DC News & Views


It’s the Fourth of July…or close enough anyway and that means FUN! Fun in this case means an assist from Tim Sheridan. See, I’m spending the entire weekend in Brooklyn (CROOKLYN) so I need the assist. No shame in asking for help people. No shame. Give the people a hello, Tim.

Hey everyone. I’m glad I could help out Un Gajje again. And yes, it’s 4th of July. Happy 229th birthday, America.

Before we get started, it would also be just grand if all of you took the time to visit our new Reader Survey. Fill out as many or as little sections as you visit. And, heck, you don’t even need to belong to the boards to do it. Remember, we can’t better without your advice.

We need you!!!

Great. Let’s do this called NEWS now.


Pack Your Bags, It’s Time for a Journey

Bruce Wayne planned to become Batman, Gotham City’s guardian against the forces of crime. He did not plan for Batman to become The Dark Knight, a grim crusader waging an obsessive war on crime. So what turned Batman from a semi optimistic crime fighter into the cynical Dark Knight? This August writer Andrew Helfer and artist Tan Eng Huat answer that question in “Batman: Journey Into Knight,” a 12 issue maxi-series from DC Comics with covers by Pat Lee. Helfer spoke to CBR News about the series, which explores the events that turned Batman into the character he is today.

Be sure to bring a lunch with you to Comic Book Resources. We might be there awhile

To start with, while I agree that Batman: Year One was more Gordon centric than your average Bat book, I don’t think anyone got the “short shrift” in that book, least of all Batman. Actually, maybe Catwoman. But that’s probably because Catwoman as prostitute makes me think of that scene in Dark Knight Returns with her in the Wonder Woman costume. God that freaks me out.

I also don’t love Helfer’s comments about not really “getting” why the death of his parents is enough to drive Bruce to be a crime fighter because he has the life in every other way. I think, as comic book logic goes, it is a pretty damn sound reason. In the real world, maybe not, but then again, could anyone really recover from having their parents murdered in front of them, even in the real world? It might not lead them to putting on a costume, but it wouldn’t be easy to shake off, money and privilege or not.

The thing is that I am really interested in the “big idea” of this series: that of how Bruce became the dark, driven, obsessed individual we see these days. Again, though, I feel compelled to point out that if you are basing this story off of Year One, he was pretty damn dark, driven, and obsessed in the first place. I’m interested to see how they reconcile that.

The premise still interests me though. Probably worth a cursory look at the least.

I don’t think anything was wrong with Year One. To me, it’s one of the few completely prefect comic stories out there.

As for this story, it sounds interesting enough, but there is not much that is different about it. There are about a million Year One-Two-Three-ish Batman stories, and I don’t know what makes this one special. Every so often, we get a new story pitched that tells why Batman does what he does.

I may pick up the first issue of this, but it’s gonna need a better hook for me to continue.


Get Byrne-d!

John Byrne has returned to the Man of Steel, Superman in the pages of the Gail Simone penned Action Comics. It’s a winning combination as the first two issues have already sold out. Byrne is happy to be an “art-robot” on this series. He said his style for Action Comics is “a little ‘harder’ than my usual stuff, little more angular. This is a Superman who is so different from any I am familiar with that it’s very much like working on a whole different character.”

We all love Byrne at The Pulse

Cool. Nice to see Mr. Byrne and I agree about how powerful Superman these days. Then again, it leaves me agreeing with Byrne and that’s a dangerous position to be in on the internet. Thus, let’s move on.

It’s funny, Byrne catches a lot of crap in this talkback (including the admittedly funny, “Man, I’ve got to wonder how Byrne can get work done – it doesn’t sound like he has much room in his studio between himself and his ego.”) but this is the most normal, pleasant interview I’ve seen him give in quite some time. Besides his consistent references to being an art-robot (which is, I believe, because he is only drawing not plotting or writing) he seems happy. Are we just programmed to look for the worst when we read a Byrne piece? Maybe.

On that note, thanks to Fanboy Rampage, I did pick up on an odd piece in the interview. At one point, Byrne extols the virtues of drawing “on-model”, that is keeping a character consistent. I get what he’s saying. Neal Adams has a similar opinion (essentially, there is no such thing as “style”. There is a perfect way to draw and everything that falls short is labeled “style”). The thing is that Byrne created the “model” for post-Crisis Superman (and his supporting cast) so it seems a bit self serving to say, “Superman should look like Superman” and screw individual takes when it is your individual take that is the supposed “model”. Not what he intended, I expect, but it does give a man pause.

