Tagged: Blackest Night

REVIEW: Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate Deluxe Edition

It’s become a growing practice to create a special edition of popular new releases specifically for Sony and Nintendo’s handhelds, more suited to the system’s differing strengths.  When [[[Batman: Arkham Origins]]] was released recently, both systems got their own side adventure, obliquely connected to the main game, but unique in features and content. Thanks to the popularity of the series, the handheld game has been expanded and made available for all major systems, console and handheld.

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate Deluxe Edition is set three months after the events of Arkham Origins.  An explosion at Blackgate prison results in a chaotic takeover of the facility, headed by The Penguin and Black Mask.  Things get more serious when it’s learned that the Joker has also joined the incarcerated internecine warfare. The game has some limited free play options – you can battle the three bosses and their associated campaigns in any order, and the end game finale differs based on who you chose to fight last. The movement is largely a 2-D left-to-right progression, with jumps to other angles for certain puzzles and  boss fights.

The gameplay is similar enough to the main line of games that it’s easy enough to pick up with little trouble.  Enhanced to HD-quality, the game is still based on a design for smaller, slightly less powerful handheld devices, so it’s  not as huge and expansive as the primary title.  The Deluxe Edition upgrade adds new characters, levels and unlockables – there’s 10 special costumes to seek out, from DC stories like Zero year, the Batman 66 costume, and the Blackest Night costume which makes you impervious to damage.

BAOBDE_Suits_Key ArtThe game is fun and entertaining in their own right, good for filling the time between DLC releases of the main games.  Likely not worth a repurchase if you got the original for the handhelds, but at this price, it’s a good addition to the series, and certainly easier to see on a bigger screen.

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate Deluxe Edition is available via download for most console and handheld systems now, including Steam, and coming soon on the WiiU .

Martha Thomases: Sex

My weekly rants here do not seem to be attracting the same numbers as my colleagues. This hurts my feelings. I suppose I could pick a fight with Michael Davis, but I’m not very good at feuds. I could start some kind of poll of web comics, but you don’t read columns to find out what you already think. You read columns to get a specific perspective on something. Just, apparently, not my opinion on the stuff in pop culture that has attracted my attention lately.

So let’s talk about sex.

Specifically, sex in comics. Alien sex.

Perhaps I don’t read as widely as I should, but very few stories about aliens and sex show much imagination. Most of the time, only two beings are involved. Sex organs and other pleasure centers seem to be located at the same places they are in humans. The exchange of bodily fluids is necessary for reproduction, unless the species is advanced enough to use science instead.

Biology, it seems, is destiny.

As I wrote here, there seems to be a need to put breasts on any females, whether they are mammals or not.

Even worse, rotting female zombies are often nothing more than flesh, bone, and gigantic mammary glands. If you don’t believe me, look at any random issue of DC’s Blackest Night. I suppose that it’s possible that every woman in the DC Universe had silicone breast implants which wouldn’t decompose at the same rate as their human parts, but if that were true, wouldn’t there have been a story somewhere in The Daily Planet? Wouldn’t Dr. Midnider have mentioned it?

Comics are graphic stories. That means they have art. It wouldn’t be too difficult to create characters who aren’t human, who require three or more individuals to reproduce, and whose reproductive organs are in places other than their crotches. Maybe they have to sit in a circle and hold hands, so the story could include graphic sex scenes that are G-rated.

Or there could be a society where sex is an involuntary (and not entirely pleasurable) physical reaction, like sneezing. Kleenex would be as provocative (and necessary) as condoms, and sold behind the check-out at drugstores.

Or maybe they could sneeze out of their gigantic breasts, which would sell a zillion copies of that particular comic. And also, drive up my screen views.

(Editor’s Note: Kleenex is a registered trademark of Kimberly-Clark.)

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman and Why Most DC Movies Suck

 

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: You Better Think

I don’t own a single Spider-Man comic. Wait, scratch that. I own some painted comic released in the mid-aughts… Secret War. Didn’t care for it.

