Funnybook Babylon

July 25, 2011

2800 Miles From San Diego: The FBB SDCC Round-Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jamaal Thomas @ 3:48 pm

Well, the 2011 edition of the San Diego Comic Convention is finally over, and if you’re anything like me, you have a RSS reader filled with dozens of announcements, previews and panel recaps from the Con. It’s a little overwhelming. Here’s a round up of the most intriguing announcements out of the Con this year.

All of the information below is cobbled from the enterprising folks who covered the Con in person – Laura Hudson, FBB4L co-chair David Brothers, Andy Khouri, Chris Murphy, Caleb Goellner and FBB alum David Uzumeri for Comics Alliance; Kiel Phegley, Dave Richards, and the rest of the Comic Book Resources news team; and Rich Johnston, Mark Seifert and Brendon Connelly for Bleeding Cool. I’m consistently amazed by the hard work that they do each year to provide us with news and capture the Con experience.

Let’s Go!


Marvel takes baby steps into the world of “day and date” digital distribution : At this year’s convention, David Gabriel, Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Publishing, announced that the Spider-Man “family” of titles (including Rick Remender’s excellent Venom series) will be available to retail and digital consumers at the same time beginning with Amazing Spider Man #666 (the first part of the “Spider Island” crossover). Mr. Gabriel announced that the program will extend to the X-Men franchise of titles in November, with Uncanny X-Men #1 and Wolverine and the X-Men #1. He didn’t say whether the program would include the second tier (better) X-titles like X-23, Uncanny X-Force or New Mutants. Gabriel explained that Marvel’s transition to “day and date” digital distribution will be a carefully managed process scheduled to coincide with traditional entry points for new readers, an interesting contrast to the approach adopted by DC Comics. It appears that Marvel is implicitly acknowledging the possibility that the market for its comics is segmented – some fans of books in the Spider-Man franchise, for example, may have have different interests, needs and preferences than fans of the X-Men franchise of titles. A slow roll-out gives Marvel the opportunity to launch targeted marketing campaigns for the new initiative that are subtly distinct. I don’t know if this is part of the plan, but it will also allow them to work more closely with retailers during the implementation phase, which may allay some retailer fears.

We still don’t know whether there will be price parity, but here’s hoping for the best. I’d also be curious to know more about the delivery system. I can’t wait to read Parker, Remender and Pak books in a digital format.

DC Reboot Updates : I’ve decided that I’m going to wait for the books to actually hit the stores/iOS before I make any further judgments. So we’re going to look at some pretty pictures.

AC 01 04-05 avhskdu7fas9d8fas

Action Comics (Rags Morales)

SG 1 04 600 vnbbvv7s8f

Supergirl (Mahmud Asrar)

FLASH 1 03 ajsdhflaks7df

The Flash (Francis Manapul)

Batwoman 1pg6and7 clr ashkldjf7

Batwoman (J.H. Williams III)

thunder-agents v1 tpb-Cv

Thunder A.G.E.N.T.S. (Frank Quitely) To be fair, I’ll never read this book, but you can’t tell me this isn’t a great cover!


Wonder Woman (Cliff Chiang)

FRANKENSTEIN 1 15 16 600 asdjfkhlas78df93857290

Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE (Alberto Ponticelli)

ANIMALMAN 1 16 final sajkdflhk7asl2901-600x910

Animal Man (Travel Foreman)

I, Vampire
(Andrea Sorrentino)

Marvel Holds Serve : In its Next Big Thing panel on Thursday, Marvel announced that the creative teams on some of my favorite (read: I still enjoy buying them) Marvel books would remain unchanged, or in some cases, that the artist was going to be replaced by another competent artist.

Jeff Parker will team with Patrick Zircher to introduce “Hulk of Arabia” to the ongoing Hulk book (the one that follows Gen. Thaddeus “Red Hulk” Ross (ret.)). The story follows Ross as he seeks vengeance for the death of a close friend and clashes with his archenemy, a new Middle Eastern villain and the Secret Avengers. I know, it sounds silly, but Parker’s shown a real flair for grounding these kinds of high concept stories and adding layers of complexity that make for a compelling read, so I have high expectations.


