Tag: Batman

With Further Ado #176: Getting Chatty (and Catty) with Cliff Chiang

With Further Ado #176: Getting Chatty (and Catty) with Cliff Chiang

Cliff Chiang is a gifted artist, a boundary pushing creator and a helluva nice guy. He’s smart, upbeat and laser-focused on producing the best work possible. I’ve always enjoyed time his work and our conversations.  With all that in mind, I found myself enjoying the first issue of his latest, Catwoman: Lonely City, more than I thought I would.  I should note this oversized, four-issue comic series is from the DC Black Label imprint. There’s been a lot of Batman stories published lately (as Mike Gold pointed out here), and I worried I had had my fill of the character for a while.

Chiang has pleasantly surprised me yet again. I was so impressed with this book. I had to reach out to the artist, now writer-artist, to find out more. Here are the highlights from our conversation:


Ed Catto: I feel like right now, there’s a lot of Batman product out there. There’s a bunch of different projects coming out and part of me was like, “I think I’m reading too much Batman.” But somehow you broke through that clutter and really delivered something fresh with Catwoman: Lonely City.

Cliff Chiang: I wasn’t going to spend all this time on a throw-away story. I think you might be able to tell by the first issue, certainly by the second, that I’m trying to pay homage to those classic Batman stories, The Dark Knight Returns and Year One. You know, I almost hesitate to say “my take” take on it.  But I’m just looking to show the parts of Gotham and that don’t necessarily get shown.

Catwoman is such a perfect vehicle for that. She’s really a great character, but she’s also kind of not necessarily as rigidly defined as Batman . Certainly not the Batman that is popular today. I thought there was a lot of gray area to her that would be interesting, especially in the context of a more “crime story” showcase.

EC: Somehow it all seems very fresh. Visually I feel you tagged all the bases for fans, with all the old costumes and whatnot, and then you kind of faked us all out, with “here’s something new”.

CC: And that’s deliberate. Part of me wants to acknowledge all the publishing history that’s come before. That’s part of the mystery of the character. That’s part of what makes you feel her age as well. Because you’re like, “Oh wow she’s done this, and she’s done that. And this is the costume that she wore that time when she did this.

There’s a way in which all the publishing history, our character can be leveraged to make it feel the weight of the years.  And to celebrate that stuff to you know. A big part of this story is about is about getting older. Gotham gotten rid of superheroes, and sort of grown-up in the process.

And to take a look at how city like Gotham might function in the modern world. I wanted to play with that stuff as well.

So, you’ve got you the older stuff that we’re all fans of on one hand, and on the other hand, you can bring in new ideas. I didn’t want to throw away the old stuff.  I wanted to keep it and kind of look at different eyes and make you appreciate it again. And then bring in these other concepts to so that the whole thing is richer.

EC: This your first big venture as both writer and artist, Cliff. How was it working with a new writer (you) for “Cliff the artist”? How did that process change for you?

CC: You know, it’s funny. I started this two years ago, and the interesting thing about it is that, in order to get a handle on it all, because it’s such a big story and it’s a big job, I had to compartmentalize.  The writing –  it was a year of writing – included an outline and the full script.

I wrote in full script because I know how much information is there on the page. I’ve read so many scripts from other people, too. It allows me to kind of evaluate the story on an abstract level.

Whereas, by thumbnailing stuff (and not developing a full script- EC) ,you kind of get seduced by it because it’s a drawing.  It’s a comic all of sudden.  I wrote it all, and then I thumbnailed it and lettered it so it could be read by myself and the editors.

A lot of the writing was done, super focused, at the beginning.  Now as I’m drawing, I am thinking “Oh yeah, I knew this part was going to be a bear to draw.”

There’s so much stuff going on in every panel. Even for the city itself.  One of my goals is to make it feel really like New York City, and you can’t do that in a minimal way. Unfortunately. I wish I found shortcuts for this stuff, but at the same time, it’s what the story is. There were times when I cursed “the writer” a little bit. But it’s all going more or less “on plan”. It is taking longer than I ever expected.

EC: Do you think you would like to continue to create in this Black Label oversized the format for a while?