By the by, I have much respect for Adams, but I’m not sure I agree with that “no style” perspective. Mostly because where does that leave Scott McDaniel? Ain’t nobody gonna badmouth McDaniel (however indirectly) on my watch.

Byrne’s best work in a long time is found in Action Comics, and it’s great to see him doing well again, or at least with an inker who can hone his style a bit. Byrne gets a lot of flack, and it’s deserved somewhat, but it’s not like he’s Rob Liefeld.

What?

Seriously though, he’s got a bit of an ego, but he redefined an American icon 20 years ago. I would too.

Hell, I haven’t even done that and I have a massive ego.


Marketing Revamp Part 2: Wait, We Take it Back!

Newsarama has learned that, in an abrupt change of course, DC Comics has chosen to step back in regards to its Manager, Marketing Communications position. On June 13th, Newsarama reported that the position was filled by Bill Rosemann (who had held equivalent jobs with Marvel and CrossGen), who would be moving over from DC’s Creative Services department.

When companies backpedal on an all new Newsarama

Well…that happened.

DC has been on a roll in terms of marketing. I hope they get things together. They will need it this fall.


K Squared in the DC House
It was the announcement that, if not rocked, at least sent tremors of change through comics: after nearly 15 years at Marvel, brothers Adam and Andy Kubert signed exclusive contracts with DC.

The two, sons of legendary comic creator Joe Kubert, both cite DC as the starting point for their careers in comics, but since shortly after starting the comics game, both had been Marvel mainstays, penciling virtually every character in the Marvel Universe, and even dozens in adjacent alternate universes.
But now, the two are making theirs DC, coming in under the auspices of DCU Executive Editor Dan DiDio, and couldn’t be happier. While it will be about a year before ongoing work from either brother shows up under the DC logo, Adam and Andy are gearing up to take on the DCU in a big way.

We caught up with the two at the Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, founded by their father, and where they both are on faculty, and have their studios.
If this industry’s a-rocking, don’t come a-knocking at Newsarama

This is a really fun interview. Too bad it doesn’t tell me ANYTHING!

Sorry…just being frustrated. The Kubert Brothers seem like very nice, amusing fellas though, so good on that, Kuberts.

Really happy they’ll be working on DC characters. Eventually.


Justiniano and DC Marry

Justiniano, the dynamic artist of DAY OF VENGEANCE and THE HUMAN RACE, has signed a 2-year exclusive contract with DC Comics.

See their commitment ceremony at Newsarama

I’ve enjoyed Justiniano’s work on Day of Vengeance and think it is probably the best of his career. Then I got issue #3 and was like, “What happened? He was doing so well.” Turns out Ron Wagner drew that issue. So, I’m still cool with Justiniano and his most recent work.

Anyway, long story short, this is probably a good move on DC’s part.

I think it’s cool that he can go by one name. Like Madonna or Sade.


A Miraculous Preview

DC Comics has released a five page, unlettered preview of Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #1 by Grant Morrison, with art by Pasqual Ferry.

Fall in love with comics all over again at Newsarama

Not much needs to be said about this piece. It’s just so very pretty.

Seven Soldiers is weird. I’m sure it’s great, but it’s just a little too weird for me. Yeah, pretty though.


Get Ready to be Depressed
Disappointment. My life is a constant stream of disappointment, only tempered by my natural cynicism and apathy. I move from one situation to the next anticipating in what way it will disappoint me – and even still, I am outdone by life.
Have the Prozac at the ready and read Ninth Art

I included this essay just to say: who is this guy? Why does he torture himself so? Is his entire life this black and empty or is it just his fan relationship with comics? If it is comics, why does he bother with them still?

Sorry, but people like this drive me absolutely insane. I just can’t…if it’s clinical, that’s one thing. But this reads like it is by choice. And I’ll never understand that.

Yeah, who is this guy? And it’s a waste of time for him to be thinking this way. At least try to find something good in what you do.


NUMBER$

The Top 300 chart was dominated by DC Comics in May, for a change.

