Well, file this under “we knew you when!” The Beat’s former New Media Editor/Managing Editor Alexander Lu has just announced his first graphic novel! Goodbye to All of You will be drawn by Tara Kurtzhals with colors by Maarta Laiho and it’s coming from Abrams in 2022.
This middle grade graphic novel follows two Chinese American siblings who feel untethered by the death of their mother. The night of her funeral, they wake up in a place that looks like Chinatown but is actually a space between Earth and the afterlife, populated by animal spirits. Terrance and Delilah must adapt to a new world while learning to make peace with their mother’s passing—and with each other.
The deal was repped by Inkwell Management’s Charlie Olsen and Jessica Mileo.
This sounds totally awesome and we couldn’t be happier for Alex!
Since leaving the Beat last year, Alex has been very busy working on this and also editing graphic novels for First Second — including the multiple award winning Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang. In fact it’s definitely Alex Lu Week since you can also listen to him talk editing on the podcast Portrait of an Editor!
Feeling a little teary here — Alex was such a huge support for me and the rest of the team as an editor, contributor and friend during his time at the Beat — we’ve shared so many ideas, convention adventures, and spicy Chinese soups. I knew immediately on meeting him that he was a comics lifer, and seeing his career take off is no surprise — his talent and dedication guaranteed that.
I’ve said this many times in interviews and podcasts and panels, but seeing talented people forge their creative journey, and being a part of it, no matter how large or small, is the best thing about being in comics for me, and the main reason I keep doing this.
Congrats, Alex, Tara, and Maarta! I’m sure there will be much more to come from them all.
Tomorrow it’s Comic Arts Brooklyn from 11-7 at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and as is Beat tradition, we are here to presentn the 2019 CAB Debuts! These are by no means the only new books debuting at the show, but it’s a parade of fresh faces, fresh books and fresh looks, and perhaps something here will tickly your comics reading fancy.
An absurdist, art brut rumination on society’s structures presented in Patrick Kyle’s singular style.
After the sudden death of a beloved patriarch who promised eternal life to his followers, a topsy-turvy society attempts to reconcile the deluded teachings of their late leader with the harsh reality he left behind.
Hands Up, Herbie! follows the author’s father, Herb Perr, from a mob-linked Jewish family in Brighton Beach of the 40s and 50s, through the studios of Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko, Reagan-era art activism, and a reckoning with the responsibilities of raising a family.
This book is the product of Kriota’s artists residency at the New York Academy of Medicine Library, and it includes a graphic memoir and her images of embroidery based on historical medical illustrations.
16 year-old Justin wants to forget a humiliating robbery while his father is hell-bent on getting even, so they embark on an ill-conceived, all-night manhunt that exposes glaring differences in their attitudes toward conflict, violence, and masculinity.
VENOMYTHS 00 is an arts and culture mag from the underground intergalactic resistance at least three hundred years in the future. When every thought and even biological minutia are regulated via a vast digital network, a printed book is an act of rebellion in and of itself.
In five short stories Anna Haifisch blurs the boundaries between humans and animals in a subtle way: carnivores and herbivores meet at a nerve-wracking congress, we get to know a merciless, art-collecting lizard, meet dancing ostriches and a melancholy meditating octopus.
In the second installment of this quirky, heartfelt LGBTQ adventure comic, war is brewing across the thirteen planes, and as always, haunted house attraction (and portal to hell) Dead End is right at the center of it.
Boutique Mag #4 is a community newsletter written for these, our end-of-empire times. Steeped in a half-hearted nihilism, and geared towards a community that may or may not even exist, this mag is packed full of plenty for it’s hypothetical audience to pour over!
A book edition with work by over twenty artists from across the world. The theme centers around ambiguity in spiritual encounters, religious icons or worship imagery.
Ron Rege Jr.
Juli Majer & Cristian Hernandez
Enormous Face/Kalan Sherrard
Joel Skavdahl/Seagull Invasion
Hayley Dawn Miur
So I despise birds. Always have. They are my least favorite animal in the world, and I’d rather sit in a pit of snakes that have those flying creatures circling my head. When I came upon Pelican Bastards, I didn’t realize that the comedy webcomic would prove my theories to be correct about our feathered “friends.”
Created by Michael Aushenker (Heavy Metal Magazine, Bart Simpson, Gumby, Chipmunks & Squirrels, the El Gato, Crime Mangler series), the web series follows a particularly awful gang of pelicans as they do everything from poop on people to straight-up murder. The seabirds—Ivan, Glenn, Jamie, and Claude—are a-holes and know it. They love it, and they create even more mischief when they realize no one can stop them, especially the less than effective police force in town.
Available on Solrad and still updating with new, crazy adventures, the web series is wacky fun. Each installment follows the gang of birds pushing the limits to see just how inept humanity is around them. And their antics aren’t just reserved for their hometown. In one episode they…unload… on a certain North Korean supreme leader.
To begin reading Pelican Bastards, click here. Finally, I feel vindicated that birds really are the jerks I’ve always known them to be.
Between the hit Netflix Sweet Tooth television adaptation and the return of Black Hammer with Black Hammer: Reborn limited series, it’s no exaggeration to say that Jeff Lemire is having a pretty big and exciting summer. It appears the prolific comic creator isn’t slowly down anytime soon as today courtesy of an IGN exclusive, details for Lemire’s new limited series Mazebook were announced.
Just like Sweet Tooth, Lemire is both writing and art duties for the 5-issue limited series that will be published by Dark Horse.
