In this article we celebrate everything that comprises those strange pieces of folded paper we call comic books. More specifically we focus on some of the more obscure, weird and just plain out there examples of comic literature. Starting with this Whatmen?!
Welcome to Comic Rack! My pick of the top five comic news stories in no particular order…
DC New 52 Resets All First Appearances
For a while now, fans have been asking DC just exactly what the new timeline in the NewDCu is, and how it’ll directly unfold. This month, a bevy of “Zero” issues came out, all meant to explain, or give origins to the current DC lineup. Included in these issues is a series of “Who’s Who” listings, giving out character information, backstories, and of course, listing their first appearances. Way back when, for Superman, this would have said Action Comics #1, it now lists Justice League #1 (2011).
via [The Source]
[This] marks the release of the first week of DC Comics’ #0 issues. Each of these special issues is filled with everything from secrets to revelations to origin stories. These will both explain what happened before the launch of DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 last summer, as well as plant seeds for future story arcs!
If you’ve already picked up your #0 issues today, you’ve probably noticed that in the back of each book (and now online!) is a Who’s Who entry on a major character in DC COMICS-THE NEW 52. These pages share information such as each character’s first appearance, base of operations, powers, history, and other appearances. Below, check out the list of which character is being spotlighted on each of this week’s releases and be sure to click on their names to read up on who they are!
DC Comics has a new take on their classic “Who’s Who” listings, giving basic details on their characters, teams and concepts. Power Sets, basic origin stories, current affiliations and recent appearances are all included, as they were in the old “Who’s Who” sets. For example, Superman’s entry in Action Comics #0 looks like this:
Justice League #1 (2011)
Base of Operations:
Under a yellow sun Superman is extraordinarily strong in addition to being nearly invulnerable. He can run and fly at incredible speeds and possesses other abilities such as super-hearing, heat vision, x-ray vision, and much more!
Batman: The Dark Knight #5-7
Swamp Thing #1
As the planet Krypton exploded and a civilization died, baby Kal-El was rocketed to safety by his parents…
Well, at least they’re committed to going whole hog, and saying that yep, they’re all brand new, and their first appearances were in the books we labeled as #1. Deal with it. I know there’s probably still some old DC fans out there who are hurt, or feel betrayed, or just plain don’t like the New 52. Frankly, I think they ought just get used to it, or keep reading their old stuff. Clearly the New 52 is here to stay, and we just have to hope that everything can be as interesting and cool as Animal Man, Swamp Thing, or Batman.
New Avengers Lineup Grows In Numbers!
Marvel NOW! expands the roster of the Avengers, as lead scribe Jonathan Hickman teases Marvel fans with the full list of Avengers. When will they assemble? WHEN?
Three interlocking covers for Avengers #1-#3 show all six of the movie Avengers — Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye — plus Brian Michael Bendis-era additions Spider-Man, Wolverine and Spider-Woman; along with frequent team members Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) and Falcon.
New to the squad is Cannonball of the New Mutants, along with two unconfirmed characters: One that looks Human Torch-esque (Johnny Storm? Jim Hammond? Or perhaps a slightly tweaked look for Cannonball’s New Mutant buddy Sunspot? [This has since been confirmed]) and a shadowed figure between Captain America and Captain Marvel likely intended to remain a mystery for now (though feel free to speculate — the chest symbols bring to mind Ikaris of the Eternals, maybe?)
In a July interview with Newsarama, Avengers editor Tom Brevoort said that by issue #12 of the relaunched Avengers, the team has an “an active roster of about 18,” indicating that there are around four more members to come not seen in this image. Upon the original announcement of Marvel NOW! two months ago, Entertainment Weekly reported that Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, would be on the team.
Dustin Weaver, who is scheduled to draw an upcoming Avengers arc, illustrated all three covers. Current Fantastic Four and FF writer Jonathan Hickman is launching the new twice-monthly Avengers series in December, and New Avengers with artist Steve Epting in January.
