Amazon, seeking to make its coming Kindle Fire tablet as appealing as possible, negotiated a deal with DC Comics for the exclusive digital rights to a hundred popular graphic novels. Among the series: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, the Sandman and Watchmen.
Barnes & Noble, with a tablet of its own to nurture, did not like this one bit. Two weeks ago it removed all the copies of the physical volumes from its 1,300 stores, saying it would not carry any book if it were denied the right to sell the digital version.
Books-a-Million, the third-largest bookseller with 231 stores, followed suit last week, making the same argument.
Hello all. Welcome back to my angry little corner of the interwebosphere. Last week I bitched and moaned about variant covers… and well, you all agreed with me. Thank you. Not that we’ll see that stop mind you, but at least I know I’m not alone when I scoff. I know everyone this week has the DCnU on the brain. But honestly? I’m tired of it. Some books are amazing (Action Comics, Animal Man), some are profoundly underwhelming (Justice League, JLI), and some defy all logic for being printed (Voodoo. I know it’s not out yet, but come on.). Six months from now, when 1/3 of these comics are poop-canned, will anyone be surprised? Nope. DC has never shied away from gimmicks. So enjoy the ride. But I digress. Instead of adding to the tidal wave of blather about DC this week, I want to talk about something far more important. I want to talk about my son.
This past Tuesday, September 13th, my wife and I got our 20-week ultrasound. Breaking tradition (we’re totally into SPOILER ALERTS) we decided to find out the sex of our baby. I can’t tell a lie (ok, I can, but for the sake of argument… I won’t.) – I wanted a boy. And right there, in blue and black, my little guy waved hi to me. It was an experience I’ll never forget. The fear, the joy, all of it combined in that little hospital room. My best friends (Matt of Unshaven Comics and his lovely wife, Amy) are two weeks ahead of Kathy and me. They found out last week they are having a boy too. Thus the scions of Unshaven Comics will be here in January/February of 2012. When they enter this world, there’s no way to escape it: comic books will be an integral part of their lives. The question is… what comics will be?
Growing up, my parents didn’t read to me. I don’t have a single memory of my parents sitting by my bedside reading Goodnight Moon. My folks aren’t readers, honestly. It’s never bothered me. I myself don’t consider reading all that much of a hobby. Every moment I’m awake I’m generally working. For my employer. For Unshaven Comics. For ComicMix. For my wife. For your wife. Confession time kids. The only time I read (and 99% of the time we’re talking comic books here) I’m on the can. Only an idiot like me would try to be double productive when I’m pooping. Why just defecate when I can be entertained at the same time?!
All this being said though, I’ve made it a point to myself to share the joy of the written word (and the drawn picture) with my son. The escapism, imagination, and craft of a good book, or good comic for that matter is something I want my son to enjoy as early in his life as possible. Not just cause his daddy loves it mind you… Because in this day and age where 140 characters has come to represent a complete thought, stopping to read even 20 pages of muscly guys punching other muscly guys is better than the ADD-riddled alternative. The TV, the computer, the cellphone? All have a place in my son’s life, but it’s not going to be the end-all-be-all for his entertainment needs.
So what’s my evil master plan? First and foremost, Daddy is gonna read Fishy 2.0 all of Unshaven Comics. I yearn for the day my son is on the playground and an exchange goes something like this:
Random snot-nosed other kid: Superman would beat the Hulk!
Lil’ Fishman: And Liberty’s Torch would beat Superman!!
Random snot-nosed other kid: Who’s that?
Lil’ Fishman: Just the coolest super-est hero that ever lived! Duh! (Little Fishy then proceeds to detail all he knows about his Dad’s super-hero creations. Soon, the entire elementary school is ready for The Samurnauts… and I’m a millionaire.)
All ego-stroking aside, when introducing my future son to comic books, the plan is simple: What Dad reads, the son shall read as well. As soon as possible, I want to introduce my son to great “all-ages” books like Tiny Titans (or essentially anything by Art and Franco) and a little Archie. As he grows up, I’ll open up my collection to him. If he’s receptive to it, I’ll proudly read just about any book I own with him.
Obviously I’ll turn on my parental V-chip to ensure the content is kid-appropriate. But one thing that I’m a huge proponent of is not shielding my eventual child from the world. I’ve never smoked a cigarette. Simply put, child rearing scares the hell out of me. Last night I read for an hour about baby poop, how to help a child say his first word, and how to look for warning signs if baby is gonna spray you when changing a diaper. But when it comes to entertaining my son, there’s no question. The entire world of comic books is open to him. I’ll start small, and simple, and slowly introduce him to all the great genres – be it superhero, western, sci-fi, horror, love, fantasy, pulp, noir, and maybe even a little of all of it (i.e.GrimJack). Ultimately, my son will gain his own identity, and I know it’s my job then to nurture it, and let him find his own way. Even if he ends up liking the X-Men. God help me.
I’ve never been drunk. I’ve never taken an illegal drug. And my parents never once had to sit me down to explain any of it. I watched what I wanted to watch. I read what I wanted to read. And they were always quick to explain to me anything that was confusing or “adult.” I intend to do the same. Does that mean my son will read the Watchmen at 8? Probably not alone, but his dad will gladly read it with him. He’ll learn about history through the lens of fiction. It will create a curiosity about the world… and I can’t think of a better way to help my son learn, grow, and come into his own.
