Ethan Van Sciver takes over monthly art chores on BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT

In an interview with COMICBOOK RESOURCES, Ethan Van Sciver revealed that he will be the new artist on BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT.

On their own blog, DC had this to say:

Joining New York Times bestselling writer Gregg Hurwitz, Van Sciver will make his debut on the series with issue #16, which travels into the twisted world of the Mad Hatter. In the issue, Batman discovers a trail of bodies but no leads as he realizes that this is unlike any Mad Hatter case he’s seen before.

“With Scarecrow, a lot has already been said about who is he, but not a lot has been said about the villain we’ve chosen: the Mad Hatter,” Van Sciver told COMIC BOOK RESOURCES. “It really is going to be a revelation to a lot of Batman fans who have seen this villain around for a long time but haven’t given as much thought as to what makes him tick. We’re inventing a lot of things as we go along with it.”

Hunger must be stopped! Quickly, Robin–to the Bat-KIA!

KIA MOTORS AND DC ENTERTAINMENT BAND TOGETHER TO CREATE A FLEET OF JUSTICE LEAGUE-INSPIRED VEHICLES FOR HUNGER-RELIEF EFFORT

Legendary Comic Artist Jim Lee is Overseeing the Creative Direction of Eight Individually Customized and Characterized Superhero Vehicles to be Unveiled at Major Events Around the Country Over the Next Ten Months

 

  • Batman-themed Optima will be first to be unveiled the same week as New York Comic-Con on October 10
  • As part of the partnership, Kia is teaming up with DC Entertainment’s “We Can Be Heroes” campaign to help fight hunger in the Horn of Africa

 

IRVINE, Calif., Oct 3, 2012 – Kia Motors America (KMA), one of the fastest-growing car companies in the U.S has joined forces with renowned comic book publisher DC Entertainment, to bring the World’s Greatest Super Heroes to life by combining automotive styling with comic book art.  The partnership, which will yield eight individually customized vehicles, harnesses the talents of legendary comic book artist and DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee, who has collaborated on the design of each car with his vision for each iconic member of DC Comics’ Justice League.

 

Each core member of the Justice League line-up – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg – has been matched to a Kia vehicle based on key attributes and character traits to create custom, one-of-a-kind rides to be unveiled over the next ten months at major auto shows and comic conventions across the U.S.

 

The Kia-DC Entertainment partnership will yield a total of eight vehicles timed to be unveiled around five major events around the U.S., including New York Comic-Con, SEMA Show in Las Vegas, North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Wonder-Con and San Diego Comic-Con.  Many of Kia’s most recognizable and decorated models –  the Optima, Soul, Sorento, Sportage, Rio and Forte will wear the iconic colors and marks of the legendary Justice League Super Heroes and be built by West Coast Customs, RIDES magazine, Import Tuner magazine and others.

 

“Kia and DC Entertainment are both global brands sharing a youthful and creative mindset, and both serve to inspire and exhilarate their respective fan bases.” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, marketing & communications, KMA.  “This partnership will allow us to band these two great brands together in an effort to make the world a better place through the ‘We Can Be Heroes’ campaign.  And with Jim Lee’s vision combined with the efforts of some of the best customizing shops in the business, it’s going to be a lot of fun unveiling these cars around the country.”

 

The partnership between KMA and DC Entertainment was conceived to benefit “We Can Be Heroes” (www.WeCanBeHeroes.org), a giving campaign, dedicated to helping fight hunger in the Horn of Africa and inspired by the heroism of the iconic Justice League characters.  “We Can Be Heroes” encourages everyday people to join the fight by getting involved and donating to bring help and hope to the people most affected by the hunger crisis.  Each vehicle will feature a customized piece of Lee’s specially-designed artwork to be auctioned at the conclusion of the program with all net proceeds going to the “We Can Be Heroes” program. In addition to the seven vehicles inspired by the individual superhero characters, the Kia-DC Entertainment partnership will culminate with a fully-drivable custom car that encompasses each member of the Justice League that will be auctioned off to raise money for the cause. Kia will help to raise awareness for the “We Can Be Heroes” campaign throughout the partnership through customized “We Can Be Heroes” license plates, signage, collateral materials and in-vehicle video displays.

 

“DC Entertainment is pleased to be partnering with Kia on this program to help raise awareness and funds for the devastating hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa,” said Amit Desai, SVP of franchise management, DC Entertainment.  “Each of the iconic members of the Justice League is a superhero in his or her own right, but when they band together as the Justice League, they become an unstoppable force for good and right.  The Justice League reminds us that when we combine our efforts with others, we can create a world of change.  And that we can do all that and more with style and panache.  The Justice League characters look amazing on some of Kia’s best-looking and technologically-advanced vehicles.”

 

To learn more about “We Can Be Heroes” and ways to get involved, visit www.WeCanBeHeroes.org.

Grant Morrison announces MULTIVERSITY for 2013. 1st story line includes the return/debut of a Ted Kord Blue Beetle

Fans attending MorrisonCon in Las Vegas this weekend were treated to a very special announcement this morning.

After years of speculation, anticipation and expectation, DC Entertainment is proud to confirm that Grant Morrison’s love letter to superhero comics, MULTIVERSITY, will be hitting stores in late 2013. Morrison, the comic book shaman and superstar author of ACTION COMICS and BATMAN, INCORPORATED has created a series that will not only define the Multiverse for DC COMICS-THE NEW 52, but will also provide a handful of new worlds, concepts, heroes and villains for comic fans to enjoy.

MULTIVERSITY is an 8-issue series comprising 6 one-shots and a two-part conclusion with each issue featuring a 38-page lead story followed by an 8-page backup. Each issue takes place on a different parallel world from the main DC Earth and functions as a number one issue. Each world in the Multiverse publishes comic books about the heroes on the OTHER worlds. Once the characters realize this, they then unite to respond to the villains!

Additionally, each universe (which have been brewing in Morrison’s mind for years) will open up an endless series of worlds and realities for future writers and creators to use, expand upon and enjoy.

