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Thirteen Gay Weddings In Four Comic Stores For Astonishing X-Men #51 | Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors

Thirteen Gay Weddings In Four Comic Stores For Astonishing X-Men #51 | Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors | Comic Books |

Next week, Marvel publishes Astonishing X-Men #51, featuring the marriage of X-Man Northstar to his boyfriend Kyle, one day early. And some people are making quite the celebration.

Collectors Corner in Baltimore, familiar to Bleeding Cool readers, are celebrating their own gay wedding as two longtime customers renew their vows for an event instore to celebrate the release of Astonishing X-Men #51.

Midtown Comics are hosting a private same sex wedding in their Downtown store in Manhattan

And MaximuM Comics of Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada are taking it all one step further, featuring five gay couples in one store and six in another getting a “commitment ceremony”, as gay marriage is not legal under state law, though it does now allow same sex unions.

The staff at both shops will be fully tuxedoed, wedding cakes, flowers and gift bags are on the way, with money raised going to AFAN Aid for AIDS NV.

Before the state enacted same sex union legislation, 38% of the state of Nevada were in favour of it. Last year, 77% were in favour. It gets better.

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Breaking Down the Big Reveal in 'Batman' #10 [Spoilers]

Breaking Down the Big Reveal in 'Batman' #10 [Spoilers] | Comic Books |
Themes of class, privilege and arrogance run deep in writer Scott Snyder's work with Bruce Wayne in DC Comics' Batman. The title has been the breakout hit of the New 52 initiative since it was relaunched last September with Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, featuring an uncommonly consistent aesthetic -- the book hasn't had a single fill-in creative team member in any capacity for ten issues -- courtesy of inker Jonathan Glapion and colorist FCO Plascencia. Batman's also been resolutely consistent in its storytelling, building up a single antagonist, and single story, over the course of a year. Last month its narrative broke out into the rest of the Bat-titles with the "Night of the Owls" crossover, and earlier issues revealed that the death of Nightwing/Dick Grayson's parents essentially saved him from becoming an indoctrinated, immortal acrobat-assassin.

The real doozy, though, came this month in Batman #10, although the clues have definitely been there all along. For more on the big reveal and how it reflects and completes the thematic and narrative framework Snyder's been building since September, click below the jump. It should be obvious, but: SPOILER WARNING.

This month, it was revealed that Lincoln March -- the Mayoral candidate with an eerie resemblance to Bruce who appeared to die in the previous issue -- is actually Bruce's younger brother, Thomas Wayne, Jr. The character has a rather limited history, although he gained a new following over the past few years when writer Grant Morrison revived many of the concepts of Bruce Wayne's dark twin from Willowwood Asylum in the form of the devil-worshipping, Darkseid-possessed immortal black sheep of the Wayne family, Thomas Wayne, a.k.a. Doctor Hurt.

Scott Snyder's version -- as can be pieced together from the main story and the backups in Batman -- is that Thomas Wayne, Jr. is Bruce's younger brother. While Bruce was young, Martha Wayne became pregnant again and decided to go on a tear against the mayor for defunding certain schools. This presumably placed the Waynes in the crosshairs of the Court of Owls, who ordered Jarvis Pennyworth -- then-butler to the Waynes and father of Alfred -- to drive Martha to a certain location, where a car accident was staged.

This is where the backup story in Batman #10 ends, and while it's continued next month, numerous clues in the main story -- not least the picture of Martha wearing a heart-shaped pin given to the mothers of boys at Willowwood, which in Snyder's version was a satellite hospital for children -- point towards this car accident forcing a premature birth, leading Thomas, Sr. and Martha to check the newborn into the Willowwood hospital under a fake name to hide him from the Court. After Thomas and Martha's death, little Lincoln March was forgotten. Willowwood was defunded and the boy grew up in a hellhole where children were subjected to abuse. He was finally "rescued" by the Court of Owls.

What's important here is that March is a product of the system. It's unclear when he was recruited by the Court, although his conversation with Bruce in Batman #10 implies it was when he was older and still stuck in Willowwood, while his rich big brother got to backpack across the world and "find himself." The rest of the story March told Bruce in Old Wayne Tower way back in issue #2 must be true -- he got funding to go to college (presumably from the Court), and Gotham City saved him from its own institutions. He sees the Court as Gotham itself, as a part of the system, so rather than look at it as getting patronized by a bunch of filthy rich old white people who want him because they know he's a secret Wayne, he sees it as the city itself choosing him.

Bruce, on the other hand, hasn't been a part of the system since his parents died. While they were alive, they were making a point of doing public good; they wanted to improve the system to the point where they would feel safe placing Bruce in it. They entrusted the system with their other son, Thomas, almost entirely. But when they died, their influence on the system vanished, and institutions fell into disrepair. It's made clear in issue #10 that the murder of Thomas and Martha affected Thomas, Jr. almost as much, if not more, than Bruce -- Bruce only lost his parents, while Thomas, Jr. lost everything.

So of course it rankles Thomas, Jr. when Bruce decides he's going to invest in urban development and try to stamp his name all over the city, as we saw in issue #1. When the Court of Owls deems the younger Wayne as expendable, he takes the Talon formula and dies, coming back as an unstoppable owl-zombie in gigantic mechanical owl-armor with owl-boobs, so he and Bruce can work out their differences by punching the crap out of each other while jumping around Gotham. Thomas, Jr. was trapped by Gotham, first institutionalized within it and then indebted to it, while his older brother got to gallivant around the Eastern Hemisphere learning from ninja masters.