Although its usual flagship title, SUPERMAN/ BATMAN, was missing, the publisher landed three out of the Top Five spots with the relaunched GREEN LANTERN title, the conclusion to the GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH limited series and VILLAINS UNITED, one of four limited series leading up to DC’s summer event, INFINITE CRISIS.

May also saw the debut issues of RANN/ THANAGAR WAR, DC SPECIAL: THE RETURN OF DONNA TROY, BATMAN: DARK DETECTIVE and YEAR ONE: BATMAN/ SCARECROW, along with the WildStorm imprint’s MATADOR #1 and DESOLATION JONES #1.

Beyond the Top 100 titles from publishers other than Marvel and DC (all three of them), I’m also looking at the debut titles from new publisher Alias Entertainment.

Many thanks to Milton Griepp and ICv2.com for allowing us to use their figures for these calculations. An overview of ICv2.com’s statistics can be found here:

http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/1850.html

Greed is good at The Pulse


COMING ATTRACTIONS

BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #193

The first chapter of this was very very good, boasting the team from Chase and great artistic styling. Definitely a sleeper issue worth hunting down. I expect the same from this installment.

The art on issue one was beautiful, and on a related note, I’d like to see more Chase.

VILLAINS UNITED #3

My top pick for “most fun” book of the week. Weird to say about a book that closed on a torture scene last month, but I’m sticking with it.

CATMAN!!!!


OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN I

BATMAN #641

I never thought I could enjoy the return of Jason Todd this much. There is a part of me who still is disappointed in DC for taking this step, but since this is the only Bat book I’m reading these days, clearly the writing and the art has overcome my concerns. Nice to finally have us caught up to present time (as illustrated by the first issue of this arc). My only complaint is that Jason’s reveal here lacks impact because we already saw him beat the Joker. However, that scene was great too, so…it’s hard to choose which should have come first.

Also, to steal a joke from your review Tim, what’s with that cover blurb? “Because the unions demanded it: It’s Overtime.” “Batman’s Getting Paid Time and a Half Today!” Etc. Very silly.

Norma Rae guest stars next issue.

FLASH #223

Explosives. Gorillas. Kid Flash. Read my full review here

PLANETARY #23

The Drummer: Revealed! How did I feel about this issue. Well, it is Planetary, so you can probably guess. But don’t. Check out my review

Planetary is a little piece of comics perfection.

OMAC PROJECT #3

Hmm…the plot thickens, as they say. Good to see Batman being a bit flawed and paying for it. I like uber competent Bats as much as the next (probably more) but I think that writers often go too far in that direction.

And hey, Guy’s here and he’s a jerk! Guy fans rejoice.

Well, Guy or not, still a good read.

I am in love with this comic. I love everything about it. From time to time, Tim and I even like to yell out the word “OMAC!!!”. It freaks out my co-workers. As for the story, it’s great. It’s so incredibly excellent. I love conspiracy type stuff, and this is the best at it. Can’t wait to see the Superman/Wonder Woman/OMAC stuff all next month!

OUTSIDERS #25

A good conclusion to the Insider crossover. I could’ve done with about 10-15% less Donna references, but otherwise, I was satisfied. Nightwing’s “I’m done” speech was a touch awkward as it feels almost like I am missing a page of dialogue leading into it. However, other than that, I really enjoyed it. Strongest two book crossover I’ve read in a while.

Yeah, I felt something was missing too. It was just a bit…off. But a strong end, yes. Anything with Lex Luthor pleases me. Even in that bunk battle suit.

SEVEN SOLDIERS SHINING KNIGHT #3

The art was much easier for me to follow this time out (maybe I’m getting used to it?), but the story still doesn’t make me do backflips. It’ll be cool to see Galahad the Corrupt next issue though.


GREEN LANTERN #2

I’m enjoying the heck out of this book, and just to let you know, Tim….Black Hand is in the next issue.

Black Hand! WHEE!!!!


Well, it was nice to share my news and views with you all today, enjoy those “funnybooks” (as my grandmother used to call them) .

–Tim Sheridan (the Rerun to Tim Stevens’ Raj)

Thanks for helping out, Tim. I’m off to rock out with Uncle Sam on his birthday. You should be going to our message boards or e-mailing me at parallax2@juno.com to tell me what you think of this week’s column. We are out of here!

Un Gajje, Uncle Sam and Didz, Rocking the USA in Style