Process Piece: Superman Earth One

DC’s increasingly great blog The Source has just begun a new regular feature that will give fans a peek into the process behind some of their titles. First in the Process Piece series is a look at Superman: Earth One,  a re-imagining of Superman, and before you yawn, it actually looks intriguing. Writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Shane Davis look set to be making something very readable here. Earth One arrives as an OGN on November  2 and you can see the process behind 5 of its pages, including script, pencils, letters and colours right here.

Marvel’s Tron Variant Covers

Marvel sure know how to make variant covers for a special occasion. The recent Iron Man by Design book features 26 great pieces celebrating Iron Man 2 and now it’s Tron’s turn.

Marvel Unveils TRON Variant Covers!

In anticipation of Walt Disney Pictures’ 3D high-tech adventure, TRON: LEGACY, in theaters on Dec. 17, 2010 — Marvel Comics is proud to announce variant covers celebrating the film. Beginning in November, the Marvel Universe gets “TRON-ified” on selected variant covers featuring Marvel’s biggest heroes—Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and more—re-interpreted out in the unique visual style of the TRON universe.

The issues featuring TRON variants, and spotlighted characters,  are as follows:

Amazing Spider-Man #651 TRON Variant, featuring Spider-Man

Avengers #7 TRON Variant. featuring Spider-Woman

Avengers Academy #7 TRON Variant, featuring Quicksilver

Captain America #612 TRON Variant, featuring Captain America

Incredible Hulks #618 TRON Variant, featuring Ghost Rider

Invincible Iron Man #33 TRON Variant, featuring Iron Man

New Avengers #7 TRON Variant, featuring Ms. Marvel

Secret Avengers #7 TRON Variant, featuring Moon Knight

Thor #617 TRON Variant, featuring Thor

Wolverine #4 TRON Variant, featuring Wolverine

An unprecedented one-time event bringing together the world’s greatest super heroes with the hotly-anticipated blockbusters of the year, TRON: LEGACY, no pop culture fan can afford to miss Marvel’s TRON Variant Covers!


Extra Sequential Podcast Episode Eleven

This week we have a special guest as we’re joined by Gianni from comics retailer Quality Comics. We discuss all the below, plus drawing telephone poles, Mel Gibson’s revenge films, The Losers and thanks to Gianni, lots of cool insights about what’s selling and why and how the American dollar will effect comic prices in Australia.

DOWNLOAD IT HERE, LISTEN TO IT ON ITUNES OR MIXCLOUD, OR BELOW.

1:23 NEWS

Tom Hardy on Batman 3, possible Hulk and Cloak and Dagger TV series, who’s playing The Lizard in the next Spider-Man film and the final issue of the Extra Sequential magazine.

11:54 WHAT WE’VE BEEN READING/WATCHING

Extremely affordable phonebook-sized comics direct from the streets of Japan, Darwyn Cooke’s gritty The Outfit based on Richard Stark’s crime novel, Scott Pilgrim Volume 1, the new and funky Outre art gallery in Perth, the diverse Iron Man by Design, the surprisingly enjoyable Lady Mechanika #0 from Aspen and Hellblazer: City of Demons #1.

51:55 TRADE/SWAP

45 by Andi Ewington and UK publisher Com.x, in which a journalist interviews 45 different superpowered individuals in an intriguing presentation.

1:00:15 COMIC SHOP INSIGHTS

What’s selling, how people find their local comics retailer, reactions of comic book newbies, ages of readers, The Phantom fans and more.

1:04:53 WEBSITE OF THE WEEK

She Has No Head-Ladies Comics Project – female readers, both new and not to comics, pick a comic of interest, read it and give commentary. A lot more interesting than it sounds.

NEXT WEEK – OUR FAVE HORROR COMICS!


Superior #1 Review

I don’t expect that much from Mark Millar anymore. Civil War and Old Man Logan will always be bold and entertaining prime examples of the epic nature inherent in the best superhero comics, but Wanted, Kick-Ass and Nemesis, while certainly daring, were never outstandingly original as his earlier works. Millar’s creations just seem to be becoming increasingly conventional and more reliant on profanity and extreme violence. However, Millar is not a bad writer and he has carved out a niche for guilty pleasures that no-one else comes close to.

