Celebrate free speech at this year’s Book Expo by raising a toast to CHIP KIDD on Tuesday, June 5th in a benefit to support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund!
A VIP cocktail reception starts at 7 PM. Kidd will present a behind-the-scenes look at creating this book, and all attendees will receive an extremely limited copy of BATMAN: DEATH BY DESIGN, with an exclusive signed and numbered bookplate, designed by Mr. Kidd. These bookplated editions are extremely limited, and will be available one time only. Hors d’Oeuvres will be served. This is a ticketed event, with limited admission available for a $50 donation to the CBLDF. Reserve your ticket here.
At 8:30 pm, an open release party and book signing will begin. Copies of BATMAN: DEATH BY DESIGN will be available at the venue! (No ticket needed for this portion of the evening, but a suggested donation at the door is appreciated)
The event happens at SMITHFIELD, 215 West 28th Street New York, NY 10001.
Info about BATMAN: DEATH BY DESIGN:
Writer: Chip Kidd, Artist: Dave Taylor
In this new, original graphic novel from superstar writer/designer Chip Kidd and artist Dave Taylor, Gotham City is undergoing one of the most expansive construction booms in its history. The most prestigious architects from across the globe have buildings in various phases of completion all over town. As chairman of the Gotham Landmarks Commission, Bruce Wayne has been a key part of this boom, which signals a golden age of architectural ingenuity for the city. And then, the explosions begin.
All manner of design-related malfunctions – faulty crane calculations, sturdy materials suddenly collapsing, software glitches, walkways giving way and more – cause casualties across the city. This bizarre string of seemingly random catastrophes threatens to bring down the whole construction industry. Fingers are pointed as Batman must somehow solve the problem and find whoever is behind it all.
This event will take place at 7 pm, June 5th, at SMITHFIELD, 215 West 28th Street New York, NY 10001
Tickets for the 7 PM Cocktail Hour Available at http://cbldf.myshopify.com/products/batman-death-by-design-release-party-and-presentation
It’s that time again… here are the preview materials for DC Comics releases for May 2012.
As you can see, DC is clearly getting excited about the imminent arrival of The Dark Knight Rises with new movie statues showing Anne Hathaway, Christian Bale, and Tom Hardy, the return of Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s Batman Incorporated and the long awaited arrival of Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, and the Talon appearing in every single Batman book this month… and even All-Star Western?
Plus, with the return of Earth One, we also get the return of Earth Two– and the return of the World’s Finest.
Shall we get into it? Let’s!
As always, spoilers may lurk beyond this point. (more…)
We hold in our hands the covers for DC Comics this March. As a child of four can plainly see, these comics have been hermetically sealed in a CGC 9.8 slab, and they’ve been kept in a #2 mayonnaise jar under a giant pile of Christmas tinsel since noon today.
What do we have worth noting? The first fill-in artist on Justice League, although Gene Ha is certainly no slouch in that department. We also have new writers on Firestorm and Green Arrow, new backups in Justice League and Action Comics, and the DC 52 hits lucky number 7.
Shall we see who is the fariest of them all? Oh indeedy, let’s do!
“Jerry Robinson illustrated some of the defining images of pop culture’s greatest icons. As an artist myself, it’s impossible not to feel humbled by his body of work. Everyone who loves comics owes Jerry a debt of gratitude for the rich legacy that he leaves behind.”—Jim Lee, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher and artist of BATMAN: HUSH
“Jerry Robinson was one of the greats. He continued to be a vibrant, creative force, with ideas and thoughts that continue to inspire. Jerry was a great advocate for creators. It was my pleasure to meet and work with him. He will be missed.”—Dan DiDio, Co-Publisher, DC Entertainment
“It’s impossible to work at DC Entertainment without feeling the impact of Jerry Robinson’s contributions to the industry. His influence continues to resonate today.”—Bob Harras, DC Entertainment Editor-in-Chief
“Jerry Robinson was an innovator, a pioneer in storytelling. His artwork was always astonishing, but his contributions to the Dark Knight mythology go far beyond art. The streets of Gotham City are a little lonelier today…Jerry will truly be missed.”—Mike Marts, BATMAN editor
Folks, I apologize for missing two weeks ago. I know it caused you to cancel plans, cut ties with loved ones, cease working, and maybe join one of the many #OccupyComicMix rallies across America. Well, as one of the 14.3% here who write a column, I assure you it won’t happen again.
