– Good NEW 52 news: the comics are flying off retailer shelves. Some comic book shops have called it “DC’S STIMULUS PLAN” as it’s been boosting sales right when many shops can use the extra bucks (http://flyingcolorscomics.com/). JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 will see an astonishing 4th printing while virtually every new release this month so far will get at least one reprint, if not more. Now, that doesn’t mean that more are selling in the “100,000 Copy Club” like JUSTICE LEAGUE #1 or ACTION COMICS #1, but it does mean that stores are selling more DC comics in September than they likely sold all summer. Whether this boost lasts through fall into winter is unknown, but it’s at least providing a bump in the short term that many shops haven’t seen from a massive Marvel Comics drive in years. Also, WONDER WOMAN #1 (Brian Azzerello & Cliff Chang) was well received; no word on whether it sold in the “100,000 Copy Club” like BATGIRL #1 did.
– Bad NEW 52 news; DC Comics vs. Women, repeated. If one thought Amanda Waller being a supermodel in SUICIDE SQUAD #1 was bad news, one hasn’t seen anything yet. CATWOMAN #1 stunned the world with a full-on costumed sex scene between the titular thief and Batman in a splash page of the sort that is rarely seen outside of paid fetish art websites. Meanwhile, RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1 re-imagined Starfire as a broke-back posing, cheesecake delivering, virtually emotionless sex machine who Red Hood and the rest of the Outlaws (namely, Speedy/Arsenal) brag about “banging” (http://blog.newsarama.com/2011/09/21/two-comics-that-make-dc-become-wtf/). How much of a sexpot was Starfire? Her first scene shows her rising out of the water in a tiny bikini in as close to “slow motion” that a comic can cover, with the colorist for the comic claiming that her bikini was once originally supposed to be transparent before someone at DC caved (http://blondthecolorist.deviantart.com/#/d4alvow). Judd Winick, the writer for CATWOMAN, confronted the situation head-on via a statement to Newsarama: “This is a Catwoman for 2011, and my approach to her character and actions reflect someone who lives in our times. And wears a cat suit. And steals. It’s a tale that is part crime story, part mystery and part romance. In that, you will find action, suspense and passion. Each of those qualities, at times, play to their extremes. Catwoman is a character with a rich comic book history, and my hope is that readers will continue to join us as the adventure continues” (http://blog.newsarama.com/2011/09/22/judd-winick-speaks-out-on-the-controversial-catwoman-1/), in a comic Comic Book Resources claimed looked like “a soft core skin flick” (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=3930) in which she criticizes Batman’s “stamina” and some even argue she comes close to date-raping him. Bleeding Cool claims, via a leak from a DC staffer, that Starfire’s treatment was a hot subject to DC brass up until the issue was printed, with the argument boiling down to DC editors wanting Scott Lobdell to note that Starfire was a tramp due to being sold into slavery in space, while Lobdell wanted her trampiness to be more independent (http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/09/22/behind-the-scenes-on-starfire-and-red-hood-and-the-outlaws-1/). While there have been many op-ed pieces about it, a comic by Shortpacked likely narrows it down the best: http://www.shortpacked.com/comics/2011-09-26-math.png. The dilemma about all of these “mishaps” is that they are no longer taken in isolation and instead being merged with the Waller thing, or previous statements about marriage (in regards to ending it for SUPERMAN and FLASH), or some snide treatment of female fans at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, which creates an illusion of a “men’s locker room” at DC Comics (http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/09/22/starfire-catwoman-sex-superheroine/). In the lead-up to the NEW 52, DC noted that they see their target audience as 13-35 year old men; the dilemma is this is already the audience for most comics, and that audience is shrinking as the “Great Recession” has effected men far worse than women. Women are also, statistically, more likely to buy digital comics as well as trade paper back collections. If the sales boom doesn’t last long, as many insiders predict, DC may regret turning off even a minority of fans here.
