COMICBOOKNEWSBLAST

Before I launch into the semi-regular comic book news items, I want to throw attention to Turbo Defiant Kimecan, an online graphic novel that’s been around since January 2010 and is poised to jump to print later this year.  But it’s not the print work that’s catching my attention, it’s how they handled the online publication.  The panels jump seamlessly, the art is beautifully reproduced…It’s actually fun to read it online, as each mouse click builds suspense.  This is the future of comics. Why they’re going to print, I don’t know.  Oh, wait.  Yes I do.  Because you can’t make money with online indie comic book.

This week: The new Daredevil! Joker versus Dick-Bat! More new DC books announced! The X-Men First Class sequel! And more! Hit the break!

The news this time around, with the stories in no particular order . . .

DAREDEVIL: IN PRINT AND ON THE BIG SCREEN!

Based on runs by Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, and Ed Brubaker, DD is, in my view, the comic book character with the highest “greatness” potential. So, naturally, I’m wicked excited that the current (dreadful) run is over and July 7 will see a “rebirth” of Daredevil at the hands of Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera, and Marcos Martin. Marvel’s released a few advance pages of a battle against a Spider-Man “One More Day” villain named The Spot, and the art is—as you’d expect—some of the most imaginative, beautiful stuff I’ve seen in years. This looks like it will be the phenomenal book that DD deserves (and needs, post-Shadowland)—maybe even reaching the heights of the Miller/Bendis/Brubaker runs.

But my hopes are now slightly reduced, as The Man Who Can’t Keep His Hands Off Of Anyone, Brian Michael Bendis (Marvel’s answer to Geoff Johns) will be bringing DD into the “New Avengers” fold right after Waid begins his run. I was looking forward to Mark Waid being able to stretch out and go slow—he’s best at gradually building storylines—but I don’t see how he can do that while his main guy is being simultaneously rehabilitated by Bendis.  Don’t get me wrong–I enjoy my Bendis.  I just think that it would be nice to see a single author’s perspective on bringing the title back, and I had high hopes for Waid being allowed to just be Waid, without having to deal with another major change in his character’s life.  Daredevil has never been a team player before, so that alone will bring up additional complications for him.

And, at the same time, Marvel will release (finally) the “Daredevil: End of Days” mini, written by Bendis and David Mack with art by Klaus Janson, Bill Sienkiewicz and Alex Maleev.  “End of Days”is, according to Bendis “Not a What-If story. . . This IS how the story of Daredevil will end.”  Obviously, it’s not in continuity.  It will be, of course, fantastic to see Janson return to DD (as well as Bendis, Mack and Maleev), and I can’t wait to see the legendary Sienkiewicz’s take on the character.

As for the movie…Yah, the first one sucked. Hard and long. It sucked so hard it deflated any hope for the future. Yet, it still spawned a spin-off (which was really just an excuse to see Jennifer Garner in tight clothes—not that there’s anything wrong with that). I was so, so, so disappointed, as DD is probably my favorite Marvel character-one who has the potential for many interesting movies. Well, the reboot is moving forward with the screenwriter of the Fringe TV show and the film Brooklyn’s Finest, Brad Caleb Kane. The story will be based on Frank Miller’s “Born Again” storyline, in which Miller returned to the comic several years after his epic, industry-changing run, to tell what happens when a junkie who knows Murdock’s identity decides to sell the secret for the price of a vein spike. It’s a strange story to pick: No origin (thank God!) and a heavy reliance on a back story that only the most hardcore fans will be familiar with. I hope they pull it off, but I have to say, on this one, I am not a man without fear.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

The relaunch (another Cap #1) wherein Steve gets his pajamas and Frisbee back will begin with the funeral of Peggy Carter, who is a main character in the film. This is due in late July, to coordinate with the film release.

Now,  to editorialize: At first blush, having the Captain America comic sync with the movie seems like a good idea. But it isn’t. Here’s a true fact: Movies don’t drive comic book sales. Show me empirical evidence that I’m wrong.  I’ll give you a few minutes to scan the last few years of sales figures.

“But what about the boom in sales for Wanted and Scott Pilgrim and The Walking Dead,” you say, “which happened when their movies/TV shows came out?” To which I respond: (a) Those were independent books, and they had nowhere to go but up in terms of sales. Marvel and DC Zombies, who populate comic books stores but avoid indie books, got curious enough to test the waters. But folks who never read comics didn’t start as a result of the movies. And, more importantly: (b) The real sales jumps were not in comic books, but in trade paperbacks. See, now, there you can see a jump. So if Marvel really wanted to boost sales around movie time, they’d release a graphic novel to launch the new Cap—or they’d come out with some definitive omnibus release.  Like they did with Simonson’s Thor (brilliant move!).

