GOTHAM ACADEMY: CLOONAN & FLETCHER ON WOMEN, CHILDREN AND THE FUTURE OF DC’S BATMAN LINE
By Juliet Kahn
DC Comics’ upcoming Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl is one of those ideas that’s so good that it’s amazing that it took a full 75 years of Batman comics for it to actually happen. Set in a prestigious private school in the middle of Batman’s hometown, Gotham Academy will debut this October following the adventures of two young students at a private school in a city known mostly for its truly staggering population of supervillains.
ComicsAlliance: So, Gotham Academy. Personally, I’m really excited. I know you’ve talked here and there about how it’s going to be aimed at a younger audience, a different kind of book. It personally reminds me of a lot of properties I’ve seen teenage fandoms spring up around, Young Avengers over at Marvel a while back, a lot of Warner Bros. Animation’s DC Comics material. Are you expecting a fandom?
Brenden Fletcher: I don’t have any expectations. We’re making the kind of book that we want to see and we really hope it catches on. We don’t have an expectation, we have a hope that people will read it and fall in love with it. They’re new characters, there’s so much to fall in love with here.
Mark Doyle: New characters but all with great backstories that will unfold and even though they’re new, it’ll feel like they’ve been in Gotham this whole time.
Becky Cloonan: This is definitely the kind of book that I would want to read as a kid. So it’s kind of great to have that opportunity. I think it’s going to find it’s audience once we put it out there.
CA: Are there any particular influences you’re looking at? Comics, TV, movies that have accomplished similar goals, or tone and genre?
BC: I think the obvious one is Harry Potter. It’s got the right sense of mystery, it’s fun and has a gravitas to is and a mythology. Another one is Batman: The Animated Series. That’s another one, it’s kind of a touchstone for us, especially with this story. That noir sense… there’s a lot of serious story but at the same time there’s a lot of fun and there was a lot of comedy and a good mix of it.
GET READY TO WANDER THROUGH A MYSTICAL (AND DANGEROUS) TOKYO WITH ‘WAYWARD’ #1 [PREVIEW]
By Chris Sims
Here at ComicsAlliance, we’re already pretty excited about Jim Zub and Steve Cummings’ Wayward. The story of a girl who moves from Ireland to Japan after her parents divorce, only to find herself in a world that’s not only culturally different, but also full of supernatural monsters that want to murder her right there on the streets of Tokyo hits that perfect combination of adolescent metaphors and comic book action that I’ll always love as a reader.
If, however, you still need convincing before the book’s Final Order Cutoff date on Monday, then have a look below for a five-page preview that provides a gorgeous showcase of Cummings’ art as Rory arrives in Tokyo. And maybe, if you’re good, I might throw something else in for good measure.
COMICS ALLIANCE REVIEWS ‘GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: A STAR (LORD) IS BORN
Director James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy is a big gamble for Marvel Studios. It’s an unknown quantity even to most comic fans. It’s a space opera at a time when non-Lucasfilm space operas don’t perform well. It’s a movie with a talking raccoon at a time when even Disney princess movies don’t have talking animals.
Of course, all of Marvel’s movies have been gambles. Iron Man wasn’t a household name, despite how we think of the character now. Thor was a sci fi fantasy movie — what could be worse? Captain America seemed an impossible sell for overseas markets. Bringing those franchises together for Avengers? Insanity. Marvel Studios’ safest bet was probably Hulk — a household name and a proven quantity — and that’s been the studio’s weakest performer. So it looks like the big gambles are where Marvel excels. If Guardians Of The Galaxy is the studio’s biggest gamble to date, it makes a weird kind of sense that it’s also one of the studio’s most delightful successes.
Guardians Of The Galaxy is a crowd-pleaser through-and-through; it’s funny, consistently rambunctious, and even surprisingly touching at times. And the secret of its success can be placed in large part on one set of broad shoulders.
Actor Chrs Pratt was this movie’s insurance against a bad gamble. Pratt makes this movie, and in perfect reciprocal synergy, this movie now makes Pratt. There were a lot of actors reportedly up for the leading role of Star-Lord, the Earth-born space adventurer created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan in 1976. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Joel Egerton, Jim Sturgess, and Lee Pace were among the names linked to the part, and in any of their hands the character and the movie might have been unrecognizable. Chris Pratt’s comic energy and radiating positivity is what the movie needed — and Pratt’s reward for a job well done is that he’s now going to be a huge star (and the internet’s boyfriend).
ASK CHRIS #205: THE WORST STORY FROM THE BEST WRITER
By Chris Sims
Q: Hey Chris, what’s the worst story from the best writer? — @starr226
A: I’ve gotten this question a few times over the past few weeks, and it’s one that’s really interesting to me for a few reasons, the most important of which being that nobody in the history of comics has a perfect record. Once you put out more than, say, four comics, everyone from Jack Kirby on down has stunk up the room at least once in their career, and it can be really fun looking at something to try to figure out exactly why something doesn’t work, when everything else from that particular creator works so well.
For me, though, as easy as it would be to hit a soft target like Alan Moore and Scott Clark’s Spawn/WildC.A.T.S: Devil Day, the biggest and most surprising drop will always be Larry Hama and Scott McDaniel’s surprisingly terrible run on Batman.
