Tag Archives: Jeff Lemire

Preview: Time Warp

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So, I don’t usually make a big fuss about preview pages, but this teaser for the upcoming oversized anthology, “Time Warp,” from Vertigo is too incredible to not call attention too. For real, take a look at these pages:

From writer Damon Lindelof and artist Jeff Lemire, a story about Rip Hunter and dinosaurs. Seriously.

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From writer/artist Matt Kindt, a story that looks like a (more) futuristic Hunger Games.

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From writer Ray Fawkes and artist Andy MacDonald, some kind of weird/space mech story. I’m not familiar with MacDonald at all, but his art is just fantastic. It’s perfect for cosmic, and those mechs remind me vaguely of Kirby’s Celestials. Let’s get this guy on a “New Gods” book, K?

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Not sure to what to make of this page from writer Dan Abnett and artist I.N.J. Culbard, but it has a kind of exaggerated Darwyn Cooke vibe that I love.

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And if those names weren’t enough, the issue also features work from Peter Milligan, Toby Litt, Simon Spurrier, Tom King, Gail Simone, Mark Buckingham, MK Perker, Victor Santos Montesinos, Jorge Corona, Rafael Albuquerque, Tom Fowler. The main cover from Eduardo Risso is great, but I would definitely love to get the Jae Lee variant:

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Seriously, how great is that thing? This is the fifth of these anthology series that Vertigo has released over the past two years. Show DC and Vertigo that we want more of this kind of thing by picking it up on March 20th, and hope that one of the stories inside becomes an ongoing series or mini. Vertigo needs fresh blood. The $7.99 price tag may seem high, but it’s a steal for an 80 page book, and a way better deal that the $3.99 you plop down monthly for 20 pages of “Savage Wolverine.” Yeah, I’m talking to you.

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Best of 2012: Best Writers

So I’ve fallen a bit behind on my whole “Best Of/Year End” lists. This last one was especially hard for me, but I’ve finally narrowed down my 5 (well, 6) favorite writers of 2012. For your reading enjoyment.

5. Tie: Jeff Lemire & Scott Snyder

DC’s newest golden boys had a great year in 2012. Together, the duo finally got the ball rolling on their pseudo-Vertigo opus, ‘Rotworld.’ While that story in particular was one of my most anticipated of the year, it’s grown a bit long in the tooth. Fortunately both writers had other enjoyable works as well. Snyder wrapped up his surprising ‘Court of the Owls’ story and began the hotly anticipated ‘Death of the Family’ arc, both of which received astounding critical acclaim. Lemire wrapped up his run on “Frankenstein” and moved over to “Justice League Dark,” where he continues to weave bits of Vertigo lore into the New 52. Both writers also hit major milestones in their creator owned works at Vertigo, with Snyder hitting the halfway point of “American Vampire” and Lemire wrapping up his 40 issue run on “Sweet Tooth.” As if that isn’t enough, Lemire also released an original graphic novel, “Underwater Welder,” a small-town story in the vein of “Essex County,” to critical praise. These are two extremely prolific writers who seem to just be getting started. Both writers will launch new Vertigo series in 2013, and will add new DC books to their plates as well. Expect both writers to play a major role in the upcoming “Trinity War” event at DC.

4. Joshua Hale Fialkov

Fialkov wasn’t as productive as fellow writers Snyder and Lemire in 2012, but his work on “I, Vampire” was so focuses and unique among its peers that it alone earns Fialkov a slot in my top 10. “I, Vampire” went through around three status quo changes in the past year, each more shocking and exciting than the last. When a writer can play fast and loose with such played out genres as super heroics and vampires, while still remaining fresh and engaging, it’s an accomplishment worth mentioning. Recent news has revealed that Fialkov will finish his story in “I, Vampire” #19. While it’s sad to see the book go, I absolutely cannot wait to see how it all wraps up, as well as what the writer has in store for the future.

3. Matt Fraction

I’ve never been a Fraction fan. I gave “Cassanova” a shot once, but couldn’t get through it. However, the writer made it into my pull list in a major way this year with “Hawkeye”, “Fantastic Four,” and “FF.” These three books represent some the purest and most fun story telling in all of comics. Fraction’s ability to connect to the reader emotionally, using fantastic characters in everyday interactions, is unparalleled. If you want comics to be fun, instead of dark, depressing affairs, while still remaining relevant, look no further.

