At Comic-Con International, the former My Chemical Romance singer showed new artwork for “Shade The Changing Girl” and “Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye,” and news of a pretty stellar back-up coming to Carson’s title.
DC Comics and singer/Umbrella Academy write Gerard Way plan to make the DC universe weird again with the Young Animal imprint. Way, along with writers like Cecil Castellucci and Jon Rivera, will put their own unique spin on several DC mainstays, including the Doom Patrol, Shade, Cave Carson and even Gotham in the new line of comics.
Mike Johnson and Angel Hernandez return to space for Star Trek/Green Lantern, while Matthew K. Manning and Jon Sommariva mash together the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the animated series with the classic Batman: The Animated Series.
IDW announced at Comic-Con International and via press release that they will team up with DC Comics once again on two crossovers: a sequel to last year’s Star Trek/Green Lantern crossover and another pairing of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Batman, only this time based on the animated versions of both sets of characters.
Images from Toy Fair beg the question: where can I buy a recreation of a vintage spinner rack that holds real comics?
I’m curious if anyone has ever done this before: per a report at Action Figure Insider, Cryptozoic Entertainment is showing off a cool miniature recreation of a vintage comic book spinner rack, complete with faux minicomics from DC Comics. Check out the image:
Now, in this case, it only holds the smaller “comics” it comes with and can be bought in blind bags — per the report, they’re just for display purposes and can’t actually be open and read. It’s still pretty cool, but it kind of makes you wonder why no one* is making actual spinner racks that fans could buy and use to display their creations. I know you can buy the modern equivalent, which aren’t really aimed at the consumer market, and classic comic racks show up on eBay, but why isn’t someone making recreations of comic spinner racks that hold real comics? Someone should get on that, pronto.
*I could be wrong that no one has ever done this, and would actually be happy to be proven wrong if it means they’re available somewhere.
Today, on The Grumpy Color! Movies, TV shows and how hardcore can you make Aquaman before he just starts looking like Rob Zombie? Let’s join our discussion, already in progress…
Tom Bondurant: So since we’re talking movies and TV, how much has the comics’ Marvel U changed to resemble the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Carla Hoffman: Not enough? I mean, it’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong. We have a female Thor kicking butt and a Sam Wilson Captain America three separate Avengers teams that are nothing like the movie’s roster, all with their own agendas and purposes. Comics are brilliant in that it costs so much less to take chances with and do big radical shifts of character, tone and setting that the current ANAD Marvel shouldn’t look like the MCU. On the other hand, the Inhumans are now more prominent than ever in the books, more even than mutants were. There is, in fact, an Ant-Man solo series that has adjusted somewhat for the movie. Brian Michael Bendis is trying his best to write dialogue for Robert Downey Jr. It’s different enough, but not jarring. That being said, an Agent Carter series would be a no-brainer, don’t you think?
TB: Do you think the Marvel U books are helped by those sweet, sweet Star Wars sales?
CH: ARE WE EVER! I wasn’t going to mention that either, because I feel kind of bad that a good chunk of Marvel’s sales success is thanks to some really awesome Star Wars titles. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I could slap a sticker of Darth Vader’s helmet on a phone book and send it out the door, but Marvel is not treating these books lightly as a lot of really good creative teams are coming together for some pretty cool stories. The Force Awakens has blown the lids off of fanboy’s brains and we’re going to move a lot of Star Wars merch, that’s for sure. Let’s here it for our corporate Disney overlords!
TB: For that matter, how’s small-screen Marvel been treating you? Have Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fall episodes turned into a warm-up for the second season of Agent Carter? I’m only two episodes into Jessica Jones, so no spoilers; but did it meet your expectations?
CH: This is kind of what I was getting at in an earlier question; I’m… not very good at keeping up with the small screen. I haven’t even finished Daredevil yet! But I have seen Aveggies: Age of Bon-Bon a dozen or so times, let me tell you…
Marvel has always captured a college aged audience, a groovier crowd if you will, and the new Netflix series are drawing that same set of eyeballs in a new and fresh way. Personally, I wanted to like Jessica Jones but it wasn’t my cup of tea. I felt that Alias had time for a much more likable and approachable character and didn’t get to that Purple Man punch until the end of the series. But at time same time, I don’t have to watch Jessica Jones to enjoy the MCU. Or even the M, err… NU? When Luke Cage gets his series, Jessica Jones can be there but under a completely different script and director, so maybe I’ll enjoy her more. It’s even a good thing that the show wasn’t a straight adaptation because fans can now (hopefully) go into a comic shop and get a book that has a familiar story, but more detail and rich artwork that enhances their Netflix experience. Something new, couched in the familiar….
