Comics

A collection of 74 posts

Ben Affleck returning as Batman in the Flash movie

Ben Affleck as Batman

Matt Patches for Polygon:

Early talk suggested Michael Keaton could potentially suit up as an older version of Batman, after starring in the original film version from 1989. And now it seems there are even more Batmen in the mix, with Affleck joining the cast. After appearing in HBO Max’s “Snyder Cut” of Justice League next year, the actor will appear alongside Miller in The Flash, set for the summer of 2022.

The comic book version of Flashpoint was a crazy, mulitverse-spanning event that ended up bringing about the New 52. It completely changed the landscape of DC's comic books for years. If the intention is to do something similar and correct the course of DC's movies, the Flashpoint story should do the trick.

Before Affleck's return was announced, I think many were assuming the Flash movie would have to take a different direction, given the reception of Justice League, Affleck leaving, Cavill's future as Superman in question, etc. Now, it's looking like this will be how DC consolidates their confusing movie continuity and fully embraces the mulitverse, something they've built comic book stories around for decades.

I actually really enjoyed Affleck's performance in Batman v Superman, despite having a terrible script to work with. His Bruce Wayne was laughably oblivious to the plot he was involved in and driven entirely by rage, something completely uncharacteristic of the world's greatest detective, but he looked and moved exactly like Batman should and I thought he had good chemistry with Cavill's Superman.

DC Comics loses a third of editorial staff during major layoffs at Warner

Heidi MacDonald for The Beat:

The comics industry woke up with an overwhelming collective sense of sorrow this morning, as news of as much as one third of DC Comics’ editorial staff was laid off yesterday amid huge cuts at WarnerMedia in general. DC was hit hard losing almost an entire level of editorial executives – but many familiar industry figures were also let go. As scattered as people are due to COVID, the comics community felt yesterday intensely and came together to urge support for most who lost their jobs.

Sad stuff coming out of DC Comics this week. Crazy to think this all happens right before DC's big Fandome event, which will undoubtedly have a shadow cast over it now because of this unfortunate news.

One of the more frustrating parts of this announcement, aside from the fact that a ton of good people lost their jobs in the middle of a pandemic, is the stubbornness of DC to abandon the Black Label imprint. I've long thought it was criminally under-utilized but every couple months the company would announce a new book and I'd assume they had finally figured it out, which apparently is not the case.

More importantly, I'm hopeful those effected by the layouts find new work quickly. Between the established companies like IDW, Dark Horse, and Image, or newcomers like TKO, and AWA, you have to hope that there are enough places in comics for people to land.

Marvel reveals Timeless Alex Ross covers

Joe Grunenwald for The Beat:

In September offerings, Marvel is kicking off their “Timeless” line of variant covers featuring character portraits by acclaimed artist Alex Ross. Now the publisher has revealed even more Ross Timeless variant covers for release along with their October 2020 offerings. The fourteen new covers will accompany issues of Daredevil, Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men, Shang Chi, and many more.

These covers, like all of Alex Ross' prior work, look incredible. It's hard to believe this is coming from the same publisher that thought these were a good idea.

King and Fornés bring Rorschach to DC Black Label in October

King and Fornés bring Rorschach to DC Black Label in October

DC Comics:

DC proudly presents a new 12-issue maxiseries debuting this October by Tom King (Mister Miracle) and Jorge Fornés (Batman), together delivering a new vision of one of the most riveting characters from Watchmen—a figure in a fedora and a trench coat, loved by some, reviled by others—Rorschach.

It’s been 35 years since Ozymandias was exposed for dropping a giant telepathic squid on New York City, killing thousands and ending the public’s trust in heroes once and for all. The Minutemen are gone; only their memory lives on. Especially the infamy of Rorschach, who has become a cultural icon since Dr. Manhattan turned him to dust.

I'm so excited to read this. King's work on similar books for Vision and Mister Miracle is considered by many to be career-defining. With Rorschach's history, and the excellent art of Jorge Fornés, this book could be yet another slam-dunk.

I'm happy that, like the recent Strange Adventures by King, Gerads, and Shaner, this new book will be part of DC's Black Label line. It just wouldn't be right to see a darker, grittier character like Rorschach fitting into DC's main, more family-friendly line.

If you're not familiar with artist Jorge Fornés, I highly recommend giving his work a look. He worked with Tom King on Batman (#67, 71–72, 84) and Daredevil (#16–18) over at Marvel with writer/artist Chip Zdarsky. Based on his previous work and the art we've seen so far, I can't think of a better artist for this book.

Mark your calendar for this one. The first issue ships in October.

Slime Tunnel

Art by Gavin Fullerton

Slime Tunnel on Gumroad:

A 26 page Horror comic.
A man discovers a strange tunnel in his late father's bedroom.

Slime Tunnel is visually harsh, in a good way, and reads quickly. That said, if you're anything like me, it'll stay with you for a while after you're finished reading.

Personally, I love horror stories like this. Books where there's nothing immediately "scary" but the entire experience is unsettling and errie, which I don't typically find in a lot of horror comics but I think is exactly the case here. Writer/artist Gavin Fullerton has another comic on his personal site called Strand that has a really similar vibe to it too.

You can pay whatever amount you'd like to own a copy of Slime Tunnel and I'd encourage you to help support these sorts of projects in some way.

