Batman: Arkham Asylum Trailer

In our first issue of Extra Sequential, we had some great pics of the upcoming Batman: Arkham Asylum game for next-gen consoles. Coming this year from Rocksteady Studios and Eidos Intercative, the game set in Gotham’s best (or worst) asylum looks fantastic, and should be a relief for DC fans who are still waiting for a good game starring their favourite characters. The new trailer is out now, and gives the impression of a blockbuster film. Can’t wait.

Mike S. Miller Interview

I became familiar with writer Mike S. Miller’s work a couple of years ago through his Deal with the Devil series, as well as The Imaginaries, which is simply a great concept. He’s done work for every major publisher (either as writer or artist) and is most famous for his work on the adaptation of novelist George R.R. Martin’s Hedge Knight series, with writer/artist Ben Avery. He’s a creator that is able to change genres with ease however, and has also written Zondervan’s excellent The Hand of the Morningstar as well as the fantasy, Lullaby. The Imaginaries launched from Image four years ago, before moving to Abacus, Miller’s own publishing company. The series is back, and now with Bluewater Productions. 

 

imaginariesaFor those that came in late, are you able to tell us a little about the world of The Imaginaries?
The world the Imaginaries inhabit is called ‘the imagined nation’, and it’s where all the loved creations brought to life by the powerful minds and hearts of children around the globe end up when those same children ‘grow up’ and forget about them.  So it’s a harsh reality for those creations, but an incredible world they now inhabit apart from their creators.
Are any of your childhood imaginary friends written in to the series?
Not this story, like most comic book artist types, my imaginary friends were the kind I’d write stories about and create on paper.  Just like Superhero G is to Tanner.  But I have to admit, mine at that age were nowhere near as cool as Superhero G is.  Though I may have to toss some of mine into the background here or there.  🙂
You’ve managed to work with almost every comic publisher out there, so how did you end up choosing Bluewater over all the others?
Darren Davis (Bluewater’s President – Kris) has been a friend for a decade now, we were just chatting on the phone and the issue came up of what I was going to do with Imaginaries.  I was just too busy to self-publish as I had originally planned.  I just thought it would be a great fit, and Darren agreed, so the plan was set into motion.
411cii749nl_ss500_How many books have you worked with Ben Avery on?
Hmm… Let’s see.  Imaginaries, Lullaby, Hedge Knight, Sworn Sword, and the Oz/Wonderland Chronicles.  That have been published anyway.  We have a couple other projects we’ve developed together that haven’t quite gotten off the ground yet.
And how does that history help your creative partnership?
Ben and I work well together.  We respect each others ideas and sense of how things work, as well as a shared world view.  So it seems the more we work together, the better we get at it.  lol.
How did Nikos Koutsis come to arrive on the title and how will he be working with you and Ben?
Nikos sent in a sample package to Alias when I was over there, and I picked him up for Imaginaries right away.  I’d been searching for an artist for the title for… seems like years actually.  Nikos was perfect, and is just about the only guy I could see working on the title right now.  He’s lent his storytelling preferences to our writing, opening up larger scenes and panels for him to stretch his wings and make this an artistic showplace for himself.  It’s great working with him, I hope to do so for years to come!
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A lot of the books you’ve written could be considered all-ages. Is that your goal in creating comics?
Actually, only about half of them have been all-ages titles.  Imaginaries, Lullaby, and Hand of the Morningstar.  Sixgun Samurai, Devil’s Keeper, and the one that’s been optioned by Lionsgate, Deal with the Devil are all more mature in theme.  Not to say they’re rated ‘R’ or anything, but they aren’t really ‘all ages’ per se.  I’m a diverse creator, and actually trying to keep myself from ever being pigeonholed into one genre. 

imagainaries21Going from A to Z, can you let us know what’s happening with your work at Abacus Comics and Zondervan?
Haha… cute.  Well, with Abacus, I’m trying to find ways to leverage the existing inventory to continue a residual revenue stream.  That means exploring digital comics, as well as shopping the properties in Hollywood.  Like I mentioned, Deal with the Devil has been the first to sell, and I’m hoping more will follow suit.  I’m also developing new properties that I’ll be shopping directly to Hollywood, if any of those get picked up, I’ll develop the comics for them as well.  As for Zondervan, I’m out of the picture there.  In the split with Alias, I let my former partner take the Zondervan contract in total.  And I don’t believe Zondervan is starting any new projects anyhow.  I am currently working on a book for the iPhone with another company, but I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to talk about that publicly.

