The Shadow Season Experience is here! Shadow Season started in 2013 from Truthful Comics that followed the path of Shadowclub Karma from it's beginnings much like the Order Saga. Now EVERY chapter of Shadow Season from 2013-2015 has been collected in one volume as The Shadow Season Trilogy. These stories bridge the gaps between Shadowclub Karma issues and will be available for purchase around Christmas this year. Stay tuned to www.truthfulcomics.com for details on how to purchase...
IT'S SHADOW SEASON AGAIN!!!!!
That means the return of your favorite team of monsters, Shadowclub Karma. The Shadowclub story continues as we dive deeper into the mystery of what exactly happened on December 12th, 2012. Did the world end and are we living in an alternate reality? Are we all living in our own personal versions of the Rapture. Did the world end and we're all dead? Or did we all just go to HELL? These questions will be answered not just during Shadow Season... but in the pages of Shadowclub Karma as it starts it's ongoing schedule as of November. But... we are getting ahead of ourselves... let's take a look at what exactly Shadow Season 2015 will be setting up...
ALL NEW DARK GODDESS: CARGO
In this story, Lilith arrives at The International Airport of Denver to pick up a package that was left to her that will take the war between Heaven and Hell to a whole new level, and could possibly give the members of Hell's Army the upper hand in this war.
PATH OF DOOM: VLAD THE IMPALER and 7 DEVILS
The moment we've been waiting for... the dark origins of Vlad the Impaler aka Dracula, as we know him in the Shadowclub Universe.
We will see his history as he goes from soldier to Vampire, to Dark Sorcerer and General of Hell's Army, to the Leader of Heaven's movement. The next chapter will focus on the Council of 7 Devils, the overlords of Hell. We will learn their connection to the mysterious Order of Luminous Light and how they have ruled hell alongside Satan.
SHADOWCLUB KARMA: HALLOWEEN SPECIAL
This story will bring together everything we've seen from the Shadowclub Universe so far. It will also include the Prologue Trilogy as it all connects to all three stories. Which will then lead to...
ALL NEW HELLDOLL: WAR AND ROSES
When we last saw El Dol, she shed the first blood in the war between Heaven and Hell. Now she will now have to deal with the consequences of her actions, as the demon army shows up to take revenge. But El Dol will have back up, as Dracula drops in to join the fight.
which leads to the moment we've been waiting for...
ALL NEW SHADOWCLUB KARMA: BOOK 2: DOOM
We last left our heroes in the middle of a war with Demon Ninjas, released by Mao, the Sixth Devil of the Council of 7. As the Shadowclub Army head off to face the forces of Hell, on the other side of the world, Fritz Barton unleashes the Ultimate Evil, which is the weapon the Council had been waiting for. The war rages on...
Shadow Season 2015 will be collected into a Graphic Novel format.
Happy Shadow Season and have a Safe Halloween.
THE UNIVERSE JUST GOT A LOT BIGGER!
As of this summer, Fite Klub Comics has merged with Truthful Comics. Not only does this mean the creative family has grown with the addition of Adrian Wilkins and Ben Murray, but the universe of Truthful's characters have expanded as well. Along with Truthful member, Corey "Roc Bottom" Davis, the FKC crew will introduce three new titles...
TITLE: 12 RINGS
CREATOR: ADRIAN WILKINS
Add a professional fighting promotion, powerful rings in which their wearer is granted extraordinary powers, a powerful being hell bent on gaining those rings to be a living god and a slew of fighters that just want his championship and some want revenge and you get an adventure series that is full of ups and downs. Follow fighters such as Liu, Athena, Derek, Golden Gauntlet and others as they chase the World Ring Fighting Federation World Champion, Supreme Knight, as they go through Supreme Knight's Four Horsemen as they search for the Rings of Power in the new series sure to make you think of Dragon Ball on speed...We are proud to present to you...12 RINGS.
CREATOR: BEN MURRAY
As the story goes, eons ago there was a great peace across the land and throughout the galaxy. Until one day the Shifters appeared ran sacking the land, destroying everything in sight. They were terrorizing countless planets in the galaxy in search of Dark vessels that was secretly taken from them. Within those vessels held the essence of there master and there Infinite dark power! The Order out smarted and defeated the evil threat with the help of the M.I.S.T team during what was the Great War.
After the Great War the Master Jinn and the majority of its army was locked away in a black hole behind a specially made magic seal. Two of the lesser generals was captured an imprisoned on earth. One under the pyramid of Egypt and one under area 51 locked in a mystical vault. Continuously being watched over by the Order of the Phoenix. Then with a strange twist of fate the M.I.S.T members was betrayed by the council and imprisoned in different locations all over the planet. One escaped by name Shadow an the last was thought to have been destroyed while they tried to capture her! Current status on the one called Celeste unknown. The primary goal recapture the one called Shadow before he can interfere in our plans. Operation Breakout has begun! Who or what is this mysterious force releasing the Shifters from their prison???
TITLE: JET BOY: DAWN OF K.R.O.N.O.S.
CREATOR: ROC BOTTOM
Paul Perkins isn't your average tenth grader. He has been chosen by a top secret government agency known only as SECTION 17 to protect a very important piece of alien technology. But when a new threat rises with their eyes set on that technology, will Perkins be able to face that threat alone?
Look for these three titles to drop under the FKC imprint from Truthful Comics in 2016!!!! Stay tuned...
Missed Todd McFarlane's New York Comic Con 2015 panel or simply couldn't go to the con? Truthful Comics' got your back!!! This video is almost an hour long and is the entire panel (except for a couple of minutes at the start that Todd was talking with fans in the front row). Enjoy!
There was a time where Wolverine and Lobo were the hottest characters in the comic book industry. They were everywhere. Until they started appearing, well, EVERYWHERE, and it became a problem.
Variant covers, guest appearances, multiple titles, you couldn't turn a page without running into them. It did lead up to one of the biggest let downs in comic book history, when Marvel and DC FINALLY made a crossover and gave fans what they had always wanted: Wolverine VS Lobo......and it didn't even last one entire page. Wolverine dismissed the main bastich in less than a page. Lobo....who could go toe-to-toe with SUPERMAN, was done away unceremoniously. But that was the least of their problems.
