By this point, you've probably noticed that we here at ComicsAlliance are already huge fans of the new Batgirl of Burnside costume making its debut next month in Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr's Batgirl #35, but there are some out there who don't like it. For a few eaders, the stylish leather jacket and snapped cape just seems so much less practical and realistic than the heavily seamed skintight spandex, leading them to express genuine concern about Batgirl's effectiveness as a crimefighter.
Fortunately for those compassionate souls, Cameron Stewart has made a concession in the form of a variant cover for December's Batgirl #37, featuring a new variant of Batgirl's costume that is more practical.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
In case you haven't been keeping up on the anniversary celebrations of your favorite Japanese cuteness icons, this year marks the 40th anniversary of Hello Kitty. To celebrate the occasion, Sanrio -- which has recently been pretty cagey about whether or not Hello Kitty is actually a cat -- put out a hardcover featuring artists from all over the world, with comics celebrating 40 years of adorability.
One such creator was Karl Kerschl, the artist of the upcoming Gotham Academy, who contributed a sci-fi-inspired three-page strip that is absolutely delightful. There's just one problem: The third page was rejected by Sanrio for implying that Hello Kitty is actually a cat.
If you need an incentive to help a two-year-old boy with his leukemia treatment beyond basic human decency, how about an original page from one of the best Batman stories of the past decade?
An eBay seller is auctioning off the above page from Detective Comics #871, the first part of the acclaimed "The Black Mirror" storyline by Scott Snyder and Jock, to help a little boy named Nathaniel, who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Jock himself donated the art for the auction.
If you are a jaded, bitter superhero reader like we are here at ComicsAlliance, America's Grumpiest Comic Book News Site™, then you probably respond with announcements of variant covers with an eyeroll and a noncommittal grunt, and may even go as far as to say "Variants! Bah!" out loud to an empty room full of action figures. That's what we usually do, but not today, friends and neighbors. Not today.
Because today, DC Comics announced that most of the cape (and one He-Man) comic they publish in December is going to have a "widescreen" variant by Darwyn Cooke, and holy cats, they are some of the most beautiful DC superhero pictures we have ever seen.
The ComicsAlliance staff is a diverse lineup writers, editors, artists, photographers and designers, but before we’re any of those things we’re simply fans. Appreciators. Collectors. Almost every day we share with each other via Instagram all the great books, toys, artwork, apparel, and other beautiful and/or inescapably cool objects we collect almost ceaselessly in comics stores, at conventions, and from all kinds of sources all over North America (and sometimes beyond). Displaying (i.e. showing off) some rad swag typically inspires everyone to one-up their pop-archeologist game in the never ending quest to find awesome stuff, and simply posting the week’s new comics usually causes someone to discover a new title or artist, which in turn inspires a whole new line of excavation.
In the past we’ve published photos of our “con hauls” here on CA and the resulting discussion with readers — i.e. collector kudos — has always been fun, so with the ComicsAlliance Collection we’re going to do it every week. But more importantly, we want to see your collection too. Show us new additions to your collections by using the hashtag #CAcollection on Instagram and we’ll embed the best stuff alongside our own recent acquisitions. And please do follow us @ComicsAlliance.
We are only a few weeks away from the premiere of Gotham, the Batman-adjacent television show focusing on a young Jim Gordon's early days as a cop in Gotham City, and that means that it's time for Fox and DC Comics parent Warner Bros. to ramp up the PR machine to get viewers interested in seeing what the Riddler was up to before he became the Riddler (he was talking about riddles a lot).
But while I may not have been too thrilled with the actual show, there's one pretty awesome thing to come out of it. For a promo, the producers got comics artist Jock (of Judge Dredd, The Losers and Batman: The Black Mirror fame) to recreate key scenes from the pilot episode to use in advertising -- which is a surprisingly rare thing in media based on comics.
As everybody keeps saying in a rather dazed manner, it's stunning the amount of good to very good to excellent comics being produced at the moment, and I have a litany of fantastic and favorite people working in comics right now; a good portion of whom I've discovered via work published online. One of these is ace Swedish artist Hanna K., who you may know of her via her excellent Legend of Zelda comic which blew up Tumblr. Her Tumblr is the best place to acquaint yourself with her work: she makes wonderful, giffed comics, like this one, called Owl Cafe. She's also published a couple of books with Swedish publishers, Peow! Studio; Third Wheel, a beautiful, fluro-blue riso-graph tale about a couple of kids encountering a strange being in a ruined future, is due for a September re-stock. I recommend keeping an eye out for that re-print so you can nab yourself a copy. If you need further convincing, you can see a gorgeous eight-page preview of it here.
Here's another reason to love Hannah K.- this week she tweeted some pictures of her notebook showing off an adorable, ultra-modern, and very comfy-looking teen Catwoman re-design.
Superhero comics have always come down pretty hard against bullying, whether it's Superman sticking up for the little guy in 1938 or Marvel's more direct approach to having nerdy weaklings suddenly turn into super-strong crime-fighters who turn the tables and beat the living crap out of the bad guys. Captain America, Spider-Man and the Hulk all follow that classic formula, and heck, the X-Men are an entire school made up of an oppressed minority that spends most of their time fighting robots made of racism.
So yeah, Marvel is, historically speaking, pretty dead set against bullying. That's why it's no surprise that they're teaming up with the STOMP Out Bullying organization next month for a series of variant covers designed to raise awareness of bullying and help prevent it. The results are some pretty great covers that range from charming to genuinely hilarious.
If there's a Hall of Fame for comic book titles, then Giant-Size Kung Fu Bible Stories deserves its own wing. You put those words in that order on the cover of a comic book, and I'm going to buy it, no questions asked, and I'm pretty sure I'm not exactly alone in that way of thinking. To be honest, though, I will admit to being just a little bit disappointed that it's not an accurate description of the contents. I mean, is there anyone who wouldn't want to read a treasury-sized extravaganza about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego busting out forbidden martial arts techniques in order to fight their way out of the oven? I would.
That said, what we actually have -- an extra-sized $20 tome edited by Bruce Timm and Erik Larsen -- is still pretty amazing; an anthology of stories from fantastic creators that accomplishes that rare feat of being an anthology book where every single story is highly entertaining, even if they're not about Esau mastering poison styles to take his ultimate revenge on Jacob.
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