Greetings, most dear guests, and welcome to our latest gathering to discuss the affairs of Gotham. An enormous amount of novelties have appeared in the course of the week, have they not? In this hideous attempt of being extremely formal, I vehemently suggest any of you who have yet to delight themselves with Gotham by Gaslight to immediately do so. It will most assuredly give you one and a half hours of pure enjoyment.
Seriously though, I was not expecting it to be so good. It is not strictly faithful to the comic, more like a loose adaptation, meaning that even if you have read the source material you’ll find yourself surprised by the plot. Plus, little trouble making Robins. Excuse if I did get overly excited whenever they had some screen time.
Still about screen material, Gotham’s return date has been announced. The show will be returning on March 1, and a preview was released to promote it. As for the silver screen, those who follow The Batman Universe will know most of us follow the “ain’t nobody got time for that” motto with the drama involving the DCEU, especially when it comes to unconfirmed rumors. We have a hero amongst us though, and his name is Dan. His superpower is gathering and filtering all of the rumors going around and wrapping them with a black bow. Every week, can you imagine that? I’d be dead already. The latest one is out, and I won’t dare be summarizing it.
Our thing here is comics, and comics is where we’re heading now. I hope you’re seating for this one. Scott Snyder will be taking over the Justice League starting June. Remember the bookshelf in Grandpa Bruce’s study from Batman: Lost? One of the books in there was one titled No Justice, a book that did not exist. Until May, at least. No Justice will be a 4-issue mini series spinning out of Metal, co-written by Scott, James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson, with art by Francis Manapul. To face a cosmic threat, the Justice League will split into four teams led by Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Flash. An amalgam of different characters will be joining the League for this series, as can be seen in the designs by FRANCIS MANAPUL.
A number of different teams will be coming out of the series, and one would assume that Tynion and Williamson will be taking over the other titles. In his Twitter, Snyder said that the series will be happening in the pages of Justice League, Justice League of America, Teen Titans and Titans. With most of those teams currently going through internal crises, it seems that they will all be shaken-up. Also, taking from Francis Manapul’s Instagram, Marcus To also seems to be involved with the project in some level.
You’re deeply misguided if you think it stops here. Solicitations for April revealed that Batman will indeed be facing Deathstroke even if not on the silver screen. Led by Christopher Priest and Carlo Pagulayan, Batman vs. Deathstroke will be a 6-issue event happening in the pages of Deathstroke. According to the solicitation, Bruce will be receiving DNA test results proving that Damian is, in fact, the son of Slade Wilson. And a custody battle ensues. Yes, ladies and gentleman, a custody battle. I cannot wait for this. The cover for the first issue was made by LEE WEEKS, the one responsible for making me cry over a kitten in Batman Annual #2, and it looks incredible.
Tom King, Mikel Janin, Joelle Jones, Tony S. Daniel, Sandu Florea, Tomeu Morey
Another big piece of news revealed in the solicitations for April was the return of Tony S. Daniel to Batman, with Sandu Florea as inker and Tomeu Morey as colorist. Their first cover looks absolutely Daniel-y, and, according to Tony, DC quite agrees. Out of the 6 options he gave them, this was the one they felt said “Tony’s Back!”
Tony admits he’s been wanting to work with Tom King for a while now, and that there is no better place for this to happen than Gotham. He’s already received his first script, and says he had to go meditate after reading it. Tom King used Staring out of Windows, it’s super effective!
James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Jesus Merino, Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, Javier Fernandez
JESÚS MERINO, the artist on last week’s Detective Comics #973, shared a couple of his B&W pages from the issue, and I’m deeply in love with this page of Tim building the Belfry.
BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT
Sean Gordon Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth
By popular demand, Batgirl is getting a White Knight variant cover. After a number of requests, Sean Murphy complied with fan desire and even sneaked a Nightwing there in the back, “doing a sexy little twist” for butt purposes.
He also revealed that, the way he sees it, there is no Superman or Justice League in the White Knight universe. He also shared a little peak of issue #7, as Jack deals with both Harleys.
DARK NIGHTS: METAL
Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Francisco Plascencia
I just couldn’t ignore this picture. So, before we get to Capullo’s usual teases, have baby Darkseid being held by papa Snyder.
While Scott babysits, Greg does some heavy lifting as he pushes through the second third of issue #6, the finale to this epic craziness they call Metal. This time the teases he shared were of Aquaman fighting God knows what, and dragonized Joker.
