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The comment section seemed pretty happy with the announcement that Howard Chaykin was going to be doing Buck Rogers for Hermes Press, so I laid hands on Dan Herman (the Publisher at Hermes) and got a little more information for you.
Hermes has a five year license for Buck Rogers comics, which means the license for a new comic as well as reprint rights for the previous comic books, like the Gold Key series based on the television show and, yes, some Murphy Anderson work from the early ’50s. Part of their proposal was a “back to basics” new series. Herman, as a publisher who does a lot of archival/historical books, isn’t a big fan of changing the formula.
That’s where Howard comes in. Herman had originally commissioned Chaykin to do a cover for a collection of the old Flint Dille/David Marconi/Dan Speigel “Agent 13″ graphic novels that came out from TSR back in the mid-to-late 1980s. Herman knew Chaykin had a fondness for ’30s and ’40s material. He also knew Chaykin’s work with Ironwolf/Cody Starbuck/Star Wars. Chaykin liked the idea.
Herman described the series as a “riff” on the original series and tells me Chaykin went back and read the two original pulp prose stories and roughly the first 10 years of the strip to get ready. Look to the left and the promotional poster does look like the classic period of the strip.
This will come out in normal comic book format and Herman is thinking May 2013 is a likely target date. Herman says Chaykin is initially working on 4 issues and when those are completed they’ll have a look at it and see where to go from there. He wants to evaluate the work as a whole, not piecemeal. Also factoring into this approach is Herman’s philosophy that “you let Howard do his job.” He knows who he hired, so he’s getting out of the way.
Figure we’ll hear a little more about this around the beginning of next year.
In October 2011, Phoenix Jones, a vigilante superhero, was arrested by Seattle police. His costume and crimefighting was not dissimilar to that of Batman: martial arts, body-armored suit, crime-fighting gear.
Most fans place Batman high on “all-time” lists partly because of his lack of superpowers. He has a lot of money, lots of training, and a brilliant mind. Like the sidekicks of the Silver Age of Comics, readers identify with him. We might not come orphaned from a distant world, meet a mysterious wizard who grants us powers, or suffer industrial accidents which trigger a latent genetic code, but we could, with enough time and money, become Batman.
So, while it might be a shock, in retrospect it might not be a surprise that someone would be inspired by the Joker, another character who ranks high on “worst villain” lists. His origin is uncertain… did his chemical bath trigger his insanity, or was it just an incident which pushed him over the edge? Yet, aside from a mis-wired brain, he has no superpowers, and even fewer devices than Batman. (Although his Golden Age and animated versions do have schemes which rival those of Rube Goldberg and Wile E. Coyote.)
As always happens when something like this happens, the police, media, and society always search for influences and triggers. What media did he enjoy? What paper and electronic trail did she leave? Where there psychological symptoms? Was there an inciting incident which pushed the suspect over the edge? Did the individual retreat to a fantasy to cope with reality? Did they have multiple personas, either online or on the street? What caused them to do what normal people would never do? (Thankfully, our definition of “normal” hasn’t changed, and we are still sensitized to horrific tragedies.)
In this situation, fantasy did have a large influence. He seems to have been inspired by “The Dark Knight”, even in his random actions shooting some theater patrons, but not others. Of course, given his mental state, if he had not been inspired by the Joker, he most likely would have found a different locale or method.
Criticism will be placed on Hollywood and how it influences society (Money Train, Scarface, The Matrix). Rarely is it praised for influencing society, except, perhaps, when an action hero celebrity saves someone in danger. Will there be discussion on how art reflects life, how art comments on society, how art can influence society? Most likely not… that’s boring Ivory Tower philosophical talk. Talking heads prefer to talk about more interesting things which entice viewers to watch and comment.
I hate to say it, but someone is going to label him the “cosplay killer” as soon as his mug shot is publicized. Already, his red-haired profile picture from Adult Friend Finder has been publicized. There’s going to be a lot of introspection forced onto fandom.
“Why do you dress up as a psychopathic villain?”
“What is it about the Punisher that you identify with?”
“You’re right…Batman is crazy. Is it a ‘good crazy’ or a ‘bad crazy’?”
“Why are the villains the interesting characters in stories?”
“How does fiction influence you and your behavior? What lessons are taught?”
Courtesy of Jamie Coville, here are 16 of the top panels from Comic-Con 2012. It’s almost as good as being there and if you don’t like crowds, it’s better. Many thanks to Jamie for providing this service. Jamie’s photos can be seen here.
How to Get News Coverage (53:51, 49.3mb)
Moderated by Rik Offenberger, a bunch of comic news sites writers talk about how to get coverage on their sites. One the panel was Rich Johnston, Alan Kistler, Bryan Young, Dan Manser, Holly Golightly, Chris Thompson, J.C. Vaughn, Josh Waldrop, Heidi MacDonald and Glenn Hauman. They taled about what e-mails they did and did not read, what information should be in the e-mail, things that people shouldn’t do which will ensure you get ignored, they also talked about smaller sites vs bigger sites when it comes to promoting a project.
Spotlight on Geof Darrow (100:30, 55.3mb)
Geof Darrow wins an Inkpot award and talks about how he got started in comics with Moebius, Frank Miller and the Wachowski Brothers. He showed a partly worked on Shaolin Cowboy Anime that had no audio, but gave funny commentary as it played. He talked in detail about trying to get the anime created and some road bumps he encountered along the way. Geof took the unusual step of asking the audience questions and giving them some signed prints for answering them. The audience did ask him some questions and the Geof talked about good movies the audience should see towards the end.
Bleeding Alliance of Beat Reporters (47:51, 43.8mb)
On this panel was Andy Khouri, Rich Johnston, Heidi MacDonald and Tom Spurgeon. The panel was moderated by Douglas Wolk. The group talked about making a living with their blogs, how they deal with commentators, how much they write vs editing their contributors, what type of stories get und
If you didn’t see the trailer for Man of Steel, the upcoming Zack Synder Superman film, in the previews before The Dark Knight Rises, the trailer has finally started turning up online. The trailer is bleak and somber in tone. It might be the whole film has this feel or it might be a deliberate attempt to differentiate a new project from the Richard Donner version the viewing public is familiar with (and that Bryan Singer was attempting to emulate in the last Superman film).
The Guardian has a series of comics up called A cartoonists worldview and it’s a fantastic series of thoughtful comics by an all-star line-up. It’s also a reminder that social commentary has always been one of the most powerful and direct uses of the comics medium. We’re lucky to have so many insightful practitioners using that medium today.