Eventually Lobo's series got cancelled and years later got a controversial makeover as part of the new 52, but Lobo's steam had waned far before that happened, and Wolverine had a long, agonizing run before being put to sleep, going from the best there was at what he did to becoming a goofy uncle figure for younger mutants and heroes before he had his healing factor taken away, aged, and eventually "killed off" by having adamantium poured all over him in one last heroic act, sacrificing himself. But Wolverine as a character was dead long before that many would argue, and it doesn't help that Marvel and Fox are at war, but more on that can be found on a previous blog I wrote here http://www.truthfulcomics.com/blog/lets-talk-about-is-marvel-shooting-itself-in-the-foot
The thing about characters like Lobo, Wolverine, and to an extent Deadpool and Harley Quinn, they are characters that got over exposed, but after giving them a good breather and good creative teams, as in the case of Deadpool and Harley Quinn, they bounced back and more popular than ever. Sometimes the public needs to take a breather from these characters, which are GOOD characters, but we just need a break (insert Ross Gellar joke here). When DC gives the public the Lobo they want, it'll likely be a big hit since it's been so long. If and when Marvel and Fox sort out their problems, Logan will likely be Wolverine again and X-23 will go back to being X-23, and it'll likely be a big hit as well. But....what if the characters aren't that strong to begin with?
In part 1 of this blog I went over how the Batgirl craze inspired DC to try and do a "Batgirling" of other characters, but Marvel had beat DC to the punch with that one by having Spider-Woman alter her costume in a similar fashion, and eventually have the what I like to call the "tumblr style" of art (NOTE: I'm not saying it's a bad style of art, I actually like some of it if not most of it).
But as I previously mentioned, controversies and playing the stories safe has led to an eventual decline in sales for Batgirl and Spider-Woman, who was starting to struggle right out of the gate and had it's own share of controversy because of the Milo Manara variant cover for issue number 1, which got pulled, was well on it's way to being cancelled due to poor performance but will get a new number 1 after Secret Wars is over (and a pregnancy angle. I'd just like to say in good humor the series Icon did it first....and likely better.....). And not to mention DC's Black Canary, which adapted the similar Batgirl formula, who's sales were practically dead on arrival.
That is why in part the "Batgirling" experiment has so far failed, not only was it starting to overexpose Batgirl, but after how safe the series had become, it was overexposing a comic that was losing it's core audience to begin with. The comic itself has become weak and attitudes like the one shown by main writer Cameron Stewart has not helped, but that's a story for another day.
And with all that in context, let's talk about Spider-Gwen and finally deal with that elephant in the room, since I already tackled one demon in Spider-Man: One More Day, let's see why I personally do not like Spider-Gwen as an ongoing thing, and why overexposing her is a bad idea, in a way very similar to this current Batgirl.
The concept of Spider-Gwen was born out the yearly big summer event that happens in the Spider-Man titles, and was the brainchild of Dan Slott, and actually Robbi Rodriguez' design was not the first one. Dan Slott already had an idea and detailed how the character was going to look with artist Oliver Copiel but somehow the detailed list by Slott did not reach the Marvel office, and instead Marvel let Rodriguez do the design. Right place, right time, which shows just how much Rodriguez should be counting his blessings, but again, that's a story for another day.
So from the Edge of the Spider-Verse story came this curious little side-story, an alternate universe where Gwen Stacy was the hero and Peter Parker had died. And at first, truth be told, the concept was brilliant. It was a twist worthy of the "What If...?" classic stories that Marvel used to publish, and writer Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez ran with it. And ran.....and ran....
Much like with DC's current Batgirl, the character spawned many fanarts and cosplays, Marvel/Disney's eyes lit up with dollar signs, not unlike Scrooge McDuck would, and a series was spun out (no on intended) of the side story. And now, suddenly, it is Spider-Gwen that is all over the place. The initial issues were a smash hit with sales being in the top 5. Until controversy also struck the title.
Artist Frank Cho made a sketch cover in homage to Milo Manara in his personal time as a comission. And Rodriguez did not like that at all.
This parody cover has led to perhaps one of the most bizarre rivalries in comic book history. To the point Rodriguez actually made threats of physical violence against Cho and in yet another weird turn of events, just this week as I was getting ready to do this blog, Rodriguez stated that he's made Cho the most relevant he's been in years.
All this stems from his belief that he create Spider-Gwen and went on a tirade against not only Cho, but another industry legend in J. Scott Campbell (who's variant covers you can see above and on the first paragraph of this blog). This has led to serious backlash not only from fans, but industry professionals as well. Not to mention the title was already starting to decline, last seen dropping out of the top 20 and actually the aforementioned Harley Quinn outselling Spider-Gwen.
Not fazed by this however, Marvel released Spider-Gwen variant cover for it's ENTIRE line of comics, featuring Gwen as alternate versions of those titles, and now in December there's going to be a one-shot featuring Gwen-Pool, a mash up of Spider-Gwen and Deadpool. That's right. The mashup of a character is getting mashed-up with another mashup of a character to form yet another mashup of characters. Oh, and after 5 issues, Spider-Gwen will get yet another new #1 after Secret Wars and a team title. And this is why eventually this will fail, too.
Arguably the sales and popularity of the title, not helped by the artist's attitude, is already in decline, yet MORE products are coming out, which will wear this title thin even more. You would imagine Marvel, of all companies, would have learned from the 90's. This is the same thing that was happening before they went bankrupt.
But in a way, that's the problem by being owned by Disney. Marvel has ZERO fear of losing and alienating core fans because now they can AFFORD to do it. Despite the controversies surrounding the gender and racial swapping of characters and the fiasco of the Hip Hop variant covers, yet not hiring a single creator of color to do one of those covers, and editors showing arrogance and ignorance in response to being questioned about this, but that's also a story for another time. If Marvel can sabotage Fantastic Four and X-Men to spite Fox, they feel like they can pretty much do anything and it won't affect them, besides, Star Wars is their biggest sellers in decades, anyway.
