Tag Archives: Jonathan Hickman

Secret Wars: What You Need To Know About Marvel’s Universe-Altering Event

We’ve been talking about a bunch of different comic universes over the last month, with news of DC Comics’ new direction after Convergence, Spidey in the MCU, and of course that Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer. What we haven’t discussed much of is Marvel Comics upcoming universe-altering event Secret Wars, which promises to bring an end to the current Marvel Universe as we know it, which will be known afterwards as the “All-New Marvel.”

Continue reading Secret Wars: What You Need To Know About Marvel’s Universe-Altering Event

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Comic Rack: Hickman’s Avengers Plans, X-Force Loves The 90’s, & Garth Ennis Has A Red Team!

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

Jonathan Hickman’s Plans for The Avengers

One of the most distressing things about this new Marvel NOW! thing is the dichotomy of feelings it gives me about Jonathan Hickman. On one hand, I love the idea of a man as brilliant as him writing Avengers stories, that will undoubtedly be amazing. On the other hand, I can’t afford to buy all the books Marvel prints, with their 50 tie ins and side stories and everything. It really seems like If I wanted to buy Hickman’s Avengers, I’d at least have to buy 3 other books to get the full story. And being a total completist nerd, I either go whole hog and get everything, or none at all. In my case, it’s currently none at all, because following DC in this fashion is making my wallet look at me every Wednesday like I’m slowly skinning it in a laboratory. However, reading ABOUT Hickman’s Avengers is still fascinating, and the news of what he’s doing with them piques my interest.

“The conversation shifted to the mysterious “New Avengers” team, which Jonathan revealed consists of the Illuminati, which was introduced in Brian Bendis’ “New Avengers.”“It’s about the guys that very quietly and secretly run the world,” he said. “It’s thematically much different than what’s going on in ‘Avengers.’ The plan that I’ve worked up is that the Avengers are the utopian Avengers. They’re the ideal Avengers, whereas the New Avengers are real-world. They live in the world as it is, which is dark and apocalyptic. It’s very old-school. We’re pretty excited about it. The books will work together, in tandem. You don’t have to read both of them, but if you do, there will be things that echo across the books.”

via [CBR]

This is a classic example of something comics writers say, but never do. “Oh you don’t have to read them both/all/whatever, but there will be bonus story connections between…” blah blah blah. I know this game. I’m not falling for it mister. My wallet shrieks in pain every time I open it now from the trauma of Civil War, and that was YEARS ago.

Cable & X-Force Bring Back The 90’s

I know, I know, we’ve talked about this Cable series before, but sometimes a book is so interesting you just gotta follow up on it when you hear more about it. Especially if it involves Cable. In the 90’s Cable was a pretty big deal. I remember seeing lots of comics with him holding big guns, doing stuff, and having lots of pouches. I know it’s very hip to hate on 90’s pouches, but you know…. It’s fun. I always imagined he had ammo of course, but also just an entire spectrum of things in each pouch. Sort of like an Uber-Bat-Utility Belt. Regardless of pouches though, the thought of a comic being printed today with that ultra macho, pouch-tastic sensibility appeals to what very little bit of nostalgia there is in me to appeal to. Hopeless seems to be taking that idea and running with it.

Newsarama: Dennis, the first thing I wanted to ask about stemming from your first couple interviews on Cable and X-Force is the idea of not shying away from the inherent ’90sness of the characters and concept. Why is it important for you to embrace that, and not run from it? And though obviously the point is to present those things in a modern context, but what kinds of ’90s motifs and practices do you find still work today?

Dennis Hopeless: I think there’s something about badass for badass sake. I was a kid when those early X-Force issues were coming out. My friends and I loved them because they were badass. Everything was high-octane and over the top. It’s the same reason we all loved Schwarzenegger and Stallone and Robocop.”

via [Newsarama]

So I’ll avoid the easy joke of a guy named Hopeless writing a comic about Cable who has a daughter named Hope, and instead just mention how this book actually seems pretty interesting. I’ve never read anything by Dennis Hopeless, but he seems to be doing good work, and I love his name. The fact that he mentions Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Robocop just seals the deal for me. He seems like he gets it, and will actually produce the kind of book Liefeld was always going for, but ended up failing at. It’s the difference between a delicious, fluffy croissant and a rice cake. They’re both mostly air, but one is way better than the other.

Garth Ennis Assembles A New ‘Red Team’

After wrapping up his long running series The Boys, Ennis doesn’t look like he’s taking any breaks. The man certainly is full of ideas, and this new mini-series he’s developing sounds like one of the more tame ones, compared to the usual shock tactics he’s famous for.