Here’s how Dark Horse describes Mazebook:
A lonely building inspector still grieving the loss of his puzzle-loving daughter receives a mysterious phone call one night from a girl claiming to be her, trapped in the middle of a labyrinth. Convinced that his child is contacting him from beyond this world, he uses an unfinished maze from one of her journals and a map of the city to trace an intricate path through a different plane of reality, and embarks on an intense and melancholic adventure to bring his daughter back home.
Some of the early praise for the series from other prolific comic creators
“Mazebook is a deeply haunting and powerfully human work by one of the greatest living masters of the comic medium. You do not want to miss this book.”—James Tynion IV (Something is Killing The Children, Batman)
“A multilayered-masterpiece. Nothing is quite what it seems. His best work yet. And that is a high bar.” —Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT, BANG!)
Check out the main Mazebook #1 cover by Lemire and as well as a variant cover by Andrea Sorrentino. Mazebook #1 goes on sale in comic shops on Wednesday, September 8, 2021.
Julie Nathanson is one of the most prolific voice artists in the industry lending her talents to high-profile projects such as the Far Cry and Final Fantasy video game franchises. And somehow in between her entertainment work, Nathanson has found the time not only to pursue her interests in psychology earning a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology but also raise a family. In Batman: The Long Halloween, she voices Gilda Dent, the long-suffering and neglected wife of Gotham City District Attorney Harvey Dent before his tragic transformation into the villainous Two-Face. It’s a role with psychological depth tailor-made for Nathanson.
Taimur Dar: While the average person on the street who isn’t into comics likely hasn’t read the original Long Halloween comic, I think nearly everybody has seen Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films which of course were influenced by Long Halloween. Before you became involved with this project were you a comic book reader or familiar with Long Halloween?
Julie Nathanson: I had seen the [Nolan] film. I have a smattering of comic books but I do not think it would be fair to categorize myself as a “comic book reader.” That being said, I certainly love comics and I have been lucky enough to play in this world of DC Comics. I certainly had familiarity with this universe.
I did not allow myself to purchase and read The Long Halloween until I had finished the principal recording. I did not want to be influenced because for me just creating Gilda as her own person with her own inner life was so important to me and I wanted to be as consistent as what was on the page as possible. Tim Sheridan did such a beautiful job writing this script and the entire team has really made something magnificent.
This cast has been sitting on this secret for three years. We all know we have something special here and we all know we were invited to a very special party. Butch’s ideas about how this world would be visually depicted and how Tim brought out the script from the source material, all of these things have felt so clearly special along the way.
Dar: That’s interesting to hear you say you read the comic only after recording. After seeing the film myself, I definitely felt that screenwriter Tim Sheridan and the filmmakers didn’t change Gilda per se but they brought out nuances that enhanced her character while remaining true to her spirit. In hindsight, is there anything you think would have changed your performance if you read Long Halloween first?
Nathanson: Yes but I don’t know specifically what would have changed. I’m going to sound like a hippy-dippy actor but to me, Gilda is now Gilda having inhabited her in these two films. There are certainly nuanced differences, however. I can’t speak for how it would have altered my performance but I really agree with you that Tim did a magnificent job of making subtle shifts especially in her character that let her be voiced so fully. It felt like a perfect transition so she could come alive on the screen and feel real. I’m always informed by the source material and it’s really unusual for me to choose to hold learning more. Especially because I knew the art would be different in some way, I really just wanted to work with what was in front of me. For the process I had as a performer, this is the world in which Gilda is living and there are not many depictions of her that I had found in comics. If it’s looking at her in TheLong Halloween, I want her to live in TheLong Halloween that we were creating. I was pleased to realize how perfectly it blended with the source material itself.
Dar: In addition to Gilda Dent, you also voice a small uncredited role as a young Babs Gordon pre-Batgirl. I was telling screenwriter Tim Sheridan that it’s my favorite scene in the film and he mentioned it was to illustrate the price of service for people in Gotham City like Gordon. I think anyone who grew up with a parent whose job interfered with their family life can relate. Working in the entertainment industry can definitely affect how present you are in a child’s life, so being a parent yourself did this scene have any resonance for you?
Nathanson: That is a phenomenally deep question and I am going to answer it honestly! Yes, it actually did have resonance for me. I have a son and he is eleven. I’m working all the time. I’m going to knock on wood because I love my work and I appreciate my work. But I am acutely aware of when to make sure I am spending time with this person that I love so deeply. I know there are responsibilities as a working parent to be able to continue to work as a support to my family.
That scene and that experience of a parent not being able to be present for something special are more in line with what I don’t want my son to feel and that I keep in mind as I hold perspective. My connection with him needs to come first so that I don’t have a scene in my life where he feels that I have chosen to be called to work over something that was deeply important to him. That one was right in my heart.
Batman: The Long Halloween is available tomorrow on Digital and on Blu-ray.
Monster Hunter Rise brings the thrill of the hunt to Nintendo Switch!
Monster Hunter Tri was one of the very first console games I got to call my own. I recall the clunky swimming segments, the tiniest subtitles known to man, and a whole lot of annoying little jaggis snapping at my heels as I attempted to focus on my target. But most importantly, I remember my best friend across the country and I teaming up to slay monsters.
Every Monster Hunter game I’ve ever played has lived or died on multiplayer.
When I couldn’t find anyone to play with me, the game felt empty and I just didn’t know how to slay massive creatures on my own. Even Monster Hunter World, a game I love to pieces for its gorgeous graphics and art design, couldn’t keep me interested in single player. It’s hard to say why this is, honestly just about everyone in my seven-person statewide hunting group never cared. As the last to pick up the game, they often helped me level up by fighting boss monsters (so 9/10 of them); it came with a lot of “yeah the story doesn’t matter, you’re just looking around and the Handler almost dies again.” 70% of the time it seems that’s exactly how you’d encounter a new monster, which got stale quickly. I wanted to get invested in the story, but it just didn’t have a lot to offer.
