Tag: DC

Look! Up in the Sky!

In case you missed the announcement, I’ve written a three-part story for DC’s “Adventures of Superman” digital series that will appear early next year. The storyline, “Only Child,” is being drawn by Evan “Doc” Shaner, an artist I was keen to work with, and a perfect fit for the story.

“Only Child” will appear in 10-page segments, available digitally on Feb. 17, Feb. 24 and March 3 for 99 cents each. I can’t reveal much about the story until DC is ready, but it examines Superman’s role as the last son of Krypton. I have huge respect and admiration for the Man of Steel, so I had a great time writing the story.

There’s more information on the next batch of “Adventures of Superman” stories available here:
http://www.dccomics.com/blog/2013/12/16/new-schedule-and-creator-line-up-for-%E2%80%98adventures-of-superman%E2%80%99-announced

Up, Up and Away!

Ron


In Stores This Week

Two new issues on the stands for me this week, as both Artifacts #12 and Voodoo #4 reach stores.

Artifacts #12, the last issue in artist Jeremy Haun’s tenure on the series, brings the storyline to a head in a big way. To say much more than that would spoil the fun. The origin backup features the Thirteenth Artifact, with art by Michael Broussard. There’s a nine-page preview of the issue here:

http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=10908

Artifacts #13 will be in stores next Wednesday, Jan. 4, so you won’t have to wait long to see how the storyline winds up … and how the stage is set for the ongoing Artifacts series.

Voodoo #4 is also out this Wednesday. It’s my last issue on the title, for reasons that, unfortunately, are still unclear to me, beyond DC wanting a “different direction” for the book. I absolutely loved working with my art team of Sami Basri and Jessica Kholinne, and hope to work with them again soon. I’d also like to thank my immediate editors on the book. I had three editors over the course of four issues, but all of them were a pleasure to deal with: Brian Cunningham, Rex Ogle and Bobbie Chase, ably assisted by Darren Shan and Katie Kubert. Best of luck to everyone from issue #5 onward.

You can see a preview of Voodoo #4 here:

http://www.comicvine.com/news/exclusive-preview-voodoo-4/144026/

Cheers,

Ron


In Stores This Week

I’m going to endeavor to be a lot more regular about posting upcoming releases. Today, two books: the DC Retroactive Green Lantern 1990s issue, and the DC Comics Presents JLA: Heaven’s Ladder reprint.

I had a meeting with a DC exec this past weekend at the Baltimore Comic Con. One of the topics of conversation was what it was like writing Kyle again. The best comparison I could come up with was slipping into a comfortable, familiar sweatshirt again. It was pretty easy to slip back into the rhythms of writing Kyle in that era, especially since I was reuniting with my friends and artistic collaborators of Darryl Banks on pencils and Terry Austin on inks. The Retro GL issue includes a reprint of Green Lantern #78, which was one of my favorite issues of the run.

Heaven’s Ladder is a reprint as well, presenting the Treasury Edition-size story that began the Mark Waid and Bryan Hitch JLA run (featuring Kyle). My part of the book is a reprint of Green Lantern #1,000,000 issue, also drawn by Bryan Hitch. Crossover or tie-in chapters are not usually high on my list of favorites, but I’m fond of the way this way turned out, almost completely due to Bryan’s art.

Cheers,

Ron


What might have been

Marvel vs. DC

I don’t think I’m really telling stories out of school here, since the project was well over a decade ago. Last week I mentioned on my Twitter stream how much affection I have for the work of artist Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, one of the true masters of the medium. I also mentioned that Jose was actually offered the DC half of the art duties of Marvel vs. DC (or, depending on your point of view, DC vs. Marvel), the crossover project that I co-wrote with Peter David back in the mid-’90s. According to the account I heard, Jose turned down the project because he wasn’t terribly interested in drawing a big superhero slugfest.

Batman vs. HulkIt was a disappointment, of course, because no other artist more symbolizes DC (at least in my mind) than Jose. In addition to his long list of credits in the DC Universe, Jose has done a wealth of art that’s been used as the basis for DC merchandising, including the Superman fleece blanket in my office, and a number of statues on my shelves. Jose is the “DC guy” to a lot of people, even if they don’t realize it’s his art. As far as I know, Joe has never drawn Marvel characters beyond his Batman vs. Hulk crossover in the ’70s.

