dc_rebirth_charactersIt’s the first full week of DC Comics: Rebirth, and not a single Watchmen character appears in those issues, so we decided it would be a good opportunity to complain again about Watchmen characters appearing in the DC Universe.

Specifically, it was revealed this week that DC Comics didn’t contact Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons to ask him his opinion about adding Watchmen characters to Dc Universe: Rebirth. So we talk about whether that was a bush league move (protip: yeah), some of the history around DC leaving Watchmen alone, and whether DC Editorial really had any choice in asking for Gibbons or writer Alan Moore for even a half-hearted blessing in using their characters in Rebirth.

Then, since we were on a Rebirth roll, we discussed all this week’s titles from that event:

  • Superman: Rebirth #1, written by Peter Tomasi with art by Doug Mahnke,
  • Green Arrow: Rebirth #1, written by Benjamin Percy with art by Otto Schmidt,
  • Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1, written by Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries with art by Ethan Van Sciver and Ed Benes, and:
  • Batman: Rebirth #1, written by Scott Snyder and Tom King with art by Miken Janin.

And, just so Marvel doesn’t feel neglected, we close the show by talking about:

  • Civil War II #1, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by David Marquez!

And, as always, the disclaimers:

  • This show contains spoilers. If you want to avoid knowing how the DC: Rebirth books end (spoiler alert: no matter what happens, it probably won’t matter next month), then consider yourself warned.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. You want your mom to know what “giddy bottom” means? Get some ear buds.
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willard_scottAll right, it’s our one hundredth episode. Let’s not make a thing out of it. Seriously: we don’t. Sure, we spend a few minutes reflecting on where we are and where we came from, and maybe have a little too much Liquid Celebration to commemorate making it this far, but honestly? There was too much comics and genre news this week to spend too much time naval gazing.

We start off by discussing this week’s announcement that Star Wars: Episode VIII has been delayed from May to December, 2017. We talk about how the rumor is that the screenwriters want to rework the story to focus more on Finn and Poe, and how the move is a slap in the face to the fortieth anniversary of the debut of Star Wars… but mostly we talk about how waiting for a Star Wars movie is different when you stop being half a decade away from being just a glint in your dad’s eye and start being half a decade away from being a card-carrying member of AARP.

We move on to the news that Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat is leaving the show in favor of writer and longtime fan Chris Chibnall… eventually. You know, after 2016, when there will only be a Christmas special. And after Moffat’s farewell season sometime in 2017. Chibnall really should read The Late Shift, that’s all we’re saying.

But that’s not all! Being that kind of week, it was also when Bleeding Cool ran some stories about DC Comics maybe rebooting the DC Universe, maybe returning it to its post-Crisis, pre-New 52 state… or maybe about them doing not very much at all. So we discuss the rumors versus the actual concrete knowledge, and wind up bemoaning the idea of comics that slavishly follow their movie and television counterparts.

And on the comic book front, we discuss:

  • Batman #48, written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo,
  • Titans Hunt #4, written by Dan Abnett with art by Stephen Segovia, and:
  • I Hate Fairyland #4, written and drawn by Skottie Young!

And, even after 100 episodes, the disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape, with minimal editing. While this might mean a looser comics podcast than you’re used to, it also means that anything can happen. Like learning that, on some level, the only difference between Star Wars and Barney Miller is finger counting.
  • This show contains spoilers. We try to give you warnings ahead of time, but go into this assuming that we are going to screw up your ability to think of Star Wars without contemplating the sweet release of death.
  • This show contains adult, profane language, and is therefore not safe for work. Do you think your employer’s life will be enriched by learning the origin of the phrase, “The Wet Thunk”? Then get yourself some headphones.
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holy_fck_1_coverPicture, if you will, a comic book about a world where old gods hide in the shadows. They have amassed monetary wealth and earthly power, and they plan to use it to force humanity to worship them again… by fomenting Armageddon on Earth, and then saving the last surviving dregs of humanity, who will worship the Old Ones while envying the dead. A world where the only one who can save us is a simple nun. Oh, yeah: and Jesus. Who rides a Harley. And carries a machine gun. And enjoys the use of stimulants and prostitutes. Oh, and I forgot: Satan’s there, too. And he and Jesus have a history. In the Sam and Diane, Ross and Rachel sense of the word.

Sound like a fun comic? Well, it actually exists, and this week, we’re excited to have as our special guests: Nick Marino and Daniel Arruda Massa, the co-creators of Action Lab’s Danger Zone imprint’s newest comic: Holy F*ck!

Nick and Daniel spent a little time with us to talk about the book, its origins, how they came to collaborate on the book, how it found a home at Action Lab, and what you can expect from this story of Jesus and Satan against the old gods (hint: there are no helicopters). We also extensively discuss the use of specialty hairpieces in the pursuit of comics work. It’s a damn fun interview.

In addition, Amanda and I talk about:

  • Dan DiDio’s ongoing series of Facebook posts recapping his 13-year history at DC Comics,
  • Star Wars #1, written by Jason Aaron with art by John Cassaday, and:
  • Constantine #21, written by Ray Fawkes with art by Jeremy Haun!

