Every month, comic publishers release their solicitation announcements to provide information to readers and retailers on comics that are coming out in three months’ time, but there’s so much information dropped at once that a lot can slip through the cracks.
This month in DC's January solicitations, we've got some surprising guest stars, some surprising guest artists, and the debut of one of the most ambitious books DC has published in a decade.
A while back DC announced plans to revive Jack Kirby's Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth in January in a form that, to say the least, is a little unique. It's called The Kamandi Challenge, and the idea --- loosely inspired by 1985's DC Challenge and its game of storytelling hot potato --- is that the twelve-issue series will feature a new creative team, randomly paired together from a list of twelve writers and twelve artists for each issue, each picking up the story where the previous team leaves off.
It's an interesting way to mark the 100th anniversary of Kirby's birth in 2017. In advance of New York Comic-Con, DC has revealed a first look at some of the artwork from the series, plus new details of how the creative teams will approach the story.
Q: Remember Hex, where Jonah Hex was DC's Mad Max, and where Batman lives in the Statue of Liberty? What are your thoughts on that? -- @jomomma75
A: Hex is legitimately one of the most interesting comics of all time, largely because it's one of the greatest examples of how weird comics can get when they're built on the laws of the superhero genre. It's also not very good.
This week, Comixology is celebrating the return of Jaime Reyes and Ted Kord in Blue Beetle: Rebirth with a big Blue Beetle sale. If you dig a little deeper into what's on offer, you'll find that there's a ton of the '80s International era of Justice League on sale for a dollar an issue. And that means that for two bucks, you can get one of the single greatest Justice League stories of all time: the massive, world-shaking fight with Despero in Justice League America #38 and 39, from Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis, and Adam Hughes.
I think it's safe to say that Jaime Reyes had a pretty rough go of it in the New 52. Despite being in one of the launch titles of the new universe, Blue Beetle never seemed to click with readers or the viewers that knew him from Batman: The Brave and the Bold. That said, his predecessor, Ted Kord, might have had an even worse time in the previous universe, being unceremoniously shot in the head to kick off the events of Infinite Crisis.
Now, though, both characters are getting another chance. In September, the all-new Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1 hits shelves from Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins, with Jaime and Ted teaming up as the two-man team of mentor and hero that readers got a glimpse of in the DC Rebirth special. Check out a preview!
Here's something I want you to do right now: Take a moment and just try to imagine explaining this week's high-profile new releases to someone who was reading comics ten, maybe even five years ago. It would take hours, and by the time you'd dealt with all the incredulous reactions and clarified all the ways that we got to this point, you'd still have to launch into your third act with "and there was also Scooby Apocalypse, where the cast of Scooby Doo meets at Burning Man right before the world is destroyed by nanotechnology."
What I'm getting at here is that it's a weird book --- and more than that, it's exactly the weird book that we all knew it was going to be ever since it was announced. The question, then, is whether it's weird enough.
We now have a better look at DC's upcoming Scooby Apocalypse, the sci-fi Scooby Doo update, written by J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen, with breakdowns by Giffen and pencils and inks by Howard Porter, thanks to a preview at TVGuide. The book is part of a larger relaunch of Hanna-Barbera properties by DC, which also includes Flintstones, Future Quest (a Jonny Quest/Space Ghost team-up book), and Wacky Raceland. Scooby Apocalypse #1 is available in stores and online on May 25.
In the mid-eighties, DC Comics tried a bizarre experiment known as the DC Challenge, a story told by twelve different creative teams over twelve comics, with the catch being that each issue would end on a cliffhanger that the next team would have to get themselves out of. Announced at Emerald City Comic Con, DC is reviving the series in the form of Kamandi Challenge, thirteen creative teams over twelve issues telling one complete story with the classic Jack Kirby character, Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth.
The original DC Challenge featured the likes of Elliot S! Maggin, Mike W. Barr, Dave Gibbons, Gene Colan and so many more legendary creators. and featured the additional caveat that they could use any DC Comics characters, except ones they were currently working with elsewhere. The series culminated in a jam-packed final issue which was divided among six of the previous creative teams.
DC Comics hosted a special livestream event at WonderCon in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon to unveil the creative teams behind its DC Rebirth event, which relaunches the entire DC Universe line with new issue #1s and multiple double-shipping titles. The relaunch will set the future course of DC Comics at a time when fans are wondering whether the company will embrace a new and diversifying audience or double down on serving a shrinking core audience.
The event was introduced by DC All Access host Tiffany Smith, with DC co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio and chief creative officer and Rebirth chief architect Geoff Johns introducing and interviewing the creative teams as they joined them on stage at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Legends of Tomorrow #1 is one of the weirdest comics DC has put out in quite a while. Despite the name, it doesn't seem to have much to do with the Legends of Tomorrow television show --- unless Metamorpho and the Metal Men are joining the cast sometime in the next season, which would be amazing, the only connecting thread to the comic is Firestorm, and even then, the comic's Firestorm is made of two completely different people than the show's. As good as it is to see DC using the TV show to get eyes on a comics anthology --- and as solid as those stories might be --- it seems like a bit of a strange approach.
But then you get to Sugar & Spike, and that's when you realize that the name of this comic is nowhere near being the weirdest thing about it. No, the single most bizarre thing about this book --- and the thing that makes it a must-read for me --- is that Keith Giffen and Bilquis Evely are doing the most unexpected reboot of the year.
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