The Missing Books of DC Comics

Last week, we looked at the numbers of comic books that DC Comics are shipping and note that they were publishing around half the number of titles in comic book stores than they were a year ago.

Even when DC Comics deliberately reduced their title count for the New 52 to, well,  52 monthly titles, they still had another 17 ther series from Vertigo, Cartoon Network, Hanna-Barbera and more going down. The numbers crept up, but when DC Rebirth shrunk the number of titles on the books, it did so by making a large number of them twice-monthly.

So what has happened now? Well, a number of things.

And then there’s Walmart and now Target, comics not sold in comic book stores that are sucking up time, energy and talent from DC’s creative and editorial pool. Every second spent on a Walmart comic, is one not being spent on a DC Comics title – often from exclusive DC talent such as Tom King and Brian Bendis.

Most of the twice-monthly comics from DC Rebirth are now monthly, with only Batman, Flash, Justice League and Wonder Woman holding out. That DC’s best-selling Superman and Action Comics are now no longer twice-monthly can’t have helped things.

The DC New Age Of Heroes line has seen almost all of its titles cancelled.

The Black Label line, aside from the Batman Damned limited series that caused all the media fuss, has not seen another new title solicited and Batman Damned itself has been delayed by art changes.

Batman The Outsiders got taken off the schedule before it could be published. The details are unclear.

Previews cover-featured The Other History Of The DC Universe also got taken off the schedule before it could be published. The details are unclear but this could be due to legal threats made by Michael Davis.

Milestone Comics, though not scheduled, should have been by now. Legal issues with Charlotte McDuffie may be among the hold-ups, as I understand that a number of titles have been completed already.

Doomsday Clock, which had run breaks and switched to a bi-monthly schedule is still running late.

All this is stretching out DC Comics’ schedules. And while some may welcome a reduced schedule for the comics in general, DC Comics remains a money-making engine for comic book stores, and that’s reducing. However, especially for scheduled-then-delayed comics, stores set aside money to pay for planned orders – when those plans don’t come to fruition, retailers don’t get to profit on them yet, despite allocating their budget, and it can cause serious cashflow issues.

Will the new publishing structures help fix any of this? Or propel it further in its current direction?

Whatever DC Comics has planned, folks can’t wait to hear…

other-history.jpg

 

 

 

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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From: https://www.bleedingcool.com/2019/01/28/the-missing-books-of-dc-comics/

Naomi is a magnificent debut for Bendis and DC’s new Wonder Comics imprint

Brian Michael Bendis started his DC exclusive contract with last April’s Action Comics #1000, and since then, the published has released over 30 new Bendis comics between his Superman titles and his Jinxworld imprint. His partnership with DC takes another major step forward this month with the launch of Wonder Comics, an in-continuity superhero imprint curated by Bendis and featuring the return of established properties like Young Justice and Dial H For Hero, a series spotlighting Super Friends’ Wonder Twins, and an original concept in the pages of Naomi, which promises “the biggest new mystery in the DC Universe.”

Wonder Comics’ debut comic, Young Justice #1, is a rollicking reintroduction to the teen superhero team, but it’s an issue rooted in continuity and geared toward old fans who haven’t seen these characters together in years. Naomi #1 (DC Comics) is something new, taking readers to the Portland-esque locale of Port Oswego, Oregon, where nothing super ever happens. Until Superman crashes through for seventeen seconds during a battle with Mongul. Co-written by Bendis and David F. Walker with art by Jamal Campbell and letters by Josh Reed, Naomi follows an adopted 17-year-old girl eager to learn about her past. She’s galvanized by the brief appearance of the world’s most popular adopted son in her hometown, setting her on a path that could potentially change the course of her life.

Image: DC Comics

Bendis understands the importance of Superman as an idealistic idol in superhero mythology, which is accentuated in a silent page showing Superman when he returns to Port Oswego to help with clean-up after his fight. A simple close-up of the hero’s smile with the sun shining brightly behind him says volumes about his attitude and how it motivates the people around him, making it easy to believe that a quick glimpse of Superman would push Naomi to take action and find answers to the burning questions of her past. The accessibility of the story is very reminiscent of Bendis’ earliest work for Marvel on Ultimate Spider-Man, a connection strengthened by Reed’s lettering, which features lower-case letters like the Ultimate line

Naomi’s co-writers teach together at Portland State University, and their first comic-book collaboration showcases how well their storytelling styles mesh. They both have a talent for quick, playful banter, and this first issue strikes a fine balance between dialogue-heavy scenes and stripped-down moments that immerse readers in the setting or a specific state of mind. When Naomi looks for news stories about Superman and Mongul’s fight and finds nothing, Campbell accentuates her confusion with a series of panels that frantically tumble across the page, free from any sort of structure.

