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Best Bets: Comixology’s Superman Sale

Superman: Secret Origin, art by Gary Frank

I think we can all agree that the best comics are cheap comics, which is why I always keep an eye on Comixology's sales page to see if there are any good deals to be had. This week, they're offering up a handful of Superman collections for six bucks each --- which in a couple of cases is 70% off --- and while that's a pretty great deal, it also raises the question of just which ones you should pick up.

Fortunately, I've read all of these stories, so in order to help you make an informed decision, I've picked out a few best bets for picking up some cheap reads with the Man of Steel, if only to keep anyone from accidentally buying Earth One thinking that it might be good.

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That Mad Rush: Digging Deep Into ‘The Multiversity’ With Grant Morrison [Interview]

Art by Paulo Siqueira, colors by Hi-Fi, letters by Todd Klein
Art by Paulo Siqueira, colors by Hi-Fi, letters by Todd Klein

This week saw the release of the Multiversity Guidebook, a sort of map for a series of one-shot stories that has inspired a lot of contemplation, examination and confusion among comic fans.

To offer an even deeper look into the universe-spanning series and its meaning, ComicsAlliance spoke with writer Grant Morrison about everything we could manage in half an hour: where the idea for The Gentry comes from, Morrison's commentary on Watchmen in Pax Americana, the idea of dangerous knowledge, how these seemingly standalone stories tie together, and just how this sprawling project will wrap up.

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Push Comics Forward: Talking About The Future With Boom EIC Matt Gagnon

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Boom Studios has a reputation in the comics industry for publishing an increasingly diverse group of books and creators. This commitment to diversity in genre and people is reflected in an all-new initiative the publisher announced today in Previews with a letter from founder Ross Richie. While 2015 is the 10th anniversary of Boom, the publisher wants to talk about what's next rather than what's come before. They call this discussion of the future Push Comics Forward and they don't want it to be only about Boom.

Push Comics Forward is Boom's way of focusing on the ongoing conversation about diversity and the future of the industry. To learn more about this initiative and what to expect from Boom for the next ten years and beyond, we spoke with Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon.

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Morrison & Burnham’s ‘Nameless’ #1 Comes With Variant Covers By Names Like Tony Moore, Nathan Fox And Jonathan Hickman

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If you've been wanting to read a comic that emphasizes a "long-withheld sneering contempt for our miserable species, with its self-serving, sentimental, suicidal self-delusions and its greedy, willful ignorance," then folks, I have got some good news for you. We are only a few short weeks away from the release of Nameless, the new six-issue Image Comics series from Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn, described by Morrison as a straight-up horror comic about the worst that humanity has to offer.

To celebrate that fact -- uh, the release, I mean, not the thing about greedy ignorance and suicidal self-delusions -- Burnham revealed three variant covers for the first issue today, featuring the art of Tony Moore, Nathan Fox, and Jonathan Hickman. A fourth variant has also been commissioned, but they're keeping that secret for now.

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Batman Reincorporated: Nathan Fairbairn Presents A Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Revised Art For ‘Absolute Batman Inc.’

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Writer Grant Morrison undertook a major magnum opus with Batman Incorporated. As the culmination of his seven-year-run on the character, working in collaboration with artists including Cameron Stewart, Frazer Irving, Yanick Paquette, and Chris Burnham, he offered up perhaps hs definitive deconstruction of the character of Batman through the creation of a global Batman franchise.

Yet as series colorist Nathan Fairbairn tells us, Batman Incorporated experienced an unusual road bump in the form of a line-wide reboot that potentially undermined the thesis behind the whole series. Writing exclusively for ComicsAlliance, Fairbairn reveals how some pages were re-drawn for the book's Absolute collection, which arrived in stores this week.

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The Multiversity Annotations, Part 5: Thunderworld Adventures – “Just Clever Enough.”

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The fourth issue of Multiversity, Thunderworld Adventures, with art by Cameron Stewart, colors by Nathan Fairbairn and letters by Steve Wands, was initially described by Morrison as taking the All Star Superman approach to Captain Marvel. Set on Earth-5 — previously Earth-S in the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths DC Multiverse — it's far more evocative of the original Fawcett Comics incarnations of these characters than any versions that have been in the DC Universe since.

Lighthearted and fun, with gorgeous art by Stewart and Fairbairn and a lettering style from Wands evocative of the neo-C.C. Beck take Jeff Smith took in his recent Monster Society of Evil prestige miniseries, it's the anti-Pax Americana in tone, subject matter and symbolism, while maintaining a consistency of message and intent.

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Irving And Morrison Out-Morrison Morrison In ‘Annihilator’ – And It’s Pretty Great [Review]

Annihilator, Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving

Outside of David Uzumeri, who spent a good portion of last week learning about Spiral Dynamics just so he could talk about Pax Americana in excruciating detail, I'm as big a fan of Grant Morrison as you're likely to find. For me, JLA, New X-Men, his seven year run on Batman and even the 11 issues of Aztek that he co-wrote with Mark Millar are easily on my list of the all-time greats. That said, if we're being completely honest with each other, I'm not that keen on his work outside of mainstream superheroes. I can take or leave The Invisibles and The Filth didn't do much for me, and while I like Joe the Barbarian a lot, that book basically has Snake-Eyes from G.I. Joe in it, so it barely even counts.

