On August 3, 1993, a comic came out that would prove to mark a pretty important change for Batman's gallery of foes: Kelley Puckett and Mike Parobeck's Batman Adventures #12. The story within, "Batgirl: Day One" is notable for a lot of reasons --- not the least of which that it's one of the best issues of that original run --- but there's one reason in particular that it'll always be remembered, because that issue marked the first comic book appearance of Harley Quinn.
Originally created for Batman: The Animated Series, Harley would go on to become not just a fan favorite, but the kind of character who would take a tragic, engaging, and occasionally hilarious hook and eventually become one of the core characters of the DC Universe.
When San Diego rolls around next week, it'll be time once again for the Eisner Awards, the comics industry's second-most prestigious honor. The first, of course, is our own ComicsAlliance Memorial Awards, but for some reason, those don't get the press that the Eisners do. Go figure. Point is, DC is celebrating the occasion with a digital sale this week that seems like it's designed to remind you that they've put out a lot of award-winning comics over the past decade. But as always, that comes with an interesting problem, although it's not the one that we usually have when it comes to sifting through the dollar-book sales: In this case, it's pretty likely that you already have this stuff.
I mean, look, if you're the one person still waiting on a price drop to grab All Star Superman, then by all means, get over there, drop the twelve bucks and come back when you want to talk about how great that Jimmy Olsen issue is, but I suspect that if you're reading comics news online, then you probably already have Watchmen in one form or another. There is, however, one title, buried way at the end of the list, and if you don't have it already, it's one you need to pick up: 1994's Batman Adventures Holiday Special.
DC Collectibles has been on a tear as of late, and this year's Toy Fair offerings showed the company had no intentions of slowing down any time soon. From more Batman: The Animated Series figures (and vehicles!) and the all-new Icons series, to incredible prop replicas and a heaping helping of the dangerous Harley Quinn, DC Collectibles unleashed one of its strongest preview offerings in recent memory.
As a fan, I have a pretty complicated relationship with Paul Dini. On the one hand, he's one of the creators of what might be my single favorite thing in the entire world, Batman: The Animated Series, and he's written comics that I genuinely love. That run on Detective Comics, where the Riddler was a Private Eye, where he introduced new characters like the Carpenter? That thing's great. But at the same time, he wrote that story where Hush literally steals Catwoman's heart and holds it for ransom while keeping her alive with a giant heart machine that he built in his garage. I mean, I love "Harley's Holiday" more than most members of my own family, but I also paid good money for Madame Mirage and I'm never getting that back, you know? It's a complicated relationship.
As a result, I approached Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell, the new graphic novel he wrote with artwork by the always amazing Joe Quinones, with a certain amount of trepidation, because I wasn't really sure what I was going to get out of it.
Turns out, this much anticipated book might not be perfect, but it's definitely the kind of Paul Dini story I like and the kind I want to see more of.
Q: What do you think about Harley Quinn? --@Gavin4L
I'll be honest with you, Gavin: Harley Quinn is a tough character to write about. I've been struggling for a long time now trying to figure out how to get started, because there's so much there built around a single character that gets into a lot of tricky, complicated areas, from her almost accidental creation and often mystifying popularity to how much she's changed and been altered in a relatively short period of time, and how you can almost chart the changing aesthetic of the entire company just by looking at a single character. It's a lot to get through, even if you're someone who lived through every bit of it as a fan.
Really, I guess that's as good a starting point as any. What do I think? Well, I like the character a lot, but when you get right down to it, she's one of the most misunderstood and misused characters in all of superhero comics.
From 52 to Countdown to Trinity, there was a three year period in which weekly comics were a staple of DC Comics' publishing initiative. Now the publisher is returning to the format, as today DC Comics announced Batman:Eternal, a year long weekly series focusing on the Dark Knight and Gotham City. The title will feature a writing team led by current Batman scribe Scott Snyder, and its launch will coincide with the character's 75th anniversary.
In another universe, a CG animated movie written by Paul Dini and based on the classic anime Science Ninja Team Gatchaman was made by the same studio that made 2007's TMNT. In this universe, though, the studio, Imagi, had a financial meltdown and the project was scrapped.
There are still plenty of artifacts from that movie's production, though, including these four new videos featuring never-used animatics from scenes and some polished demo animation that show a glimpse of what that alternate-universe movie looks like. Check out all four after the jump.
A new volume of Batman: Black and White kicked off last week, continuing the DC Comics anthology's tradition of high quality. Debuting in 1996, the original Batman: Black and White series quickly set the comics world ablaze with a collection of short, powerful tales told by some of the industry's finest. Edited by Mark Chiarello, the four issues gathered sixteen original eight-page black and white stories from a who’s who of influential creators, including Archie Goodwin, Joe Kubert, Howard Chaykin, Brian Bolland, Bill Sienkiewicz, Neil Gaiman, and several more. It won the Eisner Awards for “Best Short Story” and “Best Anthology,” inspired a ton of great statues (one of which you can win), and two follow-up volumes in 2002 and 2007, mostly made up of backup stories from the Batman: Gotham Knights series.
In celebration of the new series, I read all three volumes of Batman: Black and White (I also did other stuff, I have a life), and after poring over all 600-plus pages, I can confidently say that these are the ten best stories from the original volumes, presented here in chronological order.
Promised for years but continually delayed, Black Canary/Zatanna will finally become a reality when it goes on sale in May of next year. Written by Paul Dini and drawn by Joe Quinones, the original graphic novel finds the fan-favorite DC Comics heroines in their more traditional looks and teaming up to bring down a new threat who puts both of their fantastic abilities to the test.
As you'd expect, the success of Marvel's film franchises has affected the entire company, across all media, from the Marvel NOW! publishing initiative to next month's Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. debut on ABC. Marvel has also stepped up its animation game, with the popular The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes leading to the launch of Marvel'sAvengers Assemble, which airs in the same block as Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man. Now, following the on the heels of those shows as well as the Avengers film -- which many consider to be the best ever portrayal of the Hulk outside of comics -- comes the company's latest animated series: Marvel's Hulk And The Agents Of S.M.A.S.H. Debuting this past weekend on Disney XD, the new show features Hulk alongside Red Hulk, She-Hulk, A-Bomb and Skaar. The goal of the series, according to Supervising Producer Cort Lane and writer and Creative Consultant Paul Dini, is to blend humor and heart to tell a story that touches several corners of the Marvel Universes but ultimately focuses on the relationships between these five incredibly powerful outcasts, and how they go about trying to find their places in the world while showing everyone that they're heroes.
But what else can we expect from the series? How do you come up with threats big enough for five Hulks? ComicsAlliance will be talking each week to various members of the team, who'll answer all these questions and more. This week, following the "Doorway To Destruction," the two part series debut, I spoke to Lane and Dini about character development, the impressive voice cast, the absence of Bruce Banner, and upcoming guest stars and additions to the team... including Devil Dinosaur.
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