Tagged: DC Comics

Time To Put A Cap On “The Button” In Flash #22

Time For The Pay Off In Flash #22?

After being delayed one week (not bad when you consider the track record for DC Comics and Marvel’s bigger arcs that stretch across several issues) the, hopefully, grand finale of “The Button” is going to hit the shelves running this week. We’ll have one final lenticular cover that will leave fans of the JSA and legacy characters from the DC Universe salivating. Plus we’ll get to see if DC’s two greatest detectives can solve this timey-wimey murder mystery. And of course we’ll have to figure out if the resolution was worth creating the problem in the first place.

After seeing father and son Batmen unite in Batman #22, the Flash and our Batman are back running through the Speed Force as the Flashpoint timeline is wiped out in there wake, something we’d all thought had already happened but it turns out some powerful entity (paging Dr. Manhattan?) has been keeping together. As they race through the Speed Force still seeking answers to the murder of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, they encounter…Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash! The not quite dead yet speedster villain provided some tantalizing clues and is surely onto the scene at the end of Batman #21 that kicked off this whole storyline but where are we being led to?

Hopes are high as this has been a damn good jolt for Batman and Flash, if not thus far the be-all end-all storyline full of reveals a lot of readers have been clamoring for since DC Universe: Rebirth #1. Expect at least one big reveal and possibly in this week’s final chapter. At least, that’s what I’m expecting!

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Graphic Spotlight – Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One

We Could All Use Some Wonder In Our Lives…

Wonder Woman has been balancing two stories since it began in this DC Rebirth era. While writer Greg Rucka worked in Wonder Woman’s present-day with artist Liam Sharp over in Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Lies, he’s been telling the story of Diana Prince’s past with Nicola Scott in this tall tale, Year One.

On the one hand it’s brilliant strategy, keeping the artists fresh and the pacing even across the series. On the other hand, it’s a challenge to divide the readers’ attention with two stories told simultaneously. That’s a bit more than one might want to keep track of. Fortunately, with Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One, we can finally see the big picture that Mr. Rucka and Mrs. Scott have been making for us.

Wonder Woman’s origin story has been told and retold and told again for seeming ever. We’re all set to see a movie depicting it in theaters everywhere next month. Why does ever creator want a crack at the beginning of Diana Prince’s path to becoming Wonder Woman? Because it’s a great story that allows for writers and artists to make it their own. It’s a tale of hope and inspiration, empowerment through the embracing of one’s journey into adulthood, facing down fear to move forward in finding one’s place in the greater world. We know some of the gist from the versions that’ve come before this one: Diana Prince’s people, the Amazons, living in seclusion in Paradise, are rudely intruded upon by a crashing pilot named Steve Trevor. Trevor’s arrival is the end of their isolation as the Amazons must choose a champion of their own…one willing to sacrifice her home among her sisters to save a world she’s only ever heard of. She will be Wonder Woman and this is her first year as the world’s greatest protector.

Collects WONDER WOMAN #2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14.

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“The Button” Unites Batmen of Two Worlds In Batman #22

A Bat-family reunion across continuity in Batman #22

We’re halfway there. “The Button” has kicked into the next gear after the events of Flash #21 last week. What began in one Batcave has traveled to another’s via cosmic treadmill. The murder of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, is taking the two greatest detectives in the DC Universe back to the timeline that kicked off the New 52 in the first place. Yup, it’s not Groundhog’s Day, it’s just Flashpoint. You’d think Barry Allen would have learned to quit tempting fate by traveling through time. You’d be have thought WRONG. Now, with Batman and Batman and Flash coming face to face to face, what secrets will be unveiled after the tantalizing final line of last week’s Flash #21?

 

The endgame isn’t anywhere close to clear yet. However, the journey’s been entertaining so far and we’re definitely on pace for a well executed next step as the world of Watchmen inches closer to the DC Universe. There’s no question that fans’ expectations have been high and rightfully so. There’s also little doubt that this story still has a lot in store for us, dear readers. The idea’s always been a fun one to play with since the possibilities of tying the two worlds together were inextricably linked back in DC Universe: Rebirth #1. The question is: What will Batman #22 have in store for us to keep the faith that DC’s grand plan is one we can continue to trust in? There’re no shortages of stories that promise consequences across shared universes but are we truly on the edge of such a tale? There’s really only one right way to find out: Keep reading.

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The Mystery of “The Button” Deepens In Flash #21

The Flash and Batman have the murder of the 25th century to solve in Flash #21!

Last week, DC’s follow up to their DC Universe: Rebirth #1 special kicked off in Batman #21 with the first installment of the four-parter titled, “The Button.” The titular button came out of the speed force and lodged itself into a Batcave wall. You might recognize this button as belonging to the Comedian from Alan Moore’s seminal Watchmen. It’s rather fitting, and in no way coincidental, that it’s the murder of the Comedian that kicked off the Hugo Award-winning series decades ago and another murder is what sets this adventure by DC’s two greatest detective in motion.

Yes, they killed SPOILER. After a flash of blue lightning, SPOILER, made a final claim that could have fallen deaf on the Dark Knight’s unconscious bat-ears or perhaps it will be the “Rosebud” of this entire tale. We’ll see soon enough. Of course, SPOILER wasn’t the only pre-New 52 character that showed up last week, SPOILER also made a brief cameo and you can bet SPOILER will end up being a major player in this plot as it kicks into the next gear.

One chapter and epic lenticular cover is in the books, this week we’re going to be treated to another. Will Batman and Flash be able to figure out the multiple mysteries before them? Is SPOILER dead for keeps? Will we ever get more answers than questions in a damn comic book? Jump right in, the rumoring waters are white hot.

Yeah, I’m avoiding the names, sue me. You want to know what happened? Get the comic!