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Image: DC Comics

Long-time readers of Bendis will recognize certain storytelling tricks like pages of different talking heads delivering single lines of dialogue, but he’s also exploring inventive ways of using page layouts to convey information with the rest of the creative team. Naomi #1 introduces readers to Port Oswego with three consecutive two-page spreads, beginning with a full splash of Superman and Mongul charging into the downtown area. That same image breaks into three separate panels to create sequential action as the fight continues, and then five panels as it reveals the town dealing with the aftermath the next day, grounding the reader in the environment as Naomi and friends walk through the wreckage.

Campbell has quietly built a reputation for remarkable superhero artwork in books like Green Arrow and Prowler, delivering thrilling action, engaging characterizations, and striking digital coloring that adds drama and dimension to his clean linework. He has all the makings of a superstar artist, and Naomi is a high-profile release that will ideally bring him the recognition he deserves. The aforementioned pages of talking heads showcase the range of his expressions and characters designs, which make Port Oswego come to life in the group scenes. He also has a sharp eye for graphic design elements, using speed lines and benday dots to add texture and energy to his artwork.

Image: DC Comics

In regards to the larger town population, it’s notable that Naomi is the only black character we see in this issue, which further distinguishes her from the people around her. This othering doesn’t get much attention in this first chapter, but given how Walker has explored racial dynamics in previous works—including his current excellent Image Comics series, Bitter Root— it’s very likely that this will come into play down the line. Naomi #1 lays a lot of intriguing groundwork to be explored as the central hero discovers more about herself, exploring different aspects of the imprint’s name by blending wonder and wondering.

From: https://www.avclub.com/naomi-is-a-magnificent-debut-for-bendis-and-dc-s-new-wo-1831928704

Batman and Superman Are Thinking a Lot About Dead Wives This Week

Hard agree, Selina.
Image: Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles (DC Comics)

Not exactly the most delightful theme week for the World’s Finest.

The death of a female character to advance the traumatic emotional storyline of a male one is a tale as old as time in comic books—hell, a Green Lantern storyline (and one Gail Simone) is what gave us the trope term “fridging” in the first place! But output from DC this week—specifically writer Tom King— featuring two of its biggest characters has brought forth the debate about the regressive trope again in the weirdest of manners.

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The first sample came not in the batch of DC Comics titles that released in comic book shops yesterday, but in a still relatively fresh market for the publisher: its line of Walmart-exclusive 100 Page Giant series. The initiative is meant to reach out to a market of potential comics readers, young and old. It’s something DC (and many of its fellow publishers, including Marvel) had retreated from decades ago to refocus on speciality comics with anthology books collecting classic tales about its top heroes alongside brand-new exclusive material from its top creatives—like Mr. King, who’s been penning a new ongoing storyline with art from Andy Kubert in the Superman edition of 100 Page Giant.

The “young” part of that “young and old” new readership is the source of a controversy this week over Superman 100 Page Giant #7, which hit Walmart shelves this past Sunday and immediately started drawing criticism from parents shocked to find that the issue’s storyline sees Lois Lane graphically murdered multiple times.

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It turns out the reason for the many murders of Lois is that most of the story takes place in Superman’s head: He’s on a mission off Earth, and when a phone call to Lois doesn’t get picked up, Clark immediately starts running potential nightmare scenarios through his head. Thus, all the torture and the shootings and the despair and whatnot. In context, it all makes sense, grounding the superhuman Man of Steel in a depressingly relatable paranoid fear that’s brushed across the minds of countless people before, no matter how briefly.

The response to the issue from parents has been loud enough to warrant a statement from King himself, who explained his reasoning behind the story with Comic Book Resources:

Because it isn’t widely available, I’m not sure people know the story (which is beautifully told by Andy, Sandra, and Brad). So here it is: On a mission far from home, Superman tries calling home. Lois doesn’t answer. As people do when they can’t get in touch with their loved ones, he starts imagining worst case scenarios. Why won’t she answer? Images of her demise crowd his thoughts, driving him crazy. In the end, the line connects and Superman and Lois discuss how worried they are about each other.

They both lead dangerous lives; however, neither of them asks the other to compromise that life. Lois has her career; Superman has his. Despite the worry and risk, they trust each other, they depend on each other. Regardless of the hard of it all, they both go forward and they both continue to save the world. To me this is a metaphor for the best parts of love. Love comes with stress, agony, risk, vulnerability, and we shouldn’t deny that stress, agony, risk, and vulnerability.

However, love also comes with the unique joy of putting your faith in someone else, of knowing that someone else puts their faith in you. This story is not about the deaths of Lois Lane or the anxieties of Superman; it is about the love of Lois Lane and the love of Superman, the enduring strength of these amazing, iconic characters.

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King makes good points about the maturity of the story he wanted to tell—and of course comics, even the ones about superpowered godlike beings in tight Spandex who shoot laser beams out of their eyeballs, can absolutely tell those stories. They’ve been telling them for years and years, and are not strictly confined to being “for kids.”