But enough about that, for now, my main worry, is that Marvel is overexposing a character that is starting to decline in popularity already and has a toxic creator working on it that drawn in a style that is a very niche, indie style that is not incredibly appealing to a mainstream market, and that will harm the character in the long run, like it's been hurting Batgirl, and like it hurt Lobo, Wolverine, Deadpool, and Harley Quinn before. Except that in my opinion Spider-Gwen is a weaker character in comparison to all those mentioned. That's all for this blog, stay tuned for part 3, thank you for reading and have a kick-ass weekend!
Hello, everybody! LAnce Danger here for a semi-regular new post in the vain of what Manuel has been doing. This will be a quick hit, or rather a Danger Hit, of the stuff I've been reading. I had a lot to catch up with so here we go. WARNING, SPOILERS AHEAD!
Todd McFarlane Writer/CoWriter 250, 254, 255
Paul Jenkins Writer/CoWriter Spawn Resurrection, #251-254
Szymon Kudranski Artist #250
Jonboy Meyers Artist #250-255, Spawn Resurrection
I've been a Spawn fan for a VERY long time now. I kind of fell off the wagon here and there after Greg Capullo left the title, but started to buy it more consistently when Whilce Portacio started doing some of the artwork for a handful of issues.
With that in context, I missed most of the Jim Downing era of Spawn, who took over as the titular character after Al Simmons apparently killed himself in issue 190. Well, with the announced return of Simmons in issue 250, I couldn't pass up rejoining Spawn more consistently, especially since Paul Jenkins was slated to take over writing duties from issue 251 onward.
So, after a bit of a messy story about Downing's symbiot trying to take over New York, Downing basically sacrifices himself to stop the symbiot, which in turn opens a door for Al Simmons to return to this world who was trapped in a limbo, where he pretty much exiled himself to.
Back in our world with God's sword and being a pawn yet again in the battle between God and Satan, it's discovered that Simmons wife, Wanda, got killed by the forces of Satan as a message to Spawn and now her soul, and the soul of her and Al's unborn child, are trapped in Hell, where demons are trying to capture her. As you would imagine, Simmons does not take kindly to this and is now on a mission to save Wanda and kill Satan.
It's been an intriguing story so far, with Al Simmons actually being more proactive than he ever was originally. There were many cool moments in the story so far, like Simmons discovering that his symbiot is made up of the innocent people he killed as an assassin for the government.
Kudranski's art was solid as it ever was in issue 250, being the second longest lasting artist on Spawn behind Greg Capullo. And Jonboy Meyer's art is just stunning, reminding me of an early Joe Madureira/Ale Garza (with a hint of Jeff Matsuda) mash up, and that's a great thing.
The story started off on a bit of a confusing note, but has been better as the issues progressed, though I hate that Jenkins is no longer the writer as of issue 255 with McFarlane resuming writing duties. Don't get me wrong, I like McFarlane's writing, but I LOVE Jenkin's writing. Sill, looking forward to this war that is building up for the next few issues between Al Simmons and hell.
On a dangerscale of 1-5, I give the run so far of Spawn numbers 250-255 and Spawn Resurrection 3 1/2 God Swords: confusing beginning, but getting way better as it goes.
BATMAN 41-44 (SUPER HEAVY)
Scott Snyder Writer/CoWriter 41-44
Brian Azzarello CoWriter 44
Greg Capullo Artist 41-43
Jock Artist 44
I am an unabashed fan of Snyder/Capullo's Batman run, it's probably my favorite Batman run of all time, even with some of it's flaws.
After the events of Batman: Endgame, Batman is believed dead and in the mess of it all Powers industries takes over Wayne Enterprises. Powers commissions a Batman project to keep the city safe using Wayne technology. Gordon is approached to become Batman in a mech suit which at first he declines, but later accepts with the help of Alfred's daughter Julia as his assistant as part of the Powers team of mechanics.
Bruce Wayne after getting dipped in the idonysium from the Endgame arc was revived and fully healed, including parts of his brain where there was the imbalances that scarred him the night his parents died. So, he came back t life with no memory nor the desire to save the city, and still doesn't know he was even Batman, and is living a pretty regular life so far.
But there's a new villain out there by the name of Bloom that has been slowly being built up as a mayor villain, taking out Penguin's gang and actually impaling Penguin in the process!
Issue 44 deals with an early case that seems to involve Bloom with Bruce still being Batman.
So far the story is developing at a nice pace, slower than Endgame since it feels like it'll be a longer story, but not as slow as Zero Year. Of course like with the previous arcs, the buildup is a slow burn but an addicting one. The only complaint if I had to nitpick is the issue 44 kind of felt out of place, like it belonged as a prologue to Super Heavy rather than right in the middle of the story, since it gives it a feel of being a filler issue.
Greg Capullo is his usual spectacular self with the artwork and Jock doing Batman again even if it's for one issue id always a great sight to see. Looking forward to what the future holds in this story and what ramifications it'll have with the Batfamily. Snyder and Capullo introduced us to the Court of Owls and Talon, so looking forward to what Bloom will come to be.
In a dangerscale of 1-5, I give Batman issues 41-44 a 4 1/2 sunflowers in bloom: good start, but issue 44 brings it down a small notch for feeling out of sequence.
SUPERMAN 41-43 (BEFORE TRUTH PARTS 1-3)
Gene Luen Yang Writer
John Romita Jr Artist
Speaking of out of sequence, here comes Before Truth parts 1-3, going into detail on how and why Lois Lane reveals to the world that Clark Kent is Superman.
Ever since the ordeal with Ulysis from the previous arc and Superman using the super-flare for the first time, Lois Lane has been suspecting Clark Kent of being Supes for a while now.
All this comes to a head when a mysterious young woman asks for Lois and Clark's help at the Daily Planet. Clark and Jimmy Olsen help her escape from her pursuers and Lois tags along.
Throughout all this Clark has been receiving mysterious text messages from a person that knows Clark's secret identity. In the middle of the young woman being followed, they are attacked by humaniod ninjas where Lois finally confronts Clark and finally knows he's Superman.
