Tag Archives: Action Comics

Comic Rack! Spider-Men 2 Planned, The X-Files Returns & Channel 52 Debuts!

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…

Smallville Writer Is Kickstarting His Own Graphic Novel

Smallville was one of those shows I always had a love/hate relationship with. I remember being WAY into it when it first started, because it was sort of like Ultimate DC, but before Ultimate Marvel was even really a thing. Then it got progressively sillier, and Lana Lang became one of the must frustrating characters on all of television history, and no amount of watery eyes and doughy pouty lips could save her from fans hatred. Regardless, I did enjoy it as a guilty pleasure. When I read about Bryan Q. Miller trying his hand at his own comic book, it makes me wonder if what I liked was his writing, or just the Superman stuff?

Comic Rack 1:30:13- Earthward- Cover

On top of that, I really like how Kickstarter has actually given a relatively stable platform for budding indie artists and writers to get funding for their books to be published and read. It’s far superior to other traditional publishing venues in that it’s being paid by and directly given to the people who want to read it. Well, the book itself is called Earthward, and takes place in the future on a spaceship and that description alone already has me. The fact that it’s all ages is good too, because I really enjoy comics and shows that are meant to be all ages, but don’t dumb themselves down for the kiddie’s sake.

Find out more here.

DC Bringing All The News, Some Of The Facts With Channel 52

One of my favorite things about comics when I was younger was the letters/promo section at the end. It always felt like after you finished your comic you got a little bonus there, and if you were lucky enough you could write in and get your letter featured in an upcoming issue, and that concept is something I still really like and wish was more prevalent in the industry. Well, at the very least the promo side of it is being retained by DC, who are changing things up. Previously there used to be the All Access pages towards the back of the book, detailing different tie ins or what have you, and lately there’s been the DC Nation that functions in the same way. It looks like DC is looking to change it up once again and have the section be re-branded and interpreted in a new way, as “Channel 52”. It’s a move that looks like it’s establishing their own set of characters, and looks to be a bit more narrative based, so as to give the impression of being more of an extra, rather than just a collection of promos. Hopefully it ends up being as interesting an idea as they want us to think it is.

Comic Rack- 1:30:13- Channel 52

Find out more here.

The X- Files Returns! In Comic Form!

The X-Files is one of those shows I remember fondly from my youth. I remember coming home on a Friday and being too scared of the shows opening sequence to actually finish the rest of the episode sometimes. When I was younger aliens and cryptids and things like that all really scared the crap out of me. Now as a staunch skeptic I find them silly, but my love for the show still remains. The ideas behind the show, and the possibilities behind the world not being the boring bit of doldrums we see it as every day is an enticing, refreshing thought. The X-Files also seemed like one of those shows that could have gone on forever, if it didn’t get bogged down with it’s own weirdo mythology, and the increasing fan pressure for Mulder and Scully to drop their platonic friendship for something more. Then there were those two movies that weren’t so good. Hopefully the comic can bring back some of that old goodness in comic form.

Comic Rack 1:30:13- X-Files- Comic

Find out more here. 

SpiderMen 2 Is Officially Planned

Last year the Ultimate Spider-Man and the Marvel Spider-Man had a whole story dedicated to them meeting up and having shenanigans.  It was called Spider-Men and I didn’t read it, because you know, Spider-Man. (For those not familiar with this column, I’m not a Spider-Man fan. Sorry.) But I can see the appeal. A lot of folks did, because it was one of the best reviewed and received books of the year, and Brian Michael Bendis is looking to continue that story this year with obviously titled Spider-Men 2. Now I’m sure a more knowledgeable fan could provide better speculation or even answers but I’m wondering how this is going to tie into the recent revelations from Superior-Spider-Man? I’m guessing it’ll just be another Spider-Man to throw into the fray of Spider-Men, and it’ll be an all out Spider War! Which reminds me, I have a pitch for a new reality TV show to write.