So with Jose out, the job was offered to Dan Jurgens, another artist who has a rep as a “DC guy” even though he’s done a chunk of work for Marvel as well. Dan is also one of my closer friends in comics, and serves as the commissioner of a fantasy football league I play in. Dan accepted, and we were off and running.

Punisher vs. BatmanWell, halfway, at least, since Marvel had not confirmed its own art team. The first choice for the gig was John Romita Jr., who symbolized Marvel in much the same way that Jose was emblematic of DC. And, like Jose, John Jr. had never drawn DC’s characters outside of the Punisher/Batman crossover. But John turned down the job. So too did Andy Kubert and Adam Kubert. I’m not sure who else, if anyone, was asked. But it seemed curious that Marvel’s editor on the project, Mark Gruenwald, could not get a Marvel artist to commit to what was going to be a high-profile, high-selling project. I eventually heard that other factions within Marvel editorial were not as enthused at the prospect of a DC crossover, and actively discouraged Marvel’s top-drawer art talent from participating (the idea being that it was more beneficial for Marvel to have the likes of John Jr. or Andy or Adam drawing Marvel books, not spending time on a crossover). Now, bear in mind that’s something I was told by someone involved, but not something I can confirm with any direct evidence.

The choice eventually passed to Italian artist Claudio Castellini, with whom I had worked on a Silver Surfer special titled Dangerous Artifacts, which is still one of the most gorgeous art jobs I’ve ever been associated with. A brief aside here, if you’ll indulge me: Dangerous Artifacts was originally intended to be produced as a lavish hardcover, with both black-and-white and color versions available. But that never happened, which is a story I’ll tell in a future post.

Marvel vs. DCIn any event, despite producing gorgeous work, Claudio probably wasn’t an ideal choice in terms of commercial appeal, because he wasn’t much of a known commodity. Claudio also wasn’t a speed demon, due to his meticulous style of working. But he accepted the job, and did fine work on the project. In retrospect, his Buscema-influenced style really does have a Marvel flavor.

When Marvel vs. DC began, it was secret enough that a great many people at either company didn’t even know it existed. Our initial meeting was in Mark Gruenwald’s uptown apartment, so that loose lips in the offices wouldn’t leak the project. The initial idea on the table, which I wasn’t overly enthused about, was that Peter and I would alternate writing eight-page sequences throughout the four-issue story. I felt like Peter and I are different enough writers that alternating sequences would be an exercise in pulling in different directions. But I was willing to be a good soldier and give it a try. Marvel vs. DC

I wrote the opening eight pages, Peter then wrote the next eight, I wrote the following eight, and so on, until we completed issue #1. The result was … less than ideal. To my eye, the story varied pretty wildly in tone, and it wasn’t an issue I was particularly happy with. When the script was turned in to DC’s Mike Carlin, who was supervising issue #1, the reception was less than enthusiastic as well. It was quickly decided – like, in a few hours – to scrap the script entirely, and have the writers alternate entire issues rather than sequences.

Marvel vs. DC was ultimately a great deal of fun to work on. It was a popcorn-type project, with superhero slugfests and fan-service moments. I mean, when fan votes dictate the outcomes of fights within the story, you know the job is to write a crowd-pleaser, not a work of great literature. If I have one regret, it’s that we didn’t have twice the number of pages to tell our story.

But I still wonder what it might have looked like had, say, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and John Romita Jr. signed on for the art.

Cheers,

Ron


“Uncle Terry”

As promised, here are Terry Austin’s inks over Matthew Dow Smith’s pencils for the Albany Comic Con Magdalena #1 variant cover. (Click on the images for hi-res versions)

Matt’s pencils Terry’s inks

First time Terry has ever inked Matt. Not much for me to say about the piece; you can compare the pencils to the inks yourself and see how Terry approached it. Terry’s a pen inker, as opposed to using a brush, a tool he’s never been comfortable with, according to what he’s told me. You can also see where he utilized a razor-blade skip technique toward the base of the background buildings, actually gouging the paper to lend texture to the piece. If I’m remembering the story correctly, Terry learned the razor-blade skip from classic inker Jack Abel up in the Marvel bullpen. I met Jack during his later days, when he worked as a proofreader up at Marvel. Incredibly kind man.

