Tag: DC Comics

Things (now with extra STUFF!)

GGPRbanner2-817x350Currently splitting time between a new project for Pro Se that’s part of a shared universe and working on Lazarus Gray volume 8 (which is now over 40,000 words long). Both are going pretty well, especially Lazarus. Volume 7 was a novel-length tale but with this one, I’m going back to having a series of short stories. I’m currently working on the fourth tale for that collection and there will be one more after this one, making for a total of (hold on while I break out the calculator…) five stories.

I’ve been reading (and loving) THE MIDAS LEGACY by Andy McDermott. It’s the 12th book in the Wilde/Chase series and so far it’s shaping up as one of the strongest in awhile. I consider these books to be very good examples of New Pulp and I’m stunned that no one has turned this series into a movie or a television show. I’d watch it!

Seeing lots of “favorite/least favorite” posts of various types out there so I figured I’d jump in with my favorite comic book series of 2017. Here we go:

  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (BOOM)
  • Go Go Power Rangers (BOOM)
  • Savage Dragon (IMAGE)
  • Rom (IDW)
  • Defenders (MARVEL)
  • Amazing Spider-Man (MARVEL)

Looking at the list, I have to say that ASM *barely* snuck on the list. It’s been very up-and-down this year. Defenders is getting canceled so there you go… Nobody is more surprised than me to see two Power Rangers books on this list but they’ve been really good! Gives me a nice Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans era vibe and that’s high praise from me. Speaking of Titans, I am reading the ongoing Titans book from Dan Abnett but I alternate between enjoying it and hating it so it didn’t make the list so there’s no DC titles on my best-of. That’s *really* unusual!

What comics did you love in 2017?

My Favorite Comicbooks of the Moment

blogentry-33-0-97909700-1387243912_thumbI read a lot of comics. What follows is not a full list of what I’m reading but it is a full list of what I’m LOVING right now. In order to be included here, the books have to be running right now (i.e. currently published) and have to be ongoing titles — so no graphic novels, though I am including limited series if they haven’t wrapped up yet.

In no particular order:

Superior Spider-Man (Marvel)

The Shadow: Year One (Dynamite)

Eternal Warrior (Valiant)

X-O Manowar (Valiant)

Superman/Wonder Woman (DC)

Detective Comics (DC)

Batman and… (DC)

Supergirl (DC)

Justice League (DC)

Aquaman (DC)

Worlds Finest (DC)

Harley Quinn (DC)

Thunder Agents (IDW)

Forever Evil (DC)

Earth 2 (DC)

Yeah, a lot of DC. While I’m not loving everything they’re doing, I am enjoying a lot of it. And I’m reading many other books, too, but the ones above are the ones that excite me the most when I’m checking to see what’s coming out soon.

What are you guys reading?

My Favorite Comics At The Moment

csaAs most of you know, I’m a huge comic book fan — and right now there are many, many excellent books out there. What follows is a list of my current favorites, listed in no particular order:

Aquaman (DC Comics) – I’ve always liked Aquaman but the current run written by Geoff Johns is, I think, the best the character’s ever seen. Ivan Reis did a fantastic job as the original penciler and even since his departure, the book continues to look great. The handling of Aquaman and Mera has been top-notch and Black Manta has become a major badass as his arch-foe. I’m loving this.

Detective Comics (DC Comics) – Batman is rightfully getting a lot of attention as it’s been excellent. But my favorite Bat-book right now is actually Detective Comics, which does a nice job of melding Batman the detective with Batman the superhero. A close second for me is Batman and Robin, where the creative team is kicking all kinds of butt, but this is my favorite in a really good group of Batman titles.

X-O Manowar (Valiant) – One of my all-time favorite heroes has been revived in a really fun, well-told adventure series. If you’re not reading Valiant, you’re missing out!

Shadowman (Valiant) – See X-O Manowar.

The Shadow: Year One (Dynamite) – Great writing, great art, great character.

The Shadow/Green Hornet: Dark Nights (Dynamite) – Michael Uslan is writing an amazing story. The art isn’t quite up to snuff but I’m digging the story so much, I don’t care. If you love either of these heroes, you will enjoy this book.

Superior Spider-Man (Marvel) – The only Marvel book I’m currently reading and it’s a doozy every month. I was skeptical about the premise when it launched but I’ve loved the roller-coaster ride.

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents (IDW) – It’s a new series but it’s a great updating of the classic.