Since it’s that time where we start reflecting on where we’ve been, what we’ve accomplished, and what we enjoyed… it figures I’d take a week off of crazy ranting to spread a little appreciation out there for the things in comics I’ve loved this year. What follows is an unordered, unfiltered, unadulterated list of things that tickled my nethers (comicly speaking). Tally ho, my friends.
FF — Those who follow me fully know I am more or less a DC dude. But I told myself this year I would consider more titles to pull from the House of Ideas. Well, thanks to the “Death” of Johnny Storm at the beginning of the year, it meant it was time for a restart of Marvel’s First Family. And thus FF, or the “Future Foundation” was launched shortly thereafter. Figuring it was as good a time as any to jump on board, I subscribed. Here we are, 11 issues later. I have to say, while the book doesn’t leap to the top of my pile when I’m in the can, every time I pick it up, I’m always happy to have done so. Jonathan Hickman is an intelligent writer who can craft one hell of a story. And art chores by Steve Epting, and currently Barry Kitson? The book is clean, Kirby inspired, sleek and sexy.
What I’m truly thankful for with this series is the way Hickman has given us an entire universe unto itself. FF removed from any crossover tie-ins, has been an in-book epic quest. With time travelers, political wars, cosmic disturbances, a heavy dose of Doom and comic relief by Spider-Man? There’s nothing this book hasn’t given me. With a little lull for an info dump at the mid-way point in the first arc past us, the book has continued to grow carefully. It’s been a beacon of true pulp for me thus far.
Gail Simone and Scott Snyder — All they touch glitters and is gold. In 2011, no two writers dominated my pull list more, nor disappointed less. Secret Six, Detective Comics, and now Batgirl, Firestorm, and Batman have all floated to the top of my must-read-pile week in and week out.
Gail’s writing is brilliant in its subtlety. Her books read quickly, but pack more nuance and depth of character than just about any other book on the shelves today. Where I once stood skeptical of Barbara Gordon returning to her lost mantle, I now live and die to read her exploits. Gail’s ability to let her characters talk about what’s actually going on in their mind instead of barking plot advancing banalities makes each comic of hers flow like a movie on paper. And when she falters, say with a weak and predictable initial villain in Batgirl? She makes up for it by forcing us to pay attention to the detailed character work opposite some of the more forced beats in the story. Her dialogue, a smattering of Kevin Smith without the “every character basically shares one hyper-intelligent voice” is never anything but a joy in print. A Simone book these days is akin to Chinese food. An hour after I’ve consumed it, I want more.
Scott Snyder is the yin to Gail’s yang. Get your mind out of the gutter. While I’ve only been privy to his bat-work, as it were, he’s been nothing if not flawless in delivery. His run on Detective Comics this year was, simply put, the best comic series I read. His characterization of Dick Grayson as Batman was pitch-perfect. The balance of his light hearted banter in the middle of a fight, combined with his police-inspired detective skills was written just the way I’d hoped. He wasn’t trying to be Bruce. He was filling the mantle in his own way. And when Snyder took the lead to Batman proper, he delivered once again, making sure we knew that his Bruce Wayne was assuredly not a gruffer Grayson. His plots bob and weave. Villains hide in plain sight, and get the best of his Batmen in ways we can agree with. And he’s done it all while keeping the majority of Batman’s classic rogues out of focus. His new creations fold into Gotham just as well, and don’t ever come across as knock-offs. Suffice to say? He took the ball Grant Morrison slam dunked with “Batman R.I.P.” and shot back-to-back three pointers.
Let’s Be Friends Again! and The Gutters — I don’t read many web comics, kids. But when I do? I read these. As playful jabs at the comic industry today, you can’t find two funnier takes. And sure, my very own studio did do a strip for The Guttersbut we contributed for no better reason than the desire to be amongst greatness. The Gutters have poked and prodded everyone from Dan DiDio to the suits behind Dark Horse with a more than a wink and nod. And thanks in large part to their vast array of artists on file means that three times a week you get a beautiful web comic that delivers that “Friday” quality every strip.
Let’s Be Friends Again! is equally great. A bit more “Penny Arcade” with its core duo than the protagonist-less Gutters, LBFA is hilarity incarnate. Generally taking on just “the big two,” they’ve caused me to chortle out loud more than any strip has otherwise. Don’t just take my word for it. If Racist Galactus doesn’t make you laugh out loud? We can’t be friends.