But at the same time, 100 Page Giant, while not explicitly targeted at children, is intended to bring in a wide, new audience of comics readers with its supermarket-shelf positioning, and DC pitched it as such in its announcement of the line. That expanded reach is inevitably going to mean that kids and parents picking up the book sight unseen because it’s got Superman on the cover—so maybe a story that sees Lois Lane graphically murdered repeatedly before explaining that she’s alright could fit into other publishing plans instead of the comic that’s going out to that much broader audience? Between its ongoing books and mature initiatives like Black Label, it’s not like DC doesn’t have avenues to tell these stories.

Fake John Constantine, the ultimate party pooper.
Image: Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles (DC Comics)

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Speaking of those ongoing books, in an odd twist of fate, another King-penned story with some similar tropes unfurled in this week’s Batman #63. The current arc of the book—featuring writing by King, art by Mikel Janin and Jordie Bellaire, and lettering by Clayton Cowles—has seen Batman thrust into multiple dream scenarios that are, well, more like nightmares, where he finds himself seeing those nearest and dearest to him shockingly perish. This time around the victim is…Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman—putting Batman into a dream world where she did not actually leave him at the altar back in Batman #50, and the two are now instead happily married.

They kiss. They go out on patrol together. They kiss while they go out on patrol together. Y’know, holy bat-catrimony and all that. But throughout Batman #63 Bruce is haunted by a specter of John Constantine, constantly reminding him that none of this happiness is real, and it’s a fleeting happiness either way. It will all end in tragedy—and it does, when, while out on patrol with him one night, Selina is shot by a sniper and killed—because that’s just Batman’s life.

What’s one more tragedy on the pile for Bruce Wayne?
Image: Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles (DC Comics)

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Well, and the fact that Batman is currently hooked up to a machine pumping him with Scarecrow gas, in the hopes that looped scenarios of him losing the few people he loves will drive him insane. That’s also the reason for the fleeting happiness! But even if this, unlike the Superman 100 Page Giant #7 story, ends a little more miserably for its hero, having the two series juxtaposed against each other by the immediate proximity of their releases makes for an interesting mirror between Batman and Superman. And for a lot of dead wives, imagined or otherwise.

It’s incredibly—incredibly—unlikely that these two stories publishing the same week was planned. Comics distribution is a wild and arcane thing, and when story deadlines can change and shift on a regular basis, the fact that two similar stories about two of DC’s most iconic heroes being forced to face the trauma of the death of their wives are out within days of each other is just an unfortunate circumstance. But the fact that, unfortunate circumstance or otherwise DC can trip over itself with dueling tales of dead wives is still a bit of a troubling trend regardless.

Whether an odd quirk of publishing schedules or not, this weird confluence over one of the most infamous tropes in comics storytelling has put DC in a bit of a bizarre place. It’s like poetry—it rhymes. Sometimes.

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From: https://io9.gizmodo.com/batman-and-superman-are-thinking-a-lot-about-dead-wives-1832025867

Box Office: ‘Aquaman’ Is The Leggiest Comic Book Superhero Movie In 25 Years

I still maintain that ‘Justice League’ would have done slightly better had Aquaman been wearing his iconic orange suit.Warner Bros.

With $1.1 million on Tuesday, Aquaman may hold off the whole “under $1m-per-day” thing until next Monday (or it may drop today, on its 34th day). If it holds off until Monday, that would be on its 39th day, which is about on par with The Dark KnightJumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and The Jungle Book (day 41) and slower than the likes of Rogue One (day 35) and The Last Jedi (day 34) despite their much larger opening weekends ($155m in 2016 and $220m in 2017).

For those keeping track, Spider-Man, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World all dipped below $1m in daily domestic grosses on day 46 while Wonder Woman held on until day 47. Black Panther, Frozen and The Avengers held out until day 53 while Jurassic Park and Shrek 2 dropped on day 55. 

Oh, and as for Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace? That leggy summer blockbuster didn’t dip below $1 million a day until its 62nd day of release. It took Titanic 102 days to dip below $1m per day, occurring just days before it would lose the weekend box office crown to Lost in Space exactly 20 years ago. It took Avatar 81 days to dip below $1m, just after it lost its IMAX screens (and many of its 3D screens) to Alice in Wonderland at the beginning of March 2010.

Oh, and it took The Greatest Showman 36 days to dip below $1m per day, which is insane when you consider the movie had a $2.4m opening day. But that’s a conversation for next week (or tomorrow).