In Red Team, Garth Ennis and Dynamite described “up-and-coming artist” Craig Cermak team for this new seven issue limited series that features a Major Crimes task force in the NYPD who make a bad call that leads to lots of drama. The team decides to murder a suspect, and things don’t go well after that. Dynamite described the series as “in the tradition of The Wire and The Shield” in a press release.”

via [Newsarama]

Aside from Preacher, I’ve always thought that Garth Ennis worked better with his mini-series. The Boys trailed off around issue 23 in my opinion, and never really recovered for me since. His mini-series have always appealed to me. I like the idea of him returning to another reality themed book, and think tackling a concept like a task force in the real world could work well for him. The guy has the chops to do more down to earth, gripping stuff in him. He did it really well for his Punisher run way back when, and Battlefields is the only modern example I can think of. I’ll be looking forward to this one because I know it’ll be done in 7 issues, and for a guy like me that’s comforting from a monetary standpoint, but disappointing if I end up REALLY liking it. Everything’s a catch-22 for me. Shit.

Mark Waid Is Taking On The Green Hornet

Now that Mark Waid has made himself a bigger deal with the success of Irredeemable, it seems his name has some clout to it that will bring more attention to what he’s doing. Specifically, Green Hornet. A character who is pretty famously non-popular. Not that he’s UN-popular, which means people hate him ala Aquaman. He’s just non-popular. Like… Red Tornado. Most people haven’t heard of him, but those who have probably don’t have any strong feelings about him. You’d have a hard time being pressed to list a seminal Green Hornet story the way you would with nearly any other superhero. That being said, perhaps Mark Waid will give Green Hornet his.

“It should come as little surprise that I have an affinity for all costumed crimefighters no matter if their adventures are ‘period pieces’ or not–heroism is heroism regardless of whatever year’s on the calendar,” said writer Mark Waid in a press release.  “With this Green Hornet project, which I’ve been percolating on for more than ten years, I’m able to meld my love of the Hornet’s legacy with a little bit of Citizen Kane and a lot of Lawrence of Arabia to tell a story never before told–the dark years of the Hornet’s later career and the one mistake he makes that nearly costs him everything.”

via [Newsarama]

So… Green Hornet will make newspapers in the desert while freeing slaves? And go sledding? Or something? Okay so I’ve never actually seen Citizen Kane (I know), but still. The man at least knows what he’s trying to accomplish. They even made that Green Hornet movie a year ago didn’t they? Then there was Kevin Smith’s comic, right? So maybe this whole thing has been building to this. Perhaps The Green Hornet will finally get his due? Being unfamiliar with his character in almost every dimension makes it hard for me to feel anything about this other than bemused indifference. I really loved Irredeemable though, so maybe it’ll be good. It’s weird, it’s almost like I have to try to purposely make an effort to like Green Hornet. I’m hoping soon I’ll be able to change my mind about him. Or not. Whatever.

Frank Cho Brings Us Savage Wolverine

Frank Cho is one of those names that’s known in particular for one thing. Cheesecake. No, not the delicious dessert, but rather the term for gratuitous shots of gorgeous, lusty, busty women posing seductively in some manner. Personally I have no problem with this. Who doesn’t like beautiful, busty, buxom, bouncing babes busting out of their brassieres? (+5 Alliteration skill)You know what else everyone loves? Wolverine. Now thanks to Frank Cho, we’ll get a book with BOTH!

See?

The new series will start off, appropriately enough, in the Savage Land. Shanna the She-Devil, who Cho previously worked on in the Shanna the She-Devil limited series, will guest star in the series’ opening story arc, which features a stranded Wolverine waking up in the Savage Land with no memory of how he arrived. “The story takes place in the forbidden area of the Savage Land where an evil ancient god slumbers,” said Cho. “Wolverine and others accidentally unleash it, while trying to get home.”

via [ComicsAlliance]

I know this might rile up some weird Wolverine fanboys who don’t want their cheesecake mixing with their Wolverine…salad. Or whatever. All I can say is why not? Why not make a book with Wolverine fighting dinosaurs in the Savage Land, assisted by a busty,  scantily clad sidekick who stabs dudes with her spear? Must everything be so dark all the time? The book sounds like it’ll be a hoot, and most importantly, actually interesting. A lot of writers get so caught up with making Wolverine such a gritty, broody, dark mother f-er they lose sight of the potential to just make him a badass awesome character who gets shit done. Best he is at what he does and all that. Plus boobs! Boobs! If you can’t get behind that, man… I dunno how to help you.

That’s it for this week! Be sure to check out more Comic Rack here!

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: Bendis Leaves Avengers, Venom Takes Over, and The Return of the Scarlet Spider!

What’s this? Another brand new comic feature here on Grizzly Bomb? But Supascoot, we already have Hero Express and The Griz Bin, why on earth would we need another one? Well, why not? Hero Express covers the movies, The Griz Bin covers the web, so we need something to cover the actual comics!

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

Continue reading Comic Rack: Bendis Leaves Avengers, Venom Takes Over, and The Return of the Scarlet Spider!