And the obligatory disclaimers:

  • We record this show live to tape (although we recorded our interview with Nick and Daniel separately, and then cut it into the remainder of the show). As such, it might be a little looser than other comics podcasts you are used to, but it also means that anything can happen. Like a detailed description of Zeus’s man-nipples.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to shout warnings ahead of time, just assume we’re going to ruin every ending you ever cared about.
  • This show contains adult, profane languange, and is therefore not safe for work. We interview guys who created a book called Holy F*ck, guys; unless you want your boss to hear a discussion about Jesus’s and Satan’s special relationship, get some headphones.

A few other things we want to point out:

Nick and Daniel did a few short comics about what Jesus has been up to between Good Friday and Holy F*ck, if you want to get a taste of the book:

The first two issues are available at Comixology, and:

While we were talking, Nick put together and sent us a drawing that is relevant to our discussion, the comic and the title of this show:

clownmerkin

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liefeld_headshotTwitter is a strange and terrible beast at times. Sometimes it allows people to feel close to celebrities, luminaries and people one might otherwise be unable to interact with. Other times, it is a direct pipeline from your subconscious to the outside world, laying your darkest impulses and secret opinions bare to a cold and misunderstanding populace. This is why, every Saturday morning, the first thing I do after waking up on the couch where I passed out is check my own outgoing feed to see if it is safe for me to venture out my own front door, or if it is time for me to finally implement Project Miguel Sanchez. But I don’t want to make this about me.

Instead, lets start with a case of the first use of Twitter. Yesterday, DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio Tweeted this:

At first glance, this is good news to me. Sure, DiDio isn’t the best comic writer in the world, but he and Giffen really captured lightning in a bottle with O.M.A.C. at the start of the New 52 reboot, so I am actually very interesting in seeing new work on an obscure-ish cult favorite to see if they can do it a second time.

Of course, a teaser like this begs for speculation, and Bleeding Cool, apparently based on the fact that DiDio’s and Giffen’s last work was on a Jack Kirby creation for DC, speculated today that the book would be a reboot of Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth. Okay, fine. Why not?

Because Rob Liefeld, that’s why not!

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didio_headshotSo if you’re home sick, unemployed, or nursing your methamphetamine habit in front of daytime TV today, here’s a thing that’s happening: Co-Publisher of DC Comics, will be appearing on The View today.

Is he appearing to pitch something specific coming from DC? No, although DiDio’s obvious abilities as a pitchman that he shows at conventions will probably allow him to drop some hype. Is he attending to hype up the Batman Vs. Superman movie? No, although if he doesn’t take the opportunity to mention it given that filming on the flick reportedly starts this weekend, it demonstrates that he might be nursing a methamphetamine habit.

No, instead he is going on The VIew so that Whoopi Goldberg can pitch him on a comic series. Based on herself. Only with superpowers.

green_lantern_facepalm

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batwoman_14_coverJesus, of all the weeks to skip a comic convention…

Last week, J. H. Williams III announced that he and co-creator W. Haden Blackman were leaving Batwoman as of issue #26 due to last minute editorial interference. Part of that interference was that DC Editorial reportedly pulled the plug on Williams’s and Blackman’s long-standing plans to have Kate Kane marry Maggie Sawyer. And we didn’t report on it at the time because, well, I figured the implied homophobia angle that some outlets were latching onto was a non-starter – you can say what you want about DC Editorial (God knows that we do), but nobody’s dumb enough to make that issue the hill they want to die on in the age of the Internet. And both Williams and DC Comics have confirmed that Batwoman’s sexual orientation wasn’t an issue here.

So absent that, this was, at the time, just another story about creators quitting a DC book over editorial interference at the last minute, and that is a story that we have told before, recently and repeatedly. So unless something or someone changes in the upper echelons of DC Editorial, it’s a story that we’ll probably hear again. So was it news? Undoubtedly. Was it news compelling enough to put down my bourbon? Not at the time, it wasn’t. It would’ve taken pictures of Dan DiDio donkey-punching k. d. lang to get my mitts off of that sweet, sweet dose of Vitamin J. D.

Anyway, that was Thursday. The Baltimore Comic Con started yesterday – a convention we considered attending, but then we watched The Wire on HBO GO – and DC Comics held a panel where DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio reaffirmed that the issue with Batwoman wasn’t the fact that she was going to enter into a gay marriage, but that she was going to enter into any marriage at all. DiDio, in fact, said that real heroes would never get married, as their first duty would always be the superhero stuff, so they don’t have time be married. And, to ward off some of the most obvious questions, DiDio went on to say that Aquaman and Mera – you know, the King and Queen of Atlantis – are not married.

Wait, what?

