DC News & Views


Apparently, turkey, in addition to making you sleepy, inspires people to put news on the net. Really big week this past week for announcements; much larger than I would have expected for a holiday week. But hey, it is a good thing. More articles means more NEWS!


From a Future Issue of Wizard Comes…

This week’s edition of Wizard Magazine provided some additions to the ever-growing pool of info regarding the make-up of the DC Universe and its “One Year Later”/post-Infinite Crisis line-up of titles.

While the DC offices were of course closed Thursday and Friday, Newsarama managed to track down DC’s Dan DiDio on our special 24-hour hotline for five minutes of his time and a few brief comments on some of the new information.

Each title includes the information revealed to this date followed by DiDio’s comments…

Wizard gets the news and Newsarama uses it. A beautiful system.

First, forgive me if I am wrong here, but don’t the rest of us not get Wizard until this Wednesday (the 30th)? I only ask because this article from Newsarama makes it seem like Wizard has already hit the stands and they are just getting more feedback about the report from DiDio. If Wizard does not come until the 30th (as I believe it does) then this is not the case. I’m not trying to get in the middle of any squabbles here, it is just that usually Newsarama does wait for the week of Wizard’s release to release the information if Wizard got the scoop. Or did Millarworld already leak the stories anyway so Newsarama figured what the heck? I don’t know, I’m just fascinated by politics of all kinds so I like to pose these questions.

Now that I am done with that, that’s talk about the actual news, eh?

Willingham drawing, eh? Hmm…interesting. Anyone out there have an old Willingham drawn comic they can scan a few pages from to give us an idea of what we can expect from him? If so, please let me know at parallax2@juno.com or, be a dear, and post them on our message board thread. Thanks in advance to anyone who does it.

While Willingham returning to art maybe interesting, I’m still not sure if I am all that interested in a Shadowpact ongoing. On the one hand, the mini, I thought, opened strong but closed weak with three disappointing chapters in a row. On the other, however, an ongoing would free Willingham from the “let’s change the narrator every issue” device that I thought contributed directly the weakness of the final three issues. So, for now, I have a wait and see attitude on this one.

As interested as I am in seeing The Rucka do espionage in the DCU with Checkmate, I am sorry to see that that means Saiz will not be returning to Manhunter. It isn’t that his studiomate who pencils now is bad, he isn’t. Saiz, however, is just a little bit better and his covers for Manhunter are a reminder of that fact.

Bruce Jones on Nightwing? Man…I just don’t know about that. Jones continues to underwhelm me with his project so even though I know Nightwing needs a change, I’m not sure he’s the guy I’d like to see bring it. Good news on the Robin front with Willingham leaving as that whole run was largely an unmitigated disaster, but who is Adam Beechen. I know he writes/wrote Justice League Unlimited, but beyond that…I’d like to know his take on the book before I make a decision on whether this is a good or bad switch. Either way though, I am fairly sure it won’t be worse than sticking with Willingham.

As for the “who will be in the costume?” teases for both Nightwing and Robin…eh. They might be true, they might not be. My personal guess is that one is true, but very temporary and the other is not true. In other words, either way, Dick Grayson and Tim Drake will be Nightwing and Robin, respectively, within a year after the end of Infinite Crisis, regardless of any initial changes. Just my guess.

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis is the new direction? Really? Give me one successful comic subtitled with that. Solar: Man of the Atom, perhaps? Any other ones? Poor Aquaman…I hope he hasn’t struck out in the “new direction” lottery…again. Or, more accurately, still.

Supergirl in the future? Oooh, sorry Mathan. There goes the Legion as you know it.


Back in…Blue

To call Keith Giffen a veteran comic book writer would be an understatement. He’s written comics about everyone from Green Lantern to Lobo to the Legion of Superheroes to the Defenders.

Yet it is with one group of heroes that he’s probably most associated by today’s comic book fans — the international Justice League of the late 1980s. Say the names Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, for example, and most comic book readers will immediately think of Giffen and his League co-creators, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire.

So it should come as no surprise that Keith Giffen will be the man tapped by DC Comics to write a new ongoing Blue Beetle series debuting in spring 2006, although there’s no doubt it will come as a shock to some fans who bemoaned the passing of the last Blue Beetle that it’s not going to be Ted Kord.

The new, handy dandy Kordless Beetle is available at Newsarama and other fine retailers.

The good people at Newsarama were nice enough to put in a little disclaimer at the start of the interview that essentially said, “no new information here”. So I was prepared for that. However, I would have liked, I don’t know, a little more pizzazz to go along with the lack of info. I mean, if you don’t have the substance, why not mesmerize us with a little razzle dazzle (now where have I heard that before?).

