Shane Davis back for more Superman: EARTH-1

JMS and Shane Davis took their OGN for Superman E-1 and demolished the sales charts…selling…best-selling…and climbing that ladder of the NY TIMES’ sales…and well…it’s clear…fans want a Vol.2 from those sales!

And as I purported that E-1 would be a success in my ‘Man of Steel’ Editorial along with the accurate casting of Cavill…
MAN OF STEEL
and went on to review the glittering success of E-1 below:
SUPERMAN E-1 WINS!!!
I do think that E-1 has the blend of emotion, local and foreign displacement and alienation from society to couple with raging action sequences that allows us to get a Superman Film cutting loose and kicking a$$!!! This E-1 book, along with Cavill, is ideally perfect for Snyder’s vision!!!

Here’s an excerpt as to maybe a semblance of what could be taken…Brainiac as the mothership and gearbox of Kal-El? A tutor and mentor/kryptonian library of universal knowledge that Jor-El left for his progeny?
SUPERMAN REBIRTH

After calling Cavill and Johnny Storm’s death…I’m boldly saying that E-1 is a book that Nolan and Snyder need to pay attention to…after all, JMS’ influence is sure to rock the THOR film, so why not add his spice to DC’s pot?

Shane has done Red Lantern Works, and is currently doing amazing covers at DC (see his JSA and Bruce Wayne: The Road Home banners) and with JMS now leaving Chris Roberson on ‘Superman’ and Phil Hester on ‘Wonder Woman’ with his cliff-notes and foot-notes, he’s gearing up with Davis for the 2nd Volume of this title…and Newsarama caught up with Shane Davis to dissect the future… – PS…It’s Luthor, not Luther!!! 🙂

Davis: I wasn’t surprised that people said, hey, this is a good quality story, or the way it was orchestrated or what not. That really didn’t surprise me because of course they’re reading the script, drawing it and seeing it in multiple stages. And what probably did surprise me is people that wanted to call it “hoodie Superman,” and stuff like that, considering the character was only wearing a hood in two pages. I think that surprised me the most because, I don’t know. I’ve always been a firm believer that judging a book by its cover is just such a common, thrown-around phrase that people don’t really do that. And then it’s very surprising when you actually see people really do that.

And it’s weird, a lot of people are like, “Oh, he’s scrawny.” It’s like, he’s 21. He’s about 200 to 205 pounds. I don’t think that’s scrawny for a 21-year-old male. But it seemed like people are very quick to just copy and paste one thing and really that was surprising.

But I was surprised by the sell-out. That was surprising, on a different level. I went we’ve gone to our third or fourth printing now. So that surprises me a little bit because, being in a recession, especially, I was worried about somebody buying a $20 book. That’s kind of scary during a recession. So the sales kind of surprised me, only because of the recession. I thought people were getting a good value for the price, but you still wonder how people will handle their comic budgeting. You know?

Nrama: Sure, but do you think that this reached people outside the regular comics reading audience? Because it seems the format may have attracted a whole new audience.

Davis: Well, that’s what I hoped for, going into it. I hope that’s the case. I know some places, I was signing copies for nurses and doctors and stuff like that, that were wanting it for themselves. And maybe one out of, I don’t know, like 10 people were saying, “This is a gift for my son for Christmas,” or something like that. I’ve seen it a lot at the Barnes and Nobles and other bookstores, so that’s a different audience from regular Superman comics. People are ordering pretty heavy on it, and that’s great. How that sustains, especially with more graphic novels continuing, remains to be seen. I really hope it finds its home with the newer audience, because that’s really who I wanted to reach.

That was my goal: to reach new readers. I wanted to try to do the character justice, as far as re-envisioning him for today’s audience.

But at the same time, I’m kind of surprised how cynical some older Superman fans were of the book. You would think I took away their normal Superman comic book or something. One of the interesting things that a fan had this big debate with me about was, “Where’s Lex Luthor?” And I’m like, “Well, Lex Luthor isn’t going to be in the book.” And he’s like, “Well, why not? There’s always got to be a Lex Luthor.” So it’s weird when you see those expected stereotypes come at you before the book’s even done or printed. And then I kind of knew those people weren’t going to be happy.

Nrama: Shane, let’s switch gears and talk about the fact that both you and JMS are basically stepping away from monthly comics. I know you still do covers, but you’re putting your efforts into this new format for DC characters. You knew going into the project that this may be your job for a long commitment?

Davis: Yeah. There was always talk about it. I wanted to do it. At the same time, I would be lying if I said I don’t miss being able to go in the comic shop every month on a run of five months in a row or six months in a row and pick up a book of mine. So it’s kind of bittersweet being on my side of the fence of it. But I’m a supporter of this new format.

