Tagged: Red Hood

Power Girl Faces Breast Cancer

Power_Girl_by_Bruce_TimmDC Comics today announced that, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, Power Girl would develop breast cancer and undergo chemotherapy.

In her secret identity as Karen Starr, Power Girl will discover a lump in her breast while taking a shower. It has not yet been explained how her Kryptonian invulnerability will affect her treatment.

In a statement, DC co-publisher Dan DiDio said, “We are proud of our outreach to female readers, and this is our way of showing that we value them, that we care about their well-being. Yes, Power Girl will lose her hair, and the chemotherapy will eat away at her super strength. But instead of defeat, she will keep her mental strength, her determination, and the very things that make her a hero.”

The issue, Power Girl #1, by the Red Hood and the Outlaws team of Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort, goes on sale for $2.99 October 9.  Variant issues with enhanced covers, including one with a pink ribbon that readers can wear in support, will begin at $14.99.


MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Editing Away the Future

This past weekend I was graced with the presence of ComicMix EIC/Columnist/Cranky Elderly Statesman Mike Gold. He invited me out for a brisket sandwich and conversation. For those not in the know, Gold and I are Jews – and as such, after circumcision, Bar Mitzvah, and a wedding to a Jewish bride, “brisket and conversation” is the next milestone in the Hebrew circle of life. In a day I’ll not forget for a good long while, we waxed poetic on a bevy of topics. It was like “Tuesday’s With Morrie,” except no one was dying. One point that seemed to come up again and again revolved around the state of the comic book industry. And when the dust had settled, and my brisket was fully digested, it came to me. There’s plenty of good going on in comics today, but for all the bad the finger of shame is pointed heavily at the editors’ desks.

What is a comic book editor? Well, he or she is many things to many people. To artists and writers, they are the boss. They assemble the parts, and roll out the final product. They help dot i’s, cross t’s, and make constructive criticism to ensure that the book that hits the shelf is the best it could be. To the fans, they are mysterious figure-heads who get their names right under the talent on the title page. They are the kings at conventions, giving sage advice one minute, and spinning bad fan-reaction the next. In the days before the Internet they were the keepers of secrets – the walking Wikipedias of their brands.

And today? They are that and more. Constructors of continuity, ruiners of rumors, and dolers of dreams. They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Has their hubris finally caught up with them? I offer some proof, by way of my all-powerful-never-wrong-because-I’m-a-columnist opinion.

How about the Epic Cross-Over of Infinite Magnitude! The first time it happened it sure must have been novel. Upend the whole universe and throw all the heroes together in a big fight. Sounds cool, right? Sure. And I bet it sold like hot cakes. A chance to see Spider-Man, Captain America, The Thing and Ben Gallagher all fight Dough Boy, Red Skull, and Avalanche no doubt equaled a nice spike in sales, and plenty of direction for the respective players, when the dust settled. But be it the editors, or the powers that be behind them. what was a once-in-a-decade deal has now become a yearly escapade. And it drags down the whole industry with it. And where it used to be a single book to encapsulate the ruckus, thanks to those editors, it now permeates the entire line of comics coming out.

I’ve been truly enjoying Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man now for two and half years. But lately, the books have been disjointed, discombobulated, and terribly boring. Fear Itself has consumed it, and because I’m not interested in Marvel’s excuse to dress everyone up in spikes and Tron lines. I’m buying a book that makes little sense. And when the crossover is over, I’ll invariably have to suffer for at least an issue or two more to deal with the eventual fallout. And the whole time, I can’t help but see the puppeteer’s grimy hand placed sorely up Matt Fraction’s asshole.

And yes, I know he is the lead architect/writer of Fear Itself. But I doubt he walked into the editor’s office with the pitch saying “This needs to bleed into seven different mini-series, and 13 other books.” The fact is with each passing summer “epic,” the publishers invariably encompass more and more books. And every time they do it, it stops any forward momentum on a series cold.

Invincible Iron Man was an amazing deconstruction of Tony Stark, full of intrigue, new and old villains, and a strong cast of supporting characters. Thanks to Fear Itself, I’ve had to suffer three or four books of Tony building weapons with dwarfs while he drinks. The intrigue? The drama? The 30+ books of character building? Gone with a swing of Odin’s Budweiser and a fight with a mud-monster.

