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1. 5 Things We Learned About Adam West at #NYCC

photo 1 1000x750 5 Things We Learned About Adam West at #NYCC

It’s been 48 years since the iconic Batman television series first aired. Adam West, the man behind the cowl, was at the New York Comic Con on Friday afternoon promoting the new television box set and Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham video game that will available for purchase on Tuesday, Nov. 11. The footage has been digitally re-mastered and available in its entirety except for the full length motion picture.

Here are five things I found interesting during the West’s victory lap:

From East to West: Apparently, West was friends with the legendary Bruce Lee. “Bruce Lee and I were friends. We used to surf together out on the beach, strangely enough. Bruce was a very quiet, introspective guy, and he was a dream to work with because he did everything that was required and more.”

Adam West never auditioned for the role: “They seen a commercial for a film I had done before I went to Europe to film some spaghetti westerns. When I got back, my agent said they want to see me at Fox and ABC because they saw something I did that they liked, and I didn’t know what it was. I went out and read the pilot script by Lorenzo Semple Jr. I thought it was brilliant and insanely funny, and I said “I’ll do it.” I knew they wanted me, but they tested others to give me a little fright.”

Julie was his favorite Catwoman: West gave some mad respect to the late great Frank Gorshin. West admitted that his favorite arch-nemesis was Gorshin’s Riddler. There were three actresses that play Catwoman but the stunning Julie Newmar had a special place in his heart. “It has to be Julie because I worked with her first and the most. She promised to date me when she got out of jail. Time off and good behavior.”

Gray Ghost in the works?  “I enjoyed the Gray Ghost. There’s some talk about doing it as a series. People ask me about that a lot, and Family Guy.”

Money talks… Someone from Guinness World Records was in the crowd, and she asked Mayor West how did he feel about breaking the record for most screen appearances as Batman and if he would like to break any more records. West signed and said “The highest paid.”

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2. Wednesday Pulse: The Fluctuating Prices of Batman

If you’re picking up Batman #35 this week, do yourself a favour and check out the price point. See that $4.99 price sticker? Originally solicited at the regular $3.99 price, DC sent an e-mail to retailers last week telling them that the price of Batman #35-37 would be pumped up to the $4.99 mark in order to account for additional story pages (surprise: Kelley Jones is back!).

batman35cover Wednesday Pulse: The Fluctuating Prices of Batman

This series has been no stranger to the occasional price bump, with four of the twelve Zero Year issues clocking in at prices equal to or above the $4.99 price point (issue #24 ran a stunning $6.99), and so DC’s choice to pump up the price in the face of extra content shouldn’t come as a surprise. The problem, was this: retailers (and the creative team) were informed of this change on September 30th, whereas the book was sent to press in and around September 15th, the final day retailers had to send in orders. In essence, the company waited a full 15 days after retailers sent in their final numbers to let them know that they were about to charge 20% more for a book they were contractually obligated to purchase.

A few notes: when these changes happen after solicitations have gone out, the product being offered does become returnable, which is good. If I want to return every issue I have left unsold of Batman #35, I can absolutely do that… eventually. I’ve been working in the industry for 8 years, and I still can’t quite grasp the process, but that’s probably because operating in Canada plies a whole ‘nother set of hoops to jump through.

Second: after hearing about this price jump, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo approached the company and implored them to lower the price back to $3.99. The company was receptive to this, and announced yesterday that they would only be charging $3.99 for issues #36 and 37, which is cool. The problem is this: enacting price jumps after information has gone out is not a thing that should happen. I understand the realities of this business sometimes require a bit of adjustment, and that retroactively a creative team and editor will decide that things needs more space to breathe. Letting retailers know after committing to product? That’s a pretty crap thing to do. It certainly isn’t business busting, but it’s a reminder about how terrible the contracts retailers sign in order to get comics are. Technically, Marvel or DC could announce tomorrow that all of their books are going to jump a dollar, effective immediately. All of this product would be made returnable eventually, but in the meantime, somewhere, there are comic shops that are either just starting or are currently, for whatever reason, operating by the skin of their teeth. They purchase product using a strict budget, because if they don’t, there’s going to be trouble. Imagine learning that a large chunk of your books were suddenly going to be 20-25% more expensive immediately, with no time to adjust. That’s going to be quite a nightmare. But what are you going to do? Not get Batman in your store? Pff. Sure. Let’s see how that goes down for you.

Now ply that to a smaller scale and think about customers. There are a lot of people out there living by the skin of their teeth. They buy comics as a means for escape, but they only have a set amount of money. I know back when I first started picking up comics from a file, I kept a list of 20 books a month, because that’s all I could afford. Some can’t quite do that. Now imagine all of your books increasing significantly overnight. I know that this happens quite often, that Marvel’s across the board policy of $3.99 comics have caused problems for a few people, and that DC’s $3.99 Septembers are no help either. While I often advocate the fact that people will pay $3.99 or $4.99 for their superhero books without blinking (and I have the sales data to back this up), I know that there are those out there for whom the idea of spending that much on a title is insanity. The unfortunate thing for both customers and retailers is this: your budget problems don’t really amount to much when it comes to overall sales.

While a $4.99 comic might have me losing one or two customers, I still have more than enough people for whom that jump is not a deal breaker. In the case of Batman, over the course of Zero Year, I lost a single customer due to the various jumps in price, while all others gladly made purchases. My loss incurred was matched ten-fold by the extra money the price increase nabbed me. The same goes for the industry at large – which is why from a purely business standpoint, DC is crazy for leaving money on the table and dropping the price of the next two issues of Batman. That said, I do have to applaud the company for doing the human thing and keeping the title at $3.99. While it leaves a stack of money on the table, it is greatly appreciated by myself, and many others.

It seems weird to try and thank a company who caused the problem that they are fixing, but let’s be honest: if this goes without remark, they’re going to get the wrong message. They’re going to look at how money is spent, and opt for the quick buck over something more sustainable. So DC? Thanks for not being 100% a dick. Despite what last week’s comics might have suggested.

grayson3 4 668x1028 Wednesday Pulse: The Fluctuating Prices of Batman

from Grayson #3

But we’ll talk about that bit of business later.

[Brandon Schatz has been working behind the comic book counter for eight years. He's spent the past four as the manager of Wizard's Comics and Collectibles in Edmonton, Alberta. In his spare time, he writes about the comics he likes over at Comics! The Blog. You can find him on twitter @soupytoasterson. The opinions expressed are those of Schatz and do not necessarily reflect those of The Beat.]

1 Comments on Wednesday Pulse: The Fluctuating Prices of Batman, last added: 10/9/2014
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3. Fictional humans protest Superman’s violent streak just like real ones did

Latino Review is keeping up with the latest Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice [League Movie] set leaks and stuff.. The film is shooting in Detroit, for that “urban explorer” feeling. One scene (above) involves people protesting Superman as an alien and, presumably, his extreme property damage at the end of Man of Steel, as immortalized in Kyle Baker’s “Mass Murderer of Steel” game. There’s even a swastika involved.

Byudo6PCMAAsg6Y Fictional humans protest Supermans violent streak just like real ones did

There have also been a few Batman leaks like this grainy, surveillance style image of Ben Affleck in the Batsuit.

As you may have guessed from the few peeks at the Batman segment of the v., this movie will be much influenced by Frank Miller (like, what isn’t?) and actor Harry Lennix, who portrays Lieutenant General Swanwick, confirmed this in an interview:

According to the actor, those who enjoyed reading Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” four-issue comic book miniseries will surely love Snyder’s upcoming film, Batman News reported. “Anybody who’s a fan of the ’86 graphic novel ‘The Dark Knight Returns,’ I think will be pleased by that,” he answered when asked to give an update on the upcoming film. “This is a historic event. Clearly, Zack Snyder is on the cutting edge of directing movies on this scope and scale.”

 

2 Comments on Fictional humans protest Superman’s violent streak just like real ones did, last added: 10/1/2014
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4. Thanos and Batman top August sales — UPDATED

Batman #34I’ll post John Jackson Miller’s analysis when it comes in, but sales for the year inched up, although down from Five Wednesday July. Image had more than 10% of unit sales, always a good mark for them.

And sales analyst Miller weighs in pointing out this was the first “Normal” month in a while.

After a summer of “bombshell” covers, anniversary covers, high-profile relaunches, and giant purchases by online retailers, August appears to have been something more resembling a generic month in the comics industry. Comic-book retailers purchased more than $41 million in comic books, trade paperbacks, and magazines in August 2014, according Comichron’s analysis of data released today by Diamond Comic Distributors. Dollar sales for the month were up 7.6% year over year, bringing annual sales to $344 million, up nearly 3% over 2013.

July’s sales, the highest recorded dollar amount paid for comics and graphic novels in the seventeen-year long Diamond Exclusive Era, were boosted in part by a fifth week to the month, by the addition of thousands of Rocket Raccoon #1 copies bought by Loot Crate, and by DC’s Batman 75th Anniversary covers, among other things. August’s sales appear to have returned to a more regular pattern, with Batman#34 taking the top slot.


Batman hunts a killer lurking in the shadows of Gotham City in Scott Snyder and Matteo Scalera’s Batman #34 from DC Entertainment, the best-selling comic book of August 2014 according to information provided by Diamond Comic Distributors, the world’s largest distributor of comics, graphic novels, and pop culture merchandise.

Marvel Comics had five titles among August’s top ten best-selling comics, led by Amazing Spider-Man #5 at #2. DC Entertainment placed four titles in the top ten. Image Comics had one title, The Walking Dead #130 at #6.

Marvel Comics was August’s top publisher with a 34.27% dollar market share and a 35.85% unit market share. DC Entertainment was second with a 28.71% dollar share and 32.56% unit share. Image Comics was third with a 8.83% dollar share and a 10.97% unit share. IDW Publishing’s dollar share in August was fourth at 5.43% and Dark Horse Comics was fifth at 4.73%.

Jim Starlin returns to his signature character Thanos in the original graphic novel, Thanos: The Infinity Revelation from Marvel Comics, August’s best-selling graphic novel and one of the publisher’s three books among the top ten. DC Entertainment had four titles in the top led, led by Fables Volume 20: Camelot at #2. Additionally, all three volumes of Image Comics’ Saga placed among the top ten.

The second volume of Jeffrey Brown’s young readers Star Wars series, Star Wars: Jedi Academy: The Return of the Padawan from Chronicle Books was August’s best-selling book. Also in the top ten were IDW Publishing’s Dave Gibbons: The Watchmen Artifact Edition at #2, Dark Horse Comics’ Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia at #3, and Gemstone’s The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide Volume 44 remained in the top ten at #4.

The X-Men and their foes, including Wolverine and Magneto, were sculpted in the 6-inch scale for Hasbro’s X-Men Legends Action Figures, August’s best-selling toy product. DC Collectibles had eight of top ten toy products for the month, led by the Batman: Arkham Asylum: Harley Quinn Statue at #2. Diamond Select Toys’ best-selling product for August was the Godzilla 1989 Vinyl Bust Bank at #17.

The cosmic heroes of Marvel Comics’ Guardians of the Galaxy comic book are featured in NECA/WizKids’ Marvel Heroclix: Guardians of the Galaxy Booster Brick, August’s best-selling game product, and one of the manufacturer’s five titles in the top ten.