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Creative Conversation: Brandon Montclare

Welcome to a Creative Conversation with comics scribe Brandon Montclare. Today we’ll dish on currently captivating run on Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, his controversial essential reads for newbies to comics, and some of his insane journey from intern, to editor, to writer. Along the way we’ll make pit stops at Tokyo Pop, DC Comics, Vertigo, and discuss some tips for new writers wanting to break into the comic book industry. And of course, we’ll get Brandon’s take on whose faces would be on his personal Mt. Rushmore of comics. Agree? Disagree? Let’s start the process…

MK: I am ready to have our next Creative Conversation with the current co-scribe of Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, THE Brandon Montclare. Thanks for joining me today, sir. Kind of just to ease in, get a little bit of background, do you remember the first comic you purchased, or the first one that stuck with you?

BM: Yeah, no, I never have and people ask me all the time. I’ve thought about it and I’ve thought, okay let me try to reconstruct that “what was my first comic” and truth be told it was Savage Sword of Conan. And I was a little kid, and we had the direct market but about a million stuff you would see on the newsstand and Savage Sword of Conan being magazine size either just by luck of where I lived or because of the actual distribution I couldn’t tell you. It was a little more common.

MK: Do you miss the magazine format?

BM: Yes, very much so. And they were kind of old, kind of before my time even though Savage Sword of Conan lasted for a million years and I was reading it all throughout. But it would  have been “Savage Sword somewhere in the early hundreds and I actually, okay, so I had this one and this was earliest, and you go online to find it. And then I said, “Okay, I know Spider-Man with the black costume was around that time” and Daredevil, I know the covers. Was Marvel Team-Up, I was joking earlier about Starfox before but there was this Marvel Star Fox, this Marvel Team-Up was a book I had and I can’t find anything online about it.

MK: But you know it existed because you owned that comic.

BM: Well yes, because I said I had that and I saw that cover a hundred times. You know what that means? So, and then I should remember what the numbers are and everything else but I don’t. So…

MK: I’m terrible with remembering numbers. I’m like you, I can remember the cover, I can remember the story, but the actual issue number, I’m just not wired that way.

BM: Yeah but I have brothers who are four years older than me. Two of them, they’re twins of each other and there were comic books around and my grandfather, he was a big reader of magazines in general but also comic books and everything else. Because he spent many years at sea. He worked on, for Exxon, he worked on ships, he was an engineer. So it was kind of part of his personality where he would, even though he at that point working was up at Albert Einstein Hospital up in the Bronx, but he kind of still had that mentality where it was, “You’re in port so go buy a bunch of stuff and then take it back to your little room on the ship” so to speak. So he would buy comics and magazines and everything else like that. And the comics at least would filter down.

MK: That’s incredible. The generational passing of the stories. I mean, it’s one of those really special things about comics though.

BM: Yeah, and I don’t know that he even grew up on comics. It was just something where he would, you’d be at sea for a couple of months so he would go and he would just take Time magazine and he would take all the comics, too. And like I said he was a big reader. So there were always piles around. What the first one is I don’t know. But Savage Sword of Conan was a favorite.

MK: Were there any other series growing up that stick with you?

BM: Yeah, you know it was probably a year or two after my, quote-unquote, “first comic” that I was into collecting. I was in grade school, right, so it’s not like you have money to be a real collector but it starts with maybe the issues that you missed that you want to have. I think you’re influenced back then in the 80’s, mid-80’s, with all the advertisements in the books were for back issues. You know what I mean? And collectors are all, “Oh, I want this, that and the other thing.” Oddly enough I don’t know if it was because of Conan or not but Groo was one of my favorite books. That was probably the first run of comics I had. But then there was a lot of Marvel stuff. I liked Spider-Man, all the titles they had like, three titles, right? Web of Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man, and Amazing Spider-Man. I was in full swing when all that pre-Image stuff came out. When like McFarlane Spider-Man and Jim Lee’s X-Men and everything else. But, yeah, so I was a big fan, Mostly Marvel. Some DC also, I liked Green Lantern along with Batman.

MK: So you’re collecting comics as a kid. And you’ve had probably one of the most unique journeys that I can think of, as far as how many different boxes in the comics world you can check off having done. Can you tell people a little bit about your journey.

BM: I mean, I guess I’ve done it all. I was in junior high, so, I don’t know-seventh grade, and selling at local conventions. I grew up near enough to New York City. My father grew up in Manhattan and, uh, but my parents were divorced so, I shouldn’t say that, my father lived in Manhattan. I grew up in Westchester. But even Westchester had a bunch of comic stores. New York had a monthly comic convention. So, since I was eleven or twelve, I was selling every month at the Grady Stern conventions. You know, buying and selling. Making a little bit of money. Then, at nineteen, I opened up a comic book shop. And this would have been in the crash of the early-mid 90’s. So…

MK: So you’re timing was perfect.

BM: Well, I don’t think as a nineteen year-old I could have opened, I did open a shop. I should say there was a shop going out of business and I took over half of it. Which was Alternate Realities up in Scarsdale. Which I always proudly said, “still going strong” but not anymore. They closed up about a year ago.

MK: But it’s a legendary comic shop. If you know comic book stores, you know about Alternate Realities. And they had that documentary on it and everything.

BM: Yeah, yeah yeah! So I was a former employee but, so, yeah, worked at cons, worked at retail, at nineteen it was very cool to be a comic shop owner. In my mid-20’s, I personally didn’t feel it was that cool anymore (laughs). And it was a lot of work, you know. I mean you’re working more than eighty hours a week.

MK: People don’t realize the hours that goes into running a comic book shop.

BM: Yeah, definitely. So, I was married, well I still am married, my wife at the time, and still my wife (laughs) so I have no idea why I’m phrasing it that way.

MK: Congratulations (laughs).