The young woman (named Condesa, btw) infiltrate a super high tech campus hidden in the sky (just go with it) to confront a man by the name of Hordr_Root (just go with it), who is revealed to be the mysterious person that was texting Clark all this time.
He collects data at a worldwide level and he wants Superman to join forces with him, or he'll reveal his secret, as we find out Condesa was just bait to lure him there. Superman flares up so they can all escape, which they do, but not before a big robot touched him mid-flare.
Back at Lois' apartment Clark recovers and we see Jimmy had been planted with a bug. Hordr_Root sends Supes one last ultimatum, join him or he'll reveal his secret, which Clark thought he had destroyed all of the data when he flared up, but sneaky Hordr_Root (what a pain in the ass to spell his name!) had back up of all of Clark's data. Clark and Lois go to him to see what deal might be struck. Turns out HR (I refuse to keep typing out his whole name) wants Superman to flare up so his special robots like the one that touched him mid-flare last time, can store that energy. As he flares up, Lois in an attempt to stop Superman and fearing for his life, goes ahead and reveals to the world that Clark Kent is Superman so HR can no longer have leverage over him and let him go.
He let's go after Superman destroys the robots, but Superman is Superpissed that Lois leaked his identity, even if it was to save him. The issue ends with Lois' father popping up to bring down Supes.
I honestly don't know how to feel about this story. t's almost like when Spider-Man revealed his identity during Civil War. Yes, it was under different circumstances, but again, once DC wants to give Superman his Clark Kent persona again....how will they do it? I just hope this doesn't open any doors to a Marvel crossover with Mephisto popping in.....The buildup has been good, and Yang has written some pretty good dialogue. Good old JRJR continues to look like he's getting more and more comfortable drawing Superman with each issue looking better and better.
Overall in a dangerscale of 1-5, I give Superman issues 41-43 3 1/2 bugged lattes: good story, solid art, but where do we go from here?
WE STAND ON GUARD 1-3
Brian K Vaughn Writer
Steve Skroce Artist
In a dystopian future, the USA is in war with Canada as the US tries to invade the north for resources. There's a rebel alliance that band together to stop the American threat. And that's pretty much the gist of it. And it's AWESOME.
Vaughn needs no introduction (but if you need one, he's written brilliant comics like Y The Last Man for DC's Vertigo and Saga for Image). He writes this band of rebels with great and unique personalities and so far he's gone very Game of Thrones in this early on, giving a sense that no character is safe.
Steve Skroce is an artist I was a HUGE fan of back in the late 90's when he had a hot streak of pencilling X-Man, Spider-Man, Gambit, Youngblood, and Wolverine before landing it big as a storyboard artist for big movies like The Matrix trilogy. Well, he's back to making comics more consistently and to be honest, I didn't like the art much in the first issue. But now into issue 3, it's like he somehow got his groove back and is firing on all cylinders. One nitpick I have is with the coloring. Matt Hollingsworth is a good colorist, but as with the case with Sean Murphy on The Wake, I just somehow feel the pencil art style and the coloring art style kind of doesn't mesh, as well as with the tone of the story. It's not too distracting, but I just feel visually ot kind f doesn't connect.
On a dangerscale of 1-5, We Stand On Guard gets 4 maple leafs: strong story, increasingly better art, coloring is a bit off for my tastes.
THE BEAUTY #1
Jeremy Haun CoWriter/Artist
JAson A Hurley CoWriter
I'm a fan of Haun and follow him on Facebook, so I've been aware of this title for quite some time now. As of this writing issue 2 was released today, but haven't had a chance to buy it, so this is more about issue 1.
There's a sexually transmitted disease going around that makes people beautiful for a period of time before they die. So there's an epidemic going on of people having unprotected sex to be able to contract this disease purposely to be able to be beautiful, even if it comes at the cost of dying within a short period of time or go through the rest of their life under medication.
Two detectives are on a case, one of them has the disease and is under medication. The other detective at the end of the issue sees that he somehow contracted the disease as well and it ends in a cliffhanger.
This was a very good first issue with a good cliffhanger, again, not too much to say since it's only one issue, but I'm hooked so far. Unique story, great art.
On a dangerscale of 1-5, I give The Beauty #1 4 glamour shots: great first issue.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS 1-5
Dan Slott Writer
Adam Kubert Artist
Last but not least it's the alternate world Secret Wars tie-in ASM: Renew Your Vows.
In this story most of Earth's heroes are dead, killed by a being named Regent, who has been capturing and assimilating other heroes special abilities. Peter Parker and MJ have their daughter Annie in this reality, who inherited her father's abilities and Peter has been keeping her powers under control with an inhibitor chip.. Peter is now retired to keep his family safe from Regent and other villains, as he had to deal with a deranged Venom that attacked his family. Peter does what he never thought he would do, and kills Venom in order to keep his family safe from being hunted down by him ever again.
For years they live a relatively normal life until Regent gets closer to finding out Annie has powers. In an incident at Annie's school where kids with powers were discovered, Peter has to save his daughter from being caught and has to ride again as Spider-Man.
Now that Regent knows that Spider-Man has resurfaced, he wants to capture him because he wants his powers to be more complete. He has his own version of the Sinister Six and hunts Spidey down. It all comes to a head when Spidey confronts the Sinister Six while attempting to capture Annie. In the middle of the battle MJ and Annie are taken by SHIELD, who are now a small rebel group fighting Regent. Sandman, part of this rebel group, tries to save Peter as well, but Pete thinks Sandman is tricking him and is part of the Sinister Six, and they both end up being captured by Regent.
MJ and Annie are with SHIELD as Peter is slowly dying being assimilated by Regent. A big final battle erupts as Regent finds the rebel base and at the same time SHIED infiltrates Regent's base with a plan to stick Annie's inhibitor chip on Regent. As it turns out, Regent had been assimilating all those powers to fight Dr Doom, who in Secret Wars has become a God, and Regent wanted to fight him and liberate everyone. No one believes him of course, so when the chip is finally implanted on him, Spider-Man, MY wearing a prototype Regent suit that happened to fit her (just go with it) and Annie team up and defeat Regent as a family.