Green Lantern (DC) – It’s not quite as sharp as when Geoff Johns was writing it but I’m still enjoying the adventures of Hal Jordan.

Justice League (DC) – The book has improved since Jim Lee left as artist.

Forever Evil (DC) – I really enjoyed the recent Trinity War storyline and I’m loving Forever Evil so far. Plus, it stars the Crime Syndicate, who are among my all-time favorite supervillains.

What are you guys reading?

Characters I Love # 12: Mr. Terrific

mr. terrificEvery Wednesday, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: Mr. Terrific. Michael Holt made his debut in Spectre # 54, published in 1997. The second hero to use the name Mr. Terrific, I think it’s safe to say that Michael has far surpassed the original in terms of popularity. This is how Wikipedia sums up his background:

At a young age, Michael Holt showed remarkable intelligence, reading and assimilating the works of Bohr, Einstein, Planck and Feynman, the pantheon of theoretical physics, at the age of six. He studied advanced science, space, and time “while other children struggled through Sesame Street” Michael grew up with his mentally challenged older brother, Jeffrey, whom Michael loved dearly. When Jeffrey died at the age of 15, Michael was devastated.Holt displayed “a natural aptitude for having natural aptitudes”, as he called it, easily picking up and retaining complex skills and abilities that other men spent their entire lives perfecting. Before he began his career as a superhero, he already possessed 14 Ph.D’s (two in engineering and physics—including doctorates and masters degrees in law, psychology, chemistry, political science, and mathematics), was a self-made multi-millionaire[1] with a high tech firm called Cyberwear (subsequently sold to Waynetech) and was a gold medal winning Olympic decathlete. The accidental deaths of his wife and unborn child were a devastating blow to Holt and while contemplating suicide, he was met by the Spectre, who told him about Terry Sloane, the Golden Age superhero known as Mister Terrific. Inspired by Sloane’s life story, he took the name Mister Terrificand later joined the current Justice Society of America, eventually serving as its chairman. He initially wore ordinary clothes and a leather jacket with Sloane’s “Fair Play” emblem on the back. He then wears a T-shaped mask composed of electronic nanites, a black and white costume with red trim, and a collarless jacket in the same colors (the black sections of tunic and jacket forming a “T”) with “Fair Play” written on the sleeves and “Terrific” across the back. For a time he acted as spokesperson for Tylerco and consulted that company on industrial espionage and security matters in exchange for that company helping fund a youth center Terrific had started. Holt has a friendly rivalry with Batman, his opposite number in the Justice League of America (in his identity as Bruce Wayne, Batman owns Holt’s business). Michael Holt has encountered Terry Sloane twice through time travel, with Sloane expressing pride in having so worthy a successor. Holt has been noted as the most intelligent member of the JSA in its history, surpassing his predecessor. He is also known as the third smartest person in the world, and this notion now appears to be widespread within the DC Universe.

Now if that history doesn’t scream “pulp hero” to you, then I think we have very different idea about what that term means. This guy is basically a modern day Doc Savage, in terms of his brilliance and wide range of interests. From the moment he joined the Justice Society, it just felt so right that he’d take on the leadership role. He was their Batman, only with a hell of a lot more emotion. Speaking of which, the scenes between Terrific and Batman in JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice are worth the price of admission alone.

In the New 52, Mr. Terrific received an ongoing solo series that tweaked his background (not really for the better). In the new universe, he’s lost his JSA connection, been paired up with Power Girl and then got shunted over to Earth-2, where he’ll presumably join the still unnamed JSA that they’re building over there. I still love the character but think he’s lost a lot in the new version.

Mr. Terrific is a wonderful character with tons of potential — and I really hope DC finds a way to exploit that in the future.

 

Playing With Other People’s Toys

EARTH2_Cv0_dsRecently, comics writer James Robinson left DC’s Earth-2 series. Nobody’s come out and said officially why that happened but Bleeding Cool is theorizing that he may have left because DC wanted to add another title to the Earth-2 line and they wanted someone other than Robinson to write it. Robinson took offense to this and walked. Now, this is just hearsay and Bleeding Cool makes it clear that they’re not sure that’s what happened. It all brought to mind some things that I’ve learned as a professional writer these past ten years: when you’re working with other people’s toys, don’t overvalue your importance.