DARK KNIGHTS RISING: THE WILD HUNT
Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Doug Mahnke, Ivan Reis, Jorge Jimenez, Howard Porter
The final order day for Wild Hunt has come and gone, but we’ve got a panel by HOWARD PORTER as a souvenir. The Metal Men are baa-aaaack.
Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Brad Anderson
Doomsday Clock was a trending topic this week. Not this Doomsday Clock, the original one. The Bulleting of the Atomic Scientists has released their latest report, and the clock got moved forward. We are now standing at Two Minutes to Midnight. As the universe would have it, the report was released on Geoff Johns’ birthday, and also on the week that issue #3 came out.
The issue brought Nathaniel Dusk back, “and if you’re wondering who he is, the mystery he’s trying to solve is more important.” At least that’s what Johns says. GARY FRANK also shared a number of uncolored panels from the Nathaniel Dusk scenes. That’s right, uncolored, even though the final result was black and white. Those panels are, in my opinion, some of the best in the entire issue.
Johns also announced that the title will be going bi-monthly. Sad news for our hearts, but if it allows the team to continue delivering brilliant material, so be it.
And brilliant they are. I mean, will you look at this absolutely insane composition by GARY FRANK for one of the covers? Marionette is guiding us almost as if in a performance. She breaks the central axis completely, while the Owl Ship marks it with its symmetry, creating contrast. Her hands point from Rorschach to Ozymandias, her body creating the space Rorscharch is filling. It is with the Mime that she is dancing though. His knee pushes her knee, her hips push his hips, in a way that she is practically leaning on him even if they don’t touch. This is freaking sexy, I’ll tell you that. I get a bit teary eyed every time I look at it.
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD: BATMAN AND WONDER WOMAN
There’s been some drama again, on the same note as Tom King’s drama from last week. People seem to like revisiting drama, so I’ll just keep the negativity out and talk about how amazing Liam’s sneaky little peaks are. I honestly cannot wait for those two to team up in a book all dedicated to them. As Liam continues to say, “What’s important to me in The Brave and The Bold is the story, the art, the mythic setting. It’s dedicated to my late father-in-law who shared my love of Celtic and Irish mythology. Diana is there to help. Bruce to solve a murder. They are a team, and a damn good one!“ Sláinte to that (I’m so probably using sláinte in the wrong way, please forgive a silly foreigner my friends).
Hope Larson, Chris Wildgoose, Scott Godlewski, Minkyu Jung, Jose Marzan Jr.
After working on 10 out of the 19 issues published since the begining of Rebirth, Chris Wildgoose said goodbye to the Batgirl team. The nest is not even close to being empty though, as solicitations for April revealed that Minkyu Jung and Jose Marzan Jr. will be working with Hope Larson on issue #22.
Sam Humphries, Bernard Chang, Marcelo Maiolo, Klaus Janson, Phil Jimenez, Kyle Higgins, Trevor McCarthy, Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Jorge Corona, Michael Moreci, Minkyu Jung
Much like with Batgirl, we are saying goodbye to a few people and welcoming some others to the Nightwing team. The New Order came to an end, and so we say our farewells to Kyle Higgins and Trevor McCarthy. Kyle gave his official words on Twitter, saying “Today marks the end of a two year journey that was six years in the making, since
@TrevorMc112 and I finished Gates of Gotham and swore we’d do something to top it. Nightwing The New Order’s last issue is on stands now, and we couldn’t be more proud.”
As for the newcomers, April solicitations revealed that Humphries and Chang will be taking a two-issue break, probably to have time to adjust some deadlines. Due to that, Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzig, Jorge Corona, Michael Moreci and Minkyu Jung are being brought to the fold. Lanzing and Kelly made sure to clarify that this will be a one-issue-only stand. They are also taking Green Arrow for a while, which prompted Lanzing to share a fun fact: “Collin once wrote – in a single day – a season one ARROW spec where Dick comes to Starling on behalf of Wayne Enterprises. Dick and Ollie had a shockingly great dynamic and I’d love to explore it someday.”
