Take a look at Deadshot. That’s how he’ll be appearing in the Green Arrow TV series, Arrow, courtesy of Huffington. Well you wouldn’t want to cover up that lovely face, would you?
CLIK THROUGH TO WATCH THE VIDEO
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Basking in the hot Florida sun, Shane Black‘s Iron Man 3 almost doesn’t look like an Iron Man film at all. In fact, while two superheroes manning high tech suits designed by Stark Enterprises were recently on the southern set, neither suit was the traditional red and yellow armor fans have come to know and love from the first two movies and The Avengers. Instead we have Tony Stark’s new Mark XLVII armor (first revealed at Comic-Con) and James Rhodes’ new Iron Patriot suit (first revealed through spy photos) on set together. This is a much more colorful Iron Man. Check out some set photos below.
The photos come from Daily Mail and NewsCom via Comic Book Movie. Here goes.
So there you see both suits together, a good view of the Mark XLVII, the production trying to cover up the Iron Patriot and the triumphant return of Downey Jr. to set after his injury.
Obviously, Iron Man 2 had Stark battling with, and against, War Machine in separate scenes but his armor was always the basic red and yellow look. Here we get two totally new, upgraded versions of the armor together on set without the usual suit. Guess we’ll be phasing out the original look. And while we don’t specifically know for a fact what’s going on in this scene, or with the armors, the rumor is [SPOILERS] Stark’s armor is number 47 because he’ll be fighting along side 40 unmanned suits in the film’s finale [SPOILER END].
In the end, is this really that big of a deal? No. Is it cool? Undoubtedly. The production of Iron Man 3 hit a little hiccup when Robert Downey Jr. got injured but he’s back now and it’s full steam ahead toward May 3, 2013. Expect a new trailer soon.
CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THE IMAGES
British comics writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have earned themselves a loyal following of superhero fans for their prodigious work on team books for Marvel and DC Comics, particularly those taking place in the more specifically "science fictiony" corners of those publishing lines. The partnership -- known collectively to their readers as DnA -- are probably best known for a run of titles from the last ten years that would define what's commonly called Marvel's "cosmic" line. Collaborating with a host of artists, DnA's Annihilation series, Nova, War of Kings and others reinvigorated Marvel's sci-fi stable, to the degree that their version of Guardians of the Galaxy is the direct inspiration for a forthcoming Marvel Studios film.
Abnett and Lanning's latest work is The Hypernaturals, a science fiction epic co-created with former Guardians of the Galaxy artist Brad Walker that sees these creators' imaginations spill out onto the page in a way that's quite distinct from their popular Marvel/DC work. Charged with keeping the peace in a galaxy where virtually all of mankind's needs are taken care of by the Quantinnum A.I. (i.e. god machine), the Hypernaturals are a superhero team, to be sure, but they exist in a universe that is imagined from the ground up, in a philosophically curious story that drives its diverse cast towards irrevocable ends, and in an idiosyncratic publishing format that rewards readers who wish to immerse themselves in "human galactic culture."
Sales of The Hypernaturals #1 necessitated that publisher BOOM! Studios release three printings, and I've found that the story gets pretty addicting from there on. With four issues available so far, I asked Abnett and Lanning to talk a little about the work that's so clearly inspiring them, why they couldn't have created The Hypernaturals at Marvel or DC, the challenges of launching original ongoings in today's market, and about the Guardians of the Galaxy film based on their work.
Helpfully, every issue of The Hypernaturals begins with a recap page that gives readers a very quick but effective introduction to the Nanocene Era, a 100-year period of future history that begins with the creation of The Quantinuum, an artificial intelligence that achieves singularity and administers all of the day-to-day functions of society. In the Quantinuum (which is also the name for human galactic culture in general) transportation, food and shelter are all taken care of by the A.I. What that leaves humanity free to do is one of the things I asked DnA below, but some of those humans become Hypernaturals, celebrated superpowered beings who protect the Quantinuum for five-year terms. At the start of the series, the newest lineup vanishes on its very first mission, causing a group of retired heroes and runners-up to step into action without any warning. In a bit of a sci-fi twist on the Hannibal Lecter story, some of the ad hoc Hypernaturals are forced to consult with Sublime, a brilliant but violent anarchist whose greatest wish is to destroy the Quantinuum A.I. that maintains civilization itself.
The Hypernaturals narrative follows a large cast and deals mainly with their relationships with each other and to the immediate events surrounding them, but DnA found ways to give curious readers like me several devices with which to learn more about the universe they obviously imagined in great detail. Recap pages are designed to be in-story communiques transmitted over the fictional Q-Data link, and they're followed by faux advertisements (think "got milk?" ads with celebrities) that offer insight into various cast members. From there, each issue begins in earnest with a flashback sequence that reveals more details about pertinent missions undertaken by Hypernaturals iterations of the past. Issues conclude with pages that seemed ripped out of fictional lifestyle magazines, featuring portions of interviews with different Hypernaturals that reveal more details about the world the series creators imagined.
This quirky but formalized structure is immensely useful to new readers, but is something you'd hardly ever see attempted in a Marvel or DC comic, where publishing formats and editorial necessities usually put the focus on the single-issue periodical, rather than on the larger, more complete work like what DnA have envisioned (12 issues to start). That's just one of the things I talked to writers Abnett and Lanning about after plowing through the first four issues of The Hypernaturals.
ComicsAlliance: The very first thing I wanted to ask you guys about is the Quantinuum, the A.I. that's said to control human galactic culture. The book itself spends most of its time on the characters and story, so I want to know from you some of the background details. In a literal sense, what exactly is it doing to manage society? What human choices or actions have been taken out of the equation by its existence, and what can the humanity of the nanocene era do with their time that you and I cannot?
DnA: Pretty much anything they like! The Quantinuum computer is an A.I. that has achieved singularity and makes everything -- just about everything -- technically possible. It runs the universe like a benevolent god, looking after all aspects of human life (good examples would be the Q-Trip travel system, or universal Q-Data news), and basically providing for our needs. It has the "brain power" to handle the vast vast vast amounts of data needed to run a society so huge and star-spanning. Within this utopian ideal however, humans are still having to deal with the usual daily problems that have beset mankind from our very earliest times: relationships, greed, violence, anger, and jealousy. The social and technological environment maybe light years ahead of where we are today, in the same way that today's society is vastly different to what it was 250 years ago, but the human condition has not progressed all that much. We like to think we're more civilized and sophisticated, but scratch the surface and people will still act and react to each other pretty much the same as they always have. It's a source of great conflict and drama to see characters in a supposedly near perfect, super sci-fi environment arguing over who's turn it is to put the trash bins out. Add into that the fact they have awesome super powers and it makes for some really fun stuff!
CA: I'm also curious about your thinking on the Quantinuum in a more philosophical and dramatic sense. It's a great science fiction notion, this god machine that takes care of everything, but I think we're trained from all these stories like The Matrix and Terminator and so forth that living machines is a pretty bad idea because, you know, apocalypse. But in Hypernaturals it seems to be en explicitly passive thing, no?
DnA: Oh yes. This is is a positive vision of a post-singularity future human evolution and possibility have taken a big leap forward. The notion of the evil god machine is a fun one to play with. However we're more focused on the notion that, as a society, we've become so familiar to the technology that surrounds every aspect of our lives without ever really understanding the impact it's having on us and without even knowing, beyond the basics, how it all works. Wireless networks, information clouds, augmented reality, holographic and 3D imaging are all pretty much in daily use, yet to regular users of this advanced technology it might as well be magic. We wanted to extrapolate this idea to a future society where the technology is as different to now as mobile phones are to smoke signals; and set a story in this Post-Singularity world that plays with these ideas and uses them as the basis for dramatic stories. In other words, the tale we're telling would be pretty dull if things didn't take a turn for the worse at some point, but hopefully, not in the way you'd expect from this type of story.
CA: There is one guy in the series who is very firmly against the Quantinuum, and that's Sublime. He says, "I'm going to kill God." He's a tricky character for me to nail down, which of course I realize is part of the story, but I find myself asking, does he want to kill the Quantinuum A.I. to save humanity because he's a misunderstood hero, or is he just a villainous dick, as evidenced by his attack on Stellerator, the married-with-kids hero who he regressed to a child?
DnA: He's hyper-smart, and he's an anarchist. He hates the idea of anyone or anything telling him -- or the species as a whole -- what to do. He doesn't believe in the system or any system, and wants to bring it down. Sometimes that will make him a real dick on an individual level (i.e. to Stellerator) and sometimes in a much broader, philosophical way. He's also a bit of a psycho! We'll be revealing more of his backstory in upcoming issues and will see that he has very personal motivations for hating the Quantinuum -- reasons that have left him unhinged and vengeful.
CA: Will Sublime's story be wrapped up in the first arc of the story or is he a kind of Lex Luthor for the Hypernaturals, whose story just goes on and on as long as the series does?
DnA: There will be some closure, but we're not going to spoil the ending here. Needless to say that every super team or hero has their arch villain. Part of the fun of creating the Hypernaturals Universe has been fleshing out great characters for them to interact with, including their rogue's gallery. This is a seriously powerful team and we need to give them some equally serious foes to battle but not only that, we want their adversaries to have cool backstory's and personalities to go along with their awesome powers. When you get this combination right, you end up with compelling characters that you'll want to see returning at some point, story permitting!
CA: Along those lines, I'd like to know how you plan a series with as much world-building as Hypernaturals in today's market, which is challenging for all periodicals but original comics in particular. Do you know how many issues you need to complete the story, or at least the first story, in case support for Hypernaturals drops off? Do you think early on about how the comics will be collected in books?
DnA: Yes, we did, and we've planned out the stages as carefully as possible. Having said that, we believe that creators should be bold, and put big ideas out there, and not flinch from expecting the audience to be smart and eager to learn more. We've planned the first story arc to span the first 12 issues (13 if you include the pre-credits sequence in the Free Comic Book Day issue), with break points along the way for collected editions. We wanted this opening arc to be a complete tale in itself, but one that also serves to establish the characters and the world of the Hypernaturals so that, hopefully, readers will want to see more of these characters and the world they occupy in future stories. Our template was very much guided by classic "maxi-series" like Watchmen and Give Me Liberty, where the story makes the most of the multi-issue length and fully explores the novel telling element of the graphic novel. Both of these books were also excellent examples of world-building too, offering extra material within the story as well as supplementary text pieces that augmented and expanded the world of the tale they were telling. If we can attain a fraction of their achievement in doing this, then we will be very happy.