And when he turns 16, I’ll lend him The Pro. That outta’ keep him… interested.
THE SHADOW: BLOOD & JUDGMENT Howard Chaykin Published by DC Comics
This was the era of Watchmen. Of The Dark Knight Returns. It was the boom of grim and gritty. Howard Chaykin, whose brilliant American Flagg! was already a modern masterpiece, was chosen to bring The Shadow back to life for DC Comics. He elected to bring the character into the 1980s rather than stick to being a period piece and he approached The Shadow with obvious knowledge but not necessarily a fan’s reverence. He had no problem ramping up the sex and violence, while emphasizing the fact that The Shadow himself is a grade-A jerk.
We get to see Kent Allard’s transformation into The Shadow, as well as he met Lamont Cranston, via flashback — and we learn that the real Cranston is a major jerk. A jerk who still hates The Shadow, even in the 1980s. Killing off The Shadow’s old aides in order to draw the mysterious vigilante back to the scene, Cranston is aided by a slutty secretary and an idiotic clone. He hopes to force The Shadow to take him back to the lost city where The Shadow gained his powers but he doesn’t count on treachery in the ranks, nor does he realize just how dangerous his old enemy truly is.
Classic artwork from Chaykin and a story that hits on nearly all cylinders, this is one of my favorite pulp-to-comics transformations. Chaykin avoided being a pastiche by updating the character and refusing to place him on a pedestal. While the ongoing series by Andy Helfer that followed was a piece of steaming dog poo, this kick-off miniseries deserves a place on every pulp fan’s shelf. It’s proof that the classic pulp heroes can work in the modern day.
Gregory Noveck has been named to the newly created position of Senior Vice President, Production, Syfy Films, charged with launching projects for the new film company which the two companies announced in December. Noveck will report jointly to Mark Stern, President of Original Content, Syfy and Co-Head of Content for Universal Cable Productions, and Co-Chairman, Universal Pictures, Donna Langley. Noveck will work closely with the Universal and Syfy creative teams to find projects to develop by leveraging Syfy’s experience in developing genre content.
Noveck most recently served as Senior Vice President, Creative Affairs and Executive Producer for DC Comics where he established a new Film and TV division to help deliver quality content by mining the extensive DC Comics library. Feature projects included Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Watchmen, Red (for Summit Entertainment), and the upcoming Green Lantern, with television projects ranging from Smallville and Human Target to over ten animated DTV features. Prior to that he was Senior Vice President of Silver Pictures Television, developing and producing series and pilots for producer Joel Silver. Noveck previously served as Senior Vice President, Creative Affairs and Producer at Platinum Studios, where he established and grew the Creative Affairs department for Film and Television, overseeing all aspects of production and development. Projects included Cowboys & Aliens (Universal/DreamWorks) and Jeremiah (Showtime).
Syfy Ventures and Universal Pictures joined forces in December 2010 to create Syfy Films, a new film company that will develop and produce Syfy branded theatrical motion pictures to be distributed by Universal. The new entity will leverage Syfy’s genre expertise to produce human and relatable theatrical releases from the worlds of science fiction, fantasy, supernatural and horror. Beginning in 2012, Syfy Films will distribute one to two films a year through Universal Pictures. Mark Stern and Donna Langley jointly oversee the operation.
Very interesting. Diane Nelson is consolidating her position.
As for Gregory, he’s certainly shown the ability to do a lot with limited budgets, which will serve him well at his new job, as Syfy, and Universal’s new owner Comcast, have a reputation for keeping a tight control on purse strings. We wish him the best of luck.
You know, I was so proud of Zack Snyder. After doing a George Romero remake (Dawn Of The Dead) and two comic book adaptations (300 and Watchmen) I was happy to hear that he was finally doing an original film, Sucker Punch, before he got started on the next Superman film.
Of course, then I found out that he’s just remaking Disney animation…
TO DAN DREIBERG, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, SALLY JUPITER
DIAL W FOR WATCHMEN
And finally, WATCHMEN: WE DID BLUE CGI PEOPLE FIRST, WHERE’S OUR OSCAR NOMINATION?
In case you haven’t heard, Rich Johnston is talking about the disturbing possibility that there will be Watchmen spinoffs now that Paul Levitz is gone. And in case you want to know how bad this could get, let’s give you a reminder:
Special thanks to Marc Alan Fishman for the art and @miss_sarah_s for extra titles. And if we missed any titles, please add them in the comments.
The first comic book tribute to Michael Jackson is announced, plus more with SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN‘s Josh Keaton, TRANSFORMERS morphs into Big Box Office and get your schedules ready for the start of the San Diego Panel Barrage! 24, WATCHMEN and…GLEE?
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The STAR TREK crew warps into the record books with a Big Box Office, but what do all these numbers mean anyway? We break them down for you plus Showing Soon on Facebook, it’s WATCHMEN. Then there’s GUITAR HERO the TV series and that man on the right – merely the most powerful man in America – no joke!
It’s the first day of spring, the last day for BATTLESTAR and we give you our exclusive preview of SUPER CAPERS, opening in theaters today. Then there’s the reason WATCHMEN fizzled, more Erotic Comics and what the hell is "SyFy"?