This week, the major publishers started releasing their advertisements for comics shipping in August 2010. At DC, the big thing of the month is J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis’s Superman: Earth One paperback hardcover, an original book-length reinvention of Superman at 136 pages, with a retail price of $ 19.99.
I’m inclined to say that there’s potential in this move and it’s about time and such, but then again, I’m not even sure how to measure that book’s success right now. Will it have to reach people in bookstores to do what it’s supposed to? Probably. On the other hand, though, I’m thinking that it could be a major step in the right direction even if it “just” manages to break, say, 25K in the direct market in its first month.
That sort of success would be a limited one, but in the long term, it might lead to a transformation of that market segment that the field as a whole could stand to profit from tremendously, even if it doesn’t catch on with a mainstream audience immediately.
In other DC news, they’re starting to test the waters for 22-page, $ 3.99 comics with the new ongoing series Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors, in addition to the previously launched miniseries Time Masters and The Mighty Crusaders.
Delightfully, Wildcats Version 3.0, a bold and visionary take on the superhero genre by writer Joe Casey and artist Dustin Nguyen, is being collected in two new volumes, the first of which, titled Wildcats Version 3.0: Year One, will be out in September. Do yourself a favor and seek them out.
And the company pulls the plug on Magog, a Justice Society spinoff, and G. Willow Wilson and MK Perker’s Air, a generally well-reviewed Vertigo title, presumably because the sales weren’t there.
At Marvel, August looks like a relatively unspectacular month.
Paul Cornell returns to Spitfire, one of the characters from his acclaimed Captain Britain series, in an eponymous one-shot special; Deadpool hits issue #1000, with a contribution by Peter Bagge; Mark Millar launches the third volume of Ultimate Avengers, this time with the unlikely Steve Dillon drawing; Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz say goodbye with Spider-Girl: The End, possibly for good this time; and there are three new series in which the X-Men or Namor, or both, fight vampires, which is probably three too many.
In terms of “tentpole” releases, there’s the “Shadowland” crossover spinning out of Daredevil, which spreads out over an unbelievable seven books in August. And editor-in-chief Joe Quesada himself sees fit to re-open a can of worms in Amazing Spider-Man, because his “One More Day” story from a few years back failed to put Spider-Man’s marriage to rest and instead turned it into a Damocles Sword which has been hovering over the book ever since.
The confidently titled Thor: The Rage of Thor and Punishermax: Happy Ending, both written by Peter Milligan, as well as Daredevil: Black & White, which includes contributions by Milligan, Ann Nocenti and David Aja, among others, promise to be good fun, meanwhile.
After DC, Marvel and Image have all released $1.00 comic-book reprints to promote their backlist, Dark Horse Comics joins the fray in August with new editions of some of their more prestigious titles, like Sin City, Hellboy and Conan.
Also coming up from Dark Horse in August: more B.P.R.D. and Baltimore by Mike Mignola and friends; collections and new editions of Jill Thompson’s Scary Godmother, Mario and Gilbert Hernandez’s Citizen Rex and Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon’s De:Tales; and a new Magnus, Robot Fighter miniseries written by Jim Shooter.
And, notably, the sequel book Grandville Mon Amour by Bryan Talbot.
Douglas Wolk, the Thomas Magnum of comics criticism, which I mean in a good way, talks about three shades of Brian Michael Bendis: the conclusions of Siege, Dark Avengers and New Avengers.
Comics reporter Tom Spurgeon, the Inspector Columbo of comics criticism, which I also mean in a good way, talks to Noah Berlatsky about various aspects of criticism and the people who perpetrate it.
(In the comments section, the conversation takes on a much more personal tone, I should warn you.)
Tom Crippen, the Dr. House of comics criticism, which I yet again mean in a good way, reviews an issue of Hellblazer.
Related: Crippen discusses his process.
Comics journalist and critic Graeme McMillan has joined the Techland crew.
For the last couple of years there’s been some amazing growth—both in quality and quantity—for comics journalism and criticism, and McMillan, since launching his Fanboy Rampage!!! blog in 2004, has been a big part of that evolution.
If anyone needed any more reasons to add Techland to their daily browsing, now you’ve got it.
In this week’s Invincible Iron Man #26, writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvador Larroca continue the “Stark Resilient” arc—which, as it were, is something of a sequel to Joe Casey’s Wildcats Version 3.0 and Iron Man: The Inevitable.
For more than two years now, the series has consistently been the best straightforward mainstream superhero comic book on the stands, and now it seems like the creators are ready to push it—and the genre—in a new direction.
It’s a good time to sample the book.