Comic Rack 1:30:13- Spider-Men Cover

Find out more here.

Action Comics 17 & 18 Now Supersized

Comic Rack 1:30:13- Action-Comics-Cover-#18

So there’s good new and bad news about Action Comics this week. The good news is that it’s going to be a dollar cheaper than expected. With the original price at $4.99, and the digital copy combo going for a whopping $5.99, the prices are coming down to a slightly more reasonable $3.99 and $4.99 respectively. The bad news is that the price comes down because they’re being cut from 48 pages to 40, but are still being advertised as Super-Sized, which is confusing. The other bad news is of course, Grant Morrison is leaving the book. By far my favorite writer out there, the fact that he’s leaving the Superman character is depressing, but all good things have to come to an end eventually. Action Comics was one of the books that at the beginning of the New 52, showed me that new things could still be done with iconic classic characters, and really made Superman seem interesting and new again while still being familiar and the same. It’s one of the better Superman books I’ve ever read and I’m really hoping it’ll stay that way once Morrison leaves.

Find out more here.

That’s all for this week’s edition! We’ll see you next time at the Comic Rack!

Comic Rack: Hickman On ‘Avengers’, Morrison Leaving ‘Action Comics’, & Batman Inc #3 Postponed.

Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order.

Jonathan Hickman’s Taking ‘Avengers’ By The Reins.

Jonathan Hickman is one of my favorite comics writers in the entire industry right now. His independent work, such as Pax Romana, or The Nightly News, are already modern classics, and are so innovative with their graphic design, hyper dense information, and high concept ideas, that he is bound to become another in a long list of names that are synonymous with great comics. He’ll be up there with Grant Morrison, Alan Moore and Jack Kirby as people who have defined and redefined what comics can be and can do that other mediums can’t. Yes, his books really are that good, and up until a year ago, he was the only reason I even still read Marvel,(I don’t anymore, but that’s for another post, at another time), because his run on Fantastic Four was so good.

Well color me surprised and curious, because his plans for Marvel’s flagship series ‘The Avengers’, have come out, and I’ve gotta say, they’ve got me interesting in plopping down an extra $4 each week to read a Marvel book, which from me, is saying something. Hickman speaks about what his intentions are with the book, the characters, and his plans are for the book:

Via [CBR]

“The idea is that the Avengers have to get bigger,” Hickman told CBR. “That means bigger in every sense. That means the roster has to be bigger, and the missions have to be bigger, and the adversaries and scenarios they find themselves in have to be larger. I’ve played with this stuff a little bit over in the Ultimate Universe. Obviously, it’s a completely different weight class here, but in a lot of ways that’s the kind of velocity that the book should have. We (Tom Brevoort and I) also felt like that if the book was going to be about an Avengers world, it should look more like the world. Of course there are complications starting out when the necessary movie characters are five white dudes and a white lady, but, you know, bigger roster. Frankly, I’m really, really excited at how we address that. The lineup is killer.”

By expanding their ranks, the core Avengers team will grow to 18 members. While this may seem like a huge cast to juggle, Hickman has structured the series in a way that will give almost all his characters equal time in the spotlight. “The way I’ve set this up is we’ll do bigger stories where our entire cast or almost all of our cast take part in a really big adventure.We’ll do around three-issue arcs of bigger stories, and then we’ll do three done-in-one issues where we focus on a smaller group of characters,” Hickman explained. “It’s not a problem getting to everyone, and it’s not a problem making it feel like everybody’s important.”

Another element that will help Hickman balance his large cast of characters is the fact that several of the team members will have their own, solo titles. “I think the writers of the ‘Thor,’ ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Captain America,’ etc. should be writing whatever stories they want to write for those characters,” Hickman stated. “‘Avengers’ isn’t the place where Thor is going to have a huge character arc. That’s not how it works. That stuff happens in ‘Thor.’ ‘Avengers’ should be a reflection of that.”

