That's That Shit: 11/1/2012: Kirby Rights, MonkeyBrain is Awesome, and a New Bryan Singer X-MenA comics news article
That's That Shit
Last Week's News, This Week's Comics for 11/1/2012
Hi. That's That Shit is exactly what it says above -- we talk in-depth about everything that happened in the comics world last week, and then look forward to some notable releases slated for this coming Wednesday.
Your panel of judges are Comics Bulletin Managing Editors Danny Djeljosevic and Nick Hanover, who pretty much have paper and ink in their blood, and CB Columns Editor Andrew Tan, who got his start in comics late in life through Adrian Tomine and is slowly dipping his toes into the broader aspects of the medium. So we deliver the news, Andrew asks the questions and hopefully everyone learns something.
BUT FIRST SOME MUSIC
Parenthetical Girls just wrapped up their epic series of EPs The Privilege Pts. I-V and have now released the entire thing as a gorgeous box set hat includes a DVD of all the videos they made for the EPs, with some other goodies and extra features. Go check it out!
LAST WEEK'S NEWS
Disney (and Therefore Marvel) Have Bought Lucasfilm
Entire Internet Crashes from Flood of Mickey Darth Vader Memes
Nick: Earlier this week, the entertainment world was rocked by the news that Disney had acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, or about half a billion more than they paid for Marvel. And just in case it wasn't clear how quickly Disney planned on capitalizing on the acquisition, the announcement also included an announcement that a Star Wars sequel set after the original trilogy would be hitting theatres in 2015. There's no word yet on who will be helming the sequel, but the press release did indicate that George Lucas would be acting as a "creative consultant" rather than directing. So, there's one piece of good news, at least?
But as far as the comic community is concerned, the big question is: What will happen to Dark Horse's licensed Star Wars comics? Since Disney owns Marvel, many news outlets have predicted that Dark Horse could be in danger of losing one of its most lucrative licenses, though Dark Horse head honcho Mike Richardson told Newsarama "Star Wars will be with us for the near future," before adding "obviously, this deal changes the landscape." Considering what happened to Boom's Disney partnerships once Disney acquired Marvel, there's a good chance that Dark Horse's "near future" may be unfortunately short.
Andrew: Despite owning several blueprints of Rebel Starfighters, I actually have never read the Dark Horse comics. Do you know if they exceeded the usual Expanded Universe stuff?
Danny: Lots of expanded universe stuff, of course, but I gotta say I'm looking forward to Brian Wood's upcoming Star Wars ongoing, which takes place during the continuity of the original trilogy -- real "new reader friendly" stuff like his Conan the Barbarian series with Becky Cloonan and others.
Nick: My brother was obsessive about all things Star Wars, so I've avoided anything to do with that universe because you can only be told the backstory of Boba Fett so many fucking times before you want to punch a window. But yes, I too am excited for Brian Wood's upcoming ongoing…if it's still a thing.
Andrew: Also, I can't help but have the irrational hope that Duncan Jones helms the next one because I loved Moon and I love the idea of Star Wars returning to miniatures even though there's no way that'll happen. But I mean come on, Sam Rockwell as Luke Skywalker finding a clone of himself on Tatooine only to discover that the New Republic is actually the old Empire that feigned a defeat to the Rebellion would be fucking amazing.
Oh, and I'm sure it doesn't surprise anyone that the announcement of Episode 7 came headlined with how much money Lucas made.
Danny: We got what we wanted: somebody who isn't George Lucas is going to make a Star Wars movie. I'll be excited depending on who it is.
Nick: For all we know, he's going to get Brett Ratner to direct it, so I'm remaining cautiously optimistic here.
Bryan Singer Confirmed as Director of Next X-Men Flick
Brett Ratner was Too Busy Working on Star Wars Episode VII: The Jar Jar Strikes Back
Nick: Last week Matthew Vaughn stepped down as the director of the X-Men: First Class sequel Days of Future Past, leading some news outlets to speculate that he vacated the director's chair in order to allow Bryan Singer to make his X comeback. Earlier this week that speculation was confirmed to be accurate, as it was announced that Bryan Singer is indeed returning to the X universe that he left in order to focus on Superman and thus allow Brett Ratner the opportunity to nearly pull a Batman & Robin with his wonderfully terrible X-Men: The Last Stand. Really though, this is probably great news, since Singer's X-Men work is a large part of the reason why superhero films suddenly began to be viewed seriously.
Andrew: At this point are there any directors being pigeon-holed as a "Superhero Director?" I feel like there's a special kind of dynamic to it that lends to a certain way of thinking and interpreting the material. For example, I think the way Steven Moffat's brain works is a lot of what makes his runs on Doctor Who and Sherlock so compelling.
Danny: This is nothing to be excited about -- Bryan Singer isn't that great a director and his X-Men films have aged terribly.
Nick: I think given the right material he's fine, though Usual Suspects will probably remain a fluke in his canon. But despite how poorly the effects have aged, he got the tone right for those first two X-film entries, in my opinion, at least. They were pretty much what Claremont was going for back in his soap opera storyline days and…wait a minute, I've just convinced myself out of my own case here.