CC:  I do enjoy it. I think it needs the right kind of project. And I think you have to adjust your pacing for that.  That being said, I do enjoy the storytelling opportunities you get with the Black Label line.  It wasn’t until I held the thing in my and I realized the physical size of the page does have an impact.

EC: I was speaking with a local comic owner (Ash Gray from Comics for Collectors in Ithaca, NY) as I was preparing for our talk. It seems he under-ordered your series. He said that the orders were low initially on the first issue. Then there was a big buzz and it immediately sold out. Now he’s having trouble getting more copies to sell.

CC:  I was at the Baltimore Comic-Con. I met a lot of people there who are excited to read it. I met a lot of shop owners. Some of them knew to order heavy on it. [They had the opportunity] to read previews of it. They had two issues to read if they checked it out.  Some knew that, based on their store, based on their readers, that they could order “Batman numbers” on it.

Things do get lost in the shuffle.  Hopefully the buzz on it is that it sold out, and people bought it and that people came around asking for it.  Hopefully for the second issue people won’t be caught without it.

I just wanted to tell a story. I just want people to read it, and I think there’s a big audience for it. I think that’s the kind of book that you can, when all is said and done, hand it to somebody how might not be at the stores every week.  It could be someone who’s last Batman movie they watched was Batman Returns in 1992. What you need is just a basic pop culture knowledge of Batman and Catwoman. Everything else just falls into place.

It is a blank slate situation: Her name’s Catwoman.  She’s a cat burglar and she wears a cat costume. And sometimes she’s involved with Batman. And that’s all you need going into it.

EC: Upon reflection, of course, Catwoman is oftentimes portrayed as a sexy, young woman in a skintight suit. In Catwoman: Lonely City she’s not a young woman. I think it may have been a brave decision for you to have an older protagonist in this book.

CC:  Yes, I thought it immediately makes you reassess her. It puts both the reader and the character in a different place. It’s a pendulum. There’s a history of her as the sexy ingenue and then her involved in more hard-boiled crime.

For me, I felt making her older and having her grapple with ageism and sexism would force you to see her differently.  And in some ways, to tone that down, so you could see her as a person. Much of the story depends on you relating to her and to her losses and indignities and how she suffers. And you can’t do that with someone slinking around and purring and all that stuff.

I think that’s all part of her history. You see that in a couple of issues, too, but she’s not that person anymore. It’s a little bit of playing a part at one point in your life and moving past it.

EC: Working with your editors, was there every a point where you were told “watch out someone else is doing something similar?” Doing something with characters like Catwoman or Killer Croc?  Or was this separate enough from everything else.

CC: A little of both. My editors were worried about something being similar to what just happened. But then, once we squared that away, everybody was really happy with the story. I think the realization was that: there’s an audience for this book is separate from the audience for other books.

And that’s okay. It’s a bigger project and it’s kind of more evergreen than whatever it is happening in the monthly book. There are things I wish, maybe, that had more novelty to them.  But we’ve seen that happen.  When I wrote this story – I came up with this story two years ago – there were elements that hadn’t appeared yet. That’s just the nature of the beast.

You think you are ahead of the curve. But you are not. You are just part of the Zeitgeist like everyone else. You can think you’re clever doing a book about adolescents in 1988 and then, two months later, after your book, Stranger Things comes out.

EC: This is more of a technical question.  You are a very thoughtful artist and you’ve been doing this for a long time. Do you feel as if you deal with editors differently now than you would have years ago?

CC: Probably. I’m on the same wavelength as the editors. And Black Label is open to creators taking changes and thinking about things differently.  So, it’s a pleasure. All the interactions and all the notes and suggestions from the editors make the story better. As an artist I can appreciate that end of it. It’s so great that I can’t complain about it.

EC:  Well, Cliff this has been fantastic.  Good chatting with you, I hope to see you in person real soon. Good luck with everything and best your family during this Yuletide Season.

CC: Okay, all right. Hey, thanks a lot and take care now.


Issue #2 of Cliff Chiang’s Catwoman: Lonely City, a DC Black Label book, is on sale December 22nd.

 

 

Brainiac On Banjo: How Many Batmans Does It Take To Screw Up A Catalog?