– TV Guide has revealed the voice cast for the DC Universe animated DVD film that is set to debut after “BATMAN: YEAR ONE”, which is called “JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM” (http://www.tvguide.com/News/Justice-League-Doom-Cast-1038097.aspx). It is an animated feature which is adapted from the “Tower Of Babel” story from JLA # 43-46 from 2000 by Mark Waid, Howard Porter and Steve Scott. In said plot, Ra’s Al Ghul seeks to disrupt the world’s ability to communicate with each other and takes the Justice League out of the battle by hacking into the Batcave and defeating them with fail-safe tactics Batman himself devised to defeat the League. This results in a major crisis as well as a vote by League members to boot Batman from their ranks; these may be SPOILERS, but given that the comic version is over 11 years old, it’s inevitable. The animated feature will be produced by Bruce Timm and features the last screenplay written by veteran writer Dwayne McDuffie, and as such this may be a tribute to him. As such, WB has played it very safe, and classy, with a voice cast of returning talent. Nathan Fillion reprises his role as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern from “GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD KNIGHTS”, while Kevin Conroy once again reprises his role as Batman from almost 20 years worth of animation and video games. Tim Daly once again reprises his role as Superman from “SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES” and the “SUPERMAN/BATMAN” animated films, while Michael Rosenbaum (“SMALLVILLE”) and Carl Lumby (“ALIAS”) return as the Flash and Martian Manhunter, respectively. Susan Eisenberg also reprises her role as Wonder Woman from both the “JUSTICE LEAGUE” and “JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED” TV series, but from “SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE” from last year. This cast, sans Fillion, is a virtual reunion of that “JUSTICE LEAGUE” TV cast; McDuffie was the story editor for that series. Lauren Montgomery is the director, which may have been her last work for WB before her departure to work on the “AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER” sequel series. The release date is set as “early 2012”. Naturally, this adaptation will differ from the comic book version of the story; for example, in 2000, Kyle Rayner was Green Lantern, while nowadays DC brass is all “Jordan or bust”. Plastic Man was also on Waid’s JLA roster, but he will not appear here (even though he’s appeared in quite a few “BATMAN: BRAVE AND THE BOLD” episodes). Instead, his roster spot will be filled by Cyborg (best known for TEEN TITANS but is now a part of the new JUSTICE LEAGUE from the NEW 52), who will be voiced by Bumper Robinson (“THE GAME”). This will thus be Cyborg’s first animated appearance since Cartoon Network’s “TEEN TITANS” TV series called it a wrap in 2006. As someone who attended the NYC PALEY CENTER premiere of “JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS”, this looks like something which will become one of the hightlights of Warner Home Video’s library of animated DVD features. In related news, the first clip of “BATMAN: YEAR ONE”, which goes on sale October 18th, has appeared online (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/168444-the-first-clip-from-batman-year-one). The feature, based on Frank Miller’s iconic 1980’s series, stars Bryan Cranston (Jim Gordon), Ben McKenzie (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Eliza Dushku (Catwoman), Katee Sackhoff (Det. Sarah Essen), and Alex Rocco from “THE GODFATHER” as mobster Carmine Falcone. More often than not, DC’s TV department has a better idea of how to handle their characters than their film or comic departments.
– Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman costume for “THE DARK KNIGHT RISES” has been revealed in the latest rounds of photo shoot leaks, and it harkens back to the look the character sported in 1966 “BATMAN” TV series (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/168470-hathaway-in-full-catwoman-costume-on-the-dark-knight-rises-set). Also seen on set are Christian Bale as Batman and Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon.
– In “MAN OF STEEL” casting changes, Ayelet Zurer (“ANGELS & DEMONS”, “MUNICH”) will replace Julia Ormond as Lara-El, the birth mother of Superman (Henry Cavill). Why Ormond was replaced at the last minute by director Zack Synder is unknown, but it seems official (http://www.deadline.com/2011/09/ayelet-zurer-now-playing-supermans-kryptonian-mother/).
Last Week’s DC Comics News – http://knotmove.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comics-news-9-19-11-the-spectre-tv-show-new-52-creative-team-shifts-more
This Week’s Indie Comics News – http://knotmove.com/comic-books-in-new-york/indie-comic-news-9-26-11-voltron-tarzan-sabrina-the-teenage-witch-more
Last Week’s Marvel Comics News – http://knotmove.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-comics-news-9-20-11-usm-relaunch-breaks-digital-records-the-fearless