Brian Michael Bendis on a New Superman Villain, The Question …

This interview contains major spoilers for Action Comics #1005.

It’s been a minute since Brian Michael Bendis has taken over the writing chores of Superman and Action Comics, and since then, the famed scribe has rebuilt Superman’s supporting cast, redefined the underworld of Metropolis, and found shocking directions for Superman and his extended family. Well, Action Comics #1005 by Bendis and artist Ryan Sook really turns up the volume. Not only does the issue contain a shocking revelation on the new Superman rogue Red Cloud, it also features the Question and the return of crazy silver age superhero concept, Dial H for Hero!

There’s a lot to unpack about this issue, so we thought we’d let Brian Michael Bendis do it for you! Again, spoilers a-comin’ so go read Action Comics #1005 first!

At the end of the issue, we learn that the deadly Red Cloud is actually one of Clark Kent’s fellow Daily Planet reporters! We’ll let you discover which one, but suffice to say, Superman will now have to face a foe like no other, a reporter gone bad. With that in mind, take it away, Mister Bendis…

Den of Geek: We’re here for Action Comics #1005, which just sounds odd.

Brian Michael Bendis: It’s always weird. I’m writing Action #1010 right now, and it’s very strange to type that number.

Whoa, that revelation! Talk about the creation of Red Cloud.

This is all spoilers, I don’t know how to talk about this without spoiling. I was doing research on United States of Murder Inc., which is a lot of mob stuff. Decades ago, a mobster got a job at a newspaper specifically to keep an eye on what they know about the Family. That idea just stuck out to me. It could be used for someone at The Daily Planet. They can do what Clark does but for their own purposes. It was just so exciting.

It really reflected how bad at hiring Perry White is (laughs).

Even J. Jonah Jameson never went that far, and he hired Eddie Brock.

Look who Perry hired. Even Clark, Clark is terrible.

Steve Lombard! They’re all terrible!

Oh my goodness, Steve Lombard! He’s an HR nightmare.

But this idea, that someone would use the Planet the way Clark does…someone really getting a job there that was immoral and making a life out of it was really intriguing.

There have been immoral people at the Daily Planet, but not a straight up super villain.

Yeah, someone who is flat out evil and never know they’re doing the same thing Superman does.

It’s almost like a pseudo-Bizarro Clark Kent.

Yeah, in a way that hasn’t been done. Bizarro has shown up at the Planet.

Yeah, that was the beginning of Fake News. Let’s move to Dial H for Hero. I assume the inclusion of the Dial will lead into Sam Humphries and Joe Quinones’ Dial H for Hero Wonder Comics title.

Absolutely. It was the idea to craft them together for Wonder Comics. Action Comics #1005 is a nice introduction for what the Dial is for people who don’t know. It’s one of the best ideas of comics and this allowed us to introduce it into continuity and let people who kind of want to know that, yes, Wonder Comics are in continuity. I have people very worried or concerned if Wonder Comics will be in continuity. They are. This is just another hint that they are.

further reading: Grant Morrison’s Return to the DC Universe

Well, you made it clear that Wonder Comics are in continuity. I don’t know where that perception comes from.

You know what? It’s one of three subjects that come up where that’s going to happen. People need to hear it. It’s okay.

Will the Dial story continue in Action or in the new book?

It’s a transition but it’s also an introduction. There will be more H Dial in Action, but this was really the introduction of the Question into the storyline which will build and build and build. It’s an extended cameo, but the Question’s presence will build into a big thing we’re going to do next summer. I’m excited about the Question because, wow! People really wanted me on the Question and it’s rare I give people what they actually want. I was excited to do it. I’m rarely on the exact same page as people. When it was first announced I was coming to DC, literally, the Question was the most requested character.

Yeah, when you took your place at DC, me and a bunch of Den of Geekers were talking about what books we would love to see you on. To a person, everyone said Question.

I was immensely flattered by that. I hold the character and his creators in the highest regard, including my dearest Greg Rucka. So, what we’re doing is, this is the introduction and we’ll slowly find out what the Question has found out about what Clark doesn’t know.

So, what’s the Bendis Question connection? To your old time fans it’s obvious, but why is the marriage of you and the Question such a thing?

I think the Question fits into the same realm as Jessica Jones, the midlevel detective that can go to the highest heights or the lowest lows. Which I’m flattered by. Also, what will I do with all those non-facial expressions?

That’s for your artist to decide.

That’s right, and may I say? It’s funny, I so rarely do this. When Ryan handed in the pencils of the Question, I posted it online immediately. It was one of those joyous moments. I always wanted to write Action Comics, and to have a scene with Dial H and the Question in it, it was the most Action Comics DC scene I could ever write in a million years. Then Ryan handed in that artwork, and it was so gorgeous and I’ve loved Ryan my whole life and here we are making comics together. It’s the best feeling. That page of the Question made me so happy. It was also the final proof that this move to DC was such a good idea.

Did you pee a little when it was confirmed that Ryan Sook was going to draw the Question for you?

Yeah, I have an even more complicated answer. Ryan signed on to do these issues of Action. Next issue, I said could you draw Clark looking through the entire building of The Daily Planet in perspective, every corner of the Daily Planet and show every story that’s going on? And he did it!

You’re trying to kill the man!

It’s amazing. What’s really exciting is that after this run on Action, Ryan and I are headed off to the biggest project either of us has ever tried.

And you’re going to break that news right now on Den of Geek, right?

Yes, it’s Sugar and Spike! (laughs)

God bless you. Dial H for Hero has always been one of those awesome fringe properties. China Mieville had a fun take a few years ago. Will Pfeifer did H.E.R.O. in 2003. Why do creators go back to this concept again and again?