Christos Gage is continuing his highly underrated run on Avengers Academy, and plans to expand the roster, move them to California (for old-time fans, the HQ of the old West Coast Avengers) and introduce a murder mystery. Per CBR, Jonathan Hickman teased that “the next two arcs [of FF] will explore a war that’s been teased for a long while, yet nothing will be presented in straight linear fashion while the arc after that will help draw his whole run to a close. “If you’ve been with us since the beginning, I think you’ll be pleased as punch”

Mark Waid is working with Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin on Daredevil. The first issue was published this Wednesday, and I think it may be the start of something special. For those who don’t follow me on Tumblr, I wrote the following:

“Do you realize that every strawberry on this table smells just a little bit different?”

Mark Waid’s back. This is how you reboot a franchise. This is how you escape a thirty year status quo. How you remind us that there was a time before Miller, Nocenti and Bendis. Its just so damn refreshing to see Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin express their talents on a book worthy of their talents. And that last page… I’m still surprised by my reaction to the last page, which I can’t say, so its left an untold fact. Let’s just say this: I wholly subscribe to the notion that one has to choose happiness in life. (this is a world without magic). The woman sitting next to me on my morning commute probably thinks that I suffered a nervous breakdown. And I think it’s time to call my dad.


This book is brilliant. Go read it.

Greg Rucka on the MU Punisher : Greg Rucka is the perfect choice for a Punisher series that takes place in the Marvel Universe. From Whiteout and Queen & Country to Checkmate and Gotham Central, Greg Rucka’s always done an amazing job of blending espionage, crime and suspense with superhero adventure comics. After “Valley Forge, Valley Forge” (the last arc of Garth Ennis’s legendary run on the Punisher MAX series), I thought I was done with stories featuring the Punisher. There was just nothing left to say. Aaron’s current work on the MAX book is okay, but its nothing groundbreaking. Remender’s gonzo take on the MU version of Punisher was incredibly entertaining, but in the end, it was just unsustainable. At the Amazing Spider-Man and His Avenging Friends panel, Rucka informed the audience that the series would focus on the people whose lives are affected by the Punisher’s actions, and that the Punisher will be silent (dialogue and thought balloons) for the first three issues of the run. If you’ve read Gotham Central, you know what to expect.


Zeb Wells and Joe Madureira team on Avenging Spider-Man: Zeb Wells is responsible for some of my favorite issues of the post-Brand New Day Amazing Spider-Man (such as the three issue “Shed” arc), as well as an impressive resurrection of the New Mutants title. So when he announces that he’s going to work with Joe Madureira on an action-heavy monthly Spider Man title with a new guest star every month, I’m on board.


The Massive : Brian Wood teams up with Kristian Donaldson on The Massive, a three part series following a group of environmentalists after an apocalyptic event. A precise, detailed look at a hostile future world in the throes of chaos and societal collapse. In an interview with CBR, Wood describes the story as “a global DMZ“. That’s all I had to hear.

tumblr losf2h2fdb1qz58pqo1 1280

Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples present Saga : At Saturday’s Image panel, Brian K. Vaughan announced that he was returning to the world of comics with Saga, a new sci-fi creator-owned ongoing title scheduled to premiere in 2012 from Image Comics. The title, which Vaughan created in collaboration with Fiona Staples (also the artist on the book), will follow a unique family’s experiences during an intergalactic war. In an interview with Comics Alliance’s Laura Hudson, Vaughan revealed that he “plans for Saga to be even longer than Ex Machina, which ran for fifty issues.” It’s still too early to draw any firm conclusions, but this looks very promising.

Jonathan Hickman’s Creator Owned Projects: It’s great to see that Jonathan Hickman’s growing responsibilities at Marvel (FF, SHIELD and the new Ultimates series) will not prevent him from pursuing opportunities to work on creator-owned projects. At Saturday’s Image panel, Hickman announced that he was working on The Manhattan Projects with Nicky Pitarra (The Red Wing), which sounds like an action comedy starring the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project (he referred to it as “the Thunderbolts of Science”).


(via Nick Petarra )

Hickman also announced a second title scheduled for the coming year – Secrets, a more straightforward corporate espionage story with Ryan Bodenheim (Red Mass for Mars). It’s not clear how long Hickman intends either series to run – CBR speculates that both will either be 15 issues in length or run on an ongoing basis. Both titles sound intriguing. Hickman’s writing on his creator-owned projects has steadily improved over the years, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what he’s capable of now.

Howard Chaykin’s Black Kiss II: I’ve never read Black Kiss, Howard Chaykin’s twelve issue transgressive hard boiled miniseries from the late 1980’s, but I’ve certainly heard about it. Chaykin blended the genre elements associated with hard boiled detective fiction with his (famed) unapologetically explicit take on sexuality and other “mature themes” to create a comic so controversial that it shipped in a black plastic bag. In a recent interview conducted by Kiel Phegley for CBR, Chaykin describes the book as both a dark comedy (designed to poke at would-be censors) and a genre-spanning comic meditation on life in California. The first version, which was republished in a single volume by Dynamite Comics in May, is on my buy list, and I’m intrigued by the sequel.

