That's That Shit: 5/29/13: Comics Be WinningA comics news article
That's That Shit
Last Week's News, This Week's Comics for 05/22/13
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. Except this week, when Andrew was too busy solving a puppy puzzle to hang out with us.
BUT FIRST SOME MUSIC
WHO’S GOT YOUR HAND ON THE BUTTON...
Remodeller Finds Action Comics #1 in Wall of House
Collectors Everywhere Instigate House Demolishing Crime Wave
Nick Hanover: We’re going to start things off this week with a ridiculous story involving secret treasures, idiot in-laws and being in the right place at the right time. David Gonzalez, a Minnesota remodeller, bought a house in Elbow Lake, which is more than a hundred miles north of the Twin Cities, and while tearing apart the walls for remodelling, he discovered Action Comics #1. Yes, that’s right, someone stuffed the world’s most valuable comic in the walls of a house.
Gonzalez knew it was valuable but wasn’t entirely certain of its worth, and in the process of showing it to his in-laws, his wife’s Aunt grabbed the comic, prompting him to grab it back and tear the back cover, which knocked the comic’s grade down by half. Still, Gonzalez bought the house for a little over $10,000 and the comic is already fetching bids of over $100,000 in online auction. Not too bad, all things considered.
Danny: DAMN, SON.
Jonathan Hickman Set to Write New Avatar Series
Will Presumably Involve More Rape and Brain Smashing Than Normal
Nick: Jonathan Hickman, the critically beloved writer of series like Manhattan Projects, Secret Warriors and the current writer of the Avengers, will now apparently be heading to Avatar for God is Dead. Details are slim but Bleeding Cool (which is owned by Avatar) broke the news with a cover in Hickman’s signature style, which also featured a credit for artist Di Amorim, who will be the regular artist on the series while Jacen Burrows will be providing variant covers. The series is set to start in September.
It’s hard to comment on this when there’s so little information on what the series will even be, other than its “shocking” title. But I haven’t been impressed with Uber, the series Kieron Gillen has been working on at the publisher, and other than Neonomicon, I can’t say any Avatar series have truly wowed me. My big issue with them is that they tend to publish series that emphasize shock and sensationalism over, you know, actual artistry. But maybe Hickman will change that.
Danny: Mostly I dig Avatar’s stuff. It’s gross and smutty and doesn’t give a fuck. For me, Uber is mostly about watching Gillen figure out how to write a book that’s unlike anything he’s put out before. I’ve dug Avatar’s Warren Ellis stuff because it feels like him. And, duh, Frank Miller’s Robocop. I’m up for a Hickman Avatar book, especially one with a title that might make people angry.
Nick: The Ellis Avatar books are enjoyable, I’ll give you that. But what I mean is that nothing from the publisher has been a MUST OWN, if that makes sense. They’re enjoyable and they occupy a certain space, but I’d like to see them publish something on the level of what Image routinely churns out lately, and maybe this will be that book.
Marvel and Fox Now Locking Horns Over Quicksilver
Meanwhile, Everyone’s Favorite Creeper Avenger Starfox Goes Unused
Nick: Joss Whedon recently announced that the next Avengers film will feature Scarlet Witch and Quicksiler, the mutant children of Magneto, which makes perfect sense due to their long involvement with the Avengers. But Whedon’s announcement got a little hiccup thanks to Bryan Singer, who has decided, for whatever reason, to add Quicksilver to his upcoming Days of Future Past film AND has already cast Evan Peters (of American Horror Story) in the part. The rights to these characters have been up in the air for a while, since they’re involved in both teams, but it’s hard not to view Singer’s announcement as a kind of “fuck you,” since those familiar with the classic storyline know Quicksilver plays no part in it, as he’s not even in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants Mystique leads during the “present” storyline” for that event. So far the studios have remained relatively civil towards each other, and theoretically they could play nice and continue to both use the characters, but this is Hollywood we’re talking about, so it stands to reason that we’ll soon see the nuclear meltdown we all know is coming.
Meet your new Quicksilver
Danny: I don’t believe the rights to the characters are “up in the air” -- as I understand it, the people with the rights to the Avengers and the people with the rights to the X-Men are both able to use Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. But now that they’re both using them, it only makes sense that the two studios are going to fight over them. Not that it “makes sense” makes sense, but you kind of knew it was gonna happen.
