The GeeksverseNEWS Round-Up | Week of October 19, 2013

NEWS Round-Up | Week of October 19, 2013
Published on Saturday, October 19, 2013 by
[UPDATED] Alan Moore goes incognito in Marvel’s Miracleman, Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson in a rare interview, Run-DMC’s Darryl McDaniels discusses the upcoming DMC graphic novel, Oni Press’ Letter 44 #1 sells out its first print run, and more in this week’s News Round-up.
Alan Moore’s name won’t be in Marvel’s Miracleman reprints

Miracleman #1 cover by Joe Quesada

As it turns out, Alan Moore’s name won’t be appearing in the credits of Marvel’s upcoming Miracleman reprint series, which will see the stories featuring Marvelman (later renamed Miracleman after Marvel Comics issued a trademark challenge) that Moore wrote for the Warrior comics anthology magazine in the 1980s collected and reissued for the first time in over 23 years. Instead, the Watchmen and V for Vendetta author will be credited on the title as “The Original Writer,” if the Marvel Comics solicitation information for January 2014 is an accurate reflection of the credits what will appear in the book.

Whether this was a condition that Marvel—which acquired the rights to the character in 2009—had to meet in order to finally get the all-clear from Moore to reprint the material that has been the subject of a contentious decade-long legal battle is unknown at this point. What is certain however, is that Moore didn’t want anything to do with Marvel’s reprint project except in the event that it would help Marvelman creator Mick Anglo’s family financially. As he related to Pádraig Ó Méalóid in a 2009 conversation (emphasis our own):

Alan_Moore[I don’t care about the Marvelman/Miracleman ownership battle] other than the fact that I was happy to do everything that I could to help Mick Anglo, who is the person who has always owned all of the rights to Marvelman, as far as I now understand it, that we never had the rights to do [the Warrior magazine Marvelman stories], even though Mick really liked the stories that we did. We didn’t understand at the time that Mick Anglo was the sole owner of the rights. We were misled. So I’ve done everything that I can to clear all that up. I’ve said that, they talked about the possibility—what they want is money quickly, because Mick’s a very old man, he’s got a sick wife to look after, and they could use some dosh quite quickly.

I mean, I believe that the Todd McFarlane thing, his ridiculous claims to the character have now been dropped, so it can move on. I believe that they’re going to be reprinting some of my stuff, but I’m not sure of all the details, I’ve just said, ‘Yeah, go ahead,’ and all the money from the first book, from the first printing of the book, should go to Mick Anglo. They’ve also said that what if there’s a possibility of some animated Marvelman cartoons, and I’ve said, again, ‘Don’t put my name on them, and give all the money to Mick Anglo.’ So I hope that some of it turns up in time to do Mick some good, because he’s a great artist, you know, the British comics scene would be poorer without him…

Marvelman creator Mick Anglo passed away in 2011 at the age of 95, although presumably Moore will donate any royalties he might receive from Marvel’s Miracleman series to Anglo’s estate or Marvel will directly funnel whatever funds are due Moore to Anglo’s surviving family.

Bill Watterson on the problems with comic strip syndication, dealing with fame, and why he doesn’t want to see a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon


Cartoonist and creator of the popular Calvin and Hobbes comic strip Bill Watterson gave a very rare interview to Mental Floss magazine recently. Some highlights:

  • On the notion of Calvin and Hobbes being adapted for animation:

… I have zero interest in animating Calvin and Hobbes. If you’ve ever compared a film to a novel it’s based on, you know the novel gets bludgeoned. It’s inevitable, because different media have different strengths and needs, and when you make a movie, the movie’s needs get served. As a comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes works exactly the way I intended it to. There’s no upside for me in adapting it.

  • On the experience of getting Calvin and Hobbes syndicated:

I had signed most of my rights away in order to get syndicated, so I had no control over what happened to my own work, and I had no legal position to argue anything. I could not take the strip with me if I quit, or even prevent the syndicate from replacing me, so I was truly scared I was going to lose everything I cared about either way. I made a lot of impassioned arguments for why a work of art should reflect the ideas and beliefs of its creator, but the simple fact was that my contract made that issue irrelevant. It was a grim, sad time. Desperation makes a person do crazy things.