For those unfamiliar with his previous work, they may very well drop Superior after this debut, but for the rest of us, we can surely expect bigger ideas to unfold in the next five issues. Superior uses a standard wish fulfillment premise as a springboard for a multitude of storytelling possibilities, of which are only hinted at here. Basically Simon Pooni used to be a star high school basketballer before multiple sclerosis began wearing down his body. Now he’s confined to a wheelchair, and along with his apparently only friend Chris is the target for bullies. After the pair see the latest Superior film (number five in the superhero franchise) Simon sleeps and is woken up by a talking monkey in astronaut’s clothing. This new hairy friend, called Ormon then tells him that he’s been “chosen” and becomes the scarlet clad, chest-barrelled Superior himself before being dropped down in his bedroom a day later. That’s pretty much it, and Millar only brings out questions in this debut with no hint of answers, but over the coming months we can look forward to clarification on why Simon was chosen, who Ormon is and who he represents.

With nods to Green Lantern, Captain Marvel and more, Superior is the kind of accessible tale that brings out Millar’s inner Spielberg, as he mentions in his afterword. It’s also no surprise that film producers have already show interest as it could easily become a family friendly affair, as long as they drop the four letter words in these pages.

Artist Leinil Francis Yu is a great match for Millar’s explosive pages and as he’s shown on New Avengers and Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk and well, everything else he’s done, he knows how to make comics look like blockbusters. Surely there’ll be more of that in future issues.

Superior isn’t off to a rollicking start, but there’s a sense that Millar and Yu are downplaying things now to catch us off guard later. So far it’s just the appearance of a mysterious monkey and some profanity that set this apart from any Disney movie, but we can be assured that there won’t be anything safe and expected about this title for much longer.

60s TV Batman Examined

Every jaded fanboy, such as yours truly, must agree on two things: the unparalleled awesomeness of Watchmen and the cringe inducing embarrassment that was the Batman TV series in the 1960s. Knowing it was such a departure for the character but still such a huge boost of awareness at the same time was always frustrating. Thankfully Burton and Nolan undid most of the damage decades later. However even I must admit that there was a period in the ’50s comics when Batman was as far from his pulp roots as possible, with zany adventures that even the TV series would consider to be too “out there.” In that vein, is this new book from the fine folks at SequArt, makers of this month’s Grant Morrison documentary Talking With Gods. Below is the official description.

Sequart Research & Literacy Organization’s Gotham City 14 Miles: 14 Essays on Why the 1960s TV Series Matters is now available for order through comic shops (use Diamond order code OCT101262). The book, edited by Jim Beard, is currently listed in the books section of October’s Previews catalog (page 332) and is set to hit stores in late December.

Gotham City 14 Miles offers 14 essays that examine the equally celebrated and derided show from varied, sometimes surprising viewpoints:

*Bats in Their Belfries: The Proliferation of Batmania, by Robert Greenberger. (Covers the genesis of the show and explosion of Batmania.)
*Batman: From Comics Page to TV Screen, by Peter Sanderson. (Delves intoBatman’s comic-book roots.)
*Such a Character: A Dissection and Examination of Two Sub-Species of Chiroptera homo sapiens, by Jim Beard. (Compares / contrasts the 1939 Batman with Adam West’s.)
*Notes on Bat-Camp, by Tim Callahan. (An effort to answer that age-old question, “Was Batman truly camp?”)
*Aunt Harriet’s Film Decency League, by Becky Beard. (Weighs the caliber of the show’s most significant guest stars.)
*POW!: Batman’s Visual Punch, by Bill Walko. (Looks into the impact of the show’s visual design.)
*Known Super-Criminals Still at Large, by Chuck Dixon. (Compares / contrasts TV versions with comic-book portrayals.)
*May I Have This Batdance? by Michael S. Miller. (Looks at the most famous TV theme and the songs it inspired.)
*The Best Dressed Women in Gotham City
, by Jennifer K. Stuller. (A compelling argument for its female denizens and their place in Batman.)
*Holy Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor! by Michael D. Hamersky. (Addresses the topic of youth culture as presented in Batman.)
*Gotham City
R&D, by Michael Johnson. (Examines Batman’s gadgetry.)
*Theatre of the Absurd: Batman: The Movie, by Rob Weiner. (Discusses the 1966 feature film.)
*Jumping the Bat-Shark, by Will Murray. (Delves into the third season of Batman.)
*Some Days You Just Can’t Get Rid of a Bomb, by Paul Kupperberg. (The show’s legacy beyond its original broadcast.)
*Afterword, by Jeff Rovin, co-author of Adam West’s Back to the Batcave. (Offers a few personal anecdotes about the show and working with West.)
*Episode Guide, by Joe Berenato. (A rundown of episodes with airdates and fun facts.)