CA: As I said, Hypernaturals focuses very squarely on the characters and their stories while much of the world-building stuff is kind of in the background or in the helpful supplemental material included in every issue. There are a lot of characters: you've got Thinkwell and Bewilder and their two rookies, you've got the fallen-on-hard-times hero Clone 45 and the rest of the former Hypernaturals, and you've got them team who went missing before the book begins. Will people come and go as their arcs get resolved, or is this the core group?
DnA: The veterans and replacements will essentially be the core group, but this is a series in which all bets are off. Anything can happen.... to anyone! Besides, big cast cosmic books are HUGE FUN! As we've said, part of that fun is creating a large cast of fully realized characters, each one with a wealth of background detail and rich histories. This makes telling other stories about them really attractive and gives us more than enough material to play with. And that's without all the new stuff we find ourselves having to cook up with each new issue.
CA: You guys are most famous for science fiction books with big casts like Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as Legion of Super-Heroes, Warhammer 40,000, the 2000 AD stuff; the impressive list goes on. As writers (and readers), what do you personally enjoy about working on ensemble books of this type? What keeps bringing you back to the cosmic team book?
DnA: We both like the way superheroes work in a sci-fi/cosmic environment. It kind of makes them make more sense. Costumes become uniforms or work clothes and, the scale gets bigger and more outlandish. It very much appeals to us. Maybe it's a very British thing! Ensemble books also give you a chance to tell stories from multi-character viewpoints. That means you can always mix things up issue by issue by switching characters and exploring things from their viewpoint. With a large cast you always have fresh perspectives to play with; and that keeps things really interesting and keeps us coming up with different ideas depending o who we're focusing on at any given point in the story, which is creatively very rewarding.
Unlettered pages from this month's Hypernaturals #5 (click to enlarge)
CA: The most obvious distinction between Hypernaturals and your Marvel and DC work is simply that it isn't Marvel and DC work. You're creating a whole new world here and I'm curious to know how different your approach to the material may be, and what challenges and advantages there are to creating this kind of book outside of your usual circumstances? Are there things you've wanted to do in your Marvel/DC cosmic books that you're only getting to do for the first time in Hypernaturals? I ask that with respect to characters and story but also with respect to format. One thing I noticed right away was the formal flashback sequence structure, and the "magazine" style getting-to-know-you features, which are hard to imagine in a currentMarvel or DC book.
DnA: Yeah, all of that is the case. We can do things with format and structure. But the main thing is the universe itself. This is a story that simply couldn't work in the Marvel Universe or the DC Universe. This isn't a Legion or Guardians story that we've shifted sideways and repurposed.. When you're dealing with a character that has X-number of years of continuity and may well be appearing in several other titles as well, it places necessary constraint on what you can do with them and with the continuity they exists in. With Hypernaturals, there are no constraints on us: we've created these guys, we can just as easily destroy them. It gives the stories a genuine sense of tension and drama, because anyone of our characters may not make it to the end of an issue. World (or universe) building is paying dividends for us here creatively. We are creating new elements with every issue and this is where the formatting really helps as we are able to add extra detail and background to concepts and characters through the articles and adverts we use in each issue. It's great fun but, as we've been finding out, is also a lot of extra work that when working in a predefined comic company's continuity you don't have to do because you have decades of issues to draw on.
CA: We'd be remiss if we didn't ask you guys about Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy film, which is obviously inspired by the comics you wrote in the recent past. What was your reaction to that news? Were you aware that such a project was in development and are you at all involved with it in any way?
DnA: They'd hinted. We're obviously very pleased that something we did is considered such a good idea that it's worth a movie. We don't know much beyond that.
CA: Obviously ComicsAlliance has covered the subject of creator credit and compensation when it comes to motion picture adaptations. Is there anything you care to report on that front, with respect to this film?
DnA: Not at this stage!
CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THE IMAGES
Clearly, Todd McFarlane likes spending time in court rooms. How else to explain the fact that, having finally reached a legal settlement with Neil Gaiman over the ownership of Spawn supporting character Angela, he's now suing a former employee who claims to be the inspiration for the original Spawn, Al Simmons. That employee's name? Al Simmons.
According to the lawsuit McFarlane filed in Arizona federal court, Simmons is being sued as the result of a book he wrote last year titled The Art of Being Spawn, where he claimed that he was the inspiration for the comic book character that shared his name. Simmons, the lawsuit explains, "was flattered and eagerly gave his consent to McFarlane in 1993 for his name to be a part of 'Spawn'," but he "was not the inspiration for 'Spawn's' central character and no-one has ever confused the character with Defendant Al Simmons." Well, for one thing, only one of the two Simmons is a virtually immortal superhero who can use "necroplasm" to fight crime.
Simmons -- a regular presence at conventions in the 1990s, when he wore a Spawn costume and signed autographs for fans -- sought, and received, permission from McFarlane to write an autobiography in early 2011, but McFarlane wasn't happy with the result. "Defendant Simmons has, in effect, traded on Plaintiffs' fame, brand and copyright protected creation, and now is deliberately using falsities in the Book to further attempt to improperly capitalize and infringe upon the McFarlane Companies' property interests and McFarlane's name, likeness and identity," the lawsuit alleges.
Accusing the real Simmons for breach of contract, libel, unfair competition, false endorsement, false advertising and copyright infringement amongst other things, McFarlane is not only seeking $75,000 from Simmons and his wife (and fellow former McFarlane employee) Beverly, but also an injunction on further attempts to link himself to the Spawn property as well as the seizure of the Simmons' personal computers to look for company information.
Those with good memories may remember that this isn't the first time McFarlane has faced legal action resulting from his using the name of real people in the Spawn series. In 2004, hockey player Tony Twist won $15 million in damages from McFarlane after the creator named a mob enforcer after him (The verdict was upheld through two appeals). We can only await the day when someone called Malebolgia steps forward with their own complaint, at this rate.
The first real details from Joss Whedon's new S.H.I.E.L.D. show are out. Behold the brand new agents we'll be following as they monitor the superhero world at the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. We're already getting a great Scooby vibe from these characters. Small spoilers ahead.
TV Line has the casting details from the pilot. Here's our new team:
SKYE | This late-20s woman sounds like a dream: fun, smart, caring and confident – with an ability to get the upper hand by using her wit and charm.
AGENT GRANT WARD | Quite the physical specimen and "cool under fire," he sometimes botches interpersonal relations. He's a quiet one with a bit of a temper, but he's the kind of guy that grows on you.
AGENT ALTHEA RICE | Also known as "The Calvary," this hard-core soldier has crazy skills when it comes to weapons and being a pilot. But her experiences have left her very quiet and a little damaged.
AGENT LEO FITZ and AGENT JEMMA SIMMONS | These two came through training together and still choose to spend most of their time in each other's company. Their sibling-like relationship is reinforced by their shared nerd tendencies – she deals with biology and chemistry, he's a whiz at the technical side of weaponry.
Love "The Calvary" remark. Plus, it sounds like Skye could be the main character, which means yet another lead lady kicking ass on a Whedon TV show. Prepare the squee siren.
A copy of Brave And The Bold #28 graded CGC 8.5 and valued at $10,000 and a Fantastic Four #5 8.0 were stolen from two different vendors this Saturday within minutes of each other, at Wizard World Mid Ohio.
Selling one of these on its own might be suspicios, anyone trying to sell both togetehr should set off all the alarm bells.
Courtesy of CBR, here are the Greg Capullo variant die cut covers for the Death Of The Family crossover comics, each featuring half the face of one of the Batbook central cast. We thought the Joker one deserved pride of place, however… and expect it to freak out all sorts of people.
CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THE IMAGES
Three more covers for Uncanny Avengers #1, two featuring Neal Adams from The Lair and one from Midtown by J Scott Campbell.
This is what we have so far. Through Diamond Comic Distributors…
And now we also have;
Neal Adams Lair Variant
Seventeen I’ve counted so far… any more to make it an even twenty?
Also, Midtown is linking three J Scott Campbell variants together for Uncanny Avengers #1, All New X-Men #1 and Avengers #1…
CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THE IMAGES
It's a sad day for illustration aficionados as the marvelous Covered blog publishes its final pieces, citing a drop off in submissions and editor Rob Goodwin's focus on other projects. Covered has since 2009 invited artists to recreate classic comic book covers in their own distinctive styles, fueling a remix/homage trend that's become commonplace in the online comics community and helped expose younger generations to the important work of industry veterans and introduce newcomers to the scene.
Some of Covered's final pieces include contributions from Steve Rude and Arthur Adams, which as our friends at Robot 6 rightly observed is a pretty high point to end on.
Fantastic Four #4 by Jack Kirby and Sol Brodsky, covered by Steve Rude
Fantastic Four #49 by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott, covered by Steve Rude
Avengers #150 by George Pérez and John Romita, covered by Arthur Adams
Nexus #15 by Steve Rude, covered by... Steve Rude!
Justice League of America by Rich Buckler and Jack Abel, covered by Arthur Adams
You've definitely seen Covered artists and artwork in ComicsAlliance's own Best Art Ever (This Week) and other art features, and we're sad to see Goodwin's blog go. However, more than 1,000 pieces will remain for posterity, and Goodwin himself is hard at work on an original graphic novel you can learn about here.
CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THE IMAGES
The dispute between satellite TV providers Dish and Walking Dead broadcasters AMC has run for many months now, and there appears to be no way it’s going to be resolved in time for the start of season three. Dish say they’ve got not plans at all to bring back the channel.
Luckily, AMC have swooped to the rescue of Dish customers, offering them the option of live streaming the episode in time with its broadcast airing on October 14th.
If you’re a Dish subscriber and want to take AMC up on this deal, you need to pre-register. The page has just been opened: Walking Dead For Dish.
Do note that this deal stands for just the season premiere. The official statement reads:
"This is a one-time only event for Dish customers. Switch TV providers now to see the rest of Season 3 of The Walking Dead."
It’s good publicity for the show, but I can’t see what part this initiative might play in resolving the AMC-Dish deadlock. Worst case scenario, perhaps, the plan will get a wave of Dish users hooked then leave them hanging, sending them all to the torrents for subsequent episodes.
Director Marc Webb and his web shooters are coming back for The Amazing Spider-Man 2! Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad released this statement heralding the good news.