Monster Hunter Generations is probably the closest I came to an installment satisfying enough that I could play solo. I adored the idea of being part of 4 different villages. It did shake things up a little, having unique villages to stay in between hunts… and more importantly, the monsters, as the name suggests, all came from different generations of the series. My favorite is the Mizutsune! And, as the memes suggest, this meant I fought the same creature over and over. The monster itself, its combat style, the music, the armor you can forge from its materials- that was the first time I really loved playing solo.
First and foremost, the art design in Monster Hunter Rise is gorgeous. The graphics aren’t nearly as detailed as Monster Hunter World, which is to be expected given the Switch’s limitations, but it’s by no means archaic. When docked, the game looks really beautiful, even on my older TV model. Characters are aesthetic and distinct and for the most part I really like the armor design.
I’m still a bit of a ways from unlocking layered armor, the ability to have a custom skin of whichever armor pieces you like over whatever stronger set you’re wearing, but I have a small handful of unique cosmetics. You’ll notice my avatar’s fox mask, that’s one of them. They’re essentially $1-$3 DLC items which aren’t even limited to your character. I’m REALLY hoping Capcom takes the opportunity to make DLC costumes for your cat and dog companions based on Okami. It’s a match made in heaven, no pun intended. It wouldn’t even be the first time the did a crossover with the divine dog’s design!
What’s wild about Rise is the way it combines so many elements from previous games and then some. So World gave hunters a crossbow gauntlet to shoot monsters or traverse specific terrain and scout flies to help you track monsters…
Rise gives you Wirebugs which help you explore in an open world sort of way; allowing you to glide across chasms and scales cliffs on foot, all with speed and an unusual free-roaming approach. There’s still the series’ usual vines to climb on, but the wirebugs are probably the best way to search every cave and crevasse for secrets and unlockable base camps. But in combat, the insects increase your move set and offer a wide array of special attacks from trapping to aerial assault to straight up wrangling and riding monsters! Personally I’m still learning to make use of the wirebug mechanics in combat, but it’s so cool how they give every weapon even more unique moves! It’s just ridiculously satisfying to launch into the air and slash a wyvern with your comically large katana!
One of the best additions to the series as a whole has to be the Palamute. While your canine companion is billed as an asset in battle, they also serve as your fastest option to chase down monsters as they flee to recover. But what’s more, your palamute can climb vine walls faster without wasting stamina and can leap to pretty impressive heights, which is perfect both for exploration and pursuit! Plus, you can pull off some really badass attacks…
So the story thus far isn’t super different from my observations in World. Both plots are driven by an ecological disaster, one where monsters are driven from one place to another, often with the civilization you reside in on the path of destruction.
While World has its share of endearing NPCs, Rise just has me more invested this time around. You’re charged with defending a small, bustling village populated by colorful merchants, most of which are interconnected. A lot of focus is placed on Yomogi the dango chef (your source of increased health and stamina as well as stat buffs) and Iori the buddy Handler (purveyor of palicos and palamutes.) The two are present during your first Rampage, the aforementioned ecological disaster of the month, despite being children?
They aren’t the only young NPCs and, even as someone who isn’t the biggest fan of kids, they all come off as endearing and express a common desire to help keep the village safe. Your role is the village hunter, so everyone essentially relies on your efforts, but every NPC seems to do a lot to aid your cause. It’s not exactly profound, but I find the whole experience pretty wholesome. I mean these characters aren’t just standing by watching you fight, in Rampage quests especially you’re able to summon certain characters to fight as well! There’s just so much going on and while my dyslexia is a bit overwhelmed, I’m thrilled by all the various mechanics available.
As a tower defense, it’s chaotic and fun, but like other aspects of the franchise, it doesn’t please everyone. One of my series veteran friends describes the Rampage quests as follows: “They’re a lot to take in at first, but I love the idea. It’s tower defense! My two moods in Rampages- confused on what to do and being overwhelmed OR I know how to do everything and I’m bored. My first Apex monster scared the shit out of me, now I’m taking them out like nothing.
I like it, but I don’t think it stuck the landing.” Dylan, having played every Nintendo-published Monster Hunter game to date, feels that Rise is very much a spiritual successor to the Pre-World style of games. On one hand, he liked the game so much that he beat it in 5 hours. On the other hand, it was so EASY for a veteran like himself, he beat it in 5 hours. And not long after that discussion, I reached the credits as well. It’s a surprisingly short campaign. There’s still other monsters I haven’t fought yet and collectibles to find, but then why not extend the story mode a bit more?
Dylan and I share the hope that Capcom will be pushing out substantial updates for Monster Hunter Rise, similar to Monster Hunter World’s Iceborne expansion, but perhaps in smaller bites. Maybe we’ll get a handful of older monsters like fan favorite (or mortal enemy) Deviljo or the iconic blood dragon, Odogaron. It’s difficult to say, but personally I’ll enjoy picking Rise up from time to time, solo to give myself that escapism and accomplishment of sucker punching monsters, as well as multiplayer with friends around the country. That said, my series-staple pet pig, Poogie (as is the default name) is still nowhere to be seen!
Things are dry and droopy after Cisco left The Flash and if the second half of the season doesn’t bring in a new supervillain or the Kid Flash anytime soon, things will become worse. Now that rant is out of the way, “Masquerade” features a decades-old entity capable of psychic abilities. This is also one of those episodes that centers around Cecile and her empath powers, yeah you guessed it right. Ever since she got hit by Psych in episode 11, “Family Matters: Part 2” she’s been acting strange and frankly, a little lost. This episode finally reveals why.