Below, take a first look at MULTIVERSITY by checking out a piece of art from PAX AMERICANA #1. Illustrated by the legendary Frank Quitely, PAX AMERICANA takes the original Charlton Comics characters and presents them in a way that’s both new and familiar at the same time.

CW’s Arrow gets digital comic, plus GEOFF JOHNS cowrites an episode!

Big news from DC about next month’s new ARROW show on the CW. The show will get a digital comic, much like it’s predecessor, SMALLVILLE has. I imagine that, again like SMALLVILLE, the comic will be released in instllments and later collected in print.

But that’s not all! DC writing guru, Geoff Johns has cowritten episode 107, “Muse on Fire”, with  Executive Producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg.

Johns says:

“I’m thrilled to be writing this episode of ARROW, and while I can’t give too much away, I think comic fans are going to like what we have in store for them – keep an eye out for the Huntress.”

He also tweeted the following:

The first episode of ARROW I wrote with @mguggenheim & @AJKreisbergstarts shooting today – keep an eye out for the Huntress this fall!

As comic fans eagerly await the October 10 premiere of the new CW show ARROW, we have news that will make the countdown even more exciting. DC Entertainment is producing a new, weekly digital comic book based on the show that will also debut on October 10.

 

The new digital comic series will take fans deeper into the world of ARROW, delving further into character back stories and often filling in the gaps between episodes. With ARROW Executive Producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg on writing duties – this comic is a must-have for fans of the show. On the art side, legendary GREEN ARROW comic book writer and artist Mike Grell is on board to draw the first two covers, with rising stars Sergio Sandoval and Jorge Jimenez tapped to do artwork in subsequent chapters.

 

“This is incredibly exciting for us.  For one thing, Andrew and I are not just television and comic book writers — we’re comic book fans.  We’re also extremely excited to be doing something that I don’t think has ever been done before:  a weekly comic which ties directly into a TV series with stories that fill in important gaps in the television narrative and written by the show’s writing staff,” said Guggenheim.

 

The first digital chapter of ARROW will go on sale for $.99 on October 10, followed by new weekly chapters each Wednesday.  The comic series will also be collected in print with three digital chapters on sale in one print issue for $3.99 starting on November 28.

 

About the Show

From executive producers Greg Berlanti (Green Lantern), Marc Guggenheim (Green Lantern), Andrew Kreisberg (Fringe) and David Nutter (Smallville), hard-hitting action TV series Arrow reinvents the DC Comics hero. After being marooned for five years on a remote island, billionaire Oliver Queen returns home with a mysterious agenda and a very lethal new set of skills that he uses in a war on crime. The series stars Stephen Amell (Private Practice), Colin Donnell (Pan Am), Katie Cassidy (Supernatural), David Ramsey (Dexter), Willa Holland (The O.C.) with Susanna Thompson (Dragonfly) and Paul Blackthorne (The River). From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, Arrow will air Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW this fall.

Justice League/Aquaman crossover for THRONE OF ATLANTIS

USA TODAY revealed that not only is the JUSTICE LEAGUE getting a new ART TEAM AND LINE-UP, but the book will crossover with AQUAMAN for THRONE OF ATLANTIS.

Geoff Johns, writer for both titles, told USA:

“There’s still questions of what Atlantis is like and what they do and what they’re capable of and why they exist and who sank Atlantis,” Johns says. “There’s all this mythology behind Atlantis that were not really sure of and no one really has any answers, and we’re about to get the answers.”

Reis and Prado are working on designing Atlantis and the Atlanteans, and they’ve also created a new look for Ocean Master, the old Aquaman villain who’s also the hero’s brother and the leader of the Atlanteans’ world-spanning assault.

“Ocean Master’s an interesting character,” Johns says. “He doesn’t dislike his brother — he just thinks his brother is incapable of leading Atlantis and he’s proven over and over he can’t. He thinks his brother’s a little naïve on how it works.

“And if he’s in his way, he’s in his way.”

Moore & Harris’ JSA: THE LIBERTY FILES – THE WHISTLING SKULL

This December, DC Comics will publish JSA: THE LIBERTY FILES – THE WHISTLING SKULL. From acclaimed writer B. Clay Moore (SUPERMAN CONFIDENTIAL, OUR FIGHTING FORCES) and artist Tony Harris (EX MACHINA, STARMAN), this new six-part miniseries is set in 1940s Europe. With the Nazi war machine on the move, crimes are still committed even in the smallest hamlets. From the world of the JSA: THE LIBERTY FILES, witness the birth of a new hero for the ages!

 

“Tony and I have been working on THE WHISTLING SKULL for a while, now, and it’s been an absolute labor of love,” Moore told THE SOURCE. “I think he’s doing the absolute best work of his career here, and there’s no one better to accentuate that than Dave McCaig on color. For readers looking for a new spin on the DC Universe, combined with brand new headlining characters, I think the book will be a treat, and it’s just the first chapter in a much larger story. This initial offering introduces readers to the legacy of the Whistling Skull in a wartime, pulp-infused setting, and should provide something fresh for readers to sink their teeth into.”

 

“This is a long haul, sweet baby that’s finally coming together,” continued Harris. “Clay and I have been developing THE WHISTLING SKULL for a few years now. Taking every precaution and the utmost care with every word and every line of ink to make sure we bring you something new, fresh and exciting. I could go on and on dropping catch phrases and bore you to death with ‘personal’ ‘important’ ‘kickass’ ‘bloobidy-blah-blab-blab.’ Not gonna happen here.

 

“What I will say is that a host of friends, contemporaries and scores of fans have shepherded this project carefully and steadily towards the waiting hands of countless devotees of mine and Clay’s creative efforts. It’s something I will NEVER forget as we approach the release of JSA: LIBERTY FILES – THE WHISTLING SKULL. And DC Comics’ willingness to marry and ‘seat’ SKULL firmly in the JSA: LIBERTY FILES universe that I was a part of creating in years past, in effect resurrecting that franchise and allowing us to breathe NEW life into it, is a testament to DC Comics’ dedication to producing exciting, new properties that have the potential to go on for many years to come. I feel like I did when James Robinson and I were preparing to release STARMAN into the world. I can barely sit still.”