Free Relentless Novel

Novellist Robin Parrish (who I interviewed recently here) will surely get more deserved fans after this. Basically, Amazon is offering his first book in the Dominion Trilogy as a free download. That’s great news for those who like thrilling adventure tales. Here’s the news from the man himself and below that is the just released cover of his next book, Vigilante. I must say Parrish’s covers just keep getting better.

Amazon is offering my first novel, Relentless (Book One of the Dominion Trilogy), as a free ebook. That’s right, Relentless is now a 100% free download, no strings, no hidden charges.

What’s more, the ebook prices for Fearless and Merciless, Books Two and Three of the trilogy, have been slashed down to $5.49. It’s all part of a special promotion my publisher convinced Amazon to run for my ebooks, so those who’ve never read the Dominion Trilogy can give it a try.

The promotion will run for a limited time only — unless it’s a hit, which would cause Amazon to keep it going longer than initially planned, possibly even indefinitely. And no, you don’t have to have a Kindle ereader to readRelentless. Amazon has free software available to download for every computer, laptop, smartphone, and tablet device there is, that makes it possible to download ebooks on any device you own.

Extra Sequential #4

It’s a long story. Actually, it’s not that long. Late in 2008 myself and Dave Lapsley, a mate from work decided to start an on-line magazine because we wanted a creative project to do together. Dave’s not a fanboy like me, but he does have an eye for good art and is a whiz with Adobe software.

We called the mag Extra Sequential and created our first issue mostly during our one hour lunch breaks from work. After 3 issues in 7 months, we helped an international comics publisher with the new mag they were launching. It was fun and a great opportunity. It did happen but in a different way than we expected.

Nevertheless we were happy we got those 3 issues out there and achieved Rising Star status on Issuu and over 17 000 subscribers on Scribd. We did look into self publishing, but working in a company facing downsizing meant it wasn’t a wise move.

We then received interest from another publisher and well, “circumstances beyond our control,” and all that, so 2 strikes was enough for us.

A lot has happened in the 18 months since we started the mag. Dave and no longer have the benefit of working at the same place, and we live 2 hours apart, so there won’t be any more issues of Extra Sequential. This is the last one, and it comes with a note: it ain’t perfect. Think of it as a Raw Edition. A collection of articles and interviews that were destined for print, some of these pages are unfinished, but not many. To be honest, our motivation to see this issue to its final version is pretty much non-existent, after a year of false starts into print. However, it’d be a shame to at least not put it online, so here it is.

Dave and I hope you enjoy it. Yes, some of the interviews are dated, but it’s certainly a nice way to say goodbye. We believe there’s still a place for an accessible, arty mag that reveals to the curious, and the dedicated reader, how awesome comics can be.

I still write for Broken Frontier and am a co-host of a new, weekly Extra Sequential podcast so I’m not, and probably never will be, out of the talking about comics “profession” though and I do recall fondly the hours and hours of creating Extra Sequential.

You can read our final issue below or here. Thanks for reading!

View this document on Scribd

Generation Hope #1 Preview

Here’s a preview of November’s new series focused on the hope for the future of mutantkind.

Your First Look At GENERATION HOPE #1

An all new era for the X-Men begins in Generation Hope #1, from acclaimed writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salva Espin! The enigmatic and immensely powerful Hope Summers has escaped death squads, jaunted across the timestream and made her way into the ranks of the Uncanny X-Men, but her trials are just beginning! With Hope’s arrival in the present triggering the emergence of mutant children all around the globe, she’s headed to Japan — with Wolverine and Cyclops in tow — to find the fifth and final mutant.  But Hope’s ability to activate the X-gene does not come without risk. Could this last of the Five Lights prove the most dangerous yet? A new day dawns on mutantkind this November, only in Generation Hope #1!

GENERATION HOPE #1 (SEP100654)

GENERATION HOPE #1 LAND VARIANT (SEP100656)

GENERATION HOPE #1 DJURDJEVIC VARIANT (SEP100655)

Written by KIERON GILLEN

Art by SALVA ESPIN

Cover by OLIVIER COIPEL

Variant Cover by GREG LAND

Variant Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC

Rated T+…$3.99

FOC – 10/14/10, On-Sale – 11/3/10

Tron: Original Movie Adaptation #1 Preview

Yay! The universe of Tron is returning to cinemas in December. Below is a text-free preview of Marvel’s adaptation of the long awaited sequel.

Your First Look At TRON: ORIGINAL MOVIE ADAPTATION #1!