Cecile is shown trapped inside a mindscape, it’s unclear whose prison this is. What is clear, though, is this mindscape is familiar to Cecile. The weird thing is she doesn’t fall into a coma like Barry did when he was imprisoned by Grodd in season 6, episode 13, “Grodd Friended Me“, her body is under someone’s control and nobody suspects her of anything. When Barry visits her office to help her on a case, she gains control of his mind and locks him in the same mindscape as Cecile. Only this time, Barry is unconscious as Cecile takes him to S.T.A.R. Labs on the pretext of saving him.
Caitlin suggests this could be a situation similar to Grodd abducting Barry’s mind, creating two brainwaves instead of one. But in this case, it looks like the second brainwave was ‘feeding’ on Barry’s mind and using it as a source of energy. Chester skips a beat and figures out the culprit to be Psycho Pirate from Cisco’s meta binder, and the man last known to wear the golden mask attributed to him was Roger Hayden who’s locked up in prison. Team Flash concludes the mask has a conscience of its own and plans to steal it from the museum it’s currently being stored at. And say hello to Sue Dearbon!
When Barry catches up with Cecile in the mindscape, he finds out Cecile had been inside this prison for two weeks: yeah, the lightning that hit her earlier was not Psych’s doing! It was Psycho Pirate’s. Also, this mindscape is an old hidden memory of Cecile that nobody knows about, that she was a psychiatric patient in the past after her mother lost the battle with cancer. As Barry and Cecile try to find a portal to the real world, they get confronted by Cecile’s ‘Fear’ who doesn’t let them escape. And in the real world, Psycho Pirate attacks Sue, steals the golden mask from her, and also takes control over The Thinker’s chair that was stored in the Labs’ basement.
In an extremely anti-climatic ending that has Chester stabbing The Chair and deactivating it, Cecile finally overpowers her ‘Fear’ and escapes the mindscape with Barry at the same time. The Team then sends off the mask to a secure unknown facility to prevent any similar incident and Sue decides to stay in Central City a little longer, maybe working with a Team is her jam after all. On a side note, that everyone seems to be avoiding, Barry and Iris are trying to have a child. This episode has taken a very awkward take on this arc, it shoved Chester into the scene where the couple was apparently trying, and he tells them: “take a vacation or something, ya’ll.” Here’s to praying we get to skip that vacation and meet a 14-year-old Kid Flash, I mean this is a show about time-traveling!
Z2 Comics got on the map for its music-related publishing program – working with artists from Joan Jett to Poppy – and they’ve just announced a key new hire to oversee a renewed push into the direct market. Industry vet Devin Funches has been hired as Director of Retail Sales where he will oversee several new initiatives, including a direct sales program geared toward comic book specialty retailers and independent record stores.
Funches is formerly of Oni/Lion Forge, where he served as sales manager for five years. Previously he was at BOOM!, Acosta and Coca–Cola. He’s definitely one of the most knowledgeable people about the DM out there, and will help Z2 as they build their direct sales and specialty retailer programs.
Currently Z2 is distributed to the book trade via Simon & Schuster and to the direct market via Diamond, but they also have sales via the artists they work with – prior to the pandemic their music-based graphic novels were sold at live event merch tables, for instance.
But as they build more retail outlets, they’ve also announced a new fulfillment facility in Denver. In addition, starting today, stores can order product direct from Z2 with competitive shipping rates, discount tiers based on volume, and returnability across all titles after only 60 days. Additionally, Z2 will offer non-returnable exclusive deluxe retail packages unique to stores who participate in this program with no minimum order per account. Participating stores will also have the first opportunity at hosting touring Z2 musicians, inclusive of signings, possible in-store performances and more!
Devin Funches is the person to help roll all this out, Z2 says.
“Devin Funches had always impressed me at industry events and sales presentations” says publisher Josh Frankel in a statement. “He has a genuine understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities for graphic novels at retail and is well liked and respected throughout the industry. I couldn’t be more excited to add him to the team and am confident that Z2 is well positioned to bring new customers into comic shops and record stores with a truly unique product that crosses audiences and formats.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to lead our sales efforts alongside my former colleague and friend Jeremy Atkins, innovative publisher Josh Frankel, and the whole team here at Z2,” says Funches. “What Z2 has established is a compelling new formula for bringing new readers into the comic book medium, tapping into what is perhaps the most universally enjoyed form of entertainment on the planet. We wanted to come up with some solutions for our retail partners to take some of the risk out of bringing our products into the their stores, and help ensure they have the tools to not only sell our books, but to court these fanbases ready to fall in love with this art form we all work so hard to promote. I was able to help take Lion Forge from a passionate publisher largely unknown to the market in 2016 to the center of the conversation around trends in the industry, and growing sales year over year. I can’t wait to be a part of doing that again here at Z2.”
Z2’s fulfillment center in Denver, CO will be overseen by co-founder Sridhar Reddy, with a warehouse team is led by Isaiah Kelley, and a fulltime staff to ship orders.
Reddy comments “We’re extremely excited to vertically integrate Z2’s operations to optimize our current direct-to-consumer program and drive our innovative direct sales initiative. Building our warehouse operations during the pandemic has allowed us to adapt in realtime to a rapidly evolving market landscape, one that has dramatically shifted purchasing habits online and simultaneously created a consumer hunger for a return to retail. Isaiah has assembled a young and forward-thinking fulfilment team – Clarence Head, Dominique Kelly and Orlando Black Eyes – who have stepped up to meet the demands of the moment and grow into the future of fulfilment and distribution.”
