– Unfortunately, another legendary titan of the comic book industry has passed the mortal coil. Joe Kubert – iconic artist, teacher, school founder and father of artists Adam and Andy Kubert – has died at the age of 85 (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/joe-kubert-passes-away.html). An immigrant from Poland born in 1926, he and his family eventually immigrated to New York and he grew up in Brooklyn – then considered a “Jewish ghetto”. His career spans across many companies but it was at DC Comics where he found the most success, best known for his runs on SGT. ROCK, HAWKMAN, and TARZAN as well as the company’s director of publications from 1967 to 1976. The prehistoric character TOR was also one of Kubert’s co-creations alongside Norman Maurer. In 1976, he founded The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon Graphic Art in Dover, New Jersey which has taught many future pros the basics of the industry and on art as a craft for it. DC continued to employ him, as he did a SGT. ROCK strip for DC’s WEDNESDAY COMICS experiment in 2009 and also shared art chores with his son Andy on BEFORE WATCHMEN: NITE OWL. DC was even planning to launch a six issue anthology series featuring Joe teaming up with other talents, and the status of that project is unknown (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=articleid=40429). This was hardly the first time DC had a major talent die as something they were involved with was being sold, and while an initial statement from DC Entertainment did shill BEFORE WATCHMEN: NIGHT-OWL, subsequent ones have been more heartfelt. R.I.P., Joe. The industry is lesser without you.
– Are Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment shopping a “JUSTICE LEAGUE” film script to potential directors (again)? That is the question which may have been answered regarding last week’s rumor that actor/director Ben Affleck had been approached by WB to direct a potential Justice League film. Variety reports that Affleck’s “THE TOWN” – which he directed and starred in – impressed WB enough that he was their initial talent to pitch the new script by Will Beall to (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118057612?refCatId=13#.UCK-0Dm7ADQ.facebook). Supposedly WB would like a League film in theaters by 2015, which is the same year “AVENGERS 2” is set to debut. Affleck is hardly an unknown to comic book/geek films, having appeared in several of Kevin Smith’s films as well as starring in “DAREDEVIL”, which was a modest hit for Fox. But before anyone starts to imagine Affleck directing from the set of the Watchtower and casting himself as Batman, Deadline offered a counter-story denying that Affleck was interested in the position (http://www.deadline.com/2012/08/ben-affleck-on-justice-league-his-camp-says-no/). Rumor or not, it does pose an interesting question about whether WB is serious about a Justice League film within the next three years and how serious are they about producing it. From 2007-2008, WB produced a script for a League film and had George Miller on hand to direct and had even compiled a cast for the film (with Adam Brody being the biggest star, cast as Flash). However, the writer’s guild strike around that period as well as tax issues in the filming location of Australia and shifting corporate aims scuttled the project. In 2008, Marvel Studios had produced “IRON MAN” to critical success and began the building blocks of solo films which would lead to “AVENGERS” in 2012; WB made noises of imitating that before ultimately deciding to rely exclusively on Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy and “solo” hero films. The massive under performance of “GREEN LANTERN” put a serious dent into that plan. Would a Justice League film even work without a “film continuity” to build it up much like Marvel Studios produced? And if not, how to build one with “MAN OF STEEL” the only DC superhero film in production? WB and DC Entertainment find themselves in a hole in which they would like to rely on DC superhero films as tent pole franchises, but they have been unwilling to invest in producing it via quality films or even risk of them. Audiences are quite literally about to see Rocket Raccoon on the big screen before Wonder Woman, or even a meeting between Batman and Superman (the “world’s finest”). WB had a chance on the latter in 2002 with a “BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN” film, but that was ditched in favor of the awful “CATWOMAN” and ultimately the Nolan trilogy of Bat-films. It seems at every step WB had a chance to innovate but blinked when it came critical and now are playing second fiddle to Marvel Studios. Will they ever get their act together outside of the small screen?
– DC has announced a crossover between SUPERBOY, SUPERGIRL and SUPERMAN titled “H’el On Earth” which revolves around the trio battling “a creature of Kryptonian origin” named H’el who is able to tear through them (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2012/08/10/dc-announces-superman-crossover-hel-on-earth/#more-56599). Is this Doomsday 2.0? He also bares resemblances – or inspiration – from similar “evil Superman/Superboy” characters such as Bizarro or Match. As the Beat notes, up to 24 of DC’s New 52 line of comics will be sharing stories in several “mini crossovers” occurring between 3-5 comics each (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2012/08/13/just-how-many-crossovers-does-dc-have-in-november/#more-56847). This doesn’t count the build up to TRINITY WAR, which will be a line-wide crossover. While DC did allow many of these titles to exist for a year before tying them together, will this trend hurt or harm them – especially those at the middle of the pack? Part of why gimmicks like crossovers endure because they often do spike sales, at least in the short term. The dilemma both DC and Marvel find themselves are developing any strategy beyond a train of short term gimmicks in a row, which the New 52 was seen as attempting to combat.
– After leading the box office for three straight weeks, “THE DARK KNIGHT RISES” slipped to third place this weekend with $18.9 million in domestic grosses (http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=3500p=.htm). The final installment of the Chris Nolan Batman trilogy has earned $389.6 million domestically.
Last Week’s DC Comics News – http://www.examiner.com/article/dc-comics-news-8-7-12-dark-knight-rises-rolls-on-new-gl-s-name-more
This Week’s Indie Comics News – http://www.examiner.com/article/indie-comics-news-8-14-12-invincible-100-walking-dead-sonic-meets-mega-man
Last Week’s Marvel Comics News – http://www.examiner.com/article/marvel-comics-news-8-7-12-daredevil-fantastic-four-rights-fight-marvel-now