “Dr. Arcudi” offers some “Aquaman 101″ creep out any one else? It just seems”¦off.

I am glad to hear Arcudi is planning on continuing the Sub Diego status quo as I thought that was more of the intriguing ideas of Pfeiffe’s run. On the other hand, the “who” behind it does not do anything for me (it is a government conspiracy, I GET IT!!) so the quicker that is “solved” the better. I believe you can still tell stories in the Sub Diego “world” without it being the search for why it happened.

On a semi-unrelated note, this is the second or third reference to a “grand” DCU plan coming in 2005. What could it be?

Simone to Send “Birds” on the Hunt

Gail Simone is having a lot of fun writing some of her favorite characters monthly in the Birds of Prey. With a few arcs under her belt, the newest saga with artist Ed Benes, Hero Hunters begins in issue # 76 and features a surprise guest star. Simone wouldn’t spill the beans on the mysterious “co-pilot”, but did give us some news of what’s coming up for the Birds.

Mysterious co-pilot? How are you not already at The Pulse with a tease like that?

Simone’s enthusiasm for comics is obvious and contagious, whether it be in her books or in interviews. She legitimately loves the medium and never hesitates to express that love. Whether it is her plugging herself or (randomly) someone else, it is always clear that this is something of a dream come true for her. How cool is that?

As far as Birds of Prey goes, it is just great. I feel bad about saying this (considering how many times I go all, “Woohoo Chuck Dixon, ain’t he grand.”) but I really do find her run on the book more readable than the man who began it all. His stuff was good, her stuff is great. And this new arc sounds like it will continue the trend.

Huzzah!

Chiang Is Excellent

One of DC Comics’ most acclaimed series from its mature readers Vertigo line has been “Human Target,” which debuted as a mini-series, was followed by an original graphic novel (OGN) and then returned to fans in a regular series last year. With the rotating artist lineup, the series has maintained a fresh look and CBR News caught up with current artist Cliff Chiang to learn more about the series.

Really, he is. Check out Comic Book Resources to confirm it.

I love this series, I love this artist (well, his work. I don’t actually know him. I might love him if I did, but”¦I suppose none of this is really the point). It makes me sad that the book just is not selling well, but I have to be happy that I ever got to read it in the first place. So there you go. From now on, I will treat Human Target as a cancer patient. I am keeping hope alive and being happy for every moment I get to spend with it.

God”¦I am so bleak.

In DC’s Continuing Quest to Bring the Consumer Exactly What They Want Comes: Variant Covers?!

Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines, the red-hot art team behind JLA: CLASSIFIED #1 (SEP040308), have created a variant cover for the debut issue of this new series, which kicks off with a 3-part story written by Grant Morrison. The variant cover features the Ultramarines and the text “Where Is The Justice League?”

See DC cackle and shout: “It’s like printing money” at Newsarama

Let’s just sort through a few things here. First, no, variant covers do not signal the demise of the industry. Those that claim that it does are overstating their case. Second, no, variant covers (even of the 50/50 variety) are not entirely innocuous either.

For me, (because I know you are concerned about what this means to me personally), I’ll probably pick up the Ultramarines cover. I’m not sure why I like the little buggers so much, but I do. Besides, how many covers are floating around out there with the big 7 (or some portion of them) featured prominently. That being said, could I have done without this “variant” cover (and, as one poster brought up, can it really be called a “variant” if the issue was printed 50/50?)? Yes I could have (and yes, apparently it can be). Then why do it? In a word, cash. Which is not surprising, comics are, after all, a business.

The problem I have with it is that it is not “good” business. A variant cover will spike opening issue sales, but not because more people are buying it. It is because the same people are buying more. Thus, the sales on the second issue, historically lower than the first anyways, will drop noticeably. Plus, it forces the retailer to play “Guess how many people I actually sold this book to,” for their orders of subsequent issues. If they don’t guess right, they either end up with too many (thus hurting their bottom line) or too few (thus hurting theirs and DC’s bottom line). At best, DC wins. At worst, no one does. Either way, not great odds.

In the end, a 50/50 variant cover split is not a cataclysmic event. But it, typically, is a sign of gimmicks to come. Here in comicdom, a sign of gimmicks to come is never a good thing.