Nick: Technically that’s true, but what I meant by “up in the air” is that the full extent of use is still unclear. Both studios have the rights to depicting them, but where it gets confusing is over how they can use them. For instance, Whedon and co. can’t refer to Quicksilver as a mutant, nor can they mention his father, while Singer and co. can’t make any reference to Quicksilver’s connection to any Avengers-related storylines. At the moment this isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but if Singer were to later bring in Scarlet Witch as well, it could get messy for Marvel Studios.
Danny: One day Fox will get sick of these properties and just throw them back to Marvel, I’m sure.
Adaptation of Julie Maroh’s Blue Angels Wins Palme d’Or
Everything is awesome
Nick: On Sunday, the Cannes Film Festival awarded its top prize, the Palme d’Or, to an adaptation of a graphic novel for the first time in its history. The prize went to Blue is the Warmest Colour, which is an adaptation of Julie Maroh’s Blue Angel, a French comic that will soon be available stateside in an English translation. Comic book films have been gaining in popularity over the last two decades, but this is a serious accomplishment that will undoubtedly raise the profile of the medium and gain it even more respect. While Blue is the Warmest Colour isn’t the only comic book film to win major awards (we spoke about 10 others yesterday), this is arguably the highest honor a comic book adaptation has received yet.
Danny: Y’know, I (and likely much of the comics internet) wouldn’t have known about this comic if the movie wasn’t awarded this distinction. That’s got me thinking about how people act like the film adaptation is the final statement on the work (“They ruined Watchmen!”) and how I wouldn’t have gotten into Scott Pilgrim unless I read in ‘07 that Edgar Wright was making it into a movie. I guess that speaks to cinema’s status as a huge popular thing and future generations will feel the same thing about video games? Where am I going with this? I dunno, I dig movies about French people. The book looks cool and I’d watch the movie, and it’s weird, as a comics person, to hear about a comic book because there’s a movie.
Nick: As I said in that top 10, I think this is more common than people might think, and I singled out Ghost World as the gateway drug for comics for a lot of our generation, and honestly, I’d be perfectly happy with this being a more common occurrence. There are plenty of books people find out about through movies, so why not comics, too?
Jeremy Kirby Launches Kickstarter for Book Version of Play by His Grandfather, Jack Kirby
Long live The King
Nick: Jack Kirby’s grandson Jeremy recently launched a Kickstarter to put together a coffee table book about a lost play written by Kirby called Frog Prince. Jeremy initially only asked for $7500, and at the time of publication, he has more than tripled that goal and has even surpassed the stretch goal he put forth of $20,000. The book is set to include rare photos and art and backers get some incredible rewards, including comics signed by Jack Kirby, thank yous in the book and even original Kirby art. There are a few weeks left on the Kickstarter, so be sure to check it out and donate what you can.
Danny: Kirby’s outside-of-comics work is fascinating. Outside of being screwed over by every publisher, he’s worked on abortive theme parks, crappy cartoons, designing costumes for Julius Caesar. I’d be really curious to read the actual text of his play, because going by his writing for comics, Kirby’s words weren’t really meant to be read aloud. Obviously a play is going to be a different beast, so I’m curious how he tackles that aspect.
Danny: Yeah, I mentioned the Lord of Light theme park.
Nick: Oh, I'm supposed to actually click on those links you send?
Waiting for October is a zine tribute to The Adventures of Pete & Pete that features work from the likes of Benito Cereno, Jen Van Meter, Christopher Hastings and more. The third printing is due out in a couple weeks and you can order it here.
THIS WEEK’S HOTNESS
Adventures of Superman #1
(Jeff Parker, Chris Samnee, Jeff Lemire, Justin Jordan, Riley Rossmo; DC)
Danny: It’s a fifth week, so pickings are slim. First up is a print edition of DC’s digital-first “We want to hire talented people but don’t trust them on our print books” anthology series, featuring that amazing-looking and pretty damn good Jeff Parker/Chris Samnee Superman story plus material from the Essex County guy, the Luther Strode guy and the “Draws 800 Pages a Month for Image titles” guy doing their own takes on the Man of Steel. This was supposed to be the issue that featured an Orson Scott Card, but everybody got mad about an active anti-gay activist writing a Superman comic and then artist Chris Sprouse quit and basically forced DC to put the story on hold for a little while. So now we have a comic with a solid collection of talent. WE WON.
