Meanwhile, Series 3 of the new Doctor Who programme is said to begin on the Beeb on March 31, start airing on Canada’s CBC in June, and debut in the US… Who knows when? No announcements yet from Sci Fi, although they’ve posted a nice interview with star David Tennant.
The more years we all spend involved in comics, the less able we are to escape our past, especially in the Web 2.0 age. And that’s actually A Good Thing. For instance, check out cartoonist Howard Cruse’s blog post where he effusively and rightly pays tribute to ComicMix’s own Martha Thomases, whose family he and his partner Ed Sedarbaum have known for a good long time. I’m a sucker for "then and now" photos. Of course, Howard’s not above posting possibly incriminating photos of himself, as you can see by the lovely Esther-and-Vashti ensembles which he and Ed chose to don for their local Purimspiel.
Speaking of past Friends, Leigh Dragoon reports that there will be a forthcoming press release from Friends of Lulu (an organization with which Martha and I both spent many years) regarding their ill-fated Empowerment Fund. From what she writes, it seems the organization is intent upon correcting past wrongs, which bodes well for its future. Considering the long journey women in comics still have to undergo before the industry’s playing field is truly level, the continued vitality of organizations dedicated toward that goal is more important than ever.
My wife and I were plowing through our TiVo this weekend, catching up on programs the device trapped for us during the previous week. We happened to catch the current spots for Ghost Rider as well as the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and 300 movies. As is frequently the case when I’m on deadline, I had a revelation.
Thematically, the only thing these three movies have in common is the fact that they are based upon comics. It occurred to me that five years ago they would have been lumped together as "comic book movies." Today, we are more sophisticated. Today, they might be lumped together as "graphic novel movies," but more likely most people perceive them as simply "movies."
That’s fine. We don’t see such distinctions made in movies culled from other genres. "Based on the novel," sure. Big deal. But that’s buried in the movie’s credits and on the small print at the bottom of the poster. For almost 100 years now, most movies have been based upon something — books, short stories, comics, radio shows, television shows, and most often from other movies. Now our medium has joined the pack.
Following Marvel’s lead, DC Comics is entering the direct-to-DVD animated feature business with the first of a slate of programs featuring their popular heroes.
First at bat is Superman Doomsday, based on the historic Death of Superman storyline from a decade ago. Previewed at this weekend’s Wondercon in San Francisco, the DVD will be released in September and carries a PG-13 rating. Adam Baldwin voices Superman, Anne Heche Lois Lane, and James Marsters plays Lex Luthor. Marsters is no stranger to the Superman mythos, having played Brainiac on the Smallville teevee series.
DC is also adapting Darwyn Cooke’s brilliant DC: The New Frontier for D2DVD release.
ICv2 reports that Tokyopop is releasing more "cine-manga" based on Disney properties – this time tying into the immensely popular ‘tween-oriented shows Hannah Montana and High School Musical. The HSM volume and the first two HM volumes will debut in September and sell for 8 bucks, well within the price point of their target audiences. Those of us on the other side of the generation gap have absolutely no idea what we’re missing here.
Sometimes events bypass those of us who don’t have the chance to shop regularly in comics stores. Thus it was that I completely missed the debut of Will Vinton’s graphic novel Jack Hightower. Granted, the well-known animator co-wrote the 112-page GN rather than drawing it, but it’s still welcome to have such an imaginative storyteller trying out the world of comics, and the concept looks adorable. And if you live in El-Lay and have some free time after work on Wednesday, March 14, you can hightow — I mean, hightail it over to Golden Apple Books on Melrose, where Vinton will be doing a signing from 5 to 7 PM. G’wan and ask him about the M&Ms, I dare you. I want to know what’s up with the custom-printed ones too.
With J.J. Abrams now confirmed as not only producing and scripting but also directing 2008’s Star Trek XI, the buzz has begun on the latest reboot of a beloved franchise. As one might imagine, fans of the series have been divided over whether or not this has been necessary, a debate we’ve all heard before.
The entire notion of a reboot is an interesting one because, looking back, reboots were largely throwing ideas against the wall to see what might stick. While there were fans of The Flash, there was certainly no groundswell of support demanding DC Comics bring Jay Garrick back. Instead, management created Showcase as a title to try new things and after three issues of straight-forward adventure, they thought it was time for something different. As legend has it, someone thought the time might be right for a new super-hero and all heads turned to the last editor with any success as characters without S-shields and bats: Julius Schwartz.
Instinctively, Schwartz knew Jay Garrick and his mercury-helmet felt too dated. Things in the 1950s were fresh and new, sleek and shiny. He kept the name and the powers and recreated from the ground up, perhaps pop culture’s first reboot.
Unscrewed!, the organization created by comics creators, fans, and retailers to combat illegal and unethical practices by a would-be publisher, today announced a benefit auction to provide relief to the artists and writers exploited by that company. Since its inception in January, Unscrewed! has grown quickly, amassing support from top name talents in the comic book industry, as well as many who are just begining their careers. Full reports of all Unscrewed! activities can be found at the website: www.unscrewedcomic.com
What are journalists for non-comics-centric media writing about our passion? Let’s take a look:
Lots of not-quite-closeted comics geeks inhabit mainstream newsrooms, and the San Francisco Chronicle’s Peter Hartlaub is no exception, as he "comes out" during WonderCon weekend with a nice overview of how the comic industry and wider entertainment world have interacted of late. Inside Bay Area’s Mike Antonucci also takes the opportunity of the con’s opening to cover the current state of the industry, about which he doesn’t seem terribly hopeful as he interviews Joe "Free Comic Book Day" Field, retailer / crusader Brian Hibbs and Brad Meltzer.
WonderCon also captured the attention of OregonLive’s Steve Duin, who writes about the Mark Evanier/Gerard Jones panel on how comics history intersects with gangsters. Seamy, seedy and worth a look!
Meanwhile, the Washington Post’s David Segal isn’t yet over the New York Comic Con, as he reviews the deal between Deepak Chopra and Virgin Comics (Chopra was apparently recruited by his son Gotham, an editor at Virgin who has one of the best comic-related names I’ve seen in awhile).
On a somewhat related note, Indiantelevision.com previews the Frames convention in Mumbai on March 26-28, featuring a look at "look at the process of moving From Comics to Animation. One of the old means of kid’s entertainment; comics is a powerful tool of story telling. Comics are very effective in imparting cultural and social values to kids besides being highly entertaining. Now animation is the modern way of story telling, which can serve as direct extension of comics."
Lastly, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is surveying readers about comic strips, listing 14 of the comics they run that are "on the chopping block" and asking folks to rank them in order of preference. Your turn to game the system in favor of, say, June Brigman’s work on Brenda Starr, not that I’d ever suggest such a thing.