“The book very quickly becomes about all the characters that surround the big guns of the Marvel Universe,” Hickman continued. “Once people see how the issues work, it will become very clear. This isn’t about a random group of characters I just decided to put together. This is about a bunch of heroes who feel the same way about the main Avengers as we do. You want to see Thor? So do these guys.”

It seems pretty obvious in retrospect, but Hickman very clearly understands what made the Avengers movie, and its accompanying stand alone “cast” pictures work for mainstream audiences, and looks to echo that in the comics. For a long time, I’ve seen many potential Marvel comics fans be daunted by the prospect of even trying to jump into an Avengers book, and while I remain skeptical about it being truly “new reader friendly”, because Marvel says EVERY single time their new event books are “new reader friendly”, I think the ideas that Hickman has will blossom into great comics for everyone, even if it only ends up appealing to the more hardcore comics fan. While I love Hickman, his work is anything but broad, but perhaps his creative and innovative sensibilities will give us the Christopher Nolan of comics writers. He could be the creative bridge between the thoughtful high concept indie, and the slam-bang action of a typical  superhero book combined for the best of both worlds. Here’s to hoping that he’ll be able to assemble (I know) those concepts cleanly.

Batman Inc #3 Postponed Due To Aurora, Colorado Shootings.

Plenty has been said about the horrific shootings in Aurora in the past couple weeks. Violent crime always has the effect of bringing up many different sides of humanity in its response, and while I do have personal opinions on the shootings, it’s deranged perpetrator, and the life needlessly lost, my main one is that it is not my place to say what is the right or wrong position to hold after this tragedy. I only believe in being respectful towards those lost in the event, and those deeply affected by that loss. It’s with great relief that I can say that DC has followed in that notion, by postponing an issue of a comic, that apparently has scenes in it that could hit close to home for many affected. I’m positive that many who were in attendance at the theater the night of the shooting, were indeed comics fans, and seeing an image so soon could potentially trigger unwanted flashbacks or bring back hard feelings, and at the very least, just be considered poor taste being distributed so soon after a tragedy of this magnitude. While I’m not one for censorship, I am one for recognizing respect, and generally being a decent human being, and being courteous towards other’s feelings. A DC rep had a similar statement along those lines to say, when announcing the postponement.

Via [Newsarama]

“Out of respect for the victims and families in Aurora, Colorado DC Entertainment has made the decision to postpone the release of Batman Incorporated #3 for one month because the comic contains content that may be perceived as insensitive in light of recent events. We request that retailers do not make this issue available as previously solicited. Its new on sale date is August 22, 2012. This includes all versions of Batman Incorporated #3, previously set to go on sale 7/25 and arriving at retail on Tuesday 7/24 and Wednesday 7/25.”

Chris Burnham, artist on the book, said on twitter of the delay, “The book printed on time. I’m looking at a copy on my desk right now. This isn’t a scheduling excuse, we’re trying to do the right thing. it’s not just a Batman comic with guns in it. There’s a specific scene that made DC & the whole Bat-team say ‘Yikes.’ Too close for comfort.”

Chris Burnham’s comments in particular are the most notable, since the actual content of the book itself is the reason for the postponing, rather than a simple observance of the tragedy’s wake. I myself wonder what the actual scene he’s referring to is, but regardless, the gesture is one that has merit, and in my opinion, seems truthfully sincere. It’s easy to be cynical nowadays and paint this up as some kind of bizarre public relations damage control, and to that, I suggest trying a spoonful of humble pie, to put your adult pants on, and try to gain some empathy. I’ve seen too many people trivialize this gesture, and the tragedy itself for foolish reasons, or to promote an agenda, and I simply suggest try having a sincere outlet of emotion and feeling for those lost and hurt by the shooting first. After that, then we can go back to making dick jokes.

Grant Morrison Leaving Action Comics and Batman Inc – And Sooner Than We’d All Like.

