The past few weeks, I’ve fallen accidentally in love with a show 14 years too late. The Judd Apatow produced Wonder Years of my generation (or technically… the generation above mine) has finally caught the apple of my eye and has me a bit nostalgic.
Tagged: Alex Ross
Kevin Smith and and the guys from The Secret Stash are already back into a new season of COMIC BOOK MEN on AMC. Kevin catches us up and talks about how the show has evolved over three seasons, and where it’s headed. Plus The DVR scores again for TV ratings and Alex Ross celebrates Marvel.
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I had the weirdest dream last night. Like all – or most dreams – it was a jumbled mix. And some of the details are getting lost as the day goes on. But I do remember that I was in the midst of writing three books for DC, one of which was specifically for Karen Berger, although I couldn’t really classify the stories as strictly Vertigo. They were more along the lines of Elseworlds, or Marvel’s Ultimate titles.
All the books were graphic novels and very adult, but the only one I remember clearly now is the one about Supergirl, the original Supergirl, Kara Zor-El, and it was getting the full DC PR treatment – in fact, I think it was Martha Thomases, my friend and fellow columnist here at ComixMix, who was handling the publicity. Karen was very excited about it, and I knew I was writing at the tope of my game. Alex Ross was doing the art, painting it ala Marvels or Kingdom Come. Or if it wasn’t Alex, it was someone equally talented.
But my Kara wasn’t the sweet, prepubescent young lady who was Superman’s secret weapon. This Kara was one tough broad, and street-smart. In my dream she had escaped Krypton’s destruction by running away from home, hitching a ride on a space-trucker’s semi, who subsequently tried to rape her in his cab. This happened while the semi was passing by Earth’s solar system, so it turns out that, because of the influence of Earth’s yellow sun, Kara is the wrong babe for the space-trucker to mess with.
The (super) struggle causes the semi to crash on Earth. Kara is the “last man standing” after the crash, which is investigated, not by Superman, but by Wonder Woman and two other superwomen. (But even while I’m dreaming I’m feeling pissed off because I can’t identify the two other women clearly, though both could fly and were very powerful and I think one of them was a lot like Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel – or maybe it was Carol Danvers, I don’t remember.)
Anyway, Wonder Woman wants to take Kara to Themiscrya, but Kara refuses to go, telling Wonder Woman “I ain’t no dyke, and I ain’t going to an island full of dykes.” (Don’t ask me how she speaks English and knows nasty, sexist slang – dreams don’t work like that.) The “sorta” Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers pulls a full nelson on Kara, but Kara breaks her grip and the two fight. While they are fighting Wonder Woman uses her “lariat of truth” to rope Kara to try and calm her and make her tell the truth, i.e., who she is, how she got there, but Kara uses heat vision (inadvertently, the girl is still discovering her powers) and burns the rope, breaking free and flying off.
So this is the first chapter of the graphic novel, and like I said, Karen is very excited and happy with my work; me, too, plus I’m making so much money that I can quit nursing and become a full-time writer. Which is good because working full-time as a nurse would certainly interfere with my ability to make deadlines if I’m writing three graphic novels at the same time. And Joseph Campbell said to “follow your bliss” if you truly want to be happy, and nursing isn’t my bliss (though I’m good at it) and writing comics on a full-time basis is and I’m very happy, very satisfied, with my life.
But then I read in the New York Times and The Comic Buyer’s Guide that there has been a huge upheaval at DC, and it has been sold off to some conglomerate that is even bigger than Time-Warner – or maybe it’s that Time-Warner decides to dump DC because the company’s movies, even with Man Of Steel making gazillions, pretty much suck – or it had something to do with the CBS vs. Time-Warner Cable war…
I’m dreaming, remember?
So all my books are on hold, including the Supergirl graphic novel. It’s not going to see print.
I’m suddenly not enjoying this dream, and I want to wake up.
But I can’t.
Then I get a call from “somebody” that there is a big meeting regarding the reorganizing at DC after the sale and I’m invited. Only it’s the same day as a wedding I have to go to – or not. I remember that in the dream I dress up to go this meeting, waaaaay over-dress in an incredibly beautiful art deco-y type of gown – think Jean Harlow in Dinner At Eight – in a satiny deep, deep purple, and this stunning cloche with a peacock feather curling down and around my chin, and in the dream I guess I’m trying to justify why I’m dressed so formally because I’m thinking that I will catch a cab and get to the wedding/affair after the meeting.