BM: Yeah, there you go. She was relocating for school, she has a Ph. D in chemistry. We’re basically fire and ice on the formal education scale. But she was doing a post-doctorate in California, Cal Tech. It was supposed to be eighteen months, wound up being two and a half years. I’d sold most of my interest in the store. I went back to school. And as part of that I got an internship working at Tokyo Pop. In editorial. Tokyo Pop, infamous, maybe more than famous. They did translations of manga. That was kind of their bread and butter. They had a lot of money coming in and always trying to expand the business. People would literally call up the office or contact the office and say, “Oh, we want to do a cartoon of Fruits Basketor “We want to take Sailor Moon and put her on a lunch box.” Tokyo Pop only had a license to do reprints, right? They didn’t have any merchandising rights. So, the Powers That Be, who were a bunch of lunatics, said “We should start creating comics in the manga style, with creators, and that way we have properties that we can license off.” And they had a bit of a controversy with some of the deals that they gave to creators and I’m not saying that stuff was weird over at Tokyo Pop. A lot of good people worked there, too.

MK: How long were you at Tokyo Pop?

BM: I was there probably a little bit more than a year. It seems like a long time because you’re young. But I was an intern and then they hired me as like a freelance editor. Which only meant that [I] kind of had reduced hours which was fine because, as I said, I’d gone back to school.

MK: So you were editing manga for Tokyo Pop while you were also going to school.

BM: Yes.

MK: That’s the best side gig ever.

BM: (Laughs) It’s, well, it’s complicated because you don’t know what you’re going to do with life. You know, my wife has a Ph. D in chemistry so her kind of goal and the plan always was to find an academic position. Tenure track someplace. Which luckily wound up being back in New York, she’s at NYU. But it could have been anywhere. So it’s like, “Oh, I’ll go back to school, I’ll do something, and we’ll see.” I was a terrible student in high school. And my first phase of college. But when I went back I became a very good student. So we had no idea though [whether] we would wind up in College Station, Texas A&M or you might wind up at Syracuse, right, not necessarily the biggest cities in the world. And I had done some writing also for Tokyo Pop. But I wasn’t really thinking of that. So, like I said, I was doing my thing at Tokyo Pop and a lot of these type of businesses have a structure. You know interns would become a freelance editor like me then maybe they would offer you a staff position. And I got offered a staff position right when things were looking like they were about to get bad. So I was one of the, I hate to say rats leaving a sinking ship BUT ended up locating back to New York anyway.

MK: When you got back to New York where did you land?

BM: At DC Comics. I was lucky, I got, well I should say I was offered from Marvel and at DC Comics to be an assistant editor and maybe because I was overqualified more than I was just super brilliant. But both those places were getting hundreds of applications. But I worked for Bob Schreck over at DC Comics. And the reason I took DC, even though I was reading more Marvel stuff growing up was the opportunity to work with Schrek on All-Star Superman and All-Star Batman, with Paul Pope on Batman: Year 100

MK: Just, little known titles that probably no one’s ever heard of (laughs).

BM: And that was stuff and for a short time, when I knew that I was coming in and Bob was transitioning out of it just the regular Bat-office. I didn’t want to miss out on that opportunity. Because I loved editing. I had done some freelance writing, and a lot of people have a goal of becoming a freelance writer. It wasn’t my goal. I loved editing. A lot of me wishes I could still do it.

MK: What was one of the most rewarding aspects about editing and what was one of the most challenging aspects?

BM: The reward was completely, it’s like, when you’re a kid you want to be an artist, you want to be a writer, whatever you want to do, you want to be the creator. But when you think about it, [being an editor] it’s the ultimate fan position. I mean, I’m a writer, if I’m working on two or three books, which would be a lot for me, but even if you’re the most prolific writer working on four books-

MK: Oh, you mean Jeff Lemire? (Chuckles)

BM: Yeah, there you go (laughs). Maybe more than four, I worked with Jeff, I was the first editor on Sweet Tooth. And that came later. So, you get to work with all these guys, you get to work with a bunch of, you know what I mean, you get to work with artists and writers. And by that point I was into a lot of new people. I mean I gave Shane Davis some of his first jobs, Amy Reeder her first job, Sean Murphy, I kind of worked on his early stuff. Also got to work with Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, Michael Kaluta.

MK: You get to work with your heroes and help maybe create some new heroes in the process.

BM: Yeah, so it was like amazing to be an editor. What are the challenges? Generally it’s a nine to five job. Given the opportunity to work freelance there’s that, you don’t have to go to the office everyday. But the challenge at DC was, and it wasn’t unfair, but it’s just kind of the reality of that work, is you’re low man on the totem pole. You’ve got to wait your turn. I had gotten a few books that had gotten approved that I had a hundred percent put together myself. There’s a China Mieville Swamp Thing that never came out…That’s not a secret, it got absorbed back into DC and this was later, towards the end of me being there, it was New 52 spinning out where it was, “Oh, we’re going to bring him downstairs.” And that was a Scott Snyder book. So China had written, I think, it might have been the full scripts on the first ten issues. They certainly had the outlines so they made good by him for his work.

MK: That’s one of those situations I’m always amazed by. It’s learning how many scripts have been written for characters by major creators that’ll never see the light of day. And you’re wondering how it just stays in a drawer.

BM: Yeah, there’s an issue eleven of All-Star Batman that was never drawn. And it was kind of like a standalone Joker story. So there’s a Frank Miller script that was never drawn. And I think part of the reason was, and with good intentions, that Frank and Jim Lee would come back one day, maybe condense it to give it an ending. You know what I mean? That thing was paced for four hundred million issues

MK: If Marvel finally got out Captain America: White and David Lapham finished the initial run on Stray Bullets, I still can have hope for All-Star Batman & Robin.