It’s a phenomenal concept. It’s like the genie’s magic lamp. You rub the lamp and it grants your wish. But it’s so specific to our genre. Anyone in comics would be like, “Yeah, I’d like super powers for one hour.” It also feels like you can have all the fun with none of the responsibility.

I think you just hit a tag line for the new book.

Yeah, it’s like I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, right? But honestly, it’s one of the first things that came out of my mouth when I started this run. I really believe Dial H is one of the best ideas in comics. The retro angle of the dial phone is back in vogue again. Sam and Joe were perfect casting.

further reading: Brian Michael Bendis and the Future of Jinxworld at DC

Tell us what you know about Sam Humphries’ coming series? He’s killing it on Harley Quinn these days. What conversations did you have with Sam about Dial H for Hero?

Well, Sam and I, the minute we started working together at Marvel on Guardians of the Galaxy, we did the Black Vortex together, we really enjoyed each other’s company. But my favorite Sam is Black Bird Sam (Note: Black Bird is Sam Humphries’ Image Comics project. Go buy it. It’s good.). For people who read Black Bird, you can see Sam is in a really special place lately. I approached him with this and asked, “Can I for some of that very special Sam Humphries magic in Dial H?” And it’s great, because it’s an idea Sam never wrapped his head around; he never thought about it. So, he really took the assignment and really made it his own. He and Joe are just amazing casting. I worked with Joe, I know what Joe is capable of, and Dial H is exactly what he should be doing.

Hey, DC has this new platform and there’s the CW. Dial H would make for a great episodic weekly TV series, wouldn’t it? Hint, hint.

I think that’s a great idea that we should make viral. Let’s get that out in the world.

Talk about rebuilding the Metropolis underworld.

Yeah, people get focused on Superman’s level of power; they could miss ways in which to deal with him. This invisible Mafia is based on some real research and real behaviors the Mafia has had. You know the Mafia, the original Mafia, was a secret. People didn’t know about them for years. Until an informant walked off the street and told the FBI that there’s a Mafia. That’s how it was found out. Historically, this secret can go for a while. Here you have the people that are thriving around Superman’s life. And in a few issues we’re going to find out who is running the Metropolis mafia.

further reading: Brian Michael Bendis on Hope and the Man of Steel

Getting into the Kirby of it all with the Metropolis Mob stuff, I love how this issue feels like an old George Reeves Adventures of Superman episode with Clark Kent, intrepid Reporter front and center. That so feels like it’s in your wheelhouse. Talk about the appeal of reporter Clark.

Aww, thank you! We’ve talked earlier, we’ve been zeroing in on the idea that a lot of things Clark’s life that have been thrust upon him, the idea of responsibilities that the world gave you. For him, they were big. You are being sent to Earth and you’re going to be Superman. But what Clark decided to do with his life is be Clark Kent. He didn’t need a job. He didn’t need to be a reporter. He looked around the world and said, “What can I do for myself?” and the he said, “I’m going to be Lois Lane.” So, the Invisible Mafia, the entire focus of Action Comics is that hitting is not the answer. Clark is the answer.

Yeah, he really is that super tough reporter. Not the Christopher Reeve reporter, the George Reeves reporter.

Yeah, we’re going to see in the next storyline that he’s going to go undercover. We’re going to see Clark be Clark.

So we did Dial H and we did the Question…

Will there be more Wonder Comics teases in Action Comics? Yes!

I live to see the Wonder Twins! Are we going to see more Bendis Question? And are there any other left of center DC properties you are dying to get your hands on?

Well, you’re going to see me write a lot of the Question, not necessarily in a solo book, but a surprising amount, so I’ll meet you halfway on that. At the moment I’m curating Young Justice which involves Amethyst and Gemworld, Dial H for Hero, Naomi, which involves her entire secret which is enormous, and the Wonder Twins. If you include everything that’s going on in Young Justice – which is Conner and, Cassie – we have eleven fandoms being curated in one imprint at one time. And that’s just what we’re starting with. It’s a lot. I’ll focus on these. Gemworld is enormous. It’s Lord of the Rings enormous.

further reading: Dan Abnett on the end of an Aquaman era

Should I hold my breath for El Dorado and Apache Chief?

I’m hearing a lot of Apache Chief noise on Twitter lately. I’m not exactly sure. Because of Wonder Comics and Wonder Twins I’m seeing a lot of people asking for Apache Chief. I got like thirty Apache Chief tweets.

Have you goggled how to spell “inuk chuk?”

That’s the beauty of me. I never google how to spell anything.

What appeals to you about the character of the Question?

He’s one of those characters like Daredevil who’s always been handled by an exceptional creator. There’s never been anyone who has sucked at writing the Question. He’s always drawn great. Denys Cowan, that’s my jam. I’ve always loved pulp crime comics, so there you go. I’m such good friends with Greg Rucka, and him standing over me while I’m doing this is a little daunting.

Red Cloud is revealed, so tease what’s next for Superman and this new villain.

That’s the cool thing. This is what I’m most excited about. It’s a rare opportunity for a villain, every issue of every comic a villain jumps a hero and isn’t successful. Someone jumps Batman every seven pages and Batman beats the shit out of him. This villain jumps Superman and shockingly was successful. That changes everything. She tried it, and now that changes her place in the DC Universe.

I’m guessing Red Cloud is from Gemworld.

Ha, no. But I will tell you there’s a connection between Gemworld technology and Kryptonian technology. They are both crystal based. There’s a little Wonder Comics tease. There you go.

Let’s finish with a tease on what’s coming in Superman and Action.

People can already see on the cover of the next issue of Superman that Jonathan Kent is coming back and he’s been aged up and been through a lot. People are already assuming the worst for me, that we’re turning Jon into a murderous Superboy. But that story we’re going to tell, I’m happy to say, is much more labored and about the characters and the family. We’re going to see what the secret between Jon and his grandfather is. I’ll give you two words: Crime Syndicate. It’s all these pieces, Zod and the Phantom Zone, it’s all these piece that come together in the Unity Saga which is going to bring into the DC Universe something we didn’t have before in modern day.