Nrama: Are there new challenges with this format for you as an artist?

Davis: Definitely. If you’re doing the graphic novel correctly, it’s more like doing a full-length movie, and you have to oversee the whole project as one huge book and approach it that way. Whereas, if I was doing single issues, it’s more like a TV show, where I could kind of reset every 20 or 22 pages. With comics I’m able to reset a little bit in the way I draw a page. Or I don’t have to worry about making sure every splash page is different, or every page is sorted uniquely, because I get to reset every 20.

Here, I can only reset when I get to Volume 2 or Volume 3. And as a storyteller, that can be kind of draining, because trying to keep things fresh and dynamic, being able to reset like that, it’s a big asset.

Even after I finished the first volume and it was a success, I didn’t really know if I was doing Volume 2, because it hadn’t been talked about until I saw it online one day announced. So I’m kind of – that kind of shocked me a little bit. I mean, it had been talked about, but I didn’t know it was actually rolling forward that quick.

Nrama: Are you working on the second volume already?

Davis: Yes. I’m working on it now. I know where the story’s going.

Nrama: Are you approaching the second volume in a different way? Or is it more of a direct continuation of what you did in the first volume?

Davis: It’s weird because it is a direct continuation, but at the same time, it’s kind of not, because what I have now is I have the Daily Planet Clark Kent. That’s really not what I had in Volume 1. Daily Planet Clark Kent didn’t step into being until the very end of the book. So in its way, I kind of a have a new character that I’m focusing on, but with a lot of the same supporting cast.

Nrama: Is there anything you can tell us about the story?

Davis: I can tell you that there is going to be a classic Superman villain. And I’ve worked on some new designs for that, so I’m kind of stoked about that, and I hope fans will be pleased.

Nrama: Then to finish up, is there anything you want to tell fans about your work on Superman: Earth One?

Davis: Just thanks, and that I hope they like what I’m doing for the next one. I could never have expected the attention we’ve gotten for the first volume — all the press. But the real test of its success, I think, isn’t today’s news. It’s going to be the longevity of it – five years, 10 years from now. That’s where I, myself, plan to judge the success of this, is where is it 10 years from now? That’s my goal in the graphic novel — not the quick sale, but the long-term sale. The long-term viability of it. So that’s where, being the co-creator – my goals are set on that.

Now after I loved Vol.1, I cannot wait for Vol.2 and implore all comic fans (Nolan and Snyder also!!!) to pick up E-1…it was that good!!!
And congrats to HENRY CAVILL!!! He reeks of E-1 SUPERMAN!!!

Rickly Out – Peace!!!

From: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/THURSDAY17/news/?a=29060

Can the earth live without Johnny Storm? Or, rather, can comic book fans live …

Even after two great movies behind their belts, the Fantastic Four are still going to lose a valuable member of their team! Frankly, I was very surprised to hear the news not too long back about Johnny Storm being sacrificed by Marvel, and that the magazine will stop (if not forever, then for how long?), especially after the fantastic (pardon the pun) performance by Chris Evans as the hot-headed (again, pardon the pun) flame-throwing playboy of FF. And even if the movie didn’t do as good as other Marvel, and even DC, movies ~ is killing off Johnny Storm really the right move to make?

Questions then arise: Will there be a third Fantastic Four movie at all? Or has the idea been suspended for a time? Or, better still, is the movie still on course, and will be seeing the light of day soon enough? Of course, the killing off of one of the heavy-hitters of the team [which one’s not a heavy-hitter, really?] may actually increase the interest to the theater attendees; and the appearance of the film will certainly beg the question of whether or not Johnny Storm will face a similar death in the third film as he did in the comics! . . . . Maybe, that was the plan the whole time with Marvel after all, and soon we will see an emergence of the Fantastic Four magazine in an even bigger stance on the new issues rack!

I remember the day well, way back in the 1990’s, when DC killed off Superman. And when I was selling my comics at a comic book convention not too long afterwards, I couldn’t help but notice that the “black bag” edition (that I had) was the very first comic that I sold that morning, which I had just moments before hung on the wall behind my comic booth. No sooner than I had turned around from placing it on the wall, then a young man asked me the price of the book. “Twenty-Five dollars.” I answered. And without batting an eye (and even though the book was nearly new), the man said “Give it to me!” Funny thing was, I was really underselling the book at the time, for some vendors and salesmen were pricing the book up to $75.00! When I was fresh out of “Death of Superman” stock, I couldn’t find anymore books anywhere to be had [Keep in mind, that this is before the convenience of the internet made life easier!], and so I began to desperately call around town (and out of town) to other comic shops, asking them if they had any copies left that I could purchase. Finally, one store came through for me, and said that they would have a late shipment of the book come in on Monday, which was only a few days away. “How much are you charging?” I asked the man. “Cover price.” was the VERY surprising answer! “Cover price?” I asked, almost in non-belief. “Yes, but it’s not the bagged edition.” he replied. Well, that was fine for me, bagged or not, that book was hot! Monday morning came, I made sure I arrived at the store somewhat before they even opened, and to my amazement, there was a line of people already standing outside the door of the small comic shop! And by the time the shop owner arrived, the line had increased to about thirty people ~ all waiting for their “Death of Superman” issue! I can still remember the gasping look upon the poor comic shop owner’s face when he saw the small crowd of people waiting outside his door!

