Breathtaking. Groundbreaking. Cinematic. The most important graphic novel ever written. All of these have been used to describe Alan Moore’s seminal 1986-87 book, Watchmen, which perfectly captured the social anxieties of the day thru a critique on the core concept of superheros. So why on earth would DC Comics risk incurring the wrath of fans and the industry as a whole by releasing a series of prequel books chronicling the backstory of what were already very deep and fully fleshed characters? The answer is, because I believe that there is another story here to tell. While Watchmen has superbly shown the downfall of the superhero, as human beings will inevitably succumb to their baser instincts (be it greed, power, predjudice, or corruption) when allowed to operate outside the realm of traditional social mores; Before Watchmen attempts to capture the genesis of the desire to be “super” and the ideals which make one a “hero”.
This weekend marked the passing of yet another year for the Philadelphia Comic Con. Once a con plagued by terrible under-attendance and being kinda under-whelming in general, I must say has shown up this year in quite a grand fashion! Unlike San Diego, where everyone makes their big announcements and the entire con has shifted focus from comics to general pop culture, Philadelphia Wizard World contains not a single gaming console, major network, or Sony branded anything on the floor. You won’t find 300 person long lines for swag giveaways at the G4 booth, and i find that quite refreshing. Just comics, toys/t-shirts sporting comics, the creators of said comics, and the fans that love comics; what can i say it’s a freaking comic convention. This con is perfectly suited to it’s size. Is the floor crowded? Yes. Claustrophobicly so? No. Are there lines to get into the panels? Yes. Is anybody left out because the room was full? No. This was really a joy to be at. Also because there’s no big spoiler alerts, new announcements, or exclusive toy lines to write about; figured I’d just give you some pictorial love of the panels I attended along with some of my favorite quotes from each!
DC, in an effort to bring together anime and comics fans, introduced a line of toys featuring the girls of the DCU rendered in an anime style. The toys have been so popular that this Monday DC released a digital first line of comics by the same name: Ame-Comi.
The series will begin an over-arcing story, following Wonder Woman on a 3 episode plot; doing the same across books for Batgirl, Duela Dent, Power Girl, and Super Girl before bringing the series to a close. In an innovative experiment, these books are released online for only 99 cents and on Monday rather than Wednesday with it’s print counterpart. I believe these books are only being released online until their popularity can be gauged to see whether there is enough interest to warrant a single or tpb printing.
So how does this first issue stack up?
The CW released this week a teaser montage for their new show Arrow to debut Wednesdays this fall. Up until today all we had to go on was this figure cloaked in shadow and the two things that jumped out at me were:
1) He has a recurve bow, thank god he’s not that little twit from the DC reboot
2) He kinda looks like the GA we saw in Smallville.
Before I ramble on any further lets take a look at the clip; roll it Johnny!
My feelings are a bit mixed; for one, just how much of each episode is going to be devoted to showing ole Ollie’s abs (his Arrow-bics, sorry couldn’t help myself)? Also, for whatever reason they have decided to change the name of Star City; not to Seattle or someplace real as they did in the comic reboot, but rather to starling city. Went from being the jewel of the heavens to an annoying songbird. The official notes from CW hint at maintaining GA: Year 1 continuity, which would be a great way to retain the old school fanbase AND get in some really human moments (maybe thru flashbacks or whatever).
Holy Hulk Smash (to steal a priceless reaction from a good friend, @streetg33kgirl on twitter, follow her!) this movie was phenomenal! The Avengers comes storming into theaters with the full force of the summer blockbuster that everyone knew it would be; what everyone doubted though was how well Joss Whedon would be able to deliver a big budget action adventure on this scale (sadly me included), needless to say I’ve never been happier to be wrong! What no-one considered is that any idiot like McG can make explosions look pretty with enough computers and money, it’s the story and characters that should be perfected and only then fill in with action to supplement. Instead of just an action popcorn movie with some drama and some comedy, the Avengers delivers action in its drama, comedy in its action, and yes at times drama in its comedy. We get a completely satisfying movie whose sum is indeed greater than the parts of it’s whole.
Ah my little nerdlings; what a geeky week it’s been! May the Fourth (be with you) was friday; and the internet was ablaze with appropriately cheesy star wars puns.
However the real treat of the week was today; Free Comic Book Day! That’s right, for the past decade on the first saturday of May, thousands of comic shops around the world participate in Free Comic Book Day; a day dedicated to celebration and awareness of our favorite graphic arts!Some publishers use this day to tastelessly promote to a captive audience (DC: the NEW new 52 preview), some use it as smart additional supplemental material for film cross promotion (Marvel: Spiderman Season 1 and Avangers: Ultron .1), some use it as a fan appreciation day, offering exclusive storylines to their loyal readers (Dark Horse: Buffy/Guild or Star Wars/Serenity combo books), others use it as a sounding board for upcoming titles (like Zombie Kid, sold out in 2 hours where I went for the day), and most still realize the true spirit of the day, which is to introduce a new generation of readers to their books and keeping the kid/funny books alive (like Megaman, Sonic, and the Smurfs just to name a few from this year).
However, I think the REAL standout this year was Archaia’s Mouse Guard. They used this year’s FCBD to really show off. Beautifully bound in hard cover with a touching new mouse guard tale; this books presentation and content truly blew me away!