Tag Archives: Grant Morrison

Kevin Smith and Grant Morrison Discuss The Killing Joke: Does the Joker Die?

As you may know, Kevin Smith is a huge Batman fan and weekly presents a podcast called Fatman on Batman as part of his SModcast empire. Each week Kevin Smith invites a creator who is involved (sometime tenuously) with Batman. This week Smith was again joined by famed writer and spiritualist, Grant Morrison for issue #44. Morrison was invited to discuss his favorite Batman stories, and as part of the podcast discussed Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s seminal Batman story The Killing Joke.

Continue reading Kevin Smith and Grant Morrison Discuss The Killing Joke: Does the Joker Die?

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Comic Rack: Grant Morrison’s Multiversity, Stan Lee Is NOT Dying, & Ghosts!

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

Grant Morrison’s Multiversity Is Coming

via [Newsarama]

I sure do loves me some Grant Morrison. It’s not exactly a secret, but I tend to think the man is a genius, and I’ve said so a bunch of times here on Comic Rack. I think he’s one of the few guys who really truly gets superheroes, what they mean in a contemporary social context, and does them well. I know I’m the one who is usually clamoring for writers to stick to their own original projects first, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it when geniuses like Hickman, Lemire or Morrison work on mainstream stuff by the Big Two. I’m probably one of the 10 or so people who LOVED Final Crisis and thought it a complex, densely intricate and beautiful story that is best told in one go, rather than in a serial format. To me, Morrison knows how to handle universal concepts, and the fact that he’s now working on Multiversity has me intrigued.

For those who don’t know, Multiversity was meant to follow-up 52 and Infinite Crisis a few years back, but never showed up for some reason or another. Presumably the reason is because he had to re-write it in planning for the New 52, but who knows how long DC really had the New 52 in planning before they executed it. My personal guess is not very long at all, from the rumblings I hear of how things are managed. Regardless, I’m totally stoked for Multiversity. If there’s one guy who knows how to do stories that span across universes, it’s Grant Morrison. You can read more about the actual plans for the title here, and a fascinating interview with him about it here.

Here’s some very cool art from Multiversity released by Frank Quitely this past weekend:

Johns & Lemire Add Their Names to ‘Ghosts

It’s finally that time of the year where all things morbid, spookifying and Halloweeney are celebrated. As a kid I always looked forward to Halloween, because it led to Christmas. Nowadays that anticipation for Christmas is replaced with jaded cynicism, and my love for all things horrifying, along with my love for Halloween. It was a real surprise to me then, to find out only just this week about a Halloween anthology project that gathers some of my favorite comics writers and artists of all time. The project is a one shot called Ghosts, that looks to be goddamned amazing from its talent line up and subject matter.

via [CBR]

A revival of the publisher’s 1970s horror series of the same name, the 80-page one-shot boasts also includes stories by the likes of Gilbert Hernandez, Paul Pope, Phil Jimenez, David Lapham, Amy Reeder, Mark Buckingham, John McCrea, Rufus Dayglo, Toby Litt and the late Joe Kubert, with covers by Dave Johnson and Brendan McCarthy.

I don’t often say this, but ZOMFG!1!!one! Look at that list of talent! All of those people are artists whose work I specifically look out for based on their name alone, and somehow, someway, I’VE MISSED THIS UP UNTIL NOW? I feel like I’ve failed my dying, withered and emaciated inner child. The fact that Lemire and Johns are adding a story to it just sweetens the pot, and makes me drool in anticipation for this thing to come out. Can you imagine an anthology novel written by these guys? 80 pages isn’t NEARLY long enough for me. I demand they make this book an anthology of anthologies. Let’s see Ghosts 2 through infinity. Let this thing spin-off into a whole series of horror related books that involve all of my favorite comics authors and artists, endlessly working to make material that appeals to me as perfectly as this book does. You can check out more preview art for the project here & here. That Hernandez panel looks goddamned awesome. Holy hell. I can’t wait to read this thing.

Stan Lee is NOT Sick Or Dying!

