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Comic Rack! Details On The New JLA, Thanos Rises & Constantine Dies?

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

Geoff Johns Finally Spills The Beans About The New JLA

It’s been a fairly well established trope that DC likes to have multiple Justice League titles running at the same time, because let’s face it, superhero teams are money makers. It’s a pretty simple formula, you grab a couple of heroes, announce they’re on a team together or tease a new team and who the possible members could be, and rake in the cash as people buy your book to find out. Marvel did the same thing with the new Thunderbolts not too long ago. “Why is Punisher a Thunderbolt?”, isn’t damn near the same question as “Why is Catwoman in the JLA?”, and the answer to both is always, “Buy the book and see!”

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Does that sound cynical? Perhaps it is, but I can’t help but feel cynical when it comes to groups of superheroes banded together eclectically for reasons X, Y and Z. Yes, Mr. Johns I’m sure you have a wonderful story to tell, and there’s a specific reason for each one of them and blah blah blah. Listen, we know you were pitched the idea by DC execs and made lemonade out of lemons for yourself. Good on you. Let’s just stop all the arbitrary team making for the sake of team making, okay Comics Industry? Thanks.

Find out more here.

Francesco Francavilla Joins Fraction’s Hawkeye

Easily one of the best new series Marvel is putting out right now, Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkguy Hawkeye has continued to wow me since the first issue with its enjoyable and down to earth look at the mainstay Avenger. Not to be forgotten is Javier Pulido’s issues that contribute greatly to the overall aesthetic of the series that follows Clint Barton when he’s not being the superhero Avenger everyone is used to. Francavilla joins as Hawkeye embarks on a brand new story line, which serves as a great jumping on point for readers, and faces Hakeye against his deadliest opponent yet.

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[box_light]“On Hawkeye we’ve been blessed with not only one of the biggest writers in comics with Matt Fraction, but also some of the best artists like David Aja, Javier Pulido and now Francesco Francavilla,” said Stephen Wacker, Senior Editor, Marvel Entertainment. “Though he’s only on the series for issues #10 & #12, Francesco is going to leave his mark on Clint with some of the most beautiful art you’ll see all year!”[/box_light]

The story starts in April with Hawkeye #10!

Thanos Rising Will Be Jason Aaron’s Next Big Book

Mark my words, in the next coming years, Thanos is gonna get huge. The guy’s long been held back by the stigma of being a thinly veiled rip-off of Darkseid, but let’s face the facts: The guy showed up in the movies first. Nowadays, that’s all that really matters with major audiences. The movies are almost more canon than the comics for the average fan, and the introduction of Thanos at the (post credits) end of last years The Avengers, is gonna cement him as the go-to face of evil for future comics movie watchers. In a way this could be construed as a pre-emptive strike to get existing and new Marvel readers re-acquainted with Thanos. In the movies we know all about the Cosmic Cube but the Infinity Gauntlet was only hinted at, and understood by those already in the know. This new series by Jason Aaron (whose work on Scalped I really need to catch up on) will introduce everyone who’s unfamiliar to Thanos in a way that will get them pumped to see him depicted as the Big Bad on the silver screen. When The Avengers 2 ( or Guardians of the Galaxy depending on where he appears) c firstomes out in theaters, trust me, you’ll be hearing about Thanos everywhere.

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Find out more here.

Constantine’s Death Teased In The Second To Last Hellblazer Ever

Hellblazer is a book near and dear to my heart. It’s one of the earliest series I ever remember buying, as many trades I could find, and reading in a flurry. Constantine is a fascinating character in every conceivable way, and my love for him knows no bounds. It saddened me pretty greatly to find out that Hellblazer will be ending soon, and while I’m wary of the New 52’s Constantine title starting relatively soon, I’m at least thankful I’ll still get to enjoy a title with my favorite con artist/magician in it as lead. The thing here is, what if John Constantine dies? What if somehow, someway, the New 52 Constantine isn’t actually Constantine? I’m not saying they’re going off on a ridiculous Superior Spider-Man style death switch… Although I suppose that would be technically interesting.