Terrible Homophobic Comic Causes Controversy at University of Arizona
Also, is Terrible. Really Fucking Terrible.
Nick: In case you needed another reason to not give a shit about Arizona, a controversy broke out at the University of Arizona last week after the school paper The Daily Wildcat published a tasteless strip by DC Parsons that featured a father threatening his son with death and mutilation if he were to admit he was gay. A petition signed by nearly 10,000 people led the Wildcat to eventually fire Parsons and officially apologize, also prompting the most half-assed apology ever from Parsons himself, who basically accused everyone of not having a sense of humor. The Beat's Henry Barajas semi-defended Parsons, asking "where do we draw the line between censorship and hate speech," which came out of his emphasis on Parsons claim that the strip itself was a coping mechanism for him who had based the strip on an experience from his own childhood. There are two problems with this, though. 1) The strip just isn't funny, homophobia aside and 2) The perspective is all wrong for that claim, as it notably ends with both the father and the son cracking up in giddy laughter, which indicates that we're supposed to be okay with a father and a son bonding over violently homophobic jokes. Either way, it's fucked up.
Andrew: Also the fact that the perspective remains entirely static is pretty fucking lazy. I mean if you're going to inject the world with hate and make it a worse place, at least give half a care to do so instead of just using god damn MS Paint.
Danny: Terrible, unfunny comic is terrible.
Kirby Estate Appeals Court Decision Over Rights to Marvel Work
Marc Toberoff Continues Quest to Become the Highlander of Comic Rights Lawyers
Nick: Marc Toberoff, who also represents the Siegel and Shuster estates, led an appeal on behalf of the Jack Kirby estate to overturn a 2011 decision that gave Marvel complete ownership of the copyrights to the comic legends most famous creations. The basis of the appeal is that the decision was made through a misinterpretation of work-for-hire, with Toberoff's argument focusing on the aspect of collaboration that defined Kirby's Marvel work, wherein he notably did the brunt of the creative work, from the art to structuring the story to creating many of the character designs. If Toberoff's appeal succeeds, it could open the floodgates for other comic creators to reclaim their most enduring creations.
Andrew: Do you guys think in the age of the internet and the fact that comics tends to draw in people with the I-will-learn-everything-about-this gene gives these battles more weight? Basically do you see a future where people for moral reasons only buy stuff from places like Image and ultimately shun Marvel and DC for the way they treat creators?
Danny: There are too many readers who don't care about the creators and just want their stupid superhero comics delivered to them regardless of quality and no matter who's writing. And, at this point we have people who are pro-Before Watchmen just because they're anti-Alan Moore. So, basically, I see increasing numbers of smart people with strong morals avoiding Marvel and DC and the rest will remain subservient.
Nick: You work for CB and you still haven't learned that comic fandom is a fucked up, scary place, Andrew?
Andrew: I'd like to consider myself an optimist. I mean I still watch The Office.
MonkeyBrain to Aid Hero Initiative by Donating November Profits to the Organization
Yes, Their ENTIRE NOVEMBER PROFITS
Nick: If you aren't checking out MonkeyBrain comics yet, then you have even more of a reason to do so this coming month, because the new, digital-only publisher has made the unprecedented move of promising to donate its entire profits for November to the non-profit creator aid organization the Hero Initiative. While other creators have taken the industry to task in harsh open letters and bizarre twitter rampages, MonkeyBrain co-founder Chris Roberson is now literally putting his money where his mouth is and for that, his company deserves your full support. Plus, their comics are awesome anyway. Everybody wins!
Andrew: Seriously, a fund to help comic creators create the material they want to make. This is the first time I will ever buy a digital comic. I guess it's time for me to get some kind of fancy large rectangle that can read such things.
Danny: MonkeyBrain puts out some really great digital-only (for now) material by phenomenal creators at reasonable prices. It's a sign of digital being a solid medium to put out comics that physical copy sales just can't sustain. Roberson's got to be the most moral guy in comics, not only quitting Big Two comics but actually making moves to help other creators through both publishing and donations. Really awesome.
THIS WEEK'S COMICS
Higher Earth Vol. 1 TPB
(Sam Humphries, Francesco Biagini; BOOM!)
Space is dead. Why conquer other planets when there's a perfectly good Earth in the universe next door? Heidi, a girl born in garbage. Rex, a soldier gone rogue. The only thing between them and their destiny is an empire of a hundred different Earths, across a hundred alternate timelines. One majestic planet dominates them all: HIGHER EARTH. Created and written by Sam Humphries (OUR LOVE IS REAL, Marvel's THE ULTIMATES, FANBOYS VS. ZOMBIES), HIGHER EARTH VOLUME 1 collects the first five issues of the sold out series, featuring arresting art by Francesco Biagini (ELRIC: THE BALANCE LOST). Also includes Higher Earth #5, the secret origin issue, drawn by MORNING GLORIES fan-favorite artist, Joe Eisma!
