Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order.
New DCu Event Unites Animal Man & Swamp Thing
In case you didn’t know, Animal Man and Swamp Thing are two of the best new books out in the New 52. Arguably, for a while at the beginning, Animal Man was by far the best, but things have certainly balanced out a bit by now. As it would progress however, both Swamp Thing and Animal Man began to slowly seed connections to each other, and the new DCu as a whole, by mentioning the vaguely defined threat of The Rot. As the books continued, we found out more about The Rot, its counterpart The Red and The Green, and the very important impact they’d have on the status quo of the DCu. Now that both books have taken time to explore those respective places/ideas, its culminating in an event that I’m actually looking forward to, called Rotworld. Scott Snyder, the writer of Swamp thing had this to say about Rotworld and its prelude:
Via [The Source]
To say this is the culmination of our year-long stories on these books would be an understatement. This moment is the culmination – the Rot, Arcane, The Hunters Three all have led us here – but it’s also the start of something even bigger. Because in Rotworld, you’ll get to see the DCu completely transformed by the Rot. You’ll see which of your favorite heroes and villains survived the Rot’s invasion (not many, we’re afraid). And you’ll get to see which have been overtaken and transformed by the Rot. You’ll get to see Gotham, Metropolis – this is the whole DCu, but rotten.
The whole “dark reflection of the universe” story trope has been done before plenty of times, but the uniqueness of The Rot, and the talent of both Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder, (seriously, go read ANYTHING they’ve written, it’s amazing), has me optimistic and downright anxious to read this crossover event. Animal Man has been one of my favorite books for a long time, even back when Grant Morrison wrote his seminal run on the character, so getting to see his newfound unique world come into play in a major way is really exciting.
New Green Lantern’s Name Is Revealed!
In Green Lantern’s Annual #1, we learned a bunch of details, but one of the more puzzling ones was that there is a new Green Lantern for Earth, only he’s masked, and his identity, at the time anyway, was a mystery. Well coming soon with Green Lantern #0 and #13 (numbering in DC is weird), we’re going to find out some more info about him, but a solicitation of #13 from Diamond Comics Distributors, has revealed his name is Baz. Yup. BAZ.
Here is how the copy originally appeared in DC’s October solicitations released to the pubic and currently on their own website:
“• Earth’s new Green Lantern battles The Justice League!”
And here is how it now appears on the Diamond retailer site according to a retailer:
“• Baz, Earth’s new Green Lantern battles The Justice League!”
It’s funny, I know an artist named Gaz. While I don’t think he’s a HUGE Green Lantern fan, I’d like to think that somehow, he put his influence out there into the Mind-Ether, and willed his name into the collective consciousness of Geoff Johns, in a roundabout way to eventually seduce Johns into hiring him as the new artist for that book, thus leading him into a new plateau of success in the comics industry. If you knew Gaz, you’d probably agree with me. Then again, I have been re-reading The Invisibles and a lot of Grant Morrison comics in general, so maybe my whole tertiary-world/psychedelic mind melding/spirit consciousness obsession is getting a bit out of hand. But hey, Baz! That’s fun to say right! BAZ!
Marvel’s Civil War Adapted Into An Audiobook.
First off, I didn’t even know Civil War was adapted into a prose novel, that was a surprise on its own, but then to find out it’s gonna be an audiobook? Well that’s just damn wacky if you ask me. Not to say it’ll be bad because of being an audiobook, it’ll just be bad because it’s an adaptation of Civil War. Oh snap!
Marvel Comics’ new prose novel, CIVIL WAR, will be adapted to GraphicAudio®…A Movie in Your Mind® audio productions. The Cutting Corporation and Marvel Entertainment have entered into a licensing agreement where four of Marvel’s prose novels will be released in the GraphicAudio®…A Movie in Your Mind® unique audiobook format. GraphicAudio® audio productions are six hours on average of action packed audio entertainment with sound effects, cinematic music, narration and a full cast.
So poor source material aside, this does sounds kind of cool. It sounds more like an old timey radio play than a boring old audiobook read by Stan Lee huffing and puffing his way through each paragraph. Presumably, they’re even going to get voice actors, and hearing, oh I don’t know, Clone Thor will be interesting.
On a side note, I thought this would be a good moment to mention WHY I have my particular… let’s call it… Avoidance, of Marvel comics. It all started with Civil War. For a while, I had been out of the loop in the comics industry, the 90’s boom had past, and I had closed my pull list for a solid half a decade, until Sin City came out, and reinvigorated my interest in being up to date again. A year or so later, Civil War came out, with its fascinating concept. A Civil War between some of my favorite superheroes? It’s like the Keene Act from Watchmen! How brilliant!