That being said, I love Spider-Man. I loved his cartoon in the 90s. I loved the Sensational Spider-Man cartoon even more. I owned Maximum Carnage for the Super Nintendo. I played about 8000 hours worth of Spider-Man 2 for the original Xbox. So, with all the love I have for the character, why don’t I subscribe to a single web-headed book? Well, consider it a barrier to entry. Never found the right jumping on point.

Until now. Dan Slott’s upcoming in-book epic “Ends of the Earth” looks to be as good a point as ever to jump on. Given my recent love affair with the Fantastic Four… I figure why not roll the dice on the House of Mouse one more time. You see, deep down my love of the character stems from the fact that he’s generally been written to think his way out of problems – and that’s something I’m finding more and more keeps me reading comics.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” This we know. When I think of other classic (and current) comic book heroes… their books always come down to the best use of a super power. It’s akin to the ‘85 Bears victory in the Super Bowl: it’s all about brute strength. In Blackest Night? It was collection of rainbow raiders and a deus ex machina in the form of “It was Black Hand all along! Now shoot him!” In Fear Itself? Solved by a ton of punching, and Odin getting off his ass. Even in the non-epic books, I see too many stories solving their problems with mindless fighting, and sheer force-of yelling. Hell, Avengers Vs. X-Men is essentially based on that entire 13-year-old wet dream of a concept. And frankly… it’s really old hat.

When I was first getting into comics, no doubt it was all about the fighting, and punching, and super powers. A grand excuse for violence and gratuitous action sequences. And the books at that time gave in to the gluttony. Spawn was belched out of the machine that demanded insane amounts of gore, and detail, and splash pages… And the reason why his stock (and its four-barreled-thigh-pouch kin) sits somewhere a thimble above “wait, that’s still a thing?” is because the book never grasped for more than a climax built on banality.

When a movie, a book, even a song reaches for the middle, our brains turn off. The reason why Karate Kid is better than Sidekicks (aside from the obvious….)? Because Danny Larusso defeats Johnny with his mind more than his body. Yes it was about perseverance, but I contest that it was that moment when he realized the crane kick could win him the match… we as an audience collectively feel like the win is earned. It’s the reason why Batman is always better than Superman. Because nine times out of ten, Batman saves the day because he figures a way out to do so. Superman, nine times out of ten, uses one of his 1,000,000 powers.

I recently reviewed Blue Beetle #6 over on MichaelDavisWorld. In said review I was elated by the book’s choice to have their azure-hued bug boy save the day not by commanding his alien armor to make a bigger-better-bug-zapper… but by out thinking his opponent. The whole reason I’m looking forward to this Sinister Six arc in Spider-Man is because my first thought is “in this modern take on Spidey, how is he going to think his way out of being pummeled by sextet of sinister sleeze-bags?” Don’t get me wrong, I want to see plenty of quips, punches, web-shooty-balls-of-justice, and kicks-to-the-mush – I just want the day to be saved by Peter Parker’s greatest power… his mind.

In comics, we build up an antagonist – an alien race, a long lost angry god, a crazy man with a gun and a diaper – and pit our titular heroes in combat with them. Whether the Avengers are fighting the Kree, the Skrulls, Ultron, Enron, or the X-Men… only those with a short attention span and a “most-posted” badge on a message board are truly salivating on just the outcome of a fight. As a reader, I genuinely feel like the best stories give us an arc that introduces us to something we didn’t think of in the first place. When the only thing that stands in the way of a happy ending is a well placed punch we end up with Michael Bay’s Transformers… pretty to look at, and not much else.

That being said, I’m going to go look at my script for the Samurnauts. My original page of notes for the climax literally says “use some mega-super move… lots of photoshoppery.” Looks like I better get thinking…

SUNDAY: John Ostrander 

 

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Why I Don’t Like The New 52

For those following along with all of the columnists here at ComicMix, no doubt you checked out Michael Davis’ article “Why I Like The New 52”and Michael made some great points. DC’s reboot of their entire line of superhero comic books was, as he so eloquently put it, ballsy. Oh, but the self-proclaimed Master of the Universe sadly is mistaken. To have completely rebooted 60+ years of continuity would take serious juevos. The fact is, DC hasn’t done anything close to that. It’s a point I’ve been jumping up and down on now for months… and who am I to disregard my own nerd rage over the issue. Let me get my soapbox, megaphone, and crazy pants. It’s rant-time, kiddos.