Ask Waid! And Umm”¦He’ll Actually Answer This Time

Thanks for the questions, faithful PULSE readers, and thanks your kind words and thoughts, though please remember, they should be extended in the case of LEGION to artist Barry Kitson, colorist Chris Blythe, and editor Steve Wacker, all extraordinary talents and partners – and in the case of FANTASTIC FOUR to Mike Wieringo, Karl Kesel, Paul Mounts and Tom Brevoort and his crew, without-whoms all.

Seriously, I swear there is an actual article attached to the link this time. Go ahead and just click to the The Pulse if you don’t believe me.

See I told you I actually linked to something useful this time. And you didn’t trust me. And now you feel silly, don’t you? Well, you should.

Anyway, Waid is another who’s enthusiasm for his subject matter is infectious. Plus, he has a pretty decent sense of humor.

This one might be the relaunch that actually works out. Wouldn’t that be something?

Do You Want Your BKV.TV?

Since a few Bendis Boarders were nice enough to inquire about when I was gonna get my own dumb site a few weeks ago, I’m making my first announcement here:

BKV.TV is on the air!

Because what the world really needs now is one more comics-related website, we’re proud to announce the official debut of www.bkv.tv , the official station of Brian K. Vaughan, writer of Y: THE LAST MAN, EX MACHINA, RUNAWAYS, and ULTIMATE X-MEN.

See the announcement from the Bendis Boards here.

Or, bypass that and check out the site, BKV.TV, directly.

Just for fun, take a look at a “First and Last” interview with him at Ninth Art

We all like Vaughan and he writes great titles for DC, that’s why this article is here. Is it also a naked attempt to appeal to him to get him to grant me interview? It just might be, it just might.

The site is pretty funny too, so check it out.

Goodness, that is a weak note to end on. And I refuse to go off on a weak note! Thus, let me just give you a heads up on The Monolith. The newest issue came out this past week. Fresh off the Batman crossover (which was surprisingly good; nice to see a Batman crossover that actually told a great story, not just a naked grab for more readers), Winslade is back on the title and you have another jumping on point for this title. Don’t let it pass you by.

On a different topic entirely, Christopher Reeve passed away early Monday morning from complications of a pressure wound, which is apparently common for those suffering from paralysis. An article here at Comic Book Resources discusses it more in detail.

I have stated in the past that I don’t feel quite right musing on the passing of those prominent in the field of comics as I have never really met them and don’t wish to set myself up as chief mourner or anything of the sort. That having been said, I feel the need to say at least something about Mr. Reeve.

First, I have to thank he and his wife (via their foundation) for sending me blank inside Christmas cards for me to send out to my friends and relatives. I am not who exactly I got on that mailing list, but I did and I have not needed to buy any Christmas cards the past 2 years. So, that was pretty cool of them.

On a more serious note, Mr. Reeve was something of an inspiration to my family. Several years ago, when I was just entering high school, my uncle was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) which is better now to most of you as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This was approximately the same time as Mr. Reeve was injured while riding horseback.

Now the ALS is not same as a sudden paralysis on a clinical level. However, psychology it very much is. Both concern an almost betrayal of an individual by their bodies. In both Reeve’s and my uncle Gary’s case, they were physically fit men who delighted in activities that challenged their bodies and they both would lose that outlet for joy.

As the disease progressed, it often became hard to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, to find something to be hopeful about. Reeve’s foundation, aptly named the Chrisopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, raised and continues to raise money for all diseases related to paralysis, including ALS, and any and all money for the relatively uncommon disease was a good thing. Meanwhile, Reeve himself proved to be a public figure of strength that mirrored my uncle. It was hard not to hear him talk of walking again and not, in some small way, believe it to be true.

My uncle Gary did ultimately pass away in July of 2003, after having long outdistanced the 2-3 years of life his doctor initially said Gary had left. He fought like hell every day for every lost moment with his children and with all the rest of us. He seemed to have reserves of strength that I could only imagine. And somehow in the midst of it all, he and Reeve kind of became intertwined in my mind. I didn’t think they were the same or anything like that, but their struggles, their strengths, and their victories reminded me of one another.

So, yes, I never knew Christopher Reeve and if lived to be 120 I probably never would. But, in this case, I don’t know that I needed to. To his family and his friends, I offer my condolences. As they are no doubt aware, there is a legion of comic and movie fans for whom Superman’s face will always be that of Reeve’s. I also hope that they are aware for a legion of those suffering from paralysis and their family and friends, that he proved to be a lot more than that.

Un Gajje still believes a man can fly.