BM: Yeah, but thinking about that script, if Jim Lee’s only got time to draw one issue then every six issues you’d have to restructure it so that’s something but there’s stuff like that. So at the end of DC I was doing too many books, uh, more than they would let me as an Associate Editor. And at that time Paul [Levitz] had stepped down and there was kind of an interim, they didn’t name the Dan DiDio, Jim Lee double-headed publisher so, it was time to go. So I said, “Okay, I’m not going to give away books that I singlehandedly put together just because I have too many books.”

MK: How did you find the transition from being an editor to being a writer? Did you feel more prepared?

BM: Well, I had done some writing before. At one point you’re mystified by it where you don’t even know how this comes together. It’s probably a lot easier now than it was ten or so years ago because of the internet. I mean obviously the internet was around ten years ago but maybe it’s easier to get scripts and talk with creators with social media kind of demystifying it. So I think a lot of it is that. [As an editor] you’re familiar with scripts, you’re familiar with artists. You know more what does work, what doesn’t work. And if you have a good head on the shoulders coming out of editorial maybe even if you’re not the best writer – And I’m not saying I’m the best writer or the worst or anything else – but I did the stupidest thing imaginable. I left on very good terms, everybody loves me over at DC. I didn’t want to be the guy, because I’d taken so much pride in editing, and a lot of people use that as a stepping stone and are upfront about it, and that’s totally cool. But I loved editing so much, I didn’t want to be the guy that was even perceived as using editing to take a stepping stone to writing. That was half of it. The other half says, “Hey, since I’m going freelance writing, why don’t you give me a couple of books?” I didn’t want to make other people feel like they had to humor me. So my first gig was kind of a cold gig at Marvel. I mean nothing’s cold because everybody knows everybody. But my first gig was at Marvel having no connection to them as a publisher. Like anybody else I had a couple of short things that nobody remembers. The first thing I did wasn’t the first thing that got printed. The first was an eight page back up, it was in Hulk, it was with Korg, who was The Thing, Ben Grimm looking alien from Journey into Mystery #83, the first appearance of Thor. Which Greg [Pak] had been hocking and then brought into continuity. And it’s funny because, in comics, people think, “Oh, I’m going to pitch Hawkman. And it’s going to be such a good idea that they’re going to give me my gig and it’s going to be Hawkman.” Or, “I’ve got the best pitch for Spider-Man and Black Cat, I’m gonna pitch that and they’re going to give me that book.” What happens often, and it’s probably the first half dozen gigs you’re going to get is that an editor likes your stuff and they groom it for you. So they say, “Hey, Brandon, we’re doing eight page back ups for all the supporting characters in Hulk. Do you want to do Korg? Because nobody’s doing Korg.” My answer was literally, “Korg, that’s fantastic! A hundred percent. That’s my favorite.” I had to go look up for Korg was (laughs).

MK: When someone offers you a job, you take the job.

BM: Yeah!

MK: It’s like, “yes, sir, I can build that submarine for you! When’s that check in the mail?”

BM: Absolutely. And I got Simon Bisley to do it since I worked with him when he was on Hellblazer. I was the guy that said let’s put him on covers. Which isn’t a brilliant move. Right? I mean Simon certainly had done covers before he’d done any for me. But-

MK: Still a good get.

BM: Yeah. What came out first but that I wrote second was, there was a crossover called Chaos War, which was with Hercules and there was a bad guy in that called the Chaos King. And I got to do the Chaos King one-shot and it wound up being over-sized…They wanted to feature the bad guy who had to speak in haiku? In all appearances. And I said, “Well that’s fine if he’s like the mysterious guy,” cause he had this God-like power cosmic level. So I said, “Well, that’s fine if he’s the guy behind the star that Hercules hears, he can hear it in haiku. But if you want to have an actual story with him, how often does he have to talk in haiku?” I sent that letter in. And it’s technically my second gig so I’m trying to be very nice saying, “What if I, I’ll give him a voice obviously that fits a cosmic entity but maybe I can just punctuate it with haiku. Like maybe he’ll start in a different voice and then when makes a big point he’ll do it in haiku.” I wondered if we could get away with that and I got a response that said, “No, he always speaks in haiku.” So I had to make a thirty page story with a guy speaking in haiku. Luckily, he’s a cosmic entity so I broke it up so that it was different people bouncing it off of him. But, when the actual, if Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak are reading, they should cover their eyes right now, because when Chaos War came out, Chaos King, he wasn’t talking in haiku in every scene. So it’s like, “Thanks, thanks a lot.” (laughs) They tried that for a day and decided “not.”

MK: And it was your day.

BM: Exactly.

MK: When you were an editor and you were getting a pitch, were there certain things you looked for fundamentally? In terms of formatting or the types of pitches? What advice would you give to someone writing their first pitch?

BM: Unfortunately, editors are different…You want to tailor something to an editor and you want to tailor it to your strengths. I always try to not get hung up on format. I always thought it was crazy, you’d say, “Give me a pitch in the form you think is strongest” but the editor wants it a certain way. So, some editors will give out, if not an outline, “Here’s the pitch that I got that’s the perfect form, use this.” And sometimes that’s the demands of the publisher they’re at because it has to cycle through certain things. But, obviously you want to keep it short. Because these things happen in stages. A lot of places can’t take unsolicited pitches anyway. So you have to have a relationship. A lot of the gigs are going to come in. I did have to give a pitch on the story of what Korg was going to do (laughs). I mean it was eight pages so it probably didn’t take me too long. This is the least sexy answer. You’re probably going to be in a relationship with them if you’re pitching anything now. And they’ll tell you what they need. But personally, shorter is always better. Because things will change so much anyway. And if you have something you believe in, think of it this way, your editor believes in you but if you got the assistant, like I was, he’s got to convince a lot of people above him. You almost don’t want to have too much information in it because that generates more questions.

MK: The more information you give, the more opportunities you’re giving someone to poke holes in it and you’re not necessarily in the room to talk it through.

