That's That Shit

Last Week's News, This Week's Comics for 05/15/13

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.

Bang on.







Dial H, Legion of Superheroes and Other Comics You Could Have Been Reading Have Been Cancelled

Shame on You

Nick Hanover: Another week, another wave of cancellations. First up is a slew of titles that have gotten the axe from DC, including the critically beloved Dial H, and the slightly less beloved Demon Knights, Legion of Superheroes and Threshold. Demon Knights is particularly of note in the latter crop, because it was one of DC's few fantasy titles and the last surviving of those titles, while nearly every iteration of Legion of Superheroes has struggled to hold on to readers, though this will mark the first time in 40 years that the series has not been in print in some way.



In the case of Dial H, it's upsetting because that series was one of the few remaining New 52 titles that consistently received major critical accolades, and it was honestly a bit of an outlier at DC, with an aesthetic that recalled Grant Morrison's work on Doom Patrol, or any of the early British Wave of Vertigo titles. Given DC's disinterest in all things Vertigo, though, and Karen Berger's departure from the publisher, it's not all that surprising that the title would go under relatively quickly, but that doesn't make it any less heartbreaking.



Danny: Not too surprising, I'm sad to say. I'm a proponent of Dial H but I know I'm in the minority of comics readers because I want to read things that are weird and interesting. Even though I liked the characters, Demon Knights was so slow-paced I had to bail on it eight months in. I knew about Threshold but I still had to google it, so that's not a good sign. Maybe if it was called Mystery in Space or something less Xbox-y.

Legion of Superheroes is a pretty big shocker. DC's kept that franchise alive for a really long time, so I imagine they're going to bring it back in some tweaked, rebooted from. The rumors that DC's going to rebrand it as something more JLA-centric like Justice Legion seems likely. I don't think that's the best answer, though — the only time Legion really worked for me was the Mark Waid/Barry Kitson fun, youthful reboot of the mid-2000s when the mission statement was clear and you didn't have to trudge through years of continuity to understand it. Ultimately, I think the best answer is to look at fare like Young Avengers and Runaways and realize that maybe you need hottish, youngish talent to front a book about teen superheroes and never make those characters age into adulthood because that shit is wack.

Nick: I don't know why DC doesn't embrace that tactic, because Legion has struggled for ages and it's clear that it needs to be reinvented and allowing a relative unknown to take the reins would at least give it a fresh perspective. But hey, this is DC we're talking about, so I think we're more likely to hear that they're going to let Fabian Nicieza reboot it or something, since he wrote that hot fresh book New Warriors.

Danny: Exactly. There's a lot you could do with this set of characters, and I think it requires someone with ambition and with at least one finger on the pulse of youth culture to figure it out.


The Real Version of Frank Miller's RoboCop 3 Comes to BOOM!

Surprisingly not called Holy Terror RoboCop!


Nick: According to IGN, BOOM! Studios has acquired the RoboCop license and will soon publish a comic based on Frank Miller's original script for RoboCop 3. The adaptation, called RoboCop: Last Stand, is set to be written by longtime comics vet and frequent Robocop adapter Steven Grant, with art by Korkut Oztekin and covers by Declan Shalvey. The premise sounds suitably fatalistic, as RoboCop is the "last hope" for Delta City, as OCP takes over the metropolis. 



Danny: This is actually a surprise to me — I'm a big fan of Steven Grant's adaptation of Frank Miller's original Robocop 2 script, called Frank Miller's Robocop, which had a lot of elements that showed up in RoboCop 3. Because of that I figured they just gutted Miller's script for Part 2 to fuel the third movie and gave him due credit. Turns out that Miller was actually coaxed back to the franchise and reused elements from that script when he worked on RoboCop 3 in the hopes that it wouldn't get messed up this time. They messed it up anyway, and RoboCop 3 ended up being a pretty sanitized PG-13 sequel.

So yeah — I'm down for this.

Andrew: Between this and Dark Horse's adaptation of the early version of Star Wars I'm wondering if comics will be a way for unproduced
scripts to still see mass distribution. How common was this before now?

Danny: It's not UNcommon. Frank Miller's RoboCop was one of the biggest examples for a while, then Kevin Smith got in on it by letting Dynamite adapt his Green Hornet and Six Million Dollar Man screenplays. For a while Terry Gilliam was going to get in on that game, too, but I don't think anything came of that. You probably can't do much better than Ramon Perez's adaptation of Jim Henson's Tale of Sand, though.