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Batman: The Long Halloween, the acclaimed 13-issue miniseries from writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale. Set during the Caped Crusader’s early years as a crime fighter, Long Halloween sees Batman racing against the calendar as he tries to stop the mysterious Holiday Killer plaguing Gotham City’s mob underworld and the resulting crime war.
Considered one of the most seminal Batman stories, the influence of The Long Halloween on the Batman mythos continues to be felt decades later, most notably in Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight Trilogy. It’s rather fitting that on Long Halloween 25th anniversary Warner Bros. Animation has released an animated adaptation split into two separate parts.
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One is available tomorrow on Digital and Blu-ray and The Beat had a chance to talk with some of the film’s cast and crew.
Veteran animator Butch Lukic is no stranger when it comes to Batman, having worked as a storyboard artist director on the ’90s animated series and various other DC animated projects. Now in the role of producer, Lukic has been overseeing new DC animated direct-to-video projects including Superman: Man of Tomorrow and Justice Society: World War II that not only feature a distinctly different artistic aesthetic but also launched a new shared film continuity.
Taimur Dar: Adapting the unique art styles of these classic comics into animation always presents a challenge. I’m sure trying to match Tim Sale’s iconic artwork for animation wasn’t completely feasible, so what went into rendering the designs for The Long Halloween animated film?
Butch Lukic: What I intended to do was work out a version of Tim’s style but would work for animation. But things changed before I even got a chance to start talking about it and maybe contacting Tim to see if he would want to do some predevelopment work. I was told I had to continue from Batman: The Long Halloween into other movies so I had to adapt a style that was going to work for other films. Obviously, I had to do something different than the previous DC animated universe styles. So I had to go with something that I thought would fit with, as far as continuity, I would go do beyond Batman: The Long Halloween. But first I had to make sure it worked in Long Halloween. It has a style towards Tim Sale in the backgrounds and things like that. In the design of characters, I didn’t go with his designs. I had to go with something I could carry on into other movies if needed.
Dar: Comic fans will likely recognize some iconic images and shots from the original Long Halloween comic. How closely did the storyboard artists study Sale’s artwork or did they rely primarily on the script?
Lukic: Everyone had the book. I got the graphic novel for everyone to look through and see what scenes we could adapt for the screen and retain or what could influence someone to push forward something they were doing in an action sequence. The books were definitely out for everyone. Also, I had blowups of panels put out all over the walls as a reminder or reference for people.
Dar: Although the first part of Long Halloween has a PG-13 rating, I was surprised that Part 2 is rated R. I know when these DC animated films first began they primarily stuck to a PG-13 rating but we’ve been seeing more R-rated DC animated projects in the last few years. Was there a rating already in mind going into the films?
Lukic: Originally we weren’t given any cues as to what rating it should be. I was just following where the material takes you. If it’s going to be an R, it’s going to be an R. Then a few months ago DC Comics and AT&T decided they want PG-13. From now on they don’t want to do R so I had to cut stuff out of Part 1 and Part 2 to make it PG-13. But I guess I didn’t cut enough out from Part 2. It still got stuck with an R which turned out was fine by them. Since that was grandfathered in before they made that decision they let it go.
Dar: This year happens to be the 25th anniversary of the release of The Long Halloween and rereading it, it’s quite impressive how well it holds up. I think a large part of that is due to the fact that Loeb and Sale didn’t try to modernize the story but kept the time period ambiguous. Was that something you were trying to achieve with the film adaptation?
Lukic: Yeah, definitely. That was one of the main things to keep it timeless. “Is it ‘40s? Is it ‘30s?” That’s where I built the backgrounds to reflect that. Also, it doesn’t seem out of place if there’s a phone on the wall, an old dial-up phone as opposed to someone else using a cell phone. Hopefully, it blends and nobody really thinks about it. It was more to stick to that world that they [Loeb and Sale] set up that has an old-world feel from the ‘30s and ‘40s. Basically, the films that they targeted in the storylines as far as crime and noir would work.
Dar: As someone who has read The Long Halloween I knew how the story was going to play out. Yet while the film hits the same essential story beats, there were changes both small and big that surprised me that by the end I started to doubt if I really knew the real identity of the Holiday Killer. Was keeping that air of mystery for viewers whether or not they had read the source material a goal?
Lukic: Yeah it was. There’s a sequence where we change the circumstances of that character’s part in the story going forward. So it’s going to be different in that respect. But it’s also going to make people who have read the book go, “Oh, wait a minute.” We’re not too clear if it’s the same as the storyline in the book. We are trying to consciously make sure there is still a mystery here because a lot of people have read the book.
For the past year, Tim Sheridan has been making a name for himself in the comics industry writing books such as Teen Titans Academy as well as the upcoming Shazam miniseries and Masters of the Universe: Revelation prequel comics from Dark Horse. However, before dipping his foot into writing for comics, Sheridan is best known for his animation work particularly writing for various DC Comics projects such as Justice League Action, DC Super Hero Girls, as well as last year’s DC animated movie Superman: Man of Tomorrow that launched a new DC animated share universe.
Taimur Dar: I know you’ve been asked for pretty much every interview about the decision to split The Long Halloween into two films, which to me seems like a no-brainer. But I’m curious if there was any difficulty to convince the powers that be to do two films or was it smooth sailing?
Tim Sheridan: It occurred to me the minute I sat down to break down the story that there was no way to be faithful to the book and the compromises I would need to make in order to fit into one movie would have just changed it into something vastly different. A movie is going to be different than a book. That’s always going to be the case, even a comic book. As much as we could, we wanted this to feel like an authentic faithful adaptation and we couldn’t do that unless we did it in multiple parts.