Recently Stan Lee has had to cancel a lot of public appearances, and until now he hasn’t revealed exactly why. As the cancellations piled up, rumors started to spread. Frankly, the guy’s up there in age, and it didn’t seem to bode well for his current state of health. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that nobody really knew what was up. Thankfully, he’s broken the silence and filled us in on whats the haps.

via [CBR]

“Attention, Troops! This is a dispatch sent from your beloved Generalissimo, directly from the center of Hollywood’s combat zone!” Lee wrote on the POW! Entertainment website. “Now hear this! Your leader hath not deserted thee! In an effort to be more like my fellow Avenger, Tony Stark, I have had an electronic pace-maker placed near my heart to insure that I’ll be able to lead thee for another 90 years. But fear thee not, my valiant warriors. I am in constant touch with our commanders in the field and victory shall soon be ours. Now I must end this dispatch and join my troops, for an army without a leader is like a day without a cameo!”

Well that’s certainly comforting, made all the better by the way it was written. I dare you to try to read that and not have Stan Lee’s voice echoing in your head. In all seriousness, I was pretty relieved to find out the guy’s gonna be okay, but for a moment there I remember thinking that I’d have to end up writing up rumors about his imminent death. Which believe me, is nothing I want to do. I may rag on Marvel here and there, and I’ve probably talked a bit of trash about Stan in the past in comparison to Kirby, but I do have massive respect for him. The man’s an icon for god’s sake, who the hell doesn’t wish him a long and happy life? You’d have to be a total shit head to be all “GOOD. HARUMPH. I HOPE HE DIES SOON”. I know, I’m probably extrapolating a bit far in terms of fan reaction, but this is the Internet. People are terrible here.

Disabled Artist, Writer, Writes & Draws Comic Using Only His Mouth

Normally I’d try to avoid a semi-sensationalist descriptive title like the one above, but in this case it’s pretty necessary to point out what a feat it truly is. Larime Taylor is a disabled artist and writer who well, manages to do with only his mouth what some folks cant with two hands and a whole writing staff working underneath them.  He has a congenital condition where the muscles and joints in his body are pretty profoundly affected. The guy is working on a book called Dark Zoey that I can’t wait to read. Listen, I don’t often go for the feel good kind of stories, or anything even remotely mushy, but as I’ve grown older I’ve conversely become softer and simultaneously more jaded towards a lot of things in my life. This sort of thing is one of the ones I’ve become more soft towards. A younger me would simply not have cared, but now I find stories like this awe-inspiring.

The man’s determination is resolute, and his humble nature make me realize how much I take for granted in my everyday life as a writer. I don’t know if I’d have the strength to overcome the odds he has, nor the tenacity to continue pursuing my own goals as he has. The guy’s story is really something to behold, and a fascinating read. Basically he’s writing this book using Kickstarter, and the donations will go towards helping him produce the book so everyone out there can read it. Aside from his own personal story though, is the book’s story. Which is summarized on the Kickstarter page, and it sounds exactly like the kind of story I’d love:

Some people become killers. 

Zoey was born that way. 

Ever since she can remember, Zoey Aarons has felt the urge to kill. For eighteen years she resisted those urges and fought to be someone better than her base instincts would allow. In a moment of weakness and anger, however, she let go and took a life. That hazy Seattle summer day still haunts her, and as she begins college far away from home, she’s afraid that she will kill again. 

She’s right to be afraid. 

Instead of leaving that fateful day behind her and starting a new life as a college freshman, Zoey’s about to be tested and face temptation in ways far greater than she could ever imagine. The prestigious women’s college that she’s attending on a full academic scholarship is in Cutter’s Circle, California, and Cutter’s Circle has a dirty little secret: it has the highest population of serial killers in the country. The town is up to its proverbial severed head in murderers.

I’ve barely only scratched the surface of it all, and you owe it to yourself to go and read the whole article over at [Newsarama], or donate to the Kickstarter page itself.

New Thunderbolts #3 Cover Has A Red Leader

The new Thunderbolts book coming out is gonna have an interesting gimmick applied to all of the covers. The gimmick being a red tint to all of them, that has some vague sort of story related reason for their particular hue. Notable out of all of them is a cover featuring The Leader, who is now noticeably redder than we’re used to. In the past, all Hulk related things becoming red usually meant bad things for all those involved. The thought of The Leader getting super-red-Hulk powers sounds pretty bad, but perhaps there’s more to it.

via [Newsarama]

Interesting. Perhaps he’s just really sunburnt?