Will this type of scene be repeated for the death of Johnny Storm? No, friends, I’m not expecting the event to be similar, for the death of Superman (the world’s first true superhero) was an event that will not be repeated, as DC reported the fastest selling book in their history; and I’m afraid that Johnny Storm is not big enough to duplicate the scene as it was in the early 1990’s . . . . But that’s not saying that Johnny Storm is not important, though, and I’m really not trying to belittle him at all! I just don’t expect for history to repeat itself with Johnny Storm as it did for Clark Kent.

Now, all that being said, I truly hope that Marvel gets the reaction that it is most certainly shooting for, and that is that they want all the Fantastic Four fans (and just comic fans in general) to rise up and demand their FF once again, and for Johnny Storm to (in some unknown and incredible way ~ as only Marvel and even DC can do) come back to life! If Marvel pulls this off, then I expect to see the FF to rise up and conquer once again in the comic book universe (where’s Stan Lee when you need him, aye?) . . . . Friends, I hope to see Johnny revived, and especially the FF magazine in general; and a third film will be nice as well!

Now, all that there is left to say is: “Flame on!”

From: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/MuscleMan/news/?a=29011

SUPERMAN vs BATMAN : CBM Battle Poll

FANFIC SCENARIO: (READ THIS BEFORE YOU VOTE, IMPORTANT!)
“Can a single atom make a dent against the vastness of a universe?” – anonymous

He has been to the other side of the galaxy and found nothing there left for him, so back to the world he calls home, he returned. The people he once championed have lost their faith in him but faith too returned. The villains he once fought also did return, and return they did with much vengeance. The woman she love, for a moment was lost to him but she too returned and she returned with something much more. Things return, feelings return and so do people.

“I am SUPERMAN and I have returned.”

He lost the woman she cared for from a twisted plot of a criminal mind. He lost his home to a fire caused by a criminal organization. He lost his parents to a gunshot by a man for a petty crime. He is losing a lot to the darker nature of men. Today he is going to lose one thing more, the respect of the innocent. He becomes a criminal for a crime he did not commit. This is what BATMAN is for now but not for long.

“The DARK KNIGHT will rise.”

SUPERMAN closes his eyes and starts lo listen. He is in deep space trying to hear what is happening in the earth below. He felt a slight shift in his body if his eyes were opened he would have seen the blue tinged hue engulfed the whole planet for a microsend. He then hears sirens, telescopic vision showed him police squad cars chasing a heavily armored man in a specialized motorcycle but they are being left behind fast. The man was darting out of the city into the woods toward a cave. SUPERMAN decided to follow. Two sonic booms after he is in the opening of the cave facing a man in a bat suit.

“SUPERMAN of universe spmr vs BATMAN of universe nlv initiated”

[RULE: Try to base the outcome on the characters abilities in the movies and not the comics. You could check them here.
info for SUPERMAN[here].
info for BATMAN[here].]

SETTING:
The battle is not planned. The arena is the Batcave (giving BATMAN a home court advantage considering that Superman already has a lot of advantage)

Your detailed description of the battle and the result is greatly encouraged (go wild!). You know where to write it.

sample: BATMAN using Scarecrow leftover fear toxins scared the shirt off of SUPERMAN

Other CBM Battle Polls:
HULK vs COLOSSUS
SPIDER-MAN vs DAREDEVIL
HULK vs WOLVERINE
THING vs HULK

From: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/Witness/news/?a=28960

Comic Book Bloopers: Lois Lane is Batsh*t Crazy

***Comic books from the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s and ’60s tend to provide us with moments like that. Either a slang term meant something back then that it doesn’t now, or writers were simply under pressure to make stories lighter and less “explicit” (that was the case during the mid-20th century), or it’s simply a matter of stories being written in a different time. Retro comic books provide us with the occasional dose of unintentional hilarity. It is with that lovingly playful mindset that Primary Ignition brings to you: Comic Book Bloopers.***