We could not be more confident in the direction we are taking this new Spider-Man storyline and we are tremendously excited to be ramping up production again with Marc at the helm and Andrew continuing on as Peter Parker. We can't wait to share what we have in store for Peter and Spider-Man with audiences worldwide.
Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and former Fringe showrunner Jeff Pinkner are currently rewriting the sequel script penned originally by James Vanderbilt. Let's hope all the kinks get ironed out early this go round — since many people thought the first movie suffered excessively from last minute editing. (Even though we mostly enjoyed the film.)
Emma Stone is in talks to return. And if she does not come back to rekindle the fire of teen love throughout the universe's loins, then I will rip out all of my hair and hold my breath until she does.
Production is being planned for next year, with a release date of May 2014.
My favourite theories as to Marvel’s big NYCC “Superior” announcement.
What do we know? That the writer of the most shocking book of 2012 will be a very special guest at NYCC and announce a new book, for which Superior is the title.
These are the five top theories.
1) The guest is Dan Slott, listed as attending NYCC already, and the book is the relaunch of Spider-Man as… something else. Something Superior. Amazing Spider-Man #698 through to #700, A Dying Wish, are meant to be just that shocking. However Dan Slott’s appearance doesn’t seem that… special. I mean, he’s always at those shows.
2) The guest is Neil Gaiman who will be relaunching Marvelman/Miracleman. Except Neil Gaiman hasn’t written a shocking comic in 2012. And from what I understand, Marvelman/Miracleman are some time away still.
3) The guest is Brian Bendis, who has sworn off attending conventions. The book is the a X-Men title, hence the reference to Homo Superior, and backs up what we were told earlier this year, that Bendis would be writing two X-books. But, again, the most shocking book of 2012? Could that be the last issue of AVX? The first issue of All New X-Men?
4) The guest is Mark Millar, who is currently sticking to creator-owned work. Superior is a reference to his Icon book for Marvel, but also a reference to the X-Men, as he is now working on the Fox movies. And, as part of that job, he’s launching a new X-book. As for the most shocking book of 2012? Well, there was the last issue of Kick Ass 2, there’s plenty in Supercrooks to choose from, and we haven’t seen the final issues of Hit Girl yet… but Mark does like to stay in his own time zone is at all possible.
5) Jeph Loeb and J Scott Campbell‘s Spider-Man finally?
Neither solution seems to fit all the aspects that have been teased. Is it someone else? Is it something else? Or was the teasing just a little overblown?
Fox hasn't always done the best job making use of its Marvel Comics film properties — they appear to have just lost the rights to Daredevil, and their Fantastic Four films aren't considered classics. So it's probably good news that they've hired Mark MIllar, who's done so much to reshape how Marvel's characters are portrayed with series like Ultimates, as their new Marvel movie consultant.
And meanwhile, the announcement appears to be the long-awaited official confirmation that Josh Trank (Chronicle) is directing the new FF movie.
Here's the press release:
"Marking an expanded commitment to some of its most important franchises, Twentieth Century Fox has brought on comics superstar Mark Millar to serve as a creative consultant on the studio's upcoming projects based on Marvel Comics properties.
Millar wrote several celebrated Marvel books such as The Ultimates, Civil War and Wolverine: Old Man Logan, before moving on to found Millarworld (millarworld.tv), where he continues to develop existing film franchise titles Wanted and Kick-Ass, as well as newer comic properties The Secret Service, Superior, and Nemesis - the latter also in development at Fox. Millar will work with Fox on developing new avenues for its "X-Men" and "Fantastic Four" tentpoles.
Commented TCF production president Emma Watts: "We are excited to be working with Mark. In addition to his groundbreaking Marvel work, he is simply one of the most original voices in comics today and will be an invaluable resource to us and to our filmmakers as we look for fresh opportunities to innovate within our shared Marvel universe."
Upcoming for the studio is THE WOLVERINE, starring Hugh Jackman, directed by James Mangold; X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, helmed by Matthew Vaughn; and a reboot of "FANTASTIC FOUR, to be directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle).
"As someone who has spent his entire life obsessed with both comic-books and movies, this is essentially my dream gig as it's a unique combination of both," stated Millar. "I spent ten years working at Marvel and am really happy with the work I did on the comic side of things so the idea of working with these characters now in a brand new medium is enormously exciting for me. I really like the Fox team, love this bold new direction they have for their franchises and am proud to be working alongside some of modern cinema's biggest talents. James Mangold is incredible, Matthew Vaughn's one of my closest pals and Josh Trank gave us, in my opinion, one of the greatest superhero movies of the last decade with Chronicle. The invitation to join this crew was maybe the coolest phone-call I've ever had."
You know that Marvel Studios is moving forward with a superhero movie when there is a bake-off of young talent for key roles. Marvel is readying Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and directors Joe and Anthony Russo have a short list of five hot actresses for a significant new role.
Not sure the character, but evidently it’s a love interest for Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). I’m told that Game Of Thrones‘ Emelia Clarke, Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay, Warm Bodies‘ Teresa Palmer, Knight Of Cups‘ Imogen Poots and The Five Year Engagement‘s Alison Brie are testing for it. I’m also hearing that Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow will be in the mix on this film. Marvel cleverly signs these actors on for as many as nine options, which gives them the latitude to cross-pollinate the films with multiple superheroes. At first this was annoyance to talent and their dealmakers — Marvel is known for being stingy — but The Avengers worked so well that it’s a career coup to be in the mix on Marvel movies because most of them turn out so well. And it certainly works for the audience.
In the convention hall of the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel, MorrisonCon rocketed onwards through its weekend programming with Celluloid Heroes, a panel that ostensibly began as a look at comic book movies but disintegrated into superhero semantics madness.
MorrisonCon co-creator James Sime opened the panel by introducing the moderator: porn actress and sex columnist Ryan Keely. Leading the crowd in a rousing cheer, Keely promised a look at "the filthy backdoor romance between comic books and movies!"
The panelists then entered, led by "Chronicle" screenwriter Max Landis, who ran around the stage screaming, bottles of water in hand; "Happy!" artist Darick Robinson; Grant Morrison and James Gunn, director of the upcoming Marvel Studios film "Guardians Of The Galaxy."
"There's only four comics properties that ever interested me in turning them into movies," Gunn declared. "One was 'We3.' The others were 'Thunderbolts,' 'Hit Monkey'...and 'Guardians Of The Galaxy.'"
As for who he was thinking of casting for Rocket Raccoon, Gunn played it cagey. "There's such a long, long list for all our casting choices, we've barely begun."
Asked by Landis if he felt his movie was going to be cast-dependent or if Gunn had more freedom to adapt what he wanted, Gunn responded frankly. "It's not cast-dependent. We could make the movie with unknowns if we wanted to. I can't talk too much about this, because Marvel will kill me!"
Keely then asked if the panelists felt comic books naturally lent itself to adaptation, which set Gunn and Robertson to talking about the fumetti trend in the early '80s, taking stills from movies and pasting word balloons over them to turn them into comic books.
Morrison spoke about what he saw as the main problem with adaption: things get left out. "There's an interior life you can do in a comic that you can study and reassemble because it's right on the page," Morrison said. "With a movie, you're dragging them through twenty-four frames per second...you drop a lot of the interior symbolic stuff that works on the page."
"I'm saying this without a judgmental sort of thing that filmmaking is a very fascistic form in a certain respects because you're taking the audience step by step and they have to go at your pace," Gunn stated in agreement. He then told the audience he felt it was harder to do the remake of "Dawn Of The Dead" then "Guardians" as people had such specific ideas of what zombies entail -- though he is experiencing a level of fan obsession with "Guardians."
"I'm on Twitter and every hour I get suggestions about things I must do for 'Guardians!'" Gunn said with a laugh.
"I think the most successful comic [movies] tend to be like Batman or the Avengers, where there's fifty years of material to work from so they create a new story. With 'Watchmen,' you made a movie from a finished, complete story and it doesn't work!" Morrison said, panning the idea of slavish devotion to a comic when adapting it to the big screen.
Landis, speaking about "Chronicle," began the panel's slide from conversation into heated argument. Stating he hates calling his film's protagonist a superhero, the writer/director explained he felt superheroes are a specific archetype and his breakthrough movie had more in common with "Carrie" than Superman. Nor did he feel, he informed Gunn and the audience, that "Guardians Of The Galaxy" qualified as superheroes.
"I think of superheroes as capes!" Landis said, standing up to pace the stage as he spoke. "When 'Chronicle' came out, they were like, 'It's a superhero story.' It's only a superhero story because that's what's coming out now! If it came out in 1996, they'd call it a sci-fi thriller!"
Gunn disagreed with Landis's defintiion, labeling "Chronicle" as, "One of the best superhero movies of all time," to Landis' obvious consternation.
"Come on! They're superheroes, they have superpowers!" Gunn said.
"Matt is an immature goofball who is forced into a position of responsibility. At the end of 'Taxi Driver,' is Travis Bickle a fucking superhero?" Landis shot back.
"He doesn't have superpowers!" Gunn said.
"He certainly gets shot a lot!" Landis responded to audience laughter.
Landis then labeled his movie as being born out of his love of superheroes but not being about superheroes, a move Gunn called disingenuous.
"If it's born from superheroes and a tribute to your love for them, then I think that it is [a superhero movie] and you shouldn't get offended," Gunn said.
"To me, a superhero is someone who goes through an experience in their life that then causes them to create an alias for themselves...and then acts altruistically and puts other people ahead of themselves," Landis replied, defining his notion of a superhero as members of the audience booed and catcalled.
"You can't diminish that other people have other definitions of the word superhero!" Gunn responded. "Why are you booing an entire community of people calling it a superhero?"
"James, you hugely misunderstand!" Landis retorted.
"What are some other topics we have tonight?" Gunn asked as the audience and panelists laughed.
Keely attempted to get the panel back on track by speaking about the upcoming adaptation of "The Boys," but that also segued into Landis' issues with the execution of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's superhero satire.
"The premise of 'The Boys' is my favorite premise ever: superheroes are dicks! They do drugs and they're a fucking mess and there needs to be guys to patrol them. Do you know how fucking impossible that would be?" Landis asked, pacing the stage once again and stating that he felt the comic's central concept lost something as soon as the protagonist gained superpowers.
"But tell me how you really feel," Robertson said to more audience laughter.