2. Brian K. Vaughan

I hate to admit it, but I’ve never read more than the first issues of both “Y, The Last Man” and “Ex Machina.” I’ve never touched “Runaways.” The only substantial exposure I’ve had to BKV was through his work on “Lost” (rest its TV soul). So, when I picked up the first issue of “Saga,” all my excitement was due to hype, rather than personal experience. I now understand the hype, and am dying to read more from this guy, who is a true modern story-telling master.

1. Jonathan Hickman

Hickman had an unbelievable year in 2012, from wrapping up his long-running “Fantastic Four/FF” run as well as his run on “The Ultimates,” to launching a new “Avengers” series and his creator owned “Manhattan Projects.” After reading his work I can say, without a doubt, that Jonathan Hickman is the new Grant Morrison. No other writer since has channeled such bizarre, otherworldly ideas and concepts into such small and poignant moments, eliciting an emotional response from somewhere deep within the human soul. He also has the uncanny ability to surround himself with fantastic art talent, such as Nick Dragotta, Nick Pitarra, Steve Epting, and Jerome Opeña. His background as a graphic designer shows in his work, which bears a clearly crafted design. Everything Hickman touches bears a mark of the highest quality production (except for AvX, but who can help that?).

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Soliciting DC Comics: March 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve done this, having been very busy with work and my new gig doing reviews at Multiversity Comics (look for them weekly!). However, after sifting through solicitations for March, there’s a lot worth talking about and a lot to get excited for.

He Comes in Peace!

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Beginning in March, Justice League of America will feature a Martian Manhunter back-up feature penned by Matt Kindt with art by Scott Clark. DC seem ready to give the man from Mars a major push after his lackluster presence in the New 52 Stormwatch. Kindt is a great writer that is slowly rising through the  ranks at DC, and this will be his highest profile gig yet. I can’t wait to see where he takes Martian Manhunter, a character that has never been handled well in the time I’ve read comics. Here’s hoping he finally gets the recognition he deserves.

From the Ashes

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Much like the aftermath of ‘The Court of Owls’ storyline, the issue following ‘Death of the Family’ sees guest artists and an appearance by mysterious Snyder creation Harper Row. It doesn’t look like things are well for the Bat after the Joker is through with him, but just how bad is anyone’s guess (maybe Didio finally gets to kill Nightwing). In further interesting back-up news, issue #18 will feature art by longtime Bendis collaborator and Marvel mainstay, Alex Maleev. The main story features art by Andy Kubert, a prominent artist in Morrison’s Bat-saga. This issue looks like it will be a great post ‘Death of the Family’ read.

See the Rainbow, Taste the Rainbow!

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Green Lantern #18 continues the ‘Wrath of the First Lantern’ arc, which we next to nothing about at this point. However, if the cover is any indication, we’ll see some major involvement from Hal Jordan and Sinestro, who have recently taken a back seat to Simon Baz. Oh, while we’re on it, how about that amazing Gary Frank cover. Soooooooo many colors + zombies. I’ll take it in poster size.

The Return of the King

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Longtime fans of Vertigo’s “Hellblazer” are pretty bummed about the book’s cancellation and subsequent replacement by the New 52’s “Constantine” #1, but I’m cautiously optimistic. Robert Vendetti is doing great work on Valiant’s “X-O Manowar” and Renato Guedes has recently really come into his own as an artist. “Justice League Dark” hasn’t really been by thing, so I hope this representation of the best conman/magician in comics is up to snuff.

Things Just Got Real

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In an incredible turn of events, “Phantom Stranger” could take a major incredible upswing in quality come March. Not only is legendary writer J. M. Dematteis coming on to co-write the series with Dan Didio, but the stellar Gene Ha will be handling the art for the issue. Nothing against the book’s regular creative team, but this line-up has me extremely excited. The issue features the debut of Lady Luck, a new character teased by Geoff Johns way back before the New 52 began, who will likely play a big role in the upcoming ‘Trinity War.’

All Good Things…

ST_Cv18ANMAN_Cv18_R1In somewhat of a surprise, Scott Snyder and Yannick Paquette will be leaving “Swamp Thing” after issue #18, which acts as both an epilogue for ‘Rotworld’ and a coda for the duo’s year and half of stories. While it’s sad to see them go (I was really interested to see where Snyder would take the character post-‘Rotworld’) rumor has it that DC has snatched up a major new talent to take over the book, so there’s hope for the series. Jeff Lemire, will continue with “Animal Man,” steering Buddy into new territory. After being so closely tied to “Swamp Thing” for 18 issues, it will be nice for Lemire to get to do something different with the character. Also, how about that Jae Lee cover? Fantastic right? What would it take to get that guy on interiors A.S.A.P.?