But you know dreams. Even though I’m sleeping I know that something isn’t right.
So I get to the meeting and there are people there whom I know but can’t recognize. But everyone is very glad to see me. We are in this very corporate, and yet very classy, glass-enclosed boardroom. The ceiling lights are recessed and there are candles burning on glass coffee tables and we are lounging in big, slate-blue love seats. Everyone looks absolutely terrific, though I am the only one in a gown, everyone else is wearing very expensive, designer suits by the likes of Hugo Boss and Chanel and Stella McCartney and Dolce and Gabanna.
The new owners of DC (a few men and women) hand out prospectuses and folios that contain the new organization chart for the company. According to the chart I am going to be an executive editor. The “new Karen.”
But I don’t want to be the “new Karen.”
I want to be a writer.
I ask about my Supergirl graphic novel. I say that the first chapter is done and I’m working on the next. I want to know if I can finish it. I want to know if it’s going to be published.
Nobody hears me, or chooses not to answer.
Now the new owners pass out envelopes. We all open them. Inside are contracts, or “letters of agreement.” My letter tells me who will be in my “stable,” including editors, assistant editors, writers, and artists. I want to know if I have to use these people if I don’t want to; again, nobody hears me.
Boy, do I want to wake up now.
I turn to the woman sitting next to me. She kind of looks like Shelly Bond, but I’ve only met Shelly once or twice, so I can’t be sure, and, anyway, it’s not her.
She says, “Wow, Mindy, they’re paying you $70,000 a year. That’s great!”
“No, it’s not,” I say. “Not for the responsibilities they want me to have. And anyway, I make more than that as a nurse.”
“But that’s a lot of money.”
“No, it’s not. They just want you to think it’s a lot of money.”
Then I hear my name mentioned, and the new owners are telling me that they are pulling my Supergirl book. It’s dead in the water.
Everyone else is busy signing his or her contracts.
They are signing their lives away.
They’re all just happy to have jobs in the comics industry.
I get up and walk out.
I look spectacular
I am crying.
…even though it’s the worst way to end a story…
I woke up.
TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten
TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis
|Cover Art: Howard Chaykin|
|Blood and Judgement|
Almost thirty years after his critically acclaimed Blood & Judgment series, fan-Favorite writer/artist Howard Chaykin returns to The Shadow for a new Dynamite Entertainment mini series, The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow.
Official Press Release:
Dynamite is proud to announce that legendary writer/artist Howard Chaykin will write his first new tale of The Shadow in nearly thirty years. The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow will take place three decades prior to the events of his critically acclaimed Blood & Judgment series. Chaykin will reprise his creative role both as writer and artist for this new venture.
“I’m delighted and grateful to Dynamite for the opportunity to work once again on so legendary a character as The Shadow,” says Chaykin. “My new miniseries, The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow, tells the secret story behind the Shadow’s disappearance in 1949.” While this new series marks his return to Shadow storytelling, he hasn’t strayed far from the character in recent years, contributing gorgeous cover artwork for Dynamite’s variety of Shadow series.
|Blood and Judgement|
“The Shadow: Blood & Judgment is one of my favorite comic series of all time,” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite. “It absolutely blows my mind, still to this day. I can’t even begin to express how much this means to me as the publisher of the series and how much as a fan of Howard’s series. Howard Chaykin’s return to the character is going to be phenomenal. And in a move that will certainly keep his fans on their toes, he’s setting Midnight in Moscow up not as a direct sequel to his earlier work, but years and years beforehand, at an exciting and critical moment in the Shadow’s history. I have such tremendous respect for Howard as a storyteller, a true modern master of the comic book medium.”
