Category Archives: Other Comics

Why is Vertigo a Proving Ground for DC/Marvel Talent (Instead of the Other Way Around)?

In his article on Karen Berger’s legacy at Vertigo, Sequart’s Julian Darius cites the imprint’s role as a “proving ground” for talent. Many well-known comics writers made their mark with a magnum opus at Vertigo — Grant Morrison with The Invisibles for instance, or Brian Azzarello’s 100 Bullets — and have gone on to mainstream success at DC and Marvel.

But isn’t that backwards?

I mean, that’s like J.K. Rowling following up Harry Potter with a long career writing Forgotten Realms novels. Or Steven Spielberg following up Jaws and E.T. by directing episodes of shows like Cheers, M*A*S*H and L.A. Law for the next two decades.

If that’s what someone wants to do, that’s great. R.A. Salvatore has carved out such a niche in Forgotten Realms that his name is a bigger draw than the universe’s brand. I’d bet Geoff Johns feels like he has the best job in the world.

But it seems…broken somehow that even when an author makes a splash telling their own stories, the main measure of success is a career working on pre-existing character concepts controlled by Warner Bros. and Disney.

Geoff Johns Relaunches Vibe. No, Really!

DC has announced the next wave of the New 52, to launch with the new Justice League of America series. Also launching are Katana, spinning out of Birds of Prey, and Justice League of America’s Vibe.

And with a premiere issue being co-plotted by Geoff Johns, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA’S VIBE will come to you from the creative team of writer Andrew Kreisberg (ARROW) and artist Pete Woods (LEGION LOST).

I have two words: Called it.

Vibe: Surprised

Update: MTV Geek has a statement by regular writer Andrew Kreisberg…who turns out to be the writer of the Justice League Unlimited episode, “The Greatest Story Never Told.”

All I can say to that is, “Thank you, Green Lantern!”

Quick Thoughts: DC’s New 52 Wave Three

So, along with the #0 origin issues in September, DC is also launching four new ongoing series. Here are my first thoughts:

Talon – Spinning out of “Court of Owls.” Sorry, but I tuned out right there. I’ve never been a big fan of the Bat-verse (heresy, I know), so a Batman spin-off doesn’t really do much for me.

Sword of Sorcery – A genre book similar to All-Star Western and G.I. Combat. At least to start with, it’ll be headlined by a revival of Amethyst, with backup stories about a post-apocalyptic Beowulf. This is the one I’m most interested in, not for Amethyst or Beowulf in particular, but to see what DC does with the fantasy genre. Demon Knights has been a fun read, and is currently the DCU book I’m most eager to read when a new issue comes out.

Team Seven – Set shortly after the Justice League’s debut, about a special-ops team put together to counteract superhuman threats. The team features characters from all over DC and Wildstorm, including younger Deathstroke, Grifter, Amanda Waller, and others. This seems like something I would have been fascinated by 10-15 years ago when I was more heavily into the DC Universe itself, rather than seeing the DCU as just the setting for some comics I read.

Phantom Stranger – His origin and connection to Pandora. Um…no. In my opinion, the Phantom Stranger should be left mysterious. He’s the Phantom Stranger, not the Phantom Guy that the Audience Gets to Know Well. The fact that they decided to re-introduce him by giving him a definitive origin suggests they’ll be taking the character in…I don’t want to say the wrong direction, but certainly a direction I’m less interested in reading.

IGN contacted DC and confirmed that they won’t be canceling four books right away, though in a Newsarama interview, Dan Didio reiterates the plan to stick with 52 ongoing series in general, so we’ll probably see a brief bump in September followed by a few books getting canceled in the next couple of months.

I’ve noticed lately that the less connection a book has to the mainstream DC Universe, the more appealing I find it. That’s kind of sad, but I think it’s partly the fact that DC is actively courting an audience I’m not part of, and partly a consequence of my slow drift away from the super-hero genre and toward sci-fi/fantasy.

So how about you? Which of these books do you find most interesting?

Vibe: Rebirth – For Real (sort of)

Vibe in FCBD: The New 52

Long-time Speed Force readers may remember an April Fools’ prank I did with the Irredeemable Shag of Once Upon a Geek and Firestorm Fan, “revealing” that Geoff Johns and Ethan van Sciver’s next project after revamping the Flash would be Vibe: Rebirth.

Three years later, Vibe did indeed turn up in the background of DC’s Free Comic Book Day offering, and he’s been making appearances on the animated DC Nation.

Today, in a CBR interview with Geoff Johns & Jim Lee, there’s this bit of news that should make Scipio of The Absorbascon happy:

As for what underused character he’d like to explore next, the answer was simple.

“Vibe!” Johns replied with a laugh. “They told me you can’t make Booster Gold work, and we made it work; you can’t make Aquaman work, and we made it work. I want to find the B character who everyone says is a complete waste of time, and Vibe is — he’s recent, he’s Detroit League and I have a soft spot because I’m from Detroit, so he’s my next challenge.”

Yes, that’s right: Geoff Johns wants to revamp Vibe.

Now if he can just get Ethan van Sciver on board…

Quick Hits on the New 52: Demon Knights, Stormwatch, Justice League and Frankenstein

Halfway through DC’s New 52 debut month, here’s what I think of the comics I’ve tried so far.

Justice League #1

Looked at on its own, this wasn’t a Justice League story so much as it was a Batman/Green Lantern team-up. That’s OK for a team-up book, or the first chapter of a graphic novel, but not exactly ideal for a high-profile launch that’s billed as an introduction to the League (not to mention an introduction to the new setting for the DCU).

I’m going to call it now: just like Final Crisis, this first Justice League arc should have been presented from the beginning as a graphic novel, not as a serialized story. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

Continue reading

Quick Review: Stan Lee’s Starborn #1

Out this week from BOOM! Studios, Starborn is one of the three books the company is launching with ideas by the master of Marvel storytelling, Stan Lee himself. This one comes with an intriguing premise: Benjamin Warner is an unpublished writer, who has been building a science-fiction world ever since he was a child. He finally sent off his first novel to a publisher…and suddenly discovers that what he thought was science-fiction — not to mention all in his head — is in fact very real. And because of what he knows, it wants him dead.

The first issue is mostly exposition, but there’s enough action at the beginning (in the sci-fi setting) and at the end (in reality) to keep things moving. Some elements seem a bit too familiar for someone who’s read a lot of science fiction, but there’s enough going on…and enough left unexplained…to be intriguing. The art style doesn’t really grab me, but I do like the contrast presented between the sci-fi elements and the ordinary world. It may grow on me.

Verdict: Definitely worth a look! I’d like to know more about the world, and the lead character’s role in it, as well as where the story might go.

Update: CBR has a preview of the book. And I forgot to mention: Impulse fans might be interested in the variant cover by Humberto Ramos.

Starborn #1
Concept by Stan Lee
Written by Chris Roberson
Art by Khary Randolph

A digital review copy was provided by the publisher.