DC didn’t reboot much. In fact, they merely slapped #1’s on all their issues, and placed a gigantic asterisk besides nearly every single one. To call this the “New 52” is akin to calling Gus Van Sant’s Psycho completely original. You see, DC may have changed the numbering, but they haven’t reset their backstories. That is to say, they did – to a point.

Nearly every book they’ve put out has carefully chosen to pick events, mannerisms, and relationships established over the last half a century… and take us into their continuity mid-stream. You know David Copperfield didn’t actually make the Statue of Liberty disappear, he used a sly game of bait and switch. DC did the same thing. Whenever the fans asked the powers-that-be if a major event from continuity occurred in this new DCU or not… they waved their hands, misdirected us, and said “just keep reading.”

As Michael said, that takes serious balls.

Break it down. The New 52 reset a handful of the major players. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman were all spit-shined and given a thorough makeover. And their books are better for it. Superman’s series had been crushed under event after event. From his “death” to the his “electric blue and red” days, to the rise of New Krypton to its eventual fall, casual fans could hardly hit the shelf and feel like they could relate. Wonder Woman’s title was bounced from several amazing writers, who all tried in their own ways to add depth, class, and angst to Diana’s stories. But aside from murdering Maxwell Lord, what kid on the street could tell you what she did since?

And Aquaman? Where do I begin? Water-hand, squid-head, Sub-Diego. I rest my case. Putting a #1 on those books and forgetting the last 10-15 years, isn’t such a bad idea when your parent company starts clamoring for more widespread appeal, is it?

And other books? Still confusingly convoluted beyond reproach. In the Batman corner of the DCnU, there’s Bruce’s bastard son-turned-Boy-Wonder, Nightwing, Tim Drake, a Black Batman, Batman Inc., a Joker with a misplaced face, Batwoman, and Babs “Miracle on 34th Street” Batgirl. You can put all the #1’s you want on those books, but find me a kid who bought them who didn’t immediately take a stroll down Wikipedia lane to make sense of the countless callbacks to continuity which is now unconstructed. In Batgirl alone, all we know for sure is there was an accident, she lost the ability to walk, she got it back. Did the Joker shoot her? Well, all DC says is “keep reading.”

In Green Lantern’s sector, we have no less than four active Earth Men wearing the emerald ring. For those who picked up their shiny #1’s of GL, GL: Corps, and GL: Emerald Knights were treated to the following backstory: At some point there was this thing called Blackest Night… maybe. Hal Jordon killed a Guardian of the Universe, who had a Red, Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet power set… maybe. Kyle Rayner was the last GL… at some point? Sinestro now has a Green Ring. Again, these plot points were all in their respective #1’s. If you had no knowledge of these characters before starting these books, how would you approach getting your bearings on all this backstory? Ask DC, and they’ll gladly tell you “keep reading.”

Now, let me be clear and fair here. I read a ton of DC books. I love many of them. Of the New 52, Action Comics, Batman, Batgirl, Green Lantern, Animal Man, and Justice League Dark barely make it home before they’re read with near rabid fervor. As a fan of all of these characters, I have a great understanding of their mannerisms, backstories, and relationships to fill in the gaps that their respective books have yet to cover. Because modern comics are written more cinematically, their creative teams bank on the fact that their fan base isn’t coming into their books completely cold. In the case of newer characters, or transplants from Wildstorm, these books aren’t fairing so well. With 3 issues in, November’s top sellers were Justice League, Batman, Action, and Green Lantern. Blue Beetle, Omac, and Voodoo? 89. 104. 105. Without the allure of “read and see what continuity we kept, and which we threw out with the bathwater…” fans weren’t as kind.

Before the books all came out, we fans debated hotly how much of our continuity would be thrown into this potluck reset. DC cleverly keeps moving the target on the answers. The truth of the matter is this: The allure of a universal restart in comics is a pipe dream at best. At the end of the day, comic books are a business first. The DCnU was a stunt that paid off in spades.