Vertigo Still Going Strong

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While some are predicting the impending doom of DC’s mature reader’s imprint, I’d argue the imprint is still produces plenty of quality material. Case in point, March’s “Time Warp” continues the series of one-off genre anthologies that began with last year’s “Strange Adventures.” The oversized issue will feature stories from a who’s who of great artists including Matt Kindt, Gail Simone, and Damon Lindelof and such artists as Jeff Lemire and Rafael Albuquerque. While these anthology issues are a little on the pricy side, the amount of content is definitely worth it. There aren’t enough great anthology books out there these days, so if you enjoy them, or you just want to support Vertigo and the creators involved, be sure to check this issue out.

Next Year’s Christmas List Starts Early

After budgeting for a month’s worth of floppy comics, I rarely have funds left over for trade paperbacks/graphic novels. Because of this, I usually just relegate them to an Amazon wishlist and hope that someone is kind enough to gift them to me. Three collected editions that are definitely worth checking out next year are Legion Worlds, The Authority Vol. 1, and Batman Noir. Legion Worlds is the sequel/companion series to Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s Legion Lost series. These writers are known for their great cosmic work, so those looking for a great Legion story should look no further. Also, how can you pass on art by artists like Oliver Coipel, Darwyn Cooke, and Steve Dillon? The Authority Vol. 1 will collect the complete 12 issue run of Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch’s groundbreaking Authority run. These are the characters you’ll find in the New 52’s Stormwatch, only way more awesome.  I already have the trades, but this is extremely tempting nonetheless. If you haven’t read this yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Finally, Batman Noir is a deluxe hardcover featuring Batman stories by the 100 Bullets team of Brian Azzarello. I’ve never read the ‘Broken City’ arc, but the ‘Flashpoint’ tie-in series and the ‘Wednesday Comics’ arc are worth the price of admission alone. A great pick for any Bat-fan in your life.

And that’s what I’m looking forward to from DC in March 2013. Check back later when I’ll go over Marvel’s solicits, and in the New Year when I do my obligatory best of 2012 list!

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John Constantine is Dead. Long Live John Constantine.

This February DC Comics is cancelling Hellblazer, the longest running title under their Vertigo imprint, with issue #300. Hellblazer stars mystical British con-man John Constantine, a character created by Alan Moore during the course of his run on Swamp Thing. After the end of Moore’s run, writer Jamie Delano took over the character in what would become the flagship book for DC’s fledgling mature readers imprint. The book features Constantine aging in real-time over the course of its 20+ year run, something that is completely unheard of in modern comics. The character has been written by several incredible writers over the years, including long runs by Delano, Garth Ennis, Brian Azzarello, Mike Carey, Andy Diggle, Denise Mina, and Peter Milligan, as well as a few issue written by superstars like Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison. Peter Milligan, who took over the title with issue #251, will close out the Hellblazer saga. Hellblazer has been known for its complex stories, extremely dark themes, and for the strength of its lead character.

However, this is not the end of John Constantine. Starting in March, DC will launch Constantine #1, a new book set in the main DC universe written by Robert Venditti with art by Renato Guedes.

John Constantine, by new series artist Renato Guedes.

This is a controversial move to say the least. Constantine was created as a DC universe character, one that interacted with the likes of the Justice League and other heroes before the shift to Vertigo. Once Hellblazer became entrenched in Vertigo, the title existed in a closed universe, although Constantine would occasionally interact with characters from other Vertigo books. It was essentially the same case as Nolan’s Batman movies, wherein Batman doesn’t interact with other DC properties. In 2011, Constantine returned to the DCU proper in the pages Geoff Johns’ Brightest Day and the New 52 relaunch’s Justice League Dark. This lead to their being two portrayals of Constanine, the mainstream, reader friendly version in JL Dark, and the “true” version in the pages of Hellblazer. Many fans (myself included) feel like the New 52 version lacks many of the qualities that makes the Vertigo Constantine so compelling and complex. I for one just started reading through Milligan’s run on Hellblazer on Comixology due to my excitement for the upcoming issue #300. While I was very dissatisfied with Milligan’s portrayal of Constantine in Justice League Dark, I really like his Hellblazer stuff, confirming that both Constantines aren’t created equal. Even Jeff Lemire, a writer I adore, hasn’t been able to develop the “new” Constantine into a character that I have any real desire to follow.

