April 01, 2015 | 6:00 a.m.
Long before Scarlet Witch, Batgirl or even Wonder Woman, women were shaping the comics business. “She Makes Comics,” a feature-length documentary that had its premiere at last month’s Long Beach Comic Expo, traces the enduring impact women have had on the industry. Chances are its deeper than many remember. While increasing diversity in pop culture, and comics in particular, is an of-the-moment issue — no less than three panels at this weekend’s WonderCon will explore the subject — women have been a guiding force in the modern comics industry since at least the early 20th century. “She Makes Comics” contains the footage to prove it. The film goes behind the scenes and features interviews with dozens of influential industry figures, ranging from comics pioneer Joyce Farmer, Comic-Con International organizer Jackie Estrada, comic book editor Janelle Asselin and founding editor of DC’s edgy imprint Vertigo Karen […]
March 31, 2015 | 1:29 p.m.
In Marvel’s original “House of M,” Wanda Maximoff helped usher in a seismic change in the universe with her “No more mutants” proclamation — a charge that essentially wiped out the powers of millions of mutants. But what if that never happened? What if the Magneto-led utopia that the Scarlet Witch had previously created had just continued? That is the premise of Marvel’s new “House of M.” This new worldview will shape the Monarchy of M territory and will be part of the ongoing Secret Wars’ Battleworld series. Dennis Hopeless, who’s current run on “Spider-Woman” is getting a lot of positive buzz after a brief cover controversy, is shaping this universe, with art from Kris Anka. Hero Complex is revealing the cover for issue No. 1, and we caught up with Hopeless to ask a bit about this new section of Battleworld and the family dynamics in […]
March 24, 2015 | 12:30 p.m.
Spider-Man may not be teaming with the Avengers on the big screen for some time, but Southern California fans can watch the webslinger side-by-side with Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Black Widow and even Wolverine and his fellow X-Men this week. The arena stunt show, “Marvel Universe Live,” which has been performed in various U.S. cities over the last year, opens in Anaheim on Thursday, before eventually making its way to Ontario and Inglewood. Bringing together more than 25 Marvel icons, the Feld Entertainment-produced show pits Spidey and other superheroes against some of the Marvel Universe’s most nefarious villains. The powerful cosmic cube — once shattered by Thor — has been reconstructed by Loki, who teams with baddies like Red Skull, Madame Hydra, Electro, Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, to use the cube to destroy the planet. To celebrate the show’s Anaheim kickoff, the first 250 attendees dressed in a […]
March 10, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.
Acclaimed cartoonist Gene Luen Yang is heading to DC Comics this June for his very first ongoing monthly comic book project, and he’s starting in a dream position. He’s taking over “Superman” from outgoing writer Geoff Johns, who thrust the book back into the spotlight when he took over last year with artist John Romita Jr., a staple of Marvel Comics making his first appearance on a regular DC title. Yang joins the team as part of a line-wide rehaul at DC Comics that includes 24 new titles and fresh creators on many of its established series, and his presence is a strong indicator of DC’s renewed focus on quality stories by bold minds in the industry. The writer and artist of such graphic novels as the Eisner Award-winning “American Born Chinese” and “Boxers & Saints,” Yang often explores culture […]
March 08, 2015 | 7:00 p.m.
BEIJING — Whether “Iron Man” or “The Dark Knight” or “Spider-Man,” comic-book films have been hot properties for producers. But with the rights to the Marvel and DC Comics character universes essentially locked up by major studios, smaller publishers are attracting increasing attention these days — even from as far away as China. On Monday, Beijing-based DMG Entertainment is expected to announce that it’s investing at least $10 million in New York-based comics publisher Valiant and putting forth at least $100 million of film financing capital to bring Valiant characters such as Harbinger, X-O Manowar, Shadowman and Dr. Mirage to TV screens and cinemas around the world. Valiant has less than 1% of the U.S. comic book market. (DC and Marvel account for more than 60% combined.) But Valiant’s huge ensemble of characters, who encompass a diversity of ethnic backgrounds, […]
March 03, 2015 | 8:00 a.m.
