Celebrating March Madness (which is some kind of seasonal daze inflicted on America by either baseball or basketball or one of those other strange sports you all seem to love so much), Oni Press filled the week leading up to this past weekend's Emerald City Comic-Con with a series of big announcements, including the previously-reported news that the publisher is opening up submissions to everyone, and no less than seven new projects from a host of impressive creative teams. To help you pick a few winners (that's what March Madness means, right?) we've rounded up all the announcements in one place.
Joshua Hale Fialkov
Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov has been building a positive reputation in the comics industry for years now. His work for Marvel and DC -- including Ultimate FF and I, Vampire -- may be what he’s best known for, but his creator-owned work -- including Oni's The Bunker and The Life After -- has built up its own fanbase.
One of the most interesting things about Fialkov is his serious, business-like approach to even his most creative endeavors. Many comic creators have their own ways of getting work done -- with varying success when it comes to meeting deadlines -- but there’s something particularly fascinating for me as an editor about creators who plan and schedule their time, analyze their own work, and still produce art that is innovative and entertaining. Fialkov's blog, How Fialkov Do, offers a thoughtful and entertaining view into how he gets his writing out into the world. I've spoken to Fialkov about his process a great deal over the years, and I thought ComicsAlliance readers might be interested to read more about it.
September 8--14 is National Suicide Prevention Week, an annual campaign sponsored by the American Association of Suicidology that recognizes suicide as a major public health concern and promotes the message that suicide deaths can be preventable. In the U.S. alone, nearly 40,000 people take their own lives each year. That's an average of 105 deaths per day. Yet, unlike the campaigns focused on the 9 other leading causes of death, suicide prevention isn't just about raising funds and improving treatment. Suicide is associated with stigma and misconceptions that often close the dialogue and prevent us from learning how we can overcome this epidemic. We don't talk about it. We are scared to ask about it. We simply don't know what to do.
It is undeniable that all of us are thinking about suicide. We thought about it when Hank Pym (Ant-Man) contemplated ending his life after years of stress on his constantly-morphing body. We thought about it when Roy Harper (Red Arrow) was tormented by his phantom limb pain and overdosed on painkillers. We thought about it when Bruce Banner confessed that he could no longer withstand the internal destruction caused by the Hulk, but when he put a bullet in his mouth, "the other guy spit it out." Everyone who's read Neil Gaiman's The Sandman can stand up. You've thought about it, too. Constantine. Deadshot. Mr. Terrific. Rorschach. Nearly every character in The Walking Dead. The list of narratives goes on, some more explicit than others.
Fiction is one of the most common ways we openly explore suicidality and connect with feelings of hopelessness, despair, and depression. Comics allow us to participate in the subversive in a way that is culturally acceptable. We break that rule and seem to enter a place of insecurity and isolation when we begin admitting our own feelings of anguish and thoughts of self-harm.
With the wrap-up of writer Joe Keatinge's multi-artist "Strange Visitor" epic in Adventures of Superman last week, the series is nearing a full year of weekly, digital Superman stories. It's easily been the best, most daring Superman title DC Comics has been publishing in 2013 and 2014 (and not just because Superman gets to wear his real costume in it). Edited by Alex Antone, Adventures of Superman invites creators from all strata of comics to put their own stamps on Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's original American superhero, free from the aesthetic constraints of the publisher's main line of New 52 comics and continuity. We like it so much, Adventures of Superman ended up on our list of the best comic books published in 2013.
We thought it would be a good idea to look back at the series so far, so I've compiled the following list of stories that readers unfamiliar with the series should go back and catch up with if they want the high points of the past year. At a dollar a pop, they're all well worth it.
It's been fourteen years since Marvel launched its Ultimate line of comics, with the goal of establishing a universe in which its characters were younger and modern, and where many of the continuity restrictions of the established Marvel line didn't apply. Over that time, many changes have been made and several significant characters have died -- most notably Peter Parker, who was replaced in the role of Spider-Man by young hero Miles Morales.
Now, the Ultimate line will once again embrace change. Following the conclusion of the current line-wide Cataclysm event -- featuring the heroes of that universe facing off against Galactus -- Marvel has announced Ultimate Marvel NOW, an initiative that will see a new direction and new titles from creators Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Michel Fiffe and more.
The arrival of Galactus in the Ultimate Universe will initially be explored in Hunger, by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Leonard Kirk, but what Galactus's arrival means for the Ultimate version of Earth will play out in Cataclysm -- and with a name like that, it doesn't sound promising. Comics Alliance spoke to series editor Mark Paniccia to get more background on the series.
A big shadow hung over this year's Ultimate Marvel panel at San Diego Comic-Con. The final issue of Age of Ultron revealed that Galactus had slipped through from the Marvel Universe to the Ultimate Universe, but that's not the shadow I'm referring to. Fans have been speculating for the past few weeks that the Galactus story is a way to bring the Ultimate Universe to a dramatic close. The spectre of cancellation hangs over the low-selling line.
The SDCC panel didn't exactly assuage that fear, but nor did Marvel confirm that this was the last -- nay, ultimate -- Ultimate panel. All the talk was about the big man coming to dinner - and about the future of Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales.
When the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animated series found its way to Netflix Instant not too long ago, I thought it would make perfect background noise for my work day; some nostalgic entertainment to help pass the time while working on the site. But as an adult, what I discovered in that early 1980s cartoon based on an action figure line was far more distracting and indeed more sophisticated than I ever realized as a little boy. While the animation itself is crude (and famously recyclable), the show expresses a palpable sense of otherworldly adventure and intrigue through its writing but even more so through it's surprisingly awesome art direction. I thought, this medieval-techno world of Eternia and its heroes, villains, magics and prophecies could really be great if someone wanted to really dig into it.
It was reported last week that Joshua Hale Fialkov walked away from his new gig as writer of Green Lantern Corps and Red Lanterns because of disagreements over an editorial mandate to kill off John Stewart, a popular Green Lantern character and one of DC Comics' most prominent African-American superheroes. It would appear that those plans have changed, as Fialkov's GLC replacement Robert Venditti tweeted on Friday that he and co-writer Van Jensen "have never even contemplated killing John Stewart." The stateme