 

Below, take an exclusive first look at JSA: THE LIBERTY FILES – THE WHISTLING SKULL by checking out Harris’ cover for issue #1.

IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO to take over art on JUSTICE LEAGUE

DC has announced that modern day comics legend Jim Lee will be stepping down as artist on JUSTICE LEAGUE, the book he and Geoff Johns revamped to kick-off DC’s NEW 52. Taking over for him are fan (and my) favorites, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, who will begin with December’s issue #15. DC released a cover which suggests that the creative team isn’t the only thing to get a line-up change. Absent are team-founders Flash and Green Lantern, and joining is the hero formerly known as Captain Marvel, SHAZAM. Shazam has been the title’s back-up story, though Johns has always said that he would eventually join the team in the main feature. Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) quit the team in issue #12, and is currently trapped within the Black Lantern, along with Sinestro. The particulars for Flash’s absence are anyone’s guess.

In regards to Jim Lee, DC had this to say:

And for you Jim Lee fans out there, don’t worry. We’ve got some major news coming soon. While that’s all we can tease for now, New York Comic Con is only one month away …

Who is THE FIRST LANTERN?

If you’ve read any of the GL books this past month, you’ve seen the various ringslingers of all colors confused as someone screams “LET ME OUT!” through their power rings. If you’ve read GREEN LANTERN ANNUAL #1 last week, you saw who the mysterious caller was. But, who (or what) exactly IS the FIRST LANTERN, and what part will he play in THE RISE OF THE THIRD ARMY, and the Guardians’ war on free will? Well, they dropped some cryptic hints over on the DC Bog:

“Who the First Lantern is and what his role will be in the upcoming Green Lantern universe will come into play very, very quickly,” hinted GREEN LANTERN writer Geoff Johns. “The being inside has been imprisoned there for a long, long time. The Guardians consider him their greatest threat, but also their greatest source of power. Whether he’s friend or foe will be up for debate, but regardless he is one of the potentially most dangerous beings in existence.”

“In GREEN LANTERN ANNUAL #1, readers got their first glimpse at the First Lantern, someone who’s been locked away for a very long time—for a VERY good reason!” teased editor Matt Idelson. “His presence in this story is the catalyst for something very bad, and yet his story is only going to grow from here.”

 

Animal Man #0 Preview

DC has shared a peek at this week’s ANIMAL MAN #0 over on there blog.

In ANIMAL MAN #0, witness the origin story you’ve been waiting for! Find out how Buddy Baker became Animal Man. The twist? What actually was the catalyst for Buddy’s superhero persona versus what he perceived happened are two very different stories. Planting seeds that will be fully explored in the “Rotworld” crossover event with SWAMP THING this fall, ANIMAL MAN #0 is written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Steve Pugh

DC’s PHANTOM LADY #1 Preview

When she was very young, Jennifer Knight watched her parents get killed by Metropolis’ oldest and strongest crime family: The Benders. Cut to years later and an adult Jennifer is following in her father’s footsteps by taking on the crime world as a reporter … and as a super hero! Phantom Lady to be exact. But will she experience the same fate as her parents when she tries to infiltrate the next generation of Benders? And don’t miss the astonishing origin of the diminutive hero Doll Man!

Featuring a cover by Amanda Conner with Paul Mounts, PHANTOM LADY #1 is written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti and is illustrated by Cat Staggs and Tom Derenick.

Click Images to ENLARGE

 

GEOFF JOHNS & DAVID FINCH introduce all new JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA in 2013

DC Comics announced at the DC Entertainment-All Access Sunday panel at Fan Expo Toronto that a new League will be forming.

(click to enlarge)
Launching in 2013, DC Comics will publish a new ongoing comic book series, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by David Finch.

“This is a very different kind of team book,” says Geoff Johns. “On first glance, people might think the heroes of the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA stand in the shadows of Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the JUSTICE LEAGUE, but Green Arrow, Katana, Martian Manhunter, the new Green Lantern, Stargirl, Vibe, Hawkman and Catwoman thrive in the shadows. They’re underdogs who have everything to prove and something to lose. They’re a team of unlikely heroes who will help one another discover they’re as A-List as anybody — yes, even Vibe. Though getting there won’t be easy. Why they’re formed, why each member joins, what they’re after and who the society of villains is they’re trying to take apart will all be clear in the first issue when it hits early 2013. David and I are really focused on delving deep into what it’s like to not be a member of the big seven and why, sometimes, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL ends with ANNUAL #1, But Johns hints at more for Booster Gold & the gang

In big news…well, it’s big news if you’re me…Geoff Johns told DC’s blog that after the JLI annual effectively wraps up the series, BOOSTER GOLD will play a central role in the upcoming TRINITY WAR.

In the meantime, here’s co-writer’s GEOFF JOHNS and DAN DIDIO discussing next week’s JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL #1.

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL #1 sets the stage for some major changes in the JUSTICE LEAGUE universe,” co-writer Geoff Johns teased to THE SOURCE. “Obviously, it’s the last issue of the series, but certainly not the last story for any of the members – especially Booster Gold who ultimately will once again be drawn into the center of the DC Universe as the events of JUSTICE LEAGUE #12 start to change the course of the future.”

“I had a great time working with Geoff on this issue especially one as important as this,” continued DiDio. “It brings an end to certain stories and launches several characters into new and exciting directions.”

“Working with Dan DiDio and Geoff Johns was a great experience and presented me with something different to tackle in my career,” added artist Jason Fabok. “I had a great time drawing the JLI team in this last chapter of their story. What will come next for these characters? What big surprises await the Justice League?  It’s an exciting time to be a DC comics fan!”

“JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL #1 introduces two new members, Olympian and Blue Beetle, who join just in time for the team to implode,” concluded editor Brian Smith. “Several established players quit and not everyone will survive. All this, plus a shocking glimpse into the future of DC COMICS-THE NEW 52.”

Co-written by Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio and illustrated by Jason Fabok, JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL #1 goes on sale August 29.

 

SUPERMAN LOVES WONDER WOMAN?

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY has shared another DC teaser. In this NEW 52 DC Universe, not only are Clark Kent and Lois Lane NOT a couple, but it looks like Superman and Wonder Woman will become the New 52’s “Power Couple”. Along with a look at JUSTICE LEAGUE #12’s sizzlingly super smoochy cover, they spoke to series writer and Chief Creative Officer for DC Entertainment, Geoff Johns.

Writer Geoff Johns hints that some event — possibly tragic — will impact every member of the Justice League, and cause Superman and Wonder Woman to seek solace in each other and move from super-powered colleagues to power couple. This is no one-issue stunt: “This is the new status quo,” says Johns, adding that the relationship will have a seismic impact on all the heroes and villains in the DC universe.

CW’s ARROW casts HUNTRESS

Looks like GREEN ARROW won’t be the only DC Comics character hitting the small screen. For at least a few episodes, he’ll be joined by THE HUNTRESS. According to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, The Huntress will be played by Australian TV actress Jessica De Gouw. This isn’t the first time on TV for either character, though these are new versions. SMALLVILLE featured a Green Arrow who headed the Justice League, and Huntress was the lead on the very short lived BIRDS OF PREY series.

DC reveals JUSTICE LEAGUE #0 Variants

DC has released the Variant Covers for JUSTICE LEAGUE #0, featuring a B&W version of the regular cover, by Gary Frank; and an image of the entire CAPTAIN MARVEL SHAZAM cast, by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.

Billy Batson takes center stage in this issue as he unleashes the awesome power of Shazam in a special origin story! • Also featuring the not-to-be-missed origin of Pandora and the next seeds of TRINITY WAR!

Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Gary Frank
Cover by:Gary Frank
Variant Cover by:Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, & Gary Frank
Color/B&W:Color
Page Count:40
U.S. Price:3.99
On Sale Date:Sep 19 2012

TV GUIDE reveals AQUAMAN #12’s ROBOT CHICKEN VARIANT COVER

Who’d of thunk it, right? Not only is AQUAMAN one of the coolest and best selling comics on the market, but it’s getting a mainstream ROBOT CHICKEN variant cover! it’s a good time to be alive. We’ll tell our grandkids about this.

TV GUIDE has revealed the variant cover is a promo for Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken DC Comics Special (Sunday, Sept. 9 at midnight/11c),which kicks off the Emmy-winning show’s sixth season.

 

• The conclusion to “The Others”! • The traitor in the team is revealed! • Who is BLACK MANTA working for?

Written by: Geoff Johns

Art by: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado
Color/B&W: Color
Page Count:32
U.S. Price:2.99
On Sale Date:Aug 29 2012

 

Warner Bros. Consumer Products Extends its Partnership with Ecko Unlimited to Unveil New Limited Edition Batman T-Shirt Collection

NEW YORK (August 21, 2012) – Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), on behalf of DC Entertainment, has extended its partnership with street wear retailer Ecko Unltd. to launch a new limited edition collection of Batman-inspired apparel. Featuring DC Comics’ iconic Batman imagery, the t-shirt line incorporates Ecko’s signature design techniques including gel printing, carbon coating and 3D texturing.

The collection features designs that combine the breadth of the Batman brand with Ecko’s signature aesthetic and trendy design in t-shirt wear with bold images and bright colors. From the pages of DC Comics comes this colorful new comic book mythology artwork that has inspired this collection, including the classic “Batman Wham” t-shirt graphic. 

The collection is available now for a limited time at www.shopecko.com.

 

 

 

DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #1 Spotlight

DC has shared a little bit about this month’s DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL, featuring BATMAN versus THE BLACK MASK. Here’s the write up from their Blog.
This month, DC Comics will release its next batch of Annuals. These special oversized issues will not only build off of the events in their respective series, but will also greatly impact the expanding DC Universe. Every day this week on THE SOURCE, we’ll be putting individual spotlights on each of these Annual issues by talking to various writers, artists, and editors to give you special sneak peeks at what’s to come! First up is DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #1.

 

“As a new member of the Batman group at DC Comics, it is a thrill working with Tony Daniel on DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #1,” artist Romano Molenaar told THE SOURCE. “He knows exactly how to write for an artist which makes it a delight setting up the pages. Fans can expect fast-paced action and details all over the place as far as the art goes. Batman will need all of his physical and mental strength for this Annual and be ready for the return of one of his most diabolical villains!”

 

“The first DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL features the return of one of Batman’s most dangerous adversaries – the Black Mask!” added series editor Mike Marts. “Picking up from where readers last saw him in the ‘Night of the Owls’ storyline, gangster Roman Sionis has once again donned the maddening mask and formed his False Face Society. How will the Dark Knight combat this unique threat? And is there an even greater villain lurking in the shadows?”

 

Written by Tony S. Daniel and illustrated by Romano Molenaar, DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #1 flies into stores on August 29.

InvestComics Comic Hot Picks 8-8-12

www.investcomics.comNEW InvestComics Comic Hot Picks every Sunday!

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Welcome to the InvestComics Comic Hot Picks for comic releases on 8-8-12

Before we head into this week’s InvestComics Hot Picks, there needs to be a quick “clarification” if you will.

