miracleman_annual_1_coverThere are two types of people in this world: superhero comic fans who love Miracleman by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, and superhero comic fans who haven’t read all of it yet. Rob is in column A, and Amanda is in column B. Which means that they had very different reactions upon hearing that Marvel has announced that they will be publishing a Miracleman annual, with stories by Grant Morrison and Peter Milligan. This announcement begs the question: should new creators be allowed to jump into a story like Miracleman, which is a combined yet singular vision between two epic creators? And being two different types of people, Amanda and Rob have differing views on the announcement.

But there is more to comics than a couple of new short stories tacked onto a 30-year-old narrative. So Amanda and Rob also discuss:

  • The Death of Wolverine #1, written by Charles Soule with pencils by Steve McNiven,
  • Original Sin #8, written by Jason Aaron with art by Mike Deodato and
  • Big Trouble In Little China #4, written by Eric Powell and drawn by Brian Churilla!

And now the legalese:

  • We record this show live to tape. While this might mean a slightly looser show than your normal comics podcast, it also means that anything can happen.
  • This show contains spoilers. While we try to throw out a verbal warning before we cut loose, consider this fair warning.
  • Amanda and Rob use adult, explicit language, and therefore this show is not safe for work. The janitors portrayed in Miracleman had Walkman headphones for work, and that was 1984. What’s your excuse?

Enjoy the show, suckers!

Worldbuilders is a campaign organized by author Patrick Rothfuss to get people to donate to his favorite charity, Heifer International. Why that charity? Says Rothfuss:

Heifer International is my favorite charity. It helps people raise themselves up out of poverty and starvation. Heifer promotes education, sustainable agriculture, and local industry all over the world.

They don’t just keep kids from starving, they make it so families can take care of themselves. They give goats, sheep, and chickens to families so their children have milk to drink, warm clothes to wear, and eggs to eat.

Pretty cool.

In order to celebrate reaching a $500,000 stretch goal recently, Neil Gaiman agreed to read Green Eggs And Ham. Yes. That Green Eggs And Ham, the Dr. Seuss one.

Mr Gaiman reads a mean kids’ book. Damn.

Via The Mary Sue.

NGaimanI love comic book movies, but it is a love like John Hinckley Jr.’s for Jodie Foster: just because a feeling borders on obsession doesn’t mean that the object of that affection will ever love you back.

It is a hard-fought love, as I am 42 years old, and therefore lived in a dark time when genre fans hoping for a movie to their tastes would have to bite the bullet and pretend to be excited about things like Harley Davidson And The Marlboro Man and then find a way to convince ourselves that we were worthy of sucking breath in the morning. And if you wanted a comic book movie? Well, there was the first Batman movie that opened just after my 18th birthday, sure, but before that? Well, in the five years before Batman, the only comic book flicks that were released were The Return of The Swamp Thing, Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, Supergirl, and Howard The fucking Duck. That’s a real murderer’s row of movies. In the sense that I want to line them up and shoot them.

So we comic book fans truly live in an amazing time, in the sense that there are many movies based on comic books, and most of them are pretty damn good. Sure, there’s the odd X-Men 3 and Spider-Man 3 out there, but there are very few real stinkers. Sure, there are still arguments about Watchmen (which I rewatched recently and still like a lot), but that comic was so dense that it would have been well-nigh impossible to do a really killer adaptation of the thing. So while I like it, I can understand the argument that everyone involved should have left well enough alone. After all: some comics should just stay comics.

Which is one hell of a long way to go to report that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has announced via Twitter that he has signed on to produce a movie adaptation of Sandman with Neil Gaiman and David Goyer.

miracleman_1_eclipse_coverOne of the hard parts about getting older is that you start to understand that there’s a chance you won’t live long enough to see all the cool shit you assumed you would when you were a kid. When I was a kid in the 70s, I assumed that someday I would live on the moon, while now I understand that the best I will ever be able to do is a few minutes in low Earth orbit, strapped into a chair and watching only my vomit float in zero gravity, and even that assumes that I have six figures to give Richard Branson in exchange for a 45 minute “vacation” in space. Hell, when Warren Zevon was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he famously said that he hoped he hung on long enough to see the next James Bond flick, and the poor prick never knew that if he’d survived for two James Bond flicks, he might actually witness a good one.