[CBR] has a pretty great interview with Grant Morrison, wherein he speaks a lot about many different subjects, ranging from his new book ‘Happy!’, his non-fiction analytical book ‘Supergods’, and even being named a Member Of The Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire, which I didn’t even know was a thing, and I’m still uncertain if it’s actually even real. But for me, the most interesting thing was seeing him comment on his run on Action Comics and Batman Inc, as both of those books have been excellent standouts amongst his legion of brilliant superhero work, and certainly highpoints of The New 52 as well.

CBR: I think a lot of people are surprised that you’ve remained dedicated to writing superhero comics for this long. Did you always foresee a waning of that work, or did it sneak up on you that “I’m not sure if I need to write anymore superhero stories”?

Morrison: The idea was always that I’d keep doing it as long as it gave me a lot of pleasure and allowed me to express myself . And it still does, but I can see the end coming closer. I’m coming to the end of long runs and stories I’ve had planned in my notebooks for years and the stuff I’m developing now is quite different.

The “Action Comics” run concludes with issue #16, “Batman Incorporated” wraps up my take with issue #12, and after that I don’t have any plans for monthly superhero books for a while. “Multiversity” is eight issues and I’m 30-odd pages into a Wonder Woman project but those are finite stories.

I’m not saying that I’ll never write superheroes again. It’s just that my relationship to them has changed especially after finishing the book and I’m not sure if I want to maintain the same kind of relentless level of production.

I’m all for Morrison taking time off writing amazing superhero comics to go write amazing creator owned, original comics. The guy’s work is always interesting, and never bores me, or angers me by insulting my intelligence, *COUGH* MarkMillar *COUGH*, so to hear the guy is still very interested in making his own original content, makes me happy, and it should make you happy too. But go read the whole interview, it’s fascinating.

Comics Industry Booming? Seems So!

That’s the sound of the comics industry punching you in the face.

For a long time, the comics industry was considered floundering, and compared to most other mediums, it was. A best-selling novel can reach millions of copies sold, but a best-selling comic would usually bring in only a few hundred thousand. This was more or less the norm since the last big boom in the 90’s, where variant covers reigned supreme amongst all others, and literally millions of copies were bought by collectors, all eagerly anticipating their value to skyrocket. Of course, when the market is saturated like that, collectibility goes down, and so does value, and that led in part, along with many other factors, to the industry reaching a slump around the turn of the millennium, with a gradual rise over the next 10 years. So now, in 2012, where comics awareness is at an all time high due to the one-two punch of The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, as well as the many other successful and well made comics related films in the past few years, (Kick-Ass, Iron Man, etc), and the rampant popularity of The Walking Dead TV show, there is a rising interest in the source material, and that has reflected in the sales of comics in large. Along with that interest, and DC and Marvels big attempts at “reboots”, or “relaunching” or what have you, you’ve got what looks like an industry slowly but steadily getting back it’s legs. Even Diamond CEO Steve Geppi commented on it, at Comic-Con this year.

Via [Publishers Weekly]:

The optimistic tone struck by Geppi was echoed in a panel called “Retail Optimism” in which store owners—Joe Field (Flying Colors Comics, Concord, CA), Carr D’Angelo (Earth-2 Comics, Sherman Oaks, CA), Thomas Gaul (Corner Store Comics, Anaheim, CA), and Calum Johnston (Strange Adventures Bookshop, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)—shared success stories. Field noted that his sales for the first half of 2012 were higher than the last half of 2011. “And the second half tends to be the dominant half,” he said. “It’s an anomaly.”
 
The panel noted that the high quality and diversity of material and growing general interest in comics were fueling the rise in sales. “We run sales reports and not only do I see the per transaction number has changed but, more importantly, we’re seeing traffic increase on a weekly basis,” said D’Angelo. “In our Northridge store we’re having an incredible rise. The number of people buying things each week has gone up. It’s not like this community changed somehow—people found us.”
 
