Originally launched in 1997, Batman: Black & White was an anthology in which DC Comics editor and art director Mark Chiarello got the best people he could find to draw and write new Batman stories with an emphasis on creative vision -- particularly that of the artists, whose contributions were enhanced both by the Dark Knight's compelling visual presence and the book's colorless format. The first run proved to be an award-winning and influential hit, bringing readers the first Batman work of Jim Lee, inspiring DC Collectibles' most popular line of statues, and leading to similarly tasteful, aesthetically sophisticated and critically acclaimed Chiarello-edited books like DC: The New Frontier, Solo, Wednesday Comics and Catwoman: Selina's Big Score.
Then after the last Black & White short story was published as a backup in Batman: Gotham Knights, Chiarello readied an all-new volume of Batman: Black & White that's basically the same deal but with different creators. As with the original, the new roster is a mix of the top artists of today and accomplished masters, including ComicsAlliance favorites like Joe Quinones, Sean Murphy, Neal Adams, Chris Samnee and Michael Cho, with covers by Marc Silvestri and Phil Noto. The book goes on sale this week but courtesy of DC, you can take an early look at some preview pages below.
Earlier this week, in celebration of the 50th statue in the Batman: Black & White line, we spoke with DC Collectibles VP -- Creative Services Kevin Kiniry and Design Director Jim Fletcher about the past, present and future of this enduringly popular line. Started in 2005 and based on the Eisner-winning Batman: Black & White anthology edited by Mark Chiarello, the statues have become favorites among collectors, due in large part to the various artists who have contributed designs for their three dimensional takes on The Dark Knight. Now, ComicsAlliance is teaming up with ScreenCrush and Arcade Sushi to give away a copy of the 50th statue in the series, designed by Sean Murphy.
Launched in 2005 by what was then called DC Direct, the Batman: Black & White statue series is DC Collectibles’ three-dimensional spinoff of the hugely acclaimed, Eisner-winning 1990s comic book anthology edited by Mark Chiarello that invited some of the world’s best and most idiosyncratic artists to express their own uninhibited visions of the enduringly popular and graphically compelling Dark Knight. Like the original book, the Black & White statue line has become a favorite among collectors and illustration enthusiasts for its high quality craftsmanship and impeccable taste in collaborators. Some of the artists who’ve designed for the Black & White series include Paul Pope, Simon Bisley, Eduardo Risso, Mike Mignola, Steve Rude, Alex Ross, Frank Miller, Matt Wagner, Neal Adams, Bruce Timm, Cliff Chiang, Darwyn Cooke, Frank Quietly... the list is very long and almost embarrassingly auspicious.
Having collected numerous DC and Warner Bros. Animation-related statues from the days when they were still licensed out to sculptors like Randy Bowen, the artists of Graffiti Designs and the talents at the much missed Warner Bros. Studio Store, I’m obviously a great admirer of the work of DC Collectibles. There’s something very hard to describe about how a great statue or other three-dimensional representation of your favorite hero can express their true, well, awesomeness in a way that’s utterly distinct from line art or even film or animation. It’s arguable that no collectibles line possesses this power in greater quantities than Batman: Black & White, as the line’s success with fans and creative professionals continues to demonstrate as it releases its fiftieth statue this week, designed by longtime ComicsAlliance favorite Sean Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus, The Wake).
To celebrate the occasion (which also syncs up nicely with the long-awaited return of Chiarello’s beloved anthology, for which a photograph of Murphy’s statue will serve as a variant cover), we connected with DC Collectibles VP - Creative Services Kevin Kiniry and Design Director Jim Fletcher to talk about the history of Batman: Black & White, the possibility of a Black & White villains spinoff, and why so many comic book artists consider working on the line a “badge of honor.”
If you were worried DC Collectibles had already shown its hand earlier this month with the reveal of its upcoming New 52 Swamp Thing and Supervillains series Deathstroke action figures, today's full September solicitations release ought to put the toy and statue segment of your mind at ease.
Published in 1996, DC Comics' Batman: Black and White remains one of the most celebrated anthologies in the history of mainstream comics. Originally a four issue miniseries that was collected into one volume, its popularity spawned similarly styled back up stories in the pages of Batman: Gotham Knights, which led to two more collections.
Following several relatively light months of releases, DC Collectibles is going big in June with 14 new items spanning the action figure, prop, statue and bookend categories. A number of June's offerings were teased during Toy Fair 2013, but there's several fresh reveals in this month's official DCC solicitations...
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