By Rob Siebert
Edtior, Fanboy Wonder

In 1958, DC Comics began publishing Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane. When it began publication, the title was mostly focused on Lois Lane trying to persuade, trick, or even downright blackmail Superman into marrying her. That’s just how a lot of chicks rolled at DC in the ’50s. Batwoman wanted to marry Batman, Bat-girl (who at the time was Bette Kane, not Barbara Gordon) wanted to be with Robin, Lana Lang also wanted to be with Superman, etc. This was done partially to give superheroes an American family-type dynamic in the wake of Seduction of the Innocent by Frederick Wertham, which claimed among other things that  Superman was a fascist, and Batman and Robin were gay. The irony there is that the heroes would almost always resist the marriage proposals and advances of these women. Which kind of goes against the idea of portraying them as straight, red-blooded American men…

But you know what? I’d have turned them down too. At least if they’d acted like THIS…

“Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane” #131. (Click image to enlarge)

Okay, I don’t follow the logic here at all. Lois says: “Superman — You’ve got to marry me! There’s my child!” She’s pointing to what appears to be a giant child in tights. But my question is, how does that obligate Superman to marry this woman? She’s the one who chose to adopt a giant child from…giant child land. That’s assuming she adopted him, mind you. She might have been hiding him for years. Which begs the question: How do you hide a giant kid? I mean, where does the poop go? Where do you find tights that big?

He does look a LITTLE bit like Superman though. Remember, they did sleep together in Superman II.

But the cycle of weird continues…

(Click to enlarge)

Here we have Superman fighting a stocky man who appears to be wearing a ripped off Reverse-Flash outfit, with a gavel where the insignia should be. And in the foreground you’ve got Lois saying: “Beat him Superman — or I’ll  have to become his wife!” Okay, AGAIN with the faulty marriage logic. Did Lois just slip Reverse-Flash a hundred and say: “Look, I need you to do me a solid. Just vibrate through his punches so he can’t hit you. Oh, and wear this gavel sticker thing. It’s gonna be great!”

Also, why do the characters look so much thicker on this cover? If you look at Superman, you see he looks a bit stocky himself. Yet Lois looks pencil thin because…well, because she’s a woman. That’s the simple truth of it.

(Click to Enlarge)

Wasn’t this an episode of I Love Lucy?

In an attempt to win Superman over, Lois tries to cook…*ehem*…”super-steak” for him. “Super-soup” is also on the menu apparently. Where do you get super-steak from, anyway? Are there super-cows? Hey, we’ve had super-dogs and super-cats. I think there was even a super-chimp, wasn’t there? How far-fetched is a super-cow? And if you drink milk-from a super-cow, your bones become super strong. Incidentally, I think super bones are where super-soup comes from. See? It all ties together.

Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #9 (Click to enlarge)

FINALLY! Lois Lane teams up with Pat Boone! To hell with everybody else, THIS is the greatest team up in the history of comics, right here! Yes, Lois enlists Pat Boone to write a song about Superman, but for some reason Superman has to prevent it from becoming a hit. Why, though? What’s the harm in a song? Judging from the cover, apparently the include: “Come sing a song of Superman!” I mean, that’s…catchy. Right?

Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #13. (Click to Enlarge)

I don’t know WHAT the hell is going on in this one. Lois is apparently leaving Metropolis, and is embarrassed. But…why does she stick her head in a box? Doesn’t that seem a bit, I’unno, childish? I especially like the strategically placed hole where the person’s mouth should be. The Justin Timberlake “D*** in a Box” jokes just write themselves.

“Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane” #32

Now THIS is downright bitchy. Remember in Mortal Kombat, when you had those “Babetalities” that could turn your opponent into a baby? Lois essentially does that to Superman here, forcing him to get her scoops for stories in exchange for the antidote. Was there breast-feeding involved? Probably not, what with the super-breath, but STILL. And on top of that, she makes him wear a bonnet. “Yeah, I’ve only saved the world about 5,000 times. Thanks honey, you’re DEFINITELY the one for me.”

After all this crap, any man would get fed up. But remember, this is Superman we’re talking about. He’s got options. He could…

“Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen” #21 (Click to enlarge)

Marry her off to Jimmy Olsen…

“Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane” #84 (Click to enlarge

…Throw the bitch in prison, OR….

“Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane” #102 (Click to enlarge)

…just straight up MURDER her.

Of course, he didn’t murder her. In the ’90s, Lois finally got her wish, and married Superman. I guess that just proves that if you nag someone long enough, you’ll get what you want. Way to cave, Supes. If you weren’t the standard-bearer for superheroes everywhere, we’d have revoked your man card for that one.

Front page image from filmdrunk.uproxx.com.
For more comic book bloopers, check out Comic Book Bloopers: The Joker.

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From: http://www.primaryignition.com/2011/01/27/comic-book-bloopers-lois-lane-is-batsht-crazy/

Glenn Beck, Betty White now comic heroes

Move aside Batman and Superman, the qualifications for being a comic book hero have been radically redefined.