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Anyhow, I’m getting ahead of myself. What I mean to say is that this is probably like any other comics death in that it’s more metaphorical than literal. Sure the cover of this penultimate issue shows Constantine leaning up against a grave that may or may not be his, and if the log line for the issue is to be believed then it is, but this is the comics world. We all know he’s not staying dead. I’m hoping that what they’ll do is have this be his actual, final, meaningful death, and have this New 52 Constantine comic retroactively take place loosely within the timeline of his Hellblazer run. In between fighting off lonely ghosts and The Devil and lung cancer. Somewhere in there.

Find out more here 

Kirkman & Ottley Celebrate Invincible #100

Oh, Invincible. You’re a book that just won’t quit. From being a great mash up of Spider-Man and Superman, to becoming a genuinely awesome superhero comic on its own, to launching an entirely new superhero universe, you’re the little book that could. I’d say that of the big Kirkman two, while The Walking Dead is consistently the most gripping, Invincible is by far more entertaining. I’m a sucker for big bloody action set pieces, and ginormous feats of ridiculous strength, and will generally take that over intense, seething, paranoid human drama any day of the week. While all the mainstream attention has been on The Walking Dead lately, I feel that Invincible has gone by the wayside a bit. It makes sense, Kirkman is focusing on his cash cow, and If I was in the same place I would probably do the same. I can’t blame him for putting more focus into TWD when it’s clearly made him a very rich, famous man. Which is great, because any guy who can make a comic like Battle Pope and still have a successful career just proves what a great country America is.

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So if you’re over in the Sherman Oaks area of California on February 2nd, I highly implore you to grab a copy of Battle Pope, stroll on over to Earth-2 Comics and get it signed by Kirkman. Hopefully he’ll chuckle and be reminded of his roots, rather than have you dragged away by his money dogs who live and breath money and eat money, and kill you with money poisoning. Which is a real disease I just made up.

Find out more here.

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

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Comic Rack: Ottley & Howard Talk Invincible, Vertigo Brings Us ‘Time Warp’ & ‘Before Watchmen’ Is Done?

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

Before Watchmen Is Done, Most Likely

J. Michael Straczynski is one of those guys in the comics industry who you either love or hate. I mean, he’s not on any kind of Jeph Loeb level or anything, but most people I know either think he’s a genius or a total asshat. I’ve got mixed feelings, as there are parts of his work that I thought were really smart but poorly executed, though through no fault of his own, (His Back In Black Spidey run), or others were weirdly interesting yet flawed, like his infamously unfinished Superman arc, Grounded. So when he goes out to say something, I tend to listen, if only because I know it’ll be interesting to hear. That being said, he’s not said anything this time that I’ve found that surprising, but it’s good to know.

“Insofar as I know, this is it for the Before Watchmen books,” JMS told PREVIEWSworld. “Dan [DiDio] had a very specific vision of the cycle he wanted to investigate, and never once mentioned anything about this turning into some kind of long-term franchise. Not to say that might not happen someday, but I don’t think it’s on his or DC’s radar at this juncture, and if it’s not on theirs it’s sure as heck not on mine.”

I didn’t imagine the Before Watchmen books expanding into some kind of monthly series or any kind of ongoing, and to be honest if they did it’d be pretty terrible. I’ve yet to read any of the Before Watchmen books, not out of any protest or anything, but simply because I have no interest. Watchmen is pretty perfectly told story, and doesn’t need much expansion or background detail added. I’m glad to find out it’s being put to rest.

Find out more here.

Ottley And Howard Talk About Invincible, SUPER DINOSAUR, & More

Invincible was at one time, by far the best superhero book out there. Every week it rocked my socks off and had me anxiously awaiting next months issue. Nowadays, while it’s by no means bad, it doesn’t have me crapping my pants with glee every time I pick it up at my LCS. That’s not to say it isn’t still entertaining or engaging either, it is. I guess at some point you’ve invested enough into a story that you’re just committed to seeing how it folds out, despite lacking its previous passion or intensity. That must be why soap operas still exist. Well, regardless of my ennui about Invincible, Jason Howard and Ryan Ottley are still both very pumped for the book, and for good reason. They’re pretty pumped about getting the years worth of books done, and rounding up to the 100th issue, which has a pretty solid teaser:

Yeah that’s… one hell of a teaser.