I don’t have much experience with Venditti’s work. I’ve read the first few issues of the relaunched X-O Manowar and really enjoyed them, but that’s a completely different animal. Venditti is an American writer, and it is generally agreed upon by fans that Constantine works the best when he is written by a British writer. I will be very surprised if Venditti is able to accurately capture the unique voice of John Constantine. I am very familiar with the art of Renato Guedes, and while I am not a fan of his work on Superman during the New Krypton era, his recent work on books like Secret Avengers and Green Lantern has been fantastic. If he can bring that kind of talent to Constantine, then at the very least it will be a good-looking book.

Overall I count this announcement as one step forward, two back. Constantine is already heavily featured throughout the “Dark” books of the New 52, so a solo book is hardly necessary. That slot could’ve been filled by any number of other books fans are actually asking for. Likewise, Hellblazer is the longest running book under Vertigo and its cancellation is a major blow to the imprint. Vertigo has lost many major books within the past year, with long running series like Scalped and Sweet Tooth finishing up and American Vampire about to go on hiatus. Fables, which will take the mantle of longest running Vertigo book, and its various spinoffs are still going strong. There are a few very exciting limited series in the pipeline, such as Lemire’s Trillium, Snyder’s The Wake, and Gaiman’s Sandman prequel, but the imprint is left with very few stable ongoing series. The only book that comes to mind is Paul Cornell’s Saucer Country, which while being very interesting isn’t getting much attention. I hope that this is not a sign that the long running and highly respected imprint will soon be dismantled, especially in a time when interest creator owned properties are at their highest. Perhaps DC is prepping a new imprint to house all creator owned books, regardless of age-range. This, in my opinion, would be the only acceptable for the death of Vertigo as we know it.

Constantine #1 is set to launch in March, meaning DC still has one more book to announce for February or else there will only be 51 New 52 books released that much. Crossing my fingers for that New Gods book. Keep checking back for more news and info.

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First Art from JLA Spin-Off Books

MTV Geek has been slowly leaking interviews with the creative teams of Green Arrow, Vibe, and Katana, as well as the first cover images. Overall, I’m a lot more excited than I was after the initial announcements. Head over to geek-news.mtv.com to check out the interviews.

Green Arrow by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino

It honestly doesn’t get much better than this. Jeff Lemire is one of the best writers in the industry and is known for crafting emotionally driven stories with down to earth characters. Who better to tap to write DC’s Emerald Archer? Add in Andrea Sorrentino, whose work on I, Vampire was some of the best art in The New 52. His dark and gritty art style is perfect for a street level hero. I’ve always though Green Arrow was a really great and underutilized character since my first introduction to him in Dark Knight Returns. I’m absolutely loving Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye series at Marvel, but I’m a DC guy at the end of the day. Here’s hoping Lemire and Sorrentino can make Green Arrow the première archer in comics.

Vibe by Andrew Kreisberg and Pete Woods

Oh, what’s that? They’re tying Vibe’s origin into the Darkseid invasion from the first Justice League arc. And Geoff Johns is co-plotting the first issue? And David Finch drew the cover? Well, you got me DC, I guess I’ll check this out. I’m a sucker for D-list super hero characters, plus this seems like it will tie in very heavily to Johns’ Justice League stuff. However, it’s going to take A LOT to get me to stick around after that first issue.

Katana by Ann Nocenti and Alex Sanchez

I’ve got to admit, this series does sound pretty cool. The New 52 version of Katana has a pretty cool hook (she claims her sword devours souls, but she could just be crazy) and a book about ninjas and samurai with mystical weapons would be totally awesome. However, based on her work in the New 52 Nocenti isn’t a name that inspires that much excitement for me, and I’m completely unfamiliar with Sanchez. There’s a lot of potential here, and I would love for this to be DC’s answer to Marvel’s Iron Fist.

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The New 52 Wave 4 Brings the JLA, Spinoffs, and Creative Shakeups

With the cancellations of G.I. Combat, Legion Lost, Grifter, Frankenstein, and Blue Beetle, it was just a matter of time before the other shoe dropped and replacement books would be announced. We already knew that Keith Giffen’s new book, Threshold, would take the place of G.I. Combat and that Justice League of America by Geoff Johns and David Finch would launch in February. Today DC has announced two more books launching in February and it seems that this wave of books is clearly centered around JLA, with two members of the new team getting their own solo series. The first is Vibe, written by the creator of the Arrow TV series, Andrew Kreisberg,  and drawn by Legion Lost artist Pete Woods. The second is Katana, written by current Catwoman and Green Arrow writer Ann Nocenti and drawn by Alex Sanchez. It’s pretty surprising that Vibe and Katana are getting solo books over a character like Martian Manhunter or even Cyborg, who is the only member of the main Justice League team without a solo book. I also wonder if the Vibe and Katana books will be actual ongoing books, as it seems like it would be better to test the waters with a miniseries. In fact, launching JLA with miniseries starring Vibe, Katana, Stargirl, and Martian Manhunter would probably be a lot of fun.