Unshaven Comics — I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out some love for my brothers from other mothers. Matt Wright and Kyle Gnepper sacrifice their free time to cram into my basement every week to work on our little rags, and website. With them this year, I’ve traveled to Detroit, Kokomo, Fort Wayne, Chicago, Indianapolis and Columbus. With them, this year, I’ve met hundreds of people, and sold nearly 1000 books face to face! When I had the dream of working in comics, they stood along side me, and shared that dream. Although we’re only a blip on the blip riding on the hump of another blip on the radar of the industry… we’re still there, and I couldn’t think of two more talented people to do it with.
And last but not least… ComicMix, and You — For those who have followed me on this site now for three years, I simply can’t express how much I appreciate your continued support. Even when I piss you off with my insane hatred of things you like, or make you roll your eyes with my unending list of snarky retorts to industry news… you come back the next week. You comment. You share my writings with your friends. To have this opportunity every week, to write alongside literal living legends? It’s something I never thought would be possible. And yet, here I am 20 editorials later, forever grateful for the opportunity and the responsibility.
And with that, I bid you adieu. Don’t worry about all this sap this time around. I hear the Phoenix is coming back, and that makes me want to rant. Later days, kiddos. Later days.
One of the joys of the current Blu-ray era is that studios have been delving into their libraries and restoring gems, releasing them with varying degrees of love and care. We’ve recently seen, for example, the arrival of musical greats West Side Story and My Fair Lady. But studios have also been working to bring back the really good films that have been somewhat forgotten. They may not get the deluxe restoration or bonus features, but it’s nice to have clean prints and high definition editions so we can still enjoy them at home. I’m reminded of all this because out now is the original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. This film, starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw, is based on a novel and was one of my favorite films of the 1970s. I was interested to see the Tony Scott remake a few years back but longed for the original which I finally tracked down. I watched it and felt incredibly nostalgic.
The film is far from perfect, but is an excellent time capsule of New York City in the mid-1970s, as crime was rampant, the city was dirty, and the public servants were rumpled and dogged. Four men with colorful pseudonyms — Mr. Green (Martin Balsam); Mr. Grey (Hector Elizondo); Mr. Brown (Earl Hindman); and Mr. Blue (Robert Shaw) — took possession of the subway designated Pelham One Two Three. They make demands of cash, threatening the passengers’ lives. On the other end is the MTA’s Lt. Zach Garber (Matthau), trying to determine how they could pull off the hijacking with such precision. It had to be an inside job and the hunt is on. Amusingly, a delegation from Japan is visiting the MTA control center just as all hell breaks loose and provides some stereotypical comic relief with a killer punchline. The film is filled with a wondefrul supporting cast, from Kenneth McMillan to Jerry Stiller.
A cash-strapped New York has one hour to assemble a million dollars cash and deliver it to the subway. Some of the most knowing sequences are set at the home of the mayor (Lee Wallace, who also was Gotham City’s Mayor in Batman), surrounding by his chief aide (Tony Roberts) and his wife (Doris Roberts).
As directed by Star Trek veteran Joseph Sargent, the film is tense and atmospheric, restrained in the action but with enough humor to make it feel real.
The transfer is solid without being perfect, the original’s graininess and subtle colors are nicely preserved. 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment has included the original trailer as the sole extra.
Seeing this film in comparison with the 2009 remake is a fasciating example of how our moviemaking has changed, along with audience expectations. Now we get a lot of crashes and cursing and time devoted to bringing the characters to an approximation of three-dimensions. Still, the original remains superior for the tension it creatres and the cold, calculating Shaw matching wits with Matthau, a far more interesting matchup than Denzel Washington and John Travolta.
We hold in our hands the covers for DC Comics this February. As a child of four can plainly see, these comics have been hermetically sealed in a CGC 9.9 slab, and they’ve been kept in a #2 mayonnaise jar under a giant stack of returned copies of Holy Terror since noon today.
What do we have worth noting? The new look of Darkseid, and we’re far enough into the new 52 books that it’s time for Batman to start crossing over in all of them. Plus Mara Jade, the red-haired assassin who fell in love with her blond-haired man she was sent to kill– oh, I’m sorry, that’s from Star Wars. This is Mera in a jade outfit. Our mistake.
