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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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Marvel Now – The Story So Far

With DC Comics’ new continuity series 52 kicking off a storm, it’s time for Marvel to try their hand at a similar project with Marvel NowMarvel Now takes place after the events of Avengers vs. X Men.

Continue reading Marvel Now – The Story So Far

Comic Rack: New DCu Unites Animal Man & Swamp Thing, New Green Lantern’s Name, & Jonathan Luna’s Solo Project!

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.

via [Newsarama]

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!

Via [Newsarama]

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.

via [Newsarama]

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?

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.

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!

Comic Rack: The Spider-Men Are Revealed, Archie vs Kiss, and Marvel Teasers!

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

Continue reading Comic Rack: The Spider-Men Are Revealed, Archie vs Kiss, and Marvel Teasers!