Happily, the minute I suggested it the producers said, “Absolutely. Let’s do it.” The executives at the studio, everyone at DC, everyone said, “Let’s do it.” So there was no hesitation. It was the easiest part of the process of what was an easy process in general I would say. The thing is when you’re making a movie, everybody needs to be making the same movie from day one. Sometimes that’s not the case and you still get a great product out of it. Sometimes there are little battles here and there about what’s important. In these movies, that wasn’t the case. Everybody was making the same movie from day one and it was a really wonderful experience.
Dar: Before I started doing press, I used to go to these DC animated movie premiers and panels as a fan. I think the first one I attended was the All-Star Superman premiere NYC. I remember during the panel late/great Dwayne McDuffie discussing the throughline of the story for him was the Superman/Lex Luthor relationship which made it easy figuring out what to cut out for the adaptation. What was the throughline for the Long Halloween adaptation that helped you figure out what to cut from the comic?
Sheridan: I had it easier than the guys who came before me. Not only did I have two movies in which to be able to adapt the story so I knew I was going to get something closer to the way you experience the book onscreen, but I also had a story that has a spine that is based around the calendar. Sometimes that made things really difficult and sometimes that freed me up.
It was easy to know where the split happens between Part 1 and Part 2 because of the calendar spine of the story. It makes sense where we end Part 1. It made it a lot easier to adapt the story because I had a clock in front of me and said, “OK, now I gotta get to this and this thing has gotta happen on this day.” It ends up being both a blessing and a curse throughout the process. In the end, some things had to be truncated and some things had to be expanded in order for the story to work how a movie works versus how a comic works. Like I said, I was the luckiest guy in class because I got to do it over two movies and I had the ticking clock and calendar in the background of the story. It was a unique experience.
Dar: On the flip side, to me, the hallmark of a great adaptation is when new things are added that not only feel true to the source material but enhance it. A great example is the “All work and no play…” scene that’s not in The Shining book by Stephen King, but it’s a brilliant addition in the Stanley Kubrick film. One particular new scene created for the adaptation that I loved and didn’t expect to affect me on an emotional level was Jim Gordon disappointing his kids, young Babs and James Jr., by being too busy to take them trick or treating. I really want to know how you came up with not only that specific scene but new scenes in general.
Sheridan: I’m so glad you brought that up. Any great work of art like TheLong Halloween the book is up for interpretation. One of the things that I felt was a strong theme in the book and thought would play out cinematically that we needed to have was the idea of how service to Gotham City affects the people who serve the city. We needed to see the effect it has on their families. We see it with the Waynes, the Falcones, the Dents, and the Gordons. It’s all in the book and it’s not necessarily as explicit as we made it in the film.
The Gordons, to me, were a very important part of that. Any longtime fan of Batman and TheLong Halloween and Dark Victory, we all know where James and Barbara’s marriage is heading. What his service to Gotham City is going to cost him. Carmine Falcone and Harvey Dent are going through that loss right now. Bruce Wayne went through that loss when his parents were killed. He’s already been through it and is on the other side. Jim Gordon hasn’t quite gone through it yet. That service to Gotham City and the loss of family, he’s heading there.
There were more scenes with Barbara Gordon that, unfortunately for time and pacing of the story, we couldn’t get into the final product. For me, it was important to be able to see the effect on all the families. That it is not just the three guys on the rooftop—Harvey Dent, Batman, and Jim Gordon. It’s also Carmine Falcon and his family. Family is the center of this whole book. Halloween to me is such a family affair. We open Act I with a glimpse at Halloween for the Waynes, the Dents, and the Gordons. To me, that was important as a framing device, because it is the “Long Halloween” after all.
Dar: Because of the design aesthetics, some fans might be tempted to assume this Long Halloween animated movie is meant to take place in the shared animated continuity that producer Butch Lukic has been creating with Superman: Man of Tomorrow, which you wrote, and the most recent Justice Society: World War II films. It definitely works as a stand-alone film but can you say if this is intended to be part of that same universe?
Sheridan: We worked on TheLong Halloween before Man of Tomorrow and certainly before Justice Society. We knew that Batman: The Long Halloween was a “Year Two” Batman story. That was what carried me and Butch into Man of Tomorrow to say, “We did Year Two with Batman in Long Halloween, what is ‘Year Two’ for Superman?” The idea of Year Two was where our heads were at in the beginning. Whether these things are connected in a canon I don’t know anything about that. What I do know is that we had a creative drive, in the beginning, to dial things back and say, “What are the early days of these characters’ lives?” That was where Long Halloween was able to inspire some of the stuff we did with Man of Tomorrow.
Batman: The Long Halloween is available tomorrow on Digital and on Blu-ray.
Last week several new Hasbro Star Wars: The Black Series figures inspired by Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Lucasfilm’s 50th Anniversary were revealed in honor Fan Celebration. Of particular note are the separate Greedo and Han Solo Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary figures.
STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES 6-INCH CLONE TROOPER (212TH BATTALION) Figure
(HASBRO/Age 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $22.99/Available: Fall 2021)
Fans and collectors can imagine scenes from theSTAR WARS Galaxy with this premium STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES 6-INCH CLONE TROOPER (212TH BATTALION) Figure, inspired by the STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS animated series. STAR WARS fans and collectors can display this 6-inch-scale fully articulated figure featuring poseable head, arms, and legs, as well as premium deco, in their action figure and vehicle collection. Includes figure and accessory. Available for pre-order exclusively at Walgreens.
STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES 6-INCH CLONE CAPTAIN REX Figure
(HASBRO/Age 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $31.49Available: Fall 2021)
Fans and collectors can imagine scenes from the STAR WARS Galaxy with this premium STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES 6-INCH CLONE CAPTAIN REX Figure, inspired by the STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH animated series. STAR WARS fans can display this 6-inch-scale fully articulated figure featuring poseable head, arms, and legs, as well as premium deco, in their action figure and vehicle collection. Includes figure and 3 accessories. Available for pre-order exclusively at Walmart.
STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES 6-INCH CROSSHAIR (IMPERIAL) Figure
(HASBRO/Age 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $26.49/Available: Fall 2021)
Fans and collectors can imagine scenes from the STAR WARS Galaxy with this premium STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES 6-INCH CROSSHAIR (IMPERIAL) Figure, inspired by the STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH animated series. STAR WARS fans can display this 6-inch-scale fully articulated figure featuring poseable head, arms, and legs, as well as premium deco, in their action figure and vehicle collection. Includes figure and 2 accessories. Available for pre-order exclusively at Walmart.
STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES LUCASFILM 50TH ANNIVERSARY 6-INCH GREEDO Figure
(HASBRO/Age 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $26.49/Available: Fall 2021)
Commemorate the first 50 years of LUCASFILM with figures inspired by the original STAR WARS trilogy featuring STAR WARS The Power of the Force-themed packaging. Recall intense moments from the STAR WARS Galaxy with this STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES LUCASFILM 50TH ANNIVERSARY 6-INCH GREEDO Figure with detachable blaster accessory. STAR WARS fans can display this fully articulated figure featuring poseable head, arms, and legs, as well as premium deco, in their action figure and vehicle collection. Includes figure and accessory. Available for pre-order at Hasbro Pulse and shopDisney.
STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES LUCASFILM 50TH ANNIVERSARY 6-INCH HAN SOLO Figure
(HASBRO/Age 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $26.49/Available: Fall 2021)
Commemorate the first 50 years of LUCASFILM with figures inspired by the original STAR WARS trilogy featuring STAR WARS The Power of the Force-themed packaging. Recall intense moments from the STAR WARS Galaxy with this STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES LUCASFILM 50TH ANNIVERSARY 6-INCH HAN SOLO Figure with blaster accessories. STAR WARS fans can display this fully articulated figure featuring poseable head, arms, and legs, as well as premium deco, in their action figure and vehicle collection. Includes figure and 2 accessories. Available for pre-order at Hasbro Pulse and shopDisney.
STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES LUCASFILM 50TH ANNIVERSARY 6-INCH LUKE SKYWALKER Figure
(HASBRO/Age 4 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $26.49/Available: Fall 2021)
Commemorate the first 50 years of LUCASFILM with figures inspired by the original STAR WARS trilogy featuring STAR WARS The Power of the Force-themed packaging. Recall intense moments from the STAR WARS Galaxy with this STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES LUCASFILM 50TH ANNIVERSARY 6-INCH LUKE SKYWALKER Figure with Lightsaber and binoculars accessories. STAR WARS fans can display this fully articulated figure featuring poseable head, arms, and legs, as well as premium deco, in their action figure and vehicle collection. Includes figure and 2 accessories. Available for pre-order at Hasbro Pulse and shopDisney.
Batman: The Long Halloween, the animated adaptation of the acclaimed miniseries by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, arrives on Blu-ray and Digital tomorrow. In anticipation Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has unveiled four new images from the film.
In addition, check out this clip released today featuring the Clown Prince of Crime confronting Carmine Falcone.
Stay tuned here at The Beat for interviews with the cast and crew.
Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One will be distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital and Blu-ray on June 22, 2021.
Each moment between Batman and Catwoman begs for more screentime, the pair intermingling flirtation with one-upmanship throughout Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One – including in this moment when Batman offers his hand to help rescue Catwoman. Jensen Ackles (Supernatural, The Boys) and the late Naya Rivera (Glee) provide the voices of Batman and Catwoman, respectively.
Jensen Ackles (Supernatural, The Boys) is the latest actor to put his personal touch on the voice of the Dark Knight in Batman: The Long Halloween.
Batman is tested – physically, mentally and emotionally – at every turn of Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One. And some of the most exhausting work is chasing Catwoman across rooftops in the rain.
Central to the story is the crime-fighting triumvirate of Batman (voiced by Jensen Ackles), Police Captain James Gordon (Billy Burke) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel).
In the lead-up to the release of Godzilla vs. Kong last month, I had the opportunity to speak with the film’s costume designer, Ann Foley. Beyond the nature of designing for the human cast of the monster mashup, my goal was to hear more about her experiences through her portfolio and what goes into this important piece of visual language.
Godzilla vs. Kong specifically, how do you decide the way characters dress? Humans frame monster movies and clothes help convey who they are, right?
Those design decisions are always guided by the script which is the road map we all follow. That said I collaborated closely with director Adam Wingard on the character designs & what visual story we were trying to tell. And if I’ve done my job properly you’ll know who these characters are by their costumes and hopefully, those costumes can help convey the story arc of each of those characters.
What would you consider the most important aspects of designing attire that balances form and function?
Well, in action films those two things tend to work hand in hand. For example, when designing the Monarch Mission suit, I knew we would have intense action sequences involving everything from hand-to-hand fights to wirework. So the suits needed to be able to accommodate harnesses & pads for stunts & allow for freedom of movement with the stunt choreography. But I also had a specific directive from Adam about making sure the suits didn’t mimic superhero costumes or space suits but look unique to the needs of our film.