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHER DOLLAR

SHARE

UNIT

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS 34.27% 35.85% DC ENTERTAINMENT 28.71% 32.56% IMAGE COMICS 8.83% 10.97% IDW PUBLISHING 5.43% 4.67% DARK HORSE COMICS 4.73% 4.03% DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 2.59% 2.40% BOOM! STUDIOS 2.32% 2.14% EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS 1.65% 0.43% RANDOM HOUSE 1.14% 0.38% VIZ MEDIA 1.04% 0.42% OTHER NON-TOP 10 9.28% 6.17%

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER COMICS SHIPPED GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED MAGAZINES SHIPPED TOTAL

SHIPPED

DC ENTERTAINMENT 85 22 1 108 MARVEL COMICS 78 29 0 107 IMAGE COMICS 63 5 0 68 IDW PUBLISHING 42 17 0 59 DARK HORSE COMICS 36 18 0 54 DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 25 12 0 37 BOOM! STUDIOS 23 9 0 32 RANDOM HOUSE 1 27 0 28 EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS 0 0 25 25 VIZ MEDIA 0 24 0 24 OTHER NON-TOP 10 98 117 21 236

 


COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

  DOLLARS UNITS
AUGUST 2014 VS. JULY 2014
COMICS -23.77% -22.73%
GRAPHIC NOVELS -22.06% -20.96%
TOTAL COMICS/GN -23.26% -22.60%
AUGUST 2014 VS. AUGUST 2013
COMICS 7.30% 4.20%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 8.31% 9.95%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 7.60% 4.63%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2014 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2013
COMICS 2.40% -2.32%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 3.81% 5.79%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 2.84% -1.69%

 

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 BATMAN #34 $3.99 JUN140215-M DC
2 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #5 $3.99 JUN140613-M MAR
3 ORIGINAL SIN #7 $3.99 JUN140605-M MAR
4 MULTIVERSITY #1 $4.99 JUN140145-M DC
5 SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #32 $4.99 JUN140643-M MAR
6 THE WALKING DEAD #130 (MR) $2.99 JUN140586 IMA
7 HARLEY QUINN #9 $2.99 JUN140228-M DC
8 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1.4 $3.99 JUN140645-M MAR
9 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #18 $3.99 JUN140622-M MAR
10 BATMAN ETERNAL #18 $2.99 JUN140207 DC


TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 THANOS: THE INFINITY REVELATION OGN HC $24.99 APR140765 MAR
2 FABLES VOLUME 20: CAMELOT TP (MR) $19.99 MAY140403 DC
3 DEADPOOL VS. CARNAGE TP $16.99 MAY140932 MAR
4 TRILLIUM TP (MR) $16.99 MAY140407 DC
5 BATMAN: EARTH-ONE TP $12.99 MAY140376 DC
6 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 1: COSMIC AVENGERS TP $19.99 JAN140800 MAR
7 SAGA VOLUME 3 TP (MR) $14.99 JAN140556 IMA
8 WATCHMEN HC $39.99 JUL080172 DC
9 SAGA VOLUME 1 TP (MR) $9.99 AUG120491 IMA
10 SAGA VOLUME 2 TP (MR) $14.99 APR130443 IMA

TOP 10 BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 STAR WARS: JEDI ACADEMY VOLUME 2: RETURN OF THE PADAWAN HC $12.99 MAY141839 SCH
2 DAVE GIBBONS: WATCHMEN ARTIFACT EDITION HC $75.00 APR140347 IDW
3 LEGEND OF ZELDA: HYRULE HISTORIA HC $34.99 SEP120055 DAR
4 THE OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE VOL. 44 SC $29.95 APR141239-M GEM
5 THE SHADOW DOUBLE NOVEL VOLUME 86 SC $14.95 JUN141674 SAN
6 DOC SAVAGE DOUBLE NOVEL VOLUME 76 SC $14.95 MAY141830 SAN
7 JIM HENSON’S THE STORYTELLER HC $19.99 JUN140971 BOO
8 THE BOUNTY HUNTER CODE: REVELATIONS OF BOBA FETT HC $19.95 JUN141675 CHR
9 SWORD ART ONLINE VOLUME 2: AINCRAD SC $13.00 JUN141575 HAC
10 THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN: BATTLE OF THE SUPER-HEROES SC $3.95 JUN141629 CAP

TOP 10 TOYS

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 X-MEN LEGENDS 6-INCH ACTION FIGURES MAR148025 HAS
2 BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM: HARLEY QUINN STATUE FEB140310 DC
3 DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS: STARGIRL STATUE FEB140309 DC
4 DC COMICS: THE NEW 52: RED HOOD ACTION FIGURE FEB140306 DC
5 DC COMICS: THE NEW 52: EARTH-2 BATMAN ACTION FIGURE MAR140310 DC
6 DC COMICS: THE NEW 52: STARFIRE ACTION FIGURE FEB140307 DC
7 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES CLASSIC COLLECTOR FIGURES MAY142439 PLA
8 DC COMICS: THE NEW 52: ARSENAL ACTION FIGURE FEB140308 DC
9 DC COMICS: THE NEW 52: EARTH-2 SUPERMAN ACTION FIGURE MAR140308 DC
10 ARKHAM ASYLUM: THE JOKER/HARLEY QUINN/BATMAN/THE SCARECROW ACTION FIGURE 4-PACK MAR140312 DC


TOP 10 GAMES

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 MARVEL HEROCLIX: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY COMIC BOOSTER BRICK JUN142657 NEC
2 DC HEROCLIX: WAR OF LIGHT BOOSTER BRICK WAVE 2 MAY142842 NEC
3 MONOPOLY: THE WALKING DEAD SURVIVAL EDITION OCT128266 USA
4 DUNGEONS & DRAGONS MINIATURES SET ONE APR142391 NEC
5 MARVEL HEROCLIX: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY COMIC BOOSTERS JUN142656 NEC
6 RISK LEGACY JUN118204 HAS
7 MARVEL HEROCLIX: INHUMANS FAST FORCES PACK JUN142659 NEC
8 MUNCHKIN ADVENTURE TIME JUN142638 PSI
9 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES MONOPOLY APR142388 USA
10 MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: 2015 CORE SET INTRO DECKS JUN142652 WIZ

 

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5. SDCC ’14: ‘DC Comics – The Weeklies’ panel

BMETRL_Cv26By Kyle Pinion

One of the bigger initiatives to come from the Big Two this year is the advent of the three weekly titles from DC Comics: Batman Eternal, Futures End, and Earth 2: Worlds End. With the latter on the verge of release, and Batman Eternal continuing to perform well in DC Sales Figures, members of the various creative teams for the titles gathered for DC’s Weeklies panel. Writers on hand included: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins (Batman Eternal), Dan Jurgens, Jeff Lemire (Futures End), Marguerite Bennett and Daniel H. Wilson (Worlds End).

The panel, moderated by Bob Wayne, was neatly delineated with each title receiving its own focus time. With that, things were kicked off with Batman Eternal.

- Scott Snyder thanked the attendees for picking up Eternal and making it such a sales success: “We came up with an idea that we felt would be so big and infect that neighborhood in Gotham. I helped write the first few and I’ll come back and do the last, but it’s these guys that are just killing it on the series. The great thing about it is that it’s not happening in a small corner.” Snyder also stated that when Batman returns in Issue 34, it will deal with the fall-out of Eternal, flashing forward past the Weekly time-frame, with the consequences of the series reverberating through a number of books.

- Fawkes discussed the breakdown of writer tasks and interests within their team, stating that he specifically will be writing the sub-plot dealing with Jim Corrigan and Batwing through the duration of the series. Higgins also chimed in, mentioning that despite coming onto the series late (replacing outgoing writer John Layman), his arc would begin in the 30′s and he would be bringing back The Architect in those issues (a character he co-created with Snyder in the Pre-New 52 Gates of Gotham mini).

- In describing the break-down of the series’ acts Higgins added: “The way that we’re structuring this is three acts. The end of the first big act of the series will be right around issue 20. Section two tees up something new and different with different characters. That’s the stuff I’m doing; I’m working with Jason Fabok to tell the end of section two.” Snyder added in that each of the acts are designed to raise the stakes until the city is on the edge of destruction while reaching a giant crescendo in its finale.

- Moving on to Future’s End, the panelists were a little less verbose regarding future plans, with a big as of yet unannounced event on the horizon, but they discussed the dynamics of the “incredibly unlikely group of writers” that make up their team. With Lemire pointing out that the unusual mix of writers gave way to the eclectic cast that makes up the title’s roster.

- Jurgens and Lemire were especially quick to praise Ryan Sook as the unsung fifth member of their team, who sat in on their writing meetings and created character sketches based on the ideas being bounced around.

- Regarding writer specific favorites, Lemire mentioned that it was Brian Azzarello who was gravitating towards Terry McGinnis, and this in turn led to a discussion amongst the panelists as to whether Terry is called Batman or Batman Beyond in the book proper. (A: He’s not called anything as of yet, as he has few associates per Lemire).

- Lastly, the panel’s focus turned to Earth 2: Worlds End, with “show-runner” Wilson describing the series as: “We’re in a situation where we’re continuing what’s going on in Earth 2 and there are some catastrophic events on the way and we’re bridging into the future. On the ground level, we have characters like Dick Grayson who are surviving on the ground, then you bump up a bit and you have the World Army, then, to the top level. Having all of this play out at the same time is really interesting; figuring out who deals with what and what’s happening to the world.”

- Both Bennett and Wilson agreed that the series will be shifting its gaze less to the big picture and more to the people within it, with Bennett specifically citing Batman Eternal as a huge influence on her work here: “It’s not just a story of attrition or the death of the world, it’s a story about the people in that world. It’s a story of triumph, of love and hope that’s coming out of the ruins.”

- Both writers also wanted to stress the importance of the series having a sense of accessibility, and the first issue will provide an intro as to the happenings within the Earth 2 monthly title.

- Lastly, Wilson mentioned that readers should be on the look-out for them to address some unanswered questions, particularly in regards to the fate of Sam, Alan Scott’s partner.

- The panel then moved into the Q&A portion, which begun with an elaboration on who is tackling what character in Futures End; Lemire is writing Frankenstein and any space characters, Giffen has the Cadmus team and Grifter, Jurgens is writing Tim Drake and Superman, and Azzarello oversees Terry McGuiness.

- Regarding any restrictions on ideas that the Eternal crew might have proposed, they said there weren’t any, and that in issue 20 the status quo will shift tremendously. With Tynion adding in: “We’re marching closer and closer to the end with every single issue, and issues #21-23 is the real turning point to set up that next section and things are going to start changing rapidly. Gotham is going to become very dangerous very quickly.” Fawkes also added that characters like Killer Croc, Jim Gordon, and Batwing will come out of the events of Eternal with new lives.

- On what the writers of Eternal would remember from the series as a whole: Snyder answered that the title is key theme. With Fawkes emphasizing this point, stating that the team wanted readers to believe this is the story that would destroy Batman, but once they reach the conclusion they’ll get the meaning of the title in that context.

- Snyder closed the panel stating that the coordinated work amongst the writers on Eternal affected the narrative of his upcoming Batman arc “Endgame”: “When I seehow much they’re doing, it was like, ‘Let’s make Batman do that too.’ ‘Endgame’ is about taking Batman and giving readers a Gotham they’ve never seen before.

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6. SDCC 2014: Day -1 — a peak at the floor and The Year of Guardians

I kind of had an inkling that Guardians of the Galaxy would be the big thing at Comic-Con 2014, and after looking on the floor for a few minutes…I was right. If it isn’t the Lego Rocket and Groot, it’s dioramas or the spaceship (Owl ship?) in the Marvel booth. The Marvel booth is very “under construction” but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see more Guardians imagery. I’ll be peeking back in a bit to see what else I can find but here’s a quick look!

 

Some of these are blurry spy pics because workers don’t like it when you stand there and take a lot of clear, well framed photos.

 

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All my life I have dreamed of seeing Sean Bean on an airport luggage conveyor belt. Best promo of the show so far, but I just landed.

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Nice Guardians of the Galaxy display at Hasbro.

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This is a video of JJ Abrams telling you how awesome Star Wars VII is going to be.

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Hot Wheels, I think I love you.

 

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Star Wars Rebels

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The stars of the show so far.

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Seriously the only danger is that Rocket and Groot may be approaching Poochie territory with the exposure they’re getting.

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Doings at the Marvel Booth. Is that Kree, Skrull or just part of an air duct?

IMG_8290

 

The Alex Ross booth is always a treat although it’s relatively unchanged in recent years.

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More Marvel swagga.

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Batman is the big theme of the DC booth! I tried to get a better shot of the Batman costume displays—which will be very impressive—but too many nosy parkers.

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Top Shelf’s Leigh Walton is thankful his palette of books just arrived. And MArch 2 coming in January.

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Yes SLG and publisher Dan Vado are here. Despite Vado’s recent money troubles, he made it to the show with a lot of merch to sell…

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…including this cool shirt. Many more like it. Check out the SLG booth across from the DC booth!

