Today is Bring Your Kid to Work day (editor’s note: assuming this is in Brazil as in the US this is not until April 28), and we’re enlisting the little ones to help us cover last week’s Batman news. The most prominent announcement of the week was without a doubt DC’s new imprints directed at the baby Bats. Covering the Young Adult market with DC Ink and the kids market with DC Zoom, DC will be bringing artists and writers experiences with those markets to work on the titles. The original report already covered most writers, but a lot of the artists are still to be revealed. DC Zoom will be bringing Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs, the team behind Lil’ Gotham, back together to work on Batman Tales: Once Upon a Time. NGUYEN shared a preview art for what is to come. I don’t know about you, but to me it looks like it will be a retelling of fairy tales featuring Gotham characters.
What the official press release did not cover was the fact that GABRIEL PICOLO will be the artist working on the Teen Titans title for DC Ink. He is widely known for his Casual Teen Titans series, where he puts the classic team from the cartoon in everyday situations, wearing ordinary clothes, and being regular teenagers – except for the fact that they are the Teen Titans. And that Beast Boy is green. I am proud to be one of those who has been pestering DC Comics just to give the guy a book already.
Tom King, Mikel Janin, Joelle Jones, Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea
Batman #40 evidently appeased some of the issues people had with #39. There was still a tiny problem that remained though: the passing of time got mixed up in the captions. Time is jumping from 10 to 24 to 19, but King says it was unintentional and that the issue will be fixed for the trade. Also, regarding the Gentle Man, he will most likely return at some point.
Shortly, Booster Gold will be coming to Gotham. He will be popping up in the issues drawn by TONY S. DANIEL, who shared a panel showing the time traveler.
Further down the path, LEE WEEKS, the artist behind Batman/Elmer Fudd and the second Annual, will be working on an issue focusing on Mr. Freeze. King hinted that they might be moving Mr. Freeze back to his classic looks, saying “I like classic looks, and when I can, I try to move things in that direction.”
BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT
Sean Gordon Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth
Issue #5 of White Knight came out last week, and one of the best scenes in it has to be Bruce wearing a pink robe to mislead the cops. There is just one minor issue with it: the Batsuit appears out of nowhere underneath the robe. According to Murphy, there can be three possible explanations: “1. Magic robe. 2. He’s Batman, and it doesn’t matter. 3. I screwed up. 🙂“ I’m going with number 2.
Still, on the theme of the last issue, Murphy had declared it to be the issue where Batgirl would come to her own, and she sure did. He is delivering a mean depiction of Barbara, even though he revealed not to be a big Batgirl fan before he got to write her. He says that “the more I wrote White Knight, the more I appreciated her. I plan to make her a big part of the finale.” And to our delight, issue #6 will be getting a Batgirl and Nightwing variant cover. The choice of colors gives me some Do The Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989) feels, and boy is it an excellent mind-link to have made.
DARK KNIGHTS RISING: THE WILD HUNT
Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Doug Mahnke, Ivan Reis, Jorge Jimenez, Howard Porter
Wild Hunt will be coming out this week, an issue that Scott says will be like issue 5 1/2. The issue is close to going back for a second printing even before it hits shelves, so we better heed Scott’s words and reserve a copy. Scott also revealed one of the splash pages by JORGE JIMENÉZ, and his Robins are probably the best those creepy fellows have ever been portrayed.
Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Brad Anderson
The bar sequence in Doomsday Clock #3 is undoubtedly one of the best of the entire issue. GARY FRANK just provided an inside look at the progression, sharing his originals for it. If you haven’t read the issue yet, you should probably refrain from seeing those, since there is a pretty big spoiler in them.
Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Francis Manapul
Having to tackle a team book, and the Justice League, none other, must be quite a challenge. For SCOTT SNYDER is no different, and to make things worst he’s got a genie watching his every move, or a Bat-mite if you will. The writer says that “After years of writing Batman doing whatever he wants, writing Justice League is like an exercise in restraint. I can feel him seething, too, like staring at me eyes narrowed from the back of the Watchtower. ‘Batman has to batman Scott… He has to.'” He also shared the sketched layouts he uses to help him with pacing an issue, and these are some golden art.
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD
We’re very, very close to the release of Brave and the Bold #1. Liam recently gave an interview to Tripwire Magazine where not only does he pour out his love for Diana, talks about his influences for Brave and the Bold, but he also gives a full synopsis of the book:
Tir Na Nóg, the faerie realm, home of the old gods – the Fomorians and Tuatha Dé Danann – has been forgotten by human kind, and the causeways have all closed to it. The result is it has become pretty much a prison to its inhabitants. They have spent centuries in that isolation, and it has led to tensions – an analog to prison riots in some ways. Diana, as a renowned peacemaker, is sought out by Cernunnos, the horned god and care-taker of that realm. He needs helps as it becomes increasingly hard to maintain the status quo. To make things worse, when she gets there she finds that an important King, one of the old Celtic gods, has been murdered, so she, in turn, recruits the best man she knows for the job to help her. What follows is an investigation, a tour of Tir Na Nóg, and a dramatic and epic climax…
These comments coupled with another one of his beautiful drawings, has my hype overflowing.