  • On why he doesn’t publicly exhibit his paintings (Watterson took up painting after retiring from doing Calvin and Hobbes in 1995):

My first problem is that I don’t paint ambitiously. It’s all catch and release—just tiny fish that aren’t really worth the trouble to clean and cook. But yes, my second problem is that Calvin and Hobbes created a level of attention and expectation that I don’t know how to process.

In related news, Joel Schroeder’s crowdfunded tribute documentary to Watterson and Calvin and Hobbes, Dear Mr. Watterson will finally get a limited theatrical release in the US and Canada as well as be available on video-on-demand beginning Nov. 15, 2013.

The theatrical screening locations for November are as follows:

  • Nov. 15: LAEMMLE NoHo 7 (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Nov. 15: Cinema Village (New York, NY)
  • Nov. 15: Cineplex (Toronto, ON)
  • Nov. 15: CCA (Santa Fe, TX)
  • Nov. 21: Manship Theatre (Baton Rouge, LA)
  • Nov. 22: Harkins Valley Art (Tempe, AZ)
  • Nov. 22: Guild Cinema (Alburqurque, NM)
  • Nov. 22: The Magic Lantern (Spokane, WA)

Prior to the theatrical release, Dear Mr. Watterson will also be screened on Oct. 28 and Nov. 2 at the Savannah Film Festival (Savannah, GA) and Nov. 14 at the Kansas City Film Fest (Kansas City, MO).


Okay, before anything else, here’s a little “Rock Box” to set the mood for this news entry:

Daryl “DMC” McDaniels of seminal hip-hop group Run-DMC talked to VIBE magazine recently about the upcoming graphic novel entitled, quite appropriately, DMC that his start-up company DMC-Comics will be publishing in January 2014 (to be followed by a monthly DMC series). It turns out the influential rapper and 2009 Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee was a huge Marvel Comics fan growing up. Some highlights from the article:

  • On his motivation for the DMC graphic novel:

I don’t want to be another rapper trying to make a buck off of comics. Or trying to do something that is trivial or corny. This is no joke.

  • On growing up as a comics reader:

Before hip-hop came over the bridge and changed my life, I was going to Catholic school. So for me growing up, it was school and it was comic books. Going to Catholic School back in the day, I also had to deal with that bullying stuff. And comic books were kind of my release. It was that world I could go to that empowered me, made me feel good, educated me. I learned some things about World War II; I learned about economic issues and science through comic books. So me and brother we collected them, and our favorite was Marvel. We had Hulk, Spider-Man, Sub-Mariner, the Avengers, we had all these Marvel comics that we collected.

  • On the eponymous lead character in the graphic novel:

The worst thing you can do when you do a “hip-hop” comic book is have everybody breakdancing, rapping and doing graffiti. But the DMC superhero isn’t a rapping superhero. In the world that we are in right now, Darryl McDaniels is the King of Rock who is a member of Run-DMC But in an alternate universe Darryl McDaniels is not an MC from Run-DMC. The thinking is, what if he was really a superhero? So this character still has those important ideas and themes and concepts out of my music. But in the comic book, I’m an English teacher at a school, but I’m also a superhero!

DMC is due for release in January 2014 and is made by a veteran creative team consisting of writer Ronald “D-π” Wimberley (Prince of Cats, Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Authorized Adaptation), penciler Damion Scott (Batgirl, Robin), inker Dexter Vines (Hulk, Venom), colorist Chris Sotomayor (Venom, Spider-Girl), and Eisner-nominated letterer Deron Bennett (Jim Henson’s Tale of SandSharaz-De: Tales From The Arabian Nights). An oversized limited edition of DMC will feature a cover by Marvel Comics legend Sal Buscema and award-winning graffiti artist/sculptor/painter Carlos “Mare139″ Rodriguez.


Oni Press’ Letter 44 #1 sells out its first print run, set for a second printing

From the press release:

LETTER44_1_COLOR_4x6_COMP_WEBA new President, freshly inaugurated and faced with an impossible scenario, a spaceship full of American heroes flung far across our solar system, unsure of whom or what will greet them, and a lone structure of unknown origin floating untouched in the vacuum of space. These are but a few of the elements that have led to the maiden voyage of Charles Soule and Alberto Jiménez Alburqurque’s LETTER 44 #1 to sell out of its initial 22,000 copy print run!