Update: Jonathan Hickman has commented on the covers on Twitter, writing, “Image released today is not the complete roster, we intentionally left off new characters for spoiler reasons.” and “And the roster starts at 18, grows to more.” In later tweets, he disclosed that there are eight more members still to come.
I love Jonathan Hickman. He’s an amazing writer, and one of my favorites of all time. I think his work elevates the medium to heights it’s never been, and captures ideas, concepts and thoughts that utterly fascinate and baffle me in turn. So I’m very conflicted on his tenure at Marvel, because he IS writing great Superhero stories, man, I’d rather he work on his independent, original work. In my opinion it’s more important, in every sense. That’s not to say that his Marvel work isn’t important, I just really REALLY like his original work, and crave it day and night like heroin. Yummy heroin.
Marvel Releases A Series Of New Marvel NOW! Related Teasers
To promote new books, sometimes they’ll pop a teaser ad in the middle of a book that’s popular. It’s a quick way to get people talking and speculating, and it generally creates a buzz for the project, and what it could be. Go on and click each one of the teasers for links back to Newsarama, where people much more knowledgeable than I, give far better analysis and guesses as to their meaning.
Teasers via [Newsarama]
Holy crap there’s a writer whose pen name is HOPELESS? I don’t know if that’s foreboding, ominous, or just badass. Probably all three. Who do I think this teaser is for? I’ve no clue actually. I’ll take a guess and say… Ant-Man? Yep. Ant-Man. Ahem.
People think this one is Deadpool, from the red crosshairs, and they’d have a solid point. An astute reader connect Lightning>Thunder, and come up with Thunderbolts. Who may be persecuted, and thusly have a target on their heads? Since they’re villains? Maybe Deadpool is gonna fight them? In a cage? On fire? During a storm? Brb, writing awesome superhero cage match fanfic.
These two are allegedly linked to the same project, so they’re going together. On my gut instinct alone, this makes me think Punisher. I know folks think that the Lightning one is for Punisher [EDITORS NOTE: My thoughts are of the Thunderbolts for this one], but the words WANTED and KILLER(s) make me think of ol’ Frank. The only thing throwing me off is the plural of KILLERS, so chances are I’m probably wrong.
So while all of my speculation is probably wrong, I’m allowed to dammit. You should go check out each teaser’s article over at Newsarama, if you’re putting money down on this sort of thing. Also, go see someone for your gambling problem.
Geoff Johns Talks About New Arab-American Green Lantern’s Creation.
Considering today is a very important day, I found this interview enlightening and relevant. I think the choice made here to portray an Arab-American by Geoff Johns is gutsy, but bold. It’s also notable that we get just a quick snippet of background history for Baz, who so far we know very little about.
Did 9/11 inspire you to introduce a Arab-Muslim character, considering that it plays an important part of Simon Baz’ life?
When we re-launched our universe last year, diversity was a very important of the thinking when introducing characters. When I thought of the story, I had to introduce a new character into the “Green Latern” Corps. There was a lot of thought about his background, and that’s when I came up with the Arab-American “Green Lantern.”
What parts of your own life did you use when creating Baz?
My father is Lebanese so I have some of the cultural experience. I also worked with the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn on the script to make sure it had the authenticity of an Arab-American.
An Arab protagonist seems timely since there is this swirl of social issues that Muslims in post 9/11 America have to deal with.
True. As fantastic as the concept of “Green Lantern” is of an intergalactic police force, the comic has had a history of grounding in the now and dealing with modern characters and concepts and Simon Baz is that. I wanted to create a character that everyday Americans have to deal with.
When 9/11 hit, he was 10-years-old. His family was devastated, just like every other American. He’s grown up in that world. It’s just part of the daily life, the new normal.
The fact that the color green has a historical connection with Islam is probably coincidental but will religion play any part in future stories?
