Time for my semi-regular report on the comings and goings of comic book creations.
First, the item you NEED to see before I hit the break is the all-new Marvel webtoon, “All Winners Squad,” which features esoteric Marvel characters—particularly those created by the mad-genius and comic book intellectual Steve Gerber, who was sort of a Grant Morrison for the 1970s and ‘80s.
The team consists of Gerber’s Howard the Duck, along with Squirrel Girl, Hypno Hustler, Ruby Tuesday, Frog Man, the Walrus, the Unicorn, the Trapster and Mr. Fish. Don’t know who some/all of them are? Well, I didn’t either.
Now hit the break for more news about two (more) comic book legends leaving Marvel/DC (when will the big two do something to stop the bleeding?!?), lots of other departures/arrivals, and more!
GRANT MORRISON IS LEAVING DC… One after another, name brand creators are fleeing Marvel and DC in droves. The latest, and probably the biggest name since Ed Brubaker, is Grant Morrison. He’ll be quitting Action Comics and Batman Inc. I suspect I, too, will leave those series in my rearview. His last issue of Action will be #16 in January 2013 and his Batman Inc. arc, which is the cap on his 6-year Batman epic, is largely already written and is slated for publication in May 2013. Morrison says that his fabled “Multiversity” project for DC—a series of eight issues that takes place in multiple worlds/timelines—is complete, so we may also get that, and he says he’s working on a Wonder Woman arc that is self-contained. Those will likely be the last Grant Morrison DC comics, at least for a while (i.e., until DC or Marvel figures out how to adequately compensate him for his work). Morrison’s latest creator-owned project is the ultraborderlinepornviolentastic “Happy!” with artist Darick (Transmetropolitan, The Boys) Robertson, about an alcoholic hitman and his miniature feathery blue horse(?!), coming soon from Image Comics.
…AND SO IS ROB LIEFELD… I’m not as big a fan of Liefeld as I am of Morrison, but you have to give props to the guy who invented both X-Force and Deadpool. He’s also nice as hell to his fans. He cited bad working conditions in the corporate comic book climate.
…WHILE GREG HURWITZ HAS SIGNED ON…We’re now two issues in to Hurwitz’s run, taking over scripting chores for David Finch on the struggling and floundering Batman: The Dark Knight. This was supposed to be the darker, more violent Batbook, but it’s never found its center (and its publication schedule has been highly irregular). Hurwitz is developing a newer, scarier Scarecrow for the new 52 and it’s actually pretty damn good. And Finch’s art is still fantastic. I recommend you pick it up next month, and give it a try.
…AND THE GREAT “WHO IS JAKE ELLIS” COMIC RETURNS! Volume two of the very cool spy comic will be titled “Where Is Jake Ellis?” Cocreators Nathan Edmondson and Tonci Zonjic will both be returning, and it’s slated for a 12/12 release.
…AS WILL “THE STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE”… This was an ultraviolent kind of Kick-Ass with real powers book. I liked it. The sequel, “The Legend of Luther Strode,” should be on the racks in December.
… WHILE DANIEL WAY LEAVES DEADPOOL. No, he’s not leaving Marvel, but his last issue of Deadpool will be October’s #63. Finally. Way’s run started strong and stayed that way for a few years but the last dozen-plus issues have been running on fumes. Bad fumes, at that.
NEMESIS RETURNS IN JANUARY. Mark Millar & Steve McNiven’s “what if Batman were a bad guy” will get a second run. It’s one of the few Millar projects that never resonated with me at all. I thought it was ridiculous and stupid from the start.
IRON MAN NOW! Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca’s pretty damn good run ends in October, with the final issue of Invincible Iron Man. The Marvel Now! Iron Man #1 will be by the current Uncanny X-Men team of Kieron Gillen and Greg Land. Since I don’t care for the current Uncanny book, I don’t see myself investing in the new IM. Seems to me like it would make more sense to stagger the creative teams, which would both give these guys new folks to work with (stimulating creativity) and could entice people who are a fan of either/or to plunk down $4 on a new book. This whole Marvel NOW! thing is being handled in a very corporate manner.
THOR NOW! The Goldilocks reboot will be by the team of Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic.
HULK NOW! Most of the Marvel “soft reboot” simply rearranges creative teams. But now they’ve said that Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu will be taking over The Hulk. This is the first really great piece of news to come out of Marvel Now!–Mark Waid is one of the best “rebooters” in the business.
THOR 2: THE DARK WORLD. Christopher Eccleston (who starred in the underrated, terrifying thriller “Shallow Grave”) ahs been cast as Malekith. Does this mean we’ll be seeing a Walt Simonson-derived story? We can only hope.