THIS is the Spider-Man story and many of the older fans WANTED to read years ago! The natural evolution of Peter Parker having a family with MJ. And many other people wanted this story too, since the mini-series turned out to be a big surprise hit for Marvel, with many clamoring for an ongoing series based on this reality. The story was fast paced, fun, in essence, it was the quintessential Spider-Man story and one of the best, if not the best I've read in years. Much like with Skroce, at first I kind of didn't like Kubert's art in the first issue, but man did this comic get beautiful with issue 2 onward! It was an absolute joy to read. The ending was kind of corny with MJ finding a suit that so happens to fit her, but in the previous issue we got Annie kicking Craven in the nuts, so it's all good!
In the dangerscale of 1-5, I give ASM: Renew Your Vows 1-5 5 PP hearts MJs: the only bad thing about this is that it ended.
Here you go, other quick hits won't be as long, just had A LOT to catch up with. Thank you for reading and look out for more stuff heading your way!
Picture this: You are a creator in one of the biggest publishing companies in the world. Within a set of parameters established by editors and other creators, you have been given the keys to a character that is well known and beloved by many. In essence, a dream project. You have a great creative team to help carry out your vision and the vision that the company wants for that character.
You sit down, you write and let the other pieces of this fine tuned machine work their individual magic and then you have a team effort produced comic book. It comes out, and suddenly, it starts with one tweet. "That was offensive" says the condemning tweet, and it's followed by an avalanche of criticism and articles not just condemning the product, but condemning you as a creator and a person.
Suddenly you are caught between this small, yet incredibly vocal, community that is asking either for an apology, resignation, or in some cases both. So you go fine, I'll compromise and apologize, and be careful about what I do next time. So you apologize, and get somewhat forgiven by these people, but now you have a bulls eye on your back. You walk on eggshells and without warning, eight months later, again you managed to somehow offend these same people with something different. You throw your arms up and yet again apologize but now they are not as forgiving. Then you and your team, as well as editors, decide to make the comic completely safe, without any kind of story that may be triggering in any fashion.
So, now your dream project which you had a vision of not only has to be in tune with the vision the company has, but also be in tune with the vision a particular group has for the title, until it no longer is your vision anymore, it's everybody's vision except your own. The title struggles. Readership starts plummeting and yet, somehow it's your fault for "dropping the ball", then the eventual team overhaul comes, or in a worse case scenario, cancellation.
Times are changing, there's no denying that. Comics have gone from a hobby that not many people did or were ashamed to admit that they did, to now being the new mainstream in pop culture. With that comes a whole new focus and set of responsibilities. But, how far should those responsibilities go, especially when the internet provides unprecedented access to publishers and creators like never before?
It's been pretty established that with a bigger spotlight, the more scrutinized something will become, just ask the video game industry, which has gone from kid/family entertainment to a multi-million dollar industry. Video games traditionally have been both a compliment and a competitor for the comic book industry, and they actually share many similarities. But that's a topic for another day. What I want to discuss here is whether or not some comics are becoming a little too safe and overexposed to an extent, and if that is actually doing more harm than good.
That brings me to the curious case of Batgirl. After Gail Simone left her run on what was arguably one of the strongest runs the character ever had, the creative team was replaced with Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher, and Babs Tarr.
Starting with issue number 35, it was an exciting, fresh, hipper new take on Batgirl. She was basically deaged to being a college student and a complete overhaul of her costume and general character traits. This was received with much excitement from mainstream outlets and newer fans as well, while in a way, isolating the older fans and readers that were behind this title up to Simone's run.
"Why not just bring back Stephanie Brown?" many of these fans asked in reference to the Batgirl of the pre-New 52 era of DC Comics (for those who do not know what New 52 and pre-New 52 DC Comics is, basically in 2012 DC Comics decided to wipe out the continuity of all it's titles and started everything from scratch again, resulting in a new continuity in an effort to bring in new readers), and that became what was the first in a series of polarizing debates over the comic.
Some fans claimed that this new Barbara Gordon was too "hipster", and that it was dumbed down from the Barbara they knew, while the new readers praised it for it's new outlook and growing out of the tragic past the character had. Both sides had valid points, but like always in a business, the final word is always dictated by sales. Batgirl was starting to climb up the charts and even before the official release of issue 35, the new design already had spawned various fanarts from the online community. DC Comics had a good hit on their hands, and with the more appealing look started branching out to other places such as library posters done specifically for the purpose of getting teenagers and kids to read. There were even talks about "Batgirling" characters, in other words giving the same aesthetics of the current Batgirl to other characters in the DCU. So despite of the small division in the fandom, Batgirl was on the up and up. Until issue 37 came out.
In this issue, Batgirl was dealing with an impostor. When she finally confronts this person, it turns out to be a man dressed up as a woman. In a panel, Batgirl is surprised at the fact that it was a man in the costume. This infuriated readers. It was met with such backlash from this sector of the internet that writer Cameron Stewart actually issued an apology on behalf of the creative team in a public statement.
"How can she be surprised, it's so transgenderphobic!" "Comics was my safe-zone until this issue." "She should know better, her roommate in the Simone run was a transgender!" "I had hopes for this title and it's been dashed." And so went on the comments and articles over one panel.
But what amused me personally, was the comments by people who didn't even read the comic, but strangely enough, were the most vocal in their opinions than the average fan.
"I haven't read comics in years, but I knew this would happen!" "I haven't read Batgirl since the seventies, but I feel disappointed in this run." "I don't read comics but I just knew this was going to happen because it's comics." And what's interests me the most, it was mostly straight women and straight males that were so vocal about this. It makes me wonder if this was in a way the same as with Speedy Gonzalez and WB. For a while WB actually banned Speedy Gonzalez because people found him an offensive stereotype of Mexicans. Until that ban was revoked by, well, Mexicans that weren't offended at all by the character and wanted him back. It was a large group of people speaking FOR a minority without really even considering what they themselves thought.
After the dust cleared, business went on as usual and the book did not suffer much from the controversy. Plans were steaming ahead for "Batgirling" characters and one of those mentioned was Black Canary. Everything seemed once again to be on the up and up with Batgirl. Until a preview of issue 41.
