It was Grant Morrison's favorite comic of 2013, my favourite comic of the 21st century, and it delighted even the most stone-hearted of comic critics. Ballistic, a five-issue series from Black Mask by filmmaker Adam Egypt Mortimer and blockbuster artist Darick Robertson, last hit the streets in 2014. Now it's back --- collected, polished, buffed to a shine for your delectation. It's on your shop shelves now people! So what better excuse to look back on the career of Darick Robertson, and Ballistic in particular, with the man himself?
The latest Marvel Secret Wars tie-in is an unlikely story from the likeliest of sources. Garth Ennis, a writer who specializes in off-kilter war stories, is bringing back the 1960s ace pilot hero The Phantom Eagle for the second time, alongside artist Russ Braun, to pit him against a lost land of dinosaurs in Where Monsters Dwell.
The Phantom Eagle, aka Karl Kaufman, was created in 1968 by Gary Friedrich and Herb Trimpe in Marvel Super-Heroes #16 as a fantastical version of a Word War I flying ace. Ennis and artist Howard Chaykin offered an alternative spin on the character in the 2008 Marvel MAX mini-series War Is Hell -- a name borrowed from a 1970s Marvel war comic. Where Monsters Dwell is of course the title of another 1970s Marvel comic, as is the previously announced Master Of Kung Fu.
DC rocked the comics Internet pretty hard today with a massive announcement of 24 new comics spinning out of their Convergence event, and I can assure you that no one is more excited about this than I am. But the one thing that's most impressive about it is just how weird the publisher is getting. And folks, DC is getting weird.
Not only is the publisher reviving some of the deepest cuts in DC history, but it's also putting the spotlight on some truly weird characters -- including a few that I didn't think would ever make a comeback. So for the benefit of those of you who haven't been obsessing over DC Comics for the last three decades, here's a quick breakdown of the three weirdest comics coming up in DC's new lineup!
Writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are slowly but surely working on the pilot for AMC's new TV adaptation of the Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon Vertigo series Preacher, and as they write, it appears they're also recruiting cool directors.
Rogen struck up a Twitter conversation with Duncan Jones, director of Moon (which is super great) and Source Code (which is flawed but well made) -- and also, incidentally, the son of David Bowie -- to gauge his interest. Right now, Jones is working on a Warcraft movie, but he seemed extremely enthusiastic about taking the reins on some Preacher episodes.
Q: I'm interested in Hitman as a character in the larger DCU, and "the area of Gotham so bad that Batman doesn't go there," because Batman is a dude that has paid multiple visits to a planet literally called Apokolips. -- @kingimpulse
A: For those of you who haven't been following the War Rocket Ajax podcast, Matt and I have been spending the entirety of 2014 ranking every single comic book story ever on a master list from the best (Amazing Spider-Man #33) to the worst (Identity Crisis). Last week, we finally got around to Hitman, and while it eventually fell between The Dark Knight Returns and Impulse #3, the conversation that we had about it involved me mentioning that Tommy Monaghan lived in a section of Gotham called "the Cauldron," which was so thoroughly lawless that they didn't even really notice when No Man's Land swept through.
There's a pretty obvious reason why it went down that way, of course, but the more I thought about your question, the more I realized that it's the core of Hitman's complicated relationship with the universe where it's set, which is one of the best things about that comic.
Comics have seized center stage at the venerable British Library in London this summer in an exhibition celebrating the history of British comics and the work of British creators. Subtitled, 'Art and Anarchy in the UK', the Comics Unmasked exhibition places an emphasis on protest, outsider culture, and anti-authoritarian voices.
Curated by Adrian Edwards, Paul Gravett, and John Harris Dunning, Comics Unmasked draws heavily on the British Library's own collection to establish and define Britain's relationship to the comics art form -- stirring up nostalgia, scandal, and some surprising discoveries along the way. And Kieron Gillen's giant head.
Writer Alan Moore is teaming up with a team of researchers and an app developer to create "Electricomics," a new platform that a press release claims will enable "digital comics to be made by anyone."
Q: Supposedly it takes three pages to hook a reader before they drop off, so what are the best opening three pages in a comic? -- @shutupadiran
A: Huh. I don't think it's going to surprise anyone to find out that I'm a dude who thinks a lot about how comic books are structured and what you can do within that structure, but I've never heard that bit about the first three pages being where you have to hook the reader. It makes sense, though -- when you look at it, those first three pages, along with the cover, form a distinct storytelling unit, and it's the first thing you see when you pick up and pop open a comic.
Thinking back on comics that I love, there's a really distinct pattern there. I like stuff that builds to a big last page just fine, but the ones that I tend to rave about when those first issues hit always open up strong. It's like the first five seconds of a song. Some of them might build to a crescendo as they go along, but when you have something like the famous beat from "Be My Baby" or the opening harmonics from "I Get Around," you know instantly that you've got something.
Look, we all know it's okay for comic book characters to kill people. It's just that when cops do it, it's something of a grey area. Garth Ennis and Craig Cermak's Red Team, recently collected by Dynamite, takes an old idea and makes it new again, exploring the moral conundrum of taking the law into your own hands. One of the least-talked-about great comics of 2013, Red Team is tense, real, and dead-serious. Which is funny, because I used to think Garth Ennis was stupid.
I'm leaving both of those hanging, by the way. Garth Ennis and the killing thing: hanging.
After years of rumors, speculation, and various stages of development hell, today AMC confirmed that the network will be adapting Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's Preacher to television. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are attached as executive producers, along with Sam Caitlin (Breaking Bad), who will serve as showrunner. The duo will also write the pilot.