But I digress. With the New 52, DC’s Dan DiDio stuck his neck on the line and said “this is what we need to do to shake things up.” And I whole-heartedly agree. But he chose to end the current continuity by way of one of those aforementioned epics, and then give all of us a do-over on his “One Year Later” trick. Remember that? And to boot, while countless writers sit on the sidelines waiting for a chance to shine, Dan hands himself a job on OMAC.

I’m curious. Did he pitch the book to himself? If the editors exist to challenge their artists and writers to make the best books possible, if the New 52 was supposed to exist to make it not only easy for new readers to jump in, but to hold the industry to a higher standard of quality. How do books like Voodoo, Hawk and Dove, Mister Terrific, and Grifter get published?

Furthermore, what about the books that were universally “meh’ed” like Red Lanterns, JLI, Catwoman, or Red Hood and the Outboobs? Did the editors really sit back at their desk with the assembled pages, and say “now here’s a book I am proud of” or did they just get the damned thing done and hope for the best?

Stay tuned next week, when all the ComicMix columnists will be editorially mandated to write on the same topic: Honey Badgers!

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MARTHA THOMASES: Superhero Fashion Inaction

My pal Heidi MacDonald, has done a great job  of covering the critical discussion of DC’s depiction of female characters in The New 52. Thanks to her, I read this awesomely thoughtful analysis by Laura Hudson, and this terrific bit of snark.

So there’s not a lot I can add from a political perspective. Instead, let’s talk about the fashion.

By fashion, I don’t mean the clothes you see on the runways or in the magazines. I mean the choices humans (and, in this case, women) make every day before they leave their homes to go to work, run arounds, or hang with friends.

If you’re a woman with super-powers, and you have a public role fighting crime, or saving people from disasters, it stands to reason that you’d want to wear something eye-catching. That allows you to be seen by people who need your help. It also makes sense that you’d want to wear something form-fitting, because you don’t want a lot of extra fabric to get in the way of the work you’re trying to do. There are many who think the superhero costume was inspired by circus acrobats, and that is certainly an occupation that would require costumes that fit these criteria.

But then what?

Let’s consider Starfire, currently appearing in Red Hood and the Outlaws. I almost didn’t pick this up, because I’m not much of a fan of the current version of Jason Todd, but I looked at the first page, liked the art, and decided to be open-minded. By the time I got to page 7, I was okay.

But then there was page 8.

I’m supposed to believe that Starfire, an alien warrior, would go into battle with almost her entire body exposed, with only her calves truly protected. A woman who, for whatever reason, has enormous breasts, and who wears an outfit that offers them no support, just small metal bandaids over her nipples.

Two pages later, we see Kory again, this time in a bikini. She’s swimming, so the fact that she’s wearing a bikini isn’t surprising, but it doesn’t fit her properly. The ties that should go underneath her breasts instead circle them from the middle. Maybe they have to, because the patches of fabric attached to the ties are too small to cover her if the suit fit properly.

(Perhaps this inability to find something appropriate to wear is related to her new characterization. An alien who can’t tell one human male from another probably has trouble understanding American sizing, or fitting rooms. However, since she makes it clear that, like all her people, she’ll have sex with anyone at any time whenever she feels like it, I’d love to see what the appliance stores are like on Tamaran.)

A costume can be revealing and make sense. When Amanda Connor was drawing Power Girl, I completely believed that Kara was comfortable in her outfit. Sure, it showcased her ta-tas, but Amanda emphasized the seaming enough so that I believed she had the necessary support. There is no doubt in my mind that Amanda did this because she has worn a bra.

A lot of the problems with comic book costumes for women occur because they’re designed and drawn by men, most of whom have not worn a bra. They don’t know what it feels like to run in heels. They haven’t tried to do anything when their breasts might bounce around enough to hurt. And they haven’t heard the things that other men feel entitled to say to women who flaunt their assets (or just try to keep cool in the summer heat).

I used to spend a lot of time decrying that kind of male attention. I really hated being interrupted by strangers and their opinions when I was just outside, minding my own business. “You’ll miss it when they stop,” people told me.

