D.C.’S VILLAINS MONTH STUNT and My Other Views on Other Comic Book News

First of all, congrats to the best comic book site around, Comics Alliance, on their triumphant return.  Read about it here and then go back and read all of Chris Sims’ old articles. He’s hilarious.  But don’t stop reading my blog, which is better ‘cause it’s DIY and it’s mine.

Okay, now on to my big opinion of the week.

In September, most of DC’s comics will be hijacked by the book’s main villain, and the content will be centered around that evil doer.

Why is this a “stunt” and not an “event?”  Because of the 3-D motion variant covers on every issue.  And because the main story in these books will be put on hold just so that every DC comic can do the same thing for a month.  I find that stunt-y.  It’s enforced participation in—and conformity to—an event mandated by corporate, not creators.  I’m not saying Marvel doesn’t do this—they do.  I’m just saying it’s a stunt.  And a desperate one, frankly, as the new 52 has now become the old 52, and DC’s sales are slipping to levels BELOW what they were before the Flashpoint Event that rebooted their universe.

Villains’ month is also a way to squeeze another buck out of you, since each issue will be $3.99 (due to the high-cost cover).  I’m sure they’re betting you won’t nix the book off your pull list for a one-month price hike, and the $2.99 costs return the following month. Anyway, the team that brought you the mediocre New 52 JLA, i.e., Geoff Johns and David Finch, are launching a 7-issue miniseries called “Forever Evil,” and this is all about supporting that.  DC is also trying to sell you three more minis, as tie-ins, focusing on the enemies of Flash, Batman, and Steve Trevor.  That last one, titled “Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S.,” will be written by Matt Kindt—the genius behind Mind MGT: The most complex comic book I’ve read in years, and one that really makes the most of the printed medium.  But that won’t be enough to get me to buy a book about Steve Trevor.  Sorry.  And Marv Wolfman will return to write Teen Titans #23, which will focus on Trigon, but Teen Titans hasn’t been worth reading in about a decade.  One issue won’t change that.  Again: Stunt.

This is exactly the kind of thing that has name-brand creators like Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Paul Jenkins, Grant Morrison and more leaving corporate comics.  I mean, if I’m Scott Snyder or Francis Manipaul, and I’ve got a reputation based on the quality of my work, I don’t want to be forced to support an event that changes my vision of my own book.  It’s why JMS left Thor.  It’s why Claremont left X-Men.  Corporate comics need to figure out how to respect the creators and perpetuate the licenses creation in a better way.

Oh, and didn’t they already do this in the “old” 52?

Anyway, here’s the rest of the news you can’t use but can enjoy and bitch about:

BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE RETURNS!  The Batman B&W collections may be a little uneven, but you can’t say they’re boring.  DC’s bringing the book back in September with a new miniseries featuring Bat-stories and Bat-versions by creators like Neal Adams, Chip Kidd, Joe Quinones, John Acrudi, Sean Murphy, Chris Samnee…The list goes on.
DC DIGITAL COMICS.  The words “groundbreaking” and “DC” usually don’t go together, unless “Vertigo” is being discussed.  But I have to prop where props are due: DC’s digital comics not only blow Marvel’s mediocre line away, but they are, on their own merit, pretty damn good.  At least the Batman and Superman ones are—I haven’t tried the rest.  It’s great to be able to read anthology-type, out-of-continuity stories about characters who have been around for over a half century and see that they can still be fresh—not warmed over old 52 plots.  So I’m excited that DC announced DC2 and DC2 Multiverse recently.  The new digital platform will be used to create “choose your own adventure” type comics that have dozens of possible endings depending on the reader’s selections.  I can’t say this is something that I personally would buy—I like to read my comics, not “play” them—but I would think this would appeal to the younger crowd, and anything that gets kids reading comics is worth doing in my view.  Unless the content is over-the-top R-rated.
FABLES MOVIE IN THE WORKS.  Bill Willingham’s “Fables” comic is one of those consistently praised books that I’ve tried to like twice, but it just isn’t my cup of tea.  I don’t have anything bad to say about it, I just don’t have an interest in the content.  But the producers of the “Harry Potter” franchise want to make it into a movie.
MIGHTY MARVEL.  Mighty (Avengers?) is returning as part of the Marvel summer “Infinity” event—the idea is that the big Avengers teams are all out in space fighting the big bad, so someone’s gotta put in work here on Earth.  The team will be led by Luke Cage, and will also include Superior Spider-Man, She Hulk, and Blue Marvel.  It’s not clear what creative team will be assigned to the book but please, please, PLEASE GOD don’t make it Hickman or Rick Remender.  Let’s give someone else a shot—someone less long-winded, who can give us the real street-level Avengers stories that have been missing since the Marvel Now! relaunch.  There’s space for two more on the team.  My votes are for Tigra and Fat Cobra.  I know they won’t do Fat Cobra, though.  So maybe a Young Avenger could be recruited—to add the youth element.
BENICIO DEL TORO IN GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.  And more than that—he’s signed a multi-picture deal.  We’ve been told that Thanos will not be the villain in G of the G, but he may make a cameo, and Del Toro certainly has the face for that part.  But he could also play the leader of SWORD—SHIELD’s outer space counterpart agency (but in the comic, SWORD is led by a female).
ANTI HERO BY JAY FAERBER.  Faerber has put out some good comics over the years, including the recent “Near Death” and his best-known series “Noble Causes.”  It will be about a criminal who discovers a super-hero’s secret ID.  Certainly, this story and many variations of it has been told before, but Faerber’s spin will be on Monkeybrain comics—so it promises to be indie and out there, and won’t rely on existing characters or mythology.  Plus, like some of Ed Brubaker’s best work, it will cross the line between gritty noir and capes-and-costumes.  The art will be by Nate Stockman.  The books will be about 10 pages each for a buck, through the major digital distributors.
CAPTAIN AMERICA.  Last week, I told you all that the rebooted Captain America is much better than folks give it credit for, but his weaknesses.  With #11, Remender will finally leave the “Universe Z” arc behind, and Cap will take on the Frank Miller creation, super-soldier-serum-pill popping psychopath named Nuke.  Remender promises a spy story, to get Cap back to his roots after his not-very-popular extended science fiction story in issues #1-10.  Again, I liked the story—but I agree it’s time for it to end.  Best part about act two: Carlos Pacheco will handle the art!

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