You get yelled at for things you don’t do. I can’t recall you ever turning any character bad.

It’s funny. I think it’s me personally. Then you realize it’s all of us. When I was at Marvel and Geoff Johns was at DC, I said to Geoff, “You don’t get hit as hard as I do.” And he went, “What! Go look at the DC message boards.” It was funny, I was happy I did, he was clobbered. People are worried because they love Jon. When a character is beloved, and they see him on the cover with fire coming out of his eyes, they’re not wrong to be worried. But I can tell you that what’s going to happen to him is much more nuanced than people might think. And I love these characters. I’m not in the business to destroy their ideals. I want to explore them and challenge them and look to ourselves when we think about them. That’s what it’s about.

Action Comics #1005 is on sale today!

Marc Buxton is an English teacher/private tutor by day and a former comic retailer who reads way too many comics, often choosing his Wednesday haul over groceries. Read more of his work here.

From: https://www.denofgeek.com/us/books/superman/277885/brian-michael-bendis-new-superman-villain-the-question-dial-h-for-hero

Exclusive Preview: Superman’s first encounter with the Red Cloud and Bendis hints at future project with Ryan Sook

Brian Michael Bendis‘ first run on Action Comics is heating up, with DC Comics‘ Wednesday release of issue #1005 expected to ignite because it is loaded with hints about future plot points, terrific twists and one major reveal. It is written by Bendis, with art by Ryan Sook, colors by Ryan Anderson and letters by Josh Reed. 

SYFY WIRE has an exclusive preview of five pages, pulled from the middle of Action Comics #1005. In it, we see Superman taking to the streets of Metropolis when he is suddenly assaulted by the Red Cloud.

Action Comics #1005 Preview 3

Action Comics #1005 Preview 3 by Ryan Sook and Brad Anderson

There is a mystery as to whom the Red Cloud is. He or she is one of the new villains that Bendis is introducing and it has been taking out mobsters. Does that mean the Red Cloud is a vigilante? No, not when the mobsters are winding up dead.

In the early pages, readers will be reacquainted with the H-Dial device which grants its holder temporary random superpowers and is from the series Dial H for Hero, that has been reimagined a number of times, with the last revival occurring during the New 52 initiative. Dial H for Hero will be launched next as a part of Bendis’ new Wonder Comics imprint of DCU titles geared at young adult readers by writer Sam Humphries (Harley Quinn) and artist Joe Quinones (Black Canary/Zatanna) but there were a list of reasons why the H-Dial was brought back here.

“There was a magical moment when you’re crafting a scene and you realize the Question is beating people up because of the H-Dial,” Bendis tells SYFY WIRE. “It was the most 70’s Action Comics scene ever, in Action Comics that didn’t involve Superman.”

“It also gave us an opportunity to reach those who don’t know what the dial is, and re-introduce the H-Dial and why it would be a macguffin in the DC Universe and a big one, right? People are constantly looking for elements of power, this is a low hanging fruit if someone has this thing. So it was fun. People ask if Wonder Comics was is going to be in continuity, so this is my way of saying, ‘Oh, it is. It definitely is!’”

One of the most requested characters Bendis has received for Action Comics is the Question. But while fans on Twitter were hoping he’d do their bidding, he was way ahead of them. 

“There’s always a long list of characters that people want you to write but it’s not necessarily at that moment, what you have the passion for or feel you have a take for. So it’s great when at least part of the audience’s passion meets your passion. Now, people will be interested to know if this is just a cameo, but this is actually the first part of a much larger role for the Question.”

Action Comics #1005 Preview 4

Action Comics #1005 Preview 4 by Ryan Sook and Brad Anderson

Sook’s art really does stand out in this issue, especially in the way the second half builds towards the reveal. This is Bendis and Sook’s second of three issues together and they’ll begin work on a top secret project.

“What you’re seeing here is the building blocks of what I consider to be a major collaboration in my life,” Bendis teased. “From these issues [of Action Comics], you can see from the get-go how special it is to work with him.”

Wait, a big project with Ryan Sook? It couldn’t involve anyone who is in this current arc, by chance? Perhaps a Question project?

“No.” Bendis quickly struck down. “Dun-dun-dunnnn!”

Let the speculation begin on what that project will be, but while you do, check out SYFY WIRE’s exclusive five-page preview of the Red Cloud taking on Superman and let us know who you think it is behind the mist? Then track down Action Comics #1005 at a local comic shop near you, or in digital formats. Read it and then come back here where we will talk to Bendis all about the reveal.

From: https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/exclusive-preview-supermans-first-encounter-with-the-red-cloud-and-bendis-hints-at-future

ACTION COMICS #1005 Brings ‘Real, Shocking Tragedy’ to SUPERMAN’s Life

Action Comics #1005

Credit: DC Comics
Credit: DC Comics

Although Brian Michael Bendis promised readers before his run on Superman and Action Comics that he wouldn’t hurt Lois and Jon Kent during his run, his stories have already caused some changes in their relationship with Clark Kent that will drive the writer’s stories going forward.

In Action Comics, Lois Lane is hiding a secret from her husband, and in the just-released solicitation for the February issue of Superman, Jon Kent appears to be much older than the last time readers saw him.

The changes in both characters were influenced by their trip to space with Jor-El, which occurred early in Bendis’ run and took them out of the Superman books for a while. Now that they’re returning, the changes are causing tension in Clark Kent’s life.

Next week’s Action Comics #1005 is also revealing a few other new developments, including the introduction of The Question to the storyline, a hint about Bendis’ upcoming Wonder Comics line, and the revelation of the mysterious Red Cloud’s identity.