This issue was to have a variant cover celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Joker, and all titles were to have a different Joker themed variant cover. For Batgirl, artist Rafael Albuquerque depicted the Joker and Batgirl in a throwback/homage to Alan Moore's story The Killing Joke, a story where the Joker shot Barbara Gordon, in effect paralyzing her. Many things can (and has) be said about this story, it was done in a very different time in comics, where stories were starting to become increasingly darker.
In any event, twitter went into a frenzy yet again, this time making the hashtag #changethecover and even insulting and threatening artist Albuquerque. In this instance, Albuquerque himself addressed the issue by publicly apologizing and asking DC to pull the cover, which they did. And on top of that, writer Cameron Stewart, like Pontius Pilate, washed his hands of this controversy and pinned everything on Albuquerque, stating that he did not know of this cover, and that he does not want to have this cover printed because it did not represent his run on Batgirl despite this just being a variant cover.
The comments and articles echoed those of the transgenderphobia , except there were some startling misinformation. The best way to make an overview of the misinformation done either out of ignorance or just to downright lie to prove their point, I'm going to paraphrase what a prominent twitter/youtube personality said in a debate about this cover and whether or not it was offensive:
"This cover is based on the story Death of the Family where Batgirl was raped, beaten up, and shot by the Joker." When the moderator asks "wait, Death of the Family...?", she apologizes and says "oh, I'm sorry, I meant A Death in the Family, they just sound so familiar!"
The story was Killing Joke. Barbara Gordon was not raped. Joker didn't even know that Barbara was Batgirl, he did it to get at Commissioner Gordon as a way to get at Batman. Death of the Family was the story by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo which dealt the Joker trying to kill the extended family of Batman because he loves him and wanted him to become the Batman that did not depend on the other characters. A Death in the Family is a story by Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo where the Joker beats up the Jason Todd version of Robin and then blows him and his mother to pieces after a telephone poll decided that Jason Todd should die in this story.
There was a debate about whether this cover was appropriate for the series which had a lighter tone, and a case can somewhat be made here about that point. But on the other hand, this was a variant cover, simply meaning that people that didn't like this cover could simply by the standard cover and not even bat an eyelash to this collector's specific special cover.
Despite of the controversy, DC continued with the plan to "Batgirling" other properties while the actual Batgirl comic became increasingly "safer". But, suddenly, the title was not on the up and up anymore.
After the cover controversy, the image went more viral than if it had been left alone, and as I mentioned, Batgirl stories became increasingly safer. But after all that and after the Convergence event by DC, DC released the first title that got the "Batgirl" overhaul.
Written by Batgirl co-writer Brendan Fletcher and artist Annie Wu, Black Canary #1 debuted with a younger Black Canary who is also the lead singer of a rock band. And so far, sales have been less than stellar.
As a matter of fact, the Batgirl title itself has been going down the charts rapidly. Controversies have certainly taken it's toll, but one of the main reasons people that stood behind Batgirl have started a backlash on the title because they find this safer Batgirl bland and boring now.
And as a result, the new readers that had tuned in are now abandoning the book. To the extent that there are rumors that DC editors now put a full halt on the "Batgirling" of other properties after the misfire Black Canary has been and with Batgirl now struggling to find an audience. Why did this happen? Was it the controversy? Was it the evolution of the character becoming more and more safe? Maybe it was both.
In my opinion, this is why when a comic, or any property really, starts turning TOO safe, the property just becomes uninteresting. An all ages property does not have to be safe all the time, because then you don't care the same way for the characters, because you don't feel any sense of danger happening to them, you know for a fact that everything will turn out all right.
Look at all the Disney movies for example, all ages, but sometimes it has some REAL dark elements in them and a sense of danger for the characters. As a result the character arcs are more interesting and it makes you root for them and celebrate when a character finally overcomes an obstacle that seemed insurmountable. It becomes memorable. It becomes profitable. My problem with how Batgirl eventually turned out is that it played to a certain group of an audience that didn't even read the book to begin with and turned into something that is caught in the middle: it wants to be all-ages but appeal to the older readers and somehow please everybody at the same time, that it stopped taking chances.
How will this affect the title going forward? Only time will tell. In the second part of this short series of blogs, I'll write about overexposure and finally go into detail on why I personally do not like Spider-Gwen as an ongoing character. Until next time, thank you for reading and see you next time!
In a dark corner of the multiverse exists a place known as RED EARTH, a derranged long forgotten planet once known as Earth. There, the lone survivors of this now dead world play dangerous depraved death games in a mobile stadium, a diabolical wonder of a long forgotten era now referred to as "Bye Bye World". The strange name comes from an event in which millions of people purposely entered a stadium to die and therefore in a way; say "bye bye to the world". During this event DINA appeared as a young slave thrown into the "mouth of the beast" to be slaughtered by monstrous gladiators that fought in the arena for years. Dina plays the innocent damsel in distress but she soon discovered that she's some sort of immortal being able to regenerate from any type of wound.
For years she wondered through Red Earth's desolate landscape, pretending to be different people and dying over and over again. Dina is later discovered by BoBo, a guard in Bye Bye World at the time. Both elaborated a plan to take down the evil Master Lords of Red Earth and liberate all slaves on this desolated planet. During this period Dina masqueraded herself as "The Ripper" to hide her abilities from The Lords while taking them down one by one. This takes them a long time until they finally reach Lord Kranus's home, the Leader of all Lords. There she's confronted by a mystery that'd been tormenting her since the day she and BoBo discovered her abilities. She had no memories previous to meeting BoBo so she constantly wondered: "Am I the only one?", "Are there others like me?", "What are they?", "What was their purpose?"