They were wrong. I don’t miss it at all.

If the men who used to hassle me are now distracted reading comics like Red Hood, that’s fine. Let them annoy fictional characters, and there will be no harm, no foul. I only wish DC would market the book accordingly, so I don’t think they want my money.

Dominoes Daredoll Martha Thomases thinks Spandex is just great, especially when it’s part of jeans.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

DC 75th Anniversary Winners

DC 75th Anniversary Winners

Well, that went by quickly.

Peter David was the first to stump me, your now-humbled expert. Its been so long since I watched Superman the Movie I missed his question: In what city and state did Miss Teschmacher’s mother live (prompting her to get Superman’s promise to save her?)

I guessed Newark but it was Hackensack. Peter will receive the character hat as his reward.

Mason asked, In the DC/Vertigo Sandman series, which supporting character began life in the Dreaming as Dream’s first raven? I answered Matthew Cable, forgetting that in Sandman #68, it was revealed that Lucien the Librarian was actually the first raven. That serves me right for not rereading the series as the gorgeous Absolute Sandman
volumes were released.

Elie got me with one I should know: The Order of St. Dumas was responsible for a number of scientific
innovations in the last thousand years. However, there was one field of
“science” that they went to a great trouble to disprove and keep the
secret to themselves. Which field of science was this? When he has a chance, he should post the answer, because I even checked online to find this information — which did not make it into my The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. His reward is the free digital download of the just-released Batman: Under the Red Hood.

Thanks for playing, everyone!

#SDCC Review: ‘Batman: Under the Red Hood’

#SDCC Review: ‘Batman: Under the Red Hood’

[[[Batman]]] needs a Robin. It humanizes him, reminds him of the actual people he is sworn to protect. As a result, he welcomed Jason Todd into his life only to see the second Boy Wonder become his greatest failure. The death of Jason, at the hands of both the Joker and the comic book readers, was a major event in the latter 1980s and cemented the notion that comics, as they matured, also grew darker. The glass case with the retired outfit served as a stark reminder of that failure, pushing the [[[Dark Knight]]] to do better.

Then Jason got better. Well, he returned to life anyway. Apparently, Judd Winick was offered the [[[Batman]]] assignment and immediately wanted to revive Jason for no obviously good reason. So, Jason came back from the dead without explanation, and became the Red Hood, a true vigilante willing to take criminal lives unlike his mentor. The Red Hood also seemed to be a villain and was taunting Batman until they inevitably confronted one another and the truth was revealed.

The story arc, for good or ill, has now been adapted into the latest Warner Premiere animated feature. Batman: Under the Red Hood was written by Winick and is premiering tonight at the San Diego Comic-Con, and being released on Tuesday as a Blu-ray, Standard DVD, or digital download. In the comics, Jason was revived via a reality-altering event linked to the Infinite Crisis but here; he wisely simplifies the story and traces the revival to Ra’s al Ghul, who is portrayed with remarkable sympathy here.

Winick also nicely weaves in flashbacks that trace Batman’s adoption of Dick Grayson, and the youth’s evolution into Nightwing; along with Jason’s arrival and subsequent brief career as the new sidekick. In both cases, the young men revel in being a part of the Dynamic Duo and while we see Dick’s growth, we are never shown Jason having a distinct personality (which was a pretty ugly one in the comics).  The contrast between them is dramatically missing as is the theme that Batman needs a Robin. The current Robin, Tim Drake, is entirely missing from the feature and bonus features.

This 75 minute story uses the conflict between the Red Hood and the Black Mask from the comic book story, mixing in the Joker and Ra’s with cameos from Alfred, Commissioner Gordon and Talia. The action moves quickly enough and the fight sequences are sprinkled in nicely. The only false moment is the early chase between the Red Hood in a car and Batman in the Batwing. Planes fly at many times the speed of an auto and the chase should have ended about a block after it began.


Today’s Warner Animators Praise the Past

Today’s Warner Animators Praise the Past

Brandon Vietti is just two weeks away from his solo directorial film debut with Warner Home Video’s looming release of Batman: Under the Red Hood, a dark, emotionally wrenching journey as Batman’s past and present collide.