BATMAN. Don’t stop dancin’. Do it, do it, do it, do it. BATMAN, BATMAN, BATMAN. Don’t stop, don’t stop. Let’s do it. Don’t stop dancin’. Let’s do it, BATMAN. Let’s do it, BATMAN. Don’t stop dancin’. Don’t stop dancin’. No, damn it! Turn the music back up! You son of a bitch! – Batdance, written by Prince, 1989.

Between 1960 and 1993, Harvey Comics published (I could have ended the sentence right there) some 48 different Richie Rich titles. Screw Casper and Hot Stuff, Richie was the big breadwinner in the Harvey household. Whereas I’ve got way too short an attention span to plot this out on a spreadsheet, a great great many were released at the same time, over the same two-month publishing cycle.

Pumping out Richie stories was a tonnage operation because Richie Rich was that successful. It’s not as though most titles had an aura of individuality – aside from Richie Rich and Casper; that series was a lot of fun and, for that matter, pretty weird. Harvey Comics published whatever the newsstand market could bare at that time. I highly doubt anybody at Harvey ever said “Shit! Richie Rich $ucce$$ isn’t selling, so let’s hurry up and replace it with Richie Rich Gems.”

Artist Frank Brunner once quipped they needed a title called “Richie Rich’s Tax Shelters.”

Which brings us to the matter of Batman.

Take a look at DC’s product catalog for January 2022. The catalog is called DC Connect and it’s available at most comics shops and maybe your more refined pet shops and hardware stores. Count the number of different Batman titles. I’m including all the titles that prominently feature members of the Batman Family – including The Joker. Each of their Batteam books – Robins, Batgirls – count, as do those other teams that put a Bat on the cover. I’ll wait.

If my math is correct (and I’ve only got so many fingers and toes) DC Comics is releasing 31 different “Batman” comics titles in January 2022 alone. That’s roughly two-thirds the number of different Richie Rich titles Harvey Comics published over 33 years, but I repeat, DC is doing this in just one month.

Should you want to purchase them all – which will make your friendly neighborhood comics retailer very happy – all you’ll need is $352.72. Personally, I’d ask for a discount, but not all comics shops can afford to do that.

Apples to apples, in constant dollars using 1993 as our vanishing point, 352.72 dollars right now would have only cost you 184.27 dollars in 1993. But given this whole supply-and demand COVID inflation thing going on, you might want avoid stalling your purchase.

Can the marketplace handle 31 different Batman comics titles for the cumulative price of $352.72? Ask me again in, say, February. Take comfort in the fact that Batman is not appearing in The Peacemaker teevee series. Batman completists wouldn’t be able to make their rent.

Richie Rich has been unemployed these past several decades, although, really, when did he ever hold down a real job? Nonetheless, he’s got the money to go into any business he might like. Please note the Rich Family does not seem to be lining up to buy DC Comics.

Come to think of it, I might ask “Would Richie Rich spend all that money on a 10-minute ego trip to inner-most outer space? The answer is “I have no doubt he already did.”

With Further Ado #160: What is the Best Comic DC Is Publishing?

With Further Ado #160: What is the Best Comic DC Is Publishing?

Recently, DC Comics made a lot of changes, after the last time they made a lot of changes, and I thought I was kind done with them. But you know what? I find myself enjoying quite a few of their titles.

  • For example, I’m digging Swamp Thing, especially with that great Mike Perkins art . Who would have ever thought that a character with an impressive lineage of top artists (Wrightson, Yeates, Bissette, Paquette – the list goes on and on) could ever find another artist on that level? They did with Perkins. His work is top-notch.
  • Detective Comics -While the main Batman title has been become a little too creepy for me, I have been picking up the last few issues of ‘ It’s refreshing to see the trials and tribulations of a downsized Bruce Wayne.
  • Tom Taylor and Andy Kubert are killing it on Batman: The Detective. I believe that Andy Kubert’s art is better than ever. Every page is in the “astonishing” category.

Wing and a Prayer

The best kept little secret at DC might be the new Nightwing series. In fact, it might be the most enjoyable comic DC’s publishing right now.

I saw a social media post from one the world’s top comic shop retailers, Marc Hammond. He was extolling the virtues of this Nightwing series just as I was preparing this column.  He’s a guy who knows his comics and keeps up with everything in the industry.