Danny: I read the other day that Humphries' creator-owned series Higher Earth was already cancelled, but that shouldn't stop readers from checking out his and Francesco Bianini's sci-fi tale of connected alternate Earths. I guess the one benefit is that you can buy the first TPB without making a commitment to having to read 75 issues or anything. Sigh.
Nick: It's baffling to me that this has been cancelled, since it's a pretty solid premise that should appeal to fans of the Big Two's parallel reality fetishizing as well as fans of things like Fringe while also starring a great creative team. But considering I barely knew about it, maybe the cause of death here is lack of proper promotion.
Andrew: I feel like the fact that Rex isn't a T-Rex/human hybrid (link: http://badassdigest.com/2012/10/09/see-the-concept-art-that-helped-kill-jurassic-park-iv/) is a real missed opportunity here.
(Various folks; Vertigo/DC)
Check out this all-new anthology from some of the biggest talents in the industry! Stories spotlight a space heist on a ghost ship, a spirit who wants to play synthesizer in a techno band, a ghost-for-hire haunting agency and others dark, twisted tales.
With stories and art by some of comics' greatest talents, this special features a cover by Dave Johnson, and a variant cover by Brendan McCarthy!
Danny: I pretty much always buy these anthology one-shots, so I'mma pick up this one. It's got Geoff Johns' first Vertigo work, yeah, but more importantly it has stories by both Paul Pope and Gilbert Hernandez. INSTANT BUY.
Nick: Yeah, these Vertigo anthologies are at least always good for a couple great stories and any new Pope work has me all giddy and irresponsible.
Andrew: I was onboard at "a spirit who wants to play synthesizer."
(Nick Spencer, Riley Rossmo; Image)
Fillmore Press was once Madder Red, a homicidal maniac and criminal overlord who terrorized the town of Bedlam for years. Then he got better. This is what happens next. A double-sized introduction to a blood-soaked cityscape of murder, mayhem, and mystery by NICK SPENCER (MORNING GLORIES, THIEF OF THIEVES) and RILEY ROSSMO (REBEL BLOOD, GREEN WAKE)!
Danny: Seems a bit like a repurposed Joker pitch, but that doesn't scare me off. In fact, that it's now a creator-owned Image book only makes me want to read it more. Plus Dylan Tano loved it so it's probably worth checking out.
Nick: I already read it and it's mostly solid. The only thing I'm worried about is that it will take too long for the story to really kick in, which is something Spencer often struggles with in his series. That said, Rossmo's work here is excellent and that alone makes it worth picking up. It's only a matter of time before he truly breaks out.
Andrew: Nick, I feel like the first Nick Spencer comic I read should coincide with your first Adventure Time episode.
Joe Kubert Presents #1 (of 6)
(Joe Kubert; DC)
Don't miss the start of this far-ranging collection of stories from comics legend Joe Kubert and other great talents!
This debut issue includes: Joe Kubert writes and illustrates two stories: A new Hawkman epic, and a tale of hard times called 'Spit.'
A tale of Angel and The Ape from writer/artist Brian Buniak.
Plus: Writer/artist Sam Glanzman returns to comics with a new tale of the U.S.S. Stevens!
Danny: Originally a digital-only series, Joe Kubert Presents #1 is now in print form with some new Kubert material plus stuff from other creators. Surely a must for fans of the dearly departed master.
Nick: Kubert is one of those creators that fans are often aware of but not really well-versed in. His work is extremely distinguishable and instantly recognizable, but this collection should serve as a good gateway for his aesthetic and tone and hopefully it will lead fans to check out more of his work elsewhere.
Andrew: Joe Kubert? More like Joe Queues Best! Right dudes?
Danny Djeljosevic is a comic book creator, award-winning filmmaker (assuming you have absolutely no follow-up questions) and Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin. Follow him on Twitter at @djeljosevic or find him somewhere in San Diego, often wearing a hat. Read his comic with Mike Prezzato, "Sgt. Death and his Metachromatic Men," over at Champion City Comics and check out his other comics at his Tumblr, Sequential Fuckery. His webcomic The Ghost Engine,with artist Eric Zawadzki, updates twice a week.
When he's not writing about the cape and spandex set and functioning as the Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin, Nick Hanover is a book, film and music critic who has contributed to Spectrum Culture, No Tofu Magazine, Performer Magazine, Port City Lights and various other international publications. By which he means Canadian rags you have no reason to know anything about. He also translates for "Partytime" Lukash's Panel Panopticon and you can follow him on Twitter at @Nick_Hanover.
Andrew Tan spends his days working on a bunch of different stuff he can't really explain here. Before that, he majored in Journalism at the University of Florida, where he worked for a few newspapers. He loves comics (obviously), sad music, duck confit and San Francisco. He also has a sentence published in McSweeney's that he is proud of. He was also mocked in Gawker for said sentence, which brings him roughly the same level of pride.
Andrew is one of the many people on the internet vying for the moniker of Tandrew. Some are him, some are not. You can find him on Twitter at @TandrewTan.