In today’s collectors market, things have changed mightily. The 80’s and 90’s were driven by the speculation market. The speculation market is a thing of the past and the wiser investor (collector) has emerged. So why do certain companies still insist on releasing 8 or 10 different variants of a comic is a puzzlement (but not that hard to figure out either). While they may sell some copies, it seems they are catering to the collector of the past in which they stand to make a few extra bucks. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Newsflash, Marvel/DC and all the rest of the comic companies are in a business to make money. That said do you know anyone that is buying up all 10 variants of a number one issue or a “special” issue? Didn’t think so. Regarding the collector, the cream of the crop for any variant is the ratio. Get your hands on a 100 to 1 cover for cover price or for $5 and NOW you’re talking. Paying an exorbitant amount for a comic that just came out of a box from the UPS truck is absolutely absurd. A variant cover of a new say…Marvel Now book for $200 is a huge waste of money. Get that first appearance of a character that is already in the mainstream, a first work from a legend in the industry or maybe just a gut that is telling you, “yes this comic is undervalued and needs to be in my collection.”

So why are we starting this week’s InvestComics Hot Picks on this note? Well the InvestComics Hot Picks articles have gotten a lot of play over the past few weeks with many comic shops across the states (and Worldwide) posting the article every week. A couple of shops have declined to do so because they simply don’t believe in the “Investment” portion of the comic collecting world. There is ONE burning question that needs to be asked of that “non-believer”, but we’ll come back to that.

Anyone that has followed InvestComics for the past 6 years or even the past year knows that this is purely done out of an Entertainment value and never has claimed to send your children off to college with its recommendations or speculation. When InvestComics first arrived onto the scene in 2006, it was taken very seriously in regards to what to buy, sell or hold. As the years went on the entire process evolved. It became “InvestComics – Your Entertainment Investment Guide” It no longer was “InvestComics – Your Investment Guide”. Things change, the realization of the market was no longer about buying each color of the Legends of the Dark Knight #1 or more recently the 7 different Spawn covers. It became about the wiser collector. It became about being aware that a first appearance of a new character is coming up in a comic book this week or an artist/writer making his/her debut, knowing that the Jack O’ Lantern will be appearing in the new Venom comic this week, but his first appearance was in 1981 with some creative team star power. Will Jack O’ Lantern’s first appearance ever amount to anything value wise? Probably not, but this is fun. It’s fun because the collector of today can make their own decisive decision if they’d like to search their local comic shop for that first appearance within a comic book that has probably been sitting in the shops back issue boxes for the last 15 years or so…….which brings us back to the comic shop and that burning question. If one does not believe in the “investment” value of a comic book, then sell that 100 to 1 ratio for cover price. And more importantly, get the comics off of your wall and sell those for cover price too. Comics are a business, don’t kid yourselves with “morals” now trying to sell the whole “comics are for reading” stuff. That only goes so far. This is a business. Bills need to be paid, lights need to stay on, rent needs to be paid and new comics need to be bought. Bottom line here, InvestComics would only help sell comics on your wall (that have dust collecting on them), back issue in the long boxes and also the new shipment on your shelf every Wednesday. A collector buying a first appearance, a back issue, a new comic off of the shelf that they may not have thought of buying before or possibly adding to their subscription list due to the InvestComics Hot Picks article raising awareness to “it” is good for your business. So if you’d be so kind to reach up there and get that Incredible Hulk #181 for 35 cents I’d appreciate that.

Now back to business! Here are your InvestComics Hot Picks for the comics coming out this Wednesday and more…..

Valiant will be coming back with one of their comics from 1992. Archer & Armstrong #1 comes at us this week with the original number one debuting 20 years ago! Look at the lineup here on that original number one issue; writers Bob Layton Sr. and Jim Shooter, Penciler and cover artist Barry-Windsor-Smith! Awesome stuff here folks!

And speaking of awesome, Mirage Studios in 1985 released a “Micro-Series” called Raphael. The Micro-Series was a first of its kind because it was essentially a One Shot, but with a wacky name. A classic Iconic TMNT’s cover from Kevin Eastman gets replicated for the new IDW Color Classic here. The cover price for the New IDW comic is $3.99. The classic original 1985 magazine sized can be bought for about $10. Need we say more here?

Marvel gives Gambit his own comic this week in his self titled Gambit #1. Although a character with a large following, Gambit always seemed to miss his mark for some reason (no pun intended). He’s a fantastic team player, but a solo comic? Not sure how long this will last. Gambit’s first appearance for many years was thought to be in Uncanny X-Men #266 (1990) with another iconic cover from Andy Kubert and written by legend Chris Claremont. So where would Gambit’s first appearance be then you ask? That would be Uncanny X-Men Annual #14. So you think that his first appearance in the annual would be the one for your collection right? Nope. The Annual price for the “first appearance” is merely a $14 buy. The Uncanny X-Men #266 is a $60 buy. Huh? Well that’s as bad as the cameos of Wolverine and Venom and countless other characters with their “cameos”, but this is a debate for another day. You’d figure the first time we EVER SEE the character THAT would be the first appearance and the book to own right? Nope. Okay said this is a debate for another day……moving on.

Jack O’ Lantern appears within the pages of Venom #22. Good ol’ Jack first appeared in Machine Man #19 (1981). You talk about a creator lineup?? This is a beauty! Writer Tom DeFalco, Penciler/Inker Steve Ditko with cover artist Terry Austin and Frank Miller?!? Wow, now this is nice! So if that isn’t enough to grab your appetite for $20, how about that this Jack O’ Lantern character goes on to become the second Hobgoblin? We’ll take the creators on this one for a reason to buy!

A few number one issues to check out this week on your new comic book shelves, Anti #1 from 12 Gauge Comics with a nice creative team coming on board for that one, Idolized #1 from Aspen Comics with a variant cover from legend Arthur Adams, Thunda #1 from Dynamite Entertainment and finally, check out a #0 issue from Dark Horse Comics called Creep.

As always, scroll through the InvestComics Hot Picks covers of the week below!

See you next week!

Invest wisely.

Jay Katz

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Interview with Duncan Eagleson

 

 

 

 

 

Sandman, Smackdowns and Elf Love with Uber Artist Duncan Eagleson

This week we return to the Promised Land − good ‘ol comics. We drifted away to film and music for a few interviews but now we’re back where we belong. And our “comeback to comics” is sure to make a splash. As big a splash, we dare say, as WWE wrestler Kane’s return in December 2011 when he beat down John Cena and revealed not one − but two leather masks.