Maybe that’s an inker trait, because Terry is very literally, the kindest, most gentle soul I know. He’s “Uncle Terry” to my kids, and one of my best friends in the world. All of which is, of course, in addition to being a legendary inker, one of the best to ever work in the business. His pairings with John Byrne on Uncanny X-Men and the late, great Marshall Rogers on Detective Comics are invariably mentioned among the tops runs in comics history. I’d also add his work with Paul Smith on Doctor Strange, and Rick Leonardi on Cloak & Dagger to that list. A couple of single issues that Terry inked are also among my all-time favorites: the X-Men/Teen Titans crossover (with Walter Simonson) and Daredevil #191 (with Frank Miller).

I’ve been fortunate enough to have Terry’s inks grace a number of stories I’ve written, including a good chunk of my Green Lantern run (over both Darryl Banks and Paul Pelletier), the Green Lantern/Silver Surfer crossover, and the Darth Maul vs. Darth Vader story that appeared in Star Wars Tales (over Rick Leonardi again).

As I said in an earlier post, one of the best things about working in comics is you get to work with your friends. In the case of this cover, I got to work with two of them. Thanks, guys.

Later this week, I’ll be able to show off the colors for the cover. If all goes as planned, maybe even a few different versions.

Cheers,

Ron


Speed Reading

Velocity 1 CoverI’m working on the script for the Velocity four-issue series that will debut in May from Top Cow. It’s been a while since I’ve written a straight-up superhero story, which was what I wrote almost exclusively for the first decade of my career. In the years since, I’ve been able to explore a wider variety of genres, and I’m a big proponent of the comics industry offering a great deal more than capes and tights. But I still love a well-told superhero tale, just like everybody else. And that’s what Velocity is intended to be: a classic superhero adventure. No post-modern irony, no dark underbelly, just a straight-up story about a cute redhead who runs really fast.

Velocity 1 CoverOne of my favorite monthly reads was Mark Waid’s Flash. It was great superhero comics. To be honest, Mark’s take on Wally West’s adventures influenced how I approached Green Lantern when DC handed me the reins and asked me to create a new GL. There was a lot to like. Wally was a “legacy” hero, living in the shadow of his predecessor, trying to be worthy of inheriting the mantle. The first-person narration allowed the audience to identify with the hero, to relate to the man under the mask. There was an accessibility that wasn’t quite as present in most of DC’s Silver Age heroes.

Velocity 1 Cover Now, to be fair, there’s more Peter Parker than Wally West in Kyle Rayner’s pedigree. But I always liked the Wally-Kyle relationship, the next generation of the Barry Allen-Hal Jordan friendship. I liked that Wally wasn’t even very fond of Kyle, feeling that Kyle had won the lottery to take his heroic role, while Wally had earned his. I liked writing them together, which is where the Green Lantern-Flash: Faster Friends project came from. Where would “Lost” be without that issue, right?

Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, Mark and his artists – chief among them the great Mike Wieringo – set the standard for how to do a speedster in comics. Which brings us back to Velocity, winner of Top Cow’s first Pilot Season contest and therefore due a mini-series.The original creative team was excused from the project; we’ll say “creative differences” and leave it at that, since I don’t think it’s cool to air somebody else’s business in public.Velocity 1 Cover

So the project went on a backburner for a while, until last year when Top Cow Publisher Guy Filip Sablik asked me if I’d like to take on the series. He didn’t have to ask twice. Schedules matched up and artistic genius Kenneth Rocafort became available to draw the book. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Except a story idea.

Next time, a little more on Velocity, including how an aspect of the storyline dates back to a long-ago pitch by me and artist Cully Hamner for another character entirely.

Cheers,

Ron


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