Robertson then defended "The Boys" by explaining, "Everyone in the boys is Hughie. When Hughie does kill that guy...it wasn't something he took pleasure in doing...and if we killed him off in the first issue because he has no protection, there wouldn't be a story! Whatever it is to be super-powered, Hughie has to maintain who he is and he holds onto his soul."
Landis said the idea of having to patrol superheroes was a concept he was actually exploring in his next movie project, "Villains," which was currently moving through Universal.
Keely strong-armed the conversation back to the current superhero trend, with Gunn stating he did not believe movies were going through a superhero "phase" and that the superhero film is firmly ensconced in Hollywood due to changing special effects technology.
"The other thing is, superheroes aren't a genre -- they're an ingredient, not a genre," Morrison added.
Landis chimed in that when it came to genre trends, Hollywood was in the middle of "pre-opting IP rights" to "Twilight" knockoffs with everything from mermaids to Peter Pan.
"There are tons and tons and tons of robot movies in the works," Gunn added, as both directors expressed extreme distaste for the practice of creating comics solely for the purpose of adapting them into movies.
That led Morrison to bring up his work on "Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens," while Gunn stated he felt that writers' rights were still in the "Dark Ages" when it came to IP rights, pointing to things like "Cowboys And Aliens."
"As a comic book fan, I think that's fucking awesome!" Sime interrupted, saying that as a retailer, he sees no problem with any move to sell more comic books or give young artists more venues to work in.
Keely moved the discussion away from film by asking the comic book creators what television they were consuming. Morrison told the audience he only watched "Doctor Who."
"[Steven] Moffat had been getting a lot of tweets from people who were saying, 'You should have Grant write "Doctor Who,"' and I'd really love to write 'Doctor Who,'" Grant said, adding that a friend of his who had worked with writer Mark Gatiss and Moffat pitched the idea to them and reported they wanted to hear from Morrison.
"We tried it four or five times, and he never wrote back," Morrison said, adding that he had heard from those working on the related animated show that they were given Morrison's '80s "Doctor Who" comics for reference.
Landis then led the audience in a mass tweeting of Mark Gatiss unde r the hashtag of #letgrantmorrisonwritedrwho.
With the spotlight back on him, Landis then launched into a ten-minute description of the plot of a story he pitched DC Comics which revolved around the idea of the Prankster getting the best of Superman. The pitch was ultimately passed on as DC did not want to make Superman look stupid.
Keely finally opened the floor to audience questions, one of the first coming from MorrisonCon DJ Akira The Don who asked about the possibility of eventually seeing "The Invisibles" or "We3" as a movie.
"Hollywood does not get my comic books," Morrison said. "Even 'We3' is, 'I don't get this.' They're fucking animals!"
Gunn added he believed the problem adapting "We3" was the sheer weirdness of the violence married with the animals and their friendship. This prompted Morrison to explain he actually toned down the violence while writing the screenplay adaptation, setting up a dynamic where the animals would only attack if they were attacked, inluding a scene where an army has to lay down their weapons and let the animals pass. "I think that's a very cinematic moment!" Morrison said.
Another audience member, quickly designated the final one as the panel had run out of time, asked about technology, transhumanism and how far away humans were from real superpowers.
"Two years and three months," joked Gunn. "A great superpower is blowing a guy away with a gun...carrying a machine gun is a superpower."
MS Paint Adventures began as a weird webcomic where reader suggestions dictated the action every day, leading to predictably silly ends. Creator Andrew Hussie ran several stories there in the guise of old pictorial text adventure games (think King's Quest, if your memory goes back that far). In April 2009, three days after concluding the epic detective story/game Problem Sleuth, he jumped right into his current project: Homestuck. That's when everything started to change.
Homestuck is about four 13-year-old internet friends trying to play a computer game that will either save or destroy the world. It is sprawling and complex, dumb and hilarious, and full of the most fiendishly intricate references to the basest turds of pop culture. It's about the internet -- cliques and fandoms, the good stuff and the icky stuff. In Hussie's own words, Homestuck is "made of pure internet".
Oh, and it has easily a million daily readers, raised nearly $2 million on Kickstarter, and is actually really good. I have some experience with weirdly popular youth-oriented videogame-referencing epics (i.e. I created the Scott Pilgrim series), so after plowing through Homestuck (twice!) I set out to ask Andrew Hussie some of the burning questions on my mind.
If you've been to a comic convention lately and seen a giant group of teenagers giggling about something you don't understand, they were almost certainly Homestuck fans. Right now Hussie's running a Kickstarter campaign to produce a professional Homestuck-derived computer game and as of this writing it's raised $2 MILLION DOLLARS. This whole phenomenon was so interesting to me that, a little over a year ago, I delved into the seemingly-impenetrable story itself, starting with page one... all the way to page five-thousand.
Yes, Homestuck is long, and it keeps getting longer (it's currently ongoing, although Hussie promises the end is in sight). It's verbose. It's mysterious. While we could quibble all day about whether it is or isn't a comic, here's what it is: pictures and words. There's no speech balloons. Each "page" is generally one panel. Sometimes there's text -- often thousands of words presented as a chat log between two or more characters. Sometimes there's just artwork, wordless action, for many pages in a row. Some pages are animated .gifs. Some pages are a full-blown 15-minute, lavishly-animated cartoon features. Some pages take the form of an honest-to-god playable video game.
The most important thing about Homestuck is, in this reader's opinion, that it's excellent. It's a massive undertaking of deftly-handled long-term serialized storytelling. It's well-written and thoughtful. It has things to say. It takes weeks and weeks to read the whole thing (to date), and it certainly isn't for everyone, but it's as much worth your time as any comic I can think of. What is the deal with Homestuck and Andrew Hussie? Read on to find out.
BRYAN LEE O'MALLEY: The general premise of MSPA was, initially, making fun of the dumb silliness of text parser adventure games. But those largely stopped being made in, like, 1989. So for me, the big cognitive dissonance at first was: here's a story presented in a text parser format attracting a massive audience of teens. Most of these kids literally could not have been born in the era when text parser games were even a thing at all. So... what are your readers taking from this? Are they just investing themselves in the meat of the story and kind of glossing over the presentational/meta stuff? Do you think they even know or care that the text parser is an archaic gaming interface -- is it now just a "Homestuck thing" to the younger readers?
ANDREW HUSSIE: The commands and mock-text parser stuff were concepts in much better alignment with the story and website in early Homestuck and in the stories before it, when the readers would submit those commands and I would pick one and draw the response -- where I was literally functioning as the text parser myself. As Homestuck went on, and the user submission system was retired (quite necessarily, about a year into it), the text command system has become a little more esoteric. A lot of the commands started getting a little lofty or abstract, or tied to no character in particular (like "Descend."), or just a blank "==>" when all we really need to do sometimes is turn the damn page. It's funny how the invisible action of turning the page is something that requires no consideration from the author of a typical book, but it always needs some thought in this case. In a way these commands really do start becoming "just a quirky Homestuck thing," even if that's all they ever were in the minds of very young readers. A lot of the time the commands to me seem to serve as a simple title for a page.
Before Homestuck, I think the site really did tend to attract more people in [their 30s] or a bit younger, due to a much more clearly telegraphed parody of text adventure games and those people would dig it for that reason -- the nostalgia and novelty surrounding that particular storytelling mechanism. But Homestuck added a lot more elements, more engaging story and characters, very much in the vein of young adult content, and as such has attracted many very young readers. For most of them, I do think the text adventure elements were either lost on them or were just something that had no appeal other than something that is an acquired taste -- things they eventually learned must be embraced as part of the overall "Homestuck experience." But at the onset, that archaic gaming parody stuff, and the slow, peculiar pacing it entails, tends to just be one of the many, many barriers to overcome in engaging with this and learning how to enjoy it. I couldn't even count how many times I've read something like "OK I've tried to read this thing like five times and just never really got it. But the sixth time, oh man, I finally pushed through the early stuff somehow and now I am A Homestuck." And then all successive posts on their tumblr seem to be nothing but photos of themselves wearing horns or something.
So in response to the general question you asked, how I feel about that, it's a combination of being highly amusing and quite amazing. Once that conversion happens, it often seems to be absolute. Like the things that were once impediments to becoming invested in the story seem to now be fully embraced, and even celebrated whenever those elements resurface. Maybe it's that the harder you have to work to figure something out, and the more concentration you have to apply, the more devoted you become once it all finally clicks and you get it.
O'MALLEY: I guess the next topic that grabs me is "Internet Friends." The four main characters in Homestuck have the most relatable internet friendships I've ever seen in fiction. It's a new kind of relationship that you capture really accurately. The characters are best friends, but they haven't technically met, and they only ever interact through this chat medium. And this is all presented via communication interfaces that feel much more 1999 than 2009. I mean, "Trollian" the chat client is I assume a riff on Trillian, and Pesterchum feels more like ICQ than anything. It brings me rushing right back to my earliest days online.
What was it like to start writing these characters in 2009, and how much of the early chat logs grew out of your own online relationships?
HUSSIE: The instant messaging style definitely draws from 1999 more than 2009. AIM and ICQ rather than Skype and whatnot. This too is a bit of a technological throwback, like so much of the gaming satire. But that said, even though the apps are all different and conventions have morphed, there isn't that much that's changed about talking to friends on a computer via text. It's a type of interaction which has given rise to some totally distinct kinds of social relationships, blossoming out of nowhere in the late '90s, early 2000s, and they have actually become the defining types of relationships for so many young people today. It's almost unbelievable to consider how many young people there are now who consider their best friends to be people online, who they've never met.
That is I'm sure a major feature of the story that has resonated with many readers, that it reflects those types of relationships somewhat accurately. It's a quirky kind of friendship, ones built mostly on text exchanges. Those relationships, especially for those who don't feel very socially dynamic in real life, can develop more quickly and can often feel stronger than real life ones. Maybe because it's easier to find people you connect with better from the internet pool, or that conversing this way diminishes some of the social barriers that real life interaction involves. Whatever it is, it tends to create some pretty strong bonds, and that's become standard these days. But the other defining feature of those relationships is, unless you live somewhat nearby, obviously you never get to actually be around that person. So these friendships, while strong, can also be primarily characterized by an inevitable sense of long term separation and alienation. The fact that meeting is not practical or sometimes impossible, especially with the very strong friendships, kind of turns into the elephant in the room for that relationship. When will they get to meet, or will they ever, can become the operative question and a source of frustration.