Cover of thor 344
BATTLE ROYALE T.V. SHOW. It’s been a great original novel (by Koushun Takami), a great and banned Japanese movie (Kinji Fukasuku’s final film), a great set of Manga (by the legendary Masayuki Taguchi), a great American novel (“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins lifts entire plot elements and concepts from the book) and American copy movie (id.). But will it work as a TV show? On Showtime, maybe. But on the CW?!? This sounds like an idea that will never, ever fly.
AVENGERS (UNIVERSE) T.V. SHOW. And speaking of ideas that will never fly, Marvel and ABC are negotiating whether to create a serialized drama to take place in the same “universe” as the Avengers movie…but not to star any of the actual Avengers. In other words, a S.H.I.E.L.D. tv show. This, after ABC passed on the adaptation of Alias (the brilliant comic book by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, which introduced Jessica “future wife of Luke Cage” Jones), and while ABC is still re-tooling a Hulk show by Guillermo del Toro. This simply will not happen. What they should do is create a drama with self-contained stories about various lesser Marvel characters. A three episode Luke Cage story, for example, or an ep or two on Ant Man (instead of a movie) and the Wasp, Punisher, Iron Fist, Doc Strange, Squirrel Girl, or even a few villain-focused episodes. They could loosely tie them all together, but this would be a great way to introduce a fantasy/superhero based TV show without expecting the audience to know too much nerdy stuff.
THE WALKING DEAD #100. It’s been long enough that I can be somewhat spoiler-y. In the past few issues, Kirkman has killed two major characters, and the one in #100 has been with the series almost from the beginning. (I’m assuming the character is dead because nobody could have survived what happened.) It almost makes me want to stop reading, because I liked him/her so much as a character, and s/he added a necessary element to the cast….Almost. But with the new threat of Lucille, I can’t want for #101. Who’d have thought that a zombie/horror book—two comic genres that usually fail—would be this amazing? This comic proved, once again, that it is the execution (i.e., writing and art) that makes a comic great, not the concept.
ARROW. Deadshot will appear in the 3d ep of the CW series about Green Arrow, and will be played by Michael Rowe.
NO REASON TO SEE GHOSTBUSTERS 3. Bill Murray won’t be in it. Well, I guess it’s still nice that Dan Aykroyd can cash in, seeing how many cultural icons he helped create (The Blues Brothers, the coneheads, “Jane, you ignorant slut,” etc.).
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50. Every Amazing Spidey fan remembers the issue with the iconic Ditko image of his costume thrown in a garbage can and Peter Parker is slinking off in the shadows, resigning his Spider Duties. In August’s Amazing Spider-Man #692, Dean Haspiel will contribute a story about … That costume. What happened after it got thrown out? We all know Parker later in the issue returned to the alley and retrieved his duds, but did anything happen in the interim? That’s what we’ll learn. Sounds kinda cool.
RAGE BY WES CRAVEN. Wes Craven is probably in my top ten for movie directors. (For context, I’d also include John Ford, Coppola, Kurosawa, Clint Eastwood, Sam Raimi, Spielberg, John Hughes, and probably John Carpenter and George A. Romero in there). So, I’m happy to see that he’ll be teaming up with comic book creator Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) for a 5-issue miniseries and film, coming in 2013. The comic will come first. In some ways, this new process of specifically making comics to become movies has cheapened the work of folks like Mark Millar and tends to focus on comics-as-storyboards, rather than truly making artistic use of the medium. On the other hand, it’s Wes Craven and Steven Niles, so let’s have some trust, people.
THE COMICS JOURNAL COMING TO DIGITAL. If you were a comics fan in the pre-blog days of the 1970s and 80s, you probably read at least one article from The Comics Journal. I know I had several letters printed in it, and even met a “pen pal” from Canada (TM Maple, if you’re reading this, I still remember you!). The entire 35-year run is being scanned for digital release by Alexander Street Press. No further details available yet.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST….DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The title of the X-Men: First Class sequel is has been announced as: X-Men: Days of Future Past. It’s not entirely clear that it will be based on the best two-issue arc in the history of mutants (Uncanny X-Men #s 141, with its oft-imitated cover, and #142), but signs point to yes. In fact, Bryan Singer (who will produce but not direct) may want to tie this into the Wolverine franchise: “I think there’s a strong desire to broaden out the universe. The X-Men universe on its own is every bit as big as the Marvel Universe. And I think it’s time to reach out and explore it, and perhaps even bring some connectivity between the films, as Marvel’s done so well.” I’m already annoyed that this movie isn’t ready for release yet.