For a fifth week of the month this sure was a full week, with two incredibly well received Batman books coming out, namely Batman Annual #2 and Batman: Creature of the Night #1. Along with those, the new DC logos were revealed and the Batman: Ninja trailer came out. Have you guys seen it? My current mood can only be defined by intrigued, me being a very casual anime watcher. The aesthetic is something else though. More on Jason Todd wearing a red basket on his head on the Red Hood section. Also, lest we forget, we got the first official image of Brenton Thwaites as Robin – and one unofficial as well. I am whelmed.
I hope you fellow bats enjoy this article series because yours truly, the tropical bat, will be absent next week. I’ll be flying all the way to São Paulo to attend Comic Con Experience, CCXP for short. This means no Batcave for us to hang around until I manage to fly my way back home, hopefully bringing some juicy fruits from my journey. And probably a nasty cold, São Paulo has this inexplicable power over my nose. If you’re going, give us a shout-out!
Tom King, Mikel Janin, Clay Mann, Joelle Jones, Lee Weeks
Talking about my nose being sensitive, those are not tears, I just sneezed too hard. I’m allergic to cats, and that kitty by the end of the Annual made my nostrils go to hell and back. I don’t seem to be the only one affected, as Batman Annual #2 went to second printing even before it officially came out. Right in the feels, you guys, right in the feels.
If my mere-reader opinion is not enough then you can believe MITCH GERADS, who is currently working with Tom King on Mister Miracle (highly recommended reading, by the way). His words were “Look, I knew the Batman Annual #2 was going to be an artistic tour de force, but I wasn’t prepared for it to be my legitimate favorite comic ever. It was beautiful in every way. Just Wow.”
Our 5/5 review of the book is up, by the one and only Matthew Mahar, our official Batman reviewer. If you haven’t read the issue and wouldn’t like to get spoilers, you can go straight to the Analysis section.
As for what is to come, Batman #36 is coming out this week, and, according to TOM KING, the following will be one of “the craziest Batman issue I have tried (37). I have no idea if any of these strange words work. But at least the @Clay_Mann_ art is rather perfect.” Can’t wait to see how crazy your crazy is, Mr. King.
BATMAN: CREATURE OF THE NIGHT
Kurt Busiek, John Paul Leon, Todd Klein
Another book that got an incredible response last week was Batman: Creature of the Night #1. They are both currently on the Highest Rated Current Issues list of Comic Book Roundup, sharing the first positions with The Wicked + The Divine #33 and Mister Miracle #4 (yup, Tom King appears twice in the top 4). JOHN PAUL LEON came forward to thank people for the positive reception. “After so many years in the works, it’s been very gratifying to hear that so many of you are enjoying it.” Our 5/5 review (another perfect score, this has been one of those weeks) is also up, by one Jessica Nilo Alves. I wonder who that is?
And, if you’d like to know how the mind of such a top writer as BUSIEK works, he led an incredible discussion on Twitter about how little things such as musical taste and wardrobe choices matter for building up a character. The whole thing started with him misidentifying Bruce in a panel, “because I assumed Bruce wouldn’t wear an ill-fitting suit.” He went on saying that usually comic artists are not required to know how to draw ordinary clothing, but that clothes are an important part of characterization. This led to a whole discussion about the musical taste of multiple characters, with Busiek defending that one of the problems with modern Batman is that he is portrayed as not having time for music. “He’s presented as so focused that he doesn’t care about anything, but at the same time he knows everything and can identify music if it’s a clue.” In his opinion, “Bruce knows music and has favorites — probably classical, but also pop music that leans toward angry, like the Stones.”
From there the topic went from Superhero to Superhero, including Superman, Wonder Woman, Barry Allen, Oliver Queen and Hal Jordan, until it got to Dick Grayson. People mentioned jazz because of the level of improvisation, to what Busiek sais that it sounded like “an intellectualizing of who Nightwing is now. As a character, he grew up on the road, with a traveling circus. After that he became the ward of a rich guy. What would he be exposed to?” Circus Calliopes were also brought up, but for Busiek “Calliopes would certainly have sentimental meaning for him. But I bet most circus workers don’t listen to circus music for relaxation and fun.”
Being one of the Nightwing nerds of the staff, I feel obliged to give my own two cents. I believe, being a people-person and the ward of a rich “playboy”, Dick would be into whatever happens to be on the top hits. He would also like upbeat music to which he can dance since he cannot seem to keep still for two seconds. I believe he would also have acquired some of Bruce’s tastes, music they would listen to while riding in the Batmobile or while training. Later in life, those would be the songs he would listen to when needing to focus, since one of the things that drive him is his loyalty to Bruce and Batman. Calliopes are for when he is missing his family, I’d say.
Any of you out there feeling like sharing your own thoughts on any Bat character, feel free to leave your comments! It is always interesting to get to know how different people see those characters differently.
BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT
Sean Gordon Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth, Todd Klein
Batman: White Knight #3 is due to come out this week and it seems that orders are higher than they were for issue #2.
As the release approaches, Sean Murphy has been teasing us with some very big details, like Jack and Harley’s date night. On the description of the image, the artist comments how he used character placement, body language, camera angle and pacing to show Harley not only as the one making the move, but also as the central character.