Yes, this is a morbid and depressing way to start a post about comic books, but it feels appropriate, because I am a Miracleman fan. And as a Miracleman fan, I was thrilled by the recent news that, after 20-plus years of waiting, Marvel was not only gonna reprint the original series written by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, but that they intended to publish the as-yet-unseen conclusion of Gaiman’s and Mark Buckingham’s The Silver Age and The Dark Age stories that were aborted when Eclipse Comics went under and suddenly nobody – and everybody – owned the rights to the character.

However, in comics as in life, there is no good news without bad news. The good news is that Marvel will start reprinting the original out-of-print stories soon, but I don’t care about that since I already own the entire original Eclipse Comics run (including Miracleman 3D and Miracleman Apocrypha). But the bad news in this story is that Joe Quesada, Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, thinks that we will see new Gaiman / Buckingham Miracleman stories, well, a little less soon.

Like, in two or three years soon. When I will be 45 years old, and actuarially closer to dead than alive even if I didn’t have 35 pack years of cigarettes and about 5,000,000 case years of whiskey under my belt. Or sometimes overflowing my belt.

j_j_abrams_headshotThere isn’t a lot of hard news in this interview video – by which I mean there isn’t any hard news in it – but it caught our attention because of the people involved.

J. J. Abrams has been doing the press circuit, not for Star Wars, but for a book called S, which Abrams conceived of and which was written by Doug Dorst (The author of something called Alive in Necropolis, which is, as you’d expect based on the title, a zombie story) and is comprised of not just the book, but “handwritten” notes and letters detailing a fiction investigation about the book and its author. And promotion for that book brought Abrams and Dorst to England and the BBC… where they were interviewed by an obscure journalist whose reporting is best known in a book called Don’t Panic, a long out-of-print companion book to Douglas Adams’s Hitchhikers Guide series published in 1988.

That journalist? Some dude named Neil Gaiman. If that is his real name.

tmp_sandman_overture_1_cover_20131013915906Editor’s Note: Since my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me why anyone would consider a digital publication of any kind when he’s sure he probably has a slightly used yet still perfectly good Juggs Magazine he could sell me floating around somewhere, was sold out of The Sandman Overture #1 when we visited yesterday, this review is based on the digital version available on Comixology and read on a seven-inch Android tablet.

So. A prequel to a beloved genre series that is widely considered to be a classic, released about 16 or so years after the original series ended. That almost always ends well.

Seriously: I’ve read through The Sandman Overture, written by Neil Gaiman with art by J. H. Williams III and purported to tell the story of what Morpheus was up to just before that dink Roderick Burgess trapped him in a snow globe, and I’m not sure what I think about it. Because it’s a comic book that’s almost impossible to consider on its own merits… not that that’s a bad thing. After all, if The Phantom Menace hadn’t been tagged with the words Star Wars, it would be best remembered as a Twitter hashtag whenever it aired on the SyFy Channel after Sharknado.

But if you take The Sandman Overture #1 as part of the epic tale of Sandman, that means that you’re not only tacking onto a mythology that took 16 or so years for Gaiman to write, but one that spans thousands of years and just about the entire universe. Gaiman took the long view with Sandman, and there’s no reason to think he’s not doing the same with this miniseries.

But the trouble is that we don’t have the entire miniseries yet. We just have this one issue. And while the sum of the parts might wind up being spectacular, I just can’t say that about this single issue. What we have here is, well, a prequel. And one that shows some disturbing signs of succumbing to the same pitfall that all-too-many prequels to genre properties have fallen over the years.

Fan service.

miracleman_1_eclipse_coverThere are hazards, when you run a comics blog, to making the decision to fuck off to central New Hampshire to play classic video games during the weekend when the New York Comic Con is occuring. We knew when we made the call that we would miss some news, but we figured that that wouldn’t be all that big a deal, as there would be half a dozen comics blogs with budgets bigger than ours (read: almost all of them) who would have boots on the ground and be better able to cover it than we would even if we spent the weekend parked at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office Information Center (read: the couch with a first-generation Transformer tablet tuned to our “comics news” RSS feed).

