While we give San Diego flak for not being a true comic book convention any more, one can’t help but be excited about Hollywood giving us the scoop on its latest comic book offerings in the movie business. It’s the bread and butter of their money-making and this year we saw that trend continue with these announcements from the big two:
Other than a Man of Steel 2 announcement that came just as the original movie was coming out, the DC movie front got scary after that. In one sense, you couldn’t blame them – Green Lantern didn’t give DC much hopes of a successful franchise outside of Batman and Superman.
That was when the above logo was displayed at a DC panel. 2015 will see the two icons unite for a big-screen offering. Henry Cavill is set to reprise his role. It’s well-documented though that Christian Bale is done with the cape and cowl – thus a search will commence. David Goyer will be back writing the script and looks like Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan will be back to direct and produce respectively. Too early to tell what the storyline path will be, though Snyder has discussed bringing aspects of The Dark Knight Returns into the mix.
Things got even more exciting when DC announced plans for a Flash movie in 2016 leading into the much-anticipated Justice League movie in 2017. Yes, it absolutely is copying the Marvel movie approach with Avengers, but how else could you have done it?
Marvel continues the Phase 2 path of its movies with its next onslaught of movies. We already “Thor : The Dark World” has a fall release, followed by “Captain America : The Winter Soldier” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” next summer. Concept art of the GOTG team was released to showcase what we might expect of the characters’ appearances.
Joss Whedon set the stage for the completion of Phase 2 – releasing what the full title of his Avengers sequel will be. “Avengers : Age of Ultron” is set to come out May 1st, 2015. The sub-title immediately brought concerns to the comic fanbase, knowing that the Marvel event recently ending in their eyes in a whimper and wondering how such a crossover can work in a 2-hour movie. Of course, I’d highly doubt it goes this route considering the larger populace not knowing who Ultron is yet nor his creator, Hank Pym.
Defining runs have been hitting their ends lately for a few key books. Last year, we saw it with Brian Michael Bendis leaving behind 8 years of Avengers stories and Ed Brubaker with similar years for Captain America. Another will join the pack come this May.
Huffington Post reports that Geoff Johns, after 9 years with the Green Lantern franchise, is putting his writing pen down for the series that he helped reinvigorate when he took over in 2004 with Ethan Van Sciver with the Rebirth series.
“I was getting to an end point and a story line that made sense for me. I felt like it was time to close my run and focus all my energies on the Justice League corner of the DC Universe,” he said, noting that his stories were collaborative efforts with artists and editors like Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Van Sciver and Peter Tomasi.
“It was a very, very hard decision. I absolutely love these characters but I felt like I had a story line that really made sense and felt emotionally satisfying and felt very big and very epic.”
It’s no surprising considering the responsibilities Johns carries. Being chief creative officer was one big task, but then also guiding current Justice League and Aquaman books was another tall order. Not to mention adding his upcoming run on Justice League of America with David Finch and a Vibe series as well.
Despite the Green Lantern comic fizzling in appeal over the last couple of years and the live-action movie not faring any better, you can’t deny how amazing the Corps’ popularity has become in the last 9 years. Rebirth started the trend and truly hits its stride when the Sinestro Corps War came about in 2007. As new colored-Lantern Corps were introduced, it all came to a head with DC giving Green Lantern its own company crossover event in 2009 with Blackest Night.
The artists truly have shined as well because of Johns’ epic storylines starting with Van Sciver over to Ivan Reis and then to its current penciler in Doug Mahnke.
Many discussions came about on this site because of Johns’ run on the title and we thank him for it. How May will end with a bang for the CCO will be a sight to see.
If you follow many of the great current comic creators today on Twitter, you sure enough saw an outpouring of respect and gratitude sent away yesterday to Karen Berger. You know her currently as the long-standing executive editor of the Vertigo imprint at DC Comics. From now until March 2013 though, she will be transitioning that post to a new team and leaving. Having held the position for 20 years and spearheading many great books in the medium, this is obviously a big deal in a niche industry such as comic books.
The speculation of course couldn’t be helped when this was announced regarding the direction of Vertigo. The “team” that supposedly is handling Berger’s position hasn’t been announced yet. And you’ve seen the many changes happen with the imprint since the New 52 started that has seen Vertigo streamline with the initiative. Constantine now being part of the new DCU, along with his own solo title coming out and the Hellblazer series ending at issue 300, is a sign of that. Yes, Vertigo announced lots of new projects at NYCC from guys like Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire (and we still have the Sandman prequel from Gaiman and Williams late next year), but one can’t help but wonder if we’re seeing a slow disassembling of a mighty brand that changed the way people thought of how comics should be done.