Coming to a newsstand near you: The right-wing rants of talk show host Glenn Beck, the left-wing lunacy of Rosie O’Donnell and the apolitical adventures of Betty White, Olivia Newton-John and the cast of “Glee.”

Independent publisher Darren Davis, founder of Bluewater Comics, proudly declares he’s avoiding the traditional 18-35 male demographic for many of his new titles.

“We’re probably the only comic book to have ever been sold at Jo-Ann Fabrics,” he says. “A lot of mothers are buying them for their daughters. We’re trying to attract new readers who never have picked up comics.”

The Bluewater “Female Force” series features an eclectic mix of personalities including Ellen DeGeneres, Condi Rice, Barbara Walters, Meredith Vieira, Danica Patrick, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Maggie Thatcher. Other biographical subjects fall under either a pop culture “Fame” strand or “Political Power.”

Britney Spears, whose public life has played out like a tragic comedy, gets the cartoon treatment in March.

Davis, a former sales rep for DC Comics, pursues a unique marketing strategy for each of his titles — venturing way beyond the comic book store to make a sale. O’Donnell, who is highlighted for her activism for adoption rights, will hit the shelves at gay and lesbian bookstores. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor gets pushed on schools and libraries. And perfectly timed for his movie release in February, the Justin Bieber graphic novel will soon be available at Wal-Mart.

Instead of focusing on good v. evil, the biography comics focus on inspirational tidbits from celebrities’ lives. Vieira is touted for placing her family before her career goals when she left her job at “60 Minutes.” Bieber is praised for his courage to perform during a Dick Clark New Year’s Eve special, despite having a fractured foot.

Bluewater’s best-selling comic book subject has been Michelle Obama, which has sold 75,000 copies. Davis says that an independent title that sells 10,000 copies is considered a successful run. The books retail for $3.99.

So which famous personalities are considered comic-worthy?

“I absolutely have to respect and admire them,” Davis explains. “I don’t see myself ever doing a Snooki comic book or a Kim Kardashian comic book. It all comes down to who I want to learn more about.”

“I’m a marketing person’s dream. When I was a kid, I had to have every Happy Meal prize, I had to have every Slurpee cup. Now I am creating my own memorabilia,” he says.

Most Bluewater biographies are unauthorized, but the publisher occasionally collaborates with celebrities such as pop culture icons William Shatner and Adam West. Sometimes their favorite charities are featured, with a portion of revenues donated to the cause. The Betty White book, for example, includes a few pages devoted to the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA). The Olivia Newton-John issue benefits breast cancer research.

Davis’ personal cause is children’s literacy.

“Education can come from the most unexpected places,” he says. “I hated to read when I was a kid and comic books made my life a whole lot easier. I’m reaching out to all the reluctant readers out there.”

Darren Garnick’s “Working Stiff” column runs Wednesdays in the Boston Herald. Feedback and story tips are welcomed at heraldstiff@gmail.com.

From: http://www.bostonherald.com/business/media/view/20110126glenn_beck_betty_white_now_comic_heroes/srvc=home&position=also

The Life, Death and Life of Superheroes

Superman and Captain AmericaSuperman (left) and Captain America are among the costumed adventurers who have died in their comic-book pages, only to return to life no worse for the wear.

So the Human Torch, one quarter of the Fantastic Four, is dead today. And while Jonathan Hickman, the writer of Fantastic Four, had fans feverishly wondering which member of the quartet would meet his or her end, the smarter question is, how long before the deceased returns?

Comic book stories, like soap operas, are a never-ending series of twists and turns. And fans of super-heroes have learned that seemingly no death is permanent. In the old days, a comic book death meant something special because it was unusual. In 1980, when Jean Grey, the super-powered mutant known as Phoenix, died in X-Men no. 137, it was a cosmic adventure with deadly consequences and a bittersweet love story (her soul mate was Cyclops, the X-Men’s leader) to boot. She returned in 1986 when Marvel wanted to unite the original X-Men members in a spin-off book, X-Factor, and she died again in 2003. To catch up with her varied dealings with death, check out “How Many Times Has Jean Grey Died?”.

Another big death was that of the Flash, a super speedster who died in 1985 thwarting the plans of the Anti-Monitor, a cosmic villain who threatened the entire DC universe, past, present and future. He returned in 2008 and has been a productive member of the super-hero community since. For more information on Flash, check out “Those Who Ride the Lightning”.