It all fits in very snugly with everything Snyder's done in the run so far -- hell, everything he's done in any Bat-book, since James Gordon, Jr. claimed to be a similar "dark mirror" to Dick Grayson at the end of Batman: The Black Mirror. Since Snyder began work on the Batman titles, the Waynes have been taking a more active role in Gotham and how it's run, through not only Batman Incorporated but also urban renewal initiatives. Bruce has now been punished for his arrogance, for thinking that Gotham City was his to fix and that he understood it and that it couldn't surprise him. As Detective Bullock says at the end of Batman #1, Gotham is "a mystery," and that mystery reacted against Bruce for his hubris.

Whether Thomas, Jr. lives or dies -- I'm guessing he'll survive, though, since he's too interesting a foil -- he'll still have played a role in knocking Batman down a peg and beating his confidence up a little bit. Unlike most of the heroes in the New 52, Batman's history wasn't erased; he's still gone through everything he'd already gone through before the reboot. DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio stated that the goal of the reboot was to make the characters seem younger and with their greatest battles still ahead of them; by knocking Bruce down like this, Snyder gets to have his cake and eat it too.

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A first look at the Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover comic!

A first look at the Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover comic! | Comic Books |
A first look at the Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover comic!
The comic book miniseries Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation⊃2; sees two venerable science fiction television shows meet up for the first time ever. So far in the series, Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor, Amy, and Rory are on a crash course to meet up with Jean-Luc Picard's Enterprise crew. Courtesy of IDW Publishing, here's an exclusive sneak peek at the covers of September's issue.
Easily the most important question we're confronting here is, "Will the Gorn forge a deadly alliance with the Kandyman?" Here's this issue's synopsis:
Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation⊃2; #5 (of 8)
Scott & David Tipton with Tony Lee (w) • J.K. Woodward (a & c)
The two greatest science-fiction properties of all time cross over for the first time in history, in STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/DOCTOR WHO: ASSIMILATION⊃2;! Captain Jean-Luc Picard faces one of the most difficult decisions of his life, but the fate of the galaxy may depend on it! Can the Doctor convince him to make the correct choice?
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
• Variant Sharp Brothers cover!
• The first Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover ever!
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Chis Nolan Once Again Says No Fourth BATMAN Movie & Defends Film Over Digital

Chis Nolan Once Again Says No Fourth BATMAN Movie & Defends Film Over Digital | Comic Books |

Saturday's conference was held at Sony Studios. At the event PGA executive director Vance Van Petten asked Nolan is he is planning a fourth Batman film.

"No" was the answer that Nolan gave. When he began working on the script with his brother, he told Jonathan, “I don’t want to save anything.”

He acknowledged Richard Donner's Superman as having an influence upon his pitch for Batman Begins. As Donner's version of the Man of Steel strayed from the comic book stories and was still quite successful.
"I explained the potential of what was exciting to me. There really had not been an origin story about this extraordinary figure in an ordinary world."

Instead of worrying about pleasing fans of the comic books Nolan focuses most of his effort on telling the best story.
“The source material is irrelevant. The challenge with Batman is to find what is a believable character. You put your stamp on it.”

Nolan is not oblivious to the fans of the comics either, as he calls Batman a "classic brand."
"You're really working with something that belongs to the audience."

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What Other DC Comics Movies is Warner Bros. Planning?

What Other DC Comics Movies is Warner Bros. Planning? | Comic Books |

It's been a big week for Warner Bros. First they announced a writer on the Justice League film along with who will be penning the Wonder Woman movie and now it seems the light has been shed on what other characters they're hoping to bring to life.

According to Variety, The Flash, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Lobo, the Suicide Squad, and Shazam are all in different stages of development as films at Warner Bros.

With news about creative people already attached to The Flash and Lobo, it's no surprise that they've made the list, but the other four are relatively new ideas being brought to the table.

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Thor 2 to Recast Fandral

Thor 2 to Recast Fandral | Comic Books |

As Thor 2 gears up for production, the search is now to replace Joshua Dallas, who played Fandral, one of the Warriors Three, in the 2011 original. EW reports that, due to the actor's commitments to ABC's "Once Upon a Time", the role will be recast.

The film is set to mark the third big screen appearance of Chris Hemsworth's Thor and Tom Hiddleston's Loki. Natalie Portman, Jaimie Alexander and Idris Elba have been confirmed to be returning for the Alan Taylor-directed sequel as well, though even more of the first film's cast likely to be back as well.

Oddly enough, Dallas was not originally cast as Fandral in the first film and was a last-minute replacement for Stuart Townsend, who departed over creative differences in January of 2010.

Featuring a screenplay by Robert Rodat and Don Payne, Thor 2 is scheduled to be released on November 15, 2013.

UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter has word that "Chuck" star Zachary Levi is in early talks to take on the role.

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Comic-Con sport: Fans can pay $70 to be chased by zombie mob

Comic-Con sport: Fans can pay $70 to be chased by zombie mob | Comic Books |
Will you lurch or perch? Do you see yourself more as a moaning dead diner — or as the living lunch they pursue?

These are the type of choices presented by Walking Dead Escape: San Diego, which is inviting up to 15,000 people to sign up for a taste of the terror and bedlam that will reign when the actual zombie apocalypse begins. The event, open to anyone 16 or older, will be staged July 14-16 inside Petco Park as a tie-in to Comic-Con International.

“We wanted fans to experience — as closely as possible — the end of the world,” said “Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman, who will join the mad scramble of biters and runners. “It’s going to be a fun, messy time.”