Then, it turned out that every single month would bring new, stupider, lamer things to the table with each issue. First dumb things like Spiderman unmasking himself, then the previously mentioned Clone Thor (any comics fan from the 90’s will have a Pavlovian hatred of clones), then the ultimate retardation of making Tony Stark an Asshole Fascist Supreme™, and Captain America a die-hard liberal quitter. The fact that Captain America, you know, the guy who never quits, or gives up hope, GAVE up the war because of some destruction, really irked me as lame and a cop-out to a story that wasn’t thematically planned well, or executed with real love at its core. Unfortunately, this can all be attributed to Mark Millar, so I forgave it and followed on to the next Marvel event.
And the next. And the next. And as my dollars dwindled, and my stack of event books I really didn’t like grew larger, I found myself experiencing what many fans named as “Event Fatigue”. Add to that, Marvel’s editors and runners kept repeating this mantra of “This matters, this matters, nothing will be the same again”, and at the end of nearly every event, everything went the same again, It really seemed disingenuous. This attitude in general, along with the (IMO) the poor quality of the majority of their books, made it easier for me to take them all off my list, and be done with their universe for a long while. By no means am I done with Marvel forever, but my sabbatical from that universe is one I don’t see ending particularly soon.
But I probably will listen to that audiobook adaptation, because radio plays are pretty awesome.
Jonathan Luna Of Luna Bros Fame Working On Solo Project
For those of you who haven’t heard of The Luna Bros, I highly recommend you go out and pick up any of the 3 books they’ve done together. They’re a highly imaginative creative team who have taken conceptual comics and really run with them in amazing ways. Their first book, Ultra, is a really well done exploration of femininity and superheroes, that manages to balance a grounded, emotional,realistic story about relationships, with the fanciful nature of a superhero yarn. Their follow-up, Girls, turned the isolated zombie like horror story on its head, by making the looming threat a bunch of identical, alien, beautiful, naked women, with violent homicidal tendencies towards the women in a small farm town. Their most recent project was The Sword, which was a fascinating blend of revenge story and fantasy, that ended perfectly or disappointingly depending on who you ask, but everyone will agree getting there was amazing.
So after The Sword, they’ve taken a break, but have now come back with each taking their shot at solo projects. This year we saw Joshua Luna with his EXCELLENT ‘Whispers’, which is a book that I don’t even want to tell you about, because half the fun is even finding out what it’s about, and now Jonathan Luna, is going to be releasing his own storybook. It’s a 72 page collection of his original story, combined with his own watercolor paintings accompany the narrative. [CBR] has a great interview with him, and you can read a neat excerpt here:
CBR News: How long have you been kicking around the idea of doing a storybook-type project like this?
Jonathan Luna: I kind of surprised myself with the decision to make a picture book. After “The Sword” ended, I took a two-year sabbatical, but I was still creating. I played with photography and film, and I learned how to paint with oil, acrylic and watercolor. For the past decade I’ve wanted to make an art book — which I still might do — but as I got into it, I questioned its meaningfulness. I realized it was missing the story element I was used to working with in comics. So I decided to do a fairy-tale picture book. I’ve been working on “Star Bright and the Looking Glass” since December 2011.
There’s definitely been a certain kind of imagery in my head I’ve been dying to put on paper. I’ve been into pop surrealism for many years, so I wanted to incorporate that kind of art into my new work. I wanted it to be ethereal and a little dark. That may not completely come across in the work, but it’s at least inspired by it. Also, the theme of beauty runs throughout my other works with Joshua, and it’s central in this book. But, ultimately, this is a story about friendship.
Also, I don’t think I’m going to call “Star Bright and the Looking Glass” a “storybook.” The term implies it’s more for children. I’m hoping anyone of any age will read it.
The whole interview is really worth a read. Head on over to [CBR] to read the entire thing.
Aurora, Colorado Comic Shop Schedules A Benefit Event.
I know this isn’t technically a comics story, but it’s something that I thought was important, as well as good gesture to share and express to others.
All C’s Collectibles, the only comic book store in Aurora, has scheduled Aurora Rise for Aug. 25 and 26, with billed in-store appearances from creators Matt Fraction, Mike Mignola and Steve Niles.
Additionally, several items — including original art and signed merchandise — have been donated for a silent auction. Due to demand, the silent auction has been moved off-site to a nearby Embassy Suites. According to store manager Jason Farnsworth on the event’s Facebook page, “All proceeds from the event will go directly to the victims, their families and/or designated charity or foundation.”
It’s comforting and rewarding to be reminded that comics fans aren’t all the crude, anti-social, jaded blowhards that they are sometimes stereotyped out to be, because a gesture like this is one that goes a long way towards making the world a better place. Again it’s easy to be cynical about something like this, but what has cynicism ever brought to a situation like this that was positive? I know if I was in Aurora right now, I’d be at that benefit, and I’d gladly help contribute donations and proceeds for the victims and their families, or whatever designated charity they wished to receive funds. I’d like to think that people who read comics, if anything, should have a good moral compass. That’s what superheroes are there for, to reminds us to be good people, and to take care of each other. What’s more heroic than helping another who is in need?