Howard Chaykin is a modern legend in the comics industry, with an exceptionally respected body of work spanning four decades. He is perhaps best known for American Flagg!, a series published by First Comics in 1982. Chaykin wrote and illustrated the first twelve issues exclusively, and was praised by critics and readers alike. In 1985, Chaykin wrote and drew The Shadow for DC Comics, the acclaimed run that would later be collected by Dynamite as The Shadow: Blood & Judgment. He is the recipient of Inkpot and Eisner Awards. His extensive library of comics work includes such titles as Star Wars, Black Kiss, American Century, Challengers of the Unknown, Blackhawk, Hawkgirl, Blade, Punisher War Journal, and Satellite Sam. He was also executive script consultant for The Flash television series on CBS, and later worked on action-adventure programs such as Viper, Earth: Final Conflict, and Mutant X.
|Blood and Judgement|
The Shadow began its existence in 1930 as a narrative voice on the Street and Smith radio program Detective Story Hour. The audience thrilled to the serialized adventures of this mysterious figure, whose mythos expanded to include Occidental mysticism, hypnotic powers over weak criminal minds, and twin .45 caliber handguns. With a keen intellect and relentless drive, The Shadow hunted criminals without mercy in an era when gumshoe detectives and bootlegging mobsters was a thrilling yet fearsome reality. The character’s popularity has endured for over 80 years, bolstered by appearances in radio serials, novels, comic books, films, and more. In recent years, Dynamite published a groundbreaking and well-received Shadow series launched by comic writer Garth Ennis (Preacher), with further tales crafted by Victor Gischler and Chris Roberson. Lamont Cranston’s grim alter-ego has also appeared in such related series as The Shadow: Year One, Masks, and The Shadow / Green Hornet: Dark Nights.
|Blood and Judgement|
About Dynamite Entertainment:
Dynamite was founded in 2004 and is home to several best-selling comic book titles and properties, including The Boys, The Shadow, Vampirella, Warlord of Mars, Bionic Man, A Game of Thrones, and more. Dynamite owns and controls an extensive library with over 3,000 characters (which includes the Harris Comics and Chaos Comics properties), such as Vampirella, Pantha, Evil Ernie, Smiley the Psychotic Button, Chastity, Purgatori, and Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt. In addition to their critically-acclaimed titles and bestselling comics, Dynamite works with some of the most high profile creators in comics and entertainment, including Kevin Smith, Alex Ross, John Cassaday, Garth Ennis, Jae Lee, Marc Guggenheim, Mike Carey, Jim Krueger, Greg Pak, Brett Matthews, Matt Wagner, and a host of up-and-coming new talent. Dynamite is consistently ranked in the upper tiers of comic book publishers and several of their titles – including Alex Ross and Jim Krueger’s Project Superpowers – have debuted in the Top Ten lists produced by Diamond Comics Distributors. In 2005, Diamond awarded the company a GEM award for Best New Publisher and another GEM in 2006 for Comics Publisher of the Year (under 5%) and again in 2011. The company has also been nominated for and won several industry awards, including the prestigious Harvey and Eisner Awards.
Learn more about Dynamite Entertainment here.
|Art: Amanda Conner|
|Art: Nicola Scott|
Fan Favorite Writer, Gail Simone takes on Red Sonja, the She-devil with a Sword at Dynamite.
April 9, 2013, Mt. Laurel, NJ – Dynamite’s relaunch of Red Sonja with writer Gail Simone will arrive this coming July will be supported by covers by some of the most distinguished female artists in comics. Red Sonja #1 contains covers by Nicola Scott, Colleen Doran, Jenny Frison, Stephanie Buscema, Fiona Staples, and Amanda Conner! Fans will definitely want to pick up Gail Simone’s Red Sonja #1 this July!
In Red Sonja #1, Red Sonja gets a fresh new attitude Sonja pays back a blood debt owed to the one man
|Art: Stephanie Buscema|
who has gained her respect, even if it means leading a doomed army to their certain deaths! You do NOT want to miss this re-introduction the She-devil with a Sword!
“Red Sonja is one of the original female ass-kickers in comics, of COURSE I would want to write her,” says writer Gail Simone. “Any reader who likes sex, blood, swordplay, sassiness, red hair, adventure, and monsters getting stabbed in the face should get this book.”
Gail Simone got her start in comics writing for Bongo Comics, home of The Simpsons. Following her time there, Simone entered the mainstream comics world with a run on Marvel Comics’ Deadpool, and later, Agent X. Gail is best known for known for runs on DC’s Birds of Prey, Secret Six, Welcome to Tranquility, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl.
|Art: Colleen Doran|
To celebrate the bold new direction of one of comics’ most iconic female characters, Red Sonja #1 will feature a wide selection of variant covers by some of the leading ladies in the industry, including Nicola Scott, Amanda Conner, FionaStaples, Jenny Frison, Colleen Doran, and Stephanie Buscema.