Here’s some of the other covers themselves. I suppose the red tint is going to get explored in the story itself. So why are they red? My first and safest guess is it represents some thematic sort of thing. Vengeance, anger, blood. All that sort of thing. What do I hope it is? Hoo boy.

I hope it’s some kind spectacular foreboding message to all of the enemies of the Thunderbolts. They start wearing red as a warning, particular the Punisher. The whole thing is representative of the “blood” they’ll carry on their hands, as they start taking down evil motherf–ks left and right. Eventually, they’ll all decide the only way to continue their blood feud is to all become Red Hulk versions of themselves, and of course some of it gets into bad guys hands like The Leader. They then somehow get into space, and use their Red Hulk powers to blow up entire evil planets. Red Hulk actually takes the Red Hulk powers and becomes Double Red Hulk, and uses his Double Red Hulkness to split the fabric of reality and space-time, until they end up in an entirely new reality. They cross through The Bleed, and end up transubstantiating their collective consciousness into one singular unified being, and project themselves outward into infinite, reversing all socially accepted constructs of what color “is”. Along with that, they also blow up the Death Star.

Or maybe it’s just to make them look real tough. Whatever.

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: CCI 2012 Edition, Now With Actual COMIC News!

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

Well this year’s Comic-Con International is over, and everyone who went to it is still recovering from it, physically and monetarily, because there’s no way to go to that thing without spending at least $500 on merch alone, not counting travel and hotel expenses.

While Comic-Con is fun, and it’s fascinating to see all the new trailers and previews for all the upcoming Hollywood projects, each year the actual COMIC part of Comic-Con is de-emphasized, downplayed, or simply just out shined by all the myriad movie/TV/video game presence there is. So collecting important or interesting actual COMIC based news, from Comic-Con, was ironically difficult, because nearly every big event there was based around anything but comics. That being said, here are some of the better news stories since CCI 2012, and in the recent days since it ended.

New Sandman Prequel Announced!

Alright. I have an embarrassing confession to make, that could potentially ruin some of my credibility with a large group of you out there, but here goes: I’ve never read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. It’s one of those books that’s been constantly recommended to me, and I’ve always been meaning to read it, but one thing or another has always come along and kept me from actually picking it up and giving it a go. Don’t take this as me slamming it, far from it. I’m a big fan of everything I’ve actually read by Gaiman, I’ve just yet to read his opus. And it’d seem that now is just as good a time as ever, since Vertigo and Gaiman himself have announced a prequel mini-series, covering Morpheus’ story before the original series.

The Official Press Release from Vertigo is as follows:

Twenty-five years after one of the most celebrated graphic novels of all-time hit shelves, award-winning and critically acclaimed author and screenwriter, Neil Gaiman, announces his return to THE SANDMAN. Gaiman made the surprise announcement, via video, at DC Entertainment’s Vertigo panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.  Karen Berger, Executive Editor of Vertigo, then revealed that Gaiman is paired with artist, JH Williams III (BATWOMAN) for the series, who appeared on stage to an already stunned and elated crowd. THE SANDMAN mini-series will be published by Vertigo in 2013.”

You can read the full Press Release over at [CBR], along with this neat video from Gaiman himself.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/hqUXgv3GDwI?p=1 width=”480″ height=”300″]

I’m guessing it’s about time I read that book.

Image Announces A Slew Of New Original Creator Based Titles.

In the past couple of years, Image has really defined itself as an exciting, fun, daring and innovative publisher willing to go out on a limb and take risks with original material, and this year is no exception. Last year Robert Kirkman made an infamous video rallying comics artists and writers to sully forth and make more creator owned titles, to tell their own stories, and to express to everyone that comics aren’t all just capes and masks. After becoming a main image partner himself, Kirkman has definitely had an influence on Image, as they’re certainly following through with the idea of bringing more original, creator based stories to the shelves. During the Image Experience Panel at CCI, they announced 11 new series, all from the collective talent pool of Whilce Portacio, Eric Stephenson, Brandon Graham, Joe Casey, Piotr Kowalski, David Messina, Darick Robertson, Gary Whitta, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Emma Rios, Chris Roberson, Paul Mayberry, James Robinson, J.Bone, Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, Jay Faerber, Joe Harris, and even Howard Chaykin and Matt Fraction.