To end 60+ years of backstory, and start all over simply will never happen. The industry thrives on the soap-opera format; keep what works, and forget the rest. If you pay close enough attention you’ll just go mad. I started this out as a rant on Michael Davis’ kudos to the DC’s testicular fortitude, but in looking at the stack of their books, and my dwindling bank account? It tells me Michael was right all along.

DC, you made me madder than hell, and took more of my money than you ever did before… all so I could make a grand sweeping point. And now, after I’m done shouting from the rafters, I realize that’s all you ever wanted me to do in the first place. Good for you. That took serious balls.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 


MARC ALAN FISHMAN: It’s Not Easy Being Green… Wait … Yes It Is!

MARC ALAN FISHMAN: It’s Not Easy Being Green… Wait … Yes It Is!

Welcome back to my angry little corner of the Interwebs, folks. Since my column last week seemed to find some harmonious affinity amongst the fine folks reading, I figured I’d continue riding my snarky-train one more week. Don’t fret, I’ve got plenty of anger to dispense at Marvel, Image, Todd MacFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Robert Kirkman, and the new Voltron show on Nickelodeon.

For today, though? I’m shining my hate-fueled lantern of justice on my favorite hero. Yes my friends, this li’l rant is on Green Lantern. Let’s start appropriately, shall we?

In Brightest Day,
In Blackest Night,
Hal Jordan beamed as he soared in flight,
The other lanterns can’t seem to be
Treated just as equally.
Rayner’s got heart,
And Garnder’s got ‘tude,
And John Stewart’s still the one black dude…
Geoff Johns and the DC Elite,
Think the Silver Age is totally neat!
But Sinestro now wears the crown,
For a few months, until sales are down.
Then Jordan’s back, to fight all fears,
And retcon the last two damned years!

The summer before my Bar Mitzvah I was hauled off to a Jewish summer camp, where my bunkmate loaned me his copies of the Green Lantern. Rayner, the newly crowned emerald knight, was DC’s answer to Peter Parker. An every-kid who had actual fun being a superhero. Long story short? It sold me on comics. Soon thereafter, I declared him my BFF in fiction, and I’ve maintained a subscription to the Green Lantern books since the mid-to-late 90s. Not to be just a one-Lantern guy, I’ve since read tons of stories starring (amongst others…) Hal Jordan. I even own the first volume of his “archived” appearances. Suffice to say, I “get” Hal and why he’s the number one ring bearer. From his cocksure attitude to his “not the black guy, Irish guy, or 90s kid with stubble and girl problems” whiteyness, he’s the model DCU hero. An inoffensive guy with a “this was cool in the 60s” secret identity, who Geoff Johns could angst up. I guess the question to ask here is simple: Is Hal Jordan any better than Barry Allen right now?
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DC Comics: The Ultimate Character Guide

DC Comics: The Ultimate Character Guide
By Brandon T. Snider
DK Books, 208 Pages, $16.99

DK continues their line of lightweight, visually interested Character Guides. Joining the extant Marvel Universe and Star Wars books is a volume dedicated to DC’s heroes and villains, or at least some of them. With a mere 208 pages, there was no way this could be considered an ultimate guide, what with 75 years of characters to work with.

These franchises all share the complication that they are organic universes, ever changing so the books can, at best, capture a distinct moment in time. In each case, DK’s editors fail to tell you where that moment in time is for the dedicated fan. This volume, for example, shows us the current version of Aqualad but also includes the currently deceased members of the Fourth World (yeah, I know, they’ve been resurrected on Earth-51, but this book focuses only on New Earth). And Dick Grayson appears here as Nightwing, not as Batman II.

The entries, from young adult writer Brandon Snider, are all surface, skimping on details and often avoids origins or focusing on the elements that make characters unique. Adam Strange is no longer a trained archaeologist and Animal Man’s family is entirely skipped.

Visually, the book is attractive with a relatively consistent modern day look so if it was drawn earlier than 2005, it won’t be here. Unfortunately, the text and art don’t always mesh so you see the Cyborg Superman as he appeared in the Blackest Night stories but the text makes no mention of his role. Wonder Woman turns up in her new outfit but the text doesn’t address the current confounding status quo.