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And my favorite booth! The land that time forgot, New England Comics. But I got word of a new Tick…sign coming. Maybe.

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Brutal working conditions thus far.

 

 

3 Comments on SDCC 2014: Day -1 — a peak at the floor and The Year of Guardians, last added: 7/23/2014
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7. Sales Charts: Batman leads June, but Marvel still on top

Afterlife With Archie Volume 1

It was the usual story for June sales figures just released by Diamond. DC led the single issue chart with Batman #32, but Marvel still eked out a market share win in both collars and units, although it was closer than in some months. Image was #3 with a 10% unit share, a continued strong showing for them.

Diamond also released  quarterly and yearly comparisons. Q2 was up over Q1 2014 but horrible weather probably affected that a great deal. Over all sales are still kind of meh compared to last year, but nothing drastic or worrying.

Two issues of Original Sin made the Top Ten, but not #1; perhaps a continued sign of the softening of the “event” books.

Afterlife with Archie was the #1 GN—given the quality of the work by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla that’s no surprise.

dollar-share unit-share

 

 

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHER DOLLAR

SHARE

UNIT

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS 33.71% 35.68% DC ENTERTAINMENT 29.88% 33.20% IMAGE COMICS 8.93% 10.51% IDW PUBLISHING 5.60% 4.45% DARK HORSE COMICS 5.57% 4.89% DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 2.62% 2.30% BOOM! STUDIOS 2.52% 2.52% VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT 1.20% 1.27% AVATAR PRESS 1.10% 0.81% ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS 0.93% 0.64% OTHER NON-TOP 10 7.94% 3.74%

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER COMICS SHIPPED GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED MAGAZINES SHIPPED TOTAL

SHIPPED

DC ENTERTAINMENT 77 28 1 106 MARVEL COMICS 78 24 0 102 IMAGE COMICS 53 10 0 63 DARK HORSE COMICS 36 23 0 59 IDW PUBLISHING 43 16 0 59 BOOM! STUDIOS 28 7 0 35 DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 23 9 0 32 AVATAR PRESS 9 7 0 16 ZENESCOPE ENTERTAINMENT 11 2 0 13 RANDOM HOUSE 0 11 0 11 OTHER NON-TOP 10 66 109 34 209

 


COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

  DOLLARS UNITS
JUNE 2014 VS. MAY 2014
COMICS -3.19% -1.31%
GRAPHIC NOVELS -3.36% 2.93%
TOTAL COMICS/GN -3.25% -0.99%
JUNE 2014 VS. JUNE 2013
COMICS -2.93% -4.51%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 8.09% 10.26%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 0.33% -3.46%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2014 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2013
COMICS -1.43% -6.36%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 2.93% 5.41%
TOTAL COMICS/GN -0.08% -5.46%
SECOND QUARTER 2014 VS. FIRST QUARTER 2014
COMICS 14.13% 11.07%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 13.59% 2.88%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 13.96% 10.34%
SECOND QUARTER 2014 VS. SECOND QUARTER 2013
COMICS 3.90% -1.29%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 4.33% 1.25%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 4.04% -1.09%

 

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 BATMAN #32 $3.99 APR140209-M DC
2 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 $3.99 APR140679-M MAR
3 ORIGINAL SIN #3 $3.99 APR140626-M MAR
4 HARLEY QUINN #7 $2.99 APR140223-M DC
5 SUPERMAN #32 $3.99 APR140188-M DC
6 ORIGINAL SIN #4 $3.99 APR140630-M MAR
7 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1.2 $3.99 APR140681-M MAR
8 JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 $3.99 MAR140175-M DC
9 THE WALKING DEAD #128 (MR) $2.99 APR140615 IMA
10 DETECTIVE COMICS #32 $3.99 APR140213-M DC


TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE VOL. 1: ESCAPE FROM RIVERDALE TP $17.99 FEB140918-M ARC
2 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEADPOOL TP $16.99 MAR140768 MAR
3 VELVET VOLUME 1: BEFORE THE LIVING END TP (MR) $9.99 FEB140537 IMA
4 SAGA VOLUME 3 TP (MR) $14.99 JAN140556 IMA
5 SAGA VOLUME 1 TP (MR) $9.99 AUG120491 IMA
6 SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN VOL. 6: GOBLIN NATION TP $19.99 MAR140765 MAR
7 BATMAN & ROBIN VOL. 3: DEATH OF THE FAMILY TP $14.99 MAR140250 DC
8 INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US VOLUME 1 TP $14.99 MAR140265 DC
9 INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US VOLUME 2 HC $19.99 FEB140260 DC
10 SAGA VOLUME 2 TP (MR) $14.99 APR130443 IMA

TOP 10 BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 JIM HENSON’S THE DARK CRYSTAL: THE NOVEL HC $19.99 APR140989 BOO
2 NEIL GAIMAN: THE TRUTH IS IN A CAVE IN THE BLACK MOUNTAINS: AN ILLUSTRATED NOVELLA HC $21.99 MAR141569 HAR
3 EVE: TRUE STORIES HC $12.99 FEB140044 DAR
4 THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 3: THE FALL OF GOVERNOR

PART 1 SC

$14.99 APR141556 5 THE SHADOW DOUBLE NOVEL VOLUME 85 SC $14.95 APR141581 SAN 6 PLANET OF THE APES MINIATURE BOOK KIT $12.95 MAR141565 RUN 7 LEGEND OF ZELDA: HYRULE HISTORIA HC $34.99 SEP120055 DAR 8 MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC COLLECTOR

POSTER BOOK

$20.00 APR141570 HAC 9 NEIL GAIMAN: CHU’S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL HC $17.99 APR141578 HAR 10 THE QUOTABLE DOCTOR WHO: WISE WORDS FROM

ACROSS TIME & SPACE HC

$19.99 MAR141554 HAR

TOP 10 TOYS

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS: BLACK CANARY STATUE DEC130358 DC
2 DC COMICS: THE NEW 52 JUSTICE LEAGUE 7-PACK BOX SET NOV138235 DC
3 BATMAN BLACK & WHITE: HARLEY QUINN STATUE DEC130359 DC
4 MARVEL SELECT: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 ACTION FIGURE FEB142060 DST
5 MARVEL SELECT: DEADPOOL ACTION FIGURE MAR101468 DST
6 DC COMICS DESIGNER SERIES 1: NIGHTWING BY CAPULLO FIGURE NOV130286 DC
7 DC COMICS COVER GIRLS: POISON IVY STATUE JAN140397 DC
8 MARVEL SELECT: RED HULK ACTION FIGURE MAR088262 DST
9 DC COMICS: THE NEW 52: EARTH-2 THOMAS WAYNE BATMAN FIGURE JAN140394 DC
10 DC COMICS: ARMORED WONDER WOMAN BISHOUJO STATUE NOV132032 KOT


TOP 10 GAMES

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 RISK LEGACY JUN118204 HAS
2 MY LITTLE PONY CCG: CANTERLOT NIGHTS BOOSTER PACKS DEC138400 ENT
3 STAR WARS X-WING: TANTIVE IV EXPANSION PACK JAN142335 FAN
4 MONOPOLY: THE WALKING DEAD SURVIVAL EDITION OCT128266 USA
5 MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: MODERN EVENT DECK MAR148174 WIZ
6 GODZILLA SERIES ONE MINI-FIGURES JAN142344 NEC
7 ADVENTURE TIME CARD WARS PACK 2: B-MO VS. LADY RAINICORN APR148198 CRY
8 PATHFIDER BATTLES: REIGN OF WINTER BOOSTER BRICK JAN142345 NEC
9 TICKET TO RIDE 10TH-ANNIVERSARY EDITION APR142365 DOW
10 MY LITTLE PONY CCG: CANTERLOT NIGHTS THEME DECK DEC138401 ENT

 

How does Diamond calculate the charts? It all starts at the comic book shop.

8 Comments on Sales Charts: Batman leads June, but Marvel still on top, last added: 7/14/2014
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8. DC announces 2 new Bat-books, ARKHAM MANOR and GOTHAM ACADEMY, by unlikely teams

arkham-manor_612x968

 The Batverse is getting two ongoing spinoff series, according to EW. And not a mention of the “New 52″ in the pr….In Arkham Manor, Wayne Manor gets turned into…a home for the insane. Whch could just be Batman and Robin, but you get the point. CReative team is writer Gerry Duggan and artist Shawn Crystal.

In Gotham Academy, it’s Gossip Girl meets Gotham with the adventures at Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school. The words “twisted teenybopping universe” were used. The writers are Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher and artist is Karl Kerschl.  

This is the most non-New 52 book announced since the New 52 started. Actually both covers look very non-New 52ish — could this be the influence of Batman temporary editor Mark Doyle? 

Both books hit in October. 

gotham-academy_612x929

7 Comments on DC announces 2 new Bat-books, ARKHAM MANOR and GOTHAM ACADEMY, by unlikely teams, last added: 7/3/2014
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9. DC puts Bill Finger’s name on the cover of Detective #27

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DC has done a  nice thing by putting the name of writer Bill Finger on the covers of the special edition of Detective #27, a  giveaway  that will be part of the July 23rd celebration of Batman Day. Finger, who was hired by Bob Kane to ghost write the series, is the uncredited writer of Batman, who came up with many of the Dark Knight’s most iconic elements, Although Kane must contractually be credited as the sole creator of Batman due to a contract he signed with DC by pretending he had been underage when the character was created, it’s nice to see Finger’s name given some prominence in a comic that a lot of people will see.

Of course, there is still some rancor within the Finger family over these matters.

The new Detective #27 contains a new version of Batman’s first story by Brad Meltzer and Bryan Hitch , and is designed by Batman enthusiast Chip Kidd. Other giveways for Batmanday include capes and masks. Retailers are getting a swell timeline poster seen below.

batman-timeline24-Final-1-1e136

3 Comments on DC puts Bill Finger’s name on the cover of Detective #27, last added: 6/9/2014
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10. C2E2014: “I’m Batman” Pop Quiz!

Oh no!  Batman’s dastardly diabolical villains have stolen the creator credits from DC’s Batman75 standee display at C2E2 in Chicago!

Can you identify the creator(s) who created each iconic portrait of the Caped Crusader before the show closes on Sunday, guaranteeing each gets the credit they deserve for making Batman such an iconic figure for 75 years?

Extra Credit: “Dark Knight Detective” achievement unlocked if you can identify the issue, story, page, panel where each image originally appeared!

SAMSUNG

Batman A and Batman B

SAMSUNG

Batman C and Batman D

SAMSUNG

Batman E and Batman F

SAMSUNG

Batman G and Batman H

SAMSUNG

Batman I and Batman J

3 Comments on C2E2014: “I’m Batman” Pop Quiz!, last added: 4/25/2014
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11. Son of Batman: Freak’n Awesome Movie

Son of Batman(Spoilers ahead: So if you wanted to watch the movie first, then I suggest you turn off the computer or mobile device, sit in the corner, and wait like a good boy or girl.)

This year DC Entertainment is celebrating Batman’s 75th birthday. “Nice pecs for an old dude,” you might be saying to yourself. Or is that just me? Anyway, aside from this momentous occasion, there are a few things in the works for our favorite caped crusader coming out this year. In October we’ll be seeing a third and final video game for the Batman Arkham franchise (fourth if you count Batman Arkham Origins, which was not done by Rocksteady Studios), and this month we’ll be seeing the release of the animated film Son of Batman. However, this reporter got to see the early screening here at beautiful Wondercon.

Assembled for the exclusive showing of Son of Batman at the Anaheim Wondercon were DC producer James Tucker, director Ethan Spaulding, character designer Phil Bourassa, dialogue director Andrea Romano, Jason O’Mara (his second time voicing the iconic Batman/Bruce Wayne), Stuart Allan (voice of Damian Wayne), Xander Berkeley (voice of Dr. Kirk Langstrom), Sean Maher (voice of Nightwing), and guest moderated by Rich Sands.