With that long a list of incredibly talented names, I’m sure you’re dying to know what they’re working on, and the books announced are as follows, via [CBR]:

The first project Stephenson announced was Whilce Portacio’s “Non-Humans,” followed by Stephenson’s “Nowhere Men.” Brandon Graham will do “Multiple Warheads” in October, as well. Joe Casey then came to the stage to discuss the series behind the teaser “Image Comics Wants You to Buy Sex.”

“Superhero comics have always sort of brushed against the concept of sexuality,” Casey said. “It’s time we just embraced it.” The ongoing is simply called “Sex,” which is “not a joke title,” but is “probably not what you’re expecting.” The series is illustrated by Piotr Kowalski.

Another Casey series, “Bounce,” will be drawn by David Messina. The image shown obscures the main character, but Casey promised “the costume is great.” Noting that some fans “wondered what illicit substances I was taking” when he was writing “Godland,” Casey said, “you’ll have no idea what I’m on with this.”

Darick Robertson then joined the panel to discuss “Oliver” with writer Gary Whitta. Robertson he’s been developing this since 2004, but it took a while to find a publisher that “would let us do it the way we want to.”

Kelly Sue Deconnick ascended the dais to discuss “Pretty Deadly,” her book with Emma Rios. “It’s our attempt to revive the spirit of Sergio Leone,” she said. “It is a Western assassin competing for a prize she does not necessarily want.” She said the book is about “the beauty and what we embrace about it, and the destruction,” before adding, “How pretentious does that sound?”

Chris Roberson will write “Rain,” with art by Paul Mayberry. He said he built the fantasy world for it over years with the intention of doing it as a novel series. “Then I realized I was really lazy,” he joked, “and this is something that could take the rest of my life.” So instead “I retooled it as a comic so an artist could do the heavy lifting.

James Robinson came next, promoting “Saviors” with J. Bone. He said J. Bone was frustrated that he’s viewed as a humor artist, so Robinson gave him a horror story to draw. “It’s this young stoner … uncovers an alien invasion and has to find people who believe him.” Complicating matters, “the aliens themselves have many guises.” The initial miniseries will be five issues, though the series may continue beyond that.

Howard Chaykin and Matt Fraction joined the panel, who are collaborating on “Satellite Sam.” “It’s the story of a children’s TV host who is found dead in a somewhat compromising position,” Fraction. “One of the thing that’s found is a box of photographs of every woman Satellite Sam has ‘spent time with,’ and out of that box are clues to who he was and ultimately who killed him.”

“The idea of conflating the Hopalong Cassidy stuff … with the hardboiled crime stuff really appealed to me,” Chaykin said…

…Stephenson then recapped the announcement that J. Michael Straczynski would be resurrecting the Joe’s Comics imprint with four new titles.

Greg Rucka also joined, and he does have a project to announce: “Lazarus,” with artist Michael Lark, for Spring 2013. “The log line is ‘Godfather’ meets ‘Children of Men,’ and that should be confusing,” Rucka said. “It’s hard sci-fi in a near-distant future, our main character gets hurt a lot and keeps coming at you.”

Finally, Stephenson announced Jay Faerber’s “Point of Impact,” coming in October, and “Great Pacific” by Joe Harris.

Holy crap that’s a lot to take in! Out of all those books, the most I’m excited for has gotta be Pretty Deadly, By Kelly Sue Deconnick. Western’s are amazing, and any attempt to get the spirit of Sergio Leone into a book is great, and the idea of a female protagonist in a Leone inspired world is a great one. I’m also always looking forward to anything by Matt Fraction and Greg Rucka, because they’re both brilliant, and Lazarus sounds like the kind of thing that’d be right up my alley. Image is knocking it out of the park for me, and I know I’ll be putting quite a few of these on my pull list soon.

Grant Morrison & Darick Robertson Talk About Their New Collaboration: Happy!