Most of the groups have appearances here with an odd assortment of rosters presented so it’s more a hodge-podge of group. Many members don’t merit their own pages with the classic Justice Society members getting omitted (with Spectre being merely Crispus Allen with no mention of him being the Wrath of God). Other incarnations of characters are either briefly referenced or skipped entirely, such as the multiple Atoms and Green Lanterns.

This can be a primer to the DCU and it does merit flipping through to verify names, heights, weights, and the like but just about every fact appears to be rendered irrelevant or dated just two months after the book goes on sale. That’s a shame because this could have proven to be an immensely powerful tool to support the revamped line. If Co-Publisher Dan DiDio really had been planning this move for over a year, there was ample time to coordinate with DK and this is just another missed opportunity.

Given that far more detailed and comprehensive data can be found online, DK’s challenge is to make these books relevant and to date, they have yet to figure out how to manage this feat, which is a shame since they usually do stellar work.

How Are We Going To Save The Comic Industry? Flashpoint Buttons!

Dateline: Dallas. The ComicsPRO Annual Membership Meeting. Improving comic stores and growing the market were the themes at this year’s ComicsPRO Annual Membership Meeting. Comic book retails descended upon Texas to meet with over 20 sponsors… including top comic publishers and distributors. This year’s topic? “Ideas for marketing and metrics to improve efficiency in comic book store sales.” Simply put: How do we get our asses out of the fire, just a little bit longer?

Many notable names and faces spoke, including Spawn’s creator (you do remember Spawn, don’t you?) Todd MacFarlane, IDW’s CEO Ted Adams, as well as DC big-wigs, Dan Didio and Jim Lee. While we won’t bore you with all the details… suffice to say? We’re not holding our breath for a revolution. As tablets become prevalent with hipsters and the Beiber-clan, so will digital comic distribution. And while the big boys have made a few comments regarding integration of digital comic purchasing THROUGH comic stores… face it. If you can buy comics in your underwear in mom’s basement, or have to actually put on pants… we’re betting at  least SOME people will choose to stay home. That’s less business for the stores. With 2010 comic sale’s down from the year before, and many stores facing diminishing returns… it was DC’s marketing initiative that caught our eye.

So, what did DC bring to the table to help the local comic store drive the unwashed masses to their brick and mortars? Buttons! Glorious Flashpoint buttons! Less plastic then those Blackest Night rings you all died to get… But perhaps with a pointy end, allowing you to proclaim to the world your love of Cyborg,  or Casino-Batman via your trendy messenger bag.

This is supposed to drive us back to the stores in droves? This is what will save a dying comic store from shutting it’s doors? 2 cents of plastic and tin, with nifty logo celebrating yet-another-crossover we’ll likely mock and or forget by next year? Well ComicMixers… what do YOU think?

Webcomics You Should Be Reading: “The Gutters”

Webcomics You Should Be Reading: “The Gutters”

Gentle reader, I know it’s been an eon and a half since last I told you to dust off that bookmark button. But to be honest, I’ve been buried in the same set of webcomics for a long time now, with nothing piquing my interest as such… until now. Found literally by happenstance, I bring to you today a webcomic that is not like any other I’ve brought to you thus far. I bring to you… The Gutters.

Produced and written by Ryan Sohmer, the same dude that puts out a former Webcomic You Should Be Reading, Least I Could Do, The Gutters is truly a unique webcomic beast. Instead of a singular cast, The Gutters uses today’s comic books as fodder for content. Expressing a gripe about “One More Day” or “Blackest Night,” or offering a more general comics in-joke, the strip skewers just about everyone in the industry… fictional or not! Instead of a single artist, The Gutters employs the services of a multitude of industry pros. Past strips has been drawn by the likes of Eugene JjAR, cartoonist Chris Jones, comic book guru Bill Sienkiewicz, and webcomic god Scott Kurtz. Even Least I Could Do‘s Lar deSouza lends his hand on occasion. At the end of the day, the combination of a rotating art cast with Sohmer’s wit and criticism of the comic industry equals a damn funny webcomic that had the Unshaven Comics crew doing spit takes while we roamed through the archives. Although the comic is only 40 strips old, it offers a gold mine of jokes.