Nick: I like what DC has been doing with their digital initiatives and I feel that there’s a lot of room to recruit and foster new talent this way, so I’m excited to hear this particular experiment was successful enough to get a print edition. It’s not all Injustice digicomics, folks.
Danny: Digital is a great place for the Big Two to try out ideas and talent that might be unsuccessful if you’re paying for a print run or might not be palatable to the comic shop crowd. DC’s doing a great job with it, offering anthology stuff (Legends of the Dark Knight, Adventures of Superman) as well as transmedia properties (Smallville, Injustice, Ame-Comi Girls, Batman ‘66). Considering the slow death of Vertigo and what’s going on in the main titles, digital is maybe the most fertile ground at DC these days.
(Graham Chaffee; Fantagraphics)
Danny: Alternative cartoonist turned tattoo artist Graham Chaffee -- you can call him an “alternative cartoonist” because he put out stuff in the ‘90s -- makes a graphic novel about a stray dog named Ivan. Fantagraphics has a preview and I’m really into Chaffee’s cartooning in it. It’s warm and elegantly rendered, reminiscent of why I like Tom Fowler’s work so much. I also dig that the dog can talk, but it doesn’t feel like it can be pigeonholed as a comic with a talking dog in it. He talks in that expository way protagonists in autobio comics talk, like he’s Adrian Tomine or Joe Matt or somebody.
Nick: Pretty much everything you just said sounds like magic to me.
(Brian Wood, Olivier Coipel; Marvel)
Danny: Yet another X-Men relaunch, but this one features an all-female team like it ain’t no thang. They don’t even do that bullshit of calling it X-Women and I love that. Even though I’ve actually never finished a Brian Wood work in my life -- I only got a few issues into DMZ, halfway through the first Demo and felt like #12 was a great unconventional place for a Conan the Barbarian saga to end -- I’m checking out X-Men on principle and I hope it’s good enough for me to want to stick with it. Because I really want this book to be amazing.
Nick: I, too, am excited for this but I have to ask: there weren’t any female writers available for this? Or at least a female artist? It just seems like what would have made this a truly bold, female-friendly move would be, you know, having an actual female involved in it. Because what I would love to see is an X-Men series handled not by a male writer who is sympathetic towards female characters (as has been the case for quite a while with everyone from Chris Claremont to Grant Morrison to Peter Milligan fitting that mold) but by an up-and-coming female writer with something to prove.
Danny: Y’know, when you mentioned that I tore through my myriad piles of comics to see who might be a good candidate from the non-big two and I realized... I don’t think Image has any female writers? A decent amount of really strong female artists, thank god (Ming Doyle, Janet K. Lee, Fiona Staples), but it looks like the writers are entirely dudes. And outside of the single issue comics game, I feel like all the awesome female creators I can think of are doing their own thing independent of superhero comics. The only person I can think of that might be a pretty good candidate is Faith Erin Hicks. We talked about X-Men on the Comics You Can Dance To podcast once, she’s into that stuff. Any other female creator who’d be in Marvel’s wheelhouse is... already established as working for Marvel? Jesus Christ, we need more people making comics.
Nick: Faith Erin Hicks was exactly who I had mind, funny enough. But I’d also be interested in seeing someone like G. Willow Wilson, or even a non-comics pick like Seanan McGuire (better known as Mira Grant, author of Feed and other entries in the Newsflesh series). The mainstream hasn’t been that kind to female writers and the conversations I’ve had for the site with people like Kate Leth have proven that a big part of why there aren’t too many female writers on superhero comics is because a huge chunk of the women writing comics have never felt all that welcome in that sphere and have focused their energy elsewhere. Putting a female creator-- even an otherwise untested one, or someone from another medium-- on a traditionally female fan-friendly series like X-Men would go a long way towards making aspiring female creators feel like it’s worth investing energy in pursuing a series like that.
Danny: G. Willow Wilson is a solid choice. She’s great but she’s never really had a big hit with readers, so that’d be perfect. I was mostly thinking via mainstream comics’ current method of hiring “new” creators, where they take people who have been putting out work through Image, Oni, etc., and bring them up into the big leagues. Guys like Joe Keatinge, Dennis Hopeless, Sam Humphries, Ales Kot and so on are the current flock of those creators, and there don’t appear to be any female creators who are, by my perception, on the cusp of stepping up? There should be. And if anybody knows of any female creators who ARE, please let me know in the comments. I desperately want to be wrong on this point.