The course, designed by Ruckus Athletics and creatively guided by Kirkman, is characterized by intricate, interactive details true to the bestselling comic series, which will be celebrating the release of its 100th issue. It’s a go-at-your-own-pace event, Kirkman said; no one will be timed.

“You can run, jog, walk,” he said. “I’m probably going to crawl.”

Fans can register as a survivor or a Walker — there’s also the one-time neutral option of taking it all in as a spectator, which doesn’t seem to happen very often in the comic book or on the tie-in television hit, AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

Survivors, dodging hordes of zombies, will be evaluated at the finish line, or “decontamination zone,” to see if they’ve been infected. Fifteen makeup artists will be on site to make the Walkers as grotesque as possible. Spectators can snap photos from the sidelines. Participants will be sent in waves through the ballpark. How will it work? The answers are on the event’s FAQ list.

The event isn’t cheap: Tickets start at $70. At the end, all participants receive a special variant copy of the 100th issue, which is a rare threshold in the world of independent comics. Kirkman, who spends about a week writing each script, said he’s just getting started and there’s plenty of life left in his corpse epic.

“There’s so much more to come,” he said. “I’m hoping for 1,000 more books. There’s so much potential in the ‘Walking Dead’ story.”

– Danielle Paquette

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Warner Bros. Makes a Licensing Deal For The 'Batman' TV Show, Brings Us One Step Closer to DVDs - ComicsAlliance

Warner Bros. Makes a Licensing Deal For The 'Batman' TV Show, Brings Us One Step Closer to DVDs - ComicsAlliance | Comic Books |

This week has been a rollercoaster of emotions here at ComicsAlliance, but now we have a piece of news that makes it seem like everything's going to be okay: After years of legal battles, Warner Bros. and Fox have struck a licensing deal for the classic 1966 Batman TV show. As reported by Variety, the deal was motivated by a desire to get something that's "an easier sell for retailers than the darker, more serious and gritty tone of Christopher Nolan's film trilogy."

The important thing, though, is that this might end up being the first step in finally getting Batman released to DVD.

It seems downright unbelievable that we've been through two completely different eras of hugely successful Batman movies without getting the classic series released on any kind of home video, but a legal dispute between Fox (which produced the show) and Warner Bros. (which owns the characters) has resulted in exactly that. As a result, despite the show's enduring appeal and impact on pop culture -- try to find a mass media story about comics that doesn't drop "Biff! Pow!" into the headline -- there's actually very little new merchandise floating around for Batman '66.

Part of the trouble is that the rights to the show are an absolute nightmare to sort out. The sheer amount of guest stars and cameos over the course of three seasons causes a legal headache, as does the fact that there's a separate set of rights for the design of the classic Batmobile -- which is why it's one of the few things you can find a licensed product of. Throw in disputes between the production companies, the involvement of ABC, the clearances for music and a bunch of contracts that were signed twenty years before home video was even a concern for Hollywood, and you've got a pretty thorny situation.

At this point, the deal only seems to indicate that we'll be getting stuff like a t-shirt featuring Cesar Romero's mustachioed mug, so it's unlikely that we'll be seeing a Batman '66 box set in the immediate future. If the licensing proves to be profitable, however, it might just clear things up for a full-on DVD release, if only to cut into the profits bootleg dealers have been raking in at conventions. A legitimate release (especially one that involved more crisp versions than the bootlegs recorded from TV) has been anticipated for years, to the point where it's been rumored that Adam West and Burt Ward have already recorded commentary tracks for the episodes in anticipation of everything being settled. West even recorded his own video commentary for the series in his basement and released it as Adam West Naked.

So here's hoping it all works out. If nothing else, the world needs Surf Jams Joker.

Now more than ever.

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Prophecy #1 Sells Out 14,000 Print Run

Prophecy #1 Sells Out 14,000 Print Run | Comic Books |
It was billed as Dynamite’s biggest book to date. Featuring Red Sonja, Vampirella, Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, running through the Dynamite library of characters, by Ron Marz and Walter Geovanni. It was a very pretty looking comic book.

And the first issue sold out of it’s print run.Which isn’t a novelty these days.

But that first print was only 14,000 copies. That includes overprint, and indicates what must have been seen as disappointing initial sales for the comic, given the publicity, attention, creator credits and cast list.

But a second print is on the way. Possibly a third print too, apparently.

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The Amazing Spider-Man Clip 9 - "Cross Species Genetics" HD

The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents' disappearance - leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his father's former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors' alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero. The Amazing Spider-Man will swing into theaters July 3.
© Sony Pictures

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Image Comics MADMAN spin-off It Girl

Image Comics MADMAN spin-off It Girl | Comic Books |
Mike Allred's MADMAN ATOMIC COMICS wrapped up in 2009 with issue #17, with Madman and Adam Balm on a universe-wide tour with their band, leaving the rest of the Atomics back on Earth. This is when writer Jamie S. Rich (Spell Checkers, You Have Killed Me) started dreaming up a plan for It Girl, Luna Romy, who can take on the properties of anything she touches.

That dream becomes reality in August, when the first issue of IT GIRL AND THE ATOMICS will be published by Image Comics. Written by Rich, drawn by Mike Norton (REVIVAL, Battlepug), with covers by MADMAN's creator Mike Allred and colors by Laura Allred, IT GIRL AND THE ATOMICS follows It Girl as she tries her hand as a solo crimefighter and adventurer.

But while It Girl is taking her new job seriously, learning the ropes — and pitfalls — of fighting crime on the street, her creative team gets to have all the fun.

