Author: Van Jensen

SDCC: The (Maybe) Imminent Demise of Monthly Comics

SDCC: The (Maybe) Imminent Demise of Monthly Comics

I know, I know. More news from San Diego? A full week later?

Apologies all around, but this is too interesting to pass up. Newsarama has a recap of a panel where a few industry folks discuss the potential demise of comics in their monthly, floppy form.

Douglas Wolk and Joe Keatinge are the headliners, and everyone has a different opinion with plenty of insight to back up their thoughts. Things went toward the chicken and egg argument, as illustrated by this quote from retailer Carr D’Angelo:

Wolk asked D’Angelo about difference between the return on investment between monthly comics and graphic novel.

“We call them our perennials,” he said, about graphic novels that always seem to sell. “If we can find a new product we can turn endlessly, it’s like what Scrooge McDuck wants, a machine that turns lead into gold.” He named Persepolis and Blankets as examples, saying his investment was virtually guaranteed when he ordered them – unlike with monthly comics.

“I can never have too many Y the Last Man trades,” D’Angelo said. “It’s an endless supply of business. But I couldn’t do that if there weren’t 60 issues in the first place, building up goodwill, and building up an audience, and building up reviews.”

Comics Heal Poland-Israel Relations

Comics Heal Poland-Israel Relations

There’s a neat story in the Jerusalem Post about a comic book exhibit that’s aimed at easing the sometimes strained relationship between Israeli and Polish citizens.

Lingering anger from the Holocaust apparently has left something of a schism between the two peoples, and comic books are seen as one way of healing those old wounds.

If you didn’t know, 2008-2009 is Israel-Poland year. One of the many events taking place in this framework is the launching of Polisra, the first Israeli-Polish comic book – to be featured at an exhibition at Holon’s Israeli Cartoon Museum and at the Tel Aviv comic books festival. The Polish Mickiewicz Institute, which initiated the book, hopes it will be a channel in creating dialogue on topics considered taboo in the two nations’ histories. …

[Publisher Amital] Sandy views Polisra as an opportunity to deal with history and the stereotypes connected to it. One story in the book, for instance, portrays a Polish woman who buys a picture of a Jew counting money for her new house. According to Polish tradition, such a picture brings prosperity to a new home. When no such prosperity arrives, the woman complains of the picture’s failure to the salesman. The next frame depicts the salesman in his villa, surrounded by such pictures, exclaiming that, "It works for me!"

"Humor is a great method to examine our values. It takes a situation, flips it upside down, and gives the viewer a whole new perspective on it," Sandy says.


Review: This Week in ‘Trinity’ – Part 9

This ridiculous villain thing has officially gone too far.

First, we have the “evil trinity” of Despero, Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma. Then there’s been Howlers galore and a trio of baddies headlined by the Eraser or White Out or whatever his name is.

And now? Swashbuckler!

He shows up amid the chaos of the bombed mall and lays a kiss on Diana’s gubmint pal (also stealing her ID), and then later fails to steal Nightwing’s mask. Both while offering B-movie banter.

He’s apparently another villain in league with Le Fey, who along with her cronies is amassing more goodies that “define the essence” of key people. It goes back to the continued theme in this series of objects being instilled with a mysterious energy force of the earth.

Elsewhere, Bruce fights off attacking Howlers with Clark’s help. They apprehend a few without being branded like Diana, but we don’t know what happens with that yet.

As Clark is inner-monologuing about Bruce forgetting an earlier encounter with the Howlers, Diana comes over the shortwave to let them know the Crime Syndicate was responsible for mass kidnappings.

Two things here: The Crime Syndicate? And, wait a second, when did these kidnappings happen? Off-panel, I guess.


The Weekly Haul: Comics Reviews for July 30

A pretty slow week in comics, as everyone’s still gasping for breath post Comic-Con (including me, even though I stayed at home this year). Not even a dozen books worth reading this week, and I somehow missed the JSA annual. Still, some interesting stuff, with a strong DC showing.

Book of the Week: Blue Beetle #29 — This was a really strong debut issue from Matthew Sturges, which makes it all the more unfortunate that the finished cover (not the same as the image at right) lists the writer as "Rogers," meaning the departed writer, I imagine.

There’s also a bizarre bit of text added that says: "No trespassing: Violators will be Prosecuted." Except the last word is crossed out and "Persecuted" is written over it. Meaningless fluff that distracts from an attractive bit of art.

Like I said, though, the issue is good stuff aside from a few minor awkwardnesses as Sturges warms up to the series. Jaime keeps on adventuring, though he’s falling into a big mess involving Intergang and smugglers.

Sturges uses that to create a nice dynamic, as Jaime is forced to take a side in the immigration debate. This is a really good jumping-on point, if you’ve been thinking of giving the series a try.

Runners Up:

Green Lantern #33 — Geoff Johns keeps working his magic, digging through the unexplored patches of DC lore for this tale of Hal and Sinestro’s first teamup. It’s a very Obi and Anakin scenario, except if Obi was the one who turned evil.