I admittedly came late to the Vertigo game. Not willing to take a chance for a long while, I finally gave in when a friend recommended Fables to me 7 years ago. Then I met my CBF comrade, Mike Buechele, later and he got me into the Sandman books, one of the series Karen Berger helped bring to DC before there was a Vertigo and helped make Neil Gaiman a household name to comic fans. These books changed my perception on what comics can do and I was hooked. Y : The Last Man, 100 Bullets, Scalped, DMZ, Northlanders, Sweet Tooth, American Vampire….you name it and Berger had something to do with it. Whether or not Vertigo sticks around for the foreseeable future, the one certainty we have is Berger’s legacy that inspired and challenged many to make comics about more than just the superheroes.
We’re in an industry that’s all about re-launching titles and adding adjectives to names that will grab as much readers’ attention as possible. Just look at the Avengers titles and you’ll get what I’m saying.
Image Comics and frequent CBF interviewee/Skullkickers creator Jim Zub is jumping on that trend, although not in the way you think, with Uncanny Skullkickers #1.
The solicit says enough than I can possibly say:
UNCANNY SKULLKICKERS #1
story JIM ZUB
art EDWIN HUANG
cover EDWIN HUANG & MISTY COATS
32 PAGES / FC / T
The UNCANNY SKULLKICKERS: Two hard-headed mercenaries kill monsters and cause havoc in their search for money, fame and adventure! A bold new direction! A perfect jumping-on point! A newly added adjective! Our nineteenth issue, but also a new issue #1! It’s all here, people! Don’t make us use more exclamation marks!!
P.S. Retailers: Rack this comic beside other “Uncanny” comics you may have hanging around and sell a ton of copies. Do it.
The retailer blurb is great and speaks well to how the comics are being marketed. And no surprise Image is going this route, as they’ve parodied comic book event/re-launch solicits in the past.
A little over 3 years ago, Disney set the pop culture world on fire with its $4 billion purchase of Marvel Comics. Fast forward to today and looks like Disney wants to light it up one more time with a shocking deal.
According to a Disney press release, it’s about to purchase Lucasfilm, Lucasarts, ILM, and Skywalker Sound for a reported $4.05 billion dollars. Much like with Marvel, Disney seems to want to take advantage of the vast history the Star Wars franchise has explored and build upon it amidst its under franchises under its belt.
What’s more shocking is that right off the bat, Disney reportedly has plans to get a “Star Wars 7″ movie in the works. George Lucas would still be around as a creative consultant.
Speaking of the man who made sci-fi blockbusters possible, he had this to say in the press release:
“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”
I have to be honest – I’m conflicted. It’s definitely big news and Disney knows how to market and merchandise. That being said, this is also the same company that almost damaged Pixar’s creative vision before coming to terms and purchasing them. I’m sure people are ready for a change after Lucas’ prequel trilogy left bad tastes in their mouths along with Lucas himself of late saying he is tired of the fanboyism (although to be fair – some of that is justified).
Now you have to ask – what does all of this have to do with comics? Look no further than Dark Horse. Other than Hellboy and B.P.R.D., Dark Horse relies heavily on their licensed properties to compete in the direct market – Aliens, Predator, Terminator, Conan and yes – Star Wars too. Marvel was originally the go-to publisher back at the peak of Star Wars’ popularity in the early 1980′s. Disney now owns Marvel. You get where I’m going with this?
Obviously, this all just happened now, so we know nothing more about Disney’s plans with the companies. But you got to feel for Dark Horse and an uncertain future that’s been brought upon them.
Joss Whedon is pretty much getting the keys to the Marvel kingdom at this point. A $617 million domestic gross at the box office for Avengers will do that for you. Off the heels of Whedon getting the go-ahead to direct the Avengers sequel for 2015, CBR is now reporting that Whedon’s secret TV project is getting the green light. That project would be S.H.I.E.L.D.
Not many knew that when Whedon signed on to direct Avengers that he would be given access to developing a TV show under the Marvel library. He’s expected to co-write the show with his brother, Jed, who he collaborated with on the short run of Dollhouse. Not much else we can share, but Marvel’s looking to get production moving ASAP.
I’m personally excited for this and hopefully Disney and ABC give Whedon the time and day to develop a smart action show that Fox couldn’t give him for Dollhouse. Getting into the nitty gritty of other S.H.I.E.L.D. operations is intriguing. And if they’re bold, I would love to see them get gutsy and explore different time periods of S.H.I.E.L.D. like Jonathan Hickman’s last run.