July 25, 2014 | 8:30 a.m.
Batman’s Gotham City is a dark place, and Bill Finger’s place in that mythos has long been in the shadows. But in the character’s 75th anniversary year – also the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth – the spotlight has found Finger. Among those helping to bring attention to the long-uncredited Bat-scribe: Denny O’Neil. After decades on Batman titles, from the 1970s and from the mid-1980s to the new millennium as an editor, O’Neil told a Comic-Con International panel crowd Thursday morning he was left with one regret: “I wish I’d tried harder to get him credit,” though he added that he understands “legalities” made that unlikely. O’Neil actually met Finger – who received a cover mention on DC’s Batman Day giveaway edition of “Detective Comics” No. 27 and is credited by proponents with largely creating the Dark Knight and […]
July 25, 2014 | 8:24 a.m.
His name may be mostly associated with fantasy these days, thanks to HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” but George R.R. Martin and comic books go way back. Way, way back. “I’m actually the first comic book fan,” Martin told the crowd at a Comic-Con panel dedicated to his comic book work on Thursday. As a young comic fan in 1964, Martin attended the first comic book convention ever held in New York City, attended by what he remembers as 30 people. He met Flo Steinberg and Steve Ditko there, but more importantly, he said, he was first in line and received a badge designated “#1.” “All of you are my children,” the author told the crowd. “God help me.” While the discussion never strayed into the current status of “The Winds of Winter,” the highly anticipated sixth book in the “Song […]
July 25, 2014 | 7:30 a.m.
If anyone was wondering what has made Batman so meaningful to fans over the last 75 years, these were the people to ask. The Dark Knight comic book stories that Frank Miller, Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, Grant Morrison, Jim Lee, Scott Snyder and Geoff Johns have variously told since the 1970s are among the most influential and bestselling to ever come out of Gotham City. So what is it? The panelists at “Batman 75: Legends of the Dark Knight” on Thursday afternoon at Comic-Con International in San Diego said it was a combination of Batman being terrifying to criminals and inspiring to law-abiding citizens, of Bruce Wayne turning the pain from a childhood trauma into a life of service. “Batman is basically a satanic figure who is on our side,” said Morrison, whose seven-year run of titles featuring the character […]
July 24, 2014 | 1:24 p.m.
Ever wonder what Clive Barker’s legendary horror series “Books of Blood” might sound like? As announced earlier this year, the celebrated collection of stories that established Barker as one of the masters of horror will be getting a release on the Madefire Motion Books platform, the interactive digital comic book company that incorporates music, sound effects and panoramic views into the reading experience. Now, Madefire has announced that composer Cris Velasco will be creating the soundtrack for the digital version of the stories. The “Books of Blood” series, originally published as six separate books in the mid-’80s, inspired Stephen King to tout Barker as the “future of horror,” and launched the author’s and filmmaker’s illustrious career. FULL COVERAGE: Comic-Con 2014 Best known for scoring video games such as “Darksiders,” “God of War” and “Mass Effect,” Velasco is no stranger to […]
July 23, 2014 | 7:24 p.m.
New highs, warthog wizards and a robot boy on the run figure into upcoming Image Comics titles from acclaimed writers Warren Ellis, Kurt Busiek and Jeff Lemire, respectively. Those projects and more in an increasingly sci-fi-heavy lineup were revealed Wednesday afternoon during Image Expo at the Hilton Bayfront San Diego before Comic-Con International’s preview night – part of a trend of comics publishers making announcements before the din of Comic-Con reaches full volume. FULL COVERAGE: Comic-Con 2014 But where Marvel and Archie Comics announced changes to longstanding franchises and characters, Image pointedly rolled out all-new, creator-owned titles. Iconoclastic Image Publisher Eric Stephenson, mentioning the changes to Thor, Captain America, Archie and more without naming the characters, said, “It’s hard to believe that as far as comics have come since the turn of the century … this is still what passes […]
July 23, 2014 | 4:54 p.m.