“The pie has gotten bigger,” he concluded.
I could speculate all day about what this could mean for the industry, but really, I’m hoping it means we’ll all continue to get well written stories, delivered to us monthly, in the medium that serves those stories soundly. Serialized stories are a difficult thing to get modern audiences into, who may be more accustomed to what we would call “One Shot” episodes of television ala CSI. A more engaging, difficult series, like… let’s say Lost, is harder for mainstream audiences to get into, due to its continual, serialized method of storytelling that demands your knowledge of its previous stories to understand the current story being told. I use Lost simply because it’s a good example of serialized television succeeding or failing depending on how you look at it, but it’s undeniably comics-like in its range, character, scope, genre and plot. Probably because it was written by comics writers like Brian K. Vaughn and Damon Lindelof. Either way, while serialized storytelling continues to dwindle in other mediums, in comics, it’s thriving nicely.

Hulky Crap! Mcfarlane Spider-Man Cover Gets Auctioned For A ****-load!

It’s still Hulk Spidey. Jeez.
I’ve never been one to buy variant covers, unless they’re the same price as the normal, or are significantly cooler looking. Some people however, LOVE variant covers. Enough to go to auctions to buy them. Enough to shell out THOUSANDS of dollars for them!

$657,250. That’s how much Todd McFarlane’s 1990 Amazing Spider-Man #328 cover is now officially worth, setting a new World Record. The cover, depicting Spider-Man punching the shirt off of Hulk, and declaring himself the new “Strongest One There Is.” Looks like Spidey was right.

At July 26, 2012’s Heritage Auctions’ Signature Comics and Comic Art Auction in Beverly Hills, the single-page black-and-white comic book art drew in the highest value of any American comic art sold at auction. McFarlane’s Spider-Man #1, also from 1990 pulled in a paltry-by-comparison but still high $385,500.

Now while that IS a pretty cool cover, I guess I just don’t love Spider-Man or Todd Mcfarlane enough to even spend over $5 for this cover. I guess I just don’t see the value in it like the buyer must, because I keep looking at it and see another black and white variant. I suppose it’s a testament to the popularity of Spider-Man and Todd Mcfarlane, and a section of fandom I can’t throw myself into full on, since Spider-Man has always been one of the least intriguing superheroes to me.  I know that’s an opinion that not a lot of people share, but it’s one I’ve generally always felt. If I had $657,250, well, I’d probably spend at least $100,000 of it on things that are borderline illegal, and the rest would be split between frivolous ventures and (attempted) smart investments. So maybe the guy who bought this is just like me, and somehow got a million dollars, and decided to go balls out, and waste a cool $650,000 on a single variant comic cover he liked. Now that I think about it, I could see myself doing the same sort of thing for a really cool Superman comic, so ALL PREVIOUS CRITICISM REDACTED! Good Job nameless auction buyer! Huzzah!

Comic Rack – The New 52 Omnibus, Creative Team Changes, & A Fond Farewell

Welcome to Comic Rack! Your weekly look at all the comic news from across the industry!

The New 52 Omnibus! – (TheSource)

This one I’ve been waiting for. The entire line up of the New 52 will be featured in the omnibus, and you can now own every first issue from every new series, if you don’t already. Don’t believe me? Here are 3 reasons why you need to get it:

Continue reading Comic Rack – The New 52 Omnibus, Creative Team Changes, & A Fond Farewell

DC Comics Review: Action Comics #1 – New 52!

Anyone who doesn’t like Grant Morrison, please stop reading this article and don’t pick up the issue. Everyone usually has a problem with his extreme takes on certain heroes we know and love, but honestly this one was not too over the top. I guess if you’re disappointed in Supes’ new digs (Jeans, a ‘S‘ T-shirt and a cape) you probably won’t enjoy the comic either. I however did enjoy the issue a great deal.