TB: And — you knew this one was coming — their 55th anniversary is in 2016, so whither the Fantastic Four?
CH: Hoo boy. Dead? Reed and Sue and the kids, I think, are ‘gone’, leaving Ben in the Guardians and Johnny Storm kissing another man’s wife over in Uncanny Inhumans. It’s weird, but I’m kind of interested on seeing where they take Marvel’s first family without the actual family and how Human Torch and the Thing survive without the essentials that brought them together. Not that this is their first time at the solo rodeo, but there’s an expectation that these four characters are going to orbit each other. Maybe this time next year, we’ll be doing the think pieces and tributes that always follow a big change in the FF for an anniversary lap, then sale decline, then back on the shelf. Sigh. I’d say maybe a summer event is in order on getting the band back together, but you know. Civil War II.
Side note: Oh man, why I am this excited for a Civil War II? Just six months ago, typing those words out would have made me nauseous, but maybe it’s the power of the upcoming Captain America movie (I’ll get into that later) or the incredible job that Charles Soule did with the Battleworld book set in Civil War, but coming back to that idea or heroes conflicted over ideology based around current events, but this time not from Mark Millar or as clumsily done now that event books have more of a framework in modern comics, this is actually kind of exciting!
Maybe there is more synergy at work between comics and movies than I thought. Speaking of the big screen, are you ready for the grimace fest of the century? Superman vs. Batman! Wonder Woman is also here! And Aquaman… for some reason! Why not just call it Justice League and be done with it?
TB: It makes me very nervous that Warner Brothers is depending so heavily on a movie which they’re promoting (at least in part) with grim, serious photos of Aquaman.
CH: And a weird looking Aquaman at that! DC really can’t have their cake and eat it too with that design, you know. Either he’s the blonde guy in an orange shirt that everyone knows and loves or go whole hog and bring back the Old Man and Sea look from Peter David’s run and .. they’re doing the latter, aren’t they? I just took a look at a recent comic cover for Aquaman and yeah, orange shirt is in the trashcan. They have to balance the look of what’s on comic stands and what’s on the silver screen; there’s been a lot of that balance with Marvel so that when you look at the covers of the comics, you can right away know who is in what book…
TB: I did like the most recent trailer — the one that ends with Wonder Woman saving Batman — and I’m maybe looking forward even more to the Wonder Woman movie.
CH: Note how you didn’t say saving Superman as well. Those two make such a weird couple….
But yeah, I think it’s a bad idea to stuff Wonder Woman in a movie that has two huge personalities that should sort themselves out first, but that’s me. Over here. With a franchise that made sure to introduce all the big heroes in individual movies first before combining them all together. Because that sells more books and develops characters better.
TB: As for the title … well, the actual title is clunky and pretentious, and it only really works if you know it’s basically a “zero issue” for the Justice League series. It’s like The First Avenger subtitle, in that everybody just called that movie Captain America.
CH: They added in that First Avenger tag line to make sure a movie entirely focusing around a nationalistic hero played well in other countries, but point taken.
TB: I suspect the general public is about as aware of the Justice League in 2015 as they were of the Avengers in, say, 2007. Man Of Steel 2: Batman vs. Superman probably would have been better (if about as clunky), because this movie won’t be the Justice League. I don’t think you can call it a League until there are at least five members and a headquarters.
CH: But here’s the thing and I’m going to try to tie it back into comics as best I can without going full Hollywood on you here: I agree that it’s not the Justice League; it’s not even the Super Friends as no one in this movie seems very friendly. I think DC stepped into the role of Very Serious Movie makers with Batman Begins and held to it all through the Nolan trilogy. Stepping outside the ranks with Superman Returns didn’t fare very well, nor could it make a cohesive Cinematic Universe. When you go super serious, you’re kind of in all the way. So it brings about the problem you mentioned before, where when a comic is good and the characterization is what you want to see, it feels weird when you read another book with them in it and they’re practically a different person.