“The creative team on Nightwing is absolutely knocking it out of the park,” said Marc Hammond, Co-Owner of Aw Yeah Comics.* “Every issue immediately jumps to the top of the stack. It has a classic Dick Grayson feel to it while definitely forging a new path, placing Nightwing prominently at the forefront of the DC pantheon.” Continue reading “With Further Ado #160: What is the Best Comic DC Is Publishing?”

Brainiac On Banjo: No Lunch For Batman

Brainiac On Banjo: No Lunch For Batman

“Down on me, down on me; looks like everybody in this whole round world, they’re down on me.” Janis Joplin, Down On Me, 1967

Many years ago, the late and truly great Dennis O’Neil said that neither Bruce Wayne nor Batman had a sex life; he/they sublimated all such compulsions, folding them into the mission. Denny said that in the office that we shared, and, damn, it made sense to me. In fact, it explained a lot about the guy.

Mind you, as the writer or editor of a great, great many top-rank Batman stories over the course of five decades, I believe Denny knew more about what made Batman tick than Bruce Wayne ever could. However, this particular observation was not canonical. Bruce even fostered a son with his frenemy Talia al Ghul, and that child became the latest Robin — as of this writing, of course.

Let us now flash forward to the late summer of 2018 and the release of DC’s Black Label adults-only series, Batman – Damned. Created by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo, the story ran three issues. It was the first volume that upset some people, as it had the briefest glimpse of a small part of Bruce’s penis. To be fair, it really wasn’t enough to be perceived as salacious by anybody but the most pathetically repressed — not unlike Janet Jackson’s nipple which evidently blinded tens of thousands of small children who were watching the Super Bowl but were thinking of dinner.

Oh, yes: it also bothered the bean counters at DC/Warner Bros/WarnerMedia/AT&T/Lucky Charms or whatever the hell they were calling themselves that week. Bean counters are the most paranoid people in the media businesses; it’s in their job description. People made such a big deal of it that the Batwang was, well, overly circumcised in the digital editions and in later reprintings. The parent companies were so offended that the whole thing had an impact on several careers. The whole thing had a short shelf-life as the object of snickering jokes on late-night television.

O.K. So “Adults Only” in DCland doesn’t include, you know, adult stuff. Lesson learned. And lesson repeated this month.

For over a year, WarnerMedia (now called Warner Bros. Discovery, at least as of this writing) has had this very expensive streaming service called HBO Max. It’s got a lot of original material, and much of it is generated by DC comics properties. These shows are not G rated, nor are they PG. Sometimes there’s a fine line between R and X ratings, and a lot of HBO Max’s DC stuff inhabits that zip code. This pace was set in the first episode of their first series, Titans, where Dick Grayson (a.k.a. Robin the First) shouts “Fuck Batman!” Holy Wertham, Batfans! WTF??

Titans survived and the third season goes up in August. Their second show, The Doom Patrol, has had actual on-screen sex, with naughty bits and more about Brendon Fraser than you might want to know. Their other Batman related show, the adults-only animated series Harley Quinn, is the most adults-only of the bunch, and the third season is now in production. But at least one scene won’t be completed — the one where Batman has oral sex with Catwoman. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: No Lunch For Batman”

With Further Ado #151: The Nostalgic Joy of Summer

With Further Ado #151: The Nostalgic Joy of Summer

On those long summer days in the early ’70s, reading comics was so much fun because, in part, I didn’t know much about comics.  I was right at the starting line, ready to sprint into it all.  The world that comics cracked the door open to was endless and endlessly fascinating.  There was so much to learn about the characters, about publishing history, about creators. I wanted to know it all: the past, the present, and the future – those coming attractions of what was just around the corner.

Paradoxically, it’s kind of a shame that now I know a lot of comics history. Maybe you do too. I can’t help but pick up a copy of an old Fantastic Four, for instance, and think about the conflicts and struggles of the creators. In those glorious summer days of yore, oblivious to the backstories of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Martin Goodman, etc., I would just frantically devour the comic and worry, “How the heck will the FF would defeat Dr. Doom this time?”

