How much ‘old’ does DC Comics need?

How much “old” do you need?

That question was more hypothetical back in the spring, before DC’s “Rebirth” initiative started quantifying it. “Rebirth” was as direct a response to the New 52 as the publisher has ever given, even bringing back specific characters from the old days to help the healing process along. “Rebirth” also up-ended the normal relaunch paradigm, which seeks to streamline a character’s presentation so as to keep what works and discard what doesn’t. By contrast, “Rebirth” took the position that the status quo generally needed fixing, and specifically could use a healthy dose of what had come before.

Regardless of its inelegance, though, the New 52’s streamlining had to come from somewhere. The old regime had been in place for at least 25 years, ever since the great cosmic streamlining of Crisis On Infinite Earths. Back then, the question of “how much old” related to what the character could do without. Today, it seems like the question is what the character needs to have put back.

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Superman and the Cure for Cancer

Everyone knows someone affected by cancer. Even Superman. But maybe he can do something about it.

Writer/artist Stephen Sonneveld has released Superman vs. Cancer, a 70-page webcomic where the Man of Steel goes to any length to finally stop this pervasive and all too common disease.

Obviously this is not an official DC Comics release. Described as “for portfolio purposes only,” Superman vs. Cancer is clearly not pretending to be canon, but its use of not only Superman’s mythology and the larger DC Universe contributes to a story that is emotionally resonant and affecting, even disarming.

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Stephen Downer: Draws Every Member of the ‘90s JLA

According to Stephen Downer: “So over the last year, I started drawing every member of the ‘90s JLA. I’m a huge fan of Grant Morrison and Howard Porter’s version of the League, and I wanted a project. I’m gonna start posting one of these each day until I run out.”

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Here we go with Day 1: Electric Superman!

 

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90s JLA, Day 2! Wonder Woman. I really like the way Howard Porter drew Diana during his run. I tried to capture a bit of the feel of his version of the character. I think this is the first proper Wonder Woman I’ve drawn, actually.

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Batman! ‘90s JLA Day 3. This version of the Batman costume is one I love a lot. Dark blue-gray color scheme, with extra-pointy ears, shoulders and fingertips. Scary, but still more “superhero” than “gritty urban vigilante”.

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1990′s JLA, Day 4. Superman! Behold the glory of ‘90s Mullet Superman. So beautiful. *sheds tears

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’90s JLA, Day 5! The ‘90s versions of these iconic DC superheroes were my first exposure to them in many cases. Kyle Rayner was the first Green Lantern I knew, and I thought he was awesome.

December 19 Update

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Day 6: Wally West, The Flash. This guy is in my top three favorite superheroes list, right after Batman and Superman

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1990s JLA, Day 7: Green Arrow! Connor Hawke Green Arrow, specifically. One of those legacy superheroes that was genuinely cooler than the original. (This was when Oliver Queen had, what, one good story to his name?) Oliver Queen got much cooler, but I’ll always like this guy. And dig that Reid Loessbergian jawline!

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Day 8: Martian Manhunter. Not too much to say about this, except that Martian Manhunter is really awesome.

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Bearded, harpoon-hand pirate king Aquaman is my absolute favorite version of the character. He seems like an example of the ‘90s “extreme badass” cliche that actually turned out to be great.1990s JLA.

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Day 10!: It’s Zauriel! You know, that time a full-on angel started hanging out with the Justice League? I drew the pre-superhero-costume version to start with. I’ll have his full superhero version coming up down the line a bit.

Michel Fiffe in Praise of Jerry Ordway

Today Michel Fiffe took to his Facebook page to admire Jerry Ordway’s work–his Superman covers in particular.

Today’s inspiration: one of my favorite Jerry Ordway covers.

Adventures of Superman 439
Adventures of Superman 439: Today’s inspiration
When I asked Fiffe what makes Ordway so strong for him this was his answer. “The composition, the draftsmanship, the linework, the duo shade tones, the characters and the suspense portrayed, the color, the paper, the subjective nostalgia, the objective technical skill, the context of both the story and artist in relation to the title and its placement in the art form.”

I then contacted Fiffe offline to see if he could name for more covers of note, within minutes he did.

Adventures of Superman 424
Adventures of Superman 424

Back in 2013 Ordway revealed a cover that ended up not working, as well as the selected uncolored version.

Aborted Adventures of Superman 441
Aborted Adventures of Superman 441

 

Uncolored Final Version of Adventures of Superman 441
Uncolored Final Version of Adventures of Superman 441

 

Colored Final Version of Adventures of Superman 441
Colored Final Version of Adventures of Superman 441

 

Adventures of Superman 444
Adventures of Superman 444

 

Superman 44
Superman 44

Landis & friends look back at Superman’s ‘important junctures’ in ‘American Alien’

Check out a preview of the first issue, featuring artwork by Nick Dragotta.

Hollywood screenwriter and Eisner nominee Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra) returns to comics in November with a murderer’s row of artists for Superman: American Alien, a seven-issue miniseries that highlights “important junctures in his development as a person.” Each issue features a different artist working with Landis on done-in-one stories set in Clark Kent’s past.

“Issue one is heartwarming, two is brutal, three is sexy, four will make you think, five’s thrilling, six might make you cry and seven … seven has the most violent fight you’ve ever seen featuring Clark Kent,” Landis said in a press release. “This has been my dream since I was 10 years old. Come on this journey with me and Clark. C’mon.”

Nick Dragotta provides art for the first issue, with later issues drawn by Francis Manapul, Jock, Jae Lee, Tommy Lee Edwards, Joëlle Jones and Jonathan Case. Ryan Sook provides the covers. Landis previously worked with Jock on “The Sound of One Hand Clapping,” a story in the digital-first Adventures of Superman #41-42 that received an Eisner nomination for “Best Short Story” last year.

Check out a preview of the first issue below, which comes out Nov. 11.

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