This is awesome:
NY Comic Con happened. There’s lots of news to report, and I’ve been late on most of it due to my illness acting up. So, I’ll just pass along the stuff I think is most interesting…I’ll spread it out over two posts, one on comic books and the other on comic-related movies and TV. This one….Is about comics!
LET’S START WITH D.C. UPDATES…
DC’S VILLAINS WON!
September was “DC Villains Month,” during which they published a slew of “bring on the bad guys” books–new 52 retconned origins of major characters. Retail analysts are saying that this is what led to DC blowing Marvel away for the first time in years, selling 45% of all comics sold to Marvel’s 30%. This is somewhat qualified by the fact that DC killed twice as many trees, publishing a whopping 129 books in September to Marvel’s regular load of 67. If they have to publish twice as much to beat Marvel, I doubt they can sustain this win. Seems financially impossible.
Forever Evil #1, the first DCU event since the start of the new 52, was the bestselling comic in September, and all the Batman “Villain” issues hit the top 10 as well. Marvel did take half of the top 10 books though, with issues of Infinity, and X- and Avengers-titles.
But even with the caveats and consolation prizes, DC slaughtered Marvel…But did they do so based on quality? Maybe it’s because Marvel’s current “events” aren’t your typical Captain America/Spider Man/Iron Man kind of events. Infinity is cosmic, and X-Men: Battle of the Atom is barely an event—it’s more like a chapter in the regular X-storyline. Or, maybe it’s because Marvel’s books are dipping in quality overall. They still have the best superhero comics on the market—by far: Daredevil, Hawkeye, and Young Avengers consistently push the genre to greatness, while Uncanny/All-New X-Men, Superior Spider-Man, and FF are regular standouts and head-and-shoulders better than anything DC is doing. But at the same time, Marvel’s traditionally meat-and-potatoes books are at best slightly better than average (Avengers, Thor) and at worst plodding and mediocre (Uncanny Avengers, X-Men, Wolverine, Iron Man, Captain America). Marvel Now seems to have been the company’s first big misstep in a long time—and they need to get back on track, quickly.
GOTHTOPIA. The new storyline written by John “Chew” Layman and Jason Fabok will start in an oversized Detective Comics #27. The first #27 was the first appearance of Batman, so this “celebration” will feature some favorite Bat creators like Scott Snyder, Sean Murphy, Paul Dini, Neal Adams and Frank Miller.
SUPERBOY WILL DIE. In issue #26. Anyone care?
LI’L COMICS. The great Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani have done Li’l Gotham and Li’l Hellboy, and now they’ll be doing it to some Dynamite comic books. But the real news is they’ll be bringing back Tiny Titans, an Eisner-winning series that ended last year.
POWER GIRL OMNIBUS. Amanda Conner’s beautiful artwork will be reprinted in a hardcover volume. (Or should I say “artworks,” since there’s really two great things about Power Girl. Hey, her face is up here!) The writing on these issues is also great—it was an underrated, really good series.
NEW DETECTIVE TEAM. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are moving from The Flash to the Batman title in February 2014.
BATWOMAN INTERRUPTED. Apparently DC is pushing one of it’s most critically lauded creators out the door, shoving Batwoman creators J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman off the series earlier than previously announced—leading to Williams publicly stating that he wasn’t being allowed to finish the story he’d been telling for years.
DC CANCELLATIONS: Vibe, Katana, and Green Team. No surprises there.
AND NOW, TONS OF MARVEL COMIC BOOK NEWS!
AVENGERS ANNUAL #1. Will be a Die Hard/Xmas issue by Kathryn Immonen and David Lafuente, about Captain America stuck in Avengers Tower on Christmas Eve. I’m actually really looking forward to this, mostly because it features Hellcat and this creative team’s Hellcat miniseries was pure money.
FANTASTIC FOUR, FF, OTHERS CANCELLED. We knew Matt Fraction was leaving to do the new Inhumans comic, but Marvel is now saying that both books are being cancelled in December and probably will return with new #1s in the first quarter of 2014. No news on the creative teams. I’ve read every single issue of the Fantastic Four, so I’ve developed an affinity for the family—plus, it’s one of Marvel’s longest-running titles. But when it’s done badly, it’s really unreadable. So, here’s hoping it can relaunch with a new focus—and let’s start with one book a month, shall we? No need to rush into an FF book. Also appearing to be cancelled in the early part of next year: X-Men Legacy, Wolverine Max, and Fearless Defenders.
BUT NEW MARVEL COMICS ARE COMING!
Some are part of what they’re calling “All-New Marvel Now” (because everything has to be a debate these days):
- AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700.1-#700.5. Five one-shots coming in December about the Peter Parker Spidey by powerhouse creators like Klaus Janson, Joe Casey, and the great Lee Weeks.