"I got a small taste of what it was like to channel the Allred spirit when I wrote a couple of short pieces featuring Madman and Mr. Gum, and it was quite delicious," said Rich. "That’s how I came to propose doing a spin-off as a way to keep the Snap City crew in the public eye."

A meeting of the principles at K!ckstarter in 2011 solidified the plan. IT GIRL gained an artist in Norton, and a collaboration was born.

The first issue of IT GIRL AND THE ATOMICS catches up readers on just enough of back story to throw them straight into a new adventure. Readers who have never read MADMAN and long-time fans will be equally able to enjoy the story of It Girl confronting the man who murdered her sister (don't worry — she's fine now) and becoming the test subject in one of Dr. Flem's space-time experiments.

"The Atomics really captured a vintage spirit that we don’t see in superhero books often enough anymore," said Rich. "I want readers to have such a good time, they’ll finish every issue wanting more of the same."

Allred describes himself as "a proud papa" of Rich's and Norton's effort. "I'm just excited and flattered that anyone would want to take my characters and devote this kind of attention to them," he said. "Mike Norton is rocking it on this book. He’s a dynamo. Seeing him and Jamie take It Girl and the gang on their own adventures is like I’ve raised these kids, put them through college, and now I am watching them establish their own place in the world."

For more information head over to

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Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month) - May 2012 - ComicsAlliance | Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews

Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month) - May 2012 - ComicsAlliance | Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews | Comic Books |

A great comic book cover is both an advertisement and a work of art. It is both a statement and an invitation. Sometimes a great cover conveys character, sometimes mood, sometimes moment. Great covers can pastiche the classics or pay tribute to the past, or they can strive to show us something new. Great covers always show us a glimpse of somewhere else on a canvas no bigger than a window pane. In Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month), we look back at some of the most eye-catching, original and exceptional covers of the month that was.

This feature is now in its fifth month, and that seems like a good time to clarify a point; I don't count covers. I don't check to see if I put in a fair balance between, say, Marvel and DC. My only criteria for picking covers are, "Do I love it?" and, "Is Diamond saying it shipped to stores this month?", and even then that second question can get a bit fuzzy. This month I checked; I have six Marvel covers, four DC covers, and three Francesco Francavilla covers. Let's see which is which...

Fury #2 (Marvel MAX); cover by Dave Johnson

In their best month, Marvel had ten covers in this feature. In their worst month, they had only two. In total, they've had 29 covers, boosted somewhat by last month's Avengers art pastiches. But I think Marvel works with some of the most innovative cover artists in the business, including the legendary Dave Johnson, who gives us a blessedly cheeky composition on this James Bondi-ian Fury cover.

Batman Annual #1 (DC); cover by Jay Fabok

By comparison, DC Comics also had ten covers in its best month and two in its worst, but its total is a smidge behind at 26. I think DC has been struggling with its identity a bit since the reboot and leaning too heavily on dull, formulaic images; chest shots, hero poses, shots of seven angry people charging at an unseen foe, or the classic image of two tumbling figures with their fists raised, floating or falling against a background busy with noise and color. Marvel does it too, but at the start of the reboot DC was doing it more. I think they're transitioning out of it, and I think this cover does a good job of marrying a high detail Jim Lee-style line with a very un-Jim Lee use of white space and spot color.

Fables #117 (DC Vertigo); cover by João Ruas

Ten of the 26 DC covers I've picked in these first five months have been Vertigo. I'm actually surprised that number isn't higher; Vertigo used to be the home of inventive cover design and emphatic cover identity, but then I suppose Vertigo used to do a lot of things it doesn't do as much anymore. Two cover artists still stand out, and one of them is João Ruas, who has a gift for elegant melancholy. He creates covers that feel both classically Vertigo and completely new.

Unwritten #37 (DC Vertigo); cover by Yuko Shimizu

The other standout, of course, is Yuko Shimizu, whose covers I've now singled out for praise four months in a row. But some months there are two Shimizu covers, and I still only picked one, so I'm exercising a lot of restraint here, OK? Her composition blows me away, and she seems to come up with endless new ways to capture the themes of Unwritten.

Animal Man #9 (DC); cover by Steve Pugh

Animal Man is no longer a Vertigo title, but it hasn't forgotten its roots. This is a sensationally macabre image. Very rich, very striking. I sincerely hope DC is going to give us more books with this sort of powerfully distinctive identity and fewer with a traditional growl/grimace/pose cover.

Smoke And Mirrors #3 (IDW); cover by Francesco Francavilla

I don't check to see how many covers I've included by a single publisher; I also don't check to see how many covers I've included by a single artist, but I wasn't surprised to learn that I'd picked three Francesco Francavilla covers this month. This one grabbed my eye with its unorthodox composition and color choices. Reality as a crazy quilt.

Dark Shadows #5 (Dynamite); cover by Francesco Francavilla

Then there's this one, with the complementary shapes of the woman's back and the coffin lid providing a simple elegance. There's also a powerful sense of menace to the framing of the woman's head between the vampire's eyes and the trickle of blood on her shoulder.

Spider #1 (Dynamite); cover by Francesco Francavilla

And this one, completely different in style and tone to the other two. Francavilla sits comfortably in the top tier of cover artists working today, which is why his name crops up time and again in this feature. He often brings a retro sensibility and a muted palette to his work (especially well suited to this pulp character revival), but his ability to distinguish voice from one series to another is exemplary.