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lee_didio_meet_publishers_sdcc_2013616921976We are coming up on the final bits and pieces of coverage we took from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con – yes, I know the convention ended eight days ago, but it turns out we had a lot of video to sort through, and a significant percentage of that video needed extensive processing on an actual computer in order to make it into something that YouTube would recognize as a video file, as opposed to some form of data wad, or perhaps a Word file detailing our manifesto and list of demands.

But the computer has done its work and dinged like a toaster oven (as we all know computers do), so we are finally proud to present a series of videos from DC Comics’s Meet The Publishers panel, held on Sunday, July 21st and featuring Co-Publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio. And you can say what you want about, say, DiDio (God knows we do, repeatedly), but there is no denying that the guy runs an entertaining panel with an infectious enthusiasm, which even Lee gets caught up in.

This was a fun panel, and we’re happy to bring you, a day late and a buck short, a small piece of it, along with some art that was shown to crowd at the panel. You can check them out after the jump.

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new_years_ballIt is New Year’s Eve of the first complete year of the existence of Crisis On Infinite Midlives. We have all the comics we’re going to get in 2012, so it is time to publish my list of the best comics of the year… mostly because with no new comics, there isn’t much to review, and the biggest comics news we’re likely to get between now and Wednesday is likely to be “Frank Miller Publicly Intoxicated, Yells At ‘Hippies.’ Must Be Tuesday.”

So here’s my list; Amanda’s will appear later today. It is in no particular order, it encompasses everything from single issues to multi-issue story arcs to series that started in 2011 and ended this year. And I know what you’re thinking: “Rob,” you’re thinking, “Why don’t you organize things a little more? And use some consistent criteria for your list?” Well, because fuck you, that’s why. Look: it’s New Year’s Eve, and I intend to be recklessly intoxicated within about 90 minutes from the time I press the “publish” button.

So without further (or any) ado: here’s my list!

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I studied journalism when I was in college in the late 1980s / early 1990s, and one of the things I learned was the inverted pyramid lead, which means to open your story with the most important hard information. So, since it was one of the most important things I learned back then, I’ll go with it here.

DC Comics has cancelled John Constantine: Hellblazer. The comic, published under DC’s Vertigo Comics imprint, will conclude in February with its 300th issue, written by Peter Milligan with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli. The long-running comic, written for a mature, adult audience, will be replaced with a new comic series, Constantine, written by Robert Venditti with pencils by Renato Guedes. The new series, which will be published under the standard DC Comics bullet, will take place in DC’s superhero-filled New 52 Universe, and will be reportedly feature the younger, more action-oriented version of the John Constantine character as currently seen in Justice League Dark.

About the cancellation, DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio said:

We’re supremely proud of Vertigo’s HELLBLAZER, one of the most critically-acclaimed series we’ve published. Issue #300 concludes this chapter of Constantine’s epic, smoke-filled story in style and with the energy, talent and creativity fans have come to expect from Peter Milligan, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Stefano Landini. And no one should worry that John is going to hang-up his trenchcoat – he lives on in March, in the pages of the all-new DC Comics New 52 ongoing series, CONSTANTINE, by writer Robert Venditti and artist Renato Guedes.

The series, which expanded the story of the John Constantine character created by comics legend Alan Moore during his classic run on Swamp Thing, debuted as a DC Comic in 1988 and was written by Jamie Delano and drawn by John Ridgeway. Moving to DC’s more mature Vertigo imprint in 1993, the book featured work by comic legends Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Paul Jenkins and Brian Azzarello, as well as many others, throughout its nearly quarter-century history.

Constantine is expected to debut in February, 2013.

Okay, that’s the classic news version. My journalism professors, one of whom once looked me in the face and said, “You smell like a three-day dead dog in the dump tank of a whiskey distillery. Sit in the back, please,” would, for once, be proud. However, like the one, older professor who once slipped me a copy of Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on The Campaign Trail after defending me in a meeting to determine if I should be ejected from the journalism department after writing a story about the college’s president that included the term, “goatfucker” taught me: classic journalism isn’t always properly equipped to capture the whole truth.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: I am but a spoiler…

So after sixty years of history, today I learned that The Phantom Stranger’s superpower is to be a treacherous douchebag. Plus, he’s wearing Jesus’s pants.

Look, while I don’t agree with the recent DC editorial decision to make The Phantom Stranger’s identity as Judas Iscariot unambiguous – particularly since after the last big DC reboot, they went out of their way to make sure that the Stranger’s origin was as mysterious as possible – I have to admit that, as origin stories go, it certainly is one.

The Phantom Stranger #0, written by Dan DiDio with art by Brent Anderson, doubles down on the Judas-as-Stranger story, showing us the Stranger’s origin right from the moment after Judas took a long walk off a short length of rope. And while it accomplishes a great deal in 20 pages, from showing us exactly who the Stranger is to where he got that funky cloak to how he ties into early DC continuity, it does it by mashing up disparate pieces of Judeo-Christian and Shazam-Marvellian mythologies, adds to both of them in ways never before intimated that we just have to take on faith, and with some ham-fisted writing (not story, actual writing) to boot.

Plus, it includes the exciting origin of Jesus’s pants.

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