“I had this idea to ask the top female artists in the industry to do the covers and Dynamite ran with it beyond my dreams, says Simone. “Not only did all the artists we asked immediately agree, they all confessed their secret love for Sonja. They adore her! Lots of the artists submitted multiple sketches because they couldn’t stop, and many top names submitted sketches without even being asked, they love Sonja so much, and are dying to see this project.”
|Art: Fiona Staples|
Red Sonja, the She-Devil with a Sword, is a fictional character, a high-fantasy sword and sorcery heroine created by Robert E. Howard, and adapted for comics by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith. She first appeared in Conan the Barbarian #23 (Marvel Comics). Red Sonja has become the archetypical example of the fantasy figure of a fierce and stunningly beautiful female barbarian who typically wears armor resembling a bikini or lingerie. For nearly a decade, Sonja has had many successful series with Dynamite Entertainment, and she now appears monthly, as well as in mini-series and one-shots, all published by Dynamite Entertainment.
“LIKE” DYNAMITE’S FACEBOOK PAGE TODAY at http://www.facebook.com/dynamitecomics
|Art: Ed Benes|
Join the conversation on Dynamite Entertainment’s twitter page at http://twitter.com/DynamiteComics.
To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com/.
For art and more information, please visit: http://ww.dynamite.com/.
About Dynamite Entertainment:
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT was founded in 2004 and is home to several best-selling comic book titles and properties, including The Boys, The Shadow, Vampirella, Warlord of Mars, Bionic Man, A Game of Thrones, and more!
Dynamite owns and controls an extensive library with over 3,000 characters (which includes the Harris
|Art: Jenny Frison|
Comics and Chaos Comics properties), such as Vampirella, Pantha, Evil Ernie, Smiley the Psychotic Button, Chastity, Purgatori, and Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt.
In addition to their critically-acclaimed titles and bestselling comics, Dynamite works with some of the most high profile creators in comics and entertainment, including Kevin Smith, Alex Ross, John Cassaday, Garth Ennis, Jae Lee, Marc Guggenheim, Mike Carey, Jim Krueger, Greg Pak, Brett Matthews, Matt Wagner, and a host of up-and-coming new talent!
Dynamite is consistently ranked in the upper tiers of comic book publishers and several of their titles – including Alex Ross and Jim Krueger’s Project Superpowers – have debuted in the Top Ten lists produced by Diamond Comics Distributors. In 2005, Diamond awarded the company a GEM award for Best New Publisher and another GEM in 2006 for Comics Publisher of the Year (under 5%) and again in 2011. The company has also been nominated for and won several industry awards, including the prestigious Harvey and Eisner Awards.
Click images for larger view.
|Red Sonja#1 Page 1|
|Red Sonja#1 Page 2|
|Red Sonja#1 Page 3|
|Red Sonja#1 Page 4|
MISS FURY #1 COMING FROM DYNAMITE NEXT APRIL!
January 16, 2013, Mt. Laurel, NJ – Dynamite proudly announces the April debut of Miss Fury #1, written by the acclaimed Rob Williams (Venom, Uncanny X-Force), drawn by Jack Herbert, and featuring covers by J. Scott Campbell, Alex Ross, Paul Renaud, and Will Conrad! Also, as a special “thank you” to dedicated fans, Dynamite is making a gorgeous Miss Fury #1 Exclusive Alex Ross Advance Order Subscription Variant cover, limited to retailer initial orders. Miss Fury sees the heroine of World War II revived for the 21st Century!
“It’s the kickass action of La Femme Nikita meets the political intrigue of Homeland,” says writer Rob Williams. ”We’re bringing the original super-heroine from the 1940s into 2013 and the future in a time-travel adventure like no other.”
“We’re absolutely thrilled to bring back Miss Fury,” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher at Dynamite. ”It’s a project we’ve been looking forward to for some time, waiting for just the right voice, coupled with the right artist. Rob’s phenomenal script rips Miss Fury out of the past and throws her into the modern era, providing an epic landscape for a tumultuous personal story. Plus, the interior artwork by Jack Herbert speaks for itself – we’re revealing several pages here in our announcement, and our heroine has never looked so gorgeous… and vicious! This will be one of our biggest launches for the first half of 2013.”
