§ Nice Art, Dept. of Rejected Pitches: It seems that after the success of Batman ’66 and Wonder Woman ’77 , based on the Adam West TV show, Joe Quinones (Howard the Duck) and Kate Leth (Hellcat) pitched DC on Batman ’89, a take on the caped crusader based on Tim Burton’s films. Quinones recently posted the art for the pitch on his blog:
Above is a bunch of proof of concept art I did for a Batman miniseries pitch Kate Leth and I put together last year. Inspired by DC’s recent Batman ‘66 series, our story would have picked up the threads left by Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. We would have seen the return of Selina Kyle/ Catwoman as well as introductions to ‘Burton-verse’ versions of Robin, Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. It also would have showcased the turn of Billy Dee Williams’ Harvey Dent into Two-Face. We had a lot of fun ideas for the series overall, but in the end it was turned down. Regardless, these were fun a lot of fun to draw and Kate and I got to bond over our love of Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman.
§ This new column by Marissa Louise is the best thing I’ve ever read about coloring comics. Louise explains four different kinds of coloring:
Cut or Cell Shaded
Airbrush or Soft Render
Soft Cut or Cut and Grad
..but leaves out horrible would-be video game coloring, but I guess she’ll get to that.
This first column defines terms like color hold and flatter with all kinds of examples, like the above selection of flatted color by different colorists. Every piece of art is completely different, and that’s all on the colorist.
I’ve often said that fewer people “get” coloring than any other comics discipline, even though it increasingly has the most impact on how art is received. (Think Tula Lotay’s color overlays, or Dave Stewart’s classic flat color on Hellboy, or Jordie Bellaire’s enormous fan club.) Anyway, I look forward to more installments of this MUST READ,
§ At ANN Justin Sevakis, asks Are Manga Sales Increasing in the US? and if you read this blog religiously every day like all good Americans, you know the answer is “Yes” already, but if you want a new summation here you go:
Why? On one hand, we’ve gotten several new major, mainstream-worthy titles during that time: Attack on Titan, One-Punch Man, and Tokyo Ghoul among a few others. Big “tentpole” series with wide appeal are enormously important as gateway drugs: fans come in to discover those, and then end up browsing through manga sections finding other series that appeal to them. Secondly, as several people in the ICv2 article noted, mainstream media has turned more nerd-oriented and subculture-focused, and so bookstores and other media outlets have become homes for genre entertainment, stocking everything from figures to apparel.
But my favorite explanation comes from Carl Horn, who posits that the shortening release window between the US and Japan means that when a manga series gets an anime adaptation, it gets simulcast in the US, and when fans get excited about that show, the manga is already on store shelves. In that way, the American market is starting to work in a similar way to the Japanese market: having an anime series acts as extremely good marketing for the original manga titles. It’s hard to say whether these trends will keep going. Giant hit series like Attack on Titan and One Punch Man don’t come along everyday, and while we’re lucky to have quite a few right now, that’s no guarantee that future titles will be similarly appealing. But the simulcast model is clearly here to stay.
§ Speaking of manga, here’s the latest best seller list from Japan.
§ This Mental Floss article on 12 Comic Book Fashion Icons of the 1980s is startling and shocking and you will never think about 80s comics the same way.
§ AL.com interviews Comixology’s ceo David Steinberger and it turns out that when you work for Amazon, you can’t say too much. but Steinberger tries to be candid:
Two years into your partnership with Amazon, how has it been?
It’s been good. We launched one really large connected feature in December, which was being able to log in with an Amazon account to the Comixology system, and being able merge any comic book content that you bought on Kindle into Comixology, meaning you can actually read those books on Comixology, which is Amazon’s premier comic book reading platform. That’s been great. That’s a huge win for everybody. It makes it much easier for people to be able to experience comics for the first time on Comixology, because there aren’t a lot of people that don’t have Amazon logins. One of the reasons we sold to Amazon was because we thought it was a great opportunity to expand the amount of people reading comics. It seems really little, but the people who have used the merge service or that have read Kindle books on Comixology are active and results are very positive. I’m very happy about that.
§ Speaking of digital, Barnes and Noble is shutting down the Nook App Store on March 15th, which probably upset a few people who still use Blackberries, but if you had perhaps purchased a bunch of comics through Nook apps, which probably a couple of you did, you probably wish you had transferred them to some other platform. More on the Nook’s failure here.
§ Well this is timely! They are giving away Suicide Squad temporary tattoos at SXSW and here they are reviewed.
§ Also, just to get you in the mood for Batman V Superman in a few weeks, A Brief History of Zack Snyder Defending the End of Man of Steel.
§ Halle Berry has achieved the coveted Comic Book Movie Hat Trick with a role in Kingsman 2, a sequel to the Matthew Vaughn film based on the Mark Millar/Dave GIbbons comic. I guess the character Berry is playing may not have been in the comics, so maybe this isn’t technically a threefer. Berry previously played Catwoman and Storm.
§ Speaking of twofers, Daisy Ridley is being touted as the new Lara Croft, which when you think of all the running around she did as Rey in Star Wars: TFA, makes sense. but wasn’t she already kind of playing Lara Croft? According to Deadline, she’s “one of a number of actresses being considered for the Tomb Raider reboot” so just an idea, nothing signed.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.