Between particularly Agents of SHIELD, Altered Carbon, and Godzilla vs. Kong, what aspects do you consider key to designing costumes for a future setting? It seems like you manage to blend the more believable current technical aspects of fashion with an elevated, future feel.
I remember reading a quote from the brilliant Costume Designer Colleen Atwood where she said “there is a natural inclination to over-design the future” and that notion has stuck with me and influenced how I approach any futuristic designs. Keep it simple & make sure the audience can connect with it.
Since costumes are a piece of storytelling in their own right, how do you like to engage the overall style and tone of a film? How does that vision usually come to be? I know you’ll work with choreographers and prop designers to execute good action attire, how about the color palette and the tone of the story? Who do you usually tap for those facets of the production?
Filmmaking is collaborative by its nature & when working on shows that involve world-building those collaborations are even more important. The vision for the film starts with the director and in television, the Showrunner and it’s there that you find the answers to who the characters are — what drives them. From there I always go to the Production Designer to discuss the palette and the visual language that they are incorporating in the sets that might help me in my design choices. Then it’s always imperative to work with the Director of Photography in regards to the lighting and even the type of camera being used & how it will affect certain colors & patterns. When all those departments are working together in tandem, beautiful things happen!
I’ve read about your efforts to pay homage to the source material, particularly in comics. Did you do anything similar for Godzilla vs. Kong?
I did with the young orphaned girl Jia who is one of the last surviving members of the Iwi tribe of Skull Island. It was important to me that her costume represented a celebration of her Iwi heritage while also showing the passage of time for the Iwi, who we last saw in the ’70s in Kong: Skull Island.
Skull Island is now inhabited by the Monarch scientists & military who have established it as Monarch Base 1. Reflecting the passage of time, Jia’s clothing has modern twists with her sneakers, shirt & pants, however, her Iwi wrap is a direct link to the heritage of the tribe and its history. Another costume element I incorporated that is a nod to Skull Island is the necklace she wears — it is made of Skull Crawler teeth that Jia gathered on the island. The Skull Crawlers killed her family so this necklace is a talisman of sorts that protects her from [them], acknowledges the danger of her past, and empowers her for the possibilities of her future.
Are there any other genres, period piece settings, or even specific characters you’d like to work with in the future? Is there a style/setting you particularly enjoy designing for? Any you haven’t touched on, but would like to take on?
I love sci-fi and world-building — there is something really fun about making up the visual language for a project & not being bound by the past, but I’m always open to a fun period project!
The weekend has arrived once more, and that must mean it’s time for Weekend Reading 65! Just as with every weekend for the past sixty-five weeks, The Beat team is holing up in Stately Beat Manor and getting lost in a good book.
Will you be getting lost in a good book, as well? As usual, we hope that our readers will share their plans for reading this weekend with us, as well! Let us know in the comment section on this page, or over on social media @comicsbeat, just what you’ll be reading through this weekend.
AVERY KAPLAN: This weekend, I’ll be checking out Noir is the New Black: Noir Stories from Black Creators, edited by Fabrice Sapolsky with TC Harris, featuring too many creators to list (but check them all out in the image above)! And then, as far as prose goes, I’ll be continuing research for my Loki recaps by reading the prose novel Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee (with art by Stephanie Hans). When Lee spoke with Samantha Puc here at The Beat in 2019, she opened up about writing a genderqueer, pansexual Loki, and that’s the energy I’m hoping we get in the third episode of the Disney+ series.
TAIMUR DAR: I’m past the halfway point of the Sweet Tooth comics but taking a brief break from it. See that The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill is available for free on ComiXology Unlimited. Think I read that first collection way back when I worked parttime at Barnes & Noble but it’s been so long I can’t remember. In any case, seems like a great time to immerse myself in it after all this lost time.
DEAN SIMONS: The heat and sunshine that “blessed” the UK (complete with killer pollen count) this week have now been replaced by the old British stable of torrential downpours, oppressive clouds and misery. Perfect weather to get stuck into a book. This weekend I am continuing the finale to Raymond E. Feist’s Magician trilogy and also finishing Philip J. Reed’s exploration of his favorite game – Resident Evil. Been really enjoying the output of Boss Fight Books and this is no exception. In fact it has tempted me to give the game another shot in the near future.
The third issue of the Image Comics/Top Cow seriesHelm Greycastle is due out in stores next month, and ahead of its final order cutoff date The Beat has an exclusive preview of six pages from the issue. Written by Henry Barajas and co-writer Claire Napier (who has been credited with script assistance on the previous two issues), with art by Bryan Valenza and Rahmat Handoko, and letters by Gabriela Downie, the issue will feature covers by Chloe M. Giroux and Downie.
Helm Greycastle #3 finds the title hero and his compatriots, still on their quest to rescue the Dragon Prince, as the last hope of saving the people of Mexica from Montezuma III and restoring the prince to his rightful place on the throne. But is there more to Helm than meets the eye, or that even he is aware of?
Check out the exclusive six-page preview below. Helm Greycastle #3 goes on sale on Wednesday, July 14th. Preorders for the new issue of the series are due on Monday, June 28th.
(W) Henry Barajas, Claire Napier (A) Rahmat Handoko, Bryan Valenza (CA) Chloe M. Giroux. Gabriela Downie
Published: July 14, 2021
Diamond ID: APR210299
Montezuma III and the MEXICA Gods have assembled their army. Will Helm and Camazotz be enough to stop the war—and rescue the last dragon prince before it’s too late?
BONUS: This issue includes a Latinx action-adventure RPG (5E Compatible) one-shot by TRISTAN J. TARWATER (Rolled & Told)!