After all the unforeseen moments that you’ve experienced during your career how do you still maintain a love for this medium?
I guess I’m a geek.  Happy to be, though.  
The Imaginaries #1 is out now, and next month’s issue features a 22 page bonus story based on the classic sci-fi film, Missile to the Moon.

Mark Waid-O-Rama

IRRDBLE001AI’ll be honest, Mark Waid and Peter David are the two writers that really showed me what comics were capable of. When I dove head long into this lovely medium in the early 90s, these two gentlemen were at the height of their powers and popularity. Not that that’s changed of course! Well, now that Mark Waid is the head honcho of BOOM! Studios, he still manages to put out some great work, such as the Potter’s Field series, and March’s The Incredibles mini-series, as part of BOOM!’s new rights acquisition, which also includes Car and The Muppets. Now, coming in April is Waid’s Irredeemable series, a new monthly that has fun with the superhero style that Waid is so familiar with. Now we know where that mysterious Mark Waid Is Evil website came from! Preview pages, plus a handy order form below. And if that’s not enough from the writer of Kingdom Come, then how’s about this? His own website, filled with writing tips and pop culture tales.

Brace yourselves for a comic industry event: BOOM! Studios presents a new monthly ongoing superhero series from Mark Waid – IRREDEEMABLE!

With IRREDEEMABLE, Mark Waid dares to ask the question: what if the world’s greatest hero decided to become the world’s greatest villain? IRREDEEMABLE is a “twilight of the superheroes”-style story from the writer of KINGDOM COME and EMPIRE!

irredeemable_001cIRREDEEMABLE #1 will feature variant covers by John Cassaday (ASTONISHING X-MEN, PLANETARY) and Barry Kitson (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) in a 75/25 split. The first twelve issues of the series will feature incentive covers by hot newcomer Jeffrey Spokes that will spell out I-R-R-E-D-E-E-M-A-B-L-E! The first issue incentive cover will be a special 1-in-50 rarity with every copy signed by Mark Waid. IRREDEEMABLE issue #1 will also feature a special afterword by Grant Morrison.

Peter (POWER OF SHAZAM) Krause has committed to doing the interiors for the first twelve issues.

“In superhero comics, pretty much everyone who’s called upon to put on a cape is, at heart, emotionally equipped for the job. I reject that premise,” said series writer and BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Mark Waid. “IRREDEEMABLE is, in a way, my third and most complex chapter on the cost of superheroics – a pulp adventure tale of horror exploring how the lessons we learn about right and wrong as children can become warped and twisted when challenged by the realities of the adult world. ”

“IRREDEEMABLE is a fresh start, a way to enjoy superhero comics without forty to eighty years of back story and following dozens of titles,” said BOOM! Studios managing editor Matt Gagnon. “It’s the superhero book fans have been waiting for!”

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Perty Pics

Here’s a look at a few covers courtesy of Marvel that are going on sale tomorrow. There’s Captain America #46, Skaar: Son of Hulk #7, Avengers: The Initiative #21, Daredevil #115 and Incredible Hercules #125. Click under the pics to see Marvel’s entire list.

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Blue Dream Studios’ Sale

 

dreamlandbothn1I reviewed Blue Dream’s Hyperactive book yesterday, and noticed that they currently have a huge sale on until the end of January. Of course, I couldn’t help myself and bought something. You might like to as well. Their main book, The Dreamland Chronicles from Scott Christian Sava has an impressive following and you can pick up the first two trades from the web-comic series, and some nice toys. Go here to check out the goodies.