Every week it’s a visceral war for my attention: between using my time to produce articles, write or draw comics, complete freelance design projects, or be a lazy bastard. Not 12 feet from my Hacktintosh work station is my present to myself. A 46” HDTV, a Sega Saturn, my DVD collection, and an XBox 360. When I moved into my house last year, I put all these amazing toys in said man-cave so I would have a space where I could create, and reward myself when I was finished. Here I sit a year later…clickity-clacking away for you, the fine readers of ComicMix, my entertainment center gathering a thick layer of dust. And it strikes me that I’m toiling away nervously hoping that my words will excite and amaze you when I could be doing something much more important.
I could be saving Gotham City.
Earlier this month, Arkham City, the sequel to the hit video game Arkham Asylum, hit the store shelves. Presumably millions of copies found their way to similar basements as my own. When the game debuted, I decided to be an adult. I abstained. You see, I waited almost a year and a half to buy Arkham Asylum. I’d nabbed it in the used bin at a Gamestop over Hannukah last year. Since, I’d played it handful of times. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Never beat it though. And thus I gave myself every reason with which to remain stoic in my stance. I didn’t need a $60 investment in time wasting. I have articles to write! Comics to draw! A pregnant wife to attend to! A nursery to paint and organize! And I still haven’t beaten the first one!
That Friday, at the weekly Unshaven Comic work-night, my will grew weak. Matt entered my basement with a hearty “Dude, why don’t you have Arkham City yet?” I shook my head in a desperate plea. “Duuuuuuude!” My knees felt weak. Kyle descended into our dank pit of creativity next. “Hey guys. Marc, did you get it yet?” Damnit! I turned to a nearby die. I declared to my cohorts if I rolled a five or a six, I would get up straight away and get the damned thing. I chucked the six-sided keeper of fate to the floor. It skitted around the vinyl tile in a red blur. And there, staring back at our hopeful faces… one lowly dot. Fate, as it were, was giving me a message. “Stay strong.” Screw fate. I rolled it again. Two. Four. One again. Matt and Kyle chortled as lay on the cold floor, forever mocked by my lack of fortune.
The following week, the work-night began as it had the last. “Dude?! Now?!” No, Matt. I had to pay the mortgage and bills. I can’t be tossing away my cash all the time. I bought books this week anyways. Kyle came down, a rustle of plastic tucked between his arm and body. “Well, I got it!” Poop. We worked hard for an hour or so. Set some dates for conventions we’ll attend next year. We bitched to one another about our printer problems. And like a beacon light guiding us away from our duties as creators… Bruce Wayne called out. “My Unshaven Lads! The hammers of justice are yearning to strike down the nails of tyranny. Only you three can unleash my vengeance upon the night! C’mon, just watch the introduction story!”
A hour later we forced the game off. We pried it from my disk tray. We sealed it back inside its plastic Pandora’s box. With the night ending, Kyle whisked the game from my house, and my life. I could always borrow it when he’s finished, I told myself. I’m plenty busy anyways.
That Sunday, Kyle and Matt returned to record our podcast. Kyle entered with a knowing smirk. “Gas pellets, Marc. Gas. Pellets.” No. “Seriously. You get them like right after the part when we turned the game off. You get the gas pellets.” And you can throw them to the ground, and then fire off your grappling gun, and zip away in a puff of smoke? “Oh yeah. And the game is an open world this time, so you could just go around doing that, and beating up thugs for hours.”
Kyle didn’t even get a chance to finish that sentence before the wisps of my Brut aftershave left a Marc-sized silhouette where I was sitting.
And here I am, finishing up this little tale of woe for you. The game sits on the desk next to me, unopened. It’s been sitting there since I brought it home last Sunday. Between interviews for ComicMix, my day job, drawing the next installment of TheSamurnauts and finding time to sleep, I’ve yet to crack it open. The anticipation at this point is unsettling. I’ve considered hugging people with the flu in hopes of having a legitimate reason to call in sick.
But who am I kidding? Even when I’m sick I log on to do my day job out of guilt and fear I’ll be missed. And I love drawing and writing comics. And interviewing Will Meungiot this week? It was like a 60 minute conversation with the friend I wish I’d had years ago. Maybe I’m just a masochist. Like Bruce Wayne. Bruce. … What’s that Bruce? Gotham City is overrun with gangsters, psychopaths, and malevolent psychologists hells bent on overtaking the city and exposing your secret to the world? Only I can help you?
Because you demanded it, true beli– no wait, that’s the other guys.
But we’re here with the solicitations for DC Comics for Novemeber, coming soon to a Previews catalog near you. The New 52 keep rolling along, and we have the Sergio Aragones version of Batman immortalized in a statue.