And irony of ironies, the subject of our interview is the same insanely talented artist/craftsman/illustrator/writer who created those now-iconic masks for Kane (See? Everything has a purpose!)

Dunn-dunn-dunn!

He’s none other than Duncan Eagleson. I’ve been fortunate to have Duncan involved in a few anthologies I’ve worked on and recently begged/pleaded/cried to have him create some key art for my upcoming micro-budget feature BLESSID. As usual, he exceeded expectations.

You see, Duncan Eagleson is a perfectionist. As such, I am going to use his words rather than my own to describe his accomplishments:

“Illustrator, graphic designer, painter and sculptor, Duncan Eagleson has created art and designs for book covers, movie posters, advertisements, corporate identity projects, videos, magazines, and even T-shirts, for clients such as Doubleday Books, Tor Books, New Line Cinema, Warner Communications & DC Comics, rock groups like The Who, Phil Collins, and Def Leppard. In comics, he contributed art to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, adapted and illustrated Anne Rices’ The Witching Hour. He has created sculpted leather masks for Wes Craven’s Cursed, the WWE wrestler Kane, the Smithsonian, the Big Apple Circus, and magician Jeff McBride. Portfolios of his work, both digital and traditional, can be found at eaglesondesign.com, and on his Deviant Art page at duncan-eagleson.deviantart.com. His sculpture and masks can be seen at maskmaker.com.”

1) You have a long and impressive resume, but one thing that jumps off the page is your work on issue #38 of The Sandman — “Convergence, The Hunt” (1992, DC/Vertigo). What was it like working with writer-savant Neil Gaiman?

(DUNCAN:) Top question everybody asks. I’m happy to be able to say that honestly, it was really great.  Neil had certain elements he really wanted the art to reflect − mainly the nine-panel grid structure for the pages − and he was quite patient about explaining why that was important (he wanted the physical structure of the pages to reflect the formal story structure of the “fairy tale” sort of story). Beyond that, he was very hands-off, trusting me to do what I wanted with the art. Neil really is the way he appears in interviews and public appearances: a very unassuming, courteous gentleman, and very easy to work with.

The only minor bump in an otherwise utterly smooth ride had nothing to do with Neil. Some of the powers that be at DC/Vertigo felt the “werewolf sex” scene toward the end of the book was too graphic − despite the fact there were no actual naughty bits showing, I guess it was a bit too obvious what was going on. So I had to tone it down for publication. We went through a couple of versions before they were satisfied that it was family-friendly enough. Which was okay with me − I wasn’t about to scream “Censorship!” or anything. It was DC/Vertigo’s book, they were paying for it, they should get the sort of product they need. To me, it was no different than any other revision. I did, however, save the original pencilled panels.

All in all, the whole thing was a great experience, including, by the way, seeing my pencils come to life through Vince Locke’s brilliant inking. It was almost as if Vince was in my head, doing exactly the inking I would have done myself, if only I’d had the sort of mad inking skills he has.

2) Around the same time you did Sandman you also worked wrote and did art for several issues of Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour comic book series. What was this experience like?

(DUNCAN:) That was a bit of a mixed bag, especially toward the end. It started out looking great − they came to me at first for the art, and they didn’t have a writer. I had just recently read The Witching Hour, and I was wanting to start building a name as a writer, so I convinced them to let me script as well.

Between scripting and illustrating, I had no time to get involved in the marketing, but I probably should have tried. They were marketing the book to comics venues, treating it as if it were a superhero book, which wasn’t the best choice. The Anne Rice audience was huge − but they’re not your typical superhero comics audience. As it was, I think we got some respect from folks in the industry − the one time I met Kelly Jones, he was kind enough to say he thought The Witching Hour was the best full painted book on the market at the time − but the sales of the first couple of issues were disappointing.

To be fair to Millennium, novel adaptations are always a hard sell in comics, and traditionally don’t do very well. And although I think The Witching Hour might eventually have found its audience, they just didn’t have the kind of funding to hold the line until that happened, they needed to make money off the book right now.  And that wasn’t happening. So the book got cancelled, and shortly thereafter, the company went belly-up.

As an artist & storyteller, however, I had a great time doing it. I unleashed everything I had learned about drawing and painting and visual storytelling on that series.

At the time, my idol in comics was Bill Sienkiewicz. That man’s full-painted comics art was some of the most inspiring, innovative, and masterful work I’d seen in years, with the possible exception of Dave McKean. Considering how extreme he got with some of that work, it’s amazing to realize that he always managed to keep it in the service of the story, never let it become all about the art. No matter how stunning any individual page or panel was, he designed it to keep you caught up in the characters and the narrative, moving forward through the story. That’s not easy to do when you’re also pushing the boundaries of what has been done visually in a medium.

I tried hard not to imitate Sienkiewicz − or Bernie Fuchs, or Bob Peak, who I was also looking at a lot in those days − but to use their examples as an inspiration, to adopt a similar conceptual approach without also adopting anyone’s specific signature devices. And I think I mostly succeeded, giving the book a unique look and feel.

This was in the days before the use of Photoshop had become common, and I was doing a lot with Xeroxing drawings and photos onto colored paper, and painting over them with gouache, acrylics, airbrush, and pastel pencils. At one point, my editor, Jordan Bojar, called me up and said “I don’t know how you created this, what kind of techniques you’re using, but whatever they are, don’t ever reveal them to anyone.” Of course, I said “Why not?” I’m always happy to share whatever I’ve learned with someone who wants to know. “Because this is unique, these techniques are a gold mine,” he said. I thought he was nuts. Far as I’m concerned, anyone who wants to try out these techniques, knock yourself out. If you’re a mediocre artist looking for a gimmick, you’ll produce a cheap knockoff. If you’ve got imagination, and are good at what you do already, you’ll do something else with it, use it to develop your own unique creation. Why would I feel threatened by either possibility? A cheap knockoff will almost always be seen for what it is, and an imaginative, unique creation deserves to succeed, and be cheered on.

