Blake Hennon

April 22, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

‘Justice League United’: Jeff Lemire readies ‘big, fun space adventures’

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The move to Canada and the debut of a Cree superheroine may not be the biggest changes for Jeff Lemire’s new Justice League team: The writer says he’s tired of “grim and gritty” and will be moving the heroes toward “big, fun space adventures.” “Justice League United” No. 0 arrives Wednesday from the Toronto-based Lemire and his U.S.-based British artist collaborator, Mike McKone, and begins assembling a team of DC characters that hail from the stars to the street: extraterrestrials Martian Manhunter, Supergirl and Hawkman, with earthlings Animal Man, Stargirl, Green Arrow, Adam and Alanna Strange — and the newly created Equinox, a teenage girl from Moose Factory, Canada. Developing the 16-year-old heroine, whose civilian name is Miiyahbin, has been a passion project within his DC work for Lemire, who has explored his native country in creator-owned projects including “Essex […]
April 21, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.

WonderCon: IDW inks Gabriel Rodriguez; Buscema’s Silver Surfer, more

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Acclaimed “Locke & Key” artist Gabriel Rodriguez is now exclusive to IDW, formalizing a long relationship that later this year will bear “Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland” with Eisner Award-winning writer Eric Shanower. The announcement came on IDW’s “Greatest Panel in the Known Universe” on Saturday at WonderCon in Anaheim, where the two discussed the previously announced miniseries alongside a slew of creators with announcements, including Brian Lynch and his wild, hell-on-wheels one-shot “Monster Motors.” And, in a panel later that day on the publisher’s highly regarded Artist’s Editions, editor Scott Dunbier, recently nominated for an Eisner Award for his work on the oversize archival books, announced that a volume of Walt Simonson’s “Manhunter” will arrive in September and one of John Buscema’s work on “Silver Surfer” will be coming in October. Simonson is also the subject of a 22-page Portfolio Edition of his 1970s […]
April 20, 2014 | 8:19 p.m.

WonderCon: Zack Whedon, Christos Gage on ‘Serenity,’ ‘Buffy’ comics

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Before the “Dark Horse: Whedonversity” panel got started, there was an impromptu singalong among fans in line. A man with a guitar and a female singer performed the theme song from “Firefly,” and then fellow Browncoats joined in the singing of “The Hero of Canton,” the mistaken celebration of the man they call Jayne. Fans’ fervor for the short-lived Joss Whedon sci-fi western series, its follow-up “Serenity” film and the “Avengers” director’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV show endures, and in the pages of official canonical further seasons in Dark Horse comics, the characters’ adventures continue. Zack Whedon, who is writing the six-issue “Serenity: Leaves on the Wind,” which is set nine months after the events of the 2005 film, that series’ artist Georges Jeanty and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10″ writer Christos Gage talked with the crowded room, […]
April 20, 2014 | 12:00 p.m.

WonderCon: Valiant First opens up; Robert Venditti on Armor Hunters

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After re-imagining a universe first seen in comics in the 1990s, the revived Valiant Entertainment is marking its third year by launching a series of books intended to give potential new readers a spot to jump on. The Valiant First books, detailed at the publisher’s Saturday panel at WonderCon, begin with April 30’s “Rai” No. 1, by writer Matt Kindt and artist Clayton Crain, which Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani said is set in 41st century Japan, a land ruled by an artificial-intelligence figured called Father, and will have the title character investigating the first murder in a thousand years. Armor Hunters, which “X-O Manowar” writer Robert Venditti described as a “Seal Team 6 of outer space” including “cuddly-looking death robot” Ginger, plays a major role in Valiant titles over the next several months. Their self-titled four-issue miniseries by Venditti […]
April 20, 2014 | 10:00 a.m.

WonderCon: Mark Waid on ‘Original Sin,’ more from Marvel panel

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Marvel’s next big comics event is “Original Sin,” and the concept — the Watcher has been murdered and familiar superheroes have terrible secrets — could give some pause. Eisner Award-winning “Daredevil” and “Hulk” writer Mark Waid would be one, if he wasn’t privy to the plans. The self-described “hard-core traditionalist” said his first instinct was to worry that the story line would make the heroes “look like jerks.” But that’s not the case, he told the All-New Marvel Now panel crowd Saturday at Wonder-Con in Anaheim. “I am proud of being part of a team of writers and artists and editors who didn’t take this opportunity to make the characters uglier, that ‘Original Sin’ is not about tarnishing the nobility of the Marvel characters, not about just screwing with and overriding stuff you already know just for the shock value,” […]
April 20, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.