In Miss Fury #1, the pulp heroine returns! When Miss Fury foils a wartime plot by Nazi secret agents, she is catapulted through time… or so it seems. Is she really careening from past to future and back, or has she lost her mind? And if her sanity remains intact, can one lone heroine possibly hope to end World War II by herself, a conflict still waged into the year 2013? As witness to generations of bloodshed and violence, Miss Fury has lots of righteous rage… and anger is her fearsome power!
Make sure to pick up Miss Fury #1 in April 2013!
“LIKE” DYNAMITE’S FACEBOOK PAGE TODAY!
Join the conversation on Dynamite Entertainment’s twitter page at http://twitter.com/DynamiteComics.
To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com.
For art and more information, please visit: http://ww.dynamite.com.
|Issue 2 sneak peek|
|Cover Art: Alex Ross|
Dynamite Entertainment has shared a preview of the new ‘The Shadow Special’ #1, which is available in comic shops next week.
About The Shadow Special #1:
The Shadow knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men. But when Lamont Cranston crosses paths with an old friend–a fellow veteran of “the war to end all wars”–Cranston’s justice serving alter ego must judge a man whose path to villainy began with their friendship! At the risk of his own secrets being laid bare, Cranston accepts an invitation to join a very exclusive club of adventurers whose dark hearts might be the worst The Shadow has ever encountered!
Writer: Scott Beatty
Artist: Ronan Cliquet
Cover: Alex Ross
Format: 40 pgs., Full-Color
Cover Price: $4.99
Click on images for a larger view.
While we’re all busy celebrating the 49th anniversary of Doctor Who and the 50th anniversary of both Spider-Man and the James Bond movies, the daddy of heroic fantasy characters quietly turned 76 way back in February. Or, depending upon how you look at it, he turned 476.
The Phantom was the very first masked, costumed hero in comics, debuting in the pages of the many Hearst papers February 17, 1936. He wore a dark outfit – when the feature added a Sunday page, an unthinking engraver made the costume purple for some unknown reason and the color stuck. He fought piracy and other crimes and handed down his clothes, his weapons, his Skull Cave, his fortune and, most important, his legacy to his son. The current guy – most have been named Kit Walker – is the 21st. This cool concept predated Doctor Who by a generation.
One would think the locals were pretty stupid to believe this dude has been the same guy all these many years. Indeed, given the fact that the base for the Phantom’s stories is in Africa (originally, it was sort of India-ish), one might even think this concept was kind of racist. Creator Lee Falk’s liberal street-cred was impeccable and he built the myth on local folk-lore and the unimpeachable fact that criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot.
As time progressed we saw African civilization modernize as we continued to see its treasures and its history plundered by contemporary pirates and opportunist Europeans. Nonetheless, about 30 years ago I was having a conversation with the features editor of the Chicago Tribune who expressed astonishment that The Phantom polled highest among its black male readership. I told him he wasn’t reading the strip very closely.
What’s remarkable – astonishing, really – is the fact that The Phantom remains in the newspapers to this very day. This is a feat unmatched by Terry and The Pirates, Little Orphan Annie, Li’l Abner, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and just about every other continuity newspaper comic strip except Dick Tracy and Mandrake The Magician.
I should point out that Mandrake the Magician was created by Lee Falk as well… two years before The Phantom.
The original artist was Ray Moore; subsequent talent on the strip and on the comic books reads like a Who’s Who of comics: Carmine Infantino, Bill Lignante, Sy Barry, Joe Orlando, Luke McDonnell, Dave Gibbons, Dick Giordano, Don Newton, Jim Aparo, Alex Saviuk, Graham Nolan, Alex Ross, Paul Ryan, Eduardo Barreto, and Terry Beatty… to name but a few. Writers include Peter David, Mark Verheiden, Scott Beatty, Tom DeFalco, and Tony Bedard. Tony DePaul has been writing the strip for the past twelve years; he’s also written many of the comic book adventures as well. Nearly every major American comic book publisher had a turn in creating new adventures, and it remains a top-seller in Australia, Sweden, India and many other nations.
