AFTERSHOCK: THE NEXT IMAGE? Are you seeing the kind of books being produced by comics’ newest paper-book publisher? By which I mean, they’re drawing the best creators from the top 2 and launching wide, with actual comics you can hold in your hand. The results? Pretty, pretty, pretty good. Mike Marts, a long-time Marvel editor, signed on as editor in chief—and is one of the company’s founders, and they’ve already produced some really interesting, really different books. Among my favorites: Replica by Paul Jenkins and Andy Clarke was good, and if I had more time to read I’d have added it to my pull list. Same with InSeXts by Marguerite Bennett and Ariela Kristantina. I’m going to keep up with Garth Ennis and Simon Coleby’s “Dreaming Eagles,” about race and war in America in the 1950s/60s. I’ve got Brian Azzarello’s first issue of American Crime by my bedside—haven’t read it yet, but my hopes are high. And the company will be giving away a 32-page promo with excerpts from these and other up-coming creative projects by Mark Waid, Jim Starlin, Cullen Bunn, John Layman, and others—coming February 17.
DC REBIRTH. One out of every two books sold in January 2016 was a Marvel comic. DC got 26% of the market, and Image captured almost 11%. That’s an amazing showing for Image and an abysmal one for DC. So what do they do when sales are down? They reboot. We’re seeing early signs of a “rebirth” campaign already. Sigh.
THE RETURN OF POWER MAN AND IRON FIST. I haven’t read it yet, but #1 is out—by David “Shaft” Walker and artist Sanford “Runaways” Greene (both African American creators). I’m looking forward to checking it out, but mostly I’m so stoked that they kept the logo!
DEATHSTROKE’S FUTURE ON THE BIG SCREEN. Perhaps in response to Deadpool’s popularity, Deathstroke has been taken off the table for DC’s “Arrowverse,” the televised version of its heroes, because the character is now involved in another DC project. I’d bet on Wonder Woman, since she lacks her own iconic foe. Although why DC can’t have characters on TV and in movies at the same time is a mystery to me. It’s never hurt them in the past—shows like Lois and Clark and Smallville only made people hungrier for a big screen version of the hero. As long as they’re markedly different, I just don’t see the problem.
STAR WARS DAY. Also known as May the Fourth be with you. On May 4, Marvel will offer issues of its tremendously popular and well-reviewed Star Wars books for a buck a piece.
THE RETURN OF AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE. The little comic about “what if zombies ate Riverdale” seemed like a one-off novelty at first—one of those books whose title is better than its content—but with a top-list creator (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa), the book defied all expectations and was actually…Good. Damn good. No, great! But towards the end it started to lose steam. It’s coming back in June, so we’ll see if there’s still any (ahem) life in it.
ASTONISHING ANT MAN MEETS SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN. If you missed Nick Spencer’s “Superior Foes” book, you missed the best Marvel heist comic of all time, and one of the funniest, best-crafted books Marvel has produced in years. Spencer is now writing Ant-Man, and he’s doing a superior job—by which I mean in issue #8 he’s bringing in the Foes to meet Scott Lang. Be there or miss a darn good comic!
ARTISTS WHO WILL MAKE ME BUY BOOKS I PROBABLY WON’T LIKE.
- Howard the Duck #7. I have to say, other than Steve Gerber I don’t think anyone has ever done a good job with Howard the Duck, and even the classic original issues by Gerber feel a little wordsy and dated nowadays, so I’m not reading Gerry “I fucked up Deadpool” Duggan’s work on the title. But issue #7 will have art by Kevin Maguire, and guest stars including Spidey, She-Hulk, and Daredevil. And I’d love to see Maguire draw them.
- Nighthawk. I’m not the least bit interested in Marvel’s “most brutal hero,” aka a knock off of Batman rebooted as a knock off of Midnighter, but they’re putting Ramon Villalobos on the art. Arg!
- Spider Woman #7. I have been luke warm on her latest solo series, but I love me some Joelle Jones art—so I’ll stick around at least until issue #7.
MORE SUPERTOONS! This February, DC is launching, along with toys and clothes, a “DC Super Hero Girls” series of shorts (and one longer feature) on Boomerang, which will feature gals like Wonder Woman and Supergirl. Meanwhile, on Disney XD, Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon will bring in Scarlet Spider, Iron Spider, Miles Morales, and Agent Venom, while Marvel’s Avengers cartoon will kick off (in March) its “Ultron Revolution” season featuring The Inhumans, Doctor Strange (of course, since his movie arrives in November), Ms. Marvel and others. It’s a good time to be a kid.
Or a grown ass man with childlike interests…