BM: Exactly. So you don’t want to get too married to your pitch. The process of rewriting and going through the team it’s going to be so different anyway. To me, you want to sell yourself. Because the editor’s going to have an easier time selling the talent than the pitch.

MK: See, that’s brilliant. That’s, brilliant. I don’t know what you mean that’s not a sexy answer.

BM: Well people want a formula. And that, you’ll be forgiven for being a little bit overenthusiastic, you hope (laughs). Because everyone’s excited and everyone in comics was the person who at one point wanted to be in comics. So hopefully they’re forgiving.

MK: Also, if you catch them on a bad day…

BM: It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. And some people will be jerks, that’s going to happen, to0. But you know, you have to make it happen.

MK: Switching gears a bit, and thank you again for very generously taking the time to do this. Your Mount. Rushmore of comics, who would go on there?

BM: I read the first installment and I was thinking about this question. So, for me, all I could think about was who should be on the actual Mount Rushmore of comics. And then I realized, well, I have to also make this somewhat controversial. Alright. So that I thought of and then I forgot everyone. Well, first you got to put Stan Lee. Because Stan Lee doesn’t get enough credit. Well, okay he gets a lot of credit, but people ask, “Oh, does he deserve so much credit?” I’m a big fan of Stan Lee. I don’t know about his business dealings. I don’t know about his personal dealings…I’m sure he’s taken credit from a lot o people. But he’s kind of the guy that made comics what it is, I think. And not by his writing and maybe not by his editorial acumen, maybe it is, I don’t know, but just by being the hawker. Neal Adams has to be on there. Frank Miller has to be on there. Neal Adams because just such an influential artist but also did more for creators rights which I also think translates to in a lot of ways creative freedom and people being able to do their best work, which I think more than everybody else combined. Frank Miller because he did everything in my mind. He was a writer, he was an artist, jumped into Hollywood and was able to sell himself there. Well, if you put Stan Lee on there I guess you have to put Jack Kirby on. And then I think about wanting to create controversy and then people are going to think I hate Jack Kirby, I love Jack Kirby. I do a Kirby book! So I’d almost throw Todd McFarlane on there just to drive people crazy. And I say that completely seriously though.

MK: McFarlane revolutionized the business. You can’t argue that. Whether you think it was for the better or worse, or what you think of what he’s become now and what he was then. But you can’t deny his contribution.

BM: He was a popular artist and people [still] dig his stuff. And not for an artist but for his contribution to the business. So my personal Mount Rushmore is, I’ll give you four guys I like and it’ll change down the road. I’m a big Sergio Aragones fan, and these are just guys who influenced me and I like. I’m a big Larry Stroman fan because Alien Legion was the first book I really liked. And that stuff totally holds up now…Amy Reeder and Frank Quitely on there, too. I worked with them, too.

MK: I might put Amy Reeder in the top five of everything. And I hope she’s going to read this.

BM: She is a world class artist that I’ve gotten to work with a lot. Having sat next to her at dozens of conventions, the list of people that seek her out to tell her, “How do you do that, you’re amazing?” From Bill Sienkiewicz, to Frank Quitely, to Adam Hughes or lots of artists in between. I mean, she’s that good.

MK: And you guys have worked together, on Madame Xanadu you were an editor, you selected her for a competition at Tokyo Pop-

BM: That’s true.

MK: And then you’ve got Rocket Girl that you created together. And now you’ve got Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. What makes you the yin to each other’s yang?

BM: It’s just cause it works. Friendship and working with friends, I think, is underrated. I hired Amy, I gave her her first gig at Tokyo Pop. It was a contest. And she won it fair and square, I was the judge on one of them. We would take the top ten entries and make a little anthology out of them. I thought she was really talented. I was then leaving Tokyo Pop si I never got to stick around and work with her directly. I always wanted to work with her so I got her the Madame Xanadu gig at Vertigo. Which was a lot of fun to work on. And you know, as an editor you take a lot of credit for hiring somebody but they’ve got to make you look good. If I put her in the batter’s box, she’s got to hit out of the park or at least try to get on base and she hit it out of the park again and again and again. We had a really good relationship And when she was a little bit burnt out after Batwoman and leaving DC it was, let’s just do a quick project I don’t even want to think about it. Which became the Halloween Even one-shot which was very successful. And then we said, “Hey, we should do more of this.” So we tried something longer which was Rocket Girl. We decided we’d do five issues and see how it does. Who knew ten issues would take four years. In a way it hasn’t been a tremendous amount of pages but some of that is it takes a lot of time for Amy to do what she does.

MK: Sure, comics can take a long time to make.

BM: So Rocket Girl was a lot of fun. Rocket Girl opened the door to Moon Girl literarlly when Marvel said, “We want you to do something at Marvel like you guys do with Rocket Girl.” Amy wasn’t sure if she’d be able to draw that but she’s a great writer. And really doesn’t get enough credit for it.

MK: You had already seen her chops as a writer.

BM: Yeah, so we’ve co-written for Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, this is not a secret, she’s leaving with issue nineteen. And she did her part, she also did covers and designs. Amy can pick up the phone and call ten different publishers and get twenty different offers for covers. It was for her because Rocket Girl wasn’t coming out on the shelf as often so if she was going to do a cover, she should do one on something she was writing. Then it became a comfort level, her not growing up on the Marvel and DC stuff, working with me.

MK: Okay, now for the few people reading this that haven’t read Moon Girl yet, how would you describe the title?