“I am thrilled that so many people are finding and enjoying the first issue of Letter 44!” said Soule. “This is a series that is going to some amazing places–literally–and it’s fantastic to have folks along for the ride. Go Space!”

Riding high atop its unique premise and eye-catching art, LETTER 44 #1 premiered in a special black and white variant edition at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year, fueling fans’ desire for the series to finally premiere with Guy Major’s vivid colors. Fans and retailers responded thunderously, depleting Diamond Comics Distributors’ stock of the specially priced $1 issue in less than a day.

Holding its introductory price of $1, LETTER 44 #1 will be receiving a second printing with a new cover by superstar artist Javier Pulido (Daredevil, Hawkeye), scheduled to hit shelves on November 27th, the same day as LETTER 44 #2!

Creative issues at ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of  S.H.I.E.L.D.?

agents_of_SHIELDGrantland staff writer Andy Greenwald checks in on the fourth episode of ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of  S.H.I.E.L.D. and doesn’t like what he sees. The main problem, according Greenwald, is that spontaneity in the writers’ room is discouraged—anything the writers create character- and story-wise has to align with the bigger “Marvel Cinematic Universe” plan and they can’t pre-empt anything that might potentially be in the Disney/Marvel Studios movie pipeline. That’s an issue that may be somewhat novel in television as the article suggests, but it’s something that should be all too familiar to older readers who are both weary and wary of the ongoing industry trend of written-by-committee, “event-driven,” micromanaged, work-for-hire comics.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece (emphasis our own):

The series is officially ‘canon’ in a brave new storytelling context where that actually means something: Anything shown onscreen has to sync up with blockbuster Marvel films, even the ones yet to be made. With billions of future dollars at stake, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s creative process is almost necessarily more about the boardroom than the writers’ room. This means that the late-night, cheap takeout–fueled inspiration that has led to some of scripted TV’s most indelible moments won’t be happening here. What’s worse, an exploration of the Marvel U’s most fascinating corners — like Wakanda, say, or the Savage Land — is also unlikely. Why burn something on a random Tuesday night in October when there’s a chance of blowing people’s minds with it on a summer weekend in 2019? Even with the familial connection to Avengers godhead (and S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producer) Joss Whedon, husband and wife showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen are saddled with a great deal more responsibility than actual power.

The show’s debut posted especially good ratings numbers for a superhero-themed series, pulling in 12.2 million viewers despite going up against entrenched Tuesday night TV fare like police procedural drama NCIS and popular reality singing competition The Voice. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had shed a whopping 34% of its viewers by the time the numbers for the second episode had come in, however. Despite the drop in viewership, ABC doesn’t seem overly concerned that things will get significantly worse for the show as far as ratings are concerned—the network put in an order for episodes to fill out the rest of the season earlier this month.

Steve Rude’s “31 Sketches 31 Days” challenge update

Eisner Award-winning artist and co-creator of Nexus Steve Rude is on a mission to draw and put up for auction one sketch a day for each day of October. He’s dropped a date or three but so far, he’s been maintaining a pretty good pace. We’ve been eagerly following the updates at the Official Steve Rude the Dude Store and we’ve created a gallery of the images he’s put up for auction so far:

Odds and sods

More news from around the world of comics and related fields:

  • IDW Publishing to open a TV division to help finance television projects based on its supernatural/horror comics. (Los Angeles Times) [I hope this means we finally get to see the TV series adaptation of Joe Hill’s Locke & Key comic starring Ksenia Solo that failed to get picked up by the networks a couple of years back—ed.]

  • Mark Waid in a PC Magazine Q&A about the current state and the future of digital comics and how the DRM-free, pay-what-you-will Thrillbent Comics business model is doing so far. Here’s a particularly interesting quote:

My instincts are bearing [the ‘pay-what-you-will’ model] out. For every person who wants to take [an issue of Insufferable] for free, there are those who are willing to show support.