As DC supplied Newsarama with a preview of next week’s Action Comics #1005, we talked to Bendis to find out more about the changes in Jon and Lois, why the Red Cloud reflects the themes Bendis is exploring in the title, and what readers can expect from the Question’s involvement.

Credit: DC Comics

Newsarama: Brian, I want to talk to you about the preview we just got for Action Comics #1005. But first …. what in the world are you doing to Jonathan Kent? He’s older when he comes back from space in February’s Superman #8?

Brian Michael Bendis: Yeah, I woke up about 20 minutes ago and peeked at Twitter for a second, and they released a cover of Jon as a teenager. It’s purposely mysterious on whether he’s in a good place or bad place, and of course, because it’s Twitter, I’m hearing from everybody. I woke up to quite an earful.

Nrama: You already gave us a hint about that in Action Comics when Lois told Clark that their son hit “puberty” in space. But can you clarify the story here? What is this?

Bendis: What it is is that Jon is going to come back to the Superman books, and we already see he’s aged up a little bit.

Time has gone by.

So first, Superman has to find out, has he time-traveled? Or has he lost years of his son’s life?

If he lost years of his son’s life, that is devastating. That is a tragedy in Clark and Lois’ life. And they don’t have a lot of, like, real shocking tragedy in their life. They have a lot of near misses, you know.

Credit: DC Comics

If you can imagine just missing out on his formative years and how haunting that would be, this is one of those issues where Clark … you don’t think he can get hurt? He gets really hurt.

And he may have his father to blame for it, which is pretty devastating.

Nrama: So this is as much about them personally as anything else. That’s been a big part of your run on both Action and Superman.

Bendis: Yeah, I mean, there’s a story where Superman flies around and he kind of just takes it on the chin a little bit, but he always does the right thing. But really, this opportunity with Superman is really, like, hitting him where it hurts and seeing what he does.

That’s how you test the strength of character. That’s how you test all of the lessons that he’s taught himself or that Ma and Pa Kent have taught him.

He’s really being pushed into areas where he has to decide what kind of hero he needs to be at this moment, and that’s going to include some bigger choices coming up. It’s not going to be choices between, like, life and death, but choices about what kind of — because I don’t mean the choice between whether he blows someone’s head off or not — what I mean is that he’s going to have to make some choices about what kind of actions he takes as Superman on behalf of all of us.

Credit: DC Comics

Nrama: OK, let’s talk about next week’s Action Comics #1005 and the preview we’re seeing. Is this the issue where we’re going to find out more about this mysterious Red Cloud?

Bendis: Yeah, we’re turning over a lot of cards in this issue which I think will surprise some people. I do like to drag some stuff out sometimes, but in this instance, this mystery just opens up to more mysteries. So finding out who Red Cloud is and what the character’s relationship is to Clark and Lois and the rest of the DC Universe and what that means for the future is all right here in this awesome issue illustrated by Ryan Sook.

Nrama: OK, you just said, “what Red Cloud’s relationship is to Lois,” so I’m totally going down that line…

Bendis: Yeah, you can go down that line, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to answer you.

Nrama: OK, OK, so let’s just talk about Lois in general. She comes back from her trip to space and now she’s not being honest with Clark.

Bendis: Well, it’s not that she’s being dishonest with Clark. It’s just that she has a secret that she has to keep. He’s had secrets he’s had to keep too. It’s more about the overall safety than it is about trust. That’s always been part of their relationship, is that there’s going to be, like, one or two things that are going to have to be a little more deft about how they handle them with each other because they have such complicated relationships with so many things.

Credit: DC Comics

So Lois clearly learned something out in space and she is carrying it with her and writing about it, and that will all reveal itself as we go.

What we’re really focused on is that, to us and not just me and the creators of Action Comics but quite a few other creators too, feel that Lois Lane may be the most important person in the DC Universe and has been for a while. There’s a lot of things going on with her in our story and others that are going to reflect that in a really great way.

And I must say, I do feel that some of it is a reflection of what we wish the reporters were like in our real world. We wish we had a Lois Lane today. So we’re kind of all writing what we wish we had.

Nrama: So this secret that she’s hiding — I mean, from their interaction in the last couple issues, they appear to still be in love. But just to clarify, the secret is not some type of precursor to the end of their marriage, or something she’s doing behind Clark’s back to hurt him or anything.

Bendis: Oh, not at all. She couldn’t be more clear unless she almost says to the camera “we’re not breaking up; I’m madly in love with you.” They have a very complicated situation here.

Nrama: Let’s get back to the Red Cloud for a minute here. In the preview you supplied to Newsarama, the Red Cloud is attacking Superman and it doesn’t look so good for him. When you were coming up with this villain, was your desire to come up with something he can’t punch and solve?

Credit: DC Comics

Bendis: Yeah, yeah. There’s been, over the years, examples of that. But this one, it seemed much more in line with the story we’re telling in Action Comics. There’s a lot of things going on around him, and punching isn’t the answer.

The Red Cloud is a manifestation of that idea. Clark is going to have to fight this, not Superman. Clark’s going to have to figure this out.

Sometimes, because of the nature of the life he leads, his first instinct is to go to Superman. But the smarter choice sometimes is to sit down and figure it out as Clark.

And also, going back to one of my overall, uber ideas on these books, is that the idea of Superman was thrust upon him. It was given to him, right? He was rocketed to Earth. He chose to be Clark Kent. He chose to be a reporter. That’s what he wants to be. Of all the things he could be, he chose that.

So getting to roll up his sleeves and really do it, and to rise to the occasion and be Lois’ peer, is a lot of fun to write.

Nrama: It’s not in the preview, but you’ve dropped a hint in Action Comics #1005 about your Wonder Comics imprint.

Bendis: Oh yeah, yeah. You’re going to see a lot of that. We’re going to have a lot of fun.