WonderCon: Batman 75 celebration has Jim Lee, Bruce Timm, Kevin Smith

In 75 years of stories, Batman’s greatest obstacle has always been his humanity, Kevin Smith told an applauding capacity crowd in a Bat-cavernous space Saturday at WonderCon. “That’s the only thing that stops him,” the filmmaker said, “and you see the frustration as he’s portrayed throughout every medium…. It’s only when he hits the ceiling of his humanity that he can possibly be stopped. And, as we’ve seen, even then sometimes he overcomes it.” Smith, who hosts the “Fatman on Batman” podcast, was joined on the Batman 75 celebration panel by his “Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet” comic co-writer Ralph Garman, superstar artist and DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee (“Batman: Hush,” “All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder”), essential Caped Crusader animator Bruce Timm (“Batman: The Animated Series,” “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm”), longtime popular Bat-voice actor Kevin Conroy […]
April 18, 2014 | 6:00 p.m.

WonderCon: Francis Manapul talks Batman and Harvey Bullock

Cover art for "Detective Comics" No. 30, out now. (DC Entertainment)
Batman has long been able to count on help from Gotham Police Commissioner Jim Gordon. But the same can’t be said for the hero’s relationship with Det. Harvey Bullock. The gruff homicide investigation veteran is as much a lead character in current and upcoming issues of “Detective Comics” as the Dark Knight, the DC series’ new writer-artist, Francis Manapul, told the crowd at the Batman comics panel Friday at WonderCon. “The great thing about Harvey Bullock is he ain’t giving him nothing,” Manapul said. The two will be tracking the same killer but getting in each other’s way, and Batman will ask Bullock, “What’s more important — you wanting to win, or solving this crime?” he added. He and his co-writer, Brian Buccellato, debuted on the series with this month’s No. 30 after a well-regarded run on “The Flash.” On […]
April 18, 2014 | 1:27 p.m.

WonderCon: Sergio Aragones, Mark Evanier talk new Groo

"Groo Vs. Conan" No. 1 is slated for July 23. Cover art by Sergio Aragones and Thomas Yeates. (Dark Horse)
Now Groo’s makers do what Groo’s makers do best. Following up on the recent announcement from publisher Dark Horse that the long-gestating “Groo vs. Conan” four-part miniseries will debut July 23, the fantasy warrior parody character’s multiple-Eisner-Award-winning creative team, creator-writer-artist Sergio Aragones and co-writer Mark Evanier had more welcome news for their WonderCon panel crowd. “For more than a year, you’re going to have monthly Groo again,” Evanier said. Following the four-parter with Conan, a new 12-issue series, “Friends and Foes,” will catch up with past Groo cast members including Captain Ahax, Granny Groo (no word on whether her grandson is in for another spanking), the witches Arba and Dakarba, and the handsome warrior Arcadio. “Groo vs. Conan,” which Evanier billed as “11 years in the making,” brings Aragones’ comedic creation with a pronounced proboscis, feared as much for his […]
April 16, 2014 | 6:00 a.m.

‘Robin Rises’: Peter J. Tomasi on one-shot, ‘Batman and Robin’ 33

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Fans of the late Damian Wayne may be excited at the title “Robin Rises: Omega” and the restoration of a familiar sidekick name to “Batman and …,” but writer Peter J. Tomasi isn’t yet saying who the Robin in the July stories will be. The tough-to-tame Damian — who was Bruce Wayne’s son, the most recent Robin and maybe the most dangerous 10-year-old in the DC Universe — died in battle in the early 2013 release “Batman Inc.” No. 8. Since then, his father has been seen trying to figure out a way to revive him — and trying to recover his body from the boy’s villainous grandfather, Ra’s al Ghul, who’s stolen it and daughter Talia al Ghul’s — in the pages of”Batman and …,” which has featured a variety of team-ups (most recently Aquaman) since Damian’s demise. “Robin […]
April 15, 2014 | 6:04 p.m.

Eisner Awards: ‘Hawkeye,’ ‘The Wake,’ ‘Saga’ lead nominations field

"Hawkeye" writer Matt Fraction is nominated for a 2014 Eisner Award for his work on the series. (David Aja / Marvel)
Marvel’s “Hawkeye,” DC/Vertigo’s “The Wake” and Image’s “Saga” topped the roster of Eisner Award nominations, which honor outstanding work in the comics field. The nominations for the 2014 awards were announced Tuesday, marking the 26th year of the ceremony, long considered to be the Oscars for comics. Image Comics topped the list of publishers with 17 nominations plus three shared; Fantagraphics received 18 noms. “Hawkeye” and its creative team received five nominations for writer Matt Fraction, continuing series, single issue, cover artist (David Aja) and colorist (Matt Hollingsworth). Fraction was nominated for best writer for several series, including “Sex Criminals,” which was hailed by Time as “comic series of the year.” Fraction will square off in the category against Kelly Sue DeConnick, who was nominated for her work on two series — Image’s “Pretty Deadly,” which earned several nominations and Marvel’s “Captain […]
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