So we knew that we would be late with some news… we just didn’t anticipate that some of that news would entail several hundred dollars worth of direct impending loss of value to our personal comic collection!

To wit: Marvel announced at New York Comic Con that they would be reprinting Neil Gaiman’s and Mark Buckingham’s late-80s / early-90s run on Miracleman… and that they would be finishing the three-part storyline that was aborted after Miracleman #25, the first part of the middle The Silver Age storyline, after Eclipse Comics went under.

Which is excellent news (well, it’s excellent news for anyone who didn’t spend the first two years of the 21st Century hunting down those original Eclipse issues), but that original announcement only referenced Gaiman’s and Buckingham’s issues, which didn’t start until Miracleman #17. Miracleman #1 through #16 were written by Alan Moore, and include the infamous 15th issue, Nemesis, writh art by John Totleben and featuring the complete decimation of London in the battle between Miracleman and Kid Miracleman. If you’ve never read it, it’s a classic, that is well worth the fat cash I dropped on it during a drunken bidding war on eBay in 2002.

And it looks like that is fat cash that I will never see again, because today Marvel made it official: they will be reprinting the entire Eclipse Comics run, starting with Alan Moore’s Miracleman #1, starting in January.

But Marvel’s still not using Moore’s name anyplace.

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.

gaiman-drwhoHypable posted speculation this morning that J.K. Rowling may be involved in an upcoming Dr. Who short story anthology, which will begin as a publication of individual “eshorts” starting on January 23, according to the BBC press release. Although Stephen Moffat is not commenting on the project, publisher Juliet Matthews reports:

We are delighted to have 11 sensational children’s authors involved in the series, all bringing an individual style, imagination and interpretation to their eshort tribute to The Doctor. This is a who’s who of children’s fiction coming together to celebrate the much-loved Doctor Who.

I’m too out of touch with children’s fiction these days to have any idea what constitutes a “who’s who”; I can’t imagine they are digging up the corpse of Lewis Carroll for this project. However, Bleeding Cool thinks they may have found evidence of the possibility of Neil Gaiman’s involvement based on this tweet from this morning:

So, who knows? Either way, Dr. Who and children’s literature fans will have a field day making guesses and placing bets. The first of the authors for this series will be revealed on January 7. I don’t suppose there’s a chance that they’d get the Go The Fuck To Sleep guy involved, would they? Now that would be an interesting take on Dr. Who, especially if they got Samuel L. Jackson to read it.

It can’t be this easy. And make no mistake, it won’t be… but as of a week or so ago, Marvel Comics now seems to have the rights to the trademarks of Marvelman and Miracleman, putting them under the same roof for the first time in… well, considering Dez Skinn started publishing Marvelman stories in Warrior back in the 80s without necessarily paying Mick Anglo, the character’s creator know, maybe ever.

So here’s how it apparently plays out… and let’s all keep in mind that I am not a lawyer, I am not privy to nearly 30 years of discussions and legal paperwork, and I am quite hung over: Neil Gaiman settled the main part of his lawsuit against Todd McFarlane over the rights to the Spawn characters Gaiman created for McFarlane back in January of this year. But apparently there was still an outstanding issue: McFarlane had filed a trademark for the Miracleman character after he bought out Eclipse Comics in the early 2000’s, and Gaiman had, in turn, filed an opposition to that trademark. And that trademark has remained in dispute since then, even after the disposition of the original lawsuit, meaning that even though Marvel bought the rights to the Marvelman trademark from Anglo back in 2009, the trademark for Miracleman – which includes all the Eclipse-printed Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman stories form the 80s, which are the only ones anyone gives a fuck about – was still up in the air.

Well, whether as part of the terms of the settlement, or via sheer laziness or forgetfulness, it seems McFarlane has legally abandoned his claim to the Miracleman trademark. And on September 5th, Marvel Comics filed their own notice of trademark on the name.