First of all, it’s just fun to do as much shared universe stuff as possible. And it does kind of help to answer the question about whether the Wonder Comics line is in continuity — it 1000 percent actually is in continuity.

Credit: DC Comics

So people already want to see Jon and Conner teaming up because we are who we are.

The first crossover the Dial H For Hero dial shows up. We don’t know what it is, which is the greatest idea DC Comics has ever had. It’s a little taste of what’s to come and it also gives us an introduction into our story of the Question, which something a lot of people asked me.

Nrama: This is also the issue where we meet the Question, right?

Bendis: Yes, I’ve already posted that art. The minute Ryan drew the page, I posted it online. It was like two seconds after that I posted it, I loved it so much.

Nrama: Is he bringing something new? Or is he attached to something that’s already going on in the comic book?

Bendis: He’s been working an angle on what’s going on with the invisible mob, on a street level.

It’s kind of a slow burn, what’s been going on with The Question and how it’s going to connect to a bigger story coming next summer.

But now The Question is in the book. And we’re going to slowly unveil what they know that Clark doesn’t.

From: https://www.newsarama.com/42830-bendis-on-jon-kent-s-aging-lois-lane-s-secret-the-question-s-action-comics-debut-and-more.html

DC Comics Universe & Action Comics #1005 Spoilers: Superman Faces The Question, Wonder Comics’ Dial H For …

DC Comics Universe and Action Comics #1005 Spoilers follows.

Superman Faces The Question, Wonder Comics’ Dial H For Hero As The Red Cloud Unmasked?!

The book opens with the usual computer desk set-up of Lois Lane…

…plus the promise of the Question and Dial H for Hero.

Additional preview and teaser pages expected shortly. Solicitation below.

      ACTION COMICS #1005
      (W) Brian Michael Bendis (A/CA) Ryan Sook

      The murderous mystery of the Red Cloud uncovered! Clark Kent draws closer to revealing a secret crime family that has operated for years in Metropolis, but the family’s enforcer-the mysterious Red Cloud-proves she’s a match for even the Man of Steel with an attack that leaves Superman breathless. Don’t miss the last-page shocker as we reveal the true face of the Red Cloud!

      In Shops: Nov 28, 2018
      SRP: $3.99

    So, are you intrigued enough to pick up this issue this week?

    Tags: , , , , , , , ,

    From: https://insidepulse.com/2018/11/26/dc-comics-universe-action-comics-1005-spoilers-superman-faces-the-question-wonder-comics-dial-h-for-hero-as-the-red-cloud-unmasked-via-preview/

    Why we loved Stan Lee

    Superman was boring. Superman comics were faceless, institutional. Nothing mattered from issue to issue; villains might return, but there wasn’t any sense of accumulating history. The writers, bored with an infallible hero without personality, would come up with alternate-world plots. What if Superman were a baby married to Lois Lane? What if Superman had six legs and was Superspider of Venus?

    OK, DC comics didn’t go that far, but they came close.

    Marvel changed the expectations of the audience, and it was Stan Lee who was the face of the new style of comics. Lee, a longtime comic book editor and writer, died Monday at the age of 95. He had the frantic fortune to collaborate with two titanic talents — as he might have phrased it in his alliterative, excitable style: Steve “Difficult” Ditko and “Joltin” Jack Kirby.

    “Collaborate” is a tricky word.

    For the past few years comic fandom has been sorting out who came up with what. Lee was no longer thought to be the primary creative force behind Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the raft of characters that powered Marvel from the 1960s to the present. He might have exaggerated his contributions. And, in his tireless promotion of Marvel — and, by the way, himself — he might have soft-pedaled the innovations of his collaborators.

    Here’s the odd thing, though. Most people who loved comics forgave him, because they wanted to like Stan.

    Stan Lee, you see, liked us. The readers. The kids who bought the rags from a creaky wire rack in the drugstore.

    We were a gold mine, sure, but we were the most appreciative and fanatic audience a fellow could have, and he addressed us one by one. His “Stan’s Soapbox” column was a breathless exhortation to believe in Marvel’s ever-loving greatness. It always ended the same: “Excelsior!”

    We had no idea what that meant, but it sounded like something Thor would say. Or Stan.

    The Soapbox ran on the Bullpen Bulletins page, a collection of news flashes — ITEM! — that talked about upcoming comics, slung the insider slang we all knew, used nicknames for the artists: Merry Marie Severin! King Kirby!

    We imagined Stan as an impresario, a ringmaster, ducking in and out of offices to slap backs and offer advice. He held the shop together. He gave everything the quality that made it Marvel, not Brand Echh, as they called the Superman shop.

    In the early ’60s Marvel’s work took a turn toward human characters with flaws and foibles — mixed up, to use the swingin’ parlance. This expanded the audience to college-age kids who would have sneered at Superman.

    Spidey had girl problems. He washed his costume with hot water once and shrunk it, and had to go out crime-fighting with his wrists and ankles exposed.

    Those touches, you suspect, were Stan’s. He made these kids’ stories grow up, let them breathe and laugh.

    In the early days of Marvel he was probably happy to have a steady job, and the idea of his co-creations ending up in Disney’s hands — with billion-dollar valuations — would’ve seemed like a dream. But he lived long enough to see Spidey and the Avengers and Dr. Strange and the Black Panther and others hit the big screen, and he was honored with cameos. We loved those as much as he enjoyed doing them, because we remembered what he said.

    “Keep the faith!” We did.

    “Face front!” Well, that’s the best way to see a movie, yes.

    “True Believers,” he called us, with a grin. We were.

    So was he. That’s one of the reasons we loved him.