Normally, I peruse the wikipedia of the “About Us” page to pick up a little backstory. Sadly, The Gutters is far too new and awesome to have garnered an entry yet. From what I can glean from the blogs, though, the project is pretty straightforward. According to Sohmer:

“In brief, Gutters is a series of standalone pages that parody the
comic book industry and the heroes and characters that dwell within.
Think of it as an editorial cartoon targeting comic books, and you’ll
understand where we’re going with it.

While I’ll be writing Gutters, Lar will be the art director with Ed
Ryzowski serving as colorist. As for who will be doing the actual art,
well, that’s where things get interesting (and slightly different).
Rather than have one artist pencil each page, we elected to have a
rotating roster of professional artists, among them some giants in the
comic book industry alongside new and emerging talent. This way, in
addition to what I hope will be a humorous comic, Gutters will also be
an ongoing showcase of art.”

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#SDCC: Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards — Almost Live!

The 22nd annual Eisner Awards, the
“Oscars” of the comics industry, will be given out at a gala
ceremony at the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton Bayfront. This year’s special
theme is “Comics Fiesta.” The masters of ceremony are Bongo Comics’
Bill Morrison and voice actor Maurice LaMarche (Pinky and the Brain,
Futurama
). Presenters include writer/actor Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911, Balls
of Fury), comedian/voice actor Phil LaMarr (Futurama, Family Guy, MadTV, and Free Enterprise),
actor/comics creator Thomas Jane, and lots of cast members from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World; nominees C. Tyler, Laurie Sandell, Peter
Bagge, and James Robinson; and Comic-Con special guests Berkeley Breathed,
Chris Claremont, Milo Manara, Jillian Tamaki, and James Sturm. Other
prestigious awards to be given out include the Russ Manning Promising
Newcomer Award, the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, the Bill Finger Award
for Achievement in Comic Book Writing, and the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics
Retailer Award.

We’re going to try and keep this as close to real time as possible, with commentary where appropriate. We’ll include the list of nominees below and boldface the winners.

at the Eisner's on Twitpic11:48 PM (all times Eastern Daylight, even though it is neither Eastern nor Daylight): Annnnnd here we go…

11:49 PM: Morbo has welcomed the puny humans to the ceremony!

11:55 PM: Denis Kitchen, the executor of Will Eisner’s literary estate, has just announced that Will’s master work A Contract With God is going to be adapted into a film.

12:03 PM: …but did they have to announce it on the Sabbath?

12:05 AM: And the first winner of the evening… Best Publication for Kids: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz hc, by L. Frank Baum, Eric Shanower, and Skottie Young (Marvel).

12:08 AM: Best Publication for Teens: Beasts of Burden, by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson (Dark Horse)

12:11: Scott Pilgrim vol. 5: Scott Pilgrm vs. the Universe, by Brian Lee O’Malley (Oni) takes Best Humor Publication, with the award presented to O’Malley by the cast of the film.

12:18: A flurry…

Best Cover Artist: J. H. Williams III, Detective Comics (DC)
Best Lettering: David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)
Best Digital Comic: Sin Titulo, by Cameron Stewart, www.sintitulocomic.com/

12:38: And another fast flurry…

Best Coloring: Dave Stewart, Abe Sapien, BPRD, The Goon, Hellboy, Solomon Kane, Umbrella
Academy, Zero Killer
(Dark Horse); Detective Comics (DC); Luna
Park
(Vertigo)
Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team: J. H. Williams III, Detective Comics (DC)
Best Painter/Multimedia Artist: Jill Thompson, Beasts of Burden (Dark Horse); Magic Trixie and the Dragon (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

12:47: Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism: The Comics Reporter, produced by Tom Spurgeon (www.comicsreporter.com) Well done, sir.

12:52: Best Comics-Related Book: The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics, by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle (Abrams ComicArts)

12:53: Best Publication Design: Absolute Justice, designed by Curtis King and Josh Beatman (DC)

12:57: If Harvey wins an Eisner this year, does that mean Eisner will win a Harvey?