I'm sure that element in these relationships has led to the various themes of alienation found throughout Homestuck, contributing to some of the more melancholy material. Meetings between the kids do not happen for quite a long time, and it's fairly significant and usually feels special when they do. There are a bunch of frustrating near-misses. All that stuff just keeps reminding people what it's like to have such relationships. The domestic situations of the kids are also very isolated and kind of empty. When they get in the game, they continue being isolated on their own planets and keep corresponding through the internet. You find themes of alienation wherever you look and it all points to what it feels like having your most important relationships conducted through the internet.
The trolls are a larger group and their dynamic is a little more "modern internet" than the kids, I think. In the early days of the internet it was more common for internet relationships to be only like those between the kids, but that was before the Facebook explosion and all that, which completely tangled real life socialization with the internet as the cultural norm. So you have some trolls who are friends with trolls who live far away and they've never met, but also some who are neighbors or live nearby, but they still all communicate with each other on the net as one big group of friends. It's a much more contemporary sort of internet clique. It is also maybe a little more realistic, with respect to the size and age of the group, in that it generates much more drama and emotional theatrics.
I have experience with internet friendships from back when they were a little more new to society, like late '90s to early 2000s. When I was 13, obviously all this was pure science fiction. I somewhat draw from my experience with how these types of online relationships and social interactions universally work, but also it comes from observation of how others engage with each other online, those younger than me or in different situations than I ever was. Mainly my experience guides the rhythm and feel for this sort of repartee, the jokey, rambling, casual quality to it all. And that style became responsible for the genetic makeup of how the entire story was built, how the vast majority of the story's text reads, how characters are shaped and info is revealed and the plot is advanced. It's one of the things that make the story a winding road. It's an outcome that's self-evidently encoded in the premise when you say, "Time to make a story where character interactions are driven exclusively by rambling, true to life chat logs."
O'MALLEY: As the story evolves, do you start feeling hamstrung by the use of chat logs? To me it adds a weird poignancy that later, even when they're standing in front of each other, they kind of have to use the internet to communicate.
HUSSIE: I don't think I have ever said, "AUGH why can't I just make a damn speech bubble??" The characters always spend so much time apart that it's natural to just keep them talking on computers. Times where they're not, it gives me interesting chances to play with the rules a bit, or devise new dialogue mechanisms that grow out of the old ones. Like, one rule is they can always talk directly to a sprite because they're just game constructs, like guides. But sometimes characters prototype themselves and become sprites. So you have those few cases where characters directly talk to each other. Then you have dream bubble mechanics, which kind of cheat. They tend to start out as memories, like flashbacks, of characters talking online. But then when they remember, and start walking around the dream and stand face to face with others, they just keep talking out loud, using the same pesterlog convention as if they're still typing. They even continue using their typing syntax and emoticons and stuff when they speak out loud.
Also waaay down the road I finally did invent a true mechanism for face-to-face dialog. Called "dialoglogs." But they can only be earned after achieving a very high level, becoming a god, and even then progressing a little higher than that to unlock the achievement of simple dialogue without a chat client. This is itself a gag.
O'MALLEY: How did you come to this format? What prompted you to do a story about internet friends told in this internetty multimedia format? It looks simple and elegant from here, but was it stumbled on or was it hard-won?
HUSSIE: It was a major, long term case of one thing leading to another, all very organically. Homestuck was just: Problem Sleuth plus a little more of a story, try adding a dialog system, try adding Flash animation, see what happens. There was also the different premise; where Problem Sleuth was "detectives in offices," Homestuck was "kids in houses." When people asked me what I was doing next, that's how I would put it: "Something with kids in houses."
A lot of things about it were preconceived, like the four kids and what they'd basically be like, some game rules, house building stuff, creation myth stuff. But just as much if not more arose through the process, like the trolls, carapace people and dream selves and god tiers, points of execution like huge flash movies which I never thought I'd do, playable games... the list is endless.
So yeah, a story about kids on the internet, that is told in a way that is like, made of pure internet, is something arrived at pretty organically and not something I can say I envisioned before starting all at once. Making something that really feels like it belongs on the internet, something that seems to actually understand it exists on the internet, involves doing quite a lot of things. The media exploration is part of it, but also the self aware elements I think, where the connection between the reader/fandom and the story is always alive and palpable.
O'MALLEY: To recap, Problem Sleuth was about a detective stuck in his office. Homestuck starts with a kid stuck in his house. And for the first couple hundred pages that's all it seems to be -- but then it grows and grows. There's a whole world in there. It gets big and weird and intense. Reading it a second time, I start to see the seams of where stuff was probably made up as you were going along, but on a first read through, the big reveals not only blew me away but seemed to have been in place from the first page. I think this mostly means you're a great writer of serial fiction and you think well on your feet.
HUSSIE: Thanks for saying so! Dexterity is possibly part of the answer, but the whole subject of "what was planned when" is very tricky. Do all authors have every single idea totally hammered out before they begin writing a novel? Of course not. Some things like keystone ideas are planned well in advance of the first page. Others emerge organically from the process. Anything that is introduced spontaneously can be smoothed out and heavily disguised with the luxury of an editing phase, but this here is essentially glass box storytelling. You're seeing how it's being made as I go, and every single decision is committed to absolutely once it's on the site, with no retconning ever. Nothing is ever written or drawn in advance; there's no "buffer," only a mental outline of ideas and key plot points to cover which is all executed little by little. So when people look into the glass box and the next thing that comes out makes them say "holy s***, was that planned?" the answer is almost always, "that's a complicated subject."
When did the idea need to take shape for it to be considered planned development? A month in advance? A year? How exactly do we profile the genesis of an idea? Do we draw a tight circle around a particular "eureka moment?" Or is it sometimes a much wider circumference? Could you circle an entire year, and say, "There. That's when I had the idea." Sometimes I find myself likening the birth of an idea or a vision to a slow gathering of storm clouds. They accumulate, they brood in the distance, always getting closer. It's ominous, something you can't escape from rather than something you're actively trying to precipitate. Then it's finally there, and you have no choice. You have to do it. That cloud accumulation often is the planning process. And it happens while you're building a story just as often as before you begin. Maybe more often. Sometimes those little clues at the beginning, or repeated themes that mount throughout which all scream foreshadowing for certain payoffs, those were actually artifacts of the accumulation which lead to the full realization of the idea. It's not really just "retroactive foreshadowing" either, though that can also be a device in play. It's more like listening carefully to the marble of the story and determining how it wants to be carved, when I was also the one who created the raw slab of marble in the first place.
Less abstractly, there were definitely a lot of things nailed down before page one. The concept of the game as a creation myth, a lot of the game rules, stuff like that. So even though there's plenty of thinking on my feet, and allowing other major elements coalesce as I go, there were still always some huge plot beacons I was always marching toward in some way with every page. The fact that there's clear order driving the most major revelations at the heart of the story probably strengthens the illusion that every other bit of it is just as maniacally calculated as well. Working on something like this borrows somewhat from the art of being an improv comic. You probably go into the act with some major, high level guidelines for the performance no matter what people want you to do, but also have a lot of room and dexterity to adjust to the specifics, and it's a whole discipline unto itself knowing how to make those adjustments in a way that seems natural or even planned and rehearsed.
O'MALLEY: I identify strongly with your "gathering storm clouds" metaphor for ideas coalescing. That's a very evocative way of putting it.
I was going to ask how much time elapsed between the end of Problem Sleuth and beginning of Homestuck, but I just checked the logs and it was under a week, which is nuts. Were you just brimming with ideas for the new story during the last weeks/months of Problem Sleuth? I know I'm constantly coming up with big plans for the next story when I should be finishing the current story.
HUSSIE: I began Homestuck on 4/13, but I began the Homestuck Beta on 4/10. That was three days after Problem Sleuth ended. A huge part of the MSPA exercise has been to just throw myself into it no matter what, whether I'm "ready" or not, and then just never stop. The challenge is always to take whatever idea I have for what's next, do it now, and somehow make it work, even if it's kind of stupid or just totally nuts.
Even though there was almost a nonexistent gap between Problem Sleuth and Homestuck, there was still definitely a planning phase for Homestuck going on at the tail end of Problem Sleuth. It was much more like that slow accumulation of storm clouds I described earlier. It all kind of coalesced very ominously over the final months of Problem Sleuth, then it was over, and it wasn't really a matter of hopping over to the next fun story casually. It was more a matter of having no choice, and then beginning the climb on a new monstrous project that was undoubtedly going to take over my life and that of many others in ways I couldn't quite imagine, but still basically understood on some level.
O'MALLEY: What about pacing? It always feels very deliberate throughout. I think on multiple occasions you tease us with fragments of a character literally hundreds of pages before fully revealing them. The buildup always feels very measured. Are you buying time to make new stuff up? Or do you have stuff made up and just take your time spooling it out?
HUSSIE: I try to put myself in the shoes of readers a lot when making it, especially ones who approach it [via the archives]. Probably because the majority of people who will ever read it will read it that way (including most current readers, who have had to catch up through five acts before following along.) So when I make decisions on how to pace certain things, when to show payoffs and big reveals, what points to foreshadow and how heavily, I usually do all that with an eye toward the experience of someone reading "archivally." I think the whole thing gels together better when read that way. Novelty of everything stays fresher throughout, certain plot points and details stay afloat in your mind better, all that helps catalyze a quality impact for the more striking sequences and surprising reveals when they do happen. It sounds like these factors may have benefited your experience, which is always nice to hear.
I honestly think this is one reason why it's exploded. Large amounts of people are finally catching up with the whole thing I pictured it would be, receiving all the crazy s*** as one massive shot of adrenaline, confusion and media titillation, and responding well to it.
I still throw plenty of bones to serial readers, though. On a day-to-day basis, even if we aren't blasting off to plot resolutions as quickly as serial readers will often demand, there's always something funny or entertaining going on, like gags, fun character interactions, various shoutouts to things emerging from the fandom which then become woven into the fabric of Homestuck lore, and so on. Advancement is always present in subtle ways, sometimes concealed inside blocks of casual banter, or lurking passively in a visual. We learn a little tidbit here, find another little clue there. It all adds up and keeps it slowly ticking everything forward. When read archivally, it all adds up faster.
The bottom line on pacing I think is: I am very patient. Possibly even to a fault. But if you seek to tell stories that involve intrigue, particularly which involve highly combustible payoffs, I think it's better to err on the side of patience. There is always a right time to reveal something.