Frank Tieri, Inaki Miranda, Mirka Andolfo
News for Harley this week do not come from the funny books, but from animation. The character will be getting an animated series all of her own, and the list of recurring characters has been released as reported earlier this week.
Sam Humphries, Bernard Chang, Marcelo Maiolo, Phil Jimenez, Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Jorge Corona, Michael Moreci, Minkyu Jung
Also coming from another medium is the news for Nightwing. CHRIS McKAY, director of The LEGO Batman Movie who is working on the Nightwing project, promised an update about the production for around Valentine’s Day, and so he did. Answering to a thread by Geek Vibes Nations, McKay revealed that the movie is still very early in its production and that it will be a long process. Complete coverage of this and also McKay’s poll for Nightwing casting on our DC Films Weekly Update.
With so many news to cover, the Winter Olympics would have gone unnoticed here in the Batcave if it weren’t for FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA. He’s currently working on a Winter SUPER Olympics series, matching superheroes with their would-be winter sports. Batman has already been added to the list, doing some Ski Jumping.
If you liked RICCARDO FEDERICI’s art on The Murder Machine (and Aquaman, go pick up Aquaman, it’s been excellent), you’re not the only one. The artist has been getting some Batman commissions. He’s currently working on a piece of Batman punching a laughing Joker and has recently finished a sketch cover full painting.
And talking about incredible commissioned art, KEVIN WADA shared a Poison Ivy of his. I already geeked out about his art in the past, so I’ll just bring the attention to how by merely adding the green hand detail he made this most definitely a portrait of Ivy and not only a random red-haired woman. Stunning work.
Our Gothamite of the week calls themselves THE GHOST or BAD LEMONADE, and I’m left wondering if those two names have some ulterior connection. Ghost has some of the most widely varied collection of Bat characters in their portfolio I’ve ever seen around, going from the Bat himself to our favorite little Demon brat with his pets, from the Joker to lesser-known villains, such as Jane Doe.
Jane is, without a doubt, one of the most intriguing villains of Gotham City, and yet remains under-used by writers. Ghost’s piece here has the power, to sum up the character with just one image. Not only because of the bits and pieces of other people’s faces Jane has impersonated, but something in the way her eyes are drawn just tells us how unhappy and hateful she is. Aside from that, the addition of texture to the image makes this looks like it was being shown on a tube screen, which is a perfect detail in building context to the piece.
I have to confess here that it took me forever to choose one of Ghost’s pieces to have featured because there are just so many that appeal to me. I mean, that Damian piece is easily one of my favorite fan pieces of the character, for much the same reasons as Jane Doe: it has all that is essential to understanding him as a character in one single piece. Even Ghost’s warm-ups are great, with an exploration of expression that some artists working professionally will sometimes fail to convey. About those, Ghost says that they are practice pieces, usually based on a reference. “I regularly challenge myself to practice subjects I’m not very skilled with, and I’ll find references that will be a challenge for me to draw. I usually draw my inspiration from film and comics.”
TBU: How do you work with references to come up with ideas, and who are your influences?
GHOST: I wouldn’t say inspire per say. I’m a little finicky when it comes to using references. I regularly challenge myself to practice subjects I’m not very skilled with, and I’ll find references that will be a challenge for me to draw. I usually draw my inspiration from film and comics. Tim Sale, Neal Adams, and Sam Kieth have always been huge a huge influence on my imagination! Each one of them is so skilled with positive and negative space; their panel work is out of this world!
TBU: So I gather you take references mainly when you’re venturing new waters, is that it? That’s interesting, I’ve heard some artists say that they use photo reference when working, I believe Neal Adams was one of them. Do you avoid using them?
GHOST: Yes, I try to find photos of odd postures, different body types, unique facial structures, expressive hand gestures, and even fabrics I’m not used to recreating. I try to stay away from using references in my finished pieces, and specially commissioned artwork. Every artist does things differently, but I practice so much so that I’ll have the skills when I need them. I prefer my finished work to be my own thing.
TBU: I’d be remiss not to ask, what is it in Batman that appeals to you?
GHOST: I have huge affection for superheroes in general, but Batman really taps into all of my interests. The crime drama, the detective work, the bizarre science fiction, but I think the big thing for me has always been the horror element. I’m a horror lover, and Batman’s world has so many different levels of horror that blend really well. Top all of that off with a fantastic group of characters, and it’s a slam dunk as fast as I’m concerned.
TBU: I’m right there with you on Batman, the damn character seems to be a product of all of my tastes thrown into a blender. I’m guessing that your initial intake of Batman media is through comics, so I think that leads to my final question. Is becoming a pro comic book artist a goal for you?
GHOST: Ha ha, he’s great isn’t he? Being the gigantic comic nerd that I am I’d have to say that would be a dream come true! I’m pretty open to any future possibilities, heck I’d be exhilarated to do inks in the professional comic world. Anything that combines my love of art, and comics I’d jump on in a heartbeat.