One of the biggest deaths in comics was in 1992 when Superman perished in his fight against Doomsday. The final issue of their epic-struggle came sealed in black plastic with only the Superman-emblem, dripping in blood, showing. This was during a boom time in the industry – when many collectors were buying comics as investments. That November, Frank Rich wrote about the frenzy to buy a copy: “The teen-agers who lined up at the nation’s newsstands and comic book stores on Wednesday had dollar signs, not tears, in their eyes. The issue of Superman in which the superhero from Krypton is killed by Doomsday, a villainous escapee from a cosmic insane asylum, was bound to be worth more than its face value of $1.25 someday. Or so its publishers would have young consumers believe.”

A more recent death was that of Captain America in 2007. His assassination took fans by surprise and was handled exceedingly well, part of a long-term story arc that resulted in the Captain’s former sidekick, Bucky, taking on the mantel of his mighty shield. As for Captain America himself, news of his return to life was announced in 2009. He is now serving, in his civilian guise of Steve Rogers, as the country’s head of national security.

Comic book fans reacted to the news of the death of the Human Torch in predictable, and entirely valid, ways. Some of them bemoaned that the death was spoiled by news outlets before they could read the comic. Others deplored what they saw as a gimmick of ending the series with issue no. 588. The title will undoubtedly be restarted, in a different incarnation, with a new no. 1 issue (like catnip to collectors), but down the road there will likely be a return to the historical numbering for the title, a pattern which several Marvel comics, and some from DC, have followed after Shocking! New! Directions! Time will tell. We’ll miss you, Johnny.

From: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/the-life-death-and-life-of-superheroes/

Archie and Betty having sex? Superman’s head lopped off? So long, Comics Code!

Comic books were once dismissed as a kiddie media. After all, when these pulpy media throwbacks were in their heyday, young boys and girls were their primary target. The reality? Comics have long taken a more adult tone, though the publishers never did much crowing about it.

Now you can get ready for comic books to trumpet their maturity – and the sounds you’ll hear will be decidedly more racy than “POW!” or “SPLAT!”

The news is out that Archie Comic Publications – publisher of some of the most toothless, middle-of-the-road comic book characters in the history of the medium – has dropped its reliance on the Comics Code, that decades-old bastion of moral turpitude amongs the four-color set. Archie’s decison follows by just a few days that of Time Warner’s DC Entertainment, which publishes “Superman,” “Batman” and “Green Arrow,” among other publications. These two companies are among the last major publishers to actually adhere to the good old code.

Why get rid of the seal, which was put into place during a great hullaballoo about racy comic-book content in the 40s and 50s? Well, for one thing, most comic-book publishers have long stopped putting it on some of their major publications – blood, sex and lots more are now part of the routine for many popular comic-book figures – and, finally, many are admitting that the books they publish simply don’t have what it takes to boast adherence to the Code, which forbids such things as gruesome illustrations, sexual innuendo and excessive violence.

These days, you can see Red Arrow get his arm ripped off; rough sex; and so much more.

The Comics Code was created in an era when young, impressionable children were comics’ main consumers. These days, readership is significantly more adult. There are comics for kids, to be sure, but the ones that make up the main part of the medium’s circulation are not. Frankly, I’d hesitate before letting a child under the age of 12 take a read of such comics as “Secret Six” or even some issues of “Power Girl.” “Batman” is no prize, either – this guy likes to fight dirty.

Besides, even the young kids the Code was meant to protect are seeing tougher stuff at an earlier age. Ever played a round of the latest hot videogame? It’s no wonder that DC Comics has been allowing potrayals of dismemberment in its pages for a few years now.

How Archie will use this newfound freedom remains to be seen. But we wonder if a new line of adult-skewing romance-themed Archies isn’t on the way. It’s a concept the publsher has tried before. We’re just not certain the nation is ready to see Archie and Betty in the sack.

To reach the Comics Examiner, email me at bristei@aol.com or follow me on Twitter @bristei

From: http://www.examiner.com/comics-in-national/archie-and-betty-having-sex-superman-s-head-lopped-off-so-long-comics-code

Superman/Batman #80

If there’s an overused word in discussing comics right now, it’s ‘fun.’ Any light comic that doesn’t feature superheroes raping nuns while blinding old people and smothering babies is ‘fun.’ I’ve certainly been guilty of this practice, so why not be guilty another time? “Superman/Batman� #80 is a fun comic. I had fun reading it and it seems like Chris Roberson and Jesus Merino had fun making it. It’s a joyful, goofy issue that glories in the legacies of Superman and Batman, in that idea that good will always win, and that there will always be the World’s Finest to ensure that. But, you know, told in a fun way.