It’s pretty interesting to see comics writers and artists talk freely about their projects, especially when one is about A SUPER DINOSAUR. (Truthfully, I just really like writing the words SUPER DINOSAUR!)

Find out more here.

American Vampire‘s Taking a Hiatus, Snyder Assures Us It’s Temporary

One of the worst things a comics fan can hear about their favorite book, is that the author is going on “hiatus” and will return to finish the book “soon”. This is code, usually for “I’m sick of working with my editor/publisher/whatever and I am finding a way to weasel my way out of this contract”. At least that’s usually the case in my cynical opinion. However, sometimes that’s not the case, and in this interview Scott Snyder basically assures fans of his book that this hiatus definitely IS temporary, and that he’s committed to finish the popular series. This is refreshing to hear, because I recently bought the first trade digitally and was looking forward to following the series in trades from now on. While I’ve still yet to read it, perhaps this hiatus will give me time to catch up and get current, and the dastardly prospect of waiting for the trade, or buying the issue monthly can come to pass. On second thought, I’ll probably hold off on reading it longer, just because of this reason. My wallet hates me enough already.

Find out more here.

From Hellblazer‘s Ashes, Constantine Rises Anew!

While it’s not exactly news here at Comic Rack, it’s still reassuring to find out that our favorite con-man magician, John Constantine will still have his own monthly title at DC. Who’s to say if it’ll be a new, weird watered down version though? Well, the guy who’s writing the book, for one, and he’s pretty adamant that Constantine will stay the same character we know and love.

 In March, Venditti and artist Renato Guedes will be launching Constantine, a new solo series for the character that takes place in the “New 52” DC Universe. And according to the writer, fans of Constantine shouldn’t fear that the long-time Vertigo character is going to be drastically different. Younger? Yes. Unmarried? Sure. But otherwise, Venditti says, “I wouldn’t say he’s all that much different from who John Constantine has always been.”

While the sentiment is appreciated, I’m still wary. I can’t say I’m necessarily dreading it, because I’ve more or less liked everything that’s come out of the New 52, but Constantine is a tricky one to handle, and I’m just not sure how he’s going to work when played out against the whole of the New DCU. I haven’t read any of Justice League Dark, but I’ve heard he works pretty well in that, so that’s reassuring, but at the end of the day I still am not entirely convinced. I’ll just have to wait and see how things turn out.

Find out more here.

Vertigo Adds Another Anthology to its Collection

Vertigo has been on a roll lately, especially when it comes to anthologies. There’s the previous Ghosts, which I previously mentioned on this column a few weeks ago, and I’m learning there’s two others, by the names of Strange Adventures and Young Romance. I love a good anthology, the fact that this one is called Time Warp #1, bodes well for me. First off it sounds like it’s Sci-Fi, which is by far my favorite genre, secondly it sounds like it’s time travel related sci-fi, which is my favorite kind of sci-fi, and lastly it’s got that #1 in the title, which implies that it’s not just another one shot. Factor in that it’ll include stories from Damon Lindelof AND Jeff Lemire, and it’s almost like they’re trying to make a comic JUST FOR ME! Well, aside from those two big names, there’s plenty of others that any comics fan will recognize and get giddy for:

 The issue will feature stories by the likes of Damon Lindelof, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt,  Toby Litt, Mark Buckingham, Dan Abnett, Peter Milligan, Ray Fawkes, Simon Spurrier, Gail Simone, Rafael Albuquerque and Tom Fowler, with covers by Eduardo Risso (in full below) and Jae Lee.

Well that just sounds mighty damn fine.

Find out more here.

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

Comic Rack: New JLA, A New Green Lantern, & Jack Kirby’s Birthday!

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

A New Justice League In 2013!

