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Friday, June 29, 2007

Death stalks the DCU

Newsarama has an interview with DC executive editor Dan DiDio, where he explains what’s what as far as the teaser image released months ago showing several DC characters amid a devastated New York landscape. He also hints at future deaths in the DC Universe, with Mr. Miracle and Big Barda among those in jeopardy.

I agree with those fans who say, enough is enough. Sure, death doesn’t stick a lot of times in comics. Even so, I’m getting tired of DC bumping off characters. Every character, after all, is someone’s favorite. And the drama seeps away when death becomes routine. Live and let live, I say.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A new end for Captain America

I talked this morning with David Morrell. He’s the best-selling author who, among other things, is known for creating the character of Rambo in his novel “First Blood.” I interviewed him about his first comic book project, “Captain America: The Chosen.” The first two issues of the six-issues Marvel Knights series are due in September.

The Marvel solicitation makes no secret that it’s about the last days of Captain America. In fact, at one point the series was titled “Captain America: The End.” So Morrell was pretty stunned when he learned of the death of Captain America a couple of months ago in Cap’s regular series.

His story, which has been in the works for nearly two years, was never meant to be plugged into the current Captain America continuity. As he says, “they’re two different train tracks.” But the development did force a change in the series name so that readers wouldn’t think Morrell’s story was following up on Cap’s shooting in his series.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

McDuffie on "Justice League"

When I talked to “Fantastic Four” writer Dwayne McDuffie for the Comics Fan that ran Sunday, he hinted that he had something big in the works. But he wouldn’t say what it was. Since then, he has been announced as the new writer on “Justice League of America” after Brad Meltzer’s run ends. For an interview with McDuffie on “Justice League,” check out Newsarama.

Monday, June 25, 2007

"Spider-Man: Reign"

Over the weekend, I bought and read the hardcover collection of “Spider-Man: Reign.” I had read the first issue back when the four-part miniseries came out, but never got around to getting the other issues, so this was my first exposure to the whole story.
Written and drawn by Kaare Andrews, it’s set in a dark, dismal future and features the return of an aged, retired Spider-Man. It owes more than a little debt to Frank Miller and his classic “The Dark Knight Returns,” which is set in a dark, dismal future and features the return of an aged, retired Batman. Which I don’t think Andrews would deny: He even pays homage by naming a character Miller Jansen (Miller and inker Klaus Jansen.)
So the story isn’t the most original, but there are enough twists that it’s still worth a read. And the distinctive (if at times a bit confusing) art is definitely worth a gander, too.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rest in peace, Bart

So, I wonder, did I kill the Flash?

Not just me, of course, but all the readers like me who lost interest in the adventures of Bart Allen, the latest Flash. He took over as the scarlet speedster last year in the aftermath of “Infinite Crisis,” and I was just never able to get into his adventures. For one thing, I didn’t like his rapid aging; I missed the younger, more impulsive Bart.

This week Bart died a hero’s death. Maybe it was the plan after all, but I doubt it. Meanwhile, another Flash, Wally West, returned this week in “Justice League of America.” It’s good to see Wally back, but I wish they hadn’t killed poor Bart.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What about Marvel's women?

I talked today with Louise Simonson, author of “DC Comics Covergirls.” I asked her about the possibility of a follow-up, namely “Marvel Comics Covergirls.”

While she’s not aware of anything in the works, “I think it would be great and I would love to do it,” she said.

In speaking of strong women in the Marvel universe, she singled out the women of the X-Men, such as Storm. Ms. Marvel, Spider-Girl, Sue Storm/Richards and Elektra are a few of the other Marvel covergirls that come to mind.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Return to Kirby's Fourth World

When Jack “The King” Kirby left Marvel for DC in 1970, he jolted the DC landscape with an incredible burst of creative energy. The New Gods, the Forever People, Mister Miracle, Darkseid, boom tubes - all rose from his unfettered imagination.

DC is collecting the epic - told in “The New Gods,” “The Forever People,” “Mister Miracle” and “Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen” - in chronological order with “Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus.” The first of four volumes is now out, and it’s a great lesson in why Kirby was, indeed, king. And don’t miss the afterword by Mark Evanier, with some great insider stuff on Kirby’s defection to DC and his creation of the New Gods.

Monday, June 18, 2007

DC moves more into manga

OK, so I'm not a big manga fan. But if you are, check out this from DC Comics:

New York, New York - DC Comics, the world's largest English language comic book publisher, announced today an investment in Flex Comix, a newly established manga production and publishing company in Japan.

Flex Comix is comprised of a diverse consortium of investors including DC Comics, SOFTBANK TECHNOLOGY, Archetype Technologies, MOVIDA ENTERTAINMENT and T&M. Flex Comix will create original manga titles that will be distributed digitally across the web and on mobile phones with subsequent print editions available through traditional book trade outlets throughout Japan.