I just bought a brand-new comic. Marvel Double Action #1 is part of a Marvel event called Heroes Reborn.  Although the nomenclature is recycled from a reboot I’m happy to forget about, this event focuses on an alternate reality where the Avengers never existed.

The Most Fun Batman Adventure this Month

In this slightly “off” reality,  Nighthawk is essentially Batman. He has the all the Batman tropes – his own cave, his custom car, his own “batarang”.   Creators Tim Seeley, Dan Jurgens, Scott Hanna, Chris Sotomayor, and Cory Petit have created clever new riffs. In this version, the hero’s career in national politics has replaced the millionaire philanthropist angle. There’s a whiff of Bridgerton in it too. The interracial cast interacts without all the angst and tensions that so often accompany race relations in the real world and the fictional world. How refreshing, right? Continue reading “With Further Ado #151: The Nostalgic Joy of Summer”

Brainiac On Banjo: Hey, Kids! VIOLENCE!!!

Brainiac On Banjo: Hey, Kids! VIOLENCE!!!

I’m a mean mistweetah, A wabbit feastah, And I pwedict, A bwoody Eastaw, A scuwowing shadow, And dah shadow was dis wabbit, And dah night aiwah echoes, Kill dah wabbit! — Bob Rivers, Kill The Wabbit, 2009

Felix The Cat was our first animated hero, making his debut in Otto Messmer’s Feline Follies in 1919. The plot: A stereotypical old lady goes out for the evening, leaving her house in the hands of her kitty, Mister Tom (played by Felix – look, just go with that). Being a tom cat, once the coast is clear Felix splits to his girlfriend’s house for an off-screen tête-à-tête.

Of course, while the cat’s away the mice will play. In fact, they’ll rip the old lady’s house apart. By the time Felix returns, the house is decimated but he’s too blissed out to notice. Then the owner returns, freaks out at all the damage, beats the poo out of Felix and slings him out of the house.

The slightly indignant Felix doesn’t care. He goes back to his girlfriend’s house and is greeted with open paws. Then about a billion newborn kittens, each looking exactly like Felix, swarms all over their papa. Evidently, cartoon kitties have a remarkably short gestation period. Be this as it may, it is now Felix’s turn to freak. He runs away, straight to the nearby gas field where he attaches a hose to an in-ground spigot and commits suicide.

Was there general outrage over Feline Follies? Was there an upsurge of kids running to gas fields to off themselves? Did anybody ban the sale of brooms to cat-owners?

Hell, no. People didn’t take this stuff seriously. It was a cartoon, not a documentary.

Was Messmer advocating violence by mice, cats or old ladies? Was he advocating unprotected kitty sex? Was he suggesting suicide was the best way to handle trauma? Again, hell no. It was a cartoon.

Because my brain is wired differently than yours, I thought of Feline Follies when I heard of a comics writer/artist being accused of being a fascist for working on a best-selling heroic fantasy comic book. Said writer/artist was accused by another writer/artist, who was no stranger to the concept of cartoon violence. If you labor in the fields of heroic fantasy, evidently, you are wearing an invisible SS uniform. Well, as Lenny Bruce pointed out, “Gestapo? I’m the damn mailman!”

Violence has been the cornerstone of heroic fantasy going back to the Year Gimmel. The line was blurry when the major source of such stories was in the realm of the religions that are now regarded as mythology as well as the religions that various warring factions today regard as gospel. But once it is removed from these trappings of conviction, fictional violence is just a plot device. If Elmer Fudd inspires your kid to want to get a shotgun, your kid needs professional help.

But once parenting became perceived as a science – which it is not; it’s an art form – “cartoon violence” had to be… edited. ‘Doilies for the mind’, to quote Mason Williams. The Three Stooges have been entertaining people since 1922, but their oeuvre became scissor-fodder in the early 1960s. How many of you have great-great grandparents whose eyes were poked out? Bugs Bunny is a latecomer, having debuted (as developed) some 80 years ago. He, too, has suffered the fate of a thousand cuts.

Entire generations of humans have been raised since we became smotheringly overprotective. Are we now a less violent society? Maybe you’ve never read a “newspaper,” but if your knowledge intake is limited to even the most anti-social of social media you should be aware that real-world violence remains a VERY Big Deal. Maybe we should deal with the real, physical issues that lead to such behavior instead of emasculating Wile E. Coyote and Larry Fine.