DC also announced that Justice League of America will have 52 variant covers. Each variant cover will represent one of the 50 U.S. states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. Books like Walking Dead #100 and Uncanny Avengers #1 having as many as 20 incentive variant covers, and if DC was following the model of those books then 52 variants would just be absurd. However, retailers can order any amount of each cover as they want, without having to meet incentive levels, making this a truly fun and easy variant gimmick. Who won’t want to pick up their state’s variant cover?

The biggest news isn’t a new book, but a major creative team shift. DC superstar writer Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino, the amazing artist of I, Vampire, will take over the book staring with issue #17. Green Arrow has fared poorly since the launch of the New 52, so this a great news for fans of the character. Here’s hoping this book will rival another book about a hero with a penchant for arrows that I and seemingly all of comic-dom is loving. Robin Hood-types are definitely in this year. DC hasn’t released any art work for the newly announced series, but Jeff Lemire tweeted this teaser image by Sorrentino:

Now, by my count their is still one book that needs to be announced to for February to get back to that magic 52 number DC has committed themselves too. With solicitations due next week I expect more announcements to be made as the week goes on. Keep checking back as more news surfaces about these books!

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Swamp Thing vs. Animal Man

I look at the time stamp of my last post and realize that it’s been two weeks since I last posted and I feel ashamed. I’ll blame it on the awesome Flash vs. the Rogues story I’m working up (DC, call me). In honor of Halloween I’m breaking the drought of content with an all out slugfest between two Vertigo mainstays who hit it big in DC’s New 52, Swamp Thing and Animal Man. The two books/characters have been so closely tied in the build up towards Rotworld that it’s hard to consider them as separate books. However, I’m about to make myself do just that. I’ll be comparing each book’s central and supporting characters, and art direction to decide which book is the best. I will only be comparing the New 52 incarnations of the characters for the sake of this match up. Continue reading

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From NYCC: Snyder and Lemire Bring the Sci-Fi to Vertigo

At today’s Vertigo panel two of DC’s biggest newcomers, Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire, announced new creator owned projects for the company’s mature reader imprint. Interestingly enough both books as science fiction, which is a change from both writers usual genres of choice, although Lemire previous wrote a “Ultra the Multi-Alien” story in the Strange Adventures Vertigo anthology.

First up we have The Wake, a 12 issue series coming from Snyder and artist Sean Murphy. Snyder describes the series as “a horror science fiction story with post-apocalyptic elements as well. It takes place at the bottom of the ocean, featuring elements we’re in awe of. Really a claustrophobic and terrifying story that then expands and makes the whole world terrifying.” Snyder has previously worked with Murphy on an American Vampire mini-series. Speaking of American Vampire, Snyder also announced that the series would go on a one year hiatus, returning late in 2013. In the meantime, Snyder and artist Rafael Albuquerque will collaborate on some stories set in the DCU. This will give me plenty of time to finally catch up on the fantastic series.

Next we have Trillium, a 10 issue series written and drawn by Jeff Lemire. Billed as “the last love story ever told,” the series will tell the story of two characters separated by time, over 1800 years apart. CBR has a deeper look at the series, as well as an interview with Jeff Lemire, on their website. Also, Lemire will draw a story written by Geoff Johns in the upcoming Vertigo special Ghosts. If that’s not a pairing to get excited about, I don’t know what is.

Both Snyder and Lemire have been among DC’s most popular writers in the New 52, and both have had very well received creator owned projects under their belts. With big series like Scalped and Sweet Tooth wrapping up it’s good to see that there exciting new stories to be told under the Vertigo banner.

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Thoughts on the New 52 #0 Issues: Week 1

This month marks one year since DC’s launch of the New 52 and to celebrate, DC is turning the clock back. This month, (almost) all the New 52 books will tell stories that take place before the beginning of the New 52 and are renumbered to #0 to signify this. While I’m not going to go crazy and read all of the books like I did for the launch of the New 52, an event like this does make me want to read a few books more than I normally would. Here are some thoughts on 7 of the books released this week.

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DC Annuals: The Annuals Strike Back

A while back I did a post looking at the annual issues DC was releasing in May and August. The release of October’s solicitations show four more annual issues up DC’s sleeve, Action Comics, Batgirl, Justice League Dark, and Swamp Thing. Which ones are worth getting? Well, opinions are like noses. If you’re interested in my nose, click on. Continue reading

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