For those who aren’t familiar, Son of Batman is a loose adaption of the 2006 comic story arc written by Grant Morrison, which has come to be known as Batman and Son. In this, we discover that Batman had a drugged up tryst with the curvaceous and deadly Talia al Ghul, which leads to the the Dark Knight never knew he had. Being raised by Talia and his grandfather, Ra’s al Ghul, Damian has been trained all his life in the League of Assassins to later become it’s heir. After an attack on the compound which leaves the league in ruins, and leaves Ra’s beyond the help of a Lazarus pit, Talia sends her son to live with the father he’s never met.

The movie’s animation first made me feel like I was watching an episode of Avatar: The Legend of Korra, which would make sense because the director, Ethan Spaulding, worked on its precursor, Avatar: The Last Air Bender. After two minutes in however, when the bodies start hitting the floor, I realized it wasn’t going to be a light hearted cartoon. The movie’s dialogue was comedic at times, but in a good way. It was the action however that kept me going. The fight scenes and violence left nothing to be desired, intense and fully fleshed. And any time you can work in “bat-men” and “bat-guerrillas” into an animated movie, what else do you need?

I think DC Entertainment hit it out of the park with this straight to home animated movie. Batman fan’s who either are or are not familiar with the Grant Morrison comic can appreciate the story and action that went into this feature. Son of Batman will be available for digital download on April 22nd, and available on DVD and Bluray May 6th.

~Nicholas Eskey

3 Comments on Son of Batman: Freak’n Awesome Movie, last added: 4/20/2014
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12. Watch: Bruce Timm’s New Short ‘Batman: Strange Days’

DC Comics has posted online the new Bruce Timm short "Batman: Strange Days" that was created in honor of the character's 75th anniversary.

0 Comments on Watch: Bruce Timm’s New Short ‘Batman: Strange Days’ as of 4/10/2014 9:39:00 PM
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13. Batman and The Walking Dead top still blah March comics sales

Batman 29Comics sales continued to look anemic in March, with sales down  4.40% in dollars and 9.85% in units over a year ago for year to date. The one positive number was graphic novel sales for the quarter, which were up from last year, although still down from Q4 ’2013. Batman once again led the periodicals, and Walking Dead led GN sales. Marvel held its share of units and dollars, while Image was up to double digits in both, with DC slipping a point or two.

Marvel  had five of the month’s top ten best-selling comics, DC four and Image one — see if you can guess what it was. In GNs, it was more mixed with Image having four titles in the top ten—including the $60 Stray Bullets Uber Alles edition—and Dark Horse and Boom! charting with Avatar: The Last Airbender Volume 7: Rift Part 1  and the third Adventure Time OGN Seeing Red. 

dollar-share unit-share

 

 TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHER

DOLLAR

SHARE

UNIT

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

34.31%

38.17%

DC COMICS

25.94%

29.02%

IMAGE COMICS

11.38%

11.04%

DARK HORSE COMICS

6.19%

5.72%

IDW PUBLISHING

5.29%

4.51%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

2.61%

2.56%

BOOM! STUDIOS

1.99%

1.84%

EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS

1.59%

0.35%

AVATAR PRESS

1.14%

0.94%

RANDOM HOUSE

1.04%

0.26%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

8.53%

5.59%

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER

COMICS SHIPPED

GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED

MAGAZINES SHIPPED

TOTAL

SHIPPED

DC COMICS

84

28

1

113

MARVEL COMICS

75

34

0

109

IMAGE COMICS

54

13

0

67

IDW PUBLISHING

42

22

0

64

DARK HORSE COMICS

42

15

0

57

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

34

5

0

39

BOOM! STUDIOS

28

7

0

35

AVATAR PRESS

11

4

0

15

RANDOM HOUSE

0

15

0

15

EAGLEMOSS

0

0

12

12

OTHER

63

104

16

183

 


COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

 

DOLLARS

UNITS

MARCH 2014 VS. FEBRUARY 2014

COMICS

4.11%

6.32%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

24.00%

25.00%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

10.22%

7.93%

MARCH 2014 VS. MARCH 2013

COMICS

-9.47%

-11.83%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

18.31%

22.85%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-1.48%

-9.28%

FIRST QUARTER 2014 VS. FOURTH QUARTER 2013

COMICS

-14.30%

-13.77%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-11.59%

-1.59%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-13.45%

-12.82%

FIRST QUARTER 2014 VS. FIRST QUARTER 2013

COMICS

-6.89%

-11.40%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

1.39%

10.06%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-4.40%

-9.85%

YEAR-TO-DATE 2014 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2013

COMICS

-6.89%

-11.40%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

1.39%

10.06%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-4.40%

-9.85%

 

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

BATMAN #29

$4.99

JAN140290-M DC

2

SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #6

$3.99

OCT130160-M DC

3

FOREVER EVIL #6

$3.99

DEC130197-M DC

4

SANDMAN OVERTURE #2 (MR)

$3.99

DEC130330-M DC

5

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #29

$3.99

JAN140720-M MAR

6

DAREDEVIL #1

$3.99

JAN140630-M MAR

7

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #30

$3.99

JAN140722 MAR

8

SILVER SURFER #1

$3.99

JAN140650-M MAR

9

THE WALKING DEAD #124 (MR)

$2.99

JAN140624 IMA

10

UNCANNY X-MEN #19.NOW

$3.99

JAN140665-M MAR

 


TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 20: ALL OUT WAR PART 1 TP (MR)

$14.99

JAN140559 IMA

2

SAGA VOLUME 3 TP (MR)

$14.99

JAN140556 IMA

3

NEMO: ROSES OF BERLIN HC (MR)

$14.95

JAN141334 TOP

4

AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER VOL. 7: RIFT PART 1 TP

$10.99

NOV130064 DAR

5

CHEW VOLUME 8: FAMILY RECIPES TP (MR)

$12.99

JAN140548 IMA

6

JUSTICE LEAGUE: TRINITY WAR HC (N52)

$29.99

NOV130226 DC

7

HARLEY QUINN: WELCOME TO METROPOLIS TP

$19.99

DEC130313 DC

8

ADVENTURE TIME VOL. 3: SEEING RED OGN

$11.99

JAN141027 BOO

9

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN VOL. 1 TP

$24.99

NOV082434 MAR

10

STRAY BULLETS UBER ALLES EDITION TP (MR)

$59.99

JAN140530 IMA

TOP 10 BOOKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

DOCTOR WHO: 11TH DOCTOR SONIC SCREWDRIVER KIT

$12.95

JAN141487 RUN

2

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S THE EMPIRE STRIKETH BACK HC

$14.95

JAN141522 RAN

3

PAUL POPE’S MONSTERS & TITANS: BATTLING BOY ART ON TOUR SC

$24.99

JAN140554 IMA

4

LEGEND OF ZELDA: HYRULE HISTORIA HC

$34.99

SEP120055 DAR

5

THE SHADOW DOUBLE NOVEL VOLUME 82: SPY RING SC

$14.95

JAN141518 SAN

6

HATSUNE MIKU GRAPHICS VOCALOID VOLUME 1 SC

$34.99

AUG131474 UDO

7

DOC SAVAGE DOUBLE NOVEL VOLUME 73: LAND OF LONG JUJU SC

$14.95

JAN141517 SAN

8

BATMAN SCIENCE: THE REAL WORLD SCIENCE BEHIND BATMAN’S GEAR SC

$9.95

NOV131374 CAP

9

DRAGON’S DOGMA OFFICIAL DESIGN WORKS SC

$44.99

AUG131471 UDO

10

ADVENTURE TIME: TOTALLY MATH POSTER COLLECTION SC

$19.95

JAN141468 ABR

TOP 10 TOYS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

THE WALKING DEAD TV SERIES 5 ACTION FIGURES JUL138243 TMP

2

BATMAN HUSH: BATMAN & CATWOMAN KISS STATUE SEP130322 DC

3

ARROW: OLIVER QUEEN/DEATHSTROKE ACTION FIGURE 2-PACK NOV130293 DC

4

DC COMICS COVER GIRLS HUNTRESS STATUE OCT130308 DC

5

BATMAN ARKHAM CITY: TWO-FACE ACTION FIGURE NOV130290 DC

6

BATMAN BLACK & WHITE STATUE BY GARY FRANK OCT130310 DC

7

WONDER WOMAN ART OF WAR STATUE BY JIM LEE SEP130317 DC

8

SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL STATUE BY ROCAFORT OCT130309 DC

9

DC COMICS SUPER VILLAINS: OWLMAN ACTION FIGURE OCT130307 DC

10

DC COMICS SUPERGIRL “NEW 52″ ARTFX+ STATUE SEP132026 KOT


TOP 10 GAMES

RANK

DESCRIPTION

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

MONOPOLY: THE WALKING DEAD SURVIVAL EDITION OCT128266 USA

2

MARVEL HEROCLIX: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER DEC132341 NEC

3

DC HEROCLIX: LEGION OF SUPERHEROES BOOSTER BRICK OCT132418 NEC

4

RISK LEGACY JUN118204 HAS

5

MARVEL HEROCLIX: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER STARTER SET DEC132343 NEC

6

DC HEROCLIX: LEGION OF DOOM FAST FORCES 6-PACK OCT132416 NEC

7

MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: BORN OF THE GODS BOOSTER PACK DEC132337 WZK

8

RISK: THE WALKING DEAD SURVIVAL EDITION OCT128267 USA

9

MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: BORN OF THE GODS FAT PACK DEC132339 WZK

10

MAGIC THE GATHERING CCG: DUEL DECKS JACE VS. VRASKA JAN148058 WZK

 

14 Comments on Batman and The Walking Dead top still blah March comics sales, last added: 4/7/2014
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14. Bruce Timm’s New Short ‘Batman: Strange Days’ Will Premiere Next Week [Gallery]

Bruce Timm has completed a new short entitled "Batman: Strange Days" which will premiere on Cartoon Network next Wednesday, April 9th, following an episode of "Teen Titans Go!" (6:30pm ET/5:30pm CT). The monochromatic piece, which was created as part of this year's 75th anniversary Batman celebration, pits Batman against Dr. Hugo Strange, a classic "Detective Comics" villain who predates the Joker and Catwoman.

0 Comments on Bruce Timm’s New Short ‘Batman: Strange Days’ Will Premiere Next Week [Gallery] as of 4/4/2014 2:21:00 AM
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15. Interview with co-author of Bob Kane’s autobiography

According to the official Warner Bros. release kicking off the 75th anniversary of Batman, he debuted (via Detective Comics #27) on March 30, 1939. 

Also of note in that release: no use of the word “creator.”

In 1989, coinciding with Tim Burton’s Batman, Bob Kane’s autobiography came out.


But as with most of the output Bob’s name is on, he did not create it alone. His co-author was Thomas Andrae, who through my Bill Finger research became a friend.



Though I’ve known for a while how important Tom is to Bill’s legacy, given what he’d told me about how he’d persuaded Bob to include Bill in the book as much as possible, I only recently realized that this story-behind-the-story should be documented. In my eyes, what Tom did on Bill’s behalf was heroic.

Interview answers © Thomas Andrae 2014.

How did you come to co-author Bob Kane’s autobiography Batman & Me?

I had done an interview with Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1981. It was reprinted in the Overstreet Price Guide in 1988, in celebration of Superman’s fiftieth anniversary. I thought it might be a good idea to follow this up with an interview with Bob Kane for Batman’s fiftieth anniversary in the 1989 Price Guide, so I contacted Bob and he was amenable to the project.
 

When I went down to interview Bob, he told me that he had written his autobiography. [It was] a very long manuscript (about 800 pages) that wasn’t publishable. It was too self-centered according to those of us who read it. There were far too many uses of “I” in it, for example.

[But] I...thought, in the interest of comics history, the manuscript should be published, [so I] offered to find a publisher.

What was your job/primary work focus at the time?

I was a graduate student and working for Bruce Hamilton at Another Rainbow Publishing as an editor of the Carl Barks Library 30-volume set of his works. 


 Carl Barks and Tom Andrae

Had you met Bob before you began the book?

This was the first time I contacted him.

What was your first impression of Bob?

He was a very charming guy and quite friendly. Bruce Hamilton and I went down to L.A. together to meet him. After the inteview, we went out to dinner with him and his wife Elizabeth.