I have been known to toss the fascist tag around myself. I understand the definition of the term because I know how to work a dictionary. I try to use it appropriately, even when I’m being purposely offensive. Simply working on a heroic fantasy story that involves such violence does not make you a fascist, it makes you a storyteller. Batman could be perceived as a colloquial fascist, yet many of his better stories have been created by the late card-carrying liberal Denny O’Neil as well as by his opposite number on the right, Chuck Dixon. This does not make either a fascist.

Owning a gun, let alone writing about owning a gun, does not make you a fascist. Believing Smith and Wesson, Ruger and Colt should be in charge of our foreign policy just might – but any student of 20th century history should know better.

Snarky Six: Gorilla My Dreams

Snarky Six: Gorilla My Dreams

With Kong v Godzilla lighting up movie theaters real and virtual, it’s time to revisit that wonderful phenomenon, our gorilla-laden comic books.

The big apes have been a cultural force since staples started to bend and popcorn started to pop. I’m sure there have been thousands of doctoral theses written explaining why people are so attracted to our simian brethren, but I am certain about one thing: in the 1950s and 1960s, when you slapped a gorilla on the cover, you sold comic books.

By the time the Comics Code came into being, publishers were trying to cater to their horror-story-loving audience by deploying these colossus of sinew and fur as the Big Bad. Fine. But, just as those horror comics before them, things started to get kind of weird – particularly at DC Comics, and then, particularly when editor Julius Schwartz was involved. Here are six stunning examples of the form, each completely lacking in the type of realism that readers of the time demanded.

6. Tomahawk. As we began to realize the whole cowboys-and-Indians thing was exploitative, inaccurate and bigoted, Tomahawk — one of DC’s longer-lasting features — switched from chasing native Americans to protecting America from the evil British. It’s nice to see that by this time Tomahawk and his Rangers opened their ranks to the people they conquered. Obviously, when you’re taking on a gorilla so huge King Kong would cross his legs in shame you need all the help you can get.

5. Strange Adventures. I haven’t counted, but it’s possible that this particular s-f title had more gorilla covers than the Planet of the Apes. This one is my favorite, as it explains exactly why reading is, indeed, fundamental. I should point out that the covers to this Julie Schwartz title were by and large quite compelling. So compelling, in fact, that the actual stories rarely matched their impact.

4. Judge Dredd. The big ape thing was not just an American thing, to be sure, but in the world of Judge Dredd having a big ape Judge was just another day in Mega-City One. In fact, I’d say it was about as surprising as the sun coming up. Note that this guy is called “Judge Heston,” in tribute to the astronaut who inspired one of Jack Kirby’s best covers. Take a closer look and you will see the name “Heston” was engraved on the badge by, evidently, someone who’s penmanship was lacking in an opposable thumb. Evidently, Judge Heston had a thing for doing Batman-like poses.

3. Bizarro Titano. If all you know of Bizarro is the current not-well-defined Solomon Grundy pastiche, you’re missing out on “Tales of the Bizarro World,” one of the most unusual, bizarre, and clever volumes in the greater Superboy oeuvre. The original Bizarro was manufactured by a malfunctioning duplicator ray that was shined upon the Boy of Steel. Bizarro wasn’t an ape, but he sold comics during the JFK administration as though he was. Before long, there were Bizarros made of all the members of the Superman family and many of the members of the DCU at the time… not to mention a Bizarro Marilyn Monroe hanging out with a Bizarro-President Kennedy. God, those were good times. It wasn’t too long before Superman’s simian foe Titano got his own Bizarro doppelgänger. Fair is fair. Which leads me to…

2. The Real Titano. Talk about upping the ante: Not only was Titano a truly great ape, but he had Kryptonite rays beaming out of his eyes. This made Superman’s day all the more difficult. Like the original Superboy Bizarro story, Titano’s initial appearance ended quite nicely and in a laudable, humane fashion. But, as noted above, later somebody found that Bizarro duplicator ray. I loved this story, and I even remember where I was when I first read it

1. Grodd. There’s no contest (in my feeble brain, at least) that Gorilla Grodd is the most impressive ape in all comics gorilladom. He is one of the most evil of all the DC villains. He’s got one of the best backstories in all bad guy history, and his world (Gorilla City; I would have given it a more impressive name) is fully developed, fascinating, and fodder for many a good subsequent story. Grodd looked great in The Flash comics, and he looks even better on The Flash television series. In fact, he’s one of the three reasons I still watch that show. I don’t think he’s in next year’s movie (the one with several Batmans), but I’d hardly be surprised if he shows up. Just as long as you’re not sitting behind him at the theater.

