In an environment where the bigger publishers have too much to lose to risk burning any bridges with comic-book retailers, it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that it’s a small independent company like Boom! Studios that comes out with the most sweeping and unapologetic approach yet to digital distribution.
David Brothers once again steps in and does the tiresome work of explaining, to folks who still require it, what precisely is so deeply and disturbingly wrong with statements and mindsets like the one articulated by DC Comics editor Ian Sattler, and why a clunky cartoon page from 30 years ago is precisely the kind of response merited by something like that, morally and intellectually.
Frankly, I’m appalled that we even need to talk about why bringing “blue” people into a discussion about race without irony rather misses several marks by several leagues.
If you have to do Howard the Duck without his creator Steve Gerber, and I remain entirely unconvinced that you do, then Stuart Moore is probably better qualified than most. Moore was Gerber’s editor for a Howard the Duck miniseries released through Marvel’s Max imprint in 2001 and 2002, and from what Gerber wrote about the experience later, it seems he generally had a good time doing it.
In September, now, there’s going to be a new Howard one-shot from Marvel, written by Moore, that will evidently have a meta-take on the character. I’m sure it’s by well-intentioned people, but I still have a hard time seeing the point. Frankly, I feel pretty safe in predicting that nothing ever published by Marvel will ever be as “meta” as it would need to be about Howard the Duck and Steve Gerber to not leave a bad taste in the mouth of anyone who’s even broadly aware of the history.
Also from Marvel in September: something called Deadpool: Pulp, which has art by Laurence Campbell and will look good; the final issue of Web of Spider-Man; more Thor, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and Thor product to feed the Mighty Marvel Merchandise Machine; a weekly five-issue miniseries, called Heroic Age: One Month to Live, that sounds like a less coherent version of Harlan Ellison’s 1972 issue of Avengers; a relaunch of the Wolverine line by familiar faces; Incognito and Kick-Ass coming back for seconds; the return of Solo Avengers, now titled I Am an Avenger; and—wait for it—a 750-page Acts of Vengeance brick, collecting “the premier crossover event of the 1990s,” which is a fancy way of saying that it was probably the first crossover event of the 1990s, chronologically.
Over at DC, “the new Aqualad” is the peak of awesomeness in September. (It’s a character, not a cleaning mop promoted by Chuck Norris.)
In other news, those previously announced war-comics one-shots are coming out, for $ 3.99 per 32-page pamphlet; Batman and Robin and Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne arrive at some kind of conclusion; Marv Wolfman, George Pérez and friends turn in a book-length New Teen Titans story they started working on decades ago; there’s a new ongoing Freedom Fighters title, against all odds; WildStorm has a Wetworks one-shot by people you haven’t heard of, because that’s going to sell well, and a bunch of new game adaptations that might make the Top 300 chart, accompanied by insubstantial rumors that they’re all the rage in game stores; and Vertigo puts out a book-length comic by Sarah Glidden, titled How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less.
Brian Michael Bendis talks to Vaneta Rogers about Marvel’s Ultimate line:
The best thing about Ultimatum, to me, was I got to do the most bullshitty writing moment I’ve ever gotten to do. When I was writing it, I was laughing, because I knew there was a tidal wave coming. So I could write these, like, I got to have Aunt May get arrested. Aunt May gets put in a box, and the cops are working her over, then… tidal wave!
In any other place, if you wrote a story where your character was going through this traumatic thing and you just all of the sudden dropped a tidal wave on her, that would have been the worst writing in the history of the world. But it’s not my tidal wave, so I get away with it.
Actually, reading this made me think a lot of North American mainstream comics are written like there’s a tidal wave coming. It doesn’t, in most cases, of course.
Sean T. Collins lovingly dissects Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris’s Ex Machina. (I love loving dissections.)
A bunch of Grant Morrison comics are out in new formats this week.
First up is the first of two hardcover books collecting Seven Soldiers of Victory, the mammoth, hyper-layered, super-complex 30-part crossover that Morrison wrote all by himself in 2005 and 2006. It has everything you’ve ever loved/hated about Morrison’s superhero work, plus art by J.H. Williams III, Simone Bianchi, Ryan Sook, Frazer Irving and Cameron Stewart.
Next, Batman: R.I.P., plus the two-part sequel that actually belongs more to Final Crisis, comes out as a paperback edition. The story, which has dull but mostly serviceable art by Tony Daniel and Lee Garbett, ends on an anti-climax that drove people nuts at the time and may not have been the smartest move from a marketing perspective. Taken on its own terms, though, it’s the culmination of a fascinating take on the character. In plot terms, its true ramifications are only now beginning to play out in the Batman books.
From Marvel, finally, there’s a $ 1.00 reprint of New X-Men #114 from 2001, drawn by Frank Quitely. It’s the beginning of Grant Morrison’s three-year revamp of the franchise and, to date, the most innovative and well-told X-Men comic in existence.