BM: Well, it’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Devil Dinosaur is an old Kirby dinsoaur that went out eating other dinosaurs and sometimes some cave men. Marvel came to us and said, “Hey, give us some ideas of what you can do.” And we wanted some obscure characters so it started with Devil Dinosaur but when it went to Moon Girl, she gave us something creatively to get excited for. So if you look at my files on computer it went from Devil Dinosaur, to Devil Dinosaur and Moon Girl, to Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Whereas it is really, with all due to respect to Devil Dinosaur it’s really a book about Moon Girl. She is a nine year-old super smart engineer, inventor, scientist, who doesn’t get any recognition. She’s still in public school and doesn’t get why the world around her isn’t respecting how smart she is. Over the course of now eighteen issues going strong, Marvel, and this is an idea we pitched to them that they picked up on, Marvel has named her the smartest person in the Marvel Universe. But she’s still a kid, she still has challenges of getting along in the world. And Devil Dinosaur has become a buddy comedy, where maybe it’s her with the least smartest person in the Marvel Universe. But it’s a person who doesn’t judge her, that’s very faithful, that she can rely in, and in her entire life she hasn’t had that. And they form a bond.

MK: Right now, in recognition of her new status, she’s in the midst of the story arc, “The Smartest There Is” that’s getting ready to wrap up. She’s rubbed shoulders with X-Men, Hulk, Doctor Strange, can you give our readers a tease of what to expect from the final chapter of this epic adventure?

BM: Yeah, sure. What’s coming up is, this was really a coming out party for Moon Girl. It’s one thing to say she’s the smartest person, it’s another thing to show it. So how do you show it? With someone that’s always been isolated let’s show her meet all the heavy hitters. It was Hulk and then Thing, and then Iron Heart, and Dr. Strange, and most recently the X-Men. Issue eighteen is called, “Full Moon” and it’s a battle royale versus a mysterious Doctor Doom that doesn’t seem to match any of the other Doctor Dooms in Marvel right now. It will also have a pretty big reveal of Moon Girl’s powers, that she switches brains with Devil Dinosaur and some other cool stuff coming up. It’s been kind of the opening trilogy, I mean it is the third arc. But issues one through eighteen is in a lot of ways the first arc. And it’s going to kind of leave her, where she started as a nobody, now she’ll have a defined place in the Marvel Universe. The next arc after that will actually take a step back and just focuses on Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. I don’t want to spoil it too much but there’s a secret mission they have to do.

MK: No spoilers, I hate spoilers. If people want the secrets revealed they should come down to Forbidden Planet and pick up what is, I say unabashedly, one of the best books from the House of Ideas.

BM: That’s right.

MK: Okay, last questions. For someone who maybe has never read a comic book before. If you were running a store today and somebody walked in, what five stories would you tell them to read?

BM: Okay, I worked in a store and all my reads are wrong! I say, don’t read Watchmen, that’s something people should read later, it’s too confusing but people read Watchmen and love it. I say, “Sandman’s great but start with the second trade.” Which they actually used to do (laughs). But people seem to just want it all. And it’s funny having worked on both All-Star Superman and All-Star Batman & Robin, another fire and ice, All-Star Superman is great, and it won all the awards, but All-Star Batman & Robin might be a little more, accessible? I don’t know, do you have to love and be familiar with comics to read All-Star Superman? I do not know. But, Saga, you can pick it up and read it right away. So that’s number one. I think, Dark Knight Returns doesn’t get enough credit, because people always want to try to get cute and say, “Oh, you should do Year One instead.” Year One’s a perfectly good story but I’m going to put that classic on there. See I got to be contrary and do all weird stuff.

MK: Do it! You got three more.

BM: Daytripper, which I edited. I worked on a lot of great books, some of which I was just lucky enough to be sitting there when Bob Schreck landed them or Karen Burger landed them. Daytripper might be the best thing I ever worked on. And I think everyone can read it. It’s got an interesting form, it shows you what comics can do.

MK: I agree.

BM: I teach a class, too, so I should be a little bit more up on this stuff. You know, keeping it new also, Ms. Marvel, I think is as good as advertised and it’s a great book. And for the last one, because it’s obscure but great, Dial H For Hero by China Mieville and that’ll bring us full circle. I don’t know if those are essential but those are five oddball ones. Ask me again in five minutes, I’ll give you five new ones.  

 

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Graphic Spotlight – Superman Vol. 2: Trials of the Super Son

Superman continues to soar in Superman Vol. 2: Trials of the Super Son

The DC Rebirth trade paperbacks continue to come out at a surprisingly consistent pace. While there are some once-monthly titles that we’re awaiting their first collections of, the twice monthlies are beginning to release their second waves. Why not start that second wave with the first of the first? The birth of the Super Sons in the post-New 52 era of DC Comics begins here! Superboy! Robin! Teaming up and leading into one of DC’s best current titles on the shelves.

Truly, one of the great core books since the DC Rebirth publishing initiative began has been Superman. No, that’s not a typo. Superman is good again. Heck, a lot of the time, Superman is great again. It’s the best Supes stories fans have had, arguably, since Geoff Johns’ run a decade ago (but who argues about such things about comics?). As crazy as it sounds what has made Superman relevant hasn’t been epic clashes with Doomsday or Lex Luthor. It hasn’t been depressive episodes about the responsibilities of his powers to the greater world. It hasn’t been about hiding his identity from Lois Lane or worrying about saving her every issue. No, it’s Jon Kent, Superboy, the first son of the Last Son of Krypton.

Superman has grown into Pa Kent and that has allowed the team of Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Doug Mahnke, and now additions in Jorge Jiminez, Jaime Mendoza, Trevor Scott, Mark Morales, Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, and Norm Rapmund, to explore what feels like fresh character-driven territory for the Man of Tomorrow. Tomorrow isn’t just about what his legacy might be anymore, his and Lois’ legacy will be Jon Kent and everything he does must have him as a consideration. As Damian Wayne has led to discovering incredible depths to his pointy-eared father, so too has Jon tugged on Kal El’s cape in a new way. Think I’m exaggerating? Pick up this read and prove, me, wrong!