Epoch, fresh off his out-smarting of the Superman and Batman of the 853rd century, arrives in the 20th century to take on Superman, Batman, and Robin (Dick Grayson). There’s a slightly campy nature to the heroes as they take on the Lord of Time, finding themselves trapped in the Omega Barrier, a box with walls, basically, made out of black holes. Watching the two sets of the World’s Finest, one in the 853rd and the other in the 20th century, thinking their way out of Epoch’s traps is very entertaining as Roberson makes sure to write the scenes with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, the heroes thinking out loud, and showing that they’re more than just a bunch of muscles. More than that, it’s definitely refreshing to see Superman (both Supermen, actually!) think (or even outthink) Batman. I can’t remember the last time that happened in a comic that I read.

The high point of the issue is a two-page layout where Epoch travels further through time, encountering different versions of the World’s Finest as Roberson takes a Superman or Batman we know and invents his counterpoint for that time period. You get fun ideas like the Batsman of the 46th century or Kent Shakespeare in the 31st century. It’s a sequence that seems very Morrisonian and has me wanting to see some of these ideas/pairing expanded upon in the future.

Jesus Merino does an able job keeping up with Roberson, but has a rougher finish to his art than this story would warrant. His art doesn’t have the wacky, light feel to it that the scenes with Superman, Batman, and Robin need entirely. It holds things back a little. He recovers nicely for the two-page sequence I mentioned above. His Damian Wayne version of Batman looks really good and his posing of the Unknown Superman of the 46th century is inventive. His style isn’t one that immediately meshes with the tone Roberson is going for, but Merino definitely makes an effort and it shows.

“Superman/Batman� #80 is a fun, entertaining comic, and one that has me convinced that Roberson’s “Superman� is worth a look. He demonstrates a clear handle not just on the characters, but their broader ideals and shows an affection for them that comes through, making the comic better.

From: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=3114

Anthony LaPaglia Takes On Lex Luthor In All-Star Superman

Award-winning actor Anthony LaPaglia returns to his villainous roots as the voice of Lex Luthor in All-Star Superman, the highly anticipated 10th entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies coming February 22, 2011 from Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Home Video.

LaPaglia takes the villainous lead in an All-Star Superman cast that includes James Denton (Desperate Housewives) as Superman, Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) as Lois Lane, seven-time Emmy® Award winner Ed Asner (Up) as Perry White, Golden Globe® winner Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under) as Ma Kent, Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) as Jimmy Olsen and Linda Cardellini (ER) as Nasty.

In All-Star Superman, the Man of Steel rescues an ill-fated mission to the Sun (sabotaged by Lex Luthor) and, in the process, is oversaturated by radiation – which accelerates his cell degeneration. Sensing even he will be unable to cheat death, Superman ventures into new realms – finally revealing his secret to Lois, confronting Lex Luthor’s perspective of humanity, and attempting to ensure Earth’s safety before his own impending end with one final, selfless act.

All-Star Superman will be distributed by Warner Home Video as a Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack and 2-Disc Special Edition DVD, as well as single disc DVD. The film will also be available On Demand and for Download.

LaPaglia’s career in television and film has already spanned a quarter of a century, featuring roles on TV series from Magnum P.I. and Trapper John, M.D. to Murder One and CSI; films like So I Married An Axe Murderer and Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown; and voicing animated characters for Happy Feet and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. He’s had the chance to play a variety of real-life characters ranging from gangsters Frank Nitti and Lucky Luciano to Cuban leader Fidel Castro and college basketball coach Jim “Jimmy V” Valvano.

LaPaglia has belied his birth/upbringing in Australia with a chameleon-like array of roles, frequently playing New York-style cops and gangsters. However, away from the camera, he is quick to bask in his non-American roots as co-owner of an Australian Soccer club (Sydney FC) and playing goalie around the Southland, particularly for Hollywood United Football Team. A quick conversation with the actor reveals his true passion is between the posts.

Here’s a few questions the actor/goalie fielded in an interview following his recording session as Lex Luthor for All-Star Superman …

QUESTION: What were the challenges of creating Lex as an animated voice?

ANTHONY LAPAGLIA: You have to understand the medium that you’re in. As opposed to (on-camera) acting with another individual where it requires listening in order for you to respond, here you’re having to create the question the other person would ask you in your head and then respond to it. It’s a much more difficult process because there’s a line between it being real and it being animated. There’s a slightly different tonal quality to the way you say things, or in the way you have to make it bigger sometimes than you would naturally do in order to sell it. But not having the visual in front of you – you’re kind of shooting in the dark a lot.

QUESTION: Did you enjoy this incarnation of Lex Luthor?

ANTHONY LAPAGLIA: Yeah, I did actually. I found it surprising that Lex was getting a bit spiritual (laugh). I guess it’s kind of like a sign of the times where he’s trying to get in touch with the inner Lex. (laugh)

QUESTION: Can you talk about the journey Lex goes through in All-Star Superman?

