Author: Van Jensen

Mark Millar Churns the ‘Superman’ Rumors

Mark Millar Churns the ‘Superman’ Rumors

If you read this story in the Scottish Daily Record, you might think the next Superman movie is on the verge. After talking about the success of Wanted and other properties, Mark Millar essentially said he was doing a Superman movie and it was set for 2011.

"Since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to reinvent Superman for the 21st century.

"I’ve been planning this my entire life. I’ve got my director and producer set up, and it’ll be 2011. This is how far ahead you have to think.

"The Superman brand is toxic after that last movie lost $200million, but in 2011 we’re hoping to restart it.

"Sadly I can’t say who the director is, but we may make it official by Christmas.

"But fingers crossed it could work out, that would be my lifetime’s dream."

Kevin Melrose kept tabs on the claim as it spread through Millar’s message board, and seemed a little farther from reality with each passing day, culminating with "it’s not even close to happening yet."

There’s nothing new at all to grandiose claims from Millar that end up as bunk — this is the same guy who claimed Civil War was the best-selling comic of the past 15 years, then didn’t hold up his promise when proven wrong.

But there’s something about all this that really bothers me, as Millar seems to have a nagging habit of being reckless with the truth, if not outright pathological.

Take the claim that he’s "always wanted to reinvent Superman for the 21st century" since he was a kid. Except, he was a kid in the 20th century.

J.G. Jones on ‘Wanted,’ ‘Final Crisis’ and his Newspaper Background

So far, the one saving grace of DC’s Final Crisis has been the superlative artwork of J.G. Jones, previously best known for his stunning covers to DC’s weekly series 52 and the art in Mark Millar’s Wanted.

Out of the "little known fact" department comes a profile of Jones in the Brooklyn Paper, where he previously worked as, among other things, an editorial cartoonist. I wish the paper would’ve reprinted more of his cartoons, but at least they pulled from the archives the one seen at right, which shows some skillful inkwork and an economic use of space to push a complex story.

The article is quite a good read, touching on many interesting subjects, including how the newspaper experience helped Jones succeed in comics.

“There’s no question that creating on deadline is the best experience,” Jones told The Brooklyn Paper via phone from his West Orange, N.J. home. “It’s the same thing in comic books. Just like at The Paper, we have some very long nights.”

Back in his glory days at The Paper’s old headquarters at 26 Court St., Jones worked part-time while he pursued his larger dream: to be a painter.

Ah, but that dream, like so many other dreams that newspaper people cling to like battered childhood dolls, never quite worked out.

(via Journalista)

Paul Pope Shows Off ‘Battling Boy’ Pages

Paul Pope is in the midst of making a new comic about a kid who has to fight his way through "Monstropolis," and he’s been kind enough to post a quick preview on the blog of publisher First Second, which is putting out the book.

There are two black and white preview pages — one is seen at right — that detail a small moment in the book, as the main character, Battling Boy, fights "Humbaba, the toughest monster (or maybe at least the oldest — Humbaba can be traced back to Gilgamesh; he is the guardian of the edge of a city, or the place where a forest meets the edge of a city, as you prefer)."

While Pope has often ventured into somewhat harsh territory, there’s an almost Bone-ian vibe of innocent wonder coming from these pages, but it’s far too little to judge. Here’s some of what Pope had to say about the book:

Battling Boy is the son of a god or a super hero—it is left unspecified—who comes down from the top of a mountain (or rather, from inside a cloud/UFO contraption/contrivance from above a mountain top) at this father’s behest, in order to rid a giant city from it’s plague of monsters. Hercules had his labors, Batman has his Gotham, Battling Boy has his Monstropolis.

Monstropolis is a city the size of an entire continent—and it is absolutely overrun with monsters. These are horrible, Grimm’s fairytale, Beowulf-ish monsters, awful things. Child-stealers. Plus some of the vampires and mummies and wolfmen we remember from the old black and white Hollywood horror films. Which—if you remember—aren’t very funny. And they don’t all like each other, either. Even a monster can’t stand another monster, this has been proven time and time again.

(via The Beat)

Interview: G. Willow Wilson on ‘Air’

G. Willow Wilson is a fascinating person for many reasons, not the least of which is that she writes really cool comics. Her path into comics is one of the most unique in the industry, though.

Wilson was born and raised in the United States, later converted to Islam and moved to Cairo to work as a journalist. In her spare time she worked on the graphic novel Cairo, a story of magic and mythology set in Egypt’s capital city that came out from Vertigo last year.

In August, Vertigo releases the first issue of a new series by Wilson and Cairo collaborator M.K. Perker, titled Air. It features a stewardess who’s afraid of heights and becomes embroiled in a fight for a new, magical energy source.

I spoke with Wilson about the series and her upcoming memoir.

COMICMIX: When did you start working on Air, and how did the idea develop?