Honorable Mention. There were plenty of gorilla covers in the pulp days. This particular one deserves notice because the name of the magazine is Zeppelin Stories and, therefore, the stories therein are built around zeppelins. Those things were to biplanes what King Kong is to Detective Chimp. So, yeah, that’s a gorilla hanging from the ladder hanging from the gasbag, which is why the story is called… “The Gorilla of the Gas Bags.”

I swear, if there’s just one more comic book in me and I can find the right publisher, it will have an absolute killer gorilla cover.

Thanks to my pal Marc Alan Fishman for unknowingly yielding me his snark space.

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in April 2021

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in April 2021

This month we give our readers a list of the exciting new comic book series debuting in April. We have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from the publishers. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

There are a bunch of great new and interesting series starting this month from AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Oni Press, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, AWA/Upshot Studios, and Bad Idea Comics.

Both DC and Marvel are continuing to debut new series this month with some interesting offerings. DC has a couple of notable crossover series starting this month that you will see below. This month is very heavy on new books in the first two weeks; so, get your wallets adjusted accordingly.

We will bring you reviews of most of these debut issues as they come out, and don’t forget to use the comments section to let us know what you think of this list.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released.

Week of 4/7/21
Week of 4/14/21
Week of 4/21/21
Week of 4/28/21


Week of April 7th


Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory #1
Dark Horse Comics
Written by Evan Dorkin & Sarah Dyer
Art by Benjamin Dewey
Cover Art by Dewey

The eight-time Eisner Award-winning comic book series blending fantasy and humor returns in a historical adventure blending Japanese and Western occult! An elder member of the occult-battling pack of Wise Dogs recalls a harrowing mission-in U.S-occupied Japan after World War II, a mysterious curse creates an army of crawling, disembodied heads which threatens to overwhelm the region. Emrys and a team of canine companions attempt to solve the mystery, bringing them into conflict with shape-changing tanuki, evil oni, and a horde of vengeful demons.

Release Date: April 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: Even if you are not familiar with this series, this solicitation is intriguing.


Geiger #1
Image Comics
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank & Brad Anderson
Cover Art by Frank

Industry heavyweights GEOFF JOHNS and GARY FRANK of DC’s DOOMSDAY CLOCK reteam for what will be one of the most anticipated new series of 2021 in the forthcoming GEIGER. This mind blowing new series will take local comic shops by storm in April from Image Comics.

Who are the scavengers of a dying earth? GEIGER is set in the years since a nuclear war ravaged the planet, desperate outlaws battle for survival in a world of radioactive chaos. Out past the poisoned wasteland lives a man even the Nightcrawlers and Organ People fear. Some name him Joe Glow, others call him The Meltdown Man. But his name… is Geiger.

Release Date: April 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: Superstar comic creators brining their original story to Image this month. 


Green Lantern #1
DC Comics
Written by Geoffrey Thorne
Art by Dexter Soy & Marco Santucci
Cover Art by Bernard Chang & Alex Sinclair

THE SOURCE OF PEACE

As this new Green Lantern series begins, the newly formed United Planets and the Guardians of the Universe hold an intergalactic summit to decide who can best serve and protect the cosmos from danger. With the majority of Green Lanterns called back to Oa, John Stewart arrives alongside Teen Lantern Keli Quintela, whose powerful gauntlet could be one of the most powerful and unstable weapons in the universe. With the entire landscape of the universe in flux, is this the end of the Green Lantern Corps…or a new beginning?

Release Date: April 6, 2021

PCS NOTES: Fans of the Emerald Light will need to check this out for the state of the ring slingers in the current DCU. Our own Mike Gold opined on the history of GLs earlier today on his Brainiac On Banjo column.