Did you meet with him in person to discuss/write the book? If so, how often and where? If not, how did you work together?

I didn’t meet with him again in person. We had many phone discussions and some correspondence for about a year or more while working on the book and when we were producing and marketing it. In this period I got to know Bob quite well, and he seemed fairly open about his life, up to a point. I felt that we were friends.
 

I edited [the book], took out some chapters, and created a number of new chapters based on interviews with him and on my own research. All in all I probably wrote close to half the book in this manner. 

Did your impression of him change during the process?

Yes. He had a tremendous ego, although he was very insecure. I asked for a byline and got one. He pretty much had to do this: I was supposed to get the manuscript into publishable shape—which was quite a task. I was responsible for not only rewriting the book but for advertising it, formatting it, and getting a publisher for it.

But he told the publisher that my byline was too big so they reduced its size. From what I gather from others who had worked with Bob, I think that I was lucky to receive a byline at all. It may have been a first.

How was he to work with?

Pretty easy, but he could be temperamental. When Bob Overstreet decided to go with a Jerry Robinson cover rather than one by Bob, [Bob] threatened to nix the publication of the interview. I convinced him otherwise, because we were taking orders for the book in an ad in the Price Guide and it would have sabotaged the book project to kill printing the interview.

No one wanted to publish his bio until I asked Eclipse to do it. I got the idea to take out a pre-publication ad for the book that appeared in the 1989
Price Guide. We received 1,500 orders; that proved it was a viable project and helped get a publisher for it. I did all the work in this initial stage of order-taking.

Do you remember how the subject of Bill Finger first came up during the process?

Yes. Bob felt guilty about how he had treated Bill, although he was afraid to acknowledge Bill as co-creator of Batman, or to give him a byline, for fear it might open the door to a challenge to Bob’s legal status as the sole creator of Batman. He feared a [Finger] byline would quite negatively impact his Batman royalties.

What was Bob’s reaction when you suggested including Bill?

It was Bob’s idea to give Bill some credit for having invented aspects of the costume and for creating the Joker. But Bob also claimed he co-created many of the villains since he, Bill, and Jerry discussed everything before it was published and Bob drew the art for the stories with the characters.

But Bob was mistaken about who created what, such as the Penquin or Catwoman, which were Bill’s creations, and Jerry did much of the art as well, with Bob and sometimes without him. In general, Bob failed to give Bill credit for creating most of Batman’s villains, claiming that he created them. Bob’s memory was not very good. Also, he was willing to go only so far in giving Bill credit.

I tried to add more about Bill’s contributions in creating the initial concept and image of Batman, but Bob refused to include them, claiming that he, not Bill, was the creator of Batman, which was a gross exaggeration.

Did Bob express—or did you glean—his personal feeling about Bill Finger?

I think he liked Bill and genuinely felt guilty about how he had treated him and how Bill ended up in near poverty when he died. Bob confessed that his ego prevented him from giving Bill the credit he deserved. But his attempt to remedy this was, in my mind, quite, quite inadequate. Also, he never gave others, like Shelly Moldoff, who was his ghost artist for twenty years, any credit, nor Jerry Robinson for his creation of the Joker. Bob expressed a lot of anger towards Jerry, stemming, I think, from being jealous of him, of his artistic ability, and of the recognition that he had received.

When you say “Bob confessed that his ego prevented him from giving Bill the credit he deserved,” what do you mean exactly—that Bob was willing to say in print that Bill’s name deserves to be on Batman (as the book does) but not go so far as to ask DC to officially change the credit line?

I think he meant that he should have put Bill’s name on the Batman strip when it appeared. But the point is moot because I don’t think he would ever put Bill’s name on Batman. He never gave byline credit to any of his ghosts.

What do you remember about the passage that stands out most to me: “Now that my long-time friend and collaborator is gone, I must admit that Bill never received the fame and recognition he deserved. He was an unsung hero ... I often tell my wife, if I could go back fifteen years, before he died, I would like to say ‘I’ll put your name on it now. You deserve it.’” How did Bob feel to include that—nervous? Conflicted? Redeemed? Other?

I believe that Bob sincerely felt some remorse about how he had treated Bill. He describes his spiritual conversion in Batman & Me. But Bob never felt guilty enough, in my estimation, or realized the full extent of Bill’s contribution. Bob was asked to give Bill credit as co-creator by the Finger estate when the first Batman feature film was in production and he declined.

Have you seen my account of this? If so, do you remember any other details that I didn’t cover?

I’m reporting what Bob told me about his decision in a conversation with him. I don’t think you covered this.

How did you feel convincing Bob to include more Bill?

I felt that it was a slight victory in correcting a massive injustice, but too little too late.

Did you talk with Bob’s wife Elizabeth during the process? If so, how was that/she?

She was a very nice, sweet person, but knew little about Bob’s work, so we didn’t talk about the book.

Do you know what her reaction was when Bob would tell her that he felt Bill deserved credit for Batman? Perhaps first I should ask if you believe he actually did tell her that?

Yes, he did, but I don’t know what her reaction was.

Do you remember if you asked Bob if he would consider recasting his contract with DC Comics to reflect his statement about Bill? If so, what was his response?

He was not amenable to this and told me so. 

How honest do you feel Bob was in recounting stories?

I think he was fairly honest but too self-centered to see reality clearly enough and had a bad memory to boot. His ego was always in the way. He primarily remembered what he did on Batman—and that was usually inflated—rather than others’ contributions. I constantly had to fact-check what he told me because he had a predisposition to aggrandize his work on Batman.

What was the media response to the book?

We got some favorable media attention, but not going on The Tonight Show like Bob thought would happen.

What was Bob’s feeling about the final product? Do you think it got the recognition he wanted? Do you think he did not get anything he wanted from it?

He liked the book very much and frequently carried it around with him when he went on public appearances. But he was a little disgruntled that I cut out some of his nostalgic asides. He was a garrulous writer. No one would publish it until I asked Dean Mulanney and Cat Yronwode to do it. I designed four editions including a signed edition with Bob’s original art that sold very well. I think Bob made over $200,000 on the book plus more on the second edition

Professionally, what did the book do for your career?

Nothing in academia but I got some credibility among fans and the popular press.

Is there anything about the book you would now change if you could?

Give full credit to Bill as Batman’s co-creator and give him a byline indicating that, and give full credit to Jerry Robinson and the other artists who did much of the work that Bob got credit for. I would have liked Bob to publicly acknowledge Jerry as the Joker’s creator and Shelly Moldoff as the chief artist on Batman for the decades that he drew the strip.

Were you involved with the “sequel,” Batman & Me: The Saga Continues? If so, how was that process compared to working on the first autobiography?

Yes. I edited most of the new material; Bob took my name off the cover (though it’s still on the title page).

What do you think Bob Kane’s legacy is?

I think that Bob was responsible for creating the original germ of the idea of a Batman superhero, which Bill fleshed out and made viable, and for partially drawing the strip for a number of years. I think that Bob’s art, crude as it was, gave the strip an Expressionistic, nightmarish look which helped establish the gothic ambiance of the early stories. To me, the art he did with Jerry as his ghost was very compelling. Thus he made a great contribution to Batman’s legacy. Unfortunately his treatment of Bill, Jerry, and Shelly is a dishonorable part of that legacy.

Anything you’d like to add?

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about my role in creating the book. This is the first time I’ve done so publicly.

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16. Noirish tributes to Bill Finger's most iconic creations

Courtesy of the thorough and tireless and stylish Bill Finger Appreciation Group:

 Batman

Robin (Dick Grayson)

 Green Lantern (Alan Scott)

Joker

 Catwoman 


Penguin

 Commissioner James Gordon


Lana Lang


Riddler

Wildcat

Bat-Mite

Catman

A profile now recognizable among Batman fans

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17. “Batman at 75” panel: main theater sold out!

The main theater for the “Batman at 75: To All a Dark Knight” panel at the Paley Center in New York on 5/5/14 is sold out. Seats are still available for the closed-circuit seating areas.

“I've been lucky to moderate some cool pop-culture events over the years, but there's one on the horizon that may take the cake.”
—Whitney Matheson, USA Today’s “Pop Candy” and moderator of the panel



After the panel, the panelists (Kevin Conroy, Chip Kidd, Kevin Smith, Michael Uslan, myself) will retire to a special undisclosed location to enjoy a Dark Knightcap.

0 Comments on “Batman at 75” panel: main theater sold out! as of 3/13/2014 7:11:00 AM
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18. reviews#402-403 – Superman Fights for Truth! & Batman is Brave! by Donald Lemke & Ethen Beavers

.. Superman Fights for Truth! (Dc Comics) by Donald Lemke &  Ethen Beavers Picture Window Books 4 Stars .. About the Story:   Someone has stolen from the grocer and it is up to Superman to catch the thief and returns the goods. Opening:  Superman hears a cry for help.  “Titano took my bananas!” yells a …

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19. Superman and Batman origins in eight words

In All-Star Superman #1, writer Grant Morrison retold the origin of Superman in only eight artfully chosen words:


On Twitter, Dave Lartigue (@daveexmachina) retold the origin of Batman in only eight artfully chosen words:


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20. On the Scene: Sparks Fly at ‘Surely You’re Joking, Dr. Wertham’ Event

As the first of several “Comic Book Roundtable” events to be held at the Soho Gallery of Digital Art under the auspices of gallery owner John Ordover and former Marvel editor, author, and educator Danny Fingeroth, this event exploring the life and legacy of Dr. Frederic Wertham was planned for the occasion of Wertham’s 118th birthday, but in the lead up to the event, recent developments in scholarship about the controversial comic reformer shed new light on the evening’s subject matter. In February 2013 Librarian, professor, and scholar Carol Tilley discovered, after examining Wertham’s papers held by the Library of Congress, that some of Wertham’s methods and reports were questionable, sparking debate in comics scholarship and among comics fans.

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“Surely You’re Joking Dr. Wertham” hit the controversy head-on by bringing together a distinguished panel for discussion, including Tilley, comics writer, editor, and educator Denny O’Neil, author and educator David Hajdu, practising physician, psychiatrist, and author Sharon Packer, and author, editor, art director, and cartoonist Craig Yoe. The Soho Gallery provided excellent accompaniment to the event in the form of Wertham-related images and quotes displayed as a digital exhibit, and hosting a reception afterward.

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The evening opened to a thoroughly packed-in audience, among whom were many scholars and authors who have shown a public interest in Wertham’s career and legacy, including James Reibman, the official Frederick Wertham biographer designated by Wertham’s estate. Host and moderator Danny Fingeroth provided an introduction to Wertham in the form of slides including pictures of Wertham in and out of official capacity as a clinical psychiatrist working with children, and also reminded the audience of the other books Wertham authored aside from his now legendary Seduction of the Innocent, a critique on the “influence of comic books on today’s youth”, published in 1954. This placed Wertham within the context of other cultural reactions of the time that questioned the sex and violence being depicted in comics as appropriate for young readers.

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Tilley started off the panel discussion by explaining exactly what her recent research has uncovered about Wertham’s work. While her original intention was to locate materials relevant children’s education, she found “other things” that she didn’t expect to find among Wertham’s documents which she found “well-organized” in a “couple of dozen plus boxes” at the Library of Congress. The documents included copies of Wertham’s other research papers and speeches spanning his career, among which she found “discrepancies” and “some indication that he did things like combine the testimony of kids” or “broke apart” the testimony of one child “into four or five” in order to use quotes. This practice also resulted in evidence of “deleted or added” phrases from the children’s testimony that Wertham presented in Seduction of the Innocent and other works. This resulted, Tilley said, in a general “perception” of evidence in Wertham’s book that was “not the same as the actual case” of his research materials. When questioned about whether these changes were negligible or whether they altered the meaning of the children’s testimony, she confirmed that these “additions and word changes did change the meaning of testimony”. While Wertham’s book has often been criticized for its “lack of attribution” in footnotes or bibliography, Tilley feels that she has “seen personally” that his use of sources was not exacting enough. For those interested in Wertham’s legacy, this was something of a bombshell, though Tilley has been public about some of these findings previous to the evening’s discussion.