Currently, the dailies are being drawn by Paul Ryan and Terry Beatty – perhaps best known for his work on Ms. Tree – is the Sunday artist. Terry had the awesome responsibility of stepping into Eduardo Barreto’s shoes after Ed’s sudden death last year. He’s doing quite an admirable job.
I continue to be amazed by The Phantom’s enduring appeal. If your local paper isn’t carrying the feature (assuming you still have a local paper) you can read it at King Features’ excellent Daily Ink site, where they carry all of the current KFS strips, including Mandrake, as well as reprints of many of their classics, including The Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon, Buz Sawyer, and about a zillion others. It costs $19.99 a year to subscribe to the whole thing, and I doubt you can spend the same amount on a better mix of comics material.
Every time we read a costumed hero comic of any sort, we owe a debt of gratitude to Lee Falk, an amazingly gifted and singularly interesting man.
THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil
As a rule of thumb (the very same thumb I referenced not seven days ago), I stay away from licensed books. How did I come to that rule? It’s one engrained in my loathing of fan-fiction. Gasp! I’ve never, ever, (ever-ever) appreciated the world of fan-fiction. The whole notion that one’s love of a property goes so far they must appropriate the universe another writer created for their own nefarious purposes seems weak to me. Why limit oneself to the rules of another’s whims when the post-modern world allows for infinite homage, pastiche, and appropriation? Given the pre-sales of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (go Katie Cook!), I’m obviously in the wrong.
But Marc, you fickle bastard, you’ve just argued yourself into a corner! You, who have lamented on countless occasions how you’d love to write for Marvel and DC… don’t you realize if you were given a run on Green Lantern, Batman, or the Slingers, you would in essence be “limiting oneself to the rules of someone else’s whims?” Too true.
And when DC and Marvel hire me, you’re welcome to call me a hypocrite.
There’s nuance to this argument, and my greater point stands true. Writing for mainstream comics is its own beast, one I’m sure to tackle soon. For the time being, stay with me.
The fact is that amongst the small presses (still large enough to get rack space) are almost entirely engrained with this unyielding genre, save perhaps for Image or Valiant. Certainly we know why: licensed properties bring with them a given fan-base. For much of Dark Horse, IDW, Boom, and Dynamite’s catalogs are siphoning life-force from the lost and misspent youth of their target demographic. And since I’m no Bob Wayne, I simply don’t know how well it’s boding for any of them. The ideology that the comic buying audience at large is desperate to read more tales set inside the Hellraiser, Battlestar: Galatica, and the Ghostbusters seems legitimate, if only on paper (heh). But when I see the book on the shelf, it is truly taxing to find reason to open the gates again on properties built elsewhere.
Perhaps it’s my fear that licensed comics seem far from canon (that is to say that their contributions will hold true forever). Perhaps it’s my fear that adding to existing canon makes it harder to enjoy. I can’t tell you how many times my unshaven cohort Matt has given me the verbal Wikipedia entry on all that has gone down in Transformers extended properties (novels, comics, soft-core porn). And every time? My eyes glaze over, and I’m immediately reminded that I’m happy to have the G1 box set and Beast Wars and call it a day. It’s this fear of the overwrought rules and backstory one needs to know that stifles any anticipated joy in reading a licensed book.
But what if the teams involved are at the top of their game? Creative teams be damned. Truly, if you told me Alex Ross would paint over a Mark Waid script of G.I. Joe… and that it was the best work ever put out by either one of them… I’d still sooner spend my paycheck on a Grant Morrison Doom Patrol graphic novel or maybe some new socks.
Lest you think I’ve never even given a book like this a chance, allow me a simple anecdote. An amazing columnist for the Chicago Daily Red Eye (think hipster news for the daily commuter) Elliot Serrano had been given the opportunity to write a new Army of Darkness comic. Given that it was a slow week, I decided I should support my fellow indie creator (and he was nice enough to interview me for his blog twice) and give it a chance. I’d never purchased an Army of Darkness comic in the past. My knowledge of the source material was limited to the handful of viewings I’d had of Raimi’s film. And to his credit, Serrano’s pen wasn’t weighed down too heavily by the yoke of backstory that came with the property.