I am a huge fan of Grant Morrison’s work. His projects have ranged the whole gamut of styles and expression, from the incredibly dense (Invisibles, The Filth), to the most mainstream, (All Star Superman), but one thing about Grant Morrison is that his work is consistently creative, innovative, thoughtful and always entertaining. While sure, some of his work can be a bit… weird, he’s able to tap into a voice that has nearly infinite range, and brings a definitive quality to all of his stories.  The book has been pitched by Morrison himself as Sin City meets It’s A Wonderful Life, which sounds exactly like the kind of weird/awesome thing Morrison would do. Grant Morrison also is teaming up with Darick Robertson, whose work on Transmetropolitan and The Boys was truly amazing, so the book will also look great as well. The actual plot and main character however, are discussed in this interview with both Morrison and Robertson, over at [Newsarama].

Newsarama: From what’s been released about Happy! It seems like a straight up crime noir comic… until you bring in the blue feather and a miniature horse named Happy. How would you describe the tone and feeling of Happy!?

Darick Robertson: As Grant described it to me, it’s Sin City meets It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s a funny comic overall, at least from the first issue. I love it, as I’m drawing stuff that’s really in my ‘wheel-house’ as they say…

Nrama: So just who is Nick Sax, the lead of Happy!?

Grant Morrison: Nick Sax is a fallen man – an ex-cop and former golden boy who now makes a living as a freelance hitman. How he got from there to here is revealed in the third issue. Sax is cynical to the point of nihilism, constantly drunk, permanently wasted, and suffers from raging eczema. Although it was only several months after I’d named him to sound like a Mickey Spillane hero that I realized how ridiculously ‘Christmassy’ the name ‘Nick Sax’ is!

Robertson: He’s cynical and calculating. As one line from the scripts describe him in Nick’s own dialogue “I’M A KILLER. I KILL PEOPLE FOR MONEY TO BUY BOOZE, SEX AND ECZEMA MEDICATION -” but you sense there’s something good about him despite all of this and he’s been a lot of fun to draw and create.

Morrison: I’d say Sax is just about the worst sort of human being you could meet…except that there are several characters in this story who make even Nick look like a choirboy. When your hero is a repellent human wreck, the villains have to be absolute monsters.

Sax a great character to write – and hopefully to read about – but you wouldn’t want to be around him.

Nrama: From the sounds of it, Sax is someone who has few friends – especially as a disgraced cop. Does Nick have anyone in the world on his side?

Morrison: Nick has no-one on his side. Nobody likes him, not even his ex-partner. His only ally is a cartoon animal no-one else can see.

Nrama: I take it that cartoon animal is the titular character, Happy The Horse. How does Happy fit into this seemingly crime noir story? And is that feather in the cover Happy’s?
 
Morrison: The iconic blue feather belongs to Happy, yes. The driving engine of this story is the idea of dropping what is essentially a charming cartoon character into the filthiest corners of the human experience and watching the fallout. I wanted to explore the contrast between the ultimate hateful cynic and the ultimate incorrigible optimist and to place upon this tiny blue horse the entire burden of a culture that’s afraid to be hopeful. Happy desperately needs Nick’s help for reasons revealed in the first issue but Nick only cares about saving his own skin – and it’s that tension that drives our story toward its conclusion.

I’ve yet to read a bad Grant Morrison comic, and I truly don’t think I ever will. Any announcement of a new project by him is something I’ll be looking forward to, and Happy! is no exception.

Eisner Award Winners Announced!

The Eisner’s is probably the only awards ceremony I can think of, that consistently rewards the people who actually deserve recognition in their form of media. No Mad Men Emmy style sweeps happen at The Eisners, it’s always a positive ceremony where talent and effort is recognized and rewarded, and the best comics of the year get their due. That being said, having attended The Eisners in the past, it’s goddamned boring. I’m talking I’d-Rather-Watch-Paint-Dry boring. I remember sitting there watching Brian Posehn, a hilarious stand up comedian, read a group of nominee’s names aloud, in fake Klingon, and found myself looking at my watch multiple times. I know that sounds funny, but that was literally the most entertaining thing that happened during the ceremony. So to spare you all from the snoozefest that is The Eisner’s ceremony, and to give you the information that is actually pertinent and important, here is a list of the winners this year, courtesy of [CBR].