AND THE REST OF THE NEWS….

AVENGERS. In other comic book movie news: Now the rumor is we’ll see Thanos (as well as Loki and the Skrulls) in the Avengers movie. I hope this doesn’t turn into a “jam it all in” film—like Spider-Man 3—but with Joss Whedon at the helm, I remain extremely optimistic.

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS SEQUEL(?). And to make it a Marvel Movie Trifecta: The screenwriters of the new film said at a London Comicon that they are working on the script for the next one, and they’re considering bringing in . . . Cable!  My thoughts? Glad you asked. Other than Days of Future Passed and possibly Grant Morrison’s final New X-Men arc, most X-time travel stories make my head hurt. And other than the relatively recent X-arc, “Second Coming,” where Cable “died,” Cable without Deadpool is pretty much grape jelly without peanut butter. It’ll do to make bread better, but too much of it makes the bread soggy. Strained analogy? Try reading some solo Cable books. You’ll see what I mean. They just don’t stand up. Anyway, the film grossed $56 million U.S.
dollars and $120 million worldwide, yet they’re calling it a failure.  Personally, I think it may be the best superhero movie ever—or, at least, it’s damn close.

STRANGE ADVENTURES #1. At the end of May, Vertigo released this 80-pager featuring their best contributors: Jeff Lemire, Brian Azzarello, Peter Milligan, Denys Cowan and many others. Highly recommended.

G.I. JOE: COBRA STRIKES. I dunno about all of you, but I kinda dug the G.I. Joe movie. It was over-the-top Larry Hama fun. Looks like the sequel may star Dwayne Johnson as Roadblock.  I admit it: I’m a sucker for The Rock.  I’m excited.

SPIDER ISLAND: THE AVENGERS. Of course The Avengers are going to tie-in with the Spider event. But what will thrill my two little boys is the lineup: Hawkeye (a favorite of both), Ms. Marvel and Mrs. Cage (they’re at the age where it’s kinda cool to have some chicks around) and my oldest kid’s favorite fringe character . . . Frog Man!

WHY SO SERIOUS? If you’re not reading Scott Snyder and Jock’s work on Detective Comics, you’re missing out. Where else can you read a detective story where the murder victim is a whale. A real whale. Found on the floor of a bank. Seriously. And we’ll be seeing the return of the Joker. (He’ll escape from Arkham yet again.) And you’ve got to see Jock’s rendition. Actually, you can.  Just to the right there, a little.

Amazing, eh?

AND SPEAKING OF ARKHAM….Hey, since DC is revamping its universe I suggest either: (1) Zap everyone’s memory about Arkham, so it’s plausible why they keep sending criminals there; or (2) Build a new damn lock-down mental ward! I’m saying it as a joke, but wouldn’t that be a wicked premise for a new series?  “Arkham 2” or “New Arkham,” about the construction of the prison and then the first criminals put in there, how to secure it, how they treat the prisoners, etc. Dan Slott and others have done tales from within Arkham that were very good—this has mad potential. Here’s my suggestions for the first three arcs: (1) Penguin, the entrepreneur, gets someone working on building the prison to construct a few secret doors, complete with maps, which Cobblepot then sells to a few high bidders (in the “real world” (a.k.a. our universe), the Son of Sam actually helped construct a wing in Ossining Prison); (2) A janitor slowly
driven mad by Joker, who whispers at him from behind the cell doors turns into a supervillain similar to Joker, who tries to reenact Joker’s crimes; (3) A celebrity stalker gets a job as a guard and starts collecting—and selling—personal items from the inmates. One of the inmates finds out and takes offense. Mayhem ensues. The possibilities are endless! Now, Dan Didio, go make it happen!

ESSEX COUNTY: THE MOVIE. Yes. Jeff Lemire’s cult classic, which has been voted one of the greatest graphic novels of all time, will be directed by John Dykstra (visual FX on X-Men: First Class), under the title “Super Zero.” It’s hard to imagine this quirky book as a film, but I’m curious….

GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD KNIGHTS. Apparently, the DVD will be a series of shorts focused on individual members of the Corps, like Kilowog, Tomar Re, etc., tied together with a central theme. The director of the film compared it to Pulp Fiction in an interview with CBR . Okay, that’s a reach, but I am looking forward to it.

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