Tag: greg rucka

ECCC 09: DC Nation

On Saturday afternoon the DC Nation panel hit Seattle with its usual mix of irreverence and information. The DC Nation panels are also very fun and if you’ve never attended one, I highly recommend you do. You will be entertained. The panel was moderated by DC’s Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler, as Executive Editor Dan DiDio was previous not scheduled to be at the con (more on that in a moment). Sattler started things off by mentioning the recent launch of DC Comics’ new blog, The Source. Then he introduced the panel participants and they and he highlighted what each is currently working on.

First up was Greg Rucka, who cited the art by JH Williams on their upcoming Detective Comics as the best aspect of the book. Rucka said that even if you hate him and hate the idea of Batwoman headlining the book, you need to pick it up for the art alone. Although he did say he feels it’s the best thing he’s been involved in through the whole of his career. Rucka then teased the next issue of Action Comics (#876) as twenty-two pages of Ursa doing really bad things to people. Finally, he mentioned the book he co-writes with James Robinson, World of New Krypton as featuring members of the Green Lantern Corps. visiting New Krypton in issue four.

Next, Jimmy Palmiotti hyped Jonah Hex‘s upcoming six-part storyline with Hex going up against his first nemesis, Quentin Turnbull. Before that Paul Gulacy will be illustrating an issue. Palmiotti is also writing the upcoming series Power Girl, which is illustrated by his long-time girlfriend and veteran artist, Amanda Conner. Palmiotti describes the book as perfect for Conner’s style and as a big super-hero comic. The pair will also be contributing a Supergirl story to this summer’s Wednesday’s Comics and he revealed that it will also feature some super-pets with a superdog and supercat specifically mentioned.

Gail Simone talked about how sick and twisted her Secret Six series is and also praised her art team, Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood. She showed off a tease for the upcoming issue #8 and the “tiny sixers.” The title will tie in with Battle For the Cowl as Catman and Bane vie against each other for the Batman identity. Mention was made of Simone writing Wonder Woman, but that was it as far as that book.

Philip Tan was introduced and there was guarded talk of his upcoming stint doing the art for the “Agent Orange” storyline in Green Lantern beginning with issue #39.

Kurt Busiek proudly announced that they were still on target to deliver the rest of Trinity on schedule and that the entire fifty-two issue weekly series has and will be done by the same creative team with no fill-ins or breaks. The remaining issues of the title were teased by Busiek claiming he blows up the world in issue #49 and lamenting that pages keep getting added to the final issue by the higher-ups.

Eric Trautman was the last creator to talk about his upcoming project. JSA vs. Kobra, with art by Don Kramer and covers by Gene Ha, features Mr. Terrific, lots of action and some pretty twisted story points.

Things were then turned over to the audience for questions. The first fan wondered, since DC has books printed in a variety of different countries, when they would have their books printed in the US. He was jokingly told to stop reading the indicia before Sattler said that was beyond the control of those on the panel.

The next few questions were about New Krypton. Essentially, the Guardians on Oa send Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Sodam Yat to New Krypton to see what the Kryptonians’ intentions are. Once there, they are confronted by General Zod. It was revealed that Superman will be back on Earth in August. One fan persisted in wanting to know if Superman would have a new love interest at his new home with Rucka repeating that “he’s Superman and he’s married.” So, no, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be pursued. Rucka also emphatically stated no when asked if any Kryptonians would wield a power ring, with Busiek quipping there went his idea for “Hal-El.”

A fan of Final Crisis, who found the mini-series a fun challenge to read, asked about the new co-features and how they would be judged. Sattler replied that each co-feature would be looked at on a case by case basis.

The topic changed to Green Lantern for the next couple of questions. When asked when we’ll see the Indigo Lanterns, Sattler replied at some point and some when, perhaps June or July. On the topic of a Green Lantern weekly comic, Sattler cryptically said we should wait and see how things are following Blackest Night.

A few random questions followed, starting with a query as to the whereabouts of the characters Misfit and Black Alice. The answer was “some place.” No comment was the answer to a question as to the whereabouts of Bruce Wayne’s body. The next person asked when the second half of “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” would be released and, after some boos from the audience and groans from the panel, Palmiotti quipped that you could see it at the end of the leaked Wolverine workprint.

The question of Firestorm being in a co-feature was brought up with Sattler saying that any character could be in a co-feature, but they would have to see what shape Firestorm was in after this summer before he was considered.

Ambush Bug: Year None #6 will be out soon and, as far as other humor titles coming out from DC, it all depends on what the individual reader finds funny.