James Tucker is enjoying another successful season producing the Warner Bros. Animation/Cartoon Network hit series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, a much lighter take on the Caped Crusader’s adventures

Ironically, the super hero roots of both contemporary animators can be found in the same content – Super Friends, the one-hour ABC series that began in 1973, inspiring generations of young imaginations and spawning numerous cartoon series sequels.

Warner Home Video and DC Entertainment will release Super Friends!  Season 1 Volume 2 on DVD on July 20, 2010. Available for the first time since its debut in 1973, this highly-anticipated deluxe two-disc collector’s set features eight exciting one-hour episodes starring the most recognizable DC Comics super heroes and villains of all time.

Super Friends! Season 1 Volume 2 follows the adventures of Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman as they join forces to save the world from unthinkable disasters. This crime-stopping squad, along with heroes in training Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog, combine their special superhuman skills to defeat the evil villains at hand. The collection also features DC Comics favorites Plastic Man, The Flash and Green Arrow. Each hour is packed with timeless adventures of the universe’s greatest heroes as they pave the way for a brighter future.

Both Vietti and Tucker fondly recall the wide-reaching impact Super Friends had on their young lives.


Jason Isaacs Muses on being the eternal Ra’s al Ghul

Jason Isaacs Muses on being the eternal Ra’s al Ghul

Jason Isaacs, renowned for his villainous turn as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, assumes another dark iconic role as the voice of Ra’s al Ghul in Batman: Under the Red Hood, the latest entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movies coming July 27, 2010 to Blu-ray, DVD, OnDemand and for Download.

Isaacs, who portrays Malfoy in five Harry Potter films, is well known for his lead role on the Showtime series Brotherhood, as well as starring opposite Mel Gibson in the revolutionary war adventure, The Patriot. The British actor has also racked up credits in films like Armageddon, Black Hawk Down, Peter Pan, Grindhouse, DragonHeart and Green Zone; TV series including The West Wing, Entourage and The State Within (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination); and in the voiceover realm in everything from documentary narration and commercial advertisements to video games and the popular animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender,

In Batman: Under the Red Hood, Isaacs gives Batman’s nemesis Ra’s al Ghul a sympathetic twist as the villain attempts to right his own wrongs and help Batman in his efforts against both Red Hood and the Joker. Isaacs is an integral part of an all-star cast that includes Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek), Jensen Ackles (Supernatural), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) and John DiMaggio (Futurama).

Produced by Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, Batman: Under the Red Hood will be distributed by Warner Home Video as a Special Edition version on Blu-Ray™ and 2-disc DVD, as well as being available on single disc DVD, On Demand and for Download.

Isaacs splits his time between the UK and the US, but still found a few moments to chat about his latest animation voiceover role, his yearning for an actual super power, and his childhood addiction to comic books.

QUESTION: This isn’t really the Ra’s al Ghul we’re accustomed to seeing – what’s the nutshell synopsis of his part in Batman: Under the Red Hood?

JASON ISAACS: This role is a bit unusual for Ra’s al Ghul as he’s been Batman’s nemesis a lot in the past.  But this time he is actually full of regret for a mistake that he has made, and his inability to control the Joker.  A lot of what happens for Ra’s in this story is him explaining to Batman how things went so badly awry, and how Robin ended up quite so dead.


Bruce Timm sets the record straight on DC Universe Animated Original Movies

Bruce Timm sets the record straight on DC Universe Animated Original Movies

Who’s under the Red Hood? Bruce Timm knows, but he’s not telling. However, he answers a bevy of other questions in a Q&A focused on the July 27 release of Batman: Under the Red Hood, the latest entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movies.

Batman: Under the Red Hood is just the latest finished product to come from Timm’s canon of super hero vehicles at Warner Bros. Animation. A veritable legend among the creative forces in animation today, Timm has spearheaded the elevation of DC Comics’ characters to new heights of animated popularity and introduced generations of new fans to the characters via landmark television series and made-for-DVD films. The latter task includes the creation of the current series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies, which now number eight in total and each has been greeted with critical acclaim and nifty sales.

Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, will be distributing Batman: Under the Red Hood as a Special Edition version on Blu-Ray™ and 2-disc DVD, as well as being available on single disc DVD, On Demand and for Download.

Timm paused long enough in his unthinkably busy schedule for a few cigarettes and a battery of questions, responding in true Timm form – whether it be discussing the casting and art direction, revealing his across-the-board love for all versions of Batman, or setting the record straight on quotes attributed to him from a certain widely reported interview-that-never-was. This is vintage Bruce Timm – read what the man has to say …


Judd Winick Talks Adapting ‘Batman: Under the Red Hood’

Judd Winick Talks Adapting ‘Batman: Under the Red Hood’

Judd Winick has returned to Gotham City with a vengeance. The award-winning cartoonist has  transitioned one of his benchmark storylines from comic book pages to animated film with the upcoming release of Batman: Under the Red Hood, the latest entry in the popular series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies.

Born and raised on Long Island, New York, the University of Michigan graduate gained national fame as a cast member of MTV’s The Real World, San Francisco in 1994. In the wake of the death of his Real World roommate and friend, AIDS activist Pedro Zamora, Winick embarked on a national AIDS education lecture tour. Later, the lecture and his friendship with Zamora was documented in his award-winning graphic novel Pedro And Me.

Winick next created his original comic book series, Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius, and then began a long running stint as one of the top writers on mainstream super hero comics. Winick has scripted such titles as Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Trials Shazam, Green Arrow and Outsiders (for DC Comics), Exiles (for Marvel) and Star Wars (for Dark Horse). He also was the creator and executive producer of Cartoon Network’s animated series, The Life and Times of Juniper Lee.

He is currently developing live action television and animation, writing the new bi-weekly comic title for DC Comics Justice League: Generation Lost, as well as the monthly Power Girl.

In 2005, Winick presented his Red Hood storyline in the Batman comics and it was met with tremendous sales alongside powerful waves of controversy. He has evolved that story into the script for the all-new DC Universe film, Batman: Under the Red Hood. In celebration of the film’s July 27 street date, DC Comics will distribute a six-issue mini-series, Red Hood: The Lost Days. Written by Winick and drawn by Pablo Raimondi, the mini-series offers greater insight into the back story of the title character.

Batman: Under the Red Hood will be distributed by Warner Home Video as a Special Edition version on Blu-Ray™ and 2-disc DVD, as well as being available on single disc DVD, On Demand and for Download.


‘Jonah Hex’ Animated Images Unveiled

‘Jonah Hex’ Animated Images Unveiled

The second DC Showcase animated short, Jonah Hex, will appear as a bonus feature on the Special Edition Blu-Ray and 2-Disc Special Edition DVD release of Batman: Under the Red Hood.

Scripted by renowned author Joe Lansdale and starring the voices of Thomas Jane (The Punisher), Linda Hamilton (The Terminator), Michelle Trachtenberg (Mercy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Michael Rooker (Days of Thunder), the PG-13 rated DC Showcase short is based on the award winning comic series created by John Albano and Tony DeZuniga.

In the DC Showcase story, the tough-as-nails bounty hunter Jonah Hex always gets his man – until someone else gets to him first – in this case a murderous madam who wants to steal more than just her bounty from Jonah Hex.

The first DC Showcase short was The Spectre and was, in many ways, superior to the Justice League feature it was attached to. Similarly, this is likely to be better than the live-action incarnation due out June 18 if the early buzz is to be believe. Certainly having Lansdale, who wrote two miniseries with the gunslinger, involved helps matters.

Batman: Under the Red Hood is being released July 27 by Warner Premier, Warner Home Entertainment and Warner Bros.Animation. The series of direct-to-video releases has been a n ongoing program which led to WP exec Diane Nelson being promoted to president of the renamed DC Entertainment late last year. The next release in the series has not been formally announced but is expected to be teased on the disc following a pattern established in previous releases.    

Jonah Hex continues to appear in his monthly DC title, cowritten by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray with a variety of top talents illustrating the stories.  A hardcover Hex graphic novel, by Palmiotti, Gray, and DeZenuiga is due out in time for the film.