     

    From: http://www.startribune.com/why-we-loved-stan-lee/500500692/

    Batman 666 & DC One Million Superman Return As DC Comics Detonates A Nuclear Winter Ushering Post Apocalyptic …

    From: https://insidepulse.com/2018/11/23/batman-666-dc-one-million-return-as-dc-comics-detonates-a-nuclear-winter-ushering-post-apocalyptic-futures-in-dc-nuclear-winter-special-1-house-ad-with-spoilers/

    Shazam: Who is Earth’s Mightiest Mortal? – Batman

    One of the most exciting upcoming DC movies is based around one of the very oldest comic book characters: Shazam, Earth’s Mightiest Mortal. At a glance, he might look like an off-brand Superman, but there’s more to this character than meets the eye – both in the pages of the comic and out. And he has nothing to do with the 1998 Shaquille O’Neal movie Kazam, so don’t even start.

    Shazam’s Greatest Foe: Copyright Law

    Shazam isn’t even Shazam’s name, technically. When Billy Batson was first blessed with powers, back in Fawcett Comics’ Whiz Comics #2 back in 1940, he was called Captain Marvel. I bet you can see where this is going, but we have one fight to get through first.

    Captain Marvel was created shortly after DC Comics’ own Superman, but in those days ended up being even more popular than Supes himself. Fawcett published the comics up through 1953. During that 12-year period, DC Comics was concerned that Fawcett’s caped flying superhero was too similar to their caped flying superhero and brought suit against the company.

    While the courts found that Captain Marvel was indeed infringing on Superman, the courts also found that DC had been negligent in copyrighting some Superman comic strips, and the courts said that DC had abandoned the Superman copyright. (If you ever wonder why companies are bringing lawsuits against fan creations, video game remakes, and the like – this is why.) DC and Fawcett went back and forth for years, and eventually one judge said that, Captain Marvel isn’t an infringement, but that if he’s doing things too similar (perhaps outrunning steam trains and bounding over skyscrapers with just one jump?), those feats and stories could infringe.

    Sales of Captain Marvel began to fall, and Fawcett shuttered its comics division in 1953, eventually handing off the good Captain to DC. But the battle isn’t over, true believers! Because this is where Marvel gets involved.

    DC decided to revive Captain Marvel under the name Shazam! – with the subtitle of “The Original Captain Marvel,” only to get a cease and desist from Marvel Comics, who owned the Marvel brand and had created a Captain Marvel of its own while Shazam was dormant. As a result, DC can’t call this character Captain Marvel in any advertising, merchandise, or promotional materials. In the pages of the book, characters can refer to him as such, but out here in our world, everything with that big yellow lightning bolt is under the Shazam moniker. These days, most fans call him Shazam.

    So when you go to theaters this April, there are technically two Captain Marvel movies in the theater – if you know your comic history.

    So why’s he called Shazam?

    While Superman is an adult man and an alien refugee from a dead planet, Shazam is a mortal born right here on planet earth. Shazam’s secret identity is that of young boy Billy Batson. An unhappy orphan in a foster home, Billy ran away from home, only to find himself summoned by an old man, the Wizard Shazam. The wizard chose Billy for the good in his heart and bestowed upon him the power of Living Lightning. To summon the power, Billy has to invoke the names of the six immortal elders: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. Or, to shorten it a little: SHAZAM.

    In the comics, Billy’s connection to that previous list of gods was severed, and the wizard replaced them with six other immortal beings from whom he could draw power. From these beings, Shazam draws powers like Superman-level strength, super speed, fire breath, immense knowledge and foresight, interdimensional travel, invulnerability, immortality, and more.

    Because his powers are magical in nature, it turns out that Shazam is more than a match for Superman when he wants to be. In the classic Elseworlds mini series Kingdom Come, a mind-controlled Shazam beats the pants off Superman before Supes finally shakes Billy from his hypnotized state to finally save the day.

    Shazam’s arch-enemy is Black Adam. Like Billy, the man who would become Black Adam was given powers by the Wizard. Instead of the powers bringing out his goodness, the presumed good man was corrupted by his newfound power, and the Wizard imprisoned him, only for him to be let out when the Wizard chose Billy as his successor.

    The two have clashed many times over the years, but because they derive their powers from the same source, they can sense and find each other.

    The man who let Black Adam out is Doctor Sivana who, in the process, injured his eye and gained the ability to see magic through it.

    What to know going into the movie

    To make the most of Shazam! this spring, you really don’t need to know much. The movie pulls a lot of stuff from the modern Shazam origin story. Billy is a troubled orphan who gains magical abilities. He goes for a joyride with his still-teenaged friend. We’ve seen this in the previews as Shazam does things like zapping peoples’ phones and, you know, buying beer. Dr. Sivana figures into the film, though with the movie still months away we can only guess at whether he’s the main villain.

    Right now, everything points to Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam not appearing in this picture. Despite Black Adam being Shazam’s Joker or Reverse Flash, he’s getting his own movie, because the Rock is just that famous.

    When the movie hits theaters in April, Zachary Levi will be playing Shazam, while Asher Angel plays young Billy Batson. Mark Strong (Kingsman: The Secret Service) plays Dr. Sivana, and Djimon Hounsou plays the Wizard.

    Shazam is a superhero that is often more about fun than drama thanks to his kid side, so we can expect this movie to be lighter than most DC movie fare despite coming from horror director David Sandberg.

    Shazam! Hits theaters on April 9, 2019.

    From: https://batman-news.com/2018/11/22/who-is-shazam/

    DC’s Birds Of Prey a ‘great opportunity’ to end ‘sluggish’ films

    Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Margot Robbie and Mary Elizabeth WinsteadImage copyright
    Getty Images

    Movies about Superman and Justice League may have flopped with the critics, but DC will be hoping to find more favourable reviews for new franchise, Birds Of Prey.

    Or, to give the movie it’s full title: Birds Of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn.

    Margot Robbie revealed the full title of the film on Instagram.