O'MALLEY: This seems like a good segue into process. I want to start with the basics: What is your day like? What is your week like?
HUSSIE: I think in the last year or so it's fair to say I've kiiiiiind of eased up on the nonstop grind. But I'll rewind the clock to, say, 2010, when I was definitely in the full throes of Homestuck's silly climb. There just isn't an answer to the question that isn't "literally every waking hour" creating this thing. The day was like this: I'd wake up. Read some emails, see what people are saying about the story here and there, then just get to work. This most often involved writing first, either a pesterlog or the little sub-panel blurbs. I'd stack up the writing for all the panels I wanted to make for that batch, then I'd draw them or mess around with an existing art file to quick-and-dirty something out.
The faster the panels were made, the more I'd post in a day. If panels were coming quick, that could have been a 10-20-page day. If the panels were simple, but very text-heavy, then fewer. But the shortcuts and time saved were always immediately reinvested into further work on the story. Like, a lot of days there would be update batches, like the early evening batch, then I'd eat or something, then work on the late night batch and post all those at 4am or something. The bottom line is there were never daily quotas or milestones or anything like a schedule. It was just: get as much done as quickly as possible, post it, then almost immediately begin working on more.
Which sounds ludicrous, but that regimen was always inseparable from the product in my mind. It also helped that for the most part, any given slew of panels is relatively easy for me, embodies a bunch of entertaining ideas I'd been wanting to bring to light often for some time already, and serves as an esoteric form of personal entertainment when you factor in the dialog between the work and readers which the instant output precipitates. The only type of work I'd ever call "hard" was Flash work, and often that's putting it really lightly. Those were usually days, or a week, of not posting anything while working twice as hard as usual, a lot of times actually sacrificing sleep which I never tend to do otherwise, just to get the f***in' things done. This isn't recommended. Actually, none of this is recommended.
Photo by Emily McQueen (click to enlarge)
O'MALLEY: OK, so you have a work ethic that borders on (or brazenly charges into) crazytown. What portion of your day/week/month breaks down into note-making, writing, drawing, revising?
HUSSIE: I'd break it down like this on average: 0%, 49.5%, 49.5%, 1%. Notes are almost nonexistent. I have a few scattered one-word blips or phrases about this or that in my file, but that's it. One of the things about doing this constantly, like a full mind-body-life thing, is it just seems to keep everything about the story "alive" in my head all the time. I think if I did things like take breaks or have a more sparse schedule, it would kind of fall apart in my head and I'd have to resort to documents and flow charts and stuff, or more realistically, just get fed up and quit. Revising is also very light. The thing is supposed to be very light on editing and revision, while always charging ahead.
O'MALLEY: So would you say the dialog is basically stream-of-consciousness from story beat to story beat?
HUSSIE: It was always fairly stream of consciousness, which initially resulted from embracing chatlog style repartee. It's actually very useful from a "just get something on the page and go from there" standpoint. There is a bit of refinement sometimes, deleting some blocks, adding a line here and there. Usually it's pretty close to prime-time-ready from start to finish. Some dialogs are more taxing and require serious thought if they're more plot critical, revealing stuff in just the right way, or involve gymnastics with internally consistent timeline bulls***. Sometimes I have to go back and add troll quirks, which can be terrible [note: the troll characters all speak/type in distinctive hacker-style lingo]. For some characters I really quickly took to using a fan-made troll text conversion app.
O'MALLEY: How far out do you work? Are you on the razor's edge here? Do you compose the day's pages that very day and post them?
HUSSIE: Yep, it's make pages, put 'em up. If there were ink involved, the ink would literally not be dry on like 95% of all pages the moment they went up. But there is also a living outline in my head for what to do with the story for the next month's worth of updates or so. It's often subject to change though. And almost invariably, the events I picture take more time to execute than I envision. Like often a week or more longer, but sometimes it takes months longer to get to some particular thing I was picturing.
O'MALLEY: You've said there are over a million Homestuck readers. I'll just scratch the surface by asking: when did you realize it was getting crazy? And when did it go from being crazy online to burgeoning into a real-world thing?
HUSSIE: The moment it went crazy was really unmistakable and totally obvious even at the time. It was when I brought the trolls into the picture. Really, not even that long into it, either. Hivebent, the sub-act introducing them, was about 600 pages long, and took a full summer to make. I think the existing fandom began turning itself into an insane cyclone about halfway through and started sucking more people into it. It was an extremely wild and contagious phenomenon, fueled largely by fan art completely infesting places like Tumblr and 4chan, and cosplayers starting to get a little feistier and more widespread. The site always felt "pretty popular" to me, at least by my own standards, since the end of Problem Sleuth. But that was the first time where the element of true hysteria began to creep in for me.
Other than that, there was one other critical spike in my perception of the hysteria, which I think was Otakon last summer. Before that, I'd see a lot of photos of cosplayers here and there, but they were never in groups bigger than 10 or 20. Photos coming out of that con had groups of several hundred Homestuck cosplayers. And groups of that size have been the trend in anime cons ever since. It was some weird critical mass of cosplay that took place at that con and it never looked back. The Homestuck cosplayers at anime cons seem to routinely outnumber all the other types of cosplay combined, and as the people who don't like it often lament, Homestuck isn't even an anime.
The photos that surfaced from Otakon had a mildly spooky feeling, and I don't think it was for just me. They were kind of passing around Twitter, here and there, and it felt like people not following the thing closely were caught off guard by it. Like, looking at something that doesn't register as a rational, understandable thing. Like, "uh... what is... hmm. What? Did those 50 kids in the blue hoodies really all dress up as the same character?" Really, my sense is that Homestuck as a phenomenon seems to make some people legitimately nervous. I guess because it really just doesn't seem to make any sense. Especially to those who don't know anything about the story, try to understand it, go to the first page of the site, and say "WHAT?"
O'MALLEY: You obviously have been working on Homestuck nonstop for, like, a pretty long time now. How do you make your money? When did you start making enough to get by? For me there was a pretty specific window of time where it switched over from being "this is sh***y" to "this is OK now," but it was to do with books and royalties and suddenly having enough books in print (four Scott Pilgrims) for the math to finally be in my favor. I don't know what the equivalent is for a Web Person, so I wonder.
HUSSIE: I've been entirely supported by MSPA since, I guess, the latter half of Problem Sleuth, though things were still pretty lean back then and stayed that way for the first year or two of Homestuck. I don't think it ever crossed my mind to think "this is sh***y" because I was totally used to living that way forever, and I thought it was totally cool being able to make "free money" with internet ads, which stayed as the biggest source of revenue for a good while (it's now easily the smallest, though). But there was definitely a moment where it crossed the line and became "this is definitely far from sh***y" and that was also the critical fan spike I mentioned earlier, introducing the trolls. I was still underestimating the profitability brewing under the surface, though. I had the idea to make the zodiac shirts but thought it would be a pretty niche item and didn't want to bug my usual shirt maker Topatoco with 12 new designs. So I got my own company, What Pumpkin, to make a bunch, but woefully under ordered. We had a huge amount of trouble keeping those shirts in stock and shipping out all the orders for like a solid year after that. That's pretty much been the story of all merch since then; constantly underestimating steadily growing demand. It was that way with the early runs of the god tier stuff too.
I seem to have this knack for falling totally ass backwards into highly marketable ideas, like the troll zodiac symbols. It really seems like such a money making scam when you look at it. Like, taking these icons that have been around forever, give them all one color which is easy and cheap to print on a simple black shirt, associate them with some distinctive characters, and also the zodiac which people can intrinsically identify with (having a "patron troll") then just slap it on a bunch of merch and rake in the dough. The god tier stuff also felt that way, 12 nice colorful icons, also associated with particular characters, special powers etc., and canonically associated with a particular garment, a hoodie (i.e. godhood), so any cynical observer looks at it and can say, "Heh, look what bulls*** Hussie cooked up to sell hoodies." But honestly this is always accidental. The ideas always just seemed cool to me, filling out the zodiac with troll characters, fleshing out the full god tier system and such. I've never actually put anything in the story to sell anything. But throughout the entire ride, every time I turn around, I'm saying, "Oh, whoops. Guess I gotta sell that now."
When I started selling books, that also really kicked up the revenue. And like you said, it starts stacking up with more books out. I have five out now and that's really adding up, and I'm barely even scratching the surface of publishable content. Homestuck could have 10 books alone, probably more. This is another one of those "completely accidental moves of merchandising genius" on my part. Making a type of story that is produced so quickly, that I can put out in a few years the same number of books that might take someone else a decade to stockpile. I very rarely have a palpable sense of how much work I've actually done over the last few years until I'm sizing up the book project. Then, once the magnitude of the bookmaking job begins to sink in, I start muttering, "Oh my god, what have I done..."
O'MALLEY: The blogosphere seems to ignore Homestuck. There hasn't really been any intermediary discussion. I wanted to read a big interview with you, but there wasn't one, so I had to do it myself.
HUSSIE: I always understood the blogs neglecting Homestuck, because I'm pretty well able to step outside of it and try to honestly see what it looks like to random people. And what I see is something that couldn't possibly be less penetrable to casual understanding. I think weighing the massive cult phenomenon that's apparent in public, against what the first page of the story looks like... that kind of says it all. It just so perfectly "does not compute," looking at this dinky piece of s*** aliased drawing of a kid with a cake versus an army of screaming teens in gray makeup. How do regular people even process that? And the scary thing is, even figuring out how to reconcile that disparity is barely even the beginning of "understanding it," so I can completely understand people giving up before even trying. In fact, I'd probably do the same.
O'MALLEY: The other side of the coin is the active haters. In fact, seeing kids hating on Homestuck and Scott Pilgrim in the same breath was one of the things that first made me decide to hunker down and read all five thousand pages of it. What are your thoughts on hate?
HUSSIE: Homestuck kind of took a while to accumulate honest-to-god haters. It's probably for the exact same reason there aren't a lot of true "mehs" out there. It seems that most of the haters have entered the hatedom through their antipathy toward the fans. People's irritation and loathing for the fandom's antics always seems to exacerbate any slight dislike of the story they have, and is really often a catalyst that transmutes "meh" into full blown hate, for all things Homestuck no matter how irrational or petty. Like... these idiots are wearing gray makeup, I'm so pissed, let me just load up MSPA so I can confirm and then rave about how bad this thing is. Oh god I was right ALL THESE JOKES SUCK!