Aquaman has earned $307.852 million domestic after 33 days in theaters. It should enter its sixth weekend with around $310m domestic as it tries to earn around $6m over the weekend for a new $316m domestic cume. At that point, it’ll be right in between Iron Man 2 ($312m in 2010) and Iron Man ($318m in 2008) among comic book superhero movies. Moreover, it’ll have sold more tickets than Man of Steel, even when adjusted for inflation, while extending its weekend-to-final multiplier to an absurd 4.35x. Once it gets to $319m, it’ll have earned 4.4x its $72.5m opening weekend (counting the sneak previews) and be officially leggier than The Legend of the Lone Ranger ($12.6m/$2.9m in 1980), The Crow ($50.6m/$11.7m in 1994) and Sky High ($64m/$14.6m in 2005).

While it may not get much further than $330 million, that would be enough to push it past Deadpool 2‘s $324m cume, counting Once Upon A Deadpool along with Suicide Squad‘s $325m cume and possibly Batman v Superman‘s $330m finish. That would also, in terms of post-debut legs, push it past Superman III ($59m/$13m in 1983) to be the eighth-leggiest comic book superhero movie of all time. It would be ahead of Batman Begins ($206m/$48m in 2005), The Amazing Spider-Man ($262m/$62m in 2012), Spider-Man ($403m/$114m in 2002), Wonder Woman ($413m/$103m in 2017), Black Panther ($700m/$202m in 2018) and Blade ($70m/$17m in 1998).

Once it passes $319 million, it will sit behind Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (which earned $5.7m in 1993 while opening on a Saturday with a two-day $1.1m debut weekend), The Rocketeer ($47m/$9.6m in 1991), The Mask ($120m/$23m in 1994), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($135m/$25m in 1990), Batman ($251m/$43m in 1989), Superman II ($108m/$14m in 1981) and Superman: The Movie ($134m/$7m in 1978). Whether or not you count Batman: Mask of the Phantasm‘s Saturday/Sunday opening weekend, James Wan’s Aquaman will still soon be the leggiest comic book superhero movie since The Mask (which I should have been counting as a superhero flick) in the summer of 1994. It’s already leggier than any Marvel or MCU movie ever, and it’s the leggiest DC Comics live-action flick since Tim Burton’s Batman 30 years ago.

From: https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2019/01/23/box-office-aquaman-is-the-leggiest-comic-book-superhero-movie-in-25-years/

Behind the scenes of Marvel and DC’s first superhero crossover: Superman vs. Spider-Man

If comic fans went to the movies and saw Aquaman showing up in a Captain America movie, or Spider-Man swinging in to save the day in a Batman movie, or Black Panther working with Superman, minds would be blown. Today it seems unfathomable that DC and Marvel would work on a joint production, but for a while, from the mid-’70s through the early 2000s, they produced several comic books together.

Though the companies worked together for the first time in 1975, for the MGM Wizard of Oz comic book (written by Roy Thomas and drawn by John Buscema and Tony DeZuniga), the first ever Marvel/DC superhero team-up came the following year. Superman vs. Spider-Man, written by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru, kicked off a trend in comic books that would last for almost three decades. After Superman and Spider-Man faced off, soon it was Darkseid vs. Galactus, X-Men vs. the Teen Titans, Batman working with the Punisher and Superman teaming up with both the Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer, ending with the JLA/Avengers crossover in 2003.

Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

Existing outside of the canon of DC or Marvel, Superman and Spider-Man each start off defeating their respective foes, Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus. In jail, the two villains hatch a plan to take over the world. Masquerading as Superman, Lex Luthor steals both Mary Jane and Lois Lane away. When Spider-Man catches up to the real Superman they come to blows, but as expected, finally agree to work together.

This week, Conway spoke to SYFY WIRE about how the joint venture really came to pass, what it was like working on the book with Ross Andru and why a DC/Marvel crossover is so unlikely today.

Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

The letters page from both Marvel publisher Stan Lee and DC’s Creative Director Carmine Infantino. Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

According to Lee’s forward in Superman vs. Spider-Man, the book was a gift to fans, something that had been talked about for years. From Infanttino’s perspective, it read more like the boxing bout of the century. But it actually started with a book agent named David Obst.

In the early 1970s, Obst was working with Stan Lee as his book agent. Obst had gained recognition and clout in the industry after he helped publish All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. According to Conway, Obst had dreams of becoming a movie producer — he married famed producer Linda Rosen, who worked on movies such as Sleepless in Seattle, Contact and The Siege — and would often talk to Lee about making a Spider-Man and Superman film.

“He was kind of a comic book nerd as well,” Conway said. “I remember David was talking with Stan and asked why Marvel and DC have never done a crossover with Superman and Spider-Man. Stan said ‘Well, it would be impossible. We’d never be able to make a deal.'”

But Obst wasn’t satisfied, according to Conway. Pushing Lee for a commitment, Obst asked the Marvel publisher if he would agree to an arrangement if Obst could negotiate something with DC publisher Carmine Infantino. Suspecting nothing would ever come of it, Lee agreed to Obst’s request. By the mid-’70s artists like John Romita, Gil Kane, Steve Ditko, Dick Ayers had established that creators could go back and forth between DC and Marvel and be successful, leaving an opening for such discussions.

Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

Over at DC, Carmine Infantino was busy. In 1975, DC was in the middle of negotiations over the script, cast, and future of the Superman movie. Just a few years into his time as publisher, Infantino had made some major changes to the company, including signing major talent like artist Neal Adams and writer Denny O’Neil and stealing Jack Kirby and Gerry Conway away from Marvel. Shortly after Conway was hired, Obst approached Infantino and DC and made his pitch.

In the end, the book was split down the middle, with DC’s Conway writing the book and Marvel’s Ross Andru stepping into pencil it. It was agreed that Lee and Infantino would oversee the entire project and former DC inker Dick Giordano would ink the book. Marvel’s Glynis Oliver colored the book and DC’s Gaspar Saladino provided the lettering.

In addition, it was agreed that Infantino would lay out and pencil the cover for Andru finish.

Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

Interestingly enough, at the time Conway was the only person to have written for Superman and Spider-Man, while Andru was the only person that had drawn both characters. By then Andru had already worked for DC and Marvel, joining the latter in early 1970s. Andru worked on the first appearances of The Defenders, helped launch Marvel Team-Up, and penciled The Amazing Spider-Man for a 56-issue run during his time at Marvel.

“With his credibility, [Obst] managed to bring the two companies together and make a deal,” Conway said. “I had just left Marvel at that point and was kind of a feather in Carmine’s cap. Carmine was very competitive with Marvel, much more than Marvel was competitive with Carmine. Carmine really wanted to poke Stan in the eye, so he offered me the book to write and edit with DC.”

In 1975, Conway made the transition to DC Comics. He had been writing Spider-Man for the past three years, joining Marvel officially in 1970 with the help of then-Editor-in-Chief Roy Thomas.

Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

Spider-Man finds that he’s no match for Superman in the pages of Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

“I had just finished working with Ross Andru on Spider-Man,” Conway said. “As the writer, I suggested my friend Roy Thomas as the editor and he said, sure do whatever you want. So it ended up, Ross and I doing it as a guerrilla project without the oversight of either company.”

In 2015, John Romita, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano told the blog Oh Danny Boy touch up work on the book had been done — Stan Lee requested Peter Parker’s face be tweaked by Romita and Neal Adams touched up Superman’s face on his own.

Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

Realizing they’d be tricked by Lex Luthor, Spider-Man and Superman become friends. Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

As far as a new wave of crossovers at DC and Marvel, Conway said it could never happen today.

“In 1975, at Warner Bros. there was no concept that DC was anything but a minor cog in the corporate wheel. Warner Bros. wasn’t even interested in making a Superman movie, had no real sense that comics could be anything more than Saturday morning cartoons,” he said. “Neither company had real corporate oversight. It had no value to the people that owned them. Today they are literally multi-billion dollar intellectual properties.”

Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

Spider-Man and Superman team up to take down their respective foes, Dr. Octopus and Lex Luthor in Superman Vs. Spider-Man (Written by Gerry Conway, Art by Ross Andru)

In an interview with Screen Rant just last year, DC’s co-publisher Dan Didio said the two companies are unlikely to do a crossover anytime soon.

“It’s not that we’re mortal enemies — it is competition, if you want the truth. It has to be. As we say, ‘the more we compete, the better off you are.’ It means that we’re trying harder to make our books better so you come to our books rather than Marvel books,” he said. “That’s what the competition is all about. Between the two companies, we still are the industry leaders. There’s a lot of companies out there, a lot of great books being created. But we really have to lead by example.”

The layers of oversight imposed at both companies would surely kill any crossover, Conway said. But…

“But never say never, I could envision a time ten years from now when DC and Marvel projects have oversaturated the market and there’s no excitement over the properties,” he said. “Maybe a potential situation, where Disney and Warner Bros might do an equivalent of a Roger Rabbit thing. Pump up interest by doing this gigantic crossover movie. Which in 10 years could be pretty f***ing awesome to see. But, it would still be a result of corporate decisions that are financially driven and creatively strangled.”


From: https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/behind-the-scenes-of-marvel-and-dcs-first-superhero-crossover-superman-vs-spider-man

Naomi is a magnificent debut for Bendis and DC’s new Wonder Comics imprint

Brian Michael Bendis started his DC exclusive contract with last April’s Action Comics #1000, and since then, the published has released over 30 new Bendis comics between his Superman titles and his Jinxworld imprint. His partnership with DC takes another major step forward this month with the launch of Wonder Comics, an in-continuity superhero imprint curated by Bendis and featuring the return of established properties like Young Justice and Dial H For Hero, a series spotlighting Super Friends’ Wonder Twins, and an original concept in the pages of Naomi, which promises “the biggest new mystery in the DC Universe.”