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS
Scott Lobdell, Dexter Soy, Marcio Takara
In an interview given to Batman-News in December, Scott Lobdell commented that DC had been wanting to make the book darker. His words were: “Lately I have gotten word to make the book grittier—darker—so maybe we will be seeing more of the more violent Red Hood.” From April’s solicitations it would be a fair guess to assume that this is when the darker streak will be starting. Well, at least that’s what the cover by TREVOR HAIRSINE tells me. You know me, I’m an art enthusiast, I wouldn’t let this beauty go unnoticed.
There seems to be an underlying thread guiding this week, and it might just be due to some dark rituals. We have Doomsday Clock, and we have a sneaky Swamp Thing, so why not feature ALEX ROSS’ homage to Alan Moore?
Our Gothamite of the week claims to be born in the wrong damn century. I had SHANNON STAMEY in our list for a long time now, keeping him specifically for this week. Like or dislike the animation, Shannon’s Gotham by Gaslight rendition is unquestionably an incredible piece of art, made with oil, pencil and ink on paper.
If I could use only one word for Shannon’s style it would be smooth. Smooth transitions of color, smooth lights, smooth palette. And an out-of-this-world talent with fog. In fact, it is almost as if there was a fog that invades his fully rendered paintings, making them look dream-like. It is this quality that sets his work apart, that makes him stand a step away from simply creating photo-realistic works and acquire his own unique style. It is as if Elvgren had acquired a taste for sepia tones and horror themes instead of colorful pinups, all with a touch of the traditional geometry-plus-profile-portrait composition from Art-Noveau.
In a mostly digital world, Shannon works mainly with pencils, oils, paper and wood. I firmly believe that to see and touch one of his pieces is an experience that goes much beyond seeing them in a lighted screen. I asked him if he had experimented with other approaches before going traditional, and why he made this choice. His answer was such a thing of beauty that I did not find it in myself to crop it, so here is the full extent of it:
My approach and materials are more born out of the love of textures than anything else. I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll keep saying it until I’m dead: “I want to create illustrations that you want to touch as much as you want to look at them.”
I love textures. Not just the appearance of textures, but actual textures. The grain of wood. The weave of a thick watercolor paper and the crackling fragility of parchment. I don’t work on wood as much as I’d like to. I typically save wood for larger pieces; anything 24″x36″ and bigger. Working on wood is more expensive and preparing a panel to paint and draw on also takes a lot of time.
As far as experimenting goes, I think I’ve found my niche. I know what I like. I know what I’m best at and I know what will work best for each particular piece and medium. I’d like to play with gouache a bit more. I’ve only tried it once, maybe ten years ago. I hate acrylic. It dries way too damn fast and I work slowly and meticulously. I don’t even sketch traditionally. I can’t whip out a ‘sketch’ in 10 minutes and let someone see that. I can easily spend hours on something I consider a sketch. I’m just too obsessive with it, I guess.
The one thing I won’t do is digital. It lacks everything I love about traditional work and what I’ve spent my entire life teaching myself how to do. I fully understand the appeal and benefits and there are digital artists who do work that I think is absolutely incredible, but it’s not how I want to create the work I do. I need the smells of turpentine and oil and gesso and the splinters in my fingers from sanding. I need that tangible, physical piece of work in my hand when I’m done. Otherwise, it would feel, to me, that I never created anything to begin with.
You can tell by now I’ll be cheating my own rules and featuring two of his pieces, right? Shannon’s portfolio has a wide range of themes, from horror to children book illustrations, from ethereal dames to superheroes, including a number of Batman pieces. Batman’s predominance does not mean that he’s the only comic character that holds an interest over Shannon, though. He says that “While Batman is one of my favorite comic characters, there are others I enjoy just as much. […] I love drawing Batman. He’s, by far, the most versatile of iconic heroes. His universe is so vast and there are so many different takes on him from different artists, so I don’t feel trapped with how to approach him.”
And here comes my cheating. Shannon is also a big fan of both Miracle Man and Swamp Thing, by Alan Moore and John Totleben, says he’s “been mulling over ideas I want to execute with him [Miracle Man]. He’s got a brutal elegance to him. He doesn’t look the least bit intimidating from a design aspect, but his power is truly terrifying. I’m also a huge Swamp Thing fan, thanks to that same creative team of Totleben and Moore. So, there’s definitely more Swamp Thing work in the catacombs of my head as well.” And my favorite by him is a Swamp Thing piece, so here I am, sneaking a second piece once again, and one not even related to the bats. Double sue me, Batman!