G. WILLOW WILSON: I started working on Air several years ago as a straight prose novel. But I stopped one chapter in and decided it had to be a comic book. After we wrapped up Cairo, Karen Berger asked me if I had any strong ideas for an ongoing monthly with a female lead character. I hemmed and hawed and pitched her a couple of mediocre things. Then I had a clandestine ‘Duh’ moment and pulled out Air. You always have a certain feeling about ideas you know are going to gel and be great, and I had that feeling about this story. Happily, so did Karen.

CMix: What were some of the inspirations for the project?

GWW: It’s the moments when you feel most trapped that true escape is possible. That’s really what this book is about. Walking into an airport as a Muslim pretty much sucks — you have to de-Islamify yourself as much as possible (I never carry a Koran on the plane with me, for instance; I always pack it in my checked bag) in order not to make security people and other passengers nervous. Yet flying is still the most magical, surreal form of travel we have. So I wanted Air to both examine this tense political atmosphere and shed it, escape from it, use it as a jumping-off point for the totally unreal.


Matthew Fox and Rose McGowan Sign onto Comics Films

Not a lot happening in the comics world today as everyone finishes recuperating from Wizard World Chicago, but the comics movies news continues to snap, crackle and pop as a couple more big stars are apparently signing onto comics properties.

First, All Headline News is reporting that Rose McGowan has signed on for the lead role in a Red Sonja film. The former Mrs. Marilyn Manson will apparently need a new dye job to play the "red-haired she-devil with a sword." That and some chain mail panties.

Millenium Films and Nu Images announce that the 34-year-old actress will be starring in the new film about the mythical comic book protagonist produced by fiancé Robert Rodriguez and directed by Douglas Aarniokoski. Studio executive Avi Lerner said, "This is an amazing property and film for our company. Working with the talented Robert Rodriguez, having Rose McGowan as Red Sonja and Douglas Aarniokoski directing is a fantastic combination. We could not be happier." Red Sonja will be seen seeking vengeance against those who killed her family in the film. They are scheduled to start filming in October.

Next up, Matthew Fox seems to be leap-frogging off the relative success of based-on-a-comic-about-a-hit-man-film Wanted. Slash Film has the story that the star of Lost and Speed Racer has signed on to star in Billy Smoke, which is based on a comic that hasn’t even come out yet.

Story centers on an elite hit man who’s nearly killed during a botched job and realizes that his only way to find redemption is to rid the world of all assassins. More promising is that Billy Smoke was sparked from the brain of writer B. Clay Moore, the co-creator of Image’s excellent ongoing series Hawaiian Dick (yes, recommended). Also kicking ass is Oni Press, which has adaptations like Scott Pilgrim with Michael Cera, The Last Call and Moore’s own Hollywood spy spoof Leading Man, in the movie oven, and will publish Smoke next year.

You may remember the recent story here at ComicMix about another not-yet-released comic book from Oni Press that was already being optioned, The Return of King Doug. As always, I’m glad to see comics people doing well, but you have to start feeling a little anxious when cash is flowing willy nilly. Look how things worked out for the housing market.

Comic Foundry #3 Out Next Week

The third issue of Comic Foundry, the well-received new magazine covering the comics lifestyle, is due out next week, editor Tim Leong posted on the mag’s Website.

That’s a Thursday (July 10) because, as always, those damn holidays delay comic books for a day. Here’s what’s on tap for the issue:

Blair Butler! Dash Shaw! JG Jones! Scott McCloud! Dean Haspiel! Keith Knight! Olivia Munn! Paul Pope! Mike Mignola! Mark Millar! Brian Wood! Fred Van Lente! Penny Arcade! Todd Klein!

Also, I’m pretty sure there will be two or three little items from yours truly, if all goes according to plan. I wrote a retrospective and a couple of (I hope) funny lists, so keep your eyes peeled.

Me aside, it’s a fun magazine — sort of the anti-Wizard — and is worth checking out. After all, it ran a feature on the best superhero underwear.

At right is the non-final cover, featuring Blair Butler of G4 TV.

Cover for James Bond GN and ‘Quantum of Solace’ Trailer Debut

Fans of the James Bond franchise have a lot to look forward to this fall, as the first ever Bond graphic novel, Silverfin, will be coming out and, of course, Daniel Craig returns as Bond in The Quantum of Solace.

On the graphic novel front, Bond site Commander Bond has some previews of the art and the cover, seen at right. There’s also a little information on the story, right here.

Puffin Books have released the official blurb for the forthcoming graphic novel adaptation of Charlie Higson’s SilverFin. Adapted from Higson’s debut Young James Bond adventure by artist Kev Walker and featuring more than 300 full color illustrations, the SilverFin graphic novel is slated for release on 2 October 2008 in the UK.

The blurb follows: It’s James Bond’s first day at Eton, and already he’s met his first enemy. This is the start of an adventure that will take him from the school playing fields to the remote shores of Loch Silverfin and a terrifying discovery that threatens to unleash a new breed of warfare.