Sadly, there was a lack of raz and/or daz to be found. Thus, I can only conclude that I might buy this series. Maybe. I just hope that the Giffen that writes this book shakes off the Giffen that is writing that Howling Commando book for Marvel. Because that stuff…not very good.


The Rucka Sticks With the Shield

Following in line with the other changes that are coming down both creatively and editorially in the DC Universe post-Infinite Crisis, Superman’s cousin is due to a change in writers beginning with issue #7, when Jeph Loeb steps down as the regular writer on Supergirl, and Greg Rucka takes over the duties, joining forces with series artist Ian Churchill.

What will happen to your (sort of) monthly dose of the Silver Age and superhero v. superhero action? Relax, The Rucka will reveal all at Newsarama

Or perhaps he will reveal nothing at all. Well, besides the lack of Supergirl punching other heroes. That is kind of her staple though, her calling card. Isn’t that like asking the Planter’s Peanut to take off his top hat?

How does this fit in with that whole Supergirl in the future thing that was reported above? Either way, I guess this makes it official: Supergirl will still be alive post-Loeb. Color Mathan and I quite disappointed. Quite!

Still, The Rucka is one man I would trust to take a character that I have no taste for at all and change my mind about her. So maybe it will all work out okay.


Because Energy Cannot be Destroyed

He was once one-half of one of comics most “heated” debates. Who is the true and rightful Green Lantern in the DC Universe? Earth Sector 2814 anyway…

While the half of the debate that rooted for the new-ringbearer-on-the-block Kyle Rayner might have had some concerns when DC and Geoff Johns brought back classic GL Hal Jordan with much ballyhoo this past year, they need fear not – young Kyle isn’t being out to pasture. He’ll return in his new heroic identity in a new spring 2006, post-“One Year Later” series Ion written by his creator Ron Marz and penciled by Greg Tocchini (Marvel 1602: New World, Thor: Son of Asgard).

Newsarama caught up with Marz in between Thanksgiving preparations for a few brief words about the new series…

Embrace the charged subatomic particle called Kyle at Newsarama

You know, I really missed the crabface mask. Sorry, totally random, I know. But I do miss it.

Anyway…this is a pretty short article that does not add much to what we can gleam from the headline. Kyle Rayner has his own new solo book and is using the name “Ion” once more.

I think I would be a more excited for this if Marz had not already made his return to Kyle a few months back for the tepid “Homecoming” storyline that closed out the previous volume of Green Lantern. I expect that he can still write the character well, but that arc failed to deliver on that promise.

My other concern is that this, in essence, gives us three GL titles. GL, in the best of times, typically has difficult selling one book. Is 3 going to be overkill, especially when DC is (apparently) making an effort to scale back its bloated Superman and Batman lines? We shall see.

All of that being said, it is good that DC is giving Kyle a solo book to shine in. Ten years of being a popular GL has earned him that much, I should say.

Now if only they’d throw that same bone to Connor Hawke.


Two Legends Take on a Raptor

They’re a new team, but old, old friends. Walter Simonson and Howard Chaykin, the new team on DC’s Hawkman, er Hawkgirl, beginning with issue #50 have known each other for decades, yet the new assignment marks one of their very few collaborations, and their first ongoing work together ever.

For those of you who don’t know the names, think of it as your first chance to get to know two legends of comics. For those of you who do know them, think of it as the vets coming back in to show the young kids how it’s supposed to be done. All in all, seeing the two land an ongoing gig on Hawkgirl ain’t too bad for an industry where ageism is the supposed norm.

We caught up with the two for a chat about their friendship over the years, as well as their new gig.

Remember the Raptors in the first Jurassic Park? Damn they scared me! Anyway, this raptor, Hawkgirl, is considerably less scary. Don’t believe me, take a look at Newsarama for the proof.

Fun interview. The best parts were the two reminisces about the “good old days” of hanging out at DC and waiting for work.

That being said, is it wrong of me that despite the legendary quality of this team, I still cannot bring myself to be excited about a Hawk______(man, girl, boy, world, etc) book? Because, honestly, I can’t.


Champagne Still Hasn’t Found What He’s Looking For

This month is one of two final issues for Keith Champagne. Not only is his three issue arc, “Lost and Found” wrapping up in JSA #80, he’s also ending his other association with the book as well, that is, he’s also using the issue as his swan song as the series’ regular inker.

We sat down with Chapagne to talk about the arc, the JSA, and finding the balance between inking and writing.

He has run, he has scrawled, he has scaled these city walls, these city walls only to be with Newsarama. And to leave JSA.