Holy Terror

The first trailer for Holy Terror, a forthcoming graphic novel by Frank Miller for Legendary Comics. The project was initially intended for DC Comics as a “Batman v. Al Qaeda” project inspired by Miller’s emotional response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but now features an original character named “The Fixer” bringing justice to terrorists. I’m very wary of any project that invokes 9/11, especially ones that seem to lack complexity or nuance – I know that’s assuming a lot, but Miller described the project as a “piece of propaganda” and a “reminder to people who seem to have forgotten who we’re up against”. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, he said “as I got into this I felt probably something close to what Jack Kirby felt when he created Captain America”. As Alyssa Rosenberg eloquently reminded us, this Long War is not World War II, and Frank Miller is not Jack Kirby. But…. it sure is purty. Check out the first five pages (pdf) here .

Speaking of beautiful things that I’ll never buy, check out this cover from Black Panther #525, with art by Francesco Francavilla. I like the creative team (David Liss & Shawn Martinbrough), but I just don’t like the direction of the title.


Fantagraphics to Publish the EC Comics Library: This is the most exciting comics-related news to come out of San Diego this weekend. Per Tom Spurgeon, Fantagraphics announced that it reached an agreement with William M. Gaines Agent, Inc. to reprint the fabled EC Comics Library. In the great Fantagraphics tradition, the books will not be reprinted as collections of the original titles (like Tales From the Crypt, Weird Fantasy or Two-Fisted Tales). In an interview with Spurgeon, series editor (and Fantagraphics co-publisher) Gary Groth noted that each collection will be in black and white, include miscellaneous support material, and will focus on specific creators (almost all comics legends) who wrote and drew EC comics from 1944 to the mid 1950’s in an effort to draw the attention of the audience away from EC as a brand to the individual stories crafted by specific creators. The first four volumes will include work from Harvey Kurtzman (Corpse on the Imjin and Other Stories, a collection mostly consisting of war and western stories); Wally Wood (Came the Dawn and Other Stories, a collection of suspense tales); Jack Davis (a collection of horror stories) and Al Williamson (science fiction stories) and will begin publication in 2012.


H+, a dystopian web series from John Cabrera and Cosimo De Tommaso, directed by Stewart Hendler and produced by Bryan Singer. The premise? A world where humanity has dramatically increased its dependence on technology, where the next big thing is H+, an implanted computer system that allows one to be connected to the internet 24/7. This sets the stage for a mass casualty event that changes everything. via Bleeding Cool

Haywire, Steven Soderbergh’s new high-concept action project. I think the trailer speaks for itself:

Green Lantern: The Animated Series : This series, which builds off the success (?) of the live action film, is scheduled to premier sometime in 2012 on the Cartoon Network. The sizzle reel premiered at San Diego. That’s a lot of mediocre CGI. I’d have to see a full episode before I passed judgment.

Prometheus, the new project from Ridley Scott. There’s no footage available yet, but this looks like a throwback to Scott’s hard sci-fi classics of the late seventies and early eighties. The film stars Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace, with Idris Elba in a supporting role. There aren’t very many details about the plot, other than the rumors on Bleeding Cool, but its confirmed that this is a soft prequel to the Alien quartet of films. Damon Lindelof (co-creator of Lost) hosted the Prometheus panel, and had this to say (as reported by the Guardian):

“It [Prometheus] covers a vast expanse of time, past, present and future,” he said. “It doesn’t take place on Earth in any real significant way. The way we’re exploring the future is away from Earth and [asking] what are people like now? What have they gone through and what are they thinking of?

“Space exploration in the future is going to evolve into this idea that it’s not just about going out there and finding planets to build colonies. It also has this inherent idea that the further we go out, the more we learn about ourselves. The characters in this movie are preoccupied by the idea: what are our origins?”

20110721 prometheus 560x375

Sounds intriguing.

And just to wrap everything up…..

I know, I know…. it’s a guilty pleasure that I’m not guilty about at all. Can’t wait for the second half of Season 4.

See you soon.

1 Comment »

  1. Avenging Spider-Man is basically a new Marvel Team-Up and that makes me happier than I can express easily.

    Comment by Matt Jett — July 25, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

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