Meanwhile, the Bond central site, 007, has the trailer for Quantum of Solace. It looks like another more cerebral Bond film, hewing a bit closer to the novels.

There’s also a reference that can’t help but conjure up the Bourne films, as Bond apparently goes rogue and M calls out: "Find Bond!"

‘300’ Sequel in the Works. Wha?

Those who got red in the face over the historical discrepancies of Frank Miller’s 300 and the massively successful film adaptation might have more to grumble about, as reports are airing that a sequel is in the works.

You might be thinking that almost all the 300 Spartans died at the graphic novel and film’s conclusion, and that such a lack of protagonists would be a major obstacle for a sequel. Apparently not, writes Cinema Blend.

This morning Variety is confirming news that probably won’t surprise anyone. 300, the graphic novel adaptation that cost virtually nothing to make but grossed over $200 million last spring, is getting a sequel. Well, probably. Legendary Pictures, which is also developing The Watchmen, is interested in the graphic novel Frank Miller is currently working on, which may be a prequel or some kind of spinoff.

300 director Zack Snyder, as he said to last week, will probably be as much a part of it as Miller is. That is, if the graphic novel is any good, Snyder will be on board. It almost seems beside the point for a 300 sequel to exist, given how many parodies have cropped up since the movie became such an unexpected success. And, of course, there’s the issue of revisiting the same characters, given that — SPOILER ALERT — most of them died at the end of the first film.

At the very least, it can’t be worse than Meet the Spartans… Right?

‘Hancock’ Reviews Not Looking Too Good

A friend happened to catch an advance screening of Hancock recently and sent over some thoughts. I’ve been looking forward to Will Smith’s latest big summer movie, but my friend, Laura, came away none too impressed.

Here’s what she had to say:

It was disappointing. During the first half hour I had some high hopes, since the movie seemed to be bringing up all these interesting themes about what it means to be extraordinary, and have that extraordinariness isolate you from everyone else. Not to mention all these Ayn Randian ideas about how the un-extraordinary people (the looters, I guess) act as though they have a complete right over the talents of the extraordinary — they take it for granted and make bitchy demands of it, even though it doesn’t belong to them.

But then the latter half of the movie pretty much crapped all over its own promising beginnings, and ended up bringing up all this random shit that didn’t really get worked out. I was annoyed, and wouldn’t recommend seeing it.

Knowing almost nothing about the movie ahead of time, I think I let my expectations balloon up during that first 45 minutes or so — so if you go in not expecting more than a mindless fun ride, you might not be so disappointed. But even with adjusted expectations, I’d be surprised if anyone walked out of the theater all enraptured with it.

In case you think Laura might just be a Debbie Downer, the hate is coming for Hancock from plenty of others too. My favorite headlines so far: ‘Hancock’ a Super Zero and ‘Hancock’ is a Super Mess.

We’ll see if this leads to a spate of "Leave the comic book movies to comic book people" stories.

Review: ‘Demo’ by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan

It seems every month that a new comic comes out purporting to offer a new, more realistic slant on superheroes. From Watchmen to Next Men to Powers to Kick Ass, that idea has long been a popular one.

Except, none of those comics feel very real. Sure, they take elements from reality and offer a slightly more grounded or cynical look at heroes, but the stories within their pages don’t begin to evoke everyday life.

And this is why Demo stands so far apart. The on-again, off-again series from writer Brian Wood and artist Becky Cloonan is finally concluded, and all 12 issues are now collected in a substantive new softcover (Vertigo, $19.99).

Begun in 2003 with a first issue featuring a girl struggling to handle her newfound telekinesis, the series was always about the people in the stories, not the abilities that set them apart. That first issue is rich with metaphor: the girl learns how to break away from home, become independent and not get in the way of her potential. Valuable lessons for anyone.

One of the strongest issues (#5), follows a girl who physically changes in appearance to match the desires of the people who see her. She could be a kooky X-Man, but Wood instead uses the strange ability to explore perception and desire, and the line between love and lust.

While the material is well worth reading on its own, one of the subtexts to watch is the continued development of Wood and Cloonan. You can trace their growth as creators along with the issues, and in the end the series is something entirely new again, not really touching on superpowers at all.

Cloonan’s work is exceptional, bouncing between styles from issue to issue. It’s hard to believe one person was responsible for such a disparate collection of art.

And while Demo features almost entirely young, hip characters — Wood’s bread and butter — he writes their interactions with as much grace as any writer in comics. There is a deep, haunting truth to these stories, so realistic it almost hurts.

Van Jensen is a former crime reporter turned comic book journalist. Every Wednesday, he braves Atlanta traffic to visit Oxford Comics, where he reads a whole mess of books for his weekly reviews. Van’s blog can be found at

Publishers who would like their books to be reviewed at ComicMix should contact ComicMix through the usual channels or email Van Jensen directly at van (dot) jensen (at) gmail (dot) com.