    And it certainly seems like they are steering away from the dark, sour tones of Batman vs Superman this time around.

    Skip Instagram post by margotrobbie

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    Instagram post by margotrobbie: Image Copyright margotrobbie
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    “The mistakes DC were making was that it was the same thing over and over again,” says Claire Lim, presenter of BBC The Social, podcaster and comic book super-fan.

    “I’m not saying that was a bad thing, but this dark, sluggish, gritty vibe they’ve had is just getting boring.

    “We’ve seen a bit of lightness in the Aquaman trailers and now Harley getting together a girl gang?

    “To me that sentence is fun enough. I’m sold.”

    Birds Of Prey, which is planned for 2020, is a sequel (of sorts) to 2016’s critical flop (but box office success), Suicide Squad.

    Margot Robbie returns to the screen to play Harley Quinn, who people like Claire say was the “stand out” character in the film.

    Who are Birds Of Prey?

    Image copyright
    Getty Images

    Image caption

    Margot Robbie’s role in Suicide Squad has been a gift for people looking for cool, simple Halloween costumes

    Unlike the line-up of 2017’s Justice League movie, Birds Of Prey boasts a cast of heroes who are b-list at best.

    You’d be forgiven for not having heard of Huntress, Black Canary or Renee Montoya if you weren’t a fan of the original DC comics – although some of these characters have shown up in DC television shows, such as The Flash.

    And if you do some digging on YouTube, you’ll also find trailers for a Birds Of Prey TV series which ran for one season in 2002.

    Skip Youtube post by Ashley Scott

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    Youtube post by Ashley Scott: Birds of Prey TV (2002) Long promoImage Copyright Ashley Scott
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    This time around, the 2020 film version has major stars such as Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, Ewan McGregor and Jurnee Smollett-Bell joining Margot Robbie for another outing on the streets of Gotham.

    “Combining these fresh characters with one people already love with an amazing cast – I can’t see how it’s not going to be successful,” says Claire.

    She also praises the movie for featuring a mostly female cast and for having a female writer and director.

    Will Birds Of Prey be a Guardians Of The Galaxy moment for DC?

    Image copyright
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    Image caption

    Honestly, had you heard of Gamora or Nebula before Marvel made the first Guardians movie?

    Marvel have stamped their mark on cinema history with one of the biggest franchises of all time – The Avengers.

    But the success of their Guardians Of The Galaxy franchise, which launched in 2014, is not to be sniffed at and that, like Birds Of Prey, was made of largely unknown heroes.

    “A lot of people don’t know Birds Of Prey. That is actually a benefit for the people trying to write for them, because it means you effectively have a blank canvas,” says film blogger Tom Hindle.

    “You’ve got such a great opportunity to build these characters from the ground up.”

    Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

    Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra – if you miss us you can listen back here.

    From: https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-46288924

    Stan Lee was a Marvel whose comics reflected an ambiguous America

    Stan Lee, the reinventor of the comic book, died Nov. 12 at the ripe old age of 95.

    Comic books get a bad rap, although not nearly as bad as they used to. There was a time when comic books were the cause of an all-out moral panic. After the release of psychiatrist Fred Wertham’s book “The Seduction of the Innocent,” the U.S. Senate held hearings to grapple with the alleged moral rot of comics, which were supposedly fueling juvenile delinquency and moral degeneracy. Batman and Robin, you see, were secretly gay. Superman was an un-American ersatz fascist.

    Superman (with the big S on his uniform — we should, I suppose, be thankful that it is not an S.S.) needs an endless stream of ever new submen, criminals and “foreign-looking” people not only to justify his existence but even to make it possible, Wertham wrote.

    The Comics Code Authority was established in 1954 to protect children from consuming Satan’s apple in cartoon form. As silly as all that was, at least the anti-comic puritans took comic books seriously. And while Wertham et al. went too far in the wrong direction, comics are an important window into our society.

    Prior to Stan Lee and Marvel Comics, superheroes were fairly two-dimensional characters. Superman was, well, just super at everything. He fought for “truth, justice and the American way.” He was also a kind of super-moralist, always knowing instantly what was right. Some writers claim he was the first “social justice warrior.”

    In Superman’s first adventure (Action Comics No. 1), long before he ever battled Lex Luthor, he saved a woman from being wrongly executed, stopped a senator from being blackmailed and protected a woman from her abusive husband. “Delivering justice, protecting family and stopping corruption, Superman represented the newly expanded New Deal state,” observed Benjamin Moore in The Washington Post. The New Deal was a real-world example of what political philosopher Michael Oakeshott called “politics as the crow flies” — a rationalist approach that tried to use the state as an active participant in life to achieve desirable ends without much concern for the means. It should be no surprise that Superman transitioned from New Deal warrior to World War II warrior. He was fighting Nazis long before American troops were.

    Lee grew up professionally in this “Golden Age” of comics, but he also rebelled against it. While a member of the so-called Greatest Generation, Lee better represented the more ironic attitudes of the postwar generation. His superheroes struggled with their powers and their moral responsibilities. Spider-Man, the quintessential Marvel character (at least until the introduction of Wolverine) was a nerdy, angst-ridden teenager who only reluctantly accepted his role and the idea that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Lee’s heroes quarreled with each other, had romantic setbacks and sometimes even struggled to make the rent.

    Stan Lee, the creator of the most beloved superheroes in history, including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk, died Monday. He was 95.

    Through the years, his comics and characters have been transformed into films. In these films, he tends to make cameo appearances. Here are some of the best cameo appearances Stan Lee made in Marvel movies.

    The baby boomers, Lee’s target audience, were plagued with a great unease about living up to the legacy of their parents’ generation. “We are people of this generation,” begins the Port Huron Statement, the 1962 manifesto that largely launched the ’60s protest era, “bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.” They believed they were special but didn’t know exactly what to do about it.