There were many theories on how she'd been a tech slave in a previous era, a super soldier weapon in a long forgotten war, and how BoBo met Dr. Albandor on Lord Kranus' lair, Dr. Albandor was a strange man who seemed very interested in Dina since they meet at Kranus' Castle in the forgotten lands. During this time, Dina discovered an old data storage nod which (once activated) makes Dina go on a rampage; becoming extremely aggressive and brutal. It's the good old Doctor who manages to disconnect the device from Dina and return her to her normal self,this encouraged the notion that Dina is a biological weapon created in a more resent era and so; Dina accepts this notion for a few months. But it's the Doctor who relates the tale of the legendary QUEEN, a woman who ruled Earth millions of centuries before Dina's time, explaining to them how the Earth fell and the Queen left the planet; taking with her the best humanity had to offer. The Queen then began building her empire in the stars, leaving behind the decadence and the uninvolved to rot and die in this desolate wasteland of a planet; and how her return would bring a new golden age to humanity. He focuses on Dina, encouraging her to evolve; but at the same time trying to control and manipulate her emotions and decisions. Later, hey discovered that he's the one who programmed the data nod to prorogued in Dina those strong emotions and test exactly how powerful she truly was. Afterwards, Dina and BoBo became lost all trust in the Doctor and his real intentions.
It wasn't long after those events that one of Lord Kranus "parties" where Dina was the main event, a strange female creature appears. Dr. Albandor is surprisingly agitated by this development and calls the creature a "DHARMAX". After he described it as an old "Huovian"*. During this situation the creature approached Dina who's ready to battle the creature, even though this creature has already decimated all of Lord Kranus's entire troops by now in a brutal yet quick and efficient fashion. But to everybody's surprise, the creature takes but one look at Dina and leaves her alone focusing then on Dr. Albandor who barely managed to escape from the creature. After loosing it's prey, Dharmax is confronted by Dina but leaves the scene in a flash of energy leaving Dina, BoBo and the good doctor wondering; why did that creature was there to begin with? This accelerated the Dr.'s agenda forcing his hand to reveal Dina's true origin. He then confesses to Dina that he's "in some way" her father, creating her from a long lost forgotten sample of the royal blood; a sample of the queen herself!!!
*Imperial warrior, a very dangerous creature who's only mission is to policy Huovian Khayss* and/or citizens of the empire from interfering in the affairs of less advanced civilizations in lower less advanced realms of the multiverse.
After this reveal, Dina began to explore and found out that her predecessor is a mysterious woman only referred to as "Dakueen", a military rank given by the leader of the Aztrals, followers of the ideology known as Boom Aztral in the first century of the new age of rebirth; right after The Age of Chaos in the last century of the Old Age*.
*It's said that this is what she read about, it's never been said exactly what information records provided by Dr. Albandor contained beyond the fact that the leader was referred to as "Dakueen" and some images depicting her. After her travel to the beginning of time through the Null Point Corridor, setting the timeline and the bloodline straight once again**. All she read was reset again, and a whole new universe was born... or was it? Dina's copy of The Book of Aztral (sacred records of the times of Boom Aztral) was billions of years old, now the future of humanity is uncertain as we just witnessed the birth of the age of BOOM BOOM AZTRAL.
**As seen on the last episode of BBW: "BLOODLINES".
Boom Boom Aztral is created, copyright and owned by Scorp Jimenez.
This comic SUCKS.
Thank you for reading, as always, look forward to my next post!
-Alvaro Cortes Jr, aka Lance Danger
....I'm not getting off that easy, aren't I.......? OK..........let's start over again......
SPIDER-MAN: ONE MORE DAY- THE EPIC REVIEW
Hello, everybody, hope all is well! It's been a while, so what better way than to do a Spider-Man related blog? WARNING: There almost no doubt will be cursing by the end of this blog. You have been fairly warned.
Ahhh, One More Day. Nothing I write will add to what others have by now. It is notorious for being perhaps one of the worst Spidey-stories ever.
All this stems off the foul stench that was Civil War, where Peter Parker does the unthinkable, and reveals his identity to the world in support of the super hero registration act.
I know I've mentioned it before, but my first thought was "how the hell were they going to retcon this after Civil War!?" Sometimes, the cure is worse than the disease. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the abomination simply known as:
Spider-Man: One More Day.
As a result of Peter revealing his identity, dear Aunt May gets shot on a botched assassination attempt on Peter. Wow. Who knew that if he'd reveal his identity, EVERYTHING HE FOUGHT FOR FOR KEEPING HIS LOVED ONES SAFE WOULD RESULT IN A LOVED ONE TAKING A BULLET! But I digress.
We start off with issue 544 of the Amazing Spider-Man (vol 1), where Peter and MJ take May to the hospital, and is on the verge of being sent to the charity ward of the facility, since they used a false name to secure the identity of May, they can't use any form of medical insurance (Obamacare BETTER address this before his term ends, you never know!).
Peter gets mad and says he'll do whatever it takes to get money and it turns out the doctor had an uncle Spider-Man saved once, so he'll stall the higher ups at the hospital in the meantime. At least that's more believable than crane dad in the first Amazing Spider-Man movie.
Anywho, Peter goes to Tony Stark to guilt trip money out of him, they both whine then Stark says no and leaves of course leaving Pete in despair. But wouldn't you know it, by the end Stark has a change of heart and sends Jarvis with a cool 2 mil check to cover for everything. And still the doctor says she's going to die. Not next to those filthy non-insured people, but a nicer death in a nicer facility. Fuck you, the 1%!!! And that leads to part two of this story.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (try saying that five times fast with your moth full of sloppy joes) issue 24, Peter continues his petulant whining on to other characters in the Marvel U.
Here in, to be honest, perhaps the best issue of this story, Parker goes to Dr Strange to see if he can somehow save May. He says he can't (I bet Benedict Cumberbatch could as Sherlock....) and Pete proceeds to see his future help pleading for help throughout the Marvel U and it all ends in the same: no one can help May.
Spider-Man's spirit goes to the past and ends up at the point where May gets shot. In astral form he tries to prevent the bullet from hitting May but of course the bullet passed through him and he has to witness May getting shot again.
Strangely Spider-Man actually got hurt by having a bullet go through him in spirit form and is dying, but Dr Strange saves him in time by taking him back to his Sanctum Sanctorum.
He cries and whines some more before leaving Dr Strange when he follows this random red bird we've seen since the beginning of this issue, running into a small red-headed girl.