DC Releases Art for Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette's Upcoming Wonder Woman: Earth One

So far, no bondage, though


Nick: Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette are working on a new Wonder Woman series for DC's "Earth One" realm, which Morrison has told Newsarama will be more like his All-Star Superman project than the work he did with Batman, and this week, DC released some image from the project. There's not a lot to go off yet, but the images Newsarama posted do indicate that Paquette is in full on epic mode for the project, and Morrison's hints about the way he will "unify" Wonder Woman's history are interesting. As Morrison and others have pointed out, Wonder Woman has an extremely complicated history, but Morrison stands a better chance than most at making the character resonate for a new generation.



Danny: "No bondage"? You don't see Wonder Woman dominating a dude with a chain in in that image? I've always dug the way Morrison has written Wonder Woman in his DC work (he's bar none the best at spot-on, clever characterization in superhero comics) and she's basically the last major character Moz hasn't reinvented in comics, if you don't count a whole bunch of Marvel stuff that he'd never be allowed to fuck with because this isn't 2001 anymore. Maybe they should get him to do Legion of Superheroes.

Oh, and Yanick Paquette's art is gonna be SO sick.

Andrew: It's like grant us MORE-ison!



SHIELD Gets Timeslot

Countdown until death of universally beloved character begins


Nick: Newsarama has confirmed that SHIELD has not only been picked up, but that it has also already found a timeslot. The show will now debut in the fall, on Tuesdays at 8pm/7pm Central, alongside three other new programs, two of which are sitcoms while the other is a drama involving lottery winners. 




A teaser for the show debuted while Once Upon a Time was airing on Sunday, and fans everywhere have already begun theorizing about the direction the show will take based on that clip. The biggest debate has been over whether one of the agents shown is Luke Cage or the lesser known Avenger Rage. The former guess seems the most likely, as io9's breakdown of the teaser offers a lot of evidence to support the claim, including info about existing plans for Luke Cage. That piece also suggests that the Corvette shown near the end, nicknamed Lola, is a SHIELD flying car which I am all for. Regardless of what turns out to be real, it will be great to have another superhero show on television, especially one with such a great pedigree.

Danny: It's a fine trailer that shows off a bunch of SHIELD stuff as well as some very Joss Whedon moments that made me laugh. I'm hoping they do scour the Marvel archives to populate the show with minor characters. Like, I get that you might want to save Luke Cage for the movies, but there's no reason why you couldn't use Rage, D-Man or whoever on TV. Anyone who can't even sustain their own solo comic series, much less a movie, should be fair game on TV.

Andrew: Danny recently showed me The Ultimates and how the first volume was really the framework for The Avengers, but is there any possible basis for this show or will it just be pure Whedon-y goodness?

Danny: I believe all the agent characters are original to the show (unless Marvel is doing some J.J. Abrams mystery box shit and changing the names come airtime). There are lots of SHIELD stories but I can't imagine any of them will show up in this show (there's not really a definitive one that I can think of, unless you count Steranko's psychedelic Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD material). I guess ultimately the basis for this show is The X-Files.

Nick: Well, there's some industry whispering that Whedon is pulling from the Alias adaptation that never got off the ground, and as far as specific S.H.I.E.L.D. storylines and comics, I think it's more likely that they would pull from background elements of major titles, like Secret War and Secret Warriors. But most of the S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff in the comics is honestly a little vague or — in the case of the Steranko series in the ‘60s — way too psychedelic to work.


Nebraska Library Refuses to Pull The Killing Joke

Also, what kind of idiot thinks this comic "advocates" rape???


Nick: A library in Nebraska was sent a request to pull Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's seminal Batman story The Killing Joke from its shelves but in a surprise turn of events, the library refused to honor the request. The request, which specifically claimed that the comic "advocates rape and violence," was dismissed by the library board, which stated it didn't find the comic "worthy of being removed from the shelf," especially since the requester "misconstrued" the definition of rape. This may seem like a small bit of news, but frankly it's fucking awesome that a library would stand up for a comic. And hey, at least it wasn't Identity Crisis.