The next person up at the mic was none other than Dan DiDio (See? Told you we’d get back to him), whose attendance at the con was a poorly kept secret. He first jokingly asked why Sattler told him the wrong time for the panel. Then, he mentioned that at last year’s Emerald City ComiCon the DC creators had a dinner where they had a lengthy conversation concerning Aquaman (as he mentioned to me in our interview at the same con) and demanded to know what the plans were for the character. Sattler answered that, as teased at The Source, Aquaman would be a Black Lantern in Blackest Night, but wouldn’t reveal details past that other than to say that there were plans of some sort. Concerning that mini-series, DiDio wanted some spoilers for it. After some badgering from his boss, Sattler finally confirmed four of the Black Lanterns (Earth-2 Superman, Aquaman, Ronnie Raymond and Martian Manhunter) and some upcoming tie-in mini-series. August sees the debut of Blackest Night: Superman, Blackest Night: Batman and Blackest Night: Titans, each three issues. Those are followed in October by Blackest Night: JSA, Blackest Night: Wonder Woman and Blackest Night: Flash, all also three issues. DiDio was then shooed away from the mic and went to the back of the room.

A recent controversy was touched upon when the next person asked why Superman was not given to Mark Waid. Rucka stepped in and said that, though Waid was a friend of his, the bottom line was that Waid was offered the book, but that he chose not to take the job. The questioner revealed that Waid himself requested the question be asked. That revelation made for an uncomfortable few minutes.

Returning to the lead-up to Blackest Night the next fan wondered if Hal Jordan would eventually acquire one ring from each of the Corps. Sattler answered “yes, probably next month”, but not very convincingly.

The audience was told to watch the Superman universe of books for further developments concerning the Legion of Super-Heroes with a strong indication that there would be a Superboy book in the future.

Characters will be considered on a case by case basis for co-features in regard to whether they lent themselves to a compelling story.

The final question was if we would see the ’90s character Triumph in Blackest Night with the answer, after clarifying the question wasn’t about Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, being “who?”

Review: Batman: Gotham Knight DVD

Throughout his almost 70 years in print and licensing, Batman has survived a 60’s-camp television show, Prince dance numbers and yeah, even the whole nipple-costume thing. He’s an icon that continues to hold up over time.  The recently-released Batman: Gotham Knight DVD/Blu-Ray is not only an example of the icon’s lasting appeal, but also a great example of how well he translates through the visual lens of other cultures. There has already been a Batman manga, so this anime seems like a no-brainer (which is made only more cooler because I now I get to to refer to the Batman anime as a Batmanime).

Gotham Knight is made up of six stories, all loosely connected, that take place in the Batman Begins universe. Each story is told in differing styles of anime, similar the Animatrix.  On the surface, the Batmanime may seem like a superficial exercise. Even though each segment is directed by Japanese animators, the stories are written by some pretty notable American comic-types like Greg Rucka, David Goyer and Brian Azzarello, as well as (non-Japanese) writers Josh Dixon, Alan Burnett and Jordan Goldberg.  But for the most part, the six segments manage to keep the core of the character, while giving the Bat-verse a new look and some anime-inspired misadventures.

The first segment, “Have I Got A Story For You”, is a rehash of sorts of the “Legends of the Dark Knight” episode from the Batman: The Animated Series that saw three kids telling street-level stories of meeting wildly different interpretations of Batman, including Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns.  It’s easily the most fun segment, as well as the most visually distinct. The director is Shoujirou Nishimi, who was an animation director on Tekkon Kinkreet. He uses the same style as the Tekkon Kinkreet here, as skater-kids explain their encounters with differing versions of Batman, including a shadow-lurking vampire and a robot Batman.

As fun as it is, luckily the rest of stories mostly get past the concept of “Look, it’s Batman, but he looks different!” Even when they don’t, it’s still cool to see anime-inspired Deadshot, Killer Croc and Crispus Allen’s several appearances.  One of the best fusions of the Bat-verse and anime conventions is “The Field Test,” which sees Bruce Wayne getting hooked up with some sweet tech that should logically make his Batman-life much easier, but puts the ethics of his one-man war to the test.

The strongest of the vignettes is “Through the Pain.” Written by 100 Bullets’ Brain Azzarello, a gunshot-Batman flashbacks to his early looking globe-trotting days, looking for enlightenment—or at least a way to never be bothered with pain.  It’s a classic conflicted-Batman tale that lives up to the premise of the Gotham Knight, by mixing the East and the West. Even if the East in the case is India, it’s still a great twist that sends our hero into a new setting, while still presenting the tragic hero we’ve seen in the funny pages.

The weakest segment of the bunch is unfortunately “Crossfire”, written by Greg Rucka, which more or less condenses a Gotham Central plot down to 10 minutes, and has the two protagonists accidentally drive literally into the middle of a massive gang shootout. It still works as atmosphere piece, with lots of foreboding shadows. And it also has a really creepy spin on Arkham Asylum.

For a running time clocking in at 70-plus minutes, you’re not likely to be disappointed. Also, according to the sticker on the case, it’s the first PG-13 Batman cartoon, which means a decapitation, some dude being shot in the head, and abdomen-blood spillage… just in case you’re really into gun shot wounds. Gotham Knight also serves as a nice warm-up to the upcoming feature film The Dark Knight. After this, the Final Frontier DVD and after a preview for the next Wonder Woman animated movie, DC seems to have a solid focus on the direct-to-DVD market.