Magic: The Gathering #1
Boom! Studios
Written by Jed MacKay
Art by Ig Guara
Cover Art by Matteo Scalera

A new beginning for the pop culture phenomenon of Magic starts here from Jed MacKay and Ig Guara, perfect for new readers and long time fans.

Across the vast Multiverse, those gifted with a “spark” can tap into the raw power of Magic and travel across realms: They are Planeswalkers.

When coordinated assassination attempts on Guildmasters Ral Zarek, Vraska, and Kaya rock the city of Ravnica and leave Jace Belleren’s life hanging in the balance, a fuse is lit that threatens not just these three Guilds, but the entire plane of Ravnica.

Now these three must covertly infiltrate the wild plane of Zendikar and form a tenuous alliance to uncover why the targets of the assassins have all been Planeswalkers…

…which will lead them straight to one of the most enigmatic characters in Magic history!

Release Date: April 7, 2021

PCS NOTES: New series for fans of the card game that looks like an interesting new storyline. Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in April 2021”

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in March 2021

New Number Ones: Comics Coming in March 2021

This month we give our readers a list of the exciting new comic book series debuting in March. We have compiled an alphabetical list with cover art and the official solicitation text from PREVIEWSworld. Check below for our PCS NOTES to find out what we just have to tell you about the new comics in question.

There are a bunch of great new and interesting series starting this month from AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Oni Press, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, AWA/Upshot Studios, and Bad Idea Comics.

There are a lot more new series starting this month from both DC and Marvel than we are used to. The Infinite Frontier initiative from DC Comics is bringing with it some new numbering to existing series, returning series that have been out of publication for a while, and a few brand new titles.

Marvel on the other hand is launching some interesting new series with lower star quality existing characters that seem pretty interesting.

Also of note, March has a magical fifth Wednesday. So this list is supersized because there are five weeks of new comics this month.

We will bring you reviews of most of these debut issues as they come out, and don’t forget to use the comments section to let us know what you think of this list.

You will find the books listed below in the order of when they are released.

Week of 3/3/21
Week of 3/10/21
Week of 3/17/21
Week of 3/24/21
Week of 3/31/21


Week of March 3rd

America Chavez: Made in the USA #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Kalinda Vazquez
Art by Carlos Gomez & Jesus Aburtov
Cover Art by Sara Pichelli & Tamra Bonvillain

WHO IS AMERICA? America Chavez is incredible — her origins, her strength, her dimension-shattering star portals! But when the foundation of everything she believes is shaken, America will stand up and face the parts of herself she’s been running from. From writer Kalinda Vazquez and artist Carlos Gomez comes an explosive, brand-new story all about what made America Chavez who she is — and what she’ll do to protect the ones she loves.

Release Date: March 3, 2021

 


Chariot #1
AWA / Upshot Studios
Written by Brian Edward Hill
Art by Priscilla Petraites & Marco Lesko
Cover Art by Jeff Dekal

The Chariot was a Cold War-era secret government project to provide its star agent with a weapon unlike any other in the form of a supercharged muscle car. It sank into the ocean decades ago, and the agent along with it. Now, a petty criminal looking to reform his life has stumbled upon the Chariot, and he’s about to find out that the agent’s consciousness is still controlling it in this synthwave thriller.

Release Date: March 3, 2021

PCS NOTES: AWA continues to bring us high quality creatives with interesting story concepts.


Crime Syndicate #1
DC Comics
Written by Andy Schmidt
Art by Kieran McKeown & Bryan Hitch
Cover Art by Jim Cheung

Spinning out of the pages of Dark Nights: Death Metal, the Multiverse is reborn — and Earth-3 with it! In this six-issue miniseries, witness the true origins of the malevolent makers of mayhem known as the Crime Syndicate as a common foe unites them! But how long can alliances last between villains like these? Also in this issue, it’s the origin of Ultraman in our special backup story drawn by superstar artist Bryan Hitch!

Release Date: March 3, 2021

PCS NOTES: I am not typically a fan of “villain books” but I want to see what Andy Schmidt has in mind. Continue reading “New Number Ones: Comics Coming in March 2021”