Collects Superman Issues 7-13

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Graphic Spotlight – Deathstroke Vol. 1: The Professional

Deathstroke‘s rebirth will be his most personal and deadliest yet!

Deathstroke has been a character whose stock has risen in the last few years with exposure on the Arrowverse of shows on television. However, while his profile has spiked that hasn’t always been the case for the quality of his comic book adventures. Fortunately, amidst the plethora of improvements to DC Comics’ line in its Rebirth phase, you can be sure to count Deathstroke as one of those who has benefitted from this breath of creative fresh air.

Finally, the first collection will allow those who’ve trade waited, for whatever reason, to dive in and devour some of the best Deathstroke in too long of a time. Deathstroke the Terminator returns and this time his assassin’s eye is set on saving his daughter Rose a.k.a Ravager.

Slade Wilson will need all of the genetically enhanced strength, reflexes, healing, and intellect after a long thought dead ally resurfaces while on a mission in a war-torn African country. Why is this ally still alive? Why, to provide our anti-hero/ruthless villain/contract killer with a code with the news that his greatest vulnerability, his daughter, is in danger. Now, one of the most feared man on the entire planet will have to break his self-imposed rules of killing, betray those he’s considered trustworthy, piss off his most powerful enemy, and battle against his addiction to violence.

Will Deathstroke be able to conquer the most challenging gauntlet of his life and come through the other side with his daughter and honor having avoided being shattered?

Find out in Deathstroke Vol. 1: The Professional! This new thrilling chapter of DC’s greatest assassin comes to us from the legendary writer Christopher Priest and artist Carlo Pagulayan. This collections includes issues #1-5 of the well reviewed new series plus the Deathstroke: Rebirth one-shot.

 

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Prepare To Witness Savage Things #1

They trained him to be a monster. Now, they need him to protect them from monsters.

Savage Things #1 is a heart-stopping ride! If you want gripping action and intriguing characters with a greater threat to tease you back for the next issue then look no further. Savage Things comes from the pen of Justin Jordan (The Legacy of Luther Strode, Shadowman) and the pencils of Ibrahim Moustafa (High Crimes). For fans of Sheriff of Babylon, Nailbiter, Velvet, or Greg Rucka’s Queen & Country series, congratulations you just found your next must-read series.

The story is centered around a secret government organization who kidnaps and trains children they believe have the markings to become serial killers. Instead of just ignoring these potential threats to society, they decide to train them to be chaos agents. As agents of chaos they were sent in to certain hotspots to engage and execute enemies of the state with extreme prejudice. When the monsters they created became too tough to control, the organization decided to eliminate their kill squad. The result: Epic fail.

Now a rogue group of these savage killers has begun to cut a swath of terror all over the United States threatening to expose secrets the organization will do anything to keep from being revealed. Their solution? His code name is Abel and he’s perfectly happy with getting his hands bloody. Put it this way, Jason Bourne ain’t got $@&% on Abel.

Don’t miss this exciting first chapter of an eight-issue limited series that has all the potential to be at the top of your pull-list.

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Kate Kane Begins in BATWOMAN REBIRTH #1

A new era of Batwoman starts here!

Her time is now! Kate Kane has been kicking all kinds of butt over in Detective Comics since DC Comics began it’s Rebirth initiative. The time’s arrived for Batwoman to strike off on her own, hot off the heels of the recent two-parter setup story “Batwoman Begins” in Detective Comics #948 AND #949 (which we might still have a few copies left if you’re quick about it).

Kate Kane’s been through a lot. She lost her sister and mother as a child. She served in the military to follow in her father’s footsteps. She got kicked out of the army because she refused to betray herself. Then, she returned and took up the mantle of the bat, a symbol to serve a greater cause than one’s own survival made infamous by her cousin, Bruce Wayne AKA Batman! A soldier hardened by war, recovering from experiences fighting a Batman-inspired armed unit known as the Colony that her father created, she made the hardest choice of her life: Locking up the person she counted on the most to support her. Now, her mission is leading Kate away from Gotham but possibly back into the hands of her own demons.

The next era of Batwoman’s adventures start here in this one-shot that’ll get you primed and pumped for her ongoing series. We recently learned that Monster Venom is the hottest new bioweapon on the black market. An organization called “The Many Arms Of Death” is planning to take it global. Batwoman must return to the place where she spent some her (and Kate Kane’s for that matter) darkest hours. Learn where Batwoman comes from and learn where she’s going next as the stage is set for the must-read series you’ll be adding to your pull list.

Marguerite Bennett (DC Comics Bombshells, Angela: Queen of Hel) and Steve Epting (Captain America, American Monster) usher in Batwoman’s next chapter. Don’t get left behind, this is one ride you want to be on.

 

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Batman Assembles The JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: REBIRTH #1

This New Comic Book Day welcome back one of DC’s premiere superhero teams!

A new dawn is rising on the Justice League of America. Spinning out of the events chronicled in Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad comes a team under the Justice League banner unlike any other. Don’t think so? Try these names on for size: Batman (makes sense), Black Canary (okay, been on the team before, sure), Killer Frost (what?), the Ray, (What?), Vixen (phew), the Atom (now you’re talking), and…Lobo?!?!?! You thought Lex Luthor put a few wrinkles into the team dynamic during the New 52, see what happens when the Main Man has to play nice with others. Who’s causing all this? Apparently, Batman. What’s he thinking? Find out in this issue as the Dark Knight assembles what DC is proclaiming to be the roughest and toughest Justice League of all-time.

After the events of Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad and four one-shots in January bringing you up to speed on the Atom, the Ray, Vixen, and Killer Frost, Steve Orlando (Midnighter & Apollo) and Ivan Reis (Justice League, Aquaman, Green Lantern) set the stage for this sensational roster. What does the future for this team hold? I have no idea but it’s likely to be anything but boring.