The Shadow #5 (Dynamite); variant cover by Ryan Sook

Speaking of Dynamite's pulp revivals, Ryan Sook's Shadow portrait is a great companion piece to Francavilla's Spider. It uses the same basic spot color to achieve a very different effect, and I think it's pitch perfect. Sook makes great shapes on his pages.

Daredevil #12 (Marvel); cover by Paolo Rivera

I think one thing Marvel has done very well for years now is find cover artists who want to establish striking aesthetics tailored to the books they work on, far removed from the usual banal language of superhero covers. It doesn't happen across the board, but when it does happen it's very welcome. Paolo Rivera has been knocking it out of the park on Daredevil, and he does it again with this provocative radar view. Click here for some behind-the-scenes on this image.

Ultimates #10 (Marvel); cover by Kaare Andrews

I'm glad to see Kaare Andrews move away from his recent line of filmic hero-pose covers on the Ultimate books and back towards the sort of original vision that I've always loved in his work. How often do you see a superhero cover that pulls the camera back this far from the heroes? It's worth it to see the beautiful temple, the cherry blossoms and the... floating islands?

Journey Into Mystery #638 (Marvel); cover by Stephanie Hans

I've only noticed Stephanie Hans's work recently with her covers for Journey Into Mystery. This cover is one part of a frieze for the current JIM/New Mutants crossover Exiled. Impressively, the pieces are all good covers in their own right, but this one is the best, and all of them make me excited for what Hans might do next.

Mighty Thor #14 (Marvel); cover by Walter Simonson

This cover stands out to me because it's refreshingly old school. It's not painted, it's not digital, and it's not stylized or abstract. It's a pen and ink superhero image, but it's Walter Simonson, so he's built the page like the master he is; split level, split dynamic; direct, powerful, brilliant.

X-Factor #235 (Marvel); cover by David Yardin

And finally from Marvel this month, a classic Wolverine cover, with two key changes; one, it isn't Wolverine, and two, it's vectorized. Are vectorized covers on the rise, or have they always been with us to this degree? I think it works very well here for placing us in that flashpoint moment of red rage.

Jinchalo (Drawn & Quarterly); cover by Matt Forsythe

There are two types of comic that I worry are under-represented in this feature. One of them is independent books, but I think they're only underrepresented because there's proportionately fewer of them. A great cover like this one for Forsythe's Korean fantasy will still catch my eye, even though it sometimes requires a mental gear shift to go from thirty pictures of constipated heroes to one light lovely storybook image like this one.

Kamen (Gen Manga); cover by Gunya Mihara

The other under-represented type of comic in this column is manga. I spent last weekend at Anime North in Toronto where I was swimming in manga covers, and it was tough to pick out any remarkable ones. That's not a comment on the art, which offers as much diversity and beauty as any other section of the industry, but on the way manga is packaged, which feels even more formulaic than the superhero books. This exquisite inky scribble is a manga cover that stands out for its unusual use of framing, color, text; I think it does everything right.

Danger Club #2 (Image); cover by Eric Jones

I don't know if this book is superheroic in content, but the cover has many of the hallmarks of a typical superhero cover; bright costume, loud action, explosion, chaos, a blaze of text. But here it works beautifully, because it's not busy; it's just restrained enough to be manic.

Saga #3 (Image); cover by Fiona Staples

This cover, by comparison, is very static, but just as effective. I don't know who this ghost girl is, but I know from the ragged intestines that something truly horrible happened to her, and I know from her expression and her body language that she doesn't seem too hung up on it. A great cover can convey the layers of a story in a frozen moment.

Rachel Rising #8 (Abstract); cover by Terry Moore

I will admit that sometimes there are good covers that don't make my picks for the month because I think that artist or series hasn't yet hit its peak. The red and green covers for Rachel Rising are a good example; they have all been striking, but this month they leapt up a level. The way the color buries the woman on the page while the density of the inks keep her alive and fighting is just stunningly sinister.

Fatale #5 (Image); cover by Sean Phillips

Here's another apt example; all of the Fatale covers have been strong and distinctive - this is a book that knows exactly how it wants to present itself to the world - but this was the cover with the strongest noir punch of black coffee and red passion so far.

Elric: The Balance Lost #10 (Boom); cover by Dan Panosian

So that's how it works in Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month). There are no rules about which covers I pick. I don't look for a publisher or an artist or a character. I just choose the covers that I really like. If I know the story that might help me grasp the significance of a cover, but it shouldn't be strictly necessary. This Elric cover is a perfect example; I've never read an Elric book in my life. I couldn't tell you the first thing about the series. But this is a cover that makes me want to know more. This is a cover that sparks my imagination and stirs my love of art. That makes it one of the best comic book covers ever. (This month.)

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‘The Dark Knight Rises’: Secret Catwoman Poster, New Banners, TV Spot, On Set Quotes and More

‘The Dark Knight Rises’: Secret Catwoman Poster, New Banners, TV Spot, On Set Quotes and More | Comic Books |

We’ll have a new edition of Superhero Bits later today but over the holiday weekend so much new Dark Knight Rises stuff came online, it definitely deserved its own article. The marketing for Christopher Nolan‘s final Batman film, out July 20, has been in full swing for well over a week now with posters and banners showing up online, commercials airing during major television programs and that pattern continues.

Over the weekend, a secret Catwoman movie poster was released, and we also found two more banners, a new TV ad, several new stills and quotes discussing the legacy of Catwoman, The Bat, Heath Ledger and much more.

There are a ton of images in this post and most of them are going to be in the below gallery. However, first we’ll show this Catwoman poster that a Batman News reader discovered with a QR code. Can you believe those things actually work?