The faces change, the costumes are different, they might even be different people in some respects, but Marvel has this consistency that follows through comics to movies through tones of storytelling that is making this cinematic universe work. Mind you, we’re lucky that there hasn’t been any new actors replacing older ones yet (wait, Ruffalo replaced Norton; but I won’t count it), but you should know who that hero or villain is no matter where you see them.
Yeah, no one knows what a Justice League is right now, but if you do it right, you will know its component parts well enough to handle a contrived title like the Avengers. And to be honest, Joe and Joan Q. Public know about a Justice League movie because there was an Avengers movie already released. We know the song and dance.
TB: I do notice (thanks to this handy chart) that Justice League 2 — where I presume they finish fighting Darkseid — is supposed to come out a month before Avengers: Infinity War 2, where I presume they finish fighting Darkseid knock-off Thanos. Something for the Grumpy Color 2019’s agenda!
CH: 2019!?!? Good grief.
TB: Getting back to comics — I know this will sound like the ultimate DC conspiracy theory, but bear with me. It almost seems like Marvel is using its commanding market presence to sustain an air of invincibility which can absorb whatever missteps it might make. Put another way, the combination of dominating top-sellers (including Star Wars) and sheer volume practically guarantees that Marvel will have a market-share advantage. Since that’s how we tend to keep score, Marvel keeps winning, and whatever it does either adds to its winning ways or at least doesn’t get in their way. It has much more room for error than DC does, so it can take more risks, and I would argue that those risks are minimized because of all the successes. Conversely, DC’s risks (Doctor Fate, say) are magnified because they’re seen in the light of overall market strategy, and each DC book has a greater responsibility to perform because there are fewer of them.
So my questions are 1) am I way off-base? and 2) will we ever hit Peak Marvel, where there’s just too much product coming from the House of Ideas?
CH: For the first part, I totally agree, but I don’t think this makes Marvel as bullet proof as that. Mistakes are made that can tarnish story lines and creative teams and books can tank hard (I’m giving ANAD about three months to sort itself out to what the stands are going to look like for realsies). Yeah, Star Wars is helping to keep the lights on, but I can’t really name a sure fire hit for my store off the top of my head. There was a time when Ultimate Spider-Man was just going to sell like gangbusters no matter what and now… well, Ultimate Spider-Man doesn’t really exist anymore and every title gets a new make-over every September, making longevity a thing of the past.
For the second part, no? Product I don’t think is the problem as series come and go rather regularly at this point. We keep sampling dishes and Marvel keeps taking the plates away, even the dishes we like and want more of (Mark Waid’s Daredevil could run for a thousand years, you guys). I think comics readers could get dizzy after awhile with the turn over rates and might yearn for a more regular ongoing series with less creative change-ups, but then boom! A new series will debut or suddenly NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME, etc. Comics are more malleable than ever and I think that’s going to change the way we read and consume them in some respects.
Now, I’m not saying it’s a perfect business model and everybody should try it but let’s face it, folks: it works at Image. Yeah. Think on that.
TB: Sounds like a good note to go out on! 2015 was wild and wacky, but at least it gave us plenty to discuss. Here’s hoping 2016 is at least equally eventful!
Smash Pages contributors Tom Bondurant and Carla Hoffman continue their end-of-year tradition, looking back at the year in Big Two superhero comics and looking forward to 2016.
[Smash Pages contributors Tom Bondurant and Carla Hoffman continue their end-of-year tradition, looking back at the year in Big Two superhero comics and looking forward to 2016.]
Carla Hoffman: Time to get off the couch, put down the Ben and Jerry’s and stop listening to Moonlight Sonata on repeat, it’s the end of the year! Marvel and DC have cast their nets wide through event books, new titles, TV shows and movies to reel in new readers, viewers and mass market appeal and somebody’s has to sort through it all, sir! For somebody, read: us.
Digital comic provider offers buy one, get one free deal on most DC comics and trades.
For Cyber Monday, digital comics provider comiXology is not only continuing its Black Friday discounts, but has added several more deals to the mix.