Jim Lee and Geoff Johns have been hitting it off pretty hard with the New 52’s Justice League, a book that’s been breaking sales records in an industry that people thought was growing stagnant. Now with a book that’s selling well and a movie that’s in the works, it’s clear that the Justice League is back to the forefront of fans’ interest. Accordingly, Geoff Johns, DC”s head maestro, is looking to re-debut the more traditionally named Justice League Of America, next year.

Via [GEEK]

“This is a very different kind of team book,” says Geoff Johns in a DC blog post. “On first glance, people might think the heroes of the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA stand in the shadows of Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the JUSTICE LEAGUE, but [they] thrive in the shadows. They’re underdogs who have everything to prove and something to lose. They’re a team of unlikely heroes who will help one another discover they’re as A-List as anybody — yes, even Vibe. Though getting there won’t be easy. Why they’re formed, why each member joins, what they’re after and who the society of villains is they’re trying to take apart will all be clear in the first issue when it hits early 2013. David and I are really focused on delving deep into what it’s like to not be a member of the big seven and why, sometimes, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”

The roster of heroes to be joining will be Green Arrow, Katana, Martian Manhunter, The New Green Lantern (Baz I presume), Star Girl, Vibe, Hawkman, and Catwoman. Which really does sound like an… eclectic team to say the least. But if there’s one thing that Geoff Johns is good at, it’s making lesser, forgotten, or wayside characters shine and pop like they’re brand new again. Case in point being Aquaman, which is one of my favorite DC books right now, and that in and of itself is a sentence I never thought I’d type. So I’m looking forward to the new JLA, since at the very least, it’ll be interesting to see Green Arrow try to hit on Catwoman.

Invincible’s Spin-Off Finally Looming Into Becoming A Reality.

For a while in 2010, Invincible was probably the best superhero book on the shelves. Not that it’s gotten bad or anything, just the opposite, but back then the Viltrumite War was happening, and that story arc was really kind of the climax of the entire story that Invincible had been building up to. Now it’s rebuilding it’s world, and it’s heroes to that effect, and in doing so, is expanding it’s actual line up by bringing back the Guardians Of The Globe, who fans of the book will remember as the Justice League analogue in the book. A few months ago,the book’s writer, Phil Hester, spoke about the book, and where it falls into place regarding the Invincible Timeline:

Via [Newsarama]

“The Invincible Universe has outgrown its parent title and I’m very excited about being able to tell larger, more in depth stories with some of the key players from that book in this series,” said GUARDING THE GLOBE creator/writer Robert Kirkman, “Phil Hester and Todd Nauck are well known to fans of superhero comics and I think people are fully aware that they’re going to knock this book out of the park.”

I’m interested to see where he takes the heroes we’ve come to know and care about in the Invincible/Image universe, and the idea of seeing Brit back in action sounds pretty great. Best of all, you can even check a 6-Page preview of the book right here.(link)

The New Green Lantern, Baz, Is Arab-American.

I know, for some of you, this shouldn’t mean anything, and good on you for thinking it doesn’t, because it shouldn’t. However, it unfortunately does, and a small section of xenophobic comics fans, whether they want to admit it or not, will have a problem with this.

via [Newsarama]

 “The confirmation comes from an unlikely yet reliable source:  Green Lantern writer and DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns is appearing on Sept. 8 at the Arab American National Museum in Detroit to mark the hero’s debut, according to a story in the Detroit Free Press.

The article, which called the hero the “first Arab-American Green Lantern,” is also the first DC confirmation of the character’s name — ‘Baz’.”

Believe me, I want to say that this kind of story should be no big deal, but the fact is that some people will make it out to be. A similar thing happened a long time ago when they had Nightrunner back in 2011 for Batman Inc. Nightrunner was a Muslim character who lived in France, of all places, who was taking up the mantle of Batman there. Unfortunately, the mere fact he was Muslim led people to thinking he was “Terrorist Batman”, (which is literally what Mark Millar does, but that’s neither here nor there), and people judging the character before even reading anything or knowing anything about him, and that’s without that character even BEING Arab or anything. Hopefully, I’m over-speculating, and it’ll be no big deal at all, but I do have to give kudos to Geoff Johns for trying to expand the idea of an establishing the idea that a superhero doesn’t need to be a white person, and having a representation in the book there for the plenty of Arab-American comics fans.