Notice the Bat symbol in the lips below. Very, very cool.

Next up, this new TV spot aired last night during game one of the Western Conference finals. Guaranteed to give you chills.

Finally, two new banners came online and Empire (via Comic Book Movie) showed five new images, a few of which should be considered SPOILERS so proceed at your own risk.

The Empire Magazine article (via CBM) that features those images has some great insight from Christopher Nolan, too. For example, Nolan discussed being scared to put Catwoman in the film.

Catwoman is a very iconic figure in the Batman pantheon. I was nervous about how she would fit into our world. But Jonah was very much convinced that there would be a great way to do it and eventually turned me around. Once I got my head around the idea of looking at that character through the prism of our films, saying, ‘Who could that person be in real-life?’ we figured it out. She’s a bit of a con-woman, something of a grifter. A hard-edged kind of criminal.

As well as designing and naming The Bat:

It is called The Bat. I spent a long time trying to figure out clever names for ‘bat-something-that-would-fly’, then you go: ‘Oh, it’s a bat.’ It’s very much based on a doubt-bladed helicopter idea, once again a realistic approach to military hardware. We had Corbould and his guys build it full scale and come up with this great driving rig for it so we could photograph it in real streets, and there’s a big computer graphics component to it as well. It’s fun to take Batman to the next level in terms of his transportation and weaponry – in terms of his ability to fight people.

Also over the weekend, several websites who were invited to visit the set of The Dark Knight Rises posted their set visit reports and if you want to feel like you were in Pittsburgh with them, you should check them out, such as and Collider.

They’ve also posted interviews with several of the film’s stars and here are a few choice quotes from each. Once example is Tom Hardy discusses following Heath Ledger:

That would be putting myself in a competition with somebody who’s clearly brilliant. And it’s not a question of whose talent is greater or whose work is greater. It’s just trying to be the best that we can be, rather then trying to be better then somebody else. I’m not trying to be better than somebody else. What he did was amazing. That’s that. I’ve got a part I’ve got to play, and I want to play my part.

And Anne Hathaway being honored to work with Christopher Nolan:

When Chris Nolan is your director you are like, “I trust that, I’m wrong.” I have no problems bowing down to Chris’ vision. I’ve loved every movie he’s made; it’s an honor to be in one of them. And I think that if something doesn’t make sense, forcing yourself to understand it from his perspective makes you better. And he’s right, not “he’s usually right.” He’s right.

There’s much more new Dark Knight Rises stuff out there too, so check back later for Superhero Bits and more.


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'The Dark Knight Rises' Mobile Game Coming to iOS and Androids [Video]

'The Dark Knight Rises' Mobile Game Coming to iOS and Androids [Video] | Comic Books |
Between Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City and Batman: The Brave and the Bold - The Video Game and other titles, the Caped Crusader hasn't been suffering from a lack of game releases over the past few years. As critically acclaimed and successful as most of these titles have been, a lot of players may not have even noticed when there wasn't a video game tie-in for The Dark Knight ala EA's Batman Begins release in 2005. It appears The Dark Knight Rises won't share a similarly game-less fate, though, with IGN releasing a new teaser trailer for Gameloft's upcoming mobile game for iOS and Android devices and Google Play. From the looks of things, the title will contain its share of brawling with generic thugs (complete with headbutts!). Fellow costumed peeps Catwoman and Bane aren't seen in the teaser, although its ominous language, "When Gotham is threatened and people live in fear, only one hope remains," suggests that the mean masked fellow will be on hand. Aside from mentioning a vague "summer 2012" release, it's unclear when the game will drop, though release around The Dark Knight Rises's July 20 opening date seems prudent. You can scope out Gameloft's teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises: The Mobile Game after the jump.


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Will Joss Whedon release an Avengers director's cut in theaters this August?

Will Joss Whedon release an Avengers director's cut in theaters this August? | Comic Books |
Rumor has it Marvel and Disney aren't satisfied with the trifling billion dollars that The Avengers racked up in the box office. Now they want Avatar money. And the best way to get that? Release another version of the film in theaters, which is great news for us.

Ain't It Cool and Comic both are reporting that Marvel and Disney are toying around with the idea of releasing a "Director's Cut." We assume this cut would include all of the Steve Rogers scenes that were strangely missing from the movie release. Originally, director Joss Whedon had wanted to use the lost-in-time Captain America as a viewpoint character to lead the audience into the film — but in the end, that was scrapped. It's also possible a "Director's Cut" could cut back on the Tony Stark time at the start of the film, but that's just a guess.

An August re-release would be perfect, since that's also the alleged date of the Blu-Ray release of the film, so it would drum up a lot of new press along with a push in ticket sales. We don't care if Marvel wants more money, they can have ours — we really want to see more of Whedon's Avengers.

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Mutant X-Muppets defend a world that thinks they're weirdos

Mutant X-Muppets defend a world that thinks they're weirdos | Comic Books |
Mutant X-Muppets defend a world that thinks they’re weirdos
The Muppets have always had trouble gaining acceptance as a troupe of chicken-loving, sardine-tossing stage performers, but will they face the fear and revulsion of humanity when they prove to be powerful mutants?
Cartoonist Ken Haeser, who has drawn The Jersey Devil, The Eyes of Asia, and The Living Corpse among other books, sketched up these X-Men/Muppet combos. It's not the first time that we've seen Animal take up Wolverine's claws, but casting Bunsen and Beaker and Professor Xavier and Magneto is pretty inspired. After all, Beaker is a magnet - if only for disaster.