The background is in the DNA of who he is but it doesn’t define who he is. It’s more about a compelling character than anything else.
Geoff Johns is a writer you either love or hate. I’ve heard plenty of hate for him from friends, in real life and on the internet. Fortunately, I love him, and his work. I think he makes great, fun to read, yet not retardedly simple popcorn comics. He’s exactly the kind of guy I think should be working on superhero titles, rather than the Hickman’s of the world. This character he’s created, is a potentially risky step in a good direction, and follows through with the theme of diversity that DC execs touted at the beginning of the reboot of the DCU. I look forward to seeing the new stories with Baz, and hope his lineage, faith, and back story are written respectfully and tastefully by Johns, and any other who will be handling this character. It’s a great opportunity to reach out to the large muslim comics audience that’s out there, who I’m sure are craving some representation on the page.
New Writer For Superman, Introduces New Kryptonian Villain!
Even if it was hell for George Perez, his run on Superman was pretty goddamned boring. So boring, I stopped reading it. Being a big fan of Supes, I’ve been looking for a good point to jump back in, and start reading good Superman stories again. Hearing about a new Kryptonian villain, definitely sounds like the main foundation for the building blocks of a great Superman story.
Lobdell — already one of the most prolific writers at DC — will take over the Superman title, launching the second year of the iconic hero’s New 52 story with a new villainous threat.
Working with Kenneth Rocafort on art, Lobdell will start his run with this month’s Superman #0, then will take the title into November’s “H’el on Earth” event with Supergirl andSuperboy. The three “Super” characters will deal with a new Kryptonian supervillain named H’el, which Lobdell is introducing.
They then go on to conduct a LONG interview with Lobdell, who goes into detail about his plans, Superman, and what’s coming in store for him come issue #14, with the introduction of H’el. Here’s a choice snippet from the interview:
“Nrama: The “H’el on Earth” storyline that we’re seeing in the Super-books in November features what appears to be a new villain, but he’s got a Bizarro look about him. Is H’el a new take on Bizarro, or something new that you guys created for this story?
Lobdell: In my effort to re-imagine Superman’s villains, I went so far afield in re-imagining Bizarro with Kenneth, that editorial started saying “Um, Scott — this character is so not-Bizarro any more; he’s a whole new character, with new motivation, new history, new look, new origin. You’re at the point where it doesn’t make any sense to call him Bizarro any more.”
And they were right.
And for everyone who wonders about the “S” on his chest? It is so far removed from Bizarro or Prime or anyone else that you can relax: By the time this story is over, you’ll see that H’el and Bizarro can exist in the same world.”
You should go and read the whole thing over at Newsarama, because it’s fascinating, and worth the read.
In this latest installment of our look at DC’s Brand New #1’s I think I’m going to tackle DC’s stable of Teen heroes. Up until a few years ago this was the main difference between Marvel and DC, as Marvel was not known for its teen heroes after the death of Bucky in the 40’s. Things of course change as the years go on, but DC has always been the front-runner when it comes to the teen heroes. All series descriptions are from CBR.
Teen Titans #1
Tim Drake is forced to step out from behind his keyboard when an international organization seeks to capture or kill super-powered teenagers. As Red Robin, he must team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and a hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash in TEEN TITANS #1, by Scott Lobdell and artists Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund.
So we find out where Tim Drake stands in the DC Nu, as well as a decidedly new look for one of my favorite characters. They of course all get a pretty drastic makeover, as well as some new characters I can’t place. I’m not sure how I feel about Tim’s wings, Superboy’s barcode tattoo, or Wonder Girl being referred to as a thief, but we’ll have to see how it plays out.
Renumbering. It’s a tried and true method of bringing up sales, as well as introducing new readers into the story. Renumbering a popular title is most often done when a high-numbered series is receiving a new creative team, new storyline etc. Spider-Man has done it a few times, The Ultimate Marvel line has done it a few times, but DC has remained relatively unscathed by this trend.