3) Did you ever get to meet the “Queen of Vampires”?

(DUNCAN:) I never did. She seemed to keep a certain distance from the comics versions of her works − or at least Millennium’s comics versions, which included The Mummy as well as The Witching Hour.

I did talk to her personal assistant once. Long after The Witching Hour and Millennium had both tanked, I heard that the comics rights to Anne Rice’s books had reverted to her, and she had announced her intention to do her own graphic novel versions of all her books. I had always felt I’d love to finish the series, so I called her office to see if they were interested in my working with them. Her assistant was very polite and cordial, but also very non commital, and the basic message was “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” And of course, they never did. As far as I know, they eventually abandoned the whole graphic novel idea.

4) More recently, you were involved with another Pop icon. You created two leather masks for WWE wrestler Kane’s “resurrection” when he intruded on a matched and rudely slammed John Cena to the mat. How did you get involved in the melee?

(DUNCAN:) People who know my work from comics and book covers may not be aware that I’ve been making sculpted leather masks for many years. I’ve made masks for many theater productions, for the Big Apple Circus, for mask magician Jeff McBride (a long-time friend), for Wes Craven’s movie Cursed, and even for the Smithsonian. If you Google “leather masks,” my mask website (maskmaker.com) usually turns up in the first few results. Which is how the Creative Director from the WWE found me.

I went and met with the creative director and production designer, and of course, Kane himself. They already had certain ideas about what they wanted the masks to look like, but were willing to listen to my input, as well. I sat down with Kane and talked with him about his previous masks, about what worked well, and what didn’t, and how we could improve on what he’s had before. In the end, I made two masks, the red inner mask, and a sort of over-mask that looks a little like a welder’s mask.

5) Another notable piece is Hollow which you worked on for Archaia Studios Press. The pages on your website have a definite “extraterrestrial” vibe. Can you explain the storyline since you did the pencils and ink for issue 1 in 2010?

(DUNCAN:) The writer on the Hollow was a very talented young man named Larime Taylor. I had worked with Larime before, providing masks for a play he wrote and directed, Call of the Dragon. When he came up with Hollow a few years later, he got back in touch, asked me if I’d be willing to pencil and ink issue one.

Those creatures that look rather like extraterrestrials are actually the beings who conduct dead souls into the light or the darkness. They’re also the beings responsible for placing souls into babies. And they’re all upset because one got missed − there was a child born without a soul. Both the dark and the light are hunting for this soul-less child, who in the meantime has grown up, and is about to come of age, which redoubles the urgency with which the agents of Light and Dark are searching for him/her/it.

6) My favorite Duncan Eagleson work is Railwalker: Tales of the Urban Shaman. 

(DUNCAN:) Thanks very much.

6.1) Explain the premise to our readers. What are your plans for the series?

(DUNCAN:) The premise behind Railwalker was the idea of a genuine urban shaman. This guy (who we know only by his street name, Brick) has no cultural tradition behind him, no elder indigenous shaman he apprenticed to − he was just a guy from the streets of Brooklyn, a graffiti writer, who one day found the crows started talking to him, and teaching him things. He had no idea, at least in the beginning, that what the crows were teaching him is what anthropologists would call magic and shamanism.

Brick actually started out as a supporting character in a graphic novel I was trying to sell back in the 80s. In the 90s, the Earthspirit Community approached me about doing a comics series that would tie in to their Rites of Spring Festival (they had in mind either a single-panel, or a four-panel strip format), and I thought Brick would be the perfect protagonist − he’s a total outsider to modern magic and neo-paganism, but he’s an intelligent and sympathetic outsider.

When I started the series, I was thinking in terms of humorous strip comics, and was working in a kind of cartoony style. But I’ve never really thought of myself as a humorist, and the humor in Railwaker at Rites is generally not a broad laugh-out-loud kind of humor, but more wry and dry. So as the series went on, I gradually started transitioning the look of the art to a more sophisticated realistic style, which seemed more appropriate to the material I was writing. People seemed to like it, so I kept it up. The strip ran for three festival seasons, and after it ended, I set up a web site specifically for Railwalker.

Not long afterward, I started experimenting with animation in Flash. Over the course of the next couple of years, I created a short animated Railwalker movie, Keys, in several chapters. Keys tells one version of how Brick became the Railwalker (yes, there are others).

I had toyed with the idea of doing another short animation based on Beowulf (this was long before the Avary/Gaiman CG film version), but I was going to set it in a post-apocalyptic world, with a Mad Max type character as the hero. As I worked on the script, it started to morph and change and grow, and one day I thought, “Screw the animation, this wants to be a novel.”

So the Mad Max-like character became one of an order of traveling Warrior-Shamans, and what better to call his order than the Railwalkers? Which told me that after the Great Crash, Brick must have founded an organization to battle the chaos and monsters that appeared in the Crash’s wake, right? Since the Beowulf poem is in one sense a paean to the passing days of the great heroes, to be true to the flavor of the thing, my tale would have to happen during the final years of the Order, when they’re in their decline. So we’re 300 years after the Great Crash.

(“Harkinton,” the short story I did for the 2012: Final Prayer anthology, tells a tale of Alec Bane, one of the “Five Ravens” who formed the first generation of Brick’s Railwalker Order.)

With the working title of Wolf, the novel that resulted was something like Beowulf as a post-post-apocalyptic noir occult thriller. If that makes any sense. I didn’t really set out to blend, or transcend, or mashup all that many genres, but that’s the way the story developed. Of course, in allowing myself the freedom to do that, I probably hurt my chances of being picked up by a mainstream publisher. Those folks need to be able to neatly categorize and pigeonhole their product, and this novel would be tough to do that with. How do you market something like that? I wasn’t thinking about marketing the thing until after it was written. However, it’s been picked up now by one of the small presses, and should be out within the year.