Wonder Comics’ debut comic, Young Justice #1, is a rollicking reintroduction to the teen superhero team, but it’s an issue rooted in continuity and geared toward old fans who haven’t seen these characters together in years. Naomi #1 (DC Comics) is something new, taking readers to the Portland-esque locale of Port Oswego, Oregon, where nothing super ever happens. Until Superman crashes through for seventeen seconds during a battle with Mongul. Co-written by Bendis and David F. Walker with art by Jamal Campbell and letters by Josh Reed, Naomi follows an adopted 17-year-old girl eager to learn about her past. She’s galvanized by the brief appearance of the world’s most popular adopted son in her hometown, setting her on a path that could potentially change the course of her life.

Image: DC Comics

Bendis understands the importance of Superman as an idealistic idol in superhero mythology, which is accentuated in a silent page showing Superman when he returns to Port Oswego to help with clean-up after his fight. A simple close-up of the hero’s smile with the sun shining brightly behind him says volumes about his attitude and how it motivates the people around him, making it easy to believe that a quick glimpse of Superman would push Naomi to take action and find answers to the burning questions of her past. The accessibility of the story is very reminiscent of Bendis’ earliest work for Marvel on Ultimate Spider-Man, a connection strengthened by Reed’s lettering, which features lower-case letters like the Ultimate line

Naomi’s co-writers teach together at Portland State University, and their first comic-book collaboration showcases how well their storytelling styles mesh. They both have a talent for quick, playful banter, and this first issue strikes a fine balance between dialogue-heavy scenes and stripped-down moments that immerse readers in the setting or a specific state of mind. When Naomi looks for news stories about Superman and Mongul’s fight and finds nothing, Campbell accentuates her confusion with a series of panels that frantically tumble across the page, free from any sort of structure.

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Image: DC Comics

Long-time readers of Bendis will recognize certain storytelling tricks like pages of different talking heads delivering single lines of dialogue, but he’s also exploring inventive ways of using page layouts to convey information with the rest of the creative team. Naomi #1 introduces readers to Port Oswego with three consecutive two-page spreads, beginning with a full splash of Superman and Mongul charging into the downtown area. That same image breaks into three separate panels to create sequential action as the fight continues, and then five panels as it reveals the town dealing with the aftermath the next day, grounding the reader in the environment as Naomi and friends walk through the wreckage.

Campbell has quietly built a reputation for remarkable superhero artwork in books like Green Arrow and Prowler, delivering thrilling action, engaging characterizations, and striking digital coloring that adds drama and dimension to his clean linework. He has all the makings of a superstar artist, and Naomi is a high-profile release that will ideally bring him the recognition he deserves. The aforementioned pages of talking heads showcase the range of his expressions and characters designs, which make Port Oswego come to life in the group scenes. He also has a sharp eye for graphic design elements, using speed lines and benday dots to add texture and energy to his artwork.

Image: DC Comics

In regards to the larger town population, it’s notable that Naomi is the only black character we see in this issue, which further distinguishes her from the people around her. This othering doesn’t get much attention in this first chapter, but given how Walker has explored racial dynamics in previous works—including his current excellent Image Comics series, Bitter Root— it’s very likely that this will come into play down the line. Naomi #1 lays a lot of intriguing groundwork to be explored as the central hero discovers more about herself, exploring different aspects of the imprint’s name by blending wonder and wondering.

From: https://www.avclub.com/naomi-is-a-magnificent-debut-for-bendis-and-dc-s-new-wo-1831928704

Action Comics Variant Cover Looks Exactly Like Henry Cavill’s Superman

Justice League Superman David Bowie Prince Henry Cavill Action ComicsAn Action Comics #1009 variant cover bares a striking resemblance to Henry Cavill’s DCEU Superman.

As DC fans continue to voice their desire for a Man of Steel sequel, it was reported in September Henry Cavill will no longer play Superman. Contract negotiations were cited at the main reason for the departure of Henry Cavill from the role, with the actor reportedly wanting more control over the script. Henry Cavill was also in talks to appear in Shazam! until it fell through. It is uncertain when a new Superman will appear on the big screen, with Warner Bros. currently developing a Supergirl film.

Henry Cavill starred in three controversial films as the man of steel, but  fans can agree the actor is the most accurate translation to his DC comics roots visually. A new Action Comics #1009 variant cover from artist Jeff Dekal was released and the Superman on the cover looks just like Henry Cavill:

OTHER: Action Comics #1009 variant cover from DC_Cinematic

Do you see the resemblance? Do you think Henry Cavill will return in the role? Comment below!

Shazam! is the DCEU’s next film and stars Asher Angel, Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Faithe Herman, Cooper Andrews, Marta Milans and Djimon Hounsou. Here’s the official synopsis:

“We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Strong).”

Shazam! will be released in theaters on April 5, 2019, and will be followed by Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, and Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020. A standalone Joker film set outside of the DC Films universe starring Joaquin Phoenix as the Clown Prince of Crime is also set to hit theaters October 4, 2019.