Two people are dying in JSA #80? Nobody ever tells me anything. Funny bit about him not reading JSA these past several years he’s been working on it. I’m not sure I could ink a book and not be curious to read what exactly the finished product looked like and was about. But then, I’m not a professional artist so I probably do not have the same time constraints that Mr. Champagne does.


Bring Out the Bad Guys!

How do you follow up telling Power Girl’s origin in JSA Classified? (Well, okay, if not out and out telling, then hinting strongly and putting her on the path so that she was ready to find out in Infinite Crisis #2)

Hand it over to the bad guys.

Beginning with this month’s issue #5 (on sale this week), Jen Van Meter teams with Patrick Oliffe for “Honor Among Thieves” a three-part story starring the Injustice Society in JSA Classified.

Me stealing liberally from old Marvel trade paperbacks should not stop you from checking out Newsarama

She pitched a Sand story originally? And we did not get it? Oh for shame.

I enjoyed the first issue of this so not much “for shame”, but come on. Someone throw Sand a bone.

(For the sake of fairness, Champagne did so the last 2 issues of JSA, but I require still more).

I just re-read it and perhaps Sand will get a chance to shine in the next couple issues. That is how I am reading it anyway. I could be wrong.

Either way, I did enjoy the first issue (see my review below) so I can live with Sand being passed over this time. Hopefully he’ll get another chance to shine soon.


It’s That Time Again. Time for the Baby Jesus, Menorahs, the Seven Principles and… Gifts for Me!

It’s that time of year again… the holiday season. The hallmarks of a holiday season not only encompass the classics of gift exchanging, spending time with family, and celebrating over dinner but also extend to a new regular… shopping. As the world continues to grow, there are many options for what to give for loved one this holiday season.

With no all-seeing oracle with the answers to all our questions, we turn to your favorite comic creators to ask the eternal question… “What should I get (or ask for) for Christmas?” The creators for this year’s second annual Holiday Gift Guide are as varied as the recommendations they chose, so read on to hear what your favorite creators recommends this holiday season.

Follow along with part 1, 2, and 3 at Newsarama

For those of you who weren’t here last year, this is where I go through the Christmas gift recommendations of the comic folk and say which items I would not mind having. Please feel free to then buy and send me these items or tell me which items you are interested in (from this list or not) at the message boards or via e-mail to parallax2@juno.com.

Here we go.

From Part 1:

Pie of the Month Club: Abso-friggin’-solutely. I am willing to put up with the inevitable pumpkin or lemon meringue month for this beautiful, beautiful idea.

Men of Tomorrow: Two people recommend it and it does sound good.

Black Hole: Teens, disease, allegory, horror. I’m in.

Homestarrunner DVDs: Are these real? I must have them. Yesterday.

From Part 2:

The Complete Calvin and Hobbes: Do I even need to give a reason? Okay, fine. It’s genius. There, happy now?

From Part 3:

The Collected Demo: It is great. I love it. But I don’t own a copy. That’s just not right.

The Far Side Gift Set: See Calvin and Hobbes above, repeat. Those two strips probably did as much (if not more) for my appreciation of comics than the monthly floppies.

Other Comic Related Stuff:

Bowen Taskmaster Bust: It’s a cool statue of a criminally underrated villain (is that a pun). I need it. Throw in the new Marvel Legends Taskmaster toy for good measure.

Sketches: I’ve mentioned before that a Black Hand and/or Double Down as done by Van Sciver would be awesome. Let me also include good looking sketches of Daredevil, Bullseye, Aztek, Taskmaster (why not make it a Taskmaster Christmas, right?), Sand, Dr. Mid-Nite, and…well, you know what I like. Just use that as a guide.

X-Box Games: X-Men Legends 2, Ultimate Spider-Man, and the new Incredible Hulk game. Oh, and that old Aquaman game. I know it’s supposed to be terrible, but I can’t resist.

I think that is enough for now. If you have any other gift ideas but aren’t sure if I’ll like them, just shoot me a line and ask. I’m more than happy to help you buy me a gift.


NUMBER$

After months of lead-ins — more than a year, if you count IDENTITY CRISIS — the main course of DC Comics’ biggest publishing event in years shipped in October, in the shape of INFINITE CRISIS #1. Besides being the second-bestselling single issue in the North American direct market in recent memory, the other aspect of INFINITE CRISIS is that it’s the centerpiece of a big whopping crossover, of course, and so its launch was accompanied by a whole flock of satellite titles and tie-ins.

The only other DC Universe debut in October was BATMAN: GOTHAM COUNTY LINE #1, the first chapter of a three-issue prestige format limited series. Through its Vertigo and WildStorm imprints, DC launched the ongoing Western title LOVELESS and the limited series CAPTAIN ATOM: ARMAGEDDON and ROBOTECH: PRELUDE TO SHADOW CHRONICLES.