COMICS, EVERYBODY! THE HISTORY OF STAR-LORD EXPLAINED
By Chris Haley
With the still-can’t-believe-they-actually-made-this-one Guardians of the Galaxy opening this weekend, it’s time again to break down the convoluted history of comics in the recurring feature we call Comics, Everybody! Courtesy of cartoonist Chris Haley of Let’s Be Friends Again and colorist Jordan Gibson, the subject of this edition has an uncommonly strong claim to the title of unlikely hero. Or at least, unlikely movie star. That’s right, we’re talking about Star-Lord, the Marvel Comics space hero created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan.
Whether you’re new to Guardians and Star-Lord and curious to learn more about his ridiculous history or you’re a hardcore Marvel nerd looking to Um-Actually this feature into oblivion, you’ll be sure to enjoy this special tribute to the galaxy’s newly famous nobody.
SCOTUSBLOG FOUNDER SIDES WITH KIRBY FAMILY IN COURT BATTLE WITH MARVEL
It’s never a safe bet to think the United States Supreme Court will take on any particular case — it only accepts a handful each year — but the credibility of Jack Kirby’s family’s case against Marvel Comics got another big boost recently.
Attorney Tom Goldstein, the founder of SCOTUSblog, one of the most widely-read online sources for Supreme Court commentary, has opted to co-represent the Kirby family as it fights for copyrights for characters Kirby co-created between 1958 and 1963, which include the Hulk, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and a slew of others. Goldstein’s name puts considerable muscle behind the Kirby family’s claim, which Marvel has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss because it doesn’t “merit review.”
LEGENDS OF BROK: HOPE NICHOLSON BRINGS BACK BROK WINDSOR, CANADA’S GOLDEN AGE HUNK HERO [INTERVIEW]
Canada offers an impressive range of comics talents, but its comic industry has usually been overshadowed by the buying power of the U.S. market — but for one brief period in modern history. During the Second World War Canada restricted the import of non-essential items — and that included comic books. For much of the 1940s, Canadians could only read Canadian comics. The era has become known as the Canadian Golden Age.
Hope Nicholson was a researcher on a documentary about the characters created during this era, Lost Heroes. Fascinated by the subject, Nicholson and her partner Rachel Richey launched a project to restore and republish the stories of one of the first comic superheroines, Adrian Dingle’s Nelvana of the Northern Lights. With that book now in print, Nicholson has launched a Kickstarter to revive another lost Canadian hero; the square-jawed action man Brok Windsor.
The creation of writer and artist Jon Stables, Brok is a dashing figure in a quirky bare-shouldered leotard, who stumbles on a lost world and fights giant rats and horned lions with the help of his cliche native sidekick Torgon and his gal pal Starra. Brok’s adventures were serialized in Better Comics, published by Maple Leaf Publishing out of Vancouver between 1944 and 1946.
Nicholson is raising money for a Brok Windsor reprint through Kickstarter, with PDFs of the book available at the $10 donation level and print copies available for donations of $30 or more (plus shipping for those outside of Canada). Other rewards include the original art for Brok Windsor pin-ups by artists including Scott Chantler, Carla Speed McNeil, Yanick Paquette, Megan Kearney, Leonard Kirk, J. Bone, and Ray Fawkes — or print versions of these pin-ups.
LAUGHING AT THE JOKER: ADAM WEST & DEVELOPERS TALK ‘LEGO BATMAN 3: BEYOND GOTHAM’
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is going to be a positively huge video game.
I got to see that first hand when I played a brief demo at DC’s booth at Comic-Con International in San Diego last weekend. First off, it’s got a huge playground for players to explore. The “Beyond Gotham” of the title refers to outer space, and the game will go to a whole host of different worlds. Then there are the playable characters–105 or so, according to the game makers, and they include characters in both their superhero guises and as their secret identities. A new feature enables players to change from Clark Kent to Superman using a phone booth, for example.
Characters include multiple Green Lanterns and other lanterns — some of whom are playable as minifigs while others are available as large figures — Batman (standard issue and ’66), Robin (same), The Joker, Lex Luthor, The Flash, Cyborg, The Atom, Wonder Woman, Superman, Killer Croc, Plastic Man, and Bat-Mite. They all have their own special abilities and quirks; for instance, Plastic Man can turn into a toilet and flush enemies away.
There are also new gameplay modes. I got to play a space shooter level that was a lot of fun, for example. On top of that, I also got to talk with some of the game’s creators and stars (including Adam West!) about what the whole process was like.
SCIOLI & BARBER’S ‘TRANSFORMERS VS. G.I. JOE’ #1 GOES HIGHER THAN THE CONCEPT YOU EXPECTED – WAY HIGHER
By Chris Sims
With the possible exception of those Sailor Moon toys that I dropped two hundred bucks on, Transforrmers vs. G.I. Joe #1 was the most exciting purchase I made last weekend at San Diego’s Comic-Con International. It was pretty much guaranteed to be that way, too — the #0 issue that came out on Free Comic Book Day and set up the ongoing story that Tom Scioli and John Barber would be telling was easily one of my favorite comics of the year so far. It was bright and engaging and weird, in exactly the way that a comic based on taking two toy properties and smashing them together to make one big story should be.
As far as weirdness goes, though, this first issue outstrips it by a long shot, and it does it by taking the high concept that I think we all expected from another Transformers vs. G.I. Joe story and turning it upside down, launching it into an entirely new echelon of strangeness. And it is great.