Of note is a “first time ever” sale on DC Comics — a buy one, get one free sale on all DC Comics and Vertigo titles released digitally before Sept. 1. Just use the code DCBOGO at check out.
Here’s the rundown of all the sales happening today:
DC Comics Buy One, Get One Free Sale – Use promo code DCBOGO at checkout
Offer good on all DC Comics and Vertigo titles released digitally before 9/1/15
Dark Horse Sale – 30 trades for $2.99 each
VIZ Sale – 10 volumes for $2.00 off each
Marvel X-Men & The Black Vortex Sale
DC Comics Buy One, Get One Free Sale – Use promo code DCBOGO at checkout
Dark Horse Sale – 30 trades for $3.00 each Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone
Aliens: Fire and Stone
ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times
Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow Part One
Archie vs Predator
Big Guy and Rusty
Conan Red Sonja
Courageous Princess Vol 1
Drug and Drop Vol 1
EI8HT Vol 1: Outcast
Ghost Fleet Vol 1 Deadhead
Green River Killer
Halo: Escalation Volume
Heart in a Box
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D: 1952
How to Pass as Human
Predator: Fire and Stone
Prometheus: Fire and Stone
Plants vs. Zombies: Bully For You
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind
The Goon Vol14: Occasion of Revenge
The New Deal
The Witcher: Vol 2 – Fox Children
Tomb Raider Vol 1 : Season of the Witch
Veda: Assembly Required
Buffy: Season Ten Vol 1 : New Rules
BloodC Vol 1
VIZ Sale – 10 volumes for $4.99each My Hero Academia Vol 1
Assassination Classroom Vol 1
Ultraman Vol 1
Twin Star Exorcists Vol 1
Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1
Time Killers Vol 1
Demon Prince Momochi House Vol 1
Kiss of the Rose Princess Vol 1
My Love Story! Vol 1
Spell of Desire Vol 1
Marvel X-Men & The Black Vortex Sale The Black Vortex Alpha #1
Guardians of the Galaxy #24-25
Legendary Star-Lord #1-11
All-New X-Men #38-39
Guardians Team-Up #1-3
Captain Marvel #14
The Black Vortex Omega #1
For my money, Jimmy Palmiotti is one of the smartest and hardest working creators currently in comics. In this new Q&A, he and I discuss a range of ideas and projects, including updates to the PaperFilms site; the company’s new Threadless presence; Starfire; andHarley Quinn Road Trip Special #1, the latter of which goes on sale September 9.
As always you continue to make improvements to the PaperFilms site, how important is that site to maintaining a rapport with your fan base.
The PaperFilms site is our hub where we keep people up to date on our work, offer our services, offer downloadable books, limited signed prints, book conventions and sell just about anything we do produce these days. I think it’s very important for any creator to create a brand and offer their work to the public because with dozens of companies selling hundreds of books a week, a lot of product never makes it to a comic shop. Amanda Conner, for example, can only do about 12 shows a year, and at these shows she sells signed prints. It just isn’t fair or realistic that she can be everywhere, so we like to look at it as a service that people can buy her signed prints at our site and not miss out. Things like this are super important to building and then keeping a fan base happy. I’m a consumer like everyone else and buy product right from creators. I like to think with no middleman involved, I am supporting that creator and giving them some support to continue their craft.
Is there any thing better than getting to be able to feature art from Amanda, Phil Noto, Dave Johnson, Paul Mounts, and others via Threadless?
There is nothing better than seeing a lot of hard work presented on something besides a comic book. We have a small interview about it hereand I have to say that although it took some time for Bill Tortellini and I to put it together, we are both super proud how everything came out. The phone cases are top quality and the printing on them is stunning. The T-shirts and canvas art are also very cool and seeing these on people is just amazing. For Dragon Con and Baltimore, if you show me a case or a wear one of these t-shirts, I will do that person a free quick sketch. Yeah, I’m not the best artist, but I can draw a pretty good Daredevil or Jonah Hex. Threadless and the crew up there have been amazing at promoting our section, so we hope to see some sales soon.