Johns uses subtlety in examining the reasons Sinestro went mad with power, and the prophecy of the Blackest Night finally is starting to be revealed.

Thor #10 — Not a lot to say here, just another issue that somehow makes believable the idea of Valhalla appearing over the U.S. Reality and myth mingle, and the seduction of Balder deepens. Great stuff.


Billy Crudup Talks ‘Watchmen’

The Geek Files has a short interview with actor Billy Crudup, in which he talks about playing Dr. Manhattan in the upcoming Watchmen film.

Most of that screen time is in the digitally animated form Manhattan takes after a lab accident leaves him a super-powered god figure. Here are a couple good bits:

"And he was being asked to be a dutiful man at the same time by his government, so he was trying to attend to both of those while trying to carry on a relationship, and I think ultimately he discovered, through his own journey, that he was no longer as interested in people as he was in the … universe. … So I think my experience of doing it was the experience of asking that question each and every day."

Fans got a glimpse of Dr Manhattan in footage screened at Comic-Con. To play him, Crudup wore a motion-capture suit covered in lights, with dots on his face as a reference for computer generated effects to be added in post-production.

"It was a burden for about the first day, until I saw what these guys [his fellow actors] were in, and then they also had to go work out and watch what they were eating, blah di blah, blah, blah," Crudup said. "I was as happy as a clam. Basically came in and put on my pyjamas, stood on my apple box and tried to figure out Dr Manhattan."

Peter David on Ted Stevens’ Hulk Necktie

This is pretty funny stuff. Sen. Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican who’s being investigated for lots of financial improprieties, was photographed by Doug Mills of the New York Times wearing a Hulk tie (see at right).

Over at his blog, former Hulk writer Peter David has this to say:

The embattled senator has been depicted wearing a Hulk necktie based on the cover of Hulk #401, written by yours truly. Apparently it’s his favorite tie when he’s in trouble. I’m starting to get an inkling of how Rowena felt upon learning that her art was a favorite of Saddam Hussein. In the words of Groucho, it’s a club that you really would rather not be a part of since it would have you as a member.

The comments are pretty funny, including this gem:

He likes the theme because he’s often quoted saying, "Don’t make me Ted Stevens. You wouldn’t like me when I’m Ted Stevens."

Onion: ‘Al Gore Places Infant Son in Rocket’

Onion: ‘Al Gore Places Infant Son in Rocket’

From the Onion:

EARTH—Former vice president Al Gore—who for the past three decades has unsuccessfully attempted to warn humanity of the coming destruction of our planet, only to be mocked and derided by the very people he has tried to save—launched his infant son into space Monday in the faint hope that his only child would reach the safety of another world.

"I tried to warn them, but the Elders of this planet would not listen," said Gore, who in 2000 was nearly banished to a featureless realm of nonexistence for promoting his unpopular message. "They called me foolish and laughed at my predictions. Yet even now, the Midwest is flooded, the ice caps are melting, and the cities are rocked with tremors, just as I foretold. Fools! Why didn’t they heed me before it was too late?"

Al Gore—or, as he is known in his own language, Gore-Al—placed his son, Kal-Al, gently in the one-passenger rocket ship, his brow furrowed by the great weight he carried in preserving the sole survivor of humanity’s hubristic folly.

"There is nothing left now but to ensure that my infant son does not meet the same fate as the rest of my doomed race," Gore said. "I will send him to a new planet, where he will, I hope, be raised by simple but kindly country folk and grow up to be a hero and protector to his adopted home."

Read the rest right here.

Okla. Pol’s Offensive Comic Doesn’t Win Him Election

You might remember Brent Rinehart, the Oklahoma county commissioner who mailed a crudely drawn and deeply offensive comic (one page at right) to voters in the hopes of winning reelection.

Well, he lost. And lost badly. From the Olkahoman:

The embattled and controversial Rinehart received only 21 percent of the vote and failed to make a runoff in the Republican primary.

“Too many hurdles. Mountain too high. Too many battles,” Rinehart said. “You hope throughout everything that the public sees and understands and so you do your best, and I’ve done my best.”

Rinehart didn’t hold an election watch party Tuesday, instead opting to see “The Dark Knight” with his girlfriend.

Rinehart came in third out of three candidates amid allegations of criminal wrongdoings while he was in office.

He used the comic book to claim that homosexuals and Satanists and liberal good ol’ boys were responsible for the effort to keep him out of office.

‘Terminator: Salvation’ Teaser Poster

The teaser poster to Terminator: Salvation is online, and probably in a theater near you.

Not too much excitement, just a big ugly robot face. Does that imply Arnold is coming back? We’ll see.

SDCC: Dark Horse News

Dark Horse was nice enough to compile a full list of the publisher’s announcements out of San Diego (including a new Martha Washington — at right — book).

That’s very appreciated, as the lunacy of Comic-Con made it impossible last week to keep up with everything every publisher was doing — though our ComicMix team did their best to bring you as much news as possible.

Any publishers who want to send over similar news dispatches can hit us up through the usual channels.

After the jump is Dark Horse’s complete news breakdown, listed by day.