I think those bother me a lot less because they're so patently irrational. The ones that are more frustrating tend to be the kind of haters who once seemed like they were into it at some point, but one thing or another soured them on it and now all of a sudden the whole thing is crap, as if they previously were an unreliable witness of content. I guess this is really something at the heart of haterism that is almost unavoidable for any work. It takes time to deliver anything, and for it to blossom into whatever it's going to become and to reveal its true statements. That almost always takes years, so it's a natural race against people's attention spans, or even just the inscrutably shifting terrain of their preferences. There are always going to be things that people will want a story to become, and those preferences always vary, so the story is always gonna cross some people no matter what it does.
Where frustration as a creator comes into play is the factors that exist outside of the pure text are almost never acknowledged, like rate of delivery and shift of personal perspective. The hater always demands absolute acknowledgement of the text's intrinsic flaws, and there are no factors whatsoever on the other side of the fence. As if a story is nothing but raw data to be deconstructed, and not actually a million different stories that come to life within a million different vehicles of consciousness.
Generally they don't affect my work habits, but I guess earlier this year there was a period where I was feeling pretty dark about it. There seemed to be a critical spike in Homestuck hate then, I guess because the readership size finally cleared a certain threshold and some people just couldn't take it anymore. But the feeling isn't really characterized by increased doubt in what I'm doing, it's more like a kind of depression that says, "Why bother working hard to make good work for idiots and a**holes???" But I guess that was a pretty small speed bump because that didn't last too long. Everything always seems to be in the fast lane when it comes to MSPA, so I guess the funks might as well be too. Now if people rail on it, it barely registers as anything to me. Their bluster is the white noise of Wrong.
O'MALLEY: I want to talk about character romance and relationships, aka "shipping" -- fans love this stuff. I wasn't aware how much of a thing it had become until well into the Scott Pilgrim series, when I realized a ton of the fans had dismissed Ramona and were somehow fancifully giving Scott and Kim an ending together in their fan-brains. I started to play with that expectation in the second half of the series, at first playing with the theoretical idea of fanservice (like the swimsuit sequence and the girls-kissing stuff) and eventually realizing it was a real thing and having to steer the story back in the right direction (i.e. towards Ramona). I got a second chance to play with pairings when I wrote the videogame endings, which have Kim and Knives together, Scott with all the girls, Knives and Scott, etc.
When did shipping become a thing you acknowledged and began working with? You obviously shifted hard in that direction by the time of the hilarious and charming (and fully fan-functional) Troll Shipping Quadrants.
HUSSIE: I think it became obvious it was going to be a major, unignorable fan trend almost immediately after I introduced the second character, therefore completing the very first shippable pair. And by the nature of the work, it was just as obviously going to be an inescapable presence in terms of the direction of the story. The themes the story deals with usually flow in the path of least resistance, as carved out by the forces of nature which are represented by the greater interests and enthusiasms of the readership. And by "dealing with" those themes I mean some strange combination of merciless mockery, shameless indulgence, and outright glorification. Shipping received that treatment too.
But the focus on shipping as a major cog in the story's machinery didn't kick off until the trolls were introduced. Which is true of plenty of other themes too. Really the introduction of the trolls is when Homestuck busts open like a piñata in terms of what it would begin to yield as an unapologetic examination of internet subcultures, and it never really looked back. The candy was on the floor, and kids started diving for it. I couldn't put the candy back in if I wanted to. Before the trolls, it was a somewhat more buttoned up narrative that, while taking internet culture sincerely as a basis for telling a story, never got all that specific on the subcultures. It stayed more general, mostly exploring what it's like for a bunch of "regular kids" to be friends on the internet. But the trolls were more explicit representations of facets of internet culture, usually something marginalized or controversial, or something most people just want nothing to do with. Like a troll who fetishizes weird stuff, a troll who's literally a juggalo, and a troll who embodies an interest in furries and shipping (for the sake of efficiency). And that's when shipping pretty much took over Homestuck.
This is a little misleading, though, because the reality of many stories capturing the interest of young adults is that they will often involve plenty of romance. And this is true of Homestuck, too. It's just that when these themes began to emerge in Homestuck, they did so under the rubric of shipping. Relationships were usually presented through that lens, and discussed using that terminology. Most of which, to be fair, was completely made up by me (see: quadrants).
It also bears mentioning that one thing I think Homestuck has always done is take marginalized internet cultures that most people think are icky or incomprehensible or just completely laughable, and sort of humanize those things. Or at least, slowly bring people around on those things, where they stop being viewed as completely absurd or untouchable, and become sort of insidiously normalized in spite of everyone's best efforts to keep that stuff on the fringe where it belongs. Like, people who've been reading through its entire run, at the beginning most of them would have decried shipping as something beneath rational consideration, something only teen girl anime fans bother even mentioning. But over time I noticed a lot of those people started gradually being "converted," and now so many people who were once perfectly respectable from an internet culture standpoint, seem to freely engage in discussions about shipping, using all the terms and actually seriously evaluate hypothetical ships.
The same thing kind of happened with juggalo culture. Earlier juggalos and their ways were seen as a complete joke, and early references to them in Homestuck seemed like a gimmick designed to slam Insane Clown Posse while accomplishing little else. But Homestuck just kept riding juggalo humor so persistently, and to certain extent so sincerely, that the Homestuck fandom now encompasses a legitimate sectarian offshoot of juggalo culture. The ICP lexicon, clown makeup, Faygo, all that silly bulls*** is arguably as much a part of Homestuck culture as it a part of the actual juggalo culture it's supposedly mocking. Though if you look closely, it hardly resembles mockery anymore.
O'MALLEY: So now you're making a real live Homestuck adventure game via Kickstarter. When did the idea for the game come up? Were you, like me, always wishing you could make an adventure game from the ages of ten to... never stopping?
HUSSIE: Yeah, I've always had the idea of making a game bouncing around my head. I feel like anyone who played a lot of games as a kid almost certainly wanted to make a game at some point, if not actually imagining it as their profession some day. I didn't always want to make an adventure game. For a long time when I was a kid I wanted to make a killer role-playing game. Like Final Fantasy 3... TWO!!! Something exactly like that. The idea for the big "game-making fantasy" that is undoubtedly common among so many of us changed a lot for me, like from platformer to RPG to adventure game, but I think the notion was always there. I thought about making a Problem Sleuth game when I was wrapping that story up. I probably would have, if I didn't get so busy with Homestuck right away.
So it was pretty much a no-brainer to see this Kickstarter wave and pounce on that to actually bring to life this perma-fantasy of making a game. Since the idea to do it was always there, it was just a matter of actually obtaining the means, squaring up the time, and then actually going through a process that is undoubtedly 10 times more difficult and less glamorous than anyone who daydreams about game design ever realizes. But I think I've prepared myself for those rigors pretty adequately.
O'MALLEY: The Kickstarter campaign is about to close with over two million dollars. To me, this really vindicates the Homestuck fandom as a powerful entity in its own right. This makes Homestuck "real." You've had no advertising, no corporate backing, just a real groundswell of love and weird grey kids on Tumblr -- proof of the power word-of-mouth can have with something truly original and cool. So how excited are you right now?
HUSSIE: It's an odd sensation of being extremely excited, felt in very small pockets of space between perpetual activity as I keep taking care of business. It's hard to slow down to really experience all that this represents because there's still so much to do. On a pure "holy s***" level, there's a lot to be said for it. Let's face it, in normal person world, which at least I think is where I still live, a million bucks is a lot of f***ing money. Like, remember how that was always the ultimate prize in game shows and reality TV, as if it was the absolutely undisputed benchmark for a dauntingly inaccessible pile of wealth? The irreducible Pot of Gold. People would sit in a chair and answer, like, 50 really hard questions and fail every day on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Or in Survivor, you'd go to an island full of a**holes and eat bugs and almost die for like two months just for a shot at a million. But here all I did was put together a few nice looking prize packs and pushed a button and I blink and suddenly there's two million there. These are silly and startling times we live in. It's not merely an age of excitement. It's an age where dollar figures apparently begin to lose their meaning, and the nature of quantitative reality itself starts to come apart at the seams.
But aside from being busy now, there are still a lot of forces to temper the excitement. The biggest elephant in the room for me is finishing Homestuck. It's going to take a lot of focus to finish it, and getting too deep into game design sounds like the perfect way to derail that. So a lot of my enthusiasm for this game project will have to be deferred until next year. Another factor is the budget. While 2 million is crazy money, and gets regular people to do insane things on TV for it, it is by no means the dream budget when it comes to games. So this isn't about me waving a magic wand and making anything that's in my head appear on your computer, which frankly is the proposition that makes the average game enthusiast feel excited when they think about making a game. That budget is actually going to create a lot of tough creative choices. You always want the money you have to be maximized to make the best product, but the question is, how? If you get a little extra money in the budget, do you load it into nicer graphics? A richer gameplay experience? Coming to these conclusions is less about the excitement of creativity and more about making the practical judgments and compromises of a producer. That'll be what we're involved with soon after the Kickstarter ends, and the real excitement will come later, when I'm ready to begin the more purely creative work on it.
This year, comic stores will celebrate Hallowe’en in a different way.
Oh it’s always been a good time for comic stores, especially those who sell superhero costumes and masks. But there’s lots of fun things happening this year. For a start it’s the first Hallowe’en ComicFest, where like Free Comic Book Day, retailers will have bundles of free comics to give away with a Hallowe’en theme.
Then, Diamond Comic Distributors is organising a Hallowe’en photo contest with big prizes. Comic book readers can enter to win, with the top 26 winning their choice in $50 plus graphic novels, action figures, and stuff, with five hundred other winners nationwide who will also get swag worth up to $25 each,
They just upload their costume photo, choose their prizes and which store they’d pick the prize up from. And then get all their friends to vote for them right here…
And any store whose customers win will be entered into a drawing for thirteen lots of $100 toy merchandise, or one will win $500 worth. So you know, it’s in the shops best interest to encourage their customers to enter. Is your shop taking part?
Oh and here are the free Hallowe’en Comics you can start looking forward to now, from Adventure Time to Turtles to Axe Cop…
CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THE IMAGES
The third season premiere of the Walking Dead is rapidly approaching — and with it comes this massive gallery of gory images of the post-apocalyptic hellscape. Looks like the cast is starting to get a little gamey, plus Daryl in a poncho.