The scene culminates with the couple naked on bed, and Harley proposing to Jack. The nudity, Murphy says, will be covered by word balloons on the final issue for it to fit DC’s Teen + rating. He also says that he “was pushing for an ‘adult’ rating, but I don’t know if DC has that. Maybe for the sequel I can convince them.” So it seems White Knight will probably be getting a sequel. Good news indeed. As for the other Harley, Murphy dropped a lil’ spoiler about her.
DARK NIGHTS: METAL
Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Francisco Plascencia
The best kind of news are the news which are good for our pockets, am I right? So this one should be taken with joy, as Dark Knights: Metal #6 will be 50 pages at the cost of US$ 4.99. The other book currently coming out with similar page count is Creature of the Night, which is going for the price of US$ 5.99. SNYDER says it is a thank you gift from DC.
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD: BATMAN AND WONDER WOMAN
You see this insane level of detail? Liam’s art is honestly so good it makes me want to claw my eyes out so that the last image I see in life is one of his drawings. Of course I’m exaggerating here, but the fact that some of the art he’s been sharing is, in fact, interior art and not covers is just unbelievable. He will be selling limited prints of some of those during ACE Comic Con.
If you have not put in an order for this book yet, please do, if only for this poor unfortunate soul who lives far, far away from any comic shop. Also, Liam Sharp has been hearing that some retailers have not yet heard about this series. So go inform them, or some leprechauns will be coming to mess your comic collection. We wouldn’t want that, now would we?
Hope Larson, Chris Wildgoose, Sami Basri
With “Summer of Lies” having wrapped up a couple weeks ago, CHRIS WILDGOOSE felt like it would be time to share his original design for The Red Queen. He says that he “Tried to give her a modern Regal feel.”
Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, John Timms, Frank Tieri, Inaki Miranda
Frank Tieri and Inaki Miranda will be debuting on Harley precisely one month from now with issue #35, so INAKI has started sharing work on it. He’s shared a couple panels, one showing the entrance gates to Arkham Asylum, and another with a very bored, very encaged Harley.
Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez, Paul Pelletier, Sam Humphries, Bernard Chang, Klaus Janson, Phil Jimenez, Kyle Higgins, Trevor McCarthy
The last issue of the current creative team is coming out this week, meaning Chang and Humphries’ new take on the character is coming in just three weeks, meaning we get to see an unlettered preview of the first four pages of their first issue. The cover gives us a glimpse of Chang’s design for Blüdhaven, based on Macau, the current gambling capital of the world. The artist also shared his sketch-to-final process on Instagram.
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS
Scott Lobdell, Dexter Soy, Marcio Takara
Batman: Ninja has got people losing their heads, and of course DEXTER SOY would be one of them, considering he is the one to design insanely good Japanese style Red Hoods. Turns out the jar in the background is Jason. All things considered, a good plot twist suggested by Dexter would be “That basket is gonna break and reveal my Red Hood Ninja design.” If you haven’t seen it, it is awesome and one of my favorite Red Hood designs. Coming second is his design of Jason as a Ronin.
A Ronin is a samurai without a master. By the rules of the Samurai Code, a Samurai should commit suicide (hara-kiri) upon the death of their master. Failing to do so made them become Ronin, meaning wanderers, to the eyes of society. The outcast status often led them to become hired muscle or criminals. This is a good Elseworlds pitch if I’ve ever seen one.
Also, as it turns out, Jason’s head basket is a reference to a specific group of Japanese mendicant monks named Komuso (monks of nothingness) who wear a straw basket on their heads as a symbol of modesty.
The Tokyo Comic Con took place this past weekend and two of our honorary members were attending it: LEE BERMEJO and MARCUS TO.
Bermejo did a special print to be sold only during the con. He also took the opportunity to share a cryptic image of one of his secret projects, showing a Bat pierced to skin. Something tells me it has something to do with Batman, but that might be just a feeling.
As for Marcus, he worked In a number of commissions of the Bats, including the big Bat himself, Batgirl from Burnside, Robin sporting his usual frown, Nightwing holding a Robin and a Tim and Conner piece.
Last week the National Board of Review announced Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot as winners of the Spotlight Award of the year. The Spotlight is often given to people with a remarkable body of work, such as Michael Fassbender in 2011, or to specific collaborations, such as Scorsese and Di Caprio in 2013. This award is a sign of how powerful the work of those two women was to make Wonder Woman such a remarkable film.
On a week when women are being recognized for a female superhero film, we happened to have scheduled YAMA ORCE as our Gothamite. He is not a woman, but what brings him here is his “Shes” series. From Marvel to DC, from Power Girl to Zatanna, those pieces by Yama are incredibly well composed and expressive of who those characters are. The Gotham bats we are bringing here are Babs and Kate, and don’t they look incredible?
Yama has also worked on another well-known group of Gotham women, the Sirens, as well as a full-wall-poster worthy Bat-Family piece titled “Gotham in Red”, featuring Kate, Terry, Dick in his red suit, Jason, and Tim. The red birds and bats. His work can be found on deviantART and his recently created Instagram, which he promises will have more updates as he is still trying to figure out this whole social media thing. I feel your pain, Yama.