DC’s Action Comics #1009 hits shelves March 27.

Stay tuned to Heroic Hollywood for the latest news on the future of the DC Films franchise as we learn it.

Clay Enos Shares Hi-Res Stills Of ‘Batman v Superman’, ‘Justice League’ More

Batman v Superman Wonder Woman Justice League Suicide SquadPhotographer Clay Enos has shared a huge batch of new hi-res stills from DCEU films such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, Justice League, and Suicide Squad which includes several new images of Jared Leto as The Joker.

The hi-res images range from stills to behind the scenes photos featuring directors Zack Snyder and David Ayer working with cast members including Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Will Smith as Deadshot. In addition to the new images of Jared Leto’s Joker, a new image of Gadot as Wonder Woman in her own standalone film is included among the hi-res stills.

You can check out the images in the gallery below.

Batman v Superman Wonder Woman Justice League Suicide Squad

Warner Bros. and DC Films have many projects currently being developed including The Batman, The Flash standalone film, Green Lantern Corps, Black Adam, Supergirl, New Gods, and Nightwing.

The DCEU continues this month with Aquaman which is now playing and will be followed by Shazam! on April 5, 2019, Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), on February 7, 2020, and Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020. A standalone Joker film set outside of the DC Films universe starring Joaquin Phoenix as the Clown Prince of Crime is also set to hit theaters October 4, 2019.

Directed by James Wan, Aquaman stars Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry, Amber Heard as Mera, Willem Dafoe as Vulko, Patrick Wilson as Orm / Ocean Master, Dolph Lundgren as Nereus, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, Nicole Kidman as Atlanna, Ludi Lin as Captain Murk, and Temuera Morrison as Tom Curry.

From Warner Bros. Pictures and director, James Wan comes an action-packed adventure that spans the vast, visually breathtaking underwater world of the seven seas, “Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa in the title role. The film reveals the origin story of half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry and takes him on the journey of his lifetime—one that will not only force him to face who he really is, but to discover if he is worthy of who he was born to be… a king.

Aquaman is now playing. Stay tuned to Heroic Hollywood for the latest news on the future of the current DC cinematic universe as we learn it.

Source: Clay Enos


From: https://heroichollywood.com/action-comics-henry-cavill-superman/

Superman Comic Draws Criticism for Showing Torture and Murder of Lois Lane

The latest Walmart exclusive 100-page giant comic book, Superman Giant #7, is stirring quite a bit of buzz on the internet, but not with excitement for the Tom King-penned story. Instead, it’s the repeated torture and murder of Lois Lane across the issue’s pages that have fans in an uproar.

The issue, which officially went on sale in select Walmart stores today, sees King paired up with artist Andy Kubert on a Superman story that sees the Man of Steel languishing in an intergalactic waiting room. While there, his mind begins to wander to some dark places — presumably out of anxiety. How dark are those places? It seems that the issue contains 12 pages of Lois Lane’s brutal and graphic murder over and over again, including an opening splash page that sees Lois gruesomely shot in the head by Lex Luthor.

The idea of violence in comic books itself isn’t what’s at issue, though. For most of those speaking out on Twitter, the issue lies in two specific places: the intended audience for the book and the fact that it’s a female character’s imagined extreme suffering being used to further the pain of a male character — a variation of the women in refrigerator trope. As many online have noted, the Walmart exclusive books are intended as entry-level books for readers many of which are children. The books are merchandised in most of the store that carry them alongside child-friendly games, such as Pokémon cards and many of the reactions on Twitter are coming from parents who don’t feel they can share the issue with their kids. One reader even referred to the issue as “a 12 page Lois Lane snuff comic” — something they do not want their child to see.

As for the concern as to it being Lois who is tortured and murdered repeatedly, others felt like it was an inappropriate way to work through whatever issue King is trying to explore as there are other ways to do that or, at a minimum, it’s better left in something other than a child-accessible Walmart exclusive comic.

These criticisms of Superman Giant #7 aren’t the first that have come up for King’s works in recent months. His work on Heroes in Crisis has also drawn a bit of backlash from readers and to an extent for similar reasons. The series, which was billed as being an exploration of mental health with superheroes, utilizes the brutal murder of superheroes to further that aim. Most recently, a controversial cover for Heroes in Crisis #7 that featured a dying Poison Ivy leaked and the outcry prompted King to ask DC to pull the cover.

“An unfinished cover for Heroes in Crisis 7 was leaked prior to going through the standard DC approval process,” King tweeted last month. “I did not like the cover. I discussed the situation with DC editorial who agreed with my objections. This cover will not be used. Thank you.”

As for Superman Giant #7, there have been some fans calling for the issue to be pulled from shelves due to the disturbing Lois content. Read on for some of the criticism of the issue — and note, some of the tweets may contain images from the book — and be sure to share your opinion on the issue in the comments below.