As a result of that novel, I had a whole history of this order to come up with (at least in broad outline), not only in the formal organization created by Brick, but also in its roots, the many individual Railwalkers who had existed through history before Brick. Railwalker lore tells of a depression-era hobo, a traveling bluesman in the 1920s, an aristocratic Englishwoman of the Victorian period…  but the Railwalkers seem to appear only after the Industrial Revolution.  Which has to do, I’m sure, with their being particularly urban shamans.

I have two books of an urban fantasy series done, and a third in progress. They don’t involve Brick or the Railwalkers. At least not yet. But they will tie into the Railwalker universe timeline, and end in the Great Crash.

I also have some notes and sketches for what would be, not exactly a sequel to Wolf, but a story set around the same time and place, with a few overlapping characters, but no direct connection to the events of Wolf.  But that’s an embryonic project, so don’t hold me to that − the thing could still evolve in a different direction.

7) You’ve done some short graphic works as well. Recently, you did pencils and ink for some work that appeared in Elf Love (Pink Narcissus). I had the pleasure of doing a review of this great fantasy anthology. Tell us about your work and the anthology.

(DUNCAN:) Thanks, glad you liked the anthology, and thanks for the good review.

A friend sent me the call for short story submissions for this anthology. At first, I wasn’t very interested − I didn’t think I had anything to say about elves, particularly elves and love. But the idea got under my skin, and a few days later, I had not one, but two story ideas. I wrote them both up, submitted them, and to my surprise, they accepted them both.

Then I got a phone call from the Pink Narcissus Editor-in-Chief, Rose Mambert, saying, “Hey, you’re an artist, too, right?  Would you be interested in doing the cover for this book?” Long story short, I not only did the cover, but continue to do graphic design and occasionally illustration for them. Oh, but you asked about “Of Roots and Rings”, the comics story in that anthology…

I belong to a writer’s group, and one of my friends there, Sarah Eaton, is a terrific playwright. When she learned about Elf Love, she was intrigued, and had a story in mind for it. But she had never done a text story, had only ever previously written scripts. So I said, “Well, write it up as a script, and I’ll see if Rose is willing to have me illustrate it as a comics story.”  When I broached the idea to Rose, she was delighted, said they’d love to include a comics story in the anthology.

“Of Roots and Rings” was great fun to illustrate. Especially since the historical material that appears toward the end gave me a chance to revisit the historical montage look I’d been using for certain sequences back when I was doing The Witching Hour. I love doing that stuff, it’s almost like a comics story within the comics story.

8) Which is your greatest passion: writing, drawing, painting or mask-making?

(DUNCAN:) Storytelling, in whatever form. Everything I do, even making masks, is in some sense a form of storytelling.

I think that the desire, the need, to tell stories is the creative engine that drives all artists, even the ones who think they’ve transcended the narrative urge. They’re still trying to communicate, to say something, and that something has a context, a story, which they can’t avoid invoking or referring to in some way, even if only obliquely.

It’s all about The Story.

9) What writer and artist makes you go, “Damn, how did they put that much talent in one person?”

(DUNCAN:) You mean someone who writes AND illustrates? Well, Eisner, of course, he’s the grand old man of writer/artists. Howard Chaykin − I think one of the finest science fiction comics series ever created was Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! Brilliant work by a brilliant artist/writer. Mike Mignola consistently amazes me, his visual storytelling is superb. Frank Miller, Matthew Dow Smith, Sam Keith, Dave Sim, Phil Foglio, Matt Wagner…  I could go on, but those are the top names that spring to mind right now.

10. What’s next for you?

(DUNCAN:) I’m off to Necon July 19-22, then it’s back in the studio for a while. I’ve done a lot of events the last few months, showing masks and art, plugging my writing, and I need some uninterrupted time to get some new work done. There are covers to be done for Pink Narc books, and Wolf will be going through the editing process.

I’ve just finished a steampunk novel in collaboration with Rev DiCerto − we’re now giving it the last once-over and final polish before we submit it. I’m working on another novel of my own, in a different, darker genre. I’m also preparing a proposal-slash-presentation on an illustrated novel, in which a depression era carnival encounters the local Fae in an obscure hamlet in the backwoods of New York State. The story is loosely tied into the mythology of the New York Faerie Festival. If you wanted to get all “high concept” about it you could call it Gaiman’s Stardust meets HBO’s Carnivale. Watch for the Kickstarter campaign, hopefully mounting this fall.

Also, I can’t talk details yet, but just this morning I was invited to participate in a new anthology where the rest of the authors are mostly famous science fiction writers. No pressure, or anything, right? It’s a great opportunity, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of living up to the standards of that august company.

11) Big finish − where can people go to see your work and buy your comics, masks and other creative endeavors?

My online portfolios are at Eagleson Design and my Deviant Art page is here.

Prints are available both at the Deviant Art page and at my Zazzle Store.

Masks and sculptures are on maskmaker.com.

Keys and other Railwalker stories can be found at Railwalker Comics. The Railwalker story “Harkinton” appears in the Heske Horror anthology 2012: Final Prayer.

Some of my short fiction appears in two anthologies from Pink Narcissus Press, Elf Love and Rapunzel’s Daughters, and I’ve done covers for their Bleeding Hearts and Feasting with Panthers, terrific novels both.

 

Thanks Duncan. May the Muse be a crow on your shoulder and ever whispering in your ear.

An award-winning indie comic creator and screenwriter, Bob Heske wrote THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST. This graphic novel hit stores on July 5th at a price point of only $12.99. Order your copy at your local comic shop today – tell them the Diamond code is MAR121187! It can also be ordered on Kindle and on Amazon.

Bob has also published COLD BLOODED CHILLERS, the award-winning anthology BONE CHILLER and his end times tome 2012: FINAL PRAYER. BONE CHILLER and 2012: FINAL PRAYER are also available on Amazon Currently, Bob is making his family nervous by investing his time and money on an incredible micro-budget film called “Blessid”.

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Bob’s website is www.coldbloodedchillers.com.