If you’ve been waiting for the next big thing when it comes to DC’s team books, you might have just found it. And you’ll find it on the shelves at Forbidden Planet for just $2.99 this Wednesday. Justice For All! But seriously, Lobo?!?!?

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“The Truth” Shall Set Her Free in WONDER WOMAN #15

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This week we put the spotlight on DC Comics’ reigning and defending Amazonian Princess!

WONDER WOMAN has been an unstoppably great series since Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott, and Liam Sharp took over the direction of the character for her Rebirth. This week in WONDER WOMAN #15 the next arc and best jumping on point for new readers hits our shelves with “THE TRUTH” part one.

After the events of  “THE LIES” Diana has finally seen the full scope of how her life and history have been transformed…unfortunately, the knowledge has fractured her mentally and emotionally, leaving the character ripe for rebuilding to be more badass than ever. Like Frank Miller executed with Daredevil in “BORN AGAIN” and Jeff Lemire with Green Arrow in “THE KILL MACHINE”, sometimes the best way to take your hero to new heights is to bring them to their lowest point first. Diana certainly seems like she’s at rock bottom.

All of us at Forbidden Planet cannot wait to see how she climbs her way out as Rucka’s long-game takes a grander and more epic shape this week. If for some reason you haven’t fallen down the Amazonian rabbit hole, then by the goddess now’s the perfect time to jump in for only $2.99!

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Thanksgiving Eve at Forbidden Planet NYC and, While I’m At It, Thanksgiving 2015

76194133395310101 Frank miller new Batman release Forbidden Planet NYC fpnyc.com

It’s Tuesday November 24th and we’re at the shop preparing tomorrow’s new comics, graphic novels and toys, like we do on Tuesdays, with our hands plenty full. 

The hard work’s well-worth it though. Traditionally, Thanksgiving Eve is one of my favorite days of the year to be working at Forbidden Planet. Lots of familiar faces come back in through our doors and it’s a pleasure to catch up with old chums. People need little presents for family members or a board game or something similar to occupy the weekend and from my customer service perspective it’s always a treat to recommend stuff that’s going to be enjoyed in such a manner.

And, oh yeah!, comics publishers and many toy manufacturers usually release a crap-ton of great new reading material and toys the day before Thanksgiving in advance of Black Friday/Cyber Monday. This year’s no different.

Whether you’re braving the horrors of the NJ Transit or the long flight to Walla Walla or the constant chug of the Staten Island Ferry or the bus to Philly or the subway home to your tiny NYC apartment… Wherever you’re off to, here’s some of this week’s highlighted new releases to get you through the trip.

Have fun! We’re closed on Thanksgiving. Mebbe I’ll see ya tomorrow or Friday?

(Dark Knight 3 pictured above and available 11/25/15)

Saga #31 – New Story Arc! Picks up after trade paperback Volume 5. Don’t forget your coupons and receipt (wink, wink) if ya got ’em!

Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Saga #31, forbidden planet NYC

 

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Batman Day at Forbidden Planet NYC

The Caped Crusader is celebrating his 75th birthday this year, and DC Comics has officially declared Wednesday July 23rd 2014 Batman Day!

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On  7/23/14, starting at 8am, Forbidden Planet NYC will be giving away complimentary (ie FREE!) copies of DC’s new Detective Comics #27 Special Edition, and FREE Batman anniversary bags. We’ll also have commemorative masks (99 cents per. These are extremely limited and will be sold on a strictly first come, first served basis) and capes for sale ($5.99).

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What’s more, we’ll be running a sale(!) throughout the day- 20% OFF all Batman related comics, books, and graphic novels.

Come by Forbidden Planet to celebrate Batman’s 75th on Wednesday the 23rd and save some Bat-dough!

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Our 200 Best-Selling Graphic Novels of 2013

Even though it’s damn near the middle of February I thought the following list of Forbidden Planet NYC’s most popular, best-selling graphic novels of 2013 would be of some interest.

Perhaps you’re looking for a new read, and are curious as to what the cool kids in the heppest city in the solar system are picking up (even if some of these books have been perennial faves for years and years).  Perhaps you’ll be looking at this list for some other reason (stalkers). Either way, thanks to all our customers who made 2013, and every year, such a great time to be in the business of slinging quality books!

It’s a rather lengthy post so it continues after the jump…

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Hyped for next Wednesday

Looks like I’ll be searching through the couch cushions for change again next week.  Here’s my projected pull list, I say projected cause I always end up buying more than I plan.

7 Billion Needles Vol 3 – Manga! Yeah I read that stuff too.  This one reminds me a lot of Parasyte but with a female lead.

Avengers #10 – The Hood, The Illuminati, and The Infinity Gems… Oh my!

Crossed Psychopath #1 – My favorite comic book creator David Lapham back with a new Crossed series.  I just finished the last Crossed run Family Values (also by Lapham) and let me tell you, its just as sick, if not sicker than Garth Ennis’ original run.

Bullseye Costume T-Shirt

Deadpool #33 – Deadpool in space.

Deadpool Team-Up #884 – Deadpool and The Watcher, best team-up yet.

Detective Comics #874 -More Scott Snyder, Batfans approved!

Gotham City Sirens #20 -Harley out for Joker blood.

Metalocalypse Dethklok #3 -Ca ca ca comic books.

Punisher In Blood #4 – Jigsaw is back and boy is he pissed, and so is Frank Castle for that matter.

Secret Avengers #10 – Watch your backs Secret Avengers its Bizarro Nick Fury and a guy who can actually kick Steve Rogers ass.

Vampire Tales Vol 2 – Finally! The 2nd digest sized collection of the Marvel Vampire Tales magazine.  I loved the first volume and was super stoked when I noticed this one is hitting shelves this week.  Even Matt D is reading vampire books on the train nowadays.

See you next Wednesday…

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