- ZOMBIES. Empire of the Dead, a 15-issue zombie book by the genre’s creator George A. Romero and illustrated by the great Alex Maleev. This has potential, but I’m not sure my zombie comic interest will go farther than Walking Dead.
- SHE HULK. Charles Soule and Javier Pulido will do a Shulk comic. The She Hulk solo books have a few runs that, frankly, are some of the best comics ever. First, John Byrne used She Hulk to break the fourth wall and do everything Deadpool has aspired to do, only much better. Then Dan Slott turned the character around with a run that focused on lawyering not superheroics. Both are intensely satisfying comics, worth reading and rereading again and again. Will this one be as good? Hard to imagine that’s possible…
- IRON PATRIOT featuring Rhodey in the armor.
- SILVER SURFER. By Dan Slott and Mike Allred. You cannot ask for a more perfect Surfer team. It’s going to be a space book, but Surfer will have a female human companion on his adventures. I may be looking forward to this one more than any other.
- GHOST RIDER by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore. This time, he’s a high schooler. About every tenth GR series is worth reading, and we’re not quite ten away from Garth Ennis’ run yet. So, give this about 10 issues before it’s cancelled.
- PUNISHER GOES TO LOS ANGELES. By Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerards. He’ll be tracked and hunted by a government Punisher squad looking to shut him down for good. As long as they get him out of the Thunderbolts, I’m in. T-Bolts is the first Punisher comic I haven’t bought. Like, ever. I even bought Space Punisher. That’s how bad Thunderbolts is.
- NEW WARRIORS by Chris Yost and Marcus To—who last worked together on DC’s Red Robin. I love the New Warriors, and Yost has done some excellent work. Marvel was selling this as Wolfman/Perez Titans meets Runaways. So, in other words, they compared it to two of the greatest teen team comic books of all time. No pressure, though.
- LOKI: AGENT OF ASGARD. It looks like Loki, who has been used a child to great effect in the pages of the wonderful Young Avengers, is growing up and will get his own series. Just in time for Thor: The Dark World. What a coincidence!
- MIRACLEMAN. I still have the complete Alan Moore run, unread, on my bookshelf. And everyone’s been clamoring for the Neil Gaiman issues. So there was a lot of hype that Marvel is reprinting all of them, with Gaiman and Mark Buckingham to publish an “ending” to their story, which was abruptly unfinished up to now. Someday I’ll read these. Maybe if I skip the Alan Moore stuff. Honestly, I understand why his “important” works are so revered, but a lot of his stuff just leaves me cold. If you’re interested, there’s a detailed discussion of the series here
- CAPTAIN MARVEL #1. This is weird, because we just got a perfectly good #1 (actually, a damn good #1) last year. At least it will still be scripted by Kelly Sue DeConnick, who has in very short time made herself the quintessential voice for this character.
- ELEKTRA. By Zeb Wells and Mike Del Mundo. I will try anything that Zeb writes.
- AVENGERS OVERKILL. There’s going to be (yet another) Avengers title called “Avengers World,” but I’m much more interested in Avengers Undercover–Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker’s sequel to the grossly underrated Avengers Arena. It will follow the survivors of that book.
- ALL NEW X-FACTOR by Peter David and Carmine DiGiandomenico. If PAD’s writing it, I’m reading it.
- FREE WEBCOMIC OF DEADPOOL. Deadpool: The Gauntlet #1, coming in January, will be a free digital release, and will feature the Monster Metropolis from Frankencastle.
Wow. Marvel totally dominated NYCC, didn’t they?
AND FINALLY, NEWS ABOUT COMICS BY “NOT MARVEL OR D.C.”
BETTY AND VERONICA…DIE? The Archie producers announced a new, ominous title: “Farewell to Betty and Veronica.”
NEW TUROK, SOLAR, AND MAGNUS COMICS. Dynamite Comics now owns these classic Gold Key characters who briefly had a home at Valiant in the 1990s. Creators include Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente.
AVATAR LAUNCHES SCI FI LINE. Among the highlights:
- CALIBAN by Garth Ennis. Ennis’ stuff always gets at least a three-issue trial from me, so I’m excited.
- NEURO-TRASH. A futuristic, dark and gritty book about immigration in the future, to be written by Simon Spurrier.
- RED SHIFT, about a space bounty hunter who’s a jerk. (Shades of Lobo?)
- GRAVEL-COMBAT MAGICIAN. Mike Wolfer is bringing back the book, with creator Warren Ellis as a cowriter.
- MORE GARTH ENNIS CROSSED. A seven-issue arc. There’s no way this one can be bad, right?
AND SPEAKING OF SALES…We started talking about DC’s win in September, but WALKING DEAD #115 was the best-selling comic of 2013 so far. The book just keeps shattering sales records, and the show keeps getting more popular.