Once again I can’t figure out the angle of the new number ones aside from attracting new readers. Is it new continuity? Is it ten years before what we now know of the DC Universe? 20 years? Who knows, but I guess who cares! It’s number one and it’s a new beginning! Superman operates a little bit like Batman in this issue, hitting big criminals like a true vigilante and holding them over skyscraper balconies if they don’t talk. Not that Supes would actually kill said criminals… He is relatively new in town, the cops treating him as more of a threat than a help and of course there are those in the shadows monitoring him and the potential threat he poses. I’ll give you two guesses on who’s doing the watching on that one.

I really enjoyed the issue. Like I said, with Grant Morrison writing you expect something completely off the wall but he was a little subdued in this one which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because he still did the job. It’s good to see all of the major characters showing up already, with Lois, Jimmy and Luthor all making appearances. I like the new angle on Clark in the issue as well, as he works for a rival paper against Lois and Jimmy’s Daily Planet. I’m sure eventually he’ll make the switch over but in the meantime it’s more interesting to see him as a rival to Lois instead of a partner. Another thing I found interesting was that even though Superman was always known as invincible, a thing I disliked about him as a hero, he didn’t seem to be completely untouchable in this issue. If they want Superman to not be so boring then they’ll continue having him get beat up a little bit, especially when it’s not involving another Kryptonian or Kryptonite. It’s never good when a hero only has one weakness that hardly ever gets utilized.

Alternate Jim Lee cover

Rags Morales is of course excellent with the pencils in the issue and let’s face it, he rarely misses his mark. I’ll be getting the next issue of Action Comics when it comes out because DC is definitely doing the job of keeping people interested in a whole new jumping on point for their comics. Will it sustain itself for very long? Maybe, but I’m on-board for the moment. I give it five out of five grizzlies because it had everything I wanted, a good fresh story and excellent art I hope the Morrison-Morales duo keeps it up.

DC Nu: 52 Brand New #1’s – Superman

Now that Batman and Green Lantern have had their respective number one titles and covers revealed, it’s time the Man of Steel had a chance to shine. It sucks in my opinion that Action Comics will be restarting at #1, but the good news (For me anyways) is that Grant Morrison will be taking on the writing duties for the last son of Krypton. If anyone has read All Star Superman, then seriously what is there to worry about? Here’s a quick series description from IGN:

Action Comics #1 by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales

‘A new era of DC Comics begins as the longest-running monthly comic of all time releases its first issue #1 since 1938.

This September, New York Times bestselling writer Grant Morrison (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) joins with sensational artist Rags Morales to bring you tales of The Man of Tomorrow unlike any you’ve ever read before in ACTION COMICS #1. This momentous first issue will set in motion the history of the DC Universe as Superman defends a world that doesn’t trust their first Super Hero.

The first Action Comics #1 is now the most sought-after comic book of all time. This September, one of comics’ most imaginative storytellers will make history again in Grant Morrison and Rags Morales’ ACTION COMICS #1.’

Picture Courtesy of IGN

Defending a world that doesn’t trust him? Sounds like Supes should be joining the X-men to me. This seems like a cool take on the character, because I can’t remember the public in any Superman comic not liking him or being afraid of him… Except for that one guy named Lex Luthor.

Next up is Superman #1 and the description doesn’t really give us much to go on, but a few surprises are always good. There’s a bad ass picture accompanying it though:

Superman #1 by George Perez and Jesus Merino

‘What is Superman’s startling new status quo? How does it affect his friends, loved ones and his job at The Daily Planet? Find out in SUPERMAN #1, written by legendary comics creator George Perez (CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, NEW TEEN TITANS and WONDER WOMAN) and illustrated by Jesus Merino.’


Like I said, who knows where they’re going with this one. Honestly the picture reminds me a lot of Superman: Earth One, which looks to be the direction they’re heading with a lot of the new number 1’s as in younger versions of our heroes.

There’s plenty of more DCU reboots coming your way Grizzly Bombers, so stay tuned!