Writer/artist Cameron Stewart accused of sexual misconduct

Joe Grunenwald for The Beat:

The first allegation came when artist Aviva Artzy revealed on Twitter that Stewart had groomed her when she was 16 years old and Stewart was in his early 30s.

As Artzy’s tweets circulated, other women came forward alleging that Stewart had done the same to them. Writer/artist Kate Leth tweeted that she was either 20 or 21 when a 32-year-old Stewart groomed her.

As a longtime fan of Stewart's work, this is so disappointing to hear and it's shocking that it was apparently so well known among other creators. As some have pointed out on Twitter, it seems like a startling amount of male comic book creators, many of which you'd have to think heard about these incidents over the years, remaining silent online instead of condemning the behaviour and supporting the people coming forward with these stories.

The comic book industry has a terrible history with older, male professionals misbehaving around younger, less experienced women who are new to comics. How many more stories like this are we going to have to hear before things actually change? How many men in the industry are going to just continue to stand by and watch it happen? If you see it, say something.

I've unfollowed Stewart, who has since set his social media accounts to private, on both Twitter and Instagram and I'd recommend others do the same. It's the least many of us can do in this situation. I'd also shared some of his work on my Tumblr page a few years ago and have removed those too.

The Sleep Stories by Michael Walsh

Art by Michael Walsh

The Sleep Stories:

The Sleep Stories are an ongoing series of comics based on my nightmares and, occasionally, the unreality of my waking life. Welcome to my rotting dreams.

Eisner award winning creator Michael Walsh shares tales of his nightmares with a new chapter each Tuesday. They’re strange, unsettling, and beautifully drawn. I highly recommend taking a look and supporting the project if you’re able.

Diamond announces return to regular operations

Susana Polo for Polygon:

The sole distributor of product for all but the tiniest of American comics companies will reopen for business. Diamond Comic Distributors has announced it will return to regular business on Wednesday, May 20, about two months after it shuttered due to social distancing restrictions.

It’s certainly nice to see people will have new stuff to read sooner than later. To be honest, I assumed a more significant impact from DC’s move to Lunar and UCS as well as a longer delay in books arriving from Diamond.

I should take the time to get caught up on all the books I still haven’t read before these new ones arrive.

DC using new distributors, books hitting stores in April

Heidi MacDonald for The Beat:

But the biggest bombshell of this: DC will be using two new distributors, Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors to distribute weekly periodical comics. Retailers can sign up with either on a regional basis.

While I don’t completely understand this part of the industry, even I know Diamond’s had a lock on comics distribution for a very long time.

This is a seismic move for the comics industry, with the first new direct market distributors for comics periodicals in 20 years. I’d long heard rumors that DC Comics has not renewed their exclusive deal with Diamond, and this would indicate that those rumors are true.

If this sticks post-pandemic, you have to wonder what sort of effect this will have on the industry. Competition helps drive innovation, maybe that will be the case here too.

Friday

Art by Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente

Panel Syndicate:

Friday Fitzhugh spent her childhood solving crimes and digging up occult secrets with her best friend Lancelot Jones, the smartest boy in the world. But that was the past, now she’s in college, starting a new life on her own. Except when Friday comes home for the holidays, she’s immediately pulled back into Lance’s orbit and finds that something very strange and dangerous is happening in their little New England town.

I really enjoyed both The Private Eye and Barrier, which were also released by Panel Syndicate in the same “pay what you want” model, with artists Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente joined by writer Brian K. Vaughan.

For books like this to appear out of thin air at whatever price you feel is fair, it’s amazing, especially with incredible talent like Ed Brubaker and the previously mentioned Martin, and Vicente onboard. I’m really looking forward to giving this a read as soon as possible.

Comic creators dream up epic DC/Marvel mashups

JLA/Avengers art by George Perez

Susana Polo for Polygon:

With the 25th anniversary of the last DC and Marvel Comics crossover approaching, and the American comics industry in a state of deep uncertainty, writer Gail Simone kicked off a moment of positive Twitter energy with one simple question: What would you like to see in a newMarvel/DC crossover?

I actually think a crossover like this would do wonders for both publishers and comic shops alike if marketed well. At a time like this, the comic community needs to stick together wherever possible to survive. Is it really that crazy to think Disney and Warner Bros would work together to help everyone get through this?

Could you imagine a list of creators like we saw on Marvel Comics #1000 pitting the greatest heroes from both companies together against some insurmountable force? Sign me up.

Marvel announces new Silk series by Goo and Miyazawa

Art by Stacey Lee

Joe Grunenwald for The Beat:

Cindy Moon is getting another day in the sun. Marvel has announced a new ongoing series for Spider-Man spin-off character Silk. The series will be written by novelist and first-time comics writer Maurene Goo, and illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa (Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane), with the first issue of the series sporting a cover by Stonehouse.

It's great to see the character back, and being written by a Korean American woman no less. I’ve always dug Silk from her appearances in ASM and I’m really hoping this new series helps her carve her own path, independent of Spider-Man's books.

It doesn’t hurt that Takeshi Miyazawa’s on the book who, as I’ve mentioned a dozen or more times before, I’ve been a huge fan of since his work on Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane in the mid-2000s.