You are advocate for good comics be it they corporate or creator-owned, you are squarely an advocate, not an apologist. Look no further than earlier this week and the FB post. “Opinion pieces are not facts. DC is doing great and as anyone that has worked as a boss in publishing, you constantly have to experiment and shake things up all the time. Harley and Starfire both came from that. Marvel Knights came from that. The press trying to make DC look weak should spend the same time pointing out how the company makes sure we are compensated for our creations in all media, how they give us a % of foreign royalties for our books and digital sales and how they include us in their PR for the projects we work on.“
Where do I start. How critical are foreign royalties for you? How important is it for you to be be plugged in terms of PR?
This post was my reaction of seeing a couple of days worth of press attacking D.C. comics, which by the way, is one of the best companies to work for in comics, and I have worked for them all. I’ve been called a company man because I stick up for them, and I totally am… but I am a company man for about 8 different companies I’ve been working for, including DC, Marvel, Image, After Shock, Boom, Dark Horse, Action Lab, Jet City, Adaptive, and including my own company Paperfilms. Anyone that knows me knows I push and talk up every company I work for and it’s part of what you get when you hire me. I think it’s the smart and professional thing to do and will not make excuses for it.
What I hate seeing is everyone joining in on bashing a company that is constantly trying new things and really does go the extra mile with creators on a daily basis. This is one of the few companies that pay us for foreign royalties on our books, which is a big deal when you have been working for over 20 years in the business and start doing shows overseas and get to see all of your work in giant collections and collected editions. This is a decent amount of money and I am sure all the retired artists and writers that have worked for them in the past are happy to receive these well-deserved checks. The comic book business is global, with books being printed all over the world and the idea that a company limits their royalties to only English editions, or just to print is just not playing fair with their talent anymore.
No matter who I work for, I can always find faults in the company, and DC is no different, though I will say I find much less in them than others. Companies shake up their lines each year, sometimes twice a year and that is just normal business…something is not working, try something new. Marvel and DC do this all the time. Have been for a long time. Marvel Knights did it and I was part of that. I guess what I am trying to say is that in the end, everyone bashing these companies publically have to remember that as this negativity leaks out to other media , it paints a pretty crappy picture of the business, so I rather remain positive and celebrate what IS done right, promote the good work and keep the negative vibes away.
Yeah, not as interesting as being negative, and I understand that, but we are working in a time where we have some of the greatest comic artists in the world creating things of beauty each and every month. I would much rather celebrate the art form. It’s how I roll.
With Starfire #3 there were a few subtitles like “Cruise Out of Control” are those narrative elements than an home back to the 1970s DC comics, or something else?
They are a fun way of cutting scenes and locations and pushing the book further along than a regular format. It has been done in film for years and we have done it many times in the Jonah Hex series so it seemed like a fun place to do it, and a challenge with the titles working with the set up scenes. The chapter thing is very retro, but it still works well today.
In Harley Quinn 19, did you or Amanda write that great “I built Beaver Dam in my pants.” speech?
That was all me with her editing it because I might have gone totally overboard. There are times when writing parts of the book, all I really want to do is entertain Amanda and she just loves bathroom humor…so the two rants in the book are me sending a love letter to her. I read one review where they said it was too much and over the top and that also made me happy as well. We pride ourselves in going where no others would even think of going and at the same time keeping it all fun. You would think after writing over 25 of these books we would run out of this silly stuff, but far from it. Amanda’s brain is a fun house of madness and with the two of us working on this at once, it is rather insane at times. Thank God it fits the character.
Mike and Joe Pruett are close friends and I have a history with both. Their partners are smart and lovely people and together, we saw an opportunity to have some fun and try something different with the character we are presenting. Mike gave me one of my first writing gigs for a major comic book company and that was my run on Deadpool many years ago at Marvel. He asked and we answered. As well, they are both big fans of Amanda’s work and that just made the entire process that much sweeter.
What can you tell about the new Harley Quinn annual road trip?
This double sized special was a fun idea Amanda and I were tossing around for a bit, putting Harley, Catwoman and Ivy together on a road trip across country. We honestly only had one problem doing this book and it was that we needed about 60 more pages to tell the entire story we wanted to tell…not a bad problem though. We get to follow these three as they party, play Truth or Dare and pick up some unlikely hitchhikers. We also learn a little about Harley’s childhood and family in the process. We custom wrote this special to be illustrated by Bret Blevins and with the help of some other guest artists like Moritat , Mike Manly and a few others, it’s a pretty fun over the top story.