Get a look inside their new home (the prison) and the inmates they'll have to hack to bits before they can move in.
CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THE IMAGES
Marvel has spoken with Fox Nation on their upcoming variant cover programme to suport the Susan G Koman For The Cure charity, aiming to prevent breast cancer. The charity is also working with WWE, in a similar move away from traditional female-focused areas of entertainment.
Marvel EIC Axel Alonso is quoted a saying “Everyone’s got a mother, everyone’s got a sister and sometimes that mother and sister are buying the book. There are more eyes on our characters and on the Marvel brand than at any time in history. It’s not a bad way to highlight a cause than to tie it with our characters. And while most of our readers may be male, don’t underestimate the number of female readers out there. Our titles, such as Captain Marvel [the new Captain Marvel is female], the Fantastic Four, the X-Men — they all have powerful female lead characters. I think that Marvel is a great brand to bring awareness to any cause, large or small.”
A spokesman for the charity, Carrie Glasscock, is quoted as saying “And we always need to reach new audiences with self awareness and early self detection … The Marvel partnership allows us to reach comic book readers in a way that’s unique and interesting for them. They are used to reading these comic books that are just classic, and Marvel has been a fabulous brand that’s been around a long time. So, the opportunity to expand our reach to these comic books readers who are new but who also may have been affected by breast cancer was a key to our partnership with Marvel.”
As well as the variant covers, themselves causing some retailer controversy as they are only available to those who order large numbers of the non-pink covers, Marvel comics will also carry an advertorial to promote the charity and Breast Cancer AwarenessMonth which “features a conversation where Iron Man’s alter ego, Tony Stark, reveals his own personal battle with breast cancer to Captain America.”
This is how Fox Nation commentators have responded so far;
"This is just more of the media and society trying to feminize men andget the boys to wear pink under the guise of breast cancer. There are plenty of cancers that affect men, prostate cancer being one, and there are no special clothes or events for that. While I sympathize with women and some men that suffer from breast cancer trying to get hero’s to wear pink to influence young men to be more feminine is pure Men can support breast cancer without wearing pink,
I used to support them but they give the money you give them to Planned Parenthood. PPH than spends the money on abortions and running ads for Obama.
The Komen Foundation is not in the business of serious cancer research. It’s in the business of business. Otherwise it wouldn’t have ended funding for stem cell research after caving to political pressure. The pink ribbon is an exercise in brand awareness draped in the guise of charity.
Support an organization interested in research, not political marketing; Nancy Brinker took home $417,171 last year – more than twice the salary of the average research pathologist."
CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THEIMAGES
Here are fifteen pieces of vital comics information, imparted by Bleeding Cool’s TJ McDonald and Schedel Luitjen from MorrisonCon. A signed table from attendeed. And a post-coital Thor by Chris Burnham…
There will be 10 new pages in Absolute Final Crisis, a huge battle scene formerly cut. New Final Crisis pages feature “Captain Carrot fighting zombies” etc.
Stephanie Brown and Kathy Kane “still exist” in Chris Burnham’s mind
“What Happy is about is, I just got so mad at Simon Fuckin’ Cowell.” – Grant Morrison
All that happened in Batman Inc vol 1 “still exists in our heads” – Grant Morrison
Jim Lee “still has hope” for All Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder Volume 2. Frank Miller has scripted two issues.
JH Williams III has his shirt cuffs monogrammed with “JH3.” That is a sharp-dressed man.
Grant Morrison will probably put some extra chapters cut from Supergods online
We may see Seaguy vol 3 before we see Multiversity
Grant Morrison is not happy with the Red concept being part of Animal Man as it had made him a second rate Swamp Thing
We will see Dr. Hurt again in Morrison’s Batman comics
Grant Morrison uses Gilette g3 razors on his head..
JH3 is done drawing Batwoman in a few issues? It’s sad, but onward and upward. He will continue writing
“I am just a human being… I’m not a guru or a leader or a demigod of any kind.” – Grant Morrison
Chris Burnham’s Nixon’s Pals coming out in a hardcover color edition this year or next!
“Last night I drank mead and stapled money to a woman’s ass. Maybe today things will finally get weird” – Jason Aaron
In what writer Kieron Gillen very accurately described as "bad news," his and artist Jamie McKelvie's much anticipated (by us especially) return to their urban fantasy series Phonogram has been delayed until next year. Subtitled The Immaterial Girl, the new miniseries was meant to debut before the end of 2012, but circumstances have become such that the book may not appear until the back half of 2013.
In Phonogram, music is literally magic. A slogan that went around the last series was "last night this DJ ruined your life," and in this comics series that can actually happen. Practitioners of this magic are known to each other as Phonomancers, and they live their lives right alongside the rest of us: on the street, in the subway, in the cafe, in the club or in the queue. They have their own sects and rituals.
The phonomancers' adventures were detailed in the miniseries Rue Britannia and The Singles Club. But while beloved by an ever growing cult of readers (particularly readers from beyond the direct market customer base), Phonogram was deemed by its creators as not profitable enough to continue. However, Gillen and McKelvie confirmed the return of the series earlier this year, alongside numerous other high-profile 2012 launches from Image Comics such as Happy! by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson (out now) and Mara by Brian Wood and Ming Doyle (out December 26).
In a posting to the Phonogram website, Gillen shared a completed black-and-white page of McKelvie art for The Immaterial Girl, which is to feature the recurring Emily Aster phonomancer in a starring role. The writer cited "scheduling issues and all that" as cause for the hefty delay.
Seemingly compounding matters is Marvel NOW Point One, an anthology one-shot to which Gillen and McKelvie contribute a story featuring Loki from Gillen's Journey into Mystery and the Miss America character from Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta's Vengeance. However, Gillen assured readers that despite appearances, one gig has nothing to do with the other.
"Yeah. The timing of this is all kinds of odd, but they're unconnected events. We expect and understand a bit of cynicism, but hand on heart, etc."
Finally, the writer teased a new project to be announced at next month's New York Comic Con, which we've confirmed will be creator-owned. More on that when the convention commences.
CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THE IMAGES
Sony announced today that director Marc Webb and lead Andrew Garfield are both locked down and confirmed to return for the Amazing Spider-Man sequel, whilst Emma Stone is in final negotiations to return as Gwen Stacy. The casting news might not be too much of a surprise, but Marc Webb’s directing role was considered to be on shaky turf due to “obligations to Fox“. The announcement will be welcome news to fans of Webb’s work on the first film, and is also a gift to the film blogging community, as we will never tire of the fact that the director’s last name is spider-pun gold.
The release date for the second film has been fixed since before the release of the first; you can see The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Electric Boogaloo* in cinemas from May 2nd 2014. Production will begin next year and the sequel will, like the first film, be shot in 3D.
*Title tbc. But we think it will be this.
Over at Tor.com, there's a super-comprehensive list of all of the stuff you can learn by watching the director's commentary on The Avengers. Including director Joss Whedon pointing out some of the weaknesses and plot holes in his own script, the fact that Mark Ruffalo kept telling Whedon it wasn't too late to recast him, and the great Loki-Tony scene was originally much more about Loki threatening Tony.
If you're still basking in the astounding rockitude of The Avengers, this roundup is well worth checking out.
Fox has hired Mark Millar as a creative consultant on their upcoming Marvel films, to help develop the future of the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises.
Millar has experience with both X-Men and Fantastic Four comics at Marvel, as the original writer of Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four, along with a year-long stint on the classic Fantastic Four series. His creator-owned books Wanted and Kick-Ass have both been made into films, and a sequel, Kick-Ass 2, is currently filming.
Fox's upcoming Marvel movies include the James Mangold-directed The Wolverine, scheduled out July 23, 2013 (the first promotional image was released earlier this week); X-Men: Days of Future Past, a 2014 sequel to 2011's X-Men: First Class; and a Josh Trank-helmed Fantastic Four reboot.
"I really like the Fox team, love this bold new direction they have for their franchises and am proud to be working alongside some of modern cinema’s biggest talents," said Millar, who worked with First Class and Days of Future Past director Matthew Vaughn on the original Kick-Ass film. "James Mangold is incredible, Matthew Vaughn's one of my closest pals and Josh Trank gave us, in my opinion, one of the greatest superhero movies of the last decade with Chronicle. The invitation to join this crew was maybe the coolest phone call I've ever had."
Previously, Fox also had the live-action rights to Daredevil, but it's been reported that the license has reverted to Disney-owned Marvel Studios after a reboot to the 2003 film failed to move into production in a timely fashion.
This isn’t my theory, but I’ll share a couple of my own once we’ve gotten through these basics.
So, the story goes like this: Wonder Woman is going to be in Man of Steel, next summer’s Superman movie. Why? Because Henry Cavill and Gina Carano socialised together at a car show.
Okay, maybe there’s a bit more to it than that. Here’s the very stop-start way that Cosmic Booknews tried to make their case compelling.
"Guess what’s rumored for the new Superman movie, Man of Steel?
A Wonder Woman appearance.
Guess who is a couple in the DC Comics?
Superman and Wonder Woman.
Guess who was spotted together at the recent McLaren Automotive unveiling?
Henry Cavill with fitness model/mma star/actress/americangladiator Gina Carano.
Guess who’s the “favorite” to play Wonder Woman.
We know Henry Cavill broke up with his fiancee.
Wonder where Cavill and Carano met?
No, tell me, really. Where did Cavill and Carano meet? And tell me how you know so.
My half-way, meet-the-nuts-in-the-middle theory would be that the two actors met during some kind of recent screen test. Maybe Warner Bros. are trying potential Justice League Wonder Women out with their one, existing cast member – if that’s indeed the case and they’re not opting for a different Superman altogether.
I’d buy that, I think. If somebody trustworthy gave me a tickle and a nudge in the direction of the screen test story, I’d be inclined to trust them. But Wonder Woman being in Man of Steel? Nah, I don’t think so. There’s just so much other stuff it needs to do.
My actual core theory, the one that I feel comfortable with, is that Cavill and Carano met at Starbucks, when she overheard “his cute British accent.” Or in the gym. Or at church. Or were hired to be at this car thing, by somebody who probably didn’t even think of Wonder Woman for a single heartbeat.
Still, I know plenty of people are going to point at the recent Superman-Wonder Woman kiss in the comics and see forward planning in motion. I guess I’d just ask them “How forward?”