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Hajdu then commented on Wertham as a figure, reminding the audience that Wertham is  often a “handy symbol” of a wider movement against comic book excesses, and even a “personification” of the “cynicism toward comics in the late 40’s and 50’s”, even though he didn’t start this trend personally. Hajdu explained that even “newspaper comics incited criticism” prior to Wertham’s career and were often perceived as “crude, anti-literate” and examples of “defiant behavior” that raised public concern. The Catholic Church, particular, he noted, were active in inspiring state legislation against comics, due to their belief in the “power of aesthetics and the power of art” for both positive and negative influences on human behavior.

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[Packer, Yoe, and Fingeroth]

O’Neil, himself raised Catholic, confirmed that his “first encounter with the (comic) witch hunters was in the pages of The Catholic Digest” and that he, as a young person “read and believed” that superhero comics, particularly, were potentially harmful. He related, to the audience’s amusement, that former Marvel editor Roy Thomas “as a kid” had participated in a book burning in Missouri where he “burned comics he was not interested in”, but rescued others he liked. Tilley briefly added that she had discovered evidence that librarians, too, had participated in comic burning and attempted to keep them out of libraries during this period because they were seen as “disruptive”.

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Packer suggested that Wertham’s book title, Seduction of the Innocent, might have spoken particularly to a Christian demographic because of its suggestion of the massacre of the innocents by King Herod related in the New Testament of the Bible. This led to a reassessment among the panellists of Wertham’s title, since its original version was “All Our Innocents”. Fingeroth pointed out that this change made the title “very pulp sounding” and therefore more sensational.

Yoe’s background on the subject of juvenile delinquency as an author, and also his discovery of the “fetish art” of Joe Shuster confirmed that there were real-life implications for the more violent aspects of comic art, such as the case of the Brooklyn Thrill Killers who killed indigent people and molested women and when interviewed by Wertham as an expert witness, confessed to being inspired in their deeds by Shuster’s artwork. Yoe, however, prompted a wide-ranging and at times heated discussion on the subject of exactly how and when Wertham’s papers at the Library of Congress had been made available for research purposes. Both Yoe and Hajdu, upon requesting access in the past, had been denied use of the papers since they were “sealed” until the children who participated in the studies had passed away. “In many ways, I respect Dr. Wertham”, Yoe said, but “the Library of Congress is our library” and its contents “should be seen” regardless of the circumstances behind their compilation. Outspoken attendee and Wertham biographer Reibman, who was granted access to the papers at a much earlier date in order to work on his book, disagreed with Yoe’s statement in favor of “freedom of information”, arguing that sealing Wertham’s papers at the library was part of the “terms of the gift” to the library. Reibman’s frequent interjections on behalf of Wertham during the event contributed to a rather heated atmosphere.

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Yoe questioned further why some individuals, and not others, were then granted access despite the terms of the gift. Hajdu chimed in that he had requested access “dozens of times” but had been denied despite his academic credentials. Yoe asked Tilley if, based on her experience as a librarian, this discrepancy was “unusual” or not. Tilley confirmed that in her experience, the sealing of the papers while at the Library of Congress and then granting access to only those individuals sanctioned by the estate of the deceased, was indeed “unusual”.  Attendee Karen Green, Graphic Novels Librarian at Columbia University, also commented that while “archives can be restricted”, for public documents this practice is “not usual”. Tilley provided further information about the situation by explaining that she was obliged to sign an agreement with the Library of Congress about the materials she accessed, even though a large portion of the Wertham papers consisted of “newspaper clippings” which “shouldn’t be restricted” anyway. Yoe brought some levity to the rapid fire questioning and often terse dialogue between he and Reibman by pointing out that Hajdu closely resembled a young Frederic Wertham and ought to have just turned up at the library, saying “I am here to see my papers”. Though Hajdu found the comparison amusing, he said “That’s the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard”.

IMG 4722 300x225 On the Scene: Sparks Fly at ‘Surely You’re Joking, Dr. Wertham’ Event

[O'Neil and Hajdu]

Fingeroth then gathered the reigns of the discussion as moderator to direct attention back to the panelists and away from the discursive arguments breaking out among audience members. Fingeroth asked O’Neil, specifically, if he had felt any “lingering hesitation” about comics after his experience with The Catholic Revue in childhood. O’Neil related that Wertham’s legacy, but particularly the Comics Code had impacted his career in comics.  He was involved in “several public arguments” with administrators at comics publishing companies, wherein comics supporters felt the need to argue “comics are good, not evil anymore”. O’Neil’s personal feeling has always been, and still is, he said, that “If it’s censorship, it’s bad”, and often felt frustrated by the “vagueness of the language” in the Code itself, often leading comics creators to create elaborate avenues to get around the letter of the Code. He related a particularly frustrating incident where an IRONMAN story involving a “six story tall monster” crushing a police car was censored because it “showed disrespect to the police car” even though it also showed policemen being very brave in their fight against the monster. This kind of “idiocy” in the Code he particularly objected to, and added his motto that “blind worship of authority figures whether or not authority figures had any authority” should never be supported.

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At this point, it was relevant to clarify that Wertham was not the founder of the Comics Code, though his work certainly paved the way for its development. Yoe reminded the audience that Wertham was, in fact, a progressive who was in support of the freedom of the press. It was more that Wertham “created the climate”, O’Neil supplied, which led to the Senate hearings, which led to the drafting of the Code. Both Yoe and O’Neil agreed that comics publishing was, in fact, in a very low economic position at the time of the Senate hearings anyway, due to the rise of paperback novel sales and TV watching. Yoe and O’Neil continued to discuss whether a “rating system” couldn’t have been created, rather than the unilateral Comics Code, in order to steer children away from more disturbing comics. Hajdu pointed out that the rating system was not in effect in Hollywood, by comparison, until the 1960’s, so there was not a particularly clear model to instate for comics at the time.

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Fingeroth asked the panelists, and in particular, Packer, whether Wertham’s research was purely “anecdotal” or whether he furnished “hard statistics” when working with children. Packer provided some context as a clinical psychiatrists about the methods of the time during Wertham’s career. She compared Wertham to Sigmund Freud and pointed out that though “Freud was celebrated at that time”, “much of his original psychological literature” was “just as baseless” as Wertham’s methods. Tilley added that her survey of Wertham’s papers revealed that his “data was rich”, but it was just “how he used it rhetorically” that was “questionable”. Yoe commented that even though his rhetorical use of his data might lead us to view Wertham with increased suspicion, in the big picture, Wertham made a “pretty good case. Many comic books were not good for young children” in term of their content.

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[Tilley and Packer]

Fingeroth took the question to a finer point. Did Wertham, he asked, in the opinion of the panelists, “take too many liberties” or not? Tilley stood her ground by asserting that “scientific investigation” requires accuracy, and a failure of accuracy is troubling from a scientist. Tilley added that her “personal sense” from working with the papers is that Wertham “cared more about getting rid of the comic book industry” than about his public cause of helping children develop in a psychologically  healthy atmosphere. Though he certainly “cared for kids”, she reminded, she still felt that Wertham used children as “leverage” to achieve this greater goal of attacking the comics industry. One of the things that gave her a less than sterling impression of Wertham’s personality was discovering detailed transcripts that he “noted meticulously” of phone conversations that contained potentially harmful gossip about people who he saw as enemies in his career. He “collected information”, she said, “looking for weak spots” in the lives of people he wanted to undermine, particularly people who acted as “consultants for the comic book industry”.

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Fingeroth asked about Wertham’s movement, in his later career, toward criticism of the film industry and whether Wertham might have seen “comics as a stepping stone to a higher agenda” as a “career path”, but the general consensus among panelists seemed to be that comics were more easily attacked as a less profitable industry early in Wertham’s career, and that the tide of criticism had generally turned toward film around the time of Wertham’s developing interest in film. Film itself had, by the mid to late 60’s, become more overtly violent with works like Bonnie and Clyde.

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The rather charged atmosphere during the panel discussion gave way to an extensive question and answer period involving the audience and spanned a number of subjects. Did the distaste the comic book industry came to feel for Dr. Wertham result in a generally negative portrayal of psychiatry within comics? Yoe agreed that there are certainly plenty of “sinister psychiatrists” portrayed in comics tradition, and Packer supplied examples from Batman mythology including the Arkham family. O’Neil added that the character Harley Quinn was originally assigned to “cure” the Joker of his madness and instead was “driven nuts” herself. A more pointed question was posed about whether the possibility that Wertham skewed his evidence really made the questions he was asking about the role of comics at the time irrelevant. Hajdu fielded this question by commenting that the “weakest criticism of Wertham is that comics can’t affect minds and hearts”. As an art form, Hajdu argued, comics certainly do have impact and can “transform people”. “Comics have that power”, he reminded.

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O’Neil weighed the issue by confessing that as a comics creator “You launch a given work and you have no way of knowing how it’ll bounce” and he often worried during his early career what impact particular comic stories might have on “kids already imbalanced”. O’Neil gave and example of his decision-making when he declined to include a “martial arts move” in one of his comics because it was “simple and damaging” and judged that kids might too easily learn to implement it. The audience, of course, immediately wanted O’Neil to demonstrate the deadly move, but he refrained in the interest of safety. For the same reason, O’Neil never allowed Molotov cocktails in his works, sure that it was too much of a “temptation” for kids to “see if it would work” building their own.

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The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald asked a rather burning question from the floor, one that continues to puzzle readers and comics historians alike: “Why do you think he attacked comics specifically? What did he hope to get out of it?”. The panelists answered in various ways. Yoe felt pretty strongly that Wertham was, in fact, motivated primarily by the fact that he “cared about kids” and was worried about the impact of comics. Packer analyzed Wertham a little by pointing out that Wertham himself, despite being married for many years, had no children of his own and this might have created a kind of “displacement” of concern for children that drove him to extremes. Hajdu simply stated that he felt Wertham to be “attracted to sensationalist cases” whether as an expert witness in extreme criminal cases or his research. He was, Hajdu said, a “publicity hound” at heart. Even Yoe added the admission that without a doubt Wertham had a “raging ego” driving his career.

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Questions continued to circle back to the central role of Tilley’s new research on Wertham’s inconsistencies. How do we reassess Wertham based on the incorrectly conveyed details of his research, which clearly skewed his information in order to more sensationally and fundamentally support his thesis, when the “big picture” of his message, that extreme violence and sex in comics can be inappropriate for child readers, does seem sensible? Fingeroth presented a list of Wertham’s more “progressive” tendencies, stating that it’s possible to “go through a checklist of Wertham’s beliefs and agree except for comics” and respect many of his social contributions.

The final assessment of the panelists revealed some consensus out of a wide-ranging interrogation of Wertham’s method and legacy. O’Neil reminded the audience that Wertham was certainly not the “black-hearted villain” that many comics fans feel him to be, but he did detrimentally present those working in comics, “demonizing” them and making them out to be the “seducers and corruptors” of society, a crusade that damaged comics for decades to come. Yoe felt that the fundamental problem with Wertham’s whole approach to his subject was not necessarily the assumption that comics could be damaging to young minds, but that he “didn’t see that comics could be an art form”, and never commented on their positive potential as an “educational” resource. Yoe left the audience with the question, a lingering one, “Why couldn’t he see that?”. If Wertham had seen the potential of comics as a positive force, no doubt our current view of his work would also be more balanced on the whole.

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[The panelists and their moderator]

A predictably lively, but amicable, discussion period followed during the reception for the event, but if attendees expected definitive answers about the implications of Tilley’s new research on Wertham, they were left to their own devices. The panel discussion did provide solid context for Wertham’s life, work, and even a little for his motivations, as well as some solid information on what exactly Wertham’s failings as a researcher might be. Whether audience members were “pro-Wertham” or “anti-Wertham” initially, the discussion opened up new facets of his personality and work for further thought. Frederick Wertham may be less of a mystery now in the light of new research, but if anything, he’s even more of an enigma, confirmed as a complex figure. Learning more about Wertham changes perception of comics history, and that’s bound to change even more as scholars pay closer and closer attention to the records left behind in collections, personal archives, and thankfully, libraries.