After nearly five years working under an exclusive contract at DC Comics, Jeff Lemire is a free agent again, and 2015 looks to be a landmark year for the prolific comic-book creator. In addition to new for-hire projects at Valiant (“The Valiant” and “Bloodshot: Reborn”) and Marvel (“All-New Hawkeye”), Lemire is working on four creator-owned titles: “Descender,” “Plutona” and “AD: After Death” at Image, and “The Black Hammer” at Dark Horse. Debuting Wednesday, “Descender” is the first of Lemire’s new creator-owned books to see release, a science fiction ongoing with artist Dustin Nguyen that follows a boy robot, TIM-21, as he makes his way across the galaxy on the run from anti-machine bounty hunters, armies and more. “I had wanted to do more science fiction,” Lemire said. “I had finished a book for Vertigo last year called ‘Trillium,’ which was […]
March 01, 2015 | 7:19 p.m.
Nilah Magruder, a storyboard and concept artist in Los Angeles, and her web comic “M.F.K.” won the first Dwayne McDuffie Diversity Award on Saturday during a celebratory panel at the Long Beach Comics Expo. “I feel like Jell-O,” Macgruder said. “I am completely overwhelmed and it’s really exciting. I never expected this because there are so many good nominees. It’s a complete honor.” The other nominated titles and creators are: “Hex11” by Lisa K. Weber and Kelly Sue Milano (HexComics), “Ms. Marvel” by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (Marvel), “The Shadow Hero” by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew (First Second Books) and “Shaft” by writer David F. Walker and artist Bilquis Evely (Dynamite). Magruder’s “M.F.K.” is about Abbie, who wants to get to the mountain range Potter’s Spine, scatter her mother’s ashes and then live out her life […]
Feb. 24, 2015 | 11:48 a.m.
An urban legend comes to life in “The Harvester,” Brandon Seifert’s new series for Legendary Comics. The title refers to a vengeful being who forces justice upon evildoers in violent fashion, then disappears. The myth is spoken of in countries around the world, with the creature having different names in different regions. No one knows who or what it is, or who or what is behind it, but a pair of curious investigators aim to find out. Seifert is no stranger to horror comics, having gained critical and sales success in 2011 with “Witch Doctor,” a horror title with a medical spin for Skybound Entertainment (under Image Comics). Hero Complex caught up with the writer to chat a bit about horror comics and the mysterious Harvester. Hero Complex: What was it that initially attracted you to horror comics? Brandon Seifert: […]
Feb. 23, 2015 | 12:22 p.m.
Trouble looms for Bruce Wayne thanks to a mysterious new adversary in “Batman: Arkham Knight,” DC’s next Digital First comic release. Written by Peter J. Tomasi (“Batman and Robin”) with art by Viktor Bogdanovic and Art Thibert (with colors by John Rauch), the new series arrives as a prequel to one of the summer’s most anticipated game releases, Rocksteady’s “Batman: Arkham Knight,” out June 2. (The spoiler-averse should proceed with caution.) Set after the events in depicted in 2011’s “Batman: Arkham City,” the story begins with the Joker dead and Arkham City now closed. Nursing old wounds, Bruce Wayne begins to question whether Gotham still needs Batman. Before long, though, a shadowy new villain emerges, summoning the weary hero back into vigilante justice mode. “Batman: Arkham Knight” kicks off with a three-part story, “Death of a Rival.” The first chapter […]
Feb. 18, 2015 | 12:00 p.m.
Finalists for the first Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity have been chosen, and the nominees range from independent to mainstream comic books. The five nominated titles and creators are as follows: “Hex11” by Lisa K. Weber and Kelly Sue Milano (HexComics), “M.F.K.” by Nilah Magruder (http://www.mfkcomic.com/), “Ms. Marvel” by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (Marvel), “The Shadow Hero” by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew (First Second Books) and “Shaft” by writer David F. Walker and artist Bilquis Evely (Dynamite). “Who gets to be the hero, and how readers get to see themselves reflected in the hero are complex matters that Dwayne thought about often. As editor in chief of Milestone Media’s original run of comics, he used terms like ‘multi-experiential’ to describe what we were doing,” said Matt Wayne, the director of the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity. […]