The third part picks off where the second one ended with Spidey talking with the "mysterious" red-headed little girl that IN NO WAY WHATSOVER resembles a young Mary Jane, EVEN WHEN SHE SAYS SHE TAKES AFTER HER MOTHER. WINK, WINK, WIIIIINNNNNKKKKK!!!!!!!
I have to admit though, when she randomly started calling Peter selfish and self-involved, I swear I wanted to adopt her! I mean hey, at least ONE character was self-aware in this story. Thank you, JMS!
The little girl runs away and in a bizarre twist, Peter, running after the little girl, runs into two alternate versions of himself if he had never been bitten by the radioactive Spider.
He's led into an alley where he's greeted by a mysterious woman in red. She goes on to explain what I just spoiled, which reminds me:
And then it turns out that the woman in red is actually Mephisto doing his best cross dressing Bugs Bunny impersonation. He takes Peter back to MJ to the motel room where May was shot and makes THE offer:
He'll save May in exchange for their marriage.
We finally make it to the fourth and final part of One More Day.
Quit frankly...there's not much to say about this issue. J Michael Staczynski allegedly didn't even want a writing credit for this, which wound up being the final issue on his Amazing Spider-Man run, with the credit saying the story was done by JMS and Joe Quesada. He supported the idea of a break up, but hated the way Joe Q wanted it to go down.
May is dying, Peter is whining, and he and MJ think about Mephisto's offer. That's essentially it for the majority of this issue. Death. Whining. Awkward silences. What a wonderful story, don't you think?
Towards the end FINALLY they come to the decision that they will accept Mephisto's deal. But MJ had one condition which she whispers in Mephisto's ear before accepting. And shit gets real.
The red-headed girl turned out to be Peter and MJ's daughter. DUUUHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! And she pops up again to say now she will never be born because the marriage never existed.
Oh, how wonderful. Death. Whining. Awkward silences. Spiritual children wiping. WHAT A WONDERFUL STORYYYYYYY.....DON'T YOU THINK!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
And just as Peter and MJ say their final good byes in this continuity, IT happened. The exact moment I stopped being a comic book fan and stopped buying mainstream comics for about five years. The final words MJ tells Peter is "face it, tiger, you just hit the jackpot"........that, was a slap to the face. That was a slap to the face while having the middle finger being waved at you while Joe Quesada is obnoxiously squealing "NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NAAAAAAAA!".
Death. Whining. Awkward silences. Spiritual children wiping. And Joe Quesada slapping you in the face while waving the middle finger and obnoxiously squealing "NA, NA, NA, NA, NA, NAAAAAAA!"......WHAT A FANFUCKINGTASTIC WONDERFUL STORRRYYYYY.........................DON'T YOU THINK!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
And it didn't even end there. In one of the biggest WTF momentes EVER, after Peter is back living with a healthy aunt May (seriously, Pete needs therapy for this unhealthy attachment to aunt May. Let us forget that time before Superior Spider-Man started when Pete's mind was in Doc Oc's body, and he saw his memories and saw and LIVED the wedding night between...EEWWWW, EWWWW, EEEWWWW), he goes to a welcome home party.....FOR HARRY OSBORN. Somehow, Peter and MJ not ever getting married, BROUGHT BACK HARRY OSBORN FROM THE DEAD.
We get introduced to Carly Cooper, who I must say, I actually really liked her character eventually, MJ leaves the party dejected, as everyone toasts to a Brand New Day. The. End.
WOW. I don't even know where to begin! The story was stupid from the start, I always had the theory that Marvel wanted to do the whole reveal during Civil War just as a shock value moment to boost sales and get media attention like the media whores they've become. All the while without even knowing HOW to give Peter his identity back.
If you can, for a moment, imagine if it was like this: you're in the bathroom (Marvel). You take a dump (Civil War), but you realize there's no toilet paper (plot). Then you have the great idea of wiping your ass with your sock (the reveal/One More Day). Yes, you solved the immediate problem, but now you have one less sock. And that is what One More Day is to me: shit on a sock.
It had all the potential in the world! JMS! Joe Quesada! What could POSSIBLY go wrong with such a powerhouse team!?
The story has it's moments. The second part was actually a pretty solid story with the mystical aspect of Dr Strange and the desperation in Peter when he relieved the moment May got shot and again was not able to do anything.
The art is by Joe Quesada, who is one of my all-time favorite artists and even though this was not his best work, it was good. It was just weird that his pencils were rather sketchy, and combining that with the mostly computer generated backgrounds made his linework seem even sketchier. I liked the coloring touch that the majority of the story looked dark and gloom, and when Peter wakes up to his new reality the colors were bright and lively.
But the way Marvel handled this was atrocious. They had been wanting to separate Pete and MJ for years now at this point, but didn't pull the trigger on a divorce for not making Peter seem like an older character than he was. So they went the cheap way out and did this ex machina where they used Mephisto to wipe out the marriage. That...makes no sense what so ever.
I personally would've loved to have seen May die (again), and see how Peter and MJ coped with the decision of doing what was right, which was finally let aunt May go. It would've shown REAL repercussions to the events of Civil War. And it would once more show Peter that (everybody with me) with great power comes great responsibility. But no, again, this is a clear example of a company doing what they want for themselves and not for their fans.
On the dangerscale of 1-5, I give Spider-Man: One More Day, a NEGATIVE FIVE. And may God have mercy on Joe Quesada's soul. Thank you all for reading, hope you all enjoyed the summer, and let it be Halloween already!
-Alvaro Cortes Jr, aka Lance Danger
PS- This comic SUCKS.
So, last week I told you guys that I'd be dropping in every so often to give you a better idea as to what exactly is going to happen on our 1st ever 24 Hour Comic Online Challenge and today; I want to show you a video of a group of students who did pretty much exactly what we intend to do. Basically a few students gathered in a room to draw a comic in the span of 24 hours and halfway across the US there was another group of students doing exactly the same thing. At hour 15 they did a Skype call and showed each group what they've done so far and you can see in the video how excited they were to be a part of such an event. I really do hope that a bunch of people take on the challenge with us on October 3rd. But anyhow, enjoy the video and I'll see you all very soon!
This is the Blog about all things Truthful Comics. Looking forward to reading your posts!