The Comic Round Table events will continue this Spring at the SOHO Gallery for Digital Art with another hot topic in comics right now, the openly anti-gay position of Orson Scott Card and his work on SUPERMAN entitled “The Man of Steel vs. Orson Scott Card” on April 10th.

Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress.

 

15 Comments on On the Scene: Sparks Fly at ‘Surely You’re Joking, Dr. Wertham’ Event, last added: 3/24/2013
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21. On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, ‘What Makes an Icon?” with Nocenti, De Matteis, Mahnke, Slott, Waid

A panel on Friday, March 29th, the first day of programming at WonderCon brought together a rather iconic cast to discuss “iconic characters” and what keeps a character “true” to their origins over long periods of time. Mark Waid opened as moderator by pointing out that the table full of seasoned pros had more than 125 years of comics experience between them and most had worked on longterm characters and newer creations alike. The essential question posed by Waid was how to “vault” characters “into the 21st century without losing what keeps them special”. The question seemed particularly pertinent to Waid, whose ongoing work on DAREDEVIL has evoked critical acclaim. Waid asked his panellists how they handle the “core elements of characters” to face this challenge.

mbrittany mwaid 1 255x300 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, ‘What Makes an Icon?” with Nocenti, De Matteis, Mahnke, Slott, Waid J. M. De Matteis introduced an image that stayed with the panellists as a reference point for discussion. He felt that creators handling long-lived characters work “within a cage”, so they can’t “go wide” with the character in term of change, but they can “go deep” in terms of making new discoveries. For De Matteis, personally, it’s all about the “Big Why” of characters, figuring out what makes them tick. He prefers working with super-villains to pose questions about the formative impact of their past histories because there’s “always a little corner of the psyche to dig into”. Ann Nocenti, however, in her recent work with Catwoman found that “her archetype was pretty clear” as a troubled kid originally, “on the streets” originally, and moving through “foster homes”. Her intuitive approach is to “play with a character and see what feels right” and she doesn’t mind the fact that later creators will do the same with long-term characters. It’s “like treading water”, she said, “You give a sense of constant, dynamic action, but you’re really not moving far”, and she expects later creators to be under the same constraint.

mbrittany nocenti slott dematteis 300x117 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, ‘What Makes an Icon?” with Nocenti, De Matteis, Mahnke, Slott, Waid Doug Mahnke’s challenges, as an artist working on long-term heroes, is rather specific, handling costumes and their overtones. He observed that heroes, even today, often don’t look “contemporary” because their appearance has become iconic and we no longer question the anachronism, like Superman’s “underwear outside his pants”. Other features like capes and boots, Mahnke said, “made sense at the time” they were created based on a “swashbuckling” influence. In fact, he explained, an artist’s job is to “bring out the majesty in the character. It doesn’t matter so much what they’re wearing”, but you can use costume as a “tool” to use to your advantage.

mbrittany dematteis mahnke 300x145 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, ‘What Makes an Icon?” with Nocenti, De Matteis, Mahnke, Slott, Waid Several of the panellists then commented on the fact that objectively, some of the nomenclature and costumes of characters created decades ago would seem “stupid” now. Nocenti’s example was a resurrection of a minor character, Zebra Man who was “visually fantastic” but the name and concept bizarre. Slott felt that once an icon is an icon, “the fact that it’s an icon gives it weight”, preventing further critique from readers. Even Waid’s considered opinion was that “Green Lantern” is a “stupid name for a character, but after 75 years”, it has “gravitas”.

mbrittany nocenti slott 300x161 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, ‘What Makes an Icon?” with Nocenti, De Matteis, Mahnke, Slott, Waid The panel then tackled the question of when and how exactly a character becomes officially iconic, and they set the bar high on awarding this status. De Matteis opined that “nothing about the character idea makes it iconic. It’s the execution”, and not every character reaches this status despite reasonably strong storytelling behind them. Dan Slott interjected that it only takes “one writer and one artist to do it”, like Frank Miller on DAREDEVIL. The discussion often drifted into slap-stick commentary on the more absurd aspects of superhero lore like the possession of a super vehicle as an icon accoutrement. Nocenti provided the little known detail that Cat Woman’s car is known as a “Catillac”. Slott confessed to proposing in a “meeting with real adults” that Superman’s car should be known as “Superman’s Ford Taurus of Solitude” with disasterous results.

Waid observed that some characters are iconic in pop culture without necessarily being long-lived, like Woody Woodpecker, who’s highly recognizable, but not a currently active character. Waid commented that the tendency toward merchandizing may encourage the slow-down or freeze of new developments in a character since “every character becomes a beach towel” in the end. The entire panel segued into a long and fairly serious discussion of Wonder Woman as a character and why she has, or has not, lived up to her iconic status in terms of actual comic storytelling.

mbrittany mwaid 2 251x300 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, ‘What Makes an Icon?” with Nocenti, De Matteis, Mahnke, Slott, Waid

Most felt, like De Matteis, that Wonder Woman comics have not always been “all that good”, nevertheless the character definitely qualifies as “iconic”. Waid had a fairly idiosyncratic theory behind why this is the case. He observed that there was a strong “sexual element” to the “first 10 years of the strip” that was later removed to render the character more “plain vanilla”, and that now, lacking that “x-factor of sexuality”, stories fail to live up to the early days (an issue, he said, he frequently discusses with Grant Morrison). Slott disagreed pointedly with Waid’s assessment. He instead blames the lack of verve in Wonder Woman comics to the fact that comics are essentially a “make dominated industry” that has not explored the “many angles of the character” sufficiently. Slott still feels that if the right team is put together, the stories can rise to iconic status again, without recourse to the “weird quirky bits”. His choice of phrase caused plenty of giggling among the panellists.

This led Waid to ask his panel how they decide what elements are most essential to a character, what continues to translate, and what can be left behind. De Matteis advised to “always approach the characters psychologically and emotionally” and not worry too much about the “other stuff”, and sometimes that psychological appeal can be found in lesser known characters. Nocenti commented that her current work on KATANA based on the strange but intriguing concept of a “girl with a sword” produced “good potential” for developing “obsessional love triangle” elements between herself, her murdered husband, and his murdering brother.“The less iconic a character, the more fun you can have!”, she enthused.

Slott agreed with Nocenti on  this idea, up to a point. When you’re handling an iconic character, readers lose the fear that their reckless lifestyles will do them in, whereas if a character is “unknown”, “Everyone is worried”, wondering if they will survive from issue to issue. Slott and Nocenti shared an interesting moment of commiseration, albeit brief, about their mutual killing off of Spider-based characters, and the emotional reaction of fans. “Screw letters from emotional fans”, Slott concluded, laughing, but Waid intervened by informing the audience that he’s sure Slott “weeps himself to sleep at night with 6 year olds’ fan mail” over the death of Spider-Man .

mbrittany comics 300x200 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, ‘What Makes an Icon?” with Nocenti, De Matteis, Mahnke, Slott, Waid The panellists didn’t always find their subject matter easy to decipher, nor did they feel that there’s always an easy answer for why some characters “click” as icons and some don’t. Batman, particularly, has a mysteriously successful dynamic, they said. But some things do change. Waid observed that he “couldn’t have imagined a world where I walked down the street and everyone knew who Tony Stark was” until after the Iron Man films had been made. Waid suggested that iconic status for characters might be measured in the number of imitators who have sprung up. De Matteis returned to his general position that archetypal patterns determine iconic status, however. Slott provided examples, stating that Superman is like Hercules, Batman a being on a vengeance-quest, and Tony Stark is, too, iconic in formula, as a combination of “Man and Machine”, an icon that the world is ripe for right now.

mbrittany nocenti slott 2 300x190 On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, ‘What Makes an Icon?” with Nocenti, De Matteis, Mahnke, Slott, Waid The panellists’ parting thoughts during the Q and A period focused on an interesting point made from the audience about the superhero/villain ratio. With so many more supervillains than superheroes in comics, “recycling” them is the norm, but at what point do they become “stale” and need to be retired, at least for awhile? De Matteis was firm about the roles of the artist and writers, insisting that there are “no stale characters but stale interpretations of characters” and that good work will prevent this problem. “Every character is great if you did into them in the right way”, he said. Waid’s closing example to support De Matteis’ point was that “20-25 years ago, no one would have thought that GREEN ARROW would become 2 times the best selling DC book, and then get his own TV show”. His bottom line: “If you dig deep enough you can find something that resonates”, and that’s the key to creating an icon, something that may not happen overnight.

 Photo Credits: All photos in this article were taken by semi-professional photographer and pop culture scholar Michele Brittany. She’s an avid photographer of pop culture events. You can learn more about her photography and pop culture scholarship here.

 

Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress.

 

 

 

15 Comments on On the Scene: WonderCon 2013, ‘What Makes an Icon?” with Nocenti, De Matteis, Mahnke, Slott, Waid, last added: 3/31/2013
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22. Bill Finger’s sole Batman credit in his lifetime

In 25 years of writing Batman stories, including some of the most popular ever, Bill Finger was officially credited as a writer (or co-creator) precisely zero times. (By that I mean in a credit box within the story. In the 1960s, editor Julie Schwartz, bless him, did sneak Bill’s name into the backmatter at least a couple of times.)

One time only, Bill did get to see his name prominently displayed on a first-run story—but it was not in print. Bill was the only writer of Batman comics who (with Charles Sinclair) also wrote an episode of the 1966 TV show that made Batman’s popularity go mainstream. 




Small screen was big time on one level, but in the grand scheme, small solace for a marginalized career.

Speaking of TV credits, here is what the credits for the landmark Batman: The Animated Series could’ve looked like if things had played out differently…fairly:



courtesy of @hrguerra

Note the order.

2 Comments on Bill Finger’s sole Batman credit in his lifetime, last added: 6/17/2013
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23. Batcake

On 5/5/13 (National Cartoonists Day), I spoke about Batman and Bill Finger at Washington Hebrew Congregation, “the area’s largest Jewish congregation and among the largest Reform congregations in the country.”

The audience was great and I always love giving this talk, but the highlight: Batman cake pops.


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24. Ryan Adams, singer of "New York, New York," likes Batman

And I like that song a lot and so I like that he favorited a tweet I sent him about Batman.


In honor of those whose lives were lost or affected twelve years ago today:



This makes it even more haunting:


Engine 26, New York City

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25. Reviewed! Every Issue of Villains Month, Week Two

We head into week two of Villains Month, with thirteen more titles out this week. Ranging from Harley Quinn and The Riddler through to Mongul and Black Manta, a theme seems to emerge this week – DON’T EVER GO INTO SPACE!

Follow the jump for every issue reviewed, from my least-favourite through to my favourite.

One thing that you should note is that some of the comics take place as part of Forever Evil – the Batman and Flash comics, it seems – whilst the Green Lantern/Superman issues are more general. So some issues follow on immediately from the first issue of the event, whilst others are more general stories. Keep that in mind as you buy the comics – they’ll all make sense, but some will be directly following on from the main story whilst others are unconnected origin stories.

 

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Solomon Grundy

Matt Kindt (w), Aaron Lopresti (a), Art Thibert (i), Travis Lanham (l), Michael Atiyeh (c), Anthony Marques, Mike Cotton (e)

It feels like there’s a big missing section from this comic somewhere, which would help tie the two stories together. This is an origin story interweaved with a scene of Grundy causing chaos in the modern day, but the end of the comic leaves readers with a whole load of questions. The issue starts with the character crash-landing on Earth from outer space…. the origin sequence ends with Grundy being created, a hundred years ago, on Earth. So how did he end up in outer space, so he can subsequently crash back to Earth? No idea.

It’s a massively melodramatic story as well, veering almost immediately into complete manic camp – especially in the origin sequence, which is the craziest thing I’ve seen in a long time. It’s almost parody of itself. This is a bad comic, but at the same time? Enjoyable BECAUSE it’s so bad.

 

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Brainiac

Tony Bedard (w), Pascal Alixe (a), Hi-Fi (c), John J. Hill (l), Rickey Purdin (e)

There’s a lot of horror in space this week, and Tony Bedard’s Brainiac story – although not really capturing the character’s intelligence – offers another imminent threat. Crucially though, I simply didn’t find any of what happened to be particularly interesting. Hi-Fi’s colours have picked a strange palette which makes every page into a fuzzy blur, like we’re watching an out-of-focus tv channel. Their decision muffles Pascal Alixe’s artwork significantly, and also seems to cause some real problems for the narrative. It’s quite hard to tell how some of the images relate to each other due to the colouring, especially when panels move around within a fixed space.