Marvel is pleased to present your first look at Tron: Original Movie Adaptation #1, from acclaimed author Peter David and rising star artist Mirco Pierfederici along with covers by Greg Land and a stunning variant cover by Salvador Larocca! In anticipation of Walt Disney Pictures’ 3D high-tech adventure, TRON: LEGACY, in theaters on Dec. 17, 2010, Marvel Comics is proud to bring to you a stunning new visualization of the original TRON film. Learn the secrets of the Tron Universe. Discover its cast of dynamic characters. Witness the events of the legendary film in an all-new comic event with Tron: Original Movie Adaptation #1!

TRON: ORIGINAL MOVIE ADAPTATION #1 (of 2) (SEP100542)

TRON: ORIGINAL MOVIE ADAPTATION #1 LAROCCA VARIANT (SEP100543)

Written by PETER DAVID

Penciled by MIRCO PIERFEDERICI

Cover by GREG LAND

Variant Cover by SALVADOR LAROCCA

Rated A  …$3.99

© 2010 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved

FOC – 10/14/10, On-Sale – 11/3/10


Patrick Meaney Interview

My interview with Patrick Meaney is now up at Broken Frontier. Meaney is the director of the upcoming documentary focused on Scottish comics writer Grant Morrison. Entitled Talking With Gods the film is out on October 25. For comics fans, this will certainly be a good film to watch.

Extra Sequential Podcast Episode Ten

We’re now in triumphant double digits! This is what we discuss in our tenth episode, as well as Phil Collins, angry badgers, why Hugh Jackman doesn’t fly economy class and so much more.

Listen to it below, download it here or on iTunes or Mixcloud.

1:05 NEWS

Wonder Woman on TV- the new series by Ally McBeal and Boston Legal creator David E. Kelley

Watchmen and 300 director Zack Snyder is now officially on the Superman reboot

Marvel and DC’s lower comics prices starting in January

Also the highest selling book this week in France is a comic, and good and bad comics trailers

16:30 WHAT WE’VE BEEN READING

The Fountain by Darren Aronofsky and Kent Williams based on Aronofsky’s wild and arty film

Ultimate Thor #1 by Jonathan Hickman and Carlos Pacheco

Biomega Vol. 3 by Tsutomu Nihei

Uncanny X-Force #1 by Rick Remender and Jerome Opena

Winter World by Chuck Dixon and Jorge Zaffino. Not a Kevin Costner film.

39:58 PANEL PLAY

We act out some dialogue from a recent comic. You guess which one it is, then we reveal the answer at the end of the show.

41:52 POTENTIAL PREVIEWS PURCHASES

Every month the Previews catalogue comes out letting retailers and consumers know what’s coming out in 2 month’s time. We pick our fave products from the October catalogue.

1:03:03 PANEL PLAY’S ANSWER

1:03:53 WEBSITE OF THE WEEK

Dark Horizons – the latest in  a wide array of film news, trailers and interviews.

 

Marvel And DC Titles Drop By A Dollar

The first big announcement towards the start of this weekend’s New York Comic Con made quite the splash, and it had nothing to do with the revival of some dead character or the latest comic to be turned in to a film. Essentially, the two biggest English language comics publishers are dropping prices on their titles from $3.99 to $2.99. That’s US price by the way, which is pretty much the same as the Aussie dollar at the moment, and it will kick off in January. As you can imagine, readers are pretty excited. $1 less may not seem like  a lot, but for those dedicated fanboys like me it means either more comics, or spending less, and that’s good news. Marvel’s press announcement clearly thanks the growth in digital readership for the price drop, as stated in this excerpt:

Marvel Senior Vice President of Sales & Circulation David Gabriel confirmed that new books launching in January 2011 will not debut at $3.99. “A lot of talk I’ve heard [today is] about the pricing increases overall…because of the digital comics sales, prices will decrease,” he said as part of a panel whose focus was “Print Vs. Digital.”

Gabriel prefaced the announcement by outlining some of Marvel’s broader successes in the downloadable comics space since launching their dedicated iPhone and iPad application in April. “This week we passed 2 million downloads [of the App,]” the VP explained, noting that the overall interest “does not translate yet into 2 million downloads today for books.” However, as a point of comparison, he said that weekly sales of comics on mobile devices have come close but not surpassed the sales of Manhattan retailer powerhouse Midtown Comics – one of the biggest accounts Marvel services in the direct market.

The sales online were particularly strong for the trial runs Marvel has done on day-and-date releases like this week’s “Ultimate Thor” #1. “We found that in a week’s time, the download of the day-and-date comics were a little bit less than what Midtown orders. They’re one of the top retailers in the country, so it gives you an idea of where we’re at.”