Best Short Story
“The Seventh,” by Darwyn Cooke, in Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition (IDW)

Best Single Issue (or One-Shot)
Daredevil #7, by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera, and Joe Rivera (Marvel)

Best Continuing Series
Daredevil, by Mark Waid, Marcos Martin, Paolo Rivera, and Joe Rivera (Marvel)

Best Limited Series
Criminal: The Last of the Innocent, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Marvel Icon)

Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 7)
Dragon Puncher Island, by James Kochalka (Top Shelf)

Best Publication for Kids (ages 8-12)
Snarked, by Roger Langridge (kaBOOM!)

Best Publication for Young Adults (ages 12-17)
Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol (First Second)

Best Anthology
Dark Horse Presents, edited by Mike Richardson (Dark Horse)

Best Humor Publication
Milk & Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad, by Evan Dorkin (Dark Horse)

Best Digital Comic
Battlepug, by Mike Norton

Best Reality-Based Work
Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case (Dark Horse)

Best Graphic Album – New
Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, adapted by Ramón K. Pérez (Archaia)

Best Graphic Album – Reprint
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition, by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)

Best Archival Collection/Project – Comic Strips
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse vols. 1-2, by Floyd Gottfredson, edited by David Gerstein and Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)

Best Archival Collection/Project – Comic Books
Walt Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition (IDW)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material
The Manara Library, vol. 1: Indian Summer and Other Stories, by Milo Manara with Hugo Pratt (Dark Horse)

Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia
Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn & Quarterly)

Best Writer
Mark Waid, Irredeemable, Incorruptible (BOOM!); Daredevil (Marvel)

Best Writer/Artist
Craig Thompson, Habibi (Pantheon)

Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team
Ramón K. Pérez, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand (Archaia)

Best Cover Artist
Francesco Francavilla, Black Panther (Marvel); Lone Ranger, Lone Ranger/Zorro, Dark Shadows, Warlord of Mars (Dynamite); Archie Meets Kiss (Archie)

Best Coloring
Laura Allred, iZombie (Vertigo/DC); Madman All-New Giant-Size Super-Ginchy Special (Image)

Best Lettering
Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo (Dark Horse)

Best Comics-Related Journalism
The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon

Best Educational/Academic Work (tie)
Cartooning: Philosophy & Practice, by Ivan Brunetti (Yale University Press)
Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby, by Charles Hatfield (University Press of Mississippi)

Best Comics-Related Book
MetaMaus, by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon)

Best Publication Design
Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, designed by Eric Skillman (Archaia)

Hall of Fame
Judges’ Choices: Rudolf Dirks, Harry Lucey
Bill Blackbeard, Richard Corben, Katsuhiro Otomo, Gilbert Shelton

Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award
Tyler Crook

Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award
Morrie Turner

Bill Finger Excellence in Comic Book Writing Award
Frank Doyle, Steve Skeates

Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award
Akira Comics, Madrid, Spain – Jesus Marugan Escobar and
The Dragon, Guelph, ON, Canada – Jennifer Haines

A notable winner this year I totally agree with is Mark Waid for Best Writer, because Irredeemable actually ended in a satisfying, awesome way, and I would have never predicted that. (Even if it was the same ending as All Star Superman #10, but that’s such a brilliant ending, I’ll love it again.) I also have heard lots of good things about his run on Daredevil, but I don’t really read Marvel (long story), so can’t vouch for it myself. I also just picked up the first collection of Battlepug by Mike Norton, and along with being really goofy and cute, any story that is being told by a beautiful naked woman I’ll pretty much love.