If Robinson did bail because DC wanted to put someone else on the new book, then that’s a prima donna move. DC owns those characters and can make whatever decisions they wish — if his *only* problem was that they wanted someone else to write a spinoff project, I’m not really in his corner.

I had someone compare it to Pro Se starting up a Lazarus Gray spinoff and giving it to someone else to write. That’s not a fair comparison at all. I own Lazarus Gray. Pro Se is publishing it right now but that’s it. Even though it’s part of the Sovereign City project, I could file off those numbers easily enough by finding and replacing Sovereign City with New Roma or some such. Robinson was doing work-for-hire with characters that he did not own. Even his new creations for that series were revamps of existing DC concepts. If I took Lazarus Gray to DC and signed a contract saying they owned him, then they can do whatever the hell they want and not consult me – because I signed the contract. That’s why I don’t have much sympathy for Alan Moore and the Watchmen stuff that happened awhile back. Moore signed the deal and though you may think that DC has violated the spirit of it, they have abided by the terms of the deal. Just because you’re an artist, you don’t get a pass for being an idiot when it comes to business.

Now I realize that I’m tossing around lots of different examples and situations here but my point is ultimately that if you’re working for someone else, you have to give up some of your artistic “rights.” I recently wrote a Liberty Girl novella. It had to be approved by the license holders. Some of their changes were ones that, left to my own devices, I wouldn’t have made. I honestly think my version was better… but that doesn’t matter. I don’t own the character. They do. They get to decide what’s right and wrong for her to do. I looked at their changes and said, “Okay.” Why? Because it’s not my character! Before I can please the audience, I have to please my “boss” and if they say no to something, that’s that. Same with my Green Hornet or Avenger stories for Moonstone. I’m a licensed employee for those projects and I do what I’m told for the most part. My expectations are different for a contracted work-for-hire job than they are for my own projects — but sometimes creators seem to get so attached to their run on Batman or whatever that they forget this rather fundamental part.

Now, if my Pro Se editor makes wholesale changes to my Lazarus Gray novels and I disagree with them, I’ll argue until I’m blue in the face. Because that’s MY character. See the difference?

When I see people acting like fools on work-for-hire projects (and I’m not saying Robinson did — he’s stayed classy to this point in not slinging any dirt), I just laugh. When I worked for Marvel, I eventually decided that the fun of being “at Marvel” and getting a steady paycheck didn’t quite measure up to my artistic desires (I wanted to write prose) or my lack of enjoyment on the work I was doing. So I exited, knowing full well that I was a tiny cog in the machine.

If the working conditions are that terrible, then by all means walk away. But they’ll just replace you with someone else — if you’re okay with that, go with your integrity. I’ll give you a thumb’s up as you do — and then I might make a pitch for the job you’re leaving. 😉

My Favorite Comics of the Moment

allnewxmen_5_coverEveryone knows I love comics just as much as I love pulp novels. So what are my current faves? Read on! The list is broken down by publisher, ’cause I roll like that.

Note: I actually buy more than just these titles… but these are my favorites.

DC Comics
Aquaman
Batman
Batwing
Green Lantern
Supergirl
Worlds’ Finest
Legion of Super-Heroes

Marvel Comics
Scarlet Spider
Iron Man
Uncanny Avengers
All-New X-Men
Superior Spider-Man

IDW
Mars Attacks
Judge Dredd

Valiant
X-O Manowar
Bloodshot
Shadowman

Abstract Studios
Rachel Rising

Dynamite
The Shadow
Masks

Not out yet but I’m looking forward to: The Shadow Year One, Judge Dredd Year One

What are you guys reading?

My Favorite Comics At the Moment

20120622-153803.jpgEveryone knows I love comics, just as much as I love pulp novels. So what are my current faves? Read on! The list is broken down by publisher, ’cause I roll like that.

Note: I actually buy more than just these titles… but these are my favorites.

DC Comics
Aquaman
Batman
Batwing
Earth 2
Green Lantern
Supergirl
Sword of Sorcery
Talon
Worlds’ Finest

Marvel Comics
Scarlet Spider
Iron Man
Avengers
Uncanny Avengers
All-New X-Men

IDW
Mars Attacks
Judge Dredd

Archie
New Crusaders

Valiant
X-O Manowar
Bloodshot
Shadowman

Abstract Studios
Rachel Rising

Dynamite
The Shadow
Masks

I also highly recommend you seek out the Shinku trade paperback (Image) by Ron Marz & Lee Moder!