    This kind of ambiguity suffused Marvel’s story lines. The X-Men were mutants, a government-persecuted minority community, bitterly divided between assimilationists and rejectionists. Their powers were a thinly veiled metaphor for the confusion of puberty.

    The Thing, constantly harassed by a local street gang, hated that he had become a grotesque, but when given the choice of becoming human again, he opted to keep his powers. Captain America debuted in his own comic by punching Hitler in the face on the cover, but by Vietnam he was emoting, “I’m like a dinosaur — in the cro-magnon age! An anachronism — who’s out-lived his time! This is the day of the anti-hero — the age of the rebel — and the dissenter! It isn’t hip — to defend the establishment! — only to tear it down! And, in a world rife with injustice, greed, and endless war — who’s to say the rebels are wrong? … I’ve spent a lifetime defending the flag — and the law! Perhaps I should have battled less — and questioned more!”

    Of course, there was plenty of fighting, derring-do and onomatopoetic “pows,” “bamfs” and “snikts.” But future historians looking to understand the near-century of Lee’s lifetime would be well-advised to look at his life’s work.

    Tribune Content Agency

    Jonah Goldberg is an editor at large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

    MORE COVERAGE:

    3 ways Stan Lee helped create the modern superhero movie »

    Stan Lee, Marvel comics executive and creator of Spider-Man, dead at 95 »

    Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Ryan Reynolds and more pay tribute to comic book legend Stan Lee »

    Stan Lee: Interview with the creator »

    Join the discussion on Twitter @Trib_Ed_Board and on Facebook.

    Submit a letter to the editor here or email [email protected].

    From: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-goldberg-jonah-stan-lee-comics-marvel-1109-story.html

    Jonah Goldberg: Appreciating Stan Lee’s comics

    STAN LEE, the reinventor of the comic book, died last Monday at the ripe old age of 95.

    Comic books get a bad rap, although not nearly as bad as they used to. There was a time when comic books were the cause of an all-out moral panic. After the release of psychiatrist Fred Wertham’s book “The Seduction of the Innocent,” the Senate held hearings to grapple with the alleged moral rot of comics, which were supposedly fueling juvenile delinquency and moral degeneracy. Batman and Robin, you see, were secretly gay. Superman was an un-American ersatz fascist.

    “Superman (with the big S on his uniform — we should, I suppose, be thankful that it is not an S.S.) needs an endless stream of ever new submen, criminals and ‘foreign-looking’ people not only to justify his existence but even to make it possible,” Wertham wrote.

    The Comics Code Authority was established in 1954 to protect children from consuming Satan’s apple in cartoon form.

    As silly as all that was, at least the anti-comic puritans took comic books seriously. And while Wertham et al. went too far in the wrong direction, comics are an important window into our society.

    Prior to Stan Lee and Marvel Comics, superheroes were fairly two-dimensional characters. Superman was, well, just super at everything. He fought for “truth, justice and the American way.” He was also a kind of super-moralist, always knowing instantly what was right. Some writers claim he was the first “social justice warrior.”

    In Superman’s first adventure (Action Comics No. 1), long before he ever battled Lex Luthor, he saved a woman from being wrongly executed, stopped a senator from being blackmailed and protected a woman from her abusive husband. “Delivering justice, protecting family and stopping corruption, Superman represented the newly expanded New Deal state,” observed Benjamin Moore in The Washington Post.

    The New Deal was a real-world example of political philosopher Michael Oakeshott called “politics as the crow flies” — a rationalist approach that tries to use the state as an active participant in life to achieve desirable ends without much concern for the means.

    It should be no surprise that Superman transitioned from New Deal warrior to World War II warrior.

    He was fighting Nazis long before American troops were.

    Lee grew up professionally in this “Golden Age” of comics, but he also rebelled against it. While a member of the so-called Greatest Generation, Lee better represented the more ironic attitudes of the postwar generation. His superheroes struggled with their powers and their moral responsibilities. Spider-Man, the quintessential Marvel character (at least until the introduction of Wolverine) was a nerdy, angst-ridden teenager who only reluctantly accepted his role and the idea that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Lee’s heroes quarreled with each other, had romantic setbacks and sometimes even struggled to make the rent.

    The baby boomers, Lee’s target audience, were plagued with a great unease about living up to the legacy of their parents’ generation. “We are people of this generation,” begins the Port Huron Statement, the 1962 manifesto that largely launched the ‘60s protest era, “bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.” They believed they were special but didn’t know exactly what to do about it.

    This kind of ambiguity suffused Marvel’s storylines. The X-Men were mutants, a government-persecuted minority community, bitterly divided between assimilationists and rejectionists. Their powers were a thinly veiled metaphor for the confusion of puberty. The Thing, constantly harassed by a local street gang, hated that he had become a grotesque, but when given the choice of becoming human again, he opted to keep his powers.

    Captain America debuted in his own comic by punching Hitler in the face on the cover, but by Vietnam he was emoting, “I’m like a dinosaur — in the cro-magnon age! An anachronism — who’s out-lived his time! This is the day of the anti-hero — the age of the rebel — and the dissenter! It isn’t hip — to defend the establishment! — only to tear it down! And, in a world rife with injustice, greed, and endless war — who’s to say the rebels are wrong? … I’ve spent a lifetime defending the flag — and the law! Perhaps I should have battled less — and questioned more!”

    Of course, there was plenty of fighting, derring-do and onomatopoetic “pows,” “bamfs” and “snikts.” But future historians looking to understand the near-century of Lee’s lifetime would be well-advised to look at his life’s work.

    From: http://www.unionleader.com/opinion/columnists/jonah-goldberg-appreciating-stan-lee-s-comics/article_b5324800-1833-5f32-a58e-72043f664e90.html

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