My Little Pony Gets A Comic. World Weeps.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any intrinsic hate towards My Little Pony. It’s a perfectly fine show to watch if you’re an 8-year-old girl, or a particularly equine loving little boy under the age of 10. If you’re a kid, you get a pass, because My Little Pony is made for you. Cartoon ponies talking about friendship is perfectly acceptable for an adolescent to watch, empathize with and learn from. However, as the lot of you may know, The Internet has gone and officially lost its shit for a show about cartoon ponies, and now we have this “Brony” phenomenon, where teenage to adult males actively watch the show, talk about it, blog about it, make horrific fan art about it, and generally perv out when walking through the pink aisle at Toys’R Us, searching for pony memorabilia. Even stranger is this bizarre defense of this circle of fandom by the aforementioned “Bronys”, who seem to perceive their fandom as something that is being persecuted and shunned like some oppressed minority in a totalitarian state. I’ve even been called “bigoted” towards Bronys in the past, which I’ve thought about and manned up and admitted was true. Yes, I guess I am bigoted towards weird, presumably social maladjusted man-children who obsessively fixate on a cartoon show about ponies. Then again, I tear up when Superman dies at the end of All-Star Superman, so who am I to judge? All I’m saying, is I DON’T GET IT. But, many Brony friends of mine will be pleased to see IDW is releasing a MLP comic soon, as they’ve informed us from their Official Press Release, which you can read here courtesy of [CBR]:

At Comic-Con International, IDW Publishing and Hasbro, Inc. teamed up to announce the addition of yet another hugely successful brand to their portfolio. Based on the Hasbro characters from the popular My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic animated series, created by Hasbro Studios and currently airing on The HUB TV Network in the US, IDW’s MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC comics will offer all-new stories featuring the beloved ponies: TWILIGHT SPARKLE, PINKIE PIE, RARITY, FLUTTERSHY, RAINBOW DASH, and APPLEJACK.

“My Little Pony is a highly successful brand and we’re incredibly excited to have the opportunity to extend the franchise through this collaboration with Hasbro,” said IDW CEO and Publisher, Ted Adams. “We look forward to providing new stories for the fans and launching their favorite ponies into comic book form.”

Fans of the animated series will be excited to hear that the comics will stay true to its moral foundation, while providing themes and subject matter that older audiences can also appreciate. MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC will bring new adventures to the ponies as they help residents of Ponyville while learning memorable lessons about the meaning of friendship.

Coming in November 2012, the series will be written by Katie Cook (Gronk), who has previously worked on DC and Marvel Comics. Taking on the artistic duties is Andy Price (DC Legacy, Batman Archives), with special covers throughout the series by artists including Jill Thompson (Sandman, Beasts of Burden), Stephanie Buscema (Womanthology), and many more.

Jesus wept. Save us Superman.

Scoot will have some Marvel news to follow on the weekend!

Are You Ready For ‘Dinosaurs vs. Aliens’?

 

Mash ups in movies are not a new idea. Hell, they started back in the early 40’s when Abbott and Costello met Frankenstein, and Dracula was having a fist fight with the Wolfman.

But recently with the popularity of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and all those spin offs and movies such as Freddy vs. Jason and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer they seem to be all over the place! Well, here’s another one for you; Dinosaurs vs. Aliens. Film Drunk has footage of the upcoming work by comic legend Grant Morrison and Barry Sonnenfeld (of Men in Black fame) in this part trailer part commentary.

Now this looks pretty frikking cool! Sure there has now been an abundance of these types of movies but I just love them, I cannot get enough of them. The artwork involved in this is stunning. The aliens look a lot like the Matrix aliens with maybe a dash of District 9 thrown in there and the story seems like Battlefield Earth but with errrrr Dinosaurs! Who does not want to see that!

This was just for information on the motion comic but in these interviews from yahoo screen Grant also says he is penning the comic and movie and it will be a whopping three parts!

Interview 1

Interview 2

Interview 3

While Zimbio.com had this information on the graphic novel publication and artwork to boot.

From the minds of acclaimed filmmaker, Barry Sonnenfeld (Director of the “Men In Black” Films), and superstar graphic novel creator, Grant Morrison (Batman, The Invisibles, Action Comics, 18 Days), comes “Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens,” by Liquid Comics. The story focuses on a secret world war battle that was never recorded in our history books. When an alien invasion attacks Earth in the age of the dinosaurs, our planet’s only saviors are the savage prehistoric beasts which are much more intelligent than humanity has ever imagined.

 

So hopefully you are not sick of these combo movies yet as there is plenty more to come from Grant and Barry!