That being said, the book suffered terribly from Serrano having to forcefully hit the beats the license (and, no doubt, the legion of deadite fans) demanded. What we were left with? I quote myself from my MichaelDavisWorld review:
“The book has moments of clarity, but they are dragged down by the wishy-washy plot and cardboard cutout of a protagonist. I think I’ll go put on my copy of the movie, and bury this necronomicon deep in a long box… in hopes that the evil spirits lurking within don’t wreck havoc on my soul.”
Given that I thought Elliot’s writing was better than what he’d showed on page only proved to me that the book was not intended for me. While fans of the AoD universe were heralding it as a success, I was left back in the starting blocks wondering why the book shifted tone more than Mitt Romney (ooooh, semi-late reference burn!).
Suffice to say, licensed books have their place. There’s been great examples of those who made great leaps of fiction balancing the properties’ beats while adding to the canon. John Ostrander’s run on Star Wars is still sold out at my local shop. And Joss Whedon’s continuation of the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer into a “9th season” via comics helped fans continue their love affair with the series. There is a place for these books, indeed. The fact is unless you yourself are a die-hard lover of the property in question, the book is wasted space on the rack. And for someone who is now actively seeking originality at the shop… no amount of lightsaber fun will turn me toward the dark side. Simply put? A licensed book is a license to limit your sales to those who are familiar. Everyone else? Find some place else to read.
I would like to note that if the powers that be would like to license Exo-Squad to Unshaven Comics, I will voluntarily lop off my left leg, and then proceed to write and draw the best damned Exo-Squad comic is history. And I can guarantee that it’ll be a top seller… to the 40 or so people who still love the property.
SUNDAY: John Ostrander
On November 7th, TwoMorrows Publishing will release Lou Scheimer: Creating The Filmation Generation. Scheimer and Filmation were responsible for many pulp animated projects, including The Lone Ranger, Flash Gordon, Tarzan, and more.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New autobiography of Lou Scheimer, co-founder of Filmation Studios, debuts November 7.
(RALEIGH, NC) On November 7, TwoMorrows Publishing releases LOU SCHEIMER: CREATING THE FILMATION GENERATION, the new autobiography of the co-founder of the renowned Filmation animation studio. Hailed as one of the fathers of Saturday morning television, Scheimer devoted over 25 years to providing animated excitement for TV and film. Always at the forefront, Filmation created the first DC Comics cartoons with Superman, Batman, and Aquaman, ruled the song charts with The Archies, kept Trekkie hope alive with the Emmy-winning Star Trek: The Animated Series, taught morals with Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, and swung into high adventure with Tarzan, The Lone Ranger, and Zorro.
Forays into live-action included Shazam! and The Secrets of Isis, plus ground-breaking special effects work on Jason of Star Command and others. And in the 1980s, Filmation single-handedly caused the syndication explosion with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and its successors. Now, with best-selling co-author Andy Mangels, Lou Scheimer tells his entire story, including how his father decked Adolf Hitler, memories of the comic books of the Golden Age, schooling with Andy Warhol, and what it meant to lead the last all-American animation company through nearly thirty years of innovation and fun. Profusely illustrated with photos, model sheets, storyboards, presentation art, looks at rare and unproduced series, and more — plus hundreds of tales about Filmation’s past, and rare Filmation-related art by Bruce Timm, Adam Hughes, Alex Ross, Phil Jimenez, Frank Cho, Gene Ha, and Mike McKone — this book shows the Filmation Generation the story behind the stories.
288-page Trade Paperback with COLOR, by Lou Scheimer with Andy Mangels
Print Edition: $29.95 cover price
Digital Edition: $9.95, available only at www.twomorrows.com
Diamond Comic Distributors Order Code: JUL121245
In anticipation of this book’s release, TwoMorrows Publishing is letting readers download a FREE PDF PREVIEW at this link: http://www.twomorrows.com/media/ScheimerPreview.pdf
ABOUT THE CO-AUTHOR: Andy Mangels is the USA Today best-selling author and co-author of over twenty fiction and nonfiction books — including Star Trek, Roswell, and Star Wars novels — and is an award-winning comic book anthology editor. He has also contributed to international magazines and newspapers, and has scripted, directed, and produced over forty DVD documentaries and Special Features projects.
LOU SCHEIMER: CREATING THE FILMATION GENERATION will be in stores on Wednesday, November 7.
Since 1994, TwoMorrows Publishing has been bringing a new day to comics fandom, through its award-winning line of magazines and books.