ANTHONY LAPAGLIA: The journey Lex Luthor takes in this film – in the beginning it’s what you’d expect: he’s interested in power and world domination and Superman is the bane of his existence. And then as it progresses, there’s a slight injection of humanity, which is surprising to Lex Luthor that he’s even experiencing feelings that are remotely human. So it kind of gives him an unusual arc. He definitely has more dimension to him in this film.

QUESTION: What do you bring to Lex Luthor?

ANTHONY LAPAGLIA: As a kid, I loved comic books. It’s basically how I learned to read as a kid because my mother would buy them for me to keep me quiet, I think. I remember one time particularly – I was 4 or 5 years old, and I was sick and I had to stay in bed for three weeks, and so she would buy me comic books every second or third day. And I just created my own world, sitting under the covers reading Superman, Batman, Silver Surfer, a lot of the great comics.

QUESTION: What is it about Lex Luthor that most appeals to you?

ANTHONY LAPAGLIA: There’s a kind of sarcastic streak in Lex Luthor that comes from that extreme confidence in his ability to do what he does. I like the attitude of him. I like that nothing really fazes him, that he feels like he has complete control over everything, therefore, he can be relaxed enough to be a smartass. A good Lex Luthor makes or breaks it for me, I think.

QUESTION: As you’ve played so many villains, do you prefer being the bad guy?

ANTHONY LAPAGLIA: I’ve always liked playing the baddy. Some people have a problem with getting typecast. I’m quite happy with being typecast. I don’t care, as long as you’re working. The truth is you could play every bad guy in a one dimensional fashion, but it’s like everything else in life – everything’s different and everyone’s unique, so you have to find the uniqueness in the character to bring it to life.

QUESTION: You’ve obviously performed in every medium available, but voiceover is relatively new for you. Does voiceover work offer you challenges or joys of acting that you don’t get elsewhere?

ANTHONY LAPAGLIA: I like the isolation part of it. I like that there’s a certain amount of freedom, and that you’re not waiting for somebody else to find their motivation. It’s more challenging to come up with a believable character doing animation work than it is (in live-action). Acting is relatively easy because you have a personal one-on-one interaction with someone, therefore whatever you’re doing is a lot smoother. This requires a bit more patience and you have to suspend the fact that you’re in a sound stage and really commit to the material.

QUESTION: You had a moment where you weren’t understanding Andrea Romano’s direction on a particular emotion, and Bruce Timm was able to draw Lex Luthor with an expression that depicted that emotion. Have you ever gotten direction via artwork before?

ANTHONY LAPAGLIA: That made me laugh. We were trying to get that particular passage done right and I didn’t quite know how to get it. It’s not an uncommon issue where you have three or four people that have three or four different takes on what it should be – it gets a little confusing sometimes if you’re doing it and you’re taking in all the different stuff. You want to deliver what they want but sometimes you’re not sure how to quite get there. And I thought that was ingenious, actually, showing me the picture through the glass of the expression on Lex Luthor‘s face. It made perfect sense – Bruce is an animator. That’s what he does – so he was able to show me visually what he was looking for in my voice. I could actually see Lex’s mental state of anguish. It actually made me think of doing it a different way and that ended up working.

QUESTION: You’ve earned a Tony Award, an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe — does one of those honors mean more to you than the others?

ANTHONY LAPAGLIA: To be honest, after a certain period of time they’re just kind of like objects in your closet. I think that, of all of them, the one that kind of means (more) was the Tony Award because doing theatre is way, way, harder than doing anything you’ll ever do on film or television. It’s about real discipline. You have to go in and do eight shows a week whether you feel like it or not and, in the case where I won the Tony, it was in one of those shows where you could never phone it in. It just didn’t work if you phoned it in. So, come hell or high water, I did it for a year – which is a long time to do eight shows a week. I think I missed about five in a year. Also, I think (the Tony Award) meant probably the most because it’s where I started. It’s kind of what I admire the most. Theatre is what I find the most challenging. So I would say that the Tony kind of meant more. But the others are nice, too, you know (laughs).

QUESTION: How much does a background in the theatre help in the voiceover booth?

ANTHONY LAPAGLIA: The theatrical background helps you in doing (voiceover) because you’ve already been through a hundred different acting classes where you’ve had to sit on a black box and pretend that you were a lemon or an imaginary cup of coffee or whatever. There’s always a part of that program that requires you to strip yourself bare and be an idiot. And if you’re not prepared to do that, then you have no place being there.

To read the rest of the interview:
http://www.superheroes-r-us.com/2011/anthony-lapaglia-takes-on-lex-luthor-in-all-star-superman/

Daily Comics Fix

From: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/dailycomicsfix/news/?a=28503

Full ‘Action Comics’ #900 team revealed

Friday, January 21, 2011

From: http://www.digitalspy.com/comics/news/a299208/full-action-comics-900-team-revealed.html

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