It should be stated that not all Marvel comics will be at the new price, just new superhero series that start in Jan. The same thing is happening with DC, who give declining readership due to recent price rises as the reason for its drop. Similarly, not all their titles will be $2.99, as this excerpt reveals:

“Today’s announcement re-affirms DC Comics’ commitment to both our core fans and to comic book store retailers,” said Jim Lee, DC Comics Co-Publisher. “For the long term health of the industry, we are willing to take a financial risk so that readers who love our medium do not abandon the art form.”

“As Co-Publishers, we listened to our fans and to our partners in the retail community who told us that a $3.99 price point for 32 pages was too expensive. Fans were becoming increasingly reluctant to sample new titles and long term fans were beginning to abandon titles and characters that they’d collected for years.” said Dan DiDio, DC Comics Co-Publisher. “We needed a progressive pricing strategy that supports our existing business model and, more importantly, allows this creative industry to thrive for years to come. With the exceptions of oversized comic books, like annuals and specials, we are committed to a $2.99 price point.”

When taking into account mini-series, annuals and specials, more than 80% of DC’s comic books will be priced at $2.99.

That means that the recent Second Features, such as ones that just began starring Jimmy Olsen, and Superboy, will stop, which is a bummer and that 2 pages of ads will replace 2 story pages, so yes, DC’s titles will be cheaper, but there’ll be fewer pages. I think that’s a compromise most fans can be happy with though.

Entry Level: October 2010

Hit the ground floor running with this selection covering a mass of genres for the discerning reader. If you’re tired of convoluted epics that make no sense to the newbie, these books will give you a good place to start, or add to, your graphic habit, whether they be the first issue of a new series, or a collection worthy of that lonely coffee table. Here’s a list of some of October’s best.

GUY RITCHIE’S GAMEKEEPER

Dynamite Entertainment

256 pages of vengeance from the short-lived Virgin Comics, given a new audience thanks to Dynamite. This omnibus collects both volumes of the action packed story, as Brock foregoes the quiet life he’s known and puts murder in his sights once more. Along with film director Ritchie, other creators such as Andy Diggle, Jeff Parker and Mukesh Singh fill the pages with tense drama and bloodshed. An awesome movie just begging to be made.

BRUCE WAYNE-THE ROAD HOME…

DC Comics

So, Batman was “killed” a while ago in the pages of Final Crisis, with original Robin as his current replacement. However Bruce Wayne has been working his way through the timestream to get back to modern day Gotham. This month sees 8 one-shots focused on how various characters react to Batman’s resurrection, including Red Robin, Oracle, Catwoman and the Outsiders. Also out this month is Batman: The Return from the great duo of Grant Morrison and David Finch, and the debut of the 6 issue Knight & Squire, focused on England’s answer to the Dynamic Duo.

GUERILLAS: VOLUME 1

Oni Press

Brahm Revel’s black and white tale of simian soldiers in Vietnam. Yep, you may be taken back just like Private John Clayton is in this collection of the original 4 ish mini.

EMITOWN

Image Comics

400 pages of two-colour diary sketches from Emi Lenox.  The challenge to draw her daily life, whatever that may encompass, has garnered the artist many fans. You can check out her work for yourself at her blog (www.emitown.blogspot.com) or in this first collection of her quirky, humorous work.

BLACK WIDOW: DEADLY ORIGIN

Marvel

This Trade Paper Back collects the 4 issue mini-series from writer Paul Cornell and artists Tom Raney and John Paul Leon (who handles the flashbacks). Guest starring Daredevil, Hawkeye, and Bucky Barnes as the new Captain America, Russian spy Natalia Romanova must investigate the Icepick Protocol and her own past to survive. If you liked the glimpse of the character in Iron Man 2, as played by Scarlett Johansson, this is the best place to discover more.

ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY #20

Drawn and Quarterly

This Hard Cover is the latest installment from Chris Ware’s acclaimed series. Titled Lint, this issue offers a Rusty Brown story, and also focuses on the tale of family man and C.E.O Jordan Wellington Lint. Bold and diverse story telling at its finest.

NORTH 40

DC Comics/Wildstorm

Effectively creepy writing from Aaron Williams and delicate, yet dazzling art from Fiona Staples from their 6 issue mini-series is gathered here. Residents of a small town discover the weird happenings and monstrous forces that are being awakened within their county. Despite the recent closure of Wildstorm, hopefully their remaining TPBs will come out as promised.

Second Skyline Trailer

Directed by the Brothers Strause (Aliens vs Predator: Requiem) Skyline opens on November 12. The trailer looks good (and yes, that is Donald Faison from TV’s Scrubs) but not entirely original, with a combo Independence Day/Cloverfield vibe going on.