Danny: It's sad that it's newsworthy that a book HASN'T been banned, but here we are. First, it's mad dumb to think that depicting violence, rape, etc. is the same thing as advocating. Regardless, I wouldn't put The Killing Joke in the "young adult" section.

Andrew: I mean the Joker really is the protagonist of the story right guys? I mean the title is even named after the character! Clearly Moore wants us to sympathize and emulate all the Joker's actions, otherwise it woulda been called The Angry Batman.

Nick: The Angry Batman exists, Andrew, it's just called Holy Terror, for some reason.




Regular Show #1

(KC Green, Allison Strejlau; BOOM!)


Danny: It was bound to happen eventually. With the popularity of their Adventure Time and Bravest Warriors series, BOOM! is bringing another twentysomething favorite to comics and hiring a talented and funny webcomics person to work on it: this time it's the slackertastic Regular Show and the webcomicker is KC Green of Gunshow. And it's probably going to be amazing. Also of interest from BOOM! this week is the Adventure Time OGN Playing with Fire by Girls with Slingshots' Danielle Corsetto and Zack Sterling. TIGHT.



Andrew: In a rare moment where I can contribute something beyond dumbass jokes, it looks like Regular Show has a connection to SF's own Mission District

Danny: Oh! I didn't realize Hellen Jo (a comicker who writes/storyboards for Regular Show) was an SF local. She's amazing, and I have her Pocketo wallet. Which replaced the "Bad Motherfucker" wallet I used to rock. Thanks Hellen!

Nick: I know I've already mentioned that I'm still way behind on Adventure Time, but I'm even more behind on Regular Show, so this seems like a good time to dive in. It's especially exciting to see these comics pull from the indie and webcomics world, because it drives home the point that these aren't merely cash-ins, and I really appreciate that. 

Danny: Yep! It helps that the people who make the shows are all indie comics folk, so there's more care being taken with the comic book tie-ins than with most other cartoons.


Dream Thief #1

(Jai Nitz, Greg Smallwood; Dark Horse)

Danny: One of two similarly named titles coming out this week (that and Dream Merchant from Image), Dream Thief seems like the winner of the two. It's just the kind of oddball superhero comic we need — it's about a guy who's possessed by "vengeful spirits" while he's asleep all because he stole an aboriginal artifact from a museum. It's like The Crow meets The Mask! Worth a try.



Andrew: More like the Mid-90s Movie Thief right guys???????

Danny: Huh? Oh.


Nick: The sad thing is I would totally read a comic about stolen ‘90s movie plots. Damn it, Andrew.


Avengers: The Enemy Within #1

(Kelly Sue DeConnick, Scott Hepburn; Marvel)

Danny: CB favorite Kelly Sue DeConnick writes the first part of an event that crosses over her Avengers Assemble and Captain Marvel series in what's surely an attempt to boost sales on the latter. Captain Marvel deserves more readers and the fact that Captain Marvel is an Avenger and that DeConnick writes both books makes for a pretty natural crossover. If you're already reading both like I am, this just means you have to buy one extra issue. I'm okay with that.



Andrew: Seriously. Anything to get more eyes on Filipe Andrade's work.

Danny: Yeah. Andrade isn't illustrating any of this crossover, but he'll probably be back for Captain Marvel #15 in… August, probably. Either way, it'll be cool.

Nick: While I too hope that Captain Marvel gains some readers, do these kinds of forced crossovers typically work out? I remember Marvel did a similar thing with Young Avengers and Runaways during Civil War and it seemed like it had little impact on the sales of either series. There's also that infamous Wolverine cameo in Mike Allred and Peter Milligan's X-Force, where Wolverine flat out says "I'm only here to boost sales, you know." Which made it extra hilarious when he and Doop had a team-up comic later.

Danny: Marvel teamed up Young Avengers/Runaways for both Civil War and Secret Invasion… but in a self-contained book. So there's no hope of hoping readers stick around if it's happening in a separate miniseries. This one's more like that New Mutants/Journey Into Mystery crossover from a year ago or so, where you had the opening one-shot and the rest of it was contained across the two books. I bet it boosts sales a bit, but who knows how long that'll last. "Exiled" didn't make me want to stick with New Mutants and "Night of the Vampires" or whatever the hell it was called didn't make me all that curious for I, Vampire. I do think, quality-wise, there will be way more consistency with this crossover because it makes sense for these two books to interact and it's all being done by one writer.