If you’re planning to spend any time in downtown San Diego this weekend, keep an eye out for Homer Simpson’s head. That iconic bald pate is expected to take up a noticeable portion of the city’s shoreline in a clever bit of promotion for “The Simpsons,” one of thousands of movies, TV shows, comic books and video game titles vying for attention at the annual pop culture expo that kicks off Thursday. FULL COVERAGE: Comic-Con 2014 Comic-Con International long ago evolved from its modest origins — it began as an intimate gathering in the basement of San Diego’s U.S. Grant Hotel in 1970 — into an important marketing platform for Hollywood, an opportunity for studios and networks to bring an increasingly broad range of movies and series directly to an enthusiastic audience of roughly 130,000 fans amid a frenzied, carnival-like […]
July 23, 2014 | 3:00 p.m.
If that “Rumble” in the distance sounds strange, it’s because John Arcudi and James Harren are behind it. The creative team, which has impressed with a sly, bloody blend of horror, humor and action in Hellboy-related titles at Dark Horse, is launching its first creator-owned series at Image Comics in December – one that writer Arcudi says is set in a “fantastic and grotesque world” full of “big fighting behemoths, or living berserker scarecrows, or borderline psychotic skinheads” — and humans too. What to make of it? Image bills the series as “a scarecrow-Conan fighting in a Louis C.K. TV show directed by David Fincher.” Asked to explain that never-before-uttered chain of concepts, Arcudi told Hero Complex in an email interview that he and Harren want “to keep the mix of humor and terror and action as natural as possible, […]
July 23, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.
Lots of kids love comic books. But Scott Dunbier’s passion went beyond the four-color fantasies on the spinner rack — to their artists’ original black-and-white pages. As a teenager living in Woodland Hills, he tracked down Jack Kirby’s phone number and called the co-creator of Captain America and the X-Men to ask for some original artwork, as he had with other artists he admired. But Kirby went further than mailing back a sketch, suggesting that Dunbier’s mother drive him to the artist’s Thousand Oaks home for a weekend lunch — mentioning that he should bring some comics to have signed. “I brought like 50 comics,” Dunbier says with a laugh. “I didn’t know that was kind of not good etiquette. He signed every single comic. He answered all my questions.” More than three decades later, Dunbier has crafted a unique […]
July 23, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.
After 75 years, it’s hard for any story to add a new twist. But today, as part of the Batman Day festivities, something will appear on a Caped Crusader comic book cover that never has before. The name Bill Finger. While the casual fan might be asking “who?,” most Batman devotees know Bill Finger as the writer on the earliest Batman stories and a consistent contributor to tales of the Dark Knight during the character’s evolutionary years. But according to author Marc Tyler Nobleman, who chronicled Bill Finger’s life in 2012’s “Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman,” an illustrated story which Nobleman calls “an all-ages book,” Finger was much more than that. Nobleman, along with a swelling collection of comic insiders and fans, posit that Finger should share creator status with Bob Kane, Batman’s long-acknowledged and credited creator, […]
July 22, 2014 | 4:16 p.m.
Fifteen years ago in San Diego, IDW wasn’t publishing comics and Comic-Con drew about 45,000 people. How times have changed. The company that Ted Adams co-founded in 1999 with three fellow comic industry veterans has evolved into one of the top four comic book publishers, competing with 22-year-old indie innovator Image Comics for No. 3, albeit well behind superhero stalwarts Marvel and DC, both at least five times its age. Last year, IDW sold more than 1 million graphic novels. And the pop-culture phenom of a convention it shares a city with? A long-ago sold-out crowd of 130,000 is expected this week. IDW – publisher of original horror hits “30 Days of Night” and “Locke & Key,” and comics home to brands as realities-apart as “The X-Files” and “My Little Pony” – is celebrating 15 years of slow-and-steady but risk-taking […]