Ambidextrous 306: SDCC: Fraction, Marvelman, Planetary, more

Ambidextrous 306: Fraction, Marvelman

Ambidextrous

#306- Hearsay

Didn’t make it out to San Diego this year, but thankfully, the internet was hard at work feeding me every relevant piece of info only moments after it happened…

This very site used a really clever messaging tool to report live on several of the major panels, which I will admit to using religiously. Really appreciated the illusion that I was sitting in the room as things were revealed, and hope that becomes a staple of our con coverage in the future. So this week I want to run through a few announcements/things from the show that instantly stood out to me, for a variety of reasons, most of them admittedly personal. Hope everyone that went had a great show, and are well on the road to con recovery. Enjoy.   

Archaia Go Hard-

Though it will come as a surprise to none, I’ve been incredibly encouraged by the recent steps this slightly new incarnation of Archaia Comics has taken to better position themselves in the industry. They had a total of three panels at the con, all of them with a concentrated focus on the different brands being offered (Hensen/Roddenberry/Before the Door), and they continue to slowly expand in interesting directions. Every month something else is getting announced like this that should provide more opportunities for future stability, and in the short term, make for some exciting stories. With any luck, this time next year the Miranda Mercury hardcover will be out for all to enjoy, at which point my periodic Archaia gushing will likely climb to new, dangerous heights.  

Fraction Wins an Eisner-

Sure, it says on it that the win is strictly for his work on Invincible Iron Man, but I think his excellent body of work over the last couple years---including but not limited to things like his Thor one-shots, the Iron Fist run with Brubaker, and Casanova, certainly didn’t hurt matters. In any case, the recognition is well deserved, and hope he’s the guy that ultimately follows JMS on Thor, as the aforementioned specials he wrote were fantastic (as was the art). I do need a little more Casanova in my life though…that second arc still needs collecting, and fandom is still stinging from that excessively cruel April Fool’s joke, you know. Think the series will experience a slight sales bump when it does return, as everyone’s profiles have been sufficiently raised in the meantime...and the contents of their respective trophy cases have increased, of course.      

Longbox Launches in the Fall-

You know how I feel about digital comics (hate them!) but wisely incorporating a more functional digital complement to our typical print comics is going to help the medium survive the next five years. And when I heard about this, I was genuinely excited, because it sounds like the first real step in a workable digital framework, which still includes some aspects of the collector’s mentality that we’ll never be able to fully shake. Calling the program Longbox, and designing the interface around that idea is pure genius, and if their system of payment and distribution works, we could be looking at something that will become indispensable to relatively unknown creators and indy publishers. It’ll take baby steps for some of the grumpy old men (like myself) to fully embrace and appreciate reading some of their comics in digital form, but this is a smart and exciting one---something I’d even be willing to use.   

Marvel Gets Marvelman-

My boy Nate hits me with a text the morning of this announcement asking, “What’s the big Cup O’ Joe announcement?” This was the first I was hearing about it, but Nate quickly fills me in---Quesada has been twittering (tweeting?) about it all week, and incurable industry gossip Rich Johnston claims to know what it is, but refuses to say anything more. We quickly settle on two possible options for this potential world breaker. Either Marvel has secured the rights to publish Harry Potter comics, which would be about the biggest thing to happen to comics ever, or…it could be Miracle Man, which for many comic fans is just as big and important.

Turns out it was the latter, and congrats to Marvel for finding a way through the tangled legal web that has surrounded this character for years. This is another book I came to frighteningly late, and honestly, wouldn’t have discovered at all if it weren’t for the aforementioned Nate, who loaned me the Alan Moore penned issues as part of his mandated “Moore Boot Camp” program I experienced back in 2001-02. In fact, while going through some boxes from my old place (while prepping for yet another apartment move) I found his well-preserved first issue, which I didn’t even know I still had. Tag says he paid $3.25 for it, which you know, is pretty unthinkable in this day and age. Hopefully, we’ll start getting decent collections of not only Moore’s run, but also Gaiman’s sometime in 2010. And a proper introduction of the character into the Marvel U…Sentry vs. Marvelman anyone?

More McFarlane-

Saw Marvel’s recent Spider-Man: Torment hardcover at my regular shop a little while back, and instantly became all nostalgic about that whole time period and the lasting influence of Todd’s work on the character. I thought if Marvel were to put his entire Spider-Man run in a series of oversized books, it’d be almost impossible for me not to buy every single one. In fact, let’s just remove the word “almost” from the previous sentence, as just like Kirkman (who very publicly made his feelings on this well known) it’s a shame that he doesn’t draw as much as some of the other Image founders. So it’s great to see him getting back into the saddle on a number of books that we’ll (hopefully) be seeing soon.

Image United is one of those crazy storytelling ideas that just might turn into something great, especially with Kirkman at the helm. Haunt is looking more and more interesting, and the artistic collaboration between Greg Capullo and Ryan Ottley (both criminally underrated) is worth the cover price alone. And McFarlane will be writing and drawing Spawn #200, which should be dropping sometime next year. Don’t know how long his schedule will allow him to contribute regular artwork, inks, etc., but his style remains as distinctive as it ever was, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of it on a regular basis. Whatever happened to that 2nd Batman/Spawn crossover that was announced a few years back? Wasn’t there a dope ass statue that was supposed to come out of it too?  Newsarama Note: There was only ever a one issue special, and the "dope ass" statue came out, pictured and linked on the right!

Planetary Ends-

This news broke before the con actually, but the Wildstorm panel answered some highly important questions concerning the long-running series, and its final resting place in DC Absolute editions. The first one will be reprinted (I have this already, but I know some others aren’t as fortunate) with the second one following shortly behind. Very high chance that I do a This is Why feature on it around the time of the final issue’s release, as I’ve recently located all of my back issues, and am anxious to sit down and read the entire glorious thing with no interruptions. And that final cover by Cassaday!? The only word that means anything here---WOW.

Okay folks, so that concludes my personal long distance take on San Diego. I’ll be back there next year, and in a couple weeks will have a table in Artist’s Alley at the Wizard World Chicago show. Next column should be about Millar and Hitch’s Ultimates run, but don’t quote me on that. We close this week with some great things that happened within the pages of Wednesday Comics #3, and feel free to include your own thoughts about some of the news that emerged from SDCC in the thread below.   

Last Wednesday…

Man, this Batman short is such a grimy 100 Bullets type story---complete with hooker jokes, women getting slapped, and alcohol consumption. Kamandi gets better and better every week, and it’s obvious Sook is enjoying the chance to showcase his artwork in this format. Also, this just in---The Last Girl on Earth! Deadman is alive! Yes, space fungus can still mutate you into a giant bug thing on national television! Adam Strange accidentally escapes the blue apes master interrogator…before he even shows up! Be thankful your pets can’t fly! When cornered by metallic superheroes, never hesitate to point large guns at crying kids! Two Flashes into the future! Catwoman…minus the woman! Crab creatures disguised as Al-Qaeda!      

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