You can see more of Haeser's artwork on his Facebook and deviantART pages.

Ken Haeser [via XombieDIRGE via Thaeger]

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CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 Gets Director(s)!

CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 Gets Director(s)! | Comic Books |

It seems that short-list of directors we heard about a while ago was on the level, as Marvel have now (all but) hired a directing duo to follow in Joe Johnston's footsteps for Captain America 2..

This is all we have for now, courtesy of Showblitz..

COMMUNITY producers Joe and Anthony Russo are in final negotiations to direct CAPTAIN AMERICA 2 for Marvel and Disney. The studio had no comment. Duo are repped by WME and 3 Arts Entertainment. More to come ...

It seems the brothers impressed Kevin Feige enough to beat The Adjustment Bureau's George Nolfi for the gig. The pair have very little movie experience (Welcome To Collinwood, You Me And Dupree), being best known for their Emmy award winning work on the very popular (and very funny) tv series Community. Walt Disney Studios has slated Marvel Studios’ sequel to the Captain America: The First Avenger for a worldwide release on April 4, 2014.

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The Dredd Poster Has Arrived

The Dredd Poster Has Arrived | Comic Books |

With just over three months to go before the film hits theaters, the first poster for Dredd has debuted at JoBlo, featuring Karl Urban in his full Judge Dredd gear. They've also posted two new stills from the release, all of which you can check out below!

Set on the wild streets of Mega City One, the lone oasis of quasi-civilization on Cursed Earth, Dredd stars Urban as the most feared of elite Street Judges, with the power to enforce the law, sentence offenders and execute them on the spot - if necessary. Peter Travis directed the film from a script by Alex Garland. Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey co-star.


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Walking Dead set photos take us inside Woodbury

Walking Dead set photos take us inside Woodbury | Comic Books |

We've already seen David Morrissey as the nefarious Governor of The Walking Dead's survivalist commune of Woodbury, but what about the town itself? A new set video and series of photos offer a sneak peek inside Woodbury - and may suggest the return of an old friend.

Spoilers ahead!
The set video was filmed in Senoia, Georgia, and gives us a general look at the scenery for Season 3. At long last, we are off the farm and in Woodbury! But it's the set photos that are really telling. We get a nice look at Woodbury, including the Woodbury guards, Andrea and Michonne in town, and Michonne out behind the Governor's house. I really, truly hope that things don't go nearly as badly for Michonne in the television series as they did in the books.


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DC Renumbers Again in September, Launches Four New Series - ComicsAlliance | Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews

DC Renumbers Again in September, Launches Four New Series - ComicsAlliance | Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews | Comic Books |

DC Comics' New 52 continues to evolve, with the line celebrating its first anniversary with a month full of flashback "zero issues," as well as four new series launching - including one written by the creator of Jem and the Holograms. Admit it; you really didn't see that one coming.

September will see all of DC's superhero titles renumber once again, this time only temporarily, to #0, for stand-alone stories set before the beginning of each series. "Some issues will tell the origins of a character or team, or in some case[s] where an origin has already been told, they will fill in the blanks in terms of questions readers may have about the New 52 DC Universe," Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras explained on the official DCU blog, adding "Each of these issues promises to reveal something surprising."

It'd be hard for any issue to be as surprising as discovering that Christy Marx, veteran comic, cartoon and video game writer (and creator of Jem and The Holograms) is writing a reboot of 1980s YA fantasy title Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld for one of DC's four new September titles, however. Marx' Amethyst will be appearing in new anthology title Sword of Sorcery alongside a revival of DC's 1970s Beowulf fantasy series by Tony Bedard and Jesus Saiz, while the three other new series spin out of existing storylines from other titles: Batman's "Night of The Owls" crossover will result in a new Talon series by co-writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV with artist Guillem March; the ongoing mystery surrounding Pandora will continue to unravel in The Phantom Stranger by Dan Didio and Brent Anderson, with Justin Jordan and Jesus Merino's Team Seven will feature flashback adventures of an anti-Superman team of operatives including Steve Trevor, Amanda Waller and Dinah Lance.

Of course, four new series mean that four current series will end to make room in the schedule. So far, only Justice League International is known to be concluding; talking to Newsarama, DC co-publisher Dan Didio suggested that the three other titles being canceled haven't yet been identified: "At this time," he said, "we're looking at reviewing the rest of the line." According to unconfirmed reports, September's "zero month" will feature more than 52 titles, with the cancellations taking effect afterward

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Venom Movie Set To Cross Over With The Amazing Spider-Man

Venom Movie Set To Cross Over With The Amazing Spider-Man | Comic Books |

Working their way from Iron Man to The Avengers, Marvel Studios have brought the comic book-style crossover story to the big screen, with scoops full of style and no small amount of financial success. Now, as we’ve learned this week, Warner Bros. are looking to repeat the same trick.

But it doesn’t end there. Sony have similar plans for their Marvel-licensed movies.

The Amazing Spider-Man‘s producers, Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad, have been out at the film’s US junket and speaking about their upcoming Venom picture. Hollywood were (was?) listening.

Tolmach suggested the crossover potential:

What I’m trying to say to you without giving anything away is hopefully all these worlds will live together in peace someday… look for the worlds to make sense with one another.