12:59: Best Anthology: Popgun vol. 3, edited by Mark Andrew Smith, D. J. Kirkbride, and Joe Keatinge (Image). Presented by Thomas Jane and his popgun, so to speak.

1:04: A twofer for Scott Dunbier and IDW:

Best
Archival Collection Project – Comic Strips
:
Bloom County: The Complete Library, vol. 1, by Berkeley Breathed, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)
Best Archival Collection/ Project – Comic Books
:
The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures deluxe edition, by Dave Stevens, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)

1:12: More rapid fire, international division…

Best U.S. Edition of International Material: The Photographer, by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefèvre, and Frédéric Lemerier (First Second)
Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia
:
A Drifting Life, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)

1:20: The Eisner Spirit of Retailing Award goes to The Vault of Midnight in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

1:26: The one and only Sergio Aragonés is up to present the Hall of Fame inductions of Burne Hogarth and Bob Montana. Both are tremendous choices, just for teaching alone.

1:33: More wonderful choices– Steve Gerber, Dick Giordano, Mort Weisinger, and Mike Kaluta– wait, Mike Kaluta? I didn’t know he’d died…

1:57: Best Writer: Ed Brubaker, Captain America, Daredevil, Marvels Project (Marvel) Criminal, Incognito (Marvel Icon)

2:00: Best Writer/Artist: David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp (Pantheon)

2:04: Best Writer/Artist, Non-Fiction: Joe Sacco, Footnotes in Gaza (Metropolitan/Holt)

2:08: Best Short Story: “Urgent Request,” by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim, in The Eternal Smile (First Second)

2:11: To no one’s surprise… Best Single Issue (or One-Shot): Captain America #601: “Red, White, and Blue-Blood,” by Ed Brubaker and Gene Colan (Marvel)

2:13: Best Adaptation from Another Work: Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter, adapted by Darwyn Cooke (IDW) because dammit, Asterios Polyp shouldn’t win everything.

2:17: The 2010 Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award goes to Marian Churchland:

2:24: Playing catch-up because I went looking for Marion’s art…

Best Reality-Based Work: A Drifting Life, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn & Quarterly)
Best Graphic Album-Reprint: Absolute Justice, by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, and Doug Braithewaite (DC)
Best Graphic Album-New: Asterios Polyp, by David Mazzucchelli (Pantheon)

2:29: And Dave Gibbons is the final presenter of the night, and the final awards are:

Best New Series: Chew, by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image)

2:32: Best Limited Series or Story Arc: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel)

2:34: Best Continuing Series: The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard (Image)

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‘Blackest Night’ #8 Recalled: Production Error Changed Story In Non-variant Editions

‘Blackest Night’ #8 Recalled: Production Error Changed Story In Non-variant Editions

In one of the most stunning mistakes in comics, Blackest Night #8, which came out yesterday and was supposed to end the series, is being recalled due to a production error that caused the wrong pages to be run in most copies of the issue, changing the story heavily.

DC Comics is asking retailers to remove the issue from shelves immediately, and to issue refunds on the issue. A corrected version of Blackest Night #8 will be available in stores next week, with a new cover to distinguish between versions. No word has yet come down on how DC will be reprinting the variant cover editions, or if they had the same errors across all editions.

This is not without precedent: I worked in DC’s production department during “A Death In The Family”, the let’s-use-a-900-number-to-see-if-Jason-Todd-lives-or-dies event. What was not widely known at the time was that different versions were prepared in advance, depending on the voting. I had a xerox of the page where Jason lived for years, just to prove to people that it could’ve gone either way. Also, when The Simpsons did “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” different results were animated. It just seems that in this case, the wrong pages ended up getting printed, with one version showing up in the regular issue and another showing up in at least some of the variants.

Action is already beginning to heat up on eBay, as various versions are already beginning to get traffic. And I can’t imagine that a lot of retailers are going to turn all their copies in, although that may be the only way they get their replacement issues. 

So what actually happens? What are the differences? MAJOR SPOILERS after the jump…

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