The story isn’t all that interesting either, explaining the duller parts of Brainiac without telling us anything about the cool bits – why don’t we get to find out the point of the pink disks he attaches to his head halfway through? What do those do, then?

 

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Lobo

Marguerite Bennett (w), Ben Oliver, Cliff Richards (a), Daniel Brown (c), Sal Ciprano (l), Rickey Purdin (e)

I didn’t understand the ‘controversy’ about this issue, but the story itself doesn’t really help endear this new character to readers. Despite Simon Bisley’s Lobo on the front cover, the character doesn’t make an appearance anywhere in the story. This is, instead, about a younger, sleeker Lobo who speaks in the same way (Bennett’s script absolutely nails the dialogue) but doesn’t really get much of a chance to shock the reader. The story is slow and doesn’t go anywhere, and the whole point of Lobo, surely, is that he does outrageous and over-the-top things – this issue doesn’t give readers any of that craziness.

It’s not a bad comic, but it’s nowhere near as dynamic and enjoyable ridiculous as a Lobo story should be.

 

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Zod

Greg Pak (w), Ken Lashley (a), Steve Wands (l), Pete Pantazis (c), Anthony Marques (e)

There’s a miniseries hidden inside an issue here, with Zod a character who has a lengthy backstory which struggles to be crammed inside a single issue. The main concern with this issue is that Pak simply can’t get the whole story into this issue, leaving us with an issue which leaps around in time and sequencing almost as random, leaving readers slightly confused as to what’s happening. Ken Lashley’s artwork manages to do some heroic efforts in this regard, however, establishing the alien world Zod surrounds himself in as a really bizarre, weird place to live in.

Lashley seems to be the perfect fit for an outer-space story, as he manages to design around five different outfits for Zod (like I say, the story races through time like a dervish) which all seem appropriate to his place in Krypton’s society and his role as a constant outsider to it. If this had been expanded into a longer piece of work, it could have made for an interesting tale. As it is, this is a story which is constantly rushing forward, and the reader falls behind sooner rather than later.

 

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Trigon

Marv Wolfman (w), Cafu (a), Jason Wright (c), Steve Wands (l), Anthony Marques, Mike Cotton (e)

Marv Wolfman returns to a character he co-created and gives him an utterly horrific backstory and motivation which I presume will be setting up some future storyline in Teen Titans. This wasn’t a bad issue by any means – almost every issue this week seemed fine, at the very least – but it is a bit reliant on the central shock value of the character’s actions. If you strip out the villainy, I’m not sure I really felt a true sense of what the character’s ambitions are beyond ‘be horrible’.

Cafu and Jason Wright offer some brilliantly realised artwork, however – Wright’s colouring is especially fantastic, and ensures that this isn’t an issue which looks as grimy and dirty as it reads. There’s a brightness and vibrancy in the colouring which takes the character and makes him seem more impressive and powerful. The secondary characters are all muted, leaving Trigon the brightest character on each page.

 

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Harley Quinn

Matt Kindt (w), Neil Googe (a), Wil Quintana (c), Taylor Esposito (l), Harvey Richards, Will Moss (e)

Remember how Harley Quinn is a terrible person wrapped up in a sweet and adorable harlequin bow? Matt Kindt’s issue reminds you that within that candy coating beats an evil, evil person. Struggling a little to connect the two halves of her personality to each, Kindt’s script eventually resorts to having the two narratives in her head shout at each other – which actually seems to fit her pretty well. This is a madcap issue, running at a very quick speed thanks to Neil Googe’s utterly wonderful artwork.

Googe steals the issue, in fact, emphasising the utter horror of Harley’s power fantasies during a particularly grim, extended joke sequence in which she acquires her new costume. There’s an overwhelming presence of character on the pages of the issue and it’s very good fun, even if it is rather aimlessly. The final page is a mega disappointment in that regard – it puts her back to square one for the New 52.

 

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Mr Freeze

Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray (w), Jason Masters (a), Dave McCaig (c), Jared K. Fletcher (l), Darren Shan, Rachel Gluckstern (e) 

Mr Freeze has gone through an interesting development during the New 52, in that Scott Snyder invalidated the whole ‘dead wife tragedy’ aspect in the character. With Nora now a distant memory, Palmiotti and Gray are left with the task of finding a new thing for the character to fixate on. That they magae to do so may well be the greatest triumph of the New 52 thus far.

The character was so heavily motivated by a need to protect his wife that a more straightforward villainous agenda feels beneath him, but the creative team here do their very best to work on the character and make this new aspect work. Their tactic is to make him so amoral and unfeeling as to be completely unpredictable, and McCaig’s colours assist this greatly. The bright red goggles, the only dynamic feature of Freeze, hide his eyes for the entire issue – a very effective tactic. It’s a solid issue.

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Mongul

Jim Starlin (w), Howard Porter (a), Hi-Fi (c), Carlos M. Mangual (l), Kyle Andrukiewicz, Joey Cavalieri (e)

An excellent reimagining for the character which realises the original design doesn’t really need to be changed.  The last I saw of Mongul, he had one eye and was terrorising the Green Lantern Corps. Here, though, the New 52 reimagines him as a military genius, living on a massive spaceship the size of a planet and defeating every force in his wya.

Starlin writes the issue as a celebratory monologue from the character, as he takes his latest defeated foe for a tour round his house and gloats about how easy victory is for him. On a character level, we now have a great sense of what Mongul is like and how his mind works. Starlin’s script is tight, but still allows the character to show himself off repeatedly; aided by some of the best art I’ve seen from Howard Porter, whose style usually puts me off.

 

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Reverse Flash

Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato (w), Scott Hepburn (a), Buccellato (c), Carlos M. Mangual (l), Harvey Richards, Will Moss (e)

It wasn’t until the last page that I realised this wasn’t an issue DRAWN by Manapul, but was instead the work of Scott Hepburn. Coloured by Buccellato, Hepburn hurls himself wholly into this issue, producing some dynamic and wonderful pages with a zip and pace only Manapul himself could match. For the most part, this is an issue featuring the Reverse Flash as a regular person, and the pages reflect that with a blocky style. But whenever he transforms? Suddenly the pages explode apart with zagged borders and fractured panels.

It’s a fantastic showcase for Hepburn. As far as story – this is okay. It gets the idea across of the main character, but in doing so it accidentally breaks one of the supporting characters. By establishing Reverse Flash as a sympathetic figure, it has to make his sister – Iris, perhaps you’ve heard of her – seem rather cruel. I didn’t buy that, particularly. As this is, however, essentially an advert/prelude to the next big arc on The Flash, perhaps the team will be able to sort that out later.

 

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Court of Owls

James Tynion IV (w), Jorge Lucas (a), Dave McCaig (c), Steve Wands (l), Katie Kubert (e)

A paranoia thriller of a one-shot, here James Tynion IV lets loose with the conspiracy angle of the Court of Owls and manages to just-about put their ship back on water. Which is a strange metaphor to use, but I’ve written ten reviews about villains already and my mind hurts. The Court of Owls were an interesting idea which didn’t quite hit the target during Scott Snyder’s original story, but here Tynion manages to get the concept together and make it seem plausible that they would exist.

Jorge Lucas and Dave McCaig nail the issue, absolutely. Coupled with the disturbing white-on-black lettering from Wands, the issue manages to create an investing and fascinating tonal style which gives the concept of a secret society in Gotham a feeling of realism. There is one panel where Lucas misses this mark and creates an unintentionally funny moment, but overall this is an engaging issue.

 

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Black Manta 

Geoff Johns, Tony Bedard (w), Claude St. Aubin (a,/i), Blond (c), Carlos M. Mangual, Taylor Esposito (l), Kate Stewart, Brian Cunningham (e)

The most interesting aspect of Forever Evil is undoubtedly that several of the villains seem to have immediate plans to overthrow the Society of Super Villains and go their own way. This is once more the case with Black Manta, and the character seems primed for an interesting future following this issue.

Following Geoff Johns’ plot, Tony Bedard quickly sketches the basics of the character’s personality despite the book being heavily connected to Forever Evil. At least half the issue is working through the events of Forever Evil #1 from Manta’s perspective, expanding his role and motivations within a narrative we’ve already seen unfold. As a result, this is an issue which requires the reader to have seen the main event in order to get the most out of it. But, if you have, what follows is a surprisingly effective character issue.

The bulk of this story is based around the enmity between Black Manta and Aquaman, which makes one scene towards the end particularly effective – where Manta has the choice between two objects, and picks one over the other. It may be a little slight, but Black Manta is a quick and fun piece of the Forever Evil storyline, and shines a spotlight on a character who has seen significant growth over the last year.

 

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Killer Frost

Sterling Gates (w), Derlis Santacruz (a), Brett Smith (c), Dave Sharpe (l), Kate Stewart, Brian Cunningham (e)

Killer Frost is a proper done-in-one horror story which then trails into the DC Universe right at the end, and is all the better for it. If Villains Month is proving anything, it’s that a lot of American writers struggle to create a proper done-in-one issue. Killer Frost – and the final issue of this month – are perhaps the two best exceptions to that rule, thus far. Sterling Gates and Derlis Santacruz take a note right out of Whiteout and The Thing, by stranding the central character in an Arctic Colony where people are acting suspiciously.

The majority of the issue is spent with her before she becomes a super-powered villainess, and as a result we get a real feel of her and her motivations, making her a sympathetic protagonist. When things go wrong, we get to experience John Carpenter-in-reverse, with Santacruz offering some exceptional suspense work which shows just enough of the violence to get the concept across – without ever showing so much that the comic feels gratuitous.

And when the issue moves into the DC Universe proper, Gates reconnects the character with her most well-known opponent, but adds a new wrinkle to their enmity which again serves her brilliantly. I knew nothing of the character before – now I’m excited to see where she moves next.

 

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Riddler

Scott Snyder, Ray Fawkes (w), Jeremy Haun (a), John Rausch (c), Taylor Esposito (l), Katie Kubert (e)

The Riddler finally gets a showstopping sense of definition at DC, as Scott Snyder and Ray Fawkes take the character and evolve him into a fully-formed, unpredictable theorist. Creating several rather clever riddles (I only guessed two out of five) and leaving them on the first page of the issue, readers are then asked to work out how these five riddles are going to allow the character to complete his goal of breaking into Wayne Tower.

This is gripping stuff, with Haun’s artwork methodically detailing the character’s movements and body language. There’s a moment where the character plays golf halfway through the issue which is a brilliantly quirky detail, and demonstrates just what makes him so fun to root for. There’s a playfulness in this violent and mentally ill supergenius, and Fawkes’ script allows the character several interesting new tics and ideas. Riddler comes off as evil, but in a way which suits his high intelligence levels – he’s a bag of tics and fears and arrogance, shaken up and then let loose into the world.

Taylor Esposito’s lettering is a great asset to the story also. If the reveal of each riddle weren’t placed as perfectly as Esposito places them here, the issue would fall flat, regardless of the great script, art, and colouring. Esposito carefully works out how to set up each page, creating a seamless reading experience for the reader. It’s really a tremendous issue. I’m biased because I have a previous love for the character… but this issue took everything I like about him and made it sing.

 

 

Here are the numbers:

* four books directly follow from Forever Evil – including all the Batman books, aside from The Court of Owls.

* eight have no connection to Forever Evil whatsoever

* there is no origin story for Lobo or The Riddler

* Batman created by Bob Kane, Court of Owls created by Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo, Aquaman created by Paul Norris, Mongul created by Len Win/Jim Starlin, Harley Quinn created by Paul Dini/Bruce Timm, Superman created by Jerry Siegel/Joe Shuster, Lobo created by Roger Slifer/Keith Giffen, Trigon created by Marv Wolfman/George Perez

15 Comments on Reviewed! Every Issue of Villains Month, Week Two, last added: 9/12/2013
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