Wait, what? Why are they beating him up? Oh Man…

Uncanny Avengers Spearheads The Lineup of Marvel Now, Marvel Insists It’s Not A Reboot.

Fans of Marvel will have a lot to look forward to in the coming months, as we’ve previously detailed here at GB. But what’s interesting is the basic idea of trying to unite the two different sides of Marvel fandom. One being the Avengers/Marvel U fans, and the other being the longtime X-Men fans. This summer’s big event AvX was an attempt to start this, and really has kicked things off for them to cancel, revamp, and re-begin (I’m trying to avoid the word “re-boot”) certain main titles in the effort to make all X-Men fans, Marvel fans, and vice versa.

via [CBR]

“It’s a team of characters comprised of characters coming both from the Marvel heroes, Avengers side of the fence and characters from the X-Men side of the fence,” said Brevoort. “It’s our cats and dogs in the same pen book.”

Alonso added that part of the major appeal of “AvX” is that it spans the entire Marvel Universe as opposed to just the Avengers, Spider-Man or the X-Men segments — something he hopes will continue with “Uncanny Avengers.” “With ‘Uncanny Avengers,’ you’re going to see a book that’s going to be relevant to both types of fans: the fans who gravitate towards the Avengers and the larger Marvel Universe and fans who are all about the X-Men.”

That’s just one of the main focal points that they’re trying to get across to their fan base, but along with that is their plans to with Marvel NOW! Point One, which is a collection of stories by big name Marvel Creators such as Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuiness, Nick Spencer, Matt Fraction and more.

“Marvel NOW! Point One’ is sort of the kickoff of our entry into Marvel NOW! and also gives a new setup and little taste,” said Brevoort. “Completely all-new stories that are not the first eight pages of the individual books that are involved of a number of new titles that are coming out in the context of a full story. All — I think it’s 50 pages of this thing — are new content by the biggest creators.”

There’s a ton more in the article where they even mention the New 52, and it’s switching of creative teams early on, as an example of what they will NOT be doing. Along with that, there’s the brief mention of digital content codes being included in books priced at $3.99, and a few other tidbits that are all very enlightening about the longterm goals of this re…launch. Ahem. Anyhow, make sure you go back to CBR and read the whole thing, because there are loads more interesting anecdotes from the Marvel VP of Sales and Marvel’s Editors on the whole shebang.

In Case You Didn’t Know Or Forgot, This Week Was Jack Kirby’s Birthday!

August 28th was the day, and if the man was still alive today it would have been his 95th birthday. If for some sick reason you don’t know, Jack Kirby is the one who many believe to be TRULY responsible for the myriad Marvel characters you enjoy, and that the credit is unfairly balanced towards Stan Lee in his stead. Personally, I’ve always loved both, but it is pretty prevalent that Kirby, outside of the comics world, has never gotten the recognition for his work that Lee has. Regardless, Kirby has contributed to the comics landscape with unforgettable, imaginative characters and worlds that are timelessly evocative and creative. He was the guy who brought us Captain America, many of the X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Hulk, Thor, Darkseid, The Fourth World, The Anti-Life Equation, The New Gods, and so many others that we love.

I’m not hating on Stan Lee, but there’s a reason he’s Stan “The Man”, and Kirby is “The King”.

The Griz Bin – Mutant Puberty, Crazy Crossovers and Tom Selleck’s Moustache

Welcome to The Griz Bin, a weekly look at the wide world of comic related nonsense that we all know and love.

The X-Men Guide To Puberty: If you have to ask ‘how many penises is normal?’ this pamphlet is for you – [CollegeHumor]

The 6 Creepiest Comic Book Characters of All Time: Not creepy as in that weird guy is looking at you, more like this horse just fondled you and now wants cab fare – [Cracked]

Gorgeous Gwen & MJ Pin-Ups: I shouldn’t need to say anything else – [ComicsAlliance]

Continue reading The Griz Bin – Mutant Puberty, Crazy Crossovers and Tom Selleck’s Moustache