Superman Giant #7 is on sale now in select Walmart stores.

From: https://comicbook.com/dc/2019/01/20/superman-walmart-comic-lois-lane-controversy-tom-king/

Hillary Chute’s ‘Why Comics?’

Hillary Chute is probably today’s premiere scholar of comics, so it’s no surprise that Why Comics? From Underground to Everywhere, her carefully researched analysis of this often-neglected art form, reads like a social and cultural history of the United States over the past 80 years. However, while the tome might well be used as a textbook, Chute is an accomplished prose stylist, and the many comics — a number in full color — that illustrate her argument make for an invigorating reading experience.

Chute’s history begins in earnest with the 1938 introduction of Superman in the first issue of Action Comics. The history of comics is full of ironies, so it should come as no surprise that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of one of the most famous characters on the planet, sold the rights to their work, in perpetuity, for $150. In 2014, a mint copy of their first comic was auctioned for more than $3 million, and of course they and their heirs have missed out on the hundreds of millions of dollars the various incarnations of Superman have generated over the intervening decades.

Fortunately, not all cartoonists have fared so badly. R. Crumb of “Keep on Truckin’” fame and his wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb live in a huge home in southern France; Harvey Pekar was the subject of a film, American Splendor, starring Paul Giamatti; and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home was made into a Tony Award–winning musical. Yet it’s artists on the edge of popularity, those who push boundaries and get themselves into trouble, that seem to interest Chute the most.

The book’s chapter titles are phrased as questions, which the chapters themselves attempt to answer, usually by zeroing in on one cartoonist who has had a significant impact in that particular area. The chapter entitled “Why Disaster?”, for example, discusses comics’ ability to cut to the heart of horrifying issues with a few well-drawn panels, and focuses on Art Spiegelman’s Maus. “Why the Suburbs?” looks at the brilliantly depressing comics of Chris Ware, while “Why War?” examines the “comics journalism” of Joe Sacco, highlighting his masterpiece about the Bosnian War, Safe Area Goražde.

While some squeamish readers may be put off by the violence and sex on display, overall, it’s hard to imagine a more entertaining and insightful introduction to this constantly evolving world than Why Comics?

From: https://www.independent.com/news/2019/jan/19/hillary-chutes-why-comics/

‘Young Justice: Outsiders’ Reveals Superman’s SPOILER

The latest episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders continues to reveal surprising new changes for the heroes and villains, with new sidekicks and relationships and super teams debuting every week.

The ninth episode of Young Justice Season 3, called “Home Fires,” reveals some major changes for Superman and his alter ego Clark Kent which is likely to have major ramifications for the future.

Warning: Spoilers for Young Justice: Outsiders below.

In the episode, Iris West-Allen hosts a babysitting session for other superpowered families, with her future grandson Bart Allen (AKA Impulse) helping out with the toddling Tornado Twins. Many other heroes attend, including Will Harper and his daughter Lian, Mera and her son Artur, and a lot others.

The big shock comes toward the end of the episode, when Lois Lane arrives carrying a baby in a Superman outfit, making it clear that she and Clark have indeed had a child. If it weren’t clear enough, he has the same blue eyes and spit curl as his father.

The baby is named Jonathan, meaning that Young Justice is likely following the current DC Comics canon to a certain extent.

Jonathan Kent is the latest character with the mantle of Superboy and is the son of Earth 1’s Lois and Clark, who survived the New 52 reboot and eventually replaced their updated versions. In the comics, Jon and Damien Wayne team up to form the Super Sons, going on their own adventures often against their father’s wishes.

As we saw in a previous episode of Young Justice, Talia al Ghul shows up with a baby, heavily hinting at Damien’s future in the animated series. Should we get another big time jump in the series — or if Young Justice continues for a few more seasons — perhaps the series will make the Super Sons the latest members of the Team.

Young Justice has made a lot of changes to Earth-16 in the latest time jump, referencing some major storylines from the comic book canon. Producer Brandon Vietti explained the thought behind the time jumps and these references while speaking to ComicBook.com.

“We knew it could be a controversial decision doing like time skips between seasons, but you know that was part of the reality that we are trying to build into the show,” Vietti said. “In order to really show growth you need a long period of time, and that’s just not something that we’re able to do with the limited number of episodes that we’re given to tell these stories.

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“We try to plan it so hopefully we would never frustrate fans with a lack of information about a character while they’re growing,” he added. “We try to just put enough in there to sort of whet their appetite to make them wanna know more without ever losing the thread of the story we are trying tell.”

The mid-season finale of Young Justice: Outsiders will air next Friday, January 25th on DC Universe.

From: https://comicbook.com/dc/2019/01/19/young-justice-outsiders-spoilers-superman-superboy-jonathan-kent/

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