And Arad stayed more focused on Venom in its own right:

It’s an Eddie Brock story… We want to be as close to the comics as possible. Especially in Eddie Brock’s story. But again, pseudo-sceince is becoming science. All these tidbits about webs, artificial webs, is a huge industry now. Spiderwebs have unique qualities that will be huge for communications, fibers, and so forth. So we have taken the approach that we want to make the huge amazing movie about Eddie.


Chronicle‘s Josh Trank is said to be developing the Venom film, presumably from yet another fresh screenplay.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the extent of the cross over is quite minor, with Venom crashing into a future Spider-Man film as a villain, or Spider-Man zipping the other way to save the day. On the other hand, it could be rather major, and they might even try to bring Ghost Rider into the picture.

There’s a lot more Spider-Man press to come. I hope Arad and Tolmach are ready for the barrage of cross over questions they’re going to face.

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MTV Interviews Before Watchmen Creators About Alan Moore – With A Few Bleeding Cool Retorts

MTV Interviews Before Watchmen Creators About Alan Moore – With A Few Bleeding Cool Retorts | Comic Books |

MTV Geek clipped the thoughts of number of Before Watchmen creators for their opinions on the Alan Moore controversy concerning DC’s decision to publish a Watchmen prequel series of series.


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New Batman Digital Comic Series LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT to Debut Tomorrow

New Batman Digital Comic Series LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT to Debut Tomorrow | Comic Books |

We announced back in April that an all-new Batman digital comic book would be coming soon. Today, we’re excited to reveal that the first chapter from LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT will be released tomorrow, followed by new chapters out every Thursday. Taking place outside of DC COMICS – THE NEW 52 continuity, the new series features several stand-alone stories by various creators that chronicle different cases handled by The Dark Knight.

Kicking off the first chapter is the all-star line-up of LOST scribe Damon Lindelof with artwork by the critically acclaimed Jeff Lemire. The line-up for the first six chapters of LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT is as follows:

June 7 – “The Butler Did It” written by Damon Lindelof with artwork by Jeff Lemire
June 14 – “All of the Above” written by Jonathan Larsen with artwork by JG Jones
June 21– “The Crime Never Committed” written by Tom Taylor with artwork by Nicola Scott and Wayne Faucher
June 28 – “Crisis of Identity” Part 1 written by B. Clay Moore with artwork by Ben Templesmith
July 5 – “Crisis of Identity” Part 2 written by B. Clay Moore with artwork by Ben Templesmith
July 12 – “Crisis of Identity” Part 3 written by B. Clay Moore with artwork by Ben Templesmith

Mark your calendars – Thursdays are officially all about The Dark Knight and you can get your weekly fill here for $.99 each.

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First Look at Jeff Lemire's New Graphic Novel 'The Underwater Welder' [Preview] - ComicsAlliance | Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews

First Look at Jeff Lemire's New Graphic Novel 'The Underwater Welder' [Preview] - ComicsAlliance | Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews | Comic Books |

It is with sincere delight that we bring you the news that The Underwater Welder, the new original graphic novel by Jeff Lemire, is now available for pre-ordering from its publisher Top Shelf Productions. After a well received turn with superheroes in DC's Animal Man and Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Lemire returns to the themes of family and human connectivity in The Underwater Welder, the story of a man whose construction job under the sea separates him both physically and emotionally from his wife and unborn child. Naturally, given Lemire's work with the spooky sci-fi of Sweet Tooth at Vertigo, the story introduces a mysterious, supernatural twist that's prompted Lost and Prometheus writer Damon Lindelof to call Underwater Welder "The most spectacular episode of The Twilight Zone that was never produced."

The graphic novel doesn't go on sale until August, but we've Comics Alliance has 10 pages for you to check out right now.

From Top Shelf's description of The Underwater Welder:
As an underwater welder on an oilrig off the coast of Nova Scotia, Jack Joseph is used to the immense pressures of deep-sea work. Nothing, however, could prepare him for the pressures of impending fatherhood. As Jack dives deeper and deeper, he seems to pull further and further away from his young wife and their unborn son. Then one night, deep in the icy solitude of the ocean floor, something unexplainable happens. Jack has a mysterious and supernatural encounter that will change the course of his life forever.

Equal parts blue-collar character study and mind-bending mystery, The Underwater Welder is a graphic novel about fathers and sons, birth and death, memory and reality, and the treasures we all bury deep below the surface.

Lemire has earned himself many new readers thanks to his writing in the high profile DC Comics superhero titles, so it's my hope that with The Underwater Welder they'll also discover his marvelous cartooning in books like Vertigo's Sweet Tooth and The Nobody and of course Top Shelf's hugely acclaimed Essex County Trilogy, which have made Lemire a standout talent of the last several years. Also praised by Lemire's DC colleague and collaborator, Swamp Thing writer Scott Snyder as "A masterpiece of visual storytelling," The Underwater Welder can be pre-ordered now from your local comic book shop or from Top Shelf directly.

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Comics News, Videos, Reviews and Gossip - io9

Comics News, Videos, Reviews and Gossip - io9 | Comic Books |
Frank Miller has made a name for himself with hard-boiled comic yarns like The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil, and Sin City. Miller's grittier inclinations were on display at the age of 15, when he contributed these two comic strips to the October 1972 edition of his high school newspaper.

The students at Miller's high school in East Montpelier, Vermont were regaled with tales of The Fixer, a detective whose name would later go to the Batman knock-off in Miller's 2011 "superheroes versus terrorists" graphic novel Holy Terror. Remember, these were written during a halcyon time when assassins blowing magicians' brains out with firearms and secretaries getting walloped didn't guarantee a trip to the vice-principal's office.

[Via Bleeding Cool]

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