Superman/Batman Annual #3 Review

smbm_ann_3_0001-cvThis has been one of my favourite titles since it began with the great creative pairing of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness.  Then Supergirl was fantastically (re) introduced into the DC Comics Universe, with late, great penciller Michael Turner. It’s been a while since it’s hit these former heights though. And this Annual doesn’t help. I will say one thing for it though – it’s a great place to start for comic book newbies.

Written by Wolverine creator Len Wein, with beautifully fluid art by Chris Batista, this stand alone tale is set in the past of the DCU. The problem with this extra-sized issue is that the dialogue seems straight out of an issue from 20 years ago. It just appears staid and corny, and Batman is largely out of character. There’s no sense of menace or danger about him, nor is there any hint of his typically antagonistic relationship with Superman. However, it does introduce readers to Superman, Batman (of course) Lois Lane, the third Robin and baddies Professor Ivo,  Metallo, Mr. Freeze, Atomic Skull and Firefly, sporting his recent animated look from The Batman carton. There’s also a nice cameo of sorts that hints at the ‘future’ of the DCU, with a newspaper headline declaring Martian Manhunter’s capture of the Human Flame. Loyal DC fans know that late last year, Human Flame was instrumental in Manhunter’s death.

So, what is this Annual about? With a nice twist on the silver Age concept of a composite Superman/Batman, this modern take presents a similar being, with powers and costumes of both heroes unsurprisingly suffering a maddening identity crisis. He kidnaps Lois and Robin and eventually understands that being one hero is tough enough, let alone two. So he decides to rip himself in half.

This is not an issue for mature readers who expect more from their comics. They’ll find themselves asking, “Why hasn’t Robin picked his handcuffs?” and raising eyebrows at lines like, “Gee, I don’t know, do I look like I’ve recently lost my mind to you?”

For newbies though, this issue isn’t too bad. It looks great, has a simple story, and fans of Tim Burton’s Batman films will see a similar look to the Dark Knight and his Batmobile here. Consider this as an easy entry point to comics reading, but don’t consider it indicative of the much more dynamic offerings DC usually create.

Australia Day Superheroes

440px-gatewaySo it’s Australia Day, here in Australia. Obviously. We get the day off work, get to see fireworks and hang out with friends at the BBQ and drink beer. Apparently that’s what we’re supposed to do anyway. I’ll be stuck inside attempting to finish editing two wedding videos. Well, seeing all the Oz flags around the past few weeks got me thinking about Australian superheroes, and the lack thereof. I don’t mean Australian comics. There’s quite a few of those, and I’m very glad to see Platinum Grit being taken on board by Image. I remember reading that over a decade ago in its infant paper form. So, what about Australian superheroes? They’re aren’t any really. There’s Captain America and Captain Britain. So how about a Captain Australia? Doesn’t have the same ring to it, granted, and the sight of a beer belly wrapped in spandex is not comforting. These are the only two Aussie superheroes that immediately spring to mind – and one of them’s a supervillain!

250px-boomerangI remember reading an early X-Men Annual that introduced me to Gateway, the aboriginal teleporter that occasionally aided the X-Men. Not much has been seen of him in the last few years, but apparently he was killed by the Marauders and is the great grandfather of Bishop. Now, from Marvel to DC.

George Harkness is perhaps a more famous Aussie comics character. Nicknamed Digger, his code name of Captain Boomerang should tell you what his powers are all about. He was one of the members of Flash’s Rogues Gallery, and often called people, “mate,” to assert his Aussie-ness. He was killed as an overweight out of touch baddie, by Robin’s father during Identity Crisis. Now, his son, Owen Mercer has taken the name and a much better costume, and is acting on the opposite side of the law from his father, even befriending Robin.

These aren’t bad characters, but certainly not prominent ones. It’s time we saw another Aussie super character in the pages of today’s comics. Not all superheroes are American. Are they?