The agreement will position DC Comics as the worldwide English language print and digital publisher of titles created by Flex Comix. In March 2007, DC established DC Comics Japan, Ltd. to invest into and manage its interest in Flex Comix. This marks the first time an English-language publisher has made a significant investment in an overseas manga company. The move will complement DC’s existing manga imprint, CMX.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Moore and Marvel

The secret is out. When Terry Moore, the creator of “Strangers in Paradise,” was in town last month, he acknowledged he would be doing some work for a mainstream publisher, but wouldn’t say who or what. Newsarama has the news that he’ll writing Marvel’s “Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane.”

Covering the "Covergirls"

I received a review copy this week of “DC Comics Covergirls,” a great-looking coffee-table book from Universe Publishing.

There are hundreds of covers displayed in the book, from Golden Age through today. Sexy, silly, dramatic, goofy - the whole range is there. I got a kick out of the older, siller ones ones. Batgirl has a run in her tights on one cover, a book that I remember from my distant childhood. A cover of “Lois Lane, Superman's Girlfriend” invites readers to weigh in on a new haircut.

The book is written by longtime comics writer and editor Louise Simonson. She does a good, scholarly job, though I would have liked to have seen a little more of her opinions and personality in there.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

"Silver Surfer": The critics speak

The reviews are streaming in for “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.” A sampling:

Earnest, gee-whiz and foursquare, this simple and intentionally inoffensive sequel receives points for being easy to take and scrupulously avoiding obvious sources of irritation. - Los Angeles Times

“Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” is diverting, at times even visually impressive (give the crew credit for an inspired and magnificent re-interpretation of the planet-eating Galactus), but has neither the spirit or style of “Spider-Man“ nor the ambition of “X-Men.” - Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The bar had been set low after the first fantastic bore. “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” sails over that bar like it was able to leap small buildings in a single bound. - McClatchy Newspapers

The filmmakers behind all these comic-book adaptations always insist they won’t come back for more unless the sequels can top the originals. The “Fantastic Four” gang has managed to outdo itself the second time around — and still make a bad movie. - Associated Press

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hulk mad. Hulk smash.

“World War Hulk” No. 1 is out today - and if you’re in the mood for some ramped-up summer action with an angry, unstoppable Hulk, this is the place. Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada promised “World War Hulk” would be a return to “down-and-out Marvel adventure” after the heavy themes of Marvel’s last mega-event, “Civil War,” and I’d say he’s right on the money. Pity Black Bolt and Iron Man, the first two on the Hulk’s hit list.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Ghost Rider" on DVD

“Ghost Rider” is out today on DVD. I can’t give you a thumb’s up or down on the movie because, gasp, I didn’t see it. Just not a big “Ghost Rider” fan, though I have to say some of the scenes I’ve seen in commercials look amusing. So did I miss a classic? (My teen son saw it on the big screen and was not a fan.)

More movie magic ahead: Arriving in theaters Friday is “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.” I wasn’t bowled over by the first movie, but this sequel looks to have a little more heft.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Stan Lee teams with Disney

Stan “The Man” Lee remains a hot property, it seems. This from The Associated Press:

Stan Lee, the creator of such comic-book superheroes as Spider-Man and X-Men, has signed an exclusive content deal with Walt Disney Studios, it was announced Wednesday. Under the multiyear agreement, the studio gets first shot at films, TV shows, books and video games devised by the 84-year-old Lee and his company, POW! Entertainment. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A dream project for McDuffie

I talked today with Dwayne McDuffie, writer of Marvel’s “Fantastic Four.” It’s a dream project for him. Back when he was an assistant editor at Marvel in the 1980s, he says, the company published profiles of the staff that included their biggest unfilled ambitions. “Mine was to write ‘The Fantastic Four,’ so there’s nothing left for me,” he joked.

As FF readers know, Storm and Black Panther have been added to the team while Sue and Reed Richards patch up their marriage. I asked how long they’ll be with the team, but all McDuffie would reveal is, “They’ll be around for as long as it’s interesting, and maybe a bit longer.”

More on McDuffie in a future Comics Fan.

Monday, June 04, 2007

"Superhero" returning to Sci-Fi Channel

“Who Wants to be a Superhero?”, last summer’s guilty pleasure (with emphasis on the guilty), returns for a second season on the Sci-Fi Channel in July. If you can’t wait until then, go to www.scifi.com/superhero/index.php to see auditions for season 2.

I watched the show last year, sometimes cringing but ultimately struck by the heart shown by some of the heroes. TV Guide reports that this season will pit the new do-gooders against a variety of villains, taking it even further away from the concept of reality show. And look for the legendary Stan Lee to play a greater role this season.