As a result, I wasn't really paying attention to Annihilator, the book Morrison and Frazer Irving are doing through Legendary, until the aforementioned Uzumeri was singing its praises. Curiosity got the better of me, so today I sat down with the first four issues to see if it was worth all the hubbub, and the result was that I liked it a lot. It's a bizarre and compelling sci-fi epic where Irving is doing some of the best work of his considerably impressive career -- and on top of that, it is quite possibly the most Grant Morrison comic of all time.

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The Multiversity Annotations, Part 4: Pax Americana – ‘Not The Peace of the Grave or the Security of the Slave’

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The fourth issue of the series, Pax Americana with art by Frank Quitely, colors by Nathan Fairbairn and letters by Rob Leigh, is probably the most widely anticipated of the series, and certainly the most-hyped. It's Morrison's attempt to update and revise the structure of Watchmen, but applied to the original Charlton characters, as that Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons work was originally intended to in its first pitch. While Watchmen followed a strict nine-panel grid structure (some panels would be bisected or extended, but that was the general latticework on which everything hung), Pax Americana goes for eight, resembling not only harmonic octaves of music and colors of the rainbow that make up much of the multiversal structure Morrison is working with but also the "Algorithm 8" that allows President Harley to perceive the underpinning structure of the universe and use it to his advantage. That algorithm is, of course, the eight-panel grid (and the 8-shape made by one's eyes while reading the page) that forms the comic book universe he lives in.

The book moves backwards in eight color-coded sections, which I'll denote, that correspond to the evolutionary stages of humanity/a single person espoused by Don Beck and Chris Cowan's spiral dynamics, or, more specifically, Ken Wilber's later integral theory, which incorporated it. I'd never heard of it before this book, and from all research I've done there's a reason for that; it seems to be widely accepted as bunk pseudoscience by any academic institution, which makes it a perfect evolution of the original Question and Rorschach's stark black-and-white Randian Objectivism, while also tying into not only Pax's obsession with the number eight but its role in the Multiversity series as a whole, both due to the nature of music in octaves which makes up the structure of the DC multiverse as well as the colors of the rainbow that form the Source Wall.

This is a long one, so with no further ado...

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‘Multiversity’ Colorist Nathan Fairbairn Explains ‘Pax Americana’ Process

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I'm sure more than one comic came out this week, but you wouldn't know that form my Twitter feed, where all anyone is talking about is Pax Americana, the latest chapter of Multiversity by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Nathan Fairbairn. Using the old Charlton Comics characters that inspired Dave Gibbons and Alan "The Original Writer" Moore's classic graphic novel Watchmen, Pax Americana tells a story that is in turn inspired by Watchmen, creating a meticulously structured comic with layers so dense that it's blowing minds all across the comics scene.

And one of the most important parts about the comic is color. That's true of any comic printed in color, of course, but in this particular issue, color becomes a major theme, creating a backdrop for the story that's tied into ideas about spiral dynamics, something that's verbosely explained by the Question about three quarters of the way through the book.

If that sounds complicated, well, it is, and our own David Uzumeri is hard at work on annotations explaining it all. Until then, we're fortunate enough that Fairbairn has taken to his Tumblr to break down his coloring process and how he worked with Quitely to create the incredible visuals of Pax Americana.

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The Multiversity Annotations, Part 3: The Just – ‘They F*ck You Up, Your Mum And Dad’

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Teased for years and finally launched in 2014, The Multiversity is a universe-jumping series of DC Comics one-shots tracking the cosmic monitor Nix Uotan and an assemblage of star-crossed heroes as they attempt to save 52 universes and beyond from a trippy cosmic existential threat that, like much of Morrison’s best work, represents something far more mundane and relatable. Tying back into the very first Multiverse story in DC’s history, the heroes of these universes become aware of this threat by reading about it in comic books… comic books that, it turns out, take place in neighboring universes. Indeed, writer Grant Morrison continues his streak of highly metatextual DC cosmic epics with this eight-issue mega-series (plus one Tolkienesque guidebook).

Described by Morrison as “the ultimate statement of what DC is”, The Multiversity naturally offers the reader much beyond the surface level adventure, and that means annotations. Rather than merely filling out checklists of references, my hope with this feature is to slowly unearth and extrapolate a narrative model for Morrison and his collaborators’ work on The Multiversity; an interconnecting web of themes and cause and effect that works both on literal and symbolic levels.

We’ll be focusing here on the third issue of the maxiseries, The Just, written by Morrison with artwork by Ben Oliver and color assistance from Dan Brown (the excellent colorist, not the literary hack).

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