Welcome to the Screed for our post-Valentine’s Day update on the world o’ comics. Here’s hoping that you all received plenty of valentines in your valentines box.
The biggest news this week was the passing of writer Steve Gerber, the wonderfully wacky writer (say that three times fast) of Marvel and DC Comics, and creator of Howard The Duck.
RevSF has more on Gerber’s passing elsewhere on the site, but I still felt that it was worth noting what a major loss this was to the comics industry. Very few writers in the history of comics have brought such unique opinions about the world to the comic pages as Gerber, bringing social relevance and biting adult humor to his stories.
Gerber was a huge force in helping comics to grow up, leaving the innocent superhero tales behind in favor of comics stories that made the kids think a bit. He will certainly be missed.
Let’s take a look at the new comics ITEMS! for this segment of the Screed:
ITEMS! DC announced some new projects and concepts at the recent Retailers forum in Las Vegas. Of note is DC Universe #0, co—written by Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison, which will sell for 50 cents and feature 24 pages of art by Ivan Reis, Carlos Pacheco, Tony Daniel, George Perez and new DC exclusive (and future Wonder Woman artist), Aaron Lopresti. The series will be the bridge point to the Final Crisis series, as well as a number of other changes in the DCU. DC also plans a new weekly series by Kurt Busiek and Ultimate Spider-Man artist Mark Bagley, featuring the trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. It will be titled Trinity, funny enough.
ITEMS! Flash! Nah-naaaahhhh! (I know, I’m no Freddie Mercury) returns to comics this year. With the success of the Sci Fi Channel series, Flash Gordon is seen as relevant again, and is returning to the comics world as well.
The new comic series will be written by Brendan Deneen, who was Director of Production & Development for the Weinstein Company and Dimension Films. Too bad artist Al Williamson is too ill to be called back into duty for this series.
ITEMS! Three long-time independent creators have new comics coming out in the next few months:
Dave Sim, he of Cerebus fame and the only creator to successfully complete over 300 issues of the same comic book, has a new book entitled Glamourpuss. From the looks of the artwork that has been shown to date, Sim plans to write a send-up of the fashion world, working in a style that is reminiscent of Leonard Starr’s On Stage or Alex Kotsky’s Apartment 3-G. Sort of a comics version of Sex and the City, I am guessing, with a little Sim savageness thrown in for good measure.
Jeff Smith, creator of Bone and DC’s recent Shazam! series, has a new book that ventures into science fiction with Rasl. I haven’t seen much of this title, but Smith definitely seems to be leaving the bigfoot look behind with this series, and producing something that might prove to be very different from his previously well known style of comics work.
Strangers in Paradise’s Terry Moore, while also writing Spider-man Loves Mary Jane for Marvel, is launching a new comics series entitled Echo. Echo features a new Moore character, Julie Martin, in a series described as being about a woman who lives in the Yosemite National Park, near Lake Mono. An outdoor person whose marriage has fallen apart, her financial credit destroyed, and is losing everything in her life when something incredible happens to her. Considering Moore’s ability to write female characters, this could be good.
ITEMS! Batman: Gotham Knight is a new DVD coming out from DC around the time of the Dark Knight film. Six short anime movies make up the DVD, directed by various Japanese anime directors, and written by writers such as Batman Begins writer David Goyer, Josh Olsen (A History of Violence), and comics writer Brian Azzarello.
Writer James Robinson (Starman) was announced as the new writer of Superman, and with Geoff Johns on Action, the Superman books at DC may be delivering some of the best comics material in the history of the character. Only time will tell, but Action has been excellent of late.
Writer Matt Fraction, who has inexplicably ended his series, The Order, at Marvel, is moving on to a new Iron Man book with artist Salvador Larocca.
The Invincible Iron Man will add a second Iron Man series to the Marvel universe for the first time in the characters’ history or, at least, the first time that I can remember there being two Iron Man series running simultaneously at Marvel!
Book of the week: A completely fresh take on the Fantastic Four begins with #554, as Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch begin their 12 issue run on the book.
Combining the Lee and Kirby family dynamics with photo-real artwork by Hitch, the new series brings these overused characters into fresh territory. In other words, the FF have never looked like this before. Millar’s script is not as unique as Hitch’s rendering of the characters, but it is still a strong story, utilizing elements of his run on Ultimate FF along with some good, strong character moments that hearken back to Stan and Jack. This issue is a good start for what may be a pretty consistently good comic during this next year.
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