October’s Top 300 chart includes 74 new DC Comics releases, five less than in September 2005. In October 2003, the Top 300 included 83 new DC titles, versus 73 in October 2004. The average new DC release in October 2005 had a cover price of $ 2.78, versus $ 2.82 in October 2003, $ 2.76 in October 2004 and $ 2.75 in September 2005. The average new DC release in October 2005 sold an estimated 33,785 copies, versus 26,871 in October 2003, 28,141 in October 2004, and 32,472 in September 2005.

Of DC Comics’ 74 recorded new October releases, 44 are DC Universe titles, which are five less than in September 2005. In October 2003, the publisher released 49 new DC Universe titles, versus 45 in October 2004. The average new DC Universe release in October 2005 had a cover price of $ 2.76, versus $ 2,83 in October 2003, $ 2.72 in October 2004 and $ 2.71 in September 2005. The average new DC Universe title in October 2005 sold an estimated 47,021 copies, up from 44,823 in September 2005, 35,481 in October 2004 and 34,572 in October 2003.

Via its Vertigo imprint, DC Comics released 9 new titles in October, down from 11 in September and from 10 in October 2004, and up on 7 in October 2003. The average new Vertigo release in October 2005 had a cover price of $ 2.86, down from $ 2.90 in September 2005, and up from $ 2.73 in October 2003 and $ 2.75 in October 2004. The average new Vertigo release in October 2005 sold an estimated 16,009 copies, up from 14,287 in September 2005, and down from 18,326 in October 2003 and 17,102 in October 2004.

Through its WildStorm label, the publisher released 14 new titles in October. The average new WildStorm release in October 2005 had a cover price of $ 3.06, down from $ 3.07 in September 2005, up from $ 2.93 in October 2003 and down from $ 3.22 in October 2004. The average new WildStorm release in October 2005 sold an estimated 17,215 copies, up on 13,707 in September 2005, and down from 17,857 in October 2003 and 20,052 in October 2004.

23 of DC’s October releases in the Top 300 remained relatively stable, deviating from the sales of their previous issues by less than 2.0%. 15 titles showed increases of more than 2.0% over their previous issues, four of those more than 10.0%. The title to show the biggest gains in October was WONDER WOMAN, which, through two new issues tying in with INFINITE CRISIS, saw a sales increase of 30.3%. Overall, 9 of the titles increasing in sales by more than 2.0% were INFINITE CRISIS tie-ins. The sales of 28 titles dropped by more than 2.0% since their previous issues, meanwhile, 11 of those by more than 10.0%. The largest month-to-month drop came from JUSTICE #2.

See below for a more detailed account of the changes.

Thanks to Milton Griepp and ICv2.com for the permission to use their figures.

An overview of ICv2.com’s statistics can be found here:
http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/1850.html

It is the finest bit of commerce this side of Black Friday at The Pulse


COMING ATTRACTIONS

BATMAN #647

I’m just going to keep saying it until everyone out there knows it: this is the best Bat book and you should be buying it. So go out and do it!


OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN I

JSA CLASSIFIED #5

If, like me, you dig heist films and super villains, this one is a comfy fit. This isn’t high art or anything, of course, but it is fully enjoyable. Special points for picking up on the narrative voice that Johns crafted for Icicle during “Stealing Thunder” and applying it here.

SEVEN SOLDIERS FRANKENSTEIN #1

I’ve already reviewed this baby so why not just take a look at the feature length one. No? Well, here’s a teaser to wet your whistle. So. Damn. Good.

SEVEN SOLDIERS ZATANNA #4

My review for this one will hit the streets on Thursday. No bootleg for you this week. Sorry.

VIGILANTE #3

Well, there is little here to dissuade me from my “they’re really the same person” diagnosis from last month. It is the only way I can explain the doctor/patient relationship developing here without completing invalidating Vigilante as a character. I may not like the idea of the doc and the vig being one in the same but the idea of Vigilante sitting on a couch talking about his childhood is even less appealing to me. And I’m studying to be a psychologist! If I’m not digging that idea, who is?

Nice to have Mahnke aboard as he injects some much needed fluidity into the book that, up until now, was all atmosphere and very stagy action. Sadly, Mahnke must have been a bit rushed because the style here is different (and worse) than his typical approach.


What did I tell you. Lots of items this week, huh? And Christmas gifts, too. Ain’t life grand? I’ll see you next week when, hopefully, I’ll be back on some sort of schedule for doling out extras to you, the people. We’ll see. Please remember to stop by the message board or e-mail me at parallax2@juno.com. Until then, read and enjoy your comics. If you don’t, who will?

Un Gajje Likes Presents…and the Baby Jesus