  • Michael Bay takes to his blog to relate a firsthand account of how he and his crew were attacked by an air conditioner-wielding assailant while filming Transformers: The Age of Extinction in Hong Kong. ( [My first reaction to reading the blog post was “Man, that’s some seriously crazy shit.” My second reaction: “Bay obviously didn’t write this post. There are no explosions in it.”—ed.]
  • BOOM_HELLRAISER_Annual_2013_v1BOOM! Studios’ Hellraiser 2013 Annual to feature stories by Clive Barker, Ben Meares, Brandon Seifert and art by Jesús Hérvás and Janusz Ordon. (Comixverse)
  • Zombie film legend George Romero talks about Empire of the Dead, his long-gestating limited series for Marvel Comics. (IGN)
  • Young Jump comics anthology magazine editor-in-chief Tomoyuki Shima was arrested after drunkenly attacking a cab driver and refusing to pay a $7 fare. (Anime News Network)
  • Tierney Sneed examines the wide disparity in the number of female comics readers and the number of female comics creators. (U.S. News & World Report)
  • British publisher Titan Comics reveals its 2014 line-up of creator-owned titles. The list of creators features lots of names that should be familiar to North American readers including Peter Milligan (X-Men, Human Target), Simon Bisley (Lobo: The Last Czarnian, The HALO Graphic Novel), Arthur Suydam (EPIC Illustrated, Marvel Zombies) and Victor Gischler (Colder, Kiss, Me Satan!). (ICv2)
  • Protocol_01_CVRBOOM! Studios’ spy comic Protocol retitled Protocol: Orphans, release confirmed for November 13. (Comixverse)
  • Kelli Grant looks at how some schools are expanding the use of comics and graphic novels in classroom teaching. (CNBC)
  • NECA shows off images of its Predator Series 10 and ED-209 (from RoboCop) figures. (Comixverse)
  • Fearless Defenders to be canceled with issue #12, according to artist Will Sliney’s blog. (Will Sliney on Blogspot)
  • Ian McGinty (Adventure Time: Candy Capers) and Travis Hill (Adventure Time) to do sketches at the kaBOOM! booth (#B41) during the Alamo City Comic Con (Oct. 25–27); Brian Joines (IMAGINE Agents), Jeff Stokely (Six-Gun Gorilla), Eric Esquivel (Freelancers), Dan Fogler (Moon Lake), Allison Strejlau (Regular Show) to be at the Detroit Fanfare Comic Con all weekend long. (Comixverse)
  • Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), using a Marvel vs. DC metaphor in talking to the BBC News Magazine about how fans and the media are complicit in the undue lionization of public figures:

Spiderman to me is a more intriguing tale than Superman because you reckon with Peter Parker’s dark past and to some extent his deep-seated anger rather than the pure hero that Superman is. When we’re told stories that seem too good to be true we should say to ourselves, ‘Hey, maybe this is too good to be true.’

In case you missed them…

Don’t forget that we regularly post new previews of trade paperbacks and hardcovers. This week, we added sneak peeks of eight titles including previews for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics: The Works, Vol. 2 (IDW), Mind the Gap, Vol. 3: Out of Bodies (Image Comics), The Answer! (Dark Horse), and Gantz, Vol. 29 (Dark Horse Manga). We’ve also updated the publication information in our previously posted preview of Image Comics’ Age of Bronze, Vol. 3B: Betrayal, Part Two.

The week’s columns were all about the recently-concluded New York Comic Con: Nick shared his thoughts on Hasbro’s action figure reveals in Wednesday’s Maximum Articulation, Zedric used Robert Kirkman’s NYCC panel appearances as a jumping off point for a Leaving Proof mini-retrospective covering Kirkman’s cross-media success with The Walking Dead since the public release of his 2008 video manifesto, Troy let us know which of the announced “All-New Marvel NOW!” titles he’ll be picking up, and the staffers listed their picks for the most interesting stories from the Con in the latest Roundtable.

We leave you now with this new two-minute animated short celebrating the Superman’s 75th anniversary, created by Man of Steel director Zack Snyder and DC Animated Universe architect Bruce Timm:

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